Tuesday, December 21, 2010

God's Quality Control 3.14

Here I continue my review of the discussion guide published by the Prestonwood Christian Academy as a companion to the Hitchens-Dembski debate on November 18, 2010. In this video we're still working our way through an essay entitled, "Three Reasons to Believe God Exists," and we'll examine the second of the three reasons, which has to do with the origins of the universe. The author of this essay is Mr J. Steve Lee, whom we met in video 13 of this series. As Mr Lee has heard from us already, I invite you to share this video with Mr Mike Beeson, Prestonwood's Senior Director of Institutional Advancement, on behalf of all those kids who are being deliberately misled for the sake of filling MrBeeson 's pockets. Join me in telling these people that their predations on children are unacceptable.
  • p.22 "The claim that everything that begins to exist has a cause is simply self-evident." Warning you guys, I'm going to mention quantum physics, but I'll keep it simple, so bear with me. We know, based on repeatable experiments, that virtual particles pop into existence all the time, with no apparent cause. The empty space between the various parts of atoms constantly seethes with activity. Further, many elements experience something we call "radioactive decay." I'll avoid the gory details, and just mention that some types of radioactive decay involve a subatomic particle suddenly, and with no apparent cause, coming into existence. 
  • p.22 "...we demonstrate the truth of premise 1 by turning around and looking for the cause. This principle is the Law of Causality, which is the fundamental principle of science. Without this principle, science is impossible." I have no clue what premise 1 is; I'll just ignore that. I'll stick my neck out here and say that I've never read the phrase "Law of Causality" in any science book I've ever read. That's not to say that it doesn't exist, but it certainly does cause a bit of doubt as to whether it could be considered the fundamental principle of science. Also, I'm pretty sure it was Richard Feynman who said, "The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." Now, even without doing the research yourself, who would you tend to believe: a trained, experienced scientist or a bible teacher? Would you assume that Feynman is part of a conspiracy, or just loves to deceive people? How would Feynman have benefited from making such a statement? Or would you just assume that he's a sadist? Perhaps you'd notice that Mr Lee's livelihood depends on people believing this filth, and you might have some suspicions about who is more motivated to lie, or at least self-delude.
  • p.22 "...the atheist whom you are talking to most certainly believes in the Big Bang. So, use it to your advantage." This is disgusting. Isn't truth to the advantage of everyone? If you have to use someone's knowledge, meaning belief based on facts, to your advantage, then isn't your position rather suspect? If you have the truth, can't you just stick with the truth? And can't you just do it openly, without any kind of trickery?
  • p.22 Mr Lee quotes Arthur Eddington: "The beginning [of the universe] seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural." I know, Eddington was a renowned scientist. But that does not mean that he was right. Truth is not about people, or about their reputations. We might tend to believe what Eddington says, because of his reputation, but that doesn't mean that we should swallow everything he says. Isaac Newton believed in the supernatural too. And Francis Collins. But none of these people ever presented facts that would support their beliefs. That's why we call them beliefs rather than knowledge. Eddington was no more qualified to make claims about the supernatural than would be any Navajo shaman. In either case, all that's happening is a human admitting that he doesn't know.
  • p.22 "...this supernatural cause must be uncaused." How the heck did we end up with "this supernatural cause"? Where in this section did Mr Lee reach a reasoned conclusion that the universe came into being by supernatural means? I read back through his jungle of faulty argument and I find that his conclusion is based solely on Arthur Eddington's unfounded claim. Mr Lee, really? Really?
  • p.22 "This uncaused, immaterial, timeless, and super-powerful creator has the same attributes as God. Therefore, God exists." Let's go on an imaginary journey where we pretend that Mr Lee has actually presented, as he promised, "good arguments and evidence" for some "uncaused, immaterial, timeless, and super-powerful creator." Let's imagine that such a being really does exist. How can you possibly claim that that being is Yahweh? How can you be sure that it's not Zeus? How can you be sure that it's some god that no one knows, a good god who is waiting for us to wake up and realize that a being that wants blood sacrifice and adheres to outdated notions such as punishment is no god at all, but a nightmare at best? Mr. Lee, your second argument, your attempt to use cosmology even to suggest that your god (or any other god, or even anything supernatural) exists, is garbage.
That's 3.14. Thanks for watching.

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