Questionable Motives

January 6, 2014

Why this post?

Filed under: Uncategorized — tildeb @ 9:20 pm

questionFor those to have the means to question me further or have me explain in greater detail comments I have made elsewhere.

Go to it.

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28 Comments »

  1. From Climate Denial Crock of the Week, Dumboldguy asks me:

    Why do you find it so difficult to answer simple questions?

    I will ask you again to specifically enumerate the “ideas antithetical to scientific understanding” that are held by the new pope.

    Evolution. The Eucharist. Belief in a creator, the resurrection of Jesus and the miracles he performed. Belief in demons.

    Want more?

    How about the claims contained in the Nicene Creed. Original sin. Dualism. Free will. Reproductive technologies and medical research. Abortion services. Euthanasia. HIV/AIDS.

    Such religious adherence pollutes the catholic position on all of these claims and relegates our scientific understanding to be at most a secondary consideration. This is profoundly anti-scientific when it comes to informing causal claims about how reality operates and has been, is, and shall ever be a constant adversarial force against adducing and respecting evidence from reality to inform our knowledge claims about any of these issues.

    Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2014 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

    • Tildeb, would you say that it is impossible for a devout Christian to be a scientist? – that in order to do science one must be a philosophical materialist and believe in an infinite regression of natural causes?

      Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 7, 2014 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

      • Of course not. Many fantastic scientists also happen to be religous. Some will even give credit to their religious beliefs for ‘inspiring’ them to seek explanations that produce knowledge. What I am saying is that such people do not allow their faith-based beliefs to interfere with the doing of good science. If they did, their science would be junk and they know it. So they compartmentalize their religious beliefs and keep them separate from their exercise of the scientific method. The point I’m making is that the asserting of Oogity Boogity as a causal agent is never an explanation that produces knowledge. Ever. That’s why the science-religion ‘dialogue’ about knowledge of how reality operates is entirely a one way street… because science is adjudicated by the very reality it purports to describe whereas Oogity Boogity is exempt. And that’s why science produces knowledge that works for everyone everywhere all the time and religion doesn’t. That’s why no faith-based belief is allowed to play any arbitrating role in good science – reality suffices – but is an essential ingredient for all religions – where reality plays no meaningful role.

        Comment by tildeb — January 7, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

      • As for the switch away from methodological naturalism of science to the philosophical naturalism (materialism), this is a standard trick played by religious apologists to try to set up a logic fail. (This is where the charge of ‘scientism’ and worshiping the ‘religion of science’ usually enters the fray and diverts us from understanding the chasm of difference between faith-based beliefs and their products compared to and contrasted with the tentative explanations developed by science and their products.) The fact of the matter is that science isn’t about philosophy or metaphysics or morality or some other terrain claimed by theists and faitheists alike; it’s about finding explanations adjudicated by reality that seem to work just fine independent of causal claims of Oogity Boogity. And for this effrontery, science and those who respect its role in creating knowledge are vilified.

        Comment by tildeb — January 7, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

  2. Would you allow for the possibility of God as a First Cause?

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 8, 2014 @ 6:33 am | Reply

    • Yup. But I think the likelihood is remote.

      Comment by tildeb — January 8, 2014 @ 7:29 am | Reply

      • So what is the alternative to God as the First Cause?

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 9, 2014 @ 7:11 am

      • You haven’t established that it’s an “alternative”.

        A: “Would you allow for the possibility of Baal as a First Cause?”

        B: “Yup. But I think the likelihood is remote.”

        A: “So what is the alternative to Baal as the First Cause?”

        See what happened?
        No?

        Ok, perhaps another example…

        A: “Would you allow for the possibility of Bigfoot as a First Cause?”

        B: “Yup. But I think the likelihood is remote.”

        A: “So what is the alternative to Bigfoot as the First Cause?”

        Fallacy of ID and creationism-False Dichotomy [Reloaded]

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 9, 2014 @ 11:49 am

    • Bob, we’ve had this conversation before. Multiple times I tried to get you to find out about what atheism is as opposed to you just going for a strawman version. You kept insisting that you already knew.
      You didn’t.

      Tildeb, would you say that it is impossible for a devout Christian to be a scientist?

      Tildeb gave you an answer that was entirely predictable. I just don’t understand how after all this time you still don’t get this atheism thing.
      Look it up.
      It’s incredibly simple. It can be completely summed up in a single sentence. There nothing complicated in it at all.
      Go to any mainstream source on atheism and find out for yourself. There’s loads to choose from. That’s not an invitation to go cherrypicking. Nor is it an opportunity for you to go demonizing one atheist personality in particular. (Hint: Atheism has no prophets). Just represent atheism in the same spirit of fairness as you would have your own stance on things represented.

      Just the other day, I found an “atheist experience” video. A strong sense of deja vu came over me as I watched it. In the video, Matt bends over backwards to explain his position. He repeats himself in different, super-simple ways so that any casual observer could grasp it.
      Yet the caller is wedded to his definitions and cannot change them, even in the face of simple logic. It’s excrutiating and would resonate with any atheist familiar with the internet.

      The caller insists on telling Matt what Matt himself believes.
      Matt specifically says he doesn’t believe that.
      It doesn’t matter to the caller.
      He has his strawman that he insists on propping up again and again.
      The caller just keeps repeating his assertion.

      Check it out. I hope you find it instructive.

      CHRISTIAN CREATARD: Doesn’t Understand The Burden of Proof

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 8, 2014 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

      • Let’s let Tildeb explain his / her position.

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 9, 2014 @ 7:11 am

  3. Neither you nor I have any clue about causal factors prior to the Big Bang. To presume there was a primal cause is nothing but an empty assertion.

    Comment by tildeb — January 9, 2014 @ 7:24 am | Reply

    • How then can you say that the possibiiity that God is the First Cause is “unlikely”? Why does anything exist at all? To rule out the likelihood that the Big Bang was caused by an eternally self-existent Supreme Being you surely must have some alternative explanation.

      Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 9, 2014 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  4. I can say it is unlikely because there are nothing but endless possibilities in the gap of knowledge described by “I don’t know.” Your selection is not justified by anything other than arrogantly asserting that your “I don’t know” is equivalent to making up whatever you want and pretending that this is more justified than “I don’t know.”. It’s not. It’s dishonest because it is still a synonym for “I don’t know” presented as if you do. You don’t. The knowledge value of your claim is zero so the likelihood it is true is very low.

    I don’t have an ultimate explanation based on knowledge why stuff exists. Neither do you. I don’t have an alternative to your made up assertion; I have nothing but alternatives equivalent in knowledge value to the vacuum of our shared “I don’t know.” I just don’t have the arrogance to assert that my beliefs in causal imaginary agencies are sufficient to overcome this knowledge vacuum. But at least I admit it. I see you do not suffer from this same sense of maintaining intellectual integrity in the absence of knowledge. I don’t think giving up intellectual integrity is a virtue. Obviously, we disagree.

    Comment by tildeb — January 9, 2014 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

    • But given the order and complexity of nature, if I lay two hypotheses side by side with each other, one of which states “reality was created by an intelligent, eternal, self-existent Supreme Being,” and the other states that “reality is the result of a blind, impersonal, unguided natural process,” based purely on what we can observe about reality, which is scientifically the most likely case?

      Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 9, 2014 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

      • But you’re not laying two equivalent hypotheses side by side: look at the difference. In the first you’re asserting what was ‘created’, which is empty of knowledge value because we don’t know anything about this supposed singular and primal cause. The second is about processes that we do indeed know a very great deal about. Comparing the apple of the former with the orange of the latter is a false equivalency.

        Comment by tildeb — January 9, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

      • “But given the order and complexity of nature, if I lay two hypotheses side by side with each other, one of which states “the orbit of the planets was created by an intelligent, magical pixie,” and the other states that “the orbit of planets is the result of a blind, impersonal, unguided natural process,” based purely on what we can observe about reality, which is scientifically the most likely case?”

        Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là.

        (shrug)

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 9, 2014 @ 11:13 pm

      • As usual, Cedric the Smug has difficulty distinguishing between those things for which we all accept the scientific, impersonal explanation of the laws of nature (the orbits of the planets etc.) and the origin of those laws. That’s not the question. The question is, “Where did those laws, and the physical objects that follow them, come from?” There’s a huge difference between accepting the existence and operation of things that can be observed in nature and explaining how nature came into existence. Claiming that an infinite regress of natural causes is more reasonable than a Cause adequate to explain the effect we see is just a dodge. No, we can’t prove the Theistic explanation but at least it’s an explanation … and a much more plausible explanation that positing an infinite regress that does nothing to explain the origin of anything — and, in fact, cannot explain the origin of everything even in principle.

        Comment by av8torbob — January 10, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

  5. tildeb responded: But you’re not laying two equivalent hypotheses side by side: look at the difference. In the first you’re asserting what was ‘created’, which is empty of knowledge value because we don’t know anything about this supposed singular and primal cause. The second is about processes that we do indeed know a very great deal about. Comparing the apple of the former with the orange of the latter is a false equivalency.

    Let’s take out the “created” thing and restate Bob Wheeler’s question: “Given the order and complexity of nature, if I lay two hypotheses side by side with each other: One states that: “reality came into existence by an intelligent, eternal, self-existent cause” and the other states that “reality is the result of a blind, impersonal, unguided natural process.” Based purely on what we can observe about reality, which is the most likely case?

    You claim that “we do indeed know a very great deal about” the natural process we observe in reality. No argument there. But the fact is that both of us know absolutely nothing about the cause for its existence. You say the cause I accept is “unlikely” because you claim there is no evidence for it. I don’t know if you’re a proponent of the Multiple Universe (MU) Hypothesis or not but that seems to be the Naturalistic explanation. So, based on the fact that neither of us can observe anything about MU, how is that any more “likely” than the cause I accept?

    Comment by av8torbob — January 10, 2014 @ 9:16 am | Reply

    • You’re not correcting the false equivalency problem by substituting the words ‘came into existence’ from ‘created’. Both have to do with presumed original causes that we know nothing about, that may or may not be true, and then falsely equate that unknown with processes we do know a great deal about.

      The multiverse has some evidence for it (in math) but it still has a very long way to go to become anything more than an intriguing hypothesis. But this in no way addresses the christian ‘creation’ claim, other than offer another possibility. When judging possibilities, however, there is more evidence for the multiverse (I’m neither a theoretical physicist nor mathematician so I have no claim to any expertise in this matter whatsoever so I trust that what these folks say regarding the multiverse hypothesis has some merit) than the empty assertion of some primal cause by a divine agency able to manipulate natural processes and suspend how reality operates. This means the likelihood is greater (no matter how small it may be) for the multiverse than POOF!ism.

      Comment by tildeb — January 10, 2014 @ 10:25 am | Reply

      • Well, if you had admitted that there is the same lack of evidence for MU as there is for “poofism,” I would have respected that. But to claim “theoretical” evidence from math about something that, by definition we could never observe, is more reliable (because it fits your a priori assumptions) just proves that you are just as closed-minded as I thought you were. What amazes me is that you can’t see the equivalence. The simple fact is that, even if MU is true, it does nothing to explain why something exists at all. It only pushes the explanation back into an infinite regress. You still have to have a First Cause.

        Which is why philosophy of science comes before science. Always has, always will.

        Have a nice life. I wish you well …

        Comment by av8torbob — January 10, 2014 @ 11:14 am

  6. But what do we know about the natural processes? Namely this: there is no such thing as spontaneous generation, order does not spontaneously arise out of chaos, life reproduces itself according to certain well-defined laws of heredity, and the universe is expanding, suggesting that it had a definite beginning. Given these observable facts, how likely is it that “reality is the result of a blind, impersonal, unguided natural process”? The hypothesis contradicts everything that we can observe in nature, and is implausible on the face of it.

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 10, 2014 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

    • Bob, if you’re going to use these words, you really should understand what they mean. Chemical processes do produce ‘spontaneous’ generation of all kinds of stuff. Order demonstrably comes out of ‘chaos’ all the time if local units obey local rules. Life changes significantly not just by heritability but the accumulated effect of environmental interactions. Yes, the universe is understood to be expanding, but this doesn’t mean this expansion must occur from an act of POOF!ism by a jesus-like primal god. There really are endless possibilities and only evidence adduced from the reality we share will shed any light of knowledge on this event horizon. How likely is it that life evolved over time here on this small pale blue dot? The probability is 1. Your sense of implausibility is grounded not on knowledge, not on any understanding of natural processes but a faith-based belief imposed on it. Your belief’s knowledge value remains at zero, so its likelihood is very low in any fair and honest comparison. Your understanding of implausibility is not reason enough – not any reason at all! – to overthrow the knowledge we do have about how these natural processes work. No amount of study of your religious beliefs will yield any knowledge about the reality we share because it isn’t designed to adduce knowledge from it but impose a belief set (a fearful belief set) on reality to ensure your ongoing submission to its worldly representatives and a gullible partner with them in continued indoctrination of the next generation.

      Comment by tildeb — January 10, 2014 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

    • But what do we know about the natural processes?

      What do we know about POOF!ism?
      You can’t fill in the gaps of ignorance with whatever geographically related fairy tale appeals to you.

      The hypothesis contradicts everything that we can observe in nature, and is implausible on the face of it.

      Therefore….POOF!

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 10, 2014 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  7. Ladies and gentlemen! Please! I haven’t said anything yet about my personal religious beliefs! We are simply weighing the scientific evidence for or against one particular hypothesis, viz., that “reality is the result of a blind, impersonal, unguided natural process.” My “sense of implausibility” in grounded in practical, everyday experience. Suppose you and I are looking underneath the hood of your car (or the “bonnet” of Cedric’s car). We discuss the details of air/fuel mixture and ignition timing, and then, as we end our discussion, I turn to you and say, “By the way. Don’t let anyone fool you. There isn’t a shred of evidence that this was designed by an intelligent being.” What would you think of my sanity then?
    (Actually, I once had a Ford truck that might have led you to believe that it was the result of a blind, purposeless natural process, but since then I have driven nothing but Japanese designed vehicles. I reason from the presence of design in the vehicle back to the existence of an engineer. My conclusion is based on evidence, not blind faith). How likely is it that the car designed and manufactured itself?

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 11, 2014 @ 10:39 am | Reply

    • Don’t be silly, Robert. The inference you are drawing from the actual evidence would allow that engineers actually exist. Ceddy Boy and tildeb have already decided that they don’t. Stop trying to question the rules they’ve laid out ahead of time.

      POOF! Your hypothesis fails.

      Comment by Av8torbob — January 11, 2014 @ 11:06 am | Reply

    • “By the way. Don’t let anyone fool you. There isn’t a shred of evidence that this was designed by an intelligent being.” What would you think of my sanity then?

      Argument from false analogy.
      Bob, you can’t keep doing this. It’s silly.

      My conclusion is based on evidence, not blind faith.

      Then present it.
      What’s holding you back?

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 11, 2014 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  8. Bob, do you understand what a false analogy is?
    Let me help you with that.

    False Analogy Fallacy

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 12, 2014 @ 12:36 pm | Reply


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