Just don’t think about it: A response


You have met Debilis, our resident apologist whose main occupation is either to attack the claims of materialism or New Atheists without supporting his claims. To engage with him on his posts is usually a slippery affair because one can hardly ever pin point what it is he is defending. Having said that, let us look at this post.

There seem to be two basic explanations for the origin of all physical reality (i.e. the universe):

1. God caused it
2. There is no explanation

He starts with a fallacy of false dilemma, one has to choose either of the two of answers. He is led to this problem by assuming that the sum of all reality must have a beginning. Once on the path he has taken, to get out of it, one has to resort either to superstition or consult reason on his path.

After leading himself on this erroneous path, he creates a strawman. He writes

 in that those making the accusation are generally of the position that “there is no explanation” or “we don’t know, and should therefore change the subject” is the correct answer to this issue.

I don’t know who he has his discussions with, but so far as I can tell, I haven’t met anyone who says there is no explanation or let us change the subject and I think it would only be fair that he provides such links if this discussions are online. But if it just making baseless claims, he can go ahead as this seems to be what he excels in, any way! While at it though, I don’t see anything wrong with saying we can’t know whether the universe had a beginning or if it has existed eternally. We can hypothesize based on the current knowledge as to what could have brought the universe and all that it encompasses into being.

Please tell me, how does positing god did it answer the question he posed? I have said before and I will say again that god is a vague a word without meaning. It’s origin is in the depths of man’s ignorance when he attributed to causes inimical to his state phantoms he called ghosts and those causes that were beneficial he attributed to gods. To therefore make a claim

“God caused it” is not a halt to inquiry at all.

And say it doesn’t halt inquiry is to be intellectually dishonest. It is to ascribe natural causes to phantoms and chimeras that man created out of ignorance and perpetuated through force and violence.

 To insist that all explanation is scientific is to embrace materialism, which presumes that God does not exist. To use this as an argument against God, then, is wholly circular.

Am waiting to be shown how the claims of materialism is circular. In fact, I would want to be told what the author understands by science and why it is wrong to embrace materialism. I would also like to be told what is meant by god and why this author thinks it is necessary that such beings exist.

To accuse others of a cop-out for demanding explanations or definition of terms is simply dishonest. Our author writes

I’ve even been told that God is a vague concept. I think this is mostly owing to our current poverty in theology (to which I cannot claim to be immune). The idea of God has been discussed, defined, argued over, and refined for millennia, to say that this is a vague answer or a “semantic cop-out” is simply to announce one’s own ignorance of the history of western academics.

Correct me where am wrong. Theology simply is the study of the attributes of god. I want to be told since Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas, Avicenna, Tertullian, Clement, and other church doctors, what have we learnt of the nature of this supposed god whose existence we are told is necessary? To say that those of us who dismiss theology exhibit a poverty in the same borders on the ridiculous especially if the person making such a claim does not go ahead to define what they mean by the word god.

How did God cause the universe? 
What does that say about his traits?
Has he created other universes?

Dear reader, tell me how any of these questions can shed some light on the question of the existence of the universe? In the bible, which I believe is the source from which Debilis draws his ideas of god, we are told in Genesis 1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.[KJV]

We are unable to learn anything about how this creation was achieved. No matter how long we spend meditating on this particular passage, we shall forever be in darkness with regard to the question. This passage also confounds matters because it doesn’t tell us why there needed to be a beginning in the first place.

I contend in conclusion, contrary to what the author is arguing, that positing a god as an explanation is to confound matters. It is to create roadblocks on the path of honest inquiry. It is to ascribe to causes natural, immaterial origins, it is to suppose phantoms are responsible for the laws of nature. It doesn’t contribute to knowledge. And one must first define god without contradictions and use of words that are devoid of meaning to even continue on such a path.

I end this post with a quote  of W. K Clifford where he admonishes those who hold onto beliefs taught to them in their childhood even in the face of evidence to the contrary. He writes

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it- the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.

 

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

73 thoughts on “Just don’t think about it: A response

  1. john zande says:

    I like your observation: why there needed to be a beginning in the first place. Excellent question. What, precisely, was begun? If the natural laws come from god, then those laws were already in existence. So, what began, and why?

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    • makagutu says:

      He assumes there was a beginning, doesn’t tell why there has to be a beginning then ends by telling us a phantom was responsible for it!
      If he posits god to have done it, he will then have to tell us why god had to bring the universe into existence

      Like

  2. lexborgia says:

    Blame the Persians, they started it all anyway: Zaroaster. He started unified Religion i.e monotheism by unifying all Gods and propagating ‘good force vs evil force, and similar to today, he needed the State (Achaemenid/Sassanid Empire) to decree and enforce his concept as Mainstream belief. While you’re at, remind these idiots that the Devil is in fact none other than Pan the Party God i.e ‘the Devil is in reality symbolic of a good time: sex, drugs+rocknroll. Jews, Christians, Muslims, whose your Daddy? The Persians are.
    These People have absolutely no idea where their beliefs came from; It’s very entertaining watching them roll and revel in ignorance(is bliss).

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I think most people don’t bother with finding out the history or sources of the things they believe. The pastor has said and the pastor must know and that is where they stop.

      Like

  3. pinkagendist says:

    I don’t know how you have the patience to deal with things like this…

    Like

  4. Arkenaten says:

    LOL that was a fun post for me…yours, not his.
    I kept asking him the same question. He is a wanker who seems to be reluctant to reveal his ulterior, christian – motives.

    Nice read.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Thanks for the compliments.

      I find him annoying to engage with. He has erected so many strawmen of atheists and materialists, whoever they are, that he sees reality on through the lens of his creations.

      Like

  5. paarsurrey says:

    I quote:
    “Please tell me, how does positing god did it answer the question he posed?”

    The one true “God did it” in a sense is a summary for all the stages that took place after when He commanded the words “to be”; for an ordinary man in the street who has minimum interest in the scientific details.

    Debilis writes with good reasons.

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  6. paarsurrey says:

    Quoting the words:
    “god is a vague a word without meaning”.

    The replace “God” with Allah. Please

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    • makagutu says:

      This is my blog I choose what title to use for phantoms, but if replacing one s/h/it with another is your fancy, how does changing my post to read Jupiter or Osiris or Krishna change the argument?

      Like

    • john zande says:

      What a patently retarded request. You, sir, an obtuse asshole.

      Like

      • paarsurrey says:

        So you mean that you don’t have real reason to offer; I gather from you words.

        I think you will agree with me. Do you?

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        • makagutu says:

          What reason was there to be offered? You asked I replace on s/h/it with another! What kind of response do you want? And now you get to tell me what words a humanist should use when talking about phantoms, ghosts and genii? You are quite funny I must tell you that 😛

          Like

        • john zande says:

          Scroll down on the link. you’ll see the verse of the Night Journey and Mo riding the winged horse. I’m amazed that you don’t seem to know this story… Are you really a muslim?

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          • paarsurrey says:

            There is a mention of night journey of Muhammad; but neither winged horse is mentioned there nor Jerusalem is mentioned there.

            I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslims

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          • john zande says:

            “The angel led Muhammad to a white horse-like creature which was taller than a mule but shorter than a horse with WINGS attached at its thighs. This heavenly creature had carried other prophets, including Ibrahim , and was the buraq or spirit horse (heavenly creature). Muhammad mounted it and it carried him high onto the sky.”

            Yeah, no mention at all.

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          • paarsurrey says:

            This passage or information is not in Quran.
            Somebody’s opinion.

            I don’t have to believe in.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Am not an authority on BS such as this but lets hear what your friends in faith got to say about the whole story and I already know you will say it’s their opinion so just pass it, no need to repeat it here!Here, in 17:1 of the Koran, we have a mention of him being taken from one mosque to another, here are hadiths developing the story which has been collected by a christian, don’t you just love it when each person says my god is bigger than your god change camp? this is not relevant to the present discussion but I thought you may enjoy reading it[ I gave it up, too long and of course not very interesting], this is of course too long but I thought you may enjoy it too and please share with me what is written therein :-P, I didn’t have time to read all of this but it is related to flying horses, your fancy I guess,and am sure you have read the Wikipedia entry so I don’t have to bring that to your knowledge.
            I hope to hear from you soon, until then may your god be with you.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            John, I just responded to his response to you and there are some very interesting links I have collected.

            Like

  7. paarsurrey says:

    Quoting the words:
    ““God caused it” is not a halt to inquiry at all.

    And say it doesn’t halt inquiry is to be intellectually dishonest.”

    There is no dishonesty in it; as I wrote earlier it is in a sense a brief reply to an ordinary person who has least interest and no capacity to understand all the scientific details. Even if somebody tells such persons the details; they cannot understand them; it is beyond their comprehension.

    Like

  8. paarsurrey says:

    Quoting the words:
    “claims of materialism is circular”
    They remain within the circle of matter; can’t look beyond it; while reality is not limited within the matter or the physical.
    Their vision is limited within matter.; they should broaden their vision, in my opinion.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Please indulge me, let us for a moment grant there is more beyond matter, could you describe to me how this beyond matter is and how you came to know about it. Am patient so am gonna wait 😛

      Like

      • paarsurrey says:

        Patience is a good trait for a Humanist.
        I already mentioned that ethical, moral, and spiritual realms are beyond the domains of physical and material.
        We just to have to see to start with; is there anything beyond the material and the physical?
        What is your answer to it?
        Thanks

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          Moral and ethical are not beyond material. Spiritual is a word without meaning. It is to think of man as a duality when he is just the thinking animal. It is here where you depart from reality.
          Well, whenever I look around me, all I see are material or something that acts on a material thing. I don’t see air, but I see its effects on plants. Nothing immaterial unless you know of something that I don’t know.
          You still haven’t shown what are these you consider immaterial

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          • paarsurrey says:

            Quoting your words:

            “Moral and ethical are not beyond material.”

            Have you seen the Morality and Ethics?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Very well, morals and ethics are human constructs. They exist nowhere except in the mind if that is what you mean but they have material effects. If I hit you feel pain and then you will say my hitting you is immoral.

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            So you can believe things that you have not seen and can never see materially and physically in your life. Why? Please

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          • makagutu says:

            Did you just read the last response? I have little patience for stupid.
            I have said morals are human constructs and are useful for interaction between thinking beings.

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            So things that cannot be seen yet have material effects on us.
            We don’t see any “pain” physically and materially; yet we believe it since we feel them.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Now you understand why I have no patience for stupid? It appears you only have one sense, that of sight, so that touch, auditory, olfactory and taste do not exist in your world! How obtuse are you really?

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            It is not me; I think you are defining those who don’t believe in God as they insist only believing that which is material and physical; not beyond that.
            Please correct me if I am wrong?

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          • paarsurrey says:

            Can you please define a “line”?
            Have you ever seen a line?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I said I was patient, but I lied, I have no patience for stupid. A line I can draw on any piece of paper, unless you by a line something different!

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            Sorry for the question that made you impatient.

            A line:

            · is straight (no curves),
            · has no thickness, and
            · extends in both directions without end (infinitely).
            http://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/line.html

            I think now you can understand that one cannot see or draw a line strictly speaking; yet one believes it. Don’t you believe in a line that you cannot see?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            noun
            1.a mark or stroke long in proportion to its breadth, made with a pen, pencil, tool, etc., on a surface: a line down the middle of the page.
            2.Mathematics . a continuous extent of length, straight or curved, without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point.
            3.something arranged along a line, especially a straight line; a row or series: a line of trees.
            4.a number of persons standing one behind the other and waiting their turns at or for something; queue.
            5.something resembling a traced line, as a band of color, a seam, or a furrow: lines of stratification in rock.

            Tell me, if definition is not correct, before you can tell me I can’t draw a line. So I believe in the line that I can draw that links point A and B.

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            Taking you words:
            “2.Mathematics . a continuous extent of length, straight or curved, without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point.”

            I don’t think one can draw a line that does not have breadth or thickness.

            Can you? Does such a line exist?

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            Now don’t be impatient; be a good humanist.
            Can you please define a “point” as mentioned by you.
            These are innocent questions; don’t harm anybody.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I want us to play two games. The first, I want you to shake your head, while doing so ensure there is no noise from any external source, tell me if you hear anything.
            The second game, take a blank sheet of paper, take an ink pen, I hope you have one, on one end mark A, that will represent point A, mark B some distance, at leat 10cm from A, then take a straight edge join the two letters we marked then tell me what was that you drew?
            And on the question you asked, last I checked, you are using the internet, it has wikipedia, Merriam Webster, Dictionary.com, mathisfun and choose your fancy. Now should you come back here and ask a question in this line to waste my time, I am going to let have all the fun 😛

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            Taking you words:
            “Moral and ethical are not beyond material”
            You will agree that material and physical come in the domain of science and scientific method. Would you kindly give a reference of a text book of science which deals in the moral and ethical; it measures its weight and other dimension.
            Now please don’t be angry; a humanist has to remain humane all the time.
            You can revise your statements all the time.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Don’t tell me not to be angry! I already said I have limited time for stupidity. From the same paragraph or an earlier one, I said morals are human constructs. They don’t make sense out of human relations or rather relationships between beings disposed in some manner. If you want a book that weighs morals, maybe you could write one. If you are going to engage with me by asking stupid questions, then you better look some place else.

            I have told you countless times, that morals or rather whatever we call morals have effects that we can experience. If you dispute this I want to know why. And take note, if you are going to ask me a stupid question, don’t bother, if you are going to ask me a question like any of the ones you have been asking, don’t bother and lastly is your answer is going to be anything in the line allah has said, sod off!

            Like

  9. paarsurrey says:

    I would like to say that the conclusions drawn are not correct.
    The Word Revealed is intended for guidance of man in ethical, moral and spiritual realms. Bible is not in its original text; the debris of time has added much to it and with translation after translation the original meanings have been lost to much extent.

    Anyway it was not intended as a text book of science; and those who want to take it as such are wrong.
    The founders of religions like Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad were practical men; they remained committed to the cause they were sent with from the one true God for uplift of human beings in ethical, moral and spiritual domains.
    They never uttered a word even against science or the scientists; that is a separate field dealing in the material and physical things; they left it open for those who were dealing in them.
    So the founders of religion did no block any field of inquiry rather they opened it wide.
    Things belonging in the physical or material domains are to be left with the experts in these fields; those belonging in ethical, moral and spiritual realms are to be dealt with the verses of the Word Revealed.
    There is absolutely no contradiction there, in my opinion.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I want you to start by telling me what conclusions are not correct and why you think so.
      For those unlucky people who need their bibles or Korans for moral & ethical guidance, may their god help them. As for me, I know that gods,and that includes any god you want to think of, except me of course, if they exist, have nothing to do with morality.
      Buddha did not found a religion. He intended that everyone be their own light. As to Moses, Jesus and Mo, their existence has not been settled. So let us not call them founders of religions but rather legends which the different priests chose for the purposes of confounding people.
      You will have to start by telling me where this other immaterial world exist and how you came to know about it. And while at it, you can draw your morals from there. As for me, morals or rather how to live here depends on how my actions affect others in a physical world and what in the end makes me and others happy. These are things for which I can experience.

      Like

      • paarsurrey says:

        So, your think Buddha existed. Is it true? On what basis? Do you value his teachings?

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          What has his teaching and his existence got to do with me. I believe he existed. There are several documents that provide a picture of who he was, where he lived that can be corroborated by comparing with other writings. The same fortunately for all of us is not true of your Mo or Jesus or Moses.
          And yes, the little I have read of his teachings make sense.
          I forgot to ask, do you for a moment think the Buddha did not exist?

          Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            I think you have a soft corner for Buddha as some Atheists/Agnostics/Skeptics/Humanists consider him not a believer in the one true God.
            Is that the reason for your soft attitude to Buddha but you are against Jesus son of Mary- the Nazarene?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I don’t have corners for anyone. Have you read any works of the Buddha and what is this s/h/it you keep referring to as one true god?
            How am I against those myths created in a period spanning 3 centuries or more?

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            For Buddha; you can start reading “Gospel of Buddha”:

            http://www.arthursbookshelf.com/Buddhism/The%20Gospel%20of%20Buddha%20-%20Paul%20Carus.pdf

            You will get to know about him.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Have you read it? By the way thanks for sharing and while at it, I saw this

            Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help.

            which I mentioned to you elsewhere in the Buddha’s farewell address

            Like

          • paarsurrey says:

            Buddha believed in one true God and had word of Revelation from Him. He is remembered as the Enlightened One; this enlightenment is nothing else than Word of Revelation from the one true God.

            Muhammad also received Word of Revelation from the one true God which is called Quran or Recitation; it was not authored by Muhammad but was authored by the one true God.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            There is little to no evidence that a charlatan by the name Mo lived and even if he did, he did not receive any revelation from any gods for such things have not been shown to exist, two a definition of god has not been provided, and three there are no attributes that can be given to god without resulting to anthropomorpism.

            Buddha tells his listeners to follow truth, everywhere he admonishes them to remain true to truth and when asked by the Brahmin priests about god, he says that is a useless question which cannot be answered either way.

            Like

  10. paarsurrey says:

    Reblogged this on paarsurrey and commented:
    Paarsurrey says:
    Thanks for the response

    Like

  11. […] the blog by Makagutu; please click on the dates below to follow the  discussion: paarsurrey says: July 22, 2013 at 01:10 I quote: “Please tell me, how does positing god did it answer the question he posed?” The one […]

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