Let the fun begin.

Frank Turek is going.  He’s already said if we’re just molecules that there’s no purpose to life.  *sigh*  Let the live-blogging fun begin!


“Four questions, if you answer yes, then beyond a reasonable doubt that god exists.”

  1. Does truth exist?
  2. Does god exist?
  3.  Are miracles possible?
  4. Is the NT True?

If those questions are what lead to the conclusion of god’s existence, why is #2 on there?  *boggle*

Turek: “If there is no truth, then atheist books can’t be true either.”  Then why make the argument?  It seems we’re in agreement.

Sorry the live-blogging is slow, Turek is hacking through a forest of strawmen. As soon as we get into the meat, there will be more.

Turek just said that faith is not a good argument.  So…are we good to leave?

Here we go.  “Darwinists rule out the possibility of intelligent design without looking at the data.”

Turek:  “In response to the idea that we should doubt everything, ask if we should doubt that.”  Yes, you should.  And when it survives the evidence you should provincially accept it.

His three arguments:

1. Cosmological Argument

2.  Teleological Argument

3.  Moral Argument

So bad it’s making a baby cry.

He’s using the second law of thermodynamics argument at a science and technology school.  That takes balls.  Or credulity.

Oh, and there’s the argument from fine-tuning slipped in.

There’s Paley’s watchmaker argument.

“Saying that DNA requires a designer is not god of the gaps reasoning because there’s a message present.”  Yes, the message is, this is what mindless forces can accomplish.  If god exists, the message is “Holy shit am I incompetent.”

“God’s unchanging moral nature.” “God’s nature is the standard of morality.”

If there is no objective morality…

1. The Nazis were not wrong. (Strawman: whatever the majority says is morally right)
2. Love is no better than rape.
3. Freedom is no better than slavery.
4. Religious crusades are wrong.
5. Tolerance is no better than intolerance.
6. Can’t complain about the problem of evil.

“Mormonism and polytheism are non-theistic.”  I shit you not.

March For Marriage: NOM wants pictures of the march. My brother helped out.
March For Marriage: Tab A fits in slot B, perpetuates the species.
March For Marriage: more people watch a kid play video games.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://gravatar.com/improbablejoe Improbable Joe

    So, Christian apologetics is just formal stupidity. Gotcha. There’s not going to be any meat, just a lot of artificially-flavored gravy.

    • Rob

      My sweetheart is a big lover of packet gravy (shudder). Guess what her favourite flavour is? Chicken? Beef? Lamb? Nope. Its called ‘light brown’. I shit you not.

      I’d apologise about being off-thread, but frankly crimes against gravy are more important and more easily fixed that this apallagetics stuff. Keep it up JT (and I know cooking is not your strong point, but keep away from any ‘food’ defined by it’s colour).

  • http://faehnri.ch/ eric

    if we’re just molecules that there’s no purpose to life

    Right, except any purpose we give it ourselves. And just because we don’t like that something is true, doesn’t mean the opposite must be true then.

    Does truth exist?

    How does the existence of truth have anything to do with god? And which god would it prove, Zeus?

    Is the NT True?

    I believe in the Ninja Turtles.

  • http://faehnri.ch/ eric

    Darwinists rule out the possibility of intelligent design without looking at the data

    There’s data that shows intelligent design?! Then publish that shit in a peer reviewed journal, you’ll be famous!

    Oh, you mean they rule out the possibility because they don’t assume a designer to begin with then look at data and still don’t find it.

  • http://faehnri.ch/ eric

    In response to the idea that we should doubt everything, ask if we should doubt that

    Well, I wanted to, but then doubted my doubting of doubt.

    Man, this guy’s self-referencing meaningless arguments would give Gödel a headache.

    • UsingReason

      My doubt doubts your doubting of doubt.

      • http://home.earthlink.net/~trolleyfan David Johnson


        • Going Deeper


  • idkwhat?


  • Ibis3

    I think this> provinciallyprovisionally<.

  • Ibis3

    Sigh. That didn’t work. What I said was:

    I think this }}provincially{{ is meant to be this }}provisionally{{.

  • Makoto

    “Four questions, if you answer yes, then beyond a reasonable doubt that god exists.”
    Does truth exist? – yes, but we likely will never know all of it
    Does god exist? – what JT said
    Are miracles possible? – not that I’ve ever seen
    Is the NT True? – no – it’s self-contradictory, so by definition it can’t be true

    1/4, argument fails horribly.

    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com Enopoletus Harding

      I hate the way inerrantists use the word “true” to mean “wholly without error”, only to do a bait-and-switch by only showing the relevant text is partially true.

      • MichaelD

        Nah then you just hammer them with spiderman being true! ;p

        • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          Spiderman lives in New York City. I’ve been to New York City! Therefore, Spiderman.

    • iknklast

      Great answer on truth! Why does truth mean god? Oh, right he means Truth, not truth. My bad. ;-)

    • John Horstman

      No, truth does not exist as part of material reality, except in the sense that material existence is what it is, and we might describe that as true. True is just a value in an abstracted system we’ve developed to described the universe as it actually is (for example, Boolean logic), but it has no meaning without that abstraction. It exists as a model, sure, but I’m not sure what we’re supposed to learn about reality by saying that a model exists. A unicorn exists as an idea; and…? Now, Boolean logic is a pretty good model to represent certain aspects of reality, but we use concepts like true and false to evaluate how closely our perceptions or abstracted models conform to actual material existence. When we’re talking about what’s real, however, it simply is what it is – there’s no possibility of some sort of false existence, and truth loses any meaning without an opposite to which to compare it.

      • Makoto

        An excellent point, I should’ve been clearer about what I meant by truth, since there are many (sometimes conflicting) definitions, and the question wasn’t clear.

        In this case, I was meaning truth as “what exists”, since that’s my favorite when it comes to questions about reality. I doubt we’ll ever be able to observe all of it, or even predict all of it, due to the limitations of our senses and the things we can build to indirectly observe things. And yes, it’s true – we don’t have a not-reality to compare it to, so we’ll never know if we’re done or not, other than by eons of not finding anything else, but even that isn’t proof, just educated guesses over long periods of time. Might be the difference between Big-T Truth and little-t truth.

        But I don’t think it loses meaning due to all that. Reality is still there, no matter what we call it (or don’t call it). We simply can’t know about all of it, ever, or know when to stop looking for all of it. That doesn’t change whether it’s out there or not.

        (Now, the idea of a unicorn is something else completely. I have an idea of a Marcoliolith. Don’t worry, it doesn’t exist, since it would be very, very bad if it did. Ideas and existence are separate things, luckily. Reality is out there. Unicorns and Marcolioliths aren’t, to the best of our current knowledge. Who knows? That might change tomorrow.)

  • Joe

    4. Religious crusades are wrong.

    Well, at least he got one thing right.

    The thermodynamics argument has always really annoyed me – it is so obviously wrong to anyone with any understanding of thermodynamics, I don’t see how they get away with continually using it.

    • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

      Obvious answer: The people who find the 2LoT argument effective, are people who don’t have any understanding of thermodynamics. Creationist apologetics aren’t supposed to win over people who actually know what the fuck they’re talking about; rather, Creationist apologetics are designed to “dazzle ‘em with bullshit”. The intended audience for Creationist apologetics is people who don’t know much (if at all!) about science, and as a result will willingly swallow whatever sciencey-sounding verbiage a Trusted Figure™ serves up to them. The Trusted Figure™ needn’t actually be trustworthy; as long as the Trusted Figure™ displays the appropriate external signifiers, the intended audience for Creationist apologetics will accept whatever they say as if it were True Gospel.

      • Joe

        Yeah, I know. As someone who is studying physics because I really want to know how things work, it just annoys me that people can be so wilfully ignorant about the world. It would be nice if people actually looked into this stuff. (And yes, I realise that I’m being rather naive and idealistic. Ah well.)

    • John Horstman

      Also, apologetics is NOT invested in somehow proving god, it’s a defense (apologia) of god with respect to actual reality. It aims to square a given conception of god (in this case a particular version of Yahweh) with things we actually know. It cracks me up when apologists succumb to this particular form of mission drift, because they’re (mostly) truly terrible at any form of argumentation that doesn’t presuppose their conclusion as a premise. Christian apologetics is dedicated to proving that Yahweh is not impossible given what we know; one requires some other form of argumentation to actually suggest that there’s a good reason to believe Yahweh actually exists.

      • invivoMark

        Well that’s setting the bar rather low. I always thought that the goal Christian apologetics was to show that their beliefs actually aren’t utterly nuts. Just showing that they’re technically possible ought to be as trivial as it is useless.

  • Michaelyn

    Wait. Is it popular to think that the religious crusades were *right*?

    • http://volfield.blogspot.com Dave T

      I think that depends on whether your religion was the crusader or the crusadee.

  • Andrew B.

    So is Frank Turek just a poor man’s WLC? If it’s any consolation however, being named after a dinosaur hunter is pretty sweet.

    • http://getoffmylawnyoukids.wordpress.com/ Grumpmog

      Sorry, dude, that’s Turok.

      • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

        He’s a vulcan?

        • http://getoffmylawnyoukids.wordpress.com/ Grumpmog

          That’s Tuvok. Turok is the Dinosaur hunter, although Turek may well hunt dinosaurs, given his belief system.

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            So he’s an inhabitant of the Saharan interior of North Africa.

          • BradC

            Nice one. No, that’s Tuareg.

            So Frank is named after a motor vehicle designed to carry cargo?

          • Epinephrine

            Ah, nesting no longer works! I think BradC may be thinking of a truck. Frank’s actually named after the cross-product of a force and lever on which that force is applied.

          • Parse

            I believe that the good Epinephrine may be thinking of torque. As EVERYBODY clearly knows, Frank is actually a long, arduous journey.

          • BradC

            A trek? Surely you jest.

            Frank is clearly a small, religious pamphlet known for annoying young trick-or-treaters everywhere.

          • John Horstman

            This wins the internet for the day. Well done, WWJTD commentariat.

  • eric

    JT – was there a Q&A period? Any good questions? How do you think his talk was generally received?

  • Baal

    Sounds like the same performance he’s given in the past. /em wanders away muttering something about complex systems and emergent properties.

  • Drew

    I am also curious about any Q&A after the talk.

  • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com Buzz Saw

    ““Mormonism and polytheism are non-theistic.” I shit you not.”

    Yeah, if I recall from I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, there can only be one infinite god, so any religion that has multiple gods is wrong, and because they are wrong, they are non-theistic. I’m sure that’s not the way they (as Norman Geisler was a co-author) framed the argument, but I recall the argument boiling down to that.

  • Rowan

    “God’s unchanging moral nature.”

    Yeah, his completely unchanging and eternal moral nature…except when he changes. Unless that means slavery is still OK and we should be stoning rape victims and shit…

    Basically its like saying “Romney’s unwavering political beliefs.” Which means that he believes he should be president. The rest doesnt matter, all that matters is the core. For God its “whatever God does is good”, doesnt matter what he does, murdering babies, drowning puppies, whatever. As long as its God doing it, its defacto good, even if it was bad before or the most horrific thing possible if a actual person is doing it.

  • smrnda

    Religious people always argue that you need god to have objective morality. The problem is, their vision of god doesn’t seem to present us with objective morals – if god tells you to kill your kid, then you go out and do it. So, killing your kids is bad (that’s why some people say the Canaanites had to be wiped out – because they practiced child sacrifice) but apparently it’s sometimes okay.

    I’m actually not sure what objective morals would even be these days. Any hard and fast rules seem to be such that they ought to be broken sometimes. Lying sometimes is the right thing to do.

  • Johnnie M

    “Does truth exist”? There is actually a formal mathematical answer to that, and it has an interesting history, as it passes through Russell’s paradox, which required a major overhaul to the foundations of mathematics at the beginning of the 20th century.

    The answer is simple: Truth does not exist.

    To be precise, the set of true statements does not exist; true statements consitute a proper class, but not a set, and so not constructible in any sense.

    The reason is Russell’s paradox. If the set of true statements existed, then “this statement is not a member of the set of true statements” (i.e. “this statement is false”) would have to be a member or not a member. Either solution leads to a contradiction. thus, the original supposition (such a set exists) must be false.