Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More comments....

Aaaaawwwwww. It seems I have offended my creationist friend. I did accuse him of being a mental patient, but then I was getting tired of him passing off tautology as argument. As soon as I can actually get into my MySpace blog I'll put the latest in for all to see. Mind you, I did point out several times that it was tautology, that he demonstrated no connection between god and logic anyway, etc., and made no attempt to refute me (other than to say the usual what other explanation is there? crap) so he kinda deserved it. And I gave him an evolutionary explanation (a crude one, admittedly) of where logic came from for good measure. It was getting tiresome anyway.

J. K. Jones said...

"You have not established any connection between the two whatsoever!!! You are simply repeating yourself in the hopes that it might be true! I really see no connection at all! In fact, it is a complete tautology!"

Just because you are not capable of setting aside your prejudices to see the logic of an argument does not mean the argument is not sound. An unchanging ground is required for there to be unchanging laws in a universe that changes constantly. This ground cannot change.

"Such a statement is cause for me to ask if you are on medication for a psychological illness!"

Interesting that you stoop to such childish comments. I reply with: 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.'

""The Christian theistic worldview can account for the laws of logic by stating that they come from God." Again, not explanatory. Just the insufficient 'goddidit'."

Unchanging things have to come from somewhere. There must be an explanation. If we try to explain the unchanging laws of logic or mathematics or morality or the uniformity of nature without finding an unchanging ground for those things. The God I serve does not change in the way He thinks or the way He is. The universe He set up is consistent with His unchanging being and thinking.

"All I see is ad hoc ergo propter hoc and personal incredulity."

I have still not heard a single alternative explanation that we could debate.

I might add that the law of causality also requires an unchanging ground. On top of that, the existence of a logical fallacy requires the laws of logic, and you have not provided an alternative explanation for them.

All I see is someone who cannot get beyond his personal bias long enough to consider an argument. I will leave the last comment to you. It is your blog. Besides, I don't like it when you call me names and arbitrarily insult my intelligence.

June 19, 2007 7:45 PM

Shamelessly Atheist said...

"Just because you are not capable of setting aside your prejudices to see the logic of an argument does not mean the argument is not sound. An unchanging ground is required for there to be unchanging laws in a universe that changes constantly. This ground cannot change.

What prejudice? The whole of your argument is this: God created the laws of logic (no substantiation provided), thus logic proves the existence of a god. To call this a tautology is not prejudice, just a statement of fact. You have not substantiated any connection between a god and logic. I don't even need to give you an alternative explanation for the existence of logic (but for good measure, I do so below) to point out the inadequacy of your statement. This isn't prejudice, just a statement of fact. It is from YOUR prejudice that you ASSUME a connection between god and logic. Like I said, you keep repeating this mantra hoping that the more you say it, the more valid it is. But no matter how many times you repeat it, it's still a tautology.

"All I see is someone who cannot get beyond his personal bias long enough to consider an argument." I haven't seen an argument yet, just tautology. One can not debate a tautology, except to point out that it is indeed a tautology.

"Unchanging things have to come from somewhere. There must be an explanation. If we try to explain the unchanging laws of logic or mathematics or morality [morality is unchanging? BULLSHIT! See below.] or the uniformity of nature without finding an unchanging ground for those things. The God I serve does not change in the way He thinks or the way He is [source of this insight?]. The universe He set up is consistent with His unchanging being and thinking." Baseless assumption after baseless assumption. Even if there is no answer to the uniformity of nature axiom is true (You're right. It does require an explanation. Guess what? Physics provides it. It's called gauge symmetry.), arbitrarily reaching for a supernatural answer as you do is irrational. While it was perfectly rational to do this a couple of thousands of years ago (indeed, it is why religion exists), it is completely unbecoming of anyone living in the 21st century. It amazes me that in every other aspect of the lives of the devout their outlook is modern, but when it comes to questions of life, the universe and everything, they haven't advanced beyond the Bronze Age. Better to say you don't know an answer than to look (and be) foolish by immediately jumping to an unsupported conclusion. Physics has shown us that the universe is actually exactly as we would expect in the absence of a creator. I suggest reading Vic Stenger on the subject.

You really shouldn't have mentioned morality. Morality has been shown to be innate in not only humans, but many other social mammalian species as well (not to the same extent as in H. sapiens, but Evolution predicts this as well). The evolutionary advantage of morality in social animals is obvious: it allows a group to interact in a cooperative manner. It is a set of rules hardwired into the brains of social mammals. Behavioral studies have clearly shown that religion is not at all required to be moral. From religious to atheist, the responses to moral dilemmas are statisically identical. Read Marc Hauser's Moral Minds for an excellent review of the current stated of evolutionary behavioral science. The most interesting thing is that the majority of people can't express the logic behind their responses to moral and ethical situations. Moral calculations are not performed on a conscious level, but are done in regions of the brain not accessible to conscious thought. The value behind this is again obvious. Having to think through every outcome of every decision would be utterly paralyzing.

Contrary to what you believe, you don't get your morality from the Babble, and never did. You don't buy and sell slaves, do you? Commit incest? Kill in the name of God? The morality contained in the Bible is one that is completely consistent with the morality of a brutal time in our history. It does serve one purpose: it shows us that morality is NOT an absolute, but changes with the moral zeitgeist. That there are a few nuggets of good in it is not at all relevant to its value as a moral source. If you have to pick and choose what is good and what is not, you had to already have an internal basis on which to perform your cherry picking.

Logic is just as much a product of the evolution of our species as morality. Logic such as, if three bears go into a cave and two come out, is it safe to enter the cave?, obviously provide value to survival. The way in which humans perform logic analysis points to its purely evolutionary origins.

Evolution is the ultimate designer, shaping form and function through the blind forces of Natural Selection. It is a brute force method for finding optimal configurations. But often (as for 99% of species that have ever lived) it does not find the global optimum, but only the local optimum. If conditions change radically, species can not make the transition from one optimal gene set to a whole new optimal gene set. If there actually was a designer, it isn't a very good one. If you owned an engineering company, would you keep a guy around whose designs failed 99% of the time? This is completely consistent with the blind pushing and pulling on gene propogation combined with the occasional random mutation that we know as Evolution, and completely inconsistent with some nebulous designer. Certainly not a god that showed himself to one small group through a rather disappointing medium copied by purely human hands. Ever wondered why God didn't tell everybody on the planet simultaneously through a truly impressive medium? Instead, he chose parchment. PARCHMENT!? The books you revere are supposed to be the word of god. Why? Because they say so?! C'mon, the National Enquirer is at least printed on newsprint. It even claims to be a bastion of responsible journalism. You believe that, too? Tell it to Bat Boy, not to me. Everywhere scientific inquiry has been applied to religion shows the same thing. Religion is consistent with being man-made and not divine in nature.

I have indeed read David Hume on the problems of uniformity of nature and induction, but I am quite comfortable with them. They are philosophical rather than practical issues, and so far they have not at all been a bother to Science. To say that the problem of the uniformity of nature "seems to have invalidated scientific endeavors" is rather silly considering that we make use of the benefits of Science on a daily basis. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as it were. Physics has shown that throughout the history of the universe the laws of nature have not changed, and there is no known mechanism by which they can change. If and when the uniformity of nature axiom fails, then, and only then, will it become a practical issue. (Of course, if they do, it would most likely a complete extinction event.) Till then, Science will continue to successfully refute and supplant the religious superstition currently rampant in the U.S.A. Science demonstrably works, whereas religious explanations have continually been shown to be insufficient, wrong and at times just plain silly.

For instance, prayer in medicine is being advocated by devoutly religious people, including some physicians. But tell me, would you want someone that relies on prayer to heal and not his/her skill as a surgeon? Not one properly performed study on the efficacy of intercessory prayer (even those supported Templeton Foundation money) has shown more than a placebo effect. If prayer is supposed to be a big effect, God seems to be hitting the 'Hold' button a lot lately.

Miracles are another aspect of religion that Science has dispelled. Kinda hard for the Catholic Church to make new saints these days. None of the miracles in the Bible could not have been faked. Remember, there are absolutely no sources of the Jesus myth, so the miracles he is said to have performed never even happened anyway. They were just written in after the fact. There were many prophets around said to perform miracles (I gave you Apolonius of Tyrana as just one example), but once the light of scientific inquiry is shone on them they scurried away like cockroaches in the night. The so-called miracles used to canonize Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II were pathetic. If you look hard enough, and enough sick people pray to one of them, you will find one person that recovers from an illness. But the rate of recovery of people praying to either of them will not be any different statistically than from a random sampling over the whole population suffering from the same illness. Ever wondered why there hasn't been a real miracle reported in the last oh, let's say, 2000 years? Simple. People back then were superstitious almost to the last person and reasonably so, without the tools with which to combat superstition.

"An unchanging ground is required for there to be unchanging laws in a universe that changes constantly. This ground cannot change." Another tautology. God created the uniformity of nature, therefore the uniformity of nature proves the existence of god.

You're an intelligent guy, but your 'arguments' smack of desperation. You know that you have absolutely no empirical evidence to fall back on in supporting. Thus, you believe that your tautologies are valid, even reasonable, when they are actually irrational. No tautology is rational, nor are any valid. You may not have a problem with the inability of your tautologies to be falsified, but you should. Without falsifiability you are safe from attack, but hampered by the fact that you can not show your position to be true. And the burden of proof is on the one positing the existence of god(s), not the one claiming the null hypothesis.

When you have a real argument let me know, as your tautologies aren't impressing me at all. It was indeed childish of me to stoop to name calling. But as Sam Harris said, "We do not respect stupidity, unless it is religious stupidity." and the time for respecting religious stupidity is over.

June 20, 2007 10:53 AM

3 comments:

J. K. Jones said...

Interesting how our little conversation keeps showing up. Especially since you brag so much about how you show me up.

Try this as a simple explanation, since my contention that unchanging laws need an unchanging ground is too difficult to understand:

For rational thought to be, the process by which we think must be designed. That process includes the laws of logic. This design requires a designer.

In a materialist universe, every thought we think is just an expression about how the neurons in our brains are firing at that time. There is no basis for logical or rational argument because we will just think in the way our neurons are firing anyway.


Try this link just for fun:
http://www.carm.org/atheism/logic.htm

I dare you.

I still think your prejudice gets in your way.

Shamelessly Atheist said...

My, but we are a stuck record.

"For rational thought to be, the process by which we think must be designed." Assumption with no evidentiary support. Try again. Whether or not I suffer from prejudices (as if you don't), positing anything without evidence is not much of an argument.

For the record, I've been to CARM. It's interesting to see how many people there end up in Fundies Say the Darndest Things (www.fstdt.org).

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