Atheism and the curious case of the universal acid.

Posted on December 14, 2015 By

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded!” Self-refutation is an attribute which atheism and the preceding humorous comment (attributed to baseball legend Yogi Berra) have in common. For example, the famous atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett describes Darwinism as a “universal acid; it eats through just about every traditional concept [such as Christianity] and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view.” But, as with other concepts which stem from the atheist worldview, Darwinism is in reality an acid that only eats through itself.

Physicist Amit Goswami comments on how Darwinism refutes itself because it is rooted in the materialist view which declares that nothing exists except inanimate matter. But Darwinism relies on survival of the fittest, and survivability is not a property which can be ascribed to inanimate matter:

The Darwinian theory of evolution is based on natural selection: Nature selects those organisms that are fittest to survive. In the materialist view, an organism is just a bundle of molecules that are completely specified by their physical and chemical properties. Nowhere among these properties will you find a property called survivability. No piece of inanimate matter has ever attempted to survive or in any way tried to maintain its integrity under any circumstances. But living bodies do exhibit a property called survivability. Now the paradox. A Darwinist would say that the survivability of the living form comes from evolutionary adaptation via natural selection. But natural selection itself depends on survival of the fittest.

See the circularity of the argument? Survival depends on evolution, but evolution depends on survival! A paradox is a sure-fire sign that the basic assumptions of the paradigm are incomplete or inconsistent; they need a reexamination.

As Frank Turek puts it in Stealing From God, “The most common logical mistake we’ll see is that atheists violate the law of non-contradiction. They put forth a theory about reality that is supposed to be universal, but then they exempt themselves from it.” Nancy Pearcey elaborates upon atheist violations of the law of non-contradiction in Finding Truth:

…These worldviews see only a slice of reality and then try to direct human beings into measuring themselves by that narrow slice and living accordingly. Materialists thereby deny the reality of mind (while they use their minds to advance materialism), determinists deny the reality of human choice (while they choose determinism), and relativists deny the fact of right and wrong (while they judge you if you disagree).

Idol-centered worldviews not only fail to match the external world, they also collapse internally. They are self-refuting. The technical term is that they are self-referentially absurd, which means they propose a standard for truth that they themselves fail to meet. For example, a person may propose cultural relativism, which claims that there is no universal truth. But that statement itself makes a universal claim. Thus it contradicts itself.

Frank Turek comments on how materialism (in which atheism is rooted) refutes itself by declaring that there are no immaterial conscious entities such as God or human souls, because human consciousness is really nothing more than the activity of atoms in the brain:

Atheist evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane put it well. He wrote, “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true . .  . and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” He also has no reason to trust anything he believes, including atheism or evolution.

Atheist Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, affirmed Haldane’s material view of reality. In what he called “an astonishing hypothesis,” Crick wrote, “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that ‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

If atheism is true, he’s exactly right. But he didn’t see the problem Haldane saw. Perhaps Crick would have seen that problem if he had applied his hypothesis to his own work. Imagine if Dr. Crick had written this: “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that my scientific conclusions that I write in this book are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” 

Physicist Stephen Barr reflects Turek’s above point about the self-refuting nature of materialism in Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. If humans are nothing but material brains with no soul, then human thoughts are nothing but patterns of nerve impulses in the brain. But how could a pattern of nerve impulses in the brain be either true or false?:

Cognitive scientists talk about neurons, for example. But “neuron” itself is an abstract concept that arose from the researches of biologists. For the materialist, then, even this concept of ‘neuron’ is nothing but a neurological creation; it also is a pattern of neurons firing in someone’s brain. If this sounds like a vicious circle, it is. We explain certain biological phenomena using the abstract concept “neuron,” and then we proceed to explain the abstract concept “neuron” as a biological phenomenon—indeed, a biological phenomenon produced by the activity of neurons. What we are observing here is the snake eating its own tail, or rather its own head. The very theory which says that theories are neurons firing is itself naught but neurons firing.

…Why should anyone believe the materialist, then? If ideas are just patterns of nerve impulses, then how can one say that any idea (including the idea of materialism itself) is superior to any other? One pattern of nerve impulses cannot be truer or less true than any other pattern, any more than a toothache can be truer or less true than another toothache.

Indeed, as Barr alludes to above, the existence of consciousness cannot be explained through the lens of the materialist/naturalist worldview. If true, the materialist belief that human consciousness is nothing but the firing of neurons in the brain cannot be anything other than….the firing of neurons in the brain. How could a true neuronal impulse be distinguished from a false one? By measuring the voltage of the impulse? A neuronal impulse can be neither true nor false, nor can any other natural phenomenon, such as a thunderstorm.

Andy Bannister illustrates how denial of God requires one to hold a self-defeating worldview in The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist.  Specifically, he comments on how Richard Dawkins, the author of the world’s most popular atheist diatribe (The God Delusion) denies the existence of evil, but then precedes to Tweet a criticism of cricket player Stuart Broad, for cheating:

Indeed, in his book River Out of Eden, Dawkins penned this oft-quoted passage: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A. E. Housman put it: ‘For Nature, heartless, witless Nature Will neither know nor care.’ DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”

But if nature really is neither good nor evil, if we are all simply dancing to our DNA, gyrating to our genes, then from which top hat has Dawkins produced this moral standard with which he’s whacking hapless cricketers over the head? There’s only one way you can make the value judgment that Dawkins brandishes here, and that’s if life has some kind of purpose, a way that you, I, and Stuart Broad are supposed to live. The difference between a game of cricket and the game of life – in an atheistic universe anyway– is that cricket has rules but life does not; at least not any purpose beyond reproducing our DNA, if Dawkins is correct.

Indeed, is it not ironic that Dawkins denies the existence of evil, and then precedes to write and present a TV documentary attacking belief in God which he titles The Root of All Evil?

If the universe is ultimately meaningless and purposeless, as atheism insists, then one is prone to wonder why outspoken atheists commit themselves to the purpose of convincing other people of this purposelessness. As the English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead put it, “Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” 

Atheist reasoning is every bit as meaningless as atheists insist the universe is.


5 comments


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    Thoranhaxmaul says:

    “But, as with other concepts which stem from the atheist worldview, Darwinism is in reality an acid that only eats through itself.”

    It’s an analogy. And not a perfect analogy. Maybe not even a very good one. Evolution isn’t even the most important field of Science we believe in. But, it’s the one Theists are obsessed with for some reason. I’d say Gravity contradicts the Bible more than Evolution, actually.

    “But Darwinism relies on survival of the fittest, and survivability is not a property which can be ascribed to inanimate matter:”

    Evolution has nothing to do with “inanimate matter” you idiot.

    “The Darwinian theory of evolution is based on natural selection: Nature selects those organisms that are fittest to survive. In the materialist view, an organism is just a bundle of molecules that are completely specified by their physical and chemical properties. Nowhere among these properties will you find a property called survivability.”

    Yyyyyyes you will.

    “No piece of inanimate matter has ever attempted to survive”

    Inanimate matter is not alive you dickhead.

    “or in any way tried to maintain its integrity under any circumstances. But living bodies do exhibit a property called survivability.”

    Duh.

    “Now the paradox. A Darwinist would say that the survivability of the living form comes from evolutionary adaptation via natural selection. But natural selection itself depends on survival of the fittest.”

    Actually “survival of the fittest” is just an oversimplification of Natural Selection. They’re the same thing but one is dumbed down for the masses.

    “See the circularity of the argument?”

    No.

    “Survival depends on evolution, but evolution depends on survival!”

    By your logic, the digestive system is a paradox. Also, the Reproductive cycle, the food chain… To you life itself is impossible.

    “but then they exempt themselves from it.””

    No, that’s what you guys do. You invent a rule that “everything was created by something bigger” and then claim God, the thing you’re trying to convince us of, is the one exception to the rule YOU made up.

    Nancy Pearcey elaborates upon atheist violations of the law of non-contradiction in Finding Truth:

    …”These worldviews”

    “Worldview” is a word I almost never hear outside of Theist straw-men, the definitions vary from wrong to insulting. And since the majority of definitions of “worldview” make no sense. I hereby deny having one.

    “Materialists thereby deny the reality of mind”

    There it is! I knew “materialism” was a strawman. WE BRELIEVE IN PSYCHIATRY AND NEUROLOGY YOU FUCKTARDS!

    relativists deny the fact of right and wrong (while they judge you if you disagree).”

    And I am a humanist so whatever.

    “Idol-centered worldviews”

    You are, in fact, the ones that pray to crucifixes and stuff.

    “Frank Turek comments on how materialism (in which atheism is rooted)”

    You said Materialism denies the mind. Atheists KNOW they’re thinking! Therefore no atheist believes what you think “materialism” is, therefore you are a liar.

    “because human consciousness is really nothing more than the activity of atoms in the brain:”

    Wait a minute… Atoms exist, we know that, you know that, we know you know that, we know you know we know that, we know you know we know you know we know that. We all know Atheists believe in atoms. Therefore, we believe that atoms do things. And you yourself pointed out that the Mind is atoms do things. And you know we know atoms do things. Therefore, you KNOW we believe in the mind. But you also just said we don’t! Which is it?

    “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true . . . and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

    That assumes the brain is just purely random and the brain itself is the result of purely random process with no Natural Selection involved whatsoever. Both of those ideas are unscientific and complete bullshit.

    “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that ‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

    You have to be REALLY egotistical for that to be “astonishing”.

    “If atheism is true,”

    Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. It doesn’t even make sense to talk about a “lack of belief” being true or false.

    “But how could a pattern of nerve impulses in the brain be either true or false?:”

    How do you think calculators work?

    “But “neuron” itself is an abstract concept that arose from the researches of biologists.”

    I’m looking that up!

    …nope, it’s a physical cell.

    “For the materialist, then, even this concept of ‘neuron’ is nothing but a neurological creation; it also is a pattern of neurons firing in someone’s brain. If this sounds like a vicious circle, it is.”

    Even if that was true (it’s not, they physically exist) how exactly do you think thinking works? …oh right, you don’t.

    “The very theory which says that theories are neurons firing is itself naught but neurons firing.”

    At a certain point, you have to ask who is being really circularly rediculous: us or you.

    If you point a camera at another camera, and turn them both on, that’s film showing how film works. Is that cercular? Eh, sort of. It it wrong? Not at all. Or let’s make it even simpler: looking at your own eyes in a mirror. You’re the one who likes to find paradoxes where there are none so I’ll let you figure out why looking in a mirror is a paradox.

    “If ideas are just patterns of nerve impulses, then how can one say that any idea (including the idea of materialism itself) is superior to any other?”

    That is where The Scientific Method comes in!

    “Indeed, as Barr alludes to above, the existence of consciousness cannot be explained through the lens of the materialist/naturalist worldview.”

    Neurology.

    “How could a true neuronal impulse be distinguished from a false one?”

    Psychological tests. By the way I think I figured out your problem. You’re not thinking scientifically, you’re thinking philosophically. And you are taking philosophy in a direction that you’ll never get anywhere with. “How do you know that? How do you know that? Etc” actually reduces knowledge, it doesn’t increase it. You’re asking RHETORICAL questions when you should be asking REAL questions. You’re asking “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?” Instead of “How far is the closest McDonalds?”

    “A neuronal impulse can be neither true nor false, nor can any other natural phenomenon, such as a thunderstorm.”

    Thunderstorms are real.

    “But if nature really is neither good nor evil, if we are all simply dancing to our DNA, gyrating to our genes, then from which top hat has Dawkins produced this moral standard with which he’s whacking hapless cricketers over the head?”

    He also invented the theory that Altruism is an evolutionary trait, remember? Helping the entire group helps the genes survive. And, the instinct to protect your family can also be triggered by anything that reminds you of yourself, even just psychologically. There! Morality helps your entire species.

    “is that cricket has rules but life does not;”

    Life has a lot of rules, and breaking the rules of life can get you disqualified.

    “Indeed, is it not ironic that Dawkins denies the existence of evil, and then precedes to write and present a TV documentary attacking belief in God which he titles The Root of All Evil?”

    I don’t think you’ve seen it, read his book or understood anything he said. You took oNE quote of his, made a bunch of assumptions that assume that one thing encompasses a larger portion of his beliefs than they do, and then when he says anything else he has said ever, you claim he contradicts himself. He doesn’t. He contradicts YOUR ASSUMPTIONS.

    “If the universe is ultimately meaningless and purposeless, as atheism insists, then one is prone to wonder why outspoken atheists commit themselves to the purpose of convincing other people of this purposelessness.”

    Has it occurred to yet that maybe the contradiction is not us, but you? Maybe your assumption that Atheism says everything is pointless is wrong. After all, your observations of our behaviour contradict your assumptions about what we believe. If an assumption contradicts an observation, the assumption is wrong.


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      Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 43 ) says:

      Thoranhaxmaul,

      Whoa there!! That’s a lot of angry rhetoric and foul language!! Please recall that logical arguments consist of logic, and not rhetoric. My readers are intelligent enough to know that rhetoric is a crutch which people resort to precisely because they cannot back up their stance with logical arguments. Further, when you resort to such rhetoric and foul language, it is dead give away that you hold your apparently atheist views for emotional and ideological (rather than logical) reasons.

      I don’t think that you understood what the physicist Amit Goswami is saying, so I will copy and paste that citation from him again below, and then reply to your attempt to pick it apart. Goswami writes:

      “The Darwinian theory of evolution is based on natural selection: Nature selects those organisms that are fittest to survive. In the materialist view, an organism is just a bundle of molecules that are completely specified by their physical and chemical properties. Nowhere among these properties will you find a property called survivability. No piece of inanimate matter has ever attempted to survive or in any way tried to maintain its integrity under any circumstances. But living bodies do exhibit a property called survivability. Now the paradox. A Darwinist would say that the survivability of the living form comes from evolutionary adaptation via natural selection. But natural selection itself depends on survival of the fittest.”

      “See the circularity of the argument? Survival depends on evolution, but evolution depends on survival! A paradox is a sure-fire sign that the basic assumptions of the paradigm are incomplete or inconsistent; they need a reexamination.”

      Thoranhaxmaul, in regards to Goswami’s above point that you will not find a property known as survivability amongst inanimate matter (but only with living things), you respond:

      “Yyyyyyes you will.”

      But has a rock or a pile of mud ever tried to survive? You seem to think so.

      Next, you write, “Inanimate matter is not alive you dickhead.” But that is precisely the point which Goswami is making: Atheism alleges that life emerged from non-living inanimate matter through a process of evolution. The process of evolution naturally selects those things which have the best survivability, but non-living inanimate matter does not have a property known as survivability. As Goswami puts it, “No piece of inanimate matter has ever attempted to survive or in any way tried to maintain its integrity under any circumstances.”

      In order to explain the development of organic life from inanimate matter, atheism cites a process of evolution. But evolution relies on fitness for survival, and no inanimate object has ever attempted to survive or maintain its integrity under any circumstances.

      Next, you write, “Actually ‘survival of the fittest’ is just an oversimplification of Natural Selection. They’re the same thing but one is dumbed down for the masses.”

      Ok, would you please explain for us the not-dumbed-down version of natural selection? How can natural selection work on inanimate objects (in order to produce life from non-living matter) when inanimate matter doesn’t try to survive?

      Put another way, the Darwinian mechanism works on the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring. But inanimate material things such as rocks and inorganic molecules have neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. So how can atheists possibly allege that such a mechanism produced life from non-life?

      You write, “By your logic, the digestive system is a paradox. Also, the Reproductive cycle, the food chain… To you life itself is impossible.” No, I believe that life was created by God. Please explain why there is a paradox here. The specific means by which God created life is still being discovered by scientists.

      You write, “No, that’s what you guys do. You invent a rule that ‘everything was created by something bigger’ and then claim God, the thing you’re trying to convince us of, is the one exception to the rule YOU made up.”

      No, that would be a straw-man argument made by you. Theists claim that God is the ground of all being, and that there is nothing greater than he. God is the first cause which exists eternally. An eternally existent first cause does not have a cause.

      You don’t see the circularity of the atheist view that survival depends on evolution, and evolution depends on survival? Ok, but I suspect that everyone else does.

      You write, “Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. It doesn’t even make sense to talk about a ‘lack of belief’ being true or false.” Andy Bannister humorously highlights the absurdity of the idea that atheism does not need to be defended because it is merely a “non-belief” by telling a story about a guy who denies the existence of the nation of Sweden:

      “You think that my denial of Sweden is an actual claim of some kind, that it’s a belief. But it isn’t. It’s a non-belief. There’s nothing I need to explain – rather, I’m talking about something I lack, namely a belief in Sweden, so I don’t need to give any evidence for it.”

      “Come again?” I said. “Yes,” he continued, warming to his theme, “I don’t have to provide evidence for my non-belief in Atlantis, El Dorado, Shangri-La, or the Customer Support Department at American Airlines, and nor need I for my non-belief in Sweden. I’m not making a claim of any kind – in fact, quite the opposite: I’m claiming nothing. I’m merely rejecting one of your beliefs, your belief in Sweden.”

      The point is that all truth claims (including atheism) need to be logically defended…even the ones that portray themselves as merely “non-belief.” And if atheism is not a truth claim, then it cannot be true or false. Andy Bannister continues:

      The problem is that only beliefs or claims can be true or false. For example, it makes perfect sense to ask whether a statement such as “It is raining today” or “The Maple Leafs lost at hockey again” are true. Those are claims, they are beliefs, and they have what philosophers call a “truth value”. They are either true or false.

      On the other hand, it is utterly meaningless to ask whether the color blue, a small off-duty Slovakian traffic warden, or Richard Dawkins’s left foot is “true”. That would be a bizarre category error. These things are not claims or beliefs and thus do not possess any kind of truth value. They simply are.

      So what about atheism? Well, as far as I can make out, I think my atheist friends are claiming that their belief is true; that they really, really believe it to be true that there is no God. Well, if that’s the case, then it makes atheism a positive claim and claims must be defended, evidence martialled, and reasons given. Otherwise, if atheism is not a claim, it cannot be true or false. It simply is, and to say “I am an atheist” is up there with saying “Wibble, wibble, wibble”.

      If the statement, “There is no God” is not a truth claim, than it cannot be true. Something which is not a truth claim cannot be true (or false).

      I ask, “If ideas are just patterns of nerve impulses, then how can one say that any idea (including the idea of materialism itself) is superior to any other? How could a true neuronal impulse be distinguished from a false one?” You respond, “That is where The Scientific Method comes in!”

      What sort of scientific experiment could distinguish a true neuronal impulse from a false one? Perhaps true neuronal impulses have higher voltage than false ones?! You do not seem to understand that electrical/chemical impulses cannot contain truth value.

      You write, “By the way I think I figured out your problem. You’re not thinking scientifically, you’re thinking philosophically. And you are taking philosophy in a direction that you’ll never get anywhere with.”

      Here, you do not seem to understand that science cannot be performed without philosophy. For example, providing a definition of science is a philosophical exercise. Just think about it, how could one scientifically define what science is? With a chemistry experiment involving a bunsen burner and test tubes? With a biology experiment involving a microscope and a petri dish?

      You write, “Maybe your assumption that Atheism says everything is pointless is wrong.” No, it is not my assumption. Rather, I am merely reading what the most prominent atheists write. The belief that life is intrinsically meaningless and purposeless (known as nihilism) is a necessary implication of atheism. This point was frequently proclaimed by Friedrich Nietzsche, arguably the most influential atheist philosopher of all time, such as when he wrote:

      “Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead.”

      Similarly, the atheist physicist Stephen Weinberg notes:

      “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless.”

      Atheist biologist Francis Crick, famous as the co-discoverer of DNA, remarks in The Astonishing Hypothesis how human life has no purpose because humans are nothing but bundles of inanimate matter:

      “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that ‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

      Please note how Crick places the word you in quotation marks in order to highlight his belief that human persons do not really exist in any meaningful sense because humans are really nothing more than complex bundles of matter. The existence of personhood is another aspect of reality which atheism cannot coherently explain, and must therefore count as further evidence against atheism. It would be absurd to ascribe personhood to a bundle of matter, or a “vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules,” in Crick’s words. How can a bundle of inanimate matter amount to a person?

      Regarding this point, Nancy Pearcey writes in her book Finding Truth:

      “Materialism reduces thinking to biochemical processes in the brain, akin to the chemical reactions in digestion. But digestion is not something that can be true or false. It is just a biological fact. If thinking is reduced to brain processes, then our ideas are not true or false either. But in that case, how can the materialist know that materialism is true? The philosophy is self-refuting.”


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        Thoranhaxmaul says:

        “Whoa there!! That’s a lot of angry rhetoric and foul language!!”

        Oh grow some balls. Frankly, one of the reasons I don’t respect creationists, scientologists or Muslims is that you’re all crybaby pussies. Man the fuck up!

        “The Darwinian theory of evolution is based on natural selection:”

        It IS natural selection but whatever.

        “Nature selects those organisms that are fittest to survive.”

        Huh, that seems a bit simplistic, and gives me the feeling you don’t actually know how.

        “In the materialist view,”

        Don’t get me started on that

        “Nowhere among these properties will you find a property called survivability.”

        *facepalm*

        “No piece of inanimate matter has ever attempted to survive”

        Only creationists think they have you fucktard!

        “But living bodies do exhibit a property called survivability.”

        You just said they don’t!

        “Now the paradox. A Darwinist would say that the survivability of the living form comes from evolutionary adaptation via natural selection. But natural selection itself depends on survival of the fittest.”

        No, Survival of the Fittest is an oversimplification of the entire theory. That’s like saying “internal combustion relies on Oil Make Car Go”

        “See the circularity of the argument?”

        No

        “Survival depends on evolution, but evolution depends on survival!”

        I don’t think you even know how Evolution works. You have yet to mention Mutation or Mendelian Genetics.

        “A paradox is a sure-fire sign that the basic assumptions of the paradigm are incomplete or inconsistent; they need a reexamination.””

        No, you just made a straw-man based on oversimplifications of a complex theory and complained that the dumbed down version of Evolution is too stupid even for you. At best, this sounds more like word games than actual Science.

        “Thoranhaxmaul, in regards to Goswami’s above point that you will not find a property known as survivability amongst inanimate matter”

        Inanimate matter is neither alive nor dead. How the hell does that even make sense?

        “Next, you write, “Inanimate matter is not alive you dickhead.””

        And now you’re contradicting yourself while strawmanning me TO MYSELF! I don’t remember saying inanimate objects survive. “Inanimate objects are not alive you dickhead” sounds like me though.

        “But that is precisely the point which Goswami is making: Atheism alleges that life emerged from non-living inanimate matter through a process of evolution.”

        THAT’S ABIOGENESIS YOU FUCKTARD! They are seperate fields of Science! GET IT RIGHT!

        “The process of evolution naturally selects those things which have the best survivability,”

        It occurs to me that you keep using “survivability” asif it’s a scientific term. It’s not. You think “survivability” is a magic substance that is produced with the right mutation and always helps everything regardless of circumstances.

        “but non-living inanimate matter does not have a property known as survivability.”

        YOU are the ones who think clay can come to life.

        “In order to explain the development of organic life from inanimate matter, atheism cites a process of evolution.”

        No it fucking doesn’t. At this point i’m beginning to wonder if it’s even possible to get it through your thick skull that different fields of Science explain different things.

        “But evolution relies on fitness for survival,”

        Oversimplification, but you’re getting closer.

        “and no inanimate object has ever attempted to survive or maintain its integrity under any circumstances.”

        …aaand you got the wrong field of Science again.

        Next, you write, “Actually ‘survival of the fittest’ is just an oversimplification of Natural Selection. They’re the same thing but one is dumbed down for the masses.”

        “Ok, would you please explain for us the not-dumbed-down version of natural selection?”

        I’m not giving you an entire Science lesson, just go back to high school and pay attention this time.

        “How can natural selection work on inanimate objects”

        *Sigh* that’s Abiogenesis. Rocks don’t fuck, so your question makes no sense.

        “Put another way, the Darwinian mechanism works on the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring.”

        Hey! Getting there!

        “But inanimate material things”

        *facepalm*

        “such as rocks and inorganic molecules have neither genes to mutate,”

        Duh.

        “So how can atheists possibly allege that such a mechanism produced life from non-life?”

        I think by now we’re both getting sick of me pointing out that Evolution and Abiogenesis are unrelated theories. I’m just gonna call you a dickhead each time you make that mistake.

        “You write, “By your logic, the digestive system is a paradox. Also, the Reproductive cycle, the food chain… To you life itself is impossible.” No, I believe that life was created by God. Please explain why there is a paradox here.”

        You tell me. Animals fuck, they lay eggs. Eggs hatch. They grow up. They fuck. Lay eggs. Etc. it’s called the Life Cycle.

        “The specific means by which God created life is still being discovered by scientists.”

        Oh really? Is it then? Any evidence pointing to the exact wattage of magic that came out of God’s fingers to turn clay into Adam? Seriously if anyone was in fact doing research into that I would be interested.

        You write, “No, that’s what you guys do. You invent a rule that ‘everything was created by something bigger’ and then claim God, the thing you’re trying to convince us of, is the one exception to the rule YOU made up.”

        “No, that would be a straw-man argument made by you. Theists claim that God is the ground of all being, and that there is nothing greater than he. God is the first cause which exists eternally. An eternally existent first cause does not have a cause.”

        But you said everything has to come from something bigger. You can’t make up a rule like that and then expect us to buy it when you make God, the think you’re trying to convince us of, the one exception to the rule YOU made up.

        “You don’t see the circularity of the atheist view that survival depends on evolution, and evolution depends on survival? Ok, but I suspect that everyone else does.”

        No. that’s too simplistic.

        “Andy Bannister humorously highlights the absurdity of the idea that atheism does not need to be defended because it is merely a “non-belief” by telling a story about a guy who denies the existence of the nation of Sweden:””

        Except Sweden actualy exists and can be proven. So i’m not following how one can be pretty sure there’s no Sweden…. oh I get it. You don’t know what “lack” means.

        “The point is that all truth claims (including atheism) need to be logically defended…even the ones that portray themselves as merely “non-belief.” And if atheism is not a truth claim, then it cannot be true or false.”

        Which is EXACTLY what I said! You QUOTED me saying exactly that! just to be absolutely certain, i’m going to copy and paste those bits back to back just to be sure.

        {{It doesn’t even make sense to talk about a ‘lack of belief’ being true or false.”}}

        {{And if atheism is not a truth claim, then it cannot be true or false}}

        Why are you arguing against what I said by repeating it back to me? Did you somehow forget what you were arguing against? Do you have Short Term Memory Loss or something?

        “So what about atheism? Well, as far as I can make out, I think my atheist friends are claiming that their belief is true;”

        Wrong.

        “that they really, really believe it to be true that there is no God.”

        Wrong again.

        “Well, if that’s the case,”

        It’s not

        “then it makes atheism a positive claim and claims must be defended,”

        And it’s not so it’s not.

        “evidence martialled, and reasons given. Otherwise, if atheism is not a claim, it cannot be true or false.”

        That’s what i’ve been trying to get through your thick skull.

        Look, this is all explained by richard Dawkins and the Dawkins scale. If you ASK Atheist what exactly we believe instead of TELLING us (which by the way, in general is just a dick move. It doesn’t matter who you do it to, telling people what they think instead of asking them is a dick move.)

        1 Absolute Theist: God Is Real

        2 De Facto Theist: God is probably real

        3 Weak Agnostic/weak Theist: there might be a god

        4 Absolute Agnostic: i dunno

        5 Strong Agnostic: maybe not

        6 De Facto atheist: probably not

        7 Absolute Atheists: there is no god

        A lot of us, including Dawkins himself, put ourself at a fraction. Some of us, like me for one, will put ourselves on various places on the Dawkins scale depending on which god you’re talking about.

        It is impossible to absolutely prove that something PROBABLY is true or PROBABLY isn’t true. Say, this house was built on a site where an Aborigine killed a kangaroo. Did that happen? Probably. But if you absolutely prove either that there is kangaroo bones under this house or that Aborigines did not occupy this paticular area, either way, it’s no longer “probable” it’s fact. There is no way “Aborigines probably killed kangaroos on this spot” an be absolutely proven probable.

        “I ask, “If ideas are just patterns of nerve impulses, then how can one say that any idea (including the idea of materialism itself) is superior to any other? How could a true neuronal impulse be distinguished from a false one?” You respond, “That is where The Scientific Method comes in!”

        What sort of scientific experiment could distinguish a true neuronal impulse from a false one? Perhaps true neuronal impulses have higher voltage than false ones?! You do not seem to understand that electrical/chemical impulses cannot contain truth value.”

        Ooookay, one of us is completely confused here. I think ideas can be proven or disproven. You think truth is a magical thing that can be attached to electricity. I assumed that by “electrical pulses” you were just dismissive of the idea of thinking (and i would make a ton of jokes about that but, nah too easy. Don’t tempt me though) you litterally expect the electrical pulse, not the thought it represents but the actual bit of electricity, can be tested for “truthiness”.

        You write, “By the way I think I figured out your problem. You’re not thinking scientifically, you’re thinking philosophically. And you are taking philosophy in a direction that you’ll never get anywhere with.”

        “Here, you do not seem to understand that science cannot be performed without philosophy.”

        I disagree.

        “You write, “Maybe your assumption that Atheism says everything is pointless is wrong.” No, it is not my assumption. Rather, I am merely reading what the most prominent atheists write. The belief that life is intrinsically meaningless and purposeless (known as nihilism)”

        What about humanism? What about Randism? What about Kant? What about every single philosopher except Nietzsche?

        “is a necessary implication of atheism.”

        No it isn’t.

        “This point was frequently proclaimed by Friedrich Nietzsche, arguably the most influential atheist philosopher of all time, such as when he wrote:”

        Indeed! Very arguable! I don’t follow him, No humanist follows him, and even in his own lifetime he argued with other Atheist philosophers, paticularly any that had morals.

        “Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead.”

        You see? That doesn’t even make sense to me! Does it honestly make any sense to you? If it makes any sense to you, you’re either wierd or a Necromancer.

        “Similarly, the atheist physicist Stephen Weinberg notes:”

        Whom i’ve never heard of and therefore he does nor represent me

        “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless.”

        “Francis Crick”

        …ok ok cards on the table, I DO believe in humanism and a moral philosophy I made up myself. But even the philosophy I actually agree with, none of it trumps anything that can actually be tested. Philosophers can debate things forever. Science answers things once and for all. And Nietzsche sucks.


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          Scott Youngren ( User Karma: 43 ) says:

          Thoran,

          I want to begin by responding to your very last comment. You write, “Philosophers can debate things forever. Science answers things once and for all.”

          This is a horribly fallacious belief which absolutely permeates atheist thought. The first problem with your above statement is that it defeats itself. How could one scientifically determine that science can “answer things once and for all”? With a chemistry experiment involving a bunsen burner and test tubes?! With a biology experiment involving a microscope and a petri dish?!

          You (and a great many other atheists) have apparently failed to notice that “science answers things better than philosophy” is a belief that can only be arrived at philosophically…and only with extremely bad philosophy, since it contradicts itself by using philosophy to determine that science is better than philosophy.

          This is yet another excellent example of the self-refuting incoherence in which atheism is caught.

          Earlier, I wrote, “Here, you do not seem to understand that science cannot be performed without philosophy.”

          You responded, “I disagree.”

          Below is an excerpt (from Stealing From God by Frank Turek) of a debate between atheist Peter Atkins and christian William Lane Craig (moderated by William F. Buckley) which is pertinent to your belief that science can be performed without philosophy:

          “Do you deny that science can account for everything?” challenged Atkins.

          “Yes, I do deny that science can account for everything,” said Craig.

          “So what can’t it account for?” demanded Atkins.

          “I think that there are a good number of things that cannot be scientifically proven, but that we’re all rational to accept,” Craig began.

          [Interrupting] “Such as?”

          “Let me list five,” Craig continued. “

          [ First,] logical and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic and math so that to try to prove them by science would be arguing in a circle.

          [Second,] metaphysical truths like there are other minds other than my own, or that the external world is real, or that the past was not created five minutes ago with the appearance of age are rational beliefs that cannot be scientifically proven.

          [Third,] ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method. You can’t show by science that the Nazi scientists in the camps did anything evil as opposed to the scientists in Western democracies.

          [Fourth,] aesthetic judgments cannot be accessed by the scientific method because the beautiful, like the good, cannot be scientifically proven.

          And finally, most remarkably, would be science itself. Science cannot be justified by the scientific method, since it is permeated with unprovable assumptions. For example, the special theory of relativity — the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction between any two points, A and B, but that strictly cannot be proven. We simply have to assume that in order to hold to the theory!”

          Feeling vindicated, Buckley peered over at Atkins and cracked, “So put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

          My essay titled The Mythology of Atheism delves into this topic. Some pertinent excerpts:

          Atheism is frequently promoted as a “scientific” belief system, but atheists would be well advised to abandon this line of propaganda in light of the fact that what constitutes science is in a constant state of flux. Biologist Lynn Margulis, winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science, put it best in her book What Is Life?:

          “…Science is asymptotic. [“asymptote” is derived from a Greek word meaning “not falling together.”] It never arrives at but only approaches the tantalizing goal of final knowledge. Astrology gives way to astronomy; alchemy evolves into chemistry. The science of one age becomes the mythology of the next.”

          Those with a short-sighted view of the history of science are prone to overlook the fact that alchemy (which believed that metals such as lead could be turned into gold) and astrology were once considered scientifically respectable. In fact, as Margulis alludes to above, the scientific consensus of one age usually becomes the myth or superstition of the next age. Elite physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbin cite examples of this trend among scientific theories in their book The Matter Myth:

          “A classic example concerns the ‘luminiferous ether.’ When James Clerk Maxwell showed that light is an electromagnetic wave, it seemed obvious that this wave had to have a medium of some sort through which to propagate. After all, other known waves travel through something. Sound waves, for example, travel through the air; water waves travel across the surface of lakes and oceans. Because light, which Maxwell discovered is a form of electromagnetic wave, can reach us from the Sun and stars, across seemingly empty space, it was proposed that space is actually filled with an intangible substance, the ether, in which these waves could travel.

          So sure were physicists of the existence of the ether that ambitious experiments were mounted to measure the speed with which the Earth moves through it. Alas, the experiments showed conclusively that the ether does not exist.

          …For nineteenth-century physicists, however, the ether was still very real.”

          There can be no question that science has been very useful to modern society. Computers, space exploration, and air travel (not to mention nuclear weapons) are all the products of modern science. But as Princeton University quantum physicist Freeman Dyson, one of the most distinguished living scientists, notes in his March, 2011 essay How We Know, the usefulness of scientific theories should not be confused with their truth:

          “Among my friends and acquaintances, everybody distrusts Wikipedia and everybody uses it. Distrust and productive use are not incompatible. Wikipedia is the ultimate open source repository of information. Everyone is free to read it and everyone is free to write it. It contains articles in 262 languages written by several million authors. The information that it contains is totally unreliable and surprisingly accurate. It is often unreliable because many of the authors are ignorant or careless. It is often accurate because the articles are edited and corrected by readers who are better informed than the authors.

          The public has a distorted view of science, because children are taught in school that science is a collection of firmly established truths. In fact, science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries….The origin of life is a total mystery, and so is the existence of human consciousness. We have no clear idea how the electrical discharges occurring in nerve cells in our brains are connected with our feelings and desires and actions.

          …Science is the sum total of a great multitude of mysteries. It is an unending argument between a great multitude of voices. It resembles Wikipedia much more than it resembles the Encyclopaedia Britannica.”

          William Dembski elaborates:

          “Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, science is not a juggernaut that relentlessly pushes back the frontiers of knowledge. Rather, science is an interconnected web of theoretical and factual claims about the world that are constantly being revised. Changes in one portion of the web can induce radical changes in another. In particular, science regularly confronts the problem of having to retract claims that it once boldly asserted.”

          “Consider the following example from geology: In the nineteenth century the geosynclinal theory was proposed to account for the origination of mountain ranges. This theory hypothesized that large troughlike depressions, known as geosynclines, filled with sediment, gradually became unstable, and then, when crushed and heated by the earth, elevated to form mountain ranges.

          To the question “How did mountain ranges originate?” geologists as late as 1960 confidently asserted that the geosynclinal theory provided the answer. In the 1960 edition of Clark and Stearn’s Geological Evolution of North America, the status of the geosynclinal theory was even favorably compared with Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Whatever became of the geosynclinal theory? An alternative theory, that of plate tectonics, was developed. It explained mountain formation through continental drift and sea-floor spreading. Within a few years, it had decisively replaced the geosynclinal theory. The history of science is filled with such turnabouts in which confident claims to knowledge suddenly vanish from the scientific literature. The geosynclinal theory was completely wrong. Thus, when the theory of plate tectonics came along, the geosynclinal theory was overthrown.’

          Thoran, below I have copied and pasted, and then italicized your commments. My responses appear between dashes:

          Oh grow some balls. Frankly, one of the reasons I don’t respect creationists, scientologists or Muslims is that you’re all crybaby pussies. Man the fuck up!

          —-Again, much as a nervous tick made by a poker player is a “tell” that he is holding a weak hand and is bluffing, your use of angry rhetoric and foul language is a “tell” that you hold your atheist views for ideological and psychological reasons, rather than for logical reasons. If you held your atheist views for purely logical reasons, your answers would be logical and free of angry rhetoric and insults.

          You may be surprised to learn that I actually appreciate it very much when atheists use such language, because it advertises to third-party viewers the emotional and psychological (as opposed to rational) basis for atheism.

          I highly recommend that third-party viewers watch psychologist Dr. Paul Vitz’s talks on the psychology of atheism on YouTube.—-

          “No piece of inanimate matter has ever attempted to survive”

          Only creationists think they have you fucktard!

          “But living bodies do exhibit a property called survivability.”

          You just said they don’t!

          —-No, you are very confused. Living bodies exhibit a property called survivability, but non-living bodies do not. And you keep ignoring one of the central points: Atheism alleges that mindless matter is the “prime reality,” or the something-from-which-everything-else-comes. But survival is a goal, and mindless matter does not work toward goals. I discuss this topic in depth in my essay titled Goals in Nature Point to God.—-

          No, you just made a straw-man based on oversimplifications of a complex theory and complained that the dumbed down version of Evolution is too stupid even for you. At best, this sounds more like word games than actual Science.

          —-As I asked you to do in my previous comment, please provide the not-dumbed-down version of Darwinian evolution. I doubt that you will do so, because you seem to be hiding behind the accusation of “oversimplification.” If you cannot specify HOW I have oversimplified in a way which is pertinent to the question of God’s existence, then of what value is your accusation of oversimplification? Without specifying, your accusation is a transparent attempt to create a rhetorical smokescreen.—-

          THAT’S ABIOGENESIS YOU FUCKTARD! They are seperate fields of Science! GET IT RIGHT!

          —-I am very extremely curious to hear your theories about “abiogenesis.” Let me fill you in on what the cream-of-the-crop atheist scientists propose with regards to the question of how life could emerge from non-living matter as a result of mindless natural processes:

          Ultra-elite atheist biologists clearly know that DNA must necessarily be the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. This is why so many of them have adopted the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-thier-spaceship explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter (known as “directed panspermia”).

          This would include Francis Crick, the atheist biologist who is famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. Click here to read an article which discusses his endorsement of this hypothesis in his book Life Itself.

          Click here to watch Richard Dawkins (the world’s most famous atheist biologist) endorsing this hypothesis in an interview.

          Other very prominent atheist scientists who endorse this hypothesis include the physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle, the biologist Chandra Wickramsinghe, and the chemist Leslie Orgel. Fred Hoyle, an extremely prominent physicist and mathematician from Cambridge University, admits the following, despite being an atheist:


          “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.”

          To be of any explanatory value whatsoever, atheism must provide some sort of explanation for how life emerges from non-living matter. Citing space aliens only delays the question. How did the aliens emerge from non-living matter as a result of unintelligent processes?—-

          But you said everything has to come from something bigger. You can’t make up a rule like that and then expect us to buy it when you make God, the think you’re trying to convince us of, the one exception to the rule YOU made up.

          ——No, I did not say that. This is another one of your straw man arguments. That God is the first cause and the ground of all being is what I said.—

          I write, “You don’t see the circularity of the atheist view that survival depends on evolution, and evolution depends on survival? Ok, but I suspect that everyone else does.”

          You respond, “No. that’s too simplistic.”

          ——Again, of what value is it to state that something is too simplistic if you refuse to elaborate and provide an explanation for HOW it is too simplistic for the purpose of this discussion? Absolutely nobody is fooled by your attempt to hide behind vague accusations of oversimplification. If you cannot specify how I oversimplified Darwinism (in a manner which is relevant to this conversation), then what choice do we have than to assume that you are trying to create a smokescreen to hide behind?—-


          Except Sweden actualy exists and can be proven. So i’m not following how one can be pretty sure there’s no Sweden…. oh I get it. You don’t know what “lack” means.

          ——You are not getting this. Whether or not Sweden or the God can be proven is utterly irrelevant. The point that Bannister is making is that a “non-belief” cannot be true (or false, for that matter). If your atheism is merely a “non-belief” in God, then it cannot be true. Only truth claims can be true or false. A “non-belief” in God cannot have any more truth value than the statement, “wibble, wibble, wibble.”

          Why are you at this website trying to argue in favor of something that cannot be true? This absurdity is the elephant-in-the-room which you are trying to hide from. Specifically, your changing the subject by suggesting that Sweden can be proven and that God cannot is a diversionary tactic which you use to hide from this absurdity.—-

          1 Absolute Theist: God Is Real

          2 De Facto Theist: God is probably real

          3 Weak Agnostic/weak Theist: there might be a god

          4 Absolute Agnostic: i dunno

          5 Strong Agnostic: maybe not

          6 De Facto atheist: probably not

          7 Absolute Atheists: there is no god

          A lot of us, including Dawkins himself, put ourself at a fraction. Some of us, like me for one, will put ourselves on various places on the Dawkins scale depending on which god you’re talking about.

          ——But only truth claims can be true or false. If you are not making any truth claims, and merely have a “non-belief” in God, then none of the positions on your above scale can contain any truth value. No version of atheism can contain truth value unless it makes a truth claim. “Non-beliefs” in God contain no more truth value than the statement, “wibble, wibble, wibble.”—-


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    Caleb Neff says:

    There is definitely a problem for modern materialists, though I wonder if changing around one’s theory of matter could do something to solve that. Modern “scientific” theories of matter only address the mathematical aspects, such as mass or size, without any considerations to non-mathematical things like color. The non-mathematical details of matter are just relegated to the subjective mind. According to Edward Feser, this is the source of the intractable problems of modern materialism. The mind is not a mathematical entity either, and so it can’t be a part of the material world. Yet they can’t relegate it to the mind at all; it’s like a carpet under which all the dust has been swept, you can’t get rid of it by putting it underneath itself.
    So here is what I am wondering: suppose the materialists finally break down and say “FINE! Non-mathematical facts about matter exist, too! Happy now??” Would this allow them to escape the charge of incoherence? If mental properties are part and parcel of matter (a la property dualism), would that give them what they need to avoid their problems? I suspect that, for a time, they would be “satisfied” (I use the term loosely), believing they could solve the problem, until they realize why Aristotle thought the intellect has to be immaterial. Then they’d be back where they started, but with a lot less ground to feign superiority over.

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