Show Me the Goods

A recent commenter on my blog post asked to use philosophical arguments as evidence for the existence of god. I said no, I’m not interested. I gave a sort of reason why but I wanted to expand on that.

Philosophy is a useful tool. Hell, it is the “Ph” part of the academic achievement “PhD,” or “Doctor of Philosophy”, so obviously it is a key part of not only higher education but in mastering a body of knowledge. But note that I said it is a useful tool. The person with a PhD is equipped to think about problems in a logical manner. But at the end of the day, they have to go forth and do the thing they say can happen, or produce what they say can be produced, or effect things the way they say it will have an effect. This is why I said “show me the goods”. The “goods” are the vindication of the philosophical model.

Let’s say our PhD is an entomologist (insect biologist). Based on their extensive knowledge of the creepy-crawly, the PhD attempts to explain a certain phenomenon by hypothesizing a certain set of conditions. Let’s say there is a dramatic shift in the demographics of certain bugs, and lets further say the entomologist believes it is due to an invasive species. By using logic and the existing set of facts, the hypothesis is entirely plausible. And that is great. But that doesn’t make it true. The PhD, after working up this hypothesis, must actually go out and demonstrate it is true. They must show the goods.

The “philosophy” part of the job is to help the PhD find a starting point and build the model. It helps them know where to look. It helps them know what to expect if they are correct, and also what to expect if they are wrong. But it doesn’t actually confirm anything. They could still be wrong. For one thing, their input data could be wrong, such as a change in method of counting the bugs that has resulted in bad data. There could be another factor not yet considered that is actually causing the result, such as pollution or other human activity. Therefore, the hypothesis can be, and is assumed to be, wrong until it is demonstrated otherwise.

Showing the goods is how we measure the effectiveness of any particular PhD, such as reviewing how many peer-reviewed papers they have published. They had an idea (they philosophized a hypothesis), then they tested the hypothesis. And then they did the most important part of science, they let other people check their work. PhDs that write books, but don’t publish peer-reviewed papers, are not seen as successful in their field. This isn’t to say they can’t author books, but if the ideas in their books are not based on their testing and peer-reviewed papers, then they are not engaged in science. Instead, they are engaged in attempting to sway public (mostly people ill-equipped to understand the subject or faults in the argument) opinion.

This isn’t even limited to the hard sciences. Philosophizing about sociology, economics, or political science helps the experts (PhDs) think through the effects of laws, policies, banking regulations, treaties, and nation building. But once again, there has to be a demonstration of the goods. We don’t propose an interest hike and then just sit back and call it a day. No, we keep an eye on data and statistics, which by the way, are data and statistics that are collected specifically to help those PhDs confirm their model is working.

We don’t say that socialism is a failure because we just don’t like it much, we call it a failure because it has not worked. Socialism sounds really good in theory, and most especially when described by someone that believes in the system. But no, it doesn’t work. And we even know why it doesn’t work. Meanwhile, Alexander Hamilton philosophized a US banking system that although many grumbled about, and still grumble about, has been an overwhelming success. Hamilton didn’t just dream it up, he did it. He showed us the goods.

Arguing for god based only on philosophical arguments is literally to say that you have assembled a hypothesis, but are uninterested in testing that hypothesis. You are asking me to agree that if the argument is assembled correctly, the results are assumed. You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, right?

And let’s face it, any philosophical argument for god that I’ve ever heard is a horrible argument in the first place. For starters, they are usually logical fallacies piled on top of more logical fallacies. But not only are they poor arguments in structure, they are poor arguments for even formulating a coherent hypothesis. As I noted in my article Playing Tennis without a Net, you can’t set up the audience to believe you are going to demonstrate your specific religious claim, then assemble a philosophical argument that, if true, barely even qualifies as an argument for something we don’t understand yet.

“Philosopher” and apologist William Lane Craig is famous for re-hashing really, really bad arguments. They are fallacy-riddled dumpster fires, wrapped up in pretty language. But even if we pretend that his argument was 100% correct, he has demonstrated nothing at all like the thing he is proposing. This is most notable when he spends an inordinate amount of time finally managing to logic together an entity that is timeless, and in the next sentence says that since he managed to do that, it must be the specific god that he believes in that fucked a 12 year old girl and had a baby that was himself that he would kill to save us from himself.

So come on, apologists. You make a lot of very specific claims about your gods. Your gods allegedly do things in the real world, be it change things, affect conditions, enact punishment, move things, help people, etc. You have dreamed up all sorts of very specific cause/effect relationships between your gods and us humans.

Spend your philosophy time proposing specific hypotheses, and then show me the goods.

The Spartan Atheist

81 thoughts on “Show Me the Goods

  1. Speaking of Craig — In my book, I referenced a comment he made where he wrote that God is “endowed with rationality, self-consciousness, and volition.” I always wondered exactly how he KNEW this …

    Liked by 2 people

      1. HA! A question I LOVE!!! 😀

        Available at Amazon (Kindle & paperback), but also at Smashwords.com, where several different online formats are available: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240858.

        Thanks for asking. 👍

        Liked by 3 people

      2. You bet! I just read “Why Evolution is true” and needed the next book.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Didn’t you know? “They” know EVERYTHING about god, Jesus, et al. In the Bible. They know how god feels about things, what he thinks about, how much he loves you, and much more! If I didn’t know any better I’d be thinking they’re starting to make this stuff up!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lol! Wierd how religion and make believe are indistinguishable, right?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. And… endowed by Whom exactly?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. The implication is that if someone is endowed with these things… who is doing the endowing of God with these things? Since they don’t believe God Himself has a God… “from whence cometh these gifts?”
      Of course we know… God is “endowed” with these attributes and characteristics… by us, or by believers. That’s why God always looks like the best version of humanity. God is our Creation, not the other way round.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Philosophy second-guesses God (the Cause). The effect (“show me the goods), is the world around me. So I can either ignore God and wax philosophical, or turn to face him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds all rather poetic, but what are you looking at when you face him?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not poetic. Looking at him acknowledges him.

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      2. Okay, what does he look like? Give me specific details.

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      3. Christ told his disciples, “You believe in God, believe in me too.” So that’s where I’m at–‘Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.’ He’s what God looks like.

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      4. Yeah, so what does he look like? Is he a guy with a long white beard sitting on a cloud? Then no, I’ve never seen him.

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      5. BUT!! Have you ever seen Christ (Jesus)? No. Because he existed long before your time … and there are NO pictures of him. The only thing you “see” is a image that you have personalized in your own imagination.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Nan, the image isn’t important to me. I “see” that he is what he claimed. I see Christ as fact. So going on information available, I’m betting my life on him. Of course, I can’t provide evidence and I may be wrong. No matter- he’s the path I choose.

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      7. Arnold, what is it that he claimed? Specifically?

        Liked by 1 person

      8. He claimed to be ‘one with the Father (God).’
        He said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” in order to give his life to us. (“You must be born again.”)
        He came to give the life of God to us. (‘Be perfect, as is your Father in heaven.’)

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Okay, so now we have something. You must be born again.

        What does that look like? Do I need to physically pass through a vagina again? Do I need to regrow an umbilical cord? What specifically are we talking about here?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Talking born of God–born of his Spirit. Sort of like when ‘the power of the Highest overshadowed’ Mary.

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      11. So what does that mean? If I look at someone that is born or not born, I can say with certainty which one they are. Umbilical cord, inside a womb, breathing air, these are all indicators of born v not born.

        How can you tell if someone is born again? What are the indicators? What does that look like?

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Good question. Jesus compared believers in him to trees–“you’ll know them by their fruits.” To me, that means it will be obvious intuitively.
        Now I know that’s not evident science. Yet Jesus said if he’s “lifted up” he’ll draw people to himself. Other words, you’ll see him, not me.

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      13. So, if I snort blow off a hookers rear while another hooker services me orally, is that Jesus? Seems intuitive to me.

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      14. You say — “No matter- he’s the path I choose.” And THAT is probably the most rational statement you’ve made thus far.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Which version? The tall, healthy-tanned, blued eyed, surfer Jesus?

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      16. And you’re sure “he’s” there? It’s not your mind telling you he’s there? And you’re sure its a “he?” What if you “turned to face” the Easter Bunny? Couldn’t he be there as well? Tooth Fairy? Sand Man? Santa Claus?

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      17. chris schilling May 6, 2021 — 9:56 pm

        “Looking at him acknowledges him.”
        Arnold feigns confidence in the supernatural. Just like Glendower in Shakespeare’s Henry IV:
        “I can call spirits from the vasty deep.”
        Hotspur:
        “Why, so can I, or so can any man; but will they come when you do call for them?”

        Liked by 2 people

      18. My confidence is in Christ, the supernatural made natural.

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    2. most, if not all, religions make the same claim “the universe evidence for MY god”.
      alas, no theist can show that this is the case.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Indeed. As I blogged about before, information and evidence are not the same thing. If you are calling information “evidence”, then it has to point to something specific, or rule out something specific.

        Literally every god, and the big bang, all result with the universe being here it rules none of them out, and points toward none of them specifically. Ergo, not evidence.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. chris schilling May 7, 2021 — 7:03 pm

        @Arnold
        You may have “confidence in Christ”, but why should anyone have confidence in you? Namely: your inability to discern biblical myths from reality, and your confusion in blurring naturalism with the supernatural.

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      3. Right Chris, have no confidence in me. I’m pointing to Christ. If you will, put your confidence in him; at least mull him over. If you’re not drawn to him, to him alone, so be it.

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      4. I’m a “so be it.”

        Liked by 2 people

    3. So arnold. May I ask how you connected God, namely and specifically the God of the bible, as the “Cause” of the “Effect” (The world around you) that you are seeing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mind you, this is my world–my nature, nurture etc. My upbringing, prodigal sonship and all life’s circumstances point to Christ: God come in the flesh. I’m not here to convince or prove. Only tell.

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      2. Ah. I get that. Totally understand. But you didn’t answer. Dare to try again?

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      3. Arnold, we are aware that this is your worldview, your upbringing. But you have engaged on my blog, and I’ve asked you to explain yourself. You have done dismally. That isn’t a personal attack, but it is an observation that religious people tend to parrot that which they were taught, with very little thought on the matter. No matter how brilliant you may be in other aspects of your life, your responses to my questions on religion are bereft of any comprehendible substance.

        I think you were taught to say such things as if they were somehow significant. But they aren’t they are just words that don’t belong together designed to confuse. Like “born again”, nobody seems to know what that actually means. And when I asked you for specifics, you went to another useless word salad.

        You have shown me nothing. I’m asking religious people to show me the goods, and in response I get illogical word phrases. I’m not sure why you don’t understand that I don’t believe in your god.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Can I help you out? I guess what I’m getting at is… after you’ve determined the What, the When and the Where… what is the 1st question we’d ask in trying to determine Who… say spilled the milk on the counter or broke mom’s favorite vase?

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      5. Jesus said, “You believe in God, believe also in me.” To me that’s blatant, obvious information. The next step is to act on it. Or not. I’m acting on the written words of God.

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      6. So, its what you believe and have faith in that it’s True. You’re not even trying to connect it. Then why would anyone listen to what you have to say? I could say such and such scripture says Mohammed rode a winged horse over the temple mount and there would be as little reason to believe me as there is you. “If you have faith, have faith unto yourself” but stop trying to condescend to others for not believing you when they have no reason to.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I don’t think I tried to condescend you. And I don’t expect you to take my word for it–Christ will draw you, as he chose you. Or not.

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      8. Arnold, this article is literally titled “show me the goods”, and you have come completely empty handed. You have provided nothing interesting, only woo-woo and vague word salads.

        For the sake of this audience, you might need to re-think your belief. You won’t convince anyone if you can’t even explain why you, personally, believe.

        Thanks. TSA

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      9. Well then, aren’t you special to be chosen and all who are not condemned to the lake of fire. You don’t even realize the implications of your theology. Good thing there isn’t a shed of real evidence that it’s acrrually true vs just what you happen to believe. Cheers and move along now

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      10. Romans 14:22 if you were interested in the reference.

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      11. The WRITTEN words of who????

        Liked by 1 person

      12. No, Arnold. You are acting on words written by people, that were copied from other people, that were copied from other people, that were edited by other people, that were copied by other people, that were heavily edited and redacted by other people, from words written down almost entirely by unknown authors that PURPORTS to be the words of a god. I know you believe they are, but it’s pretty easy to show that the words printed today are not the same as the originals. Further, the ignorance and immorality in the words printed are enough to demonstrate they are not the words of an all powerful, all knowing deity, and certainly not a loving deity.

        Combine the ignorance and immorality, the heavy redaction and editing, and the unknown authorship and this is not a book I would be certain of a deity author.

        Liked by 2 people

      13. Then, and only then could we see if there was any evidence, finger prints or traces, that THEY actually did it. That they ALONE could have done it.

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      14. If I want to posit that my sister Janice did it… she’d not only have to have been capable, but also Available at the time and place to commit the act. One last thing also. I’d actually have to demonstrate that I actually HAVE a sister Janice to Do it, and that she actually did it.
        Do you see where I’m going?

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      15. You want it to make sense, and God being a Spirit doesn’t make sense.

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      16. So again, Arnold. How did you connect the Cause as God, specifically the God of the bible, to the Effect (what you see all around you)?

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      17. Ifn8ts just what you Believe or what your world view leads you to believe… then you shouldn’t be trying to pontificate and tell others that it’s True ™. It’s what you Believe but can’t demonstrate to anyone but yourself. Be honest with yourself and with others about that.

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      18. Goodness, it’s what I believe–I said I may be wrong.

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      19. Seems like he “liked” the comment but hasn’t answered yet. Perhaps he’ll try later on.

        Like

  3. Dear thespartanatheist,

    Thank you very much for composing this well-reasoned post to explain some of the main steps required in conducting logical inquiries or proper research. Given that a picture is worth (more than) a thousand words, I would like to share with you and your readers the following:

    Happy May to you!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks! Yes, a picture is worth a lot. Religious thinking starts at general theories and goes nowhere.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are very welcome. This graphic originates from my post entitled The Quotation Fallacy “💬” published at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-quotation-fallacy/
        The said post can definitely edify those steeped in religious thinking, or indeed anyone who lacks critical thinking for that matter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dear thespartanatheist,
        I particularly like the following from your post:

        Let’s say our PhD is an entomologist (insect biologist). Based on their extensive knowledge of the creepy-crawly, the PhD attempts to explain a certain phenomenon by hypothesizing a certain set of conditions. Let’s say there is a dramatic shift in the demographics of certain bugs, and lets further say the entomologist believes it is due to an invasive species. By using logic and the existing set of facts, the hypothesis is entirely plausible. And that is great. But that doesn’t make it true. The PhD, after working up this hypothesis, must actually go out and demonstrate it is true. They must show the goods.

        You are definitely welcome to gauge whether my co-authored post entitled “Do Plants and Insects Coevolve?” has shown the goods. The post is available at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/do-plants-and-insects-coevolve/

        Liked by 1 person

      3. SoundEagle, as a non-scientist (I appreciate the sciences and have basic science education) I am not qualified to peer review your work. But you definitely brought the goods! I will certainly enjoy reading your blogs, and will be happy to refer the science-ignorant to you.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Dear thespartanatheist,
        Thank you for your prompt reply. Even though you are not a scientist, you are still very welcome to submit comments to my blog. Being academic or erudite is by no means a prerequisite for engaging yourself with SoundEagle.
        You probably already have a reasonable inkling of the quality and/or unusual nature of what you have seen on my blog during your recent visit so far. I would like to reassure you that since the contents of my blog are multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, you will sooner or later find something very much to your cup of tea. In other words, you are certainly welcome to explore and comment on more posts and pages of my blog. If you like, visit my “About” page and “User Guide” page to familiarize yourself with my blog, which by virtue of its multidisciplinary nature and topics, is multifaceted in its features and presentations. These two pages will greatly help you to utilize the plethora of features to maximize your experience and enjoyment when you visit my complex blog/website.
        The “User Guide” is available to you at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/about/user-guide/
        I would recommend using a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my blog, which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.
        Furthermore, since my intricate blog contains advanced styling and multimedia components plus animations, it is advisable to avoid using the WordPress Reader, which cannot show many of the advanced features in my posts and pages. Instead, read the posts and pages directly in my blog so that you will be able to savour and relish all of the refined and glorious details.
        I look forward to interacting with you more.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. This is good stuff for when the faithful ask why we don’t believe. There are simply no verifiable experiences in nature that one can use to support the belief.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I always felt apologists were created to try and explain away the many discrepancies in Christianity. They mainly end up being doubt quashers for those who are already in the flock and need a reason as to why their senseless God makes sense. Or at least they try to… To everyone else they are a laughing joke at best, and blatantly dishonest at worst.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is true. Apologists are dismal at bringing non-believers into their faith. They are largely cheerleaders for the already faithful that just need a bit of an excuse to stave off doubt. In other words, they make up excuses.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Tarzi-dubedum May 6, 2021 — 9:58 pm

    Chuckles, It always remains mysterious that people who see evidence in nature seems to blindly deny evidences which shows purposeful arrangement of matter which most scientist’s accept unanimously in their peer reviewed papers.
    It is only to those dishonest less intelligent who have their own philosophy to dismiss such scientific evidences and findings and speak like a insane psychedelic monkey.

    Like

    1. chris schilling May 7, 2021 — 4:29 am

      Doesn’t seem to matter what idiotic username you post under, you still never seem to make much sense.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. and one more theist who makes baseless claims and who lies with no problem. Tsk, most gods don’t like liars. No, dear liar, most scientists don’t believe inyour god or in “purposeful arrangement of matter”
      The laws of physics are all that is needed, no lying theist or god needed.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. It’s the “purposeful” part that you’re imposing into the mixture. Where do you get that part? Because there’s order to it that makes it purposeful? You’re making a gigantic leap of “faith” Oh shit! I forgot. That’s what religion is!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. what kind of goods you want dear spartan?

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    1. I explained in the article. Form a specific hypothesis. Make predictions. Find the evidence.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tsk, that’s just too hard for a theist.

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      2. the difference between the Possible, the Probable and the Actual… is Evidence. Philosophy as used by christian apologists, even amateur wanna be internet apologists, is a circular mind fck of mental gymnastics designed to ‘baffle with bs’ when they know they can’t ‘dazzle with details’. obfuscation and misdirection. basically and fundamentally dishonest.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Tarzi-dubedum May 7, 2021 — 8:43 am

    @Chris, you need not keep proving that you are insane monkey. Read my entire comments you blind idiot. It’s the question of understanding and admitting the scientific evidences by obstinate fools like you which has been already tested and proven by many great scientists.

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    1. Hey, chuckles. Why don’t you quit being a little girl, and just show us the goods. Demonstrate your god. Go!

      Like

    2. chris schilling May 7, 2021 — 6:32 pm

      @Tarzi-Knucklehead

      Maybe you should just go ahead and post comments in your native tongue, whatever that may be, rather than continually mangling English.

      That way you still get to spout gibberish, but more fluently on your own terms. And we wouldn’t have to try and decipher your meaning.

      Cheers.

      Like

    3. Tarzi, why is it that you claim to have evidence but when asked, you can produce nothing at all?

      who are these “great scientists”?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Check out “God – The Failed Hypothesis” written by a scientist and directly addressing the issues of religion that can be tested and demonstrated not to hold up to scrutiny.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post! I love this “Arguing for god based only on philosophical arguments is literally to say that you have assembled a hypothesis, but are uninterested in testing that hypothesis. ”

    Exactly. When a theist only has arguments that any theist can use, they have admitted that their bullshit fails any consideration of reason.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We’d prob need to determine Who was not only capable… but also Available to commit the act, right?

    Like

  11. JohnTheRealist May 14, 2021 — 2:06 am

    “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution,’” 
    The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4):1-27 (December 2010).
    • Douglas D. Axe, 
    “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds,” 
    Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 341:1295–1315 (2004).
    • Michael Behe and David W. Snoke, 
    “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues,” 
    Protein Science, Vol. 13 (2004).
    • William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, 
    “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher Level Search,” 
    Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Vol. 14 (5):475-486 (2010).

    Like

    1. LOL! Trying to pass yourself off as a “doctor” doesn’t make you any less intelligent, or any less thoughtful.

      You have not shown me any goods whatsoever. Axe and Behe and Snoke are wrong, completely wrong. BUT, even if they were completely and absolutely right, all that means is evolution has a problem. It does NOT mean that there is a god. And it definitely does not mean there is a god that comes every 400,000 years or whatever the fuck other thing you said in the other comment that I’m deleting because it is stupid.

      In other words, I’m allowing this comment to show the world that you don’t have the goods.

      Like

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