REPLY #99l TO
This is the twelfth 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.
Sorry, but it's that same thing that scares you so much -- basic logic. Any claim that refuses to include any specifics is nothing more than rhetoric. Rhetoric alone can't prove the existence of anything. Sooner or later, you will have to supply some hard evidence or something more than a tautological argument.
(R) For one who claims such familiarity with the laws of logic, you certainly do not apply them with any consistency.
(MB) This comes from somebody who doesn't understand logic at all...*grin*
(R) What law of logic are you utilizing which propels you to assume what I think or what "scares" me?
(MB) Thanks for proving me right (yet again) concerning your lack of understanding of logic. The fact that logic scares you is not itself a tenet of logic. It is a conclusion based on the fact that you continually refuse to answer questions, explain your statements, provide detailed evidence to support them, and run from uncomfortable evidence. If you weren't running scared, you'd be meeting these things head-on with at least as much gusto as when you launch yet another unfounded attack upon your misunderstandings of "atheism" and/or "materialism".
(R) Contrary to your rhetoric, I have already given very clear specifics to the definitions of theism and the intelligent designer hypothesis.
(MB) If so, there would be no need to continue to ask you for those definitions. Once again, your current "definitions" have been nothing more than undetailed general statements of personal belief. When asked for specifics, you defer back to generalities. When asked which version you support, you refuse to answer. Your unwillingness to be specific and detailed indicates a combination of a lack of understanding, education and confidence concerning what you choose to believe.
Yep, but so would the possibility that the universe was created by a non-intelligent uncreated machine. Would you consider such a possibility to be the equal of your intelligent designer idea?
(R) I have no idea what you are talking about here since no one has ever espoused such an entity.
(MB) Nonsense. This is just one of the other possibilities which disprove your assertion of the intelligent designer/atheism dichotomy. Another would be a non-intelligent designer or an intelligent designer who just happened to create the universe by accident rather than through deliberate creative effort.
(R) If you would like to define and defend this "non-intelligent uncreated machine" entity, I'd be more than happy to engage you on that possibility if you are willing to argue for it's existence.
(MB) Since you can't even debate successfully concerning your own views, I don't know how you are going to take on some other possibility. A non-intelligent uncreated machine is exactly what it sounds like. It is a non-sentient machine which has always existed and which performs a limited range of functions -- one of which could be the ability to produce universes. Such a machine would not have deliberately created the universe, it would have no reason for doing so, and would not even know what it was doing. One could also have non-intelligent created machines, intelligent non-created machines, and/or intelligent created machines which could have produced the universe. In addition, the creative agent could have been a non-intelligent created (or uncreated) sentient entity or an intelligent created designer. Since all of these possibilities exist, your particular claim can never be the default answer (even if science and/or "materialism" are conclusively disproven). This is, once again, why it is incumbent upon you to provide a solid, positive supporting case for it and why continued attacks against "atheism" and/or "materialism" will accomplish nothing towards achieving that required goal.
OK, so now you have separated your particular intelligent designer from all versions which are not similarly transcendent. Now, you need to demonstrate that this transcendence is real, that it is necessary, and how any such being can create something in a realm where it does not itself exist.
(R) This is water that we have already tread. The universe itself demands that it was the effect of a cause that was separate and transcendent to it.
(MB) As I've already shown to you by referencing theories which you'll never read, the universe does not demand that it is an "effect" nor that it had any "cause" -- separate from it or otherwise.
(R) If you deny this, you need to "demonstrate" that:
1) The universe was comparable to a particle pair at it's beginning,
(MB) Actually, the universe would have been nothing more than an energy field at its beginning.
(R) 2) That quantum events *can* occur independent of a time interval,
(MB) Who said that quantum events require the existence of time?
(R) 3) That the universe actually *was* an uncaused quantum event;
(MB) Again, if you'll do the reading I've suggested, you'll get the details of how this could have happened. If you can't be bothered to do your homework, you'll continue to have no basis upon which to deny the theories.
(R) 4) And was therefore not in need of causation from a transcendental order of causes.
(MB) Since the first three points have no merit, this conclusion has no force. Once again, I remind you that even the complete destruction of science does not automatically make transcendental proposals true.
Craters are not essential to the existence of any moon. Also, there are many ways of proving the existence of a moon that have nothing to do with counting craters. Finally, it should be blatantly obvious that the moon must exist before you can begin counting craters.
(R) Yes, I agree, and thats also why you do not need at least one specific property of an entity to determine it's existence.
(MB) You really are clueless, aren't you? Let's try it again. Anything which exists must have at least one specific property or quality even though its existence may or may not be dependent upon any one particular quality. Now, how are you going to demonstrate the existence of any supernatural entity without implying at least one quality about that entity? Certainly, your chosen entity has *something* going for it.
*laughing* I guess we can add astrophysics to the list of scientific disciplines about which you know very little.
(R) We'll see about that.
(MB) I have no doubts whatsoever that you will continue to shoot yourself in the foot and continue to prove me right.
(R) I guess ad hominem commentary can be added to your list of red herrings.
(MB) An "ad hominem" is not a "red herring". But, you don't know that since you don't understand basic logic. Of course, you've never let that stop you before, have you?
These observations, in fact, tell us at least three things about the planet in question. We can learn its mass, its distance from the star and its orbital velocity without any direct observation of the planet or having any other knowledge about it. The effects produced could not occur if the planet did not exist.
(R) Wrong. The observation lends specifics about a phenomena occurring to the star, not a planet. In fact, a "planet" in this case has yet to be established.
(MB) Whether or not the object in question is actually a "planet" or a dwarf star or anything else is immaterial to the point. The point was that you were claiming that nothing specific can be said about that object and I showed you to be sadly mistaken. If you disagree, you will need to present some other reasonable explanation for the observations concerning that star which does not involve a massive object in orbit around it or you will need to show why the conclusion that this object is a planet is not worthy of consideration.
Despite your grandiose (and poorly considered) conclusion, you have just succeeded in proving me to be *right*.
(R) *chuckles* I don't think so. But you are free to wishfully think.
(MB) It's pretty cut-and-dried in this case. You are merely arguing to be argumentative rather than from any knowledge of astrophysics. As such, you have blundered into a screaming howler of a mistake which you will not be able to defend.
By observing the effect, we *know* one or more properties of the planet. This is because the laws of physics work unmistakably and are consistent throughout the universe as evidenced by every observation every made.
(R) By observing an effect, we can make *educated guesses* about an unseen cause.
(MB) Only if you have a prior body of evidence with which to support these "guesses". That's why one refers to them as "educated". We have a great amount of evidence from accumulated observations of our own solar system. There is no reason to think that our solar system's behavior is unique among all others.
(R) You can claim to "know" whatever you like, but no amount of conviction can change the fact that your deductions are based on unverifiable assumptions.
(MB) Which is exactly one of my arguments against theism! Maybe, you're finally beginning to see the light? Oh, by the way... How are the observations of extra-solar planets "unverifiable"?
(R) Furthermore, claiming that the laws of physics work unmistakably and are consistent throughout the universe is to assume precisely what you conclude.
(MB) Every time an observation is made which conforms to the expected norms, our confidence in the operation of the laws of physics is increased. Since this occurs with every observation and fails to occur with none, it is reasonable to conclude that future observations will continue to conform. It will be necessary to produce a clear example of a non-conforming observation in order to refute this. *Could* it happen? Sure, it could. However, it *could* also happen that a hammer will fly upwards rather than fall to the ground the next time you release one from a stationary position. Yet, I doubt that you would stake your life's fortune that it will fly upwards any time soon. You are grasping for some mighty thin straws here.
(R) Additionally, resorting to such assumptions because "every observation every made" supports such an assumption is pretty flimsy once you consider how infinitesimally puny the number of observed events are compared to the almost infinite number of *unobserved* events that have occurred over the past 15 billion years - throughout the ENTIRE universe.
(MB) I *know* you didn't give this comment much thought. "Every observation ever made" means just that. It does not include the set of observations which have *not* been made. I do not need to have observed the Sun rise in the East every morning for the past four billion years to have confidence in the conclusion that it has, indeed, done so and will do so again tomorrow morning and every day after that until either it or the Earth is destroyed. Your argument is just another variation of the old "You didn't *see* it happen, so you can't *say* it happened" nonsense.
There is no such evidence to support any notions of supernatural creation events.
(R) Yet another instance of assuming precisely what you conclude.
(MB) This is not a conclusion of any kind. It is a statement of fact (one which you have previously agreed with and even boasted that such evidence is not necessary for your proposals). If you now wish to reverse yourself yet again and claim that there *is* evidence for supernatural creation events, you have yet another opportunity to present it.
Nope, that is a tautology. Defining a transcendent intelligent designer as being "transcendent", "intelligent" and a "designer" and claiming these as specific attributes which prove its existence is simply silly.
(R) Wrong, the argument I am putting forth is in favor of theism. I have defined the theistic concept of *God* in terms of "intelligent, transcendent, and designer." As such, there is no tautology. Get with the program.
(MB) I can only go with what you say -- and I quoted you accurately. If you want to revise your definition, be my guest. By the way, how does any such definition prove that the defined entity actually exists?
If you really believe your argument, you must also believe that little green men from Mars exist because they can be defined as having the specific attributes "little", "green", "men" and "from Mars".
(R) Either you are deliberately obfuscating my arguments for fun or you are desperate for rebuttals since what you described is *not* my argument.
(MB) Then, you need to explain why you stated just the opposite in your original statement. I agree that this is a nonsensical argument. Perhaps you can do better on the next attempt.
Personal incredulity is not "verification by indirect evidence". Please give examples of things you would describe as "indirect evidence" and explain how and why they can be used to "verify" anything.
(R) Legal evidence is the most common form of indirect evidence. For example - a dead body with one bullet lodged in the head, a smoking gun with one bullet missing, and a suicide note laying on the floor is indirect evidence of an act of suicide. The actual event of the self-murder was unobserved and could have been set up to look like a suicide when in fact it was a homicide. By careful investigation of the "indirect evidence", foul play or a suicide can be "verified" or firmly suggested.
(MB) More "suggested" than actually "verified" unless there is no other possible explanation for the available evidence. You have, yourself, shown that the evidence in your sample case could have been staged. As such, the clear possibility exists for multiple reasonable explanations even though one may be clearly more possible than any other. The important consideration here is no explanation in this sample case is without objective evidence to support it and that sufficient evidence must be available in order to construct a positive case in favor of any given solution to the crime before any court can accept it.
(R) In regards to theism, the properties of the universe as well as the laws that govern them are the indirect evidence of the creation event(s). By careful investigation of the indirect evidence, a mindless or intelligent cause can be verified or firmly suggested.
(MB) In your sample case above, there was clear objective and supporting evidence which could be examined by anybody. Where is that same type of evidence in support of theistic creation models? Without such evidence, one can't reasonably propose that any such model is supportable and certainly can't propose that it has been verified.
[RE: Also, I never claimed that mere statements were support for an entity's existence.]
What else do you have? Where is the objective evidence to support the claim?
(R) I have the same thing you have - the indirect evidence which is the universe itself.
(MB) If that's all you claim to have in support of your proposals, then you have nothing at all. As has previously been shown, the simply existence of the universe is not proof of how it came to be. It is only proof of its own existence.
(R) Whether the evidence firmly suggests theism or atheism is what we are in the process of discussing.
(MB) You fail to understand the false dichotomy to which you continue to cling. Consider two *more* possibilities (in addition to those already offered):
1) The universe could have been created by a supernatural entity who was destroyed in the act of creation itself (similar to stories in Norse mythology). If no god(s) survived the creation event and none exist today, then atheism is still true even though the universe would have had a supernatural origin.
These possibilities (along with all the others I have previous stated) prove that your dogged adherence to a simplistic and dichotomous "theism vs. atheism" argument is not well thought-out.
2) The universe was created through exclusively natural processes. One or more of these processes may have produced one or more supernatural entities as a byproduct of creation. If this is true, then God(s) may exist, but would have played no role in the origin of the universe.
[RE: Three specifics have already been provided - Intelligent, transcendent, and designing.]
Again, all that has been "provided" is a tautology. You'll need to do considerably better. Consider that none of those qualities is necessary in an entity who has the power to create universes.
(R) Your claim that what I have stated is a tautology has already been addressed.
(MB) And, you "addressed" it simply by denying that your argument was a tautology -- even though the requote of it here shows otherwise. Maybe you need to research the meaning of the term "tautology" before you deny employing one.
(R) If you would like to posit and argue for some other type of entity that does not require those qualities to create an entire universe out of nothing, then I suggest you get busy. You cannot assert such concepts "just for fun" or for the sake of argument.
(MB) I have already provided the necessary argument and examples in the next quoted paragraph. I can't believe that you missed it the first time. If so, here it is again:
It is entirely possible that this creator is either a machine or is an unintelligent entity who doesn't know what he's doing. Our universe could well exist along with its creator inside a larger realm in much the same way that a person could hold a basketball while sitting inside a room in a house. Finally, the creator could well have created the universe by dumb luck with no design in mind. He could have just thrown a bunch of "universe stuff" into a pile to see what happened -- in a manner similar to how an artist might spray and splatter paint at random to see what happens. In either case, the resulting creation would not be the product of deliberate design.
(R) I don't know what you mean by a "machine".
(MB) I think you do, but that you are just being argumentative since you don't want to consider the possibility.
(R) A "machine" would seem to be a complex physical entity with material properties. The problem with such a proposition rests in the fact that all material properties were born WITH the universe.
(MB) You are making the false assumption that the creating machine did not exist *outside* of our universe when it performed its act of creation. I'm not sure how you can justify that exclusion since you make a similar argument in support of an intelligent designer with the concept of "transcendence". Do you believe your own arguments or not?
(R) Furthermore, the intricate complexity of the orderliness, structure, and balance that codifies the properties of the universe and the laws of physics that govern it do not emulate the results of chaotic paint splatters in any conceivable way. Rather, it is much more comparable to a masterpiece such as the Mona Lisa.
(MB) "Complexity", like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Some humans might consider the Mona Lisa to be a "masterpiece". Others wouldn't spend a dime for it and a non-human observer might not consider it to be anything more than a meaningless random splotch of paint. What was "complex" to a Hebrew shepherd 4000 years ago might be easily understood by a grade-school child today. What we consider to be "complex" today might well not even merit being called "trivial" by a highly-advanced civilization from another world. Chaos theory often turns the whole notion of "complexity" completely on its ear. Finally, if superstring theory is correct, the universe is fundamentally a very simple thing since all things would be made of just one thing. Your argument is just another variation of personal incredulity combined with presupposition.
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