dimanche 6 octobre 2013

Further Faulty Logic in Craig A. James's "refutation of a dialogue"

1) Creation vs Evolution : Heard of Libby Anne? , 2) Did Libby Anne misunderstand at least Something about Young Earth Creationism? Or: Why don't they teach logic in these schools?! 3) Further Faulty Logic in Craig A. James's "refutation of a dialogue" 4) Stupid Word Game, Craig A. James? 5) Whose assumptions are best or least well proven? 6) Somewhere else : Is the Genesis "the Basis of the Whole Bible" or are there others? 7) Great Bishop of Geneva! : How is Chick erroneous about where we got the Bible from? 8) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... to Hitchens on Revelation, Decalogue and Evidence for Moses. 9) Correspondence de / of / van Hans-Georg Lundahl : Notifying Craig A. James of a refutation of his refutation ...

Actually, as far as I am concerned, it is easier to refute a thesis or an argument than a dialogue, but here goes:

Student : Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir? (The Professor shook his head with a Smile, beginning to realize where the Argument was going )

Another subtle trick: the student says, "with your own eyes." Scientists use all sorts of instruments to extend our senses. You can't see sunspots "with your own eyes" because your eyes can't look at the sun. But does anyone not believe in sunspots? Or bacteria, viruses, supernova, radio waves, protons and electrons? It's ridiculous.

From Refuting the Atheist Professor vs the Christian Student

I cannot see my eyes or mouth with my own eyes without a mirror. And we can agree a mirror is an extension of one's own eyes.

However, in the enumeration there are things which are indeed visible in the usual sense, though not to one's own eyes and perhaps not to any human eyes at all without certain extensions.

To see sunspots one needs to magnify the angle of sight dedicated to the sun (by a telescope) and to dim the light (by some filter) so as not to damage the eyes.

To see bacteria, one needs to magnify the angle of sight dedicated to a bacterium (by a microscope) and perhaps to colour them so they stick out better from the background.

Supernovas are events. One may be divided on what they mean, but they are events. And visible through telescopes.

But now we come to another part of the list of Craig A. James:

"radio waves, protons and electrons? It's ridiculous."

None of these are actually seen by merely manipulating light so as to extend one's eyesight range.

Protons are I think not even seen as bulbs in the nucleus when using electronic microscopy. The one kind of bulbs that does reveal is probably (if theory is correct) the very fast spinning of electrons around nuclei.

And as electronic microscopy uses electrons to see things, obviously even if that is really what it is using they cannot be seen by it, just as you cannot see photons by shining light on them.

Same thing applies to radio waves, no one ever saw one. Using them and observing them is not same thing.

The point is thus not empiricism vs faith alone. The point is that empiric knowledge (or what is currently portrayed as such, for that matter) is not restricted to what can be directly observed by the five senses.

And that is where the Atheistic Professor in question betrayed his ignorance of how Science really works. An ignorance which Christian Student was trying to reveal by a perfectly legitimate reductio ad absurdum of his first formulation of his position. Of course, the Atheistic Professor could have reformulated and said "OK, empiric knowledge also includes valid conclusions from what is seen, heard, etc". but then the Christian Student could have as well answered "how do you know Evolution is and God is not a valid conclusion?"

You see, proving God exists (or "someone with the same skillset" not defining which religion it is the God of) is perhaps even easier than proving electrons exist. Electrons and protons and so on are models about why the atoms we can see that molecules are made up of (in electronic microscopy, if we trust it) have the different atom weights and their different combination possibilities and these functioning on basis of whole number ratios between atom numbers ... but as far as I know one has not been making up loads and loads of other models trying to fit them into the evidence here relevant and then ruling them out one by one.

By contrast, when St Thomas Aquinas proves God exists, he is not content with the Five Ways, he also says they prove there is a "first unmoved mover which everyone calls God" and the other four ("first" not as in temporally first or earliest but as in causally first simultaneously, quite distinct from "if there was a big bang there must be a big banger" some have paraphrased it with), he then goes on for a lot of further Quaestiones to test different models of what God could be. Ruling them out one by one. Can God be all the matter of the universe? Can God be the soul of all the universe relating to it as soul to body? Can God be material himself but mightier than the matter over which He is God? No, no, no. And St Thomas does not just say "no, no, no" but he proves there is something at least very problematic about each such model.

He then goes further and asks whether the Christian God specifically the bit about Holy Trinity fits or does not fit the God that natural philosophy gives us evidence for. Only after that does he get into the question about creation - what kind of divine act it is and only after that does he get into the Biblical account of it.

How long does all of this take? In Question I he is asking whether the Bible (or if you like Bible and Tradition) is needed on top of all human sciences. Affirmative. But when he gets back to the Biblical account of the stages of creation he has used so many Questions the way I just outlined that the one about Day four is Question 70. And each Question is very typically subdivided into more than one Article (the Five Ways are given in Part I Question 2 Article 3 - easy enough to remember - and furthermore in "corpus" of article as opposed to objections part and answers to objection part).

I do not think that Einstein or Planck did such a thorough job of thinking it through. They certainly had access to more observation than St Thomas had (he never looked into a telescope) and they certainly used more advanced mathematics for their models than he did. (How do you mathematicalise Infinity? St Thomas answers that properly speaking you don't, when mathematicians speak of "infinity" in mathematical contexts, they do not really mean it, so when Theologians and Philosophers speak about Infinity of God, they do not mathematicalise it). But any mathematic conclusion does not only depend on how well you do the mathematics, but also how well what you count about fits how you count it. The one time a student failed to get a maths problem in my very short teaching carreer, he had simply set up the wrong calculations that did not fit the problem of applied mathematics.

So, if the Atheistic Professor ever had admitted that Scientific knowledge is not just five senses with content, but also valid conclusions from such (including from the fact we can reason about their content), he would not have been in any logical position at all to state brazenly "evolution is proven and God is not a scientific concept" at all, and the Christian Student could very easily have shown so.

One little Red Herring to possibly clear up: the terms macroevolution and microevolution are not the distinction between evolution on macroscopic and microscopic level. What creationists used to call microevolution (the community is starting to abandon the terminology I heard) is indeed observed on both macroscopic and microscopic level. What creationists used to call macroevolution is however neither observed on macroscopic nor on microscopic level. It is the extrapolation from observed microevolution in the microdifferential and microtemporal perspective into a macrodifferential and macrotemporal perspective. You know the famous extrapolation "a million generations" - which are of course not observed ones.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Bruno, Hermit

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