Antitheism Presupposes Theism (2)

PART ONE

FF has responded to my first post in the combox of that post. Here I shall examine his remarks and add some new thoughts of my own. Unfortunately, he has not yet picked up the argument I made, neither has he relented from adopting his own position as normative. Now, I freely admit that if his outlook was normative I would not be arguing as I am. But neither would I be arguing at all, since, at least as far as I can see, all reasoning would be illusory; composed of the deterministic forces of matter and motion. I would have to agree with Sam Harris that there is no such thing as free agency. I believe what I do because that is the way my synapses are firing. FF believes the way he does for the same reason. There seems to be nothing but a futile finger-pointing available to us. Neither his Atheism nor my Christian Theism relate to anything outside our respective brain activity. That FF is debating shows that he believes free agency (here defined as ‘the ability to formulate judgments which transcend the laws of physics and chemistry, which may connect to the extended world, and for which we are responsible’), is not illusory but meaningful. Again, worldviews are at issue here.

Dear Fanghur,

Thank you for your response. I want to apologize for the wait. My schedule allows for limited time for this kind of interaction. Still, here is my reaction to your extended comment. I hope I shall be able to clear away some of the rubble which appears to be in the way of your seeing and evaluating my argument properly.

“No” to Natural Theology and Common Use of Reason

I want to begin by agreeing with you about the classical arguments for God’s existence: the ontological, cosmological (Kalam or otherwise), and teleological arguments. These all rest on a notion of what is called “natural theology,” which assumes a kind of neutral buffer-zone where Christians and non-Christians can meet to discuss their differences. Such a point of view is thoroughly unbiblical, as well as unsatisfying. I argue here that a Christian ought not to use natural theology.  You are right that employing such “proofs” for God cannot end up with the Triune God of the Bible. One cannot use non-biblical philosophies to argue for the Biblical Worldview. It is for this reason I do not use them!

This admission effectively dismantles your whole comment (though you may not see it). This is because your response assumes I am in agreement with your use of reason, which is what I deny. On the contrary I hold that you are using a gift of God in rebellion to God.  It is that denial and its basis which must be engaged. You still seem to assume you are on neutral territory. I tried to deal with that notion last time. You are assuming your worldview is able to account for the logic you are using. I contend both that neutrality is impossible, which is why I have admitted my own bias, but that you cannot justify logic in the first place, nevermind using it the way you do. You will understand at least from this that, if I am right, I have, in effect, issued you a call to repentance.  In saying this I want you to know that I only stand where I do by grace, not by anything in me.

Restatement of TAG

The argument I have given you is a transcendental argument. One which inquires after the necessary conditions for something to be what it is. You said on FB that this presuppositional argument (or TAG) was “plainly fallacious.” But you have not really touched upon it in your response. This argument is that unless the God of the Bible is presupposed we are not able to make sense of anything in our experience. On the positive side, once we do accept the God who has revealed Himself supremely in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the foundation necessary for a coherent philosophy of life. For this reason you will see that it would be nonsensical of me to have the same starting point as you: for my whole assertion is that your starting point actually cannot “start.”

Now, even calling TAG “fallacious” implies that you stand outside of a worldview whose claim is that your use of logic cannot be justified from within your atheistic philosophy.  I realize, of course, that you wholly reject this assertion (if you didn’t you would be a Christian 😉 ), but that is the position I am arguing for.  All you have to do is to rebut the argument by supplying the preconditions for the intelligibility of logic (or justice, science, order, and the rest) from your naturalistic worldview.  The TAG argument of Van Til and others is that the proof of the Christian position is that unless you presuppose it you cannot make sense of anything. That is, to use Van Til’s phrasing, the truth of the Christian worldview is established by what he called “the impossibility of the contrary.” He stated,

“Christianity alone does not crucify reason itself…the best, the only, the absolutely certain proof of the truth of Christianity is that unless its truth is presupposed there is no proof of anything.” – quoted in Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready, 61.

Certainly there is more to say than that, and Van Til’s books are not easy reading, but that is the assertion. What he means here is not just challenging the unbeliever to make sense of the world, but positively making sense of it via the biblical revelation. That amounts to “certain proof.”  By contrast, from what you say, your philosophy of life floats on a Sea of Skepticism.  You would make sense of miracles only when you believe a worldview which explains them. And what I say about miracles, holds true for rationality itself.

So far, the only thing I can make out is that you believe logic is eternal and absolute on the one hand, and that humans “created it” (by which I think you mean “identified & categorized it”) on the other.

Revelational Epistemology

The presuppositional apologetic stands upon a revelatory theory of knowledge. Giving some instances (which I am not here pulling out as proofs per se): if we are really created in God’s rational image, in distinction to the animals, we would expect to be rationalizing and theorizing agents, able to express ourselves verbally, mathematically, pictorially, and architecturally in the world out there. The filling out of this sort of thing is the job of Theology, which I try to do through TELOS.  But what would you put in place of these instances?

You see, this is where worldview meets everyday experience. When Newton and Kepler conceived of science as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”, that was a natural result of their worldview. But the atheist is left with a world without plan or purpose. He has no mandate to explore and analyze creation and exult in the wonders of nature. Therefore, the “why?” in “why do science?” is a colossal word. Why should he trust his senses? How can he know the real world beyond himself? If he is just a part in the inexorable evolutionary machinery of the universe, how can he hold to absolutes, and how does he escape from the clutches of subjectivity? These are huge questions.

Recall that the Christian Bible asserts that the unbeliever is utilizing concepts and criteria borrowed from God and smuggled into unbelieving interpretations of life. Reason, justice, normativity, ethical norms, induction, truth, goodness, scientific laws: these lay outside of those unbiblical outlooks. It is the importing of these good gifts of God into philosophies which cannot support them nor account for them, which renders the unbeliever culpable (John 3:19-21; Romans 1:18-25). The Christian worldview is expressed in the treatment of Christian Theology. If you stood within it you would not be making the jibes against it that you do.

‘Q’, Pantheism and Deism

Now, I love ‘Q’ from Star Trek. I wish he had been in one of the movies. Q is depicted as omnipotent. But he is part of a continuum of omnipotents (who in one episode strip him of his power). Of course, that is a contradiction in terms. He is selfish, immature, unethical, vengeful, and ignorant of many things. He always is coming to knowledge. Hence, Q is more like a Greco-Roman or Norse god. He is very unlike the Trinitarian God of Scripture! Compare, for example, Q with Jesus Christ. There just is no comparison.

Pantheism is the view that God and the universe is one.  As such it is monistic.  If all is really one then there can be no differentiation, and hence no predication at the core of existence.  This destroys rationality and so is false.

Deism is the belief in an absentee god.  Hence this god is not the God of the Bible.  Who then is he/she? (or what?).  What are its attributes?  How do we make such a god the cause of all predication?  How can a coherent world and life view get going under these conditions?  Again, we end up not being able to account for experience.

This says enough for now.  I look forward to your reply whenever you can fit it into your schedule.

Regards,

Paul

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46 comments

  1. Paul, all you did here is make a whole gaggle of completely unjustified and often self-refuting assertions that are all examples of begging the question fallacies, not to mention not even coming close to refuting my argument about not being able to know whether what you believe is the word of a god is not actually some race of god-like extraterrestrials existing in a deistic or pantheistic universe, and what you did say on the latter two things was entirely irrelevant to the point I made. I’m just going to skip your points about saying what the bible says, because you did nothing to actually demonstrate why I should think they are true, and thus are simply begging he question.

    First of all, all of us have to assume the validity of our senses to varying degrees, with the exception of ACTUAL self-attesting truths like the Law of Identity. There is no choice in the matter, even you have to do it when you make appeals to so-called ‘divine revelation’, because if you were in fact hallucinating, how would you possibly know the difference? You couldn’t, that’s how. I specifically asked you not to take that route for that very reason, because it is a complete red herring because it is something all of us have to do, including a god if there was one by the way. I explained this extremely thoroughly in our previous interactions: minds by definition view reality external to themselves subjectively; that is what minds are, and a god CANNOT coherently be defined as exempt from this as to do so would be to say that God is a mind that is not a mind, which is a violation of Non-contradiction, another genuine self-attesting fact that we know for certain to be true irrespective of whether a god exists or not. Pantheism is the only coherent way that one could MAYBE argue for a non-subjective deity.

    Secondly, as I also explained previously, if something needs to be revealed to you (i.e. revelation from god) then it is by definition NOT a self-apparent, self-attesting truth, as if it were it wouldn’t need to be revealed. Which is why I have repeatedly pointed out again and again that you CANNOT know so-called ‘revealed knowledge’ with absolute certainty to be true, as it is trivially simple to define a logically non-contradicting, epistemically indistinguishable universe in which said revealed knowledge is false, or is a lie, or is misunderstood, and so on. So that is yet another foundational problem of the Christian presuppositional apologetic, it quite literally claims to be able to know things which by their very nature cannot be known with absolute certainty WITH absolute certainty, which is self-refuting because it contradicts one of the few things which we CAN know with absolute certainty to be true and invariant due to it’s very nature, namely the Law of Non-contradiction.

    Thirdly, in my last response I granted for the sake of argument your assertion that some kind of omnipotent being/god/deity is required in order for our universe to make logical sense and in order for us to be certain that our senses and reasoning were reliable. And as I rightly said, that leads you to either deism or some ‘God’ of Spinoza-esque pantheism. Why do I say this? Because deistic and pantheistic gods can both embody every single logically necessary property in order for your claim to be valid; they can both create the universe such that intelligent life forms can evolve such that their senses are reliable, and their ability to reason is reliable. They can ensure that the nature of the universe cannot randomly change (which according to naturalism is impossible anyway, by the way). The universe itself is the revelation or ‘Word’ of a deistic god, and we know that our senses and ability to reason are valid because said deistic god created the universe that way. There, the god I just defined meets every conceivable criteria for a transcendental argument. That god would not need to perform magic tricks for Bronze Age savages, nor would it have any need to have a book written about it, as its creation itself would be its Word and its revealed truth, as it were. This is precisely why I included TAG in the list of arguments that CANNOT get you past deism at absolute best, because it can’t. In order to try to go from deism to Christianity you need to appeal to evidential apologetics, but as I said last time, even giving you the absolute best possible position to be in, you still can’t get past advanced aliens in a deistic universe as a possible explanation; you didn’t actually address this point at all in your response, you were addressing some other argument altogether, and one which I wasn’t even making.

    This is an extremely important point that I always have to point out to creationists, and that is that if the TAG argument as you use it were valid and sound, it would necessarily mean that God is completely dishonest, deceitful and malevolent, as it specifically created the universe such that, when the reasoning capacity that it itself provided us with is used to study its creation, every single aspect of it completely contradicts everything that the bible says, including the existence of a historical Jesus, for which there is very little actual evidence, and all points to us living in a naturalistic universe. Sorry, Paul, there is no way out of that dilemma, as it forces you into a double bind: either the bible is true, in which case all of God’s creation is a lie, or God’s creation (i.e. science) is true and the bible which God claims is its Word is a lie. Either way, you lose. Deism doesn’t have that problem, as in deism the universe itself is god’s ‘Word’, as it were, and contradictions cannot exist in reality, not in part nor in whole. And anyone who has read even the four gospels knows that there are numerous irreconcilable contradictions between them that cannot all be correct; but they can all be wrong, as indeed I believe to be the case ever since the work by the more prominent secular historians David Fitzgerald, Richard Carrier, Robert Price, Frank Zindler, Bart Ehrman (though he was trying to do the opposite) and Earl Doherty, among others, have convinced me that Jesus was in all likelihood simply another mythological figure like Mithra and Dionysus who never actually existed as anything more than myth.

    In the future, can you please try to actually address what it is I am arguing? And hey, if you don’t understand a point I’m making please feel free to send me a message asking for clarification, I’m totally fine with that. I think that’s everything for now, I await your response.

    1. Fanghur,

      After thinking twice about your latest reply I think we need to trim things back a little. I saw at the beginning that you were awry on the transcendental argument when you mischaracterized it. You were also fuzzy on the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as one or two other things. I believed I had said enough in my responses to you to set you on the right road so that we could get down to examining each others worldviews, to see if they comported with experience.

      Sadly, you have not even joined THAT discussion. You have assumed that you have the normative default position, even though you have refrained from actually setting it out.

      I’m afraid you come across like Elmer Phud, shooting madly at your own straw men. Your latest comment demonstrates that you are still taking your position for granted. I know logic is self-evident! But that is not the point Fanghur. The question you have been repeatedly asked is to tell us WHY IT IS SELF-EVIDENT.

      You make rudimentary mistakes by, for example, personifying a pantheistic “god” while actually arguing for panentheism. These contentless scenarios of yours fail to engage any worldview. It is worldviews we are supposed to be discussing here! Recall it was YOU who came on to my page and attacked presuppositionalism!

      I am sorry to put it this way, but I am trying to get you to see what you won’t see. You need to justify your own use of logic, science, history, etc. My epistemology, as I have explained and given examples of, is revelatory. I don’t mind you having a go at it as long as you come clean about where you are coming from.

      You say the law of identity is self-attesting. My challenge to you is that it is not self-attesting in the contingent universe (never mind multiverse) of the atheist. It IS self-attesting as an attribute of the mind of God (logic equates to laws of thought, as I have already said).

      So here’s what we need to do: Let’s start with one or two things. You tell me how you can know anything (your theory of knowledge). I hope you comprehend what I’m asking you.

      Regards,

      Paul

      1. “You were also fuzzy on the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as one or two other things. I believed I had said enough in my responses to you to set you on the right road so that we could get down to examining each others worldviews, to see if they comported with experience.”

        Paul, you have done no such thing. Oh, for certain you TRIED to spin the trinity doctrine such that it wasn’t a blatant violation of the Law of Identity (1=1, 1 does not = 3) while still being able to deny that you worship three independent deities, but you did not succeed, as if you had we wouldn’t be having this discussion. No matter how you slice it, it simply does not make logical sense. If the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are indeed completely distinct beings/persons/whatever (i.e. different, independent minds), then you worship three deities. If they are merely different forms of the same mind, which I have seen apologists like Matt Slick vehemently deny, then the entire concept falls apart. You are the one who has to either explain where my logic is wrong in this regard, or concede the point. I am open to being proven wrong, but what I am not open to is for my opponent to tap dance around the issue, make veiled insinuations about my intelligence, and imply that I am being deliberately dishonest in my arguments. I am not remotely, and if you say I am attacking straw men the the onus is on you to demonstrate WHY they are straw men. In order for logic to work, the essential behaviour of existence (the facts of logic) cannot change. This is indeed the case with our universe. You attribute this fact, among others, to Yahweh in some poorly-defined manner. Therefore, while my characterization of TAG may have been extremely over-simplified, it was not in and of itself incorrect. You do indeed use the fact that the facts of logic are universally applicable and invariant to argue for not just A god, but your god specifically. Or, if you are not doing that in any sense, then please clarify the issue.

        “Sadly, you have not even joined THAT discussion. You have assumed that you have the normative default position, even though you have refrained from actually setting it out.”

        As I said on Facebook, I am a metaphysical naturalist. I hold that even if anything ‘supernatural’ exists, which I hold to be a meaningless word by the way, we can have no evidence for it in our natural world, and thus I do not find the issue worth thinking about. I am not entirely opposed to the idea of consciousness being more than simply electrochemical interactions in our brain, perhaps it is due to some kind of inexplicable quantum phenomenon, but even if that were the case it would still be part of the natural world and would not in any sense imply an infinitely vast such-consciousness. And with all due respect, Paul, your replies on Facebook last night seemed to me to be a clear case of grasping at straws. Asking a person why they don’t like to experience pain, or needlessly inflict it on others is essentially giving up, because you know the answer to that question perfectly well considering that you are a human like me, and I would hope one who doesn’t simply not do such things because they believe it was mandated by some deity from on high, because if so that is NOT morality.

        “The question you have been repeatedly asked is to tell us WHY IT IS SELF-EVIDENT.”

        I have repeatedly answered that question, Paul. Because it can be mathematically proven that even if you try to posit or hypothesize that the Law of Identity is not always true, or is false, that in order to do so the Law of Identity MUST be always true. But here is something I would very much like an answer to. Who are you to rebuke me for, so you think anyway, not being able to account for some aspect of my own worldview, when you yourself are unable to account for why your god exists instead of not existing, and why it is the way that it is as opposed to some other way? There could have been absolutely nothing at all. Anything you say to try to account for those things could just as easily be used to account for the consistency of existence (facts of logic). And if God never began to exist, it means that no reason and thus no cause went into it having the nature it does instead of something else, essentially making it random. This means that you are forced to concede that there simply are various aspects to reality in any worldview which don’t need to be accounted for, thus invalidating your demand for me to account for the consistency of existence. I fully accept this inevitability, because in any worldview if you peel enough layers back you will always arrive at this situation of being able to go no further. In my worldview it’s the consistency of existence, in yours it’s why God exists and is the way that it is.

        “You make rudimentary mistakes by, for example, personifying a pantheistic “god” while actually arguing for panentheism. These contentless scenarios of yours fail to engage any worldview. It is worldviews we are supposed to be discussing here! Recall it was YOU who came on to my page and attacked presuppositionalism!”

        I concede that point, I often get those two confused. But either way my point still stands. You are the one who is claiming that not only is A god required, but yours specifically due to the impossibility of the contrary. I have quite thoroughly shown that this is not a logically tenable position to take. At best you could say that it MIGHT be Yahweh that is the true god, but then again it might also be some other god with similar essential properties to Yahweh but which does not directly interact with us. You are the one who has not defended any of these premises, anywhere in your responses! Why not?!

        “My challenge to you is that it is not self-attesting in the contingent universe (never mind multiverse) of the atheist. It IS self-attesting as an attribute of the mind of God (logic equates to laws of thought, as I have already said).”

        When did I ever say that the universe was contingent? I never did, in fact as I believe that the natural world is all that there is, the idea of it being contingent on anything is unintelligible. A contingent natural world is a theistic claim, not a naturalistic claim. So right there you are attacking a straw man yourself. And whether there is a multiverse or not is completely irrelevant to this issue, so I have no idea why you would even bring it up. All the multiverse would mean is that the natural world extends beyond our own expanding region of spacetime. And it is not simply a self-attesting attribute of a god’s mind, it is a self-attesting attribute of ANY mind whatsoever. As I have repeatedly pointed out, ‘logic’ is a man-made conceptual construct, it is a system of thought we invented in order to describe the way existence behaves. So in that sense logic is contingent on us, not on a god. I we went extinct logic would die with us.

        And in a sense I might say that my knowledge is revelatory too, albeit in a totally different sense. In the worldview of a metaphysical naturalist, the natural world by definition encompasses all possible knowledge, as there is nothing ‘outside’ of the natural world. And we are also all intrinsically connected to and part of the natural world, therefore it might be said that the natural world ‘reveals’ itself to us, at least metaphorically, through that inherent connection with it through our senses. The natural world is non-personal and so it can’t ‘lie’ to us, though at times our comprehension of it might be confused, which is why science is a group effort. As I said in my deism analogy, for a metaphysical naturalist ‘creation’ (i.e. the natural world) itself is our source of knowledge, not some external entity whose honesty we cannot verify. And even if we might not be able to fully account for why the natural world is the way it is or even exists at all, so to are you unable to do the same for your God. The fact that my ‘revelation’, as it were, comes from a non-personal source is an advantage of my worldview over yours, because while a non-personal entity cannot lie or be deceitful, a personal entity most certainly can, and in the case of an all-powerful personal entity, it could easily be dishonest and yet convince you that it is not being dishonest. And appealing to said revelation to argue against that possibility is a clear case of circular reasoning. I at least concede that it is at least logically conceivable that some of what I think I know might be wrong. You, apparently, do not.

        There, I have laid out my own position as well as argued against yours. Please actually address what I say this time.

      2. And the laws of logic DON’T work in the extended world. If we die, the laws of logic die with us. You are committing the same fallacy of equivocation again, conflating the laws of logic which we created, with the essential behaviour of existence which those laws describe. The former is dependent on minds, the latter is not. Logic is dependent on minds (ours), the essential behaviour of existence is NOT dependent on minds because it is not subjective, it is objective. I can’t count the number of times I have made this clarification. You are saying that the PICTURE of a tree (laws of logic describing the behaviour of existence) is the same as the ACTUAL tree (the behaviour of existence itself) that the picture is based on. I don’t know how else I can get this point across. But until you grasp the fallacy you are committing here we are just going in circles, as this fallacy is at the very core of the Transcendental Argument.

        Essentially, this is what you are saying when you claim that God can account for the behaviour of existence despite the fact that it itself exists according to you.

        P1: Dogs have four limbs.

        P2: Dogs exist.

        C: Therefore dogs can account for all other existing tetrapods having four limbs.

        Replace a few words, and you’re left with this:

        P1: God is what it is and is not what it is not (i.e. the fact of Identity applies to God).

        P2: God exists.

        C: Therefore God can account for all other existing entities being what they are and not what they are not.

        That is completely invalid and unsound. The correct reasoning is simply that everything that exists is whatever it is, and is not whatever it is not. THAT is one of the biggest fallacies of TAG, and I’m not straw manning anything because you committed this very fallacy on your Facebook page.

      3. Fanghur, I shall respond to your “arguments” and misrepresentations at my convenience. You have a rather cocksure opinion of your prowess which blinds you to listening when someone with a PhD in Theology & Apologetics tells you repeatedly that you have not cottoned on to the concept of the biblical God, nor have you represented the presuppositional argument accurately – not even closely. You keep using logic against an argument which challenges your right to use it, but you don’t grasp that Fanghur. I know you think you do. I know you think you know the doctrine of the Trinity better than I do and so won’t be corrected on it. I know you think you can find where Mark’s Gospel has Jesus named after the resurrection (a laughable claim for anyone familiar with Mark). And I know you think you can switch out a deistic god with the God of the Bible. But that shows me you are here only to tell me what I believe and call it illogical and that’s that – if only I could understand your profundity! Readers who have even a tad more theology and who have read Van Til can appreciate your depth i assure you.

        I will write my response in the third person as I will not be addressing you. I mean no personal offense, but in view of your consistent unwillingness to be corrected on your opponents true beliefs I think we’re done here.

  2. “….This is an extremely important point that I always have to point out to creationists, and that is that if the TAG argument as you use it were valid and sound, it would necessarily mean that God is completely dishonest, deceitful and malevolent, as it specifically created the universe such that, when the reasoning capacity that it itself provided us with is used to study its creation, every single aspect of it completely contradicts everything that the bible says, including the existence of a historical Jesus, for which there is very little actual evidence, and all points to us living in a naturalistic universe. ….”

    Now that IS begging the question! Your conclusion is included in your premise. You essentially say that creationism is unreasonable and the historical Jesus didn’t exist and that necessarily means that God is “completely dishonest, deceitful and malevolent.” Why would you event try to “point that out to a creationist?” What creationist would assent to that premise? The historicity of Jesus and the case for young earth creationism can reasonably, forcefully, and abundantly be made. Obviously, you disagree, but asserting their invalidity in this context is just circular reasoning.

    1. No, it isn’t begging the question. It would only be begging the question if I had no justification for making that statement. That is not the case, as I have all of modern science supporting me. Learn what a fallacy actually is before falsely accusing someone of committing one, and stop by Talk Origins.

      1. A creationist by definition, would deny evolution and an old earth. So why would you attempt to make an “extremely important point” to a creationist that presupposes and old earth? How is that not begging the question?

      2. Because simply because creationists throw out over a hundred and fifty years of diligent scientific evidence for no other reason than that it happens to completely disprove their viciously circular presuppositions, that does not mean that that makes their denial true. It is not in any sense ‘begging the question’ to base my argument on what every shred of valid, non-demonstrably fallacious scientific evidence gathered over the last two centuries simply because the creationists are too thick-headed to admit when they are wrong. There is nothing circular about that, it is in fact the complete opposite of a circular argument, because science is not in any way circular, but more like a ladder or something like that. Like I said, learn what ‘begging the question’ actually means before falsely accusing someone of doing it.

  3. Begging the question means “You presented a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise.” That is exactly what you have done by including your old earth/evolution conclusion in the premise of your “extremely important point.” That fact that you think your premise is correct does not excuse you from having committed the fallacy.

    As to your insistence that science backs your conclusions and that “the creationists are too thick-headed”, there is abundant rebuttal to that from creationist scientist and it is widely available. I have no interest in debating the specifics of that here as it would not be appropriate and any point that I can make can be made more accurately and vigorously in the published material by creation scientists. Your disdain for the creation science point of view does not give you license to commit logical fallacies and eschew common courtesy.

    Finally, I don’t want to end on a sour note. Perhaps, your interest in interacting with Christians stems from a “Convince me and I will believe point of view” (or maybe not). If so, you will never get there. Salvation is by God’s grace through faith. You and I are sinners. Jesus died for our sins and rose again. That cannot be digested through logical categories and analysis. It can only be accepted by faith. I realize that this is counter to your metaphysical naturalist point of view, but I hope you will try to digest this and not see it as a red cape for a charging bull.

    1. “Begging the question means “You presented a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise.” That is exactly what you have done by including your old earth/evolution conclusion in the premise of your “extremely important point.” That fact that you think your premise is correct does not excuse you from having committed the fallacy.”

      By that identical logic you would necessarily have to also claim that I would be ‘begging the question’ if I were to assert that flying in any direction will eventually take you back to where you started, since that would be including the proven fact that the earth is spherical as one of its premises. Basing a logical argument on a premise that has been proven to be true is NOT begging the question, that is simple logical deduction and inference. The age of the earth, the fact that evolution has occurred and occurs to this day, etc. are equally as supported by evidence as the fact that gravity exists and the earth is spherical. You don’t get to project your own fallacious form of reasoning onto me.

      “there is abundant rebuttal to that from creationist scientist and it is widely available.”

      Yes, and every single bit of it has been entirely debunked by actual scientists, and often simply by non-scientists by simple common sense or backyard experimentation in the case of so-called ‘evidence’ of a global flood. Following the evidence where it leads and accepting it whether you like it or not is what differentiates actual scientists from anyone who claims to be a creationist, as they do NOT follow the evidence, they start with their own presupposition and then do everything they possibly can to try and spin reality such that it seems to support it. That is the exact opposite of actual science. I challenge you to find me a single actual scientific organization that has anything even approximating a statement of faith. I guarantee that you won’t find one. There is no such thing as a ‘creationist scientist’. That is like saying that there is such a thing as a married bachelor. No one who has a statement of faith mindset qualifies as a scientist.

      ” If so, you will never get there. Salvation is by God’s grace through faith.”

      Well then I have no interest in ‘salvation’, because first of all there is nothing I require saving from except perhaps your god, and secondly, I am not going to believe ANYTHING unless I have a good reason to believe it, and that means empirical evidence. And any deity who is evil enough to condemn a person for honest skepticism and rationality is not one I have any interest whatsoever in spending eternity with. I already cornered Paul with the unpleasant fact that even if you could prove that every single miracle in the entire biblical canon actually occurred in some form, even that wouldn’t be enough to prove that Christianity is true.

      You ever see that episode of the Twilight Zone with little Anthony Fremont? Who wouldn’t want to be trapped forever, and ever, and ever with an indomitable despot who can read your every thought and do whatever terrible thing it wants to you with a thought, and you’d better always be thinking good thoughts about it. “It was good that you did that terrible thing, Anthony/Yahweh! It was real good!” Can you imagine doing that for eternity? How bad is Hell again? That’s where Sagan is, right? And Einstein, and all of my family, and anyone else I might want to meet. Whereas who’s in Heaven? All of the irrational sycophants of the world with zero moral compass or self-respect? I… No. Wish me to the Cornfield, better that than eternity in Peaksville with Anthony Fremont.

      “You and I are sinners. Jesus died for our sins and rose again.”

      Have any evidence of that? Or are you now committing the fallacy of begging the question that you falsely accused me of committing? From my point of view, you might as well have just said that we are all shoobadas and a ‘yellow quantum whisperer’ waved her wand for us for all the meaning that has, i.e. none.

      “That cannot be digested through logical categories and analysis. It can only be accepted by faith.”

      In other words, believe something that defies all logic for absolutely no reason whatsoever. There’s a word for that, it’s called ‘irrational’. Glad you at least had the honesty to admit that much. 🙂

      1. “I am not going to believe ANYTHING unless I have a good reason to believe it, and that means empirical evidence.”
        “And any deity who is evil enough to condemn a person for honest skepticism…”

        Can you give any empirical evidence of something being or not being evil? Maybe something scientifical? Some experiments?
        Big Bang was evil or good?
        When you try to change someones belief, you are doing something good or evil?
        Maybe you are the Creator of good and evil, or maybe you personally know one?
        Maybe too many movies watched? 🙂 (I know, I know, Star Trek is the only Truth)

      2. It’s funny that you mention Star Trek, however, as I personally believe that arguments like that are the death knell to evidential apologetics. How does one differentiate between actual magic and sufficiently advanced technology that is beyond all our understanding, the example I used was the Q-Continuum. We can’t, and that’s the point. Did a god cause the biblical miracles, or might it have been extraterrestrial pranksters or scientists? And how would we go about determining such a thing? It would be a futile prospect, because while aliens are at least provable in principle, a genuinely supernatural agent is not.

      3. Fanghur, you said
        ” the fact that evolution has occurred and occurs to this day, etc”
        Evolution (as in Macro-Evolution) is a scientific theory not a “fact.” Your presupposition that it is a “fact” is just plain wrong. A scientific “fact” or law is different than a scientific theory. For example, second “LAW” of thermodynamics states that systems spontaneously evolve toward the state of maximum entropy (disorder). Contrarily, the “Theory” of evolution postulates an ever-increasing order for a closed system (Yes I take all of creation/all of existence/the entire universe to be a closed system. My point is not to debate closed systems but to point out that evolution is neither “fact” nor “law” and any premise that presupposes that it is a fact leads to circular reasoning. You beg the question (especially in a discussion with a creationist) by asserting the THEORY of evolution as a fact in your premise. Evolution is a scientific theory.

      4. Fanghur, you said:
        (Quoting me here) “You and I are sinners. Jesus died for our sins and rose again.”

        Have any evidence of that? Or are you now committing the fallacy of begging the question that you falsely accused me of committing?..

        I was not trying to make any particular logical argument or counter any of your points with that. I tried to set off that paragraph as an attempt to communicate with you as a fellow human being and not part of the mainline discussion. I suppose there are many logical fallacies in that paragraph but it was not written to debate you or provide grist for the mill.

      1. First of all, Dan, I have no idea where you thought that I said anything remotely like what you just said I did. The THEORY of evolution is the framework of knowledge, experiments and observations that explains the FACT that all or at least most life on earth shares a common ancestor, that allele frequencies within and among populations changes over time allowing populations to diverge from each other, eventually becoming new species.

        A theory is the highest standing it is possible to attain in science, higher even than laws. Theories encompass and explain laws. And you clearly have absolutely no understanding of either basic reasoning or of physics in general, because while you are correct that the law of thermodynamics says that in a CLOSED system entropy will always tend to increase. However, earth is NOT a closed system, it is an open system. Energy from the sun is constantly being added to the system, which the plants and photosynthetic algae use for energy, and so on. And even if the universe is indeed a closed system, that in no sense means that everywhere within the universe is likewise closed. Eventually, with our current understanding of the universe beings what it is, in a few hundred trillion years the universe will indeed reach a state of maximum entropy as space continues to expand. But this is absolutely no problem for the theory of evolution. Go learn some actual science before you spout unintelligible arguments that any first year physics student at a competent university would face palm at, much less every scientist in the past 200 years.

  4. Evil is a subjective opinion, not excluding in the case for a deity. By my standards, any being who tortures innocent people for pleasure and punishes rationality because of its own vanity is evil. I don’t need evidence to know my own mind because I AM my mind.

    1. And with that hilarious view of evil I will cease words with you. Any further comments will be erased. I do thank you for being quite civil (unlike the character in that ridiculous video clip you sent me).

      I wish you well and I hope the Lord breaks through!

      Regards,

      Paul

      1. sorry Paul but no one is “rebelling” against your God even if he exists the way you claim him to do, and also the transcendental argument is just the ontological argument IN REVERSE, and we all know just how laughable that one is, so why should doing it backwards be anymore better

      2. Tony,

        I shall not give much time to a reply since you did not give much time or thought to your comment(s). I do not expect you to agree with the Bible that you are in rebellion to God. As for your quip about the ontological argument (I presume you are referring to the revised version?), you will need to do a lot more explaining before I will respond.

        Please do not be one of those commenters who cherry pick one-liners from an article while ignoring the thrust of its arguments.

        Regards,

        Paul H.

      3. but the problem is that i CANNOT ‘rebel” against your god even if he exists the way you claim him to because he gave me a sinful spirit which means i am just doing what he created me to do! i am hardly “rebelling” against your god no one is! everyone is just doing what god “pre-programed” her/him to do weither it is to be sinful or not

        the ontological argument starts with this “transcendent ultimate superbeing exists” as its premise, the trancesdental argument has it for a conculsion, TAG is just OAG in reverse

      4. Tony,

        Remember what I have said about not understanding Christian teaching? You display that trait clearly in your above comment.

        Further, you are confusing a “transcendent” being with a “transcendental” argument. They are not the same! The ontological argument you are using argues to a necessary being. It does not argue that unless the God of the Bible is presupposed you cannot make sense of experience.

        Now this will be the last reply to you unless you get in the game and actually deal with the presuppositional position.

    2. Fanghur, a scientific theory will not stand if it contradicts a scientific law. As you know, if the second law (or the first law etc) of thermodynamics could be shown to contradict the theory of evolution, evolution is debunked. You yourself admit that the theory explains a fact. To assert evolutionary theory as a fact in a debate with a creationist is begging the question. No way around that one.

      Now more specifically, that “fact” that you stated was explained by evolution was, “that all or at least most life on earth shares a common ancestor, that allele frequencies within and among populations changes over time allowing populations to diverge from each other, eventually becoming new species.” Well then if I can beg the question as you do , I can assert that this fact is attributable to the “fact” that the same God created them all of them so, of course they are similar.

      Now, as to your points regarding the second law… The second law of thermodynamics is fundamental and stable in regards to its definition and understanding. The theory of evolution is continuously redefining itself primarily due to the lack of evidence of transitional forms. For example, see the punctuated equilibrium and hopeful monster theories that try to sidestep the lack of transitional form evidence.

      The universe is winding to down to a state of disorder or maximum entropy. As you pointed out, “the universe will indeed reach a state of maximum entropy.” So,how did it get wound up? Based on the second law, it is physically impossible for it to have been wound up in the first place. The evolutionary model cannot explain this without suspending the second law of thermodynamics. By contradicting the second law, evolutionary theory is debunked. Obviously, a creationist would explain this by asserting that the universe must have originally been “wound up” supernaturally.

      1. And evolution DOESN’T violate any laws of physics, including the laws of thermodynamics. Even a few creationist organizations have been known to tell creationists not to use the thermodynamics argument anymore because it is utterly vapid when it comes to scientific reality, it is one of the worst possible arguments. And I am going to repeat this one last time: informing you of the fact that evolution is a proven scientific fact is NOT begging the question, any more than saying that flying in one direction for long enough will take you back where you started is begging the question for being based on the proven fact that the earth is round.

        “Well then if I can beg the question as you do , I can assert that this fact is attributable to the “fact” that the same God created them all of them so, of course they are similar.”

        You could, but that WOULD be begging the question because there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that this is the case, nor can there be even in principle any evidence that such is the case. In addition, nothing whatsoever about our planet and the life found on it is indicative of an omnipotent common designer. If that were the case we would expect phylogenetics, DNA testing, gene homology, shared mutations, vestigial genes such as the genes for reptilian teeth in birds, etc. all to be non-existent and impossible. We would expect there to be absolutely no apparent ancestry between any life forms whatsoever; an omnipotent being would be able to trivially make it so. None of these things are remotely logical predictions of your idea of a common designer, yet they are ALL predictions of common ancestry. So we once again get back to the double-bind: either a god may or may not exist and if so used evolution and abiogenesis to create life on earth, or a wholly dishonest, deceitful and malevolent god exist who deliberately created everything such that every scrap of evidence suggests AT BEST theistic/deistic evolution. Both of which are devastating to your worldview. Congratulations Dan.

        “The theory of evolution is continuously redefining itself primarily due to the lack of evidence of transitional forms.”

        Lack of transitional forms? Try hundreds, thousands. Which makes everything you said after this point utterly falsified as it is based on a demonstrably false premise, despite the professional con artists like Ken Ham trying to argue otherwise with pitifully pathetic attempts to sweep them all under the rug.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils

      2. Fanghur, I am replying to your comment below.

        You accidentally forgot to respond to the point below so I will repost it:

        The universe is winding to down to a state of disorder or maximum entropy. As you pointed out, “the universe will indeed reach a state of maximum entropy.” So,how did it get wound up? Based on the second law, it is physically impossible for it to have been wound up in the first place. The evolutionary model cannot explain this without suspending the second law of thermodynamics. By contradicting the second law, evolutionary theory is debunked. Obviously, a creationist would explain this by asserting that the universe must have originally been “wound up” supernaturally.

        As for your faith in evolutionary lists:
        Why were”punctuated equilibrium” and “hopeful monster” theories introduced by reputable evolutionary scientists? Why did Darwin
        himself lament that discontinuity of species as a fundamental flaw in his theory? Anybody can line up fossils in whatever order
        they want and mindlessly post a wiki list. But the lists do not demonstrate common ancestry. The alleged transitional forms are based
        on fragmentary remains for which the placement in the supposed continuum is open to interpretation. Furthermore, these variations
        in the list are almost always minor variations within a category and are useless when trying to show significant macro-evolutionary
        change the like the infamous Archaeopteryx hoax purported to be. The fact is organisms in the fossil record appear suddenly,
        then remain unchanged for long periods of time. It takes a tremendous amount of FAITH to believe that somebody’s lined up sequence
        of fossils that arguably demonstrate microevolution actually substantiates macroevolution! You used the term “irrational sycophants”
        above. I think that applies here.

        BTW, there is an abundance of quotations from a myriad of reputable, dedicated, honest evolutionists and paleontologists that acknowledge the lack of transitional form evidence. Theories have been devised to explain this problem that date back to the Saltation theory of Darwin’s day up to modern times.

      3. Fanghur, if and when you respond it will be the last word. I do not want to be disrespectful to you or to Paul so I am going to move on.

    3. ah but the problem is your arguement cannot prove that unless the God of the Bible is presupposed you cannot make sense of experience because you would have to be this god your prove so as you might know there are an infiniate number of worldviews possible and the only way to refute them all is with omniscience

      1. Last chance Tony. Tell you what, suppose for sake of argument, (and for the moment), that there might be a non-biblical worldview which makes sense of experience? Do you have it?

        If you don’t have it then you do have one which doesn’t make sense of experience and you should give it up and embrace the one you can have: the biblical worldview! If you don’t you are tacitly admitting you would rather embrace an irratiional worldview than receive the biblical one. That sounds like rebellion to me Tony!

        As I said, last chance. Please respond to the transcendental (not transcendent) challenge. Provide a foundation for intelligibility for ontology, epistemology, and ethics from a non-biblical position.

      2. first of all tell me why are you so interested in ethics? it seems like you are trying to shoehorn as many arguements into one argument at once, morality is not needed for intelligibility, i doubt you believe spiders have morality yet they can have intelligible experiance of the world, and i bet you critize William Lane Craig for not being a presupptionalist yet he claims that his god provides the world with objective morals, at any rate the god of the bible cannot provide objective morals, slavery is okay for some people but not for others (Leviticus 25 :44) as well its morally ok for some people to kill others only based on their religon (2 Chronicles 15:13 ) and (Deuteronomy 13:6-10) and this really weird one (Ezekiel 4:12-13)

        but i suppose i should anwser some of your objections, even though you will probably find them unsatsifactory no matter what…
        a simple analogy to the logical absolutes would be abstract mathematics. The number 4 is a “transcendental” by the TAG definition. According to TAG it is “immaterial” and a precondition to know stuff just like logic. It cannot be photographed, frozen, weighed, or measured. It is always the number 4. It always remains the same. It always remains true.

        However, if there were no minds in existence to conceive of the number 4, the shape we currently call a square would still have the same number of sides it has now. It would not physically gain or lose any sides. The abstraction of the number 4 is conceptual, but the concept isn’t dependent on a transcendent mind for the real world underpinning of the concept to remain true.

        in other words logic is based on existance and existanc by definition is always real and always logical

        From My Country, My People (1935) by Lin Yu Tang.

        “To the West, it seems hardly imaginable that the relationship between man and man (morality) could be maintained without reference to a Supreme Being, while to the Chinese it is equally amazing that men should not, or could not, behave toward one another as decent beings without thinking of their indirect relationship through a third party.”

        “If people regarded other people’s families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself.” – Mozi

      3. Tony,

        I think you are trying, but you are not understanding what is being asked of you. You need to digest the other posts.

        You raise one or two questions which I shall address quickly, even though they have nothing to do with TAG.

        1. As to the texts you cite; slavery was not condoned in Leviticus, but it was permitted as being a part of the economic culture for various reasons. One was that there were people who wished to serve Jewish households but were not Jewish. These people were to be treated well by their owners. Some others (e.g. the Gibeonites) made themselves servants via deception.

        The Bible is the Word of God in a fallen and sinful world. God does not like slavery, having created every person in His image (giving them intrinsic worth). But because the world is fallen, such realities are present. And you ought to know that it was Christians like Wilberforce, Newton, etc. who finally got the slave trade abolished.

        This subject may be discussed in a Bible study setting. Suffice it to say that in non-biblical worldviews slaves were chattel, to be treated as their owners wished to treat them – which was oftentimes as sub-human (which undermines your quotation from Lin Yu Tang). Without a Supreme ethical Authority over them, men often DO NOT treat each other well. But more of that…

        The passages from Chronicles and Deuteronomy had to do with a nation under covenant with God and the doleful consequences of spiritual declension which introduced suffering and judgment in Israel. The surrounding nations were not nice people. They burned their children alive and taught Israel to do the same (Jer. 19:1-6).

        The Ezekiel passage was a prophecy of what Israelites would be forced to do by invaders if they did not return to God. And that is the point. Only God is in a position to declare what is right and just. If He chooses (as on occasion in the OT) to use His people to execute judgment on a wicked people – after giving them plenty of time to repent (remember Jonah), He can do so since He is the Creator and Sustainer of us all. Such was done by clear Divine revelation, not by some church decree! In the NT, where God is not dealing with a geo-political nation but with all peoples, there is no call to do anything but love our enemies. Christianity does not condone slavery (1 Tim. 1:10, where the word literally means “men-enslavers”). Some Christians have, but that marks them as inconsistent Christians.

        This is the stuff of Bible study and is fine in its place, but has nothing to do with TAG and shall not be discussed again under this head.

        2. Your comments regarding the number 4 are off line. Numbers are not transcendental; they require a transcendental! This was some of the burden of these posts. In fact, in some of my comments I basically agreed with you and a [human] mind is not necessary to account for the concepts. Where we disagree is that you think there can be concepts with no mind. This leaves you with mere “existence” and the philosophical problems related to knowing what is real from what is unreal. That is where you must direct your energies.

        Quipping, “the concept isn’t dependent on a transcendent mind for the real world underpinning of the concept to remain true” begs a whole host of questions about the real world, truth, and the subject-object relation. TAG wants you to account for these things, not to take them for granted.

        3. This brings me to the quotes from Yang and Mozi. They are simply giving an opinion. they have no moral authority to declare what others ought to do. Yang provides no foundation for “why?” people ought to act the way he says the Chinese do re. ethical relationships (which given the violent history of China must come under serious doubt anyway). I believe from Chinese friends that a real problem there is the killing of female babies because they don’t happen to me male. So I ask, why is that immoral? Or perhaps it is moral? Who decides?

        Now I have bent over backwards to answer your points, even the ones which had nothing to do with the question of the existence of the biblical God. I will not go down other rabbit trails.

      4. the only reason i talked about slavery was because you insisted on talking about ethics and shoehorning it into your TAG arguement, at anyrate it refute the idea that Christianity can provide us with objective or absoulute morality, what you said about slaves in biblical worlviews being not chattel is compeltely not true, but since you insist that its not relevant to TAG even though you want to include ethics in your arguement and its your blog after all i suppose i will talk about it someother day

      5. Okay Tony,

        There has been no attempt to think through the TAG argument, and no attempt to properly engage it. If you have paid attention to the posts you would have known by now that the presuppositional approach argues that unless the God of the Bible is presupposed you cannot make sense out of, nor ground reality, knowledge, or ETHICS!

        “No it doesn’t” is not a satisfactory answer, but it appears to be the way you like to argue. Unless you demonstrate that you have understood TAG and actually engage it by providing your preconditions I’m afraid I cannot spend more time on this thread.

      6. but you do realize its impossible to talk about bible ethics with out mentioning slavery right? yet you seem to not want to talk about slavery saying it should be relegated to bible studies. At any rate if the presupptionalist arguement claiming that a person cant ground reality unless you assume bible god is absurd, God if he exists is contingent on reality, not vice-versa, so reality can be made sense of even if your god didnt exist because reality is the precondition for God. Because if reality was contigent on God, then it would mean that he would nessearily be outside of it and if God is outside of reality oopsies…. he cannot be real, he cannot be both immanetent nor transcendent if he was outside of reality,so that argument fails, reality is the primacy for everything, including your God if he existed.

      7. You do not understand the Biblical Worldview, which teaches a Creator – creature distinction. God acts within His creation, yet transcends it. He is the ultimate existence, not the contingent cosmos. In the non-biblical worldview you are taking for granted all there is is the cosmos. That being so, there is no final explanation for anything – which is why you have not even begun to give one!!

        Now it is time to stop taking potshots and actually engage the argument by stating your basis for logic, science, ethics, history, knowledge, truth, and a whole host of other things you are assuming without having a foundation for in your unbelief. Your avoidance of this task in favor of hit and runs on certain things you don’t like is evidence of rebellion. Let’s see how you do!

      8. there is the thing you dont understand when i refer to reality i dont just mean “the cosmos” i mean EVERYTHING that exists which would include your God if he was real. If God really did exist it would be impossible for him to be the ultimate existance due to the fact that he cannot exist unless reality (EVERTHING that exists which include both created and uncreated beings) first also the next post where i anwser the rest of your objections will be really long so i hope you dont mind a bit of waiting

      9. Paul I hadn’t quite mentioned, but as a Chinese there was one thing Tony forgot to do disclose: Lin Yu Tang became a Christian again later on in the final years of his life, long after he wrote book that Tony quoted. Enough said.

      10. Paul, And just to throw another potshot at Mr Jiang, Mozi, Confucius, Laozi, all believe an ultimate Creator God of the universe. None of them are atheists, in fact there had been no modern atheism until Marxism entered China just before the May Fourth movement. Mozi recognized an Creator who loves all people, so did Confucius and Laozi.

        Someone again hasn’t quite done his homework!

    4. Paul, no i didnt misunderstand you and your creature creator distinction, you were equivocating “universe” with “reality” those are two totally different things

      1. We are wasting our time here Tony. I wasn’t equivocating, I was providing you with the Creator – creature distinction and then I was GUESSING what you meant by “existence” since YOU HAVEN’T TOLD ME. And that continues o be the issue. You fail to provide your worldview!

        What do you believe “existence” is? You can’t say existence is what exists without dropping into inane tautology. What do YOU believe “reality” is?

        If you don’t set forth your worldview this conversation is useless.

  5. “The universe is winding to down to a state of disorder or maximum entropy. As you pointed out, “the universe will indeed reach a state of maximum entropy.” So,how did it get wound up? Based on the second law, it is physically impossible for it to have been wound up in the first place. The evolutionary model cannot explain this without suspending the second law of thermodynamics.”

    Okay, first of all this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the theory of evolution. Evolution is about one thing and one thing only: the mechanisms by which life diversifies over time AFTER it has been formed, and it doesn’t matter whether it initially forms naturalistically, or supernaturally. Evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with the origins of the universe, of cosmology, of abiogenesis, or any other area of study. So you aren’t even arguing against evolution right now, you’re arguing against cosmology. And I have already explained precisely why evolution does not in any way violate either law of thermodynamics, because they only apply to closed systems and neither the earth or individual cells are closed systems, they are open systems.

    Secondly, you seem to have a profound misunderstanding of what the term ‘law’ means in science. In science a law is not some kind of prescriptive tenet which applies under absolutely every possible condition conceivable; one need only look at Newton’s laws of motion and then attempt to apply them to relativistic conditions to see a scientific law break down. One need only try to apply Einstein’s theory of General Relativity to the quantum realm (or vice versa) to see a scientific law break down, thus requiring completely different laws to explain this new set of conditions. You are making a mistake if you simply assume a priori that the laws of thermodynamics will necessarily apply under all possible conditions, including conditions in which space and time themselves might not exist as we currently understand them. You are taking a set of scientific laws, which by definition need only apply to specific sets of circumstances, and then trying to extend them into conditions which are entirely alien to the universe as it currently exists.

    Ultimately, we do not yet know for certain what happened prior to the Planck Time of our universe, and scientists have absolutely no problem admitting that that is one puzzle which we have not yet managed to solve. However, that does not give people like you the right to insert some completely unfalsifiable unknown as the explanation. That is nothing more than a classic argument from ignorance fallacy: ‘Well, since you scientists can’t yet explain this, and we can’t think of a better explanation, therefore it must be a deity.’ If you can’t see why this is a completely fallacious form of reasoning then I have the feeling this is a complete waste of my time.

    “Why were”punctuated equilibrium” and “hopeful monster” theories introduced by reputable evolutionary scientists? Why did Darwin himself lament that discontinuity of species as a fundamental flaw in his theory?”

    They were derived in response to new information being discovered, and the concepts have subsequently been proven to be accurate, both by examining the fossil record and through direct observation under controlled settings. Population mechanics 101: in the absence of any selective pressures that drive the population to adapt or die off, and as long as the population is fitting into its environmental niche, natural selection will NOT cause the populations to change in any appreciable manner. This is pure common sense in addition to being proven fact. And your convenient quote mining of Darwin further shows your dishonesty here, because the fact that in Darwin’s time the fossil record with extremely incomplete, orders of magnitude more incomplete than it is now, and he admitted it, is NOT in any sense an argument against the modern fossil record. That is nothing but abject dishonesty on your part.

    “Anybody can line up fossils in whatever order they want and mindlessly post a wiki list. But the lists do not demonstrate common ancestry. The alleged transitional forms are based on fragmentary remains for which the placement in the supposed continuum is open to interpretation.”

    No they can’t, and yes it does demonstrate common ancestry, or else you are once again arguing for the deceitful trickster god. Your assertion is based on yet another completely false premise. The various forms of organisms as demonstrated by the fossil record are NOT lined up based on their appearance; this is in fact a secondary concern. What is important is not merely their appearance, but how old the fossils are. This is a crucial point, because as has been wittily been said on numerous occasions, it would be trivially simple to disprove evolution, simply find a single fossilized rabbit in the Pre-Cambrian and evolution is reduced to tatters in an instant. This has never once been done, and the age of the fossils as well as their appearance align perfectly with the predictions of the theory of evolution.

    And it is NOT open to interpretation, despite what dishonest creationists like to say. If you land on a planet around a distant star and you find the skeletons of a pair of six-legged aliens, both of which show clear signs of predation, the only conclusion that this evidence can validly support, at least in the absence of any other evidence, is that there exists at least one six-legged species, most likely herbivorous or the alien-equivalent of, on the planet and at least one carnivorous species. It can NOT be used to support the opposite conclusion that no six-legged species or carnivorous species exist on the planet. The exact same principle applies to the age and appearance of fossils supporting the theory which predicted that they should exist.

    “Furthermore, these variations in the list are almost always minor variations within a category and are useless when trying to show significant macro-evolutionary change the like the infamous Archaeopteryx hoax purported to be.”

    Okay, first of all, Archaeopteryx is NOT a hoax, you’re probably thinking of the ‘Archaeoraptor’ fiasco that happened ~13 years ago. Unlike Archaeoraptor, which was either a deliberate hoax or an honest mistake in which the bones of several dinosaurs fossilized together and were mistaken as a single animal, Archaeopteryx is a legitimate early avian dinosaur from the Jurassic for which there are multiple independent fossils of, and the funny thing is that roughly 50% of creationists will say that it is 100% dinosaur and the other 50% will say that it is 100% bird, the irony being that they are both right, because it is 100% both, because birds ARE dinosaurs. Secondly, you also have a misconception of what the word ‘macroevolution’ means. Macroevolution refers to the emergence of new species, as well as evolutionary changes over great periods of time above the species level. And saying that microevolution can occur but macroevolution cannot is first of all demonstrably false because we have witnessed it ourselves dozens of times, but it is essentially like saying that you can walk ten feet but you can’t walk ten miles. The only difference is the amount of time it takes.

    “It takes a tremendous amount of FAITH to believe that somebody’s lined up sequence of fossils that arguably demonstrate microevolution actually substantiates macroevolution!”

    It takes no faith whatsoever, because the very fact that this overwhelming amount of evidence exists by definition makes accepting that macroevolution DID in fact occur not a matter of faith, which is by definition believing something despite it not being supported by evidence.

    “BTW, there is an abundance of quotations from a myriad of reputable, dedicated, honest evolutionists and paleontologists that acknowledge the lack of transitional form evidence. Theories have been devised to explain this problem that date back to the Saltation theory of Darwin’s day up to modern times.”

    Really? Name a single one who is not either being profoundly taken out of context or connected to a creationist organization? And by the way, saltationism is no longer considered a scientific theory. And by the way, you also have to contend with the fact that even evangelical Christian scientists like Francis Collins have gone on public record grudgingly admitting that even if we had no fossil evidence whatsoever, the DNA evidence alone would still be more than enough to confirm common ancestry. As well as other Christian scientists like Kenneth Miller.

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