Riddles for atheists.

Posted on September 13, 2011 By

When one begins to probe deeper into the materialist/naturalist worldview (which serves as the foundation for atheism, and is defined in my essay titled God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism), one quickly realizes that it is a worldview built upon a foundation of “just so” and “it just is” leaps-of-faith. Below are just a few of the questions that those adhering to the materialist/naturalist worldview can only answer in such a manner. The inadequacy of the materialist/naturalist worldview for providing answers to these questions should give the reader an understanding of why a conscious and intelligent source for the universe (read: God) provides a far better explanation.

1) What are life, consciousness, and conceptual thought? How could they spring forth from undifferentiated matter or, if you prefer, an energy field? Are these properties “emergent,” as some atheists suggest? OK, fine…. but “emergence” is a description of rather than an explanation for the appearance of such phenomena as life, consciousness, and conceptual thought. Please provide an explanation for the emergence of these properties.

2) Why is the universe comprehensible? Albert Einstein wrote:

“You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way… the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori.  That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”

So, with reference to Einstein’s above quotation, the following riddle for atheists emerges: If the world as we know it is simply the result of random interaction of mindless matter, how did the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” come to pass such that conscious minds (that are able to comprehend) emerged? What is the source of this ordering? Was it the laws of physics? The laws of chemistry? OK, fine…please reference riddle #5.

3) How did reality come to be structured such that there are fundamental laws of nature and a hierarchy of intelligence in the natural world? Even if natural selection is cited as the mechanism for this state of affairs, our question remains unanswered since the mechanism can only work within a structure. How did this structure originate? Why is reality structured so that random mutation and natural selection, for example, can occur? Regarding this question, Alister McGrath, who was awarded a doctorate from Oxford University for his research in molecular biophysics, writes in Surprised by Meaning:

“…This point is consistently overlooked in many accounts of evolution, which seem to treat physics and chemistry as essentially irrelevant background information to a discussion of evolution. Yet before life can begin, let alone evolve, this biological process requires the availability of a stable planet, irradiated by an energy source capable of chemical conversion and storage, and the existence of a diverse array of core chemical elements with certain fundamental properties. Biology has become so used to the existence and aggregation of highly organized attributes that they are seen primarily as core assumptions of evolutionary theory, rather than something that requires explanation in its own right. There is an implicit assumption that life would adapt to whatever hand of physical and chemical cards were dealt it. Yet this is untested and intrinsically questionable. The emergence of life cannot be studied in isolation from the environment that creates the conditions and provides the resources that make this possible.”

In Why God? Why Not Just Plain Luck?, I point out how chance can only work upon an underlying structure. For example, without the underlying structure of a lottery and a monetary system, the probability that someone will win the lottery is exactly zero. In other words, for one to win the lottery, there must first be a lottery, and there must first be such a thing as money to win.

4) Physicist Paul Davies has said that the phenomenon of the genetic code mediating information between the two languages of life, proteins and nucleic acids presents a mystery: How can mindless processes set up codes and languages? Please read my essays titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God  and How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading for more in-depth exploration.

5) How can an inanimate thing be made to follow a law? (Such as the laws of physics, chemistry, or thermodynamics). How can such a structure of laws (or “regularities” if you prefer) that govern the universe exist in a truly random world? Please note that this is a question that science can never answer because it is not a scientific question. Rather, it is an ontological question.

As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it: “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added] Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it: “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

In the theistic model, it is immediately obvious why matter follows natural laws: The same mind that creates matter (God’s mind) also directs it. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it:

“The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added]

Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it:

“It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

Or, as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans put it 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)

What answer does the atheistic model provide to the question of how an inanimate thing can be compelled to follow a law? Only various versions of “matter follows laws because it just does.”

6) Why is the human brain so much more complex than is necessary for survival? If we are “survival machines” that exist for no other purpose than passing on DNA, then why do have such capacities as the ability to appreciate beauty in music, art, and in nature? Why do we have the capacity for advanced mathematics and science? What survival value did these capacities provide? For example, was our primitive ancestor who was able to appreciate the beauty in a sunset somehow less likely to be eaten by a predator than our primitive ancestor who was not? Did this capacity somehow help him/her to find food more easily?

7) Why is there something rather than nothing? Prominent atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell answers this question by suggesting that the universe is a “brute fact.” Russell’s answer gives us a perfect example of such an “it just is” explanation. In other words, by endorsing a universe that is a “brute fact,” Russell is encouraging us to cease rational inquiry and simply accept that the universe “just is.”

8) If sight originated in light-sensitive cells, how did it come to be the case that reality is structured to allow a symbiosis between light energy and the physico-chemical structure of the brain and eye?

Reader: Please note that several of these questions were extracted verbatim from Roy Abraham Varghese’s book The Wonder of the World. A Journey From Modern Science to the Mind of God. This book was cited by Oxford University philosopher Anthony Flew (formerly the world’s most prominent atheist philosopher) as one of the two books that most influenced him to accept the existence of God, in 2004. I very strongly recommend that you read it. Please view this video detailing Flew’s acceptance of the existence of God.


  1. susan says:

    none of these things necessarily argue for the existence of any gods. just because we don’t know the answer doesn’t mean god did it. you should really ask yourself why you need so badly to believe.

    • Timothy Keller comments on this subject in his book The Reason for God:

      But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because, “There can’t be just one true religion,” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts.

      And herein lies one of the common myths of atheism. Many atheists seem to think that they do not have any beliefs. And yet if one looks just a little deeper, one quickly finds that atheism is a belief system (indeed a faith) that is constructed of just-so leaps of faith and just-so storytelling. How is it that matter follows natural laws (such as those of physics and thermodynamics)? Atheism answers that it just does. Where did these laws come from? Atheism answers that they just are. How can consciousness emerge from unconscious, inert matter? Atheism answers that it just does.

      When you say, “Just because we don’t know the answer doesn’t mean god did it,” my reply is “just because we don’t know doesn’t mean that unintelligent natural mechanisms did it.” This is especially the case when you consider that unintelligent natural mechanisms clearly couldn’t do it…as is the case with the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of consciousness, etc… You are using unintelligent-natural-mechanisms-of-the-gaps reasoning.

      Please start by reading my essay titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God to see why we have very clear scientific reasons to deduce that intelligent agency was behind the origin of life. Please feel free to furnish any rebuttals that you can come up with.

      Next, you may want to read my essay titled Is There A God: What Is the Chance That Our World Is the Result of Chance? to see why the emergence of our universe was clearly the result of intelligent agency. Please feel free to furnish any rebuttals that you have.

      So, I will conclude by asking you, Susan: Have you asked yourself why you need so badly to believe in the just-so belief system known as atheism? Could it be the need to escape from moral constraints?

      • Anon says:

        But the difference in analogy between God existing “because he does” or miracles working “because they do” and thermodynamics working “because it does” is that we can observe the consequences of physical laws like the laws of thermodynamics and gravity. They reasons aren’t derived from a desire to justify the laws, they are presented because some people are searching for profound answers to questions like “Why do atoms exist.” They exist because they exist. Science doesn’t bother itself with a profound reason why; it is enough that they have been observed.

        • I have to disagree with the statement that atoms “exist because they exist.” This would be a satisfactory scientific explanation if matter were the fundamental or irreducible “ultimate reality.” However, modern physics has demonstrated that matter is a manifestation of consciousness, as I demonstrate in God is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism. One citation from that essay:

          “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

          –Max Planck, (the Nobel Prize winning physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory, and therefore one of the most important physicists of all time.)

          So it is the workings of consciousness (God’s consciousness) that we can observe working. The physical laws like thermodynamics and gravity (like everything else) are the manifestations of consciousness.

          Many people (perhaps yourself, I don’t know) are very reluctant to let materialism (which says the material world is the fundamental plane of existence) go…but it died. Johns Hopkins University physicist Richard Conn Henry comments on the reluctance that many secular people have to let materialism go:

          “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.”]

          Scott

          • Non Credenti says:

            My, you’re one giant quote-mining machine, aren’t you? You claim you’re providing evidence, but it’s only quotes from people long dead followed by blank assertions such as, “The physical laws like thermodynamics and gravity (like everything else) are the manifestations of consciousness.” Not a piece of actual evidence.

            The problem is likely that you’re used to arguing science the same way theists argue theology–by proof-texting, quoting some ‘authority’ and sitting back proudly like you’ve presented some solid evidence. (At least it’s somewhat valid within theology debates, since that’s mostly about interpretation, and one man’s interpretation is as good as another’s.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              I have never been able to get an atheist to explain to me what “quote mining” is. How does “quote mining” differ from the use of citations which is a routine part of rational discourse…such as in virtually any scholarly journal? Please explain in specific terms. Please note that rational discourse would be virtually impossible if the use of citations were disallowed.

              It seems clear to me that you are making an accusation of “quote mining” (whatever that means) in order to distract attention from your inability to furnish a rationally constructed and fact-based rebuttal to the points made in this essay. An argument which is intended to change the subject, and thereby distract attention, is known as a “red herring.” Click here to read a wikipedia post about “red herrings”.

              You state that there is “not a piece of actual evidence” for God. This is completely false. There is overwhelming evidence for God. Below are a few introductory pieces of evidence which I would like you to respond to with rationally constructed and fact-based rebuttals (not red herrings or rhetorical language).

              1) The evidence for God from modern physics as presented in God Is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. In this essay, I discuss how modern physics has demonstrated that there is no reality independent of consciousness (mind). (Yes, I am going to use a citation now since rational discourse would be virtually impossible without the use of citations. Feel free to accuse me of “quote mining” but please don’t forget to explain what “quote mining” is). Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University explains why atheists try so desperately to ignore or deny the insights of 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.”]

              Similarly, the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans says (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)

              2) The evidence for God in the language of life (DNA), as presented in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading and Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God. DNA is a language, since it uses symbolic representation to provide a set of instructions. These symbols are known as “codons” in the language of biology.

              As I describe in the above essays, information science (not to mention everyday common sense) tells us that code or language is BY NECESSITY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. Therefore, you must decide which conscious and intelligent mind is responsible for the origin of life.

              Atheists who vigorously deny the insights of modern physics have been forced to resort to such absurdities as the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (known as “directed panspermia.”) Click here to view a video of the famous atheist biologist Richard Dawkins endorsing this hypothesis in an interview. Click here to read an article about how the atheist biologist Francis Crick endorsed this hypothesis in his book titled Life Itself. Crick is famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix.

              Which conscious and intelligent mind do you think is responsible for the language of life….God or the space aliens? Some other mind?

              Will you join your fellow atheists by rejecting the insights of modern physics and endorsing the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life?

              I am very extremely curious to hear your reply.

              Scott

          • Non Credenti says:

            Quote mining is quoting someone out of context to make it appear they are saying something they’re not. Another form of it would be quoting someone and representing their words as the consensus; ignoring that they represent a tiny minority, and ignoring the fact that their claims have been debunked. Now, all of your quotes are not quote mining—though they certainly don’t tell the whole story.

            However, your follow-up, contains a *perfect* example of quote mining. You say, in a response attempting to deny being a quote-miner, that Dawkins endorses ‘directed panspermia’ and link to Expelled. Have you actually watched that movie? Actually, it doesn’t matter, because Dawkins provides the context in the link you provide.

            First he clearly states he doesn’t know how the first self-replicating molecule ‘happened.’ He says not only that he doesn’t know, but that nobody knows.

            Secondly, when asked to give a scenario in which it *could* have happened, he mentions life-seeding aliens, repeatedly saying, “It could come about… it could be that… perhaps… it’s a possibility… I suppose it’s possible that… could well be…”

            Thirdly, *twice* in that answer he says these life-seeding aliens *would themselves have come about by natural means*. He begins by saying this earlier civilization would itself have evolved, “probably by some Darwinian means,” and then designed another form of life. And he concludes by repeating that higher intelligence would need a natural explanation.

            How could you possibly have missed all this context? Have you not heard the myriad complaints of scientists saying this movie, Expelled, is shameless in its misquoting of the experts? Having heard that (how could you have missed it if you felt confident enough to quote it as proof that Dawkins ‘endorses’ directed transpermia) how could an honest man not look to see if perhaps Dawkins himself said something about this quote (assuming you missed the obvious context of even that short clip)?

            Even a cursory search would turn up Dawkins’ clear statements regarding this ridiculous misrepresentation of his words:

            “Another example. Toward the end of his interview with me, Stein asked whether I could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred. It’s the kind of challenge I relish, and I set myself the task of imagining the most plausible scenario I could. I wanted to give ID its best shot, however poor that best shot might be. I must have been feeling magnanimous that day, because I was aware that the leading advocates of Intelligent Design are very fond of protesting that they are not talking about God as the designer, but about some unnamed and unspecified intelligence, which might even be an alien from another planet. Indeed, this is the only way they differentiate themselves from fundamentalist creationists, and they do it only when they need to, in order to weasel their way around church/state separation laws. So, bending over backwards to accommodate the IDiots (“oh NOOOOO, of course we aren’t talking about God, this is SCIENCE”) and bending over backwards to make the best case I could for intelligent design, I constructed a science fiction scenario. Like Michael Ruse (as I surmise) I still hadn’t rumbled Stein, and I was charitable enough to think he was an honestly stupid man, sincerely seeking enlightenment from a scientist. I patiently explained to him that life could conceivably have been seeded on Earth by an alien intelligence from another planet (Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel suggested something similar — semi tongue-in-cheek). The conclusion I was heading towards was that, even in the highly unlikely event that some such ‘Directed Panspermia’ was responsible for designing life on this planet, the alien beings would THEMSELVES have to have evolved, if not by Darwinian selection, by some equivalent ‘crane’ (to quote Dan Dennett). My point here was that design can never be an ULTIMATE explanation for organized complexity. Even if life on Earth was seeded by intelligent designers on another planet, and even if the alien life form was itself seeded four billion years earlier, the regress must ultimately be terminated (and we have only some 13 billion years to play with because of the finite age of the universe). Organized complexity cannot just spontaneously happen. That, for goodness sake, is the creationists’ whole point, when they bang on about eyes and bacterial flagella! Evolution by natural selection is the only known process whereby organized complexity can ultimately come into being. Organized complexity — and that includes everything capable of designing anything intelligently — comes LATE into the universe. It cannot exist at the beginning, as I have explained again and again in my writings.”

            http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/2394-lying-for-jesus

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              I will copy and your comments in bold and reply below:

              “Quote mining is quoting someone out of context to make it appear they are saying something they’re not. Another form of it would be quoting someone and representing their words as the consensus; ignoring that they represent a tiny minority, and ignoring the fact that their claims have been debunked. Now, all of your quotes are not quote mining—though they certainly don’t tell the whole story.”

              Please give me even a single example of where I “quote someone out of context to make it appear they are saying something they are not.” You accuse me of “quote mining” in my essay titled Riddles for Atheists. Please tell me specifically what quote I took out of context and what you feel the correct context is.

              For example, in this essay, I cite Albert Einstein. Did I take his quote out of context by failing to mention that he made the comments in the context of a stand-up comedy routine? Did I attempt to fool people by failing to mention that he made these comments in the context of a joke? Please, please explain.

              You say that I am not telling “the whole story.” Well, go ahead and tell the part of the story that I am not telling. Does the other part of the story consist of the fact that there are people who do not agree with me? Is that your broader context?!

              “However, your follow-up, contains a *perfect* example of quote mining. You say, in a response attempting to deny being a quote-miner, that Dawkins endorses ‘directed panspermia’ and link to Expelled. Have you actually watched that movie? Actually, it doesn’t matter, because Dawkins provides the context in the link you provide.

              First he clearly states he doesn’t know how the first self-replicating molecule ‘happened.’ He says not only that he doesn’t know, but that nobody knows.

              Secondly, when asked to give a scenario in which it *could* have happened, he mentions life-seeding aliens, repeatedly saying, “It could come about… it could be that… perhaps… it’s a possibility… I suppose it’s possible that… could well be…”

              Thirdly, *twice* in that answer he says these life-seeding aliens *would themselves have come about by natural means*. He begins by saying this earlier civilization would itself have evolved, “probably by some Darwinian means,” and then designed another form of life. And he concludes by repeating that higher intelligence would need a natural explanation.

              How could you possibly have missed all this context? Have you not heard the myriad complaints of scientists saying this movie, Expelled, is shameless in its misquoting of the experts? Having heard that (how could you have missed it if you felt confident enough to quote it as proof that Dawkins ‘endorses’ directed transpermia) how could an honest man not look to see if perhaps Dawkins himself said something about this quote (assuming you missed the obvious context of even that short clip)?”

              Missed this context?! I didn’t miss this context! Suggesting that the Darwinian mechanism can apply to non-living things is one thing which is so absurd!

              Please note that the Darwinian mechanism utilizes the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring. Unfortunately for Dawkins and other atheists, only things that are ALREADY ALIVE have genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select.

              This is part of the absurdity that I am trying to call him out on!! He is citing a mechanism that only applies to things which are already alive to explain how the space aliens (that brought life to earth in their spaceship) evolved from non-living matter!

              Below are some of the words that Dawkins spoke in the interview:

              “It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto, perhaps, this planet. Now, that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.”

              Non-Credenti, what SPECIFICALLY in your citation of Dawkins changes the context in which he made these comments…so as to make his absurd speculation less absurd? What SPECIFICALLY in his comments is there that constitutes a rationally constructed and fact based counter-explanation to the theistic explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter? Please note that merely falling back on his worldview and citing “some kind of Darwinian means” is in no sense a logically constructed counter-explanation.

              Bo Jinn writes in his book Illogical Atheism: “Why on Earth does Richard Dawkins propose that life could have been designed by extra-terrestrials after he had devoted an entire repertoire of literature staunchly opposed to the entire designer hypothesis? It is palpable that there is something extremely wrong with that, which is not to be ignored by any conscientious thinker. It is painfully obvious that the problem being faced by atheist ‘evolutionists’ is not with a ‘designer’ at all, but rather with a very particular type of designer.”

              Further, you have failed to explain why we should accept mindless natural explanations for the origin of life in light of the BROADER CONTEXT of what modern physics tells us about the primacy of consciousness (mind) in the production of the physical world. You have utterly ignored my points about the broader context of the insights of modern physics. A copy and paste of a citation from a previous comment since you have ignored this broader context:

              Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University explains why atheists try so desperately to ignore or deny the insights of 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.”]

              Similarly, the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans says (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)

              Here are the points that I am trying to make by citing the video of Dawkins endorsing the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter (“directed panspermia”):

              1) Dawkins and other ultra-elite atheist scientists such as Francis Crick, Leslie Orgel, Fred Hoyle, and Chandra Wickaramsinghe clearly understand that life is the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. As I mentioned before, DNA is a language that uses symbols (“codons”) to provide a set of codified instructions. And we know from the insights of information science (not to mention everyday common sense) that language or code is BY NECESSITY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind.

              2) Because their worldview requires them to deny God, atheists must ignore the insights of modern physics (about the primacy of mind in the production of the physical world) and resort to absurd speculations such as the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter. The aliens were, in turn, brought into existence by “some sort of Darwinian means” even though the Darwinian mechanism only applies to things which are ALREADY ALIVE. Please recall that non-living things have neither genes to mutate nor reproductive offspring to naturally select.

              The fact that Dawkins reverts back to his worldview and cites “some kind of Darwinian means” to explain the emergence of the space aliens only makes my point stronger!

          • Non Credenti says:

            I’m going to mirror this conversation to a blog I’ve created. I’m not trying to drive traffic to it (I’ve never had a single visitor), I’m just using it as a place to collect my thoughts and conversations. http://noncredenti.blogspot.com/2014/10/in-which-i-accuse-scott-youngren-of.html

            You object that “the Darwinian mechanism utilizes the random mutation of genes…” and this only works on things that are already alive. This stems from an overly-narrow idea of evolution. Take a wild guess how many times the words “gene” or “DNA” appear in Darwin’s Origin. You are conflating a general mechanism of evolution with a specific mechanism of evolution. At its core, evolution requires some means of replication, some means of change, and some means of selection. Abiogenetic theories include means of replication other than DNA. Are you truly not able to extrapolate to the more general principle of evolution and figure out that when “Dawkins and other atheists” talk about abiogenesis they are talking about a means of replication that doesn’t involve genes?

            Anyway, that’s really an aside. The issue is quote-mining, and the context of Dawkins’ words. You said Dawkins “endorses” directed panspermia. That is false, and the context of his words shows that he was not endorsing it as anything more than a wild hypothetical possibility. He presented it as a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. Because he says something is “possible” does not mean he’s endorsing it as the explanation for life on earth. If someone did that to you, would you say it was accurate, or fair to twist the conversation like that?

            You want to know what makes his “absurd speculation less absurd.” What makes it absurd to begin with? Are you saying it’s impossible for aliens to exist? Are you saying it’s impossible for sufficiently-advanced aliens to design and seed life? If so, you need to support that idea. If not, then you need to explain why allowing for a possibility is absurd.

            You ask: “What SPECIFICALLY in your citation of Dawkins changes the context in which he made these comments…so as to make his absurd speculation less absurd? What SPECIFICALLY in his comments is there that constitutes a rationally constructed and fact based counter-explanation to the theistic explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter? Please note that merely falling back on his worldview and citing “some kind of Darwinian means” is in no sense a logically constructed counter-explanation.”

            Merely saying his answer is not logically constructed does not make it so. You need to point out his failure in logic. If you are referring to your earlier complaint that evolution requires genes, then we can drop this as asked and answered (you now understand that ”some kind of Darwinian means” doesn’t necessitate DNA, right?). If you mean something else, point out where the logic breaks down.

            Next you quote Bo Jinn, who asks, “Why on Earth does Richard Dawkins propose that life could have been designed by extra-terrestrials after he had devoted an entire repertoire of literature staunchly opposed to the entire designer hypothesis?” Dawkins was asked to forget his ‘repertoire’ and, for the sake of argument, propose a possible scenario in which life could have arisen by means of a designer, so he answered the hypothetical. In his later explanation he chastised himself for not recognizing the dishonesty of the situation. I chastise him, also. For as many times as honest scientists have their words twisted by people like Bo Jinn to imply that they’re contradicting themselves, or are “endorsing” ID (or in this case, directed panspermia), they keep falling for it.

            You ask about the broader context of how modern physics has killed idealism. You seem to be headed down a certain road with this, so let me ask you a few questions so I’m clear:
            Are you a monist idealist?
            Are you saying the consensus of modern physicists is one of idealism?
            If idealism is the consensus of modern physicists, are you saying I should accept idealism because that is the consensus among the experts?

            Since Dawkins didn’t “endorse” it, your first point is moot, as I hope is clear by now. As for information theory, that is a very complicated topic (only slightly less complicated then QM) and, frankly, until you can show that you understand basic scientific concepts, it would be a waste of time to discuss it with you.

            I know that’s offensive, and I apologize, but there’s no way around it. You don’t understand evolution, the second law of thermodynamics, or even what a scientific law is, so how can you possibly hope to understand vastly more complicated concepts? I know that’s a terribly confrontational thing to say, but I don’t want you to keep quoting large blocks of text saying I’m not answering, when it would just be completely pointless.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              You are very transparently trying to both passively ignore and actively evade questions which cannot be coherently answered from within the framework of your atheist belief system.

              Your accusing me of “quote mining” is an example of where you attempt to actively evade questions that you cannot coherently answer. This accusation is a transparent attempt to divert attention away from your inability to answer these questions (known as a “red herring argument”). Third party observers of this debate can be assured that it is a diversionary tactic because you accused me of quote mining in my essay titled Riddles for Atheists, but you have conveniently avoided telling me what citation in this essay I took out of context…or what the correct context is for the out-of-context quote. Suggesting that something was taken out of context—–without being able to explain what the CORRECT context is—–demonstrates conclusively that you do not understand the words that you are using.

              Here is a question that you have avoided by both ignoring, and by active evasion: Which conscious and intelligent mind do you think is responsible for DNA, the language of life….God or the space aliens? Some other mind?

              DNA utilizes symbolic representation to provide a set of instructions (the symbols are known as “codons” in the language of biology).

              Information science (not to mention everyday common sense) tells us that code or language is BY NECESSITY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. Therefore, you must decide WHICH conscious and intelligent mind is responsible for the origin of life.

              NON CREDENTI: WHAT CONSCIOUS AND INTELLIGENT MIND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION PRESENT IN DNA?!?!

              Your atheist belief system requires you to reject God, so was it space aliens or some other mind? When an atheist ignores or evades my questions, I find it helpful to keep a counter of times that the question has been asked:

              THE COUNTER IS ON THREE (3) for the question of what mind was responsible for DNA and the origin of life from non-living matter.

              You cite “abiogenetic theories that include means of replication other than DNA.” WHY DO YOU CITE SUCH UNSPECIFIED “ABIOGENETIC THEORIES”?! TO EXPLAIN THE SPACE ALIENS WHO IN TURN CREATED DNA? IT IS THE SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION PRESENT IN DNA THAT NEEDS TO BE EXPLAINED!! Please, please explain.

              You can cite “general mechanisms of evolution” and “specific mechanisms of evolution” all that you wish. But by citing these mechanisms, you are trying to evade the question which you cannot coherently answer: WHAT CONSCIOUS AND INTELLIGENT MIND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION PRESENT IN DNA?!?!

              SPIT IT OUT!!!!!

              If you do not want to agree with the ultra-elite atheist scientists who endorse the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (including not only Richard Dawkins, but Francis Crick—in his book Life Itself, Leslie Orgel, Chandra Wickaramsinghe, and Fred Hoyle) that is fine. But you must either cite what mind was responsible for DNA or you must try to deny that symbolic representation is NECESSARILY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind…and therefore deny the conclusions of both information science and everyday common sense.

              WHICH IS IT GONNA BE?!?!?!?

              READERS, PLEASE TAKE NOTE BECAUSE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE: Atheists must try to evade the question of what conscious and intelligent mind is responsible for the symbolic representation present in DNA with every tool in their arsenal, because atheism cannot coherently answer this question.

              Even the world’s most outspoken atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins, concedes that DNA is a language very similar to a computer language. In his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes:

              “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

              Elsewhere, 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.”

              You write, “The context of his [Dawkins’] words shows that he was not endorsing it [directed panspermia] as anything more than a wild hypothetical possibility. He presented it as a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. Because he says something is ‘possible’ does not mean he’s endorsing it as the explanation for life on earth. If someone did that to you, would you say it was accurate, or fair to twist the conversation like that?”

              I never suggested that he endorsed it as anything other than a wild hypothetical possibility. If you are suggesting otherwise, then this is a straw-man argument. YOU KEEP MISSING THE CRUCIAL POINT: DNA utilizes symbolic representation, and symbolic representation is NECESSARILY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. Because atheists deny God, they must resort to such wild speculations (“hypothetical possibilities”) to explain what conscious and intelligent mind is responsible for the symbolic representation present in DNA. WHAT HYPOTHETICAL POSSIBILITY DO YOU USE TO EXPLAIN THE SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION PRESENT IN DNA? SOME OTHER MIND THAN THE SPACE ALIENS?

              Discussing whether or not Dawkins “endorses” directed panspermia amounts to quibbling about semantics. Such quibbling about semantics is another attempt to divert attention from your inability to answer the question of what conscious and intelligent mind was responsible for the symbolic representation present in DNA.

              You ask me: “Are you saying that it is impossible for aliens to exist? Are you saying it’s impossible for sufficiently-advanced aliens to design and seed life? If so, you need to support that idea. If not, then you need to explain why allowing for a possibility is absurd.”

              No, I am not saying that it is impossible for aliens to exist. As an aside, ARE YOU NOW ENDORSING THE SPACE ALIENS EXPLANATION FOR THE ORIGIN OF LIFE?!

              Here is what I AM saying: Living things require a set of instructions to grow and develop…reproductive capability necessarily involves information storage and retrieval (which requires symbolic representation). So, you can punt the ball and say that space aliens were responsible for the origin of the symbolic representation present in DNA, but you must then specify what conscious and intelligent mind was responsible for the origin of the symbolic representation that allows for the alien life that created DNA.

              You write: “Merely saying his answer is not logically constructed does not make it so. You need to point out his failure in logic. If you are referring to your earlier complaint that evolution requires genes, then we can drop this as asked and answered (you now understand that ”some kind of Darwinian means” doesn’t necessitate DNA, right?). If you mean something else, point out where the logic breaks down.”

              Non Credenti, what needs to be explained is the symbolic representation present in DNA….or in the alien life if you are going to endorse the “hypothetical possibility” (in your words) that space aliens created DNA. Reproductive capability requires symbolic representation since information storage and retrieval are necessary components of reproductive capability. How can reproduction occur if a set of instructions is not present? How can a set of instructions occur without code/language (symbolic representation)?

              The absurdity of the space-aliens-created-DNA explanation is that it just conveniently kicks the can down the road so as to evade the question of how the symbolic representation present in reproductive capability came into being.

              You write: “You ask about the broader context of how modern physics has killed idealism. You seem to be headed down a certain road with this, so let me ask you a few questions so I’m clear:
              Are you a monist idealist?
              Are you saying the consensus of modern physicists is one of idealism?
              If idealism is the consensus of modern physicists, are you saying I should accept idealism because that is the consensus among the experts?”

              No, I am not a monist idealist. I am a Christian theist.

              Whether or not the consensus of modern physicists is one of idealism is of no relevance. The relevant question is whether or not idealist/theist explanations are true or not. Scientific consensus cannot be used to judge what is true or not. Only the application of reason can be used to determine what is true.

              It is impossible to coherently explain all of the facts without resorting to theism. This includes the facts that we know from modern physics and modern biology, as well as facts from other branches of science and human experience.

              Modern physics declares that there is no physical reality independent of mind. This points to an immaterial mind that is responsible for the production of physical reality (read: God). I recommend an article titled Mental Universe by the Johns Hopkins University physicist Richard Conn Henry:

              http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

              An excerpt from this article:

              “The 1925 discovery of Quantum Mechanics solved the problem of the universe’s nature. Bright physicists were again led to believe the unbelievable—this time—that the universe is mental. According to [the nighted the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer} Sir James Jeans:

              ‘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.’”

              I recommend the following video which describes the famous double-slit experiment in order to understand why we know that mind is responsible for the production of physical reality:

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

              Please also watch the following video to understand why quantum physics has conclusively debunked materialism (in which atheism is rooted):

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM

              These theistic conclusions dovetail neatly with what we know about the symbolic representation present in DNA. The Nobel Prize-winning Harvard University biologist George Wald was forced to admit the following in his 1984 address to the Quantum Biology Symposium titled “Life and Mind in the Universe”, despite begin ideologically opposed to theism:

              “It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”

              Did I take these citations out of context? If so, what is the right context? Again, I asked you to specify what citations in my essay Riddles for Atheists that I took out of context, but you have conveniently ignored the question. Suggesting that something was taken out of context—–without being able to explain what the CORRECT context is—–demonstrates conclusively that you do not understand the words that you are using.

              You write: “Since Dawkins didn’t ‘endorse’ it, your first point is moot, as I hope is clear by now. As for information theory, that is a very complicated topic (only slightly less complicated then QM) and, frankly, until you can show that you understand basic scientific concepts, it would be a waste of time to discuss it with you.”

              Again, whether or not Dawkins “endorses” directed panspermia is a quibbling about semantics. The aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the symbolic representation present in DNA is the best explanation that Dawkins can come up with from within the framework of his atheist belief system.

              “Endorsement” or a mere “wild speculation”, this is the best explanation that the atheist explanatory framework can produce. That was my only point.

              Of course you will not discuss information theory with me! You are afraid that it will expose the incoherence of your atheist belief system. Making a personal attack against me by suggesting that I cannot understand something constitutes a textbook example of the Ad Hominem logical fallacy. This logical fallacy occurs when a person launches an attack against the person making an argument in order to avoid responding to the logical argument itself.

              You write: “I know that’s offensive, and I apologize, but there’s no way around it. You don’t understand evolution, the second law of thermodynamics, or even what a scientific law is, so how can you possibly hope to understand vastly more complicated concepts? I know that’s a terribly confrontational thing to say, but I don’t want you to keep quoting large blocks of text saying I’m not answering, when it would just be completely pointless.”

              Non Credenti, so as to not make it inescapably clear that you are trying to distract attention from your inability to logically defend your atheist belief system with a personal attack against me (again, the Ad Hominem logical fallacy), why don’t you point out SPECIFICALLY what I do not understand about “evolution, the 2nd law of thermodynamics, or even what a scientific law is”?

              Who do you think that you are fooling? What intelligent third party observer is going to be fooled by this smoke-screen? If I don’t understand something, then go ahead and point out what it is that I don’t understand? Could it be that you cannot explain what I do not understand since you are desperately trying to distract attention from your inability to construct a coherent rebuttal to my arguments?

              Trying to assume a posture of intellectual superiority in order to avoid presenting a logically coherent explanation will not fool any intelligent third party viewer of this debate. Vague references to unspecified “abiogenetic theories” (while simultaneously ignoring the fact that symbolic representation is necessarily mental in nature) does not constitute a logically coherent explanation for the origin of life (and DNA).

          • Non Credenti says:

            Sorry for the delay in responding. There are two significant issues I’m trying to respond to, along with some minor ones. To save a little time, could you clarify something for me?

            Your main question seems to be about DNA-as-code. You repeatedly say “DNA utilizes symbolic representation,” and a “mind is responsible for the symbolic representation present in DNA.” So that I can answer, can you tell me exactly what you mean by symbolic representation? What are the symbols, and what are they referring to?

            Also, when you say DNA is “the language of life” are you saying that literally, or figuratively?

            • Scott Youngren says:

              DNA uses symbols known as “codons” (in the language of biology) to provide a set of instructions.

              Even the world’s most outspoken atheist, the biologist Richard Dawkins, concedes that DNA is a language very similar to a computer language. In his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes:

              “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

              Elsewhere, Dawkins points out that calling DNA a language is very much literal, not a mere figure of speech:

              “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 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.”

              Non-Credenti, mindless processes cannot, even in principle, produce something such as an “artificial language and decoding systems,” etc..

          • Non Credenti says:

            Thank you. Another question. When asked if you’re a monistic idealist, you responded “No, I am not a monist idealist. I am a Christian theist.” Does that mean you’re a dualist idealist? Pluralist idealist? Judging by your writings (or at least, by the people you quote) you’re not a materialist, but I can’t tell beyond that. I’m pretty sure the most common camp a Christian would choose, if they couldn’t pick any type of materialism or monistic idealism, would be dualistic idealism, but I don’t want to put words in your mouth.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              “I am a Christian theist” means that I am a Christian theist. Labels such as “monistic idealist” and “dualistic idealist” only serve to muddy the waters.

          • Non Credenti says:

            No, refusing to define your position and instead using a vague term that can apply different ways is muddying the waters.

            I understand, it can be terrifying to have to actually stake out a position with no quotes to hide behind.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              Your asking me to adopt a label other than “Christian theist” (which is what I am) is another textbook example of a red herring fallacy. Again, a red herring fallacy occurs when a person tries to mislead or distract from the important or relevant issue. The form of idealism that I endorse is called Christian theism. Period.

              You are very transparently trying to evade a question which cannot be coherently answered from within the framework of your atheist belief system.

              READERS, PLEASE AGAIN TAKE NOTE SINCE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE!! ATHEISTS MUST USE EVERY TOOL IN THEIR ARSENAL TO AVOID THE QUESTION OF WHAT MIND WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ORIGIN OF LIFE FROM NON-LIVING MATTER!! Non credenti is trying to distract attention from this crucial question by starting a debate about my position on various forms of idealism.

              Information science (not to mention everyday common sense) tells us that symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. DNA uses symbols know as “codons” (in the language of biology) to provide a set of codified instructions. Therefore, we know that life was BY NECESSITY produced by a conscious and intelligent mind.

              Non Credenti, THE COUNTER IS NOW ON FOUR (4) for the number of times that I have asked you the question of what mind was responsible for DNA and the origin of life from non-living matter. Was it the space aliens, as the ultra-elite atheist biologist Francis Crick proposed in his book Life Itself, or as the ultra-elite atheist biologist Richard Dawkins speculated in the video to which I linked you?? Some other mind? Or are you going to deny that symbolic representation is NECESSARILY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind?

              SPIT IT OUT!!

          • Non Credenti says:

            Scott, I said I was very busy and it would take some time to answer, but in the meantime had a few clarifying questions, which caused another tantrum by you.
            .
            You’re just going to have to be patient. And since I jotted off this quick response without answering the dozens of questions you’ve asked, feel free to bump your silly little counter up to 5 or 7 or whatever you think it is now. In fact, add one more tick for every day I don’t respond. Heck, add a tick every hour I don’t respond if it makes you feel good.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              Take all the time you need. Do you really think that you are going to come up with something more coherent than the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life cited by ultra-elite atheist scientists such as Francis Crick and Richard Dawkins?

              You are cornered. Your atheist worldview leaves you with the following options for explaining the very extremely sophisticated symbolic representation present in DNA:

              1) Engage in speculation about a mind other than God creating life (such as the space aliens cited by numerous ultra-elite atheist scientists). Please note that such speculations do not explain the origin of life because they leave us with the question of how alien life emerged from non-living matter.

              2) You can try to deny that symbolic representation requires a conscious and intelligent mind. This option is even worse for you because information science and everyday common sense both tell us that symbolic representation is necessarily the product of a conscious and intelligent mind.

              The point of the counter is to call you out for ignoring questions which cannot be coherently answered from the framework of your atheist worldview. Rational arguments do not utilize rhetorical language such as “silly little counter.” The use of such rhetorical language amounts to a withdrawal from rational discourse, and therefore a tacit acknowledgement that your stance cannot withstand logical scrutiny.

          • Non Credenti says:

            QUOTE-MINING RICHARD DAWKINS – DIRECTED PANSPERMIA (DP)
            .
            (I know this is long. If it’s any consolation, it used to be twice this length.)
            .
            After being called out on your quote-mine of Dawkins you say “I never suggested that he endorsed it as anything other than a wild hypothetical possibility.” (Let’s keep those words in mind.) This is easily demonstrated to be false. In fact, it appears the only time you offer the tiniest acknowledgment that this was a hypothetical is when you are directly called out for quote-mining. Since you have smeared this misrepresentation all over your site, it doesn’t take long for people to see how you’re really portraying the situation. Below are just a few examples.
            .
            In your “Special Pleading” essay, you say Dawkins (and others) endorse DP because they “VERY CLEARLY DO `UNDERSTAND that life emerged from non-living matter as the result of intelligence.” (emphasis yours.) That is far from acknowledging that his statements were a “wild hypothetical possibility.” How dishonest to take a statement in which he assumed an intelligence for the sake of argument, and use it to claim that he ‘understands’ that intelligence was necessary.
            .
            In your “Evidence” article you go so far as to say DP is an example of an “effective and prestigious neurotic defense mechanism.” How can a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question be a defense mechanism? Clearly you’re not acknowledging the “wildly hypothetical” nature of the question Dawkins was answering. Later, in the comments, you say Dawkins endorses DP as “a way for atheists to avoid the question of how life emerged from non-living chemicals….” So which is it, do you admit that Dawkins was only answering a hypothetical in which he assumed certain things for the sake of argument, or is he saying it to avoid a question? Besides, he doesn’t avoid that question. In the clip you reference, he says the alien race would develop by some natural means (surely you comprehend that he can’t be more specific than that unless he starts positing specific characteristics of the alien race, like their physical characteristics, planetary environment, etc.).
            .
            In the same article you say Dawkins’ endorsing of DP has “done more than embarrass [himself],” he has “laid bare for all to see the perceptual filter steering [his] atheistic beliefs, which is religious in nature.” The truth is the “filter” he was applying was the hypothetical filter put upon him by the interviewer. As he understood it, he was not asked to answer the question through any filter he might have. He was assuming the interviewer’s filter, and then positing how life on earth could have been designed. This was a prime opportunity for you to tell the truth, but you chose not to.
            .
            In the comments of that article you say, “Regarding the Dawkins video: I have always used the term “hypothesis” with regards to his endorsement of the aliens-brought-life-to-earth suggestion. It should not be understood to mean that he has firmly concluded that it is the case. But it certainly does mean that he (and other prominent atheists such as Francis Crick) really do take the idea seriously.” It is trivial to see that you have not always used or even implied the term “hypothesis.” This is something you’ve retreated to a couple of times, then you blink and go right back to your very direct statements about Dawkins’ motivations for his statement, which paints it in a completely different light.
            .
            In a comment on Sep 3, 2011 you ask, “Would you agree with prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins… that we don’t need a higher intelligence such as God to explain the origin of life because aliens from outer space brought life here?” You present this as a very specific and strident position on Dawkins’ part, not a hypothetical, or a vague endorsement.
            .
            You also say, “[DP] is the best that the atheist cream-of-the-crop (such as Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick) can come up with to explain the origin of life.” Once again, you present a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question as “the best” explanation Dawkins can come up with. That is dishonest.
            .
            In the comments to your “Luck” article you say: “So there you go…Richard Dawkins has endorsed the plausibility of the hypothesis that aliens created life in their laboratory and brought it to earth (“seeded” it) in some sort of spaceship. Open-and-shut. End of story. Period. This is also very strong evidence that he realizes “higher intelligence” must have been involved in the creation of life …he just thinks this “higher intelligence” might be space aliens.” (Emphasis mine) He assumes for the sake of discussion that intelligence must have been involved in the creation of life on earth, and offers aliens as a possible explanation, then immediately says those aliens would have a natural explanation. What honest person could hear his words and conclude that he ‘realizes the necessity’ of higher intelligence when he specifically says the ultimate cause would not need to be a higher intelligence? When he assumes a higher intelligence, and you twist that to say he realizes a higher intelligence, this is quote mining and it is highly dishonest.
            .
            I found these just by searching your essays for “panspermia.” You manage to squeeze this dishonest quotation into four different essays, and into probably a dozen replies to comments. Had I searched for “brought to earth by aliens” I would have found many more.
            .
            Finally, you say that even if life on earth had an ET explanation, the aliens themselves now need an explanation. Dawkins knew this and addressed it in the interview. He said it would be some naturalistic means, similar to the Darwinian evolution that we’re already familiar with, or “some equivalent crane.” When he says, “some equivalent crane” he is obviously saying there could be some means other than what we’re familiar with on earth, and he is clearly denying there needs to be an intelligence behind it.
            .
            But in case it’s not obvious to you, I linked to his blog (http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/2394-lying-for-jesus) where he discusses this interview. There he recounts Stein’s dishonest interview with Michael Ruse (where Stein plays the same abiogenesis game) and says quite clearly, “… the origin of life (nothing to do with the Darwinian theory itself but the necessary precursor of Darwinian evolution) is an interesting and unsolved mystery, one that scientists are actively working on.” (Emphasis mine) But you blithely ignore this and press on, claiming, “This is part of the absurdity that I am trying to call [Dawkins] out on!! He is citing a mechanism that only applies to things which are already alive to explain how the space aliens… evolved from non-living matter!”
            .
            The context of the video makes clear that he is answering a question where he was hypothetically assuming design, and in the follow-up he says very clearly that it was “highly unlikely,” and “a science fiction scenario.” Yet when someone says they’re proposing a highly unlikely science fiction scenario, you claim they’re endorsing it, even after being shown your error. That’s quote-mining.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              By trying to start a heated debate about my citation of Dawkins, you are VERY TRANSPARENTLY trying to create a distraction from your inability to respond to the question of what mind is responsible for the origin of language in DNA (a “red herring” argument).

              Whether Dawkins “endorses” DP or merely cites it as a “wildly hypothetical” possibility is an irrelevant semantic issue.

              READERS, PLEASE AGAIN TAKE NOTE SINCE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE!! ATHEISTS MUST USE EVERY TOOL IN THEIR ARSENAL TO AVOID THE QUESTION OF WHAT MIND WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ORIGIN OF LIFE FROM NON-LIVING MATTER!! Information science (not to mention everyday common sense) tells us that symbolic representation is BY NECESSITY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. DNA uses symbols know as “codons” (in the language of biology) to provide a set of codified instructions. Therefore, we know that life was BY NECESSITY produced by a conscious and intelligent mind.

              Non Credenti, THE COUNTER IS NOW ON FIVE (5) for the number of times that I have asked you the question of what mind was responsible for DNA and the origin of life from non-living matter.

              SPIT IT OUT!!!

              You are CORNERED! Your atheist worldview leaves you with the following options for explaining the very extremely sophisticated symbolic representation present in DNA:

              1) Engage in speculation about a mind other than God creating life (such as the space aliens cited by numerous ultra-elite atheist scientists). Please note that such speculations do not explain the origin of life because they leave us with the question of how alien life emerged from non-living matter.

              2) You can try to deny that symbolic representation requires a conscious and intelligent mind. This option is even worse for you because information science and everyday common sense both tell us that symbolic representation is necessarily the product of a conscious and intelligent mind.

              3) You can try to desperately distract attention from your inability to coherently answer this question by trying to start a heated debate about my citation of Dawkins. This is known as a “red herring” and is basically a quibbling about semantic issues (“endorsed” vs. “wildly hypothetical”). This is the option that you have currently selected.

              Dawkins cited space aliens as a potential cause for the origin of life from non-living matter. Whether he “endorses” this view or merely cites it as a “wild hypothetical” possibility is a semantic issue.

              Dawkins said: “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”

              He devotes entire books trying to debunk the designer hypothesis, and then cites space aliens as the possible DESIGNER of life. And then he admits in one of his books (The Blind Watchmaker) that the impression of design is “overwhelming.”

              These facts lead us to the inexorable conclusion that Dawkins’ opposition to the designer hypothesis is ideological/psychological rather than logical. HE IS ONLY OPPOSED TO ONE SPECIFIC DESIGNER: GOD. He VERY CLEARLY DOES understand that life is the product of a conscious and intelligent mind.

              Non Credenti, you write: “In the clip you reference, he says the alien race would develop by some natural means (surely you comprehend that he can’t be more specific than that unless he starts positing specific characteristics of the alien race, like their physical characteristics, planetary environment, etc.).”

              PLEASE CITE FOR ME WHAT THE NATURAL MEANS THAT CREATED THE SPACE ALIENS WOULD BE!!

              Nancy Pearcey explains in her book Total Truth why law-like natural processes (which atheism relies on as an alternative to God) cannot be cited as an explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter:

              “…in principle, laws of nature do not give rise to information. Why not? Because laws describe events that are regular, repeatable, and predictable. If you drop a pencil, it will fall. If you put paper into a flame, it will burn. If you mix salt in water, it will dissolve. That’s why the scientific method insists that experiments must be repeatable: Whenever you reproduce the same conditions, you should get the same results, or something is wrong with your experiment. The goal of science is to reduce those regular patterns to mathematical formulas. By contrast, the sequence of letters in a message is irregular and non repeating, which means it cannot be the result of any law-like process.”

              “To illustrate the point, let’s invoke our imaginary Scrabble game… but this time when you organize the letters, you decide to follow a certain formula or rule (an analogy to laws of nature). For example, the formula might require that every time you have a D, it is followed by an E. And every time you have an E, it’s followed by a S, then an I, then a G, and an N. The result would be that every time you started with D, you would get DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN, over and over again. Obviously, if the letters in a real alphabet followed rules like that, you would be limited to spelling only a few words—and you could not convey very much information. The reason a real alphabet works so well is precisely that the letters do not follow rules or formulas or laws. If you know that a word begins with a T, you cannot predict what the next letter will be. With some minor exceptions (in English, q is always fol-lowed by u ), the letters can be combined and recombined in a vast number of different arrangements to form words and sentences.”

              So who or what is the author of the codified information contained in DNA? It is not merely the case that science has failed so far to answer this question. Rather it is that materialistic science can never, even in principle, answer this question.

            • Garry says:

              Non Credenti,

              I have been following your discourse here with Scott and others. My goodness, you are really workig hard, and yet totally avoid nearly all of the requests for clear, precise logic to back up your claims. Your confirmation bias is extremely high. I know how the ego can manifest itself in not wanting to back down, but the longer you avoid addressing the requests for logical explaination, the weaker, if not total collapse of your belief system becomes. Of course, those requests cant be met, and so I understand the cul-de-sac you have found yourself in. I feel for you, and wish you well. May I suggest a break from the arena, and perhaps some quiet pontification of all matters related, because you are going nowhere on this mission as it stands. Take care.

          • Non Credenti says:

            “THE COUNTER IS NOW ON FIVE (5) for the number of times that I have asked you the question of what mind was responsible for DNA and the origin of life from non-living matter. SPIT IT OUT!!!” (Emphasis and overwrought histrionics yours)
            .
            I gave you a partial list of the topics I was going to address. Among them was your question. You said, “Take your time,” but then when I started to address this list of topics, you threw another one of your tantrums.
            .
            By my count, I’ve made five additional posts to you since you set your silly little counter to four, and none answered your oh-so-important question, so bump it up to nine. Then again, I also responded to “John,” so make it ten. Oh, and I’m not answering it with this post, so let’s call it 11. Your histrionics aren’t going to move things along any quicker, but I understand if you just can’t help yourself.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              I really don’t like having to use “the counter” with atheists. Rather, I strongly prefer to use polite language when possible.

              However, I have found it necessary to use the counter in order to call atheists out on repeatedly ignoring questions which cannot be coherently answered from within the framework of their belief system.

              And the reason that atheists cannot coherently answer these questions is that atheism is WRONG. Period.

              When I said “take your time,” I meant it. But this should not be interpreted as a license to go off on a diversionary quibbling about irrelevant semantic issues such as weather Richard Dawkins “endorses” directed panspermia or merely mentions it as a “wild hypothetical” possibility.

              Again, my point in calling attention to Dawkins’ mentioning of the space aliens as a potential source for the origin of life was to show that this is the most coherent explanation that the atheist belief system can come up with. You have also REPEATEDLY ignored the fact that several other ultra-elite atheist scientists endorse (there’s that word again) directed panspermia. Francis Crick was a Nobel Prize-winning biologist who is famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix. Crick endorses DP in his book titled Life Itself.

              The Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle says:

              “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.”

              However, the “superintellect” that Hoyle is referring to is not God, since he is an atheist. Rather, it is an alien mind! How an “alien mind” manipulates chemistry and physics (and nature itself), I am not sure.

              The astronomer Chandra Wickramsinghe and the British chemist Leslie Orgel are two other elite atheist scientists who endorse DP.

      • Non Credenti says:

        I apologize for how long this is taking. I am in the middle of starting a new business and things moved more quickly than I anticipated. I was going to respond to everything at the same time, but the response would be way more than anybody wants to read at once. Then I decided to break it up into sections but post all responses together so you didn’t bother responding to something that might be addressed later, but I didn’t count on how busy I would be and if I wait until I’ve responded satisfactorily to all your points I might never finish. Unfortunately, your big question (about the “symbolic representation” in DNA) is the one I haven’t answered as anything more than a rough outline.
        .
        I plan on responding to the various issues as I see them with the following posts:
        .
        Quote-mining
        Realism vs Idealism (2 parts)
        “Symbolic Representation” (possibly 2 parts)
        Things Scott Youngren Doesn’t Understand (multiple parts), including:
        -Second Law of Thermodynamics
        -Scientific Laws
        -Miscellaneous
        .
        I’ll say it now in case I forget later; some of these issues I think you have a fair enough grasp of, but I think you misrepresent them.

        • Non Credenti says:

          ON MATERIALISM VS IDEALISM Part I of 2: Quotes Quotes Quotes
          .
          Our exchange started in response to a comment to Anon, in which you said, “…modern physics has demonstrated that matter is a manifestation of consciousness,” Your evidence for that seems to be in the form of quotes from physicists. Later, when asked to clarify, you said, “the consensus of modern physicists is of no relevance.”
          .
          First it needs to be said that it seems utterly reasonable to accept the consensus in areas where one is not very informed (in fact, silly not to), and QM is an area where virtually everyone on earth is pretty clueless—you and I included. Of course that doesn’t mean that we blindly accept matters as “settled” simply by consensus, but it can certainly be valid to appeal to the consensus of experts in a field. Still, if you think consensus is irrelevant, and thus don’t intend these quotes to represent the scientific consensus, I wonder at your purpose for leaning so heavily (in fact, almost exclusively) on them. For example, you quote Planck, a deeply religious man, but you offer no evidence from him beyond his opinion.
          .
          Another example: you recommend to me your essay, God is real, in which you say there is no third stance between materialism and idealism (actually the issue is between realism and idealism), so everyone needs to ask, “On which side… do I fall?” Then by way of answer you proceed to quote Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Eugene Wigner, Arthur Eddington, and James Jeans. You offer no exposition of your own, just quote after quote after quote, followed by the conclusion, “There can be no question on which side of this debate modern physics falls.” If you don’t present these quotes as evidence of a scientific consensus, why are they there?
          .
          Maybe you’re appealing to authority rather than consensus. That seems unlikely, since surely you know a bald appeal to authority isn’t enough to establish anything. Besides, most physicists today disagree with the quotes you presented, and these physicists understand QM much better than the pioneers did, so any argument from authority (or consensus) would work against you.
          .
          And if you’re quoting Wigner as an authority, you need to explain why you reject his same authority when, later in life, he rejects “consciousness causes collapse.” Does he suddenly stop being an authority because you disagree with him?
          .
          Einstein is clearly not talking about idealism. His statement was in response to a question from a young girl who asked if scientists pray (there’s that pesky context again). His response set off a mini firestorm which led him to finally declare that he believed in Spinoza’s god (god-as-nature), not a personal theistic one. He said to call him an agnostic. This quote is content-less with regard to idealism vs realism. (Context context context)
          .
          Wigner was an atheist. If the thrust of your article is that modern physics proves idealism, which “discredits” atheism, it is undone by the fact that Wigner was both an idealist and an atheist (it’s not difficult to see how he could be both; one simply needs to have an understanding of the concepts, rather than blindly pulling quotes from apologetics books). And there’s still the pesky fact that he later reversed his views on consciousness causing collapse.
          .
          Your quote of Eddington (where he mentions the Logos) is obviously just his opinion. Regardless, given Eddington’s own mysticism, and the fact that Hellenistic ideas of the Logos predated Christianity by a long while and were highly mystic, it’s likely he was using it in the Hellenistic sense. But even if we can’t say that without context, it’s certainly not clear that he was using Logos in the way modern Christians would like to read him. In the end it doesn’t matter; it’s only his opinion either way.
          .
          Finally, you have a quote from James Jeans. Now his quote seems to make a definite statement about consensus when he says, “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity,…” but you have wisely declined to appeal to the consensus. After all, that might have been the consensus in 1930, but the realism/idealism pendulum keeps swinging. It’s also problematic to say Jeans’ quote should lead one to God, since it didn’t lead him to God. He was an agnostic.
          .
          So this essay, meant to prove that God is real by proving idealism, trots out quotes from eminent men from the past, and boldly concludes “there can be no question on which side of this debate modern physics falls.” Yet of the five men you quote, two were agnostics and one was an atheist, so most of these eminent thinkers weren’t swayed by their own quotes to start believing in God. One was a realist whose quote you miscontextualized (I understand it wasn’t you; you’re just copying from apologetic authors who knew you wouldn’t do any actual research), and one author later reversed his stance on wave-function collapse, which is central to your argument. Furthermore, QM is an incredibly fast-moving field, and your quoted authorities are long dead. “Modern” physics, which you pretend to be representing, tells a different story than it did almost 100 years ago. There is an easy way to find out on which side modern physics falls—we can see if there have been any surveys done recently where elite physical scientists clearly state their position on this question. Would you care to make a small wager on what the results reveal?

          • Non Credenti says:

            ON MATERIALISM VS IDEALISM Part 2 of 2: YOUTUBE, SCHMUTUBE
            .
            The essay offers a myriad more quotes (no surprise there), but as far as I can tell, only offers a YouTube video focusing on the double-slit experiment as anything resembling evidence on behalf of idealism. What the author, InspiringPhilosophy (IP) doesn’t tell you (but acknowledges elsewhere) is that the conclusions and interpretations he presents as solidly established in his video are not at all agreed upon. Physicists have been thinking about these issues for almost a century, but have only recently gained the technology to actually test them via experimentation, and the implications of the experiments are still being debated. There are dozens of different interpretations of QM, and scores of sub-interpretations. IP presents this specific sub-interpretation of the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI)–an interpretation of an interpretation–as a scientific fact, ignoring all the other interpretations and the problems with CI (all interpretations have their strong and weak points).
            .
            At a recent meeting of physicists, a poll was taken of which interpretation these experts in the field subscribed to. There were three or four front-runners, but no interpretation achieved majority acceptance among the attendees. In a few years, as more experimental data comes in, one of the existing interpretations (or maybe a new one altogether) may gain general acceptance , but for now QM is still in its infancy and there is very little that is “settled.” Most physicists loudly proclaim that there is a lot to learn before we can make many confident claims about many of the details of QM.
            .
            This, of course, is where the non-physicist apologists (and woo woo hucksters like Chopra and sellers of Quantum Crystals) appear, counting on the public’s misunderstanding of some key concepts to squeeze God into the admitted gaps in our knowledge. For example, in QM, the “observer” does not mean a conscious person; it more accurately refers to a measurement device. When you’re measuring things like electrons, a single photon used to measure/observe the position or momentum of the particle is enough to collapse the wave function. It’s like measuring the position of a bowling ball by seeing how a baseball bounces off it; the act of measurement affects the property you’re trying to measure. It must be said that most of the blame for the confusion of terms lies at the feet of the physicists. They love to concoct thought experiments and analogies about cats to illustrate their points, but after all this time they haven’t learned that they should stop giving new meanings to old words (like observer) because it only increases confusion.
            .
            You also say, “This points to an immaterial mind that is responsible for the production of physical reality (read: God).” It doesn’t, but I’d like to see if you can clarify your position. Are you saying there is no such thing as matter, that we’re all immaterial minds that produce the illusion of matter? Or are you saying there is matter, but it doesn’t exist until a conscious mind produces it? (Or is there a third option?) If God’s mind “produces” matter, why does the double-slit experiment give the results it does, if there is an omnipresent consciousness to observe all things? Does God cover His eyes while we do these experiments?
            .
            Though you seem unable to articulate your ontological position as one of dualistic idealism, you clearly said you were not a monist, and you’re arguing against materialism, so there’s probably a 99% chance that you’re a dualistic idealist. However, there’s a problem with this: The YT video you link actually argues for monistic idealism, and against dualism. If you want anyone to accept the arguments from the video as valid in favor of your dualistic idealism, you need to explain why they’re not valid arguments in favor of monistic idealism (or, specifically, for IP’s weak panentheism). The logic and arguments are the same, so if you’re going to accept them when you think they establish idealism, but reject them when they likewise establish monism, you need to explain the blatant inconsistency on your part.
            .
            The author of that video is making some far-out theological claims, which you ignore completely while presenting the video, as a whole, as evidence favoring your position. This gives the impression that either you a) agree with his theology (though you say you don’t) or b) didn’t understand the material well enough to comprehend that by “endorsing” it you were undermining your own theological position.
            .
            Regardless, it should be stressed that the biggest problem with your appeal to this video is that the author is presenting one interpretation of many as a scientific fact when it is far from it. The jury is still out—heck, the jury hasn’t even heard much of the evidence yet, and IP is trying to render a verdict. He knows better, but he’s pitching his woo woo panentheism and isn’t going to let little things like facts distract him.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              I will copy and paste your comments in italics and respond below:

              NC: Your evidence for that seems to be in the form of quotes from physicists. Later, when asked to clarify, you said, “the consensus of modern physicists is of no relevance.”

              No, my evidence is not quotes from physicists. Modern physics has shown that there is no physical reality independent of a conscious observer. This indicates that the physical world is the product of a conscious mind. I cited the double-slit experiment as evidence of this.


              NC: Another example: you recommend to me your essay, God is real, in which you say there is no third stance between materialism and idealism (actually the issue is between realism and idealism), so everyone needs to ask, “On which side… do I fall?” Then by way of answer you proceed to quote Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Eugene Wigner, Arthur Eddington, and James Jeans. You offer no exposition of your own, just quote after quote after quote, followed by the conclusion, “There can be no question on which side of this debate modern physics falls.” If you don’t present these quotes as evidence of a scientific consensus, why are they there?
              .

              Yes I do offer an exposition of my own. Until the wave function is collapsed by a conscious observer, particles exist only as a probability wave, not as actual physical objects. Therefore, the observation of a conscious observer is necessary for the production of physical reality. This indicates that the physical world is the result of a conscious and intelligent mind (read: God). I did not write this argument out in my essay, but this is the argument presented in the two videos that I linked to.

              —-

              NC: Maybe you’re appealing to authority rather than consensus. That seems unlikely, since surely you know a bald appeal to authority isn’t enough to establish anything. Besides, most physicists today disagree with the quotes you presented, and these physicists understand QM much better than the pioneers did, so any argument from authority (or consensus) would work against you.

              And if you’re quoting Wigner as an authority, you need to explain why you reject his same authority when, later in life, he rejects “consciousness causes collapse.” Does he suddenly stop being an authority because you disagree with him?

              .

              Non Credenti, all human beings (whether they are a Nobel Prize winning physicist, or a homeless person) believe things for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are logical and some of them are other-than-logical….such as psychological and ideological reasons. Probably the biggest motivator of atheism is the psychological need to be free from having to answer to a higher power for one’s actions.

              I do not know if Wigner was an atheist or not. But if he was, you must cite his LOGICAL reasons for being an atheist. Anytime that you cite an authority’s opinion as evidence for something—-without also citing the LOGICAL REASONS behind that opinion——you are committing the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority. I do not commit this logical fallacy because I cite the following LOGICAL reason to support my citation of him:

              Until the wave function is collapsed by a conscious observer, particles exist only as a probability wave, not as actual physical objects. Therefore, the observation of a conscious observer is necessary for the production of physical reality. This indicates that the physical world is the result of a conscious and intelligent mind (read: God).

              NC: Wigner was an atheist. If the thrust of your article is that modern physics proves idealism, which “discredits” atheism, it is undone by the fact that Wigner was both an idealist and an atheist (it’s not difficult to see how he could be both; one simply needs to have an understanding of the concepts, rather than blindly pulling quotes from apologetics books). And there’s still the pesky fact that he later reversed his views on consciousness causing collapse.

              .

              Please explain how one can be an idealist and an atheist. Where do ideas come from if not minds? Further, you are clearly not an idealist. Rather, you are a materialist. Forgive me if I am wrong, but your arguments are very materialist. How do you support your materialism considering the insights of modern physics? In the video by Inspiring Philosophy, he cites Wigner as saying that materialism is NOT compatible with modern physics.

              Please explain in detail how the wave function is collapsed without a conscious observer.

              ——
              NC: Your quote of Eddington (where he mentions the Logos) is obviously just his opinion. Regardless, given Eddington’s own mysticism, and the fact that Hellenistic ideas of the Logos predated Christianity by a long while and were highly mystic, it’s likely he was using it in the Hellenistic sense. But even if we can’t say that without context, it’s certainly not clear that he was using Logos in the way modern Christians would like to read him. In the end it doesn’t matter; it’s only his opinion either way.

              Finally, you have a quote from James Jeans. Now his quote seems to make a definite statement about consensus when he says, “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity,…” but you have wisely declined to appeal to the consensus. After all, that might have been the consensus in 1930, but the realism/idealism pendulum keeps swinging. It’s also problematic to say Jeans’ quote should lead one to God, since it didn’t lead him to God. He was an agnostic.

              So this essay, meant to prove that God is real by proving idealism, trots out quotes from eminent men from the past, and boldly concludes “there can be no question on which side of this debate modern physics falls.” Yet of the five men you quote, two were agnostics and one was an atheist, so most of these eminent thinkers weren’t swayed by their own quotes to start believing in God. One was a realist whose quote you miscontextualized (I understand it wasn’t you; you’re just copying from apologetic authors who knew you wouldn’t do any actual research), and one author later reversed his stance on wave-function collapse, which is central to your argument.

              .

              Once again, all human beings hold their beliefs for a variety of reasons…some of which are logical and some of which are psychological or ideological. Every time that you cite the views of an authority without citing the LOGICAL REASONS behind those views, you are committing the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority.

              NC: Furthermore, QM is an incredibly fast-moving field, and your quoted authorities are long dead. “Modern” physics, which you pretend to be representing, tells a different story than it did almost 100 years ago. There is an easy way to find out on which side modern physics falls—we can see if there have been any surveys done recently where elite physical scientists clearly state their position on this question. Would you care to make a small wager on what the results reveal?

              At a recent meeting of physicists, a poll was taken of which interpretation these experts in the field subscribed to. There were three or four front-runners, but no interpretation achieved majority acceptance among the attendees. In a few years, as more experimental data comes in, one of the existing interpretations (or maybe a new one altogether) may gain general acceptance , but for now QM is still in its infancy and there is very little that is “settled.” Most physicists loudly proclaim that there is a lot to learn before we can make many confident claims about many of the details of QM.

              .

              This is AGAIN, the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority. Logical arguments consist of logic, not of opinion polls. The psychological need to be free of having to answer to a higher power is just as prevalent (perhaps more prevalent) in scientific circles. For example, Sir Arthur Eddington famously said that “the notion of a beginning [of the universe] is repugnant to me.” This is because accepting that the universe had a beginning forced him to recognize that a beginning requires a Beginner (read: God). The same is the case with Einstein, who adopted a fudge factor (known as a “cosmological constant”) in order to sweep the beginning of the universe under the rug. He later admitted that this was the biggest mistake of his career and said, “I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”

              Unless you provide a LOGICAL ARGUMENT to back up the religious/philosophical beliefs of authority figures, you are committing the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority. We cannot merely assume that an authority believes something for purely logical reasons.

              Physicist Richard Conn Henry explains why people (such as many scientists) cling to materialism/naturalism 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.”]

              I have little doubt that many scientists will “cling with…ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality, ” as Henry puts it…for psychological and ideological reasons.

              Further, you are committing the logical fallacy of Argument From Ignorance when you say, “In a few years, as more experimental data comes in, one of the existing interpretations (or maybe a new one altogether) may gain general acceptance.” You are basically arguing that what we DON’T know about quantum physics will some day vindicate your materialism, despite the fact that what we DO know about quantum physics already invalidates materialism.


              NC: For example, in QM, the “observer” does not mean a conscious person; it more accurately refers to a measurement device. When you’re measuring things like electrons, a single photon used to measure/observe the position or momentum of the particle is enough to collapse the wave function. It’s like measuring the position of a bowling ball by seeing how a baseball bounces off it; the act of measurement affects the property you’re trying to measure.

              .

              No, the idea that the collapse of the wave function can be performed by a measurement device was debunked by the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser experiment. Go to about 6:10 into the video titled Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism by Inspiring Philosophy (on YouTube).

              Please read the following paper about this experiment: http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/kim-scully/kim-scully-web.htm

              A copy and paste of a crucial excerpt from this paper:

              “Comment: This is key. There is no which-path information for the signal photons when they initially arrive at D0. Which-path information for those signal photons is obtained only later, when the twin idler photon is later detected at D3 or D4 (and not obtained if the twin idler photon is detected at D1 or D2).”

              “As discussed below, the experimental setup ensures that this which-path information for the signal photons is obtained or erased only after the signal photon has been detected and the information is winging its way toward the Coincidence Circuit.”

              Another crucial excerpt (basically the last two paragraphs from the paper):

              “Time 6. Upon accessing the information gathered by the Coincidence Circuit, we the observer are shocked to learn that the pattern shown by the positions registered at D0 at Time 2 depends entirely on the information gathered later at Time 4 and available to us at the conclusion of the experiment. ”

              “The position of a photon at detector D0 has been registered and scanned. Yet the actual position of the photon arriving at D0 will be at one place if we later learn more information; and the actual position will be at another place if we do not.”

              Non Credenti, review the last sentence above: The measuring apparatus cannot be responsible for the collapse of the wave function because “the actual position of the photon arriving at D0 will be at one place if we later learn more information; and the actual position will be at another place if we do not.” Only an OBSERVATION OF A CONSCIOUS OBSERVER can learn information…not the presence of a measuring apparatus.

              Non Credenti, atheism is rooted in the materialist worldview which says that ultimate reality (which can be simply defined as “the something-from-which-everything-else-comes”) is mindless matter. But this worldview is COMPLETELY INCOMPATIBLE WITH MODERN PHYSICS…as Wigner famously said.

              But if we assume that physical reality is a construct of consciousness (idealism/theism), then it is immediately clear why an observer collapses the wave function. The observer effect validates idealism/theism. As Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory put it:

              “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

              Or as the Nobel Prize winning physicist Erwin Shroedinger put it:

              “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

              Non Credenti, you suggest that the wave function can be collapsed by “a single photon.” PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW A PARTICLE CAN CAUSE THE COLLAPSE OF THE WAVE FUNCTION. If the fundamental substratum of the universe is consciousness (as in theism and modern physics), it is immediately clear how an observation collapses the wave function. But how can “a single photon” collapse the wave function? By emitting some ethereal radiation?! PLEASE EXPLAIN!

              By suggesting that a particle causes the wave function collapse, you are suggesting that a physical object (a particle) is acting on a non-physical entity (a wave function). PLEASE EXPLAIN THE MECHANISM BY WHICH A PHYSICAL PARTICLE CAUSES THE COLLAPSE OF A NON-PHYSICAL WAVE FUNCTION!!

              Again, this notion was debunked by the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser experiment.

              I cite Bruce Gordon, who holds a PhD in the history and philosophy of physics, for a more thorough explanation of why materialism/naturalism is completely incompatible with modern physics.

              http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbscience.aspx?pageid=8589952939

              A copy and paste from his article:

              “….the ground has now been laid to summarize an argument showing not only that quantum theory does not support materialism but also that it is incompatible with materialism. The argument can be formulated in terms of the following premises and conclusion:

              P1. Materialism is the view that the sum and substance of everything that exists is exhausted by physical objects and processes and whatever supervenes causally upon them.

              P2. The explanatory resources of materialism are therefore restricted to material objects, causes, events and processes.

              P3. Neither nonlocal quantum correlations nor (in light of nonlocalizability) the identity of the fundamental constituents of material reality can be explained or characterized if the explanatory constraints of materialism are preserved.

              P4. These quantum phenomena require an explanation.
              __________________________________________________________

              C Therefore, materialism/naturalism/physicalism is irremediably deficient as a worldview, and consequently should be rejected as false and inadequate.

              The first two premises of this argument are uncontroversial: the first is just a definition and the second is a consequence of this definition. The key premises of the argument are thus the third and fourth; once these are established, the conclusion follows directly. Let’s focus our attention, therefore, on justifying the claims in premises three and four.

              In order for a particle to be a material individual, it must possess one or more well-defined and uniquely identifying properties. The prime example of such a property is spatio-temporal location. In order for something to exist as an individual material object, it must occupy a certain volume of space at a certain time. If it does not, then whatever it is – if it’s anything at all – it’s not a material object. The problem for the materialist is that the particles of relativistic quantum mechanics are not so localizable.

              Stated roughly, Gerhard Hegerfeldt and David Malament have shown that if one assumes (quite reasonably) that an individual particle can neither serve as an infinite source of energy nor be in two places at once, then that particle has zero probability of being found in any bounded spatial region, no matter how large! In short, the “particle” doesn’t exist anywhere in space, and so, to be honest, it doesn’t really exist at all. Hans Halvorson and Robert Clifton have extended these results and closed some loopholes by showing that the Hegerfeldt-Malament proof still works under conditions that are even more general. In particular, they’ve shown that once relativity is taken into account, there can be no intelligible notion of microscopic material objects. Particle talk has pragmatic utility in relation to macroscopic appearances, but it has no basis in microphysical reality (and this is the rock-bottom reality for the materialist).

              The underlying problem is this: there are correlations in nature that require a causal explanation but for which no physical explanation is in principle possible. Furthermore, the nonlocalizability of field quanta entails that these entities, whatever they are, fail the criterion of material individuality. So, paradoxically and ironically, the most fundamental constituents and relations of the material world cannot, in principle, be understood in terms of material substances. Since there must be some explanation for these things, the correct explanation will have to be one which is non-physical – and this is plainly incompatible with any and all varieties of materialism.”

              NC: You also say, “This points to an immaterial mind that is responsible for the production of physical reality (read: God).” It doesn’t, but I’d like to see if you can clarify your position. Are you saying there is no such thing as matter, that we’re all immaterial minds that produce the illusion of matter? Or are you saying there is matter, but it doesn’t exist until a conscious mind produces it? (Or is there a third option?) If God’s mind “produces” matter, why does the double-slit experiment give the results it does, if there is an omnipresent consciousness to observe all things? Does God cover His eyes while we do these experiments?

              Though you seem unable to articulate your ontological position as one of dualistic idealism, you clearly said you were not a monist, and you’re arguing against materialism, so there’s probably a 99% chance that you’re a dualistic idealist. However, there’s a problem with this: The YT video you link actually argues for monistic idealism, and against dualism.If you want anyone to accept the arguments from the video as valid in favor of your dualistic idealism, you need to explain why they’re not valid arguments in favor of monistic idealism (or, specifically, for IP’s weak panentheism). The logic and arguments are the same, so if you’re going to accept them when you think they establish idealism, but reject them when they likewise establish monism, you need to explain the blatant inconsistency on your part.

              .

              Regarding your above question, please reference my above citation of Bruce Gordon, PhD. A copy and paste of a crucial excerpt:

              “Stated roughly, Gerhard Hegerfeldt and David Malament have shown that if one assumes (quite reasonably) that an individual particle can neither serve as an infinite source of energy nor be in two places at once, then that particle has zero probability of being found in any bounded spatial region, no matter how large! In short, the “particle” doesn’t exist anywhere in space, and so, to be honest, it doesn’t really exist at all.”

              Please explain why the video by Inspiring Philosophy supports monistic idealism. This is ridiculous. Please go to 14:00 into the video and review the commentary by the physicist Michio Kaku. Watch from this point all the way to the end. At 15:29, the author of the video (J. Ratz) says, “our mind doesn’t create reality, it only participates in it.”

              But perhaps most importantly, I have to call you out for another red herring (an attempt to distract attention from the important points in order to cover up for the inadequacy of your logic). HOW CAN ATHEISM BE COMPATIBLE WITH EITHER MONISTIC OR DUALISTIC IDEALISM?

              You want to start a debate about different forms of idealism in order to distract attention from the fact that your materialism is incompatible with modern physics.

          • John says:

            Non Credenti,

            Please forgive me for not wading through all of the material you posted here, but it’s been a very long day, and a friend of mine thought I might have something to offer this discussion.

            I guess we’ll have to see about that.

            May I assume your argument is in favor of materialism, or is that a mistaken assumption? You referred several times to materialism versus idealism, which I’m not entirely sure what that is in this context.

            I’m more familiar with monism versus dualism, strict materialism versus spiritualism, atheism versus theism, etc.

            At any rate, I would categorize myself as a believer in spiritualism, because of the dual nature of brain activity as both conscious and subconscious thought, but much more importantly, because of evidence called corroborated veridical NDE events, which are being studied by a research organization called IANDS, as well as medical professionals all over the world.

            Thanks in advance for your patience with me.

          • Non Credenti says:

            Hello John,

            “May I assume your argument is in favor of materialism, or is that a mistaken assumption?” I’m not really arguing for realism, though I am a realist. Really, I’m just arguing against the bad arguments presented in that article. It has a few quotes, mostly obsolete ones from dead people, and a YouTube video being presented as hard scientific fact. (If someone wants to present the consensus on a topic, YT is fine. But if they really had earth-shattering conclusions that would turn a field of study upside down, the first clue that they’re a crackpot is that they take their argument to YT, rather than peer-reviewed journals.)
            .
            As for all the *isms, as I understand it, realism and idealism are the two main categories, dealing with whether reality is mind-independent or depends on a mind. From there you can get into more detail about how many fundamental substances there might be (monism/dualism/pluralism) and what they might consist of. Some of the distinctions (e.g., between physicalism and materialism) do not really interest me all that much. Technically I might be considered a non-materialist, but that’s based mostly on technical definitions. I only discuss it at a high level, so I use “realist,” but don’t object to “materialist.”
            .
            I’m not very familiar with “corroborated veridical” NDEs; I’ll have to look into it when I get some time.

          • Non Credenti says:

            Things Scott Youngren doesn’t understand
            .
            I wrote these responses a few days ago, before your last round of replies, so there may be some cross-talk in that I may present things that you have since addressed further. In no particular order:
            .
            2nd Law of Thermodynamics (2LOT)
            .
            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.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              NC: 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.)….. But 2LOT does not apply because they’re part of an open system.

              .

              Good job on your explanation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Open system, closed system, partially open system…..whatever you want. DOES THE INCREASE IN DISORDER (ENTROPY) OVER TIME APPLY ON EARTH? YES OR NO?!

              If not, then why do sand castles crumble, why do dead things decay, why do cars rust? (etc).

              Quibbling about the specifics of the 2nd law of thermodynamics is another attempt to distract attention from the inadequacy of your arguments (a red-herring).

              NC: 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.

              .

              OK, then are you going to argue that the origin of life from non-living matter is the result of a energy exchange? Do I have that right? I don’t want to misrepresent you.

              Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold describes the simplest living thing (the single-celled organism) 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.”

              Do you intend to argue that these “high-tech factories, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems” (etc) are caused by an energy transfer from the sun? Please clarify.

              Further, why is it that we cannot place a dead and decomposing animal in the sunlight and expect it to re-compose? Why does an energy transfer from the sun not work here to counteract an increase in entropy? Why does the increase in entropy clearly apply in this case, but not with the origin of life from non-living matter? Please explain.

              How can an energy transfer explain the simplest living thing, as described above?

          • Non Credenti says:

            Logical fallacies:
            .
            You think, “Making a personal attack against me by suggesting that I cannot understand something constitutes a textbook example of the Ad Hominem logical fallacy. This logical fallacy occurs when a person launches an attack against the person making an argument in order to avoid responding to the logical argument itself.”
            .
            You are wrong. The ad hominem fallacy is rejecting a claim or argument based on irrelevant issues with the claimant. Declining to even discuss an issue with someone because they don’t understand the topic well enough is not an ad hominem fallacy. I did not (at that time) attempt to refute your arguments involving QM or IT, I simply expressed why I was very hesitant to even engage, given your obvious lack of knowledge in the relevant areas. If I had said, “You’re wrong because you only copy arguments from professional apologists (without offering any reason to think the professional apologists’ arguments are wrong) that would be an ad hom fallacy. But to say I don’t even want to discuss it is not.
            .
            Perhaps this will help you understand. Let’s say I make the following argument:
            1. (2+2)=5.
            2. 5*2=10.
            Therefore,
            3. (2+2)*2=10
            If you say, “You’re wrong because you’re ugly,” or, “You’re wrong because you’re an atheist, and atheists cannot be trusted,” that would be an ad hominem fallacy because you’re reject my argument by citing irrelevant personal issues.
            .
            On the other hand, if you say, “Number 1 is wrong because 2+2=4, you no-good, ugly lying atheist,” this is not an ad hominem fallacy. You provided a logical and valid reason for rejecting my argument. Granted, it was accompanied by a personal attack, but that only makes your refutation of my argument valid and rude; it does not make it fallacious.
            .
            I didn’t make a personal attack, I made an assessment of your knowledge in a couple of areas. It was blunt, and I knew it would not be well-received, and I apologized ahead of time, but I didn’t see any other way to tell you why it would be pointless to discuss QM and IT with you other than to say you didn’t know enough about the subjects to be able to have a meaningful discussion.
            .
            In my math proof, above, if you didn’t try to rebut my proof, but just said, “You think 2+2=5? Obviously discussing this with you would be a waste of my time,” it would not be an ad hominem fallacy. You would simply (and bluntly) be declining to discuss it further with me based on an assessment of my mathematical knowledge. That’s all I did with you.
            .
            You also do not understand what a Category Error is. More accurately, you seem to understand it, but you’re hypocritical in not applying it to yourself. In a comment made a few days ago to someone else, you quote John Lennox to expose what you consider a category error, when you yourself commit a much more egregious category error by quoting Lennox, elsewhere. In your evolution article you quote Lennox as saying:
            .
            “The strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism and gravity have no eyes to see with, either physical or mental. And most mechanisms are blind — think of a watch, a car, a CD player, a computer hard-disc. Moreover, they are not only blind but also unconscious… But those mechanisms, though blind in themselves, are all the products of minds that are far from being blind; such mechanisms are intelligently designed.”
            .
            Here Lennox draws a faulty comparison between physical mechanical inventions and the non-physical relations between observations we call the laws of the Universe. One category is physical objects, the other is non-physical relationships. You quote such a blatant category error from Lennox, then turn around and quote him to accuse someone else of a category error.
            .
            General Logic: You think that to reject Statement A requires a definite belief in an alternative, Statement B. In multiple places (e.g., the comments to your “strong evidence” article on Jan 30, 2012) you quote Timothy Keller as espousing this position. You say, through him, “All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B… The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B… Every doubt, therefore is based on a leap of faith.” This is false. Propositional statements can be rejected without regard to the truth or falsity of any other statements, including any opposite statements.
            .
            Sometimes one might reject Belief A because they hold conflicting Belief B, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you say you have a 50-carat diamond in your pocket and I say, “I don’t believe that,” based on a lack of evidence (and the rarity of such an event), I am not saying I believe (or Keller’s even more erroneous claim, “I have faith”) that you do not have a 50-carat diamond in your pocket. I’m only saying that I do not accept your propositional statement.
            .
            Consider a much more mundane statement you could make, like, “I have a penny in my pocket.” I would not reject it (because of the commonness of such occurrences), but I also would not accept it because I haven’t seen the penny. I would withhold judgment and take no position.
            .
            This is logic 101, and apologists like Keller count on people to spread this misinformation without actually understanding it. Incidentally, this shows the danger of argumentation by quotation. I agree with your conclusion in that comment, and your explanation was fine, but your method of arriving at that conclusion was based on Keller’s faulty logic. You would have done much better responding as you did without the quote.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              NC: The ad hominem fallacy is rejecting a claim or argument based on irrelevant issues with the claimant. Declining to even discuss an issue with someone because they don’t understand the topic well enough is not an ad hominem fallacy. I did not (at that time) attempt to refute your arguments involving QM or IT, I simply expressed why I was very hesitant to even engage, given your obvious lack of knowledge in the relevant areas…..I didn’t make a personal attack, I made an assessment of your knowledge in a couple of areas.

              .

              WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE FOOLING?! You refuse to engage in a discussion of QM because you cannot coherently respond to my arguments. In addition to my own arguments, I cited Bruce Gordon, who HOLDS A PhD IN THE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS. Gordon’s argument for why materialism is completely incompatible with modern physics is NOT DIFFICULT to grasp.

              DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT YOU ARE FOOLING ANY INTELLIGENT THIRD PARTY VIEWERS OF THIS DISCUSSION BY SUGGESTING THAT YOU RUFUSE TO RESPOND TO MY ARGUMENT (OR GORDON’S ARGUMENTS) BECAUSE “I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE TOPIC WELL ENOUGH?”

              Why don’t you point out what Gordon and I do not understand? It is clearly because you cannot coherently respond. Please note that rational discourse would be impossible if any party were permitted to argue that they refuse to engage in discussion because the other party does not understand.

              FURTHER, YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESPOND TO MY POINT ABOUT THE “DELAYED CHOICE QUANTUM ERASER EXPERIMENT” DEBUNKING THE NOTION THAT A PARTICLE CAN CAUSE A WAVE FUNCTION COLLAPSE.

              A large part of your argumentation consists of trying to assume a posture of intellectual superiority. I seriously do not think you are fooling any intelligent third party viewers with this. You must furnish a rationally constructed, fact-based rebuttal to my arguments. You cannot escape from this necessity with posing and posturing.

              NC: You also do not understand what a Category Error is. More accurately, you seem to understand it, but you’re hypocritical in not applying it to yourself. In a comment made a few days ago to someone else, you quote John Lennox to expose what you consider a category error….One category is physical objects, the other is non-physical relationships.

              .

              No, there is no category error in Lenox’s argument. Both are mechanisms. One is a physical mechanism, another is a non-physical mechanism. Do you not consider Darwin’s random mutation and natural selection to be a mechanism? You can suggest that the proposed “natural mechanism” of Darwinian evolution is not a non-physical mechanism, but rather, describes a “non-physical relationship.” But if you did so, you would again be quibbling about semantics. Much of your argumentation seems to be based upon diverting attention to a quibbling about semantic issues. Why do scientists so regularly discuss natural mechanisms (such as Darwin’s)?

              NC: General Logic: You think that to reject Statement A requires a definite belief in an alternative, Statement B. In multiple places (e.g., the comments to your “strong evidence” article on Jan 30, 2012) you quote Timothy Keller as espousing this position. You say, through him, “All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B… The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B… Every doubt, therefore is based on a leap of faith.” This is false. Propositional statements can be rejected without regard to the truth or falsity of any other statements, including any opposite statements.

              .

              …and yet, you are very clearly arguing from the alternate belief of a belief in materialism, which is completely incompatible with modern physics…as I have demonstrated, and which the famous physicist Eugene Wigner pointed out.

              Further, we are not discussing “propositional statements” here. Materialism and theism are worldviews, not propositional statements.

          • Non Credenti says:

            Statistics:
            .In your “God is Real” article you say, “I am afraid it is alot more than just two people. In my “Some Quotes to Consider” post, I cite a heck of alot more than 2 people. In fact, these quotes reveal that most most astronomers believe in God and most physical scientists believe in God or at least consider the existence of God to be a very real possibility.” (Emphasis mine) This is an error you seem to make quite often. Your few selected quotes might show that some physical scientists believe in God, but quoting a few does not represent the majority. To show a majority you would have to present a majority from a “random sampling” of astronomers and physical scientists. You could also cite poll results, but the poll would also have to represent a random sampling of respondents, and Pew polls show most are non-believers.
            .
            .
            Scientific Law:
            .
            You seem to think that scientific laws are prescriptive laws, written and enforced, rather than descriptions of regular phenomenon. You quote Boyle (“The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.”) and you italicize the word “notional”. In this very essay, your fifth “riddle” is, “How can an inanimate thing be made to follow a law?” In your “god/luck” article you ask, “Why it is that mindless matter can be compelled to do anything, much less follow a physical/natural law.”
            .
            The language is a bit ambiguous, and you–intentionally or not–leave yourself a little wiggle room, but by choosing quotes that highlight ideas of prescription, notion, and compel, you indicate an understanding that natural laws are prescriptive. It’s hard to be sure, since you so often hide behind quotes, almost never exposing your own thoughts on anything.
            .
            But scientific laws are not prescriptive, they are descriptive. They describe the relationships between observations we make, and express them as mathematical formulas. ‘When this happens, then that will happen at this rate or in that amount.’ This definition will be found in the first few pages of any introductory Life Sciences textbook.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              NC: In your “God is Real” article you say, “I am afraid it is alot more than just two people. In my “Some Quotes to Consider” post, I cite a heck of alot more than 2 people. In fact, these quotes reveal that most most astronomers believe in God and most physical scientists believe in God or at least consider the existence of God to be a very real possibility.” (Emphasis mine) This is an error you seem to make quite often. Your few selected quotes might show that some physical scientists believe in God, but quoting a few does not represent the majority.

              Non-credenti, that was a comment I made in response to another commenter. Again, my argument is not based upon expert opinion, but rather, it is BUTTRESSED by expert opinion. Consensus opinion can never settle a logical debate…only logical arguments can.

              NC: You seem to think that scientific laws are prescriptive laws, written and enforced, rather than descriptions of regular phenomenon….But scientific laws are not prescriptive, they are descriptive.”

              .

              Of what relevance is it whether natural laws are prescriptive or descriptive? This is very strange. You appear to be trying to distract attention again by engaging in another tangential discussion. Matter behaves in a regular and orderly way. It is this order that needs to be explained. Whether natural laws are prescriptive or descriptive is UTTERLY IRRELEVANT.

              In my Riddles for Atheists essay, I cited Albert Einstein as follows:

              “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way… the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”

              So my questions this: WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE “HIGH DEGREE OF ORDERING OF THE OBJECTIVE WORLD” THAT EINSTEIN MARVELED AT?

              THE COUNTER FOR THE ABOVE QUESTION IS NOW ON ONE (1).

              I am adding a counter to this question because my experience debating atheists very strongly suggests that you will try to evade this question with every tool in your arsenal.

              The theistic answer to the above question is obvious….and is strongly supported by the insights of modern physics. The physical world is a construct of a conscious mind (read: God). Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory put it as follows:

              “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

          • Non Credenti says:

            Sorry for the late entry. I’ve tried to post this a few times, but there were problems with your site. This is my final installment in the “Things Scott Youngren Doesn’t Understand” series (though it’s used tongue-in-cheek, as I’m confident you understand the following topics well enough.)
            .
            Evolution:
            .
            You say in many places, “Random mutation and natural selection cannot apply to something that does not have any genes to mutate nor any reproductive offspring to be naturally selected.” You reach the same conclusion in response to me: “This is part of the absurdity that I am trying to call [Dawkins] out on!! He is citing a mechanism that only applies to things which are already alive to explain how the space aliens… evolved from non-living matter!” (Emphasis yours) But Dawkins didn’t cite a mechanism that included genes. He claim any specific mechanism, and the general evolutionary description doesn’t require genes or natural selection.
            .
            Why do you think the aliens would have to develop by the exact same method we see on earth, when that’s neither what Dawkins said, nor is it a reasonable conclusion from his words? Dawkins is clearly saying the explanation for the aliens would probably follow a general form of evolution, but not any specific one. No modern theory of abiogenesis on earth includes genes as the first step. Why would you try to handcuff Dawkins’ explanation into that narrow framework, when he clearly says these aliens would result from “some” natural process, “some” Darwinian means, or “some other crane”? You erected a straw man then–somewhat hysterically–bashed away at it as if you were accomplishing something. On your site you even say, “Darwinian theory does not even attempt to explain the origin of life,” so why try to pigeonhole Dawkins’ hypothetical into a specific interpretation that you know is inapplicable?
            .
            In general, evolution is a result of variation, inheritable variation, differential survival and reproduction, and finite resources. Mutation of “genes” and “natural selection” are specific expressions of evolution. You keep trying to apply the specific to the general, when it isn’t justified. What Dawkins posited is that a general evolutionary theory requires some method of replication, and some method of variation, and some method of passing on the variation, and some method of filtering for beneficial variations. Genes are not specifically required.
            .
            Panspermia:
            .
            You say, “And regarding panspermia, even though I have no reason to object to it, I still think the theory has virtually no merit. Below is a copy and paste from an article at another website: ’Even if life could originate naturally, there are many difficulties faced by a theory which states that life entered earth from outer-space. The trip through the upper atmosphere would be extremely harsh upon any life-form, and it is difficult to imagine how life could survive such high temperatures and extreme pressures upon entry to the earth, and then upon impact with the surface.’”
            .
            There is a crucial piece of information that the authors of this ‘other website’ didn’t share with you: Panspermia doesn’t require that life came from space, and the people who actually investigate the plausibility of panspermia say that it is (non-living) organic compounds or chemical precursors that could have come from space. You’re presenting a narrow and distorted view to make it seem more unlikely than it needs to be. Also, computer modeling and physical experiments show two things you’ll never hear from apologetics sources: Metorites containing intact organic compounds, including simple sugars and amino acids have been documented to have struck the earth, and computer modeling indicates that during the late bombardment period there were pockets of water on earth. It doesn’t matter how difficult your source thinks it would be for “life” to survive in a meteorite, we know for a fact that organic compounds can and do remain intact.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non Credenti,

              THE COUNTER IS NOW ON TWO (2) for the question of what is the source of the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” that Einstein marveled at. READERS PLEASE TAKE NOTE BECAUSE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE!!:

              Atheists will use every tool in their arsenal to avoid this question because it cannot be coherently answered from within the explanatory framework of their worldview.

              Non-Credenti, regarding evolution, if you or Dawkins did (some bright and shining day in the future) come up with “some other crane” or “some other natural process” to explain how life emerged from non-living matter, what would this achieve? Please recall that, as I pointed out to another reader (Skl), the following two statements commit the same category error because they confuse different levels of causation:

              “Life was not created by God, but rather by natural processes.”

              “Cars are not created by people, but rather by manufacturing processes.”

              As the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle pointed out, there are different levels of causation. God and human agency are proposed efficient causes, whereas evolution and manufacturing processes are proposed formal causes (using the Aristotelean model).

              You can use the natural-mechanisms-of-the-gaps approach by suggesting that natural mechanisms which have yet to be discovered will someday explain the origin of life. However, what does this achieve as long as you have not cited some ultimate cause for the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” (that Einstein marveled at)?

              You have backed yourself into a corner because you have already said that natural laws are descriptive rather than prescriptive. Therefore, you cannot cite natural laws as the source of the “high degree of ordering of the objective world.” What does this leave you with? Nothing really.

              Further, you have failed to respond to what I pointed out about the COMPLETE INABILITY of natural laws to explain the information contained in the language of life (DNA). Please recall my following citation of Nancy Pearcey from her book Total Truth:

              “…in principle, laws of nature do not give rise to information. Why not? Because laws describe events that are regular, repeatable, and predictable. If you drop a pencil, it will fall. If you put paper into a flame, it will burn. If you mix salt in water, it will dissolve. That’s why the scientific method insists that experiments must be repeatable: Whenever you reproduce the same conditions, you should get the same results, or something is wrong with your experiment. The goal of science is to reduce those regular patterns to mathematical formulas. By contrast, the sequence of letters in a message is irregular and non repeating, which means it cannot be the result of any law-like process.”

              “To illustrate the point, let’s invoke our imaginary Scrabble game… but this time when you organize the letters, you decide to follow a certain formula or rule (an analogy to laws of nature). For example, the formula might require that every time you have a D, it is followed by an E. And every time you have an E, it’s followed by a S, then an I, then a G, and an N. The result would be that every time you started with D, you would get DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN, over and over again. Obviously, if the letters in a real alphabet followed rules like that, you would be limited to spelling only a few words—and you could not convey very much information. The reason a real alphabet works so well is precisely that the letters do not follow rules or formulas or laws. If you know that a word begins with a T, you cannot predict what the next letter will be. With some minor exceptions (in English, q is always fol-lowed by u ), the letters can be combined and recombined in a vast number of different arrangements to form words and sentences.”

              Non-Credenti, I am really not interested in panspermia because it does NOTHING to explain the origin of life from non-living matter. Rather, it just discusses the hypothesis that life came from space. Of what relevance is it whether life came from space or not? What we are looking for is an explanation for the origin of life.

              Therefore, panspermia is a tangential issue.

          • Non Credenti says:

            “THE COUNTER IS NOW ON TWO (2) for the question of what is the source of the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” that Einstein marveled at. READERS PLEASE TAKE NOTE BECAUSE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE!!” (All caps and multiple punctuation marks yours)

            Yes, is it instructive. I posted something that I wrote a number of days ago, before you started your most recent silly little counter, and told you that it was older material that I couldn’t post because of problems with your web site. .
            Your reaction is to throw another temper tantrum, and increment your silly little counter.
            .
            Well, I’m not answering it this time, either, so now your silly little counter is up to THREE (3)!!!!11!!!!!wtfbbq!!!!!

        • Non Credenti says:

          YOUR SUPERDUPER IMPORTANT QUESTION ABOUT THE MIND BEHIND THE “SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION” IN DNA:
          .
          You say: “DNA utilizes symbolic representation, and symbolic representation is NECESSARILY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind.” This is wrong. DNA is simply a molecule that reacts. DNA does not “utilize symbolic representation.” Humans use “Adinine,” “Guanine,” “Thymine,” and “Cytosine” as symbolic representations of the nucleotides in DNA. Humans use A, G, T and C as symbolic representations of the words Adinine, Guanine, Thymine, and Cytosine. Finally, and this is specifically your reference to “symbolic representation,” humans use three-letter combinations like AGT, CAG, etc., to represent the series of three nucleotides (which humans symbolically represent with the word “codon”) to which the letters refer. DNA does not use these “symbolic representations,” humans do.
          .
          Similarly, humans can assign symbols to rings and groups of rings in trees, but this doesn’t mean trees are communicating to us (or anyone else) in code—it simply means that humans, on the back end, will assign symbols to pretty much anything if it helps us keep data straight in our heads, or allow us to communicate it to other humans more efficiently.
          .
          As an example of “symbolic representation,” that humans use, consider:
          .
          C6H12O6 + 6(O2)  6(CO2) + 6(H2O)
          .
          Glucose (C6H12O6) and Oxygen (O2) molecules do not understand any type of symbolic representation, they simply react chemically with each other, and the reaction produces carbon dioxide, water, and energy (not shown in the “symbolic representation”). They simply react the way they do because of how the outer shells of atoms react with each other. Surely you’re not claiming that a simple sugar molecule and Oxygen both contain instructions within their molecules that they refer to when deciding how to react together, are you? Surely you realize that when we write out the formula C6H12O6 + 6(O2) -> 6(CO2) + 6(H2O) it is we who are applying the code—we who are ‘assigning symbols to symbols’ (which is basically what a code is) to more easily characterize the natural chemical reactions we observe.
          .
          If we’re going to use “code” in this general and vague way, it means nothing more than “information about specific causal relationships,” and applies to every chemical reaction in the Universe. This, when it comes into contact with that, will do such-and-such.
          .
          There are key differences in the way “code” is used in different circumstances and, as usual, the apologetic argument depends on switching meanings mid-sentence without notice. A key facet of human-made codes is that they are arbitrary. We can use any symbol we like to represent something, as long as everyone involved agrees what the symbol means. For example, in Morse Code, A = dot-dash, and N = dash-dot. if you and I were communicating via Morse Code we could agree to switch those two letters (so that A = dash-dot and N = dot-dash) and our code would still work. The key is that both parties involved in the communication must agree on the code being used, but other than that, any symbol can refer to any other symbol. The DNA code is not arbitrary, it does not rely on agreement of sentient beings. It’s a chemical process; there is no choice in the matter.
          .
          You also say, “Since information is always the product of a conscious and intelligent mind, mindless material processes cannot even in principle explain the origin of life.” Information is all around us in the natural world. Sand dunes provide information of wind patterns. Tree rings yield information about the age of a tree and atmospheric conditions over time. Light from distant stars informs us of their chemical composition, mass, and velocity. Surely you’re not saying sand dunes, trees, and stars are trying to convey information to us, so it is not correct to say information is the “product” of intelligent minds. Rather, a “conscious and intelligent mind” is necessary to identify information, not to create it.
          .
          It’s clear from the way you often use the terms “code,” “language,” and “information” interchangeably (including another quote-mine of Dawkins in which he talks about code and you apply it to language) that you think they’re the same, but they aren’t. By the way, symbols in DNA are known as codons in the language of English, not the “language of biology.”
          .
          So at long last I can answer your question: “WHAT CONSCIOUS AND INTELLIGENT MIND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION PRESENT IN DNA?!?!” (all caps and mixed punctuation yours). The answer: Humans. Human minds have arbitrarily assigned the words “Adinine,” “Guanine,” “Thymine,” and “Cytosine” to represent the nucleotides that make up DNA. Further, Humans have (somewhat arbitrarily) assigned the letters, A, G, T, and C to represent those base nucleotides. They could have just as easily used the third letter of each word and come up with I, A, Y, and T to represent them, and DNA would be none the wiser.

          • Scott Youngren says:

            NC: You say: “DNA utilizes symbolic representation, and symbolic representation is NECESSARILY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind.” This is wrong. DNA is simply a molecule that reacts. DNA does not “utilize symbolic representation.”

            Non Credenti, you are completely at odds with modern science on this one. I am SHOCKED at much of the stuff that winds up on atheist forums.

            Please recall my above citation of the Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold from The Way of the Cell. The simplest living thing includes, “artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval…”

            The world’s most famous atheist, Dawkins concedes this point in his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life:

            “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

            Elsewhere, 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.”

            NC: Glucose (C6H12O6) and Oxygen (O2) molecules do not understand any type of symbolic representation, they simply react chemically with each other, and the reaction produces carbon dioxide, water, and energy (not shown in the “symbolic representation”). They simply react the way they do because of how the outer shells of atoms react with each other.

            .

            No, this is completely wrong and completely at odds with modern science. Again, I am SHOCKED at the misinformation that gets onto atheist forums.

            Renowned physicist Paul Davies makes clear the distinction between the medium (the physical aspect of the organism) and the message (the informational aspect of the organism), with regard to the origin of life, in The Fifth Miracle:

            “The laws of physics, which determine what atoms react with what, and how, are algorithmically very simple; they themselves contain relatively little information. Consequently they cannot on their own be responsible for creating informational macromolecules [such as even the most simple organism]. Contrary to the oft-repeated claim, then, life cannot be ‘written into’ the laws of physics…Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis [or life emerging through unintelligent processes] is clear. Since the heady success of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is the classic case of confusing the medium with the message.”

            Elsewhere, Davies writes:

            “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.”

            Non Credenti, when you suggest that “glucose and oxygen do not understand any type of symbolic representation,” you are confusing the medium with the message (in the above words of the physicist Paul Davies). Glucose and oxygen are physical aspects of the organism (the medium) and the code or language in DNA is the message.

            As Davies alludes to above, chemical structures (which are subject to the “algorithmically very simple” laws of physics) do not have enough information content to produce a DNA sequence. The former Manhattan Project physicist, and leading information scientist, Hubert Yockey, writes in the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

            “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

            Further, there are chemical bonds between the sugars and the phosphates, between the sugars and the bases. BUT, there are NO chemical bonds between the individual nucleotide bases. This means that you cannot invoke chemistry to explain DNA sequencing!! Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, said:

            “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

        • Non Credenti says:

          How can you say “good job explaining it” then with your very next question show that you still don’t understand it at all? Yes the earth experiences a net increase in entropy, but that doesn’t get you where you’re trying to go. The entire point of your article is that the increasing order of organic molecules into the first living things is made impossible by 2LOT (now you’re calling it entropy–bravo) but you’re missing the very basic fact that parts of systems experience decreased entropy while other parts, and the system as a whole, experience an increase in entropy. I broke that part out for you in the conclusion so you wouldn’t miss it, and you missed it anyway. It doesn’t matter that entropy increases in the sun-earth system, because entropy decreases in pockets of that system. You are trying to claim that 2LOT forces all (sub)-systems to increase in entropy, but that simply isn’t true. Once you face that fact, you have no article.
          .
          You complain that “quibbling about the specifics” of 2LOT is just an attempt to distract attention from “the inadequacy of [my] arguments.” Pointing out that you have a basic misunderstanding of terms is not quibbling about the specifics; it’s showing that you are not qualified to pontificate on the subject. You are making a very bold statement–that 2LOT is an “insurmountable” problem for abiogenesis—but it’s based on a lack of comprehension of one very simple concept where entropy and 2LOT are concerned. (Besides, my argument is that you don’t understand 2LOT, so pointing out basic things you get wrong is very adequate to make my point.)
          .
          Next you want to know if the origin of life from non-living matter is the result of an energy exchange. Energy would be necessary (though it doesn’t have to be from the sun), but a number of other things would need to be in place, as well, such as raw materials, a means of replication via self- or mutual-catalysis, etc…There is no single thing that we would say is “the cause.”
          .
          Energy is necessary, but not sufficient. As far as I can tell, this answers the rest of your questions, which are all variations on the same theme, “how can energy transfer explain…?” It can’t, by itself. More is needed. Scientists do not say energy is all that’s needed, just that it’s one of the things necessary. This should answer your questions about decomposing animals, but if not, let me know and I’ll go into a little more detail.

          • Scott Youngren says:

            Non Credenti,

            Yes, entropy decreases in parts of the sun-earth system. But this is completely and utterly irrelevant. Such use of irrelevant tangential discussions is what I am referring to when I say that you are trying to use diversionary tactics (or “red-herring” arguments) to conceal the logical inadequacy of your stance.

            http://www.realclearscience.com/lists/10_greatest_ideas_in_the_history_of_science/entropy_universe_tends_toward_disorder.html?state=stop

            As the above Real Clear Science article puts it, “Overall, the entropy of the universe always increases.” Please recall that the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, but that the first life appeared on earth only about 3.5 billion years ago.



            I recommend that you watch at least the first couple minutes of the above video.

            As the narrator puts it, “The universe tends towards disorder. …There is only one way, or at best a few ways for things to be arranged in an organized way. But there are nearly infinite other ways for those same things to be arranged. Simple rules of probability dictate that it is much more likely for stuff to be in one of the many disorganized states.”

            As this video further explains, the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that “any spontaneous process increases the disorder of the universe. Processes that don’t increase the disorder of the universe require work to be done in opposition to the disorder, and, in fact, are often impossible to achieve. The act of putting order into one system requires that other systems become disordered.”

            So my question is this: What was it that performed the “work” necessary to go from a universe in which there was no life (just various arrangements of inorganic elements) 13.8 billions years ago, to a universe in which there IS life, 3.5 billion years ago? When constructing your answer, please consider the following description of the simplest living thing (the single cell), 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.”

            In order for the decrease in entropy in parts of the sun-earth system (which you refer to) to be of any relevance whatsoever, it would have to be the case that the order described above by Franklin M. Harold existed in the sun and was transferred to earth. Is this what you are arguing? Please clarify.

          • Non Credenti says:

            You ask if ”… the order [needed to produce living things] existed in the sun and was transferred to earth. Is this what you are arguing?” The answer depends on how you define work. Technically, work is ‘the activity of a force acting over a distance’ and energy is ‘the capacity to do work.’ But work is measured in units of energy, and the rate of using energy is the same as the rate of doing work, so we often use the terms somewhat interchangeably. So recognizing that the two terms are intertwined, we can say yes, the ability for more work on earth usually comes from the sun’s energy. Of course that isn’t absolute. For example, if we consider the possibility that life got started around white smokers—volcanic plumes deep in the oceans—then that energy would have come primarily from the earth’s core, not the sun. On the other hand, if we consider other possibilities of life starting in the shallow seas, then yes, that energy would have come mostly from the sun.
            .
            But the most important idea of your post is, ironically, what you call, “completely and utterly irrelevant. You say, “Yes, entropy decreases in parts of the sun-earth system.” However, the crux of your article is one simple idea, expressed in the concluding sentence: “The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics performs the very opposite of the increase in order necessary to build life from non-living chemicals.” (Emphasis yours)
            .
            These sentences contradict each other. You start this response with the admission that the whole point of your 2LOT article is completely wrong! 2LOT could only be an “insurmountable” problem if it dictated that every single part of a system must always increase in entropy. Yet you’ve conceded that this isn’t the case at all, that “yes, entropy decreases in parts of the sun-earth system.”

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Non-Credenti,

              No, there is no contradiction. Whether or not entropy can decrease in one part of the system because order is transferred from another part of the system is completely irrelevant. As the below Real Clear Science article mentions, “Overall, the entropy of the universe always increases.”

              http://www.realclearscience.com/lists/10_greatest_ideas_in_the_history_of_science/entropy_universe_tends_toward_disorder.html?state=stop

              You cited the example of decreasing the entropy of water by increasing the entropy of ice. Is this how life on earth emerged? By a similar transfer of entropy between the earth and the sun?

              PLEASE EXPLAIN SPECIFICALLY WHAT INVALIDATES MY OVERALL POINT THAT LIFE COULD NOT HAVE EMERGED FROM NON-LIVE RANDOMLY BECAUSE THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS ALWAYS CAUSES AN OVERALL INCREASE IN ENTROPY!!

              You say that the Second Law of Thermodynamics does not apply to an open system, but you strangely overlook the fact that entropy (disorder) always increases overall in the system as a whole. Once again, as the Real Clear Science article that I linked to puts it, “Overall, the entropy of the universe always increases.”

              So for an entropy transfer to explain the origin of life from non-living matter, the order necessary for life must have existed somewhere in the sun-earth system from the start. Is this what you are arguing? Please clarify so that I understand your stance.

              You write, “Energy is necessary, but not sufficient. As far as I can tell, this answers the rest of your questions, which are all variations on the same theme, ‘how can energy transfer explain…?’ It can’t, by itself. More is needed. Scientists do not say energy is all that’s needed, just that it’s one of the things necessary. This should answer your questions about decomposing animals, but if not, let me know and I’ll go into a little more detail.”

              OK, then please explain what caused life to emerge from non-life. You seem to think that you can just overlook this glaring explanatory gap and yet maintain a pretense of having a logically coherent stance.

              In a previous comment, I asked you to explain what is the source of the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” that Albert Einstein marveled and that he referred to as a “miracle which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”

              THE COUNTER IS ON TWO (2) FOR THE QUESTION OF WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THIS “HIGH DEGREE OF ORDERING OF THE OBJECTIVE WORLD” THAT EINSTEIN MARVELED AT AND WHICH HE REFERRED TO AS A “MIRACLE WHICH IS CONSTANTLY REINFORCED AS OUR KNOWLEDGE EXPANDS.”

              READERS PLEASE NOTE BECAUSE THIS IS INSTRUCTIVE: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL AN ATHEIST PROVIDE A COHERENT ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE “HIGH DEGREE OF ORDERING OF THE OBJECTIVE WORLD” THAT EINSTEIN MARVELED AT. ATHEISTS MUST AVOID AND DEFLECT FROM THIS QUESTION BECAUSE THEY CANNOT FURNISH A COHERENT ANSWER!

              A LOGICALLY COHERENT EXPLANATORY FRAMEWORK MUST PROVIDE AN EXPLANATION FOR THIS ORDER!

              Non-Credenti, I have to note that you have backed yourself into a corner partly because you have declared that natural laws are descriptive and not prescriptive.

    • Grace says:

      Susan, these are riddles, not arguments. So the question is how do you know that God didn’t do it? Can you prove that God didn’t do it? Not many people claim agnosticism. When asked the questions above, many atheists will not say, “I don’t know”, but they will say “it’s just that way” or something like that. Then they have the job of explaining how everything is “just so”. For example, I’ve asked atheists if truth has inherent value, and they all said yes. But then they failed to explain and give proof that truth has inherent value without God. So most people will hold a positive belief about things; they just don’t have the proof to back up their beliefs, and yet they demand proof from us (which we have). Double standard? I think so. Also, to deny God’s existence, you would have to also prove that position. If your standard for beliefs is the same that you use to deny God’s existence, are you able to prove your own beliefs about the world? Or are your beliefs based on faith?

  2. Mike de Fleuriot says:

    Of course once you have shown beyond any doubt that gods can exist in this reality, you still are required to show that your particular god, ie Allah or Lord Krishna is the correct god. If you can not do this, then you can not use the holy texts that is supposed to be the word of these gods as a guide to human behaviour. Sure, you can cheat and use faith and circular reasoning to get around this problem, but we all know that this is an invalid argument.

    • Please read my essay titled “So Whose God Is Best?” Click on the preceding link, or go to the articles section.

      Also, I must point out that it is really not a matter of whose God is the correct God. Rather, it is a matter of whose CONCEPT of God is the most accurate concept of God. This is because human minds cannot grasp God in his completeness. We must rely on concepts that serve as human representations of God. And even the BEST human concept of God (which I consider to be the God of the Bible) is enormously inadequate because human concepts can do so little to capture the essence and entirety of an infinite being.

      • Mike de Fleuriot says:

        Then you are basing your belief system, which you consider to be the most important thing in your life, on no evidence at all. You are just believing in this god, because it makes you feel good. Would you purchase a house on the same amount of faith, say for example purchasing a house from me, on faith or because it makes you feel good to purchase it. Religious belief is illogical and should be removed from human decisions.

        I have no need to read your book to realise this about religion.

        • Except that your assertion that I have “no evidence at all” is an absurd, yet typically atheist assertion that ignores that vast amount of evidence.

          I will do the same thing with you that I do with every other atheist that asserts that there is “no evidence”: I will direct you to the evidence and then ask you to produce a fact-based, logically constructed, point-by-point rebuttal to the evidence that I supply.

          To begin, please reply to the evidence presented in my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance our world is the result of chance?) When you are done, you can reply to the evidence presented in my essay titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God.

          My experience debating with atheists online suggests that you will do one of the following things in order to avoid producing a fact based, logically constructed, point-by-point rebuttal to these first two essays (because you CAN’T produce such a rebuttal, because your stance is logically unsupportable):

          1) Ignore (in which case I will not hear from you again).
          2) Respond with angry rhetoric and forceful assertions while STILL failing to produce a logically constructed, fact-based rebuttal.
          3) Assert that the evidence presented is “not evidence” even though it clearly fits commonly accepted definitions of the term “evidence”.

          Can you deviate from the atheist norm at this website and actually CALMLY present a logical (as opposed to angry and emotional) reply? I doubt it. (Yes, that is a challenge).

          You say that “religious belief is illogical” while simultaneously failing to realize that atheism is itself a religious belief system. No, it is not a religion that acknowledges God or involves going to church, etc… But atheism clearly fits many definitions of “religion.”

          And speaking of illogical, I mention in my essay titled Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God how prominent atheists have endorsed hypotheses for the origin of life that include:

          1) Life on Earth can be explained by the fact that it was brought here by aliens from outer space (Richard Dawkins and Francis Crick endorse this one).
          2) Life on Earth can be explained by the fact that it came here from space without the help of aliens. (Endorsed by prominent atheists such as Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickaramsinghe)
          3) Life on Earth can be explained by a piggyback ride on crystals. (The prominent atheist biologist Michael Ruse endorses this one).

          Would you like to endorse any of these hypotheses? Would you like to present a novel hypothesis for the origin of life? We would love to hear.

          • Mike de Fleuriot says:

            I do not know if the universe was created or always existed. But I do know that none of your evidence that you try and produce suggests that it was. Kalam fails because of infinite regression, ID fails from similar reasons. But where do you get your religion from, let me tell you. You get it from your holy books, from which you are totally unable to prove that a god authored them. If you can not show that your holy books are from your gods, then you can not use them to prove your gods existence. Why do you say that everything needs a creator? You would whine, because everything must have a creator, how sure are you that this is true. Have you seen everything and it’s creator? Your god is a thing, so it would need a creator as well. And if your god is eternal, why not just remove that step and say the universe is eternal?

            Both I noticed as well, you ducked my point about not purchasing houses on faith. Well, that is to be expect, being a theist, I suppose.

            • The Kalam cosmological argument doesn’t fail because of infinite regression and neither does Intelligent Design because infinite regression is impossible by the laws of mathematics, as I demonstrate in my post titled Isn’t the Universe Eternal? Click on the preceding link to read.

              But even without reading the preceding post, it is easy to illustrate why infinite regression is impossible. Everything with a beginning requires a cause. This is the law of causation, without which, science would be impossible. A non-existent thing can do nothing (zero) to cause itself. And an infinitely long string of zeros still adds up to zero. Therefore, there must be a cause that exists necessarily and outside of time, without a cause because it is eternal (this is known as a non-contingent cause).

              God does not require a creator because God exists outside of time. Time began with the Big Bang (as did matter and energy)…this is not in dispute by physicists. So whatever is the cause of the universe (and the universe must have a cause because it very clearly did have a beginning) must exist outside of time.

              Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell summary 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.”

              Please read my essay titled God is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism in order to explore this topic in more detail. Click on the preceding link.

              But the concept of an eternal universe is not only impossible by the laws of mathematics, it has also been proven wrong by Einstein’s General Relativity and something known as the BVG theorem. I also discuss this in my “short take” titled Isn’t the Universe Eternal?

              You want me to reply to your point about not purchasing houses on faith? I’d love to: Atheism is much more of a faith-based belief system than theism.

              As I discuss in my essay titled Riddles for Atheists, atheism is a faith-based belief system constructed of many just-so leaps of faith.

              For example, how does atheism answer the following questions?

              1) How is it that matter so consistently follows natural laws? (Such as the laws of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, etc.). The only answer that atheism can provide is various versions of “it just does.”

              2) Why is the universe comprehensible? Albert Einstein wrote: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way… the kind of order created by Newton’s theory or gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”

              If the world as we know it is simply the result of random interaction of mindless matter, how did the “high degree of ordering of the objective world” come to pass such that conscious minds (that are able to comprehend) emerged? What is the source of this ordering? Atheism can only answer that this ordering just is.

              Please feel free to supply your answers to any of the riddles in the Riddles for Atheists post in the short takes section. Can you provide any answers that do not involve just-so leaps of faith?

          • Grace says:

            I didn’t see a reply button to Mike, but this is in reply to him. When you state that you are not sure if the universe was created or always existed, but then argue that the KCA fails because of infinite regression, you are contradicting yourself. Which is it? Either you know or you don’t know. I am surprised that you say we don’t have any evidence, and I am assuming that you want 100% beyond a shadow of doubt proof from us, but I bet you don’t apply the same standard to your views. So you want to try to use the multiverse as a rebuttal against the KCA. Did you know that there is _absolutely_NO EVIDENCE_ for the multiverse? None. Nada. We, however, do have evidence. I am sure you are familiar with cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin’s work. If you want to know what Alexander Vilenkin currently believes as of Jan. 11, 2012, his verdict is this: “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” Please read this link to see how he came to the conclusion that the other theories just would not work. http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/?s=multiverse.

            From reading the rest of your comments, I see that you demand 100% proof from us for all our beliefs, and you are not able to provide 100% proof for your own views (for example the multliverse). It’s a double standard. You want 100% proof that the Bible was authored from God. That would entail all of us actually BEING THERE to witness how the Bible came about, which is a silly demand. Why should God need a creator? Premise 1 of the KCA is “Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.” God has no beginning; He is eternal, so he does not need a creator. If you want us to prove it according to your standard of proof, we would actually have to be there, but the same goes for saying that we are wrong. You would have to use the same proof (100%) to show that we were wrong. That is why jurors are told to look at the evidence and see if cases were made “beyond REASONABLE (not 100%) doubt”.

            • Mike de Fleuriot says:

              How do you KNOW that the gods have no beginning, and that they are eternal? You do not, you only have faith and or a wish that this is so. Why not have the universe or if you want to get into fantasy, the multi-verse, as being eternal. The interesting thing about having the universe being eternal, is that we can actually show to everyone that it actually exists, unlike your gods which require faith for their existence.

              And of course, this still leave your biggest problem ahead for you, in showing without faith or circular reasoning that the gods you believe in are the gods that actually did the creation of the universe.

              • No, there are very solid logical reasons for believing that God has no beginning. I detail these reasons in my post titled God is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism. Click on the preceding link to read.

                Below are a couple excerpts from that essay:

                Johns Hopkins University physicist Richard Conn Henry writes:

                “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.”]

                Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell explanation of why the naturalist/materialist worldview is no longer scientifically or philosophically supportable in their book The New Story of Science, that further elucidates Conn’s above points:

                “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.”

          • Grace says:

            Yes, we all have faith, don’t we? When you wake in the morning, you expect the sun to rise. You have faith in what the experts tell you is true (and actually the sun doesn’t really rise so that is a bad analogy! Let me try again). You weren’t there to see George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River, were you? So how do you KNOW it happened? You have trust (or have faith which is defined as “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something”) regarding what you read in the history books. At the same token, we look at the archaeological evidence-thousands of manuscripts found, and we look at the eyewitness reports (similar to eyewitness accounts of crossing the Delaware). These eyewitnesses saw Jesus perform miracles and were convinced that He was who he claimed to be-God who was omnipotent and could forgive sins, and it also confirmed that the Scriptures were true. Based on the prophecies being fulfilled, we take the other parts of the Scriptures to be true, too, when the Bible claims that God is eternal. So, belief in God is more than just “Well, the Bible tells me so.” It’s the same process by which you believe of events that happened in the past. You weren’t there to witness them, but you trust the witnesses that were there and wrote down what they saw. You have faith when you believe that the events occurred.

            When you say “Why not have the universe or if you want to get into fantasy, the multi-verse, as being eternal. The interesting thing about having the universe being eternal, is that we can actually show to everyone that it actually exists, unlike your gods which require faith for their existence”, I’m not sure if you read the link which shows that Vilkenkin’s verdict is: the universe is not eternal. It seems like you are wishing for the universe to be eternal despite the evidence. Of course the universe exists, but there is _absolutely_ NO EVIDENCE_ that the universe is eternal. I’m not saying it’s not possible. I’m just saying that there is absolutely no evidence, so you would be taking a HUGE leap of faith believing in something that has absolutely NO EVIDENCE! You could take what the scholars say and have faith like we do, but the scholars say the same thing-there is _no_evidence_ that the universe is eternal.

            • Mike de Fleuriot says:

              It does not matter, for me at least, whether or not the universe is eternal, the simple fact that it currently exists as evidenced is enough to suggest to me that it is real. Do you theists have anything like the evidence of the universe, in quality or quantity, to show that your gods exist. No you do not, that is why you have to make up the difference with faith and wishful thinking. I do not know how the universe got started, if it got started, nor how it will end, if it will end and neither do you. Yet, you claim via your human authored religions to know the minds and wills of your gods. That to be is the height of delusion and arrogance. You KNOW what GOD did and what HE wants me to do.
              Really?

          • Grace says:

            “It does not matter, for me at least, whether or not the universe is eternal, the simple fact that it currently exists as evidenced is enough to suggest to me that it is real.” Mike, _no_one_ is disputing that the universe is not real; that is a very odd statement to make. Christians believe the universe is real, too. I believe what you are suggesting is that the universe is a brute fact, but do you have any evidence that it is? What is your evidence that the universe is a brute fact? I’m sure Scott has already gone over this point. If you don’t have any evidence for your beliefs about the universe, then how can you rule God out? From the link I had provided, we could rule out all other theories regarding the origin of the universe based upon the evidence, which would in turn make the Kalam Cosmological Argument true, and God is inferred.

            • Mike de Fleuriot says:

              As you said “If you don’t have any evidence for your beliefs about the universe, then how can you rule God out? ” I would use the same tools that you use for Krishna , goblins and unicorns, to rule out the exists of your God.
              Once you realise why you discount elves and fairies, you will know why I discount gods. But you will have to understand that like you, I find no evidence at all for the elder gods such Zeus and Thor, because the attributes of gods are generally logically conflicting, in other words, the problem of the Omni’s (which most theists either ignore or water down to suit their palette) But I tire of this, so I will shoot my last shot with a copypasta from my arguments file.
              God: Omnipotence vs. Evil
              Here is a formal statement of the contradiction between omnipotence and the existence of evil:

              1. God is omnipotent. (Premise)
              2. God is perfectly good. (Premise)
              3. A good being always eliminates evil as far as it can. (Premise)
              4. There is no limit to what an omnipotent being can do. (Premise)
              5. An omnipotent being can eliminate evil completely. (From 4)
              6. A good omnipotent thing will eliminate evil completely. (From 3 – 5)
              7. The existence of a good omnipotent being is inconsistent with the existence of evil. (From 6)
              8. Therefore, the existence of God is inconsistent with the existence of evil. (From 7 – 9)

              This argument demonstrates that it isn’t enough to simply say that omnipotence and the existence of evil are contradictions. We need to include a number of additional premises: that good and evil are opposed to each other, that good eliminates evil whenever possible, and that omnipotence doesn’t allow for any limits.

              Immorality of the Biblical God
              Can God be both Moral and Immoral?

              1. God is morally perfect (premise)
              2. Any act that God condones, commands, or causes is morally permissible or mandated (from 1)
              3. Any act that God forbids is morally impermissible (from 1)
              4. The Bible accurately reveals many acts condoned, commanded, or caused by God
              5. In the Bible there are acts which God forbids but which God also condones, commands, or causes
              6. It is incoherent for a morally perfect being to condone, command, or cause immoral acts
              7. The God of the Bible is incoherent and, therefore, cannot exist.

              The Universe Does Not Require Gods

              Too Many Gods, Too Many Religions: All Can’t Be True, But All Can Be False

              One problem may be that so much religious diversity lies in the past rather than the present. Religions of the distant past, however, tend to be labelled “mythology” rather than religion and are thus dismissed

              Gods’ Contradictory Characteristics: Making God Impossible to Exist

              To put it simply, not all of these characteristics can be true because one cancels out the other out or a combination of two (or more) leads to a logically impossible situation. When this happens, the definition is no longer coherent or understandable.

              If we are being given arguments and evidence we wouldn’t accept as justification to buy a house or a used car, we definitely shouldn’t accept it as justification for adopting a religion.

              Religion & Religious Doctrines are Self-Contradictory: How Can They All Be True?

              The most obvious and significant source of self-contradictions in a religion lies within the alleged characteristics of a religion’s god. This is not, however, the only ground on which contradictions can be found. Religions are complex, detailed belief systems with a lot of different elements swirling about them. Given this, the existence of contradictions and related problems not only shouldn’t be surprising, but should in fact be expected.

              There’s just one problem: religions aren’t supposed to be human-made belief systems with flaws like this, however advantageous they may be from a pragmatic standpoint. Religions are usually supposed to have been created by gods, at least on some level, and this greatly reduces the scope for acceptable errors. Gods, after all, aren’t normally considered fallible in any way. If it is perfect, then any religion constructed around this god and by this god should also be perfect – even if a few minor errors in practice creep in through human adherents.

              Gods Are Too Similar to Believers: Gods Probably Created in the Image of Humans

              One of the oldest objections to popular religious beliefs and popular forms of theism is something that should be obvious, but which is too often ignored: the gods people believe in look remarkably and disturbingly like the theists who are promoting their beliefs. Sometimes these similarities have been physical in nature, but more often they are matters of philosophy, temperament, and/or attitude. Generous people believe in a generous god, harsh people believe in a harsh god, tolerant people believe in a tolerant god, and so forth.

              If theists really are trying to conform their personalities, attitudes, and behaviours to what they sincerely believe their god wants, then not all theists can be right. This means that most theists are clearly wrong because either their god doesn’t really exist or, if it does, then it doesn’t exist in the way they imagine and it doesn’t want what they imagine.

              Gods & Theists Behave Immorally: How Can Moral Gods Behave Immorally?

              While these claims may be intuitively appealing to many religious theists, just how well-founded is the belief? One means for testing it is to look at the religions themselves. Are their gods moral? Are highly-regarded believers from the past or religious figures in scriptures moral? Are believers today especially moral? The answer to all of this is overwhelmingly negative, and this creates a reason to doubt both the claims about religion being necessary for morality as well as the fundamental truth claims made on behalf of the religion generally and theistic claims in particular.

              One example would be all the killings which the Jewish god orders throughout the Old Testament – pretty standard stuff for that time period, but not exactly appropriate for a perfectly good and just deity. Another example would be the very principle of salvation behind Christianity: people who deserve some sort of punishment are let off the hook by punishing a completely innocent individual, and if people don’t accept this then they are destined for an eternity of torment regardless of the scope or seriousness of their misdeeds. Neither side of that equation is the least bit moral.

              Faith is Unreliable & Unreasonable: Faith is Not a Source of Knowledge

              There are numerous problems with trying to justify any belief, philosophy, or religion on faith. The most significant may be the fact that there is no good reason for only allowing a single religious group to use it. If one person can offer it as a defence of a religious tradition, why can’t a second person use it to defend an entirely different and incompatible religious tradition? Why can’t a third person use it to defend an incompatible, secular philosophy?

              Life is Material, not Supernatural: We Are Material, Natural Beings

              Nearly every religion posits some sort of hidden, immaterial realm which exists behind the visible, physical, and material realm in which we live. Often we are supposed to be partaking in this immaterial realm because who we “really” are is defined by an immaterial, immortal soul. This immaterial realm is also treated as being higher and more important than the material one because it’s the realm in which gods live and which we are destined to inhabit after our physical bodies die.

              However important these beliefs may be to religious theists, there isn’t any solid, verifiable evidence that even suggests any of it is true. On the contrary, everything we do know and everything we continue learn points to the conclusion that all of those claims are completely false, and instead that the following are true: life is material and natural, we don’t have anything like an immaterial or immoral soul, and an immaterial, disembodied “mind” like gods are supposed to have just isn’t possible. When all available evidence points away from a particular position, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s false, but it is unreasonable to believe it.

              No Reason to Believe in Gods: Without Good Reasons, Belief is Impossible

              Once a person gets beyond the bias in favour of belief, though, they may realise something critical: the burden of support lies with those claiming that belief is rational and/or necessary. Believers fail to meet this burden and thus fail to provide good reasons to accept their claims. As a consequence, those who don’t already believe and/or who are not biased in favour of belief aren’t given a reason to start. Those who are not biased in favour of some particular religion or some particular god aren’t given a reason for favouritism and don’t have a reason to pick just one of them for belief, excluding all others.

              Evil Conflicts with the Existence of God: God Doesn’t Care or God Doesn’t Exist

              The earliest formulation of the Argument from Evil comes from the Greek philosopher Epicurus, writing in the early 3rd century BCE:

              Either God wants to abolish evil and cannot,
              or he can but does not want to,
              or he cannot and does not want to,
              or lastly he can and wants to.

              If he wants to remove evil, and cannot,
              he is not omnipotent;
              If he can, but does not want to,
              he is not benevolent;
              If he neither can nor wants to,
              he is neither omnipotent nor benevolent;
              But if God can abolish evil and wants to,
              how does evil exist?

              Scientifically, God Does Not Exist: Science Allows us to Say God Does Not Exist

              this alleged entity has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe any thing or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which its presence is either required, productive, or useful.”

              To a believer, I say God does not exist.
              He replies that I must define God before I can claim that.
              I define God as white male with white robe on a cloud, and looking around, I do not find him. Poor definition and search for sure, but he now has the task of either accepting my definition and search results or providing another definition and showing me where this new definition of God can be found. Then I can evaluate his search results and determine if they are valid.

              Fair, not fair, reasonable or not ??

              • Mike:

                I wrote an essay about this topic titled If God is Good, Why Do Evil and Suffering Exist? This essay demonstrates why your argument falls apart. Glancing at your argument, I can see immediately that your premise #3 (“A good being always eliminates evil as far as it can”) is flawed, and I explain why in the essay. Please provide any rebuttal that you can (if you can).

                Also, I can’t help noticing how you reference evil in your comment. As an atheist, how do you explain the existence of evil? In other words, if the universe the product of nothing but mindless matter, how can there be such a thing as evil? By calling attention to the existence of evil in the world, you are making a value judgement. How can there be such a thing as values (good and evil) if the universe is the product of random interactions of mindless matter? How can mindless matter be either good or evil? Can you locate evil with a microscope? Can you isolate some evil in a test tube?

                Next, you write, “this alleged entity has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe any thing or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which its presence is either required, productive, or useful.”

                Here again, your habit of making assertions, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence provided, shows itself. Please provide specific, fact-based, logically constructed rebuttals to the points made in the essays where I demonstrate how God plays a role in scientific explanations. You can start with the following essays:

                1) What It All Boils Down To
                2) Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God

                Mike, in my debates with atheists, I have noticed that your habit is not unique among atheists. Many atheists I have debated seem to think that if they repeat something demonstrably false often enough and/or forcefully enough, it will become true. It is as if I could make the statement, “The ocean is made of maple syrup, not water” true by repeating it often enough or forcefully enough.

                You can continue to repeatedly/forcefully assert that there is no evidence for God, but as long as you simultaneously ignore the evidence presented in these essays when you make these assertions, you will not be convincing any reasonably logical third party observers.

                • Mike de Fleuriot says:

                  I do not hold with absolutes, in that there is a perfect good and a perfect evil. Human actions are graded in degrees, some action bring more benefit than other actions. This is the way real human existence works, we are willing to allow certain things to happen to a certain level, because they benefit us. Anything else will become totally unworkable in short order. I give you Leviticus as an example, you do not wear clothes of two types or stone folk who work on the Sabbath. So evil and good are not absolutes, but according to theists, they wish them to be, and they say that their gods are absolute as well. So why would an absolutely morally good god who is omnipotent allow absolute evil to be created…. Wait one darn second, an omni-benevolent god who created absolute evil, how does that work,
                  Sorry, religious belief is too stupid for me to take part in it.

          • Grace says:

            I only have time to look at your first argument now, so I’ll reply to that one. I don’t agree with Premise 3 and 7, so obviously I don’t agree with the conclusion. Let me explain why. Premise 3 is a naked/bare assertion, which is a logical fallacy. This is the atheist argument used to prove that God does not exist, so the burden of proof is for you to actually prove Premise 3 to be true. It isn’t enough for YOU to just say that “A good being _always_ eliminates evil as far as it can”. You are the one who is trying to show that it is logically impossible for both God and the evil in the world to exist, so the burden of proof lies on you to prove within the Christian worldview that God cannot have morally sufficient reasons for permitting the amount and kinds of evil that exist. The reason why you have to use the Christian worldview (basically the Bible) is because atheism cannot ground objective evil. So your first task is to prove that atheism does indeed ground objective evil before you can doing anything else.

            Now I’m only going to defend the God of the Bible-I am not defending any other God because there are actually evil gods that people believe in, so God has to be distinguished. We could add another premise that the God of the Bible is omnipotent, and then also add the phrase “God of the Bible” to the conclusion. Those are the ground rules that I will agree on since “God” has to be distinguished. And remember, for anyone to agree to a debate, they have to agree upon the ground rules first, and I find the argument lacking, which is why I included “God of the Bible”.

            Since this is the Logical POE, I personally don’t have to suggest a plausible or likely solution -all I have to do is suggest a possible one. Premise 3 is false because although God did not _create_ evil, God can use evil for a higher purpose. He may have a reason for allowing evil to stay, which is to accomplish a higher good. This goes to the Skeptical theism defense – we cannot know God’s _ultimate_ purpose in all this suffering (people equate suffering with evil, which is why I am using the word) except that it must be ultimately _for_ good in some way currently unknowable to us. This is true-it isn’t some ad hoc reasoning. In Isaiah 55:8-9 God declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Romans 8:28 states: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they are called.”

            Since I have shown Premise 3 to be false, that makes Premise 7 false, which makes the conclusion false. Remember that since atheism is unable to ground objective evil, you can only conduct an internal critique of evil within the Christian worldview. Your task is to actually prove within the Christian worldview that God cannot have morally sufficient reasons for permitting the amount and kinds of evil that exist. Can you do it?

          • Grace says:

            Your next argument “Immorality of the Biblical God: Can God be both Moral and Immoral?” is a misnomer because God cannot be immoral. I disagree with Premise 2. Any act that God condones, commands, or causes is morally permissible or mandated and Premise 3. Any act that God forbids is morally impermissible. Why? Because you are basically asserting that only absolute morality comes from God, when in reality, there are absolute and objective morals found in the Bible. You have hidden in those premises the word “always” or “all the time”. An absolute command would be “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind”, then the second commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There are no conditions on these commands. 1 Corinthians 6:12 reads “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.” That verse shows that every action can be considered good or bad, and some of God’s commands are conditional. If you think that the Bible only contains absolute morals, that would mean that when the Bible states “Thou shalt not kill”, then if you kill someone in self-defense, that would ALWAYS be immoral. We follow this in a court of law today. If someone kills someone, he is found guilty; if it is in self-defense, he is not guilty. If I stab you, that would be immoral. If I am a surgeon and need to stab you to get a tumor out, that would be moral. I am sure you have also heard that we are no longer under the Old Testament law. God issued those commands for a reason, for that place and time, and we believe that God gave those rules during that time so that Israel could be separated among all the other countries that practiced polytheism and child sacrifice to become a holy nation. Many verses in the Bible attest to this, such as Exodus 19:6 and Leviticus 20:24-26. We also believe that if God wants to impart justice and consequences for disobeying his commands, He is perfectly just to do so since it is He who has made us in the first place.

            Premise 6 is misleading, so I cannot accept that. It is actually false because any act can be considered moral or immoral based upon the circumstances. So Premises 2, 3, and 6 are false which makes the conclusion false, therefore God exists. I’ll tackle the rest of your arguments when I get the time.

          • Grace says:

            This one won’t take much time-Too Many Gods, Too Many Religions: All Can’t Be True, But All Can Be False

            “One problem may be that so much religious diversity lies in the past rather than the present. Religions of the distant past, however, tend to be labelled “mythology” rather than religion and are thus dismissed.”

            The burden of proof is on you to prove your proposition. Did you do it? Look at the word “tend”. That doesn’t show that all religions ARE mythology. And what are your sources for your answers? You need to cite your sources.

          • Grace says:

            Actually, this one is easy, too. Gods’ Contradictory Characteristics: Making God Impossible to Exist

            “To put it simply, not all of these characteristics can be true because one cancels out the other out or a combination of two (or more) leads to a logically impossible situation. When this happens, the definition is no longer coherent or understandable. If we are being given arguments and evidence we wouldn’t accept as justification to buy a house or a used car, we definitely shouldn’t accept it as justification for adopting a religion.”

            You actually haven’t proved God’s characteristics are contradictory. All you made is a general assertion. You need to provide which characteristics are contradictory so that we can debate them. Btw, we’ve already debated Good and omnipotent, so there’s no need to bring that one up. Please give us an argument that shows which specific characteristics are contradictory. The burden of proof is yours.

          • Grace says:

            Ok, this is a simple one, too-Religion & Religious Doctrines are Self-Contradictory: How Can They All Be True?

            You’re right-not all religions and all doctrines are true. I have no argument there. This proposition, however, does not prove that God does not exist.

          • Grace says:

            Mike, I’ll get to the rest of your propositions when I can, unless someone else beats it to me first. This is not evidence for any argument, but I thought atheists/skeptics might find this recent article interesting. Richard Dawkin’s prefers the label agnostic instead of atheist.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9102740/Richard-Dawkins-I-cant-be-sure-God-does-not-exist.html.

            I actually wish Richard Dawkins would explain how he personally came to the conclusion that he cannot disprove God’s existence 100%. Maybe he was convinced when Guth said that the origin of the universe is up for grabs, which in my opinion leaves the door wide open for God’s existence. At any rate, I find this a very honest answer. If one cannot rule out or disprove God’s existence, the label agnostic is appropriate. Maybe he’ll be like Albert Einstein who acknowledged a Creator God. But once one gets to that point, the next thing he or she should consider is this question: Is it plausible that there is a Heaven or Hell, and how does one attain that salvation if our souls are to exist for eternity? Just a thought. Gotta get back to watching the All-Star game :)

            • Mike de Fleuriot says:

              My major problem with your Christian theists, is that you can not show that your god of the Christian bible is the god of creation. Of course, I understand that you think you can do this, by using faith or circular reasoning, but we all know that is invalid.

              And if you can not show that the god of the bible is the creator god, then everything else about your religion is invalid. And that is just the start of your problems with the Christian religion.

              • Mike:

                Please respond to the points that I make in my essay titled Is There A God? (What is the chance our world is the result of chance?). I demonstrate how science is catching up to what the Bible has said about the origins of the universe all along. Please provide any rebuttal you may have and point out where I commit “circular reasoning.”

                When you are done, please respond to the arguments made by MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schreoder that I have linked to in my essay titled Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False? Schroeder clearly demonstrates that the biblical and scientific accounts of the origin of the universe are REMARKABLY consistent.

                Responding to the points made in these essays will demonstrate that you are capable of backing up your beliefs with more than just assertions. Making a statement such as “you cannot show that your God of the Christian bible is the God of creation,” while simultaneously ignoring the evidence that I present, strongly suggests that you are not able to present a rebuttal to the evidence presented.

                Please pay careful attention to the distinction between an assertion (such as “you cannot show that your God of the Christian bible….”) on one hand, and a logically constructed, fact-based rebuttal on the other hand. Can you produce a rebuttal instead of just assertions?

                • Mike de Fleuriot says:

                  You use the bible for your religious belief, as a basis. You have seen this image before which shows why use of the bible is circular.

                  http://blogforthelordjesuscurrentevents.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/break-the-cycle.jpg

                  If you do not use the bible, what else can you use to show that your christian god is the creator god?

                  • Mike,

                    I am going to officially start keeping track of the times that you ignore the evidence presented to you while simultaneously repeating your assertion that there is no evidence for God. Your presentation of this diagram represents the THIRD time that I have asked you to respond to the evidence presented in the following essays:

                    1) What It All Boils Down To
                    2) Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God

                    You assert that Christians believe in the God of the Bible because the Bible tells them so. But when I present you with evidence independent of the Bible, you ignore it. I have already mentioned the essay So Whose God Is Best and the videos by MIT physicist and biblical scholar Gerald Schroeder (in the essay Doesn’t Evolution Prove the Biblical Account of Creation to Be False) as evidence for the God of the Bible which is independent of the Bible.

                    Imagine the following interaction in a courtroom where a murder trial is taking place:

                    Prosecuting attorney: “The defendant was observed by several credible witnesses to have shot the victim.”
                    Defense lawyer: “There is no evidence that my client committed the murder!”
                    Prosecuting attorney: “The defendant’s fingerprints were found on the murder weapon.”
                    Defense lawyer: “There is no evidence that my client committed the murder!”
                    Prosecuting attorney: “The victim’s wallet was found to be in possession of the defendant.”
                    Defense lawyer: “There is no evidence that my client committed the murder!”

                    The above defense lawyer apparently thinks that he can convince a jury that his client is innocent merely by repeating “there is no evidence” while simultaneously ignoring the evidence presented to him. Or else he thinks that repeating “there is no evidence” often enough will make it true.

                    You are like the above defense lawyer.

          • Grace says:

            Mike,

            I’m sorry I didn’t answer the rest of your arguments against God’s existence, but I find them all the same. You are trying to prove with your propositions that God does not exist, so the burden of proof is on you. However, your premises work on nothing but assumptions. Did you prove your assertions to be true? No. Also, your argument from Epicurus IS the Logical POE! So I’m definitely not going to address that one again unless you have a rebuttal. Do you have ANY rebuttals regarding my rejection of some of the premises I listed in the Logical POE and Moral/Immoral God arguments? If you don’t, and haven’t proven my rebuttals to be wrong, then the logical conclusion for those 2 arguments is that a loving and moral God exists. You seem to just dismiss my criticism of your propositions/arguments, therefore dismissing the arguments (that you brought up) entirely, and try to find yet another argument to disprove God’s existence-one which Scott said he already addressed, but you seem to be ignoring that one, too. Why don’t we focus on your latest assertion and you respond to the evidence in Scott’s two essays? You are the one who, after all, brought it up.

            • Mike de Fleuriot says:

              Yesterday, I had a doorstep debate with a couple of simple JW’s and I came away from it with the understanding that theists are simple in their understanding of the universe. Even though they at times use science terms, they generally do not understand what those terms mean or imply. What you theists do not realise is that I have no need for gods, I am happy with who I am, and I consider my self to be a moral person and even more moral than some theists. Certainly my morality is better than the gods of the christian bibles, and you know the verses I can used to show this to be true, even though you will not admit this.

              It is up to you theists, to prove your claim that gods can exist in this reality, that they are in fact needed for this reality to be created and maintained, and finally that your particular god is the correct one. In the last 40 or so years, I have not seen any reasonable answer to any of these three questions.

              So I wish you well in your fearful worship of a blackmailing despot of you own mind. Remember you too can be free, all you have to do is admit to the voice of doubt in your mind, that gods do not exist.
              Mike

          • Grace says:

            Mike, that is interesting. I, too, had Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door recently. Unfortunately, they did not come back like they said they would to continue our discussion. That, however, really has nothing to do with our actual discussion. But your statements don’t make any sense. You tell us on one hand that you have no need for God, and yet on the other hand you want us to prove that God exists. Does that really make any sense? If you have no need for God, why would you still want us to prove that He exists? What’s the point? Is it because you are still searching for the truth? If you really want us to prove that God exists to you, why won’t you engage in rebutting our counterargument of the arguments that YOU brought forth or any of the arguments that Scott provided in his essays? There’s not much going on here. Are you really concerned about the truth or not? Because we are.

          • enoch jackson says:

            Just done reading your essays on your ”belief”of a God. But what is ironic to me is that you claimed evidence for a God. You have put forth no such construct at all in any of your essays.

            • Scott Youngren says:

              Enoch,

              Please pay attention to the crucial difference between an assertion (“you put forth no such construct”), on one hand, and a logically constructed, fact based rebuttal to the evidence which I present, on the other hand. By merely asserting that I do not present evidence, while simultaneously ignoring the evidence I present, you commit the logical fallacy of Argument by Assertion.

              There is no way around it: You cannot attempt to sub in an assertion in order to avoid providing a rebuttal.
              In regards to specific logical arguments for the existence of God, I present the introductory posts featured below. Please read and respond at your leisure, and try to limit your responses to logically constructed, fact-based rebuttals.

              In How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading and Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, I discuss the reasons why it is very clear that life is the product of an intelligence. Among these reasons is the fact that DNA is a language in the most literal sense (this is no metaphor). Information science tells us that languages can only be created by conscious agents…in part because symbolic representation is by necessity a mental construct. Even the world’s most famous atheist biologist (Richard Dawkins) admits that DNA is a language. In his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes:

              “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

              Elsewhere, 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.”

              It is likely that Dawkins understands that life was created by an intelligent agent, which is why he presents the theory that aliens brought life to Earth in their spaceship in an interview (click here to view). There are many other prominent atheist scientists who adopt the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life, in order to rectify what they know about science with their atheist beliefs. This would include Francis Crick (famous as the co-discoverer of DNA), the Cambridge University physicist/mathematician Fred Hoyle, the British chemist Leslie Orgel, etc., etc…

              To understand why modern physics leads to God, please read my posts God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism and There’s Nothing Random About Evolution.

              Again, try to limit your replies to cool-headed logic, and avoid unsupported assertions.

  3. Grace says:

    Mike, when people like you come over to sites like this and challenge us on what is true, your actions suggest that you believe that truth is a good thing. Since you do not seem like you will pursue finishing the other arguments, there is one more argument that I would like you to consider. It is:

    P1. If God does not exist, then seeking the truth is neither intrinsically good nor morally obligatory
    P2. Seeking the truth is intrinsically good and morally obligatory
    C3. Therefore, God exists

    Is seeking the truth intrinsically good or morally obligatory? Please explain your answer.

  4. Don says:

    Mike, I’m going to chime in here briefly. You wrote: “It is up to you theists, to prove your claim…”

    Actually Mike, it’s not up to anyone to “prove” anything to you. It is your individual choice to examine the evidence.

    Your understanding of proof probably involves a scientific labratory, a few flasks and some chemicals. But that is YOUR understanding and YOUR requirement of how truth must be understood. I suggest that there are other ways to discover truth, particularly when they lie in the spiritual realm. And it is up to YOU to examine the evidence and decide for yourself. The evidence that has been directed your way has been largely, perhaps entirely ignored, as far as I can tell. And I suppose it was ignored by you since it doesn’t fit your predetermined methodology for discovering truth. But that is a very narrow and unfortunate position for you to take. All the best.

  5. Alycia says:

    All these questions for atheists, yet when theists are asked to explain how god can be real they just say, here look in this 2000 year old book. You ask for logic yet you show none yourselves. You can’t expect detailed explanations for life from us but then you use “god did it” as your big complicated answer. As an atheist I am perfectly happy not knowing all the why’s in life. I do love to learn about how and why things work scientifically, but I’mm not desperate for explanation as theists seem to be. You are uncomfortable with not knowing, so you say god. This shows weakness, in my opinion.

    • Alycia:

      Thanks for you comment.

      I am sure there are some theists who do not have a logical argument for God’s existence and rely exclusively on the authority of a “2000 year old book”, as you put it.

      However, there are many many theists who DO have logically constructed, fact based arguments for God’s existence. I am one of such theist.

      Apparently you have not read any of the other of the essays at this website. This is not a criticism, since I am sure there are many people who have only read one essay at this site.

      In God Is Real…Why modern physics has discredited atheism, I demonstrate the the materialist/naturalist worldview (in which atheism is rooted) has been completely discredited by modern physics. I further demonstrate that modern physics is highly supportive of the theist worldview. The essay titled The Ultimate Cart Before the Horse (Why Atheism is Illogical) further elaborates on the points made in this essay.

      In Why Life Could Not Have Emerged Without God, I demonstrate that the origin of life from non-living matter could not have occurred as the result of natural processes, but only as a result of a conscious and intelligent creator. Many people do not realize that Charles Darwin himself adopted the theistic explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter. (The exact citations from Darwin are viewable in the above mentioned essay, as well as at the top of Why Evolution Cannot Be Used to Rationalize Atheism. The essay titled Why God? Why Not Just Plain Luck further elaborates on the points made in the essay mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.

      I could go on and on. I recommend that you read a few essays under each of the 3 headings (arguments for God from science, arguments for God from philosophy, and arguments for God from experience).

      Scott

  6. […] of scientific reasoning with ontological reasoning. No less than Albert Einstein (as I cite him in Riddles for Atheists) dispelled the notion that science can produce ultimate […]

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