Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reply to Ben from Canada

Ben has replied.

purely irrelevant commentary that masqueraded as relevant (yes, I know "proof" isn't the same as "persuasion"

Then why did Ben say in the original post:

How is it possible that such a concept can be true and yet not proved after millennia of people trying to prove it?

Sounds like kicking dirt over the evidence and hoping no one notices.

a bit of ignorance (he suggested all diseases are fatal...)

I was replying from a biblical framework where disease and death flow out of the Fall of Man, which was the original context of Ben's challenge.

an inability to grasp a joke (no, I don't expect any single article to end all religious debate)

On this I will admit fault; I didn't get the sarcasm. My mistake.

Now, I had listed 8 reasons not to believe Ben's assertion of "stupid design". Ben here replies:
1) Prove it. Do it yourself and let's see how far you get.

I don't have to do it myself to prove that I could do it better, given the tools and abilities your god is said to have.

So, Ben can't do it better. But we're supposed to believe that he can in fact do it better.
This is some serious hubris, but there's no way to verify whether it's true. I guess we can either trust Ben or trust Jesus.
But Ben hasn't given us any reason to trust him, it should go w/o saying.

I'd give us a blowhole, make it impossible for us to choke over food, strengthen the lower back to prevent the back problems that are so prevalent in our species, make our knees much stronger for the same purposes, eradicate allergies, and give us a set of gills too, just so we can avoid drowning. There. Better.

Then later,

I could re-write the laws of physics if I wanted to, and the laws of thermodynamics. There's one big one for you: I'd make it impossible for the heat death of the universe to happen.

A blowhole would have to be cleaned and maintained, and so we'd have to redesign our clothing.
And we'd have to be able to keep it clean but wouldn't be able to reach it with our arms the way they are, so I guess Ben would give us 360-degree rotational shoulders. But then we would require additional musculature to make sure that could happen, and how would it happen precisely? Wouldn't the muscles get twisted and torn pretty easily once they'd moved all the way around once? I suppose Ben would complain then too.
How would the tendons and ligaments work? Wouldn't we much more easily suffer separated and dislocated shoulders?

The point is not that we couldn't think of things that might make us think that we'd improved the design of man. The point is that the critic never thinks of the trade-offs. And if that's true of a mere blowhole, how much more when he proposes to rewrite the laws of thermodynamics?!

The critic also never proves the assertion that these things are actually better.
Just look at the answer to #7 that he already gave:

If naturalism is true, and it is, then we put the judgements on everything. But there are some cold, hard facts that are true regardless of teleology, like "more humans choke to death than dolphins". So clearly dolphins are better at "not choking to death".

And where does he give us any reason to think that "not choking to death" is indeed better. I certainly don't grant it, if naturalism is true.
So let's see Ben give us a good reason to think that "not choking to death" is indeed a good thing.

I do think it's a good thing that we not choke to death, but that's because I'm a Christian and death is an enemy, on Christianity. But, see, ALSO on Christianity, God is infinitely trustworthy and there is every reason not to doubt Him. So if we sometimes choke to death in this fallen world, it's because the world is fallen. Death happens. We are to be prepared for it, not by making stupid arguments about how we could have done it better, but by repenting of our sin and trusting Jesus.
Ben is a blasphemer, and the blasphemy is pitiful in its sad lameness - he can't improve on God's design, but instead just chucks rocks at it. He's the neophyte with a paintbrush and some Wal-Mart water colors sneering at the Van Gogh gallery. Certainly if HE had Van Gogh's abilities and funny hair, he could paint masterpieces valued in the $millions.
He can't do it, obviously. There's no way to test his blueprints. What's so funny about all that is that science is supposed to be built around experiment and observation. How can we observe that Ben's way is better? And, again, what standard do we use to measure? Ben needs to give us one.

Going back to the blowhole and the problems I suggested with it: if we indeed had a blowhole, what I mean to say is that Ben would criticise the surrounding problems with that as well. And then he'd say he could do better. And if God redesigned it again, Ben would just find another reason to rip God. Ben is being disingenuous; his real problem is that he hates God and won't be satisfied with what God made until he himself can usurp God and take His place, and do things like he wants to.

Which leads to the question: how has Ben managed his life thus far, by himself? Is he 100% happy?  Does he bring 100% happiness to 100% of others 100% of the time? Does he have a plan for his life that he is 100% certain will lead to outstanding success? If not, why would anyone else trust him?

4) Once you've figured how you'd do better, could you produce a prototype for the rest of us to examine? You know, subject it to peer review?

(Why would I have to?)

I'd like to know whether Ben is a critic of Intelligent Design, and if so, whether one of his reasons is that ID researchers don't do peer-reviewed studies.
Or, maybe he doesn't criticise ID on those grounds; will he criticise the zillions of Darwinianists who do criticise ID on those grounds, b/c peer review isn't necessary or helpful?

5) Make sure to use your own raw materials, by the way. Don't use God's.

(In this hypothetical situation I am god.)

I hate to break it to Ben, but he is actually not God. And yet with his puny Ben-sized intellect (ie, puny b/c he is human, just like we all are), he has presumed to criticise God.
No, Ben, this is no escape clause. Ben does NOT have infinite vision and know-how. He needs to substantiate his criticism as is, or abandon it.

we're edging dangerously close to overpopulation, if we aren't already overpopulated. And we only really inhabit a small percentage of the landmass of this planet, which itself only covers about a third of the surface. So no, this planet isn't optimal for humanity.

Ben clearly hasn't been to west Texas.
One wonders whether he has ever reflected on just how big his home country is, and how sparsely populated. It's difficult to take someone seriously who makes this kind of statement. The Earth is really, really big, and 6 billion is not nearly enough to cover it with people.
Ben may refer to other difficulties such as distribution of food and water, but that is not the same, not even close, as "this planet isn't optimal for humanity".
He can maybe imagine a fantasy world that would be better, like maybe Pandora. But that's just it - it's fantasy, imagination. Where is there any evidence that a better planet could exist? How does Ben know?

Finally, Ben comments about the "problem" of evil:
The first question asked if your god is able to prevent evil, but not willing. So simply answering "He is able" without commenting on willingness is lazy.

Ben is asking me about my worldview, so when I tell him about it, I'm lazy? OK.

The second question has nothing to do with human morality at all, and I have no idea why you mentioned it.

"Evil" is a moral word. The sooner Ben realises that, the better for everyone, most of all him. But until he does, there's no progress in the conversation on that matter.


BenFromCanada said...

I reply.

Also, my dismissal of ID is primarily due to it being unscientific and blatantly wrong. Yes, part of that is due to a lack of peer-reviewed papers. In science, that's what we need to take you seriously. Your hypothetical question doesn't count as scientific queries.

Rhology said...

That's not really much of an answer, BenFromCanada.

Do you really think that your naked assertions are really substantive responses?