Net-Case: Nathan Gray

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Atheism, Evolution, Religion, Reviews, Science

The world is full of ignorant people. This is unfortunate and can only be combated through a decent education system and disparagement of the spreading of falsehoods. Sadly, a lot of people seem to revel in their own ignorance; arguing from a position of impotency and prejudice. These bastions of stupidity, to put it bluntly though it is not necessarily an entirely accurate term, must be showcased and thus corrected – and that is what I shall do here and now, with one entry from the blog of Nathan Gray ‘Othodoxy, among other things: a manifesto’.

There will always be people in the world who say that there is no God.

Good, for they happen to be right based on currently available evidence.

Conversely, there are many people who claim that God does exist . When attempting to decide for yourself whether there is in fact a god or not, I would encourage you to first consider the arguments used by the proponents of theism vs. the arguments proposed by the atheists.

At this point it must be stressed that this is actually a correct statement. However, where the author fails is that he now proceeds to use completely incorrect arguments and evidence therefore invalidating what he has just stated. It does help a great deal, when trying to debate or make a statement regarding a matter, to understand the available evidence before doing so.

First, let’s consider some of the viewpoints that renowned atheist Bertrand Russell subscribed to. Bertrand Russell claimed that there was  no reason to believe that the world had a beginning at all. Russell claimed that to assume that the universe must have had a point of origin demonstrated a lack of comprehension and imagination to conceive otherwise.

That would depend by what is defined as the ‘world’. The Earth? The physical universe that we see today before us? The theorised multi-verse (which now has some interesting evidence). Regardless, the above statement matters little since it actually plays into a strength of science; namely that it is always willing (and indeed happy) to admit when it is wrong and adjust conclusions accordingly. Science does not form a conclusion and then look for evidence to prove it, for such is logically indefensible. Instead it looks at the evidence and sees what conclusions can be formed from it. It is simple yet eloquent and, so far, the best method we know of discovering new knowledge.

Science has now proven that the world does indeed have a beginning, thus demanding a new perspective from Russell, that is if he were still alive. Even Antony Flew mentioned his dismay at the discovery of the definitive origin of the universe. Dr. Flew realized the tremendous monkey wrench in the chain of his philosophy of atheism that this discovery, and its acceptance by secular scientists, seemed to present.

I fail to see how, in anyway, the formation of the Earth or the physical Universe as we know poses any problems for science. After all, the formation of the planet is nothing particularly special and is truly well understood. The formation of the Universe is only marginally murkier but the Big Bang Theory is as proven as anything else in science is; it is certainly supported by a great deal of evidence.

If Russell were still alive, he would have to change his stance on this subject due to its inconsistencies with modern science and philosophy. As an aside, Russell also compared the belief in God to the belief in an orbiting tea pot, and maintained that the best way to raise children was to take them away from their parents and isolate them from any other “negative” influences from birth, allowing them to grow in an open environment where morality was not encouraged and open sexuality at a young age was all but encouraged.

The orbiting tea pot does seem to be a rather good comparison, doesn’t it? The rest, true or not, would be naught but personal opinion and has nothing to do with Atheism or science so I fail to see why it was even mentioned.

Let’s now move on to another notorious atheist, Richard Dawkins. Dr. Dawkins has built an entire belief system around every “missing link” that has passed through the research rooms of liberal science labs

If that is the author’s understanding of Dawkin’s writings and works, then I would strongly suggest his exposure to them has been only through the filter of Dawkins’ opponents. It would seem likely that he has never taken the time to read Dawkins’ works personally. I say this because even a cursory review of Dawkins’ various books would show the above statement to be incredibly wrong.

, including the following: Lucy, whom almost all experts now realize was a small chimpanzee;

Really? I can find no peer reviewed articles that reach that conclusion. Instead all that seems available is that ‘Lucy‘ is a human ancestor. Statements such as the above really are a waste of time, it would seem.

Heidelberg Man, whom was later discovered to be a human;

Again, this statement would be incorrect. The remains certainly belong to a member of the Homo genus but as not Homo Sapien in nature. At this point I must point out that I am linking to wikipedia article which are, not of themselves, a solid source of information. But considering the original article I am analysing, tracking down links to various peer reviewed articles. However, for an example of why the statement is wrong then we can look at this comparison of the jaws of Homo Heidelbergenis and Homo Sapien.

The infamous Nebraska Man, which consisted of a tooth that turned out to be that of a pig.

‘Nebraska Man’ was never claimed to be a human ancestor as quotes by the team involved in studying the remains show.

“I have not stated that Hesperopithecus was either an Ape-man or in the direct line of human ancestry, because I consider it quite possible that we may discover anthropoid apes (Simiidae) with teeth closely imitating those of man (Hominidae), …” “Until we secure more of the dentition, or parts of the skull or of the skeleton, we cannot be certain whether Hesperopithecus is a member of the Simiidae or of the Hominidae.” (Osborn 1922)

No scientific journals or reports ever claimed that Nebraska Man was a human ancestor, the only illustration done was for a popular magazine and was certainly not scientifically supported. It would seem the original author, once again, seems to be making statements from a rather astounding position of ignorance.

As he moves from one fallacy to another, he inevitably has to pretend that he never held to the previous one, which has since been invalidated.

This statement is misplaced since the author has not yet pointed out a single fallacy. Therefore it is no more than an empty reference.

With Dawkins, it is truly interesting to me to note that even though he constantly has to change his stance or his element of proof, he claims that he should no longer have to debate theists because his position has already been proven through science and debate. “The debate is over”, Claimed Dr. Dawkins in one interview. On another occasion at Wellington College, Dr. Dawkins claimed that he would not debate creation scientists as he put it,  “Because I’m busy”.

Debating creationists is often a complete waste of time, it must be admitted. The examples shown by the author thus far should illustrate this quite soundly already. The ignorance, false statements and so forth do not make for constructive debate. Why waste time debating someone who a) does not know the subject matter and/or b) lies about it?

Of course, the term ‘creation scientists’ is a misnomer since there can be no such thing. Creationism is an inherently unscientific premise, just like Intelligent Design but only more so. It would be akin to establishing a scientific field based on the study of fairy wings and flight patterns.

It interests me that he would make the claim that the debate over the origin of the universe is over when he himself lost his last debate on the subject with an acclaimed theist named Francis Collins. I’ll just point out here that not only did Dr. Dawkins lose the debate with Dr. Collins, but he was quite literally made to look pitifully much like an undergrad.

This is a rather interesting take on events, I have to presume that the author’s claim of victory for Collins is rather subjective. A transcript can be found here.

Because Dr. Dawkins lost his last debate, and now, presumably, the debate is over, what does that mean for Dr. Dawkins’ atheistic claims? I think that if I were an atheist, I should be concerned by these events.

Statement from a false premise. Nothing to refute or examine.

Let’s move forward. Another atheist named Lawrence Krauss tried to use quantum physics to demonstrate that due to the vacuum state and particles emerging from it, something can indeed come from nothing, thus the entire order of the universe appeared out of nowhere. William Lane Craig responded simply and beautifully to Dr. Krauss’ supposition by  explaining that the quantum state is in fact not nothing; Instead, it is a sea of energy from which only naturally should something emerge. Dr. Krauss has yet to change his stance on the subject because his position is still being applauded by many liberal professors who are not quantum physicists and don’t understand the first thing about what Dr. Krauss is presenting in their classrooms.

It would seem that Craig does not understand the fundamentals of quantum physics then. This is not surprising since he holds no qualifications in science and certainly nothing relating to quantum physics; indeed his record shows that he is versed in theology and not science. I find the later part of the above paragraph most telling about the author; he applauds Lane’s efforts (even though he knows nothing about quantum physics or science in general) and yet points out that other scientists must be wrong because they know nothing about quantum physics.

Another atheist whose words we should consider is the pedantic lunatic, Michael Shermer. Shermer is the publisher of skeptic magazine. Just hearing this man’s name makes me cringe, remembering the embarrassment I felt while watching him debate a group of theists on whether or not the universe had a purpose. During this debate, Shermer seemed to forget which side of the issue he was supposed to be arguing, and thus began to debate and support both sides of the issue while his opponents observed in bewilderment. Shermer uses an emotional argument to attempt to disprove the existence of God by claiming that he doesn’t believe in God simply because God hasn’t put new limbs on wounded Christian veterans of war.

‘Why won’t God heal amputees’ argument is one that is yet to be refuted yet one the author seems unable to comprehend the nature of. It basically boils down to the various claims of miraculous healing of various diseases. Yet none of these supposed miracles have been, in fact, miraculous in nature – all are explainable by science. The amputee line of argument simply states that for a recovery to be miraculous, it would need to be inexplicable by science; such as the spontaneous full regrowth of an amputated limb. This magic regrowth has not happened as of yet.

He then accuses theists of using only emotional arguments . Really? Who listens to this guy!? I’ll tell you who, the only guys subscribing to Shermer’s “Skeptic”  magazine are bed wetters and fagots. If I’m not being politically correct enough for you, then bite me!

These statements from the author seem to be very indicative indeed. Appeals to emotion and then resorting to personal insults, whilst displaying a clear case of homophobia. The statements would appear to do nothing but diminish the author’s already dubious credibility.

Wake up Academia and get off of your damned high horses!

It should be pointed out that ‘academia’ consists of the most intelligent people on the planet. They generally tend to be correct in their conclusions and to wish them to stop their work would impact rather badly on humanity’s progress in numerous fields of endeavour. A rather silly notion.

One of these days the creator of the universe is going to come out of the sky on a horse much bigger and much higher than yours, you bloody fools! On that day unless you’ve accepted the obvious truth that is revealed to all men through the evidence of the universe and God’s priceless personal invitation, your academic pedestals will topple and your snarky attitudes with your pitiful choices will be on your own heads, you academic clowns!

Nothing but threats and apparent rambling. A sure way to construct credibility and rational arguments.

The evidence for theism is always consistent.

Oddly enough, the author has failed to produce any in this entry.

It never changes. The universe in all of its created grandeur came from something, and I tell you that that something is more than a thing. Than something is God!

Argument from incredulity, which is a fallacy.

Previous ‘Net Cases:

Scientology (Video)

Fred Phelps

Debbie Schlussel

  1. This is an admirable deconstruction but I’m not sure it’s worth your time. As I remarked on the original blog, the author isn’t really trying to argue his point. What he’s doing is affirming what he already believes for himself and those with whom he agrees. It’s a common and effective ideological strategy, and it happens to be built on to most religions.

    His ignorance of the subject matter is so complete and his rhetoric so hyperbolic that I think you actually give him too much credit by examining his writing so carefully. Still, you did a good job of it and it’s helpful to have these things dissected for the record. Well done.

    • Matt says:

      You’re probably right in that is was not worth my time.
      But I have some spare time this day and if one thing annoys me, it is crass stupidity and ignorance such was what can be found in that entry. It needed to be shown why it was a load of hooey.

  2. Daniel says:

    To claim that there is no God based on science is a fallacy. To do so requires an assumption that the only things that exist are material. This cannot be tested or verified rendering the “no God” claim unscientific. In fact, this assumption requires faith. So does the assumption that science will explain everything in the future.

    • Many common claims about God (the power of prayer, attributes like omnibenevolence and omnipotence) can be subjected to logical and even empirical scrutiny. Science cannot definitively rule out an abstract Spinozan “God”, but it has plenty to say about the various Gods of Abraham and their supposed attributes and activities.

      Science is also able to evaluate plausibility based on known facts, and reject claims that are unfalsifiable. By your definition a “no god” claim is unscientific, but only as unscientific as a “no Flying Spaghetti Monster” claim. Neither one warrants serious consideration on the sole basis that it cannot be disproved.

    • Matt says:

      I would disagree. Science goes with what evidence says and, thus far, there is no evidence for the existence of supernatural beings and/or deities or any kind. Just as there is no scientific evidence for the existence of Santa or the Easter Bunny, there is no evidence for god.
      This is especially relevant since there are natural explanations, backed by evidence, for all the acts/roles/deeds attributed to said fictitious entities.

      To put it bluntly, things are assumed to not exist until evidence for their existence is found. Hence why people can not claim there is a really fast pink unicorn standing behind you. Turn around quick and you might see it! Oooh close but not fast enough. Try again! Still too slow, it’s damn quick and hates to be spotted!

  3. Daniel says:

    A Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a viable creator, therefore of no consequence. A viable creator is a God that is eternal with no cause himself. Otherwise, we would be asking who created that God and going backward in time until we find some being in the past that always existed. A temporal creation needs a timeless, eternal cause to exist. The other scientific claim which is a counter argument is the multiverse explanation which is still impossible to test or verify and therefore is not science. Still, to claim that because we cannot test or verify something is no support to say it does not exist. Therefore, science is wholly inadequate to explain our origins. Religion makes the same bald assertions as some scientists who step outside the realm of science to advance their theories.

  4. Matt says:

    Why is the FSM not a viable creator? How so?
    You also seem to make a lot of assertions with no evidence to back them up.
    As for evidence of multi-versal theory, there is quite a bit now in terms of theoretical physics and mathematical models.

    As for science explaining our origins; it seems to be doing a pretty fine job thus far. We have the starting point of the Universe as well as the origins of life on this planet pretty down pat.

  5. Daniel says:

    The moment before the big bang was timeless and immaterial, therefore not testable or verifiable. We can observe, test, and verify everything afterward. However, a creator would have to be timeless, immaterial, and capable of causing time and material. If you have a FSM that can do that, you are just giving God another name. The concept of a multiverse is immaterial, but not timeless (As far as I know. I admit my own shortcomings). Even if it was timeless, it still puts it outside of the realm of the testable and verifiable. What we have are theories against theories with no evidence for any of them. I say again, and maybe this time you will understand it, science is wholly inadequate to speak authoritatively on the cause of our origins.

  6. Matt says:

    Your first two sentences assume a need for a creator. This is an example of an assertion without evidence and no more.

    We do not know that the moment before the Big Bang was timeless, though it did shape time as we know it. As I provided a link to above, there is some rather interesting evidence regarding radiation rings that hints at a cycle of universes.

    FSM and God are two entirely different things in that one is a parody that highly the ludicrous nature of a deity figure.

    You keep saying science in inadequate but have yet to say why it is so. I have stated, in return, that we understand how the observable universe was formed. How Earth life originated much later. Before the Big Bang is a mystery as yet but one that is steadily being chipped away at. To claim that the origins of the Universe are untestable is making a large assertion with no evidence to back it up whereas there is plenty to say otherwise. For example, the Large Hadron Collider is doing fascinating work at recreating (and thus testing) the conditions of the Big Bang.

  7. Daniel says:

    “in that one is a parody that highly the ludicrous nature of a deity figure.” – What?

    “We do not know that the moment before the Big Bang was timeless”

    We don’t know it wasn’t. This type of argument is pointless and is filled with gainsaying.

    The promise of an answer in the future is comparable to the promise of an afterlife: we will all find out in the end. However, both answers in the future still hold no guarantee of explaining “everything”.

    As for your call for evidence, you have brought no conclusive evidence to this argument, neither have I. That fact does not preclude us from having a logical discussion. Discussions about immaterial and timeless causes have only indirect evidences, none that would prove the causes conclusively since the causes would not be one of the observable material things but the rather reality that created them. Hence, the radiation rings “hint” at a cycle multiverses, but do not prove them conclusively.

    The thought I am supporting here is that science has limitations and cannot explain everything, and those who say it can presuppose that the only things that exist are material things that can be observed, tested, and verified which is a only an assumption, not fact. Thus, science is in no position to disprove or prove God who’s very definition is immaterial and timeless. But, as I stated before, religious bald assertions such as these without evidence are no different than bald assertions like multiverses which cannot be proven or disproved and are supported by only indirect evidences.

    • “The promise of an answer in the future is comparable to the promise of an afterlife:”

      Except for the small difference that science has a proven track record of providing answers in the past. The same isn’t true of the afterlife.

      “Thus, science is in no position to disprove or prove God who’s very definition is immaterial and timeless.”

      The immaterial and timeless God only seems to get invoked in the process of attacking atheism of pretending that the inability of science to comment on unfalsifiable nonsense is a deep flaw. To most religious people, God listens to prayer, smites the heathens, hates the gays, loves everyone, and occasionally heals the sick (if they’re not too sick). These are all testable claims that are routinely made and believed by millions of religious people every day.

      The deity you’re describing serves no purpose other than to excuse the use of its own label.

  8. Daniel says:

    All I read here is a prejudice toward religion. Because you disagree with the actions of believers is not a disproof of God nor a discovery of a character flaw. If your atheism is just a reaction to men’s description of God, you are rejecting far too little. There is much more to God than men know, and consequently, much more to reject. A deeper search of God will reveal more to you than anyone can describe to you. I say this from my own experience. Don’t take this as a call to conversion, I’m just calling on you to be original in your view of God and your rejection of him.

    • Matt says:

      A prejudice? No. I would call it examining the premise of religion and finding it rather wanting. It has nothing to support it’s case and is therefore unworthy or merit or good regard. I’ll qualify that statement by saying it has no evidence to support it’s case, leaving on faith.

      Faith in one thing, be in the judeo-christian deity, zeus, allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever is equal. Equally unsupportable. Therefore religion remains without merit.

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