Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sacerdotus Is (Even More) Stupid (Than Previously Thought) Pt. 3

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.

Here I continue with part 3 covering arguments 7, 8, and 9. Starting with his response to argument 7, his words are in block quotes:

7) Brute facts are unavoidable

Next he continues falsely accuses me of plagiarism, saying,

Yes, that is what the word plagarize means.  The author wrote word-for-word an article from Wikipedia. Note, Wikipedia is not a valid source.  Anyone can edit it. Universities frown upon it and automatically fail students who use it as a source. The fact that this author derives his/her content from Wikipedia shows academic sloth. 

No I didn't. I merely copied the trilemma itself from the article in order to list it, that is different from plagiarizing an article. To plagiarize is to "take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one's own." I didn't do that, and he even admits I never stated that I tried to pass it off as my own. That means his plagiarize claim fails. Wikipedia simply lists the trilemma so that he and everyone else can understand it, since it's obvious he's ignorant of it (despite his supposed degree!). It isn't to prove the trilemma is true. Wikipedia is actually a great resource for learning philosophy. Sacerdotus would learn a lot more if he spent more time on it. It's clear he has no thirst for truth. All he does is try and defend his preexisting views, albeit, really badly.

The Munchausen’s trilemma (also known as Agrippa's trilemma which goes all the way back to Diogenes) is a well known trilemma that everyone with a philosophy degree should known about. Apparently that's not Sacerdotus. Even his former professor Dr. Pigliucci affirms it, so it's hard for me to believe he has an actual degree. He's just so ignorant of basic philosophy it can't be real. Dr. Pigliucci for example writes,

Munchausen’s trilemma is a reasonable conclusion arrived at by logical reasoning. 

In other words, the trilemma is logically unavoidable and most, if not all people who are actually familiar with philosophy are aware of this thorny problem.

Moreover, I never stated that the author discovered the trilemma. He/she is clearly lying here. Nor did I claim that he/she claims God has an immutable nature etc.  This author clearly has reading comprehension problems. I stated that the author does not understand theology and the immutable nature of God. This is why his/her argument fails. The author claims that "God's will to create this universe is not necessary.." this premise is baseless. 

I didn't say he accused me directly of discovering the trilemma. If you accuse someone of plagiarizing, which again means to take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one's own, then this implies that I tried to pass the trilemma off on my own. Because if I didn't try to pass it off as my own, then I didn't plagiarize. That's Sacerdotus's dilemma. Either I tried to pass it off as my own and I plagiarized, or I didn't try to pass it off as my own and I didn't plagiarize. He can't accuse me of plagiarizing material while acknowledging I didn't try to pass it off as my own.

I understand the theological claim that god is immutable. I think it's bullshit and backed up by no evidence or logic, and Sacerdotus has given us zero evidence that god actually is immutable. I know it's asserted, I'm saying it isn't proved.

Regarding god's will to create this universe not being necessary, this is not baseless. I know many theists claim god's essence is existence. But all smart Thomists (which Sacerdotus is not) will admit that at least some of god's will is not necessary. Even a Catholic philosopher with decades of experience teaching phiolosophy, Dr. Denis Bonnette, affirms this in a debate I participated with him in over on Strange Notions. Dr. Bonnette writes (emphasis mine),

Just because [god] is the Necessary Being, that does not mean that he necessarily had to (note the human past tense) create this and only this world.

It's not my fault Sacerdotus is too ignorant to understand his own religion. And this from a guy with a supposed degree in philosophy! I'm telling you Sacerdotus, ask for your money back because your degree is worthless. Either that or you slept in class all day.

But it gets even better (for me).

It is not that I do not understand philosophy, I have a degree in it and am a member of Phi Sigma Tau. I was taught by famous atheist philosopher Dr. Pigliucci. This author is just an amateur arm-chair quack. What he/she presents is not philosophy. It is a sophism. 

Yes — he do not understand philosophy. He doesn't even understand his own religion of Catholicism. I just quoted a Thomistic philosophy professor who has 40 years experience that showed I'm right. In order for me to be wrong, it would have to be the case that it was logically necessary for god to create this — and only this — particular universe. But no one can make a logical argument demonstrating that. If Sacerdotus thinks he can, let him make one in a formal fashion.Make it like this:

P1. [...]
P2. [...]
P3. [...]
C. Therefore, it is logically necessary that god had to create this — and only this — particular universe.

 I bet it will be laughable.

The author clearly does not understand what necessity means in philosophy. Aquinas argued that all things that exist are dependent on other things for said existence. He then continues that there is a Necessary being which He described as God. If the author understood this, he/she would not have used the argument he/she used. Instead, the argument of infinite regression would have been better, despite being flawed as well. So in fact, the author has no point at all. There is no dilemma. 

I know what necessary means. To say that god is necessary is to say god is logically necessary. In other words, god cannot fail to exist. If something is logically necessary, it's also metaphysically necessary. I'm familiar with Aquinas's concepts. I think they're wrong. Merely being familiar with something doesn't mean I must agree with it. This is because Aquinas was wrong. Once you say that god's essence is identical to his will (which Aquinas says) and you can show that god's will is not logically necessary, as I showed and as Dr. Bonnette affirmed, you will necessarily get a dilemma which entails an infinite regress or a brute fact outlined in my original flow chart.

It is logically impossible to avoid this dilemma once you have (a) god's essence is identical to his will, and (b) god's will is not logically necessary. Sacerdotus would have to make a logical argument showing it is logically necessary that god had to create this — and only this — particular universe in order for me to be wrong. And no one can do that since everyone knows our universe is not logically necessary.

Dr. Pigliucci (whom I've met and talked philosophy with on numerous occasions and who I generally admire) would be deeply disappointed with Sacerdotus's lack of critical thinking skills if he is indeed his former student.

God's will is necessary if He is the creator and necessary being. See where the author fails? He/she is completely confused with the terminology.

No it isn't logically necessary and Dr. Bonnette affirms this. He and Dr. Bonnette make the mistake of confusing logically necessity with ontological necessity, the latter being a claim falsely derived after-the-fact via the idea of suppositional necessity, a farce.

God created the world according to His wisdom. No necessity is needed. The argument from necessity entails that the universe needed a necessary being, not that the necessary being needed to create the universe.  See where the author simply gets it wrong?  

His wisdom? Sorry, that doesn't cut it as an answer. I can always ask why did god create this particular universe? Why not one with one extra atom, or one extra star? Any answer to these questions can only be either necessary ones (as in it was logically necessary god create this universe, which means god not creating this particular universe would entail a contradiction) or contingent ones (as in it's dependent on another answer that itself must either be necessary or contingent), as per my image above. Since a necessary answer is off the table (his "wisdom" is not a necessary answer) the only options for you are an infinite regress of contingent answers, or an eventual brute fact. The infinite regress will itself not have a necessary answer, and so brute facts are unavoidable, which is my point! This is a true logical dilemma most theists are unaware of. The principle of sufficient reason is self defeating, since it cannot satisfy itself. See here: Simple Logic Showing How The Principle Of Sufficient Reason Is Self-Refuting

 He makes another false claim:

Moreover, the author ignored my previous reply where I wrote:

"Moreover, the author claims that God created only one universe.  We simply do not know this.  For all we know, there can be multiple universes that God has created and chose not to reveal to us.  In the Bible, it says that God 'rested,' not that He stopped creating (Genesis 2:2-3)."

Again, the author simple restated his/her error and added personal attacks. This shows that he/she is defeated and is resorting to pigeon chess.

I did respond to that claim. I wrote in the last paragraph on argument 7,

And my argument doesn't rely on there being one universe. There can be billions of universes and my argument would still work: why did god create these particular billion universes and not another billion? Same problem.

He even contains this quote of mine on his site and still claims I didn't respond to it. Sacerdotus is either a dishonest liar or unable to read. I suspect he's both. 

Verdict: lacking philosophical knowledge, Sacerdotus is unaware of basic elements of philosophy anyone with a degree in the subject should know about, like Munchausen’s trilemma which his own supposed teacher Dr. Pigliucci knows about. At this point I'm getting tired of how sophomoric is silly scribblings are. But we've got more to go.

8) Omnibenevolence is incompatible with the natural evil of evolution

Like every response of his, this one is one is further proof he's completely ignorant of science and philosophy. He writes,

I refuted why the author's claims that an infinite goodness attribute in God is incompatible with evolution. I explained how the author is making false conflations and applying social constructs to concepts when they are not applicable. For example, we cannot say hurricane Maria was evil and cruel because it wiped out Puerto Rico. That is absurd. Hurricane Maria was a natural phenomenon. It does what it does(rain/gusts etc). To claim that this natural phenomenon is "cruel or evil" is extremely stupid. Only sentient beings are capable of cruelty and evil. 

I seriously cannot believe he has a degree in philosophy. At this point I know that screenshot is fake. No one with a degree in philosophy can be this utterly stupid.

First, suffering is not a social construct. If I set your body on fire, you cannot say such suffering is merely a social construct. Would any reasonable jury let someone free by hearing that the victim's suffering was merely a social construct? This guy is stupid if he thinks so. 

Secondly, natural phenomena is only free of evil on atheism because there is no god behind it. On theism, natural disasters are evil because there is a god behind them and god is a sentient being. And I already showed there is no way to make the excuse that god is not behind natural disasters and disease:

(1) God (an omnipotent, omniscience, omni-benevolent being) exists.
(2) Natural evil exists.
(3) God is the creator and designer of the physical universe, including the laws that govern it.
(4) Natural disasters, and the evil they cause, are a direct byproduct of the laws that govern our universe.

That he doesn't understand the well known concept of natural evil and what it means to theism indicates he cannot possible be college educated. He continues,

We can see how the author does not have a strong grasp of vocabulary and how to apply words accurately to nouns. No evolutionary biologist would say that nature or evolution is cruel of clumsy. This would be extremely bad science. To make such a claim is to put an inert event or object at the same level as a conscious and sentient being. Moreover, not all organisms die a painful death. In fact, not all organisms have pain receptors!  Suffering is a social construct. Human society simply uses that word to describe what it perceives as something unpleasant. But is it unpleasant? This is debatable. 

He muses on how I can be so uneducated only because he is so completely ignorant of the subject matter that to him I seem stupid. This is a known problem as well. I think every evolutionary biologist would say the evolutionary process is cruel. Survival of the fittest is cruel. It means death for the unfittest. And as far as clumsy, by that I mean that evolution is a blind process. It doesn't plan ahead. Mutations happen and they either benefit and organism or they don't. Most of the time they don't. That's what's so clumsy about it.

My argument doesn't rely on all organisms dying painful deaths. He's too ignorant to know that. All I need is just one animal dying a painful death from natural causes to make my argument, but we have billions. Suffering is a real thing. Being burned alive is undeniably suffering if you don't want it. Nice try.

Some people derive sexual gratification from what others may call suffering. Who is right?  This is why we say that suffering is a social construction. Being eaten alive can be classified as suffering but also can be classified as the food chain/prey vs predator. 

This is easy, if you do not want want pain/being eaten alive and it's being forced on you, it is suffering. This guy us hopeless. By his own logic, god is a social construct, and we can just classify it as make believe. If he disagrees with this he then has to disagree with his own points here. No one with a philosophy degree would be that foolish.

I appeal to Genesis to explain to the author the way Judeo-Christian thinkers view suffering and why it exists. We are discussing God and religion, are we not? Christianity explains the existence of what we call suffering as a consequence of Original Sin. I cannot use physics or psychology to address the Christian view of it. I have to use theology and Scripture just like an engineer needs to use geometry.

You cannot appeal to Genesis to explain suffering because Genesis is historically inaccurate. Every smart Christian knows Genesis is not a literal history. If Sacerdotus is trying to appeal to young earth creationism here to explain suffering, this is laughable, especially for a person claiming to know more about me in science. Evolution is incompatible with a literal Genesis reading, as is geology, paleontology, earth science, astronomy, and cosmology. So Sacerdotus has to pick between science or a literal reading of Genesis. They can't both be true. And merely because a book says X doesn't make X true. The Bible is the claim, not the evidence.

The author claims that there was no Adam and Eve. This is simply false. Note how he/she offers no evidence. We know that all human beings have genetic information from one woman who is believed to have lived in Africa. Biologists acknowledge this fact. Via speciation, we know that there had to be a man and woman who were compatible with each other to the point of allowing reproduction which allowed for the homo sapiens to exist and become the dominant species. 

It is well known that there was no literal Adam and Eve who lived at the same time. Mitochondrial Eve is not the Eve of Genesis, and she didn't live at the same time as Y Chromosome Adam. We do know there never were just two people on earth, as genetics refutes that claim. Biologist Jerry Coyne has written on this extensively and has said it's one of the sharpest examples of why religion is incompatible with science. On his blog Coyne writes,

There may have been a couple of “bottlenecks” (reduced population sizes) in the history of our species, but the smallest one not involving recent colonization is a bottleneck of roughly 10,000-15,000 individuals that occurred between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. That’s as small a population as our ancestors had, and—note—it’s not two individuals.

He's cites a recent paper as to why we know from genetics that there simply cannot have been just two people who all of humanity descended from, see here. And any claim that genetic Adam and Eve lived at the same time is fraught with multiple problems that Coyne outlines here. And regarding speciation, as Coyne notes,

“although all the Y chromosomes of modern humans descend from this one individual, the rest of our genome descends from a multitude of different ancestors who lived at various times ranging from 100,000 to about 4 million years ago. Our genome testifies to literally hundreds of ‘Adams and Eves’ who lived at different times—a result of the fact that different parts of our DNA were inherited differently based on the vagaries of reproduction and the random division of genes at when sperm and eggs are formed.” It’s not just mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal DNA we have to consider, but the entire human genome. And that shows clearly that parts of the genome go way back before the DNA on the Y and on the mitochondrion. Indeed, parts of our genome originated even before our divergence from the ancestors of chimps!

The problem of a historical Adam and Eve has gotten so bad that many Evangelicals have abandoned belief in them in light of recent genetic evidence. According to an NPR report a few years ago, some Evangelicals have even been forced out of their jobs because of it (yet another reason that faith and science don't mix). From the article, "Evolution makes it pretty clear that in nature, and in the moral experience of human beings, there never was any such paradise to be lost," says John Schneider a former teacher of theology at Calvin College in Michigan. Sacerdotus's claim that Adam and Eve's sin brought suffering into the world is absolutely baseless in modern science. It is a completely 100% faith based claim contradicted by all the evidence.

Sacerdotus has no idea what he's talking about. There is no evidence of an Adam and Eve who lived at the same time and who we all descended from, let alone who were the first two people. There is no evidence suffering began when humans began, or all at once. The burden of proof is on the person making such a claim.

Human beings did not appear out of nowhere. Once again, we see the author lacks an understanding of philosophy, biology, and anthropology.  My book refutes his nonsense and other atheist misconceptions. This is why it is popular and has converted 18 atheists to date!  It is no wonder why this author is afraid to read it.  

Yes, we evolved. So it seems like he's acknowledging evolution now. So what is it? Does Sacerdotus think we evolved, or that god created us? When it comes to the theory of evolution there are four basic positions a theist can take:

  1. Evolution is a natural process that was started by god in the beginning; 
  2. Evolution is partly natural process that god occasionally interacts with and guides; 
  3. Evolution is a process that is completely guided by god at every step; or, 
  4. Evolution is false and doesn't happen. 

Sacerdotus needs to clarify what his position is because he's overly vague.

Unlike the author, I do not rely on my own narrative. I cite peer review journals, books, and experts to show why atheism makes no sense and is stupid.

When you write a book calling atheists stupid, you're beginning your claim with an insult. That's why I gave him a taste of his own medicine. And what does he do? He claims that all I made is an ad hominem attack! The irony.

I'm not too afraid to read his book. Please. I've read and refuted Christian apologists way more sophisticated than this internet quack with a fake degree. See here for example. And see here for the numerous theistic arguments I've taken on. I'm just not going to waste money on this fool's book because I know for a fact it is low level apologetics due to his outstanding ignorance on the subjects and inability to understand my arguments and the science and philosophy supporting them.

Verdict: By saying logic and suffering are merely social constructs and not objectively true, Sacerdotus shoots himself in the foot because that claim itself would be a social construct. He's relying on a literal interpretation of Genesis to justify suffering, and everyone knows Genesis is hopefully incompatible with science. And this is all coming from a person claiming to have a science degree. Please!

9) No god of any religion is compatible with the ontological argument for god

This one is easy, because it's a short argument.

Yahweh is not the "Christian God." Even Pope Francis stated that Catholics/Christians do not own God. As I explained in my reply in my first post, "Yahweh" Is just the way God revealed Himself to Moses. Is it more of an ontological statement than a designation. 

Yahweh is the god of the Old Testament. But whether you call him Yahweh, or call him Jehovah — or whatever, I don't care what name you give it. All I know is that I can easily think of a greater god than the Bible god, and even Jesus. I can think of a god that doesn't support slavery and genocide. There. I've thought of a greater god than the Biblical god. I can think of a god that has never hated homosexuals or prescribe the death penalty for it. There. I've thought of a greater god than the Biblical god. It's so easy.

Saying that there is One God and over 3,000 ways man tried to describe Him refutes the author's claims. There is simply just one God. Man called Him Zeus, Allah, Bhrama, Yahweh, Baal, El, etc. They all had a consensus that there is a creator and just called Him by different names or titles. So regardless of what title or name the author used, he/she is still referring to the One. 

Yup and I can think of a greater god than all of those gods, so therefore according to the ontological argument, none of them can be real, since god is the greatest conceivable being. The Bible god is far from the greatest conceivable being.

This is why the author cannot refute my reply and resorts to ad hominem by calling me stupid, dishonest and ignorant. We can see the frustration. I can see why he/she is upset. When facts corner an uneducated person, panic ensues and the uneducated person becomes defensive. We see this in this author here.  He/she simply cannot refute the truth. 

Um, I did refute his reply. Quite easily. I just called him stupid because he is. Refuting someone's argument, and then calling them stupid is not an ad hominem attack. Calling someone stupid instead of refuting their argument is. But we've already established long ago that Sacerdotus doesn't really know what an ad hominem really is, nor does he know much of philosophy, as I've demonstrated over and over ad nauseum.

Verdict: It doesn't matter what name you call the god of Christianity, once I can think of a better god, the god of Christianity must be false, according to the logic in the ontological argument. The ontological argument therefore disproves Christianity. Nothing Sacerdotus said changes that because as always his response misses the mark.

To be continued in part 4.

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