REPLY #99m TO
This is the thirteenth 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.
"Atheism" and "materialism" are not necessarily intertwined in this debate. Nor, for that matter, are "atheism" and the creation of the universe from natural processes.
(R) In regards to origins, atheism has no meaning without materialism, and vice versa.
(MB) Once again, this is poorly considered -- especially in light of the different creation scenarios I have provided for you.
(R) Furthermore, your commentary is riddled with the "synonomizing" of atheism and materialism, as you have demonstrated throughout this entire debate.
(MB) Since I do not (and never would) consider atheism and materialism to be synonymous, your argument is just a repetition of the same old bluster.
But, let's not let reason get in the way of a few good buzzwords, right?
(R) Your form of "reason" is a comical self-contradiction and the only "buzzword" being thrown around here is your "buzzword" buzzword.
(MB) You are going to deny using buzzwords simply because I continue to refer to them that way? Perhaps, I should begin to refer to them as "catchphrases" instead? No, I won't do that. Professional wrestlers use catchphrases in their promos and I wouldn't want to insult them by suggesting that your arguments are (placing tongue firmly in cheek) as sensible, realistic and believable as what they do in the ring.
[RE: No where in my above statement did I qualify "creator" to apply strictly to the *universe* being created.]
Oh, really? How else does the term "creator" apply in an intelligent designer scenario? How does your answer disprove my statement?
(R) "Creator" can apply to the creation of life, or even the creation of spiritual reality, and not necessarily the universe exclusively. My statement wasn't meant to "disprove" your statement. So your line of question here is unwarranted.
(MB) No, it is not. Intelligent designer scenarios involve themselves with the creation of the universe. None assert that some deity was responsible for creating life, but that the universe had a natural origin. Methinks you are running from your own beliefs yet again.
(R) If any particular "religion" believes in a god who is not transcendental to anything, one can only wonder what practical meaning their definition of "god" contains if there is nothing to distinguish it from all other "non-god" entities.
(MB) A "god" doesn't have to be omnipotent, omniscient, or omni-anything. A "god" only needs to be superior to a degree which would inspire people to worship him and seek his favor. Human emperors, pharaohs, kings, sultans and other powerful monarchs have often been considered to be "gods" by their subjects and most polytheistic religions have a plethora of gods who are rather less than omni-anything. Most of them basically oversaw one particular area of human life. Apollo, Aphrodite, Dionysus, Lodi, Shiva, Mars, etc. are all good examples of this. Certainly those who worshipped these gods considered them to be of considerable meaning.
How would this be transcendental to physics? It should be obvious that a normal turtle can balance a basketball on top of its shell. Why couldn't the scale be ramped up to a giant turtle holding up the Earth? Yes, it's silly, but it's not any violation of anything in physics.
(R) I guess you don't know anything about physics if you think a turtle, giant or otherwise, could exist in the vacuum state of space in conditions of absolute zero!
(MB) Once again, you're too quick to lob misguided attacks and too slow to consider what you're saying. Perhaps the turtle was protected from the harshness of space by the same entity that was said to have created it. Maybe it evolved the ability to live in such an environment. Again, I don't believe the story for a second, but that's not the point here.
(R) Furthermore, the laws of gravity would suggest that the earth would revolve around the turtle (due to the greater mass of the turtle), not be balanced on it's back.
(MB) Who said that the turtle would have had a greater mass? If the Earth was physically resting on the turtle, then the two would have been, for all intents and purposes, one physical body and neither would have revolved around the other. After all, humans on the surface of the Earth don't orbit the Earth, do they? Yet, I doubt that even you would disagree that humans are far less massive than is the Earth.
(R) Jainists believe in no god at all and it is debatable whether or not Jainism should be considered a "religion" in the first place.
(MB) Once again, you know not of what you speak. Jainists most certainly do believe in gods. They just don't hold them to be immortal or transcendent. There are many godlings, celestials and angels in Jainism who are considered to be superhuman (and have much in common with some Hindu gods).
(R) Theravaada Buddhists are not considered a separate religion from Buddhism, which is most definitely theistic.
(MB) Many people actually consider Buddhism to be atheistic (primarily because it doesn't posit a supreme deity). Why do you say that it is "definitely theistic"? Buddhism is primarily involved with the philosophy of Gautama Siddhartha. It posits "gods", but they are not all-powerful nor do they involve themselves in human affairs.
(R) So I guess you are ignorant of what I am ignorant of.
(MB) Sorry, but your ignorance is yours and yours alone.
[RE: All-power has no bearing on the attributes of intelligence or transcendence.]
How does this show my statement to be wrong? Also, please explain how "all-powerful" would *not* include either intelligence or transcendence.
(R) It should be obvious that intelligence, transcendence, and all-power are separate and distinct attributes.
(MB) That is not even correct -- much less "obvious". "All-power" means that the being possesses all qualities and that there is nothing it does not possess. This would include intelligence and transcendence.
(R) An entity can hold any combination of those attributes.
(MB) How could a being be "all-powerful" and not be either intelligent or transcendent?
(R) The only point of my previous statement was the suggestion that "all-power" is not relevant to the Intelligent Designer hypothesis I am espousing.
(MB) On the surface, I would agree. However, you have never given any indication that your particular version of an intelligent designer is *not* one which is all-powerful. And, of course, since omnipotence is a quality said to be possessed by Yahweh -- your ultimate candidate for the intelligent designer -- the concept and inherent paradoxes of omnipotence will inevitably rear their ugly heads at some point in the discussion and you will need to deal with them.
A "codified" tautology is still a tautology -- and is still just as meaningless.
(R) There is nothing tautological about my definition. This is another example of one of your baseless statements touted as some kind of refutation.
(MB) It's amazing how you can continue to be so confidently clueless about basic logic. A "tautology" is an empty or vacuous statement which is constructed by combining simpler statements in such a manner that makes the statement logically true whether or not the simpler statements themselves are actually true. In common terms, it includes the fallacy of defining something in terms of itself. For example, defining a "bleeping vlorch" as "a vlorch which bleeps" would be a tautology. This does not define what a "vlorch" is or why it "bleeps".
Now, what you have done is to define an "intelligent designer" as an agent which is "intelligent" and which "designs". This would be logically true but totally meaningless since you have defined the concept in terms of itself. Using such a tautological definition to support the existence of any such agent is, therefore, illogical. The fact that you so adamantly deny this (with no apparent knowledge of what you are denying) further reduces your credibility and further damages your case.
If that's the best you can do, this debate will certainly be as short as originally predicted. Why are you determined to provide as few details in support of your argument as you can?
(R) I am determined to discuss only the *relevant* attributes of ANY theory in question.
(MB) And, of course, you (in your magnificent lack of education and understanding) will decide what is "relevant", right? All your argument suggests is that you come equipped only with a very few standard arguments and tracts and no real ability to debate the subject when they get questioned or demand support.
(R) This is only common sense. For example, if your purpose is to show that a human skier caused an avalanche, a discussion about his hair was blonde, his jacket was red, and his goggles were tinted is irrelevant.
(MB) Quite correct. However, the issues here are nowhere near that trivial. If you say that an intelligent designer created the universe, it is certainly relevant to discuss that designer. It is certainly relevant to question who or what that designer might be and what that designer can or can't do. Of course, this all comes *after* the big question about whether or not such a designer even exists in the first place. If it makes you feel better, I promise not to worry about what the designer's hair color is or whether or not he wears a Nike jacket.
If there were three, four or five competing intelligent designer ideas, there would need to be three, four or five sets of supporting evidence provided. If there is only one such idea, there must still be one set of supporting evidence. You can't avoid this just because you say you have the only claim.
(R) That is a basic statement no one is disputing, nor am I trying to "avoid" anything other than unnecessary digressions.
(MB) Then, why is it that you spend your time and energy exclusively on the "unnecessary digressions" and completely fail to get around to presenting the meat and potatoes of the required positive case in support of your views?
Your claim must still be supported. Besides this, the simple fact is that there are many different intelligent designer claims in the totality of Man's religions. Therefore, you will need to demonstrate why yours should be preferred above any or all others.
(R) Here you just repeated your original claim.
(MB) I do so only because you have not yet answered the challenge and such an answer is necessary.
(R) Repeating your point in contention does not advance your claim.
(MB) I'm not trying to advance my claim here. I'm trying to get you to support yours.
(R) If you believed in any of man's different intelligent designers, then it would become necessary for me to show why one should be preferred over another. This is not the case, and therefore, a comparative "intelligent designer" argument is not necessary.
(MB) Completely wrong. The fact that *I* don't believe in any ID scenario doesn't release you from the necessary burden of proof for the one which you support. This is because there are others who uphold the other possibilities and they must also be convinced to accept yours. Those possibilities don't disappear and yours does not become the only scenario just because I don't believe any of them. This forum gives you the opportunity to present your case. You and I are not the only ones who will be reading this exchange. Such readers may well have views which differ from the ones which you and I support. It is also possible that they have not yet made up their minds as to which one of the many possibilities to support. So, once again, it is incumbent upon you to show why your scenario should be preferred above all others if you want people (not just me) to believe it.
[RE: I'm not making contrary claims.]
Yes, you are, when you suggest that your intelligent designer might possibly have some quality that is inconsistent with the deity you choose to worship. To deny this is to admit that your religion is wrong about its deity.
(R) My "worship" in relation to any deity has nothing to do with the intelligent designer hypothesis.
(MB) Stercus tauri. Why are you so afraid of a straight and honest answer here? Do you or do you not accept the possibility that the deity you choose to worship (which your religion defines as the omnimax creator of the universe) might actually *not* be the intelligent designer? If you accept that possibility, is it not hypocritical or foolish to continue to worship your chosen deity? If not, why bother with all of the obfuscations? Why not just come right out and declare where you really stand?
(R) Furthermore, any discussions about my "religion" or its deity are completely peripheral to the debate at hand.
(MB) Absolutely not! Since you are not going to support any deity other than Yahweh as being the intelligent designer, it is not only relevant but necessary to include that deity and the religion which worships him in the debate. They *are* inextricably intertwined, you know. Your religion can't possibly survive if the existence of Yahweh is disproven or if another intelligent designer (or any other creation scenario) *is* proven.
(R) Additionally, I am open to the possibility that my interpretations of an intelligent designer are amendable. I am always open to new ideas and I will advance any ideas or possibilities if I believe them to be the most correct, even if they may be inconsistent with some of my previous views.
(MB) That's a fine speech, but you've never given any indication that you actually believe a word of it. Indeed, by declaring yourself to be a Christian fundamentalist, you make a statement which is 180 degrees opposed to this speech. A good example of this was in our previous debate on evolution when you steadfastly refused to acknowledge the conclusive proof concerning your misquotes and misattributions of Darwin from Origin of Species. You never admitted error and stated that you continued to stand by what you had said. Why should anybody expect that things will be any different in *this* debate?
The detail is an inherent and necessary part of your claim. To continue to avoid it is to admit that you are uncomfortable with the ramifications of your own idea.
(R) We could badger disagreeably back and forth on this point ad nauseum ad infinitum.
(MB) And, we will likely continue to do so until and unless you ever get around to presenting the positive case in support of your views -- and until and unless you ever acquire an education in basic logic.
(R) I do not agree with your claim that such detail is necessary to my claim.
(MB) So you have said -- and, so it has been shown to be otherwise.
(R) Believing that something is "unnecessary" has nothing to do with feeling "uncomfortable" with one's own ideas.
(MB) You're just substituting "unnecessary" as a rationalization for "uncomfortable". You're not nearly the first person to have backed away from these questions and you're not likely to be the last. Those few who even attempt to deal with them always end up as dismal failures by doing a better job of showing the logical holes in their case than any skeptic could ever do.
(R) I am perfectly comfortable with my ideas and the grounds upon which I reject your notion of detail is one of relevancy and necessity, not discomfort.
(MB) If you're so "comfortable" with it, why do you have such difficulty spelling out the details and answering the questions? Why do you concentrate on attacking what you don't believe to the nearly total exclusion of supporting what you do believe?
[RE: You are not a theist, so I can not very well have a comparative theism debate with you now can I]
Sure you can. I just don't believe that you have the requisite knowledge to engage in such a debate.
(R) Your disbelief in this case is based on ignorance as I have engaged in such comparative theism debates numerous times.
(MB) I know you don't want to stand by the dismal performance you exhibited in your debate with Cabrutus, do you? The earlier questions I posed to you about the gods worshipped by other religions were answered with such astounding incompetence that you just proved my above-quoted point about not having the requisite knowledge to successfully debate comparative theism. No wonder you want to avoid it this time around.
(R) You can claim that such a debate is necessary until you are blue in the face, but as of yet, you have not certified that claim with so much as one ounce of objective reasoning.
(MB) You may now wish to reevaluate this claim.
Actually, atheism is a lack of belief in all gods -- which may or may not extend to outright denials of their existence. In any case, your argument is irrelevant since you are not going to be positing anything that is not consistent with your particular flavor of Christianity.
(R) The fact that I may not argue for a conceptual entity that contradicts Christian theism does not in any way relate to my above statement.
(MB) The fact is that you are having extreme difficulties in being honest about what is the bottom line of your own arguments.
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