AS37: Debate with Blake Giunta

This week I have an apologist on for my second debate! Blake Giunta was a recent guest on Dogma Debate where he attempted to talk philosophy while 3 people completely rejected the very legitimacy of philosophy. I’ve promised him that won’t happen here though!

Blake’s impressive website: http://treesearch.org/

Blake’s twitter: @BlakeGiunta

7 thoughts on “AS37: Debate with Blake Giunta”

  1. I find Blake’s angle of debate very interesting and unique. It was refreshing to hear a new argument. The problem is that I still have to place it with the rest of the creationist arguments. I don’t believe that you can prove a creator by cross comparing his/her/its existence to logical assumptions or opinions. The amount of alternatives are infinite. We can reasonably conclude that the sun will rise tomorrow based on our understanding of the universe. I for one do not guarantee that the sun will rise tomorrow. I only find it safe to assume it based on past circumstances and our undersatnding of natural laws. I also don’t see how being agnostic about something makes the reality of its existence any more likely. Like you said, it’s purely a frame of mind. The only way to prove a creator is to actually present evidence that he/she/it exists.

    1. I’ve watched some of his debates and he says stuff like this all the time. He displays a vast misunderstanding of the main widely accepted model of physics and an even greater misunderstanding of what fundamental particles is. I gained first impressions from him from his debate with Matt on BBC, where the entirety of his argument distilled to fine tuning and “How do you explain fundamental particles? you can’t go into an infinite regress” which with even ignoring the obvious fallacy of his special pleading, (that fundamental particles can’t exist without infinite regress, but god can), anyone who has done some research will realize that the concept of “fundamental particle” is a misnomer in the sense that “fundamental” implies “first, beginning, never destroyed, can’t be created” etc The model of particle physics actually seems to imply that there IS a circular type of flow in the way these particles come to be, and then “die”. Blake does not seem aware of photons decaying into matter (electrons too) and then recombining to become photons again, or the fact that electrons colliding with each other can create high energy quarks and gluons that undergo hadronization. The state of existence seems to be circular, even down to the smallest particle, and he misrepresents that by misunderstanding physics as a “linear” type of hierarchy of proponents, when in fact, it is not.

  2. It’s true that one can’t use induction to predict whether a new particle literally exists, but that wasn’t what Thomas was doing. Thomas was correctly using induction to predict that dominant ideas (e.g. the Standard Model) in science might be overturned and replaced by new ideas (e.g a model that incorporates smaller particles).

    As a shorthand Thomas could say that he’s agnostic about whether a new particle exists, but he’s too uninformed in particle physics (as am I) to really know with any likelihood whether the Standard Model could allow for such a thing. What Thomas is really saying is that he’s agnostic about the Standard Model in general.

    That is to say, reasoning directly about the physical universe is a kind of science, but since Thomas isn’t a scientist, being agnostic about the existence of a particle is, from Thomas’s lay perspective, really reasoning about science itself, i.e. the idea that science is fallible. If Thomas were a scientist he would probably have a stronger reason than induction to believe or disbelieve in smaller particles based on his understanding of particle physics, but as a rational normal person, the patterns of scientific progress is a solid foundation for laying even odds on the particle’s existence.

    1. Absolutely perfectly put, Mr. Dale. This is exactly what I was going to say to the people who have been giving technical explanations of this point. I’m happy to hear them, but I don’t believe they were vital to the argument. The point is that the level of agnosticism we have in dealing with these claims is dependent on facts and reasoning, NOT on some sort of intuitiveness. Also, as I tried to emphasize a few times, this is purely an initial attitude we’re taking toward a claim and nothing more. Thanks for the exellent comment!

  3. We have to make sense of propositions before we can judge them to be true or false.

    Proposition: “God exists”

    Let’s try to make sense of this proposition… What is God? They say God is a being… but it is not like any other being. God is an immaterial, timeless, omnipotent, omniscient being.

    What does this mean? They say it’s a mystery. Nobody can understand what God really is.

    So… what are we even talking about?

    God is a mystery – yes mysteries exist.
    God is an idea – yes ideas exist.
    God is a collection of adjectives – yes adjectives exist.
    God is a hero of myths – yes heroes of myths exist.

    God is an immaterial, timeless, omnipotent, omniscient being – what are you talking about?

  4. As far as Blake’s arguments go, they were definitely interesting. They weren’t even stupid, which is a triumph as far as apologetic arguments go. What Blake does well, as with many other apologists, is present a somewhat decent case for the logical possibility of a generic deity, or even just some sort of creative force. So basically, his deeper argument is one that supports a Deistic view, not a Christian view. I personally see no reason for a belief in even a Deistic god. First, I’m apathetic in the search for the existence of such a god based on its total indifference toward its own creation. If said deity is indifferent to its creation, its creation would be justified in being completely indifferent to it. The existence of such a deity would do nothing do diminish, nor would it do anything to deter me from my current secular path. Second, intuition isn’t a good reason to believe in something on its own. Just because a Deistic god would answer a lot of questions for us doesn’t make it a good reason to accept the existence of this creator without further investigation. The existence of this deity would only lead to further questions of how such a deity came into existence. Did the universe create it, or did it create the universe? If a universe was capable of producing such an intelligent entity, why couldn’t it produce lower forms of life like ourselves?

    I completely disagree with his take on the use of induction. I strongly feel it’s appropriate in pretty much all cases. Sure, we need to always consider the possibility that we could be wrong about the dependability of any phenomenon based on the possibility of a miscalculation and the idea that we can’t observe every single instance of any occurrence (which some might argue that if we aren’t observing it, it isn’t happening at all, but that’s another topic). But to believe or accept something based on reliable past experience is completely rational. This is why the idea that there may be a smaller particle in existence as opposed to an all-powerful deity’s existence is much more reasonable based on what we have learned and our current understanding of things. Though we can’t say for certain there is a smaller particle, we have to be able to say that the existence of said particle is much more likely than that of a god based on the evidence we’ve gathered(call me guilty of evidentialism, I suppose?) and the demonstrable properties we’ve uncovered of the quantum world.

    What gets glossed over all too often in these arguments is that Christian Apologists do a very poor job, and often do not even address, how belief in the Christian god or the words of the book that was supposedly inspired by said god is in any way one that is reasonable. I haven’t listened to his arguments on Dogma Debate, nor have I looked at his website, but if this particular episode is any indication, he’s offering nothing new to the conversation and is just another William Lane Craig-type apologist packaged a little differently. It’s like the difference between Coke and Pepsi.

    Blake seems like a genuinely nice guy, and a bright guy at that. But I’m afraid he, like so many others, brings nothing new to the table. Sorry Blake, you didn’t budge me.

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