|Posted by bonesiii on February 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM|
Please note: I am considering doing a line-by-line rebuttal of Bill Nye's arguments in his recent debate with Ken Ham. For now, these links should suffice. CMI's article is probably the best place to start. AiG itself composed a very in-depth list of articles (links to old ones) that have already debunked most of Nye's points. To the specific debate topic itself, ICR's response utterly disproves Nye's overall point that creationists can't be good scientists (Nye's argument is a No True Scotsman fallacy).
I'd also like to note for the record that in my opinion, contrary to many people's claims, if anyone "won" the debate it was clearly Ken Ham. Those arguing that Nye "won" are appealing to things like emotionalism that are other than genuine qualifications for having a sound argument. Nye continued to perpetuate misconceptions about Ham's own position even after the entire audience heard Ham just refute it, apparently oblivious. I have to believe that anybody with a brain who watched that noticed this, and this only scratches the surface of the glaring logical errors in Nye's arguments. To claim that a debate can ever be "won" by employing illogic is a grave mistake that sets a dangerous precedent for any kind of abuse.
For now, I would like to use this as an opportunity to make a point about the illogic of "materialism."
Materialism is a philosophy which has proven nearly impossible to define in any helpful way. At first glance, the usual summary definitions given seem to give us a clue what atheists mean by it -- "matter only". Given the name, this certainly makes sense.
But wait a second.
Do atheists fail to believe in light? Heat? Gravity?
Surely not -- they don't ONLY believe in "matter." So "material" CANNOT, in their own beliefs, be limited to matter! What, then, is the dividing line?
In the debate with Ken Ham, in answer to a question about what came before the Big Bang, Bill Nye gave a remarkable answer.
"I don't know."
How is this a materialist answer? I was hoping for him to clarify where this mysterious line is between materialism and theism. Why, for example, if existence is truly infinite as the causality proof demands, wouldn't that infinite variety include intelligence? In fact, it DOES -- our own, at least, as well as some animal intelligence.
Given that intelligence cannot even be denied to exist by atheists, the only logical explanation to me for materialism seems to require a clear definition of the properties of "extra-universal" ("before the Big Bang", etc.) "material" -- which necessarily demands an explanation of why these properties absolutely cannot have intelligence (perhaps it is similar in some ways to matter for example, and existing in infinite amounts, which could be one basic definition of God, though anyone truly honest must admit that immaterial information is the most important quality, just like our intelligence, or DNA information, etc.).
And what's more, it MUST clearly prove why these properties, with this limit against intelligence, ARE all that exist beyond this universe.
Notice that the key here is that it is irrational to refuse to believe in a sound understanding of reality just because the possibility of alternatives has not been entirely disproven (although I would have to say the causality/existence proof DOES disprove atheism -- one of the very few things we CAN totally disprove, such as "there's no existence at all"). It is not that it's irrational to be aware that alternatives might be possible, or that we cannot absolutely prove all details of our worldview (though I'd say on the second point, we can come pretty darn close), but that claiming "agnosticism by the name of atheism" on the basis of UNKNOWNS is taking it a step farther, a step too far.
The difference may seem subtle, but consider a simple analogy -- should we refuse to believe in refrigerators because we can't absolutely disprove an "I don't know" type of answer for how an illusion of a refrigerator might be operating instead?
The objection that we can directly observe our own refrigerator fails, because in sound logic there is very little difference between direct observation and indirect (but sound) deduction; in both cases input is being analyzed for sound patterns of conclusions, and the possibility we're being asked to accept itself incorporates a workaround for the direct observation of refrigerators anyways. Also, I can extrapolate from my observation of my fridge to the likely existence of other refrigerators in other buildings I have NOT observed.
Hasty Generalization fallacy warns us against assuming things based on insufficient evidence.
Likewise, the observation of the existence of intelligence where we observe it (humans, to some extent animals) makes it plausible to extrapolate to the likely existence of intelligence elsewhere. Just as different fridges will have different qualities, we cannot rule out that other intelligence may have different qualities than human (such as infinity, for God). A similar but watered-down argument is, after all, used by many of the most extreme atheists for aliens. And just as different material things can have different qualities while retaining the same quality in question (ability to chill things, intelligence, etc.), Hasty Generalization warns us that we must not assume matter is the ONLY type of material which may have immaterial intelligence involved.
Something LIKE matter in the qualities that are important for allowing intelligence MAY very well exist. Indeed, empirically, and based on the infinite variety part of the existence proof, matter-like "material" beyond our universe capable of intelligence should be viewed as inevitable.
For lack of a better term, then, let's call the substance that many atheists now say exists beyond this universe's material "Nyedunnoium."
My point is that the existence of BELIEF in Nyedunnoium, simultaneous with lack of belief in God, is proof positive that materialistic atheism is irrational -- that we should accept theism at least and should definitely devote much time to figuring out WHICH theism (I would say the Bible based on the prophecies and much more as I've explained elsewhere). Why? Because Nyedunnoium is something accepted on faith, out of logical necessity (due to causality; there has to be SOMETHING), yet withOUT sound proof of what its qualities are.
Without proof of those qualities, and proof that that's all there is, it is not rational to believe in this substance, by the very same arguments atheists use against belief in God! But evidently Bill Nye and many like him do.
Let's emphasize this again. Bill Nye is confident that not believing in God is rational, but not confident that there isn't something else besides this universe. Confident that if there is something beyond this universe, it's rational to think it doesn't have intelligence, but completely ignorant of its properties.
Nye believes it is okay to think it can't have the property of intelligence, but doesn't know its properties.
This is absolute lunacy!
Admittedly, this is a little better than the anticausality belief of Stephen Hawking (see my [draft] of my main origins essay), and to be clear, Nye's noncommittal answer doesn't establish that he is absolutely sure there DOES have to be "something". However, even these nuances only make matters worse. He is open to the possibility of Nyedunnoium (he might even like the term, I have no idea), so he should also be open to the possibility of God. He should reject "atheism" and be instead an agnostic, preferably a seeker! He needs to take the risks for his own soul's future seriously (even just the RISK that he might HAVE a soul that could be in jeopardy), and so does everybody.
In other words, he's not just saying he's sure Nyedunnoium exists, and contradicting himself on ignorance of its properties yet knowledge that intelligence isn't one of them -- no, this is far worse. If this caution is correct, then he isn't even sure Nyedunnoium exists! So, he MIGHT be open to the anticausality of Hawking! Either way he goes with this, to think this guy is 'scientific' is absurd!
Again, I'm not sayig that it's irrational to be aware it MIGHT be possible, in ways we don't know, for this Nyedunnoium to satisfy all three qualities of existing, being all that exists beyond this universe or other universes (multiverse), and lacks intelligence. I am always aware of this possibility and many more besides, but I DO believe in the one possibility that actually has sound proof and strong evidence, just like I believe in the refrigerator. Nye does NOT believe in God and this is where the crucial difference is. In order to fail to believe in God, you must either consider it rational to think he might not exist, or else abandon rationality. Attempts to obscure the difference are just cheap copouts, though admittedly it can get a little confusing, so some misunderstanding may be inevitable.
To try to express what I'm saying even more clearly, here's another analogy (variant on a somewhat common one I use too, and have a longer version of in another entry I'm drafting for later). Say I witness a murder, I see the murderer and am absolutely certain I saw him clearly. Do you think if I went to the witness stand in court and said "I suspect what I really saw was a holographic projection of the suspect by time travelers from the future who want to frame him" that anybody would think me rational to say that?
Likewise, to think God has any serious chance of not being real, we would have to either be hopelessly ignorant of countless undeniable features of our observeable reality that fit that exactly, or if we do know of them (and come up with countless ad hoc rescuing patches to explain them away as evolutionists do), we'd have to believe that this universe could have not just accidently spawned us, but also accidently happened to look in every way like God is real! I've said this before, but talk about really bad luck for atheists! You gotta know they would greatly prefer a universe they can be free to "zoom in" on in any amount of detail and always look like evolution is likely, like the Bible failed to have any fulfilled, unfakeable prophecies, like Earth could always be old enough (versus things like the erosion of continents showing if they were that old they would all be underwater by now), etc.
And if Nye is serious that he is open to the possibility of Nyedunnoium for the purposes of satisfying the causality demand, then this only gives even further evidence of the necessity, ultimately, of taking the causality proof to its infinite-variety (including God) logical conclusion as I have. Similar to Dawkins' recent admissions that some kind of multiverse scenario may be necessary; that this universe is not enough for a rational atheist since life evolving here is far too unlikely if it's the only one (among perhaps other reasons). Because if Nyedunnoium is necessary to explain the universe, what explains Nyedunnoium?
This is why I say that there MUST be an infinite chain of causality, with the TOTAL of this infinite chain being God (also explaining biblical statements that there is nothing higher than God, for example "to swear by" -- swear in the promise sense), rather than God being a finite thing that in turn needs another explanation as assumed by the common childish question "who created God".
Since Nyedunnoium, by virtue of being (by blind faith) demanded to lack intelligence properties, thus cannot satisfy the infinite variety demand, something else beyond it still must exist, and so forth, and somewhere along the chain there MUST be intelligence, and ultimately there must be infinite instances of it! Again, this is a basic mathematical definition of God.
So, ultimately, no matter how you slice it, materialism is a pointless argument against God and if anything only demonstrates further why God must exist, if you think it through -- yes, as "immaterial"! It may boggle our limited human minds to try to comprehend such a thing, but there it remains -- the sound logic demands it. Remaining "agnostic" toward God based on the hope in materialism is an intellectual dead end, and should be abandoned by everyone.