REPLY #59b TO|
Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).
This is the second of a three-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
So, something becomes valid based solely on the number of books that are
written about it? I guess that means that the starship Enterprise exists,
(R) I didn't say that, nor would I even consider such a thing. I've
already clearly stated that just because 95 percent of the world's population
believes in God in one form or another doesn't prove He in fact exists.
(MB) Actually, you've gone both ways on that one depending
on the argument you're trying to put over.
(R) But what's being discussed here is your assertion that the evidence for
God's existence is contained in a single book. Now that this obviously
ridiculous idea has been refuted, you're attempting to change the subject to
keep from admitting you're wrong. As usual, I might add.
(MB) No need to change the subject since the one at hand
is sufficient to prove my case. As usual, I might add. If you seek to dispute
that the evidence for God's existence is contained in a single book, where else
is it? You've already said that there is none to be found. Are you going to
waffle on this, too? As usual, I might add.
Also, a book doesn't have to be presented as fiction in order to be
rather dubious in nature. The philosophical works of L. Ron Hubbard are a prime
(R) I'm unfamiliar with his philosophy – the only thing I've ever read of
his is "Battlefield Earth," which I enjoyed. I don't know if his philosophy is
dubious or not. But you're absolutely right when you say that just because
something is presented as non-fiction doesn't mean it's correct. I've read much
on the Pearl Harbor attack for example, or the bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, which fall into this category.
(MB) My point all along. That's why I draw the dividing
line between "fiction" and "non-fiction" where the evidence supports it.
Arbitrary literary terminology plays no part in that determination.
(R) The difference between non-fiction and fiction is that the non-fictional
writer claims his work to be true, whereas the author of a fictional work makes
no such claim and questions of the truth of his work are a given.
(MB) See above...
In a way, they are similar. Both are compilations of the ideas of their
respective disciplines along with added contributions of the authors. The
difference is that physics still exists in its modern form without Principe to
support it, while the God theory does not exist in its modern form without the
Bible to support it.
(R) Physics isn't based on "Principe." "Principe" is based on physics.
Belief in God has always existed, without support from the Bible, just as the
laws of physics have always applied, even before there were human beings to
wonder about them.
(MB) Agreed. But, I think you've missed my point again.
Nobody has to depend primarily upon Newton's Principia Mathematica to justify
physics. However, there is nothing *but* the Bible to use to uphold a belief in
God. If you don't believe it, try to find any apologetic work or other
Christian text that doesn't quote heavily from Scripture in order to make its
case. Of course, this all devolves into circular reasoning as those works are
using the Bible to verify what the Bible says.
(R) Most Christians use the Bible for personal study and
(MB) And most have absolutely no idea what's really
contained within it. They rely on what "study guides" and urban myths tell them
about it. How can that provide any sort of "revelation"?
(R) ...and depend on sources in addition to it as support for their belief
(MB) Such as? What other source(s) can be upheld as
authoritative and do not rely on the Bible for support?
(R) When you insist the Bible is the only source of support for God, you
only display the shallowness of your thinking on the subject.
(MB) On the contrary, I display an understanding of the
general state of Christian belief and the obvious fact that the Bible is the
only authoritative and non-derivative book detailing the stories of God and
Jesus. To prove me wrong will require you to list at least one other qualifying
(R) I recommend you check out the writings of Frank Tippler.
(MB) Tipler (just one 'p') is probably best known for "The
Physics of Immortality". I've not read the book, but I understand that his
premise has not received much support. Select the provided link to read an
[extensive critique] of his universal resurrection theory.
That is why you have quoted Bible verses in previous arguments?
(R) The only time I have quoted the Bible is when you've made statements
specifically about Christianity or the Bible which have been error.
(MB) Since you have yet to show any such errors, your
claim is false. In addition, it proves that you do quote the Bible to support
your beliefs. It also raises a question about why you would wish to divorce
your beliefs from what is written in the Bible and, as a consequence, who or
what you turn to for support for those beliefs that anyone else could consider
to be compelling and/or authoritative.
(R) And in all cases, you are the one who broached the subject. As I've
noted before, you seem to be particularly interested in attacking
(MB) Since you are a Christian and worship the Christian
God, this would seem to be a subject of common interest about which to debate.
If you can't defend your own beliefs successfully, why bother debating any
Since there is nothing else with which to support the existence of God,
one must turn to the book in which he was invented -- the Bible.
(R) God was not invented in the Bible. Beliefs about God predate any
documents, of any type, anywhere, by thousands of years. Just as the practice
of agriculture predates any written record we have of it, belief in God predates
the manuscripts which became the Bible.
(MB) OK, then let's restate it. Since there is nothing
else with which to support the existence of God, one must turn to the book in
which Man's invention of God was codified -- the Bible. Better? Now, can you
address the point directly?
Since the Bible also contains the basis upon which Judaism and
Christianity are formed, it is necessary to examine its contents.
(R) This I will agree with, at least in part. The Bible is the source
document for Christianity and any discussion of Christianity should include a
discussion of it. However, we're not discussing Christianity, are we? We're
arguing about the existence of God, though you are attempting to limit the
discussion to Christianity.
(MB) This has already been addressed several times. There
is no possible way, given your own statements (which I have previously
documented), that we are discussing anything other than Christianity and its
God. Now, can you quit waffling and begin to answer questions?
Since those same religions also claim that the Bible is the inspired
Word of God, one could reasonably expect it to provide support for his
(R) Curious statement. I'm not at all sure what Jews believe in this
(MB) Surely, you jest. Find me a Jew who doesn't believe
that the Bible supports the existence of God. Unless, of course, you want to
claim that Jews all believe that the Bible is nothing more than a good story in
which "God" is just the lead character.
(R) Some Protestants adamantly insist the Bible is inerrant, but many others
aren't as inflexible on the subject, and neither are lots of Catholics.
(MB) Inerrancy has absolutely nothing to do with whether
or not the Bible supports God's existence. If the Bible doesn't, what
(R) Interestingly, there is very little Biblical support for inerrancy.
Neither does the Bible go into in depth proofs of God's existence. The
existence of God is assumed.
(MB) Isn't that a rather large assumption to make? If the
assumption isn't true, no argument or conclusion which derives from it can be
true. The Bible says many things about the nature of God. It doesn't "assume"
he exists -- it *knows* he exists. There is no need for in-depth proofs when
the book is written for an audience who already believes.
I'm just trying to see if you really believe your own arguments. Just
because the work in which Harvey appears is classified as fiction does not mean
all elements contained within the work are also fictional. You have made this
point yourself. Do you stand by it?
(R) Yes. To reiterate, fiction is often based on non-fictional persons,
places, things or events.
(MB) So, then, you must accept the possibility that Harvey
is real. Remember, it is the book itself that is "fiction" and not necessarily
every character or event contained within it.
How does one judge which elements of a story are fictional or
non-fictional? You need independent evidence! Without such evidence, any given
elements contained within the story are suspect.
(R) You do exactly the same thing when reading non-fiction. You use your
own experiences, knowledge of the subject derived from other sources, and the
author's footnotes and references to judge what is right or wrong, true or
false, real or unreal.
(MB) Absolutely! This is what I've been stating all
along. Maybe now, you're beginning to understand! Now, why can't you apply
this same level of judgment to stories about God instead of just presupposing
that they are all true?
(R) This does not change the fact that by classifying a work as fiction, an
author is stating, "I made this up. These people, places, things, and events
are not real." Even the non-fictional elements of a fictional work cannot be
said to be real. They are merely based on reality.
(MB) Which still means that Harvey could be based on
something real if his actual character is not. Once again, we must use
independent evidence to make that determination and not just the author's
(R) In "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" both FDR and Churchill
are major characters. Wouk does a fine job of presenting them in an
historically accurate fashion. But the characterizations of these two men in
the novels cannot be considered any more real than that of Victor Henry. I
can't say, "FDR did such and such," or, "Churchill said so and so," based on
Wouk's novels. And I can't say Harvey exists based on a fictional story about
(MB) But, neither can you say that Harvey does *not* exist
any more than you could claim that neither FDR nor Churchill actually existed.
Once again, by your own arguments, you must accept the possibility that Harvey
They aren't considered non-fictional simply because nobody can prove
(R) You keep returning to the idea that I'm arguing God exists simply
because no one can prove He doesn't. I'm not. That would be aurgumentum ad
ignorantiam, in exactly the same manner as is the argument God doesn't exist
because no one can prove He does.
(MB) But, this is exactly what you *do* argue! I ask you
to support your belief in the existence of God and you always answer that you
support it because nobody can prove your belief to be wrong. I agree that this
is a classic example of an Argument from Ignorance, but that doesn't seem to bother you in the
slightest. You steadfastly maintain your belief on that basis and continue to
claim that it is valid despite all basic logic and philosophy to the
(R) No one can prove God exists.
(MB) Quite correct.
(R) No one can prove He does not.
(MB) Not necessary since the positive existential claim
bears the burden of proof. However, it can be strongly suggested that your God
does not exist by refuting any claims about his nature and showing how his
existence is not required in order to produce Life, the Universe, and Everything
as we observe it to be.
(R) There is nothing but circumstantial evidence to indicate one way or the
(MB) There is *no* evidence to indicate that he exists --
you have agreed with that. But, since that claim bears the burden of proof, the
total absence of evidence indicates that skepticism or non-belief is the more
(R) It is just as rational to believe He does as to believe He
(MB) See above...
(R) The same cannot be said of Harvey. Harvey is fictional and does not
exist by definition.
(MB) We've already covered the fallacy inherent in that
(R) He has no potential for existence unless the film's screenwriter or
writers claim their work as non-fiction, and state an invisible, six-foot tall,
white rabbit actually exists.
(MB) We've also covered this one. The author's say-so is
not the final word on the matter. Consider the possibility that the film's
screenwriter doesn't want you to believe that Harvey is real. So, he tells you
he made him up when Harvey actually does exist. Now, you'd have a real entity
that you will defend to the death as being "fiction". Because this possibility
exists, your reasoning is insufficient.
If I say that Man created God in his own image and likeness, can you
prove me wrong?
(R) No. But can you prove it right?
(MB) Of course. Just read the stories in the Bible. If
they are all taken to be true, God can't possibly exist because of all the
paradoxes and contradictions in them. If he doesn't exist, then Man created him
in the stories. If the stories can not be taken as true, then the Bible is
essentially worthless and its feature character can accurately be described as a
fictional character in a fictional tale. Once again, Man creates God. How
would you defend the opposite assertion that God is real?
(R) And if I say mankind's belief in God in one form or another since the
dawn of recorded history is so widespread and universally prevalent that God
must exist in order to explain it, can you prove me wrong? (As far as that
goes, can I prove it right?)
(MB) I can show the logic in the argument to be fallacious
and this will cast strong doubts upon the premise being defended. Your argument
is merely another derivative of the fallacy that a proposition is true because
lots of people believe it to be true. In addition, you can't say that the view
is widespread because, while many people believe in the supernatural, there are
simply far too many conflicting versions to claim that any of them is valid or
call them "universally prevalent" because you haven't sampled anywhere else in
the universe. Finally, people have believed in many things since the first cave
man picked up a rock and the vast majority of those things have been shown to be
wrong as our understanding has increased. Why shouldn't belief in supernatural
deities be another one of those things?
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