Watch the logic go “Wheeeeeeee!”


Yeah, I get YouTube comments now. Watch this guy go from you admitted that you think to therefore, Jesus! in the span of a short paragraph.

PZ Myers , if you go back and listen to the answers you had provided to my questions, in that discord question and answer show which begins at 1:00:15, then you’ll see that you’ve admitted the existence of God1. That’s because you admitted Logic is conceptualized by a mind2. You then admitted that you assume logic exists with regards to governing the natural universe3. Hence, it would then follow that a mind is responsible for actualizing and sustaining that universe4. There’s no way to get around this5. Now that you know the truth, then I urge you to accept Christ Jesus as your Lord and savior6. Repent of your sins. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. And receive eternal life in him7.

  1. I’m pretty sure I didn’t.
  2. OK, my brain processes information from the world around me, producing thoughts and actions, if that’s what you mean by “coneptualize”.
  3. The universe operates on fundamental rules — Newton’s laws of motion, the Boyle Ideal Gas Law, the Nernst equation, etc. This does not imply that Newton, Boyle, and Nernst conjured the rules into existence, but that they perceived them and described them accurately.
  4. Oops. You’ve leapt from “conceptualizing” to “created”. Those are not synonyms. If I draw a picture of a tree, it does not imply that I created the tree.
  5. Looks like I just did.
  6. You haven’t justified the choice of Christ Jesus. What if I prefer Mohammed? I think Anansi is more my kind of savior.
  7. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard your silly dogma before. How about if you take reason and evidence into your heart, and live a more sensible life?

I’m also thinking of a different chain of “logic”. a) my thoughts are generated by a brain; b) he’s just admitted that god conceptualized the universe; c) therefore god has a brain; d) therefore, if I do find myself at the pearly gates in an afterlife, all I have to do is get past his bodyguards and hit him in the head with a rock very hard, and his reign of terror will be ended, and we can arrange a more equitable distribution of power and glory to all of the souls in Heaven, before liberating all his poor victims trapped in Hell. You can look forward to it — shortly after I die here on Earth, expect the Jubilee, Christians!

Comments

  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Bah! Looks like presuppositionalist apologetics to me. If I remember correctly, even William Lane Craig won’t entertain that line of bullshit.

  2. mathman85 says

    As regards (³), I would deny that logic exists in the sense that your interlocutor would seem to mean here. Yes, the universe does appear to function in reliable, consistent patterns that we humans can perceive. This most emphatically does not necessarily entail that logic exists in the same way that, say, the chair in which I’m sitting as I type this exists. I see no reason to believe that logic—or any abstractum, for that matter—is “real” in any meaningful sense. Abstracta do not appear to me to exist mind-independently. Of course, they’d most likely think that that plays right into their hands, assuming that they’re making a kind of transcendental argument here. I’d say they’d be wrong, since the actuality of abstract objects is by no means a settled question in philosophy, and hasn’t been since Plato. I deny their actuality, myself.

    As regards (⁶), Anansi is, in my opinion, really cool—at least from what little I’ve heard.

  3. says

    It is. Presuppositionalists infest everything on the internet now — somebody must have lied and told them their logic is irrefutable.

  4. mathman85 says

    Akira MacKenzie @1

    I believe so. IIRC, Craig’s gone on record as pointing out the (rather egregiously obvious) question-begging inherent in such arguments.

  5. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin reasons as follows:
    (1) Penguins exist.
    (2) Therefore, she (the mildly deranged penguin) exists.
    (3) She (the mildly deranged penguin) says she knows everything (and what she doesn’t, she’ll invent).
    (4) Therefore, she knows everything except what she hasn’t invented yet (a minor temporal anomaly).
    (5) Ergo, you should honour her with gifts of cheese (excepting British Industrial Cheddar, or any alleged cheese involving peas).†
    (6) Goto step n, where n is a random integer in the range 1..6 inclusive. (Step 5 is preferred — adjust the “random” number source accordingly.)
    QED.

      † There’s also the mystery Italian object, probably acceptable only if it’s a cheese or a salami.

  6. says

    It’s the same old story. They assume that if a god exists it’s their god, and that if a version of that god exists it supports their claims about what that god is supposed to do. A god that actually turned up and said “Yeah, I created the Universe. But only people I think are really interesting get life after death, and there’s no enteral punishment.” would not make any of them happy.

  7. says

    Anansi, that figures. I suppose he’d be proud of your display of cunning and wit here, though it seems wasted on these god-botherers. “It would then follow” is doing some work in that preach, eh?

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    Oh! And I recognize the Anansi art! Gerald McDermott? When I was a preschooler/kindergartener, I loved Arrow to the Sun.

  9. raven says

    This guy isn’t using logic.
    He is just stringing sentences together.

    You then admitted that you assume logic exists with regards to governing the natural universe3

    Logic is a human made abstract idea.
    It doesn’t govern anything much less the universe.

    Our scientific laws and theories don’t govern or rule the universe.
    They are descriptions.
    Descriptions of what we see about what the universe looks like and how it changes through time.

    Our model of the universe doesn’t require anything like the gods to exist.
    In fact, the universe looks exactly like it would if the gods don’t exist.

  10. Owlmirror says

    Presuppositionalists infest everything on the internet now — somebody must have lied and told them their logic is irrefutable.

    Am I the only one who remembers facilis, who infested Pharyngula for a while on Scienceblogs? We’d all point out the problems with this nonsense, and he’d just ignore it and return to his script? And then claim he wasn’t running a script? Then Eric Hovind got into this stuff. Gah.

    It would not surprise me if the comment in the OP came from facilis, or Eric Hovind.

    There’s a certain disingenuousness about the way all presuppositional apologists ignore counterarguments; a base commitment to argue in bad faith. It’s pretty clear that all who have taken it on board are born trolls.

  11. PaulBC says

    I’m increasingly of the belief that “there are gods” though my logic works differently, and I also can’t prove it, though it’s at least potentially falsifiable.

    If there are other intelligent entities in the universe, and if they have achieved current human-level technology, then probably at least some have made it significantly further along. Could one of them turn into a cow like Zeus? Maybe not exactly, but perhaps a similarly impressive feat of transformation is feasible (Clarke’s law “any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”). If you look at the first chapter of Genesis and the cosmos described therein, it is tiny compared to the real universe, and that level of planetary engineering is surely within the realm of conceivable technology (six days is a tight schedule, and some descriptive elements are nonsensical, but again, do you need to duplicate the feat or just do something similarly impressive?).

    And no, assuming you cannot exceed the speed of light, there will not be “gods” who can do it anyway, but I suspect that there is an ET sufficiently advanced beyond human, that not only would they be accepted as working miracles by most of humanity, even if I were to hold out, they could probably convince me. They could cheat and insert the belief in my brain, but even better, if they had studied human rhetoric, maybe they could even concoct a verbal argument that would appear persuasive to holdouts (probably not all, but this would amount to a kind of stubbornness that we already see in those who lack faith).

    This view would probably not satisfy many current religious people as a “belief in gods” but I think that’s only because of a moving goalpost. It’s as if you don’t get to be a god until you do something that cannot be explained in other terms. Isn’t that just a bit self-defeating?

    It seems a lot more reasonable to me to confer godhood on any entity with powers exceeding those ascribed to mythological entities already accepted as gods. They don’t have to have all the powers any more than Hermes and Hephaestus have identical powers, and some proposed powers may turn out to be nonsensical. Still, a universe teeming with gods. That’s what I believe in.

    (And no, sadly as far as I know, none of them have come to visit.)

    On the subject of PZ’s fisking, I think point 6 stands out as the key. You can try to poof something into existence with pure logic and I may lose track of your reasoning, unable to point out one fatal flaw. But when that entity turns out to be very specific, you need to show precisely the steps that limited your conclusion that way. I have never seen that done. (ETs who convince me they are gods will at least be able to say “Do you know anyone else who can do this?”)

  12. billyum says

    “Hence, it would then follow that a mind is responsible for actualizing and sustaining that universe4. There’s no way to get around this.”

    Might as well admit it. You’re a Buddhist.

    ;)

  13. consciousness razor says

    any [sufficiently] advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

    Yet here I go distinguishing them anyway…. Making a crane which can lift something very heavy is not like having the super-human strength required to lift that much weight.

    There: I’ve done the impossible. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Our esteemed host’s cunning plan needs a little tactical improvement.

    Available information has it that Heaven’s streets are paved with gold – a material seriously unsuited for such purposes.

    Ergo, rocks – a much better stuff for roadways – are rare there, if they exist at all.

    The theocide mission – already compromised by premature disclosure – requires further development for the intended final phase.

    I recommend we submit a Request For Proposals to Raytheon, Lockheed, et alia, and suggest a preliminary budget request to DARPA in the vicinity of $35,893,706 (subject to emendation by the appropriate Congressional subcommittees).

  15. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@14 You may make the distinction, but it’s unclear to me that the first person who thought of moving a mountain as a godlike power would find it any less godlike if it it were done with heavy machinery. They’d not only be impressed, but probably astounded, since deep down they may have known that their myth was actually an allegory, not something that really happens.

    You’re simply moving the goalpost.

    I also believe (as noted) that while I have no ability to persuade anyone that an ET is a god, a sufficiently powerful ET would probably be able to. This is operationally equivalent to the transfiguration of Jesus or Krishna manifesting as a god to Arjuna. You can say “Those are myths people made up and the other is a hypothetical case of technological trickery.” But why is this distinction even important? What does it even mean? The myths never precluded technology, at least not until technology got advanced enough that we needed to separate the sacred and mundane by fiat.

  16. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@14 To be clear, Clarke’s “law” is not really a law and isn’t really intended literally as far as I know (I read enough of his writing way back that I think I get his point). He is simply saying that for any power currently ascribed to magic and seemingly out of reach to technology, there are purely technological capabilities that are at least as impressive.

    I think it is also less a futurist statement than a guideline for writing science fiction. If you’re setting something far enough in the future or with advanced ET, don’t assume something is impossible just because you can’t figure out how you’d do it.

    We’re already there. “Spit into this bottle and I will tell you which lands your ancestors came from.” You say it’s “not magic” because you understand something about DNA, but if it answers the same kind of question that would have seemed to require magic until less than a century ago, there is no clear grounds for making the distinction.

    But yes, you can make any distinction you want, and clearly Arthur C. Clarke sacrificed rigor in the interest of writing a memorable quip.

  17. Scott Simmons says

    I’m more concerned, Pierce, that PZ has foolishly published his plans, so now the bodyguards he has to sneak past will be on the alert.
    St. Peter: “Before I let you pass the pearly gates, I need to ask you one question. Have you ever contemplated bashing in the Lord God Almighty’s head in with a rock?”
    PZ: “What? How ridiculous. Who would ever … I mean … OK, fine, where’s the down escalator?”

  18. consciousness razor says

    You may make the distinction

    So it is distinguishable.

    You’re simply moving the goalpost.

    No, you are. The term “indistinguishable” doesn’t pick out a specific person or sort of person (such as “the first person who thought of moving a mountain as a godlike power”) who must do the distinguishing. But now you’ve added it, which moves the goalpost to a different location, so that you can hold on to the newly-revised statement. Why you think it’s worth even that much effort, I have no idea.

    I also believe (as noted) that while I have no ability to persuade anyone that an ET is a god, a sufficiently powerful ET would probably be able to.

    A good enough liar/bullshitter can convince somebody to believe a claim which is false. This doesn’t make the claim true.

  19. PaulBC says

    CR@19

    But now you’ve added it, which moves the goalpost to a different location, so that you can hold on to the newly-revised statement. Why you think it’s worth even that much effort, I have no idea.

    Yawn. As I already wrote, Arthur C. Clarke was making a quip, not laying down a philosophical principle. I personally find it clever and thought provoking, and it is no effort at all to allow these thoughts to be provoked, some defensible, some not. I enjoy it. Apparently you don’t, and that’s your prerogative.

  20. Vreejack says

    I once saw Dinesh D’Souza pull out Pascal’s Wager on a televised debate. Until that moment I had not realized what a phony he is. Now I understand that he pseudo-intellectual sell-out, a master of the bad-faith argument, who preaches to the choir for money. And he is a prominent entry on Wikipedia’s list of conservative intellectuals, which should tell you a lot about modern conservative thinking.

  21. PaulBC says

    me@20 My use of “quip” is a disingenuous, since Clarke certainly put more thought into it than that, but the intent was clearly not to delve into the semantics of distinguishability, though that may be a subject of interest to others. Here’s some context. Years later:

    Clarke gave an example of the third law when he said that while he “would have believed anyone who told him back in 1962 that there would one day exist a book-sized object capable of holding the content of an entire library, he would never have accepted that the same device could find a page or word in a second and then convert it into any typeface and size from Albertus Extra Bold to Zurich Calligraphic”, referring to his memory of “seeing and hearing Linotype machines which slowly converted ‘molten lead into front pages that required two men to lift them'”.

    When a thoughtful and technologically literate person observes that something they actually would have considered impossible has been carried out in their own lifetimes, that’s a noteworthy event, independent of the terms you want to use to describe it.

    You could certainly argue that Clarke himself is contradicting himself (“Gotcha!”) because he is indeed making a distinction and does not believe that changing fonts on an eBook is “magic.” And if it amuses you to find this contradiction, more power to you. It is not what I find most interesting here.

  22. PaulBC says

    Vreejack@21 Pascal’s Wager is a great example of a “creating something from nothing argument” that always crops up. I mean, yes, given infinite reward or punishment you may set your bets a certain way, but there is no particular reason for me to assign the payoff matrix the same as Pascal did.

  23. consciousness razor says

    PaulBC, #20:
    You’re increasingly of the belief that there are gods, and this has something to do with a bullshit quip by a sci-fi author, which has to be sustained with even more bullshit, because you find it enjoyable and provocative. That is some pretty sophisticated theology, no doubt, but have you considered becoming a scientologist instead? There might be more money it.

  24. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@25 Unfortunately, the religion-founding business is a little crowded these days.

  25. PaulBC says

    To be clear, the money is in founding Scientology, not in becoming a scientologist. The money travels in the opposite direction in that case (for most people anyway). Anyway, I was thinking more of a Heaven’s Gate deal the next time something like Oumuamua comes by. Without the suicides ideally (but who knows, maybe we can all get “uploaded” instead.)

  26. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@25 BTW, I do have an outlook about religion that goes beyond mere amusement, and I think that’s what you find grating (as I strongly suspect you do or you wouldn’t reply, and we’ve had this discussion before).

    Religion is primarily something that goes on in people’s heads and in their cultural practices. The beliefs that posit some primary external cause for a religion (an actual deity) rather than its psychological, social, and culture manifestations are certainly wrong. At least they can’t all be right. We have Krishna and Arjuna or we have Jesus and Peter, but we can’t have both, at least not with full claims to power and status (of course you can syncretize). Most reasonably, we don’t have any of this.

    At the same time, refuting the external claims about religion don’t just suddenly make it go away as it exists for billions of people. It would be quite interesting that were possible. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether it would be good or bad (I know you do, from past conversation). I have simply never seen any feasible means of accomplishing it.

    As far as I can tell, people have always been divided by the extent to which they really accept spiritual claims. People have also always told each other stories that don’t really make any sense, and while I realize I’m imposing my own perspective here, I strongly believe that even ancient people had a way compartmentalizing this (“Yes, there was Noah, and he built an Ark. It “really happened” and yet as a boatmaker (circa 1000 BC), I know that it “can’t really be done.” The two beliefs coexist). And maybe enough ancient people were astute enough to identify allegory. That’s the point where I might be projecting. I think compartmentalization works fine with concepts like “back in the age of heroes” or “in the dream time” so maybe it’s more like that.

    Culture is malleable, and factual knowledge is accumulative, but the human brain has pretty stable characteristics. It is interesting to me to consider that an advanced ET is a god insofar as pushing all the same buttons in the human brain (and yes its a hoary old SF idea). You can make any distinction you like. Since I prefer to look at religion as a social construct, though, I find the distinction less interesting than the similarity. (And of course telling stories about ET that only “exist” hypothetically is very definitely a case of myth-making, thus making the belief very much a religious one–though lacking in the social and cultural context unless I wanted to find or found a group of like-minded people.)

  27. consciousness razor says

    To be clear, the money is in founding Scientology, not in becoming a scientologist. The money travels in the opposite direction in that case (for most people anyway).

    As long as somebody is being manipulated or cheated, that will have to suffice. Just trying to keep it naturalistic. Better luck next time though.

  28. nomdeplume says

    WTF is this guy on? How could a person with a functioning brain imagine that going from step 3 to step 4 is “logical”? Let alone the bizarre notion that “logic exists with regards to governing the natural universe” – what on Earth does that mean? Can I blame the America education system for failing to teach children how to think logically?

  29. garnetstar says

    Actually, I’m told that “Christians” (whatever this guy means by that) don’t have to repent their sins or even stop doing them. It is a bedrock axiom with most American evangelical christianity that one is saved by faith alone. That’s it: just accept Christ as your savior. Your good works or good deeds or not-sinning (llke Trump, he doesn’t bother to repent or stop sinning) are rigidly not of the slightest importance.

    That’s why Jeffrey Dahmer is now in heaven: he accepted Christ as his savior before his death. Most of Dahmer’s victims didn’t, so they are in hell and Dahmer is in heaven. To quote Jubal Early: “Does that make sense to you?”

  30. birgerjohansson says

    P Z your plan for killing Zod has an uncanny similarity to the end of Preacher (The graphic novel) where The Saint of Killers first dispatches the angels and then Zod himself.
    Freeing the souls in hell is what happens in Sandman.
    For a blueprint of how to organize things after the era of tyranny, read Pratchett’s “Small Gods”.

  31. ORigel says

    @PaulBC: If there are advanced E.T. species, there is no evidence that they intervene in human affairs like the gods supposedly did.

    I think advanced civilizations are rare, because if they were common, some would have started geo- no, astro-engineering star systems and we don’t have evidence of that.

  32. PaulBC says

    ORigel@24

    If there are advanced E.T. species, there is no evidence that they intervene in human affairs like the gods supposedly did.

    Is that a requirement? Maybe. I forget why, but that came up in a different discussion. Do all gods crave worshippers? Maybe some are totally content just to be awesome all by themselves. The classical gods seemed at least as obsessed with their own soap opera as with human beings. And who knows, there could be an introvert among them. (Not sure. Any examples in known mythology of a god who says “Piss off. I’m busy.” to would-be worshippers?)

    I think advanced civilizations are rare, because if they were common, some would have started geo- no, astro-engineering star systems and we don’t have evidence of that.

    That’s Fermi’s paradox and it’s a valid objection, but there are numerous potential answers as well.

    And the universe is big enough that “rare” doesn’t mean few in number. Human-level intelligence could have a mean of less than 1 per galaxy and yet still exist in great numbers. There’s plenty of room for an advanced civilization to exist and be entirely unknown to us. (I’m sort of hoping they’re more common, but I have no particular reason to think so.)

  33. John Morales says

    Paul:

    Any examples in known mythology of a god who says “Piss off. I’m busy.” to would-be worshippers?

    Aside from Crom? ;)

    More to the point, not all deity-constructs are theistic.
    There’s deism, pantheism, and so forth.

    As for Presuppositionalism, it’s just a formal way of begging the question.

    (The name says it all)

  34. leerudolph says

    PaulBC@16: “You’re simply moving the goalpost.”

    Even if God_1 can make a goalpost that is immovable_1, that goalpost may not be immovable_2.

    (Of course my choice of labels suggests that the ensemble of Gods is linearly ordered, which is hardly self-evident, and in fact your speculations—as I interpret them—seem perfectly consistent with there being no global ordering at all.)

  35. KG says

    Any examples in known mythology of a god who says “Piss off. I’m busy.” – PaulBC@35

    Literature rather than mythology, but there’s Vonnegut’s “Church of God the Utterly Indifferent” in The Sirens of Titan. I think the Stoics’ god (philosophy rather than mythology) was also immune to any form of emotion, spending eternity rationally contemplating its own perfection – but by the same token wouldn’t have been annoyed by worship.

  36. ORigel says

    @35 I’m not saying interventionist aliens would demand worship; I’m saying that there are no interventionist aliens period.

    If there were a high number of civilizations, some would be intent on colonizing the galaxy. With the galaxy and life having existed for billions of years, the odds are, they’d already be here. This would hold even if the vast majority were introverts or destroy themselves.

    I would bet money advanced civilizations do exist, though. I just think that they’re rare: abiogenesis might be a bottleneck; complex/eukaryotic cells another. As for civilization, that only evolved once here even though some species are moderately intelligent, so I think our evolution was a fluke.

    The universe is so vast and old, so that the fluke of advanced civilizations occasionally happens. If the universe is infinite, there’s an infinite number.

  37. PaulBC says

    ORigel@40

    I’m not saying interventionist aliens would demand worship; I’m saying that there are no interventionist aliens period.

    Sorry, maybe I was using “require” in a confusing way. I never suggested that there are interventionist aliens.

    What I mean is: does a god need to intervene, be worshipped, or even exist in an accessible place to fit a reasonable definition of “god”? Since it really is a matter of definition, I don’t want to argue too far one way or the other. My point, though somewhat trivial, seems to be missed by a lot of people.

    In past times, myths were made about beings with powers far in excess of human beings. But given the limitations of the human imagination and actual human capabilities at the time, some of these powers just aren’t that impressive today. In Chinese legend, gods moved a mountain to reward a good man for his patience and diligence. That seemed impossible then, but today you could at least hypothetically move a mountain out of the way (I don’t recommend it). If you consider the actual scale of the cosmos in Genesis, it looks small compared to the earth as we know it, let alone anything beyond. So there is not a “god” but God the Creator (capital G and C) engaging in a work of merely planetary-scale engineering. It looks nothing like the creation of the universe as we understand it. We can’t actually do planetary engineering, but it’s not really that remarkable. We could estimate the energy required, and at least postulate some form of robotic technology that might suffice. Yeah, 6 days is a stretch, but not obviously in violation of the laws of physics.

    Later, omnipotent powers ascribed to God (he sees everything all the time and you can’t hide, etc., angelic choirs are infinite and fit on the head of a pin) become less and less plausible, but my point is that we’re just raising the bar (or as I said moving the goalposts). Every time we realize something could be done, we just insist that “OK, that’s not a god. A god has to be able to do something I can’t explain.”

    It’s sort of like my take on the 2nd amendment. Sure, let everyone own an 18th century musket who wants one. And a god that would satisfy someone 4000 years ago ought to count as a god today.

    I believe, as it happens, that there are intelligent beings in the universe whose powers both of comprehension and action are so far in excess of the combined capability of 21st century humans, that they largely defy my imagination to comprehend. I mean, I can get what the Greek soap opera pantheon was up to. They might be powerful, but they’re not even very bright. By contrast, let’s say… Fermat’s Last Theorem. If I put a brake to all my activity and devoted myself to gaining the background to understanding Andrew Wiles’s proof, maybe I could. But there are probably beings who would find both the claim and its proof trivial (now Ares or some lunkhead like Thor, am I supposed to find them impressive? and I’d put my gods up against Thor in a hammer-throwing competition too).

    This is a belief that is hard to test, though not entirely unfalsifiable. If technological society is so rare, they might only exist in some other galaxy. They obviously don’t know about me, give a rat’s ass about me, or earth, or expect me to worship them. Are they “gods”? Well, I say why not? (But again maybe there is some objection I would accept.)

    My larger point (and maybe it’s just a kind of mysticism from watching Carl Sagan on TV at a young age) is simply that the naturalistic universe is actually a lot more interesting and more subtle than the supernatural claims made by those of limited imagination. Quantum superposition, for instance, is pretty staggering to me and a lot more subtle than, say, the ability to turn yourself into a bull to carry out some sexual kink.

  38. publicola says

    ” …arrange a more equitable distribution of power …” . Lucifer tried that, and look what happened to him.

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