Catholic vs. Atheist - 2017-05-28 - Matt Dillahunty

Author Recorded Sunday May 28th, 2017

There are 47 episodes in the Versus:Atheist series.

Recorded February 9th, 2019

Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-02-09 - Greg

Recorded September 11th, 2016

Catholic vs. Atheist - 2016-09-11 - Renaud

I was a call-in guest on the Atheist Experience. I spoke with Matt Dillahunty about the Principle of Sufficient Reason. He ended the call abruptly. I'm 100% certain that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for his behavior.If you enjoy this kind of stuff, check out my interview of Aron Ra: https://youtu.be/fFe6nJeue0


Catholic vs. Atheist - 2017-05-28 - Matt Dillahunty

Author Recorded July 30th, 2016

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welcome to the experience we are alive today is Sunday May 28th 2017 I'm your host Matt Dillon joined this week John aya Kutty hello lu-david Montrell thanks for waiting hi thanks for having me this is my first time calling it's my first time actually listening to the show so I've only heard your introduction that's all I know of you but it sounds really good I have a similar mission a sort of Socratic mission to pursue the truth follow the truth wherever it goes that sounds kind of like what you're doing so I applaud you for that thank you thank you but the issue that I want to confront you with is the principle of sufficient reason so basically it boils down in a nutshell in layman's terms that everything in the natural order has a perfectly reasonable explanation there's nothing that's exempt for example from the laws of nature there's nothing that gets a free pass there's no magic fairy dust okay if you will so I think that the atheists the only honest and rational and self consistent and self-respecting atheist has to be a hard determinist where there is no free will there is no morality and there is no love really it's just in the kind of mechanical working out of a great well-oiled machine that's my proposition to you and I'd like to your response how would you get to that from principle of sufficient reason because everything has in principle an explanation and if you're an atheist you don't believe in the supernatural presumably okay so actually that's not true and I you're mostly right atheists don't believe in a god it's entirely possible to somebody could be an atheist and believe in supernatural but you are correct that we do not believe in the supernatural because there isn't sufficient warrant or belief in that but what I don't let's let's just go with let's not even put a label on it I don't believe in a God and I don't believe in the supernatural what does that have to do with whether or not I accept that love is an observed part of reality or that where your other things we're a hard determinist if the evidence is is no free will and opposition to hard determinism I don't know why I'd have to except that but but also when you when you went to freewill and morality I think in order to talk about those we'd have to you know do some definitions because depending on what kind of freewill you're talking about I don't believe it okay I'd like to keep it really really simple and just matrix yeah and just just acknowledge the fact that if if there is not nothing beyond the natural nothing above the natural and super just means above in Latin so if there is no supernatural there's nothing above the natural and everything is subject to natural cause and effect and in principle if we had the tools and if we had access to the subtle causes and effects in principle there's nothing that escapes the scientists inquiry you understand no I definitely understand and if you were to perhaps it may be the case that if you were to have absolute knowledge of and spin of every particle universe you could make perfect predictions we don't know that to be the case but the but the bigger issue here is that if everything has an explanation for why it is the way it is and tell us anything at all about whether or not it necessarily needs to be a supernatural explanation it could just be for example what is labeled that we put on a a complex variety of human emotions experiences we can identify things it's not like the thing that exists on to it sub metric it's it's a collection of different emotive behaviors and actions we recognize that somebody does this and we label it love not like love exists as some you know independent thing but let's say we had no way let's say we had no explanation or understanding of this to say that it must have a supernatural explanation I want I don't know what the justification is for that no I I didn't say that in fact I am willing to it well if your if your statement is that if you reject the supernatural you can have no explanation for these things then you are in fact saying that they explain no no no no I'm not I'm not saying that what I'm saying if I could clarify what I'm saying is that if it is the case that everything has a there's a good reason for everything that everything has a sufficient reason or a sufficient cause if it is a case and I believe that it is and if there and if so it's a two part conditional and if there's no supernatural then we must conclude that her determinism is is true and that there is the illusion of free will perhaps in the illusion of love and the illusion of morality but in fact there it's just a great well-oiled machine now so you hang on hang on because you're starting with two ifs and I don't know that you're starting with two ifs and you're reaching conclusions that I don't think are truly derived from those two EPs and we haven't even established at those two ifs or the case okay well if if if we assume the opposite let's say that there's something that happens in this universe that doesn't have a cause are you comfortable with that I'm not okay well first of all it doesn't matter whether I we're comfortable with something but do things just happen or is there a reason and a cause no that I don't I don't know how this is relevant so let me let me get back to this because I'm claiming that everything has sufficient cause that's a principle sure okay the idea that something has the sufficient cause is fine but that doesn't mean you have that doesn't mean that you know what the sufficient causes or anything about it okay right but there are two possibilities either it's completely natural or it's or it's not right either it's completely natural or it's not yes right right so if it is completely natural then we can with certainty with logical 100 percent certainty we can say that her determinism is the state of affairs no no you can't because hard determinism isn't necessarily that isn't necessarily the case and soft determinism allows for quantum indeterminacy and stuff which still doesn't violate the natural law but if it doesn't violate natural law then it's hard to determine it's 100% determined what about quantum effects like you just mentioned whatever though they're not there those are still natural yeah they're still natural they're subject to the natural law so it but they're but they're not deterministic they are deterministic it's just the our limited capabilities to measure and to intervene on internet because it's try to you know that because they studied quantum physics and we use statistical methods precisely because we can't know two or more qualities and attributes of these quantum but here's the thing what I'm talking about is yes something the explanation for any X is natural or it's not those are the only two options okay but that doesn't mean that if the explanation for X is unknown that doesn't mean that it's supernatural or not natural however you want to say it I'm not saying that and also just I'm not saying that what I'm saying what I would like the atheist to do is to honestly consider that if there is no supernatural then everything has a natural explanation but that's not the Atheist position the atheist position is not there is no supernatural my position is a skeptic is that I do not believe that there's anything supernatural because there has not been presented sufficient evidence to warrant that belief it's not a claim that the supernatural doesn't exist it's that we don't yet have evidentiary warrant to accept that it does I have evidence I could provide you with others quickly and easily oh good yeah provide provide the evidence for the supernatural and why on earth would you call us instead of going after your Nobel Prize or your Templeton trophy evidence is house how nervous a theist get when I talk about determinism because no one wants to admit that you're not free and that love is just a well-oiled machine right David how nervous a theist gets is utterly irrelevant it's not an evidence for the supernatural but can I complete my thought no I'm going to complete mine first you said that you could provide evidence for the supernatural and you started off with something that is so boneheaded ly irrelevant that it's incredibly frustrating the idea that because a group of people who don't accept or reject for example the supernatural might get nervous when you bring up this doesn't print it doesn't mean that it's evidence for it okay let me let me restart I think you're confusing nervousness with with rejecting your premises let me put it another way to you which would be less offensive maybe it's not a lot of fans we're not offended I'm not offended make a damn argument and provide some evidence okay the damn argument I'll make is that if everything is caused by natural causes and there is no supernatural then that means in principle that everything is 100% determined you slept that much no I accept that it's possible that that may be the case but not that it's demonstrable that it is the case I'm not I'm not going I'm not good I'm not convinced that there are things in the natural world that are random and not predictable well predictability depends on our level of knowledge right like statistical methods are only a tool because of ignorance I agree but in print that's why I say in principle we don't have the we don't have the capability of even predicting whether in the future to a great extent it's too complicated and we we have the ability to a clever bait we can make predictions that are consistent with the information we have we can use generalizations and statistical approaches well my point is that I agree please explain what the hell that has to do with your your statement we know that there is the supernatural because if there is no supernatural then everything is natural and that cannot be the case because if it is the case okay gave it you just I write down that what what you just said we know that there supernatural because if there's not then everything is natural although we are just going to stop are you just going to spout irrelevant apologies or are you going to get to the actual evidence well you cut me off before I could concede you know what we go hey David we know that everything is natural because if it wasn't then the supernatural would be supernatural the other thing if I could try one more thing with you before I go if it's possible it would be the uncaused first cause we know with certainty that there is an uncaused first cause because of entropy in a second law of thermodynamics now we don't David no we don't reduction to absurdity we know it we don't know that we don't know that first of all I reject the notion we know anything to an absolute certainty so you're already engaged in some swapping is there but when you start talking about the second law of thermodynamics it doesn't apply at the origin of the universe the laws of nature don't apply the within the universe within yes but we're talking about the origins of universe you're talking about or not you're talking about an uncaused Firstpost well you do not understand the laws of thermodynamics apply to closed systems right well in the universe is a closed system yeah but the origin of the universe is outside of the closed system right that's my goal okay please tell me something about your god other than that is it is a sufficient explanation for the origin of the universe he's self-existent he is you know how do you know that he has to be okay I'm not interested in this in these have to be I want to know what how you know what you know about your dog this deduction cure deduction it's its reason because if we posit the opposite and say there's no first cause that's on cost then we have an infinite regress of cause and effect and that cannot be you don't know that I do know that because it's only a finite amount of time that would accomplish the heat death and we haven't arrived at the heat that's therefore no no no your finite of time and fun heat death apply to the local presentation of the universe they don't apply time it may not apply outside of the universe at all is it your God timeless yes so don't be talking to me about properties your God and saying that it must necessarily be a first cause because there hasn't been enough time in the local presentation of the universe you're ignoring other potential hypotheses where the cosmos is in fact eternal well either there's an internet chain will cause an effect or not and if not then there's a first uncaused cause and i and since we don't know which of those two is correct we know we do know because if we pause it an infinite chain of cause and effect that means that you and I cannot literally cannot be here right now and the fact that we are now because you're so causality is necessarily temporal correct correct and time is a property time begins with the universe okay so you can't talk about causality absolute time correct what we can talk about god causing the universe yes he's the first cause of the uncaused cause you just said that causality was necessarily temporal and if there's no time prior to the universe under your model that your God can't cause anything in the natural order but God is the first cause he's not material how do you know because if we pause it the opposite and say there is no first cause then that means infinite regress and we know that there's no fact in fact I know David the fact that you are unwilling to accept something as a possibility doesn't mean that it's not the case the correct position here is that we have no explanation for the origins in the universe we're still working on it but the theists want to pretend for philosophical masturbation that they have cracked the case but may I ask you a personal question do you believe that the universe has a beginning or not depends on what we mean by universe the standards that the normal presentation of the universe we can't investigate you know the very earliest moments of it but do I think that the cosmos may in fact be eternal that seems to be a plausible explanation supported by Alan Guth and others that that the unit that the universe won in this context the cosmos which may be a multiverse or anything else may in fact be eternal but the thing is we cannot investigate that you can use reason we can apply reason a deduction not you okay but reason is only applicable if you have something to actually point it they hit it on so what are what are the other universes in the multiverse like we don't know but we do know that cause and effect governs everything in the material universe doing so so something so if cause and effect is temporal and time is contained within our local presentation of universe you're asserting that other potential universes also have cause and effect of course because we we are here now how do you even know that they have time well if they don't have time that doesn't bother me I'm okay with that it's not a philosophical challenge to me I don't care if it bothers you you keep coming back to the your proof of this is that eight years of your proof of the one thing is because a theists are bothered by it your proof of another thing is that you're not comfortable with it I don't care if you're comfortable with it I care about what is actually true and reasonable to believe right but listen there's some total of all the multiverses and all the strings and all the bouncing universes and you know everything that you can imagine every lucky theory that any speculative philosophical scientist has come up with you can clump them all into what I call the universe maybe you call it the cosmos I don't know but I call it the universe I put all my universes into one universe but to me uni means one so I just call it the universe right even if it dad that's the way that's the way this started until we actually learned a bit more and learn a bit more about possibilities so you have a guy you have a God that is your first cause what do you know about this God I know that he's perfect in every incident in every perfection that it's better to have than to not have I know you know that I know that because the principle that in effect cannot be greater than its cause right and so when we observe the perfections in this in this world really so so when fuse with a magic and all right I'm not even going to go down that particular road yeah you shouldn't because you're going to look so really yeah and if that can't be greater than the cause so for example when I when I light a match and put it to a bomb we're not going to get an effect we could look at it and I understand where you're going you could look at it as if the the causal effect or the the proximate cause the necessary and sufficient cause of lighting the match produces something that is more significant now it doesn't in any way violate the laws of nature because the the components of that bomb are what actually are causing the explosion however you're saying that God has to be perfect in every possible way is this an agent he's a person he has personality yeah how do you know that because I'm a person and an effect cannot be better than its cause I I know that God loves because I love so so basically you're saying it's impossible for you to exist unless there was a god that's right that nature that nature could not through pure natural processes and chemicals result in biological thinking agent no if God blinked once we would disappear he's watching and he's here and he's sustaining everything yes how many times yes how many times I'm going to blink you can blink as much as you want you you're not necessary being you're not you're not the creator and sustainer so you can blink oh yeah but I am the person who determines whether or not we're going to keep listening to unfounded assertion about you you're talking about the attributes of God and we and the ancient Greeks came up with a lot of the the attributes of God just using pure reason yeah they did come up with the attributes of God so this is not my little fantasy I want to know whether or not the attributes are accurate whether or not there's actually what does God one God wants everything that's good what's best he wants hopping and now you know that is a is that just definitional as well it all has to do with goodness right like the things that you crave what is goodness whatever it's better to have than to not have life love justice beauty health yeah I David I'm done with David I'm done with your tautology parade well you're just asking me you I don't know if you want mathematical proofs or what you want but like a definition that isn't just a tautology the good things are those good things they're not the bad things I can talk about the fact that God is not material because the material things are subject to change the composed of parts all of this is well established over the past millennia even by its well established in theological circles that they're desperate to find something but I want to know what actually is because there's a God who is a person and he wants goodness yeah he needs nothing right but what he created as gratuitously out of love and he wants us to be with him to be happy forever so that how do you how do you know that how do you get how do you get from uncaused first cause all of that stuff I'm not just sitting in my living room in my armchair doing philosophy I belong to the Roman Catholic Church and I have a lot of revealed truths that are not knowable by the natural light of Reason how are they revealed their revealed by God through sacred tradition and sacred scripture what makes them sacred well because they're revealed by God how do you know that the traditions in scripture that you're saying are sacred are the right one I have faith I could be wrong okay I'm not interested in positions that are based on faith that's why I was talking about philosophy because faith is not a pathway to truth but I don't have faith in God the Father I've faced in the Trinity I have faith in the Incarnation I've faced in infallibility of the Pope I don't give a rat's ass if you have faith in your lucky rabbit's foot I care about what's actually true and demonstrable and if your position and if your position is that you believe these things based on faith now we've entered a whole new realm the mysteries of faith that are revealed and that can't be known by the natural light of reason I accept on faith obviously but yes I know I decided an absolute I'm sorry but that is absolute garbage every time I talk with Catholics in particular the word mystery just keeps popping up well you're comfortable with mysteries no I'm not comfortable with mysteries that's the point that's the point that's the point a bit of know start with a quantum thing you were comfortable the mystery of the quantum world no no I'm not God do you have are you able to understand anything that I'm actually saying I keep saying that I'm not comfortable with not knowing but I'm not so uncomfortable with not knowing that I'm going to make up to sue myself which is what religions do well if we could talk about the quantum things for just a little bit I think that we can we can agree no we can't I'm not a quantum physicist I don't give a rat's ass but I know some quantum physicists who disagree with you call them yeah there's a there's a lot of different philosophical interpretations oh yeah and I want to know what's actually reasonable to believe don't you yeah of course then why would you take anything on faith faith is not a reliable path to understanding I trust the witnesses of Jesus Christ and I've done a lot of research into it why okay first of all first of all you have no access to any of the witnesses not what are you talking about a few Catholics and I'm going to ask you what witness to Jesus Christ do you have access to I was confirmed in the Catholic Church in 2009 and the bishop that laid his hands on me there's a paper trail going all the way back to Jesus Christ the laying on of hands from one Pope to the next hey you know what I I did a card trick the other day and there's a paper trail that car trick going back to Merlin that mean Merlin was wizard I'm asking you what access do you have Oh what you see you know you talk about ApS getting nervous we talk about why is it every time I ask you a question you start laughing because I find it amusing I'm asking you a serious question you're not even detecting you said you have faith because of your access to the witnesses to Jesus Christ and I'm asking you who are those witnesses how many concept APIs this Saints what Saints and how do you okay the Catholic saints how are they witnesses to Jesus Christ you go to the library pick up a book you read what they said and what they lived and how they lived and how they died yeah okay which one was a witness to Jesus Christ you want me to name the Apostles and the successors to the apostles I would like you to first of all start with Jesus and name who the witnesses and he had apostle named one James John Andrew Philip Bartholomew sure now what do you have from them that you can confirm comes from them and is in fact accurate their writings and their their oral tradition okay but okay so for the first of all sorts of writings an oral tradition fine we have no idea who wrote the Gospels correct okay so if we go into the other writings where it comes from Paul and whatever Paul never met Jesus is a living being did he yeah he does on the road to Damascus that's not Jesus as a living being that's an apparition you think it wasn't Jesus of course I think it wasn't Jesus I thought I guess you must yeah I don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to somebody but you do yeah I do based on the testimony of all the witnesses sure no no there were no witnesses to this Paul meet meets this apparition on the road to Damascus and the people company him either don't see anything or can't attest to anything there aren't witnesses for this and you have no witnesses that you can investigate what you have is a collection of stories that are unsourced that keep pointing to witnesses that you don't have any ability to investigate if someone came to you right now and said my uncle met Jesus our met Elvis when Elvis rose from the dead would you believe them no okay why do you have a different standard for that than you do for what you're reading when this is somebody who when this is somebody who you could in fact speak to and evaluate them personally face-to-face as to how reliable they are rather than an anonymous source because of the way they live their lives in the way they're willing to die for Jesus Christ you see this is the thing you don't know how they live their lives or how they were going to die do you think people would be willing to die for something that wasn't in fact true yes yeah they would so that becomes an irrelevant vector that so how do we determine with any reliability that the stories you are putting your faith in are in fact true I'm not saying I'm not saying David I'm not saying whether how do we determine whether or not those people believed it I'm talking about whether or not it was actually true yeah there's a whole host of different kinds of evidence that come together in my mind to make it reasonable to accept the testimony of the witnesses over the 2,000 years since the death of Christ yes thanks for telling me again what you thanks for again for telling me what you believed which we established 20 minutes ago and avoiding the why at all come what I just told you that there are a whole bunch of reasons why I believe the testimony of the witnesses there there are literally libraries full of writings by the if you haven't looked into it maybe you should if you're curious but it's very powerful and it's very convincing once you know who God is you do realize that I was a Christian for more than 25 years and that this is in fact my life's work no I don't know you yeah I'm talking about why we should believe that the claims are true not how they live their lives because would you acknowledge that there are people in other religions that you do not believe are true who have lived wonderful lives and credit their religion with it yes it's like I said it's a combination of factors how do we tell the difference between those two people person a from your religion and person B from some other religion how do you tell the difference the first and most important element is are they talking about my god that first cause that's uncaused and with all the perfections if they're not okay we're done talk about oh I'm going to go with the one I believe in this is the thing if you ask John John why do you believe the Earth orbits the Sun I don't know you don't know that's an acceptable answer another answer it would be to actually provide the evidence for it the direct observations how we got it wrong before how we correct it the past not neither of us our science is neither us or Ella Murphy yeah we're not going to be able to give good answer on that but this isn't the the the ah let's orbit the Earth or let's orbit the Sun Club I'm going to get it all wrong the thing is if this is something that you've called in to say that you believe I'm fine with you saying you believe based on faith I'm fine with that is in fact your answer I'm going to challenge it because they don't find faith to be a reliable path to truth there's nothing that you couldn't accept on faith and when you say oh I've read the stories of the Apostles and the lives they lived okay but you have no idea how to determine the accuracy of those stories and even if they lived wonderful lives you just acknowledged that people live lives and credit their religion for good lives even with religions you don't think are true there's this parade of oh there must be a first cause and therefore which may or may not be true but if it is and this is why you ate these get so nervous is because you recognize that as soon as it that your model has hard determinism and no free will and no way to hold people responsible and no morality and no love and that's just garbage Chris Johnson was just here last week he's got a book and a film called a better life where a hundred atheist speak out on join meeting in a life without God the film doesn't have a hundred in it but it's culminated from those interviews this idea that you can't have morality is something that we've addressed over and over again in many different there's many different models of morality but I will say and this isn't just a dig at him because he's a Catholic religions raise objections to morality that they can never solve and meanwhile if you're going to call in to pretend that atheists have no way of reaching a moral grounding on purely secular terms then maybe you should go to Netflix and watch the documentary that I just watched this weekend called the keepers which demonstrate that the Catholic Church is a criminal organization that needs to be bankrupted at the first opportunity and every Catholic Church needs to be turned into a home for the impoverished and for children who have been abused by the people that they shuffled around and hid from police now that doesn't tell my little spiel they're as accurate as is and is applause worthy as it was doesn't tell you whether or not there's a God but neither did anything that David said oh well there must be a first cut but you know nothing even if you're right that there must be a first cause you can't tell me anything about it you have no ability to investigate it what can you tell me about other universes we are blocked currently and perhaps eternally from investigating beyond our universe for most of the existence of human beings we were blocked from investigating very much outside of the planet that we're sitting on we've gradually increased our ability to explore and we have better understandings but we also don't have an explanation for origins and the nice thing about science is it doesn't get to pretend that it does have an explanation there's nothing within the realm of scientific query that says you know what we aren't able to come up with a naturalistic explanation and we've been at this for you know a good hundred and fifty years or so so screw it there must be a first cause it needs to be a personal God who is timeless who can act outside of time and we're going to point to the second law of thermodynamics even in places where it doesn't apply because we're so desperate to bolster the ideas that we believe that we're not following the evidence towards a conclusion we are desperately trying to get all of the little factors to point to what we already believe that's not what science does which is why there's no no Nobel Prize for demonstrating God which is why somebody's going to call into the Atheist experience with their personal take on what they think they can derive from quantum physics quantum mechanics rather than going out and demonstrating through proper channels that they have scientifically demonstrated that a God exists I'm fine with having philosophical arguments I'm even fine with having some scientific arguments I I try not to go too far afield of my areas of expertise in part because and this is why I wanted to get to specifics about the God this person believed in if you drill down and get specifics about those gods they are almost always in conflict with the observations that we see the observations that would be sensible Oh what is your God wanting wants what is good okay what's that is good just what you think it is what if what if you and I disagree on what is good oh well God's always right okay you can say that but saying it don't make it so well I'm where he where he was going with that around the time you hung up was he he went back to the uncaused first cause and he said but but those other religions because you were saying the other bridge anyone listening to me i am i own here this is patrick phanpy i'm trying to get through so hey Patrick yeah I've been waiting I've been trying to be patient I was muted I had it muted the whole time for that entire call another eight is debating another Christian that's too easy for you man another atheist debating another Christian I don't know what you mean yeah a Christian is a easy Smackdown for an atheist talking snakes mad woman made of a man's rib that's not what I'm talking about okay Patrick we hadn't even addressed your welcome to show I just accidentally took you off hold as John was finishing his thoughts if you like a little view if you can just draw some questions a piano go all you got to do is all you got to do got to do

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