Petersen vs. the Universe
Curiously, in examining Petersen’s lengthy diatribe (I don’t find David Smart or Sye Ten Bruggencate – both of whom have complained about the lengthiness of some of my blog entries – whining that Petersen’s article is “longwinded”), I nowhere found any active hyperlinks to my series of blog entries interacting with Petersen's objections to Leonard Peikoff, of which there are five! Petersen does give a few URLs to my blog entries, but in case anyone has missed them, I’m happy to post links to them here:
Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Preamble - October 11, 2014Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 1 - October 12, 2014Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 2 - October 13, 2014Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 3 - October 14, 2014
Don’t Objectivists know that defining the concept ‘universe’ in any manner that deviates from the conventional establishment is as audacious as denying “global warming” – a form of thoughtcrime that needs to be stamped out once and for by any means necessary, especially if those means include some form of intimidation?
Well, to a degree Petersen is right: Objectivists have identified many fundamental errors in what the academics mercilessly pump into western culture, and in this way we are heretics to the mainstream’s authoritarian hegemony in university philosophy departments. But unlike Petersen, we Objectivists do not think that righting the wrongs of academia is a bad thing. On the contrary, we think this is work that is desperately needed by the world and for the future of the human race. And we’re right!
The Objectivist conception of ‘universe’ given in my blog was taken from Peikoff’s own lecture series, and is stated as follows:
The universe is the total of that which exists—not merely the earth or the stars or the galaxies, but everything. Obviously then there can be no such thing as the “cause” of the universe…
But Petersen resists acknowledging the ironclad logic of such a position. Instead, he prefers to scorn Objectivists for their conception of ‘universe’. For example, Petersen writes:
The traditional definition of the universe is all physical things, such as matter and energy
everything that exists anywhere
The totality of all existing things
the whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated
In addition to these citations, there’s a most curious quote from physicist Brian Greene, who states in his 2011 book The Hidden Reality (p. 4; this book, incidentally, was nominated for the 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books):
There was once a time when ‘universe’ meant ‘all there is.’ Everything. The whole shebang.
Speaking of “redefining” (which, ironically, Petersen accuses Objectivists of doing), consider the following statement about Greene’s book from his own website which echoes the above quote from his book:
There was a time when ‘universe’ meant ‘all there is,’ “writes Greene, but soon we may have to redefine that word, along with our own meager understanding of the cosmos. [sic]
Petersen wants to define (or shall we say, re-define?) the concept ‘universe’ in such a way that it is essentially synonymous or at any rate interchangeable with the Christian notion of “creation.” With such a definition, one could be forgiven for supposing that he’s trying to stack the deck in favor of his god-belief, at least a little. Indeed, if our conception of ‘universe’ deliberately specifies that only some of the things acknowledged to exist are included in its scope of reference, the implication is that some other things – things which are not specified – are excluded from its scope of reference. With the granddaddy of universal concepts, what could possibly justify such a move?
Petersen is certainly not alone in this. Many Christians have built into their very conception of ‘universe’ the notion that it excludes certain things from its inclusion. And we should not be surprised to discover that among the things such a conception of ‘universe’ is intended to exclude, are accessible to the human mind only by means of the imagination.
For example, presuppositional apologist Cornelius Van Til offered the following definition of ‘universe’ in his book The Defense of the Faith (3rd ed., p. 42):
By the term universe we now mean the whole of the created world including man himself and his environment.
When I first examined James Anderson’s paper If Knowledge Then God, I raised this concern to Anderson himself, given that each premise of “The One-Many Argument” proffered by Van Til makes reference to “the universe,” that if his argument’s premises assumed the existence of the Christian god by tacitly slipping in notions which definitionally presupposed the Christian god’s existence, the argument would end up being viciously circular. So on 7 January, 2005 – some ten years ago now – I emailed Anderson with the following query:
I suppose while you're at it, a definition of 'universe' as it is employed in the first premise of the OMA would also be helpful. But now that I think about it, this concerns me a little bit for the argument’s sake. I know many Christian sources build the notion of divine creation into their definition of the universe. For instance, Van Til clarifies that, for him, “the term universe… [means] the whole of the created world including man himself and his environment.” (DoF, 3rd ed., p. 42.) In some of Bahnsen’s papers that I’ve read, it seemed that he referred to the universe as “created reality” (cf. “The Person, Work and Present Status of Satan,” et al.). Such conceptions seem already to assume the Christian god, do they not? My concern for OMA is that, if the term ‘universe’ as it is used in its first premise imports such assumptions, wouldn't this mean that the premise includes a notion that assumes the existence of God already? Would this imply circularity? Is there a conception of ‘universe’ that does not presuppose God that could be used instead of those that Van Til and Bahnsen gave so that OMA would not imply a circular argument, or would using such a definition imply neutrality?
Now, regarding definitions.? I'll answer the easier question first. By 'universe', I simply mean "the sum total of reality" or "everything that exists". There are no Christian theistic assumptions about creation built in to the term here. It certainly shouldn't be understood as interchangeable (even on a Christian view) with 'creation', since on Christian ontology it would cover both Creator and creation. [sic]
Again, notice the definitions for ‘universe’ which Anderson does offer: “the sum total of reality” or “everything that exists”.
A man after my own heart!
While Anderson nowhere provided these or any other definitions of ‘universe’ in his paper, I’m guessing that wisdom got the better of him when he was confronted with the possibility that an argument whose premises entail the definition of ‘universe’ as Van Til informed it, might in fact be fallaciously circular.
Consider Petersen’s attempt to react to an elementary point that I had made. In my blog entry Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 2, I wrote the following:
if the universe is the sum totality of everything that exists, then if something exists it exists within that sum totality, and thus it makes no sense to posit something existing outside that totality. This is essentially what Peikoff had stated earlier, and I think it applies quite directly to the present matter.
When one makes a statement like “man is mortal,” he is making as wide a general statement about an entire class of objects as one possibly can. He has in mind all men - whether they are currently living, whether they lived 3,000 years ago, whether they will live in the distant future. He’s not saying, implying or even allowing that there are, have been or will be some men who are not mortal. This is because the unqualified use of a concept implies all units, however many that could possibly be, within its scope of reference. This is precisely why we do qualify our use of concepts when in fact we do qualify them; for example, this man, those men, men living in Paris in 1789, men working for IBM, etc. We qualify concepts in order to narrow our scope of reference since otherwise we would be implying a much greater scope of reference – indeed a universal scope of reference – when in fact we have only a subset in mind. In just this way, language follows concepts, not the other way around.
Consider the concept ‘existence’: it too is open-ended and allows us to include anything and everything that exists. If something exists, it is included in the scope of reference of the concept ‘existence’ by virtue of the mere fact that it exists. Given this, it would be completely arbitrary to posit the existence of something and yet insist that it lies outside the scope of reference of the concept ‘existence’.
Similarly with the concept ‘universe’. The concept ‘universe’ serves a legitimate conceptual purpose by denoting the sum total of everything that does in fact exist, regardless of its qualities, as a conceptual whole. If something exists, then, on this conception of ‘universe’, it exists within the universe. There is thus no justification for arbitrarily positing actually existing things “outside the universe” for such a notion can have no objective reference.
Now consider Jason Petersen’s reaction to the above quote from my blog entry. He writes:
This tired mantra has been addressed, but at this point, it may be profitable to further expose the futility of defending the universe as ‘the sum total of all that exists.’
When the universe is redefined in such a way, it makes the definition of theuniverse meaningless.
And what argument does Petersen provide to the effect that defining the concept ‘universe’ as the sum total of everything that exists (a definition, you will recall, which we have even seen in standard desktop dictionaries) renders it “meaningless”? Let’s read on and see what we find.
The definition of ‘universe’ that objectivists give makes no ontological distinctions.
If God exists, then he is part of the universe by implication of the objectivist’s definition of universe.
Anything that is immaterial would also be ‘part of the universe.’
If the universe is the sum total of all things that exist, then it is impossible to posit something outside of the universe given the objectivist definition of universe.
Petersen then stumbles:
Thus, Peikoff and Bethrick are being inconsistent by saying that we cannot posit something outside of the universe when the very definition they give includes the sum of all things that exist.
Petersen attempts to conclude from his own in-the-dark groping:
Therefore, the objectivist definition of the universe is without ontological distinction and ultimately meaningless.
Also, we saw above that, since the Objectivist definition of ‘universe’ specifies the essentializing criterion distinguishing its units – namely the fact that they exist – the concept as Objectivists employ it is therefore not “without ontological distinction.” Existing is certainly distinct from not existing, and this is most assuredly the most fundamental ontological distinction possible.
Anything that is outside of the physical world would still be part of the universe.
Such elementary blunders highlight one of the reasons that the only people that take objectivist philosophy seriously are objectivists.
Most likely, Petersen’s primary objection to the Objectivist conception of ‘universe’ is one which he has not put forward fully (though he has clearly hinted at it), namely that it throws a major wrench into his theological confession. But that’s the beauty of Objectivism: it slashes off entire categories of philosophically useless and arbitrary notions at their very basis.
Consider the invisible magic dragon which I imagine sitting in my driveway. Does it actually exist? Well, certainly I exist. But does the invisible magic dragon that I’m imagining exist? On a worldview which blurs the distinction between the actual and the imaginary, a thinker will have a hard time wrestling with such questions consistently. But Objectivism empowers the mind such that it need not be burdened with such useless trifles. We can say with all certainty that the invisible magic dragon that I’m imagining in my driveway does not exist; and since it does not exist, it is not part of the universe.
Similarly with Petersen’s god: we have no alternative but to use our imaginations when it comes to contemplating the deities described in the Old and New Testaments. Indeed, we have no alternative but to use our imagination when it comes to contemplating Jesus dying on the cross and magically resurrecting back to life in a cave. Because Christianity inherently requires its adherents to blur the distinction between that which is real and that which is merely imaginary, its adherents will always have a hard time with Objectivism. Objectivism is explicit in recognizing the distinction between the actual and the imaginary because it begins with the axioms and the primacy of existence. By contrast, Christianity begins by denying the axioms and by affirming the primacy of consciousness. So it should be no surprise when we find its defenders making such a spectacle of their own self-inflicted confusion as Petersen has done so poignantly.
Bethrick argues that God cannot create the universe because God is not part of the ‘sub [sic] total of all that exists.’
Similarly with the concept ‘existence’: the notion that existence as such was created by something existing is also nonsensical: that thing would have to exist (and therefore existence as such would already exist, and thus not need to be created) in order to do anything at all – including any creative action.
As for why the Christian god cannot create the universe, it’s quite simple: that which does not exist, cannot create anything. If the Christian god does not exist, then it cannot even tie my shoes, let alone create the universe. And we can know that the Christian god does not exist because it is not real. And we can know that the Christian god is not real because it is imaginary. The imaginary is not real, and just as – as Steve Hays puts it here - “an imagined Jesus is just an imaginary Jesus,” an imagined god is just an imaginary god.
I know for a fact that when I contemplate the stories I read in the bible, I’m using my imagination. I know for a fact that, when I was a Christian and prayed to the Christian god, I was using my imagination. I know for a fact that, when I was a Christian, every time I feared the supernatural, I was using my imagination. I know for a fact that, when I was a Christian, whenever I worshiped the Christian god, I was using my imagination. I also know for a fact that, even now as a mature thinker, whenever I examine an argument for the Christian god’s existence, by the time I get to its conclusion I am left with no alternative but to use my imagination and imagine the god whose existence it is said to prove.
Does this automatically mean that Jason Petersen himself is necessarily relying on his imagination when he worships and promotes his god? Let’s look at it this way: like me and anyone else, Jason Petersen has the ability to imagine. Given this, Petersen needs to explain how I can objectively distinguish what he calls “God” from something he may merely be imagining. Does Petersen claim to be directly aware of what he calls “God”? If so, then by what means, and how can we reliably distinguish those means from his imagination? If he does not claim to be directly aware of what he calls “God,” is there any rational alternative to inferring its existence? If so, what would that be? If not, does he claim to have inferred his god’s existence?
Often Christians appeal to statements found in Romans 1, statements claiming that “that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” (v. 19). Neither this nor any other passage in the New Testament presents an epistemological analysis explaining how any of this has allegedly taken place. And of course, it would be easy to claim that everyone “just knows” a deity that is entirely imaginary. I can easily make the claim that the invisible magic dragon that I imagine in my driveway has made itself “manifest” to all human minds, and that those who are denying its existence are simply “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.” And without any epistemological analysis of how anyone could know this, there’s no substance here that can be considered rational, and consequently no objective means of reliably distinguishing between the thing claimed and the imagination of the one affirming the claim.
So here’s what I want to know: Christians claim essentially that the universe (however they happen to define it on any given Sunday) was created by an act of consciousness: the god they imagine is said to have essentially wished the universe into being. Even to say that it “spoke” the universe into being cannot be literally meant consistently since speaking is a physical action – it requires a mouth, lungs, a larynx, a tongue, teeth, lips, a working nervous system, metabolism, air, etc., meaning: speaking needs a physical body, something which the Christian god, as Christians imagine it, is said to lack.
This would mean that a pebble I pick up in my backyard was allegedly created by an act of consciousness. But what in the world tells me that any pebble I pick up from the ground was created by an act of consciousness? When I look outward at the world and the pebbles I find in it, what do I find that tells me that pebbles were created by an act of consciousness? I know of nothing that I find when I look outward at the world which even remotely suggests this. Now of course, when I look inward - as into the contents of my imagination - then (and only then) do I get this notion that the pebble was created by an act of consciousness. I can look at the pebble all day, crush it into bits, put the bits under an electron microscope, perform an array of laboratory tests on it, and still never discover any evidence suggesting that it or any part of it was created by an act of consciousness. But if I imagine, then I’m free to ignore everything I find by looking outward at the world and pretend that what I have found was created by a conscious being which I have also concocted in my imagination.
Bethrick is arguing that God could not create the universe because God does not exist.
Thus, he is arguing that Christianity is false because he says it is false.
This is far from convincing, and it shows that Bethrick probably has not read very much philosophy beyond objectivist propaganda.
But so what? What does this have to do with anything? The security of Petersen’s position surely does not stand or fall on the quantity of philosophy that I’ve read, something he could have no substantial knowledge on in the first place. So seriously, what relevance does this have? It’s not about me, it’s about the ideas. But Petersen doesn’t like ideas. He only likes his faith-based beliefs and anything that can be construed into support for it.
The notion that God created the universe does not contain any logical inconsistency despite insistence by Peikoff and Bethrick.
Genesis 1:1 says that God created the heavens and the Earth.
Universe is defined as all matter and energy.
Since the proper definition of universe is ‘all matter and energy,’ God can create the universe without contradiction.
Also, Petersen ignores the fact that such a position can only mean that his god has no energy to begin with, which only serves to raise more questions that Christianity cannot answer. How does an entity do anything when it has no energy? Even worse, how does an entity “create” energy when energy does not exist in the first place? Can we rely on Petersen to explain this? What does he offer on such questions? He doesn’t even seem to have anticipated them. All he gives us is more failure to integrate.
Moreover, Petersen does not explain how energy can be “created” by an act of consciousness – essentially by an act of wishing. Yes, we can – as I’ve conceded here and elsewhere - imagine such things. But we can imagine Harry Potter flying on a broomstick as well, yet most thinking adults typically do not confuse such notions with reality. So what excuse does Petersen offer for his childish things here? Again, blank out.
Petersen raises another objection:
Bethrick’s notion that God cannot create mindindependent concretes is based on a bad inductive inference.
For example, in one article, Bethrick argued that the mind cannot mold reality because he cannot bend the paper clip on his desk using his mind. 
9. I would certainly rather be dyslexic than to have a disdain for critical thinking that the acceptance of objectivism entails.
Even worse, for such a characterization to come from a proponent of a religious worldview – in particular Christianity – suggests that the one making it has chosen to ignore the disdain for critical thinking that is so essential to the Christian faith. After all, it’s not called a “faith” for nothing. Let us not forget that it is in the New Testament gospel of John where we find disdain for critical thinking so shamelessly affirmed, as in the pericope which has Thomas famously expressing doubt in Jesus’ resurrection, given that he had not seen the risen Jesus, wounds and all, walking among the living after dying on the cross. The gospel has Jesus responding to this resistance to blind acceptance of claims with the words, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Such passages are no accident, and their purpose is to encourage the shutting down of all critical inquiry and the ready acceptance of claims about the supernatural.
Jason Petersen’s own approach to knowledge, as we saw in my blog entry Jason Petersen’s “Epistemology,” is one which begins with the uncritical acceptance of claims about the supernatural. In the video of him quoted in that blog entry, Petersen announces the following:
I start with the revelation of Scripture. I view Scripture as sufficient. I view um God as self-sufficient, as a self-sufficient authority that is explanatory within his own nature.
This is no isolated or unique case. Indeed, it is inherent to Christianity as such. Literalist Christians are expected to accept the entire contents of the bible as unquestionable truth, even though today’s believers are in no position to determine whether the events recorded in it actually took place. Consider the story of Abraham and Isaac, for example, in Genesis 22. Here we have a tale of the biblical god issuing a command to the patriarch Abraham. The command is for Abraham to prepare his only son as a burnt offering. At no point does the story model Abraham even wincing at the idea, let alone examining it critically. Indeed, how did Abraham know that what he understood as a command to prepare his own child as a sacrifice really came from the biblical god? How did he know that he was not merely imagining this, or dreaming it, or – given that the biblical worldview affirms the existence of demons, devils, ghosts and “unclean spirits” – how did Abraham know that it was not some supernatural deviant planting foul notions in his mind? Nothing in the story provides any clue as to that questions were ever considered, let alone how either Abraham could have answered them, or how today’s believers could answer them.
When John Frame considers this very question in his paper Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction Part 1 of 2: Introduction and Creation, he poses the following question:
How did Abraham come to know that the voice calling him to sacrifice his son (Gen. 22:1-18; cf. Heb. 11:17-19; James 2:21-24) was the voice of God? What the voice told him to do was contrary to fatherly instincts, normal ethical considerations, and even, apparently, contrary to other Words of God (Gen. 9:6).
I cannot explain the psychology here to the satisfaction of very many. In this case as in others (for we walk by faith, not by sight!) we may have to accept the fact even without an explanation of the fact. Somehow, God manages to get his Word across to us, despite the logical and psychological barriers. Without explaining how it works, Scripture describes in various ways a “supernatural factor” in divine-human communication. (a) It speaks of the power of the Word. The Word created all things (Gen. 1:3, etc.; Ps. 33:3-6; John 1:3) and directs the course of nature and history (Pss. 46:6; 148:5-8). What God says will surely come to pass (Isa. 55:11; Gen. 18:14; Deut. 18:21ff.). The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16; cf. Isa. 6:9-10; Luke 7:7ff.; Heb. 4:12). (b) Scripture also speaks of the personal power of the Holy Spirit operating with the Word (John 3:5; 1 Cor. 2:4,12ff.; 2 Cor. 3:15-18; 1 Thess. 1:5). Mysterious though the process may be, somehow God illumines the human mind to discern the divine source of the Word. We know without knowing how we know.
Consider the actual, real-life account of Boyce Singleton, Jr., who was convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend. According to the article When God Talks, People Listen ... and Trouble Follows published by the Huffington Post in June 2012:
Boyce Singleton Jr. admits that he shot and stabbed his pregnant girlfriend to death in their New Jersey home, but as he told the jury, "It was the right thing to do because it was something God was telling me to do." His conviction has been overturned, because that, my friends, is certifiably wacko-rama-ding-dong.
Despite God's published views on slaughtering the Amalekites, not to mention the hapless Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, I agree with the court: such claims are insane. But this raises a more important question here: Aren't all such claims of private revelation from God either cynical or nuts?
A pro football player who leapt from his burning third-floor apartment in Liberty Lake Thursday said he started the blaze with a marijuana blunt because God told him to ... Kevin Marcus Ellison, 25, a starting linebacker/defensive back for the Spokane Shock arena football team, initially told firefighters that he'd been smoking in bed, but ... Shock general manager Ryan Rigmaiden ... said Ellison told him he started the fire with a marijuana blunt at the advice of God...
Today, thanks to the influence of the Aristotelian understanding of the world and of man, people claiming to have received a revelation from a supernatural being commanding them to kill or perform other destructive acts, are suspected of having deep psychological disorders, and rightly so. But why should we treat similar cases from history any differently? I don’t think they should. But that’s primarily because I adhere to rational philosophy: belief in the supernatural is already a form of mental self-abuse, and if it is indulged persistently it can seriously degenerate an individual’s mind and lead them to very destructive outcomes. Muslim jihadists are a more graphic example of this, but to varying degrees – given how seriously and consistently believers attempt to take the bible’s teachings – Christian believers also exhibit such damaging dysfunction.
As for Petersen’s reference to the point about the paper clip, he again puts his own confusion on display before us. Petersen no doubt has in mind an example which I included in my 2006 blog entry The Axioms and the Primacy of Existence (one of my all-time favorites!). In this blog I explain how anyone sitting at home before their computer can demonstrate the truth of the primacy of existence principle – the principle that explicitly acknowledges the fact that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of the activity by which we are conscious of them. In the section subtitled “Validating the Primacy of Existence,” I propose a simple experiment that anyone can do anywhere. As I explain:
In this experiment, just find any object in your immediate awareness and focus your attention on it. Any object will do. Right now I’m looking at an ordinary paperclip that’s sitting on my desk. It is a single continuous wire bent round three times into its pristine manufactured shape, about one and a half inches long, steel-colored, and by all accounts a normal paperclip. This is the object that I see. But now I begin to exercise my consciousness in regard to the paperclip, to see what effect it will have on it. First I begin imagining the wire of the paperclip to unfold itself, straightening itself out. In my imagination I can "see" this happening, but the paperclip sitting on my desk remains in the shape it had when I first looked at it. My imagining had no effect on it. Now I make a wish: that the wire of the paperclip straighten itself out. It remains motionless, still folded into its paperclip shape. My wishing had no effect on it. (Perhaps I didn't wish hard enough?) Now I command it: “I command thee to unfold thyself!” I say in a loud booming voice. The paperclip stubbornly defies my command, which has no effect on the paperclip whatsoever. Then I simply deny that the paperclip is not simply a straight piece of wire, without any curves from end to end. This too, has no effect. The paperclip remains just as it was when I first looked at it. I can do this all day long, varying my imagination, wishing, commands and other conscious functions. But what will remain constant throughout? What remains constant is the relationship my consciousness has with the paperclip: the primacy of existence. The object of my consciousness does not conform to the dictates of my consciousness. This is inescapable, and Objectivism holds that this inescapable, constant fact is philosophically important, since it pertains to all instances of man’s consciousness, and therefore also to his knowledge.
What’s important to note at this point is the fact that Objectivism has indisputable experimental evidence – evidence that is available to every human being – supporting its fundamental principles. The experimental evidence serves unmistakably as confirmation of the primacy of existence. What experimental evidence can Christians point to that any natural substance we find in the universe – whether it’s a pebble one finds in his backyard or the planet Venus – was created by an act of consciousness? That’s right: None, nada, nil, zilch. In fact, all evidence demonstrates that such an idea has its origins squarely in the human imagination.
Petersen uncritically accepts his confused assessment of my validation experiment and proceeds to say:
There are two issues with this ‘proof’ that mindindependent entities cannot be created by God.
So what’s the first problem? Petersen explains as follows:
First, Bethrick has apparently never considered that Christianity does not hold that humans are able to bend paperclips by their own will and power. The truth of Christianity does not entail every individual having the power to bend spoons with their mind. Thus, the critique of Bethick misses the mark in the first place.
Then there are examples from “Scripture” – such as we find in Mark 6 of Peter walking on the water – which clearly model believers conforming reality to their wishes through faith. Believers are told that “if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Mt. 17:20). Bending a paperclip by means of wishing would indeed raise some eyebrows. But wishing Pike’s Peak into the Pacific Ocean would be vastly more impressive, and this is what we find preached in the Christian bible – yea, inserted into the mouth of Jesus himself!
But yes, it is rather ironic that a non-believer would need to remind defenders of Christianity of what their own worldview teaches. Happens all the time.
Second, the argument that Bethrick makes is an inductive inference. Even if it is true that Bethrick cannot bend the paperclip on its desk, it does not follow that such a notion proves that God is incapable of creating the universe. In inductive arguments, even if the premises are all true, the conclusion can still be false. This is logic 101.
So yet again, we find the conclusion that Jason Petersen is in over his head on these and other matters, is unavoidable. Even when one goes out of his way to give Jason the benefit of the doubt, he performatively looks such acts of generosity in the mouth and tramples them in his own childish tantrums, digging the hole of his own self-discrediting ever deeper in the process. Over and over again, Petersen is found inflicting himself with numerous unnecessary afflictions, including persistent point-missing, speaking beyond his knowledge, ironic self-effacement, etc.
Petersen wrote a bunch of other stuff, and perhaps we can examine it in detail in due course. But I will make the prediction here and now that should we look any further, we will find more of the same. What is past is prologue.
by Dawson Bethrick