How Compelling is Christianity’s Cumulative Case?

I recently responded to the Argument from Mathematics. Apologist William Lane Craig marvels at how mathematics explains much of the physical world.

But if that is surprising, we must ask Craig what world we should expect to see instead. He offers nothing, so then what is there to be surprised at? (See my post for the complete response.)

William Lane Craig’s bravado

At best, Christian apologists can point to some philosophical ambiguity that they hope to resolve with God, but this ignores the fact that science and math have been the only disciplines from which we’ve ever learned about reality, and the Christians’ discipline of theology has delivered no testable results despite millennia of trying.

At the end of the interview, Craig says:

Honestly, I think [God] is the only explanation on the table. I don’t see what the competing naturalistic hypotheses are.

The very existence of WLC’s proposed answer is in doubt. I don’t know whether to marvel more at his audacity to push a hypothesis with no evidence or his gall to think we’re too stupid to notice. Once again WLC sits at the children’s table. “God did it” doesn’t rise to the level of an actual useful explanation that, y’know, explains things. It’s as useful as “Fairies did it.”

If you have no standards, sure, you can label any string of words an “explanation,” but for the rest of us, an explanation needs to pass some minimum test of credibility. Does it answer more questions than it raises? Does it make new predictions? Is it testable? Falsifiable? Does it seem to be agenda-driven wishful thinking? Has this kind of explanation ever been accepted by science before?

Remember that this is the scholar called “one of Christianity’s leading defenders” and “arguably the world’s foremost defender of historic Christianity,” which say much for the standards within Christian apologetics.

If there are unanswered questions, science goes with, “We don’t know … yet.” Let’s stick with that.

This illustrates two problems with how apologists deal with arguments. I’d like to highlight them so you can more quickly spot them in the future.

1. These caltrop arguments mean little to apologists

Caltrop arguments are arguments used as a rearguard action. They don’t make much of a positive argument for Christianity and are only used defensively to deflect atheist arguments.

The Argument from Mathematics isn’t a hill that any apologist will defend to the death. They won’t bother since none use it as an argument to support their own faith. They didn’t come to faith after being convinced by this argument (or the Transcendental Argument or the Ontological Argument or the Design Argument or the Moral Argument), and their faith doesn’t rest on them.

They have nothing of consequence at stake. They may enthusiastically defend the Fine Tuning Argument, say, but once science has an explanation, they’ll discard that argument like a used tissue and grope for another. “Well, how about this one?” they’ll ask with the next argument du jour. “Do I get any points this time?” An apologist would trot out the Argument from Flavors or Colors of the Rainbow if he thought they’d help.

Their argument is simply, “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.” That’s not much of an argument, especially since it bets against the only horse that ever wins.

Not only do these arguments form no part of Craig’s evidential foundation, not only does he have no direct evidence supporting his position, but he doesn’t care. He’s content to pretend that an internal conviction of his own correctness trumps any arguments that I could possibly present (more here and here).

2. The failure of the cumulative case

Jim Wallace (of the Cold Case Christianity podcast) argues that Christianity is historically accurate. He claims that this is a cumulative case, like that built by the prosecution in a murder trial.

I disagree with just about every facet of the argument for the historicity of Christianity, but let’s put that aside. I want to introduce the idea of a Christian cumulative case because that’s what William Lane Craig seems to think he’s building.

A cumulative case for a murder trial might show that the accused had motive, that he is connected to the murder weapon (through fingerprints, say), that he had opportunity (no alibi), that other suspects are poor candidates, and so on. Each successful claim strengthens a single overall case.

Contrast that with the case often made for pseudoscience. Consider how the argument for Bigfoot is often made, for example. Here is a large plaster cast that claims to be the impression of a Bigfoot footprint. Here’s the photo of pressed-down vegetation, claimed to be a sleeping area. Here’s a tuft of fur. Here’s a story from a hunter who heard something scary. They’re from different places and times, there is no connection between them, and they invite other explanations besides a Bigfoot. The Bigfoot proponent admits that any one factoid is weak but hopes that the sheer volume will be compelling.

Not really. This isn’t a collection of mutually supporting facts that fit, jigsaw-puzzle-like, into a consistent whole as a cumulative case would. It’s just a big pile of unrelated facts. This kind of argument wasn’t convincing in centuries past for alchemy or homeopathy, and it isn’t convincing today for astrology or Bigfoot.

Let’s return to the William Lane Craig throw-spaghetti-against-the-wall-to-see-if-it-sticks approach to apologetics. If you dismissed one of his arguments, he’d reach into his top hat and pull out another one. He apparently imagines a cumulative case, with a big pile of so-so arguments adding up to a great big hug with Jesus.

But this is a sign of weakness, not strength. These are the unrelated, big-pile-of-crap arguments of those who claim that Bigfoot exists or that space aliens perform experiments on people. I’m not saying that claims for God, Bigfoot, or space aliens are necessarily false; I’m just distinguishing this kind of argument from an actual cumulative case.

WLC puts his reputation on the line when he backs an apologetic argument. He gets the credit when the argument is strong, but he also takes the hit when the argument does nothing more than introduce us to a curious question. We already know that science has unanswered questions. If his argument devolves into merely this observation, he gives no argument for God, he wastes our time, and his reputation must be blemished as a result. Don’t let him wriggle away from a stinker of an argument without consequences.

Some believers accuse skeptics of having nothing left
but a dull, cold, scientific world.
I am left with only art, music, literature, theatre,
the magnificence of nature, mathematics, the human spirit,
sex, the cosmos, friendship, history, science, imagination,
dreams, oceans, mountains, love, and the wonder of birth.
That’ll do for me.
— Lynne Kelly

Image credit: Bradley Newman, flickr, CC

"He likes to hear himself talk. (Not that I couldn't be accused of the same ..."

George Washington Couldn’t Tell a Lie ..."
"It's impossible for me to know whether the Clapper is hidden somewhere, if you are ..."

The Bible Story Reboots. Have You ..."
"Interesting. But I thought it was the other way around. Peter was the Jew, preaching ..."

Human Sacrifice in the Bible (2 ..."
"i guess that would do it, He says he has already blocked me, which is ..."

George Washington Couldn’t Tell a Lie ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • KarlUdy

    At best, Christian apologists can point to some philosophical ambiguity that they hope to resolve with God, but this ignores the fact that science and math have been the only disciplines from which we’ve ever learned about reality, and the Christians’ discipline of theology has delivered no testable results despite millennia of trying.

    If what you say is true then your position has some merit.

    However, your points are at best not established, and at worst out right false.

    To say that every argument proposed by apologists rests on “philosophical ambiguities” is an interesting point considering that it is an New Atheist, Lawrence Krauss who relies on ambiguity surrounding his definition of “nothing” to argue against an unambiguous argument such as the Cosmological Argument.

    Most of the arguments for God are not ambiguous. The fact is that many atheists would like them to be, and so treat them as if they are.

    It is also not true that math and science are the only disciplines from which we’ve ever learned about reality. To begin with, you are begging the question by assuming that reality and the physical world are synonymous. Secondly, there are many fields of learning outside of maths and science, such as philosophy, literature, art and music from which we can learn about reality. To say nothing of theology, which you deny the ability to teach us about reality for the simple reason that you define reality so narrow as to exclude the possibility of the divine.

    • Arnold J Rimmer

      “To begin with, you are begging the question by assuming that reality and the physical world are synonymous.”

      reality
      noun

      1.
      the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
      “he refuses to face reality”
      synonyms:the real world, real life, actuality; More

      2.
      the state or quality of having existence or substance.
      “youth, when death has no reality”

      No assumption needed.

      • Wow–you’re way smarter than I remember you from the TV show.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          Well I do have a BSC. 😉

        • Swimming is so often overlooked–good for you.

          Did you get around to reading the microdot?

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          It said I was a special agent hand picked by the Space Corp for a secret mission.

      • KarlUdy

        No assumption needed.

        So you are taking that nothing divine exists as a fact in an argument about whether the divine exists, and you think that is not begging the question?

        • MNb

          No, he says that you don’t need any assumption to state the divine does not exist. Hey, let this theologian teach you something:

          “To derive a divine world from the concrete world requires a salto mortale.”
          Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, deconverted in 1879.

          You are the one making assumptions – to be more precise: a lot more unfounded assumptions than atheists do.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          No, just that reality and the physical world are synonymous.
          What divine things can you show to exist?

    • Dys

      The Cosmological Argument most definitely relies on ambiguities when used by apologists. The actual argument only supports the notion that the universe in its present form had a cause. But the apologists take the ambiguity of ’cause’, and make it an uncaused omnipotent personal deity existing outside of space and time.

      To say nothing of theology, which you deny the ability to teach us about reality for the simple reason that you define reality so narrow as to exclude the possibility of the divine.

      That’s not a case of defining reality narrowly, rather it’s a recognition that theology has never demonstrated any ability to instruct on reality. There’s a reason we’ve made it much farther investigating reality with science than someone could even attempt to claim theology has. Theology is useful in discovering the reality of what people believe, and can inform discussions on how a culture developed, but that doesn’t have any bearing on whether the theological claims have any basis in reality.

      • Worse, apologists ignore the fact that “cause” doesn’t work in a cause-y way in the quantum domain.

        • TheNuszAbides

          move over, Unmoved Mover! well actually, you’re just fine ‘where’ you ‘are’, because the Uncaused (Self-Caused?) ‘Causer’ is in the house!

      • KarlUdy

        The Cosmological Argument most definitely relies on ambiguities when used by apologists. The actual argument only supports the notion that the universe in its present form had a cause. But the apologists take the ambiguity of ’cause’, and make it an uncaused omnipotent personal deity existing outside of space and time.

        Are you telling me that you have never heard any apologists argue why they believe the first cause is an uncaused omnipotent personal deity existing outside of time and space?

        • MNb

          What I am telling you is that the argument is based on the wrong assumption that our material reality is causal, the wrong assumption that there has to be a first cause (the chain could be circular) and that there has to be only one cause iso of many (given the about 30 natural constants). Plus indeed it’s based on the wrong assumption that if our material reality is causal, if the chain of cause of effect is linear and finite, if there has to be only one cause iso many, if that one first cause has to be immaterial that that first cause doesn’t need to be uncaused. The CA is a fine example of what I wrote above.
          1. It rejects modern physics, which says that our material reality is probabilistic.
          2. It uses assumptions that can be rejected, like linearity.
          3. It contradicts itself because typicall it accepts some scientific claims (like the Big Bang, like the fact that some scientific theories are causal indeed) and rejects others (see 1).

        • Dys

          Sure, I’ve heard explanations as to why they’ve decided the first cause just happens to be their particular version of their particular god with all the typical characteristics. But it still stems from the ambiguity of the word cause.

          And of course, the arguments themselves are a classic example of working backward from a desired conclusion. So I find the jump they make from generic cause to personal deity more than a little self-serving, and unwarranted.

        • Kodie

          I have also never heard where they think an uncaused immaterial conscious anthropomorphic entity got the materials.

        • Dys

          Yeah, I usually have to point that out when apologists inevitably resort to the horrendous “You think everything came from nothing” cliche. They apparently forget that creation ex nihilo is their belief, not mine.

        • katiehippie

          Why couldn’t god have made Adam that way? Nooooo, he makes dirt first and then makes Adam out of that.

        • Dys

          Because it’s mysterious…whoo-oo-oo-oo!

        • Kodie

          I have never heard why they believe that’s the most plausible, no.

        • MNb

          I do.
          Because of the empty tomb.

        • TheNuszAbides

          there it is! evidential absence [within an immaterial narrative] is absence of anti-evidence!

          …or something.

        • Kodie

          So we are just dealing with people who are easily taken advantage of.

        • Skeptiker

          Care to give some examples of apologists justifying that “the first cause is an uncaused omnipotent personal deity existing outside of time and space” without using handwaving but based on solid arguments? In addition, justify why that deity is the Christian god.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Aquinas.

        • Skeptiker

          Excuse my ignorance. Did Aquinas justify that that deity is the Christian god?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i think he’s just challenging you to have as much free time as Aquinas did.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Definitely. And that angels and demons exist and that the Catholic Sacrament are the right ones and much more. The Summa Theologica is an impressive work. It doesn’t hold water in the end, but he doesn’t gloss over much.

        • Susan

          Did Aquinas justify that that deity is the Christian god?

          No. He just stated it to be.

          I think Scott is being facetious.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I wasn’t trying to be facetious, even if I don’t buy Aquinas’s argument. Aquinas tries very carefully and thoroughly to demonstrate that the Christian God and many related phenomena can be proven through reason.

          His main problem, as far as I understand it (and there are many others more qualified than I), is that some of his initial assertions–the allegedly non-controversial observations he makes about the world–are incorrect. There may also be problems in his logic, but when the premises are false, the rest of it falls apart anyway.

        • Susan

          Hi Scott,

          I wasn’t trying to be facetious, even if I don’t buy Aquinas’s argument.

          That occurred to me too, that you might have been referring to Aquinas’s attempts to justify an agent.

          Because I don’t see where he comes close, but just leapfrogs to assert it, I thought maybe you were being facetious.

          Have you read Aquinas’s arguments? I haven’t. I am familiar with many of them from discussions with catholics in which I read the references but I can’t bring myself to wade through Aquinas. If you’ve read him, can you point to the areas where he makes his best arguments for an agent? I’d be willing to read those.

          some of his initial assertions–the allegedly non-controversial observations he makes about the world–are incorrect.

          That’s a big problem. He was wrong about the way reality works and based his metaphysical thoughts on that wrongness. Hard to blame him for that.

          It’s frustrating that in 2015, catholics look to him for ultimate models of reality though. They call it “metaphysics” and claim it trumps “physics”.

          It’s a way of clinging to a 2000 year old cult and still feeling intellectual for doing so.

        • Yes, I’ve seen that before as well. It’s amazing when they’ll look at modern cosmology wrestling with the questions at the edge of science–giving us enormous information but with issues yet to resolve–and falling back to medieval thinking as if that’s a trump card.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Hi Susan. I’ve read some Aquinas–it’s way too dense for me to go through most of it, though!

          Honestly, I think a person can start with Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summa_Theologica.

          You can read bits and pieces of the Summa here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/.

          The “5 ways” we can allegedly prove God exists are here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm (see article 3).

          After that, Aquinas purports to show that God is perfect, omnipresent, loving, part of the Trinity, and much more.

          I think you are right, by the way, that modern Catholics (Edward Feser is the one I’ve looked at most closely) who insist that “metaphysics” is better than “physics” for understanding the world are clinging to a discredited theory in order to support Aquinas’s arguments. Feser’s books (“The Last Superstition” and “Aquinas”) are interesting to read if you have time and patience.

        • Pofarmer

          Bob might have written posts on the 5 ways, or maybe it just came up in the comments here. But the 5 ways just seems like another version of the Cosmological argument, from what I’ve interacted with it.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, Aquinas arguments are based on Aristotles arguments, and very nearly all of Aristotles “physics” are wrong, so, by necessity, all of Aquinas work trying to justify them and work them into Catholic philosophy are also wrong. Dude wasted his life. What is mystifying to me, is that folks try to use Aristotlean metaphysics, when his physics were completely flawed. They throw away everything but the unprovable parts.

        • MNb

          Even funnier is Edward Feser analysing an arm (biology) moving (phsyics) a branch of a tree (biology) a la Aristoteles and then claiming it’s about metaphysics.

        • Pofarmer

          I should probably read some Feser, but I really don’t want to.

        • Scott_In_OH

          The most important thing I got out of reading his books was the realization that he (and apparently Aquinas) really doesn’t just think the universe had to be started by a first cause, but that EVERY ACTION does. The stone is moved by a stick, which is moved by a hand, which is moved by an arm, all of which must have some permanent, unchanging foundation–the Unmoved Mover–to make it possible.

          Part of one of the Catholic prayers says, “Through [God] we live and move and have our being.” The idea is that without God’s presence everywhere, all the time, all motion in the universe would simply cease. I didn’t know that was supposed to be literal, but Feser tells me that’s what Aquinas shows.

          (And Pofarmer, it was a discussion in the comments here that pointed me toward Feser. An Aquinas supporter was insisting I needed to read Feser and understand metaphysics before critiquing Aquinas, so I gave it a shot.)

        • Pofarmer

          Isn’t the “understanding” to metaphysics that it’s just presuppositionalist apologetics?

        • MNb

          As far as I have read Feser (not far at all, I immediately admit) this is not what he claims. He claims that he makes a metaphysical analysis of causality. On his blog I have read the “the stone is moved by a stick” stuff. Please don’t try to make sense of it, his shit makes my head spin. What I got out of it (and undoubtedly he will claim that I misrepresent him) is that he uses a physical example to illustrate how the Cosmological Argument metaphysically is true. Or something.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, then he is just doing the typical apologist trick of using “philosophy to make an argument too complicated to easily refute.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Yep. And it’s all supposedly straight out of Aristotle, who somehow understood the world better than modern physicists. Lots of effort to distinguish between things like “actuality” and “potentiality,” as well as “form” and “matter” (although differently than Plato). These categories of things are supposed to be self-evident (they are not), and from their existence, we are supposed to be able to derive knowledge about God and other such non-corporeal beings.

        • Pofarmer

          And people today get paid for this “knowledge”?

        • adam

        • Ignorant Amos

          You all need special Feser glasses to understand Feser and the righteous understanding of the arguments.

          http://www.strangenotions.com/author/edward-feser/

          He is also an obnoxious cunt*

          * apologies to those Yanks that are still hung up on the word, second thoughts, feck that. See section 2 of…

          http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/cuntcunt

          Tolerance/intolerance?

        • Pofarmer

          What. In. The. Fuck. Why did you give me that link? Why?

          So, here is where we are before we even get to the issue of radioactive decay: Purportedly physics-based objections to Scholastic metaphysics—including ”

          You gotta be kidding me. Scholastic metaphysics has been dead as a thing for HUNDREDS of years. Nobody objects to it. No working scientist cares about it.

        • Some things you just can’t un-see.

          Isn’t it marvelous the clarity that results from setting a decent philosopher onto a problem?

          Or not.

        • Pofarmer

          And people wonder why science stagnated for thousands of years. It’s precisely attitudes like that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hurts the brain doesn’t it?

          I thought I was easing you in there, I coulda linked straight to the tits blog. At least at SN the comments are not all sycophantic, at least up until all the atheists got banhammered by the site owner for one reason or another, or no reason at all in a lot of cases.

        • I got banned at Charisma News. I complained to the webmaster and, after some haggling, got reinstated (though I haven’t tried to comment again to test that).

          Just one data point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha…good for you, getting banhammered AND reinstated, way ta go Bob.

          The Strange Notions tale is epic though. Mass culls and months of atheists comments deleted in a night of the long knives. Upshot, a renegade site called “Outside the Sun” created to kick back and allow the unclean to have a voice.

          In Jan 2014 the Catholic blog/debate site “Strange Notions”, which had expressly invited debate from atheists, banned many of its most prominent atheist commenters (including Andrew G., the owner of this blog) and deleted over a thousand of their comments. They also deleted all discussion of the incident.

          For now, the posts labelled “Estranged Notions” are being offered as an alternative venue for discussion.

          I’ve seen a number of familiar monikers from there, here at your damn fine establishment.

        • MNb

          “that EVERY ACTION does.”
          That pops up in all versions of the Cosmological Argument sooner or later. And as you already remarked it flat out contradicts Modern Physics. The fun thing with Feser is that if you criticize him this way he says that it’s about metaphysics, not physics. How can I take such a guy seriously?

        • MNb

          I strongly advise against it if you prefer to maintain your mental health. Compared to him your family in law is the summum of reason. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Both first paragraphs of these blogposts say it all:

          “This post ties in with the post series I’m writing on arguments for the existence of God, but I don’t consider it a part of the post series proper. Rather, I want to pre-empt a problem I suspect I may have to deal with with the next post. The problem is this: Catholic philosopher Ed Feser has basically made a career out of throwing temper tantrums about things atheists do, and I don’t want to feed that.”

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2012/07/ed-fesers-temper-tantrum/

          “Edward Feser has posted a reply of sorts to my two essays from last week (Part One, Part Two.) Turns out he’s pretty touchy about people who are dismissive of the cosmological argument. The post is quite long and only a small portion of it is directed specifically at me. Since most of that portion is just a temper tantrum about the lack of respect shown to the philosophy of religion, I feel no desire to respond in detail.”

          http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2011/07/22/le-poidevin-on-the-cosmologica/

          Trust your instinct and emotion in this case. You’re better off.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          He is actually very good at explaining what Aquinas said. But as an actual philosopher, Feser is inept. And he is always a homophobic, nasty-minded, egotist.

          Read him, but shower afterwards.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s all well and good to understand Aquinas. But isn’t part of that also understanding that Aquinas is irrelevant to modern science?

    • it is an New Atheist, Lawrence Krauss who relies on ambiguity surrounding his definition of “nothing” to argue against an unambiguous argument such as the Cosmological Argument.

      Ambiguity? You mean he’s trying to trick people? I’m certain that he’s quite open about what the properties of his “nothing” are. He might surprise you, but he wouldn’t trick you.

      WLC likes to whine about the “philosopher’s nothing”—that is, absolutely nothing. And I’m kind of in sympathy, because that’s what “nothing” would mean to me. But we’re not in the domain of philosophy but cosmology. Since Krauss is quite open about what he’s talking about, I’m intrigued to see if his argument gains traction.

      Most of the arguments for God are not ambiguous.

      An argument for the sun is: “See that bright thing up in the sky? That.” That’s a good argument because it’s evidence based and it’s easily understood. God arguments aren’t like that. I would call them more ambiguous, but perhaps you have better terms. Fuzzy? Sloppy? Suggest something if you have something better.

      there are many fields of learning outside of maths and science, such as philosophy, literature, art and music from which we can learn about reality. To say nothing of theology

      I’m happy to accept input from other fields. History, for example–although the thinking behind good history strikes me as the same as that behind good science.

      I don’t know that you “learn about reality” from music or literature, but it’s nice if it expands one’s mind. I don’t know what philosophers have done for me lately, so update me if I’m overlooking something. Theology, however, doesn’t tell us much. Since there is no consensus view among theologians except perhaps “there is a supernatural,” I’m surprised that this is included.

      • KarlUdy

        WLC likes to whine about the “philosopher’s nothing”—that is, absolutely nothing. And I’m kind of in sympathy, because that’s what “nothing” would mean to me. But we’re not in the domain of philosophy but cosmology. Since Krauss is quite open about what he’s talking about, I’m intrigued to see if his argument gains traction.

        Where does Krauss get this cosmological definition of “nothing” that is different from nothing and actually something? And surely to use this to counter an argument that depends on a definition of nothing as “no thing” is by definition ambiguous?

        • If there were no place where Krauss said something like, “OK, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about ‘nothing.’ By nothing, I’m talking about a quantum vacuum …” or whatever, then that would bother me as well. I’ve read/listened to his discussion of this, and I don’t recall any confusion.

          However, let me then seize this nice bit of concord by acknowledging that yes, any cosmologist should clarify their “nothing” if there is any doubt that they’ll leave someone behind.

          I read a fairly recent article giving, IIRC, 7 or more levels of nothing, successively dropping things like space, quantum vacuum, and physical laws.

        • TheNuszAbides

          separating music from maths[/physics] sounds like a neat trick. who did that?

        • Susan

          surely to use this to counter an argument that depends on a definition of nothing as “no thing” is by definition ambiguous?

          Which argument is that?

          If it’s the KCA, it’s Craig who equivocates, shamelessly switching metaphysical nothing for physical nothing when he cherry picks theoretical models in order to prove yahwehjesus.

          Krauss is consistent. Craig isn’t.

          Or do you mean the “Why is there something rather than nothing? ‘Cause Yahwehjesus.” argument?

      • KarlUdy

        I don’t know that you “learn about reality” from music or literature, but it’s nice if it expands one’s mind. I don’t know what philosophers have done for me lately, so update me if I’m overlooking something.

        A very simple example would be Aesop’s fables. They teach us about reality (ie about how things really are.)

        Re philosophy, perhaps you should read what Thomas Kuhn has to say about science.

        • Adam Weber

          Aesop’s Fables present specific examples of behavior that suit our species either biologically or in certain cultural contexts. They’ve been very effective so far, but I can’t imagine them helping, say, sentient mayonnaise from mars, to give an example. I think that’s a bit different than “2+2=4.”

          Edit:

          MNb pointed out another and better fault than I did: Aesop had the knowledge *before* he wrote the stories. He discovered the knowledge likely through observation and some limited testing. In other words, by means of rudimentary science. It’s not as though one day he decided to write a story, and then looked at it and said, “Wow, look what I discovered!” The knowledge didn’t come from the stories. The stories expressed the knowledge.

        • MNb

          “(ie about how things really are.)”
          Example? Are you for instance telling that you need a fable to learn that people will starve if they don’t store enough food for winter? The people who listened to this story knew by experience. What’s here to learn that science doesn’t teach us?

        • scottie1111

          Aesop’s fables are recognized for what they are: fables. The Babble is a collection of poorly written fables, it’s sad that grown adults take them seriously. Aesop was a brilliant human being while Jesus and Paul were mentally ill. It’s amazing that over a billion people follow the teachings of two ancient superstitious and delusional bipolars. It’s almost funny, almost. It’s also very sad that so many humans are that mentally ill as a result of successive generational institutionalized brainwashing. Indoctrinating children with Jesus is flat out, blatant child abuse. Shame on Christians for abusing little children.

        • Kodie

          Aesop’s fables are for children – they are entertaining and engaging situations featuring talking animals that pass along a little wisdom from experience to people who have none.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ve read a lot of what Kuhn “has to say about science”. (i am also not nearly as uninterested in philosophy as Bob generally purports to be.)
          seeing you mention it I’m very interested to know what you get out of what he has to say.

        • You and other commenters help keep me honest w/r philosophy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, i preach to the choir at best. but glad to hear we can keep you on your toes a bit!
          i understand avoiding it in practical terms during certain types of research or debate – there are enough rabbit holes already!

      • WLC likes to whine about the “philosopher’s nothing”—that is, absolutely
        nothing. And I’m kind of in sympathy, because that’s what “nothing”
        would mean to me.

        If a “nothing” that has laws governing its behaviour does not count as absolutely nothing, then the “philosopher’s nothing” as used by WLC should not count either. WLC’s “philosopher’s nothing” also has laws governing its behaviour, namely that it is unchangeable and that nothing new can arise from it. These laws appeal to our intuition, based on our limited experiences on human scales, but that doesn’t mean those intuitions are correct outside of those experiences.

        If we can apply laws like “nothing comes from nothing”, why not instead apply much more well-justified laws, based on our discoveries in physics?

        WLC’s idea of “nothing” seems to mean “that which only God can make something out of”, meaning that he’s defining his way out of the problem.

      • TheNuszAbides

        God arguments aren’t like that. I would call them more ambiguous, but perhaps you have better terms. Fuzzy? Sloppy?

        “Toobig”.

    • Wesley Brock

      “Most of the arguments for God are not ambiguous. The fact is that many atheists would like them to be, and so treat them as if they are.”

      Fine. They’re just bad then? Is that any better? It honestly doesn’t matter. The point is they don’t work. They’re typically jumbled messes of non-sense no starters, special pleading, non-sequiturs, equivocations and unfounded assumptions. I’m not incline to believe that simply because the universe had a cause that, that cause is a anthropomorphic deity that sacrificed himself to himself in order to save us from himself. Oh and he cares if you cut the skin off your penis. Really?

      “To begin with, you are begging the question by assuming that reality and the physical world are synonymous”

      Show us that there is anything else? Also

      reality
      noun

      1.
      the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
      “he refuses to face reality”
      synonyms:the real world, real life, actuality; More

      2.
      the state or quality of having existence or substance.
      “youth, when death has no reality”

      As Rimmer put it.

      “To say nothing of theology, which you deny the ability to teach us about reality for the simple reason that you define reality so narrow as to exclude the possibility of the divine.”

      Yes we do exclude the possibility of the divine because there is no reason to include it. And coming from someone I’m positive wouldn’t grant divine anything to a religion they aren’t practicing this smacks of special pleading. Evidence for the divine. Then’ll we’ll consider it.

    • Arnold J Rimmer

      Lawrence Krauss is a cosmologist and theoretical physicist, his belief, or lack of it,is irrelevant. In fact if atheism, lack of belief in theism, were his only qualification I would look to someone else for information.
      New Atheist….

    • MNb

      “there are many fields of learning outside of maths and science, such as philosophy, literature, art and music from which we can learn about reality.”
      Which stresses the meaning of the word “knowledge” so far that it becomes meaningless. I’m a great lover of music and can discuss Tchaikovsky, Shostakovitch and a whole bunch of Russian composers you never have heard of for days. But saying that their music “taught me something about reality” is an empty phrase.

      “you define reality so narrow as to exclude the possibility of the divine.”
      You have a point here, but also show your intellecutal dishonesty by twisting it in such a way that it seems to back your position. It doesn’t. Let me begin with

      “begging the question by assuming that reality and the physical world are synonymous”
      No, that’s not begging the question. As I have pointed out many times, including to you, it’s at one hand correct indeed to say that science only investigates the physical world, or as I would say, our material reality. You agree here. It’s the next step of yours where you go wrong – deliberately, as I have known you long enough now.
      You are a dualist. So besides our material reality you also assume an immaterial reality. You must, because you need to include “the possibility of the divine”. But you never ever succeeded to show that there is an immaterial reality indeed. Worse – you never ever showed us a reliable method to separate correct from incorrect claims about that immaterial reality. Referring to philosophy, literature, art and music is totally insincere. As you very well know they all are part of our material reality as well. Finally you never ever showed how that immaterial reality relates to our material reality.
      That’s the reason BobS defines reality as narrow as you complain about – everything else you’d like to add to give your dualism a semblance of reasonableness comes straight out of your big fat thumb. You’ve got nothing to show for it.

      “Most of the arguments for God are not ambiguous.”
      Agreed, when well formulated in a clear way. Alas for you when this condition falls apart every single of them totally fails, because either they contradict science, or are based on assumptions that simply can be rejected, or logically contradict themselves or some combination. That’s exactly why apologists like to formulate those arguments in an ambiguous way, for instance by changing the meaning of words in the argument.

      Prove me wrong. Tell me what you learn after listening to

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFGvNxBqYFI

      I don’t ask you if you think this beautiful or not – no, tell me what you have learned from it, something that is not your subjective, personal experience.
      Because BobS was talking about objective, non-personal knowledge.

    • scottie1111

      Typical Christian flight-of-fancy: invoking God into existence with syllogisms.
      Brought to you by the same people that believe they’re eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a 2000 year old long dead bipolar meshugana on Sunday mornings.
      Theology is merely a collection confabulated treatises on the mating rituals of fairies and elves.
      Even if Jesus existed, his so called Beatitudes are nothing more than trite fortune cookie quality advice… nothing even close to esoteric there. The entire sermons of both mount and field are easily bested by a single paragraph of Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanack”.

    • Kodie

      Theology liberally borrows from and distorts as necessary whatever we learn about in subjects about reality. Much of your argument for god in the past relied on the human capacity to make or appreciate the arts. How does that work?

  • Greg G.

    I recall ranting about a claim WLC made on his website that the cumulative weight of two dozen of Plantinga’s arguments favored the existence of God. If he had one successful argument, it would be enough. But the cumulative weight of two dozen* failed arguments for God favors the non-existence of God.

    *Does not include not include an untold number of arguments Plantinga rejected as unworthy of publication

    • Pofarmer

      Speaking of William Lane Craig. Here is a link to a video of Scott Clifton at Reason Rally talking about the sloppy Philosophy behind William Lane Craig’s version of Kalam.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjtWLU9t0gs

      • Greg G.

        I’ve seen Scott take apart Craig’s argument on YouTube as TheoreticalBullshit.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, he’s good. I enjoyed this presentation though.

  • MNb

    “science and math have been the only disciplines from which we’ve ever learned about reality.”
    This can’t be stressed enough.

    • you need to talk to more people in the bachelor of arts program. of course, I agree with you in that the sciences provide the breakthroughs in medicine which save lives. but the use of the word “only” is too much – I firmly believe that it can not be stressed enough that the arts and theology provide the morality to the use of science, without which, I am sure, MNb, you would agree, that the good old atom bomb may have done us all in.

      • powellpower

        And philosophers are asking whether 1+1 = 2

        Who defines 1? Who defines 2? I can define it anyway I want, as such 1+1=2 only applies to you.

        In the meantime scientists wonders how to broadcast WIFI more efficiently so that your phone can surf this website better.

        • a life unexamined is a life not worth living.

        • powellpower

          A life without WIFI is a life not worth living. I think i can get by without knowing whether 1+1 is truly 2 or not. Or is it all in my head. I’ll let Neo and Morpheus discuss whether the Matrix is truly real.

        • lol, seriously, it’s crazy, I can’t go anywhere without thinking whether I have my Iphone with me – but if it all went away tomorrow, to be perfectly honest, I’d appreciate having one less thing to distract me from my mediation on the meaning of my life.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve examined my life, yours is full of superstitious bullshit.

        • Susan

          a life unexamined is a life not worth living.

          Seriously, Greg. Irony meters are not cheap.

        • Did you say irony or ironing.

        • With all the idioms and phrase flying around here, (I’m still trying to look up Bolloks) I really don’t think irony is the word you are lookin for.

        • Kodie

          Are you on dial-up? How long have you been on the internet and don’t know what bollocks means? Or how to look up words in a dictionary? It helps if you spell it correctly. Just some handy tips you might find useful as you seem to have come from living in a cave just recently.

        • Oh, I found it, it’s just there a loads of meaning and the history of the word, etc, we bachelor or arts majors know our way, around the dictionary, – and being, English major, Philosopy minor, honors, cum laude, pre law,the thesauraus, as well.

        • Kodie

          Then how are you avoiding answering questions over every simple common word or phrase that stumps you?

          Because you’re a liar. None of those qualifications is accurate for your bullshittery and assheadery and trollfuckery.

        • Listen, I understand, the cabin fever mentality you must be going through, there in lovely upper New England, heck, I’ve had my fill right in CT – but let’s stay on topic – a cumulative argument can be compelling.

        • Kodie

          Look, fuck you pal. You have used up all the oxygen on your big fat head and your big fat fake credentials.

        • Pro tip: use an editor with a spell checker. Your bragging about your many qualifications will sound better if it comes out correctly spelled.

        • MNb

          Ah, there is our arrogant christian again. Greg, who claims to be humble, but only seldom is, thinks he knows better which words Susan is looking for than Susan himself.

        • “Susan himself” – the defense rests.

        • Kodie

          Your fake lawyer defense “rests” on MNb writing down Susan is a male out of error or unawareness that Susan is a woman’s name? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING JOKING. You know MNb is not American?

        • While we’re sharing tips, you might want to be cautious with correcting others on their word choice. Though my own ranking of the people hanging out here isn’t perfect, for what it’s worth, you’re a few rungs down from the top.

        • Ignorant Amos

          (I’m still trying to look up Bolloks)

          Correct spelling will help when using a search engine, though Google will auto correct for you.

          That sort of comment is doing your claims of intellectual superiority no favours.

          Here, let me help you out a wee bit…

          https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=bollocks%20meaning

        • MNb

          A god unexamined is not a god worth believing in.
          A god examined is a god not possible to believe in.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m still a bit partial (explanation/entertainment-wise, not in any sense of allegiance) to JHVH-1 and/or the Annunaki variations…

        • Nice!

      • Kodie

        I have a bachelor of arts. What do you want to know about?

        • TheNuszAbides

          me too!
          tangentially, it was utterly uninvolved in obtaining the three steady jobs i have had since.

        • Adam King

          Me three! And ditto on the jobs.

        • katiehippie

          I have a bachelor of arts in a science discipline and a bachelor of science in business. Ha! checkmate. 😉

      • MNb

        “the arts and theology provide the morality to the use of science”
        Debatable, but let me grant you this. This is not what BobS meant with “learning about reality”. So you’re attacking a strawman, though BobS is partially to blame. He didn’t specify what he meant with “learning about reality” and hence gave you the chance to read something else in it.

        • thank you and it was late.

      • smrnda

        When it comes to the moral use of science and technology, we can use the arts to make statements, but when it comes down to the moral calls, I think we’re looking at areas like sociology, psychology, economics, things like that.

        A reason I bring up those areas is that it’s possible, if art is significantly detached from reality, to just be propaganda which finds ways to creatively and persuasively express falsehoods. We’d have to balance out the messages from art against what we know by more reliable methods.

        • Yes, I agree, and to be kind, let’s just say it is intellectual lazyness to say science and math are the “only” discplines from which we have ever learned about reality, as much as respect, science and math.

        • MNb

          What more disciplines have taught you about reality, what have they taught you and how? I refer to my answers I gave Karl Udy underneat. Like I told him I love Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and a whole bunch of Russian composers you never have heard of. I can discuss them the entire day if you like. But I won’t claim they taught me anything about reality.
          So show me wrong and answer my questions. I doubt you will, because you never answered some other pressing questions of mine either.

          “let’s just say”
          Let me not be kind and just say that you produce manure. Unless you answer my questions, of course.

        • “What more disciplines have taught you about reality, what have they taught you and how?” MNb, your questions are not easy to answer, but that doesn’t mean they are unanwerable.

        • MNb

          Correct – but the fact that no single apologist ever managed to answer them is strong inductive evidence that they aren’t. Just like all the times you dropped something and it fell downward is strong inductive evidence that gravity is an attractive force.
          So in exactly the same way I conclude gravity I also conclude that you produce manure. See? I have a method. You only have your underbelly ….. eeeehhh, faith ……. eeeehhh a badly outdated Holy Book.

          Once again I’ll give you an example. Let’s investigate the question “what’s the colour of friction?” I’m pretty sure you won’t be satisfied with “this question is not easy to answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s unanwerable.”

          The thing is, Greg, that you made a claim:

          “it is intellectual lazyness to say science and math are the “only” discplines from which we have ever learned about reality,”
          and totally failed to back it up. Again.

        • What other disciplines do you have in mind? I’ll agree that we can learn about reality through history, but I won’t that we can learn about reality through theology.

    • I’m going to be a little pedantic and disagree with that statement. Mathematics is an internally consistent system which can be applied to reality, and used to make predictions about reality, but those predictions need to be tested empirically before we can say for sure that we’ve learned something about reality. Also, history is not generally thought of as a science, but I think it’s reasonable to say that knowledge of history is a type of knowledge about reality.

      A better statement might be, “empirical investigation is the only way we’ve ever learned about reality”.

      • MNb

        Oh, I agree, but this time I didn’t want to be pedantic myself. So I decided to understand it as “math has shown to be an excellent tool to learn about reality”.

        “empirical investigation is the only way we’ve ever learned about reality”.
        And now I am going to be pedantic. Nope. Just collecting empirical data is not enough. They must be correctly described by a consistent and coherent theory (there are some more demands). Indeed physics uses math to do exactly that. Without such a theory we have learned nothing.
        My favourite example is superconductivity at relatively high temperatures. We do have the empirical data but we don’t have a theory. As a result we haven’t learned anything about this subject. Yet.

        • OK, to be extra-pedantic, empiricism is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for knowledge of reality. Theory is useful but needs to be supported with data.

  • Kevin Harris

    Bob, do you really think ad homs against Dr. Craig promotes good dialogue? No, it doesn’t, but let me try to take the high road and make some suggestions if I may.

    First, kudos for actually engaging Dr. Craig’s arguments. I see that, despite your personal attacks, you’ve actually linked to interaction with some of the arguments.

    Secondly, a cursory glimpse of your blog seems to be an apologetic against apologetics! If you don’t appreciate someone trying to present reasons and evidence for his view then don’t do it yourself! Your painting of all apologists with broad-brushed caricatures includes yourself! How disingenious that you would lump Christian apologists into one negative category. You must evaluate each person’s arguments. Otherwise, you just come across as a petty and close-minded apologist yourself.

    Thirdly, you’re offering philosophical arguments that science trumps philosophy! You said, “but this ignores the fact that science and math have been the only disciplines from which we’ve ever learned about reality”. Your Scientism is showing! This is a confusion between science qau science, philosophy, and even the Philosophy of Science.

    Fourthly, I suggest you distinguish between a cumulative case and a failed cumulative case. Afterall, you’re trying to build your own cumulative case in the essay. And your only critique is to offer a Category Error. It is incorrect to place God, even subtly, in a category with “Big Foot”, “aliens”, and “fairies”.

    Finally, you’d be hard pressed to ever find WLC argue God of the Gaps. He is very clear on the difference between arguing based on what we know vs. what we don’t know and not cramming God into naturalistic gaps. Neither will you find him “reaching for another argument” when one is “dismissed” without a rebuttal (in debate). “Dismissing” is not the same as rebutting or refuting. I would stick to the latter two if you want to be take seriously.

    • Arnold J Rimmer

      “If you don’t appreciate someone trying to present reasons and evidence for his view then don’t do it yourself!”

      I have seen WLC present a number of arguments for his position, but not any evidence. Could you elaborate?

      • Kevin Harris

        An argument is a set of premises and a conclusion. It can be presented as evidence for a position in syllogistic form. Right?

        • powellpower

          Wrong.

          syllogism
          1. Logic A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion; for example, All humans are mortal, the major premise, I am a human, the minor premise, therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion.

          You still need evidence for your major premise. E.g. All humans are mortal. You can’t just make a claim and then run away.

        • MNb

          Yup. If I manage to show you one immortal human being your sample argument falls apart. And that’s what evidence should mean – not the ambiguous meaning KH attaches to it.

        • Kevin Harris

          Showing a premise false in an argument either eliminates, weakens, or strengthens the argument (if the premise is validly replaced).

        • MNb

          Showing evidence of one immortal human being makes the premise of Powellpower false and hence the conclusion as well. It doesn’t just weaken the argument. Plus I’d be curious how in his example you’d replace the premise by a valid one.

        • Kevin Harris

          I agree that each premise requires evidence. What’s the problem?

        • MNb

          1. That you haven’t any for god.
          2. That you above claimed that an argument can be evidence.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          Lack of evidence. Making an argument to support your position as you said above is evidence to support your position, however at some stage their needs to be empirical testable evidence that we can use to make predictions.

        • Susan

          I agree that each premise requires evidence.

          It requires more than that. It must be necessarily true.

          What’s the problem?

          That you take deductive arguments seriously and expect us to, when those arguments are based on premises that are not necessarily true.

          That is a big problem in deductive reasoning.

          No one has to prove your premises false. That’s not how deductive reasoning works. The arguments to which you refer rely on deductive reasoning which is only useful if you can demonstrate that your premises are necessarily true.

          I don’t think you can. If you can, go ahead.

        • MNb

          Even if you’re right you’re wrong. Since Descartes (and it should have been Euclides) we know that no conclusion can be any stronger than the strongest of the premises. And we only need to reject one premise to reject the conclusion.
          Hence arguments lead nowhere, which is exactly why science trumps philosophy and the only valid philosophical arguments are rooted in science. Exactly here, ironically, is where several god arguments go wrong – including specifically WLC’s version of the Cosmological Argument.

          But thanks for confirming BobS’ main point: ambiguity. You use “evidence” ambiguously. Here you apply it to deduction; when it suits you though you will use it to refer to induction. The two methods are quite distinctive.

        • Kevin Harris

          You’re quoting philosophical insights from philosophers to mitigate against philosophical arguments? That is self-refuting! “Philosophical arguments are rooted in science” is not determined by science! It’s philosophy!

          And, yes, one can show a premise false in an argument and either eliminate, weaken, or strengthen the argument. Easier said than done. (I hope you don’t continue making arguments against arguments because I’m cringing here! 🙂

        • MNb

          “That is self-refuting!”
          Because you say so? You’re silly.

          “”Philosophical arguments are rooted in science” is not determined by science!”
          I didn’t contradict that. You’re pulling off a strawman. I wrote “valid philosophical arguments are rooted in science” and that is not the same. To spell it out for you: philosophical arguments that contradict science are always invalid.

          “It’s philosophy!”
          Yes. And it shows what kind of philosophy sucks (like the Cosmological Argument) and what kind of philosophy doesn’t. The reason why the CA sucks is very simple: it contradicts Modern Physics. And we use philosophy to show why we have to drop the CA then, like in all such cases. What’s your problem? That you don’t get why science trumps philosophy whenever they contradict? I’ll be happy to explain you.
          In fact I already did on this very page – the CA fails because it assumes causality; Modern Physics postulates probability. Causality is a special case of probability. Hence probabilism explains a wide range of observed facts (ie evidence) that can’t be explained by causality. The CA can’t be accommodated with the fact that an instable atom falls apart at a random moment. There is no cause for this. So “everything that begins has a cause” or whatever variation is false. Which means, in exactly the same way as Powellpower’s example, that the entire CA falls flat on its face before it even gets started.

          Btw Euclides wasn’t a philosopher, but a mathematician.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          Evidence that is assumed or asserted rather than factual,
          I was thinking of evidence as backed up by facts.
          I understand what you were saying now.

      • I say look to nature for light on evaluating the cumulative argument. For example – one snow flake is not a problem – but the cumulative effect of the record snow fall in Boston,makes a huge difference and one needs to sit up and take notice..

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          Sure, agree totally. We have a lot of physical evidence to show what snowflakes are, the conditions required for them to exist, and we know from previous experience what conditions there will be when we have lots of them.
          We don’t need arguments for their existence because we can show they exist by empirical evidence.

        • and amazingly, not one flake is like another – a kind of miracle…? Cumulatively speaking.

        • Be not confused: cool ≠ miracle.

        • Greg G.

          You should see the cumulative effect of a few million of those snowflake miracles in my driveway. No omnipotent benevolent being would inconvenience me like that. God must be a sadist.

        • MNb

          Your god designs snowflakes, you imply? Despite us having a good scientific theory describing how they are formed and why they all are different? Perhaps we should go back to the immaterial demons running your car again, which you rejected with exactly this argument.
          Consistency is not your forte, is it?

        • Greg G.

          If we found two identical flakes, you would cry “Miracle!” at that, too. The cumulative effect of nothing but invalid arguments and/or false premises is that the theist has no viable arguments.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          A miracle is the suspension of scientific laws, snowflakes don’t do that. It is interesting how they all take different shapes though.

        • Esquilax

          And what christian apologetics does, to follow the analogy through to its conclusion, is point to individual snowflakes, isolated in different parts of the world, at different times, and pretend that they’re pointing at a record snowfall in Boston.

        • not exactly, the analogy is for arguments and the cumulative effect they can have. The analogy would be the atheist saying I don’t care how many arguments (snowflakes are falling) you have for the existence of God – I ain’t buying a snow shovel. ,

        • Esquilax

          Yes, but arguments rely on interrelation for that cumulative effect to take place, as heavy snowfall relies on the snow being in the same place for the same. A bunch of arguments in isolation, with no connection to one another, is just a series of non-sequitur anecdotes.

        • I see your point – Well, don;t they all interelate and connect in that they all prove the existence of God?

        • Esquilax

          No, that’s the intent of the arguments, but it’s not what they do. Take the crime analogy from the article: here’s some evidence that proves the accused has motive, here’s some evidence that shows he was in the location the crime took place, here’s some evidence that ties him to the weapon used to commit the crime. These are all pieces of evidence that paint a picture of the thing being proved, they accumulate into a potent argument because they come together and add information that leads to a singular conclusion.

          The arguments of christian apologetics are nowhere near as cohesive: everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe is fine tuned, X event is a miracle, the odds of life are so low without design, self authenticating witness of the holy spirit, math is so good at describing things that it must be divine, objective morals can’t exist without god… these don’t collaborate. They aren’t even connected. They are sets of individual arguments, operating on unconnected premises, toward the aim of a goal that is similar only by dint of who is using them.

          Think of them as individual data points, when the apologists are pretending that they’re a whole graph.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “our accumulated scattergram proves Bog! checkmate, atheists!”

        • Kodie

          No, they don’t connect except by their intent to prove that god exists. Hey, fake lawyer, let’s try this: you’re trying to prove the evidence points to J murdered M. You found a knife in M’s kitchen. You found J’s footprints on M’s doorstep. You found a yearbook with J and M together at the same school. You found a letter to M. that wasn’t signed that said I’m going to kill you. M’s death certificate says the cause of death was asphyxiation from improperly chewed food.

          That’s your case.

        • Kodie

          There are a lot of illogical arguments for god that end in faith, i.e. you just want them to be true. Your arguments are like telling us there’s a cumulative record snowfall in Death Valley. No, it’s not there.

        • Greg G.

          One successful argument would be enough to establish the existence of a god. The cumulative effect of many failed arguments for God, in lieu of a successful one, favors the non-existence of God. The fact that you must argue instead of presenting evidence favors non-existence.

        • Ok, finally, a response to mine that is on target, to which I can respond. First, you will regret using the word “successful” there. You, my atheist, friend, are on the short stick of the argument of whether the existence of god arguments are successful or not. Second, I will over look that and substitute, the word, weak -( there Bob, I’m doing what you always say you won’t do which is help another out with their argument),. With the word weak, well you run into the problem I cited in the first part of this comment, but, ok, in theory, let’s say you had one weak argument as opposed to 100. You’re saying, no good, one or one hundred they’re all weak – to which I respond that you have to look at the actual argument. You have to look at the subject matter to which you are discussing and the actual facts at your disposal. We’re talking about God here, and there are limited verfiable facts – to wit, I say, for what we have available these are very strong arguments.

        • Greg G.

          A successful argument requires a valid structure where everything follows from step to step. A successful argument also has true premises. That means every premise must be true. When you start with limited verifiable facts, where the limit is zero verifiable facts, you will never have a successful argument.

          If you begin with true premises, your argument must follow with no non sequiturs like this:

          http://blog.stackoverflow.com/wp-content/uploads/then-a-miracle-occurs-cartoon.png

          If only you had one argument that lacked fallacies combined with true premises….

        • MNb

          “You, my atheist, friend, are on the short stick of the argument of whether the existence of god arguments are successful or not.”
          Because you say so? How convincing.

          “Second, I will over look that and substitute, the word, weak”
          Problem for you is that those arguments are not weak – they are failures. All of them.

          “We’re talking about God here, and there are limited verfiable facts”
          Like this one. Once again a failure. None of them points at some supernatural entity. By definition. Because verifiable facts are natural and material and your god isn’t.

          “I say, for what we have available these are very strong arguments.”

          Yeah, you say. Thing is that your authority is zero. Thing is that the arguments you call strong either contradict the verifiable facts or are based on assumptions that have to be accepted at face value.

          Plus of course I provided you two arguments against god and you never addressed them. Both arguments are based on observed facts – unlike the pro god arguments.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          “We’re talking about God here, and there are limited verfiable facts – to wit, I say, for what we have available these are very strong arguments.”
          Can you provide one verifiable fact, or one strong argument? Just as an example for your claim.

        • In my humble opinion, the strongest argument for the existence of God for the Christian, with all it’s warts (the Bible’s not the Christians), is the existence of the Bible itself.

        • Susan

          the existence of the Bible itself

          All right. I’ll bite. How is this a strong argument?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Bible is the best argument against Yahweh/Jesus, Greg just doesn’t know enough about it outside contortionist pretzelmania apologetics and sophisticated theology making excuses…yet!

        • Kodie

          Greg admits fully that he is confused by the bible (quilt analogy that he so fondly adores), so I don’t understand why it’s his strongest argument. He still has never answered Bob’s question about how he reconciles his conscience when it disagrees with what the bible says. It could be the argument where if it doesn’t make sense, believe it anyway because it’s the bible, which doesn’t answer that question.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes indeed. The Bible that is supposed to be the divinely inspired work of perfection which is anything but perfect.

          The buy bull, warts and all, is all he has to refer back to, but he doesn’t even know how the bloody thing came about being.

        • Kodie

          The entire US justice system respects the bible, so you have to stop saying mean things about his bible!

        • Susan

          The Bible is the best argument against Yahweh/Jesus,

          Yep.

          “The bible exists.” might be one of the worst arguments I’ve ever seen and that’s saying something.

          Greg hasn’t fleshed out the details on that one. I’ll just add it to the very long list of questions he ignores.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          OK, Well I think that’s a wrap.

        • Ok, see you in church.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          The church of Arnold Judas Rimmer? 😉

        • You look like a decent guy, where can I get a brochure?

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          That’s your first mistake.

        • Greg G.

          Every jot and tittle of the Bible is from human hands and minds, so you have no argument at all. It’s just people trying to make sense of the ramblings of people from older generations, only to confuse the following generations.

        • Kodie

          You admit trying to understand the bible is too difficult for you, as a believer, because you choose to dismiss the real answer.

        • MNb

          In my absolutely not humble opinion this is a circular argument – it’s from the Bible that you get your info about your god.

        • Skeptiker

          How interesting! A collection of books (selected by a group of people) which contains numerous errors, contradictions, endorsement of horrible crimes, etc. is the strongest argument for the existence of your god? Incredible!

        • Ok, to play devil’s advocate, let’s say all the accusations you throw at the Bible are true. One of the oldest books on the face of the earth – that tells of how a God took care of and loved the Israelites, who still exist on the face of the earth today, and the New Testament – oh, the respect for this book could fill the Atlantic Ocean – my proof, the most powerful country in the world, you might have heard of it, the U.S of A., well this country has based its whole moral tradition on the collection of books you describe as a dishevil mess – that you overlooked all those important facts about the bible, welll I have one word for you , Incredible!.

        • Skeptiker

          Greg: Ok, to play devil’s advocate, let’s say all the accusations you throw at the Bible are true.
          Why not just directly rebut my “accusations”?

          tells of how a God took care of and loved the Israelites, who still exist on the face of the earth today
          Last I checked, the Israelites constitute only a tiny percentage of the human population. Why are (were) they favored? Why should non-Israelites care about the Israelites’ god? From even a casual reading of the Bible, it is obvious that your god either forgot his other creations or treated them as enemies. Yahweh behaved exactly like a tribal god of the Israelites, murdering (or helping to murder) men, women, children, babies (born or unborn), and even livestock.

          the U.S of A., well this country has based its whole moral tradition on the collection of books you describe as a dishevil mess

          Kindly state clearly and exactly which parts of the moral tradition of the US are based on the Bible and are uniquely from the Bible.

        • Kodie

          Christianity is why the US education standards are in the toilet. You want to stay powerful, you would want to get over your beliefs in the heebie-jeebies and get real.

        • If you had your way, Kodie, there would be absolutely zero indvidual responsibilty for doing anything – they can just blame it on the system. And, is there anything else you can blame Christianity on? And, it really isn’t fair, if you’re going to blame it for all the bad stuff and then you got to be able to give it credit for all the good stuff – like, taking care of the poor, thank God, for the Mother Theresa’s of the world. .

        • Kodie

          If you had your way, you’d cover ever man, woman, and child’s head with sand. Mother Theresa saved all her money in a bank instead of spending it on medicine to save her patients. You are really deluded, and that is the real problem with Christianity. You believe one main thing that isn’t true that leads you to believe many other things they want you to think are true that aren’t true. Mother Teresa was an outright stingy asshole, who was inspired by suffering, rather than spend the donations on medical treatments and food. SHE LET PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE IT WAS AESTHETICALLY PLEASING.

          You still never answered Bob’s question about what you do when your conscience disagrees with the bible. We heard all about your Chinese child almost-bride and the priest who gave you advice, but that EVASIVE ANSWER is NOT AN ANSWER. Christianity would have people ignore reality because it is unpleasant, and education in science is deliberately curtailed by fear of an imaginary deity’s punishment. Fear of hell makes people superstitious and avoid reality. You even said you are fearful of facing reality. Your assertion was that the US was the most powerful nation in the world, by what measure, and what future? Because you are living in the past.

        • Kodie – I thought I did answer Bob’s question – he said I “tangentially answered” it – which is an answer – if you do not think I answered it – then please phrase in your words and I will try to answer your question. And, Mother Theresa was a Saint – it is true, I never met her, but all the reports from reputable news agencies agree – she was unselfish and gave up her life to help the sick and dying, not to mention the hungry, poor and homeless – if that isn’t a modern-day Saint, I don’t know what is.

        • Kodie

          You are so fucking stupid, Greg. Mother Teresa was determined to be a saint by the same body of judgment that would ignore how awful and stingy a person she actually was. Nobody here thinks she deserves status above normal people, much less above normal moral people. MOTHER TERESA WAS A BONA FIDE SCUMBAG SCAMMMER.

          Bob asked you what you would do if your personal conscience conflicted with the bible. Your answer was in your (late) 20s, you helped a Chinese family assimilate to American culture and their teenage daughter wanted to marry you and you wanted to marry her; you consulted your priest to find out that you probably wouldn’t have a successful marriage with a teenager of a different race, even if you already fucked her, and that’s irrelevant. You ignored several posts of mine personally that implored you to focus on the question at hand and not divert attention to the irrelevant topic of your choice.

        • davewarnock

          OMG- you did not just say THE BIBLE is the strongest evidence for God!

        • Um, yeah, you know the book they use to swear people in on in every court room across the United States of Ameica, why you know something about it I don’t?

        • Kodie

          Just admit you’re not a laywer already. A tradition doesn’t make something true!

        • Ron

          You mean the same book which specifically advises against the swearing of oaths because anything beyond a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ is evil and leads to condemnation?

        • davewarnock

          so by that logic, if a courtroom in another country used their holy book to swear people in, that would validate their god. Oh wait, except they are wrong and you are right- because you have a warm fuzzy in your heart.

        • My point is that the entire justice system of the USA has given its endorsement to a book, whose integrity you are besmirching.

        • Kodie

          That would violate the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. It’s a traditional usage to get god-fearing dummies like you to think if you lie in court, god will find out. It’s also idolatry, you’re endorsing idolatry. The text of the book has no integrity, and you are merely using a superstition to remind people to tell the truth.

        • My argument to davewarnock, is the following: Respect to the Bible should be given by him and you because Respect is given to the Bible by every law enforcer, every lawyer, every magistrate, every judge in our justice system, including the Supreme Court Justices.
          I can only imply from your words, Kodie to wit:
          “The text of the book has no integrity, and you are merely using a superstition to remind people to tell the truth.”
          is that you are saying that you don’t care who respects the Bible, they are all supersticious people who if they were only as bright as you, they would change the entire legal landscape of the United States. I have one thing to say to you. Stop wasting our time with you nonsense.

        • Kodie

          Whose time?

          Your arguments are basically “because!!!!!” That’s not an answer, fake lawyer.

          To nitwit:

          My argument to davewarnock, is the following: Respect to the Bible should be given by him and you because Respect is given to the Bible by every law enforcer, every lawyer, every magistrate, every judge in our justice system, including the Supreme Court Justices.

          Argument from authority? Argument ad populum? Argument from tradition? Your argument, whatever it is, is fallacious, overestimating the popularity of the bible and the “respect” because it’s used in a serious place like court, against the testifiers, not for them, and you assert a claim like “EVERY” when you are in no way qualified to speak for EVERY, nor do you back up your claims with any citations, only arrogant bluster.

          I can only imply from your words, Kodie to wit:

          Fake bachelor of arts, the word you want was “infer”. I saw you think and think and think about your response before you made it. I can only sense that I’ve gotten you to take off that “nice guy” act and really let me have it, fake lawyer-style.

          “The text of the book has no integrity, and you are merely using a superstition to remind people to tell the truth.”
          is that you are saying that you don’t care who respects the Bible, they are all supersticious people who if they were only as bright as you, they would change the entire legal landscape of the United States.

          That’s all you can imply [sic] from my words? It displeases you when someone has a different point of view? Again with your hyperbole! Watch it, fake nice guy, you’re about to lose it.

          I have one thing to say to you. Stop wasting our time with you nonsense.

          I don’t know who you think you’re speaking for. But it’s not an argument.

        • My arguments are never “because”. I feel you what you are really saying is that they are simple. Guess what, I believe the best arguments are simple. I find my fellow theists who post a complicated involved, comment are attempting to pull one over on you – and they are the ones you have to be most suspicious – the Christian faith is simple and remember, the true believer is inspired -the words will be given to the true believer by God. – no articfice, simple.

        • Kodie

          You believe the best arguments are fallacies of grand proportion and application. How can you pretend to practice law if you don’t know how terrible your arguments are?

        • TheNuszAbides

          without citing any stats whatsoever i’ll venture that there are an unfortunate number of cul-de-sacs within lawyering wherein e.g.
          – there is traditionally very little argumentation going on relative to number-crunching and/or bargaining
          – there is a robust (if sinister) symbiosis between prosecutors and defendants; again, more about deal-making than truth-seeking
          – legacy/nepotism effects shield incompetence and/or stagnation from serious exposure/challenge.
          to be further less charitable: he might just be boots-on-the-ground for an in-law or something.

        • Kodie

          I think I remember him saying real estate law, so, what? Closings? Foreclosures? Property line disputes?

          I just think it’s funny that he is proud of his profession in a way that he thinks lends credibility. He still had to go to school and pass the bar, so it doesn’t matter what brand of law he pretends to practice. I know someone else personally that I did meet online, and he pretended to be a lawyer, and everyone knew he wasn’t. Was funny a few days ago thinking his “bachelor of arts” meant a damn thing, like he studied different things than anyone else, or it gives him a totally different outlook than someone with a science degree. He doesn’t read, he is afraid to think.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yeah, extolling the virtues of a liberal arts education is one thing, but he gives no indication of ever bothering to be that articulate; it’s just buzz-phrases with him. which leads me to skulk awkwardly away from the topic, since that’s a lot of what I do…

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Are the Stupid Too Stupid to Realize They’re Stupid?

        • Dys

          Except the government of the United States isn’t based on the bible, nor is its legal system. And judges that have tried to hand down biblical or religiously based punishments have repeatedly been found to be violating the Constitution.

        • Dys, the government of the United States, formed by our forefathers in 1776, were part of a protestant society, the models for the goverment were influenced by the French model, Jefferson being quite a francophile, but our system is judeao-christian all the way, baby.

        • Dys

          Sorry Greg, but it’s not a judeo-christian system. It’s a secular one, by design. And the US government formed in 1776 (1777 really) is defunct. People keep foolishly confusing having a “Christian nation” (which the US is not) and a nation with a Christian majority. It’s not the same thing.

        • truth_machine

          Fuck but you are a moron.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha….ya owe me for a keyboard and lounge trousers, I’ve just guffawed Coke Zero all over the place a wet myself laughing at that one.

          You do realise that you are talking to Greg, self proclaimed highly intellectual practiser of law in the United States and high brow Catholic apologist.

          You would think, given all that, Greg should know stuff? It appears not.

          Presidents And Other Public Officials Can Take Their Oaths On A Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, Or Even A Lawbook.

          Today, many courts maintain the practice, but it’s largely symbolic. If a witness testifying in court fails to tell the truth, the judge isn’t likely to wait for a lightning bolt to descend from the skies above. Rather, the witness will be charged with perjury.

          Some courts are moving away from religiously tinged oaths and the use of Bibles. Alternative oaths often refer to “civil pains and penalties” – a fancy way of saying that anyone who lies under oath can end up with a fine or in prison.

          The case went to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the district attorney had acted beyond his authority. Government officials, the court ruled, have no power to compel people to take part in religious rituals.

          https://www.au.org/church-state/january-2013-church-state/featured/so-help-me-gods

        • 90Lew90

          Hah! “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

        • truth_machine

          Well, the argument that God exists because people are sworn in on Bibles is so incredibly, remarkably stupid that offering counterarguments would be to treat it with a respect that it doesn’t deserve … and the same goes for Greg making the argument and treating him as if he were a peer deserving of a reasoned response.

        • 90Lew90

          Can’t argue with that.

        • davewarnock

          yeah I get your point. Now, answer my question- do you validate the god of another religion because they give the same kind of deference to their holy book?

        • Susan

          People have asked Greg this question many, many times.
          He has yet to respond to it.
          I would consider it a miracle if he does this time.

        • davewarnock

          well, I’m sure he believes in miracles, so maybe. But no, I don’t expect that he will. He has no answers, just clever little comebacks. Typical troll.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that he doesn’t even take the juicy extra bait of a ‘refresh’ like that is… actually kind of sad.

        • 90Lew90

          The point of the book is to give weight to the oath, and the tradition of using the book is from a time when practically nobody doubted that at least some of the book was true. You can now choose to “affirm”, instead of swearing on the book. That would be the more honest course for someone who doesn’t believe in the book, don’t you think? But being a lawyer (*laughs up sleeve*) you knew all that anyway, didn’t you.

        • MNb

          Pssst, Greg – if the entire justice system of the USA would ask me to swear on that book I would straightforwardly refuse it, exactly because that book deserves to be besmirched. Me swearing on the Bible would mean perjury. It would reduce my integrity to zero before I even started my testimony.

        • Actually, in today’s enlightened court room setting, the judge would allow you to choose your form of “swearing in” process – the idea is to have the one testifying to understand he must tell the truth or face perjury charges.

        • 90Lew90

          Really Greg? Wherever did you learn that?

        • Leeew!!! Not from Law and Order.

        • MNb

          Yeah, I already suspected that your good old USA was not that backward compared to my Netherlands, where that has been possible since decades. In the Netherlands it’s also possible to swear on the Quran. If that’s the case in the USA as well, as I suspect too, your point that “the entire justice system of the USA has given its endorsement to a book” is totally a non-point.

        • And the strongest argument for Mormonism is the Book of Mormon? Or the Koran for Muslims?

        • I’m also a proponent of the Aquinas argument with it’s roots in Plato, now that’s a wrap. .

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, because those two guys got nothing wrong. Greg, get a grip on yourself.

          Aquinas rejected Plato in favour of Aristotle.

          Aquinas revolutionized a thousand years of Christian tradition by rejecting Plato in favor of Aristotle. Plato maintained that ultimate reality consists of essence, whereas Aristotle maintained that existence is primary. For Plato, the world around us that we perceive with our senses contains nothing except impermanent, ever-changing objects. Plato reasoned that for our observations of the world to count as true knowledge and not just as anecdotal evidence, our minds need to make a conceptual leap from individual instances of things to general ideas. He concluded that there must be something permanent that lies behind and unites individual existences, and he referred to this something as “essence.” According to Plato, existence, or the everyday world of objects such as tables, chairs, and dogs, is inherently inferior to essence. Early church thinkers saw in Plato’s ideas a parallel to their own division of the universe into the inherently imperfect, corrupt world of matter and everyday existence and the perfect and heavenly world of spirit.

          Aquinas follows Aristotle in concluding that Plato’s theory is deficient, in part because it is unable to account for the origin of existence and in part because it is unacceptably dismissive of existence. Holy Scripture states that after each of the six days of Creation, God saw that the fruit of his day’s work was “good” or even “very good.” Furthermore, when Moses asks God how he should refer to him, God responds, “I am that I am,” thereby equating himself with being. In other words, God is pure existence or Being itself. Aquinas argues that man’s purpose consists exactly in developing himself toward Being, not in attempting to escape Being. In the traditional church view prior to Aquinas, the difference between God and his creatures was one of kind, as existence was something that in itself separated us from God. In Aquinas’s view, the difference between God and his creatures is one of degree, and we are separate from God insofar as we do not have as much existence as God. Prior to Aquinas, traditional church thought maintained that existence was the chief impediment to the realization of our spiritual destiny. Aquinas held that our spiritual destiny consists precisely in the enhancement of our existence.

          Aquinas’ arguments might have been groundbreaking stuff in those medieval times, but they are piss poor today.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2012/10/did-aquinas-arguments-just-suck/

        • What?? If anything, I’ve made clear that I strive to improve my opponents’ arguments. You’ve never noticed me telling someone how they should’ve formulated their argument to make it suck less?

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          The problem with this analogy is that snowflakes exist. We have lots of evidence for fairies, books written about them, sightings of them, cumulative evidence. That does not show they exist.

        • True, but as I commented earlier, I believe the analysis has to be a two-step process – first you have the gathering or cataloguing of arguments (the cumulative aspect) and then if the cumulative aspect carries a certain burden of proof than you proceed to the analysis of the quality of the items you have catalagued; ie: the books written and sightings, etc, – I would argue that cumulative plays an important role in situations like proving the existence of God because no single argument can carry the day – I concede that – if you had that single argument – there would be no need for hope – God gave us hope to use and to use in a way so that we find God.

        • Arnold J Rimmer

          That is really the issue with the Christian religion, it has at its centre, a being who exists outside of space and time so is not detectable by any of our senses or instruments, and relies on faith, Jesus actually says not to trust knowledge and learning, but use faith.
          It is set up so the deity is impossible to disprove and discourages the search.

        • truth_machine

          ” Jesus actually says not to trust knowledge and learning, but use faith.”

          That was Martin Luther.

        • MNb

          Perhaps that’s an advise American presidents should take: they should hide, so that they give the electorate hope to use and to use in a way so that they can find them.
          Or perhaps you should start kissing Hank’s ass – Hank can give you hope that you will get a million dollars. You can use that hope in a way that you find Hank – by kissing his ass.
          Or perhaps this is just too silly even for your standards.

        • davewarnock

          well, you lost me there. So you’re saying that God created a plan that was so complex and confusing that his people had to search for it as if in a maze at night while blindfolded; and at the end of the day it all boils down to “hope”. We just have to hope that we find God. well that’s a good plan.
          And, if that’s the plan anyway, then what’s all this fuss about evidence and arguments? all you need is hope.

        • No fuss, except the theists say we have the evidence and arguments and you say we don’t. Oh, and there’s something else you don’t have – hope.

        • Kodie

          And here’s something else you don’t have – reality. Go fuck yourself you arrogant piece of waste.

        • truth_machine

          “Oh, and there’s something else you don’t have – hope.”

          What we don’t have is your lies, your general intellectual dishonesty, and your cowardice. Well, many of us do have a wee bit of the latter … some nonbelievers do hope a little that maybe they are wrong and they really will live forever … but they usually realize how stupid that is and let it go.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          You couldn’t be more wrong. Atheists have hope. Theists have faith. I’d rather have the former than the latter.

        • I’ve heard others say that faith is what can’t be discarded, not hope.

          But either way, how does this argue that a deceptive trickster god is the best kind? How about if God just comes right out and makes his existence plain so we could all see?

        • “How about if God just comes right out and makes his existence plain so we could all see”

          Well, Ok, and I wish I could fly like Superman, so why did it have to be that the world has gravity? So in my world, there’s no gravity – but wait, that’s not going to be good for the world. So now we know the Rolling Stones song, “you can’t always get what you want” is true. Let’s move on to the way things are and work from there. And, the way things are is that we all have instilled in all of us this thing called Hope. So in this world where Hope exists, we find that we need it to find our creator. If God made his existence plain so we could all see him, well then why would we need Hope?

        • Kodie

          Your arguments keep getting weaker and more desperate.

        • Again, hope is not normally used in this way. You sure faith isn’t the right word?

          Your argument is ridiculous. You’re saying that the reason that things suck is because if they didn’t, the crutch we use because things suck wouldn’t be needed anymore.

          Uh, yeah. When you don’t need a crutch you discard the crutch. And you don’t give it a single regret.

        • Kodie

          No, he needs hope, he can’t live one single minute if he doesn’t have the hope that one day it will be all amazing and heaven. He has faith too, but I understand he thinks what we don’t have is hope, we only have the end of our lives to look forward to. He is like a child waiting for his birthday. Heaven is all he has, and he can’t stand to hear that it’s fake, so he calls us hopeless.

        • MNb

          “you can’t always get what you want”
          Exactly. And you want god to exist, but won’t get that.

          “we find that we need it to find our creator”
          We? Like BobS, you and me? I won’t talk for BobS, but I have found my creators long ago. They were my parents.

          “If God made his existence plain so we could all see him, well then why would we need Hope?”
          If the fairies tending the flowers in my backyard and the demons running your car made their existence plain so that we could all see them, why would we need Hope? You already told me why you dismiss that. For exactly the same reason I dismiss your god: science does a much better job to explain the whole shenanigan since 13,7 billions of years ago. Fairies, demons and god (including yours) explain exactly zilch.
          As for me – hope is enough for me. Without capital. Because eventually I might sometimes get what I want, if my hope is realistic and if I make a strong effort. Your Hope is synonymous with self-delusion. So you won’t get what you want. Fortunately for you you won’t ever realize it, because your self delusion is concerned with after-life, when actually you won’t be able to realize anything or have hope/Hope anymore.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ‘two-step’ perhaps, but there are quite a few pairs of steps when you have somewhere significant to walk/climb…

        • truth_machine

          ” the analogy is for arguments and the cumulative effect they can have.”

          Right … godbots rack up as many arguments for God as they can, ignoring all the flaws in these arguments and the separate arguments against the existence of God … it’s a scoring game.

        • Pofarmer

          Apologetics is more like a snow when it’s forty degrees. It just-melts.

        • MNb

          You mean that every argument is a snowflake. Alas these arguments are like what we call in The Netherlands “wet snow” – the flakes melt the moment they hit the ground.

        • And all other places, it builds and builds, no where to paaak your caaar.

        • MNb

          Just looked outside – plenty of room.

        • Susan

          the cumulative effect of the record snow fall in Boston, makes a huge difference and one needs to sit up and take notice

          Arguments are not snowflakes. Pile up enough snowflakes and you will end up with a snowbank, or a snowhill or even a record snowfall.

          Pile up enough bad arguments and you are left with a pile of bad arguments, not a good argument.

        • You’re right, Susan, cumulative arguments have nothing to do with snow.

        • Susan

          cumulative arguments have nothing to do with snow.

          Flawed arguments have nothing to do with snowflakes. There is nothing cumulative about flawed arguments.

          Your analogy fails.

        • Dys

          The problem with the snow analogy is that, while it’s true they can add up to a record snowfall, the theologians and apologists are throwing their snowflakes into 90 degree weather.

        • except the snowflakes the theologians and apologists are throw are supernatural snowflakes which survive 90 degree weather – they also survive the occasisonal annnoying mixing of metaphors.

        • Kodie

          You’re absolutely fucking ignorant and incapable of absorbing new information – your apologetics do no survive reality. Not one of them, not a thousand of them.

        • Dys

          Nope, they’re not supernatural at all. They’re arguments. And they don’t work very well once you actually examine them.

        • MNb

          In addition to Dys: what theologians and apologists produce are words. Words belong to the natural domain. Words have meaning; they are attached to it by human brains, which belong to the natural domain. Words can be communicated – but only by natural means.
          You just effectively undermined the reasonableness of your belief, even if you’re right that the snowflakes produced by theologians and apologists survive hot weather. Though you’re wrong of course, because all their arguments have been thoroughly debunked, while nobody has debunked the arguments I have presented you several times.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          Unfortunately, the arguments for God are not cumulative in the fashion of snow.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And like snowflakes, those multitude of poor arguments for gods quickly melt under inspection when light is directed at them.

          Another poor analogy Greg.

        • Kodie

          Snow is evidence for snow. It can be seen, felt, and measured. Apologetics are constructed the same as gods, you make an observation (or steal an observation), and then attribute it to a god. Like lightning, like the sun, like earthquakes, like eclipses. These are or were routinely thought to be acts of wrath or warning or proof that god loves us and wants us to grow vegetables, and all focused on the self or the immediate tribe – what did we just do that could have angered/pleased god? Let’s stop/keep doing that! None of them are evidence leading to or comprising a clearer picture of an actual god, but rather the elaboration of a superstition into a complex commercial endeavor.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like Skinner’s pigeons.

          It is the necessity to use analogies to get gods and their works across that freaks me out. Spectacular quilts, on one side only mind you, and hidden portions of icebergs, complete flummery the lot of it.

        • Kodie

          You know what my favorite is? When you give a reason why this or that argument is flawed, and they ignore that or offer something irrelevant, then keep it up until you get aggravated, and then say you’re just angry because you’re trying to resist being convinced by their superior argument.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s because we are all “shrill and strident” atheists.

          The reset button is another aggravating attribute of the apologist. How many times have you seen the same woo woo merchant pop up in various forums and trotting out the exact same dross that had been soundly refuted elsewhere. Having learnt nothing from the previous experience, Greg appears to be just such a person.

        • Susan

          Snow is evidence for snow.

          It is also evidence for Immaterial Snowflake Fairies who lovingly hand carve each tiny flake. Sometimes, they get carried away and we get avalanches. That part is a mystery but their Love is indisputable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That each flake is unique should be all the evidence anyone needs to show that the Immaterial Snowflake Fairies are omniscient, omnipotent and have fertile imaginations, so they must be real.

        • Susan

          That each flake is unique should be all the evidence anyone needs to show that the Immaterial Snowflake Fairies are omniscient, omnipotent and have fertile imaginations, so they must be real.

          Precisely.

        • truth_machine

          “I say look to nature for light on evaluating the cumulative argument. ”

          Nature strongly and cumulatively provides evidence against intelligent creation.

          The usual “cumulative” argument from godbots is “Look around! Everything is so lovely and fits together so perfectly! How can you think it’s random!” — this is grossly ignorant and intellectually dishonest.

    • MNb

      First learn what an ad hominem actually is.

      http://www.philosophyetc.net/2005/09/attacks-and-arguments.html

      BobS may insult WLC, he addresses his content, not the person. Which you immediately admit with

      “kudos for actually engaging Dr. Craig’s arguments”
      so you are contradicting yourself.

      “You must evaluate each person’s arguments.
      Eeehhh – exactly what BobS actually does, as you just admitted above. You’re also incoherent.

      “This is a confusion between science qau science, philosophy, and even the Philosophy of Science”
      No – you can soundly use philosophy to show that science trumps philosophy. Ie if science and philosophy make contradictory claims then science wins. Also what’s wrong with scientism? Unless you have shown that your accusation is void.
      Why is it incorrect to put god in the same category as fairies, if I define them as immaterial, undetectable entities?

      “you’d be hard pressed to ever find WLC argue God of the Gaps.”
      Really?

      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/design-from-fine-tuning
      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-fine-tuning-argument

      Fine tuning is a God of the Gaps: “science can’t explain the natural constants of our universe”.
      Took me less than five seconds.

      • Kevin Harris

        Bob does both. He apparently addresses the arguments themselves and also attack WLC personally. Stick to the former.

        Scientism is the view that material science is the only valid or reliable way to truth. As such it refutes itself. It fails its own criteria. One cannot affirm Scientism scientistically (nor can one confirm science via science). Rather, science and philosophy can work together in arriving at accurate knowledge.

        There is not enough correspondence between the classical conception of God (eternal, necessary, ontologically ultimate) and finite, contingent, localized mythical beings easily traceable to fantasy literature and legendary genre. That’s why it’s a category mistake.

        Showing a link to the whole website is not an answer. Where specifically and in context please.

        • MNb

          “Stick to the former.”
          Because you say so? Who are you to say so? God’s Personal Hand?

          “Scientism is the view that material science is the only valid or reliable way to truth. As such it refutes itself.”
          Nope. In the first place science is not concerned with truth. Truth is for people who are only satisfied with 100%, absolute, eternal unchanging certainty. Science doesn’t provide that. It doesn’t even pretend to.
          So I correct you: scientism is the view that the scientific method (there is not something like immaterial science, so your expression is a pleonasm) is the only reliable (please omit valid) way to knowledge. It’s based on the simple observation that there is no other reliable method. Show me one, show me how it separates correct claims from incorrect ones and I’ll drop scientism. As such it’s totally consistent with science itself – I ask only one example to falsify the concept.

          “Rather, science and philosophy can work together in arriving at accurate knowledge.”
          Nope. Science always dominates philosophy. That’s because science uses both deduction and induction, while philosophy only uses the first. And you already have admitted that we need evidence – ie induction, ie empirical facts – to determine if the premises of philosophical arguments are correct. That means science.

          “Showing a link to the whole website is not an answer. Where specifically and in context please.”
          You’re silly again. The entire pages are the context: they show that WLC uses Fine Tuning. Plus I already showed how it is a God of the Gaps: “”science can’t explain the natural constants of our universe, hence god”. That’s what Fine Tuning is about.

          “the classical conception of God”
          My dear, the entire Bible and all other Holy Books are – how did you call it? – “fantasy literature and legendary genre”. The Garden of Eden? Fantasy. Moses wandering through the Sinai? Legend. Or myth, whatever you prefer. Anyhow, fiction. You just confirmed that god and my fairies belong to the same category indeed – the category of immaterial entities.

        • Whiskyjack

          I have to disagree with you about the utility of philosophy. The concepts of deduction and induction are philosophical. The concepts behind scientific method(s) are philosophical – reproducibility, falsifiability. If you read about philosophy of science, you learn that what constitutes the scientific method and what demarcates it from non-science are all philosophical concepts. They have simply been subsumed into the scientific worldview.

        • MNb

          I don’t care if you say that the concepts of deduction and induction are philosophical or not. That’s irrelevant. The simple fact is that science uses both. Btw the Greeks developed deduction in the first place as a mathematical tool, not a philosophical one. They didn’t really grasp induction though, so their protoscience was also largely deductional. One exception might have been Archimedes, but we don’t really know how important experiment and observation were for him.
          Then we have Tycho Brahe, who spend his entire life at observing the skies and writing down his observations. He is the first scientist to use induction and thus is as important for the scientific revolution as Copernicus. He did so before Francis Bacon developed his philosophy of induction.

          “They have simply been subsumed into the scientific worldview.”
          If that makes you happy, go ahead. I remark that philosophers usually develop their concepts after scientists have put them in practice. There is nothing wrong with that; on the contrary, it’s very important. You give a fine example yourself:

          “reproducibility, falsifiability”
          Galilei applied the first and Brahe the second long before any philosopher reflected on them. But you still may call deduction and induction philosophical concepts if you like. My point in my previous comment was that philosophers don’t go out in the field or enter a lab to collect observations or develop experiments. Ie they don’t use induction. They don’t have to; their field of research is one where observations and experiments are not possible (yet).

        • Whiskyjack

          I was a working scientist for forty years, and I agree that science is, without doubt, the best method of securing knowledge. However, I do not understand why many scientists are so dismissive of philosophy, and that was the main point I wanted to make.
          Aristotle is considered to be the first to formalize deduction, but did so in the context of logic, not mathematics. It was applied to mathematics (geometry) by Euclid a couple of hundred years later. Brahe did not use induction – he was a superb observer, but it was Kepler who distilled his observations and generalized them.
          Even today, the interpretation of quantum mechanics can be viewed as mostly philosophical. We have equations that describe things in great detail, but how we make sense of them is a philosophical matter. Don’t get me wrong – I love science, and devoted my career to it, but philosophy asks great questions and I hate to see it denigrated.

        • MNb

          “I do not understand why many scientists are so dismissive of philosophy,’
          I’m not. But I’m just a teacher. Still I maintain that Theoretical Physics is so far beyond Experimental Physics these days that philosophers should get involved. Plus old questions like “what is time, what is matter” are as actual as ever.

          “Even today, the interpretation of quantum mechanics can be viewed as mostly philosophical.”
          That’s what got me re-interested in philosophy. And I’m very fond of stuff like this.

          http://www.universetoday.com/15051/thinking-about-time-before-the-big-bang/

          The late Victor Stenger is not averse to philosphy either:

          http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Godless/ImpGodChapter.htm

          “as philosopher Keith Parsons has pointed out, “To say the universe is infinitely old is to say that it had no beginning—not a beginning that was infinitely long ago.”

          That same Keith Parsons writes here at Patheos Atheist. One reason WLC could dominate debates for so long is the lack of cooperation of scientists and philosophers (ie not apologists).

          Later addition: one of my favourite non-fiction book of all time is this philosophy book:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_the_Age_of_Science%3F

          This made me a 7 on the scale of Dawkins, not any science.

        • Science is evaluated by its results. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.

          Category error? God, unicorns, and Nessie are all rumored beings that may not exist. You’ll say, “Ah, but this is a category error! Only the unicorn has a single horn, so it shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest!”

          I’m not saying that these three are identical, simply that they share the common property, “not known to exist.”

        • davewarnock

          I’m just having a hard time understanding why anyone is going out of their way to defend WLC. Really??

        • Greg G.

          An ad hominem is the fallacy of addressing the person instead of the argument itself. It doesn’t have to be insulting, you can dismiss an argument in the nicest, politest way ever, it is still an ad hominem fallacy. If you address the argument, you cannot be said that the ad hominem fallacy was committed. If you insult the person while you are at it, it just being insulted. An ad hominem is not about being mean.

        • Let me take your polite ad hominem as a challenge. I could say, “WLC is a lovely man–kindly and very smart. But … you do know he votes Democrat, right?”

          That might be an ad hominem in some circles.

        • MNb

          “WLC is wrong, because he is a lovely, kind and smart Democrat” is an ad hominem in every circle.

        • Greg G.

          “That’s just what somebody as handsome as he would say.”

        • truth_machine

          “That might be an ad hominem in some circles.”

          It is objectively ad hominem because it suggests that what WLC says is wrong or should be disregarded because of a personal trait.

        • It’s an ad hominem in some circles because voting Democratic is good or bad depending on the hearer.

        • truth_machine

          Again, it is objectively an ad hominem fallacy, regardless of what circle one is in … the intent is to dissuade some people from paying attention to what WLC says, regardless of whether everyone is so dissuaded. And arguing that one should believe what someone says simply because they are a Democrat is also an ad hominem fallacy.

        • truth_machine

          “An ad hominem is the fallacy of addressing the person instead of the argument itself.”

          That’s not actually a fallacy, that’s just failure to rebut. An ad hominem fallacy is of the form, often implicit: “something is true of person P” implies “something (or everything) P said is false or should be disregarded”.

        • Greg G.

          I’m not sure what hair you are trying to split.

          “something is true of person P” [“addressing the person”] implies “something (or everything) P said is false or should be disregarded” [“instead of the argument itself”].

          Giving the formal definition of a term to a cargo-cult logician is like trying to explain the electronics of a radio to a person talking to the gods through a coconut.

        • truth_machine

          “I’m not sure what hair you are trying to split.”

          I’m sad for you.

        • Pofarmer

          God didn’t start out as the omni everything Christian God. But, pretty much every religion has some kind of a “creation” God.

        • MNb

          Remarkable btw that you don’t recognize a syllogism when you meet one.

          1. Fine Tuning is a God of the Gaps Argument.
          2. WLC uses the Fine Tuning Argument.
          Conclusion: WLC uses a God of the Gaps Argument.

          I provided the links to show that premisse 2 is correct.
          Premisse 1 is correct because of “science can’t explain the natural constants, hence God”.
          So my conclusion is correct – and it took me only five seconds to find it.

          “you’d be hard pressed to ever find WLC argue God of the Gaps.”

          You’re just wrong.

        • Another favorite error related to the fine tuning argument is:

          Option 1: natural cause
          Option 2: supernatural cause
          Argument: Option 1 is really unlikely; therefore, Option 2.

        • Dys

          And that error is the entire basis of the intelligent design movement.

        • Kodie

          Here’s how they get ya (because “believe this fairy tale over legitimate science” doesn’t work on nobody these days):

          Here’s what the conspiracy of scientists doesn’t want you to know – blah blah blah intelligent design.

          And they’re indoctrinating your precious innocent children at those liberally biased public schools to believe in evolution!

          It’s a conspiracy against Jesus Christ Our Lord & Saviour! They’re trying to uneducate your children so they can steal their votes and turn them gay!

          Now how can evolution be true, you’re not stupid enough to believe the truck parts at an Autozone suddenly formed a truck all on their own, do you? And you know your grandparents – were they monkeys or were they people? They would try and have your children taught these outrageous ideas at school where they are taught to learn, not taught to be puppets of the government.

          The universe had to have a cause, children don’t know any better and believe whatever they’re elders tell them, that’s how we teach them respect, so we have to deal with this ourselves. How can the whole vast wide universe come from zero, nada, nothing? You have to ask these questions because children are too naive and gullible. The teachers will just say “I don’t know” well I know, and you know, the universe had to have a creator, and they are trying to tell your children there was no creator. That’s impossible!

          So here’s what we’ve come up with. We got the creator making all we see, and we have it so it’s impossible that the creator did not create all we see, but using some scientific terms to elevate it to a competing theory with evolution, and some microscopic views of organisms to illustrate, I mean that flagellum! How can that just appear out of nowhere? Look at how complex the human eye is, it is impossible for something that complex to make itself work the way it does.

          We don’t need the explanations, we just need the razzle-dazzle. To summarize:

          1) Whip up fear and suspicion
          2) Review opponents’ fictional intent
          3) The Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllldddrrrrrrennnn!
          4) Doubt and disbelief in a strawman
          5) Protection of one’s beliefs and souls
          6) Pretense of curiosity
          7) Build something out of illustrations
          7a) Point to the illustrations and add incredulous commentary

        • truth_machine

          Oh, the ID argument is worse … it argues that natural causes aren’t just unlikely, but impossible. The claim is that evolution *cannot* produce certain results … therefore they must be the result of Intelligent Design. In this case, not only doesn’t the consequent follow, but the premise is flat out wrong … not only *can* evolution produce what IDiots say it can’t, but in many cases (such as the bacterial flagellum) we have a detailed explanation of how it did.

        • truth_machine

          “Scientism is the view that material science is the only valid or reliable way to truth.”

          Perhaps, but no one holds to that … for instance, we all recognize that we are ineluctable authorities on whether we are in pain. If we feel pain but some scientific theory says we don’t, we know that theory is in error.

          ” Rather, science and philosophy can work together in arriving at accurate knowledge.”

          Rubbish. So quickly did you forget what you wrote: “valid or reliable way to truth” — philosophy isn’t that and, properly done, doesn’t try to be that.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • truth_machine

          Yeesh but godbots are stupid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A Roman Catholic physics student who does not believe transubstantiation despite it being doctrine, church teaching, and catechism.

          Something wrong there methinks. Compartmentalisation has a lot to answer for indeed.

          http://www.gotquestions.org/transubstantiation.html

        • truth_machine

          That’s the one thing she said that *wasn’t* stupid.

    • Cognissive Disco Dance

      You must evaluate each person’s arguments. Otherwise, you just come across as a petty and close-minded apologist yourself.

      So did you evaluate all of his blog posts? Easier said than done haha. Good luck finding an argument he hasn’t evaluated by the way.

      • Kevin Harris

        Not all, just the post at hand for our present purposes.

        • MNb

          Then you use a double standard. You are demanding something from BobS you don’t do yourself. How surprising.

    • Kevin: Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your taking the time to respond.

      do you really think ad homs against Dr. Craig promotes good dialogue?

      Fair question. If that’s all I had, that would probably be bluster simply because I wasn’t man enough to admit when I’d been beaten. But as you can see, I do respond to the arguments.

      You’re quite right that that is tinged with a bit of anger, but you’re seeing my frustration at the shenanigans that I see Dr. Craig using—weak arguments, incomplete facts, and in general example after example where he should know better. I hate it when an apologist counts on my ignorance to make his argument strong.

      a cursory glimpse of your blog seems to be an apologetic against apologetics! If you don’t appreciate someone trying to present reasons and evidence for his view then don’t do it yourself!

      Sorry—I’m not following. Are you saying that I’m declaring that no one is allowed to make a case? Please clarify.

      How disingenious that you would lump Christian apologists into one negative category.

      Christianity is a big tent. If that’s your point, I agree. I don’t know that it’s a problem in this post, but I sometimes omit qualifications like “some Christians say” to acknowledge that I realize that I can’t paint them all with the same brush.

      You said, “but this ignores the fact that science and math have been the only disciplines from which we’ve ever learned about reality”. Your Scientism is showing!

      Did I misspeak? Do we learn about reality from other disciplines? Other commenters to this post have pointed out other disciplines like art, literature, and history. They are valuable disciplines, but do we learn about reality from them? Would you prefer if I’d said “nature” instead?

      As for philosophy, I see the value … except when done by philosophers. I’m happy to accept Plantinga’s definition that philosophy is thinking hard about something. But the results we can point to are when scientists and mathematicians do philosophy. By contrast, I don’t know of breakthroughs from philosophers. If there is value from philosophy or theology that I’m missing, point it out.

      you’re trying to build your own cumulative case in the essay.

      This may not be where you’re going with this observation, but to some extent I do argue the case that “God doesn’t exist.” I’ll have to think whether my many arguments with that conclusion are a successful cumulative case or not. Off the top of my head, I don’t think that it’s any more a cumulative case than Dr. Craig’s many deist arguments for God. Nevertheless, there isn’t symmetry here since Dr. Craig has the burden of proof.

      But that may have been a tangent.

      And your only critique is to offer a Category Error. It is incorrect to place God, even subtly, in a category with “Big Foot”, “aliens”, and “fairies”.

      Expand on this. I’m not seeing it.

      Finally, you’d be hard pressed to ever find WLC argue God of the Gaps.

      Not overtly. But I do think that this is often the end result. I remember physicist Sean Carroll making that very point in his debate with Dr. Craig. What I often see him doing is arguing that a natural explanation is unlikely … so then why not consider the supernatural explanation?

      Neither will you fi nd him “reaching for another argument” when one is “dismissed” without a rebuttal (in debate). “Dismissing” is not the same as rebutting or refuting. I would stick to the latter two if you want to be take seriously.

      Agreed. I put a lot of effort into thoroughly rebutting arguments.

      • truth_machine

        ” I don’t know of breakthroughs from philosophers.”

        Daniel Dennett has provided quite a few … although he’s unusually scientifically literate and his contributions are scientifically informed.

        And there are others, such as Popper and Dewey.

        • And that’s the point. When you point to a legitimate breakthrough, you’re pointing at a scientist or mathematician or engineer. They might’ve been putting on their philosopher’s hat to work through some difficulty, but this doesn’t come from philosophers.

          I’ve written more about my less-than-charitable view of philosophers here. My challenge is: What have philosophers done for me lately?

        • truth_machine

          Um, but Dennett, Popper, and Dewey are/were philosophers, not scientists, mathematicians, or engineers. One might argue that Dennett has worked through some difficulties by putting on a scientist’s hat. I can see that you have an unfalsifiable, ideological approach to this issue, and it’s not worth my effort to try to change your view. But pretending for a moment that you actually want an answer to your question … you might want to read http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/may/22/daniel-dennett-aristotle-flaming-idiot and Dennett’s book mentioned there (or any of this other books).

        • Or, if you wanted to pretend that I had an open mind, you could give me an example within the last 50 years, say, of a philosopher making an important advance in our understanding of reality. I’m looking for the philosophers’ equivalent of the Higgs boson, life discovered in unusual places, dark energy, and so on.

          Note that a scientist putting on a philosopher’s hat doesn’t count. And a philosopher who’s also a scientist doesn’t count.

        • truth_machine

          Again, Dennett is not a scientist and neither were Popper or Dewey.

          “I’m looking for the philosophers’ equivalent of the Higgs boson, life discovered in unusual places, dark energy, and so on.”

          You’re looking for philosophers to make scientific advances … but those aren’t the sort of advances philosophers make. They do, however, at times lay groundwork that provides direction for scientists. All of Dennett, Popper, and Dewey did some of that.

          But you won’t believe that and you won’t learn what it would take to understand it, so saying it is pointless.

    • Esquilax

      Neither will you find him “reaching for another argument” when one is “dismissed” without a rebuttal (in debate).

      Well, you’re right there: you’re actually more likely to find WLC repeating the same old arguments even after they’ve been rebutted, as though the rebuttal never happened. Or failing that, just dismissing the failure of his own argumentation as irrelevant, as he believes not based on evidence, but on his “self authenticating” witness of the holy spirit.

      Case in point regarding the former claim: Craig brings up the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem in his debate against Sean Carroll to make a point, to which Carroll responds by quoting one of the writers of that theorem, explicitly stating that his conclusions are the opposite of the argument Craig was making. One would think this would be the end of that argument, but Craig remained undaunted: “Maybe that’s just his personal opinion…” he wheedled, before sticking with the same citation as though nothing had happened.

      • powellpower

        To be fair in a debate setting, it’ll be hard for him to simply say “I stand corrected and back down”.

        At the end of the day, he is a good debater, a truth seeker? Not so much.

        • Pofarmer

          He had already received a letter from another one of the authors telling him was butchering the argument, yet he persists in using it. I’ll bet he still uses it.

      • It would be one kind of ballsiness to get humiliated in one debate and then assume that your next opponent wouldn’t have the same slap-down and run with the same argument.

        But it takes world-class ballsiness to get served in a debate and then proceed on as if nothing happened.

        Let me take a step back here. WLC might well respond that this is a debate, not an intellectual conversation. The goal is snowing the audience, and with all that experience, he does a good job.

        But when you later analyze the battle in the cool light of reason, the rhetoric and gamesmanship can be sifted out to find the actual arguments. Does WLC never get dinged when his arguments, coldly analyzed, don’t stand up well? I suppose if he’s just reassuring his peeps, this whole thing works for him. Doesn’t much matter if outsiders like us poke holes in the arguments since he’s not talking to us.

      • MNb

        Duane Gish also displayed this habit. Since then I fail to see any substantial difference between creationists and “philosophers” of religion.

    • Secondly, a cursory glimpse of your blog seems to be an apologetic
      against apologetics! If you don’t appreciate someone trying to present
      reasons and evidence for his view then don’t do it yourself!

      I think the problem here is not that apologists present reasons and evidence, but that they do so despite the fact that (at least in the case of WLC) their belief is not dependent on the arguments they make. If WLC became convinced that every one of his apologetic arguments was erroneous, I don’t think he would stop being a Christian. That is a problem if he wants to convince the rest of us that he really cares about which way the evidence points, and isn’t trying to basically con us into believing something that he supports for reasons unrelated to evidence and logical arguments.

      It is incorrect to place God, even subtly, in a category with “Big Foot”, “aliens”, and “fairies”.

      Why? Bigfoot and aliens are both beings which are not impossible, and which some people believe in, but for which the evidence is currently very limited. That seems like an appropriate category to put God in.

      • MNb

        Bigfoot and aliens are supposed to be material and god immaterial. That difference is crucial indeed.
        That said there are some similarities between Bigfoot and god indeed. The “category error” is just a cheapo to justify ignoring them.

        • James

          OK, then let’s put the Christian deity in the same category as invisible pink unicorns.

        • MNb

          I have a personal preference for immaterial fairies (I just defined them that way) tending the flowers in my garden.

        • In that case it might be too generous to put God in the same category. Bigfoot and aliens would at least be consistent with our current knowledge of nature; immaterial minds would not.

      • Agreed. WLC makes enthusiastic arguments, and yet they aren’t the foundation of his own faith. One wonders why he bothers.

    • davewarnock

      I wish everyone who debated WLC would just quote to him- on stage, the words of his own book. Then just sit down. Debate over.

      “It is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth. Therefore, the only role left for argument and evidence to play is a subsidiary role”. (Reasonable Faith, 47)

      Seriously, does anything else need to be said? How interested in evidence do you think he really is?

    • M. Solange O’Brien

      But so far as I can see, I’ve ive sat through a lot of WLC, he doesn’t actually make any sound arguments; his presentation of the science is faulty; and he fails to address many of the valid criticisms of the arguments he offers.

      I leave aside his genocide apologetics, which is morally appalling.

    • truth_machine

      Ah, the usual hypocritical godbot gallop, full of personal attacks and other forms of intellectual dishonesty. It’s amusing how Kevin says he will “try to take the high road” and then immediately launches into personal attacks and reaches for the exclamation mark key.

  • Pofarmer

    Watching a show on History Channel about Greek mythology. Can’t wait until they talk about Christianity like this.

    • powellpower

      I suppose will be long after we’re dead though.

      • Pofarmer

        Eh, maybe, maybe not.

        • William Davis

          I think Christianity has already died, we are just experiencing a dragged out denial period. If you look at what a real Christian is (like someone from the 1500s), even modern Christians would think they are looney, except for a few hardcore fundamentalists. The fact that modern Christianity is now so hopelessly watered down is very telling. I’m in my 30s, and very few from my generation believe, they just go to church to keep their parents happy.

    • They already dismiss it when talking about geology and anything seriously old. Not even here in the US do they pander to the YECs.

      Perhaps with time …

    • Sophia Sadek

      One of my complaints about school was that we learned about Greek and Roman mythology, but not about Christian and Jewish mythology.

  • TheNuszAbides

    another quality closing quote.

    also,

    I don’t know whether to marvel more at his audacity to push a hypothesis with no evidence or his gall to think we’re too stupid to notice.

    i think my cynicism (or at least my combined ability and willingness to articulate it) just hit a new level: isn’t it all just another convolution of “mine’s bigger”? what’s crucial to Craig (and presumably many others, and just as sadly many of their opponents as well) is having The Most Ultimatest Answer. coherence, cohesion, explanatory power and all the rest take a back seat to All-Encompassingness.

  • RichardSRussell

    Craig’s arguments aren’t even a house of cards. At least, in a house of cards, some care and design are evident, one card supports another, and you can arrange them to make a stack that rises some distance off the tabletop. Basically what Craig is doing is just dealing a bunch of cards flat, all over the table, and triumphantly claiming that he’s built something out of them.

  • Sophia Sadek

    History indicts and convicts Christianity rather than supporting it. Church history reveals acts of theft, murder, and destruction against people who considered themselves to be Christian but who failed to kowtow to official state-sanctioned doctrine. No amount of apologetics can whitewash that record.

  • MNb

    And while Greg fosters his hope and uses it trying to find his god in cumulative snowflakes (his method is shutting off his brain) scientists do what they do best: observe things that have never been observed before – some far, far, far away and thus very young galaxies.

    http://www.gizmag.com/eso-muse-hubble-deep-field-south/36289/

    • Surprising! I would’ve thought that the air would’ve distorted the image.

  • Wick Samuel

    They won’t bother since none use it as an argument to support their own faith. They didn’t come to faith after being convinced by this argument (or theTranscendental Argument or the Ontological Argument or the Design Argument or the Moral Argument), and their faith doesn’t rest on them

    That is a completely inaccurate statement:

    1. Many Christians become open to Christianity by following the data where it leads.

    2. In another article you quoted, WLC has stated that natural theology(kalam, ontological, fine tuning, etc.. arguments) serves as confirmation(it supports) of their faith.

    ================================

    “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.”

    Completely inaccurate statement; the existence of the universe, fine tuning of the
    universe and existence of objective morality, all point to and are best
    explained by God. Scientists are looking to forces external to our universe to
    explain the first two.

    ================================

    Honestly, have you brought forward any evidence that your materialist assumption is correct? Your entire argument seems to be

    The universe is all there is
    Christians are stupid because they think God exists
    Thus proving that the universe is all there is.

    Taking away your assumption that materialism is true, where do you arguments stand? Where are you directly addressing the arguments of natural theology? (hint: “that’s nonsense” is not addressing the argument”

    • Ann Kah

      The answers are not all known. But the sentence “I don’t know” is appropriate, not “I don’t know therefore god”. Twenty years ago we didn’t know about the internet. Fifty years ago our computers consisted of one roomful of hardware in New Jersey, and we all used slide rules. A hundred years ago horses drawing carriages were confronted with those newfangled gasoline motors. Our understanding grows enormously every year. To a scientist, “I don’t know” just means there is another interesting and exciting avenue to be explored. That specious phrase “God did it” just erects a barricade and says “don’t go any further”.

      • Pofarmer

        And it’s going to get worse for them.

        “Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.”

        Scientists are now attempting to map the human brain.

    • Kodie

      Christianity* succeeds by poisoning your mind with propaganda against the available data. If your sources for the available data start and end with a Christian source for the information and the analysis of it, then you have been made a fool. I know this because many a Christian has come here with a very poor and distorted understanding of how things work, including you. How much money have you given them?

      *and other religions. Why is your argument for Christianity not applicable to other religions? If you’re going to convince us there’s a god, there’s just as much evidence for every other god that man has invented as a backstory fantasy explanation for why things are the way they are. Christianity is just more famous where you live.

      • Wick Samuel

        not true.

        Kalam, fine tuning, objective morality all point to the existence of an immaterial entity with that capability and desire. The identity of that God is solidly grounded in Jewish history and the historicity of Jesus.

        there’s just as much evidence for every other god that man

        demonstrably false, see above.

        • Dys

          Kalam is a flawed argument, no one has ever demonstrated there’s any such thing as absolute objective morality, and fine tuning has issues that stop it from being the ace in the hole that naive apologists wish it was.

          But I’m sure if you just keep repeating it to yourself, it’ll count as evidence to you.

        • Wick Samuel

          1. How is kalam flawed?
          2. You believe that nothing is objectively right or wrong? that there are just opinions?

        • Dys

          1. Kalam is flawed in the sense that it doesn’t constitute an argument for god. It’s an argument for a first cause. Apologists twist the first cause into the god they want to believe in, but it’s completely unwarranted. And they essentially grant their god a special pleading exemption from being caused.

          Plus, the only thing we can say with certainty is that the universe in its present form had a beginning. So there’s an issue with the second premise.

          2. I don’t believe human morality exists apart from humans. I think there are certain characteristics and behaviours that are objectively true for humans, and a large part of morality derives from those facts. For instance, it is a fact that humans are social animals. As a result, it’s fairly easy to see why prohibitions against murder, stealing, etc. naturally arose.

          I’d also point out that your question is ducking the issue. Even if I said yes, you haven’t managed to provide an argument for absolute objective morality. You’re merely arguing from wishful thinking.

        • Pofarmer

          Things, values that would be the closest to being considered objective in humans are also apparent in other mammals. So, biology and evolution become better answers.

        • truth_machine

          ” the closest to being considered objective”

          The term you want is “intersubjective”.

        • truth_machine

          ” the only thing we can say with certainty is that the universe in its present form had a beginning”

          No, we can’t say that with certainty, unless you’re putting an ad hoc spin on “in its present form” that requires it to be true … which is just a circular argument. Actually it’s probably false … either that, or there was a singularity with no coherent mathematical description at which all laws of conservation were violated. There are possible alternatives, as mentioned in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initial_singularity … and perhaps other alternatives never considered. Certainty is not available.

          “Even if I said yes, you haven’t managed to provide an argument for absolute objective morality. ”

          And even if there were an absolute objective morality (a frankly incoherent concept), it would of logical necessity be independent of the existence of God … objective truths are true implicitly, not because they are the preferences or edicts of some entity, “immaterial” (whatever that means) or not.

        • Dys

          No, we can’t say that with certainty, unless you’re putting an ad hoc spin on “in its present form” that requires it to be true

          The only point I was making with my comment was that, according to the current prevailing theory, the universe in its current form began with the Big Bang. Before that, who really knows? The current universe may be the result of a previous form of it collapsing on itself. In which case, it could be said that the universe in the larger sense might not have a beginning either.

          One of the problems with Kalam is a set problem. The apologists structure it with a special pleading exemption carved out for God (because the original formulation of the cosmological argument ended in an infinite regress). In Kalam’s first premise, it separates everything into two sets: caused and uncaused things, and then insists that only God is allowed into the uncaused things set. Kalam is really little more than a band-aid on a flawed argument for the existence of God.

        • truth_machine

          ” who really knows? ”

          So much for stating with certainty. Duh.

        • Dys

          Not sure if you’re intentionally misrepresenting what I said or not. The universe began in its present form at the Big Bang, which I’ve said repeatedly. That doesn’t negate any form it may have had previously, before the Big Bang. It seems as if you’re cherry-picking my comment to make attempts at semantic gotchas and ignoring the actual point I was making.

          Perhaps I should have said “any degree of certainty” instead of just “certainty” given that the Big Bang is a theory, and thus not set in stone, but that’s really just nitpicking.

        • truth_machine

          “Not sure if you’re intentionally misrepresenting what I said or not. ”

          I have not misrepresented you, intentionally or not.

          “Perhaps I should have said “any degree of certainty” instead of just “certainty””

          Any degree of certainty includes zero certainty, so I’ll accept that.

        • truth_machine

          “It seems as if you’re cherry-picking my comment to make attempts at semantic gotchas and ignoring the actual point I was making.”

          It seems to me that you are grossly intellectually dishonest. I wrote “No, we can’t say that with certainty, unless you’re putting an ad hoc spin on “in its present form” that requires it to be true … which is just a circular argument. Actually it’s probably false … either that, or there was a singularity with no coherent mathematical description at which all laws of conservation were violated” etc. That was me making a point or two. Apparently you think that anyone who disagrees with you is misrepresenting you, cherry picking, making attempts at semantic gotchas, ignoring your actual points … sorry, but those are all ad hominems, marking you a write-only asshole with no interest in understanding someone else’s position. I’m done with this.

        • Kodie

          There’s a huge difference between someone being grossly intellectually dishonest and not being precise as your majesty likes with their words. So fuck off.

        • I’m done with this.

          Good to hear.

        • Dys

          Ok, got it. You’re a condescending asshole with a over-inflated ego and incapable of having a intelligent conversation without resorting to childish insults drawing massively inaccurate conclusions based on your own imagined superiority. You seem like a smart guy, it’s a shame you have to constantly undermine it with your pompous attitude and obnoxious immaturity.

          Oh, and no ad hominem on my part. Learn to apply it correctly. But you did manage to strawman me completely at the end there, so it’s fair to point out that you’re more than a bit of a hypocrite as well.

          marking you a write-only asshole with no interest in understanding someone else’s position

          Considering how often your petty biases and ego seem to prevent you from doing the same, the phrase “physician heal thyself” seems incredibly appropriate here.

          But to deal with your objection – the Big Bang marks the beginning of our time and space. That’s not circular reasoning, that’s recognizing a starting point. If you don’t want to call it the universe, fine. “In its present form” is merely a distinction that, according to the Big Bang theory, everything was condensed into a singularity. That’s a change in form, which was all I was stating in the first place as far as what you actually objected to.

        • truth_machine

          Really, I’m done. I hope that made you feel good.

        • Dys

          I hope that made you feel good.

          Says the person who’s blatantly feeding his own ego with his pompous attitude and sophomoric insults. Couldn’t resist one more chance to demonstrate what a hypocrite you are? Maybe once you stop with the boorish condescension and hypocritical behaviour, you’ll be worth having a conversation with.

          Run along, I’m sure there’s somewhere else you can flaunt your pedantry. At the moment, you don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

        • Kodie

          Also, says the person who leaves in several snits, returns to announce their departure in several other tiffs, and then, continues to comment.

          We’re not even going to bring up the possible sock puppet with a huge chip on his other shoulder.

        • Dys

          He’s not worth trying to converse with…any good points he makes are immediately undermined by his inability to take criticism without responding with insults and strawmen. Personally, I found it funny that he wants to talk about logic and such, but maliciously and fallaciously characterizes all Christians as liars and ignoramuses (I think it’s his favourite word).

          He apparently wants to be seen as an expert (which he hasn’t earned), and if you fail to recognize his self-professed greatness, he attacks you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …liars and ignoramuses

          Easy tiger!!! Ohhhps, wrong spelling, as you were, carry on please. }8O)~

        • Dys

          But I’m not wrong, lol. Ignorami isn’t actually the plural form.

          http://grammarist.com/spelling/ignoramus/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, I know chum. I was trying to be facetious with some flippant humour. The “smiley devil” shoulda gave me away.}8O)~

        • Dys

          I’m slow today 😛

          And I was unaware of the smiley devil emoticon. Now I know. And knowing is half the battle. But GI Joe never told me what the other half was. I suspect it has something to do with shooting people.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Haaaa..nearly,… Squadie speak for forget about it and get on with what yer were saying. How I’d love to have shot my namesake prophet Amos… Barret light fifty from fairly close…we atheists are not all the same as ya know…I’d have popped Jesus too, had he been real of course.

        • Kodie

          Kalam inserts a deity just because you don’t know any other answer.

          If you had to rape one man to save 10,000 unborn fetuses?

        • Susan

          1. How is kalam flawed?

          Its premises are ill-defined and not necessarily true. It relies on equivocation at every turn.

          An agent is suddenly thrust in at the end with no justification and no explanation of that agent. Even if I accepted it through every step (and I do not), you can’t jump up and yell, “Ta Dah! Yahwehjesus!”

          It convinces christians because beginning with their conclusion is part of the cult think.

          2. You believe that nothing is objectively right or wrong?

          Define ‘objectively wrong’ and give me some examples.

        • MNb

          “Its premises are ill-defined and not necessarily true.”
          Worse – its first premise (causality) flat out contradicts Modern Physics.

        • Susan

          Worse – its first premise (causality) flat out contradicts Modern Physics.

          Agreed. But this is where apologists like Craig begin equivocating and place the burden on us by saying “You can’t prove events are uncaused at the quantum level. Maybe they are caused and we just haven’t found the cause. (I know. I’m rolling my eyes too.)

          The point is that they haven’t proven their premise. That there are events that ‘may’ be uncaused is enough to dismiss the argument.

          It’s better explained here at this excellent blog:
          http://quinesqueue.blogspot.ca/2013/08/understanding-forcing-arguments.html

        • MNb

          I’m familiar with this reply.

          “Maybe they are caused and we just haven’t found the cause.”

          “Maybe. As soon as you have identified the causes and integrated them in a coherent and consistent theory that describes all the know empirical data equally well and preferably better than probabilistic Modern Physics I’ll pay attention. You’re invited. Until then it’s just wishful thinking. Assuming unknown causes without showing necessicity calls for William Ockham”. Fun fact: there is a deterministic interpretation of Quantum Mechanics that is generally rejected exactly for this reason – unnecessary and undetectable quantities.
          I’m pretty honest about this. Quantum Mechanics made me an atheist, but I never claimed it was conclusive. The scale of Dawkins didn’t exist yet, but I’d say I was about a 5 for almost 25 years.

        • Susan

          Maybe. As soon as you have identified the causes and integrated them in a coherent and consistent theory that describes all the know empirical data equally well and preferably better than probabilistic Modern Physics I’ll pay attention. You’re invited. Until then it’s just wishful thinking.

          Of course. It’s exactly the right response.

          More simply, they are shifting the burden. In a deductive argument, the premises must be proven to claim the conclusion. They can’t prove even the first premise. It’s not up to anyone to disprove it. That modern physics seems to demonstrate that “uncaused” things exist is enough to undermine the necessary truth of the first premise only highlights the trouble with their assertion.

          They never could prove the premise.

          “Everything that begins to exists has a cause.”

          As Sean Carroll puts it (politely), “Maybe not.”

          “Maybe not.” is all it takes for a deductive argument to collapse.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s flawed in several very fundamentalist ways. Scott Clifton discusses it on youtube.

        • Wick Samuel

          suspect you meant to say “several fundamental ways”.

          You would benefit from reading https://paradoxicalpanoply.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/response-to-scott-clifton/

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. Look in the replies to your link.

        • truth_machine

          “You would benefit from reading …”

          Yes, because therein Larsen rejects the second Kalam premise.

          Also, his “deductive argument” for the first Kalam premise itself rests on one questionable premise and one frankly wrong premise. His argument that, if anything can be causelessly created, then it will be, is bogus, resting on an invalid reification of “nothing” .. by saying that “nothing” doesn’t discriminate, he is treating “nothing” as a *thing* that *creates* stuff. But “nothing” is not a thing, and has no power to create. Something that comes into existence uncaused comes into existence *for no reason*. The claim that, if something *can* come into being for no reason, it *will* come into being for no reason, is completely baseless. Since there is *no reason* for uncaused creation, nothing can be said about what will come into creation uncaused. (Personally, I don’t think there is any ex nihilo creation … everything that is, including the content of the Big Bang, is a transformation of what came before, stretching back to infinity.)

          It’s unfortunate that the links to Scott Clifton’s responses to Tom Larsen’s arguments are dead.

        • Pofarmer

          If you go to Clifton’s youtube Channel, his back and forth with Veritas48 are there, or at least they were.

        • Greg G.

          1. How is kalam flawed?

          The first premise “Everything that begins to exist has a cause” is wrong. It is an induction based on causes acting on things that already exist to form something else. A chair doesn’t just begin to exist – causes act on wood which is a result of photosynthesis acting on molecules. Things that begin to exist, like virtual particles, are not caused.

          The Kalam would be better with:

          1. Things that begin to exist are uncaused.

          2. The universe began to exist.

          3. The universe is uncaused.

          2. You believe that nothing is objectively right or wrong? that there are just opinions?

          You are equivocating with the words “right” and “wrong”. If you can only manage to think in terms of words without paying attention to the underlying concept, your conclusions will be unreliable.

        • Wick Samuel

          If you think premise 1 is wrong, you would need to provide an example of something coming into existence, un-caused, and, there aren’t any examples.
          Being only comes from being, non-existence can’t do anything, it has no properties, no potentiality. Nothing isn’t a version of something, it it literally no-thing, non-existence.

          virtual particles are not un-caused, they are fluctuations of energy in the vacuum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle
          =======
          no clue what your issue is with “right” vs ‘wrong” .

        • truth_machine

          “If you think premise 1 is wrong, you would need to provide an example of something coming into existence, un-caused, and, there aren’t any examples. ”

          Don’t you even bother to read what you respond to? As he just pointed out, there are no examples of things being caused to come into existence … causation is all about *transformation*. Everything scientifically speculated to come into existence — such as virtual particles — are *un*caused; they are the results of statistical distributions.

          I myself think it’s more likely that nothing actually pops into existence … including the universe. The Big Bang started with an immensely dense concentration of energy. We don’t know where that came from … there’s no reason to assume that it simply didn’t exist earlier. The existence of stuff stretches infinitely into the future; it can just as readily stretch infinitely into the past.

          “virtual particles are not un-caused, they are fluctuations of energy in the vacuum.”

          Sigh. You have no understanding of what a cause is. Here’s a clue: “Xs are Ys” is not a causal statement. If, e.g., someone says “I am my own grandpa”, we want an explanation of how that came about (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7x1ETPkZsk).

        • MNb

          “We don’t know where that came from”
          Actually the total amount of our universe might very well be exactly zero. The positive energy consisting of matter, light etc. might be balanced by the negative work done by all the galaxies moving away from each other. To keep it simple: gravity and movement have opposite directions, so according to Work = Force x Distance there is negative energy. And if the Big Bang is the result of a random quantum fluctuation it just had to happen.
          This still doesn’t disprove god – but like Einstein noticed theists are left with a god playing dice.

        • truth_machine

          “Actually the total amount of our universe might very well be exactly zero. ”

          Wrong.

          “And if the Big Bang is the result of a random quantum fluctuation it just had to happen.”

          That is very confused.

          “like Einstein noticed theists are left with a god playing dice.”

          Einstein’s rejection of dice playing was theistic (of a Spinozan variety). Physicists almost universally think Einstein was wrong.

        • Greg G.

          “Actually the total amount of our universe might very well be exactly zero. ”

          Wrong.

          From Zero-energy universe:

          Inflation is radically at odds with the old dictum of Democritus and Lucretius, “Nothing can be created from nothing.” If inflation is right, everything can be created from nothing, or at least from very little. If inflation is right, the Universe can properly be called the ultimate free lunch.

          —Guth, Alan ♦ The Inflationary Universe Beam Line, fall 1997, p. 19

        • “Actually the total amount of our universe might very well be exactly zero. ”

          Wrong.

          I look forward to seeing how you’ve found out the total mass-energy content of the universe.

        • Greg G.

          I did give an example – virtual particles. They come from uncaused fluctuations of the energy of the vacuum. Now you need to give an example of something coming into existence by a cause. This cannot be something that made of already existing material and it must be material, not a process.

          Your idea of “nothing” is an imaginary construct, like a perfect equilateral triangle. It is a concept but cannot exist in reality. You cannot have a nothing like that without something to prevent the random, uncaused fluctuations, which would be something, not nothing. The least you can have are the fluctuations.

          The word “objective” is used so many different ways, it is nearly useless without having it defined every time it is used. Who thinks that there are not objective (or absolute) facts? There is either a sun or there isn’t. Most everyone (solipsists excluded) would say that the existence of the sun is an objective fact. Many atheists would say that what you call objective morality isn’t objective. You seem to be conflating “moral right and wrong” with “factual right and wrong”. The existence of the sun is not a moral issue.

        • MNb

          1. For starters: it assumes causality, while our universe is probabilistic – something you yourself acknowledged above.
          2. Yes.

        • Wick Samuel

          ?
          discussion of probabilities was in the context of fine tuning, not the creation of the universe.

        • truth_machine

          “discussion of probabilities was in the context of fine tuning, not the creation of the universe.”

          Can you really be this dumb? Fine tuning is purportedly an argument that the universe was necessarily created willfully. But the notion of an immaterial entity creating anything is incoherent … notions of causation cannot be meaningfully extended to such “creation”. Causation is about *transformative processes* … one state of affairs leads to another through a progression that can be described with physical laws. But what we have here is that there was an immaterial entity (whatever the verb “to be” means for “immaterial entities” … that alone is incoherent) and no universe, then there was an immaterial entity and a universe. The immaterial entity adds nothing to the description and can be sliced away with Ockham’s Razor.

        • MNb

          Thanks for showing your incoherence. It doesn’t make sense to accept probability in one case and reject it in another, especially because you claim that the universe was fine tuned during the “creation” of our universe. The context for the two is exactly the same.

        • truth_machine

          “You believe that nothing is objectively right or wrong?”

          Of course, since the notion of something being objectively right or wrong is incoherent. And even if there were such a thing, it would of logical necessity be independent of the existence of God.

          “that there are just opinions?”

          That’s not the only alternative. Humans, a particular social species, have moral intuitions given them by evolution.

        • Kodie

          You assert these things, but you don’t provide evidence of them. They are fancy parlor tricks meant to suck you in, because you’re gullible and you pay them money.

        • Kodie

          And these would be examples of Christian arguments meant to poison your curiosity or understanding of reality.

        • Pofarmer

          Exactly. Poisoning the well, mudding the waters, what ever you want to call it.

        • MNb

          “The identity of that God is solidly grounded in Jewish history and the historicity of Jesus.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! History is a branch of science and doesn’t concern itself with the identity of gods – only with the gods people believed in in the past.

        • Wick Samuel

          History doesn’t concern itself with the historical Jesus? Or the history of the Jewish people?

          odd viewpoint..

        • Greg G.

          It is an odd viewpoint and it is odd that someone would draw it from what he said.

        • truth_machine

          “History doesn’t concern itself with the historical Jesus? Or the history of the Jewish people?”

          Since that clearly isn’t what he said, you are once again proven to be a liar.

          Historians do concern themselves with the factuality of accounts of actions attributed to someone called Jesus, and in that regard all claims of divinity are without any basis.

        • MNb

          So you lack reading comprehensive skills. I didn’t write that. I wrote

          “doesn’t concern itself with the identity of gods – only with the gods people believed in in the past.”
          and that’s not nearly the same.

        • truth_machine

          “Kalam, fine tuning, objective morality all point to the existence of an immaterial entity with that capability and desire.”

          First, they don’t. Kalam, in particular, calls for something able to make other things exist, which goes against it being immaterial. Second, immaterial entities aren’t the sorts of things that can have capabilities and desires. Third, all these arguments are fallacious … at the least, they are *disputable*, and most intelligent people — even Christian intellectuals — dispute them.

          “The identity of that God is solidly grounded in Jewish history and the historicity of Jesus.”

          That verges on the most intellectually dishonest claim I have ever seen. On the basis of historicity, Mohammed and the Buddha win. Even if we grant Jesus historicity — I think Josephus mentioned six people with that name — there’s no independent basis for a *divine* Jesus. And Jewish history? The is nothing in Jewish history that supports anything divine. Of course there are *allegories and myths*, as there are in all cultures. There is no more rational basis to believe that Jews ever encountered divinities than the Greeks or Indians or any people, despite their *beliefs* (while the Buddha insisted that he wasn’t divine, many worship his image, having mixed Hindu traditions into Buddhism).

          Sorry, but I don’t believe that anyone who isn’t extremely stupid can *honestly* subscribe to your argument.

    • Dys

      I’m still waiting for anyone, anywhere to demonstrate that there is an absolute objective morality. All I’ve ever been given are assertions to its existence. Mostly proponents don’t offer much more than “Gosh golly gee, everyone would murder everyone else and no one could say Hitler was wrong if there’s no absolute objective morality”.

      The universe existing doesn’t demonstrate any evidence for any god. The universe existing isn’t evidence for anything other than its own existence.

      The common refrain of “these mysteries are best explained by god” is utterly meaningless. Because you can explain anything with god; you may as well substitute “it’s magic” for “god did it” – it’s nothing more than a theological stop-gap to admitting ignorance, which is the far more honest answer.

      • Pofarmer

        I agree, all the evidence available points to evolution and society providing us with the basis of Morality. I’ve not seen anyone make an evidenced claim that even remotely stood up.

        • Wick Samuel

          Best evidence for objective morality is the appeal the atheist constantly makes to the existence of it.

          The universe existing isn’t evidence for anything other than its own existence

          that’s silly, how did the universe get here? why is there something rather than nothing?

        • Dys

          Best evidence for objective morality is the appeal the atheist constantly makes to the existence of it.

          Now I understand your problem…you don’t have a single clue as to what constitutes evidence. No wonder you keep making silly assertions you can’t back up. In this particular groaner, you’re attempting to use your own caricature atheists’ wishful thinking as evidence of objective morality. Hopefully you don’t need to have it explained to you why that’s incredibly stupid.

          how did the universe get here?

          We don’t know. Neither do you.

          why is there something rather than nothing?

          We don’t even know if ‘nothing’ is possible. All we have evidence for is ‘something’. So the question itself might not even be correct.

        • truth_machine

          “Hopefully you don’t need to have it explained to you why that’s incredibly stupid”

          He doesn’t only because he’s too stupid to understand such an explanation … there’s no need to do something completely futile.

        • truth_machine

          “We don’t even know if ‘nothing’ is possible. All we have evidence for is ‘something’. So the question itself might not even be correct.”

          Indeed, why does the existence of something warrant explanation? Why should there be nothing, rather than something? Carefully examined, the notion of the complete absence of anything appears incoherent. Consider David Lewis’s modal realism, the idea that every possible world exists. Given modal realism, our universe necessarily exists; that’s why it does. What would it mean to speak of universes that don’t exist, or that are empty of everything … *what* would be empty of everything? A universe isn’t a box, it’s a totality. There are no empty universes; all of those don’t exist.

        • Kodie

          You are just pulling from your ass right now. Where is your evidence to morality outside of human agreement? What do you make of the many issues humans cannot agree upon?

          The question you ask as an answer to a question is not an answer to that question. It’s a diversion. You don’t really know.

        • Wick Samuel

          A. The question isn’t morality, the question is objective morality. You simply misunderstand the issue.
          The issue isn’t why can’t humans agree, but rather is there an objective morality that exists independent of our agreement on it.

          B. The evidence for the existence of objective morality is seen every day when people argue that something is right or wrong. If someone truly believed that all that exists are opinions, they wouldn’t argue in that manner, they would simply argue for the superiority of their opinion.

        • Kodie

          The question is absolutely why your biblical morality comes and goes, and is never demonstrated to be absolute. Neither do you.

          B. The argument every day over what is right or what is wrong is not based on anything objective and nobody has demonstrated it. It doesn’t matter what they “truly believed” is the source of their sense of morality. If it is god, it is probably out of touch with reality.

        • MNb

          A. There is no objective morality.
          B. The very fact that people argue about it is evidence against objective morality. Newton’s Laws are objective – hence people hardly ever argue about them.

          “If someone truly believed that all that exists are opinions, they wouldn’t argue in that manner, they would simply argue for the superiority of their opinion.”

          BWAHAHAHAHA! Arguing the superiority of their opinion is exactly what they do. There is no objective standard to decide who is right and who is wrong or these discussions would have died out long ago – just like with Newton’s Laws. You’re great, you don’t even understand your own arguments.

        • truth_machine

          “The issue isn’t why can’t humans agree, but rather is there an objective morality that exists independent of our agreement on it.”

          Obviously not, since that is incoherent.

          ” If someone truly believed that all that exists are opinions, they wouldn’t argue in that manner, they would simply argue for the superiority of their opinion.”

          That’s not evidence of there being an objective morality, it’s evidence of your intellectual dishonesty and, well, stupidity. And you claimed that atheists make an appeal to objective morality, which is a flat-out lie. *Your* idiotic cockamamie logic is not an appeal made by atheists.

          Here’s a clue: even if I thought that there are moral intuitions common to all humans because of their shared biology and thus I argue in an appeal to those intuitions, that doesn’t make them “objective”, dimwit.

        • Pofarmer

          What atheist makes an appeal to ovjective morality?

          The correct answer to your second question is not why, but how. Why, in this instance, is superflous.

        • MNb

          I never appeal to objective moralist. You’re violating your own 9th Commandment. My ethical system explicitely includes subjectivity.

          “how did the universe get here? why is there something rather than nothing?”
          You even don’t understand that these are two entirely different questions. Scientists have some pretty good ideas about the how. They don’t care about the why. See above.

        • truth_machine

          The best argument against an objective morality is that godbots claim to be moral whereas honest folk see them to be liars and cheats.

        • truth_machine

          Why is there a God rather than no God? Other than to provide theists with an “explanation” for why there is something rather than nothing.

          Theism is intellectually bankrupt.

    • Pofarmer

      If Kalam, fine tuning, the ontological argument, etc, are such powerful arguments, then why don’t scientists use them?

      • Wick Samuel

        use them for what?

        The origin of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe and the origin of life on earth, are, to the scientist committed to materialism, probably the three most perplexing questions out there.

        It isn’t that they “don’t have an answer yet”, its that by virtue of what they DO know, they now know the utter impossibility of these states/facts occurring by chance.

        It’s one thing to gaze up at the night sky and think “wow, how did that happen”, and another to have calculated that the calculated that the probability of our universe is one part in 10^10^123, in other words, impossible.

        • Dys

          another to have calculated that the calculated that the probability of our universe is one part in 10^10^123, in other words, impossible.

          If you provide a probability (and the one you provided isn’t, actually – Roger Penrose wasn’t providing a probability), by definition it’s not impossible. And you don’t have an alternative probability for “god did it”. You’ve refuted yourself. Good job.

        • Wick Samuel

          I’m happy to conclude with
          1. demonstrating that the atheist attributes the universe being fine tuned to “chance”, even when that chance is less probable than one in a number vastly larger than the entire number of particles in the universe.
          2. There is no materialist explanation for why the universe exists in the first place.

        • Dys

          1. Creationists shouldn’t talk about probabilities, ever. They abuse them constantly. And since we don’t know what the possible variations of the values are, I fail to see how anything approaching an honest probability can be decided. And as I’ve already pointed out, the probability you provided isn’t one. And you have no probability whatsoever for “god did it”. So you’re attempting to compare an incredibly low probability to no probability whatsoever.

          2. There’s no explanation period. There are some scientific hypotheses that explore some options, however. What you have isn’t even an explanation. It’s religious speculation.

        • Kodie

          1. No matter how narrow a probability is, one of them had to occur, so it doesn’t matter which one. Why are you any more amazed at a probability after the fact than a coin toss?

          2. Making up an explanation is not an actual explanation.

        • Pofarmer

          1). There are any number of answers to this question. You only display yoir ignorance.

          2). Absolutely there is. Read some cosmologists and theoretical physicists. Good luck.

        • MNb

          1. Wrong. The atheist doesn’t attribute the universe being fine tuned to “chance”. The atheist relies on science, which says “we don’t know” and “the universe isn’t fine tuned”. Because you no way have shown it is. See, there is a third error you make, because of your christian teleological bias. The universe isn’t fine tuned for human beings. Human beings are fine tuned for this small piece of the universe, as perfectly explained by Evolution Theory.
          2. That’s correct. Because “why” questions are the wrong ones – they assume an ultimate goal, which isn’t there. Using this is a circular argument, which goes like this:

          “There is an ultimate goal; this answers why there is a universe; that answer is that ultimate goal.

          Po is wrong underneath – those answers provided by cosmologists and theoretical physicists are about the question “how did our universe come into existence”. Materialists don’t need why questions, because they don’t ask them. Only theists do. Then they think they are very profound, while they only produce baked air.

        • Pofarmer

          In my own defense, I addressed the how vs why somewhere else. Too much stupidity mucking around these threads

        • MNb

          Yes, I just read it and planned to edit my comment. Thanks for making this unnecessary.

        • truth_machine

          “I’m happy to conclude with”

          Conclude nothing; it’s where you started.

          There is no theistic explanation for why the universe exists in the first place. To say “God created it” is simply to reassert that one is a theist. We are provided no information about what God is, how it works, how creation works, what the mechanism is … the assertion is that there was God, and then there was God and a universe. So the universe just popped into being. We might as well remove God from the description since it adds nothing.

          Theism is a bust, an intellectually bankrupt position.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think you’re gonna penetrate this level of stupid.

        • Kodie

          Your understanding of probability is off. If there are bazillion potential outcomes and one happens, it’s 1.0 percent probable. And possible!

          The dice landed how they landed, probability is no longer a factor.

        • Wick Samuel

          pretty big flaw in your argument: the probability of an event happening doesn’t change before vs after. If I flip a coin and it comes up heads, the probability of that having happened is the same, 1 in 2.

          To illustrate, If you win the mega-millions lottery three times in a row, no one will accept your argument of “well, the probability of me winning wasn’t 1 in 250 million times three, the probability was 1, after all, I won!”

        • Kodie

          My 8th grade math teacher would disagree.

          The probability of a coin toss coming up heads vs. tails before is .5, and after is either 0 or 1.

          When you expand the probability to something as diverse as a mega millions lottery ticket, it is the same. Your probability to win before is P=”formula” while if you got all the right numbers, your probability is 1. It happened. The numbers came in, you won, your probability is 1.

          Here is an example I like to use:

          Take 100 gray pebbles and toss them across a blacktop. Choose one at random and circle it with chalk and then paint that pebble green. Take your 99 gray and one green pebble and toss them across the blacktop. How many times can you toss them until the green pebble lands inside the chalk circle? What about any other pebbles?

          “Fine-tuning” argument is like the first toss – you found your “earth”, and then you circled it. You and your heirs can toss pebbles for thousands of years and never have that green pebble land inside the circle again, but it already landed, the probability is 1.

        • Wick Samuel

          – you should talk to your teacher again 🙂
          – your pebble illustration.. makes no sense.. no clue what you think it illustrates. The probability of a pebble landing in a circle is a function of the size of the circle in relation to the total area of possible landing spots..
          – no, sorry 🙂
          classic circular reasoning, and complete misunderstanding of probability.

        • Kodie

          Probability is a prediction. After the event occurs, and you can record it, the outcome is 0 or 1. You play 5 numbers and one Mega Ball in the mega millions, your probability of winning the jackpot is 0.000000003863. After you don’t win, your probability of winning is exactly 0. If a person has won the jackpot, their probability of winning the jackpot is 1. Once the numbers have been drawn, that’s it!

          Go back to junior high school and take some math!

        • Kodie

          If you don’t understand the exercise with the pebbles, then you’re not intelligent to grasp the topic.

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂

          It may help you to understand that probabilities are calculated based on the total possible number of outcomes.
          That’s precisely why your pebble illustration is completely fallacious, in just the same way that a person would be ridiculed for claiming there was no cheating when they won 3 lottery’s in a row because the probability was 1, your argument is invalid.

          The question isn’t “what is the current state of the universe” the question is “what are the total possible states that the universe could have had”

        • Kodie

          Of course the question is “what is the current state of the universe” – YOU ARE asking why IS THERE something rather than nothing. We’re not here planning the outcome of the next universal dice roll, it already happened and you are coming to your conclusions based on events that already happened. It no longer matters how slim the probability was, and you’ve been asked where you get your ass-pulled numbers from, the probability is now exactly 1.

          If you don’t understand that, you are an uneducated moron. I had this argument with someone about lottery numbers, and actuality is far different from perception. The argument was if you picked the first 5 consecutive numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 vs. 5 randomly distributed numbers, say, 9, 17, 24, 49, 55.
          Powerball is 5 numbers picked out of a drum of 59 numbers, and one Powerball number picked out of a drum of 35 balls.
          Your probability that it will come out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, +6 is EQUAL to the probability that it will come out 9, 17, 24, 49, 55, +6.

          What is the probability that the same exact numbers will come up two weeks in a row? Doesn’t matter – all the balls go back into the drum, and despite winning the first week on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, +6, your probability is EQUAL the second week on those same numbers as it is the “random” looking numbers 9, 17, 24, 49, 55,+6.

          Now, after you have not won, is there any chance you can win that week? NO. If you have won the jackpot, is there any reason to stick to the slim probability before it was an actual outcome? NO.

          You do not understand probability. When you throw 100 pebbles on the ground, that is ONE OF MANY POSSIBLE DISTRIBUTIONS of those pebbles. Draw a chalk circle around one and paint that pebble green. It’s going to be a long time to get the distribution exactly the same, much less get that one green pebble in the circle where it once landed naturally.

          Keep squawking, you pathetic uneducated superstitious moron. You don’t understand probabilities if you think past low probability is any indication of a miraculous supernatural intervention.

        • Wick Samuel

          This may help you:
          – there are two questions on the table,
          1) why does the universe exist at all
          2) why is it finely tuned.

          Kalam deals with #1, fine tuning with #2. The probability arguments have to do with fine tuning. You are confusing the two.

          Probability always deals with the odds of a particular outcome against all possible outcomes, that’s why Penrose, Hawking etc. can calculate the probability that our universe could have had it’s current state. They aren’t idiots, it’s something that can be calculated. It’s pretty simple.

        • Kodie

          Why wouldn’t the universe exist, and why wouldn’t it coalesce in some form, why not this one?

          Your grasp of probabilities is fucked up from the apologetics station that is meant to make you think you’re smarter than you are. Holy shit, your reading comprehension is zero. You ignored what I wrote and just responded with a canned answer from apologetics, didn’t you? Which only serves to demonstrate what I said earlier about religious propaganda sources poisoning you toward reality and explanations from actual math or science that deals with reality.

        • Kodie

          If you have any children, they will probably think you are fucking stupid eventually if you keep up with this dolt logic.

        • MNb

          Alas not. Human beings are notoriously bad at understanding statistics and probability calculation.

        • MNb

          The questions are the wrong ones. Science and hence math and hence probability calculation doesn’t deal with why questions, only with how questions. That’s because why questions presuppose an ultimate goal. They belong to teleology. So you just showed how silly you are with your probability argument. There is no reason at beforehand why one specific person should win the lottery. There is no reason at beforehand either why the universe as we know it should be as we know it.

          “all possible outcomes”
          and you still don’t have any way to determine all possible outcomes.

        • Dys

          the question is “what are the total possible states that the universe could have had”

          And the answer to that is “We don’t know, and neither do you”.

        • MNb

          “It may help you to understand that probabilities are calculated based on the total possible number of outcomes.”
          And in the case of universes you have exactly zero ways to determine that total possible number of outcomes. Thanks for undermining your own position.

        • Dys

          classic circular reasoning, and complete misunderstanding of probability.

          Uh yeah…you’re not in any position to speak on probability, considering your “improbable, therefore god” argument.

        • MNb

          Kodie just did talk. I’m a teacher math.

          “complete misunderstanding of probability.”

          BWAHAHAHAHA! Says the guy who does a probability calculation with population 1.

        • Kodie

          How is what I said “circular reasoning”? Your grasp of logic fallacies is poor.

          It’s not circular to make an observation. If you throw 100 gray pebbles out into the area around you, that is a random distribution. I’m not even asking you to circle and label every pebble after the first toss. If you circle the one pebble and paint it green, you have already performed your first distribution, it is probability 1. What is the probability of all those pebbles landing exactly where they were? They already did – that’s not circular, the probability is 1. After you pick them up again, and get ready for another toss, the probability they will again land where they were is minimal, but possible. They have already landed there once, so you do not call that impossible, or rare, or miraculous, do you?

          Your “fine-tuning” argument would be as if you deliberately picked up the green pebble wherever it landed and placed it inside the chalk circle. We are here after the fact, we are not betting on this universe coming out the way it is. We are, for all we know, the first toss, the green pebble in the chalk circle, labeled after. Probability only deals with predictions, and after something has occurred or not occurred, the probability of it happening is only 1 or 0.

          You either have a predictable probability of getting cancer, OR YOU HAVE CANCER.

          You either have a predictable probability of surviving cancer or dying from it, it doesn’t matter if the survival rate is 4%, it is not a miracle if you are cured, it is statistics. If you survive, your probability of beating cancer is no longer 4% – having survived, it is 100%.

        • truth_machine

          “your pebble illustration.. makes no sense.. no clue what you think it illustrates”

          Of course, because you are clueless.

          “The probability of a pebble landing in a circle is a function of the size of the circle in relation to the total area of possible landing spots..”

          You really really are stupid. That’s not at all relevant to the scenario, in which a circle was placed around a pebble *after* it landed on the ground. The probability of the pebble landing in the circle was 100%, just like the probability of me wearing the clothes I’ll wear tomorrow is 100% (assuming I wear any clothes tomorrow).

        • William Davis

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/08/richard-lustig-lottery-wi_n_4241376.html

          This guy won the lottery 7 times. Weren’t you just implying this is impossible. You need to understand the lottery fallacy. Even if the probably of an event is absurdly low, given enough single low probability tries, it will eventually happen.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_truly_large_numbers

        • Wick Samuel

          no, please re-read my post.

          The odds that one person won the lottery 7 times are 1 in (7 * 175 million), or 1 in 1.2 billion, extremely unlikely.

          now, to put this in perspective, penrose calculated the odds of the universe being in it’s current state as one part in 10^10^123.

          how much less likely? the number of particles in the universe less likely, in other words impossible.

        • Dys

          penrose calculated the odds of the universe being in it’s current state as one part in 10^10^123.

          I’m curious how anyone can claim to know the possible ranges of the constants to base any probability on them whatsoever.

        • Greg G.

          Looking at the payouts in the article, it doesn’t look like the guy was hitting the jackpot so the 1 in 175 million odds is way too high.

          If the guy had only bought one ticket for each drawing and only those drawings, his odds would be one in 175 million to the seventh power. That would be one in 5×10^57.

          If there are 10^10^123 possible states to the universe, all might be equally unlikely but the universe will be in one of those equally unlikely states.

        • Kodie

          Doesn’t matter – the odds of winning are the same twice per week as the numbers are drawn. The unlikelihood of someone winning 7 times are irrelevant. Someone can win every time the numbers are drawn, and if someone plays numbers every time the numbers are drawn, their odds of winning the jackpot are the same as anyone else who bought a ticket. If you take 7 random people, their odds are the same as one person winning 7 times.

        • MNb

          “penrose calculated the odds of the universe being in it’s current state as one part in 10^10^123.”
          Typical you don’t provide any source. So I searched for you and found this:

          http://www.quora.com/Does-Roger-Penroses-observation-that-the-probability-of-the-occurrence-of-a-universe-in-which-life-can-form-is-10-to-the-power-of-123-to-1-support-the-case-of-those-who-believe-in-God

          Fail Samuel.

          Plus you’re confusing “the probability that anyone wins the lottery” with “the probability that this particular person wins the lottery”. They are not nearly the same. You make this error, typical for people who don’t (want to) understand probability calculation, because you assume that the universe as we know it is the universe that had to win the lottery. That assumption is wrong. The universe as we know it could have been very different. The only way to tell is by means of a posteriori knowledge – which can’t be used to calculate probabilities a priori.
          Next time you see someone winning the lottery you should exclaim “Praise the Lord! He made that specific person win!” You won’t of course and if you were honest you would do it either in case of our universe.

        • Greg G.

          in other words impossible

          No, you’re saying there is a chance. If the universe exists in an infinite multiverse, no matter how long the odds are, if it is possible, it is inevitable. The fact that this universe exists, shows it is a possible outcome, so given enough opportunities to exist, which is unlimited, this universe, or a copy of it, will appear an unlimited number of times.

        • Wick Samuel

          All the multi-verse does is push the problem back one step.

          For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be tested? To be sure, all cosmologists accept that there are some regions of the universe that lie beyond the reach of our telescopes, but somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification. Extreme multiverse explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.

          — Paul Davies, A Brief History of the Multiverse

        • Greg G.

          A multiverse is much simpler than a being capable of creating one. It’s just a nothingness with nothing preventing quantum fluctuations. For a Creator, you first have to leap to a realm for it to exist in. One simple thing is a small leap compared to two things with one being complex. Opposite ends of Occam’s Razor is not the same leap of faith.

        • Kodie

          You do realize that this quote damns your beliefs as “credibility reaches a limit”, “reminiscent of theological discussions” and “requires the same leap of faith.”

          Or are you going to special pleading and say you’re entitled to believe made-up untestable hypotheses, but nobody else is?

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂
          what it shows is the disdain a non-believer has for the notion of the multi-verse as a “scientific” option.

        • Kodie

          So “special pleading” it is for you.

        • Wick Samuel

          do explain…

          Special pleading is a form of fallacious argument that involves an attempt to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception

        • Kodie

          How do you not understand?

        • MNb

          The arguments you (or rather Paul Davies) use to question the multiverse apply equally to your god-the creator and designer; still you refuse to do so. Hence your god-creator is the exception your quote talks about.

        • truth_machine

          “All the multi-verse does is push the problem back one step.”

          This from a godbot!

          ” The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.”

          Davies was paid to say that by the Templeton Foundation.

        • Kodie

          You’re just unduly amazed by large numbers. There is nothing any more amazing about the singular outcome of the current universe in retrospect than if you rolled a pair of dice and got double-6s. Intervention is not required.

        • Wick Samuel

          double sixes is 1 in 36
          odds of the universe is one in 10^10^123

          explained as: 1 chance in 10^10^123, is a probability so small as to effectively be zero. To get a picture of this number, note that the number of baryons (protons & neutrons) in the universe is estimated to be about 10^80. We could write that number as 1 followed by 80 zeros. But to write Penrose’s number would require 1 followed by a zero on every baryon in the universe, and then more.

        • Kodie

          You’re also illiterate.

        • Greg G.

          Double sixes are a 1 in 36 probability for one roll of the dice. It is inevitable given a sufficient number of rolls. The smallest unit of time considered is the time it takes a photon to travel the diameter of a proton. Every one of those units is a chance for the universe to happen. Given trillions of trillions of years in every corner of the multiverse, 10^10^123 is insignificantly small.

        • Wick Samuel

          unclear what your claim is, that we have an infinite number of universes, or that “something” had an infinite number of tries in which to create our universe?

        • Greg G.

          Any moment in multiverse time (I’m not assuming that time is the same in every verse) is a chance for a universe to happen. As long as nothing happens in one instant, it could happen the next. Given an unlimited number of these instants, it is inevitable no matter what the odds are.

        • Kodie

          The universe we have is the one that roll turned out to be. It might have been different and then we wouldn’t be here to talk about it. You’re focusing on the fact that you’re here to talk about it and too self-centered to learn how random that is. I don’t know how to explain it to you better. You feel created, so you assume creative intervention of the universe, you assume fine-tuning because how else would you be alive?

          You believe the earth supports life so you can live on it, for some purpose to bullshit around and be dopey I guess, while the earth just happens to support life, as all planets and celestial bodies have qualities that are unique or rare. If you have a yard, it supports life, right? Is it for dandelions and raccoons? If you are a sentient dandelion, which basically you are, do you think Wick Samuel created that yard for you? No. You’re just inhabiting a habitable place in the universe.

        • truth_machine

          It’s unclear to you because you’re a dimwitted ignoramus.

        • MNb

          If the universe tries to happen often enough it will happen.

        • I haven’t read Penrose’s book, so for the moment I’m going to assume that your statement about his calculation is accurate.

          My first question is, what is the relevance of this probability? This seems analogous to shuffling a pack of cards, observing what order the cards are now in, and saying “the probability of the cards being in this particular order is low, therefore a miracle has occurred”. Obviously the cards had to be in some order.

          Similarly, what is so special about a universe in this state, that we say this particular state of the universe is miraculous while none of the other 10^10^23 states would be? If this state of the universe has some particular feature you think is important, such as the presence of intelligent life, then how many other states would also have that feature (which would change the probability you need to use for your argument)? And how exactly do you determine how many other potential universes would have intelligent life (or whatever else you think the notable feature is)?

          My second question is, what assumptions were used to calculate this probability? How are those assumptions justified, and do any of them rest on unconfirmed theories?

          And thirdly, “this universe being in its current state” is not necessarily the same thing as “one universe being in this state”. If there are multiple universes, then the probability of any particular one of them being in this state may be very low, while the probability of there being at least one universe in this state out of many that exist may be very high. If you are assuming that there is only one universe, then what is your justification for excluding all theories which involve multiple universes?

        • truth_machine

          “how much less likely? the number of particles in the universe less likely, in other words impossible.”

          No, you blithering moron, that’s not what “impossible” means, as was just explained: “The law of truly large numbers states that with a large enough sample size, any unlikely thing is likely to happen”

          The odds of the universe being in its (sic, imbecile) current state is much like the odds of one person winning the lottery … if they didn’t win it, then someone else would. And if the universe weren’t in this state, it would be in some other state.

          And if it really were impossible for the universe to be in its current state, then it wouldn’t be; that’s what “impossible” means. Appeals to God are irrelevant, and its incredibly stupid to think otherwise. And if one thinks that Penrose’s calculation makes the current state of affairs incredible (in its literal sense), then the only rational conclusion is that Penrose is wrong. But rationality is not a trait of godbots.

        • truth_machine

          “penrose calculated the odds of the universe being in it’s current state as one part in 10^10^123.”

          What are the odds that Penrose’s calculation was correct? Small enough to be “impossible” by WS’s reasoning. Of course, being a grossly intellectual godbot, he takes Penrose’s calculation to be a fact, solely motivated by his belief that he can use it in an argument for the existence of God … an argument that Penrose himself would reject.

        • Pofarmer

          The lottery fallacy? A local guy won the MO lottery three times. All this proves is that low probability things happen all.the time.

        • William Davis

          I’m going by this definition, the term is a little ambiguous unless defined:
          “Lottery Fallacy
          The lottery fallacy is a misuse of statisics that generally argues that a particular phenomenon has such a low probability of happening that because it did happen, it cannot be by chance alone. This argument is often used by creationists in an attempt to argue that because the Earth’s conditions are perfect for life, the Earth must have been designed for us. Asking what is the probability that this particular phenomenon should occur? is asking the wrong question. The law of truly large numbers states that with a large enough sample size, any unlikely thing is likely to happen. A more meaningful question is what is the probability that any unlikely phenomenon should occur, given a large enough sample size?

          Examples:
          How likely is it that I will win the lottery? vs. how likely is it that anyone will win the lottery?
          How likely is it that the Earth just happened to have the right conditions for life vs. how likely is it that any planet in the universe has the right conditions for life?”

          http://skepticahome.blogspot.com/2011/03/logical-fallacies.html

        • Kodie

          People have such a hard time with low probabilities, but given the population and all the possible combinations that can occur, the odds that one rare thing can happen to one person on earth is very low odds. It is all about them. I was in Tower 2 on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center 3 months before 9/11, twice within 2 weeks, and shortly after, quit my job in the city. The 2nd time, I was to go directly there off my commute before reporting to the office where I worked near Times Sq., so around 8:45am.

          9/11 hadn’t happened yet, but I had weird feelings I couldn’t get used to. For one, you had to check in with security, and get a temporary photo ID with a bar code, because of the bombing a few years earlier. Second, you had to take an express elevator to the top floors lobby and then get on another elevator. I felt uncomfortable then knowing I was up so high and nowhere near a window. It’s disconcerting.

          But nobody cares, it was in June. If I had made the same delivery on September 10th and told people these details, it would be a much more interesting and fateful-seeming story.

          Another thing about 9/11 – by whatever chance of people’s lives, almost 3000 were killed on 4 airplanes out of thousands, 2 of the world’s tallest office buildings, and citywide, many emergency responders. The amazement for it is that it happened deliberately, and all in 3 places. I can’t find statistics for how many other people died that day, but I know a joke about it featured on a sitcom I can’t recall – someone said their cousin or someone died on 9/11, but it turned out to be from cancer or a stroke I think. [EDIT: Curb Your Enthusiasm, brother-in-law, hit by a bike messenger. As far as I can estimate, more than twice as many people died on 9/11 from causes other than terrorism.

          We’re not stunned by daily mortality statistics, particularly for things like smoking or car accidents or diseases aggravated or caused by unhealthy eating. Being attacked en masse makes a shocking impact that general widespread death statistics amounting to more than 3000 people daily do not, nor do deaths or causes for death in other countries, but people changed their behavior and reactions because of the .0009% chance of dying by attack from terrorist on US soil.

          http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

        • MNb

          “If I flip a coin and it comes up heads, the probability of that having happened is the same, 1 in 2.”
          You understand zilch of probability calculation indeed. There is no way to calculate the probability of our universe before its origin, simply because there are no data. All the data used to “calculate” that silly number of yours are inherent of this very universe. And then Kodie is right – the probability of our universe is exactly 1 simply because it’s already there.

        • truth_machine

          Kodie is not right. The question is about the probability that something would have happened, not the probability that it has.

        • MNb

          That’s what she’s talking about. She’s not an expert on probability calculation, but from the context you can derive that’s what she means.

        • Kodie

          I meant to respond earlier but I lost the comment. They’re trying to calculate the probability of which universe would have happened, it already has. I’m not at all involved or interested in how many other outcomes there are pretending we are still prior to the event.

        • truth_machine

          From the context I can derive that she’s wrong, and that you’re wrong for saying she’s right.

        • Kodie

          You probably missed the context then. This is a blog. Why don’t you take your red pen and mark up all the posts you don’t like instead of calling everyone an idiot?

        • truth_machine

          I’m not missing any context, and I do remember what a belligerent and intellectually dishonest, fallacy-wielding asshole you are, even if you are on the right side of many issues.

        • Kodie

          You’re obviously not interested in discussion.

        • truth_machine

          Yeah, a comment like “Why don’t you take your red pen and mark up all the posts you don’t like instead of calling everyone an idiot?” is all about seeking discussion.

          You are obviously a liar … but I am not interested in discussion with the likes of you. *plonk*

        • Kodie

          Oh come back, I love you!

        • What’s the end game here? Piss everyone off?

          Success! Perhaps it’s time to leave, Grasshopper.

        • truth_machine

          A swing and a miss.

        • So then you’re leaving?

          Might be time.

        • truth_machine

          Whatever.

        • Dys

          His end game is self-aggrandizement. Pissing everyone off is just a side effect of his narcissism.

        • MNb

          Then you derive wrongly. Because you wrote

          “The question is about the probability that something would have happened, not the probability that it has.”
          and I answered “that’s exactly what Kodie is talking about” – because she is.
          You’re silly, belligerent, intellectually dishonest and fallacy-wielding, even if you’re on the right side of many isssues. And now you’re not.

        • truth_machine

          Whatever you say.

        • Gosh, you’re smart.

        • truth_machine

          So are you, Kodie, and many other people here … even when you stupid things and act stupidly, as with that. But perhaps some day you will mature. Ta ta.

        • Pofarmer

          Victor Stenger argues the opposite. Given what we know of chemistry and life in this planet, the creation of self replicating life might actually be more possible than not. We simply don’t have enough data points.

        • truth_machine

          Well, you’re addressing a strawman. Certainly given what we know of chemistry, life somewhere in the universe is highly likely. But the fine tuning argument claims that the very laws of physics that result in that chemistry are unlikely … that’s the proposition that Stenger tried to refute (not very successfully, in the eyes of most physicists).

        • Pofarmer

          Well, I’m reading a 26 page paper he wrote on it right now. Need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for that.

        • William Davis

          We don’t know enough to even BEGIN calculating probabilities about the universe. I think it is simpler to think that what is, is because it is the only way it could be. We would have to establish that alternate universes exist to demonstrate that a different universe is even possible. What you are speaking of is philosophical conjecture by scientists, it isn’t science. You never dealt with Spinoza’s naturalistic philosophical proofs, or anything else I brought to your attention. Christians never do because they have no real answers, they don’t really even understand the Bible and the various views of different authors in the Bible.

        • Wick Samuel

          Penrose would disagree that we can’t calculate probabilities, as would Hawkings, etc, etc..

        • William Davis

          Many scientists criticize the methods they use because they make many assumptions. Consider that fact that Penrose and Hawking are both atheists as evidence that theists misunderstand and misuse their calculations. The fact is we have almost 0 info about what the universe was like before the big bang, we use some mathematical models for conjecture.

        • No, no–I’m sure Wick Samuel and the other apologists understand Hawking’s point better than Hawking himself…

        • William Davis

          Sadly, straw men seem to be the biggest supporters of theism.

        • Susan

          as would Hawkings

          If you’d like to learn something about the subject of the universe, I suggest you read books by people who understand the subject, rather than the cherrypickings of apologists.

          I’m guessing you’ve never read any of Hawking’s work as you don’t even know how to spell his name correctly.

        • MNb

          Penrose and Hawkings perfectly understand indeed that you can’t calculate probabilities with population 1 – and there is exactly one universe they and we are somewhat familiar with. You just have shown that you understand zilch of the work these excellent physicists have done.

        • truth_machine

          His name is Hawking, you ignoramus. And he hasn’t claimed that we can reliably calculate the a priori probability that this universe would exist. As for Penrose, he was a brilliant physicist who did much good work once, but has become a bit of a crank … starting with the book in which he did that calculation, which was full of bad arguments that computers can’t be conscious. But even Penrose would not assert that there’s an overwhelming probability that the universe was created by God … he’s confused about some things like consciousness, but he isn’t utterly intellectually inept like you are.

        • MNb

          “hey now know the utter impossibility of these states/facts occurring by chance.”
          This comes straight out of your big fat christian thumb. And that number of yours is not the result of any calculation done by any cosmologist or mathematician. You can’t calculate a probability with population 1 – and there is exactly one universe we are somewhat familiar with.

        • truth_machine

          Wick, people like you just demonstrate how ignorant, dishonest, and stupid Christians are. Aside from the fact that you don’t know what “impossible” means, if the existence of the universe is impossible, then God can’t help any. But of course the existence of the universe is an established fact, so it isn’t impossible. Unlike dishonest gits like you, scientists are committed to finding out causes, not to “materialism”. If there were strong arguments yielding causes, scientists would use them. But God isn’t a cause, it’s a copout, and these “strong arguments” are riddled with logical fallacies or circularities.

        • So when there is a consensus view among cosmologists that there really is no puzzle behind the supposed fine tuning argument, you’ll stop being a Christian?

          If not, then you see my point: these arguments are mental masturbation to give a veneer of reason to your position.

        • Wick Samuel

          If you can prove that God does not exist, then yes.

          inappropriate comment on your part.

        • Scott_In_OH

          That’s not what he asked you.

        • Wick Samuel

          he’s being very imprecise, in addition to unprofessional.

          My point is that one could explain how fine tuning was a necessary aspect of the universe, but one would still have to explain the universe. Again, arguments come and go, but the existence of God doesn’t depend on the fine tuning argument, the fine tuning argument confirms it. Therefor, what is logically necessary to say that God does not exist, is to prove that He doesn’t.

          As long as it can not be demonstrated that something does not exist, there remains the possibility that it does exist.

        • Goody! You haven’t proven that the Purple People of Pluto don’t exist, so it’s possible that they do!

          one could explain how fine tuning was a necessary aspect of the universe, but one would still have to explain the universe.

          Which is my oft-repeated point. Let’s say that the fine tuning paradox becomes explained by science with a widely accepted consensus view. You’ll just drop that argument like a used tissue and pick up some other argument.

          And we now have an answer to the challenge I posed to you above: “When there is a consensus view among cosmologists that there really is no puzzle behind the supposed fine tuning argument, you’ll stop being a Christian?” The answer, of course, is no. Which (sorry for the broken record) is my point.

        • Wick Samuel

          Let’s say that the fine tuning paradox becomes explained by science with a widely accepted consensus view. You’ll just drop that argument like a used tissue and pick up some other argument.

          not sure how you missed the point, I’ll repeat it.
          – you are being imprecise, merely explaining the mechanism by which fine tuning exists does not say anything about the existence/non-existence of God. You would have to demonstrate that God does not exist at all, that fine tuning was entirely by chance.

        • Explaining the mechanism by which apparent fine tuning manifests would eliminate God as a plausible explanation, just like evolution eliminated the need for God to explain why life is the way it is.

          This doesn’t disprove God; it simply eliminates it as a plausible contender in this case.

        • Wick Samuel

          Explaining the mechanism by which apparent fine tuning manifests would eliminate God as a plausible explanation,…. This doesn’t disprove God; it simply eliminates it as a plausible contender in this case.

          1) if “explaining” means “we demonstrated that the fine tuning was entirely due to chance”, then yes, I agree with your statement.

          2) Kudos for understand that losing a source of confirmation doesn’t disprove anything.

          ===============

          just like evolution eliminated the need for God to explain why life is the way it is.

          sorry, no.
          Common ancestry seems to be confirmed by genetics, but since punctuated equilibrium has destroyed the notion of gradualism as the mechanism for macro-evolution, God is still required to orchestrate the process (we’re not talking things “poofing” into existence, we’re talking about God using mutation and natural selection to accomplish His goals).

          see allopatric speciation and punctuated equilibrium

        • MNb

          1) No, that’s not what BobS meant. He meant that you have to show how your god fine-tuned the universe, which means he used and which procedures he followed. BobS is too kind. Such means and procedures are all material while your god is immaterial and hence by definition couldn’t do it.

          2) Punctuated equilibrium is a product of methodological naturalism and hence by definition doesn’t require god. Same for allopatric speciation. There is no religious woo involved. Again you’re arguing against your own position.

        • Wick Samuel

          no.. and no.. please re-read the posts.

        • MNb

          You mean:

          1) No, you don’t have to show how your god fine-tuned the universe, but we have to show how it occurred without god? Yup, intellectually dishonest, this time because of double standard.

          2) No, punctuated equilibrium is not a product of methodological naturalism?
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

        • Wick Samuel

          1. the point regarding fine tuning is two fold

          1A) as bob said Explaining the mechanism by which apparent fine tuning manifests would eliminate God as a plausible explanation, This doesn’t disprove God; it simply eliminates it as a plausible contender in this case.

          1B) as I said, fine tuning is just one of many aspects of the world around us that confirms the existence of God.

          2) To show that PE is product of methodological naturalism you will need to show that allopatric speciation is the reality in every case.

          You arent familiar with allopatric speciation(your arguments all rest on your assumption that God is not real, you lack even a basic understanding of the implications of that) , so you’ll need to do some reading, sorry about that, but it’s just the way it is..

        • 1B: Wait, huh? This is just god-of-the-gaps thinking. Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.

          If that gap is filled, you’ll just pick yourself up, hope that no one notices, and then pick some other question at the frontier of science and demand that the atheist explain that.

          Yes, I see how never being wrong can feel good, but doing it with an unfalsifiable hypothesis is kinda cheating.

        • Wick Samuel

          This is just god-of-the-gaps thinking. Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God

          not at all, it isnt as if we have yet to figure it out, we’ve come to the end of that disciplines ability TO figure it out. For example in the case of fine tuning, science will NEVER be able to explain it, here’s why:

          Science starts from rules, from laws that exist, that’s what science is. As such, science can never explain why the laws that govern the universe exist…. I sometimes wonder why the laws of our universe exist” – Leonard Mlodinow.

          Science requires a universe that obeys laws, to exist as a discipline in the first place. It uses laws to predict behavior, it explains laws by referring to other laws. It can’t get beyond needing an ordered universe to operate.
          Note, that’s not my opinion, it’s Mlodinows.

        • It’s odd that Christians like to quote scientists. I almost never do. I think it’s because I make it easier on myself by only pointing to the scientific consensus.

          Show me the scientific consensus. I think the consensus view is that there’s plenty more we can learn about why the constants are the way they are.

          And we’re back where we started. The fine tuning argument is a throw-away for you. If it stops being valuable, you’ll turn your back on it in an instant and find some other unanswered question. You don’t care because your faith isn’t built on this argument (or on whatever you’ll go for next).

          Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.

        • Kodie

          “God is not real” is the null hypothesis. From there, you simply look at the evidence with no goal. If your goal is to find whatever you can so you can believe god is real because you already believe god is real, then your research methods are flawed. We are looking at the same evidence without a goal, and you don’t have any that’s credible. We’re all very excited to see where your evidence concluded in you finding out that there is a god, but you only found whatever strands of stories and manure that you could piece together to convince yourself you’re not wrong.

          What are the theological implications of allopatric speciation that were ignored? Why do you demand we interpret scientific concepts theologically in order to understand them? Because that’s not how intelligent people do it, you condescending shitbag.

        • Pofarmer

          Fine tuning is a red herring. The argument has so many problems I can’t believe you keep bringing ot up. Number one, we are adapted for the environment we find ourselves in, not the other way around. There are other life forms that live in environements that would kill us instantly. Number two, 99.9% of the Universe, at least, would kill us or is inhospitable for life. Nunmber three, we don’t know what the possibilities for other combinations of forces are that would produce matter. It might very well he that what we have is the only combination possible and stable. Number four, it’s a God of the Gaps argument, you can’t postulate any mechanis, by which said fine tuning might have occured. And these are just four obvious ones off the top of my head.

        • Wick Samuel

          The majority of scientists disagree with your statement.

          “There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned’ for life”. However, he continues, “the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires.” — Paul Davies

          “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” — Stephen Hawking

        • Pofarmer

          I thing stating the “majority if scientists” disagree is a wee bit strong, mit’s pretty apparent that Davies is an apologist first.

        • Wick Samuel

          See also: Stephen Hawking, Brandon Carter, George Ellis, Roger Penrose, Martin Rees, etc..

        • Huh? These scientists are all Christians because of the fine-tuning argument?

          Or perhaps I’m not following your point.

        • Wick Samuel

          All those scientist believe in fine tuning.

          What they do not agree on is WHY the universe is fine tuned.

        • So then they’re not Christians. All right, if fine tuning doesn’t make a scientist a Christian, I think I’ve found a weakness in your argument.

        • Rudy R

          Wick painted himself into the proverbial corner.

        • MNb

          Yeah, Stephen Hawking totally “believes” in Fine Tuning.

          http://www.johnpiippo.com/2010/09/stephen-hawkings-new-book-attacks-fine.html

          Not.
          Brandon Carter wrote about the Anthropic Principle, which is not the same as Fine Tuning. The difference, teleology or not teleology, is crucial. That you ignore this once again confirms your intellectual dishonesty.

          George Ellis recognized this and calls fine tuning “a synthesis of science and theology”, so god doesn’t logically follow (and hence Fine Tuning is not a confirming argument), but only is an interpretation:

          http://www.counterbalance.org/ctns-vo/ellis4-body.html

          Martin Rees doesn’t argue for a Fine Tuner either:

          http://www.focus.org.uk/just_six_numbers.php

          So that leaves you with Roger Penrose, who describes himself as an atheist (you can google this).

          Ignorant, liar, or both? According to your own 9th Commandment it doesn’t make any difference.

          “What they do not agree on is WHY the universe is fine tuned.”
          All scientists agree on this: it’s a useless question. What they don’t agree on is HOW the natural constants in our universe got the values they have. Concluding from this that “goddiddid” is and remains a God of the Gaps. I already explained this to you. It’s just another point you consistently ignore. Hence intellecutal dishonesty.

        • Pofarmer
        • Wick Samuel

          Would be helpful if you became acquainted with Seans response to the fine tuning argument, it’s in 5 parts discussed below.
          I have listened to that debate several times right after the debate occurred. I was VERY impressed with Seans ability to stick with arguments and not get emotional (like Krauss did for example, pretty embarrassing for him). Sean was professional throughout.

          1. we can’t say that our universe is fine tuned because we can’t know whether life would exist if the values were altered.
          2. God doesn’t need to fine-tune anything
          3. fine-tuning is just apparent, it’s not real
          4. The multi-verse explains fine tuning
          5. If I were God, I would have built the universe differently

          in response to Carroll:
          1. Carroll is in an extreme minority of scientists regarding that position.
          2. silly objection, no idea what he thinks it demonstrates.

          3. See #1, Carroll is in the extreme minority
          4. is somewhat odd, having spent the #1 and #3 claiming that fine tuning doesnt exist, he now reverses position, acknowledges it, and provides the theory of an infinite number of other universes as the reason.
          5. opinion..

        • Pofarmer

          In your response 1) i would like to have something other thsn your list of about 5 scientists. And of the ones you listed, certainly Hawking doesn’t beleive in some benevolent being monkeying with some immaterial controls somewhere.

        • Wick Samuel

          But he also could have made life exist in any kind of universe whatsoever, with no delicate balancing act necessary.

          this kind of argument is a red herring, “well if God IS omnipotent, he CAN make a square circle”

          1. Omnipotence doesnt require being able to do the logically impossible.
          2. One would expect that the environment that God created for humans (the earth) WOULD in fact be balanced to produce life.

          the rest of the arguments I dealt with above..

        • God doesn’t need fine tuning. He’s omnipotent, remember?

          And again I have the meta-question: why are we even talking about this? Your faith isn’t based on this. When this argument is overturned, you’ll just dredge up another one. Your position is nothing more than, Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.

          Not much of an argument.

        • Dys

          this kind of argument is a red herring, “well if God IS omnipotent, he CAN make a square circle”

          No it’s not. The circle/square bit is a definitional problem. God being able to create life regardless of cosmological constants is not.

          1. It’s not a question of logical impossibility, it’s a question of God’s ability. Either he can create life in any type of universe, whatever the cosmological constants, or he can’t. That’s an omnipotence problem, not a language issue.

          2. You’re attempting to dismiss the problem, but you haven’t dealt with it at all. If God is omnipotent, it doesn’t matter what the constants are, because God can create life wherever he likes, regardless.

          Or are you placing limits on God’s power?

        • Kodie

          Why is god required? Your baseless assertion, your argument from incredulity? I’d like to take the time to remind everyone that your speculation about Genesis included many other people you just wished into existence, a creature described as a serpent (a talking serpent) that you decided from your sweaty ball sack to define as something other than what we now know as a snake, since it had not been cursed yet, just so you can cling to the literal fall in the bible occurring from eating a piece of fruit. You denied things the bible did actually say because I guess you forgot.

          Before we continue, is there any reason we should take you seriously?

        • 1) if “explaining” means “we demonstrated that the fine tuning was entirely due to chance”, then yes, I agree with your statement.

          Then I guess you don’t agree. I’m imagining a situation where cosmologists concluded that the riddle was just a paradox and that there is a natural explanation for this apparent fine tuning.

          punctuated equilibrium has destroyed the notion of gradualism as the mechanism for macro-evolution

          According to Wick. Unfortunately, Biology disagrees. I’ll stick with Biology, thanks.

        • MNb

          “merely explaining the mechanism by which fine tuning exists does not say anything about the existence/non-existence of God.”
          If you meant this you wouldn’t have brought this up as a confirmation of god. So you actually confirmed BobS’ quote.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I thought he was quite precise. You act as if the fine tuning argument is important confirmation of (the Christian) God. Bob therefore asked if you would stop believing in (the Christian) God if the supposed fine tuning of the universe were explained in some other way.

          You have admitted that you would not, so Bob has (correctly, in my view) concluded that the fine tuning argument is no more than a pleasant distraction for you.

        • Wick Samuel

          no, as bob went on to acknowledge:
          -Demonstrating that fine tuning was the result of purely random forces just eliminates God as the cause, it doesn’t demonstrate God does not exist.

        • Kodie

          But you think it demonstrates god is the cause now. You love it and cannot see any flaws in it. You think it is less complicated to believe in a magical sky genie than material reality of statistics (not your incredulous understanding of statistics).

        • MNb

          “the existence of God doesn’t depend on the fine tuning argument, the fine tuning argument confirms it.”
          Thanks for admitting that you’re intellectually as dishonest as WLC.
          Next question: what do you mean with proof? Ie what kind of stuff would convince you that there is no god?

        • Wick Samuel

          Thanks for admitting that you’re intellectually as dishonest as WLC.

          have yet to ever have an atheist explain exactly how that statement is intellectually dishonest.

          Most of the time its “if you are to stupid to understand I’m not going to explain it to you”, which of course means you’re just throwing that out w/out any basis.

          ==================================================

          what do you mean with proof? Ie what kind of stuff would convince you that there is no god?

          To prove that anything does not exist, you need to show that the claimed entity is logically incoherent.
          For example, you could attempt to use the existence of pain and suffering in the world as being logically incoherent with the notion of an all loving , omniscient, omnipotent God. That is a common tact.

        • MNb

          You’re only interested in arguments that confirm you pre-determined conclusion and declare them of zero value if they happen to fail. That’s intellectually dishonest. Not that you will admit it.

          “you need to show that the claimed entity is logically incoherent.”
          Excellent. Thanks. Your god is an immaterial entity. As such he by definition doesn’t have any means and procedures available to interfere with our material reality, because all those means and procedures are material. So “God fine-tuned the universe” is logically incoherent. The same for “God loves Wick Samuel”, “humans have a soul” etc.
          But now you’re going to confirm that you’re intellectually dishonest and weasle out, so is my prediction.

        • Wick Samuel

          You’re defining “intellectually dishonest” as “not agreeing with the atheist”, which is not what the phrase means.

          Please explain what precludes an immaterial entity from impacting a material universe. Logically, if God created the universe, He can intervene in it, there can’t possibly be incoherence with the concept of God there.

        • Kodie

          No, you dummy. It’s intellectually dishonest to choose your conclusion first and then cherry-pick arguments that feel like to you that support it, and then continue to assert these arguments by name as if that’s supposed to mean anything. When you get down to the statistics of this “fine-tuning” argument, you repel explanations, you don’t shoot them down with logic. You literally do not understand your own position, and are in deep denial. You believe you’re entitled to your own untestable hypotheses but nobody else is.

        • Wick Samuel

          – came from atheist family, predisposed against.
          – what arguments against God have I ignored? None that I am aware of.
          – what explanation for fine tuning has been offered? none, Bob was simply asking “what IF”, he didnt offer any explanation. Right?
          – how do I not understand my position?

        • Kodie

          Typical Christian amnesia reset.

        • MNb

          “what arguments against God have I ignored”
          The one I gave jsut above – that an immaterial entity by definition doesn’t have the the means and can’t follow the procedures to interact with our material universe.
          The second several others gave farther above: that you don’t have a reliable method to separate correct claims about the supernatural from incorrect ones.

          “what explanation for fine tuning has been offered?”
          And you ignored that I pointed out that “science can’t explain fine tuning” is a God of the Gaps argument.
          Yup – Kodie is completely right underneath.

        • MNb

          Yup, definitely intellectually sihonest.

          “not agreeing with the atheist”
          That’s not what I wrote. It’s just above, so I’m not going to repeat it.

          “explain what precludes an immaterial entity from impacting a material universe. Logically, if God created the universe, He can intervene in it, there can’t possibly be incoherence with the concept of God there.”

          BWAHAHAHAHA! It isn’t incoherent because it can’t possibly incoherent. Brilliant, Wicked S.
          An immaterial entity by definition can’t have material features, right? That’s the exact definition of “immaterial”. The capabilities to use material means and material procedures are material features and hence not available to immaterial entities like your god the fine-tuner.
          Bingo.

        • Kodie

          You mean tactic or tack.

          But anyway, you kind of are too stupid to understand repeated explanations and people grow tired and bored of crafting explanations just for you to answer as if you are confused. We’re really trying with you but you are falling behind.

          If you have been dismissed in the past with a “you’re too stupid” kind of line, I can pretty much guarantee it was after a lot of patience was spent on you and flushed down the toilet.

        • Kodie

          The existence of god only depends on people to invent him, and then retrofit explanations to explain how they know.

        • Kodie

          So why aren’t you a Muslim?

        • Wick Samuel

          What’s the evidence for Islam?

          jumping ahead, “same as the evidence for Christianity” isn’t an answer.

          What’s the evidence for Islam?

        • Kodie

          “As long as it can not be demonstrated that something does not exist, there remains the possibility that it does exist.”

        • Wick Samuel

          Indeed, but outside the possibility because it can not be disproved, what is the evidence for?

          remember, “same as the evidence for Christianity” isn’t an answer.

        • Kodie

          Sorry? You think you get your special pleading again?

        • Wick Samuel

          I didn’t think there was any either 😉

        • Kodie

          So you just sit there, proud of your poopie like a big fat happy baby? Seriously, being inconsistent like you are is not in favor of your arguments. Prove Allah doesn’t exist, otherwise, it’s another belief AS VALID AS YOURS BY YOUR ***OWN ARGUMENT***. If you want to try to come up with another argument, try. I don’t think you can.

        • But the evidence really is the same. Fine tuning, the existence of the universe, the origin of life; the arguments you have presented work as well for Allah as they work for the Christian god, or any other proposed omnipotent creator. And Allah is no easier or harder to disprove than Jehovah. So why believe in the Christian god, rather than any other god?

        • Wick Samuel

          Indeed the arguments for prime mover, first cause, have been around for centuries and used by Aristotle, and Islamic philosophers.
          The identity is indeed the issue, that’s where the historicity of the Jewish people, and Jesus come into play.

        • Muslims hold almost identical beliefs about the Jewish people, and they believe Jesus is a prophet, and that his life was more-or-less the same as described in the New Testament. As Bob points out, the same can be said of Marcionites and Gnostics, and their beliefs also conveniently resolve the problem of evil and some difficulties reconciling the Old and New Testaments. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses also share the same evidence.

        • Wick Samuel

          “identical” only in the sense of recognizing the existence of an prime mover, an uncaused first cause.
          There is no agreement among those religions on the identity, hence the conflict.

          you have a vast misunderstanding of Islamic vs Christian views on Jesus.

        • Almost identical also in their beliefs about the history of the Jews before the time of Jesus.

          Muslims and Christians obviously have different views on Jesus, but generally theological and not historical. What historical evidence can differentiate between the Muslim opinion that Jesus was a prophet, and the Christian opinion that he was also divine? What historical evidence can show that Jesus was really crucified, as the Christians believe, rather than merely appearing to be crucified, as the Muslims believe?

        • There is no agreement among those religions on the identity, hence the conflict.

          I know, right? Religious people can’t agree on the most fundamental things, and yet they continue to believe that everyone else has nutty supernatural beliefs, just not them.

        • Kodie

          How do you explain the disagreement? How many have you studied before you found the one that feels true to your gut?

        • MNb

          “There is no agreement among those religions on the identity, hence the conflict.”
          And the fact that you religious folks don’t have a reliable method to solve that conflict is a strong argument against all theism.
          See, such conflict happen in physics as well. Big Bang vs. Steady State for instance. Solved. Or my favourite: Newton’s particles vs. Huygens’ waves.

          http://www.citycollegiate.com/wavetheory1.htm

          Solved by Max Planck, who was a Lutheran. Isn’t that funny? Christian physicists are capable of solving conflicts in physics, but not in their own belief system.

        • Kodie

          You mean that’s the only myth you’re deeply familiar with. Isn’t that what you mean? Have you studied all of them or just picked one that was common where you live?

        • The Problem of Evil is actually easier in many other religions. In fact, the early Christian variants of Gnosticism and Marcionism proposed that Jesus came from a different god than the bonehead who created our world.

          Problem solved.

        • What’s the evidence for Mormonism?

          (hint: a helluva lot more than for conventional Christianity)

        • Wick Samuel

          don’t know, what is it? Why do you find it more compelling?

        • My analysis here

        • Kodie

          You mean to say, you made the most important decision of your life without researching all religions?

        • Dys

          The fine tuning doesn’t confirm the existence of God at all. If God is omnipotent, it wouldn’t matter in the slightest what the cosmological constants were, because God should be able to create life regardless.

          As long as it can not be demonstrated that something does not exist, there remains the possibility that it does exist.

          Let us know when you find the leprechauns, unicorns, and Carl Sagan’s dragon.

        • Kodie

          What was inappropriate about it?

        • I think it was inappropriate because I disagreed with him …

        • Kodie

          I’m certain it was because you used the word ‘masturbation’ at him, and he doesn’t know what it meant in context, so he’s clutching his pearls.

        • I wonder if he knows I’ve used the word “heck” before. And didn’t even apologize for it.

        • Kodie

          Like a lot of Christians, he seems to be unfamiliar with common terms used in internet conversations, so if it seems dirty to him, it is. Funny how the same kinds of people with delicate ears about dirty talk and common phrases that just seem dirty (is it true that repressed Christians have the dirtiest minds?) are the ones who complain loudest about being culturally sensitive concerning others.

        • Greg G.

          Giving oneself eight seconds of pleasure is wicked so you shouldn’t even talk about it but giving eternal agony to others is just so you should talk about that all the time.

        • Kodie

          He was accused of mental masturbation, which I’m sure he could only understand as being accused of imagining the literal act of self-pleasure.

        • Greg G.

          You are probably right. I interpreted it as his brain shutting down at the sight of the word. I have seen him struggling with cognitive dissonance trying to hold two thoughts at the same time.

        • PG-13 language makes him blush, but I doubt he has any problem with God’s righteous indignation that led to the Canaanite genocide.

        • Greg G.

          Another inappropriate comment on your part.

        • Dang!

          I mean: d*ng!

        • Greg G.

          Where’s that moderator when you need him?

        • Greg G.

          Is your god both omnipotent and benevolent? Is there suffering in the world? If you answer “yes” to both questions, here goes.

          An omnipotent being could achieve any end with or without suffering. If suffering is required for any reason, then there is no omnipotent being. An omnipotence could do billions of miracles every nanosecond for each sentient being in the universe to prevent suffering as easily as not doing them. That makes all suffering unnecessary. An omnipotent being that chooses to allow unnecessary suffering is not benevolent. That being would be sadistic.

          So, if there is an omnipotent being, it is not benevolent which means your god does not exist.

          We can substitute the phrase “sufficiently powerful” in place of “omnipotent” and still prove there is no god sufficiently powerful enough to prevent suffering and not sadistic.

          There are beings in this universe that are benevolent enough to end all suffering if they were sufficiently powerful, but they are just flesh and blood humans with no magical powers.

          Now your choice is between remaining a Christian and worshiping the devil or becoming an atheist.

        • Wick Samuel

          An omnipotent being could achieve any end with or without suffering.

          not without violating free will:
          – it is logically impossible to cause someone to do something of their own free will.
          – people can freely chose to inflict pain and suffering.

          in short, the atheist has to demonstrate that the there is gratuitous pain and suffering, to demonstrate that God could have created a different world, with less pain and suffering.

        • Greg G.

          Then people should be able to freely choose to not feel pain and suffering or free will to prevent another person from injuring them. Where is their free will then? If someone swings at us, sometimes we can use our free will to duck. Why can’t an omnipotence do a miracle to get out of the way?

          If there is an omnipotent being, it should be able to work that out. Without such a mechanism, the being is either not omnipotent or not benevolent. Or doesn’t exist at all.

          Do animals and earthquakes get free will to inflict pain and suffering, too?

          You’ve resorted to a lousy excuse.

          There are people who hurt people a lot and those who strive to not hurt anybody. Is your god not playing a role in which sperm and ova meet up?

          If there is an omnipotence, all pain and suffering is gratuitous and the choice of the omnipotence that the unnecessary pain and suffering be endured by others. If it is indifferent to the pain and suffering, it is not benevolent. If it is part of the plan, it is sadistic.

          Your benevolent omnipotence doesn’t exist. It cannot exist if suffering exists.

        • Wick Samuel

          Your benevolent omnipotence doesn’t exist. It cannot exist if suffering exists

          again, you’ll need to demonstrate that gratuitous pain and suffering exist to make that assertion stick.

        • Greg G.

          No, if you are going to believe an omnipotent, benevolent being exists, you need to show that there is no suffering because every instance would be gratuitous if an omnipotent being existed.

          Anybody with half a brain would be able to think of a baby deer being eaten alive by wolves. Do you think the Romans had a perfect judicial system everywhere they did crucifixions? Do you think that there were no innocent people crucified? They find people alive in rubble, near death, after a couple of days being buried in an earthquake. That implies that there are people who suffer for that long or longer but are not found in time.

          It is not difficult at all to think up lots of varieties of unnecessary suffering. I’m baffled why you would pose the question. Your cognitive dissonance must be kicking in. Part of your subconscious brain sees the problem here and is preventing your conscious mind from considering it. Trying to say that your god is omnipotent while saying your god is not omnipotent enough to arrange free will without suffering is a sign of something impairing your thought processes. This is your brain on religion.

        • Dys

          God is omnipotent. If he wanted to make troublesome people disappear instantly, he should be able to. Yet he consistently makes people suffer: from the incredible inefficiency of a global flood to ordering his people to carry out genocide, his methods are completely and utterly unnecessary, and cause gratuitous pain and suffering. God could have simply poofed the people out of existence.

        • The idea of Yahweh as the champion of free will is pretty ridiculous. He sits idly by and watches as a victim (of robbery, rape, murder) has their free will violated.

        • – it is logically impossible to cause someone to do something of their own free will.

          Do you dispute that parental influence, influence of friends, hormones, drugs, culture etc can change what choices a person makes? Don’t you think that we all have various impulses and desires which cause us to make certain decisions, and don’t you think that if God created us, he could have made us with different desires? For example, don’t you think there would be a lot fewer people freely choosing to commit adultery if humans were incapable of feeling lust?

          If you have children, don’t you attempt to raise them in a way that will cause them to make wiser decisions? If so, do you think you are violating their free will by doing so? An omniscient god would presumably know us much better than parents know their children. Couldn’t he use such knowledge to influence our decisions?

          in short, the atheist has to demonstrate that the there is gratuitous pain and suffering, to demonstrate that God could have created a different world, with less pain and suffering.

          Don’t you believe that God actually has created such a world, to which you will go after you die? How can that afterlife be possible, if we are currently living in the best possible world?

        • Wick Samuel

          Free will means having the ability to choose, for better or for worse. What you are talking about it is removing that ability.
          I don’t know what exactly happens in Heaven, it will be populated by people that freely chose to accept Jesus, and not by those who rejected.

        • Free will means having the ability to choose, for better or for worse. What you are talking about it is removing that ability.

          No, I’m talking about removing the inclination to cause harm. For example: some people have the desire to rape others. I do not have this desire. Does the absence of this criminal desire mean that I am less free than the rapist? If not, why does God not simply remove the desire to rape from everyone who has it? They would still have the capacity to choose to rape, just as I have it; but they would have no desire to do so, and therefore would freely decide not to do it, just as I have done.

          I don’t know what exactly happens in Heaven, it will be populated by
          people that freely chose to accept Jesus, and not by those who rejected.

          The exact method by which Heaven is made better than Earth is unimportant. What is important is that if Heaven exists, then there must be some such viable method. So why does God not apply that method to Earth?

          We have people here on Earth who have freely chosen Jesus; if that is the relevant factor, then why do Christians on Earth still sometimes endure or cause suffering?

        • Wick Samuel

          No, I’m talking about removing the inclination to cause harm

          which IS to remove the ability to exercise free will.

        • You have ignored the example I gave, which illustrates my point.

          Some people have inclinations to cause particular harms, inclinations which I do not have. You claim that the removal of these inclinations is the same as removing the ability to exercise free will. So does the fact that I do not share these particular harmful inclinations mean that I do not have free will?

        • Wick Samuel

          you’re talking about creating ONLY people that would freely choose to not sin.
          Which, I think is impossible, unless you simply poofed the entire population into existence at once.

        • Pofarmer

          If you could have people who don’t sin in Heaven without violating their free will the why not on earth?

        • you’re talking about creating ONLY people that would freely choose to not sin.

          Ditto Pofarmer; there are supposedly people like this in Heaven. Why not on Earth?

          Heck, you don’t even need to go as far as an entire absence of sin. Why not remove the sinful inclinations which currently exist only in some humans, but which other people seem perfectly happy without? I have no desire to commit rape, murder, bestiality; what would be the problem with removing those particular desires from the few people who do have them?

          Which, I think is impossible, unless you simply poofed the entire population into existence at once.

          So do that then. Why not?

        • Kodie

          Hand-wave!

        • MNb

          Well, if your god was capable of fine-tuning the natural constants, why was he not capable of poofing the entire population into existence at once?
          That’s logically incoherent and according to your own standard that’s proof against your god.

        • I could stab myself in the hand with a knife … I just don’t want to. There is no insult to my free will.

          Ditto heaven, one presumes. I’ll have (or, at least I would have if our loving Father weren’t sending me to hell) the ability to commit evil; I just won’t want to. I’ll be enlightened, and the idea of doing bad things would have absolutely no appeal–just like stabbing myself does now.

          Here’s the puzzle: if that’s the way it will work in heaven, why not here? God is all-loving and omnipotent.

          It’s almost like he doesn’t exist.

        • Wick Samuel

          you’re talking about God creating only people that He knows will freely choose not to sin.

        • Nope. Try again.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think even god has the power to create people who will not cut in line or leave a drop of milk and put it back in the fridge.

          But doesn’t he even have any power?

        • MNb

          Well, why didn’t he do so? Lack of omnipotence, I’d say.

        • Pofarmer

          Then, what about the free will of the people who are being harmed by the people who are doing the harming with their free will?

        • Kodie

          If he wants to use hell and other punishment to curb behavior, he can simply create humans without the inclination to murder, for example. Do you have the inclination to murder? If you don’t, can you prove that god didn’t remove your original urge to kill?

        • Dys

          which IS to remove the ability to exercise free will.

          No, it isn’t. The removal of some available options is not the removal of all options.

          Christians make this same silly mistake when using it concerning divine hiddenness. They insist that God can’t make it obvious that he exists in order to preserve free will. Yet they also insist that Satan has the free will to disobey God, and he knows God exists.

        • MNb

          Which doesn’t bother your god at all, as shown in the examples I gave above.

        • Kodie

          Here’s the thing. God fucked up. He created a paradise and humans in his image, and it was immediately possible to defy god IN THAT PARADISE. There was already temptation to do wrong IN THAT PARADISE, without the knowledge. It’s important because Wick Samuel believes that Genesis is true, as long as he also gets to make up other facts not specifically delineated in that story. So he punishes the humans IN THAT PARADISE by getting sore they ate a piece of fruit he told them not to. He passed the blame for his incompetence on the humans, and sent them out of that paradise, and forever, his hands are tied. They CHOSE to defy his instructions, and apparently god suffers from this broken friendship crisis for thousands of years over some petty nonsense. He wants to pick up the phone, but he has his pride. But I digress.

          It’s just apparent that heaven is a creation just like Eden was an idealized status of humans and “the fall” is a fictional event to explain why things suck now and life on earth is hard. But if you get to heaven, it will still be possible to defy god’s instructions and disappoint him. They talk about eternal life, but how many of them really think they can go eternity without fucking up just once and getting sent away?

        • Pofarmer

          But if you can’t change your mind, wouldn’t that violate your free will?

        • Kodie

          Sounds like a hook to get you to give them money to go along with their cult.

        • MNb

          “Free will means having the ability to choose, for better or for worse.”
          Something Elisabeth Fritzl during her 24 years stay in her basement to get raped by her father didn’t have. Neither did the victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Your god didn’t care. So much for omniloving or omniknowing. Pick your choice.

        • The atheist has to demonstrate that there probably is gratuitous suffering. The goal isn’t to prove no god; it’s to follow the evidence where it leads.

        • Wick Samuel

          I agree that one should follow the evidence where it leads, which is what the arguments from natural theology, Jewish history and the historicity of Jesus provide.

          How are you proving that gratuitous suffering is more likely to exist than not? Relying on your opinion isn’t really an intellectual approach.

        • Greg G.

          No, suffering exists. If your god is not omnipotent enough to stop it, then it is not omnipotent. If it is omnipotent enough to prevent it, then all suffering is gratuitous and your god is not benevolent. Your omnipotent, benevolent god does not exist. You can stop wasting the only existence you will ever have on Christianity now.

        • Bambi dies a slow death in the forest. No one knows. That’s gratuitous suffering.

        • Kodie

          What argument from natural theology? Every culture has its myths, yours is just one of them “backed” by historical events that place the story in time, just like Gone with the Wind is placed during the American Civil War.

          THE EVIDENCE? You haven’t even looked at THE EVIDENCE. What you have is a hobby in Christianity, so you’ve read everything written that you could grab about it. What have you read about any other religions? You sound completely oblivious to the history of world religions and history of the world in general. What you don’t have is perspective.

        • MNb

          Apologetics don’t provide evidence. Scientists do, and only the scientists who get out of their studies to observe and experiment. Apologists never do.

        • Pofarmer

          What about all the pain and suffering inherent in nature? We aren’t the only ones on this planet.

        • Pofarmer

          “it is logically impossible to cause someone to do something of their own free will”

          Now wait a minute. If objective, aka universal morality were a thing, that would be easy.

        • Kodie

          God’s best ideas included massive worldwide genocide by flood, and offering salvation by appearing on earth as a human, but not until after impregnating a teenager with himself, being born, growing up, and getting himself executed by the Romans… Given the typical lifespan of humans in the year 0, almost everyone who was alive when Jesus was BORN was DEAD by the time he arrived on the scene to save them. And Christianity didn’t really take off for another few lifetimes.

          These are just terrible ideas.

        • Wick Samuel

          Your confusion really stems from you unfamiliarity with the biblical account, and Christian theology in general. Best advice I can give you is that if you seriously want to have a discussion on Gods methods, you’ll first need to gain an accurate understanding of Christian thought with respect to them.
          There are some atheists (Borg, Crossan) that understand that which they criticize, but that is a real rarity.

        • Kodie

          That’s your error. You make your interpretation, I make mine. That’s how you Christians use the bible.

        • Instead of putting up admission requirements, why not engage with the arguments?

        • Wick Samuel

          Please let me know of an argument I haven’t addressed.

          And, please don’t confuse “not being convinced” with “didn’t address”

        • MNb

          1. My argument that materialism is the default because of Ockham. You only denied it, but that’s not addressing.
          2. My argument that dualists don’t have a reliable method to separate correct claims about the supernatural from incorrect ones;
          3. My argument that an immaterial entity using material means and following material procedures is logically incoherent. You only denied it, but again that’s not addressing;
          4. My examples that showed how free will does not solve the Problem of Evil;
          5. The question how free will play out in Heaven.

        • Wick Samuel

          1. your claim is inaccurate

          – occam doesn’t establish any default, it is a guideline

          – an infinite number of universes is vastly more complicated than God, so occam chooses God as the solution.

          2. I dont see anywhere were you made a claim about dualism to begin with, your statement here in and of itself isn’t sufficient to address, you’ll need to provide some more info.

          3. How exactly is it incoherent? The immaterial soul interacts with the material body for example.

          4. sorry, no it didn’t. What was shown is that it is logically impossible to make some do something of their own free will.

          5. Don’t know, I havent been there.

        • Kodie

          God is an invented character, all whose attributes and intentions are guessed by every religion, and promoted as fact.

          3. You say that and where is the evidence? Exactly how could an immaterial thing interact with a physical thing without the ability to be physically detected or studied or measured?

          4. Sorry, yes it did. Your reading comprehension problems can’t seem to overcome the issue of god creating humans without the free will to do a lot of things is not the same thing as taking away our free will to do those things. If you found convincing proof there was no god, are you first in line to commit a lot of murder and rape?

          5. Then why do you want to go? It would be like earth with a lot of the same problems, or every dead true Christian would be rendered choiceless prisoners unable to be cocky, greedy, nasty, evasive, dishonest, and all the other immoral acts you choose freely all the time.

        • Wick Samuel

          1) If you are going to claim God is invented, the burden is on you to prove it. If you don’t want that burden, you’ll have to be happy with saying “I don’t believe God is real”.
          The statement “God is not real until you prove He is” is as completely fallacious as the statement “God is real until you prove He isnt”

          3. The evidence is the interaction of the soul with the body. Remember, if you don’t believe in the soul you are chained to determinism.

          4. please explain how God can make us do something with out violating free will. Hint, the presence of words like “make” or “cause” or “remove” or “create without” in your explanation means you haven’t demonstrated it.
          Dont confuse desire with capability. I don’t desire to do a lot of things but I have that capability. What you are talking about is removing capability.

          5. Because He’s there.

        • What is it with you and burden of proof? You’re making the incredible claim, not the atheist. You make baby Jesus cry when you shirk your burden of proof.

        • Wick Samuel

          if you make a claim to knowledge, you have a burden, sorry but that’s just the way it is.
          If you want to say “God does not exist” (strong atheism)then you have a burden.
          If you don’t want the burden, you are limited to saying “I dont believe god exists”(weak atheism)

          http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/strong_weak.htm

          since you seem averse to doing any reading, here is the relevant section:

          Because knowledge claims are involved, strong atheism carries an initial burden of proof which does not exist for weak atheism. Any time a person asserts that some god or any gods do not or cannot exist, they obligate themselves to support their claims. This narrower conception of atheism is often thought by many (erroneously) to represent the entirety of atheism itself.

        • How kind of you to explain to me the categories that apply to me. Yes, I’m aware of that distinction.

          I have a working hypothesis. Tell me what you think: you want to push off the burden of proof onto me because you are concerned that if you actually stand your ground you will get thrashed. Thoughts?

        • Wick Samuel

          My thought is that while you are forced to accept the definition of burdens, you desperately want to get around it somehow. To be able to say “There is no God” and not have any burden of proof at all, just sit back and say “nope, nope, nope”.

          But, as shown, it doesn’t work that way.

        • How many time must we go over this? I don’t state, “There is no God.”

          Ball’s in your court. Or will you continue to shirk your burden?

          Wait, what’s that I hear? I think it’s a baby crying …

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂

          Evidence for the existence of God:
          1. Origin of the universe
          2. Fine tuning of the universe
          3. Origin of life on earth
          4. Existence of objective morality
          5. Fossil record showing stasis and rapid change
          6. Jewish history
          7. Resurrection of Jesus as the best explanation for these accepted historical facts:
          —– Jesus was crucified
          —– Jesus was buried in a tomb
          —– That tomb was later found to be empty by a group of His women followers
          —— Following that, many people (believers and non-believers) came to believe that they had met a resurrected Jesus. A belief so strong that they were willing to die rather than deny the truth of that statement.

          ===
          You may not find those arguments compelling, which is fine, but they are strong pieces of evidence, which is why the debate continues today.

        • Kodie

          You don’t ask enough questions, and some of those are false assumptions and baseless assertions. If I asked you how life originated on the earth, and you said god, I would ask you how you knew, and you would say life on earth is evidence of god, and I would say, I guess you don’t really want to know the answer to that question, but I do.

          Circular reasoning is not evidence.
          Leaping to conclusions, god of the gaps, etc. is not evidence or an accurate answer. Storytelling to make up the backstory of this creator you believe in is not evidence for that creator, but really that’s all theology is.

        • Pick one and we can discuss it in more detail.

          Ironically, these are compelling arguments to those people who don’t use them. I’ve never met a Christian who gets excited about these and also uses them as a foundation for his faith.

        • 1. Origin of the universe
          2. Fine tuning of the universe
          3. Origin of life on earth

          In other words, wherever the current frontiers of science are. Theists have been playing this game for thousands of years. Gods have been used to explain everything humans don’t yet understand, until it’s investigated well enough and found to have a natural explanation. And not a single example can be found of a phenomenon that was well investigated and confirmed to be caused by a god.

          This is the god of the gaps. After using this hypothesis to explain every single unexplained problem and finding it to be wrong every time our knowledge advances, at what point do you finally say this idea is just wrong? How many millennia does it take? How many times must an explanation be found to be wrong, before you will discard it?

          4. Existence of objective morality

          Why do you think there is any objective morality, as opposed to a subjective desire for other people to behave in a certain way? And how can the seemingly arbitrary commands of God be considered “objective”?

          5. Fossil record showing stasis and rapid change

          I really have no idea how you think this is related to God.

          6. Jewish history

          This is a little vague. Any particular aspect of it?

          7. Resurrection of Jesus as the best explanation for these accepted historical facts:
          —– Jesus was crucified
          —– Jesus was buried in a tomb
          —– That tomb was later found to be empty by a group of His women followers

          “Historical facts” which have little evidence. No independent non-Christian source confirms the burial of Jesus or the discovery of an empty tomb, by women or anyone else. Nothing at all was written about Jesus during his lifetime. No non-Christian who was even alive at the same time as Jesus ever wrote a single word about him. So how am I supposed to consider these to be “historical facts”?

          —— Following that, many people (believers and non-believers) came to believe that they had met a resurrected Jesus. A belief so strong that they were willing to die rather than deny the truth of that statement.

          What evidence do you have that any non-believer came to believe in Jesus by seeing him bodily resurrected? Anything from a non-Christian source, or even anything from outside the Bible? What evidence is there that anyone who saw him in the flesh were martyred after refusing to deny it? All we have is much later martyrdom traditions of the Church.

          You may not find those arguments compelling, which is fine, but they are strong pieces of evidence, which is why the debate continues today.

          Which of them is remotely strong? God-of-the-gaps, and the unfounded claims of people writing a couple of thousand years ago? And how can you say that the evidence is the reason for the debate continuing, when apologists like WLC make it clear that evidence has little if anything to do with their belief?

        • MNb

          1 – 3: God of the Gaps.
          4: Doesn’t exist.
          5: God of the Gaps, if there wasn’t a good scientific explanation for it. There is.
          6. Doesn’t require any god.
          7. Resurrection is not the best explanation. Read Hume’s On Miracles. The best explanation is myth, given the gradual build-up of the story with time. Each account written later adds more details.
          SSers also had a belief so strong that they were willing to die at the Eastern Front rather than deny the truth of their racism.

          They are not pieces of evidence at all, not even weak ones. The only reason the debate continues is the prejudice of believers like you, which make them repeating their errors ad nauseam. Ken Ham did that in his debate with Bill Nye, WLC in his debate with Sean Carroll and you, like many believers, do that on this very page.
          That prejudice is shown by believers ignoring the strong, if not conclusive arguments against god, exactly like you do. You still haven’t addressed

          1. Souls supposed to bear free will according to you can wander in Heaven, where there is supposed to be a lot less evil than on Earth if not none at all; hence your god is perfectly capable of creating such a realm, but didn’t create Earth that way; hence he either is not omnipotent or not omnivolent. Your answer was “I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never been there”, which means you admitted you can’t address the Problem of Evil;
          3. The problem materialism vs. dualism, where the latter postulates one more entity than the first, can be solved (you wrote it yourself) by Occam’s Razor if you don’t show the necessity of the extra entity;
          4. The fact that you don’t have a reliable method to separate correct claims about the supposed supernatural from incorrect ones;
          5. Immaterial entities using material means and following material procedures are logically incoherent.

          Atheism wins.

        • Greg G.

          You so desperately want to rationalize you belief in God and you have to resort to that.

          None of those make any sense unless you already believe. Is that circular logic or spiral of shrinking radius logic?

        • TheNuszAbides

          nautilus logic?

        • Greg G.

          Circling the toilet logic.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Coriolis Logic!

        • Greg G.

          That’s the term!

          It’s not yet 2 am and I have learned two new terms today. The other is “Typoglycemia”. Check the Wikipedia article on it. I remember seeing a shorter version when it went viral before that word gained the new meaning.

        • Ignorant Amos

          2. Fine tuning of the universe

          For what?

          Blackholes?

          Black holes: our universe is full of them – trillions and trillions of them. It seems like the very purpose of the universe is to produce black holes (not life). There are more black holes than life bearing planets (a lot more). A lot more material in the universe is devoted to creating black holes (a lot more). The universe is almost entirely a vacuum, in which black holes, not life, thrive. We barely struggle along, having a very difficult time surviving, in brutal competition for resources on a microscopic island of life that will be melted by the sun in some time. If we’re not wiped out by meteors or interstellar radiation before then. Life has a hard time starting and is very easy to get rid of. Black holes, on the other hand, are inevitable consequences of this universe. And then it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Black holes are right at home in this universe. ‘God did it’ in no way explains this, especially in context of everything else the god hypothesis claims.

          Puddles? Definately.

          Humans? Not so much so. It could be a whole lot better, so fine tuning is an arsehole argument.

          You would do well to drop the fine tuning argument, it is a load of wank.

          http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/problems-with-fine-tuning-argument.html

        • Greg G.

          The estimate for the number of galaxies is greater than the estimate for the number of humans who have ever lived. If each galaxy has but one black hole, we can say that the universe favors black holes over humans. And that is using the most conservative estimate for the number of black holes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…the tuning is just okay for life, it ain’t perfect, it is not as fine as it could be. The Yahweh/Jesus they all cock’n’crow about would’ve did a better job, ergo, no Yahweh/Jesus god of a fine tuning bent.

          Next?

        • 5. Evolution is the scientific consensus. You and your non-biologist sources just going to reject it … just cuz it offends you?

        • Wick Samuel

          Explain how allopatric speciation works.
          every time.
          ?

          that’s the problem, not the genetic evidence for common descent, but the mechanism. Allopatric speciation gets no press, has no one working on it precisely because it isnt viewed as a viable hypothesis. And it’s the ONLY hypothesis for punctuated equilibrium.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think so? In your own words, explain the problems and not just parrot some other point made by someone else who’s not a scientist.

        • Wick Samuel
        • Kodie

          So you can’t rise to the challenge of restating something in your own words?

        • Wick Samuel

          So you can’t rise to the challenge of restating something in your own words?

          You have nothing but opinions

          make up your mind 🙂

        • Kodie

          You’re an incoherent fucktard, but I don’t keep calling you that. I expect someone who thinks they know a fucking thing or two to be able to speak coherently from the thoughts in his own fucking mind. Your “OPINION” is argument from authority. You have clearly read very little, only as much as you need to (or a prescribed list) to give your theological presupposition weak support. YOU CAN”T ACTUALLY SUPPORT IT. YOU DON”T HAVE THE INTELLECT TO SUPPORT YOUR OWN BELIEFS.

        • Ignorant Amos

          AHH HAAA…..the issue of opinions again.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe she meant you had nothing but other people’s opinions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well the dopey shite didn’t…

          In your own words, explain the problems and not just parrot some other point made by someone else who’s not a scientist.

          His reply was a link. I’m not the sharpest tool in the box, but a link to a wiki is not ones own’s words. Even if the words are reputable.

          Edit: multiple spelling issues due to much red wine imbibing.

        • Kodie

          I don’t even think there’s something to make up my mind about. This guy is shit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Lumping good fuck, read your own links ya dosile auld goatskin.

          Literary scholar Heidi Scott argued that Gould’s use of analogy and metaphor constitutes a non-scientific discourse attempting to validate a scientific theory. She claims that Gould—particularly in his popular essays—uses a variety of strategies from literature, political science, and personal anecdotes to substantiate the general pattern of punctuated equilibrium (long periods of stasis interrupted by rapid, catastrophic change). Gould responded that critics often made the mistake of confusing the context of discovery with the context of justification. While Gould is celebrated for the color and energy of his prose, as well as his massive interdisciplinary knowledge, critics such as Scott have concerns that the theory has gained undeserved credence among non-scientists because of Gould’s rhetorical skills.

          Suits you sir. Ever hear of such a thing?

        • Again with the evolution denial.

          Why would anyone care what a non-biologist thought about a theory in biology? I mean, besides trying to support an agenda.

        • Wick Samuel

          you seem to have trouble grasping what I’m saying. I’ll try again.

          With respect to biology, I believe in common ancestry, as I have repeatedly said. You seem somewhat attached to your strawman that I dont, it might be a protective mechanism on your part?

          Regarding the mechanism by which that occurred, I hold the view that there is no way to explain it by random mutation and natural selection. There is simply no way all of those necessarily interrelated mutations could possibly have happened, all at once, in that extremely short period of time. To do that, requires God orchestrating it.

        • With respect to biology, I believe in common ancestry, as I have repeatedly said.

          And I must’ve repeatedly missed it. I’m puzzled then why you keep making anti-evolution-ish comments with all your nonscientific fretting about punctuated equilibria.

          You seem somewhat attached to your strawman that I dont, it might be a protective mechanism on your part?

          Protective … why? I’d be happy to see evidence that you’re not an idiot.

          Regarding the mechanism by which that occurred, I hold the view that there is no way to explain it by random mutation and natural selection.

          Oh, so you are an evolution denier. Why all the bluster? Just accept it—you reject science for no good reason. You’ve got lots of company.

          There is simply no way all of those necessarily interrelated mutations could possibly have happened, all at once, in that extremely short period of time. To do that, requires God orchestrating it.

          And here again you make bold scientific claims … without actually understanding the data because, y’know, you’re not a scientist. My conclusion of evolution denier, momentarily shaken, is now back.

        • Wick Samuel

          please explain allopatric speciation 🙂

          you’ll quickly find learn why paleontologists stay away from it..

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you go ahead and explain this. This would be an opportunity for you to expose your great intellect and describe the issue as you personally understand it.

        • Please explain why I should care what a non-biologist thinks about biology.

        • Wick Samuel

          allopatric speciation has nothing to do with biology.

          please, break out of your mold and do some reading.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allopatric_speciation

        • It’s speciation. Sure looks like biology to me. But I guess that just shows how stupid I am.

        • Kodie

          You’re missing the unspecified implications!

        • Greg G.

          The genetics of speciation wouldn’t be a big topic for paleontologists seeing as how they deal with the long dead and buried.

        • Wick Samuel

          suspect you have no idea what allopatric speciation is..

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allopatric_speciation

        • Greg G.

          When a population splits, it begins two different evolutionary paths. It would include separate evolution from drift and probably different selective pressures. Scientists study and discuss the finer details. Allopathic speciation is a medium category. Too big for specifics yet not general enough for the layman.

        • Wick Samuel

          and, as I’ve said, I believe in evolution (defined as “the change in heritable phenotype traits of biological populations over successive generations”), so I’m not sure what you’re referring to, other than building more strawmen..

        • Yeah, it’s pretty tough, so understand your confusion.

          Biology says that evolution explains why life is the way it is; you don’t. I think I’ll stick with the science.

        • Wick Samuel

          biology speaks to common ancestry, which (for like the tenth time, I believe in), the aspect of all of this that you are desperately avoiding is allopatric speciation, which, you’ve probably never heard of, and should become familiar with.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allopatric_speciation

        • Kodie

          “Professor,” would you explain it then? Because you probably don’t understand what you read, I just want to make sure.

        • Uh, hello, it means that evolution is BS.

        • Love the condescension. It works for you.

          I asked you before what other kinds there are, since this is the only kind that comes to mind for me.

          Why is this interesting? Science has a consensus view. When it changes, I’ll change.

        • 90Lew90

          Your former defence secretary (who was a son-of-a-bitch who only pretended to be ‘our’ son-of-a-bitch, or perhaps thought he was ours or perhaps didn’t know that he didn’t know he wasn’t ‘our’ son-of-a-bitch) is often lampooned for the following statement:

          “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

          Now, while this may sound ludicrous, it actually makes perfect sense. It’s a pretty pithy expression of the scientific outlook. Evolutionary scientists will happily admit all three of Rumsfeld (that bastard)’s categories: the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns. The ‘God’ hypothesis falls into the latter category, and until such a time as we can say we know something about this particular unknown, we can say nothing about it. It’s a dead duck. And for all the claims made about all the gods that ever were, you’d think we’d be able to say something about what we know of this unknown, but we can’t.

          And that’s to be kind, and keeping the notion of a god or gods vague, perhaps referring to some deistic or polytheistic entity. We can however say with very great confidence that the claims made in the Abrahamic religions about their god are bullshit. Further, you can’t cherrypick from solid science the way you cherrypick from your supposedly infallible holy book, whichever one that happens to be. Not much annoys me more than the bastardisation and corruption of proper understanding of known-knowns (science) than religious people kack-handedly trying to make out that scientists have missed the great unknown-unknown. For me the question is open. For them the question is for the most part open. Your answer which you present as a known-known (presumably Jesus), is, once again, absolute crap.

        • (1) what kinds of speciation are there besides allopatric (isolation driven)?

          (2) Why are we having this conversation? We’re both playing in the sandbox. Let’s let the nice scientists do their work without our interference. We laymen have no ground on which to reject their consensus.

        • Wick Samuel

          1. circular reasoning
          2. “don’t think about it and it might go away”

        • Kodie

          What you have is a poor and theologically influenced understanding of science. The only science you know even a little bit about is fake or distorted so that you can make the leaps to theological implications that you never explain. You assume the choices are “god” or some horrible straw man. It’s obvious you haven’t done any other research, just read what you’re told to read to back up your assertions, so you have quotes so you can sit back and argue from “authority”. You don’t actually know anything.

        • You answer a question with the charge, “Circular reasoning”? (tip: don’t be a teacher)

          2. “don’t think about it and it might go away”

          You’re not a biologist, right? And yet you propose that you are a better analyst of the evidence than the scientific community, and your conclusion is better than the scientific consensus.

          Yeah, tell me how that works.

          And you really do yourself no favors by hiding when the going gets tough. My suggestion: when you say something stupid and someone points that out, be a man about it and take your medicine. You might learn something and come out better as a result.

        • Greg G.

          Allopatric speciation gets no press

          Allopatric speciation is the most common type of speciation. If you are reading something about speciation and the type of speciation is not explicitly noted, you can safely assume it is about allopatric speciation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Asinine with just one head….Gods inteligent design at its finest….feck me side ways.

        • Greg G.

          How do you explain the empty tombs and resurrections in these Greek and Roman stories: Chaereas and Callirhoe, Xenophon’s (died 354BC) Ephesian Tale, Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon, Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, Heliodorus’ Ethiopian Story, The Story of Apollonius, King of Tyre, Iamblichus’ Babylonian Story, and in places in Apuleius’ The Golden Ass?

        • Ignorant Amos

          He can’t…he is not that well read.

        • Susan

          Evidence for the existence of God:

          Define “God”.

          1. Origin of the universe

          That phrase might sound like a simple enough concept to you but I don’t think you know how inadequate it is. At any rate, define your terms and make a connection from it to your deity. Show a process. Otherwise, you’re just claiming “It’s magic.”

          2. Fine tuning of the universe.

          I don’t think you know what that means, either. An apologist threw a whole lot of impressive numbers at you and claimed improbabilities he has no hope of calculating and says they are evidence that “Magic is the only answer.”

          They are using the modeling process backwards and selling you “Magic”. How does the magic work?

        • Wick Samuel

          I have to confess that I gravely over estimated the familiarity posters on this blog have with the current state of investigation, and the arguments put forward.

          1) The Kalam Cosmological argument is summarized here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kal%C4%81m_cosmological_argument
          2) Fine tuning of the universe is discussed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

          I did not invent either, they are well known arguments for a initial uncaused cause(Kalam), and a designer (fine tuning).

        • Kodie

          You gravely overestimate your own familiarity with these topics, so it’s actually futile to attempt to communicate with you. When someone responds to you, and it looks like to you that they don’t understand your arguments or appeared not to respond to them directly, it’s actually because you don’t understand any of it.

          When you choose to pass off your “expertise” to links and quotes, you are demonstrating your limited grasp of the arguments or topics, and only know what other apologists point to. You’ve demonstrated no grasp on it so far, so arguing against your arguments with you makes you think we’re not up to your intellectual level, when it’s really the opposite. Look at all the people, and all the paragraphs of discussion they are spending on you, and you don’t read, can’t read, refuse to learn, or do not care. When you post, it’s same same same same same, links links links links. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Kodie

          Susan wrote:

          At any rate, define your terms and make a connection from it to your deity. Show a process. Otherwise, you’re just claiming “It’s magic.”

          You avoid responsibility with your answer and pretend it’s because Susan is unfamiliar! You are a clown. Absolutely know-nothing clown.

          Susan wrote:

          I don’t think you know what that means, either. An apologist threw a whole lot of impressive numbers at you and claimed improbabilities he has no hope of calculating and says they are evidence that “Magic is the only answer.”

          And your answer to that was look at the apologist’s numbers again! You don’t understand the calculations, you just feel good and smart. You don’t deserve to feel good and smart, because you aren’t good or smart.

          You’re evasive and ignorant, and try to wave that away with arrogance, but your knowledge is so shallow, you can’t even understand what you read. Do you think these qualities are good or smart?

        • Wick Samuel

          sigh..

          Fine tuning examples abound, and these are from atheist scientists.

          The premise of the fine-tuned Universe assertion is that a small change in several of the dimensionless fundamental physical constants would make the Universe radically different. As Stephen Hawking has noted, “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”[9]

          If, for example, the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e., if the coupling constant representing its strength were 2% larger), while the other constants were left unchanged, diprotons would be stable and hydrogen would fuseinto them instead of deuterium and helium.[10] This would drastically alter the physics of stars, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. The existence of the diproton would short-circuit the slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen would fuse so easily that it is likely that all of the Universe’s hydrogen would be consumed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang.[10] However, some of the fundamental constants describe the properties of the unstable strange, charmed, bottom and top quarks and mu and tau leptons that seem to play little part in the Universe or the structure of matter.[citation needed]

          The precise formulation of the idea is made difficult by the fact that physicists do not yet know how many independent physical constants there are. The current standard model of particle physics has 25 freely adjustable parameters with an additional parameter, the cosmological constant, for gravitation. However, because the standard model is not mathematically self-consistent under certain conditions (e.g., at very high energies, at which both quantum mechanics andgeneral relativity are relevant), physicists believe that it is underlaid by some other theory, such as a grand unified theory, string theory, or loop quantum gravity. In some candidate theories, the actual number of independent physical constants may be as small as one. For example, the cosmological constant may be a fundamental constant, but attempts have also been made to calculate it from other constants, and according to the author of one such calculation, “the small value of the cosmological constant is telling us that a remarkably precise and totally unexpected relation exists among all the parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics, the bare cosmological constant and unknown physics.”[11]

          I have no idea what susan is thinking making that claim, clearly she isnt familiar with the evidence for fine tuning, or the discussion of the possible causes.

          Even Krauss and Carroll don’t dispute the fact that the initial entropy state of the universe was impossibly low. And I doubt either you or susan know what the statement “initial entropy state of the universe” even means. Crazy how unfamiliar you are with the discussion.

        • Kodie

          Crazy how much of a chore it is for you to read something, comprehend it, and explain what the fuss is all about. Susan addressed it, in her own words, and if it doesn’t seem relevant to you, maybe you have to take some time to sit down and reflect on how little you know.

        • adam

          Yes and if my aunt had a penis she would be my uncle.

          Still doesnt mean that the universe was fine tuned.

          STILL doesnt demonstrate YOUR ‘god’ or where it got the ability or intelligence to ‘fine tune’.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fine tuning examples abound, and these are from atheist scientists.

          You are implying that atheist scientists are inferring a “fine tuner” because the fundamental physical constants are so finely balanced enough to enable at least one sentient species to develop the brain skills to work out the universe we find ourselves in is just that kind of finely tuned universe, because we are in it? Yet they all remain unswayed in their lack of belief in said “fine tuner”? What a knucklehead.

        • Multiverse

        • Wick Samuel

          unscientific, and fails any testability or falsifiability criteria..

          Direct evidence for the multiverse is effectively out of the question, because anything we can actually measure or observe is necessarily part of this universe, not another one

        • adam

          So we DO have sufficient evidence that demonstrates that there is AT LEAST 1 universe.

          Where is the same type of evidence for YOUR ‘god’?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Spoooiiiiiinnng! God hypothesis?

          You are what us Engineer’s would call imploding.

          A car crash being witnessed right here folks, tickets anyone?

          Barrel, fish, anyone?

        • Kodie

          Why do you believe in god, your criticisms would point to not god, if you were honest and consistent, or if you understood a fucking thing about science at all, and not just pretend to care about how unscientific something seems to you because it hasn’t been proven. I can’t believe “god” would send such a liar to talk about him that way, because people like you, if there were a god are the worst messengers.

        • I guess the Multiverse shouldn’t expect a Christmas card from you.

          Get back to me when the fine-tuning argument actually means something to you. There’s no motivation for me to show that it’s not an important argument. If I did that, you’d just reach into your bag of unanswered questions and say, “Well, what about this one!”

        • Wick Samuel

          already explained, and I’ll remind you that you acknowledged that IF it turned out that fine tuning was a result of complete chance, that wouldn’t disprove God. If it doesn’t disprove God, why would I decide not to believe in God?

          Explaining the mechanism by which apparent fine tuning manifests would eliminate God as a plausible explanation, … This doesn’t disprove God; it simply eliminates it as a plausible contender in this case

        • Kodie

          Because something else caused it, you might reflect on why you were convinced it was god. If god didn’t cause it, then what does he do, what has he done, what purpose does it serve to believe in god? Why are you so attached to the belief in god that you will be eagerly persuaded by such a dumb and wrong proposition as fine-tuning?

          But you never think like that. You start with your beliefs in god, and then you cobble together weak associations from observation and the cleverer apologists, based loosely on a cherry-picking of some scientific data, and then hammer the table with it. If you knew someday that your fine-tuning argument would be obliterated completely and convincingly, would you use it for an argument now? Why don’t you tell us the real reason you believe in god, and if it’s important to you, why you think we should ignore and deny science?

          I mean, if you convince us that fine-tuning is correct, but it is certainly wrong, what do we do with that once we’ve been convinced by you of something totally wrong?

        • To some extent you’re right. If there are ten deist arguments, if any one is valid, I need to drop my atheism. On the other hand, you have the burden of proof for the remarkable claim of these arguments, that a deity exists.

          What I object to is the throw-the-spaghetti-on-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks approach. You toss out arguments good and bad and expect that if any stick, you win, and for any that don’t, you just ignore it and move on. But there are consequences. You toss out a bullshit argument that you should know is flawed? Your reputation takes the hit.

          From a meta standpoint, I’m asking for some intellectual responsibility. I imagine that not a single one of the apologetics arguments matter to you (in that if it were proven false you’d drop your belief), right? These arguments then become just harassing maneuvers to keep the enemy off balance. But if these arguments don’t undergird your supernatural belief, why should they mine?

        • Wick Samuel

          A. No doubt that Christians have in the past, and continue to put forth arguments that are very much at odds with the reality of the world we observe around us. I see YEC as doing this, I do not see Kalam, fine tuning, objective morality, existence of choice, objections to the viability of allopatric speciation as an explanation for PE as falling in that category in any sense. All have been successfully defended and all represent fundamental unsolveable problems from a naturalist perspective, it isnt that we simply dont know how it happenned, it’s that we know enough to know we cant explain it (precisely the reason the multi-verse is being posited, it is a cause outside of our universe).

          B. A single argument may or may not be compelling enough for a person to actively investigate the possibility of the existence of God., so there is nothing wrong with actively exploring different arguments.

          C. At the end of the day, no one is “argued into believing”, the point of apologetics is raise the intellectual bar for a position, it makes it rationally harder to embrace atheism when confronted with these arguments. A person might then be more willing to investigate the truth of the Judeo/Christian belief.

          D. Most importantly, Christianity isn’t a body of knowledge that needs to be learned, it’s about a personal relationship. I can virtually guarantee that the early apostles had never pondered ANY of these arguments, didnt need to, they had personally met Jesus. Today, that same opportunity exists.

        • “PE”?

          All have been successfully defended and all represent fundamental unsolveable problems from a naturalist perspective, it isnt that we simply dont know how it happenned, it’s that we know enough to know we cant explain it

          A bold claim. Show me the scientific consensus saying this.

          And here again, I’m sure that any or all of these arguments could be shown false and it wouldn’t affect your faith. Hold your faith for whatever lame reasons you want, but why should any of this coming from you change my mind? It obviously doesn’t mean much to you.

          C. At the end of the day, no one is “argued into believing”

          And yet they’re sometimes argued out of believing. I wonder what that tells us.

          I can virtually guarantee that the early apostles had never pondered ANY of these arguments

          I’m sure.

          … didnt need to, they had personally met Jesus.

          The story says so. Not convincing.

        • So how is it any worse than God? Saying that every other current hypothesis is unscientific, and therefore your own unscientific hypothesis wins by default, is just special pleading.

          How is God testable or falsifiable? I’ve already offered one test, one straight from the Bible, and you’ve rejected it without supplying an alternative. Why is testability and falsifiability so important to you for naturalistic hypotheses, yet so irrelevant to you when you resort to God?

          Why not just do what I do, and admit that there’s a bunch of competing hypotheses and we don’t yet have a way to tell which, if any, is correct? Instead you resort to the one explanation that’s been consistently proven wrong every time a natural phenomenon which has been adequately investigated.

        • Susan

          Fine tuning examples abound, and these are from atheist scientists.

          I didn’t say that these weren’t challenges in physics. I said I don’t think you understand what it means. You have converted that information (or more accurately, accepted someone else’s conversion of that information) to an argument about improbability that isn’t there.

          And then you claim it proves Yahwehjesus did it without showing any of the steps.

          If things could be different and were different, things would be different. So… where does Yahwehjesus come in?

          The (sigh) was a bit much, Wick. Read the comments.

        • Pofarmer

          The current state of investigation? The Kalam argument is over a thousand years old.

          Show me where modern Cosmologists use the fine tuning argument in their research.

        • Kodie

          He’s treating the fine-tuning argument like some sort of “gotcha!” Look, Hawking said fine-tuned! You have to go with that answer as apologists leapt to conclusions from eavesdropping on the basic phrase, or you have to disagree with the smartest living physicist on earth!

          He’s not actually making a fine-tuning argument even if from the apologists viewpoint, nor is he making the effort to understand what can actually be determined from the comment by Hawking.

        • Wick Samuel

          A. Exactly! thank you

          B. Not sure what you are claiming, investigation of the low order entropy initial state of the universe is perhaps the single largest area of research.

          C. the point I am making, is that so many of these bloggers are seemingly completely unfamiliar with the discussion on fine tuning and Kalam. The “arguments” put forth resemble those advanced by Krauss/Carroll and others in no way, shape or form..

        • Pofarmer

          “The “arguments” put forth resemble those advanced by Krauss/Carroll and others in no way, shape or form..”

          Now you’ve lost me again.

        • It’s like the Christian philosophers who want to resolve some puzzle within modern cosmology by going back to see what Thomas Aquinas had to say about the matter.

        • Pofarmer

          Catholics love to trot out Aristotlean Metaphysics as some kind of get out of jail free card.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but the current state of investigation according to whom?

          http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/astrobiology-made-case-god

          In fact, one of the most severe apparent fine tunings often referred to by creationists like Metaxas is that of the so-called cosmological constant, the energy of empty space that has recently been discovered to be causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate over time. It remains one of the biggest mysteries in physics, as it appears to be over a hundred and twenty orders of magnitude smaller than our theories suggest it could be. And if it were as large as the theories suggest it should be, then galaxies, stars, and planets would never have formed.

          Is this a clear example of design? Of course not. If it were zero, which would be “natural” from a theoretical perspective, the universe would in fact be more hospitable to life. If the cosmological constant were different, perhaps vastly different kinds of life might have arisen. Moreover, arguing that God exists because many cosmic mysteries remain is intellectually lazy in the extreme. The more we understand the universe, the more remarkable it appears to be. Exploring how this remarkable diversity can arise by potentially simple laws has been one of the most successful, and intellectually beautiful, efforts in human history.

          This article is from about 6 weeks ago. Current much?

          I also had the good fortune to be in the audience to hear Lawrence Krauss discuss these same points just 2 weeks ago, is that current enough for you?

        • Susan

          I have to confess that I gravely over estimated the familiarity posters on this blog have with the current state of investigation, and the arguments put forward.

          There is nothing in my comment that suggests I’m unfamiliar with either of the arguments you linked to. Try to use your own words, Wick.

          Define “God”.

          Explain what you mean by “origin of the universe” and explain the processes which connect it to this “God”.

          Tell us how the magic works.

        • Wick Samuel

          by “origin of the universe” I mean what everyone means, our universe had a beginning, it came into existence.

          By “God” I mean the Judeo-Christian God.

          I’m not getting what you are looking for, these are very basic concepts.

          Recommend that you listen to some debates on the topic to get a sense of where the disagreement lies.

        • Susan

          by “origin of the universe” I mean what everyone means,

          No. You don’t.

          our universe had a beginning, it came into existence

          You should announce that at the next cosmology conference at which you are the guest speaker and provide all the supporting data you have for the claim. You’ll have to be very specific about the terms “universe”, “beginning” and “came into existence”.

          By “God” I mean the Judeo-Christian God.

          That’s not a definition. It’s another label. Please describe all the characteristics of this thing you are claiming.

          I’m not getting what you are looking for

          Clear, specific definitions for your claims and clear steps in your reasoning from the claims you are making to the conclusions you’ve reached. So far, there’s been none of that.

          these are very basic concepts

          They are very common and murky concepts. Allusions mostly. Slow down, define your terms and show your work.

          Recommend that you listen to some debates on the topic .

          I am (and I’m fairly certain most of the people who are responding to you are) very familiar with these arguments.

          I’m happy to discuss them with you but all you have are a list of assertions based on terrible arguments and links to those assertions and the terrible arguments for them.

          Try to use your own words and stick to one argument at a time.

          Now, when you say the universe came into existence, what do you mean? Describe it as clearly as you can.

          Did you read Bob S.’s articles about ‘fine-tuning’?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am (and I’m fairly certain most of the people who are responding to you are) very familiar with these arguments.

          Clearly, from years of sharing internet forums and seeing these sad recurring renditions of the same nonsense, I know you are very familiar with these excuses, they are not even worthy of the term argument. From what I can see with other commenters in my short time here, they are fairly well up to speed also. The only person struggling in the debate is Will Samuel, but he is too blind to see the forest for the trees.

          Kalam. The premise is flawed. There are other issues, but that one is sufficient to moot it.

          Fine tuning. We are here, the constants are what they are for us to be talking about them. No knob twiddler is necessary. The fine tuning ain’t that fine in any case. There are other issues, but that one is sufficient to moot it.

          Poor WS is like a rabid dog with a bone, he can’t let it go and we are all just too stupid for not seeing what is so obvious to him with his confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance and special pleading. Sad really.

        • The only error you’ll admit to is overestimating our intelligence? Nice. You’ll make a nice chewtoy.

          You want to get into any of these flabby arguments? Go for it. There’s not much to say about the Cosmological argument since it fails with its first premise.

          I’ve written a fair amount about fine tuning. These will get you started:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/04/sean-carroll-slaps-down-fine-tuning-argument-christianity-apologetics-craig-carroll/

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/04/innovative-responses-to-the-fine-tuning-argument/

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂
          I’ve already responded to Carrolls arguments above..

        • or don’t respond to my argument. Either way.

        • Wick Samuel

          you are probably one of the lazier persons I’ve met.. 🙂

          Would be helpful if you became acquainted with Seans response to the fine tuning argument, it’s in 5 parts discussed below.
          I have listened to that debate several times right after the debate occurred. I was VERY impressed with Seans ability to stick with arguments and not get emotional (like Krauss did for example, pretty embarrassing for him). Sean was professional throughout.

          1. we can’t say that our universe is fine tuned because we can’t know whether life would exist if the values were altered.
          2. God doesn’t need to fine-tune anything
          3. fine-tuning is just apparent, it’s not real
          4. The multi-verse explains fine tuning
          5. If I were God, I would have built the universe differently

          in response to Carroll:
          1. Carroll is in an extreme minority of scientists regarding that position.
          2. silly objection, no idea what he thinks it demonstrates.

          3. See #1, Carroll is in the extreme minority
          4. is somewhat odd, having spent the #1 and #3 claiming that fine tuning doesnt exist, he now reverses position, acknowledges it, and provides the theory of an infinite number of other universes as the reason.
          5. opinion..

        • Dys

          You still don’t get the issue with #2, even after it’s been explained to you multiple times. If God is omnipotent, then nothing needs to be fine tuned, because he could create life regardless. In other words, fine tuning doesn’t amount to an argument for God.

          It’s not that hard to understand.

        • you are probably one of the lazier persons I’ve met.. 🙂

          I respond with two links to blog posts and you ignore them. But it’s actually me who is lazy? Golly, I hope the next irrelevant criticism isn’t about my personal hygiene.

          Would be helpful if you became acquainted with Seans response to the fine tuning argument

          Great minds think alike! My summary of Carroll’s critique of fine tuning in that debate was one of my posts above. But let’s ignore my summary and just go with your thoughts, OK?

          “1. we can’t say that our universe is fine tuned because we can’t know whether life would exist if the values were altered.”

          1. Carroll is in an extreme minority of scientists regarding that position.

          Bullshit. No one knows the conditions that permit life to come into existence or to continue existing. Carroll’s point was: show me these conditions, and we can see if various parameters would be conducive to life. But without this, it’s all just poorly evidenced speculation.

          “2. God doesn’t need to fine-tune anything”

          2. silly objection, no idea what he thinks it demonstrates.

          Then let me help you out. The fine tuning argument marvels that parameters are balanced on knife’s edge. No need to marvel if you’ve got God on your side. Life will exist if he says it exists, period. Doesn’t much matter whether nature could do it on its own; God can make it happen regardless of the conditions. He’s magic, remember

          “3. fine-tuning is just apparent, it’s not real”

          3. See #1, Carroll is in the extreme minority

          Show me the survey.

          “4. The multi-verse explains fine tuning”

          4. is somewhat odd, having spent the #1 and #3 claiming that fine tuning doesnt exist, he now reverses position, acknowledges it, and provides the theory of an infinite number of other universes as the reason.

          It’s so cute seeing you determined to find a problem where there is none.

          Carroll said that even if you want to presuppose fine tuning, you still look like a Wick Samuel because the multiverse avoids the problem.

          “5. If I were God, I would have built the universe differently”

          5. opinion.

          God is a hypothesis. Let’s take it for a ride and see how it works—that’s all Carroll is doing. Obviously, God could do things in a way that is puzzling to us, but this is irrelevant. You don’t start with your favorite conclusion but rather with the evidence.

          Hey, I really appreciate the chance to distill down my thoughts on this debate so you wouldn’t have to go read the short summary post I pointed you to. This has been fun. Let’s do it again sometime.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Then let me help you out. The fine tuning argument marvels that parameters are balanced on knife’s edge. No need to marvel if you’ve got God on your side. Life will exist if he says it exists, period. Doesn’t much matter whether nature could do it on its own; God can make it happen regardless of the conditions. He’s magic, remember

          Ah, ‘Brian’s Paradox” is coming next…

          Brian’s Paradox occurs when all outcomes result in theists winning. It was coined by Tracie Harris and is inspired by the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian.

          Brian: I’m not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!

          Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.

          Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!

          Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!

          The fine tuned argument for atheism…

          Some philosophers have noted that the fine tuning argument is not vastly good argument for the existence of God but rather a vastly good argument for the non-existence of God. Largely the argument itself hinges on the narrow range of properties for the universe to develop to allow for life. But, this narrow range are precisely the required range needed for life in this universe to occur naturally if there were no God.

          If there were a God, rather than needing 70 sextillion stars and 13.75 billion years, there would only be need of one planet. Rather than having more planets than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. The only reason this universe needs to be this vast and this old is if life occurs randomly without any intelligent design. If life occurs only by happenstance, then any life that exists should exist in a amazingly vast universe just to allow the chemicals needed to kick up life enough chances to happen to kick up something as complex as life.

          If somebody claims to be psychic and they win the lottery three times in a row. That seems to be good evidence. However, if they bought every possible combination of numbers for each of those lotteries. That feat requires no psychic abilities at all.

          Only upon the assumption of atheism do we really need these exact values. For only these values allow the formation of life to occur without God and without any outside influences.

          The fine-tuning argument is actually therefore a great argument for atheism. Which theists are wrongly claiming as evidence for God.

          “The universe looks exactly as it should look if there is no God. How amazing is that exactness? Therefore God exists.” — If the universe looked as if it couldn’t exist only by chance, theists would and do claim God exists in that case as well. The universe either cannot happen naturally and therefore God did it, or the universe can happen naturally and what an amazing feat that is and therefore God did it. Resulting in a Brian’s Paradox

        • I know well that scene in “Life of Brian,” but I hadn’t heard of Brian’s Paradox. Thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Krauss got frustrated with Craig because he was telling blatant lies, twisting the scientific assertions while resorting to his usual tactic of the Gish Gallop. I’d have just jabbed the head of him.

          Here is Carrolls five points in his own words.

          1. We don’t really know that the universe is tuned specifically for life, since we don’t know the conditions under which life is possible.

          2. Fine-tuning for life would only potentially be relevant if we already accepted naturalism; God could create life under arbitrary physical conditions.

          3. Apparent fine-tunings may be explained by dynamical mechanisms or improved notions of probability.

          4. The multiverse is a perfectly viable naturalistic explanation.

          5. If God had finely-tuned the universe for life, it would look very different indeed.

          Somewhat different to what you think he said.

          1. Carroll is in an extreme minority of scientists regarding that position.

          “We can’t say” and “we don’t know” are not the same thing.

          While it is true that not ALL scientists agree in all things, you need to show that “Carroll is in an extreme minority of scientists regarding that position”, not your skewed assertion of Carrolls position mind, his actual position. Good luck with that.

          You also have to show why he is wrong, good luck with that too.

          But even that won’t help either, it isn’t a popularity contest, I and others have told you that the mathematics don’t defend a uniquely fine tuned universe and observation shows that this is probably as bad a universe in which we could possibly be found.

          2. silly objection, no idea what he thinks it demonstrates.

          I could nearly understand your hand waving, except you have misquoted again.

          3. See #1, Carroll is in the extreme minority

          Three for three strawmen…again, see response to your #1

          4. is somewhat odd, having spent the #1 and #3 claiming that fine tuning doesnt exist, he now reverses position, acknowledges it, and provides the theory of an infinite number of other universes as the reason.

          Is that a fact? Will of course it is if what you want Sean Carroll to have said, and what he actually said, are vastly different.

          5. opinion..

          Well of course it is opinion ffs. But it is opinion based on what godbots claim are the attributes of their favourite deity. Any engineer can look at a fucked up project and come up with ways in which to improve the situation, it ain’t rocket science.

          Lying for Jesus makes everyone sad.

          http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2014/02/24/post-debate-reflections/

        • Pofarmer

          “1. Carroll is in an extreme minority of scientists regarding that position.”

          You need to actually back this statement up.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          No, you have not. That is a lie.

        • adam

          So when did YOUR ‘god’ come into existence?

          What ‘fine-tuned’ YOUR ‘god’ to be able to create universes, i.e. where did your ‘god’ get it’s intelligence?

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          They are well known. Neither one is sound. And allopatric speciation is not evidence of God.

          Have a nice day.

        • Pofarmer

          Wick is another hopeless CodyGirl clone. He repeats the same baseless shit over and over and over.

        • Kodie

          I prefer to use her real name, Jenna Black. But Wick is far below her literacy and intellect, even though hers was shit.

        • Kodie

          There is no god apparent. There are many explanations we can have to explain why you think there is a god when there isn’t. But you still have to produce your evidence that there is a god, because nothing you or any other Christian, or any other theist, has said so far makes a fucking bit of sense unless you are willfully ignorant.

          All claims of a god do not mean that there is a god, and all you have are claims and no evidence. We live in a world without a lot of things nobody has claimed exist, we say these things don’t exist when someone does claim them. We don’t have to give them proof to call them delusional or inventive. All you have is billions of people fooled by the same heap of garbage. You don’t have evidence, you have fiction. Now why should I grant you or any other theist the indulgence of carrying on not just your own life, but intending toward my life politically as if this fiction is real? If you don’t have evidence, after this much time and this much thought, then god is not in evidence, and I have to ask you why you believe in something without any evidence. Why should I give you evidence this being does not exist? How will that change your fucking puny little desperately uneducated special-pleading mind?

          Edit: FOR EXAMPLE – any time someone comes up with a multiverse example, you say it doesn’t exist, because it’s just as much bullshit as your religion. You don’t have to explain yourself, you just found your reason to discard it from your list of possibilities. Your special pleading little dipshit of a brain puts out these dodges. You read someone you think you’re smart enough to call “smart” say something about how ridiculous the multiverse idea is, and you don’t prove it’s not real, you simply don’t care to read any more. You found the answer of your preference, and that, to you, is good enough. You’re inconsistent in your standards, plus you’re illiterate with regard to reading comprehension – this is a big red flag to me who doesn’t know what they’re talking about if they can’t understand what they’ve read. You’re content to post blocks of quotes you borrowed to stand in for literacy and comprehension. Repeating yourself as if we didn’t understand your take on things is also a dummy move.

        • Dys

          The evidence is the interaction of the soul with the body

          You mean the interactions that have never been witnessed anywhere by anyone? That’s some powerful non-existent evidence you’ve got there.

        • Kodie

          1) God the character is definitely invented. I can see you actively inventing god, as I can see other Christians inventing god. When you meet a criticism of god, you invent a reason or excuse for him. You may not be the original inventor of that god, but you only know as much about the character as what another person tells you – and guess what? It’s whatever makes you sleep at night and still dream there’s a heaven. I saw you make up shit from the account of Genesis 1, found nowhere in the bible, but it was filling in the blanks so the narrative could still make literal sense to you, because the bible, god’s magnum opus operating manual for mankind cannot be taken literally by a reasonable human being. Other Christians handle that a different way. I mean, many different ways. You can say they’re wrong, but you are not on any better footing with your speculative fiction.

          3. What the fuck incoherent horseshit is that.

          4. You’re fucking confused, buddy. I never claimed god took or should take away someone’s free will. I explained this to you twice or three times now, but you are stuck in a rut of believing people say what you want them to say because that’s your script. Did “god” create you with the ability to read minds? HAS GOD TAKEN YOUR FREE WILL AWAY BECAUSE YOU CAN”T READ MINDS?

          5. That’s not helpful or relevant to the point I made, so try again.

        • MNb

          “3. The evidence is the interaction of the soul with the body.”
          There is no evidence for any interaction of the supposed soul with the body. You brought up choice, which is a material concept to be accepted or rejected by neurobiologists.

          “Remember, if you don’t believe in the soul you are chained to determinism.””
          Remember, the universe is not deterministic, but probabilistic, so you’re just wrong.

        • Greg G.

          1. Donedendritic imagined to be omnipotent and benevolent yet suffering exists. That is an imaginary combination of attributes. Your cognitive dissonance won’t allow you to think it through.

          3. The dendrites carry signals between neurons in the brain. The larger in diametrically these channels are, the less chance for faulty transmission of signal but the more space they occupy in the brain and the more energy they require. By reducing the size of the channels and allowing more errors, the brain can have circuitry that try to correct the signals. Natural selection is great at balancing the tradeoffs. When the brain works out the signals incorrectly, the results can be creativity and the illusion of free will.

          4. My will is to not hurt anybody but I may have unintentionally. God violates my free will by not preventing me from causing suffering by mistake. I wish I could fly like a bird but I lack the capability. An omnipotence could arrange that I could fly like Superman. His failure to do so violates my free will. Why can I not help someone by wishing? My will is violated in many ways by limitations. Why is God preventing some exercises in free will OK in your mind? Why is the free will to cause harm not completely limited? Try to step over your cognitive dissonance barrier and think these things through.

          5. But not here?

        • Pofarmer

          We have evidence for LOTS of invented gods. Wouldn’t you agree?

          “Remember, if you don’t believe in the soul you are chained to determinism.”

          Yeah, not really. There are competing philosophical theories, and new ones popping up all the time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Given what WS deems as evidence, the heavens are teaming with gods of all manner of stripe.

          Space Ponies anyone?

        • Kodie

          Space Ponies anyone?

          Space Ponies for everyone!!!

        • adam

          1) What gods are not invented?
          3) And YOU are chained to NO EVIDENCE and your ‘faith’ that what you CLAIM is true.

          4) “Heaven”
          5) Where?

        • an infinite number of universes is vastly more complicated than God, so occam chooses God as the solution.

          We already know that universes can exist. We’re living in one. So if we suddenly discovered that there were actually two universes (or 10^500) that would be a certain kind of surprise. We have more of the same kind.

          With God, it’s obviously a very different situation. That’s a very different kind than any we’ve agreed exist before.

          The immaterial soul interacts with the material body for example.

          Uh … how?? It works just because you say so? I’m afraid I’ll need more than your say-so to convince me of this remarkable claim.

        • Wick Samuel

          we know A universe exists, we do not know that universes exist.

          positing the existence of other universes is extremely problematic. How did these other universes come into existence? Actual infinities don’t exist, so again, you get back to the necessity of the first uncaused cause.

          =========
          We can agree that if the soul exists, that demonstrates that the immaterial can interact with the material.

          The existence of the soul is demonstrated by virtue of the existence of choice. Without an immaterial influence, the entire body, including the brain with it’s thoughts, is purely materially determined and there can be no notion of “choice”.

        • we know A universe exists, we do not know that universes exist.

          This would help: before you click send, see if I’m going to have to just repeat what I just said since you’ve not advanced the conversation any. Like right now.

          Yes, obviously we don’t know there are more than 1 universe. I’m showing the dramatic difference between one universe and zero gods acknowledged by everyone. (And zero unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, etc.) When you get to one, you can imagine more of the same kind. When you’re going from zero to one, you’re inventing an entirely new kind—the supernatural, in your case.

          How did these other universes come into existence?

          (1) Off topic. The scientist postulates more of the same while you postulate something completely different. You lose.

          (2) The multiverse is a prediction of well-established science.

          We can agree that if the soul exists, that demonstrate s that the immaterial can interact with the material.

          And yet the soul doesn’t exist.

          the entire body, including the brain with it’s thoughts, is purely materially determined and there can be no notion of “choice”.

          Huh? Is this another appeal to free will?

        • Wick Samuel

          I’m showing the dramatic difference between one universe and zero gods acknowledged by everyone. (And zero unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, etc.)

          zero?

          then you are making a claim to knowledge, you are claiming that God does not exist (not merely stating that you dont believe He exists).

          hopefully as an engineer you are somewhat acquainted with what comes next, the request to demonstrate your claim. Please note “you havent proved God exists” does not fulfill the burden you shouldered when you made the claim.

          ====================

          How did these other universes come into existence?

          (1) Off topic. The scientist postulates more of the same while you postulate something completely different. You lose.
          (2) The multiverse is a prediction of well-established science.

          off topic??

          no, sorry, examining your solution is entirely on topic 🙂

          multi-verse is not “scientific” at all, it is equally as non-natural as the notion of God.

          The problem with the multiverse of course is not that you can’t directly observe it, but that there’s no significant evidence of any kind for it: it’s functioning not as a testable scientific explanation, but as an excuse for the failure of ideas about unification via superstring theory. Siegfried makes this very clear, with his argument specifically aimed at those who deny the existence of “supertiny loops of energy known as superstrings”, putting such a denial in the same category as denying the existence of atoms. Those who deny the existence of superstrings don’t do so because they can’t see them, but because there’s no scientific evidence for them and no testable predictions that would provide any — Peter Woit

        • zero?

          Correct: zero supernatural claims are accepted as scientific fact. You really ought to get out more.

          then you are making a claim to knowledge, you are claiming that God does not exist (not merely stating that you dont believe He exists).

          I state that the evidence argues that God doesn’t exist. You want to argue otherwise? I await the evidence. With growing impatience.

          Please note “you havent proved God exists” does not fulfill the burden you shouldered when you made the claim.

          What is it with you Christians who claim that God exists and then shirk the burden to make the case?

          If I were God, I’d be getting pretty pissed.

          no, sorry, examining your solution is entirely on topic 🙂

          I love a magic trick! You almost had me going with your claim that the topic is “examining my solution” rather than the actual topic, which is that postulating more of the same (universes) is very, very, very different than postulating something from a category that we don’t agree even exists.

          I’m kidding of course. You should keep your day job. You suck at stage magic.

          multi-verse is not “scientific” at all

          You’re quickly becoming more trouble than you’re worth. We’ve been over this: the multiverse is a consequence of well-established science (the theory of inflation), backed by evidence. It’s also a consequence of not well-established science (string theory). That doesn’t prove that it exists, but it shows that it wasn’t pulled out of someone’s ass as a defense against the onslaught of Christian arguments.

        • Wick Samuel

          in short:
          – your “off topic” claim was on topic, as shown.
          – I don’t agree that the category of more universes exist.. so jump ball.
          – multi-verse has myriad critics, all of which point out it’s non-scientific nature.

        • Kodie

          Since when does having a non-scientific nature stop you from asserting your claims? Science does not support your conclusions, but you think you’re still entitled to your own untestable hypotheses, but we’re not. I’ve told you this many times, and you’ve not responded except to slither out of it with some hypocritical lame one-liner and a smiley face. You feel pretty comfortable saying something is ridiculous without studying up on it, just because you cherry-picked one or two quotes that come down on your side.

        • – pick a topic and stay on it. Know that when you change topics without resolving the previous topic, I’ll be all over that.

          – huh?

          – The multiverse is a viable option; therefore your “But only God explains it!” fails.

        • – multi-verse has myriad critics, all of which point out it’s non-scientific nature.

          Similarly, the idea of God has numerous critics who have pointed out its non-scientific nature. So at worst, the multiverse hypothesis is as bad as God, and should be considered on the same level.

        • MNb

          If you had read the two links I provided you wouldn’t have produced this howler, no matter how understandable. You’re just another christian who is so firmly stuck at his predetermined conclusion that he’s incapable of learning something new.
          The multiverse is firmly rooted (via mathematics) in a totally scientific theory. The problem is lack of empirical data – but the theory can and in the future will be tested.
          You nicely confirm my inductive statement that all apologists are intellectually dishonest. The fact that you haven’t read these two links, haven’t addressed them and hence reproduce your howler over and over again alone is sufficient evidence. By now there is much more though.

          “I don’t agree that the category of more universes exist.. so jump ball.”
          That’s as meaningless as agreeing that the category of Black Holes and the category of Big Bangs don’t exist. In fact you wrote something similar about your god: “he exists whether arguments are correct or not.” One of the very few times you were honest you admitted “I believe because faith”. Well, we accept (or not) Black Holes and Big Bangs because empirical evidence, no matter how indirect. Empirical evidence is objective, faith isn’t. You lose. So does theism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Lawrence Krauss spoke a bit about this last week.

          Gravitational waves.

          If the recent discovery of gravitational waves emanating from the early universe holds up under scrutiny, it will illuminate a connection between gravity and quantum mechanics and perhaps, in the process, verify the existence of other universes.

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-big-bang-gravitational-waves-could-revolutionize-physics/

          Now it may well be just the result of a lot of space dust, but a year ago the signal wasn’t even on the cards for investigation.

          Despite the grave doubts cast over the results,Pedro Ferreira, a cosmologist at Oxford University, said he was still hopeful the Harvard team was right. “There’s a strand of us that choose to be optimists, that they have a real signal,” he told the Guardian. “There is a worry that we’re looking at dust, and not at gravitational waves, but I’ll really only be convinced with new data. From the first moment we were all worried about dust. It’s not rocket science,” he said.

          http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/04/gravitational-wave-discovery-dust-big-bang-inflation

        • Pofarmer

          I love the way Kraus and Carroll talk about this stuff. IF this can be experimentally verified THEN this is what it will mean. They don’t make the jump of certainty from philosophy to Dogma like theists do.

        • MNb

          Yeah, I’ve read some stuff about it. As I’m out of my league on this subject I simply wait until the experts have reached consensus. And consensus they will reach.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you understand a fucking thing. You’re the one saying god exists, and that’s not problematic? You’re just out of thin air saying many universes is more complicated just because it’s many more than a single god? You don’t have a single god, and we have at least one universe. That’s data. It’s not a lot of data, but it’s more than you have. We have evidence that a universe exists, but we do not have evidence that any gods exist, and there is no credible reason you or any other Christian has given to narrow it down to yours.

        • MNb

          “positing the existence of other universes is extremely problematic.”
          No, it isn’t. The only problem is the lack of empirical evidence supporting the theories that postulate the existence of other universes. Physicists are working on it. I already gave you the links, which you happily ignored (thus confirming that you don’t address arguments when presented to you):

          http://www.space.com/18811-multiple-universes-5-theories.html
          http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/10/28/why-we-think-theres-a-multiver/

          “We can agree that if the soul exists, that demonstrates that the immaterial can interact with the material.”
          No, we cannot agree on this. The soul existing without interacting with the material body would render the soul totally meaningless. As the only way to interact with the material body is via material means and material procedures the concept of the soul is as logically incoherent as your god. This applies to everything immaterial.

          JK Rowling excellently shows this in her Harry Potter series. In the books ghosts can float through walls, hence don’t interact with molecules. But they can talk, ie produce sound. Sound consists of vibrating molecules. So suddenly they do interact with molecules after all. That’s logically incoherent. Immaterial gods and souls run into exactly the same problem.

          “the existence of choice”
          Someone like Jerry Coyne denies this existence.

          “purely materially determined”
          You’re at least 80 years behind. Our universe is not deterministic. It’s probabilistic. And, how ironic, it was the Lutheran Werner Heisenberg who showed this.

          Finally the question if choice exists will be settled by science – by neurobiology. As soon as they have formulated a consistent and coherent theory of the human brain (and there is little doubt they eventually will) we will know if “there can be a meaningful notion of choice”.
          As always science wins and theology loses.

        • Pofarmer

          The existence of the soul is demonstrated by virtue of the existence of choice. Without an immaterial influence, the entire body, including the brain with it’s thoughts, is purely materially determined and there can be no notion of “choice”.”

          What in the sam Hell are you talking about? That makes so sense.

        • Dys

          He’s making unreasonable and unwarranted assumptions that he hasn’t defended. His argument is basically this:

          1. You need a soul in order for choice to exist.
          2, Choice exists.
          3. Therefore souls exist.

          The first two premises are both highly suspect (especially considering the lack of evidence for anything one might consider a soul), so his conclusion isn’t supported. He keeps putting the cart before the horse.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m not sure in that argument there is actually a horse-or a cart.

        • Greg G.

          It’s Matthew’s imaginary extra donkey.

        • Dys

          He’s presupposing a soul and giving it the attributes his “argument” requires without feeling any need to establish if it’s really there.

        • Kodie

          I don’t want a soul making my choices for me. He’s basically saying the body is a meat car, and the soul is the driver of that car, but I don’t think he really believes that in other contexts, like life originating being amazing to him in itself requiring introduction by an immaterial deity.

          But anyway, without a soul, meaning some immaterial spirit connected with the deity, the body including the brain would just be beyond our personal control. Like, I could end up at the supermarket and not know how I got there, and rape 20 cashiers and stockers, then deny responsibility.

        • Dys

          Yeah, it’s just the same flawed brain as a receiver analogy they always use, where the brain receives instructions to move the meat puppet around.

          The only problem is that there’s absolutely no evidence to support that contention, and neuroscience pretty much tears it to shreds. Our current understanding of the brain doesn’t require any supernatural interference. Wick is inserting an unnecessary and unsupported conjecture based on religious dogma and an appeal to consequences.

          http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-brain-is-not-a-receiver/

        • Kodie

          How cocky he is, having read or heard somewhere something that sounded authoritative to him, so he repeats with a warning “souls or determinism” without reading what anyone else says. That’s how religion makes you stoopid.

        • Wick Samuel

          Explain how choice can exist with out a soul, you quickly understand the argument.

        • Kodie

          How about you explain your total understanding of this topic in your own words instead of parroting something that sounded good to you since it confirmed your bias?

        • Pofarmer

          Define Choice. Well Scratch that. Let’s just assume for the sake of argument that there is no soul. Honestly, why does this represent a problem? The modern conception of a soul seems to be mainly a way to get us to Heaven after our body died.

        • Greg G.

          The subconscious arrives at the choice and the conscious thinks it made choice. Scientists who study the brain can monitor brain waves and have written software to predict a person’s choice 30 seconds in advance of the person realizing they made the choice. A computer designed to detect signals of the brain should not be able to read a soul. It appears that the brain works without a soul so the soul hypothesis is unnecessary.

        • Dys

          we know A universe exists, we do not know that universes exist.

          We know that a universe exists, we do not know that a god exists. The difference between the multiverse hypotheses and god is that the multiverse doesn’t rely on the supernatural.

          The existence of the soul is demonstrated by virtue of the existence of choice.

          You’re begging the question.

        • Wick Samuel

          multi-verse and God are equally non-natural hypothesis, that’s the criticism.
          If choice DOES exist, the only explanation for it is the immaterial soul, since choice exists (unless you are willing to declare that choice does not exist), then the soul exists. That’s a sound argument.

        • Kodie

          How is a soul the only explanation you have for choice?

          -Your poor reading comprehension skills
          -Your lack of curiosity and exposure to research and science
          -Confirmation bias
          -Argument from incredulity

          These are YOUR only choices.

        • William Davis

          That is an interesting concept. Please use it to explain split-brain syndrome:

          “Gazzaniga and Sperry’s split-brain research is now legendary. One of their child participants, Paul S, had a fully functional language center in both hemispheres. This allowed the researchers to question each side of the brain. When they asked the right side what their patient wanted to be when he grew up, he replied “an automobile racer.” When they posed the same question to the left, however, he responded “a draftsman.” Another patient pulled down his pants with the left hand and back up with the right in a continuing struggle. On a different occasion, this same patient’s left hand made an attempt to strike the unsuspecting wife as the right hand grabbed the villainous limp to stop it.”

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-superhuman-mind/201211/split-brains

          Brain splitting is a drastic measure to stop seizures, and often results with two separate personalities on each side that make different choices from one another. Splitting the brain therefore creates an extra soul. Restoring the brain causes the extra soul to “disappear”. Neurology is full of disorders that affect decision making.

        • Dys

          multi-verse and God are equally non-natural hypothesis, that’s the criticism.

          And it’s an invalid criticism. The multi-verse hypothesis isn’t non-natural.

          If choice DOES exist, the only explanation for it is the immaterial soul

          You don’t know that, nor have you managed to back up that assertion in the slightest. And even if you did somehow manage to demonstrate the existence of a soul (which no one has ever done), you’ve no way to determine that it’s immortal.

          since choice exists

          But we don’t know that it does. The appearance of choice exists, but whether it’s real or not is a big unanswered question. The libertarian concept of free will is almost certainly false, but that doesn’t eliminate the concept of free will entirely.

          So no, you don’t have a sound argument. You have unsubstantiated assertions.

        • Wick Samuel

          The multi-verse hypothesis isn’t non-natural

          yes it is, by definition.
          Natural refers to our universe
          non-natural refers to what is not our universe
          the multi-verse is not our universe, there for the multi-verse is non-natural.
          pretty simple.

          =======
          If you don’t believe in choice, why are you arguing with me? Your view is that you and I are determined to think the way we do, that all our thoughts and actions are perfectly determined.

          It’s very simple to disabuse someone of their belief that choice is an illusion, just ask yourself, why are you arguing with me?

        • Dys

          non-natural refers to what is not our universe

          The multiverse hypothesis doesn’t rely on supernatural principles, the god speculation does.

          If you don’t believe in choice,

          Hmm…did I say that anywhere? Nope, I didn’t. I said libertarian free will was most likely false. Not the same thing at all.

          It’s very simple to disabuse someone of their belief that choice is an illusion, just ask yourself, why are you arguing with me?

          And the fact that you think this somehow disproves the notion that free will is an illusion demonstrates that you don’t have even a basic understanding of the issue at all. Try thinking about it for more than a minute.

        • Kodie

          You talk out your ass, you know that? A multi-verse is a concept that would naturally explain a lot.

          God has only ever been a “supernatural” which means it is not in nature, and acts outside of nature. Your god cannot defy nature, you claim he is part of and interacts with nature, but you don’t say how. And you ignore questions that ask you how an immaterial supernatural actor in this universe cannot be detected if they indeed interact with material objects. YOU IGNORE THESE ISSUES BECAUSE YOU CANNOT DEFEND YOUR BELIEFS AGAINST THEM. All you can do is repeat your baseless assertions. No evidence, no valid sustainable arguments, just incoherent rambling from a pseudo-intellectual, and not a very good one. Your selection of arguments is very narrow, and you just sound like a parrot and don’t actually conceptualize what you believe.

          You settle for these trite concepts deluded theologists think up to scam idiots like you, and you don’t read responses and add relevant comments, all you do is repeat your smug ass foolish dogmatic special pleading.

        • Natural refers to our universe

          Does it? Show me in the dictionary.

        • Wick Samuel

          http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/natural

          1. existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial
          2.based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature:
          3.of or relating to nature or the universe:
          4.of, relating to, or occupied with the study of natural science:
          5.in a state of nature; uncultivated, as land.
          6.growing spontaneously, without being planted or tended by humanhand, as vegetation.
          7. having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemicaladditives:

        • Uh huh. Looks like any argument that pulls in the universe pulls in the multiverse.

        • adam

          So Alzheimers, those with brain cancer, brain damage and mental patients have no souls or damaged souls because their ability to ‘choose’ is limited?

        • Wick Samuel

          Their capacity to choose is limited, but the ability to make a choice free from past states is not.

          Do you believe in choice? or are you embracing determinism?

        • Kodie

          SOULS, or dun dun duuuun…. DETERMINISM!

          Who sold you this bullshit? You’re the uneducated idiot here.

        • adam

          Of course their capacity to choose is limited, and OF COURSE their ability to make a choice from past states is as well, as their memory of past states is unreliable or unavailable to them…

          so is their soul limited as well?

          So what if I choose to levitate and fly to other planets? Do I have a choice?

          Can YOU choose to believe that Ganesh is real?
          That Zeus IS real?

        • Wick Samuel

          no more so than the mental ability of a driver is in a broken car.

        • Kodie

          Did god take away your free will to think rationally and research issues that are important to you so that you actually comprehend them?

        • adam

          So then where is their ‘undamaged’ soul?

          And why does it seem damaged to them and everyone else that observes them?

        • Multiverse is natural; god is not.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Much more chance likely than the alternative anyway.

        • Wick Samuel

          no, what you mean to say is “the multi-verse is non-natural(by definition, since the term ‘natural’ refers to our universe alone), but it isn’t divine, so of course we’re prepared to embrace it as the cause of our universe. We’ll worry about the remaining necessity of an initial un-caused cause at a later date..”

          Natural: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.

        • Kodie

          Why is your god exempt?

        • Show me the Webster’s definition in which the multiverse can’t be “natural.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Awk…sure are ya not cherry pickin’ yer definition ta suit yer arguement, ta be sure? Of course ya are ya feckin’ goatskin ye.

          Physicists reason that if the universe is unnatural, with extremely unlikely fundamental constants that make life possible, then an enormous number of universes must exist for our improbable case to have been realized. Otherwise, why should we be so lucky? Unnaturalness would give a huge lift to the multiverse hypothesis, which holds that our universe is one bubble in an infinite and inaccessible foam. According to a popular but polarizing framework called string theory, the number of possible types of universes that can bubble up in a multiverse is around 10^500. In a few of them, chance cancellations would produce the strange constants we observe.

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-physics-complications-lend-support-to-multiverse-hypothesis/

          Ya ignorant human being.

        • Greg G.

          Natural: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.

          The multiverse fits that definition.

        • Wick Samuel

          the multi-verse was caused by our universe?

          interesting theory.. but, incorrect

        • Greg G.

          If the multiverse exists, nature would include it.

        • Wick Samuel

          no..
          IF the multi-verse exists, nature(our universe) would be included within it.

          this is not a difficult concept..

        • adam

          No it is not difficult, so why do you HAVE to redefine natural to make your argument?

          Nature could easily be responsible for unlimited universes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are forcing everyone here to accept your narrowed definition of “nature” as being synonymous with “our universe” which no one here is obliged to do.

          This is not a difficult concept indeed.

        • Pofarmer

          Wick seems to use a lot of conveniently vague or narrow definitions.

        • Kodie

          He also doesn’t use the same level of scrutiny on his beliefs (so what Christian does?). He quoted a passage by Davies (I think it was?) that settles it for him – the multiverse is as much imaginary horseshit as theology. But he never answers why he’s entitled to his unfalsifiable hypothesis and nobody else is, if it’s actually true that multiverse is an unfalsifiable hypothesis. God is outside of nature, and he believes many things that god has created that defy physics, and yet also claims that god cannot defy physics, that’s not what “omnipotent” means, all doesn’t mean “all”. He has all the power within a narrow fine-tuned physical universe but leaves no evidence, only speculative fiction, and personal interpretation.

        • adam

          But of course, otherwise the deception doesnt work.

        • Ignorant Amos

          While we are considering concepts that are not too difficult, here are some other dictionary definitions.

          Multiverse:- The collection of parallel universes that comprise all of reality in some quantum mechanical and cosmological theories.

          God:- A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality.

          Semantic games are fun when everyone is allowed to play.

        • Greg G.

          The idea of nature would be earth-based in a geocentric philosophy but now we know that is an incorrect way of thinking. You are making an error in that category by thinking this universe would have some privileged position in the multiverse. This universe would be one of many just like the sun is one star of many in a galaxy that is one of many.

        • MNb

          Because you say so? Someone as ignorant and dishonest about physics like you?
          Dishonest again, because Greg G didn’t write that the multiverse was caused by our universe. He wrote that the multiverse fitted the definition as provided by you. Indeed the multiverse exists in and is caused by nature.

        • Philmonomer

          no, what you mean to say is “the multi-verse is non-natural(by definition, since the term ‘natural’ refers to our universe alone),

          Huh? Where does “‘natural’ refers to our universe alone” come from? I don’t think anyone says that.

        • Wick Samuel

          ok, lets look at the dictionary, this is not rocket science

          natural: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind

          nonnatural: existing outside of or not in accordance with nature

          nature: the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations

          natural refers to our universe
          non-natural refers to everything that is NOT our universe, this would include the parallel universes that are proposed.

        • Kodie

          It’s really pointless to help you understand. Physics is a science, and science is the study of nature, material objects; the study of multiverses is an area of physics.

          The study of “god” is theology, not science. Science can’t study god because god has no physical effect on the universe or nature, nothing that can be described as a process or measured or noticed by physical instruments. And yet you feel you have the authority to claim that it exists in and out of our universe, before and outside of time, is both good and wrathful and jealous and loving, which is it? I thought he couldn’t break the laws of physics – well, acting from an immaterial state on material objects breaks the laws of physics.

          Your favorite paragraph that proposes how ridiculous multiverses are is where you are stuck. Argument from authority. You can’t actually comprehend words and concepts outside of apologetics unless you have a canned answer for it. You’re not reading and thinking and coming up with a thoughtful response – you are being triggered by key phrases to pull out some quote or link to point to, without actually having the intellectual capacity to explain what you are talking about. So I conclude with great confidence, that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • Wick Samuel

          again, you simply are not acquainted with the issue

          The multiverse hypothesis is a source of debate within the physics community. Physicists disagree about whether the multiverse exists, and whether the multiverse is a proper subject of scientific inquiry.[2] Supporters of one of the multiverse hypotheses include Stephen Hawking,[3] Steven Weinberg,[4] Brian Greene,[5][6] Max Tegmark,[7] Alan Guth,[8] Andrei Linde,[9] Michio Kaku,[10] David Deutsch,[11] Leonard Susskind,[12] Raj Pathria,[13] Sean Carroll, Alex Vilenkin,[14] Laura Mersini-Houghton,[15][16] and Neil deGrasse Tyson.[17] In contrast, critics such as Jim Baggott,[18] David Gross,[19] Paul Steinhardt,[20] George Ellis[21][22] and Paul Davies have argued that the multiverse question is philosophical rather than scientific, that the multiverse cannot be a scientific question because it lacks falsifiability, or even that the multiverse hypothesis is harmful or pseudoscientific

          As skeptical as I am, I think the contemplation of the multiverse is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the nature of science and on the ultimate nature of existence: why we are here… In looking at this concept, we need an open mind, though not too open. It is a delicate path to tread. Parallel universes may or may not exist; the case is unproved. We are going to have to live with that uncertainty. Nothing is wrong with scientifically based philosophical speculation, which is what multiverse proposals are. But we should name it for what it is.

          — George Ellis, Scientific American, Does the Multiverse Really Exist?

        • Kodie

          Quotes again? Can’t you think?

        • Wick Samuel

          “Stop supporting your arguments with data!! It’s making it extremely difficult to just dismiss you without a thought to the actual content of your position! You are making this way more difficult than we’re used to!!”

          well, I guess then my only advice to you is stick to yelling at YECs.

        • Kodie

          Keep ignoring requests to demonstrate that you understand what the fuck you’re talking about, and how you draw your conclusions from this data. You don’t know how. You only are a puppet using argument from authority, you can’t think.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …that the multiverse cannot be a scientific question because it lacks falsifiability, or even that the multiverse hypothesis is harmful or pseudoscientific

          Nothing is wrong with scientifically based philosophical speculation, which is what multiverse proposals are. But we should name it for what it is.

          Modern physics stretches into realms far removed from everyday experience, and sometimes the connection to experiment becomes tenuous at best. String theory and other approaches to quantum gravity involve phenomena that are likely to manifest themselves only at energies enormously higher than anything we have access to here on Earth. The cosmological multiverse and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics posit other realms that are impossible for us to access directly. Some scientists, leaning on Popper, have suggested that these theories are non-scientific because they are not falsifiable.

          The truth is the opposite. Whether or not we can observe them directly, the entities involved in these theories are either real or they are not. Refusing to contemplate their possible existence on the grounds of some a priori principle, even though they might play a crucial role in how the world works, is as non-scientific as it gets. ~ Sean Carroll

        • Wick Samuel

          I like Sean because he doesnt get emotional, sticks to his guns.

          However, this is pretty illustrative Whether or not we can observe them directly, the entities involved in these theories are either real or they are not.

          because, that EXACT logic, applies to searching for existence of God.

        • adam

          because, that EXACT logic, applies to searching for existence of God, Zeus, Shiva, Ganesh and THOUSANDS of other gods….

          And of course, fairies…..
          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2979050/Authorities-launch-crackdown-FAIRIES-mystery-doors-little-people-overwhelm-woodland.html

          So in the THOUSANDS of years searching for YOUR ‘god’ what have we found?

        • Ignorant Amos

          because, that EXACT logic, applies to searching for existence of God.

          Well not exactly. Certainly a deist god might have some merit, that logical impossible Abrahamic arsewipe is off the cards.

          But let’s say, for the sake of this debate, we must then agree that both options, as ya say, are unknowable, at preseny, which Krauss and Carroll would both agree with, then where are you with your god hypothesis and wonderous claims of divine knowledge you, I, nor anyone else, can claim to have?

          Your fucked.

          You are hoist by your own petard, yet again.

          Give me a barrel of fish and a gun please someone, I need better sport than this malarkey.

        • I like Sean because he coldly and methodically handed WLC his ass. In public.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That was a cracker, but I guess Will Samuel is unaware of it.

          He[WLC] defended two of his favorite arguments, the “cosmological argument” and the fine-tuning argument; no real surprises there. In terms of style, from my perspective things got a bit frustrating, because the following pattern repeated multiple times: Craig would make an argument, I would reply, and Craig would just repeat the original argument. ~ Post-Debate Reflections, Sean Carroll

          Sound like anyone we know?

        • Pofarmer

          Uh, yep. And I’m sure that Craig is still using the very same refuted arguments as if that debate never happened.

        • Dys

          If I remember correctly, he’s still using the same debunked explanation for animal suffering as well. Because he had one of his friends (who isn’t an expert in the field) review the research, and came up with a conclusion that matched what Craig needed.

        • Pofarmer

          Isn’t the explanation like animals don’t really suffer or something like that?

        • Dys

          Yep…he needed something to prop up his assertion that animal suffering isn’t a moral issue, so he got one of his philosophy pals as an expert instead of someone actually qualified.

        • Pofarmer

          I think one of the theists posting in crossexamined tried to pass that one off. I’m not one to anthromorphize animals, but how stupid do you have to be, honestly?

        • Ignorant Amos

          …;that non-human animals do not have a first-person perspective on their experiences, including experiences of pain, that is to say, they cannot adjoin to their experiences the prefix “I think/feel that. . . ,”so that animals, even if in pain, are not aware that they are themselves in pain. Wholly independently of this point, Dr. Murray shows that his critics have not shown that animal suffering of a morally significant sort really exists.—William Lane Craig

          Makes me wonder why vets bother

        • WLC cares just about winning the argument. In a debate, it doesn’t much matter how you do it, and perhaps he’s extended that philosophy to ordinary life.

          He picks and chooses his science so he can accept the Big Bang and reject evolution. This pain thing is another embarrassing example.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s a narcissistic tit for sure.

          He has admitted multiple times that he will not change his faith no matter what the evidence points to, because he has “witnessed the Holy Spirit in his heart”.

          For anyone that can stand listening to him…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-fDyPU3wlQ

          And this is a must read for anyone interested in knowing the slimy bastard…

          https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VdRMTgCEwgLAIzGi9ft8PfJfPPwwcqjNJtUqnAYP304/edit?pli=1

          By Chris Hallquist

        • I’ll scan that chapter by Hallquist. He’s an excellent source since (I believe) he was an insider.

        • Ignorant Amos

          With references from the likes of Russell Blackford, Stephen Law and Richard Carrier on his C.V., he must be hitting the mark.

          He writes some great stuff indeed and get this, his first book is a pay what you want to offer, from free to whatever one feels it is worth after reading it. Or for someone with limited resources, available where other such education in one package may not. How generous is that?

          I’m[Chris] doing this for two reasons. One is moral: I’ve personally benefited immensely from the huge amount of information other people have made available online, and I feel obligated to pay that back. This is my way of doing that. But the other is that, as Cory Doctorow has argued at length, I’m convinced that it makes good business sense.

          Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/free-ebook/#ixzz3TbPN33gs

          He’s an excellent source

          A bit like yerself then, we can never have too many excellent sources, books are good, but blog sized articles are great for focusing attention, bringing the stuff to the other side, and fostering debate. How many theists will bother to read a book discrediting their sacred book, even if they know what is in their sacred book, where, why, when and by whom it was created, which most haven’t a clue about? Not many have even read their sacred texts, but at least a few have the balls to jump into a forum like this, mostly thinking they are presenting some epiphany to us “stooopid eyfeyists”, but hopefully at a few will go away thinking, then there is the Lurkers to consider.

          Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you.

        • 🙂

        • Pofarmer

          Only, what, 100 years behind morality wise?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Biblical proportions?

        • Pofarmer

          And, these are the people who want to give blastocysts personhood.

        • He has a lot of weird baggage that his followers must overlook. That “animals don’t perceive all the kinds of pain” argument was pretty embarrassing.

        • MNb

          Sounds like almost every single apologist I have ever met, from bigot literalist Ken Ham until many a liberal one.

        • MNb

          How do we observe your immaterial god indirectly? To be more precise: what predictions about our material reality does your immaterial god make that atheism doesn’t make? If the answer is none – and it is – the analogy is false and your conclusion incorrect.

        • No one says that the multiverse is a certainty. What they’re saying is that your certainty that fine tuning proves God is misplaced.

        • Kodie

          Wick’s idea is that the multiverse idea is, in so many words and no other way to interpret them, just as fictional as theology is, according to a quote he pulled to support his argument from authority.

        • adam

          ;;;

        • Wick Samuel

          how so?

          The universe had an unbelievably low initial entropy state, the values of these constants were such that it allowed an environment conducive to life. The most infinitesimal change in those would have rendered a universe that wouldn’t even form planets.

          There are three possibilities

          1) necessity

          2) chance

          3) design

          #1 is out, no one argues that the fine tuning is a necessary aspect of the universe.

          So, it’s chance or design.

          The multiverse (if you can get past the fact that topic is not scientific and fails any testability, falsifiability criteria ) on the surface gives the atheist something to hide behind. “There are an infinite number of universes, and we just happen to be in the one that has the constants tuned to what they are”

          however

          What created all those universes to begin with? What created the multi-verse? you still have the necessity of the first uncaused cause. No escape.

          all the multi-verse does is push the problem back 1 level, all you have done is offer an explanation for why our universe is tuned. You havent offered an explanation for why the multi-verse exists.

        • adam

          #1 is out, no one argues that the fine tuning is a necessary aspect of the universe.

          Of course not, there is no evidence of fine tuning.

          But people do argue that the universe was a necessary output of the chemistry and physic,s as is life.

          So what fine tuned YOUR god to be able to make universes?

          Where did YOUR ‘god’s’ intelligence come from.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Kodie

          You have said the same thing over and over again. I don’t understand why you can’t look at it from a perspective how ridiculous and unfalsifiable an idea god is, especially when you narrow it down to your particular version of your god, and then fall back on the leftover choice, which is only being studied, and if you understood anything about science, you would know how it can be studied, and how rigorous the methods are. Something else may be true, but that’s what science does – it searches for the real answer, it doesn’t just presume it was magic (which you’ve been asked to speak about and never responded) and go to bed.

        • What created all those universes to begin with? What created the multi-verse? you still have the necessity of the first uncaused cause. No escape.

          Luckily you aren’t subject to that! We could ask what caused Yahweh and you’ll say, “Think about it, dumbkopf! Yahweh is uncreated! No explanation is necessary.”

          And then we’ll all have a good laugh, and then we’ll say, “No, seriously–what created Yahweh?”

        • Wick Samuel

          What needs to be examined, is the characteristics of the first uncaused cause, you’re just dodging that.

          It must be beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful.

          The multi-verse doesnt fit the first 5 requirements, right? You can try and dodge it by disparaging the notion God, but what do YOU actually do about the problem, as an atheist? The reality is that there MUST be an initial uncaused cause.

        • Kodie

          What “reality” is that? Who sold you this as a reason to deny science, and how much did it cost you?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The reality is that there MUST be an initial uncaused cause.

          Nope, there really MUSTN’T be.

          The cosmological argument has two premises: (1) If the universe had a beginning, it has a transcendent cause; and (2) The universe had a beginning. He took (1) as perfectly obvious, and put his effort into establishing (2). Partly he used the celebrated (by theologians) Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, which says that a universe with an average expansion rate greater than zero must be geodesically incomplete in the past. But he also used an argument I hadn’t heard before: from the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy in a closed system doesn’t decrease). I think the argument was basically that the Second Law implies that we approach equilibrium, and in an infinitely-old universe we should therefore have reached equilibrium long ago, which we haven’t, so the universe began at some finite time in the past.

          My attitude toward the above two premises is that (2) is completely uncertain, while the “obvious” one (1) is flat-out false. Or not even false, as I put it, because the notion of a “cause” isn’t part of an appropriate vocabulary to use for discussing fundamental physics. Rather, modern physical models take the form of unbreakable patterns — laws of Nature — that persist without any external causes. The Aristotelian analysis of causes is outdated when it comes to modern fundamental physics; what matters is whether you can find a formal mathematical model that accounts for the data. The Hartle-Hawking “no-boundary proposal” for the wave function of the universe, for example, is completely self-contained, not requiring any external cause.

        • You’re applying common sense to the problem. The frontier of science routinely confounds our common sense (like how quantum mechanics turns WLC’s Kalam argument into a joke when it says that some things don’t have a cause).

          Second problem: you imagine that just handwaving into existence a beginningless, immaterial, etc. being does the trick. When I ask how you bypass the problems that you imagine I have, you just say that God is these things by definition. Or something. Tip: if it seems too easy, it is.

          As Sean Carroll noted, you don’t see this kind of argument or discussion in a book about cosmology; what you see are differential equations! You’re not even speaking the relevant language to address the issue.

          More on the inappropriateness of common sense here:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/03/what-good-is-philosophy/

        • Wick Samuel

          like how quantum mechanics turns WLC’s Kalam argument into a joke when it says that some things don’t have a cause).

          you misunderstand the Kalam argument apparently, which is:
          Everything that begins to exist has a cause

          Even if we accept that things like virtual particles exist at all, their “causeless behavior” is utterly unrelated to the first premise of Kalam.

          Virtual particles do not come into existence without a cause, the quantum vacuum gives rise to them. That argument fails.

          =============

          Again, the terminating condition MUST be a beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful.

          Talking about how a beginningless entity came into being, doesnt make much sense, right?

        • you misunderstand the Kalam argument apparently, which is:

          Everything that begins to exist has a cause

          The condescension is appreciated, as always, but I’m well aware of the premises in the Kalam. As I noted in my previous comment.

          Even if we accept that things like virtual particles exist at all, their “causeless behavior” is utterly unrelated to the first premise of Kalam.

          Let’s talk about real particles. When an electron comes out of a decaying nucleus, it wasn’t there before. And it had no cause.

          Since the universe was a quantum particle at the Big Bang, the odd rules of quantum physics apply. And Kalam fails on its very first premise.

          Again, the terminating condition MUST be a beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful.

          Your boundless optimism gives me hope! I think, however, that I’ve already shown the problem with common sense. Ignoring my points don’t make them go away.

        • MNb

          “Since the universe was a quantum particle at the Big Bang”
          That’s quite an odd way to formulate it – it’s rather that the universe was so small that the interactions between the elementary particles followed the odd rules of quantum physics.

        • Wick Samuel

          When an electron comes out of a decaying nucleus, it wasn’t there before. And it had no cause

          you seem to be having difficulty with the concept of nothing, as in non-existence. That electron didnt come into existence from non-existence, as you note it comes from the decaying nucleus. There is a difference between creating a chair from wood, and having a chair materialize out of thin air.

          based on the nature of the objections you are raising, it’s quite apparent you don’t have a firm grasp of the first premise to begin with.

          Since the universe was a quantum particle at the Big Bang, the odd rules of quantum physics apply. And Kalam fails on its very first premise

          kind of a nonsensical statement, the “big bang” refers to the rapid expansion following Planck epoch, no idea what you are trying to say, you seem to be muddying different concepts. Are you claiming that the universe didnt begin?

        • you seem to be having difficulty with the concept of nothing, as in non-existence. That electron didnt come into existence from non-existence

          I never said that it did. You’re out of actual objections so you must them make up?

          There was no electron, then there was. There was no cause for this electron. Understand now?

          If you’re saying that this isn’t an example of something from nothing, I agree. Sure, we can talk about that instead. We have plenty of examples in nature of something coming from something but no examples of something from nothing. If you say that God did that, I await the evidence with anticipation. Or perhaps you can point to a familiar example.

          based on the nature of the objections you are raising, it’s quite apparent you don’t have a firm grasp of the first premise to begin with.

          Oh, it’s me who’s the idiot here. Oh, right. Thanks.

          As an aside, how do your arguments normally play out elsewhere on the internet and in life? Being nice seems to be in fashion among Christians these days. Not how you roll, I’m guessing?

          Are you claiming that the universe didnt begin?

          I’m saying that the rules of quantum physics could’ve applied with the early universe. QM shows how effects don’t need causes; therefore, Kalam’s first premise fails.

        • Wick Samuel

          We have plenty of examples in nature of something coming from something but no examples of something from nothing.

          and that is precisely what the first premise of Kalam is all about, and why virtual particles, etc, do not disprove it. Something from something doesnt disprove it. Something would have to come from nothing to disprove it.

          ======

          QM shows how effects don’t need causes; therefore, Kalam’s first premise fails.

          No it doesnt,
          Quantum indeterminism in no way shape or form negates the first premise, that’s why that claim is not made in serious debates.

          The first premise of kalam is “everything that begins to exist has a cause”. NOT “every effect has a cause”.

        • and that is precisely what the first premise of Kalam is all about

          Wrong again. “Everything that begins has a cause” is not “something can’t come from nothing.”

          No it doesnt

          Wow. I guess I was wrong then. Thanks for the thorough education.

        • Wick Samuel

          “Everything that begins has a cause”

          you are misstating the first premise, which is:

          “1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause;”

          you skipped the bolded part, that’s what has you confused.

          you have to show that something began to exist, that is precisely what something from nothing means. No one claims “well, I made a chair the other day, so that refutes Kalam premise one.”

        • Susan

          you have to show that something began to exist. That is precisely what something from nothing means.

          Then, you have zero examples for the premise “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.”

          It is an unproven premise.

        • Wick Samuel

          something cannot come into being from nothing, being can’t arise from non-being.

          If premise one is false, it is impossible to explain why objects do not randomly come into existence without a cause all the time. It is proved every day.

        • Susan

          something cannot come into being from nothing, being can’t arise from non-being.

          How did you test that?

          I’m trying to make sense of your comment. “You have to show that something began to exist. That is precisely what something from nothing means.”

          Do you mean that the only cases of things beginning to exist are somethings coming from nothings?

          Or did your message get garbled in the combox? That happens to me.

          If premise one is false, it is impossible to explain why objects do not randomly come into existence without a cause all the time.

          They do. You still haven’t defined “cause”.

          At any rate, if you mean a bicycle or a pony or a rock, that could happen every billion years or so and the premise would still be false. The premise could be false if “objects” very rarely popped into existence. So, no. The premise being false does not lead where you say it does. That’s silly. The logical break, I mean.

          Please define “objects”. Is an electron an “object”? Your language is very murky, especially for someone trying to prove a (so far vague and unevidenced) deity and who thinks he understands what “the universe” is and how it exists.

          It is proved every day.

          Not even close. You don’t understand what “proof” is, as far as I can tell, nor do you take responsibility for the scope of your claim.

        • Wick Samuel

          Recommend you read the wiki discussion on premise 1, since there seems to be a great deal of reluctance here to click a link and read , I’ll paste it ( but note, I don’t like pasting entire swaths of info..)

          1] Everything that begins to exist has a cause;

          2] The universe began to exist;

          Therefore:

          3] The universe has a cause

          Premise One:
          Craig has defended the first premise as rationally intuitive knowledge, based upon the properly basic metaphysical intuition that “something cannot come into being from nothing“, or “Ex nihilo nihil fit”, which originates from Parmenidean ontology.[21] He points out that this knowledge is assumed as a critically important first principle of science, and that it is affirmed by interaction with the physical world; for if it were false, it would be impossible to explain why objects do not randomly appear into existence without a cause.[22]

          According to Bruce Reichenbach, “the Causal Principle has been the subject of extended criticism.”[23] A common criticism of premise one appeals to the phenomenon of quantum indeterminacy, where, at that the subatomic level, the causal principle appears to break down. PhilosopherQuentin Smith has cited the example of virtual particles, which appear and disappear from observation, apparently at random, in his critique of the first premise of the Kalām Cosmological Argument.[24] In his popular science book A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing, cosmologist Lawrence Krauss has proposed how quantum mechanics can explain how space-time and matter can emerge from “nothing” (referring to the quantum vacuum).

          Philosopher of science David Albert has subjected Krauss’s hypothesis to criticism, accusing him of misleading use of the term “nothing”.[25]Likewise, Craig has argued that virtual particles are not really without cause, but a product of the quantum vacuum, which contains quantifiable, measurable energy. He writes:

          “For virtual particles do not literally come into existence spontaneously out of nothing. Rather the energy locked up in a vacuum fluctuates spontaneously in such a way as to convert into evanescent particles that return almost immediately to the vacuum.”[26]

          On quantum indeterminacy, Craig specifies that the phenomenon of indeterminism is specific to the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, pointing out that this is only one of a number of different interpretations, some of which are fully deterministic and none of which are as yet known to be true, concluding that subatomic physics is not a proven exception to the first premise.

        • Dys

          Unfortunately, the entire rebuttal runs into the problem of establishing that “nothing” is possible. No one has ever demonstrated any such thing, so Craig’s “something cannot come into being from nothing” probably isn’t applicable.

        • Wick Samuel

          There’s no such thing as nothing?

          never heard that one… Don’t have any idea why that never occurred to Krauss or Carroll..

        • Dys

          Krauss’s definition of ‘nothing’ is essentially a quantum vacuum. Many apologists object to equating a quantum vacuum with nothing, as it still has energy.

          The problem with the objection of “something coming from nothing”, by which I mean absolutely nothing, is that no one has ever demonstrated that ‘nothing’ is possible. The only experiences we have are with “somethings”.

        • MNb

          Hehheh … you shoot yourself in the foot once again. One of the objections apologists like to make against Krauss is that Kraus is not really talking about nothing when he talks about nothing. So according to them Krauss is saying indeed that there is no such thing as nothing – it’s a matter of definition.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          It did. You would have known that if you actually read Krauss or Carroll.

          Apparently you didn’t.

          Have a nice day.

          Edited for grammar and spelling.

        • Ron

          “1] Everything that begins to exist has a cause;”

          Direct observation informs us that “everything that begins to exist” comes about as an alteration of what existed beforehand.

          For example:

          Houses “begin to exist” when you assemble dimensioned lumber with metal fasteners.

          Metal fasteners “begin to exist” when you extract and shape metals from ore deposits.

          Dimensioned lumber “begins to exist” when you fell trees and cut them into boards. Trees “begin to exist” when seeds sprout and grow into saplings, etc., etc.

          Have you ever observed anything springing into existence fully formed out of nothing?

          “2] The universe began to exist;”

          The prevailing cosmological model posits that the universe expanded from a very high density state (i.e. something already existed prior to that expansion, but the exact nature of what preceded that state is currently unknown.)

          “3] The universe has a cause”

          The universe as it currently exists may indeed have a cause. But why do you conclude the cause must have been supernatural?

        • Pofarmer

          “But why do you conclude the cause must have been supernatural?”

          It’s a definition. If something caused our physical Universe, then it must, by necessity, exist outside of it. The sticky point is, if this something exists separate from our material Universe, it is left with no way to interact within it.

        • Ron

          Yes, but the word “universe” is normally defined as the totality of everything that exists. How can something exist apart from everything that exists? To me it sounds like special pleading.

        • Pofarmer

          “How can something exist apart from everything that exists?”

          Duh, it’s non existent.

        • Ron

          Now [the Babel fish] is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

          The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

          “But,” says Man, “The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”

          “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

          “Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.”

          ~Douglas Adams, Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

        • Ignorant Amos

          A good point, even at the time…

          1580s, “the whole world, cosmos, the totality of existing things,” from Old French univers (12c.), from Latin universum “all things, everybody, all people, the whole world,” noun use of neuter of adjective universus “all together, all in one, whole, entire, relating to all,” literally “turned into one,” from unus “one” (see one) + versus, past participle of vertere “to turn” (see versus).

          God predates the use and meaning of the word universe. But is outside the definition, so doesn’t exist.

          Perhaps it is just a case that the definition is behind current understanding of concepts?

          For example, before 1895 the term multiverse was unknown. The multiverse cannot be said to be within our universe, although it could be.

        • MNb
        • MNb

          “Everything that begins to exist has a cause”
          No matter how often you repeat it, it remains wrong. Electron/positron pair production, which means “hey, now we don’t have an electron/positron pair – hey, now we totally have; they have begun to exist” doesn’t have a cause.
          It’s also shown to you that if we accept premisse 2 conclusion 3 remains wrong, because at the moment the universe began to exist, like shortly after, all the interactions happened on such a small scale that quantum physics apply. Which means probability.
          If WLC were serious with the Cosmological argument, which you totaly aren’t, intellectually dishonest as you are, you would reject christianity because you at best have shown a god playing dice.

        • Susan

          there seems to be a great deal of reluctance to click a wiki link and read

          As much as you’d prefer to converse solely by making assertions and posting links, I’ve already told you that I am familiar with this argument. I’m asking you to engage in it.

          Stop pretending people aren’t familiar with it and please respond to the specific questions I asked you in my previous comment.

        • MNb

          You’re asking too much.

        • Wick Samuel

          you’ll have to explain.
          your earlier comment seemed to indicate that you didnt realize that premise 1 has to do with things coming into existence, not being “assembled from existing items”. I encourage you to read the wiki to see what I’m talking about. In debates on the topic, the apparent causeless nature of virtual particles is refuted as contra-evidence to premise 1 as they are demonstrated to not be “coming from nothing”, that’s where the debate is, not on indeterminancy.

          Kalam is a well understood and ancient argument, objections to it do not center on “well, what’s an object”, that seems to me to be equivocation.

        • Dys

          Please demonstrate that “nothing” is possible. Because until then, the “something from nothing” point from Kalam doesn’t hold up.

        • Wick Samuel

          you seem not to understand what “nothing” is.
          Nothing isn’t a something that has an existence, nothing is the absence of everything.

        • Susan

          you seem not to understand what “nothing” is

          Yet, the definition you provided is precisely what Dys meant when Dys typed: Please demonstrate that “nothing” is possible.

          You don’t seem to be comprehending the questions and comments here and responding to them. You are just parroting apologists with no indication that you understand the discussion.

        • Dys

          Nope, I understand that. Now demonstrate that it’s possible. Was there ever an absence of everything, and how do you know that?

        • Wick Samuel

          nothing is not a “thing”
          now, if you are rather obtusely attempting to make the claim that “something has always existed”, then you’ll have to show me what existed before our universe did.

        • Dys

          You ducked the question I asked, so I’ll ask again: Was there ever an absence of everything, and if so, how do you know that? Because I suspect the only source you actually have on that front is the bible, which isn’t an authoritative source on the subject (unless you engage in massive amount of unneeded and irrational presuppositionalism, I suppose).

          then you’ll have to show me what existed before our universe did.

          No, I don’t. You’re presenting a false dilemma. This isn’t a game of “prove me wrong or I get to be right”, this is pointing out that you haven’t supported your starting position. You’ve just asserted it, and have been dodging instead of defending it.

          What I’ve said is that all we have any knowledge of is something existing – we don’t (and can’t) know that there was a complete absence of everything. In other words, your assumption that there was ever a complete absence of everything isn’t supportable. If you’re starting with nothingness and then moving on to something, you need to establish nothingness as a possibility first.

          Now, to answer your rather lazy attempt at deflection, I can’t demonstrate that “something” has always existed. But I have the benefit of having plenty of “somethings” to point to. Your position has no such support. We don’t know what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang. But your reliance on “something from nothing” makes an unsupported assumption that there was a point where was an absence of everything.

          So, unless you can demonstrate there was ever a complete absence of everything, I’m afraid your devotion to Kalam is a bit misplaced.

        • Wick Samuel

          You ducked the question I asked, so I’ll ask again: Was there ever an absence of everything, and if so, how do you know that?

          I agree, it’s a really sensational objection, no clue why in hundreds of years of debate on it, not a single scholar has ever thought of it. Please alert the media.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know, do you?

          Ha ha, you stupid fuck, keep up the stalling and pretending you’re so smart. We can see your pants fell down a long time ago, how long will it take you to notice?

        • Dys

          I’ll take your non-answer as a concession that you can’t answer it, and don’t have a good reason for assuming there was ever an absence of everything. Therefore, your “something from nothing” assertions are invalid.

          And if you think my point hasn’t been brought up in the debate before, you’re nowhere near as well-read on the subject as you’ve fooled yourself into believing.

          But you did a really good job coming up with incredibly lame excuses for ducking the question, so good job on that front.

        • Susan

          if you are rather obtusely attempting to make the claim that “something has always existed”, then you’ll have to show me what existed before our universe did.

          You have no idea how a deductive argument works. It has been explained and you have ignored it.

          Dys does not have to show you anything, let alone what “existed before our universe did”, which is an incoherent concept.

          You are making conclusions based on ill-defined and unproven premises. Therefore, your arguments are not sound. Period.

          If you’d like to demonstrate that your argument is sound, define and prove your premises. Stop dodging. This is getting tiresome.

          I repeat. Define and prove your premises or stop.

        • Wick Samuel

          look , these premises are well known and established. do you see ANYONE arguing KCA like these people (“oh.. define “cause”.. oh, oh.. define “nothing”.. oh, oh, define “before”, oh, oh, )? no, end of story.

          now, there are two possibilities
          1. you folks have found previously unthought of objections to KCA, which would be AMAZING and you should definitely alert the media.
          2. you folks can’t address KCA, so you’re equivocating over the premises.

          I pick #2 as the answer.

        • Kodie

          3. Wick Samuel lacks the intellectual capacity to discuss objections to his pet theory or his theory, so hopes he can keep griping about how stupid everyone else is for answering his posts with too many questions he can’t address.

        • Susan

          do you see ANYONE arguing KCA like these people (“oh.. define “cause”.. oh, oh.. define “nothing”.. oh, oh, define “before”, oh, oh, )? no, end of story.

          Of course I have. Clear definitions are fundamental. That you don’t get this is no one’s problem but yours.

          1. is irrelevant even if it were true but it’s obviously not true. One of the MAIN problems with the KCA is equivocation. It is brought up in most discussions of this ragged argument.

          2. We’ve been addressing it and you haven’t. You’ve been equivocating (or accepting someone else’s equivocation) and we’ve been desperately trying to get you to stop doing that.

          The KCA is not special. It is subject to the same rules and conditions as any deductive argument. Defining and proving premises is necessary in order to prove your conclusion.

          That you’re pretending we’re making this up is astonishing.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          You left out option 3: you are unfamiliar with the KCA. This is demonstrable by your gross ignorance of many of the basic reasons why the KCA is not sound. The simplest summation of them is this: neither premise of the KCA has been shown to be true.

          Your ignorance of the arguments is not a compelling reason for accepting the KCA.

          Have a nice day!

        • Susan

          You left out option 3: you are unfamiliar with the KCA.

          And the nature of deductive reasoning and logic in general.

          This is demonstrable by your gross ignorance of many of the basic reasons why the KCA is not sound.

          It is now officially willful ignorance.

        • MNb

          Isn’t it remarkable how many apologists end up there?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Oh wow…bringing up a formal argument online…and then bleating about being asked to define your terms while using scare quotes.

          Bravo.

          Your logic is undeniable.

        • MNb

          “look , these premises are well known and established”
          Well known – and contradicted by Modern Physics. Now there are two possibilities indeed.

          1. Stay ignorant of Modern Physics and write nonsense like “you folks can’t address KCA”
          2. Read some relevant stuff and conclude that KCA fails.

          You obviously pick the first option.

          “You folks have found previously unthought of objections to KCA, which would be AMAZING and you should definitely alert the media”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Our Universe is not causal but probabilistic: Lutheran Werner Heisenberg formulated this 80 years ago.
          Our Universe might be potentially infinite: Bertrand Russell pointed this out 65 years ago; Stephen Hawking wrote about it in A Brief History of Time, published in the late 80’s.
          The scientific hypothesis of the Multiverse: has been around for 30-40 years.
          Quantum Field Theory: going back to Paul Dirac about 90 years ago.

          My dear Wicked Sam, no single objection brought up here is previously unthought. Nobody here (specifically including me) is smart enough to do the things I just listed above.
          That you don’t get what we are talking about tells nothing about us, but shows that you are stumped.

        • Wick Samuel

          Our Universe is not causal but probabilistic: Lutheran Werner Heisenberg formulated this 80 years ago.Our Universe might be potentially infinite: Bertrand Russell pointed this out 65 years ago.

          summarized as
          1. “nothing created the universe, it just sprang into existence uncaused”
          2. anyway, it might even have been here forever!!!
          3. anyway, there might be an infinite number of parallel universes!! (we cant test them, or observe them, but, hey, we can sure speculate!)

          that’s about it?

        • MNb

          Almost.
          1. Yup.
          2. Indeed, if the Big Bang and the Big Crunch coincide for instance. Then we have an infite series of universes going up and down forever. But I haste to admit that this hypothesis is not popular these days.
          3. Yup.

          “(we cant test them, or observe them, but, hey, we can sure speculate!)”
          Liar. BobS and I pointed this out to you and I gave you two links. Here they are again:

          http://www.space.com/18811-multiple-universes-5-theories.html
          http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/10/28/why-we-think-theres-a-multiver/

          Thanks for confirming what I wrote just above: you prefer to stay ignorant of Modern Physics and write nonsense like “you folks can’t address KCA”.

          You’re a failure, Wicked Sam.

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂

        • Dys

          There’s a 3rd option – you suffer from a massive case of Dunning-Kruger, and aren’t anywhere as well read on this subject as you desperately want to believe, and don’t recognize that these objections have been raised before.

          I’m gonna go with that one.

          Kalam doesn’t get you to God, no matter how much you want it to. It gets you to a first cause, which would be whatever event caused the Big Bang. Personifying that event is unwarranted. The “something from nothing” nonsense doesn’t mean anything for reasons we’ve already discussed and you ran away from.

        • MNb

          “”existed before our universe did”, which is an incoherent concept.”
          Ha! Finally I can disagree with you. It isn’t.

          http://www.universetoday.com/15051/thinking-about-time-before-the-big-bang/
          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/string-theory-predicts-a-time-before-the-big-bang/

          Of course this makes the Cosmological Argument even more wrong than it already is. But I haste to add the issue is far from settled. It’s a interesting question of “time before the Big Bang” is a meaningful concept. Augustinus of Hippo knew what he wrote when he wrote that hell was created specifically for people who asks such questions ……

        • Kodie

          You’re rather obtusely attempting to make the claim that invisible sky genie existed before the universe did and created it out of no material intentionally for us.

          You’ve been asked to explain your evidence for this claim and all you do is impotently post a link to a wiki article you’ve never read and don’t understand, but you think it means something to us. We already guess that you lack the intellectual capacity to digest what you’ve read so that you can make it clear to others, because when one of us writes something you don’t fucking read it, comprehend it, or offer a relevant rebuttal.

          If you don’t want us to think you’re a dummy, you’re going to have to demonstrate that you’re not by making your own arguments yourself. If you don’t do that, there is no answer any one of us can give you that you can understand, and therefore, it’s unreasonable to indulge you in a discussion you’re incapable of following.

          Now give it a try.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          Your request is meaningless. There is no “before” the universe existed. There is no moment in time in which the universe did not exist. Basic GR and cosmology.

          I would suggest you familiarize yourself with basic science and logic before trying to discuss these things with folks who are demonstrably better educated than you are.

          Have a nice day!

        • MNb

          According to Modern Physics quantum fields existed before our Universe existed. I gave you the relevant links elsewhere.

        • Wick Samuel

          thermodynamics disproves Carrolls claim the quantum eternity theorem (that the universe is past eternal before plank epoch), which Carroll acknowledged he had no answer for in the debate with WLC

        • Paul B. Lot

          Oh lord, Samuel, stop using words you don’t understand.

        • Wick Samuel

          pretty simple, entropy always increases in a closed system.

          with an eternal past, why isnt it now in an infinte entropy state (known as thermodynamic heat death, the inevitable ultimate end of our universe)

        • Kodie

          Wick Samuel is not intellectually capable of explaining this.

        • Rudy R

          The same holds for your claim. You’ll have to show that nothing existed before our universe did.

        • Wick Samuel

          amazing.
          A. nothing doesnt exist, it’s the absence of existence
          B. before the universe existed, it didnt exist

          concentrate..

        • Rudy R

          OK. My wording was inexact. You’ll have to show that there was nothing before our universe.

        • Wick Samuel

          Before the universe began, IT did not exist.
          that’s it.
          SInce objects dont just cause themselves to come into being from non-being (remember, we’re not talking about changing form, or getting assembled from something else, the big bang says that all matter and time itself came into existence, it did not exist before), something HAD to have caused it.

        • Kodie

          You never explained how an immaterial “being” is considered a thing when there is nothing, and how it creates material out of immaterial. If that is the cause, you never explained how that would work.

          Thanks!

        • Rudy R

          Quit being obtuse. We don’t know what did or did not exist before The Big Bang. You are assuming “nothing” is the default, and discounting without evidence that “something” could be the default.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well now, at least, we’re finished play semantics and vocabulary.

          Now you’ve made a scientific claim.

          “the big bang says that all matter and time itself came into existence, it did not exist before”

          Can you point to a paper which supports your assertion?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Your assertion that the universe began to exist means that from t=0 there has always existed “something.” Therefore, on your assumptions, something has always existed.

        • Wick Samuel

          since the universe came into existence, something has always existed.

          true.

        • Greg G.

          That “nothing” is a philosophical concept that probably cannot actually exist in reality. A perfect equilateral triangle is another concept that cannot actually exist.

        • Wick Samuel

          well, at least you got “nothing can’t exist in reality” right..

          nothing doesn’t have an existence. nothing is nothing.

        • Paul B. Lot

          And what evidence do you have that there was ever a complete absence of everything?

        • Wick Samuel

          another objection to KCA that no one apparently ever heard of!

          nice job fella..

        • Paul B. Lot

          Why phrase it like that? Do I have to cite every person before me who’s ever leveled the objection before I’m allowed to have it, myself?

          Incidentally, mocking me for false originality does not in fact, answer the question.

          Why should we believe that there was ever a state of nothingness?

        • Wick Samuel

          oh, i agree, you should alert the media, after hundreds of years, a new previously unthought of objection!

        • Dys

          It’s telling that you’re actually attempting to use your ignorance as a dodge. I hope you don’t think it’s a valid method of dealing with the objection. Because however you want to dress it up, you’re running away.

        • 90Lew90

          You’ve yet to answer any posting I’ve made to you, apart from to say that I speculated in one, and when I asked you what you thought I’d speculated about, you ignored that as well. I wrote to you at some length earlier. Perhaps I rambled a bit. A response would be appreciated. It’s the done thing, you know? A response to my assertions and questions would be a start. Let’s talk about what you know, or think you know. Shoot.

        • Kodie

          Answer the damn question? Do you know? Look, we all know you don’t know.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          The Kalam can be refuted any number of ways. The fact that you are unfamiliar with most of them demonstrates knowledge on our part and ignorance on yours.

          You don’t seem to have read much about these arguments.

          Have a nice day!

        • Pofarmer

          And it might very well be completely impossible.

        • Wick Samuel

          another objection to KCA that no one apparently ever heard of!

          nice work!

        • Pofarmer

          Actually no. That is basically where Krauss and Carrol are coming from.

        • MNb

          Another answer of Wicked Sam that only demonstrates his ignorance.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/a-universe-from-nothing-by-lawrence-m-krauss.html?_r=0

          “The true relativistic-quantum-field-­theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all ….. is the simple absence of the fields!”
          And the absence of those fields might very well be impossible indeed. I told you before that Krauss with “nothing” doesn’t mean the same as you.

          http://machineslikeus.com/news/big-bang-beginners-13-does-big-bang-theory-violate-law-conservation-energy

          “It used to be thought that the vacuum was truly nothing, simply inert space. But we now know that it is actually a hive of activity with particle-antiparticle pairs being repeatedly produced out of the vacuum and almost immediately annihilating themselves into nothingness again. The creation of a particle-antiparticle pair out of the vacuum violates the law of conservation of energy but the Heisenberg uncertainty principle allows such violations for a very short time. This phenomenon has observable and measurable consequences, which have been tested and confirmed.”
          Yup – in perfect vacuum there still is something – quantum fields.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2013/03/29/the-higgs-story-part-6-relativistic-quantum-fields/

          “the Dirac fields for elementary particles are considered fundamental. In other words, these fields are not made up of anything else nor are they descriptors of particles, that tell us how they behave. Instead there is an emerging consensus that these relativistic quantum fields are what everything in the world is made of. In other words, there are no particles, there are only fields and these fields exist throughout space all the time.”

          And that’s how our Universe might have come into existence – a fluctuation in a quantum field, with total energy equalling zero.

          Apologists who are ignorant about modern cosmology should remain silent about the Cosmological Argument and certainly not refer to old geezers like Aristoteles. They invariably embarrass themselves, like WLC did when debating Sean Carroll.
          It’s at this point that theists invariably get stumped.

        • Dys

          another objection to KCA that no one apparently ever heard of!

          Translation: “I can’t find anywhere where WLC has answered this, so I’m going to deflect instead of responding honestly”

        • Wick Samuel

          problem is, I can’t find anywhere where its been asked! 🙂

          other than here of course..

          serious question: have you EVER listened to, or read a debate transcript on the KCA?

        • Paul B. Lot

          You’re a nimrod. (and not in the original sense of the word, I’m talking Disney-esque here)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing#Parmenides

        • Dys

          So the problem is that you can’t find a reference. Sounds like you have two problems then.

          Let me know when you’re ready to stop hiding behind “no one’s ever used that before”. It’s funny that you want to be taken as some kind of authority on this issue, but your go-to response on these issues is cowardly running away.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He is a knuckle dragging ignoramus and I can’t believe how much man hours the retarded oxygen thief has robbed us all of, and yet, has learnt absolutely fuck all.

          Good luck you lot, anyone who is so asinine with just one brain is beyond learning, so I’m out.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          We all have.

          You have not.

          Liar.

          Have a nice day!

        • Susan

          premise 1 has to do with things coming into existence, not being “assembled from existing items”.

          Then, I did understand you correctly. This means that you have absolutely no support for the premise “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.” You don’t have a single example of something coming into existence. Then, on what basis do you accept the premise?

          Do you understand how deductive arguments work? Each premise must be necessarily true to justify the conclusion.

          Kalam is a well understood and ancient argument

          Irrelevant.

          Objections to it do not center on “well, what’s an object” that seems to be equivocation.

          Of course they do. In deductive arguments, definitions must be rigorous or they are susceptible to equivocation. This argument is a classic example.

          So, define “object”. Also “cause”. Your reluctance or inability to do so doesn’t look good for your argument.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          Kalam is old, and not sound, since its premises have never been shown to be true.

          Have a nice day!

        • Guest
        • M. Solange O’Brien

          yes. WLC is not only dishonest, he’s a nasty man: genocide is ok if you think God ordered it. Yuch.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          So your ENTIRE argument for the truth of proposition 1 is “WLC thinks it is”?

          Not particularly convincing, given WLC’s dishonesty.

          The KCA is not sound because neither of its premises can be shown to be true.

          It’s really that simple.

          Have a nice day.

        • 90Lew90

          That’s all very interesting, but ‘because god’ is still a non-answer. The real answer (since the question remains open) is likely to be much more interesting. I connect with ‘god’ every time I sit by the river in a secluded gully in the woods, reading poetry. For some people chanting does the same (as in prayer), or more deeply, meditation, properly practised can take human consciousness to a completely different level. The fact remains that rewarding and pleasurable and perhaps enhumbling as these experiences are, they’re still just brain chemistry at work. I don’t mind forgetting that when I’m in the throes of some ecstasy brought about by a poignant poem, but when I get up and climb out of the gully, while I’m grateful for having had the experience, it’s back to simple consciousness of having to dry the dog, do the dishes, what to eat, have I enough money for tobacco?

          It’s not that atheists don’t get ‘god’ or as is quite often said ‘hate god’ (which is even more stupid a charge), I’m fairly confident that for most atheists it’s that ‘god’ is too easy an answer. It’s a cop-out. It’s also self-defeating because as an answer it precludes even asking all the unanswered questions. How much time and energy and brilliant minds have been wasted fiddling around with daft ideas trying to convince themselves that there is a god and what that god is like? That’s why I prefer the Eastern traditions and Buddhism in particular, which abhor certainty and have had individualism at their core since their inception. To a mind encultured in the Christian tradition, that might make one recoil, but that reaction would be natural to someone indoctrinated, even very subtly, with the idea of mankind as fallen. To Buddhists (as well as say the Epicureans and the Stoics in the West, whose insights Christians tried hard to obliterate), self-mastery should be the goal in life.

          The supposed Jesus of Nazareth presumed self-love in dictating that one should love one’s neighbour as oneself. I doubt very much that he anticipated his ideas would spawn people like Augustine, who cast man as having been born in “radical depravity” or “utmost depravity” (perhaps projecting, since he seems to have fucked every girl he met until his conversion, but none seemed to want to stay with him — hmm, was he a bad lover left wanting…?). This frankly depraved idea of original sin, ruminated over and made even more cruel, was taken up with gusto by people like Luther and Calvin. It is the idea which is corrupt. It is a near absolute fact that if one doesn’t love oneself then it is impossible to love another, and quite often self-haters do the most damage in the world. They are the wife-beaters, husband beaters, the child abusers, the vicious megalomaniac dictators and ruthless company bosses. They often occupy prisons and very high office. Almost to a man, these people don’t love themselves, they’re damaged. They don’t know what love is. This isn’t to say that there aren’t good people in high office or heading up companies, of course there are. But the point is that this ingrained notion that man is “fallen” is a poisonous one that runs extremely deep in our culture, whether you’re religious or not. And it has run over like a monster truck the practice of self-love, self-trust and self-mastery, which acknowledges weakness but supposes man’s better attributes.

          I’ve gone on, and thanks for reading if you’ve bothered to get this far, but I can not abide this horrible cultural corruption of peoples minds with this nonsense that they’re “created sick and commanded to be well” as Hitchens put it so perfectly. I can’t help but thing humankind would be doing a lot better if this idea had never been, and that we had instead been taught that all the tools we need for survival are within ourselves, and that the main thing to do is to be masters of our own passions.

          How would you have it? I’m always amused that science deniers always want to argue about science with tacit acceptance of what science tells us. And they accuse atheists of always wanting to argue about god. Well, if we’re arguing about god, it’s because god is the issue for so many of us. It’s only incidental that science basically chucks god off the roof of a multi-storey carpark. Let’s stop bullshitting about science because we are not qualified to speak about it with any authority, only to know the means and method by which consensus is reached. Let’s talk about what you think. What flavour is your god? Baklava? Curry?

        • Paul B. Lot
        • Pofarmer

          Actually, if the Kalam were true, we would EXPECT things to just pop up at random. God could do that. But, we don’t.

        • Wick Samuel

          your objection makes no sense, if Kalam is true, we would expect things to pop into existence if God caused them to, not just spuriously.

        • Pofarmer

          “if God caused them to, not just spuriously.”

          How would you tell the difference?

        • Ignorant Amos

          That is the next problem for Kalam, the huge leap from the deist first cause to the theist first cause, then another leap to a particular flavour of theist first cause c/w woo woo baggage.

        • M. Solange O’Brien

          Why? Your argument is not proof – it is a non-sequitur. The fact that some events are acausal does not imply that all events are acausal.

          Have a nice day.

        • Wick Samuel

          Why cant something come from nothing? because if it could it would be impossible to explain why objects do not randomly come into existence without a cause all the time.

          no idea what your “acausal” argument is or how it relates to the discussion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If physicists are correct, then there was “no time” when there was “nothing”.

          Time and space began together…space is not nothing.

          For anything to be caused or come into existence, requires time and space. Once there is time and space acausal stuff can happen as quantum physics has shown, to a very high degree of mathematical accuracy.

        • Paul B. Lot

          It is proved every day.

          Utter nonsense.

          Nothing is not.

          I.e. we are not currently in a state of nothingness.

          Therefore, our intuitions and observations of our state of not-nothingness give us zero insights into what can or can not occur in such a hypothetical state.

        • Wick Samuel

          I think it’s fantastic, no idea how so many leading scholars have missed this objection during the hundreds of years the debate has been going on.

          Do be sure to let Sean Carroll know, I suspect he and all other atheists professionally involved in this debate will be utterly shocked to find out that a person on patheos has come up with the KCA refutation.

          kind of like Good Will Hunting… are you a janitor by any chance?

        • Paul B. Lot

          This is the best you’ve got? Trying to shame people for having the audacity to think?

          But, as we add to the list of things you’ve understood less fully than you should have done before opening your figurative mouth, please note once again that this is not my argument, but Scott Clifton’s (TheoreticalBullShit) who has as it happens spent some time arguing with Mr. Craig.

          I’m sure an exhaustive search (or maybe even cursory) will yield others who have raised this objection before, but in the end it’s irrelevant who first posits the idea.

          One is either capable of understanding and dealing with an objection or one is, as in your case, not.

        • Wick Samuel

          I’m sure an exhaustive search (or maybe even cursory) will yield others who have raised this objection before, but in the end it’s irrelevant who first posits the idea.

          oh, that would be disappointing, but perhaps you should look around to see if any one (preferably reputable) thought this up..
          I doubt it! this is exciting! I was there when an unknown found the fatal flaw in KCA!

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well, your boi Billy Craaaig has already publicly interacted with TBS, so strike one against “unknown”.

          Since, as I and others are trying desperately to explain to you, this is not an argument of my devising you were not, in fact there when an “unknown” found the fatal flaw. Strike two.

          I quite agree that a tiger couldn’t spring into existence uncaused. But we
          have been given no reason to think that what’s true of a tiger applies to physical reality as
          a whole. Remember that we’re talking about the origin of the whole natural order here.
          A tiger comes into existence within the natural order, and within that order it is indeed
          impossible for things like tigers just to pop into existence. But as far as I can see, there is
          no comparable context for the origin of physical reality as a whole, and no analogous
          reason for thinking that it could not have begun to exist uncaused.

          Professor Wes Morrison at the University of Colorado, from Doubts abot the kalam cosmological argument in Moreland, Meister, and Sweis, Debating Christian Theism (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 20-32.

          Strike Three, reputable.

          Well, actually, it turns out a lot of other big names have had their doubts about “nothingness”.

        • Wick Samuel

          so lets summarize your fantastic new idea and see if anyone has yet examined it, or you remain the Will Hunting of patheos.

          Your claim: “we are not currently in a state of nothingness. Therefore, our intuitions and observations of our state of not-nothingness give us zero insights into what can or can not occur in such a hypothetical state.”

          or, as said elsewhere: “nothing can’t exist and you cant prove it can”

          no worries mate, with respect to WLC your new theory still stands as hitherto fore unexamined! You simply misunderstood what WLC was saying. The key is in this statement “It seems that a great many people misunderstand creation to be a non-existent object’s trading in the property of non-existence for existence and, hence, to be an impossibility.

          BUT, lets look at your second example to see if it resembles your fantastic new idea.

          But as far as I can see, there is no comparable context for the origin of physical reality as a whole, and no analogous
          reason for thinking that it could not have begun to exist uncaused.

          And, unfortunate for you, at least the part of your argument that claims that we dont know that something couldnt spring into existence uncaused is out as orignal.. bummer..
          however!
          the idea that nothing can’t exist is still on the table as a new attack!.

        • Paul B. Lot

          at least the part of your argument that claims that we dont know that something couldnt spring into existence uncaused is out as orignal

          I mean…I’ve been claiming the whole time that my argument is not original…so, there’s that.

          however!
          the idea that nothing can’t exist is still on the table as a new attack!.

          No, it’s not. It maaay have been a new attack around five years before the common era, which is the first occurrence of it that I’m aware of. That makes the attack stale by a total of twenty five hundred and fifteen years.

          or, as said elsewhere: “nothing can’t exist “and you cant prove it can”

          This, despite what you say, is not an accurate paraphrasing of the sentence preceding it.
          Let me help you understand my claim, since your reading comprehension on its own does not suffice.

          To help you understand ME I’m going to paraphrase YOU. Please let me know if this is inaccurate, and I’ll update and rework my post.

          W-S:
          P1. If being could arise from non-being, objects would randomly come into existence uncaused frequently
          P2. Objects do not randomly come into existence uncaused frequently.
          C. Being can not arise from non-being

          There’s a primeprima facie problem with P2 and quantum foam/virtual particles, but we’ll ignore that for now.

          “What’s that?” you ask.
          “We’re going to ignore the most well-tested scientific theory of all time?!”
          “Yes,” I say, “for the sake of argument we will ignore QM.”

          I’ll grant that C follows from P1 and P2, ie. I’ll grant that the argument is valid. Now, all we have to do is establish that the premises are TRUE, and then, owing the the validity of the argument, the conlusion must (according to me at least) be sound.

          So, are the premises true? Well P2 I’m stipulating, so we’ve only got to deal with P1, almost there!!!

          Oooooooooooooooh shit.

          There’s a problem with P1.

          It’s not actually the first premise. There exists a P.5

          P.5 is: “A state of non-being obtains.”

          Without P.5, P1 doesn’t apply since it speaks of being arising from non-being.

          Unfortunately, at this moment in time, non-being does not obtain.

          Nothingness is not; at least not at the moment. Perhaps it once was. Maybe when nothingness WAS the case P1 was still true, and P2 was falsified by the popping-in of the universe.

          P.5 is not my implication by the way, it’s embedded in the grammar of your assertion.

        • Wick Samuel

          hmmm, so you seem to essentially be claiming that since we now have something, that nothing no longer exists (does not obtain), and since it can not do that, it no longer is a candidate for things popping into existence. Correct?

        • Paul B. Lot

          @wicksamuel:disqus
          Hey, for what it’s worth I appreciate you attempting to engage with some of the substance of my post instead of just belittling. Thanks.

          As it happens though, your reading of my point is a bit different than what I intended.

          What I meant to point out the flaw in the argument “if something were capable of coming from nothing, we should see all sorts of objects winking into existence all the time.”

          That argument, the argument you (and Craig) make doesn’t apply to our current reality.

          What I mean is, the form of your argument is valid, but one of the (glossed over) premises is untrue, causing a cascade of unsoundness.

          P.5: There is nothing. (Implied)
          P1: Something can come from nothing.
          P2: If P1 and P.5, we should expect to find “something” popping into existence.
          P3: We don’t see “something” popping into existence
          C: Because P3 and P2, P1 is false.

          P.5 is false. Without “nothing” obtaining here and now, P2 doesn’t work. Because P2 doesn’t work, the conclusion is not sound.

          (Note: The fact that C is unsound does not make it false. It simply means that this argument doesn’t work adjudicate it’s truth or falsehood in this case. The case where ‘something’ exists.)

          You and Craig attempt to refute the idea of spontaneous, auto creatio ex nihilo by claiming that we don’t see what we should if it were possible.

          Unfortunately, you’re ignoring the “ex nihilo” part. Since we are not in a state of nothingness now, the lack of objects winking into existence is not a mark against auto creatio ex nihilo.

        • Wick Samuel

          you changed P1 from

          P1. If being could arise from non-being, objects would randomly come into existence uncaused frequently
          to
          P1: Something can come from nothing.

          ==
          which is a HUGE change.

          I still maintain that you are saying “well, we now have something, we no longer have nothing, so we can’t be asking nothing to do anything in the absence of something any longer”

          Yes? I want to get that straight first.

        • Paul B. Lot

          you changed P1 from
          P1. If being could arise from non-being, objects would randomly come into existence uncaused frequently
          to
          P1: Something can come from nothing.

          Yes, that’s true!

          Partially.

          The way you summarized me here left me a bit confused. I thought that confusion may have arisen from sloppiness on my part, so I decided to re-phrase my summary of you.

          Thus, I broke up my original [a] summary’s P1 into P1 and P2 in my second summary [b] (I also added the P.5 right off the bat).

          So my P1[a] has become P1[b] and P2[b], and P.5[b] is now an explicit up-front premise. I should’ve been clearer about the change I was making, but it’s a change I made for organization and clarity.

          I don’t think the changes have affected the meaning of the syllogism, nor do I think it’s an inaccurate representation of your argument. If you think it is inaccurate, please let me know and we’ll figure out where I went off the rails.

          Until we nail down whether or not I’ve well represented you, I don’t think we’ll make any progress in discussing my response to you. So I’ll hold off on explain the second half of my post until we both agree that the syllogism I built to encapsulate your view is accurate.

        • Wick Samuel

          I believe you are saying ” “well, we now have something, we no longer have nothing, so we can’t be asking nothing to do anything in the absence of something any longer”

          is that correct?

        • Paul B. Lot

          I mean, do we have to keep eschewing the framework I just built? I built it so that we could avoid the ambiguities of vernacular english.

          You like Craig’s syllogisms, why won’t you play with mine?

          If you insist on speaking in informal ways, I’d encapsulate my point thusly:

          “Your argument, that uncaused creatio ex nihilo is falsified absurd because we do not see “somethings” popping into existence “all the time”, is itself built on a false assumption that all things are currently non-extant. Since it is not the case that all things are currently non-extant, your argument is unsound, whether valid or not.”

        • Wick Samuel

          “Your argument, that uncaused creatio ex nihilo is falsified absurd because we do not see “somethings” popping into existence “all the time”, is itself built on a false assumption that all things are currently non-extant. Since it is not the case that all things are currently non-extant, your argument is unsound, whether valid or not.”

          you’re claiming that because a chair exists, a chair can’t pop into existence.
          sorry, no, the argument is very clear. If the universe can pop into existence, uncaused, out of non-existence, then why dont we see that exact same thing happening all the time? What makes the process stop?

        • Paul B. Lot

          you’re claiming that because a chair exists, a chair can’t pop into existence.

          No, I’m not. Slow down, take your time, re-read my arguments. Please point to the specific parts of my representaion of your argument which are incorrect.

          If my representation of you is NOT incorrect, please point to the specific points of my rebuttal to your argument which ARE.

          Please stop trying to paraphrase me, you’re not doing a good job of it.

          If the universe can pop into existence, uncaused, out of non-existence, then why dont we see that exact same thing happening all the time? What makes the process stop?

          It’s very simple.

          IF A(the universe can pop into existenced uncaused out of non-existence) => B(why don’t we see that exact same thing happening all the time).

          You’re saying:
          IF A => B.
          ~B
          therefore ~A.

          Actually, the more I read you and your argument, the more I am drawn to the (ironic?) conclusion that it is you (Craig) who think(s) that non-existence is a really big, empty, black room.

          It would seem self-evident to me that something exists at this moment. Non-existence is not a condition which obtains.

          However, it seems to me, you (Craig) believe that non-existence is always there….under the table, or behind the box of Cheerios and should be shooting Universes at our faces every time we open the cupboard or dust behind the clock on the mantle.

          It seems to me that you are affirming P.5:

          P.5: There is nothing. (Implied)
          P1: Something can come from nothing.
          P2: If P1 and P.5, we should expect to find “something” popping into existence.
          P3: We don’t see “something” popping into existence
          C: Because P3 and P2, P1 is false.

          Is that true?

        • Wick Samuel

          Nothing is not a state from which things can happen, nothing refers to the fact that that something had no existence.

          there are plenty of things that dont have an existence now, why dont we see them popping into existence?

          that’s what your missing.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Nothing is not a state from which things can happen…that’s what your missing.”

          Well, Wick, what you‘re missing is that you’re contradicting yourself.

          It can not be the case both that “nothing is not a state from which things can happen” and “something can come from nothing.”

          But you’ve (Craig has) granted the latter for the sake of argument.

          So now…you’re arguing with me…about the impossibility of a premise….which you (Craig) already granted.

          Bravo.

        • Kodie

          Paul didn’t miss it.

        • Wick Samuel

          P.5 The horse (we’ll call him George) doesnt exist
          P1: George the horse came into existence
          P2: if P1 and P.5 we should expect horses to come popping into existence all the time
          P3: we dont see horses come popping into existence all the time
          C: because of P3 and P2, P1 is false
          =====
          Note “popping” doesnt mean spontaneously rearranging the neccessary atoms of our universe to form a horse, nor does it mean a horse was conceived and born and grew up.
          It means the horse didnt have an existence, then poof it was there.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Hey!

          You tried your hand at a formal description of your argument, thanks!

          George seems like a swell horse, and I am happy to admit that you conclusion seems valid to me.

          But your syllogism is not quite the same as this one:
          P.5: George the horse doesn’t exist.
          P1: Something can come from nothing.
          P2: If P1 and P.5, we should expect to find George popping into existence all the time.
          P3: We don’t see George popping into existence all the time.
          C: Because P3 and P2, P1 is false.

          Stop me if you think my version is not accurate.
          To note first: I didn’t change P1 the way you did. P1 is the claim you (Craig is) are refuting, and I don’t think it helps us to rephrase it the way you did above.

          Next: “Nothing” in the original claim does not refer to the absence of “George the horse” or any other particular discrete object, it refers to the non-being of the universe.

          So in this version, P2 is false. We shouldn’t expected to find George all over, pleasant though it might be to do so, because the condition of “nothing” does not obtain.

          —-

          The formalism really does help, by the way. I didn’t pick up on the fact that you were referring to ‘nothing’ as the non-being of any one particular discrete object, as opposed to the concept of ‘nothingness’ in the original claim, before you arranged your thoughts in this way.

          So thanks again!

        • Wick Samuel

          1. your version is not accurate

          2. P1 as you have phrased it is not the claim Craig or myself is refuting, not the KCA claim

          3. The phrasing I have given it is perfectly in line with Kalam

          4. “Nothing” in the original claim DOES refer to the none-being of “George the horse” as well as it refers to the non-being of the universe.

          have you ever listened to a debate on KCA? From your interpretation of P1, I can’t imagine you have. See Krauss v Craig or Carroll v Craig , Morriston v Craig etc.. you’ll quickly see that everyone in those debates interprets KCA P1 precisely as I have.

        • Paul B. Lot

          have you ever listened to a debate on KCA? From your interpretation of P1, I can’t imagine you have. See Krauss v Craig or Carroll v Craig , Morriston v Craig etc.. you’ll quickly see that everyone in those debates interprets KCA P1 precisely as I have.

          Oh lord, @wicksamuel:disqus, now you’re back to your ungrounded bravado? Ugh, you were doing so well for a while there.

          Yes, I’ve watched all of those (Carroll in particular puts Craig’s assertions to bed nicely).

          We pulled your intellectual rubber-band too far, and now it’s snapping back.

          We weren’t discussing the KCA:P1. You are referring to the wrong P1. The P1 you are referring to is from the syllogism I created to try to encapsulate the argument of Craig’s you parroted to try to defend the KCA:P1. Note: not the KCA:P1 per se, but Craig’s argument defending it.

          Namely:

          (ii) If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn’t come into being from nothing.

          *EDIT: Fyi, the rest of your response is just discordant words. You’ve lost the chain of thought. I probably won’t be responding to you much more, my friend. Good luck, and keep asking questions!

        • Wick Samuel

          (i) Something cannot come from nothing.
          (ii) If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn’t come into being from nothing.
          (iii) Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the truth of premise 1´.

          clearly WLC is talking about an object coming into existence when it had not existed before, not the “ability of nothing to create something”

          TBS is seriously challenged intellectually, you realize this I trust?

        • Paul B. Lot

          TBS is seriously challenged intellectually, you realize this I trust?

          The man (or woman?) who was incapable of:

          a) understanding what “universe” means,
          b) understanding what “parallel” universe means,
          c) understanding what “multiverse” would mean in relation to a) & b),
          d) understanding what “unknown” means,
          e) understanding what “new” means,
          f) understanding what “your” means,
          g) understanding what “nothing” means,
          h) understanding what argument he (or she) is in at any given time,
          i) understanding what the antecedent of a given sentence is,
          j) understanding what premise of a given argument means,
          k) understanding whether or not breaking a multi-part premise into two seperate parts necessarily changes their meaning,
          l) what “HUGE” means,

          is accusing someone else of being challenged?

          You’re beautiful. Never change.

          While I agree with you that Craig would want/need us to think that the appropriate signified to the signifier “nothing” is “the absence of any one particular object” it is not. (Not least because any one particular object is not one particular object. An object is made of an enormous amount of other objects. If we should expect “somethings” to be popping into existence willy-nilly, why “George the Horse”…why not a singular quark?)

          In any case, the appropriate referent to “nothing” is “not any thing” or “the absence of all things”, not “the absence of toes and horses and the pen on my desk and coffee beans and etc….”

          Not only is “not any thing” the only definition of “nothing” which makes sense given the CsaP1’s goal of propping up the KCA, itself an argument concerning the origin of the COSMOS, but it is the definition of the word used by all philosophers in this context, heretofore (to my knowledge).

          Well, all except one.

          Laurence Krauss also uses “nothing” flexibly to mean “the absence of macro-objects”….I had no idea that you (and Craig) took a page from Krauss’s book.

        • Wick Samuel

          Krauss got smoked by Craig, and others, for his redefinition of “nothing”

          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/a-universe-from-nothing-by-lawrence-m-krauss.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

          kudo’s for finally realizing that Craig and KCA are talking about things coming into being, not some kind of “state of nothing being able to create something”

        • So then you’re not talking about something from nothing. I wish you’d make up your mind.

        • Wick Samuel

          KCA P1 has to do with objects coming into existence, when they didnt before, that is something from nothing, as long as nothing is correctly viewed as that object not having an existence prior, and not this crazy “state of nothingness” argument, or “nothing being able to do something”

        • Geena Safire

          First, actually, in the New York Times book review you mentioned, Krauss got called out by theoretical physicist and philosopher David Albert for dissing philosophy and for his definition of “why”, not for his definition of “nothing.”

          Other scientifically-minded philosophers, such as Daniel Dennett, and scientists-philosophers, such as Massimo Pigliucci, and philosophically-minded scientists, such as Sean Carroll, also took him to task for the same issue. He was, in fact, motivated to apologize for his disrespect for philosophy a few months later in Scientific American.

          Second, Krauss posits several potential definitions of “nothing” in his book, and discusses how our universe could plausibly have come into existence from any of them.

          Third, separately, you are correct that WLC is also, in general,
          astonished by the concept of something coming from nothing. Just because
          WLC is smart and astonished does not mean that something cannot come
          from nothing.

          Fourth, many words have several definitions, all of which can be correct in their proper context. That is the nature of language. You don’t own the English language. Neither does Krauss nor WLC nor anyone else.

          Fifth, languages evolve and definitions change over time. Words are also not “owned” by their definitions. Dictionaries do not own the English language either; they describe usage.

          Sixth, philosophy also changes over time. Just because Aristotle said something, for example, doesn’t mean it is true for all time or even that it is actually scientifically true. Even though Aristotle was smart, he was wrong about a lot of things.

          With all that as preamble, let’s discuss the point you are raising about something coming from nothing.

          If your definition of “nothing” includes the quality of “It is impossible for anything to emerge from ‘nothing’ “…

          then, by your definition, something cannot come from nothing…

          but that is a mere tautology, that is, something that is “true” only in the sense of “correct due to how it was defined.”

          Ancient philosophers generally defined “philosophical nothing” as including that quality of barrenness, that is, that something could not emerge from it. I’ll agree with you that this is what ancient philosophers said.

          Parmenides, by the way, is the philosopher most associated with exploring this quality of nothing: Nothing comes from nothing. It is usually referred to by its Latin version, nihil fit ex nihilo, although Parmenides was Greek.

          However, that traditional philosophical definition does not trump, own, constrain, or otherwise limit a different philosophical definition of ‘nothing’, nor a poetical definition of ‘nothing’ nor one or more scientific definitions of ‘nothing.’ Parmenides doesn’t have a copyright on the word ‘nothing.’

          Scientifically, regarding the Big Bang and universal origins, scientists do not say that definitively it has been scientifically proven that our observable universe surely began from philosophical nothing.

          They will say that, based on the available information, the best explanation seems to be that our observable universe had an origin (or expansion) about 13.81 billion years ago. All that physicists can agree to say is that, prior to the expansion, the universe was in a hot, dense, smooth state. Physicist Sean Carroll, I think, puts it best when he says that rather than considering the Big Bang as the ‘beginning’ of everything, we should consider it as the ‘end’ of our current understanding.

          So we can say that our observable universe (often referred to as ‘the universe’) had a beginning. But we cannot say definitively that therefore that it emerged from nothing. We can say that it emerged from not-our-observable-universe.

        • Wick Samuel

          First, actually, in the New York Times book review you mentioned, Krauss got called out by theoretical physicist and philosopher David Albert for dissing philosophy and for his definition of “why”, not for his definition of “nothing.”

          incorrect, that is PRECISELY what the article is about, namely that Krauss’ definition of “nothing is most assuredly not nothing.

          the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.

          Krauss, mind you, has heard this kind of talk before, and it makes him crazy. A century ago, it seems to him, nobody would have made so much as a peep about referring to a stretch of space without any material particles in it as “nothing.” And now that he and his colleagues think they have a way of showing how everything there is could imaginably have emerged from a stretch of space like that, the nut cases are moving the goal posts. He complains that “some philosophers and many theologians define and redefine ‘nothing’ as not being any of the versions of nothing that scientists currently describe,” and that “now, I am told by religious critics that I cannot refer to empty space as ‘nothing,’ but rather as a ‘quantum vacuum,’ to distinguish it from the philosopher’s or theologian’s idealized ‘nothing,’ ” and he does a good deal of railing about “the intellectual bankruptcy of much of theology and some of modern philosophy.” But all there is to say about this, as far as I can see, is that Krauss is dead wrong and his religious and philosophical critics are absolutely right. Who cares what we would or would not have made a peep about a hundred years ago? We were wrong a hundred years ago. We know more now. And if what we formerly took for nothing turns out, on closer examination, to have the makings of protons and neutrons and tables and chairs and planets and solar systems and galaxies and universes in it, then it wasn’t nothing, and it couldn’t have been nothing, in the first place. And the history of science — if we understand it correctly — gives us no hint of how it might be possible to imagine otherwise.

          4,5: nothing means no-thing. nothing. you dont get to redefine the word.

        • MNb

          Excellent job missing Geena’s fourth point:

          “Fourth, many words have several definitions, all of which can be correct in their proper context. That is the nature of language. You don’t own the English language. Neither does Krauss nor WLC nor anyone else.”

        • Wick Samuel

          nothing, means nothing, you don’t get to redefine the word. Please show me a definition of the word “nothing” that indicates it can include something.

          nothing is the negation of “thing”, by definition.

        • MNb

          Excellent job missing Geena’s fourth point:

          “Fourth, many words have several definitions, all of which can be correct in their proper context. That is the nature of language. You don’t own the English language. Neither does Krauss nor WLC nor anyone else.”

          Hey, I wrote a comment especially for you. You don’t care to react? Then I conclude that

          “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.”
          disproves god indeed.

        • Wick Samuel

          nothing, means nothing, you don’t get to redefine the word. Please show me a definition of the word “nothing” that indicates it can include something.

          nothing is the negation of “thing”, by definition.

          =========

          “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.”disproves god indeed.

          how?

        • You were whinging about Lawrence Krauss’s definition of “nothing.” That.

          Nothing could be the vacuum. Could be that minus space. Could be that minus time. Could be that minus the laws of physics.

          Lots of options. I guess it makes sense to define it in this context.

        • Susan

          nothing is the negation of “thing”, by definition.

          Good. Finally, you are providing a definition. Not quite a definition. Just telling us what it’s not.

          “By definition” only means by your definition in this argument and it cannot be accepted until you define “thing”.

          At least, you are willing to consider defining terms. That’s a victory for progress in discussion.

          You haven’t done it yet. You’ve just told us what you define something is “not”.

          Some sort of progress but nothing to show yet.

          Let’s take the next step, Wick.

          Define “thing” or don’t use the term “by definition” ever again.

          I’m hoping you’ll define “thing”. I’m not the one who wanted to eliminate definitions in a deductive argument.

        • Wick Samuel

          existence, non-existence, nothing IS defined by what it is not. It is the negation of thing.
          Object, non-object, a thing.

          This is not complicated, atheists want desperately to say the words “we have show how something can come from nothing” so badly, that they are will to re-define words to do it, after all, “something can come from something else” hardly explains why there is something rather than nothing.

        • Susan

          atheists want desperately to say the words “we have show how something can come from nothing” so badly, that they are will to re-define words to do it,

          Why would I be desperate to say those words?

          I am desperate to understand what claim you’re making and how you justify that claim.

          hardly explains why there is something rather than nothing.

          What does explain it?

        • Wick Samuel

          The claim that KCA makes is that the universe needed a cause to come into being.
          That cause must have an existence outside the universe.

        • atheists want desperately to say the words “we have show how something can come from nothing” so badly

          In your dreams, perhaps. I’ve never met an atheist with this obsession.

          You do know that it’s not the consensus view of cosmologists that the universe came from nothing, right?

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂

        • Meaning what? That you acknowledge that that line of yours was bullshit?

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂

          meaning your question was intentionally imprecise.

          The consensus view of cosmologists is that the universe came into existence from non-existence.
          NOT that a “state of nothingness that is no longer here produced the universe”

          You guys need to let go of this crazy objection to KCA that “well, we no longer have the state of nothingness that we had before the universe existed, so “why arent things still popping into existence” is not a legitimate question to ask.

        • meaning your question was intentionally imprecise.

          How do you do that? I can’t hide anything—it’s like you can see into my very soul.

          The consensus view of cosmologists is that the universe came into existence from non-existence.

          You’re quicker than a three card monty street hustler. You’re saying here that cosmologists say that at one moment the universe was, but before that, it wasn’t. And yet the topic at hand is your line, “atheists want desperately to say the words “we have show how something can come from nothing” so badly.” Let’s stick to the topic, shall we? Or is that against your religion?

        • Wick Samuel

          I dont see anything in your post that could be responded to..

        • MNb

          You’re not capable of addressing anything in my analysis of “everything that begins to exist has a cause” either.

        • I don’t know how to make it any clearer, so I guess we won’t get any insights from you on this one.

          For all the lurkers, I’ll continue. Wick has gone on for 20 comments marveling at the stupid atheists with their wrong definitions of “nothing” and how they misunderstand the Kalam argument. It’s not just about causes, he says; it’s primarily about something from nothing.

          And now, bizarrely, Wick himself seems confused. He’s talking about coming into existence (“The consensus view of cosmologists is that the universe came into existence from non-existence”) as a response to my response about an earlier statement of his about something from nothing (“atheists want desperately to say the words ‘we have show how something can come from nothing’ so badly”).

          I marvel that Wick, who likes to harp on focusing on the correct issue, could be so confused about the issue. My guess: he’s feeling the heat and hopes we won’t notice the change in subject.

        • Kodie

          Someone should just say it was god and see what he comes up with for an excuse.

        • Wick Samuel

          look, it’s easy.

          KCA has to do with objects coming into existence.

          1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause;
          2. The universe began to exist;
          Therefore:
          C. The universe has a cause.

          “begins to exist” means: an object comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e’s existing at t is a tensed fact.

          “Begins to exist” means it didnt come from something, such as virtual particles, or electrons out of a decaying nucleus, if it did, it didnt “begin to exist” in the ex-nihilo sense that KCA is ALL ABOUT.

          The consensus of cosmologists is that indeed our universe came into existence.

          =========

          Atheist have typically sought to avoid the requirement for a prime mover, uncaused cause, timeless-spaceless-immaterial entity as follows:

          Approach 1:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “well, that’s a stupid question”

          Approach 2:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “we dont know, dont ask us that question”

          Approach 3:
          Theist:”how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “please define “how”, “do”, “you”, “explain”, “the”, “origin”, “of” and “universe”, I’m happy to argue semantics forever to avoid the question.”

          Approach 4:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “it created itself”
          Theist: “really, how did that happen”
          Atheist: “the universe can come from nothing”
          Theist: “really? how?”
          Atheist: “Oh sure, all you need is a quantum vacuum (which is “nothing”), and hey shazaam, you got something from nothing”
          Theist: “well, ok, what created the QV?”
          Atheist: “what? that’s a stupid question, I already explained how we got the universe from nothing, who cares about the QV.” (having the ability to say, “I already explained how we got the universe from nothing” is very important amongst atheists)

          Approach 5:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “the multi-verse”
          Theist: “ok, what created the multi-verse”
          Atheist: “well, that’s a stupid question”

        • KCA has to do with objects coming into existence.

          Yes, I understand your point. Still.

          Approach 1:

          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”

          Atheist: “well, that’s a stupid question”

          I don’t say that. In fact, I’ve never heard an atheist or a scientist say that. I have, however, seen many strawmanning Christians saying that—perhaps you’ve been hanging around them too long?

          And once again you’ve avoided my point. My guess: you’re embarrassed to say, “Y’know, I was confused on that point” or “Yes, I did change the subject—I’ll be more careful” or even “Wow—I was wrong.” Give it a try sometime. It’s cathartic.

          Another tip: when you come in like you’re the one with the big dick and you’ve got it all figured out and you’re going to humiliate these flabby-minded atheists, you get a harsh and unfeeling spotlight on any errors that you might make.

        • Wick Samuel

          you’re going to have to clarify your “point” into something that can be addressed.

          Are you still on the “the universe came from nothing and nothing no longer exists because we have something” argument?

        • Are you still on the “the universe came from nothing and nothing no longer exists because we have something” argument?

          I’ve made clear what I’m on; you just don’t want to address it.

        • Wick Samuel

          please do so again and I’m am more than happy to address it.
          PLEASE clearly articulate it.

        • I’ve tried several times, and I’m tired of it. My point (your equating two very different ideas) was clearly articulated several comments ago. If you can’t figure it out, I’m not going to state it yet again.

        • Wick Samuel

          yeah, i couldnt figure it out either…

        • Nice! You didn’t actually clumsily conflate two ideas after browbeating me for not seeing things the way you do; instead, I just can’t write good.

          Wick’s intellectual pickle has been resolved with him once again standing atop smoldering atheist corpses.

          And you wonder why no one picks you for dodge ball.

        • Wick Samuel

          you could just state it, it actually is that simple.

        • Wick Samuel

          could you point me to which post you explained it?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Argh.

          At first you were accusing me of saying things I did not, it took a titanic effort on my part for you to stop.

          Now you’re accusing others of saying what I did.

          What’s your deal? Do you have no shame?

          Are you like the muslim fundamentalist who believes that lying is okay as long as your victims are infidels?

        • Wick Samuel

          look, if you feel like you got embarrassed, that’s unfortunate.
          however, all I did was grab take posts and put them out again. I did not put any words in your mouth.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “If you feel like you got embarrassed, that’s unfortunate.”

          What is this, Xbox live? Lolumadbro?

          I do feel embarrassed, although not by anything you said. I am embarrassed that I let someone push my buttons so easily simply by asserting things that were not true.

          “I did not put any words in your mouth.”

          What do you define as “putting words” in someone’s “mouth”?

          In my book asserting falsehoods like “you tried to attack P1 of KCA with your argument” repeatedly, after I spent inordinate time helping you to correct your misunderstanding, qualifies.

          In any case, you’ve failed to grasp the point yet again. Whether my feelings are hurt or not:

          You misrepresented me as saying things I did not, and now you’re misrepresenting others as saying things I did.

          What’s your problem?

        • if you feel like you got embarrassed

          You’re like the person hiding behind the curtains. We can see your shoes.

          Don’t think that your sloppy changes in subject help your reputation. We see you embarrassing yourself by avoiding the subject when things get uncomfortable.

          I wish you weren’t reinforcing the stereotype of the Christian with a low value for honesty and evidence. You’re making me likelier to stereotype all Christians in the future.

        • Susan

          “Begins to exist” means it didnt come from something, such as virtual particles, or electrons out of a decaying nucleus, if it did, it didnt “begin to exist” in the ex-nihilo sense that KCA is ALL ABOUT.

          Then, there is no basis at all for P1. There is no thing you can point to that matches that description. No justification for the claim that “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.”

          PLEASE name one “thing” that you can point to that didn’t “come from something, such as virtual particles, or electrons out of a decaying nucleus” or from anything else for that matter.

          ONE thing that “begins to exist” by the definition you just typed.

          Edited to delete an unnecessary paragraph.

        • Wick Samuel

          The universe

        • Geena Safire

          The consensus of cosmologists is that indeed our universe came into existence.

          No, they do not. They agree that our observable universe seems to point back toward some event that is generally called the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago.

          But they do not all agree that it was the beginning in the way you describe. Some do think it was the beginning and some don’t, but none of them think that the matter is scientifically settled one way or the other.

          Certainly none of them think about it in the simplistic, naive way that you say, that is, that the Big Bang must mean that the universe “came into existence” NOR that “coming into existence” must means “coming into existence from nothing” NOR that ‘nothing’ is a simple concept to define NOR that there “must have been a cause for its existence.”

          Sean Carroll sums up what they do agree on when he says that instead of calling the Big Bang ‘the beginning of the universe’, it should be called ‘the end of our current understanding.’

          Here’s some more ideas on the topic (with links) from leading cosmologists regarding “before” the Big Bang.

          Harvard University’s astronomy web site says, “No one knows how the first space, time, and matter arose.”

          As Alan Guth (MIT) puts it, “The Big Bang theory says nothing about what banged, why it banged, or what happened before it banged.”

          [In] 2010, Laura Mersini-Houghton appeared in a BBC programme What Happened Before the Big Bang where she propounded her theory of the Universe as a wave function on the landscape multiverse.

          Neil deGrasse Tyson: “[T]he big bang cannot tell us what happened before 10⁻⁴³ seconds, or for that matter, what happened before zero seconds—or why the laws of physics are what they are. ”

          Lisa Randall, of Randall–Sundrum model fame (also called 5-dimensional warped geometry theory), imagines that the real world is a higher dimensional universe described by warped geometry. More concretely, our universe is a five-dimensional anti-de Sitter space and the elementary particles except for the graviton are localized on a (3 + 1)-dimensional brane or branes.”

          Stephen Hawking: “Time itself must come to a stop. You can’t get to a time before the big bang, because there was no time before the big bang. We have finally found something that does not have a cause because there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me this means there is no possibility of a creator because there is no time for a creator to have existed. Since time itself began at the moment of the Big Bang, it was an event that could not have been caused or created by anyone or anything.”

          Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal, argues that a family—even an infinity—of universes may have been created, each by its own big bang, and each acquiring a distinctive imprint and its own laws of physics.”

          Sean Carroll wrote a 3,000-word blog post on the subject. He also wrote “Why Almost All Cosmologists are Atheists”.

          “The unification of [general relativity and quantum theory] is the only thing that allows us to look before the Big Bang,” says Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist at City University of New York. (He considers string theory as the leading candidate for reaching that unification.)

          Edward “Rocky” Kolb says, in “Blind Watchers of the Sky,” “The answers to [“Why was there a bang?” and “What happened before the Big Bang?”] are probably related to events that occurred around the quantum-gravity epoch. … There is a fairly large effort today to answer these questions, and some of the answers that seem to be emerging are quite exciting. One possible answer to [the first question] is that the bang was inevitable, that nothing (a universe without matter, radiation, space, or time) is unstable, and it is possible to imagine the emergence of a universe from nothing. A likely answer to [the latter question] is that there was no “before” before the big bang, because time itself was created along with everything else in the bang. If those answers seem vague, it is because we simply don’t yet know the answers, but we can still make reasonable suppositions based on the little we do understand. It is not known when the answers will be found, or even if they can be found within the framework of the big-bang model or if the model will require extension.” (p 291)

          “”Our rulers and our clocks break,” explained Dr. Andrei Linde, a cosmologist at Stanford University. ”To ask what is before this moment is a self-contradiction.” According to a theory known as eternal inflation, put forward by Dr. Linde in 1986, what we know as the Big Bang was only one out of many in a chain reaction of big bangs by which the universe endlessly reproduces and reinvents itself. ”Any particular part of the universe may die, and probably will die,” Dr. Linde said, ”but the universe as a whole is immortal.”

          “So far, I’ve learned one thing in this quest that I’m really sure of,” writes Max Tegmark “[W]hatever the ultimate nature of reality may turn out to be, it’s completely different from how it seems.” He then describes four kinds or “levels” of multiverses in which ours may exist.

          “Dr. Paul Steinhardt, one of the fathers of inflation, and his student Justin Khoury, both of Princeton, Dr. Burt Ovrut of [the University of Pennsylvania] and Dr. [Neil] Turok [of the Perimeter Institute] call it the <a
          href="http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/22/science/before-the-big-bang-there-was-what.html?pagewanted=4&quot;ekpyrotic universe, after the Greek word ”ekpyrosis,” which denotes the fiery death and rebirth of the world in Stoic philosophy. The ekpyrotic process begins far in the indefinite past with a pair of flat empty branes sitting parallel to each other in a warped five-dimensional space — a situation they say that represents the simplest solution of Einstein’s equations in an advanced version of string theory.”

          “’We usually say that nothing can be created out of nothing because we think it would violate the law of conservation of energy,’ a hallowed principle in physics holding that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, [Alexander] Vilenkin explains. So how could you create a universe with matter in it, where there had been nothing before? ‘The way the universe gets around that problem is that gravitational energy is negative,’ Vilenkin says. That’s a consequence of the fact, mathematically proven, that the energy of a closed universe is zero: The energy of matter is positive, the energy of gravitation is negative, and they always add up to zero. ‘Therefore, creating a closed universe out of nothing does not violate any conservation laws.’ Vilenkin’s calculations show that a universe created from nothing is likely to be tiny, indeed — far, far smaller than, say, a proton. Should this minute realm contain just a smattering of repulsive-gravity material, that’s enough to ensure it will ignite the unstoppable process of eternal inflation, leading to the universe we inhabit today. If the theory holds, we owe our existence to the humblest of origins: nothing itself.”

          “A common misconception is that the big bang provides a theory of cosmic origins. It doesn’t. The big bang is a theory … that delineates cosmic evolution from a split second after whatever happened to bring the universe into existence, but it says nothing at all about time zero itself. And since, according to the big bang theory, the bang is what is supposed to have happened at the beginning, the big bang leaves out the bang. It tells us nothing about what banged, why it banged, how it banged, or, frankly, whether it really banged at all.” —Brian Green, The Fabric of the Cosmos, p 272

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but, but, but, the Master of Kalam says….

        • Wick Samuel

          Impressive cut and paste!

          Sean Carroll sums up what they do agree on when he says that instead of calling the Big Bang ‘the beginning of the universe’, it should be called ‘the end of our current understanding.’

          I agree, since the universe came into existence, there WOULD DEFINITELY be a point at which our understanding, viewed from within the universe, came to a stopping point.
          That is precisely what one would expect since the universe came into existence.

          ==========

          “No one knows how the first space, time, and matter arose.”

          he correctly observes that matter arose (came into being).

          The Big Bang theory says nothing about what banged, why it banged, or what happened before it banged. … [T]he big bang cannot tell us what happened before 10⁻⁴³ seconds, or for that matter, what happened before zero seconds—or why the laws of physics are what they are.”.. [etc, most of your quotes were “we dont know what happened before the big bang]

          I agree, the expansion period doesnt explain how the matter arose in the first place. That’s THE question.

          Interesting to see Tyson acknowledge that we can’t explain why the universe obeys laws, uncharacteristic of him to acknowledge that.

          =============
          Hawkings assertion that “the universe cant have been caused to come into existence because you need time to have a cause” ignores two things:

          1. The cause could have been simultaneous with the effect

          2. There is no reason to claim that a cause external to our universe would be necessarily bound to the time frame of our universe.

          ====
          Martin-Rees needs to explain the origin of the multi-verse then. You dont get to push the origin problem back one step and stop there.

          ====

          In summary, all of the arguments presented (except for Hawkings time-causality one, and the ones claiming an eternal universe) are approach #2 here:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/how_compelling_is_christianitys_cumulative_case/#comment-1897973200

          namely:

          Approach 2:

          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”

          Atheist: “we dont know, dont ask us that question”

        • Geena Safire

          “we don’t know, dont ask us that question”

          These scientists I quoted — and thousands of others — have spent their entire careers investigating this question. They are also educators and have taught thousands of students to join in the search to investigate these questions.

          On what basis, then, do you interpret that they are saying, “Don’t ask us that question”?

          Second, the quotes made clear that you are wrong when you claim that they all say “the universe came into existence.” They agree that the Big Bang was a kind of beginning, but they do not claim to know that it “came into existence” much less that it “came into existence from nothing”

        • Pofarmer

          Wick is jere to prosyletize and cast doubt. That is his purpose. That is the current purpose of philosophy of religion.

        • Geena Safire

          I agree that his main goal is to proselytize and to get us to question what he considers our inappropriate beliefs and assumptions. I do not agree, though, that this is the goal of the philosophy of religion.

          In any case, regardless of the truth or falsehood of his god-claims, I would like him to enhance his critical thinking and logical argumentation skills.

        • Geena Safire

          Look, it’s easy.

          Let’s see if this is easy for you.

          Since humans have existed, they have existed within “something.” “Something” includes the quantum vacuum, time, space, matter, radiation, energy, forces, etc.

          Humans have, therefore, no experience of “nothingness.”

          Therefore, humans have no basis upon which to make any claims regarding “nothingness,” including whether it may be unstable or whether anything can come from it.

          The only potential understanding of “nothing” humans could have comes from scientific knowledge, observation, analysis, prediction, and experiment regarding the fundamental nature of reality, including the various levels of complexity across the scale of the universe from the Planck scale to the edge of the observable universe.

          Or they could read an ancient book of stories from Mesopotamian cultures and believe that, since some iron age peasants said something about nothing a long time ago and often since, it must be true.

        • Wick Samuel

          Humans have never existed in nothing, that is true.

          We know the universe began to exist, meaning it had no existence.

          It seems nonsensical, to state that “well, since we have no experience of “nothing”, we can’t say what could or couldnt happen in “nothing”.
          That’s nonsensical because nothing IS simply non-existence, non-existence has no potentiality.
          That is PRECISELY why “everything that begins to exist must have a cause” is true. Non-existence can’t “do” anything.

        • Geena Safire

          How do you know that non-existence has no potentiality?

        • Wick Samuel

          that’s what non-existence IS.
          non-existence isnt something, it’s defined as the absence of everything.
          how can it possibly have any potentiality?

        • Paul B. Lot

          An educated interlocutor would know the following things:

          1) Causes can generally be broken into two broad categories a) efficient and b) material
          2) “Philosophical nothing” usually refers to an absence of both types of causes.
          3) Craig’s “nothing” is only the absence of material causes, not efficient

          When you talk about “non-existence [having] no potentiality” you are talking about philosophical nothing; the absence of material & efficient causes.

          Craig’s presupposition however, is that the “special” kind of nothing you tried (and failed) to elaborate elsewhere is merely the absence of material causes.

          Because of your inability to think with a disciplined mind, coupled with your complete conviction, you are confusing the two concepts without batting an eyelash.

        • Wick Samuel

          you are still confusing “a state of nothing” with “non-existence of an object”.

          If an acorn materialized into existence, it would be an example of ex-nihilo creation. The fact that the universe exists is utterly irrelevant to the nature of the creation of the acorn. The acorn wasnt fabricated from elements of the existing universe.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, no, he’s not. You are stuck not actually understanding the arguments. There are problems with your “State of Nothing” that you’ve failed to interact with. I suppose the most important one is how did God come out of this state of nothing? The second one is whether the idea of “philosophical nothing” is really even intelligible. The truth of the matter is that we really don’t have evidence either way, but you carry on as if we do. So, basically, you have an argument based on special pleading and ignorance, completely unevidenced. This is why 1000 plus year old philosophy is discounted by modern cosmology. It simply has no bearing on a) what we know today and b) what our idea of reality is. The testable hypothesis it presents it fails on, and yet people still carry on as if it were a valid argument.

        • Paul B. Lot

          you are still confusing “a state of nothing” with “non-existence of an object”.

          Nope.

          “nothing IS simply non-existence” Complete non-existence entails an absence of all causes, both material and efficient.

          VS.

          “If an acorn materialized into existence, it would be an example of ex-nihilo creation. “
          That would be an event without a material cause (ex-nihilo), but with an efficient cause (creation implies a creator).

          “The acorn wasnt fabricated from elements of the existing universe.”At no point in any of our discussions have I ever advertised any sort of misunderstanding of ex-nihilo to mean “from elements of the existing universe.”

        • Wick Samuel

          This may help,

          Since we assume for the sake of argument in the present discussion the finitude of the past, our choices are creation ex nihilo or an uncaused origination ex nihilo. It seems to me that there is a very simple and yet decisive reason for preferring creation, namely, whereas creation ex nihilo is counterintuitive in denying to the universe a material cause, it at least ascribes to it an efficient cause, whereas the spontaneous origination of the universe ex nihilo is doubly counterintuitive in that it denies of the universe both a material and (especially) an efficient cause. Thus, even if one agrees with Morriston’s observation, “When I do the relevant ‘thought experiments,’ I find the absence of amaterial cause at least as troubling as the absence of an efficient cause,”10 one cannot agree with his objection, since an uncaused origin of the universe lacks both sorts of cause and so is doubly implausible.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Help? You’ve just copypasta’d a section of text which I’ve already paraphrased: “3) Craig’s “nothing” is only the absence of material causes, not efficient.”

        • Wick Samuel

          non-existence refers to the object, not the cause.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I mean, if I read what you just wrote with maximum charity; you’re simply repeating what I said…again.

          If I don’t, you’re being imprecise and sloppy; when being precise we are speaking of not one “cause” but two: the material and the efficient.

        • Wick Samuel

          To review:

          =======

          Geena: “How do you know that non-existence has no potentiality?”

          Me: “non-existence isnt something, it’s defined as the absence of everything. how can it possibly have any potentiality?”

          Paul: “When you talk about “non-existence [having] no potentiality” you are talking about philosophical nothing; the absence of material & efficient causes”

          Me: “non-existence refers to the object, not the cause.”

          ========
          In ex-nihilo creation there are:

          1) an object that comes into being

          2) the effective cause of that event. There is no material cause in ex-nihilo creation.

          non-existence refers to the object, not the cause.

        • MNb

          And you still have not replied to my analysis of “Everything that begins to exist has a cause,” which shows that your god can’t be that cause.

        • MNb

          And you still haven’t addressed my analysis of “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.” Even when I was so kind to grant you all the assumptions you and I have discussed and the assumptions you discuss with Paul here.
          Apparently you agree that my analysis shows that such a cause cannot have been your god, but are not courageous enough to admit it.

        • An educated interlocutor would know the following things

          Aha. I think I’ve found your problem.

        • Geena Safire

          how can [non-existence] possibly have any potentiality?

          That’s a very interesting question, WS! Let’s consider it some more.

          Sometimes, concepts that seem obvious turn out, upon reflection, to not be so simple or straightforward, right?

          First, since (a) we have zero experience of “nothingness”, and (b) we are considering how an actual condition or state-of-affairs of “nothingness” might have been with respect to our actual universe and its origins, I don’t know how one could, with full confidence, say anything about it.

          This would include being confident about whether or not nothingness or non-existence has any potentiality.

          —-

          Second, since we have zero experience of non-existence, all that we think about nothingness can only come from our “experience” of existence and our “thinking” about non-existence.

          But just because we “think” a given quality is likely to be true about nothingness, we can only think such a thought because we also think…

          …that non-existence would likely to be similar to existence in X quality (for reasons A, B and C)…

          …or, perhaps, that non-existence would likely be dissimilar to existence in X quality (for reasons D, E, and F).

          —-

          Since we’ve been struggling with the idea of barrenness or potentiality in nothingness, I’m going to suggest that maybe we can get a better perspective by looking at something else first.

          Let’s consider a different example: Could time exist in nothingness?

          After all, time is not a “thing,” right?, and so it doesn’t “exist” in the way “things” exist, so ‘non-existence’ doesn’t necessarily rule it out.

          One’s answer would depend on what one considers the nature of “time” to be. (There are several leading theories. But let’s pretend, for now, that everybody agrees about what time is/means.)

          As noted above, since we exist inside of time, we can only speculate about what being in a different kind of time could mean: like (a) traveling at the speed of light or (b) living alone in a void (a very large, nearly empty region of space) or (c) having a very long life-span.

          From speculating about these very different ways of existing inside of time, one could then conjecture about what it could mean for something to be outside of time?

          But, as you can see, all of this would be speculation.

          We could base our speculation on the best thinking of the great thinkers over history and across cultures about “time”and on the best science available that can give us reliable facts and on having many smart people sharing all their best ideas to improve their reflections.

          But it would still, in the end, be speculation.

          —–

          In a similar way, if we are considering what might be true of “nothingness” that may have been the condition before our universe, and thinking about whether “barrenness” or “potentiality” was more likely to have been the state of affairs…

          …we must take into account all of the learning of our several hundred years of studying the nature of existence and the laws of nature in addition to what people used to think before we had all this knowledge.

          We used to think that the Earth was the center of existence, which existed inside a series of concentric spheres of the heavens, with a few thousand stars.

          We are now aware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which is a million times larger than Earth, and that our solar system is one of 400 billion such solar systems in our galaxy, which is one of at least 100 billion galaxies within the observable universe, and our entire universe is likely 10²³ times larger. (And that’s not even considering multiverses.)

          And all of stuff (matter, energy, forces) known to us represents less than 5% of the stuff of the universe, with another 20+% consisting of dark matter and about 70+% representing dark energy, and there’s a lot we don’t know about the latter two.

          We used to be able to only see objects larger than 0.1 millimeter and we thought we could see everything in nature.

          But now:

          – We can image — and even manufacture — down to the level of atoms.

          – We know that atoms are made of quarks and electrons

          – We know that 90% of our human mass is from the virtual particles coming in and out of existence inside the nucleus of every one of our 7²⁷ atoms.

          – We realize that, if the electromagnetic spectrum were the distance from New York to Los Angeles, visible light would be only about a meter.

          – We know that an average drop of seawater contains 1 million bacteria and 10 million viruses.

          – We know our bodies have 10 trillion cells and we are also host to 100 trillion cells of other organisms: viruses, bacteria, fungi, plant and animal protozoa, and animals, with most of them not harmful to us and many of them protecting or necessary to our lives.

          – We know that, inside our average human cell are 2×10¹⁴ molecules and each of them collide a billion times every second.

          – We know we each have 86 billion neurons and about a 100-900 trillion synapses, with synaptic firings 20 quadrillion times every second.

          We used to believe that the world was just some thousands of years old. Now we know the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, with life here emerging about 3.5 billion years ago, and our universe is about 13.8 billion years old.

          There’s much we do not know about the world in which we live. On the other hand, we know much more than we used to know.

          The main reason I’m mentioning all of this is that we used to think there was a lot of “nothing” around us.

          Most of the history of thinking about “nothing” assumed that…

          …below the sized that we could see was “nothing” — or at least very simple stuff –…

          …and beyond what we could see, there was “nothing”…

          …and between all we could see was “nothing”.

          Therefore, most of what philosophers thought must be true about “nothing” has nothing to do with the “nothing” that we are able to conceive of today.

          What we can speculate about what might be qualities of “nothingness” have to take into account both what they didn’t know then AND what we know now.

        • Wick Samuel

          question: if an acorn materialized out of thin air and dropped into your hand, would that be creation out of nothing?

        • Geena Safire

          You may be asking a couple of different questions, and I don’t know which one you mean.

          (1) Are you asking, “If an acorn seemed to me to materialize out of thin air and dropped into my hand, would my first assumption be that it was creation out of nothing?”

          (To this question, I would answer, “No. My first assumptions would be: I might think that a bird flying overhead lost its lunch, or that a neighborhood kid had adapted/built a pretty powerful little launcher, or that a passing car kicked it up into the air by catching it at just the right angle, or a little vortex had carried it up into the air and then dissipated, or perhaps even someone was trying to trick me by catching my attention with something else while making the acorn “seem” to appear out of nothing, or…”)

          (2) Or are you asking, “If I were somewhere where none of these are feasible, like the middle of a desert — no birds, no oak trees, no neighborhood, no cars, no other people (to my knowledge) and if an acorn seemed to me to materialize out of thin air and dropped into my hand, would my first assumption be that it was creation out of nothing?”

          (To this question, I would answer, “No. My first assumption would be surprise to find an acorn so far out of its native environment, but there are 17 million shipping containers active in the world, so a lot of stuff is going everywhere, so yes, unusual to discover an acorn but, no, not impossible. My second assumption would be that the desert heat or some other factors were affecting my thinking such that I discovered an acorn in my hand and my mind, being surprised, would create a ‘memory’ of the acorn appearing out of nowhere while, more likely, in reality, I had picked it up while distracted and didn’t remember doing so.”)

          (3) Or are you asking, “If I were in a strictly-controlled laboratory setting in a highly-regarded research institution with a research project underway that had received institutional review board approval, and I were standing alone in an apparently empty room and an acorn appeared seemingly out of nowhere and fell into my hand, would my first (or second or third…) assumption be that it was creation out of nothing?”

          (To this question, my answer would be, “No, that wouldn’t be my first assumption, but I would be pretty darn amazed. If they were doing research on teleportation, I sure would want to know more since, to my knowledge, teleportation is still at the quantum level, and a 3-gram acorn has 1.5 x 10²³ atoms. If they were doing research on psychological reactions to unusual phenomena, I would want to find out about the stage-magic they had used to make it seem to appear out of the blue.”)

          (4) Or are you asking, “Are there any circumstances you can imagine in which an acorn seemed to actually materialize out of thin air and dropped into my hand, in circumstances where there is no way conceivable to me that it could have come to be there by any explainable means and I seemed to be in a normal state of consciousness and awareness, would I ever consider that to be ‘creation out of nothing’, as my first, second, third, fourth, etc., assumption?”

          (To this question, my answer would be, “The possibility that ‘the acorn had actually become present in that place and time without having been present in the immediate previous moment’ wouldn’t be among any of my top several assumptions. But under the right circumstances, I wouldn’t completely rule it out. (After all, Boltzmann brains are a theoretical possibility, so why not an acorn?) However, an acorn ‘being truly absent at one moment in a place and truly materially present in the next moment in that place’

          (a) does not necessarily mean that the acorn did not previously exist in some other location at the previous moment and

          (b) even if it could be proven that the acorn, as a whole, did not previously exist before appearing at that place and time, that does not necessarily mean that, the subatomic particles, atoms, molecules or cells did not previously exist and

          (c) even if it could be proven that the matter, energy, forces and arrangement of the acorn did not previously exist, it is more likely that, since I live in a universe in which the quantum vacuum exists, and electromagnetism, and the electron field and the up-quark field and the Higgs field, and gravity, etc., and, obviously, me living and thus an environment with oxygen, etc., it is much more likely that these would have emerged somehow from these sub-atomic forces and fields rather than from “nothing,” and

          (d) even if it could be proven that “nothing” is a state of affairs that obtains in some realm with access to the existence I inhabit and that there were some means of interaction between that “nothing” and this “existence” such that an acorn could be effected here from that “nothing” such that we could validly say that the acorn actually “came from nothing,” that wouldn’t mean necessarily that it was “created,” since the word “creation” generally implies a “creator,” for which one would need evidence of its existence before being able to credit it with bringing something into existence.)

          In summary, it would be extremely unlikely for me to think it was creation out of nothing.

          —-
          EDIT: Added Boltzmann brain reference and fixed a bit of grammar.

        • it would be extremely unlikely for me to think it was creation out of nothing.

          Odd. Cuz with Wick, that’d be one of his first guesses, way back with option 1.

        • Geena Safire

          I took a lot of time to reply to your question, Wick Samuel. I would appreciate a response from you.

        • Wick Samuel

          The acorn response is my response.
          that’s the first thing that needs to get established, what is the nature and conditions for ex-nihilo creation.

        • God created the universe out of nothing? Like what?

        • Wick Samuel

          That’s what ex-nihilo creation IS, effective cause, no material cause.

          that’s the definition.

          you should know this…

        • Yes, I know this, but thanks again for the condescension.

          My point: you have no examples of this. How do we even know that it’s possible? I mean besides “just cuz.”

        • Wick Samuel

          The obvious example is our universe.

          How do we know this actually IS an example of ex-nihilo? well, we don’t for sure, God (or if you’re an atheist, something other entity like the multi-verse) could have just re-used something from another something.

          The problem with using “something else”, is where did that something else come from? and so on and so on, infinite regression.
          Since infinite regressions arent possible, then we know at some point there MUST have been an ex-nihilo creation act.

        • No, we don’t know that our universe came from nothing.

          infinite regressions aren’t possible … but a god who’s been around since forever is possible, right? We don’t know how that works, but that puzzle doesn’t bother you. In fact, none of these puzzles bother you–you’re not trying to answer questions but simply shoehorn your god in somewhere.

          I think I’ll go with science since it’s the discipline with the track record. Christianity has taught us nothing about reality.

          Since infinite regressions arent possible

          Pop philosophy isn’t of much use at the frontier of science. We also know that everything must have a cause … except that quantum physics shows us that our common sense doesn’t help. That’s a lesson that you should learn.

        • Wick Samuel

          The very fact that we exist points to the necessity of an immaterial , timeless and extraordinarily powerful entity existing.

          I’ll go with science also! This effort on your part to cast atheists as accepting science and Christians rejecting it is badly misguided (with the YEC exception). What you meant to say was that you’ll go with the presumption of naturalism. You and I both “accept science”.

          The presumption of naturalism is badly misguided.

          KCA doesn’t say “everything must have a cause” it says “everything that begins to exist must have a cause”. I’m not aware of any argument from theology that claims “everything must have a cause”

        • The very fact that we exist points to the necessity of an immaterial , timeless and extraordinarily powerful entity existing.

          Right. That was my conclusion as well.

          I’ll go with science also!

          Good to hear. Science says, “I don’t know.” I guess that puts the issue to rest for now. Wake me when there’s a consensus view within science and we can continue our discussion.

          This effort on your part to cast atheists as accepting science and Christians rejecting it is badly misguided (with the YEC exception).

          So you’re OK with evolution then?

          KCA doesn’t say “everything must have a cause” it says “everything that begins to exist must have a cause”.

          The Copenhagen model argues that some things don’t have causes.

          To which you’ll say that that’s not what you’re talking about. You’re talking about cause from nothing. OK, give us some examples to see if “everything that begins to exist from nothing has a cause” is well founded.

        • Greg G.

          “everything that begins to exist must have a cause”

          You haven’t established this as a fact. Do you have an example of something material that “began to exist” that is not composed of things that already existed?
          We have already told you that virtual particles do begin to exist and they are not caused. Your attempted explanation that they come from the energy vacuum is funny because they form the energy vacuum.
          The universe could be the result of a ludicrous number of quantum events with halves of the pairs swallowed up by black holes before they could annihilate with their partner. It is unlikely that such an event with such a huge number of virtual particles that each type would be consumed by the black holes in identically equal numbers. The leftover particles are what we see. All without a cause.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Since infinite regressions arent possible”

          It is difficult for us to imagine “infinite regressions” of causal events…in time. Specifically; in our “fourth” dimension.

          To the extent that our modern, primate, middle-world intuitions about the impossibility of a an infinite sequence of temporal events is accurate, which it very well may not, the point is irrelevant since our current space-time manifold is thought to have emerged from the big-bang.

          If our space-time manifold had its origins in some preexisting material and efficient causes, we have no way of knowing what the dimensional aspects of these causes were, if any, nor whether or not temporal sequences, or arrows of time, meant anything ‘before’ our big bang.

        • Greg G.

          Since infinite regressions arent possible,

          When was God’s first thought?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “He was outside of time, therefore not subject to logical problems with infinite temporal regression.”

        • Doesn’t thinking imply time? Maybe God doesn’t think. Maybe he’s got it all figured out right from the (nonexistent) beginning. But then why the Creation?

        • Paul B. Lot

          God’s thoughts don’t change; thus there is no implication of time (time being a measure of the change of material states). God is eternal, changeless, and serene.

          The Creation was the only way to allow contingent beings made in his image the specific set of conditions necessary to allow them;
          a) free will to chose or reject him
          b) time to move from damnation to redemption by changing their minds and accepting salvation.
          c) incomplete knowledge of Him so that their choice could be meaningful.

          /avocatus diaboli

          If time only became a facet of existence at the moment of creation of the universe….how did the Angels change their minds; whence Lucifer?

          If the answer to “How does God’s mind work outside of Time” is “God’s mind does not change, therefore temporality is not one of it’s aspects” then how did the Angles, themselves immaterial and purely efficient beings, manage to change their minds?

        • Greg G.

          Yeah but if time is just another dimension of the universe, there is nothing to talk about regarding infinite regression.

        • Pofarmer

          If there’s not time where God exists, then? I dunno, makes my head hurt, kinda like string theory and 11 dimensions or whatever it is. And, it’s very simple. All of this bullshit could be avoided, with, ya know, proof.

        • Pofarmer

          How does positing a God here help you out? I mean really?

        • MNb

          That’s exactly why it doesn’t make sense – for an effective cause you need a material cause, because only material means and material procedures can have a material effect. Rejecting this means accepting magic, after which anything goes.

        • Geena Safire

          I also replied in great depth to your acorn response three days ago, and you have not replied to that either. We could continue the conversation from there.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, considering it’s never been observed……….

        • Geena, I think the answer is you’re the acorn.

        • Greg G.

          You didn’t give enough information to answer the question. Is the acorn composed of atoms and molecules that were already in the air or were the atoms the result of an extremely unlikely sequence of quantum events that left a bunch of virtual particles in the form of an acorn?

          The answer depends on the frame of your question.

        • Geena Safire

          I know that, when a thread gets as many responses as this one has, Disqus gets a bad case of indigestion. That means it is difficult to follow dialogues.

          Therefore, here are links to three of my detailed responses to you as conversations that have been left dangling:

          (1) Regarding the barrenness/potentiality of nothingness.

          (I also talked about “nothingness” here. I also talk about “nothingness” here. I also talk about “nothingness” here, starting with the word “Sixth”. I also talked about “nothingness” here. You might want to peruse them and gather your questions/responses together.)

          (2) Regarding the appearance of an acorn.

          (3) Regarding scientists’ views on our universal origin

        • Wick Samuel

          I read your post, a great deal of information on there, but at the end of the day, the one point for me to make to you is that “nothingness” isnt a thing, “it” is non-existence, and non-existence doesnt “do” anything, it doesnt have an existence. You keep trying to turn that nothing into something that can do something.

          Unless you are willing to accept some eternal material something operating on an eternally existent something, there must be ex-nihilo creation by an immaterial something.

          Seems to me that your closing argument sums it up, even if it DID happen, you wouldn’t believe it, because you don’t like the idea of a creator. That’s like the exact opposite of being willing to follow the evidence where it leads..

          even if it could be proven that “nothing” is a state of affairs that obtains in some realm with access to the existence I inhabit and that there were some means of interaction between that “nothing” and this “existence” such that an acorn could be effected here from that “nothing” such that we could validly say that the acorn actually “came from nothing,” that wouldn’t mean necessarily that it was “created,” since the word “creation” generally implies a “creator,” for which one would need evidence of its existence before being able to credit it with bringing something into existence

        • Geena Safire

          I have replied to you here, as a top-level comment, since Disqus is having issues with the volume of comments on this page.

        • Wick Samuel

          To summarize:

          – Nothing means no-thing, non-existence.

          – The universe came into existence, it had no existence “before” it began to exist.

          The mystery is where the matter that makes up our universe came from.

          There is no naturalistic/materialistic explanation.

          Scientists can get pretty far back in time, virtually to t=0, predictably, since the universe began to exist, they hit a point at which they can go no farther.

          there have been many attempts to try and come up with something to say about this situation.

          – One is to go after the statement “the universe began”, attempting to come up with some eternal universe, all such attempts have failed.

          – another is to go restate “the universe began” as “the universe came from nothing”, then redefine the quantum vacuum as nothing and claim that something CAN come from nothing. This is a deeply intellectually dishonest approach because it ignores the whole point of non-existence and is semantically disingenuous.

          – another approach is to say “well, so what if the universe DID come from nothing, since we have something now, we no longer have the conditions that spawned the universe, so we have no idea if that could ever happen again (this is a failed attempt to disprove the first premise of KCA). Again, this is an intellectually dishonest approach because it ignores the whole point of non-existence in the first place. Non-existence isnt a “state” that has to come into being, non-existence is exactly what it says it is, non-existence.

          At the end of the day, I think you Geena summarized the atheist view the best, nothing would convince you (not even an acorn materializing out of thin air and dropping into your lap) because you refuse to be convinced.

          the word “creation” generally implies a “creator,” for which one would need evidence of its existence before being able to credit it with bringing something into existence

        • Geena Safire

          I replied to you here because Disqus on my mobile device is crashing when I try to see replies in this huge (1973 comments!) combox.

          For that same reason, I would like for you to reply to me there.

          I would also very much appreciate if you could actually reply to what I wrote to you there and not just repeat yourself. This is a conversation, right?

        • Kodie

          It’s like you’re not even reading.

          There is THE UNIVERSE

          What was there before the universe?

          You insist that we/science says there was NOTHING.
          We are not saying there was definitely NOTHING.
          It may have been SOMETHING THAT ISN’T THE UNIVERSE. Isn’t that your own proposal? I.e. “something can’t come from nothing so it must have come from SOMETHING ELSE”.

          What was it? We don’t and you don’t know.

        • Paul B. Lot

          1)

          We know the universe began to exist, meaning it had no existence.

          This is false.

          Geena gave you a huge list of detailed reasons why it’s false (as she is wont to do). If you actually cared about how and what we know of the cosmos, her list should’ve put to rest this notion of yours.

          But you, true to form, ignored it and re-asserted your position. Arguing is much easier when you don’t let the truth and honesty get in your way, isn’t it?

          Start with a conclusion. Then pick concepts, facts, and definitions which get you there to your chosen destination; distort and ignore everything else.

          2)

          It seems nonsensical, to state that “well, since we have no experience of “nothing”, we can’t say what could or couldnt happen in “nothing”.That’s nonsensical because nothing IS simply non-existence, non-existence has no potentiality.

          You may be right, it might well be nonsensical to say that non-existence has potentiality.

          But then Craig picks the potential of nothing as a premise in this argument: “(ii) If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn’t come into being from nothing”

          Which means that he’s either a) granting the logical coherence of “the potential of nothing” or b) his argument has an incoherent premise, rendering it a useless string of words.

          If a), then you are wrong when you say “[the potential of nothing is] nonsensical.”

          If on the other hand b) is the case and “the potential of nothing” is incoherent, your sloppy attempt to parrot Craig’s argument (ii) here: “[if being could arise from non-being] it is impossible to explain why objects do not randomly come into existence without a cause all the time. It is proved every day” is also a useless string of words.

          So, which do you chose?

        • Wick Samuel

          actually, virtually all of the scientists that Gena’s quoted acknowledged that the universe had a beginning, they were observing that that is where our understanding of the universe stops.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Actually, virtually all of the scientists that Gena quoted acknowledged that our understanding of the early universe breaks down the further back we go.

          You then followed your own apriori conviction about a creation event to the conclusion: “lack of data” == “the universe began to exist”.

        • Wick Samuel

          Actually, virtually all of the scientists that Gena quoted acknowledged that our understanding of the early universe breaks down the further back we go

          actually, much more than that, they appeal to a boundary of scientific investigation that exists, which is the origin 🙂

        • Paul B. Lot

          This is inaccurate.

          It looks like the boundary for direct observation starts at ~[t0* +1 trillionth of a second], while the boundary for current theoretical frameworks is the Plank epoch, ~[t0* + 10^-43 seconds].

          The efforts of scientific investigation reach all the way to t0* neither through direct observation nor even through coherent and accepted scientific theory.

          t0* == hypothetical time zero

        • MNb

          Well phrased, as some theoretical frameworks postulate that the Big Bang (understood as the origin of our Universe) did not take place at that hypothetical time zero (to which I add that in this formulation we don’t recognize negative time, something that’s physically entirely possible).

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, we are pretty sure there was an event now known as the big bang, and the event that caused the Universe happened due to the big bang. I think it was Carroll, maybe Krause, not sure right now, could have been someone else, that we simply don’t have any evidence what happened before that point in time. The state prior to the big bang could have been in existence for a near eternity before whatever event caused our Universe to expand. The simple, straight forward answer is, really, “We don’t know” and shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

        • The simple, straight forward answer is, really, “We don’t know”

          Wait–you can say that?

          That kinda resolves Wick’s confusion. I wish he’d just shut up.

        • Paul B. Lot

          For my part, the most frustrating aspect of the conversation was his inability to admit that the KCA and “what would happen if something came from nothing” were two, separate arguments.

          Specifically, that the definitions used in one might not be the definitions used in the other. Once you decide to grant the opposition’s hypothesis for the sake of argument, you take on their definitions.

          “If Michael Johnson were the best runner in the world, he would be the best at running marathons. But, because he sucked at marathons, he was not the best runner in the world.”

          If someone thinks the “the best runner in the world” == the-best-sprinter, then you have to use the-best-sprinter if you’re going to grant their position arguendo.

          On a side/vocabulary note, why call it creatio ex nihilo when what you are really talking about the absence-of-a-specific-object?

          Why not call it creatio ex absentia?

          My guess is conflating the two allows one to piggy back on millenia of serious philosophers who have come before you so that you don’t have to do the work yourself.

        • It’s like faith vs. trust. Faith = “trust” when everyone is looking. “Oh, sure–we demand evidence for our beliefs as much as anyone does.” But when it’s just us girls, the definition for “faith” suddenly gets a bit flabby.

        • Susan

          The consensus view of cosmologists is that the universe came into existence from non-existence.

          IF by “came into existence from non-existence”, you mean “emerged from metaphysical nothing”, please provide citations.

        • Wick Samuel

          I mean began to exist, simple.
          It didnt exist, then it did.

        • Like my oak tree. It wasn’t here, and then it was.

        • Wick Samuel

          yep, I already captured that one..

          Approach 6:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “how do I explain origins? easy, I have a 10-year-old oak tree. It didn’t exist 11 years ago. It came into existence, there you go”
          Theist: “clearly a tree is simply a re-arrangement of existing atoms, it isnt “coming into existence” it is just changing state”
          Atheist: “oh.. ok, well how about virtual particles, or electron-positron pair production?”
          Theist: “Clearly they are dependent on something, they dont have an origin of existence independent of anything else.”
          Atheist: “oh, well, you cant prove the universe wasnt created by something else!!”

          Theist: “Please go to approach #5”

        • Your “It didn’t exist, then it did” applies to an oak tree. If you want to exclude oak trees, then you should be clearer in your statements.

        • Susan

          Wick:The consensus view of cosmologists is that the universe came into existence from non-existence.

          Me:

          IF by “came into existence from non-existence”, you mean “emerged from metaphysical nothing”. please provide citations.

          Wick:

          I mean began to exist, simple.
          It didn’t exist, then it did.

          Yes. Which by your definition MUST mean emergence from metaphysical nothingness.

          That is the definition according to Wick. I accept that definition and am asking for evidence to support your claim that the consensus view of cosmologists is that the universe emerged from metaphysical nothingness.

          Where is your evidence for that statement?

        • Susan

          consensus view of cosmologists

          This is my third request for support for your claim that “the consensus view of cosmologists is” that it emerged from metaphysical nothing.

          You could win the whole pot of beans by supporting that claim. Why would you make such a claim if you can’t support it?

          It took dozens of comments for me to make sure that that was the claim you were making. It was such an asinine claim and so rotten with equivocation, I wanted to make sure.

          Now, all you have to do is show that most cosmological models are based on metaphysical nothing and you could at least demonstrate that you have something there.

          I’ve never seen one cosmological model that works like this.

          Can you show me one?

        • Susan

          🙂

          Well, look at that. A Dunning-Kruger smiley face.

        • Rudy R

          Until there is evidence that there was “nothing” before the Big Bang, we can’t assume “nothing” is the default starting point, when “something” could have existed before the Big Bang.

        • MNb

          Read the comment I wrote especially above and react there. I did it to avoid confusion.

        • Susan

          Please show me a definition of the word “nothing” that indicates it can include something

          There is nothing in the box (where “nothing” means no macro objects).
          I’ve done nothing all day. (where “nothing” means not anything useful).
          In fact, people use the word “nothing” all the time and rarely do they mean metaphysical nothing.
          Nobody’s redefining anything. There are all kinds of nothings.
          If you want to use it to mean metaphysical nothing, that’s fine. How does metaphysical nothing serve your argument?
          What does it have to do with universes, existence, causes and beginnings?

        • Wick Samuel

          you have an object, if that object comes into existence it did not have an existence, then it did.
          When we talk about the object not having an existence, we use the phrase “it came from nothing”. The ex-nihilo discussion, been around for thousands of years.
          In that context, there is only one kind of nothing: non-existence.
          That is the discussion, why does the universe exist rather than nothing at all.

        • Susan

          you have an object, if that object comes into existence it did not have an existence, then it did.

          This has nothing to do with metaphysical nothing.

          When we talk about the object not having and existence, we use the phrase “it came from nothing”.

          This specifies metaphysical nothing.

          I’m asking you where the connection is.

          The ex-nihilo discussion, been around for thousands of years.

          So?

          That is the discussion, why does the universe exist rather than nothing at all.

          ‘Cause Jesus?

        • Wick Samuel

          your notion of “metaphysical nothing” seems to be the same thing as Paul’s notion of “a state of nothingness”, which is nonsensical.

          you have an object, if that object comes into existence it did not have an existence, then it did. Period.

          That is what KCA is all about. just that. period.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Wick, as you know I’m almost finished with you. If you could just pop back over to this thread and answer me there, your training will be complete.

          I don’t want to have to chase you all over disqus.

        • Wick Samuel

          just did..

        • Paul B. Lot

          You failed another lesson, grasshopper.

          Try again.

          (Sidenote: I apologize to anyone else forced to read this discussion. I realize that my stubbornness is forcing me to drag out a conversation relevant only to me and this Homunculus.)

        • You have great patience, Master. I will strive to learn by your example.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Ugh, it’s not “patience,” it’s compulsion; if you learn anything, learn to avoid these epic over-commitments.

          Like Marty McFly from Back to the Future [not being able to back down from being called chicken], I can’t stand it when people lie in these discussions, particularly about things I’ve actually said.

        • Rudy R

          We all fall into the trap. Christians try out their debating skills in this forum, using amateurish Christian talking points, confident they are going to crush us with their logic. We try to counter their twisted logic with sound, scientific reasoning and before you know it, have followed them down a rabbit hole, where they feel safe and comfortable, and we feel slimed. Wick will stick around long enough to get some pleasure out of getting our goat, and will leave, never to be heard from again, like all the other Christian trolls.

        • Susan

          your notion of “metaphysical nothing”

          By “metaphysical nothing”, I am referring to the only definition you say you’ll accept. The absence of anything at all.

          you have an object, if that object comes into existence it did not have an existence, then it did. Period.

          Now, you’re NOT talking about metaphysical nothing, the only nothing you say you will accept.

        • Wick Samuel

          🙂

        • MNb

          “You have an object, if that object comes into existence it did not have an existence, then it did.”
          Like happens with electron-positron pair production, you mean? Which happens without a cause? Thanks for refuting your own argument.

        • Wick Samuel

          electron-positron pair production depends on a photon interacting with a nucleus, or a neutral boson, interacting with a nucleus, another boson, or itself

          so, that isnt “beginning to exist” (ex-nihilo) as P1 of KCA requires.

        • MNb

          “beginning to exist” doesn’t necessarily mean ex-nihilo. Moreover most Big Bang Theories don’t postulate “beginning to exist ex-nihilo” either. My favourite Big Bang Theory suggests that the Big Bang, ie “our Universe beginning to exist” required quantum fields, ie not ex-nihilo. So CA (with or without Kalam) still fails. “God created the quantum fields” is all what’s left for WLC and you, but that implies a god playing dice, which refutes causality and would force you to reconvert. Of course neither of you ever will, intellectually dishonest as you both are.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2013/03/29/the-higgs-story-part-6-relativistic-quantum-fields/

          https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/a-mathematical-proof-that-the-universe-could-have-formed-spontaneously-from-nothing-ed7ed0f304a3

          http://www.space.com/16281-big-bang-god-intervention-science.html

          This is why the Krauss-Albert controversy is so silly; it’s just semantics. Define “nothing” as a quantum vacuum and Krauss is right – the Universe popped up from nothing without any external help. Define “quantum fields” (and Krauss always admitted they “are” there) as something and the Big Bang was not “created ex-nihilo”.
          Either way the CA (Kalam or not) fails.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/category/science/higgs/

          I noticed you haven’t commented on my analysis of “beginning to exist” yet. I wrote it especially for you. Must I conclude that you can’t address my point and implicitely admit that “beginning to exist” disproves your god? Fun.

        • Wick Samuel

          Beginning to exist means beginning to exist.

          If you want to posit that our universe arose from the quantum vacuum, then you have to explain how the quantum vacuum arose (QV cant be eternal in the past).

          You keep looking for an “out”, but there isnt any.

          Albert rightly points out that Krauss is playing semantic games.

          ====

          please re-state your “beginning to exist” argument or provide a pointer.

        • MNb

          “(QV cant be eternal in the past).”
          Prove it. And if you have done so: accepting Quantum Vacuum means accepting Quantum Fields means, if you by all means turn to the God of the Gaps argument that your god is responsible, accepting a god playing dice. No matter your position, the CA fails. It’s the other way round: you try to stay “in”, but there is no entrance.

          “please re-state your “beginning to exist” argument or provide a pointer.”
          Just read the comment. I wrote it especially for you. Until you do I conclude that my “beginning to exist” disproves your god. And will keep on reminding you.

        • you have an object, if that object comes into existence it did not have an existence, then it did.

          I have a 10-year-old oak tree. It didn’t exist 11 years ago. It came into existence.

          Yes, I realize you don’t mean this, but you apparently don’t realize that this is a reasonable transition from your statement.

        • Wick Samuel

          Approach 1:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “well, that’s a stupid question”

          Approach 2:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “we dont know, dont ask us that question”

          Approach 3:
          Theist:”how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “please define “how”, “do”, “you”, “explain”, “the”, “origin”, “of” and “universe”, I’m happy to argue semantics forever to avoid the question.”

          Approach 4:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “it created itself”
          Theist: “really, how did that happen”
          Atheist: “the universe can come from nothing”
          Theist: “really? how?”
          Atheist: “Oh sure, all you need is a quantum vacuum (which is “nothing”), and hey shazaam, you got something from nothing”
          Theist: “well, ok, what created the QV?”
          Atheist: “what? that’s a stupid question, I already explained how we got the universe from nothing, who cares about the QV.” (having the ability to say, “I already explained how we got the universe from nothing” is very important amongst atheists)

          Approach 5:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “the multi-verse”
          Theist: “ok, what created the multi-verse”
          Atheist: “well, that’s a stupid question”

          Approach 6:
          Theist: “how do you explain the origin of the universe”
          Atheist: “how do I explain origins? easy, I have a 10-year-old oak tree. It didn’t exist 11 years ago. It came into existence, there you go”
          Theist: “clearly a tree is simply a re-arrangement of existing atoms, it isnt “coming into existence” it is just changing state”
          Atheist: “oh.. ok, well how about virtual particles, or electron-positron pair production?”

          Theist: “Clearly they are dependent on something, they dont have an origin of existence independent of anything else.”
          Atheist: “oh, well, you cant prove the universe wasnt created by something else!!”
          Theist: “Please go to approach #5”

        • Theist: “clearly a tree is simply a re-arrangement of existing atoms, it isnt “coming into existence” it is just changing state”

          Then don’t say, “you have an object, if that object comes into existence it did not have an existence, then it did” as if there can be no overlap. There was no tree, then there was, just like you said.

          While Christians apparently can’t say, “I don’t know,” scientists do it all the time. That’s what they say about the origin of the universe.

          Pretty simple if you stop and listen.

        • Rudy R

          Instead of having a hypothetical conversation with an atheist, I suggest you have a real conversation with a cosmologist. Guarantee you won’t have the same, glib responses you have with your fictional character.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Here’s my favorite way to respond, fyi (complete with full sentences and punctuation)

          Theist: “How do you explain the origin of the universe?”
          Paul (Atheist): “That’s a great question, to which I don’t know the answer!. I try to read and absorb as much of the cutting edge research on this topic as possible, I encourage you, and everyone, to do the same!”

        • But … but … where’s the snarky, ill-informed Christian putdown?!

          Sorry–I like Wick’s version better. More authentic.

        • “A vacuum contains nothing” would be another example.

        • Geena Safire

          1) Good point. Albert does also attack Krauss’ definition of “nothing.” However, the article is not only about this. It seems to me that Albert’s
          focus is on taking Krauss to task for minimizing religion and philosophy, as well as for other philosophical reasons, such as the meanings of “law of nature” and “physical thing” and “explain” and, most especially, about the meaning of “why.”

          2) You didn’t respond to my bringing up Krauss’ several possible definitions of “nothing” in his book. Did you actually read his book, by the way? You might want to at least be familiar with his several definitions if you are going to criticism them. It wasn’t my main point anyway, but a step on the way to it.

          3) You didn’t respond to my contention that WLC’s astonishment does not actually demonstrate anything. Just saying ‘WLC said X’ doesn’t, in and of itself, prove anything. Again, though, this wasn’t my main point, but a step on the way to it.

          I wrote “Fourth, many words have several definitions, all of which can be correct in their proper context. That is the nature of language. You don’t own the English language. Neither does Krauss nor WLC nor anyone else.

          Fifth, languages evolve and definitions change over time. Words are also not “owned” by their definitions. Dictionaries do not own the English language either; they describe usage.

          You wrote: “4,5: nothing means no-thing. nothing. you dont get to redefine the word.”

          My dear, I didn’t redefine the word. I didn’t even propose a definition, much less a redefinition.

          Do you actually read what you are replying to? I talked about definitions and language and the fact that they change, and that words can have many definitions.

          Changes in usage change the definition of a word. As some examples to get you used to the idea, here are 27 common words that don’t mean now what they used to mean in English.

          Also, if you read the very portion of Albert’s review you quoted, you’ll see that he considers the word ‘nothing’ has been redefined due to the findings of science.

          Further, if you know anything about philosophy, you must know that a concept – especially a significant concept such as ‘nothing’ – is neverabout a simple dictionary definition. If you want to read more about the philosophy of nothingness, there’s a great article here at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. About eleven thousand words.

          ——–

          In any case, my first 5 points (211 words) were the preamble to my main point, point 6 (373 words). You didn’t respond to that at all. Maybe you got all distracted by thinking that I said something I didn’t say.

          So let’s try again. I’ll repeat it here for you. I’m interested in your response.

          Sixth, philosophy also changes over time. Just because
          Aristotle said something, for example, doesn’t mean it is true for all time or even that it is actually scientifically true. Even though Aristotle was smart, he was wrong about a lot of things.

          With all that as preamble, let’s discuss the point you are raising about ‘something coming from nothing.’

          If your definition of “nothing” includes the quality of “It is impossible for anything to emerge from ‘nothing’ “…

          then, by your definition, something cannot come from nothing…

          but that is a mere tautology, that is, something that is “true” only in the sense of “correct due to how it was defined.”

          Some ancient philosophers defined what we call “philosophical nothing” as including that quality of barrenness, that is, that something could not emerge from it. I’ll agree with you that this is what ancient philosophers said.

          Parmenides, by the way, is the philosopher most associated with exploring this quality of nothing: Nothing
          comes from nothing
          . It is usually referred to by its Latin version, nihil fit ex nihilo, although Parmenides was Greek.

          However, that traditional philosophical definition does not trump, own, constrain, or otherwise limit a different philosophical definition of ‘nothing’, nor a poetical definition of ‘nothing’ nor one or more scientific definitions of ‘nothing.’ Parmenides doesn’t have a copyright on the word ‘nothing.’

          Scientifically, regarding the Big Bang and universal
          origins, scientists do not say that definitively it has been scientifically proven that our observable universe surely began from philosophical nothing.

          They will say that, based on the available information, the best explanation seems to be that our observable universe had an origin (or expansion) about 13.81 billion years ago. All that physicists can agree to say
          is that, prior to the expansion, the universe was in a hot, dense, smooth state. Physicist Sean Carroll, I think, puts it best when he says that rather than considering the Big Bang as the ‘beginning’ of everything, we should
          consider it as the ‘end’ of our current understanding.

          So we can say that our observable universe (often referred to as ‘the universe’) had a beginning. But we cannot say definitively that therefore that it emerged from nothing. We can say that it emerged from not-our-observable-universe.

        • Wick Samuel

          First, actually, in the New York Times book review you mentioned, Krauss got called out by theoretical physicist and philosopher David Albert for dissing philosophy and for his definition of “why”, not for his definition of “nothing.

          Good point. Albert does also attack Krauss’ definition of “nothing.”

          agreed.

          =====

          seems to me that Albert’s
          focus is on taking Krauss to task for minimizing religion and philosophy, as well as for other philosophical reasons

          No, the entire article is aimed directly at Krauss mistaken notion that he has proved that something can come from nothing.

        • Kodie

          Can you explain this more?

        • Geena Safire

          I guess I see several themes in the article while you see only one. I will note that Albert’s final paragraph begins with this sentence:

          And I guess it ought to be mentioned, quite apart from the question of whether anything Krauss says turns out to be true or false, that the whole business of approaching the struggle with religion as if it were a card game, or a horse race, or some kind of battle of wits, just feels all wrong.

          EDIT: Oops, I hit the Post button too quickly. I meant to add this paragraph:

          This last paragraph is all about disagreeing with Krauss’ style, apart from his contentions about ‘nothing.’ That’s 12% of the article. Not, you know, ‘nothing.’ 12% is more than nothing.

          “So what ‘it’s better than 11%’? What does that have to do with anything?!” (Rocket to Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy)

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, the entire article is aimed directly at Krauss mistaken notion that he has proved that something can come from nothing.

          Your book argues that physics has definitively demonstrated how something can come from nothing. Do you mean that physics has explained how particles can emerge from so-called empty space, or are you making a deeper claim?

          Krauss: I’m making a deeper claim, but at the same time I think you’re overstating what I argued. I don’t think I argued that physics has definitively shown how something could come from nothing; physics has shown how plausible physical mechanisms might cause this to happen. I try to be intellectually honest in everything that I write, especially about what we know and what we don’t know. If you’re writing for the public, the one thing you can’t do is overstate your claim, because people are going to believe you. They see I’m a physicist and so if I say that protons are little pink elephants, people might believe me. And so I try to be very careful and responsible. We don’t know how something can come from nothing, but we do know some plausible ways that it might.

          But I am certainly claiming a lot more than just that. That it’s possible to create particles from no particles is remarkable—that you can do that with impunity, without violating the conservation of energy and all that, is a remarkable thing. The fact that “nothing,” namely empty space, is unstable is amazing. But I’ll be the first to say that empty space as I’m describing it isn’t necessarily nothing, although I will add that it was plenty good enough for Augustine and the people who wrote the Bible. For them an eternal empty void was the definition of nothing, and certainly I show that that kind