Last Update: 01 Jan 01

Return to "Religion" essay


This is the fifteenth 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.

You only have to support your position through doing nothing more substantive than merely saying that it's true?
(R) No, I would not agree with that proposition of your's.
(MB) If you are eschewing the need for evidence to support your views, then, simply saying that they are true is all you have to go on. So, what are you disputing here?

(R) I have already given the criteria I believe apply to my claims.
(MB) Which apparently consists of nothing beyond the old mantra: "God said it. I believe it. That settles it."

(R) Besides, it is obvious that it is *you* who has done nothing more substantive other than merely say that theism is *untrue.*
(MB) The burden of proof is not on those who do not accept a positive existential claim. Nothing is "true" simply because you don't believe that it has been (or can be) disproven. You are still going to need to present a solid, positive case for theism. I have no idea how you are going to achieve that goal if claim that evidence is not necessary.

Your position does not require objective and empirical evidence?
(R) The only evidence that exists is the universe itself.
(MB) One more time -- the mere fact that the universe exists is not evidence for how that existence came to be. Therefore, you have proven that your case has no evidence which can be used to support it.
    Also, you conveniently left off the question which immediately followed in the original reply. I'll give you another chance to answer it. What's so special about your views that you feel free to disregard the same standards that you vociferously demand must be applied to all other views?

(R) My position does require an objective *interpretation* of that evidence,...
(MB) You can't have a reasonable interpretation without having something empirical upon which to base that interpretation. Otherwise, all you have is a purely personal belief which carries no force and proves nothing.

(R) ...but actual "empirical" evidence cannot exist for origin questions regarding the universe since the origin of the universe is neither observable, testable, or repeatable.
(MB) So, by this statement, what you are doing is denying that you need to support your own views while demanding a standard you declare to be impossible for those who advance the scientific view. Then, after declaring it "impossible" to prove the scientific view, you go on to propose that the unsupported theistic view is "more probable". Please explain why anybody should buy off on such tortured reasoning.

If "mindless creation from nothing" is what science was theorizing, then I would support it. But, since that is not what science says, I am not required to support your mistaken idea (nor must I defend your confused mangling of mathematics and physics). Why do you insist that science is the only side which must provide solid evidence?
(R) Science does not theorize that the universe was created with mindfulness, nor does it theorize that it came from "something." As such, "mindless creation from nothing" is exactly what science theorizes by default.
(MB) Science *does* theorize that the universe came from "something". This should be fairly obvious not only from the theories concerning scalar fields and false vacuum states, but also from the fact that science doesn't even propose that any such thing as "nothing" actually exists -- or ever *could* exist. Therefore, your objections are based on false premises and uneducated confusion about the relevant theories of science.

(R) I only insist that scientific claims meet scientific standards.
(MB) Which is exactly what they do -- whether or not you understand what those standards are or how they are applied. Theism, on the other hand and by your own admission, meets *no* standards except proposing whatever appeals to the purely personal beliefs of its adherents.

(R) Since you are claiming science as the basis of your claims, then your claims must meet the scientific standards of proof. (Which you have failed to do).
(MB) Considering that you don't know or understand the relevant theories, don't have a handle on the scientific methodology of inquiry, don't have a clear idea of what "evidence" actually is, can't differentiate science from atheism and materialism, and are already predisposed to an unshakeable belief in your particular version of theism, your denials don't carry any weight. Nor, do they advance your own case to any degree whatsoever. You would be better advised to stick to what you believe about theism rather than continuing to demonstrate what you don't know about science.

Actually, you're not *answering* anything at all. Can you answer the questions or not? Or, will you just continue to beat around the proverbial bush (which may or may not be burning)?
(R) I am answering all questions, rebuttals, or challenges that are RELEVANT to the topic of this debate.
(MB) Funny how everything you can't answer is just brushed aside as being "irrelevant". Besides the fact that you aren't answering any *other* calls for details, either -- even when they are questions or challenges concerning topics that *you* introduce (such as the Page calculation). Reminds me of press conferences where politicians are not prepared to answer questions about anything which might not be in their prepared text.
    Unfortunately, I'm not somebody who wants to let an opponent squirm away when I've got them trapped in a corner. So, I'll ask the questions again and will keep asking them until you quit ducking them. Do you believe in Yahweh or not? Is Yahweh the "intelligent designer" or is he not? Does Christian fundamentalism -- your self-declared belief system -- allow for the existence of gods other than or superior to Yahweh or not? Is it or is it not a mortal sin in your religion to propose something which would violate the First Commandment? It's time for you to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (So help you God.)

(R) This is not a CHRISTIANITY vs. ATHEISM debate.
(MB) Your very introduction to this debate and your own stated personal beliefs and previous arguments suggest otherwise. You have proposed that athiesm is false and, as a default result, that theism is true (a false dichotomy). You are a professed Christian fundamentalist. Therefore, your theism is Christian from beginning to end and you are not going to propose that any other religion or belief system is where the truth is to be found. If you succeed in gaining acceptance for the generic ID proposal, you will certainly immediately propose that Yahweh is the intelligent designer. You can't honestly deny this, so I find it more expedient to cut directly to the heart of your underlying ideas rather than to dance around with meaningless generic proposals.

(R) If it were, then I would answer your theological questions.
(MB) So, it's time for you to start with the answers. I submit that you don't have any such answers no matter what you wish to think that this debate is about. Prove me wrong!

(R) In this debate, the intelligent designer hypothesis IS my theology, and therefore, it is all I need argue for.
(MB) ID is only a *part* of your theology. The identity and qualities of the proposed intelligent designer are also important. If they weren't, there would have no basis for your religion nor for the worship of your chosen deity.

Are you so afraid of the necessities of this debate that you can't even give me a "Yes" or "No" answer to a question of whether or not you believe in Yahweh or whether or not he is your intelligent designer?
(R) First, the details you are asking for are NOT of the "necessities" for this debate. Of course I could answer that question, but I am not about to invite you to lead me on an endless rabbit trail completely irrelevant to the purpose of this debate.
(MB) Sorry, but I'm not letting go. Your continued evasions do nothing but damage your overall position and credibility. There is absolutely no reason for you to refuse to answer these simple "Yes" or "No" questions if you do not fear the consequences of doing so. Answer the questions!

*Some* details are mandatory -- and I can see that you're not going to bother providing any.
(R) I have provided the necessary details for my position.
(MB) How can you have done any such thing when you continually tell me that the details are "irrelevant" to this debate?

(R) The problem isn't with my "providing" - it's with your *accepting*.
(MB) I can't "accept" what you refuse to provide, can I?

(R) And as a true narrow-minded skeptic, NOTHING will ever be good enough for you.
(MB) If that statement was correct, then I wouldn't accept *any* proposal whatsoever -- to include anything proposed by science or philosophy. Since this is obviously not the case, your statement amounts to nothing more than whining about me not automatically buying into what you choose to believe and proselytize.
    Yes, skepticism is narrow-minded, but that *must* be the case in order to be able to properly separate the intellectual wheat from the ignorant chaff. This is because there are an infinite number of unsound and illogical proposals and only a finite number of sound and logical ones. The only way to tell the difference is to apply the same set of high standards of evidence and reason to all proposals and see which ones survive. You refuse to allow these standards to be used in the evaluation of your beliefs. Therefore, there is no reason for any skeptic to consider those beliefs.

Because, the possible existence of a great many possible forms of god is not the same as saying that a form exists which is responsible for creating the universe. To paraphrase George Carlin, perhaps Yahweh is only a regional marketing manager who is only slightly superior to us.
(R) It doesn't matter if Yahweh has a *million* superiors, the existence ANY theistic entity falsifies George Carlin's atheism as well as your's.
(MB) Correct, but obvious. All this shows is how atheism can be falsified. This does not, in any way, support the proposition that any "God" actually exists -- which will be required in order to prove that atheism actually has *been* falsified. As to Carlin's statement, if Yahweh only *is* a "regional marketing manager", then he can't be the intelligent creator of the universe and, therefore, your religion and your version of theism is wrong. This is why it's important for you to deal with the details instead of running away from them.

That would be true unless you have dedicated your life to the existence of the Big Mac or the Whopper. You *have* dedicated your life to the existence of Yahweh. Therefore, any blithering about any other gods is nothing but an evasion which seeks to avoid having to defend your beliefs.
(R) Whether or not I have "dedicated" my "life" to ANY deity is irrelevant if my purpose is to argue for the existence of an intelligent designer.
(MB) No, it isn't at all! Since you don't honestly believe that any other deity actually exists, it is mandatory for you to support and defend the existence and claimed powers of the only deity which you will accept as being the actual intelligent designer -- Yahweh.

(R) For example, this debate is not "Big Mac vs. No-Big Mac", but "Sandwich vs. No-Sandwich". Therefore, the whole question of whether or not one has "dedicated their life" to a Big Mac or Whopper is completely arbitrary.
(MB) Wrong again. I know that both the Big Mac and Whopper exist because I can buy and consume both of them. Now, the fact that I happen to like Whoppers and would never actually eat a Big Mac doesn't mean that I deny the existence of Big Macs.

You have three things to prove. First, that any "god" actually exists. Second, that a god exists which is sufficiently powerful to have created the universe. Finally, that this intelligent designer is the same Yahweh in which you believe. Since you will certainly fail to satisfactorily answer the first point, the others will be reduced to nothing more meaningful than impassioned and confused rhetoric.
(R) I do not need to prove that any god "actually" exists. I need to show that a god is more likely to exist than not exist, thereby showing that atheism is less rational and less probable than theism.
(MB) The obvious problem with this line of argument is that the probability of the existence of any god plus the probability of non-existence of any god must add up to 100%. If the probability of existence is less than 50%, that means that the probability of non-existence is higher and, therefore, that atheism is more probable and more rational. Conversely, for you to prove that the probability of the existence of any god is more rational and more probable than atheism will require you to have enough evidence to raise that probability to over 50%. This will require a fair amount of solid evidence -- and you have already disavowed the need for (and the very existence of) such evidence. With no evidence, it is not possible to calculate the probability of existence of any god to any value other than zero.

(R) Your demand for me to argue for a specific god has already been addressed and dismissed as irrelevant to my purpose and position in this debate. You cannot tell me what my purpose is in this debate, nor can you assign me a position I have not taken for this debate.
(MB) I can and will let you know what is required in order to prove your case. You can choose to dismiss whatever you wish, but doing so dooms your position to a fate of being unprovable. Why not bite the bullet and get on with what's needed?

[RE: The totality of my belief system is not required for the simple existential claim of an intelligent designer.]
When the two are inextricably intertwined, you will have that problem. You could only make that argument if you did not profess a belief in Yahweh. Such a professed belief necessarily limits your arguments to ones which support that deity since you're not about to abandon that belief under any circumstances.

(R) If you want to get technical (and theological), the Christian God is not simply Yahweh, but rather the Trinity which is the belief that God is one in essence and three in person - those persons being revealed as the Father (Yahweh), the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. You must think I am of the Judaism faith by how much you reference Yahweh as my God. My purpose in this debate is not to argue for Christianity, but THEISM. There is a difference in case you haven't noticed.
(MB) There is no significant difference here. Both Christianity and Judaism are monotheistic religions which claim that Yahweh is the one and only supreme deity. One could also include Muslims in this group since they worship the same deity, but refer to him as "Allah". Those Christians who support the concept of the Trinity (and not all do) just add additional manifestations of Yahweh, but the basic concept is the same. Even Trinitarians never refer to either Jesus or the Holy Spirit as "God" or "Yahweh" (nor is that found anywhere in the Bible), so your quibble is just another example of running around the point rather than answering a simple question.
    This does bring up an interesting question. How will you convince a Jew, Muslim, or non-Trinitarian Christian that your "God in three persons" doctrine is correct and that those who believe that God/Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah is a singular entity are wrong?

Then, you are agreeing that your professed beliefs might be wrong?
(R) Of course! ANY beliefs *might* be wrong. Any nit-wit who is naive enough to think their beliefs are immutable would be nothing more than a dreamer.
(MB) Or, a fundamentalist?

(R) However, I do think that my professed beliefs are *most likely* correct.
(MB) And, once again, I must ask the same question. Upon what do you base such a claim?

[RE: If you were a Hindu apologists and this was a Christianity vs. Hindu debate, going into extensive detail about the totality of my theistic beliefs would be necessary. But that is not the case now is it?]
It doesn't matter.

(R) Thats right, and it DOES NOT MATTER FOR THIS DEBATE.
(MB) NOTE TO READERS: The respondent has only quoted the phrase "It doesn't matter" out of context from my original statement and has attempted to evade the point of the argument by deleting the remainder of that statement. The deleted portion of the original argument (from Reply #98h to Religion) was as follows:
[It doesn't matter.] You still have the same burden of proof. You are still supporting the same deity no matter who your opponent is and your opponent does not believe in that deity's existence. How would your arguments change if you *were* in debate with a Hindu? How would you prove that Yahweh exists and that Vishnu/Shiva/Krishna does not?
Now, I have to ask you why you just deleted the whole of the argument being made in favor of using the introductory first three words out of context if you are not afraid of the questions being asked (or of the inevitable answers to them). Then, I will continue to press you to provide the answers. You can't waffle into the standard "I've already addressed these" because these particular questions have not previously been asked.

The fact that the evidence *does* line up that way settles the debate.
(R) Oh I see, so simply *saying* the evidence *does* line up that way settles the debate!?! *laughs*
(MB) Nope. It *does* line up that way. I don't merely "say so". I have already provided you with many references and arguments concerning this evidence. You, on the other hand, have said that your view doesn't even require evidence but that you still stand by it. So, which one of us is relying on "say-so" in order to make his point?

The fact that you have yet to provide a single shred of objective evidence in favor of your side and have, in fact, argued that you are not required to do so settles the debate. The fact that you continue to run from your own beliefs settles the debate. You've got some serious work ahead of you to change any of this.
(R) The evidence is already there - its a little thing we call the UNIVERSE.
(MB) One more (but likely not *last*) time -- the universe itself is not "evidence" for how it came to be here. Therefore, if that's the only "evidence" you have to support your views, then you have nothing.

(R) You have failed to show how the universe (evidence) supports an atheistic interpretation, nor have you shown that there exists an actual materialistic process that creates complex, ordered, finely-tuned universes.
(MB) I have claimed no such things because I understand the nature of evidence, atheism, complexity, order and materialism (among many other things -- including the plethora of logical fallacies you employ) while you only use the words to form sentences with little coherency.

(R) You've made an appeal to infinite possibilities, but have not supported that assumption with any scientific facts.
(MB) I didn't say that all of these possibilities were "scientific". I've only said that they exist as "possibilities". You can't just automatically deny them while, at the same time, you are supporting a view which you say does not have nor require any scientific factual support.

(R) You've got some serious work ahead of you if you wish to change any of this.
(MB) *laughs* It's hardly up to me to defend your misstatements and corruptions. On the other hand, there are still a great many questions and problems on the table which you haven't even begun to address. The preponderance of the workload would seem to be on your shoulders rather than mine. I answer all of your questions. Why can't you do the same for mine? Or, are you more concerned with trying to edit out the tough questions when you "quote" my previous statements?

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