Atheist Jihad!

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Atheist Jihad!

We have been called. Capn Awesome has declared Atheist Jihad!

We have our own levels for Jihad:
1. If you are a mod, add to this page. If you are a user, visit this page.

2. As part of Operation Spread Eagle we want our community to respond to more youtube vids, outlining the problems with theistic arguments. Look for videos that are responses to ours on Youtube, and send your counter response. We rarely engage community debate on youtube, we want you in on this. Not only are we addressing censorship, but we'll take this opportunity to address the huge holes in religion. During this time Operation Spread Eagle will be bringing press to our site, and they should see just how crazy and radical we are... we actually want better for humanity! Sue us.

3. Setting forth yet again that theism is a mind disorder! When Sapient asked a few questions on youtube, he never expected for everyone to dodge the questions and attack only one. By attacking only the question about theistic delusional disorder, some people illustrated their possession of this disorder. We will not back down now. We now hold that almost all theists have Grandiose Delusional Disorder and that theism itself should be listed in future versions of the DSM. And each time that someone with this disorder whines about our tactics, we will remind them with another video why in fact all forms of theism have some form of delusion embedded within them.

Welcome to the new Rational Response Squad... special shout outs to CSE Ministries who made this backlash possible.

"I want you to be 100 times angrier than you are now, I think the anger is great. The squeeky wheel gets the grease, and you're getting the grease" - Ellen Johnson of American Atheists on Brian Sapient

"Yeah, I've been negatively impacted...it pisses me off that you guys are way toooo polite." - Entomophilia after Sapient asked if we should address more haters.

Yet again we got critiqued today for needing money to exist on this planet. Just to spite those that try to diminish our worth by claiming the obvious about us (we need money to live) please send huge gigantic massive chunks of money through this link. (have no fear, none of the electronic money has that load of horseshit "In God We Trust" on it) Yeah, we're pissed, and you should be too. Religion needs to go.

"The time has come for people of reason to say: Enough is Enough! Religious faith discourages independent thought, it's divisive and it's dangerous." - Richard Dawkins

Minor Skirmishes in Operation Spread Eagle and Atheist Jihad:
Bill O'Reilly proves theism is dangerous, and that you should run from all theists because they are irrational, and they'll hurt you and everyone around you! It's just a matter of when, not if. It's the most true thing that he can ever tell you!!
Sablechicken goes down for the count.
The entire Way of the Masterbaters crew hits the floor.
The only post you ever need to read about Frank Walton, and the only 2 blogs (Frank Walton, Frank Walton) you ever need to read about him.
Kathy Griffin: http://suckitjesus.com/
Some arabs are pissed off about subtitles!

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Cpt_pineapple
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Thomathy

Thomathy wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:
CrimsonEdge wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Whenever I post stats like these people nitpick, so I'll go ahead and do that too.

People 'convert' when they go to prison. Micheal Vick, for example, said he found Jesus and religion after he was arrested. So those stats could be off.

So location matters?

 

My point was when I post stats about that the vast majority of Canadians are Christian and Canada is a moral society, people nitpick

"But pineapple, people could just be saying they're Christian!"

I was merely applying the same logic here.

http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/demo30a.htm

Those are the raw numbers. They are some of the least helpful statistics StatsCan has ever published. There was more to the arguments against the StatsCan statistics than people just saying they're Christian. And people really do just put down the religion of their parents' whether they believe or practice or not. It's a huge problem with those statistics among others that were pointed out.

It should be clear why the same logic cannot be applied to the prison statistics in the US. They are specific and even given the error percentage or possible 'conversions' you could not arrive at a significant rise in Atheist prisoners. The amount from each the theist and Atheist populations going to prison are disproportionate in the extreme.

 

That wasn't my point. My point was that accurate stats are impossible, so we have to take them as is. Otherwise it begs several questions: How many are claiming to be Christian? etc...

 

Oh and as for the prison stats, some of the people who just said they were Christian in the first place could be among the prison population. You don't have to factor in the 'conversions'. 

Which was my point. 

 


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My video reply to the

My video reply to the Capn's Atheist Jihad. To alleviate the tension here, just a bit.

 

 


croath
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evil religion wrote: I did

evil religion wrote:

I did nothing of the sort!

I've never claimed that morality can be objectivly picked. I've never denied that the choice is aribitary. What I said was that I can object to other peoples choices in morality and I can and I do. There is a difference.


I think that the contradiction you made is the rsult of you misundersatnding my argument. I'll try to explain.

I had said:
croath wrote:
You can pick whatever abritrary foundation for morality that you want - but you have no grounds for objecting to another person picking any other arbitrary foundation.


You claimed that you do have grounds. I am trying to distinguish clearly here between you making moral demands of others, and you simply threatening people to adhere to your moral code.

Consider two different moral frameworks A and B. These both have different arbitrary foundational premises. You adhere to moral group A. What entitles you to make moral demands of adherants to B? Given that you do not share any common foundation for morality, you can't. All you can do is threaten that person within ways that your moral framework permits and that his/her moral framework is likely to cause them to submit to.

Do you see the difference here? The difference between entitelments to make moral demands of someone, and threatening/bribing them? You claim now that you can only do the latter. Fine. You have no grounds for objecting to another person's system of morality in a way that crosses framework borders. You have no framework that allows you to make moral demands of others.

I took you as objecting to the point I was making - a rejection of which would entail you objecting to arbitrary premises being the foundation of naturalistic moral systems.

evil religion wrote:
croath wrote:

Brian, or any atheist at all, can offer no philosophically compelling reason for accepting one arbitrary premise over another.


Well first of all neither can you.


This is simply incorrect or misguided. The theist can make claim to God as an objective foundation for morality - ie, one that is true for all humans. Thus the theist can offer compelling reasons, given God exists, for a system of morality that is universal and objective. Thus Christians can make moral demands. Eg, we can say to someone else "murder is wrong", and be saying something that we believe is true for us as it is true for them. The atheist can do no such thing. He or she must resort to intimidation, bribary, etc.

evil religion wrote:

It does have a very good foundation on its ability to achieve certain goals then is is demonstratbly better at achieving those goals than your morality. I am of course assuming that you do wish to reduce crime, divorse rates and teenage pregnancy. If you don't then fine we differ on that..


You and Brian differ on your approaches. You'll note that my posts were directed at Brian, his actions, and wanting him to answer on behalf of the RRS. Brian calls Christians "sick fucks" [1], while recounting his love for Sam Harris' book "Letter to a Christian Nation". Sam and Brian both seem to think they have a right, on their worldview, to make moral demands of Christians. Brian consistently acts as though he has the moral high ground - yet, as you believe, the atheist does not share a common foundational premise with the theist and therefore has no grounds to make claims, let alone any high ground. He can call us "sick fucks" till he's blue in the face, but he cannot offer us morally compelling reasons to consider his tirades as containing anything that we are rationally required to consider. His words are empty.

Now onto a couple of other points in your post that bear addressing:

evil religion wrote:
On a high faluting philsophical level you may well be right your arbitary "god said so" basis for morality is no more justfiable than one thats based on "creating the most happiness"


You seem to be predicating your argument here, indeed your entire view of Christian morality, on the premise that "something is good because God said it is". In other words, a Theistic Subjectivism. This view says that God is freely able to choose what good and evil mean, and then declare what He has decided to the world. Christians mostly, however, believe in a form of objective morality - one where what is good is determined by God's unchangeable nature, the essence of what it is for Him to be God. In this way God is the definition of good, and is also unable to change His nature. So when God says "x is good" or "y is evil", He is not setting in place something that was previously not true. He is merely making known that which was always true, and always will be. As a note, this description of good and evil that I have just given cuts off at the roots the Euthyphro Dilemma, because morality is still defined by God's nature, but is not changeable by God, nor could it have been different.

And another point of yours:
evil religion wrote:
It does have a very good foundation on its ability to achieve certain goals then is is demonstratbly better at achieving those goals than your morality. I am of course assuming that you do wish to reduce crime, divorse rates and teenage pregnancy. If you don't then fine we differ on that.


Your pragmatic approach to morality has flaws that I don't think you have considered. Shall we simply enumerate all the different goals we wish to achieve, and then form a system around those? Or are we really going to choose something like "greatest happiness" and let our system of morality grow from that? There are problems with such a utilitarian approach. For example, do we measure happiness by the number of happy people, or the ratio of happiness to unhappiness? If the former, then we should be breeding as much as possible - teenage pregnancy becomes a good thing, so long as there's a reasonable chance the child will on balance lead a happy life. If we think ratios are more important then we would be better off to kill anyone who is likely to be unhappy, or perhaps even wipe out all creatures capable of happiness - assuming we can do so in a way that causes no suffering. Or do we want to tack on another arbitrary "killing is wrong" to our "greatest happiness" ethic? Why choose either?

The point I made initially still remains. Brian assumes he has a moral highground - yet he has no ground to stand on. He can't make demands of theists. Christians don't think that happiness is the greatest good, so you can't even measure by results - we don't share a common view. You have nothing persuasive by which to convince the theist that he or she errs. You can't even offer each other anything. You just pick your morality, like you pick your ice-cream flavours. That's hardly a foundation for moral outrage.

evil religion wrote:

Ok let me ask you a question and I want honest answers.

What would you like to achieve from your moral code?


Morality should not measured by some 'results' calculus. It's not like the laws of a nation or corporation that are designed to produce certain results. Morality describes those things we ought and ought not do.

 

[1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7-YRtAPgrQ


croath
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Sapient

Sapient wrote:

Quote:
Brian hates theists with a passion

Just briefly skimming this thread I saw this piece of libel. I wish I had a punitive damages machine attached to the internet so I could get paid off every time I am lied about. That'll be $300 for defamation of character, please.

You make ridiculous assertions about specific Christians which would cause that machine to drain your wallet as quickly as it fills it. I made that statement based off my observations of your actions. No one here would be simple enough to think that I was claiming anything more than personal opinion. That is all.

Edit: Forgot to mention - how about you try and answer my question as opposed to hiding behind a shield again? What gives you a right to make moral demands of theists? What naturalistic framework gives you that foundation? Justify your moral outrage without falling back on those words exclusive to a theist's vocabulary.


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croath wrote: Sapient

croath wrote:
Sapient wrote:

Quote:
Brian hates theists with a passion

Just briefly skimming this thread I saw this piece of libel. I wish I had a punitive damages machine attached to the internet so I could get paid off every time I am lied about. That'll be $300 for defamation of character, please.

You make ridiculous assertions about specific Christians which would cause that machine to drain your wallet as quickly as it fills it.

Show me 10 instances where I have libeled someone else, and if they're legit cases I promise I'll show you 20 where I was libeled.  And we can repeat until one of us runs out of cases.  I promise, I'll win.

 

- Brian Sapient


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I'm a little late, but I

I'm a little late, but I made my Atheist Jihad video.

 Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwKpu0XGf0I

Here it is embedded for people too lazy to click:

There are some weird cuts. Sorry. I had way too many silent spots, mike bumps, spots of breathing into the mike, etc. I think it's okay for what it is...


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croath wrote: You make

croath wrote:
You make ridiculous assertions about specific Christians which would cause that machine to drain your wallet as quickly as it fills it. I made that statement based off my observations of your actions. No one here would be simple enough to think that I was claiming anything more than personal opinion. That is all.

Ridiculous assertations are not libel. 


evil religion
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croath wrote: evil

croath wrote:

evil religion wrote:

I did nothing of the sort!

I've never claimed that morality can be objectivly picked. I've never denied that the choice is aribitary. What I said was that I can object to other peoples choices in morality and I can and I do. There is a difference.


I think that the contradiction you made is the rsult of you misundersatnding my argument. I'll try to explain.

I had said:
croath wrote:
You can pick whatever abritrary foundation for morality that you want - but you have no grounds for objecting to another person picking any other arbitrary foundation.


You claimed that you do have grounds. I am trying to distinguish clearly here between you making moral demands of others, and you simply threatening people to adhere to your moral code.

I have grounds based on my morality - thats all there is to it.

I don't have objective grounds becaue morals arn't that kind of thing. Thye are not objective.

Quote:
Consider two different moral frameworks A and B. These both have different arbitrary foundational premises. You adhere to moral group A. What entitles you to make moral demands of adherants to B?

Because I adhere to morals A. Thats all there is to it. You are wokring within the framework of there being an objective set of morals, a theist frame work. Once you realise that people from different sets of moral frameworks are perfectly entitled to disagree and indeed judge others then you will understand the position I'm coming from. I know its hard but try and take off the theist hat for a momment.

Quote:
Given that you do not share any common foundation for morality, you can't. All you can do is threaten that person within ways that your moral framework permits and that his/her moral framework is likely to cause them to submit to.

I can I'm entitled to my opinion as are you.

I can say "you are wrong" or "this act is evil" because the words "wrong" and "evil" mean too me wrong or evil within my subjective moral code. What you are trying to do is to define these words in the objective sense and show that I can not make an objective call on any moral issue. I agree that I can't objectivly say X is wrigh or wrong because EVIL, WRONG and GOOD are meaningless terms if we try to make them objective. They are subjective terms.

Quote:
Do you see the difference here? The difference between entitelments to make moral demands of someone, and threatening/bribing them? You claim now that you can only do the latter. Fine. You have no grounds for objecting to another person's system of morality in a way that crosses framework borders. You have no framework that allows you to make moral demands of others.

I can object to what ever I want on the ground of my morality

So can you.

Quote:
I took you as objecting to the point I was making - a rejection of which would entail you objecting to arbitrary premises being the foundation of naturalistic moral systems.

evil religion wrote:
croath wrote:

Brian, or any atheist at all, can offer no philosophically compelling reason for accepting one arbitrary premise over another.


Well first of all neither can you.


This is simply incorrect or misguided. The theist can make claim to God as an objective foundation for morality - ie, one that is true for all humans.

Yep and I can claim all sorts of things as well but unless you can show me some good reasons (and I mean evidence) why

1: God exists

2: Gods is as described in the bible

3: Why God is moral authority you say he is

Then you are just making an irrational and unjustfied claim. If this is the basis of your morality you really dont have a leg to stand on as your base premise is well errr irrational.

Quote:
Thus the theist can offer compelling reasons, given God exists, for a system of morality that is universal and objective. Thus Christians can make moral demands.

Yes well thats the real problem isn't it. Given God exists. Thats a bit of huge fucking great big whopping massive GIVE. Its such a huge give that it renders the whole argument absurd. Even the most cheeky theist admits that Belief in God requires faith. This means that you absolute morals are based upon faith a very very subjective thing. So you absolute morals are nothing of the sort they rest on subjective faith.

Quote:
Eg, we can say to someone else "murder is wrong", and be saying something that we believe is true for us as it is true for them. The atheist can do no such thing. He or she must resort to intimidation, bribary, etc.

WTF?

Murder is wrong.

There I said it.

 

Quote:
evil religion wrote:

It does have a very good foundation on its ability to achieve certain goals then is is demonstratbly better at achieving those goals than your morality. I am of course assuming that you do wish to reduce crime, divorse rates and teenage pregnancy. If you don't then fine we differ on that..


You and Brian differ on your approaches. You'll note that my posts were directed at Brian, his actions, and wanting him to answer on behalf of the RRS. Brian calls Christians "sick fucks" [1], while recounting his love for Sam Harris' book "Letter to a Christian Nation". Sam and Brian both seem to think they have a right, on their worldview, to make moral demands of Christians. Brian consistently acts as though he has the moral high ground - yet, as you believe, the atheist does not share a common foundational premise with the theist and therefore has no grounds to make claims, let alone any high ground. He can call us "sick fucks" till he's blue in the face, but he cannot offer us morally compelling reasons to consider his tirades as containing anything that we are rationally required to consider. His words are empty.

Now onto a couple of other points in your post that bear addressing:

evil religion wrote:
On a high faluting philsophical level you may well be right your arbitary "god said so" basis for morality is no more justfiable than one thats based on "creating the most happiness"


You seem to be predicating your argument here, indeed your entire view of Christian morality, on the premise that "something is good because God said it is". In other words, a Theistic Subjectivism. This view says that God is freely able to choose what good and evil mean, and then declare what He has decided to the world. Christians mostly, however, believe in a form of objective morality - one where what is good is determined by God's unchangeable nature, the essence of what it is for Him to be God. In this way God is the definition of good, and is also unable to change His nature. So when God says "x is good" or "y is evil", He is not setting in place something that was previously not true.

It amounts to exactly the same thing though. God=good or God make sthe rules. It still requires irrational faith and hence is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter. Sooooo your objective baisis for morlaity, as ir requires an act of faith, is actually subjective after all. The various different "true words of God" from all the different religions of the world are testament to this.


Quote:
evil religion wrote:
It does have a very good foundation on its ability to achieve certain goals then is is demonstratbly better at achieving those goals than your morality. I am of course assuming that you do wish to reduce crime, divorse rates and teenage pregnancy. If you don't then fine we differ on that.


Your pragmatic approach to morality has flaws that I don't think you have considered. Shall we simply enumerate all the different goals we wish to achieve, and then form a system around those? Or are we really going to choose something like "greatest happiness" and let our system of morality grow from that? There are problems with such a utilitarian approach. For example, do we measure happiness by the number of happy people, or the ratio of happiness to unhappiness? If the former, then we should be breeding as much as possible - teenage pregnancy becomes a good thing, so long as there's a reasonable chance the child will on balance lead a happy life. If we think ratios are more important then we would be better off to kill anyone who is likely to be unhappy, or perhaps even wipe out all creatures capable of happiness - assuming we can do so in a way that causes no suffering. Or do we want to tack on another arbitrary "killing is wrong" to our "greatest happiness" ethic? Why choose either?

Hey no one said it was perfect. I merely am suggesting that we look at th goals we are actually trying to achieve and mesaure success based on those goals. Morality is tricky I agree. There are problems with any sets of goals but we can all agree on some things.

The goal : working to reduce suffering

is somewhat better than

The goal: to torture babies

For example....

Quote:
The point I made initially still remains. Brian assumes he has a moral highground - yet he has no ground to stand on. He can't make demands of theists. Christians don't think that happiness is the greatest good, so you can't even measure by results - we don't share a common view. You have nothing persuasive by which to convince the theist that he or she errs. You can't even offer each other anything. You just pick your morality, like you pick your ice-cream flavours. That's hardly a foundation for moral outrage.

I pick what seems to work better. Christian morality seems to produce more crime, teenage pregancy, divorse and biogotry. But hey if your cool with that because you subjective faith says so then well ok....

Quote:
evil religion wrote:

Ok let me ask you a question and I want honest answers.

What would you like to achieve from your moral code?


Morality should not measured by some 'results' calculus. It's not like the laws of a nation or corporation that are designed to produce certain results. Morality describes those things we ought and ought not do.

 

[1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7-YRtAPgrQ

Why not? Why should it not be based on results? What we ought or ought not to do ultimately should be based on results. This is then how we will condition members of our society to behave. To supose its what we ought to do objectivly is just supossing that there is something objective o be right and wrong about. There isn't. SO lets just base it on what seems to work best. Religion based morality may well have worked best in the past but now it quite clearly does not in fact I would say that in the modern world its down right dangerous to base ones morals on the subjective faith required by any of the world religions.


croath
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evil religion

evil religion wrote:
croath wrote:
Consider two different moral frameworks A and B. These both have different arbitrary foundational premises. You adhere to moral group A. What entitles you to make moral demands of adherants to B?


Because I adhere to morals A. Thats all there is to it. You are wokring within the framework of there being an objective set of morals, a theist frame work.


On the contrary, you are acting as though an objective set of morals exists, though you claim vehemently that it does not.

I am trying to point out the obvious mistake you are making - that you have no common ground with adherents of other moral frameworks to make demands of them. To make this sharper, perhaps it will help you to consider framework A as being "greatest happiness" and framework B as being "greatest unhappiness". Adherents on each side of these groups have no common ground to make demands of the other. All they can do is threaten, bribe, intimidate, etc, in a way they think they'll be likely to respond.

If you, an atheist, tell me that I do evil, the only honest response I can have is to laugh. Why? Because your naturalistic framework does not give you any philosophical claim to make moral demands of me. Indeed, if I was an atheist, the same would be true. You know this, but you act as though objective morality exists. More on that later.

evil religion wrote:
I can I'm entitled to my opinion as are you.

How are you entitled to an opinion? What if my arbitrary foundation is "to have myself as the only opinion-holder is the greatest good"? I don't see any reason, under an atheistic worldview, to suppose that you're entitled to an opinion.

evil religion wrote:
I can say "you are wrong" or "this act is evil" because the words "wrong" and "evil" mean too me wrong or evil within my subjective moral code. What you are trying to do is to define these words in the objective sense and show that I can not make an objective call on any moral issue. I agree that I can't objectivly say X is wrigh or wrong because EVIL, WRONG and GOOD are meaningless terms if we try to make them objective. They are subjective terms.


You are, in fact, trying to use words that are commonly accepted as stating an objective truth, and using them in an subjective manner. It's the difference between objectively saying:
"That painting is beautiful"
and subjectively saying,
"I think that painting is beautiful".
One can rightly object to the first statement by saying, "beauty is subjective, so you cannot say that". The latter is all you can justifiably say. You can say, "I think you are wrong", or "I think this act is evil". But you can't justifiably say "you are wrong" or "this act is evil", because those sentences are commonly understood to be making objective claims. To use these words in a manner other than their common usage is deceptive. I think the words of Alfred Ayer are particularly apt here:
'If now I generalise my previous statement and say, "Stealing money is wrong," I produce a sentence which has no factual meaning - that is, expresses no proposition which can be either true or false. It is as if I had written "Stealing money!!" - where the shape and thickness of the exclamation marks show, by a suitable convention, that a special sort of moral disapproval is the feeling which is being expressed. It is clear that there is nothing said here which can be true or false. Another man may disagree with me about the wrongness of stealing, in the sense that he may not have the same feelings about stealing as I have, and he may quarrel with me on account of my moral sentiments. But he cannot, strictly speaking, contradict me. For in saying that a certain type of action is right or wrong, I am not making any factual statement, not even a statement about my own state of mind. I am merely expressing certain moral sentiments. And the man who is ostensibly contradicting me is merely expressing his moral sentiments. So that there is plainly no sense in asking which of us is in the right. For neither of us is asserting a genuine proposition' - Ayer, Language, Truth & Logic,1936 (1967 printing), pg 109.

Now I'll kill these two birds with one stone, since they are basically the same argument:
Quote:

evil religion wrote:
Yep and I can claim all sorts of things as well but unless you can show me some good reasons (and I mean evidence) why

1: God exists

2: Gods is as described in the bible

3: Why God is moral authority you say he is

Then you are just making an irrational and unjustfied claim. If this is the basis of your morality you really dont have a leg to stand on as your base premise is well errr irrational.

evil religion wrote:
Yes well thats the real problem isn't it. Given God exists. Thats a bit of huge fucking great big whopping massive GIVE. Its such a huge give that it renders the whole argument absurd.


You obviously have no understanding of the nature of philosophical discourse. Shall I just turn around and respond to all your arguments by saying "we can't discuss what would be the case if atheism were true, since that's just SOOO ridiculous to assume!!"? No, if you want to make use of argument methods such as 'reductio ad absurdum' you need to be able to assume your opponents position in order to discuss whether it stands or falls on its own merits. Your claim was specifically that given theism, one has no philosophically compelling reason for accepting one arbitrary premise over another. I pointed out the error of this claim - that given theism, such a claim can be made.

You didn't respond to me with an explanation of why my answer on how theism doesn't suffer the same ailing as atheism is insufficient. Instead you said something like, "yeah, well, it doesn't matter since your theory's not true!". This is an objection to a different claim. You're objecting to my claim that "God exists", but it's not an objection to the claim we were discussing, which is "Theism can provide a foundation for objective morality." I'll take this as a sign that you have no argument against what I said.

Now to zoom in on a large mistake, yet one that's common to most atheists (including Dawkins), in part due to the abundance of theists that make the claim:
evil religion wrote:
Even the most cheeky theist admits that Belief in God requires faith. This means that you absolute morals are based upon faith a very very subjective thing. So you absolute morals are nothing of the sort they rest on subjective faith.


This definition of faith is one you won't find often amongst intellectual Christians who practice philosophy or other fields relevant to such a discussion. Biblical faith is trusting in a God whom you have good reason to believe is worthy of that trust. Simple as that. I'll give two analogies, the first describing the misunderstanding of biblical faith, and the second demonstrating the nature of Biblical faith:
1. You have a friend who's husband beats her on a daily basis, but aftewards repents. Yet day after day he does the same thing. You ask your friend why she doesn't leave him, and she says, "I have faith in him that when he promises he'll change he will". Here she has faith in spite of the evidence. Another word for this faith is 'foolishness'
2. You have a friend who is a masterful surgeon. You have seen him perform surgery on countless occasions, and has fewer deaths than most doctors in his field. One day you are in need of critical surgery. You select your friend to be the surgeon, putting your faith in him. You have faith in him *precisely* because he has proven himself worthy of it. This is Biblical faith

Now I can dispell all your doubts about the definitions I gave in one fell swoop:
James 2:19 wrote:
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.


Believing in the existence of God is not what is meant by faith. What is meant by it is trusting in God to do what He has promised. This same theme is abundantly present throughout the whole Bible - people believing in God, yet failing to trust Him.

evil religion wrote:
croath wrote:
Eg, we can say to someone else "murder is wrong", and be saying something that we believe is true for us as it is true for them. The atheist can do no such thing. He or she must resort to intimidation, bribary, etc.


WTF?

Murder is wrong.

There I said it.


Could you please at least *try* and understand my arguments rather than picking out words that string together some half-hearted response?

I said, you cannot say "Murder is wrong" and be saying something that is true for you as it is true to anyone else. Instead, if you want to convince someone else who has a fundamentaly different morality, you must resort to intimidation, bribery, etc.

evil religion wrote:
It amounts to exactly the same thing though. God=good or God make sthe rules. It still requires irrational faith and hence is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter. Sooooo your objective baisis for morlaity, as ir requires an act of faith, is actually subjective after all. The various different "true words of God" from all the different religions of the world are testament to this.


This argument doesn't make sense. Trying to put it into standard form:
1. Belief in God requires irrational faith (faith without evidence, or faith in spite of evidence)
2. Irrational faith is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter
C3. Therefore, Belief in God is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter
4. A belief that is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter is a subjective belief
C. Therefore, any system of morality based on belief in God is a subjective system of morality

Here's two of the problems:
* Premise one is false
* The main conclusion suffers from equivocation, because the sense in which the belief is subjective in premise 4 is not the same as the sense it is used in in the conclusion. If we add the additional premise:
6. God exists
We find that this does not contradict with any of the previous premises and conclusions, yet the final conclusion cannot be true - not on the basis of the premises before.

We could say that a subjective belief is a belief where we cannot know the truth of it. That does not mean that that belief itself is false. We might say, Bob has the belief that there are aliens in another solar system. We can't know the truth, so we might say it's a matter of opinion, and therefore a subjective belief. But that does not mean that the statement "There are aliens in another solar system" is false. It might turn out to be true. Likewise, I could agree with you that belief in God is a subjective belief, but still disagree with you that any moral system founded on that belief is a subjective system. We are talking about givens here:
Given that there is no God (atheism), there is no objective system of morality
Given that there is a God (theism), there can be an objective system of morality

So I reject your premise and your conclusion.

evil religion wrote:

There are problems with any sets of goals but we can all agree on some things.

The goal : working to reduce suffering

is somewhat better than

The goal: to torture babies

For example....


We can't agree on these things, and that's been my point all along. You seem to think that the word "better" has objective meaning. Why? You're still falling into the trap of defining an objective yard stick which you have countless times agreed with me doesn't exist.

Some people do like to torture people, presumably a person could exist that likes to torture babies (or at least rape them). If that person was an atheist, how could you tell him that what he does is "wrong" in a way that he might have reason to listen to? You can't. All you can do is resort to intimidation, bribery, etc. You have no basis for moral outrage because he is doing exactly the same thing as you - choosing an arbitrary foundation for his morality and sticking to it.

Let's put this another way - what stops you personally from deciding "Today the greatest good will be raping children, tomorrow I think I'll choose greatest happiness, and next wednesday will be wearing women's clothing"? You don't even have a reason to be consistent with your morality.

It's really quite simple: There's no reason to choose any one particular foundation for morality over another. There's no meaning when you say "I like to murder people" any more than saying "I like strawberry ice cream". Brian may as well be on a crusade against a theist's choice of ice cream flavours as he is about other perceived moral claims.


BenfromCanada
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croath wrote: Brian, tell

croath wrote:

Brian, tell me, by what standard you mean "better"? By what moral code or system of ethics do you measure whether atheists are better or worse than anyone who is not? You take a moral high ground, but you seem blissfully ignorant of the one glaringly true fact - on your worldview morals are nothing more than evolved socio-biological mores. I can't even comprehend why you think there is a fight that needs winning, except to think that you're borrowing from the theistic parts of our western culture. An atheistic world would be an amoral world.

Jesus fucking monkey shit. DUDE! Atheists can have all sorts of moral views, whether or not they believe they evolved as a survival technique.

croath wrote:
You're fighting for the very thing that your worldview opposes - objective good. Hate theists as much as you want, you look ridiculous claiming that you're "better", or fighting the good fight, or serving a good cause for a better world. You can't even define words like 'good', 'right', 'moral', 'better', without resorting to a subjective standard which no-one has any compelling reason to agree with.
Shit, buddy. You can have absolute morality while being atheist. I'm sure you know this, unless your head is way up your arse.

croath wrote:
A world of atheists would tear themselves apart without someone to fight, some common enemy, when it gets down to the task of daily living. That is, if atheists were men enough to take their beliefs to their obvious conclusion. You borrow from theism. Objective moral values and duties do exist - you just compartmentalise your beliefs so the contradiction isn't apparent. On the one hand you believe there is no God. On the other hand you believe that certain actions are objectively wrong. This is a contradiction - you are irrational. Atheism and objective morality are incompatible. Your pleas to rid the world of theism in the name of some 'good' are unjustified.
*sigh*

croath wrote:
Why would you even care if theists were eating babies and running over school children, so long as it's not *your* children?
Even if it isn't your children, it ruins society. And it could be your children next. You need to think.

croath wrote:
You're a hypocrite who doesn't live his worldview consistently. You accuse theists of irrationality, but you're blind to your own failures in logic. There is no good fight for you to win, because there is no 'good'.
OObjection! You're making a straw man.

evil religion wrote:

Well sorry but the prison statistics would indicate otherwise. In fact if that stats are to be believed the 20% atheist population in the USA make up only 1% of the prison population making them roughly 20 times less likely to comit crimes (including violence) than the 80% theist population which account for the other 99% of the prison population.

Not quite. 20% of the entire world is atheistic. Betwen 7 and 12% of all in the U.S.A. are atheist. and it's closer to 0.2% of the prison population being atheist. 

evil religion wrote:

We are generally more intelligent there is a strong correlation between higher IQ and atheism.

We are better educated again theres is stong correlation

We are more ethical (see above)

We have lower divorce rates.

Sure, but you can make the same arguments about particular races. You can't say anyone is "better" aside from on an individual level.

evil religion wrote:

Well one reason would be, if the prison stats are to be beleieved, if we elimiated theism and every one was an atheist crime would drop, IQ's would rise, education would rise and the family unit would be stronger. On top of that there would be more scientific research, less money and effort woudl be wasted building usless buildings like churches, less pedophile priests woudl be protected by their church, there would be less war, less persecution of homosexuals and less mysogonism.

I'd agree with you, with the exception of the crime and IQ arguments.

evil religion wrote:

Yep thats right because all those atheist countries like Sweeden, france, finland switzerland, denmark, australia and japan are well known for being in state of constant civil war.

Of them, only Sweden, Japan and Denmark are over 40% atheist (OK, maybe Finland and Switzerland too)


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Quote:

Quote:
evil religion wrote:
I can say "you are wrong" or "this act is evil" because the words "wrong" and "evil" mean too me wrong or evil within my subjective moral code. What you are trying to do is to define these words in the objective sense and show that I can not make an objective call on any moral issue. I agree that I can't objectivly say X is wrigh or wrong because EVIL, WRONG and GOOD are meaningless terms if we try to make them objective. They are subjective terms.


You are, in fact, trying to use words that are commonly accepted as stating an objective truth, and using them in an subjective manner. It's the difference between objectively saying:
"That painting is beautiful"
and subjectively saying,
"I think that painting is beautiful".
One can rightly object to the first statement by saying, "beauty is subjective, so you cannot say that". The latter is all you can justifiably say. You can say, "I think you are wrong", or "I think this act is evil". But you can't justifiably say "you are wrong" or "this act is evil", because those sentences are commonly understood to be making objective claims. To use these words in a manner other than their common usage is deceptive. I think the words of Alfred Ayer are particularly apt here:
'If now I generalise my previous statement and say, "Stealing money is wrong," I produce a sentence which has no factual meaning - that is, expresses no proposition which can be either true or false. It is as if I had written "Stealing money!!" - where the shape and thickness of the exclamation marks show, by a suitable convention, that a special sort of moral disapproval is the feeling which is being expressed. It is clear that there is nothing said here which can be true or false.

Yes it can. When you understand that the words wrong or right are subjective terms like beauty. When we say X is right we simply do not mean X is objective right what we actually mean is X is right within the context of the moral frame work I am working in. That is what the word "right" actually means. It is just the same as when I say X is beautiful. There is no objective beauty it is a subjective term.

Quote:
Another man may disagree with me about the wrongness of stealing, in the sense that he may not have the same feelings about stealing as I have, and he may quarrel with me on account of my moral sentiments. But he cannot, strictly speaking, contradict me. For in saying that a certain type of action is right or wrong, I am not making any factual statement, not even a statement about my own state of mind. I am merely expressing certain moral sentiments. And the man who is ostensibly contradicting me is merely expressing his moral sentiments. So that there is plainly no sense in asking which of us is in the right. For neither of us is asserting a genuine proposition' - Ayer, Language, Truth & Logic,1936 (1967 printing), pg 109.

Of course there is not sense in asking whcih of your IS right because the question presuposes that there is an objective answer. You are right means different things to each of you. So you are, in one sense, both right and both wrong.

Quote:
Now I'll kill these two birds with one stone, since they are basically the same argument:
Quote:

evil religion wrote:
Yep and I can claim all sorts of things as well but unless you can show me some good reasons (and I mean evidence) why

1: God exists

2: Gods is as described in the bible

3: Why God is moral authority you say he is

Then you are just making an irrational and unjustfied claim. If this is the basis of your morality you really dont have a leg to stand on as your base premise is well errr irrational.

evil religion wrote:
Yes well thats the real problem isn't it. Given God exists. Thats a bit of huge fucking great big whopping massive GIVE. Its such a huge give that it renders the whole argument absurd.


You obviously have no understanding of the nature of philosophical discourse.

My degree in the subject says otherwise.

Quote:
Shall I just turn around and respond to all your arguments by saying "we can't discuss what would be the case if atheism were true, since that's just SOOO ridiculous to assume!!"? No, if you want to make use of argument methods such as 'reductio ad absurdum' you need to be able to assume your opponents position in order to discuss whether it stands or falls on its own merits. Your claim was specifically that given theism, one has no philosophically compelling reason for accepting one arbitrary premise over another. I pointed out the error of this claim - that given theism, such a claim can be made.

In eseence you are saying:

I define morlaity as God.

God=Good.

I define this as the absolute basis for all morals.

Thats your premis one which relys on God existing. You need to back that up I'm afraid. You really need too. If you want me to accept your arguments have any credability you must be able to defend you base premises. If you are allowed to just make up stuff then I could just as well define absolute morality as

"What ever say"

Any one can do this. Sooooo we if we allow your

"God=good" premis we must allow any other

"X=good" type premis and hence the whole of morality is indeed subjective. Which is exactly the oposite point you where trying to make! You need to defend your premis. The fact that it is a matter of faith really screws you over when trying to use this premis to prove that theists have an objective account of morality. Faith is by its very nature a subjective thing. So you are using a subjective faith based necessary premis to demonstrate that morality is objective. This is just doomed to fail.

Quote:
You didn't respond to me with an explanation of why my answer on how theism doesn't suffer the same ailing as atheism is insufficient. Instead you said something like, "yeah, well, it doesn't matter since your theory's not true!".

No I'm asking you to back up your necessary premis

"God=good"

In philsophical discourse attacking the premises of ones oppentents is perfectly valid. If one can show that the premises are erronious or lead to absurd conclusions then one has cast doubt on the conclusions reached from those premises. So please do back up your premis

"God=god"

It rather relies on the addtional premis

"God exist" as well I'm afraid.

Quote:
This is an objection to a different claim. You're objecting to my claim that "God exists", but it's not an objection to the claim we were discussing, which is "Theism can provide a foundation for objective morality." I'll take this as a sign that you have no argument against what I said.

Yes it is I'm afraid. Unless you can provide me with some evidence for Gods existence to support your necessary premis your position is one of faith. Faith IS subjective and hence your objective conclusions rest on a subjective premis which is absurd.

Its not just a question of me say "oh well god does not exist" I'm utllising the fact that faith is a subjective thing and that faith is required to hold some necessary premises in your argument. So its not just a question of theists being wrong because God does not exist even if he does exist most theists admit that they believe this on faith, if this is the case you still have no objective basis for morality because you are basing and objective conclusion on a subjectivly held faith based premis.

Don't you just love philosophy?

Quote:
Now to zoom in on a large mistake, yet one that's common to most atheists (including Dawkins), in part due to the abundance of theists that make the claim:
evil religion wrote:
Even the most cheeky theist admits that Belief in God requires faith. This means that you absolute morals are based upon faith a very very subjective thing. So you absolute morals are nothing of the sort they rest on subjective faith.


This definition of faith is one you won't find often amongst intellectual Christians who practice philosophy or other fields relevant to such a discussion. Biblical faith is trusting in a God whom you have good reason to believe is worthy of that trust. Simple as that. I'll give two analogies, the first describing the misunderstanding of biblical faith, and the second demonstrating the nature of Biblical faith:
1. You have a friend who's husband beats her on a daily basis, but aftewards repents. Yet day after day he does the same thing. You ask your friend why she doesn't leave him, and she says, "I have faith in him that when he promises he'll change he will". Here she has faith in spite of the evidence. Another word for this faith is 'foolishness'
2. You have a friend who is a masterful surgeon. You have seen him perform surgery on countless occasions, and has fewer deaths than most doctors in his field. One day you are in need of critical surgery. You select your friend to be the surgeon, putting your faith in him. You have faith in him *precisely* because he has proven himself worthy of it. This is Biblical faith

I how outlined these two different meanings of the word faith in another essay here. Faith in God is most defintly of the first type you give. You need to provide some evidence for God. You can't do this beacsue there really isn't any.

Quote:
Now I can dispell all your doubts about the definitions I gave in one fell swoop:
James 2:19 wrote:
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.


Believing in the existence of God is not what is meant by faith. What is meant by it is trusting in God to do what He has promised. This same theme is abundantly present throughout the whole Bible - people believing in God, yet failing to trust Him.

But you NEED to believe in him to trust in him its a necessary premis again. That belief in God is a fiath position as there is simply no evidence that he exists. Thus your still stuck with a subjective faith based premis for your purported demonstration that morality is objective.

Quote:
evil religion wrote:
croath wrote:
Eg, we can say to someone else "murder is wrong", and be saying something that we believe is true for us as it is true for them. The atheist can do no such thing. He or she must resort to intimidation, bribary, etc.


WTF?

Murder is wrong.

There I said it.


Could you please at least *try* and understand my arguments rather than picking out words that string together some half-hearted response?

That was what we call a "joke"

Quote:
I said, you cannot say "Murder is wrong" and be saying something that is true for you as it is true to anyone else. Instead, if you want to convince someone else who has a fundamentaly different morality, you must resort to intimidation, bribery, etc.

Well as a theist I can see why you would be tempted to resort to intimidation and bribary it is Gods way aftere all. But as a morally superior atheist I would atempt to reason with the person. Point out the benefits of my moral code look at and examine the results of that code, see if there where any usavoury unthought of moral conclusions that could be recahed etc etc.

Quote:
evil religion wrote:
It amounts to exactly the same thing though. God=good or God make sthe rules. It still requires irrational faith and hence is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter. Sooooo your objective baisis for morlaity, as ir requires an act of faith, is actually subjective after all. The various different "true words of God" from all the different religions of the world are testament to this.


This argument doesn't make sense. Trying to put it into standard form:
1. Belief in God requires irrational faith (faith without evidence, or faith in spite of evidence)
2. Irrational faith is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter
C3. Therefore, Belief in God is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter
4. A belief that is a matter of opinion with no objective way of deciding the truth of the matter is a subjective belief
C. Therefore, any system of morality based on belief in God is a subjective system of morality

Here's two of the problems:
* Premise one is false

No its not, see above. Unless of course you can provide some evidence for God that is.


Quote:
* The main conclusion suffers from equivocation, because the sense in which the belief is subjective in premise 4 is not the same as the sense it is used in in the conclusion.

No you just need to add the implied premis

5: Any belief or system of beliefs that relies on a necessary premis that is subjective is itself subjective.

Quote:
If we add the additional premise:
6. God exists
We find that this does not contradict with any of the previous premises and conclusions, yet the final conclusion cannot be true - not on the basis of the premises before.

So what?



Quote:
We could say that a subjective belief is a belief where we cannot know the truth of it. That does not mean that that belief itself is false.

Indeed

Quote:
We might say, Bob has the belief that there are aliens in another solar system. We can't know the truth, so we might say it's a matter of opinion, and therefore a subjective belief. But that does not mean that the statement "There are aliens in another solar system" is false. It might turn out to be true. Likewise, I could agree with you that belief in God is a subjective belief, but still disagree with you that any moral system founded on that belief is a subjective system. We are talking about givens here:
Given that there is no God (atheism), there is no objective system of morality
Given that there is a God (theism), there can be an objective system of morality

So I reject your premise and your conclusion.

But given that theism is a position of faith as most theists would agree then you still can't have an objective morlaity as its based on a subjective premis. Atheism does not run into this problem of course because its not advocating an ovbjetive account of morality. The irony is of course that atheism is actually better equiped to provide an objective account of morality precicelly because it is not a faith based position! The fact that most atheists do not go for an objective account or morality is rather ironic in my opinion. The fact that theists try to is doubly ironic. The fcat that they have the nerve to then try and claim that atheists can't do what they don;t want to do any way is just absurd! (namely give an objective account of morality)

Quote:
evil religion wrote:

There are problems with any sets of goals but we can all agree on some things.

The goal : working to reduce suffering

is somewhat better than

The goal: to torture babies

For example....


We can't agree on these things, and that's been my point all along. You seem to think that the word "better" has objective meaning. Why? You're still falling into the trap of defining an objective yard stick which you have countless times agreed with me doesn't exist.

People can agree on things. We reach a consensus

Quote:
Some people do like to torture people, presumably a person could exist that likes to torture babies (or at least rape them). If that person was an atheist, how could you tell him that what he does is "wrong" in a way that he might have reason to listen to? You can't. All you can do is resort to intimidation, bribery, etc. You have no basis for moral outrage because he is doing exactly the same thing as you - choosing an arbitrary foundation for his morality and sticking to it.

My basis for moral outrage is my morals, thats all there is to it. In my opinion his actions are morally outrageous. Of course there is no objective way of determining which of us is right because there is no "right" outside the contexts of our own moral codes. But I can and will express my opinion on the matter as will everyone else. We then, as a society, come to a general loose consensus and form things like laws and legals systems to enforce this consensus.

Quote:
Let's put this another way - what stops you personally from deciding "Today the greatest good will be raping children, tomorrow I think I'll choose greatest happiness, and next wednesday will be wearing women's clothing"? You don't even have a reason to be consistent with your morality.

The way I have been brought up and conditioned determines my sense of right and wrong, thats all.

Quote:
It's really quite simple: There's no reason to choose any one particular foundation for morality over another. There's no meaning when you say "I like to murder people" any more than saying "I like strawberry ice cream". Brian may as well be on a crusade against a theist's choice of ice cream flavours as he is about other perceived moral claims.

We have all been conditioned to believe certain things. This is a complex process involving years of socil interaction, darwininan forces and whole host of complex sociopsychology. This is what gives us our morality. The general consensus of a society and the rules they implement to enforce are a way of maintaining a healthy morality for that society. This why we are unable to easily change our morality, I can no more decide tomorrow that murding babies is good than you can. This has nothing to do with God. If it did then we should see a distinct rise in such crimes amongst the atheist community, instead we actually see less crime and less imoral behaviour in general.

I think all of your troubles in accepting a subjective account of morals stems for the you bein trapped in a theist way of thinking. You keep asking "but why is moral system X better than Y"

"How can an atheist say that a moral system that says murdering babies is good is wrong?"

"How can we decide whcih moral system is good and which is bad?"

"How can atheists comment on other moral systems when thiers is and arbitary choice?"

all of these questions require come from the mind set of someone who thinks there is an objective definition of good and bad. As soon as you accept that the word "good" is a subjective term like "beauty" all of the questions above really loose their meaning.

So

"How can an atheist say that a moral system that says murdering babies is good is wrong?

Becomes

"How can an atheist say that a subjective moral system that says murdering babies is subjectivly good is objectivly wrong?"

The question does not make sense any more.

But we can still say that murdering babies is wrong if, by "wrong", we mean a sbjective thing. We can still be morally outraged , we can still say things are wrong, right, evil, bad BUT we understand that these are subjective terms like beauty.

Just because beauty is not an objective thing does not mean that it does not exist! Moreover the subjective nature of beauty does not mean that we can't say "this is beautiful or that is beautiful" neither does it prevent us from disagreeing with others when they claim that something is beautiful when it isn't (too us). We can have furious disagreements about whether some music is good or shit, art is brilliant or rubish, a girl is beautiful or ugly. We can and do have these types of discusion all the time. The subjective nature of all those things does not prevent us from having those discusions, arguing about them passionatly, pleading our cases , reasoning with people as to why such and such a film is a fantastic work of art or mere tripe. So it is with morality. Its only when one changes morality to mean something absolute, something objective rather than subjective that you run into troubles.

 

Anyway let me ask you this. Do you as a theist think that its is morally wrong to use the copyright laws to censor criticism when you have previously said that the material in question is not under copyright and the aledged infringements are baltently fair use anyway?

Do you feel outraged by the actions of the Hovind family business?  

I do. I really do. Regardless of our debate I really do feel like this is totally cunty thing to do. Its abuse of the law and is a just censorship pure and simple. Even as a theist who may sumpathise with the CSE's message, you may well agree that dinosaurs where presnet on the ark with Noah, even if you 100% accept what Hovind is saying surely you must see that their censorship effort was dishonest and possibly criminal. If Richard dawkins or any other atheist group pulled such a stunt and tried to censor debate of their ideas I would be just a distgusted with them. 


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pariahjane wrote: I

pariahjane wrote:

I realize that the title of this is supposed to be toungue in cheek, but I can only imagine what others are going to think. I can see the rally cries of 'see, atheism IS religion!!' along with the references to terrorism.

I suppose if some people actually took the time to read before reacting, it would be different.

To be fair, this is the fourth Atheist Jihad CapnOAwesome has called. As well, a YouTube user named mrtrivates also called one once. CapnOAwesome has more support and fame than the RRS. So, people know this is a joke. 


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BenfromCanada, your post

BenfromCanada, your post shows about the same eloquence as your amazing video for your Jihad - like a dog barking in the middle of a concert. I reply because your post is humorously misguided. Don't assume it's because I think you made any telling points.

BenfromCanda wrote:
Jesus fucking monkey shit. DUDE! Atheists can have all sorts of moral views, whether or not they believe they evolved as a survival technique.


If you'd taken the time to read my posts and understand the arguments, you would have realised that I never denied this. In fact, I said this was precisely the problem - that atheists can have all sorts of moral views. Too many. In fact, any moral view is acceptable for an atheist.

For someone who wears a proud badge bearing the word "rational" in it, you're sure giving it a bad name.

BenfromCanada wrote:

Shit, buddy. You can have absolute morality while being atheist. I'm sure you know this, unless your head is way up your arse.


No, you can't have absolute morality while being atheist. Why don't you share with us all how an atheist can have objective morality?


BenfromCanada
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croath

croath wrote:
BenfromCanada, your post shows about the same eloquence as your amazing video for your Jihad - like a dog barking in the middle of a concert. I reply because your post is humorously misguided. Don't assume it's because I think you made any telling points.
Right.

croath wrote:

If you'd taken the time to read my posts and understand the arguments, you would have realised that I never denied this. In fact, I said this was precisely the problem - that atheists can have all sorts of moral views. Too many. In fact, any moral view is acceptable for an atheist.
And how is this any different than theism in this respect?
croath wrote:

For someone who wears a proud badge bearing the word "rational" in it, you're sure giving it a bad name.
Frankly, your opinion matters not to me.

croath wrote:

No, you can't have absolute morality while being atheist. Why don't you share with us all how an atheist can have objective morality?
Hm...let's think. Most forms of Humanism have an objective standard of morality based on reason, and equality for all humans. Buddhism has an objective morality based on karma and, well, Buddhism has no god (minus a few sects that deify the Buddha or the Dali Lama). Those are 2 forms of atheism that have objective morality.


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Quote: Within the Chrsitian

Quote:
Within the Chrsitian moral code they are right to persecute homosexuals

but thats not right. I realize people misinterpret things, but Christian means follower of Christ and Christ loved everyone. If people are persecuting homosexuals they arent really following Christ. But they're using religion as an excuse, which is unfair to many varieties of people. In the Christian moral code we're not supposed to persecute anyone. We're supposed to love everyone unconditionally, even our enemies. This doesnt mean I agree with homosexuality because I dont think it works well with our human nature. aka-> leads to no reproducing. But I have friends who have homosexual beliefs. I disagree with them but dont force my views upon them. I still give my opinions though. And also the fact is none of us are perfect. Homosexuality, lying, murder, dishonouring our parents, being jealous, they're all things that go against love. I'm a terrible person in my opinion, but all of us are. our world's a mess.

summarize:

-Christian moral code=persecuting no one

-Rationally speaking, wouldnt life be better if we all tolerated one anothe?

~_~_~_~_~Josh

~Hello Helicopter, are we here to stay? Bodies rest in motion fighting night and day. Well its kill or be killed and one day we'll get the best of it. Hello Helicopter, will you be my friend? Will you take me away?~
Quote:

[i][


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Quote:

double post


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evil religion wrote: In

evil religion wrote:
In eseence you are saying:

I define morlaity as God.

God=Good.

I define this as the absolute basis for all morals.

Thats your premis one which relys on God existing. You need to back that up I'm afraid. You really need too. If you want me to accept your arguments have any credability you must be able to defend you base premises.


A degree in philosophy, you say? Well, Mr. Evil Religion, with your degree in philosophy, you seem to have forgotten a lot since your time at University. You are operating under the false impression that statements of the nature "If A then P" are only meaningful or useful if A is true. You are wrong.

I said, "If (A&B) then P", where A = "God exists", B = "God's nature is the definition of good", and P is "an objective foundation for morality can exist".

You object to this claim by saying "A is false!". That's not relevant to this argument though. Your direct claim was that "Theism offers no foundation for objective morality". I refuted that argument, and showed how, givn (A&B), we can indeed have a foundation for objective morality.

Let me help make clearer your error. Imagine your friend says, "The planets orbit the earth, not the sun, and they do so in perfectly circular orbits". Thinking your friend is a fool, and wanting to educate him, you formulate a reductio ad absurdum. Cleverly, you say to him, "If that were true, then we would expect to observe these orbits from earth as being circular. But we observe them as irregular orbits. Therefore, the planets do not orbit the earth in perfectly circular paths." Your response to him goes as follows, in standard form:

1. If A, then P
2. Not P
3. Therefore, not (A)

Where,
A = "Planets orbit the earth in circular paths"
P = "Observations from earth would show the planets orbiting earth in circular paths"

But under your philosophy degree education, you would have us believe that you can't construct this reductio ad absurdum because you are not entitled to state premise 1 because A is not true. Your poor friend then will have to keep on with his geocentric views, missing out on valuable education from you.

In the same way, there is no problem with assuming the truth of theism in order to see what conclusions could or could not follow.

In your confused state you seem to be mixing two points into one. There are these separate
1. Theism can allow for objective morality
2. God exists

Even IF 2 is shown as false, 1 would still be true. I hope you can now clearly see your error, and will henceforth withdraw claims of the nature "theism cannot provide a foundation for objective morality either".

Quote:
Unless you can provide me with some evidence for Gods existence to support your necessary premis your position is one of faith. Faith IS subjective and hence your objective conclusions rest on a subjective premis which is absurd.


Here you are still confused, and I already pointed this out to you in another post. I will again though. With your philosophy degree, these points should hopefully not be too far beyond you.

Even if I grant to you the false definition of biblical faith, you're still wrong. You're equivocating meanings of subjective.

Having a subjective belief in God, is not the same thing as it providing a subjective foundation for morality.

It is entirely consistent for one to "subjectively" believe in God, and yet given that belief have a foundation for an objective morality. It is incumbent on you to show where the contradiction is. Consider again the statement:
If God exists, then objective morality can exist
It doesn't matter how you arrive at the conclusion "God exists"...be it subjectively or through foolproof evidence. It would be true regardless that God can provide a foundation for objective morality. You are just plain mistaken to think that how I come to the belief "God exists" has any bearing on the kind of morality that would be possible as a result of that belief.

Which answers your additional premise,
evil religion wrote:

5: Any belief or system of beliefs that relies on a necessary premis that is subjective is itself subjective.


Let me try and explain why this premise is wrong by means of a counterexample. You are making a logical error that I highly doubt you use in practice. Consider this statement:
"Atheists can be upright and law-abiding citizens"

Now imagine I came to this belief because I was looking around my study and came across a random string of words that happened to make sense. I looked at the title of an article which had the word "Atheists", I look away and saw a "can", then moved around and saw a bee outside the window, and so on until I had this sentence in my mind. I think to myself, "Wow, that was amazing. Maybe atheists can in fact be upright and law-abiding citizens!"

You'll notice here that my reasons for believing this statement to be true are entirely subjective. Does this mean that the truthfulness of the statement is itself subjective? Or can it still be objectively true even though my reasons for believing it are subjective?

I do wonder about where you obtained your philosophy degree, that permits you to create logical laws where none exist. Were all students permitted to do that?

I should now address the response that is no doubt hanging on the tip of your tongue,
evil religion wrote:

f you are allowed to just make up stuff then I could just as well define absolute morality as

"What ever say"

Any one can do this.


Another false conclusion.

I think you will find that the only source of an objective system of morality is one that is unchanging, external from the universe, and true in all possible worlds. If we wish to declare that morality has an objective foundation, we may as well call that foundation "God", as it's going to have the same traits.

Let's just say, I pick "cows" as my foundation for my foundation of objective morality. ie, a cow's nature is the definition of good. Have I just picked something objective? No! Because a cow's nature changes, and it is not true in all possible worlds. It is far from an objective foundation: it is, in fact, subjective.

Any other changing thing you select within this universe is going to be a subjective foundation for morality. So you can't just pick "What ever say".

evil religion wrote:

Don't you just love philosophy?


Yes, which is why I love so much to point out your abuses of it.

evil religion wrote:

You keep asking "but why is moral system X better than Y"[...]As soon as you accept that the word "good" is a subjective term like "beauty" all of the questions above really loose their meaning.


I wonder if you really do read yours and my posts carefully. You would have noticed that when I ask that question, I'm challenging you when you make a claim that one is "better" than the other. I am correcting *you*, because *you* seem to think that moral systems can be judged as better or worse. Not me.

I was the one who compared the word "good" with being like "beauty" under an atheistic worldview. And now you turn around and make these points to me as though they were yours all along? I think you're forgetting who made which posts and claims.

Let me remind you of your own words, so you can hopefully be clear about who was saying what:
evil religion wrote:

Lets see whcih [sic] one works? Which one gets the best results.


Such comparisons are meaningless. I'm trying to tell you that. Sometimes you say it, sometimes you disagree. You need to make up your mind. And I suggest you do so with the correct conclusion: that under atheism, one system of morality cannot be judged as better or worse than another.

evil religion wrote:

Anyway let me ask you this. Do you as a theist think that its is morally wrong to use the copyright laws to censor criticism when you have previously said that the material in question is not under copyright and the aledged infringements are baltently fair use anyway?

Do you feel outraged by the actions of the Hovind family business?

I do. I really do. Regardless of our debate I really do feel like this is totally cunty thing to do.


Is this question related to our debate, or are you just asking me as a fellow human being how I feel about it? I'm assuming the former.

I may think that the Hovind family did the wrong thing, but this whole debate is about you and on what grounds you feel that you have a right to tell them they did wrong. You might feel outraged, but so what? Presumably they are just following their own subjective morality.

But I do notice you avoided the word "wrong" in your description of their actions. Good. That basically sums up to "I don't like it", not "They ought not to have done it". I can claim the latter, but you cannot. That's my main objection - you can express outrage against Hovind in the form of "hey, we don't like that!", but you can't actually believe he's done anything objectively wrong.


croath
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BenfromCanada

BenfromCanada wrote:

Frankly, your opinion matters not to me.

 

Likewise.


evil religion
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croath wrote: evil

croath wrote:
evil religion wrote:
In eseence you are saying:

I define morlaity as God.

God=Good.

I define this as the absolute basis for all morals.

Thats your premis one which relys on God existing. You need to back that up I'm afraid. You really need too. If you want me to accept your arguments have any credability you must be able to defend you base premises.


A degree in philosophy, you say?

Well actually it was a joint honours in physics and philsophy.

Quote:
Well, Mr. Evil Religion, with your degree in philosophy, you seem to have forgotten a lot since your time at University. You are operating under the false impression that statements of the nature "If A then P" are only meaningful or useful if A is true. You are wrong.

I said, "If (A&B) then P", where A = "God exists", B = "God's nature is the definition of good", and P is "an objective foundation for morality can exist".

You object to this claim by saying "A is false!". That's not relevant to this argument though. Your direct claim was that "Theism offers no foundation for objective morality". I refuted that argument, and showed how, givn (A&B), we can indeed have a foundation for objective morality.

Your missing the point I'm afraid.

It does not matter if A is false or true. What matters is that you can not offer a shred of evidence to back it up. It is, therefore, subjective premis. Now I contend that no objective conclsuion can be formed from a subjective premise. So in essence what we have

1- God exists (subjective premise)

2- Gods nature is the definition of Good

3- No subjective premis can lead to an objective conclusion.

C- God is the objective basis for morality.

So you can see that this conclusion is false as it conflicts with 3. You can reach the different conlcusion that

C- God is the basis for morality

But not the objective one. Do you see what I'm getting at now?

Quote:
Let me help make clearer your error. Imagine your friend says, "The planets orbit the earth, not the sun, and they do so in perfectly circular orbits". Thinking your friend is a fool, and wanting to educate him, you formulate a reductio ad absurdum. Cleverly, you say to him, "If that were true, then we would expect to observe these orbits from earth as being circular. But we observe them as irregular orbits. Therefore, the planets do not orbit the earth in perfectly circular paths." Your response to him goes as follows, in standard form:

1. If A, then P
2. Not P
3. Therefore, not (A)

Where,
A = "Planets orbit the earth in circular paths"
P = "Observations from earth would show the planets orbiting earth in circular paths"

But under your philosophy degree education, you would have us believe that you can't construct this reductio ad absurdum because you are not entitled to state premise 1 because A is not true. Your poor friend then will have to keep on with his geocentric views, missing out on valuable education from you.

Like I said you completely missed the point of my arguement.

Quote:
In the same way, there is no problem with assuming the truth of theism in order to see what conclusions could or could not follow.

Only if you allow objective statements about the world to rest on subjective premises. Which I don't allow.

Besides which one can oft get too caught up in the logic of the matter. The facts simply are there is no evidence for God and hence its all a matter of opinion and hence theism, in the real world, does not offer any objective basis for morality. Its all a matter of peronal faith.

Quote:
In your confused state you seem to be mixing two points into one. There are these separate
1. Theism can allow for objective morality
2. God exists

Even IF 2 is shown as false, 1 would still be true. I hope you can now clearly see your error, and will henceforth withdraw claims of the nature "theism cannot provide a foundation for objective morality either".

No I hope you can see yours. In order for anything to be objective you need to rest in on objectivly demonstratable premises.

Quote:
Quote:
Unless you can provide me with some evidence for Gods existence to support your necessary premis your position is one of faith. Faith IS subjective and hence your objective conclusions rest on a subjective premis which is absurd.


Here you are still confused, and I already pointed this out to you in another post. I will again though. With your philosophy degree, these points should hopefully not be too far beyond you.

They aren't you've missed the point.

Quote:
Even if I grant to you the false definition of biblical faith, you're still wrong. You're equivocating meanings of subjective.

Having a subjective belief in God, is not the same thing as it providing a subjective foundation for morality.

It is if you God existence is a necessary premis.

Quote:
It is entirely consistent for one to "subjectively" believe in God, and yet given that belief have a foundation for an objective morality.

No it isn't. The subjectivity of the base premis means that the morality is also subjective. This the theists error.

Quote:
It is incumbent on you to show where the contradiction is. Consider again the statement:
If God exists, then objective morality can exist
It doesn't matter how you arrive at the conclusion "God exists"...be it subjectively or through foolproof evidence. It would be true regardless that God can provide a foundation for objective morality. You are just plain mistaken to think that how I come to the belief "God exists" has any bearing on the kind of morality that would be possible as a result of that belief.

It has a baring when you are making a conclusion which talks about the very nature of the conclusion and hence about the process at which it was arrived at. The term "objective" actually has all sorts of hidden conotions or premises attached to it. When you say "objective morailty" what you are actuallu saying is a morality which is derived from objective means and rests on no subjetive premises. Sooooo we have again

P1-God exists

P2-God defines morality

C1- God=morailty

P3-Any objective statement must rely only on objective premises

P4- Premis 1 is entirely subjective

C religious bases moraility is not objective.

 

Quote:
Which answers your additional premise,
evil religion wrote:

5: Any belief or system of beliefs that relies on a necessary premis that is subjective is itself subjective.


Let me try and explain why this premise is wrong by means of a counterexample. You are making a logical error that I highly doubt you use in practice. Consider this statement:
"Atheists can be upright and law-abiding citizens"

Now imagine I came to this belief because I was looking around my study and came across a random string of words that happened to make sense. I looked at the title of an article which had the word "Atheists", I look away and saw a "can", then moved around and saw a bee outside the window, and so on until I had this sentence in my mind. I think to myself, "Wow, that was amazing. Maybe atheists can in fact be upright and law-abiding citizens!"

You'll notice here that my reasons for believing this statement to be true are entirely subjective. Does this mean that the truthfulness of the statement is itself subjective? Or can it still be objectively true even though my reasons for believing it are subjective?

Sorry we seemed to have slipped into a discusion about truth here. In the exmple you give then the conclusion reached would be subjective for that person becasue they have based their conclusion on a entirely subjecvtive prmeis. The truth of the statement through is a completely different matter.

Quote:
I do wonder about where you obtained your philosophy degree, that permits you to create logical laws where none exist.

It was at the Univesity of Nottingham if you must know, one of the UK's better universities.

Quote:
Were all students permitted to do that?

hmmmm

Quote:
I should now address the response that is no doubt hanging on the tip of your tongue,
evil religion wrote:

f you are allowed to just make up stuff then I could just as well define absolute morality as

"What ever say"

Any one can do this.


Another false conclusion.

I think you will find that the only source of an objective system of morality is one that is unchanging, external from the universe, and true in all possible worlds. If we wish to declare that morality has an objective foundation, we may as well call that foundation "God", as it's going to have the same traits.

Let's just say, I pick "cows" as my foundation for my foundation of objective morality. ie, a cow's nature is the definition of good. Have I just picked something objective? No! Because a cow's nature changes, and it is not true in all possible worlds. It is far from an objective foundation: it is, in fact, subjective.

Any other changing thing you select within this universe is going to be a subjective foundation for morality. So you can't just pick "What ever say".

But didn't you know a cows nature doe not ever change. Especially no the holy cow because I define it as not changing. Its the eternal holy cow that never changes and the cow wants us to drink milk therefore drinking milk IS the most moral act. The cow also wants us to eat babies as well. Sorry but this argument its total cowshit.

Many religions have their Gods but they all disagree on what it wants. So not only is the premis God exists entirely suvjective so is the application of teh conclusion God=morality. Even if we reach tje conclusion God=morailty working out what that morality actually is also completely subjective...............its just a whole heap of subjective nonsense really.


Quote:
evil religion wrote:

Don't you just love philosophy?


Yes, which is why I love so much to point out your abuses of it.

I know you want this to be true but wanting something to be true and it actually being true are different things I'm afraid.

Quote:
evil religion wrote:

You keep asking "but why is moral system X better than Y"[...]As soon as you accept that the word "good" is a subjective term like "beauty" all of the questions above really loose their meaning.


I wonder if you really do read yours and my posts carefully. You would have noticed that when I ask that question, I'm challenging you when you make a claim that one is "better" than the other. I am correcting *you*, because *you* seem to think that moral systems can be judged as better or worse. Not me.

They can be judged as better or worse but only within the confines of a moral system this is the point you keep missing becasue you are so caught up in whole objectve morality nonsense.

Moral system A can be judged to be better or worse than moral system B within the context of moral system C

So if I adhere to C I can say A ir worse that B.

In fact if I ashere to A I can say that within Moral code A moral code B is wrong and heres why.

So me with my secular humanist morality I can say that

"Within Hindu morality I find the caste system to be wrong because if conflcits with my morals xyz"

Within Chrsitian morality I find the persecution of homosexuals to be wrong becasue it conflicts with my morals abc"

We can continue doing this and the come to an over all conclsion such as.

"On the whole I find Hindu morality to be better than Chrstian morality becasue of abcdefg" BUT this conclusion is only within the contexts of MY morality. There simply is no objective answer to which moral system is better becasue the question is meaningless. None of this prevents any of us from commenting, critcising or comparring other moral codes or system or even analysing our own morality.

Quote:
I was the one who compared the word "good" with being like "beauty" under an atheistic worldview. And now you turn around and make these points to me as though they were yours all along? I think you're forgetting who made which posts and claims.

Let me remind you of your own words, so you can hopefully be clear about who was saying what:
evil religion wrote:

Lets see whcih [sic] one works? Which one gets the best results.


Such comparisons are meaningless. I'm trying to tell you that. Sometimes you say it, sometimes you disagree.

OK its really quite simple.

If we have a set of goals that we are trying to achieve they have meaning. Without those goals they are indeed meaningless. There is no objective meaning but there are subjective meaning within the context of certain goals. IF we disagree on our goals then we have a genuine problem that can't be resolved. If you are absolutely adamant that the most worthy end goal of morality is that "we should eat babies" then nothing I can say will change that. But the good news is that the vast vast majority of people do actually agree on the end goals. Now by end goals I really do mean end goals. Nonsense like "to do Gods will" IS not an end goal becasue we can simply ask why?

Why do Gods will?

The answer comes down to well if you do then God will be pleased.

So what? Why should I please God?

Well he created you and everything you should be greatful.

Why? Why should I be greatful?

Well life is good isn't it?

Yes so what?

Well if something is good then you should be greatful to the person who provided it?

Why?

Because its polite.

So? why is being polite a Good thing?

Well if people are polites then the world is better place and people are happier?

I see so we should be aiming for a better world should we?

Yes of course we should. I see so we should do Gods will because it will ultimately make the world a happier place so your end goal is happiness is it?

Well yes I supose so.

As soon as we reach an underlying goal where it just seems daft to ask the question so what? We know we have reached the base goal. Luckily when pushed in the way above most human beings really do come down to very very similar base goals.

Quote:
You need to make up your mind. And I suggest you do so with the correct conclusion: that under atheism, one system of morality cannot be judged as better or worse than another.

YES THEY CAN WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE MORALS YOU HAVE.

BUT

THEY CAN NOT BE JUDGED OBJECTIVELY BECAUSE THE QUESTION IS MEANINGLESS

Do you get this now?

Did the caps locks help?

I really do not know how many more times I can be bothered to label the same simple point. Your entire arguement stems from a fundamental failure to understand that if we simply accept that terms like Good, bad and evil are subjective terms like beauty then the whole "problem" vanishes. Just as I can say "X is beautiful" I can also say "Y is good" the fact the question "Is X objectivly more beautiful than Y" is meaningless as is the question "A is objectively more moreal than B"

Do you understand now?

Quote:
evil religion wrote:

Anyway let me ask you this. Do you as a theist think that its is morally wrong to use the copyright laws to censor criticism when you have previously said that the material in question is not under copyright and the aledged infringements are baltently fair use anyway?

Do you feel outraged by the actions of the Hovind family business?

I do. I really do. Regardless of our debate I really do feel like this is totally cunty thing to do.


Is this question related to our debate, or are you just asking me as a fellow human being how I feel about it? I'm assuming the former.

Well its related to the op actually

Quote:
I may think that the Hovind family did the wrong thing, but this whole debate is about you and on what grounds you feel that you have a right to tell them they did wrong. You might feel outraged, but so what? Presumably they are just following their own subjective morality.

No I don't I think the Hovind family have actually broken their own morality. Well they have certainly broken the moraility that they purport to uphold as Christians. Dishonesty and lieing in general is frowned upon in Christian morality. So not only are their actions morally repugnant judged on my moral standards they are also moraluity repugnant based on their own morality which makes them hypocrits as well.

Quote:
But I do notice you avoided the word "wrong" in your description of their actions. Good.

Their actions where wrong.

They where morally repugnat.

They where morally wrong.

Quote:
That basically sums up to "I don't like it", not "They ought not to have done it". I can claim the latter, but you cannot.

They ought not to have done it. It was moraly wrong.

Quote:
That's my main objection - you can express outrage against Hovind in the form of "hey, we don't like that!", but you can't actually believe he's done anything objectively wrong.

"Hey I dont like that" is all there is to morals

The very question "has he done anything objectivly wrong" is meaningless as it presuposes that there is such a thing as "objective wrongness" there is not.

But I will reiterate: The subjectve nature or morals does not in anyway prevent us from saying things like "x is bad" or "y is good" any more that the subjective nature of beauty prevents us from saying "a is beautiful" or "b is ugly"

 


pariahjane
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BenfromCanada

BenfromCanada wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

I realize that the title of this is supposed to be toungue in cheek, but I can only imagine what others are going to think. I can see the rally cries of 'see, atheism IS religion!!' along with the references to terrorism.

I suppose if some people actually took the time to read before reacting, it would be different.

To be fair, this is the fourth Atheist Jihad CapnOAwesome has called. As well, a YouTube user named mrtrivates also called one once. CapnOAwesome has more support and fame than the RRS. So, people know this is a joke. 

I've already been slammed once for expressing my opinion on this but if most people don't know the whole story they're just going to jump to conclusions, which was my point.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


BenfromCanada
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pariahjane

pariahjane wrote:
BenfromCanada wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

I realize that the title of this is supposed to be toungue in cheek, but I can only imagine what others are going to think. I can see the rally cries of 'see, atheism IS religion!!' along with the references to terrorism.

I suppose if some people actually took the time to read before reacting, it would be different.

To be fair, this is the fourth Atheist Jihad CapnOAwesome has called. As well, a YouTube user named mrtrivates also called one once. CapnOAwesome has more support and fame than the RRS. So, people know this is a joke.

I've already been slammed once for expressing my opinion on this but if most people don't know the whole story they're just going to jump to conclusions, which was my point.

I didn't mean to slam you. I'm just saying that the majority of those who actually care about internet atheism kjnow about CapnOAwesome and know about his atheist jihads, and that they're about mockery.


pariahjane
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BenfromCanada

BenfromCanada wrote:
pariahjane wrote:
BenfromCanada wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

I realize that the title of this is supposed to be toungue in cheek, but I can only imagine what others are going to think. I can see the rally cries of 'see, atheism IS religion!!' along with the references to terrorism.

I suppose if some people actually took the time to read before reacting, it would be different.

To be fair, this is the fourth Atheist Jihad CapnOAwesome has called. As well, a YouTube user named mrtrivates also called one once. CapnOAwesome has more support and fame than the RRS. So, people know this is a joke.

I've already been slammed once for expressing my opinion on this but if most people don't know the whole story they're just going to jump to conclusions, which was my point.

I didn't mean to slam you. I'm just saying that the majority of those who actually care about internet atheism kjnow about CapnOAwesome and know about his atheist jihads, and that they're about mockery.

I didn't mean to make seem as if I were saying you did.  My apologies.  I'm not going to get into though; my line of questioning was directed towards those who don't know what's going on. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


croath
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Short reply this time. I've

Short reply this time. I've been away the weekend, and I want to shorten this to focus on the heart of our current disagreement.

The state of the discussion, as I take it, is:
a. We both agree that under atheism, all morality is subjective
b. We disagree that theism suffers from the same problem

Your main contention is that the premise "God exists" is a subjective premise. This is a mistake, though, and the trick here is for me to help you understand why (and hopefully for me to understand why you think that this premise is subjective).

I'm quite convinced that you are equivocating on word meanings or concepts here.

My understanding is that you see "God exists" as a subjective person because you think I'm somewhere along the lines of, "for me, God exists, but for you, He doesn't". ie, like you might say "For me, abortion is acceptable, but for you it's wrong".

Is this some reason why you think "God exists" is a subjective premise, or something else? If you can explain clearly and precisely why you think this premise is subjective, that would be most helpful.


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I'm surprised no one else

I'm surprised no one else has brought this up yet. Is CapnOawesome's video racist? 

My concern is that in being racist (if it is racist) it will harm the argument that you are trying to make.

I'm an atheist, and all for the message. I'm caucasian. I also get a little pissed off at the towel around CapnOawesome's head, and the fake accent.

 

So what do you think of my opinion here? Does my: "Let's keep everything above board, guys" stance, piss you off? I'm sticking by it, nonetheless.


evil religion
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croath wrote:

croath wrote:
Short reply this time. I've been away the weekend, and I want to shorten this to focus on the heart of our current disagreement.

The state of the discussion, as I take it, is:
a. We both agree that under atheism, all morality is subjective

Yes. But with the caviat that this fact should not in any way prevent us from saying things like "this is good" or "that is evil" I see no reason why a subjective morality prevents us from making these claims or for feeling moral outrage.


Quote:
b. We disagree that theism suffers from the same problem

Thats the thing I don't actually see it as a problem!

But yes your right I also contend that theism can't be an objective basis for morality.

Quote:
Your main contention is that the premise "God exists" is a subjective premise. This is a mistake, though, and the trick here is for me to help you understand why (and hopefully for me to understand why you think that this premise is subjective).

I'm quite convinced that you are equivocating on word meanings or concepts here.

My understanding is that you see "God exists" as a subjective person because you think I'm somewhere along the lines of, "for me, God exists, but for you, He doesn't". ie, like you might say "For me, abortion is acceptable, but for you it's wrong".

Is this some reason why you think "God exists" is a subjective premise, or something else? If you can explain clearly and precisely why you think this premise is subjective, that would be most helpful.

The premis "God exists" is subjective due to the nature of the entity in question. If we say something like "cars exist" we can actually go and test the existential nature of cars. We can in principle test the validity of the statement in other words we can objectivly determine the answer or perhaps more importantly we can in principle tets the negation of the statement cars do not exist.

This simply can not be done with God not even in principle. There is simply no test available ever for "God does not exist", well no final one any way. Even in principle if we had a complete picture of everything in the entire universe with all avaialble information then the statement "God does not exist" IS NOT proven. There is still room for God because by definition he can do anything he can hide anywhere and transend even logic itself. Thus there is not even in principle an objective test for Gods no existence. So for any observer the satement "God exists" must be subjective.

Now the important thing here is the phrase "even in principle". Other statements about the existence of cars and light bulbs and spiders do not fall into the same trap as God because in principle their nonexistence could be proved. Given a "Gods eye view" (oh the irony!) of the universe it is in principle possible to disprove the existence of any object. Except that is transendent supernatural objects like God. For this reason any premises on the existence of such objects are subjective.

Moreover even IF we accept the existence of God we need to also determine what his will actually is. In order to determine whether we are acting in accordance with his will we also need and objective way of working out what exactly it is he wants us to do. Again due to Gods transendential nature this is also impossible I think. How do you know that its Gods voice you hear and not the devil? There is no objective test for this that I can think of and hence any suposed moral rules laid out by God are also only subjectivly atainable.

The whole problem really stems from the rather airy fairy farty nature of God. In order to hide from the advance of science God has had to retreat into a supernatural, transendent realm but this realm is, by definition I think, an entirely subjective one and hence can not ever form an objective basis for anything.

So can you think of an objective test in pricniple that could rule out the existence of God? If you can then you can have God as an objective premis. If you can't then I don't think you can. It will remain a matter of opinion, a personal thing, safely subjective until such time that is that he appears objectivly and demonstrates his power, but even then that could just be a false God a trick of the devil!

What I think theists can do is say

P1 God exists

P2 God defines morality

C God is the basis for morality

Thats fine

If they want to add the property of "objectivity" to that morlaity they will need to do something likes

P1 God exists

P2 God existence is objective and demonstratably so in principle.

P3 Gods defined morality 

P4 It is objectivly demonstrateable in priniciple that God defines morality 

P5  Gods will is objective demonstratable to be XYZ

C XYZ are the objective morals of the universe.

I have no problems with a subjective account of morality for theists but any objective account is doomed to fail. Any atempt to do so really just smacks of sating it dogamtically

God = objective morals and thats that!

If we allow you to do this I then should be allowed to say

What ever I say = objective morals!

or

X= objective morals

Where X is any damn thing we like.

You make the point above that this is not allowed because an objective basis for morlaity must be unchanging and eternal i.e. God. But this also entails existence. As soon as you demand that the basis for morality must be unchanging and eternal you also must add the necessary supporting premis "God exists" as well as "Is unchanging" and "eternal". As such you now need to demosntrate the objectivity of each of these as well, if you are to arrive at an objective conclusion. IF you can provide and objective test for Gods existence (even in principle) then you might be allowed to move to the next step which is providing some way of inpricniple testing the necesarry premise "gods will = xyz".

 

 


croath
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I like this post of yours,

I like this post of yours, because I feel as though it will bring some progress to the conversation.

evil religion wrote:
But with the caviat that this fact should not in any way prevent us from saying things like "this is good" or "that is evil" I see no reason why a subjective morality prevents us from making these claims or for feeling moral outrage.


The problem is that this outrage is not efficacious, not on rational grounds anyway.

If I found myself in the scenario where a gang of youths took me to a quiet location, and were planning to beat me to death for entertainment, I may be morally outraged and say to them that what they are doing is wrong. They may laugh in my face. But I would like to believe that when I say to them that they are wrong, that I am meaning not just that I find it unacceptable, but that they should find it unacceptable as well. And the fact that they don't is a failure on their part to determine what is truly right and wrong. As it stands, under atheism, they could laugh in my face and claim equally well that what they plan to do is 'right' and 'good' - and this would be a rationally justified retort. It is this common sense view of morality that I think we as humans need to keep - that when we tell someone else that they do wrong, we are saying that they have failed to determine what is truly right and wrong. Not just that we disagree with them.

Note that the above is not a statement of why objective morality must exist. I'm trying to show you why we intuitively act as though it does, and really desire it to exist. I want to be able to say that Hitler was wrong, and by that mean that even if all alive agreed with him, he would still be wrong. That if he were to explore morality, he would realise that his actions err, and he really does evil.

Moving on, I need to make a few points about your critique of theism, and why I think it fails to establish the point of subjectivity of the proposition "God exists". These points will be:
1. Verificationism is unverifiable - it fails to do what it claims all propositions must do
2. "God exists" is not an example of a statement that cannot be falsified
3. Evidence for God's existence does exist
4. Conclusion of subjectivity is unwarranted

1 - Verificationism is unverifiable
---
What you are proposing sounds identical to the logical postivists verification principle. As Alfred Ayer put it, there are only two types of propositions we should accept:
1. Circular statements - statements which are verified in terms of themselves, and so are not demonstrated empirically to be true. He considered mathematics to be an example of this
2. Verifiable statements - any statement to be considered a proposition, to have meaning, must in some way be able to be verified.

As you gave the example, "cars exist" is acceptable as a proposition because we can verify the truth of this statement. He also included propositions like "there is a theme park on the far side of the moon" to be verifiable because, even though in his day the technology did not exist, he believed we could at least conceive of ways in which such a statement could be verified. However, for Ayer, statements of (objective) morality, or the claim that "God exists", were examples of claims that were unverifiable and therefore neither true or false - simply meaningless.

But the problem with this is that we have no reason to believe that verificationists are right - because the principle itself cannot be verified. So there is at least one statement which verificationists hold to be true (that all propositions must be circular or verifiable), but this statement itself is not circular, nor can it be verified. So the very idea that all statements must be verifiable is self-contradictory and therefore false.

2 - "God exists" is not necessarily an example of a statement that cannot be falsified
---
I don't want to outright say that the proposition "God exists" can be falsified. What I do want to say is that some atheist and theist philosophers think that there are ways to attack the idea that "God exists". A statement from you will help to establish this point:
evil religion wrote:

There is still room for God because by definition he can do anything he can hide anywhere and transend even logic itself.

You will certainly find naive theists who will say, "God can do anything, so he can even break the laws of logic". I am not one of those, nor do I think this is a commonly held view of intellectual Christians. I believe that God must conform to the laws of logic. When we discuss logic, and say that something is logically impossible, what we mean is that it simply cannot be. So I would agree with any atheist who said that in principle God's existence could be argued against by finding a logical contradiction. For example, finding the equivalent of saying that God exists is like having a "square circle". I would not respond to such a proof by saying "God doesn't need to follow the laws of logic". I believe He does, and that those laws are not for the breaking, by any being of any level of power. Such a logical contradiction, if sound and valid, would be fatal to any theist's views.

It is common in philosophy to disprove a particular statement by showing either the logical or physical impossibility of it. While no physical logical argument would negate the statement "God exists", there would certainly be room for logical proofs that negate the statement "God exists". I think that the argument from evil, perhaps the strongest argument in favour of atheism, is an example of such a line of argumentation. The solutions by Christian philosophers typically try to show why the existence of God is compatible with the evil that actually exists in our world. Their solutions are not along the lines of "God can do whatever He likes, end of story". We Christians realise that evil is a genuine problem for the theists to account for.

3 - Evidence for God's existence does exist
---
My main point in this section is not that you need to recognise that evidence exists for God's existence. Rather, that you need to recognise that many Christians believe evidence exists. And since I believe that evidence exists that makes the existence of God more probable than not, I cannot agree with you that the statement is subjective. To me, it is not as though I pulled a random proposition out of the air and said "this could be true". It is something for which I believe evidence points towards.

What evidences I think there are is beyond the scope of this thread. I just want you to try to appreciate why it is too difficult to accept your statement that "God exists" is a subjective premise. It lacks the lack of evidence you believe necessary. You may tell me that no evidence exists, but I simply disagree, so see no reason to think the premise is subjective.

4 - Conclusion of subjectivity is unwarranted
---
As an addendum to the points above, let's assume that you are right about everything you said. I unfortunately don't see how the premises (statements must be verifiable, no evidence of God exists, God can presumably break laws of logic, etc) lead to the conclusion that such a statement is subjective. For example, suppose you said that the conclusion ('God exists is subjective&#39Eye-wink flowed from the premises on the basis of the proposition A that 'All propositions that cannot be verified are subjective'. I don't see why A is true. I also don't know what you mean by 'subjective' in this context. In a paragraph I will quote shortly, you conclude with the sentence "So for any observer the statement 'God exists' must be subjective". I don't see how this conclusion follows from the previous argumentation. If you think that my above points 1-3 are in error (though I don't see how you could reject them, in particular the first), then perhaps setting out your argument in standard form would help me to see. The paragraph of yours that ended with the (seemingly) unwarranted conclusion was:
evil religion wrote:
This simply can not be done with God not even in principle. There is simply no test available ever for "God does not exist", well no final one any way. Even in principle if we had a complete picture of everything in the entire universe with all avaialble information then the statement "God does not exist" IS NOT proven. There is still room for God because by definition he can do anything he can hide anywhere and transend even logic itself. Thus there is not even in principle an objective test for Gods no existence. So for any observer the satement "God exists" must be subjective.


So what I would need from you is an explanation of how this conclusion is derived from the premises. Putting arguments into standard form frequently helps with clarity.


evil religion
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croath wrote: I like this

croath wrote:
I like this post of yours, because I feel as though it will bring some progress to the conversation.

evil religion wrote:
But with the caviat that this fact should not in any way prevent us from saying things like "this is good" or "that is evil" I see no reason why a subjective morality prevents us from making these claims or for feeling moral outrage.


The problem is that this outrage is not efficacious, not on rational grounds anyway.

Why not? Its prefectly acceptable for you to presumably say things like "This is beautiful or that is ugly so why not say this is bad or good. I really don't see why the lack of objectivity in anyway diminishes our ability to say these things. 



Quote:
If I found myself in the scenario where a gang of youths took me to a quiet location, and were planning to beat me to death for entertainment, I may be morally outraged and say to them that what they are doing is wrong. They may laugh in my face. But I would like to believe that when I say to them that they are wrong,

They are wrong. But wrong means that they are breaking your moral code and in fact the majority of peoples moral codes. 

Quote:
that I am meaning not just that I find it unacceptable, but that they should find it unacceptable as well.

Well I suspect that they probably would as well. I would suspect even the perpetrators of such crimes actually think that they are wrong. 

Quote:
And the fact that they don't is a failure on their part to determine what is truly right and wrong. As it stands, under atheism, they could laugh in my face and claim equally well that what they plan to do is 'right' and 'good' - and this would be a rationally justified retort.

They could under theism as well if they like. They could just define Gods morality as condoning beating you up. With not objective way to detremine Gods will or Gods existence they are free to make things up as they go along. In actual fact without any need to consult with a general moral consensus I would say they are actually more free to do this in fact. 

Quote:
It is this common sense view of morality that I think we as humans need to keep - that when we tell someone else that they do wrong, we are saying that they have failed to determine what is truly right and wrong. Not just that we disagree with them.

Ineed and this is why general consensus is an important part of morality.

Quote:
Note that the above is not a statement of why objective morality must exist. I'm trying to show you why we intuitively act as though it does, and really desire it to exist.

I would agree that we do tend to act as if there is an objective morality. This is because its an easy short cut. For most purposes the consensus is very strong and hence we act as if is a moral truth. 

Quote:
I want to be able to say that Hitler was wrong, and by that mean that even if all alive agreed with him, he would still be wrong.

He would be to you morals and my moral.  

Quote:
]hat if he were to explore morality, he would realise that his actions err, and he really does evil.

He did do evil as evil is defined my both of our sets of morals. But the very question "did he do objective evil" is meaningless.

Quote:
Moving on, I need to make a few points about your critique of theism, and why I think it fails to establish the point of subjectivity of the proposition "God exists". These points will be:
1. Verificationism is unverifiable - it fails to do what it claims all propositions must do
2. "God exists" is not an example of a statement that cannot be falsified
3. Evidence for God's existence does exist
4. Conclusion of subjectivity is unwarranted

1 - Verificationism is unverifiable
---
What you are proposing sounds identical to the logical postivists verification principle. As Alfred Ayer put it, there are only two types of propositions we should accept:
1. Circular statements - statements which are verified in terms of themselves, and so are not demonstrated empirically to be true. He considered mathematics to be an example of this
2. Verifiable statements - any statement to be considered a proposition, to have meaning, must in some way be able to be verified.

As you gave the example, "cars exist" is acceptable as a proposition because we can verify the truth of this statement. He also included propositions like "there is a theme park on the far side of the moon" to be verifiable because, even though in his day the technology did not exist, he believed we could at least conceive of ways in which such a statement could be verified. However, for Ayer, statements of (objective) morality, or the claim that "God exists", were examples of claims that were unverifiable and therefore neither true or false - simply meaningless.

But the problem with this is that we have no reason to believe that verificationists are right - because the principle itself cannot be verified. So there is at least one statement which verificationists hold to be true (that all propositions must be circular or verifiable), but this statement itself is not circular, nor can it be verified. So the very idea that all statements must be verifiable is self-contradictory and therefore false.

So what? I'm merely saying that any statement that claims to be obective is verifiable objectivly. This seems reasonable enough to me. We can all sorts of statements that are not verifibale that may or may not be tru, we just don;t know, but as soon as you start saying that they are objective facts about the world - like objective morals- then you simply must be able to verify them at least in principle.

Quote:
2 - "God exists" is not necessarily an example of a statement that cannot be falsified
---
I don't want to outright say that the proposition "God exists" can be falsified. What I do want to say is that some atheist and theist philosophers think that there are ways to attack the idea that "God exists". A statement from you will help to establish this point:
evil religion wrote:

There is still room for God because by definition he can do anything he can hide anywhere and transend even logic itself.

You will certainly find naive theists who will say, "God can do anything, so he can even break the laws of logic". I am not one of those, nor do I think this is a commonly held view of intellectual Christians. I believe that God must conform to the laws of logic. When we discuss logic, and say that something is logically impossible, what we mean is that it simply cannot be. So I would agree with any atheist who said that in principle God's existence could be argued against by finding a logical contradiction. For example, finding the equivalent of saying that God exists is like having a "square circle". I would not respond to such a proof by saying "God doesn't need to follow the laws of logic". I believe He does, and that those laws are not for the breaking, by any being of any level of power. Such a logical contradiction, if sound and valid, would be fatal to any theist's views.

It is common in philosophy to disprove a particular statement by showing either the logical or physical impossibility of it. While no physical logical argument would negate the statement "God exists", there would certainly be room for logical proofs that negate the statement "God exists". I think that the argument from evil, perhaps the strongest argument in favour of atheism, is an example of such a line of argumentation. The solutions by Christian philosophers typically try to show why the existence of God is compatible with the evil that actually exists in our world. Their solutions are not along the lines of "God can do whatever He likes, end of story". We Christians realise that evil is a genuine problem for the theists to account for.

Fair enough but there is always room for a quick redefinition of God. Its such a loose term that its really hard not for the theists to wriggle out of any aledged contradictions. You would first of all need to define your God

Quote:
3 - Evidence for God's existence does exist
---
My main point in this section is not that you need to recognise that evidence exists for God's existence. Rather, that you need to recognise that many Christians believe evidence exists. And since I believe that evidence exists that makes the existence of God more probable than not, I cannot agree with you that the statement is subjective. To me, it is not as though I pulled a random proposition out of the air and said "this could be true". It is something for which I believe evidence points towards.

Well again I think you really need to define your God first then we can asses your suposed evidence.

Quote:
What evidences I think there are is beyond the scope of this thread. I just want you to try to appreciate why it is too difficult to accept your statement that "God exists" is a subjective premise. It lacks the lack of evidence you believe necessary. You may tell me that no evidence exists, but I simply disagree, so see no reason to think the premise is subjective.

I  have never seen any reason to supose its anything other than suvjective. It all boils down to faith in the end. If you are saying you believe in God without faith then please show your reasons. I really have yet to find a theist that has presented any case like this though

Quote:
4 - Conclusion of subjectivity is unwarranted
---
As an addendum to the points above, let's assume that you are right about everything you said. I unfortunately don't see how the premises (statements must be verifiable, no evidence of God exists, God can presumably break laws of logic, etc) lead to the conclusion that such a statement is subjective. For example, suppose you said that the conclusion ('God exists is subjective&#39Eye-wink flowed from the premises on the basis of the proposition A that 'All propositions that cannot be verified are subjective'. I don't see why A is true. I also don't know what you mean by 'subjective' in this context.

Subjective= In reason, subjectivity refers to the property of perceptions, arguments, and language as being based in a subject's point of view, and hence influenced in accordance with a particular bias.

Without any method of verification God belief is subjective.

Moreover there is another level of subjectivity on top of that which you have dodged. Even if Gods existence where verifibale and hence could be viewed as objective you will need to show how we can objectivly know what his will is.

I think we are getting  a bit to caught up in definitions and farty philsophical discusions. Taking a common sense approach is often best. In the real pragmatic world out side of philsophical discusions is there

Any objective proof of Gods existence?

Any obvjective way of determining what Gods will is?

Any way of distinguishing between Gods will and the devils will?

Any objective way of determining which god is right? 

There simply isn't so regardless of the out come of our technical philsophical discusion in the real world religion simply can't be an objective basis for morality. The various different moralities all with pretensions of objectivity touted by all of the worlds religions is tesament to this.

Sorry if this is a bit short I'm being hassled to actually do some work........ 


croath
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evil religion wrote: I

evil religion wrote:
I would agree that we do tend to act as if there is an objective morality. This is because its an easy short cut. For most purposes the consensus is very strong and hence we act as if is a moral truth.


I think here you're trying to explain away this intuition - which wasn't important to my point. I merely wanted to point to what it is I feel is important. I am aware that your viewpoint can account for this state of affairs.

As a side note to our current discussion of theism, I don't think moral relativism works. It is possible, and has happened in history, where two very large groups of people have very distinct ideas of right and wrong. The common sense intuition of morality would still like to be able to say that in those clashes there is still a "right" and a "wrong" that one or both sides have failed to realise. If we hold a moral relativistic viewpoint, then we have no reason to say (in these conflicts) that one or both sides is right. Or wrong. It can't account for these clashes of morality.

evil religion wrote:
So what? I'm merely saying that any statement that claims to be obective is verifiable objectivly. This seems reasonable enough to me. We can all sorts of statements that are not verifibale that may or may not be tru, we just don;t know, but as soon as you start saying that they are objective facts about the world - like objective morals- then you simply must be able to verify them at least in principle.


The problem still remains. You have no way of verifying the claim "Any statement that claims to be objective is verifiably objective". So you have a contradiction here, a counter-example – the very claim you are making serves as a contradiction to your claim. This is the same problem as the logical positivists had with the verification principle. I think it is better, and far more sensical, just to say that it is not the case that a statement must be verifiably objective in order to be objective.

To me, even if I were an atheist, I would still think it reasonable to discuss the implications of the proposition "God exists", even if I thought there was no evidence for such a claim. So not only is the claim you're making logically invalid (that it must be verifiable to be objective), I think common sense would tell us it's not true as well.

evil religion wrote:
Fair enough but there is always room for a quick redefinition of God. Its such a loose term that its really hard not for the theists to wriggle out of any aledged contradictions. You would first of all need to define your God


I would have to agree with you that a great many theists would act in this manner, but I think they're wrong to do so. And I think you will find that many Christians are very committed to certain teachings about God which they are not willing to give up. For example, the idea that God is good. I think when examining a position, it is best to consider the strongest that position has to offer rather than just that which is the most common. So I hope you'll accept my statement that I agree such "wriggling" is not really acceptable. On the other hand it is important to remember that theories, as new facts come to light, can be revised rather than rejected. We just need to know when new evidence is so sufficiently strong that the theory can no longer be held.

”evil religion” wrote:
It all boils down to faith in the end. If you are saying you believe in God without faith then please show your reasons. I really have yet to find a theist that has presented any case like this though


I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of two points:
1. I don’t think that it is within the scope of this thread to discuss evidences of God’s existence. All that is important to the current discussion is for you to understand that I personally think there are evidences.
2. You won’t be able to get me to agree with or defend the definition of faith you seem keen to use. As I mentioned earlier, Christian faith means putting your trust in God to do what He has promised. Belief in God is irrelevant to the question of faith – faith is what you do once you recognise God exists and has promised certain things. Do you trust in Him or not?

Out of curiosity, did you ever do a philosophy of religion subject or course while you did philosophy? That should have covered a number of the evidences in favour of God’s existence. I am at least a little surprised that you make the claim that you have never heard a theist make a case for reasons for belief in God. Unless you meant something else by “I really have yet to find a theist that has presented any case like this though”…if you can be more specific about what you were referring to, I could almost certainly direct you to articles or books.

”evil religion” wrote:

Subjective= In reason, subjectivity refers to the property of perceptions, arguments, and language as being based in a subject's point of view, and hence influenced in accordance with a particular bias.
Without any method of verification God belief is subjective.


You may need to dumb this down further for me. I’m still not seeing how “lack of ways to verify a proposition” leads to “such a proposition is subjective”.

”evil religion” wrote:
Moreover there is another level of subjectivity on top of that which you have dodged. Even if Gods existence where verifibale and hence could be viewed as objective you will need to show how we can objectivly know what his will is.


I haven’t dodged this. This objection is a question of epistemology – how we can know something. If we both came to agree that the proposition “God exists”, if assumed, allows objective morality – then how we might know what that morality is is a completely different question. It might be that we could never find it out, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. More on this in a moment:

”evil religion” wrote:
Any objective proof of Gods existence?
Any obvjective way of determining what Gods will is?
Any way of distinguishing between Gods will and the devils will?
Any objective way of determining which god is right?

You are certainly right that these are difficult questions. As people in history have noted, we have no way of knowing what God’s will is, unless He chooses to reveal it to us somehow. This is the heart of Christianity though – that God came down to us in the form of a man and revealed to us many things which we could not have known otherwise. God came amongst us and communicated in ways that we can understand and access. If you have reasons to think Christianity is true, then you can see for yourself what some of God’s will is, as He has chosen to reveal it.
Such revelation may also include that which God has put into us – I believe everyone (atheists too, of course!) have an innate sense of right and wrong, though this sense is somewhat corrupted. It is possible to reason therefore regarding some things that might otherwise have been hidden. This might be known as natural revelation.
But yes, you are right, there are problems to determine what God’s will is and whether it really is God who we are hearing from. Theism may provide a grounds for objective morality, but how we might know what that morality is, is another very important question.
”evil religion” wrote:

Sorry if this is a bit short I'm being hassled to actually do some work........

You may have noticed I don’t always reply rapidly, and I think that I may be asleep when you’re at work anyway. So I really don’t mind!


evil religion
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croath wrote:

croath wrote:


As a side note to our current discussion of theism, I don't think moral relativism works. It is possible, and has happened in history, where two very large groups of people have very distinct ideas of right and wrong. The common sense intuition of morality would still like to be able to say that in those clashes there is still a "right" and a "wrong" that one or both sides have failed to realise. If we hold a moral relativistic viewpoint, then we have no reason to say (in these conflicts) that one or both sides is right. Or wrong. It can't account for these clashes of morality.

I would contend that the question as to whcih one is right and wrong is meaningless. What we can say is which side is right or wrong as judged by our standards.

Quote:
evil religion wrote:
So what? I'm merely saying that any statement that claims to be obective is verifiable objectivly. This seems reasonable enough to me. We can all sorts of statements that are not verifibale that may or may not be tru, we just don;t know, but as soon as you start saying that they are objective facts about the world - like objective morals- then you simply must be able to verify them at least in principle.


The problem still remains. You have no way of verifying the claim "Any statement that claims to be objective is verifiably objective".

I actually make the claim

"Any statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective".

I think that this is actually obviously true. If in principle it cant be verified then its not objective. The statement above is in prciple verifiable.

Quote:
So you have a contradiction here, a counter-example – the very claim you are making serves as a contradiction to your claim. This is the same problem as the logical positivists had with the verification principle. I think it is better, and far more sensical, just to say that it is not the case that a statement must be verifiably objective in order to be objective.

To me, even if I were an atheist, I would still think it reasonable to discuss the implications of the proposition "God exists", even if I thought there was no evidence for such a claim. So not only is the claim you're making logically invalid (that it must be verifiable to be objective), I think common sense would tell us it's not true as well.

I have no problem in imagining if there where a God and thinking what would be the implications of that God. But if the Christain God does exist, under most definitions it still cant account for morality objectivly. If God requires faith to believe in him then that is a personal thing it is subjective. Thus any morality based on the suposed will of that God is also subjective.

If you think we do not require faith to believe in God, if you think Gods existence is in principle objectivly verifiable then you might be allowed to base your morals on his suposed will. I say "might" because you still need to have an objective way of verifying what exactly it is that he wants you to do.

Quote:
evil religion wrote:
Fair enough but there is always room for a quick redefinition of God. Its such a loose term that its really hard not for the theists to wriggle out of any aledged contradictions. You would first of all need to define your God


I would have to agree with you that a great many theists would act in this manner, but I think they're wrong to do so. And I think you will find that many Christians are very committed to certain teachings about God which they are not willing to give up. For example, the idea that God is good. I think when examining a position, it is best to consider the strongest that position has to offer rather than just that which is the most common. So I hope you'll accept my statement that I agree such "wriggling" is not really acceptable. On the other hand it is important to remember that theories, as new facts come to light, can be revised rather than rejected. We just need to know when new evidence is so sufficiently strong that the theory can no longer be held.

”evil religion” wrote:
It all boils down to faith in the end. If you are saying you believe in God without faith then please show your reasons. I really have yet to find a theist that has presented any case like this though


I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of two points:
1. I don’t think that it is within the scope of this thread to discuss evidences of God’s existence. All that is important to the current discussion is for you to understand that I personally think there are evidences.

But thats the whole point "you personally think" its very personal i.e. subjective.

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2. You won’t be able to get me to agree with or defend the definition of faith you seem keen to use. As I mentioned earlier, Christian faith means putting your trust in God to do what He has promised. Belief in God is irrelevant to the question of faith – faith is what you do once you recognise God exists and has promised certain things. Do you trust in Him or not?

Thats fine we have two differnt faiths required

1- The faith that he exists

2- Your Christian faith in trusting God once you accept he does exist.

Both are personal and suvjective things. Both are required in order to base ones morality on God and hence any such morality is itslef subjective.

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Out of curiosity, did you ever do a philosophy of religion subject or course while you did philosophy?

I did some. But to be honest my main focus was the philosophy of science and specificlaly quantum physics. The philosophy of religion was really not that popular its kind of a non subject in modern philosophy, there is not really much of genuine philsophical interest in the area to be perfectly frank. The philosophy of religion is like soooo 18th century man, well in secular Britain it is. In the first year we kind of skimed through Descart's suposed arguments for God, swiftly work out why they where a load of old tosh and then its was kind of "well thats that then, now lets get on with some proper philosophy".

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That should have covered a number of the evidences in favour of God’s existence. I am at least a little surprised that you make the claim that you have never heard a theist make a case for reasons for belief in God.

Unless you meant something else by “I really have yet to find a theist that has presented any case like this though”…if you can be more specific about what you were referring to, I could almost certainly direct you to articles or books.

I am refering to evidence rather than aledged reasons for Gods existence. None of the purpoted reasons for God existence actually stack up in my opinion. Moreover none of them are in fact falsifiable. There is no actual test to show that the ontological argument (for example) is false. As such it always lingers around like a bad smell.

 

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”evil religion” wrote:

Subjective= In reason, subjectivity refers to the property of perceptions, arguments, and language as being based in a subject's point of view, and hence influenced in accordance with a particular bias.
Without any method of verification God belief is subjective.


You may need to dumb this down further for me. I’m still not seeing how “lack of ways to verify a proposition” leads to “such a proposition is subjective”.

Because any objective statement is in principle verifiable and falsifiable. This I think stems from the definition of objective. Its practically tautology!

A necessary consquence of objectivity is that its testable in principle.

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”evil religion” wrote:
Moreover there is another level of subjectivity on top of that which you have dodged. Even if Gods existence where verifibale and hence could be viewed as objective you will need to show how we can objectivly know what his will is.


I haven’t dodged this. This objection is a question of epistemology – how we can know something. If we both came to agree that the proposition “God exists”, if assumed, allows objective morality – then how we might know what that morality is is a completely different question. It might be that we could never find it out, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. More on this in a moment:

”evil religion” wrote:
Any objective proof of Gods existence?
Any obvjective way of determining what Gods will is?
Any way of distinguishing between Gods will and the devils will?
Any objective way of determining which god is right?

You are certainly right that these are difficult questions. As people in history have noted, we have no way of knowing what God’s will is, unless He chooses to reveal it to us somehow. This is the heart of Christianity though – that God came down to us in the form of a man and revealed to us many things which we could not have known otherwise. God came amongst us and communicated in ways that we can understand and access. If you have reasons to think Christianity is true, then you can see for yourself what some of God’s will is, as He has chosen to reveal it.
Such revelation may also include that which God has put into us – I believe everyone (atheists too, of course!) have an innate sense of right and wrong, though this sense is somewhat corrupted. It is possible to reason therefore regarding some things that might otherwise have been hidden. This might be known as natural revelation.
But yes, you are right, there are problems to determine what God’s will is and whether it really is God who we are hearing from. Theism may provide a grounds for objective morality, but how we might know what that morality is, is another very important question.

I would say its an impossible dilema. Even if I did accept that Gods existence could in prinicple be verified and hence objective any morality based on his suposed will is a matter of opinion with no way of verifying who's right or wrong. It is thus a matter of opinion i.e. subjective.

This stems from the nature of the entity we are dealing with. Once we start dealing with supernatural entities (what ever that means) we start running into these types of problems. The effect of any entity or the presence of any entity that is bound by natural laws would be testable in principle. If, as you have rather bravely suggested, we restrict God to being limted by logical laws then we start to get into some very interesting discusions about God. Whilst a restricted God is possible, its certainly not probable given the evidence. As such any belief in such an entity actually flies in the face of the scientific evidence. The thing is that as science has advanced our understanding of how the world works God has had to retreat futher and further into the realms of the supernatural and superlogical (if thats the right term). I'm not sure that beleif in a God resitricted by logic can actually survive anymore. Well not as a rational belief anyway.


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”evil religion” wrote:

Sorry if this is a bit short I'm being hassled to actually do some work........

You may have noticed I don’t always reply rapidly, and I think that I may be asleep when you’re at work anyway. So I really don’t mind!

I'm in the UK


croath
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evil religion wrote: I

evil religion wrote:
I would contend that the question as to whcih one is right and wrong is meaningless. What we can say is which side is right or wrong as judged by our standards.


Yes, I realise that is how you would explain or deal with the scenario. What I wanted to point out is that many of us (myself included) want to be able to say that one or both sides is wrong, and be saying something objective. If we lived in a world where Hitler succeeded in his conquest, and brainwashed or killed all who opposed him, then I want that world to be one where I can fight against his regime from the underground and be able to say confidently that "he is wrong", and mean by that that Hitler himself has failed to determine what is truly right and wrong.

evil religion wrote:
I actually make the claim

"Any statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective".

I think that this is actually obviously true. If in principle it cant be verified then its not objective. The statement above is in prciple verifiable.


It's not obviously true, and it seems our intuitions lead in different ways - I think that it is quite obviously false. But besides that, I can deductively demonstrate that it is false and cannot be true. I've explained this before, but I'll put it clearer:

Let O be 'a statement that claims to be objective'
Let V be ' a statement that is in principle verifiably objective'
Let P be 'Any statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective'

1. If something is O then that thing is V
2. P is O
3. P is not V

Here we have a contradiction. From the premises we can conclude that P must be V. Yet P is quite obviously ~V. How could you empirically verify the claim P? How could you even in principle verify it?

Imagine a hypothetical: We list every statement in the world in a big computer. We then go through the checklist to see if every statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective. We notice two things:
1. That the statement "Any statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective" is unverifiable, because it would be in that list and not verified, even if every other statement in the list was. Why? Because it is in the list - and we can't verifiy it without first verifying *every* statement on the list. But we can't verify everything on the list until it is verified! It cannot be verified itself, so it is obviously not true.
2. The statement "God exists" is on the list of statements that claim to be objective, but, according to you, is not in principle verifiably objective.

I think the second problem is a problem with your wording of the statement though. We shouldn't care about what a statement claims to be. It should be something like, perhaps, "any statement that is making an objective claim is a statement that is in principle verifiably objective".

By "in principle" I assume you mean statements that are beyond our current physical means to verify, but that which we could imagine a scenario in which we verify it.

As you should now be able to see, P is unwarranted, and in fact cannot be true.

And I don't see why you would think it is true. We can discuss the case of multiple universes without thinking we can ever check if they can exist. Their unverifiability doesn't prevent us from reasoning about what would be the case if they existed. We can't even verifiably affirm that other people are conscious, or feel pain like I feel pain, but we can reason as to what it would be like if they were. Unverifiability does not necessarily equal subjectivity.

evil religion wrote:

I have no problem in imagining if there where a God and thinking what would be the implications of that God. But if the Christain God does exist, under most definitions it still cant account for morality objectivly. If God requires faith to believe in him then that is a personal thing it is subjective. Thus any morality based on the suposed will of that God is also subjective.


There are two problems here:
A. You're assuming that someone who believe in God does so with no reason
B. You're assuming that if someone believes a proposition on bad (or no) reasoning, that it is a subjective belief

I think both of these are false:
A. I believe in God and have reasons for it - so I'm a living counter-example to A
B. There are plenty of propositions that are objective but for which people believe for terrible reasons. Take the proposition 'Aliens exist'. This makes an objective claim, but people often have notoriously bad reasons for believing it is true. The statement doesn't cease to make an objective claim for Joe just because Joe has terrible reasons for believing it true (eg, someone finished off the bogroll - Red Dwarf joke). Joe may draw conclusions from his premise 'Aliens exist' that would likewise be objective claims - but they would also be claims for which Joe can be right or wrong. So too with 'God exists'. People can draw objective morality from that (and other premises), but these conclusions are things about which they can be right or wrong.

evil religion wrote:
If you think we do not require faith to believe in God, if you think Gods existence is in principle objectivly verifiable then you might be allowed to base your morals on his suposed will.


Yes, the important thing to remember is what is meant by "believe in God". When someone says "I believe in demons", they mean "I believe demons exist". When someone says "I believe in my son", they mean "I trust my son". The latter is what is meant, traditionally, when a Christian says "I believe in God".

evil religion wrote:
I say "might" because you still need to have an objective way of verifying what exactly it is that he wants you to do.


That is a trick to do, I'll agree. As I mentioned earlier, unless God were to reveal to us certain things, it would be impossible for us to know them. We rely on Him to have given us an innate understanding of right and wrong, and also to speak to us directly. This we have, God amongst us speaking our language in ways we can understand, in the form of Jesus Christ.

Then we have the additional problem you mentioned - how do we know it's not Satan talking to us? That's a longer story. Though I personally don't see demons behind every shadow. Maybe we could discuss this in another thread another time, or via email.

evil religion wrote:

I did some. But to be honest my main focus was the philosophy of science and specificlaly quantum physics. The philosophy of religion was really not that popular its kind of a non subject in modern philosophy, there is not really much of genuine philsophical interest in the area to be perfectly frank. The philosophy of religion is like soooo 18th century man, well in secular Britain it is. In the first year we kind of skimed through Descart's suposed arguments for God, swiftly work out why they where a load of old tosh and then its was kind of "well thats that then, now lets get on with some proper philosophy".


I think that this is probably to your detriment, and an example of a lack of careful and fair presentation on behalf of those who ran your course. In Australia, at least where I did philosophy of religion, the course was presented by an atheist (and prepared by an agnostic), yet provided a very balanced presentation of arguments on both sides and a stalemate conclusion. If you have only really looked at Descarte's arguments then you probably haven't appreciate the full richness of the arguments and their respective weaknesses, on both sides of the proposition.

I suspect the situation is different in America too - I hear philosophy of religion is quite popular there. You may have finished your course with the impression that theists really have nothing to offer, leaving us with atheism as a default position. But a full analysis would show you that really atheism has every bit as weak a foundation as theism.

As an interesting example, in a philosophy of mind course which was presented again by a physicalist, the arguments for dualism were presented somewhat fairly. They quite honestly came to the arguments for dualism and physicalism, and fairly examined them and their respective weaknesses. They stated that currently the zombies argument in favour of dualism is as yet unresolved or unsatisfactoraly answered by physicalists - despite physicalism being their position. These are professional philosophers who study philosophy of mind and acknowledge that their own position is not yet a firm foundation - that there are problems with both dualistic and monist accounts. So when I hear you saying that you just skimmed through these things and saw nothing of value, I feel as though you must not have studied these arguments to an adequate depth. The ball is not so clearly in the court of the atheist as you may suppose. If you like, I could recommend some interesting readings on both of these subjects (philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion). Long story short - professional atheistic/agnostic philosophers don't think that there's a clear winner in these arguments.

evil religion wrote:
croath wrote:
if you can be more specific about what you were referring to, I could almost certainly direct you to articles or books.


I am refering to evidence rather than aledged reasons for Gods existence. None of the purpoted reasons for God existence actually stack up in my opinion. Moreover none of them are in fact falsifiable. There is no actual test to show that the ontological argument (for example) is false. As such it always lingers around like a bad smell.


To be completely fair, if we both agree that God is not empirically accessible, then it would also be true that atheism is unfalsifiable. After all, what possible scientific experiment could you conceive of to demonstrate that God doesn't exist? We use logical arguments to reason about God's existence. Even inferences from nature can only take you so far...

Consider the Intelligent Design guys. The best their argument can conclude is that "some intelligent agent designed life on earth". As much as many of them believe in God, they are not entitled to draw the conclusion "God exists" from the truth of their premise, no matter how probable it seems. What we have are arguments, both for and against theism, that make the conclusion more probable or improbable. Richard Swinburne in his article "The Argument from Religious Experience", claims if I recall correctly that the success of his argument only makes it a little bit more probable that God exists. That, on its own, the success of his argument won't give you grounds for belief in God, but it may tip the balance. Likewise, the argument from evil makes it more probable that God does not exist.

To present the opinion that the non-existence or existence of God has been demonstrated conclusively is to misrepresent current scholarly opinion. There are no clear winners in academia. So I think that you may have been misled.

evil religion wrote:
Because any objective statement is in principle verifiable and falsifiable. This I think stems from the definition of objective. Its practically tautology!


I don't think so. Here's another statement we take as objective: This universe is real.

Ultimately it could be, as Descarte imagined, that what we see is an illusion given to us by a demon. Or to use a modern example, perhaps we are logged into the matrix. Even our most fundamental beliefs are at some level unverifiable. We must make some assumptions about reality which are objective claims but which cannot be verified. Otherwise we'll succumb to skepticism and believe nothing.

I just don't think your definition of objective or claims about what must be true of an objective claim are right. I don't think we work that way in practice, and I don't think we can.

evil religion wrote:
A necessary consquence of objectivity is that its testable in principle.

This sounds to me more like a statement about a scientific claim - that it must be testable. I don't see why all claims must be in principle testable. Richard Dawkins feels free to infer the existence of actual multiple universes, but he has no way to test it. That is still an objective claim.

evil religion wrote:
Even if I did accept that Gods existence could in prinicple be verified and hence objective any morality based on his suposed will is a matter of opinion with no way of verifying who's right or wrong. It is thus a matter of opinion i.e. subjective.


Their grounds for believing it are subjective, but the claim would still be objective. I might believe that Elvis is alive because I had breakfast at 10am. My reasons for believing "Elvis lives" are very personal and subjective, but I am still making an objective claim, namely, "Elvis lives". It's just that I have no good reasons for believing the claim "Elvis lives". If someone else said they believe elvis exists because they had breakfast at 10am, I would tell them they have no good reason, on the basis of their evidence, to believe the claim "Elvis lives". I would not say to them that the claim "Elvis lives" is subjective. They are quite wrong to think that Elvis lives.

evil religion wrote:
The effect of any entity or the presence of any entity that is bound by natural laws would be testable in principle. If, as you have rather bravely suggested, we restrict God to being limted by logical laws then we start to get into some very interesting discusions about God. Whilst a restricted God is possible, its certainly not probable given the evidence. As such any belief in such an entity actually flies in the face of the scientific evidence. The thing is that as science has advanced our understanding of how the world works God has had to retreat futher and further into the realms of the supernatural and superlogical (if thats the right term). I'm not sure that beleif in a God resitricted by logic can actually survive anymore. Well not as a rational belief anyway.


Some interesting references in this paragraph, but you haven't really fleshed them out yet. I'll just make a handful of points. I'm not alone in believing God is bound to the laws of logic. As I mentioned earlier, this is why many philosophers take the problem of evil seriously.

We live in a physical universe. Christianity teaches. Out of all the 10^80 (?) atoms in the universe, none have a spiritual existence. Things that have a non-physical existence:
* Human minds (not brains)
* Angels, perhaps
* God
* Demons

ie, agents who have a free will. That's not many things that have a spiritual dimension. So in a universe full of matter, it is no surprise that most things should have a physical cause. Not to mention that the sciences are only able to detect the physical. As has been said by others, science has no cognizance of the spiritual, it is inaccessible.

Though I'm perhaps rarer in this regard: I imagine if we were to have regular access to the spiritual realms that we would quickly find it is ruled by laws as well. And given that it has laws, it would be hard to say that these laws are not natural. I think that in such a scenario, the line between physical and non-physical laws would blur. Imagine, for example, if we discovered that humans had a non-physical spirit - and we discovered it because we were able to induce out of body experiences where the traveller could go to distant locations, view events, return to the body, and then inform those present, accurately, about what took place remotely. The newspapers advertise boldly, "Humans have a spirit!". The scientists say, "I wonder what laws apply to our spirits?" Suddenly we have access to the spiritual realm and can do experiments. We find the line between the physical and non-physical blurring.

I personally don't like the word 'supernatural' as a result. I think that should the spiritual realm become more accessible, we would discover laws that we would be strongly tempted to call 'natural laws of the spiritual'.


evil religion
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croath wrote: evil

croath wrote:
evil religion wrote:
I would contend that the question as to whcih one is right and wrong is meaningless. What we can say is which side is right or wrong as judged by our standards.


Yes, I realise that is how you would explain or deal with the scenario. What I wanted to point out is that many of us (myself included) want to be able to say that one or both sides is wrong, and be saying something objective. If we lived in a world where Hitler succeeded in his conquest, and brainwashed or killed all who opposed him, then I want that world to be one where I can fight against his regime from the underground and be able to say confidently that "he is wrong", and mean by that that Hitler himself has failed to determine what is truly right and wrong.

Well what you would like to be able to do and the way the world actually is are often two different things. I don;t think that just because you would like it to be this way means that this is evidence that the world is this way. That sounds to me like you are staring with your conclusion and trying to make the world fit your conclusion rather than looking at the world and coming to your conlcusion.

Quote:
evil religion wrote:
I actually make the claim

"Any statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective".

I think that this is actually obviously true. If in principle it cant be verified then its not objective. The statement above is in prciple verifiable.


It's not obviously true, and it seems our intuitions lead in different ways - I think that it is quite obviously false. But besides that, I can deductively demonstrate that it is false and cannot be true. I've explained this before, but I'll put it clearer:

Let O be 'a statement that claims to be objective'
Let V be ' a statement that is in principle verifiably objective'
Let P be 'Any statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective'

1. If something is O then that thing is V
2. P is O
3. P is not V

Here we have a contradiction. From the premises we can conclude that P must be V. Yet P is quite obviously ~V. How could you empirically verify the claim P? How could you even in principle verify it?

I think we can verify it objectivly from the definition of objectivity.

Allow me to explain.

In order for something to be objective then the truth or falehood of the statement must have an effect on the universe. There simply must be an effect of the tuth value of the statement. Otherwise it simply in not objective. If nothing changes if the statement is true or false then the statement simply in not objective in fact its not really anything.

Now any effect on the universe is inprinciple mesurable. In other words it is testable. If even in principle the effect is not measurable then that effect simply did not happen. It is not an effect. Sooo because the truth value of any objective statement must have an effect then it must also be measurable and hence must be determinable.

 

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Imagine a hypothetical: We list every statement in the world in a big computer. We then go through the checklist to see if every statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective. We notice two things:
1. That the statement "Any statement that claims to be objective is in principle verifiably objective" is unverifiable, because it would be in that list and not verified, even if every other statement in the list was. Why? Because it is in the list - and we can't verifiy it without first verifying *every* statement on the list. But we can't verify everything on the list until it is verified! It cannot be verified itself, so it is obviously not true.

It does not matter if the verifiablity follows directly from definition of objective and other base principles.

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2. The statement "God exists" is on the list of statements that claim to be objective, but, according to you, is not in principle verifiably objective.

I think the second problem is a problem with your wording of the statement though. We shouldn't care about what a statement claims to be. It should be something like, perhaps, "any statement that is making an objective claim is a statement that is in principle verifiably objective".

By "in principle" I assume you mean statements that are beyond our current physical means to verify, but that which we could imagine a scenario in which we verify it.

As you should now be able to see, P is unwarranted, and in fact cannot be true.

And I don't see why you would think it is true. We can discuss the case of multiple universes without thinking we can ever check if they can exist. Their unverifiability doesn't prevent us from reasoning about what would be the case if they existed.

But they could be checked in principle. More importantly perhaps they could be faldified.

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We can't even verifiably affirm that other people are conscious, or feel pain like I feel pain, but we can reason as to what it would be like if they were. Unverifiability does not necessarily equal subjectivity.

If something is unverifiable in principle then yes it does. The conciousness of others is in pricniple verifibale.

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evil religion wrote:

I have no problem in imagining if there where a God and thinking what would be the implications of that God. But if the Christain God does exist, under most definitions it still cant account for morality objectivly. If God requires faith to believe in him then that is a personal thing it is subjective. Thus any morality based on the suposed will of that God is also subjective.


There are two problems here:
A. You're assuming that someone who believe in God does so with no reason

No objective reason yes. Unless you can provide some objective evidence I will continue to believe this.

 


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B. You're assuming that if someone believes a proposition on bad (or no) reasoning, that it is a subjective belief

No I am saying that if some one beleives in something that can not be tested even in principle then that is a subjective view.

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I think both of these are false:
A. I believe in God and have reasons for it - so I'm a living counter-example to A

I think that you do not have objective "reasons" to believe in God. I think that you may well have personal reasons, cultural reasons or possibly emotional reasons but none of these will turn out to be objectivly testable reasons.


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B. There are plenty of propositions that are objective but for which people believe for terrible reasons. Take the proposition 'Aliens exist'. This makes an objective claim, but people often have notoriously bad reasons for believing it is true. The statement doesn't cease to make an objective claim for Joe just because Joe has terrible reasons for believing it true (eg, someone finished off the bogroll - Red Dwarf joke). Joe may draw conclusions from his premise 'Aliens exist' that would likewise be objective claims - but they would also be claims for which Joe can be right or wrong. So too with 'God exists'. People can draw objective morality from that (and other premises), but these conclusions are things about which they can be right or wrong.

Indeed but aliens are testable in principle God is not. Thats the difference.

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evil religion wrote:
If you think we do not require faith to believe in God, if you think Gods existence is in principle objectivly verifiable then you might be allowed to base your morals on his suposed will.


Yes, the important thing to remember is what is meant by "believe in God". When someone says "I believe in demons", they mean "I believe demons exist". When someone says "I believe in my son", they mean "I trust my son". The latter is what is meant, traditionally, when a Christian says "I believe in God".

Fine but in order for you to have youe "christian" meaning of "I believe in God" (your trust) you also have to have the belief "I believe God exists" unless of course you trust something that does not exist that is!

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evil religion wrote:
I say "might" because you still need to have an objective way of verifying what exactly it is that he wants you to do.


That is a trick to do, I'll agree. As I mentioned earlier, unless God were to reveal to us certain things, it would be impossible for us to know them. We rely on Him to have given us an innate understanding of right and wrong, and also to speak to us directly. This we have, God amongst us speaking our language in ways we can understand, in the form of Jesus Christ.

Then we have the additional problem you mentioned - how do we know it's not Satan talking to us? That's a longer story. Though I personally don't see demons behind every shadow. Maybe we could discuss this in another thread another time, or via email.

More than happy to discuss this. Start a thread in the philosphy section.

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evil religion wrote:

I did some. But to be honest my main focus was the philosophy of science and specificlaly quantum physics. The philosophy of religion was really not that popular its kind of a non subject in modern philosophy, there is not really much of genuine philsophical interest in the area to be perfectly frank. The philosophy of religion is like soooo 18th century man, well in secular Britain it is. In the first year we kind of skimed through Descart's suposed arguments for God, swiftly work out why they where a load of old tosh and then its was kind of "well thats that then, now lets get on with some proper philosophy".


I think that this is probably to your detriment, and an example of a lack of careful and fair presentation on behalf of those who ran your course.

No not really its just there is not really much interest in the philosophy of religion in modern philosophy departments. There isnt really much interesting work going on in the area. Most proffesional philosophers are atheist or agnostic so the philosophy of religion is a bit of non subject really.

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In Australia, at least where I did philosophy of religion, the course was presented by an atheist (and prepared by an agnostic), yet provided a very balanced presentation of arguments on both sides and a stalemate conclusion. If you have only really looked at Descarte's arguments then you probably haven't appreciate the full richness of the arguments and their respective weaknesses, on both sides of the proposition.

Sorry but Descartes arguments really are not very good. Its such a shame becasue he started off so well. His entire skeptical enquiry was a wonderful piece of reasoning. Stipping away everything that there was doubt in and then trying to build up our picture of the world was a bold thing to do. "I think therfore I am" is one of the only conclusions in philosophy that practically no one ever contends (although there are some that do I assure you) but then he goes and ruins the whole thing by desperatly trying to prove God. I just get the feeling that he started with a conclusion and tried to fit the world to that conclusion. IF he had continued in his honest examination of the world he would probably have come to the same conclusions as Spinoza. I have no doubt that if Descart was born today he would be an atheist.

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I suspect the situation is different in America too - I hear philosophy of religion is quite popular there. You may have finished your course with the impression that theists really have nothing to offer, leaving us with atheism as a default position. But a full analysis would show you that really atheism has every bit as weak a foundation as theism.

It can't possibly be as atheism is merely a lack of belief. If they are equally weak, as you claim, then we should all really be agnostics (in the true sense of the word). But then that also makes us all weak atheists as well in that we lack a belief in God.

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As an interesting example, in a philosophy of mind course which was presented again by a physicalist, the arguments for dualism were presented somewhat fairly. They quite honestly came to the arguments for dualism and physicalism, and fairly examined them and their respective weaknesses. They stated that currently the zombies argument in favour of dualism is as yet unresolved or unsatisfactoraly answered by physicalists - despite physicalism being their position. These are professional philosophers who study philosophy of mind and acknowledge that their own position is not yet a firm foundation - that there are problems with both dualistic and monist accounts. So when I hear you saying that you just skimmed through these things and saw nothing of value, I feel as though you must not have studied these arguments to an adequate depth. The ball is not so clearly in the court of the atheist as you may suppose. If you like, I could recommend some interesting readings on both of these subjects (philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion). Long story short - professional atheistic/agnostic philosophers don't think that there's a clear winner in these arguments.

The mind body problem is of definite philsophical interest and there really is some interestong discusions to have on this. I have recently changed my position from that of ardnet phsycialist to one of neutral monism mainly due to the mind body problem. I don't see why this relates to the philsophy of religion though. We did much work in this area although, I do wish I had done more. I simply didn't have the time though its not possible to fit everything in to half a degree in philosophy, with physics taking up the other half of mys course it was sensible and indeed activly encouraged that I focus my philsophy courses on the philosphy of sciecnce and maths. But as a department there was plenty of work on the phislophy of mind its was our heaqd of faculties (Robert Kirk) main focus. He written books on zombies and what not.

Its just that philosophy of religion, whilst still an available course, was not really thought of as being interested. It was populated by christians who had made their minds up anyway.

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evil religion wrote:
croath wrote:
if you can be more specific about what you were referring to, I could almost certainly direct you to articles or books.


I am refering to evidence rather than aledged reasons for Gods existence. None of the purpoted reasons for God existence actually stack up in my opinion. Moreover none of them are in fact falsifiable. There is no actual test to show that the ontological argument (for example) is false. As such it always lingers around like a bad smell.


To be completely fair, if we both agree that God is not empirically accessible, then it would also be true that atheism is unfalsifiable. After all, what possible scientific experiment could you conceive of to demonstrate that God doesn't exist? We use logical arguments to reason about God's existence. Even inferences from nature can only take you so far...

Athesim is falsifiable all God needs to do is appear and demonstrate his power. I will then reject my athesim and start grovelling. If god is truely empirically unaccessable and necessaily so, i.e. he is unable to demonstrate his power empirically, then I would contend that this means he does not exist (but thats another arguement)

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Consider the Intelligent Design guys. The best their argument can conclude is that "some intelligent agent designed life on earth". As much as many of them believe in God, they are not entitled to draw the conclusion "God exists" from the truth of their premise, no matter how probable it seems.

I agree. If we accept irreducable complexity and the like then I would say that this is actually evidence more for very intelligent aliens who tamper with DNA and the evolutonary process rather than God. If the ID camp accept their own arguments then really they should become raelians as this is a far more likely scenario that God.

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What we have are arguments, both for and against theism, that make the conclusion more probable or improbable. Richard Swinburne in his article "The Argument from Religious Experience", claims if I recall correctly that the success of his argument only makes it a little bit more probable that God exists. That, on its own, the success of his argument won't give you grounds for belief in God, but it may tip the balance. Likewise, the argument from evil makes it more probable that God does not exist.

To present the opinion that the non-existence or existence of God has been demonstrated conclusively is to misrepresent current scholarly opinion. There are no clear winners in academia. So I think that you may have been misled.

If there are no clear winners then atheism wins. With no evidence either way we should not believe in God. The problem is that weak atheism is not the belief that "God does not exist" it is merely a lack of belief in God. If, as you say, there are no clear winners then weak atheism should be the default position. It is simply not rational to believe in something without evidence. I think for certain definitions of God there is very strong evidence that such entities are simply not possible, for other definitions they are very unlikely (strong evidence against) and for the more ethereal Gods then there is really not much evidence either way.

So my position is

Strong atheism towards your traditional omnipotent Gods as their definition is logically contradictory

Strong atheism towards benevolant, personal Gods that take an active interst in the world. Looking around the world just ain't the kind of place one would expect to see if it was under such management.

Weak athesim towards your deist type Gods.

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evil religion wrote:
Because any objective statement is in principle verifiable and falsifiable. This I think stems from the definition of objective. Its practically tautology!


I don't think so. Here's another statement we take as objective: This universe is real.

Ultimately it could be, as Descarte imagined, that what we see is an illusion given to us by a demon. Or to use a modern example, perhaps we are logged into the matrix. Even our most fundamental beliefs are at some level unverifiable.

But they are falsiafiable in principle.

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We must make some assumptions about reality which are objective claims but which cannot be verified. Otherwise we'll succumb to skepticism and believe nothing.

I just don't think your definition of objective or claims about what must be true of an objective claim are right. I don't think we work that way in practice, and I don't think we can.

This is why falsifiablity is important when determining objectivity.

Now the matrix type scenario is not falsifiable even in principle as such I put it alongside God belief as a useless entirely subjective beleif with no objectivly determinable truth value. But looking at the belief like "There is a car outside my window" it is falsifiable. We could wake up form the matrix and find out that cars simply don't exist, for example. This is why Poper was so keen on falsifiablity rather than verifiablity.

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evil religion wrote:
A necessary consquence of objectivity is that its testable in principle.

This sounds to me more like a statement about a scientific claim - that it must be testable. I don't see why all claims must be in principle testable. Richard Dawkins feels free to infer the existence of actual multiple universes, but he has no way to test it. That is still an objective claim.

But there is a way to test (falisfify) this claim in principle. With God there is no such method as such it is up there with the matrix as another entirley subjective idea.

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evil religion wrote:
Even if I did accept that Gods existence could in prinicple be verified and hence objective any morality based on his suposed will is a matter of opinion with no way of verifying who's right or wrong. It is thus a matter of opinion i.e. subjective.


Their grounds for believing it are subjective, but the claim would still be objective. I might believe that Elvis is alive because I had breakfast at 10am. My reasons for believing "Elvis lives" are very personal and subjective, but I am still making an objective claim, namely, "Elvis lives". It's just that I have no good reasons for believing the claim "Elvis lives". If someone else said they believe elvis exists because they had breakfast at 10am, I would tell them they have no good reason, on the basis of their evidence, to believe the claim "Elvis lives". I would not say to them that the claim "Elvis lives" is subjective. They are quite wrong to think that Elvis lives.

But if you went to base your morality of the will of the living Elvis then this would not be an objective morality would it? Becasue your necessary premis is availble only subjectivly then the morality based on it is also subjective.

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evil religion wrote:
The effect of any entity or the presence of any entity that is bound by natural laws would be testable in principle. If, as you have rather bravely suggested, we restrict God to being limted by logical laws then we start to get into some very interesting discusions about God. Whilst a restricted God is possible, its certainly not probable given the evidence. As such any belief in such an entity actually flies in the face of the scientific evidence. The thing is that as science has advanced our understanding of how the world works God has had to retreat futher and further into the realms of the supernatural and superlogical (if thats the right term). I'm not sure that beleif in a God resitricted by logic can actually survive anymore. Well not as a rational belief anyway.


Some interesting references in this paragraph, but you haven't really fleshed them out yet. I'll just make a handful of points. I'm not alone in believing God is bound to the laws of logic. As I mentioned earlier, this is why many philosophers take the problem of evil seriously.

We live in a physical universe. Christianity teaches. Out of all the 10^80 (?) atoms in the universe, none have a spiritual existence. Things that have a non-physical existence:
* Human minds (not brains)
* Angels, perhaps
* God
* Demons

ie, agents who have a free will. That's not many things that have a spiritual dimension. So in a universe full of matter, it is no surprise that most things should have a physical cause. Not to mention that the sciences are only able to detect the physical. As has been said by others, science has no cognizance of the spiritual, it is inaccessible.

So there is no evidence for the spiritual. In otherwords its an entirely suvbjective realm.

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Though I'm perhaps rarer in this regard: I imagine if we were to have regular access to the spiritual realms that we would quickly find it is ruled by laws as well.

Why? Why would you imagine this? What do you base this assumption on?

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And given that it has laws, it would be hard to say that these laws are not natural. I think that in such a scenario, the line between physical and non-physical laws would blur. Imagine, for example, if we discovered that humans had a non-physical spirit - and we discovered it because we were able to induce out of body experiences where the traveller could go to distant locations, view events, return to the body, and then inform those present, accurately, about what took place remotely. The newspapers advertise boldly, "Humans have a spirit!". The scientists say, "I wonder what laws apply to our spirits?" Suddenly we have access to the spiritual realm and can do experiments. We find the line between the physical and non-physical blurring.

If the "non-physical" can affect the phsyical in anyway then these effects will be measurable. So I agree that the lines would blur. The effects of the "spiritual" realm should still be able to be stuidied by science. The fact that no such effects have ever been measured anywhere by anyone ever is, however, rather telling.

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I personally don't like the word 'supernatural' as a result. I think that should the spiritual realm become more accessible, we would discover laws that we would be strongly tempted to call 'natural laws of the spiritual'.

Well thats an interesting speculation.