Thursday, November 23, 2017

Refuted: Sacerdotus Is (Even More) Stupid (Than Previously Thought) Part 4

Again, we see atheismnthecity engage is more sophism and ad hominem. 
His/her replies consist of "you are wrong, I am right, you are stupid, I know more than a doctoral degree holder."  My readers have noted their amusement about this person's fallacies. I will once again refute his/her nonsense here.  My replies will be in bold and blue.  

<<Sacerdotus Is (Even More) Stupid (Than Previously Thought) Part 4

Author's note: I know I just wrote that I'd be spending more time writing about social issues and lay off atheism for a bit, but a recent attempt to rebut my blog post on why I'm an atheist got my attention and prompted me to make a response. I'll get back to social issues when this is done.

A supposed "philosopher" who challenged me on my post Why I'm An Atheist, wrote a follow up to my follow up, and in it he claims again, that's he's refuted me and that I'm ignorant of science and philosophy. The exact opposite is true and I can easily show why. His arguments are so bad, they are laughable. And I don't mean this to be facetious, I mean this with all seriousness. He makes so many common argumentative mistakes and factual errors that I cannot take him seriously that he has a degree in philosophy and science. If he does have a degree, he should get a refund, because he apparently learned no serious critical thinking skills because of it. His arguments are on the caliber of the same old tired internet apologist, like the many wannabe William Lane Craig clones out there. Only he's at the low end of the spectrum.

If you're wondering why my posts denigrate him so harshly it's because he mocks atheists and calls atheism stupid. Here I'm just giving him a taste of his own medicine.

I continue with part 4 covering arguments 10 and 11. Starting with his response to argument 10, his words are in block quotes.

10) Euthyphro's trilemma

And now we come to the Euthypho trilemma, one of my favorite areas to debate.

I wrote that Euthyphro's dilemma works with monotheism as well as polytheism. He ignorantly writes back saying,

It actually does not. The Euthyphro dilemma originates from Greece where polytheism was the norm. Euthyphro himself was a priest of a polytheistic sect. If he were alive today, he would not understand the argument the author is making and will probably be upset at the distortion the author is giving the dilemma that bears his name. 

The argument's logic is not dependent on polytheism, and Euthyphro would recognize the argument in a monotheistic context. In fact, the argument makes more sense on monotheism, because then there is only one god in which morality could be dependent on, instead of a council of gods, who might have conflicting views. It is irrelevant that the argument got started in a polytheistic culture. That Sacerdotus doesn't know this proves he can't possibly have a degree in philosophy.

Furthermore, I did not simply state "God is good." I wrote more than the author acknowledges. We can assume why he/she does not acknowledge my refutation. He/she cannot address it. Once again, the author restates his/her faulty premise.  

Um no. Let's review what he originally wrote in his response:

In reality, the atheist is the one who has the problem. God is good. God is the fullness of goodness and love. God is love (1 John 4:8). Goodness and love do not exist as separate entities from God.

All that does is assert the same idea: "God is good." It doesn't prove any of the assertions, it just asserts it! Prove god is good. Go ahead. Go do it. Quoting the Bible doesn't prove squat. Also, explain to my why is god good. Is god good because "God is love" as you state in 1 John? Then that means love is good independently of god. If love isn't good independently of god, then the burden of proof is on Sacerdotus to show why. He needs to tell us why love is good. You see, Sacerdotus is a typically lazy internet apologist. He literally thinks he can just say "God is good" and "God is love" and think that settles it. Oh my. I guess since some internet apologist with a fake degree said god is good then that settles it! Atheism is false! How imbecilic he is. The atheist has no problem here because the theist has no evidence. They just assert a claim and think they've won. The trilemma is unavoidable. If you can't explain why god is good you can't demonstrate the claim. And you can't explain why god is good without showing goodness exists independently of god.

But he gets even more absurd:

As stated before, when God created everything, He said that it was "good." This means that God is the one who defines what is a "good."

This assumes the Bible is true! Newsflash Sacerdotus: we atheists don't believe the Bible. You can't cite the Bible as true to prove a point on whether or not god exists. That's called assuming your conclusion. I don't give a sh*t what the Bible says because the Bible is a man-made book full of nonsense. He also doesn't realize that if god created everything that means jealousy, hatred, perversion, lust, and anger were created by god too, and so good must be those things as well. Moreover, if you think that what's good is determined by god, this takes the position in the trilemma that morality is arbitrarily decided by god. If god said killing gays was "good" then according to Sacerdotus it would be good. If god said slavery was "good" then according to Sacerdotus it would be good. We can do this with anything. I already mentioned this and he did not respond to it.

And if the response is that god would never do such a thing because god is good, well then the Bible god isn't god, since he was fine with all of those things. It also throws the theist right back into the fire of whether or not god is good because of the traits he has, or are the traits god has good because god has them. Sacerdotus is just completely incapable of seriously engaging with the philosophical problem he's in.

The author completely ignores my refutation regarding social constructs and the application of them based on event, circumstance and the like. We see the poor reasoning of the author again. He/she does not understand that God is absolute. 

The point about social constructs was already refuted regarding suffering. To say that morality is purely a social construct refutes his own claim that morality is dependent on god. What if Christian morality was just a social construct created 2000 years ago in the desert by ignorant men? If that's true, the Christian god is no more the arbiter of morality than the Islamic god, or the Zoroastrian god, or any other god. And all these gods differ in their morality. The claim that god is absolute is also a social construct! By his own logic, he shoots himself in the foot. He does this over and over without realizing it.

There cannot exist anything apart from God. Think of God as a pie. When a pie is whole, there cannot be anything else added to it. The pie is "full" and whole.  It is absolute. This is why we say God is Good and God is Love. God is compassion, God is holy, God is Infinite, God is eternal. God is absolute.Perhaps the author needs to invest in a dictionary to learn what words mean and learn about fractions and whole numbers. The author asks, 

This just makes a bald face assertion saying there cannot exist anything apart from god. And saying "God is Good and God is Love. God is compassion, God is holy, God is Infinite, God is eternal. God is absolute," just asserts them. As Hitchens said, what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. God who? Which one? Can you prove this god and only this one exists? And "good" according to what standard? Is that standard a social construct like you said all morality is? Because if so, then your standard of good is as subjective and culturally relative as all others are, and you shoot yourself in the foot. If you claim it's "objective," then it's objective according to what standard? If god is the standard, again, which god? You'd have to make a circular argument by assuming god to have the standard by which you claim god is good. This is why most philosophers are atheists. Theism makes no sense.

"The answer is simple, God is the absolute Good.

That doesn't answer my question, it asserts a claim. Prove god is the absolute good and answer all of my questions above. Sacerdotus is the most intellectually lazy fake philosopher out there. Believe me, I have no trouble understanding his arguments. I've heard them a million times before. They are high school level apologetics. It is completely unintelligible to claim god is good if god has no good making properties. It's like me claiming something is red, before it has the property of red.

Being loving or kind is a manifestation of that good.  The same applies to us. Our goodness is not dependent absolutely on our actions.  We can be good without showing it.  A student can be good at math without having to show off to others is or her math skills.  A catholic nun or Buddhist monk can be good without having to go out and hand out sandwiches.  The latter is just a manifestation of goodness."

This is wrong headed. You can't just be good without having good making properties. You can't be good if you do not ever do good things and do bad things. It makes no sense to say anyone is good. It just asserts it—which as we've seen Sacerdotus is very fond of doing: asserting things without evidence!

The author asks "Why is God good?"  God is good because all good originates from God. This is logic. If God is the absolute and is the creator, then all derives from Him. If God did not create the universe, then good, life itself would not be.  This is why I state that the author does not understand ontology. Even a high school level philosophy knows more than this writer. I can guarantee that this author has no credentials in philosophy.  I dare him/her to post a verified document or record showing his/her credentials in philosophy.

This is not logic, this is what we call a baseless assertion. Anyone with just one philosophy course would know that. I fully understand ontology. What Sacerdotus is really trying to say here is that IF morality is dependent on god, then it's dependent on god! Wow. What a tautology! Sure. But the whole point here is that there's no logical basis for saying morality is dependent on god, and all he's ever been able to come up with is a baseless assertion that is fraught with problems, not limited to the questions I've had above. I can just say IF god is not the absolute or the creator, then nothing derives from him, and morality can exist apart from god. See, I win just by assuming my conclusion like he did! (Furthermore, on eternalism, god can't be the creator, since the whole of spacetime is eternal.)

Verdict: His whole rebuttal is a baseless assertion filled with numerous problems. He doesn't actually refute or avoid the trilemma. Claiming god is good makes a baseless assertion, because the question then becomes why is god good, and then you hit the dilemma. Futhermore, according to Sacerdotus's own logic, "good" is a social construct, and that means his claim that "God is good" is his opinion, based on his cultural and personal biases. He shoots himself in the foot again.>>


 In regards to the Euthyphro, atheismnthecity shows his/her ignorance once again. He/she either does not know or is willfully ignorant of the historical context regarding Euthyphro. He/she claims that Euthyphro's ideas were not based on polytheism.  Again context is a must. In the book Ethics (Fundamentals of Philosophy), philosopher Piers Benn writes:

"One the to proceed to asks a very old question, posed by Socrates in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro.  In the work, Socrates is talking to Euthyphro, a conventionally religious an who believes that piety consists essentially in obeying the will of the gods (official Greek religion being polytheistic).  Faced with the moral question about what to do with his father, who has left a servant to die in a ditch.  Euthyphro wants to prosecute his father, because he thinks this is commanded by the gods.  However, Socrates cleverly asks him whether pious things are pious because they are loved by the gods, or whether the gods love pious things because they are pious. Rephrased in a modern idiom, and within a monotheistic framework, the basic question is: if some act right, and if God commands it, then is it right because God commands it, or does God command it because it is right?"  -

So as you can see, the context of Euthyphro's dilemma entails a polytheistic view and understanding. As Benn points out, the presentation atheismnthecity uses is the modern idiom rephrased to reflect monotheism. 

Again, the exchange between Socrates and Euthyphro pertained to their polytheism which was the official religion of the Greeks. So we can see once again how the facts just defeat atheismnthecity. I have no need to call atheismnthecity "stupid" because his/her own arguments say it for me. They also show how atheismnthecity has no philosophy degree. Any student would know the facts regarding Euthyprho's dilemma. Note how I am not giving my own opinion on this. I am simply stating the facts.  Because Euthyphro's dilemma entails polytheism, it is silly for atheismnthecity and other alleged atheists to use it to attack God.  

Next, we see atheismnthecity's inability to follow a discussion. I never stated that I did not write "God is good." He/she seems to think that I am denying that I did. What I did state (which he/she quoted) is that "I wrote more than the author acknowledges."  Again, context is everything. When I wrote that God is good, God is the fullness of goodness etc, I was making a point about God being absolute and that all comes from Him. We continue to see atheismnthecity's poor debating skills and how he/she shifts the goalpost. The context of my words was in response to his/her poor understanding of what and who God really is which is what Dr. Bonnette pointed out and I quoted in part 3. Notice how atheismnthecity is requesting that I prove that "God is good." This was not the topic. In any event, we can know God is good because of creation. God had no need to create this universe and life. Based on how we understand the concept "good," we can posit that God is good. If He were not, then we would not exist and have the ability to experience what we describe as "love," "happiness," and "pleasures."  The trilemma is avoidable because atheismnthecity is working with a straw man argument.  Because he/she does not understand philosophy or theology, he/she believes problems exist with God.  Again, when I state that "God is good" and "God is love," I am making the point that God is the absolute.  He/she fails to understand this. I am sure that you, the reader of this post can notice his/her inability to process facts and stick to a discussion point.

Next, he/she again shows his/her inability to process points. He/she states that atheists do not believe in the Bible while ignoring that the God he/she is attacking is the God of the Bible! This is who we are discussing, not God as the Greeks view Him or how the Hindus view him. Again, we see atheismnthecity's inability to follow a discussion and the reality that he/she lacks formal debate skills. It is like if we are discussing the nutritional value of apples and mid-way, he/she brings up oranges. This is not how a logical discussion is had.  We see this where he/she states, 

"You can't cite the Bible as true to prove a point.."

Then atheismnthecity states:

"...well then the Bible god isn't god..."  

Which ones is it? Are you going to rely on the Bible or not?  Are you referring to the God of the Bible or not?  If you are, then the Bible has to be the starting point of the discussion because it depicts the "Bible God."  Do you see this person's poor reasoning skills here?  Do you see how he/she cherry picks and shifts the goalpost?  He/she does this because of his/her inability to reason coherently.  Again, we see how this author completely ignores my refutation regarding social constructs. He/she does not understand that suffering is a social construct. To state that morality is a social construct does not mean it is not dependent on God. God is the measure of it. Atheismnthecity does not seem to understand this. He/she clearly demonstrates that he/she is the one who shot him/herself in the foot. The problem here is that atheismnthecity fails to understand that God is the absolute. God is the measure by which we decide what is good and moral. Our description of these is what falls under social constructions.  

Ironically, this is why atheists love to bring up Euthyphro's dilemma. Atheismnthecity does not realize this due to his/her ignorance of philosophy and how to carry a coherent discussion.  Note how he/she claims erroneously that God being the absolute is a social construct. He/she does not understand logic. It logically follows that if God is the origin of all of the universe and its content, then He is the absolute.  This is not a social construct. A social construct would be if it were described that God is a prisoner to man-made logic. This is the social construct. It is based on man's experience and attempts to measure God against his/her formulations. Moreover, atheismnthecity complete ignores the fact that there is no "Christian God" "Islamic God" etc. The designations and descriptions of God come from primitive man's cultural understanding. They all are attempts to define, name and describe the one reality we call God. Atheismnthecity is simply restating his/her errors. Next, he/she claims that words like whole and fractions are bald face assertions. The problem here is that he/she cannot comprehend that God is the absolute. Nothing exists or is independent of God.  Dr. Bonnette pointed out atheismnthecity's poor understanding of God. See this screen shot:


Notice how Dr. Bennette calls atheismnthecity out on his/stupidity. We can see why atheismnthecity gets everything wrong. He/she is working with straw man arguments and not actual facts.  Because of this, his/her conclusions are based on errors, misconceptions and special pleading. He/she then cites Hitchens who stated that what is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without it. This statement is fallacious in itself. Any scientist can tell you that a hypothesis is crucial to scientific research. A hypothesis is an educated guess or an assertion. This is then tested in order to prove or disprove it.  In many cases, research in science remains at the hypothesis point. Imagine if scientists dismissed their assertions before even testing them, this would disrupt the scientific process. Sagan had a better saying, he said,

“The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.” -

This statement reflect true logic and brilliance. Hitchens was just a polemicist. He was not a philosopher or scientist. Quoting him is ridiculous in this regard. To dismiss something because of lack of evidence at the moment is bad science and bad reasoning. Decades ago, it was asserted that the Higgs Boson existed. Many physicists rejected the idea. However, physicists at CERN were convinced that this particle had to exist based on how other particles behaved and logic. Eventually, the particle was discovered.  Now imagine if they had taken Hitchens'advice!  They would not have been able to find the particle because what was asserted without evidence would have been dismissed.  Logically speaking, one cannot dismiss an assertion without strong evidence against it. This is how science works. It is called the null hypothesis. Again, we see atheismnthecity revealing his/her lack of academic credentials. He/she is simply an armchair philosopher who does not understand philosophy or science. We see this in his/her question "which God?"  I already answered this in this post:

Again, atheismnthecity is either not reading my replies or is being willfully ignorant.  He/she is simply restating what I already refuted and engaging in argumentum ad infinitum. Dr. Bonnette has called him/her out on DISQUS numerous times. I surmise that atheismnthecity is ignoring my refutations because he/she does not want to address them due to his/her inability to reason.  He/she calls me a fake and lazy philosopher but does not realize that he/she is the one exhibiting cognitive lethargy. Not only have I demonstrated this, but other atheists as well have called him/her out on his/her poor arguments. 

We see these poor arguments in statements such as:

"You can't just be good without having good making properties. You can't be good if you do not ever do good things and do bad things. It makes no sense to say anyone is good. It just asserts it—which as we've seen Sacerdotus is very fond of doing: asserting things without evidence!"

Notice how atheismnthecity does not understand that God is the absolute. If God created all things, then it logically follows that all things come from and have their existence from Him.  As Dr. Bonnette pointed out, atheismnthecity seems to think that God and the universe exist side by side as mutually exclusive entities. This is why atheismnthecity is unable to address my refutation. He/she has a straw man argument as a premise. Notice how he/she asserts that no one can be good without doing good things or bad things. He/she asserts this and provides no evidence.  I have already addressed this that being good is not depended on action. Someone can be a law-abiding citizen without having to commit a crime.  The fact alone that he/she is not engaging in a bad act shows him/her to be a good citizen. So you can see how ridiculous atheismnthecity's premise is. It falls flat on its own via logic. 

Next we see atheismnthecity continue his/her science illiteracy by claiming that "on eternalism, God can't be the creator, since the whole of spacetime is eternal."  This statement reflects his/her poor understanding of the theory of special relativity. Einstein's theory can only allow for a universe that had a beginning. Dr. Stephen Hawking writes on his site:
"But if your theory disagrees with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, it is in bad trouble. In fact, the theory that the universe has existed forever is in serious difficulty with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law, states that disorder always increases with time. Like the argument about human progress, it indicates that there must have been a beginning. Otherwise, the universe would be in a state of complete disorder by now, and everything would be at the same temperature. In an infinite and everlasting universe, every line of sight would end on the surface of a star. This would mean that the night sky would have been as bright as the surface of the Sun. The only way of avoiding this problem would be if, for some reason, the stars did not shine before a certain time. "

"However, their claim was proved wrong, by a number of theorems by Roger Penrose and myself. These showed that general relativity predicted singularities, whenever more than a certain amount of mass was present in a region. The first theorems were designed to show that time came to an end, inside a black hole, formed by the collapse of a star. However, the expansion of the universe, is like the time reverse of the collapse of a star. I therefore want to show you, that observational evidence indicates the universe contains sufficient matter, that it is like the time reverse of a black hole, and so contains a singularity."

"The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down."-

Eternalism is just not feasible based on special relativity. I do not understand why atheismnthecity thinks the theory supports eternalism. As Hawking stated, special relativity demonstrates the need for the universe to begin as a singularity. It is not eternal. Moreover, Hawking explains why an eternal universe contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics. If the universe was eternal, it would not exist in the way it does now. Life would not exist. Galaxies, starts, planets etc would not have formed in the way that they did. 

Now, I bet atheismnthecity will claim that he/she knows more than Dr. Stephen Hawking!  If he/she does state this, we must all conclude that atheismnthecity is a silly person who either suffers from Dunning-Kruger or narcissistic personality disorder; or both!  No normal person would claim superior knowledge to those who hold Ph.D. degrees and whose career entails studying philosophy and physics.  The verdict is clear:

Philosophy & Science 13
Atheismnthecity -13

Atheismnthecity clearly lost in this discussion. Eternalism is a cute philosophical axiom, but it fails against actual reality.  The block universe fails because it simple makes the universe God. I wrote this in my post found here:   There is no way to escape God.  

<<11) Religious belief is product of the brain

In response to this he makes the usual bad remarks,

There is a problem and contradiction here. How can one easily detect patterns that are not there? That is silly. If a pattern was detected, that means it is in fact there! What the author is describing is like a radar detecting a ship that is not there. Does that make sense? Of course, it does not! It is irrational. Note how he/she calls me an "idiot." He/she is frustrated because I caught him/her in a big blunder. He also misrepresents Shermer. The author then shows his/her ignorance again.  

There is no problem here because he once again doesn't understand my argument. When I say we detect patterns that aren't there I'm saying we falsely think there are connections between things where there isn't. When a person says something mean, and then another person drops dead, we might falsely think the person's words killed them. This is why for thousands of years people believed in witches, demons, and ghosts, when in reality it was disease or natural causes that really were the explanations. This is an example of a false pattern. It's thinking unrelated things are part of a connected series. Evolution made it helpful to notice patterns, and that's why we have the tendency to overdo it and falsely think there are patterns that exist that aren't. Hence, patternicity. We do the same thing with agents, when we think agents are there that aren't. Hence agenticity. This is what psychologists call the hyper-active agency detection device or HADD. That's why we believe in gods and other supernatural beings. Science explains the origin of theistic belief. Sacerdotus too stupid (as usual) to understand this, another proof he can't possible have a degree (unless it's from Liberty University!).

He/she claims that we are not hardwired to believe in God only despite even Shermer stating so (see: ). We have the VMAT2 gene which accounts for this. I also cited other ATHEIST scientists who confirm this, yet the author dishonestly claims that I provided no evidence. Typical lying for atheism. The author then claims that organisms survive better due to false positives. This is just absurd.

I didn't claim we are not hardwired to believe in god. I said "We're not hardwired to only believe in 'God.'" That means we're hardwired to believe in supernatural agents, like demons and angels. He completely misses the word "only" which shows he's not comprehending what I wrote. He's so desperate to find a flaw that he's seeing what he wants to see, which is ironically how religious belief works: we see what we want to see, not what really is. Sacerdotus has inadvertently given me empirical evidence that religious belief is a product of the brain! In his original response he provided no links. So no, there was no evidence.

Even the link to Shermer's site from his second response affirms my point! Shermer writes (emphasis mine),

Rather, belief in supernatural agents (God, angels, and demons) and commitment to certain religious practices (church attendance, prayer, rituals) appears to reflect genetically based cognitive processes (inferring the existence of invisible agents) and personality traits (respect for authority, traditionalism).

Did you read that? Supernatural agents, i.e., gods, angels, and demons, which is exactly what I said. This guy is so stupid he links me to an article that shows he's wrong and that his opponent is right. He probably didn't even read the link. Shermer's making my exact same point: religious belief is a product of the brain via evolution, and the fact that he's linking Michael Shermer without saying Shermer is wrong shows this guy unwittingly agrees with me.

False positives will bring about poor reasoning which in turn will endanger an organism. If a primate detects a false positive in a bush and pays more attention to it, the primate will make a run for it and possibly run into the predator. It makes more sense for an organism to pay attention to actual nature and not imagine things that are not there.  This is why the claim that we believe in God because of natural selection and survival makes no sense. 

This (like everything else from him) gets it all wrong. Possibly run into a predator? This is his best counter argument? Really? What if the primate doesn't run into a predator? How likely is the primate going to run into a predator after fleeing some imagined threat? It must have to happen more than 50% of the time to make evolution weed out the trait. But of course it doesn't and Sacerdotus shows zero evidence it does. He literally just concocts up an extremely rare scenario has his best rebuttal against the fact that assuming the worst is always the best. That's what all women do when they're walking through a bad neighborhood or a dark parking lot at night: assume every noise is a potential threat and be ready just in case. If a primate doesn't assume the noise in the bush is a threat and it is, it is lunch, and no kids for him. Sacerdotus's argument is a sorry excuse for logic.

Also, the claim that animals at the bottom of the food chain are constantly paranoid is complete hogwash. I guarantee the author that a venomous snake will not be paranoid around him or her.  Neither will a spider. Despite their size, they will fight back regardless of the food change.  We see how this author is completely ignorant of science. I do not even have to make this post to show it. Any educated reader will come to the same conclusion that this author is simply pushing his/her narrative while ignoring scientific facts and philosophical knowledge. His/her own writing shows his/her stupidity.

Yeah, you know why? Because venomous snakes are not at the bottom of the food chain. Neither are spiders. They cannot be at the bottom of the food chain because they are carnivorous, and are either in the middle or near the top. Poisonous snakes also don't need to be paranoid because they're poisonous. Just like if you had a gun you'd be a lot less paranoid. Spiders sit and wait for prey in their webs, or in underground traps their whole lives, that allows them not to have to be paranoid. Now compare a squirrel with a lion and you will see the difference in paranoia. At this point I can't take Sacerdotus seriously. He's so full of himself and he doesn't have the wit or the arguments to match. Any educated reader who isn't ignorant or biased from religious indoctrination will see that I'm clearly on the side of reason here. He doesn't offer any science to counter my arguments, just silly ideas that can't even be called theories or hypotheses. And he stupidly links an article that makes my exact points for me.

There's a reason why this is the dominant view in psychology and biology for why we have the tendency to believe in unseen agents. I have written about this issue before. From my post Hyperactive Agency Detection — A Just-So Story? I wrote,

The term hyperactive (or hypersensitive) agency detection device originates from Justin Barrett's book Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (Cognitive Science of Religion)(Justin Barrett by the way is a Christian).

How widely endorsed is this view? In A New Science of Religion Wilkins & Griffiths note:

The idea that religious belief is to a large extent the result of mental adaptations for agency detection has been endorsed by several leading evolutionary theorists of religion (Guthrie 1993; Boyer 2001; Atran 2002; Barrett 2005). Broadly, these theorists suggest that there are specialized mental mechanisms for the detection of agency behind significant events. These have evolved because the detection of agency - "who did that and why?" - has been a critical task facing human beings throughout their evolution. These mechanisms are "hyperactive," leading us to attribute natural events to a hidden agent or agents. (142)

So widespread is this view, that even the Christian philosopher Michael J. Murray, a well-known occasional critic of the HADD hypothesis, calls it in his book Science and Religion in Dialogue, "the standard model." (460) And even famed Christian apologist William Lane Craig, notorious among theistic and atheistic debaters, acknowledges it on his website, Reasonable Faith, writing:

We humans have an inveterate tendency to ascribe personal agency to non-human creatures and even objects. We talk to our house plants, our cars, our computers. In fact some cognitive psychologists think that this tendency is actually hard-wired into the human brain. They call it the Hyper-active Agency Detection Device (HADD). We treat other things, even inanimate objects, as though they were agents.

Craig of course doesn't connect the dots in seeing how this is evidence against his religious views, but to be fair, that's not what his post was about. The term's coiner, Justin Barrett, writes in Exploring the natural foundations of religion:

On the basis of ethnographic data and psychological research, Guthrie argues that people have a bias towards detecting human-like agency in their environment that might not actually exist [28–30]. Thus, people are particularly sensitive to the presence of intentional agency and seem biased to over attribute intentional action as the cause of a given state of affairs when data is ambiguous or sketchy [31,32]. These observations suggest that whatever cognitive mechanism people have for detecting agency might be extremely sensitive; in other words, people can be said to possess hyperactive agent detection devices (HADD). According to Guthrie, such a biased perceptual device would have been quite adaptive in our evolutionary past, for the consequences of failing to detect an agent are potentially much graver than mistakenly detecting an agent that is not there. 
The implication for religion is that the HADD might lead people to posit agents, perhaps of a counterintuitive sort, that are then well-transmitted because of their easy fit within intuitive conceptual systems. Similarly, counterintuitive-agent concepts would be more likely to receive attention and be transmitted than non-agent concepts, because agent concepts are more likely to resonate with agents posited by the HADD.28 Guthrie, S. (1980) A cognitive theory of religion. Curr. Anthropol. 21, 181–203

See also:

29 Guthrie, S. (1993) Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion, Oxford University Press
30 Lawson, E T. and McCauley, R.N. (1990) Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture, Cambridge University Press
31 Heider, F. and Simmel, M. (1944) An experimental study of apparent behavior. Am. J. Psychol. 57, 243–259
32 Rochat, P. et al. (1997) Young infants’ sensitivity to movement information specifying social causality. Cognit. Dev. 12, 441–465

Verdict: Sacerdotus is a joke. He's a joke disparately trying to be taken serious as a "philosopher." His degree is fake. I'm completely convinced of this by now. His best argument the hyper-active agency detection hypothesis—which for decades has been the dominant view is psychology and biology—is that it "might" cause us to run into a predator. Might! That's his best counter-argument. After all this is done, there's no point wasting time on him again.

To be continued in part 5.>>


We see once again a restatement of errors already refuted. I am starting to think that perhaps atheismnthecity may have a cognition problem or is simply lazy and does not bother to read my responses. We can tell this because he/she keeps repeating the same nonsense that I have already refuted. To quote the cliche of having to repeat oneself again, "Here we go again!"  

Here we see atheismnthecity showing his/her poor understanding of evolutionary psychology.  He/she writes:

"When I say we detect patterns that aren't there I'm saying we falsely think there are connections between things where there isn't. When a person says something mean, and then another person drops dead, we might falsely think the person's words killed them."

This statement is not the same as stating that a pattern that is not there can be detected.  See atheismnthecity's confusion and bad reasoning? He/she put his/her foot in his/her mouth, so to speak.  By stating that if someone tells another something mean and the recipient drops dead shows a pattern that is detected. We can detect the mean thing said and the person receiving the mean statement dropping dead. This is not the same as believing in witches, demons, ghosts and so on. There is a false correlation here being made by atheismnthecity. This comes as no surprise. Atheismnthecity has no college degree and no formal training in philosophy or science. This is why he/she is a champion of making fallacious statements which reveal his/her lack of education. I think what atheismnthecity is trying to explain is a FALSE PERCEPTION, not a false pattern or a detection of patterns that are not there. 

A false perception would be if someone perceives something based on heuristics. If atheismnthecity took the time to do proper research, he/she would be able to make better arguments and explain things better. I can only respond to what he/she wrote. If he/she says that water is really fire, then I have to respond to that statement as it is presented. Any lack of understand on my part would be due to his/her inability to be articulate. This is what happens when one googles things and splices up the searchers. One comes up with all kinds of misconceptions. We see this in the case of atheismnthecity. He/she googles Shermer and distorts the science Shermer is using to make his posts.  This is typical of amateur bloggers who lack proper education. They do not know how to research or how to apply that research in a writing. Atheismnthecity writes:

"I didn't claim we are not hardwired to believe in god. I said "We're not hardwired to only believe in 'God.'" That means we're hardwired to believe in supernatural agents, like demons and angels."

This is completely false. We are hardwired only to believe in God. This is why the VMAT2 gene is called the "God gene!"  It is not called the "God, Demon, Angel, Ghost Gene." Here are some sources: 

Silveira, Linda A. (2008-03-20). "Experimenting with Spirituality: Analyzing The God Gene in a Nonmajors Laboratory Course". CBE-Life Sciences Education. 7 (1): 132–145.
Hamer, Dean (2005). The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired Into Our Genes. Anchor Books.
Is God in our genesJ Kluger, J Chu, B Liston, M Sieger, D Williams - Time Magazine, 2004

The problem we see with atheismnthecity's take is that he/she is relying on Michael Shermer's opinion on the matter.  Shermer is giving his opinion on the "God gene" by adding that the gene predisposes us to belief in supernatural agents. This is not what science says. As an atheist, Shermer is giving his opinion in order to degrade religion into a mere evolutionary trait. Atheismnthecity cannot distinguish between scientific fact and a man giving an inference.  The latter is what Shermer is doing. Atheismnthecity fails to see the fallacy in Shermer's point of view.  What is a "supernatural agent?"  Again, these are social constructs. One can say a fairy is a supernatural agent or simply a magical being. Which one is it? It all depends on who is doing the thinking. To group God with other folklore is a false conflation fallacy. 

Next, we see atheismnthecity's inability to address my refutation. He/she writes:

"This (like everything else from him) gets it all wrong. Possibly run into a predator? This is his best counter argument? Really? What if the primate doesn't run into a predator? How likely is the primate going to run into a predator after fleeing some imagined threat?"

In a forest or jungle, there is a high probability that an organism can run into a predator. Many predators hunt in packs and can surround prey. As I wrote previously, 

"False positives will bring about poor reasoning which in turn will endanger an organism. If a primate detects a false positive in a bush and pays more attention to it, the primate will make a run for it and possibly run into the predator. It makes more sense for an organism to pay attention to actual nature and not imagine things that are not there."

It seems clear that atheismnthecity did not understand or simply cannot address this statement.  Relying on detecting false positives in a bush would not be in the best interest of an organism. This reminds me of the movie Jurassic Park where the raptors fooled a human by making sounds which made the human believe that he was in a safe place.  In reality, he was surrounded by raptors who were hiding. To think that false patterns, positives or whatever way atheismnthecity wants to describe them is beneficial in evolution is absurd. This is because atheismnthecity does not have proper education in evolutionary psychology or biology as I do. He/she is ignorant of the phrase "fight or flight." Organisms are conditioned to either defend itself or run for its life. This feature allows for better survival. The idea that primates detect patterns and then believe them to be supernatural agents makes no sense and is in no way beneficial to the survival or the primate. Think about it. I am from The Bronx. The Bronx has a bad reputation of being a place full of crime. As with any city, some areas have high crime. Suppose atheismnthecity or Shermer were walking on Walton Avenue in the south Bronx at night and hear footsteps getting closer. Which would be more beneficial to survival? 1) Attributing the footsteps to Jesus Christ or a Leprechaun walking or 2) Associating the footsteps to a human being getting closer who can possibly be up to no good?  If you are a smart person, you would choose the latter. This is because the latter makes more sense in regards to survival.  If atheismnthecity attributes the footsteps to a supernatural agency, then he/she would set him/herself up for a dangerous scenario.  We can see why atheismnthecity's and Shermer's take is fallacious and not reflective of evolution and natural selection.  Their arguments are geared towards degrading God into a mere conditioned stimulus. We can see how when vetted against science, logic and common sense, their arguments fail. 

Moreover, atheismnthecity claims that snakes and spiders are not at the bottom of the food chain. What planet does he/she live on? Atheismnthecity clearly is ignorant of elementary level science.  See this graphic on a site for kids:

Also, check out this site about hummingbirds

This statement is laughable and shows atheismnthecity's lack of scientific knowledge:

" Because venomous snakes are not at the bottom of the food chain. Neither are spiders. They cannot be at the bottom of the food chain because they are carnivorous..."

I will let this meme of actor Nicholas Cage speak to the stupidity of atheismnthecity:

My readers are witness to the inability of atheismnthecity to refute my refutations. He/she has demonstrated literally no grasp of science or philosophy. Notice how he/she ignores the evidence I present and simply relies on linking his/her own fallacious posts to prove his/her points. While I do not take atheismnthecity seriously, I engaged his/her content to show theists that they do not have to fear engaging alleged atheists who claim to hold knowledge they do not. I have demonstrated that when vetted against science and philosophy, atheismnthecity's content holds no weight. He/she is indoctrinated with stupidity and his/her content demonstrates this. Notice how most of his/her replies engage in ad hominem. They show that he/she has run out of defenses and is resorting to personal attacks. 

Next, he/she cites Michael J Murray and others in an attempt to prove his/her false conclusions. What he quotes has nothing to do with the "God gene." Atheismnthecity even states that this is not "what his post is about."  We can see that in the rush to have something to type, atheismnthecity does not bother to read the content and see how it relates to the discussion.  He/she cites Barrett who also stated:

“Christian theology teaches that people were crafted by God to be in a loving relationship with him and other people.  Why wouldn’t God, then, design us in such a way as to find belief in divinity quite natural?  Having a scientific explanation for mental phenomena does not mean we should stop believing in them, suppose science produces a convincing account for why I think my wife loves me — should I then stop believing that she does?” -

What atheismnthecity presents actually helps prove a God exists. If humans evolved to assign agency to sounds and what not, then it makes sense that God would form man's brain to be able to detect Him. That is why  wrote in my original refutation of atheismnthecity's 13 reasons:

"Now let us assume that this author and Shermer are correct.  We believe in gods because of evolution. The idea does not make any sense. Evolution prepares an organism to survive in nature.  The key word is nature.  It will not benefit an organism to look for patterns and agencies not found in nature when actual natural dangers exist. In other words, it is not possible for organisms to evolve to believe in supernatural agencies and patterns unless the organism was preexposed to them and this allowed for evolution to process the tangible stimuli. The author and Shermer inadvertently acknowledge the existence of the supernatural via their arguments." -

As demonstrated, atheismnthecity has proven my statement correct based on Barrett's statement. He/she has also demonstrated an inability to differentiate from fact and a scientist's opinion. Note, the "God gene" does not support atheism. You will not find the word in any study related to it. Any attempt to equate the "God gene" with atheism or the idea that religion is just a byproduct of evolution is an inference, not science. We can see why atheismnthecity fails. He/she has demonstrated him/herself as being allergic to the facts. It is no wonder why atheismnthecity mask his/her ignorance by resorting to personal attacks. He/she may call me a joke all he/she wants, but it is not funny the ignorance he/she displays. It is frightening in fact!  To think that people may read his/her blog and fall for the errors is scary.  

This is why I easily refute his/her content so that others can see how they fail again science and philosophy.  Note how atheismnthecity has not addressed my point that it does not make sense for a primate to associate something with God in order to survive in nature. It makes more sense for a primate to either engage in fight or flight.  Sitting in the middle of a jungle while hearing noises and believing them to be gods or spirits will not ensure the survival of the primate. In fact, this distraction will put the primate in imminent danger.  If atheismnthecity were in Africa and heard a noise, I seriously doubt that he/she will associate the noise with gods or spirits when lions run rampant there.  We can see the stupidity in atheismnthecity's replies. There are many words in his/her replies but no thought or facts behind them.  

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