A Recent Debate with a Creationist – Give Me Your Opinion

Hello there, skeptical fellows,

About a week ago, I became engaged in a debate with a Christian Creationist, about his so-called proof of god, today’s post will be our published discussion, as he requested, I will also ask all of you to leave your opinions at the bottom of the page in the comments section, and on the poll I will put up on this post. I will be leaving my comments on the discussion in bold, and brackets.

The discussion starts with Karl Dimario throwing down the gauntlet with some ad hominem, argument against authoritarian false logic.

Karl Dimario: Dawkins is a fraud ,he refuses to debate any well known Christian philosophers.William Lane Craig has endlessly challenged him time and time again without success.What is he afraid of if he is so correct in his assumptions. The skeptical teenager could learn a great deal by purchasing the book Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith by Douglas Groothuis ,study it and then if you have answers that can back Dawkins up I mean real answers then you can start sprouting off about your opinions on a public site.At this moment your just another ignorant laymen with no real knowledge about the subject your discussing.
(he ad hominem attacks me and Dawkins, calling Dawkins a fraud, and me an ignorant layman)

Me:  You know what, If I am a so called layman, I’m sure you would be rather eager to debate me, I would be glad to have you tell me your arguments and then me destroy them. Give me your best piece of evidence for god or creation, and I will be happy to hear it.
I would love to debate you on some topics.
Richard Dawkins has never considered himself a debater, that has always been the job of Christopher Hitchens and Kenneth Miller.
(I happily accept his offer to debate him, despite this, he later on makes the claim that atheists, and me, never debate Creationists)

Karl Dimario: okay fine ,The first step towards the proof that God exists is to determine whether you actually believe that laws of logic exist. Logical proof would be irrelevant to someone who denies that laws of logic exist. An example of a law of logic is the law of non-contradiction. This law states, for instance, that it cannot both be true that my car is in the parking lot and that it is not in the parking lot at the same time, and in the same way.What do you believe?Do laws of logic exist or not?
(he wastes a lot of time asking me questions he could find the answer to by actually reading my blog)

Me: Yes, they exist, except in the quantum mechanics world, where things can exist and not exist at the same time, but that’s beside the point. I do believe in laws of logic and evidence, I also believe that one should not use logical fallacies in their arguments.

Karl Dimario:  Okay good .The laws of mathmatics now.The basic operations of arithmetic are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Laws of mathematics then, are basically descriptions of what happens within these operations (and more complex ones as well) . For example, with the law of addition we know that if you take 4 things and add them to 3 things, you end up with 7 things.

What do you believe? Laws of mathmatics,do they exist or not?
(He continues to waste time on questions)

Me: Yes, I do believe that the laws of mathematics exist.

Karl Dimario: Great.Laws of science now.Laws of science are basically descriptions of what matter does based on repeated observations, and are usually expressed in mathematical equations. An example of a law of science is the law of gravity. Using the law of gravity, we can predict how fast a heavier than air object will fall to the ground given all the factors for the equation.Do the laws of science exist ?
(More boring questions)

Me:  Well, actually, gravity is just a theory, but yes, I agree with the laws of physics and biology and chemistry, quantum mechanics, astrology etc.

The laws of science also need NATURAL explanations, not supernatural explanations.
Could you please just get to your point, its getting tiring.
(I hint that he cannot prove god with science)

Karl Dimario:  The next question is whether you believe they are universal or up to the individual. Does 2 + 2 = 4 only where you are, and only because you say it does, or is this a universal law?IF You have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science, , that they are not made of matter, and that they are universal. The next question is whether you believe they are changing or unchanging.Tiring you write on a number of subjects that are tiring ,answer my questions first before I make my point.
(I see where he is getting at, I’ve answered his line of argument before, this should be easy, I think to myself. He also makes another ad hominem, calling my blog discussions boring)

Me: Yes, I believe that the laws of physics are constant, and that maths and logic is an intrinsic part of the universe, because of the stability of the laws of physics. I don’t think it is changing.

If you find some of my blog topics tiring, you don’t have to read them, but I have to hear you out on these questions.

Karl Dimario:  you have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science,. Next we will examine what you believe about these laws. Are these laws material, or are they immaterial? In other words, are they made of matter, or are they ‘abstract’ entities? – are they physical or non-physical things?(He creates a false dicotomy, by saying that the laws of science and logic must be either material or abstract, and not a allowing what they actually are, a representation of the fundamentals of our universe.)By the way you pushed me for the discussion,so have here me out. (He blames me for the discussion, despite him actually confronting me first)

In your matter only world then how can the immaterial be in existense?you had to acknowledge that immaterial, universal, unchanging laws of logic, mathematics, science,. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are necessary for rational thinking to be possible. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws cannot be accounted for if the universe was random or only material in nature. (He makes an assumption about what my answer will be, without hearing my answer, and his reasoning is false.) 

The Bible teaches us that there are 2 types of people in this world, those who profess the truth of God’s existence and those who suppress the truth of God’s existence. The options of ‘seeking’ God, or not believing in God are unavailable. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God as it declares that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for not believing in Him. (He uses the bible to prove god, what a logical masterpiece! He makes yet another false dicotomy, which he assumes from the Bible? Yet another ‘Checkmate Atheists!)

Romans 1 vs. 18 – 21 says:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (A bible quote that proves the bible, seems legit!)

The God of Christianity is the necessary starting point to make sense of universal, abstract, invariant laws by the impossibility of the contrary. These laws are necessary to prove ANYTHING. Therefore…God exists
(He says that god is the only way that logic and maths and science could exist, without recognizing other possible explanations, like all of my posts, and other posts.)

Me: The laws of physics and math are abstract representations of physical things, what they represent are real things, like the law of conservation of mass, that’s just the rules.

When you give me an argumnet from the bible, it sounds like somebody arguing for the existence of ogres from Shrek.

On your point that god is neccassary to explain the laws of physics, I will direct you to my blog bost https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/my-superturtle/, in which I disect this argument and say how it is an illogical and non-occams razor following argument.
I will also ask you to continue our discussion by email, at the above address, if you wish to continue this argument.

(At this point, Karl finally listened to something I said, and emailed me his response, I will continue from there.)

Karl Dimario: 

TO the skeptic

Unlike the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics are abstract; they are not “attached” to any specific part of the universe. It is possible to imagine a universe where the laws of physics are different, but it is difficult to imagine a (consistent) universe where the laws of mathematics are different. (He makes this claim despite me rebutting it last post)
The laws of mathematics are an example of a “transcendent truth.” They must be true regardless of what kind of universe God created. This may be because God’s nature is logical and mathematical; thus, any universe He chose to create would necessarily be mathematical in nature. The secular naturalist cannot account for the laws of mathematics. Certainly he would believe in mathematics and would use mathematics, but he is unable to account for the existence of mathematics within a naturalistic framework since mathematics is not a part of the physical universe. (That’s just false, I have provided, and will soon provide, a reason why maths must exist) However, the Christian understands that there is a God beyond the universe and that mathematics reflects the thoughts of the Lord. Understanding math is, in a sense, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”(though in a limited, finite way, of course).
We have seen that the laws of nature depend on other laws of nature, which ultimately depend on God’s will. (You might see that, I just see a blithering idiot pretending to think logically) Thus, God created the laws of physics in just the right way so that the laws of chemistry would be correct, so that life can exist. It is doubtful that any human would have been able to solve such a complex puzzle. Yet, the Lord has done so. The atheist cannot account for these laws of nature (even though he agrees that they must exist), for such laws are inconsistent with naturalism. Yet, they are perfectly consistent with the Bible. We expect the universe to be organized in a logical, orderly fashion and to obey uniform laws because the universe was created by the power of God. (Atheism has accounted for the laws of nature, and shown that they must exist, time and time again)

Christians account for universal, immaterial, unchanging laws as they reflect the very nature of God.
The Bible accounts for immaterial entities as in John 4 vs. 24 it states: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (More bible quotes)
In Malachi 3 vs. 6 God says “I the Lord do not change.” accounting for His unchanging nature. (More bible quotes)
Psalm 90 vs. 2 states: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” (bible quote) and Psalm 139 vs. 7 – 10 states: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast,” accounting for God’s universality. (Yet another bible quote)
The laws of logic, mathematics, science, and morality, reflect the thinking and character of God and what He has created in order to accomplish His purposes.
In Jeremiah 33 vs. 25 God speaks of how He has ‘fixed the laws of heaven and earth.’ These universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are the basis for all knowledge and are rooted in God’s word. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Colossians: My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Chapter 2 vs. 2 – 3) (More bible quotes) 
Of course everyone uses universal, immaterial, unchanging laws, but many do so denying their only possible source. Christianity proclaims the source which can be summarized with Christ’s
declaration: “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15 vs. 5) (More bible quotes) 
God Bless Karl 

declaration: “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15 vs. 5) (bible quote)

Me: Ok. The laws of mathematics, again, are not abstract really. They are numerical representations of our universe. All of mathematics flows from 1 + 1 = 2. This is a mathematical representation of 1 atom + 1 atom = 2 atoms. Mathematics must exist because a universe without maths could not exist, maths, and the physical laws that use math, are necessary in a working, life bearing universe.

I must again ask you a question, did you actually read the blog post I linked you too, because I answered your next question in that. If my one little inch long equation Theory of Everything (TOE) needs an explanation, then your omnibenelovent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent (omnipotent and omniscient are logically impossible, as I blog about in https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/can-god-be-all-powerful-and-all-knowing/), needs a lot more explaining than my simple laws.

Obviously, we all need to draw the line somewhere, because otherwise the whole ‘infinite regression’ thing comes into play with gods god, and gods gods god, and gods gods gods god, so-on and so-on. In the post I linked to, I showed that it is clearly more logical to say that just one, inch long mathematical sum, the theory of everything, which physics is trying to achieve, is a much better place to draw your line in the sand than such an amazingly powerful, knowledgeable god.

I propose that before the start of the universe, there was one TOE which from there, everything flows.
You propose that an amazing god who knows everything, sees everything,and can change anything, was there at the start of the universe.
We have scientific evidence of the laws of physics, we have no scientific evidence of god.
Case Closed.
(Served!)

Karl Dimario: Your toe does not promise eternal life ,my God does ,and with 100percent certainty no questions asked the REAL born again Christian will inherit this. (There we go, Pascals wager, one of my specialities, I think to myself “Oh goodie, he brought that up!”) 

Good luck with the toe.
God bless Karl

Corinthians 2:14?

‘Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged’ (2:14).” (Another bible quote) 

Me: So you are saying to me that it is better to believe in a god so you get eternal life. This is a very bad argument for a few reasons. This argument does not say anything about whether god exists or not. Just because something promises something good, does not make it real, unicorns supposedly can give you eternal life, but that doesn’t make unicorns real. I will also direct you to another post of mine, in which I deal with your ‘argument’. https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/agnostic-atheist-wager/
(I will also link here to a post in which I tackle the afterlife itself, and how heaven might not be that great, Why is heaven not that appealing to me?)

This is not an argument from Occams razor, because the notion of an after life is not a scientific question, except for the fact that you are the meat in your heads, meaning that there is no soul to exist in the afterlife.

Karl Dimario: When God finds you and instills his holy spirit,then it is not a question of belief ,it`s a certainty of his existence.The choice is not your`s it`s his. (He tells me that he has seen god, and to that I say, “gooooooood for you.” or “Yeah, Right!” or “You had a seizure”) For the question of existence thru proof that`s for the non believer not the believer .(He says that the burden of proof is on the Atheists? Learn the basics of science, please.) I would love to see you purchase the book by Douglas Groothuis (Eugh, Douglas Groothuis, he has nothing) (Christian Apologetic s ,A comprehensive case for biblical faith)or listen to some of his podcast there free.When you have done this get back to me and we can nut out some of the arguments by email then .

Thanks Karl

Me: I’ve read his book, its ridiculous.

If you are going to say that your only proof for belief in a god is that he told you to, I have to leave you alone, because there is going to be nothing I can do to convince you, and I will also say that a religious experience is nothing new to science, its called a seizure. (Another serve) 

You have fallen into a trap of circular reasoning. (As do all closed minded Christians) 

I am going to tell you that when I came into this discussion with you, I was expecting some at least descent arguments put forward from you, but it sounds like you have been reduced to “I experienced god, (probably a seizure) so god exists. I am disappointed, to say the least.

Thank you for giving up your time to allow me to sharpen my atheist and skeptical tools, and sure my faith that the IS NO PROOF that any sort of god exists.

Karl Dimario: Sounds like to me that the young Atheists should put you forward to debate Lane Craig on your own recommendation(Seeing you are SO SURE OF YOURSELF),because not one of them can put up a significant argument against him.I`m afraid for what I have read of your work, you to would also be blown away.

Regards Karl
(Nobody has put forward a significant argument against William Lane Craig? HA! Lane Craig could be nutted out by a 6 year old with handy logic skills.) 

Me: I do not wish to engage in a debate with lane craig, his arguments are often very personal, an ad hominem, (Karl decides to take after Lane Craig in his next few posts, with ad hominem attacks) and are not worth the time, I have read his major arguments, and none of them are worth the effort of debating. He is not a philosopher, he is a christian apologetic, I am not interested in contacting Craig on this matter.

If somebody from my side of the argument recommends me to argue him, I might consider, but seeing that no self-respecting logical person thinks highly enough of craig to even consider some of his arguments.
However, I would be happy enough if you were to present some of his arguments to me, so I can hear your spin on them…

Karl Dimario: What have you done with our discussion ??

Me:  Well, I’ll tell you whats happened. You have shown no scientific evidence for a god, nor any logical evidence. I have explained how people can have religious experiences, and I have shown that the creationist standpoint is very weak.

Your arguments have been so bad and cliche, that you haven’t even inspired me to write a blog post about it.
I never said HE was really evil, but some of the people he lets into heaven would make it a rather evil place to live. (Referring to my post about the terribleness of heaven) 

Karl Dimario: I will tell you what happened ,you where shown up for the fraud you are (Were the hell did this occur?) ,this is why Dawkins only debates certain people and rejects others,so he can look good as yourself .Have some balls and repost the comments including the one `s by email. (Ok, just did) Let the auidence of so few see the incompetent self confessed genius you are not. (Ad hominem attack, throwing a punch at my small viewer size) 
It seems to me all you have is the critique of an individuals position.Give me your scientific explantion of creation . (If you read my blog, you wouldn’t be asking that question) Let me critque your position on a public site like this one .And don`t remove the posts when I expose you Thanks (I won’t do that, because I am an honest skeptic, and I’m not worried about you exposing me) 

Me: I don’t see one word to suggest that I was shown to be a fraud? I have never passed up the opportunity to debate somebody. Dawkins is not a fraud, the only reason Dawkins has not engaged in a debate with Lane Craig is because “It would look very good on his resume, and very bad on my resume, even if I beat him hands down.” (That’s why all Atheists refuse to debate Lane Craig) 

Craig is not worth the argument.

I will put our discussion into a post, and I will have a poll on it, and, if I have taught my viewers correctly, they will all see that you are making logical fallacies left and right, and my logic sails.

You calling me and Richard Dawkins frauds is a huge ad hominem, and untrue at that. It is logically unsound.

Also, it should be remembered that I haven’t made a dime from my skeptical work, so I can’t be a fraud, by definition. (Taking a stab at my own success) 
Roy Williams position is taken up by quite a lot of people I know, and others I have seen on the internet.

I must say that asking for a ‘scientific explanation of creation’ shows your ignorance of the subject, science and creationism are incompatible, because creation invokes a supernatural creator, and science requires natural occurrances. .

Karl Dimario:  These famous scientists of the past have had faith in God,Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo,, Newton, Mendel and many others .(That doesn’t make god true) Where they all deluded?How you can even justify using logic is beyond me ,In your matter only world how can the immaterial of the laws of logic exist. (I spent a long time explaining to you how they are material and must exist, and you have the nerve to ask me the smae question again?) You have not answered the question at all in any of your blogs.I will contact Mr Groothius and refer him to your blog and how you think his book is load of nonsense. (Haven’t had any contact with him yet) 

The joke Mr Pell was anembarrasment to all real Christians everywhere, how about you start critiquing some Christians with a bit of knowledge like Craig or Groothius instead of going for easy targets like Pell. (Pell was on national television, that’s why I discussed him) 

Free will does not mean mankind can do anything he wants.(YOU KNOW THIS)Our choices are limted to what is in keeping with our nature.An example is a man may choose to walk across a bridgeor not walk across it,what he may not choose is to fly over the bridge ,his nature prevents him from flying.Free will is limted by his nature.This limitation does not mitigate us our accountabilty .We have the ability to choose wisely or un wisely .It`s only through the grace of God and power of God that free will truly becomes free in the sense of being able to choose salvation. (What?)
Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist (and self-proclaimed Marxist), is a renowned champion of neo-Darwinism, and certainly one of the world’s leaders in promoting evolutionary biology. He recently wrote this very revealing comment . It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against Genesis creation regardless of whether or not the facts support it:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. (This comment is probably forged, but even if this is his opinion, it is not the scientific opinion, or the way in which science works. Science does not rule out supernatural causes by rule, they measure reality, which is nature. If it is part of reality, then it is natural, so if god created the universe, and the proof points against god, then god must by either outside of reality, meaning he doesn’t exist, or god didn’t create the universe, meaning that he isn’t god.) 

Science is not so concrete as you think it is(and you know it) (He has no right to tell me what I am thinking) 

Me: “In a material world, how can the immaterial laws of logic exist?” The laws of logic are an abstract representation of the world around us which all flows from 1 + 1 = 2. We know that 1 + 1 = 2 because 1 atom + 1 atom = 2 atoms. We live in a material world, which means that the laws of logic, which describe the material world, must exist. Logic must exist in a material world.

I was blogging about Pell for a few reasons, 1. He was on national television, so he already had the countries attention, 2. he had enough sway with some of the audience, 3. His views of the world are held by quite a lot of people, so it was worth tackling his arguments.

You did not understand any of my blog post if you are able to say something like that.

In my blog post I wrote that we have NO CHOICE. Lets take your bridge metaphor.
One can choose to go over the bridge or not, but this is gods decision, not yours OR you choose to not listen to god, but then you are choosing eternal hell,that is an interference with infinite coercion, which is free will.
In Christianity, you do it gods way or you don’t, and your decision is influenced by the coercion of eternal suffering or eternal life, and infinite coercion = free will.
God does not allow us free will, you have completely missed that point of my post.
Did you even read it?

I would like to see a reference to that quote, because it does sound a bit, made up, but I’ll continue anyway.

If science cannot explain it, it is outside the realm of reality. If it happens, that science can test it, science does not explicitly not allow supernatural explanations, it only PREFERS natural explanations over supernatural ones. So science, you could say, works like this:-
We have two hypotheses, 1. god created the world, 2. the world came about through natural causes.
Now, we have almost unbounded proof of natural things like genetics, geology, astronomy, physics, quantum mechanics.
We have no proof of a supernatural, all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, deity.

We will choose to go with the natural explanation, because we have PROOF of that, and it makes more logical sense.

Science is the only way by which we can justifiably test reality.

At this point the conversation ended, and a week later, here I am, putting this up for the world to see, without any fear that I will be shown to be wrong, so I release it to the world. I will follow up now with a post with a poll attached, I will allow you to decide who put up the most logical argument, and you can express that opinion on the poll and in the comments bellow.

Karl Dimario, if you are wanting to reply to me, please do not do so on the comment thread, do so on e-mail, and I will keep this page updated with our discussion.

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Red Flags to watch out for

I am going to start blogging every now and then on some red flags you can find to help you distinguish a pseudoscience from a real science. These are very important to learn and can help you to make a quick judgement on the reliability of websites or books or articles, without having to do a big scientific study or finding one that had been done to assess the validity of people’s claims.

I will start out by making a clarifying statement. Just because an article or ‘scientist’ displays some red flags in his reasoning, logic and evidence, does not make that argument false. The same goes for a logical fallacy. An argument can never be proven to be wrong, but if the only evidence for it is illogical and suspicious, then it should be disregarded.

The red flag I will be discussing today is one which is as much a difference between science and pseudoscience as it is a red flag. It is the hyping up of very flimsy evidence to prove ones case. This is what distinguishes the scientists from the cranks. I will give some examples.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a great new battery technology which is able to generate power from the ambient heat from a person’s body, or a light, or the sun, or just heat which exists around us. Now this is a pretty amazing application of technology, but the scientists who were behind it played it down quite a lot. The same things happen with all of the great new discoveries in the search for the god particle, the Higgs  Boson. At one stage, late last year, there were a series of big steps made towards finally finding this elusive particle, and I was getting very exited about it, because they were very close to uncovering the particle. That was the opinion of most of the scientific and skeptical blogging community, and I got the feeling that the discovery was right around the corner.
But there were the scientists behind the discovery, just saying, “You know what, we are getting close, but we haven’t found it yet, lets just keep low and celebrate and dance when we finally uncover it.”
This is very humble of them, and it is very telling.

Could you imagine if a perpetual motion crank got a hold of evidence 1% as much of a breakthrough as that of the new battery? It would be all over the news, they would be asking for Nobel prizes, holding press conferences and they would probably be set for life.

This is a big red flag, if somebody is holding up their entire medical practice or ideology on one or two flimsy testimonials, and they are drumming them up like when man landed on the moon, then you should be suspicious. If somebody, however, is playing down a big scientific discovery, then you can probably lend credit to the reliability of the website.

I will leave you with a quote from Xi Zhi, “Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding.” Xi Zhi, A Chinese Calligrapher of some note.