Last Update: 01 Jan 01

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This is the eighth 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.

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.
(R) The only "evidence" for the prospect of an intelligent creator is the nature of creation itself.
(MB) That is a purely subjective evaluation and, as such, does not constitute objective evidence. This is because no such evaluation can ever be measured, tested or agreed upon. By declaring the "nature of creation" to be your only evidence, you have unwittingly agreed that it is impossible to support any calculation of a non-zero probability for the existence of an intelligent creator. Therefore, such a proposition can never be anything more than an arbitrary and purely personal belief.

(R) Statistics of probability for an event's cause can be inferred by observing various elements of the event itself.
(MB) Correct. But, this requires objective and quantifiable physical evidence. You've already said that this doesn't exist to support your beliefs. Therefore, no statistical probabilities can be calculated.

(R) This form of investigation is used all the time in the realm of legal evidences. In a court of law, a smoking gun, a dead body, bullet shells on the floor and a vengeful letter left on next to the body would be solid evidence that the cause of the event was a "murderer."
(MB) I hope you realize that all of these things are objective and quantifiable pieces of physical evidence. I further hope you realize that the case in question might actually be a suicide instead of a murder.

(R) In terms of "legal evidences," the case for an intelligent creator is overwhelming.
(MB) How can you have any case at all (much less an "overwhelming" case) for an intelligent creator when you readily admit that you have no objective evidence? I remind you that your personal choice to believe something does 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.
(R) You are reading a literal meaning into a word I used figuratively.
(MB) Stercus tauri. You lifted the word from arguments written in other Creationist sources because it sounded impressive to you. If you're going to try to argue science and wish to sound competent in doing so, you need to learn proper terminology. Otherwise, all you're going to do is invent more buzzwords around which to write more meaningless statements. This will not increase your chances of success in this debate.

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) It is abundantly evident that you have, and continue to use revolving arguments.
(MB) It is abundantly evident that "revolving arguments" is just another phrase you are using "figuratively".

(R) In addition, you can trump up your "corner" all you want, but if there is any evidence whatsoever in your corner, it must be "hiding."
(MB) All of the scientific evidence is available for anybody's perusal. It does, however, require that you open your eyes.

(R) Furthermore, the only things that are "sterile" are your similes.
(MB) I notice that you didn't deny the truth of what I said. Perhaps, it can't just be brushed aside so carelessly?

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) I have already stated my beliefs and have given argumentative, logical, philosophical, and scientific support for them at various junctures.
(MB) You haven't even really *stated* your beliefs since you are still waffling about admitting that those beliefs support Yahweh as the one and only possibility for your Creator. The rest of your boast isn't even consistent as you have repeatedly said both that there is no objective scientific evidence for your case and that no such evidence is even required. As such, how can you now claim to have presented any?

(R) I will continue to add support to what I have already laid down.
(MB) You can't "add" to what hasn't yet begun.

(R) You, on the other hand, have not provided one shred of support for the claim that the universe is the byproduct of chance/material cause only.
(MB) By now, you may wish to revise this. The fact that you don't believe, understand or even acknowledge any of it does not mean that it hasn't been provided for you.

[RE: In addition, a "scientific" explanation is not necessarily a materialistic one.]
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 say "quite true," but with the turn of every corner, you have constantly iterated all conclusions based on materialism as being "science" or "scientific." This shows that you indeed consider materialism and science to be one and the same. Why do you deny this?
(MB) You are inserting your own confusions into what I've been saying. I have never once invoked materialism. That has been *your* buzzword argument. You know that you can't win by denigrating science alone, so you have consistently tried to equate it with materialism (even though you're still rather hazy as to what materialism actually his writing as evidence by the conflicts I've already pointed out.

(R) If you do not understand, then perphaps there is a breakdown in our communication or agreement of definitions.
(MB) I understand what you're arguing, but it doesn't have anything to do with science *or* materialism (or their accurate definitions). You're just throwing random arguments against the wall and hoping that one sticks so that you can attempt to buttress your case with it. Unfortunately, all the failed arguments combine to point out the vast inherent weaknesses in that case.

(R) I have defined what I mean by "materialism" three different times now, so the fault of any confusion cannot be laid at my feet.
(MB) So, your inaccurate and confused "definitions" and usages of "materialism" absolve your arguments from any criticism?

(R) Furthermore, I am not suggesting that theism falls within the realm of science, nor do I think materialism does either.
(MB) Flip-flop alert!

(R) Theism makes statements that are sometimes not neutral to science and science sometimes makes statements that are not neutral to theism.
(MB) Examples, please?

(R) So while theism is not within the realm of science, it does relate to science at various junctures.
(MB) Oh, where and how?

(R) The same could be said for the philosophy of materialism.
(MB) Materialism, by necessity, overlaps with science. But, this should come as no great surprise given that it is a philosophy which descends from a scientific worldview.

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.
(R) In this message, the rebuttal you presented was not "in detail" whatsoever. You made loose allusions to various scientific theories - nothing more.
(MB) Is it necessary for me to present verbatim theories in order for you to accept that the required supporting evidence has been provided? Is it too much to expect that you will invest some time and effort in researching the material which was presented so that you can at least have some idea of what it is that you don't want to believe? If and when you get around to doing this you may be capable of presenting a stronger argument against these theories than merely brushing them aside with careless references to materialism and/or atheism.

[RE: Since you have not provided proof for the synonymy of philosophical materialism and science,...
Where did I suggest any such thing?

(R) Your entire commentary throughout this exchange is riddled with such suggestions! You constantly respond to my challenges to materialism with speeches about "science," and the arguments I've made against materialism's claims have been interpreted as "attacks on science." It is obvious to all that you definitely equate materialism and science as synonymous.
(MB) Once again, you're seeing what you want to see instead of reading what I've been writing. My references to materialism are to refute your misguided attempts to equate it with science and to try to find out how you wish to apply materialism in whatever form you want to invoke. Pointing out your attacks against science are a separate issue. The fact that you choose to lump materialism together with science does not mean that I do the same thing when I correctly focus on scientific issues and arguments.

Perhaps, you now wish to reevaluate this claim.
(R) No, I do not see a need for reevaluation of that claim.
(MB) Forgive me if I'm not overly surprised...

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) I am not the one who is equating science and materialism. YOU are. Every time you've attempted to support or defend materialism, you mention science. Likewise, every time I have challenged materialism, you have interpreted it as an "attack on science." Anyone reading this exchange can see this.
(MB) Until you can produce a statement of mine where I have equated science with materialism (or even introduced materialism into the discussion), your charge is baseless. I'm not even attempting to "support or defend" materialism! That is because this debate is not about any issue which requires, demands or involves materialism -- despite your protestations to the contrary.

True science makes observational claims of only what can be verified.
Not quite. After all, how do you know that something is verifiable upon first observation?

(R) No where in my comment did I use the word "first" to describe "observation."
(MB) Nor did I say that you did. I'm just pointing out a flaw in your claim. Observational claims are made all the time because things are observed all the time. Many of these things are being observed for the *first* time. These observations are also reported in the hopes that others may be able to make the same observations. However, that is never a given until such subsequent corroborating observations actually are made. Therefore, it can't be said that observational claims are made only for things which can be verified since verification isn't possible with only an initial observation. If no initial unverified observation is reported, how can any subsequent observation be considered to be corroborating?

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) The process of corroborating observational data does apply to theism, specifically in formulating the likelihood of God as a causal agent for the universe.
(MB) I was asking for concrete examples, not a mere repetition of assertions. If you wish to claim that such observations exist in support of theism, let's see the hard data. By the way, "hard data" does not include misguided math.

First, it's not a "presupposition" if there is supporting evidence.
(R) Where is this supporting evidence for the specific claim of a mindless, material cause of the universe?
(MB) What is this specific claim that the universe has a mindless and material cause? Please reference a specific (and modern-day) theory.

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) You are meshing all observed phenomena into one bowl and thinking that constitutes evidence for an atheistic origin of all physical reality?
(MB) Where did I say that such an origin is "atheistic"? You need to refrain from inserting your own presuppositions into my arguments. As to what seems to be your argument, if you don't believe that all observed phenomena support the scientific view, please provide the details as to which observations do not and how they support your own views instead.

(R) That logic as already been shown to have false premise by your own syllogy.
(MB) All you've "shown" is that you continue to have no understanding of logical reasoning.

None of that is necessary. All the evidence we do have points in the same direction.
(R) None of the "evidence" you are suggesting applies to the actual creation of the universe.
(MB) This, of course, presupposes that the universe was actually "created" at all. Maybe, it was. Maybe, it wasn't. Whichever way it goes, there is still no evidence to support any claims that anything supernatural, transcendental or God-based either exists or was responsible for producing the universe. Since you propose otherwise, it is incumbent upon you to provide positive support for such proposals. So far, all you've done is criticize and misunderstand "materialism".

(R) That is, unless you want to hold the paradoxical view which states that the universe created itself.
(MB) If the universe is the result of an uncaused event, then it could be said that it did, indeed, create itself. In any case, your statement risks invoking one of the fatal flaws of theistic creation proposals. This would be the classic problem of infinite regression or the "First Cause" paradox. To wit:
    If you wish to argue that everything which exists was created and that nothing which exists was uncreated or simply *is* and also argue that God exists (or, if you want to be namby-pamby about it, that an "intelligent designer" exists), then you must explain what or who created God. This leads to an infinite regression of "who created who" questions which must be answered in order for theistic creation scenarios to be coherent. Of course, in the absence of hard evidence to support the existence of God in the first place, the problem is rendered moot.

(R) Furthermore, the existence of black holes certainly poses a challenge to the traditional understanding of physics and the actual physics that are occurring within black holes could very well, and most likely will, support the proposition of transcendental events.
(MB) While it is true that the physics of black holes is not completely understood, this does not imply that there is anything "transcendental" about them in any way, shape or form. Any arguments that black holes actually *support* any ideas of transcendentalism to any degree (much less, "most likely" support them) will certainly draw hearty chuckles from any astrophysics researcher. Perhaps you could explain exactly how this "support" would work. I'm quite sure that Stephen Hawking would be very interested in how you will show his work to be wrong or insufficient.

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.
(R) That is not a statement that is agreed upon by astrophysicists. Some believe that an entirely different form of physics was involved in the creation of the universe.
(MB) Oh, really? Perhaps you could direct me to these astrophysicists and/or point out articles which they have written in support of what you claim.

(R) Additionally, you above statement can best be considered nothing more than an "assumption."
(MB) If so, then you must know of evidence which refutes what I said. What is it?

(R) It is not very impressive to categorically dismiss theism/transcendency based on assumptions.
(MB) Quite true. That's why I base my dismissal of them upon the fact that there is absolutely no supporting evidence in their favor and no reason to suspect that any will ever be discovered.

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