Down God’s Rabbit Hole: Religious Apologetics

Uploaded 10/4/2022, approx. 41 minute read

The Cold Therapy seminar in Dvobeta, Tugno Sevevin, in Romania, was a very unusual experience for me. People there bonded, they formed communities, they ate together, they cruised the city together, they bought things together. I was very gratified to see the effect of this togetherness on everyone around. And one of them, I still don't know who, by the way, left me a present. Actually, quite a few of them left me presents, for which I'm very grateful. I thank you very much.

But one of them left me a present which I would like to discuss today. And this is the present. It's a book published in 2004, and it is titled, Intriguingly, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.

The good soul who left me this book probably wanted to save my eternal soul from the roaring flames of hell. And for her, for him, I have a message. It's way too late!

However, I started to read the book anticipating typical religious apologetics, low level, ignorant, bordering on dumb. And to my great surprise, it's a book well written, well argued, and taking into account the date of publication 2004, amazingly updated with the latest science. I was impressed.

So because I was impressed, I thought that I owe the book, and I owe the person who made me gift of the book, some kind of repost, or retort, or response. I'm not going to make another video right now of arguing with a Christian apologetic. There are millions of videos online, on YouTube especially, of Christian evangelists, Muslim clerics, Buddhist monks, all of them arguing in favor of their brand of direct access to God. And there are millions of videos countering this religious avalanche with scientific, atheistic, or agnostic arguments. I'm not going to add another video to this tsunami.

What I'm going to do today is I'm going to raise a few arguments that I haven't heard before anywhere. It doesn't mean they don't exist. I simply didn't come across them.

And I would like to add my voice to the cacophony of pro and anti-God camps, because I like mayhem.

Okay, Shoshanim, patient Shoshanim, let's get right down God's rabbit hole, religious apologetics.

And this is not limited to Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Shintoism, or any of the well over 240 religions of the world. All of them have people who argue for the veracity of their faith, and for the fact that their brand of direct communication with the creator is the only correct one. So whatever I'm going to say is not directed at a specific religion, but at all of them together.

Having read the book thoroughly, I immediately came across, of course, arguments which leave a lot to be desired. The level of argumentation, even in this otherwise excellent book, is not exactly what would get you a PhD in philosophy, in any respectable university that I'm aware of.

So I want to give you three examples.

Page 132, intellect, the authors say, the authors, by the way, are Norman Geisler and Frank Vak. The authors say, on page 132, intellect, free will, objective morality, and human rights, as well as reason, logic, design, and truth, can exist only if God exists.

Really? I have no idea where this comes from. Nor is it, of course, true. We can definitely conceive of systems, of morality, which have nothing to do with a supreme or supernatural being. Similarly, truth, reason, logic, have nothing to do with whether this world had been created by an overriding intelligence or came out of randomness by chance.

So this is the example of a kind of sentence that threw me off. As I said, people who are capable of writing something like this, should I be taking them seriously? Should I stop reading the book?

Luckily for me, I didn't.

On to page 154, a mere 20 or 30 pages later, the authors say, does it ever dawn on them that similarity of structure may be evidence of a common designer rather than a common ancestor?

Let it be clear. Similarity of structure can be an argument in favor of a common creator. It can also be an argument in favor of a common ancestor.

But there is a principle in science, it's called parsimony or Occam's razor. We tend to adopt the explanation which uses the least number of entities.

In the common creator or common designer argument, there's one extra entity known as God. In the common ancestor argument, there's no extra entity.

The absence of this one more entity militates against the common designer, the intelligent designer or the common creator argument.

Because good science makes a minimal number of assumptions and uses minimal number of entities.

There is truth, truth and beauty in minimalism. If God had a mind, first of all, if there is a God, and if God had a mind, by the way, a mind is a human thing. To attribute to God a mind is to demean God if he exists.

But if God had a mind, he would probably be like Albert Einstein. He would try to minimize the number of equations, the number of variables, the number of entities in his design of the world. He wouldn't try to multiply them. Multiplication of entities is a sign of falsity, actually.

When you add God unnecessarily to the mix, you are probably creating a false statement.

Let's proceed to the next page, page 155.

The authors say to posit Darwinism, you must be able to explain the vast dissimilarity between living things. You must explain how the palm tree, the peacock, the octopus, the locust, the bat, the hippopotamus, the porcupine, the seahorse, the Venus flytrap, the human, the mildew, for example, have all descended from the first irreducibly complex life without intelligent intervention.

Well, the answer is very simple. The environment presents a challenge. The environment presents a puzzle, but there is no single solution to this puzzle. There's no single adaptation, positive adaptation to the environment. There are hundreds, thousands, millions of solutions to any given environment, and all these solutions are equally successful.

You don't need to postulate or promulgate a creator or a designer in order to explain the existence of multiple types of life, because life is an ongoing experiment, an ongoing algorithm, a procedure for finding solutions to environments, both static and dynamic. And these solutions don't have to be the same. They don't have to be similar. They're actually extremely likely to be dissimilar, as anyone who isn't into mathematics knows.

I gave you three examples within 30 pages of slipshod shoddy arguments, arguments which would put to shame any first year philosophy student.

Regrettably, the book is replete with hundreds of such statements, some of them inane, some of them ill-argued, some of them ill-founded and all of them wrong.

The authors would have done well to submit their book to philosophers and physicists and biologists and so on and so forth for a thorough review, not only to like-minded people, which they have done, but to people who oppose what they have to say.

Take for example their total misrepresentation of Immanuel Kant's work in philosophy.

Now I am not a fan of Kant or of idealism in philosophy in general. I think big parts of this approach are frankly nonsensical, but they misrepresent Kant in the book.

They say that Kant said that we cannot know the real world. Kant never said that. He never even hinted at it.

What Kant did say is that we cannot know the world as it is, but Kant never denied that the world is reality, that the world exists. He just said that the world is mediated via the senses in our brains.

So we don't have a direct access to the world, but always an indirect, filtered access to the world.

And neuroscience, modern neuroscience, strongly supports Kant's assertion.

We do not have contact with reality as it is. We have contact with mathematical formulas in our brains, which process sensory inputs.

But Kant has never said, not even hinted, that reality is not there, or that if it is there, we cannot know it. Of course we can know it. And of course it is there. But we can know it via the intermediation and intervention of brain structures and our senses.

So the information we have about the world has less to do with the world as it is, and more to do with the world as we perceive it.

The authors castigate atheists. They say that atheism is a form of faith. It's another religion. It's the religion of there is no God. Theistic religions say there is a God outside creation. Pantheistic religions say there is a God in every facet of creation, yourself included.

And atheists say there is no God, period.

The authors Geisler and Turek say that atheism in this sense is a religion. I couldn't agree more. I absolutely agree. Atheism is a religion. It is based on faith. It is a belief system.

Atheists say that there is no God, while religious people say there is God. Both positions are indefensible because they are not based on reason and cannot be falsified.

In other words, cannot be subjected to experimentation.

I am what the authors call ordinary agnostic. Thank you for the compliment. An ordinary agnostic is a person who says that God, should it exist, would not be knowable and would not be provable. If there's a God out there or up there or down here, I don't know where, if there's a God anywhere, this God has attributes, for example, infinity, which are inaccessible to a finite mind, inaccessible to us. There is no way we can know God and there is no way we can prove the existence of God. In principle, it's not a question of waiting for science to evolve. It's not a question of waiting for an Einstein caliber genius to erupt on the scene and prove that there is God. God cannot be proven and the existence of God cannot be known.

And of course, the mind of God, should he have one, is inaccessible. So I'm not an atheist because I don't believe in belief. I don't base my interactions with reality on faith. And as far as I'm concerned, the faith that there is no God is as delusional as the faith that there is a God.

But why do I stick to reason so much? Why do I have faith in reason as the authors seem to imply?

Well, the truth is I don't have faith in reason. I have trust in reason and the authors often confuse faith with trust.

Reason works in reality. Reason yield outcomes which are favorable to my survival. So I trust reason when it comes to reality. Trust and faith should not be confused as the authors keep doing. Trust is evidence based. Trust subsists of observations of reality and changes in reality. Trust is scientific. Faith is axiomatic. Faith is dogmatic. Faith is a statement which can never be falsified or proven.

For example, there is God. The authors claim that the existence of God can be proven based on his actions or the outcomes of his actions. There's a missing link here, of course. We can observe everything around us. We can observe objects. We can observe processes. We can digest and analyze information.

But there is no way for us to link it to an alleged creator, intelligent or otherwise.

That's precisely the position of the agnostic.

The agnostic says never mind how much information we gather, never mind which level of knowledge we may attain in the future, never mind how much more intelligent and much more educated we are bound to become.

As a species, we will never ever in principle be able to prove the existence of God, to link him to creation in any meaningful way and to know him or any attribute of him.

This is faith. I don't do faith. I do reason. I do rationality. And of course, I do trust. I trust when things work exactly like in relationships. If the relationship works, I trust my partner. If the relationship doesn't work, I don't trust my partner.

I don't believe in my partner. I don't have a faith based around my partner. I test my partner all the time. And she would better pass the test if she wants me to trust her.

Trust has to be earned. Faith is not earned. Faith is dictated.

I resent this. It's a totalitarian approach. There are secular religions like fascism and Nazism and communism which are indistinguishable from Catholicism and other religions. All religions, based on a God or based on a person or based on a principle or an ideal, all religions share the same unsavory features, first and foremost of which the suppression of critical thinking.

So I trust reason because it works and works for me throughout my life. I also trust religion actually. I trust religion because my trust in religion is evidence based.

Religion seems to work. Religion works well in society. Religion works wonders in individual psychology and collective psychology, social psychology. Religion is a psychosocial regulator.

Religious people display behaviors which are much more functional and much healthier. Religion in this sense can be trusted and should be trusted because the evidence, the preponderance of evidence is overwhelming in favor of religion.

Religious people survive life on much better terms than non-religious people. Religious societies are much more cohesive and coherent than non-religious, non-traditionalist societies. Religious societies are much less religious cultures.

Religious civilizations are much less conflicted, at least in the modern time.

I'm not talking about history. In the past, there were only religious societies and cultures.

So it's a moot point. But today we have a control group. Today we have individuals, collectives, societies, cultures and civilizations who or which are not religious. And we have all these in traditional settings, in religious settings.

And we see that religion works. So I do have trust in religion as a psychosocial regulator.

So why do I reject religion? Why do I reject God? Isn't it a useful invention?

It's clearly an invention, but it seems to work.

Why not adopt it? Wholeheartedly, as a healing principle.

I reject religion and I reject the nonsense of God because of my values.

I prefer a chaotic and a dangerous reality to a structured and safe delusional disorder.

In other words, I believe that the way to cure mental illness is not by introducing another mental illness.

And religion is a mental illness. God is a delusional disorder.

These people are sick, absolutely sick.

The only reason we don't lock religious people in mental asylums is politics and money.

If we were to analyze people who believe in God using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, any edition, they would all be subject to medication and psychotherapy.

It's a mental illness.

I don't believe in using mental illness to heal. I don't believe in using mental illness to regulate. I don't believe mental illness has any utility whatsoever or should have any utility whatsoever. Rendering people socially functional by deluding them, by lying to them, by playing with their minds, is seriously sick.

And this is what religion does with the nonsensical invention of God.

I prefer to live in chaos. I prefer to live in danger than to live in a reality regulated by a must- lie, the big lie.

Delusions and fantasies resemble rationality, but they are not rational, ever.

Even the most structured, convincing delusion, even the most amazingly constructed fantasy, they are wrong. They are ill, mentally ill. They are defense mechanisms. They are sick. They should be eradicated.

They resemble rationality, but they are not. They're bounded by something other than rationality.

For example, God, delusions and fantasies are not reality. They can't teach you anything useful about reality. They drive you away from reality. They make you in the long run much less functional and much more sick in terms of your potential.

You may be more socially acceptable, sublimated, traditionalism has its advantages, but as an individual, it doesn't do you any good to believe in God. None whatsoever. It creates serious dissonances.

Any religious person will tell you this.

Real science, real knowledge of life, the courage to cope with reality, to take on the world.

This requires a system which is self-referential, iterative, recursive, and the only system that satisfies all these conditions is rationality, reasoning, logic, and their outcomes, their offshoots, like science.

I'm not saying that all science has equal standing. They are branches of science which are as ill-founded as any religion.

I belong to one of these branches. I'm a psychologist and I keep claiming that psychology is a form of literature, at best a pseudoscience.

So I'm a harsh critic of anything that doesn't measure up to the standards of the scientific method. I'm a physicist by training. My PhD is in physics.

So I reject not only religion.

And you could say there are many things which are outside the remit of science. Many things which science can have nothing meaningful to say about. Many things which are, for example, spiritual. Many things which are in the mind. Many things which have to do with relationships or writing fiction or writing poetry or watching a great movie.

All these things are not scientific. Huge parts of our life cannot be reduced to science or to any lower level components. Many parts of our life, in other words, are irreducible. Of course. I'm not saying that science is the only way of relating to reality.

I just mentioned literature. It's a great way of relating to reality. I write short fiction and poetry and I've won awards in both areas. So I know what I'm talking about.

I do literature. I do psychology, which is pseudoscience, and I do real science, which is physics.

All these touch upon, touch upon the universe, touch upon reality.

But you see, none of them violate the principle of parsimony. None of them resorts to mental illness. None of them impose a delusion on you as a condition for belonging, as a condition for self-regulation, for inner peace. None of them is totalitarian. None of these fields is authoritarian. None of these fields suppresses critical thinking. On the contrary, they encourage critical thinking. None of these fields is dogmatic.

Religion is because it is psychotic, because it is mentally ill, because it is delusional. It imposes on you, imposes on you a worldview, even, even if it means devoting you from reality.

You talk to any patient with psychotic disorder. They have a theory about the world and they vehemently try to force you to accept this theory, sometimes violently and aggressively. You talk to any narcissist. They have a theory about themselves and they try to convert you to the faith. They try to make you a member of their one-man church or one-man count.

Mentally ill people come up with inclusionary systems, which rely on new entities or added or extra entities, and then they try to force you to conform and to accept the percepts and the tenets of their faith, of their belief.

There is no example of faith or belief that does not devolve sooner or later into mental illness. None, not one.

I will now deal with a few of the arguments in the book, very few of the arguments, because I could go on for hours.

Again, I repeat, this book is recommended reading. It's not dumb. It's relatively well-researched, and I've had fun reading it.

But of course, it's nonsensical. It's nonsense. It's like Lewis Carroll. It's Alice in Wonderland, because the cornerstone of this book is a supernatural, delusional, totally unneeded, extra entity.

You can't start with nonsense and end up with a system. You can't start with nonsense and end up with wisdom. You start with nonsense. You end up with more nonsense. Nonsense multiplies. Nonsense like certain microorganisms divides and then infects you. It's a contagion. Religion is a contagion.

Still, I would like to make a few comments about a few of the arguments.

Again, I can't. I don't have time or inclination, honestly, to deal with each and every one of the, I think, close to 1,000 arguments in the book.

I will start with an argument which I find actually compelling, to be fair or to try to be fair. And that requires fortification with some of my wine.

The authors say that the Big Bang, the beginning of the universe, of the cosmos, the Big Bang is a concept in cosmology and astrophysics. It's a theory about how the world started at a given point, a specific point. Time and space unfolded from that point on. They did not exist before.

And so there's no point to ask when did it happen. There was no time. There's no point to ask where did it happen. There was no space.

So the Big Bang is the currently accepted theory in physics as to how the universe started.

And the authors asked the very simple question, but I find it compelling. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why did the universe start? How did the universe start? Creation ex nihilo, creation from nothing, nothing that yields something, is not precedent or equivalent or parallel in any field of science.

In any field, period, actually, if there is something, there must have been a preceding something.

The authors say that science does not explain well, fails to explain, fails to account for the beginning of the universe. It equally botches up the attempt to explain the beginning of life.

I fully agree with this, actually. I think this is the vulnerability or the soft spot in science. This is where reason breaks down. This is where many, many scientists introduce faith and belief into science, which should be fought tooth and nail and eradicated as ardently as we should fight religion.

When a scientist tells you, I think this is how it happened, or maybe it happened like this, or you should put a stop to it immediately. That's not science. That's metaphysics. That's speculation.

Regrettably, a lot of science, even hard science, even exact science, such as physics, has now deteriorated and have become metaphysics.

I have a conversation with Ben Hinter about this issue. This is the only argument in this relatively hefty tone that I found compelling. The only argument in favor of a creator or a designer which cannot be instantly refuted with reason.

We do not have a good explanation, a good theory, a good framework to account for the fact that nothing allegedly yielded something. And not only once, but twice. The universe started and when life began.

And no, don't mention spontaneous generation in some kind of primordial soup. There are serious problems in accounting for the beginning of life. There are even serious problems in explaining how one species evolved into another, the species barrier.

The authors are right about these points.

However, there are two ways of coping with this. Either we say our knowledge is incomplete and we are gaining more knowledge by the day. Let's talk in 1,000 years. Let's have this conversation in 1,000 years. And if we still can't come with an answer, we'll see. We've just started.

Science is a very new endeavor. It's infantile. It's unfair to use a discipline like religion, which is about 10,000 years old, at least, and attack an infant, a toddler, a discipline like science, which is at best 400 years old.

So give us time is what I'm saying. Give us time.

The other option is to introduce another entity, an extra entity, which is God.

I would rather wait. I would rather wait with this because it violates the core of science, parsimony or comes raiser.

This is where the authors make their last ten, the Alamo.

This is the argument which carries them across the book and it is a strong argument.

However, we have partial knowledge. We have insufficient knowledge to answer this argument and we do deserve more time to study, to explore and to research.

All the other arguments in the book are easily debunked. Easily debunked, they reflect ignorance. They reflect philosophical in attitude. They reflect lack of critical thinking and they reflect doctrinal, dogmatic brainwashing.

So let's, for example, take the anthropic argument. The anthropic argument is that had the universe been designed or had the universe been a bit different, but like a very tiny bit different, there are hundreds of constants in the universe, hundreds of parameters, hundreds of quantities. Had any one of them deviated from its current state, there would have been no life.

In other words, for life to have emerged in the universe, the universe needed to be fine-tuned. All the parameters of the universe, energy levels, distances, masses, forces, particles, everything needed to be in perfect harmony and within an exceedingly tiny range of measurement, tiny range of values in order to yield life.

Had any single one of these parameters been different than it is today, we would not be talking right now.

This is the anthropic principle. The principle implies that the universe has been designed to yield and to accommodate life.

And of course, this is total rubbish. It is pure real thinking and it is shocking that even some pretty prominent physicists like Tipler and others engaged in it.

Let me try to explain to you why the anthropic argument or the anthropic principle is complete.

By giving you another example.

Imagine that there's a homeless guy in January in Chicago. Anyone who's been to Chicago knows what I'm talking about. A homeless guy in January on the streets of Chicago.

The next day, police find his body. He's dead. And then people say, had the temperature been only two degrees higher, he would not have died. Had the side of the building been slanted differently, protecting him from the winds, he would not have died. Had the wind shear been lower, he would not have died. Had he been younger, he would not have died. Had the street been more frequented by cars, the temperature of the street would have been higher. He would not have died.

So in other words, had the environment been different, he would not have died.

The anthropic principle says the weather and Chicago have been designed to kill this homeless person. That's the anthropic principle.

This homeless person died because he found himself in a highly specific environment. Life emerged because the environment is as such as it is.

It's not that the environment was designed to yield life. It's that we are here because the environment is as it is.

It's not that the homeless guy died because someone designed the weather and the city to kill him. It's that he found himself in the city and in this weather, inclement weather, and so he died.

It's like reversing the horse and the coach. It's not that the universe was designed to give rise to you and me. You and me came into being because the universe is as it is.

Similarly, it's not that Chicago has been designed, the city of Chicago has been designed, and the weather had been manipulated by someone in order to kill the homeless guy. The homeless guy died because Chicago is Chicago and the weather is what it is.

The two are not connected. Life is not connected to the way the universe is by way of causation.

In other words, the universe was not put together in order to obtain any goal.

That's a common fallacy known as teleology. The bee doesn't go to the flower in order to pick pollen in order to make honey. The bee goes to the flower, she picks pollen, she makes honey. There's no conscious process in her mind. I'm going to do A in order to accomplish B, in order to conclude with C.

Things just are in nature. Things just happen. We are lucky in this sense that we live in a universe which had allowed life to emerge and to begin and to continue, but it could easily have been different. It could easily have been different, and the universe would have been indifferent to whether life emerges or doesn't. Life is just a phenomenon, exactly like the homeless. We are subject to the world. We don't shake the world, and the world was not created for us.

This is grandiosity. This is grandiosity, and the Bible is full of it.

All the animals were created for Adam and his kin. The world was created for humanity. We are masters of the world. We are the epicenter of the world. We are the crown of creation.

This is the typical delusional, sick, grandiose, insane thinking of religious people.

The anthropic principle gets it wrong because it assumes teleology. It assumes that A led to B because A was meant to lead to B.

But the truth is, there's A and there's B, and there's no connection between them.

The homeless guy died not because of the city of Chicago and not because of the weather was out to get him. He just died. The weather was just weather. It would have been the same weather had there not been a homeless guy. The city of Chicago was very indifferent to his death, I regret to say.

The next argument is that, by the authors, Geisler and Tuerk, is that life never arose spontaneously.

Life contains a message encoded in the DNA. They call it specified complexity and irreducible complexity.

Now, both these concepts have been debunked beyond any beginning of a doubt. They both contain serious thinking errors and mistakes which are like time bones. They destroy the concepts.

When you hear specified complexity and irreducible complexity, go online and read what many scientists have to say. These are nonsensical concepts. They're wrong. They're simply wrong.

I will not go into why they are wrong right now. There's enough material online.

But what I would like to discuss is the claim that life contains a message. There's a message there. Message is in the DNA.

And the second claim is that life did not arise spontaneously.

First of all, complexity is spontaneous. Anyone who's dealt with chemical compounds and solutions knows this to be true.

Beloous of Jabotinsky for the chemists among you. Complexity does arise very frequently, totally spontaneously. The same with evolution. Evolution continues and a lot of it is spontaneous. We have witnessed it to some extent with the unfortunate evolution of the COVID-19 virus.

Regrettably, most religious people deny that it exists.

Anyhow, complexity and evolution are spontaneous. Over time, order increases in localized areas.

In other words, there's a localized increase in order.

The authors keep saying, if we were to leave it to chance, if we were to leave it to spontaneity, nothing would have ever emerged because the universe goes from less entropy to more entropy. More order to less order. Less disorder to more disorder. Less chaos to more chaos. The universe deteriorates and degenerates with time.

So it would be unreasonable to expect that given time and given randomness, the universe would have yielded life.

But this is a misunderstanding of entropy. There could and are localized pockets where order increases. That's exactly how the galaxies formed. There were perturbations. There were little fluctuations, small fluctuations in the cosmic background radiation. And these fluctuations were enough to generate gravity. The gravity was enough to create the entire universe we see today.

So complexity and evolution are spontaneous. They do increase over time. They do create order. Negentropy is the physical term. Order does increase in localized pockets.

All this is true and negates everything the authors are saying. The current situation is the end point of complexity. And it did arise and does arise to this very day spontaneously millions of times a second.

So this is the first point they're getting wrong.

The second point they're getting wrong is they're confusing information with a message. The DNA, which is a molecule, includes information. There's no debate about this. It includes a lot of information. An amazing amount of information.

There was Dawkins, who is an atheist and a great believer in evolution, a scientist, biologist. Dawkins said that the typical information which codes for an amoeba would occupy 1,000 sets of the Encyclopedic of Britannica.

So DNA includes gigantic, incredibly enormous amounts of information. The DNA codes for the creation of proteins. It tells the cellular mechanisms how to generate proteins.

But this is not a message. A message is usually intended to convey information to an intelligent interlocutor or interceptor and very frequently in order to modify the recipient's behavior.

So a message is a goal, in many cases, not always, is a goal. And even if it does not have a goal, it is definitely intended to be intercepted and rigged. Even coded messages have recipients. And the change, the message that is supposed to change the recipient, is supposed to change behavior or mood or emotions. So a message is intended to induce change in a recipient or group of recipients and is intended to be intercepted by intelligence.

There's no message without intelligence. There's only information.

Now, the DNA is not intercepted by any intelligent structure or person or being or entity. It is intercepted by proteins. It results in more proteins. These are all non-intelligent objects, we all agree. Even Geisler and Turek would agree.

So the DNA is not a message. It's a code. Codes are not messages. The codes that run your laptop, your operating system, these are not messages. They're not meant for you. They may be messages on the machine-level language.

But there are definitely no messages as far as you're concerned. And even there, they're not really messages. They're more like triggers. They're more like triggers.

There's a clear distinction between messages and triggers. A message can trigger, but not every trigger is a message. Triggers and information manifest. They are translated, they are reified, and they are embedded in a context, in an environment.

It is the environment and the context that render the information of the DNA meaningful. All messages are meaningful everywhere. A message is meaningful, period. The Rosettaperiod.

The Rosetta Stone was meaningful two thousand years ago and became meaningful again when it was discovered by one of Napoleon's soldiers.

Messages have meaning. End of story. Information doesn't always have meaning. Information is meaningful only in specific environments and contexts.

So not all information is a message and the DNA is not a message. Most information is actually mindless. Most information is natural. Most information does not imply intelligence, nor does it require intelligence.

All messages are accessible to intelligence. But not all messages hail from intelligence.

For example, the Fibonacci series. The Fibonacci series appears to be a message of some kind. It's not only information because it embeds a rule of derivation.

So the Fibonacci sequence of Fibonacci series is a message, but it doesn't hail from intelligence because we find it in nature in many places. And you can't say that it hailed from God because the Fibonacci series manifests and is created all the time, even in totally new things like the stock exchange.

So information is mindless, natural, does not imply or require intelligence. All messages are accessible to intelligence, but not all of them come from intelligence or hail from intelligence.

There is a human fallacy, a human dysfunction, a human problem. It's not a problem because we all have it. It's called pareidolia, pareidolia in apophenia.

Pareidolia and apophenia is the tendency to find patterns, to find structure and order in totally meaningless data.

We get a lot of meaningless data and then we impose on the data some kind of order because our minds are built to detect structure, to introduce predictability and determinacy. It's very threatening to live in a world that is unpredictable, meaningless, makes no sense.

So our minds deceive us into believing that the world is structured somehow, does contain a message from someone.

But this is a fallacy. This is a cognitive distortion. It's wrong. It's delusional. It's not true. And God is a form, an extreme form of pareidolia and apophenia or actually apophenia. God is a mistake, a cognitive mistake, a cognitive distortion.

We have a gigantic enormous, ginormous amount of data and the only way to organize it, the only way to discern a counterfactual pattern, a pattern which is not real, is to assume the existence of God.

Intelligence is inferior to non-intelligence. That's a serious mistake the authors make.

They seem to believe that if you're intelligent, you are somehow superior. But that's not true. Intelligence is a subset of reality. It's a derivative. It's an afterthought. It's an epiphenomenon. It's an emergent phenomenon. It's nothing to write home about. It's just one feature and very often not a very critical feature of life, which in itself is one phenomenon among millions or billions or trillions of phenomena in the known world.

Again, this biblical grandiosity of life is the most important thing to have ever happened in the universe. Humans are the most important thing to have ever happened in life and intelligence is the most important thing to have ever happened to humans.

So this must be God in action. But intelligence is inferior to non-intelligence.

It is not superior. The Bible is grandiose and wrong on this.

The distinction between intelligence and non-intelligence in itself is spurious. It's wrong. It's anthropocentric. It reflects human limitations.

A virus contains intelligence, if we define intelligence in some ways. A virus acts very intelligently.

A virus lately, the last three years, defeated the best minds in the world and is still defeating them. That's a virus.

Do you know what a virus is? It's barely alive. It's nothing. It's a floating molecule. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't, of course, think anything. It doesn't have intelligence or anything. And yet it acts intelligently.

How do I know?

Because our intelligence can decipher what it's doing. The actions of the virus, the choices of the virus, the way the virus evolves resonate with our intelligence somehow.

The world, inanimate as it is, objectified as it is, the whole reality, the whole universe resonates with our intelligence.

There must be something in common between our intelligence and the world out there. Otherwise, we would not have been able to understand the world.

So maybe the distinction between intelligent and non-intelligent is very unintelligent. But even if there were such a distinction, even if for some reason we would insist that intelligence is phenomenologically distinguishable from the lack of intelligence, even if these were true, a lack of intelligence would be superior because this is the extensive parameter that characterizes 99.999999 percent of creation.

The overwhelming, vast, bulk majority of creation is definitely not intelligent.

And I have breaking news for you. It's doing very well. And I have even more breaking news for you. It may be doing much better than the human species with all its intelligence.

So what is this all brouhaha and hoopla about an intelligent creator? An intelligent designer would have been inferior, as we all know, because if we look at human design, it is incomplete and imperfect.

Stephen Jay Gould, the late biologist and paleontologist, Stephen Jay Gould wrote the book The Panda's Thumb to demonstrate how design could be imperfect.

And even if you disagree with his main thrust that the design of the Panda's Thumb is imperfect, maybe it is perfect, who knows, even if you disagree with this, clearly the world is not perfect.

Remember Adolf Hitler? And so the answer to this is we can't access God's mind. He has a plan for the world. And this plan is beyond that.

Well, if you can't access God's mind, what is it that you know about God? How do you know he exists?

The only way we know other things exist is through our minds. Anything not mediated through our minds does not exist. Even other people, we have something called the intersubjective agreement. We know that other people exist because they have minds.

If we have no access to God's mind, there is no God, end of story, because we have no other instrument to discern the existence of anything except our minds.

So it's a nonsensical, self-defeating claim. Design is not the same as intelligence.

Most design is totally non-intelligent, spontaneous, chemical, physical, not intelligent. Most design.

So we don't need an intelligent designer. You need a design process. Design process is an integral part of evolution.

Had the authors made the claim that evolution should be modified to reflect the centrality of design, I would be all with them and for them. There would have been a revolutionary change in the way we think about evolution.

Evolution does include some design, as any scientists will tell you, when he's drunk. There is a clear element of design.

However, the design is emergent. The design is a law of nature.

We tend to ignore design in evolution and the study of biology because we are terrified of the religious nutcases and Bible thumpers and Muslim fundamentalists. We're terrified of these people. They are wackos.

And so we prefer not to mention the word design because they have appropriated it and hijacked it.

But the truth is that the world is designed, it's not designed by someone, but includes design as an operating organizing principle.

But design is not the same as intelligence and does not come from intelligence in the vast majority of cases. And design is totally spontaneous. Information does not emerge from order.

Allo, Geisler, Toureg, basic arithmetic. Information does not emerge from order. Order and information are not the same. Information does not emerge from design and design does not reflect information, nor does it require information.

Iprove it to you immediately. Information emerges from irregularity, not from regularity and not from design necessarily.

Design can include information and a lot of information leads to design, but this is not a necessary condition.

Think about the following. Imagine that you have a series of six matches. There's a matchbox. You remember matchboxes? An old relic from my past. You have a matchbox. In the matchbox, there are six matches. You take them out and you arrange them in front of you and the distance between each match and his brother is the same. So you arrange the six matches equidistantly. They all maintain the same distance from each other.

What is the information contained in this configuration? Nothing. It contains no information.

There are six matches.

It may be a bit of information, but it's meaningless information. It leads nowhere. There's no dynamic there. It's static information.

Now, but before we proceed, you would agree that these six equidistant matches, these six matches which stand apart from each other at an equal distance, they represent regularity. You would agree with this. They represent order. They represent structure. However, they contain no information.

Now let's disrupt the regularity. Let's destroy the order. Let's attack the structure and see what happens.

Take the first match, put it aside, measure one millimeter, put two matches together, measure another millimeter and put three matches together. You still have six matches. One, distance, two together, distance, three together.

Now you have an irregular structure. You have a chaotic structure. There's no order. There's no regularity. One could even say there's no design if you wish, yet there's a lot of information. One match plus two matches equal three matches. One match plus two matches equal three matches.

Having disrupted the regularity, having destroyed the design, having undermined the structure, having moved from order to disorder, we suddenly extracted information from the matches. Suddenly there's a new statement about the world. One plus two equals three.

This is a critical mistake of the entire book. The authors misidentify intelligence with design. They misidentify order with intelligence. They misidentify order with information. They misidentify information with a message. They misidentify message with intelligence.

Let me say some bloody mess. They make a mess out of all these very critical primary concepts.

Another argument the authors make is that everything that becomes has a cause. There's no becoming without a cause.

But again, the authors are confused and confuse their readers. What they confuse this time is antecedents. Antecedents and ancestors are not causes. Correlation is not causation. I repeat that something had preceded something does not mean that it had caused it. Even if it had caused it, it had caused it by way of being an ancestor. So antecedents are not causes.

Even if you adopt the belief because it's faith, this statement is not scientifically just statement of faith.

The authors say that the statement everything that becomes has a cause is a scientific statement because you would be hard pressed to observe something that becomes without a cause. This is the classical inductive fallacy and it's known as the black swan fallacy. If you see a billion white swans, it doesn't mean there's no black swan. And also there's an issue of falsifiability. We're not going to it right now. Even if you do accept that everything that becomes is a cause, immediately you have to ask what caused God to create everything and us.

The authors have an easy way out. They say God is not subject to causes. God is the prime cause, prima causa. God is the prime mover. And so God doesn't need to answer this question. Nothing caused him to do this.

But of course, as you continue to read the book, God loves you. God plans to do something. God designs. Design is absolutely involved. Design absolutely involves intentionality, causation, predicting the future.

While they claim that God is exempt from human constraints and natural constraints, such as the need to cause and to be caused, they talk about God as if he were a friend down the road waiting for them in a pub.

If you reduce God to the level of a designer, you are demeaning, demeaning God. Even if you believe that God exists, which in itself is a form of mental illness and delusion, at least be consistent. If God exists, he doesn't love anyone. If God exists, he doesn't need anyone. If God exists, he doesn't want anything or anyone.

Because if you love someone, if you need something, if you want something or someone, it means you are imperfect. It means there's something outside you. It means that you have a relationship with something that completes you somehow.

If you say that God is a designer, if you say that God is a designer, it involves premeditation, deliberation, planning and causation. What caused God to design, to create everything, to create us?

It assumes an internal process of some kind. This is anthropomorphism.

God is not human and is not accessible to humans. You can't project your mind on God. God cannot do or does not do. He does not do, period, and he does not definitely do anything you do.

This is the problem. This is why I'm an agnostic.

An agnostic realizes that human minds, even if God were to exist, could never grasp God or any aspect of God. End of story. Anything human beings say about God is trash, nonsense, and has nothing to do with a God if he does exist.

Agnosticism is the only rational attitude to God. We are finite creatures. We have nothing in common with God. Nothing. There is nothing we can learn about God. Nothing we can prove. Nothing we can study. Nothing we can guess or speculate.

It's all mumbo jumbo.

The authors say that naturalism and spirituality are mutually exclusive. Spirituality is how we experience. Spirituality is how we structure our inner experience of material processes and objects known as reality. Spirituality, introspection, the mind, consciousness, these are just names we give to how we feel our own existence, how we experience our being.

It's a convoluted topic, and I recommend that you watch my conversations with Benny Hendo.

But to say that nature and spirituality are divorced, that they are mutually exclusive somehow, that's the greatest blasphemy I ever heard.

That is to deny a unitary God. That is to deny a God that has any relationship whatsoever with his creation, however remote, whether theistic or pantheistic.

Spirituality is integrated. If it does exist, and I claim that it does not, I claim it's merely a name we give to our internal experience, but if it does exist, spirituality must by definition be integrated in the world, be part of the world, interact with the world, because God had created for us a unitary universe. God has made us a part of the universe, not the masters of the universe.

To say that we are the masters of the universe because we have intelligence and experience and have spirituality is to be, that's an argument that befits a 12-year-old who has just watched Star Trek or Star Wars. It's puerile, it's infantile, it's childish, and it's utterly idiotic and indefensible. Phew, that was a long rant. Don't get me going.

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