Friday, June 22, 2012

The Secular Outpost: 20+ Questions for Theists #3 and updated 1 and 2

John Loftus has posted a link to a  list of questions for theists from another blog. Rather than answer all of them in a single post, I will take each of them one at a time. Today:


3. Why is so much of our universe intelligible without any appeal to supernatural agency?

The reason why so much of our universe is intelligible is because it has been designed to be that way.  I would argue that much of the universe is not easily discernible. The more we understand the more questions we have. I'd argue the fact that assumption that the universe is intelligible automatically assumes a purpose and a design. IF there wasn't there wouldn't be any reason to study the universe to try to make sense of it.


18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. - Romans 1:18-23


I'm re-doing numbers one and two because the original blog post was updated. Not much of an improvement but we'll discuss them anyway.

  1. The question "Why is there something rather than nothing" presupposes "nothing" as being  the normal state of affairs. Why believe that? Why can't we flip the question on its head? In other words, why can't it be the case that the normal state of affairs is for things to actually exist and nothingness itself would be weird?  (HT: Thy Kingdom Come (Undone))


Non-question. It still doesn't answer the question as to where the universe came from and why? Inverting the question doesn't help in the slightest. What we know is that all the evidence points to the universe having a finite beginning. The other issue is that we know left to itself nothing brings about its own existence.


2. Given that the universe has a finite age, why did the universe begin with time rather than in time?

As near as anyone can tell in Physics, talking about time as separate from the universe is not only silly but just wrong. When the universe came into existence (ie created) - matter, time, and energy, all that there is (as far as we can tell) came into existence all at once. 


The Secular Outpost: 20+ Questions for Theists

66 comments:

  1. The reason why so much of our universe is intelligible [without any appeal to supernatural agency?] is because it has been designed to be that way.

    And there you go appealing to a supernatural agency. Try again.

    1. Shorter Marcus "I don't know, ergo Jesus"

    2. You simply reaffirmed the question. Read it again.

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  2. My point is that once admit that the universe is intelligible you concede that there is supernatural agency. The question asserts that supernatural agency is not needed to make the universe intelligible and I am rejecting that assertion. I am saying that the intelligibility of the universe is contingent on God.

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  3. My point is that once admit that the universe is intelligible you concede that there is supernatural agency.

    No, you don't.

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  4. Says you. Nice comeback. If you admit the universe is intelligible then it is because it follows laws that are predictable and able to be understood. That can't be a product of chance or chaos. That already presupposes an intellect that subjected the universe to it's control. Look up Romans chapter 8 if you don't already know who that is.

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  5. If you admit the universe is intelligible then it is because it follows laws that are predictable and able to be understood. That can't be a product of chance or chaos.

    You going to substantiate that assertion?

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  6. As soon as you can describe something that is able to be understood and predictable but also a product of chance or chaos.

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  7. Snowflake and the weather are not chaotic and not a product of chance. Their formation is based on rules and laws that can be predicted. You have heard of Physics right? If you know all the variable and conditions they are far from chaotic.

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  9. No training in Physics might explain your confusion

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  10. An ESOL class may help you. What do you think "chance" means?

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  11. People used to think that ocean currents were determined "by chance", but now we know better than that. We even have the major currents mapped. Chance is what we blame when we don't know all the determining factors. God is in control of everything. From God's reference frame there is no chance because there isn't anything God does not know or has not determined. "Omniscient" remember?

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  12. People used to think that ocean currents were determined "by chance"

    What does "chance" mean to you? This may help explain your flawed understanding of evolutionary biology...

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  13. "chance" is the quality of an event(s) or action(s) that have no discernible determined cause(s) and/or guidance but seems to be resultant from various possibilities. I was tempted to tell you to just google "chance" but instead you need to google "red herring" because evolutionary biology says nothing about how intelligence or the universe began.

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  14. discernible

    Ding ding ding. There you go.

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  15. God and his actions are discernible.

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  16. Just because you can't discern God's actions does not mean God doesn't act. You are affected by Gravity but never experienced or sensed gravitons. There is so much in nature that point to this as an example that point to this.

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  17. Of course I've never experienced or sensed gravitons since they very likely are not real things.

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    1. I don't know what would help you more Physic or google? Many Physicists think that we will find them some day. I think they do exist given we see other kinds of particles in nature. Here let me help you:

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=gravitons

      Also "neutrinos" would be useful for you think about. People used think they didn't exist either.

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=neutrinos

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  19. Hint: if gravitons are proven to exist someday (not likely from my reading), you won't have been justified in actually beleiving they exist now. You do this a lot.

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  20. Being able to prove a true fact does not really make a difference on it being true or not. You would just be wrong if you thought is was wrong but it was right. You do that a lot.

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  21. Being able to prove a true fact does not really make a difference on it being true or not.


    Of course not, but it does make a difference in whether on not you are justified in beleiving it to be "true".

    You would just be wrong if you thought is was wrong but it was right.

    Sure, but since I've not done that, its irrelevant.

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  22. It doesn't make sense to say that I have no evidence for the existence of gravitons. Many physicists think they exist. Many physicists think that they do not. Only one group is right. Whoever it is, is justified in believing it is true because they were right. Who cares if you were justified in your belief if your belief is correct. Does that make the wrong party morons? Nope. Until you know who is right, you have no justification to assign justification.

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  23. It doesn't make sense to say that I have no evidence for the existence of gravitons.

    Of course it does. You have no evidence for the existence of gravitons.

    Everything else you say is correct, but not if you are talking about laymen, of which you are one, make no mistake about it.

    Does that make the wrong party morons?

    It makes You one because you believe for the wrong reasons.

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  24. It makes You one because you believe for the wrong reasons.

    Why would you say I have no evidence for the existence of gravitons, when there are plenty of Professional Physicists who think that there may be gravitons. IT is a legitimate hypothesis. The jury is still out. I have not laid out why I think gravitons exist...so how do you know I have no evidence. I think you just like being insulting and argumentative. No thought at all.

    Just for laughs...just what is your criteria for distinguishing a layman scientist from a credible one? Do you even have a criterion? I am way more educated in Physics and Engineering that you are.

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  25. just what is your criteria for distinguishing a layman scientist from a credible one?

    I don't in general, but you've demonstrated on this blog that you don't have the critical thinking skills or intellectual honesty.

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  26. That isn't true. When I have made mistakes or have realized that I was wrong about something, I admitted it. Just you thinking I'm wrong doesn't mean that I am wrong. On top of that you have refused to be corrected or to see when I have clearly shown you to be wrong.

    May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. - 1 Samuel 24:12

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  27. When I have made mistakes or have realized that I was wrong about something, I admitted it.

    When cornered, and forced kicking and screaming like a child.

    It's more about the way you cherry pick data and hide behind possibility.

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  28. When cornered, and forced kicking and screaming like a child.

    I disagree. Lying is worthy of you how ever.


    It's more about the way you cherry pick data and hide behind possibility.


    That's not true either. Science is all about possibilities. The improbable often comes out to being the right answer. That's what investigation is all about - finding the truth. You are so blinded by your own sins and self-righteousness you can't even recognize the cherries. God is the only hope in fixing you (and all of us). I sure hope He answers my prayers.

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  29. I disagree.

    Of course you do.

    Science is all about possibilities.

    Developing a hypothesis is, sure. But what you do is as anti-science as it can get. You accept as true, a conclusion that you desire to be true, simply because it's possible.

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  30. No. I have never said I will hold on to a hypothesis that I can demonstrate is false. For example: if we can prove that there are no gravitons I'd be happy to move on to a better and true hypothesis. Until then I think the evidence points to gravitons being real. You should not have an issue with that if you are as open-minded and humble as you pretend to be.

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  31. No. I have never said I will hold on to a hypothesis that I can demonstrate is false.

    You pick hypothesis that cannot be demonstrated as false (except for Gravitons, but I'm sure we won't be in contact when that's decided, so you're probably safe there too).

    For example: if we can prove that there are no gravitons I'd be happy to move on to a better and true hypothesis.

    The issue is your comment was written as if they actually do exist. See?

    Until then I think the evidence points to gravitons being real.

    Why? Let's here it.

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  32. Just because a hypothesis is unfalsifiable does not mean it is false or should be rejected. I agree that it was a poor example to use gravitons because we still don't know if they exist. Neutrinos would have been a better choice. I apologize for the poor example but the point I was making that you are trying to dodge is still valid. And if I find out gravitons do not exist I will change my position. I have no desire to lay out my reasons for thinking gravitons exists withoug making it worthwhile. You explain why you think they don't and make it a discussion complete with math. Are you willing or chicken?

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  33. I agree that it was a poor example to use gravitons because we still don't know if they exist.

    Good for you, that took slightly fewer "kicking and screaming" comments than the last few times...

    I apologize for the poor example but the point I was making that you are trying to dodge is still valid.

    No, it's not valid, in that if you'd said neutrinos or something else that can be detected directly, then your original point fails.

    I have no desire to lay out my reasons for thinking gravitons exists withoug making it worthwhile.

    Of course you don't, because you can't and it would further demonstrate you're not a scientist.

    You explain why you think they don't and make it a discussion complete with math.

    I'm more than happy to admit I'm a layman in this subject and rely happily on experts (you are not one), plus I never said I don't think they exist. I don't have an opinion. I said they haven't been demonstrated to exist and most if not all the models point to them not existing. Since you've conceded that, I see no point in defending a position I don't hold...

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  34. I never claimed to be an expert either. Where did I say that? I do have good reasons for thinking gravitons exist. I can demonstrate that although you are too chicken to discuss it I will in another post. You are petty. Insulting me over something you don't hold. It is valid for neutrinos,, BECAUSE FOR YEARS THEIR EXISTIBCE WAS DEBATED.

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  35. Insulting me over something you don't hold.

    Not at all. I insulted you over your flawed epistemology and intellectual dishonestly.

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  36. I insulted you over your flawed epistemology and intellectual dishonestly.

    No the point was valid. and you have in no way shown me dishonest or flawed. The original context of all of this was detecting things with your own physical senses and experience and that not being enough discern reality or not.

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  37. The original context of all of this was detecting things with your own physical senses and experience and that not being enough discern reality or not.

    Except that anything you could possibly use as an example has been discerned with our "physical senses" in one way or another, which does actually invalidate your point.

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  38. Oh no Marcus, your point fails if whatever you are talking about is detectable by our physical senses in whatever way.

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  39. Neutrinos are real, but they are not detectable by our physical senses.

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  40. ...but they are not detectable by our physical senses.

    I'd disagree, but it's semantics at this point.

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  41. How do you think you can see and recognize neutrinos with your physical biological senses? This is what I'm referring to and have been referring to the entire thread.

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  42. I would consider "reason" to be a product of, and dependent upon our biological senses.

    Like I said, your point fails if they are affect us and are discernible in any way.

    But you know that.

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  43. You are trying to dodge the weight of my point: Just because you can't perceive something with your physical senses you can't conclude it does not exist. That is the point. Neutrinos were theorized for years before they were detected. And we still don't really know how Neutrinos are affecting us. More research is being done to study that. Likewise you can't conclude that God does not exist or does not interact or intervene just because you can't yet discern it. You need to grow up and finally start thinking with the brain God gave you.

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  44. You are trying to dodge the weight of my point

    Not at all, I just don't think the point has any weight at all.

    Likewise you can't conclude that God does not exist or does not interact or intervene just because you can't yet discern it.

    Except for the fact that god is required for some philosophical arguments (and who cares about those), yes, you can conclude that based on the fact that we can't discern the existence of a deity in any meaningful way.

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  45. yes, you can conclude that based on the fact that we can't discern the existence of a deity in any meaningful way.

    Well sure if you wanna be irrational and unscientific.

    1. That attitude is unscientific because it makes assumptions about reality that you can't really prove. You can't say that it's a fact that God can't be interacted with in any meaningful way - honestly anyway.
    2. If people really just depended on what they could detect now with their limitations and stopped looking and searching we wouldn't know about a lot of things we know now exists that science had thought did not exist. Again with the Neutrino. And there is a whole lot more to be discovered but with your attitude - why look?

    Science-stopper.

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  46. You can't say that it's a fact that God can't be interacted with in any meaningful way

    Good thing I didn't. Just that there isn't any (meaningful) evidence that it does and actually some evidence that it doesn't.

    Again with the Neutrino. And there is a whole lot more to be discovered but with your attitude - why look?

    As I recall with the neutrino, they were postulated to explain observed phenomenon by Pauli, and it turned out he was correct.

    Your point fails for this reason. God isn't required for any of our models of the universe. There are no holes where plugging in god would explain anything (there are plenty of holes mind you).

    God is not the neutrino in 1930. It's probably a lot more like Luminiferous Aether.

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  47. Good thing I didn't. Just that there isn't any (meaningful) evidence that it does and actually some evidence that it doesn't.

    So in other words you don't if God exists and just making things up. Good to know.

    It's not true that there is no meaningful and observed evidence for God. And Pauli observed some phenomena, thought that it meant such particles (having the properties of neutrinos) should exist but it was not detectable then. They are now. The evidence for God means that such a being with God's properties must exist because it fits the data. The aether doesn't follow that model.

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  48. The evidence for God means that such a being with God's properties must exist because it fits the data.

    First, something doesn't necessarily exist just because it fits the data, but more importantly, I'd love to hear about some of this evidence that necessitates the existence of god.

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  49. First, something doesn't necessarily exist just because it fits the data,

    But it does mean that if something fits the data you can't ignore it. Further research is necessitated.

    but more importantly, I'd love to hear about some of this evidence that necessitates the existence of god.

    You really haven't been paying attention, have you?

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  50. But it does mean that if something fits the data you can't ignore it. Further research is necessitated.

    Sure, except that you said "The evidence for God means that such a being with God's properties must exist because it fits the data.". Words really don't have any meaning for you, do they?

    More importantly, I'm not aware of any evidence that can't be explained without god, so if you have some, blow us away.

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  51. I was pointing out that you need to do further research into God. Morality (including Justice, Mercy, Truth nor why you should care), Consciousness, and Being cannot be explained without God.

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  52. I think we've shown that consciousness can. I'm aware you are not satisfied with the explanation, but that's really irrelevant.

    Justice and Mercy can be explained with evolutionary models. Truth you'd need to expound on. And being, well that's a good one, at least from the point of view of philosophy. Science has begun to tentatively explained.

    You need to learn the difference between "cannot be explained" and "explained in a way Marcus doesn't accept".

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  53. No, you have not demonstrated that consciousness is explained by evolution. Explained means understood. I am not alone in saying that evolution does not explain consciousness or morality or even what truth is. It is not that I am the only one not convinced. You are making positive claims you can't substantiate.

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  54. No, you have not demonstrated that consciousness is explained by evolution...

    To "demonstrate" that something is "explained" means all I have to do is provide you sources for explanations (Oh! I've done that). I'm sure that's not what you meant though, I'm not sure you know what you meant...

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  55. Quoting sources you don't understand doesn't count.

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  56. Not that it's the case, but in this case, given what you asserted, it actually would.

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  57. You can't say that and rationally say that there is evidence that doesn't support the evolutionary models for consciousness. Which you did. But hey you can choose to be irrational.

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  58. Was the same evidence used to argue for OJs (or whomevers) innocence AND guilt? You seem to be fixated on the idea that if ANY contrary evidence exist for proposition A, then proposition A must be false. This is clearly not the case...

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  59. No. And that is not what I am saying. If you have evidence that does not support a conclusion, concluding that idea as true is dishonest. (Something you seem to know a lot about.)

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  60. No

    Of course it was.

    If you have evidence that does not support a conclusion, concluding that idea as true is dishonest.

    Not if other evidence outweighs it.

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  61. How do you determine what evidence to ignore?

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