Logical Challenge for an Atheist

xarisumin
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Logical Challenge for an Atheist

Here's a logical challenge:

 First, an introduction: From the perspective of logic and philosophy, the only position that can be taken without evidence is agnosticism. That is to say, agnosticism with an open mind is the only default position.

 The atheists on this site essentially are arguing from this form categorical proposition: God is one who does not exist.

 What proofs can you offer for this proposition?

(Remember, that in logic, an argument against a position is never an argument for a position)

(Also remember, that in logic, a syllogism is only true if its constituent parts are true - and provable through inductive reasoning)


zarathustra
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Please point out one

Please point out one instance in these forums where someone has sought to prove that god does not exist.

Agnosticism is indeed the default position in absence of evidence. That said, the number of things we have to be agnostic about is infinite. But to use Richard Dawkins' example, we are all agnostic about the tooth fairy. Noone bothers to say "Let's keep an open mind on the tooth fairy, we may just not have the evidence yet". There is no reason to treat the concept of god any differently.

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First, an introduction:

First, an introduction: From the perspective of logic and philosophy, the only position that can be taken without evidence is agnosticism. That is to say, agnosticism with an open mind is the only default position.

That's a technical argument though, and not terribly pertinent to everyday life. I hate that there's a term for not believing your culture's preferred myths, but I'd be classified as a weak atheist, or even an agnostic, only for the fact (in purely theoretical terms) that I don't absolutely deny the possibility of... well, anything. You can't prove a negative. That's what the flying teapot argument and the Flying Spaghetti Monster were both conceived in address of.

[...]What proofs can you offer for this proposition?

Prove a teapot isn't orbiting the earth.


Strafio
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Most of RRS are

Most of RRS are agnostics.
An agnostic is someone who believes that God is unknown or unknowable. Like Zarathustra said, we are agnostic on an infinite amount of ideas like faeries, invisible unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters. No reason why we should believe in them. A lack of evidence for God is a good enough reason to lack belief in said God, which is what atheism is.

That's not to say that God can't be disproved.
It might be that the God concept is incoherent.
An example of an incoherent concept is a "square circle".
If a circle cannot be square shaped by definition so we have an internal contradiction. The concept no longer makes sense and can not refer to anything - it is practically meaningless.
That means, the word 'God' might be meaningless.
This would mean that the claim 'God exists' cannot be true.

However, it would be presumptious of me to presume I know what you mean by the word God. Maybe I've just been given a bad explanation on what the word means by someone who didn't really know what they were talking about. Tell us what you mean by the word God and we'll see if we can make coherent sense out of it! Smile


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Thanks for explaining how

Thanks for explaining how logic works. I needed someone who presumably uses one piece of source material for their entire thesis on the universe to lay it out for me.

While I'm not a scientist and explaining the science would require an entire book, I can recommend you check out Victor Stenger's "God: The Failed Hypothesis" where he explains the science and that while we might not be able to disprove the existence of a god, science has reached a point where our understanding of natural laws and the universe contradict the god(s) described in the holy books of the 3 Abrahamic religions.

You see, how science works is one develops the hypothesis first, then test it again and again, and then only after passing the tests many times does the hypothesis graduate into a theory. Theists who claim to use science to back up their supernatural claims make the mistake of performing this process in reverse. They start with the premise that God definitely does exist, and then they set out looking for evidence that might support that premise. Any evidence that might incidently support their claim (or appear to) gets reported, while the mountains of evidence that doesn't support the premise gets buried. This is not science; in fact, it's a perversion of the scientific method.

So to answer your question, while it's impossible to prove a negative or rather disprove something, it is very possible to find evidence that simply does not support a premise. Such is the case of god. No evidence exists, nor ever did exist, for the existence of any god. While some god-like entity that actually obeys the laws of physics may exist out there somewhere, we'll just have to wait until there's evidence that could reasonably support that existence before devoting any more time to this consistently failed hypothesis.


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xarisumin wrote:

xarisumin wrote:
From the perspective of logic and philosophy, the only position that can be taken without evidence is agnosticism. That is to say, agnosticism with an open mind is the only default position.

If you take agnosticism to mean "I don't know yet" then I agree it's the default position. If you take (as I do) agnosticism to mean "I can have no knowledge of God" then I think you need to explain why it's the default position.

xarisumin wrote:
The atheists on this site essentially are arguing from this form categorical proposition: God is one who does not exist.

What proofs can you offer for this proposition?

I don't categorically say a god doesn't exist. I don't believe in a god. I think disbelief in a god should be the default position. I don't need to offer proofs. Theist should offer proofs to try to convince me to believe.

xarisumin wrote:
(Remember, that in logic, an argument against a position is never an argument for a position)

No, not never. If the situation is a dichotomy, i.e. there are only two positions that are mutually exclusive, then an argument against one position is an argument for the other position.

xarisumin wrote:
(Also remember, that in logic, a syllogism is only true if its constituent parts are true - and provable through inductive reasoning)

A syllogism is a (kind of) logical argument. Arguments are not said to be true or false, propositions are. Arguments can be valid or invalid, and the validity of an argument shouldn't depend on the truth values of the constituent propositions.

Edit: I missed that last sentence of yours. Syllogisms and inductive reasoning are two different things. Namely a syllogism is a deductive argument, not inductive.


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I take an agnostic position

I take an agnostic position to God when we refer to God as any sort of vague philosophical proposition, like Pantheism. However, certian concepts in the lexicon which are attached to God like "supernatural" are unacceptable to me as a scientist, because when dealing with a hypothesis, I need clear-cut definitions that are not illogical.

But towards the Gods of religion and mythology, these are ridiculous. I could make up any deity without any evidence and claim that you have faith it is not true. The Gods of religion are ridiculous.

It seems that God is the only concept where you must adopt "I don't know" as the default stance towards no evidence. In nearly every other field of human endeavor, we would simply dismiss such a concept as ridiculous if it was not supported by evidence.

Take a look at this:

First, I will tell you some stories.

Story #1:

Several thousand years ago, one of the ancient tribes of Jeruselam was massacred by another tribe of Israel, and the victors fled from Jeruslam and somehow managed to arrive in America, where they buried Gold plates in Jacksonville Missouri. As ounishment God turned their skin red. These plates were revealed by an angel called Moroni who was a native American with white skin to a man who dug them up several hundred years ago. They were the Gospels of the Nephites. These writings were translated by ancient rocks called seer stones, and compiled into a book.

Now may I ask you a question: Do you have faith that this story is not true?

Next story:

Praying alone in a cave, a man suddenly found an angel standing before him. This angel commanded to the man to recite written words which he presented. The man protested, being illiterate, but eventually he realized that through God's glory he must recite. So he fell to his knees and did so. Over the next ten years he receieved many more revelations, and in fact, he journeyed to heaven on a winged horse to discuss prayer with Jesus, Moses, David and Adam. At first, almost no-one believed him, but eventually, they realized he was so sincere and intent, and of such accurate recollection, that they decided he was a man of truth. Thus they wrote down his words, messages and revelations.

Now: Do you have faith that this story is false.

OK.

The first story was the story of Mormonism, the second was the story of Islam.

Whenever I ask this question, almost everyone replies that they do not have faith that these are false. This is because they are ridiculous stories. The default position for an unsubstantiated assertion without evidence and disbelief. The only reason you say we have faith is because so many people are Christian. Do you have faith that cultists are lunatics?

 Interestingly enough, sometimes what I do is not tell the stories. Instead I ask people if they have faith that Mormonism is false. They almost always respond no. This is because it is so ridiculous and almost no-one believes it.

However, when I ask people if they have faith that Islam is false, they respond yes. This is because Islam is older, has many more followers, and is much more respected. There is no rational basis for any of the claims. The judgement, no matter how you construe it, is extremely subjective.

 

Religion has this bizarre formula whereby things become more accepted as time passes that were once myths. Nobody here believes the Greek myths of Athena or Medusa, nor does anyone in Greece. But stories that were simply made up over the centuries that seem like nothing more than good fiction, like Immaculate Conception and six day creation, or the idea of God, for some reason, because they were made up along time ago, are accepted as true. This explains why many regard Mormonism as insane. Joseph Smith received his revelations in the early 1800s...but Catholicism, which believes equally ridiculous things, is somehow more credible to the point where it has one billion followers. Every religion has concepts that seem to be pulled from thin air, that were simply meshed into truth by nothing but time with no evidence whatsoever. In Christianity, there is the Trinity and the ascension of St Mary, In Judaism the strange obsession with the Demiurge verses the High God.

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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I hate having to repeat

I hate having to repeat this over and over again so  I will just use one Word.

 

FALSIFIABILITY!!!!

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


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Well I'm an atheist, not an

Well I'm an atheist, not an agnostic - There is no god, there are no fairies in the garden, nor ghosts in graveyards, fire is not one of four elements, women weren't created from Adam's spare rib.  The supernatural is not real.

''In logic, a syllogism is only true if its constituent parts are true - and provable through inductive reasoning''.  Thanks for the lesson Professor, but inductive reasoning is utterly irrelevant.  You cannot 'prove' that Jupiter does not exist, but the evidence of every scrap of natural observation and experience makes it vanishingly unlikely.  The same is true of Yahweh.


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Quote: First, an

Quote:
First, an introduction: From the perspective of logic and philosophy, the only position that can be taken without evidence is agnosticism. That is to say, agnosticism with an open mind is the only default position.

You are wrong.

There's no proof that you're not living in a Matrix. But that doesn't mean that you are. This is the basis of the "burden of proof". The one who claims something that isn't obvious must prove it. Otherwise, if I go and say "This guy murdered my mom", it will be him that will have to prove the otherwise, which is at least illogical.

A proof "against" your god is a very simple problem of plurality, observation and analogy: all sets of gods that are and were are mutually exclusive. You can't have both Odin and Zeus, buth Yahweh and Vishnu, etc. This is the problem of plurality. The problem of observation is that if we are to take all the gods that have ever been, we observe that 1. they don't differ much in the basic claims (only perhaps in the language used) and 2. most are defunct, as nobody seriously believes in them anymore. The problem of analogy is this one: since the current gods have given absolutely no different claims, none more proof... in other words, since they are all the same, basically, and since most of these gods have been proven to be just imagination, we can safely say that thehighest chances are that even today's gods are imagination as well.

Since we have no way of objectively ending up proving that one god exists, others don't, and since there is absolutely no way of philosophically binding any of the current gods with reality, we are left with the problem of chance. And chances are pretty slim for your god. Whichever it may be.

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Repeat after me: The burden

Repeat after me:

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

 

 

 

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

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Hambydammit wrote: Repeat

Hambydammit wrote:

Repeat after me:

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.


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xarisumin wrote: The

xarisumin wrote:

The atheists on this site essentially are arguing from this form categorical proposition: God is one who does not exist.

What proofs can you offer for this proposition?

The Theists on this site essentially are arguing from this form categorical proposition: The sun is a star that does not exist.

  What proofs can you offer for this proposition?

 

Now, do you know what a strawman argument is?

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Repeat

Hambydammit wrote:

Repeat after me:

The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

 

The burden of proof is ASHTRAYS on the claimant.

No, dammit!

The bird den of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

ARGH

The burden of proof is NEVER on the claimant.

THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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Quote: The burden of proof

Quote:

The burden of proof is ASHTRAYS on the claimant.

No, dammit!

The bird den of proof is ALWAYS on the claimant.

ARGH

The burden of proof is NEVER on the claimant.

THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE

Laughing

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

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xarisumin wrote: Here's a

xarisumin wrote:

Here's a logical challenge:

First, an introduction: From the perspective of logic and philosophy, the only position that can be taken without evidence is agnosticism. That is to say, agnosticism with an open mind is the only default position.

The atheists on this site essentially are arguing from this form categorical proposition: God is one who does not exist.

I trust that you've been corrected enough times to realize that most of the atheists here are agnostic atheists/weak atheists (those who do not believe), and not strong atheists (those who hold that there are deductive disproofs of god).

If you want a deductive argument against the god of christian theism, just look up the problem of evil or the problem of non belief.

Then you respond with 'free will' and then we report back to you how 'free will' cannot absolve an omnipotent being of his necessary perfect responsibility for his own creation.... and then you just repeat the already refuted free will argument until one of us tires.... 

 

Quote:
 

What proofs can you offer for this proposition?

If you want proofs, seek out a strong atheist, or just read what I said above and do me a favor and just pretend that we've gone through the argument already...

Quote:
 

(Remember, that in logic, an argument against a position is never an argument for a position)


Can you please go tell this to every creationist you meet?

Quote:
 

(Also remember, that in logic, a syllogism is only true if its constituent parts are true - and provable through inductive reasoning)

If the propositions in a'syllogism' were inductive in nature, then you'd have an inductive argument, and not a syllogism at all. You'd only be able to hold that your argument was probably true.

A syllogism deals with categories, deductive statements. They lead to tautologies.... they don't really prove anything to anyone other than the 'choir'.....

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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xarisumin wrote: First,

xarisumin wrote:

First, an introduction: From the perspective of logic and philosophy, the only position that can be taken without evidence is agnosticism. That is to say, agnosticism with an open mind is the only default position.

Only if you are concerned with Ultimate Truth, that is, Truth that exists independent of perception and error.  Since the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment proves that we can never know whether or not we know Ultimate Truth, this sort of philosophy is nothing but a colossal waste of time.

 On the other hand, if we accept the fact that knowledge is what we know and nothing else, then we are free to reject the existence of things for which there is no evidence. What would be the benefit of believing in unknown things anyway? The first thing people always try to do when contemplating the unknown is to define it, label it and describe it anyway. There's no need to pretend to be fascinated with the unknown, and therefore no need to be an agnostic. 

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