Tuesday, December 13, 2005

JD's Rebuttle to my rebuttle

First of all thank you for posting my first response and thank you for
posting such an intricate and intelligent response yourself! Here is my
resonse to yours:

Metacrock,

I am pleased to see that you felt my post warranted a long response. Again
I disagree with the larger bulk of it. Clearly you are intelligent and you
make strong cases for the supernatural, however, the case for the
supernatural always comes with inherent implausibility and an impetuous
assertion. This assertion being that nature and the material universe is
reliant upon or caused by supernatural forces unseen and/or unknown. There
is much to discuss with regards to your long response and I would like to
begin with the more mundane.
In the beginning of your response you spend a good deal of time discussing
the hatred and hostility visited upon you by atheists. You talk about how
atheism has an inherent subculture of hatred. While these observations are
both true and false in differing degrees I would like to discuss this matter
further. First of all I do not doubt the accuracy of experiences recounted
in your post. There are many people (especially within the blogosphere)
that feel empowered by the anonymity and negate any responsibility that they
would otherwise assume ownership of. To single out the atheists as a group
of people and claim that they are guiltier of this than any other group is
irresponsible and biased. Atheists are people first, before they made the
decision to believe what seemed more plausible to them (that there is no
god) they were people just as everyone else; and as such they are subject to
the inequity, animosity, and failings of the human being in general. To say
that atheists represent more of these failings than any other group would be
biased and hateful in and of itself. Surely there are atheist blogs and
boards in which the atheists are all of the above negative attributes but
surely there are blogs and boards in which they are not; furthermore it is
also equally true that theists and deeply religious individuals exhibit
these shortcomings themselves. As is my personality I don’t care to
illustrate the malign and depraved rather I like to illustrate the kindness
and compassion, and if necessary the wrongness of an individual. It hardly
seems beneficial to speak of a group so derogatorily; especially a minority
group that still faces inequality. You provide examples of atheists being
hateful and negative, while this is true there are many examples of atheists
being positive and compassionate, hopefully I am an example of this also
check out the blog jewishatheist.blogspot.com for further proof. For proof
that theists are malign and hateful just as much as atheists visit the
website concernedcatholic.blogspot.com and witness depravity in it’s truest
form. I will not provide specific quotes for as I said I would rather focus
on semblance and positivity rather than the contrary. I am glad that your
one act of solidarity is that you attribute this behavior with the net more
so than the individual. I would agree, for the sense of anonymity seems to
harbor feelings of ‘anything goes’ and that what one does one is not
entirely responsible for. The internet (especially the blogosphere) is
notorious for fostering such ignorant and blatant hostility; and atheists
are no guiltier than theists themselves. My main issue with this portion of
your response is, why even include it? Obviously there are going to be
hateful and irresponsible atheists just as there are theists. Why include
this fact as if it was more congruous with atheism? It just seemed like a
very negative and biased issue to include. When I illustrate disagreement
with the assertion that many atheists believe that infants are born atheist
you suggest that I visit more message boards. This is almost condescending,
for you do not know my track record with respects to visiting blogs, if you
did you wouldn’t have made this comment. I frequent numerous blogs and
continually search out new ones, as I did with you own blog. I do not know
how many atheist blogs you have visited but I would seriously doubt the
number surpasses mine.
With respects to the brain being wired for god and/or the inert ideas of god
residing in the brain, these are true and false in larger or lesser degrees.
Where as it is true that many of us are predisposed to religiosity and to
god through the neuro-pathways of the brain this says nothing of the truth
behind religiosity and/or god. Look up Paul Kurtz, especially his book
entitle “The Transcendental Temptation”, or Richard Dawkins (any of his
books or essays will suffice). The fact that evolutionary upsurge may have
culminated in the side effect of religiosity surely does nothing in proving
the truth behind such superstition. On a note of armistice I do like the
reference you made with Andrew Newberg for he is definitely a decent source
of information upon this subject; his studies are usually within
neurotheology or also known as biotheology. He has conducted a good amount
of tests and has done extensive research (none of which claims there is an
inert idea of god in anyone). He is a distinguished scientist and his
research is valuable he is certainly not the top researcher in the field. I
would also like to note that his research has never illustrated an innate
belief in god and he surely doesn’t promote his research or findings as
such.
The rest of your response deals with cosmology and astrophysics, I would
like to make a few points. The first being that I am in no way a
credentialed astrophysicist my field of scientific knowledge is generally
held within the confines of theoretical psychology. The second being that
you misconstrue a good portion of what my ultimate thesis was, and this is
not to say that you are to blame I was guilty of being too vague.
First you ask why it would be fair to assume that natural existence is
eternal, I would answer because if something is the effect then it must have
a cause and as far as I see it there are only natural causes and effects, so
the cause of the material universe must be natural and obviously the effect
of such as cause is natural; it is fair to assume that natural existence is
eternal, assuming that any form of existence is eternal, for if anything
would be eternal it would be that of what we know to be true and actually
existent, that of natural existence. You say that scientists tell us the
universe is finite, I do not claim the contrary for all one must do is look
up the Hartle-Hawking boundary condition and come to their own conclusions;
however this is no proof that existence itself is finite or that existence
itself is subject to a beginning or end. I know this all sounds amorphous
but bear with me. When you give proof that our universe will come to an end
as we know it I would not disagree, for again I am aware of the science
behind this. What I was meaning to illustrate was that existence in its
fullest sustenance will not cease to exist that there is no beginning nor
ending in time in this regard; to say that time either began or ended is
proof of the lack of knowledge with regards to relativity as espoused by
Einstein.
One way in which you completely misconstrued what I was intending would be
when you go off on long tangents attempting to discredit chaotic inflation
(which is widely held) and the oscillatory universe, both of which I don’t
believe. What intrigues my rationale is the theory of brane cosmology which
stems from the string theory of the universe; I won’t describe in searing
detail as you have in your post. If you would like to review it do so, if
you would like guidance on where to review it say so and I will help, or
maybe you already know of it and just decided not to mention it in your
response.
Brane cosmology asserts that existence is in fact eternal and that a
collision of branes is what created the universe as we know it today;
whether or not this universe is itself infinite doesn’t negate that fact
that existence outside of it is. That was my main point and it was my fault
for not vocalizing as well as I should have. The only cosmological theory
for which I feel any commitment to would be the brane theory, not the
oscillatory universe I was merely allowing multiple theories be shown. I’m
sorry that you spent so much time disproving or illustrating evidence
against theories that I do not even subscribe to, although you did do a
magnificent job!
When I made the statement – “The theory certainly can be interpreted as the
beginning of the magnificent explosion and expansion of the material
universe, that before this extreme change there was the dense-hot state of a
gravitational singularity, and that prior to this singularity and explosion
there was an eternal state of natural existence.” I did not mean that prior
to this singularity there was only natural existence residing within this
singularity, I apologize for the vagueness of such a statement; all I mean
is that prior to the expansion or ‘creation’ or our universe there was an
eternally existing natural realm present, outside of our universe. Our
universe may be but one brane in a realm consisting of numberous branes, our
universe is the way it is and has been developed by the collision of two
such branes within this vast and natural realm.
You question the authority of Corliss Lamont the only explanation for this
is that you don’t know who he is and have done no investigation into it, he
was a highly esteemed humanist philosopher he taught at Columbia, Cornell,
and Harvard. He was the director of the ACLU from 1932-1954 and was then
the chairman until his death in 1995. He successfully challenged Senator
Joseph McCarthy's senate subcommittee and other government agencies. In 1965
he secured a Supreme Court ruling against censorship of incoming mail by the
U.S. Postmaster General. In 1973 he discovered through Freedom of
Information Act requests that the FBI had been tapping his phone, and
scrutinizing his tax returns and cancelled checks for 30 years. His
subsequent lawsuit showed the surveillance had no justification in law, and
set precedent for other citizen's privacy rights. He also filed and won a
suit against the Central Inteligence Agency for opening his mail.
You claim that god is necessary refering to “him” (sexist and egoistic) and
that matter-energy is a contingency. I disagree and I will provide a
paradigm put forh by one Benedictus De Spinoza helping me illustrate this
fact: Spinoza contended that God and Nature were two names for the same
reality, namely the single substance (meaning "to stand beneath" rather than
"matter") that underlies the universe and of which all lesser "entities" are
actually modes or modifications. The argument for this single substance runs
something as follows:
1. Substance exists and cannot be dependent on anything else for its
existence.
2. No two substances can share an attribute.
Proof: If they share an attribute, they would be identical. Therefore they
can only be individuated by their modes. But then they would depend on their
modes for their identity. This would have the substance being dependent on
its mode, in violation of premise 1. Therefore, two substances cannot share
the same attribute.
3. A substance can only be caused by something similar to itself (something
that shares its attribute).
4. Substance cannot be caused.
Proof: Something can only be caused by something which is similar to itself,
in other words something that shares its attribute. But according to premise
2, no two substances can share an attribute. Therefore substance cannot be
caused.
5. Substance is infinite.
Proof: If substance were not infinite, it would be finite and limited by
something. But to be limited by something is to be dependent on it. However,
substance cannot be dependent on anything else (premise 1), therefore
substance is infinite.
Conclusion: There can only be one substance.
Proof: If there were two infinite substances, they would limit each other.
But this would act as a restraint, and they would be dependent on each
other. But they cannot be dependent on each other (premise 1), therefore
there cannot be two substances.
My ultimate thesis and strong beliefs is that existence in its entirety is
natural, that there is no reason to conclude that supernatural phenomena are
the causes of natural effects, and that when scientific understanding and
ability has reached its furthest limits we must concede that we are not able
to understand such phenomena and resist subverting science and embracing the
irrationality of superstition and occult phenomena; that in any case what we
cannot yet understand today may surely be understood in the future and to
await this day accordingly. Religion has in the past opposed the fact that
the sun was the center of our galaxy, they opposed the fact that our planet
is a sphere, they oppose consciousness being an extension of the physical
body via the brain, and they oppose the idea that god did in fact not create
existence. These oppositions are fine and to believe in god and what “he”
has done is okay but to talk about physics and the ‘evidence’ that this
science gives in favor of god is incongrous with the scientific method and
reality.

-“But eternally existing anything would have to be ontologically necessiary,
but naturlism requires ontolgocal congingency for all natursiltic
phenomena.” – Why is this? In what way does the supernatural or god resolve
this conflict? What is the evidence of such gratuitous interactions from
the supernatural?

-“THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE!
THE BEGINNING OF TIME!"” – The beginning of the universe that we know not of
existence as a whole. Didn’t you speak of time in relativity just prior to
this, time is relative and really doesn’t have a beginning or an end.
Wouldn’t you say?

I read your argument for god as a cause under why God doesnt' need a cause
and the universe does, your god here doesn’t seem to be an actual defining
being or substance, I could easity isert the word nature for god within this
argument and change absolutely nothing; this is a vague, weak, and
ineffectual argument for god. By the way what is god? What do you believe
god is? A being? A pool of conscioussness? Energy? A being that resemble
humans? Your definition of god is so vague in this argument that it could
be refering to nature itself, do you not see the transience within this
argument? You must firmly define what god is, how it acts, etc. Otherwise
your giving an argument for nothing, this sort of god seems to encapulate
many individuals psyche now days, the god of everything and yet nothing.
Over all I was impressed with the cosmological argument you put forth, I
congradulate you! However, you were opposing theories that I do not
subscribe to. Cosmologically I would subscribe to brane cosmology (not the
oscilliotory universe), and even if this theory proves to be false this
hardly means that god has won out by default; ultimately there is no proof
of the existence of a god or of supernatural phenomena, the best the
religious can do is discredit and find faults within scientific theory and
insert the supernatural and god into convienient holes that are the as yet
unknowns of science (they are doing this with evolution right now with ID).
Ultimately I was just wanting to say that existence is natural, always has
been and always will be, and that the supernatural should be heavily
scrutinized and doubted. I am impressed by the extent of your knowledge
pertaining to astrophysics. I would be intrigued to hear your views on
brane cosmology.

Sincerely

1 comment:

J.L. Hinman said...

Istead of talking about arguments about God, we should be talking about the subculture of hate, and how to have agreement and mutual undersatnding.