Sunday, November 23, 2014

Google Hangout - Brendan vs A Deist

Click here for video
Update: This comment made by someone in the comment section of the video sums up well the dishonest fallacy / tactic Matteo used:

"Snow Job: The fallacy of “proving” a claim by overwhelming an audience with mountains of irrelevant facts, numbers, documents, graphs and statistics that they cannot be expected to understand."

Today I hosted my first ever Google Hangout. The discussion was between myself and Matteo - a deist. I'd be interested to hear any feedback on the things we discussed. Also if you have any advice about some of the technical issues we had then please let me know how I can fix those the next time I host a hangout.

I think that I did a reasonably good job at exposing some of the absurdities of Matteo's worldview, and at showing why the biblical worldview is reasonable and provides a foundation for logic and knowledge. I was surprised that he denied the law of non-contradiction (which he seems to not understand - the law of non-contradiction is that something cannot be X and not X at THE SAME TIME AND IN THE SAME WAY - the examples he gave were not contradicting anything at the same time and in the same way). He spent a considerable amount of time arguing as to why logical impossibilities are actually possible. If that's not absurd then I don't know what is. In relation to this Matteo brought up the topic of Quantum Mechanics - to which I referred to the blog I wrote on this topic - Quantum Madness. According to Matteo Quantum Mechanics throws the idea of absolute truth out the window. (Is that absolutely true?!)

Another absurd thing was that at around the 15:50 mark Matteo rejects the idea of certain knowledge and absolute truth:

Matteo: "My point is, something like absolute truth, unless you are ok with getting there asymptotically, it's meaningless because it doesn't do anything for you. It doesn't do any work. It doesn't produce any results."

Me: "Is it absolutely true that absolute truth is meaningless?"

Matteo: "That's a very good question. Maybe one day we'll figure it out. For now I'm going to say the amount of precision, the closer I get to absolute truth about, again, how tall you are for example, the less I care."

To reject absolute truth is to make an absolute truth claim - which is why he had no real answer to my question about this. Absolute truth cannot be found via science - but in order to even begin to do science you must operate as if absolute truth exists, otherwise you'd have no reason to expect the scientific method to be a workable method. It is absolutely true that we can do experiments and expect consistent results when repeating the exact same experiments. This is possible because God exists and we all know it. We are hardwired to assume that our senses and reasoning are reliable, and that nature is generally uniform.

We discussed "Young Earth Creationism" for a while, and I tried to explain that if God did make a miraculous and mature creation in 6 days thousands of years ago and not millions of years ago, scientists would have no way of knowing this unless they accepted the truth of God's word. Matteo argued that this would be deceptive of God - but this is not deceptive of God because he has clearly told us that he made a mature creation - it is deceptive of modern secular scientists who present evolution, the Big Bang theory, and deep time as if it were a fact and in the process deliberately reject the possibility that God exists and made everything as he told us in the Bible. Even without the Bible's record - the idea that the earth is billions of years old is not something that we intuit from creation - it is something that must be learned from secular science.

I was also surprised that he argued that Creationists deny the law of gravity - which is just not true. That is why I tried to explain the difference between observational science and forensic science - forensic science is the kind of science they do in CSI - and they have to make A LOT of assumptions - even more so when it comes to origins science that is dealing with things that happened in the distant past.
It's not science -
And if I hadn't been interrupted or had more time I would have liked to show how biblical Christianity alone provides a basis for science - and I would have asked him to account for the uniformity of nature without the biblical God - something that he would not have been able to do.
This is the atheist problem of induction - but as a deist Matteo has the same problem because he does not believe that God is active today.

Matteo admitted that he has no way of knowing if we are in the Matrix or not and argued that this is highly possible. He also admitted that he doesn't know if his reasoning is valid, and he had no answer to how he knows his reasoning is reliable to any degree other than that it works - which I pointed out is logically fallacious.

Towards the end of our discussion the issue of 'turning the other cheek' came up. Here is a link that supports what I said about that - The True Meaning of Turn the Other Cheek. See also 'What did Jesus mean when he instructed us to turn the other cheek?'

One of the things too that I didn't challenge Matteo on that in hindsight would have been good to discuss is the issue of empiricism - his worldview seems to be assuming that the best way to know things is via the empirical method - repeated scientific testing - but the belief that 'the best way to know things is via empirical testing' is itself not empirically testable, and it is therefore self-refuting. He is arbitrarily assuming that this is the best way to know things, because it seems to work, but as I pointed out - this is not a totally reliable way of knowing things.

At the end of the day, the problem with Matteo's deistic worldview is that it provides no basis for knowledge. It provides a nebulous and distant creator, without the moral accountability of the biblical God. Because deists reject the Bible as their ultimate authority they abandon the grounds for actual knowledge. Because of that they cannot really know anything, and their worldview shares the same kinds of problems that professed atheists have.

By challenging Matteo's basis for knowledge I was trying to expose the fact that he does know God but is suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1). While everyone we talk to has differing beliefs and worldviews, at the core of things there really are only two basic worldviews - 'God' and 'not God'. It's either God or Absurdity. (See Either a person has a worldview that starts with the biblical God and His Word, or their worldview cannot get off the ground without borrowing from the biblical worldview where rationally, logic, and truth can be accounted for.

Further Reading / Research:


  1. About the gravity part, here's the link: About the gravity part, here's the link:

    1. I watched the video you've provided as well as part 2 and I see now what you are saying - you are referring to gravity on a universal scale - rather than gravity on earth. If you are interested in this topic then I'd encourage you to refer to creationist PhD astronomers Jason Lisle and Danny Faulkner. Danny Faulkner in particular has helped me understand these issues better and has proposed the dasha solution. This comes from the Hebrew word dasha which means sprout and is used in reference to the sprouting of trees in Genesis. Most creationists do not dispute the immense size of the universe - that is pretty solid operational science. What creationists do dispute is that we are right to assume that the speed of light has always been constant. Even the big bang has a much faster than the speed of light expansion of the early universe - so it's hypocritical to mock creationists for believing in a much faster speed of light at some time in the past during the creation week. Basically your argument is that an all powerful God couldn't make the speed of light much faster - i.e. an all powerful God could not have the power to do something. This is not deceptive of God because it's only been in modern times that we've known about the great size of the universe, and God has made it clear in the Bible that he made a mature and fully formed universe. The dasha solution is also different from the light in transit model - which suffers from the charge of being deceptive. The light was not created in transit - the speed of light was just much faster during the creation week - this does not deny the laws of physics because the laws of physics would not have been finalized until the end of the creation week. Creationists cannot believe that the universe is only 6,000 light years in radius because stars would have been fully visible by the end of the creation week to serve as signs marking important days and years as the Bible says in Genesis 1.

    2. Just to clarify - I'm not saying that you are mocking creationists - I was referring to the mocking of YECs in the video.

  2. Watch the whole thing as to why changing the speed of light abruptly is a Bad IDea.

    1. I've already watched 20 minutes of it - enough to know that it's a load of nonsense and is assuming that during the creation week miracles were not possible. Anyway - how can anything be a bad idea if you don't believe in absolute truth, can't know that we aren't in the Matrix, and deny the absolute nature of the law of non-contradiction? Your whole worldview is assuming that the best way to know things is via empirical testing - but how do you know that given that that idea cannot be empirically tested? There is much more to life than science - you know with certainty that God exists, but because you are holding to a deistic and distant god you have no way of knowing anything.

  3. To presuppose god you must first presuppose reality, then the laws of logic. As he showed you in the video as humans we don't really deal in absolutes. I think that's the point he is trying to get to you. Asserting you have a foundation for these absolutes that is NOT reality is incorrect.

    1. Christians don't presuppose reality - we presuppose God, and that gives us a foundation for reality, logic, truth etc. Is it absolutely true that we don't deal in absolutes?