This Old Earth (part 1 of 3)

My sixth video on atheism. This one took about a month of my spare time due to the large amount of research and web searching I did for it. I respond to VenomFangX’s video “The Age of the Earth” in which he uses some bogus arguments to prove that the age of the planet is 6,000 years.

This is the first part of three. In the first two parts, I debunk VenomFangX’s arguments. In the third part, I explain how we know that the earth is 4.55 billion years old.

YouTube Preview Image

The transcript and references list will be up sometime in the next few days.

110 Responses to “This Old Earth (part 1 of 3)”

  1. Grant Says:

    Al,
    Seriously, what are you doing trying to present facts? Don’t you know that the things that religious people in general and Creationists in particular hate more than anything else are cold, testable facts?
    As an atheist myself, I have been watching your site for a few weeks now, and love what you are doing. But, I worry that this site may stop when some loving, caring, non-violent Christian comes along and beats you into something resembling tapioca pudding for daring to challenge his “unwavering” beliefs!
    Keep up the good fight, just don’t get frustrated when you remember that great scientists such as Richard Dawkins point out, every time you refute one of the delusions of these nuts, two more will spring up because you have split the gap of knowledge (creating two gaps when only one existed before). Now, you will have to work exponentially as hard! Which is good for me, because there will be less time between videos.
    In my line of work, psychiatric patients have a very set way to be dealt with when they have a very warped way of dealing with reality. The texts say that you need to present them with facts to bring them back from fantasy and ground them again to what is really going on. What happens if they still believe in the psychosis? Unfortunately, the texts are vague on this, only stating that you need to monitor them closely and try to get their medications increased.
    In short, be careful of the crazies, watch you tuckus, and try to wear asbestos lined boxers.

  2. hyrcan Says:

    Awesome once again. Looking forward to the next parts!

  3. Alpha Says:

    I admire the effort you put into your video. The intellectual dishonesty that runs rampant throughout the creationist society is so ridiculous. I lack the patience to deal with people regarding their pseudo-science but it’s nice to see that there are people out there willing to combat this nonsense. Keep up the good fight.

  4. VenomFangX Says:

    Hi,
    I notice you have blocked me on Youtube. That’s ok, I understand. I have a similar tactic. I check all incoming comments before they are posted. I select all the ones I like. I call it Supernatural Selection.
    I don’t see why the Devil should have all the aces.

    (Note from Al: This isn’t the real VenomFangX, who I have not blocked. I did however, block VenomFanqX, who has a Q instead of the G, and makes irrelevant posts in his name. From the comments on his YouTube profile, other people have been complaining to him about this spurious tactic.)

  5. Renehbeau Says:

    Once again a very entertaining refutation of Creationism.
    I’m looking forward to parts 2 and 3, keep up the great work!

  6. Bryan Lower Says:

    I very much appreciate the videos you make. I wish I had the time and energy to do what you do. If I’m ever in the San Francisco area, I’ll buy you a beer. Unless you don’t drink beer, in which case.. hey! It’s never too late to start! Yay, beer!

    Please make more videos.
    Sincerely,
    The Make More Videos Lobby

  7. Joe Says:

    I just wanted to say I love how much thought you have put into these. Your arguments are very well thought out. I was hoping you might go into how the scientific theory works and how you can never be 100% sure anything is true. What is considered truth today might turn out to be not quite right or completely wrong tomorrow. I find when asked about my beliefs by theist they have a hard time understanding this. Their minds have been conditioned in a way that makes belief in a non-concrete view very hard to understand. To them beliefs can’t be fluid or change because theirs have always been very stable.

    If I could only argue half as well as you I would never lose one. Please keep it up!

  8. Jolly Sapper Says:

    Good job Al, can’t wait for the next instalment. Nice to know there are non-believers that aren’t as lazy as me and actually do something useful with their time.

    Keep it up.

  9. ANDR3W Says:

    Bravo
    Al, your doing a great job, and a tremendous service for atheists, agnostics, and non-believers everywhere. I thoroughly enjoy your informative videos, in fact i often post them in arguments on facebook. Your style of filming reminds me of the standard deviants film series. Keep up the good work.

  10. SafariMike Says:

    Al,
    Well done!! When I first heard of this insanity of “intelligent design” it made me very glad that I live in Canada and was educated before this stuff started gaining support. I am amazed that individuals can still profess to this outdated and ridiculous theory, which, I might add was thoroughly debunked after it was presented the first time by the Bishop (or Archbishop I can’t really remember) back in the middle ages!! I am a geologist and I laugh whenever I hear individuals trying to claim that the Earth is only 6000 years old. I usually point out little things like the Grand Canyon, fossil records, radiometric dating, and other quantifiable phenomenon that exist all around us.

    However, I can say that after living in so many different countries and experiencing so many different cultures and religions that it is the unfortunate mindset of the religious to disregard any factual evidence and just take it all on faith.

    Keep it up though!!! I enjoy watching your videos and appreciate the time that you take to get your facts straight.

  11. Mike Says:

    give us part 2 already, you tease!

  12. Josh Says:

    Thanks for all the videos Al, helps me get along in the bible belt. Keep it up! I really enjoy your videos, they’re very well thought out, entertaining (just WOW at some of their arguments), and they remind me I am not alone.

  13. Mark Says:

    great stuff.

    It was nice to see a well thought out, non aggresive arguement to counter someone else. I said somewhere else that the problem today is that people tend to name call and get angry when people dont agree with them. Not to mention that when people dont know about something they tend to just get angry and claim that the opposing arguement makes no sense. Ignorance on a topic leads to stupidity on a topic. grats on being well informed, and making a very intelligent response.

  14. LD Says:

    I really enjoy the Videos. May I suggest that you always put a link to the video you are responding to?

    Thx

  15. djd Says:

    Muthafuka:

    You are the reason YouTube is a bad idea.

  16. Casey Says:

    Just finished the sixth and I must say, ALL of your videos are brilliantly articulated, and very well thought out, sound-headed, entertaining pieces of persuasion.

    On another note, that little boy “VENOMFANGX” really needs to take a calculus course, and some physics.

    Anyway, grats! Damn good job.

  17. Ragaxus Says:

    Hi there, Al,

    I saw your videos on YouTube today, and I’m very impressed with not only your refutations’ quality and degree of thought, but also the style you deliver them with. You’re entertaining as well as factual; keep it up!

    However, I used to be athiest, but am now agnostic after reading the Ontological Proof of St. Anselm. It reads thus:
    Given: God is the most supreme being man can imagine.
    1. Man can imagine both a God that does exist and a God that doesn’t.
    2. A God that does exist is superior to a God that doesn’t by the virtue of existence.
    ERGO. God exists. QED.
    I’d very much like to hear your opinion of this.


    Ragaxus

    The ontological argument is the worst form of nonsense. At it’s core it states that this perfect thing I imagine to be true must be true, because if it wasn’t true it wouldn’t be perfect, so how could I imagine it? This of course, is at best a fun little mind game.

    Another flaw with this idea is that it assumes existence is superior to non-existence. Using the same thought-experiment, you could say that a God who created the universe who does not exist is superior to a God who created the universe who does exist. The former God was able to achieve this feat without even the prerequisite of existing, which the latter God is constrained by, and thus he is the most supreme being I can conceive. Douglas Gasking presents a similar counter, but unlike Anselm, Gasking and I know we are being foppish.

    Also, even if one did accept this argument, it tells us nothing about the nature of this god. You could easily replace “God” in this sentence with “Flying Spaghetti Monster” and it would still be valid or invalid for the same reasons. Or, more seriously, replace the word “God” in your argument with the variable “X”. You’ve just proven that X exists, but what the heck is X anyway?

    But the reason I hold such contempt for this specious argument is this: it pompously decrees what reality is or isn’t without checking the actual evidence we have. It pretends that we reality must follow what we imagine simply because we can imagine it so. There are many arguments you could make for the existence of gods or God, but the ontological argument is particularly lame.

    -Al 

  18. Jakob Bloch-Nielsen Says:

    Hi Al

    I would like to write some deep and thoughtful things about the subject here but alas I do not know enough about the subject of the movie. I will however like to extend my congratulation…

    Congratulation Al

    You are the proud owner of the first blog I have ever put on my favorits list.

    I am very impressed with your work on this (nad your other) movies. I like the style (even though you admit you stole it… I am a big fan of “stealing” creative ideas and cliches). I do however have one spot of critique. This is not for the movie itself but about when you puplish it. You stat in your movie that we should go to your website (this one) to see your sources and a transcript. In future I think it would be an idea not to publish your movies before you have all the sources and transcripts ready if you are going to reference them.
    Well that was it… I don’t hope it hurt too much. I look forward to the next installment

    Yours sincerly
    Jakob Bloch-Nielsen

  19. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Tsk tsk, the hydrogen shell thing is a red herring, he isn’t challenging the way in which star life cycles progress, rather the mass of the sun, but at least you get around to refuting his sources.

    Answeringgenesis.com… now THERE’s an appeal to authority.

    Other than that it would be only even more minor nitpicking. However, I am curious if you have viewed my other posts. And if so if you would care to respond. No offense intended to anyone, but I am curious if you have refutations for non-childishly simple arguments.

  20. Socrates Johnson Says:

    though I just saw your statement about Anselm, bad form :P invoking a backwards “god can make a stone so heavy” (the a non-existent god can be a causal agent point) is assuming a logical impossibility. And come now, while the identity criteria are left vague, the definition involves the who in a sense. and should god be the flying spathetti monster well then that would be the proper entity to worship. Not sure where Anselm ever had a point with identification criteria in the first place.

  21. Jeremy Says:

    Waiting eagerly for numbers 2 and 3….hopefully you will post them back to back?

  22. Dan Says:

    When is the transcript and references going to be up? Great video but it would be more effective if we could point them to something to prove the point.

  23. MovGP0 Says:

    My personal thought about this “intelligent design” is, that life, the universe and everything is just to complex for “intelligent design”.

  24. MovGP0 Says:

    Re: “god can make a stone so heavy”
    quantum physics teaches us that there are only two things in the universe: energy and space; where space is something that spreads energy. Mass is nothing other than energy.
    The first mistake is thinking in terms like “heavy”.
    The second mistake is thinking that somethig has to be “made”.
    The third is thinking that there must be a “god”.

  25. BENTRT Says:

    “My personal thought about this “intelligent design” is, that life, the universe and everything is just to complex for “intelligent design”. (Mov)

    What do you mean by this? Is there something in the universe that is too complex e.g…? Do you just think natural random processes can create something the collective heads of brillant scientists and/or God can’t?

  26. Tory Greco Says:

    I would like to tell you how much I admire your eloquent way of putting things. The videos are very nice to watch when I need something to back up my beliefs. (…Or lack of beliefs, as the case may be…)

    It’s a lonely world for atheists sometimes. I appreciate you actually taking the initiative to start speaking out. And although I do debate with many people (It’s a passion of mine), I really don’t think I have the IQ or straight up facts needed to prove my point to the average “LALALALALALA IM RIGHT LALALALA Christian.” I’m 18 now, and I have been trying to get friends and family to, at the very least: see my point of view, for three or four years. I’ve yet to succeed in this with any Christian I’ve ever met.

    Though I never ‘lose’ an argument, it always seems to end when I bring the other person to a point where they feel uncomfortable with the facts or basic logic I’ve presented. And after a day at church, they’re always back at 100%. “You’re gonna goto hell, dude!” …Blah…

    Anyways, that was a little bit of a tangent. Thank you for giving me something to emulate here. And I think it’s about time atheists had someone literate defending our points.

    I can’t wait for parts two and three.

    Thanks again,
    ~Tory

  27. MovGP0 Says:

    “Do you just think natural random processes can create something the collective heads of brillant scientists and/or God can’t”

    I think that intelligence is something that tries to simplify and abstract things. Also intelligence needs a base of information it can work with. Intelligence alone can’t do anything.

    What I really wanted to express with that is, that you can use the main argument of creationists, stating that life is too complex for evolution, against those creationists.

    Also even thinking that there is a “creator” don’t solves the problem of the origin, because the “creator” needs to have origins too. If there are no origins of this “creator” – stating that the “creator” is defined by itself – leads us to the idea that there is no need for a “creator”, because Universe (and something behind the universe that is based on physical principes) could be defined by itself too.

  28. BENTRT Says:

    “Also intelligence needs a base of information it can work with. Intelligence alone can’t do anything”.

    Yeah but in life that information doesn’t come/appear from nowhere without information. So complex life, containing lots of information even in the simplest cell, coming or ‘evolving’ from molecules seems a bit like an imaginary story.

    “Also even thinking that there is a “creator” don’t solves the problem of the origin, because the “creator” needs to have origins too”. (Mov)

    Why!? Everything that has a beginning has a cause. The Universe had a beginning so requires a cause. Since God, by definition, is the creator of the whole universe, he is the creator of time. Therefore He is not limited by the time dimension He created, so has no beginning in time. Therefore He doesn’t have a cause. Therefore we you would need a creator to create the universe and the Universe isn’t defined by itself like a creator.

  29. Kevin (The Roycing Carnap) Says:

    1) Let me start off by saying I think it is a really good point about holding rates of change as constant. This is indeed fallacious, and you are absolutely right in pointing it out.

    2) The remainder of this post will be oriented toward a comment you posted above, regarding the ontological argument for the existence of God. I think the ontological argument isn’t focused just toward inferring reality from what we can imagine, but is actually an argument of the logical necessity of God’s existence–it would be much better to talk of it in terms of conceptualization. In other words, to use standard philosophical terminology (and you can look this up, especially in reference to, say, Immanuel Kant), the argument is based on the analyticity of the statement “God exists.” It really is, as Socrates Johnson pointed out, a matter of “who.” God is defined as a perfect being. Let us, just for the moment, suppose that existence is a property of perfection. It would therefore be deductively valid to say that God has the property of existence. And in fact, the predicate (“exists”) is, if so defined, entailed under the subject (“God”). The flying spaghetti monster, by contrast, is not by definition an all-perfect entity, and therefore all properties of perfection are not entailed in the term “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

    Again, since it is a point of analyticity, we recognize the self-contradiction/absurdity inherent in speaking of a non-existent God who created the universe. In other words, the opposite of the ontological argument, as you construct it at one point, is simply meaningless and thus does not hold. I take it that this is Socrates Johnson’s point when he mentions the issue of God creating a boulder so heavy that He Himself could not lift it. Well, this is meaningless from the start.

    3) I personally think that assertions about reality are nonsense, but nevertheless they are completely metaphysical and not intended to be factual. Science, and empirical fact-checking, are not applicable to the realm of metaphysical assertions. And any, or at least most, assertions that deal with the nature of reality (not just what is in reality and how they relate), is generally going to fall in the realm of metaphysical inquiry. It was just David Hume’s point, when he said to through all metaphysics into the fire, that we couldn’t place empirical judgments upon metaphysical contentions. Of course, this falls into the realm of verificationism, which has many flaws and I am sure very few today would even consider as, in its strictest form, cogent. Nevertheless, the point is that it is implausible from the start to ask that we empirically check the actual evidence for what is or isn’t reality. This is a case for what is in reality, and the relations thereof, but not necessarily what is the nature of reality (in other words, meta-physics—over/beyond-physics). Hence, assertions about God need not be falsifiable to be cogent, given that they are not scientific. In fact, this was A.J. Ayer’s point, up to an extent, when he stated that because supernatural matters were not verifiable, they were literally meaningless (so theism and atheism were both meaningless positions).

    It is, in essence, a “category-mistake” (Gilbert Ryle, 1949) to speak of theistic matters in terms of science, and vice versa. This results in quite bizarre nonsensical statements. In fact, propositions regarding God, and those of scientific nature, are of two entirely different categories. To speak of them as within the same category is much like the foreign student who visits all the buildings and libraries and laboratories of Oxford, and then says, “I have seen all the buildings, etc., but where is the University?”

  30. speedosrock1053 Says:

    i agree with grant-you are going to hell. No,i’m kidding. Your videos are great and I’m a Christan. So keep pwning people with your facts. So far I agree with everything that you say in your videos, expect the whole fact that God doesn;t exist.
    -gunit

  31. Socrates Johnson Says:

    oh Kevin (The Roycing Carnap)… haven’t you noticed that Al won’t take the time to argue with you unless you are foaming at the mouth and have the intelectual capacity of a 5 year old. So sad.

  32. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Oh, and by the way, the challenge goes back out Al… Prove me wrong.

  33. MovGP0 Says:

    “Since God, by definition, is the creator of the whole universe, he is the creator of time. Therefore He is not limited by the time dimension He created, so has no beginning in time.”

    Funny to see you cite me partly, so that it becomes a whole new meaning. Saying only part of the truth, so that it becomes a different meaning is defined as lying. Or haven’t you read the sentence after? I wrote:

    “… stating that the ‘creator’ is defined by itself – leads us to the idea that there is no need for a ‘creator’ ….”

    God is defined as the creator of the whole universe. But the universe is not defined having God as its creator.
    If now there would be no creator of the universe there would be no God.
    Assuming that this can be possible is just logical.

  34. MovGP0 Says:

    btw: it doesn’t makes sense to discuss with me about time, because I measure time in units of 1/Vs and quantities of Planck’s constant. When I refer to “bevore” the Universe then I don’t mean time.

  35. BENTRT Says:

    I’m not really that bright when it comes to physics and the Universe. You confuse me an awful lot. But this is what i don’t really get. Scientists say that the Universe had a beginning i.e. the BB. If that is so the Universe and the creator are two different kettle of fish.

    To say the universe could be defined by itself seem to me to mean that the Universe is all there is, it wasn’t created, it just is. That’s where I notice a contradiction. Now as you say it’s logical to assume that the Universe isn’t created by God but what made it come be. If it isn’t created it at least needs a cause if it had a beginning. Now that’s where a problem arises for me because then you have to say that the universe came from nothing and was caused by something that was uncaused. That’s where we get into the realm of a God like causer it might as well be God. If you think the Universe is just it wasn’t created what evidence is there for that?

    I don’t know what you think about the Universe so it would be cool if you filled me in (using as little physics type jargon as poss)

  36. MovGP0 Says:

    The universe is by definition all what we know. We don’t know what’s out of the universe; if we would know whats out of the universe this would be part of the universe by definition. The universe we know has time and the beginning of this time is therefore the beginning of the universe.

    Ok, let’s talk about the beginning of space, time (which is space too) and the energy (or matter) within. Some theories say that there was a “big bang” which was neither big nor a bang. Others say that it began with the collision of two brans; but brans and strings are just a mathematical description.

    I’ll assume the the Bran theory as right for the moment, which doen’t needs to be the case.

    Now you can assume a God that created a bran that created the universe. But you can also assume that a Bran is something that has no beginning and no ending, just like you would assume a God need to be. So you can also assme that a Bran is a part of God. Furthermore you could also assume that God as we think of is in thruth just a Bran.

    But in the Theory a Bran is more like a Universe like ours than something completly different.

    —-
    But these theory away. It’s not locical to assume that there is no god. It’s equally locical to assume that there could be either multiple gods (like in greek mythology), a single god (as in christianity), or no god at all. It’s further highly possible that we all live in a Matrix and just don’t know about.

    If you choose one of the possibilities as right, you are false, because then you have choosen one possibility out of infinite possibilities. Its really much more probable that you guess a centillion numbers right while playing Lotto.

    Therefore I think that even if there is (or was) a god it won’t be like any of us think about.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    “What was always accepted of everyone and everywhere as correct, is the wrong with considerable certainty.”
    – John Desmond Bernal

  38. MovGP0 Says:

    Can’t wait till Al tells about this “life after dead”.

  39. BENTRT Says:

    Surely you could narrow it down to either their was a god/gods that created the universe or there wasn’t, instead of the infinite possibilities. And in reference to that Matrix thing why would you want to believe in that since there is no real evidence to suggest its true. Also if i remember there was a person who created the Matrix in the Matrix films.

    Also if there is no God why is there is something rather than nothing.

  40. MovGP0 Says:

    “… to that Matrix thing why would you want to believe in that since there is no real evidence to suggest its true.”

    I believe in the possibility that we could live in a matrix like I believe in the possibility that there could be a god.

    There is no evidence in both.

  41. BENTRT Says:

    ‘There is no evidence in both.’(Mov)

    i’d have to disagree with that statement lol.

    anyway cheers for ur insights!

  42. kenster 93 Says:

    You make very good points in your video. I am a christian, and my religion enforces converting people to our faith. But I consider it the view of an extremist that would be desperate enough to argue facts as venomfangx does when his evidence doesn’t stand to test because of his flawed exaggerations. I’m only in 7th grade, but I can make my own arguments concerning flaws in the evolution and big bang theorys. Evolution is believed to have taken millions of years. Now from the view of someone who believes in no ” supernatural GOD” the fact that life evolves over that period seems, indeed very plausable. However, if we are believed to have evolved from say, fishes. Each animal’s lifespan would have to be hundreds of years long. Also, by this theory, wouldn’t all animals have evolved? And the big bang theory is, as I see, one of the most argueable theorys I’ve heard. Space cannot produce anything because it is, as well as we can define, absolute nothingness. How could it have created oxygen? let alone the beginnings of any complex organisms.

  43. Matthew K.W. Says:

    Very well done, sir… but where’s the next one? Your fans wait with bated breath.

  44. kenster 93 Says:

    hi! Kenster 93 here again.I have been doing some research and found an interesting fact. Recent studys have shown that there is more chance of a tornado going through a scrap yard and constucting a fully functional plane than evolution creating the human eye. You could argue that the fact doesn’t state that evolution is completely impossible, and I could consider evolution plausable. That is, if you show an example of aplane made by strong, non-man made wind storm constructing a plane from, most likely, inadaquete materials.

    This is the “evolution is just random chance and cannot create complicated organism” argument, and it ignores a very critical mechanism of evolution: that the changes are incremental on each other, and these changes do not all happen at once. The common creationist response to this is the “irreducibly complex” argument, which has its own flaws. (My other videos go into this.)

    Evolution is not entirely just random chance because of this mechanism of keeping and propagating the mutations beneficial to the organism and dropping the ill-adaptive ones. I’ll offer this analogy: You could argue that poker is a game of random chance, and in a sense you would be correct; the cards are shuffled and dealt out randomly. From that, you could say that you have just as much chance at winning at poker against any other person, since you both get equally random cards. But if you went to the ESPN Texas Hold’ Em Championship, you would be cleaned out every single time even though your hand is just as random as your opponents. Similarly, evolution’s mechanism knows “when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em”.

    Of course, it is a blind process. How nature “knows” which traits are best are tested through a trial by fire: survivability in the organism’s environment. And the traits that are beneficial to one environment are not best in all of them. Large bodies and stronger muscles may serve you well most times, but in a drought the small and skinny creatures who are more suited to scarce food supplies will survive at the end of the day. “Complexity” is not necessarily a beneficial trait either. Despite being single-celled organisms, bacteria show no sign of going extinct.

    -Al (5/31/07)

  45. Stu Says:

    Hey Al,

    I really like the videos, so well thought out researched and argued. If there’s anything that religious nuts hate more then anything else, its logical, rational calm reasoning. Keep them coming buddy!

  46. BENTRT Says:

    “If there’s anything that religious nuts hate more then anything else, its logical, rational calm reasoning.”

    I’d have to disagree with that. VenomfangX doesn’t present the majority.

  47. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Why is it that no debate between peoples over politics, humanitarian concerns, etc which is NOT tolerant is considered intelligent.

    Yet no discussion between religion and science which IS tolerant is considered intelligent.

  48. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Well at least isn’t considered such by the logical positivists, etc.

    oh and I forgot these above *??* :P

  49. Kevin (The Roycing Carnap) Says:

    “And in reference to that Matrix thing why would you want to believe in that since there is no real evidence to suggest its true.”

    In fact, The Matrix poses the question of the epistemological gap, and it questions just the possibility of stating that there “is no real evidence” to suggest that there is a Matrix. Because all of our empirical sensations, and therefore all of our “facts,” may just be a construction of some nefarious being, we cannot be sure that empirical evidence has any credibility (or so it goes). It is no coincidence that The Matrix derives its philosophical foundations from the Idealist and Intellectualist traditions of Plato and Descartes–who largely rejected the empirical realm (at least when it comes to rationality, mind, and ideas/thoughts).

    Now, the question of who then created God is a very old one. But there are many solutions. Aristotle’s solution was something like to say that God is the creator that thinks himself. The argument does not suffice as a general argument, we would then have to go into all the peculiarities of the various religions and sub-religions. Does God obey the logic that he creates? That is fundamentally the question at stake, and it is not obvious what the answer is, or is claimed to be. Now, at the same time, this ad infinitum argument is just as pertinent to the universe without God. But the difference between saying a Bran is infinite and saying God is so, is, once again, my point wrt the ontological argument. That is this, according to some conceptions, God is by definition an infinite creator, etc. There is some reason, if we accept this view, that we should then conceive God in such terms. But there is no conceptual, definitional, or analytic reason to say that a Bran is infinite. To say God is infinite is, for some, analytic, to say it for a Bran is synthetic.

  50. Kevin (The Roycing Carnap) Says:

    Analytic proposition: a proposition whose predicate concept is contained in its subject concept. Hence, in asserting the proposition, no new knowledge is created or gained. E.g., “All bachelors are unmarried.”

    Synthetic proposition: a proposition whose predicate concept is not contained in its subject concept. Hence, in asserting the proposition, new knowledge (or the potential thereof) is created or gained. (E.g., “All bachelors own lava lamps”).

    Just to be sure, I am not saying that in fact statements such as “God is infinite” or “God exists” are in fact analytic. But I am saying, for the purposes of our dialectical inquiry, that if one is to argue such matters, the fact that, according to some constructions, arguments about God being infinite or existing do concern arguments of analyticity (that the predicate “exists” or “is infinite” are in fact contained within the subject term [God], in the same way that unmarried is contained in “bachelor”).

    This is, I think, where we find difficulty in some of the objections raised. It is that there is, according to some argument, an intrinsic, even necessary (if we want to use Kripke’s definition of “analytic”–that it is true in all possible worlds) connection between God and these predicates, whereas there is no such connection between the predicates and some other arbitrary postulated entity (such as a random x, or a Bran).

    I’ll just anticipate one possible response: that we amend the definition of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to include existence. But that does not follow from its central definition (it is ad hoc). To avoid this, one would have to say that the FSM includes all predicates of perfection. But then there really is no good distinction (besides a picture) between FSM and traditional conceptions of God, the analogy collapses and so too does the argument to absurdity.

    Once again,
    Your Devil’s (no pun intended) Advocate

  51. Colin Says:

    Al-

    I’m happy that someone is bold enough to let everyone know he doesn’t believe in a god. I’m truely tired of being told that Jesus was with me, and I’m tired of athletes pointing up at the sky thanking god when they should thank their genetics, hard work, and talent. Most if not all of your points are well researched and make complete sense, although I’m afraid certain people will begin to become overly devoted and dependent on your arguments in order to enhance their beliefs. I just wish people would use their own intuition and observations to make up their mind in what they believe. Please pardon any syntax or punctuationaly problems, as I am only 17 and am lackin in practice.

    -bill

  52. Socrates Johnson Says:

    “and I’m tired of athletes pointing up at the sky thanking god when they should thank their genetics, hard work, and talent. ” -bill/colin… whatever.

    I agree, it is intolerable when athletes do that. People shouldn’t be allowed to thank somebody I don’t believe in. Stop thanking your parents for things; I don’t believe in them.

    Oh I also don’t believe in atoms, no one has ever seen one. And in fact it could be argued that there are an infinite number of other hypothetic models which I have the same justification to believe under many confirmation models. So don’t thank physics when you successfully launch rockets. Thank the gnomes that carry force at a distance, and the elves that make gravity work.

    But seriously. I do agree with you that it would be dangerous for people to just adopt Al’s arguments without thinking.

    “Quoting the bible doesn’t count as thinking, Sam” -Men in hats. Aaron Farber

    To be frank though, talking about science doesn’t really either. Neither does quoting some guy on a video on the internet, or referring to random webcomics.
    :P

  53. MovGP0 Says:

    “here is more chance of a tornado going through a scrap yard and constucting a fully functional plane than evolution creating the human eye.”

    This is incorrect. The eye is evolved from the need of bacteria to create energy from light. When the organism got more complex the light receiving cells were no longer needed to produce energy directly, because complex organism were able to eat. But the cells remained, because they were helpful for finding food. Because the light-receiving cells where very exposed, evolution formed a recessing and guarded it with a transparent material, which has finally become the lenses.

    In truth, the eye has evolved serval times as modern genetics has found out! There are at least 5 different evolution-branches. Contrast that with the number of fully functional plaines a tornado has built – afaik there are none.

    Therefore I don’t agree that the evolution of the eye is impossible.

  54. MovGP0 Says:

    “Oh I also don’t believe in atoms, no one has ever seen one.”

    There is no need to see an atom, because you can successfully measure the effects of atoms, elektrons, photons, quarks, and the like. Seeing is just another way of measurement. Beside of this, nobody has everytime measured a “god”.

    Our models and understandings of Atoms are contantly changing and improving:
    -500 Leukipp, Demokrit
    1618 Sennert
    1661 Boyle
    1785 Lavoisier
    1791 Richter
    1803 Dalton
    1903 Lenard
    1903 Thomson
    1911 Rutherford
    1913 Bohr
    1916 Bohr, Sommerfeld
    1982 Schrödinger

    That means that even we now understand things we didn’t know five decades ago, that doesn’t means that we have a final model of atoms. This means that even Schrödinger’s model is very accurate, we need to keep open minded that Schrödinger’s model is false.

  55. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Apparently sarcasm and lampooning are lost on the general populace.

    However, since you seem bent on challenging my overall point; here goes. To be frank, the logical positivist model upon which the majority of these arguments made here against theistic positions rest assumes something to the effect that “if it cannot be empirically verified it is meaningless” or some such drivel (internal consistency anyone? I thought not.) The problem is that you actually cannot give sufficient reason in an empirical sense to justify your assumption that atoms are indeed what you say they are. Science rather assumes something to the effect of Ockham’s razor or an inference to the best explanation (both of which are not allowable in a logical positivist paradigm.)

    Now, the problem I have with this is that one, not that I think science isn’t allowed to make those moves, because philosophy and logic do all the time. However, inferences to the best explanation are the types of logic often used by people doing things like making arguments for the existence of god from fine-tuning or design. And when theists or philosophers use those arguments often the cry goes out “NOT FAIR, NOT FAIR! NO EMPIRICAL JUSTIFICATION!” but when the same point is thrown back science goes… “awww shucks…” and never gives a solid answer. Science ends up just doing some smoke and mirrors and claiming things like “we adjust our understanding therefore we are right” and I assume I don’t have to spell out the bad logic there.

    Don’t get me wrong, science has its uses, and does fine things for the world. However, I restate my original point from quite a few posts ago. Science isn’t in the business of making metaphysical claims. “God does not exist” is a metaphysical claim. Therefore science doesn’t prove god does not exist. Sure you can say “Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là” like Laplace. (I have no need for the god hypothesis) But come now, why proselytize?

  56. Socrates Johnson Says:

    With regards to the measurement of god point. see logical positivism above… If you still don’t understand take a logic class, then look at logical positivism. If you still don’t understand publish crap books that appeal to the public and yet cause philosophers, logicians, thinkers, etc. to cringe. I wont name names but one such author’s last name starts with a D and rhymes with hawkins *cough cough* :P

  57. BENTRT Says:

    “This is incorrect. The eye is evolved from the need of bacteria to create energy from light. When the organism got more complex the light receiving cells were no longer needed to produce energy directly, because complex organism were able to eat. But the cells remained, because they were helpful for finding food. Because the light-receiving cells where very exposed, evolution formed a recessing and guarded it with a transparent material, which has finally become the lenses”.

    How would you know this. How do we know this happened. We don’t it pure speculation with no evidence. Sound like another just-so story. How did the transparent material form, through mutation? But that would require information increasing mutations since new information has to be added to the genome to create this transparant material, we have never observed any mutation that has increased information

  58. MovGP0 Says:

    @Socrates Johnson:
    “if it cannot be empirically verified it is meaningless”
    Thats a good point! I need to remember that ;-)

    “we adjust our understanding therefore we are right”
    No one who understands the scientific method would ever say that. Science is not for prooving what is right, but for prooving what is false.

    “science doesn’t prove god does not exist”
    As Agnostic, that’s totally my point. But science also doesn’t prove if god does exist. Creationists are abusing science to do just that.

    At least, this ‘logical positivism’ is crap, because it tries to proove if something is right.

    @BENTRT:
    “How would you know this.”
    By observation of nature.

    “How do we know this happened.”
    Because we have eyes. Don’t you?
    I think this question is similar to this ‘why do we exist?’ question, which is simply answered: when we won’t exist, than we couldnt ask that question.

    “We don’t it pure speculation with no evidence.”
    As I always say: there is evidence in nothing. But observation prooved speculation is more then just ‘speculation’.

    “How did the transparent material form, through mutation?”
    It was already there. The transparent material is just a type of water filled skin. Nature just used it differently. In fact, you will see that Nature is bad in evolving complete new things but good in reuse existing things in new ways.

    “…since new information has to be added to the genome to create this transparant material”
    Water was already transparent. There was no need for the biological evolution to do so.

    “we have never observed any mutation that has increased information”
    Mutation is by definition increase or loss of information. So, you’re wrong.

    At least, because I love to answer questions with links, here is a Wikipedia article about:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

  59. MovGP0 Says:

    Sidenote: Things to improve in human vision:

    Polarisation of Light
    Sharpness of an Eagle
    Higher see-frequency
    Nightvision like a Cat
    Hyperspectrum (IR, UV)
    Omniview
    seeing underwater using a moveable lens like some toads

  60. kenster 93 Says:

    (in rersponse to 45 and 46)what “religious nuts” hate more than anything is being called religious nuts!! besides, namecalling shows insecurity, and more words than thoughts. And your statements show generalizations that Al would disagree with, just as saying Athiests have no beliefs, And all muslims believe in Killing infadels by, say attacking the twin towers. Though it is true that it was by muslims, it was part of an Extremist culture.

  61. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Pointing out spelling errors? Oh come now, tacky. Also, a million short posts is not the same as not being long-winded.

    Fine, I won’t quip. Dawkins is a bad form of scientist. His work is irresponsible and dogmatic in a way that I can only describe as fundamentalist. But I have spelled out what is wrong with him elsewhere. Basically he argues poorly (which is to say illogically, and abusively, but more on that below.)

    Am I the extremist? I have done nothing but argue for something akin to a truly skeptical and possibly agnostic view. Oh yeah, and pointed out that abusing people or calling them names, telling them that they are long-winded, etc, do NOT count as arguing. Period.

    On “Nuts”, please show where I am intolerant or reductive towards a tradition. Calling me intolerant or accusing me of being unfair with regards to generalizations is not the same as it being true.

    In response to comment 62. It is called a reductio ad absurdum. Logic. Though maybe you are just being snarky?

    Jesus(Yahushua when not mistranslated)was a reasonably common name. History is full of fun facts.

    I am not sure why you argue against me, considering you sound like a theist and I am attacking Al’s (and his cadre’s) dogmatic approach to atheism (at least this is how I see it, I could me mistaken)

    Calling me a nerd is just trite. See the above point about reductio ad absurdum for gnomes. Though I guess its pretty great that you have decided I need prescription drugs (and I am sure I would agree with you if I were on drugs.)

    That’s called an ad hominem, it means I made fun of you instead of arguing against you. It is bad form, and now that you have seen a prime example leveled against you I recommend you knock that off.

    Oh and once again. Not only is correcting spelling asinine. But really, at least practice what you preach. (post 59 it’s infidels, not “infadels “, and in post 66 it is Ritalin, not “Riddlin”.)

  62. Socrates Johnson Says:

    (Continued)

    Correcting Kevin’s spelling is not the same as arguing with his extensive points.

    Ball’s in your court. I look forward to more flames/abuses. Prove me wrong. It will be fun!

  63. BENTRT Says:

    ”By observation of nature” (Mov)
    By observing nature we don’t see anything that resembles the stages that the wiki link proposed.

    “Because we have eyes. Don’t you”. (Mov)
    That’s pure Evolution of the gaps not science. i.e We don’t know how the eye got here but he have eyes so Evolution must have done it.

    “As I always say: there is evidence in nothing. But observation proved speculation is more then just ’speculation”. (Mov)
    But we haven’t observed the proposed stages of eye evolution and not even that, the eye stage don’t even explain how the light sensitive patch even originated.

    “How did the transparent material form, through mutation?” (BENTRT)
    “It was already there. The transparent material is just a type of water filled skin. Nature just used it differently… Nature is bad in evolving complete new things but good in reuse existing things in new ways”. (Mov)
    But we can’t explain how those originally existing things arose.

    “Water was already transparent. There was no need for the biological evolution to do so”.(Mov)
    It funny how it just got there randomly in the bottom left stage in the wiki pic and it’s not ‘water’ its vitreous humour which is a gel like substance.

    “Mutation is by definition increase or loss of information. So, you’re wrong”.
    Erm mutation is a sorting or loss of information altering never adding to the genome. If you think it is may increase info can you give me a type of mutation that adds to the genome and an example in nature? You’ll be hard pressed to fine one cos no scientist has discovered one yet.

    Eye evolution seems logical but thats where it end it’s a just-so story with no mechanism of change and no fossil evidence nor evidence now of an animal in any of the between stages of eye evolution they (fossils and now) either have a light sensitive patch or they have an eye/or not. No in between!

  64. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Sorry about the rant up there. I didn’t realize he was someone who gets banned/posts deleted and such. :P

  65. MovGP0 Says:

    “By observing nature we don’t see anything that resembles the stages that the wiki link proposed.”
    Ever seen a bandworm? He has very primitive eyes. Also there are many species with different levels of developing, and many designs are totally different.

    “But we haven’t observed the proposed stages of eye evolution and not even that, the eye stage don’t even explain how the light sensitive patch even originated.”
    Because evolution is the best model that we have, it doesn’t apply to argument that we don’t know exactly how it was. Beside of this, we can observe every stage of the eye evolution somewhere in nature.

    “It funny how it just got there randomly in the bottom left stage in the wiki pic and it’s not ‘water’ its vitreous humour which is a gel like substance.”
    I’m very sure that you mean the ‘Vitreous humour’. That is 98% water and 2% hyaluronic acid. Technically speeking, the whole body is mostly water and plastic.

    “If you think it is may increase info can you give me a type of mutation that adds to the genome and an example in nature?”
    Thats really simple: Horizontal gene transfer might be a good example.

    “You’ll be hard pressed to fine one cos no scientist has discovered one yet”
    You are totally wrong. It was really easy.

    “Eye evolution seems logical but thats where it end it’s a just-so story with no mechanism of change and no fossil evidence nor evidence now of an animal in any of the between stages of eye evolution they (fossils and now) either have a light sensitive patch or they have an eye/or not. No in between!”
    As I mentioned before: thats simply false.
    In fact, there are fossils and many evolutionary stages between found in nature. You can actually watch evolution working:
    * at viruses
    * at bacteria
    * at birds
    * at your parents, you, and your kids
    * etc.

  66. MovGP0 Says:

    Sometimes I’m really thinking that bentrt belives in hawking turtles…

  67. Socrates Johnson Says:

    though to play devil’s advocate I am not sure what the specifics of evolution have to do with the age of the planet.

    Al should start a phpbb board, so people can flame each other over the science/rels debate in an organized fashion!

  68. MovGP0 Says:

    But honest, I don’t want to flame. I just try to show it from another perspective. When you study the hindu religion you will probably find about the elephants and turles that are holding earth.

    Indians use the same argument to defend their turtles as the islamic and chistian folks defend their `creator´.

    For me, beliving in the christian god is the same as beliving in the hindu or the nordic gods. Its just another perspective to the same controversy.

    If you belive in god, than you need to belive also in the other gods (and turtles). If you aren’t, you are hypocrisiing yourself.

  69. MovGP0 Says:

    ps: You would also need to belive in the gods of the gorillas. You might not know about, but gorillas are throwing stones against heaven when there are thunders. The religion of gorillas is very primitive, but it shows that religon is not something that only humans can do.

    pps: a phpbb board is probably a good idea.

  70. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Well, if throwing stones at the sky is your definition of religion I am not sure we are debating the same thing.

    Be that as it may I would like to point out that of course it is only under the pretense of a false dichotemy between science and 1 totalitarianistic religion that your logic is persuasive against religion.

    Something like the fine-tuning argument when using a deity as an inference to the best explanation has to concede that the identity of said creator is by definition unknowable. Yes many people lose this, People who have an agenda to prove the existence of the Yaweh formerly known as Elohim do tend to be like “SHHH SHHHH” and hide that fact. And Let me be the first to blast them for it.

    Further, of course Hinduism doesn’t have to stop at turtles all the way down. You are leaving out the part where everything (even the gods) is just maya or the illusion *think buddhism but without the west-coast coffee-drinkers* However, the point here s is yeah, a christian doesn’t HAVE to admit any other position is RIGHT, just that there isn’t a hard and fast way to prove that christianity is *better* than Hinduism (and most don’t bother trying to do anything but say it is a matter of faith.)

    In summation. I would like to see a debate between people who don’t assume the other is the most extremist/fundementalist form of their particular persuasion. Saying that southern evangelical snake-handlers are maybe not thinking straight doesn’t disprove christianity, it just points out something we *pretty much* all assume already. :P

  71. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Though I could be taking you out of context there and being overly black and white/critical at the end there, I am not quite sure where you were going with that and it seemed like you were just trying to shoot the theist (read christian here) position down.

  72. BENTRT Says:

    “Thats really simple: Horizontal gene transfer might be a good example”.

    Horizontal gene transfer isn’t a mutation. Also this exchange simply involves the sharing of genes already present in bacteria populations, and does not result in the appearance of complex, new genetic information.

    “You’ll be hard pressed to fine one cos no scientist has discovered one yet” (BENTRT)
    “You are totally wrong. It was really easy”. (Mov)

    Well you didn’t give me a mutation i.Substitution, inversion, deletion and an example.

    “You can actually watch evolution working”:
    * at viruses
    * at bacteria
    * at birds
    * at your parents, you, and your kids
    * etc”.(Mov)

    What evolution? Certainly not the General Theory of Evolution (GTE) defined as ‘the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form’. All i see in those examples are natural selection working on the alleles of the creature. We see bacteria produce bacteria, virus porduce virus not upward change no new kind of animal produced. I agree natural selection produces variation within those kinds of animal but what brings you to the conclusion that life can Evolve in the GTE sense.

    “Indians use the same argument to defend their turtles as the islamic and chistian folks defend their `creator´.

    For me, beliving in the christian god is the same as beliving in the hindu or the nordic gods. Its just another perspective to the same controversy”. (Mov)

    Are you saying that each religion or belief holds the same weight considering all factors like how the religion orginated/impacts/history/Evidence scientifically/Archeaologically ect.

    I don’t wana flame I’m just having a conversation.

  73. MovGP0 Says:

    “Well, if throwing stones at the sky is your definition of religion I am not sure we are debating the same thing.”
    They are throwing stones, because they belive that there is something (or someone) that is causing. This belive is in fact a religion. Throwing stones is just a indicator.

    “it seemed like you were just trying to shoot the theist (read christian here) position down”
    I’m not trying to shoot the theist position down. I’m trying to shoot the gnostics position down.

    There is a big difference, because also atheists can be gonstics. Therefore, I would also argument against atheists.

    Anyway, the atheist position is more reasonable by applying scientific methods properly.

    “Horizontal gene transfer isn’t a mutation.”
    Thats wrong.

    “Also this exchange simply involves the sharing of genes already present in bacteria populations, and does not result in the appearance of complex, new genetic information.”
    Combining existing information results in new information. Maybe you should take a course in information and coding theory…

    “from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form”
    Thats indeed hard to proove. Its possible to create organic molecules and proteins from inorganic forms. What missing stone in the puzzle is how to get proteins to reproduce. This is thruly an unsolved scientific problem. But its not impossible and do not need any `intelligence´ that does so.

    “Are you saying that each religion or belief holds the same weight considering all factors like how the religion orginated/impacts/history/Evidence scientifically/Archeaologically ect.”
    Yes – exactly that. All religions are human (or gorilla) made theories to explain the universe.

    Science also tries to explain the universe. But there are differences. The classical religions try to explain the universe by constructiong something that is unprooveable. Science proofes itself and is constantly adapting if it prooves itself as false.

  74. MovGP0 Says:

    continued…
    The only exception is math, because math is able to proove itself as right, which is not possible with all other sciences.

  75. BENTRT Says:

    “Horizontal gene transfer isn’t a mutation.” (BEN)
    Thats wrong. (Mov)

    I can’t believe you just said that!!!If you do some biology you would know it isn’t a mutation.

    “Combining existing information results in new information. Maybe you should take a course in information and coding theory”…

    It maybe added information to the said bacteria but it isn’t exactly new if it had already existed in bacteria populations. There is still known no way to produce new information in a bacteria population. I can here the words now “Ben, your wrong” rofl!!

    “Yes – exactly that. All religions are human (or gorilla) made theories to explain the universe”.

    You say that with some certainty. How are they gorilla since we didn’t evolve from gorillas. Secondly I have to disagree that every religion hold exactly the same weight

  76. Socrates Johnson Says:

    “Well, if throwing stones at the sky is your definition of religion I am not sure we are debating the same thing.”
    They are throwing stones, because they belive that there is something (or someone) that is causing. This belive is in fact a religion. Throwing stones is just a indicator. -MovGP0

    So, believing that thunder has a cause is religion. Therefore science is a religion?
    Now I know we are working under different definitions of religion.

  77. Socrates Johnson Says:

    MovGP0 wrote,

    continued…
    The only exception is math, because math is able to proove itself as right, which is not possible with all other sciences.

    ROFL no!

    Logic proves itself, and lends a hand to math. Math is full of paradoxes and incompleteness problems.

  78. Socrates Johnson Says:

    “the atheist position is more reasonable by applying scientific methods properly.” MovGPO

    The scientific method doesn’t support metaphysical statements like this without serious qualification. (See my earlier point somewher on this site about Ockham’s razor.) What I mean is science cannot “prove” something like “god doesn’t exist” without using inferences (the type of argument that makes pretty sure that the sun will come up tomorrow.) This sort of belief however, is just that A BELIEF. You have no empirical justification for it as it hasn’t happened yet/is in principle unprovable/etc.

    What this means for you? Saying you are sure the sun will come up tomorrow doesn’t change anything if it doesn’t. You can hem and haw but frankly you ran the risk of being wrong, and could very well be. There is in principle no way of knowing.

    With regards to that however you could say it is more reasonable or prudent to assume it. The problem with that is one can provide counter-examples to your belief which have equal or greater weight. This is something like how theoretical physical models get accepted. This also means that if someone uses something like the argument from fine-tuning to show that the prior probability for a universe like ours existing is raised under the god hypothesis then THAT is a reasonable objection. (This works like the multiverse hypothesis many use to explain how we got a goldilocks universe.)

    I won’t bother showing how one can raise the prior probability using laplacian indifference spreads (the same sort of intuition that is appealed to in Ockham’s Razor). But it is the same logic. What is reasonable is very information sensitive.

    And if you assume the logical positivist model from the get-go, which is I think where you are coming from (no statement which isn’t either empirically verifiable or determined entirely through the meanings of the terms there contained) neither “god exists” nor “god doesn’t exist” hold.

  79. MovGP0 Says:

    “Horizontal gene transfer isn’t a mutation.”
    Well, then its no mutation by itself, but the result is that the genes in the organism change and therefore result in a change of the organism. Mutation is just another term for change.

    “There is still known no way to produce new information in a bacteria population”
    There is also a way to store information in bacteria. There is a way to compute with DNA. The generation of new information is done via computing.

    “How are they gorilla since we didn’t evolve from gorillas.”
    Yes, Humans didn’t evolve from Gorillas. Gorillas developed their bevlieves independend.

    “Secondly I have to disagree that every religion hold exactly the same weight”
    Not the same weight, but the same principle.

    “So, believing that thunder has a cause is religion. Therefore science is a religion?”
    When they are throwing stones they believe that it helps. If it would be science, then they would analyze the locations of the lightnings.

    “Math is full of paradoxes and incompleteness problems.”
    Paradoxes are something that works against the common sense, but that doesn’t mean that its wrong. Also, there will be incomplete problems at any time, because of the infinite possibilities and the complexity of modern math.

    “The scientific method doesn’t support metaphysical statements like this without serious qualification.”
    True. But what I really wanted to say is: `atheist are applying the scientific method more properly´.

    “There is in principle no way of knowing.”
    Thats exactly my view.
    Well, Socrates, while you are kind of theist with agnostic tendencies, I’m agnostic with atheistic tendencies.

    What I’m really against is:
    * misusing science in the terms of creationism
    * the gnostics view, but not the theistic

  80. Socrates Johnson Says:

    I am just calling it off on the gorilla point, as it assumes animals are analog for humans and that is an entirely different point I won’t bother laying out.

    Math still doesn’t prove itself regardless of whether paradoxes and completeness problems are the cause of that, unless you include logic in math, but generally it is the other way around (if it did prove itself why would Frege, Russell, etc go through so damn much trouble using logic to try and prove maths?)

    I am not particularly agnostic, just someone who understands that empirical evidence is not something which applies in matters of faith, nor should it.

    And I ABSOLUTELY agree that science which attempts to prove creationism is bad science (and bad creationism for that matter.) I have no problem with a particularly agnostic point of view as I think it is about the only honest deduction one can make on the topic. If you DID mean gnostic (in a sort of hard-dualism sense) I would say I don’t have a problem with hard dualism, just a sort of general skepticism if neither empiricism nor IBE explanations give the dualist a decent argument.

    I am mostly here trying to present a reasonable theistic position which understands/finds use for GOOD science, and has no time for either religious or scientific fundementalists. As far as I have heard they are two seperate things and should at least try to stay that way. It works *pretty* well with religion and politics after all. :P

  81. BENTRT Says:

    “Horizontal gene transfer isn’t a mutation.”(Ben)
    “Well, then its no mutation by itself, but the result is that the genes in the organism change and therefore result in a change of the organism. Mutation is just another term for change”. (MoV)

    No lol Horizontal gene transfer isn’t a mutation full stop. Yeah Mutation is change but so is Evolution, it’s a change in what that matters. Mutations involve changes in the base sequence of DNA. Since with horizontal G.T there is no change in DNA present but addition of genes from a population through e.g plasmids or a vector i.e Virus, it’s not a mutation.

  82. MovGP0 Says:

    lat.: mutare := (ex)change
    In this manner HGT is a kind of mutation.

    Anyway: In the more strict biological definition you are right. In the biological definition, HGT is an example of `migration´ rather than `mutation´.

    But there are enought documented mechanisms that match the biological meaning of mutations:

    * Spontaneous mutations including the chemical decay of a nucleotide or the tunnel effect (proton tunnels in DNA).

    * Induced mutations produced mutations are by Mutagene (mutation-releasing materials or radiations).

    * Replication errors of DNA. Polymerases have differently high error rates. Preferred a ATP is inserted, since the molecule occurs most frequently in the cell.

    * Mutation because of insufficient proof reading activity. Some DNA polymerases have the possibility false-insert independently to recognize and correct. But others don’t have proof reading activity.

    * Errors with pre- and postreplikative repair mechanisms. During a typical false mating between 2 DNA nucleotides, the mechanism must decide the repair enzyme with 50% error probability.

    * Chromosomal crossover, where similarities in sequence can result in mismatched alignments.

    * Transposons, which are jumping elements in the gene.

  83. Thallium Says:

    Hey Al. Just wanted to thank you for your time and effort you put into these videos.
    This is a great service to the public, and I hope to see more and more people begining to think critically of religious doctrine in the public eye.

    Cheers!

  84. MovGP0 Says:

    Concil of Europe Parliamentary Assembly: The dangers of creationism in education

  85. Kevin (The Roycing Carnap) Says:

    “For me, beliving in the christian god is the same as beliving in the hindu or the nordic gods. Its just another perspective to the same controversy. If you belive in god, than you need to belive also in the other gods (and turtles). If you aren’t, you are hypocrisiing yourself.”

    This is, for lack of a better phrase, a fallacy of levelling. Simply situating two different elements within the same category does not thereby bring each to the same level of value or legitimacy. My nephew’s 1st grade refrigerator art is not as good as Van Gogh–while it could be said they are both art, there are still standards to determine which is more valuable. The very idea of a controversy presupposes difference in position and value–it would be illogical to say that two things in the same category must be equally assented to. Just on the basis that the Christian God is in the same category (religion) as the Hindu Gods, it does not deductively follow that we must accept both lest we be hypocrites.

    This fallacy can result in a variety of category-mistakes by placing two different logically exclusive categories within the same class–this results in nonsense statements. E.g., accusing Van Gogh of overusing minor key tonality. You can’t do this, minor key tonality is a concept of music, Van Gogh was a painter. They can’t apply to each other–even though they are both aspects of art. This applies to arguments that religion is as good as science (and vice versa) because they are both just ways of explaining the world.

    These conclusions are not viable, and do not follow from the premise of two objects/groups being in the same class. Being in the same class is not sufficient for levelling the legitimacy of both objects. In fact, this levelling could in some cases be entirely incoherent, as there are classes that are defined by difference in position and value. To then level those differences according to being in the same class would negate the definition of that class.

  86. Eric Says:

    *Let us, just for the moment, suppose that existence is a property of perfection. It would therefore be deductively valid to say that God has the property of existence. And in fact, the predicate (“exists”) is, if so defined, entailed under the subject (“God”). The flying spaghetti monster, by contrast, is not by definition an all-perfect entity, and therefore all properties of perfection are not entailed in the term “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”*

    First of all, whose definition of Flying Spaghetti Monster are you using? My Flying Spaghetti Monster is, in fact, perfect, and therefore exists.

    A moment ago I defined Anti-Flying Spaghetti Monster, however. Since my definition of Anit-Flying Speghetti Monster also includes “perfect”, He popped into existence the moment I conceptualized Him. Unfortunately for God, my definition of Anti-Flying Spaghetti Monster also includes “God and Anti-Flying Spaghetti Monster cann’t coexist”.

    So I’ve just destroyed God. Terribly sorry about that.

  87. socrates johnson Says:

    Though of course this would all assume that anyone would agree with your defitions. I recomend looking at anselm. If you beg the question you do win. Who in their right mind would allow you to put a conclusion in as a premise though?

  88. Eric Says:

    Great point, socrates. How many people would have to agree with my definition of Anti-Flying Spaghtetti Monster in order for Him to pop into existence and destroy God?

  89. socrates johnson Says:

    I am not sure that ontology is a matter of definition by consensus. At least not unless we are talking about some sort of wikiGod.

  90. Kevin (The Roycing Carnap) Says:

    “My Flying Spaghetti Monster is, in fact, perfect, and therefore exists.”

    Then your argument completely collapses on itself. If you redefine FSM in that manner, all you have done is to come up with an identical concept to that of “God,” and given it a different name. An argument by analogy can only succeed if the two objects are distinct from each other, outside of what names we give them. Since we are speaking of names (in fact proper names), it is entirely proper of us to assume that there is some sort of referentiality (although this does not mean they are referencing actual existents, maybe just “concepts,” but that is another matter). The point being, the truth-conditions/reference-conditions you have attributed to FSM are equivalent to those attributed to “God.” Hence, you are referring to the same concept, and are not producing a good argument by analogy. In fact, you are not producing an acceptable reductio ad absurdum either, because you are just begging the question. For example:

    1. God= {a, b, c, …..}
    2. There is an idea, Flying Spaghetti Monster
    3. FSM= (the same) {a, b, c, ….}
    4. FSM is absurd.
    —–
    … Therefore, God is absurd.

    But, by saying “FSM is absurd” in your premises, you have simply said that “God is absurd” in your premises. But since FSM=God, and the absurdity of neither was proven, you have just begged the question.

    “A moment ago I defined Anti-Flying Spaghetti Monster, however.”

    First of all, it wouldn’t truly be “Anti-Flying Spaghetti Monster” if it included in its definition a predicate belonging to that which it negates (i.e. perfect). But let’s say FSM is all perfect. You have just given yet another name for “God,” not really providing any new concepts. Except that this one says God cannot exist. But that can reduce to “AFSM=Perfect, and God cannot exist; God=perfect.” It is self-contradictory because then the AFSM cannot exist.

  91. Kevin (The Roycing Carnap) Says:

    Just to clarify (and please ask if anything I said was too inpenetrable, I am not known for an easy writing style). The first argument would be equivalent to: “This is Dave. Let’s call him Superjack-o-lantern. But Superjack-o-lantern would be absurd. Therefore, Dave is absurd.”

    The second argument would be equivalent to something like: “There is the concept of God. Rename the same concept of God. (Note, we still have the concept of God). Now, give this concept of God the property of not allowing God to exist.) Besides having some terrible question-begging in this supposed reductio, you end up not penetrating the argument that the ontological argument is about analytic statements. Because the statement “God exists” and “God does not allow God to exist” are contradictory, the latter cannot be contained in the former (predicate contained in subject). In fact, one of the tests to ensure something is an “analytical” statement is that the negation of the statement is a contradiction. Therefore, the contradiction that you, at bottom, formulate only supports the conclusion that “God exists” (or, “God cannot not allow God to exist,” or something to those effects) is analytic and cannot be contradicted.

    Again, I am not saying that God does exist–I do not know. The point is that the logic of your arguments does not hold up. In the first case, you beg the question by simply renaming God and then calling it absurd. There really is no point to that. In the second case, instead of contradicting the point about God and FSM, you just contradict yourself by formulating something like a conceptual impossibility.

    Think of the ontological argument another way. One might just say “1+1=2″ is true even before we put one and one sticks together to make two.

  92. Aaron Says:

    I know that you are probably a very busy man, but I was just wondering if you were going to be able to post the references and transcript for this video. It has said that they will be up in the next few days for the last few months. More than anything, I would love to see your references. Oh, and are you still working on parts two and three? Thanks Al.

  93. AvangionQ Says:

    Hi. I just finished watching This Old Earth (part 1 of 3). Have to say, I could have sworn that the Earth’s Moon wasn’t the result of a captured planetoid but the result of a Giant Impact side-on collision with a planetoid or large sized asteroid named Orpheus/Theia which was about the size of Mars and occurred roughly during the Late Heavy Bombardment period about 4 billion years ago. But as you say, that’s just nitpicking.

    PS, I can’t seem to post this comment on your website using Firefox.

  94. chopaogrover Says:

    is it just me, or in comment 85 did kevin compare the christian god as compared to other gods, to van gogh compared to first grade fridge art. im an atheist, and even im offended by that. just figured id point that out

  95. Socrates Johnson Says:

    I believe he compared the FSM to childish fridge art. However, I am sure he will respond for himself in a more than adequate fashion.

    In his book “Breaking The Spell” Daniel Dennett makes value judgements and says religions like Christianity and Hinduism are “Better” than Satanism. I suppose you might want to go after him too.

  96. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Yes, I just compared FSMism and Satanism. Both seem to simply serve as a sort of mediocre objection or rejection to more established religion. This isn’t to say that tradition or time lend true legitimacy. Just something I thought I would mention, than clarify before people assume the worst.
    I am sure Anton LaVey would love it.

  97. Kevin (the Roycing Carnap) Says:

    In response to chapaogrover’s comment #94, I would like to clarify the analogy that I had made. The analogy was not directed toward analogizing God to Van Gogh, and other religions to first grade refridgerator drawings. Rather the point was a more general point about levelling elements in a category. The very fact that two elements exist within a class does not ipso facto mean that they have the same legitimacy, just as both first grade refidgerator drawings and Van Gogh can be called art, does not mean that they both occupy the same position in different hierarchies. Similarly, Hinduism and Christianity both being religions does not by itself imply that they have equal value. This is not to say that I believe one is better than the other, or that God is to Hinduism as Van Gogh is to first grade drawing. There are different standards that may be placed in contention for ranking the different religions. The real point to be made here, a simple one, is that without further argument one cannot validly say that two things are of equivalent value because they reside in the same category. They may have entirely different value.

    So the argument was to give an example of a case where two things reside in the same category (art), to show that they have entirely different value (according to certain contestable standards), and come back to religion and show that two religions aren’t thereby of equal value but differ, relatively and absolutely, along a vertical and horizontal axis. The analogy, then, was not intended to assert a one-to-one correspondence.

  98. Pearl Says:

    I just wanted to say that I think all you comments are very refreshing. I think that there are many people out there who are unwilling to stand up and speak about what they truly believe in for fear of retaliation and hatred. I enjoy watching each and everyone of your blogs. Our beliefs are completely different but I am one of the few that is willing to admit when I hear and see intelligence. I can admit that I have learned a great deal from you and I am glad that I found your blogs on Youtube. I have to say that I will be watching for more and I look forward to all of your future blogs. When you speak you make me want to listen because you display this overwhelming conviction that I have yet to see in others. So thanx for the info.

  99. KS Says:

    Did it ever occur to those people who use the evolutionary gaps to try and prove god created everything consider that the gaps are there becuase the living organisms that filled those gaps died when they were not able to survive long enough to continue to reproduce. That alone explains why the gaps are there. In other words, its becuase their inferior genetic code did not allow them to survive for many generations. Simply cuased by the, and im going to point out the obvious, other organisms feeding on them and becuase of changes in the enviroment. Keep in mind that a lot of the organisms that filled those gaps in evolution could have been destroyed by the same event that wiped the dinosaurs out and events similar to it farther in the past.

    Some thoughts that came to mind while I was working one night I would like to share. Science itself does not prove there is no god nor does Intelligent Design prove there could be no evolution. All religions have gaps in it just as much as the theory of evolution. Maybe your god didnt wanna tell the exact way it created the universe, and by exact way I mean all the minute details. Maybe it just wanted to give you a simplified version so you could more easily understand its complexity. Now dont take this the wrong way I myself believe there is a god but I dont deny evolution either. No in fact I like to say science is simply explaining how gods creations work. Now for the atheist I need to point out that your beliefs in pure science and no chance of a god is also flawed. The fact that theres a mathmatical possability that all the right conditions were in the right place at the right time to form life also states theres a chance that stuff we believe are human made could form naturally in the universe at some point. There are lots of things we continue to discover. Denying it simply becuase it sounds crazy is what religion does to almost all forms of science at some point.

  100. KS Says:

    Something that came to mind that I wanted to add.

    God is probably the one thing that could eventually be proven to exist but never disproven. I’ve got all kinds of thoughts on this subject. What I say and what I believe are not always the same. A thought I have or say doesnt always mean I believe it. I am a firm believer that if you can continually question your faith, explore other ideas and still hold true to what you believe, Then you truely have faith.

    I dislike when people push their religion on others. Especially when passing laws. Its ok to ask your god for guidance in your decision when making laws. But not ok to use your god as the reason you made that decision. Cuase remember not everyone believes the same things you do.

    Saying someone will go to hell just becuase they say or believe something you dont like or dont believe in, is just wrong. Ask yourself, isnt it an awfully harsh punishment to burn for all eternity in fire for only a short life of misguided thoughts. Such a small lifetime it is, like a grain of sand when held up to the night sky.

    I like to think when we die, one of two things will happen. You’ll either finally know if theres a god or you’ll never get to know. Cuase if there is no afterlife then your thoughts will no longer exist.

    Philosophy can be fun.

  101. Hans Says:

    Awesome work! Congratulations!

    I just stumbled upon your site and I am determined to watch all of your videos. You have done an amazing work, keep it up!

  102. Yosef Says:

    Al,

    I was born a Moslem but disagreed with many parts of its Sharia. It took a while before I became an atheist. But it was no thanks to your site…haha!

    I would like to see two things. Is it possible to have a slower paced video clip? Maybe you could redirect us to a site…this is because we need to digest quite a lot in 8 minutes. But I guess you have your reasons. Maybe a compact and a slower version.

    Although, I agree much with your course and effort, it would be excellent to see more alternative views from your other posters in your comment section. I would welcome posters from various faith to comment. You have the right to block those vulgar ones though.

    I do pop even every month to check out your site.

    Also, the problem is these arguements is that we can never prove whether God does or does not exist. And I do think that God is not a solution to humanity’s problem but rather a problem. We’d have to work with what we have.

    The trouble is: sheer philosophical logic can’t seem to break this delusion of a Godhead conception. Simply because Logic is faulty and it is essentially a means to an end.

    I am not agnostic though or deistic. I just believe in living and let live. This is no way to discourage you, especially if your effort is an affirmation of you “living” it out.

    Well done! It would it brilliant if you attempt to provide (if possible), the deconstruction of God from a phenomenological perspective.

  103. Yosef Says:

    I am atheistic by instinct.

    Keep working. Love your work.

  104. Anonymous Says:

    “The trouble is: sheer philosophical logic can’t seem to break this delusion of a Godhead conception. Simply because Logic is faulty and it is essentially a means to an end.”

    Denying logic is internally inconsistant. If you want to abandon logic though feel free. However, be prepared for lots of assertations rather than arguments

    The major premise minor premise valid conclusion method is pretty much the foundation of logical proofs. Further these sorts of categorical distinctions are more or less necessary to leading an effective life (read as Hume’s argument that certain ideas have “survival value” *science is another survival trait*).

    Basically you need to assume certain things are true in order to get on with life. Without logic “YOU ARE WRONG” would seem as likely a “good” argument (which is to say emotively effective or persuasive) as the socratic method.

    Oh wait, my bad, tried to use logic to explain the situation.

  105. Socrates Johnson Says:

    Sorry, that was me just above, not at home so it didn’t auto-fill the name bubble for me.

  106. Yosef Says:

    Hey Socrates,

    Good points there.

    My contention is that it is difficult simply to use Logic as a tool to explain why a person chooses to go insane.

    I admit it would come across as internally inconsistent. What happens when we employ Logic to explain a person who is internally inconsisent. I often wonder: “What makes green green? What gives a thing its subjective consciousness? I have seen colour-blind people. Since there are a minority, we, being the majority, imposes the sort of standard colour schemas on our TV and LCD displays.

    It would be great if Logic could explore elicidate those questions further. Thanks for your comment.

    Appreciate them.

  107. ruindyng Says:

    Hello,
    I have recently become acquainted with your work. Well done! I am eagerly awaiting parts 2 & 3 of This Old Earth.

  108. the doctor Says:

    First comment of 2008!

    I would like to post something I came up with have wrestled with and I was wondering if someone could help me out, though I feel as if I have already solved it. So here it is:

    We all know that in the Christian theology, if you do something bad, you go to hell. We also know that in the Christian theology, God knows all, past, present, and future. If God knows the Future, he knows what our Future acts are going to be. So, he must also know whether we will go to hell or not, prior to our being born. Nevertheless, he allows that child to be born, full well that that child will be sent to hell when he dies, say, of old age. This brings up the question: is God just in this action?

    A perfect god is just. So why would a perfect god send a child to Earth, only to have him spend eternity in hellfire anyway? This is unanswerable but with the response that God is unjust, therefore imperfect, erego, the Christian god DOES NOT EXIST.

    Now, one may use the argument that God endowed us with free will, and it is really OUR choice on how to act. OK, fine. But what is the point of free will, if He knows beforehand whether he will go to Hell or Heaven?

    Then, as a desperate grasping of straws, if you will, a Christian used the classic, “It’s not our place to question the Almighty’s divine wisdom” argument. To that I answer, “Then why would God give us Free Will and Free Thought, knowing full well that we would turn it against Him in the future? What does He have to gain?

    If you have an answer for this little conundrum, please leave a comment below mine.

    Thanks!

    – The Doctor

  109. Steve Says:

    Because it’s there

  110. Mink Says:

    I really wish more humans in general were more reasonable like you Mr. Al. Unfortunately, most of the ‘more motivated’ individuals-such as commenters ‘the doctor, Alpha, Grant, and SafariMike’-are the reason a lot of Christians come up with ignorant arguments in the first place. When arguing with someone who thinks that you are ignorant, it becomes simple for you to respond in kind… note to atheists, try less ignorance and more courtesy while having an argument. The individual you are talking to will follow your example and be less ignorant in their own right. But, don’t assume they’re ignorant from the start.
    Many atheists have become Christians, and vise versa because they have had different experiences, as humans tend to do. So, don’t assume who you are talking to is a radical nut-job and pay attention to the ARGUMENT at hand.
    Although I still disagree with atheism, I can at least respect many of you bloggers because you are rational and have not resorted to verbal abuse aimed at a group that is as diverse in its belief as there are species on different continents. Thank You

    Sinerely,
    A follower of Christ

Leave a Reply

free blog themes