Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Jolly Nihilist's masterstroke against Young Earth Creationism

Here it is, in all its glory.

I shall articulate why Young Earth creationism is a bankrupt, incorrect, actively disproved notion that no one could defend except through willful adherence to an unyielding, inflexible dogma.

#1 Radioactive dating disproves Young Earth creationism.
Carbon-14 decays to Nitrogen-14; its half-life is 5730 years. Uranium-238 decays to Lead-206; its half-life is 4.5 billion years. Uranium-235 decays to Lead-207; its half-life is 704 million years. Other unstable isotopes include Potassium-40, Thorium-232, Rubidium-87 and Samarium-147. Several radioisotopes usually occur together, so the dates can be cross-checked, and the ages invariably agree. To put the lie to the Young Earth position, and demonstrate why the oft-repeated “uniformitarian assumptions” objection rings hollow, consider this: If a hunk of rock is radioactively dated at, say, 250 million years old, but in actuality it is only 6000 years old, per YEC, that would entail that the multiple radioisotopes present, all of which converge on an age of 250 million years, would have all had to change differently. Uranium-238 would have had to change differently from Uranium-235, and both would have had to change differently from Samarium-147. If several radioisotopes usually occur together, and they have different half-life values (those half-life values frequently crossing orders of magnitude), there is nothing in the cross-checking process that would require the separate calculations to converge on the same age. Yet, despite the fact it very well could be otherwise, it is not; the ages, across radioisotopes, invariably agree. The changing-decay-rate YEC hypothesis, barring a deceptive creator twist in which the creator wants to impart incorrect information, would be the equivalent of Rhology, Barack Obama, William Lane Craig and me all agreeing to meet at a particular diner “sometime in 2011” and, by sheer and utter coincidence, all four of us arriving at the diner on exactly the same day at precisely the same instant.
Assumes uniformitarianism, w/o argument. In fact, it proudly proclaims that assumption, with only an argument from unsavory consequences (the Creator would thus be deceptive) and an argument from ignorance (we've never seen it act differently) as its support.
#2: Astronomic knowledge disproves Young Earth creationism.
Gaze up into the night sky. Proxima Centauri, the star nearest to our Sun, is 4.3 light years away, meaning that light from it takes 4.3 years to reach us. Our galaxy is approximately 100,000 light years across, meaning that it can take tens of thousands of years for light from some stars in our galaxy to reach us. For stars that we can see in nearby galaxies, it can take millions of years. The farthest objects we can see are quasars, which are so distant that the light we see from them today left billions of years ago. If the universe were merely 6000-some years old, the light simply would not have had the requisite time to reach us. Although I have heard the “god created the stars as well as light beams” response, I recognize it as a frantic harmonization scheme in which the YEC proponent is confronted with a fact that is utterly contrary to what the bible would predict and, thus, the creationist must confect an unparsimonious, tortured “explanation” that bespeaks not so much understanding as slavish, willful, dogged adherence.

Begs the question, namely that God didn't create the stars and the light from those stars reaching between Earth and said stars.
JN says: I recognize it as a frantic harmonization scheme in which the YEC proponent is confronted

Hahaha, God made man and all the other stuff mature. How is it "frantic" to think God did the same with other things in the universe? And surely the JN doesn't want to say that harmonisation is a bad thing - we all do that, and he's doing it right here.

#3: Dendrochronology disproves Young Earth creationism.
An 11,500-year dendrochronological record, existing wholly independently from radiocarbon dating and that is to-the-year accurate, has been achieved through a daisy-chaining process having to do with characteristic tree-ring sequences in a particular geographic area. Utilizing those characteristic tree-ring sequences, scientists can daisy chain their way back thousands and thousands of years, thus disproving a young Earth. Furthermore, those to-the-year-accurate dendrochronological records can be, and indeed are, used to calibrate our radiocarbon dating, thereby allowing us to date many things of the relatively recent past (but considerably beyond 6000-some years).

Ignores the YEC position entirely, that God created organisms mature at creation.

Furthermore, those to-the-year-accurate dendrochronological records can be, and indeed are, used to calibrate our radiocarbon dating

One fallacious and question-begging assertion is bad enough, but the JN apparently thinks that stacking them atop each other is in reality a really good thing.

Why is it that, if these are the JN's 3 trump cards against YEC, that none of them even get out of the gate? Where are the hardcore, well-thought-out critiques?

Quick drive-by on dealing with Oneness Pentecostals

An acquaintance emailed me, asking about Oneness Pentecostals in his area and any thoughts I had.  Here's what I said.

Blessings to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Um, yes, anyone who might say that JWs are Christians don't really have a meaningful idea of what it is to be Christian.  David Waltz is a screwed up man, and I pray he'll repent.  Certainly not many RCs that comment on BeggarsAll would say that JWs are Christian, but DW is in a class by himself at this point, to be sure.

There are quite a few Oneness ppl around where I'm from, too.  I'd suggest some study over at CARM.org, and Matt Slick the CARM guy has done a few radio shows with a Oneness person, interesting listening.

Of course James White's The Forgotten Trinity would be a good resource I should think.
I haven't dealt with too many Oneness people, but I'd ask them if Jesus was talking to Himself in John 17 and in the Garden of Geth.  I'd ask them from a different (this one philosophical) angle the same thing I'd ask a Muslim - Is God love?  Is He eternally loving?  Is love love when it is directed only at oneself?  (Assuming they say yes, yes, and no) I continue:  So, before God created creation, how could God be a loving God?  Was He just loving Himself?  He needs creation to fulfill one of His attributes, even one of His most central attributes?  How is this possible?
You could ask them about the crucifixion, the death of the God-man.  How did that work itself out, exactly, when Christ was on the Cross and yelled out to the Father?  When He died, what happened?  
Why is it that the NT very clearly teaches the Trinity?  

Also, they're generally works-salvationists, legalists.  They'll say you have to be baptised in the name of Jesus (and that's the only way) to be saved.  Baptism is a pre-req for salvation.  That's a problem.  Share the law and the Gospel with them.
They'll say that you have to speak in tongues as a pre-req for salvation, b/c it shows that you're filled with the Holy Spirit.  that's a problem.  Share the law and the Gospel with them.  

Those are some initial thoughts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Massive assumptions of David and BioLogos

Commenter David just gave me a great opportunity to comment on a BioLogos article in the course of our conversation.  Here's my latest reply:


Did you really just cite BioLogos to me?
Why would that faze me?  My position is that the Christian worldview is PRESUPPOSED, which means that God is the highest authority, and if He said how it all went down, limited men using limited methodology, limited instrumentation, limited assumptions and limited means to substantiate those assumptions, limited time, limited knowledge, and limited access don't really have much of a chance to overturn what God said.  Why would it? 
Here's another way of looking at it:  In the case of the question of evolution, old-earth evolutionists have set out, as I have said before, to take the equivalent of a 1,000,000-year-old auto accident, to disregard completely the testimony of the 100% trustworthy eyewitness who actually even decreed that the whole thing happen, and to send a forensics (CSI) team to the scene to dig around and find scattered pieces of car and glass, 1,000,000-year-old grooves and scratches, and not reconstruct but rather construct what happened in opposition to what the witness says he decreed to happen.

Why would what the CSI team said matter to me?  Why would I trust their findings and conclusions?  And that's just 1 million years! 

OK, to the BioLogos article. My guess is that we'll unearth a few assumptions.  Just maybe.

Each winter-spring cycle produces a dark-light colored sediment couplet, or varve. In both examples, each varve represents one year.

1) Assumes God created trees with no rings.  But of course, and as Al Mohler reminded us in his recent talk on "Why Does the Universe Look So Old?", God created trees and other plants mature.
2) Are there living trees that are more than 4000 yrs old? 

The core contained an uninterrupted sequence of varves, with a total count in excess of 100,00

See, there's the assumption at work.
And if you complain that it's deceptive or sthg for God to have created trees with rings already in them, remember:
1) That's a philosophical, not an evidential, objection.  Justify your philosophical objection.
2) God told you how it all went down, and here you're looking for evidence to overturn what He said.  He's not in the wrong; you are.

What if in the distant past, multiple varves were deposited per year? More specifically, what if a massive flood with thousands of surges back and forth across the land laid down thousands of varves in a single year? Fortunately, we do not have to depend on assumptions, but can actually make measurements to determine if this happened.

Not my claim, but others' claim.  It will be interesting to see how he answers it, though.

The high degree of linearity (straightness) of this data has two possible interpretations:

Let me step in and summarise his Option 1:  God lied, miscommunicated, or was ignorant when He wrote the Bible.
Now back to him:

Option 2: God started with a fast rate of carbon 14 decay and dozens of diatom blooms and die-offs each year, but then intentionally and precisely slowed down each independent and unrelated  process in such a way as to make it falsely look as if the data confirms the accuracy of carbon-14 and varve counting as legitimate methods of determining age.

Option 2 should be unacceptable to all Christians, for it means God manipulated his creation so that a study of it would convincingly tell a story that was not in fact true.

1) There's the assumption at work right there.  If uniformitarianism is false, God lied.  But why should I believe that?  Where's the argument?
Do Davidson and Wolgemuth know what was happening in the world right around then, whether on their timeline or the biblical one (ie, mine)?  What evidence can they give us that carbon-14 decay never did change its rate?  Even that sthg natural such as a change in radiation or some other event did not transpire to speed it up for a time?  Such would be to prove a universal negative, and that without a time machine.  Short answer - they cannot.  So why do they make such leaps?  B/c they have to, else they'd have no answer and no point to make, no way to use this line of argumentation to whack the Bible and bring it down to where it's more comfortable and manageable, not as God's inerrant self-revelation. 
2) As I've already stated, it's not deception when you overlook the explicit truth of God's self-revelation and bring your limited everything and unbelieving assumptions to bear on rocks, which are not, shall we say, as good communicators as is text. 

We argue with great conviction that Option 2 above does not reflect the God of King David who proclaimed that the heavens declare the glory of God

1) Yes, it is clear that their conviction is very deeply emotionally invested for them.  What they should do is ask God to change their emotions so that they glorify Him instead of subjugating Him to their limited reason.
2) What is their exegetical argument that "declare the glory of God" = "communicate about God with the same degree or a greater degree of understandability and informational content as His self-revelation in the Scripture"? 

OK, back to David:
I'll dig a trench connecting them. The point is, if you have any doubts about the relationship of the layers, you can put them (to) rest by testing.

But I've asked for an argument twice, and here's the third time.  Does your argument amount to, "Duh, it's obvious"? 
If so, then I respond in the same manner:  Nuh uh!

I know that you know that we can relate the layer in one locality to the layers in another locality

We can relate them, sure.  Telling that they're the same is another thing.
Look, I don't care much about the relation of layers to other layers.  What I'm trying to get you to see is how big a role your unprovable assumptions play in your position.  Your view is NOT based on "merely the evidence", however much you may think it is.  It's based on mostly assumptions, unbiblical ones.

"I can think of a way that a layer might be deposited and then dragged up, messed around by surging water movement, and then mixed with other stuff, then redeposited."

I'd love to here you expand on this thought. Could we have some details, please?

If water is surging out of the sky and primarily out of the "floodgates of the deep", and swirling around all the topography, some higher, some lower, of the Earth, there might be a little bit of upward and downward, sideways, diagonal currents.  It's not a difficult concept to understand.  And it doesn't have to happen at just one time, either - the Flood was in effect for months. 

Can we agree that we can use relative dating in this manner?

I'm interested in seeing where this goes, so for the sake of argument I will agree that we can use relative dating to date the layers with respect to each other. 

DAVID: Even a YEC geologist wouldn’t argue the way in which you are arguing.
RHO: OK, but that doesn't concern me very much.

Well, it ought to. 'Cause if even a YEC geologist wouldn't argue in this way, you know that we must be talking about a really bad argument here.

You should know that my fragile ego, to say nothing of Answers in Genesis' egos, is hemorrhaging now. 

"I'm here and I wasn't produced ex nihilo."

How do you know this? Don't assume. Prove that you weren't produced ex nihilo. Ya see? Anyone can play this game, and it gets us precisely nowhere.

1) My parents were present at my birth.
2) Were you present when these organisms died?
3) Again you persist with your category error.  I'm not talking about whether the fossilised organisms had PARENTS, but whether they had CHILDREN.  Deal with my argument. 
4) I have to note that, again, you've failed to show us any reason to accept your fossil record storyline.  Just guesses, based on your apparent heroes, Dick Dawk and Chuck Darwin.

That's what we're doing here with fossil species. Making reasonable presumptions

A frank admission, and one I appreciate.  Thank you.  We may now dispense with the fossil record "argument".  It is an assumption.  Whether it is reasonable is precisely what is in question - you seem to think that sometimes assumptions based on no evidence are reasonable, and yet others (as you'd say the YEC position is) are not.  Why the special pleading?  What is behind this selectivity? 

What is the fossil record good for? It's really good for testing hypotheses.

Like what?  Please be specific how a fossil record-based hypothesis helps evol and "destroys YEC", especially when anyone is justified, as you just admitted, in pointing out that such arguments are based on bare assumptions.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Burn a Qur'an Day

"Burn a Qur'an Day" is an event planned by a Florida church to commemorate the 9th anniversary of Sept 11.  I find this whole thing very interesting b/c it speaks to multiple issues in the life of a responsible Christian who desires to honor God in everything. I've looked over quite a few articles on it, which I'll cite as they are relevant.  Since I'm a bit of a loudmouth, my commentary this way comes.

Article 1, in which CNN issues a surprisingly fair report, ISTM, says:
The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam (link mine)
Conveniently, this sentence segués nicely into one of my main points - a Christian does not take a stand against Islam by burning a Qur'an.  A conservative American might, yes, but the two terms are far from interchangeable.

Now, here are some of the reasons this whole thing is a little screwy but also such a rich ground of material on which to comment - Pastor Terry Jones says many true things about Islam, Jones' church is pretty clearly a charismatic and either fully or borderline Word of Faith (read: neo-Gnostic heretical) congregation, nobody seems to see the obvious connections to what's been done for centuries by Islam and decades by brainless liberals, and this kind of activity reveals one's heart with respect to missions and outreach to those who do not know Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN
This is a good example of Jones' getting it right on. All of these points are true; yes, even the one about Islam being violent. More on this later.
I don't know about "billions", but it's certainly a lot.

This, on the other hand, from Jones:
"I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim?...Does it look like a real religion of joy?...No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil"
Is really stupid.  Note to Christians everywhere - don't judge truth by whether those who believe a certain position smile often or not.
And who cares whether it looks to him like a religion of the devil? He's so bold to burn Qur'ans and brave death threats out the wazoo, and he doesn't have the sand to say explicitly that it's of the devil b/c God said so?  I doubt that.  Rather, he probably never thought in those terms, and shame on him for that.

(The church has 3) signs bearing the slogan "Islam is of the Devil."
One of the signs -- one reading "Islam" on one side, "Devil" on the other -- was vandalized. 
"This is private property and vandalism is a crime here in America," the (church's) blog says. "In Islam, many actions that we consider to be crimes are encouraged, condoned or sheltered under Islamic teaching and practice, though. Another reason to burn a Quran."
Islam is of the devil - check, very true.
Vandalism is a crime in the USA - check, very true.  And this is simply a fulfillment of the old joke: The Muslim says "Islam is a religion of peace, and if you disagree I'll cut your head off!"  What precisely do Muslims hope to gain by committing a crime?  Burning a Qur'an isn't a crime in the USA, but vandalism most certainly is!  OTOH, if the Muslim claims that it is permissible to break the laws of the land in order to protect Allah, what does that say about Muslims' desirability as immigrants and the vanity of Allah to require that violence be waged against those who insult a Qur'an?
Islam commends things we (ie, Americans) consider to be crimes, such as bearing false witness to infidels and, obviously, vandalism of things that offend Allah - check.
However, all of those things are not a good reason to burn a Qur'an.  Here is the Christian response:  They are good reasons to share the Gospel with Muslims! 
Is Pastor Jones an American first or a Christian first?  Where is his concern for the souls of his enemies?  His love and compassion for them?  Even a "Christian armed militia" group figured this out!

All that said, let's look at DWOC's "Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran".
Interestingly, I agree with all 10 of them, except for #8 - I'm not sure the Qur'an prescribes death for apostates; maybe it does and maybe such teaching appears in a Had'ith.  But that penalty is definitely not ubiquitous throughout Islamdom.  
However, again, all of those things are not a good reason to burn a Qur'an.
Let me break it down this way.  If you burn a Bible in front of me on the street, my reaction will probably be to weep over your soul and to talk to you about why you did it, and to share the good news of Christ's love and His death on the cross and later resurrection.  Jesus commanded and enables me to love those who have  made themselves enemies of Him and of me.
Will a Muslim love his enemy when an infidel burns a Qur'an in front of him on the street, who does not have the Holy Spirit living in him and enabling him to do so, and who has no command to do so?  Most assuredly, he will not.  Doing this thing will alienate him, most assuredly, and since most Muslims (I've certainly never met one!) are quick to equate "American" with "Christian" and a fortiori have even better reason and a greater propensity to unthinkingly equate "church" with "all Christians", you are not preparing for an open dialogue with that Muslim.  Rather, you are at least sowing seeds of great anger in him, perhaps even a desire for violent retribution, and evangelism when you're on the business end of a knife is much more difficult.  

What is ironic about all that is that, as DWOC's 6th reason to burn a Qur'an correctly states: "Islamic Law is totalitarian in nature. There is no separation of church and state." 
Islam expanded militarily out from what is now Saudi Arabia into modern-day Syria, Egypt, N Africa, Spain, France, the Balkans, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, western China in one direction, and to the very gates of Vienna in the other.  And yet President Dubya = Christian = America?  Rare indeed is the Muslim who understands the concept of separation of church and state in the US, and yet they have the gall and emptyheadness to blame the Iraq conflict ultimately on Jesus.  The blind special pleading never ceases to amaze (and annoy) me.  

With that in mind, let us consider the über-hypocritical protests Muslims and Western liberals are lodging against this desecration.  I have seen firsthand both groups' restrictions on, disrespectful discarding of, and even destruction of the Bible.  Liberals are the first to whine when those who actually like America propose outlawing burning of the American flag.  These liberal hate-America-first types actually prefer burning the symbol of the country that provides them religious freedom and the freedom to hold idiotic, irrational, and iconoclastic positions, yet they embrace a book that, read properly, leads its adherents to remove those freedoms from their dhimmis!  Freedom of religion, particularly to those who threaten death upon the congregation of DWOC, apparently means freedom to do what sharia law tells them.  Hmmm, that sounds disturbingly familiar, sort of like those who'd like to see the whole world under sharia law!  
Chalk this one up as another entry in the long list of "Why liberals are emptyheaded".  

Finally, I'd like to comment on this op-ed piece from Akbar Ahmed, who is professor and Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington.

Not only are the actions of Jones contrary to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, but they are also against the ideals of the American Founding Fathers.
Out of the 2 assertions, 1.5 are correct.  Most certainly his actions are something that appall Jesus, since He is interested in saving sinners,not necessarily preserving America against the Islamic horde. I doubt whether the American FFs would approve of this, but as noted above, my guess is they'd be yet quicker to indict American-flag-burners on the charge of treason and hang them.
A milquetoast liberal should never bring up the Founding Fathers like that.

the pre-eminent Sunni university, Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, condemning it as "stirring up hate and discrimination."
That's rich - the C4 calling the pastor's moustache grey.  Does Ahmed really think that I should care what an Islamic university in the middle of Egypt thinks about "stirring up hate"?  It's a weak argument from authority, and the authority is, um, highly suspect.

a host for one of Pakistan's top TV channels confided in me that he "didn't dare" report the story because if he did, "not a single American would be safe in Pakistan."
They're safe now?

He and the cameraman were quivering with anger as they asked me to explain why Americans hated Islam.
Maybe b/c Islamic jihadists have killed thousands of Americans.  Maybe b/c so few Muslims expressed any form of condemnation for Sept 11.  Maybe b/c you're the best persecutor of Christians in the world.  Maybe b/c neither your official law nor your unofficial actions prescribe or demonstrate that your beliefs and desired actions are different from the official actions of your Islamic gov'ts.
What ignorant idiots these men must be, and yet Professor Ahmed wants us to take them seriously?

It will cause undue harm to U.S. relations with the Muslim world and particularly the war effort.
1) Good - I'd much prefer the US gov't to get much LESS cozy with Muslim gov'ts.
2) Will this lead to more difficult missionary efforts among Muslims in their own lands?  Possibly, but such efforts are not exactly easy these days anyway.  But let me be consistent here - if such is indeed the consequence, I withdraw items #1 and #2.
3) It's very ironic that such a man would be concerned with "the war effort".  Really?  Does he support it?
4) If he's appealing to Christians who are concerned with the war effort, I wonder if he realises the war = killing Muslims and apparently vast numbers of Iraqis and Afghanis are more interested in killing Americans or aiding killers of American soldiers than helping the US forces find and eliminate the jihadists.
5) And I'm not for the war effort, not anymore.  Partly b/c the reaction has been so lukewarm from the liberated populations and partly b/c I'd much prefer all US soldiers withdraw from overseas and protect our borders.  What's the point in this war, exactly?  

There will be similar riots and attacks in neighboring Pakistan and Iran.
Um, has Prof Ahmed noticed that such things occur over newspaper editorial cartoons?  So what?

Many American Muslims will feel as if they are second-class citizens and it could push some angry young men toward violence.
As I've said above, I agree with this statement.
That's not to say that I admire the adherents of the Religion of Perpetual Outrage for their perpetual outrage.

I was not surprised, therefore, when I heard Jones recently agree, when asked to do so in an internet podcast interview, to burn "a couple of copies of the Talmud" too.
I'm not at all surprised to hear him say that - it's consistent with his position.  Modern Judaism is created by the devil too, but what Jones proposes does not follow from that fact.  

Not only does the burning of holy texts reflect the darkest days of medieval Europe and Nazi Germany
This is a ridiculous statement.  I'd like to know where Pastor Jones said anything about Inquisitions, trials, or shoving 6 million Jews into ovens.  Further, who are the most numerous Holocaust-deniers in the world today?  Ah yes, Muslims.  

Benjamin Franklin called (prophet Mohammed) a model of compassion.
One wonders whether Franklin had ever read the Qur'an.  I also have to wonder with what lens Ahmed read it.

By threatening to burn the holy books of two of these faiths, the Quran and the Talmud, Jones is violating the basic tenants of all the Abrahamic faiths and doing something that is unacceptable by any standard of religion.By threatening to burn the holy books of two of these faiths, the Quran and the Talmud, Jones is violating the basic tenants of all the Abrahamic faiths and doing something that is unacceptable by any standard of religion.
Prof Ahmed's special pleading is too much to bear.  Tell that to the countless thousands of Christians who have met great suffering, desecration and blocked proliferation of Bibles, and death at the hands of Muslims!  Jones is wrong and clearly is an American first and a Word of Faith heretic second, but to think for one second that excuses Islam's bloody record is idiotic and horrible.  Everyone involved here is guilty.

(Please leave any comments at the Triablogue post.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Luis, he of assumptions and fallacies!

Luis has given us another doggie-treat over at the Jolly Nihilist's blog.

Money quotes:
--God wouldn’t have been constrained by this; he could have made bats to have bird-like limbs rather than limbs that closely resemble the arrangements found in non-flying mammals. Or he could have made a mammal with its photosensitive cells the right way around, like what we see in the cephalopods.
--I'd asked:  Prove that Tiktaalike had any children. Go ahead.
He responds: You really are one disgusting charlatan. Here’s the prediction, moron: things like Tiktaalik should exist.
--What we see in animals is emphatically unlike what we see in cars, or houses or computers.

The unintentional humor is striking.
So here's my response:

Hi Luis,

it makes no difference at all to whether the actual arguments on offer are true or not.

True, so I won't belabor it, since even producing the requested evidence wouldn't change your mind.

Having worked in the life sciences (unlike you)

Haha, I love how you assume you know anythg about me.

The cover of Nature and Science always have some new, exciting discovery that’s touted as importantly changing some aspect of our understanding of the world.

And?  Are you under the mistaken impression that the Xtian worldview looks down on science as a good way to discover truth?
As a matter of fact, all science under a naturalistic worldview commits a logical fallacy, so I'm not too impressed by your fallacious discoveries.

I must have missed the memo about the collapse of Darwinism.

Yep.  But since it's fallacious reasoning and b/c the very premise of evolution argues against naturalism, and b/c there's no evidence for Darwinism, you really have nothing going for you.  Sorry.  :-(

Too bad that the ravings of a creotard blogger

Hmm, didn't you just finish telling me: "even GIVEN this, it makes no difference at all to whether the actual arguments on offer are true or not"?

not the macroevolution clearly visible in the fossil record

Please prove that ANY organism found in the fossil record had children.  Don't assume it.  Prove it.

comparative genetics,

All that comparative genetics proves is that two or more organisms share similar genetic structure.  Prove (w/o assuming) that this is relevant to Darwinism.


Proves that two or more different organisms share similar...morphology.  So what?

biogeographical distribution of animals and plants (which utterly destroys the expectations of the Genesis dispersal model).

How so?

Nowhere does evolutionary theory say that an amoeba “evolved into” a giraffe in the caricatured sense you’re clearly trying to invoke.

Either you're dodging very obviously or you're very ignorant of what creotards like me are asking when they say that.
Where is your evidence that organisms turn into other organisms over time?  Don't assume it exists.  Prove it.

What sort of evidence did you have in mind, though?

Haha, the same sort of evidence that atheists usually demand to prove God exists.
In point of fact, just any evidence that:
1) Is not based entirely on assumptions you make, and
2) Can not be just as easily be explained on the YEC worldview.
I've never seen any - feel free to be the 1st to show it to me.

that giraffes could be produced from amoebae within a human lifetime? Such things would do more to verify creationism than Darwinian evolution.

As would showing that you can't show me any organisms that have evolved into another kind.  Which is the actual state of affairs.

You know, evidence that your position actually takes place.

It’s not my position, therefore the challenge isn’t mine to assume

Don't be so dense.  You're arguing that evolution took place in the way you say it did.  Prove it.

such as the tax-dodging preachers you get your “science” from

1) Where have I discussed Hovind?
2) For that matter, where have I brought fwd any science at all?  I'm discussing PHILOSOPHY OF science and logic.  If you can't deal on that level, feel free to give way to someone who's thought a little more deeply about it.
3) Please prove that tax-dodging is morally wrong, objectively.
Wait, let me answer for you - you can't.  But don't worry - your moral judgments were easy to ignore way before it became clear that you have no foundation for making them.

The following things are all predicted by evolution (and, while strictly allowed by creation – not your version, though

OK, awesome.  I'm waiting with great expectations for your best 5 lines of evidence for Darwinism.

a weird design strategy

Interesting - without an objective design template, a telos, for how the world "should be", you're just going to throw sthg out there, as if your idea of "weird" should mean anythg to anyone else?  How's that?

He could easily have produced a myriad of things that would leave us in no doubt about his Creation and the falsehood of evolution

1) He did.  There's this little thing you love and which you forgot about - sin and the self-deception of depraved man.
2) Who said that what you said was God's goal in creation?

1) the biogeographical distribution of animals and plants

Ah, so you must think you can prove it DIDN'T happen.  Proving a universal negative.  You don't know how it could've gone down, so you assume it couldn't've.  Argument from ignorance.  Impressive!

A creation model predicts no such thing.

A creation model doesn't PREDICT what happenED in the past, Luis.  That's why it's called "history".

After dispersing from Mount Ararat, there was no reason for all the koalas (all two of them J) to migrate en masse to Australia

How is this an argument?  No reason to?  Oh, do koalas think and wonder "What'd be best for us?" and then decide?  Hahahahaha.

Creationists, to this day, have had hardly anything at all to say about them, so they act as though these patterns don’t exist.

You sound just like Jerry Coyne.  In fact, this section seems pulled straight from his crappy book "Why Evolution Is True".
Yes, creationists DO have sthg to say about this.  God could've easily directed the animals thattaway.  See, we don't hold to naturalism, b/c it's irrational.

why all the platyrrhine, and not a single cararrhine, in South America?

Why?  All YOU can tell me is that they happened to end up there.  My explanation is at minimum the same.  How is yours any better?

There were once platypuses in what is now Argentina, before what is now South America broke away from Gondwana and became separated from what would become Australia.

1) Ah, b/c you found what you think is a fossil there?
2) What precisely about species going extinct or 2 diff populations ending up in diff places militates against YEC?

2) ...molecular markers...can therefore act as neutral markers for degree of relatedness

I'm looking for an argument to the effect that this proves Darwinism and is inexplicable on YEC.  See, molecular markers prove...that these molecular markers exist.  W/o your assumptions in place, they tell you nothing in particular.  You assume the conclusion before you arrive at your conclusion.
So do I, but only I recognise it.

There is no reason for the trees constructed from one marker to resemble another

Hahhaa, even on the weak sister of Xtianity - ID - this is easily explainable!  Please.
Ready?  God used the same code for multiple species.  Not that hard, Luis.

Friday, August 20, 2010

RealApologetics' Jamin slices and dices The Atheist Ethicist

From here:

As all Christians should know, the atheist has no real grounds for objective morals. Without an objective standard there can be no objective “right” or “wrong.” Ethics can be nothing more than personal preference or the success of evolution to create a clever (and still subjective) mechanism for furthering our species.
Alonzo Fyfe and his blog “Atheist Ethicist“  essentially assumes the possibility of the contrary:
When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to leave the world better off than it would have been if I had not existed. This started a quest, through 12 years of college and on to today, to try to discover what a “better” world consists of. I have written a book describing that journey that you can find on my website. In this blog, I will keep track of the issues I have confronted since then.
How does this really work out? And what problems can be found when an atheist of this type interacts with things like the existence of God?

To Know or Not to Know

The answer is clear in one of his recent posts, “To Know that God Doesn’t Exist”:
A member of the studio audience sent me the following question:
I would love to know how you manage to know that god and the supernatural don’t exist. i am an atheist myself yet i believe(not claim) that god does not exist, but not claim that “god does not exist” is a fact. i am therefore an atheist agnostic and i would assume that you’re a gnostic atheist?
I would love to know why, when conversations turn to God, people shift the meaning of the word “know” to something entirely at odds with the way the term is used everywhere else.
That’s easy: because God is different than everything else. He’s the Creator of the universe, entirely unique, utterly holy. There is nothing in all the universe like God (He is “wholly other”), and as such, knowing God is different (in some sense) as knowing everything else, especially as God Himself wrote a book for us to understand Him and His works in creation. That is, nothing can be compared to knowing God through the Creator’s specific/special revelation; the Creator-creature relationship in epistemology bears the mark of uniqueness when compared to creature-creation relationships of knowing. More about this in a moment.
If I were to say, at work, that I know that the meeting will take more than an hour, I am not going to be jumped by co-workers asking me how I could possibly know that. Nobody is going to assert that, because of factors I have not considered or am not aware of, it is possible that the meeting will take less then an hour, so I am making a mistake in claiming to know that it will last more than an hour. Our regular everyday use of the word “know” is quite compatible with the possibility of error.
Of course. But there are different degrees of “knowing.” Or, to put it differently, if “knowledge” is (generally) “justified true belief,” there are different types and degrees of justification. Is Fyfe really asserting that belief in God and disbelief in God is really no different than the belief in the date of a meeting at work?
If it turns out that I am mistaken – that the meeting lasts 30 minutes because a key member has to catch a plane – then I have to retract my claim to have known that it would take more than an hour.
However, the point is that “know” claims in regular conversation are retractable claims. Whenever a person makes a knowledge claim in any conversation not having to do with God, it is with the understanding on the part of the speaker and the listener that the know claim might ultimately have to be retracted.
Again, depending on the type of “knowing” the knower is doing, the detractable nature of the claim changes. (Probability, for example, comes into play.) However, if Fyfe is asserting (in the distinction of “having to do with God” and not) that creatures know God in some different way than knowing everything else, he might be on to something. After all, in a Christian epistemology, a claim made by Creator is more epistemically certain than a claim made by a creature. There are two levels of everything: the level of creature and the level of Creator; God knows things differently than we do. Moreover, God Himself is sovereign over creation which includes both the knower, the knowledge, and the object of knowledge. The Creator can control the creature’s faculties, guaranteeing the highest degree of justification for a given claim.  But, I doubt Fyfe is asserting this in his general distinction.
This seems not to be true when we talk about God. Here, when I say that I know that a God does not exist, I am accused of using the term “know” improperly unless it is an unretractable claim.
“You cannot justifiably claim to know that a God does not exist unless you are willing to assert no possibility of error that might force you to retract that claim.”
Why is there this double standard?
“If I use the standard, retractable concept of ‘know’ when I talk about God, then the phrase ‘I know that God does not exist’ would be a true and sensible statement to make about myself. However, that would mean that I am an atheist. My friends and family would freak out if I were an atheist. In fact, all the time I was growing up I was taught to look down on atheists and view them as inferior who are beneath us good religious folks. I certainly do not want to apply this term ‘atheist’ to myself. Therefore, when it comes to claims about God, I am going to shift to a different definition in which ‘know’ claims are not retractable. Since it is not the case that I ‘know’ that God does not exist in the non-retractable sense (a sense that actually prohibits me from knowing anything at all, including my own name), I can avoid the label ‘atheist’.”
This description is not true of the person who sent the original question. However, it does explain why he has come to think that, when it comes to claims about God, we must use the non-retractable concept. It explains why he thinks it is proper to accuse me of claiming that I have non-retractable knowledge that God does not exist when I claim to know that God does not exist.
The other reason we have this non-retractable definition of “to know” when we speak about God is the theist reason.
The theist wants to believe in God. To do this, in light of what we see around us in the real world, she needs to set the evidence bar low enough that it is possible to get over it. In a universe with absolutely no evidence for the existence of God, one argument that a person can still use is to claim, “I am justified in claiming that God exists as long as non-retractable knowledge that God does not exist is impossible.”
First of all, the theist, to be a theist, believes in God. Desire of belief in God is irrelevant, let alone impossible to objectively prove in the case of any believer (e.g. what is the criteria for proving that a believer merely wants to believe instead of believing out of the impossibility of the contrary?). Second of all, who determines what is the “real world”, the Creator or the creature? Why presuppose the impossibility of the Creator? Third of all, could Fyfe provide an example of “setting the bar low enough that it is possible to get over it,” let alone what this means? Could Fyfe provide a standard for this “bar” since he has no objective means of doing so? And if there is no objective norm to follow, what does he then mean by “low”? Low compared to what? (It sounds like the “believing in God is like believing Mickey Mouse” argument.)
This form of argument is not logically valid, but it can be psychologically comforting.
Tell that to Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, and the author of Hebrews who said “let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
for our God is a consuming fire,” (12:28). The affirmation of the existence of God is the most psychologically discomforting fact of reality for the sinful man! Granted, there is much “comfort” for the Christian since his/her God is “the God of all comfort” (II Cor. 1:3), and being justified, we have peace with God our Father (Rom. 5:1). But this biblical sense of comfort is not the comfort Fyfe is talking about. And for anyone in the state of sin, Christian or not, God is a galactic inconvenience. Why? Because God is Holy and man is sinful, and the One who is Holy is unfortunately (for a sinner) the Creator and owner of everything. That means we are accountable to him. Perhaps Fyfe should again define his terms.
To the person who is afraid to let go of God, either for personal reasons or because this would lead to his being an outcast in his community of friends and family, this rationalization serves its purpose. This person can join his friends and family in looking down on those atheists who claim that God does not exist when they cannot possibly have non-retractable knowledge that God does not exist.
Of course, there are some theists who set the evidence bar even lower than this. For them, the evidence bar is not sitting on the floor, it IS the floor. These are the faith-peddlers, the people who claim that one can know that God exists without any evidence at all – that there is absolutely no bar to clear.
I’m one of those guys, and I’m not ashamed of it. No, I’m not talking about a person who believes in God without any evidence, but I am a person – as are all genuine Christians – who doesn’t approach the Creator of the universe with a man-made “bar” and say jump it God! Or I won’t believe in you! The fact is, the bar, the floor, and the evidence for either wouldn’t exist, let alone have meaning, without the Source of all being and meaning.
If these people were applying this standard only to beliefs that have no effect on others, then there would be little reason to complain about it. However, many of those who use the faith standard are using it to decide how they are going to treat other people, what laws they are going to vote for and against, and what politicians are worthy of holding power. In fact, many insist that the only politician worthy of holding power is one whose standard of evidence is as low as theirs – which provides a very dangerous foundation for public policy.
Well, “many of those who use the faith standard” includes all Christians, and all non-Christians. And all people use this “faith standard” to determine their values and thus their behavior. This “faith standard” is called a worldview, and everyone has one. And a person’s worldview determines values (i.e. truth values), and values determines behavior (i.e. your votes, public actions). Fyfe has absolutely no reason to be looking down on theists because they make actions according to their faith-commitment and “ultimate presupposition” as Frame says; everyone has faith in something, and everyone acts on it whether they are conscious of it or not.
I am not saying that these are the conscious thoughts of individuals involved in these ways of thinking. In fact, as conscious thoughts they would fail. Rather, the way these arguments work in practice is in the form of beliefs grounded on emotion.
Seems like classic Freudism. People believe in God only because they are driven by fear and emotion. Another unfounded presupposition. At any rate, I’m still confused as to how a conscious thought that a worldview determines our values and behavior “would fail.” What is failure? How is it determined?
An individual experiences a learned aversion to the atheist label. Because of the discomfort of this learned aversion, he finds that he is more comfortable thinking that atheism requires a non-retractable definition of “to know”. Because this non-retractable definition is comfortable, the agent adopts it.
Or maybe everything coming from revelation through the senses to the brain assumes, demonstrates, and demands God’s glory and fact of existence, so to say “well, God might not exist” would be the very definition of borderline absurdity?
The same is true of the person who is afraid to let go of God. She is more comfortable holding onto the belief, and finds that she is comfortable thinking that atheism requires this non-retractable concept of “to know”. Because these beliefs are comfortable to her, she adopts them as being true.
For these reasons, we find ourselves in a culture that allows a retractable concept of “to know” everywhere other than when we talk about God, and a non-retractable concept when we talk about God. We are surrounded by such a culture because it helps people to avoid conclusions they do not like. It helps atheists avoid the stigma of thinking of themselves as atheists, and it helps theists hold onto a belief in God that they are desperate to hold onto.
I know that no God exists. I know it in the same sense that I know who my biological parents are and I know on what day I was born. It doesn’t mean that there is no chance that I am wrong . . . only that I consider the chance of error to be remote.
Here is where Fyfe makes the parallel and in doing so falls off an epistemological cliff. He presents the two truth claims as if there are no distinctions with epistemological consequence. I mean, is Fyfe really suggesting that one truth claim (an event? A present reality? etc.) requires no more justification than another? Can we say “I know no star or planet or speck of dust beyond Pluto exists. I know it in the same sense that I know Abraham Lincoln was the first President”? I doubt this is really some “ordinary use” of the term “know.” Indeed, it is the opposite.
Truth claims and claims of knowledge come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some require different types or degrees of justification (the “bar” Fyfe refers to) than others. For example, a claim about history is obviously different in nature than a claim about immediate sensory experience. “Jerusalem fell in 70AD” is a bit different than “I smell chocolate chip cookies.” How do we know this? Because of how we try to prove the claim. What is required to demonstrate the truthfulness of the fall of Jerusalem? The truthfulness of me smelling cookies? The answers are much, much different.
The same is the case for God’s non-existence and the illustrations Fyfe provided. The first major distinction he misses is that the knowledge of the non-existence of something requires far greater justification than the knowledge of the existence of something. Or in other terms, positive truth claims are easier to prove (and know) than negative truth claims. If I say “I know that a debate over Mormonism occurred in the year 1922,” my knowledge of this fact might only need one newspaper article from 1922. With that article, I would be justified in saying “I know” that it happened. But if I said, “I know that a debate over Mormonism did not occur in the year 1922,” I would have to have read absolutely everything written in that year, and perhaps literature from years past to demonstrate that I “know” that a debate didn’t occur – still using “know” in the same sense as in the positive claim. And, even if I exhausted all evidence, I still might not know that the debate didn’t occur – for it may not simply have been on record. There is a possibility for error and retraction on both, but that doesn’t put them on equal ground as far as what is required to “know.”
Again, that is true for ontological claims of knowledge and the existence of God. “I know that no God exists” requires an insurmountable amount of evidence and epistemic justification for there to be adequate grounds for saying it, even in the most ordinary way of “know.” You would have to be everywhere all the time and be able to see everything, and even then, there is a chance you’re wrong. Wouldn’t it be much more logical, according to Fyfe, to simply respond to such a claim with “No, you don’t ‘know’ God doesn’t exist,” given the general use of the term he has described?
Again, all of these claims are “retractable.” Our senses could deceive us. We could be in error. Historians could be lying to us, etc. But this is where Christian epistemology makes a massive distinction: the Creator controls the knowing faculties of the knower, and is the Creator of both – and the knowledge being known. Thus, if there is any non-retractable claim, a claim that has the highest degree of certainty, it is a claim made by the Creator Himself, revealed to his creatures, and secured by this Creator’s Spirit in the mind of the interpreter. The Word of God is the final standard for truth claims. But the atheist has no such God, and therefore no such basis to assert the reliability of the senses, etc. In fact, he has no reason to explain why one person interprets information in the same way as another; to “know” might be different (even opposite!) in another person’s evolved mind. Furthermore, human beings by their very nature are God-conscious. Revelation everywhere screams “God Made!” “God is the Creator!” “Great, Wise, and Powerful is the Lord of Creation!” (Rom. 1:21-23) Contrary to popular thought, self-consciousness is no more ultimate or important than God-consciousness (the details of this are too lengthy to describe at present); to retract “God exists” is to retract “I exist.” There is no basis to have it any other way as long as the creature is a creature made in God’s image.
This is essentially the end of the major portions of Fyfe’s article. Much more could be said. But, in short, the skeptic is simply left to absurdity when trying to deny his/her Maker. The pot is correcting the Potter. Silly indeed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quick, fun blurb on the RC view of the Scripture

Alexander Greco said (well, more or less)...
And yet you still can't tell us if this here RC buzzword, this other issue that should be redefined as "annulment in disguise", this other thing that virtually all evangelicals and Reformed reject, this here noble action, this huge RC buzzword, etc. are in keeping with the Gospel. The only reason why you reject homosexuality is because Scripture says so, but even at that point you are at a loss as to why.
Rhology said...
Gosh, thanks Alexander. The only reason why you reject homosexuality is because Scripture says so, but even at that point you are at a loss as to why. Right, b/c "God said so" is not nearly a good enough reason.

Luis the shadowboxer

I stepped back into this combox at the Jolly Nihilist's blog to correct one Luis' comments. Luis is a piece of work, for sure.  One of the more rabid types you'll find on t3h 1nt3rw3b2, and his emotion and fervor lead him to frequently misrepresent Christianity and creationism, and of course he doesn't care whether he's doing it.

Hi Luis,

Then you don't know the scientific community

Hahaha, I know it all too well.

Granted, some (many?) scientists cling onto their ideas with dogmatic zeal.

So you take with one hand and give back with the other. 
Yeah, Luis, it's MANY. 

However, most scientists would LOVE to be the harbingers of some radical new shakeup that overthrows the prevailing orthodoxy.

Blah blah blah.  I don't blv stuff like that until I see evidence of it.
Since ID has defeated Darwinism and since since pretty much all your "evidence" is actually evidence for ID, I have every reason to disbelieve that faithful, pious statement from you.

As for Darwinism (or at least the fact of evolution): the basic tenets are not in error.

I've never heard anyone argue that, say, mosquitos don't in fact evolve into...mosquitos. 
What I"m looking for is evidence that amœbæ evolved into giraffes or sthg.  You know, evidence that your position actually takes place.

They've been confirmed to such an extent by masses of overlapping evidence from disparate fields

Prove it.  Give me your best 5. 

being dogmatic doesn't preclude one from being right.

Oh, can I quote that back to you the next time you whine about those evil creationists? 

You don't like their tone

You must enjoy shadowboxing.  Where did I say that?

So, bats are birds, right?

So, you're a novice at this, right?

spirits and other logically incoherent entities

Prove that spirits are logically incoherent entities.  I'm chuckling at you now.  You're emoting.  You're a good acolyte.  They've got you right where they want you, man - you're their tool. 

...said your prescientific nomads

1) Please prove God didn't ALSO say that, THROUGH said prescientific nomads.
2) You have quite a butt-clenched definition of science.  You think they never did any experiments at all?  None?  Never saw repeated events and drew conclusions from those observations?  How could you possibly prove that?
Oh wait - you can't and don't care to.  We've seen that many times here already.

And neither were you, meaning that you have no "objective basis"

That's just a stupid statement.  GOD WAS THERE and He said how it went down.  The text is objective and static.  Doesn't depend on me at all. 

Overlapping evidence from disparate fields that all fits the predictions derived from Darwinian theory

1) Question-begging doesn't count as evidence.
2) If a given datum is explicated under Darwinism AND under YEC (I'm YEC, FYI), it's not evidence for either side. 

Uniformitarianism, in the sense of laws of nature that remain constant over an appreciable length of time, aren't an "assumption", they're a requirement of our existence. Why? Because if we lived in a universe that was precariously unstable, we wouldn't be here to talk about it since the requisite processes needed to bring us about wouldn't have been able to get under way

Doubt I could've said it better myself. 
Now, you can take un-ism on blind faith, and that's OK - just admit you're doing it.  It's pretty clear but y'all usually prefer to smokescreen and cover up that fact.
The question is:  If naturalism is true, how can you acct for that assumption?  Saying "We're here, so, you know, duh" isn't an answer - it's an expression of blind faith.  The Muslim could just as easily say "Allah is real.  How do I know?  We're here, so, you know, duh."

but I suppose that for someone who doesn't actually care about physics and chemistry

Not a big fan of correctly characterising opponents, eh?

the way in which the physical universe actually behaves won't matter since the non-physical mind-stuff vapor cloud called God can always come along and tinker as Rhology sees fit.

1) Another strawman.  Not as *I* see fit.
2) You're just begging the question wrt uniformitarianism, and also you fail to recognise the challenge that the problem of induction offers to your position.  But that's OK - you have faith!

also, how when one DOES apply uniformitarianism, the Darwinian narrative fits the actual observations beautifully.

1) Then it's just as funny how, when one DOES apply the Bible, the Christian narrative fits the actual observations beautifully.
Huh - crazy how that works.  Now justify your assumption.  All you're saying so far is that if you make a so-far-unjustified assumption that y'all made up, it all works out. 
2) And the facts DON'T fit. 

when predictions are made from Darwinism, and the observations are then made

That sounds a lot more like ID than Darwinism. 

because Tiktaalik roseae, a transitional form of the sort that evolutionary theory PREDICTS should exist

Prove that Tiktaalik had any children.  Go ahead. 
I'd encourage you to actually read Gee's book. 

even though you don't see any need to justify your own (genuine) assumption that the unstable God universe is more plausible than the stable Godless one I'm purporting

Right, that's why I have a 5-year old blog doing just that all the time. 
Don't these strawmen ever tire you a bit?

your cognitive faculties have been utterly decimated by years of religious indoctrination and self-reinforcing guff

Coming from someone who has no reason to think ANY human's cog faculties reliably produce true beliefs, that you think that doesn't bother me.

that the science used to construct the very computer you're using to spout your asinine propaganda

OOoh, Strawman #4!  You must be under the mistaken assumption that the Xtian worldview does not support science.  Or you're being dishonest b/c you're apparently a bit of a stuck-up jerk. 

since this very SAME science tells us that Mr Darwin knew quite a bit more than the ancients.

Or maybe the ancients knew not to make the same unjustified assumptions Darwin did.

If humanity had been constrained to use your "logic", we'd frankly still be burning witches.

1) Prove you know anything about Xtianity beyond your skewed strawman, and prove it.
2) Prove there's sthg morally wrong with burning witches, on naturalism.  Why is that a bad thing?  After all, if they weren't strong enough to avoid such a fate, it's more like a helpful thing that they were removed from the gene pool. 
If you can't prove either, let the reader note how ridiculous you sound - why should anyone listen to you?

The Cambrian Explosion? As in: the whole Burgess Shale shebang? Surely not.

Um, yes.  The very one. 

If so, you'd know that it bares NO RESEMBLANCE WHATSOEVER to Genesis...there was plenty of stuff happening BEFORE the CE

1) You're apparently having difficulty following the argument so far.  Let me help - we're talking about NATURALISM, not YEC.  So what's your explanation ON NATURALISM?
2) I'm YEC.  God created Adam and the rest of the organisms, and Eve, and the Earth, as mature specimens.  Not as fetuses.

representatives of many of the phyla present today don't even APPEAR until much later than the Cambrian, which kind of makes a mockery of your "God dunnit"

Why?  Uh oh, not more self-referential question-begging about the age of fossils that you can't prove had children.  You're not doing that, right?  You'd look like a fool if you were, so hopefully you'll think a bit deeply and give a good reason.

don't try using science to bolster your Bronze Age mythologies

Man, thank God you're here to tell me not to do what I'm not doing!

I'll "interact with" the Cambrian explosion any day of the week.

Please do.  Start now.  I'll give you a mulligan on your first 4 tries just now.

"Your "Bronze Age" comment commits the genetic fallacy and also the bias of modernity."

Translation: using reason is beyond the pale, and we must revert back to modes of thinking from a time when people believe

So, no answer.  Noted. 
I mean, you don't even care that you re-committed the genetic fallacy!  What conclusion should a truth-seeker draw about you when you don't care that you engage in fallacious reasoning?

"Logical fallacies and prejudicial bias are no place to begin a rational conversation,"

While rejecting the whole field of evolutionary theory is?

1) You know, maybe I have good reason to do so.
2) Go ahead, prove that evolutionary theory is as well-attested and foundational as is logic itself. Have fun.

"but that's generally par for the course for Internet naturalists/selective skeptics."

And the world's most proficient scientists, apparently

1) Yes, it's quite obvious that many, especially the most loud-mouthed, scientists are complete novices when it comes to logic and philosophy.
2) And you couldn't have thrown them under the bus any better than you just did!  Luis gives good backhanded compliments - "the world's most proficient scientists" care little for their logical fallacies and prejudicial biases.  Hahahahahaa.  That's pretty funny stuff.

Monday, August 16, 2010

In case you feel like joining in

I promised The Chemist and bossmanham some weeks ago that I'd let y'all know if I happened to chuck a pebble at, say ERV.  So consider this your invitation to join in.


Contaminating science with religion. Creating an abominable vanilla-chocolate twisty ice-cream cone of an actual fun thing, a real thing we do in science, hypothesizing on historic or fictional stories:
The Bible does not describe if any members of the family including Andrew and Simon developed febrile illness, before or subsequent to her febrile illness. The characteristic features of seasonal influenza include abrupt onset of fever, chills, non-productive cough, myalgias, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, and fatigue. The diagnosis is mainly clinical. Seasonal influenza would be less likely if no members of the family were affected. Avian influenza and other respiratory viruses may cause isolated infection without efficient human-to-human transmission. In any case, influenza-like illness due to a respiratroy virus would explain her symptomatology and clincial course.
... with religion.
One final consideration that one might have is whether the illness was inflicted by a demon or devil.
Ugh, gross.
It was probably accepted on the terms that it was a fun game: Hey, what illness could this character in the Bible have had? What poison might this Shakespearean character have used? What kind of mental illness could have inspired the 'madness' of Dionysus?

But the authors didnt treat it as 'fun'. They treated it as reality, and its stupid. And the reviewers should have noted that just by reading the first sentence of the goddamn abstract:
The Bible describes the case of a woman with high fever cured by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Its been retracted. Cue Christian persecution in science in 3... 2... 1...

I said:

This is not a scientific blogpost. You have no means of going back in time to observe once, let alone multiple repeated times, what was going on.
You can't prove the negative that the woman WASN'T healed by Jesus. Or that she was possessed by demons.
You can't even make a reasonably sure statement that such things don't occur TODAY. You can't observe what happens all over the world.

So...thanks for the op-ed. It's a bit disingenuous to spice it up with big science-y words, so as to give the impression that this is actually science at work.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Low hanging fruit - 2

izbo10 has gotten back to me.  Unfortunately, his response provided little of the boastful words he wrote me yesterday:  "dude when i get home from work tonight be prepared to have this crap butchered umkay". 

What he did provide is more of the same bluster.  He had a lot of arguments from me to choose from, and didn't seem to engage any of them.
(Oh, and I didn't correct or change any spelling...or lack thereof.)

izbo10:  Here's the point, you have came on my page and said kerrigan won, strangely you have failed to live up to demonstrating your god, it is an absolute failure on your part. Either your and kerrigan's argument from morailty is a red herring or its a god of the gaps argument. Please, if you know what a syllagism is present and argument you or dumb*** kerrigan have made that actually presents a logical argument that concludes god. Maybe you should actually try understanding the context in which I made said statement. You were saying kerrigan destroyed me using the morality argument and i was saying i would love for you to show me how a god who agrees with this type of action is moral. Your god clearly agrees with it since he is all powerful and does nothing to stop what he knows will happen. Try actually using logic next time umkay?

Hosea 13:16 for god agreeing with pregnant women having their stomachs ripped open, a moral being who is powerful enough to stop this ****, does unless of course said being agrees and hence they would be immoral.

P.s. you like to mock me you have proven to be a parrot who other than parroting philosophical terms is one brain cell short of a brain cell, now see how ad hominem works?

My reply:  Hello izbo10,
you have failed to live up to demonstrating your god
Kerrigan did.  I'm not obligated to reinvent the wheel.

Either your and kerrigan's argument from morailty is a red herring or its a god of the gaps argument.

that actually presents a logical argument that concludes god.
And *there's* your problem.  Neither of us CONCLUDE God's existence.  We demonstrate that God is a necessary precondition for rationality and morality.  You have not yet understood our argument.  I suggest you start trying.

You were saying kerrigan destroyed me using the morality argument
I did no such thing.  I said he destroyed you, period.  You brought up the morality angle.  I corrected you on this last message - are you just not reading what I write to you, are you a disrespectful punk, or are you possessed of low intelligence?
For the record, my guess is disrespectful punk, but you can change that by actually addressing what I write.

Your god clearly agrees with it since he is all powerful and does nothing to stop what he knows will happen.
1) How could you possibly know that?  Murder of children happens all the time in the world, and many more are tempted to murder than actually do.  So unless you can prove a universal negative (and have fun with that), this statement is impossible to substantiate.
2) My last msg dealt specifically with this.  My blogpost went into even more detail.
Namely, the other reason I call your statement about "God has zero problem" wrong is b/c, even if God did command ripping open pregnant women at one or more specific times in the past, that is not at all the same as saying God has ZERO problem with it.  Since God has commanded not to murder and not to commit abortion to all people NOW, that means that God does have a problem with it, and one is greater than zero.
3) Are you 100% pro-life?  If not, what problem specifically do you have with God's being pro-choice?
4) If you respond "but abortion is OK if the woman consents", one wonders how you could morally justify that statement, that consent renders something permissible, whatever the action.  I might agree in certain cases (though not in the case of abortion; for one thing, the baby was never inquired of) but I don't see how your worldview can justify it.

Hosea 13:16 for god agreeing with pregnant women having their stomachs ripped open, a moral being who is powerful enough to stop this ****, does unless of course said being agrees and hence they would be immoral.
1) Asserting a reason for morality does not make it so.
2) You'll recall that I gave you 3 points to make sure that your chosen biblical psg actually does teach what you say it teaches.  Here they are:

a. I'd be interested in seeing what psgs you mention. Does the context make clear that GOD IS COMMANDING SUCH? Or is God telling people what is going to happen at the hands of evil men? From my doublecheck just now, it looks like the latter.

b. Even if you could find a psg where God specifically commands that pregnant women be ripped open, don't you remember that asserting a reason for morality does not make it so?

c. Also, if you could find a psg like that, you said "God has zero problem with it", which is entirely inaccurate. What about the more general commands to people not to commit murder? Even one counterexample disproves your statement that God has ZERO problem with it. It would demonstrate that He has a least one problem with it.

The verse says: 
16Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.

So, the answer is FAIL. God didn't command it; He predicted it. 
I take it from your fail that you cannot substantiate your point about God commanding ripping open pregnant women.  Thanks for playing.

Finally, I missed where I ad hominem-ed you. Please quote me doing so.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Low hanging fruit

I recently listened to a debate on God's existence that ranks right up there with Bahnsen vs Stein and WL Craig vs Peter Atkins in the category of "Theist utterly dominates atheist".  I say "theist" b/c the theist in question is one Kerrigan Skelly, who is a full Pelagian and thus a total heretic and thus not a Christian at all.  Doesn't mean I can't still enjoy his output in certain cases, like Vox Day, whom I read most days and who is also a heretic. 

The debate was interesting for two reasons:  1) It's always enjoyable when an atheist is so utterly dominated, even when he clearly has a helper talking to him in the background; and 2) Skelly uses the Transcendental Argument for God's existence (TAG), which is a presuppositional argument.  I didn't know of a presuppositional apologist who is not a Calvinist, and yet Skelly hates Calvinism and is a Pelagian.  So it was weird but interesting.

Anyway, I left a note on the atheist Erik Dickerson's YouTube channel (username izbo10), letting him know that Skelly "butchered" him in the debate.  Obviously izbo10 didn't take kindly to that characterisation of the debate, and here's our back and forth so far:

Me (on his public page):  Howdy. Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that Skelly butchered you in y'all's debate. But I give you kudos for engaging him in formal debate. Here's hoping you learn a bit about the Transcendental Argument for God's existence and about defending your own presuppositions before you debate again, for the good of everyone!
Peace to you,

izbo10 (on his public page):  Thanks Rhology for listening, I disagree with you on the outcome of the debate. I don't think he made a single good point that i didn't address as a logical fallacy. My only purpose for the debate was for him to not give any good reasons for god. I was not there to get into red herring debates about where my morals or inductive reasoning came from. He needed to demonstrate that these things came from his god. He did not he merely asserted and I called him on it. I think people would be better served to listen to the substance of what is being said rather than falling for the fallacious idea of who says what they are saying better, in spite of the obvious flaws in what they are saying.

izbo10 (hereafter via PM):  You posted on my page you think skully butchered me. I tend to disagree, while he won in his ability to sound better on the radio, his points were nonsense and I pointed this out. His arguments were nothing more than red herrings and god of the gaps arguments. I will break them down to their core if you like. Its hard doing so in a radio debate. I'd love to know how a guy who said morality came from god and then turns around and says its perfect to rip pregnant women's stomachs open with swords or its perfect to watch children get raped, butchered anyone. Just wondering?

Me:   He challenged you on this, and I see you didn't learn anything. Please prove that ripping open pregnant women is objectively wrong. Prove that ANYthing is objectively wrong, if atheism is true. Don't appeal to emotions. Appeal to reasoned argumentation.

izbo10:  Are you dense, asserting a reason for morality does not make it so, especially when that reason contradicts what we know to be moral. Morality is a far more complex thing then to have one source, i stand by that a good portion of morality is determined by benefit to society, though its not the be all end all. Other factors play into it.
I would hope that we both agree its wrong to rip pregnant women's stomachs open, yet your god has zero problem with this. We would hopefully both agree slavery is wrong, yet your god again has zero problem with it. That makes your god an irrational explanation for morality, hence even if you take my argument from society off the table it does not mean its your god, its still very unlikely your disgustingly immoral god, could be the source of morality.
Your and his argument is not reasoned argumentation its a god of the gaps fallacy/argument from ignorance fallacy. Atheists don't know where morality came from, assert god, jump up and down like a ___ing moron thinking you won.

This does not make a good sound logical syllogism:

premise 1:Morality exists
premise 2:god is the only source of morality (nice assertion prove this jackass)

conclusion: god exists.

Its not a logical argument when i can do this

premise 1: morality exists
premise 2: pinky the invisible ___ing pink unicorn is the only source of morality(see i too can assert you jackass)

conclusion: pinky the invisible pink unicorn exists

See how that doesn't ****ing work, umkay unless you want to add the fallacy of special pleading to your list of growing fallacies.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Roman Catholic Delusions

lozeerose graced us with his presence on the previous post and inundated us with prooftexts for the unquestioned authority of the Roman Church.  I have some questions and comments on that whole mess.  Also of note is Vox Veritatis' interaction with these statements in the same combox.


What Vox said.

Also, I have some questions for you, and there will be some overlap.

You cited a zillion out-of-context Bible psgs.  Why do that if I have no "authority to interpret" them?  Why give with one hand and take back with the other?  For that matter, on what basis do YOU cite them?  Do you have some sort of authority to interpret them?

You said:
The Church indeed teaches on the permanence of marriage.

Is that just your interpretation?  Why should anyone accept your individual fallible non-authoritative word for it?
If your response resembles: "Well, just read the Church docs for yourself," then
1) How would that help?  My interp wouldn't be authoritative.
2) Why is it possible to read Church docs but not Scripture?

If you are suggesting that we accept the RCC a priori as the infallible interpreter, please let me know why I should.  After all, there's lots of competition out there for that spot!  EOC, the Watchtower, the LDS, David Koresh, José Luís de Jesús Miranda, etc.  If your response resembles: "Just check which church has the pedigree and the line of apostolic succession," then
1) EOC claims the same thing.  How can I know who's right?
2) Is it just your non-authoritative interp that apostolic succession/pedigree are the hallmarks of The One True Church®?
3) If I were in fact to check apostolic succession, wouldn't that be non-authoritative interp on my part?  If you proceed to tell me to give up on that personal interp stuff, isn't that begging the entire question?
4) If JW/LDS, for example, is the infallible interpreter, wouldn't their interpretation of church history (including a Great Apostasy and later Restoration) be correct by definition, since it's infallible?  (This will require that you examine the power of presuppositions.  Here's hoping you do better on this count than other RCs I've met.)

You suggest that "disunity" in the church is impossible to consider.  I submit to you the following:
1) You have apparently not wrestled with the interplay that "pro-unity" psgs like the ones you cited have with "a certain amount of diversity is tolerable, b/c 1) God has ordained that there would be some disagreement, for a particular reason; and 2) we are not yet in the Eschaton and sin and limited biblical knowledge and understanding exist in everyone" psgs such as 1 John 2, 1 Cor 8, Romans 14, 1 Cor 11:18-19, and Jesus' High Priestly prayer in John 17.
2) "Sacred Tradition" doesn't produce unity either.  In fact, it produces LESS unity than does Sola Scriptura.
3) You live in a fantasy land if you think RCC has "unity" as you're proposing is necessary to be a valid and true church.
4) What's more, you're instating an over-realised eschatology.  There's a reason why this is not Heaven.  (Unfortunately, holding close to official RCC dogma will ensure you never see Heaven.)

To illustrate this point, let me take this statement of yours:
if there is only one God (in this case the Holy Spirit), then can there be various, differing (sometimes drastically) interpretations of Scripture?

If there is only one God (in this case the Holy Spirit), then can there be various, differing (sometimes drastically) interpretations of Sacred Tradition?
Since the answer is apparently a big "Yes", then that's my answer to your own question.

You said:
if you are inspired by the Holy Spirit and I as well

As Vox said, neither of us are, so let's wave good-bye to that "if".

You said:
1 Tim 3:15, "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth," which church does is he speaking of?

1) He's speaking of the local church of Ephesus.  Easy enough.
2) Did you ever stop to consider that a pillar and bulwark hold something else (ie, the Scripture) up?
3) Since you're big into Sacred Tradition, why did Irenæus apply the words "ground and pillar of our faith" to the Scripture, not the church, and especially not the church or bishop of Rome?

Finally, on annulments, I know what the Church *claims*.  I'm unimpressed with empty claims.  If you take a married couple and "annul" the marriage after children have been produced, that's a divorce.  It's not as if the marriage never took place!  If so, whence the children?
This reminds me of past Popes' debauched lifestyles.  Y'all RCs are quick to remind us that Popes are not impeccable, but then you point out when Protestant pastors have engaged in sexual immorality.  According to 1 Timothy and Titus, these pastors are not fit for leadership and should be removed.  If so, so should these Popes have been removed.  They were not, but biblically, they were disqualified from eldership/bishopric.  Yet they stayed in their positions.  Yet biblically they were not true elders.  Then you have the gall to claim unbroken succession.  The whole thing is laughable.