Marty Leipzig Corrects John N. Clayton about "Does God Exist"

By: Marty Leipzig
Re: Internettin' yahoos

Howdy, campers.

Having Internet access and being bored at work can be a lunatic combination. I was schmoozing around the web and hacking away at some creationist sites, when I found this gem. It's at www.doesgodexist.org (really) and authored by one John N. Clayton ([email protected]). I thought you'd like to see this in it's entirety before I hack it to shreds (next message). I'm also going to send the hacked-to-shreds version to Mr. Clayton (who oddly enough gargles on and on about the "Evolution \ Creation Money Machine", but puts his lecture schedule and honorarium requirements right out front...) . I rarely do this, but, what the hell, it's a slow day here in the Muddle Yeast.

(And for all who don't like this sort of thing, tough shit. Besides, your mother is a cow.)


To: Mr. John N. Clayton
From: M.R. Leipzig
Re: Your website and it's contents.

Dear Mr. Clayton;

I stumbled upon your website quite by accident and was rather bemused to see your so-called "proof" of God. As I read through it, I saw no evidence (as proof is saved solely for mathematics and liquor), of this "God" hypothesis you put forth.

I saved your "proof" and have rebutted each and every point and that result is what appears below (your original text is prefaced by the convention: JC> ), while my replies appear as regular text.

Finally, as you might have guessed, I am an unrepentant realist, pragmatist and atheist. I am also a petroleum geologist currently ensconced in the Middle East (where your claims, Biblical referencing and "proof" would be viewed most dimly); I have post graduate degrees in Petroleum Geology and have taught real science at the Graduate level. I am also one of the regular WOA's ("Wicked Old Atheists") in the FIDONET Echo "HolySmoke" ("The Religious Food-Fight"). I have taken the liberty of posting your "proof" to the echo (I absolutely did nothing to edit nor change a single character, and you received full authorship credit for your work), so that others might enjoy. I do that so you will not be bewildered when others in that forum might send you their thoughts.

With that, on with the debunking...


JC> A PRACTICAL MAN'S PROOF OF GOD
Right out of the box, we've already got problems. "Proof", as noted before, is reserved for mathematics and good booze. What we would instead require, as you seem to be endeavoring to approach this quandary from a scientific angle, is evidence. Do you present any? We'll see...
JC> The existence of God is a subject that has occupied schools of
JC> philosophy and theology for thousands of years.
And in all that time, has a single scrap of tangible, physical evidence been presented? Nope.
JC> Most of the time, these debates have revolved around all kinds of
JC> assumptions and definitions.
The question is itself based on an assumption; that such an entity could, rather than does, exist. Definitions are, of course, necessary; as I've already had to define what is and is not "proof".
JC> Philosophers will spend a lifetime arguing about the meaning of a
JC> word and never really get there.
That seems rather a ridiculous pastime. Perhaps that's why there's really no big market for Philosophy Majors.
JC> One is reminded of the college student who was asked how his
JC> philosophy class was going. He replied that they had not done much
JC> because when the teacher tried to call roll, the kids kept arguing
JC> about whether they existed or not.
Fascinating. Totally irrelevant, but fascinating nonetheless.
JC> Most of us who live and work in the real world do not concern
JC> ourselves with such activities.
On what do you base this claim? Have you any evidence? Or is this just unsubstantiated opinion?
JC> We realize that such discussions may have value and interest in the
JC> academic world, but the stress and pressure of day-to-day life forces
JC> us to deal with a very pragmatic way of making decisions.
Amazed I am at your omniscience to be able to make such sweeping generalizations about so many. Again, do you have evidence for this claim or is it more of your opinionated assertion?
JC> If I ask you to prove to me that you have $2.00, you would show it to
JC> me.
No, I would not. I do not cater to the whims of those who ask total strangers about cash.
JC> Even in more abstract things we use common sense and practical
JC> reasoning.
Common sense, particularly where religion creeps in, is most uncommon. Practical reasoning is virtually an endangered species in society today: witness the scams, religious websites, rip-offs, faith healing, and MLM "opportunities" on the Internet, for one small example.
JC> If I ask you whether a certain person is honest or not, you do not
JC> flood the air with dissertations on the relative nature of honesty;
Again I am amazed at your ability to know, in advance, what total stranger will or will not do. Amazing.
JC> you would give me evidence one way or the other.
Not necessarily. One might just tell you to "Buzz off." instead.
JC> The techniques of much of the philosophical arguments that go on
JC> would eliminate most of engineering and technology if they were
JC> applied in those fields.
Yet another unsubstantiated claim or opinion. Is this what constitutes proof in your world?
JC> The purpose of this brief study is to offer a logical, practical,
JC> pragmatic proof of the existence of God from a purely scientific
JC> perspective.
Finally. This should be most entertaining. I hope you made those words tasty, John; you'll be noshing on them later.
JC> To do this, we are assuming that we exist,
One need not assume that which is in fact. Are all your philosophical meanderings this shoddy?
JC> that there is reality,
See above. If it has physical evidence, it exists (or has existed).
JC> and that the matter of which we are made is real.
It's evidenced, it's real. No assumptions necessary.
JC> If you do not believe that you exist, you have bigger problems than
JC> this study will entail and you will have to look elsewhere.
Comment unnecessary.
JC> THE BEGINNING
Actually, it's more of like about half-way.
JC> If we do exist, there are only two possible explanations as to how our
JC> existence came to be.
BZZZT! Thank you for playing. This is the time-worn "False Dilemma", that of which there are two and only two possibilities. Faulty logic, and a faulty argument.
JC> Either we had a beginning or we did not have a beginning.
Or had multiple beginnings, or the universe is infinitely old, or...

Your "Bifurcation Fallacy" is just that, fallacious.

JC> The Bible says,
Great Scott! "The Bible"? I though you claimed that this was to be "...a logical, practical, pragmatic proof of the existence of God from a purely scientific perspective."? And for this, you cite the Bible? Either you really don't know a whit about science, believe the Bible to be a science text or are just being intentionally disingenuous. Which is it?
JC> "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"
JC> (Genesis 1 :1).
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And bats are birds and rabbit chew the cud. It's all been heard, and debunked, before. The Bible as a science text is best used for a doorstop in the Chem Lab.
JC> The atheist has always maintained that there was no beginning.
That's pure bunk. I am an atheist and I do not subscribe to that hypothesis.

Sorry, John. Your track record so far looks pretty desolate.

JC> The idea is that matter has always existed in the form of either
JC> matter or energy; and all that has happened is that matter has been
JC> changed from form to form, but it has always been.
Here we see a thinly disguised swipe at thermodynamics, and, I suppose, abiogenesis. Just as evolution doesn't "do" origins, thermodynamics doesn't "do" them either. Instead, the former kicks in right after life arises, the latter kicks in right after the cosmogenic event.
JC> The Humanist Manifesto says, "Matter is self-existing and not
JC> created," and that is a concise statement of the atheist's belief.
I don't know which I find more insulting; equating Humanism with Atheism or claiming that atheists are infected with beliefs.

John, you're dead wrong on both points. I can cite non-atheistic humanists and as an atheist, for the second point, I hold to exactly zero beliefs.

Debunked yet again, John. Sorry, but your case is teetering and swaying mightily in the gale of real logic.

JC> The way we decide whether the atheist is correct or not is to see
JC> what science has discovered about this question.
By citing the Bible? Your "science" leaves much to be desired.
JC> The picture below on the left represents our part of the cosmos.
(Note: picture deleted due to formatting considerations.)
JC> Each of the disk shaped objects is a galaxy like our Milky Way. All
JC> of these galaxies are moving relative to each other. Their movement
JC> has a very distinct pattern which causes the distance between the
JC> galaxies to get greater with every passing day.
Well so far, you've noted that the universe is expanding. This isn't exactly news, John.
JC> If we had three galaxies located at positions A, B. and C in the
JC> second diagram below, and if they are located as shown, tomorrow
JC> they will be further apart. The triangle they form will be bigger. The
JC> day after tomorrow the triangle will be bigger yet. We live in an
JC> expanding universe that gets bigger and bigger and bigger with every
JC> passing day.
You have an iron-clad grasp of the obvious, John.
JC> Now let us suppose that we made time run backwards! If we are
JC> located at a certain distance today, then yesterday we were closer
JC> together. The day before that, we were still closer. Ultimately, where
JC> must all the galaxies have been? At a point! At the beginning! At
JC> what scientists call a singularity!
The exceedingly apparent never could escape you, could it?
JC> A second proof is seen in the energy sources that fuel the cosmos.
"Second proof'? Where the bloody hell is the first? You have just equated the "Big Bang" with your God. Do you really worship such things?
JC> The picture to the right is a picture of the sun.
(Picture again deleted due to formatting, go look outside if you really need to see it.)
JC> Like all stars, the sun generates its energy by a nuclear process
JC> known as thermonuclear fusion.
"Can you say 'thermonuclear fusion'? Sure. I knew you could." John, not everyone who reads this will be as uninformed about science, nor as bewildered by it, as you appear to be.
JC> Every second that passes, the sun compresses 564 million tons of
JC> hydrogen into 560 million tons of helium with 4 million tons of
JC> matter released as energy. In spite of that tremendous consumption
JC> of fuel, the sun has only used up 2% of the hydrogen it had the day
JC> it came into existence.
So? Are these figures (if they are correct, I will be checking them) supposed to do anything other than generate a "Gee whiz." reaction to other nescients?
JC> This incredible furnace is not a process confined to the sun.
There's that iron-clad grasp of the bleedin' obvious again.
JC> Every star in the sky generates its energy in the same way.
So do those not visible in the "sky", John.
JC> Throughout the cosmos there are 25 quintillion stars,
And from where did you pull this number? Have you calculated that figure yourself or did you borrow it from some other, unnamed, source?
JC> each converting hydrogen into helium, thereby reducing the total
JC> amount of hydrogen in the cosmos.
Luckily, hydrogen is the most overwhelming abundant element in the cosmos.
JC> Just think about it!
Gee whiz! Golly wow! An appeal to ignorance!
JC> If everywhere in the cosmos hydrogen is being consumed and if the
JC> process has been going on forever, how much hydrogen should be
JC> left?
Only you are claiming that the universe is indeed infinite; or, more precisely, you erroneously equate that position with atheism. Both are fallacious, John. You are debunked once again.
JC> Suppose I attempt to drive my automobile without putting any more
JC> gas (fuel) into it. As I drive and drive, what is eventually going to
JC> happen? I am going to run out of gas I If the cosmos has been here
JC> forever, we would have run out of hydrogen long ago!
Fallacious, on more than the points cited immediately above. There could well be an as of yet undiscovered process whereby hydrogen is recycled in the cosmos (one here on earth is called electrolysis). Most all processes in nature are cyclic; perhaps this could be as well.

Either way, your conclusion is erroneous.

JC> The fact is, however, that the sun still has 98% of its original
JC> hydrogen.
That remains to be verified. Your claim alone does not 'make it so'.
JC> The fact is that hydrogen is the most abundant material
JC> in the universe!
I think I noted that previously.
JC> Everywhere we look in space we can see the hydrogen 21 cm line in
JC> the spectrum_a piece of light only given off by hydrogen.
I'll just wager you do that on a daily basis.
JC> This could not be unless we had a beginning! !
Well, no it doesn't, John, for the reasons I noted earlier. But even if it did have a beginning (and I am not one, as an atheist, that claims the universe is infinitly old); what does this have to do with your previously stated goal of "scientifically" proving that there is a God? So far, you've presented a few very basic scientific facts, but certainly nothing that could, however remotely, be construed as evidence of your God.
JC> A third scientific proof
THIRD!?! Where are the first two? Hello?
JC> that the atheist is wrong is seen in the second law of
JC> thermodynamics.
I had a queasy feeling that this old saw would raise it's hoary head soon. Gad. Here we go again...
JC> In any closed system, things tend to become disordered.
That is not what the second law of thermodynamics states, John. You are 100% wrong! Simply put, the second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system, "No process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of energy from a cooler to a hotter body." [Atkins, 1984, "The Second Law", pg. 25]. Another way of stating this is that the entropy of a closed system cannot decrease.

You are, and remain, debunked, John.

JC> If an automobile is driven for years and years without repair, for
JC> example, it will become so disordered that it would not run any
JC> more.
The universe is not a mechanical contrivance, nor is an automobile analogous to the cosmos. Your comparison is disingenuous and false.
JC> Getting old is simple conformity to the second law of
JC> thermodynamics.
So, the geriatric crowd out there is transferring energy from cooler to hotter bodies? When do they find time to play canasta and shuffleboard?
JC> In space, things also get old.
Still haven't lost that gift of the incredibly obvious, have you?
JC> Astronomers refer to the aging process as heat death.
Apparently not.
JC> If the cosmos is "everything that ever was or is or ever will be," as
JC> Dr. Carl Sagan is
Not "is", but rather "was"; sad to say.
JC> so fond of saying,
If you disagree with the late Dr. Sagan, provide evidence to the contrary.

I'll be waiting.

JC> nothing could be added to it to improve its order or repair it.
First, define "improve" and define "repair". The cosmos "is", John, and immune to the quite human concepts of "repair" and "improve".
JC> Even a universe that expands and collapses and expands again
JC> forever would die because it would lose light and heat each time it
JC> expanded and rebounded.
True enough, unless there is some sort of cosmic energy recycling at the nodes. Although, as your statement is nothing more than opinion (there is absolutely no way of testing your assertion nor making predictions from it), mine is conjectural as well. It could be that we are in but early one of a series (perhaps an infinite series) of inflation, collapse and rebound. Perhaps not. In any form, it's not testable and therefore quite superfluous.

Much like the rest of your arguments.

JC> The atheist's assertion that matter/energy is eternal is scientifically
JC> wrong.
What is wrong is your conflation of atheism with the belief that the universe is infinitely old or eternal.
JC> The biblical assertion that there was a beginning is scientifically
JC> correct.
The Bible says "In the beginning..."; so because science also states that the universe is non-eternal, the Bible is scientific? By applying that same illogic, the Bible mentions rocks; so geology must be a religion.

You continue to remain debunked.

JC> THE CAUSE
You assume that there had to be a cause. That is the "Prime Mover" logical fallacy, John.

You're still debunked.

JC> If we know the creation has a beginning, we are faced with another
JC> logical question: was the creation caused or was it not caused?
Again with the bifurcation fallacy! And you have the temerity to blather on about logic.
JC> The Bible states, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the
JC> earth."
It also states that pi=3 and that turtles have voices. So much for that as a scientific reference.
JC> Not only does the Bible maintain that there was a cause_a
JC> creation_but it also tells us what the cause was. It was God.
Which one? Odin? Zeus? Allah? Ra? Xeochutal? Humanity has created thousands of Gods, John, to which one are you referring?
JC> The atheist tells us that "matter is self-existing and not created."
No, only you in your fallacious parody of atheism, has stated this. You build and immolate strawman arguments better than most, John. Better hope that smoke is not carcinogenic or hallucinogenic.
JC> If matter had a beginning and yet was uncaused, one must logically
There you go again...
JC> maintain that something would have had to come into existence out
JC> of nothing.
Yes, that is correct. Your point?
JC> From empty space with no force, no matter, no energy, and no
JC> intelligence, matter would have to become existent.
No John, you are quite wrong. Before the universe existed (a rather meaningless and vapid construct), there was no "space". There was nothing.
JC> Even if this could happen by some strange new process unknown
JC> to science today,
It's quite well known to science, John. It's called vacuum fluctuations.
JC> there is a logical problem.
With your arguments? Indeed.
JC> In order for matter to come out of nothing, all of our scientific laws
JC> dealing with the conservation of matter/energy would have to be
JC> wrong,
Wrong, wrong, wrong! This occurred BEFORE the present set of physical constraints existed. They were "created" along with the cosmos; actually, about 10E-43 seconds after, to be painfully exact.
JC> invalidating all of chemistry. All of our laws of conservation of
JC> angular momentum would have to be wrong, invalidating all of
JC> physics. All of our laws of conservation of electric charge would
JC> have to be wrong,
The only thing wrong is your sloppy logic, fallacious claims and inaccurate reasoning.
JC> invalidating all of electronics and demanding that your TV set not
JC> work!! Your television set may not work, but that is not the reason!
So, it boils down to: "my TV works, so there IS a God".

As a scientist, John, you'd be a wondrous pastry chef.

JC> In order to believe matter is uncaused, one has to discard known
JC> laws and principles of science.
No belief required nor desired. Science has amassed quite the physical evidence for this and proposed quite the theories to explain the facts thus gathered. We only have to dispose of science if we subscribe to that specious mess you present under the guise of science.
JC> No reasonable person is going to do this simply to maintain a
JC> personal atheistic position.
I hope that no reasonable person is going to be duped by you and your shoddy, and sectarian, reasoning.
JC> The atheist's assertion that matter is eternal is wrong.
Nope. Your parody of atheism requiring eternal matter is what's wrong.
JC> the atheist's assertion that the universe is uncaused and
JC> selfexisting is also incorrect
Wrong^2. For the same reason noted immediately above and for the fact that science has found the evidence and developed the theories that leave your "God" hypothesis sadly orphaned.
JC> The Bible's assertion that there was a beginning which was caused
JC> is supported strongly by the available scientific evidence.
That's just plain, flat out wrong, John. Science notes that the cosmos is not eternal and was not caused by any supernatural, but by natural, forces.
JC> THE DESIGN
Hoo boy. Cue Hume for me.
JC> If we know that the creation had a beginning and we know that the
JC> beginning was caused, there is one last question for us to answer--
JC> what was the cause?
I told you once: vacuum fluctuations.
JC> The Bible tells us that God was the cause.
Yeah, right. The Bible also tells us that there was a global flood and that snakes talk.

Pull the other one, John.

JC> We are further told that the God who did the causing did so with
JC> planning and reason and logic.
As a bioengineer, your God would live in the unemployment line.
JC> Romans 1:20 tells us that we can
JC> know God is "through the things he has made."
So, by that logic, you can know God through war, pestilence, murder and genocide. See Numbers 22:7.
JC> The atheist, on the other hand, will try to convince us that we are
JC> the product of chance.
For once, John actually has a grasp of the issue; however tenuous.
JC> Julian Huxley once said:
JC> We are as much a product of blind forces as is the falling of a stone
JC> to earth or the ebb and flow of the tides. We have just happened,
JC> and man was made flesh by a long series of singularly beneficial
JC> accidents.
Huxley always did have a way with words.
JC> The subject of design has been one that has been explored in many
JC> different ways.
And debunked in just as many.
JC> For most of us, simply looking at our newborn child is enough to
JC> rule out chance.
Yeah. Teratologies are so deterministic. Just why does your benevolent God allow that to happen?
JC> Modern-day scientists like Paul Davies
Who?
JC> and Frederick Hoyle
Hoyle? ROFL! (Rolling on the floor laughing!) Hoyle? The same one that claims that diseases come from space and insects are smarter than humans, but just aren't letting on; that Hoyle?

ROFL!

JC> and others
Like who? Do they swindle an existence from some place called the ICR?
JC> are raising elaborate objections to the use of chance in explaining
JC> natural phenomena.
Right. Like in chaos theory?
JC> A principle of modern science has emerged in the 1980s called "the
JC> anthropic principle.
The anthropic principle is about as scientific as the rest of your quasi- religious ramblings, i.e, it isn't and yours aren't.
JC> " The basic thrust of the anthropic principle is that chance is simply
JC> not a valid mechanism to explain the atom or life.
It not JUST chance, John. It's chance and time, constrained by the limits of physical law. The anthropic principle is like a worn-out sponge; it just doesn't wash.
JC> If chance is not valid, we are constrained to reject Huxley's claim
JC> and to realize that we are the product of an intelligent God.
But it is, therefore your proposition is invalidated, and rejected, as is your God hypothesis.
JC> THE NEXT STEP
Sounds like someone needs 11 more.
JC> We have seen a practical proof of God's existence in this brief study.
No, "we" have not. All I've seen is faulty logic, sophistical reasoning, and a marrow-deep ignorance of science.
JC> A flood of questions arise at this point.
Not to an atheist. They're just as moot and uninteresting as the rest of your so-called argument.
JC> Which God are we talking about? Where did God come from? Why
JC> did God create us? How did God create us?
First, provide evidence; real, hard, cold, physical evidence, for this "God" of your, before you mince off describing your God's attributes.
JC> All of these and many more are answered in the same way
So, they will remain unanswered.
JC> _by looking at the evidence in a practical, common sense way.
Which you have failed; utterly and miserably, to do.
JC> If you are interested in pursuing these things in more detail, we
JC> invite you to contact us.
Somehow, after you receive this, I doubt that severely.
JC> We have books, audio tapes, video tapes, correspondence courses,
JC> and booklets available and
Ah. The inevitable sales pitch.
JC> all can be obtained on loan without cost.
And worth every penny.
JC> Just request our catalog from:
JC> DOES GOD EXIST?
JC> 718 E. Donmoyer Ave.
JC> South Bend IN 46614-1999
Expect to be deluged, but not by what you're expecting.
JC> REFERENCES:
JC> Hoyle, Frederick, The Intelligent Universe, Holt, Rinehart &
JC> Winston, 1983.
Yep. The same old Hoyle. Ask him about that 'forgery' called "Archeopteryx". He's absolutely dotty about that as well.
JC> Humanist Manifesto I and 11, Prometheus Books, 700 East
JC> Amherst St.,
JC> Buffalo, NY 14215, 1985.
Where's your reference to the Bible, John? Without that, you really have less than nothing to say.