Sunday, December 19, 2010

Skewering more Lisle Nonsense

We now return to Jason Lisle’s supposed “arguments” on the invalidity of atheism as he claims in a guest article put up on Pastor Mikey’s blog.

Lisle writes:

Materialistic atheism is one of the easiest worldviews to refute. A materialistic atheist believes that nature is all that there is. He believes that there is no transcendent God who oversees and maintains creation. Many atheists believe that their worldview is rational—and scientific. However, by embracing materialism, the atheist has destroyed the possibility of knowledge, as well as science and technology. In other words, if atheism were true, it would be impossible to prove anything

There are numerous errors here, and let’s try to sort out at least the most fundamental ones.

The first is placing the burden of proof on the materialist-naturalist for accepting the evidentiary basis that “nature is all there is” . However, all of our scientific research shows precisely this! If it didn’t, we’d have to integrate supernatural factors into making our naturalist -physical world predictions, say to forecast a hurricane's future path, or the heliographic location and time at which the next solar flare will ignite. We don’t, hence we aren’t “disbelieving” anything that isn’t already factored in to the -empirical - predictive infrastructure we use.

It is in fact the supernaturalist’s job to prove his ADDITION to natural reality is warranted. Thus, as Carl Sagan often said: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”

If nature is not all there is, in other words, it is the opponents’ duty to prove it, not the naturalist's to disprove it. Same thing with positing a “transcendent God” – surely an extraordinary claim if ever there was one. One commits the logical error of affirming the consequent by asserting ab initio that which you have to prove and making it part of your argument – which Lisle has done. In other words, he must first PROVE his transcendent deity exists – or at least give the necessary and sufficient conditions for it. He must DO THIS before he attempts to link this entity with any logical laws, or what he believes to be logical laws.

Contrary to Lisle’s idiotic claim that by embracing naturalism the atheist has “destroyed the basis of knowledge” it is quite the opposite. What Lisle would have us do, given the problems I exposed above, is substitute blind faith for knowledge! Worse, violate the supernaturalist's own logical platform to deduce his deity or related entities. Pascal Boyer, in his 'Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought'. (Perseus Books, 2001) notes, (Ch. 2, `What Supernatural Concepts are like', p. 51) that it is essential that: "the information contained in key tags of the statement or concept must contradict information provided by the ontological category". Lisle has NOT met this threshold before embarking on his attack on atheism.

Boyer, to make it clear, emphasizes this (p. 52): "Religious statements or concepts INVARIABLY include information that is counterintuitive relative to the (ontological) category activated" Thus, Boyer's criteria for a reasonable basis for ANY supernatural definition or claim (whether `God', `soul', or whatever) must satisfy two principles: 1)It must include information that is counterintuitive relative to the (ontological) category activated.(For example, `physics' may be one ontological category that is also an epistemological category- then 'spirit physics' would be counterintuitive to it. However one must first elucidate what that means exactly!) 2) The concept and its statement must preserve all relevant default inferences except the ones barred by the counterintuitive element. Lisle has done NONE of this!

Now, if supernatural factors don’t affect our predictions to do with nature, then how in the hell can ignoring them represent a LOSS of knowledge? In fact, if we included them, we’d clutter our predictive basis and likely make many more bad predictions than good ones. If I had to factor in the presence of “angels” each time I computed the future position of Mars using Celestial Mechanics, I’d have so much rubbish in my computer it would suffer a breakdown.
So Lisle is espousing idiocy.

Another Lisle-ian Howler:

Laws of logic are God’s standard for thinking. Since God is an unchanging, sovereign, immaterial Being, the laws of logic are abstract, universal, invariant entities. In other words, they are not made of matter—they apply everywhere and at all times

Here, the guy can’t even distinguish that there are differing laws of logic, for example, for Boolean logic, Aristotelian classical and other forms of non-classical including quantum logic. Moreoever, the last is based on the observations arising from physical, quantal-scale systems. See again, my detailed arguments at:, and note again, what all this means is that the “universality” of a concept is a moot issue. It has no meaning or significance in the setting of quantum mechanics and quantum logic. To be more specific, the formal apparatus of quantum mechanics reduces to a generalization of classical probability in which the role played by a Boolean algebra of events in the latter is taken over by the "quantum logic" of projection operators on a Hilbert space.

More gibberish:

“The materialistic atheist can’t have laws of logic. He believes that everything that exists is material—part of the physical world. But laws of logic are not physical. You can’t stub your toe on a law of logic

In fact, the supernaturalist is the one who rejects the laws of logic (including quantum logic), since for example, he refuses to give even the necessary and sufficient conditions for his deity (or by extension, the supernatural) to exist. These are – as I showed from Robert Baum’s book (Logic) in the last blog - the minimal logical bases for making claims. While it is true as he says the laws of logic aren’t ipso facto physical in themselves – there are quantum logic laws that are derived from physical observations, for example the electron double slit experiments – wherein one electron can pass through a diffraction slit and not do so at the same time.

More insanity:

Laws of logic cannot exist in the atheist’s world, yet he uses them to try to reason. This is inconsistent. He is borrowing from the Christian worldview to argue against the Christian worldview.”

But as I showed it is only the atheist who has consistently provided n-s conditions for all his claims, as well as the logical bases, including the need to avoid fallacies like ignotum per ignotius (using the less well known to explain the poorly known) on a regular basis –which those like Lisle do. Contrary to Lisle’s bunkm, atheists employ reason all the time, including from both classical (Boolean) logic in context, as well as quantum logic.

By contrast, Lisle commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent right off the bat, showing he’s not the least invested in logical arguments – but as the case with his perverted “astrophysics” twists meanings to try to gain a rhetorical advantage because he knows most of those he writes for are too dumb or uneducated to read between the lines.

The nonsense of “borrowing from the Christian worldview” to argue against it is choice. Here he has created his own meme to attempt to deflect any logical attacks of atheism which employ the use of known Christian claims to show why those claims are either illogical or incoherent. By this standard, we atheists would be forbidden to use the Bible to show its contradictions, and hence that it can’t be the inerrant word of God.

Here Lisle shows why many skeptics regard him as a Class A Idiot:

The debate over the existence of God is a bit like a debate over the existence of air. Can you imagine someone arguing that air doesn’t actually exist?”

However, this is a blatant false analogy as he well knows (or should as a supposed physicist – or astrophysicist). We know air exists because we can weigh and measure it, and obtain results which allow us to compute the pressure – say in millibars- at any altitude. We know that at sea level, for example, the pressure of air can enable the support the height of a column of mercury 760mm high. If air were "transcendent" (presumably like Lisle's deity) there'd be NO mercury column support since there'd be no physicality. Hence, the idiot is mixing chalk and cheese, invoking the example of a physical, tangible, measurable entity to try to justify accepting an intangible, putatively immeasurable one.

By contrast, where is the evidence for his God? If this God is “transcendent” as Lisle claims, then already he’s indicated the basis for its existence or proof so can’t ontologically be on the same basis as that for air – yet he invokes air as a basis for comparison! So, absolutely NO! The debate over the existence of God is not the same as a debate over the existence of air – given standards and means of measurement obtain for the latter and not the former. (Unless Lisle knows some way we can measure God and he isn’t saying)

More stupidity from Lisle:

The atheist might say, “Well, I can reason just fine, and I don’t believe in God.” But this is no different than the critic of air saying, “Well, I can breathe just fine, and I don’t believe in air.” This isn’t a rational response.”

Again, false analogy. Here Lisle like his believer counterparts again confuses and misrepresents the position of the bulk of atheists, who happen to be implicit atheists, not explicit. (Current surveys put the implicit version of atheist at nearly 5 to 1 over their explicit counterparts). What the implicit atheist does is withhold acceptance in the believer’s CLAIM for a God – since no evidence is provided. This is not the same as saying “I don’t believe in a God”- NOR IS IT THE SAME AS SAYING one has a LACK OF BELIEF IN A GOD! (Which certain idiot pastors still can't grasp! One can exhibit a "lack of belief" for purely neutral reasons including not being appraised of a claim in the first place!) Here, the atheist recognizes that since a transcendent God denotes an extraordinary claim it is the Godist’s job to prove it. What is happening here is not active disbelief, i.e. making a statement 'There is no god', but rather simply passively withholding belief/acceptance in a statement already made. Hence, the deity believer has made the positive claim. The ontological atheist’s is the withholding of belief in it. No more - no less.

It would be like a neighbor running over and saying he has invisble aliens living in his attic. I respond by withholding my acceptance of the claim until HE provides the proof. The analogy to air is again, stupid – since it is NOT like saying one can breathe without air – no one in his right mind would ever say that, and as I showed already, air and God are in no way alike regarding basic properties, since one (air) can be measured, the other (God) cannot.

More gibberish (which is hard to reconcile with coming from an astrophysicist!):

It’s because God exists that reasoning is possible. The atheist can reason, but within his own worldview he cannot account for his ability to reason.”

Here again, Lisle commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. He asserts reason emanates from an entity which he still hasn’t proven. The fallacy means one posits a connection like this before proving the actual agent exists.

As for the atheist accounting for his ability to reason, of course he can! It inheres in the frontal cortex and also the language centers of the brain. Tjis is where the nascent ability originates, but its development has been a result of more than 2,500 years of mental training starting with the Greeks (Socrates and Plato, Aristotle) then refined through the Enligtenment to incorporate scientific aspects. The genius of the latter is that now a more broadened format of logic must take cognizance of P-facts (perceptual facts) or percepts.

Consider E = mc^2, which Einstein eqn. constitutes a specific formalism for a very particular operational definition linking energy and mass. We say it is a closed formalism, embodying closed symbols and operational definitions. Scientific epistemology allows us to regard E, m and c as constructs, connected via operational definition to what we call P- (perceptual) facts. That is, these facts are based on experimental measurement confirmed numerous times. Hence, these measurements provide an open avenue out of any would-be tautologies. Thus, we expect a correlation like: C <-> P re-affirming closure, significance and NO meta-linkage.

Since all P-facts are already defined by specific constructs – which have very exact meaning in physics. (e.g. c – the velocity of light, or about 300,000 km/sec) there is no wiggle room, and this lack of wiggle room means a pre-defined context exists. In contrast to this, the proponent of a vitalist or supernatural cosmos offers a claim that is subjective because the observer must provide an assumed closure - unlike in the case of E = mc^2. where all symbols are fixed.

And without wading through all his other crap (which mainly consists in putting words in atheists’ mouths) the final accolade to this dolt’s supreme ignorance:

Clearly, atheism is not a rational worldview. It is self-refuting because the atheist must first assume the opposite of what he is trying to prove in order to be able to prove anything. As Dr. Cornelius VanTil put it, “[A]theism presupposes theism.” Laws of logic require the existence of God—and not just any god, but the Christian God

Clearly, this is all BS. The atheist is actually the one who defends and supports rationalism and coherence because he is aware of where the responsibility for defending a claim inheres: with the one MAKING the extraordinary claim! One cannot write balderdash like “Laws of logic require the existence of God” without first proving that a God exists. That would be like me writing some gibberish like “solar flares require the existence of Demons to create them”. NO, you must show the existence of your deity then you can try to show the secondary conclusion there is a connection to the laws of logic (which as I showed are not one uniform, homogeneous set)

Lisle has no idea what he’s blabbering about and indeed, as one Australian website pointed out, probably just spouts this endless bollocks to get himself off - or maybe affirm his belief he's a legend in his own mind. Like the alleged atheist S.E. Cupp (who by accepting Christian tenets found she got more attention and books published) , this guy has found a Christianoid-niche that actually pays - when (without it) he'd be just one more of thousands of astrophysics Ph.D.s still looking for a proper university associate prof position.

Pathetic! In fact, totally effing pathetic! But what can you expect from a gullible, believer clown?

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