Nov
14

Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

By: Scott Youngren


Frank Turek and Norman Geisler make an excellent point in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. The Second Law of Thermodynamics poses an insurmountable problem for atheistic explanations of the origin of life from non-living matter:

“…nature disorders, it doesn’t organize things (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder is another aspect of the Second Law of Thermodynamics). More time will make things worse for the Darwinist, not better. How so?”

“Let’s suppose you throw red, white, and blue confetti out of an airplane 1,000 feet above your house. What’s the chance it’s going to form the American flag on your front lawn? Very low. Why? Because natural laws will mix up or randomize the confetti. You say, ‘Allow more time.’ Okay, let’s take the plane up to 10,000 feet to give natural laws more time to work on the confetti. Does this improve the probability that the flag will form on your lawn? No, more time actually makes the flag less likely because natural laws have longer to do what they do—disorder and randomize.”

“How did life arise from nonliving chemicals, without intelligent intervention, when nonliving chemicals are susceptible to the Second Law? Darwinists have no answer, only faith.”

Manifestations of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics are all around us. It is the reason dead things decay, cars rust, people age, sand castles crumble, etc., etc. But the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is just the tip of the iceberg. For a more in-depth understanding of why the origin of life has not been, and never can be, explained without reference to God, please read How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading and Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God.

It must be emphasized that the point is NOT that the 2nd law of thermodynamics poses a problem to Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution, the reader will recall, works upon the proposed natural mechanism of random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring. Therefore, Darwinian evolution, quite obviously, applies only to that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things. The pertinent question is not how Darwinian evolution could occur, but how simple non-living chemicals could become the simplest living thing. To put the question in perspective, the simplest living thing (the single celled organism) is described by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

“…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

Again, a mechanism utilizing random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring (the Darwinian mechanism) cannot apply to simple non-living chemicals since such chemicals have neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Atheism relies upon proposed natural mechanisms, but natural mechanisms cause the measure of order to DECREASE over time. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics performs the very opposite of the increase in order necessary to build life from non-living chemicals.

171 thoughts on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

  1. Hi there Scott! I’m a Christian, and I’ve been reading this site for a while, and it’s been a wonderful tool for me. On this article however, it was pointed out to me by an atheist that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t apply because Earth isn’t a closed system due to energy from the sun. While I personally don’t think it changes things all that much, I was curious as to what your opinion was on that. Thanks!

    • Kasey,

      Yes, I have heard that objection from atheists many times before, and I find it to be HILARIOUS! Yes, the Earth is an “open system” which means that something from outside of the system can step in to counteract the disordering force of the second law of thermodynamics.

      As an illustration, let’s consider a junkyard: The disordering force of the 2nd law of thermodynamics acting on the old cars in a junkyard causes them to rust and breakdown (become less ordered). Over great periods of time, in fact, the cars will no longer be recognizable as cars. But, someone or something can step in from outside of the “open system” of the junkyard to counteract the disordering action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. A person, for example, could enter the junkyard and replace or repair some of the rusting parts.

      Please notice in our junkyard example how an open system was necessary but NOT SUFFICIENT to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Your atheist friend is confusing a necessary condition with a sufficient condition.

      Just think about it, does the energy from the sun have any re-ordering properties to counteract the disordering properties of the 2nd law of thermodynamics? If it does, why is it that we cannot place a dead and decomposing animal in the sun and expect it to re-compose? I can virtually guarantee that your atheist friend will not respond to this question, or will try to evade it at all costs.

      Ask your atheist friend what it is that steps in from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the disordering properties of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Under no circumstances will he/she be able to answer this question coherently.

      The energy from the sun, in fact, contributes to the disordering properties of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, in that it accelerates decomposition of organic materials such as plants and animals. An open system is a NECESSARY condition to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but not a SUFFICIENT condition to do so.

      Scott

      • a junkyard, for all intents and purposes, is a closed system. Yes someone could go in and fix the cars, but until they do, it isn’t an open system.

        The possibility of someone making that an open system doesn’t make it one.

        Your analogy is like going up to a closed door and saying “it is closed, but it can be opened, so it is open”

        2) yep, dead bodies decompose. And If you put them in the sun they decompose faster. But why? The sun, combined with moisture, combined with dead cells, promotes microbial life.

        The sun doesn’t decompose a body, it promotes the growth of something else that does. In this case, fungus and bacteria.

        Both analogies really fail.

        • dj,

          Ok, fine…for the purposes of debate, I will just assume that you are correct that “a junkyard, for all intents and purposes, is a closed system.” But you apparently believe that the Earth is NOT a closed system. So the question is: Who or what is it that acted from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so as to bring about the massive increase in order which transpired in the emergence of life from non-living matter?

          The simplest living thing (a single celled organism) is described by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

          “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

          Was it sunlight that transformed non-living matter into life on the early Earth? Was it sunlight that acted from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby bringing about the vast, vast increase in order from simple, non-living matter into “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, etc. etc……”??? I know that some atheists have argued that it was lightning that did this. Are you going to now argue that it was sunlight?

          Please elaborate on how it is that sunlight can create “high-tech factories complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems….”

          In my essay titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (click on the preceding link), I explain why codes and languages can only be explained as the result of a conscious and intelligent mind. In a nutshell, symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY a mental process. A code or language uses abstract, substitutive, symbolic representation that can only be accomplished by a conscious and intelligent mind. Please read the essay and proceed to furnish your rebuttal.

          Your argument ASSUMES but DOES NOT EXPLAIN the existence of life…microbial life. Put another way, life (including microbial life) is what needs explanation.

          Scott

          • Because sun plus matter = complex life.

            You are making a strawman argument. You are essentially saying look the sun can’t possibly create cellular life. No one, not even atheists, support that position. The position that is held by most people is that the constant bombardment of energy from an outside source helped promote the rise of life. If you want to know the exact method of how this happened, we don’t know the answer. I am being intellectually honest by saying that. It beats “we don’t know, god had to have done it”

          • dj,

            If you look at the definition of a “straw man argument,” it quickly becomes apparent that it is YOU (and not I) making a “straw man argument”. A “straw man argument” occurs when a person mischaracterizes their opponent’s argument, and then proceeds to attack that mischaracterized argument…rather than their opponent’s ACTUAL argument.

            In my previous comment, I ASKED you, “Was it sunlight that acted from outside of the open system of the Earth to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby bringing about the vast, vast increase in order from simple, non-living matter into ‘…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, etc. etc……’”???

            Again, I ASKED you if that was your argument, I did not suggest that it was your argument.

            You however completely mischaracterize my argument as “we don’t know, so god had to have done it.” If you would have read my comment (and the essay to which I linked you), it would be immediately apparent that I am in no way suggesting that we should believe God created life merely because “we don’t know” much about how life emerged from non-living matter.

            Rather, I am suggesting that we should believe God created life because…. (a copy and paste from my previous comment appears below):

            In my essay titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (click on the preceding link), I explain why codes and languages can only be explained as the result of a conscious and intelligent mind. In a nutshell, symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY a mental process. A code or language uses abstract, substitutive, symbolic representation that can only be accomplished by a conscious and intelligent mind. Please read the essay and proceed to furnish your rebuttal.

            This is not an argument based upon what we DO NOT know about life, but rather it is an argument based upon what we DO know about life.

            Please furnish your rebuttal.

            READERS: PLEASE PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE! Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will an atheist provide a coherent answer to the following question:

            What was it that acted (from outside of the open system of the Earth) to counteract the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby bringing about the vast, vast increase in order from simple, non-living matter into the simplest life form (a single celled organism)???

            Again, to put the question in perspective, the simplest living thing (a single celled organism) is described by Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold in The Way of the Cell:

            “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

            READERS: Please note that atheism is anchored in the belief that natural processes, rather than God, brought about life from non-living matter. Please also note that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is a DISORDERING force, rather than the ordering force which is necessary to organize non-living matter in to immensely complicated living things.

            Lastly, I should mention that even the most elite atheist biologists clearly DO realize that life was created by an intelligent source. An excerpt from my essay Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God is here pertinent:

            Outspoken atheistic biologist numero uno, Richard Dawkins, cites “higher intelligence” as a potential explanation for the origin of life in this interview. (click on the preceding link). But what is the source of this intelligent agency, according Dawkins and several other prominent atheists? ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE! (Or “a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe” to use Dawkins’ exact words).

            The hypothesis that life on earth originated when it was brought here by space aliens is known as “directed panspermia,” and has been endorsed by highly prominent atheists such as Dawkins, the biologist Francis Crick (who is famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix) and the British chemist Leslie Orgel. (Click here to read an article regarding Crick’s support of the hypothesis). *

            Scott

  2. No one really supports the idea that the sun + non life = life. And to prop that up as a point and then argue against it is a strawman argument. There that is clearer

  3. And I answered your question. I said the addition of energy from the sun.

    When my original point was brought up, it was the sun. I never backed off it. By continuing to ask the same question, you are essentially pulling a move out of Glenn beck’s playbook. The “oh I’m only asking questions” line. I am calling b.s. your readers might not be smart enough to see past that rhetorical tactic, but I am.

    Your understanding of the second law is completely ridiculous. You have misrepresented it the entire time. Your blog post ignores the most important part.

    The second law of thermodynamics is only applicable for closed systems. The earth is not a closed system. It is open. So any argument you make saying that the second law means that evolution is impossible is really intellectually dishonest. Like I said, we know that the constant addition of energy is the reason why life is possible. Without an outside source of energy, our planet would waste away. That is the proper application of the second law.

    Now, if you want to know the exact way in which the sun interacted with earth to promote the advent of life (I might add, you are reducing this down in a manner that is way too simple. It isn’t like one day there was no life, and the next day there was bacteria.) We are still looking for that answer.

    PS the second law isn’t a force, it is an observation. In leymans terms, eventually something will break down unless an outside force acts upon it to prevent that from happening.

    So to answer you question, what is the outside force? The 84 terrawatts of power that we get from the sun.

    PS, saying elite scientists say there was a creator and then citing one of them saying “yeah its a possibility” is intellectually dishonest

    PPS, a hypothesis is a guess. Aliens did it holds as much weight as god did it until someone provides evidence to support it.

    Enough fighting against atheism because the true answer that I would give you is I don’t know. I would love to see the evidence of god. I mean if you had some, you could win the Nobel prize.

    So what is your evidence?

    • dj,

      OK fine, the Earth is an open system…if you wish. You completely misrepresent my argument when you suggest that I am “saying that the second law means that evolution is impossible.” This is not what I am saying at all. Please recall that the Darwinian evolutionary mechanism utilizes random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring.

      This means that Darwinian evolution, quite obviously, only works on that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things.

      But please also note that it is the ORIGIN of living things from non-living matter that needs to be explained. Darwinian evolution only addresses the diversification of life once life has already emerged.

      So what I am trying to pry out of you is this: If the Earth is an open system, then what is it that acts from out of the system of the Earth to counteract the disordering force of the 2nd law of thermodynamics? You write that “the second law of thermodynamics is only applicable for closed systems.” But this is obviously false because we see the action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics every day on Earth. It is the reason that cars rust, the reason that old houses need repairs, and the reason that dead things decay. The relevance of an open system to the 2nd law of thermodynamics is only that, in an open system, something can act from outside of the system to COUNTERACT the disordering action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, thereby creating greater order from a state of less order.

      So what is it that counteracts the disordering action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so as to transform simple inorganic elements such as carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen into something as complex as (to again cite the Oxford University scientist’s description of the simplest living thing):

      “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours” ?????

      You write: “PS the second law isn’t a force, it is an observation. In leymans terms, eventually something will break down unless an outside force acts upon it to prevent that from happening.” And then you go on to suggest that this force which prevents things from breaking down is “the 84 terrawatts of power that we get from the sun”. If this is so, then why doesn’t the 84 terrawatts of power from the sun prevent such actions of the 2nd law on Earth as 1) the rusting of cars, 2) the aging of people, and 3) the decay of dead things?!?!
      If the sun prevented the action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics on Earth, then we would have no rust, no breakdown, and no decay!!!

      Further, we need a force capable of doing much more than merely preventing something from breaking down in order to transform simple basic elements like carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen into “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, etc. etc……”!!!! Merely preventing breakdown is one thing, but actually increasing order in such a way is another thing entirely.

      You say that you would love to see evidence for God, but you have not responded to the evidence that I have presented you in the form of the essay titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (click on the preceding link). Modern physics and modern cosmology, like modern biology, also provide very compelling evidence for God. To this end, please read my essays titled God is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism and OK…I Want Numbers. What is the probability that our world is the result of chance? Please click on the preceding links to read the essays.

      Every time you assert that there is no evidence for God, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present, you are committing the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. A person who commits this logical fallacy is a person who seems to think that merely repeating a false statement over and over again (such as “there is no evidence for God”) will make the statement true.

      Regarding how I pointed out that some of the most elite of atheist scientists have hypothesized that life was brought to Earth by aliens: I point this out to demonstrate that they very clearly DO understand that life is the product of intelligence. The fact that they have introduced this hypothesis cannot be intellectually dishonest because it is a plain and easily verifiable fact.

      Scott

      • Even if you beat me in an argument, you are pulling a nick nayler. You have not justified your position with any sort of evidence.

        The burden of proof is not on the one making the negative statement. It is on the one making the positive statement.

        So, for the sake of argument, let’s say you discredit atheism through “proof by logic”

        What is the evidence that god, your god, created the universe?

        • dj,

          It is not about one person “beating” another person in an argument. Rather, it is about getting to the truth.

          I linked you to several essays which detail the evidence for God. You continue to ignore these essays, while simultaneously asserting that I have not presented evidence. As I mentioned before, you are here committing the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. Below, again, is a copy and paste of some of the essays I mentioned which provide strong evidence for God:

          Modern physics and modern cosmology, like modern biology, also provide very compelling evidence for God. To this end, please read my essays titled God is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism and OK…I Want Numbers…What is the probability that our world is the result of chance? These are under the “science” tab at this website. These are just some introductory pieces of evidence for God. There is much more.

          PLEASE READ AND RESPOND WITH ANY RATIONALLY CONSTRUCTED REBUTTALS YOU MAY HAVE.
          Any third party observer can see that you are just trying to repeat the assertion that I have not presented evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present (the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion). This is the “self-imposed set of blinders” that the psychologist M. Scott Peck refers to, as I cite him in my essay titled If the evidence for God is so strong, why are so many smart people unconvinced?

          Scott

          • You “evidence” is a proof by logic.

            In order for this to work the premises of a logical argument must be 100% umambiguously correct, valid, and unassumed. Each premise must be demonstrably true.

            Unfortunately for you, you have yet to build your argument with anything more than assumptions.

          • dj,

            Here again, you very transparently try to avoid my argument, rather than actually furnish a rebuttal to my argument. Specifically, you are trying to characterize my argument (as “nothing but assumptions”) in an attempt to avoid rebutting to it. Please note the crucial difference between actually furnishing a rebuttal to an argument, on one hand, and merely characterizing an argument, on the other hand.

            Which specific parts of my argument are assumptions? How about my point that code and language is by necessity a mental construct because it uses abstract, symbolic, substitutive representation (as information science tells us)….is that an “assumption”?

            Perhaps you can furnish us with an example of a code or language that is NOT the result of a conscious and intelligent mind?

            Scott

  4. Any bets on how many more times he is going to say “ask any atheist what is the outside force that made life possible and they won’t be able to answer coherently” after the original answer, the sun, was repeated a hundred times?

    • dj,

      The last time that I suggested you thought that the sun was the force that works from outside of the open system of the Earth in order to transform non-living elements into living things, you accused me of making a “straw man” argument. Is my recollection of facts incorrect? If so, please clarify.

      Is it the energy of the sun that transforms simple basic elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon into something as complex as “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices.…etc, etc”???

      YES OR NO!? Your answer is unclear since you seem to say “yes” in one answer and “no” in another (accusing me of a straw-man argument). And again, if the energy of the sun prevents the action of the 2nd law of thermodynamics on Earth, then why is it that we regularly experience things such as the rust of cars, the breakdown of old houses, and the decay of dead things?! Are these events not manifestations of the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

      Please clarify.

      Scott

      Scott

    • dj,

      Thanks for this. When you write such things as “it makes you look ridiculous” instead of a logical rebuttal to my argument, you are just advertising to all 3rd party observers that you DO NOT HAVE a logical reply or rebuttal…and that you feel frustrated and angry. Nothing could be more transparent.

      Trust me, I have no interest whatsoever in what you think of me. If I look ridiculous to you, that is perfectly fine with me since I am completely unconcerned of your opinion of me.

      Scott

  5. 1) I accused you of a strawman when you implied that one day the sun is shining and the next day cells popped into being. If that wasn’t your implication, then I take it back. If it was, it is a strawman.

    2) I’m actually fairly impressed you know the difference between abiogenesis and evolution. I typically use the term interchangeably because most do not.

    3) you just presented a false dichotomy. Because the sun doesn’t stop rust, it can not be used to describe the outside force that helped promote life. This is the implication.

    The sun is not a god. It doesn’t have magic powers. It is simply an energy source.and energy interacts with different chemicals in different ways. It isn’t an either or situation, hence the false dichotomy

    4) just because the sun is the catalyst, it doesn’t mean other things aren’t in play. This is where the question arises. What forces helped life form? Could it be god? Sure. Could it be geothermal heat and lightning? Sure. Could it have been just the sun? Absolutely. But I think it is a bit dishonest to say it was god, when we have never observed god. The exact mechanism is unknown right now. But I would prefer no to complicate it with an unobserved, unfalsifiable diety just because.

    • 5) you make an appeal to probability and an appeal to design in your other works.

      Essentially you say that since we are finely tuned, god did it. Granted that is a simplification, but if I had a sentence to sum it that would be it.

      And your other point is that since it is incredibly unlikely as in almost impossible for the universe to just form naturally. Am I correct on both these things?

      • dj,

        Saying that I make “an appeal to probability and an appeal to design” is a vast oversimplification and misrepresentation of my argument.

        My arguments for God are multi-layered and one of the layers is the anthropic fine tuning argument. You are correct that you are oversimplifying when you suggest, “Essentially you say that since we are finely tuned, god did it.”

        The anthropic fine tuning argument (from modern cosmology/astrophysics) is one layer. This layer is described in my essays Is There A God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?) and OK…I want numbers. What is the chance that the universe is the result of chance? (click on the preceding links).

        A second layer is the insights from modern biology, as detailed in the essays How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading and Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. (click on the preceding links). A synopsis of one of the arguments for God from modern biology would be this: DNA utilizes a LANGUAGE. Even the world’s most outspoken atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins acknowledges this. Dawkins writes:

        “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

        The fact that DNA is a language deals a CRUSHING BLOW to atheism because information science tells us that informational exchange (code and language) is BY NECESSITY a mental process (a conscious and intelligent mind is required). Abstract, substitutive, symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY a mental process, which means that a conscious and intelligent mind BY NECESSITY is responsible for the origin of life. This is why, as I have pointed out in Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, some ultra-elite atheist biologists have resorted to postulating that ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE created life and brought it to Earth in their spaceship. Go to the essay to watch a video of Richard Dawkins endorsing this hypothesis (known as “directed pansperemia”) in an interview and to read an article about how the famous atheist biologist Francis Crick (famous as the co-discoverer of DNA) endorsed this hypothesis in his book titled Life Itself.

        A third layer comes from the insights of modern physics, as detailed in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. (click on the preceding link). A brief summary of the evidence for God from modern physics is this: Modern physics has shown that there is no reality independent of a conscious observer. THERE IS NO REALITY INDEPENDENT OF MIND.

        Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University explains why people (such as atheist biologists) cling to materialism/naturalism (in which atheism is rooted) despite the fact that it has been completely discredited by modern physics:

        “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

        These are just 3 of many other layers of the argument for God.

        Scott

    • dj, you say no one has observed God, but has anyone observed life coming from nonliving material? Has anyone been able to reproduce it in a lab? Observation and reproduction of the results are key parts of the scientific method, are they not? Can you link to the experiments where they reproduced this?

    • dj,

      Where SPECIFICALLY do any of my arguments contain anything even vaguely resembling an assertion similar to “it just has to be”?? Here again, you are transparently trying to avoid furnishing a rebuttal to my arguments.

      Scott

      • Specifically you bring up the fine tuning argument.

        Things are finely tuned so there has to be a god.

        Dna is a language, so there has to be a god.

        You have not provided a thing that remotely resembles an observation. You rely on unobserved presuppositions to say “well that’s the way it has to be”

        That may work in philosophy class, but you have yet to provide anyone anything that resembles an observation. Simply logic statements.

        It sure is convenient to invent something that can’t be observed and then say “it has to be that way”

        So I will ask again. What is the evidence that your god exists. I’m not asking for a logic statement. I’m asking for something verifiable

  6. You have to justify your presuppositions with evidence in order for me to rebut it.

    So, you say that because we are finely tuned and because Dna is a language, that it is necessary that god exists because this couldn’t have happened naturally.

    The fact is, this isn’t the worst statement in terms of logic. But there still isn’t evidence to justify the existence of god.

    You might can will him into existence semantically speaking. But you can not provide a shred of observable evidence to justify your position. And until you do, you really don’t have anything.

    • dj,

      My first point is that matter, energy, time and space originated with the Big Bang. So whatever caused the Big Bang was immaterial, energyless, timeless, and spaceless.

      Observation can only be applied to that which is material and exists within space and time. You are making a philosophical mistake which is absolutely pervasive within atheist thought. There is a little history of philosophy behind all of this. To this end, I cite Bo Jinn from his book Illogical Atheism:

      “Empiricism is a school of epistemology which rose to prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries, the celebrated ‘Age of Enlightenment’.   This is really where it all began. For those who are not familiar with philosophical jargon, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and more importantly, the acquisition of knowledge. So as not to get lost in all the mind-numbing detail philosophers love so much, all you need to know is that there were two diametrically opposed schools of thought during the time of the Enlightenment: the Empiricists (Hume, Berkley, Locke) on the one hand, and the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) on the other.[ 12] The rationalist school, simply put, believed that the best way to arrive at truth was by refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic. Empiricism, on the other hand, challenged the reliability of our rational intuitions and held that the only reliable path to truth was through sense-experience.”

      “Rationalism emphasized the human mind as the truth-manufacturing machine. Empiricism placed all its stock in the human observation and the intelligibility of nature- or, if you like; the data that actually goes into the machine. And thus the miracle of science was born to the western world, from the empirical philosophical cradle of post-Enlightenment Europe, whose emphasis was fixed exclusively on the deliverances of the senses, and put absolutely no faith in intuition, increasingly minimal faith in the rational mind and violently resisted the whole notion of faith altogether. That has largely been the theme of western academia ever since. In the minds of most people and, indeed, of most scientists, science and empirical study were/ are deemed to be virtually synonymous. The problem is that this is at most a half-truth. Science is a combination of three exercises, which work in stages; (1) Postulating patterns in nature; (2) Deducing them, and then; (3) Inferring rational conclusions which provide a basis for postulating further patterns.”

      Your statement, “You can not provide a shred of observable evidence to justify your position. And until you do, you really don’t have anything” demonstrates that you are making this philosophical error. You fall into the trap of thinking that scientific knowledge comes about “exclusively by the deliverances of the senses” (in Bo Jinn’s above words). The existence of God is postulated by “refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic.”

      By insisting that only observational data can lead to truth (as it certainly appears you are doing), you are, like the Empiricists, demonstrating that you do not believe the rational mind provides a pathway to truth.

      Scott

  7. Here is the fact of the matter.

    1) By defintion, the mere existence of god can not be disproven. This entity is Un observable and unfalsifiable. You have a entity that is spaceless, timeless, and matterless.

    2) you make the claim that a. We are finely tuned. B. Dna is a language. C. In order for consciousness to exist there has to be an observer. You then turn around and say that this is attributable to god.

    What I am asking you to do is to provide evidence to justify this attribution. And 8 know your response will be “I said higher power”

    Don’t bs me. Even if I except the premise at face value, why should I attribute them to your god.

    • dj,

      The problem here is that you are conflating “evidence” with observational data. You write, “This entity is unobservable and unfalsifiable.” But observation is only one way which we can postulate that something exists. For example, can you observe a mathematical concept such as the number seven? You can certainly observe a symbolic representation of the number 7, but this is not the same as actually observing the mathematical concept itself.

      But just because we can only observe symbolic representations of the number 7, and not the mathematical concept itself, does this mean that this mathematical concept does not exist?

      The reason you keep asking me for evidence for God (thus implying that I haven’t given you any), even though I have given you several lines of evidence, is that you confuse and conflate evidence with observation. God is a rational postulation that results from the application of the reason to such things as observational data. Since you are again making the philosophical error made by the Empiricists, I am going to have to copy and paste much of my previous comment below:

      You are making a philosophical mistake which is absolutely pervasive within atheist thought. There is a little history of philosophy behind all of this. To this end, I cite Bo Jinn from his book Illogical Atheism:

      “Empiricism is a school of epistemology which rose to prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries, the celebrated ‘Age of Enlightenment’. This is really where it all began. For those who are not familiar with philosophical jargon, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and more importantly, the acquisition of knowledge. So as not to get lost in all the mind-numbing detail philosophers love so much, all you need to know is that there were two diametrically opposed schools of thought during the time of the Enlightenment: the Empiricists (Hume, Berkley, Locke) on the one hand, and the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) on the other.[ 12] The rationalist school, simply put, believed that the best way to arrive at truth was by refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic. Empiricism, on the other hand, challenged the reliability of our rational intuitions and held that the only reliable path to truth was through sense-experience.”

      “Rationalism emphasized the human mind as the truth-manufacturing machine. Empiricism placed all its stock in the human observation and the intelligibility of nature- or, if you like; the data that actually goes into the machine. And thus the miracle of science was born to the western world, from the empirical philosophical cradle of post-Enlightenment Europe, whose emphasis was fixed exclusively on the deliverances of the senses, and put absolutely no faith in intuition, increasingly minimal faith in the rational mind and violently resisted the whole notion of faith altogether. That has largely been the theme of western academia ever since. In the minds of most people and, indeed, of most scientists, science and empirical study were/ are deemed to be virtually synonymous. The problem is that this is at most a half-truth. Science is a combination of three exercises, which work in stages; (1) Postulating patterns in nature; (2) Deducing them, and then; (3) Inferring rational conclusions which provide a basis for postulating further patterns.”

      By insisting that only observational data can lead to truth (as it certainly appears you are doing), you are, like the Empiricists, demonstrating that you do not believe the rational mind provides a pathway to truth.

      Scott

      • The problem with rationalism, in this instance, is that you can literally substitute any idea in place of god.

        Even if we accept the idea that a higher power is responsible for life, you still have yet to determine what that power is.

        That’s why we need something observable. And until you provide that evidence, why should I believe you?

        • dj,

          No, you cannot substitute any idea in place of God. Please recall what I have pointed out about 1) the necessity of an conscious and intelligent mind involved in the origin of a code or language such as DNA 2) the declaration by modern physics that there is no reality independent of mind (or “consciousness”) 3) the insights of modern cosmology about how matter, time, space, and energy all originated with the Big Bang.

          Considering the above, what choice do we have but to postulate a timeless, immaterial, spaceless, conscious and intelligent mind which is the cause of the universe?

          Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell of these points in their book The New Story of Science:

          “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

          Moreover, the above only references three among several other lines of evidence for God. To that end, it is not entirely accurate to say that there is no observational evidence for God. It is true enough that observational evidence for God cannot be produced on demand, but there are too many people who have had life changing experiences from their encounters with God during near-death experiences (NDEs) to declare that there is NO observational evidence for God.

          Please read my post titled Has Anyone Ever Met God and Returned to Tell About It? An excerpt:

          An entire field of research has sprung up to analyze this phenomenon [NDEs]. Researchers from the fields of medicine and psychology have come together to form the International Association of Near- Death Studies (IANDS, website iands.org) and the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF, website: nderf.org).

          In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

          “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

          “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

          In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

          Scott

  8. 1) sure you can. I say it was the flying spaghetti monster.

    Prove me wrong. The only thing you can do is say “yeah there could be a higher power” you can’t get any more specific than that. And that is a problem.

    2) I had a near death experience, there was nothing. A few person saying they hallucinated is not scientific evidence because it isn’t repeatable and it isn’t observable outside of a person’s mind.

    I had a hallucination that my nurse was trying to assassinate me. It hardly made it a reality.

    It should trouble you that a person’s hallucinations are dependent on where they are from and the religious beliefs they believe in and they only occur in less than a fifth in all near death experiences.

    You have an event that is dependent on culture that is unverifiable and occurs in rare circumstances.

    Hardly meets the burden of proof

    • dj,

      1) Whoever (or whatever) created the universe created space, matter, energy, and time. Therefore, the Creator must be spaceless, timeless, without matter, and energy-less.

      A spaghetti monster is made of spaghetti and so cannot be spaceless, timeless, without matter, or without energy. Spaghetti exists in time and space, and is made of matter. Did you forget?

      2) Dj, I cannot comment on what you refer to as your near-death experience. Your mentioning of this is anecdotal at best. Secondly, there have been many thousands of persons who have had such near-death experiences, not just “a few” you put it. A crucial point is that no two persons have the same hallucination. A copy and paste from my essay Has Anyone Ever Met God and Returned to Tell About It is here pertinent.

      But the astute reader (with or without expertise in the fields of brain science or psychology) will immediately recognize why this explanation is inadequate to explain frequent encounters with a “personal God:” Hallucinations amongst various people share commonalties in terms of their perceptual alterations but not in terms of the content of the experience.

      For example, if one were to administer a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD to a large number of people, it would not be surprising if most or all of the subjects reported similar symptoms. These might include visual hallucinations, a feeling of euphoria, a feeling of separation from one’s body, etc… Further, it would not be surprising if the content of one of the subjects’ hallucinations included meeting a purple leprechaun named Bobo who led him on a journey to Never-Never land.One would certainly not expect, however, for multiple subjects to report a similar encounter with a similar purple leprechaun. The experiential content of hallucinations are unique to each individual. And entering into a “loving relationship” with a “personal God” speaks of the content of a vast number of NDE experiences and can therefore not be classified as hallucination.

      Next, you suggest that NDE’s are dependent upon culture. This is not an accurate representation. First of all, many atheists have encounters with a “personal God” in their NDE. In my post titled Why Death is Not the End, I provide several links to videos of NDE experiences wherein atheists had an encounter with a personal God. Also, below are links to several NDE experiences wherein Muslims met Jesus:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XshWBbibAM

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNcPVNboooQ

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL4upLajJSc

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgwR8jRiszs

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfGv9HyvbBM

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGyRTEwb8FU

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR9m6SR6wy4

      However, we should EXPECT that culture should have SOME influence upon what a person experiences during an NDE. Consider the case of people from various cultures visiting Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower. A person from an Amazonian tribe, for example, would not know what to make of such a large metal structure, and would describe it entirely different than a person from, say, Chicago. In short, how a person describes an experience WILL be influenced by their culture to some extent, even though the experience is the same.

      Lastly, if it were true that only one fifth of persons whose brain activity stops have an NDE, of what significance would that be? Of what significance is this ratio? This is not clear.

      Scott

    • dj,

      A crucial point is that no two persons have the same hallucination. A copy and paste from my essay Has Anyone Ever Met God and Returned to Tell About It? is here pertinent:

      …the astute reader (with or without expertise in the fields of brain science or psychology) will immediately recognize why this explanation [hallucination] is inadequate to explain frequent encounters with a “personal God:” Hallucinations amongst various people share commonalties in terms of their perceptual alterations but not in terms of the content of the experience.

      For example, if one were to administer a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD to a large number of people, it would not be surprising if most or all of the subjects reported similar symptoms. These might include visual hallucinations, a feeling of euphoria, a feeling of separation from one’s body, etc… Further, it would not be surprising if the content of one of the subjects’ hallucinations included meeting a purple leprechaun named Bobo who led him on a journey to Never-Never land.

      One would certainly not expect, however, for multiple subjects to report a similar encounter with a similar purple leprechaun. The experiential content of hallucinations are unique to each individual. And entering into a “loving relationship” with a “personal God” speaks of the content of a vast number of NDE experiences and can therefore not be classified as hallucination.

  9. So your “evidence” is when 20% of people have a near death see what they say is god when their brain is shutting down, it counts.

    You throw out a red herring talking about leprechauns. That is irrelevant. Lots of people have claimed to see the face of god when they do hallucinagens.that doesn’t make it true.

    The reason why I brought up my experience and the experiences of 80% of people that have NDE and see nothing, why do you discount that.

    Someone has an unverifiable hallucination, that is evidence, but you dismiss the vast majority of people’s as anecdotal.

    Sounds like a special pleading

    • dj,

      I will again ask you what you think the significance of your 20% figure is. I asked you to tell us what the significance of this figure is, but you seem to want to take it for granted that this percentage (if it were true) has some sort of significance. What would that significance be?

      What does your comment about people using hallucinogens and seeing God have to do with anything? We are not discussing people who take hallucinogens. Rather, we are discussing people who have had NDEs. Your mentioning of this is a red herring, not my illustration which cites leprechauns in a hallucination.

      Significant is the fact that so many people who have had NDEs report that they have met God…including many atheists (as I provided video links to verify in my previous comment, and in my essay).

      You write, “someone has an unverifiable hallucination, that is evidence, but you dismiss the vast majority of people’s as anecdotal.” But that is a complete mischaracterization, intended to imply that it only happened to “someone” rather than the 10s of thousands of individuals.

      Further, you have yet to explain why it is that an NDE must happen to most or all people who have a loss of consciousness, in order for it to be a valid phenomenon. Please explain.

      Recall my previous citation:

      Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

      Another line of evidence pointing to the validity of these experiences is the fact there have been many people who report visual phenomena during their NDE, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE BORN BLIND AND THEREFORE HAVE NO CONCEPT OF WHAT IT MEANS TO “SEE.” Click on the below links to YouTube videos which provide a couple examples of such “born blind NDEs.”


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9AfJbXe3rc

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ4yVEmgG04

      Scott

  10. The reason why that number is significant, is because it represents a minority position. Sam Harris makes the claim that the number could be closer to 10% but i gave you the high end of the estimate. The vast majority of people don’t experience anything. I didn’t experience anything. Writing off the majority in favor of the few that have hallucinations is a textbook definition of cherry picking.

    I brought up hallucinogenic drugs to point out that simply because a person claims to see god doesn’t mean they actually did.

    I’m sure they had authentic experiences. I’m sure they saw something. I’m not challenging the fact that they had hallucinations. I am saying that you are making a huge jump from synapses freaking out in near death to god did it.

    Your argument is getting awfully close to attributing lightning to zeus

    • And why would a minority position be significant? If only 10 or 20% of people who smoke cigarettes got lung cancer, would this mean that smoking does not cause cancer? Please explain since your argument is unclear.

      I am not writing off any majorities. If a majority of people who have a loss of consciousness do not have an NDE, of what significance is that?
      Why exactly is it that a majority of people who experience a loss consciousness must have an NDE for it to be a valid phenomenon? This is strange.

      Scott

  11. Lung cancer is observable. A hallucination isnt observable past the person having a hallucination. And even if one day we can hook a person up to a machine that displays a person’s hallucination on a television, there is no way we can determine that the source of the hallucination is god.

    Im simply saying that a small percentage of people have hallucinations in a NDE, and to discount the majority experience as anecdotal and the minority experience proof of god is flat out stupid.

    Saying “That is proof of god” is a huge jump from “That person had a hallucination”

    The majority of people experience nothing. You can not discount that by asking “why does that matter” when you cant prove the link between the hallucination and god with anything that resembles scientific inquiry.

    • Dj,

      Hallucinations are not observable except by the person experiencing them, yes. But, by your reasoning, we would have to throw out virtually the entire field of psychology since it is built mostly upon the REPORTED experiences of people that cannot be observed by others.

      Once again, you confuse (or perhaps deliberately conflate) NDEs with hallucinations. You have not responded to my explanation of why NDEs cannot be explained away as hallucinations. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SHARED HALLUCINATION. Below is a cut and paste from my essay titled The Ancient Fable Behind Disbelief in Christ’s Resurrection, which is pertinent about hallucinations, even though it is written in the context of observances of the risen Jesus, rather than the context of NDEs:

      First, today we know that hallucinations are private occurrences, which occur in the mind of the individual. They are not collective experiences.

      …Imagine that it is the middle of the night. You wake up your wife and say, ‘Honey, I just had a dream that we were in Hawaii. Come back to sleep and join me in the dream and we’ll enjoy a free vacation together.’ It would be impossible for her to do so, since a dream exists only in the mind of the individual. It cannot be shared with another person. Likewise, a hallucination cannot be shared.”

      Similarly, Michael Lacona notes in his essay Were the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Hallucinations?:

      “Gary A. Sibcy is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a PhD in clinical psychology, who has an interest in the possibility of group hallucinations. He comments:

      ‘I have surveyed the professional literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and books) written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant healthcare professionals during the past two decades and have yet to find a single documented case of a group hallucination, that is, an event for which more than one person purportedly shared in a visual or other sensory perception where there was clearly no external referent.’”

      The point I am trying to make here is that there is NO SUCH THING as a hallucination shared by multiple people. One person hallucinates and they see pink elephants, another person hallucinates and they see purple leprechauns. NO TWO HALLUCINATIONS ARE ALIKE, even within the same individual.
      Therefore, NDEs CANNOT be classed as hallucinations.

      And you have failed to explain the “born blind” NDE phenomenon in materialistic/naturalistic terms. How is it that these people have vivid visual experiences during their NDEs even thought THEY HAVE NO CONCEPT OF WHAT IT MEANS TO “SEE”??

      And, yet again, you have failed to explain why it is necessary for a majority of people who experience a loss of consciousness to experience an NDE for it to be a valid phenomenon. Yes, lung cancer is observable…and if only a certain proportion of people who smoke actually get lung cancer, does that mean that the phenomenon of smoking promoting lung cancer is not a valid phenomenon? You are avoiding the question!!

      Can we say that smoking does not cause lung cancer because we would have to discount the majority of people who smoke and never get lung cancer?! Please please explain.

      Scott

  12. This can be solved with one simple question. No need to walk around in circles. Because that is what we are doing.

    What is the evidence that these “visions” are caused by god?

    • Dj,

      The evidence that these NDEs are caused by God is the same evidence that THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT (including NDEs) is caused by God.

      There is no walking around in circles. Please read and provide rebuttals to the evidence for God contained in cosmology/astrophysics, as presented in OK, I want numbers…What is the probability that our universe is the result of chance? and Is There A God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?, the evidence from modern physics, as presented in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism, and the evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. (Click on the preceding links to read).

      Dj, I must also mention that you have not provided any evidence for your hallucination theory of NDEs. Nor have you provided any evidence for your (apparent) belief that life was the result of a non-intelligent cause (despite the fact that information science has conclusively determined that languages such as DNA are by necessity the product of conscious and intelligent activity). Nor have you provided any evidence for a materialistic explanation of reality, despite the fact that materialism is both incompatible with modern physics and serves as the foundation for atheism. Nor have you provided any evidence for how the universe could have emerged without a pre-existent consciousness (read: God) despite the fact that time, space, matter, and energy all emerged with the Big Bang.

      And this gets to a FUNDAMENTAL POINT that needs particular emphasis. Atheists often confuse MERELY PRESENTING ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESES (to explain away the existence of God), with ACTUALLY PRESENTING EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENTS TO SUPPORT THEIR COUNTER HYPOTHESES.

      Just because you can make up a counter hypothesis (such as your “hallucination” explanation for NDEs) does not mean that you have actually provided a COUNTER ARGUMENT. A mere hypothesis is a very far cry from an actual logically constructed, fact-based argument. Please pay close attention to this crucial distinction.

      Scott

  13. A hallucination is, by definition, a perception of something without apparent stimuli.

    A NDE vision is a text book definition of the word hallucination. If you believe that people actually went through them, then you have to concede that point. It is a catch 22. If you deny that they are hallucinations, then you deny they took place. If you think they took place, by defintion it is a hallucination. Buy a dictionary.

    We know that they are hallucinations. The question is, did god cause them?

    Here is the deal, you make the claim god did it. When asked to provide evidence for a claim you say “atheism can’t be right, god had to have done it because it just has to be that way”

    It is so laughably transparent.

    So I will ask my question again. What is you evidence that these hallucinations are the result of god?

    • dj,

      Here, you engage in circular reasoning.

      A simple breakdown of your reasoning illustrates its circularity:

      1) You begin by assuming that all perceptions not related to the spatial/material world are false perceptions.
      2) You then point out that NDEs do not have a relationship to the spatial/material world (“without apparent stimuli,” in your words).
      3) You conclude that because NDEs are perceptions not related to the spatial/material world, they must be false perceptions.

      But if you think that there is no reality beyond the 3 spatial dimensions that make up the physical world as we perceive it, then you need to brush up on your physics.

      In his book Life After Death: The Evidence, Dinesh D’Souza comments on this error of reasoning:

      “We experience space in three dimensions and time in one dimension; Einstein brought them both together into the new four-dimensional entity of spacetime. Scientists [post-Einstein] tell us that reality is divided not into four but rather eleven dimensions, ten of space and one of time. So where are the other dimensions? Well, string theorists say they are hidden dimensions, somehow positioned so that they are invisible and inaccessible to us. As physicist Lisa Randall puts it, ‘We are in this three-dimensional flatland…Our world is stuck in this three-dimensional universe, although extra dimensions exist. So we live in a three-dimensional slice of a higher-dimensional world.’”

      Your question about whether God caused NDEs is a Red Herring (designed to distract from the subject at hand). We are discussing whether NDEs provide a valid perception of something beyond the spatial/material world. In what way, shape, or form is the question of who or what causes NDEs relevant to whether or not NDEs provide such a valid perception?

      Scott

  14. Do you even read what you write? Or do you just write whatever comes to your head?

    Lets look at the conversation.

    Me: That’s why we need something observable. And until you provide that evidence, why should I believe you?

    You: “It is true enough that observational evidence for God cannot be produced on demand, but there are too many people who have had life changing experiences from their encounters with God during near-death experiences (NDEs) to declare that there is NO observational evidence for God.”

    We argue back and forth a bit, and then finally I cut to the chase and ask “What is your evidence that these hallucinations are caused by god”

    You made the claim that they were observational evidence of god, I asked you how and then you go off on a tangent about dimensions and then shifting the conversation from “Are NDEs observable evidence of god” to “Are they evidence of something beyond the spatial world”

    When called to answer your assertion, you moved the goalposts and accused me of a red herring. Your readers might not be smart enough to pick up on it, but I am. It was a smooth move, but not smooth enough.

    • Dj,

      When you use rhetorical language such as “smooth move, but not smooth enough,” you have in effect withdrawn from rational debate, and have retreated into rhetorical tactics.

      Your use of rhetoric is a “tell” that your attempts at logical arguments have run out of steam…much as a nervous tick made by a poker player is a “tell” that he is holding a weak hand.

      If you think that the question of what “causes” NDEs is a significant question, then you must explain why. If you have a logical reason why this question is not a Red Herring (diversionary tactic), as I have suggested, then please go ahead and furnish that logical reason.

      Trying to substitute a rhetorical barb in place of a logical explanation is just an advertisement that you do not have a logical reason.

      My discussion of other dimensions was not a tangent. I was intended to demonstrate that your (apparent) premise that observational data must be based upon observations of spatial/material reality, in order to be valid observational data, is an incorrect premise.

      Scott

      Scott

      • Me: what is your evidence of god?
        You: near death experiences
        Me: how do you know that?
        You: you have a weak hand, you have a tell, stop pulling out a red herring and changing the subject we are talking about how there are 11 dimensions, but we can’t see them. god lives here but I can’t prove that statement. I know what I will do, I will say dj can’t disprove it. That means I win.

        Cut the bullshit and just say what everyone already knows. There is nothing observable that justifies the existence of god. The only thing you have are logic proofs based on presuppositions that have never been observed and the unfalsifiable ideas.

        • dj,

          With your above “Me:” and “You:” caricature of our debate, you are trying to substitute a caricature of my argument in place of a rationally constructed, fact-based REBUTTAL to my argument.

          Further, your use of strong rhetoric like “cut the bullshit” is just another indication of your withdrawal from rational discourse. There simply is no substitute for a rationally constructed, fact-based argument. When you try to substitute such angry rhetoric for a logical argument, you just advertise to everyone that you DO NOT HAVE a rationally constructed, fact-based argument. The third party viewers of this debate are not stupid.

          And your statement, “There is nothing observable that justifies the existence of God,” YET AGAIN, commits the philosophical error which I called attention to before. A copy and paste from one of my previous comments:

          You are making a philosophical mistake which is absolutely pervasive within atheist thought. There is a little history of philosophy behind all of this. To this end, I cite Bo Jinn from his book Illogical Atheism:

          “Empiricism is a school of epistemology which rose to prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries, the celebrated ‘Age of Enlightenment’. This is really where it all began. For those who are not familiar with philosophical jargon, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and more importantly, the acquisition of knowledge. So as not to get lost in all the mind-numbing detail philosophers love so much, all you need to know is that there were two diametrically opposed schools of thought during the time of the Enlightenment: the Empiricists (Hume, Berkley, Locke) on the one hand, and the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) on the other.[ 12] The rationalist school, simply put, believed that the best way to arrive at truth was by refining information through the filtration process of human reason and logic. Empiricism, on the other hand, challenged the reliability of our rational intuitions and held that the only reliable path to truth was through sense-experience.”

          “Rationalism emphasized the human mind as the truth-manufacturing machine. Empiricism placed all its stock in the human observation and the intelligibility of nature- or, if you like; the data that actually goes into the machine. And thus the miracle of science was born to the western world, from the empirical philosophical cradle of post-Enlightenment Europe, whose emphasis was fixed exclusively on the deliverances of the senses, and put absolutely no faith in intuition, increasingly minimal faith in the rational mind and violently resisted the whole notion of faith altogether. That has largely been the theme of western academia ever since. In the minds of most people and, indeed, of most scientists, science and empirical study were/ are deemed to be virtually synonymous. The problem is that this is at most a half-truth. Science is a combination of three exercises, which work in stages; (1) Postulating patterns in nature; (2) Deducing them, and then; (3) Inferring rational conclusions which provide a basis for postulating further patterns.”

          By insisting that only observational data can lead to truth (as it certainly appears you are doing), you are, like the Empiricists, demonstrating that you do not believe the rational mind provides a pathway to truth.

          Scott

      • I mean the grosso source you link opens up with NDE believe that they had an experience.

        I’m sure they do. When I was in the hospital, I thought my nurse was a scientologist assassin.

        Prove she wasnt.

        • dj,

          You write, “When I was in the hospital, I thought my nurse was a scientologist assassin. Prove she wasnt.”

          Yet again, you confuse your private experience with an experience which has been shared by many thousands of people. If there were thousands and thousands of people who reported encountering a “scientologist assasin,” then the phenomenon would require looking into more deeply. It is completely transparent that you are deliberately glossing over crucial facts such as the difference between a private experience reported by one person (your experience of the “scientologist assasin”) and an experience commonly reported by multitudes of people (encountering God).

          What choice do we have but to assume you make such deliberate oversights because you hold your views for emotional and ideological reasons, rather than rational reasons?

          Scott

      • The difference being we can observe trucks.

        We can not observe any evidence that a higher power caused a single NDE. A lack of explanation is not proof of god.

        That is what we call god of gaps.

      • I responded many ways.

        I discussed how the sun is not god and doesn’t impact everything the exact same way. All it is is an energy source.

        The second law clearly applies to isolated systems. An isolated system is one in which there is no exchange of energy to or from an outside source. You misrepresented the second law hoping that your readers would be too stupid to pick up on it. You originally opened with the faulty claim and when called on it you ask stupid questions like “if the earth is an open system why can’t the sun magically raise the dead? Must be god”

        If this is your evidence, we have nothing more to discuss.

        PS, it takes no faith to not believe in something that has never been observed.

        I like the semantical game. It must take alot of faith to not believe in sasquatch.

        What you are doing, is again shifting the burden of proof.

        I am not making a positive claim. You are it is on you to provide evidence for it.

        I AM FUCKING BEGGING YOU FOR ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE.

        One thing. Not an assumption, not an unverifiable hallucination, not a false dichotomy, not a misrepresentation or a red herring…

        You made the claim god exists. I don’t care about any logic argument. Because those come down to who can argue the best. You said yourself that it isn’t about winning, it is about truth.

        Well stop trying to win and show me why what you say is true.

        • DJ,

          I misrepresented the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics hoping that my readers would be too stupid to pick up on it?!

          Please let me know if this is a misrepresentation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:

          Over time the measure of entropy (disorder) in a system tends to increase. This is the reason why cars rust, dead things decay, people age, sand castles crumble, etc. etc.

          Is this a misrepresentation? If so, how? Please explain.

          ONCE AGAIN, you forcefully repeat your assertion that I have not presented “one shred” of evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented to you. You are VERY TRANSPARENTLY trying to substitute a forceful, repeated assertion to compensate for your deficient argument. This, YET AGAIN, is the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I have presented you evidence for God from modern biology, modern physics, and modern cosmology. Why don’t you respond to JUST ONE of these pieces of evidence. YET ANOTHER COPY AND PASTE:

          The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (in the science section). Please read and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life.

          NOTE TO READERS: Forceful re-assertion that there is no evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented, demonstrates what the psychologist M. Scott Peck referred to as a “self-imposed set of blinders” to the evidence for God (as cited in “If the Evidence for God is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Unconvinced?,” in the experience section).

          Scott

      • But I can forgive all those fallacies, if you give me one piece of evidence.

        Just one piece of real evidence, not a “youre wrong, so therefore I must be right” BS False Dichotomy. Not a “it just has to be true” appeal to incredulity. Not a “you can’t prove me wrong” shifting of the burden of proof.

        You said it yourself, this is not about winning. It is about truth.

        Tell me, what is your evidence that justifies the truth?

  15. But I will rebut your post

    1) I never claimed that hallucinations are false. I simply gave the textbook definition of what it is. It is a perception of something without an apparent source of stimuli. A NDE fits that definition. No more, no less.

    2) You make the claim that they are evidence of something more. If you want to call it god like you originally did, thats fine.

    If you want to change it up and say they are evidence of another dimension, that is fine too.

    All I am going to do is ask the same question….What is your evidence? You made the claim, now back it up.

    The best you can do is “You cant prove that it isnt”

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof

    • dj,

      If you are not claiming that hallucinations are false, then what is your purpose of classifying NDEs as “hallucinations”? Is this just an exercise in semantics? Please explain.

      You keep asking for evidence while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented. This is the same logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion which you have commit before. You keep suggesting, or at least implying that there is no evidence while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented.

      If a homicide detective gets a remarkably similar story from multiple witnesses, this is considered evidence. Therefore, the following is evidence for God from NDEs (a copy and paste from one of my previous comments):

      In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

      “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

      “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

      In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

      Dj, you must provide some sort of rational explanation as to why the conclusions of the above mentioned research is not evidence for God. If you just keep asserting or implying that there is no evidence (while ignoring this evidence presented), then you just keep repeating the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. Repeating something over and over again will not make it true.

      Scott

  16. It isn’t semantics. Buy a dictionary, look up the definition of the word hallucination. A near death experience “vision” is by definition a hallucination.

    You made the claim that these hallucinations are evidence of god.

    I asked you how. The only thing you have provided as a response is “you can’t prove that it wasn’t god”.

    It is so laughably transparent

    • dj,

      You have yet again failed to respond to my argument about why NDEs cannot be classified as “hallucination.” Further, in a previous comment, you wrote, “I never claimed that hallucinations are false. I simply gave the textbook definition of what it is. It is a perception of something without an apparent source of stimuli. A NDE fits that definition. No more, no less.”

      What you are trying to accomplish here is an argument by equivocation. An equivocation occurs when a person tries to use ambiguous language to deceive. Equivocation is also often used in jokes. For example, Groucho Marx once quipped, “Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution?!”

      As you can see, Marx uses two different definitions of “institution” to achieve a humorous result. The second use of the word “institution,” obviously, is a reference to a mental institution.

      In short, what you are trying to do is classify NDEs as hallucinations in an attempt to apply the derisive connotations of the word “hallucination” to NDEs.

      Both marriage and mental health facilities fit the definition of “institution.” But this does not mean that we can use the ambiguity of the term to apply the negative connotations of “mental institution” to the institution of marriage.

      You are trying hard to apply the term “hallucination” to NDEs so as to smuggle in these negative connotations.

      Again, you are trying to use the rhetorical device of equivocation to deceive.

      Scott

      • Maybe you misunderstood what I meant by that.

        I defined exactly what I meant by the word hallucination, when I said that they werent false, i meant that people actually have hallucinations.

        I was referring to the actual hallucination was false as in it didnt happen. The evidence supports that they do happen.

        But it is kind of hard to say someone is using the fallacy of equivocation when they explicitly define what the word means.

        • Dj,

          Then what is the point of you trying to define NDEs as hallucinations?

          Further, people who have NDEs consistently report that they were MORE REAL than their everyday experience. If anything, they report, it is our everyday experience which is an illusion, and NDEs which are real.

          Another line of evidence pointing to the validity of these experiences is the fact there have been many people who report visual phenomena during their NDE, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE BORN BLIND AND THEREFORE HAVE NO CONCEPT OF WHAT IT MEANS TO “SEE.” I presented this before, but, YET AGAIN, you failed to respond:

          Click on the below links to YouTube videos which provide a couple examples of such “born blind NDEs.”


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9AfJbXe3rc


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ4yVEmgG04

          Still further, research shows that NDEs cannot be culturally conditioned because of the nine lines of evidence cited in the below video:


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRuKuGBd0Bo

          Scott

  17. The burden of proof is not on me. Like I have said before. You make the positive claim, you have to provide evidence for it.

    If i claim that a flying spaghetti monster created the universe, it would be on me to prove it.

    The only evidence that you have provided is that people have these hallucinations. You have not provided any evidence past that.

    If you would actually justify your position with something more than “it just has to be true” I wouldn’t have to beg you to prove your position.

    • dj,

      You write, “The only evidence that you have provided is that people have these hallucinations. You have not provided any evidence past that.” Yet again, you commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. You continue to assert that these are hallucinations despite my point that there is NO SUCH THING as a shared hallucination. Instead of responding to my argument, you are trying to repeat your assertion that NDEs are nothing but hallucinations OVER AND OVER AGAIN, in the hope that your premise will become true if you just repeat it often enough (while ignoring the counter arguments presented to you). A copy and paste of a previously presented argument in hopes that you will ACTUALLY RESPOND TO IT RATHER THAN CONTINUING TO REPEAT ASSERTIONS:

      Once again, you confuse (or perhaps deliberately conflate) NDEs with hallucinations. You have not responded to my explanation of why NDEs cannot be explained away as hallucinations. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SHARED HALLUCINATION. Below is a cut and paste from my essay titled The Ancient Fable Behind Disbelief in Christ’s Resurrection, which is pertinent about hallucinations, even though it is written in the context of observances of the risen Jesus, rather than the context of NDEs:

      First, today we know that hallucinations are private occurrences, which occur in the mind of the individual. They are not collective experiences.

      …Imagine that it is the middle of the night. You wake up your wife and say, ‘Honey, I just had a dream that we were in Hawaii. Come back to sleep and join me in the dream and we’ll enjoy a free vacation together.’ It would be impossible for her to do so, since a dream exists only in the mind of the individual. It cannot be shared with another person. Likewise, a hallucination cannot be shared.”

      Similarly, Michael Lacona notes in his essay Were the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Hallucinations?:

      “Gary A. Sibcy is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a PhD in clinical psychology, who has an interest in the possibility of group hallucinations. He comments:

      ‘I have surveyed the professional literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and books) written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant healthcare professionals during the past two decades and have yet to find a single documented case of a group hallucination, that is, an event for which more than one person purportedly shared in a visual or other sensory perception where there was clearly no external referent.’”

      DJ, YOU MUST RESPOND TO THE ABOVE ARGUMENT about why NDEs cannot be classified as hallucination, RATHER THAN JUST CONTINUING TO ASSERT THAT THEY ARE HALLUCINATIONS.

      The point I am trying to make here is that there is NO SUCH THING as a hallucination shared by multiple people. One person hallucinates and they see pink elephants, another person hallucinates and they see purple leprechauns. NO TWO HALLUCINATIONS ARE ALIKE, even within the same individual.
      Therefore, NDEs CANNOT be classed as hallucinations.

      If a homicide detective gets very similar stories from a multitude of witness, this is considered evidence. This is why the fact that people report encounters with God so often during NDEs (including many atheists) must be considered as evidence for God.

      Whoever (or whatever) created the universe created space, matter, energy, and time. Therefore, the Creator must be spaceless, timeless, without matter, and energy-less.

      A spaghetti monster is made of spaghetti and so cannot be spaceless, timeless, without matter, or without energy. Spaghetti exists in time and space, and is made of matter. Did you forget?

      Scott

        • dj,

          This just highlights the desperation of your argument. The only things in human experience that can be “proven,” in any sense of the term, are mathematical in nature…mathematical proofs.

          When we are dealing with virtually anything else, is about preponderance of evidence, not proof. This is because one can always expose any argument to some measure of doubt.

          For example, imagine that someone was trying to argue that the moon is made out of cheese. Below is a hypothetical dialogue:

          Bill: The moon is made out of Swiss cheese.

          Steve: No, it is made out of rock. We know this in part because the Apollo astronauts brought back moon rocks.

          Bill: No they didn’t, the whole moon landing was staged in a Hollywood studio. Prove me wrong.

          Steve: No it wasn’t. We can go see some of the moon rocks at the Smithsonian.

          Bill: I think those rocks are fakes. Prove me wrong.

          Steve: No they are not, they have been analyzed and have been shown to be rocks of extra-terrestrial origin.

          Bill: I don’t believe it. I think the people who analyzed them are liars. Prove me wrong.

          ….and the conversation could go on and on into eternity.

          The point I am making here, DJ, is that, “I must be right because you cannot prove me wrong” is a pathetically weak stance to take because there is virtually nothing in all of human experience that can be proven…to the extent of removing any room for doubt whatsoever.

          Neither you nor I nor anyone else can PROVE that the moon is not made out of Swiss cheese to the extent that there is no room for any doubt. But to suggest that the inability of anyone to PROVE otherwise is a valid argument for the moon being made out of Swiss cheese is just plain weak.

          Again, the only thing in human experience that can be “proven” in any sense of the term, are things of a mathematical nature…mathematical proofs.

          A person who suggests that they have a valid argument because they cannot be “proven wrong” is relying on perhaps the weakest argument possible.

          As I said above, it is about preponderance of evidence. I have given several lines of evidence for God being the source of the universe….all of which you have failed to respond to.

          Please give us even one line of evidence for your “spaghetti monster” argument.

          Scott

      • You make the claim that they are shared…Are they really shared?

        How do you know if someone saw the exact same thing? You cant even narrow down exactly what they saw.

        If you hallucinate and see a dragon. I hallucinate and see a mouse, we both saw animals. Doesnt mean we shared it. when you zoom out enough, you could say anything was a shared hallucination.

        PS, I have a hard time calling them shared. Shared implies that they were in the same vicinity under the same conditions and saw the exact same thing.

        If person 1 sees a god, and person 2 sees a god, it really cant be called shared.

        PS, there have been cases of mass hallucinations, for example LSD spiked bread in the 50s in france led to many people think they were being attacked by fire breathing beasts.

        Do fire breathing beasts exist because more than one person saw them?

        • Dj,

          In the sense that NDEs occur to different people at different times, they are not shared. But NDEs do SHARE many commonalities, one of which is encounters with a “personal God.” The term “shared” came into play because I was using the citation about shared experiences of the risen Jesus to make a point about how something experienced by multiple people cannot be called “hallucination.” This was not meant to imply that the term “shared” should be applied to NDEs. This was a miscommunication.

          But, again, NDEs do SHARE many commonalities which demonstrate that they cannot be hallucinations.

          And if NDEs are hallucinations, as you suggest, then why is it that some people do not experience “a mouse” or “a dragon,” as in your example? Why only a “personal God,” but not such things as mice and dragons, unicorns, etc..?

          Your example of people experiencing fire breathing beasts in France is not applicable because these people were communicating with one another, and therefore the experiences could have been socially or culturally conditioned. But there are multiple lines of evidence that NDEs are not culturally or socially conditioned. One such line of evidence is the “born blind” NDEs which I linked to in a couple other comments. But there are several other lines of evidence. Please see the below video to review these lines of evidence:


          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRuKuGBd0Bo

          Scott

      • elephant hurling – Elephant hurling is a debate tactic in which a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument.

        Doesnt really fit. I linked a few websites to fallacies that I have already mentioned for the most part. A better example of this would be linking several videos that are pretty long and then saying “why dont you read this blog post” or saying “if you go to youtube you will see my point is true”

        Which is something your scott will do. But not me.

        If anyone did this, it was scott. Not me. But I will point out exactly where all these fallacies took place.

        • “elephant hurling – Elephant hurling is a debate tactic in which a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument.

          Doesnt really fit. I linked a few websites to fallacies that I have already mentioned for the most part. A better example of this would be linking several videos that are pretty long and then saying “why dont you read this blog post” or saying “if you go to youtube you will see my point is true”

          Which is something your scott will do. But not me.

          If anyone did this, it was scott. Not me. But I will point out exactly where all these fallacies took place.”

          Perhaps you are confused about who said what. I was the one, not Scott, who charged you with elephant hurling, and as I suggested you do regarding my charge, I explained why it was elephant hurling. I’ll say it again in case you missed it. You replied to the OP multiple times with nothing more than a link to various fallacies. By this you claimed the fallacy was committed somewhere in the OP. But you did not support your claims by quoting the part which committed the fallacy you claim nor did you explain why it was fallacious. That is exactly what the definition you quoted here says, and the definition I linked to in my post says. Your denial is without merit.

      • Burden of Proof – A great example of this would be making a claim that NDEs are OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE of god. When questioned about that, the answer devolves into “you cant disprove this”

        This can be summed up in one question asked by Scott “If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?”

        This is shifting the burden of proof. Asking a person to prove a negative statement is next to impossible. Especially when you create an entity that is entirely immune to debate simply because of its definition. Prove this timeless spaceless immaterial invisible undetectable entity doesnt exist.

        See the issue? That is why when you make a positive claim, the burden of proof is on you.

        Alex Michalos, the author of Principles of logic, states in this book that “usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”

  18. In 1977, Erlendur Haraldsson and Karlis Osis performed a study. It was a cross cultural study between Americans and Indians.

    Not surprisingly, they found that not a single American hallucinated a Hindu deity and not a single Indian hallucinated a Christian deity.

    We see across the world that if a deity is hallucinated, it is more closely to a person’s culture than it is truth.

    If you are going to claim that NDEs are evidence of YOUR god, you can not discount those that hallucinate other deities and you can not discount those that see nothing.

    Here is the fact of the matter.

    We know that a small percentage of people hallucinate on their death bed. We know this for a fact.

    We know that people BELIEVE them to be authentic.

    Now the question remains, is this evidence for god?

    You claim this question is a red herring. ARE YOU STUPID? This is the next question to ask.

    Me: What is the evidence?
    You: NDE
    Me: How?
    You: RED HERRING RED HERRING RED HERRING!!!!
    Me: um what?

    I know you are going to say something like “that was an ad hominem.” or say that since I am repeating the question that it is a fallacy because i am repeating the fact that you have not provided evidence.

    Give me something. Answer the question, dont just make up some B.S. response. Dont tell me that people believe it to be true. That doesnt answer my question. Dont tell me that because people have them that it has to be true. That isnt evidence.

    You made the assertion that god causes NDEs. Prove it

    • dj,

      This is YET ANOTHER argument which you have presented, but to which you have failed to respond to my counter point!!!! There are AN ABUNDANCE cases where non-Christians (such as Muslims and Buddhists) have encountered Jesus Christ during their NDEs. Apparently there was a flaw in the study that you cite. Below is YET ANOTHER copy and paste of an argument which I have presented before, but which you have glossed over:

      You suggest that NDE’s are dependent upon culture. This is not an accurate representation. First of all, many atheists have encounters with a “personal God” in their NDE. In my post titled Why Death is Not the End, I provide several links to videos of NDE experiences wherein atheists had an encounter with a personal God. Also, below are links to several NDE experiences wherein non-Christians, such as Muslims met Jesus:


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNcPVNboooQ


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfGv9HyvbBM


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGyRTEwb8FU

      I also provided several links to atheists who met God during their NDEs in a previous reply. Are you going to gloss over that too?

      Scott

    • dj,

      You STILL are AVOIDING THE QUESTION, so I will ask it YET AGAIN in hopes that you will answer it: OF WHAT RELEVANCE IS IT WHO OR WHAT “CAUSED” THE NDEs? Unless you can explain why this is a relevant question, what choice do we have but to assume that it is a Red Herring (diversionary tactic)?

      You continue to label NDEs as hallucinations, but you also continue to FAIL TO RESPOND TO MY POINT about why NDEs cannot be classified as hallucinations. YET ANOTHER copy and paste in hopes that you will respond:

      Once again, you confuse (or perhaps deliberately conflate) NDEs with hallucinations. You have not responded to my explanation of why NDEs cannot be explained away as hallucinations. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SHARED HALLUCINATION. Below is a cut and paste from my essay titled The Ancient Fable Behind Disbelief in Christ’s Resurrection, which is pertinent about hallucinations, even though it is written in the context of observances of the risen Jesus, rather than the context of NDEs:

      First, today we know that hallucinations are private occurrences, which occur in the mind of the individual. They are not collective experiences.

      …Imagine that it is the middle of the night. You wake up your wife and say, ‘Honey, I just had a dream that we were in Hawaii. Come back to sleep and join me in the dream and we’ll enjoy a free vacation together.’ It would be impossible for her to do so, since a dream exists only in the mind of the individual. It cannot be shared with another person. Likewise, a hallucination cannot be shared.”

      Similarly, Michael Lacona notes in his essay Were the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Hallucinations?:

      “Gary A. Sibcy is a licensed clinical psychologist, with a PhD in clinical psychology, who has an interest in the possibility of group hallucinations. He comments:

      ‘I have surveyed the professional literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and books) written by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant healthcare professionals during the past two decades and have yet to find a single documented case of a group hallucination, that is, an event for which more than one person purportedly shared in a visual or other sensory perception where there was clearly no external referent.’”

      It does not take a trained psychologist to get the main point: Hallucinations are very unique occurrences. When one person hallucinates, they see a pink elephant, when another person hallucinates (or the same person on a different occasion) they see a purple leprechaun. THE FACT THAT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE REPORTED ENCOUNTERS WITH A “PERSONAL GOD” IS SOLID EVIDENCE THAT THESE ENCOUNTERS ARE NOT HALLUCINATIONS. AGAIN: EACH HALLUCINATION IS VERY UNIQUE, AND SO WHEN NDE EXPERIENCERS CONSTANTLY REPORT THE SAME THINGS, THIS IS EVIDENCE THAT THEY ARE NOT HALLUCINATIONS.

      Just think about it…Can we give a whole bunch of people a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD and expect several of them to encounter a similar purple leprechaun or a similar pink elephant? Of course not.

      Your use of angry language such as “bullshit” just advertises that you are angry because you know you cannot logically support your argument.

      Scott

  19. It is not on me to disprove the statement that NDEs are proof of god.

    It is on you to support that statement with evidence.

    What is your evidence? I am not going to play this crazy game where you say “prove me wrong”

    I am going to leave it that.

    Either you can provide something observable where we actually have a discussion about it. Or you can keep copy and pasting the same ridiculous post.

    Support your statement with evidence. I am telling you that you are not convincing when you say “it just has to be that way”

    Give me ONE THING that supports your position.

  20. PS, saying that something is bullshit isn’t anger. It is saying that it is completely ridiculous.

    You made the assertion. I asked how you know that assertion is true and you respond with you can’t disprove it.

    I’m still waiting for you to provide evidence for THE EXISTENCE OF A PERSONAL GOD!

    You are pulling a classic Nick Nayler move. It is clever, but you have yet to provide evidence for your belief.

    http://www.themattefinish.com/blog/2008/05/the-beauty-of-argument/

    You have attempted to discredit my position. But you have yet to back up your position.

    I am tired of asking you to back up your position. I am asking you for the last time. What is YOUR EVIDENCE THAT YOU ARE RIGHT?

    How are NDEs evidence of god? I don’t care about shared hallucinations. I don’t care that people think that they were real.

    Those don’t answer my question. They sidestep the question.

    How are they evidence for god? Getting you to give me a straight answer on this is like pulling teeth.

    Give me a straight answer, don’t try to pander to your readers. Answer the question

    • dj,

      Getting ME to answer YOUR question is like pulling teeth?! SERIOUSLY!? I have explained why NDEs are evidence for a “personal God” several times, but you continually fail to respond, and you continue to commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion when you assert that NDEs are hallucinations…despite the clear reasoning that they cannot be. There is NO SUCH THING as a “hallucination” wherein the content of the hallucination (such as meeting a purple leprechaun) is the same among large groups of people. This is why we cannot give a drug like LSD to a large group of people and expect several of them to report meeting a similar “purple leprechaun” or a “pink elephant,” etc… Each hallucination has unique content, even with the same person on different occasions.

      But people have, in many thousands of reported cases, reported meeting a “personal God.” The shared content of NDEs means that they cannot be hallucinations.

      If a homicide detective gets very similar stories from a multitude of witness, this is considered evidence.

        This is why the fact that people report encounters with God so often during NDEs (including many atheists) must be considered as evidence for God.

      YET ANOTHER copy and paste from a previous comment that you have not responded to:

      In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

      “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

      “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

      In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”

      Dj, what is your response to this?! SPIT IT OUT!!!

      You made an illustration in a previous comment wherein one person experienced a “dragon” and another person experiencing a “mouse,” but that both people experienced different “animals.” How does this in any way shape or form counteract the research that people do not experience different animals, but rather, consistently report meeting a “personal God”? Your argument is bizarre and unclear.

      Scott

  21. 1) You have a sample size of over 7 billion people. Every person dies. But according to Sam Harris, the number of people that have a NDE is anywhere from 10-20%. SO of the 7 billion people alive today, we can ballpark the number of people that will have these experiences at around 1 billion.

    Even if 1 million people saw a god (And you are claiming the number is in the thousands), is this really a shared experience? We are talking about 0.1% of all NDE cases. In actuality the number is closer to 0.01% of all NDE cases. Is this really enough to say they are shared?

    You are talking about a massive sample size. If a couple of buddies take LSD and they see the same thing, that is weird. If you take 20,000 people and give them LSD and 2 of them see a dragon, is it really shared or simply coincidental? Lots of people have seen dragons. Like I said before, I have a hard time calling those truly shared experiences. They are isolated events that are similar, not shared events that are the same. That is my biggest issue with this.

    2) My analogy was to say this. When you back out enough with semantics, you can call anything shared. The term god is a broad term, just like animal is.

    If you hallucinate a dinosaur and I hallucinate a mouse, we both hallucinated animals.

    If you hallucinate a white dude with a beard and I hallucinate some weird spirit entity, you could say we both hallucinated god. But they are not the same.

    3) This is why I am begging you for evidence. You are forcing a false dichotomy. Even if you accept that NDEs are shared, and that shared hallucinations arent possible, (I would say they arent truly shared) all you have done is assert that my explanation is false.

    You have done nothing to back up your claim. You are saying because this is false, that has to be true. And we all know that is not a logical statement.

    This is why i am begging for you to back up your claim. You made the statement, stating that justifying that statement is irrelevant is intellectually dishonest.

    • 1) There is no sample size of 7 billion people. This is patently absurd. Near-death experience testimonies come from people who have an experience that brings them near to death, experience a sometimes complete cessation of brain activity, and have vivid conscious experiences while the brain/and or body has ceased to function, and then return to normal consciousness. To suggest that this number is 1 billion is wildly exaggerated. I challenge you to provide a citation from an NDE expert (not Sam Harris) who says that 1 billion people report having NDEs. Hint: You won’t be able to because the suggestion is absurd.

      Again, the term “shared” came into play because I was drawing a point about resurrection appearances of Jesus that also applies to NDEs. The term “shared” experience does not apply to NDEs because, obviously, they happen to different people at different times.

      YET AGAIN, YOU IGNORE THE OTHER EVIDENCE FOR THE AUTHENTICITY OF NDE EXPERIENCES SUCH AS THE “BORN BLIND” NDEs! You seem to conveniently ignore the facts that you cannot explain from within the framework or your (apparently) materialist worldview.

      2) Why do you continue with this “dinosaur and mouse” analogy? People who have NDEs do not report seeing various things such as dinosaurs or mice…rather, they report interacting with a “personal God.” Your analogy is nonsensical and bizarre. DO ME A FAVOR: GO TO YOU TUBE AND FIND ME AN NDE TESTIMONY WHERE A PERSON ENCOUNTERS A DINOSAUR OR MOUSE!!! You will find references to encounters with “God, angels, Jesus, deceased loved ones” (according to the research of Jeffrey Long, MD, as cited in Evidence for the Afterlife). FIND EVEN ONE NDE TESTIMONY WHERE A PERSON ENCOUNTERS SOME ENTITY OTHER THAN “GOD, ANGELS, JESUS, DECEASED LOVED ONES.” GO TO YOU TUBE AND DO IT. KNOCK US OUT. WE ARE WAITING. I am not suggesting that there can be NONE, but that there are precious few if any.

      3) There is no false dichotomy. I have backed up my claim, but you have failed to back up your claim. Why don’t you find us some research showing that large numbers of people who use hallucinogenic drugs encounter a “mouse” or a “dragon,” or anything else. Hallucinations are each very unique.

      I am begging you explain how multitudes of people can have a hallucination with the same content. Please please please explain.

      Also, I a BEGGING you to explain how you can explain away the evidence for God I gave you that comes from modern biology, physics, and cosmology. Also, I am BEGGING you to explain the “born blind” NDEs from within the framework of your apparently materialist worldview.

      Scott

  22. So a neuroscientist cant speak to the number of near death experiences? Thats interesting. I would take his word over yours any day of the week.

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/science-on-the-brink-of-death

    He makes the claim that 10-20% of people that approach clinical death report a near death experience. Granted, I am making jump and applying this to the whole population. But I wouldnt say it is an unreasonable one. A gallop poll in 1992 showed that about 5% of Americans have had a NDE. If we extrapolate those numbers to the world, we would be looking at 350 million on the low end to 1.4 billion on the high end. Keep in mind, this is just seeing anything. Life flash before your eyes, light at the end of the tunnel, etc…

    I have been calling NDEs hallucinations for the last 50 posts. You come back and say “They cant be hallucinations because they are shared”

    I came back with they arent really shared, they are simply isolated incidents that occasionally have similarities.

    You respond with “Again, the term “shared” came into play because I was drawing a point about resurrection appearances of Jesus that also applies to NDEs. The term “shared” experience does not apply to NDEs because, obviously, they happen to different people at different times.”

    This is such a freaking red herring. You never made this claim before. Only after being called on the shared hallucination thing did you change it up.

    I didnt say they didnt occur. We know people have hallucinations. What I am saying is that when we do not know what the cause is, to simply say “god did it” without any observable evidence to justify it is not science, it is a fairy tale.

    You are missing the point of the analogy. Based on your previous posts, you are saying that hallucinating a god is proof of that god’s existence. it can not be a simple hallucination because hallucinations are not shared.

    The analogy was to point out that you have broadened the terms so much, that you could call anything shared.

    Person 1 sees a dinosaur and person 2 sees a mouse. They saw two separate things. However, by saying they both saw animals and calling it a shared hallucination is intellectually dishonest. I am not saying people with NDE see mice, Mr. Strawman. I am saying that you are using an overly broad term to justify your argument, and I used the analogy of “mice and dinosaurs are animals” to show how. By broadening the hallucination to just the words “Personal God” you are covering every bit as much ground as the difference between mice and dinosaurs.

    And finally, you did present a false dichotomy. You said that NDEs are real and are evidence of god. Your response was “it couldnt be a shared hallucination so therefore it is god”

    I simply pointed out even if you are completely correct about NDEs are not shared hallucinations, you have not provided a shred of evidence that they are evidence of god. You have attempted to discredit the hallucination line.

    You made the claim that they are evidence of god. Dont tell me how they arent hallucinations. Tell me how they are evidence of god.

    • Dj,

      You say that NDEs are “isolated incidents that occasionally have similarities.” This completely flies in the face of the research I cited, but which you have ignored. ONCE AGAIN, DJ, please review this video which cited the research of NDE researcher Jeffrey Long, MD.

      This short 4 1/2 minute video reveals the following: Dr. Long’s research sample included more than a thousand people from all over the world. His research finding is that the consistency of these stories demonstrate scientifically that there is an afterlife. One of his research subjects (a nurse named Mary Jo Rapini) appears with him in the video. She recounts how God held her and called her by name. Dr. Long then describes her experience as “absolutely typical.” In his book Evidence for the Afterlife, Dr. Long cites “reunion with deceased loved ones, God, angels, Jesus” as common threads of these experiences.

      And once again, it is not just Dr. Long. Please recall my previous citations:

      In 2005, IANDS released The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences to summarize the conclusions of 30 years of research in this field. Some of the revelations featured in this book (which appear below) should come as a wake-up call to those inclined to doubt the existence of the Deity:

      “NDErs often believe that they have survived because God willed it and had a divine purpose in bringing them back…They have experienced the love of God and been changed by it (Grosso 1981). Many have come face-to-face with a personal God with whom they continue to maintain a loving relationship.”

      “…for most the result appears to be a spiritual awakening. The NDE often brings with it a spiritual certainty and intense desire to conform one’s life to divine will. The new relationship with what is often a personal God becomes central to the NDErs’ lives.”

      In part because of the sheer volume of NDE accounts, it has become a phenomenon that is difficult to ignore. And, as Patrick Glynn notes in his book God: The Evidence, “the majority of researchers who have investigated the phenomenon, generally professionals with medical, psychological, or other scientific training—many of whom started out as skeptics—have concluded that these experiences are authentic.”


      CONSIDERING THE ABOVE, I AM UTTERLY MYSTIFIED HOW YOU CAN CHARACTERIZE NDEs AS “ISOLATED INCIDENTS THAT OCCASIONALLY HAVE SIMILARITIES”!!

      COULD YOU PLEASE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS CHARACTERIZATION!

      Why do you put so much energy into semantics such as the word “shared”? It is about CONSISTENCY OF STORIES. The term “shared” applied to the citation I referenced about post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, but does not apply to NDEs because they happen to different people at different times. In both the testimonies of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and NDE testimonies, the witnesses had stories that were CONSISTENT. But the term “shared” only applies when it happens to different people at the same time. There is no Red Herring. You just misunderstood.

      Next: You have YET AGAIN failed to respond to my point about the “born blind NDEs” providing evidence that these experiences are genuine. Dj, I am going to have to keep a counter of the times that you have failed to respond to this….

      THE COUNTER IS NOW AT 4 (FOUR).

      You write, “What I am saying is that when we do not know what the cause is, to simply say “god did it” without any observable evidence to justify it is not science, it is a fairy tale.”

      Once again, I am utterly mystified by why you put so much emphasis on knowing what the “cause” of NDEs is…as if that were some how relevant. I have asked you on SEVERAL occasions to explain why this is a significant question, but you refuse to do so.

      And YET AGAIN, you make the philosophical error made by the Empiricists when you cite the need for “observable evidence” for something to be scientific. Your reasoning would require us to throw out almost the entire field of psychology, for example…not to mention most of history. As another example, what “observable evidence” do we have that there was such a figure as Alexander the Great who conquered much of the known world? None whatsoever, just recorded eyewitness testimonies.

      And this point requires perhaps the most emphasis: The evidence that God “caused” these events (since you seem fixated on that) is 1) The evidence that God exists and 2) The consistent eyewitness testimonies.

      SO PLEASE RESPOND TO JUST ONE of the pieces of evidence I cited for the existence of God:

      The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Click on the preceding link and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life. Please CLICK HERE to watch Richard Dawkins entertaining this hypothesis in an interview.

      Scott

      • Why does it matter? You are the one that said it was evidence in the first place. Asking how it is evidence is the next logical question.

        Are you stupid? You can make an assertion and when questioned about that assertion you say I’m being unfair or illogical?

      • This is the evidence you have provided

        1) people have NDEs
        2) in very rare circumstances these experiences are similar to each other.
        3) because we can not explain this, it has to be god.

        That is fucking retarded. And that proves nothing.

        It is a classic false dichotomy.

      • Literally every piece of “evidence” you have provided is logically flawed.

        A false dichotomy here, a red herring there, a strawman there, an argument from ignorance here.

        There is not a single thing of merit that you have provided that could be called evidence.

        This entire thread came from misrepresenting the second law of thermodynamics.

        Give me something observable, or we are done. And if you can’t do that, at least be honest about. When I don’t know, I say I don’t know.

  23. I think the main problem with your post is you lump all NDE accounts together. You dismiss all because there are many, probably most, which are artifacts of the mind or the situation, etc. But it is fallacious to claim none are evidence of life after death because the majority are clearly not. It’s like saying most vehicles on the road are cars therefore trucks do not exist. The obvious response to this analogy is that we do see trucks too, but you claim in effect that there are no “trucks” because you’ve only seen “cars”.

    People have seen and heard things in other rooms in the hospital, while their body is comatose, events which they witnessed and are verified later by the people they observed, which they could not possibly have experienced from the hospital bed.

    http://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Near_Death_Experience_Stories#2

    “Even scientists can’t explain this phenomenon with hallucination theories or the misfiring of neurons in the brain.”
    http://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Near_Death_Experience_Stories#3

  24. But if we do not have any evidence for trucks, there is no reason to say they exist.

    Could they? Sure. But if there is no evidence they exist, why would you say they did?

    • Your argument is, though, that in spite of people saying there are trucks, you’re saying you’ve never been convinced you’ve seen a truck therefore there are no trucks. It’s the fallacy of argument from ignorance. You haven’t seen one so they don’t exist.

      • So saying something that no one has observed isn’t supported by evidence is arguing from ignorance? I made it clear half a dozen times god could exist. An argument from ignorance is when I would assert that a lack of evidence is proof of god’s non existence. I don’t make that assertion.

        You can say that about anything. If i said “no one has observed evidence of a flying dog/dragon hybrid” would that be arguing from ignorance as well?

        The burden of proof is not on me. I don’t have to defend a negative, you have to defend the positive. Provide evidence and this would all go away.

        • “So saying something that no one has observed isn’t supported by evidence is arguing from ignorance?”

          I gave an example already which disproves this continued claim, that there is no evidence.

          “I made it clear half a dozen times god could exist. An argument from ignorance is when I would assert that a lack of evidence is proof of god’s non existence. I don’t make that assertion.”

          Deflection again and a strawman. I didn’t make the assertion that you claimed God didn’t exist either. My argument was clear for anyone to read. I won’t bother to repeat myself.

          “The burden of proof is not on me. I don’t have to defend a negative, you have to defend the positive. Provide evidence and this would all go away.”

          You make this claim as an attempt to hand-wave away the evidence I already gave. Since I gave the evidence the burden is no longer on me as you claim. The burden is on you, by your own statement. Can we assume that, since you’ve been deflecting and strawmanning instead of doing that, that it is because you can’t?

  25. By the same token, the only argument presented is “you can’t explain this, must be god”

    I don’t shy away from I don’t know. If you don’t know, you don’t know. It is intellectually dishonest to fill the gaps in human knowledge with “god did it”

    I know the unknown is uncomfortable, but why attribute the unknown with an idea that has been completely unobserved? That is answering a question with a question.

    • I’m not saying I don’t know, therefore God. I’m saying there are examples that cannot be explained from a materialist position. I gave an example and supported my position that not all can be explained as hallucinations, etc. as you claimed. You are the one who is claiming in effect, ‘I don’t know, but it must not be God’.

      • I have always said “I don’t know, but there is no evidence of god”

        I have said several times, that there could be a god. But the evidence doesn’t support it. And until it is presented I will stand by that statement.

        • “I have always said “I don’t know, but there is no evidence of god” ”

          Deflection. That’s not what I was replying to, so your reply here is not a rebuttal.

          • 1) your “evidence” is “I can not fathom how the world in which a materialistic explanation is possible, how god could not exist”

            The only evidence you have ever provided is essentially “there are examples that cannot be explained from a materialist position”

            All the points that have been given by you and Scott would support that claim. However, no evidence has been given to support the claim that god does exist.

            That is where a false dichotomy comes into play. A false dichotomy is where you arbitrarily set up two sides, and say “because X is untrue, Y must be be true”

            That’s what I have been saying for the last dozen posts. Even if we accept X as false, you have not proved Y true.

            We know you can arguing against materialism. I know what you are going to say to that. Tell me why Y is true. What is your evidence that god exists.

            2) you made the claim earlier that I was arguing from ignorance. When I said that was false, you said I was deflecting. I don’t think that was a fair statement. If you are going to accuse someone of not playing fair, I think it is entirely reasonable for that person to say “wait a second, that is not right”

            An argument from ignorance would be if I said “there is no evidence of god, therefore god doesn’t exist” I have never made that claim. So you can’t really justify the accusation. Pointing that out is not deflecting your point. It is calling out your point as false.

            I would also like to point out that an argument from ignorance has its limits.

            If i said “there is no evidence that the earth’s core is made of cheese, therefore it isn’t made of cheese” it is technically an argument from ignorance. But is it flawed? You could drop “argument from ignorance” against anyone in Amy situation.
            That doesn’t change the fact that the burden of proof is on you. All it does is distract from the issue at hand.

            And if you aren’t going to give evidence, then at least make your distraction a true statement.

          • dj commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

            in response to Rod Carty:

            dj: “I have always said “I don’t know, but there is no evidence of god”
            Rod: ” Deflection. That’s not what I was replying to, so your reply here is not a rebuttal.”

            “1) your “evidence” is “I can not fathom how the world in which a materialistic explanation is possible, how god could not exist”

            I think you are confusing your discussion with Scott on this thread as I have not said this.

            dj: “The only evidence you have ever provided is essentially “there are examples that cannot be explained from a materialist position”

            That’s about right. There are examples which cannot have a purely natural explanation, therefore their explanation must be the only other choice, supernatural.

            dj: “That is where a false dichotomy comes into play. A false dichotomy is where you arbitrarily set up two sides, and say “because X is untrue, Y must be be true”

            That’s what I have been saying for the last dozen posts. Even if we accept X as false, you have not proved Y true.”

            Well, if you think there are other choices besides natural or supernatural please list them, thanks.

            dj: “2) you made the claim earlier that I was arguing from ignorance. When I said that was false, you said I was deflecting. I don’t think that was a fair statement. If you are going to accuse someone of not playing fair, I think it is entirely reasonable for that person to say “wait a second, that is not right”

            An argument from ignorance would be if I said “there is no evidence of god, therefore god doesn’t exist” I have never made that claim. So you can’t really justify the accusation. Pointing that out is not deflecting your point. It is calling out your point as false.”

            I won’t bother to repeat myself. Just reread my earlier post where I use the analogy of you claiming trucks don’t exist.

            dj: “I would also like to point out that an argument from ignorance has its limits.

            If i said “there is no evidence that the earth’s core is made of cheese, therefore it isn’t made of cheese” it is technically an argument from ignorance. But is it flawed? You could drop “argument from ignorance” against anyone in Amy situation.
            That doesn’t change the fact that the burden of proof is on you. All it does is distract from the issue at hand.

            And if you aren’t going to give evidence, then at least make your distraction a true statement.”

            Here you are again using the same tactic, denying I gave evidence.

  26. I’m done.

    The lack of evidence combined with false accusations, circular reasoning, special pleadings, red herrings etc.. is just too much.

    This is turning into I know you are but what am I. I just don’t have the energy to deal.

    At the end of the day, people take god on faith. And faith by its definition is believing something without evidence. And I don’t do that because I’m not stupid.

    Good day

    • Dj,

      Remember that this discussion has happened in the comment section of a post titled “Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.” And remember where we left off with regards to this issue:

      You said that sunlight renders the Earth an open system, and that the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t apply to open systems.
      I then asked you why it is that we very clearly do see manifestations of the 2nd law of thermodynamics on Earth (such as dead things decaying, cars rusting, people aging, sand castles crumbling, etc.). You did not post a response to this question.

      You apparently believe ON FAITH and WITHOUT EVIDENCE that some sort of undetermined natural process or mechanism exists that counteracts the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and thereby creates life from non-living matter…even though the simplest living thing is several orders of magnitude more complicated than our most sophisticated machines.

      If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?

      Scott

  27. No I preach the message of I don’t know and that the god of gaps theory is stupid.

    If you fill every unknown with “I can’t explain this, must be god” without any evidence to justify that god, that is your choice.

    I’m sorry I don’t feel the need to lie to make myself more comfortable.

    Here is the truth. A beautiful lie is more comfortable than an unknown. And a beautiful lie is a lot more comfortable than cold hard fact.

    • Dj,

      A “God of the gaps” argument is an argument based upon what we do NOT know (gaps in scientific understanding). But my argument is based upon what we DO know about science.

      I don’t want to overload you, SO PLEASE RESPOND TO JUST ONE of the pieces of evidence I cited for the existence of God.

      The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Click on the preceding link and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter.

      This argument for God is based upon what we DO know about science, not upon what we do NOT know about science (as in a “God of the gaps” argument).

      This is why ultra-elite atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life (known as “directed panspermia”). Please CLICK HERE to watch Richard Dawkins entertaining this hypothesis in an interview.

      Because you consistently fail to respond to the evidence presented to you, but rather continue to commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion by repeatedly and forcefully asserting that I have not presented evidence, I am forced to use “counters” of the number of times that you have failed to respond to this evidence.

      The COUNTER FOR THE ABOVE EVIDENCE FROM BIOLOGY IS ON 4 (four).

      The COUNTER FOR THE “BORN BLIND” NDEs IS NOW ON 5 (five).

      Who do you think you are fooling by continually ignoring the evidence presented to you while simultaneously asserting that no evidence has been presented? Seriously!!

      But, you are not alone. Atheists commit such logical fallacies all the time. The Argument by Repeated Assertion is one of the logical fallacies frequently committed by atheists.

      NOTE TO READERS: DJ clearly has the “self-imposed set of blinders” that atheists use to blind themselves to God, mentioned by the psychologist M. Scott Peck, as cited in my essay titled “If the Evidence for God is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Not Convinced?” (in the “experience” section).

      Scott

    • Dj,

      The essay which you link to titled “Creationist Misunderstanding of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics,” is a straw-man argument. I am not and never have argued that the 2nd law of thermodynamics renders Darwinian evolution impossible. If there are creationists out there who make such an argument, that is up to them.

      Please AGAIN recall that Darwinian evolution utilizes the proposed natural mechanism of random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring. Therefore, quite obviously, Darwinian evolution only applies to that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things. Did you forget?

      The question that I have been BEGGING you to answer is how simple, non-living elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon became the 1st and simplest living thing. In other words, how did the simplest living, which the Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold describes as…

      “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours…”

      …emerge from simple non-living elements despite the fact that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that things progress from a state of more order to a state of less order over time (as in a sand castle crumbling away over time). If you want to characterize the Earth as an “open system,” fine with me. But please recall that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics manifests itself continuously on Earth…cars rusting, people aging, dead things decaying, sand castles crumbling, etc…

      You suggest that I am “making something up” rather than just admitting ignorance. But, YET AGAIN, you have failed to respond to the evidence for God from modern physics, modern biology, and modern cosmology which I have presented.

      Why don’t you respond with a LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED rebuttal to JUST ONE of these arguments. YET ANOTHER COPY AND PASTE:

      The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Please provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why ultra-elite atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life.

      Scott

    • elephant hurling – Elephant hurling is a debate tactic in which a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument.

      Doesnt really fit. I linked a few websites to fallacies that I have already mentioned for the most part. A better example of this would be linking several videos that are pretty long and then saying “why dont you read this blog post” or saying “if you go to youtube you will see my point is true”

      Which is something your scott will do. But not me.

      If anyone did this, it was scott. Not me. But I will point out exactly where all these fallacies took place.

    • Burden of Proof – A great example of this would be making a claim that NDEs are OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE of god. When questioned about that, the answer devolves into “you cant disprove this”

      This can be summed up in one question asked by Scott “If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?”

      This is shifting the burden of proof. Asking a person to prove a negative statement is next to impossible. Especially when you create an entity that is entirely immune to debate simply because of its definition. Prove this timeless spaceless immaterial invisible undetectable entity doesnt exist.

      See the issue? That is why when you make a positive claim, the burden of proof is on you.

      Alex Michalos, the author of Principles of logic, states in this book that “usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”

      • Dj,

        There is no shifting the burden of proof. I have presented EVIDENCE that NDEs cannot be explained in naturalistic terms. Please read my post titled How to evaluate an NDE skeptic’s explanation for the phenomenon (click here).

        I am not asking you to prove a negative. Rather, I am asking you to explain NDEs in naturalistic terms. For example, I have asked you SEVERAL TIMES to explain the “born blind” NDEs in naturalistic terms, but you refuse to do so.

        A citation from the above mentioned essay:

        Many of these reports [of Near-Death Experiences] are so well-documented that some naturalists have been forced to take them seriously, even admitting the possibility they pose of life beyond the grave. John Beloff, writing in The Humanist, argued that the evidence for the afterlife was so strong that humanists should just admit it and attempt to interpret it in naturalistic terms. Amazingly, the well-known atheist philosopher A.J. Ayer experienced an NDE that he could not explain in natural terms: “On the face of it, these experiences, on the assumption that the last one was vertical, are rather strong evidence that death does not put an end to consciousness.”

        –Gary Habermas and Michael Lacona, as cited in their book A Case for the Resurrection of Jesus.

        Scott

      • Rod Carty: “Humph. Merely listing links to various fallacies like this is elephant hurling. http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info/w/Elephant_hurling If you want to actually apply those fallacy claims you should quote the portion that you claim is fallacious, and then explain why it is fallacious.”

        DJ: “Burden of Proof – A great example of this would be making a claim that NDEs are OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE of god. When questioned about that, the answer devolves into “you cant disprove this”

        This can be summed up in one question asked by Scott “If I am wrong about your atheist FAITH, then what is your evidence?”

        This is shifting the burden of proof. Asking a person to prove a negative statement is next to impossible. Especially when you create an entity that is entirely immune to debate simply because of its definition. Prove this timeless spaceless immaterial invisible undetectable entity doesnt exist.

        See the issue? That is why when you make a positive claim, the burden of proof is on you.

        Alex Michalos, the author of Principles of logic, states in this book that “usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”

        I don’t need to have the fallacy explained. You linked to definitions of them previously so this is redundant anyway. Repeating the claim without supporting it is also a fallacy. Please quote the part in the OP where shifting the burden of proof occurs. Unless you do this for each of your posts where you replied to the OP with a fallacy claim my charge of elephant hurling still applies. Claiming someone committed a particular fallacy elsewhere does not remove your responsibility to resolve this charge.

    • Tu quoque is kind of interesting. It is where you dont answer the criticism, you simply flip the criticism around on the critic without answer the question.

      A great example would be this.

      Scott: NDEs are evidence of god?
      Me: How do we know god caused them?
      Scott: “I am utterly mystified by why you put so much emphasis on knowing what the “cause” of NDEs is…as if that were some how relevant.”

      Scott made the claim that NDEs were caused by god. This is evidenced by his statement “The evidence that these NDEs are caused by God is the same evidence that THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT (including NDEs) is caused by God.”

      When actually called to answer the question he flipped the criticism onto the questioner.

      Therefore committing Tu quoque

      • DJ,

        Please copy and paste for me where I said that NDEs were “caused” by God. I said that NDEs are evidence for God. Since I believe (for rationally demonstrated reasons) that God is the fundamental ground of reality, then God is ultimately the “cause” of NDEs.

        It is YOU who introduced the question of what “causes” NDEs. I have said that I do not think that this question has any particular relevance, but you REFUSE to explain why this question is relevant.

        Scott

        • “The evidence that these NDEs are caused by God is the same evidence that THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT (including NDEs) is caused by God. ”

          You said that on February 10th

    • Black and white or false dichotomy has been discussed a lot.

      This is where you say “A cant be true, therefore Z has to be right”

      To say “Naturalistic explanations arent right, therefore god did it”

      Even if you disprove A completely, that doesnt prove Z to be true.

      • Dj,

        Your assertion that I am presenting a “false dichotomy” is ridiculous. I am not merely trying to disprove naturalistic explanations. I have presented POSITIVE evidence for God from biology (which says that code and language, such as DNA, is BY NECESSITY a mental construct, as in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading), evidence from physics (which says that there is no reality independent of conscious mind, as presented in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism), and evidence from cosmology/astrophysics which says that the cause of the universe must be timeless, immaterial, space-less, and energy-less (just like God), as presented in Is There A God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?).

        You are in fact committing an Argument from Ignorance by suggesting (at least apparently) that natural mechanisms will be discovered to explain these things. This faith-based belief is what the eminent philosopher of science Karl Popper derisively termed “promissory materialism” because materialist/naturalists basically issue a “promissory note” which promises to eventually explain things in naturalistic terms.

        Scott

        • Interesting you brought up Karl Popper.

          The guy that talks about falsifiability and how important it is to the scientific process.

          Your assertion doesnt stand up to falsifiability.

      • DJ commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

        in response to Rod Carty:

        //Humph. Merely listing links to various fallacies like this is elephant hurling. http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info/w/Elephant_hurling If you want to actually apply those fallacy claims you should quote the portion that you claim is fallacious, and then explain why it is fallacious.//

        “Black and white or false dichotomy has been discussed a lot.

        This is where you say “A cant be true, therefore Z has to be right”

        To say “Naturalistic explanations arent right, therefore god did it”

        Even if you disprove A completely, that doesnt prove Z to be true.”

        If there is some third option besides natural or supernatural causes please state what it is.

        • Rod,

          Exactly! Online atheists often throw around terms such as “false dichotomy” and “[X,Y, or Z] logical fallacy” without really understanding the the terminology they are using. It is basically a “throw-a-bunch-of-stuff-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks” approach which uses fancy terminology in an attempt to appear credible, and create the illusion of presenting a valid counter argument.

          But, as in the case of DJ, such attempts backfire when it becomes apparent that the person making an accusation of “false dichotomy” or “[X] logical fallacy” doesn’t adequately demonstrate how his debate opponent has committed such an error.

          As you point out, DJ is using the term “false dichotomy” without actually furnishing a third option. This means that he is just throwing around terminology wildly in an attempt to throw off his opponent and create an illusion of having a valid counter-argument.

          I see this a lot when debating atheists online.

          Scott

          • Rod: “If there is some third option besides natural or supernatural causes please state what it is.”

            DJ: “Aliens could have done it. Maybe an impersonal god did it.

            There are two options right there.”

            Aliens are natural. A god is supernatural. You have not provided a third option.

    • And finally, a strawman is when you purposefully misrepresent your opponents view and then argue against it.

      Lets see, Scott made several of these.

      When I made an analogy saying that the terms animal and god are almost as broad, and simply because someone sees “god” it could mean a wide range of things. The difference is as vast as a mouse and a dinosaur.

      He took this and turned it into “why are you saying people who have NDEs see animals? that is ridiculous.” (Not Verbatim)

      Every single argument that has been put forth by scott has not been based in any sort of evidence. It has been based in a logical fallacy that most people are too stupid to see.

      But I will ignore it, ALL OF IT, if something observable can be presented

      • DJ,

        What “wide range of things” could people be referring to when they report meeting the Creator of the universe (God). Please give me some examples. What do you suppose the atheists who reported meeting God (as I linked to) were really experiencing?

        ONCE AGAIN, you forcefully repeat your assertion that I have not presented any evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented to you. You are VERY TRANSPARENTLY trying to use a forceful, repeated assertion to compensate for your deficient argument. This, YET AGAIN, is the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. I have presented you evidence for God from modern biology, modern physics, and modern cosmology. Why don’t you respond to JUST ONE of these pieces of evidence. YET ANOTHER COPY AND PASTE:

        The evidence from modern biology, as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading (in the science section). Please read and provide your LOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED, FACT-BASED REBUTTAL. Once again, information science tells us that code and language (such as the code or language of DNA) is BY NECESSITY a mental construct. This means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. This is why atheist biologists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins have resorted to the ALIENS-BROUGHT-LIFE-TO-EARTH-IN-THEIR-SPACESHIP explanation for the origin of life.

        NOTE TO READERS: Forceful re-assertion that there is no evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented, demonstrates what the psychologist M. Scott Peck referred to as a “self-imposed set of blinders” to the evidence for God (as cited in “If the Evidence for God is So Strong, Why Are So Many Smart People Unconvinced?,” in the experience section).

        Dj, you yet again suggest that only “observable” things can be considered evidence. But YET AGAIN, you commit the philosophical error committed by the Empiricists. Evidence for various things comes from applying reason to the deliverances of the senses, not just from direct observation of the deliverances of the senses.

        Please present me “observable evidence” that there was such a historical figure as Alexander the Great. All that we have is recorded testimony from various individuals. We can never observe a historical figure.

        Scott

  28. Personal incredulity is really good.

    Lets look at the argument in its logic form.

    P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.

    Or I can not imagine how the world came to being in a natural way, therefore a naturalistic explanation is false.

    PS. I did not commit this fallacy. I have always said that god could exist. The evidence isnt there, but the possibility exists.

    • Dj,

      YET AGAIN, you have asserted that there is no evidence for God while simultaneously ignoring the evidence I present you. This, yet again, is the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion. Tell you what, take a pick and respond to JUST ONE of the pieces of evidence I have repeatedly presented you:

      I have presented POSITIVE evidence for God from biology (which says that code and language, such as DNA, is BY NECESSITY a mental construct, as in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading), evidence from physics (which says that there is no reality independent of conscious mind, as presented in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism), and evidence from cosmology/astrophysics which says that the cause of the universe must be timeless, immaterial, space-less, and energy-less (just like God), as presented in Is There A God? What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?).

      In no way shape or form am I arguing that God must exist because I cannot imagine how the world came into being in a natural way. Rather, I am arguing that God must exist based upon the above cited POSITIVELY stated arguments for the existence of God. These arguments, again, are based upon what we DO KNOW about science, and NOT upon what we do not know. Again, the code or language of DNA has been shown by information science to BY NECESSITY be a mental construct, which means that a conscious and intelligent mind was BY NECESSITY involved in the origin of life from non-living matter. And again, modern physics says that there is no reality independent of conscious mind, which means that a conscious mind is BY NECESSITY the ground of reality.

      Scott

    • DJ commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

      in response to godevidence:

      //Frank Turek and Norman Geisler make an excellent point in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. The Second Law of Thermodynamics poses an insurmountable problem for atheistic explanations of the origin of life from non-living matter: “…nature disorders, it doesn’t organize things (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder […]//

      DJ: “Personal incredulity is really good.

      Lets look at the argument in its logic form.

      P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.

      Or I can not imagine how the world came to being in a natural way, therefore a naturalistic explanation is false.

      PS. I did not commit this fallacy. I have always said that god could exist. The evidence isnt there, but the possibility exists.”

      You mischaracterize the argument there. It does not say ‘I cannot imagine’, it says “an insurmountable problem”. That is, it is not saying ‘we don’t know’, it is saying ‘we do know’. We do know, by 2LoT, that a natural cause of life is impossible. The only other possibility, if natural is impossible, is, by logic, supernatural.

  29. Composition/Division or fallacy of composition

    This fallacy simply states that just because something is true for a part, it doesnt make it true for whole. Or just because something is true for the whole, it doesnt make it true for the part.

    A great example would be saying that a person can see better if they stand at a football game, therefore everyone will be able to see better if they stand.

    Or, in the case of scott’s point of expecting the sun to impact all the parts of the earth in the same way it impacts the whole.

    • DJ,

      Where have I suggested that the sun must “impact all parts of the Earth in the same way it impacts the whole”? If I had made such an assertion (which I have not), of what significance would this be? I thought that you were not suggesting that the sun is what causes the enormous increase in order present in the origin of life from non-living matter. Am I wrong? Are you suggesting this? I do not want to put words in your mouth.

      Your composition/division fallacy argument is strange.

      Scott

      • I explained myself perfectly fine.

        The insinuation was because we can observe entropy in certain parts of the earth, that the sun can not be used to describe the lack of entropy on the earth.

        Or equating the big picture with what we observe in small pockets.

    • DJ commented on Atheism’s insurmountable problem of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics..

      in response to godevidence:

      //Frank Turek and Norman Geisler make an excellent point in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. The Second Law of Thermodynamics poses an insurmountable problem for atheistic explanations of the origin of life from non-living matter: “…nature disorders, it doesn’t organize things (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder […]//

      “Composition/Division or fallacy of composition

      This fallacy simply states that just because something is true for a part, it doesnt make it true for whole. Or just because something is true for the whole, it doesnt make it true for the part.

      A great example would be saying that a person can see better if they stand at a football game, therefore everyone will be able to see better if they stand.

      Or, in the case of scott’s point of expecting the sun to impact all the parts of the earth in the same way it impacts the whole.”

      Thank you for explaining why you think a particular fallacy has been committed in that quoted post. In effect you are claiming that there are exceptions to 2LoT, are you not? Your mention of the sun, which is not in the quote, I suspect is making the claim that an input of energy from the sun is all that is required. Please explain how solar energy input alone causes things to naturally bring about increases in complexity and order. And you cannot use already-living organisms as examples of this, because the origin of life is what we are talking about. Using life as an example of overcoming entropy with only solar energy begs the question about how that life came about.

  30. Yes, the earth is an open system. But I look at the entire universe when discussing the SLOT. That IS a closed system. So how come in this closed system of the universe, SLOT has been so totally violated as to take the random scattering of big bang degree and form it into the order that we all see around us? Does anyone NOT see that that means there has been some kind of interference with SLOT. And what can that mean other than there has been a force interjected into that closed system. We simply refer to that force as God.

    Now, the next important question is: what is the nature of that force that we call God? And unlike creation, which can be seen above as proven by logic, the nature of God is individually determined by what Christians call “faith”.

    • Ron,

      The problem with saying that it was a “force” which interfered with the SLOT (second law of thermodynamics) is that forces do not have creative properties. Where in human experience do we see “forces” creating things?

      There are, however, several lines of reasoning which indicate that an eternally existent consciousness (God) counteracted SLOT. This is not a merely “faith-based” argument. First of all, please recall that conscious and intelligent agents DO have creative properties.

      Secondly, I recommend that you read my essay titled God Is Real. Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism (click on the preceding link). In this essay, I describe how modern physics has demonstrated that there is no reality independent of mind (consciousness). At face value, this seems like a very strange statement because it is so counter-intuitive. But despite being strange and counter-intuitive, it is a conclusion of modern physics. Below are a few citations from this essay:

      Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros write in their book The New Story of Science:

      “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

      …the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans writes (in his book The Mysterious Universe“There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

      Princeton University quantum physicist Freeman Dyson:

      “Atoms are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe is also weird, with its laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it passes beyond the scale of our comprehension.”

      Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory) writes:

      “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

      Additionally, Ron, as Keith Ward (a retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy) writes in his book Doubting Dawkins. Why There Almost Certainly Is a God:

      “…there is force in the classical philosophical axiom that, for a truly explanatory cause to be intelligible, it must contain its effects potentially in itself. As the classical philosophers put it, the cause must contain more reality than its effects.”

      When Ward cites the axiom that a cause “must contain its effects potentially in itself,” he is simply stating (in philosophical language) that the cause of conscious, personal, intelligent beings must itself be conscious, personal, and intelligent. God contains the effects of consciousness, intelligence and personhood potentially in himself because he is himself conscious, intelligent, and personal.

      But what philosophical reasoning can one supply in order to argue that a “force” contains the effects of consciousness, intelligence and personhood potentially in itself?

      There can be none.

      Scott

      • Scott, if you’ll reread my post, you’ll see that I AM making the case for creation via a CREATOR. I’m saying some force had to intercede in SLOT to get it cooking and moving toward order. I said we call that force GOD.

        I am with you, my man, don’t fight someone who’s on your side.

        And then I also showed that it then becomes necessary to define what that GOD is like. What is His nature? Is He the God described in the Bible? I’m a christian, and I say yes, but others may disagree. And I think that is only determined to ones satisfaction by one’s own faith.

        • Ron,

          No worries. I wasn’t trying to “fight.” I just thought you were trying to argue that a “force” created the universe rather than God. I have heard many agnostics and atheists argue that a “force” could be responsible, so I wanted to address that issue. Even if you weren’t trying to make that argument, at least now I have responded to people who are.

          Sorry if I came across as too wound-up.

          Scott

  31. Interesting argument, but I can never quite get my head around the idea of living and non-living matter, could someone explain the difference and perhaps give examples of each.

    • Sam,

      To the best of my understanding, the threshold separating life from non-life (or at least one of them) is reproductive capability. A living organism is something which can reproduce, or participate in reproduction. Non-living matter cannot do this.

      Scott

  32. Uh, how about this example: an anvil is non-living matter.
    An octopus is living matter … or am I missing something deeper in your question?

  33. I think the ‘insurmountable’ law as it pertains to the earth-sun system has been fairly well addressed already. The sun WILL eventually run out of fuel and life will not be possible on earth just as the 2nd law predicts. That’s a long ways away, but let’s say it was a bit closer. We can chose to believe everything arose from supernatural forces and, as long as we pick the RIGHT supernatural force, we needn’t worry -or- we can look at the evidence that supports no supernatural forces at work, and rely on ourselves to solve the problem of getting off this rock to somewhere else that’s habitable.

    With respect to the 2nd law and the entire universe. The universe ‘may’ be a closed system (we actually don’t know this for certain). But, assuming it is, there has been a massive increase in entropy since the big bang. The currently observable universe is far more disordered than the singularity prior to the big bang.

  34. OK, so if we’re taking this argument back to the Big Bang, I’m not sure we’re on valid ground in doing so, since nothing whatsoever is known about that mysterious pre-Big Bang little item that we call the “singularity”, primarily because we don’t know what it was and, so, what else to call it.

    One oddball thing we do know about it, though, is that the
    BB violates the FLOT … so we’ve got a problem here even before we begin to deal with SLOT. It’s not supposed to have happened, and since science is not allowed to go beyond BB
    — that’s the realm of metaphysics … and religion — science can’t very well do much about it except to say “we just don’t know”. So that’s a shaky place to begin making a defense for “order-from-randomness-is-OK.”

    But if you want to go there, anyway, then, yes it does appear that the BB resulted in increased entropy if we consider that the singularity was, in fact, a randomless point of some sort — and maybe the ultimate example of order if it was just a one-dimensional point of some kind that couldn’t possibly have ever been in a state of disorder by simple definition of “one dimensional”. I mean, how could you mix that up?

    But again, since we have no idea of the exact nature of the singularity, we’re not beginning this argument from any point of certainty whatsoever.

    But let’s just go with that. Then the “universe thing” went from perfect order to what could well be considered perfect disorder — and then almost immediately began to order itself back into what we’ve got now. I mean, now, that’s a pretty strange “Law” of physics, wouldn’t you say?

    I think it makes a lot more sense to just look around at the total wonders of what we’re in the middle of and say that:

    “The heavens declare the Glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”.

    Works for me …

  35. Hello everyone and Scott Youngren i just want to ask a simple question about your observations and beliefs. All i want is the simple facts and evidence for the proof of gods existence. Because i haven’t studied Second Law of Thermodynamics like all of you at Cambridge or Harvard or whatever. So i can’t read the maze of complex essays you have provided. But I’m only 14 and i just want the evidence in the most simplistic form.

    By the way coming from someone who really has had limited faith in a higher intelligence or power. From personal experinces and observations of peoples behaviour i believe people are so avidly against the idea of creationism. Is because they are afraid of judgement on there acts and being apart of something so much bigger and crazier. So i hope that you can provide simplistic points to inform me on the evidence of god.

    Thanks Hope someone replies

    • Hi, Alex …

      The only actual evidence that God gives us that he’s real is, as he says in His Word -the bible- creation itself. He basically says to us in the first chapter of Romans: “you want evidence that I really am God? Just look around at what I’ve created”

      And besides, we really know God not from any other “evidence” but by faith. It’s all about faith. Period.

      And here, again, is what the bible, God’s instruction book to us, tells us about what faith really is: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. This is from the opening verse of the 11th chapter of Hebrews, and while it sounds like contradictions of terms, it really says that God honors the trust that we put in believing in him in a way that even surpasses what we normally think of as “proof”.

      So keep on seeking, Alex, as you are doing. God tells us that if you diligently do that, you will find Him.
      … Ron Mitchell

      • Ron,

        I agree that, eventually, a leap of faith is required for belief in God. However, one of the main points of this website is that this leap of faith is a much much smaller leap of faith than the leap of faith necessary for belief in atheism. In point of fact, any and all beliefs require a leap of faith.

        Even simple, everyday beliefs require a leap of faith: You don’t KNOW that your employer will continue to pay you every month, but you continue going to work because you have made a leap of faith that your employer WILL continue to pay you.

        One excellent book I recommend on the ENORMOUS leaps of faith necessary to embrace atheism is titled I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist, by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler.

        Scott

      • This reply is to Alex.
        You ask why I believe in God..
        First of all I think, is the gift of faith offered to me by God through my mother. And faith is a gift. It is up to us whether we will accept it.
        Then there is creation, all this wonderful Earth (and beyond), nature,trees, sunsets, all that is beautiful. Often I feel closest to God when out in the country away from people and just absorbing all that God (the Creator)has given us.
        And then there is the human body. Recently I cut my finger: it was a slice and a pinch.
        I put ointment on it and a bandaid for a few days so it wouldn’t get infected. It’s taken about three weeks, but it is almost back to normal. How did that happen? It was not anything I did…I don’t know how to grow new cells, but I knew it would heal. I know God is always taking care of me and providing for me.
        I pray that you will begin to see and feel God in your daily life. Look for him in the people around you. Some will be in need, and others will find need in you and support you. God works through his people. I pray you will have good people in your life.
        God bless you always.

    • Alex,

      Thanks for your interest in learning more about God, and your interest in this website! The arguments for (and against) God are rarely simple. However, I think that I can make some points that are more accessible to a person who is only 14:

      The Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLOT) is a fancy sounding term, but it is really a very simple concept to grasp. SLOT says that, over time, complex things get less complex…the order built into something gives way to disorder over time. SLOT is the reason that, for example, if you built a fancy sandcastle at the beach, it would not be there in a couple weeks…or at least not in the highly ordered form that you left it. In other words, the order that you built into the sandcastle would have given way to disorder…and your sandcastle would be nothing but a lump of sand (if that, even), a couple weeks later.

      The problem which SLOT poses for atheism (disbelief in God) is this: Atheism cites natural processes as an alternative explanation for why highly ordered things such as people could emerge from non-living matter (etc., etc.). However, SLOT says that natural processes do the EXACT OPPOSITE….produce DISORDER from order.

      I don’t know if your have read much of the comments section of this essay, but if you did, you would see how angry and frustrated this fact makes atheists. There is an atheist who calls himself “DJ” who argues that the Second Law of Thermodynamics does not apply on Earth because Earth is an open system (don’t worry, you don’t even have to understand what “open system” means). This is probably the most common atheist reply to the problem of SLOT, but anybody can see how pathetically weak this argument is:

      Whether or not the Earth is an open or closed system is completely irrelevant. Open system or closed system (or partially open system…whatever), the fact remains that SLOT causes order to give rise to disorder over time. SLOT is the reason that sandcastles crumble (as mentioned above), the reason that cars rust, people age, dead things decay, etc., etc.

      Another fairly simple argument for the existence of God: Atheists argue that our highly ordered universe is the result of chance, and not God. But scientists and mathematicians have actually run the numbers on the chance that our universe resulted from chance…and the chance is very extremely ridiculously small. Please click here to read the essay titled OK..I want numbers. What is the probability that our universe is the result of chance? In that essay, Oxford University Professor of Mathematics John Lennox quotes renowned Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose:

      “His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power or 123, that is 1 followed by 10 to the 123rd power zeros.”

      As Penrose puts it, that is a “number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe, there would not even be enough particles to do the job.”

      Scott

  36. Continuem procurando deus, sendo ateu, quando encontrarem-no e a Ciências valida-lo aferível e verificavelmente, eu e acredito que a maioria dos Ateus não terao nenhuma dificuldade em aceitar sua existência. Se for o deus judaico cristão, deve estar com o c.. na mão de medo de ser descoberto. rss..

  37. Scott,

    I was just rereading one of your posts where you stated:

    “Whether or not the Earth is an open or closed system is completely irrelevant. Open system or closed system (or partially open system…whatever), the fact remains that SLOT causes order to give rise to disorder over time.”

    It is important in your arguments with DJ or whomever
    that you not make this statement, because SLOT actually
    DOES insist that it is true ONLY in a closed system, where nothing from the “outside” can be responsible for that system proceeding from an disordered to an ordered system. Just a point to remember, otherwise the SLOT argument falls apart. This is why I insist on looking at the totality of the universe when making this case. For if we consider the totality of the universe — meaning that to be everything that exists — the argument holds.

    I’m just sayin’

    • Actually if SLOT did not apply on the earth then I wonder how anyone would know about it. It certainly wasn’t discovered by astronauts. My point is that people can claim that entropy doesn’t apply to the earth but we observe it happening anyway.

      • Rod,

        Exactly. I like to use the illustration of a sand castle: If you go to the beach and build a sand castle, it will not be there in a week. Rather, it will be little more than a pile of sand. This is a manifestation of SLOT on Earth, pure and simple.

        If SLOT does not apply on Earth, then why do dead animals decompose? Some atheists suggest that sunlight causes the Earth to be an “open system,” and therefore SLOT does not apply on Earth. But, if this is true, then why can we not place a decomposing dead animal in the sunlight and expect it to re-compose?!

        Dead things decay, sand castles crumble, cars rust, people age, etc., etc. Manifestations of SLOT are right here on Earth for everyone to see.

        The lengths that atheists will go to in order to deny God are amazing!

        • Indeed! Another example is a vehicle’s paint fading over time – due to the sun’s energy. An input of energy alone does not mean entropy is overcome. In fact it takes a directed use of the sun’s energy to overcome entropy. This is what plants do, but growing leaves with chlorophyll so that they can use the sun’s energy. If the energy is not directed to a useful purpose then it accelerates entropy. But this too goes against evolutionary dogma, because purpose smacks of design.

  38. Lol this article is hilarious. so life evolving from single celled organisms is less believable that some invisible being creating everything. Evolution is a fact we have observed it. People have also created life. There for people are god.

    • Adam,

      Please recall that Darwinian evolution discusses the diversification of life from a putative common ancestor by random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring. Therefore, Darwinian evolution, quite obviously, applies only to that which has genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…namely, living things.

      Atheists seem to often forget that non-living matter has neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. Trying to apply Darwinian evolution to non-living matter is PATENTLY ABSURD.

      When people who view the world through the atheistic lens try to explain the origin of life from non-living matter, they often end up citing absurdities such as the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation…as I detail in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading. Click here to watch the world’s most famous atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins, endorsing the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter. And click here to read an article about how the atheist biologist Francis Crick (famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix) endorsed the same hypothesis in his book Life Itself.

      Further, since “evolution” refers to change over time, nobody denies evolution. Atheists use the term “evolution” in an equivocal fashion that really means “Darwinian evolution.” This equivocation smuggles in the atheist philosophical stance that the diversification of life happens only by non-intelligent natural mechanisms.

      But as I mention in the essay which I link to above (How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading), DNA is a code or language…and codes or languages use abstract, symbolic representation. Symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY mental in nature, and therefore life was BY NECESSITY created by a conscious and intelligent mind. Atheists like Dawkins and Crick know this, and this is why they cite the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (known as “directed panspermia”).

      Scott

      P.S: No people have not created life. You need to read those news stories much more carefully. People have only spliced together bits and pieces of DNA.

    • “Evolution is a fact we have observed it.”

      Although the phrase ‘evolution is a fact’ is repeated routinely even by leading evolutionary evangelicals like Richard Dawkins, it is not a scientific claim. Facts, or evidence, are the things which people observe and then formulate hypotheses from. They then perform experiments to support the predictions made in their hypothesis or disprove the hypothesis. If the predictions continue to be supported then eventually the hypothesis becomes a theory. If the theory is supported by further experimentation with no contradictions to the predictions then it becomes a law. Hypothesis, theory, law, all built initially from facts. Nowhere does scientific knowledge turn into fact. Calling it such exposes the position as non-scientific, I daresay a religious one.

  39. Scott and everyone who commented, thank you for making a choice to engage in dialogue, even while coming from different perspectives. This is incredible rare and courageous in today’s world to be able to debate and ask questions well.

  40. I have copied this from the comments section of the article, “Riddles for Atheists.” Scott has replied at http://godevidence.com/2011/09/riddles-for-atheists/#comment-65000 but I thought it might be good to put the information here as well, where others with an interest in thermodynamics might see it.
    .
    Virtually everything you say about 2LOT is wrong, so there simply isn’t time to correct all of your mistakes, but I’ll just take a representative sample from your article on the subject and the first couple of comments. (There are 100+ comments and by the time I got to your second comment there was already too much to correct in a reasonable amount of space.)
    .
    In the article you say, “Manifestations of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics are all around us. It is the reason dead things decay, cars rust, people age, sand castles crumble, etc., etc.” The “manifestations” are not examples of 2LOT, they are examples of increased entropy.
    .
    You also say “It must be emphasized that the point is NOT that the 2nd law of thermodynamics poses a problem to Darwinian evolution.” It doesn’t matter if Turek and Geisler were talking about evolution or abiogenesis, whatever they were addressing, it takes place in an open system. But 2LOT does not apply because they’re part of an open system. Every time you address this, you gloss over the whole “in a closed system” part like it’s some insignificant matter. That’s like taking the statement, “In the vacuum of space, nobody can hear you scream,” and saying it’s not true because we hear people scream all the time on roller coasters. Understand that 2LOT applies only to closed systems, and before you try to draw any conclusions from it (e.g., evolution or abiogenesis on earth) ask yourself if the system you’re examining (e.g., the earth) is closed. If it isn’t a closed system, then 2LOT does not apply. Period.
    .
    In the comments you repeatedly say things like, “Yes, the Earth is an ‘open system’ which means that something from outside of the system can step in to counteract the disordering force of the second law of thermodynamics… As an illustration, let’s consider a junkyard: The disordering force of the 2nd law of thermodynamics acting on the old cars in a junkyard causes them to rust and breakdown (become less ordered).” For the sake of argument, we can consider a junkyard to be very roughly a closed system, but even so, 2LOT does not “act” on things like cars, causing them to rust. What ‘acts” on the car’s metal is natural chemical processes like oxidation. 2LOT is not a “force” acting on anything; it is simply a conclusion drawn from the fact that there are many, many more possibilities for a “state function” to transition to a region (“region” does not mean “place”) of higher entropy than lower entropy.
    .
    So what is 2LOT? It can be expressed many ways, but they’re often variations of a theme: “In a closed system, no process is possible in which the sole result is the absorption of heat from a reservoir and its complete conversion to work” Stating the same principle differently, “In a closed system, no process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of heat from a cooler body to a hotter body.” Stating the principle differently, “In a closed system, no process is possible in which the sole result of a chemical reaction is a decrease in entropy.” Another way of stating it would be, “In a closed system, the net result of a reaction cannot be a decrease in entropy.”
    Notice that key phrase “the sole result.” This is the crucial part you’re missing, and it makes all the difference. A chemical reaction or other process composed of sub-systems in which energy is exchanged will result in an INcrease in entropy in some areas/systems, and a DEcrease in entropy in others. But in a closed system, the net result will be an increase in entropy.
    .
    Note, also, that a more accurate definition would be that entropy increases or stays the same. It doesn’t have to increase, and it can actually decrease; it’s just that the mathematical possibility of that is so low that we basically ignore it.
    .
    Consider an example. The formula for calculating entropy change of a system in thermal equilibrium is ΔS = q/T. (There are similar formulas for systems not in thermal equilibrium, but we’ll keep it simple.) I don’t know if the delta sign is going to be formatted correctly, so we could restate the formula as “change in S = q/T” or, “the change in entropy of a system (S) is equal to the heat absorbed by the system (q) divided by the absolute temperature (degrees Kelvin) of the system at the time.
    .
    So let’s imagine we take a cup full of water at 550 degrees Kelvin (58 Celsius). Then we place a cube of ice at 450 Kelvin (-42 Celsius) in it. Heat will flow from the hotter water to the colder ice. We can use our entropy equation to calculate the change in entropy for both the water and the ice cube.
    .
    Ice: Delta S = 1/450 = .0022 (this is an INcrease in entropy)
    Water: Delta S = -1/550 = -.0018 (DEcrease in entropy. In the formula, q = heat absorbed by the system, but the water loses heat, so the result is a negative number.)
    Delta S = .0022 – .0018 = .0004 BTUs.
    .
    So for every BTU of energy transferred from the water to the ice, we’ve INcreased the entropy of the ice, DEcreased the entropy of the water, and all of this resulted in a net INcrease of the entire system’s entropy by .0004.
    .
    In conclusion, your big misconceptions are:
    – A failure to appreciate that 2LOT is simply not applicable in an open system. You say you get this, then you turn right around and apply it to sand castles and whatnot, but that’s a mistake.
    .
    – When this is pointed out you pretend to understand, but then move right on to your next blunder—-thinking that 2LOT and entropy are the same thing.
    .
    – The idea that 2LOT is a force or otherwise causes anything, and can be “counteracted” by an open system;
    .
    – And the big one—not understanding that parts of systems can experience decreased entropy while other parts, and the system as a whole, experience an increase in entropy.
    .
    Let’s forget the whole open/closed system thing for a second and accept that the earth-sun system as effectively closed. Now if we add up every process on earth that decreases entropy (increases order, or where energy flows “uphill” to a hotter system), and add up every process on earth and the sun that increases entropy—that results in lost energy to heat, light, noise, or energy that is otherwise unavailable to perform work–the parts of the system that experience an increase in entropy greatly outweigh the parts of the system that experience a decrease in entropy. You have a bunch of pockets of decreasing entropy (e.g. plants using energy from the sun to grow, but even then the energy transfer is very inefficient) and a huge wasteland of increasing entropy. Most of the energy that comes to the earth from the sun is radiated right back out into space at a lower wavelength (less energy) and is lost and unavailable for work–it’s entropy.

  41. I’ll just chip in for a bit, if I may, and say that yes, of course the earth is not a closed system, but the entirety of the universe is, whatever the whole of that happens to be. And as such, the Big Bang dust of particles that ensued ultimately coming to rest in the order we see all around us IS a decrease in entropy, and a whopper of one, at that, and, therefore, a contradiction to SLOT.

    Also, we should note that the Big Bang itself is a contradiction of SLOT, and while I do not doubt the reality of BB, it does show that there was another force at work that superseded the most fundamental law of all of physics.

    I call that force God.

    • Ron,

      Well put. Here is how the Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose puts it in his book The Emperor’s New Mind (which I refer to in my post titled OK…I Want Numbers. What is the probability that the universe is the result of chance?):

      “This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in the ordinary denary notation: it would be ‘1’ followed by 10 to the 123rd power successive ‘0’ s! Even if we were to write a ‘0’ on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe – and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure – we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed.”

      Facts such as these are what caused the Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle to write:

      “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

      Owen Gingerich, a former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science (who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) reflects on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.

      “Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”

      • So here’s a handy definition of Darwinian Evolution, in case anyone should ask you:

        Evolution: unknown chemicals in the primordial past, through unknown processes which no longer exist, somehow produced unknown life forms which are not to be found but through unknown reproduction methods could have possibly spawned new life in an unknown atmospheric composition in an unknown oceanic soup completed at an unknown place and time.

        What’s so hard to believe about that?

    • Hi Ron. SLOT (or 2LOT as I call it) says that the net result of a reaction is an increase in entropy. It does not say that every part of the reaction will experience increased entropy. I illustrated that with the math problem in my post. The entropy of the ice cube INcreased. The entropy of the water DEcreased. When we compare the entropy changes of the ice and the water, we saw that the entropy of the entire ice/water system increased, which conforms to 2LOT. The absolutely crucial thing to notice is that, while the entropy of the system increased as we’d expect, 2LOT does not say that every single part of that system must experience increased entropy.
      .
      This is why the decreased entropy of galaxies and stars (and the big contributors, black holes) do not violate 2LOT. They are only parts of the system. They decrease in entropy but the entire system increases. The entropy of the early Universe was about 10^88. Today it’s 10^101. That means the entropy of the Universe has increased trillions and trillions of times over, even while these relatively small pockets of decreased entropy have formed.
      .
      Imagine the early universe as a giant egg. When it was just sitting there it had very low entropy. When it broke and started expanding, the yolk and egg white and bits of shell started breaking apart and spreading out and mixing together. As time goes on you might notice small globs of egg yolk collecting together. It would be correct to say those small globs were experiencing decreased entropy from when they were a messy smear, but the egg as a whole is bajillions of times more messy than when it started, even with the small globs of relative order floating around.

      • It sounds like you’re really stretching it out there to keep your position intact (I mean … putting an impossible number in comparing entropy statuses of the universe before-and-after??) OK, so let’s just agree that we’re not gonna agree on that.
        So what about my claim that you’ve got a major problem showing how the Big Bang can get away scot-free by creating everything out of nothing and violating (actually bashing in the face) of FLOT? I can’t wait to see how creative you can get.

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