Does God Exist? - Battle Royale VII - Bob Enyart vs. Zakath

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Zakath

Resident Atheist
Zakath's Post #4

Zakath's Post #4

Does Truth Exist?
As I stated in my previous post, I concede that truth, as Pastor Enyart defined it, exists. As I agree with his definition, for the purposes of this discussion, I see little need to continue to belabor the point.

Absolute Right and Absolute Wrong
With his question about absolute right and absolute wrong, Pastor Enyart appeared to be working very hard at setting up the Argument from Values. Simply stated, this argument is an axiological argument claiming that certain human values have universal existence outside of the human mind. To successfully use this argument he must prove that what he defines as absolute values come outside the human race. As you might imagine, this is a very weak argument consisting primarily of yet another assertion that "God did it" without being able to provide mutually acceptable evidence for the extra-human presence of any moral value. To deal with this argument, I suggested that Pastor Enyart should provide examples of both absolute right and absolute wrong as well as describing the superhuman standard upon which these concepts are based.

Failing in his first purpose, Pastor Enyart now falls back to the more tested Moral Argument. This presents the universality of a human "moral conscience" as evidence of a moral deity. Unfortunately, Pastor Enyart only seems to know two examples of actions that he claims demonstrate absolute values: the "crimes of rape and murder". I would agree that, in the society in which we both live, both rape and murder are crimes; and are viewed that way by many societies. The weakness in his argument lies in issue that for moral statements to be absolute they must they appeal to a superhuman standard; something beyond the human race. What we are trying to get to here is why Pastor Enyart claims that any action is absolutely right or wrong.

When asked to provide the moral standard upon which he bases his absolute moral systems, he suggests the human conscience. Instead of providing a standard outside of humanity, a requirement for acts to be considered absolute, he appeals to human conscience as the source of his absolute moral standard. I would concur that human conscience, in some form or other, exists in the vast majority of the human race; the possible exception to that rule being sociopaths or psychotics. The problem with Pastor Enyart's argument is that human conscience is not absolute. Thus his alleged absolute moral standards are still based upon relativistic human standards. History has shown time and again that humans can and do justify murder, rape, and any number of horrible acts against their fellow creatures while following their conscience. Men and women followed their conscience when they enslaved black Africans in the United States for hundreds of years. Men and women follow their conscience when they make themselves into human bombs to kill their enemies today in the Middle East. Men and women following their conscience have throughout the centuries practiced genocide, and the rape and pillage of war.

I suggest that the subjective nature of human conscience, shaped and molded to a great extent by the society in which one is raised and educated, is not support for an allegedly absolute moral code.

Pastor Enyart and the God of the Gaps
Pastor Enyart's last two arguments, deal with origins. He picks current areas of gaps in scientific knowledge and then asks anyone to whom he presents this argument to provide an explanation. He tasks me with explaining precellular organic life, the origin of consciousness, and the ultimate origin of the physical universe. To all these questios, I provide an honest answer of, "Well, science really doesn't know yet and neither do I." He then trots out his tried and true religious reply, "Well then, God did it." Limiting God to the gaps in human knowledge produces an entity that is, rather tongue in cheek, referred to as the God of the Gaps.

His method follows an argument that has been posed by religious leaders from the dawn of human time. The argument might go something like this…
  • Religious Leader: "Can you explain why the sun moves across the sky?"
    Lay Person: "Well, no."
    Religious Leader: "Then it must be God, riding his sun chariot."


    Lay Person: "Why did my crops sicken and die?"
    Religious Leader: "Do you have any rational explanation?"
    Lay Person: "Well, there's this black fuzzy growths on the grain heads…"
    Religious Leader: "Well how did that black fuzzy stuff get there?"
    Lay Person: "I don't know. I just sort of showed up…"
    Religious Leader: "God is responsible for many of the unexplained events in our lives. Perhaps you've angered God somehow. Maybe you should come down to the temple and offer a sacrifice to appease the deity…"

… And so it goes; century after century, human culture after culture. The same arguments were used by the priests of ancient Greece to explain their gods and goddesses. Because there was not yet a rational, scientific way to explain thunder and lightning, they became tools of Zeus. The volcano became the forge of Hephaestus. The frenzy and irrationality associated with war became the province of Ares; the fecundity and fertility of the land, the work of Demeter. For hundreds of years king, clergy, and commoner alike used these and other gods and goddesses to fill the gaps in human knowledge with an answer "God did it." Yet over the following centuries, every one of these gods and goddesses withered to irrelevancy as human knowledge removed the need for them to explain what turned out to be natural events.

Today some people, like my opponent, still seek to fill the gaps in human knowledge with their deities. To them, I have one reminder – human knowledge of the natural universe grows, seemingly inexorably. The gaps of yesteryear are shrinking. Those whose God is limited to the gaps will find him eventually shrinking to irrelevance as the need for a God to explain the gaps vanishes along with them.
 

Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here.

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.
 
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Bob Enyart

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
TOL BR VII DGE Post 4b

TOL BR VII DGE Post 4b

Zakath, thanks for hanging in there.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ1/BQ7: Zakath, please present your own definition of truth, and then if you can, affirm that truth exists without equivocating.
ZA5/ZA7: I concede that truth, as Pastor Enyart defined it, exists. As I agree with his definition, for the purposes of this discussion, I see little need to continue to belabor the point.
BE: Apology accepted.

BQ8: Zakath, please a) explain conceptually, in the most broad terms, how consciousness could have arisen, or b) admit that you cannot.
ZA8: Total direct reply: “the origin of consciousness… To all these questions, I provide an honest answer of, ‘Well, science really doesn’t know yet and neither do I.’”
Note: Zakath admitted he didn’t know, but avoided the thrust of my question by not even discussing the inability to even give a conceptual solution in the most broad terms, by which omission I take it that the atheistic community cannot even offer a wild guess in some vague direction for how intellectual consciousness can originate from matter.

BQ9: True or false: Bob’s “Theistic Worldview” paragraph (on origins of the universe, biological life, and consciousness) contains foundational issues which his position does explain consistently and directly, issues which atheism struggles to explain even conceptually.
ZA9: Zakath didn’t answer.
Note: Zakath explained that he “doesn’t know” how these originated and said that I asked him “to provide an explanation.” No I didn’t. That’s not what I asked. I want to find out if this defender of atheism could honestly assess the leaning of evidence. I want to know, regardless of ultimate truth, if this atheist can objectively indicate the general direction in which specific evidence points. He could have quoted the paragraph and answered: "false – the evidence in that paragraph points to atheism, and theism struggles to consistently account for it." There. See how easy! But that may have been awfully difficult to write with a straight face. Or, he could have answered: "true – but let me tell you about the quirk of science which causes fundamental discoveries to strengthen the theist position." Or, he could have shown that the question was unfair, because the facts, scientific laws, principles, and challenges listed really have nothing significant to do with origins.

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ1 – ZQ2 answered in post 1b.
ZQ3 – ZQ9 answered in post 2b.
ZQ10 – ZQ12 summary answers in post 3b and ZQ11 on right and wrong elaborated upon below, and I plan to further address ZQ10 and ZQ12 in future posts.

ZQ11: Demonstrate that both “absolute right” and “absolute wrong” exist and the superhuman standard behind such absolutes.
BA11: Below I expand upon my summary answer from Round Three, and correct Zakath’s misstatement of my position…

Old Business

Right and Wrong

Zakath, you misstated my position. If I ever do that to you, please immediately inform me, because I couldn’t refute your position if I fundamentally misunderstood it. I do not base moral absolutes on the human conscience, as though our conscience was the ultimate standard. Rather, I’ve stated that our conscience is damaged. Here’s the correction: I pointed out in post 1 the common theistic belief that “a conscience… reflects [God’s] own righteous standard.” In post 2, I wrote that “absolute right and wrong would require a standard that transcends every man and every society.” In post 3: “Absolute morality can only exist if a moral authority above mankind exists. …and the collective conscience of mankind, though damaged, still provides strong evidence of these absolutes.”

Somehow, out of all that you managed that Bob “bases his absolute moral systems… [on] the human conscience.” Oops. And again, “his alleged absolute moral standards are still based upon relativistic human standards.” And then you easily ripped apart this argument that you wrongly attributed to me stating: “The problem with Pastor Enyart’s argument is that human conscience is not absolute. Thus his alleged absolute moral standards are still based upon relativistic human standards. History has shown time and again that humans can and do justify murder, rape, and any number of horrible acts…”

Horrible acts? Horrible? Aren’t they really just: different? After all, one man’s horror is another man’s comedy. Atheism undermines morality.

Your severe misstatement of my position confused conscience with God’s righteous standard. I am now reluctantly going to comment directly on you misstating my position, for in this Battle Royale I want to avoid criticizing idiosyncratic errors you might make, and stick to the substantive issues applicable to any debate on theism. But perhaps this notice will help improve the future rounds. In my experience dealing with atheists, it is extremely difficult to have a constructive dialogue because of constant obfuscations, common misstatements, and a general unresponsiveness, all of which are being documented in this public debate. For example, you have been unresponsive to my scientific arguments also, and have misstated my positions there, and have ignored the main points of my questions. (And I’m not in the least complaining that you haven’t caved in to my arguments.) You had agreed theism “is a very important question,” so please treat it according to your own valuation.

Proceeding, you listed the horrible acts of mankind against the theistic offer of evidence from conscience. If theists argue that men have a conscience which compels them to do rightly, then your list of evils would be evidence against us. But we don’t. (Remember, we’re the ones who talk about sin.) We argue that human beings are wired with the inescapable urge to weigh moral actions on the scale of justice.

Let’s back up for a moment to your Round Three argument against examples of absolute morality by identifying embedded conditions. I promised I would respond. You gave these definitions:

Absolute means: “Not limited by restrictions or exceptions; unconditional”
Conditional means: “Imposing, depending on, or containing a condition”

With these you were responding to my Post 2 wherein I wrote: “There are conditions attending to every event, every good and every crime, and every chemical process for that matter.” You argue that if theists describe a wrong with any attendant conditions, then obviously, we’re not describing an absolute wrong. I have a hard time understanding why you continue to press that objection, and why you have tendered it seriously since long before this debate began. Please consider the following clarification, and in your next post, in Round Five, I would like you to retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists. Here we go:

An absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong. The absolute standard has a set of rules, including do not murder, and do not rape. Rape is a certain kind of behavior, distinguished from other behavior by conditions. The conditions that identify rape do not mean that the standard which condemns rape is conditional. Rape is wrong. Murder is a certain kind of killing, distinguished from other killing by conditions (for example, if you pull a weed, you don’t murder it). The conditions which define murder do not mean that the standard which condemns murder is conditional. Murder is wrong.

This absolute moral standard declares that no one should ever do wrong hoping that good might come of it. Thus, if the human race would die out unless you raped a woman, you should humbly allow the human race to die out. (Besides, left-wingers don’t like humans all that much anyway.)

Is your objection to “conditions” even falsifiable? Your approach would be incapable of handling the following scenario: Let’s say that God really does exist, and He transported all of us to heaven, to show us His absolute standard, and then shuttled off to hell anyone who denied this absolute standard. Then He expected each of us to make judgments based on this standard. Behaving intellectually as you have been, would you be able to judge some evil act as absolutely wrong? I think you will see that unless you abandoned your ‘conditions’ argument, your ‘logic’ would prevent you from implementing even a now agreed-upon absolute standard. For, you would point to that definition of ‘absolute,’ meaning ‘unconditional’ (which would still apply), and you would point to a condition in the crime (the murderer was angry), and so you rule the act as not absolutely wrong! Therefore… Therefore what? Therefore Zakath is on the next busload…

We can play games, or we can honestly debate different positions. Life is too short to waste such time. So in the future, when a theist describes a crime which he gives as an example of an absolute wrong, you might intellectually argue that it is not absolutely wrong, but to argue it is conditional is hiding from the issue.

So, my question to you is, Zakath, will you retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?

Human conscience is not all the evidence we have for an absolute moral standard, but it provides strong evidence. Yet, theists commonly admit that the conscience is “damaged” by sin. But if it is damaged, then, how could it provide evidence? Proof must obliterate any doubt; evidence is used to establish proof. You only need one proof, but it may consist of two or three pieces of evidence. Like the needle in a damaged compass which still tries to point north although sometimes blocked by its crushed case, the collective damaged conscience of mankind still indicates the existence of absolutes. An unemployed meteorologist refuses to acknowledge that weather patterns cross North America from west to east, because after all, at times he has personally felt an easterly wind blowing. And we have about six billion frames of reference on conscience from which to derive trillions of data points. The atheistic bias of science hinders the use of all that raw data.

Zakath wrote, “I would concur that human conscience, in some form or other, exists in the vast majority of the human race; the possible exception to that rule being sociopaths or psychotics.” Consider the offered exception of sociopaths. Conscience speaks to justice, whether something is justifiable or not, and regards issues like murder, kidnapping, rape, stealing, cheating, injuring, lying, negligence, and hurting. Sometimes people follow their conscience and avoid hurting others, yet at other times, people even take pleasure in intentionally inflicting great pain. People who violate the demands of conscience, in an effort to appease it, attempt to justify their own actions. Whereas if they had no conscience, they would have no compelling need to justify themselves. For example, Dylan Klebold, Adolf Hitler, and Charles Manson are not satisfied just to inflict pain, they endeavor to justify their actions or deny guilt, trying to appease their conscience. Klebold murdered thirteen victims at Columbine High School. Time Magazine and a victim’s father, Brian Rohrbough, have both reported on his videos made with Eric Harris, that the pair justified their actions as a function of Darwinian natural selection, wherein the stronger organisms can destroy the weaker. (After an autopsy revealed that one of the murderers wore a shirt that said “Natural Selection,” the Denver Post declared that they had no idea what that phrase referred to.) Zakath has argued previously that it might be right to murder or rape one woman to save a city, whereas the Darwinian evolutionist Hitler’s regime argued that it was right to eliminate one race to save the world in the survival of the fittest. Of course, Zakath has admitted believing that, for example, the NAZI slaughter of millions of innocents was not absolutely wrong. I despise you for that, Zakath. But of course, your atheism leads your there. Sociopath Charles Manson tries to divert guilt by blaming Susan Atkins and his followers for taking his supposedly figurative words literally. Manson’s conscience is working all right, as was Klebold’s, and Hitler’s; each tried to appease his conscience by attempting to justify his actions. Theists do not claim that men are slaves to their conscience, or that they are compelled to honestly report its influence, but that their conscience raises the matter of justification, and then the culpable man honestly or dishonestly responds, admitting guilt or falsely justifying his actions. Even a vengeful gang member who disclaims any morality exhibits a strong functioning conscience.

Zakath, we don’t really need to talk about absolute right and absolute wrong. We can simply talk about right and wrong, because if there are no moral absolutes, than nothing is even right or wrong. For you, there is no true right or wrong, only preferences. When you describe an act as horrible, you only mean you have a strong preference against it, but someone else may have an equally strong preference for it, and there is no standard by which your dislike for rape is objectively correct, and the other’s preference for it objectively incorrect. In your second post you said that child rape and racist murder “are both terrible evils and are wrong,” but that’s just your morality-envy playing with words, trying to appease your own conscience, and trying to make yourself look good by sounding like a theist. You should be a bold atheist and say, “Rape and murder are just preferences; we might not understand the preferences of others, but they are their valid preferences none the less; I have a preference against these, and others have a preference for them. I prefer mine, and they prefer theirs. I prefer wine, and they prefer blood. They have no need to justify their support of murder and rape because there is no standard by which I can truly condemn such. Of course, I have a social and personal preference, but if they have a different preference, mine cannot be shown to be truly correct, only different.” Hey, your conscience won’t like it, but then you’ll be consistent. But after saying things like that a hundred times, your conscience will be further seared, and it will begin to feel less troublesome. Be real.

Atheism undermines morality. Saying that there are no absolutes logically becomes there is no right and wrong. I’ve had many debates with high school and college students, some taped, like on our Get Out of the Matrix video. Is there such a thing as absolute right and wrong? “No.” Is it absolutely wrong to rape a woman? “No.” To kill an unborn child? “No.” Is it wrong to steal? “No.” To kidnap? “No.” To have an affair? “No.” To drill for oil in Alaska? “Absolutely!” Huh? That’s wrong? Okay…

Atheism steals from the moral capital of theism, and for a time, may exhibit a copycat morality. But without the foundation, the bankruptcy of atheism undermines morality.

Let’s talk about your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism. You asked in your Post 3: “If there is a deity, then why has he not demonstrated clearly, and unambiguously, his absolute standard?” For you to find out if He already has, you will have to consider the evidence from the other side of the debate. Consider this for a moment, that your conscience did not arise by chance to weigh moral actions, but that God instilled it within you, and you can hear its voice. And it tells you that the NAZI holocaust is absolutely evil, yet, you refuse to accept that, and the most you can admit is that you did not prefer the holocaust, but that it was preferred by others. (Atheism undermines morality.)

So then imagine on Judgment Day you complain to God that you had no evidence of an absolute righteous standard, and He asks you, “Didn’t you know that the holocaust was wrong?”

What do you say? “No?” “I didn’t know.” And then He says, “Your conscience told you it was wrong.” And you say: “I thought it just wasn’t preferred.” Boy, that’s gonna go over well. Then you are reminded that your conscience is just one function among many in your consciousness. And you’re reminded that you knew that you could conceive of no possible way for self-awareness to arise from matter. And you’re reminded that you had been clearly told that self-aware creatures require a self-aware Creator, because chemical reactions can generate heat and compounds, but not emotion, not intellect, not will, and not conscience. And you are then reminded that your consciousness was associated with your biological life, which is so irreducibly complex, that you couldn’t even imagine a way of simplifying the basic functions required for life so that it could even possibly arise by chance. And then you are reminded that you live on a planet in a universe for which you never could imagine an alternative method for how it got here, being stuck with either that it was always here, or it popped into existence from nothing, both of which violate the most basic laws of science, the very discipline by which you claimed to live your life.

Now I add the conscience (BA10-4) as a fourth evidence for God, and specifically for the God of Justice. For your conscience generates an inescapable urge to weigh moral actions on the scale of justice. And it gnaws at you because it says, “You must justify your faith in a natural process doing that which science implies it cannot. You must justify yourself believing that complex life can arise. You must justify yourself believing that a cause and effect chain in matter gave rise to consciousness, self-awareness, intellect, conscience, morality, emotion, and personhood.”

To Be Continued…

As promised, I have addressed ZQ11 and the Moral Argument for Atheism. In future posts, I will also expand my summary answers to your ZQ10 and ZQ12. You know what would have been great? In this round, imagine if you would have directly addressed my previous rebuttals to your the God of the Gaps argument. Since you didn’t, I’ll add that to my to-do list for a future post.

Question Summary

BQ13: Zakath, will you retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?
If No, please explain: _________________________________________________

Sincerely, Bob Enyart
 

Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
DING DING DING thats it for round #4!

ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here.

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.
 
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Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
ATTENTION: 4th of July Holiday break.

We at TheologyOnLine (namely me) have decided to take a small break in the Battle Royale VII due to the 4th of July Holiday.

With all the travel plans and typical Holiday madness we thought it would be best to take a short break to allow both combatants and staff to focus on the debate when there isn't so much chaos going on.

Both combatants have generously agreed to take this short break in the battle.

Zakath will have until Monday July 7th at 12:00 MDT.
 
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Zakath

Resident Atheist
Zakath's Fifth Post

Zakath's Fifth Post

We're almost half-way through the debate and thus far the theistic side of the argument has presented:
  • The God of the Gaps – here Pastor Enyart pointed to gaps in human scientific knowledge of the natural universe and claims that his "God" is the answer to fill these gaps. I reminded him that history bears out that such arguments have been steadily losing propositions for the theist as the gaps in human knowledge of the natural universe shrink. As the ancient Greeks and Romans found out, closing the gaps of human knowledge makes the gods of the gaps irrelevant.

    Argument from Morality – here Pastor Enyart asserts that the existence of absolute right and absolute wrong are evidence for the existence of his deity. As of yet, Pastor Enyart has failed to clearly provide the absolute standard of right and wrong he claims to follow.


The atheistic side of the argument has presented:
  • Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism – in Posts #3 and #5 I have presented the argument that it is logically inconsistent for a just and loving God, as defined by Pastor Enyart, to deny universal access to the absolute moral standard claimed by the good pastor.

    Argument From Nonbelief – in Post #5 I present the argument that non belief in Pastor Enyart's God is strong evidence for his non-existence.

Pastor Enyart spent the bulk of his previous post attempting to accomplish two ends:
  • 1. Continuing to press his argument for the existence of absolute good and absolute evil.

    2. Attempting to address and refute the Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism (MKAA).
My fifth post will address both of these two points and continue to provide support for a godless view of the universe by introducing another argument favoring atheism as a world view.

Pastor Enyart asks me to retract my argument against his attempt to define absolute morals as conditional definitions. In debate if one has a refutation for an opponent's points, one refutes them, he doesn't request that the opponent withdraw his points. If Pastor Enyart has a refutation for my argument, let him present it. If not, my point stands as an indication of the weakness of his argument. He has yet to demonstrate an example of absolute right or absolute wrong.

After asking me to drop my argument, Pastor Enyart then asserts that "an absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong. This absolute standard has a set of rules…" I find it interesting that even after being asked more than once, Pastor Enyart has not shown us the standard to which he refers. He shows us only the example of the human conscience. He alludes to an absolute moral standard it in his third post with references to human conscience which I demonstrate is subjective and not absolute. His fourth posts claims again that an absolute standard exists, yet he shies away from plainly and clearly stating what the standard is and where it may be found.

In fact during his previous post, Pastor Enyart has made several claims about this alleged absolute moral standard including:
  • it actually exists
    "An absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong." – Enyart Post #4
  • it has structure
    " The absolute standard has a set of rules…" – Enyart Post #4
  • he has read it or heard it
    " This absolute moral standard declares that no one should ever do wrong hoping that good might come of it." – Enyart Post #4

One might ask, why the hedging and equivocation? Why, Pastor Enyart will you not show us your standard?

We have come so close to the core of the argument yet cannot, after four posts, seem to break through. So I will ask Pastor Enyart to perform essentially the same task I asked of his disciple Knight, here on TOL last summer…

Pastor Enyart, show us this unconditional, super-human standard so we may openly examine its validity and test your claims of its absolute nature.

In his previous post, my opponent asked me to "immediately inform him" if he ever misstated my position. He then promptly proceeds to misstate my position in his moribund arguments about absolute right and absolute wrong when he states, "… for you, there is no right and wrong, only preferences." This is a gross misrepresentation of my position. I never wrote, or implied, such a statement. It appears that Pastor Enyart is unfamiliar with the terms he so glibly tosses into the argument, so I will provide definitions from the Online American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Edition
Right:
  • 1. Conforming with or conformable to justice, law, or morality: do the right thing and confess.
    2. In accordance with fact, reason, or truth
Wrong:
  • 1. Not in conformity with fact or truth; incorrect or erroneous.
    2. Contrary to conscience, morality, or law; immoral or wicked.
Preference:
  • 1. The selecting of someone or something over another or others.
    2. The right or chance to so choose.
    3. Someone or something so chosen
There is nothing in the definitions that would state or imply that merely because an individual does not believe in the existence of absolute moral values that the individual does not believe in right or wrong. I, myself, am an example of the falsehood of Pastor Enyart's statement. I hold certain acts to be wrong (contrary to my conscience, morality, or law) and certain acts to be right (conforming to justice, law, or morality). I merely disbelieve the absolute nature of any moral pronouncement.

Let me reiterate yet again, that I do believe certain actions are right and others are wrong. My basis for such belief is not some mythical code of morality written on what Pastor Enyart refers to as the "damaged" conscience of human beings. The basis for how I define right and wrong is predicated on a number of factors including my early training by my parents, my formal education, my life experience, and the social mores of the community in which I live. This combination of factors is what provides the basis for judgment of "right" and "wrong" in a given circumstance. Drawing on a similar combination provides the basis for determining right and wrong for many mature adults. Because the degree of influence from these factors varies from individual to individual we must form a consensus to live successfully in society. Let's not mistake standards formed by societal consensus (secular or religious) for absolute standards. Societal views may change on numerous subjects over time. Shifting moral positions on such issues as slavery, abortion, and capital punishment serve as historically verifiable markers of the truly subjective nature of some societal morality.

If my opponent disagrees with this position, I challenge him, once again, to produce the standard of morality that he claims is the basis for his beliefs.

Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism (MKAA)
The second topic Pastor Enyart addressed in his fourth post was the Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism (MKAA). For ease of reading, I will restate it here:
  • 1. If Pastor Enyart's God exists, then he is a being who is powerful, loving, and just.

    2. If Pastor Enyart's God exists, it would be in his interest (loving and just) and within his capacity (powerful) for all human beings to know his absolute standards perfectly.

    3. All humans do not know God's ethics perfectly, as is demonstrated by his followers disagreeing about many moral values.

    Therefore: Pastor Enyart's God does not exist.

In my third post, I presented a clarity question which asked for Pastor Enyart to present a "clear, unambiguous, standard of absolute right and wrong." Unfortunately, Pastor Enyart chose, yet again, to provide only the human conscience has his sole answer. We've already demonstrated the subjectivity of the human conscience in cases where different individuals view the same moral question as either right or wrong depending on societal, psychological, or other factors. Pastor Enyart even admits that theists consider the human conscience "damaged", yet these damaged goods are the sole evidence he can muster, to date, as proof of his absolute moral standard. To this weak evidence I ask, yet again, Pastor Enyart show us the absolute moral standard that you allege exists.

Since Pastor Enyart failed to provide a significant answer to the MKAA in his last post, perhaps a further bit of explanation will help him to do so in future posts.

The first premise of MKAA is based on the definition of "God" supplied by Pastor Enyart. Unless he wishes to recant some or all of his definition of "God", the first statement is true.

Let's explore the second premise… Can we convincingly argue that it would be in God's best interest for all human beings to know his moral standards perfectly? To answer this, let's approach the question as if it was not true. If God could make his moral standard perfectly known to all human beings, what reason could there be for him not to do so? I can propose two possibilities. First, perhaps God shows favoritism, revealing his moral standard only to some individuals or he reveals it in a higher sense to some individuals but not to others. Unfortunately, this is inconsistent with Pastor Enyart's claim that his deity is just and loving since playing favorites implies that his God cares more about some humans than others. (Of course we are assuming that knowledge of Pastor Enyart's God's moral standard is a good thing, at least from God's point of view.) For Christians, like Pastor Enyart, favoritism is a non-argument since it is explicitly stated in Acts 10:24 (NIV) " Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism…" So, using the available evidence, we can safely assume that Pastor Enyart's God does not demonstrate favoritism.

On the other hand, we could imagine God spreading a limited knowledge of his absolute moral standard equally among all of humankind. This raises three issues:
  • 1. What could possibly be gained by a self-imposed limitation of spreading something which, from God's point of view, must be considered good?

    2. Humankind does not agree universally on any issue of morality or ethics.

    3. If Pastor Enyart does believe that humankind agrees universally on any issue of morality or ethics, it is up to him to prove his claim.

Even if Pastor Enyart can demonstrate a universal agreement on a moral or ethical issue, he then must demonstrate that this universal agreement is derived from a supernatural source; something outside of humankind.


Argument from Nonbelief
It's now time to introduce another argument in favor of atheism, the Argument from Nonbelief (ANB)

This simple argument can be used in a variety of forms to demonstrate the illogic of belief in any deity. In this debate, since Pastor Enyart describes himself as a Christian minister, I will limit this argument to Pastor Enyart's God, the Christian deity.

Before we can get to the argument, a few definitions are helpful. First, we can define "the gospel message" very simply as the following:
  • a) There exists a being who rules the entire universe.
    b) That being has a son whom he sent to be the savior of humanity.
This high level description attempts to avoid all denominational entanglements by stating clearly only two main defining points. Another definition, the "salvation situation" is also essential to understanding this argument. In this argument, we'll call this "situation S" – this salvation situation is one in which all, or almost all, humans since the time of Jesus of Nazareth coming to believe both propositions before their physical death. Using these definitions, the ANB can be formulated as follows:
  • 1. If the God of Christianity were to exist, then he would have caused situation S to exist.

    2. But situation S does not exist.

    Therefore, the God of Christianity does not exist.
The power of this simple argument lies in it's reliance on the nature of the Christian deity. There are a variety of ways we could conceive in which God could have brought about the existence of situation S. He might have spoken to humans worldwide in thunderous tones or written his message clearly across the skies. He appears to have done neither. He might even have used more covert activities including sending angels disguised as humans (something that Christians assure us is possible, based on their scriptures) to preach to people so persuasively that they would believe the gospel. Additionally, he could have protected the Bible from defects possibly by guiding the writing, copying, and translating so that it would contain no unclear or ambiguous writings, or errors of any sort. It might contain very clear and precise prophecies that are amazingly fulfilled, then documented by neutral observers and widely disseminated. If that occurred, people reading the scriptures would be much more likely to infer that everything it contains is true, including the gospel message, making it more believable. Since none of these situations has occurred, this leads us to another question.

That is the question of whether Pastor Enyart's God actually wants everyone to believe in the gospel. According to I Timothy 2:4 (NIV) God, "wants all men to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth." In context, we can presume that "truth" here includes the gospel message. If this is true, then God must want situation S. Other scriptures supporting the idea that the Christian God wants situation S to exist include those commanding people to disseminate (Mt. 28:19-20, Mk 16:15-16) and believe (I Jn 3:23) the gospel. The gospels and epistle are replete with passage upon passage lending credence to the idea that God desires situation S to exist. Thus, premise 1 is true.

This brings us to premise #2. Our discussion started with Pastor Enyart asking me whether I believe in truth. Well, premise #2 is empirical truth; after almost 23 centuries passing since the introduction of the gospel the vast majority of the human race does not believe in both propositions of the Christian gospel by the time of their deaths. While Christianity may claim to be the single most widespread religion (about 32%, according to the World Almanac and U.S. Census Bureau - 2 billion Christians out of 6.3 billion humans), premise #2 is still true.

Since both premises are demonstrably true and the conclusion logically derives from the two premises; the logical conclusion is that Pastor Enyart's God does not exist.
 

Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here.

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.
 
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Bob Enyart

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
TOL BR VII DGE Post 5b

TOL BR VII DGE Post 5b

At the end of our debate I plan to summarize all the questions and answers. This post will address the God of the Gaps attack on theism and Zakath’s latest challenge to absolute morality. My most difficult challenge lies not in answering questions and providing evidence, but in dealing concisely with my atheist opponent’s repeated misstatements, ignoring of responses, and attempts to defocus the debate.

Regarding Zakath’s argument from Non-Belief (ANB): Atheists I debate typically claim that science is the most reliable authority on reality. Yet, in debates on a Creator’s existence, anti-Creationists often want to move the discussion away from science over to philosophy or the Bible. In this Zakath has followed Dr. Eugenie Scott, a well-known anti-Creationist and participant on a nationally-broadcast PBS debate on evolution. I debated Scott on my own talk show (we have the tape), and she repeatedly tried to divert the discussion away from science. Zakath has likewise been trying to get away from science and bait me into a discussion on the Bible. For Battle Royale VII, I will avoid specifically Scriptural arguments and for the benefit of the readers, stick to the debate topic of Does God Exist? Theists do not believe that God came into existence with the writing of the Bible. So I prefer to use arguments that would apply even to an early human being who lived before the author of Genesis. Accordingly, I think readers can recognize Zakath’s instance of the Argument from Non-Belief as an attempt to divert the debate into a wide-ranging discussion of the Bible, rather than sticking to the question of God’s existence, which has an answer that precedes the writing of any religious book. Thus, not to aid Zakath in using his ANB as a diversionary tactic, I will postpone answering it until my last post. (I will meet similar future attempts likewise.) If Zakath wants me to address it earlier, then since he said the ANB “can be used in a variety of forms to demonstrate the illogic of belief in any deity,” I invite him to give a form of his ANB that is not thinly veiled as an attempt to change the topic.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ13: Zakath, will you retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?
ZA13: Zakath did not retract and after misstating this request also, stated, “My point stands…”

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ13: Respond to the God of the Gaps argument against theism.
BA13: I responded to Zakath’s earlier use of this argument in 2b, and Zakath ignored my reply as he continues to make the same Gaps contention, and below I more directly address the two ways that science deals with gaps.

ZQ14: Pastor Enyart, show us that the absolute moral standard that you allege exists, this unconditional, super-human standard so that we may openly examine its validity and test your claims of its absolute nature.
BA14: I have previously answered that the absolute moral standard is God’s righteous nature, which is “God’s own righteous standard,” and that therefore atheism undermines morality, and that conscience provides some evidence for that standard. To illustrate Zakath’s obfuscation and non-responsiveness, below at (BA14) I will give a list of his comments on this topic, along with my previous responses which he ignores or misrepresents.

God of the Gaps

Zakath wrote that theists prove God by their ignorant misinterpretation of “gaps in human knowledge” creating “the God of the Gaps.” Historically, science has addressed gaps in human knowledge in two ways. Science has filled gaps, and it has closed gaps. Here we go again:

Filled gaps represent previously unconnected observations which new knowledge has linked together. For example, men observed that rain fell from the sky, and that the sky never seemed to run out of rain, but people could not fill in the gap to explain the apparently eternal supply of rain. An understanding of evaporation and the water cycle filled the gap between these observations, and explained their association.

Closed gaps represent previously linked observations that science has permanently disassociated. For example, men observed that dead animals would putrefy, and that life spontaneously generated from the carcasses, but they could not fill in the gap to explain how new life (albeit maggots) could arise so regularly out of death. Louis Pasteur founded the field of microbiology with extraordinary scientific accomplishments in bacteriology, pasteurization, the development of vaccines for anthrax, rabies, diphtheria, and cholera, and by disproving spontaneous generation. His observations proved that rotting carcasses only nourished deposited eggs of Musca domestica, common houseflies, which then grew into larvae. That scientific discovery forced evolutionists to admit that the maggots did not spontaneously generate on decaying flesh. Pasteur’s work combined with discoveries in genetics from his contemporary, Gregor Mendel, finally explained the phenomenon. An understanding of microbiology and genetics closed the gap between these observations, refuting the validity of the second observation, and permanently disassociated them.

Could science ever conceivably close the gap between the observation of biological life, and that the first life must have arisen naturally? Could science ever theoretically close the gap between the observation of the universe, and that the universe must have originated naturally? Could science ever close the gap between the observation of consciousness, and that self-awareness must have arisen naturally? Will the atheist admit that these are theoretical possibilities?

We theists often say that denying God’s existence is like denying basic science. Forget for the moment the atheist questioning whether God exists. Atheists often pretend that the function of science which I call “closing the gap” does not exist. Atheists act as though science cannot close a gap. We easily find the motive for such a denial by observing that this function of science has the potential to doom atheism. If science ever openly admitted that natural processes could not produce the universe, biological life, or consciousness, then atheism is ruined. (But of course, godlessness would then get a boost, since men rebel even more fiercely against blatant truth). Thus for their own survival, atheists must deny science its voice, wherever its voice may prohibit natural origins. So we find this peculiar dichotomy among atheists regarding scientific discoveries: an approval of the possibilities of nature, and a rejection of the limitations of nature. It’s like the husband who will only look at his payroll deposits, but not the monthly bills.

In the last four rounds, Zakath has continued to make his God Did It and God of the Gaps arguments without even acknowledging my previous responses noted below. I understand why atheists have such a hard time even acknowledging the challenge to their gaps. For while they criticize theists for using gaps as evidence for God (which we should never do), they desperately need these gaps as evidence for atheism. When atheists admit that they don’t know how the universe, life, or consciousness could have arisen naturally, they fill in those gaps of ignorance with their faith in natural process. If they don’t know how it happened, then clearly, that ignorance cannot prove their assertion. On the other hand, we theists do not argue from “what we do not know, but from what we do know,” as my previous post 2b claimed, though falling on deaf ears. And when science closes a gap and permanently disassociates previously linked observations, we theists can then admit to the scientific findings. Atheists instinctively resist this type of hard science.

However, atheists typically do more than simply reject the scientific closing of gaps. A defense mechanism kicks in by which they do not even recognize what they are doing. It’s just like the superstitious religionist who ignores the evidence that threatens his favorite myth. Thus, in the fourth round, Zakath presented his God of the Gaps argument as though it were a new introduction into our debate. But he had made the same case in the last four rounds. That is fine. What is not fine, and what speaks to the common denial among atheists generally, is that he utterly ignored my response. And his atheist supporters in the grandstands greeted his round four Gaps post with cheerleading, seeming also not to have noticed that my rebuttal still stood unopposed. For atheism, the God of the Gaps contention is a leading argument. And if I present my leading argument, and it is fundamentally challenged, I am then compelled to address the challenge. Either I rebut it, admit that I cannot, or ask for more time to think it through. I don’t ignore it, especially not in a moderated, publicly held forum.

Here is what I had previously posted, way back in 2b, in response to the God Did It and God of the Gaps arguments:

In post 2b I asked rhetorically: “Applying knowledge to see the functional limitations in systems and laws [is] a scientific proposition, no?” I also stated: “The theist applies the most well-tested and fundamental laws of science to eliminate the possibility [of natural origins].” And I almost pleaded: “Zakath, I think you have misunderstood some of my arguments, so I am going to clarify them for you. If you find error in the clarification, I will be grateful if you can identify it. But please don’t just ignore the clarification and continue to repeat the mischaracterizations of my evidence. You have accused me of using ignorance as evidence. I agree with you that ignorance is no evidence. I can’t explain how gravity works, or why interior designers use odd-numbered groupings, or why vanilla ice cream outsells chocolate, but none of this ignorance, no ignorance, can reasonably be used as evidence for God. And if you ever find me doing such a thing, I will appreciate getting flagged. My evidence to you was not based upon what we don’t know, but upon what we do know, with the claim that your naturalistic time and chance proposals cannot work because they contradict what we do know. That’s not ignorance for evidence, that’s applying knowledge. If you can identify how I am misapplying knowledge, please do so. But don’t say that I’m arguing from ignorance. Instead, show me how I’ve incorrectly applied knowledge.”

That is why I asked you if a fourth alternative can account for the origin of the universe, or if there is any conceivable way to simplify the basic requirements for biological life. These questions get to whether the gaps are waiting to be filled, or have already been closed. And even if you have never consciously pondered the dual dynamic of gaps, filled or closed, still you instinctively ignore these questions. Fear is instructive.

I gave this illustration which Zakath has ignored since 2b: “A scientist can study the properties of a cure-all, and disprove a salesman’s claim that it will heal cancer: ‘It is only sugar water, don’t believe the claims.’” So why then does Zakath post a new God of the Gaps argument without addressing my previous response? I know why, Zakath. Do you?

It is not because you are intellectually incapable of following the argument. Also, it’s not because you think the argument is unworthy of refutation. It’s because you really don’t want to think about the issues I raise in my questions, the very issues that you have been ignoring, the issues that speak directly to the possible functional limitations of matter and energy. Yes, you have answered a couple questions. Most of your few answers, though, correspond seemingly to questions other than the ones which I have asked. Meanwhile, I directly answer your questions. I designed some of my questions to get you to focus on the scientific discovery of limitations. Zakath, can science possibly discover real limitations of matter, energy, and natural processes? Here’s a psychology experiment: As an atheist, can you admit that you would rather not think about the limits of natural processes? Can you admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist?

I will give you a few more examples of the difference between science filling the gaps and closing the gaps. When science fills a knowledge gap, the two edges of the crack remain where they had been, and the space between them is no longer empty. When science closes a gap, it applies inward pressure to one or both edges, which pushes the two edges together so that the gap disappears without ever having been filled. Closing the gap means to eliminate it, not fill it. Science closes gaps especially well.

Filled gaps: Nucleic acid coding for proteins; Asexual reproduction; The cause of the tides
Closed gaps. How the sun orbits the earth; How ships avoided the edge of the earth

For proteins, reproduction and the tides, science filled gaps by connecting observations with new knowledge. For geo-centricity and the flat earth, science closed gaps by permanently disassociating observations. Men had observed proteins, and Crick helped discover DNA and its nucleic acid base, and then science filled in the gap of how DNA codes proteins. Men had observed new plants growing, and buds falling off of existing plants, and then science began filling in the gap of how asexual reproduction works. Men observed the oceans, and the rise and fall of its surface, and then Isaac Newton’s discovery of universal gravity helped fill in the gap of why the tides ebb and flow by the attraction of the moon. Aristotle observed the sun rising and setting, and claimed that the earth could not be moving because it was too heavy and because rocks fell straight downward, but then Johann Kepler discovered elliptical orbits and science closed the gap of how the sun circled the earth. Men observed that ships sailed great distances, and that they never fell off the edge of the earth, but then science discovered that the earth is a sphere with gravity, and so science closed the gap of how ships avoided falling off the earth.

Gaps yet to be filled: What segments of DNA code for left-handedness; How does gravity propagate?
Gaps to be closed: How did the caterpillar/butterfly metamorphosis evolve? How did the sun nearly stop rotating?

A multitude of questions could illustrate both these filling and closing functions of science. Now, Zakath I wish you would directly and brilliantly address my argument, because even brilliance fails in the service of the impossible. And then, more atheists may see that their strongest argument is not invincible.

As for us theists, increasingly, scientific discoveries bolster our claims. We have greater depth and breadth of scientific evidence for creation than we did in Darwin’s day, when the cell might have been just a blob. For scientific progress has simultaneously limited the possible functions of natural processes (note Pasteur and spontaneous generation) and reveals increasingly complex interdependencies (note Mendel and genetics) in nature. The atheist fills the gaps with skepticism. But these forces of scientific progress squeeze the skepticism in the middle as they apply opposing pressures to close the Atheism of the Gaps.

Regardless of how unavoidable the proof becomes, realize that not even in the next life will you ever be forced to love God, just to acknowledge Him.

Zakath wrote in 4a: “Today some people, like my opponent, still seek to fill the gaps in human knowledge with their deities. To them, I have one reminder – human knowledge of the natural universe grows, seemingly inexorably. The gaps of yesteryear are shrinking. Those whose God is limited to the gaps will find him eventually shrinking to irrelevance as the need for a God to explain the gaps vanishes along with them.” How poetic.

Zakath, I have recognized the form of your argument all along. Now, if you have finally recognized my argument, then please answer my questions, and we will see who is being squeezed. For thirty years my theist friends and I have eagerly met scientific progress with celebration! I have a hard time believing that you evolutionists rejoiced over learning about the wildly complicated requirements of biological life or the ruthlessness of thermodynamics. For the two models for origins, the theist and atheist, both make significant predictions, and so far, science has confirmed many creationist predictions while confounding the atheistic ones. (Would you like to challenge me to a duel on examples of this?) God created and then rested. So science fills textbooks with natural processes which work during His rest; but science is only silent or self-contradictory when trying to naturally explain origins. Theism predicts that science can discover much about post-creation natural processes, but nothing of the possibility of the universe, life, and consciousness arising naturally. If we theists said that natural processes do not exist but that God does everything supernaturally, then every scientific discovery could refute that claim, and the area of science would increase as God’s “area” decreased. But we theists say that God created and then ceased from creation, allowing the creation to function normally. Thus truckloads of scientific discoveries show how orderly animate and inanimate systems function, yet science cannot find a natural process to explain these origins, but rather has shown these questions to be increasingly unanswerable as our knowledge grows. Of course, atheists may never admit this, regardless of how increasingly obvious it becomes. For already, the committed atheist believes that science is on his side only if he is in denial of the trend in the evidence.

Filled gaps: previously unconnected observations which new knowledge has linked together.
Closed gaps: previously linked observations that science has permanently disassociated.

So Zakath, could science conceivably ever falsify natural origins by closing the gap for the origin of the universe and biological life, showing conclusively that natural processes themselves cannot account for such origins? Hint: science denounces theories for which there is no potential falsification.

Now what? Now the expectations have been raised. Now a balanced treatment for apparent gaps in knowledge has superceded the one-sided atheistic presentation. And this treatment identifies that some gaps are no gaps at all, thus the science that explained the spontaneous generation of maggots was no gap of science, but a fanciful wish of the evolutionists. So, where an atheist claims a gap, educated men must consider whether the gap ever existed at all, whether it is only a myth which science perhaps has already closed. Zakath, why don’t you make a commitment to yourself that thirty years from now, on your deathbed (if you have that luxury), you will look back to see if scientific progress has filled any of the origins gaps, or if they’ve been squeezed shut even more tightly. But for now Zakath, from here on out, any time you reference gaps, readers on both sides will expect you not to dodge, but to defend against, the assertion that science has closed the gap. And that’s just what you fear attempting.

Right and Wrong

In my last post I accused Zakath of misstating my positions, and tit-for-tat in 5a he accused me of the same. However, when I caught Zakath’s indefensible, sly misstatements on my science and morality positions, he wisely offered no defense. But I can defend my words since I openly indicated that I was restating his position to show it more nakedly for the amoral position that it is. At most, I could be wrong, but I can’t be guilty of misstating, for I was giving my opinion of his position. I pointed out to you Zakath, that as an atheist, you should admit that for you, right and wrong are only personal and societal preferences with which others have disagreed. You protested this too much. For you to resist this valid clarification tells me that I hit a sore spot, and that I am debating a typical uncomfortable atheist, living in denial, who fears his own fundamentally amoral atheistic worldview, who pretends toward some semblance of absolutes by masquerading as a virtual theist in order to make himself more palatable.

To illustrate Zakath’s obfuscation and non-responsiveness, I am going to give a list (BA14) of his comments, and my previous responses which he ignored or misrepresented. NINE TIMES in post 5a alone, interspersed with other distractions, Zakath brooded:

1. Pastor Enyart has not shown us the standard to which he refers.
2. …he shies away from plainly and clearly stating what the standard is and where it may be found.
3. One might ask, why the hedging and equivocation? Why, Pastor Enyart will you not show us your standard?
4. Pastor Enyart, show us this unconditional, super-human standard so we may openly examine its validity…
5. I challenge him, once again, to produce the standard of morality that he claims is the basis for his beliefs.
6. I… asked for Pastor Enyart to present a clear, unambiguous, standard of absolute right and wrong.
7. Pastor Enyart, show us the absolute moral standard that you allege exists.
8. …he shies away from plainly and clearly stating… where [the standard] may be found.
9. Pastor Enyart has failed to clearly provide the absolute standard of right and wrong he claims to follow.

I follow God, and He is the standard you ask for. Of course I had indicated this in my first post, and repeated it later, that the absolute standard is “God’s nature,” which is “His own righteous standard,” and I stated in 4b that our “conscience… reflects God’s ‘own righteous standard.’” So, if Zakath wastes another forty paragraphs asking twenty more times, “show us the absolute moral standard,” I will answer, the absolute moral standard is God’s righteous nature. Of course, Zakath could reject this by saying that God does not exist, and therefore my standard does not exist. But his pretending ad nauseam that I haven’t identified the standard is getting old. Perhaps Zakath is chanting this refrain in hopes that the audience will forget what they have already read.

Zakath in 5a: “Pastor Enyart asks me to retract my argument against his attempt to define absolute morals as conditional definitions.”
I did not. In 4b I wrote: “An absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong. The absolute standard has a set of rules, including do not murder, and do not rape. Rape is a certain kind of behavior, distinguished from other behavior by conditions. The conditions that identify rape do not mean that the standard which condemns rape is conditional. Rape is wrong.”

I did not “attempt to define absolute morals as conditional definitions” which is just another transparent obfuscation. I asked Zakath to “retract the ‘conditions’ argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?” Evidence that Zakath knows his argument is just a trick is that he did not take up my challenge to show that his position is falsifiable. I will now promote that test to an official question by repeating the challenge:

4b: “Is your objection to ‘conditions’ even falsifiable? Your approach would be incapable of handling the following scenario: Let’s say that God really does exist, and He transported all of us to heaven, to show us His absolute standard, and then shuttled off to hell anyone who denied this absolute standard. Then He expected each of us to make judgments based on this standard. Behaving intellectually as you have been, would you be able to judge some evil act as absolutely wrong? I think you will see that unless you abandoned your ‘conditions’ argument, your ‘logic’ would prevent you from implementing even a now agreed-upon absolute standard. For, you would point to that definition of ‘absolute,’ meaning ‘unconditional’ (which would still apply), and you would point to a condition in the crime (the murderer was angry), and so you rule the act as not absolutely wrong!” Zakath, if you can’t falsify your own ‘conditions’ ploy, you will have admitted that you know it is bogus. So, Zakath, please show that your ‘conditions’ argument against the possibility of absolutes is potentially valid by falsifying it. (Readers: if he cannot even theoretically show evidence by which his proposition would be false, then that demonstrates that it is a nonsense proposition, such as the person who says aliens live in his head but that they are undetectable by any means, whereas we can formulate tests for real propositions such as “gravity is universal” which can potentially falsify the theory, for example, if we put masses in proximity to one another and could find no evidence of attraction.)

In Round Four Zakath challenged “that Pastor Enyart should provide examples of both absolute right and absolute wrong,” and followed that in 5a with, “He has yet to demonstrate an example of absolute right or absolute wrong.” Once again, Zakath could have explained why my offered examples fail to meet the challenge. Instead he ignores that I had given him specifics and some general rules for identifying absolute right and wrong, and I will limit my examples here to:
1. violating the demands of justice for equitable punishment, like execution for petty theft (2b)
2. unconditional rape (3b)
3. unconditional murder (3b)
4. “an absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified” (3b)

Number one above does not even fall into that “condition, repeat” ruse. Neither does two. Neither does three. Neither does four.

Oh yeah, and while we’re at it, when I wrote in 2b that “an absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified,” my atheist managed this beauty in 3a: “by his own definition an absolute statement ‘cannot be justified.’” Sure. (Dear readers, do your atheists behave this way also?) And can I throw in this from atheist Post 3a: “Pastor Enyart has not provided a single iota more evidence to explain the existence of this deity than has been tendered to explain the existence of Santa Claus.” And then in 4a Zakath seriously asks me “to provide mutually acceptable evidence,” but of course, that requires a mutual commitment to honesty.

While I have presented some arguments as proof for God, for now, I have presented conscience as just evidence, not as full-fledged proof. Then, humans weigh the evidence. Onlookers questioning whether or not God exists can look at your interpretation and my interpretation of the stated evidence, for example, that overly severe punishment absolutely violates the equity demands of justice. Thus I claim a violation of the demands of justice when the NAZIs executed minorities who married Germans, and when a judge severely beats a woman for stealing a slice of bread. You have already admitted, repeatedly, that any absolute standard of justice could only come from a source that transcends humanity, such as a God if one existed. That is why you reject such absolutes. Thus to defend atheism, you have to argue that a government that executes petty criminals is not violating an absolute human right or an absolute principle of justice. Most people don’t think through the implications of absolute morality, as you have; and thus you have aided me in teaching folks that the existence of objective morality is powerful evidence for God, who would qualify as a standard above mankind. And as human beings weigh the two interpretations above, for many, even their broken conscience tells them that justice is more than just a preference, and that it absolutely requires equity. Then the evidence builds. Take man’s “inescapable urge to weigh moral actions,” and add the scientific need for a supernatural Creator who originated the universe, life, and personal consciousness, and the evidence points to the source of this real justice. Thus we determine with certainty that such judicial cruelty, for example, goes beyond just social preference and convenient laws, to become absolute injustice, because they violate the law our Creator wrote on our hearts.

Finally, Zakath agreed “that human conscience, in some form or other, exists in the vast majority of the human race” but then gave a “possible exception to that rule being sociopaths,” an exception that I rebutted with examples like the Columbine murderers and the NAZIs. Zakath rightly left this unanswered, since the evidence indicates that all the billions of functioning human beings, even the wicked, have a conscience.

By this fifth round, I wanted to conclude other old business continuing to answer directly and forthrightly, and add to my existing argument for God a fifth line of evidence from astronomy. But unfortunately, I had to commit too much space trying to keep Zakath honest. Even this, however, instructs us by illustrating the common atheist tactic of duplicity to cover up their losing position.

Question Summary

Zakath, at any time please feel free to indicate if you refuse to, or cannot, answer any particular questions, but then please explain why.

BQ14: Zakath, can science possibly discover real limitations of matter, energy, and natural processes? a) Yes b) No
If No, please explain: _________________________________________________

BQ15: Zakath, can you admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist? a) Yes b) No

BQ16: Zakath, could science conceivably ever falsify natural origins by closing the gap for the origin of the universe and biological life, showing conclusively that natural processes themselves cannot account for such origins? a) Yes b) No
If Yes, please explain how: _________________________________________________
If No, please explain why not: _________________________________________________

BQ17: Zakath, please show that your ‘conditions’ argument against the possibility of absolutes is potentially valid by falsifying it (feel free to use my scenario or your own).

BQ5: (resubmitted) Zakath, please indicate true or false: There are only three theoretical alternatives to the origin of the universe, it was either: always here, popped into existence from nothing, or was supernaturally created. a) True b) False
If False, please list others: _________________________________________________

BQ18: Zakath, please indicate which of these laws of thermodynamics do you believe do not apply to the universe as a whole:
a) The First Law: that nature can bring neither matter nor energy into existence from nothing.
b) The Second Law: that the universe cannot work and burn forever, since it would eventually expend all available energy.
c) Neither the First nor Second laws apply to the universe as a whole.
d) Both the First and Second laws apply to the universe as a whole.
Please do your best to explain your answer, or explain why you cannot or will not answer: _________________________________________________

BQ19: Zakath, if you really want us to pursue further your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism, then please address my prior BA9 answer, way back in 2b, on the negative consequences of shoving truth into someone’s face.

Sincerely, Bob Enyart
 

Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
DING DING DING.... That's it for round #5. Battle Royale VII is now officially halfway over! If the last five rounds are as good as the first five rounds this will most certainly be a battle of epic proportions!
 
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Zakath

Resident Atheist
Zakath's Post #6

Zakath's Post #6

In his fifth post alone, Pastor Enyart raises eighteen discrete questions for consideration while answering only one of mine… Which one, you ask? Well, after five posts containing more words (>16,500) than the John's Gospel in Greek (about 15,600), Pastor Enyart finally unveils (metaphorically speaking, of course) what his absolute standard of morality is. According to Pastor Enyart, the absolute standard of morality is: (drum roll please :drum: )

His God!

Pastor Enyart chided me severely for either ignoring or not understanding his answer to the questions asking him to show us his absolute standard of morality. He told us in his Post #5 that
"… I have previously answered that the absolute moral standard is God’s righteous nature, which is “God’s own righteous standard,”
He kindly provides us an exact quotation of his words. So I looked back in his posts and how many times do you suppose the phrase "God's own righteous standard" appears as an answer to my question?

If it was five times, I could understand his exasperation. If it were three or four, I could see him being a bit peeved. Perhaps if it was twice, I could understand him being mildly miffed. But do you know how many times these quoted words appear in his first four posts?

If you guessed once, you'd be wrong. The answer is not at all. Pastor Enyart has manufactured the alleged quotation from thin air (or since this is the Internet, perhaps we should say "thin ether"). Why? Only Pastor Enyart knows why he would do such a thing.

So did Pastor Enyart actually refer to his deity as the source of absolute right and wrong in his first four posts? No. He implied it. Well, kind of. He mentioned it exactly once. In his first post as part of a hypothetical statement.
For, if there is an absolute Originator, then logically, an absolute moral standard would have originated with Him.

So that’s nice. Now we know where Pastor Enyart believes it came from – his God. But there is still the need for those of us who are not followers of his deity to be shown the standard that comes from the deity. So, over and over, I asked Pastor Enyart to show us the standard. Last post he finally replied:
"I follow God, and He is the standard you ask for. "

So, Pastor Enyart claims that his deity is the standard. It should be a simple matter then, to show us the standard behind his alleged absolute right and wrong by showing us his God.

At this juncture, dear reader, you might be asking yourself, "I though Pastor Enyart's God was a person?" (Admittedly a very BIG, very important, very powerful person; but a person nonetheless.) How can a person be an absolute moral standard?

So that is another question we are left with for Pastor Enyart – how can a person, even a god, be an absolute moral standard?

Unfortunately since all we have is a name (YHWH), we still need to discern what the standard is.

  • Will the philosophy that Pastor Enyart has argued tell us? I think not.
    Will the astrophysics that Pastor Enyart has argued tell us? I think not.
    Will the biology that Pastor Enyart has argued tell us? I think not.
    Will the psychology that Pastor Enyart has tried to argue tell us? I know it doesn't. (I'm a psychologist :D )

So, Pastor Enyart. You've pointed to your deity as the absolute moral standard. But wait one minute here…

Wasn't the entire debate supposed to be centered on arguing the existence of deity? What you've done is presented us with a logical quandary. To simplify it, it looks like this:

Enyartian Argument of Absolute Moral Standards as a Proof of God's Existence
1. Pastor Enyart asserts that an absolute moral standard exists.
  • Now we must realize that Pastor Enyart has yet to prove that an absolute moral standard exists. He has provided weak evidence, in the illustration of the human conscience which both law enforcement and psychology have demonstrated is not universal either in its occurrence in the human species or in it's expression of moral standards. But in his last post he makes a the astounding assertion that becomes premise #2.

2. Pastor Enyart asserts that the absolute moral standard is his deity.
  • Again, Pastor Enyart asserts something is so without offering a single shred of evidence or proof either for the existence of his deity or that his deity actually is the alleged absolute standard.

3. Pastor Enyart asserts that an absolute moral standard is evidence for the existence of his deity.
  • Since Pastor Enyart has not proven the existence of such a standard, merely asserted it, this premise is unsubstantiated.

So what is our conclusion supposed to be "Therefore: Pastor Enyart's God exists"?

Unfortunately, the only logical conclusion I can draw is that this is merely a demonstration of the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. On the other hand it could be that Pastor Enyart is bluffing by always asserting that the truth lies behind his premises, but never quite displaying it. Either way, it doesn't work.

Let's move on to his other non-arguments…

In his last post, Pastor Enyart spends a considerable amount of energy and words (over 80% of the post) attempting to discuss science. Unfortunately for all his readers, Pastor Enyart is neither a good scientist or a good technical researcher. His long maunderings are not only tedious but erroneous, as well. For example, he tries to tie a famous Abiogenesis experiment, the flies and meat, to Louis Pasteur. If Pastor Enyart actually knew the history of microbiology and was not merely paraphrasing from an undisclosed secondary source, he would know that the experiment to which he refers is known as the Redi experiment, named for Francesco Redi who demonstrated that flies did not arise spontaneously from meat almost two hundred years before Pasteur.

Pastor Enyart continues with a torrent of questions,
Could science ever conceivably close the gap between the observation of biological life, and that the first life must have arisen naturally? Could science ever theoretically close the gap between the observation of the universe, and that the universe must have originated naturally? Could science ever close the gap between the observation of consciousness, and that self-awareness must have arisen naturally? Will the atheist admit that these are theoretical possibilities?... Zakath, can science possibly discover real limitations of matter, energy, and natural processes? Here’s a psychology experiment: As an atheist, can you admit that you would rather not think about the limits of natural processes? Can you admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist?

The reader should remember that only two hundred years ago, science could not provide a means to save a human from rabies. No scientist in the world could have told you how. Today we can and do.

One hundred years ago mankind could not fly in heavier than air craft. No serious practitioner of engineering science could build a successful heavier-than-air craft. Today, any sufficiently determined hobbyist may build such craft.

Fifty years ago mankind could only dream of human feet touching the moon, of world wide portable telephonic communication, of pace makers to stabilize ailing hearts, of cloning plants and animals, of using recombinant genetics to treat diseases. Today, all those things have happened. I would suggest that, based on the record of scientific achievement over the last three hundred years alone that it is not infeasible that scientists (or even amateurs, as we remember the Wright brothers during their 100th anniversary year of their first flight) might pierce the veil of ignorance and provide the means to move from non-life to life. But just as the people who lived twenty years before Pasteur couldn't describe how a vaccine was made, let alone how it worked, neither can I describe the mechanisms and processes yet to be uncovered by future exploration.

Pastor Enyart's science questions are all interesting questions. If this was a debate about the future of science, they would even be good questions. Ones that, presumably, will be answered someday. But in the context of this debate, they are distractions from the single question we are here to discuss – does God exist? Since they are merely distractions, not one of them will be answered here. Thus, not to aid Pastor Enyart in using his focus on the less than omniscient nature of scientific investigation as a diversionary tactic, I will postpone considering them until my last post. (I will meet similar future attempts likewise.) ;)

If Pastor Enyart desires, he can generate a hundred more questions for my consideration. But if they do not serve to solve the question of whether or not deity exists, I will not address them here. The problem is that none of this endless palaver about science is helping to assess the question we came here to answer: DOES GOD EXIST?

Later, much later, Pastor Enyart brings up this interesting question:
Zakath, could science conceivably ever falsify natural origins by closing the gap for the origin of the universe and biological life, showing conclusively that natural processes themselves cannot account for such origins?
In keeping with my general promise above, since this is a science question, I'll not answer it except to make the following general comment. An important characteristic of a scientific theory or hypotheis is that it be "falsifiable". This means that there must be an experiment or possible discovery that could prove the theory untrue. For example, Einstein's theory of Relativity made predictions about the results of experiments. These experiments could have produced results that contradicted Einstein, so the theory was (and still is) falsifiable.

Unfortunately, Pastor Enyart's theory of divine origins is not falsifiable and is thus essentially unscientific. One cannot prove that his God was there or responsible for the origins of the universe. Nor can he devise an experiment to falsify his theory. Or can he… :think:

The last item I'd like to discuss in this section is Pastor Enyart's assertion that his examples of NAZI murder and the murders at a local Denver area high school somehow refute the notion that conscience is not existent or functioning in sociopathic persons. I don't understand how either example demonstrates functional conscience, which flies in the face of the good pastor's assertion that they somehow indicates "that all the billions of functioning human beings, even the wicked, have a conscience."

Argument from Non-Belief (ANB)
In my last post, I presented and explained the Argument from Non-Belief and how it supports the atheistic position. Surprisingly enough, instead of attempting to refute the argument, Pastor Enyart refuses to address it, until after I have made my final post:
, I will postpone answering it until my last post. (I will meet similar future attempts likewise.)
Pastor Enyart, please correct me if I am reading this wrong, but it sounds to me as if you are saying that if I make any argument that uses your scriptures that you will refuse to address it until after I am no longer able to refute an argument you present.

Surprisingly enough, it appears that the good pastor is afraid to use the Bible
… I will avoid specifically Scriptural arguments and for the benefit of the readers, stick to the debate topic of Does God Exist? … I think readers can recognize Zakath’s instance of the Argument from Non-Belief as an attempt to divert the debate into a wide-ranging discussion of the Bible…
Since I was debating someone who is allegedly a Christian, I merely used the Bible to clarify why my premises were true (at least from a Christian's point of view). If Pastor Enyart had been a Muslim, I would have used the Qu'ran. Why do you suppose that a Christian pastor would refuse to use one of the few textual sources in the world that allegedly clearly supports his arguments for the existence of his deity?

That said, I'll proceed to my next argument, without citing any specific portions of the Bible… :D

The Argument from Confusion (AC)

This argument, a little more complicated than the previous Argument from Non-Belief (ANB), consists of four premises:
1. Christians are confused in that:

  • A. They disagree with one another about a variety of important doctrinal issues including the nature of God, God's Law (e.g. which kinds of killing are acceptable within the law), the role of sacraments, requirements for salvation, role of Church hierarchy, the place of the Jew and the nation of Israel, the sequence of end-time events, and the status of the Bible, to name a few.

    B. The Bible contradicts itself on these doctrinal matters, is exceedingly unclear in many important areas, and contains errors which make it appear to be merely manmade work.

    C. Different copies of the Hebrew and Greek biblical manuscripts say conflicting things. Even the biblical canon involves disputes and appears to be arbitrary.

    D. There is no objective procedure for settling any of these many disputes, especially since the original manuscripts of the Bible have been lost, there is no public declaration from God that would resolve any of them.

2. If God were to exist, then he would love all Christians and want that love reciprocated. He would also strongly desire that, here on earth, Christians become aware of, and be clear about those aspects of his nature and system of governance that have importance to their lives.

3. Hence, if god were to exist, then he would prevent Christians from becoming confused in their beliefs about his nature and system of governance in ways that have importance to their lives and that interfere with them coming to love him.

4. But Christians have not been prevented from becoming confused in those ways. The forms of disagreement mentioned in premise (1), above, are examples.

Therefore, God does not exist.

I offer this argument without specific reference to any scriptures to assist Pastor Enyart in dealing with the argument itself without having to deal with the distractions of discussing the validity of the Bible. :)
 

Nathon Detroit

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ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here.

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.
 
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Nathon Detroit

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Does God Exist?

Well does He??? :D :box:

There is ONLY ONE place on the internet you can view a battle of such epic porportions and thats here at TheologyOnLine.com! Bob Enyart defends the Creator while Zakath the atheist argues that there is no God.

Will good win over evil? Will Zakath see the error of his ways?

I don't know! But I do know you can buy a REALLY cool Battle Royale Collector T-Shirt from the TheologyOnLine store!

Get yours TODAY!
 

Bob Enyart

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TOL BR VII DGE Post 6b

TOL BR VII DGE Post 6b

Zakath, thank you for correcting me on mistaking Louis Pasteur for another theist, Francesco Redi, who first disproved the spontaneous generation of maggots. Pasteur expanded on Redi’s work by experimentally disproving the spontaneous generation of microbes, thus disappointing atheists. I do appreciate the correction which leaves my argument fully intact, and I look forward to your last post in which you implied you might answer my God of the Gaps rebuttal questions, which address your primary argument.

You wrote, “Pastor Enyart has manufactured the alleged quotation from thin air” when your search didn’t produce a previous source for my 5b quote:
“God’s own righteous standard,” whereas what I had written in 4b was:
“[God’s] own righteous standard,” from which I removed my own clarifying brackets when repeating this for the third time after previously substituting ‘God’ for ‘His’ for reader comprehension. Zakath, trying to understand why we wasted time on all this, I believe that I should have been more clear, but at first it didn’t dawn on me that as a former Christian pastor that you could have misunderstood my view that the absolute moral standard is God's own goodness, so I just assumed that you were being difficult, but below I illustrate a possible source of the confusion.

Then, I had specifically stated in 5b: “While I have presented some arguments as proof for God, for now, I have presented conscience as just evidence, not as full-fledged proof.” But you headlined half your 6a post as the “Enyartian Argument of Absolute Moral Standards as a Proof of God's Existence.” Oops. And that followed my 4b comment: “Human conscience is not all the evidence we have for an absolute moral standard, but it provides strong evidence… evidence is used to establish proof. You only need one proof, but it may consist of two or three pieces of evidence.”

Also in this post I add proof for a Creator from broad features of the solar system and I address Zakath’s vague question about the physics of a supernatural creation while responding to his continued assertion that theism results from scientific impatience and ignorance.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ14 – BQ19 all unanswered, including those about gaps, falsifying his arguments on absolutes and origins, and the ill effects of shoving truth into someone’s face.

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ15: Pastor Enyart, how can a person, even a god, be an absolute moral standard?
BA15: Atheists understand this golf quote easily enough: “Tiger Woods set the standard,” (SI, 12-02). Similarly God, being loving and just, defines the absolute standard which requires love and justice (examples: love your neighbor and the punishment should fit the harm done). Of course we can expand on this, but this much completely answers your question.

ZQ16: Regarding NAZI and Columbine murderers, how can “either example demonstrate functional conscience?”
BA16: From my post 4b: “People who violate the demands of conscience, in an effort to appease it, attempt to justify their own actions. Whereas if they had no conscience, they would have no compelling need to justify themselves. For example, Dylan Klebold, Adolf Hitler… endeavor to justify their actions... trying to appease their conscience… For your conscience generates an inescapable urge to weigh moral actions on the scale of justice. And it gnaws at you…” Without a conscience, they could have simply killed people without offering justification, but these along with a million of the worst criminals repent from, defend, or deny their actions. And even those who deny having any conscience inherently feel wronged when lied to or stolen from, and yes, “even the wicked have a conscience.” You seem to confuse the ideas of conscience and coercion, and distinguishing these will help you better understand mankind.

ZQ17: Respond to Zakath’s Argument from Confusion (AC).
BA17: Just as I offered to address your Non-Belief (ANB) problem, I will similarly try to help with your problems of confusion and moral knowledge (MKAA). In BQ19, I stated, “Zakath, if you really want us to pursue further your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism, then please address my prior BA9 answer… on the negative consequences of shoving truth into someone’s face.” FYI, BA9 addresses ANB, AC, and MKAA, OK? For my part, I have already answered this alphabet soup in BA9 and with this from 3b: “Why would we have more disagreement regarding God than regarding the Earth’s approximate circumference? Why? Because more [people] have more at stake regarding the topic of God than they do about the 24,901-mile equator… our world is full of hurt and suffering, and much of it is inflicted by people upon others, and oftentimes, even upon our own friends and family members. And if a God of justice exists, then there are quite a few [people] that will be held accountable for hurting others, many guilty of hurting even their own wives and children. And so, as the field of view focuses on the judgment of men’s actions, of their characters, and even of themselves as human beings, we should expect to see an increasing refusal to incorporate other frames of reference, and even a denial of objects observed in our own fields of view (such as the aggregate hurt we have inflicted upon others). Thus, the closer the topic comes to [a just] God, the more hesitancy, resistance, dishonesty and even fear, you [should] expect.”

ZQ18: Pastor Enyart “cannot… devise an experiment to falsify… that his God was there or responsible for the origins of the universe.”
BA19: I can falsify my claim. The falsification test does not require simplicity, but possibility. Think of an investigation that might falsify not a physical law but an historical event, say a 1960s criminal conviction, with now available DNA evidence; such possible falsification was not easy for mankind to achieve, but it was theoretically possible. In Battle Royale VII, we are debating Does God Exist? and the existence of any God would invalidate atheism, but as the Tale of the Tape and Zakath informs people, I, Bob Enyart, am a Christian, the pastor of Denver Bible Church. Of all the religions I know of, Christians can most concretely falsify their God, for we worship Jesus Christ. Even atheists agree with the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:14 writing that Christianity is false “if Christ is not risen.” Here is my falsification test: if an archaeological or historical investigation proved from the evidence that Christ did not rise from the dead, then my God was not there at creation, for He doesn’t exist. Thus properly weighing the evidence for Christ’s resurrection can most efficiently invalidate the world’s largest religion or all the others. Notice that Christian theists for 2,000 years have been willing to show our beliefs as falsifiable, while atheists like Zakath resist this basic intellectual discipline either through fear or because they cannot even do so.

ZQ10: Continued request for evidence for God.
BA10-5: Below I add my fifth line of evidence for a supernatural Creator marked by (ZQ10-5) showing that neither a swirling cloud of gas nor any other natural process could have created our solar system.

ZQ12: Explain the physics of a supernatural creation.
BA12: My 3b summary answer is repeated and expanded right here:

Creation Physics

Recall Zakath’s post 3a question ZQ12: “Let’s hear the explanation for the physics behind Pastor Enyart’s God as creator and perhaps this atheist will reconsider his disbelieving position.”

Here’s my BA12 summary: “A natural explanation for the universe is limited to natural possibilities; a supernatural Creator is not limited by the laws of the natural universe, and so could bring matter and energy into existence from nothing.” I now add that a supernatural Creator could create from nothing without even a seeming contradiction of natural law. So Zakath, have you reconsidered your atheism since hearing that natural law has no jurisdiction over a supernatural Creator?

We know that whatever the natural law says, it says to those entities which are under the law. Natural law governs only the natural sphere and has no logical jurisdiction over a supernatural Creator. Many atheists believe that all matter could have come from nothing by itself but could not have been created out of nothing by something non-material. Go figure.

Apparent contradictions exist between natural law and natural origins. But Zakath, your question implies that you think there is some challenge in, or an obvious contradiction between, the origin of the natural universe and the existence of a supernatural Creator. I can think of none. If you can identify some conflicts, or even just one, please present such. The following will lead to a question on this:

Institutional science today has a passionate anti-supernatural bias and lacks even a willingness to debate creationism. And most scientists now surveyed respond that they reject God as the explanation for origins, and a large percent are atheist or agnostic. However, before the a priori rejection of a supernatural realm, many brilliant men of science defended creationism as the intellectual solution to the dilemma of existence. My own list of defenders of creationism are fathers of science whom I have catalogued partly from my perusing their original writings in the Encyclopedia Britannica Great Books series, partly from reading their quotes elsewhere, and a few from third-party references.

So here is my own list of fathers of the physical sciences who rejected natural origins:

Philip Paracelsus, died 1541, Chemical Medicine
Nicolas Copernicus, 1543, Scientific Revolution
Francis Bacon, 1626, Scientific Method
Johann Kepler, 1630, Physical Astronomy
Galileo Galilei, 1642, Law of falling bodies
William Harvey, 1657, Circulatory System
Blaise Pascal, 1662, Probability and Calculators
Robert Boyle, 1691, Chemistry
Isaac Newton, 1727, Gravitation
Carolus Linnaeus, 1778, Taxonomy
George Cuvier, 1832, Anatomy/Paleontology
John Dalton, 1844, Atomic Theory

For those who object that these brilliant men lived prior to the 1859 publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, consider the following scientific giants all of whom in a time of more open debate, publicly rejected natural origins and Darwinian evolution, and indicated that the evidence supports belief in a supernatural Creator:

Michael Faraday, 1867, Electromagnetism
Gregor Mendel, 1884, Genetics
Louis Pasteur, 1885, Microbiology
James Joule, 1889, Thermodynamics
Lord Kelvin, 1907, Thermodynamics
Joseph Lister, 1912, Modern Surgery
G. W. Carver, 1943, Modern Agriculture

The many modern scientists and inventors, from the Wright Brothers (aviation) to Werhner von Braun (space exploration), from Raymond Damadian (MRI) to Los Alamos’ John Baumgardner (Terra geophysical simulator), to the 650 voting members with post-graduate scientific degrees at the Creation Research Society, and the above listed fathers of science show that great intellect also sides with the theistic explanation of origins. An atheist who mocks theism for being anti-intellectual is ignorant or worse. On an a priori bias, today’s scientific community dismisses creationism without debate and without even considering the merits of its technical arguments. Institutional science will look for aliens (SETI) and declare intelligent life in outer space if they detect a few prime numbers out there, but it refuses to debate scientists with extensive mathematical evidence for creation in the genetic code.

Medieval academics were intellectually enslaved to the geo-centrism of pagans Aristotle and Ptolemy. They had no justification to shut down debate on heliocentricity, and had only misinterpreted evidence on their side. Today’s institutional science, enslaved by its political correctness, similarly has no justification to shut down creation debate, lacking evidence for its own presupposition that the universe, biological life, or consciousness could arise naturally. If scientific academic debate on creation were permitted today, Zakath being well read might have realized that ZQ12 on creation physics was a non-challenge. Here’s another kicker: you cannot even find the context or the terms in which to frame a serious challenge regarding the physics of creation.

But don’t feel inept. The brilliant scientists listed above knew of no apparent contradiction either between natural law and a supernatural creation. And neither do today’s atheist scientists. But just to illustrate that the scientific advance of the last decades has not discovered a scientific or rational contradiction between the laws of physics and a Creator, I will officially ask you this: Zakath, can you identify any apparent contradiction between a supernatural Creator bringing the universe into existence from nothing, and the natural laws of physics?

I predict that Zakath can offer no answer for this question, which silence will belie his post 3a comment that, “The Problem of God as the Creator also essentially begs the question he raises about the violations of the laws of thermodynamics at the Creation. How did Pastor Enyart’s God create matter and energy from nothing?” To show the absurdity of atheists commonly making this non-challenge, I offer these back-to-back questions:

Do many atheists think it is possible that the universe came into existence from nothing?
Do many atheists think it is impossible that the universe came into existence from nothing by an outside Creator?


Zakath, I know you agree that we theists are not infallible, and in this long paragraph, I will address an error theists commonly make regarding the origin of the physical laws. Perhaps this will help you or some other atheist by removing this unnecessary hurdle which many Christians likely have put in front of you. God created the material universe, and the physical laws are simply the inherent properties of that universe, which properties we reduce to words in order to understand the functions of nature. The physical laws do not exist unto themselves, as though you could isolate one or see it with a microscope. Also, these laws are not arbitrary, as though they could have been any different. God could have made matter that exhibited different laws, but then He would have made a different universe. When He created the space and matter that He did, God did not then need to ‘invent’ a law of momentum. Rather, momentum is simply an inherent property of matter relating to mass and velocity, which we then reduce to a description; thus momentum describes the innate behavior of the kind of matter God created. God could have created different subatomic particles, and thus different kinds of atoms. If He had created matter without electrically charged particles, then that matter would have behaved differently. If He had done so, H20 might not exhibit the capillary action that lifts water against gravity to nourish tree tops. If He had made a different kind of water, then it might have behaved like most other compounds which contract when cooled and expand when heated, but then ice would be heavier than liquid water and so lakes would freeze from the bottom up killing all their fish. God comprehended the laws which would come into being, so to speak, attendant to Creation, and so He designed matter in order to achieve the functionality He desired, which functionality is described by those laws. Now here’s the correction of a common Christian error: God created the physical universe, not the physical laws. Some might think this a minor distinction but ignoring it presents an unnecessary stumbling stone to those non-theists like Albert Einstein who think clearly about this, as when he said “God Himself could not have arranged those connections [the physical laws] in any other way than that which factually exists” (Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, 1992, p. 242). Theists assert wrongly when they say that God could have decreed the laws to be otherwise. God is not a magician. Making the laws arbitrary gives unbelievers like Einstein a valid objection to that part of the theist message. For he rightly rejected this sloppy theist notion that God could arbitrarily establish the physical laws. Perhaps this misconception led to Zakath’s non sequitur question about the physics of creation. Perhaps too, Zakath misunderstood my point that the absolute moral standard comes from God’s nature partly because the same misinformed Christians also say that God created the spiritual laws. He did not. They are a reflection of His nature. Thus, they could not be different than they are. Because God is righteous, the spiritual laws uphold righteousness and condemn evil. Many Christians have unwittingly undermined the holiness of God by suggesting that He can be spiritually arbitrary, because He is God. That’s wrong. God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy. He remains Holy because He acts consistent with His nature. God did not have to invent the command against kidnapping, nor the prohibition against perjury. Once He created beings made in His likeness, then the moral and spiritual commands followed automatically from His nature, and they are simply the properties of these beings, prohibiting behavior that inflicts harm and leads toward death. By the way, while spiritual and moral laws are absolutes, any symbolic ordinances that God may issue could be arbitrary, such as feast days which may symbolize spiritual truth. Thus God cannot issue righteous laws which defy His holy nature, for example, prohibiting all love and requiring envy. So, God created physical entities and spiritual beings, but He did not create the physical and spiritual laws.

Zakath, I’d like to know, have you ever heard theists state or imply that the physical and spiritual laws are as they are because God created them that way? On behalf of all Christians who agree with this, I apologize to Zakath and other unbelievers for this unnecessary stumbling stone. This illustrates to me that wrong ideas about God certainly can affect an individual’s decision making, although ultimately, people will reject the just and loving God not because of confusion, but because they oppose His goodness.

The Frenchman Voltaire fabricated a revisionist history of hostility between science and Christianity which has been discredited by most science historians writing today (see Pearcey & Thaxton, Soul of Science, 1994). Heavily Christianized Europe bred men with a commitment to a rational view of the universe; whereas eastern mysticism suggested the universe was an illusion, or maya, which belief stifled scientific inquiry; and in Plato’s myth, the creator imperfectly manipulated stubborn eternal matter, leading the Greeks to expect irrationality from nature; and Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s insistence of a geo-centric solar system led astronomy into the dark ages until Christianized men founded modern science. The church of the middle ages was intensely Aristotelian in science and philosophy, and so Voltaire blamed the earth-centered cosmology on Christianity, rather than on its well-known pagan Ptolemaic and Aristotelian roots. Further, the enormous atheistic experiments of the Soviet Union and Communist China spent countless billions on high technology, but mostly copied the scientific progress of America, the world’s most fundamentally Christian nation. I am not, here and now, arguing that Christianity is the true religion, which is not necessary in this Battle Royale VII, but only that Christian theism is not the enemy of science as often claimed by atheists. Fundamental scientific discoveries typically give rise to enormous scientific gains, as is true of the discoveries from the above list of Christian (and heavily Christianized) scientists. Thanks to Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, we accurately navigate the Earth and the solar system. Harvey, Cuvier, and Pasteur opened the floodgates of modern medicine and microbiology. Boyle, Dalton, Faraday, and Joule introduced us to chemistry and electromagnetism, and pointed us toward nuclear energy. Linnaeus, Mendel, and Carver developed the very framework for subsequent study and management of living organisms lasting until today’s latest genetic findings. (Contrast all this with the dearth of scientific discoveries produced directly from the theory of evolution.) And Isaac Newton, considered by science historians the world’s greatest scientist, wrote much on Christian theology interspersing God and science in his work. Newton unleashed centuries of concrete scientific progress leading to technologies from fiber optics to the GPS system with his discoveries of the nature of color by wavelengths of light, differential calculus, mechanics, and universal gravity. In his 1687 work Principia Mathematica, Book Three on The System of the World, Newton wrote of God that “He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient, that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity: His presence from infinity to infinity: he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done.”

Juxtapose the names of these extraordinary scientists with quotes from Zakath’s posts inferring that atheists exhibit superior intelligence compared to the theists who trust in “Big Brother… to solve our problems for us… Too many lay persons are quick to assume that if they cannot understand something in a few minutes that it must mean that ‘God did it’ … Science differs from the form of narrow fundamentalist thinking [these creationists are] attempting to impose… [Theists have] not provided a single iota more evidence to explain the existence of this deity than has been tendered to explain the existence of Santa Claus.

Atheists often invalidate the superstitious arguments for God, like the mocking dialogues below, while mostly ignoring the reasoned evidence. That’s convenient. Atheists should think of creationists Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Faraday, and Newton before they join Zakath as he mocks:

Religious Leader: “Can you explain why the sun moves across the sky?”
Lay Person: “Well, no.”
Religious Leader: “Then it must be God, riding his sun chariot.”

And atheists should remember creationists Linnaeus, Cuvier, Mendel, Pasteur, and Carver before ridiculing:

Lay Person: “There’s this black fuzzy growths on the grain heads…”
Religious Leader: “Well how did that black fuzzy stuff get there?”
Lay Person: “I don’t know. I just sort of showed up…”
Religious Leader: “God is responsible…”

Ironically, the world’s atheists first learned why the Sun appears to rise each morning and how to identify and prevent disease in crops, livestock, and people by the work of the creationists listed above.

Solar System

Now I add features of our solar system as a fifth evidence for a supernatural Creator. Our solar system contains proof that it did not form from a condensing spinning nebula. For example, the Sun contains 99% of the solar system mass and if it formed naturally it should have 99% of the system’s spin but it only has 1% of that momentum, so that if it had formed naturally, then something has virtually stopped the Sun from turning. Also, our system has harmonies in the ratios of distances, sizes, orbits. Our star is 400 times more distant than is our moon, and it also happens to be 400 times larger, which ratios enable a perfect solar eclipse unique to the Earth. No law of physics would drive toward the behavior of two of Saturn’s moons which politely exchange places, nor Jupiter’s moons orbiting with a 1:2:4 harmony, nor Pluto and its moon Charon rotating in opposite directions while keeping their faces toward one another. Then frustrating atheist predictions Venus and many moons rotate backwards, while Venus keeps her same face toward us in the most extraordinary manner. Finally, no natural explanation can account for our own moon’s origin or for its perfect distance from Earth, far enough to avoid daily tidal waves wiping out land animals, and close enough for the oxygenating tides to keep the seas alive.

Zakath, I assume that you and other atheists agree completely with both of these bullets:

• If any natural cause, known or unknown, could originate the Sun, moons and planets, then the solar system would not be proof for a Creator and any gaps in our understanding may one day be filled.

And the converse must be true also that:

• If science has already proved limitations in matter and energy which eliminate nature as the cause of our Solar System, then a supernatural Creator is mandatory.

The Slow Sun: Everything in our solar system is spinning: thousands of heavenly bodies rotating, revolving, orbiting. And atheists currently agree that complex functioning systems cannot appear by chance in one single step (we’ll call this the honeymoon period of atheism). So today’s atheist assumes that a natural process formed the solar system from some swirling nebula, which had been spinning with a huge amount of momentum. They suppose that this swirling nebula condensed into our solar system in which the Sun holds 99.98% of our system’s mass. But then the Sun should possess 99.98% of the spin energy of the solar system. But it doesn’t. It has less than one percent. If atheists had a true commitment to natural process, every one of them would attribute great weight to this most massive feature of our solar system which goes against natural origins, but they generally ignore it. For by natural origins, the law of the Conservation of Angular Momentum would have the Sun spinning hundreds of times faster than its current rate.

Atheists can’t even stop the publication of the Bible, and now they’re trying to find a way to stop the Sun from turning. (I can’t claim they lack zeal.) That is, they must find a natural process that could stop the Sun from spinning, and yet, leave the rest of the solar system merrily on its way. If that is not physically possible, if a naturally condensing Sun’s lack of spin cannot be accounted for by any laws of physics, then that alone is another piece of evidence which itself proves that we have a Creator. The Sun’s spin is a showstopper for atheists. Welcome to the No Spin Zone of the solar system.

So, atheist desperation has launched its own spin, because in this showdown, they must somehow slow the Sun down. They look frantically for a solar brake. And unconstrained by reason or physical laws, they can always come up with something… Well, let’s not count that one. (Aliens again.) So, they keep looking. And they speculate, conjecture, imagine, and dream (all of which is valid). But the best they can do is hope that somehow the Sun reached out to the planets, grabbed onto them, and slowed itself down by speeding them up. But the Sun’s mass compares to the planets as a 499-pound ball compares to a one-pounder. If such an object were spinning in space and tried to slow itself down by magnetically grabbing onto a one-pound ball spinning with it, the most it could do is pull that ball into itself, it simply lacks the mechanisms necessary to transfer its spin into the one pound object floating along with it. For the planets themselves are falling through empty space with the Sun, and it is pulling them along! The atheist hope is tantamount to telling a paratrooper, “instead of using a parachute, just pull up on your shoes as you’re falling to slow yourself down.”

If the Sun coalesced from a spinning nebula, natural law predicts it would have almost all of the spin of our system. And since almost all the rotational force lies outside of the Sun, it therefore could not have coalesced from a spinning nebula. This is one way to show that Newton rightly criticized Descartes for proclaiming this swirling gas cloud theory. Isaac Newton in a letter to a Richard Bentley wrote, “The Cartesian [gas cloud] hypothesis… is plainly erroneous” saying of the solar system that, “I know of no reason [for the motion of the planets] but because the Author of the system thought it convenient.” And all atheists should agree, if there is no natural cause that could slow down the Sun from its original speed and leave the rest of the system spinning as it does, then only a supernatural Creator can account for the solar system.

Life by the Moon: No scientific law would drive toward a 400-to-400 ratio and tune our moon’s perfect placement to accomplish its functions necessary to sustain Earth’s ecosystem. The Earth and moon attract one another by gravity and the Earth’s pull on the moon keeps its heavier side always facing us, and the moon’s pull on the Earth causes the tides in the ocean, which in turn oxygenate the deep. If the moon were much closer it could produce continental tidal waves destroying life on land, but if a bit farther away the tides would cease and plankton and all sea life would die. Add to that perfect placement its plane of orbit, and its extraordinary ratios to the Sun, which is 400 times further away and also 400 times larger, and thus alone of all our system’s moons, it produces a perfect eclipse. Such an eclipse conveys both beauty and knowledge by revealing the Sun’s corona, and it speaks of God’s special attention to Earth and mankind. And the Sun’s size, distance, color, and temperature all match the needs of life on Earth.

Oh, and how could the moon form naturally? The many physical constraints on that possibility so burden conceivable theories that a scientific symposium concluded that the current theory of lunar origins is popular “not… because strong evidence was presented that the Moon was formed by this means, or even that it could have been,” but because the other theories fail even more obviously. At the opposite extreme of error, many of the ancient cultures worshipped the heavenly bodies. And between these two errors, the Christian theistic tradition for millennia has proclaimed “don’t worship the heavenly bodies,” for the Sun, moon, and stars are just lights, created by God.

Of the two worldviews, atheism struggles to explain these lunar observations while theism predicts them. For example, to evaluate the possibility of the Earth’s ecosystem to arise by chance, we must factor in the probability that the moon’s relationship with Earth would also occur by chance. So you take the mathematical possibility of life generating naturally, and multiply that by the probability of our lunar relationship. So let’s try that! For chance to develop one simple protein molecule (which is trillions of times less complex than the simplest living organism), if every atom in the known universe interacted a billion times per second with other atoms, the entire universe couldn’t produce that one protein molecule by chance in a trillion years. And yet, atheists think that not only did that happen, but simultaneously dozens of other kinds of proteins appeared, all right next to each other, and then all the other requirements for life happened (in the same place, and at the same time), and then, of course, all that would still fail to produce our planet’s ecosystem without the extraordinarily unlikely fine-tuned presence of our moon.

Planets and Moons: Saturn’s two moons, Janus and Epimetheus, share the exact same orbits, but they politely exchange places every time they pass each other. When Janus orbits closer in and faster, it catches up to Epimetheus, then they attract one another and switch orbits, so that Janus takes the further out, slower orbit until Epimetheus catches it and the chase starts over again. The “shepherd” moons keep Uranus’ dark and Saturn’s beautiful rings in place. Near collisions could nudge objects out of perfect initial harmonies and we find that Jupiter’s moons exhibit harmony with Ganymede circling almost exactly twice for each orbit of Europa, and Europa almost exactly twice for each orbit of Io, and Pluto orbits almost exactly twice for each of Neptune’s three orbits. Our moon always puts the same face toward Earth, but Pluto and Charon both always show their same face to the other and to do this dance they must rotate in opposite directions. And Venus spins opposite the rest of the solar system (as do Uranus, Pluto, and dozens of moons and satellites including Saturn’s Phoebe and Neptune’s Triton), which frustrates the predictions of a spinning nebula forming our system. And while Venus rotates backwards, check this out, every time she moves between the Earth and the Sun, Venus shows the same face to us, even though neither planet can exert enough gravity to produce that resonance! Such remarkable features of our solar system are obscured by atheistic science curriculums because they speak so forcefully against natural origins.

Zakath, I challenge you to say that the above scientific observations weigh more heavily toward atheism than toward creation. These broad features of the solar system read like a sign pointing to the Creator. Specifically (BA10-5), regarding the slow spin of the Sun, Earth’s ecosystem being enabled by the Sun’s properties and distance, our own moon’s relative size and distance from the Sun and the Earth, and the harmonious orbits of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, the relationship between Pluto and Charon, and their harmony with Neptune, and the backward spin of Venus while she shows her same face when between us and the Sun, do all these apparently indicate evidence for Creation, or evidence for atheism?

Zakath, please explain what evidence you have to indicate that the above solar system design elements indicate actual gaps that must be filled, rather than imaginary gaps that science already has closed.

God made it easy for the humble to believe He exists, when they look into the eyes of a newborn child. But for the honest skeptic, God has filled creation with proofs of His existence.

Question Summary

BQ20: Zakath, have you reconsidered your atheism since hearing that natural law has no jurisdiction over a supernatural Creator? a) Yes b) No

BQ21: Zakath, can you identify any apparent contradiction between a supernatural Creator bringing the universe into existence from nothing, and the natural laws of physics? a) Yes b) No
If Yes, please explain: _________________________________________________

BQ22: Zakath, do many atheists think it is possible that the entire universe came into existence from nothing? a) Yes b) No

BQ23: Zakath, do many atheists think it is impossible that the entire universe came into existence from nothing by a Creator? a) Yes b) No

BQ24: Zakath, have you ever heard theists state or imply that the physical and spiritual laws are as they are because God created them that way?

BQ25: Zakath, regarding the slow spin of the Sun, Earth’s ecosystem being enabled by the Sun’s properties and distance, our own moon’s relative size and distance from the Sun and the Earth, and the harmonious orbits of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, the relationship between Pluto and Charon, and their harmony with Neptune, and the backward spin of Venus while she shows her same face when between us and the Sun, do all these apparently indicate evidence for Creation, or evidence for atheism?

BQ26: Zakath, please explain what evidence you have to indicate that the above solar system design elements indicate actual gaps that must be filled, rather than imaginary gaps that science already has closed.

Sincerely, Bob Enyart
 

Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here.

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Zakath

Resident Atheist
Zakath's 7th Post

Zakath's 7th Post

Here we are at Post number 7. After reading his last post, I'm inclined to think that Pastor Enyart is using this debate to test material for a book or some other publication. His latest (and longest?) missive can be divided into five major topics:

  • 1. Claiming that sociopathic individuals really are sorry for their crimes otherwise they wouldn't try to justify their actions.
    2. A weak rebuttal of the Argument from Confusion
    3. A weak example of "falsifying Christianity"
    4. A long (very long) list of apparent astronomical anomalies to be answered by, (yes you guessed it) God did it!
    5. God's nature defines the absolute standard of right and wrong.
I'll address these topics in order.

1. Sociopaths and Conscience
Pastor Enyart claims that "people who violate the demands of conscience, in an effort to appease it, attempt to justify their own actions." He claims that this attempted justification of their wrongdoing invalidates the observable point that sociopaths do not exhibit functional consciences. While I would agree with him that some sociopaths can be observed attempting to justify their actions, I would propose that he consider that the do so only after they have been apprehended for wrongdoing and are merely doing so to attempt to avoid punishment for those actions. I would suggest that there is strong case law evidence and psychological treatment record evidence to support the view that psychopathic personalities, like sociopaths, do not act out of "conscience" but merely out of self-preservation in another attempt to "beat the system" that has caught them in some crime or other and has finally decided to "make them pay" for their crimes. I'd suggest that Pastor Enyart inquire from his acquaintances in the criminal justice system about how many murdering sociopaths turn themselves in because their consciences are bothering them. I think he'll see how week an argument he presents here.

2. Argument from Confusion (AC)
In response to the Moral Knowledge Argument, the Argument from Non-Belief, and the Argument from Confusion, Pastor Enyart asserts that the confusion, disbelief, and lack of certainty and universality of moral knowledge any honest observer notices in religious circles comes from human's guilt about "the aggregate hurt we have inflicted upon others" and their inability to handle topics dealing with a just God. I will suggest that this is essentially a non-answer. This does not address any of the issues I raised. The idea that the world is filled with a dizzying diversity of contradictory religious forms and deities, that those deities are seemingly unable to clearly communicate their desires, wants, and moral imperatives to humankind and that, in spite of it all no single religion in the world can claim even close to the majority (i.e., greater than 50%) of the world's population as followers after thousands of years of alleged human-deistic interactions seems to fly in the face of all reason and logic.

Pastor Enyart's implied assertion that, somehow, his deity doesn't want to "shove truth in someone's face" is laughable when one considers the past record of a deity that allegedly destroyed most of the human race in a flood, ordered genocide, slaughter of the unborn, and killing of unbelievers. If an invading army beating down your gates and killing every living human in a city isn't "shoving truth in someone's face", then we must have very different views of what that means…

Thus far, he has not refuted any of the three logical arguments presented instead dragging us through endless series of illustrations of "God in the Gaps" apologetics…

3. A weak example of "falsifying Christianity"
When asked to provide an example of how he might bolster the idea that "his god was there or responsible for the origins of the universe", by providing a falsification test he offers the claim of resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth… He states "if an archaeological or historical investigation proved from the evidence that Christ did not rise from the dead, then my God was not there at creation, for He doesn’t exist." Unfortunately, such a test is about as sure a bet as finding a photograph of YHWH at creation. First, the idea of producing a 2000 year dead body of an itinerant Jewish rabbi as support of the validity of his belief is virtually impossible. Primarily due to the issue that there is no way to tell if a particular set of remains was that of Jesus of Nazareth or not. An endless series of claims and counterclaims could be imagined with no scientific resolution possible. If the Christians can't even unanimously agree on something as simple as the location of the tomb of Jesus (there are at least two sites claiming that honor around Jerusalem and IIRC, at least one in India), how could we expect them to agree that a given set of remains was the correct one?

Second, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has nothing to do with the veracity of the religionists' claims of divine intervention at the origins of the universe. People have claimed such things long before Jesus was ever born and will likely claim it long after.

4. A long (very long) list of apparent astronomical anomalies to be answered by, (yes you guessed it) God did it!
As I stated previously, I do not have either the time or the science training to answer Pastor Enyart's listings of anomalies. If he's really curious, I'd suggest he submit his questions to a group of qualified astronomers and see what they come up with…

I did get a chuckle out of Pastor Enyart's' list of "fathers of physical sciences who rejected natural origins". Unfortunately is merely another laughable attempt at presenting an argument based on the fallacy of "appeal to authority". Basically this argument states that, "we don't have any real significant evidence to support our position, so we'll create a list of a bunch of dead religionists and assert they supported our position. Creationists draw up these lists to convince the public that evolution is somehow being rejected by scientists, that it is a "theory in crisis." Most members of the public lack sufficient contact with the scientific community to know that such a claim is totally unfounded.

Well, list making is a fun pastime; one that scientists are fond of pursuing. I recall that American journalist H L Menkin once said , a good horse laugh is worth 1000 syllogisms, so I'll present a competing list for Pastor Enyart's camp to consider. The scientists at the National Center for Science Education (according to Pastor Enyart, he has some passing familiarity with their Executive Director, Dr. Eugenie Scott) came up with their own list. To be qualified for entry onto this list, one must be a living scientist with an earned doctoral degree and voluntarily provide their signature in support the following statement:
Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to "intelligent design," to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools.

As of July 7, 2003, there were 387 signatories to this list. Follow this link for the current count. Perhaps I forgot to mention that the only other qualification to be a member is that the signatory scientist must be named "Steve" (they will also accept, Stephens, Stevens, Stephanies, and Stefans). It's estimated that people named some variant of "Steve" make up about 1 percent of all scientists, so I'll leave the readers to make their own conclusions about the level of support for evolutionary theory among living scientists.

5. God's nature defines the absolute standard of right and wrong.
With his claim that "many Christians have unwittingly undermined the holiness of God by suggesting that he can be spiritually arbitrary, because he is God…", Pastor Enyart posts an answer to an argument that I have not yet posted. (His point actually sounds like even more support for my Argument from Confusion). To be fair, I'll now post the argument, Euthyphro's Dilemma, so you can have a bit of context to understand where he's coming from.

Euthyphro's Dilemma

More than 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato discussed the issue of how ethical standards come from deity and what the different theories mean to theists in his dialogue Euthyphro, a young man of that name meets Socrates. They have a discussion while Euthyphro is on his way to court to act as a sort of "state's attorney" to prosecute a murder case. Unfortunately for Euthyphro, the man he will be prosecuting is his own father. Since the Greeks (and their gods) valued loyalty to family highly, Socrates asks Euthyphro to explain why his prosecution of a family member is not immoral in the sight of the gods. During the ensuing discussion, Euthyphro attempts to defend a position called "divine command theory" of ethics. This theory, apparently held by Pastor Enyart and many other theists, states that we humans know what is good because a deity tells us what is good. If Pastor Enyart does not believe this, I hope he will explain just what he does believe… ;)

Plato's story proceeds to one of Socrates' famous two-point questions (called a dilemma, in Greek):
  • a) Is something morally good (pious) because the gods command it? or

    b) Is something morally good (pious) because the gods recognize it as good?

In the ensuing twenty centuries, these two questions have become known as Euthyphro's Dilemma. A discussion of these two questions may shed some light on Pastor Enyart's views on the relationship of absolute morals and his deity. Let's begin with the first point; that something is good because God commands it. In essence we are saying that God's will defines what is good…

A. God's will defines good
In this position, the one Pastor Enyart appears to hold, we find that, quite literally, anything goes as long as it is the deity's will. What kinds of things are included in Pastor Enyart's deity's will? He has refused to discuss the Bible, but for most Christians it provides a touchstone for describing the will and nature of the Christian God. According to the Bible, genocide, murdering children, incest, killing the unborn, even stealing virgins for brides are all acceptable acts to God because he ordered them. Remember that the basis of the "divine command theory" is that if God commands it, it's good. So by definition, good and evil exist only at the whim of the deity.

As the philosopher Bertrand Russell pointed out:
"If the only basis for morality is God's decrees, it follows that they might just as well have been the opposite of what they are; no reason except caprice could have prevented the omission of all the "nots" from the Decalogue." (Russell, B. Human Society in Ethics and Politics. New York. Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1962, pg. 38)

Essentially, Russell is saying that the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) could have been just the opposite of what they are and they would still be the will of God, since that is the definition of good, in this viewpoint.

Theists who accept this horn of Euthyphro's Dilemma must admit that they do not operate from or even have a standard of ethics. They have replaced their ethical standard with obedience – they do what their God commands. Unfortunately, they have confused the obedience of a slave with ethics.

Next, it makes little logical sense to say that "God is good" if god is the standard of goodness. After all, if God is good, in the sense that God is identical to the standard of goodness, then to say "God is good" is merely to say "God is god." Such a statement is fundamentally uninformative. In such a statement the subject and predicate nouns are the same object so the sentence loses its meaning.

Furthermore, this stand of Divine Command Theory makes it difficult, if not impossible to tell if a given being is a deity. There is no set of standards with which one could compare that being to identify it as "God." In human experience, if I want to determine whether a person is a clinical psychologist, I can develop a list of actions which I might expect a person knowledgeable in psychology to perform. This might include things like understanding how to conduct a patient interview, having a particular type of university training, knowing a variety of psychological theories, etc. In addition, I can also develop a list of actions that would indicate that the subject is not a clinical psychologist. Such a list might include failure to be properly licensed, not understanding a range of psychological theories, never having conducted a patient interview, etc. I can then measure my candidate against my concept of a clinical psychologist. If the individual measures up, I can declare him or her a clinical psychologist. In the case of God, when Pastor Enyart declares that "God is the standard", there is no list or set of criteria to identify whether such a being is the good God or something else entirely. Since God can perform or command any act because he is the standard, what kinds of acts could we put into our identification list? There is no action about which we could ever say, "An evil being might command these but a good being would not." All we would be doing is placing our preferences on an allegedly absolute standard, a process it's likely that Pastor Enyart would abhor. Thus no action could be required or ruled out with regard to God since the deity could always decide to perform or command the opposite of any given criterion. After all, GOD SETS THE STANDARDS, doesn't he? Without an independent standard of moral and immoral acts against which to measure him, god could never be identified by his moral standard. We risk falling into the trap of applying our subjective preferences to the behavior of God with which we agree (blessings, financial prosperity, healing, or otherwise meeting our needs) while selectively ignoring or rationalizing away those behaviors we may find disagreeable (genocide, child slaughter, murder, human sacrifice, human slavery).

Morally speaking, there is no objective way to distinguish between being a slave to an evil demon (a very real possibility, according to some religionists) as opposed to being a slave to a god (the belief of Christians). In both cases the one in command could order any action whatsoever and carrying out that command would be, by definition, a good, moral act. Anything from rape to murder to genocide can be considered good if commanded by the being who serves as the standard.

One objection commonly raised by theists to this argument is the proposal that God will not act against his own nature. Unfortunately, to define the nature of a being we cannot see, touch, hear, or smell, we must look at his actions in the physical universe. So, we must define God's nature based on what God does. You may see how this rapidly becomes a circular argument. In addition, we have already shown that no action can be forbidden for the being giving the commands because the being giving the commands would not have any independent standard of morality by which it could be limited to a certain set of acts. So no action performed by God can be out of his character

If such a situation exists, the only true immoral (evil) act is disobedience to God. His followers must be committed to a system of blind obedience to a being who cannot meaningfully be called "good".

For theists, this option is undesirable.

B. God recognizes another standard of good
The other horn of the dilemma is that God recognizes what is good from a source outside himself, and then wills in accord with that good.

Pastor Enyart has NOT chosen this horn of the dilemma, but for interested readers, I'll explain it briefly.

When a theist chooses this path, that God commands what he recognizes as good, the theist is admitting the standard of good and evil is independent of God and that God, in fact, is not the standard of morality. This is because this view tells us that God, in some way, observes or "sees" what is good and the n tells us what to do on the basis of that observation. Since the action observed by God is what he commands, he is not acting as a source of morality, but merely a channel. In this view God becomes an intermediary or a reporter about ethics and morality, but not the source.

This is undesirable for the theist since it admits that God is not the source of their ethics and morals. This horn of the dilemma is particularly unpopular because if God is not the source, there is no sound argument which demonstrates that atheists could not have an ethical system apart from God.

In the question of whether or not God can be the source for "absolute morals", the choice for the theist boils down to this choose between:

admitting that he has no real standard of morality, only a morality based up on the slavery of blindly following orders; or

Admitting that God is not the source of morality.

Neither position actually allows for the possibility that god is source of a system of ethics or morals. The Euthyphro Dilemma demonstrates that the Divine Command Theory of ethics and morality cannot work.
 

Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here.

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.
 
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Bob Enyart

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
TOL BR VII DGE Post 7b

TOL BR VII DGE Post 7b

Zakath, said that I gave a weak falsification test for Christianity, although he made little effort to explore all the ways that Christ’s resurrection could theoretically be falsified. However, falsification does not have to be easy, just theoretically possible. I am still waiting for him to show that the atheist positions against moral absolutes and natural origins (and let’s add evolution), are falsifiable.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ20 – BQ23, BQ25 – BQ26 all unanswered, including those about natural law jurisdiction, beliefs of atheists on origins from nothing versus from nothing by a Creator, on whether broad features of the Solar System indicate Creation or atheism, and on evidence that solar system design elements indicate actual gaps in knowledge to be filled rather than imaginary gaps already closed by hard science.

BQ24: Zakath, have you ever heard theists state or imply that the physical and spiritual laws are as they are [only] because God created them that way? [i.e., that they could have been different]
ZA24: Indicated yes (which answer I was expecting), but then utterly misstated my position saying that “Enyart appears to hold… that, quite literally, anything goes as long as it is the deity’s will.”

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ19: This theory, apparently held by Pastor Enyart and many other theists, states that we humans know what is good because a deity tells us what is good. If Pastor Enyart does not believe this, I hope he will explain just what he does believe…
BA19: Yes, we do know right from wrong because there is a God, and because He has revealed it to us. He revealed the moral standard to us by creating us in His likeness with a conscience, and through other means. Without an appeal to God, atheists ultimately have no valid reason to insist that a criminal refrain from hurting a victim, for without fear of error, the offender simply refuses to submit his desires to their different value system.

ZQ10: Continued request for evidence for God (implied by his claim that theists “don’t have any real significant evidence”).
BA10-6: Below I add my sixth line of evidence (ZQ10-6) for a supernatural Creator by disproving the possibility of atheistic origins by demonstrating insurmountable time constraints (even when granting evolutionary and big bang timeframes, and the existence of the universe).

Systematic Misrepresentations

If I set out to intentionally misrepresent the atheist’s positions, I don’t know if I could have done as thorough a job of it as Zakath has done to me. In his last post alone, Zakath misrepresented my position on 1) the absolute nature of laws, 2) the effect of conscience on criminals, 3) the listing of creationist scientists, and 4) God’s own accountability to an unchanging standard. Atheism of the Gaps depends upon the systematic gaps in origins which may also explain the origin of these systematic communication gaps. Further, of course I expected that the non-theists posting in the TheologyOnline.com Grandstands would disagree with my points, but I confess to being surprised at their misrepresentation of virtually every point they attack. Either my posts are the most unintelligible ever penned, or this Battle Royale VII is evidence that atheists share a common need to misrepresent theists. However, I did find Zakath’s use of Euthyphro’s Dilemma, as far as he took it, to be almost brilliant in its logical reasoning. Thus, I do not believe that he lacks the intellectual ability to follow simple arguments. Below at (4) I solve Zakath’s Dilemma by identifying the crucial factor which he omitted when he ignored the parentheses in my quote that, “God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.”

1) Absolute Nature of Laws: Zakath wrote: “In this position, the one Pastor Enyart appears to hold, we find that, quite literally, anything goes as long as it is the deity’s will.” Zakath attributed to me the exact opposite of the position I described clearly in 6b, that: “the spiritual laws… could not be different than they are.” In one paragraph, I made the same argument for spiritual laws as for physical, writing that, “Theists assert wrongly when they say that God could have decreed the laws to be otherwise.” I condemned the notion that God “can be spiritually arbitrary, because He is God,” and stated, “That’s wrong.” The fourth misrepresentation below expands upon this.

2) Effect of Conscience: Zakath wrote that Enyart claims “that sociopathic individuals really are sorry for their crimes.” Of course I never said that, but rather in 6b and 4b, that criminals “repent, defend, or deny their actions,” and “people even take pleasure in intentionally inflicting great pain.” “Theists do not claim that men are slaves to their conscience, or that they are compelled to honestly report its influence, but that their conscience raises the matter of justification, and then the culpable man honestly or dishonestly responds, admitting guilt or falsely justifying his actions.”

On this topic, Zakath also wrote that “Pastor Enyart asserts that the confusion… in religious circles comes from human’s guilt about ‘the aggregate hurt we have inflicted upon others’ and their inability to handle topics dealing with a just God. I will suggest that this is essentially a non-answer. This does not address any of the issues I raised.” [BE: It doesn’t? Zakath’s issues were all like this:] “The idea that the world is filled with a dizzying diversity of contradictory religious forms and deities…”

Zakath, how could my answer not address your issues? Guilt blinds men’s eyes to the truth about their own lives and the real God who will judge them, so that they fabricate deities and philosophies to defend themselves. You act as though you can’t imagine subjectivity influencing people’s thoughts. Of course I expect you to try to poke holes. But for you to deny that my answer addressed your issues recalls the question of intellectual honesty which I raised in my first post regarding those who do not believe in right and wrong.

Then, still hoping to change the debate topic to the Bible, Zakath again sites Bible stories of God killing people, but he does so while refuting his own misunderstanding of my position: “Pastor Enyart’s implied assertion [is] that, somehow, his deity doesn’t want to ‘shove truth in someone’s face’”

Way back in 2b I wrote that: “further demonstrations of His existence would be counterproductive. Daily miracles could easily produce a stubborn immunity to God in yet more people, and even if dead celebrities were resurrected, most people would not believe, because when the truth is shoved into someone’s face [for ex., by a miracle], the human tendency is to shove back.” I did not say that God has never shoved the truth into someone’s face, quite the contrary, but that “further” doing so “would be counterproductive” to Zakath’s expectation.

3) Listing of Creationist Scientists: I would never argue, and did not, that God must exist by appealing to the opinion of some scientists. Conversely, I stated that “most scientists now surveyed respond that they reject God as the explanation for origins, and a large percent are atheist or agnostic.” (Of course popularity does not determine scientific truth.) I list those scientists for the atheists who mock theism as scientifically ignorant (remember the sun chariot and the fuzzy growth), and in an effort to get you to take a single question seriously. Zakath simply blew off my direct evidence from the solar system, and in the next paragraph made how many misrepresentations of my position? Can we count them?

Zakath: “Pastor Enyart’s list of ‘fathers of physical sciences who rejected natural origins’ unfortunately is merely another laughable attempt at presenting an argument based on the fallacy of ‘appeal to authority’. Basically this argument states that, “we don’t have any real significant evidence to support our position, so we’ll create a list of a bunch of dead religionists and assert they supported our position. Creationists draw up these lists to convince the public that evolution is somehow being rejected by scientists…”

So this atheist says that he will simply ignore the theist’s direct evidence, and then condemns us for not offering any “real significant evidence.” We would call that a slight of hand… it if weren’t so obvious. And in condemning me for an “appeal to authority” that I did not make, Zakath immediately appeals to authority suggesting that I submit my solar system evidence for Creation “to a group of qualified astronomers.” Zakath must want the readers to believe that there is some existing difficult to obtain knowledge which refutes my evidence. But of course, I selected evidence that scientific knowledge has identified as unanswerable, and which the most sophisticated atheist scientists cannot refute. But perhaps I will be mesmerized by their authority which will blind me into believing in the omnipotent Nature of the Gaps.

4) God’s Accountability to an Unchanging Standard: This section goes beyond the point in the Absolute Nature of Laws section above, where Zakath said that I hold to an “anything goes” morality and that for this morality, “by definition, good and evil exist only at the whim of the deity.” (Interestingly, atheists often do this with humans, justifying homosexuality as an inborn nature, denying the personal responsibility of drug addicts, and some even defending rapists and murderers as simply living out their natures.) Zakath then carried this one step further claiming that therefore: “…no action performed by God can be out of his character;” that is, because if God does something, then by definition it is in His nature to do it, and we theists would also declare anything He does as righteous. So Zakath misrepresented my position by implying that I had not already responded to this. He ignored an important clarification in my post:

Bob: “God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.”

Why did I insert the word present into the above sentence? Zakath, if you read carefully, I will resolve Euthyphro’s Dilemma for Plato and Socrates, and deny you the honest use of it in the future. But Zakath, if while reading this section you allow your mind to fly through a thousand counter arguments, without discipline, you will once again fail to even understand the point. So please put your auto-pilot Bible rebuttal mode in its upright and locked position, and first comprehend this new material.

God’s nature is not sufficiently pliable that it could embrace truth and perjury, private property and theft, loyalty and disloyalty, and punishing and rewarding of the same behavior. Thus, God could conceivably violate His own nature, because once His nature is described (in what becomes a definition of righteousness), then anything God does contrary to that description would correctly be deemed as unrighteous. For example, using the biblical paradigm, if Jesus Christ gave into temptation by submitting to evil and worshipping Satan, then He would not have remained righteous.

It is not that anything God conceivably could do would therefore be moral, just because He did it. It is that we expect God to remain steadfastly good, consistent with the existing description of His nature. God does not save those who trust Him because He has no choice, but because He wills to, but if He willed to embrace evil (as described currently by His nature) then He would no longer be the righteous God. Quoting the overlooked sentence again:

“God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.” Thus, moral inconsistency is an absolute determinant for wrong. Plato and Socrates missed this important test partly because their dialogue was replete with mentions of Greek gods who, as Socrates noted, contradicted one another as to goodness. Thus the contradictions within the mythical pantheon of Greece falsified any claim of absolute morality made by Euthyphro on behalf of his gods and goddesses. But Plato recorded this dialogue without the knowledge that you possess Zakath, that of the claim of a Christian God who has no such internal inconsistency. God does not fight within Himself about what is right and wrong; but if He ever did, then He would no longer remain the holy God. And there is nothing remotely circular about this. We look for inconsistencies in courtroom testimony because inconsistencies reveal lies and deceptions. Thus consistency is a necessary property of righteousness (and thus of being right). “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies [and inconsistencies]” (Proverbs 14:5). Again, moral inconsistency is a litmus test for evil. Thus a religious book like the Bible generally claims in forty passages that the steadfast love of the Lord never changes in that He is faithful, that is, He is consistent.

Humans are social beings, and our morality magnifies itself in our actions toward others. But because we are social beings, even actions committed against ourselves affect others, as for example when we hurt ourselves to manipulate others, like Gandhi did; or even the person seeking to escape his own pain by committing suicide, who hurts those around him. Thus because morality is social, a social God who interacts with multiple persons has an additional context in which to objectively demonstrate His morality. Let me illustrate the implications of this using the Christian conception of the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Spirit, three persons in one God. If God is a Trinitarian God, then He has an eternal track record of interaction between the persons of the Godhead. And if during that eternal fellowship, if any moral inconsistency appeared, then God would be objectively evil. But an atheist may ask, “What if there was no inconsistency because this God is consistently evil?” A God with other persons to interact with has other frames of reference, that is, other perspectives from which to declare Himself. Thus if the Son willingly submits to the Father, because He implicitly trusts the Father from whom He has never experienced harm, and the Spirit brings glory to the Son, because He has never felt threatened by the Son, and the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, never having His wellbeing jeopardized by either, then “by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” Thus even though it is the only standard He has ever known, God the Father can determine that His own standard is righteous because He has never violated it, and because the independent persons of the Son and the Spirit testify that the Father has never violated their own self-interests [Luke 16:12].

This process is greatly amplified when God creates other beings, and as He reveals Himself to them in various ways. For, He must behave toward them in their own best interest, or else He violates His own standard of love. And He must punish those who hurt others, or else He violates His own standard of justice. And if God’s intention was not for the welfare but for the harm of created eternal beings, then He would have violated His own declared standard.

Thus while moral inconsistency indicates wickedness, eternal consistency proves either continuous good or continuous evil; and multiple perspectives from independent persons provide information regarding whether God acts on behalf of, or against, their best interests. Of course, an atheist will accuse the Bible’s God, if He exists, of endless evils, but since atheists deny any system of absolute morality, for their logical argument to succeed, they would have to show that the concept of the Christian God is internally inconsistent, violating His own standard of righteousness.

In his talk, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” Bertrand Russell wrote that: “if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God’s fiat [arbitrary decree] or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God.”

Plato, Socrates, Bertrand Russell… morons. (Actually, I’m just quoting from Princess Bride, one of our favorite movies.) Well, not morons, but fools yes, because they denied the Creator. Because of their prejudice against God, their fertile minds did not conceive of the simple possibility that a description of God’s nature is independent of His nature itself, and thus, God could hold Himself to that description of His nature, which description I admit initially existed only within Himself, but after Creation it would exist in any of the manifest ways in which God has revealed Himself. And so, right and wrong are not due to God’s arbitrary decrees, but flow from the description of His nature, a description which He could theoretically violate. Thus, the system of morality based upon God is not logically unsound as claimed by atheists.

Because Zakath uncritically accepted the popular atheist use of the Euthyphro Dilemma, he summed up its challenge this way: “In the question of whether or not God can be the source for ‘absolute morals,’ the choice for the theist boils down to this, choose between: admitting that he has no real standard of morality, only a morality based upon the slavery of blindly following orders; or admitting that God is not the source of morality.”

Zakath, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma by observing that, if God exists, a description of God’s nature can be independent of His nature itself, and thus there is no logical contradiction in the possibility that God’s nature defines an objective moral standard?

If there were no God, then absolute right could not exist. Thus, atheists reason correctly from their atheistic premise when they declare that absolute right and wrong do not exist, for if God did not exist, neither would right and wrong. Thus, for the reader questioning the existence of God, weigh the evidence: ask yourself, is it really wrong to rape a woman, lynch a black, torment a child, or are these not absolutely wrong, but simple valid preferences of others. If such crimes are not really wrong, then there is no God. If crimes are truly wrong, then a personal, loving, and just God does exist and you should ask Him for forgiveness for the hurt that you have inflicted upon others.

Also, you attempted another slight of hand with this: If “‘God is good’ [and] if god is the standard of goodness… then to say “God is good” is merely to say “God is god.”“ Oops. You are confusing the property of an entity with the entity itself. If the boss is also the janitor, you do state a pointless tautology by substituting one for the other to get the boss is the boss. But to say that the boss is the janitor speaks volumes. And to say God is love [meaning that His nature defines commitment to others], or that Michael Jordan is the standard [meaning that he has defined basketball skill], does not require us to reduce either to God is God or Michael is Michael, as though nothing real is being communicated. Otherwise, you make the bizarre claim that no aspect of a thing could ever conceivably set a standard. For example, by your faulty logic, the speed of light cannot even theoretically be an absolute, because then all Einstein said was, “the speed of light is the speed of light.”

(I can already hear the atheists in the Grandstands whining: “Wha wha wha, none of that proves that God exists!” Quick, somebody call them a whambulance! I offer the above not as proof but to rebut this argument of atheism.)

Father Time: The Atheist God

Remember the honeymoon period of atheism? It’s going on today while atheists still agree that complex functioning systems cannot appear by chance in one single step. Well, atheists deny the existence of God who can create from nothing at will, and instead, they replace Him with billions of years in which accidents created all that exists. Of accidents, randomness, explosions, and mutations, none of these appear suited to produce interdependent complex systems. But then the atheist introduces time, evolutionary time, geologic ages of time, astronomical spans of time. And of course, during all this time, there are not just a few accidents, random events, explosions, or mutations, but millions upon millions of them. So all this time represents the atheists’ creator. For what just a few such mishaps could never do, inexorably, a lot of them, one after the other, mutation, after random event, after accident, after explosion, a million times over, will increase the interdependence of complex ecosystems.

Blind faith and an aversion to the Creator could push men into such self-deception, but hard science offers no support for this trust in time and chance. To show the lie in the evolutionary hope of mutations, of over a billion moms on earth, how many would cheer the doctor’s news that their child had a mutation? (Oh, I see, one mutation is bad, but a million are good. Now I get it.) How does an explosion produce an orderly system? How can genetic information increase through random events and accidents? It is not that science has yet to fill these imaginary gaps; rather, hard science has already closed off these possibilities by demonstrating the real limitations of matter and the physical laws.

With the following observations, I will kill the atheist’s Father Time god. If Zakath follows form, he will ignore this direct evidence against his atheistic hope while complaining that I refuse to offer any evidence for a Creator. For, if no natural means can be found for a phenomenon, then that becomes evidence for the supernatural; if no natural cause exists, then that becomes proof for the supernatural. [By the way, it’ll be funny to read Zakath saying that he won’t answer this evidence because: “I don’t have the time;” and it will be even funnier to read the atheists in the Grandstands misrepresenting the previous sentence about natural causes.] So, I will show that there is:

• Not enough time in the universe to produce a single protein.
• Not enough time for DNA to evolve from apes to man.
• Too much supposed time has passed in the universe for the spiral galaxies to remain spirals.

Time For Protein: To demonstrate the irrationality of atheist beliefs, consider these facts. Atheists believe that the universe is less than 20 billion years old. Yet for chance (BA10-6) to develop one simple protein molecule (which is trillions of times less complex than the simplest living organism), if every atom in the known universe interacted a billion times per second with other atoms, the entire universe couldn’t produce that one protein molecule by chance in a trillion years. Mathematics indicates that this would not happen in a trillion years, with the entire universe, every atom in every star in every galaxy, working on that single task. And natural selection is a function of reproduction and so even though considered godlike by atheists it could not help life arise initially. And yet, atheists, who fail to appreciate the magnitude of really big numbers, think that proteins arose by chance, a hundred times over on Earth in less than a billion years, along with ten-thousand other mathematical impossibilities all needed to accomplish the requirements of the simplest biological life.

Zakath, please indicate if my estimate is incorrect that mathematics predicts that it will take more than a trillion years to form a single protein molecule by chance, if we use all the atoms of the known universe in the experiment to produce it.

Zakath, please indicate how hundreds of random events that would not occur in a trillion years each, even if we used the entire known universe as a laboratory, could all occur within an extremely short time just on planet Earth?

Time For Homo Sapiens: The National Academy of Sciences reports that the difference in the DNA sequence between chimps and humans is triple what it has been popularly reported to be, closer to 5% than the old 1.5% claimed. Millions of mutations must occur to evolve humans from apes in just a few million years. Think only of the human brain:

We often measure computers in MIPS and BIPS, that is, millions or billions of instructions per second. Scientists measuring the processing power of people estimate that the human brain can perform around 2,000,000,000,000,000 instructions per second, that’s quadrillions, or 2 QIPS. That’s a trip! No wait, that’s more than 2,000 TRIPS. If evolution were true, then sufficient accidental mutations must have occurred in just the last couple million years for natural selection to choose from to develop the human mind from monkey brains. (Are you guys really serious about all this?)

Trust in time is a mathematical hope. Take an improbable randomly-generated event, and give it enough time, and it becomes not only probable, but even likely. So (BA10-6), if objective mathematical calculations show that even a single protein will take a trillion years to form by chance, then how long before the required millions of changes between apes and humans will occur by chance? Trillions times trillions times trillions of years. And if one of these proteins does appear in a single organism (say it’s inserted by aliens), then how long before that single new DNA segment will propagate throughout the entire population? Decades ago atheistic evolutionists worked out the mathematical impossibility of propagating genetic changes through a primate species to produce man in just a few million years. A few hundred generations is an aggressive estimate as to how quickly a mutation can reproduce throughout an entire primate species. Thus, in a few million years, a thousand genetic changes can reach the entire population; and if five beneficial mutations occurred at each step simultaneously (an inane, bizarre, unscientific, irrational hope), then evolution can effect perhaps 5,000 changes under only absurdly optimistic assumptions. Are those 5,000 impossible changes sufficient to change an ape to a human with our 2 QIPS? It’s mathematically impossible, and only those with a serious misunderstanding of really big numbers, or who irrationally ignore or reject mathematics, will blindly hope otherwise. Perhaps such simple calculations, along with math being the most pure science, explains why a higher percentage of mathematicians believe in God, 14.3%, as compared to other scientists (Nature, 1998, vol. 394, p. 313).

Zakath, please explain in the most broad terms how random mutations that mathematically would take trillions of years to occur, would then be propagated to an entire species, all millions of times over in just a few million years?

Our Zachary is a home-schooled five-year-old, and last semester he had trouble remembering how to read the word, “the.” My wife Cheryl said, “Zachary, if you can correctly make an en passant move on the chessboard, then you should be able to remember the word ‘the.’” Now Zakath, it’s time for you to apply yourself. Please think a little harder than usual on this next point:

Natural Selection describes small mutations selected by nature and retained in a species because they improve its chances of survival. Since the mutations come about randomly, there is no mechanism to speed up, or to incline the mutations toward the ones that will introduce new functionality. And thus, just to develop one single step of thousands required to eventually make a butterfly out of a caterpillar, quintillions of possibilities exist, for which there are not enough organisms on the entire planet to act as natural genetic laboratories, nor if we took every atom in the universe and converted them into caterpillars, could random chance produce the needed step in a trillion years. And that’s just one needed development out of thousands. And that, just for caterpillars. Oh, by the way, these caterpillars spin their cocoons, and their organs melt into a goo, and then begin to reassemble themselves into a completely different creature. So, in the 10,000 generations while this transformation was gradually developing, how did the caterpillars survive this rather unnecessary midlife crisis of turning themselves into sludge? And then, for the first time, all the right random occurrences (which were driving toward no goal), happened together so that the whole system, the proteins, enzymes, DNA and all, came together so that the first caterpillar made the transformation! Wow! It’s like, it’s like, like, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It’s inane, unscientific, and embarrassing. The emperor has no wings. Remember that I said that you believe in things you can’t even conceive of? You can’t conceive of a fourth alternative for the universe, or a way for matter to become self-aware, or a simplification of a biological cell. Well, regarding a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, you can’t even conceive of a way, or of a reason for, or a path to, or a foggy general direction of, or a need for, or a pludgergrumelling for that matter (anything you could make up), that would even begin to bring about such a transformation. Yet, you believe with all your heart, “Nature Did It.” And then consider that Natural Selection could not even conceivably work in any species in which the female lays hundreds or thousands of eggs, because if the positive mutation improved chances of survival by let’s say, 0.01%, but 99.9% of the fish offspring are eaten by predators while still embryonic, there is no mathematical possibility (ask a casino operator) that the occasional tiny improvement (which could take a trillion years to appear), could possibly offset the annual randomness of being eaten in infancy by a toad.

Time to Unwind: For decades astronomers have measured the speed of the inner stars of spiral galaxies finding that they travel much faster than the outside stars, such that these spirals should have unwound and lost their spiral forms billions of years ago. Thus, this broad feature of the galaxies invalidates the most fundamental atheistic assumptions about the age of the galaxies. Alternatively, if the galaxies are relatively young, then there is no problem with their current form, but then of course, they couldn’t have formed naturally (well, not while atheists are on their honeymoon anyway).

Back in 1995, NASA widely predicted that a soon-to-be-developed Hubble photograph of the tiniest point of night sky would show galaxies in their early stages of formation. At the same time, a Christian TV talk-show host, Bob Enyart, predicted on air in 80 cities that the atheistic NASA astrophysicists were wrong, and that the galaxies photographed would look just like any other group of galaxies. Zakath, who do you think was vindicated, the atheistic NASA engineers in 1995 predicting that a developing Hubble photo would show galaxies forming, or the Christian talk-show host predicting the photo would show typical, not early, galaxies? Hint, see photo below.

space.jpg


Question Summary

BQ27: Zakath, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma by observing that, if God exists, a description of God’s nature can be independent of His nature itself, and thus there is no logical contradiction in the possibility that God’s nature defines an objective moral standard? a) Yes b) No
If No, please explain: __________________________________________________

BQ28: Zakath, please indicate if my estimate is incorrect that mathematics predicts that it will take more than a trillion years to form a single protein molecule by chance, if we use all the atoms of the known universe in the experiment to produce it. a) Correct b) Incorrect
If B, please explain: __________________________________________________

BQ29: Zakath, please indicate how hundreds of random events that would not occur in a trillion years each, even if we used the entire known universe as a laboratory, could all occur within an extremely short time just on planet Earth?

BQ30: Zakath, please explain in the most broad terms how random mutations that mathematically would take trillions of years to occur, would then be propagated to an entire species, all millions of times over in just a few million years?

BQ31: Zakath, which do you think was vindicated, the 1995 prediction of atheistic NASA engineers that a developing Hubble photo would show galaxies forming, or the prediction of a Christian talk-show host that Hubble’s photo would show typical, not early, galaxies? Hint, see photo above.

Sincerely, Bob Enyart
 

Nathon Detroit

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
DING DING DING thats it for round 7!

DING DING DING thats it for round 7!

ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here.

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.
 
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