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Of Laws and Gods

May 18, 2009

Again I have found myself in debate with yet another YouTuber, again resulting in a rather long essay. This YouTuber is a Hydrogen fuel enthusiast and began slamming skepticism in general, with a strawman caricature of what skepticism really is. Here’s the clip. May it speak for itself:

I have responded to this on the comments page with the following:

Good grief.

You are calling yourself a skeptic in the ‘right’ measure or to the ‘right’ degree. How do you KNOW the right degree? At the beginning you scorn skeptics who doubt a various list of things including God. You point out (quite correctly) that we don’t know anything as certain fact and scorn skeptics with a strawman that Laws are written by people and so they are ‘our creation’. Sorry but they are only discovered by us. The laws are natures we obey them as a matter of necessity.

Natures laws are not like judicial laws.

Before long however you are talking about Jesus as if he and your freaking imaginary friend were just indisputable facts. MAN!! It’s not the so called “hard core’ skeptics that need to take a look at how to avoid making over confident knowledge claims, It’s faith heads with imaginary friends. Did you ever hear of Occam’s razor? You can dispute the second law of thermodynamics after you find evidence which contravenes it. That’s just how it works.

BTW I don’t know of any skeptics (hard core or otherwise) who pontificate as authoritatively as you do here, even though by the end, you begin to admit you have to accept the same deal and say ‘maybe I am wrong’. When you accept this however, it is clear that you are only talking about your interest in hydrogen fuel technology. You haven’t given a moments thought to the double standard that you accept your FAITH based beliefs as certain facts. You have shot your own foot with this crap.

Your wholesale presumption and arrogance presumably gives you license to pontificate that “One creator wrote down” all the laws of the universe at the beginning of time. “We are just witnesses to it” Pardon me? Who’s pontificating? When something is discovered about nature, we often find laws of nature which demonstrate necessity, and give rise to understanding of basic natural principals. You may be ignorant to the difference but we are learning rather inescapable understandings.

Apparently all you recognize of science is observation, and perhaps you hope that mainstream laws can be overthrown at a whim.

When you look at new ideas and contemplate how open minded you are, give a little thought for the skeptic who not only has an open mind to the idea itself, but also to alternative, the possibility that the idea is wrong. It isn’t only belief which makes us open minded it is also doubt. It is allowing evidence to speak for itself and truth to stand on it’s own merit.

If you believe ID hogwash, then it’s YOU who needs to look more carefully at a snowflake etc… You need to notice that these things are governed by natural laws, which don’t require supernatural creation to be explained. It is YOU who needs to think about what you are claiming by suggesting that God made this universe because he had MAGIC powers.

You need to notice how Goddidit doesn’t explain anything. How does the magic work? Nobody can explain. If they could it wouldn’t be magic would it?

For magic requires actions that just defy logic and reason. If your magical sky pixie can just blink and make something happen, then it sounds like a wonderful fairytale, but it doesn’t actually explain how it happens. You trash the very beautiful and hard earned scientific understanding of how snowflakes are formed, by revealing your personal ignorance of any such understanding and declare because you are lacking the knowledge to understand, that there must be a God to make snowflakes.

Don’t you realize that a God doesn’t provide any knowledge of how anything works, only a magical excuse to fill the gaps of real understanding.

I think you need to get out of YOUR high and mighty chair, take off YOUR pontificating crown of knowledge and realize that you can’t make your absolute assertion of fact that god exists, as if it were dependable knowledge, especially if you expect others to reserve some respect for uncertainty.

EletrikRide responds:

It’s not magic, its the Creator in action. The laws of chemistry, physics, kinetics and thermodynamics, etc. govern the process of forming a snowflake. You fail to realize that all of those disciplines exist solely because they were created (written), otherwise they would not exist. Deny it as you may, the truth exists independent of your personal beliefs.

And it is YOU who needs to continue to delve into the nature of this Universe. The deeper you dig, the more you will discover that all these natural phenomenon that you think to be random cannot possibly be so. One thing about God – your belief in Him is not required! He exists no matter HOW defiantly you continue to disbelieve. That’s why He is God. Your belief is desired, not required. You also RESERVE THE RIGHT to not believe. You should not be judged by other men for not believing!

Thank you! You just described in detail the reason why I support the views i do on hydroxy. I rely on what i have observed and recorded, not what someone has told me. then i post my results for all to view.

I know I’m in the right degree with one simple measure: I don’t troll around on you tube and on the net leaving nasty or vulgur comments, making rude unjustified personal attacks, or administering unprovoked character assassinations on a person’s character. I approach skepticism with an open mind and do my best to avoid the personal attacks that others indulge in so easily. Of course I am only human and sometimes I resort to these methods when attacked unjustly. I NEVER start these fights

Now i get it!! You don’t believe in God or Jesus. that is fine. You are allowed to believe what you will – as that is FREE WILL. And yes, I’m familiar with O.R. That is why for me, it is inescapable that God must and does exist. For you to disagree with that is fine, but for you to insult me for it is illogical and unjust. Also, I NEVER disputed the Law Of Thermodynamics. I dispute your personal understanding of it. You did NOT write that law!

There is NO double standard here. Only your inability to understand the message I’m conveying here. I cannot make it any more clear, so if you choose to reject my views, that is fine. But you are not in a position to criticize them until you actually understand what is being said first! In reading your posts, I think you are just desperately grasping for something to criticize me for. That is fine, but present a logical argument. This is not logical on your part as it stands.

Skepticoz Responds:

Don’t you realize that a God doesn’t provide any knowledge of how anything works, only a magical excuse to fill the gaps of real understanding.

I think you need to get out of YOUR high and mighty chair, take off YOUR pontificating crown of knowledge and realize that you can’t make your absolute assertion of fact that god exists, as if it were dependable knowledge, especially if you expect others to reserve some respect for uncertainty.

The last time I checked, that’s actually what skepticism actually is. The ability to reserve a margin of doubt, rather than absolute certainty.
I accept some things almost beyond a shadow of doubt, but only by reckoning their probability. In principal I accept that nothing is a completely watertight 100% certain fact, but then it just comes down to probability. If only you had a vague clue how improbable your primitive, barbaric, bronze age god Yahweh, of the dessert dwelling barbarians was.

EletrikRide Responds:

Your comments are slightly derogatory. I considered not approving them, but you bring up a good point despite your hate of open minded thinking. So I will entertain your thoughts despite your abrasiveness. Again, the evidence of the existence of God is all around. It’s 100% watertight. The problem lies with your inability to see it, not His ability to reveal it. The burden of proof is NOT on God. after all, he MADE you. He is not MY God, He is OUR God.

I have no pontificating crown, nor high chair. I’m only presenting the truth, in that I never said I think I’m better than you. In fact, I don’t. It is obvious, however, that you do think you are somehow better than me. That is evident in your previous insult. Despite your disdain, I will not be changing my view on this.

God provides all the knowledge and proof of anything and everything He has created. You choose to ignore it, then accuse Him of not disclosing. That is not fair.

What we see in the last comments above is the fervent, stubborn, refusal to view another persons point of view from their own angle and the obstinate insistence of pushing a personal worldview upon others. No, the burden of proof is not on God Thats for sure.If god doesn’t exist it couldn’t possess any burden of proof. The debate is between two mortals. One of them is making claims about the existence of a creator God. And the burden of proof is always on the claimant. You claim X, you prove X. I only note EletrikRide’s attempt to shift the burden of proof away from himself.

“He is not MY God, He is OUR God.” WTF?? Sorry pall. He’s a sick twisted imaginary delusion infecting your mind. I denounce he exists and repudiate the concept you call the holy ghost. Just keep your sick stinking delusions to yourself.

The following is the response I wrote in answer to the response I received from my first comments.

“I know I’m in the right degree with one simple measure: I don’t troll around on you tube and on the net leaving nasty or vulgur comments, making rude unjustified personal attacks, or administering unprovoked character assassinations on a person’s character.”

Good Boy!! I think you deserve an elephant stamp and a gold star, for your wonderful good behavior. But ah.. Umm.. How exactly does that help determine the degree of plausibility, in any idea you have adopted or rejected, or more to the point the degree you should require? I will take that as a glib failure to attend to the point.

“Now i get it!! You don’t believe in God or Jesus. that is fine. You are allowed to believe what you will – as that is FREE WILL.”

Yes but, if you look at you clip again, you may realize that your whole argument rests on a designer god. I am not just randomly stating my disbelief. Whether I believe in any god or not isn’t even relevant. The fact is that YOU DO, and it is your claim that God writes natural laws which allows you extend authoritative credence to the idea that they can some how be disregarded.

“And yes, I’m familiar with O.R. That is why for me, it is inescapable that God must and does exist.”

Then you are being negligent with your reasoning skills.

“For you to disagree with that is fine, but for you to insult me for it is illogical and unjust.”

Can’t see what you are taking offense at. but of course taking offense, it’s a fine art for creationists, so maybe I don’t see the subtle points in it.

“Also, I NEVER disputed the Law Of Thermodynamics. I dispute your personal understanding of it. You did NOT write that law!”

Well I never said you did dispute it. You used it as an example of a law which should not be used to declare something impossible. I simply pointed out that if it can be disputed, it must be done with evidence. My comprehension of thermodynamics was never in contention either, until right now. If you want a debate about who is a better authority, then you are debating like a ten year old schoolboy. GROW UP. If I make a mistake in my interpretation of thermodynamics, THEN you can pull me up and correct me. The general complaint that nobody can use laws in debate, unless they have the authority of having written them is absolutely moronic.

For starters thermodynamics is an entire area of physics with numerous laws. I suspect you are referring to the second law of thermodynamics, because it is the mother of all laws for defining limits on physical dynamics. You have a very naive perspective if you think that conscious beings (people or gods), “writing down” a law as you put it, is what makes it real, or if you think that only the being who creates the law can dictate when or how it must be enforced.
Laws of nature do not require sentient beings to exist for them to be obeyed. They are not created when somebody comes along and writes them down. They exist in nature and are independent of the human endevors which discover them. The laws as they are written, are descriptions of circumstances in which particular cause and effect relationships are either impossible or inevitable. They describe predictable results.

As such, laws can and do describe what is or isn’t possible, at least to the degree that we have them right. If we have to adjust our understanding of the laws, then that needs to be demonstrated empirically with good evidence. At which point we have an anomaly, until we can find a logically watertight set of laws, which cover all of the evidence. The laws are written, to describe the logically sound boundaries of behavior in nature.

Whenever you propose a system in physics and a critic points out a particular law, which contravenes the workings of the proposed system, it will either be that the law doesn’t apply, the system won’t work or the law is wrong. In the case of the last one, you had better check it out because discovering anomalies in natural laws, can lead to fantastic discoveries and Nobel prizes etc…

If the law doesn’t apply, you make a refutation based on that. But to cry foul because your critic didn’t write the laws, and because you think you should be exempt from natural laws on the grounds of an opponents lack of authority is just silly. To claim a higher power exists and that nobody can tell you that laws have to be obeyed because that person didn’t write the laws and that your imaginary sky daddy is the “only authority of the verifiability of the laws of the universe” well that is just patently absurd.

The only reason we can consider something a law, is because it CAN be verified. The only authority on verifiability of the laws of the universe, that we know of and can say exists, it the entire scientific establishment, including research facilities, peer review journals, academic science, mathematics, science historians and philosophers science and reason etc, etc… There is no single authority in other words.

“You TOTALLY missed the spirit of the message I was trying to convey. You just hate it when someone presents a logical arguement that defies your hatred of this technology.. I’m sorry it is to much for you to handle. Too bad your mind is closed.”

NO! I TOTALLY got the whole thing. YOU are so TOTALLY off beam it is unbelievable. I was searching the net (with my completely open mind) looking information to understand how plausible the hydrogen technology may be. When did I ever say that I dispute the validity of hydrogen fuel, let alone HATE it. WTF?!!! If that is how easily you jump to conclusions then no wonder you believe in magical sky pixies.

“It’s not magic, its the Creator in action.”

So you think perhaps supernatural creation doesn’t contradict the way in which nature is understood to work. Or you don’t understand that when an event is supposed to in actual fact, violate laws of nature that this is supernatural. The Christian God of the Bible is manifestly supernatural and creation is considered to be a miraculous, supernatural event.

Whether you like the word ‘magic’ or not, that is precisely what is being proposed and regardless of what you call it, it doesn’t explain anything. You don’t seem to have a very firm grasp on causality and necessity. When a phenomenon is understood, it means we can establish it within a mesh of cause and effect relationships. Things don’t just happen because they are allowed to, or because they feel like it. They happen because they simply must under given circumstances. When we discover a law of nature it is this necessity that is described.

“The laws of chemistry, physics, kinetics and thermodynamics, etc. govern the process of forming a snowflake.”

You’re damn right they do, and theres no grounds to supose that anything other than natural causality is at the heart of it.

“You fail to realize that all of those disciplines exist solely because they were created (written), otherwise they would not exist.”

‘Laws’ and ‘disciplines’ are two separate things. Disciplines are founded to study areas of knowledge; knowledge, which in science is taken from nature. The laws are relationships in cause and effect, which can not be logically avoided. Nobody creates this law, this relationship in nature; it is discovered and found to be necessary to maintain logical consistency with other evidence and laws. Disciplines are man made (or though nature preempts them) whereas, laws are immutable natural artifacts of the universe.

“And it is YOU who needs to continue to delve into the nature of this Universe.”

NO! I am sorry. Again it is you who seems unable to distinguish precept from concept and abstract from concrete. I’ll thank you not to bestow upon me the appalling limitations of your grotesque little perspective.

“The deeper you dig, the more you will discover that all these natural phenomenon that you think to be random cannot possibly be so.”

So here we have the emphatic crescendo to the shrill heights of absolute certainty, accompanied by total authoritative statement of that which can be declared impossible. “Can not possibly be so”?!! What are you thinking? You haven’t established that with any logical inference. The best you could possibly have is a personal lack of comprehension of how it could be explained any other way than your naive creation myth.
Because you don’t posses the imagination to contemplate or understand any natural explanation, you just throw up your hands and say ‘goddidit’. This is sometimes known as the argument from personal incredulity. Not only that, but you state it with the same emphatic certitude, that you deride those nasty ‘negative skeptics’ for having when they endorse a law of nature to declare what is necessary or impossible.
That is the absolute height of hypocrisy. It is the unbreachable bounds of ridiculous absurdity and incredulity, to claim particular laws of nature are not known to a degree that makes them practically certain and to claim that a fantastic creation myth from middle eastern bronze age, is a necessary fact, because you can’t see how any natural explanation of things like snow flakes is possible without a supernatural deity.

You yourself are being negatively skeptical (if there ever was such a thing) about the laws of nature, their intrinsic inviolability as well as their inevitable consequences, and yet here you are emphatically declaring absolute certainty about something as absurd as anything ever could be.

I’ll explain it again A) Just because you can’t see how nature might be self contained with a logical explanation for all natural things, doesn’t mean that a supernatural deity needs to exist. It may just be that there is a natural explanation thay you simply don’t comprehend. B) God doesn’t explain anything anyway. The explanation only imposes an even larger assumption on the situation. That assumption is that a supernatural god exists, who has supernatural powers, and provides supernatural explanations which we don’t understand the workings of. It’s an assumption that this being A) exists B)created even then it is devoid of causative explanation, since nobody knows the details in Gods methods.

Where did I ever give the impression that I believe natural phenomena to be random anyhow? Again we see vestiges of your own impoverished imagination, because you simply lack the education or insight, to see the interconnectedness of all these phenomena. You must think that, if there is no creator god, then the relationship between things and what makes them necessary is void or unaccounted for. In some cases a cause may presently be unaccounted for, but when we discover something new, it is never in isolation, it is with respect to many other phenomena. It is connected with causal elements and so hold it to a sensible place within nature.

The story of nature is anything but random. You started your clip out mentioning the laws of thermodynamics. This is a good example of cause and effect relationships which are very far from random. Take the back off a television (after unplugging it), and have a look in there. The box of electronic gizmo’s, obey very very very, precise laws of electronics, which as it happens, couldn’t help but do whatever each of them do. Yes they are designed by people but they work entirely by natural principals which are entirely out of our hands. We may design resistors and capacitors etc, but we don’t design Ohms law for instance. OK I suspect you want to intervene here and suggest that these laws are put there by God. Right? Well that’s just it, these laws are inevitable. They happen because they must. When you understand such a basic law, you should also see how it is not possible to avoid under the relevant conditions.

That is why your TV is so predictable, the laws being obeyed by electrons in the circuits do not alter. Even when the TV breaks, it is because wear and tear is a natural situation and the laws are still being obeyed but the circumstances have changed. Heat must always conduct from the warmer to the cooler body. It’s not because person wrote it down on a piece of paper. If you think thats what laws are you simply don’t get it ol’ boy. A law such as that, existed when and wherever heat was first conducted in nature, and continued without fail ever since.

If you can not see this inevitability in the laws of nature, then I guess that is where you claim without god there could only be randomness. Well I do in fact see how some inevitable relationships in nature are determined by cause and effect. I am not bending over backwards to see these things and I am not deluded. NO! Many many many things, do not require anybody to intervene so that they may behave predictably Lawfully in fact. I have no need to invoke a supernatural creator to understand why heat must conduct from a warm body to a cooler one. It is simple. Heat is energy. Heat is the positive value, and the the lack of it cant propagate. Heat may dissipate, but the relative coolness simply emerges in situ from the lack of heat.

A fair part of what atheist/skeptics find annoying about the religious/paranormal mindset, is the limitations of ignorance they are willing to bestow on others who explore nature and find truth. They are so willing to contradict that truth and assume the other guy is as naive about nature as they are. Then they go on to imagine that their hair brained unreasoned fallacies of supernatural fantasy, are also valid reasonable facts, because in some vague, childish, ‘just so’ way, however implausible, they explain a little something “like how the elephant got his trunk” etc.., to a regressive irrational mind with no reasoning skills.

I fully realize what you are saying when you look around you and say ‘look at all this’ and how ‘could it be so?’… It really is a noble and worthy question you pose and you are right to ask it. Don’t think that I don’t understand the wonder of the natural world you call creation. It is people who have gone deep enough to find interconnectedness generalizations and principals of law that explain how it not only might be so, but how it (or some of it) must be so; these are the minds to which you need to at least pay heed, if not ultimate respect. When you scoff at the imperfection of mans knowledge, it is not being done with a retrospective understanding of how far that knowledge goes. You clearly do not posses a map of where the perimeters of that knowledge is.

At the same time you profess to know the why-fors and where-fors of a sentient being, on who’s behalf you do profess to speak, when you claim that ‘only he can know all of this’. Now surely you must have some tiny inkling of how presumptuous you sound. While you pay quite fair accord to the fallibility of human knowledge, you seem to expect an exemption slip for your own personal beliefs. Those beliefs are as arbitrary and based on philosophical whim as anything man has devised. I do appreciate why you think they are honored with evidence that you find convincing. Yet still that does not warrant elevation to absolute fact.

If I had to name a fact in this whole universe which I had to stake my life on; a fact that if it were correct in the truest sense, I would survive and If it were false I would perish; I would be happy to name the second law of thermodynamics. Not only that, it would be my first choice. Eddington puts a fine point on it with this:

“If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington,

Now. If on the other hand, I had to choose a widespread belief, which would be somehow confirmed as absolutely true or false in the truest sense of a foolproof confirmation, and I had to nominate one that was categorically false, on pains of the same perish or prevail conditions as the previous test, I would again, happily nominate the deistic belief in supernatural creation.

Now suppose for instance, my inquisitor, may not be happy with this choice because, perhaps I might have to specify something more specific. It may be the loch-ness monster or the efficacy of tarot cards for instance, or the Creator had to be named by a particular religion. I would then unhesitatingly nominate the Christian creator. It might be tempting to nominate Allah, just because I consider that one a bit more violent and sadomasochistic. But since it isn’t a popularity contest but one which depends upon (im/)probability I would pick Yahweh, simply because I am more familiar with the Bible as well as doctrinal details and therefore have more information with that god, to make confident Judgment. Any creator god would do, but Yahweh, might give me a fraction of a percent more advantage. I don’t need so much advantage over the other gods though, that it would improve my tranquil nights sleep.

If a supernatural god was necessary, then the second law of thermodynamics wouldn’t be. The problem for god is in actual fact, it is the second law that was discovered and not god. You say that you have discovered god because you also proclaim that “he” is necessary. The problem with that is, to back that up, you keep appealing to the magnificence of nature and how the splendid artifacts of nature bear witness to marvels that could only be explained by supposing that a god does in fact exist. Otherwise you may proclaim, the universe would be without it’s causal agent. The evidence we see would be impossible. Is that a fair paraphrasing of your position?

What’s wrong with this position? Plenty. For starters you began your clip, decrying the power of mere mortals to state that anything is impossible including ESP Telekinesis God etc… You called people who do such things ‘negative skeptics’ which of course has a derogatory connotation. Even though I have never met a skeptic with such forceful conviction of certainty or doubt, I see that you have since boldly an emphatically declared that the existing evidence is impossible without there being a god. You personally cant see how it could be possible, so you are entitled above any other mortal, to declare the situation impossible, despite your shrill, overbearing imposition that declaring the impossibility of ideas can not and must not be done.

By your reckoning God just gets a free pass. If you cant understand something then goddidit. No where do I see you consider supernatural creation as provisional truth that must pass muster. You have been congratulating yourself as ‘open minded’ and slandering me as closed minded, yet right from the outset, you introduced your God (not just a hypothetical, generic deity, but JC, The Spook and Big Daddy the three and only), as if it were just undeniable fact that nobody even questions.

It’s quite obvious that you are not only convinced that god exists, but that you are incapable of constructing a reasoned thought which doesn’t A) assume that god exists and B) depend upon that gods existence for it’s validity (circular reasoning). All you have delivered for reason so far, is the argument from personal incredulity. That is: ‘I can’t believe things could be this way’ or ‘I don’t understand how things could work like this’; therefore: ‘there must be a god who’s (inexplicable) powers fix it, so that the marvelous things I cant explain are all accounted for’.
But this is completely absurd.

You don’t explain how you reach this inescapable conclusion, that the evidence which you deem to be impossible by any other means, actually IS impossible without a creator. You are long on rhetoric and short on logical reasoning. Even then, you don’t explain how it is, that by supposing there is a God, we can get past the problems you imagine we have in explaining the world naturally. On top of that, you don’t acknowledge that even if God were a viable explanation for this perceived discrepancy, that it doesn’t go without saying that there could not be some other explanation. You seem to have reached a conclusion by instantly arriving there. No reasoning by deductive syllogisms along the way, just !POOF! Hey – I KNOW!! It must be God that did it.

When I contemplate a god, for starters it is a hypothetical being (that should go without saying but still); I imagine a being which has miraculous powers and if there is something in the universe that might be unfathomable, I suppose that such a god can make sense of it because it is a higher being. But if a god were to actually allow blatantly irrational and inexplicable things into nature and the realm of human observation, it would mean that god was contravening the very same immutable laws which that god has provided. It means god permits paradox and lawlessness in nature. Of course I cant help it if it’s true, but it apparently isn’t.

So. Supernatural powers are anathema to understanding how the natural world works because they actually contradict natural laws. It is because we do have some understanding of natures principals, which has been developed and described as laws, that we can point out many events or relationships in nature which would be impossible according to our best understanding. If a god (like a magician) were to perform an apparently supernatural act, it might still be a lawful natural act, but one we have yet to understand. Supernatural creation however, is the explicit claim by religions that God performed miracles to make the universe along with many other miracles. As it is proposed by the doctrines of Christianity, concepts of heaven, hell, the fall and miraculous redemption, death and resurrection etc etc… are all metaphysical concepts, transcending our physical natural world and having independence from nature.

In any case. I have to note that a miracle working God, is as fanciful and implausible as any child’s fairytale story. As you may rightfully point out, I cant definitely say any such things as ‘serpent never spoke’ or ‘a man never walked on water’. But I can say that these things are implausible beyond the darkest shadows of insanity. The definition of a miracle depends on violation of natural law. As I have yet to discover anything that violates natural law, I have to Go with Hume’s Maxim:

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless that testimony be of such a kind, that it’s falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact which it endeavors to establish.

On the other hand, as I explained earlier, the necessity of natures laws is what makes them inviolate. Hedging bets is one way to reckon your heading, but you will get extra points, if you have found a seemingly inescapable conclusion. Of course we don’t KNOW EVERYTHING, but we cant just contradict everything that we DO know, with reasonable confidence. We cant whimsically throw out the very conclusions which as yet, seem to be logically watertight. A story with demons, angels, spirits and magical beasts, of many kind aught to raise a few brows of credulity.

To proclaim without explanation of some reason, that the existing state of natural world is too irrational and implausible to be logically consistent and it must have some explanation quite apart from the interwoven laws of nature, which describe a mesh of interconnected mutually consistent and necessary relationships, is a strange thing. Given that they impart understanding upon the minutest atom and the furtherest galaxy; understandings upon which we depend for our lives, not just when we board a Boeing 747, or cross a footbridge, but for our food chain, our utilities, power, water, technology, practically everything that makes modern life possible. NO of course we don’t understand anything about nature, it is all just fanciful dreaming and wishful thinking that’s all it is. Laws are only the musings of bored, half crazy scientist, arranging letters they have pulled out of their alphabet soup.

What we need to make the silly, irrational, inexplicable impossible natural world more plausible even 100% logically watertight, is a few dozen angels, some demons to frighten us, a couple of miraculous destructions of the world population, (a flood would be nice), A devil to drink, sing and dance with and big scary God to threaten us with infinite torture in a place called Hell, if we don’t choose (with our free will) to believe he exists and obsequiously fawn over him, compulsively worshiping him, day and night. To make it more convincing, he had better also have a son who is also God himself, who he can send to Earth, so he can make himself die on a cross, sacrificing himself to himself (but not really because he will come back), to pay for some sin which he didn’t commit but which we are all blamed for, that was committed when the first man lived in a garden with a magical tree and a woman who came from his rib was tricked by a talking serpent, into eating some fruit from the magic tree, which got them kicked out of the garden.

Now isn’t the second law of thermodynamics, just so damn Silly? I might point out that the problem you have, with accepting skeptical denouncements of what is possible, based on the second law (the law of thermodynamics as you put it), has more to do with your own denouncement of a plausible, natural, explanation of the universe than you might think. In both cases, the parties are convinced that some particular claim can not be true.

In the case of the second law, it is a concise law about mathematically precise definition of the limit to possibilities within a closed system. It states that the ‘entropy of a closed system, can not decrease’. That just means if no energy or information can get into or out of a system, then it can never become more ordered or energized. This puts the mother of all nails in the coffin of perpetual motion machines. I have no reason to suspect that it applies to hydrogen fuels. I am not trying to discredit that. Just so you know.

In the other case, that of your astonishment at the whole natural world, I can only intuitively speculate it is somewhat based on how organized and purposeful everything is, animals, ecosystems, the whether, the unbelievable level of interaction, the complexity, the infinitesimal and astronomical scales from one magnitude to the other. Some people think the more science reveals the more unfathomable and well… unaccountable the universe seems. If there is nothing controlling it how does it manifest this magnificent panoply of orchestrated behavior? Why would it have to develop delicate tissues with cells and, their individual machinery more complex than a typical human factory, but packed in the millions on the head of a pin. Why So many species of animal? Why stars?

It is an understandable question, but it does have good, rational, natural answers, for the inquirer with the open mind. Our astonishment with the amazing organization of the universe, is similar to the skeptic complaint based on the second law, if you think about it. We may think of the universe as a closed system, and note that our possible disbelief at the amount of organization, is like the prohibition on order (organization/ information/energy) increasing in a closed system. There are a few important distinctions we should make though:

  • The second law postulates a hypothetical idealized system for reasoning purposes.
  • The second law reduces to mathematical axioms that are inevitable and mathematically proven.
  • The real universe is complex but messy. Making generalizations from first principals is packed with pitfalls.
  • One is a precise and inviolate corner stone of physics, the other is an illconcieved whine, derived from unpersued knowledge and the resulting naivety.

In the real universe we really do find an amazing degree of order and organization. But the second law doesn’t prohibit order or mandate chaos, it only prohibits the order or energy from increasing, even then, only if the system is closed. It doesn’t assume the levels of energy or order were low to begin with either. So it turns out that my intuition about the second law as principal applied to the real universe, is not so helpful.

Surprising though, how similar the demand for a justification of order/organization in the universe is to the previously scorned second law, forbidding increased order/organization albeit in more precise conditions. Your failed proof of God really depends on a half-baked irrelevant, bastardization of the very same second law, which you began your clip discrediting. The universe may be considered closed (by some cosmological models), but there are abundant reserves of energy through out the universe.

What of the complexity and purposefulness of nature though? What of the intricate and astronomical? There are many great wonders which we might assume need to be hand crafted or mandated by a higher mind. But as I have been trying to say for some time. The laws we see in nature are found to be necessary. There is nothing illogical in this. Discoveries in science are more often than not mandated by predictions arising from previous discoveries. Each link in the causal chain fits into a unique niche and regularly explains something that can no longer be considered arbitrary or speculative.

The mesh of interrelated facts, that must not contradict and must satisfy Occam’s Razor are not what some people might imagine of science. To some it’s as if scientists just go up to a lucky dip box and pull out an unrelated surprise. A gift they can use without understanding how it got there. I don’t know if you are getting the metaphor of the chain mesh links, but consider a puddle of water. We dont look at a puddle of water in a field and declare “Wow! look at that, god made that puddle just the right shape to fit that ditch” It turns out that the law reflects a reality that just HAS to be the way it is

However you may express disbelief and declare of impossibility at what you regard as implausible. Even if you were right, that nature can not account for this or that phenomenon, then it only means that we are short of a good explanation of it for the time being. That is nothing like exercising the weapons of mass assumption, called religion. To illustrate that your own demonstration of calling ‘goddidit’ is a convenient ‘just so’ story, I note that you didn’t just invoke a generic idea of deity, but made a specific claim that Jesus Christ was the only one who could determine ‘the infallibility of the laws’ or something similar. Well that says a lot.

Apart from the possible infallibility of natural laws before the time of Jesus being born, I would also like to know how you got FROM: ‘I am absolutely certain there is a god, because I cant understand some things about nature’ TO: ‘The Christian God of the Bible is the one I am certain about’? You certainly didn’t pause to point that out. It must be just another Christian moment in which your dogmatic certainty reaches a new shrill height of presumptive hypocrisy.

You seem to believe you have a god given right to declare absolute certainty in anything that you believe and say. It’s incredible man. You are an international treasure. Even the most hard line fundamentalists nut jobs I debate, at least have the humility to to acknowledge that their faith based beliefs, are not certain facts of objective reality. The reason I called you out in the first place, is that you gave yourself up. You put forth the negative claim that others cant make negative claims. Certain knowledge of the “law of thermodynamics” was more or less precluded by extension that that nothing it predicts could be used to denounce any examples of it’s violation. Now it is a absolute No-No of epistemology to denounce absolute knowledge in any absolute sense. It is hypocrisy because the denouncement itself is an absolute claim. I can’t say ‘It is an absolute fact that absolute facts are impossible to be divulged. Otherwise how could I divulge the absolute fact that this was true? It is a self defeating argument. The same is true with your negative claim against skepticism.

There seems to be a class of mind which needs to have and hold absolute certainty at all costs. If there are any doubt’s or gaps they must be filled with anything at all costs. However absurd a miracle wielding sky pixie is, it is orders of magnitude more satisfying that having to say Hmmm?? I’m not sure about that. For the skeptic doubt uncertainty and admitting what you don’t know go hand in hand with intellectual honesty.

The religious mind also seems to have trouble grasping the related ideas of supernatural , miracle , magical , and impossible. Miracles are not considered impossible, and the supernatural is just another realm where a complete alternative set of logically consistent laws exist but they override natural ones. Supernatural events are allowed to come crashing through to the realm of nature and contradict the working systems of natural epistemology. Even better, you can assume that one of these events occurred/occurs when confronted with any situation you cant comprehend/explain. You have rational reasons when you can afford to hedge a bet on them, otherwise anything goes with the supernatural God of the portable goal posts.

People of this mindset, need to understand that magic IS supernatural, and miracles could only be classed as such if they violate fundamental laws of nature. Events which are permitted by nature are natural and don’t belong to the class of events called supernatural, or magical. Since reasoning and empirical inquiry are confined to the natural realm, the understandings we build are within nature the evidence presented is within nature and the establishment of events and laws outside of nature (supernatural), by definition, require the catastrophic overthrow of some natural laws. A true perpetual motion machine for example would have to be supernatural and a contradiction of a law which is in principal irrefutable. I am brave enough to say that it wont happen because it cant. Knowledge is built out of what we can logically say is true. Logic and reason cant endorse supernatural claims, because they are founded on contradictions of nature. They wouldn’t be supernatural if they weren’t. Contradictions of nature, contradict the very system wrought with logic and reason.

The real reason for religious thinking, is absolutely and categorically NOT because it makes logical sense. The typical religious mind is somewhat behind the eight ball on critical thinking skills. We all have different talents, but rational mindedness and logic are not the forte of the religious ‘thinker’. As social company, one can only hope they cook well, ‘put out’ well or at least have a well stocked liquor cabinet. The cause of the rational paralysis, is easy to spot and the motive is totally dominated by emotion.

Most religious people are indoctrinated in their youth before they have developed much critical thinking skill (if any). The effects are as obvious as the nose on your face. You were brought up in the western world, possibly with Christian parents, relatives or friends. What religion do you practice? OH! Christianity Hmmm! What a surprise. Now take a look at Abdul over there in Iraq. What religion do you think he practices? Well his parents, friends and relatives are probably Muslim, so I doubt he is a Rastafarian.
In recent years communications and transport are allowing more rapid radiation of religion, but it is obvious that in the past Gods were precisely as isolated as their worshipers. A just and fair God would not be racist and remain on one land mass. A God who can create an entire universe, with billions and billions of galaxies and has omnipotence and omnipresence, but who can’t seem to escape the deserts of the Middle East.

If I were asked to specify at a bare minimum what we should expect from a God with out being to demanding of forward proof and miracle stuff, it would be this. The humble provision of equal access and revelation to all cultures on the planet. Any God which had managed this, would have stood out as a clear favorite for a candidate as the obvious choice of one true God. A book that came out thousands of years ago, in China, Japan, and The Middle East, as well as other places, telling the very same story as closely as possible, within translation limits, and heralding the words of some God, well that would be very impressive. Especially if most of the cultures had remained in complete isolation from each other up to that time.
This reasonable expectation, would not even expect God to perform any miracles. Even Jesus could have sailed a boat out to sea and delivered his message to other cultures.

It is preposterous that where you happen to be born effects not only what religious beliefs you hold dear, but also which ones you are even exposed to. Yet this is what happens. Religious minds cleave to the beliefs of their parents, families and friends. Many are raised from the cradle to adopt primitive beliefs as tradition or cultural expectation. How can ‘what you believe’ be imposed upon you?

People believe this crud, because they are scared of dieing and being as they are, indoctrinated with the emotional blackmail of hell and false promise of heaven and because they have no mastery of critical thinking and Occam’s Razor, they don’t know quite how to assess plausibility or parsimony. The consolation prize is economy pack with wishful thinking and confirmation bias, and so they take that, and avoid anything that shakes their foundations.

They are also swooned by Christianity with the attractiveness of being able to think they can unburden their conscience , because all their sins will be forgiven. Pity that when they adopt this particular belief it is also accompanied with a belief that everybody is guilty of original sin. So people who want nothing to do with this absurd belief are also dragged into the believers fantasy and blackened with stigma for uncommitted vicarious sin. Nice way to throw disbelievers under the bus, while you run for the cover of forgiveness. It is the people you have wronged that you need to EARN forgiveness from, not you imaginary friend who lets you off the hook.

I won’t even start on the horrendous injustice and contaminated moral vacuum of Christian morally, but how obvious is the ‘too good to be true’ sales pitch, if you are told you will live forever, and that you sins can be washed off in a cloying emotional love fest of rapture. and all God wants ever so disparately is for you to believe in him. If there’s one thing that pisses God off, is that some people might not believe in him. That should be all the more reason for him to travel abroad but No!

Another smoking gun of religious rationality, is this ceaseless appeal that everybody needs to believe. How crazy does it seem that you can be expected to make a conscious choice to decide a particular set of claims is true. Notice they don’t ask you to assess the claims they present and decide for yourself how plausible you estimate them to be. NO!! that would be thinking rationally. “We want you to actually believe it” they would say and “God wants you to believe it” Why are they so desperate? I don’t go about deciding that I can consciously will myself to believe something. I don’t think that even makes any psychological sense. It does however demonstrate a prerequisite for the mindset predisposed to wishful thinking. If you can ‘will’ yourself to believe, then you can ‘believe’ whatever you will.

Notice that this is standard practice in Christian circles, as well as other religions too no doubt. A mind that cant estimate plausibility and think with rational accumen, is destined to push the buttons that give the easiest rewards. “God gives us free will” they keep telling us, “So we can decide between sin and virtue” Belief in the Christian God, comes complete with this moral dichotomy and tells the story of pure evil on on hand and pure goodness and love on the other. Freewill is defined as a moral predicate, but the appropriate choice is a no brainer. What is true on facts about how the universe came to be and the origin of humans, is not a moral choice, as guilt laden as some Christians want it to be. It is a matter of fact and that is that. Reaching the correct conclusion, will depend on relative probability according to empirical evidence, not on a struggle for your mortal soul at the behest of bleeding hearts, who want you divorced from free thought, paralyzed from reason and controlled by pure emotional impulse.

Another video that is worth seeing on the prevarications of emotional pleading and playing the hurt feelings card is this one. It’s one of my all time favorites:


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