Sunday, September 2, 2012

More @Sacerdotus

Here is another reply to @askegg 's most recent reply.  My comments are in black and his original text are in blue.  (

****More @Sacerdotus

<<My last response to Sacerdotus was rather lengthy as I responded to each point he made. In return Sacerdotus has done likewise in his reply, but for brevity (and to keep my readers sane) I shall only concentrate on the salient points here. On with the show.
Sacerdotus replies: Not at all. There are reasons to have faith and we can have faith in reasons presented to us. In reality everything is based on ‘faith.’ Our senses do not tell us what things are exactly. We have to trust that they are telling our brains the truth. I think you are equivocating “faith” and “trust” here. While we may be in danger of descending into another semantic argument, I define “faith” as “belief without evidence”. “Trust” on the other hand is provisionally granted on the basis of past evidence.
Your claim “we have to trust our senses” should be taken with a grain of salt. While we have no choice but to experience the universe via our senses, there are well documented examples demonstrating exactly how out senses can be fooled. Optical illusions are a terrific example of this.>>

Sacerdotus replies: Faith and trust are part of the same package. Religiously speaking, Faith is trust in God. It is the giving of oneself to God. This trust then leads to hope and charity (love). I mention the senses because - like you say, "we have no choice but to experience the universe via our senses," - we must have faith/trust in them and at the same time work with whatever information they give us.

<<Sacerdotus replies: Not at all. We cannot perceive subatomic particles, but we know they are there. We cannot perceive love, but we know it is there.
While we cannot directly perceive subatomic particles, we have coherent models which make testable predictions which are confirmed by subsequent observation. Science allows the evidence to inform our models of the universe and make improvements. The same kind of processes confirm the emotion “love” though brain scans and body chemistry.
There is no such model for “gods”, and every testable prediction made by religions has failed.>>

Sacerdotus replies:

Exactly! The Church has her "models" which allow us to "experience" God to the best ability of human experience. These are called Sacraments or visible signs of God's grace. 
The models of science will change as more knowledge comes in. So in a sense, one generation would have been taught untruths. It is an unending change of acceptance and retraction. I am not attacking science and never will. As stated before, my studies have been in the sciences. However, I must be real about the strength of science in regards to truth.  
Brain scans and tests from body chemistry are not always accurate. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine which is the hormone that allows us to "feel love." Eating large amounts of it will eventually trick any tests done with any instrument of empirical observation.  
Brain scans also are not 100% foolproof. What "lights" up on one part of person x's brain as anger might "light" up in another part in person b's brain. This is why we restrict scans merely to detect tumors, blood clots and other physical ailments.

One's senses and reason are "God's model." People believe because they have experienced God just like an instrument experiences particles or whatever it is that it's looking for. 

Can you be specific as to what you mean by testable prediction?

<<Sacerdotus replies: No no no, you missed the point. All the things I stated were to counter claim your claim. The Church is not against science nor against reason. That was the point of my listing of the Church’s “inventions.”

No, you missed my point. The Church may not be against science, but there is NO scientific evidence for god(s), and every testable claim made by the Catholic religion completely fails.>>

Sacerdotus replies:
There is scientific evidence for God. I don't know if you have access to a university's database, but search through it and find many journals regarding science and God. Also take note that science will not make pronouncements on God. That is the field of religion and science knows its limits. 

What testable claims made by the Catholic religion has failed? To date, the miracle at Fatima has yet to be addressed officially by the scientific community as explanable. All we have are contrarian views that explain nothing.

<<Sacerdotus replies: If you do not know, then that is Agnosticism, not Atheism. Atheism is the position that there is no god and therefore is a concept that can be rejected.

Again, that is not my definition of “atheism” nor the definition the overwhelming majority in the atheist movement operates under. You will note that atheism pertains to belief, while agnosticism pertains to knowledge. While I do not know if a god exists or not (agnostic), I do not believe one exists (atheist). These are two separate questions dealing with two aspects, and leaves me in the position of agnostic atheist. A perfectly rational position given the definitions I (and many others) are using.
I think this point rather play against your position – it states we cannot know anything with certainty, including any supposed gods which may exist.>>

Sacerdotus replies:
I am glad you verified what I have been stating over and over. "...the definition the overwhelming majority in the atheist movement operates under..." this says a lot. I have constantly mentioned that we cannot accept any colloquial definitions of Atheism. We must be true to its original meaning. Atheists play with the word to their best utility. Atheism has nothing to do with no belief. It is a rejection of the God concept. It is the antonym of theism. If you do not know whether or not god exists and yet believe he does not, then you already possess the knowledge that he does not exists otherwise you would not accept that conclusion.  The mind cannot make a decision without knowledge of something.  I cannot tell you an answer is wrong if I do not know the answer choice to be wrong.  

<<Sacerdotus replies: Not at all. We believers still have “veil” over us, as the Scripture says.
Given you have yet to demonstrate a “god” exists, and that this “god” is the one portrayed in the Bible, what “scripture” says is irrelevant.>>

Sacerdotus replies:

Demonstrations of the existence of God are possible in many ways. I never offered to do this here. What Scripture says is indeed relevant because this is a written account of the God that has acted and is acting on the world. This is the first thing one must use to test this God, so to speak.

<<Sacerdotus replies: I use God/gods interchangeably to identify a general supreme being. Atheism is a rejection of all gods whether from polytheism or monotheism. The definition I use of “god” is the one found in every dictionary. Atheism is not “open” to the idea of God at all. This is where your confusion stems.

I do not believe I am confused. As I mentioned earlier, I do notclaim “there IS no god” – this is a position you are thrusting upon me to bolster your position. If I was not being generous, I would consider this a straw man attack.>>

Sacerdotus replies:
If my belief in God is an automatic claim, then how is your unbelief not a claim? Do you see now why Atheists love to push burdens around in order to avoid defending their premise?

<<Sacerdotus replies: The word “dis” means to “apart from, discard.” So it is still a “rejection” per se. Moreover, Atheism is a complete rejection of any God(s). God can be a concept and/or belief to some. This is why I say it is not about beliefs.
You may note that theism does not claim there is a “god” either, but that the individual believes a god exists. I reject theclaim a god exists, and subsequently lack the belief. This is not difficult to grasp, and the sooner you accept a common definition between us, the sooner we can actually have a productive conversation rather than this nonsense regarding definitions.
If you wish to insist I am not an atheist because I do not completely reject the possibility of “gods”, then fine – I am not an atheist. It still doesn’t change the fact I disbelief your claim a “god” exists, and this “god” is the one described in the Bible. The burden of proof is still yours.
I can be “without the belief”. I can be “a” – “whatever your belief is”.
Sacerdotus replies: How can you if you are not aware of my thoughts?
If I am not aware of your belief I must be without it.>>

Sacerdotus replies:
Claims on the existence of God vary from religion to religion. Catholicism is confident there is a God because the Church exists because of this God who became man 2000 years ago. This God still acts within and without the Church. 

You have to be true to your beliefs. Some call this Atheistic Agnosticism. When I was an Atheist, I was sure there was no God.
Your disbelief is a claim that must be weighed against any proofs of God as well. As a matter of fact, the better an Atheist explains his/her disbelief, the better a believer can address it.

<< Sacerdotus replies: Well this is a problem with your assessment of the observations. You are filtering evidence through Atheism. You must be objective. It is illogical to believe something comes from nothing. Stare before you, there is “nothing.” Keep staring and see if something comes out of that “nothingness.”

I have not made the claim “something came from nothing”. I have simply stated “I do not believe your claim a ‘god’ exists”. In any case, even if I had absolutely no idea where the universe came from, how the Earth came became to be here, how life began, or how our species evolved this would in no way demonstrate your claim “a god exists”. You still bear the burden of proof for your claims – tearing down an opponents claim (even if I had made it) does not demonstrate your claim is true.>>

Sacerdotus replies:
If you do not believe a God made everything, then you automatically subscribe to the "it just came from nothing" idea. Everything comes from nothing, so therefore, something must of happened. How can something happen in nothing if there was nothing and something has to cause that nothing to become something
This question is a question Atheists will never be able to answer without accepting at least the possibility of an omnipotent intelligence that transcends both nothing and something and moves nothing into something

Tearing down an opponent's claims shows that claim to be irrational and therefore unfit to accept and hold.

<<Sacerdotus replies: As a Catholic I can say that there is indeed something beyond the material of this universe. We say God did it because no other logical conclusion can come about. Moreover, He said He did it as well. As stated before, nothing cannot produce something. The universe to too fined tuned to be created by chance. Even mathematicians state this.

When we unpack the statement made here, we discover many hidden undemonstrated presumptions:
Demonstrate anything “beyond the material” can actually exist.
Demonstrate “non material things” can create material things.
Demonstrate this “non material thing” actually “said” anything.
Demonstrate this “non material thing” is a “god”.
Demonstrate this “non material thing” is the “god” described in the Bible.
As for the rest, you are once again implying I claimed the universe came from nothing, or came about “by chance”, or is “fine tuned”. Refrain from making statement on my behalf in future.>>

Sacerdotus replies:

Demonstrating that anything beyond the material exists is possible. 

  • The big bang caused everything to come into existence from nothing. So therefore, there IS something beyond the material; otherwise what triggered this nothing to become something? 
  • The Big Bang shows that non material things can create material things.  See the first point. 
  • The fact that Israel exists shows that this being did speak, is speaking and is present. If God did not speak, then why would Israel be? How can Israel be? Moreover, how can the Catholic Church be if this being did not speak and found His church? 
  • Since this being creates from nothing, then it is logical to apply the term "god" to this being because no other being in the universe can do this. Can you or I be outside of space and time? Can you or I create from nothing? Can you or I found nations and Churches that last the test of time? 
  • Again, Israel and the Church are clear demonstrations that this God is the Biblical God. Other faiths have made all kinds of claims in the name of prophecy, yet both the claims and the faith have gone extinct. What makes Israel and the Church unique? 

<<Sacerdotus replies: Well this makes perfect sense since we all know everything came from the Big Bang. At the moment of the Big Bang, time, space, matter and energy came into existence. What was there before?
I don’t know. You’re claiming a “god” is responsible – show this is actually the case.>>

Sacerdotus replies:

What other logical conclusion can be made? Something comes from nothing. There is nothing in this universe that can accomplish this feat. There is a harmony of order and chaos.   These are accomplishments only intelligence can produce. Is the universe intelligent? If it is, then it could not have been the creator because how could it create itself from nothing? Creation is an external act, not internal. A painting does not paint itself, it needs a painter. A woman cannot impregnate herself, she needs a male.

Think of it this way. Let me propose a thought experiment. 

Suppose you are an astronaut traveling to Andromeda, our sister galaxy. Once there, you land on a planet in the "goldilock's zone" of a particular system within Andromeda. You leave your space ship and walk around. At first you see nothing but barren land and then as you advance you see buildings with windows, doors, and even roads. What logical conclusion will you develop in your mind?
a) Someone/Some people with intelligence built this and live(s) here

b) Someone/some people with intelligence built this and are gone

c) This is a natural phenomena. Somehow the weather designed these buildings, windows, doors and roads.

The logical conclusions would be answers a or b. C cannot be an answer because this would mean that weathering has consciousness and intelligence, and this is not possible.

<<Sacerdotus replies: Someone or something must have caused the Big bang. This someone or something has to be outside of space, time, energy and matter yet still interacts with it.

Please explain how you ruled out the “something” option. Once you have done that, I would be interested to know how you drew the conclusion whatever caused the universe still “interacts with it”.>>

Sacerdotus replies:
See my previous answer.

<<Sacerdotus replies: Therefore, this something or someone one is “I AM.” Or the constant.

Who is to say whatever caused the universe is constant?>>

Sacerdotus replies: It has to be. The universe has a beginning, it is not eternal. Nor is the universe infinite; it will run out of energy eventually. The cause of a universe which has a birth and will have a death must be outside of it and therefore not subject to a beginning nor an end otherwise it would have suffered the same fate as the universe a long time ago.

<<Sacerdotus replies: God can be proven to exist.

Whoa! Stop the boat!

If you cannot prove your claim “a god exists” then my disbelief in the claim is justified and I remain an atheist. I am not sure we need to continue any further.>>

Sacerdotus replies:

I was merely answering your comment that no proof exists.

<<Sacerdotus replies: Stop listening to the recycle rhetoric from Dawkins etc and actually speak to a Physicist.
I am arranging this. Stay tuned.>>

Sacerdotus replies:

<<Sacerdotus replies: Do you actually think you are touching your table, your computer? Do you actually think you are sensing? No. There is a barrier between the actual object and your nervous system. Have you seen Star Trek, the Next Generation? In the tv program, they often showed the ‘holodeck’ which is a room that plays holograms in a manner that is very realistic. The images are so realistic that they can be sensed by all 5 senses, the characters could eat, drink, even breathe the holographic objects. Even a bullet or knife could kill. Well that is our universe basically. We are in a sense living in a ‘holodeck.’ That is what “reality” is, an illusion per se. This is why Chalmer’s created his thought experiment that we could be in a simulation.

How does your Matrix scenario demonstrate a “god” exists?>>

Sacerdotus replies:

Well in the movie the Matrix was created by the "architect." It did not design itself. If the universe is a simulation as Chalmer's thought experiment states, then that simulation needs a programmer.

<<Sacerdotus replies: Well then, where did the first life come from? Do you think consciousness is a random thing? To date, Biologists do not know what life is. Moreover, what of people who have been declared dead and “came back?” Where did they go?

Arguments from ignorance. Even if I had no idea, it would not show your claim a “god” exists to be true.>>

Sacerdotus replies:
Not arguments from ignorance, but serious questions you and other Atheists must answer in order to prove Atheism is truly rational and not speculative as some claim religion to be.

<<Sacerdotus replies: Who is to say the ancients did not live among “talking serpents” that went extinct? I am not saying that they existed, but the possibility is there.
Sure, it’s possible. Give me more evidence than an accent book filled with mythical tales if you expect me to believe it.
“There is evidence for God.Then show it to us.”
Sacerdotus replies: I will on my blog, it will be too long to include in this discussion. I was hoping to present some at the debate with Rosarubicondior, but she was not serious.

I look forward to it.>>

Sacerdotus replies:

I will leave the "talking serpents" search up to Biologists and Archeologists who dedicate their time to explaining why Biblical writers used particular animals in anthropomorphic imagery.

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