Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sacerdotus Is (Even More) Stupid (Than Previously Thought) Part 4

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.

If you're wondering why my posts denigrate him so harshly it's because he mocks atheists and calls atheism stupid. Here I'm just giving him a taste of his own medicine.

I continue with part 4 covering arguments 10 and 11. Starting with his response to argument 10, his words are in block quotes.

10) Euthyphro's trilemma

And now we come to the Euthypho trilemma, one of my favorite areas to debate.

I wrote that Euthyphro's dilemma works with monotheism as well as polytheism. He ignorantly writes back saying,

It actually does not. The Euthyphro dilemma originates from Greece where polytheism was the norm. Euthyphro himself was a priest of a polytheistic sect. If he were alive today, he would not understand the argument the author is making and will probably be upset at the distortion the author is giving the dilemma that bears his name. 

The argument's logic is not dependent on polytheism, and Euthyphro would recognize the argument in a monotheistic context. In fact, the argument makes more sense on monotheism, because then there is only one god in which morality could be dependent on, instead of a council of gods, who might have conflicting views. It is irrelevant that the argument got started in a polytheistic culture. That Sacerdotus doesn't know this proves he can't possibly have a degree in philosophy.

Furthermore, I did not simply state "God is good." I wrote more than the author acknowledges. We can assume why he/she does not acknowledge my refutation. He/she cannot address it. Once again, the author restates his/her faulty premise.  

Um no. Let's review what he originally wrote in his response:

In reality, the atheist is the one who has the problem. God is good. God is the fullness of goodness and love. God is love (1 John 4:8). Goodness and love do not exist as separate entities from God.

All that does is assert the same idea: "God is good." It doesn't prove any of the assertions, it just asserts it! Prove god is good. Go ahead. Go do it. Quoting the Bible doesn't prove squat. Also, explain to my why is god good. Is god good because "God is love" as you state in 1 John? Then that means love is good independently of god. If love isn't good independently of god, then the burden of proof is on Sacerdotus to show why. He needs to tell us why love is good. You see, Sacerdotus is a typically lazy internet apologist. He literally thinks he can just say "God is good" and "God is love" and think that settles it. Oh my. I guess since some internet apologist with a fake degree said god is good then that settles it! Atheism is false! How imbecilic he is. The atheist has no problem here because the theist has no evidence. They just assert a claim and think they've won. The trilemma is unavoidable. If you can't explain why god is good you can't demonstrate the claim. And you can't explain why god is good without showing goodness exists independently of god.

But he gets even more absurd:

As stated before, when God created everything, He said that it was "good." This means that God is the one who defines what is a "good."

This assumes the Bible is true! Newsflash Sacerdotus: we atheists don't believe the Bible. You can't cite the Bible as true to prove a point on whether or not god exists. That's called assuming your conclusion. I don't give a shit what the Bible says because the Bible is a man-made book full of nonsense. He also doesn't realize that if god created everything that means jealousy, hatred, perversion, lust, and anger were created by god too, and so good must be those things as well. Moreover, if you think that what's good is determined by god, this takes the position in the trilemma that morality is arbitrarily decided by god. If god said killing gays was "good" then according to Sacerdotus it would be good. If god said slavery was "good" then according to Sacerdotus it would be good. We can do this with anything. I already mentioned this and he did not respond to it.

And if the response is that god would never do such a thing because god is good, well then the Bible god isn't god, since he was fine with all of those things. It also throws the theist right back into the fire of whether or not god is good because of the traits he has, or are the traits god has good because god has them. Sacerdotus is just completely incapable of seriously engaging with the philosophical problem he's in.

The author completely ignores my refutation regarding social constructs and the application of them based on event, circumstance and the like. We see the poor reasoning of the author again. He/she does not understand that God is absolute. 

The point about social constructs was already refuted regarding suffering. To say that morality is purely a social construct refutes his own claim that morality is dependent on god. What if Christian morality was just a social construct created 2000 years ago in the desert by ignorant men? If that's true, the Christian god is no more the arbiter of morality than the Islamic god, or the Zoroastrian god, or any other god. And all these gods differ in their morality. The claim that god is absolute is also a social construct! By his own logic, he shoots himself in the foot. He does this over and over without realizing it.

There cannot exist anything apart from God. Think of God as a pie. When a pie is whole, there cannot be anything else added to it. The pie is "full" and whole.  It is absolute. This is why we say God is Good and God is Love. God is compassion, God is holy, God is Infinite, God is eternal. God is absolute.Perhaps the author needs to invest in a dictionary to learn what words mean and learn about fractions and whole numbers. The author asks, 

This just makes a bald face assertion saying there cannot exist anything apart from god. And saying "God is Good and God is Love. God is compassion, God is holy, God is Infinite, God is eternal. God is absolute," just asserts them. As Hitchens said, what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. God who? Which one? Can you prove this god and only this one exists? And "good" according to what standard? Is that standard a social construct like you said all morality is? Because if so, then your standard of good is as subjective and culturally relative as all others are, and you shoot yourself in the foot. If you claim it's "objective," then it's objective according to what standard? If god is the standard, again, which god? You'd have to make a circular argument by assuming god to have the standard by which you claim god is good. This is why most philosophers are atheists. Theism makes no sense.

"The answer is simple, God is the absolute Good.

That doesn't answer my question, it asserts a claim. Prove god is the absolute good and answer all of my questions above. Sacerdotus is the most intellectually lazy fake philosopher out there. Believe me, I have no trouble understanding his arguments. I've heard them a million times before. They are high school level apologetics. It is completely unintelligible to claim god is good if god has no good making properties. It's like me claiming something is red, before it has the property of red.

Being loving or kind is a manifestation of that good.  The same applies to us. Our goodness is not dependent absolutely on our actions.  We can be good without showing it.  A student can be good at math without having to show off to others is or her math skills.  A catholic nun or Buddhist monk can be good without having to go out and hand out sandwiches.  The latter is just a manifestation of goodness."

This is wrong headed. You can't just be good without having good making properties. You can't be good if you do not ever do good things and do bad things. It makes no sense to say anyone is good. It just asserts it—which as we've seen Sacerdotus is very fond of doing: asserting things without evidence!

The author asks "Why is God good?"  God is good because all good originates from God. This is logic. If God is the absolute and is the creator, then all derives from Him. If God did not create the universe, then good, life itself would not be.  This is why I state that the author does not understand ontology. Even a high school level philosophy knows more than this writer. I can guarantee that this author has no credentials in philosophy.  I dare him/her to post a verified document or record showing his/her credentials in philosophy.

This is not logic, this is what we call a baseless assertion. Anyone with just one philosophy course would know that. I fully understand ontology. What Sacerdotus is really trying to say here is that IF morality is dependent on god, then it's dependent on god! Wow. What a tautology! Sure. But the whole point here is that there's no logical basis for saying morality is dependent on god, and all he's ever been able to come up with is a baseless assertion that is fraught with problems, not limited to the questions I've had above. I can just say IF god is not the absolute or the creator, then nothing derives from him, and morality can exist apart from god. See, I win just by assuming my conclusion like he did! (Furthermore, on eternalism, god can't be the creator, since the whole of spacetime is eternal.)

Verdict: His whole rebuttal is a baseless assertion filled with numerous problems. He doesn't actually refute or avoid the trilemma. Claiming god is good makes a baseless assertion, because the question then becomes why is god good, and then you hit the dilemma. Futhermore, according to Sacerdotus's own logic, "good" is a social construct, and that means his claim that "God is good" is his opinion, based on his cultural and personal biases. He shoots himself in the foot again.

11) Religious belief is product of the brain

In response to this he makes the usual bad remarks,

There is a problem and contradiction here. How can one easily detect patterns that are not there? That is silly. If a pattern was detected, that means it is in fact there! What the author is describing is like a radar detecting a ship that is not there. Does that make sense? Of course, it does not! It is irrational. Note how he/she calls me an "idiot." He/she is frustrated because I caught him/her in a big blunder. He also misrepresents Shermer. The author then shows his/her ignorance again.  

There is no problem here because he once again doesn't understand my argument. When I say we detect patterns that aren't there I'm saying we falsely think there are connections between things where there isn't. When a person says something mean, and then another person drops dead, we might falsely think the person's words killed them. This is why for thousands of years people believed in witches, demons, and ghosts, when in reality it was disease or natural causes that really were the explanations. This is an example of a false pattern. It's thinking unrelated things are part of a connected series. Evolution made it helpful to notice patterns, and that's why we have the tendency to overdo it and falsely think there are patterns that exist that aren't. Hence, patternicity. We do the same thing with agents, when we think agents are there that aren't. Hence agenticity. This is what psychologists call the hyper-active agency detection device or HADD. That's why we believe in gods and other supernatural beings. Science explains the origin of theistic belief. Sacerdotus too stupid (as usual) to understand this, another proof he can't possible have a degree (unless it's from Liberty University!).

He/she claims that we are not hardwired to believe in God only despite even Shermer stating so (see: ). We have the VMAT2 gene which accounts for this. I also cited other ATHEIST scientists who confirm this, yet the author dishonestly claims that I provided no evidence. Typical lying for atheism. The author then claims that organisms survive better due to false positives. This is just absurd.

I didn't claim we are not hardwired to believe in god. I said "We're not hardwired to only believe in 'God.'" That means we're hardwired to believe in supernatural agents, like demons and angels. He completely misses the word "only" which shows he's not comprehending what I wrote. He's so desperate to find a flaw that he's seeing what he wants to see, which is ironically how religious belief works: we see what we want to see, not what really is. Sacerdotus has inadvertently given me empirical evidence that religious belief is a product of the brain! In his original response he provided no links. So no, there was no evidence.

Even the link to Shermer's site from his second response affirms my point! Shermer writes (emphasis mine),

Rather, belief in supernatural agents (God, angels, and demons) and commitment to certain religious practices (church attendance, prayer, rituals) appears to reflect genetically based cognitive processes (inferring the existence of invisible agents) and personality traits (respect for authority, traditionalism).

Did you read that? Supernatural agents, i.e., gods, angels, and demons, which is exactly what I said. This guy is so stupid he links me to an article that shows he's wrong and that his opponent is right. He probably didn't even read the link. Shermer's making my exact same point: religious belief is a product of the brain via evolution, and the fact that he's linking Michael Shermer without saying Shermer is wrong shows this guy unwittingly agrees with me.

False positives will bring about poor reasoning which in turn will endanger an organism. If a primate detects a false positive in a bush and pays more attention to it, the primate will make a run for it and possibly run into the predator. It makes more sense for an organism to pay attention to actual nature and not imagine things that are not there.  This is why the claim that we believe in God because of natural selection and survival makes no sense. 

This (like everything else from him) gets it all wrong. Possibly run into a predator? This is his best counter argument? Really? What if the primate doesn't run into a predator? How likely is the primate going to run into a predator after fleeing some imagined threat? It must have to happen more than 50% of the time to make evolution weed out the trait. But of course it doesn't and Sacerdotus shows zero evidence it does. He literally just concocts up an extremely rare scenario has his best rebuttal against the fact that assuming the worst is always the best. That's what all women do when they're walking through a bad neighborhood or a dark parking lot at night: assume every noise is a potential threat and be ready just in case. If a primate doesn't assume the noise in the bush is a threat and it is, it is lunch, and no kids for him. Sacerdotus's argument is a sorry excuse for logic.

Also, the claim that animals at the bottom of the food chain are constantly paranoid is complete hogwash. I guarantee the author that a venomous snake will not be paranoid around him or her.  Neither will a spider. Despite their size, they will fight back regardless of the food change.  We see how this author is completely ignorant of science. I do not even have to make this post to show it. Any educated reader will come to the same conclusion that this author is simply pushing his/her narrative while ignoring scientific facts and philosophical knowledge. His/her own writing shows his/her stupidity.

Yeah, you know why? Because venomous snakes are not at the bottom of the food chain. Neither are spiders. They cannot be at the bottom of the food chain because they are carnivorous, and are either in the middle or near the top. Poisonous snakes also don't need to be paranoid because they're poisonous. Just like if you had a gun you'd be a lot less paranoid. Spiders sit and wait for prey in their webs, or in underground traps their whole lives, that allows them not to have to be paranoid. Now compare a squirrel with a lion and you will see the difference in paranoia. At this point I can't take Sacerdotus seriously. He's so full of himself and he doesn't have the wit or the arguments to match. Any educated reader who isn't ignorant or biased from religious indoctrination will see that I'm clearly on the side of reason here. He doesn't offer any science to counter my arguments, just silly ideas that can't even be called theories or hypotheses. And he stupidly links an article that makes my exact points for me.

There's a reason why this is the dominant view in psychology and biology for why we have the tendency to believe in unseen agents. I have written about this issue before. From my post Hyperactive Agency Detection — A Just-So Story? I wrote,

The term hyperactive (or hypersensitive) agency detection device originates from Justin Barrett's book Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (Cognitive Science of Religion). (Justin Barrett by the way is a Christian).

How widely endorsed is this view? In A New Science of Religion Wilkins & Griffiths note:

The idea that religious belief is to a large extent the result of mental adaptations for agency detection has been endorsed by several leading evolutionary theorists of religion (Guthrie 1993; Boyer 2001; Atran 2002; Barrett 2005). Broadly, these theorists suggest that there are specialized mental mechanisms for the detection of agency behind significant events. These have evolved because the detection of agency - "who did that and why?" - has been a critical task facing human beings throughout their evolution. These mechanisms are "hyperactive," leading us to attribute natural events to a hidden agent or agents. (142)

So widespread is this view, that even the Christian philosopher Michael J. Murray, a well-known occasional critic of the HADD hypothesis, calls it in his book Science and Religion in Dialogue, "the standard model." (460) And even famed Christian apologist William Lane Craig, notorious among theistic and atheistic debaters, acknowledges it on his website, Reasonable Faith, writing:

We humans have an inveterate tendency to ascribe personal agency to non-human creatures and even objects. We talk to our house plants, our cars, our computers. In fact some cognitive psychologists think that this tendency is actually hard-wired into the human brain. They call it the Hyper-active Agency Detection Device (HADD). We treat other things, even inanimate objects, as though they were agents.

Craig of course doesn't connect the dots in seeing how this is evidence against his religious views, but to be fair, that's not what his post was about. The term's coiner, Justin Barrett, writes in Exploring the natural foundations of religion:

On the basis of ethnographic data and psychological research, Guthrie argues that people have a bias towards detecting human-like agency in their environment that might not actually exist [28–30]. Thus, people are particularly sensitive to the presence of intentional agency and seem biased to over attribute intentional action as the cause of a given state of affairs when data is ambiguous or sketchy [31,32]. These observations suggest that whatever cognitive mechanism people have for detecting agency might be extremely sensitive; in other words, people can be said to possess hyperactive agent detection devices (HADD). According to Guthrie, such a biased perceptual device would have been quite adaptive in our evolutionary past, for the consequences of failing to detect an agent are potentially much graver than mistakenly detecting an agent that is not there. 
The implication for religion is that the HADD might lead people to posit agents, perhaps of a counterintuitive sort, that are then well-transmitted because of their easy fit within intuitive conceptual systems. Similarly, counterintuitive-agent concepts would be more likely to receive attention and be transmitted than non-agent concepts, because agent concepts are more likely to resonate with agents posited by the HADD.28 Guthrie, S. (1980) A cognitive theory of religion. Curr. Anthropol. 21, 181–203

See also:

29 Guthrie, S. (1993) Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion, Oxford University Press
30 Lawson, E T. and McCauley, R.N. (1990) Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture, Cambridge University Press
31 Heider, F. and Simmel, M. (1944) An experimental study of apparent behavior. Am. J. Psychol. 57, 243–259
32 Rochat, P. et al. (1997) Young infants’ sensitivity to movement information specifying social causality. Cognit. Dev. 12, 441–465

Verdict: Sacerdotus is a joke. He's a joke disparately trying to be taken serious as a "philosopher." His degree is fake. I'm completely convinced of this by now. His best argument the hyper-active agency detection hypothesis—which for decades has been the dominant view is psychology and biology—is that it "might" cause us to run into a predator. Might! That's his best counter-argument. After all this is done, there's no point wasting time on him again.

To be continued in part 5.

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