God is infinitely infinite: end of discussion

“Sometimes I introduce concepts I don’t understand just to make myself sound more infinite.” ~unknown

The word “infinite” is a quantifier. Quantifiers quantify qualities. Quantifiers can quantify a quality explicitly such as in the claim “the universe is 13.7 billion years old”, or can be implicit such as in “Phil is 55” (age is implied instead of IQ…hopefully)

But there is no semantic content in the following statements.

1. The car is quite.
2. My cat is very.
3. Your face is 732.
4. My God is infinite.

Your God is infinitely what? Unless you specify what quality is being quantified, you have said nothing.

Some more-aware Christians do attempt to attach “infinite” to a quality.

Here is one example.

Q: How can the 3-day death of Jesus be a substitute payment for the “deserved” eternal damnation of sinners?
A: Jesus was infinitely holy, so he could be resurrected.
(I’ve actually heard this several times.)

“Infinitely holy”? What can this possibly mean? Holiness is either perfect or imperfect. It’s like saying your lights are “infinitely on” or that your project is “infinitely finished” or that you’ve been “infinitely divorced” or that your house has been “infinitely built”. These phrases have no meaning.

It’s almost as if the term “infinite” is being invoked as a vague insulator to shut down the discussion. If you tell your boss you deserve a pay raise because you have “infinitely finished” your last project, he will likely justifiably laugh at your inability to understand the terms you use, or at your transparent attempt to make a rebuttal impossibly by introducing the logically impossible Escheresque term “infinitely finished”.

Saying some God is “infinitely holy” is either an egregious semantic blunder or an intentional attempt to block further discussion with impossible concepts.

Others have answered the question how the 3-day death of Jesus covers the “deserved” eternal damnation of sinners with the following.

A: God’s love for Jesus is infinite.
(I’ve also heard this on many occasions.)

This is logically incoherent. Love can only be complete, not infinite. Perhaps claiming the love of your God is a “perfect love” is logically coherent since it simply means it is not deficient in any way, but claiming the love of your God is “infinite” is logically absurd. Along what dimension can love extend to be assessed quantitatively?

Yet the term “infinite” is constantly invoked by theists when they find their theology backed into a logical corner.

This blunder (or intentional mendacity) does reflect well on their claims to possess the truth.

The perennial theistic “oops” 

Epileptic fits used to be explain by demon possession. The persons who arrived at this conclusion could have honestly said “I don’t know”, but instead they invoked a specific untestable paradigm in which fallen angels of a particular God were causing the odd behavior of the epileptic. They defaulted to one unsubstantiated explanation, and conceded the actual explanation only after it became far too obvious to ignore. There was no apology for the centuries of abuse of epileptics. Theists simply shrugged and retreated back to the next mystery in science. 
Have theists repented of this irrational, arrogant, dishonest and hurtful tactic? 

It appears not. They still hold that, since it appears to them there are no conclusive physical explanations for questions about consciousness and cosmology, they are warranted in defaulting to a god-explanation. 

Compare the track record of theist explanations against the success of the explanations of scientific consensus. Are their track records even remotely close to similar? No. Yet theists would have us start each assessment of each new mystery as if there was no track record to inform our expectations of the correct type of explanation. No epistemic humility nor rationality. Only an irrational pride in the sound of their own affirmations with an imagined God at their back. 

How long will this go on?

“What is wrong with lying if it is not morally wrong?”

I have yet to encounter a coherent argument for a foundation for obligatory morality.

At the same time, I have accused people of intentionally lying or misrepresenting my position.

Amazingly, many of the people I accuse of mendacity will counter by saying their lies should mean nothing to me since I do not believe in obligatory morality.

It is a shame I would have to address this, but this sort of nonsensical defense of lying has seemed to be increasing recently, and most incredibly, primarily among the very theists who claim a single lie is worthy of eternal damnation.

Lying is not “morally” wrong since there is no domain of “morality” in which something can be “morally” wrong. But emotions do exist. Here are a couple of the emotional and practical consequences of lying, both of which are a sufficient reason to limit lying to those cases in which it would preserve the greater good.

1. If you care for others you’ll do your utmost to make sure they have as much access to the truth as possible since goals are best accomplished through rational decisions based on accurate information. Happiness is accomplished through wise decisions enabled by accurate information. If you care for others, you won’t make it a practice to lie. This appeal to your humanity does not require an obligatory morality.

2. If you care about yourself, you’ll build a reputation for truth-telling. People do not like liars. This quite universal distaste for liars does not require that we have some type of obligatory moral standard saying lying is morally wrong. lies cause emotional and sometimes physical injury. This is very commonsensical. Others will distrust you when you lie, and your social options will decrease. If you care about yourself, you’ll not lie.

So, while you can not say “Lying is morally wrong”, you can most certainly say “Lying is wrong if you don’t want to hurt yourself and others.” There is no obligation in this; only unhappiness for yourself and others if you choose to make lying a habit. And I’m most certainly not “borrowing” from your unsubstantiated obligatory morality in my emotional distaste for lying due to the pain it causes.

As simple as all this is, I have actually heard at least 5 times within the last year the statement that, because I find no justification for obligatory morality, I can take no offense to lying. It is almost as if they claim we must give up our emotions (which clearly do exist) if we deny them their obligatory morality (which clearly does not exist).

Those theists who make this claim after lying do so in violation of a) the standards of their god, b) rationality, and c) the emotional distaste for lying found the world over.

Makes one wonder whether they are intentionally attempting to undermine their position.

On the Quantification of Rationality

Recently, Christian apologists have been informing me that, since I can not clearly quantify rationality/irrationality, rationality/irrationality does not exist.

This short essay will demonstrate what most of you already know; the inability to rigorously track the variables of a concept does not invalidate the concept.

Imagine you have a fair coin, flip it 10 times, and come up with 10 “heads”. What is the probability the next flip will be a “head”. It is 50%. In spite of the common misconception that a tails is long overdue, the probability of another “heads” remains exactly at 50%. If you think the probability of the next throw being a “tails” is now 75%, you are irrational since your degree of belief is no commensurate to the degree of the evidence.

Coin flips are highly tractable. Other phenomena are not. But rationality/irrationality do not dissipate into oblivion as the complexity of assessment increases. And the apologists are disingenuous when they suggest as much. It is still irrational to drive drunk though the odds of jail/injury/death are not easily calculated. The degree of evidence you have informs a corresponding degree of belief (if you are rational) in the fact that driving drunk decreases the probability of a prosperous life.

So, the apologists who suggest that, since I can not say a belief is 30 percentage points shy of the evidence, I therefore can not identify something is irrational, commit the perfect standard fallacy.

But they know this. They themselves regularly identify and call out irrationality in others. Their argument is disingenuous. They are compelled by the incompatibility between their position and the reality of the concept to claim I can not do what they regularly do. They are reduced to hypocrisy.

These apologists believe in irrationality, and they regularly practice the assessment of irrationality. For them to claim I have no basis for suggesting there exists irrationality that we can all identify is absurd.

Note: Some of the apologists may claim that they never said rationality/irrationality do not exist. That would make no sense. They know that, all that my argument required was the existence of rationality/irrationality, and an inability to assess the concept with the resolution of precise percentages in no way impinges on my argument. The argument in question is encapsulated in the following graphic.


On Arguing without Arguments

I recently had one Christian apologist respond to my arguments, not with counter-arguments, by saying…

“I don’t know of a single position that doesn’t have able defenders to the contrary….In any case, there are plenty of philosophers who would tear your position to pieces and plenty who would swear it is true.”

When I take the time to lay out an argument, I most certainly don’t need to be told that not everyone agrees with me. I need to be told why you disagree. That’s all. I present an argument. You present a counter-argument.

Rational discourse is not about seeing who can cite the most or loftiest thinkers on their side. It is presenting the arguments. If you don’t understand the arguments enough to present them yourself, don’t throw out appeals to authority. If you find someone else who disagrees with me, and you think their argument has merit,20130630-193135.jpg distill their argument and present it. If you don’t understand their argument, don’t declare that you have companions on your side of the issue, then think you’ve said anything important or have contributed anything other than fluff to the dialog.

The only thing that matters in rational discourse are the arguments. Have some or sit down.

Conservapedia And An Absent Holy Spirit

One thing you might expect from a spirit of truth would be truth.

I’m going to argue that the editors at Conservapedia demonstrably do not have truth, and, therefore, do not have the spirit of truth.

Let’s begin with an interesting entry on “atheism and obesity“.

Obesity rates among atheists

Obesity rates have skyrocketed since the Supreme Court effectively made public school atheistic with the Engel v. Vitale case banning classroom prayer in 1962. Today more than 3 out of every 10 Americans is obese, while among atheists the numbers appear to be closer to 11 out of 17 or about 65%!

Below I’ll be pointing out the logical fallacies found in this short excerpt above.

  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Y happened after X, therefore X is the cause of Y.)

    Here is a brief list of other things that have also been “increasing since 1962” when the ban on school prayer was enacted. Continue reading

The Spirit of Truth?

The following is a recent statement made by a university educated christian.

If I believed evolution to be true, then I’d have to agree that some method of eliminating or sterilizing the less evolved would be best for humanity.

Christians claim to have the “Spirit of Truth” guiding them in their lives. But where is this spirit? The same christians who claim to have this guiding “Spirit of Truth” spout statements as the one you’ve read above, seemingly without embarrassment or any recognition of their irrationality.

Proverbs 26:4-5 says the following.
Continue reading