REPLY #99j TO
This is the tenth 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.
Since you are certainly not purporting any sort of generic "intelligent designer", all arguments in favor of this proposition must also be arguments which must necessarily be biased in favor of the very same God that you worship. Nothing else is possible if your argument has any hope of coherency.
(R) I guess you don't understand the difference between the "intelligent designer hypothesis" and Christian theism. The intelligent designer hypothesis is a separate and distinct ideology from the theological particulars of Christian theism. I have not initiated a debate considering a "Christian Theism vs. Atheism," so your continued insistence that such elucidations be given is the only "nonsense" being put forth.
(MB) This is a desperate and unsuccessful evasion of the point. The "intelligent designer hypothesis" is nothing more than an argument for the existence of Yahweh in which his name is never used. It was developed after Creationism's decisive losses in the Supreme Court (primarily Edwards v Aguillard, 1987) in an attempt to get their views into the public schools in a form in which the ulterior motive of Christian theism is disguised. As such, it reeks of hypocrisy and "Lying for the Lord" since ID is a uniquely Christian proposal and no Christian is going to argue in favor of (or even accept the possibility of) any deity other than Yahweh. Even to imply otherwise is to admit to supporting a disingenuous argument.
You demonstrate this quite forcefully with your continued refusal even to acknowledge your own previously-stated Christian fundamentalist beliefs. I understand that this must pose a distressing ethical dilemma for you. To acknowledge that ID is actually pushing Yahweh is to destroy any chance of ID finding its way into the school system or out of the Church. Yet, to claim any possibility that the "intelligent designer" might be some entity *other* than Yahweh is to commit a grievous sin against him in the eyes of your religion. Consider the next step in the process of gaining acceptability for ID. If the proposal in favor of an "intelligent designer" is ever shown to be worthy of serious consideration, the next step for ID proponents is to advance their own preferred deity -- Yahweh -- as being that designer. Since this will inevitably happen, why do you even bother with the disingenuous "generic designer" smokescreen and not cut right to the chase? We both know where you really want to go, don't we?
Sure you did. More like you intentionally invented something to complain about to try to avoid the fact that you have no positive case of your own to present. Now, like I said, it's time for you to get on with presenting the case you claim to have.
(R) No, that is a patently false and dishonest characterization since it is quite common for one to make an example of a fallacy to show a fallacy. The positive case for theism has already been given in part. I will continue to support my views as we go. However, I have yet to hear any support for your materialistic view of origins.
(MB) This is no more true on this retelling than it was at any previous time. Stop the BS and make your case -- if you have one.
So far, that's all there has been and that's all there ever is in any "intelligent designer" argument. This is because there are no facts with which to support such a case. Those who promote these arguments have no choice but to appeal to emotion and aesthetics. They do so because the majority of their listening audience don't possess the critical thinking skills that are necessary to see such arguments for what they are.
(R) Your above speech is so elastic that it could be stretched to explain the reasons why *any* audience would listen to any particular arguments that you happen to disagree with.
(MB) Such an audience certainly will not be comprised of those of us who possess working intellects and critical thinking skills. There are certainly more than enough studies which point out the dismal level of education and intellect in the general public. There are also many studies which have shown that religious beliefs decrease as intelligence rises. As such, this demonstrates that my statements are fact-based rather than condescending -- and facts are not "arrogant" even if they might be uncomfortable.
Notice that I said "bogus mathematical probability calculations" and not simply calculations.
(R) Right, but the description "bogus" was an addition which shows more of your personal incredulity fallacy.
(MB) Considering that every calculation to date concerning the origin of the universe which has been advanced by an ID proponent has been proven to be incorrect, to describe them as "bogus" is anything *but* a statement of incredulity. If you disagree, I invite you to trot out some of them so we can see how well they fare.
Mathematics provides strong arguments in support of science, but it must be performed correctly to be of any value.
(R) I hope by now you have realized that I do not accept your false dichotomy of "science vs. theism." You have attempted to frame this debate around this dichotomy which I see no reason to accept.
(MB) This dichotomy was part of your own initial premise. Now, you are denying it? Maybe I *am* making some progress in getting through to you! Now, how does this have anything to do with my statement concerning mathematics?
The nonsensical "odds against a natural universe" arguments you are likely to try to sleaze by me are all highly flawed and easily refuted. But, if you feel you must try them, please feel free to go right ahead and do so. Just remember that events do not happen one at a time and that there are only a limited possible number of interactions between particles.
(R) I am not aware of any argument that is based on an objective of showing "odds against a natural universe." The universe by definition is natural. I do not know of anyone who believes that the universe does not exist in a natural state.
(MB) Oh, really? To include all of fundamentalists who claim that *nothing* in the universe happens without the divine interference and forebearance of Yahweh? If this claim is true, then everything in the universe -- including its own existence -- is in a supernatural state.
(R) The question is one of the naturality of ORIGINS; i.e, how the natural universe CAME TO BE, and whether or not the most probable cause was "natural." The odds against a mindless, natural process yielding the specific results of the universe we have is indeed astronomical. To deny this is to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the structure, order, and balances of all physical constants which make up the fabric of our universe.
(MB) Of course, you merely state this without providing the calculations upon which the statement is based. Do you even know what they are? If not, how can you be so sure of them and of any conclusions drawn from them? How can you claim that I "don't understand" them when you can't even say what they are? Once again, I invite you to present them for analysis. I have confidence in my mathematical skills. Are you confident as to yours?
And, of course, upon your own added stipulations and improper inclusions to what I've stated along with the reliance upon a few undefined or incorrectly defined buzzwords.
(R) That is yet another false characterization as can be seen by anyone who is reading this.
(MB) Comments concerning our discussions which I have received in my e-mail would suggest otherwise.
(R) You can try to put your narrow-minded spin on whatever you like, but it will not advance your case one iota, and the only person you are convincing of these things is yourself.
(MB) You're doing a fine job of dismantling your own case. I'm just assisting you down the path to ruin. I invite the judgment of those who read these exchanges as to how well I'm doing.
Oh, really? You have included the "created from nothing" stipulation in all of your arguments against the universal origin theories of science so far, haven't you? If you've forgotten, please reread your quoted statements and the numerous times I've pointed out that flaw to you.
(R) When I mentioned the "created from nothing," I was not referring to any specific "scientific" theory as you ignorantly assume.
(MB) That's part of the problem with your case. You almost *never* refer to anything specific. All you do is to rail on and on about the evils of atheism and materialism without understanding that neither of them has anything to do with the question of the origin of the universe. "Created from nothing" is an anti-science corruption of what science actually proposes. In reality, no scientific theory even proposes that any such thing as "nothing" actually exists.
(R) It was directed at the assumptions of materialism which, of necessity, must concede that material was either caused by nothing, or caused itself since the physical universe is not eternal and most definitely had a beginning as evidenced by the law of entropy.
(MB) No form of materialism says anything about how things came to be. Of course, you don't know that since you don't even know which form of materialism you want to argue against.
[RE: My argumentation thusfar has been aimed at Materialism.]
Which you are using only as a buzzword since you don't seem to know what it really is or which form you wish to invoke. Even at that, your attack against materialism (in any form) is misguided since it wouldn't be in force until *after* the universe had been created. Therefore, you can't attack materialism for not explaining the creation event itself, since that event wouldn't fall within its realm! Again, this is how I know that you are only using it as a convenient buzzword.
(R) This line of reasoning has already been addressed.
(MB) It has been brushed aside. It has hardly been "addressed". Heck, you haven't yet figured out that you are arguing against something (i.e., "materialism") that I'm not even proposing!
(R) However, it seems that you are acknowledging the fact that the creation event falls outside the material realm.
(MB) No, I am pointing out that the philosophy of materialism doesn't apply to anything prior to the existence of our universe or, in fact, to any universe other than our own.
(R) Anything that "falls outside" the natural, material realm is exactly what "transcendency" means - a cause or event that is transcendent to the material realm. So what has really been demonstrated here is the necessity of a transcendent cause for the universe; which you just conceded.
(MB) I have conceded no such thing. Remember that "naturalism" and "materialism" are not the same thing. The origin of the universe would fall into the natural realm. Therefore, there is no necessity for any transcendent cause.
[RE: The only invalid assumption that has been committed is your assumption that the philosophy of materialism and "science" are one and the same.]
You are the only one who has made that assumption. I would never do so because I know what each of those are.
(R) Apparently you don't know what each of those are since you have mingled your answers with a synonomyzing of those two forms of explanation.
(MB) I have done no such thing -- nor would I do so. On the other hand, you have consistently refused to demonstrate that you know or understand the different forms of materialism despite my repeated calls for you to show such competence. You don't gain that understanding for yourself by distorting what I say.
[RE: Quantum physics does not support entire universe appearing "uncaused." So the relevancy of your statement is questionable.]
You are dead wrong here.....again. I think you need to work on your science education before making such silly statements. Reading up on the collapse of scalar fields and false vacuum states would be a good start.
(R) Instead of making suggestions, why don't you support exactly how and why the collapse of scalar fields and false vacuum states shows that the entire universe was uncaused? Or are you more satisfied by making blunt remarks and evasive suggestions?
(MB) I guess you didn't bother to do the suggested reading, right? Oh, well. On one hand, you complain that I don't offer up anything in support of my views. Then, when faced with just that kind of support, you just brush it aside as "blunt remarks and evasive suggestions". This is a clear indication that you have no intention of educating yourself about what you choose to deny.
Actually, you wouldn't even have to do a whole lot of reading to figure out how foolish your latest complaint sounds. The collapse of scalar fields and false vacuum states are quantum events which are, by definition, uncaused. Linde's inflation theory shows how these collapses can produce universes. (Oh, I forgot, you haven't read up on that, either.) Therefore, the evidence exists to support the uncaused creation of the universe.
If you do the suggested reading, you'll have your answers. In addition, you might consider the uncaused event we call "radioactive decay". I doubt you will try to claim that this is not a common event. You might also consider quantum tunneling and quantum leaps. If these uncaused events did not occur, the Sun would not be able to shine. I doubt you'll try to argue that it's only a materialistic assumption that the Sun actually shines.
(R) I have not contended that there is no such thing as uncaused events. Rather, I am contending that the universe was not an uncaused event. It is your job to prove that the universe was uncaused since you're the one expounding this idea.
(MB) I have already referenced the necessary material which supports an uncaused universe. This will require a detailed refutation as to why the universe could *not* have been uncaused. Also, since you are claiming that the universe *was* caused, you have your own job to do. You must provide evidence which supports that proposal along with any proposal concerning what that cause was.
(R) If you continue to dodge this responsibility by advising me to "read it for myself," it can be considered an evasion.
(MB) No, it can't because the evidence exists in the reading material I have referenced for you. This is opposed to your ideas -- for which no evidence exists *anywhere*. My making it easier for you to find the information you need is hardly "dodging" the issue. The fact that you refuse to make the effort to take advantage of the information available to you just further diminishes the credibility of your criticisms. Why don't you do your homework? Are you afraid of what you might learn?
This argument invalidly assumes that the universe was especially created to produce life.
(R) Wrong. This argument VALIDLY assumes that the universe is especially balanced for life to exist.
(MB) What evidence do you have to support that claim? Why should anybody believe that life (which I assume you mean to be read as "human life") is the reason for why the universe is as we observe it? Why is it not more reasonable to assume that life -- *any* kind of life -- is not merely a coincidental by-product of the physical laws under which this universe happens to operate?
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!
(R) I never said the universe's life-permission quality is "miraculous" - and why would I if I believe that an intelligent cause was orchestrating results?
(MB) Because, that is the very definition of a "miracle", is it not? "Miracles" only happen via supernatural intervention. They do not occur naturally.
(R) It would only be considered "miraculous" if these finely-ordered balances were the result of pure incidence. You are the believer in miracles here, not me.
(MB) You couldn't be more wrong. The reason is that you work backwards from a desired conclusion and force your proposals about universal origins to conform to it. The proper method is to work the other way. There is no way for us to know how many other universes there might be or how many have ever existed. As such, there is no sound way to calculate probabilities about whether or not life as we know it can arise and then use those probabilities to support ideas about origins. What we do know is that we obviously exist in this universe. If science can define and demonstrate a series of natural events which could have resulted in the appearance of life as we know it, the fact that it exists makes any calculation of probability (or improbability) a moot point. There could well have been or may currently be an infinite number of universes. Given an infinity of time and trials, even the most unlikely event *will* happen if it has a greater-than-zero chance of ever happening. When the event finally does happen, there is then no basis for proclaiming that it could not have happened naturally or without supernatural intervention. If you attempt to do so anyway, you are, in effect, saying that ours is the only universe which exists or which has ever existed when you have no way of backing up that claim.
Other universes will very likely be quite different.
(R) What are these other universes that you mention? Would you care to prove that they exist and show where they are located?
(MB) Linde's multiverse theories provide the necessary evidence. I know you won't bother to research them, but you should do so before casually dismissing them. Otherwise, your quibbles and denials are a waste of time. Perhaps you will inform me (and the rest of the scientific world) as to how Linde's theories fail. Hint: Labeling them "atheistic" or "materialistic" assumptions won't cut it.
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.
(R) Since you have not establish the existence of any other universe, your entire argument is unsupportable.
(MB) Since the support exists in the body of Linde's theories and the work which supports them, your complaint is unjustified. Until you can demonstrate in any degree of detail how they fail, your denials amount to nothing more than brushing aside that which you simply don't like and the evidence stands. My arguments are derived from these theories and will stand along with them.
(R) Furthermore, your little comment about supernatural intervention not being required is yet another example of assuming precisely what you conclude.
(MB) How? If our universe is, as the theories predict, a product of entirely natural processes, then there was no supernatural intervention involved. You have yet to demonstrate a single thing about the universe that could not be the result of a natural process and which would, therefore, have required supernatural intervention. What theories and/or evidence do you have to support such a claim?
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