Sunday, February 28, 2016

Militant Theism Analyzed

I have been banned again.  In this post, I was falsely accused of deleting Stan's comments (they're all still here).  They called me bully, coward, liar, irrational, and mental case.  They made derisive comments to me.  Then, I said Stan's spiel was phony, and he thought that was uncivil.  Sorry to have offended you, Stan.

* * *

In my recent discussion with some devout evolution denialists at CADRE blog, I was asked to visit the blog of someone who is obviously well respected by them, where I could find some supposedly informative discussion about why evolution theory has no scientific value.  The blog is titled Atheism Analyzed, and it is hosted by a guy named Stan.  The first thing I noticed at this site is the banner, which identifies Stan as a former atheist who "analyzes Atheism, without resorting to theism, deism, or fantasy", and includes some statements about truth and rationality, as well as this: "Atheists have an obligation to give reasons in the form of logic and evidence for rejecting Theist theories."  The second thing I noticed is the kind of posts he has made recently, which are not about atheism, but are politically oriented, ultra-right-wing propaganda - the kind of thing you get from Breitbart or Drudge.  There is also a smattering of anti-science posts.

So right away, I know a few things about Stan.  He's a theist who lays claim to logic and reason.  He's an ex-atheist (see my discussion of ex-atheists), who seems to believe that atheists don't value truth and logic, nor do they use logic in their rejection of theism.  He is outspoken about his far-right politics, and he is generally skeptical of science.  I also know from my brief interaction with him that he is hostile toward me, and apparently toward atheists in general.  He is a militant theist.

Evolution Denial

I came to this site to see what Stan has to say about evolution.  His site lists a number of links to older posts under the topics of Evolution, Principles of Atheism, and Rational Principles.  So I looked at the evolution section.  This is supposed to be some kind of educational forum, not for the purpose of teaching about evolution theory, but to debunk it.  It says up front "There is absolutely no, NO, creationism involved whatsoever", but it reads like a compendium of creationist literature, casting doubt on evolution science, and including the standard talking points you might find on any other creationist site.  I'm not going to summarize all this science denialism here.  The interested reader can find all the links to these pages on the right side of the blog's main page.  But I do take note of the fact that he asserts a purposeful agent as creator of the "information content" in living things:
The length of a DNA molecule is far too long to have been correctly assembled by non-purposeful, random forces. Further, it cannot be said to be deterministic because it cannot be deduced to have happened from minerals and their properties. The purpose of the code, the agents, and the code carrier (DNA, RNA, protiens, etc) is purposeful for life, i.e. it is teleological. - Stan
This is in direct contradiction to his claim that there is no creationism in this spiel on evolution.  The purposeful creation of genetic codes implies an intelligent creator.  Clearly, Stan is a creationist as well as a science denier, and he can't avoid having his creationism spill into this discussion that claims to be free of creationism, on a site that claims to be free of theism.  So much for Stan's intellectual honesty.  Toward the end of this three-part spiel on evolution, he makes his position clear:
What evolution has in its favor is just this: it is a material theory. However flawed, it is necessary to the ideology expressed by Lewontin, above: Materialist Atheism must have a materialist theory of origins. Since materialism is absolutely required when the existence of an intelligent input is denied and locked out of any intellectual debate, then no amount of deterministic impossibility will deter or derail the Materialist true believer from accepting the “possibilities of evolution” from minerals to mind.  That makes evolution a religion: blind belief in the face of the failure of any supporting facts. Unlike the voluntary materialistic sciences, such as physics and, yes, modern biology, the imposition of involuntary materialism onto the investigation of the source of life does not meet with useful results in terms of knowledge. In fact, the imposition of involuntary materialism onto the investigation into the source of life results in the equivalent of faerie tales, where “scientists” see what is not there, and refer to it as plausible fact, even “Truth”.  That amounts to fraud, and is not science. - Stan
Clearly, Stan is an avid science denialist (see my discussion on the religion of science denial).  I don't expect to see much in the way of objective analysis from Stan.  In our conversation at CADRE, I showed him a collection of evidence for evolution, and he simply dismissed it out of hand, probably without reading any of it.  This is a guy who isn't interested in understanding real science.

Hatred of Atheists

I wondered if his analysis of atheism was any more substantial than his analysis of evolution.  Turning to the "Principles of Atheism", I could see immediately that his hostility overshadows any kind of rational discussion one might hope to find there.  The very first principle of atheism states "Atheism is a VOID, intellectually and morally."  The logical basis for this is that atheists supposedly have no grounding for logical beliefs or ethical beliefs, and so they are free to just make it up.  There is no discussion of materialist accounts of logical or ethical grounding.  There is no atheist's perspective offered as a point of comparison or rebuttal.  Just this bald assertion of the "atheist VOID". The series on principles of atheism continues with more of the same.  It is a lengthy diatribe about atheists' "AtheoLeftism", lack of coherency, bullying tactics, logical fallacies, narcissism, superior attitudes, hypocrisy, etc.  Absent in all of this stream of invective is any kind of supporting factual information.

The concept of the "atheist VOID" comes up again and again in Stan's discussion of atheists and their arguments, or as he prefers to call it, lack of arguments.  An atheist can't make a reasonable, valid, or honest argument because he is intellectually and morally bankrupt.  This attitude often comes across in his conversations with atheists.  For example, here, in his response to the assertion that atheism is not a religion, Stan says:
Atheism is a statement concerning the existence of a creating deity; so it is a religious stance, and cannot be interpreted as anything but a religious stance. Moreover, since it cannot prove the validity of its own stance using either logic or empirical experimental data, it is a stance made in an intellectual vacuum, which falsifies the Atheist claim that it is logic and evidence based. Therefore it is blind belief, a religious stance.

Flawed Logical Foundation

I looked to the section on Rational Principles in the hopes of discovering the basis for Stan's absurd view of atheist rationality, and soon found what I was looking for in his discussion of the first principles of rationality.  Here, Stan lays out his concept of the logical and epistemological basis for rational thought, including the axioms of logic and other foundational aspects of knowledge.  This discussion seems reasonable for the most part, and I'm not going to go into it in detail, except to point out a couple of places where he gets it wrong. 

First, in the introduction he notes that axioms are known to us by intuition.  Nothing controversial about that, but then he makes a leap of faith:
And so, science is based upon a set of unproven, and unprovable principles, that are known to be true only by intuition. Thus, if science is thought to be valid, then intuition is also assumed to be valid.

Last, if intuition is valid, then transcendence exists – because intuition is transcendent. - Stan
Huh?  What?  Where did that come from?  This is simply a theistic assumption, and it is only a foundational principle to people who who need logical justification for the postulation of some transcendent being as the source of intuitive knowledge.  In a materialist view, no such justification is required.  The materialist recognizes that logical intuition is acquired empirically and inductively through observation of the world.  Just as a child gains an intuitive understanding of rudimentary physical principles by observing how things behave, he also gains an intuitive understanding of logical principles in the same way.  He may not be able to express these principles in a formal way, but he has a feel for how things work, learned from his own experience.  By the time he learns the formal expression of these principles, he has probably long since forgotten where his intuitions came from.  It is understandable, therefore, that a theist might think they came from God.  But the reality is that without the childhood experience of exploring one's world, there would be no such intuitions.  And this is the first major flaw in Stan's formulation of the principles of rationality.

Second, as he enumerates these first principles, he comes to item 4a: "No premise should be accepted without evidence", which he describes as the basis for Humean skepticism.  Again, this is not controversial, but it is worded differently from all the rest.  It is the only one that is not worded as a statement of fact.  Instead, it contains the word 'should'.  This turns out to be crucial for Stan's theistic worldview.  First, he asserts that the word 'should' in 4a provides the logical basis for the grounding of ethics.
If Principle 4a, above, (No premise should be accepted without evidence) is valid, then ethical considerations can be intuited as First Principles. This is because Principle 4a expresses an “ought” imperative, which is an ethical statement, and which is considered to be valid for the foundation of Naturalism, and thus is considered to be a universal truth. It is intuited, and cannot be proven by itself, by empiricism, by Naturalism, or by Materialism. - Stan
This is bizarre.  The principle of Humean skepticism could easily have been stated in a declarative form without using the word 'should'.  The conclusion of a logical argument is correct if the premises are epistemically justified and the logic is valid.  Aside from that, principle 4a has nothing to do with ethics, despite Stan's assertion that it does.  It is a principle of epistemology, not ethics. 

A materialist understands that human ethics are derived from some combination of naturally evolved instinctive behavior and cultural or sociological influences.  Inserting the word 'should' into a statement of epistemological principles has no effect whatsoever on human ethics or ethical beliefs.  It is merely a semantic trick - a leap of logic to say that this constitutes a basis for ethical grounding.  So if Stan uses this as a basis for grounding his ethical beliefs, his ethics are grounded in a logical fallacy.  And this is the next major flaw in Stan's thinking.

The other point that Stan raises about principle 4a is that it proves the incoherency of materialism.
Because the “ought imperative” of Principle 4a is the necessary and sufficient principle upon which Naturalism and Materialism are based, it is easily shown that the transcendent nature of the underlying foundation of these concepts produces a contradiction that violates the anti-transcendent worldviews themselves.

In other words, Naturalism and Materialism declare that intuition and other transcendences cannot exist, yet the basis for Naturalism and Materialism is itself necessarily intuitive and transcendent.

So Naturalism and Materialism deny their own foundational validity, and thus are paradoxical (violate the Principle of Non-Contradiction), and so are neither coherent nor valid - Stan
This is based, of course, on Stan's illogical conclusion that an intuitive understanding of logical foundations comes from some transcendent source.  In fact, as I already discussed, the materialist has perfectly valid reasons for believing that logic is grounded in physical reality, and our understanding of it is empirically derived.  The theist, on the other hand, resorts to logical fallacies in his attempts to support his belief that logic comes from God through intuition.  It is the theist whose logic is ungrounded.  Stan has it backwards.  It isn't the materialist whose position is incoherent - it is the theist.  And this is yet another major flaw in Stan's thinking.  It is more than ironic that he chooses to use this particular principle of epistemology as justification for his superstitious belief, for which there is no observable evidence.

In Conclusion

Stan is a militant theist with a chip on his shoulder.  His attitude toward atheists is hateful and contemptuous, and he suffers from the delusion that he is morally and intellectually superior.  He fancies himself to be a paragon of rational thought, but his whole belief system is founded on demonstrably flawed logical thinking.

Stan should get the chip off his shoulder.  He should give due consideration to his opponents' arguments instead of dismissing them with a wave of his hand.  He should also give due consideration to the flaws in his own arguments.  Above all, he should take a sip from the cup of humility.


  1. I don't have any respect for that guy. He lies about Obama. His site is not even about atheism it's about hating Obama. Obama is my hero. That guy doesn't really understand the popper he's quoting.

    1. His reading of Popper is certainly selective. His insistence that evolution science is non-falsifiable is in direct disagreement with Popper. Of course, all science denialists have to be very selective about what evidence they consider. That's a key feature of ID or creation science. You have to ignore so much of reality, and look only for the bits that help you make your case.

  2. the term science denier is adequate. I agree with you in criticism of what's his name? But HE IS NOT DENYIMG SCIENCE HE JUST DOESN'T UNDRSTAND IT. The thinks science is ideological. That's the nature of ideologies they see everything through the filter oftheir ideology.

    "Science Denier" assumes there's a factual approach to science that's a misunderstanding. There are things we call scientific facts but science is about method not about accumulating facts. When the paradigm shifts facts become anomalies.

    with the next [aradoigm shoft

    1. I agree that science is a is practice and a method of achieving knowledge. The term is also used to refer to a body of knowledge that results from the practice of science.

      In Stan's case, he denies both of those things. He actively rejects the body of knowledge of evolution science, as is seen by his refusal to acknowledge the evidence. He also rejects the practice of the science, as is seen by his insistence that it isn't falsifiable.

    2. Stan is not respected by the cadre, we had never heard of hij. I thin JB knew himI idn't. I know Don didn't/

  3. I have responded to your article HERE.

  4. From Stan's reply:
    Let’s get this right, now, up front. First, I can prove that many if not all Atheists don’t actually value either truth or logic, and have been doing so for a long time. They reject by demanding evidence and logic, and when it is given, they merely assert radical denialism (a form of radical skepticism). When evidence and logic is demanded of them for support of their own principle-free worldview – Atheism – they never, ever, EVER give either empirical scientific evidence or disciplined deductive logic which supports their Atheism (or evolution).

    Two things about skepticism as a trait: the afflicted skeptic is never skeptical of his own skepticism; the afflicted skeptic never produces any knowledge on his own because skepticism is merely rejection.

    OK. Then prove what you assert. Present your evidence. Make your argument. Mere assertions carry no weight.

    1. The proof is yourself: you never, ever give either logic or valid empirical data. QED.

    2. First, thank you for responding to my comments.

      If you compare what I've said and what you've said, you might notice that I gave evidence. I didn't simply assert things like "Stan hates atheists". I explained why. I gave examples and showed where I got them from. You, on the other hand, just make these claims about atheists. You keep saying "they never, ever, EVER give either empirical scientific evidence or disciplined deductive logic", and when evidence is produced, you reject it, because it doesn't meet your standards. But I don't see one single shred of evidence that you comply with your own standards.

  5. From Stan's reply:
    Note that the use of the terms, “creationist” and “creationism”, are pejoratives.

    I don't consider that to be pejorative at all. It is belief in the supernatural origin of the universe or of humans and other living things. I think it encompasses more than just a literal interpretation of Genesis. I saw on your own site that you include ID under the general category of creationism. What do you call your own position?

    And in fact IMS presents no contrary hypothesis of creationism or otherwise. The use of “denialism” and “creationism” as pejoratives is merely a desperation move to deflect attention from the issues which are presented and analyzed. Further, the cry of “denialism” and “creationism” is merely attempted virtue signaling to other True Believers, and rings entirely hollow logically because it is free of content.

    Denialism, I will grant, is a pejorative term. This is with respect to science, not your metaphysical position. You see, there is a thing called evolution science, and you deny it. That's a fact. You may believe that you have good reasons for denying it, but that's not the point. The scientific community believes that it is not only legitimate science, but that it has overwhelming evidence in support of it.

    1. I have pointed out actual reasons and you ignore them with Appeals to Authority, over and over. and over. and over.

    2. I never said anything like "evolution is true because Jerry Coyne said so". But what we're talking about here is a whole branch of science, not a simple claim of fact. The scientific community has a process for reviewing and approving the work of scientists, including their data and methodologies. They generally reject things that don't follow scientific methodology. That's why there isn't much peer-reviewed creation science or ID science. It has nothing to do with the ideology. It has everything to do with whether this is actual science. And that's why I appeal to the scientific community. They have actually examined these issues and come to a consensus.

  6. From Stan's reply:
    This is merely a weak attempt to assert the fallacy, Guilt By [False] Association Fallacy, which is the inverted form of the Appeal to Authority Fallacy. This does not in any way relate to the truth value of the issues raised, nor does it even relate to ANY actual issues. There is no reference in those articles to anything other than the series of logical and evidentiary fallacies upon which evolution depends, and which fallacies rationally defeat the both the underlying premises and inferential conclusions of evolutionary theory. His statement above is false, and contains nothing of substance. Note further that never does he address any of the actual issues raised in the articles; he merely dismisses with pejoratives.

    The only point that I was making with regard to evolution is that you deny it. No fallacies there. It's a simple fact. And there is no reason for me to rebut your creationist talking points. That has been done a thousand times over. If you want to see an argument in rebuttal, read a science (not creationist) book.

    1. I deny that it qualifies as knowledge. You have not proven otherwise. All you do is avoid the issue of your own ignorance and instead say "read a book" as if that is an answer to something; it is not.

    2. You deny it because you don't understand it. That's not something I can satisfy in a combox. If you are interested in learning science, you have to read about it. I have read a number of books on evolution because I wanted to learn about it. When you do that, you also learn about the evidence that supports it. If you restrict yourself to creationist literature, I assure you, you will not get an accurate picture of the science or the evidence. How do I know that? I've read it.

  7. From Stan's reply:
    Teleology is creationism? ... the explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes.

    In other words, evolution theory itself claims that selection performs a teleological function by selecting for the purpose of better fit to changing environments, or for increased emergent complexity for better competition.

    Evolution claims no such thing. A central aspect of evolution theory is that there is no purpose to it. Mutations happen. Those that enhance survival are replicated in subsequent generations. This is not teleological in any way. Teleology implies purposeful creation. Look at the definition again.

    What exact studies will he reference, what data sets will he produce for us which determine that the increase in complexity is not teleological ... The ruling against teleology is not supported by any science whatsoever; it is an ideological tenet of Atheism and not the voluntary functional materialism of falsifiable empiricism.

    It's called thermodynamics. Your ignorance of it inexcusable if you purport to know anything about the science that you deny. We see complexity emerging from physical systems all around us all the time. The same is true of biological systems. See this, for example. What scientific evidence do you have to show that this is not true?

    1. If that paper were valid, then life would be popping up ex nihilo virtually everywhere. And if that were the case, then common descent would be null and void. Entropy is your downfall, because even though life is an open system, increased energy will not benefit it. further, adding energy to non-living things does not create emergent complexity, as you claim; it creates heat and degeneration after a benign warming period.

      All you know is how to be rude. You have no actual knowledge, apparently of anything pertinent to your claims of being a science guru.

    2. I've seen the creationist arguments about thermodynamics, and they are WRONG. Read Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter by Terrence deacon. this is not the kid stuff you hear from creationists. This involves REAL science.

      And yes, I am rude at times. When you are rude to me, I feel it is my right to indulge a bit myself. You called be ignorant before I ever said anything like that to you.

  8. From Stan's reply:
    Even Atheist scientists have posited intelligent creators in the form of aliens who released spoors into the universe: Crick (one of the discoverers of the form of DNA.) and Orgel for example promote Directed panspermia, with intelligent creators of life.

    The notion that life may have been designed by aliens only puts off the question: Who designed the designer? If you think it couldn't happen without an intelligent agent, then it ultimately comes down to "God did it". If Crick was an atheist, then he believes that intelligent life can arise without a designer, or his position is incoherent.

    1. If you think "who designed the designer" is a valid argument, then you have not studied logic at all. By attempting to assert an infinite regression, you demonstrate your inability to grasp the actual issues involved.

    2. Try to grasp what I'm saying. This is an explicit rejection of infinite regress. If ID is true, then an intelligent agent had to design the FIRST living thing. It couldn't be an alien, because then that alien would be a first living thing. The only possible answer is God did it. That's an inescapable logical consequence of ID. Think about it.

  9. From Stan's reply:
    I read his "real science" - which he wants us to believe is actual ”evidence” - sufficiently to know that there is not a single hard fact contained therein.

    As I said. You are a science denialist.

    Clearly under quantum theory, the materialist restriction such as applied by evolution is false. Further, the existence of non-material consciousness (and agency, intellect, free will) are not just diametrically oppositional to deterministic materialism; the existence of consciousness et. al. is direct empirical falsification of evolution and its deterministic, materialistic basis.

    To know these things and yet to claim that evolution is valid knowledge is irrational.

    You don't have a clue what you're talking about. And you can assert your theistic presumptions all day long, but it doesn't make them true. Show me the evidence.

    1. Here you demonstrate perfectly your inability to discuss actual content, preferring mere insults to rational discourse.

      You cannot actually show any Hard Evidence, so you shout "denier" over and over ad nauseum, a pejorative which those enamored of Scientism believe will somehow hurt enough to corral the victim of the bullying. You are merely an ignorant bully who pretends to know science, yet can produce only insults rather than Hard Scientific data. That's rather pitiful, yet I find it hard to pity bullies.

    2. I call you a denier because I showed you good evidence, and you denied it. You deny the entire field of science. What should I call you?

      And you can toss around terms like 'quantum theory', but you don't fool me for a second. I have studied quantum mechanics. The Copenhagen interpretation has little or nothing to do with the sciences of mind and cognition. Your appeal to authority (Schrodinger and Planck) is unconvincing.

  10. From Stan's reply:
    So where is the refutation? He doesn’t refute the claim that Atheists are free to make all of their own stuff up. IMS merely says that I should address the stuff which they do make up, which is an absurd deviation, but of course is what I'm doing here, and many other places on this blog. That is not a refutation, it is a validation: he can't refute it. I’m just saying the same things that Nietzsche and hosts of other Atheists have said, as they assert the “incredible freedom” acquired by the abject rejectionism of Atheism, and their newfound ability to make up all your own rules.

    If bother you read on, you'll see what I have to say about the grounding of logic. This section of my post is discussing your hatred for atheists.

    The blog is devoted to exactly that. There is plenty of evidence being reported, if one cares to look. In fact, the entire post by IMS is void of any science or evidence, at least to this point. And his invective and bullying is found at the CADRE link. What shall we find further down? Remember, it is his position that he is the repository of scientific knowledge and the elite intellectual ability to call others “deniers”. So where is the science?

    I read the section on Principles of Atheism, and I saw a stream of invective with no supporting evidence and no arguments, and that's exactly what I said in my OP. There's nothing to refute at this point. By the way, the conversation at CADRE was cordial until you showed up, Stan.

    So where is the rebuttal? Where is the counter argument which proves otherwise? Where is any evidence to the contrary? Where is the analysis? Where is the refuting data?

    Don't you know how to read? I was simply making the point that your notion of the atheist VOID is pervasive in your discussions. That's what I said, and I provided an example of it. All this bullying demand for scientific data gets old really fast.

    1. You were in the process of being kicked off of Cadre when I showed up.

      Bullying demand for scientific data? You have no sense of irony apparently. It is evolutionary SCIENCE we are talking about. So where is the scientific data???

    2. This does not address the issue at hand. This portion of my post was on the topic of your Principles of Atheism. It was not about evolution or the discussion at CADRE.

  11. From Stan's reply:
    First error: the principles are not mine they are Aristotle’s. So if you can refute them, then you have defeated the Aristotelian logic which has been in use for nearly 2,500 years.

    Don't worry, Stan, I would never try to credit you with inventing principles of rational thought.

    Absolutely false; it is a deduction which is grounded in first principles. You don’t address the logic, you merely resort to your favorite fallacies: Guilt by False Association and the inverse of Appeal to authority. Intuition, to repeat myself, does not exist in the purely material universe; it is an act which is not available to minerals and which cannot be described in any terms of the laws of physics. One cannot find intuition lying around any place. One cannot mine intuition or sell it as a commodity. It transcends the laws of physics. Does IMS show otherwise? No, he claims that it is an assumption which is not needed by materialists, and yet he has provided no evidence that the claim is false. A claim of falseness would require empirical hard data showing that intuition is the result of the laws of physics. He cannot do that.

    Now we see Stan's failure to respond to a logical challenge. he pulls out all his tricks on this one. If the transcendence of intuition is anything but an unsubstantiated assertion, where's your argument for it? I saw no such thing. And you can't evade the issue by simply hurling accusations of logical fallacy at me. As I said, that gets old really fast. Nor can you adequately address the question by making more unsubstantiated claims. Nor is it my burden to prove that your claims are false, with hard empirical data or otherwise. You made a claim - no reader is obliged to believe it, regardless of their metaphysical stance.

    Totally circular. Intuition exists because intuition exists.

    That's not what I said, Stan. I said intuition is acquired empirically and inductively. If you want to dispute everything I say, at least read it and respond to what I actually said.

    1. "Don't worry, Stan, I would never try to credit you with inventing principles of rational thought."

      Very cheap, but characteristic of your level of response.

      Several points here:
      1. The argument has been made; you can't see it. Not my fault.

      2. The logic fallacies DO get old; stop using them.

      3. "Unsubstantiated Claims" is an unsubstantiated dodge to avoid actually dealing with issue head-on; intellectual intransigence and cowardice.

      4. You have assumed the burden of replying to my arguments; but you cannot reply so you deny your burden and that is Denialism.

      5. It's actually simple and empirical: you still have not provided a shred of empirical evidence nor disciplined deductive argument in support of your evolutionary belief system. It's obvious to anyone who has read through all of this: you are without any rational or empirical basis for your belief. No wonder you want me to stop asking for you to provide it: you can't, or you would have.

    2. Just to remind people where we were, this refers to the section of my post about logical flaws - specifically where you assert that intuition is transcendental. Now this was not the conclusion of an argument. It was simply asserted. There was no justification given of any kind.

      1. What argument is it that I can't see? It is not a deduction. It is an assertion. And it can't be based on the first principles, because it is, as you call it, a "Principle of the First Principles". So where's the argument for this assertion?
      2. What fallacy have I committed by pointing out that you made an unsubstantiated assertion?
      3. It is not a dodge. It is a criticism of your post on the "Principles of the First Principles".
      4. You are the one who has failed to respond to my criticism.
      5. You're dodging again. This isn't about evolution. It's about your unsubstantiated assertion. You have no answer.

  12. From Stan's reply:
    How do rocks gain understanding of physical principles? They don’t, because they do not have the non-physical attributes of intuition, intellect, and non-deterministic free will which is necessary to sort good information from random or bad inputs. Rocks are wholly controlled by the laws of physics and are without choice in the matter. Intuition transcends the capabilities of rocks.

    Things like computers and brains obey the laws of physics, too. But they have capabilities that rocks don't have.

    Total non-comprehension of the actual issue: intuition is not material law of physics; it cannot be predicted as a material effect of any physics causal property, either singly or in combination. Intuition cannot be found lying around the yard; it cannot be mined; it cannot be purchased. It does NOT exist as a physical “thing”. It fully transcends physical existence.

    Those are your assertions. Scientists of cognition disagree. Prove it.

    That’s not what Hume said and not what he asserted, is it? Hume actually asserted “should” because he also asserted that there is no rational reason to assume that an effect actually has a cause, other than correlation; therefore, although it is not a must, it is a behavior which “should” be chosen. If the correlation is adequate, then the cause/effect premise “should” be applied according to his ethic of logic. This is far different from what IMS asserts that Hume said and meant. So the statement by IMS above is false.

    You think I was arguing against Hume? No. I was arguing against what YOU said. To try to turn this into a foundational principle of ethics is ridiculous.

    1. 1. Prove your assertion that brains, like computers, obey laws of physics: which laws? The law of determinism?

      2. I should not have to prove that you cannot find intuition lying around, unless you believe that you can. In that case describe what it looks like, and where you found it.

      3. Prove that it is not. Calling it names such as "ridiculous" is not an argument or a refutation, it is a dodge of intellectual responsibility.

      So far, ALL of your response is absolutely content free. You merely dodge or smirk/smear.

    2. 1. Let's put this in perspective. There are competing views on the material or 'transcendent' nature of mental function. You assert one, and I assert the other. Most philosophers would agree that neither of us has proof. But you go beyond that. You make your assertion into a fundamental principle upon which rationality itself is founded. When I call you on it, you demand that I prove my view. You are dodging.

      2. The idea that 'physical' implies that you can find an object of intuition lying around is just stupid. Intuition is a function of the brain, like memory. The function of a car is to drive. Does that mean I can find a 'drive' lying around?

      3. If something is ridiculous, it is within reason for me to call it ridiculous. Your linking a principle of skepticism to ethics makes no sense at all. And Hume never said anything like that. It is just absurd, illogical, semantic trickery.

  13. From Stan's reply:
    False. The Materialist assumes that it is true without any empirical evidence to support that belief. He understands what he assumes: circular.

    I was describing a materialist understanding. It does not assume any supernatural woo. Your assumption is that there is supernatural woo, and you have no evidence for it.

    The word, “should” is exactly the article which designates ethics. “One should do X, and one should not do Y”.

    So what? You should read what I said. I can use the word 'should' in all kinds of statements. Does that create any kind of ethical foundation? NO. Many Christians believe that the word 'shall' asserts moral duties, but only when it is part of a command issued by the supreme authority. If someone else tells you you 'shall' do something, you would be well within your rights to tell them to piss off.

    Once again, there is no logical connection between a statement of having reason to believe something and any kind of moral or ethical duties.

    It is a specific falsity to claim that Hume did not connect causation and morality. But IMS doesn’t appear to know anything about Hume. Instead IMS attempts to "correct" the wording by asserting a false notion, that of semantic falsity of a specific word. Because of that approach out of ignorance, IMS fails to understand that the statement is true, regardless of his opinion of the semantics. In fact, his attempt to prove a true notion false is one failure; his miscomprehension of the word “should” is a second.

    Obviously, you're the one who doesn't understand Hume. Try reading this article from SEP. Nowhere does Hume link something like your 4a to ethical duties. Instead, he believes that ethics is based in the "mutual dependence of men".

    1. "I was describing a materialist understanding. It does not assume any supernatural woo. Your assumption is that there is supernatural woo, and you have no evidence for it."

      My assumption is that all premises that are claimed should be provable; yours are not. That's all. Anything else you add to that is false, and an attempt to avoid the obvious: you cannot provide a single particle of actual Hard Evidence or Disciplined Deductive Logic for any of your positions.

    2. Once again, I need to remind you of what this is about. We are discussing an argument that you made. If I challenge you to provide substantiation for your own assertions, you don't succeed in doing that be demanding the I prove the opposite of your assertions. You are dodging.

      And this is a very clear pattern. You don't substantiate or support your own assertions in your own arguments, and every time I challenge you on that, you demand the I prove they're wrong.

  14. From Stan's reply:
    And as already demonstrated, IMS misses the issue completely. The issue is not the grounding, nor is it empirical derivation. The issue is that the comprehension of the need for grounding in order for a statement to point to a true conclusion is a transcendental which does not exist in the material world which is described by physics. Not even close. There are no laws of physics which can predict intellect, comprehension, autonomy, agency and the body of knowledge based in logic and observation. They are transcendent outside of the purview of physics, and physical existence.

    So now you're introducing yet another unsubstantiated assertion: that in addition to intuitions being transcendental, comprehension is transcendental as well. That's yet another theist belief, not based on any evidence whatsoever. But here's the thing: this was supposed to be an argument about the incoherence of the materialist's position. So if that's what you want to argue, you should start from the materialist's position, not your own theistic position, and show how it is incoherent. You don't do that by simply asserting your own position and declaring that the materialist is wrong. As it is, your argument amounts to "Your position is incoherent because it doesn't agree with mine." And as the self-proclaimed paragon of logical thinking, you actually think you've proved something.

    This false “proof” is dependent upon a false understanding of the issue of intuition. There is no premise made that asserts “logic comes from God”. The issue is that intuition, itself, transcends physics and physical existence, thereby making both Materialism and determinism blatantly false. So his analysis is completely trivialized by his misunderstanding to the actual issue.

    First, I don't claim to have proved anything. I was simply pointing flaws in your logic. And your only rebuttal to it is to re-assert your unsubstantiated theistic belief that intuition is transcendental. And it absolutely is a theistic belief. That's what this whole transcendental thing is about. To deny it is just the same as the creationists claiming that "maybe aliens did it".

    1. "So now you're introducing yet another unsubstantiated assertion: that in addition to intuitions being transcendental, comprehension is transcendental as well. That's yet another theist belief, not based on any evidence whatsoever. But here's the thing: this was supposed to be an argument about the incoherence of the materialist's position. So if that's what you want to argue, you should start from the materialist's position, not your own theistic position, and show how it is incoherent."

      That's rich. I have shown the logic errors which attach to Materialism, and you address those errors with pejoratives, which is your primary language.

      "First, I don't claim to have proved anything. I was simply pointing flaws in your logic."

      Well you have succeeded in proving nothing, including flaws in my logic. That would take actual arguments. You provide only name calling. I'll repeat this loudly so that you can't miss it:



      There. That covers it.

    2. That's rich. I have shown the logic errors which attach to Materialism, and you address those errors with pejoratives, which is your primary language.

      What you have shown is the incoherence of a materialist adopting your principle of the transcendent nature of mental functions. But no materialist would do that. Because that's not their position.


      I didn't even state that position. I merely stated that you are a creationist, and that your creationist beliefs are reflected in your discussion of evolution, despite the fact that you insist they aren't.


      The feeling is mutual.

  15. Dude, you should read this. It describes your ilk perfectly:

    Bernardo Kastrup: How Militant Atheists Stole Your Sense of Meaning to Enhance Theirs

    I would like to see what you have to say to him.

    1. Banned after four comments. Nothing impolite, nothing aggressive, nothing derisive. I just asked him to explain how his theory works. Apparently this guy just can't stand a skeptic questioning him. Typical echo chamber.

  16. Also, here is a critique of that 29 Evidences for Macroevolution that you posted on the CADRE:

    True Origin: Critique of 29 Evidences for Macroevolution

    1. It's not surprising that you turn to the bubble of pseudo-scientific literature for lame attempts to explain away the evidence and the theory. When you live in the bubble, your view of the real world outside is distorted and limited. Try reading some literature by real evolutionary scientists for a different perspective.

    2. Oh, God. Typical Atheist drivel. You label everything like that when it doesn't agree with you. Bernardo is right. Atheists are trying to steal meaning from others.

    3. Tim Wallace at TrueOrigin is an anti-science moron who believes such things as the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution, and the moon is moving away from the earth at a rate that would make an old earth impossible. Sorry, but I'll stick with the real science.

    4. im-skeptical, even though I agree with your conclusions, the way you raise the points is not much better than the other side, when you label them (or even just that one writer) as anti-science moron...

      Regarding JB's comment here, he offered no good support for his position; he just quotes some other site that he agrees with. But that's it. I don't see the point of saying he is in a bubble. Nobody is, or we all are. That's just the way our lives work...

      But by reading material that disagree with our point of view, we are trying to burst that bubble and make sure we see the whole picture. I thus thank JB for the link, even if only a few minutes is enough to see the issues with such site.

    5. Hugo,

      This is not just a question of whether someone disagrees with my point of view. I can have a cordial debate all day long over a matter of opposing views. Science denial like this is objectively ignorant, and it has a detrimental impact. These people want to teach this stuff in the public schools. I am ideologically opposed to it.

      I don't mind getting down in the muck a little, but I avoid sinking too far. Of course, it depends on who I'm talking with. If someone initiates this kind of talk, I figure they don't mind getting a little taste of it in return. Usually, it's done in a good-natured spirit, at least from my perspective. And I do try to keep it limited. My use of terms like 'moron' is very selective. I don't say that lightly. Tim Wallace is famous for his ridiculous beliefs.

  17. Im Skeptical, you mentioned something about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This man understands the law better than most evolutionists and creationists online:

    Science Against Evolution: Thermodynamics

    Science Against Evolution: Heat and Money

    Science Against Evolution: Life in the Hot Lane

    If you have any questions, you can e-mail him directly at the address provided on his site.

    1. As far as i can tell, this guy has a high-school level of understanding of thermodynamics. The reality is far more complex than he makes it out to be. This is something that I have studied.

      In the second chapter, he mentions the formation of snowflakes, and he acknowledges that it happens in an open system where energy is added from an eternal source. OK so far, but then he completely glosses over the crucial consideration: that the snowflake formation involves an increase of complexity with a localized reduction in entropy. By his reasoning, just as the formation of complex organic molecules is a violation of the second law, that should also apply to the formation of snowflakes. It's the same principle. But we know that's not true. The fact is, he doesn't know what he's talking about.

      For a more sophisticated discussion of the thermodynamics involved in the formation of life, read this excellent book: Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter by Terrence deacon.

    2. That conclusion goes against reality. A snowflake is H20 which has lost energy and of necessity attaches to other molecules of H2O in its vicinity. This is an entropic reaction which results in a less complex arrangement than the random motion of vaporous H2O which is more complex and virtually impossible to model mathematically.

      Complexity has decreased in the snowflake into mathematically describable formations.

      Sheesh. Basic science.

    3. Sheesh. A snowflake is less complex than water molecules floating randomly. A star is less complex than a cloud of hydrogen. A tornado is less complex than the wind. Sheer ignorance.

      Read the book. It isn't just basic science. It's more advanced than anything you know about.

    4. I e-mailed the guy from the Science Against Evolution site, and he got back to me. He never said that snowflakes are made when energy is extracted from an external source, but when heat is extracted from water. He also doubts that you even read what he is trying to say.

    5. It's an open system because it is heated by the sun. In any system, a localized decrease in entropy can happen while the overall entropy increases. This is what that guy won't admit. Because that's what happens with organic molecules. Here's someone who really does know what he's talking about.

    6. Dude, I read the first link I provided again, and he basically said that entropy can decrease in an open system if energy is received by an outside source (the sun). He also said that the sum of the overall entropy open system increases, along with the entropy of the outside source. I am not sure if you read the article.

    7. Read the second article again. He says "If you follow the heat flow, you will see why snowflakes form. Entropy increases every step of the way." Everything that follows that amounts to an obfucsation of the crucial issue.

      If a snowflake can form (and it can) then so can an organic molecule.

    8. I don't see anything wrong after reading it. He's probably right: Formation of snowflakes have nothing to do with the formation of life. However, if you have issues with what he is saying, here's an idea: Go to his home page and e-mail him. He will get back to you.

    9. Proposition: Evolution violates 2nd law of thermodynamics.




      Who agrees? Religious people. Every single one. Does that tell you something?

  18. Replies
    1. The book is not written for the uneducated. And it certainly doesn't support superstition. Nevertheless, it does contain a thermodynamic explanation of the emergence of life. It can be downloaded for free.

    2. Who said that it supported superstition? There you go again: Labeling all religion as such. Bernardo was right about people like you.

    3. What I mean by that is that this book contains REAL science, not the pseudo-scientific garbage you read at all those creationist sites. Creationism is NOT SUPPORTED by real science. It isn't just evolution science that creationists deny. They deny all kinds of science, across the board, including thermodynamics. Oh, they're good at using sophisticated language, and they sound like they know what they're talking about, as long as you don't understand it yourself. But there are plenty of people who know better. Their pseudo-science has been debunked over and over again. And still they speak to the gullible who want to believe them, because it fits their superstitious beliefs.

    4. According to this rating (guy gave it a 3), the book is second generation scientism:

      Quote"With 624 pages of careful and often intense descriptions of the dynamics of emergence, this book took a bit of mental effort to grok. And although it was infuriating at times, the required effort was worthwhile. Deacon is clearly a brilliant thinker, and his good faith and honesty shine through in his writing. The best part of the book is his elaboration of the multilevel process of emergence. And if Deacon had left it at that, it would have been completely satisfying.

      Where this book fails, in my opinion, is in its larger attempt to rescue materialist metaphysics from the inevitable credibility crisis it is now entering. Deacon sides with his materialist colleagues in asserting that consciousness and values "must be physical." And he authoritatively assures us that thinking of human will as somehow "free" is a mistake; it's just the capacity to do work.

      Sometimes the most subversive arguments against an ideology come from within that ideology, and Deacon does an excellent job of showing the falsehoods of Richard Dawkins style naive physicalism. Yet even as Deacon proposes a more sophisticated form of materialism that claims to explain the causal efficacy of "teleodynamic self-organization" (i.e. human mind), he ultimately falls prey to the same flattened metaphysical limitations that he claims to have transcended.

      This is not an academic science book published by U.C. Berkeley, it's a popular trade book published by W.W. Norton, who touts it as "A profound shift in thinking that in magnitude can only be compared with those that followed upon the works of Darwin and Einstein." And it is these bold pretences to "the leading edge of human understanding" that need to be resisted and countered. Deacon wants us to accept that our consciousness is not "something more" that emerges from the biological level of evolution. Rather, he contends that we are "something less," that our subjective presence is actually an absence, and that the entire domain of interiority in both consciousness and culture is essentially nothing, a "hole in the middle."

      In several places Deacon points out the problems created by the "tacit metaphysical commitment" to materialism that dominates his field, but he then goes on to demonstrate his own loyalty to physicalism through an elaborate but ultimately unconvincing theory of dynamical (but still physical) emergence. Deacon's metaphysical commitment to physicalism is also demonstrated by the glaring lack of any discussion of the astounding creativity demonstrated by evolutionary emergence (the term "creativity" does not even show up in the index). This omission of any discussion of creativity is especially telling in light of the recent work of Deacon's fellow systems scientist, Stuart Kauffman, who has focused on the "sacred nature of creativity" as a central element in his latest thinking.

      Thus, as a result of these physicalist commitments, this book ends up being a kind of manifesto of second generation scientism. It may give temporary comfort to those who are afraid of spirit, but it is destined to be discarded in the course of history as a credible alternative to mechanistic materialism. Deacon is smart enough to see the writing on the wall: materialism is a worn out belief system. But because he has not been able to effectively escape this worldview, he is destined to go down with the ship."Quote

    5. OK, so the book doesn't agree with his superstition. That's the ting about science, as I've been saying.

    6. Another thing: I don't read creationist sites (Pogge's isn't creationist). I am also not a young-earther. And, I don't believe in superstition, I believe in Christianity.

    7. If, by Pogges, you mean Science Against Evolution, where those three pages you cited are found, then maybe you should be aware of their 75 Theses, where they postulate a supernatural origin and design of life, and advocate teaching that in the public schools.

    8. I am not going to have Pogge discuss what you say anymore, but I have some points I would like to make:

      1. Pogge doesn't advocate teaching design and religion in the public schools in his 75 theses (or in general). He just said that they shouldn't teach any fanciful speculation inconsistent with experimentally verified laws. He also doesn't believe that teachers are qualified to teach religion.

      2. Pogge believes that the two types of entropy that you talked about on Stan's blog are different. Also, you talked about some Shannon guy. David talks about Entropy and Shannon in this entry:

      Science Against Evolution: Information, Thermodynamics, and Entropy

      In that article, he talks about how he usually doesn't use creationist sources because they have little to no credibility with his target audience.

      3. Maybe Stan was a little too hard on you, but you claimed that he wished for reality to be a certain way. Did you read the title of his blog? It advocates no such thing. You also seem to toss the word superstition around a lot, which seems childish to me. I can see why you get banned from different sites.

    9. JBsptfn,

      You seem to be interested in hearing what I have to say about these issues, so I would like to address the first two in detail. I will make a new post, probably tomorrow.

      As for the final issue, I think that this is all a matter of perspective. First, I'm not upset by Stan's banning me. It happens. I move on. However, you should know that I don't just barge into someone's site and start spouting abusive things at them. When I went there, before I said anything at all, I spent some time exploring, and I saw that Stan has had plenty of things to say about atheists, and they're not so nice. Still, when I began commenting, I was not mean or abusive. I asked him some questions, and his reaction was hostile. In the conversations that followed, things didn't improve.

      I don't claim to be the picture of perfect etiquette. But do try to be polite with people who are polite with me. I don't initiate hostility in these exchanges, and when I give a little back, I don't go too far with it. Sure, I used the word 'superstition'. How does that compare to being told that you are intellectually and morally VOID? Yes, the banner of his blog says "Atheism Analyzed", what passes for analysis in his mind is really just a lot of invective. Did you notice all the things Stan said to me? All the ad hominem attacks? Did you notice that he called me a coward for deleting his comments? And when he was told that they were not deleted, he still wouldn't admit that he was mistaken. And when I showed him that he was wrong about entropy, he wouldn't admit that, either. The easy answer for Stan is to ban me, and go on pretending that he's still right about everything, with nobody like me to tell him that he's not.

    10. Stan did ban you, and he was moderating comments, but he has since stopped:

      Atheism-Analyzed: Moderation is off

    11. I don't make comments where I'm not welcome. I would only return if he decides to invite me back.

      By the way, I made my latest post, The Undercover Creationist, as a response to your comment here.

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