James Brown: Second Rebuttal


Second Rebuttal

First Contention

I'm not sure if my opponent misunderstands my following statement or whether he is being obtuse in order to confuse the readers of this argument. So in order to make things clear I'll explain myself….again.

'I for one agree with you that if Atheism is correct then I cannot completely trust my cognitive faculties.'

In this statement I did not say that our cognitive faculties are incorrect as my opponent inferred. My point was that in order to have a logical argument about anything we must assume that our cognitive faculties are correct, or else both arguments are void. Therefore my opponent's argument about cognitive faculties is irrelevant, void, moot, terminal.

As for Michael Ruse's statement there are quite a few Darwinian answers to why we have thinking ability actually. There is no reason for me to name them however as the lack of an answer from science (an on-going process) is not a proof for the existence of a wholly arbitrary god.

Evolution

May I remind my opponent that as the affirmative he is responsible for proving the existence of the Christian god, not for merely proving the possibility of a Christian god. I have shown through my arguments that evolution negates the need for a god.

As for the impossible co-existence of evolution and the Christian god, of course I concede that anything is possible. Now my opponent in his characteristically obtuse way has picked on this as a flaw in my argument. Well good spotting, however anything is only possible (including the existence of the Christian God) if our cognitive faculties are incorrect, when I hope we have resolved that cannot be for the sake of this argument. My opponent has used this distraction to bypass the rest of the argument.

Second Contention

In the interest of saving another painful read of the Cosmological arguments please simply refer to my initial argument, as my opponent has clearly not considered my side of the argument before making his. My other point has not yet been considered at all, that is, that an uncaused fluctuation in some energy is a scientifically viable and far more realistic reason for the beginning of the universe than an uncaused fully formed human intelligence.

Intelligent Design: Principle of Finality

Now that my opponent has reworded his argument into a sentence that makes sense I can rebut. My opponent states.

'his argument does not prove that agents do not act toward an end. And then my second statement shows that his argument is not sufficient to explain why things like eyes see, ears hear, etc.'

Thank you for clarifying that for us, but you forgot your argument. All you have said is that you disagree, and I already know that. That is why we are having a debate. Please tell me why you disagree, then I can respond.

Next I shall substantiate my statement.

'The reason why they (things) happened is not under debate.'

To this statement my opponent replied

'Yes, they are under debate. The principle of finality shows that the reason for why things are the way they are is because there is an intelligent designer.'

Now this is begging the question because if we are not debating the reason why as 'how,' then we must be debating the reason why as the philosophical 'why.' So immediately my opponent has made the assumption that there is a philosophical why, this has not been proven and therefore cannot be used to prove something else.

Therefore when my opponent conceded that evolution shows how things happened he was in fact conceding that god is unnecessary.

On Unity

My opponent says: 'What he needs to realize is that before there were human beings, there was still unity in the universe.'

From this my opponent argues that for there to have been unity some intelligence must have recognized it as unified at the time but, of course, as we know unity can exist without an intelligent mind there to appreciate it. Surely even my opponent understands this.

This flawed logic also infects my opponent's following argument.

On Abstract Objects

So I make the same point here, assuming that a physical object must be an abstract object first is once again begging the question.

Scientific Evidence

'we can, in William Craig's words, "stipulate some appropriately fine-grained standard of deviation, so that only a finite number of universes are designatable within a finite area." '

First of all we are not dealing with a finite area, at least no finite area of which William Craig can know the value. We are also not dealing with a finite amount of time or divisions of time, or once again no amount of time of which William Craig can know the value. Scientists who have worked within values they actually know have calculated the possibility of millions of inhabitable planets just in our Universe. These are real scientists not scientists like Dr. (Hugh) Ross who is obviously trying to prove the existence of the Christian god. The scientists I read don't finish up with 'a ha, so god doesn't exist!' They are objective.

Genetic algorithms show that the evolutionary process can work to produce useful complex things. It is not a proof just an example that evolution works. An argument, which is redundant anyway because my opponent has conceded that Evolution is how things happened.

The reason no algorithm has been made that can emulate the evolution of earth is because the earth was not designed, and is so complex and has evolved over so much time that it probably can't be emulated by an algorithm.

On Specified information

This really is a rubbish argument, my opponent cannot understand that we can take information from something that wasn't put there by an intelligent being. Let me explain. When scientists look at layers of sediment in the earth's crust do they say, "oh what a lovely design." No, they say a volcano erupted at this time, the shore eroded away at this time, some dinosaurs died and became fossilized at this time, and so on. This is information! It was not written there by some intelligent mind for us to find, it happened, it evolved and we interpret it in the form of information. It's the same with DNA, just more complex, get it?

Moral Argument

My argument is not that everyone's view on what is right, is correct. Of course this does not make sense. My point is that if there is a divine moral code that everyone is aware of people would all agree on what is right, but they don't, so therefore there cannot be such a code.

I believe that morality is relative to a point, and it has a lot to do with the moral codes of those around you. I think that there is a lot of agreement of what is morally right, and that the disagreements are a way of morality evolving to suit an ever-changing world. Does this not make sense to my opponent?

It makes more sense than my opponent's Premises:

Premise 1: If morality is not objective, then moral argument is meaningless.
Premise 2: Moral argument is meaningful. Conclusion: Morality is objective.

Premise one and two contradict each other because if morality is objective then there is no such thing as moral argument, because everyone would agree already. My premises would read more like this:

Premise 1: If morality is purely objective, then moral argument cannot exist.
Premise 2: Moral argument exists and is meaningful.
Conclusion: Morality is not purely objective.

The next example my opponent gives does not prove that morality is objective, it only proves that the rules of Basketball are objective. The second example is non-sequitur. All my opponent is talking about is people saying a person or an argument is wrong. I don't see how this interacts with the debate at all.

Resurrection of Christ

My opponent wants to know what "not ordinary" is: to make it even simpler, have you ever seen someone walk on water? No. Have you ever seen water turn to wine? It seems as though my opponent doesn't rely on his cognitive faculties at all when it comes to this issue. My opponent also says he has provided evidence. Well my friend, if evidence existed we wouldn't be having this debate.

Existential Argument

My opponent disagrees that happiness is a benefit in evolution. Well, just to clarify this is not a touchy feely theory, it makes sense and if you actually pay attention to the argument as my opponent has obviously failed to do, it is logical. I think we all agree that everyone strives to do things that make them feel good, from a cat who eats the fresh meat rather than the biscuits, to the plant that peaks through to the sun so that it can absorb the light. If there is no pay off to the actions that are essential to our survival then we die out. Those that didn't have already died out, that is what evolution is.

Conclusion

So, as my opponent has begun his conclusion with a barefaced lie (or at best a misunderstanding), I will bring some truth. Evolution provides the answers for how we got here, my opponent agrees. If there is no reason to have an arbitrary god, then I see no reason why it is reasonable to believe one exists.

James Brown
JBrown@slingshot.co.nz

Words: 1500+

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