Brian and Kelly: Please explain what you mean by "theism is irrational"

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Brian and Kelly: Please explain what you mean by "theism is irrational"

Brian and Kelly have claimed that theism is irrational. I’ve asked them to clarify what they mean by this claim. Now, they don’t have to explain the very nature of rationality itself; that would be an unfair demand. My request is modest. Just provide the rough definition of rationality that you’re working with when you claim that theism is irrational. You can do this by filling in the blank of the following schema:

A person’s belief in some proposition is rational if and only if, roughly, _________________________________________________________________.


I want to know what exactly Brian and Kelly would write here. They make the claim about theism being irrational. What precisely do they have in mind when they say this? So far they haven’t answered, and no doubt this is due to their busy schedules. As we’ve been waiting for their response, Scottmax (in another thread) has tried to answer my question from his own perspective. Here’s his answer:

"A person's belief in some proposition p is rational if and only if, roughly, all propositions supporting that belief are non-contradictory and all objections proposed for that belief can likewise be answered without contradiction. "


I am a theist. That is, I believe in the proposition God exists. So am I rational or not, given Scottmax’s definition? Well, I cannot find any contradictions among the set of propositions in favor of that belief, nor have I asserted any contradictions in response to objections. So it appears to me that I've satisfied the conditions in Scottmax’s definition; given his view of rationality, he shouldn’t hesitate to count my belief in theism as rational. Of course, it doesn't follow from the fact that one is rational in believing that God exists, that God in fact exists. People have rational but false beliefs all the time. As I stated in another thread, the truth value of a proposition is to be distinguished from the reasons one has for believing in that proposition. Remember, what we’re concerned with here is not whether God exists, but whether it’s rational to believe he exists. So far it seems to me that Scottmax should say that I’m rational for believing in God, given that I’ve conformed to his view of rationality. I await his objections to this.

Tilberian also attempted to answer the question. I cannot hold my theistic belief on rational grounds, says Tilberian, “because there is no evidence for God and God as described in all theologies violates logic and known natural law.” But it’s unclear what Tilberian means by “evidence”. Under what conditions, according to Tilberian, does something count as good evidence for something else? It’s also unclear what he means by “violates logic and known natural law”. So I’ll wait for him to be more precise before we discuss his view of rationality.

Cheers,

 

W. Gavagai

 

P.S. For the interested reader, I have provided a list of some contemporary analytic philosophers and logicians who are theists. The list includes Alexander Pruss, Peter Forrest, Michael Bergmann, William Vallicella, Lynn Rudder Baker, Robert Koons, Douglas Groothius, Nicholas Rescher, Bas van Fraasen, Timothy McGrew, John Hawthorne, Dean Zimmerman, Hud Hudson, Richard Davis, Eleonore Stump, Robin Collins, Peter van Inwagen, William Alston, Keith Derose, Michael Sudduth. There are hundreds more. (Send me a private message for more resources.) The reason I provide this list is so we have something against which we can test the definitions different people proffer. A plausible definition should be such that if we were to apply it as a rule of thumb to the relevant theistic beliefs expressed in the writings of these philosophers, we would be able to legitimately classify the philosophers as irrational to the extent that they hold those theistic beliefs.


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Sorry, I didn't take the

Sorry, I didn't take the time to read the post, just the title....

 Theism is irrational show: http://www.briansapient.com/carrier/RRS_Show24_64k.mp3

Feel free to download and listen to us discuss it.

 

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Hope you don't mind me

Hope you don't mind me trying to answer you.

God can't be proven true, atleast not by physical evidence, most people agree on that.

Theists still thinks god fills some role in the universe though, and base their life on that belief.

What is irrational about that belief is that those questions where the idea of god fills a "gap", doesn't become simpler by doing so.

Saying that god created the universe still leaves you with the pussle that is god. Where did it come from, how does it work. what is god?.

The theory of god only refers the one making the question onto a whole new series of questions that cant be answered.

Hence god is not a good answer and thus irrational.


"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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Gavagai wrote: Brian and

Gavagai wrote:

Brian and Kelly have claimed that theism is irrational. I’ve asked them to clarify what they mean by this claim. Now, they don’t have to explain the very nature of rationality itself; that would be an unfair demand. My request is modest. Just provide the rough definition of rationality that you’re working with when you claim that theism is irrational. You can do this by filling in the blank of the following schema:

A person’s belief in some proposition is rational if and only if, roughly, _________________________________________________________________.


I want to know what exactly Brian and Kelly would write here. They make the claim about theism being irrational. What precisely do they have in mind when they say this? So far they haven’t answered, and no doubt this is due to their busy schedules. As we’ve been waiting for their response, Scottmax (in another thread) has tried to answer my question from his own perspective. Here’s his answer:

"A person's belief in some proposition p is rational if and only if, roughly, all propositions supporting that belief are non-contradictory and all objections proposed for that belief can likewise be answered without contradiction. "

That would pretty well cover it. Belief in something without evidence or with evidence that is contradictory is irrational.

Gavagai wrote:


I am a theist. That is, I believe in the proposition God exists. So am I rational or not, given Scottmax’s definition?

No. At least, not as far as your belief in god is concerned. It's likely you are rational in other matters, and by the language and wording of your post you seem to be.

Gavagai wrote:
Well, I cannot find any contradictions among the set of propositions in favor of that belief, nor have I asserted any contradictions in response to objections. So it appears to me that I've satisfied the conditions in Scottmax’s definition; given his view of rationality, he shouldn’t hesitate to count my belief in theism as rational.

There are plenty of contradictions. Biggest being that the word "god" is incoherant and undefined in the first place. But if you want to define your god, I or another can show you how it is irrational to believe in it.

Gavagai wrote:

Of course, it doesn't follow from the fact that one is rational in believing that God exists, that God in fact exists.

No it wouldn't. But it isn't rational to believe in a god either.

Gavagai wrote:
People have rational but false beliefs all the time.

Very true. I doubt there are many exceptions to this.

Gavagai wrote:
As I stated in another thread, the truth value of a proposition is to be distinguished from the reasons one has for believing in that proposition.

That is the opposite of what should happen. The truth value of a proposition is dependant on the reasons why it could be true, or false.

Gavagai wrote:
Remember, what we’re concerned with here is not whether God exists, but whether it’s rational to believe he exists. So far it seems to me that Scottmax should say that I’m rational for believing in God, given that I’ve conformed to his view of rationality. I await his objections to this.

You have not demonstrated in any way that your belief in a god is rational. You haven't given one single reason to explain your belief.

Gavagai wrote:

Tilberian also attempted to answer the question. I cannot hold my theistic belief on rational grounds, says Tilberian, “because there is no evidence for God and God as described in all theologies violates logic and known natural law.” But it’s unclear what Tilberian means by “evidence”.

How is it unclear what evidence means? Here's a simple definition of the word:

basis for belief or disbelief; knowledge on which to base belief; "the evidence that smoking causes lung cancer is very compelling"

Gavagai wrote:
Under what conditions, according to Tilberian, does something count as good evidence for something else?

Good evidence would be evidence that is not contradictory to other evidence, can be tested and repeated with the same results, and that doesn't depend on evidence which depends on it(ie: god is true because of the bible, the bible is true because of god: this is a circular argument and proves nothing).

Gavagai wrote:
It’s also unclear what he means by “violates logic and known natural law”. So I’ll wait for him to be more precise before we discuss his view of rationality.

Logic and the laws of physics are well known and well established. There is nothing to be more precise about.

Gavagai wrote:

Cheers,

 

W. Gavagai

 

P.S. For the interested reader, I have provided a list of some contemporary analytic philosophers and logicians who are theists. The list includes Alexander Pruss, Peter Forrest, Michael Bergmann, William Vallicella, Lynn Rudder Baker, Robert Koons, Douglas Groothius, Nicholas Rescher, Bas van Fraasen, Timothy McGrew, John Hawthorne, Dean Zimmerman, Hud Hudson, Richard Davis, Eleonore Stump, Robin Collins, Peter van Inwagen, William Alston, Keith Derose, Michael Sudduth. There are hundreds more.

Well you didn't name anyone I immediately recognize as an idiot, so that's a step in the right direction. However, this is an appeal to authority and popularity at best, and proves or suggests nothing.

Gavagai wrote:
The reason I provide this list is so we have something against which we can test the definitions different people proffer. A plausible definition should be such that if we were to apply it as a rule of thumb to the relevant theistic beliefs expressed in the writings of these philosophers, we would be able to legitimately classify the philosophers as irrational to the extent that they hold those theistic beliefs.

Anyone who believes in a god is irrational unless they have verifiable evidence of that god. If someone had that evidence, it would have surfaced centuries ago. Therefore all of those people are irrational insofar as their belief in an incoherant higher power exists.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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I think that thraxas gave a

I think that thraxas gave a good definition of irrational.

thraxas wrote:
Ir·ra·tion·al /ɪˈræʃənl/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[i-rash-uh-nl] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –adjective
1.without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason.
2.without or deprived of normal mental clarity or sound judgment.
3.not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical: irrational argument
Indeed if someone is consistently presented with evidence and they themselves cannot shore up any proof of theism YET still believe in it blindly - that is illogical and total rejection of reason.
I think that is a good definition.

Tilberian wrote:
Strafio wrote:
I think that theism can be justified pragmatically, that given a rational method someone can find themselves concluding theism, atleast temporarily. Ofcourse, this means that I reject positivism, that we should never believe something until they have been proved. Anyway, I'm supposed to be revising for an exam on Friday so I'll come back to this after then.

I think all this amounts to rational grounds for holding a belief in God. I don't think it makes the belief itself rational, or defensible on rational grounds.


This is quite interesting.
It means that a theist might be rational and his believing in God might be rational but the belief itself is not rational. To me, evaluating a belief as rational/irrational goes against my intuition on how the word ought to be used. For me, 'rationality' reflects the attitude of the believer rather than the success of his 'calculations'.

For example, in answering the question, "What is 12 x 13?"
a) A kid might take a random guess and get it wrong.
b) A kid might take a random guess and get it right.
c) A kid might use the correct method but make a calculation error.
d) A kid might use the correct method and get it right.

By Tiberian's definition, we could say that the kid's belief of what the answer is was rational in b and d, and irrational in a and c.
For me, the rationality of the belief is synonymous of the rationality of the kid in holding the belief, which would make c and d the cases where the belief is rational. Rather than 'irrational', c would be fallicious, flawed or mistaken.

The reason why this seemling pointless argument over the meaning of the word 'irrational' is important is because many, if not most, people understand the word the same way I do.
If Tiberian calls one of my beliefs irrational, this isn't a big deal to my pride and ego as it merely means that my imperfect human nature has allowed a subtle contradiction into it's worldview.
However, if they understand the word 'irrational' like I do, it sounds like he's accusing them of not thinking properly and taking a blind random guess.

That's why calling theism irrational causes such controversy.
I think that many see it as the atheistic equivalent of the wager! Laughing out loud


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Gavagai wrote: Tilberian

Gavagai wrote:

Tilberian also attempted to answer the question. I cannot hold my theistic belief on rational grounds, says Tilberian, “because there is no evidence for God and God as described in all theologies violates logic and known natural law.” But it’s unclear what Tilberian means by “evidence”. Under what conditions, according to Tilberian, does something count as good evidence for something else?

When the best explanation for that thing points to the other thing. For instance, the best explanation for the Bible is that a bunch of primitives made an attempt to explain the world in terms that tended to reinforce the supremacy of their tribe. Therefore the Bible points to the existence of these primitives and their simple, anthropomorphic beliefs about the universe.

There is nothing for which the best explanation is God. 

Gavagai wrote:

It’s also unclear what he means by “violates logic and known natural law”. So I’ll wait for him to be more precise before we discuss his view of rationality.

God violates logic:

1. God is omnipotent

2.  Evil exists

3. God is good

4. God created everything

The Bible holds that all these are true. But an omnipotent being that creates evil is perfectly responsible for evil, and therefore can't be good. So the Biblical God violates logic.

God violates natural law:

According to the Bible, God put two of every creature on earth on a boat that was considerably smaller than a modern cruise ship. All of the creatures got on there, and they all survived then successfully bred without fatal inbreeding. It's hard to start to enumerate the violations of physics, geometry, engineering, geography and biology implicit in this story.  

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Gavagai wrote: Scottmax

Gavagai wrote:

Scottmax (in another thread) has tried to answer my question from his own perspective. Here’s his answer:

"A person's belief in some proposition p is rational if and only if, roughly, all propositions supporting that belief are non-contradictory and all objections proposed for that belief can likewise be answered without contradiction. "


I am a theist. That is, I believe in the proposition God exists. So am I rational or not, given Scottmax’s definition?

We need more information first. Please define your concept of God. It would also help if you explained the basis for your belief in this God concept. At that point we can start asking you questions. If you can give rational answers to all of our questions that do not contradict each other, then your belief could be said to be rational.

For instance, imagine that a god existed who was not all-powerful or all-knowing, but was brilliant enough to predict the future development of the universe given any starting condition, at least to the degree that planets could form and a reasonable possibility would exist for life to begin. Imagine that this being could control the physical constants of our universe. Imagine also that this god could only start the process off, but could not affect the universe further after the big bang. I can't see any logical holes in that theory. It is probably wrong, but I don't believe it is irrational.

Of course it could still be argued that believing such a story, however possible, is still irrational given the lack of any evidence, but I would probably be a bit more generous in my assessment.

So let's play. Explain your belief and we'll try to find holes. If we find a hole and you alter your belief, then you are rational. If you stick to your belief despite the holes, then you enter into irrationality. If you stay rational and stick with the conversation, I predict that you will find yourself free of religion.


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Theism would be perfectly

Theism would be perfectly rational if there was a god to justify theism.  Since there are no gods, theism is irrational.  The only god to Christians is the Bible which they hold as omniscient and thusly infallible.  Take a discussion I had today with a theist.

 In a topic involving the creationist museum where the creationists would rather spend $27 million on propaganda rather than scientific research I mentioned that the Bible also says the Earth rests on pillars and is flat, because the Bible says the Earth is a circle.

Circles are flat, it's basic geometry.  Circles don't have a z-axis like spheres.

Common sense right?  A rational person would think so.  Then theism gets in the way.  Since a theist believes their god is omniscient and their god says the Earth is a circle, and we all know the Earth is not flat, therefore circles must be spheres because otherwise their god would be wrong.

But circles are flat.

This fact can be accepted the more the person draws away from theism.  As a person because less religious (fundamentalism on one spectrum, non-theism on the other) the more prone the person is to accept reality,  hence become more rational.

There is a positive correlation between higher religiosity and lower rational thinking.  To nobody's suprise a person's religiosity will decrease with an increase in education.  So we can still still theists with high levels of education and knowledge but those theists often bend towards liberal theism and eschew fundamentalism.

The word dogmatism can be substituted for theism. 


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Strafio wrote: For

Strafio wrote:
For example, in answering the question, "What is 12 x 13?" a) A kid might take a random guess and get it wrong. b) A kid might take a random guess and get it right. c) A kid might use the correct method but make a calculation error. d) A kid might use the correct method and get it right. By Tiberian's definition, we could say that the kid's belief of what the answer is was rational in b and d, and irrational in a and c.

Nope. The grounds for holding the belief are key to its rationality or irrationality, and each component of the argument must equally conform to the rational test. Therefore, only in example d) would the kid be perfectly rational, with each step in his calculation based on a logical reference to a more fundamental principle, all the way back to basic axioms. By guessing and being right his belief is merely correct, not rational.

Rationality springs from logical consideration of our experience. It cannot lead to error unless our experience itself is not authentic. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as authentic experience, so even using rational means we are bound to be in error most of the time.

This explains how theists can arrive at God-belief and think they are being rational throughout. Their lack of education in the relevant areas means they are working with bad data. This goes especially for philosphers, who tend to have only rudimentary knowledge of scientific matters.

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Thanks for the replies.

Thanks for the replies. I'll be back tomorrow with some responses. In the meantime, I'm going to take up Brian's suggestion and spend tonight listening to the show he linked.

 Cheers,


W. Gavagai

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So since i have

So since i have non-contradictory proof God exists...my belief in God must be Rational.


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simple theist wrote: So

simple theist wrote:
So since i have non-contradictory proof God exists...my belief in God must be Rational.

If you have such evidence, supply it. I can pretty well guarantee you the nobel prize.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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simple theist wrote: So

simple theist wrote:
So since i have non-contradictory proof God exists...my belief in God must be Rational.

Actually, in order for your belief to be rational, it must also point to the real world. Of course you can construct non-contradictory proofs by starting with imaginary assumptions. For instance, it is non-contradictory to state that the presents under your tree came from Santa once you assume the existence of magical flying reindeer.

Read the chapter "The Nature of Belief" in Sam Harris' "End of Faith" to see support for this view of rationality.

 

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No one would rationally

No one would rationally dispute that belief that Thor knocked clouds together to make thunder and lightning is fiction. But what modern theism forgets is that their "warm fuzzies" are no different than the "warm fuzzies" people had that DID actually believe in Thor.

What theists today refuse to do is make that comparisson and apply it to their own outragious magical claims.

Theism is irrational because once "god did it" is accepted it stops the believer from being willing to find a natural non-superstitious answer.

That roof of "god did it" keeps being broken through and what was once atributed to a dissimbodied brain in the sky, turns out to be a natural event and not a super natural one. Thunder and lightning is not caused by Thor or the God of Jesus or Vishnu. It is caused by natural events and needs no bearded man or devil with a pitchfork.

Theism is only natural in the sense that humans have the proven capability to make up fiction and believe it as fact. People once believed the world was flat. People still believe in absurdities all the time. Vampires and Ouiji boards and multiple armed deities are all works of fiction that people buy as fact.

When you understand why you reject all other deity claims besides yours, you will understand why we reject yours as well and then you'll understand why we say theism is irrational.

Theism is nothing more than human ego projecting its own disires on an anthropromorphic fictional utopia.

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simple theist wrote: So

simple theist wrote:
So since i have non-contradictory proof God exists...my belief in God must be Rational.

 

Are you going to keep me in suspense for long? 

Religion is the ultimate con-job. It cons the conned, and it cons the conner.

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Your contention that the

Your contention that the statement "god exists" is rational would require that you understand what a 'god' is and the way in which a 'god' can be said to exist. Define this term 'god' in a rational manner and provide the definition of existence that pertains to the manner in which the 'god' exists and let's go from there. 

“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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Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
Nope. The grounds for holding the belief are key to its rationality or irrationality, and each component of the argument must equally conform to the rational test. Therefore, only in example d) would the kid be perfectly rational, with each step in his calculation based on a logical reference to a more fundamental principle, all the way back to basic axioms. By guessing and being right his belief is merely correct, not rational.

So the for the belief to be rational it needs to be both correct and derived through rational methods?
I still don't think that correctness is a requirement for rationality.
Such a condition would lead to a kind of scepticism over what is rational. How many beliefs could we not call rational? How do we judge whether a belief is rational or not - by how controversial it is?
If there are two disputing positions, is one of them rational and one of them irrational?

If incomplete knowledge means irrationality then previous science is irrational. For example, Newton's physics was eventually replaced by relativity. Was Newton's beilef in the correctness of classical physics irrational? It turned out to be incorrect, despite it's derivation being an act of rational genuis!

I think that a lack of correctness in a fundamental area can be a symptom of irrationality. For example, young earth creationists have clearly rejected the results of modern biology with an irrational conspiracy theory, while old earth ID atleast has philosophically interesting arguments whose answers aren't common-sense obvious.

Quote:
This explains how theists can arrive at God-belief and think they are being rational throughout. Their lack of education in the relevant areas means they are working with bad data. This goes especially for philosphers, who tend to have only rudimentary knowledge of scientific matters.

Lol! I guess you're more of a scientist than a philosopher then?
You see, I feel the same way about scientists who attempt philosophical issues! Laughing out loud


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Strafio wrote: So the for

Strafio wrote:
So the for the belief to be rational it needs to be both correct and derived through rational methods? I still don't think that correctness is a requirement for rationality.

Well, you snipped the part where I explained how rational thought could arrive at incorrect answers: by starting with bad data.

However, an incorrect conclusion tells you to start looking for irrationality, especially when two people arrive at different conclusions using the same data. The only way that this can happen is if one or both have taken an irrational step in their journey from observation to theory. 

Quote:
Lol! I guess you're more of a scientist than a philosopher then? You see, I feel the same way about scientists who attempt philosophical issues! :D

Now Straifo, you know I love you philosophers. But I've heard it right from the mouths of many philosophers themselves that their vocation would enjoy more respect if they took more care to apply themselves to scientific facts.  

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Tilberian wrote: Well, you

Tilberian wrote:

Well, you snipped the part where I explained how rational thought could arrive at incorrect answers: by starting with bad data.


Ah. I must've missed that bit.
So you have two distinctions between a belief's rationality and truth - a rational belief could still be based on bad data and the method could, against all probability, give a wrong result on this occasion.
Nevertheless, calling a belief irrational over a subtle flaw still seems to be too strong. Fallicious would be more appropiate. Looking at definitions of irrational:
Answers.com wrote:
1. Not endowed with reason.
2. Affected by loss of usual or normal mental clarity; incoherent, as from shock.
3. Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment: an irrational dislike.

The third seems close to what you are saying.

Meh! I still have two arguments left! Sticking out tongue
1) Even if your use of irrational is the correct philosophical use, the everyday use implies something else, and using that word is just asking to be misunderstood. If people were familiar with irrational meant in this context then it wouldn't be so controversial. I have no problem admitting that the majority of my beliefs are 'irrational' in this context.
2) Although this use of irrational might be clearly applicable for scientific claims, where there are decisive 'rights' and 'wrongs', other areas of enquiry don't have this. How would rational/irrational be applied to them? (this topic is actually repeated below)

Quote:

However, an incorrect conclusion tells you to start looking for irrationality, especially when two people arrive at different conclusions using the same data. The only way that this can happen is if one or both have taken an irrational step in their journey from observation to theory.


I'm not sure that the scientific method is quite as concrete as this.
(I can't take this bit any further for now as I need to read more, but I can tell you the book I'm reading. It's pretty interesting and challenges many common-sense ideas of science, like theories being built from observation)
Also, this approach to rationality seems to only apply to scientific issues - the handling of empirical data. Do you have a more generalised version that would apply to other areas of enquiry?

Quote:

Now Straifo, you know I love you philosophers. But I've heard it right from the mouths of many philosophers themselves that their vocation would enjoy more respect if they took more care to apply themselves to scientific facts.


Hmmm...
I've not noticed a disrespect of scientific facts but then I'm not really aquainted with the 'scene' as such, especially in America. Have you got any specific examples?


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 I'd never participate in

 I'd never participate in an atheist/theist debate because I am very ambiguous when I talk. I'll try to be as clear as possible.

First of all, let's define irrational using thefreedictionary.com:

ir·ra·tion·al play_w("I0236800") (-rsh-nl)adj.

1.c. Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment: an irrational dislike. Now let's see reason: rea·son play_w("R0074100") (rzn)n.2. A declaration made to explain or justify action, decision, or conviction: inquired about her reason for leaving.3. An underlying fact or cause that provides logical sense for a premise or occurrence. Okay, now let's use "logic", which is the basis of reason, to prove God: Axiom #1: Everything needs a creator.Axiom #2: God is the creator.Axiom #3: God always was (therefore not everything needs a creator) Let me show another example of this line of reasoning and see how much sense it actually makes: Axiom #1: all men are pigsAxiom #2: Brian is a manAxiom #3: Brian is not a pig. The logic used to prove God contradicts itself. By saying "God always was", you establish that not everything needs a creator, and once that has been said, there are a whole range of possible things that may've always existed from energy to life, and many of them can be proven in a high school lab. The logic used to prove God is flawed, and logic is the foundation of reason.  This article explains the logic in greater detail:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celarent What I get from the article is that the basis for God lies in deductive reasoning, where facts are determined by combining existing statements. The logic used by Kirk Cameron and his best friend during the ABC Debate is based on a Syllogism where the major premise is "every painting needs a painter", the minor premise is "God painted it all", and the conclusion is "therefore God is real." If you look at the Wikipedia article, you'll see that this type of logic can be played with depending on the type of syllogism:  

Barbara (a type of syllogism)

All the things that exist need a creator
God exists
God needs a creator.
 
 Of course there are more types of syllogism out there, and a theist can play with them and prove there's a God. Theists are good at manipulating logic and the meaning of words. Chances are someone will say logic does not apply to God because God is God. That sort of thinking can be used to prove anything supernatural from ghosts to zombies. After all supernatural events are the ones that can't be understood by mere mortals like we are, and therefore need no explanation. If we enter a domain where some things don't need to be "caused", then we are being asked to believe in magic.

Furthermore, we can define dragons and unicorns, and we know how the Flying Spaghetti monster is supposed to look like. But who knows how God looks like, and who can define him? The definitions change from culture to culture and from person to person, and I have the feeling that James Bond changes his looks less than God, and the only conclusion that I can draw is that God is like a theist's imaginary friend, an altered ego.  God is probably the only critter I can think of that has no stable definition.  Dragons may come in second, considering the fact that Europeans believe they can fly and are evil, and Asians believe they can't fly and represent luck. 

 

 

 

 


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Quote: Okay, now let's use

Quote:

Okay, now let's use "logic", which is the basis of reason, to prove God:   Axiom #1: Everything needs a creator. Axiom #2: God is the creator. Axiom #3: God always was (therefore not everything needs a creator)
 All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need a creator God is not bound by science or the laws of the universe (since he created those as well). God always was. 


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C'mon, Gavagai. You know

C'mon, Gavagai.

You know better than to walk into a mutual admiration society like this, and bait blind people with talk of light bulbs and what sunlight looks like.

Those who are saved, are saved by grace alone.  To those not saved, well the things Theists say, are foolishness to them.

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All things bound by science

All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need a creator <----I call this preaching.   God is not bound by science or the laws of the universe.  <-----Of course not. Mythological entities are not bound by anything. That's why they are good for fiction.   
  


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rpcarnell wrote: All

rpcarnell wrote:
All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need a creator <----I call this preaching. God is not bound by science or the laws of the universe. <-----Of course not. Mythological entities are not bound by anything. That's why they are good for fiction.

I call it stating a fact. 


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Can you explain this "fact"

Can you explain this "fact" logically?

 

How is God not bound by science or the laws of the universe?

 

The only explanation I have for that is that your God is the ultimate magician. Someone who can pull rabbits out of a hat without having to explain how he does it because there's no explanation whatsoever other than "he just does it."

 

You are excluding God from the laws of the universe because you know that once he gets included into them, he makes no sense whatsoever. Excluding him from logic, science, and everything around us is the only way for his existence to be possible. What you don't realize is that things that do not exist are also excluded from the laws of the universe, from logic, and from everything that is around us. 

 

You're entitled to your own opinions. Not to your own facts.

 


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The creator of something

The creator of something can not be bound by what he creates since that would mean that what he creates would have to exist before he created it. And yes things that don't exist are also not bound by anything.

In your own words, IF God is not bound by logic, science, and everything around us then his existence is possible. Of course all Christians believe God is unbound by anything hence we call him infinite. So by your own words, you say it is possible for God to exist.


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simple theist wrote: The

simple theist wrote:

The creator of something can not be bound by what he creates since that would mean that what he creates would have to exist before he created it. And yes things that don't exist are also not bound by anything.

In your own words, IF God is not bound by logic, science, and everything around us then his existence is possible. Of course all Christians believe God is unbound by anything hence we call him infinite. So by your own words, you say it is possible for God to exist.

You assume your gods created everything and they are not bound by anything.  What exactly does it mean not to be bound by natural laws and how did you determine this since you persist in nature?  Is this something you merely assume or did you use your superpowers to look into extradimensional realities? 


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------> Is this something

------> Is this something you merely assume or did you use your superpowers to look into extradimensional realities?

 

Be careful D-cubed, you could end up proving God exists by coming out with the idea that God is in the twilight zone. 


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------> Is this something

[MOD EDIT - duplicate post removed]


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D-cubed wrote: simple

D-cubed wrote:
simple theist wrote:

The creator of something can not be bound by what he creates since that would mean that what he creates would have to exist before he created it. And yes things that don't exist are also not bound by anything.

In your own words, IF God is not bound by logic, science, and everything around us then his existence is possible. Of course all Christians believe God is unbound by anything hence we call him infinite. So by your own words, you say it is possible for God to exist.

You assume your gods created everything and they are not bound by anything. What exactly does it mean not to be bound by natural laws and how did you determine this since you persist in nature? Is this something you merely assume or did you use your superpowers to look into extradimensional realities?

First of all I believe in a singular God, not gods. I assume nothing. Since my God exists, and created everything (except himself) he is not bound by anything. Since I now God exsists (and since no one can refute that knowledge). In reguards to what does it mean to not be bound by natural laws is simple, He can and does defy natural laws. For example by preforming miracles.


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Try this,

Try this,

 

Create a car, put it together, from spark plug all the way to the chassis. It'll take quite some time. Then ask a friend to drive your creation. As he drives it, stand in the middle of the road and let your creation hit you. See what happens.

 

A creator can be affected by his creation and vice-versa.

 

How do you know he is not bound by anything? Are we talking about omnipotence here? The old argument still stands: can he create a rock he can't lift? Can he kill himself? Can he fix humanity? Can he stop bullets? Can he make an amputee grow his arm or leg back?

 

If I can get my hands on some tools and create something, then it is obvious that I can touch those tools.  If I can design a car and make it a reality, it is obvious that I have machines and people who can help me turn a concept into a product. But all those things are possible only if the people and machines can interact with me. I am not outside them at all. 

 

How does God do it? Supercomputer? Robots? Or does he have a huge hat somewhere in space from which he keeps pulling out planets, stars, and life?  


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How, might I ask, do you

How, might I ask, do you "know" got exists? Knowledge comes through examining evidence and deducing truth. If no-one can "refute" the knowledge you have, that is, look at the evidence and conclude otherwise, it means you have no evidence and thus don't "know" of god's existence. I think what you mean is that you "beleive" in god's existance, which really doesn't prove anything.

 In short, what evidence has brought you to conclude that you "know" god?


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Ummm pardon my rude

Ummm pardon my rude interruption... Just to say someone believes in something does certainly NOT eliminate their sense of reason.Smiling  There is nothing disproving a person's belief in anything people. Just so you know... Let's put it this way: We live in a subjective reality where we percieve, organize and try to predict events. We are limited by the reality of our senses.

A human eye has only a certain fixed amount of rods and cones, a fixed amount of hearing. In example We cannot see radio waves, does that mean they're not there? NO! of course not. There is a sound beyond the human threshold, can we hear it? no, does that mean it is not there? Or course not. Science is limited to observeable material and we all know that. It's not perfect, which is why new testable theories are out there every day. We have yet to fully even understand our own brains yet to try to deny the existance of something we can't percieve on the physical senses is foolhardy.

 

We haven't proven existance of any supreme corporeal beings, but have we disproven their existence? Reason is how we try to make sense of the information we are given and perceptual cues. If people are given a certain group of perceptual cues they will not believe in god, but it goes without saying that other people Can incorporate supreme corporeal beings into their personal sense of the world. We all see things differently through our own subjective reality. So no one is REALLY without reason, but we reason differently. 

 

Sorry if this sounds off but the usage of words make a HUGE difference. 

 

Hope this helped.

 

 

_____


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We live in a subjective

We live in a subjective reality where we percieve, organize and try to predict events. We are limited by the reality of our senses.

<----- That's SOOOO true. 

 

"A human eye has only a certain fixed amount of rods and cones, a fixed amount of hearing. In example We cannot see radio waves, does that mean they're not there? NO! of course not. There is a sound beyond the human threshold, can we hear it? no, does that mean it is not there? Or course not. Science is limited to observeable material and we all know that. It's not perfect, which is why new testable theories are out there every day. We have yet to fully even understand our own brains yet to try to deny the existance of something we can't percieve on the physical senses is foolhardy."

<-----You are right, BUT we can perceive these things by using a remote control, a cell phone. Dogs can perceive some sounds better than we can. They are there. You don't need to resort to flawed logic to prove they are real, and no one needs to resort to faith over their existence or made-up books to prove they are real.

You can't prove a negative. I can't prove dragons aren't real, more than I can prove unicorns aren't real. When the lack of evidence for something is overwhelming, or the evidence is highly questionable, then it is safe to assume the entity or object in question is not real.

 

It gets worse with God, for God is the result of faulty logic, as I said before, and the only way to make him real is to get him out of reality and universal laws, which is the realm of things that do not exist.

 


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simple theist

simple theist wrote:
All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need a creator
God is not bound by science or the laws of the universe (since he created those as well).
God always was. 

Prove that "all things bound by science and the laws of the universe" needs a creator.

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Prove that "all things bound
Prove that "all things bound by science and the laws of the universe" needs a creator.

At this point, no physics lab has managed to destroy energy or matter without getting something else. What we have so far is evidence that matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. They can be altered. Never destroyed or gotten out of nowhere.

Thus we have evidence, at least circumstantial, that matter and energy (the foundations of the universe) may not need a creator and may've always existed.  So far no one has been able to see God inside a particle accelerator, assuming, of course, no physicist has ever tripped on LSD near a particle accelerator. 


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Grrrrrrrrr Straifo, you're

Grrrrrrrrr Straifo, you're taking me in over my head...

Strafio wrote:
Ah. I must've missed that bit. So you have two distinctions between a belief's rationality and truth - a rational belief could still be based on bad data and the method could, against all probability, give a wrong result on this occasion.

I'm a little unclear, but I think we agree. The only way you can arrive a wrong result through rational means is if you start with bad data. In this case, the belief is wrong, but not irrational.

*sigh* I suppose that admits that a theist could hold a rational belief in God if he starts with bad data. However ignoring flaws in your data is equally an irrational act. Also, when it comes to God, we are all working with the same raw data: history and the universe. There's no doubt that at least one side in the debate is being irrational, and it ain't the scientists.

Strafio wrote:

Nevertheless, calling a belief irrational over a subtle flaw still seems to be too strong. Fallicious would be more appropiate. Looking at definitions of irrational:

Answers.com wrote:
1. Not endowed with reason. 2. Affected by loss of usual or normal mental clarity; incoherent, as from shock. 3. Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment: an irrational dislike.
The third seems close to what you are saying.

Actually I like number 1, where reason includes the principle that we must have evidence to support our beliefs.

Strafio wrote:

Meh! I still have two arguments left! Sticking out tongue 1) Even if your use of irrational is the correct philosophical use, the everyday use implies something else, and using that word is just asking to be misunderstood. If people were familiar with irrational meant in this context then it wouldn't be so controversial. I have no problem admitting that the majority of my beliefs are 'irrational' in this context.

Agree. Most people think of being rational as being like Mr. Spock, with no particular reference to the difference between how Spock and Kirk see the world philosophically. Rational = unemotional. But in a philosophical discussion, I think we can be a little more precise. If people misunderstand, well, they aren't rational! Tongue out

Strafio wrote:

2) Although this use of irrational might be clearly applicable for scientific claims, where there are decisive 'rights' and 'wrongs', other areas of enquiry don't have this. How would rational/irrational be applied to them? (this topic is actually repeated below)

I think you have to show a consistent application of logic for any conclusion. I think you have to show a basis in evidence to connect your conclusions to the real world, to the extent that's possible. Anyone can build an unassailablely rational chain showing that the Ring of Power was evil and the only way to make Middle Earth safe was to destroy it. One problem: none of this has anything to do with the real world.

I do love what philosophers do and I hate to cramp your style by insisting that your thought be constrained by reality. Tell you what, just ignore me and carry on. Wink

Strafio wrote:

I'm not sure that the scientific method is quite as concrete as this. (I can't take this bit any further for now as I need to read more, but I can tell you the book I'm reading. It's pretty interesting and challenges many common-sense ideas of science, like theories being built from observation) Also, this approach to rationality seems to only apply to scientific issues - the handling of empirical data. Do you have a more generalised version that would apply to other areas of enquiry?

I'll have to check out that book. The "End of Faith" chapter "The Nature of Belief" articulates my view of rational thought pretty much exactly. Yes, yes as a philosophical work it is very much skimming the surface but it is a good summary.

I think that all rationality springs from the natural world and the order that it imposes on us. Therefore, I'd like to see all our thought mirror, as closely as possible, natural modes of interaction, for example evolution (good ideas flourish, bad ideas perish), physics (cause and effect) and biology (first term fetuses aren't considered persons because the woman's body doesn't treat them the same way it treats a more advanced baby). I think if you can't connect your thought to the natural world, you are incapable of distinguishing correct understanding from fantasy.

Strafio wrote:
Hmmm... I've not noticed a disrespect of scientific facts but then I'm not really aquainted with the 'scene' as such, especially in America. Have you got any specific examples?

Check out Chaoslord's comments here

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GGalvez wrote: Ummm pardon

GGalvez wrote:

Ummm pardon my rude interruption... Just to say someone believes in something does certainly NOT eliminate their sense of reason.Smiling There is nothing disproving a person's belief in anything people. Just so you know... Let's put it this way: We live in a subjective reality where we percieve, organize and try to predict events. We are limited by the reality of our senses.

But there are rational beliefs and irrational beliefs. Beliefs that are formed through the use of reason are rational. Beliefs that are formed through the use of faith are not. Why? Because faith is, by definition, not subject to reason. A belief held on theistic faith is a belief held regardless of the evidence supporting or denying it. If you disagree with me, please tell me what evidence you have for God's existence. Then tell me if you would continue to believe in God if that evidence vanished or was debunked through reason.

 

GGalvez wrote:

A human eye has only a certain fixed amount of rods and cones, a fixed amount of hearing. In example We cannot see radio waves, does that mean they're not there? NO! of course not. There is a sound beyond the human threshold, can we hear it? no, does that mean it is not there? Or course not. Science is limited to observeable material and we all know that. It's not perfect, which is why new testable theories are out there every day. We have yet to fully even understand our own brains yet to try to deny the existance of something we can't percieve on the physical senses is foolhardy.

How do we collect evidence about the world except through our senses, or extensions of our senses like instruments? Can a thought, by itself, be considered evidence for the reality of anything? I just thought of a pink dinosaur standing in my kitchen. On what basis do we discard the proposition that it is really there without drawing information from the real world using our senses? 

Yes, our data is always imperfect. That is why scientific knowledge changes over time. Faithful beliefs, on the other hand, never change because they have no connection to the real world. One need only think the same thought as the person who invented the belief and poof! There it is. Science is always trying to penetrate the layers of error that our senses introduce by testing its conclusions against the real world. Faith, but its very nature, is immune to all testing. We have no way of knowing how far or near to reality faithful beliefs are, but we can surmise that they are farther away than rational beliefs because rational beliefs at least refer to reality in their makeup. 

 

GGalvez wrote:

We haven't proven existance of any supreme corporeal beings, but have we disproven their existence? Reason is how we try to make sense of the information we are given and perceptual cues. If people are given a certain group of perceptual cues they will not believe in god, but it goes without saying that other people Can incorporate supreme corporeal beings into their personal sense of the world. We all see things differently through our own subjective reality. So no one is REALLY without reason, but we reason differently.

You can't reason differently. Either your beliefs are tied to evidence or they are not. Theists insist on the very same standards of proof and evidence in their everyday lives as everyone else does. It is only in the case of God that they suddenly discover that they are completely subjective non-positivists, enamoured of the view that the world is an illusion and all sensation a lie separating us from reality. They are more than content to use a toaster, but quick to deny the very mental tools that delivered the technology when discussing God.

I've been reflecting lately that this is a position taken very much from Eastern spirituality and not in the tradition of Christianity at all. Christianity was actually one of the most rational, positivist religions for most of its history, discarding mysticism in favour of finding evidence for God in the world. Ironically, it was the effect this worldview had on Western Europe that caused the Enlightenment and the subsequent surge of scientific understanding of the world - and that led to the discovery that God was unnecessary as an explanation for anything. It is sad that so many Christians decided to leave their tradition of rationality in the face of its revelation and go half way around the world to find a fuzzy sophistry that would allow them to cling to their outdated ideas. 

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Tim_C wrote: Those who are

Tim_C wrote:

Those who are saved, are saved by grace alone. To those not saved, well the things Theists say, are foolishness to them.

Well, Tim, I appreciate your honesty. You are right. Those who believe do not believe based on anything except this concept they have called "grace". Many things theists say do sound very foolish because we do not have this grace thing. Grace is simply the permission Christians give themselves to believe without evidence.


Main Entry: 1grace
Pronunciation: 'grAs
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks, from gratus pleasing, grateful; akin to Sanskrit grnAti he praises


1 a
: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b : a virtue coming from God c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

2 a : belief that a supernatural being is putting messages directly into one's brain b : a self-enforced mental prison that prevents rational examination of evidence that one's religion is irreconcilable with the real world, due to the belief that a supernatural being is putting messages directly into one's brain


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scottmax wrote: 2 a :

scottmax wrote:



2 a : belief that a supernatural being is putting messages directly into one's brain b : a self-enforced mental prison that prevents rational examination of evidence that one's religion is irreconcilable with the real world, due to the belief that a supernatural being is putting messages directly into one's brain

*sprays coffee* 

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simple theist wrote: First

simple theist wrote:
First of all I believe in a singular God, not gods. I assume nothing. Since my God exists, and created everything (except himself) he is not bound by anything. Since I now God exsists (and since no one can refute that knowledge). In reguards to what does it mean to not be bound by natural laws is simple, He can and does defy natural laws. For example by preforming miracles.

Whether or not you believe in something is irrelevant.  Since you say you can support your claims then why the delay?  Just come right out and convince us heathens with your objective facts.  Anything less would just prove you to be a boastful liar. 


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Forgive me if I am wrong,

Forgive me if I am wrong, but if someone believes there's a God, and he believes this God is outside the rules of the universe, and he believes this God is omnipotent, and he lacks evidence to prove this God, but claims he doesn't need it because he has "Faith" in this God, doesn't that mean this person is relying entirely upon belief? If I believe that a bridge in Mars exist, will there be a bridge in Mars?

 

The way I see it, if someone thinks that a God exists just because he has faith in him, then that person is sort of a God himself. A person able to create stuff that isn't there by belief alone. 


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simple theist

Quote:
All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need a creator. God is not bound by science or the laws of the universe (since he created those as well) . God always was.
   TRANSLATION "I said so, so there" Ok Cheerleader, which one? Which creator?

All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need Allah.

All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need Yahwey.

All things bound by science and the laws of the universe need Jesus.

(Here's what I think you really should say)

"All things bound by bullshit need fiction."

Here is a much more level headed aproach rather than trying to retofit science to ancient myth.

A "what"(process)lead to what we no today and not an anthropromorfic projection of human ego.

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Scottmax,  You asked me to

Scottmax,

 You asked me to explain (1) why I believe in God and (2) how I define the concept of God. You say that if I can answer the questions you ask hereafter without asserting any contradictions, then you'd be willing to grant that I'm a rational theist. However, if you point out a clear contradiction andI refuse to relinquish the beliefs by which the contradiction is expressed, then I am to be counted irrational. I agree to these stipulations.

A couple preliminaries. First, a contradiction is any proposition that takes the form p and ~p.  So you'll be trying to detect schemata like this in my posts. (Of course, even though I may make a statement that is not itself contradictory, the statement could very well entail some other statement that is contradictory. And such entailments would be just as problematic for my views. This if anything makes your job easier.) Second, I want to stress again (for those on the sidelines) that the issue here is not about whether God in fact exists; it's about whether it's rational to believe that God exists. Thus, when I state my reasons for believing in God, the goal is not to refute them, but rather to find contradictions in them. Accordingly, the bulk of the discussion will be aimed at my conception of God, and not so much at the reason I have for believing God exists. Third, I will feel free to expand on what I say and call upon a variety of philosophical and technical resources as you bring up various questions or objections. So what I start with may be fairly condensed and unsophisticated, leaving room for expansion as the discussion progresses.

I'll now take up your two tasks.  First, why do I believe in God? In short, I think theism makes better sense of certain data than does naturalism. That's to say, when it comes to choosing between the competing explanations of theism and naturalism, theism is a better explanation of the observable (and unobservable) phenomena we find ourselves confronted with. Notice that this reason is abductive in spirit: I don't pretend to have mathematically certain proof of theism. Notice also that I leave open the possibility of unobservable entities (e.g. other physical universes, hyperspace, Lewisian concrete particular worlds, point-sized spatiotemporal objects, abstract objects, etc.)

I have many views about the nature of the phenomena in question, all of which I would be willing to relinquish if I were given good reasons to. I'll record a handful of them here in the form of 'assumptions', and I won't argue for them, since that isn't the main issue we're concerned with. (However, I'm not opposed to the idea of arguing for them at another time.) I assume that our universe is a contingent physical object, and I assume that if there is a multiverse, that the multiverse is also contingent physical object. (To say of some x that x is contingent is to say that x is such that there some worlds where x exists and there are some worlds where x doesn't exist.) I assume that the existence of such a contingent physical object is not a brute fact. In other words, it's perfectly legitimate and meaningful to ask why it exists. I also assume that there are events like coming into being and ceasing to exist; that there was a time t at which our universe came into being; that our universe exhibits unlikely life-permitting constants and that these may be reduced to a fundamental natural law of some sort yet to be described by our best physical theories; that humans evolved over millions of years in the way much of contemporary evolutionary theory describes; that humans are material objects; that moral facts exist independently of human minds, convention, and languages; that the directionality of evolution was such that human cognitive systems came to (fallibly) recognize moral facts; that mathematical and logical properties exist independently of convention, etc.; that material objects have de re modal properties; that temporal passage is real; that it's possible for there to be noncontingent explanations of contingent states of affairs; that it's possible for a being to exist in every world; that incompatibilistically free actions actually exist; that such actions can be explained fundamentally in terms of agent causation; that simultaneous causation is coherent; that it's possible that there are more than 3 spatial dimensions (i.e. hyperspace); and so on. 

On to the main task. By "God" I mean a person that is powerful enough to do anything she wants within broadly logical possibility. She is intelligent enough to be able to know all necessary truths, all truths about the way things actually are, and all subjunctive conditionals about the actions of free agents. God is essentially perfectly good, meaning that God cannot perform any morally wrong action.  To say that some x is essentially F is to say that x is F in every world in which x exists. In other words, x cannot exist without being F.  For convenience, I use "omnipotence", "omniscience", and "omnibenevolence" to name these attributes. As I alluded to above, what I provide here are informal glosses, and I'll feel free to explicate them further as the discussion continues. There are many features of God about which I remain agnostic, such as whether God is temporal or atemporal (although I'm tentatively and infirmly attracted to the former). Most of the attributes I have in mind are constrained by the assumptions I listed above, so they are not arbitrary. I am certainly not dogmatic about them, and would modify them or drop them entirely if reason compelled me to. (I don't think God is literally a female; I use 'she' as an indeterminate pronoun merely to acknowledge feminist linguistics.) I'll leave it to you to find contradictions.

Cheers,

W.Gavagai

 

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


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I can define an unicorn

I can define an unicorn without contradictions but that doesn't make unicorns real.  Nice try (actually no, but I was being nice) but you haven't presented anything about your gods to justify a response.  I suggest you present some facts next time.     


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D-cubed wrote:

D-cubed wrote:

Theism would be perfectly rational if there was a god to justify theism. Since there are no gods, theism is irrational. The only god to Christians is the Bible which they hold as omniscient and thusly infallible. Take a discussion I had today with a theist.

In a topic involving the creationist museum where the creationists would rather spend $27 million on propaganda rather than scientific research I mentioned that the Bible also says the Earth rests on pillars

Hi D-cubed, I wonder would you mind if I picked this point out and argued that the pillars of the earth in biblical context are implied as opposed to stated. In the book of Job pillars are mentioned but it is undeniably in the context of allegory, whereas the verse about God having the earth on nothingess is in, contrast, is stated.

I hear the Talmud and Torah differ on the whole about the pillars the shape of the earth and etc ad infinitum there is no lack of squabbling over this and that word of God anywhere, no doubt, but that is a constant you can divide out of any academia of any kind in history, I like to think of it as the proof of man. Is there a purely objective way to determine it? Not in my experience, it's a sorting game, things you vote out initially will fit back into the whole picture eventually, it depends mostly on your own initial state; if it's ludicrous to you then divide it out and consider it 'man', what is rational to you that is left, test by a first principle. I used, 'God is not mocked' Galatians 6:7, for a starter; testing the rational against the 'proofs of man'; if the first principle holds, then you've got something too work with, if it falls then you throw away he book and start again somewhere else (I did a few times). Ultimately, if God is God then the big picture will line up with him starting anywhere. Even the proofs of man won't contradict. Mind you that is a mighty big picture, so if somewhere down the track you find yourself going towards not away from God, then you can probably safely call yourself a Theist.

 

Quote:

and [the earth] is flat, because the Bible says the Earth is a circle.

Circles are flat, it's basic geometry. Circles don't have a z-axis like spheres.

Actually, this is slightly wrong. A z axis sphere is a stack of 2d circles while the spherical coordinate system more accurately represents the topology of a sphere and it is merely a circle singularly defined and reused over and over in different directions.

 

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Gavagai wrote:

Gavagai wrote:

I'll now take up your two tasks. First, why do I believe in God? In short, I think theism makes better sense of certain data than does naturalism.

Then I'm afraid you loose the question in your first statement. God logically can not be a better epxlanation for anything in this universe simply because the concept of God requires a greater leap of reasoning then a universe without god. The fundamental and critical question regarding a belief in God is where did God come from? The typical theistic answer fails Occams razor; "God is eternal or infinite". This fails the razor because it begs the question; "How is it more likely that an eternal God, whom we can't see and has the power and knowledge to create the universe, is more likely then the universe, that we can see and measure, having been eternal?" The answer is, it isn't. Complexity requires development - we have no explanation for the development of something powerful enough to create the unvirse with an intelligent will or how it could exist eternally and have always had this power and knowledge, we have no logic or evidence that says the universe couldn't be eternal in nature, therefore it is more likley that since god isn't required, god isn't the likely explanation.

This doesn't mean god is unproven, but what it does mean is that when reason and logic are applied, god is the less likely explanation for the universe and therefore god is the less likely explanation for everything else. Reason and logic are the foundation of rational thinking and if they clearly suggest one thing and you deduce another, you are infact irrational.

"All it would take to kill God is one meteorite a half mile across - think about why." - Vorax

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Gavagai wrote: Scottmax,

Gavagai wrote:

Scottmax,

You asked me to explain (1) why I believe in God and (2) how I define the concept of God. You say that if I can answer the questions you ask hereafter without asserting any contradictions, then you'd be willing to grant that I'm a rational theist. However, if you point out a clear contradiction andI refuse to relinquish the beliefs by which the contradiction is expressed, then I am to be counted irrational. I agree to these stipulations.

Excellent. I agree with your definition of contradiction and that this discussion is limited to the rationality of your concept of God, not to the truth or falsity of the proposition. For my part I am willing to table likelihoods for now. At the end of this discussion, if we end up with a definition of a god that is as likely as naturalism, I will happily concede the argument with regards to your god. However, if we end up with a god that is rationally conceived but only 1/20th as likely to be true as naturalism, then holding onto even that rationally possible god still becomes irrational. Normally I wouldn't even both to worry about such a potentially unreachable final conflict but I am an optimist and you seem far more logically inclined than many theists I have debated recently.

I encourage you to clarify and change your position freely. I doubt I need to state this explicitly, but a change in position naturally invalidates any proofs that rested upon your old position.

Gavagai wrote:
I assume that our universe is a contingent physical object, and I assume that if there is a multiverse, that the multiverse is also contingent physical object.

Given that we do not have sufficient data to know whether our universe in contingent or not and given that we cannot know whether a multiverse exists or not, this seems like a perfectly reasonable position to take. I am a contingent universe agnostic at this point.

Where it will matter is when we compare the concept of a multiverse to the concept of a god. But let's wait on that for now. I've got bigger fish to fry first.

Gavagai wrote:
that our universe exhibits unlikely life-permitting constants

Is this idea based on the work of any scientists in particular? For instance, I found Dr. Hugh Ross' "Creator and Cosmos" to be compelling for a time. It kept me agnostic with deistic tendencies for several years. Personally I consider fine-tuning arguments to be about the most compelling going but I can address them. But again, let's attack the more specific aspects you give to your god concept first.

As to much of the rest that you wrote about evolution, science, cognition, etc., it sounds like your beliefs are very similar to what mine were when I still believed in God. The leap from where you appear to be to where I am now was actually pretty short and painless, but it affects your entire worldview profoundly.

Gavagai wrote:
On to the main task. By "God" I mean a person that is powerful enough to do anything she wants within broadly logical possibility. She is intelligent enough to be able to know all necessary truths, all truths about the way things actually are, and all subjunctive conditionals about the actions of free agents. God is essentially perfectly good, meaning that God cannot perform any morally wrong action.

OK, so we will dispense with the lame "can God make a rock that is too big for her to lift" arguments. Suits me fine.

Many theists I know end up redefining "good" to mean whatever God decides. Can I assume that by "good" you actually mean the word as commonly used by humanity? For instance, killing babies while sparing virgin females could not be considered "good" just because as our creator, God has the right to decide life and death for all man while maintaining her goodness. If an act would be immoral or "non-good" for a human, do you agree that it would also be "non-good" for a god?

Gavagai wrote:
For convenience, I use "omnipotence", "omniscience", and "omnibenevolence" to name these attributes.

Does your god concept also include omnipresence?

Gavagai wrote:
There are many features of God about which I remain agnostic, such as whether God is temporal or atemporal (although I'm tentatively and infirmly attracted to the former).

I think it is probably very important to nail this down. If god is omniscient, does that include perfect knowledge of everything that will happen in the future?

It seems that if God created the universe in the Big Bang, then God also created time as we experience it since that time is a product of the geometry of this universe. So it seems to me that a god that created this universe would have to be omnitemporal, existing outside of time and thus simultaneously throughout time as we know it. If you can think of a reason that this does not follow logically, I would be interested to hear it.

OK, here is what I consider to be just about the biggest show stopping contradiction to the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god. I am assuming that by omnibenevolent you are describing a deity of infinite love and compassion. Our own finite love and compassion would be a bare shadow of the attributes of an omnibenevolent god.

Being omnipotent implies having the power to define even the laws of the physical universe. So this god could have designed any type of universe with any physical characteristics imaginable.

Being omniscient, this god would know exactly what course evolution would take and what the outcome would be. Thus this god could have made changes to the starting conditions to affect a different outcome or could have abandoned the concept of evolution entirely as causing too much pain.

So why did this god design a system that necessitates the painful death of the majority of animals on the planet? Why would this god setup a system that would lead to parasites that keep their prey alive while the parasitic young devour that prey? Why would this god cause reindeer to die in agony as they are devoured by wolves? Couldn't the omnibenevolent god have designed a system wherein no living creature was forced to painfully destroy another living creature simply to continue to survive?

Here is a great article about horrors of the natural world:

Organisms that Look Designed

I have never seen any way to reconcile omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence with the world in which we live. You can have any 2 but not all 3. Interestingly, the medieval solution to this problem was the belief that animals were automatons without the ability to feel pain. This led to such charming forms of entertainment as putting a bunch of cats in a bag and then beating on the bag until the cats stopped moving. So man has realized for a long time that something has got to give in the omnis.


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Vorax wrote:

Vorax wrote:
Gavagai wrote:

I'll now take up your two tasks. First, why do I believe in God? In short, I think theism makes better sense of certain data than does naturalism.

Then I'm afraid you loose the question in your first statement. God logically can not be a better epxlanation for anything in this universe simply because the concept of God requires a greater leap of reasoning then a universe without god.

Vorax, I agree with you based on what I know now. However, I found the fine-tuning arguments fairly compelling for awhile. Not with a god of the all-alls, but at least with some vague sort of deism. Those fine tuning arguments ended up not being all they were cracked up to be, but until I knew that, I think the possibility of an intelligent creator that took no active role in the universe was a reasonable position.

Gavagai's position can still be rational based on lack of knowledge or lack of thinking through all of the implications of his position. It only becomes irrational if he holds onto those positions once those ramifications are made clear. Gavagai seems genuinely interested in dialogue. I don't think we should pronounce the debate over just yet.


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Eloise wrote: Hi D-cubed,

Eloise wrote:

Hi D-cubed, I wonder would you mind if I picked this point out and argued that the pillars of the earth in biblical context are implied as opposed to stated. In the book of Job pillars are mentioned but it is undeniably in the context of allegory, whereas the verse about God having the earth on nothingess is in, contrast, is stated.


Actually, this is slightly wrong. A z axis sphere is a stack of 2d circles while the spherical coordinate system more accurately represents the topology of a sphere and it is merely a circle singularly defined and reused over and over in different directions.

"For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah's, And he hath set the world upon them."  It's pretty straightforward.  If I say I have a house on stilts it's pretty literal, just as when your god says the Earth rests on pillars.  Such is the irrationality of theism to take some a straightforward passage and try to twist it's meaning.

Circles are still flat. 


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D-cubed wrote: Eloise

D-cubed wrote:
Eloise wrote:

Hi D-cubed, I wonder would you mind if I picked this point out and argued that the pillars of the earth in biblical context are implied as opposed to stated. In the book of Job pillars are mentioned but it is undeniably in the context of allegory, whereas the verse about God having the earth on nothingess is in, contrast, is stated.


Actually, this is slightly wrong. A z axis sphere is a stack of 2d circles while the spherical coordinate system more accurately represents the topology of a sphere and it is merely a circle singularly defined and reused over and over in different directions.

"For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah's, And he hath set the world upon them." It's pretty straightforward. If I say I have a house on stilts it's pretty literal, just as when your god says the Earth rests on pillars. Such is the irrationality of theism to take some a straightforward passage and try to twist it's meaning.

 

 Straightforward allegory actually 1 Samuel 2 is in poetic form from start to finish. I twisted nothing and you probably could apologise for your false allegation. But will you? 

1 Samuel 2

 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust; from the dung-hill he lifteth up the needy, To set [him] among nobles; and he maketh them inherit a throne of glory; For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah's, and he hath set the world upon them. 9 He keepeth the feet of his saints, but the wicked are silenced in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

 

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