Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Loser of the month award

Daniel Morgan said:

“ I find myself agreeing with Ted. To be brutally honest, after reading this post, I see little reason to write something on modern cosmology. “

I agree. I never saw much reason for Danny to write about modern cosmology.

After all, Danny is not a cosmologist or astrophysicist by training. So why would we want to get our information from him when we can read about modern cosmology and astrophysics from Witten, Weinberg, Hawking, Penrose, Smolin, Davies, Greene, &c.?

“It is quite apparent that modern science neither interests you or is of concern to you.”

That’s’ true, and it’s true for philosophical reasons rather than theological reasons.

I’m an indirect realist. I don’t believe that the mind has direct access to the external world.

As such, observation can never penetrate the veil of perception. Thus, we can never compare appearance with reality.

A partial way around this would be divine revelation. But Danny has cut himself off from that resource.

Danny is too much of a philosophical hick to think through elementary metascientific issues like what’s his theory of perception, and how does that square with his philosophy of science?

The irony is that I’m more sceptical than he is. Danny is welcome to his animal faith in naïve realism, but thinking people turned the corner on that many centuries ago.


You invoke miracles whenever necessary, which I can't "defeat" with science. You invoke them concerning the creation of plants on day 3, before the sun on day 4, without addressing the more devastating idea (which sails right over your head) in I.iii -- the sun supplies more than light, goofy. It supplies the very energy that keeps the water of the earth and the plants from being at the same temperature as my deep freezer (joke).

Do you see that energy, if not coming from the sun, has to be eminating from somewhere? What is your light source, BTW?

And, of course, you can invoke miracles here too.


I always feel a bit guilt-stricken about debating such a clueless opponent. It doesn’t seem fair—like racing against a quadriplegic.

i) To begin with, I pointed out, on both semantic and syntactical grounds, that the interpretation of Gen 1:14 is in dispute.

That bounced right off Danny’s noggin.

ii) I also pointed out that, on my own interpretation of Gen 1:14, the sun was already in existence as of day 1.

That also bounced right off Danny’s noggin.

iii) I further pointed out that even on a traditional reading of the text, there is still a light-source on day 1 which is the functional equivalent of the sun.

That also bounced right off Danny’s noggin.

At this rate, Danny will never need to wear a helmet when he goes motorbiking.

“And that's the point, no matter what I say to point out how unreasonable it is to assume Genesis was ever intended to be taken as scientific (because it is unscientific)...you will ad hoc together some "poof" or another.”

Danny is also too jejune to know what an ad hoc argument is. An ad hoc argument would be to invoke a deus ex machina in order to extricate one from a tight spot when the text itself offers no hint of miraculous action or intervention.

That is completely different from first asking what, according to grammatico-historical exegesis, Gen 1 is asserting, and then asking what that would imply were it true.

Far from being ad hoc, this is how you avoid a straw man argument. You first acquaint yourself with the nature of the proposition you are planning to attack.

I’m actually doing Danny’s job for him. If he’s going to prove that Gen 1 is unscientific, the burden is on him to take two preliminary steps:

i) Ascertain the meaning of Gen 1 according to grammatico-historical exegesis, and:

ii) Consider, for the sake of argument, the implications of this depiction if true.

But Danny is too much of an intellectual charlatan to do any of the preliminary spadework.

To ask what the text is asserting, consistent with original intent, is not ad hoc.

To ask what that would imply for the opposing position, is not ad hoc.

To the contrary, this is a question of what follows from the inner logic of the text.

If Danny is going to claim that Gen 1 goes contrary to the empirical evidence, then, at a bare minimum, he needs to be clear on what the text is asserting and what this would predict for the natural record if true.

If Danny can get in over his head this early in the debate, then I agree with him that, for his own safety, in would be best if he drop out. He’d be well-advised to stay inside when it rains lest he step into a muddle puddle and drown in 3 inches of water.

“If the matter/mass/energy of the universe is NOT conserved, then, aside from considerations of how the whole "something from nothing" works, we are still left with a question of why we're having this conversation...”

“Obviously, if conservation does hold true, your God is sliced away by Ockham's Razor…”

i) As I’ve explained several times now, the law of conservation is irrelevant to creation ex nihilo since the law of conservation assumes that natural forces are already in place.

Natural laws would be a consequence of creation. Where there is no nature, there are no natural laws or forces.

But that continues to bounce off his noggin. No matter how often you spell out the obvious for him in 10 foot tall neon letters, he never gets it. He doesn’t even know what he’s opposing.

ii) Christian theism is not the same as Deism. To invoke the law of conservation as a defeater to miraculous “intervention” merely assume what it needs to prove.

This is no longer a question of creationism. Rather, this is a question of rigging the outcome in his favor by insisting on the uniformity of nature.

The Christian is only allowed to play the game if he concedes at the outset that miracles are impossible given the law of conservation.

Not “ad hoc” miracles, but any miracles whatsoever.

All Danny has done is to make up his own rules, rules which, not so coincidentally, ensure that he will win every time.

Is this the best that atheism can do?

“Modern science doesn't incorporate "matter can be 'poofed' from nothing" into its assumptions. Therefore, I cannot argue with you from a scientific perspective, and I'm clearly wasting my time.”

In other words, the old tactic of truth by definition. Instead of discussing what is real, we will discuss what is scientific. And we can manipulate our definition of science to define theism out of existence.

This is ad hocery.

“An eternally existent universe is no more created than your God. And, while I can supply solid scientific and mathematical reasoning to suppose that matter is not created or destroyed, and never has been, it's like casting pearls before swine. “

Does Danny have the mathematical equipment to pull this off? Does Danny operate at the level of Ed Witten or Roger Penrose?

If not, then this is a disguised appeal to the argument from authority.

“Why should I quote authorities in string theory and astrophysics on the cyclic model of the universe when you will just quote back silly myths and "poof"?”

As usual, Danny seems to be missing more than a few synapses.

I mounted a two-pronged argument:

i) I made a case for Gen 1 on its own terms

ii) I also interacted with modern cosmology on its own terms, in §§ IV-IX.

By contrast, Danny failed to engage either prong of the argument.

He’s too mentally challenged to even interact with the “authorities” (telling choice of words) in string theory whom I already quoted.

This is standard operating procedure for DC. To be “brutally honest,” the Debunkers are pseudointellectuals.

They sally for with a lot of rationalistic rhetoric, but as soon as you answer them, they pick on their marbles and run home to mommy.

Loftus always falls back on his surfer-dude line about “Hey, boyz, I’m just doin’ da best a guy can do.”


  1. You do not answer us, just because you sit at your computer all day typing in diatribes that have little substance...nor can you.

    You are the true pseudointellectuals. You have fortress mentality. Anyone who has a different opinion is a threat to your belief. And so you attack. You cannot allow yourself to believe that others can have different opinions which are defensible. So you choose to belittle, demean, and act like children here at Triablogue. I'm guessing that's the majority of people who visit your Blog---young people.

    When it comes to a new motto for your site, I'll vote on this one: "Becoming the Adults We Shall Soon Be." And then proceed to act in accordance to that motto.

    But alas, (sigh) I see little signs of you doing that, and without the signs, I'm afraid I'm going to have to condemn you to lifelong youth! Yep. Peter Pan never had it so good. No adult foods. No adult movies. No adult words. No adult conversations.

    Treat people who disagree with you with respect. After all we are people too. We accord you respect. We don't regularly and repeatedly state how stupid you are. But it is you who do this to us. I suspect you do this so that your young audience may think you are so much more intelligent thatn us. After all, a lie, if told a million times, becomes believable (especially to non-thinkers).

    I try to act and speak like the adult I am. Anyone who reads what I write and what you write knows who is who and which is which.

    If, however, I've stumbled my way into a den of teenagers, then I'll have to stumble my way out.

  2. Some statements from the adult, the esteemed John Loftus:

    "Mark my words, Paul, you will beat your wife when she disagrees with you in the future. If I were her I would be scared to marry you. But I'll never know if what I predict will happen, and I hope it doesn't. But it will, even as a Christian. And when it does, remember who is was who told you (the truth) that you would do it. And then reflect back on the conversion experience you've had and how it changed your life."

    "If you did, then it is you who are the stupid one, and you've just revealed your ignorance for everyone to see here."

    "You're still beating up on people aren't you? You're beating up on someone again, and liking the power you get from it. Aren't you so cool?"

    " "She (Paul Manata's wife) must be the silent type, the agreeable type, the humble/submissive type, and the the (sic) doting wife."

    "No, No, No, you idiots. You have purposely misunderstood me too much for me to sit by any longer and not get upset."

    "“Travis, I cannot believe you are a Philosophy student. You belong here. I did not try to refute Idealism, idiot."

    And then let's read what he says above,

    " Anyone who has a different opinion is a threat to your belief. And so you attack."

    "So you choose to belittle, demean, and act like children here at Triablogue."

    " We don't regularly and repeatedly state how stupid you are."

    Someone's not playing with all their marbles.

  3. Paul, anyone who reads everything that we write in arguing against each other (and who doesn't have a life such that he would do that?!) will see for themselves a marked difference between how you guys treat us and how we treat you. It's obvious and easily seen to anyone who pays attention. The fact that you just posted every frustrated comment I have ever made against you proves my point. But if I did that with you (and why should I bother) it would fill up the whole page. I just have better things to do than to go clipping and pasting every derogatory comment you've ever made about me. And the fact that you keep on harping about the fact that I hope you do not do what psychologists tell me your propensity is with regard to your wife, only reinforces my point, since that was a long time ago, in response to your belittling me.

    For all of your self-proclaimed logical prowess, it amazes me that you see a parity in how we respond to each other. I said grow up. And I still say grow up. Let your arguments do the talking. The fact that you guys feel the need to bolster your arguments with references to our supposedly small brain matter is only indicative that you think you need to do so. Why? Are you losing the debate?

  4. If the first comment reflects Loftus’ exit notice, I say good riddance to him and his fellow cadre of priests from the naturalistic religion.

    For my part, I have to confess that it is simply astounding how philosophically naive they have demonstrated themselves to be over the course of the last month or so in dialogue.

    Astonishingly, they actually seem to believe that their empirical and rationalistic witchcraft can tell us something objectively true (!) about reality.

    It’s almost as if they have been transported directly from the early modern era to our own present day – they are relics from that bygone age of “scientific certainty,” replete with a specialized vocabulary and confident knowledge claims about the fabric of the present [and the past] that their disciples take by faith. They are splendidly and naively unaware and unaffected by developments in the philosophy of science and language that long ago chastened the purely empirical or rationalistic justification of knowledge enterprise of the enlightened era.

    That they might have fundamental metaphysical and epistemological commitments (not to mention a theory of how language itself connects with reality) that need to be actually defended (rather than merely taken for granted) seems to have hardly occurred to them.

    And, in light of all this, they have the temerity to suggest that anyone else as a superstitious simpleton?


  5. John W. Loftus: "The fact that you guys feel the need to bolster your arguments with references to our supposedly small brain matter is only indicative that you think you need to do so. Why? Are you losing the debate?"

    Craig: The fact that you guys feel the need to bolster your arguments with references to Triablogue's supposedly rude and insulting comments is only indicative that you think you need to do so. Why? Are you losing the debate?

  6. John Loftus wrote:

    "Paul, anyone who reads everything that we write in arguing against each other (and who doesn't have a life such that he would do that?!) will see for themselves a marked difference between how you guys treat us and how we treat you."

    Travis writes:

    Indeed. There are two big differences:

    1. When the Triablogue team mocks the pseudo-debunkers they do a good job of it and it's actually funny. When the pseudo-debunkers attempt to mock the Triabloguers they merely issue cheap insults.

    2. The Triabloguers accompany their mockery with good arguments and actually refute their opponents. The pseudo-debunkers rely on insults in lieu of real argumentation.

  7. JL: "Paul, anyone who reads everything that we write in arguing against each other (and who doesn't have a life such that he would do that?!) will see for themselves a marked difference between how you guys treat us and how we treat you."


    1) Well, I don't. So it's false to say "anyone."

    2) I'm glad you admitted that calling you a meat machine, and challenging you to debate my 6 yr. old, is far more disrespectful and insulting than telling someone that they're gonna beat their wife along with calling their wife names. Good stuff John!

  8. Paul, you don't understand do you. Someday you might. Just keep on bringing up your past all you want to. But my judgment will be out for about a decade or more on this. Will you openly confess if you do?

    I don't think people who randomly beat others with a baseball bat, with the goal to beat someone from every state in the nation, change behaviors permenently that quickly. And Christianity usually doesn't make that much of a difference either. Psychologists tell us this. So I have a right to be skeptical.

    As far as I know you have already hit your wife or threatened her, and yet you have the gall to berate me for warning you about this possibility. It's no different than ministers who denounce pornography who are secretly addicted to it. I'm saving this response and adding to it the next time you bring this issue up.

  9. Okay, so why are we big meanies wehn we call you dumb?

    People who were dumb in the past (remember, you were duped by that superstitious religion, Christianity) will remain dumb. Psychologists will tell you that.

    So, it looks like you loose, either way. If you justify your insults, then we justify ours. If you can't, then yours are worse than ours.

    Either way, it looks like again it's

    Christianity: 1

    Loftus: 0

  10. Sometimes you are just so blinded by your faith that the best way to descibe it is "dumb." But I do not think I was dumb before, and I do not think you are dumb now. It's just the way I see things. And it's just the way you see things. I think my way of seeing things makes better sense of it all, and I'm trying to share why I see things the way I do, as do you. But "dumb?" Naw. Neither one of us is. Yet you regularly indicate that we are dumb in the ways you guys describe us. It kinda bolsters your argument, doesn't it? It's like offering an argument and then saying, "anyone who disagrees is dumb. Why say that? That's why I say grow up, and how else can I say that you're acting childish other than saying you are....repeatedly and regularly, and further posts here have demonstrated. If your argument doesn't work then neither will calling someone stupid, and anyone who is persuaded when you call others stupid isn't thinking correctly.

  11. Sorry it took me so long to reply.

    Read "Swine and Science" at DC.