Atheism IS Irrational Belief

jeffreyalex
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Atheism IS Irrational Belief

Many of you hold that it is irrational to believe in God because there is no evidence. The premise clearly underlying that position is that it is irrational to take a position that is unsupported by evidence. The popular atheist books abound with this precise claim: there is no evidence; we shouldn’t believe it.

 

 

Here is a proposition: “God exists”.

 

Here is a position on that proposition: “The proposition ‘God exists’ is false”.

That position can be paraphrased—for example, as “God does not exist”.

 

There is no evidence for that position. So, if it is irrational to hold a position without evidence, it is irrational to hold that “God does not exist”.

 

P1) it is irrational to believe that a proposition is true without evidence.

P2) there is no evidence for the proposition “God does not exist”.

C)  it is irrational to believe that God does not exist.

 

 

Whatever response you may have, do not claim that atheism is really just a “lack of belief”. That is semantics, in the bad way.

 

I do not believe there is a God means I lack the belief that there is a God means I believe there is no God. Those are the same in the way that 3+5 is the same as 4 + 4. Those are beliefs in the same way as I do not believe there is a pomegranate on my desk is a belief—lack of belief would be if I never even thought about God or pomegranates to begin with. 

 

Let P be the proposition “God exists”. An atheist holds that ~P. That is a position with regard to P. It is a position unsupported by evidence. It is irrational.

 

 


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A_Nony_Mouse

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 Jabberwocky:

I based the tuning argument on what our leading physicists have told us, across the board. And I addressed the anthropic principle you invoke. If I was being executed by a firing squad and all hundred missed me, I should NOT be surprised I'm not dead (if I WERE dead, I would not be observing). However, I SHOULD be surprised that I'm alive. I can write this out for you in predicate logic if you require.

Also, I'm not saying MAYBE God isn't a ridiculous idea. I'm saying he unequivocally is not a ridiculous idea. 

He and singular means you have your virgin Jesus god in mind and as such you are not open minded at all. You are not considering anything that does not lead to your Virgin Jesus. Because nothing you have presented leads to your singular virgin jesus you have not posted honestly or with any suggestion of integrity.

 

I think I'll really miss you.


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jeffreyalex wrote:Surely

jeffreyalex wrote:

Surely this is a rhetorical question meant to bring up the problem of evil.

 

I have never used the word "evil" to describe such negative circumstances.  Is a tidal wave that destroys all the inhabitants of an island evil ?  Are cancer cells that eat away a person's flesh evil ?   Furthermore, why does a deist who rejects revealed religions such as Christianity constantly employ answers and terminology that reflect a decidedly Christian bias ?

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
  ....this question has been asked and answered.

 

    You mean answered by Christian apologists who always frame the discussion as you do, by referring to it as "The Problem Of Evil™" ?

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
  I will suggest an answer you may find: even given those the things you mention, this may be the best possible world.

 

   How would you know that ?  How many other worlds have you experienced ?     

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
  A more naive but not necessarily inadequate response would be to point out that without sickness we would never cherish health.
 

 

   I'm sure that paradox is comforting to those experience sickness and then death.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
Without absurdity we'd never ask "Why"? Without tragedy we wouldn't be human.

 

       Inquisitiveness is bound to absurdity ?    Tragedy is the measure of our humanity ?   ...says who ?

  

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

No, that isn't what I said, at all. My mother and father have fed and clothed me, taken care of me, loved me, but they don't keep a ledger. Nonetheless, it is thanks to them I exist and it is appropriate that I would be grateful to them.

 

    You compare your non-interventionist deist god to a nurturing parent ?   You aren't really a deist are you ?  Please stop lying.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Because reason isn't a person, by any stretch of the imagination. If it were, though, I could imagine the laugh She would have at your expense. 

 

     Oh, you bitch-slapped me for sure !

www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/misanthropy

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Since beliefs are usually

Since beliefs are usually based on emotion as well as logic, rationality is subjective as long as the subject at hand can be debated. I don't think anyone, not even atheists make belief decisions with only one hemisphere of the brain.

 

I personally find all of these discussions to be "artful dodges" and I've noticed the majority of these arguments which are based on "who makes the most sound argument"(here again a subjective judgement) or my personal favourite,"Who Has the Burden of Proof?" come mostly from theists, many of them pastors. Its as if the're trying to argue like lawyers and this is understandable since many theists, particularly pastors have studied law. Many of the ones I know were formerly lawyers, or at least had studied law on some level.

This is not the best way to argue such things as the existence of God in my opinion. Arguing legally is not the same as arguing scientifically, the rigors of science are for more demanding. Eyewitness accoounts carry a lot of weight in a courtroom, but count for very little in a science lab and many legalistic theists can't get past that. If 4 people saw a defendant commit a crime and they all agree with each other, chances are good that the defendant is guilty. yet if 10 people saw a UFO or ghost and if all 10 agreed that it was a UFO or a ghost, the claim is still suspect because there is no proof that what they saw was what they thought they saw.

 

Debating God, ghosts or UFO's isn't so cut and dried and I don't believe that its as easy as labelling it "rationality vs. irrationality."

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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jeffreyalex

jeffreyalex wrote:

latincanuck wrote:

Please do tell me all the possible constants, and which of those life could arise, also we need to know all the possible forms in which life can arise. There is the issue with the fine tuning arguments, how much of a change before life cannot arise, if one changes how does it affect the rest, do they change as well? Once those questions are answered then we can play the whole fine tuning argument. What if the universal constants aren't actually constant as some scientists have theorized as well? That they do change, what is the exact variation before these universal constants change enough that this known reality cannot hold itself together? Or more so what if due to the nature of the beginning of this universe and the energy that was released at the time, that these constants were the only possibility merely due to the fact of how it all began. None of these require a god.

 

Wow, atheism of the gaps. The world's leading scientists report their scientific findings, both theist and atheist and agnostic scientists alike: it appears that there are constants, it appears that different values for those constants are theoretically possible and consistent with a universe, and the constants that produce a universe capable of supporting life as we know it (and life has conditions of which science informs us) are a tiny sample of all the possibilities. 

If you want to know the answers to your questions pick up a calculus and mathematics for physics book, grab some physics textbooks, some biology textbooks, read some JSTOR articles. That's the reason professional scientists (or philosophers) don't raise those questions, they come prepared, they know the answers. 

Yeah, I know this sounds like I'm hiding and avoiding the questions. But really, I'm one person. I can't explain all of science, probability, and math here. I've done my reading and studying and I don't talk out of my ass. I also know this is rude. Sorry. But every time I have this debate with someone who thinks they're real clever I wind up having to go through 101 science lessons with them, to the same result every time: uh, doy, well neither of us are professional scientists so let's agree to disagree. Like, enough. Really.

 

 

Here is my issues, you make claim for fine tuning, then claim ignorance of it all, and then say that belief in god is rational, atheism is irrational all the while you claim ignorance on the topics you bring up half the time. Why are you arguing those points when you have no clue about what you are talking about. The fine tuning argument is a mute topic merely because as I have pointed out to you the problem that you nor I can answer properly, we do not know all the parameters in which those values can change and all the possible ways in which life can arise. To make the argument that this universe is finely tuned for life is an ignorant position to hold really. That's is what I am pointing out. You are one person, but you are one person arguing from ignorance making your statements and then backing away from them. I stand on the default position of non belief because i have never been shown any evidence that YOUR god exists at all, nor the god of another religion exists, that a deist type god exist. Nothing, so far I have seen or experienced, nor anything that anyone else has brought up is even close to proper evidence for the existence of their god. Philosophical arguments are fine, but unless they some how can be proven real or correct with empirical evidence they tend to remain in the realms of hypothesis. So technically speaking atheism is not really an irrational position to hold, it is the default position to hold until otherwise proven to be wrong. So far you have not proven god to exist at all, nor the possibility.


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Marty Hamrick wrote:Since

Marty Hamrick wrote:

Since beliefs are usually based on emotion as well as logic, rationality is subjective as long as the subject at hand can be debated. I don't think anyone, not even atheists make belief decisions with only one hemisphere of the brain.

 

I personally find all of these discussions to be "artful dodges" and I've noticed the majority of these arguments which are based on "who makes the most sound argument"(here again a subjective judgement) or my personal favourite,"Who Has the Burden of Proof?" come mostly from theists, many of them pastors. Its as if the're trying to argue like lawyers and this is understandable since many theists, particularly pastors have studied law. Many of the ones I know were formerly lawyers, or at least had studied law on some level.

This is not the best way to argue such things as the existence of God in my opinion. Arguing legally is not the same as arguing scientifically, the rigors of science are for more demanding. Eyewitness accoounts carry a lot of weight in a courtroom, but count for very little in a science lab and many legalistic theists can't get past that. If 4 people saw a defendant commit a crime and they all agree with each other, chances are good that the defendant is guilty. yet if 10 people saw a UFO or ghost and if all 10 agreed that it was a UFO or a ghost, the claim is still suspect because there is no proof that what they saw was what they thought they saw.

 

Debating God, ghosts or UFO's isn't so cut and dried and I don't believe that its as easy as labelling it "rationality vs. irrationality."

 

Mr. Hamrick, thank you for your clarity, and for sharing your opinion. 

I noticed that someone else also raised the question of subjectivity with regard to rationality, and I think that's a very interesting suggestion. I had some time to look for articles on it but haven't found anything solid, yet. 

In your opinion, what would be a good way to argue for God? 


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jeffreyalex wrote:Marty

jeffreyalex wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

Since beliefs are usually based on emotion as well as logic, rationality is subjective as long as the subject at hand can be debated. I don't think anyone, not even atheists make belief decisions with only one hemisphere of the brain.

 

I personally find all of these discussions to be "artful dodges" and I've noticed the majority of these arguments which are based on "who makes the most sound argument"(here again a subjective judgement) or my personal favourite,"Who Has the Burden of Proof?" come mostly from theists, many of them pastors. Its as if the're trying to argue like lawyers and this is understandable since many theists, particularly pastors have studied law. Many of the ones I know were formerly lawyers, or at least had studied law on some level.

This is not the best way to argue such things as the existence of God in my opinion. Arguing legally is not the same as arguing scientifically, the rigors of science are for more demanding. Eyewitness accoounts carry a lot of weight in a courtroom, but count for very little in a science lab and many legalistic theists can't get past that. If 4 people saw a defendant commit a crime and they all agree with each other, chances are good that the defendant is guilty. yet if 10 people saw a UFO or ghost and if all 10 agreed that it was a UFO or a ghost, the claim is still suspect because there is no proof that what they saw was what they thought they saw.

 

Debating God, ghosts or UFO's isn't so cut and dried and I don't believe that its as easy as labelling it "rationality vs. irrationality."

 

Mr. Hamrick, thank you for your clarity, and for sharing your opinion. 

I noticed that someone else also raised the question of subjectivity with regard to rationality, and I think that's a very interesting suggestion. I had some time to look for articles on it but haven't found anything solid, yet. 

In your opinion, what would be a good way to argue for God? 

In my opinion, the best arguemts are cosmological and ontological. I don't find the phiosophical arguemts compelling at all. However the best an ontological argument will get the theist is a Spinoza's God, or Deist's (philospoher's God)God, it won't get you the dude in the Bible,Koran or any other dogma that expounds on personal characteristics of God, such in my opinion are psychological projections of the self and anthropomorphizations.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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 We have such a thing

 We have such a thing called physics, and it tells us that in the equations which appear to govern the universe there exist such things as constants. Okay so far?

Those constants, if they were different, would produce different physical universes. Other values would prevent, for example, the formation of certain essential elements because the necessary chemistry would be impossible. For example, there is a constant called the nuclear force. If it were at a different value hydrogen would fuse into diprotons. 

There is a ratio of constants that could produce life-sustaining universes to constants that could not. That ratio is astronomically low. Today's physicists, atheist and theist and agnostic alike, acknowledge this. 


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Marty Hamrick wrote:In my

Marty Hamrick wrote:

In my opinion, the best arguemts are cosmological and ontological. I don't find the phiosophical arguemts compelling at all. However the best an ontological argument will get the theist is a Spinoza's God, or Deist's (philospoher's God)God, it won't get you the dude in the Bible,Koran or any other dogma that expounds on personal characteristics of God, such in my opinion are psychological projections of the self and anthropomorphizations.

 

I would agree that the cosmological argument and the ontological argument carry force. I would also suggest that the teleological argument carries some force. . As you may be aware, there is such a thing as string theory, and different incarnations of it, as a matter of fact. The theory does not make predictions and so is not testable, however it has explanatory scope. What I would observe is that God has explanatory power beyond the existence of the universe and its suitability for life. God explains our moral experience and our sense of purpose. God explains the mathematical order and reason in the universe and our ability to comprehend it. God explains the existence of minds. 

 

I'll have to agree with you that such arguments will not get you the God full of traits, that you find in the religious books. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:Marty

jeffreyalex wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

In my opinion, the best arguemts are cosmological and ontological. I don't find the phiosophical arguemts compelling at all. However the best an ontological argument will get the theist is a Spinoza's God, or Deist's (philospoher's God)God, it won't get you the dude in the Bible,Koran or any other dogma that expounds on personal characteristics of God, such in my opinion are psychological projections of the self and anthropomorphizations.

 

I would agree that the cosmological argument and the ontological argument carry force. I would also suggest that the teleological argument carries some force. . As you may be aware, there is such a thing as string theory, and different incarnations of it, as a matter of fact. The theory does not make predictions and so is not testable, however it has explanatory scope. What I would observe is that God has explanatory power beyond the existence of the universe and its suitability for life. God explains our moral experience and our sense of purpose. God explains the mathematical order and reason in the universe and our ability to comprehend it. God explains the existence of minds. 

 

I'll have to agree with you that such arguments will not get you the God full of traits, that you find in the religious books. 

If that is true why does the anthropic principle fail when met with reality?

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There is evidence

jeffreyalex wrote:

Many of you hold that it is irrational to believe in God because there is no evidence. The premise clearly underlying that position is that it is irrational to take a position that is unsupported by evidence. The popular atheist books abound with this precise claim: there is no evidence; we shouldn’t believe it.

 

 

Here is a proposition: “God exists”.

 

Here is a position on that proposition: “The proposition ‘God exists’ is false”.

That position can be paraphrased—for example, as “God does not exist”.

 

There is no evidence for that position. So, if it is irrational to hold a position without evidence, it is irrational to hold that “God does not exist”.

 

P1) it is irrational to believe that a proposition is true without evidence.

P2) there is no evidence for the proposition “God does not exist”.

C)  it is irrational to believe that God does not exist.

 

 

Whatever response you may have, do not claim that atheism is really just a “lack of belief”. That is semantics, in the bad way.

 

I do not believe there is a God means I lack the belief that there is a God means I believe there is no God. Those are the same in the way that 3+5 is the same as 4 + 4. Those are beliefs in the same way as I do not believe there is a pomegranate on my desk is a belief—lack of belief would be if I never even thought about God or pomegranates to begin with. 

 

Let P be the proposition “God exists”. An atheist holds that ~P. That is a position with regard to P. It is a position unsupported by evidence. It is irrational.

 

 

If one's self  exists then one is a fact. That fact had to be created/formed by a force. That force can be termed God, or just leave it as is-force. The concept of what a European God is or that it exists is has no basis in logic or fact on the over-all as they present it, or the idea/belief is forwarded on faith and/or theory. Also- if one exists then one had to be created. That which created can be termed God. Simply because one doesn't know or understand the forces that did the creating doesn't mean that one shouldn't assume that no God exists because someone presents improper information. Technically, it's merely a battle of terminology. It is irrational to say there is no God when the fact is---one (the self) has been created. The question then isn't whether there is a God/Force or not, the question becomes "what" is it. However-that force that did the creating isn't necessarily a "someone". It can also be a "something" other. Then- on the other hand the "something" can eventually create a "someone". The "something than, must still remain in existence. 

 

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But, you are doing the same.

Atheistextremist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Many of you hold that it is irrational to believe in God because there is no evidence. The premise clearly underlying that position is that it is irrational to take a position that is unsupported by evidence. The popular atheist books abound with this precise claim: there is no evidence; we shouldn’t believe it.

 

 

Here is a proposition: “God exists”.

 

Here is a position on that proposition: “The proposition ‘God exists’ is false”.

That position can be paraphrased—for example, as “God does not exist”.

 

There is no evidence for that position. So, if it is irrational to hold a position without evidence, it is irrational to hold that “God does not exist”.

 

P1) it is irrational to believe that a proposition is true without evidence.

P2) there is no evidence for the proposition “God does not exist”.

C)  it is irrational to believe that God does not exist.

 

 

Whatever response you may have, do not claim that atheism is really just a “lack of belief”. That is semantics, in the bad way.

 

I do not believe there is a God means I lack the belief that there is a God means I believe there is no God. Those are the same in the way that 3+5 is the same as 4 + 4. Those are beliefs in the same way as I do not believe there is a pomegranate on my desk is a belief—lack of belief would be if I never even thought about God or pomegranates to begin with. 

 

Let P be the proposition “God exists”. An atheist holds that ~P. That is a position with regard to P. It is a position unsupported by evidence. It is irrational.

 

 

 

I think the central premise you attempt is a strawman - "I do not believe there is a God means I lack the belief that there is a God means I believe there is no God."

I'd be surprised if too many of us would say "God does not exist". The only non-agnostic atheist we've had here was RedNef, if memory serves. Instead we would say there is insufficient reasonable evidence that a still undefined god exists. 

To say there is insufficient proof god does not exist is a similarly viable alternative to an agnostic atheist's position is an attempt to shift the proof burden as well as a flirt with a fallacious appeal to ignorance defined thus:

"fallacy based on the assumption that a statement must be true if it cannot be proved false." 

 

Further:

Definition of irrationality:

 

"Irrationality is cognition, thinking, talking or acting without inclusion of rationality. It is more specifically described as an action or opinion given through inadequate using reason , emotional distress, or cognitive deficiency. The term is used, usually pejoratively, to describe thinking and actions that are, or appear to be, less useful or more illogical than other more rational alternatives. [1][2]

Irrational behaviors of individuals include taking offense or becoming angry about a situation that has not yet occurred, expressing emotions exaggeratedly (such as crying hysterically), maintaining unrealistic expectations, engaging in irresponsible conduct such as problem intoxication, disorganization, or extravagance, and falling victim to confidence tricks. People with a mental illness like schizophrenia may exhibit irrational paranoia."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrationality

 

I would argue both theists and atheists can make perfectly rational cases for their positions. I think also the blur between less rational and irrational needs to be carefully considered in the context of this deliberately polarized debate. 

My older brother for instance, has a prodigious intellect and would argue with great application of logic, that I was less rational than he in saying I saw insufficient evidence for the existence of a creator god. 

Conversely, he believes jesus existed, miracled, died and was reborn in the manner proscribed in the NT yet refuses to accept the theory of evolution by environmental selection of procreative advantage, the most well-supported scientific theory of all time. 

 

 

 

 

A fallacy based on the assumption that a statement must be true if it cannot be proved false.

Hold it

Because they have faulty information you assume there isn't a God. You are basing your claim on their information that you disagree with---without investigation as to whether there actually is a God or not. Or claim there is no God because "they" have it wrong. If one says flatly that there is "no" God, wouldn't that one also have to show at least reasonably that there isn't one. Both are rowing the same boat in opposite directions.

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Not intending to kick anyone in the face, but

Old Seer wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Many of you hold that it is irrational to believe in God because there is no evidence. The premise clearly underlying that position is that it is irrational to take a position that is unsupported by evidence. The popular atheist books abound with this precise claim: there is no evidence; we shouldn’t believe it.

 

 

Here is a proposition: “God exists”.

 

Here is a position on that proposition: “The proposition ‘God exists’ is false”.

That position can be paraphrased—for example, as “God does not exist”.

 

There is no evidence for that position. So, if it is irrational to hold a position without evidence, it is irrational to hold that “God does not exist”.

 

P1) it is irrational to believe that a proposition is true without evidence.

P2) there is no evidence for the proposition “God does not exist”.

C)  it is irrational to believe that God does not exist.

 

 

Whatever response you may have, do not claim that atheism is really just a “lack of belief”. That is semantics, in the bad way.

 

I do not believe there is a God means I lack the belief that there is a God means I believe there is no God. Those are the same in the way that 3+5 is the same as 4 + 4. Those are beliefs in the same way as I do not believe there is a pomegranate on my desk is a belief—lack of belief would be if I never even thought about God or pomegranates to begin with. 

 

Let P be the proposition “God exists”. An atheist holds that ~P. That is a position with regard to P. It is a position unsupported by evidence. It is irrational.

 

 

 

I think the central premise you attempt is a strawman - "I do not believe there is a God means I lack the belief that there is a God means I believe there is no God."

I'd be surprised if too many of us would say "God does not exist". The only non-agnostic atheist we've had here was RedNef, if memory serves. Instead we would say there is insufficient reasonable evidence that a still undefined god exists. 

To say there is insufficient proof god does not exist is a similarly viable alternative to an agnostic atheist's position is an attempt to shift the proof burden as well as a flirt with a fallacious appeal to ignorance defined thus:

"fallacy based on the assumption that a statement must be true if it cannot be proved false." 

 

Further:

Definition of irrationality:

 

"Irrationality is cognition, thinking, talking or acting without inclusion of rationality. It is more specifically described as an action or opinion given through inadequate using reason , emotional distress, or cognitive deficiency. The term is used, usually pejoratively, to describe thinking and actions that are, or appear to be, less useful or more illogical than other more rational alternatives. [1][2]

Irrational behaviors of individuals include taking offense or becoming angry about a situation that has not yet occurred, expressing emotions exaggeratedly (such as crying hysterically), maintaining unrealistic expectations, engaging in irresponsible conduct such as problem intoxication, disorganization, or extravagance, and falling victim to confidence tricks. People with a mental illness like schizophrenia may exhibit irrational paranoia."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrationality

 

I would argue both theists and atheists can make perfectly rational cases for their positions. I think also the blur between less rational and irrational needs to be carefully considered in the context of this deliberately polarized debate. 

My older brother for instance, has a prodigious intellect and would argue with great application of logic, that I was less rational than he in saying I saw insufficient evidence for the existence of a creator god. 

Conversely, he believes jesus existed, miracled, died and was reborn in the manner proscribed in the NT yet refuses to accept the theory of evolution by environmental selection of procreative advantage, the most well-supported scientific theory of all time. 

 

 

 

 

A fallacy based on the assumption that a statement must be true if it cannot be proved false.

Hold it

Because they have faulty information you assume there isn't a God. You are basing your claim on their information that you disagree with---without investigation as to whether there actually is a God or not. Or claim there is no God because "they" have it wrong. If one says flatly that there is "no" God, wouldn't that one also have to show at least reasonably that there isn't one. Both are rowing the same boat in opposite directions.

our faction (yes-there is a 3rd one now) sees everyone is sailng on a ship of fools. One says we're sailing in a direction that doesn't exist. The other says -we,re going "that way" and can,t say which direction "that" is. Neither side wants to look at the compass. All are sailing to the same place-"nowhere".

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jcgadfly wrote:jeffreyalex

jcgadfly wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

In my opinion, the best arguemts are cosmological and ontological. I don't find the phiosophical arguemts compelling at all. However the best an ontological argument will get the theist is a Spinoza's God, or Deist's (philospoher's God)God, it won't get you the dude in the Bible,Koran or any other dogma that expounds on personal characteristics of God, such in my opinion are psychological projections of the self and anthropomorphizations.

 

I would agree that the cosmological argument and the ontological argument carry force. I would also suggest that the teleological argument carries some force. . As you may be aware, there is such a thing as string theory, and different incarnations of it, as a matter of fact. The theory does not make predictions and so is not testable, however it has explanatory scope. What I would observe is that God has explanatory power beyond the existence of the universe and its suitability for life. God explains our moral experience and our sense of purpose. God explains the mathematical order and reason in the universe and our ability to comprehend it. God explains the existence of minds. 

 

I'll have to agree with you that such arguments will not get you the God full of traits, that you find in the religious books. 

If that is true why does the anthropic principle fail when met with reality?

 

Can you clarify your question? 

If you're suggesting that the anthropic principle discounts the force of the fine-tuning argument, I believe I've already given a response. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:We have

jeffreyalex wrote:
We have such a thing called physics, and it tells us that in the equations which appear to govern the universe there exist such things as constants. Okay so far?

Those constants, if they were different, would produce different physical universes. Other values would prevent, for example, the formation of certain essential elements because the necessary chemistry would be impossible. For example, there is a constant called the nuclear force. If it were at a different value hydrogen would fuse into diprotons. 

There is a ratio of constants that could produce life-sustaining universes to constants that could not. That ratio is astronomically low. Today's physicists, atheist and theist and agnostic alike, acknowledge this. 

I have a book recommendation for you. Read The Fallacy Of Fine-tuning by Victor J. Stenger. It will dispel the apologetic number magic that you seem so enthralled with.


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KSMB wrote:jeffreyalex

KSMB wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:
We have such a thing called physics, and it tells us that in the equations which appear to govern the universe there exist such things as constants. Okay so far?

Those constants, if they were different, would produce different physical universes. Other values would prevent, for example, the formation of certain essential elements because the necessary chemistry would be impossible. For example, there is a constant called the nuclear force. If it were at a different value hydrogen would fuse into diprotons. 

There is a ratio of constants that could produce life-sustaining universes to constants that could not. That ratio is astronomically low. Today's physicists, atheist and theist and agnostic alike, acknowledge this. 

I have a book recommendation for you. Read The Fallacy Of Fine-tuning by Victor J. Stenger. It will dispel the apologetic number magic that you seem so enthralled with.

 

I found that book to be essentially a series of imaginings. Imagine "x", then you don't need a God—basically motivated problematic reasoning and "maybe"-science, most of those "maybes" were far-fetched misrepresentations (as was pointed out in academic reviews of the book, by which I don't mean, for example, the New Scientist), riddled with logical fallacy, and evident of a (probably deliberate) misunderstanding (strawman presentation) of what the argument says (in the name of 'following the science where it leads', right). For example, imagine a multiverse, although there is no evidence for a multiverse, and multiverse models are held to be untestable, and most physicists dismiss them, for example. This book was, unfortunately, an exercise in obfuscation. 

 

Now, I would actually admit a multiverse of a particular kind might respond to the fine-tuning. But to speculate that such is the case is unwarranted presumptuousness and a desperate last step, which only serves to admit that given the science we know, the "fine-tuning" is astonishing. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:For

jeffreyalex wrote:
For example, imagine a multiverse, although there is no evidence for a multiverse, and multiverse models are held to be untestable, and most physicists dismiss them, for example. This book was, unfortunately, an exercise in obfuscation.

Uh huh. Your example here is the exact opposite of an example. If you read the book, you would have found that it's NOT about multiverse theory, something which is in fact explicitly stated over and over. As for the rest of your summary, it is actually a fair representation... of the fine-tuning position itself.


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What I wanted to say is that

What I wanted to say is that the multiverse theory is one I might accept as a response.

Barrow, Carr, Carter, Davies, Dawkins, Deutsch, Ellis, Greene, Guth, Harrison, Hawking, Linde, Page, Penrose, Polkinghorne, Rees, Sandage, Tegmark, Tipler, Vilenkin, Weinberg, and Wheeler, physicists both atheist and not atheist, all accept that the universe appears, given the science we know, to be incredibly 'finely tuned'. 

 

At any rate, I've gotten a copy of the book, and I will give it a close reading. If the argument from fine-tuning is as ridiculous as you think it is, then that's certainly something I'd like to know. I don't have any interest in making an argument that has been shown to be absolutely unfounded. 

I think I've gotten a little caught up in my own frustration that both sides of the debate are so often motivated by the conclusion they want to reach. It has appeared to me that the atheist side is often as guilty of quote-mining as the theist side. But that's no excuse for me not to do the proper research. So I'm sorry for that. I'm even embarrassed to have gotten caught up in it. 

 


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jeffreyalex wrote:4) I think

jeffreyalex wrote:

4) I think the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the argument from morality, the argument from consciousness, the argument from order, and the ontological argument (to some extent) provide reasons to believe in God. 

Paul Davies

Martin Rees

Stephen Hawking

Roger Penrose 

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To touch a smidge more on the cosmological argument, once again, if the universe weren't the way it was, we wouldn't be around to observe it. While physicists often say that there is a concrete beginning to our universe (which is true, considering what the term "universe encompasses&quotEye-wink a lot of people think that means that it was 100% impossible for anything to have ever happened before that. Considering physicists have yet to know the fate of our universe, one of the possible scenarios is that it will collapse into a state similar to where it started. These are things we are unsure about. The big bang theory is remarkable in that sense, as everything we have ever been able to observe is evidence supporting it. If anything other events preceded it, there is currently no available evidence to it, and you can not use the cosmological argument to suggest that the events preceded it were Godly thoughts. That scenario is no more likely than anything else you could possibly come up with, because these are things we simply do not know. 

By the way, thank you KSMB for suggesting that book up there, I will pick it up myself, as this is something I want to learn more about. 

The teleological argument is quite ridiculous. This is an argument from design, that our species was placed here with a purpose. Until this argument explains why we have design faults, and why there are boatloads of evidence that we had evolved from other things, it is moot. We are the most intelligent species on this planet, but if you rewound the reel, and had life begin in a different part of the world than it did, the most intelligent species on earth may have turned out quite differently. What suggests to you that the odds of us turning out the way we did are any lower than any other potential way it could have unfolded? I see nothing to support such a claim. (Does the argument from order differ greatly from this? If so, please explain! They both sound like design arguments)

The argument from morality is also quite simple. Unintelligent life-forms (such as plants) have no way of communicating with each other as we do. Morality is certainly a by-product of us evolving. It benefits most (maybe even all) life-forms to co-operate as much as possible, rather than to live at each other's expense. That is why people with a pre-disposition to altruism have survived thus far. This isn't only humans either by the way. If any level of co-operation weren't possible in nature, you would never see a flock of birds, or a school of fish. We have the added advantage of foresight. If you are to consider the results of your actions, anybody with a working brain can deduce that we would all be better off if we were all to get along. To paraphrase a comedian (Louis C.K.) who presented a great point: just act in a way that if EVERYBODY were to act in that way, everything would turn out ok. It makes it sound selfish in a roundabout way to point out that acting moral benefits yourself, but that's not the way we feel when we feel guilt, or when we feel good about selflessness. The feelings are genuine, and the fact that it's a feeling, you would have to suggest that god gave us every single one of them, not just ones related to morality. 

The argument from consciousness: Well, perhaps it's a difficult one to fully explain. However, our consciousness is certainly linked to our brains in some way. The argument from consciousness at best is an "I don't know, so it must be god!" Considering the VERY large number of things that that exact argument was used for as recently as 200 years ago, it's very hard to take it seriously about any argument any more. We do know about our consciousness that a brain that's not functioning puts a serious damper on that. If anybody knows anything I'm missing here, please inform me, as I would love to learn more. 

As far as the ontological argument, I would like you to lay it out in your own terms, as there have been different ontological arguments made for god's existence, and I would like to know the terms in which you see it before I discuss it. 

Theists - If your god is omnipotent, remember the following: He (or she) has the cure for cancer, but won't tell us what it is.


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ttt

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

I wonder what you would define as life, Jeff? And would you agree evolution by selection of useful adaptation is true or false?

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 Jabberwocky:  First of

 Jabberwocky:

  First of all, let me say, I enjoy reading your responses. 

 

  Second, of course, let me address some of your points to my ability.

I'd like to address your point regarding the fact that if the universe wasn't suited to life, we would not be here to see it. That is really no point at all, but just a tautological statement. To make my point, I will use two examples.

     One, the cosmological Malmquist bias. In a survey of the universe, we would only observe objects that are bright enough to be detected by our instruments. One result is that distant galaxies would seem to be brighter on average. But that's a mistaken conclusion. It is the result of the fact that we can only detect tremendously bright distant galaxies. So next, consider quasars: upon discovery they were thought to be some kind of star in our very own galaxy. However, later redshift measures revealed that they are a million times farther than we believed—they are very very very bright, as it turns out. The question is How are they so bright? The answer is not "Well, if they weren't so bright, we wouldn't observe them." The answer is that they are powered by gravitational energy liberated from matter falling into a super-massive black hole. 

     Two, imagine this scenario: You are taken before a firing squad of 100 gunmen. You are blindfolded, the gunmen take their aim at you, and fire. But you are still alive as they all missed. You should not be surprised that you are not dead. If you were dead, you would not be observing anything. However, you should be quite surprised that you are still alive. 

 

Regarding your point that physicists are uncertain about the history of our universe, I will bring up several points. 

     One, most physicists do believe the universe is finite back in time. Guth and Valenkin managed to prove that any universe, which is on average expanding, must have an absolute beginning (regardless of the physics of that first split second). This lends support to one of the premisses of one version of the Cosmological Argument: "the universe began to exist". Lawrence Krauss wrote a popular science book called A Universe From Nothing, trying to persuade that a universe could arise from nothing. That book was a great read, but the title is somewhat misleading. Even Krauss admits this in his lectures and debates. The empty space from which the expanding universe may have come, or quantum vacuum, is not really nothing. It is an energetic soup complete with laws. We are genuinely faced with the question of how something could come from nothing. Which brings me to number two.

     Two, not all cosmological arguments rely on the state of modern physics. Swinburne's argument applies whether the universe goes back eternally or has a beginning. His main point is that the question is not one that is open to science, why? Because science explains the behavior of matter, time, and space in terms of laws that apply to those things just mentioned. For example, we have extrapolated backwards to give us our knowledge of the early universe. We are capable of doing so because we can observe a state of the universe (or how it appears) at time X, say today. We can account for how it is today in terms of two things: its state yesterday (or at some previous time), and the laws of nature which we know acted on that state. If we come to an initial state, we cannot resort to such explanation of a prior cause, because such an explanation, given the terms in which science explains anything, would take for granted exactly that which is in need of explaining. In the case of an infinite universe, science still faces the impossibility of explaining any given state. Why? Because there would exist no state that is itself not caused, and so no explanation that is not itself a part of what needs to be explained. 

     Three, with regard to the possibility of an actual infinity, it seems to lead to contradictions. Now, note that in mathematics there are rules for dealing with the concept of infinity. For example, it can be shown that the infinite series of addition (1 + 2 + 3 + ... + n + ...)  adds up to...    -1/12. I know, surprising to say the least! But in reality, the case is different. As a simple example, imagine I had an infinite amount of marbles (if you can). You take away all the even numbered marbles. This means you have taken away an infinity of marbles, as the set of even numbers is infinite, nonetheless I have an infinite amount of marbles left. Quite peculiar. Further, imagine you took all my marbles numbered from 4, going upward. The set of numbers (marbles) greater than three is infinite. So here, again, you have taken an infinity of marbles from me. But this time, instead of having an infinite number left, I have...    3 marbles. 

      Science's oldest most widely accepted ontological claim is that physical phenomena have causes. So, just one possible version of the cosmological argument could go something like:

1) All physical phenomena and sets of physical phenomena have a cause. 

2) The universe is a set of all physical phenomena.

3) The universe has a cause. 

That is a valid deductive argument. The premises seem at least very plausible. So this argument is perfectly valid, and it is probably (though not certainly) sound. 

 

I will address the rest of your post as soon as I'm able. My hands are cramping up!


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 *


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

I wonder what you would define as life, Jeff? And would you agree evolution by selection of useful adaptation is true or false?

 

 This forum keeps pulling me in. 

I'd say this seems like a confusing question, but I'm going to give it a go. 

 

Life is an assemblage of matter that expresses goal-directed behavior, takes in food from which it extracts energy to carry on the processes which allow it to go on functioning, and which reproduces itself. That would have to be my tentative answer. 

Yes, I would agree that the 'theory' of evolution is very nearly a fact. 


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It was a pretty straightforward

jeffreyalex wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

I wonder what you would define as life, Jeff? And would you agree evolution by selection of useful adaptation is true or false?

 

 

 This forum keeps pulling me in. 

I'd say this seems like a confusing question, but I'm going to give it a go. 

 

Life is an assemblage of matter that expresses goal-directed behavior, takes in food from which it extracts energy to carry on the processes which allow it to go on functioning, and which reproduces itself. That would have to be my tentative answer. 

Yes, I would agree that the 'theory' of evolution is very nearly a fact. 

 

 

question really. I wondered whether you accepted the arguable truth of evolutionary theory. Considering your generally open position I thought you would but would baulk at abiogenesis.

So I wondered what sort of a system you considered to be life. Especially given human genomes are about 14 per cent virus and virus RNA seems to govern little things like procreation. 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Additionally

 

 

You seem to take a critical rationalist position, considering empiricism up to the point it no longer applies, then...sorry for this...feeling obliged to rationalise what I consider a false dichotomy (universe from nothing vs universe from god) rather than accepting we cannot know which or even how many possible explanations there might be for a universe.

Given the first part of your epistemology, what is your take on fallibilism and restricted fallibilism? Would you agree these are rational positions with regard to those things humans can perceive of sense data, a position that takes in human limitations of cognition, language, education, perception, bias? 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

I wonder what you would define as life, Jeff? And would you agree evolution by selection of useful adaptation is true or false?

 

 

 This forum keeps pulling me in. 

I'd say this seems like a confusing question, but I'm going to give it a go. 

 

Life is an assemblage of matter that expresses goal-directed behavior, takes in food from which it extracts energy to carry on the processes which allow it to go on functioning, and which reproduces itself. That would have to be my tentative answer. 

Yes, I would agree that the 'theory' of evolution is very nearly a fact. 

 

 

question really. I wondered whether you accepted the arguable truth of evolutionary theory. Considering your generally open position I thought you would but would baulk at abiogenesis.

So I wondered what sort of a system you considered to be life. Especially given human genomes are about 14 per cent virus and virus RNA seems to govern little things like procreation. 

 

 

 

 

I couldn't say much about abiogenesis, I don't know very much about it at the moment, though I have a mountain of stuff on my reading list. 

 

But speaking of biology and evolution, as an irreverent aside, let me bring up one kinda childish question I used to think about, that seems kind of troubling to Christianity, or Judaism, for example. 

Given that evolution is true, who was the first dude to have a soul/ go to heaven or hell? What lucky fellow on the chain was the first one to whom god said, "yeah, you look like the first human, come on up!" And what happened to his poor mother?


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That goes without saying....

jeffreyalex wrote:

Given that evolution is true, who was the first dude to have a soul/ go to heaven or hell? What lucky fellow on the chain was the first one to whom god said, "yeah, you look like the first human, come on up!" And what happened to his poor mother?

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

You seem to take a critical rationalist position, considering empiricism up to the point it no longer applies, then...sorry for this...feeling obliged to rationalise what I consider a false dichotomy (universe from nothing vs universe from god) rather than accepting we cannot know which or even how many possible explanations there might be for a universe.

Given the first part of your epistemology, what is your take on fallibilism and restricted fallibilism? Would you agree these are rational positions with regard to those things humans can perceive of sense data, a position that takes in human limitations of cognition, language, education, perception, bias? 

 

I take fallibilism as a claim to the effect of 'absolute knowledge is impossible' or "no belief can be justified conclusively". Leaving aside how that proposition bites itself in the ass, I suppose that would depend on what is meant by 'certain' and  'knowledge'. I think it's possible to know that there are no square circles, without doubt. I think it's possible for me to know that I exist. 

Could we be mistaken about fundamental points with regard to our physics or biology? Uh, we've been wrong before. I honestly don't know. 

 

My point, though, with the cosmological argument is that it is a valid deductive argument, whose premisses are reasonably sound, in the everyday sense of the word. It leads to the conclusion "the universe has a cause" rather un-controversially. 


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Atheistextremist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Given that evolution is true, who was the first dude to have a soul/ go to heaven or hell? What lucky fellow on the chain was the first one to whom god said, "yeah, you look like the first human, come on up!" And what happened to his poor mother?

 

LMAO, yeah. That looks about right. Too bad, she's kinda cute. 


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Thing is of course, universe creation

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

whose premisses are reasonably sound, in the everyday sense of the word. It leads to the conclusion "the universe has a cause" rather un-controversially. 

 

isn't an everyday event - we're applying in-universe physics to out-universe (if such exists) 'space'.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

whose premisses are reasonably sound, in the everyday sense of the word. It leads to the conclusion "the universe has a cause" rather un-controversially. 

 

isn't an everyday event - we're applying in-universe physics to out-universe (if such exists) 'space'.

 

 

I don't think the beginning of the universe is explainable scientifically, in principle. And I'm not applying physics to anything here, really. Physics does not apply to nothing.

You seem to want to say that maybe we can't imagine what the cause actually was, which I get. But I think we can say, and be reasonable in saying, that whatever it was and in whatever mode it could be said to 'exist', it was not physical and not temporal in the way the universe itself is.

At this point the options would be a) an abstract concept, b) a personal cause, or c) who the tits has any clue? Any abstract concept is nonphysical and nontemporal, perhaps. But an abstract concept can't do stuff. So we can reasonably say (b) or (c).  

 


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Marty Hamrick wrote:
...

I personally find all of these discussions to be "artful dodges" and I've noticed the majority of these arguments which are based on "who makes the most sound argument"(here again a subjective judgement) or my personal favourite,"Who Has the Burden of Proof?" come mostly from theists, many of them pastors. Its as if the're trying to argue like lawyers and this is understandable since many theists, particularly pastors have studied law. Many of the ones I know were formerly lawyers, or at least had studied law on some level.

This is not the best way to argue such things as the existence of God in my opinion. Arguing legally is not the same as arguing scientifically, the rigors of science are for more demanding. Eyewitness accoounts carry a lot of weight in a courtroom, but count for very little in a science lab and many legalistic theists can't get past that. If 4 people saw a defendant commit a crime and they all agree with each other, chances are good that the defendant is guilty. yet if 10 people saw a UFO or ghost and if all 10 agreed that it was a UFO or a ghost, the claim is still suspect because there is no proof that what they saw was what they thought they saw.

Debating God, ghosts or UFO's isn't so cut and dried and I don't believe that its as easy as labelling it "rationality vs. irrationality."

Let me try to rephrase it.

Argumentation per se is worthless. Only physical evidence matters. The only argumentation of interest is over the interpretation of physical evidence.

Believers always try to ignore the absence of physical evidence in their arguments.

Physical evidence is that which could be introduced in a court of law. Nothing else is physical evidence. Legal argument is over the meaning of that evidence.

In law however it holds the meaning is what a rational person would conclude. So, Is it rational to think the universe is without an origin? is a quite reasonable question regarding humans.

Science however is not dealing with a universe that behaves as humans behave so such appeals are nonsense.

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jeffreyalex wrote:
Mr. Hamrick, thank you for your clarity, and for sharing your opinion. 

I noticed that someone else also raised the question of subjectivity with regard to rationality, and I think that's a very interesting suggestion. I had some time to look for articles on it but haven't found anything solid, yet. 

In your opinion, what would be a good way to argue for God? 

But you are a Jesus thumper who is pretending to a position of neutrality and therefore you are lying.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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jeffreyalex wrote:

 We have such a thing called physics, and it tells us that in the equations which appear to govern the universe there exist such things as constants. Okay so far?

Your statement is not true. But we all know you are ignorant of science.

Quote:
Those constants, if they were different, would produce different physical universes. Other values would prevent, for example, the formation of certain essential elements because the necessary chemistry would be impossible. For example, there is a constant called the nuclear force. If it were at a different value hydrogen would fuse into diprotons. 

There is a ratio of constants that could produce life-sustaining universes to constants that could not. That ratio is astronomically low. Today's physicists, atheist and theist and agnostic alike, acknowledge this. 

And only in universes where life can exist could this question arise for a few decades between discovering the issue and explaining the issue.

To repeat, you are ignorant of science. Get over it.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:
Mr. Hamrick, thank you for your clarity, and for sharing your opinion. 

I noticed that someone else also raised the question of subjectivity with regard to rationality, and I think that's a very interesting suggestion. I had some time to look for articles on it but haven't found anything solid, yet. 

In your opinion, what would be a good way to argue for God? 

But you are a Jesus thumper who is pretending to a position of neutrality and therefore you are lying.

 

Yeah, I "thump" Jesus. 

 

You know, Mouse, I think I've figured you out. 

You're actually a Virgin Jesus thumper yourself. You hang around here and post completely asinine nonsense to make it look like atheists are total retards. Very clever. You know people will come here, and read your nonsensical tirades and think, "wow atheists are dumb".

But there's a flaw in your ingenious plan to make all atheists look like totally incoherent morons. Many people will come here and just think, "wow, no god would create such a sad confused creature". 


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jeffreyalex wrote:
I don't think the beginning of the universe is explainable scientifically, in principle. And I'm not applying physics to anything here, really. Physics does not apply to nothing.

Yes you are ignorant of science. Been there. Observed that. You cannot think about what you do not understand. That is a fact not ad hominem.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:
I don't think the beginning of the universe is explainable scientifically, in principle. And I'm not applying physics to anything here, really. Physics does not apply to nothing.

Yes you are ignorant of science. Been there. Observed that. You cannot think about what you do not understand. That is a fact not ad hominem.

 

Admit it Mouse, you love the Virgin Jesus. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:jcgadfly

jeffreyalex wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

In my opinion, the best arguemts are cosmological and ontological. I don't find the phiosophical arguemts compelling at all. However the best an ontological argument will get the theist is a Spinoza's God, or Deist's (philospoher's God)God, it won't get you the dude in the Bible,Koran or any other dogma that expounds on personal characteristics of God, such in my opinion are psychological projections of the self and anthropomorphizations.

 

I would agree that the cosmological argument and the ontological argument carry force. I would also suggest that the teleological argument carries some force. . As you may be aware, there is such a thing as string theory, and different incarnations of it, as a matter of fact. The theory does not make predictions and so is not testable, however it has explanatory scope. What I would observe is that God has explanatory power beyond the existence of the universe and its suitability for life. God explains our moral experience and our sense of purpose. God explains the mathematical order and reason in the universe and our ability to comprehend it. God explains the existence of minds. 

 

I'll have to agree with you that such arguments will not get you the God full of traits, that you find in the religious books. 

If that is true why does the anthropic principle fail when met with reality?

 

Can you clarify your question? 

If you're suggesting that the anthropic principle discounts the force of the fine-tuning argument, I believe I've already given a response. 

I'm saying that the myriad examples of poor design in the universe destroy the anthropic principle and the fine tuning argument. I would also add that your version of the cosmological argument fails for the same reasons the other cosmological arguments - you have to special plead in a god

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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jcgadfly wrote:jeffreyalex

jcgadfly wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

In my opinion, the best arguemts are cosmological and ontological. I don't find the phiosophical arguemts compelling at all. However the best an ontological argument will get the theist is a Spinoza's God, or Deist's (philospoher's God)God, it won't get you the dude in the Bible,Koran or any other dogma that expounds on personal characteristics of God, such in my opinion are psychological projections of the self and anthropomorphizations.

 

I would agree that the cosmological argument and the ontological argument carry force. I would also suggest that the teleological argument carries some force. . As you may be aware, there is such a thing as string theory, and different incarnations of it, as a matter of fact. The theory does not make predictions and so is not testable, however it has explanatory scope. What I would observe is that God has explanatory power beyond the existence of the universe and its suitability for life. God explains our moral experience and our sense of purpose. God explains the mathematical order and reason in the universe and our ability to comprehend it. God explains the existence of minds. 

 

I'll have to agree with you that such arguments will not get you the God full of traits, that you find in the religious books. 

If that is true why does the anthropic principle fail when met with reality?

 

Can you clarify your question? 

If you're suggesting that the anthropic principle discounts the force of the fine-tuning argument, I believe I've already given a response. 

I'm saying that the myriad examples of poor design in the universe destroy the anthropic principle and the fine tuning argument. I would also add that your version of the cosmological argument fails for the same reasons the other cosmological arguments - you have to special plead in a god

 

Yeah, not really. From this point forward, I'll be ignoring you, by the way. So far, you have yet to make a single valid point or sound argument. You obviously know zero math or science. Nonetheless you go about ranting. I see no need to respond to you. Any intelligent person who reads these threads will observe nothing but incompetence from you, and I'm satisfied that that's enough. I'm no longer wasting my energy. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:jcgadfly

jeffreyalex wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

In my opinion, the best arguemts are cosmological and ontological. I don't find the phiosophical arguemts compelling at all. However the best an ontological argument will get the theist is a Spinoza's God, or Deist's (philospoher's God)God, it won't get you the dude in the Bible,Koran or any other dogma that expounds on personal characteristics of God, such in my opinion are psychological projections of the self and anthropomorphizations.

 

I would agree that the cosmological argument and the ontological argument carry force. I would also suggest that the teleological argument carries some force. . As you may be aware, there is such a thing as string theory, and different incarnations of it, as a matter of fact. The theory does not make predictions and so is not testable, however it has explanatory scope. What I would observe is that God has explanatory power beyond the existence of the universe and its suitability for life. God explains our moral experience and our sense of purpose. God explains the mathematical order and reason in the universe and our ability to comprehend it. God explains the existence of minds. 

 

I'll have to agree with you that such arguments will not get you the God full of traits, that you find in the religious books. 

If that is true why does the anthropic principle fail when met with reality?

 

Can you clarify your question? 

If you're suggesting that the anthropic principle discounts the force of the fine-tuning argument, I believe I've already given a response. 

I'm saying that the myriad examples of poor design in the universe destroy the anthropic principle and the fine tuning argument. I would also add that your version of the cosmological argument fails for the same reasons the other cosmological arguments - you have to special plead in a god

 

Yeah, not really. From this point forward, I'll be ignoring you, by the way. So far, you have yet to make a single valid point or sound argument. You obviously know zero math or science. Nonetheless you go about ranting. I see no need to respond to you. Any intelligent person who reads these threads will observe nothing but incompetence from you, and I'm satisfied that that's enough. I'm no longer wasting my energy. 

In other words, I've been doing exactly what you'v been doing and you don't like it.

Seeing as how you haven't asked me to give example and are just dismissing what you disagree with out of hand for no reason save your disagreeing with it, allow me to enlighten others who don't have their head quite so far up their glutes as you do.

Meanwhile back at the poorly designed universe, we have the Andromeda galaxy on a collision course with us. 

Back on the earth we have a planet where most of it is inhospitable to life.

The human body has one hole that we eat and breathe through allowing many to die by choking. The human eye is (contrary to the theist worship of it) pretty poor at what it does. Never mind the poor design of the entertainment center in the midst of the sewage plant (though you might not be used to the entertainment center)

If you ever decide to actually refute the claims as opposed to judging as incompetent that which destroys your arguments, I'll be here. Otherwise, I'll just laugh as the others dismantle your arguments as you repeat them over and over as if you think they're original.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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"I don't like God's design,

"I don't like God's design, boo hoo hoo, I have one mouth" is not an argument. Nor is it a refutation of anything.  

 


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jeffreyalex wrote:"I don't

jeffreyalex wrote:

"I don't like God's design, boo hoo hoo, I have one mouth" is not an argument. Nor is it a refutation of anything.  

 

 

                    Perhaps the deist God felt no mandate to achieve perfection when it was drafting up its design for human beings, planet Earth, galaxies, etc.

www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/misanthropy

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jeffreyalex wrote:"I don't

jeffreyalex wrote:

"I don't like God's design, boo hoo hoo, I have one mouth" is not an argument. Nor is it a refutation of anything.  

 

It is an example of the poor design that I alluded to. You have a being that you believe speaks universes from nothing and can't put together some thing as (comparatively ) simple as a human being?

You say that God designed this universe for life in general and human life in particular. I gave you some examples where your claim is shown to be wrong. I'm really sorry you don't like facts. Must be awfully incovenient for you.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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But you haven't shown that

But you haven't shown that sickness, or one mouthedness, is not compatible with a God. 

 

 


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jeffreyalex

jeffreyalex wrote:

 Jabberwocky:

  First of all, let me say, I enjoy reading your responses. 

 

Thank you. I get a crack out of your avatar because you very much resemble Spencer Rice, a Canadian co-star of a raunchy show called Kenny vs. Spenny.

jeffreyalex wrote:

  Second, of course, let me address some of your points to my ability.

I'd like to address your point regarding the fact that if the universe wasn't suited to life, we would not be here to see it. That is really no point at all, but just a tautological statement. To make my point, I will use two examples.

     One, the cosmological Malmquist bias. In a survey of the universe, we would only observe objects that are bright enough to be detected by our instruments. One result is that distant galaxies would seem to be brighter on average. But that's a mistaken conclusion. It is the result of the fact that we can only detect tremendously bright distant galaxies. So next, consider quasars: upon discovery they were thought to be some kind of star in our very own galaxy. However, later redshift measures revealed that they are a million times farther than we believed—they are very very very bright, as it turns out. The question is How are they so bright? The answer is not "Well, if they weren't so bright, we wouldn't observe them." The answer is that they are powered by gravitational energy liberated from matter falling into a super-massive black hole. 

Two, imagine this scenario: You are taken before a firing squad of 100 gunmen. You are blindfolded, the gunmen take their aim at you, and fire. But you are still alive as they all missed. You should not be surprised that you are not dead. If you were dead, you would not be observing anything. However, you should be quite surprised that you are still alive. 

 

Being surprised that you are alive, but not being surprised that you're not dead? Your accusation of my statement being tautological is correct, but this is equally so. Being alive is synonymous with being not dead. The reason for my statement is that we only have been able to observe the results of "the big bang". The one that produced everything we have ever seen. This is what we call the Universe. This is somewhat similar to how the Earth at one point was "the World". Our Universe, and the things we call space and time are said to have come into existence, but I understand that the statement "time began" is a physical statement. We only are able to extrapolate everything thus far to a moment right around the big bang (a tiny fraction of a second after I understand). Then you have to ask yourself what happened before that?

Your answer seems to be "God started it all!" I now have to point out that in the past, god was also seen as the cause of our planet forming with its very geography, the moon being present, the diversity of life, etc. that we have since discovered better explanations for. Intense work is being done by some extremely bright and gifted people to obtain more detail on the times we know of, and as time goes on, we will know more and more. When science gets to the bottom of things, the people waiting for "God did it" have been disappointed 100% of the time so far. I have a feeling that percentage will stay the same.

jeffreyalex wrote:

Regarding your point that physicists are uncertain about the history of our universe, I will bring up several points. 

     One, most physicists do believe the universe is finite back in time. Guth and Valenkin managed to prove that any universe, which is on average expanding, must have an absolute beginning (regardless of the physics of that first split second). This lends support to one of the premisses of one version of the Cosmological Argument: "the universe began to exist". Lawrence Krauss wrote a popular science book called A Universe From Nothing, trying to persuade that a universe could arise from nothing. That book was a great read, but the title is somewhat misleading. Even Krauss admits this in his lectures and debates. The empty space from which the expanding universe may have come, or quantum vacuum, is not really nothing. It is an energetic soup complete with laws. We are genuinely faced with the question of how something could come from nothing. Which brings me to number two.

Ok, so Lawrence Krauss says it's not "nothing". You admit that, and then you say we're faced with a question of how something can come from nothing? I personally say that I'm quite fine with the idea that I know nothing of the conditions of quantum vacuum. I'll leave it to those who do. 

jeffreyalex wrote:

     Two, not all cosmological arguments rely on the state of modern physics. Swinburne's argument applies whether the universe goes back eternally or has a beginning. His main point is that the question is not one that is open to science, why? Because science explains the behavior of matter, time, and space in terms of laws that apply to those things just mentioned. For example, we have extrapolated backwards to give us our knowledge of the early universe. We are capable of doing so because we can observe a state of the universe (or how it appears) at time X, say today. We can account for how it is today in terms of two things: its state yesterday (or at some previous time), and the laws of nature which we know acted on that state. If we come to an initial state, we cannot resort to such explanation of a prior cause, because such an explanation, given the terms in which science explains anything, would take for granted exactly that which is in need of explaining. In the case of an infinite universe, science still faces the impossibility of explaining any given state. Why? Because there would exist no state that is itself not caused, and so no explanation that is not itself a part of what needs to be explained. 

     Three, with regard to the possibility of an actual infinity, it seems to lead to contradictions. Now, note that in mathematics there are rules for dealing with the concept of infinity. For example, it can be shown that the infinite series of addition (1 + 2 + 3 + ... + n + ...)  adds up to...    -1/12. I know, surprising to say the least! But in reality, the case is different. As a simple example, imagine I had an infinite amount of marbles (if you can). You take away all the even numbered marbles. This means you have taken away an infinity of marbles, as the set of even numbers is infinite, nonetheless I have an infinite amount of marbles left. Quite peculiar. Further, imagine you took all my marbles numbered from 4, going upward. The set of numbers (marbles) greater than three is infinite. So here, again, you have taken an infinity of marbles from me. But this time, instead of having an infinite number left, I have...    3 marbles. 

I think I've heard this debate before. Infinity leads to contradictions mathematically when you try to subtract or add to it. You're clearly trying to use this argument to make it seem like nothing could have possibly ever occurred before the big bang.  My contention is that we simply don't know, and are currently unable to investigate much, if anything, on that topic. That has nothing to do with the contradictions of the mathematical concept of infinity. 

jeffreyalex wrote:

      Science's oldest most widely accepted ontological claim is that physical phenomena have causes. So, just one possible version of the cosmological argument could go something like:

1) All physical phenomena and sets of physical phenomena have a cause. 

2) The universe is a set of all physical phenomena.

3) The universe has a cause. 

That is a valid deductive argument. The premises seem at least very plausible. So this argument is perfectly valid, and it is probably (though not certainly) sound. 

 

I will address the rest of your post as soon as I'm able. My hands are cramping up!

For your argument to defer to god, you would have to for some reason assume that your cause for the Universe would have to differ from every other cause we have ever observed, and be a supernatural one rather than a natural physical one. You still have a gigantic gap to jump here. In fact, I could argue that the gap is infinite, and no amount of subtracting will help you close it. Sticking out tongue.

Theists - If your god is omnipotent, remember the following: He (or she) has the cure for cancer, but won't tell us what it is.


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Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 Jabberwocky:

  First of all, let me say, I enjoy reading your responses. 

 

Thank you. I get a crack out of your avatar because you very much resemble Spencer Rice, a Canadian co-star of a raunchy show called Kenny vs. Spenny.

jeffreyalex wrote:

  Second, of course, let me address some of your points to my ability.

I'd like to address your point regarding the fact that if the universe wasn't suited to life, we would not be here to see it. That is really no point at all, but just a tautological statement. To make my point, I will use two examples.

     One, the cosmological Malmquist bias. In a survey of the universe, we would only observe objects that are bright enough to be detected by our instruments. One result is that distant galaxies would seem to be brighter on average. But that's a mistaken conclusion. It is the result of the fact that we can only detect tremendously bright distant galaxies. So next, consider quasars: upon discovery they were thought to be some kind of star in our very own galaxy. However, later redshift measures revealed that they are a million times farther than we believed—they are very very very bright, as it turns out. The question is How are they so bright? The answer is not "Well, if they weren't so bright, we wouldn't observe them." The answer is that they are powered by gravitational energy liberated from matter falling into a super-massive black hole. 

Two, imagine this scenario: You are taken before a firing squad of 100 gunmen. You are blindfolded, the gunmen take their aim at you, and fire. But you are still alive as they all missed. You should not be surprised that you are not dead. If you were dead, you would not be observing anything. However, you should be quite surprised that you are still alive. 

 

Being surprised that you are alive, but not being surprised that you're not dead? Your accusation of my statement being tautological is correct, but this is equally so. Being alive is synonymous with being not dead. The reason for my statement is that we only have been able to observe the results of "the big bang". The one that produced everything we have ever seen. This is what we call the Universe. This is somewhat similar to how the Earth at one point was "the World". Our Universe, and the things we call space and time are said to have come into existence, but I understand that the statement "time began" is a physical statement. We only are able to extrapolate everything thus far to a moment right around the big bang (a tiny fraction of a second after I understand). Then you have to ask yourself what happened before that?

Your answer seems to be "God started it all!" I now have to point out that in the past, god was also seen as the cause of our planet forming with its very geography, the moon being present, the diversity of life, etc. that we have since discovered better explanations for. Intense work is being done by some extremely bright and gifted people to obtain more detail on the times we know of, and as time goes on, we will know more and more. When science gets to the bottom of things, the people waiting for "God did it" have been disappointed 100% of the time so far. I have a feeling that percentage will stay the same.

jeffreyalex wrote:

Regarding your point that physicists are uncertain about the history of our universe, I will bring up several points. 

     One, most physicists do believe the universe is finite back in time. Guth and Valenkin managed to prove that any universe, which is on average expanding, must have an absolute beginning (regardless of the physics of that first split second). This lends support to one of the premisses of one version of the Cosmological Argument: "the universe began to exist". Lawrence Krauss wrote a popular science book called A Universe From Nothing, trying to persuade that a universe could arise from nothing. That book was a great read, but the title is somewhat misleading. Even Krauss admits this in his lectures and debates. The empty space from which the expanding universe may have come, or quantum vacuum, is not really nothing. It is an energetic soup complete with laws. We are genuinely faced with the question of how something could come from nothing. Which brings me to number two.

Ok, so Lawrence Krauss says it's not "nothing". You admit that, and then you say we're faced with a question of how something can come from nothing? I personally say that I'm quite fine with the idea that I know nothing of the conditions of quantum vacuum. I'll leave it to those who do. 

jeffreyalex wrote:

     Two, not all cosmological arguments rely on the state of modern physics. Swinburne's argument applies whether the universe goes back eternally or has a beginning. His main point is that the question is not one that is open to science, why? Because science explains the behavior of matter, time, and space in terms of laws that apply to those things just mentioned. For example, we have extrapolated backwards to give us our knowledge of the early universe. We are capable of doing so because we can observe a state of the universe (or how it appears) at time X, say today. We can account for how it is today in terms of two things: its state yesterday (or at some previous time), and the laws of nature which we know acted on that state. If we come to an initial state, we cannot resort to such explanation of a prior cause, because such an explanation, given the terms in which science explains anything, would take for granted exactly that which is in need of explaining. In the case of an infinite universe, science still faces the impossibility of explaining any given state. Why? Because there would exist no state that is itself not caused, and so no explanation that is not itself a part of what needs to be explained. 

     Three, with regard to the possibility of an actual infinity, it seems to lead to contradictions. Now, note that in mathematics there are rules for dealing with the concept of infinity. For example, it can be shown that the infinite series of addition (1 + 2 + 3 + ... + n + ...)  adds up to...    -1/12. I know, surprising to say the least! But in reality, the case is different. As a simple example, imagine I had an infinite amount of marbles (if you can). You take away all the even numbered marbles. This means you have taken away an infinity of marbles, as the set of even numbers is infinite, nonetheless I have an infinite amount of marbles left. Quite peculiar. Further, imagine you took all my marbles numbered from 4, going upward. The set of numbers (marbles) greater than three is infinite. So here, again, you have taken an infinity of marbles from me. But this time, instead of having an infinite number left, I have...    3 marbles. 

I think I've heard this debate before. Infinity leads to contradictions mathematically when you try to subtract or add to it. You're clearly trying to use this argument to make it seem like nothing could have possibly ever occurred before the big bang.  My contention is that we simply don't know, and are currently unable to investigate much, if anything, on that topic. That has nothing to do with the contradictions of the mathematical concept of infinity. 

jeffreyalex wrote:

      Science's oldest most widely accepted ontological claim is that physical phenomena have causes. So, just one possible version of the cosmological argument could go something like:

1) All physical phenomena and sets of physical phenomena have a cause. 

2) The universe is a set of all physical phenomena.

3) The universe has a cause. 

That is a valid deductive argument. The premises seem at least very plausible. So this argument is perfectly valid, and it is probably (though not certainly) sound. 

 

I will address the rest of your post as soon as I'm able. My hands are cramping up!

For your argument to defer to god, you would have to for some reason assume that your cause for the Universe would have to differ from every other cause we have ever observed, and be a supernatural one rather than a natural physical one. You still have a gigantic gap to jump here. In fact, I could argue that the gap is infinite, and no amount of subtracting will help you close it. Sticking out tongue.

 

Lmao, clever. I can agree with you there, actually. Even if we accept a first uncaused cause, its attributes would be very debatable. 


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 I'll be honest. I

 I'll be honest. I obviously don't find these arguments solid. If I did, I'd be a theist and not agnostic. 

It's just that this forum is, in a sense, a circle jerk for atheists. I was interested in hearing the best responses to these arguments, so I've presented and tried to defend them. Being the only person on this side, however, I'm tired. With endless responses from geniuses like A_nony_mouse, I'm also frustrated. Why? Because I think if you are going to hold such a strong position one way or the other, and criticize the other side, you should at least have your arguments and fact somewhat straight. Without lying, I can say I would be thrilled to see any one of these arguments conclusively dismissed. It would mean I'm that much closer to an informed opinion. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:But you

jeffreyalex wrote:

But you haven't shown that sickness, or one mouthedness, is not compatible with a God. 

 

 

No but I have shown that such poor design is incompatible with a god that supposedly designed a universe perfect for human life.

So if we go by the Bible story that Yahweh created the universe for human life - he's just been disqualified. At the very least I cast serious doubt on any other god that is alleged to have created the universe just for humans. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jeffreyalex wrote: I'll be

jeffreyalex wrote:

 I'll be honest. I obviously don't find these arguments solid. If I did, I'd be a theist and not agnostic. 

It's just that this forum is, in a sense, a circle jerk for atheists. I was interested in hearing the best responses to these arguments, so I've presented and tried to defend them. Being the only person on this side, however, I'm tired. With endless responses from geniuses like A_nony_mouse, I'm also frustrated. Why? Because I think if you are going to hold such a strong position one way or the other, and criticize the other side, you should at least have your arguments and fact somewhat straight. Without lying, I can say I would be thrilled to see any one of these arguments conclusively dismissed. It would mean I'm that much closer to an informed opinion. 

With threads like this one, and the "belief in god is NOT irrational" thread, you don't seem agnostic. You seem to at least sway towards theism. You began this one on a template for a logical statement that could be used to suggest almost anything. I'm rather new here, but I know the "best arguments" are not. I don't blame others for being tired of them. If you want to see all those arguments quashed much more eloquently, find the debate between William Lane Craig and Arif Ahmed. Says it all really.  

Theists - If your god is omnipotent, remember the following: He (or she) has the cure for cancer, but won't tell us what it is.


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No Jeff it's not a circle jerk for atheists

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 I'll be honest. I obviously don't find these arguments solid. If I did, I'd be a theist and not agnostic. 

It's just that this forum is, in a sense, a circle jerk for atheists. 

 

As I keep telling you, it's a forum for skeptical empiricists - or more accurately in terms of epistemology, 'intuitive' fallibilists. Most people here have not spent any time wondering about the nature of their wondering but they clearly tend towards fallibilism and hold that their most fundamental theories are not beyond being utterly overturned and that even their ability to know is limited, biased and open to question.  

As a group, we don't know what the whole truth is, we don't need to know what the whole truth is. We grant empiricism primacy even though we accept it's not the perfect tool to establish the whole truth. While we believe empirical truth is not certain, we believe that what is certain is assertion.

While we accept we can't know the whole truth, we believe our senses have evolved to accurately tell us a part of the truth and thus they give us a basis for reasonable belief. And we argue those who doubt the primacy of sense data in establishing reasonable belief need to bring arguments against sense data that cause it to fail. 

Combining as we do, skepticism, rationalism and empiricism, we do not accept rationalistic predictions and projections about things that may or may not have existed before time, or may or may not exist outside the envelope of the universe, nor do we know if there is an edge of the universe past the Hubble constant or if it's just more space. We just don't know whether what you argue is true, nor are we are arguing that we know the truth. But we argue we have some grounds for withholding support for your argument, given our epistemological grounds for reasonable belief are not met by assertions for which no empirical evidence exists and for which, almost certainly, no empirical evidence can exist.

Should new empirical evidence be found supporting first cause, then we will modify our positions but given the way we find basis for reasonable belief, we argue that assertions about pre-bang, grue problem-type projections of post end of times; as well as exo universal timeless, matterless minds with force; are not consistent with reasonable belief, even if they are rationally vanishingly possible.   

 

And as I know you love a good appeal to authority:

 

"Nothing is more difficult and requires more care than philosophical deduction, nor is there any thing more adverse to its accuracy than fixity of opinion. The man who is certain he is right is almost sure to be wrong; and he has the additional misfortune of inevitably remaining so. All our theories are fixed upon uncertain data, and all of them want alteration and support. Ever since the world began opinion has changed with the progress of things, and it is something more than absurd to suppose that we have a certain claim to perfection; or that we are in the possession of the acme of intellectuality which has, or can result from human thought. Why our successors should not displace us in our opinions, as well as in persons, it is difficult to say; it ever has been so, and from an analogy would be supposed to continue so. And yet with all the practical evidence of the fallibility of our opinions, all and none more than philosophers, are ready to assert the real truth of their opinions."

Michael Faraday

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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jeffreyalex wrote:We are not

jeffreyalex wrote:

We are not on the same page, anymore.

You accept that there is no god without evidence, therefore, by your own understanding you are irrational. Further, I claim there is evidence for God.

 

Lastly, perception is not evidence? What are you even talking about now. Pray tell how you as an empiricist get ANY knowledge of the world if not through your senses of perception?

 

What you're doing is not philosophy or debate or reasoned dialogue. Also, I forgot that I was making a point to avoid you altogether for the profoundly moronic claim you feel the need to make about Israel, Jews, and Palestine. So I think this is where I'm done responding to you.

 

Ok, what evidence is there for this God? What proof do you have that this divinity exists?