Hilarious attack on Dawkins

This article by Melanie Phillips about the recent atheist convention in Australia is hilarious not because she has a stinging wit or sharp tongue, but rather because it’s just…just so silly.

LIKE revivalists from an alternative universe, 2500 hardcore believers in the absence of religion packed into the Global Atheists Convention in Melbourne last weekend to give a hero’s welcome to the high priest of belief in unbelief, Richard Dawkins.

This reminds me of when Christopher Maloney went about spamming the Internet, calling PZ Myers a “Reverend” (complete with quotation marks for some reason). The difference here is that Phillips is aware of the irony of her term “high priest” (Maloney didn’t seem to know who PZ was at all). But with the normal flea-ish weakness of the rest of her post, she may actually think she’s made some grand point.

This was even after (or perhaps because) he referred to the Pope as a Nazi, which managed to combine defamation of the pontiff with implicit Holocaust denial.

Dawkins called Pope Pious XII, not the current pope, a Nazi. (Although he could have said the same of the current pope – it would be disingenuous, but accurate. At any rate, he said it of a past pope – and the lack of action on the part of the Catholic Church in WW2 should not be ignored.)

For someone who has made a career out of telling everyone how much more tolerant the world would be if only religion were obliterated from the human psyche, Dawkins manages to appear remarkably intolerant towards anyone who disagrees with him.

It’s sad that so many people seem unable to tell the difference between non-acceptance and intolerance. How is Dawkins suppressing others views? How is he making it harder to practice religion (other than through argumentation)? What restrictions is he placing upon anyone’s beliefs?

While he was writing about the “selfish gene” and the “blind watchmaker”, he received a respectful reception even from those who might have disagreed with him but were nevertheless impressed by the imaginative brio and dazzling fluency of his argument. But then he left biology behind and became the self-appointed universal crusader against God.

So Dawkins stopped writing about science and biology in 1986? He hasn’t written multiple other books, made several science DVDs, been on who knows how many panels, explained the basis of biology countless times, or recently written a book on the evidence for evolution? Is the 2006 publication of The God Delusion retroactive? I’m not sure why Phillips would want to say wrong things.

He became the apostle of scientism, the ideology that says everything in the universe has a materialist explanation and must answer to the rules of empirical scientific evidence

The former is called naturalism, the latter a strawman.

As for Dawkins’s claim that religion is responsible for the ills of the world, this is demonstrably a wild distortion. Some of the worst horrors in human history – the French revolutionary terror, Nazism, communism – have been atheist creeds.

First, the possessive apostrophe needs not that extra “s”. Second, what part of atheism leads to such varied histories? Why is atheism the same as capitalism and socialism? I don’t understand this argument.

And although terrible things indeed have been done in the name of religion, the fact remains that Christianity and the Hebrew Bible form the foundation stone of Western civilisation and its great cause of human equality and freedom.

Except for all those nasty misogynistic bits. Oh, and all the parts about slavery and other minor jazz like that.

Just why is he so angry and why does he hate religion so much? After all, as many religious scientists can attest, science and religion are – contrary to his claim – not incompatible at all.

Oh. People can think things are compatible? It must be true.

A clue lies in his insistence that a principal reason for believing that there could be no intelligence behind the origin of life is that the alternative – God – is unthinkable.

That piece of crap Expelled movie ends with an interview where Dawkins bends over backwards to say, yes, aliens could have done it. And he goes to length in numerous other places to spell out that some divine creator could be at work. But to go further with these possibilities, he asks for evidence. He’s a real stickler about that stuff.

And so the great paradox is that the arch-hater of religious intolerance himself behaves with the zeal of a religious fundamentalist and, despite excoriating religion for stifling debate, does this in spades.

…what? Dawkins does not argue that religion stifles debate. The debate is about religion. It might stifle scientific discussion because it is an antithetical distraction, but where are all these arguments Phillips keeps attributing to Dawkins?

I don’t understand why someone would want to lie like this. Why isn’t Phillips honest? Why does she make things up? Is she doing it for fun? Does she hate honesty? Does she think of herself as clever? Why would she think that? Is she on some sort of medication? I don’t understand how people come to think the sort of string of words people like Phillips put together is worthwhile.

52 Responses

  1. It’s pathetic but hardly surprising. I wish it weren’t so, but every time some religious person claims to want to argue intelligently and like an adult, it turns out to be another cartload of lies, strawmen and easily discredited philosophical bullshit, like the good ol’ “I can conceive of God, therefore God exists”, that any three-year-old should be able to see the problems with.

    I actually think most of them are quite content with this, because it isn’t about proving their god, it’s just about feeling like a part of a group and pointing the finger at those outside it.

  2. I think Dawkins credibilty pretty much ends when he claims anyone who isn’t an atheist is deluded. If one automatically ascribes to one’s intellectual opponents insanity or evil intent, then one has ceased to argue one’s case based on reason.

    And he has long seince ceased to be a practicing scientist.

  3. @jackhudson: Actually, religious people are textbook cases of deluded. Believing in something for which there is no evidence is exactly what deluded means, provided what they believe is also false – and that’s what Dawkins is arguing it is. He’s also not basing a single argument on that claim.

    If I said “See, 2+2=4, and I can demonstrate that by taking these two objects, putting them together with these other two objects and counting the resulting four. Also, four is an ugly number” – then that last part would not mean that 2+2 was no longer four, nor that the rest of the demonstration was no longer credible.

    The word may be a little harsh, but you’re not saying he should be nicer (which I actually disagree with, but you’re welcome to your opinion), you’re saying he’s lost *credibility* because of it. That is just plainly false.

  4. Actually, religious people are textbook cases of deluded. Believing in something for which there is no evidence is exactly what deluded means, provided what they believe is also false – and that’s what Dawkins is arguing it is. He’s also not basing a single argument on that claim.

    Well, quite obviously many religious people don’t argue that they believe something for which there is ‘no evidence’. Indeed, Aquinas and Newton, Pascal, Bacon, Copernicus, van Leeuwenhoek, Mendel, et. al. not only were great thinkers, but believed there was evidence for the existence of God. Of course, by your measure, they were deluded because they didn’t agree with Dawkins.

    If I said “See, 2+2=4, and I can demonstrate that by taking these two objects, putting them together with these other two objects and counting the resulting four. Also, four is an ugly number” – then that last part would not mean that 2+2 was no longer four, nor that the rest of the demonstration was no longer credible.

    I am not sure you made a particular point here.

    The word may be a little harsh, but you’re not saying he should be nicer (which I actually disagree with, but you’re welcome to your opinion), you’re saying he’s lost *credibility* because of it. That is just plainly false.

    I am saying that yes, logically, he has lost credibility because his argument isn’t based on logic and reason. If I said “all people are endowed with certain inalienable rights” and you said, “That’s wrong, you are obviously deluded”, then you would cease to have credibility in the discussion.

  5. I am saying that yes, logically, he has lost credibility because his argument isn’t based on logic and reason.

    – So your reply is simply to repeat what I already told you was wrong.

    I’m going to have to repeat myself here: Calling religious people deluded is NOT an argument. Dawkins is calling them deluded, but calling them deluded is not the argument from which he draws some other conclusion – it’s quite the other way around.
    He uses tons of logical and irrefutable arguments to draw the conclusion that religious people are deluded.

    Your entire premise is completely bollocks.

    Regarding your first quote from my previous post, you may want to read it again, because you’re not contradicting anything I said.
    – Actually, in general you might just want to read what you’re trying to refute. It makes things easier for everyone.

    (Btw, does this use BBCode or HTML for those nice quotes?)

  6. So your reply is simply to repeat what I already told you was wrong.

    Apparently telling is sufficient enough for you – but not for me.

    I’m going to have to repeat myself here: Calling religious people deluded is NOT an argument. Dawkins is calling them deluded, but calling them deluded is not the argument from which he draws some other conclusion – it’s quite the other way around.
    He uses tons of logical and irrefutable arguments to draw the conclusion that religious people are deluded.

    Actually I agree it’s not an argument, it doesn’t even rise that high – it’s faulty line of reasoning that goes like this:

    1. God does not exist.
    2. Someone is deluded if they believe in something that doesn’t exist, therefore…
    3. Anyone who believes in God is deluded.

    The reasononing is flawless provided one is already an atheist. And this is what amounts to Dawkins “logic”.

  7. (Btw, does this use BBCode or HTML for those nice quotes?)

    HTML. (I edited your quote to reflect your intention.)

  8. Actually I agree it’s not an argument, it doesn’t even rise that high – it’s faulty line of reasoning that goes like this:

    1. God does not exist.
    2. Someone is deluded if they believe in something that doesn’t exist, therefore…
    3. Anyone who believes in God is deluded.

    This is called a quote mine. Slater began his sentence by making a particular point with which you happen to agree, but then he went on to make a separate point that addresses that first point. You’ve (implicitly) quoted him, entirely leaving out that separate point. You ought to address the rest of his argument.

  9. Actually, I didn’t quote him in this response at all Micheal, so it isn’t a ‘quote mine’ . In fact, based on this response, I don’t think you know what a ‘quote mine’ actually is.

  10. You’ve (implicitly) quoted him

    You’ve only addressed a piece of his argument while presenting it as if he agrees with you.

  11. Actually, I was agreeing with him – calling people ‘deluded’ does not an argument make.

  12. but calling them deluded is not the argument from which he draws some other conclusion – it’s quite the other way around.
    He uses tons of logical and irrefutable arguments to draw the conclusion that religious people are deluded.

    Your entire premise is completely bollocks.

  13. 1. God does not exist.

    Nice try. Here’s how I’ve heard it:

    1. Not one shred of evidence for a god, much less an actively participating “savior” has ever been produced.
    2. For someone to believe in this god, much less the Christian-variety, or in fact to believe in anything supernatural, without verifiable, reproducible evidence, is deluded.
    3. If by any chance this evidence is presented, I will hie myself down to ye olde church, and proclaim Supply-Side Jesus to be king!
    4 Ok, I lied; If the Christian version of God is true, I’ll still curse it as a belligerent bully, a misogynist of the worst order, and frankly, I’d rather burn in hell for eternity than prostate myself before such a vile entity.

  14. Well obviously many (including a number of noted scientists, philosophers, great world leaders, founders of some of the greatest universities, hospitals, and notable charities) believe there is a shred of evidence, and show no sign of delusion. So I would say Dawkins need to more than proclaim Christians deluded, he is going to have to show how it is that these people, accomplished and respectable in every other way, are in fact mentally defective,

    Good luck with that.

  15. Show the proof, otherwise, case closed.

  16. “Show the proof, otherwise, case closed.”

    Proof of?

  17. If he should care to, I’ll let the host here debate you, but I don’t care to play semantics with you. You are the admitted Christian apologist, so you’re neck-deep in delusion.

    My point is that I’m more of an “apatheist” than just an atheist. I don’t believe in your God, and I don’t care to hear your ridiculous hand-waving in lieu of anything at all that indicates proof that you are not delusional in your beliefs. You have no evidence. You have only semantics.

  18. My point is that I’m more of an “apatheist” than just an atheist. I don’t believe in your God, and I don’t care to hear your ridiculous hand-waving in lieu of anything at all that indicates proof that you are not delusional in your beliefs. You have no evidence. You have only semantics.

    If you have already decided I am deluded, don’t want to hear evidence, and you don’t care about these issues, feel free to not read my posts. It is after all a free country, relatively speaking. No one is forcing you to respond.

  19. Oh, forgive me; wow, I’m terribly sorry for my disrespectful words.

    Please, by all means, let’s hear about that evidence, ’cause I’m ready to believe, brother! It’s no fun being the outcast, most distrusted group in the US. Not that I’m blaming the Christians/Jews/Muslims and their lies and hyperbolic diatribes, no sirree! I’m a uniter-not a divider.

    Which sect of Christianity do you recommend, once I’ve converted, or, should I just hang out with you until I get the hang of it?

  20. I don’t think being an “apatheist” is a particularly distrusted or outcast group at all; in fact, it’s very much the norm. Consider yourself popular.

  21. It’s not enough, Mr. Hudson. I need the comfort of being a part of the big picture. To belong with the majority for a change.

    So let’s do this; Lay that evidence on me! I’m so excited I can’t hardly type straight!

  22. Which evidences would you like to start with – ontological, epistemological, cosmological, teleological, logical, historical, moral arguments, arguments from human nature, necessity for cognitive reliability, necessity according to possible worlds, the Kalam argument, personal experiences?

    Take your pick.

  23. And you somehow have new twists on these old, already thoroughly debunked standbys? Sounds great; go ahead and hit me with your best shot.

  24. The Kalam argument always seemed fairly straight forward to me – Via William Lane Craig:

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its
    existence.

    2. The universe began to exist.

    2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of an
    actual infinite.

    2.11 An actual infinite cannot exist.
    2.12 An infinite temporal regress of
    events is an actual infinite.
    2.13 Therefore, an infinite temporal
    regress of events cannot exist.

    2.2 Argument based on the impossibility of
    the formation of an actual infinite by
    successive addition.

    2.21 A collection formed by successive
    addition cannot be actually infinite.
    2.22 The temporal series of past events
    is a collection formed by successive
    addition.
    2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of
    past events cannot be actually
    infinite.

    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its
    existence.

  25. @hudson:

    Really? The Kalam? Are you kidding, or do you just think you are talking to three-year-olds?

    If everything that begins to exist has a cause, then what’s the cause of God? If god requires no cause, then not everything requires a cause, and the universe may as well be the thing that has existed always.
    That argument is self-defeating.

    And the next one: how do you know an actual inifinite cannot exist? If the universe isn’t inifinite, what’s behind it?
    It’s pretty obvious that actual infinites do in fact exist, and even if you claim they don’t, you’ll have to prove it for the argument to make any sense.

    The last one makes no sense whatsoever.
    Who ever told you that space is made up of successive additions?

    All these arguments are ancient and have been debunked by very simple logic countless times.

    (Seems Michael did a good job of explaining my earlier point in my absence, by the way. Thanks)

  26. I look forward to Mr. Hudson’s defense of his argument>, but it changes not one thing. Even if he can turn some of these into postulates, it PROVES nothing. Okay, there might be a creator, so where is it? Again, where’s your fucking proof? You and all the rest have not one lick of proof. All you have is wishful thinking.

  27. Oops, I lied. See, I hung around Atheists vs Christianity for about 4 years, and I saw ALL these logic pretzels being baked, and even half-baked. For a long time I would note the arguments and rebuttals, and I would verbally applaud the Christians who at least tried to prove their point.

    Eventually, however, some of the other regulars and I came to the realization that it didn’t fucking matter what arguments were presented or debunked. We were still no closer to seeing anything at all that proved a creator.

    I admit that my reason for leaving the group was that I couldn’t hate Christians just for being believers. Even fundie whackadoos are just fine in my book.

    It was the people who used their religious beliefs to oppress others, and excuse their greedy callous actions that makes me truly despise them. And those types just loved to come over to our site just to poke the hornet’s nest and get a reaction, something I tired of playing for their benefit. And the worst of them were ALWAYS religious right fucknuts with bullshit wingnut excuses for pooh-poohing anything that even resembled a liberal POV, using their trusty bible quotations. Scum, all of them.

  28. If everything that begins to exist has a cause, then what’s the cause of God? If god requires no cause, then not everything requires a cause, and the universe may as well be the thing that has existed always.
    That argument is self-defeating.

    Apparently I am talking to three year olds who can’t read. The first premise is:

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

    God did not begin to exist, thus requires no cause. That is the whole point. Because an actual infinite is impossible, an infinite regress is impossible, and an ultimate, uncaused entity must exist. If you are going to disparage an argument, who should first demonstrate the mental capacity to comprehend it.

    And the next one: how do you know an actual inifinite cannot exist? If the universe isn’t inifinite, what’s behind it?
    It’s pretty obvious that actual infinites do in fact exist, and even if you claim they don’t, you’ll have to prove it for the argument to make any sense.

    I know through logic; if you can add to something, it cannot be actually infinite, thus an infinite regress is impossible because it can be added to. So it is not ‘obvious’ an actual infinite exists, it is in fact impossible.

    The last one makes no sense whatsoever.
    Who ever told you that space is made up of successive additions?

    Who said anything about ‘space’? You should understand premises before you attempt to contradict them, or at least pretend to be able to.

    All these arguments are ancient and have been debunked by very simple logic countless times.

    Apparently not by you.

  29. I look forward to Mr. Hudson’s defense of his argument>, but it changes not one thing. Even if he can turn some of these into postulates, it PROVES nothing. Okay, there might be a creator, so where is it? Again, where’s your ******** proof? You and all the rest have not one lick of proof. All you have is wishful thinking.

    If logic and reason aren’t sufficient proofs for you, then what exactly constitutes evidence in your mind?

    Irrational emotionalism?

  30. Okay, now that’s funny. And I admit I was completely out of my mind yesterday, and apologize for my excessive abuse.

    Your logic and reason exercises will not convince me that they are the only explanations, at least not enough to cause me to go from might be, though doubtful to is. The best you’d get would be might be, who knows, and a hearty “Well done!”

    Of course, any attempts to tie this concession to an entity that has any connection to my reality would be met with considerable ridicule and possibly a lawsuit for damages, should I crack a rib from laughing too hard.

  31. Well then, perhaps a little more clarity – what exactly constitutes evidence in your mind?

  32. Nope; Not gonna play. I done tole ya I been down that road. You’ll continue complaining that there is no evidence that I would accept, while I would continue to ask you for evidence that your arguments preclude any other possibilities.

    I refuse to play. Without empirical evidence, the topic holds little to no interest for me.

    I’ll let you have the last word, so you can show everybody how you won the thread. Mighty white of me, huh?

  33. @hudson:

    God did not begin to exist, thus requires no cause.

    And as I already said: what makes you think the universe began to exist?

    Because an actual infinite is impossible, an infinite regress is impossible, and an ultimate, uncaused entity must exist. If you are going to disparage an argument, who should first demonstrate the mental capacity to comprehend it.

    Right. Now all you need to do is explain WHY these cannot exist.

    I know through logic; if you can add to something, it cannot be actually infinite, thus an infinite regress is impossible because it can be added to. So it is not ‘obvious’ an actual infinite exists, it is in fact impossible.

    And you can add to space?

    Besides, numbers are infinite and can be added to. Numbers aren’t comparable here, because they are a concept, but it still makes it clear that it’s not logically obvious that an infinite cannot be added to.

    – By the way, you didn’t answer my question. If space isn’t infinite, what’s behind it?

  34. And as I already said: what makes you think the universe began to exist?

    Actually, you said, “If everything that begins to exist has a cause, then what’s the cause of God?”. Everyone can read it – it’s just a few posts above. You seem to have forgotten that already.

    I think the universe began to exist in part because I believe the evidence that the universe had an origin, commonly understood to be the big bang, and that we can measure a series of events back to that origin.

    Right. Now all you need to do is explain WHY these cannot exist.

    I am sorry; you talked as if you were familiar with what an actual infinite was.

    Think of it this way – if I had a hotel, and claimed it had an ‘infinite number of rooms’, it would mean that I could neither add nor subtract from that number of rooms – if I could, then the number of rooms would never have been actually infinite. In the same manner, if we claim the universe is actually infinite, it would mean that the series time intervals that it is composed of is complete – but we know it is not complete, as we continue to add to that series of time intervals. Thus, the universe cannot be actually infinite.

    And you can add to space?

    Besides, numbers are infinite and can be added to. Numbers aren’t comparable here, because they are a concept, but it still makes it clear that it’s not logically obvious that an infinite cannot be added to.

    – By the way, you didn’t answer my question. If space isn’t infinite, what’s behind it?

    An ‘actual infinite’ cannot be added to. And while we can represent infinity numerically, we can’t say that an amount of something is actually infinite, and we can continue to add to it.

    And you did not ask, “If space isn’t infinite, what’s behind it?” you said, “Who ever told you that space is made up of successive additions?” I am starting to be concerned about your ability to not only understand what I am saying, but what you are saying.

    And as I explained above, the amount of time the universe has been around cannot be said to be actually infinite, I didn’t say anything about space being infinite – though there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of that either.

  35. Dawkins is just Darwin the 2nd. Promoting the “this is all there is” view of the universe, that We are just physical creatures with no spiritual component – which creates the ‘so whats the point in even trying’ attitute. Survival of the fittest. And all the rubish about genetics determining everything (gives a good argument for eugenics/population reduction by selection)

    Darwin didnt even believe his theory of evolution. And the word ‘evolution’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ didnt turn up in his books until the 4th edition of origin of the species. (And both theorys were lifted from another man)
    Darwin was influenced by his parents who were members of the Lunar Secret society. The Lunar’s agenda at that time was “to destroy in the mind of man the belief in god”. He was more easily convinced about the lack of a god/spirit by the death of his daughter.

    But ultimatley he was a man of God/spirituality and by the end of his life believed firmly in God or some higher force which permeates the universe.

    Dawkins is a cock. His ‘5 sense ‘ view which he pushes so strongly only serves to convine people they are not divine spiritual beings. This makes it easier for the shodow government to control the ‘disempowered masses’ Funny how an idiot like gets such exposure. Could it be because he promotes views which serve the agenda of those who rule the world and seek to control the worlds population.

  36. @hudson:

    Actually, you said, “If everything that begins to exist has a cause, then what’s the cause of God?”. Everyone can read it – it’s just a few posts above. You seem to have forgotten that already.

    And just a couple of words lower I said:

    “and the universe may as well be the thing that has existed always.”

    Seriously, try reading. And try answering the question while you’re at it.

    I am sorry; you talked as if you were familiar with what an actual infinite was.

    I do. You don’t.

    The hotel analogy is called Hilbert’s Hotel, and is a funny paradox but has no bearing on actual infinites. It’s pretty obvious that a hotel cannot have infinite rooms, but where the hotel ends, there’s something else.

    Now explain what’s beyond space if not space.

    I am starting to be concerned about your ability to not only understand what I am saying, but what you are saying.

    And that’s all you do: ignore questions and use ad hominems instead. Now try answering.

    And as I explained above, the amount of time the universe has been around cannot be said to be actually infinite, I didn’t say anything about space being infinite

    How is that relevant? If space can be infinite, then infinites exist. If you want to call the infinity of space irrelevant, then you’re saying that infinites can’t exist where you don’t want them to exist, but other places they’re fine. I don’t think you want to go with that answer.

    Now, for the nth time, try answering the question. If space isn’t infinite, what’s beyond it?

  37. Minor blockquote error there. I’m sure you can figure it out.

  38. And just a couple of words lower I said:
    “and the universe may as well be the thing that has existed always.”
    Seriously, try reading. And try answering the question while you’re at it.

    Sure, when you start asking actual questions instead of making statement and claiming they are questions.

    I do. You don’t.
    The hotel analogy is called Hilbert’s Hotel, and is a funny paradox but has no bearing on actual infinites. It’s pretty obvious that a hotel cannot have infinite rooms, but where the hotel ends, there’s something else.
    Now explain what’s beyond space if not space.

    I don’t claim to know what is ‘beyond space’ anymore than you do; and I don’t have to because we know the universe isn’t actually infinite with respect to time, thus not actually infinite. In terms of the make-up of universe itself, it is a collection of discreet objects which are changing over time – as long as that is true the universe can’t be said to be ‘actually infinite’. So not actually infinite.

    Now – any evidence to the contrary? Any to show it is infinite at all?

    And that’s all you do: ignore questions and use ad hominems instead. Now try answering.

    Actually, it’s not an ad hom, but a concern based on the past few posts – I answer a question, and then you claim I didn’t answer a question you didn’t actually pose previously.

    How is that relevant? If space can be infinite, then infinites exist. If you want to call the infinity of space irrelevant, then you’re saying that infinites can’t exist where you don’t want them to exist, but other places they’re fine. I don’t think you want to go with that answer.

    Now, for the nth time, try answering the question. If space isn’t infinite, what’s beyond it?

    Well first off there is no evidence ‘space’ can be infinite – we do know the universe appears to have boundaries, and is inflating, and there is speculation by scientists about other universes, about the higher level multi-verse, that the universe is a the product of quantum fluctuations in a space-time foam, or that we are in a brane restricted to a higher-dimensional space. None of these ideas indicate that the universe is an actual infinite, and in fact most of them directly contradict the notion.

    But that doesn’t matter because we know the universe is finite with respect to the time it has existed, and it is changing over time, both facts that make it impossible that it is actually infinite.

  39. I don’t claim to know what is ‘beyond space’ anymore than you do;

    That’s right, we don’t KNOW, but still have to offer a possible explanation to support our hypotheses. Seeing as I don’t rule out the existence of infinites, the answer is easy for me: more space.
    For you it gets a lot harder. You claim that infinites don’t exist, which of course means that space cannot go on forever – it must stop at some point. But what’s beyond that point? You’ll still need to answer that.

    because we know the universe isn’t actually infinite with respect to time

    No we don’t. Most of science thinks it may well have always been there, and that the Big Bang merely changed the state of the matter – it didn’t create it.

    Once again you only claim, you never support.

    Now – any evidence to the contrary? Any to show it is infinite at all?

    You’re attempting to move the burden of proof. You are making the claim that infinites cannot exist, and using that claim to prove something else. It’s on you to prove that claim.

  40. That’s right, we don’t KNOW, but still have to offer a possible explanation to support our hypotheses. Seeing as I don’t rule out the existence of infinites, the answer is easy for me: more space.

    I don’t rule out infinities; I rule out the existence of the universe being actually infinite based on what we do know about the universe – and based on what we do know it isn’t actually infinite. It might be if some currently unknown fact realizes itself, but that isn’t evidence of anything. One could just as easily say it could be that fairies encircle the universe sprinkling it with magic fairy dust based on that line of reasoning.

    For you it gets a lot harder. You claim that infinites don’t exist, which of course means that space cannot go on forever – it must stop at some point. But what’s beyond that point? You’ll still need to answer that.

    Well for the third (Fourth? Fifth?) time, my claim that the universe isn’t actually infinite (which isn’t a claim infinities don’t exist) isn’t based on the space the universe might occupy in anyone’s imagination, so it doesn’t matter where it stops. My claim is based on the reality that the universe is finite in respect to the time of its existence, and that this time is regularly being added to. As such is true (unless you have evidence to the contrary) the universe cannot be actually infinite.

    So no, not hard at all.

    No we don’t. Most of science thinks it may well have always been there, and that the Big Bang merely changed the state of the matter – it didn’t create it.

    Once again you only claim, you never support.

    It doesn’t matter whether the big bang merely ‘changed matter’; you acknowledge (as does science) that the universe as it exists did not always exist, and the time of its existence is being regularly added to – it thus cannot be actually infinite. You of course can claim that something existed which caused the universe to come into existence, and that something continues to exist which is actually infinite, but then we would be in agreement.

    You’re attempting to move the burden of proof. You are making the claim that infinites cannot exist, and using that claim to prove something else. It’s on you to prove that claim.

    Well, again, I am not claiming infinities don’t exist. You don’t seem to get that. I am claiming that in fact, based on the evidence we have, the universe is not actually infinite. Those are the facts; if you have facts to the contrary, please offer them – or else your claim that the universe is actually infinite is merely the product of your faith in unknown and unknowable realities. So while you may not have the burden of proof (and I think that is questionable) you should have some proof to contradict the proof I have offered.

  41. I don’t rule out infinities;

    Now you’re just contradicting yourself. You’ve said multiple times: “an actual infinite is impossible”. Make up your mind, can infinites exist or not?

    One could just as easily say it could be that fairies encircle the universe sprinkling it with magic fairy dust based on that line of reasoning.

    Not really. In fact the universe NOT ending is the easiest conclusion. If you want to claim it ends, that requires further explanation. If you don’t, it does not. Occam’s Razor insists it is infinite, not that it is encircled by fairies.
    Of course the easiest conclusion is far from always correct, but any other claim requires at least something to back it up.

    Well for the third (Fourth? Fifth?) time, my claim that the universe isn’t actually infinite (which isn’t a claim infinities don’t exist) isn’t based on the space the universe might occupy in anyone’s imagination, so it doesn’t matter where it stops.

    I never said it mattered WHERE it stops, I said it mattered IF it stops. If you claim it stops, then you must be able to answer what’s beyond it. But of course, you just changed your mind about the infinites, so I’ll have to wait for you to make up your mind about it before I can answer.

    It doesn’t matter whether the big bang merely ‘changed matter’; you acknowledge (as does science) that the universe as it exists did not always exist, and the time of its existence is being regularly added to

    Okay, we’ll have to back up a second here. I’m pretty sure our disagreement here stems from the vague definition of “universe” we’re both using.
    Universe is a confusing word in this context, because it can both mean the entirety of space or the cosmos, the orb of matter inside space that is constantly expanding.

    Obviously the cosmos isn’t infinite. It’s quite finite, and we even have a pretty good idea of its size. Space, however, is likely infinite in both time and volume.

    I assume you are trying to argue that your god-creature created the cosmos and not space. Feel free to correct me.

    you should have some proof to contradict the proof I have offered.

    I would if you actually offered proof, but you haven’t.

  42. Now you’re just contradicting yourself. You’ve said multiple times: “an actual infinite is impossible”. Make up your mind, can infinites exist or not?

    Yes, actual infinities cannot exist; hiowever, something can be infinite – I explained this before but will again since there still seems to be confusion about it. An actually infinity is an infinity made up of a set of things – an infinite number of marbles, and infinite amount of time, an infinite number of planets, etc. ‘Infinity’ simply means ‘without end or boundary’. Actual infinities are impossible, infinity is not. Capiche?

    Not really. In fact the universe NOT ending is the easiest conclusion. If you want to claim it ends, that requires further explanation. If you don’t, it does not. Occam’s Razor insists it is infinite, not that it is encircled by fairies.
    Of course the easiest conclusion is far from always correct, but any other claim requires at least something to back it up

    Well no, it is not clear the universe doesn’t end is the ‘easiest’ conclusion – in fact most cosmologists consider a number of possible endings to the universe – a big freeze, a big rip, a big crunch, etc. Perhaps they are ignorant of something you are aware of, or simply unaware of Occam (which you cite, but don’t explain why ‘ending’ is more elegant than ‘never ending’) but all this explanation is irrelevant, because the universe had a distinct beginning, and thus cannot be actually infinite.

    I never said it mattered WHERE it stops, I said it mattered IF it stops. If you claim it stops, then you must be able to answer what’s beyond it. But of course, you just changed your mind about the infinites, so I’ll have to wait for you to make up your mind about it before I can answer.

    Well no, I don’t have to ‘answer what’s beyond it’ because I don’t necessarily believe what is ‘beyond’ isn’t infinite – in fact I distinctly believe it is infinite.

    Okay, we’ll have to back up a second here. I’m pretty sure our disagreement here stems from the vague definition of “universe” we’re both using.

    Universe is a confusing word in this context, because it can both mean the entirety of space or the cosmos, the orb of matter inside space that is constantly expanding.

    Obviously the cosmos isn’t infinite. It’s quite finite, and we even have a pretty good idea of its size. Space, however, is likely infinite in both time and volume.
    I assume you are trying to argue that your god-creature created the cosmos and not space. Feel free to correct me.

    Actually, ‘universe’ is fairly clear – it is the collection of all matter and energy that exists and make up distinct and detectable objects – quarks, photons, protons, atoms, molecules, compounds, stars, planets, galaxies, etc.

    What you haven’t defined is ‘space’ – and I would be interested as to what you think it is outside the cosmos. Again, I think God (who is not by definition, a ‘creature’ incidentally) is infinite and outside the cosmos, so whether He ‘created space’ depends on what you think space is.

    I would if you actually offered proof, but you haven’t.

    Well actually you have offered the notion that some undefined something (space?) could be infinite, which doesn’t contradict what I have claimed at all.

  43. Actual infinities are impossible, infinity is not. Capiche?

    Right. Then what the hell are we discussing? YOU claimed the universe had a beginning because it could not be infinite. We are not talking about unending additions of something, we are talking about the (un-actual) infinites of space and time, which you now seem to agree exist. Then you’ve just disagreed with your own original argument.

    Seriously, make up your mind. Is it possible the universe is infinite in time and space?
    If it is, then why would we need a god to create it, instead of it just always being there. If it’s not, then god would also need a creator, because he could also not be infinite in time.

    No matter what, your argument is self-defeating.

    in fact most cosmologists consider a number of possible endings to the universe – a big freeze, a big rip, a big crunch, etc.

    Sorry, but completely wrong.
    First of all, that is about the cosmos, not space as we’re talking about.
    Secondly, that would be about the end of the *time* of cosmos, not the current size.
    Thirdly, neither of those theories are about the *end* of the universe, merely another change in state, e.g. back to the singularity of pre-Big-Bang.

    but don’t explain why ‘ending’ is more elegant than ‘never ending’

    When the universe is stable, as it is – not in state, but in the amount of matter – ending would be an action. Not ending is an inaction. Inaction is always simpler than action.

    Actually, ‘universe’ is fairly clear – it is the collection of all matter and energy that exists and make up distinct and detectable objects – quarks, photons, protons, atoms, molecules, compounds, stars, planets, galaxies, etc.

    Look it up. “Universe” can, as I already said, both mean the known cosmos and the entirety of empty space. But there’s really no need to fight me on this – I only wanted to make it clear what we were both talking about.

  44. I’m confusing myself with this term now.

    @Hudson: Just to set it straight, did your god create the entirety of space or just the physical matter/energy in it?

  45. Right. Then what the hell are we discussing? YOU claimed the universe had a beginning because it could not be infinite. We are not talking about unending additions of something, we are talking about the (un-actual) infinites of space and time, which you now seem to agree exist. Then you’ve just disagreed with your own original argument.

    No, no, no. I claimed the universe could not be actually infinite (note the word actually, it is extremely important here) because it had a beginning, and because it was in part an accumulation of a series of moments. Those things being true, it cannot be actually infinite. This doesn’t mean nothing can be infinite, nor that infinity doesn’t exist. It’s a rather simple and straight forward statement.

    Seriously, make up your mind. Is it possible the universe is infinite in time and space?
    If it is, then why would we need a god to create it, instead of it just always being there. If it’s not, then god would also need a creator, because he could also not be infinite in time.
    No matter what, your argument is self-defeating.

    It isn’t possible for the universe to be actually infinite because it has a beginning and is the accumulation of a series of moments.

    Sorry, but completely wrong.
    First of all, that is about the cosmos, not space as we’re talking about.
    Secondly, that would be about the end of the *time* of cosmos, not the current size.
    Thirdly, neither of those theories are about the *end* of the universe, merely another change in state, e.g. back to the singularity of pre-Big-Bang.

    If time comes to an end, then for all intents and purposes the universe as we know it comes to an end – and as the present universe exists in part as a series of moments in time, then it would certainly end. What happens then neither you nor I have any idea, but if something else happens, then that too becomes part of a collection of events, and makes it impossible for the cosmos to be actually infinite.

    When the universe is stable, as it is – not in state, but in the amount of matter – ending would be an action. Not ending is an inaction. Inaction is always simpler than action.

    This doesn’t change anything said previously.

    Look it up. “Universe” can, as I already said, both mean the known cosmos and the entirety of empty space. But there’s really no need to fight me on this – I only wanted to make it clear what we were both talking about.

    You didn’t make it clear, you dodged. I asked for you to define space. You need to define that before we continue.

  46. No, no, no. I claimed the universe could not be actually infinite (note the word actually, it is extremely important here) because it had a beginning

    Again you fail to provide any argument for that.
    You just keep saying “because it had a beginning”. How do you know?
    Big Bang theory simply states that the universe changed state from a singularity to the spread-out universe of stars and planets. It does not claim to have formed the universe out of nothing in an instant.

    You can’t argue from the premise that the universe had a beginning, when you can’t argue that it had a beginning.

    It isn’t possible for the universe to be actually infinite because it has a beginning and is the accumulation of a series of moments.

    And again you simply repeat the claim.

    Again I must repeat myself: If an infinite time cannot exist, then god must have begun existing at some point as well – then what caused him to exist?
    If god could exist for an infinite amount of time before the universe was created, then you admit infinite amounts of time can exist, and the universe could then have existed always.

    There is no way around this for you, but you keep dodging it.

    This doesn’t change anything said previously.

    I know. It just proves that not ending is Occam’s Razor’s best bet. Which is what I already said.

    You didn’t make it clear, you dodged. I asked for you to define space. You need to define that before we continue.

    No, you are the one dodging here.
    I’m simply asking you whether we are talking about the cosmos or space, because if we are only talking about the cosmos, then defining space is irrelevant.

    Now, please answer.

  47. Again you fail to provide any argument for that.

    You just keep saying “because it had a beginning”. How do you know?

    Big Bang theory simply states that the universe changed state from a singularity to the spread-out universe of stars and planets. It does not claim to have formed the universe out of nothing in an instant.
    You can’t argue from the premise that the universe had a beginning, when you can’t argue that it had a beginning.

    But you just acknowledged it had a beginning. There was X(a singularity), and it became Y(the currently expanding universe), i.e. Y came into existence (began) at a discernible point in the past.

    Obviously the initial state wasn’t infinite, because it no longer exists!

    Again I must repeat myself: If an infinite time cannot exist, then god must have begun existing at some point as well – then what caused him to exist?

    No one claimed God exists temporally, so that wouldn’t be an issue. “Infinite time” is an oxymoron, “Infinity” is not.

    If god could exist for an infinite amount of time before the universe was created, then you admit infinite amounts of time can exist, and the universe could then have existed always.
    There is no way around this for you, but you keep dodging it.

    I didn’t say God existed for infinite time before the universe, so not an issue. I don’t need to dodge anything.

    I know. It just proves that not ending is Occam’s Razor’s best bet. Which is what I already said.

    No, it doesn’t actually. There is no ‘proof’ contained in your statement, merely an assertion.

    No, you are the one dodging here.
    I’m simply asking you whether we are talking about the cosmos or space, because if we are only talking about the cosmos, then defining space is irrelevant.
    Now, please answer.

    I am not sure what it is you don’t understand here – you introduced the concept of ‘space’ into the discussion. You did so as some sort of counter argument to the idea that the universe is in part composed of a successive series of moments:

    “Who ever told you that space is made up of successive additions?”

    Since you introduced the term, you are obligated to define it, now do so or drop the argument.

  48. …and the beat goes on…and the beat goes ooonnnnn…

  49. But you just acknowledged it had a beginning. There was X(a singularity), and it became Y(the currently expanding universe), i.e. Y came into existence (began) at a discernible point in the past.

    No. Changing physical shape is not the same as beginning to exist. Of course you could say that if you mix some ingredients and get a pie, then the pie has begun to exist, but in this case that would be a lame excuse.
    If you’re now saying that God didn’t create the universe from nothing but merely started a chain-reaction that changed the shape of existing material, then you’re once again shrinking him – this time to almost nothing.

    No one claimed God exists temporally, so that wouldn’t be an issue. “Infinite time” is an oxymoron, “Infinity” is not.

    Right, God doesn’t “exist temporally”. That explains everything. Well, except that since movement is change in position over time, God is clearly unable to move. But of course he doesn’t have a position either, right? He’s everywhere, except he isn’t because if he was then creating the universe wouldn’t be an act of creation but simply changing his own form.

    This is getting ridiculous.

    No, it doesn’t actually. There is no ‘proof’ contained in your statement, merely an assertion.

    Unless you’re disagreeing that inaction is simpler than action, which would be a laughable suggestion, then yes – there was definitive proof in that statement.

    Since you introduced the term, you are obligated to define it, now do so or drop the argument.

    Through this whole discussion I’ve been ASKING you whether you meant space or the cosmos. You have constantly refused to answer, and now you claim that I have to define the term in order to use it in an argument?

    Are you kidding me? YOU were using it in an argument. I’m simply trying to figure out which definition of the universe you were talking about.

    Once again, please either answer the question or give up your argument.

  50. No. Changing physical shape is not the same as beginning to exist. Of course you could say that if you mix some ingredients and get a pie, then the pie has begun to exist, but in this case that would be a lame excuse.

    It didn’t ‘change shape’ – it had no shape. That is the current cosmological understanding.

    If you’re now saying that God didn’t create the universe from nothing but merely started a chain-reaction that changed the shape of existing material, then you’re once again shrinking him – this time to almost nothing.

    I am not sure how the inception of time, volume, every galaxy, star, planet, creature, molecule and atom diminishes’ God.

    Right, God doesn’t “exist temporally”. That explains everything. Well, except that since movement is change in position over time, God is clearly unable to move. But of course he doesn’t have a position either, right? He’s everywhere, except he isn’t because if he was then creating the universe wouldn’t be an act of creation but simply changing his own form.

    Well it’s rather a given that whatever isn’t part of the universe doesn’t exist temporally, since time is an aspect of the universe. As is ‘position’ or the idea of movement – these aren’t theological realities, but a necessity of any reality we currently understand.

    Unless you’re disagreeing that inaction is simpler than action, which would be a laughable suggestion, then yes – there was definitive proof in that statement.

    Well this assumes the universe is ‘stable, as it is’ – but obviously it’s not. The universe is in flux – it’s expanding, entropy is increasing, energy levels are decreasing, etc. In short it’s going from one state to another – thus not actually infinite in this resppect, among others.

    Through this whole discussion I’ve been ASKING you whether you meant space or the cosmos. You have constantly refused to answer, and now you claim that I have to define the term in order to use it in an argument?

    When someone asks, “Do you mean X or Y?” it normal to ask for a definition of X, or a definition of Y, or a definition of both. As you brought up the terms, and asked the question, you are expected to define said terms when asked, or your question is meaningless. So as it stands, the question is meaningless; and I suspect you don’t really know how to differentiate them, but just thought it would be a clever thing to say – and now that has been made evident.

  51. It didn’t ‘change shape’ – it had no shape. That is the current cosmological understanding.

    Actually the current cosmological understanding is it was a singularity. Even if it somehow didn’t have a shape, it was still the same matter arranged diffently, so you’re splitting hairs.

    I am not sure how the inception of time, volume, every galaxy, star, planet, creature, molecule and atom diminishes’ God.

    Quite obviously, really.
    Instead of God creating the universe by his own power, all he did was create a tiny spark that lighted a chain reaction using existing physical reactions.
    That means all of God’s power is less than that of a modern ant. And we’re supposed to worship him?

    As is ‘position’ or the idea of movement – these aren’t theological realities, but a necessity of any reality we currently understand.

    So you don’t understand it, but you just KNOW he’s there? Doesn’t work like that. Either we have knowledge about it or we don’t.

    But now I’m curious. Do you believe in Jesus? He must have existed temporally, right? Would that mean he had no powers?

    Well this assumes the universe is ‘stable, as it is’ – but obviously it’s not. The universe is in flux – it’s expanding

    And once again you completely ignore what I said.

    Apparently you’ve dodged this for so long, you can no longer remember what it was about. Let’s try again:
    The universe is stable, not in shape, but in the amount of matter and energy. Actual creation changes the amount of matter and energy, which would be a big action, as supposed to the current inaction.

    When someone asks, “Do you mean X or Y?” it normal to ask for a definition of X, or a definition of Y, or a definition of both.

    And I’ve long since defined them well enough that you should be able to answer the question.

    Cosmos is the collection of matter and energy likely created in the Big Bang. Space is everything, including both the universe and the nothingness around it.

    You then asked for further definition of space, and I don’t see how that’s relevant.

  52. Correction: “as supposed” => “as opposed”

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