Friday, November 19, 2010

Skewering More Ignorance!

Now, that Caleb’s taken down Pastor Perplex’s absurd questions, let’s look at Perplex’s own responses to Caleb and see how we can skewer each. We will take them in the order of his questions:

Q1 ) Is it POSSIBLE there could be a Divine Creator? ( Please note the key word "POSSIBLE" )

First, let’s look at the (secular) definition of "possible."b : being something that may or may not be true or actual .. possible implies that a thing may certainly exist or occur given the proper conditions. He then begins to construct his 'straw man' by continuing , "just like it's possible ten million foot monkey on some other world, or a green dinosaur hidden in the jungles of the Phillippines..." That's a non sequitur , because I didn't ask him about those fallacies ; also if we were to ask him if he "lacks belief" or "withholds belief" in those things , he would quickly dismiss it as an outlandish absurdity? Would he request evidence for it? NO ! Because they're so ridiculous, he would automatically know this so he naturally would make a judgment on it. Hence , if the atheists say they have no position by saying they lack belief, then their position is not open to attack and examination, and they can quietly remain atheists.

Here Perplex misses the point on a bajillion fronts, but we focus on a few. First, the very asking of any “possibility” question (minus giving necessary and sufficient conditions) opens the door to a response exactly as Caleb gave – by invoking other possibles. So, his examples are certainly not non-sequiturs or “outlandish absurdities” any more than Mikey's Divine Creator! Which is the whole point! Without n-s conditions given, the context is no different from any other hypothetical, and there is no unique standard. A standard intended means one at least attach the n-s conditions, to limit possibles (or the rational constellation of such) if nothing else.

The point is that once one proffers a “possibility” basis for his claimed existent – minus n-s conditions, he leaves himself open to a retort with other possibilities lacking the same. In other words, with no n-s conditions, he discloses he doesn’t know what’s outlandish and what isn’t. Withholding belief isn’t even applicable here, either to Perplex’s example or Caleb’s, because no actual claims have been made- only hypotheticals (possibles)

This opens discussion to another very pertinent and critical point: “Possibility” statements are almost no use at all in terms of scientific or empirical testing, irrespective of secular definitions. What empirical validation employs are IMPOSSIBILITY STATEMENTS. All impossibility statements actually have far more generality and validity than possibility statements. But one must understand what this means. In science the actual, technical terms are "laws of permission" and "laws of denial". The first detail all the actions that are allowed based on the laws of physics; the latter detail all the actions disallowed.

The laws of denial are predicated on such foundational physical laws as: the laws of conservation of mass-energy, momentum and electric charge. All these assure us that NO action can take place in a closed system in which the total energy, momentum and electric charge are not conserved.

I cannot take a 2 oz. bite out of an 8 oz. apple and come back and find it weighs 10 oz.!
I cannot put 8 gal. of gas into my tank, and know my car only gets a max. of 20 miles/gallon - drive one hundred miles and find 7 gallons of gas left! I can't put an electric charge of 5 Coulombs on a surface, then come back two minutes later and find 10 Coulombs - assuming the system was closed to external influences.

Thus, certain things really are impossible! There is no getting round it, and it's definitely scientific! Thus, "perpetual motion machines" are also denied - or "impossible" - since they not only violate conservation of energy, but also specific laws of thermodynamics, e.g. the entropy law. All events in the cosmos also obey Lorentz invariance, meaning that NO object, energy or mass or information can propagate faster than the speed of light (c = 300,000 km/s)

But all of these are rendered because they have putative necessary and sufficient conditions attached. E.g. for a perpetual motion device, the necessary condition is that no entropy can be produced. The sufficient condition (say for a perpetual pulley system) is that the mechanics are designed so no energy is lost via heat or friction.

In this regard we see the question as asked by Mikey is nearly worthless, since it focuses on neither probability nor impossibility, but vague and open possibility statements that don’t even have necessary and sufficient conditions attached.

Q2 ) Do YOU know everything about the universe , and how it came into existence?

RESPONSE : Here , in his first sentence , he says , "No one knows everything about the universe, including Copernicus." Which validates my point when I said we DON'T KNOW , what we DON'T KNOW . So , again , he concedes by that first sentence that he does NOT KNOW everything about the universe , hence , God COULD exist ! -----

This, of course, is a non-sequitur. The reason is that the universe is a defined PHYSICAL entity, which we know exists! (We needn’t know everything about an entity to know it exists only that is does!) In the same way, if I observe the Sun in the sky, I know the Sun exists. I need not know everything about its internal structure, radiation processes, convection, nuclear reactions or transfer of energy to the photosphere.

In like manner, one would not be so daft as to say – asking a person “Do you know everything about the Sun”?” and if the answer is negative, following that with “Ok then God COULD exist!” It doesn’t follow. In addition, he’s mixing apples and oranges, since his God is not a physical entity so any claims made must be of a different variety and order from physical ones. Thus, because one doesn’t know everything about a physical entity, doesn’t leave any doors open for a supernatural one! That entity must have its own evidence provided on its own basis.

Q3 ) Can YOU show proof of ANYONE ( or have YOU personally ) witnessed MACRO-evolution?

MY RESPONSE : Yes , I DO remember . And YES ! I DID say that what you observed WAS MICRO-evolution - NOT MACRO-evolution ! And I stand by that answer . I'll even post my answer here in reply to your given answer . What you describe is NOT MACRO-evolution ! It's MICRO-evolution , which refers to the changes in the percentage of individuals in a population that have a particular trait . Such evolution is more properly called adaptation . In these cases , as well as the one with your fruit flies , there is no new genetic information being produced . Rather , you were simply seeing the selection of pre-existing information . These types of changes actually fit within a creationist framework in which God created different kinds of organisms with a range of variation and the ability to adapt to changes in environmental conditions . Also , see an interesting article regarding a long-running experiment trying to get fruit flies to evolve has failed ( ) .

In this case he repeats errors made before, not surprising never having taken a basic evolution course, far less a test, and passed it. Let’s recap for his benefit. The definition of micro-evolution from an actual text on it by an expert (Strickberger, on Evolution) is as follows:

Changes in the genetic makeup in a population that usually gives rise to differences between populations of a given species in the form of gene frequency changes or chromosomal variations.

Since the latter DO incorporate genetic changes, then these micro-evolutionary changes can ultimately accumulate and lead to taxonomic or macro-evolutionary changes. This is NOT “properly called adaptation” as he claims, because adaptation does not include gene frequency changes which signal that natural selection has become determinate in the species. Thus , it is incorrect to assert only“pre-existing information” is produced.

The creationist claim that “adaptation” (erroneously conflated with micro-evolution) fits within its perspective misses the point that this can only be valid if the genotype frequencies remain stable! But actual genetic tests shows this isn’t the case, as for Caleb’s fruit fly experiments!

As to macro-evolution, these are the necessary conditions that must apply:

1) The species’ alleles must alter over succeeding generations.

2)Increasing numbers of the favored offspring are found in successive generations,.

3) Variation must be genetically inherited. Thus, for natural selection to result in evolutionary change, the selected differences must have a genetic basis.

Unfortunately for Caleb, it isn’t proven that his fruit fly experiments would have born all three of these out- (3) is open to question. So he technically earns only half marks (if this was a test, but the pastor assures us it isn't).

Q4 ) Can "something" (ANYTHING or ANYONE) , come from "NOTHING"?

ANSWER GIVEN : The universe can, as quantum physics already shows and Copernicus has done blogs on..."

RESPONSE : OH REALLY??? Well , you better get on one side of the proverbial fence or the other , bro' - because you just CONTRADICTED YOURSELF ! Recall in Q2 you ADMITTED that "No one knows everything about the universe" - that includes YOU , bro' ! You NOW are making the unequivocal statement that you KNOW "The universe can." Which is it?

Here he’s mixing up logical categories again. We already showed that the question (2) to which he refers was botched by him because he committed two egregious logical errors:

1) Committed the 'One true Scotsman' fallacy by arguing that if one doesn’t know ALL there is, one doesn’t know a thing exists. But as I showed, as for the Sun, one needn’t now ALL there is to know about an entity to know it exists! I can observe the Sun in the sky, I don’t have to know all its nuclear fusion reactions to know it exists. Now granted, we don’t KNOW the cosmos came from nothing, but the evidence so far from quantum mechanics is pretty strong that it did – especially when we examine the phenomenon of pair production in the laboratory setting. This provides an excellent basis for understanding how the cosmos could have originated from nothing – which technically means a negative energy bubble.

2) Committed false analogy by placing his “divine Creator” and the universe in the same existent or claim categories, when one is supernatural and the other wholly natural-physical.

Again, his question itself is mixing up two different logical contexts, one for knowledge (which he doesn’t even MENTION in Q4) and one for capability. Thus, his emphasis and smarmy critique, tasking Caleb about knowing or not knowing is misplaced, since he never asked if he KNOWS the universe came from nothing, but rather: CAN IT or Something COME from nothing? Caleb’s answer perfectly fit into this purview, and Pastor Perplex needs to learn how to ask better questions, or better, stay out of the question –asking business until he learns something of what he’s asking about!

5a ) Do YOU have "faith" in ANYTHING or ANYONE? ( If yes , could you please say in what or whom , and WHY? )

ANSWER GIVEN : Sure! In my close friends (faith they won't stab me in the back) and in my wife and children (that they won't try to do me in for any reason).

MY RESPONSE : Ok , your own admission here , you don't KNOW if they will "stab you in the back" or "do you in." You must have FAITH that they WON'T. So , why is a Christian's FAITH in God of any lesser importance than your "faith.

Once again, he’s being dishonest by not adhering to the parameters of his own questions! (Then he wonders why so few atheists, or just one – even attempt them. Well, DOH! They’re rigged!) Note his question again is simply asking DO YOU have Faith, and if so in what or whom? There is no knowledge component which is a whole different kettle of fish. In that case, he’d do better asking: Can you KNOW enough to have faith in something?

But, he didn’t ask that! Hence, it’s not kosher to try to pinion Caleb in his given honest response by using a dishonest tactic to do with knowledge. Of course, he doesn’t know – but Pastor Mikey never asked the context!

Note also how he slips in a non-sequitur question (about “a” Christian’s faith – when he hasn’t even defined which Christians he’s talking about and there are dozens, including Catholics, science of mind, Episcopalians etc.) Also, this question has nada to do with asking the generic question on whether he (caleb) has faith in anything or anyone. Again, mixing chalk and cheese.

Q6 ) Do YOU believe in reincarnation?

ANSWER GIVEN : Nope, 'cause I've seen nothing to back it up. When ya dead, ya dead.

MY RESPONSE : Here again , you allege to KNOW what happens after death . HOW? Have you died and come back to life? As I said before , my friend , ETERNITY in HELL is a long time to be WRONG !!!

Again, wrongo! Caleb’s not alleging at all that he KNOWS what happens after death! The question NEVER asked whether he KNOWS what happens, but what he BELIEVES will happen. So long as the Pastor mixes up his question content and can’t make up his mind what exactly he intends to ask, why should anyone even try them (one reason I recommended to Caleb to just ignore them) Note, how Pastor Perplex then drags in his Hell myths, having already cluttered the landscape by mixing up a belief question with one of knowledge. It is clear this guy has never learned the art of dialectic, and definitely needs to improve his vocabulary.

Q7 ) Do YOU believe "aliens" from another planet EVER visited earth? ( if yes , do you have ANY historical / archeological proof and/or eyewitnesses?)

ANSWER GIVEN : YES! The Roswell case gives the best illustration and lots of evidence, including sections of the ship which were subjected to high stress tests and the metal behaved like no earthly elements. All the original newspaper runs attested to a flying disc that crash landed, and the pieces - some - recovered by Jesse Marcel.You can read more about the details here, which includes a photogram of the Roswell Daily Record and its headline- as well as sketches of the aliens. Of course, once the Air Force entered the case, they destroyed the papers and further runs, confiscated as much hard evidence as they could, and then dreamed up the "weather balloon" baloney to explain it. MY

RESPONSE : Sorry , but I don't have enough "faith" to believe in "aliens" from outer space . As for the link you reference , it's obviously biased . The entire Roswell fiasco was a HOAX !! In a later post here I'll be showing - with verifiable references - how and why the Roswell "alien" incident came to be . But then , I can't fault you atheists too much for your "belief" in them . After all , anyone who believes humans "evolved" from "King Kong" and that "SOMETHING" can actually come from "NOTHING," I guess will believe just about any fairy tale .

Oh, and talking snakes, guys living in the acid of whale's bellies for 3 days, and another walking on water aren't fairy tales?

This response of pastor perplex is choice on so many levels, and we certainly can’t wait to see what he trots out to show (with verifiable references) “how and why the Roswell alien incident came to be”. But hold on to your seats, there’s likely to be a “salvation” or Christian component someplace.

In fact, having studied the Roswell incident myself(using released freedom of information documents), the site link provided by Caleb is pretty sound, and it fits in with all the accumulated evidence amassed, especially to do with the attending nurse’s account (and drawings), the newspaper account (based on first on the scene reports, before the Air Force came in and confiscated evidence – as the FBI did in the aftermath of the JFK assassination, including seizing the limo bearing bullet marks, and a curbstone near to where bystander James Tague was sprayed with cement - in the vicinity of Elm St. by the Triple Underpass. The curbstone had been hit with a bullet fragment and marked, such that it would have shown a 4th shot-making it impossible for Oswald to have been the lone assassin.)

The pastor is also clearly dissing his own brother, Jerry, who has actually documented (in an unpublished book) how he came to see actual photographic evidence of the Roswell aliens while in the Air Force in the 1960s, based at Lackland AFB in Texas.

As to the absurd “evolving from King Kong” gibberish, we don’t even dignify that with a reply. As for something coming from nothing, it isn’t a matter of belief, but basic quantum mechanics – which unfortunately the goodly pastor never took, probably because he couldn’t even pass a basic physics course!

Q8 ) All matter has energy . So , does energy NEED a "beginning," and if so , do YOU KNOW how it began?

ANSWER GIVEN : It began in the dark energy bubble that initiated the universe. See the link in Q4. No, I don't "know" it for a fact, but it's the best scientific explanation so surely beats saying "a God did it"

RESPONSE : Whoa Pardner ! You're contradicting yourself here...AGAIN !! ( see my response for Q2 ) . state , "It began in the dark energy bubble that initiated the universe." What "dark energy bubble"? And , how did IT come into "existence"? ( Oh wait , I guess from "NOTHING"? also , huh? ) . Allow me to "educate" you here . Plain and simple, matter/energy can not come into existence. It is scientifically impossible, yet here we see everything around us, so how can that be? There are really only 3 possibilities. Option A: Everything came into existence by itself anyway, without the help of God, even though science has proven that impossible. Option B: Everything in the universe has ALWAYS existed for all of eternity, which, by the way is also shown to be scientifically impossible due to something called the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, or option C: There must be a God, a Being greater than science, who created the Laws of science and has the ability to violate them. Not only is a belief in God the only logical conclusion to draw, it's the only one scientifically possible because remember, if there is no God, the first two options are scientifically impossible according to the actual Laws of Physics. ( Duhhh...) .

Here, Pastor Perplex demonstrates his own voluminous ignorance again, though we mustn’t be too hard because this is one of the questions for which Caleb ought to have better elaborated the response. (But we give him a break because his area is theoretical biology and not physics) Caleb, in any case, isn’t contradicting himself because he clearly states he doesn’t know for a fact how it began, but rather is basing it on the best current scientific explanation (which also means he is consistent with what he stated in Q2)

As for dark energy and the dark energy bubble I did several blogs on this and Caleb ought to have referenced at least a couple links, eg.

Note in the last, the paragraph:

"The negative pressure- vacuum bubble was no less physical than the universe it spawned on expansion – when the negative pressure fluctuated and incepted a non net-zero mass-energy effect, which result we now perceive indirectly in the cosmos accelerated expansion.In his paper, ‘Universe Before Planck Time’ (Phys. Review D, Vol. 28, No. 4), T. Padmanabhan is careful to explicate (Sec. IV) the acausal quantum and classical limits (with alpha = 0, the classical limit, and classical time, limit)."

Also, it is important (and Caleb never mentioned this) to note the dark energy bubble exists in conformal space-time, not regular- so temporally it is for all practical purposes “not existing” before, or after the Big Bang.

The Pastor then goes on a rant trying to assert what’s impossible or not. But he fails, because he doesn’t comprehend the nature of impossibility statements. To see this, let us examine his arguments and “options” given to see how he contradicts himself:

He writes:

Plain and simple, matter/energy can not come into existence. It is scientifically impossible, yet here we see everything around us, so how can that be? There are really only 3 possibilities. Option A: Everything came into existence by itself anyway, without the help of God, even though science has proven that impossible”

In fact, science has ‘proven” no such thing, nor does he given any citations to support his claim! Meanwhile, I have repeatedly given him the source paper – from a peer reviewed journal – which shows how the universe COULD come into being by itself. (The Phys. Review D paper noted above) Again, the point is: SO long as there is one valid hypothesis to show a rational –physical explanation we accept that rather than any supernatural option!

Next he scribbles:

Option B: Everything in the universe has ALWAYS existed for all of eternity, which, by the way is also shown to be scientifically impossible due to something called the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Again, he is totally wrong as science has never shown any such thing! It is quite feasible that the universe, in a multiverse form – as Hawking’s model is based upon, could well have always existed. (He elaborates this concept in his book, The Grand Design). Apart from that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which I doubt this guy even studied because he’s never taken a physics course I know of, has nothing to do with it.

All the 2nd law does is give us an indicator of entropy (disorder) within a closed system, BUT – as I’ve stated before, it isn’t altogether clear the cosmos is a closed system. In addition, even a simple recycled universe model (of the Wheeler type) would refute his claims, since each new cycle ends with a collapse and new energy (from that collapse) for a new Big bang and new universe. Thus, the 2nd law is “re-processesed” with each new cycle (value of the Boltzmann constant k likely changing each time) and these cycles eliminate the problem of one closed system.

Not content with his he hangs himself on his own illogical petard:

or option C: There must be a God, a Being greater than science, who created the Laws of science and has the ability to violate them. Not only is a belief in God the only logical conclusion to draw, it's the only one scientifically possible because remember, if there is no God, the first two options are scientifically impossible according to the actual Laws of Physics. ( Duhhh...) .”

This is a non sequitur, since as I showed above, his claims of the first two options being “scientifically impossible” are bollocks. Hence, his clam that Option C is the only “scientifically possible” option remaining is pure codswallop. Indeed, since "God"as he seems to define it (supernatural) -isn’t physical- it can’t be a scientific object of inquiry in the normative sense, though we might retain it as a hypothesis, if the fundies can show us how a supernatural entity can manifest in material –physical ways (making sure to give the necessary and sufficient conditions for it)

Q9 ) You ( atheists ) allege that the Bible is basically "fiction." Do YOU ( personally ) , ALSO make the SAME claim for the Qur'an / Koran , the Book of Mormon , the Catholic "bible," etc? If not , WHY?

ANSWER GIVEN : Once again, we don't say that. What we say is that any claim made in any ancient book, bible or other, has to be parsed through the language media and historical perpective. You can't just accept any ancient words at face value, or you look like a dummy.

RESPONSE : Well , a simple comparison of the text of the Bible with the text of other religious , historical , and philosophical documents from the ancient past proves the vast superiority of the biblical record . LESS than ONE-TENTH of ONE PERCENT of the biblical text is in question ! , whereas no such accuracy of transmission exists for the Qur’an , the Mahabharata , or the Iliad .


Here he goes off on a tangent and doesn’t even do himself a service. The claim of less then one-tenth of one percent of the biblical text being in question, leaves totally out the context. In fact, from the Jesus seminar and other studies, in a HISTORICAL context, nearly 99.999% of the Old Testament is in question, and nearly 90% of the New. Bart D. Erhman in his “Misquoting Jesus: Who Changed the Bible and Why’ does an excellent service in revealing many of the questionable NT segments. Also, Oxford scholar Geza Vermes has a compendium at the back of his book (The Authentic Gospel of Jesus) which references passage by passage all the untrustworthy sections in the NT.

The general conclusion is that most of the Bible is allegorical, and very little historical or biographical. But this is exactly where fundamentalism parts company with rational Christianity. The latter group recognizes literal interpretation as impossible and the bible as not inerrant, the former doesn’t. But this is a feature of ALL the fundamentalisms, whether Islamic, or Jewish or Christian. So it’s actually kind of ironic and humorous that he makes a jab at the Qu’uran, when his fundie literalism is equally misplaced!

For more on this, see:

Q10 ) Do YOU ( personally ) , believe Muhammad was a man of "peace and love"?

ANSWER GIVEN : I have no beliefs on him just as I have none on Jesus Christ, or the Buddha. Since I don't believe any of those religions, my opinions of their leaders or god-men are irrelevant.
MY RESPONSE : Well , you sure could have fooled me ! If you'd like I can write a series of blog posts on just YOUR blasphemies against God by referring to Him as "tyrant," "evil," "madman," etc.. I have YET to see you blaspheme "Allah," "Muhammad," "Buddha," etc..Nor do I see you ( atheists ) exerting as much time and energy attempting to discount any other religious beliefs . WHY? Are atheists simply anti-Christian , or are y'all anti ANY religious beliefs? You also contradict yourself - AGAIN - by stating , "I have no beliefs on him just as I have none on Jesus Christ," yet , in several previous blog posts you ADMITTED that you DO believe that Jesus Christ existed , albeit denying His Deity . Every time you find yourself in the corner in theological debates , you start 'back peddling' by redefining and changing your position(s) , and of course , when all else fails , you throw up the smokescreen by invoking your Quantum Mechanics nonsense . Frankly , Christians KNOW that Christianity IS a threat to Satan and you atheists , which is why you all attempt to discredit it so much . If you were not so weak in your atheistic position , and truly did not consider Christianity a threat to it - you would simply ignore it as you do the cult religious denominations .

Here, clearly frustrated by encountering his intellectual superior, he goes off on a raft of tangents, while attributing to Caleb content that I rendered in past blogs (likely because he has me mixed up with Caleb or thinks Caleb is me or some such delusional schizoid ideations – claiming I answered his daft questions not Caleb.) But let’s be clear Caleb himself only answered the question as it was presented, without all the drama. By mixing Caleb’s answer with blog content I’d already given - which obviously WOULD be different – since we are two distinct people- his claims of contradiction fall on their face. Obviously, the content contradicts because two different people have two different opinions!

But, let’s turn attention to his other ancillary dreck, given he interjects it:

- The references to God as “tyrant” and “madman” were to the OT entity who as I showed, willingly slaughters people including women and children, and does it in genocidal outbursts. This isn’t “blasphemy” but calling a spade a spade.

- On spending so “much time” to discount religious beliefs. Actually we don’t, we spend time to show that religious beliefs cannot be trusted as impeccable guides to ordain our civil laws. We are not a Theocracy, not yet, and thus to the extent fundies like my bro harp and attempt to insinuate their beliefs into our lives (by trying to outlaw abortion, contraception, etc.) we must fight back and never stop fighting. Ignoring them is just what they’d like

- On JC and whether he existed. Again, he’s mixing my past blogs with Caleb’s answer here, which is how he comes to his “contradiction”. But in fact, there aren’t any regarding my statements. I’ve always said there is sufficient evidence to warrant JC was a historical person, but NOT a divine entity. There are too many other plausible explanations, including exaggerated or mistranslated accounts from the time (recall the gospels weren’t put to paper until 40 or more years after the alleged events) as well as deliberate insertions to mislead. So there is no “back peddling”.

- On quantum mechanics used as a “smokescreen” – well this is a typical whine from an ignorant person never exposed to it. But, the unassailable fact remains that QM IS the most fundamental of all the physical sciences, and is directed at the basic nature of matter, and energy and its manifestations. If one therefore discounts it, he is trying to discount 95% of all possible rational or scientific explanations. Which, of course, is exactly what I’d expect of a non-scientific fundie freak – who of course would consider the most powerful science of all “nonsense”.

I rest my case, that Pastor what's his name - Perplex or Mikey- isn't qualified to be asking any questions of gravitas whatsoever. Hell, he doesn't even know how to compose a rational, logical question!

No comments: