REPLY #99t TO
This is the last of a twenty-part reply.
Supernatural realms, omnipotent deities, and similar ideas most certainly *do* fall into the "extraordinary" category. Thus, they will require proofs which are a great deal more substantive than stubborn and ill-considered rhetoric.
(R) Logical induction is most certainly "ordinary", and coincidentally, it is the same vehicle that leads to theistic conclusion.
(MB) Only if fallacious reasoning is employed. There are no sound lines of argument which lead to a conclusion favoring theism -- much less any such version with Yahweh as the beneficiary. None at all.
(R) Furthermore, we are very finite creatures who are completely limited in a physically dependent existence. As such, it is illogical to even expect that we should have experiential knowledge of supernatural reality.
(MB) What does our finite nature have to do with whether or not we could ever gain any knowledge of the supernatural (or anything else)? Isn't it also possible for supernatural creatures to be finite? Can't one finite creature understand another? Your argument is just a reworded Argument from Ignorance which says that God must exist because we are not capable of understanding him.
[RE: Inversely, the event of non-living chemicals blindly changing into biotic chemicals is an extraordinary claim,...]
That is not an extraordinary claim. That is basic organic chemistry. Go to the library (the big building with all the books) and check it out.
(R) *laughs* Actually, its an extraordinary claim *involving* organic chemistry.
(MB) No, it's not an extraordinary claim in any way, shape or form. In fact, given the nature of organic chemistry, it is *inevitable* rather than "extraordinary". If you disagree, give me an example or three of a "biotic chemical" and tell me what is so special about it that it could not exist if not for divine intervention.
(R) Judging by the ridiculous claims you've made in favor of materialism, it seems you are the one in need of a few trips to the library.
(MB) Been there. Done that. Got the knowledge. You ought to try a trip to the library yourself some time. Start by checking out a philosophy text so you learn what "materialism" actually is before you continue making uninformed arguments against it.
Everything is constructed from the same non-living atomic and sub-atomic building blocks. Why, then, can you accept the laws of chemistry when they produce the existence of a complex inorganic or "non-living" molecule while not accepting that the same laws of chemistry can also result in the existence of something like an amino acid? Is there something inherently "special" about a "living" molecule? What chemical laws would be violated by their creation via natural processes?
(R) First of all, an amino acid is not a "living" entity by any definition of the word.
(MB) I didn't say that it was. Organic molecules such as amino acids are used in the building of living things, but are not themselves "alive". You didn't answer the question of how you can accept the laws of chemistry up to the point where they would result in the production of amino acids.
(R) In order for something "living" to obtain, amino acids must have been developed, then selected in specific orders, then sorted to develop into DNA chains and finally cells. Contrary to the implication of your questions, the actual chasm between non-living chemicals and the simplest living organism is so massive that no amount of naturalistic pipe-dreaming can breach it.
(MB) How is this a "massive chasm"? Living organisms are nothing more than a collection and specific arrangement of non-living molecules. The arrangements of those molecules which produce "living" things are arrived at through the application of the same laws of chemistry which produce any "non-living" thing. After all, carbon atoms are still carbon atoms and play by the same rules whether they are found in lumps of coal or lumps of Christian fundamentalists. What's the difference that makes things so difficult for the fundamentalist lumps to understand?
[RE: ...as is the claim of universes creating themselves uncaused by nothing, for nothing, and out of nothing.]
Indeed, it is. That's why science doesn't posit such a claim.
(R) Okay, so you are saying the inverse, which means that "science" claims that the universe was caused by something, for something, and out of something? Is this what you are implying?
(MB) Nope. You're resorting to another false dichotomy. I only said that you had misinterpreted what is said by science. That does not mean that the polar opposite of your statement is correct, either. There are a lot of possibilities (many of which I've previously pointed out) in between those two extremes. Unfortunately, theists occupy one extreme and illogically assume that the other is the only other possibility.
[RE: Carl Sagan failed to meet many of his own proof criterias so quoting him is not very impressive.]
Somehow, the notion that you consider your reasoning to be superior to that of Carl Sagan is a rather "extraordinary" claim in and of itself!
(R) Translation: "I am a Carl Saganite! Don't you dare demean my guru!"
(MB) Given the fact that you have yet to point out one single example of where Sagan's reasoning fails (despite being asked to do so in the part of my previous reply which you conveniently left out) and the fact that I have pointed out a great many examples of your own failures, I don't see where your comment is anything other than a blatant attempt at evading yet another uncomfortable challenge.
As stated, the event of a mindless nothingness creating a natural process which creates an entire universe complete with ordered laws, immense complexities and biological life out of absolute nothing is quite an extraordinary claim. Which is what YOU are advancing.
Once again, you resort to putting a false claim into my mouth while totally failing to refute (or even address) my statement about your own claim. Your continued silence concerning your own views speaks volumes about the strength of what you believe.
(R) First of all, what you posited was nothing but meaningless, materialistic nonsense which created it's own self-validating criterias with the definition of "extraordinary" as its basis.
(MB) Reasoning is not a "materialistic" thing. Once again, you prove that you only use the term as a buzzword without having any idea what it really means.
(R) Secondly, I am not putting false claims in your mouth.
(MB) You may now wish to revise that claim.
(R) Do you believe the universe was caused? Yes or no? Do you believe the cause was mindful? Yes or no? Do you believe that the universe was created from something? Yes or no? I am confident that your answer to all of those questions is a resounding "no".
(MB) Your "confidence" is sorely misplaced because of your misstatements and misunderstandings -- primarily about the concept of "nothing". Your first question is too simplistic. The universe may be "caused", but may itself have arisen from an event which had no cause. Therefore, I'd have to answer it by saying "Yes...but". Your second question gets an easy "No" answer. Your third question can't be answered by a simple "Yes" or "No" because it asks two different things -- "Was the universe created or not and did it arise from something or nothing?". Since science posits no such thing as "nothing", it would have to have arisen from something whether or not any creation event took place.
So, you may now wish to reexamine the "confidence" you had concerning my answers.
Either can you, and until you provide this extraordinary evidence for universal materialism, your alleged super-process will be in the same ranks as giant, pink, lunar bunny rabbits.
Same song, umpteenth verse...but now the score is 3-2 in favor of "materialist super-process" over "naturalist".
(R) This issue of "extraordinary" has already been addressed.
(MB) Indeed, it has. And, once again, you have been shown to be lacking in your understanding.
(R) So far, you have not proved that your definition of extraordinary has any kind of objective basis.
(MB) That's a rather interesting charge given that you don't even understand the definition!
(R) Additionally, the definitions of "materialism" and "naturalism" have been clarified, codified, and differentiated to the point that only a buffoon would not see that they are synonymous terms.
(MB) You have certainly given and repeated your misunderstandings about them! I'd be careful that you're not looking in a mirror the next time you point to a buffoon.
[RE: The task set before me is simply to show the proposition of a transcendental cause for the universe MORE PROBABLE than a blind chance/material cause for the universe.]
If so, then you have utterly failed in your task and the debate can safely be concluded.
(R) As the opponent, you are obviously going to claim this. (Duh)
(MB) Since you haven't yet provided the calculation which supports the claim that transcendentalism is the "more probable" explanation, you have indeed failed in your task as of this writing. You don't have to take my word for it. *Any* objective debate jury would conclude the same thing.
(R) Claiming victory for yourself is hardly impressive, especially since you have not accomplished a thing in favor of your own materialistic fairytales and atheistic fallacies.
(MB) I didn't claim victory for myself. I only pointed out that you had utterly failed to accomplish your self-declared task of showing that transcendentalism is "more probable". What you might think about what I may or may not have accomplished concerning your own mistaken version of what I support has nothing to do with whether or not you have succeeded in doing what you have said that you would do.
You haven't shown any degree of probability whatsoever for your proposal -- much less showing that it is "more probable" than the theories of science (even though you're still a bit hazy on what exactly they are). Sooner or later, you're going to have to trot out your positive case in support of your own views and subject it to critical analysis.
(R) I am making my positive case a little bit more with every paragraph. As stated before, if you are expecting some type of single syllogy or argument to summate the totality of my case, your expectation is naive.
(MB) What I'm expecting are actual calculations -- not nebulous references to them. What I'm expecting are actual facts -- not statements of purely personal belief. What I'm expecting is an actual case -- not increasingly tired claims that you are going to make one.
What you have *not* been is logical, knowledgeable, specific, detailed or coherent.
(R) Oh for the love of Pete! Not another laundry list of worthless spin. Please quit wasting time with such ridiculous bantering.
(MB) This "worthless spin" has been backed up with numerous specific examples detailing where you have failed to be each of the things in the "laundry list". Sorry, but if you're looking for a debate opponent who is going to treat such problems as if they were properly-reasoned arguments, you've come to the wrong place.
This comes as a result of concentrating your efforts on arguing over things you don't know. You can change this greatly by shifting your focus to where it should have been right from the start -- showing the positive evidence which supports your views.
(R) So far, it is apparent that I have been arguing over things that *you* don't understand.
(MB) The only thing I don't understand about your arguments is why you consider them to be worthy of serious consideration. If you can correct the problems, we can have a fruitful debate. If, instead, you choose to perpetuate and uphold them, I'll just continue to point them out and your case will continue to suffer.
(R) Instead of dancing around all my challenges, why don't you actual prove the existence of this universe-creating natural process of your's?
(MB) All available evidence supports the scientific view, but does not *prove* it. If it had been proven, there would be no debate. If *I* could prove it, I'd be a lock for a Nobel Prize and academic immortality. Once again, absolute proof is not necessary in order to determine which alternatives are reasonable, logical and supportable and which are not.
Your demand for "proof" only underscores the basic illogic upon which your case is built. Your case does not become credible if the scientific view is not proven. Your case is not the only other alternative to the scientific view and is certainly not the only alternative theistic view. There is nothing special about any version of theism which removes it from the necessity of being evaluated by the same standards as are employed to evaluate any other view. So, the only "dancing" here is that which you are doing. As for me, I'm increasingly amused at watching all of the stumbling and the inability to understand the rhythm of the music.
[RE: It would be nice, however, if you provided this "extensive evidence" for the reality of universal materialism and super-processes.]
Same song, umpteenth+1 verse...Score now 4-2 for "materialist" vs. "naturalist" super-process.
(R) Like I said, instead of dancing around all my challenges, why don't you actual prove the existence of this universe-creating natural process of your's?
(MB) See previous paragraph. BTW, since it's obvious that you don't know what it means, please explain where you got the term "super-process" from and why you decided to attach it to the other buzzwords.
"Probability" can only be determined by examination of the evidence. Since you have provided none, how can you calculate any meaningful probabilities in favor of your views?
(R) We have no universe? The universe is the only "evidence" there is.
(MB) And, once again, it's evidence of nothing other than its own existence.
(R) Probabilities can be formulated to approximate the most likely cause-agent of such evidence (the universe).
(MB) Or, so you say. But, I notice that you have *still* failed to provide even so much as a hint as to how one would actually go about calculating such probabilities. You don't actually know how to do it, do you? All you know is that you believe it when you are told that somebody else claims to have done it.
(R) Of course, any probabilities that support theistic implications would not be considered "meaningful" to you since you are committed to evading, distorting, discrediting, or ignoring these implications at all costs.
(MB) How do I know whether or not these probability calculations will be meaningful unless and until you actually present them? I submit that you have none to present.
[RE: The objective, honest, and complete consideration of all the residual evidences of the creation event have transcendental/theistic fingerprints all over them. Its literally staggering.]
If so, why have you been completely unable and unwilling to present any of this "staggering" amount of evidence? I submit that none exists. Prove me wrong!
(R) The attributes of the evidence (the universe) that support transcendental implications are the numerous balances of cosmological constants, all of which are necessary for life to exist, as well as order, complexity, and structure.
(MB) Again, this is just brave talk which is completely unsupported by any actual arguments or calculations. Brave talk hardly constitutes "staggering" evidence. I've heard all the advertising already. Bring on the actual data!
One last evasion, eh? I guess you're NOT up to it. Since you apparently accept the logic of what I said, do you also accept that you have a responsibility to present a positive case in favor of your ideas? If so, I can only wonder why you have failed to even attempt it.
(R) This point has been answered numerous times already. I'll answer it one more time - I am installing my case for theism throughout the entirety of this debate.
(MB) If so, the "installation" must have aborted a long time ago. Your "case for theism" has, so far, only been "installed" as follows:
1) The universe's existence is evidence of a Creator
2) By 1), a Creator is the "more probable" explanation for the universe
3) Go back to 1) and repeat ad infinitum
[RE: Only positive proof of the existence of universal materialism (along with the respective super-processes) can support your atheistic scenario. Are YOU up for supporting it?]
Am I up to supporting a case which I am not making? Surely, you jest!
(R) If the case you're making is neither in favor of materialism or atheism, then just what the hell IS your case in favor of?
(MB) My case is the scientific view of the natural origin of the universe. This has nothing to do with either materialism or atheism -- as much as you want it to be so and as much as you can't allow yourself to conceive of any other possibility.
For all those keeping score at home, I think we now have a clear winner. "Materialist" has defeated "naturalist" by 5-2 as the preferred qualifier for the improper usage of "super-process". Remember this if any of you try to jump on the fundamentalist bandwagon and attempt a similar argument.
(R) Humorous, yet pointless.
(MB) Yet another brush-off. I notice that you don't dispute the accuracy of what I said -- the point of which was to emphasize your constantly incorrect usage of terminology.
(R) For those scoring at home, the "theist" is defeating "atheist" 10-0.
(MB) Perhaps, you could explain to those at home exactly how you arrived at this "score". Or, maybe you'll just be honest and admit that you just made something up in order to try to deflect attention from your own dismal performance.
(R) Maybe "atheist" can make a comeback in the next quarter.
(MB) Considering that theism hasn't even yet managed to find the playing field nor figure out the rules of the game, I'd say that atheism (or, more properly, non-theism) is well on its way to winning without serious opposition.
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