A serious question about the blasphemy challenge

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A serious question about the blasphemy challenge

Ever since a friend linked me to some of the blasphemy challenges on youtube this time last year, I thought the whole idea was kind of funny, albeit in a sophomoric sort of way. I mean, I suppose it served its purpose in the long run - exposure, including an unprecedented nationally televised debate - but this isn't what concerns me most about the challenge.

The blasphemychallenge.com website states that "You may damn yourself to Hell however you would like, but somewhere in your video you must say this phrase: 'I deny the Holy Spirit'."

It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct? I wouldn't have a problem if you required potential blasphemers to say something like "I don't believe in the Holy Spirit" - then it would be different. As it stands, the "I deny the Holy Spirit" portion of the Blasphemy Challenge seems to be as intellectually dishonest as when the theist says "I affirm the existence of the Holy Spirit."

The "Great Debate" thread sort of inspired this thread. The atheist debater stated that atheists don't hold to the non-existence of God, but rather they hold to the fact that God has not yet proven himself to exist in a way that is satisfactory to them. I respect this kind of intellectual honesty and innocent inquisitiveness. The entire basis of this ministry seems to run counter to these principles.

 


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Play it again, Sam.

Play it again, Sam.


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zarathustra wrote: Play it

zarathustra wrote:
Play it again, Sam.

Penetrating insight.   


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jmm wrote: Ever since a

jmm wrote:

Ever since a friend linked me to some of the blasphemy challenges on youtube this time last year, I thought the whole idea was kind of funny, albeit in a sophomoric sort of way. I mean, I suppose it served its purpose in the long run - exposure, including an unprecedented nationally televised debate - but this isn't what concerns me most about the challenge.

The blasphemychallenge.com website states that "You may damn yourself to Hell however you would like, but somewhere in your video you must say this phrase: 'I deny the Holy Spirit'."

It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct? I wouldn't have a problem if you required potential blasphemers to say something like "I don't believe in the Holy Spirit" - then it would be different. As it stands, the "I deny the Holy Spirit" portion of the Blasphemy Challenge seems to be as intellectually dishonest as when the theist says "I affirm the existence of the Holy Spirit."

 You have done nothing but disguised an attempt at shifting the burden of proof. Do you not deny the existence of a nearly infinite number of things which you have absilutely zero reason to think might exist? Do you deny the existence of the microscopic mountain goat that periodically lives in your hair? Is it intellectually dishonest to deny such a thing?

Quote:
The "Great Debate" thread sort of inspired this thread. The atheist debater stated that atheists don't hold to the non-existence of God, but rather they hold to the fact that God has not yet proven himself to exist in a way that is satisfactory to them. I respect this kind of intellectual honesty and innocent inquisitiveness. The entire basis of this ministry seems to run counter to these principles.

 The mountain goat hasn't proven himself to me or you yet either. Still, we are both well within the bounds of intellectual honesty to deny it. What do you require of one to deny the existence of something if a complete and utter lack of evidence for such a thing is not sufficient?

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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What zarathustra is getting

What zarathustra is getting at is that we've covered this before. For me it comes down to pedantry - it's easier to say "I deny" than "I don't believe." The package is not the contents, and it seems to me that you understand what was meant. I don't think it's unclear or dishonest, as some people have made the opposite objection. That is, "I don't believe" implies that there is something to believe in. I know, that's silly, but it doesn't really matter which way it's phrased. There's going to be problems on either side.


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Well, I personally, and most

Well, I personally, and most atheists I've really discussed this with, really don't believe that the Christian God makes any sense. I actively disbelieve in that one. I think the Bible is crazy and nonsensical, I think everything I've ever been told about that god somehow contradicts something else about him, and I think I'd have to be labotomized to start believing in him at all. Now, just because I'm fairly certain that that one particular god is fictional, doesn't mean that there couldn't be some being out there that fits one of the definitions of "god." So while I don't firmly disbelieve in all gods, it would make absolute sense, as far as my opinions go, to deny the Christian Holy Spirit. I can't speak for the other atheists out there, but I'm sure there are many more who hold a similar belief.


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Vessel wrote: jmm

Vessel wrote:
jmm wrote:

Ever since a friend linked me to some of the blasphemy challenges on youtube this time last year, I thought the whole idea was kind of funny, albeit in a sophomoric sort of way. I mean, I suppose it served its purpose in the long run - exposure, including an unprecedented nationally televised debate - but this isn't what concerns me most about the challenge.

The blasphemychallenge.com website states that "You may damn yourself to Hell however you would like, but somewhere in your video you must say this phrase: 'I deny the Holy Spirit'."

It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct? I wouldn't have a problem if you required potential blasphemers to say something like "I don't believe in the Holy Spirit" - then it would be different. As it stands, the "I deny the Holy Spirit" portion of the Blasphemy Challenge seems to be as intellectually dishonest as when the theist says "I affirm the existence of the Holy Spirit."

You have done nothing but disguised an attempt at shifting the burden of proof. Do you not deny the existence of a nearly infinite number of things which you have absilutely zero reason to think might exist? Do you deny the existence of the microscopic mountain goat that periodically lives in your hair? Is it intellectually dishonest to deny such a thing?

No, I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof. I don't deny the existence of anything. There are lots of things that I don't necessarily believe in, but I never go as far as to flatly deny the possibility of something's existence. That's pretentious and dishonest.

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Quote:
The "Great Debate" thread sort of inspired this thread. The atheist debater stated that atheists don't hold to the non-existence of God, but rather they hold to the fact that God has not yet proven himself to exist in a way that is satisfactory to them. I respect this kind of intellectual honesty and innocent inquisitiveness. The entire basis of this ministry seems to run counter to these principles.

Quote:
The mountain goat hasn't proven himself to me or you yet either. Still, we are both well within the bounds of intellectual honesty to deny it. What do you require of one to deny the existence of something if a complete and utter lack of evidence for such a thing is not sufficient?

Why can't I have an intelligent discussion with an atheist? Why does it always have to go back to this Bertrand Russell "intergalactic teapot" bullshit? Yes, there may be a fucking forest of invisible elves living in my pubic hair, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking specifically about the idea of a creator-god. Whether or not he's a pink unicorn, an atonal coffee bean, or whatever is beside the point. By your very standards, your denial of the Holy Spirit is as ill-informed and dishonest as my affirmation of the Holy Spirit. Also, this whole burden of proof thing is turning out to be quite a crutch for the atheists. You can make whatever absurd claim your heart desires, but it's okay because "the burden of proof is on the theist." I call bullshit.  The whole thing is a scapegoat, and ultimately discourages profitable discourse.

This was Russell's great victory - making it intellectually acceptable to creating diversions.


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inspectormustard

inspectormustard wrote:
What zarathustra is getting at is that we've covered this before. For me it comes down to pedantry - it's easier to say "I deny" than "I don't believe." The package is not the contents, and it seems to me that you understand what was meant. I don't think it's unclear or dishonest, as some people have made the opposite objection. That is, "I don't believe" implies that there is something to believe in. I know, that's silly, but it doesn't really matter which way it's phrased. There's going to be problems on either side.

It totally and completely matters how it's phrased.  To "deny" something is a flat declaration of something's falsehood - it is a knowledge claim.  On the other hand, to "believe" something is to simply hold it to be true, not contingent upon any empirical evidence.  I love how the atheists split hairs with my language but are so carelessly sloppy with their own. 

So if God is an incoherent concept by logical and empirical standards, then it makes sense that any knowledge claim concerning him, be it positive or negative, is in imminent danger of falling into speculation and intellectual dishonesty.   


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MattShizzle

MattShizzle wrote:

Monetary donation:  check.

Asinine internet memes:  check.

Do you serve any other purpose around here?  


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You're objecting to a

You're objecting to a perceived positive statement in denial -- i.e. refusal?

Do you have a catchier, and more accurate, way to re-word this long-past ad campaign? Smiling


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I think the reason we used

I think the reason we used the word 'deny' was because that was the wording used in that Bible passage that called it the unforgivable sin. It wasn't so much making a literal statement about belief so much as making a statement of the form "The Bible says that if I do this I get the worst punishment and suffering imaginable, the kind of suffering that I'd be a fool to risk. This is how sure I am that it's a load of nonsense!"


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jmm wrote: Vessel

jmm wrote:
Vessel wrote:
jmm wrote:

Ever since a friend linked me to some of the blasphemy challenges on youtube this time last year, I thought the whole idea was kind of funny, albeit in a sophomoric sort of way. I mean, I suppose it served its purpose in the long run - exposure, including an unprecedented nationally televised debate - but this isn't what concerns me most about the challenge.

The blasphemychallenge.com website states that "You may damn yourself to Hell however you would like, but somewhere in your video you must say this phrase: 'I deny the Holy Spirit'."

It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct? I wouldn't have a problem if you required potential blasphemers to say something like "I don't believe in the Holy Spirit" - then it would be different. As it stands, the "I deny the Holy Spirit" portion of the Blasphemy Challenge seems to be as intellectually dishonest as when the theist says "I affirm the existence of the Holy Spirit."

You have done nothing but disguised an attempt at shifting the burden of proof. Do you not deny the existence of a nearly infinite number of things which you have absilutely zero reason to think might exist? Do you deny the existence of the microscopic mountain goat that periodically lives in your hair? Is it intellectually dishonest to deny such a thing?

No, I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof. I don't deny the existence of anything. There are lots of things that I don't necessarily believe in, but I never go as far as to flatly deny the possibility of something's existence. That's pretentious and dishonest.

I didn't say you were trying to shift the burden of proof, but that is exactly what you are doing, trying or not.

If you don't deny the existence of anything then you are one strange dude indeed. What is dishonest is to claim it is dishonest to base our understanding of what exists on what we have reason to think exists and to deny the existence of things that we have no reason to think exist. That you may be some odd sort of human being who holds out the possibility for infinite possibilities despite the fact that you have a perfectly reasonable reality by which to determine what you are justified in denying has nothing to do with what is intellectually honest.

This claim that it is intellectually dishonest to deny what there is no reason to believe exists is what is intellectually dishonest. It is the theist's excuse for holding to their belief in fairy tales.

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The "Great Debate" thread sort of inspired this thread. The atheist debater stated that atheists don't hold to the non-existence of God, but rather they hold to the fact that God has not yet proven himself to exist in a way that is satisfactory to them. I respect this kind of intellectual honesty and innocent inquisitiveness. The entire basis of this ministry seems to run counter to these principles.

Quote:
The mountain goat hasn't proven himself to me or you yet either. Still, we are both well within the bounds of intellectual honesty to deny it. What do you require of one to deny the existence of something if a complete and utter lack of evidence for such a thing is not sufficient?

Why can't I have an intelligent discussion with an atheist?

If not being able to have an intelligent conversation with an atheist is a problem for you I would start by looking for the common element in these discussions.  

 

Quote:
Why does it always have to go back to this Bertrand Russell "intergalactic teapot" bullshit?

It goes back to this when a theist shows that they have an astounding inability to understand the concept no matter how many times it is presented. It is by no means my fault that you have presented a situation which is perfectly understandable if one understands the reasoning behind the teapot. Russell didn't create the thought experiment for nothing. It is applicable, so it is used. Now, is one within the bounds of intellectual honesty to deny the existence of Russel's Teapot? 

Quote:
Yes, there may be a fucking forest of invisible elves living in my pubic hair, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking specifically about the idea of a creator-god. Whether or not he's a pink unicorn, an atonal coffee bean, or whatever is beside the point.

A creator god as a pink unicorn? What are you going on about? No one said that the creator god is anything. We are discussing why it is perfectly within the bounds of intellectual honesty to deny the existence of a creator god not what a creator god might be. It is for the same reason we deny the existence of everything for which there is absolutely no evidence. Come on now, its a simple concept. If you deny that you deny the existence of an nearly infinite number of things simply because there is no evidence for them you are the one who is being dishonest. 

 

Quote:
By your very standards, your denial of the Holy Spirit is as ill-informed and dishonest as my affirmation of the Holy Spirit.

You seem to be unable to follow a fairly simple concept. Perhaps this is why you hate the Teapot. You seem not to understand what it illustrates. I deny the existence of god for the same reason I deny the mountain goat I referenced earlier. There is no other reason necessary nor can there be any other reason. That is simply the nature of the basis by which we deny things. That you can not grasp this is something you might should find disconcerting.

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Also, this whole burden of proof thing is turning out to be quite a crutch for the atheists.

Yes, the old crutch of the burden of proof. We should just do away with proof altogether and believe whatever we want. That's intellectually honest. No one should have to prove the existence of anything they claim exists and we will call it intellectual dishonest to deny the existence of every possible thing. Hopefully you grasp the concept of sarcasm better than that of the teapot. 

Quote:
You can make whatever absurd claim your heart desires, but it's okay because "the burden of proof is on the theist." I call bullshit. The whole thing is a scapegoat, and ultimately discourages profitable discourse.

I have made no claim but you are apparently ready to leave the bounds of reasonable discourse as you seem to think no burden of proof should be required. Let's all play immagination land. You should find yourself quite at home there if you think the burden of proof is bullshit. 

Quote:
This was Russell's great victory - making it intellectually acceptable to creating diversions.

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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jmm wrote: No, I'm not

jmm wrote:

No, I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof. I don't deny the existence of anything. There are lots of things that I don't necessarily believe in, but I never go as far as to flatly deny the possibility of something's existence. That's pretentious and dishonest.

Why can't I have an intelligent discussion with an atheist? Why does it always have to go back to this Bertrand Russell "intergalactic teapot" bullshit? Yes, there may be a fucking forest of invisible elves living in my pubic hair, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking specifically about the idea of a creator-god. Whether or not he's a pink unicorn, an atonal coffee bean, or whatever is beside the point. By your very standards, your denial of the Holy Spirit is as ill-informed and dishonest as my affirmation of the Holy Spirit. Also, this whole burden of proof thing is turning out to be quite a crutch for the atheists. You can make whatever absurd claim your heart desires, but it's okay because "the burden of proof is on the theist." I call bullshit. The whole thing is a scapegoat, and ultimately discourages profitable discourse. 

It's stupid not to flat out have a non-belief or a disbelief in something.  It's the most rational position to take when someone presents you with something that you have not only no reason to believe in, but for which there can never be any evidence for or has no evidence.  Like god.  This isn't what you're on about though.  You're problem is with the word 'deny' and as has been suggested, I believe that choice had to do with the way the bible worded the unforgivable sin.  You may wish to debate burden of proof and the rationality of non-belief, but those are tried and tired debates you will not be successful at.  The burden of proof is always on the person making the positive claim or the extraordinary claim.  Theists make both.  The rational position is always non-belief in something which cannot be proved to exist and in which there is no reason to believe.  If you choose to treat Russell's tea-pot as having a fifty percent chance of existing, that is your choice, but it is not the reality.  That tea-pot actually being there is in the realm of the impossible, not merely the improbable.  Just because someone can imagine something does not mean that it has an equal likihood of existing as not.  Believing otherwise would be 'pretentious and dishonest'.

Quote:
 

This was Russell's great victory - making it intellectually acceptable to creating diversions.

 You can begin listing proof of your god's existence anytime.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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jmm wrote: Ever since a

jmm wrote:

Ever since a friend linked me to some of the blasphemy challenges on youtube this time last year, I thought the whole idea was kind of funny, albeit in a sophomoric sort of way. I mean, I suppose it served its purpose in the long run - exposure, including an unprecedented nationally televised debate - but this isn't what concerns me most about the challenge.

The blasphemychallenge.com website states that "You may damn yourself to Hell however you would like, but somewhere in your video you must say this phrase: 'I deny the Holy Spirit'."

It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct? I wouldn't have a problem if you required potential blasphemers to say something like "I don't believe in the Holy Spirit" - then it would be different. As it stands, the "I deny the Holy Spirit" portion of the Blasphemy Challenge seems to be as intellectually dishonest as when the theist says "I affirm the existence of the Holy Spirit."

The "Great Debate" thread sort of inspired this thread. The atheist debater stated that atheists don't hold to the non-existence of God, but rather they hold to the fact that God has not yet proven himself to exist in a way that is satisfactory to them. I respect this kind of intellectual honesty and innocent inquisitiveness. The entire basis of this ministry seems to run counter to these principles.

 

Let me try and simplify this. What you have said above is basically that it is intellectually dishonest of the atheist to deny the existence of something they have no reason to think might exist. This is to require them to have a reason to deny something's existence. This is the same as saying one needs evidence of somethings non-existence before they can deny it. It is a blatantly obvious shifting of the burden of proof.   

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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jmm wrote:No, I'm not

jmm wrote:

No, I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof. I don't deny the existence of anything. There are lots of things that I don't necessarily believe in, but I never go as far as to flatly deny the possibility of something's existence. That's pretentious and dishonest.

Really? Well I never claimed to be honest. Oh, wait there was that time I was playing poker and said I was honest, I was lying.

I deny the holy spirit, god, allah, zeus and gang. I find it hard to believe you really go through life without denying anything sounds pretty dishonest to me. 

Quote:
The "Great Debate" thread sort of inspired this thread. The atheist debater stated that atheists don't hold to the non-existence of God, but rather they hold to the fact that God has not yet proven himself to exist in a way that is satisfactory to them. I respect this kind of intellectual honesty and innocent inquisitiveness. The entire basis of this ministry seems to run counter to these principles.

So what. Not all atheists believe the same things. If you read a few threads you would know that. Some of us do hold to the non-existence of certain gods. Obviously, you can't deny something until it is defined. So define a god and we will deny it and provide evidence that he/she/it does not exist.

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Why can't I have an intelligent discussion with an atheist?

I don't know, the common denominator in all of those discussions is you.

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Why does it always have to go back to this Bertrand Russell "intergalactic teapot" bullshit?

Because there isn't any proof supporting your beliefs. 

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Yes, there may be a fucking forest of invisible elves living in my pubic hair, but I'm not talking about that.

I believe that is called crabs. You should have it checked out and be a little more careful next time.

 

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I'm talking specifically about the idea of a creator-god. Whether or not he's a pink unicorn, an atonal coffee bean, or whatever is beside the point.

Hey, if the church worshipped coffee beans I might actually attend.

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By your very standards, your denial of the Holy Spirit is as ill-informed and dishonest as my affirmation of the Holy Spirit.

Exactly which standard?

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Also, this whole burden of proof thing is turning out to be quite a crutch for the atheists. You can make whatever absurd claim your heart desires, but it's okay because "the burden of proof is on the theist." I call bullshit. 

Which absurd claim have we made? There is no proof of god. My proof of that claim is no one can provide me with convincing evidence of god existing or having existed. Prove me wrong.

 

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The whole thing is a scapegoat, and ultimately discourages profitable discourse.

Profitable discourse is the 900 number you called that led to the encounter that led to the elves in your pubic hair.

Quote:
This was Russell's great victory - making it intellectually acceptable to creating diversions.

Oh, you mean like arguing over whether or not we are intellecually honest instead of providing evidence to support your absurd beliefs?


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You also could have tried

You also could have tried reading the approximately 987,315,645,824 threads made about this topic already. And try not being such an asshat. Seriously, who lit the fuse on your tampon?

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


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By the way, if that picture

By the way, if that picture has become an internet meme, it's news to me. Since it's a picture I took of my cat Miss Callie when she was pissed off and added the words myself. But if it has, that's cool.

 

See:

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Matt, That's a really cute

Matt,

That's a really cute cat.  Looks a good deal like mine.  I love calicos! 


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jmm wrote: It's the word

jmm wrote:
It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct?

Right. As in, a declaration that something is not true. I sort of see your point, but I think you're assuming a different definition, something more along the lines of this:

"to refuse to recognize or acknowledge; disown; disavow; repudiate" (from dictionary.com)

"Deny" in the Blasphemy Challenge is referring to the untruth of the Holy Spirit. Untruth meaning that it isn't true, meaning that it does not exist. You're arguing about semantics here, and even if you think the wording used in the challenege is ambiguous and unclear, you'd have to be pretty deluded to believe that everyone who made a video of themselves actually believed in the Holy Spirit but just wanted to damn themselves to eternal pain and suffering for a free video.

The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates


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Strafio wrote:

Strafio wrote:
I think the reason we used the word 'deny' was because that was the wording used in that Bible passage that called it the unforgivable sin. It wasn't so much making a literal statement about belief so much as making a statement of the form "The Bible says that if I do this I get the worst punishment and suffering imaginable, the kind of suffering that I'd be a fool to risk. This is how sure I am that it's a load of nonsense!"

You should have all said it in the original Hebrew then. Thats the way it was written.

 Besides, it is so much cooler to speak an ancient langauge.  It sounds more like you are calling down the power of spirits or something...


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Well, as expected, this

Well, as expected, this thread has already gotten off topic.  I didn't start this thread with the purpose of offering proofs for God's existence, I simply had a problem with the word "deny" in the blasphemy challenge.  As a matter of fact, I've never to my knowledge tried to offer any proof for God's existence, choosing rather to focus on proving that logic is not the only means of knowledge acquisition - particularly the proposition form.  I'm fully aware that no scientific proof for God exists, and I don't waste my time with that. 

So anyway, in lieu of further plumbing the depths of Russell's teapot, is anyone interested in discussing the use of the word "deny" in the Blasphemy Challenge?  To use the word just to mirror the biblical passage seems a little careless.  I mean, the hair-splitting that goes on between theists and atheists on this site is mind-boggling, so it just surprises me that the RRS would so carelessly throw a word around just for the sake of parody.  

And to those who say that I'm weird for not flat-out denying anything, I didn't say that I gave every conceivable possibility equal consideration, only that I would never fully 100% deny the possibility of something.  I'm considerably and understandably more open to the existence or non-existence of God than I am the existence or non-existence of some silly Russell's teapot ripoff that you pull out of your ass.  The primary reason for this is because I'm very interested in the existence or non-existence of a creator, and no so much with a pink unicorn or a flying spaghetti monster.  Like I said, I'm open to both existence and non-existence concerning God.  Pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, and celestial teapots are poorly-constructed parodies, and everyone knows that.  They simply do not prove the points that their originators set out to prove. 

Okay, sorry for the tangent, but I felt as though it was necessary for clarification.  Please, let's focus on the word "deny".   


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jmm wrote: Well, as

jmm wrote:

Well, as expected, this thread has already gotten off topic. I didn't start this thread with the purpose of offering proofs for God's existence, I simply had a problem with the word "deny" in the blasphemy challenge. As a matter of fact, I've never to my knowledge tried to offer any proof for God's existence, choosing rather to focus on proving that logic is not the only means of knowledge acquisition - particularly the proposition form. I'm fully aware that no scientific proof for God exists, and I don't waste my time with that.

So anyway, in lieu of further plumbing the depths of Russell's teapot, is anyone interested in discussing the use of the word "deny" in the Blasphemy Challenge? To use the word just to mirror the biblical passage seems a little careless. I mean, the hair-splitting that goes on between theists and atheists on this site is mind-boggling, so it just surprises me that the RRS would so carelessly throw a word around just for the sake of parody.

And to those who say that I'm weird for not flat-out denying anything, I didn't say that I gave every conceivable possibility equal consideration, only that I would never fully 100% deny the possibility of something. I'm considerably and understandably more open to the existence or non-existence of God than I am the existence or non-existence of some silly Russell's teapot ripoff that you pull out of your ass. The primary reason for this is because I'm very interested in the existence or non-existence of a creator, and no so much with a pink unicorn or a flying spaghetti monster. Like I said, I'm open to both existence and non-existence concerning God. Pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, and celestial teapots are poorly-constructed parodies, and everyone knows that. They simply do not prove the points that their originators set out to prove.

Okay, sorry for the tangent, but I felt as though it was necessary for clarification. Please, let's focus on the word "deny".

slightlyoddguy had a decent response pertaining to the use of the word "deny,"  which you've just ignored so far.   Want to address that one before we get to more derailing?

 


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jmm wrote: And to those

jmm wrote:

And to those who say that I'm weird for not flat-out denying anything, I didn't say that I gave every conceivable possibility equal consideration, only that I would never fully 100% deny the possibility of something. I'm considerably and understandably more open to the existence or non-existence of God than I am the existence or non-existence of some silly Russell's teapot ripoff that you pull out of your ass. The primary reason for this is because I'm very interested in the existence or non-existence of a creator, and no so much with a pink unicorn or a flying spaghetti monster. Like I said, I'm open to both existence and non-existence concerning God. Pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, and celestial teapots are poorly-constructed parodies, and everyone knows that. They simply do not prove the points that their originators set out to prove.

Just thought I would point out that the flying spaghetti monster is a creator.  He was created to satirize the image of God to be ridiculous, because "what if God is a flying spaghetti monster?"

 It may not seem so, but it is a very deep, spiritual question Sticking out tongue

Quote:
Okay, sorry for the tangent, but I felt as though it was necessary for clarification. Please, let's focus on the word "deny".

Its quite simple.  None of them actually meant it, which is why even they (atheists) did not commit the ultimate sin.  God, being all knowing, wouldn't care what they said.  Only what they meant.  According to Christian theology, they could all still be saved as long as they are alive.

Of course, they did manage to demonstrate a very powerful point.  They are all definately atheists.


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slightlyoddguy wrote: jmm

slightlyoddguy wrote:

jmm wrote:
It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct?

Right. As in, a declaration that something is not true. I sort of see your point, but I think you're assuming a different definition, something more along the lines of this:

"to refuse to recognize or acknowledge; disown; disavow; repudiate" (from dictionary.com)

"Deny" in the Blasphemy Challenge is referring to the untruth of the Holy Spirit. Untruth meaning that it isn't true, meaning that it does not exist. You're arguing about semantics here, and even if you think the wording used in the challenege is ambiguous and unclear, you'd have to be pretty deluded to believe that everyone who made a video of themselves actually believed in the Holy Spirit but just wanted to damn themselves to eternal pain and suffering for a free video.

You say that I'm arguing about semantics as though the semantic aspect is unimportant.  If we can't be sure of the meanings of the words we utter, then how can we have any hope of expressing real truth?  It seems as though the word "semantics" has taken on a similar negative undertone as the word "rhetoric".  "You're arguing semantics", "He's just spewing rhetoric".  

I'm also not saying that everyone who took part in the Challenge actually believed in the Holy Spirit but nonetheless damned themselves to hell for a free video.  I'm not suggesting that at all.  Hell, my own belief in God and the Holy Spirit is shaky and non-traditional at very best.  But what I am suggesting is that the flat out denial of the existence of a certain unexperienced thing is just as fallacious and intellectually dishonest as the affirmation of said thing.  To say that there is definitively no God suggests that you have exhausted every possible means by which one could conceivably discover God, which is certainly not the case.  Knowledge claims based on currently observable phenomena are one thing, but knowledge claims based on currently unobservable phenomena are different.  I never once claimed knowledge of God, only a sneaking suspicion.  

I think this is really the root of what I am getting at.   


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I think we see your point,

I think we see your point, if you have a new idea for the next round of consciousness raisers let everyone know.

I think it'd be awesome to take the "Blasphemy Challenge" to the next level. Turn it into a gameshow of sorts. We can round up theists, ask them questions about their own religious texts and dogmas and find out what people know, or if they're just saying they believe to blend in with their local culture.

Or maybe, we make it a gameshow for unbelievers. Winners get cool prizes, but somehow there's a way to "win" an eternal trip to the lake of fire that no one seems phased by.


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jmm wrote: slightlyoddguy

jmm wrote:
slightlyoddguy wrote:

jmm wrote:
It's the word "deny" that keeps nagging me. A denial is a declaration of untruth, correct?

Right. As in, a declaration that something is not true. I sort of see your point, but I think you're assuming a different definition, something more along the lines of this:

"to refuse to recognize or acknowledge; disown; disavow; repudiate" (from dictionary.com)

"Deny" in the Blasphemy Challenge is referring to the untruth of the Holy Spirit. Untruth meaning that it isn't true, meaning that it does not exist. You're arguing about semantics here, and even if you think the wording used in the challenege is ambiguous and unclear, you'd have to be pretty deluded to believe that everyone who made a video of themselves actually believed in the Holy Spirit but just wanted to damn themselves to eternal pain and suffering for a free video.

Quote:
You say that I'm arguing about semantics as though the semantic aspect is unimportant. If we can't be sure of the meanings of the words we utter, then how can we have any hope of expressing real truth? It seems as though the word "semantics" has taken on a similar negative undertone as the word "rhetoric". "You're arguing semantics", "He's just spewing rhetoric".

I agree that semantics is important. One of the biggest problems I have with people is that they're so often ambiguous in their speech. But in this case, the wording used in the Blasphemy Challenge is clear enough that there shouldn't be any confusion.

Again, I understand where you're coming from, and you're probably right in thinking that some people who see any of the videos might think that we're using "deny" in the sense I posted above (to refuse to recognize...), but it's their own fault if they've misinterpreted the position.

Quote:
I'm also not saying that everyone who took part in the Challenge actually believed in the Holy Spirit but nonetheless damned themselves to hell for a free video. I'm not suggesting that at all. Hell, my own belief in God and the Holy Spirit is shaky and non-traditional at very best. But what I am suggesting is that the flat out denial of the existence of a certain unexperienced thing is just as fallacious and intellectually dishonest as the affirmation of said thing. To say that there is definitively no God suggests that you have exhausted every possible means by which one could conceivably discover God, which is certainly not the case. Knowledge claims based on currently observable phenomena are one thing, but knowledge claims based on currently unobservable phenomena are different. I never once claimed knowledge of God, only a sneaking suspicion.

I think this is really the root of what I am getting at.

But is the phrase "I deny the Holy Spirit" a knowledge claim? That depends on how you interpret "deny", of course, and if we use the definition "to declare the untruth of" we have to then define "declare". It isn't clear one way or the other whether or not the word is being used to announce a belief or a truth, and I think it's reasonable to say it can go either way.

Also, there are those who deny the existence of the Judeo-Christian god because of his contradictory nature (see: The problem of evil.)

The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates


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jmm, the bottom line as I

jmm, the bottom line as I see it is this.  Nobody goes around saying that people who deny other things are actually affirming them.  The only time I ever hear this argument is when theists are actually trying to backdoor their way into some kind of positive argument for god.

While there may be a smidgen of dictionary approved semantic truth to what you're saying, it really doesn't matter.  Unlike our actual arguments, the blasphemy challenge is a gimmick.  It's not meant to change anybody's mind.  It's meant to garner attention.

Furthermore, when I was a kid, and preachers used to preach about the sin of blasphemy, they used the words, "Denying the holy spirit."  These words have resonance with Christians.  That's why we use them.

Just say to yourself a hundred times:  "It's advertising, not an argument.... It's advertising, not an argument.  It's advertising, not an argument..."

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

Quote:

Why can't I have an intelligent discussion with an atheist?

I don't know, the common denominator in all of those discussions is you.

Oh, snap...

I've got to remember that one.  However, in jmm's defense, he's ok.  Have a look at THIS THREAD.  Jmm is the only theist in recent memory who's actually admitted to learning from a debate here, and for that, I hold him in pretty high esteem.

 However, in defense of all the irate atheists who've responded, this topic has been worn down like a stick of butter in a sandstorm.

 

 

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Forgive me for being a

Forgive me for being a prick today, I'm on a decongestant.  They turn me into an animal.  


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How about an infidel

How about an infidel challenge?  You could all get on youtube and name various stuffed animals in your house Mohammed for the camera.


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jmm wrote: Well, as

jmm wrote:

Well, as expected, this thread has already gotten off topic. I didn't start this thread with the purpose of offering proofs for God's existence, I simply had a problem with the word "deny" in the blasphemy challenge. As a matter of fact, I've never to my knowledge tried to offer any proof for God's existence, choosing rather to focus on proving that logic is not the only means of knowledge acquisition - particularly the proposition form. I'm fully aware that no scientific proof for God exists, and I don't waste my time with that.

So anyway, in lieu of further plumbing the depths of Russell's teapot, is anyone interested in discussing the use of the word "deny" in the Blasphemy Challenge? To use the word just to mirror the biblical passage seems a little careless. I mean, the hair-splitting that goes on between theists and atheists on this site is mind-boggling, so it just surprises me that the RRS would so carelessly throw a word around just for the sake of parody.

And to those who say that I'm weird for not flat-out denying anything, I didn't say that I gave every conceivable possibility equal consideration, only that I would never fully 100% deny the possibility of something. I'm considerably and understandably more open to the existence or non-existence of God than I am the existence or non-existence of some silly Russell's teapot ripoff that you pull out of your ass. The primary reason for this is because I'm very interested in the existence or non-existence of a creator, and no so much with a pink unicorn or a flying spaghetti monster. Like I said, I'm open to both existence and non-existence concerning God. Pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, and celestial teapots are poorly-constructed parodies, and everyone knows that. They simply do not prove the points that their originators set out to prove.

Okay, sorry for the tangent, but I felt as though it was necessary for clarification. Please, let's focus on the word "deny".

All my comments to you were focused on the word deny. What does it mean to deny something's existence? It is to say that said thing does not exist. To require people to have reasons for not thinking some unevidenced proposition exists is ridiculous.

This is directly in response to your problem with people using the word deny. Atheists are well within their intellectual rights to deny the existence of this thing which has been proposed which there is no reason to think might exist. That you can not see that what I am saying directly applies to your little problem with the use of the word deny is ridiculous. Surely you can't actually be that dumb. 

That you may consider the existence of a god a more interesting question than that of a celestial teapot is irrelevant. Whether or not atheists should use the word deny when referencing the existence of the 'god' non-concept has nothing to do with what you or anyone else finds interesting. We are discussing whether or not it is intellectually honest for the atheist to use the word deny when speaking to the existence of a/any god/s.

That you think Russell's teapot is a poorly constructed parody shows that you fail to understand what it demonstrates, something one would assume any thinking person could understand. There is absolutely no point of distinction between the teapot question and the god question when considered from the proposed perspective. I don't blame you for finding pink unicorns and the teapot silly. Such things are considered silly for a reason. Do you know what that reason might be? Its the same reason 'a god exists' is a silly proposition. 

Anyway, I have attempted to explain to you several times now why it is not intellectually dishonest for the atheist to deny the existence of a god. You have in return whined about the silliness of a brilliant philosopher's thought experiment, been dishonest by denying that you deny the existence of a myriad of things based solely on lack of evidence for thinking they might exist as everyone does, and been unable to comprehend something as simple as the fact that saying the atheist should not use the word deny because it is intellectually dishonest is shifting the burden of proof onto the atheist. I think I've found the root of problem you have with having intelligent conversations with atheists. Bye. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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I wonder if we all put

I wonder if we all put aside the oppositional pragmatism for just one moment and had a look at what is collectively being said in this thread...  what do we come to....?

In summation:

1. Justin alleges, and to some degree (although it doesn't go to the context of the blasphemy challenge, because it was, for all intents and purposes, a loosely symbolic statement, not a postural one) an atheist can agree, 'denial' has at least some semantically justifiable footing in the affirmative.

2.  Then to some extent (that is, in a postural statement, which we have established is not necessarily descriptive of the blasphemy challenge) we can all agree that outright denial of a thing which is (especially) or might be within reason, knowable, amounts to intellectual dishonesty.

Does this reduce the form of the ultimate unforgivable sin proclaimed by the New Testament Bible to a general case of Intellectual Dishonesty?

Thoughts? 

 

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Eloise wrote: I wonder if

Eloise wrote:

I wonder if we all put aside the oppositional pragmatism for just one moment and had a look at what is collectively being said in this thread... what do we come to....?

In summation:

1. Justin alleges, and to some degree (although it doesn't go to the context of the blasphemy challenge, because it was, for all intents and purposes, a loosely symbolic statement, not a postural one) an atheist can agree, 'denial' has at least some semantically justifiable footing in the affirmative.

2. Then to some extent (that is, in a postural statement, which we have established is not necessarily descriptive of the blasphemy challenge) we can all agree that outright denial of a thing which is (especially) or might be within reason, knowable, amounts to intellectual dishonesty.

Does this reduce the form of the ultimate unforgivable sin proclaimed by the New Testament Bible to a general case of Intellectual Dishonesty?

Thoughts?

 

I completely disagree with point two. The extent to which something holds the possibility of, at some future time, being knowable, or becoming known (something which in itself is most often unknowable until that future time) is not necessarily important to whether or not someone is within intellectual rights to deny its existence. To claim such a thing is to hold what we consider knowledge, or what it means to know something, to some unattainable criteria of infallibility.

I deny the existence of the microscopic mountain goat which periodically lives in my hair. I am well within the bounds of intellectual honesty in doing so. If at some time in the future I am at the doctor and he is looking in my hair with a microscope and says, "Hey, did you know that there is a mountain goat in here," that would not change the fact that I had been well within my intellectual rights to deny its existence at that previous time. By the nature of knowledge it is always possible to be wrong. Intellectual honesty places no burden of infallibility on the claim. To require such a thing is ridiculous. It requires us to assume a position of knowing nothing.     

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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stuntgibbon wrote: How

stuntgibbon wrote:
How about an infidel challenge? You could all get on youtube and name various stuffed animals in your house Mohammed for the camera.

 

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  ROFLMAO!

I just renamed my Dogbert stuffed animal to "Muhammedbert"...

 

-HCG 


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HC Grindon

HC Grindon wrote:
 

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! ROFLMAO!

I just renamed my Dogbert stuffed animal to "Muhammedbert"...

I call my cat Mohammed now too, haha.   The prophet commands me to clean out the litter box.  Sad


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You know what?  I like all

You know what?  I like all of you folks, but Jesus Fucking Christ on a Fucking Pogo Stick?!?!!!  It's a freaking commercial!

Valium.  It's good for breakfast.

 

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Just to be safe Christian

Just to be safe Christian OP,i consider my blasphemy of the Invisible Spectre to be a living one. I live my life every denying and living without a belief in your "Holy Spirt",its existence,and "his" abilities of raping young Jewish women.

Nero(in response to a Youth pastor) wrote:

You are afraid and should be thus.  We look to eradicate your god from everything but history books.  We bring rationality and clear thought to those who choose lives of ignorance.  We are the blazing, incandescent brand that will leave an "A" so livid, so scarlet on your mind that you will not go an hour without reflecting on reality.


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Raki wrote: Just to be safe

Raki wrote:
Just to be safe Christian OP,i consider my blasphemy of the Invisible Spectre to be a living one. I live my life every denying and living without a belief in your "Holy Spirt",its existence,and "his" abilities of raping young Jewish women.

You're a veritable James Dean.   


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Jmm wrote: As it stands,

Jmm wrote:
As it stands, the "I deny the Holy Spirit" portion of the Blasphemy Challenge seems to be as intellectually dishonest as when the theist says "I affirm the existence of the Holy Spirit."

Equal in intellectual dishonesty?

I would accept the claim that the atheist could state "totally ignorant of and therefore reject the notion of" rather than succinctly deny the holy ghost; for the finicky.

But, it is a rank above in foul trickery when a person maintains a belief in the face of overwhelmingly contrary evidence. The stinking lie is alluded to here:

Jmm wrote:
I'm fully aware that no scientific proof for God exists, and I don't waste my time with that.

To wit, man has scientific knowledge none of which suggests the reality of the holy ghost.

Hence I pedantically disallow the use of the highlighted 'as' in the opening quote.

The point you miss about the parodies is that the pneumatomachiavellian (devious combators against the spirit) hold that the affirmative of a steaming celestial teapot is as intellectually rotton as the existence of the insubstantial holy spirit.

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


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Vessel wrote: You have

Vessel wrote:

You have done nothing but disguised an attempt at shifting the burden of proof. Do you not deny the existence of a nearly infinite number of things which you have absilutely zero reason to think might exist? Do you deny the existence of the microscopic mountain goat that periodically lives in your hair? Is it intellectually dishonest to deny such a thing?

Woah, woah.  You're nearly treading on an Iruka trademark.  Remember, the microscopic, lime green orangutans that live in armpit hair were my idea. Eye-wink

Thank you.  I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread, already in progress. 

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DrTerwilliker

DrTerwilliker wrote:

Matt,

That's a really cute cat. Looks a good deal like mine. I love calicos!

I like them, too.  I like them much, much, much better than this very old "argument" against the blasphemy challenge.  jmm, I thought surely you'd seen this "argument" addressed, as long as you've been here.  Sometimes it gets tiresome having to address the same thing over and over again.  We try not to get snippy, but often don't succeed.

Now, as for calicos, my mother took care of one I named "Kali" after the Hindu goddess and my favorite way to play Descent over the Internet many years ago.  It adopted her.  My belief is that cats don't belong outside because 1) they're detrimental to native wildlife and 2) it's very dangerous for the cat.  (If you disagree, probably this isn't the place to discuss it.  Maybe another thread?)  Anyway, this was a very cool cat, but a group of coyotes moved into the area and began taking out the cats.  A couple of times people actually saw coyotes with cats in their mouths.  Kali disappeared.

Back when my family first moved into the area, it was mostly wild country and we often heard coyotes howling.  No one hears them anymore, but they're still there.  I think they've learned to shut up.

Now, wasn't that much more interesting than debating this tired old argument against the blasphemy challenge?  It was for me. Smiling 

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stuntgibbon wrote: How

stuntgibbon wrote:
How about an infidel challenge? You could all get on youtube and name various stuffed animals in your house Mohammed for the camera.

You know, it may seem silly, but I've been thinking of naming my teddy bear.  Cool idea.  "Muhammed" seems lame.  There needs to be more...maybe "Tedhammed" or some such. 

Yes, I am derailing this thread.  jmm, I'm sorry, but you could have added your thoughts on one of the other six billion threads on this subject.  I'm finding it very hard to take you seriously. Sad  I apologize, sort of, but not enough to take you seriously. Sad

 

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Iruka Naminori

Iruka Naminori wrote:

stuntgibbon wrote:
How about an infidel challenge? You could all get on youtube and name various stuffed animals in your house Mohammed for the camera.

Yes, I am derailing this thread.  jmm, I'm sorry, but you could have added your thoughts on one of the other six billion threads on this subject.  I'm finding it very hard to take you seriously. Sad  I apologize, sort of, but not enough to take you seriously. Sad

Was it really that big of a problem for me to start a new thread about a specific question that I had?  Sure, I could have dug up an old dead horse of a thread on the blasphemy challenge, but I really wanted to focus on the word deny.  It's obvious to me why you guys don't want a specific thread on this - the inclusion of the word "deny" in the challenge is...irrational.  You can go on about parody all you want, but you know good and well that the whole thing contradicts your own rigid standards concerning the discourse of theists.  That's cool, though.  I'd only split hairs with theists if I were you too.   


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jmm wrote: Was it really

jmm wrote:

Was it really that big of a problem for me to start a new thread about a specific question that I had? Sure, I could have dug up an old dead horse of a thread on the blasphemy challenge, but I really wanted to focus on the word deny. It's obvious to me why you guys don't want a specific thread on this - the inclusion of the word "deny" in the challenge is...irrational. You can go on about parody all you want, but you know good and well that the whole thing contradicts your own rigid standards concerning the discourse of theists. That's cool, though. I'd only split hairs with theists if I were you too.

I apologize for the tone of my last reply to you, though it was, in light of your tone in reply to my original response to the OP, perhapes justifiable, it was not at all productive. The problem is that I raise a perfectly legitimate counter to your claim that to use the word 'deny' is intellectual dishonest and, instead of addressing it, you dismiss it without showing how it is inaccurate. And now, you continue in the same vein, obviously bent on sticking to your point without addressing the issue raised. 

In the hope of, somehow, bringing about fruitful discourse from this thread I will again ask, how is it intellectually dishonest to deny the existence of something for which one finds absolutely no evidence? Do you actually not see that it is shifting the burden of proof (if it helps to see what I am saying, consider it shifting the burden of justification (why do I need to justify denying the existence of something which is proposed to exist without reasonable justification?)) to require one to have infallible knowledge of non-existence to deny the existence of something?

There are countless propositions which all people deny for this reason. It is actually the only reason to deny propositions, aside from incoherence brought about by something such as internal contradiction (which we won't apply since we are discussing a philosophical god and not a theological one). The only way it would be intellectually dishonest of the atheist to deny the existence of a god would be if there was reasonable justification for god belief, which is exactly what most atheists claim to have never seen.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins