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Jul 02 2012

Open thread for episode #768

I wasn’t sure — coming back after two weeks out of town caring for a pair of ailing parents (all is well on that front) — that I was entirely on my game for yesterday’s show, but I’ve gotten a lot of compliments about it already, so that’s nice.

Later on at dinner I was talking with one of our studio audience (forgive me for being lousy with names) about one remarkable and highly consistent trait you always see from callers like Matt from Oslo: the grandiose nature of what they claim to be able and about to do — like, oh, debunk evolution — set against the ludicrous lack of preparation that always makes them faceplant pathetically when they try. Matt from Oslo could not even articulate a clear definition of the scientific theory he claimed he was ready to demolish, and his attempt to demolish it was nothing more than a gaggle of logical fallacies weakly trotted out in a way that made it embarrassingly obvious he was just winging it. And he just as obviously hadn’t so much as Googled any real science websites to see if there was, in fact, any information on the evolution of these “unusual” animals he was on about. The theist who called directly after Matt from Oslo was very quickly reduced to stubbornly insisting he had a rational basis for what he believed, while admitting he was falling back on faith at the same time! It’s like they just cannot even get a single thought straight.

On the whole I was satisfied with the way the calls played out. Matt was firm with the theists without blowing up as a lot of folks criticized him for doing last weekend. Though I must admit that Heads or Tails Oreos aren’t my favorite flavor. But isn’t that what diversity is all about?

166 comments

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  1. 1
    Jasper of Maine

    Apparently the show had an “Argument from Ignorance” theme going on. It astonishes me that one caller can listen in to a previous caller get eviscerated on logical fallacies, then come on the show and make the same fallacies.

    My more venomous nature would have me accusing these people of having learning disabilities, but I restrain myself, though I sometimes seriously have to wonder.

    How do these people get from “I can disprove evolution and prove creationism once and for all” to “Derp derp [insert the single most common logical fallacy in existence]“?

    1. 1.1
      Martin Wagner

      In Matt from Oslo’s case, he made it clear he’d become addicted to videos by convicted felon Kent Hovind.

      The thing about guys like Hovind and Ken Ham is that they both A) are utterly full of shit and B) possess the gift of gab. They are extremely skilled and highly experienced public speakers who can couch their bullshit in impressively slick rhetoric that just blows away the uninformed and ignorant. So guys like Matt from Oslo listen to these assholes, who make what they do sound easy, and try to do it themselves. But lacking good rhetorical skills (which wouldn’t save them with us anyway), they are left simply stumbling and stammering through a hopeless mishmash of falsehoods and fallacies.

      1. Brian

        Martin, as much as I agree with you I’m going to have to call you out on something.

        Referring to Kent Hovind as “Convicted Felon Kent Hovind” is poisoning the well, every bit as much a logical fallacy as the argument from ignorance. While it is true, Hovind’s conviction has absolutely nothing to do with his creationist claims. He is in prison for being a tax dodger, not for teaching creationism. Hovind doesn’t believe it is legal to pay taxes, and AFAIK never told other people to pay their taxes while was not paying them. Now, we can most definitely address that ridiculous idea on its own, but it has nothing to do with creationism. Since this discussion is about creationism and not tax-dodging, bringing up his conviction only makes you look like you have to resort to fallacies as opposed to addressing his claims. Even though we both know that isn’t true, it pisses me off when we as the collective atheist community does this. If we’re going to chicken-hawk for logical fallacies in other peoples’ rhetoric, we should do a better job of not using them in our own.

        1. OverlappingMagisteria

          Well said. this as annoyed me as well when people say things like “You listen to Hovind’s arguments against evolution? Don’t ya know he’s in jail?!”

          Though Martin doesn’t quite say this, it is a bit of a irrelevant jab to throw that in.

        2. Alvaro

          Hovind doesn’t believe it is legal to pay taxes, and AFAIK never told other people to pay their taxes while was not paying them.

          Now, we can most definitely address that ridiculous idea on its own, but it has nothing to do with creationism.

          I, or rather, Mr. Hovind himself, begs to differ:

          http://web.archive.org/web/20000903025224/http://www.drdino.com/FAQs/FAQmisc12.jsp

          As you can see from the opening paragraph alone, he actually included this advice in his talks, AND he is claiming that taxes come from comunism, which comes from evolution. So yes, to him, it has EVERYTHING to do with creationism.

          And if the mention of it being part of the seminar isn’t enough, further down he states:

          “The so-called “income-tax” is being paid voluntarily and unnecessarily by most people in America. Unless you have specifically been made liable by law it is a waste of God’s money and time to keep all those records and fill out all those incriminating forms. The imposition and collection of this “tax” on the average working person is illegal, unconstitutional, unscriptural and unnecessary for the function of our government. If you would like to know more about what to do to “un-volunteer” I would suggest you contact some experts in the field for their professional opinion.”

          So he is definitely telling people not to pay their taxes. Also, he keeps claiming this is also backed up by divine right in the bible. So yes, Kent Hovind himself is of the opinion that his being in jail is a consequence of actions derived from his creationist views. So…

          1. JamesM

            Facts? Andrew doesn’t need your facts. Andrew derives Supreme Truth from the Great Floating Brain of Zartok channelled through Plato Beams. You can’t compete with that.

      2. Brian

        I think the high acceptance of evolution in Norway might contribute to the problem. We might all have a basic, working understanding of Einstein-ian relativity, but how many of us could defend it if it were being challenged by a religious nut who doesn’t know anything about it? I could give a basic explanation of relativity, but I couldn’t point to any specific experiments that proved it empirically. Since it’s not being challenged by religious nuts, we feel secure in our acceptance of it despite not knowing much. I think the same is the case with evolution.

        Even people who do accept evolution often aren’t taught it in great detail. They’re told “all species share a common ancestor” and accept it. In a place like Norway, evolution isn’t challenged any more than relativity is, so I think it might be the case that people just don’t feel the need to know much about it. (If someone from Norway is reading this and I’m off-base, please correct me) Would we have sites like talkorigins.org if creationists and scientists weren’t having debates on Usenet in the 80′s and 90′s? Would we have sites like expelledexposed.com if that Expelled movie was never made? Of course not!

        So, my hypothesis is if you have someone from a country where everyone just kind of accepts evolution without much questioning or background knowledge. Then, someone like Kent Hovind comes around with his slick presentation, chock full of “facts” that seem to be scientific and credible, appealing to our sense of paranoia and tendency for magical thinking. It’s no wonder if someone who hasn’t done any in-depth study of evolution falls for it.

        1. Shifty

          There are some fairly simple to understand experiments that provide solid evidence in support of relativity. For special relativity (which is fairly easy to understand on its own), your best bet is muon decay rates. Basically, muons decay at a certain rate, so they act like clocks. The earth is constantly being bombarded by them and they are travelling at close to light speed relative to us. We can measure muons at X elevation and then at sea level to determine how many survive the trip down (don’t decay). Despite their vast speed we see way too many of them at sea level because so many should have decayed. However, when we factor in that time has slowed in their frames so “they don’t think” they should have decayed, it works.

          General relativity is harder to understand on its own, so harder to understand the experiments for, but your best bet here is GPS satellites. They need to correct both for SR (because they travel fast) and GR (because of the gravity differences they experience).

          1. Kaj

            Hi, regarding experiments & satellites: The NASA Gravity Probe B mission in 2010 I recall reading about was the orbit of some very precise gyroscopes. These experiment further demonstrated general relativity, by demonstrating that the Earth’s movement actually drags space-time around with it (a bit). Just enough to be shown in a highly precise gyroscope. This has bigger implications on a cosmic scale, but it’s pretty cool that a prediction from the first 20 years of the 20th Century were finally confirmed nearly 100 years later.

    2. 1.2
      Tom - Houston, TX

      My only guess goes something like this:

      A. Their arguments are simply given to them by an authority figure (their pastor, father, mentor, etc).
      B. They never perform independent research to verify that what they “know” about the subject is actually supported (i.e. a fish “decided one day” to hop up on land).
      C. They do not fully understand the concept of logic.
      -This leads to…-
      D. They present their arguments to others who (A.), (B.), and (C.), and are reassured that their argument is convincing.

      It isn’t that they have a learning disability; they exist in an environment that encourages ignorance.

      Though I understand this, I still feel an overwhelming urge to rip my own hair out and bang my head against the wall.

      1. Paul Newcomb

        I experience B all the time when I’m debating theists.

        I ask them to explain their beliefs, then they tell me to just google it or look at other people’s websites or articles that somebody else wrote, because what they wrote is what I believe…

        I was having a discussion with a creationist the other day on youtube and asked her for her best evidence for intelligent design. She just kept saying “go google it, do some research, you’re so ignorant, it’s so obvious” and on and on. She never once gave me a single point of evidence to backup her claim other than saying do some research, go google it…

        They don’t truly understand what they believe…they’re only able to point other OTHER people’s beliefs (namely slimeball apologetics) that happen to seem right to them and say “yep, that’s what I think too”.

        1. NorskVind

          Are you sure you weren’t being trolled? That’s a common trolling tactic for getting on atheist nerves.

          1. Peggy

            I can say that the instruction to “do my own research” was exactly what I was told to do. I was emailing back and forth with a woman I had known as a member of a freethinkers/atheist meet up group. She had recently converted to Islam. I was genuinely curious about how she had made this very substantial change in her world view. She could only say that just because Christianity is false doesn’t mean her religion is. She said also that conversing with me was taking her away from her Koran reading and prayer time. So, I should go on line myself to discovers the truth of Islam.

          2. Tom - Houston, TX

            (For some reason I can’t reply to Mary, below this comment)

            I feel ashamed of the freethinker’s/atheist group that did so poorly a job of educating and/or informing one of their members that they fell back into the binding chains of religion.

            I can’t see ANY reason, other than misinformation and ignorance, that I could ever drift away from a skeptical mindset.

            The TRUTH is, that there are no truths that could ever be offered from a religion that could, not only be offered by scientific means, but also be built upon and further understood.

        2. Kaj

          I understand what you mean. “Research my position because I don’t know enough about it”

          In a debate on youTube (names removed):

          “no double check on wrong findings makes it right.these methods are 90% guess work,admitted by your own scientist”

          I poked around a bit, but I couldn’t find the number you quoted. Could you post the source? I know there has been issues with carbon dating in the past, but it’s accuracy is greatly improved with calibration against other radiological, archeological, or geological methods.

          I could get 100 sources and you would still believe the bs you spew,you listen and believe writings by atheist and so called scientist with political agenda

          Well, I was being honest in my desire to read the materials in question. You don’t need to cite 100, 1 or 2 will do. I do try an maintain an open mind and consider evidence from both sides.

          I would be happy to check out any peer-reviewed material you may dig up on the matter. However, if you just want to be insulting, I am under no obligation to subject myself to that.

          JUST GOOGLE

          Sorry, I don’t have time to help you research your own argument. As I mentioned, I made an attempt, but after 10 minutes of sifting through conspiracy theories and attempts at proving you could fit all animals on a single boat, I got bored.


          animals on a single boat would have been from a supernatural thing you idiot

          =======
          Well, as you can imagine, it just went further downhill from there – it is Youtube, after all…

          1. Tom - Houston, TX

            Your argument has no compelling points.

            I’m sorry that you (B) and (C) {from my previous comment}, otherwise you would understand the scientific process.

            In other words, if 90% of science is a guess, then 90% of it is peer reviewed and turned down. The other 10% is called “theory”, and theory is scientific FACT that has withstood a barrage of counter-research.

            If you can present enough evidence to disprove a scientific theory, record your results, have it peer reviewed, and win a Nobel prize. End of story.

          2. Kaj

            @Tom – Houston, TX

            Yep. That was only a portion of the thread – the more compelling arguments for evolution were discussed, and this was dealing with the another guy’s unsupported assertions. The conversation ceased when it became obvious he wasn’t even going to Google his own arguments.

            Since then, I’ve been more often “encouraging” them to study evolution, get recognized in the field, and defeat it with a better theory and evidence.

            So far, no takers.

          3. Tom - Houston, TX

            Sorry mate, I’m an idiot. I was skimming over your post and didn’t realize you weren’t arguing with me.

            Cheers.

          4. Kaj

            No problem man. I guess you got to feel the same pain I did when I had that conversation in the first place ;)

    3. 1.3
      Kevin

      I have pretty bad learning disablilties and I still know better than to believe something that is not demonstratively true and use arguments from ignorance. :P

  2. 2
    ethanmyerson

    The thing that just blew me away was Matt from Oslo’s “disproof” of evolution. The guy almost literally said, “I don’t understand this creature, therefore god”.

    1. 2.1
      Kes

      The most gob-smacking part of the whole “Thylacine’s look like wolves, what’s up with that?!” argument is that the Thylacine is an excellent example of convergent evolution, in which two creatures from completely different lineages (in this case, marsupials and canines) evolve to occupy the same respective niche, e.g., the nocturnal woodland apex predator.

      I was literally gaping as the screen mouthing “Convergent Evolution, Guys! Say iiiit!!!” Convergent species are just another great example of *why evolution is true* AND *how it works*: populations react to selection pressures over time to become better adapted to certain niches, and some niches are so common that multiple unrelated species across the globe have evolved along similar lines to fill them. Sunbirds and hummingbirds are another great example of convergent evolution, since both took advantage of the same food source, flower nectar.

      1. mike

        Martin actually says “convergent evolution” at 40:18 but didn’t expand on it because it was obvious at this point that the caller was talking nonsense- a complete waste of time due to extreme lack of knowledge.

      2. Brian

        Matt also said there weren’t any other wolf-like creatures in Australia. At that point I was screaming “DINGOES! HELLOOOO!” into my radio.

  3. 3
    jehk

    Anyone from TAE going to be at CONvergence?

  4. 4
    jacobfromlost

    There does seem to be something a little worse than the argument from ignorance going on with many of these callers. It’s almost like an argument from entrenched, willful ignorance *TO* an audience that is either also entrenched in willful ignorance…or an audience they HOPE will also decide to be willfully ignorant so it will all make sense, and so their beliefs will not be threatened by reality.

    I loved Martin’s approach to this–simply ASK the person to define the position they claim they are about to disconfirm. Simply SAYING you understand something is not a demonstration that you understand it. I can’t tell you how many times in these arguments I have taken a step back, suspected the opposition had no idea what I was saying, and so asked them to explain back to me what I am saying to demonstrate they ACTUALLY understand what I’m saying.

    Then, when they can’t do it, they suddenly think they have the magical power to say, “yes, that is what you are saying,” when I am right there TELLING them it is NOT what I am saying.

    That’s when you realize you have wandered into their own mental argument with themselves, and that your position plays no part in their imagined argument because they have no idea what your position is. Indeed, they may not WANT to know for fear its probably a good one.

    The inverse of this, which is also a good approach (that I have seen used several times on AE), is to explain back to THEM what THEIR position is to make them realize that you understand exactly where they are coming from…and then explain the fallacy. You can sometimes even sense the willful ignorance in their reluctance to acknowledge their own position when voiced by the opposition, as acknowledging that the opposition understands their position AND YET REJECTS IT highly suggests to them that they don’t understand something important that their opposition does understand. And acknowledging THAT requires one to abandon the willful ignorance, at least in the brief moment they say, “Yes, you understand what I’m saying.”

  5. 5
    DanTheMilkMan

    I really wish the last caller had more time, his views sound similar to pastor Jim Brown (not the football player, he looks like a little old farmer) of Grace and Truth Ministries. I discovered him on my local cable channel late at night, and have since watched several of his videos on youtube.

    In a weird way, I respect these kind of christians because at least they’re following what the bible says, not what they want it to say. The whole concept of free will is absurd, God has a plan and knows how it will all unfold, but at the same time, you have free will. Jim Brown points out how ridiculous that idea is, and says that clearly God doesn’t love everyone.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think his views are just as nuts as other christians, but from what I can tell, at least they’re honest with themselves about what’s in the bible. Jim Brown actually said he didn’t know if he was going to heaven, that was the first time I’d heard a preacher say that. I wonder if that guy was part of his congregation? I’d like to hear Matt discuss more about this.

    By the way Martin, loved the “have and Oreo my son” line.

    1. 5.1
      Jdog

      Who’s more respectable, the guy who believes he’s Napoleon or the guy who believes he has to pretend he’s Napoleon?

      1. NorskVind

        Neither. The answer is the guy who believes in Spider-Man.

  6. 6
    John Kruger

    It is always somewhat satisfying when you get someone to utter the words “that is where you need to have faith”. They might as well say “you need to believe that part without any good reasons, there are no good reasons to believe it”. I was interested in letting that second theist squirm on how to distinguish a god that never manifests from a god that does not exist, but after invoking faith earlier he was indeed already defeated. Hanging up at that point was not a bad decision at all.

    If there was an idea that was completely wrong, in the most obvious and easily demonstrable way possible, would there be any other mechanism for believing it besides faith? I do not think so.

    It sucks that the phone system has to mute the hosts while the caller is talking, that must be really frustrating. Perhaps that can be remedied with headphones, like call in radio shows? You can only work with what you have, of course. I am sure there is quite a lot going into managing the sound of a call in TV show, I just wish for better.

    1. 6.1
      Felipe

      I find it profoundly unsatisfying. It means that the entire conversation was not only a waste of my time, but a lie on the part of the theist that tried to give me arguments to pretend they were the reason he believed.

  7. 7
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    It doesn’t even sound like they have arguments to make as much as present, as in they’ve watched someone else’s video 5-6 times and want to recite that presentation as their own. As soon as you interrupt their recitation, they’re completely flailing and hoping to get back on track as soon as they can. By the second or third question, they are lost without a compass and fall back on faith and are probably praying that you’ll accept that and let them get back to reciting at you.

    And that gets back to what Tracie used to always say about how you shouldn’t call something “your belief” or “your position” when you don’t really understand it in any depth and are just parroting what someone else said.

    1. 7.1
      ethanmyerson

      You’re so right about this. It goes back to a lack of critical thinking skills. If they can’t evaluate these arguments on their own, they have no way to make them intelligibly when they call in. The best they can do is repeat the words to the best of their recollection.

      It’s as if they once heard an argument on a youtube video, or what have you, and understood from the source that it’s meant to further “their side”, and that’s good enough. Never mind that the content of the argument goes over their heads.

    2. 7.2
      Andrew Dorman

      I think what you’re referring to has more to do with the depth that’s invovled with questions about God. Nobody claims that God answers can be provided for by simple sound bites.

      1. Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

        …except that’s sort of what you were attempting, unless you thought you were going to be given a solid 30 minutes of uninterrupted airtime to present your viewpoint.

  8. 8
    Andrew Dorman

    Hi, I’m the “theist who called directly after Matt from Oslo.” With all due respect (and I do have some for the show and what it attempts to do), I can’t believe the number of times I was interrupted during my call. As I hope you should know, the format of the calling process makes it very difficult for the caller. Every time I say something on the phone, your end drops in volume. So it’s difficult to hear what you’re saying. Also, since you take it for granted that it’s okay to interrupt a caller, I’m always expecting to be interrupted while I speak, and I’m straining to hear if that’s occuring yet. But, as to your remark: that I “was very quickly reduced to stubbornly insisting … a rational basis … while admitting … falling back on faith at the same time” — that’s the postition I took from the beginning. I wasn’t “reduced.” I said “faith is the absence of physical evidence,” not the “absence of reason” as Matt claimed. I admitted from the beginning: I have no physical evidence. I have a rational argument on my webpage, however, which wasn’t discussed. You presuppose physicalism. I don’t. My faith is that reality is more than what science will provide for. Sure, neuroscience may come up with proofs of how consciousness emerged, or find neural correlates to all aspects of consciousness. But I doubt they will since they haven’t done so already. Argument from Ignorance? No, because I’m not claiming any certain conclusion from that gap. Ignorning a probability? No, because of tree shrews, and the fact that they share the same critieria for an evolved mind as neuroscience uses to account for our own, yet don’t demonstrate the same level of rationality as we do. Overall, I encourage neuroscience to looking for answers about consciousness. Even though my beliefs may be falsified by such findings, my faith has it that my beliefs suffice for now, in the same way that adaptation may suffice for you despite the counterproof of tree shrews.

    1. 8.1
      ethanmyerson

      If your faith holds that “reality is more than what science will provide for”, what are the criteria by which you validate some supernatural claims (such as the claim that “gods exist”) and disclaim other ones (such as the claim that “invisible pink unicorns exist”)? Or are all supernatural claims equally true?

    2. 8.2
      jacobfromlost

      Andrew: I said “faith is the absence of physical evidence,” not the “absence of reason” as Matt claimed.

      Me: I think you have a different definition of “reason”. Tracie has explained this before on the show. There is a difference between “reason” as in a reasonable position based on evidence, and “reason” as in a personal cause for your opinion.

      Andrew: I admitted from the beginning: I have no physical evidence. I have a rational argument on my webpage, however, which wasn’t discussed. You presuppose physicalism. I don’t.

      Me: I don’t know about anyone else, but I DON’T presuppose “physicalism.” All I require evidence, and “evidence” is a defined term. It is verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. If something were real, yet not physical, it could still meet this basic standard of evidence. Now, perhaps we would quibble over whether the manifested effects of this phenomenon were “physical” or not, but it wouldn’t change the fact that the claimed phenomenon would not be physical–simply affecting the physical domain.

      Andrew: My faith is that reality is more than what science will provide for. Sure, neuroscience may come up with proofs of how consciousness emerged, or find neural correlates to all aspects of consciousness. But I doubt they will since they haven’t done so already.

      Me: But they have done so already! Any rudimentary study of neurology will demonstrate this! Good grief. Consciousness rooted in the physical brain explains all the evidence we have about consciousness. It explains Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain damage, TBI, affects of drugs, alcohol, dehydration, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, sleep depravation, oxygen depravation, etc, etc, etc. The list is VERY long. It even explains why no person without a brain has exhibited any signs of consciousness whatsoever.

      Andrew: Argument from Ignorance? No, because I’m not claiming any certain conclusion from that gap.

      Me: You are claiming a conclusion that is unlikely given the mountains of evidence you seem to be unaware of.

      Andrew: Ignorning a probability? No, because of tree shrews, and the fact that they share the same critieria for an evolved mind as neuroscience uses to account for our own, yet don’t demonstrate the same level of rationality as we do.

      Me: You are flat wrong. You need to do more research on neuroscience before you make wacky claims about it. Also, you need to stop making claims about probabilities. It is a defined term, and yet you use it in ways in which it doesn’t apply.

      Andrew: Overall, I encourage neuroscience to looking for answers about consciousness.

      Me: I encourage you to read up on it. They already have. We have a variety of evidence going all the way back to Phineas Gage.

      Andrew: Even though my beliefs may be falsified by such findings,

      Me: They already have. Many times over.

      Andrew: my faith has it that my beliefs suffice for now, in the same way that adaptation may suffice for you despite the counterproof of tree shrews.

      Me: Tree shews are not disconfirming evidence of anything except what you made up in your head. What specifically is it about tree shrews that you think goes against human neurology?

      1. Andrew Dorman

        You: “reason” as in a reasonable position based on evidence.

        Me: This claim seems to me a bit circular. Reason is a reasonable position? Ever hear of the difference between empiricism and rationalism? Correspondence theory of truth and coherence theory? Also: You’re presupposing physicalism if your sole requirement of reason is physical evidence. — a position I pull apart when I was put on hold during the call. Yes, while I was put on hold. What a great show.

        You: All I require evidence, and “evidence” is a defined term.

        Me: So you assume all of reality comports to your senses. I don’t see why reality should be so accommodating, without a God. But, as I ask Matt as he spoke over me: can you physically prove why all truth must be, or have been, physically observable?

        You: But they have done so already!

        Me: Really? I’m not saying that the “mind” doesn’t have any correlation with the brain, while we’re alive. No doubt it does. But can you tell me whether that mind is channelled or originated in that brain? What specifics about the brain gives us consciousness? Can you tell me the chemical properties from which consciousness emerged from?

        You: You are claiming a conclusion that is unlikely.

        Me: I’m not claiming anything definitively. That’s where faith entered the picture. Remember?

        You: You need to do more research on neuroscience before you make wacky claims about it.

        Me: Do you have any specifics on how consciousness emerged besides frontal lobe curvature and brain-to-body mass ratio? If not, then you should expect the same rationale from a tree shrew as you do with other people. Not only does the tree shrew have the same frontal lobe curvature than us, its brain to body mass ratio is even greater than our own.

        You: Phineas Gage.

        Me: I’m familiar with what happened with him, but I’m not so sure of how this applies to how consciousness originates in the brain. Maybe you can explain your own rationale here.

        1. JamesM

          This claim seems to me a bit circular. Reason is a reasonable position? Ever hear of the difference between empiricism and rationalism? Correspondence theory of truth and coherence theory? Also: You’re presupposing physicalism if your sole requirement of reason is physical evidence. — a position I pull apart when I was put on hold during the call. Yes, while I was put on hold. What a great show.

          This paragraph is incoherent. Did you not say on the show that you had rational evidence based entirely on reason and that you don’t need actual physical evidence for any thing that you say? You therefore subscribe to the position “reason is a reasonable position” automatically. It isn’t in a metaphysical context where the requirement of physical evidence is thrown out the window in favor of making shit up.

          So you assume all of reality comports to your senses. I don’t see why reality should be so accommodating, without a God. But, as I ask Matt as he spoke over me: can you physically prove why all truth must be, or have been, physically observable?

          Where did you get that assumption from that statement? That is the second blatant straw man you’ve produced. Of course reality doesn’t comport to our sense. That’s why we need physical interpretative devices that can convert, say, x-rays into photographs that we can sense. Our radio waves into sound waves.

          Really? I’m not saying that the “mind” doesn’t have any correlation with the brain, while we’re alive. No doubt it does. But can you tell me whether that mind is channelled or originated in that brain? What specifics about the brain gives us consciousness? Can you tell me the chemical properties from which consciousness emerged from?

          There you go with that argument from ignorance again. Do you not understand what a logical fallacy is? “You can’t exclude Y? Therefore Y”. “I don’t understand X, therefore Y.” Do you think the mind is channelled into the brain? Great. So you have a hypothesis. So what do you mean by the mind being channelled into the brain? Do you mean at a certain instant in time? or continuously though out your life? Are you saying the mind is a form of electromagnetic radiation beaming out in all directions from a source and your brain is a unique receiver? Great. Go figure out a way to test that. What in the brain is acting as a receiver? Go test it. But I will go ahead and save you some time. No, the mind is not beamed in the brain. The mind is an epiphenomenon of processes in the brain, Alter the processes, alter the mind. The mind doesn’t appear suddenly. It develops as the brain develops. This is actually studied. Childhood mental development? It’s a thing.

          I’m not claiming anything definitively. That’s where faith entered the picture. Remember?

          Thus you are claiming definitively through faith. How hard is that?

          Do you have any specifics on how consciousness emerged besides frontal lobe curvature and brain-to-body mass ratio? If not, then you should expect the same rationale from a tree shrew as you do with other people. Not only does the tree shrew have the same frontal lobe curvature than us, its brain to body mass ratio is even greater than our own.

          Frontal lobe curvature and brain-to-body mass ratio? What are you talking about? Why don’t you go do some research? You’re like Matt from Oslo who read about thylacines from Kent Hovind and so learned everything he knows about evolution. If you are going to be intellectually honest, you go figure it out. If you have an interest in neuroscience and childhood mental development, there is a wealth of information out there. You have no excuse to remain ignorant. Oh wait, your excuse is that if you remain ignorant of something, that allows you to rely on faith rather than have answers you don’t like.

          1. jacobfromlost

            James: and childhood mental development, there is a wealth of information out there.

            Me: What a perfect point! How are the stages of mental development explained if consciousness is channeled in? I’m stealing that one in future arguments.

          2. Andrew Dorman

            How else would you credit for the evolution of consciousness besides frontal lobe development and body-to-brain mass ratio? Name something specific if you have more to add. As for child development, the ablity of reason develops, esp. in accordance with the senses, the capacity is always there. This is consistent with the fact that abilities differ among people, yet seldom do we expect unique capabilities from anyone.

            My own idea is that the mind is channelled in the same sense that everything has an opposite (Do you disagree with this opening premise?). We’re the opposition of the otherwise dumb universe, which according to you we nonsensically evolved from. In this sense, “mind” is the most internalized aspect of our bodies. God’s transcendent mind = our worldly immanent being. It’s not a physical channelling at all — just a logical given.

          3. JamesM

            @Andrew Dorman

            How else would you credit for the evolution of consciousness besides frontal lobe development and body-to-brain mass ratio?

            Flies are conscious, are they not? They don’t have frontal lobes. Lizards are conscious. They don’t have frontal lobes, either. There is no correlation between brain size/body mass ratios and frontal lobe curvature or presence.

            Name something specific if you have more to add.

            I don’t know where your confusion ends and your presuppositionary faith begins? I’d be at a loss.

            As for child development, the ablity of reason develops, esp. in accordance with the senses, the capacity is always there. This is consistent with the fact that abilities differ among people, yet seldom do we expect unique capabilities from anyone.

            That is correct (the only correct thing you have said up to now), but it doesn’t help your case at all. The ability to reason is partly instinctual, partly learned, but is continuously developed, and can be stunted. This is because of the plasticity of our brains, not our minds. Our minds are functions of our brains. Our brains are organic, physical, and interact with the environment. Over time, genetic variation provides us with a brain that can interact exceedingly well compared to other brains. Yay for us. But, there are outliers, like your brain, that doesn’t seem to do so well.

            My own idea is that the mind is channelled in the same sense that everything has an opposite (Do you disagree with this opening premise?).

            I don’t agree because you aren’t making sense. It’s a non-sequitur. Example: cats sleep in the sense that everything has an opposite.

            We’re the opposition of the otherwise dumb universe, which according to you we nonsensically evolved from.

            You aren’t making sense here, either. We are not in opposition to the universe. We are a part of it. You think it is nonsensical that we evolved from the universe? Why?

            In this sense, “mind” is the most internalized aspect of our bodies. God’s transcendent mind = our worldly immanent being. It’s not a physical channelling at all — just a logical given.

            And this is some more stream of consciousness non-sequitur. There is just nothing at all to anything that you are claiming here. I can’t even tell what you mean by channelling. Mind as an internalized aspect of our bodies? That doesn’t mean anything, either, and doesn’t tell us anything about what a mind is or does. Transcendent = worldly being? That doesn’t mean anything, either. In fact, you are engaging here in double speak. Not a physical channelling? Then it isn’t a channelling. Logical given? I don’t think “logical given” means what you think it means.

        2. Martin Wagner

          You’re presupposing physicalism if your sole requirement of reason is physical evidence. — a position I pull apart when I was put on hold during the call.

          Not only did you not “pull it apart,” you had it explained to you by Matt, very succinctly, that you were confusing methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism. You ignored the distinction then, and you’re still ignoring it now (conflating the two categories under your clumsy term “physicalism”), making this statement of yours wildly dishonest. Surprise.

          Yes, while I was put on hold. What a great show.

          You were put on hold because you were repeating yourself and ignoring what was being explained to you.

          1. Andrew Dorman

            When a person is put on hold, it’s annoying to the caller, so I barely listened to Matt make his distinction. I was about to make my important point when that happened. I wish I did listen more critically though (my fault, I admit), because his distinction seems bogus to me in retrospect. Methological naturalism depends on philosophical naturalism in theory. The practitioner of the method assumes the latter to be true, if it’s to be regarded as the only “true” method. What other philosophical standpoint would such insistence adhere to? It’s a limitation of knowledge, leading to the close-mindedness of the typical atheist, imo. As I watched the rest of the show, Matt seems to put his foot in his mouth with his long spiel after hanging up on me. By the inconsitency with his denial and the claims being he made during his rant, the only reason I found for Matt not accepting being a physicalist (or a philosophical naturalist, as he refers to it) is because then he would have a burden of proof to maintain. A cop out. Why should I think otherwise?

          2. Martin Wagner

            When a person is put on hold, it’s annoying to the caller, so I barely listened to Matt make his distinction.

            You were barely listening anyway, which is annoying to the hosts, and that is why you were put on hold.

            It’s a limitation of knowledge, leading to the close-mindedness of the typical atheist, imo.

            Oh dear. It’s That Phrase again. Honestly, though, isn’t kind of dumb (as in hypocritical) to attack us for “closed-mindedness” after admitting you weren’t even listening to us?

            As I watched the rest of the show, Matt seems to put his foot in his mouth with his long spiel after hanging up on me.

            Well, since, by your own admission, you weren’t really listening anyway, let me try again to pin you down on the point you did not (and still don’t) wish to be pinned down on.

            Here are the options where God is concerned.

            1) A God exists and manifests his existence in such a way that there is evidence.
            2) A God exists and does not manifest his existence in such a way that there is evidence.
            3) A God does not exist.

            Gods 2) and 3) are indistinguishable from one another: yes or no?

            If you choose “no,” explain.

            All this blather about the assumptions you complain we are making is just obfuscation to help you avoid meeting your burden of proof.

          3. Andrew Dorman

            BTW: I made an error here about tree shrews (if anyone still cares). I don’t want to be spreading misinformation. Even though tree shrews have a prefrontal cortex, it’s not their frontal lobe curvature that’s most advanced, it’s their visual cortex. I have to admit I didn’t research before calling it. I was just going by a skim memory on the subject. But, moreover, even though tree shrews have a greater body-to-mass ratio than we do, neuroscience now uses a different calculation that gives humans the best advantage for being the prime candidate for intelligence: the Encephalization Quotient. Even so, none of these areas still address how _specifically_ consciousness evolved other than the “complete brain” caused it, or why neuroscience lags far behind the other sciences in giving firm conclusions of the subject.

    3. 8.3
      Jasper of Maine

      I can’t believe the number of times I was interrupted during my call. As I hope you should know, the format of the calling process makes it very difficult for the caller.

      There is a reason for that, you know.

      If one of the premises of the argument early on is wrong, everything you build on that argument from there on out is wrong. It would simply be a waste of time to continue.

      That’s why they stop you – you’ve said something that is incorrect or debatable, and the conversation cannot continue until it is corrected.

    4. 8.4
      JamesM

      You were interrupted because you were talking out of your ass. What part of “argument from ignorance” are you not understanding? How do you say X is more likely than Y when you don’t know how more likely X is than Y and you don’t know how to find that out? Repeating it doesn’t make it true. That is why you were being interrupted. You called with presumption of demonstrating God’s existence with sound, rational logic but which was merely one logical fallacy after another. God is Pure Mind? What is Pure Mind? You never even attempted to answer that question. How do you know that a universe containing rational consciousness can only be creates by a rational consciousness? How do you know? You don’t. You had nothing but wishful thinking. That’s why you were interrupted and that’s why people laughed.

    5. 8.5
      Randy

      “My faith is that reality is more than what science will provide for. Sure, neuroscience may come up with proofs of how consciousness emerged, or find neural correlates to all aspects of consciousness. But I doubt they will since they haven’t done so already.”

      The exact same argument could have been made against heavier-than-air flight in the early 1800′s. Would that have been a valid argument?

      Tell us how you distinguish between your God and the non-existent invisible pink unicorn at the center of the Earth. What if the IPU has all the same powers that your God has, according to my definition of the IPU? You think your God exists, but you don’t think the non-existent IPU exists. The non-existent IPU embodies all the qualities that you attribute to your God. I declare it so. Other than my declaration that the IPU is non-existent, why don’t you believe it exists?

    6. 8.6
      Randy

      “…[A]daptation may suffice for you despite the counterproof of tree shrews.”

      Great. Demonstrate how tree shrews disprove evolutionary theory. It’s really easy to make claims. It’s really hard to back them up with evidence. Not arguments, and especially not arguments built on logical fallacies and making stuff up. EVIDENCE. You know, actual things that exist in a demonstrable fashion.

      Once you show us all how tree shrews disprove evolutionary theory, get your best suit cleaned and prepare for a trip to Helsinki.

    7. 8.7
      Martin Wagner

      Sure, neuroscience may come up with proofs of how consciousness emerged, or find neural correlates to all aspects of consciousness. But I doubt they will since they haven’t done so already.

      Dude.

      Really?

      If this were 1950, you’d be the guy saying we’ll never get to the moon.

      Allow me. From Charles Darwin himself: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

      And yes, it may be true that we “presuppose” a material, physical universe. But at least we can produce evidence of it. If you presuppose something else, but cannot produce evidence for it, what is your justification for presupposing it? If you say “faith,” you’re conceding you have no good reason for presupposing it, and we can continue not taking you seriously until you do.

      1. Andrew Dorman

        Not really. There’s a difference between something occurring fifty years ago, and something that still hasn’t yet occurred. Neuroscience and psychology, in fact, have been around longer than space travel. Besides, consciousness is a much closer phenomenon to our being than any other. It’s ironic that you credit the final frontier for science to unravel is the one we all experience most intimately every moment of the day.

        1. Martin Wagner

          Missed your saving throw, I’m afraid. That a particular field of science is taking more time and study than another does not suggest it will never find the answers it seeks. My reply was by way of pointing out that it’s unwise to make overconfident declarations about what science will or will not ever learn.

          1. Andrew Dorman

            As for Matt’s distinction between a god that doesn’t exist and one that exists but doesn’t manifest in reality, they can still be distinguishable. As I was about to say on the program, probability may apply to one but not to the other. For instance, if neuroscience just threw up their hands and exhausted every possiblitity for determining neural correlates for mind, then the latter would be more probable than the former, thus distinguishable. The latter would be inferred. Necessity, sufficiency, and consistency would also be methods for distinguishing claims and reaching inductive conclusions based on such study.

          2. Martin Wagner

            “Study” of what?

            If probability “may apply,” how are you measuring the probability? Again, we’re talking about a hypothetical God that is supposed to exist while manifesting absolutely no evidence of his existence. It’s not enough to say “Well, there could be such a God.” “Necessity, sufficiency, and consistency” aren’t methods, they are attributes. And you cannot demonstrate that this God has these attributes until you have demonstrated the God.

            For instance, if neuroscience just threw up their hands and exhausted every possiblitity for determining neural correlates for mind, then the latter would be more probable than the former, thus distinguishable.

            I’m sorry, but I’ve read that sentence about 20 times now and it’s still gibberish.

          3. LykeX

            For instance, if neuroscience just threw up their hands and exhausted every possiblitity for determining neural correlates for mind, then…

            Then mind would be an example of how god manifests. I mean, what would you call “a verifiable phenomenon that cannot be explained in any other manner than X” if not a manifestation of X?

            A god that truly does not manifest in any way cannot be distinguished from a non-existing god and a god that manifests can be demonstrated, so hop to it.

            Also, this does sound an awful lot like an argument from ignorance. I guess if you truly exhausted all possibilities, then you could draw a conclusion like that, but that would essentially require omniscience.

          4. Jasper of Maine

            For instance, if neuroscience just threw up their hands and exhausted every possiblitity for determining neural correlates for mind, then the latter would be more probable than the former, thus distinguishable.

            And yet, it would still be an argument from ignorance.

            That’s the critical error. For every possibility there is for explaining consciousness, for instance, there’s quadrillions of possibilities we’re not even aware of yet.

            How do you figure any kind of probability when you don’t know the total possibilities?

            If people were satisfied with “God did it” as an answer, we’d still be living in caves.

          5. Andrew Dorman

            Matt resorted to the rhetorical device of only accepting a yes-no answer. He asked whether there’s ANY way to distinguish between a God that didn’t exist and one that supposedly does exist, but doesn’t manifest itself in the physical world. He wanted me to respond “no,” I answer “yes.” I say reason can produce a distinction by methods, attributes, modes — whatever you want to call them — of necessity, sufficiency, consistency, etc. How would probability be accounted for, you ask? Not by the fact that that existent God COULD exist, but SHOULD exist (that’s a distinction, whether you agree with it or not doesn’t exclude from that fact). The gibberish I mention is simply a hypothetical: If neuroscience just gave up, saying we can never account for higher levels of thought physically, the idea that the mind was created would become more probable, as in it being more likely that it SHOULD exist, whereas such a higher mind not existing would become less probable. A distinction: Is it not?

        2. Tina S

          Dude, even I can see a problem here. You’re in over your head.

        3. Alvaro

          Dude, are you seriously not able to grasp that the exact same argument (that he SHOULD exist) can eb made for the non-existent God, thus making them, once again, completely undistinguishable?

          Not that the mental onanism you have going there comes even close to actually addressing the question of being distinguishable in the first place…

    8. 8.8
      Paul Newcomb

      “My faith is that reality is more than what science will provide for”

      If our reality is more obvious than what science can tell us, shouldn’t it be even MORE evident to everybody that shares the same reality as you?

      Also, why would you need to have faith in reality? You shouldn’t need faith to realize that reality is real.

    9. 8.9
      LykeX

      I said “faith is the absence of physical evidence,” not the “absence of reason”

      So, faith is a priori reasoning?

    10. 8.10
      Jasper of Maine

      Andrew,

      Just a bit of a pointer.

      For people like me, the application of faith to an argument equates to an instantaneous forfeiture of any and all credibility for the argument.

      As far as we can tell, faith is just making shit up and calling it true.

      It can be used to equally support all infinite contradictory claims, and is thus utterly useless as any kind of pathway to truth.

      You seem to be advocating an alternative to the epistemology framework that science uses. Can you define this alternative epistemological framework, and demonstrate that it actually works?

      If not, why should we waste time on a tool that is undemonstrated?

      1. Tom - Houston, TX

        “As far as we can tell, faith is just making shit up and calling it true.”

        This comment is dangerous.

        I was drinking water when I was reading this, and almost choked and died from laughing.

    11. 8.11
      Felipe

      I hope your website, unlike your comment, has paragraphs.

    12. 8.12
      mike

      “despite the counterproof of tree shrews.” what is this obsession with shrews? They have a higher brain/mass ratio than humans? So what, most birds do, as well as squirrel monkeys, and mouse and man have the same ratio. What’s more important is brain size, and whats most important is brain structure, and the human brain is much more massive than the shrew, so much so that comparing structure is moot. The size of the neural cells are the same in any brain, with the human brain containing many, many more

  9. 9
    George From NY

    Another thing these types have in common is that they can never, and I mean NEVER, honestly claim something like:

    “Well yes, I did in fact speak to John Q. Smith, Professor of Organic Chemistry at NYU and he admitted my challenges to evolution had merit. Here’s a witnessed transcript of our conversation…”

    Years ago at BU, I actually had the pleasure of throwing such a gauntlet down with one of those Aliens-Built-The-Sphinx types.

    As it happened I knew several people working at the AIA in Boston. I invited Alien Guy to join me for pizza next week with my other lunch quest: An actual, no-kidding, degree’d, peer-review published, field-working archaeologist specializing in Ancient Egypt and Assyria.

    I told him to prepare his best questions and strongest doubts – bring his ‘A Game’ – and he’d get a fair hearing.

    He refused. Quelle surprise, non?

  10. 10
    gfunk

    I hate to be that person, but I still feel like there is a lot of trolling going on at AETV. Red flags like (I think Matt from Oslo) blurting out “I had something else I wanted to talk about” when it was clear the hosts were done with him. That just sounds like a troll trying to extend their trollage. Their greatest victory is when they are almost caught and then can suck you back into their rabbit hole.

    I could be totally wrong, paranoid, even too strangely optimistic (in that I don’t believe a lot of these callers are that dense), but my third eye senses dishonest vibrations in the ether.

    1. 10.1
      jacobfromlost

      I fear you are right, but I enjoy metatrolling as well–trolling the troll without them knowing you know they are a troll, and beating them at their own game. It’s tons of fun, lol.

      1. Jasper of Maine

        It’s some kind of convoluted Inception scenario.

    2. 10.2
      Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

      It is awfully hard to tell dishonest trolling from the slightly different deception that comes along with religious faith in general.

    3. 10.3
      JamesM

      That’s a tactic of apologetics. You come with a list of a hundred different creationist refutations to evolution, geology and physics and gish gallop down the list. This caller just wasn’t able to get away with it.

  11. 11
    Jay

    I absolutely loved Dillahunty’s explanation of what the Norwegian was basically saying when he stated he watched Kent Hovind videos “So basically what you are saying is that the idiots from America that have been poisoning the mind of our people have made their way to Norway.” I couldnt help but just clap and laugbh when he pointed that out. What I say to these creationist who say it’s just a theory and basically tell me they don’t know a damn thing about evolution without realizing it is that once they say stuff like “its just a theory” all I hear is a open heart surgeon telling me that they don’t even know that the heart is a muscle or pumps blood. Who in the right mind would take a “doctor” seriously when it comes to open heart surgery when they don’t even understand basic facts about the heart? That is a clear sign to get the hell out as fast as you possibly can. The other caller Andrew. I see he posted on here. Let me ask you this Andrew. Let’s say I made a logical rational argument for leprechauns with zero contradiction, reasons for it’s existence and so forth. YET I couldnt show a single piece of objective, demonstrable, tangible evidence for it’s existence but only say “well….it’s logically coherent.” Would you believe in leprechauns? I ask this because you can make a coherent argument for ANYTHING but as long as they’re is zero actual evidence I don’t care how “logically coherent” it is.

    1. 11.1
      jacobfromlost

      Jay: I ask this because you can make a coherent argument for ANYTHING but as long as they’re is zero actual evidence I don’t care how “logically coherent” it is.

      Me: I totally agree. I skimmed over Andrew’s “Philosophical Argument for God”, which is just a list of mutually confirming assertions that don’t jibe with the evidence in reality. It doesn’t take much to write one’s own “logically coherent philosophical argument for” whatever you want. I’ve actually done this before and it isn’t very hard. As long as you allow yourself to make several basic assertions (the same way Andrew did) that don’t logically contradict each other and don’t take into account any evidence, you’re set.

      1) The entire universe is made of many different parts.
      2) These parts work together to make a whole in a kind of harmony.
      3) In all creative acts, groups are more effective creators than individuals.
      4) The universe is the highest creation as it includes everything and it is harmonious in its oneness.
      5) The cause of the universe is a group of extradimensional beings who worked together to create the highest creation of all, as is evidenced by how complex things are made of more parts than simple things, and created complex things are more extraordinary and useful than created simple things.
      6) The universe could not have been created by an individual being because it ONLY could have been created by a group of beings as even within the creation of the universe, groups are better creators in creating multifaceted and complex systems (such as the universe, which is the most multifaceted and most complex creation) than individuals.

      etc, etc, etc. I can go on like this for HOURS, and you can make all kinds of internally logical and consistent arguments as long as you never feed any outside evidence into the system.

      This is the problem with “philosophical arguments”, and the reason why the scientific revolution didn’t take off with Aristotle. Aristotle didn’t value “experience”, at least not in the active sense of experimentation. He felt the philosophers were above the specifics of how things work, and got right to the heart of WHY they worked. The problem is that the answers he came to based solely on philosophical argument were mostly wrong–ideas about physics, space, time, the four elements, even biology, were very, very wrong. And when did we figure this out? When we stopped asking “why” and started asking “how”–and feeding evidence into our arguments, which has the added benefit of adding to our useful knowledge.

      It never fails to astonish me how long it took before someone actually TESTED some of the Aristotelian implications about gravity (I mean, any child can test gravity). Aristotle’s philosophical notions about gravity suggested heavy objects would fall faster than light objects. Galileo even pointed out how absurd this was by saying that if this were true, then you could get a 100 pound ball and a one pound ball and drop them from a height of 100 yards and the 100 pound ball would hit the ground before the 1 pound ball had fallen a single yard. Even imagining it is absurd…but you would think SOMEONE around Aristotle’s day would have tried it to see. It only takes to seconds to find a heavy rock and a light rock and drop them from any height you like.

      1. Andrew Dorman

        “2) These parts work together to make a whole in a kind of harmony.”

        So this universe made up of many parts is holistic? You’re contradicting yourself already.

        1. jacobfromlost

          Andrew: So this universe made up of many parts is holistic?

          Me: This isn’t a contradiction any more than observing a construction crew build a building is a contradiction. The building is one thing, made of many parts, constructed by a large group that could not have created something so grand without working together. Are you claiming the universe is a creation LESS GRAND than a building? What? Don’t be ridiculously irrational! Thus, the universe was created by a group of extradimensional beings! How can you deny my logically coherent, consistent conclusion!? How can you deny my philosophical argument? You can’t. Therefore I am right and you are wrong, as my being right automatically excludes you being right.

          1. Andrew Dorman

            Where did the construction crew find the parts to ensemble the first universe, prior to its existence? Sheeesh.

          2. jacobfromlost

            Wherever it is you think your god got HIS materials. What is good for one goose is good for a gaggle of ganders.

          3. Kaj

            “Wherever it is you think your god got HIS materials. What is good for one goose is good for a gaggle of ganders.”

            *Slow clap*

            Well said, good sir.

      2. Jdog

        I deleted this exact argument for polytheism over monotheism from the IC wiki about a month ago with the explanation that a Christian could just say “angels helped God create the universe” and you’d be back where you started.

    2. 11.2
      George From NY

      Exactly, Jay. One can indeed argue Leprechauns into existence just as easily as Jahweh as long as the standards of evidence are flexible enough – or non-extant.

      I see “Logic” as being a kind of CRC or MD5 sum check for the mind. But you can play games with it and apologists certainly do – it’s one of their preferred tricks.

      1. Jay

        I also don’t think it’s by accident that these people accept the philosophical arguments because these are the same people who also admit to having “faith” and I remember when I came out to my mother as an atheist [I am 24 now. Came out when I was 19.] I was told “you just don’t understand, it’s all about faith!” and my immediate response was “you have faith in ANYTHING! You can have faith in unicorns.” So it’s no wonder why these people would fall for sophistry that can also be used to justify believe in anything. So if they accept that faith is reasonable, then why not these sophist arguments?!

    3. 11.3
      Andrew Dorman

      “Let me ask you this Andrew. Let’s say I made a logical rational argument for leprechauns with zero contradiction”

      It can’t be done because the physical properties of a leprechaun are always going to lead to contradictions. This is what I was getting to when I was hung upon — how you can teel a non-existent thing from an existent thing that doesn’t manifest itself. One can still make rational claims about it. Green couldn’t exist transcendently, for instance: it’s a physical property. If you say it can exist cosmically, I would ask you: how? If you simply reduce the leprachaun to mind, then we’d be on the same page. The “mind” is the only known thing that corresponds with what we know of the world. Even so, we cannot even come close to explaining how it originates physically. Such a holistically causal “mind” would also simply be God by definition.

      1. Jay

        Andrew: “the physical properties of a leprechaun are always going to lead to contradictions.”

        Me: I just said, lets say I COULD make a logical coherent argument for leprechauns without contradiction. That is what I asked…so your answer is “well you can’t.” Ya, I might be able to, but if I could, would you then believe in leprechauns exist? That is my question because as I already stated. I do not care what so ever if you can make a logical argument defining ANYTHING into existence even if it is coherent and not contradictory because all I care about is whether or not there is EVIDENCE.
        So you did not answer my question.

        You also contradict your self because you said ” physical properties” and then talk about god being a mind. My question is how do you know this, all our understanding of a mind is physical [brains.] and if you are going to assert that a mind can exist without a brain, then please show me any actual proof of this, and I would tell you that a unicorn is a more likely then your god considering that we have no evidence that a mind can exist without a brain, but we do have animals with horns and we have horses that physically exist. If you want to talk about probability and likely hood I would bet the unicorn exist rather then your god where we have ZERO reference in our known universe.

        1. Andrew Dorman

          Plato’s forms were generalities. “Pure mind” would be the most general of generalities. However, your leprechauns are specific, and their smallness and greenness are their attributes. So how do you account for them consistently existing beyond space-time? Please take your own advice and study up on some philosophy prior to answering.

          The number four may just as well be an inference based on experience. Ever hear of nominalism? So explain to me, then: How do these numbers exist? Are they conceptual, instantiated, or simply God-like?

          Keep in mind Occam’s razor, in which the best explanation are not only the simplest, but the most sufficient. In my example of “pure mind,” evolution doesn’t suffice so such a creator mind is a valid addition. How would leprechauns be equally valid as multipied entities?

      2. Martin Wagner

        It can’t be done because the physical properties of a leprechaun are always going to lead to contradictions

        How do you know this? Describe the physical properties of leprechauns, and explain which ones are contradictory.

        And how is it non-contradictory to say (ad nauseam, which was why you were hung up on) that you have a rational basis for believing in a god based entirely on faith? Again, we don’t care if you can come up with ways to define your God into existence by means of logical proofs or what have you. Aquinas was doing that centuries ago, he wasn’t very good at it then, and apologists have gotten no better at it today. Any logical proof theists come up with for their god of choice can be as easily applied to any other mythical being you could dream up. That this can be done in no way indicates that the thing the proof has “proven” actually exists in reality.

        1. Andrew Dorman

          “How do you know this? Describe the physical properties of leprechauns, and explain which ones are contradictory.”

          The physical properites would contradict with the idea of being transcednet, and “God-like.” You cannot have transcendent smallness, or greenness, for instance, as the idea of “small” or “green” depend on a spatial landscape. “Four-leaf clovers” depend on numerical values. Do I really need to be more knowledgable about leprechauns to add more to this?

          1. Martin Wagner

            So what is your evidence for the transcendent, God-like “pure mind”?

          2. jacobfromlost

            Me: Andrew, you are wrong. Since you claim to be making philosophical arguments, you need to read Plato.

            Andrew: The physical properites would contradict with the idea of being transcednet, and “God-like.” You cannot have transcendent smallness, or greenness, for instance, as the idea of “small” or “green” depend on a spatial landscape.

            Me: No, they don’t. THE IDEAS of “small” and “green” do not depend upon anything. In fact, Plato argued that things called “forms” were all transcendent, perfect, and nonphysical, and that is where all physical things came.

            Andrew: “Four-leaf clovers” depend on numerical values.

            Me: And if the number four is not transcendent, what is it? It is still “four” whether there is a physical four leaf clover or not.

            Andrew: Do I really need to be more knowledgable about leprechauns to add more to this?

            Me: You need to be more knowledgeable about philosophy and concepts, especially when making “philosophical arguments”.

            Andrew: A lepurechaun without physical properites wouldn’t be a leprachaun.

            Me: My leprechauns do have physical properties. One is that their physical properties exist simultaneously with their interdimensional properties that allow them to know where humans are at all times, which allows them to avoid human contact and detection. The fact that we have never had any evidence of them is proof that they exist, otherwise we would have had evidence of them. How is that argument different from the argument you are making? The argument for the leprecauns is consistent, logical, and noncontradictory. Thus, it must be true if we accept your coherence theory of reason that you claim to be using for god.

            Andrew: Would you rationally call a non-sittable entity a “chair”?

            Me: Plato would say yes. The Platonic form of a “chair” is, according to Plato, MORE REAL than chairs you can sit on because the reality of all chairs you sit on COME FROM the Platonic form “chair”, and would not exist without that Platonic form. The only place this idea survives to the present is with the “soul”–ie, the notion that the soul comes from somewhere transcendent and makes the physical person what they are. This was grafted onto the idea of a “soul” as simply a person, which was the prominent way the word was used previously. For instance, S.O.S. (Save Our Souls) does NOT mean help us achieve salvation and get to heaven, but rather SAVE OUR PHYSICAL LIVES BECAUSE WE ARE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE AND ABOUT TO DIE.

            Andrew: Why would you then call a “non-green,” non-munchkin-like, non-posessor of four-leaf-clovers with no pot at the end of the rainbow a leprechaun?

            Me: We’re not calling it a leprecaun. (I would call it LESS than a leprecaun as it has fewer attributes and none that could be conceivably verified.) In any case, we’re calling it just as unfalsifiable nonsense as the leprecaun. The argument you are making for your god is exactly the same as the argument we’re making for leprecauns. The only difference is that you like your idea so ignore all of its problems.

            Andrew, what if someone said to you, “I have faith in leprecauns, and I have this consistent, logical, noncontradictory argument for them.” I have already demonstrated the argument, and now I have asserted the faith. WHY SHOULD I NOT BELIEVE LEPRECAUNS ARE REAL?

          3. Paulo Jabardo

            Since we are making stuff up, couldn’t leprechauns be like Jesus, a manifestation on earth of a transcendent being?Since

          4. Jay

            I am SICK of you not actually answering my question and I know why you dance around it because I could make an logically coherent non contradictory argument for leprechauns yet had not a shred of evidence you wouldnt accept it! That’s why you won’t answer my question and instead say ‘well leprechauns are physical” Yes and so is the mind that is dependent on a physical object called the BRAIN and we have ZERO evidence that it is or can be outside of the physical brain. Which is why I said you contradicted your self. I will made a bullet proof argument for leprechauns. Leprechauns are MAGIC. They can be invisible and since they have MAGIC they can also become gas instead of a solid object so you can walk right through them. As for gold, same exact thing. They can make the gold invisible and turn into a gas or liquid form that can be shaped into it’s original form like the leprechauns them selves when they change from a solid form to a gas or liquid form. Rainbows do in fact lead to their pots of gold but the leprechauns are tricksters you see so they make it APPEAR as though that is physically possible. Oh and let’s not forget dwarfs actually exist, Ireland actually exist, gold exist, rainbows exist, etc….WHERE is your evidence of a mind existing outside the solid object known as the BRAIN?!

          5. Randy

            How do you know those are the characteristics of leprechauns? If leprechauns aren’t known to exist, can we not apply any characteristics to them that we might choose (as is done with God)? In fact, couldn’t we apply characteristics to them that would not contradict reality? If not, why not? What constitutes a leprechaun, and why can’t any other characteristics apply? Are you the ultimate arbiter of leprechaunhood?

      3. JamesM

        Andrew, if I may interrupt. Leprechauns do not have physical properties in the same way as God does not have physical properties and the Absolute Mind that you are going on about does not have physical properties. The mind, as I said earlier is an epiphenomenon of processes in the brain: it is made up of parts, that is a number of different systems working together, each made up of billions upon billion of physical electrochemical connections, that taken together produce consciousness. Is consciousness easily irreducible to its parts? No. It it were, it would be a no-brainer (badum tsh).

        1. Andrew Dorman

          A lepurechaun without physical properites wouldn’t be a leprachaun. Would you rationally call a non-sittable entity a “chair”? Why would you then call a “non-green,” non-munchkin-like, non-posessor of four-leaf-clovers with no pot at the end of the rainbow a leprechaun?

          1. JamesM

            A lepurechaun without physical properites wouldn’t be a leprachaun.

            What are physical properties of Leprechauns? I don’t know of any scientific studies on Leprechauns, and I don’t know of any one who has any experience with Leprechauns, let alone seen them.

            Would you rationally call a non-sittable entity a “chair”? Why would you then call a “non-green,” non-munchkin-like, non-posessor of four-leaf-clovers with no pot at the end of the rainbow a leprechaun?

            You’ve missed the point utterly completely. Leprechauns, being that they don’t exist or at least manifest in reality, have properties indistinguishable from other beings that don’t exist or manifest in reality. Are you understanding what is being said here? Because you seem to be the only one who is having trouble with this. What is the difference between a thing that doesn’t manifest in reality and a thing that doesn’t exist? How do you tell the difference?

      4. DanTheMilkMan

        But you see, that’s where faith comes in, I have faith that Leprechauns are of a mind, I don’t need physicality. Of course there is no literal pot of gold (although some fundamentalist Leprechistians disagree, but they’re not real Leprechistians). Someday, you will pass through the door of death, and when you do, you want to be right with Smiley O’Flannegen, the Leprechaun God(who exists outside of space and time), you don’t want to end up on the other side of the Rainbow where you will be seperated from Lucky Charms and green beer for all eternity.

        1. Andrew Dorman

          You just differing on the specifics. You could likewise choosse to believe in Allah. The idea of “pure mind” being the root source of belief is the same.

          1. Upright Ape

            Hence, since Andrew’s “logic” lends itself to proving various things that are mutually incompatible, it is bunk.

          2. jacobfromlost

            Andrew: You just differing on the specifics.

            Me: Read that sentence carefully. “You are just differing on the specifics.” Here’s the problem. How do you point out differences WITHOUT POINTING OUT SPECIFIC DIFFERENCES? You seem to be saying the specific differences don’t count as differences. But if there ARE any differences, then your argument DOESN’T WORK as you are specifically arguing for one thing. And since all differences are specific, and you acknowledge the same argument can be made for specifically different things, you have just conceded the heart of your argument rests on a contradiction.

            Andrew: You could likewise choosse to believe in Allah. The idea of “pure mind” being the root source of belief is the same.

            Me: No, it’s not, as the “pure mind” of Allah is NOT the same as the “pure mind” of Yaweh, or a deist god, or Zeus, or any other god. How do we know? Because they are SPECIFICALLY DIFFERENT! (Why I have to put “specifically” on “different” is beyond me, but apparently I do to make this point.)

            If “pure mind A” says Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light, and “pure mind B” says that Jesus never died on the cross and thus never resurrected and thus is NOT the way, the truth, and the light…

            …then you CAN’T claim the two “pure minds” are the same! They are SPECIFICALLY DIFFERENT and mutually exclusive. (And if you are going to claim they are the same EXCEPT where they are different, you are intellectually lost.)

    4. 11.4
      Andrew Dorman

      This is in response to your Magic Leprechauns, which had no space for to reply. Magic is an unknown quality in this world. It’s usually associated with physical manipulations that cannot be readily explained, performed by a magicians. Who would the magician behind these leprechauns? What about these leprechauns baffle any bystanders? As for what you claim is my analgous position: I credit a mind. As with our own mind, its purposes and most meaningful thoughts cannot be physically replicated in a lab. We all experience such thoughts beyond description. How would you describe you’re being in love, for instance? It baffles the mind, but it’s hardly magic. It’s quite ordinary. I’m just extrapolating from what people regularly experience. Can you say the same for leprechauns?

      1. Randy

        So, miracles (magic) performed by leprechauns would be impossible, but miracles (magic) performed by a divine virgin-born immortal Middle Eastern Jew 2000 years ago would be possible. Gotcha. As long as there’s no special pleading going on. Oh, wait…

  12. 12
    michaeld

    Why is it always tigers…. no love for the zebra stripes?

    1. 12.1
      phillwatson

      I thought Matt or Martin might have said that. His ‘arguement’ was so weak though as it was.

      1. michaeld

        Indeed it was a target rich environment.

  13. 13
    Muz

    I know everyone has said it already, but Seriously, the Thylacine? Aye yie yie.
    They’re too easy. If you look at them they even appear like a stretched out Tasmanian Devil (or vice versa). Odd choice too. He must have fallen on his arse when he stumbled upon the Monotremes. Or maybe that’s something for him to look forward to.

    Although at the end there it almost seemed like he was going to say “You know you’re right. I have had some doubts, so I’m dropping the whole god thing right now”.
    Too optimistic?

  14. 14
    Cassie

    tassy tigers looked nothing like tassy devils.

  15. 15
    truestory

    Best episode in months. Matt balancing on the edge of rage and Martin chilling with concise yet accurate dictum is the way to go for me.

  16. 16
    Strider

    Funny enough, Matt from Oslo’s example couldn’t have been worse. The Thylacine and its Australian marsupial relatives are a beautiful example of adaptive radiation and, thereby, evolution by natural selection. There are examples of mole-like marsupials, flying squirrel-like marsupials, woverine-like marsupials, mole-like marsupials, and yes wolf-like marsupials like the thylacine (which, by the way, looks nothing like a tiger and further demonstrates Matt from Oslo’s lack of prep). All these animals evolved from common ancestors in South America, migrated to Australia, and filled empty niches there and in Tasmania.

  17. 17
    OmniZ

    I was going to come here to say how great I thought you did on the show yesterday, Martin, so I’m glad to see you’ve already gotten the positive feedback already.

    Chalk me up as one more. :)

  18. 18
    jacobfromlost

    Andrew: This claim seems to me a bit circular. Reason is a reasonable position?

    Me: Thanks for quote mining me. Reason is a reasonable position BASED ON EVIDENCE. Evidence, as I explained, must be verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. There is no reason the evidence for something nonphysical can’t meet that basic standard as long as its effects are manifested in the physical universe somehow. (I wouldn’t know how as I am not claiming any such thing and nothing nonphysical has ever been demonstrated in this way.)

    Andrew: Ever hear of the difference between empiricism and rationalism?

    Me: You can’t rationalize about reality without consulting evidence in reality.

    Andrew: Correspondence theory of truth and coherence theory?

    Me: Did you miss the point where innumerable things can be coherent and not be true? Be logically consistent and not be true? …And how do we find this out? By consulting THE EVIDENCE. We have no way to simply pick from a very long list of things that are not contradictory within their own imagined construct.

    Andrew: Also: You’re presupposing physicalism if your sole requirement of reason is physical evidence. — a position I pull apart when I was put on hold during the call. Yes, while I was put on hold. What a great show.

    Me: I’m not presupposing physicalism as the phenomenon is not required to be physical. The only requirement is that the evidence for it be verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. THAT IS ALL.

    Me before: All I require evidence, and “evidence” is a defined term.

    Andrew: So you assume all of reality comports to your senses.

    Me: No, as I can detect real things without direct use of my senses, and use falsifiable methodology to confirm their existence.

    Andrew: I don’t see why reality should be so accommodating, without a God.

    Me: Reality isn’t accommodating. That’s why we have to rely on evidence rather than making stuff up.

    Andrew: But, as I ask Matt as he spoke over me: can you physically prove why all truth must be, or have been, physically observable?

    Me: Huh? What are you presupposing now, because it has nothing to do with what Matt said or what we are saying here.

    Me before: But they have done so already!

    Andrew: Really? I’m not saying that the “mind” doesn’t have any correlation with the brain, while we’re alive. No doubt it does. But can you tell me whether that mind is channelled or originated in that brain?

    Me: Yes. It originates with the brain. Why? Because by changing the brain, you can change everything about a person. Their personality, their memories, their actions. EVERYTHING. If the mind was channelled THROUGH the brain, we would expect a weak signal manifesting through the person much the way a weak radio signal or a weak tv signal would manifest through a receiver. But that isn’t what we see. We see complete changes in people all based on changing the brain. Moreover, we even have instances of split brain patients where one half of their brain is an atheist and the other have is a theist. What happened to THAT consciousness? Moreover, if the consciousness is inserted at conception, how do you explain chimeras? A person who started out as twins, and the zygotes melded into ONE person. Do they have TWO consciousnesses, two souls, but only appear to have one consciousness when they grow up? What about twins? THey start out as ONE zygote, with apparently one soul and one consciousness that entered at conception, and yet the zygote SPLITS INTO TWO, thus resulting in two people. Do they share ONE consciousness and ONE soul? The story logic breaks down when you look at the actual evidence and use simple true dichotomies.

    Andrew: What specifics about the brain gives us consciousness? Can you tell me the chemical properties from which consciousness emerged from?

    Me: I can tell you if your claims about consciousness being CHANNELED through the brain were true, the mountains of falsifiable evidence we now have could not exist. It does exist, hence you are wrong. See above regarding split brain patients, chimeras, twins, brain damage, etc.

    Me before: You are claiming a conclusion that is unlikely.

    Andrew: I’m not claiming anything definitively. That’s where faith entered the picture. Remember?

    Me: You don’t seem to understand that you are claiming something is TRUE and that there is evidence for it (the tree shrew, remember?). Thus you are speaking in scientific terms, not loosey-goosey “it feels good so it might be true” terms. You are getting absolute truth and demonstrable truth confused. You don’t get to hide behind “I’m not claiming definitively” because no one is saying you ARE claiming definitely. No scientist claims anything absolutely. It is always liable to exceptions, exclusions, or new experiments and observations.

    Me before: You need to do more research on neuroscience before you make wacky claims about it.

    Andrew: Do you have any specifics on how consciousness emerged besides frontal lobe curvature and brain-to-body mass ratio?

    Me: Oh good grief. You are playing games by using multiple definitions of “consciousness”, and invoking the argument from ignorance again. Let’s say for an instant that we knew THE REASON humans have human-like consciousness is because of their brain-to-body mass ratio. HOW WOULD THAT EXPLAIN HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS? It wouldn’t, not by itself. Thanks for playing stawman. (You can look up the other factors yourself.)

    Andrew: If not, then you should expect the same rationale from a tree shrew as you do with other people.

    Me: Right. But since you are wrong, this is moot.

    Andrew: Not only does the tree shrew have the same frontal lobe curvature than us, its brain to body mass ratio is even greater than our own.

    Me: Interesting. Does it have as many folds in its brain as we do? Does it have as many neurons? Synapses? Does it manifest consciousness outwardly the way we do? If you are going to value evidence, you can’t simply PICK ONE piece you like and ignore all the rest.

    Me before: Phineas Gage.

    Andrew: I’m familiar with what happened with him, but I’m not so sure of how this applies to how consciousness originates in the brain. Maybe you can explain your own rationale here.

    Me: I already did above. If consciousness is only channeled through the brain, you wouldn’t expect a catastrophic personality CHANGE by changing the brain. Moreover, if consciousness works in a way that it channeled through something, why would it need the intermediary of a BRAIN? Why would it need to look exactly like a physical process? Why wouldn’t it simply be channeled through THE BODY? Why wouldn’t we expect to find NO ORGAN in the body that controls consciousness, movement, personality, memory? Why wouldn’t we expect consciousness to act like “the cloud” in computer terms and not find any operating systems, stored files, etc, in the receiving computers themselves? Why wouldn’t we expect that even if we COULD find some files on the computer’s memory systems, that SOME things would NOT be found in the computer if the claim is that the computers functioning is actually channeled from THE CLOUD?

    THe brain is like the computer that has every file, memory, operating system, etc, that we would expect it to have in order to function the way we see it functioning, and that when we damage part of it, it’s functioning is damaged proportionally. We would not expect that if everything that made it function came from THE CLOUD. Thus, there is not only no reason to think consciousness is channeled through the brain, there is conclusive disconfirming evidence that it is. (And if consciousness WERE something that was channeled in this way, A BRAIN WOULD NOT BE NEEDED AT ALL. Yet we have a brain.)

    1. 18.1
      George From NY

      “Andrew: What specifics about the brain gives us consciousness? Can you tell me the chemical properties from which consciousness emerged from?”

      Fallacy. Argument from ignorance.

      Jacob need not explain the entire physics of sentience, from basic atomic theory all the way up to my memories of Roller Disco, to stand in justified defense of the proposition(s) that human thought and consciousness have material, corporeal etiology and mechanisms.

      All investigations into “mind” by humanity since the birth of scientific neurology and psychology point to this.

      That there are aspects of “mind” we don’t understand (yet) no more supports super-naturalism than our incomplete and imperfect knowledge of human language origins supports the Tower of Babel story.

  19. 19
    jacobfromlost

    Andrew: It can’t be done because the physical properties of a leprechaun are always going to lead to contradictions.

    Me: You can write out the contradictions just as you write out the contradictions of your god, as long as you don’t consult evidence.

    Andrew: This is what I was getting to when I was hung upon — how you can tell a non-existent thing from an existent thing that doesn’t manifest itself. One can still make rational claims about it.

    Me: Just the same as one can make “rational” claim about leprechauns. Leprechauns are interdimensional beings who have the power to see where all humans are at any given time, so that they do not reveal themselves to humans. How do I know this? Because if they DIDN’T have this power to see where humans were at all times, we’d have evidence of them. Duh. Therefore leprechauns rationally exist.

    Andrew: Green couldn’t exist transcendently, for instance: it’s a physical property.

    Me: Can green exist abstractly, as the concept “green.” And if that isn’t transcendent, what is it?

    Andrew: If you say it can exist cosmically, I would ask you: how? If you simply reduce the leprachaun to mind, then we’d be on the same page. The “mind” is the only known thing that corresponds with what we know of the world.

    Me: I assume you agree that we rationalists have minds also. If so, why do we not agree with you? How is it we take part in this “cosmic”, “transcendent” mind that allows us to have minds and think, and yet we reject this notion as unfalsifiable nonsense?

    Andrew: Even so, we cannot even come close to explaining how it originates physically.

    Me: You say we “cannot” come close. Let’s say we could come close. What would that look like? How would we find out? What kind of tests would we use? What would we expect to see if consciousness originated physically? What would we expect to see if consciousness was only channeled from somewhere else? THESE QUESTIONS HAVE ALL BEEN ANSWERED, and all the answers confirm consciousness is an emergent property of physical brains as a result of evolution and natural selection, and NONE OF THE ANSWERS confirm any claims about channeling consciousness. NONE. And we would EXPECT TO FIND SUCH EVIDENCE if that claim were true, and yet we NEVER HAVE. Thus it is disconfirmed.

    Andrew: Such a holistically causal “mind” would also simply be God by definition.

    Me: And the real leprecauns would be interdimensional beings with the power to know where all humans were at all times by definition, as no human has ever captured evidence of one.

    You have major misunderstandings of space, time, cause, effect, and mind. Causes only occur in space-time, space-time is not simply “space” and “time” added together, and the universe doesn’t exist in an infinite emptiness of infinite time that exists separate from the universe. You can’t have a being outside of space-time CAUSING space-time, as causes only OCCUR IN SPACE-TIME. It’s like saying god existed outside of existence and then made existence. YOU CAN’T’ HAVE NONEXISTENT THINGS CREATING EXISTENT THINGS. And if you think you can, you are not making an argument at all and cannot exclude other absurd claims based on contradiction, as you have started with the most egregious contradiction of all as your primary premise.

    1. 19.1
      George From NY

      “Andrew: Also: You’re presupposing physicalism if your sole requirement of reason is physical evidence. — a position I pull apart when I was put on hold during the call. Yes, while I was put on hold. What a great show.

      JFL: I’m not presupposing physicalism as the phenomenon is not required to be physical. The only requirement is that the evidence for it be verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. THAT IS ALL.”

      Andrew, if by “physicalism” you mean scientific inquiry employing methodological naturalism…what alternative investigative modality do you claim or suspect has an equal or greater degree of coherence, self-correction, objectivity and utility?

      1. jacobfromlost

        Also, does anyone really believe that IF THERE WERE evidence for consciousness being channeled, such as…

        1) People with minor brain damage only had the effect of weakinging their vitality, weaking consistent memory effectiveness (but not memory absence), weakening the fluency of their thoughts and memory but never the content, weakening the expression of their personality but not the personality itself, etc.
        2) No person with any brain damage had a catastrophic personality change.
        3) People with no brains directly channeling their consciousness through their bodies.
        4) Newborns occasionally being born with intact consciousnesses of people who had lived before (switching to a new receiver after death) and thus not exhibiting the normal human mental development stages as they were born with them all intact.
        5) Any physical indication that some signal is being transmitted to the brain and can be blocked without affecting any other known physical process.
        6) No brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s existed where every function of a person’s consciousness was not only weakened, but the overall functioning destroyed over time, and linked directly to physical causes.

        …that Andrew would instantly switch positions and “presuppose physicalism” while jumping up and down and pointing at all this physical evidence that consciousness is channelled in from somewhere else.

        I wonder how he would feel if *I* then switched my position and said, “None of that is evidence. You presuppose physicalism. I think the brain is a magic organ so all that evidence doesn’t count, as I have never researched it. I believe the brain is magic on faith. Remember?”

    2. 19.2
      mike

      I’m still atheistic when it comes to god claims, but I am starting to think leprechauns might be real…

  20. 20
    roggg

    Matt from Norway sounds slightly less sophisticated than my 3 year old.

    Kid (funnier with “Chris Griffin” voice): Ummm…dad. I think I have proof evolution is wrong.

    Me: What’s that son? Go for it.

    K: Umm…well the thylocine looks a lot like a big wolf with stripes dad!

    Me: That’s very clever son. Why dont you draw me a picture? [chuckling to myself..."kids say the darndest things dont they"].

    Seriously. the next time someone offers to provide proof, maybe best to make sure they understand what proof IS before giving them the mic to jabber nonsensically.

  21. 21
    Ahkoond

    The second caller said at least a couple of times that since we don’t have an explanation for something, then the most probable cause is a creator God. This is something that boggles my mind. How can the most probable cause be something for which there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever? What would be the *least* probable cause, then? If I wake up in the morning and I smell coffee, the most probable cause is that my wife made it because she always does. I don’t think it was God; I have proof that my wife exists but none whatsoever that God does. To think that God made my coffee would be insane. And ultimately, the most reasonable explanation would be “well, I don’t know who made it, I’ll try to find out”. Maybe I’m just having a stroke, or maybe it was the elves, or yes even God who made the coffee but until I have some reasonable proof, to jump to the goddidit conclusion is pure intellectual laziness on my part. Why is it that people find it so difficult, so intolerable to say “I don’t know” that they have to come up with the most unbelievable explanations instead? Is it so bad to have doubts, to not know something, to recognize that they may be missing information? I just don’t get it and it’s been the source of endless disputes with relatives to the point that I just stopped trying to make them reason because it became a lost cause. You can’t get water from a stone, I guess.

  22. 22
    phillwatson

    Wow. What a show. Best episode in years (that’s not detrimental to previous shows.

    It had the almost perfect combination of great hosts and semi-articulate theist callers. Even the one atheist caller was kept short and wasn’t a babbling buffoon.

    Loved Martin’s Aperture Science T-shirt too. Speaking of T-shirts, Jeff was wearing an ACA one the other week; they don’t sell them on the ACA site, but I wouldn’t mind buying one of those. Not that I’m in the ACA or indeed from Austin but I think it’s a pretty cool shirt that would be recognised the world over.

    I’m babbling, sorry.

    1. 22.1
      LykeX

      I think the ACA shirts were sold in connection with the pub crawls. If I remember correctly, they’re made to order, so I’m not sure they’re generally available.

    2. 22.2
      Martin Wagner

      A lot of people bug us about merch, and we really should get on it.

      1. Jasper of Maine

        Like a “NO NO NO NO YOU’RE DONE!” bumper sticker?

  23. 23
    Upright Ape

    What Andrew calls a “rational argument” is essentially a game of words. I have no physical evidence, therefore, I will use “logic” in its place.
    Well you know Andrew, the language of logic is math.. Why don’t you mathematically formulate your “proof” mathematically and get it peer reviewed. Let us know when you are finished.
    And good luck with that.

  24. 24
    strangelove

    Maybe Andrew can answer this. Whenever I see theists tackle the concept of God being a ‘pure mind’, a ‘perfect mind’, a ‘transcendent mind’ etc. they are talking in singular terms. It’s always the ‘one’ pure mind. Almost as if there is that ultimate supermind out there, it better be just the one or it ain’t super perfect no more.

    So this is my question: Are there more than one pure minds out there and how do you know?

    1. 24.1
      Andrew Dorman

      No, because only one thing at most can so subsist beyond space-time. Space-time has no numerical values, and “oneness” isn’t numerical except in relative terms of other numbers. Also: there’s no reason to prove more than one mind. Any more than one mind wouldn’t have a reason for being. “Heaven” would simply be our own minds becoming attributed to this one mind.

      1. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

        No, because only one thing at most can so subsist beyond space-time.

        By what rationale can you make this conclusion? Also, isn’t existence a temporal condition? How can something exist “beyond” time? Wouldn’t it have to exist for a period of time in order to have existed at all?

        Space-time has no numerical values, and “oneness” isn’t numerical except in relative terms of other numbers

        wat?

        Also: there’s no reason to prove more than one mind. Any more than one mind wouldn’t have a reason for being.

        There’s no reason to prove any mind “beyond space-time”. To the best of our current knowledge minds are a product of physical brains.

        “Heaven” would simply be our own minds becoming attributed to this one mind.

        Now you’re just making shit up. What do you even mean by attributed in this sentence?

        1. Andrew Dorman

          I use the word “subsistence” here, not existence — as in the philosophical sense of a general foundation for existence. This is comparable to how a subjective purpose for doing something (subsisting) may lead to many actions in the physical world.

          “wha?”

          Exactly what it says.

          “There’s no reason to prove any mind “beyond space-time”. To the best of our current knowledge minds are a product of physical brains”

          We inner experience our own thoughts, yet we don’t inner experience our own brain processes. So these two concepts don’t entail all the same properties. Also: may I ask you: Does this production occur inside the brain or on the periphery of the lobes? If a mad scientist were to take such a brain, along with its nervous system, and apply it to a chair, along with providing these organs with an ability to sustain themselves, would this chair then produce consciousness?

          “What do you even mean by attributed in this sentence?”

          Become properties of.

          1. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

            I use the word “subsistence” here, not existence — as in the philosophical sense of a general foundation for existence. This is comparable to how a subjective purpose for doing something (subsisting) may lead to many actions in the physical world.

            ‘Subsistence’ and ‘existence’ are synonyms. By your definition something that “subsists” but does not “exist” could not be described in any meaningful way.

            We inner experience our own thoughts, yet we don’t inner experience our own brain processes. So these two concepts don’t entail all the same properties

            We are ignorant of a lot of the ways our physical processes make us exist as humans but not completely. You don’t know for a fact that there’s anything more to minds than brains but we do know that we’ve never observed a mind without a brain and the animal mind is irreparably contingent on the animal brain.

            Does this production occur inside the brain or on the periphery of the lobes? If a mad scientist were to take such a brain, along with its nervous system, and apply it to a chair, along with providing these organs with an ability to sustain themselves, would this chair then produce consciousness?

            You may ask and my answer is “I don’t know.” This doesn’t give you a pass to make up answers.

            Become properties of.

            By what mechanism exactly would a mind become a property of another mind?

  25. 25
    Andrew Holder

    It was good man. I approve.

  26. 26
    Tina S

    Crap. I’m going to have to dive into philosophy now, aren’t I? Reading through the comments I can “see” there’s something wrong but I don’t understand what the wrong is. I’m struggling to understand debates and the bad arguements. I didn’t like the philosophy class I took in college. Yes, I’m whining. However, I don’t see any way around learning these two at minimum since I want to understand better.

    1. 26.1
      Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

      Just remember: reason and evidence, with a strong bias toward evidence.

      1. Andrew Dorman

        This would be the difference between empiricism and rationalism, correspondence theory of truth from coherence theory of truth. It would be Ham Sandwich’s burden of proof to demonstrate why one is more preferable than the other.

        1. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

          My yardstick for prefer-ability: which one works best in reality. To steal directly from the show (Tracy I believe) if you have a conclusion that you came to with reason but is contradicted by good evidence, which one should we prefer?

          Now whether it’s *actually* 100% objectively in every sense of the word, I don’t care. We really could be sub-minds in the super-mind that you conjecture but tell me about it when you can demonstrate it because otherwise it’s exactly comparable to an infinite number of possibilities.

          1. Andrew Dorman

            Physical evidence? You’re question begging. That should be obvious to you.

        2. JamesM

          Do you not know what even “Begging the Question” means?

          1. Andrew Dorman

            Do you know what “principle of charity” means?

  27. 27
    strangelove

    Can the ‘one pure mind’ stop existing?

    1. 27.1
      strangelove

      Guess that should have said ‘subsist’. Let’s rephrase that: Can there ever not be a pure mind? Can the universe go on without there being a pure mind outside of spacetime? Also, does this mind experience something comparable to time? Is there a before and after for the pure mind?

  28. 28
    gshelley

    I liked Martin’s approach, getting the caller to define what they are talking about. Quite often, it seems that you don’t get anywhere because the caller has a different definition to the one you guys are responding to.

  29. 29
    jacobfromlost

    Andrew: Plato’s forms were generalities. “Pure mind” would be the most general of generalities.

    Me: The most general of all generalities would be all of existence, whatever that would entail. Calling THAT god would not be “pure mind”, it would simply be pantheism (perhaps a little wider than that, but the same idea)

    Andrew: However, your leprechauns are specific, and their smallness and greenness are their attributes. So how do you account for them consistently existing beyond space-time?

    Me: They are interdimensional.

    Andrew: Please take your own advice and study up on some philosophy prior to answering.

    Me: It was me who suggested you study philosophy, not Jay. And I have demonstrated here that I HAVE studied it. You have demonstrated you have not.

    Andrew: The number four may just as well be an inference based on experience. Ever hear of nominalism? So explain to me, then: How do these numbers exist?

    Me: They exist abstractly. They don’t exist the way rocks and trees exist, or the way you are claiming your god exists (ie, as a creator god of rocks and trees and everything else).

    Andrew: Are they conceptual, instantiated, or simply God-like?

    Me: They are abstract. They can also be conceived in one’s mind, and in that sense they are god-like, leprecaun-like, and unicorn-like as all of those things can be conceived in one’s mind.

    Andrew: Keep in mind Occam’s razor, in which the best explanation are not only the simplest, but the most sufficient.

    Me: Yes. And the abstraction “four” is not something that does or CAN originate with anything, or be created, or “exist” in the way physical things exist. It’s not a physical thing.

    Andrew: In my example of “pure mind,” evolution doesn’t suffice so such a creator mind is a valid addition.

    Me: But that is only because YOU ARE ASSERTING IT IS INSUFFICIENT. There is no evidence that it is, all ALL the evidence indicates it is NOT insufficient.

    Andrew: How would leprechauns be equally valid as multipied entities?

    Me: Leprecauns would be equally valid as they are the simplest and most sufficient explanation to explain their own existence, as well as our lack of evidence for them.
    >>>>>
    Andrew: No, because only one thing at most can so subsist beyond space-time.

    Me: Why? (You don’t explain.) What is your reasoning? Why is that necessary? Why is ONE necessary? Why are no more than one necessary? How do you know this?

    Andrew: Space-time has no numerical values,

    Me: Actually, it does. Ignoring your poor description, space-time is not just a convenient concept we made up. We can chart it so very accurately that the timing of signals in relation to relativistic differences in space-time is what makes all GPS’s work. If extremely accurate numerical values could not be applied to space-time, no GPS would work. They do work, so you are wrong.

    Andrew: and “oneness” isn’t numerical except in relative terms of other numbers.

    Me: Numbers are abstract, so it doesn’t matter if the only thing in existence is ONE thing. All the other numbers still exist as what they are–ABSTRACTIONS. You can call them transcendent if you want, but they are not the kind of transcendent things that create other things.

    Andrew: Also: there’s no reason to prove more than one mind.

    Me: Why is there a reason to prove ONE? Whatever answer you give to that also applies to proving many. Again, all I have to do is point to how we can look around inside the universe and see that groups are far better creators than individuals. THAT IS A REASON TO PROVE MORE THAN ONE MIND is a creator of the universe, as the universe is the best creation of all, is it not? Demonstrate to me that this is NOT a reason to prove more than one mind.

    Andrew: Any more than one mind wouldn’t have a reason for being.

    Me: One mind has exactly the same number of reasons for existingi as many minds–ie, none.

    Andrew: “Heaven” would simply be our own minds becoming attributed to this one mind.

    Me: You mean our minds NOW are not attributed to this one being? You said previously the existence of our minds WAS evidence of this being. Are you now going back on that claim? Moreover, you never answered my question earlier: if our minds are evidence of god, WHY ARE THERE ATHEISTS? If the very essence of what our minds stem from god’s mind by either being a part of it or being created by a god and the divine faculties of that god’s mind, then what POSSIBLE explanation could there be for the existence of atheists? Or the existence of a variety of god beliefs that are all incompatible for that matter?
    >>>>
    Andrew: I use the word “subsistence” here, not existence — as in the philosophical sense of a general foundation for existence.

    Me: Why does existence (ie, NOT the universe per se, but EXISTENCE) NEED a foundation? You invoked space-time earlier, and yet you once again fall back on an argument that relies upon absolute space and absolute time as an a priori assumption “before” or “outside of” space-time. All you need to do is throw out absolute space and absolute time (as we know those are false), and consider EXISTENCE rather than our little part of it in our space-time bubble. If god “subsists” and therefore doesn’t require a cause, why isn’t it sufficient enough and simple enough to say that existence is sufficient enough and simple enough to explain existence? That existence “subsists”? The only way you can claim this argument is insufficient or “too simple” is to once again fall back into Newtonian absolute space and absolute time, WHICH ARE DEMONSTRATED FALSE BY VIRTUALLY EVERY MODERN TECHNOLOGY IN USE TODAY.

    Andrew: This is comparable to how a subjective purpose for doing something (subsisting)

    Me: A subjective purpose for doing something has nothing to do with subsisting in the sense you are using it above. Purposes in reality can only be judged by their actual USE in reality. That has nothing to do with subsistence being the foundation of existence. (You are conflating different levels of “existing” when it is convenient, and ignoring them when it is not.)

    Andrew: may lead to many actions in the physical world.

    Me: If you are trying to say that a person’s subjective purpose is the foundation of the existence (subsistence) of the fulfillment of those purposes, then you are conflating the successful human creation of things in reality with preexisting materials (“subsistence” 1) to the existence of that which leads to the existence of our space-time bubble (“subsistence” 2). They are not the same thing, yet you are conflating them, projecting purpose and mind on “subsistence 2″, and calling it all good. This is an argument by analogy where you are presupposing your conclusions (ie, the “creation” of the universe) in your argument.

    Andrew: We inner experience our own thoughts, yet we don’t inner experience our own brain processes.

    Me: We don’t “inner experience” all of our own thoughts.

    Andrew: So these two concepts don’t entail all the same properties.

    Me: They don’t have to. I don’t “inner experience” the workings of the muscles in my legs, but I still walk, and can infer the muscles in my legs are making that possible as we have no examples of people walking without muscles in their legs.

    Andrew: Also: may I ask you: Does this production occur inside the brain or on the periphery of the lobes?

    Me: Oh good grief. There are tons of research available. One example: when brains scans were done on a variety of believers in god and disbelievers in god, we have found that when asked to “think about god” the same parts of the brain light up. Which parts? The parts that think about “another person”. In other words, to the brains of all humans, the “god” concept is exactly the same as neighbor Bob.

    Andrew: If a mad scientist were to take such a brain, along with its nervous system, and apply it to a chair, along with providing these organs with an ability to sustain themselves, would this chair then produce consciousness?

    Me: If we’re accepting all of your hypotheticals, then hypothetically, yes. If you are trying to say that our “inner experience” proves consciousness, and that no other mechanism could have this “inner experience”, you are wrong on two counts. The “inner experience”, if it were nonphysical, could not be manipulated using physical processes. It can be. Moreover, if you are imagining a “little you” inside your skull, that has been falsified as well. And as Dan Dennett and others have pointed out (watch?v=48ol4sHasA8), you have NOT explained consciousness by claiming there is a “little you” riding inside your skull who ALSO has a consciousness. Where did HIS consciousness come from? If you want to say a human is more than the sum of his parts, I would agree. But you don’t need to invoke the supernatural to come to that conclusion. All you have to do is distinguish between a live person and a dead one. The live one can talk to you, defend you, befriend you. The dead one cannot.
    >>>>
    Andrew: This would be the difference between empiricism and rationalism, correspondence theory of truth from coherence theory of truth. It would be Ham Sandwich’s burden of proof to demonstrate why one is more preferable than the other.

    Me: One works in reality and the other does not. One leads to verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable results. The other leads to a huge list of mutually exclusive claims and demands you pick one based on personal preference, a personal preference that is not verifiable, reproducible, predictive, or falsifiable. In short, useless.

    1. 29.1
      Andrew Dorman

      “Calling THAT god would not be “pure mind”, it would simply be pantheism (perhaps a little wider than that, but the same idea)”

      That’s fine. Specifics are debatable.

      “They are interdimensional.”

      Sounds like you’re saying they’re within a dimension, correct?

      “You have demonstrated you have not.”

      Whatever you say. Physical evidence may prove you wrong in this regard, though.

      “They can also be conceived in one’s mind”

      Thus, they are conceptual, professor. So when a person dies, would there be one less number four in the world?

      “YOU ARE ASSERTING IT IS INSUFFICIENT”

      It’s insufficient because of lack of a full physical account of it, is it not?

      “they are the simplest and most sufficient explanation”

      Wouldn’t that rather be their minds. Do these leprechauns not possess minds? And, on that level, why would you need more than one?

      “What is your reasoning?”

      Because more than one thing would be relative to the others, and relativity implies measurability (i.e, space-time)

      “the timing of signals in relation to relativistic differences in space-time is what makes all GPS’s work.”

      Exactly.

      “All the other numbers still exist as what they are–ABSTRACTIONS.”

      So, they’re conceptual, too, as you said. Thus they exist in people’s minds only. Are you saying there’s more than one person beyond space-time?

      “Why is there a reason to prove ONE?”

      Because none would require more of an explanation, and more than one would be more than what is necessary.

      “the universe is the best creation of all, is it not?”

      Not really. How did the universe create consciousness, for instance? Be specific. There must be a good book on this subject, correct? What is it?

      “One mind has exactly the same number of reasons for existingi as many minds–ie, none.”

      The reason is: to be the creator of consciousness.

      “Are you now going back on that claim?”

      How? You’re not supporting your reasoning.

      “if our minds are evidence of god, WHY ARE THERE ATHEISTS?”

      Ego. Hubris.

      “Why does existence (ie, NOT the universe per se, but EXISTENCE) NEED a foundation?”

      Because everything in existence has a foundation.

      “If god “subsists” and therefore doesn’t require a cause, why isn’t it sufficient enough and simple enough to say that existence is sufficient enough and simple enough to explain existence?”

      Because that doesn’t explain consciousness.

      “Purposes in reality can only be judged by their actual USE in reality.”

      This would apply to existence, as well. Existence can only be judged by the actual use of things in reality. Correct?

      “If you are trying to say….”

      I’m not. All I’m saying is that our purposes for doing things are as immaterial in the physical sense, and as foundational for what we physically do, as “mind” is in general. I’m speaking of “purpose” in the objective general sense, as you speak of leprechauns.

      “We don’t “inner experience” all of our own thoughts.”

      You’re changing the subject from the general act of experience to specific acts of experience.

      “I don’t “inner experience” the workings of the muscles in my legs, but I still walk,”

      You’re changing the subject from the act of experiencing to the act of walking.

      “The parts that think about “another person”

      And this “part” account for the complete thought?

      “If we’re accepting all of your hypotheticals, then hypothetically, yes.”

      I eagerly wait conscious chairs in my house. Hopefully they’ll be able to clean themselves. Hope they mind being sit on, though.

      The “inner experience”, if it were nonphysical, could not be manipulated using physical processes.”

      Sure, through the logic of the unity of opposition. Transcendence = immanence. The universe is logical. I would go so far to say that the universe is God’s brain, God being the mind. Look at it this way: Acccording to neuroscience, neuroscience has few specifcs about consciousness. In general, they credit the complete brain for how consciousness evolved or emerged. When that didn’t suffice, neuroscientists are now crediting bodily functions such as emotions (cf. Damasio). They also credit past experiences and environment as factors. It’s consistent then to say that the complete universe accounts for consciousness. It’s been cited that the mechanism of subatomic particles mirror consciousness. If you accept all of this , you’re consistent with the idea and just one step away with creditting the universe as the generalized brain. God would simply be its mind.

      “if you are imagining a “little you” inside your skull, that has been falsified as well.”

      Homunculi theory. I don’t accept it.

      “The live one can talk to you, defend you, befriend you. The dead one cannot.”

      Really? Who would’ve guessed?

      “One works in reality and the other does not. One leads to verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable results. The other leads to a huge list of mutually exclusive claims and demands you pick one based on personal preference, a personal preference that is not verifiable, reproducible, predictive, or falsifiable. In short, useless.”

      Really? Prove it.

  30. 30
    George From NY

    Andrew: Keep in mind Occam’s razor, in which the best explanation are not only the simplest, but the most sufficient.

    When it comes to explaining consciousness, would the Razor cut in favor of or against introducing magical or spiritual other-dimensions supported by no evidence whatsoever?

    1. 30.1
      George From NY

      Let’s all take a moment to acknowledge Jacob’s indefatigable efforts here.

      No doubt, he knew from the outset that Andrew’s arguments would be what poet Robert Frost once called “tennis without the net;” he soldiered on nonetheless.

      Bravo, Jacob. Sorry about the statue, btw.

      1. jacobfromlost

        At least you know who lies in the shadow of it.

      2. Andrew Dorman

        Jacob’s replies are a little, shall we say: long-winded.

        1. Jdog

          Try not including so many things to refute in one post.

    2. 30.2
      jacobfromlost

      You beat me too it, George. I’ll rephrase your point slightly differently.

      If Occam’s razor says that the best explanation, all things being equal, is the simplest and most sufficient with the fewest unnecessary assumptions…

      …then why do we have brains? If it is true that our consciousness is channeled in, the simplest, most sufficient prediction with the fewest unnecessary assumptions is that we SHOULDN’T have brains.

      The brain is unnecessary if consciousness is channeled in.
      Having no brain is sufficient if consciousness is channeled in.
      Having a brain is an unnecessary assumption if consciousness is channeled in.

      So why do we have a brain if consciousness is channeled in? Could it be that having a brain is the simplest, most sufficient, necessary assumption as to why we are conscious, and adding unnecessary assumptions on top of that is a violation of Occam’s razor?

      Obviously, as that is the basis of all neuroscience.

    3. 30.3
      Andrew Dorman

      Occam’s Razor would favor creation from a greater version of itself than it being created without a creator from unknown chemical properties that in themselves have no essential similarity with the creation.

      1. JamesM

        Argument from russian nesting doll? This goes right back to the original criticisms of your argument. You don’t know what the probability of a God existing is, if it is a mind, if it created the universe, if the universe is a lesser version of the mind, etc. None of what you are saying is demonstrated by you, you don’t how it happens, you don’t know the probabilities involved (every heard of Baye’s Theorem?) and so saying Occam’s Razor makes your pet delusion the more probable one is an exercise in stringing together meaningless phrases. What is the probability that the universe exists without supernatural intervention? When you take into account that there is no evidence of supernatural intervention and take into account that the universe is doing fine on its own without supernatural intervention, that probability approaches 1 to many significant digits.

      2. Martin Wagner

        Seems to me Occam’s Razor favors primacy of existence.

  31. 31
    Los

    I’ve read through this thread, and I find it highly revealing that Andrew strangely stops responding every time he is asked how he would distinguish between a god who doesn’t exist and a god who doesn’t manifest in any way.

    If he seriously thought through that point, it would be obvious to him what’s wrong with his argument.

    1. 31.1
      Andrew Dorman

      Search through the page for the term “rhetorical device.” There’s your answer. I couldn’t type it where it belonged because there was no “reply” option there.

      1. Los

        I searched for “rhetorical device.” Your answer was largely incoherent. For example, you write: “I say reason can produce a distinction [between a god who doesn't manifest and a god who doesn't exist] by methods, attributes, modes — whatever you want to call them — of necessity, sufficiency, consistency, etc.”

        This is a bunch of hand-waving gibberish, and it’s made worse by the neuroscience example you give, in which you mistakenly assume that neuroscientists concluding that they can’t solve problem X affects the probability of some entirely different claim.

        In short, you’re utterly mixed up on this issue, and you’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that handful of word games can demonstrate truth.

        Don’t quit your day job, kid.

  32. 32
    strangelove

    Hey Andrew, me again. I was hoping you could take a look at point 27 and reply. But what I would actually rather like to know right now is what difference does it make if there is that pure mind outside of spacetime? Does it matter to the pure mind if I believed in it during my lifetime?

    1. 32.1
      Andrew Dorman

      If pure mind wasn’t eternal, then it would be dependent and temporary: and so would be all truth. Without such a mind, all truth would be merely pragmatic and relative. There would be no objective standard. The manner of how you think of such a mind, if at all, affects how you comprehend transcedence, which would in turn affect your own comprehension of eternity having attained it: determining Heaven-Hell. You may scoff at such an idea, but even the law of conservation of mass-energy suggests consciousness would continue even in a purely physical world. The mind is tenseless, timewise, but can think in space-time according to our own perspectives.

      1. strangelove

        Can I opt out of this deal? This life is enough for me, I don’t want to become part of or attributed to the pure mind.

        1. Andrew Dorman

          You can’t back out of it, just like you can’t produce a square circle. Don’t despair, though — as long as you’re open to every possibility, you’ll find a like-minded eternity.

          1. JamesM

            If you don’t know how to produce a square circle, you aren’t much of a mathematician. This is yet another area where you are flapping your ignorance about and calling it knowledge.

          2. LykeX

            @James

            You know, I’ve long been wondering if it wouldn’t be possible to make a non-euclidean geometry where a square circle was possible. Thanks for that.

          3. JamesM

            @lykex

            You’re welcome. I only ever here the phrase “you can’t make a square circle” from creationists when they argue “Ye Olde Ultimate Source of Knowledge.” It must be some William Lane Craig video. And I can completely understand how WLC would say something like this because he is a fairly huge ignoramus. From their perspective, everything any one can possibly know about anything culminated with Aristotle, and there is no new knowledge afterwards if it wasn’t written in the bible. They wilfully place themselves into a prescientific iron age mentality, herping and derping themselves stupid and pat eachother on the back for it.

        2. Andrew Dorman

          James M. is talking about “squaring the circle” — getting the same area of a circle, not a “square circle” per se. The latter is still impossible.

  33. 33
    mr. question

    Would it be cheating if we discussed ‘Reply to Stephen Feinstein, round one’ here?

    1. 33.1
      LykeX

      Regardless, I’ll just add a quick comment, as I’m reading through it. This:

      We believe in a two-level concept of reality… Only religions influenced by the Bible hold to this kind of conception of God.

      It complete bullshit. This guy is either lying or completely ignorant. Vedanta philosophy, which predates at least the new testament (not sure about the timing of the OT), contain the same basic idea.

      Since this is his first paragraph beyond his introduction, I’m not particularly encouraged.

    2. 33.2
      LykeX

      As for his first three point about god, it’s basic dvaita vedanta philosophy, including god is a person, separate from his creation and sovereign over the creation.

      Unless he wants to claim that indian philosophy is based on the bible, which I wouldn’t put past him, he’s just plain wrong.

  34. 34
    Michael

    Dunning-Kruger Effect

  35. 35
    JameM

    No, I am talking about a circle that is literally square. Under Taxi Cab geometry, the collection of points equidistant from a common center (definition of a circle) is also a square.

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