Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sacerdotus Is (Even More) Stupid (Than Previously Thought) Pt. 1

Author's note: I know I just wrote that I'd be spending more time writing about social issues and lay off atheism for a bit, but a recent attempt to rebut my blog post on why I'm an atheist got my attention and prompted me to make a response. I'll get back to social issues when this is done.

A supposed "philosopher" who challenged me on my post Why I'm An Atheist, wrote a follow up to my follow up, and in it he claims again, that's he's refuted me and that I'm ignorant of science and philosophy. The exact opposite is true and I can easily show why. His arguments are so bad, they are laughable. And I don't mean this to be facetious, I mean this with all seriousness. He makes so many common argumentative mistakes and factual errors that I cannot take him seriously that he has a degree in philosophy and science. If he does have a degree, he should get a refund, because he apparently learned no serious critical thinking skills because of it. His arguments are on the caliber of the same old tired internet apologist, like the many wannabe William Lane Craig clones out there. Only he's at the low end of the spectrum.

The supposed philosopher's pen name is Sacerdotus and he accuses me of nothing more than ad hominem attacks. This is false, and a common misunderstanding of what an ad hominem attack is. An ad hominem attack is when you attack your opponent instead of attacking their arguments. I attacked his arguments, quite successfully, in addition to attacking his character. So I made no ad hominem attacks because I addressed his sad excuses for an argument, quite successfully. The reason why I call him stupid in most post (aside from being accurate, is because he calls atheism stupid. I'm giving him a taste of his own medicine, and he calls it an ad hominem! The irony.

I'm going to refute his attempt at refuting my refutation to show how he still just doesn't get it, and is making the same mistakes over and over. His words will appear in block quotes. In the beginning of his post he writes,

As Socrates said, "When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser."  Well, we now see the loser show his/her face via ad hominem, so to speak.  He even calls me "gay," which shows he clearly is the losing party.

I called him gay because he is gay, not because it is a slander, and he's a Catholic who defends the church. I find that relevant. If you're going to defend a church that for centuries tried to destroy your existence, that is telling and relevant. If he's not actually gay, then I apologize.

Notice how his replies are just a restatement of his/her previous errors already refuted and how he/she avoids addressing my refutation directly.  I will once again re-refute his/her nonsense and show how they are false when vetted against science, philosophy, and theology just as I have before.  

The point is he didn't actually refute my original arguments. And so what I did was I just explained them further with more insight into why his responses didn't refute them. My arguments mostly went right over his head because they're too sophisticated for him, despite his supposed (and apparently useless) degree in philosophy. My arguments are the culmination of years and years debating theism and they are not entry-level arguments. They rely on a deep understanding of science and philosophy, like a deep understanding of special relativity, which Sacerdotus clearly doesn't have because he doesn't understand at all what special relativity implies for our understanding of time and causality.

So let me refute his attempt at a rebuttal one by one to show (very easily) how his arguments all completely fail. This will be done over several parts throughout this week. Starting with my first argument:

1) The traditional notion of god isn't coherent

In response to my first argument about the incoherency of the traditional god concept he writes,

The claim that "God is subject" to logic is fallacious. Again, I stated before that this is special pleading. The author is relying on man-made conceptions that exist to falsify the natural, not to falsify the supernatural. This is just absurd.

This response is actually absurd. If god is not subject to logic (by which I meant, and clearly wrote, that "god cannot do the logically impossible or be the logically impossible") then he's literally saying god can do the logically impossible and be the logically impossible. In other words he's saying that god can create a rock too heavy for him to lift — which of course is absurd because it creates a paradox for god's omnipotence. Every sophisticated theologian (which Sacerdotus is absolutely nowhere near) knows that god cannot create a rock too heavy for him to lift because being omnipotent doesn't entail being able to do the logically impossible. Nothing can do the logically impossible—not even an omnipotent god. Once you agree with this, you'll have to agree with my above claim that god cannot do the logically impossible or be the logically impossible.

Even famed theologian William Lane Craig recognizes this, saying on his site Reasonable Faith,

By far and away most Christian theologians do not think that God has the power to do what is logically impossible or to have created different rules of logic so that what is logically impossible would have been logically possible.

If Sacerdotus actually thinks god can do, or be, the logically impossible this would put him far out of the mainstream in Christian thought. It's also a view he cannot defend, because in order to do so he'd have to show that the logically impossible is actually possible, and no one can demonstrate that. Such a demonstration, if possible, would throw all of logic out the window, and it would thus be a self-refuting claim. He continues,

Apparently, the author simply does not know how to distinguish between God and how Greek Philosophers described Him.  God is not subject to logic or anything.  Logic is a social construct.  It is a conceptual language that man-made in order to assist in making arguments.  

I am not at all confused between different concepts of god. I stated clearly in my original post that my argument is attacking the traditional concept of god that is a timeless, changeless, immaterial mind, who also must be infinitely good, infinitely wise, and can do anything logically possible. If Sacerdotus has a problem with this concept of god he can say which part of it is wrong. Is god not timeless, changeless, and immaterial? Is god not infinitely good or wise? If not, then such a god would be like a Greek god. That is precisely the kind of god my argument is not attacking. I'm attacking the concept of god in classical theism.

By saying god cannot do or be the logically impossible I'm simply stating that—god cannot do or be the logically impossible. He's hung up on god being "subject" to something, and this is something many theists get hung up on. They want to believe god is completely sovereign, autonomous: subject to nothing. I'm simply saying that god must be and do only that which is logically possible, and most theists like Craig above agree. And once you have that my argument follows.

If extraterrestrials exist in the universe and make contact, they will not know what logic is.  Most likely, they will have a different method to reason which is based on their abilities and limitations with language.  The author assumes that everything is subject to logic and this is not the case.  Even Krauss and other atheist scientists push aside logic and ridicule philosophy because they claim it to be useless and based on personal interpretations. 

All intelligent life will know the basic rules of logic, they will just call it something completely different in their language. Logic is a social construct, like math, but it's rules apply to the real world. The law of non-contradiction says that A and ¬A cannot both be true at the same time. I can't have two apples and one apple at the same time. One or the other is true. This is not a mere social construct. This is necessary condition of physical reality. Likewise, god cannot exist, and not exist at the same time, and I'm sure Sacerdotus will never try to defend such an absurd possibility (but who knows, he is pretty stupid). Logic is described by language and symbols which are of course social constructs, but what they refer to are real objective features of reality.

Given the necessary rules of logic the traditional attributes of god are incoherent:

P1. It is logically impossible to do something without doing something.
P2. It is logically impossible to do something without change (even if everything is immaterial).
P3. It is logically impossible for change to exist without time.
C. As such, a timeless, changeless being cannot do anything.

Any claim that a timeless, changeless being can do things, like create a universe, or impregnate a virgin, or smite a people, makes a logical contradiction. It assumes something is possible that is impossible. This is just one of several ways in which the traditional notion of god is incoherent.

And of course, just as I predicted, his only resort is special pleading. Krauss and other atheist scientists are very bad at philosophy. I've written about this a lot and it's one of the ongoing complaints I have about bad atheists who make common mistakes due to their ignorance on philosophy. The irony is that Sacerdotus makes many arguments from authority, a fallacious debate tactic no one with a degree in philosophy would actually make, and he relies on atheist scientists to make his point. By his own logic I could just use them to make the case for atheism and say, "scientists A, B, and C all have PhDs are are atheists, therefore atheism is true! And if you disagree are you saying you know more than a PhD will 30 years experience?" Only an idiot like Sacerdotus would debate that way. He continues,

Notice how the author proceeds with an ad hominem. Instead of addressing my refutation on time and change, he instead attacks my academic background.  Here is my academic record. Note the many degrees that I possess. I present this not to show off, but to demonstrate that the author has no academic advantage against me.  His posts demonstrate this.  I can guarantee that the author does not possess even an ounce of the academic credentials that I possess and will not be able to post documentation of it as I have.  

Notice how I didn't resort to ad hominem attacks in my follow up post and how Sacerdotus fails to actually understand what a proper ad hominem attack is. Also notice how I don't need a degree to easily show how his arguments against mine all easily fail a basic test of rationality. Anyone can post a screenshot of a degree online. Degrees also mean nothing if you can't do basic logic and reason, and many people with degrees are educated idiots, I hate to say it.

Sacerdotus arguments do not demonstrate he knows anything about science or philosophy other than some popular level apologetics. And this can be easily shown by me. He continues,

The author claims that I am resorting to special pleading when I state the attributes of God. This is not so and demonstrates the author's lack of understanding of the term. Special pleading is defined as an opponent disregarding the standards, principles or rules while creating special criteria to except him or herself.  What I stated is not special pleading. 

When you say "God is not subject to logic," that is special pleading! He's saying everything else is subject to logic except my god. And if he tries to claim logic is just a social construct and not anything objective, then he's shooting himself in the foot because such a claim itself would also just be a social construct. Apparently his "degree" in philosophy failed to teach him that.

The description I gave of God is the standard in theology. The author is the one who engages in special pleading by distorting physics and philosophy in order to push a narrative that is not factual. I demonstrated how he/she created his own exception in order to knock down the idea of a God existing. He completely disregarded the standards of theology, philosophy, and physics and created his/her own exception in order to make a fallacious argument. 

What description of god? Does he mean merely saying god is not subject to logic? That can't be because William Lane Craig, someone far more knowledgeable than a sophomoric internet apologist like Sacerdotus agrees with me that god doesn't have the power to do what is logically impossible, and that's all I need to make my argument. I don't distort physics or philosophy to make my points—I'm channeling the mainstream ideas on the concept of god. In fact, it is Sacerdotus who distorts science and philosophy because he's ignorant about both subjects, as I will show in the next arguments.

Notice the other special pleading remark he/she makes in his new post:
"If you can't explain god, you can't coherently say god exists." Can you see the fallacies here?  

No, because there are no fallacies there.

1) He/she ignores the standard of theology in regards to God being an awesome and absolute being that no mortal can truly grasp. 

This is special pleading. When you have an aspect of god that is in contradiction and your only resort is "no mortal can truly grasp" this, it is special pleading. This is the oldest apologetic trick in the book and the fact that he has to resort to such a canard demonstrates that he knows there is a contradiction in god's nature.

No atheist or rational person should be expected to believe in a being that cannot even be rationally explained, and whose best attempt at an explanation is to resort to the old "god's a mystery" that "no mortal can truly grasp." God's an incoherent made up being. That's why no one can grasp it.

2) Because of this, he/she then creates an exemption by claiming that one cannot posit God exists because he/she believes God needs to be fully explained in order to posit existence.  

No, god's contradictions need to be fully explained. We do this in every other area of our lives, I'm only holding god to the same standards. If I told the police an incoherent story as my alibi, they are under no obligation to except it if I tell them "no mortal can truly grasp" my alibi. To say a special exception is needed for god is, guess what? Special pleading!

Think about it. Physicists do not understand the universe completely, therefore, the universe cannot be posited to exist. Does that make sense?  It would to this author who lacks strong reasoning skills. So clearly, the author is resorting to special pleading due to his/her inability to reason and use actual facts.  

This is all wrong. I'm not saying you need to know everything in order to say something exists. I'm saying something that is in contradiction with itself does. The universe isn't in a logical contradiction with itself. Oh, and we can see the universe. So we have daily empirical evidence it exists. We have no such thing from god. All we have is a self-refuting description of an invisible being, much of which is in tremendous disagreement from theist to theist. Comparing god to the universe is comparing apples to oranges.

Verdict: Sacerdotus has come nowhere near to refuting my first reason for atheism. Nowhere near! And notice something else: he hasn't even offered an attempt to coherently explain god. All he does is resort to special pleading in saying "no mortal can truly grasp" god.

Sad and predictable. His alleged "degree" is useless. But it gets even worse for him.....

2) Since the universe is eternal no god could not have created it

To my second argument he makes even more mistakes, because he's totally ignorant on the relevant science and philosophy, and it's so easy to show. He writes,

The author claims there are many mistakes in my response but fails to present them.  Eternalism is a philosophical principle, not a physics principle. Here we see who really does not know anything. He/she conflates terms and creates a disaster in his/her arguments.  One does not need a degree in philosophy to see this in the author's content. In my previous reply, I addressed why the universe cannot be eternal even if there were a finite number of moments to the big bang.  The author fails to acknowledge this fact held by the consensus of physicists and cosmologists. Note how the rest of the author's reply rests on ad hominem. His/her cognitive lethargy takes over here.  

I've presented many of his mistakes, and will do so again more explicitly. Eternalism is just the philosophical name for a scientific principle derived from special relativity. Special relativity says that simultaneity is relative to reference frame. Once you have that, you have eternalism, which says that the past, present, and future, all physically exist in what is commonly called a spacetime block. This view is simply called eternalism in philosophy, but it is also called the B-theory of time, the tenseless theory of time, or simply block time. They all mean the same thing, just called different things. Eternalism is also the dominant view in physics and has been for 100 years since Einstein came up with special relativity and general relativity.

What Sacerdotus doesn't realize (and is proof he's totally ignorant of the subject matter) is that he's assuming a theory of time in his arguments. He's assuming presentism, which is also a philosophical principle. But unlike him, I actually providence evidence eternalism is true. Sacerdotus provides no evidence presentism is true, he's not even aware that he's assuming this. Imagine how stupid he is: he accuses me of saying a philosophy of time is true, when meanwhile he's assuming another philosophy of time is true, and he's not even aware of this or providing evidence unlike me. To me this is indicative he's lying about his philosophy degree, because no one with a degree from an accredited university can be that stupid.

I don't conflate any terms. Eternalism is well known to mean exactly what I said it was. Sacerdotus is just totally ignorant about it. He never made any argument that the universe can't be eternal even if there are a finite number of moments since the big bang. All he did was presuppose presentism, and then claim that since there are a finite number of moments since the big bang, the universe therefore cannot be eternal. That's it! But eternalism refutes that because all moments exist — they never come into or go out of existence. Therefore, the universe as a whole never comes into or goes out of existence, and such a universe cannot be created by a god.

For those of you still confused about what this means, here's physicist Brian Greene, who has 35+ years doing physics, explaining how special relativity shows eternalism is true:

In other words, the theist must concede that if eternalism is true, no god could have created it. Then the debate becomes over whether or not eternalism is true. And for that I've provided many arguments that Sacerdotus did not refute or even try to refute. Here are those arguments:

Does Special Relativity Entail Eternalism? Part 3 - The Logical Argument

Does General Relativity Entail Eternalism?

Here's What You Have To Believe In Order To Deny Eternalism

Sacerdotus has to show (not assert) that these arguments fail, or that presentism is true in order for him to say I'm wrong here. He can't do so. The consensus of physicists are eternalists, like me. Sacerdotus is in the minority. So he has no idea what he's talking about, as usual.

He/she cannot refute my previous reply.  Special relativity itself is contingent to the finite universe itself.  There is no way it is eternal.  Again, the author resorts to special pleading to make his/her poor case.  He/she ignores the standard and exempts him/herself by formulating a paradigm that does not fit the standard, but his/her own poor understanding of philosophy and physics. Next, he/she tries to correct the late and great astronomer Carl Sagan by claiming to present what atheist means. It is just absurd.  Can we say Dunning-Kruger effect?  It is loud in this author.

I already did refute the previous reply, and it was pathetically easy. Special relativity describes the nature of space and time, and is applicable to the whole universe, which if it is like an eternal block universe, you cannot say god created it—because the block universe always existed. It never came into being. "There is no way it is eternal," is not an argument, it is an assertion. A false one at that. If Sacerdotus is still after all of this confused as to what eternalism means (hint: it doesn't mean there are an infinite number of moments in the past) then there is no hope for him. He's proven himself to be an educated idiot, if his degree is even real, which I doubt.

Here is what we know about the universe.  The graph above illustrates it and provides some basic facts.  Hopefully, the author will understand better via visuals.  The orange sun-like image on the graph is the "big bang" or the moment of it.  Prior to this was nothing.  There was no space, time, matter or energy.  We do not know, scientifically speaking, what was this state or how to describe it. Some believe this "nothingness" was just primitive quantum fluctuations.  We simply do not have the data to concretely give a scientific explanation.  This is why we smash particles at the Particle Collider at CERN.  Hopefully, we can learn more based on how these particles behave when separated.  

And just as I suspected, he is even more stupid than previously thought. He still doesn't understand what eternalism is. Sacerdotus, eternalism doesn't mean there is an infinite number of moments since the big bang. It means all moments of time physically exist. This would be apparent if he actually read the links I put into my blog. But I doubt he's clicked on a single hyperlink I've made.

And no, "nothing" doesn't exist "prior" to the big bang because the big bang (on standard cosmology) is the first moment of time. There cannot be a moment before the first moment. It would be like saying time exists before time exists. Logically absurd. Nothing never existed. This is a point of faulty logic that Sacerdotus as well as many prominent physicists like Lawrence Krauss makes. They call something nothing. But that's not the case. What we need here is a philosophically inclined physicist who understands how to think logically about the big bang. Once such physicist is Sean Carroll. Here he explains the mistake Sacerdotus and Krauss are making:

All of Sacerdotus's attempts to demonstrate there are a finite number of moments since the big bang are utterly futile because I'm not denying that. This is the beauty (and complexity) of eternalism. Eternalism can be true even if there are a finite number of moments since the big bang but Sacerdotus is too stupid even after several attempts at explaining this to get it. Educated idiot indeed.

Philosophers can philosophize all they want, but physics has the upper hand in this debate.  

I agree, and you know what physics says? It says there is a relativity of simultaneity. And once you have that you have eternalism! Again, eternalism is just the philosophical name for the theory of time derived from the scientific theory of special relativity. In order to deny eternalism, you have to deny special relativity (read again: Here's What You Have To Believe In Order To Deny Eternalism). And that's not a price I'm willing to pay because, as Sacerdotus says, physics has the upper hand. He's just too ignorant to realize physics is on my side, not his.

Sacerdotus, prove to me you're not as stupid as you make yourself out to be by acknowledging that eternalism doesn't say there's an infinite number of moments in the past. I've explained this to you 3 times now. If you don't get it by now, you are indeed an idiot.

He can push eternalism all he wants, but he must acknowledge that it is just a philosophical axiom, nothing more.  It cannot trump cosmology or physics which rely on incontrovertible evidence that fit the facts.  Eternalism is not scientific fact.     

Philosophical axiom? What? It is not a philosophical axiom. Only someone completely ignorant would say such a thing. Eternalism is just the philosophical name given to what the scientific theory of special relativity says about time. Special relativity says there is a relativity of simultaneity. Given this, all moments of time exist. I've gone above and beyond demonstrating this is true with assuming nothing more than special relativity is true.

Verdict: Sacerdotus is still completely and utterly ignorant about eternalism even after 3 attempts at explaining it. He's still thinking it means having an eternal number of moments in the past. This is the mistake that every amateur makes about it and proof he's a low level internet apologist. Someone smart (with a degree in science and philosophy) would already understand the subject matter and know what eternalism, presentism, and possbilism are before making any cosmological argument. Clearly Sacerdotus is completely ignorant of all the major theories on time, and that's why he failed to refute my argument.

To be continued in part 2.

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