Idiot Atheists and Willful Delusions

Willful Delusions, Part One

Uncommon Descent: Gobsmackingly Stupid Things Materialists Say, Entry 7,687

Tom English writes:

Folks, there is no empirical evidence that intelligence exists. Psychologists and ethologists refer to it as a hypothetical construct, and define it operationally. Intelligence may play the role of a cause in a model, but it is merely an abstraction of unidentified causes.

Well.  One is tempted to agree with Tom’s first sentence at least if it is constrained to apply to materialists ranting on the Internet.  But “no evidence” Tom?  What about the post you just wrote.  Was that not a product of your intelligence?  If Tom gives the standard materialist answer, he would say “no, that post is nothing but the product of the amalgam of physical causes that resulted in a twitchy bag of chemicals called Tom English acting in accordance with physical laws, no different in principle than a rock rolling down a hill.  Some of those twitchings led to a blog post.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.”

Sure Tom.  If materialist metaphysical premises are true, that is exactly what happened.  But how do you know that materialist metaphysical premises are true?  Certainly science did not lead you to that conclusion.  Science does not address metaphysics.  That is why they call it “metaphysics” and not “physics.”  So, again, Tom, how do you know?  The answer, of course, is that you accept materialist metaphysical premises on faith without demonstration, just like everyone else accepts their first principles.  Everyone has faith commitments.  The difference is that theists acknowledge their faith commitments; materialists largely lie to themselves (and everyone else) and deny that they do.

“See? No faith! Just the facts!”

But that’s just nonsense of a high order. There are no brute facts: everyone brings an interpretative lens to the discussion, fundamental assumptions of what is true that automatically rule out various possibilities, before we even start.

Strange, that men who pride themselves so on their intelligence cannot see the obvious. But when it pays to be blind, when the failure to see gets you want you want – in this case, escape from Law and Judgement – there will always be those who will out their own eyes.

Until the social & government fuelled fantasies come crashing down around you. But until then…

The problem with lying to oneself about one’s faith commitments is that it prevents one from taking those faith commitments out and examining them critically.  If one refuses to acknowledge that something even exists, how would one even begin to examine it?

There’s a lot of ‘extend and pretend’ guys out there…

Our society is absolutely riddled through with them, frothing (but perfectly credentialed!)  loons from the courts to the politicians, scientists to the pastors, from the money-men to the military.

But if Tom ever does examine his faith commitments critically, he will quickly come to realize that there are good reasons to reject them.  Materialism leads to numerous absurdities, as we have discussed on these pages before, not the least of which is the absurdity of pretending that “Tom English” even exists and that “Tom English” has free will and that “Tom English” has employed his free will to arrive at a conclusion about a truth claim, which means that a mere bag of chemicals is conscious and demonstrates subjective self-awareness, the perception of subject-object duality and  intentionality.  None of these things is possible if materialist metaphysical premises are true.

Well, yes, but Tom English has no interest in applying the natural consequences of materialism to himself.

Just to you, Christian.

Just to you.

Yet Tom English blithely acts for all the world as if not only are these things possible, they are ordinary.  And of course they are ordinary.  Therefore, Tom English is on the horns of a dilemma.  He is forced to say that ordinary everyday commonsense facts that he knows for an absolute certainty are true, are in fact false and mere mere illusions.  Or he is forced to live his entire life acting as if his most deeply held metaphysical premises are false.  And that, dear readers, is good reason to reject those premises.

Exactly. When materialistic assumptions simply don’t work in the real world, it’s time to dump those materialistic assumptions.

Yes, yes, I know that materialistic atheism is the indispensable partner of our secular states, their relentless centralization of power, and their utter contempt on any limits on their power, for any Higher Power that limits what they can do.

But as we just said, materialism does not comport with reality… and so, materialistic states also do not comport well with reality.

As the failures mount, in the fulness of time, materialism will be dumped as a useful justification of State Power and its increasingly corrupt – and, in time, widely ignored –  Legal Code: and, just like that, materialistic atheism will vanish as a force in society and science, like a mist, as surely as Marxism has vanished.

I recommend that – instead of crawling on our bellies before the lying atheist and his rotting Lord, the Secular State – we instead actually do what Jesus commanded us: disciple the nations; build a lawful and holy and just civilization; and preach/extend/empower His Law-Word.

You know, actually go about building a better world, instead of licking the boots of those who depose us as we beg for more dog treats, singing how comfortable these set of tightening slave chains are…

Especially when Our Masters are looking more and more sickly, as their viciousness, cruelty, and incompetence draws them ever-closer to their inevitable destiny: not just in the hereafter, but in this world, right before our eyes.

“There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.” – Prroverbs 21:30) 

As Phil Johnson said years ago and I have repeated often, I would love to be a materialist.  My life would be so much easier.  I just can’t manage the massive faith commitments required to swallow it.  I prefer to act as if that which I know for a certain fact is true is actually, you know, true.

Well, yes.

Finally, I will address the “evidence” question.  Tom English is like most materialists.  He defines “evidence that does not compel my personal assent” as non-evidence.  That is how he is able to say there is “no evidence” for the existence of intelligence even as he provides such evidence in the very act of denying its existence.  I am going to trial next week on one of my cases.  I would like to be able to employ the materialist shtick and say to the judge something like:  “You know all of that evidence that the other side introduced you honor.  Well, it does not convince me personally.  Therefore, it is not really evidence at all. I win.”

The man has a deep understanding of modern atheist thought.

But I would be ashamed to say something that stupid in public.  Which means that I have a much lower shame threshold than Tom English.  Hmmm?  Maybe we can rework Tom’s first sentence to something that is actually true:  “Folks, there is no empirical evidence that Tom English has any shame.”  Yeah, that works.

Men do like to lie to themselves so.

But, outside of specialized social circles, that doesn’t work all that well in real life…

…and it won’t work at all, after we die and face our judgement.


Willful Delusions, Part Two

Uncommon Descent: Quotes of the Day: Atheists Are VERY Religious

This exchange between Phinehas and HeKS brings it out as succinctly as anything I’ve ever seen:

Phinehas says:

The thing that fascinates me is how atheists are shown to have prodigious faith in something eternal with god-like creative powers [i.e., the multiverse]. It’s almost like they have no issues whatsoever believing in a god, just so long as it doesn’t bear that particular label.

HeKS replies:

I tend to think that it’s because they don’t want that eternal thing with god-like creative powers to also be personal and have the ability to ground and impose moral values and duties on humans.

As the multiverse has demonstrated, atheists have no problem at all with faith in something that is unseen, intangible, outside of the physical universe, eternal, capable of bringing about unlikely effects we can’t fully understand, and that cannot be falsified through any conceivable scientific experiment.

The only thing they insist on stopping short of is something that is intelligent and that can ground moral values and duties … and probably they stop short of the former only because of the latter, as suggested by the willingness of some to accept the idea that we’re living in an intelligently designed simulation created by other contingent physical beings based largely on the same scientific evidence theists point to as suggestive of God’s existence, which they had denied suggested design until the simulation hypothesis came along. Neil deGrasse Tyson is one such example.

All that blather about hard facts and cold reality was just so much verbiage, after all.

But you already knew that.

The main,  goal is just the same as it always was:

  • “Nothing above the State!”
  • “Nothing above the Will of the People!”
  • “No Law above Our Law!”

If you think that these masturbatory power fantasies reached their greatest extent wayyy back in the 1940s, and that the Rule of Compassion has been on an ever-accellerating decline since then — “more delusional, costly, and oppressive, but with less respect, prosperity, and legitimacy” — you’re right.

  • “We shall Never be Judged for Anything We Do!”

This is the foundation of the legal systems of the Western World, as it actually exists. The continual decline in public morality, economic stability, educational accomplishment, and international respect is simply ignored – as is the increase of crime rates (or mass imprisonment, in the United States).

But no matter how you spin it, the escalating judgements of God continues, until the Banking/Corporate Establishment breaks and shatters: no different than the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the (far more long-lived) old European Aristocracies, the Rule of the White Men… even the Roman Senate and the Sanhedrin for that matter!

  • “We shall be as God!”

This is the one focus, the lodestone, the core, of modern Western Civilization.

And yes, you can already hear the laughter of the future as the filthy, sterile, bankrupt corpse of Western Civilization bloats, deflates, dries up, and blows away….


Willful Delusions, Part Three

Uncommon Descent: HeKS is on a Roll

In comments to my last post HeKS absolutely lays waste to two materialists who are trying to punch way above their weight. First, Pindi spews out the million-times-rebutted claim that there is “no evidence” for the existence of God.

Pindi: And its not that I don’t want to believe in something that is god-like and personal. I just don’t see any evidence for it.

Ever seen someone really smart finally, finally snap in the face of invincible ignorance?

Grab the popcorn!

HeKS responds (not placed in quote box; all that follows is his unless noted otherwise):

Oh God, it’s the “there just isn’t any evidence” canard again.

I don’t know how atheists can even make this claim with a straight face anymore.

Here is a sampling of a few lines of evidence strongly pointing to God’s existence:

– The origin of the universe (including its matter, energy, space and physical laws) in the finite past

– The fine-tuning of the physical laws and initial conditions of the universe in a way that allows for the existence of intelligent life

– The fine-tuning of the universe for discoverability

– The fine-tuning of our solar system and planet for both life and discoverability

– The origin of life, which is roughly the equivalent of the origin of biological information

– Various events in the history of life that seem to show a large-scale influx of biological information that cannot be accounted for by any proposed mechanism of biological evolution that we are aware of. (Best explained by reference to God when taken in light of preceding items)

– Various other events in history that seem best explained by divine intervention and that would not be expected on naturalism or materialism (such as evidence supporting the resurrection of Christ).

– The apparent existence of objective moral values and duties, which people can’t seem to avoid invoking even while denying their existence (i.e. sneaking it in the back door after booting it out the front door)

– Various aspects of the mind, including the apparent existence of free will, the apparent existence of a rational consciousness capable of accurately perceiving external events and reasoning on them in a reliable way, the ability to have subjective experiences, and the ability to have thoughts that are about things.

These facts, conditions and states of affairs make God’s existence more likely than it would otherwise be in their absence or if they were different than they are, thus they constitute evidence for God’s existence.

If you want to say you’re not personally convinced and wouldn’t be unless God performed some miracle in front of your eyes for the sake of personally convincing you, fine. You’re entitled to your selective hyperskepticism. But stop claiming that there just isn’t any evidence for God’s existence. If you don’t want to accept God’s existence then it’s time to put on your bib and gobble up the multiverse. Bon appetit.

[Barry: Then rvb8 weighs in:]

all of the things HeKS listed, except for the starting point of the universe have competing, and better theorised natural answers.

HeKS responds:

My claim was that there is evidence for God’s existence. My claim was not that there is absolute proof for God’s existence or that God is the only conceivable explanation for the things listed. As such, this comment from you would be completely irrelevant to my point even if it were true. But then, it’s not true. And, in fact, it’s untrue on both counts, in that not all of the items in my list have competing “theorized natural answers”, and where they do, those competing natural answers are typically worse, not better.

When atheists can’t get away with naked assertions, their end as an intellectual force is nigh…

Consider the list again…

– The origin of the universe (including its matter, energy, space and physical laws) in the finite past

You didn’t try to assert that there was a better competing naturalistic theory for this, so I won’t spend time on it. Suffice it to say that Krauss’ idea of a universe from “nothing”, in which “nothing” is the quantum vacuum, assumes the prior existence of all the things to be explained and doesn’t answer the philosophical issues involved.

– The fine-tuning of the physical laws and initial conditions of the universe in a way that allows for the existence of intelligent life

– The fine-tuning of the universe for discoverability

– The fine-tuning of our solar system and planet for both life and discoverability

In response to these you said:

HeKS uses ‘fine tuning’ three times and roles his eyes at the ‘lack of evidence for God’argument.

Actually, these three list items mention fine-tuning four times, because they are referring to four different categories of fine-tuning.

The fine-tuning of the laws of physics and initial conditions of the universe are a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for life to be even possible anywhere in the universe.

The fine-tuning of our solar system and planet for the existence of intelligent life, which includes a few hundred factors, is also necessary, but would be useless and in many cases impossible without the fine-tuning of the universe itself.

The fine-tuning of the universe for discoverability refers to the fact that the values of the laws of physics fall into an even more narrow range than the already inconceivably narrow range necessary for life, but instead fit within the subset of that life-permitting range that also allows the universe to be scientifically discoverable to intelligent beings.

This, however, would be useless if our own planet and solar system were not also fine-tuned in terms of their position and composition so as to also be conducive to scientific discovery

Now, in order to account for the fine tuning of the laws of physics and initial conditions of the universe, some appeal to a staggeringly expansive multiverse birthing off child universes in which the values are randomly determined, which they try to derive from some undetermined hypothetical connection between the purely theoretical concept of chaotic inflation and the much-maligned string theory, which is also purely theoretical.

It would take an unimaginable number of universes with randomly determined values to have a 51% chance of getting a universe that falls into the life-permitting range of our universe. But that would just be the beginning, because then you have all the other factors needed to make intelligent life possible at the level of the planet and solar system, all of which the atheist requires to have occurred by chance. The number of additional universes required to also get all these factors at the right values would dwarf the already unimaginably large collection of universes that have to be postulated just to explain the fine-tuning of the universe itself. And what reason do we have to postulate such a massive collective? Only that we need the probabilistic resources to explain the seemingly designed qualities of the cosmos by reference to chance alone.

When miracles demonstrate that God Is, atheists hate them.

When miracles are needed to silence the voice of a God-driven reality, then atheists welcome them.

But only one sort of miracles actually exist: the other sort are simply works of fiction, of the imagination, that – by definition – can have no basis in reality-as-it-really-is.

But in addition to all of the problems that could be raised with the multiverse idea, we have another problem that is presented by the fine-tuning of both the universe and our planet and solar system for discoverability, which is that the characteristic of discoverability is not necessary for life and so it cannot be accounted for by reference to an observer selection effect at either the cosmic or the planetary scale. Were we just a random member of a multiverse, we would have no reason to expect that in addition to being in an incredibly unlikely universe that is capable of sustaining intelligent life, we would also be in an even more unlikely universe that is conducive to scientific discovery. So the multiverse doesn’t offer an alternative naturalistic explanation for this fine-tuning, unless we just want to throw our hands up and say that the multiverse explains literally every conceivable state of affairs as being the product of chance alone, destroying the foundation of science in the process.

Furthermore, as an explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe, the multiverse is highly ad hoc. Even Andrei Linde, who is responsible for the Chaotic Inflation theory that is sometimes appealed to as a possible means of getting many universes with different physics readily admits that any aspect of the theory leading to universes that have laws and constants with different values is purely speculative and that it’s the fine-tuning itself that gives us any reason to accept the speculation as possibly true.

So the competing naturalistic explanation for fine-tuning is ad hoc and explains either too little to match the explanatory scope of the God Hypothesis, or else it explains too much and undercuts science and rationality.

In the end, atheists will sacrifice science and rationality… if it gets God out of the picture.

Civilizations that hate science and reason has no place in this world. Sure, at the start of their journey they will merely grow impoverished and lawless and sterile, but this is not their end-state: their natural end-state is extinction.

Christians would be wise to reject atheism, and so reject their natural destiny.

And this in addition to the various other problems with it that have been raised (e.g. Boltzmann Brains, need for the multiverse itself to be fine-tuned, etc.)

– The origin of life, which is roughly the equivalent of the origin of biological information

There’s a better, viable, naturalistic theory in existence? Nope. Uh-uh. I don’t think so. No naturalistic OOL theory seems viable so far. If they’ve made any progress on OOL it is in finding out how much more unlikely it is on naturalism that was initially thought. Might they come up with something viable in the distant future? Perhaps, but as an argument, that’s a cheque that nobody has to cash, and this is a discussion about the actual current state of the evidence and our knowledge, not about undated naturalistic promissory notes.

– Various events in the history of life that seem to show a large-scale influx of biological information that cannot be accounted for by any proposed mechanism of biological evolution that we are aware of. (Best explained by reference to God when taken in light of preceding items)

I’m not even going to bother discussing this one since it gets talked about here all the time.

– Various other events in history that seem best explained by divine intervention and that would not be expected on naturalism or materialism (such as evidence supporting the resurrection of Christ).

The primary competing naturalistic theory is that hundreds of people had shared group visual and auditory hallucinations. That can only be considered a better explanation to someone who has an a priori and unwavering commitment to the non-existence of God and the impossibility of what, to us, appears miraculous.

– The apparent existence of objective moral values and duties, which people can’t seem to avoid invoking even while denying their existence (i.e. sneaking it in the back door after booting it out the front door)

The competing naturalistic theory is that objective moral values and duties do not exist. Verbally denying the existence of something while being unable to personally live as though that thing didn’t exist does not count as offering an alternative explanation for its existence.

Insert astonished gasps <HERE>.

No viable alternative to God has been found for grounding objective moral values and duties, and yet countless atheists believe and live as though they exist.

– Various aspects of the mind, including the apparent existence of free will, the apparent existence of a rational consciousness capable of accurately perceiving external events and reasoning on them in a reliable way, the ability to have subjective experiences, and the ability to have thoughts that are about things.

And again, the competing naturalistic theory is that these things do not exist. Claiming that we don’t have free will, that there is no subjective observer, and that we cannot have thoughts that are about things and so can’t have rational consciousness capable or accurately perceiving reality or rationally deliberating on evidence is not an alternate naturalistic explanation for any of these things at all, much less a better explanation for their existence than God.

In other words, ‘Assertions are not proof.’

Will new discoveries never cease?

The God creation belief, equally raises the problem of ultimate origins, as does the Big Bang. Your ultimate cause, very sorry, needs a cause. Your ’causeless cause’ tedium is just that unsupported faith.

And yet, prior to the realization that the universe had an absolute beginning in the finite past, atheists were perfectly fine accepting, as a brute fact, the existence of the universe as an uncaused entity that had existedtemporally into an infinite past … and they are constantly trying to return to that view. This is not just the atheistic equivalent of the theist’s uncaused God. It is actually much worse, because even the theist doesn’t posit God as existing temporally through an infinite past.

Somebody’s been paying attention!

Fine tuning, is a poor way to describe the natural constants that govern our universe, and if they are so fine tuned why didn’t God make the constants nice round numbers? Was He constrained by something? His own creation perhaps?

What a bizarre argument. The values aren’t fine-tuned because they are astronomically more precise than simple whole numbers? You know, do you, that a super-intellect would only use “nice round numbers”? It’s strange that you think the universe ought to be mathematically describable at all on naturalism.

Also, of course God was constrained by his own creation. It is a simple fact of physical instantiation that starting points constrain end points, that pathways constrain outputs, that present choices constrain downstream options, that functional coherence constrains the relationship between parts. I’m not sure why you would find any of this surprising.

Barry again: Well done HeKS.

Somewhere in the next twenty years, when the funding for the Welfare State and the Power of the Press have both collapsed – along with much of the taxpayer funding of these atheists, collectivists, and bureaucratic tyrants – the Great Fall of Darwinism (and, not incidentally, the immoralist Keynesian banking system) will overwhelm the world.

The future is going to be great, for Christians who refuse to cower before Our Betters!

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