Monday, December 28, 2009

Reason Enough?

You can have your own truths but you cannot have your own facts.

Someone gave me this link and said that the six reasons in that link shows that God exists. I want to reply because some of the content of the link shows some misconceptions (or maybe lies?) regarding some issues. And most importantly, I want to speak my mind regarding this topic. So here's my reply and my reasons as to why that six reasons are not enough reasons to show that your brand of God exist. (so many "reasons" there)

1. Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
The complexity of life can be explained by Evolution by Natural Selection (More about evolution here Now as to the universe, the universe do not show any design. Design implies purpose. Look at the trillion of stars (most of them bigger than our stars), the lifeless planets, the vast empty space, asteroids, comets. What do you think are the purpose of these? Again, design implies purpose.

As to the fine tuning of the earth, if the earth were a little further or closer from the sun, there would still be life. But not the kind of life we have today. Remember that we evolved within the universe and its parameters. Even if one law, say gravity, is taken or absent there can still be life.

2. Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it?
Scientists, cosmologists, and physicists are not really certain as to what really happened before the Big Bang. Yes, time and space started almost 14 billion years ago but we cannot really explain what happened before it. We simply do not have data to conclude/say beyond reasonable doubt that the universe had a beginning or that it is eternal. It could be eternal one way or the other or it could be otherwise.

Now, even if i'll warrant that cause, there is still no point to give that cause the attributes of your Theist God (all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good, and other all-something). A cause of the universe do not show that that cause is all-knowing or all-good. That cause could be anything. It could be aliens or some energy or another universe (multiverses). The cause could be anything.

3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
We know these laws because people (Einstein and other scientists) name and identify these laws. And not because god or some deity gave it to us. But why does these laws exist? We (including you) do not know. All we know is that we can identify natural laws, observe them in action, and use them to explain and predict natural phenomena. Saying that God gave us these laws simply because we can't think of any answer shows a god of the gaps (argument from ignorance).

4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.
Argument from ignorance.

Information is not meaning and does not, per se, imply any special structure or function. Any arrangement implies information; the information is how the arrangement is described. If a new arrangement occurs, whether spontaneously or from the outside, new information is assembled in the process. (Claim CF003)

Also natural outside influences (like Sun, or something from the earth's interior) can also help assemble these information.

5. Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
Which god are your referring to? Allah? Hindu gods? Zues? Thor? Which god from these list and this?

Every culture have its own god, heaven, hell, and religious claims. You claim that your god 'pursues' you while other also claim that their god also pursues them. Does that mean that your god and other's god simultaneously exist? This is by far one of the weakest argument.

6. Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
I beg to disagree. Your evidence that JC exist are the Gospels. Unfortunately, these gospels (and others that were not included in your Bible) contradict each other BIG TIME. Also these gospels (at least 4) were written long after JC died (at least 60 years after) and that some of them were only passed through by mouth (since some of them were illiterate). The point is that your evidence, the Bible, is just a hearsay upon hearsay.

Further, using the Bible as an evidence to prove God exist would result to circular reasoning which is related to begging the question.

All in all, the six reasons given were not really enough to prove that god (or your God) exist. Also, no offense, but the reasons were really outdated and old (and tiring). There are much better arguments (out there that I know) for god's existence than that six. These were already debunked by so many times.

...And that is why I don't believe in your God.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Proving a Negative

I always thought that proving a negative is impossible. I just learned and read that it is not. It would be difficult though to prove a negative because one must have omniscience to do so. But "proving" in proving a negative does not necessarily mean proving beyond reasonable doubt or a mathematical proof. One must only need reasons or evidence (or maybe the burden of proof) to prove a negative and not necessarily a proof beyond reasonable doubt. There are two (plus one below) ways in which one can prove the nonexistence of something. One is to prove that it cannot exist because it leads to a contradiction (incompatible properties argument) and the other is by carefully looking and seeing (empirical evidence).

Incompatible properties arguments attempt to show a logical contradiction in the concept in question. It shows that an entity (or something) cannot exist because of a certain contradiction. A good example of this is the properties of the Christian God/Theism. One can prove that this god does not exist by showing contradictions in some of its properties. For example, Omniscience and Free Will. A being/entity cannot be omniscient and at the same time free (acquires free will). It shows that that entity can't simply exist because of the two contradictory properties. Another example is the Transcendence and Omnipresence properties of the theist god. The incompatible properties argument can also show that two objects cannot logically exist simultaneously. For example, the god of Islam cannot co-exist with the God of Christians.

Another way to prove a negative is by carefully looking and seeing. The idea is that if a thing exists, one must be able to detect its existence directly or indirectly (not directly observable but the object causes effects which are directly observable). For example, suppose a friend of mine claims that there is a dog in my room but when I went to my room I found no dog. Since I found no dog, then I can conclude that there was no dog in my room. This same method allows us to know that things such as unicorns, Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot do not exist. Of course one could argue in my example above that that dog may have left when I arrived in my room. But based on the lack of proof/evidence that there was a really dog and that based on the limits of my understanding of anything (I could be mistaken on what I saw) I still proved a negative in such a case. Again, proof here is not the same as mathematical proof.

Lastly, another good way (found also here) to know that a person is justified in believing that a thing, say X, does not exist if all of the conditions below are met:
  1. the area where evidence would appear, if there were any, has been comprehensively examined, and
  2. all of the available evidence that X exists is inadequate, and
  3. X is the sort of entity that, if X exists, then it would show.
So all in all, based on the three ways above one can really prove a negative or that prove that there is no god or Santa Claus or Loch Ness Monster or a planet between Earth and Venus.

Funny and Confusing

I am You? You are Me?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In Defense of the Problem of Evil and Suffering

The fool hath said into his heart "There is no God". The wise said it to the world.

I have been tagged in a note by a friend of mine in Facebook titled The Problem of Pain: Atheism's Most Potent Weapon Against The Christian Faith and the one who tagged me wants to know what my reply is. I really wanted to reply there right away but the space in the comment section is not enough for my reply. Also, I thought that it is much better to reply here so that more people can see the defects of the arguments in the note. The whole content of the note can be seen here.

I will be quoting the some of the important parts of the note and post my reply below the quote. I will also include some points that is not related to PoE. So, here goes nothing!

All through science and history, if rightly understood, support the fact of God. This evidence is so strong that, as the Bible says: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).

Most atheists, therefore, without any objective evidence on which to base their faith in “no God”, must resort finally to philosophical objections. And this problem of suffering is the greatest of these.
Science and history supports the fact of God? This statement is not really supported. This is baseless. Simply saying that "science and history supports the fact of God" does not mean it is true. The author should've backed it up with, er, evidences/proofs from science and history. Also evidences from science (Evolution), history(atrocities/sufferings), geology(date of volcanoes/lava) even shows that there is probably no God.

Now atheists do not really need evidence to show that there is no God. That would be illogical. (I mean, do you need proof that Santa Claus doesn't exist?). It is impossible to prove the negative. The burden of proof lies upon the claimer and transferring the burden of proof would be illogical. Since theists claim that there is a God, then they need to show proofs. If the theists can't show any proofs for their fact of God or that their evidences are logically invalid, then atheism stands. Also, the intelligent theists (these are mostly number 2 in Dawkins' Spectrum of Belief, not the fundamentalists) I know shows that their God is true using philosophy.

That is, they say, how can a God of love permit such things in His world as war, sickness, pain, and death, especially when their effects often are felt most keenly by those who are apparently innocent? Either He is not a God of love and is indifferent to human suffering, or else He is not a God of power and is therefore helpless to do anything about it. In either case, the Biblical God who is supposedly one of both absolute power and perfect love becomes an impossible anachronism. Or so they claim!
Yes, how can there be a loving, powerful, and omniscient God if evil and suffering exist? There are also other much better version of the Problem of Evil than the one above.

Logical Problem of Evil
  1. God exists
  2. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good
  3. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils.
  4. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence.
  5. An omnipotent being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.
  6. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil.
  7. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists.
  8. Evil exists (logical contradiction)
Evidential Problem of Evil (version by William L. Rowe)
  1. There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
  2. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.
  3. (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.
Another version here.

I can think of three possible answers to the problem. Either (a) God don't exist, (b) God exist but he is not loving and powerful, or (c) God exist and he is loving and powerful but don't want to help. You know what item (a) means. Items (b) and (c) would tell us that God (Christian) is not worth of worship. Simple as that.

This is a real difficulty, but atheism is certainly not the answer, and neither is agnosticism. While there is much evil in the world, there is even more that is good. This is proved by the mere fact that people normally try to hang on to life as long as they can. Furthermore, everyone instinctively recognizes that “good” is a higher order of truth than “bad”.
If atheism or agnosticism is not the answer then what is the answer? Christianity? The thing is that the problem of evil and suffering really shows that a loving, powerful, and omniscient God (Christian God) doesn't exist. We can see this from the atrocities(wars/terrorism), calamities(floods/hurricanes), biological defects(autism/down syndrome), confusions, (and many more) we, including believers, experience every year.

There is more good than evil? I think not. We could have our own interpretations though of how much evil and good in the world but I have never known any evidence that shows either both is better than the other. The fact that people normally try to hang on to life as long as they can still do not show that there is more good than bad. It is just normal for human to cling to life as long as they can and I cannot see any relationship between them.

We need also to recognize that our very minds were created by God. We can only use these minds to the extent that He allows, and it is, therefore, utterly presumptuous for us to use them to question Him and His motives.

"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).

"Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast Thou made me thus?" (Romans 9:20).
Whose God from the thousands created our mind? :D Again, baseless. Ok, so let's assume that God created our minds. But why would God not allow us to use our minds? Why would he not allow us to question him and his motives? Just because it is written in the Bible? Why should one believe in a book full of errors and contradictions? God telling us that we should not question him or motives would show that he is taking away our freedom to think for ourselves.

We ourselves do not establish the standards of what is right. Only the Creator of all reality can do that. We need to settle it, in our minds and hearts, whether we understand it or not, that whatever God does is, by definition, right.
This is the first theodicy, or the attempt to justify evil and suffering. This is called The Standard Response (from William Lane Craig vs Walter Sinnott-Armstrong debate). God's goodness is different from human goodness. He is good by His own standards according to this theodicy. It admits that God could not be good in our own standards. This is not really good for anyone who wants to have a model to guide his life. It is hardly a God worth worshipping, except out of fear. Will he allow or cause more evil? Will this show that He is even better than before? Nobody can tell, if we cannot understand the standards by which God is deemed good.

Also this response justifies atrocities. Imagine a human tyrant who kills or rapes or lets babies die painfully when he could just save them easily. His followers claim that he is still a good
person, because he has a divine right to rule without being subject to common moral standards. Whatever they say, however, we have plenty of reason to believe that this tyrant is not a good person. God is no better if He lets babies die painfully for no adequate reason. (Walter Sinnott-Armstrong).

Theists could argue that God is not subject to our moral standards because God created us so we owe Him everything. But that does not give God the right to abuse or neglect us any more than it gives human parents the right to abuse and neglect their children.

Having settled this by faith, we are then free to seek for ways in which we can profit spiritually from the sufferings in life as well as the blessings. As we consider such matters, it is helpful to keep the following great truths continually in our minds.
But we can seek more profit spiritually and mentally from more effective, efficient, and fair ways like education. Letting babies die, for example, would be very ineffective and unfair because it would just result to more losses (families will be broken for example).


Since "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), there is no one who has the right to freedom from God's wrath on the basis of his own innocence.

As far as babies are concerned, and others who may be incompetent mentally to distinguish right and wrong, it is clear from both Scripture and universal experience that they are sinners by nature and thus will inevitably become sinners by choice as soon as they are able to do so.
In general terms innocence is a term used to indicate a general lackof guilt , with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. According to the quote above, the basis that there is no such thing as innocent is the scriptures. Babies for example are not innocent based on the verses above. Is that right and fair? (You know the answer) But why should one believe in the scriptures specifically the Bible? Why should we believe in an ancient book that is full of errors and contradictions with unknown authors? Also, not all of us believes in the scriptures (Bible). Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and other religion have their own scriptures. Furthermore, there are innocent babies that were born in places that were not reached by Christian missionaries. It would be unfair for them to be termed as sinful just because missionaries were not able to introduce the scriptures to them.

Also, it is not really fair and just for us to face the consequences of the sins of our ancestors right? (Adan and Eve). Is it just for the authority to let you face the consequences of the sins of your great great great great grandparents? Of course not.

Lastly, basing your morality on the scriptures is not really a good thing. It is because it is very limited and it is not flexible. It is much way better to base morality in the commonality of human nature and that knowledge of right and wrong should be based on our best understanding of our individual and joint interests rather than in some scriptures written long ago.

The Lord Jesus Christ, who was the only truly “innocent” and “righteous” man in all history, nevertheless has suffered more than anyone else who ever lived.

And this He did for us! “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3). He suffered and died, in order that ultimately He might deliver the world from the Curse, and that, even now, He can deliver from sin and its bondage anyone who will receive Him in faith as personal Lord and Savior. This great deliverance from the penalty of inherent sin, as well as of overt sins, very possibly also assures the salvation of those who have died before reaching an age of conscious choice of wrong over right.
One, Jesus never died for us (according to your beliefs). He was resurrected after two point something days (almost three days). So he was never dead. Secondly, he never suffered. What is three days of pain for an omnipotent being? He even predicted it (because of his omniscience). He knew that someone will betray him.

Now our parents have sacrificed a lot their resources, time, and energy for us to have education and good life. And so are the Army. They sacrificed their time, energy, resources for us to be secured. But how come we do not have statues of them? We even disobey our parents sometimes. (More of JC's so called "sacrifice" here)

These are just some of the points being attacked at the problem of evil and atheism. I also included to answer some of Christian gibberish and straw man. All in all, the theodicies that is presented in the said essay still do not justify evil and suffering as shown above. Here is also some answers to some common theodicies.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2012 Doomsday Prophecy

2012 Prophecy
I always hear and see people on the world wide web so worried about the coming of 2012. Some of them say that we must prepare for 2012 because their god or gods will be coming on that day. Some of them say and believe that the world will really end on that date. Some of them believe it is because the Mayan calendar ends in 2012. Some of them believes that Planet X will hit Earth. Most of them (if not all) do not have any basis or solid evidences at all to back this up. They simply accept the hearsays of others and of marketing ads. What bugs me about this is that these people who believe in this lie are mostly educated people. Yes you read it right, educated people. Maybe the education in their country or the one they are taking (or took) is(was) not that good or they simply lack education. I just can't believe that these "educated" people fall for this crap.

Failed Doomsday prophecies
There were already hundreds or maybe thousands of other similar failed doomsday prophecies like this one. Lets take a look at some of them:
  • in 1900's people stood in Utah on a mountain they thought it was the end of the world
  • 2000 - y2k?
  • in 1998, people though that time was going to repeat itself through the dawn of time.
  • june 6, 2006 theory
  • 1954 (armaggedon man), a man predicted the end of the world to be on 1976, nothing ever happened on that day
  • 2007 on july 4, apocalyptic nuclear bomb from iraq?
  • 1986 zombie attack blowing out the human race that wont be contained
That is just some of them. Here's another lists of failed doomsday prophecies. You see, not one of these prophecies ever happened. (That's why they are called failed doomsday prophecies.) I am very confident that this 2012 doomsday is also a fake and just like the lists above. Why? Read on..

One of the basis or evidence that 2012 doomsday will happen is the end of Mayan Calendar. According to the believers of 2012 doomsday, the world will end on 2012 because the Mayan calendar will end in 2012. Because of this, they believe that our world will also end. But the Mayan calendar do not really end on 2012. It's the time when the largest grand cycle in the Mayan calendar—1,872,000 days or 5,125.37 years—overturns and a new cycle begins*. During the 2012 winter solstice, time runs out on the current era of the Long Count calendar, which began at what the Maya saw as the dawn of the last creation period: August 11, 3114 B.C. The Maya wrote that date, which preceded their civilization by thousands of years, as Day Zero, or** The point is that time and the world gets renewed all over again just like we renew our calendar on New Year's day.

Another thing that doomsday believers claim is that a certain Planet X, also known as Nibiru, will hit our planet Earth destroying all life and nonlife forms. This is called the Nibiru collision. Even a near miss could still destroy most of our earth. Fourtunately there is no such planet as Planet x. Astrobiologists and astronomers simply do not believe that this planet exist. Even if there was, astronomers would have been studying it for the past decade.

These two are just some of the myths about 2012 being debunked. You can see the whole list of myths being debunked at the National Geographic website here.

Why would I care?
I care because these people, especially the ones who were behind the marketing, are spreading lies and fear to the people. This could result to panic and maybe chaos. Also the people who believes in this crap blindly are panicking and in fear. People should not be worried about these things. 2012 is just a movie. An entertainment. People should not take it seriously. So stop worrying and enjoy.

Just a tip, do not just accept or deny a certain truth without recourse to knowledge and reason. Use your head.

*Said by Dr. Anthony Faveni
**National Geographic