I gots ya evidence right here, pal

Moreland

Since I say that demonstrable evidence is required before a claim can be rationally accepted, it’s only fair that when someone offers what they believe to be evidence, I should take some time to examine it. Well I was given this link to a lecture by one Dr. J.P. Moreland creatively entitled “The Evidence for Christianity” so that’s what I did, I examined it. Right off the bat though, it’s “evidence” for the existence of a god, not for Christianity. Perhaps he has another lecture connecting the dots, but I really don’t care to see it after this.

Like most evidence from believers, it’s just a load of unsubstantiated assertions and logically fallacious arguments, with your standard emotional appeals for good measure, naturally. I should say that some arguments were logical, but unfortunately sprang forth from unsubstantiated or demonstrably false premises like a failure to understand the 2nd law of thermodynamics. That seems to get the best of them, so no shame there, Doc. What is shameful is the bullshit he started off with before even getting to his presentation of evidence. His opening contained these notably false assertions:

1) “[Atheists] have made it a goal to stomp out supernatural religions in the United States”.
No group that I’m aware of, atheist or otherwise, is actively working to eliminate religious freedom in the US. Ironically it’s Christian groups who are doing that by denying religious freedoms for Muslims and instilling a de facto religious test for public offices (some states still have laws barring atheists from being elected despite such laws being blatantly unconstitutional). Now in the US rights can be curbed, especially when they impose on others. Naturally a religion which practices cannibalism would be denied some freedoms to exercise their beliefs. Some States are finally revoking parents’ rights to deny their children life saving medical care because they’d rather pray (which lead to the untimely death of Madeline Neumann).
2) ‘[Atheists] are ridding our schools of god’
First, it’s historically been the religious who’ve objected to religion in public schools because the religion being preached wasn’t THEIR religion, and that’s why we have an Establishment Clause, so that one religion cannot lord itself over others, imposing its will by mandate of the government. Public schools are government facilities and as such cannot appear to endorse any one religion or for that matter religion over non-religion; therefore, you can have private, individual prayer but not school directed prayer.
3) “Don’t think America can’t go secular”
Unclear what he means by America, but if he’s referring to the government, it is and always has been secular. We’re the first nation with a secular constitution.
4) “[God] loves the [American] institutions because they were founded, by and large, on a Christian worldview.”
This is blatantly false. The founding fathers were a mix of beliefs, with a healthy dose of Deists. Furthermore, it was made very clear in the Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, that the US is not a Christian nation.

Well after that, the evidence round must be good, right? Let’s begin…

1) Citing the Christian bible as evidence not only doesn’t carry weight with a non-believer, but is circular reasoning (ie – the bible is true because it’s the word of god and we know there’s a god because of the bible).
2) Romans asserts that the world is a creation when there’s nothing to suggest such a belief. Of course if you start with the presupposition that the world and the universe were created, then you’ll naturally believe there must be a creator (ie – Watchmaker’s fallacy).
3) “The universe began to exist and something supernatural had to create it.”
Again, no reason to believe the universe was (consciously) created, and there is nothing to suggest if the universe was the result of some action or if it’s always been. Furthermore, there’s nothing to suggest that there is such a thing as “the supernatural” (of course we first need a definitive definition).
4) “We now know we live in an unusual universe.”
That’s simply nonsensical since we only know of one universe, therefore we can’t say it’s unusual. Unusual compared to what? How many universes do we know exist?
5) “We now know that the universe of space, time and matter began at some point in the past.”
No we don’t. That’s simply false. We know that our universe once was very dense before exploding but we don’t know anything about the exact moment of that explosion nor anything that may have come before that.
6) “The 2nd law of thermodynamics…”
Oy vie, if I had $1 for every religious person who cited the 2LoTD without understanding it! Anyway, the universe doesn’t “run out of gas”, it means the energy in the universe will be equally distributed in a state of maximum entropy. Btw, it doesn’t discount evolution either since the Earth is an open system (he didn’t go there, but most religious people use the 2LoTD for that reason so I thought I’d throw that in).
6b) “If the universe has always been here, then it should have used up all its fuel an infinite time ago.”
It’s funny he simultaneously considers the universe a closed system yet speaks of its energy being burned up. Where would it go? Again, misunderstanding the 2LoTD.
7) “Until you get a point where the entire universe of space time and matter sprung into existence.”
The universe is indeed expanding but appears to be dense enough that rather than experiencing heat death (the continued expansion to entropy), it could snap back to a singularity again and such a cycle may have always been repeated; therefore no, it didn’t necessarily spring into existence. To use his balloon analogy, if it stretches, it snaps back, and would continue to do so if the balloon was all there.
8 ) “Since the natural world began to exist, then something supernatural, something outside the natural world had to cause it.”
As already explained, we don’t know if the universe always has been or not but if it wasn’t then on what grounds can we say that anything non-universe is not made of the same matter and energy as the universe? Yes, this cause would be outside of the universe but outside of the “natural world”, in other words not made of matter and energy? Why? This stinks of equivocation, attempting to make natural world and universe synonymous as a way to sneak in the word supernatural. Typical religious shenanigans, I’m afraid.
9) “I don’t have time…”
Yeah, I bet you don’t. Considering everything so far has been false, why not heap on a scoop of personal, conscious cause? I mean, you have like 15 minutes left.
10) “The origin of biological information.”
Oh brother, the complexity argument! Still, kudos for twisting the SETI program. That’s a novel one. Look, he started off by addressing the problem that kids go to college and when they come back, they tend to abandon religion. Using an argument like the complexity argument, one that will take that kid a minute to google and see the refutation of it (if he or she doesn’t already know it) won’t get it done any better than exhibiting ignorance of the 2LoTD. It failed in Dover and it fails the test of logic as it’s essentially an argument from ignorance. Anyway, dna is not a stream of information. It’s yet another thing by which we can categorize and know things. Now maybe if someone found an organism with a dna strand that actually was a stream of information, like an act from Hamlet, then you could begin to make the SETI analogy.
11) “Moral absolutes exist, and are best explained by a moral law giver.”
It’s certainly not clear that moral absolutes exist but even so, a moral law giver, especially a supernatural entity, is most certainly NOT the best explanation. Both parts of that statement are unsubstantiated assertions. As that was his last “evidence”, I stopped watching.

So that’s my response to the believer. I wonder what they’ll say?

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9 Responses to “I gots ya evidence right here, pal”

  1. While this is good, you have one bit of information that is a bit outdated. The idea for the Big Crunch, the cycle of an expanding and contracting universe, has been shown to be unlikely. With the Planck telescope, the information is all in favor of a Big Chill.

    Other than that, good article.

  2. Thanks. Not too shabby for an artist. LOL!

    One of the things that's frustrating with believers is you need to know a lot of shit (or have modest researching skills) because they play the argument from ignorance game a lot, meaning they assert shit, you call them on it and then they pull, "well if you're so smart, what's the answer?" If you have none, then they assume they're right. The believer I was dealing with was doing this plus copy/pasting bullshit from religious sites and posting links by Dr. Moreshit so I've been swatting them down as best as I can while trying to explain that whether I have an answer or not has no bearing on the validity of their god belief.

    Anyway, for copy/pasters it's not too hard to defeat their arguments because they don't even understand what they're copy/pasting. For instance, he's not going to know Big Crunch from Capt. Crunch, so if I'm off a bit, he lacks the knowledge and skills to recognize that. Still, I appreciate the heads up on the Big Chill. For people like Moreshit, who vociferously insist they know things (like the 2LoTD), you do need to have a stronger knowledge of the subject matter.

    Big Crunch is a lot more effective than Big Chill or Big Rip against the 'something from nothing' creation arguments from theists. I know I don't have to have an answer in order to show their "answer" is nonsense, but having an answer is easier than having to explain the argument from ignorance to the ignorant and willfully ignorant.

  3. (1) I'm thinking that the second law of thermodynamics probably will be revised some day in order to take into account certain quantum phenomena that take place in ultra-cold states, because as the universe cools down (asymptotically to 0 kelvin in mainstream theory which is probably incorrect) then friction decreases as well thereby allowing things such as superconductivity, superfluidity, and supercondensation to take place (and perhaps the probability amplitudes might actually spontaneously begin pointing toward a state of lower entropy if the universe gets cold enough).

    (2) If something interacts with nature then it is automatically a natural phenomenon by the reasoning that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There are no one way collisions whereby momentum and energy are transferred to a second device and yet still 100% conserved in the primary device as well. (example, if "god" were to push against a molecule then the molecule would also push against "god" in the opposite direction, and thereby "god" would have to be considered a natural phenomenon as well, "god" can't just push a molecule and not have any recoil though)

    (3) Morals are dictated by survival efficiency, not merely survival but also how efficient and sustainable that survival is as well. The fruit of morality is survival and thriving, whereas the wages of immorality are demise and extinction. There are no "one-size-fits-all" absolutes when it comes to surviving, however there are some rules-of-thumb that are more efficient than others, and what works best is strongly dependent on the specific circumstances that a given replicator finds itself in. Evolution has given each animal a different set of tools for survival, so perhaps a tiger is being moral by eating live prey in order to survive, whereas humans would be considered dangerous outlaws if they decided to displayed that kind of savagery. I think that even Christians have to agree that there are different moral strokes for different folks, as a soldier can murder for gain and it's politically justified whereas a business man murdering for gain is not politically justified (Christians must also realize that it is politics instead of religion that decides what is "moral" or not, for killing witches is an illegal activity for instance although it may be justified in "the good book")

  4. I would think the Christian response to #2 would be something like, "but He's God, so he could do anything." The whole attempt to cite science or use logic does not mean they subscribe to it. They do, insofar as it supports what they believe. Craig infamously stated that evidence which contradicts faith is not real evidence. Wtf?

  5. Right, if God can break that rule then that is proof of perpetual motion existing…

    Exodus 3 v2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. v3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

    Indeed, if such a thing exists, and assuming Moses description was accurate (and he wasn't merely hallucinating)…then I want a little piece of perpetual-motion everlasting fire under the hood of my car as well. However, the burden of proof is on the jew, christian, or muslim to demonstrate that such a thing actually exists :>

  6. That was the good old days, when this god character would pull fun little stunts. Now he just randomly makes pictures of his kid show up in oil stains, cross sections of trees, and other odd things. He doesn't seem to try as hard as he used to. Perhaps he's gotten jaded. Maybe that's what happened with all the other gods like Zeus. They finally don't want to go through all the trouble anymore and just quit.

  7. If the description were true, perhaps Moses could have actually freed more than just slaves with the idea of perpetual motion. Or perhaps it was an alien intelligence that was demonstrating the idea of perpetual motion to Moses, but decided upon scanning the brains
    of people whom are generally warlike, that people were not yet ready for the idea of perpetual motion, however perhaps the Israelite slaves possessed a certain trait, the fact that they were hard workers and very obedient, that intrigued the aliens and made them want to steal those people from the Pharaohs of Egypt…whom perhaps were working for a rival alien civilization at the time as per all the crazy drawings of bird-shaped gods on their pyramids)

    or maybe drugs…the Bible and many other historical religious documents as well, are wide open for speculation purposes

  8. Oh sorry, upon further review, I can't seem to make any kind of logical sense of the book of Exodus, aside from maybe a volcano or something…other than that, hallucinations just seems to fit the description or something.

  9. You are really good at handwaving, I'll give you that.

    …no reason to believe the universe was (consciously) created, and there is nothing to suggest if the universe was the result of some action or if it’s always been.

    Really? Apparently, you're pretty ignorant of science, too.

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