Sunday, October 25, 2009

Strategy, Epistemology, Argumentation, Dhorpatan and Ignorance.

Behold a terrible argument for the non-existence of God.

The argument is unsupported, circular, fraudulent, false, incorrect, fallacious, and utterly idiotic. On top of this it's part of a terrible strategy apparently in favor of atheism. To be fair, Dhorpatan is a dumbass. He can't even reason himself out of the paperbag called objectivism. And his purpose seems to be to use a bunch of big words and try to confuse the Jesus out of people.

Let's look at the argument in question:

P1) The Christian God is said [to] exist by definition, as an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Incorporeal mind.
P2) The Christian God cannot prevent Quantum Tunneling, as an immaterial mind lacks the means to instantiate violations of Schrodinger['s] equation and evanescent wave coupling.
P3) No mind can know the exact amount of information loss from a system into the environment through Quantum decoherence, nor instantiate as well as exemplify, the mediated attachment between state crossing relations of the microscopic, and macroscopic "worlds", to prevent thermodynamically irreversible actualization, from Quantum decoherence.
-- Supporting P3) An Incorporeal/Immaterial mind lacks kinetic actuality, as energy is of the material realm.
P4) Thus, the Christian God cannot exist as an Omnipotent entity. (From P2 and P3)
P5) Thus, the Christian God cannot exist as an Omniscient entity. (From P3)
Conclusion) Therefore, the Christian God does not exist. (From P1)

The first point that should be stressed is most of those buzzwords are just made up bullshit. Your first sign should be his inability to use grammar. He randomly capitalizes words like "omnipotent", leaves out other words and possessives etc. But, from a scientific sense, most of this is just gobbledygook. It's akin to post-modernism where the hope is that nobody really understands what was said so people just sit there nodding and not pointing out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothing. Lets confuse the Jesus out of them! To really understand how true this is, we must understand the underlying serious flaws in the argument.

Let's simplify and analyze:

* God is an all powerful, all knowing, incorporeal mind.
* God can't do "X" because God is immaterial.
* No mind can do "Y" BECAUSE immaterial minds lack property "A" BECAUSE "A" is associated with material.
* Therefore God isn't all-powerful.
* Therefore God isn't all-knowing.
* Therefore God doesn't exist.

Ultimately, then the real argument is entirely predicated on premise 2 and premise 3. Why can't immaterial minds do X? Why can't immaterial minds do Y? This are simply asserted without any good reason to accept them and since they pretty much guarantee the conclusion, we are left to ask how these are supported? And moreover how one rules out the other possibilities?

And how are you establishing that there isn't a non-energy of the non-material that doesn't do the same fundamental thing. How are you excluding all the other possibilities in order to make substantive claims about the non-material?

Dhorpatan was kind enough to clue me in:

Hahahaha! An immaterial mind itself is by inherent definition, contradictory, since nothing can exist, by what it's not. Nothing can exist, and not have a compositional identity, as that violates the Law of Identity.

This argument suggests the inability of immaterial minds to do things by arguing that they don't exist. So the support for the premise on which everything hinges is inability via non-existence. Immaterial minds are contradictory and thus don't exist and thus can't do X and thus aren't all powerful and thus don't exist.

The given support renders everything else moot. All that out of context QM crap is a moot point and irrelevant to the argument. One might as well suggest that because non-existent things can't play baseball they aren't all-powerful and thus do not exist and call it an argument from baseball.

When pressed on the lack of support for the argument further, I was given the delightful insight that:

The second and third premises don't require support.

They ARE the support for premises FOUR and
FIVE. Haahahahaha. This is what I've been saying.

That's right, any premise used for support do not themselves require support.

So even a causal scratch at the surface of the argument results in pretty serious flaws being uncovered, worse logic, and terrible reasoning.

Apparently being pressed for reasoning rather than being blindly accepted annoyed Dhorpatan some, "I'm growing fairly tired of your stick" he managed to offer between claiming I don't understand logic or was committing fallacies by asking questions. Rather than beat a deadhorse with a shtick, let's sum it up to say he's a terrible anti-apologist and not a logical person. Now, why should we care?

Because his entire strategy is flawed.

Don't get me wrong, I've read a lot of deconversion stories on they are often heartwarming and give you an understanding of the freedom deconverts often feel. However, not once have I seen one where the one key element was having some postmodernist-wanna-be objectivist confuse the Jesus out of them, I've seen people lose their faith after being asked 'why their reasons for believing should suffice for any other purpose.' I've seen people lose their faith when explained what platypuses mean for mammalian evolution (Oh, it's not a refutation for evolution but actually really good evidence).

But, Dhorpatan's strategy? It's probably never going to work. So for the most part because confusing people with fallacious arguments is probably not effective (though it seems delightfully reinforcing amongst theists), we can venture that this strategy probably has no up side (as far as pragmatism is concerned).

I've seen more than a few good Christian responses to Dhorpatan's videos that often portray such arguments as somehow indicative of most atheistic arguments. They usually raise a good point or two and certainly do a lot to let Christians pat themselves on their back and reassure themselves that they are right. And I think even small examples of terrible arguments on the counter-apologetic side is an extremely bad thing.

Bad arguments muddy the water and make it a little hard to judge how overwhelmingly one-sided the actual argument. The arguments for God are always, without exception, tissue-paper thin and riddled with the most obvious and trivial errors. Any debates with regard to logical arguments for God are heavily weighted towards atheists.

Likewise arguments dealing with science are often heavily slanted towards atheism. It has been the case since Darwin that a functional epistemology terminates in atheism. It use to be that rational individuals in the time of Hume would be deists, or in the time of Galen theists. But, since Darwin atheism has been the logical endpoint of a functional epistemology. If you care whether your beliefs are true and you want the most true beliefs and the fewest false beliefs then you're probably going to review the facts and end up being an atheist.

So the logic, reason, and science is all in favor of atheism. However, on the flip side, it is for these reasons that I think a number of atheists are terrible debaters. They have never had to vigorously defend a losing proposition, or fight tooth and nail in favor of a falsehood. Most of the debates one witnesses online and in various forums are such that one poorly educated teenage atheist can seem ninja-like in dismantling the most time honored claims of large groups of religionists. It's not really a challenge and thus many of the arguments are completely terrible. I once witnessed an atheistic argument with ten premises, of which nine were factually false, with three obvious fallacies have a theist respond with a flawed understanding of the second law of thermodynamics (a criticism that wasn't even applicable to the argument). Such things are pathetic, but amazingly common. However, I think the staggering lopsidedness is a great argument in itself, and one of the more compelling ones for atheism. Though, it's screwed when one considers a few bad apples.

What about self policing?

With Dhorpatan's complete failure with regard to logic and rationality, shouldn't this expose some tender tissue to the evisceration of fellow logical atheists who don't want bad arguments in support of good positions. Let's see:

-.- Do you accually think you understand quantum machanics? I bet if einstein was alive, he would have no clue how to solve or explain quantum machanics properly if he studied it for years...
 The point is, we haven't even scratched the surface of this science, which is scary becuase it's already disproving god... This is all theory...
God might not be real after all, you might have to throw in the towel christans. Don't try to explain stuff that not even the best phisicst in the world can't.

First off Albert Einstein is one of the fathers of Quantum mechanics. Secondly we've scratched the surface. We've looked under the hood. We've thought about the implications, we've built hard drives and innumerable devices based on our understanding of quantum mechanics. It's simply rather alien. A lot of our natural intuitions about how the universe work, break down at the quantum level. We understand exactly what the answers will be, we just aren't exactly sure there's a reason why that's the answer. It's great if you want to build an insanely fast computer. It's not so great if you want to portray the entire universe as Newtonian or relativistic.

This commenter seems amazed for as little as we know about the theory it's already disproving God and Christians might want to give up now. This might be interesting if not for the fact that the entire argument is a complete crock of shit, and QM doesn't matter a jot to the argument.

On this point, I argued with a pretty reasonable Dhorpatan fan for a while concerning this argument and he finally arrived at the conclusion:

I think there must be some kind of point in it, but its structure is invalid.

Just because something is full of crap, doesn't mean it's pointless? If one accepts that then why not be religious?


I think that terrible arguments hurt the cause because terrible arguments on both sides allows for one to offer a tu quoque to suggest that there are bad arguments on both sides of the debate (Dhorpatan is also find taking on the burden of proof for no reason whatsoever). However, on top of that, muddying up the waters ruins the best argument for atheism which is largely a meta-argument: "all the arguments for theism are utter shit and atheists bring up a number of good points." There's something delightfully powerful about having theists always be wrong. Throwing them a bone with terrible arguments is just going to encourage them.

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