Atheism

kingneb
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Atheism

Atheists are people who assert that there is no God. They may say that atoms or their component parts in space makeup the sum total of all reality. Whatever the analysis, these people assert that finite physical reality is all there is-that there is nothing else. There are several divisions in this group. One historically prominent group is the Logical Positivists. By an analysis of language, they conclude that theology is not so much false as it is plain nonsense. To them, speaking of God is like saying that the typewriter is the bluish-green sound of the square root of minus one. Theology is not good enough even to be false; it is simple nonsense. Other devotees of scientism are not Logical Positivists. Their theories are called naturalism or humanism, and they would call theology bigoted falsehood. Various political liberals are atheists, and often their socialistic creed attacks theology as a reactionary hindrance to social advancement.

Pantheism and Agnosticism

It is instructive to distinguish between two forms of atheism, for the second form, pantheism, has the appearance of believing in God very much. It indeed asserts the existence of God, and the theory can be called theology. These people do not want to be known as atheists or as irreligious. But they define God as all that exists. Spinoza used the phrase Deus sive Natura: God, that is to say, Nature. Some may use the term Pure Being, or theologian Paul Tillich's phrase, The Ground of All Being. Thus God is the universe itself. He is not its Creator. Since they say that God is the All, these people are called Pantheists.

Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism. To deny that there is a God and to apply the name God to everything are conceptually identical. For example, it is as though I should assert the existence of a grumpstein and try to prove it by pointing to giraffes, stars, mountain ranges, and books: together they form a grumpstein, I would say, and therefore a grumpstein exists. The pantheists point to giraffes, stars, and so on, and say, therefore God exists. Those who deny God-atheists-and those who say God is everything-pantheists-are asserting that nothing beyond the physical universe is real. In Christian language, and in common languages around the world, God is as different from the universe as a star is from a giraffe and more so.

There is actually another variety of atheism, though the adherents themselves might strongly object to being called atheists. Technically they are not atheists, though they might as well be. These are the agnostics. They do not assert that there is a God, nor do they assert that there is no God; they simply say that they do not know. They claim ignorance. Ignorance, however, is not a theory one can argue. Ignorance is an individual state of mind. An ignorant person is not required to prove by learned arguments that he is ignorant. He just does not know. Such a person needs to be taught.

Probably most persons in the United States are atheists of a sort. If one should ask them, they would probably say that they believe in God. But they might as well not believe in God for all the good it does them. Unless someone mentions God to them, they never think of him; they never pray to him; he does not enter into their daily plans and calculations. Their lives, their minds, their thinking are essentially no different from the lives of atheists and agnostics. They are "practicing atheists."

The Atheist's Argument

The reader of this may expect to find a straightforward refutation of atheism. But he may be disappointed, for the situation is somewhat complicated. In the first place, one might accuse the atheist of never having proved that the physical universe is the only reality and that there are no supernatural beings. This would be satisfactory, if the term atheism means the argued denial of a Deity. But atheists, like agnostics, shift the burden of proof and say the theist is under obligation to demonstrate the truth of his view; but the atheist considers himself under no such obligation. Atheists usually wobble back and forward. Yet, Ernest Nagel, who may be called a naturalist in philosophy, seems to argue: "the occurrence of events [he means each and every event without exception]...is contingent on the organization of spatio-temporally located bodies.... That this is so is one of the best-tested conclusions of experience.... There is no place for an immaterial spirit directing the course of events, no place for the survival of personality after the corruption of the body which exhibits it."

This is an atheistic, not an agnostic, statement. He argues that science has proved the nonexistence of God, but the argument is invalid. No scientist has ever produced any evidence that man's intellect ceases to function at death. Since his methods have not discovered any spirit, Nagel assumes there can be none. He refuses to question his methods. Atheism is not a conclusion developed by his methods; rather it is the assumption on which his methods are based.

The agnostic, however, is not so dogmatic. He shifts the burden and demands theists prove that an omnipotent spirit has created and now controls the universe. This is quite a challenge, and it is one that the Christian is duty bound to face. No Christian with intellectual ability can excuse himself by claiming theology is useless hairsplitting. Peter has warned him otherwise. The "practicing atheists" are really agnostics, and we must preach the Gospel to them-and that God omnipotent reigns is part of the Gospel. But they answer, "How do you know that there is any God at all?" A Christian who knows no theology is ill equipped to answer this question. How is it possible to know God? Is he just a trance, a hunch, an ecstatic experience? Is he so transcendent that we can neither know him nor talk about him? Is he not so transcendent? Note that the Christian apologete, i.e., the Christian evangelist, must have a decently clear conception of God before he can satisfy his inquisitors. He must be knowledgeable in theology.

The Wrong Reply

Now, the answer to the agnostic's very pertinent question is rather complex, and the reader must not expect anything simple. Furthermore, the answer given here will appear unsatisfactory and disappointing to some very honest Christians. For these reasons the present reply to agnosticism will begin with an explanation of how not to answer the question. If this seems a cumbersome and roundabout way of going at it, and the impatient non-theologian wants immediate results, it must be pointed out that the initial choice between two roads determines the destination. Choose the wrong road and one ends up lost and confused. Remember Bunyan's Christian and how he looked down two roads, trying to see which one was straight. Then there came along a swarthy pilgrim in a white robe who pointed out to him, with great confidence, which road Christian should take. It ended in near disaster. Therefore we shall begin by pointing out the wrong road.

Now, I do not wish to say that those who recommend the wrong road in the present matter are flattering deceivers whose white robes are hypocritical disguises. On the contrary, a large number of respectable and honest authors, from Aristotle to Charles Hodge and Robert Sproul, insist that the best and indeed the only way to prove the existence of God is to study the growth of a plant, the path of a planet, the motion of a marble. They support this seemingly secular method by quoting Psalm 19:1- "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork." Therefore we should study astronomy to refute the atheist and to instruct the agnostic. Paul says that God's omnipotence can be deduced from the way a little boy shoots a marble-a thing that has been made. Some stalwart Romanists boast that Paul foresaw and placed his stamp of approval on Thomas' Aristotelian argument.

There are two difficulties with this enthusiastic recommendation. The first is not conclusive, but those who approve of the argument must pay attention to it. The difficulty is its difficulty: It is a very hard method. The second difficulty is its virtual uselessness.

The first difficulty-inconclusive evidence and a hard method to prove-can be best addressed with a few examples. Suppose we can get a microscope and examine the internal phloem of the Lykopersikon esculentum. Botany is even worse than theology in its use of long and technical words. We get a clear picture of the internal structure of a plant, but we cannot discover God by a detailed, microscopic look into a tomato. If we carefully observe the motion of the planets, we will see that the squares of their periodic times are proportional to their mean distances from the Sun. If we succeeded in getting this information, we could conclude that God is a great mathematician and that salvation depends on understanding mathematics. Essentially, this is what the ancient Greek philosophical school of the Pythagoreans said. They believed that a happy life after death was the reward for studying arithmetic and geometry.

People hold a somewhat similar view today who think that all the problems of this world can be solved by science. But unlike the Pythagoreans, contemporaries do not believe in a life after death, nor do they think the laws of astronomy can prove there is a God. To change their minds by deducing the existence of God from the laws of science would be extremely difficult and perhaps impossible. If by some other method we first know there is a God, the study of astronomy might show that he is a mathematician. But we would have to know God first.

However, the mere fact that an argument is difficult and complex does not prove that it is a fallacy. Geometry and calculus may drive students to despair, but the theorems are usually regarded as valid deductions. Contrariwise, when one examines the argument as Thomas actually wrote it, serious flaws appear. In another work, I have detailed some of Thomas' fallacies. One of them is a case of circularity, in which he uses as a premise the conclusion he wished to prove. Another is the case of a term that has one meaning in the premises and a different meaning in the conclusion. No syllogism can be valid if the conclusion contains an idea not already given in the premises.

The conclusion therefore is: The so-called "cosmological argument" is not only extremely difficult-since it would require a great amount of science, mathematics, and philosophy to prove it-but it is inconclusive and irremediably fallacious. This is no way to answer the atheists.

The second difficulty is that even if such an argument were valid, it would be useless. This objection applies more to modern authors than to Aristotle. Aristotle's notion of god was quite clear: the Unmoved Mover, thought thinking thought; and this metaphysical mind has a definite role in the explanation of natural phenomena. But the god of contemporary empiricists seems to have no role at all; mainly because the meaning they attach to the word God is utterly vague.

As examples of these arguments, one can mention Yale Philosophy Professor John E. Smith's Experience of God; Frederick Sontag's How Philosophy Shapes Theology; a few years earlier Geddes MacGregor of Bryn Mawr published Introduction to Religious Philosophy. There are many such books; it is not my intention to discuss any of these individually. My point is: When they try to support a belief in god, their arguments are no better and often worse than those of Aristotle; and if some plausibility is found in them, the reason is that their notion of what god is is so vague and ambiguous that the reader imposes his own definite ideas. In their context, the arguments are virtually meaningless. Furthermore, the vague god of these views is useless. Nothing can be deduced from his existence. No moral norms follow a definition of god; no religious practices are contained in a description of god.

One can have a certain academic respect for an atheist who flatly denies God and life after death. He says clearly what he means, and he uses the term God in its common English meaning. One can have almost as much respect for the pantheist, even though he does not use the term God in its ordinary meaning. At least Baruch Spinoza and others identify god explicitly with the universe. But what can our reaction be to the view of Professor H. N. Wieman? He insisted on the existence of god, but for him god is not even all the universe-he, or it, is only some part of the universe. Namely, god is a complex of interactions in society on which we depend and to whose essential structure we must conform if maximum value is to be realized in human experience. So? How does this definition of god stack up against the Shorter Catechism? Therefore, Christians should be more concerned about what kind of God exists rather than about the existence of God.

The Meaninglessness of Existence

At first it may seem strange that knowledge of what God is more important than knowledge that God is. His essence or nature being more important than his existence may seem unusual. Existentialists insist that existence precedes essence. Nevertheless, competent Christians disagree for two reasons. First, we have seen that pantheists identify god with the universe. What is god? -the universe. The mere fact that they use the name god for the universe and thus assert that god "exists" is of no help to Christianity.

The second reason for not being much interested in the existence of God is somewhat similar to the first. The idea existence is an idea without content. Stars exist-but this tells us nothing about the stars; mathematics exists-but this teaches us no mathematics; hallucinations also exist. The point is that a predicate, such as existence, that can be attached to everything indiscriminately tells us nothing about anything. A word, to mean something, must also not mean something. For example, if I say that some cats are black, the sentence has meaning only because some cats are white. If the adjective were attached to every possible subject-so all cats were black, all stars were black, and all politicians were black, as well as all the numbers in arithmetic, and God too-then the word black would have no meaning. It would not distinguish anything from something else. Since everything exists, exists is devoid of information. That is why the Catechism asks, What is God? Not, Does God exist?

Now, most of the contemporary authors are extremely vague as to what sort of God they are talking about; and because the term is so vague, the concept is useless. Can these authors use their god to support a belief in life after death? No ethical norms can be deduced from their god. Most pointedly, their god does not speak to man. He is no better than "the silence of eternity" without even being "interpreted by love." Atheism is more realistic, more honest. If we are to combat the latter, we need a different method.

The Proper Reply

The explanation of a second method must begin with a more direct confrontation with atheism. If the existence of God cannot be deduced by cosmology, have we dodged the burden of proof and left the battlefield in the possession of our enemies? No; there is indeed a theistic answer. Superficially, it is not difficult to understand; but, unfortunately, a full appreciation of its force requires some philosophic expertise. A knowledge of geometry is of great help, but it is seldom taught in the public high schools. One cannot realistically expect Christians to have read and to have understood Spinoza; and Protestant churches usually anathematize plain, ordinary Aristotelian logic.

In geometry there are axioms and theorems. One of the early theorems is, "An exterior angle of a triangle is greater than either opposite interior angle." A later one is the famous Pythagorean theorem: the sum of the squares of the other two sides of a right triangle equals the square of its hypotenuse. How theological all this sounds! These two theorems and all others are deduced logically from a certain set of axioms. But the axioms are never deduced. They are assumed without proof.

There is a definite reason why not everything can be deduced. If one tried to prove the axioms of geometry, one must refer back to prior propositions. If these too must be deduced, there must be previous propositions, and so on back ad infinitum. From which it follows: If everything must be demonstrated, nothing can be demonstrated, for there would be no starting point. If you cannot start, then you surely cannot finish.

Every system of theology or philosophy must have a starting point. Logical Positivists started with the unproved assumption that a sentence can have no meaning unless it can be tested by sensation. To speak without referring to something that can be touched, seen, smelled, and especially measured, is to speak nonsense. But they never deduce this principle. It is their non-demonstrable axiom. Worse, it is self-contradictory, for it has not been seen, smelled, or measured; therefore it is self-condemned as nonsense.

If the axioms of other secularists are not nonsense, they are nonetheless axioms. Every system must start somewhere, and it cannot have started before it starts. A naturalist might amend the Logical Positivist's principle and make it say that all knowledge is derived from sensation. This is not nonsense, but it is still an empirically unverifiable axiom. If it is not self-contradictory, it is at least without empirical justification. Other arguments against empiricism need not be given here: The point is that no system can deduce its axioms.

The inference is this: No one can consistently object to Christianity's being based on a non-demonstrable axiom. If the secularists exercise their privilege of basing their theorems on axioms, then so can Christians. If the former refuse to accept our axioms, then they can have no logical objection to our rejecting theirs. Accordingly, we reject the very basis of atheism, Logical Positivism, and, in general, empiricism. Our axiom shall be, God has spoken. More completely, God has spoken in the Bible. More precisely, what the Bible says, God has spoken.

 

- Gordon Clark


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Not another cuntpaste

Not another cuntpaste post!

 


BGH
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Interesting kingneb, care to

Interesting kingneb, care to elaborate a little more IN YOUR OWN WORDS??


Cpt_pineapple
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I saw some misconceptions

I saw some misconceptions about pantheism

 

The rest: tl;dr

 


pariahjane
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Cpt_pineapple wrote: I saw

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I saw some misconceptions about pantheism

 

The rest: tl;dr

 

According to this cut and paste, he's equating pantheism as a second type of atheism.  Which it isn't at all.  Clearly this guy needs to do a bit more homework before he just arbitrarily slaps 'information' together for a post.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


wavefreak
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I'm pretty sure this a sock

I'm pretty sure this a sock puppet for hambydammit trying to convince me that I really am an atheist.Tongue out


kingneb
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Matt, Did you read it?

Matt,

Did you read it?

BGH,

What purpose would that serve? If there is something you don’t understand, I’ll gladly attempt to clarify. Other than that, I see no purpose in restating the post.

Cpt_pineapple and pariahjane,

Care to explain? Your comments don’t help any.


triften
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Quote:   Atheists are

Quote:
 

Atheists are people who assert that there is no God.

kingneb is a person who copies and pastes strawman arguments about atheism.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/am_i_agnostic_or_atheist

-Triften 


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kingneb wrote: Matt, Did

kingneb wrote:

Matt,

Did you read it?

BGH,

What purpose would that serve? If there is something you don’t understand, I’ll gladly attempt to clarify. Other than that, I see no purpose in restating the post.

Cpt_pineapple and pariahjane,

Care to explain? Your comments don’t help any.

 

This place values thinking. Cutting and pasting someone else's work is not usually a sign of a thinking person.  You need to layout some of your own ideas and uses other peoples work as references. Your not catching flak for posting, but for being unoriginal.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: The

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

The rest: tl;dr

What is tl;dr ? 


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KSMB wrote: Cpt_pineapple

KSMB wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

The rest: tl;dr

What is tl;dr ? 

too long; didn't read


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wavefreak wrote: I'm pretty

wavefreak wrote:
I'm pretty sure this a sock puppet for hambydammit trying to convince me that I really am an atheist.Tongue out

Nope.

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/032a-Atheism.pdf

Copy and paste is a bad way to argue, but it brakes down at the first sentence and is not written to atheists. This text is not written to an atheist to convince them of something it is written to choir.

At best this was written to reinforce the religious at worse it was written as disinformation.


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kingneb wrote: Matt, Did

kingneb wrote:

Matt,

Did you read it?

BGH,

What purpose would that serve? If there is something you don’t understand, I’ll gladly attempt to clarify. Other than that, I see no purpose in restating the post.

Cpt_pineapple and pariahjane,

Care to explain? Your comments don’t help any.

You're clumping pantheism with atheism.  This is incorrect.  Pantheism is still a belief in a god.

pan·the·ism      /ˈpænθiˌɪzəm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[pan-thee-iz-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun
1.the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.
2.any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


wavefreak
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Voiderest wrote: wavefreak

Voiderest wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
I'm pretty sure this a sock puppet for hambydammit trying to convince me that I really am an atheist.Tongue out

Nope.

 

Don't be silly. I knew that. Hamby is pretty sure I'm an atheists in all but name so I tossed out a little facetious humor. 


kingneb
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"You're clumping pantheism

"You're clumping pantheism with atheism"

 True. But did you read why that is? Or was that where you stopped reading?


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Quote:


Atheists are people who assert that there is no God.


I’m impressed that you could make such a simple error in your first line...wait. This essay was written by Gordon Clark, who died in 1985...perhaps you are channelling his spirit?

He is making a fallacy of equivocation between strong atheism and atheism. Agnsotic atheism does not assert there is no God. And you will find that weak atheists make up the majority. For further reading on this matter:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_argument_from_ignorance_and_its_uses_and_abuses


They may say that atoms or their component parts in space makeup the sum total of all reality. Whatever the analysis, these people assert that finite physical reality is all there is-that there is nothing else.


Yes, the bulk of atheists are naturalists. I should expect nothing less, given that naturalism is the dominant arm of contemporary philosophy.


One historically prominent group is the Logical Positivists.


Logical positivism and referentialism has been dead for ages. I did write an argument which concluded that supernatural was a meaningless term, but I carefully circumvented positivism and referentialism. You can read it here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/a_clarification_regarding_my_position_relative_to_theological_noncognitivism


By an analysis of language, they conclude that theology is not so much false as it is plain nonsense. To them, speaking of God is like saying that the typewriter is the bluish-green sound of the square root of minus one. Theology is not good enough even to be false; it is simple nonsense.


We should be able to reach this conclusion without invoking theological noncogntivism


Various political liberals are atheists, and often their socialistic creed attacks theology as a reactionary hindrance to social advancement.


Fallacy of equivocation. There is no need to bring up politics in a so-called philosophy article


It is instructive to distinguish between two forms of atheism, for the second form, pantheism, has the appearance of believing in God very much. It indeed asserts the existence of God, and the theory can be called theology. These people do not want to be known as atheists or as irreligious. But they define God as all that exists. Spinoza used the phrase Deus sive Natura: God, that is to say, Nature. Some may use the term Pure Being, or theologian Paul Tillich's phrase, The Ground of All Being. Thus God is the universe itself. He is not its Creator. Since they say that God is the All, these people are called Pantheists.


Pantheism is merely a word which people invoke when they do not wish to identified as atheists. Ah, I see you already brought this up.


Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism.


Merely a linguistic one.


There is actually another variety of atheism, though the adherents themselves might strongly object to being called atheists. Technically they are not atheists, though they might as well be. These are the agnostics. They do not assert that there is a God, nor do they assert that there is no God; they simply say that they do not know. They claim ignorance. Ignorance, however, is not a theory one can argue. Ignorance is an individual state of mind. An ignorant person is not required to prove by learned arguments that he is ignorant. He just does not know. Such a person needs to be taught.


Needs to be taught? You can prove God. Impress me. I dislike the weak atheist/strong atheist dichotomy (I do not believe in x because there is no evidence versus I believe x does not exist because I have a deductive argument against x). Instead, I wish to view the question more along the lines of a probability continuum, and my goal with this essay is to demonstrate that from a scientific standpoint, the concept of a transcendent immaterial God is so fundamentally flawed and contradictory, postulating such an inherently absurd suggestion that we may regard the probability of its being as the same probability as DNA not being the biological molecule of Earth-based biological inheritance. Because saying with axiomatic certainty that God does not exist leaves you supceptible to making an argument from ignorance fallacy (because your deductive argument will have to rely on some scientific induction that would be impossible to prove 100%). Hence, my goal is to make the probability of God so low that the dividing line between my position and strong atheism is irrelevant. And it is for this reason that any accusation that I am making a scientific induction to support a deductive claim is inherently fallacious- being that this is totally irrelevant, since I am not making a 100% claim.

For further reading on this matter:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/all_a_posteriori_arguments_for_the_existence_of_god_are_intellectually_bankrupt


Probably most persons in the United States are atheists of a sort. If one should ask them, they would probably say that they believe in God. But they might as well not believe in God for all the good it does them. Unless someone mentions God to them, they never think of him; they never pray to him; he does not enter into their daily plans and calculations. Their lives, their minds, their thinking are essentially no different from the lives of atheists and agnostics. They are "practicing atheists."


You picked the US? The most religious nation in the West? Why not pick a European nation?


In the first place, one might accuse the atheist of never having proved that the physical universe is the only reality and that there are no supernatural beings


No such supposition is required to be a naturalist anyway. I would be perfectly open to the existence of supernatural, were it no a garbled term, for which no epistemology may ever arise, which cannot possibly interact with the physical world, and which is a broken concept.


This would be satisfactory,


If it were not committing a negative proof fallacy.


But atheists, like agnostics, shift the burden of proof and say the theist is under obligation to demonstrate the truth of his view; but the atheist considers himself under no such obligation


Thats because the atheist is making a negative claim, or rather, in this case, an eliminative claim. Again, no such supposition is required given that no evidence has been given for supernatural entities. There is no reason, then, to suppose they exist. It is precisely akin to Russell’s teapot.


Atheists usually wobble back and forward.


Really? Only an iota of intellect is necessary to blast this out of the water.


et, Ernest Nagel, who may be called a naturalist in philosophy, seems to argue: "the occurrence of events [he means each and every event without exception]...is contingent on the organization of spatio-temporally located bodies


He is correct. The term event makes a necessary reference to causality, which in turn refers to temporality, which in turns refers to spatial location (Einstein’s General Relativity)


That this is so is one of the best-tested conclusions of experience.... There is no place for an immaterial spirit directing the course of events, no place for the survival of personality after the corruption of the body which exhibits it."


This is a very reasonable conclusion. It is absurd to say that a non-spatial, atemporal “being” may “direct” (again causal and temporal” events. Whenever we attempt to make reference to the supernatural, we are stealing inadvertently from naturalism.


This is an atheistic, not an agnostic, statement. He argues that science has proved the nonexistence of God, but the argument is invalid. No scientist has ever produced any evidence that man's intellect ceases to function at death.


This is a fallacy of non sequitur. It does not answer the problem laid out.


Since his methods have not discovered any spirit, Nagel assumes there can be none.


That is ridiculous. You are dodging the point without even attempting subtlety. Are you going to answer the problem laid out, or just make repeated ad nauseam?


He refuses to question his methods.


And you refuse to answer his problem


. Atheism is not a conclusion developed by his methods; rather it is the assumption on which his methods are based.


No it isn’t. He’s making an “assumption” based on what we know about causality and the nature of space and time.


The agnostic, however, is not so dogmatic


Your shameless refusal to answer Nagel’s point indicates you are projecting your inadequecies onto him by asserting him dogmatic. A strong case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


He shifts the burden and demands theists prove that an omnipotent spirit has created and now controls the universe.


I would say this is impossible because the term “control” makes necessary reference to causality and temporality.


"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork." Therefore we should study astronomy to refute the atheist and to instruct the agnostic. Paul says that God's omnipotence can be deduced from the way a little boy shoots a marble-a thing that has been made. Some stalwart Romanists boast that Paul foresaw and placed his stamp of approval on Thomas' Aristotelian argument.


Design has been junked for years now. If you wish to see how the “heavens” are formed, perhaps you should studied Kepler’s Laws and Newton’s Inverse Square Law.

And then read this:

All a posteriori Arguments For the Existence of God Are Intellectually Bankrupt

 

If we succeeded in getting this information, we could conclude that God is a great mathematician and that salvation depends on understanding mathematics.


Or...we could conclude that Kelper’s Laws are the result of pre-existing spatiotemporal constants which depend on the Omega, Lambda, and Epsilon paramaters.


However, the mere fact that an argument is difficult and complex does not prove that it is a fallacy. Geometry and calculus may drive students to despair, but the theorems are usually regarded as valid deductions. Contrariwise, when one examines the argument as Thomas actually wrote it, serious flaws appear. In another work, I have detailed some of Thomas' fallacies. One of them is a case of circularity, in which he uses as a premise the conclusion he wished to prove. Another is the case of a term that has one meaning in the premises and a different meaning in the conclusion. No syllogism can be valid if the conclusion contains an idea not already given in the premises.


Wow. You know basic syllogistic logic. I am impressed.


The conclusion therefore is: The so-called "cosmological argument" is not only extremely difficult-since it would require a great amount of science, mathematics, and philosophy to prove it-but it is inconclusive and irremediably fallacious. This is no way to answer the atheists.


Well done:

The Absurdity of the Cosmological Argument

 

The second difficulty is that even if such an argument were valid, it would be useless. This objection applies more to modern authors than to Aristotle. Aristotle's notion of god was quite clear: the Unmoved Mover, thought thinking thought; and this metaphysical mind has a definite role in the explanation of natural phenomena. But the god of contemporary empiricists seems to have no role at all; mainly because the meaning they attach to the word God is utterly vague.


No, because the term “metaphysical mind” is impossible and absurd. For further reading on this matter:

"Vitalism"/"Immaterialism" and Christian "dualism" have long since been debunked. Response?

The Matter/Information Conjecture Is a Crisis For the Existence of God

All a posteriori Arguments For the Existence of God Are Intellectually Bankrupt

And yes, the term is meaningless:

A Clarification Regarding My Position Relative to theological noncognitivism

 

Furthermore, the vague god of these views is useless. Nothing can be deduced from his existence. No moral norms follow a definition of god; no religious practices are contained in a description of god.


Does that mean you are going to try and prove the Christian God as well? Awful lot to ask for two Nobel Prizes isn’t it. I swear, if you have been leading me on to present TAG, I will be so angry.


His essence or nature being more important than his existence may seem unusual.


Its impossible for a supernatural being to have a nature. It is a contradictory statement:

A Clarification Regarding My Position Relative to theological noncognitivism


he mere fact that they use the name god for the universe and thus assert that god "exists" is of no help to Christianity.


Yes, so presumably we must define the Christian God before proving it. I have a challenge, could you do this without referencing broken negatives?


But the axioms are never deduced. They are assumed without proof.


HAHAHAHAHA. Please tell me this is not the base of your argument. Axioms are not assumed. They are the basis of all argument since they can be defended by retortion. The inherent attempt to disprove axioms renders the disprover invalidated being that any and all arguments that one may make rest upon axioms. Since axiom can be reworded into a tautology, they are necessary truths. Not assumed truths.


Every system of theology or philosophy must have a starting point.


Yep...a TAG variant. You are making a fallacy of equivocation between the base of logic as being tautology and axiom, and that of theology as being presuppositionalist. Tautologies can be defended, they simply cannot be proved. They are beyond proof because their truth is necessary for the construction of all logical truths from which we may discover anything. This does not mean they are assumed. It means they are defended by retortion. The crux of your ridiculous argument fails.


Logical Positivists started with the unproved assumption that a sentence can have no meaning unless it can be tested by sensation.


I reject this. Positivism is absurd.


To speak without referring to something that can be touched, seen, smelled, and especially measured, is to speak nonsense.


Again, I do not reject a priori or indirect empiricism


But they never deduce this principle.


Why are you beating a dead horse. There hasn’t been a pure positivist since the days of Ayer!


t is their non-demonstrable axiom.


STOP CONFLATING AXIOM WITH PRESUPPOSITION!


If the axioms of other secularists are not nonsense, they are nonetheless axioms


That being that they may be defended as necessary truths, not presuppositions.

Honestly, I feel like I am talking to a rock


Every system must start somewhere, and it cannot have started before it starts.


Another fallacy of equivocation I have a feeling this will crescendo into something very stupid.


A naturalist might amend the Logical Positivist's principle and make it say that all knowledge is derived from sensation.


A strawman of contemporary naturalism


This is not nonsense,


I agree


The point is that no system can deduce its axioms.


But we can show that they are necessary for proof, which means they are necessary truths defended by retortion. This is the fifth time you have conflated axiom with presupposition


No one can consistently object to Christianity's being based on a non-demonstrable axiom. If the secularists exercise their privilege of basing their theorems on axioms, then so can Christians. If the former refuse to accept our axioms, then they can have no logical objection to our rejecting theirs. Accordingly, we reject the very basis of atheism, Logical Positivism, and, in general, empiricism. Our axiom shall be, God has spoken. More completely, God has spoken in the Bible. More precisely, what the Bible says, God has spoken.


HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

HA

HA

HA

Ha

So. This is the sixth and last conflation of necessary truth with presupposition. Your last statement is merely reasoning in a circle. That’s it. Nothing more. An empty tautology. You are again conflating axiom with presupposition.

If you can rearrange the last sentence into a tautology you will hence have proved me wrong

have read a large number of Christian apologists, and this guy is surely one of the worst (which is saying something). This is what he spent 1500 words explaining. His argument is:

1. Everyone needs to assume something

2. Everyone believes something without proof, since otherwise one would believe based on a repeated regress of proofs

3. Therefore, our assumption without proof will be that the bible is true and God wrote it.

You must realize how fucking stupid that is. The writer is confusing presuppositions (which means "I'll just assume something as my starting point without evidence" ) with axioms. An axiom is a necessary truth. They can be defended by the fact that any attempt to invalidate them requires that the argument uses them. Hence, it is impossible to prove them (they are beyond proof), or disprove them (they cannot be disproved).

So, when the idiot concluded that his "axiom" by which he means "presupposition" would be that the Bible is true and God wrote it, I challenged him to rewrite that to make it a necessary truth. The list of necessary truths can be found in the table I gave below.

You will find that most Christian aplogists are excellent at sophistry. This means that they pretend to be knowledgeable by having a good command of the English language, and use terms which appear intimidating, but when you take the time to read it, you will realize that he doesn't actually say anything. Craig, Bahnsen, Stein and Clark have perfected this technique. For example, if you carefully read Clark's criticism of Thomas Nagel, you realize it goes like this:

Nagel: The words event and occurance make necessary reference to time and causality, it does no good to say that any supernatural entity could have any sort of occurance or event, and it would not be able to control anything, being that it is outside of causality. the notion, then of a supernatural mind, and by extension, life after death, are broken.

Clark: You are wrong.

 

Here is a table of first-order logic statements to help:

"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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kingneb wrote: "You're

kingneb wrote:

"You're clumping pantheism with atheism"

True. But did you read why that is? Or was that where you stopped reading?

 

I don't compare giraffes to stars. 


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Cutting and pasting someone

Cutting and pasting someone else's work is not usually a sign of a thinking person.

May be the case here, but that doesn't make a lick of sense. How does it follow that just because I paste someone's work that I'm not a thinking person? That's irrational. 


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kingneb wrote: "You're

kingneb wrote:

"You're clumping pantheism with atheism"

 True. But did you read why that is? Or was that where you stopped reading?

Unfortunately, I read every word of the nonsense you posted.  I even went back to read it again.  And you are still incorrect.  Just because a pantheist's idea of god doesn't sit well with you doesn't make a pantheist a non-theist. 

Can you please let me know where you got this information from?  It's dishonest to copy and paste without giving credit to the author.

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kingneb wrote: Cutting and

kingneb wrote:

Cutting and pasting someone else's work is not usually a sign of a thinking person.

May be the case here, but that doesn't make a lick of sense. How does it follow that just because I paste someone's work that I'm not a thinking person? That's irrational.

At least provide a link to the source. 


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Logically there is no

Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism. To deny that there is a God and to apply the name God to everything are conceptually identical


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kingneb wrote: Cutting and

kingneb wrote:

Cutting and pasting someone else's work is not usually a sign of a thinking person.

May be the case here, but that doesn't make a lick of sense. How does it follow that just because I paste someone's work that I'm not a thinking person? That's irrational.

 

I'm a theist. I'm allowed to be irrational.  And around here, there is a history of people dropping in with a big cut and paste, thrashing about for a bit, then disappearing. So, perhaps you are a thinking person, but the trend is when a first post is a cut and paste, there is a lack of thinking involved.


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kingneb wrote: Logically

kingneb wrote:
Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism. To deny that there is a God and to apply the name God to everything are conceptually identical

 

Define god in a logically consistent manner and then we'll talk a bit. 


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Voiderest,  The only thing

Voiderest,

 The only thing you appear to have proven is that you know how to operate the search function.

 Do you not think i was aware that i cut and pasted?

As far as your assertion as the end, that's all it was - mere assertion. 


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"non-sense"  How so? Just

"non-sense"

 How so? Just because you say it is? That's irrational.

"dishonest"

Hmm. No. You didn't ask for it. I gave the dude's name at the bottom. All you had to do was ask. Little man gave the link above. 


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could you please acknowledge

could you please acknowledge my post?

"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.

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Define god in a logically

Define god in a logically consistent manner and then we'll talk a bit.

 I would define God as He defines Himself in Scripture. But i fail to see what that has to do with Clark's point.

Clark's point is that if a word can mean everything, then it means nothing. If "God" is any and everything we point our finger at, then "God" as a word is meaningless.

 


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are you going to give me

are you going to give me time to read it? You did give other links as well for me to read - can i have some time?

 sheessshhh.

 


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My apologies. I thought you

My apologies. I thought you had passed it since you went from Pariah to wavefreak.

"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.

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kingneb wrote: I would

kingneb wrote:

I would define God as He defines Himself in Scripture. But i fail to see what that has to do with Clark's point.

Okay, you have a problem, then: that entity is defined in a contradictory way, and since contradictory things cannot exist, that entity cannot exist.

Quote:

Clark's point is that if a word can mean everything, then it means nothing. If "God" is any and everything we point our finger at, then "God" as a word is meaningless.

I agree with the dependent clause in the second sentence, but not with anything in the first. If a word means "everything" or "anything" it might be practically or functionally useless, but that is not the same thing as meaning "nothing".

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kingneb wrote:

kingneb wrote:

Define god in a logically consistent manner and then we'll talk a bit.

I would define God as He defines Himself in Scripture. But i fail to see what that has to do with Clark's point.

Clark's point is that if a word can mean everything, then it means nothing. If "God" is any and everything we point our finger at, then "God" as a word is meaningless.

 

 

You are making noise that you would like to engage in intelligent discourse. You then accuse me of being irrational. Which implies you want to maintain a high level of rationality in this discourse. The ketyto such logical based conversation is to have some core defintions upon which to build. I can't think of anything more important than a logically consistent definition of god. The god of the bible is not logically consistent. I am willing to maintian a high level of logic in this conversation, but without logically consistent definitions it will be impossible.


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Hi Neb. Posting a copy and

Hi Neb.
Posting a copy and paste perhaps wasn't a good way to introduce yourself, although kudos that you referenced it at the end - I think that most of us missed that!
You also stayed around to answer replies rather than hit and run. I hate hit and runs! Laughing out loud

To business, I'd like to make two points on your post:

kingneb wrote:
One historically prominent group is the Logical Positivists. By an analysis of language, they conclude that theology is not so much false as it is plain nonsense. To them, speaking of God is like saying that the typewriter is the bluish-green sound of the square root of minus one.

As Deluded God pointed out, you don't have to be a logical positivist to conclude this. Remember that they're not talking about 'nonsense' in the everyday sense - they're just pointing out that to say that something exists then it has to have a definition that describes something. I've yet to come across a coherent description of God.

The second point I wanted to make was about axioms:

kingneb wrote:
Other arguments against empiricism need not be given here: The point is that no system can deduce its axioms.

He is right that axioms cannot be logically deduced - after all, they are supposed to be the foundations of all deductions. However, he goes on to conclude that they must be arbitrary beliefs.
Axioms aren't 'truths' as such. A better way to describe them would be as rules to a game. If you want to 'play' maths then there's certain rules that we play. If you aim to follow the axioms then you are doing maths. If not then you are doing something different.

Likewise with justification for truth.
We recognise what our practice of 'finding truth' is and we recognise the rules for doing it properly. So the axioms of an epistemological system are the rules we follow in order to find truth. As you can imagine, there can often be dispute over what these rules are. Some of them though, are more or less beyond dispute.
Take the law of non-contradiction - if you are using the words 'not' and 'and' properly then the law of non-contradiction should be obvious. After all, if the law of non-contradiction wasn't true then this conversation would be possible:
"You're an idiot""
"No I'm not!"
"I agree you're not an idiot, but you're also an idiot!"

As you can see, ignoring the law of non-contradiction makes the word 'not' worthless. So as long as we are using the English language correctly (which, lets face it, is necessary for this conversation to be taking place! Eye-wink) then the law of non-contradiction will hold.

Another point I should mention is that "God exists" cannot be an axiom as it is a statement about truth rather than a statement about method.

Quote:
The inference is this: No one can consistently object to Christianity's being based on a non-demonstrable axiom. If the secularists exercise their privilege of basing their theorems on axioms, then so can Christians. If the former refuse to accept our axioms, then they can have no logical objection to our rejecting theirs. Accordingly, we reject the very basis of atheism, Logical Positivism, and, in general, empiricism. Our axiom shall be, God has spoken. More completely, God has spoken in the Bible. More precisely, what the Bible says, God has spoken.

I like to think that I have answered this but I'll sum up my points:
1) Rather than be arbitrary, the axioms of secularists tend to be rooted in the rules of language that we are already using. As your disagreement to the axioms would require use of this language, you'd kind of contradict yourself in disputing them.
The same cannot be said for the statement "God exists and has spoken"

2) Axioms are statements about method rather than truth.
"God exists and has spoken" is a statement about truth rather than method, so cannot be such an axiom.

Perhaps you'd like to dispute the methods of secularists but these methods tend to be ones that you likely use yourself. Secularists, on the other hand, don't rely on the Bible for their beliefs so they can quite easily reject methods based on bible reading.
Another point is that methods can be judged on their practical merits. The methods of secularists have a reputation for being reliable and being successful. Methods like believing the Bible haven't had such a glorious history. Where the bible readers challenged the scientists (e.g. the world being round or evolution vs creation) the scientists won.

Welcome to RRS and I hope you stick around long enough for us to have a good debate on this.


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Wave,  I didn't accuse you

Wave,

 I didn't accuse you of being irrational. I said that to imply that i'm not a thinker just because i cut and pasted something is irrational.

 However, if the shoe fits, then wear it.


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Okay, you have a problem,

Okay, you have a problem, then: that entity is defined in a contradictory way, and since contradictory things cannot exist, that entity cannot exist.

- mere assertion. no substance 


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Strafio, I appreciate the

Strafio,

I appreciate the decent attempt to interact versus the typical whining about things unrelated to the topic. Whether it was 'original' or not is simply irrelevant, unless i had lied about who wrote it - which i didn't.

 Also, i agree with you 100% in affirming the law of contradiction as necessary. I battle Christians on this constantly.

However, i don't understand your number 2. Perhaps you can elaborate on that a little more.

 Thank you.


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kingneb wrote: Logically

kingneb wrote:
Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism. To deny that there is a God and to apply the name God to everything are conceptually identical

First of all, atheism is not the denial of god.   You cannot deny something that does not exist.  

Please explain to me why pantheism and atheism is conceptually identical as I fail to understand from your post.   

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kingneb

kingneb wrote:

"non-sense"

How so? Just because you say it is? That's irrational.

"dishonest"

Hmm. No. You didn't ask for it. I gave the dude's name at the bottom. All you had to do was ask. Little man gave the link above.

It's nonsense because it simply doesn't make sense.  You cannot equate pantheism with atheism, it's logically unsound.  A pantheist still believes in the idea of a higher power, an atheist does not.

I apologize for overlooking that name.  I thought it was your signature.  However, as a general rule, citations and links should automatically be provided, not requested. 

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it was explained. to say

it was explained.

to say that "all" things are "god" is to make "god" a meaningless word.

 What do you not understand about that? Or maybe you do understand, but will now play games with the meaning of pantheism.


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kingneb wrote: to say that

kingneb wrote:

to say that "all" things are "god" is to make "god" a meaningless word.

 

But you see.... "god" is a meaningless word anyway.

Define your god, and if you use the omnimax (omnipotent, omni benevolent, omniscient) definition, your god is automatically incoherent. 


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Define your god, and if you

Define your god, and if you use the omnimax (omnipotent, omni benevolent, omniscient) definition, your god is automatically incoherent.

 How so?


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kingneb wrote:

kingneb wrote:

Define your god, and if you use the omnimax (omnipotent, omni benevolent, omniscient) definition, your god is automatically incoherent.

How so?

Please read this by Todangst:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/god_is_an_incoherent_term

 


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No original thoughts? Copy

No original thoughts? Copy and link paste? Wink

actually, i'd love to read it but the link is saying "no page found". Gotta another link.

thanks. 


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kingneb wrote: No original

kingneb wrote:

No original thoughts? Copy and link paste? Wink

actually, i'd love to read it but the link is saying "no page found". Gotta another link.

thanks.

I fixed the link for you. Smiling

I gave you that link because Todangst says it better than I ever could and hopefully you can read it and understand the incoherency. 

 


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thanks. ( :

thanks. ( :


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kingneb wrote: to say that

kingneb wrote:

to say that "all" things are "god" is to make "god" a meaningless word.

An atheist does not believe in god. A pantheist believes that god is everything. How is it possible to symultaneously believe something does not exist and believe it is everything? The only way for that to work is to not believe anything exists.

A pantheist is not simply renaming the universe 'god' (and even if they did the word still has meaning otherwise the term universe is meaningless) It's a belief about the nature of things, not the name of things. It's the belief that everything is a part of some greater divine intelligence.

 

Sorry If I'm misrepresenting any pantheists here, this is naturally only my own interpretation but it is something I personally find myself believing from time to time and I consider it pantheism.

 

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


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kingneb wrote: Voiderest,

kingneb wrote:
Voiderest,

The only thing you appear to have proven is that you know how to operate the search function.

Do you not think i was aware that i cut and pasted?

As far as your assertion as the end, that's all it was - mere assertion.

If you notice kingneb it wasn't written to you. I would hope that a person remembers their own actions.

This is the manifesto of the org you got the article from. It informs, badly I might add, what a few non-religions positions are and tries to tell the reader how they should responded.

You gave us a how to guide to talking to an atheist. A guide would be written to reinforce a religious viewpoint in most cases.

I can see a possibility of disinformation from how he defines atheist and says "Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism." Although that I'm not trying to say he knows better and he knows its false though. There are plenty of people who like to make the atheist position out to be a belief or more then it is.

 

The main point was that this isn't something written for atheists to read so it is going to come off a bit odd. It would like giving a Republican an article talking to Democrats about why the reps are so wrong.

There is also the side points about how it begins on false premises and copy/paste doesn't give people much of a motivation to work at a reply or take you seriously.


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I'm still here, you know...

Todangst's writings on this subject, I consider, are better than mine. If it is not too much material, I suggest you look at his when you are done with mine

"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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Quote: Logically there is

Quote:
Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism. To deny that there is a God and to apply the name God to everything are conceptually identical

 

If it's not a circle, it MUST be a square!

Becuase I say so.  You are so Feyd, it's cute.

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You gave us a how to guide

You gave us a how to guide to talking to an atheist. A guide would be written to reinforce a religious viewpoint in most cases.

 Hey! someone give the little man a star!

I can see a possibility of disinformation from how he defines atheist and says "Logically there is no difference between Atheism and Pantheism." Although that I'm not trying to say he knows better and he knows its false though. There are plenty of people who like to make the atheist position out to be a belief or more then it is.

I have no idea what your next to last sentence is saying. Although that...huh? You're not a US American, are you? 


The main point was that this isn't something written for atheists to read so it is going to come off a bit odd. It would like giving a Republican an article talking to Democrats about why the reps are so wrong.

Again, another star for the little man. Ummm, where did i state that the purpose of the article was anything different? 

There is also the side points about how it begins on false premises and copy/paste doesn't give people much of a motivation to work at a reply or take you seriously.

If you say so. It's funny that you haven't gotten onto deludedman for pasting links all over the place.

 ------

Which, by the way, i am currently reading through. Deluded, I read your response and frankly found it a waste of time. Your post assumes the validity of the points you and tod make in those other articles, so i'll focus on those specifically. So far, I'm not impressed.  But, i'll keep reading. (and watching, apparently tod has some youtube vids on the topic)


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kingneb wrote: If you say

kingneb wrote:

If you say so. It's funny that you haven't gotten onto deludedman for pasting links all over the place.

 

Careful. You're starting to shows signs of ass-holiness. DeludedGod often post links to things he has written himself. 


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Quote: If you say so. It's

Quote:

If you say so. It's funny that you haven't gotten onto deludedman for pasting links all over the place.

Yes, but I wrote those damn articles! You didn't.

Quote:

 Which, by the way, i am currently reading through. Deluded, I read your response and frankly found it a waste of time.

Did you respond to the challenge at the bottom regarding the rewording of the idiocy of Gordon Clark's conclusion into a tautology?

Really, that was all I needed. I didn't actually need to paste in the article links. I just thought it was amusing. The argument put forth by Clark is so pathetic that there is no need to give extra information as put forth in the articles. He is conflating presuppositionalism with axiomatics, which means he understands formal logic to the same degree that a five year old does. If you can actually respond to my challenge and reword the idiocy of Clarck into a tauological claim, I will be most impressed.

Quote:

 Your post assumes the validity of the points you and tod make in those other articles, so i'll focus on those specifically. So far, I'm not impressed.  But, i'll keep reading. (and watching, apparently tod has some youtube vids on the topic)

Again, if you can actually refute anything I say in the articles, I will be most impressed. The only reason for that is that I have not had a full-length debate over any of my articles since January. Most of the "debates" simply involve me teaching my opponent what the fucker could have read in the library, since I am qualified on the subjects (neuroscience, physics and molecular biology) and they are not.

But perhaps you wil suprise me... 

"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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