Atheism vs. Theism

KoRnYAtheist
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Atheism vs. Theism

Debate here, let the games begin.


adamgrant
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alright. I'm a theist. let's

alright. I'm a theist. let's chat.

how are we gonna start?

how about you give me evidences that God doesn't exist, and then I'll give you evidences that he does.

I would like to add from the start, that I believe faith must be backed up by evidence. it must be logical, it must flow. if it does not follow it's own premises, then it cannot be truth and should not be believed. You cannot seperate faith from reason. Therefore my faith in a God is not blind, it is not irrational. Our faiths may be in opposition, but through logical discussion we can possibly come to common conclusions. So, in the words of Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together."


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The problem is twofold:

The problem is twofold: proving something DOESN'T exist is often difficult, especially a moving target like "god" (meaning that there are so many concepts of god, we need to define exactly what god we mean before even starting to discuss it). This isn't an argument FOR god any more than it's an argument for invisible unicorns, which nobody believes in but also can't be disproven.

Also, the theist is the one making the positive claim, and an extraordinary one at that; therefore he should supply evidence of his claims.

Now, I can make certain arguments against a specific god - for example, we can discuss biblical contradictions. But again, that only matters if the theist accepts an inerrant view of the bible. So let's define a specific theology first.


KoRnYAtheist
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Faith + Evidence = ???

If you had evidence for a god you really would have faith. Faith is beliving without seeing. Belief without evidence. Look it up. You can seperate faith from reason because it happens all the time. It sounds like your making up strawmen so you'll have a target that you could destroy. Sounds like you're gonna start bible thumping as well.

I'm just to .


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adamgrant wrote:

adamgrant wrote:

how about you give me evidences that God doesn't exist, and then I'll give you evidences that he does.

I got a better idea, I'll assume you don't believe in Farzedelies (if you do we'll have to find a different example).

You present evidence that Farzedelies don't exist, and I'll watch.

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Hi adamgrant, great to meet

Hi adamgrant, great to meet you.

Quote:
how are we gonna start?

As different religions and sects believe in different kinds of gods, I think we should start by each participant stating what kind of deity he is going to argue for or against.

My reason for rejecting all brands of theism I have encountered is that some god-claims are irrelevant while the rest are unsupported by empirical evidence.

What I mean by irrelevant god-claims is wishy-washy ideas like "God is love. Don't you believe in love?" Of course I believe in love. I just call it "love", not "god".

A more dangerous kind of god-claim is something like "My uncle's friend's cousin was miraculously cured of cancer! There is a god! Let us shun medical science and rely on faith healing!"

Ideas of this latter kind fail to impress me for the same reason that claims of ghosts and psychic powers do. Anecdotal "evidence" abounds, but when one looks into it, one finds nothing but wishful thinking and the occasional outright hoax.

So, tell me what kind of god you believe in and I shall tell you why I do not believe in that particular god.


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Yeah defining god would be

Yeah defining god would be the first step, in some cases I think we might be able to offer why it can't exist first. However if indeed it doesn't exist the way in which we would disprove it would be the same way in which you would disprove the existance of a square circle or dark light.

To ask us to disprove something you need to define it. Maybe you thought we all thought of god in the same context, but as Kemono pointed out, "different religions and sects believe in different kinds of gods."


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I appreciate the repsonses

I appreciate the repsonses that are seriously wanting to have intellectual discussion. However, I think the assumption that I am starting to "bible-thump" is quite uncalled for. I am not a fundamentalist christian.

To just talk about a certian religion's god is irrelevant to the issue. Even if you could prove that Islam's God, or Mormonism's God doesn't exist, that doesn't cancel out the idea of a god existing. You would have only disproved a certain interpretation of a god. Perhaps a god does exist that no religion has ever proclaimed, and that no man has rightly portrayed. Right now, it doesn't matter who a god may or may not be, the issue is finding out if a god exists at all! We have to know something exists before we can know anything about it's attributes or characteristics.

Most of you know how to go about this. The first rule of logic is to define your terms.

I will define "God" to mean "that which a greater cannot be thought."


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adamgrant wrote:I will

adamgrant wrote:
I will define "God" to mean "that which a greater cannot be thought."

Ok, so god is infinity and it exists. Great! We're both theists now.

Now we just need to find a dictionary to actually agree with our new definition.

Oh, I'm gonna just accept that infinity exists based on the fact that we can conceive it, but can you point me to a place where I can witness infinity occurring? It would make me feel better about my new found theism. Oh and does infinity do anything or have any properties, or is it merely a byproduct of the big bang?

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You know by that definition

You know by that definition couldn't man be god? Well maybe not man, but the entity doesn't need to be supernatural for it. If the being isn't supernatural why should we call it god? For if all it has is power then couldn't we have such power at some point? I mean having better tech or more knowledge doesn't mean the being is god, even if we were to view it as god like.


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Voiderest wrote:You know by

Voiderest wrote:
You know by that definition couldn't man be god? Well maybe not man, but the entity doesn't need to be supernatural for it.

Wait a second, he didn't say anything about supernatural! I thought we were talking about infinity!

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Quote:I will define "God" to

Quote:
I will define "God" to mean "that which a greater cannot be thought."

If we were debating the existence of unicorns, we would not define a unicorn as "a multi-cellular organism". We already know multi-cellular organisms exist; proving it tells us nothing about the existence of unicorns.

Your definition simply fails to summarize what a deity is. To be even worth discussing, a deity must at the very least be defined so that its existence would make some difference.

Edit: adamgrant, does this definition work for you?
"God is a personal, conscious and moral agent, neither evolved nor designed, whose powers are far above human abilities and technologies. He is interested in human affairs and intervenes in them. He is also the most powerful entity in existence."


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KornyAtheist, Faith in that

KornyAtheist,
Faith in that which is unseen does not mean it is illogical. You believe in the wind, correct? You don't see the wind. But you observe events and processes that give you reasonable evidence that the wind exists. Again, I say you cannot seperate faith from reason, anyone who tries to is not being logical. Just because it "happens all the time" doesn't mean that it's a characteristic of faith itself. I did look it up, and my dictionary says nothing about faith having no evidence.

Sapient,
-I love sarcasm, and can point it out fairly easily. I do not mind it, however, please use with caution. You would not want to break your own rules to be, "civil, polite, understanding, and caring for your fellow human."
-Why must god now be infinity? I did not describe god to be a number with no exact value.
-To be honest, I don't know what a "Farzedelie" is. I tried searching it online and couldn't find any results. I suppose that would be my first evidence that it may not exist. Smiling
-Let's use Fairies, for example. I can present evidence that fairies most likely do not exist. 1) I've never seen one. 2) I've never met anyone who has claimed to have seen one. 3) As far as I know there is no record of anyone finding magical dust and concluded it might've been from a fairy. 4) As far as I know there is no record of anyone discovering tiny clothes and concluding it was a fairies. 5) As far as I know there is no credible record of a fairy having revealed itself to anyone. 6) The few people in the world that may truly believe in fairies may either be small children or adults with a large imagination, unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, mentally handicapped, or superstitous. Ultimately, this minority would not be a very reliable source. 7) However, I also realize that I am not all-knowing. I have not been to every geographical place at every moment in time, nor have I met every person, nor have I read every testimony to see if there are any reliable evidences that fairies exist. As of now, I can conclude that I have not seen enough evidence to persuade me of fairies existing. However, if I do eventually find that evidence, I would be obligated to believe. In my quest for truth, to deny a true beings existence would be a major offense, and contradictory to my self proclaimed "quest for truth."

Kemono,
Your definition of god does not work for me. First of all, I am not attributing any detailed characteristics to god yet. if a god does exist, he would have to reveal himself for us to know anything about his "personality." For as you all agree, we cannot see/find him on our own. I am not proposing that he is personal, nor interested in human affairs. He may or may not be at this point. We need to find out if he exists first before we can even discuss that. Is this god even a "he"?

Let me expound a little. We all have the idea of a 'god'. the idea exists in every person's mind. we have these pre-supposed idea's about this god's personality. whether it be that he is all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, transcending time and space, etc. According to these ideas, this being would certainly be the greatest being in existence. We do not attribute those qualities to any other being. I believe it is greater for something to exist both in the mind and reality, rather than in the mind alone. So, if this being does not exist, then we certainly could imagine something greater than it (which would be namely, one that exists in both mind and reality.) But, this cannot be possible because our idea of god is "that which a greater cannot be thought." Therefore, I think that is the starting point to discover who this being is and what is it's purpose? Or, if it doesnt exist, why do we all have the idea of it in our minds?


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adamgrant wrote:Sapient,

adamgrant wrote:
Sapient,
-I love sarcasm, and can point it out fairly easily. I do not mind it, however, please use with caution. You would not want to break your own rules to be, "civil, polite, understanding, and caring for your fellow human."

I assure you my sarcasm was meant with nothing but polite intentions, a fun way for you to get the point that voiderest made.

Quote:
-Why must god now be infinity? I did not describe god to be a number with no exact value.

Well you set forth a new definition for god that no dictionary would agree with, however many dictionaries would have your definition of god under infinity.

Check this out lol:

Infinity - is defined as "that which is free from any possible limitation". In other words, something greater cannot possibly be conceived of, and nothing can be added to the infinite that it did not already possess from all eternity. (adapted from A.A. Hodge, "Outlines of Theology", p. 133)

THIS FROM A CHRISTIAN WEBSITE!!! http://www.calvarysbd.com/terms.htm

Those were the exact words you presented to define God. Notice Calvary Chapel website gives a definition for god as well, which is poor as it doesn't define God, only his attributes. I can elaborate if you don't see why their definition of god is a poor one.

Quote:
-To be honest, I don't know what a "Farzedelie" is. I tried searching it online and couldn't find any results. I suppose that would be my first evidence that it may not exist. Smiling
-Let's use Fairies, for example. I can present evidence that fairies most likely do not exist. 1) I've never seen one. 2) I've never met anyone who has claimed to have seen one. 3) As far as I know there is no record of anyone finding magical dust and concluded it might've been from a fairy. 4) As far as I know there is no record of anyone discovering tiny clothes and concluding it was a fairies. 5) As far as I know there is no credible record of a fairy having revealed itself to anyone. 6) The few people in the world that may truly believe in fairies may either be small children or adults with a large imagination, unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, mentally handicapped, or superstitous. Ultimately, this minority would not be a very reliable source. 7) However, I also realize that I am not all-knowing. I have not been to every geographical place at every moment in time, nor have I met every person, nor have I read every testimony to see if there are any reliable evidences that fairies exist. As of now, I can conclude that I have not seen enough evidence to persuade me of fairies existing. However, if I do eventually find that evidence, I would be obligated to believe. In my quest for truth, to deny a true beings existence would be a major offense, and contradictory to my self proclaimed "quest for truth."

WOW!!! I'm floored! You just summed up many of the reasons that atheists don't believe in God. Replace every instance of "fairies" with "gods" and there you have it.

Welcome to the club fellow afairiest.

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Quote:We all have the idea

Quote:
We all have the idea of a 'god'. the idea exists in every person's mind.

Does it? I think it is a meme that has only become ubiqutous in the last few centuries. Take Japan, for example. Spirits known as kami (usually translated into English as 'gods') have apparently been worshipped for millenia, but they are nothing like the "supreme being" of monotheistic religions and they are definitely not "that which a greater cannot be thought", as you put it. As far as I know, the idea of a supreme being has only become a part of Japanese discourse after Westerners introduced it into the Japanese meme pool.

Quote:
Or, if it doesnt exist, why do we all have the idea of it in our minds?

The concept of "that which a greater cannot be thought" sounds to me counterintuitive, strange and of little value. If the idea can be said to inhabit my brain it is only because you just put it there.

Quote:
First of all, I am not attributing any detailed characteristics to god yet. if a god does exist, he would have to reveal himself for us to know anything about his "personality." For as you all agree, we cannot see/find him on our own. I am not proposing that he is personal, nor interested in human affairs. He may or may not be at this point. We need to find out if he exists first before we can even discuss that.

I am not going to argue for or against the existence of "that which a greater cannot be thought". I do not care either way, because the question is nothing but a playground for empty sophistry. It is like asking "does the number two exist".

Let me present my thesis: "We should make our social and ethical decisions without relying on a god hypothesis. There is no god that needs be taken into consideration when making these decisions." If you disagree, I shall listen to your argument. If you agree, it does not matter to me whether you believe in a god or not.


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adamgrant wrote:Let me

adamgrant wrote:
Let me expound a little. We all have the idea of a 'god'. the idea exists in every person's mind. we have these pre-supposed idea's about this god's personality. whether it be that he is all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, transcending time and space, etc. According to these ideas, this being would certainly be the greatest being in existence. We do not attribute those qualities to any other being.

Well those things seems fantastic so the only beings that would have such characteristics would be supernatural or magical. Also depending on which god you are talking about it could be proven that the god can't have all three of those.
Quote:
I believe it is greater for something to exist both in the mind and reality, rather than in the mind alone. So, if this being does not exist, then we certainly could imagine something greater than it (which would be namely, one that exists in both mind and reality.) But, this cannot be possible because our idea of god is "that which a greater cannot be thought." Therefore, I think that is the starting point to discover who this being is and what is it's purpose?

The who is a bit shaky but the purpose I would think would be more clear. If the being exists its purpose would be to start and/or run existence.
Quote:
Or, if it doesnt exist, why do we all have the idea of it in our minds?

We have the idea of fairies and unicorns in our mind. Now it is true that such things are basically tangible things in which we put together or change slightly in our mind. However this could still be the case with the god idea.

- Always existing: Well we know what it means to exist so its not that much of a stretch to imagine the idea of always doing such.

- All-whatever: We know the idea of the whatever now all we have to do is know what it would mean to have the quality to the max.

- The Creator: We know what it means to create something and we have an idea of the world. So we can have the idea that something creating the world without someone really doing it.

- Running the world: We know what it means to oversee something and we have an idea of the world. So we can have the idea without something really doing it.

While not all those points are the ones you had I feel that all of them are used by enough other people to be brought up through this.


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Sapient, I still don't buy

Sapient,
I still don't buy into the infinity connection. I know who Hodge is and I don't necessarily favor his theological ideas. Besides, he is referring to "the greatest thing that could ever be conceived of" to a place in time, not a god-like being. The definition really doesnt connect.

And actually, you are wrong about my evidence against fary analogy. If i replace the word "fary" with "god", i come up with outrageous lies. Because, I do know people who claim to have seen god, there are numerous records of a god revealing himself to man, and theists are a majority in the world, not a minority. Those who believe in a god are not only small children or adults with a large imagination, unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, mentally handicapped, or superstitous. There are many smart, philosophical, intellectual and logical people through-out the ages that have believed in god. They are not all suffering from insanity. If you are actually claiming that to be fact, then you are being highly irrational and down right arrogant. I'd like to see you try to win an atheist/theist debate against Descartes, Einstein, CS Lewis, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, or Kierkegaard. My bets would be on them. They are considered very reliable men of science and philosophy. These few claims alone give us enough possible evidence for the existence of god.

Also, what about number 7? Have you, Sapient, been to every geographical place at every moment in time, met every person, or read every testimony to see if there are any reliable evidences that god exist? I doubt you have.

Tell me, do you believe in logical absolutes?

Kemono,
You bring up an interesting subject that I'd like to talk about. "We should make our social and ethical decisions without relying on a god hypothesis." If you will include moral issues into the category of decisions as well, then I would have to disagree. If i'm out of line to make it a moral issue, then please correct me.

I'd like to just ask you an easy question, one that you can probably answer without thinking about it: if there is no god hypothesis that we rely on for our morals and ethics, then where do we get the morals from?


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adamgrant wrote:Sapient, If

adamgrant wrote:
Sapient,
If i replace the word "fary" with "god", i come up with outrageous lies. Because, I do know people who claim to have seen god, there are numerous records of a god revealing himself to man

The same is true about fairies.

Quote:
and theists are a majority in the world, not a minority.

And people who believed the Earth was flat used to be in a majority. Did that make the idea any more correct?

Quote:
These few claims alone give us enough possible evidence for the existence of god.

No, not in any realm of falsifiability. No they don't.

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adamgrant wrote:You bring up

adamgrant wrote:
You bring up an interesting subject that I'd like to talk about. "We should make our social and ethical decisions without relying on a god hypothesis." If you will include moral issues into the category of decisions as well, then I would have to disagree. If i'm out of line to make it a moral issue, then please correct me.

Sure, I do include moral issues in that category. I hope you now see my point about the definition of "god": for the existence or non-existence of a god to be of much interest, the word "god" must mean something that, if real, would have an impact on how we should live our lives.

adamgrant wrote:
I'd like to just ask you an easy question, one that you can probably answer without thinking about it: if there is no god hypothesis that we rely on for our morals and ethics, then where do we get the morals from?

The prevalence of certain moral principles in all human societies suggests that some moral tendencies are hard-wired into our brains by natural selection: some mores are inherently more attractive to us than others. For example, the rule "be nice to everyone unless he is hostile to you" has a better chance of propagating in the meme pool than the rule "beat the living daylights out of everyone you meet on a Wednesday".

The are good Darwinian reasons why this should be so. The capacity to cooperate is extremely useful for an individual, which means that genes inhabiting bodies that cooperate with other bodies have a better chance of making it to the next generation. This means that a gene that makes the individual more inclined to cooperate can spread in the gene pool.

However, it is clear that there is much variation in mores from culture to culture. That variation is not genetic but memetic.

Some memes spread better than others, but which mores come to predominate is sometimes down to factors that can be described as random. This meme got there first, or that meme was initially burdened with an association to some other meme... etc.

So to answer your question: we get our morals from an interplay between our innate (=genetic) tendencies and millenia of cultural (=memetic) evolution.

Of course, now that we know where our moral intuitions come from, we can essentially hijack them from our genes (metaphorically speaking, that is!) and make them work for the good of all mankind by being even nicer to each other than our genes "want" (again, metaphorically speaking) us to be.


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Sapient, Please don't take

Sapient,
Please don't take my words out of context. If there is a record of a fary revealing himself to anyone (as opposed to someone "finding" the fary) please show it to me. Even if there is such record, my point is that those who claim such are more than likely prone to superstition and fantasy, not able to logically tell the difference between fiction and reality. However with theism, a large group of people believe in a god that were very intellectual, logical, rational, human beings. They would be more reliable for such claims than a dillusioned peter pan fan!

And no, just because a majority believes something, does not make it true. That was not my point. My point, since I have to say one more time, is that a whole array of rational philosophers and scientists believe in a god!

You are the one making irrational claims: 1) everyone who believes in a god is completely illogical and un-reliable. 2) That you are all-knowing. For, you would have to be all-knowing to know for certain that god does not exist. Just like I would have to be all-knowing to claim that faries do not exist. You have not been at every geographical place in every moment in time to weigh any or all possible evidence. At best, you are only speculating, you cannot know for certain! Now you're a weak agnostic.

Quote:

we get our morals from an interplay between our innate (=genetic) tendencies and millenia of cultural (=memetic) evolution.

kemono,
great presentation. however, this still doesn't really answer my question. Where did the innate tendencies come from? Individual humans often have different moral tendencies. So, what makes one right and the other wrong? It may not be in your tendency to be a rapist, but yet, the world is full of them. How are we to say that their tendency is wrong? If it being wrong is dependent on culture and society, then you are claiming that rape might not be wrong in some cultures. Therefore, morals can change and are not fixed. There is no absolute. If i am wrong, please prove to me how you have any ground whatsoever to believe that there are absolute moral truths.


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adamgrant

adamgrant wrote:
Sapient,
Please don't take my words out of context.

I didn't. You gave great reasons for not believing in fairies, if you are to be HONEST with yourself, you'll see the same reasons apply to god belief.

Quote:
If there is a record of a fary revealing himself to anyone (as opposed to someone "finding" the fary) please show it to me.

Visit your nearest mental institution to meet someone who believes they've met fairies (or any other similar nonsense). The biggest difference between the god believer and the fairy believer is their environment, the fairy believer is in the mental hospital.

Quote:
Even if there is such record, my point is that those who claim such are more than likely prone to superstition and fantasy, not able to logically tell the difference between fiction and reality.

You're describing yourself and the rest of the theist population here.

Quote:
However with theism, a large group of people believe in a god that were very intellectual, logical, rational, human beings. They would be more reliable for such claims than a dillusioned peter pan fan!

Again you're falling prey to a logical fallacy, argumentum ad populum. Appeal to majority fallacy. There were plenty of logical and rational human beings that believed the Sun revolved around the Earth and that the Earth was flat, however the beliefs of many "logical and rational" people did nothing to validate their claim.

A belief does not gain truth as it gains followers.

Quote:
And no, just because a majority believes something, does not make it true. That was not my point. My point, since I have to say one more time, is that a whole array of rational philosophers and scientists believe in a god!

Now you're appealing to authority, yet another logical fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_authority

Quote:
You are the one making irrational claims: 1) everyone who believes in a god is completely illogical and un-reliable.

1. Point out where I said all theists are un-reliable, inability to do so would demonstrate dishonesty on your part.

2. I assert god belief is irrational as there is no reasonable and logical (let alone falsifiable) reason for believing so.

Quote:
2) That you are all-knowing. For, you would have to be all-knowing to know for certain that god does not exist. Just like I would have to be all-knowing to claim that faries do not exist.

1. Point out where I said I am certain no gods exist, inability to do so would demonstrate dishonesty on your part.

2. I assert god belief is irrational, therefore the only position left is disbelief, it's a default position you are born to. I didn't choose to be atheist, it's simply what I am since I realize that theists claims are not logically sound.

Quote:
Now you're a weak agnostic.

No, I am an agnostic atheist. Someone who lacks belief in a god (atheist) who claims that a first cause is unknown or unknowable (agnostic).

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Quote:great presentation.

Quote:
great presentation. however, this still doesn't really answer my question. Where did the innate tendencies come from?

Natural selection.

Quote:
Individual humans often have different moral tendencies. So, what makes one right and the other wrong? It may not be in your tendency to be a rapist, but yet, the world is full of them. How are we to say that their tendency is wrong? If it being wrong is dependent on culture and society, then you are claiming that rape might not be wrong in some cultures. Therefore, morals can change and are not fixed. There is no absolute. If i am wrong, please prove to me how you have any ground whatsoever to believe that there are absolute moral truths.

I would argue that some degree of objectivity in ethics is possible.

Objectivity means independence of observer. If a truth is the same for everyone, it is an objective truth. If we can produce a wide consensus of opinion on our moral principles, we can discuss morality in an objective way.

What would such a consensus look like? What would be its founding principle? "That is good which allows people to live long, happy, rewarding lives" is in my opinion a good candidate because it probably appeals to individuals from all cultures -- it fits our innate moral tendencies remarkably well. I suspect that only religion or nationalism could keep a person from agreeing to this principle. This is one of the reasons why we have to get rid of religion.

Once we agree on what is desirable (=good), what remains is only the empirical question of which actions are conducive to that end. Empirical questions can, with the help of science, be studied with a decent degree of objectivity.

Thus we come to the agreeable conclusion that in some reasonably objective sense, murder and rape really are wrong (i.e. not conducive to human happiness) while rescuing a child from a burning building is right (i.e. conducive to human happiness).


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been here, done this. there

been here, done this. there are no moral absolutes. in some cultures rape is not considered wrong.
murder and rape are conducive to both, human happiness and unhappiness. it just depends on whose happiness you're concerned with. morality is completely subjective, in the eye of the beholder, and non-absolute. it is not possible for everyone to be happy all of the time.

Fear is the mindkiller.


adamgrant
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ok, sapient.. let's take

ok, sapient.. let's take this one quote at a time. i honestly can't believe how much we have to go over on this!

Quote:

Again you're falling prey to a logical fallacy, argumentum ad populum. Appeal to majority fallacy. There were plenty of logical and rational human beings that believed the Sun revolved around the Earth and that the Earth was flat, however the beliefs of many "logical and rational" people did nothing to validate their claim.

A belief does not gain truth as it gains followers.

I've already stated that if a majority believes something to be true, that does not mean it must be true. I know my fallacies very well and I don't think you're helping your cause by resorting back to useless arguments that we've already settled. If i have not made myself clear, that is my own fault, however, i don't see how i could be any clearer. The point was that you said everyone who believes in a god is irrational, and unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Basically, you called us insane. My point was that many sane, sound-minded individuals have believed in a god. You are wrong to label them all mentally handicapped.

Let's use your Sun/Earth analogy. Yes, very rational humans believed the Sun revolved around the Earth and that the Earth was flat. But guess what? They were wrong. Why? Because they were proven wrong when we had the means to learn the truth. But guess what? Rational people have not yet been proven wrong about the existence of a god. I call this god the first cause, which you claim to believe in, yet you don't think he/she/it can be known. It doesn't sound like you're an atheist at all, you simply dont think we can know who or what that being is.

Quote:

Now you're appealing to authority, yet another logical fallacy.

No, i was not appealing to authority. I never said that if a famous philosopher believed in god, that he was automatically correct and should be believed. Again, Sapient, my point was that not every theist is mentally retarded, as you claimed. Quit putting words into my mouth.

Quote:

1. Point out where I said all theists are un-reliable, inability to do so would demonstrate dishonesty on your part.

Actually, your failure to stay consistent demonstrates lack of stability on your part. Just scroll up and read many of your responses to my comments. In response to my fary analogy, you said just change the word 'fairy' to 'god' and i would have what atheists believe. Therefore, you were saying that most people who believe in a god were either "small children or adults with a large imagination, mentally handicapped, or unable to tell the difference between fiction and reality. This minority is unreliable."

You said that the only difference between a theist and a fairy-believer is the enviroment. They are in a mental hospital, and ttheists arent. You are implying that theists are insane, and actually should be in hospitals!

You said that the theist population and I are described as, "prone to superstition and fantasy, not able to logically tell the difference between fiction and reality."

Can I stop now? I think my point is proven.

Quote:

1. Point out where I said I am certain no gods exist, inability to do so would demonstrate dishonesty on your part.

Now you're contradicting your own claimed belief! You claim to be an atheist. You claim that god(s) do not exist. If you are not certain anymore, then your faith is totally in vain. Maybe you don't believe in logical absolutes, but a thing cannot be what it is not. You cannot be an atheist (one who denies the existence of god) and also say, "I am not certain if a god(s) exist or not. it possibly may."

Quote:

been here, done this. there are no moral absolutes. in some cultures rape is not considered wrong.
murder and rape are conducive to both, human happiness and unhappiness. it just depends on whose happiness you're concerned with. morality is completely subjective, in the eye of the beholder, and non-absolute. it is not possible for everyone to be happy all of the time.

DrFear,
I'm so glad to finally see someone on this board be truly logical when it comes to morality! You have said it best when dealing with the issue of moral atheism. There can be no objectivity. Hence, my claim that Moral Atheism is illogical. If the atheist is correct, then every person makes their own rules, their own morality, and their own ethics. We should live them out, no matter if it helps humanity or helps destroy humanity. it "just depends on whose happiness you're concerned with." No one has the right to tell us what to do, or what rules to obey. if there is no absolute, there is no law! I wish most atheists would get this point.


Sapient
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adamgrant wrote:The point

adamgrant wrote:
The point was that you said everyone who believes in a god is irrational, and unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Basically, you called us insane. My point was that many sane, sound-minded individuals have believed in a god. You are wrong to label them all mentally handicapped.

Sure there are many people who are sane in other aspects of their lives outside of god belief however I posit that God belief is irrational in every theist, yes I labeled them mentally handicapped.

You are free to your opinion that I am wrong. That doesn't bother me.

Quote:
Let's use your Sun/Earth analogy. Yes, very rational humans believed the Sun revolved around the Earth and that the Earth was flat. But guess what? They were wrong. Why? Because they were proven wrong when we had the means to learn the truth. But guess what? Rational people have not yet been proven wrong about the existence of a god.

Plenty of theists have been proven wrong about a God. I can prove Yahweh/Allah contradictory and invalid, of course not many believers accept the evidence. Irrationality apparently consumes them and they are often impenetrable to reason. Now, if you want to talk deism or something similar like a "first causer" these beliefs can still be looked at as irrational.

Claiming belief in a god is a belief based on no evidence, it's not reasonable or rational to do so. The burden of proof rests on you to prove the belief to be true. You're simply making something up, not much different than a child that has an imaginary friend, except you never outgrew it.

Let me ask you, how many other beliefs do you hold to be true that you have no evidence for? This is a very serious question, the most important one I will ask. Show me a precedent, show me how many beliefs you hold with no evidence, let's see if there is a rational basis for beliefs without evidence.

Quote:
I call this god the first cause, which you claim to believe in, yet you don't think he/she/it can be known. It doesn't sound like you're an atheist at all, you simply dont think we can know who or what that being is.

What? Please don't be dishonest, especially in this forum. I never claimed to believe in any version of god, feel free to prove me wrong by quoting where I did.

Quote:

No, i was not appealing to authority. I never said that if a famous philosopher believed in god, that he was automatically correct and should be believed. Again, Sapient, my point was that not every theist is mentally retarded, as you claimed. Quit putting words into my mouth.

I never said every theist is mentally retarded. You are being dishonest yet again. I am very careful to never say something like that. What I said is EVERY THEIST IS IRRATIONAL. If you want that qualified for your own sanity feel free to add "pertaining to god belief" at the end of it.

Quote:

1. Point out where I said all theists are un-reliable, inability to do so would demonstrate dishonesty on your part.

Actually, your failure to stay consistent demonstrates lack of stability on your part. Just scroll up and read many of your responses to my comments. In response to my fary analogy, you said just change the word 'fairy' to 'god' and i would have what atheists believe. Therefore, you were saying that most people who believe in a god were either "small children or adults with a large imagination, mentally handicapped, or unable to tell the difference between fiction and reality. This minority is unreliable."

All of that jibber jabber and you never once proved you weren't dishonest. Again, point out where I said "all theists are un-reliable" additionally point out where I said all "theists are mentally retarded" as you just lied about in this post.

You're claiming I lack stability yet your grasping at straws to try and make my claim that you are irrational something it is not. I am careful in the words I choose, please use just as much caution when you assert I said something I did not.

Slander/Libel is against board rules not just in this forum, but network wide.

Quote:
You said that the only difference between a theist and a fairy-believer is the enviroment. They are in a mental hospital, and ttheists arent. You are implying that theists are insane, and actually should be in hospitals!

Yup.

Quote:
You said that the theist population and I are described as, "prone to superstition and fantasy, not able to logically tell the difference between fiction and reality."

Can I stop now? I think my point is proven.

Yup, actually you said that in response to "fairy believers," and yet you seem to be incapable of seeing that there is no good logical reason to think that god belief is any different.

Quote:
Quote:

1. Point out where I said I am certain no gods exist, inability to do so would demonstrate dishonesty on your part.

Now you're contradicting your own claimed belief! You claim to be an atheist. You claim that god(s) do not exist. If you are not certain anymore, then your faith is totally in vain.

Notice you selectively ignored point two and instead reasserted your strawman (you sure you know your fallacies) exhibiting an inability to understand the definition of atheism.

HERE IS POINT TWO AGAIN, SINCE YOU IGNORED IT TO MAKE A DISHONEST POINT:

I assert god belief is irrational, therefore the only position left is disbelief, it's a default position you are born to. I didn't choose to be atheist, it's simply what I am since I realize that theists claims are not logically sound.

Oxford English Dictionary (abridged, so you "get it")

atheism: Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.

disbelieve: Not to believe or credit

Wikipedia: The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is generally regarded as the most comprehensive, accurate, and scholarly dictionary of the English language.

Quote:
Maybe you don't believe in logical absolutes, but a thing cannot be what it is not. You cannot be an atheist (one who denies the existence of god) and also say, "I am not certain if a god(s) exist or not. it possibly may."

Stop asserting your false (bastardized by Christianity) definition of atheism.

- Brian Sapient


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Insidium Profundis
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Infernal hails. One's

Infernal hails.

One's religious beliefs (regardless of their general capacity for rationality and reason) are often set in stone through childhood indoctrination. (If you wish to see a particularly egregious example of this, type "Jesus Camp" into google video and obtain a vomit bag). Furthermore, while the human brain possesses the capacity for reason, it also has powerful tools with dealing with cognitive dissonance. Compartmentalization is one often utilized by Christian scientists. That aside, I'd like to note that by indoctrinating a child into a faith, his parents essentially remove his free will.

I have been an atheist since birth, but I did not realize it; did not even know the meaning of the term until I was in my teens because my parents did not even speak of religion to me. They let me make my decisions for myself, and had no part in convincing me one way or another. Thus, my basic status quo is that God does not exist until he is proven to. I have seen no compelling or reasonable evidence for the existence of any gods, nor any supernatural phenomena.

Empiricism, falsifiability, and the various other principles that make up the scientific method are the only tools that we have for obtaining useful knowledge about our surroundings. Religion and faith have not given us a single bit of practical knowledge; science has given us all the knowledge we possess.

However, science is actually considerably different from every-day thinking: most people seek data that confirms their biases, whereas scientists seek to falsify existing principles. Thus it is no surprise that lay-men refuse to consider the concept of God scientifically. Falsifiability is the essence of constructing (and reconstructing) effective models of our surroundings, and faith is not a good reason. In the words of Sam Harris, "either one has a good reason for believing in something or one does not."

Do theists realize that religion is just a natural social and psychological phenomenon that has occured in just about every primitive culture? That Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire (and Gospels selectively chosen so as to maximize public appeal) by Constantine at the Council of Nicea in the 4th century? That your religion is not universal, and has evolved with every new generation? That it is inherently open to interpretation (which explains the various sects of Christianity)?

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


Sapient
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Welcome aboard Insidium

Welcome aboard Insidium Profundis, and that was an excellent first post!

- Brian Sapient


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DrFear
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adamgrant wrote: DrFear, I'm

adamgrant wrote:

DrFear,
I'm so glad to finally see someone on this board be truly logical when it comes to morality!

and yet you've completely missed the point.
adamgrant wrote:

You have said it best when dealing with the issue of moral atheism.

i know. unfortunately, you had to go and read it worst.
adamgrant wrote:

There can be no objectivity. Hence, my claim that Moral Atheism is illogical.

this does not follow. a lack of objectivity does not equal illogic.

adamgrant wrote:

If the atheist is correct, then every person makes their own rules, their own morality, and their own ethics.

true. and in their own best interests, they come to a consensus about what should and should not be allowed, and this becomes the basis for societal law, and we get the world we live in today. you're kidding yourself if you think the societies of today grew from the seeds of Christian morality. murder and rape were considered wrong long before any religious enforcement came about, because people formed a consensus that said "we don't want to be killed and raped."

adamgrant wrote:
We should live them out, no matter if it helps humanity or helps destroy humanity.

way to put words in my mouth.

adamgrant wrote:
it "just depends on whose happiness you're concerned with."

from an objective point of view, it does. murdering makes the murderer happy, but makes the victim unhappy. from the murderer's subjective point of view, murder is right. from the victim's, wrong. societies take on the subjective morality of the majority, and you get a doctrine of what is right and wrong in that particular society. societies have different views of right and wrong, therefore, no absolute.

adamgrant wrote:
No one has the right to tell us what to do, or what rules to obey.

it has nothing to do with 'the right' or being told what to do. we do what is in our own best interest. if you don't want to be killed, don't go around killing folks. however, there's still lot's of folks who find it in their best interests to kill. are you blaming this on atheism? because a good lot of them are theists, and some of them even do it because they are theists.

adamgrant wrote:
if there is no absolute, there is no law!

saved the best for last, did ya? this is laughable, i'd like you to show your work on that equation.
adamgrant wrote:

I wish most atheists would get this point.

yeah, well sorry, but i don't get your point, don't get where you got that point, and never made that point in the first place.
god is not what's holding society together. if anything, it's what's tearing society apart.

Fear is the mindkiller.


Kemono
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DrFear wrote:murder and rape

DrFear wrote:
murder and rape are conducive to both, human happiness and unhappiness.

Of course, but that is trivial. Everything comes at a price. Most men will be happy to give away their freedom to rape in exchange for the protection of their sisters, daughters and wives from rape by other men.

DrFear wrote:
it just depends on whose happiness you're concerned with.

No it does not. The potential rapist joins in the consensus because not being able to rape is a small price to pay for not having one's family raped.


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adamgrant wrote:DrFear, I'm

adamgrant wrote:
DrFear,
I'm so glad to finally see someone on this board be truly logical when it comes to morality! You have said it best when dealing with the issue of moral atheism. There can be no objectivity. Hence, my claim that Moral Atheism is illogical.

Since DrFear disagrees with you, how about you refute my argument in your own words? I maintain that there can be a reasonable degree of objectivity in secular morality. I have made my argument in my last two posts; now refute it if you can.

adamgrant wrote:
if there is no absolute, there is no law! I wish most atheists would get this point.

wtf

What are you talking about? No laws without absolutes? A law requires no justification of any kind, absolute or otherwise. It only requires armed men to enforce it.


adamgrant
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Quote: What? Please don't be

Quote:

What? Please don't be dishonest, especially in this forum. I never claimed to believe in any version of god, feel free to prove me wrong by quoting where I did.

in one of your last posts explaining your agnosticism you said, "a first cause is unknown or unknowable." You did not say that a first cause does not exist. I took this to imply that you do believe in some sort of first cause, however you don't think we can know what it was, or know anything about it. If i mis-understood your statement, i apologize and stand corrected.

Quote:

I never said every theist is mentally retarded.

My choice of the word, "retarded" was just a harsh substitute for "handicapped," which you did infact claim. That's no lie. If my choice of word was innapropiate, again I stand corrected.

Quote:

Again, point out where I said "all theists are un-reliable" additionally point out where I said all "theists are mentally retarded" as you just lied about in this post.

I don't understand the word games, Sapient. My whole analogy of fairy-believers stated that they are unreliable. And you said everything I said was the same for theists. Hence, you are stating that theists are unreliable. The context in which they are unreliable is in their intellectual ability to distinguish reality. I never said you said they would be unreliable in all aspects of life or duty. Nor was I claiming such about fairy-believers.

Please man, I love this forum and all of you guys. this is friendly debate on my end and would rather not get banned from an accusation of being a liar!

Quote:

Let me ask you, how many other beliefs do you hold to be true that you have no evidence for? This is a very serious question, the most important one I will ask. Show me a precedent, show me how many beliefs you hold with no evidence, let's see if there is a rational basis for beliefs without evidence.

That's the thing. I don't believe in anything without evidence. If someone rejects what I consider evidence, then that is their perrogative. Many people reject the evidences that we never went to the moon, or that our government was involved in 9/11, or that our presidents were all members of secret societies and cults. But that doesn't mean the evidences themselves are invalid, or that the conclusions are false.

My evidence for a god existing is numerous. I'm sure you know what they are, and I'm sure in your mind you have proven them all to be faulty. There's the Efficient Causality argument, the argument from Morality, argument from Design, argument from Conscience, argument from Desire, the Kalam argument, Descartes' ontological argument, argument of time and contingency, and plenty others. If you would like for me to explain any of these arguments, feel free to ask. However, if you've heard them all and have valid reasons for finding them irrational then I shall no longer discuss the issue.

Quote:

Stop asserting your false (bastardized by Christianity) definition of atheism.

According to Collins Cobuild's Student Dictionary (the only printed dictionary at reach currently) Atheism is defined as: "the belief that there is no god."

When did I assert a bastardized definition of Atheism? My precise words defined Atheism as one who denies the existence of god.


Sapient
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adamgrant wrote:

adamgrant wrote:

Please man, I love this forum and all of you guys. this is friendly debate on my end and would rather not get banned from an accusation of being a liar!

Clearly we're having miscommunication issues and your intentions are in the right place. Don't worry about my accusations, thanks for "standing corrected." Please be aware, I choose my words carefully, I don't think you're stupid or irrational in everything you do. I merely claim that one belief you hold to be true is irrational. Francis Collins cracked the genome, a smart guy... theologically he's irrational. And his evidence of god is bounds worse than yours.

Quote:
Quote:

Let me ask you, how many other beliefs do you hold to be true that you have no evidence for? This is a very serious question, the most important one I will ask. Show me a precedent, show me how many beliefs you hold with no evidence, let's see if there is a rational basis for beliefs without evidence.

That's the thing. I don't believe in anything without evidence. If someone rejects what I consider evidence, then that is their perrogative. Many people reject the evidences that we never went to the moon, or that our government was involved in 9/11, or that our presidents were all members of secret societies and cults. But that doesn't mean the evidences themselves are invalid, or that the conclusions are false.

My evidence for a god existing is numerous. I'm sure you know what they are, and I'm sure in your mind you have proven them all to be faulty. There's the Efficient Causality argument, the argument from Morality, argument from Design, argument from Conscience, argument from Desire, the Kalam argument, Descartes' ontological argument, argument of time and contingency, and plenty others. If you would like for me to explain any of these arguments, feel free to ask. However, if you've heard them all and have valid reasons for finding them irrational then I shall no longer discuss the issue.

I'm actually hoping that through an essay contest we just started that we can devote a section of the site to exploring and debunking those arguments.

Have you sought out debunkings online? I always seek to debunk my own position as a proof game I like to play with myself. If so, were you not persuaded at all?

Quote:
Quote:

Stop asserting your false (bastardized by Christianity) definition of atheism.

According to Collins Cobuild's Student Dictionary (the only printed dictionary at reach currently) Atheism is defined as: "the belief that there is no god."

When did I assert a bastardized definition of Atheism? My precise words defined Atheism as one who denies the existence of god.

Got news for ya man... that's the bastardized definition. That definition deletes 80% (a guess based on my experience) of the worlds atheists from existence. I'd wager over 80% of the atheists on this board don't claim to have a "belief there is no god." Most atheists accept the Worlds most respected dictionary Oxford English Dictionary. (link at bottom)

- Brian Sapient


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adamgrant
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DrFear, you must've totally

DrFear, you must've totally taken my post the wrong way. I wasn't being sarcastic to you or trying to be a smart elec. I was agreeing with what you said, and adding my own belief from a moral atheistic view to it. If you didn't agree with everything I said, that's fine. But I wasn't putting words into your mouth.

If there are no absolutes, then I believe that there can be no deciding factor as to which morals are demanded. Therefore, no individual would have the authority to tell another individual that a certain act was wrong, or evil, or immoral. It would merely be personal preference, that the other individual has no obligation to obey.

If one was to believe a consensus or society is the deciding factor of morals, then society is made the standard. But, as we all know, societies change. A society may state that incest is wrong, then later that same society may change its law and say that incest is correct. How can one thing be wrong and later change into good? This is illogical. If something is truly good, it must stay good forever. it cannot change or go against its own nature.

Or, one society may declare that incest is immoral, and another declare that it is moral. How can something be moral and immoral at the same time? I believe this would be illogical. It goes against the law of non-contradiction.

If you personally believe that morals are decided by a society, then would you not have to agree that any theistic society holds to the correct morals for their society? it would be true for them, but not necessarily true for you, correct?

I know you do not believe in absolute morality. Do you believe in absolutes of any kind? Perhaps, logical absolutes?


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Quote:How can something be

Quote:
How can something be moral and immoral at the same time? I believe this would be illogical. It goes against the law of non-contradiction.

Believe it or not, the key to that question lies within the definition of the word 'moral'

adj.

1. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
5. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support.
6. Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.

It all seems to illustrate the subjectivity of determining what is moral behavior.

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DrFear
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adamgrant wrote:I was

adamgrant wrote:
I was agreeing with what you said, and adding my own belief from a moral atheistic view to it. If you didn't agree with everything I said, that's fine. But I wasn't putting words into your mouth.

you insinuated that my point illustrated the fact that an atheistic society would be chaos. that is a complete logical fallacy, and your "belief from a moral atheistic view" took what i said to a far-off radical extreme.
adamgrant wrote:

If there are no absolutes, then I believe that there can be no deciding factor as to which morals are demanded.

i already stated, majority is a deciding factor. IS. man, take a look at any given society that exists or existed.
adamgrant wrote:

Therefore, no individual would have the authority to tell another individual that a certain act was wrong, or evil, or immoral. It would merely be personal preference, that the other individual has no obligation to obey.

no individual does have that authority. a majority does. if you are in a prison cell with three other guys, and they all think they should fuck you in the ass, and you think they shouldn't, whose morality do you think is gonna prevail?
adamgrant wrote:

How can one thing be wrong and later change into good? This is illogical.

no, it's just not absolute. it was either shown empirically to be 'not wrong', or the majority shifted to the contrary.
adamgrant wrote:

If something is truly good, it must stay good forever. it cannot change or go against its own nature.

as i said....not absolute. an absolute determines the 'nature' of a thing, actions have never shown themselves to have a 'nature'.
adamgrant wrote:

Or, one society may declare that incest is immoral, and another declare that it is moral. How can something be moral and immoral at the same time? I believe this would be illogical. It goes against the law of non-contradiction.

why don't you consult state laws on incest in the U.S.? sure, all of them consent that incest is immoral, but not all of them consent on what is incest.
how about crimes in the U.S. vs. crimes in any other society? murder has a different definition in every country on the face of the earth.
adamgrant wrote:

If you personally believe that morals are decided by a society, then would you not have to agree that any theistic society holds to the correct morals for their society?

not necessarily correct, but i would imagine they hold to their predetermined moral code, yes.
adamgrant wrote:

it would be true for them, but not necessarily true for you, correct?

"them" the theists, yes. but i live in the U.S.A., which is not now, nor was it intended to be, a theistic society.
adamgrant wrote:

I know you do not believe in absolute morality. Do you believe in absolutes of any kind? Perhaps, logical absolutes?

yes, absolutes exist. absolute morality is empirically false. one needs only take an objective overview of human interaction on the planet earth to witness it.

Fear is the mindkiller.


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adamgrant wrote:DrFear,I'm

adamgrant wrote:

DrFear,
I'm so glad to finally see someone on this board be truly logical when it comes to morality! You have said it best when dealing with the issue of moral atheism. There can be no objectivity. Hence, my claim that Moral Atheism is illogical.

Actually, morality doesn't work in a theistic system. Morality only works in a secular system, and theists must steal from secular morality, because a system based on external threats undermines the formation of a mature morality which is internal, not external. I've dealt with this issue elsewhere on the board.

Quote:

If the atheist is correct, then every person makes their own rules, their own morality, and their own ethics. We should live them out, no matter if it helps humanity or helps destroy humanity.

Here's the flaw in your statement. People are social beings. A person's individual happiness is often predicated on the happiness of the group. Therefore, individuals are driven by their emotional needs for others, to consider others, in their 'personal moral systems'

Now, here's the flaw in that last comment: there really isn't such a thing as an 'individual' or "making your own rules' to begin with, because people literally have inter-personalities... what we are is a result of a social process. Your sense of morality itself was inculcated into you by your parents, who in turn were socialized as part of a community, and so on.

So the fantasy of the 'individual' is the flaw in your argument, because the very concept of rules is predicated on interactions with others.

Quote:

it "just depends on whose happiness you're concerned with." No one has the right to tell us what to do, or what rules to obey.

This is a strawman for the reasons I have already given you. We must consider others just as they must consider us, for we need each other.

Quote:
if there is no absolute, there is no law!

Laws are intersubjective creations - based on the the universality of human-ness and human need as well as the near universality of empathy.

Quote:
I wish most atheists would get this point.

We don't 'get your point' because your point is based on a strawman of the human condition - you assume that 'individual need' cannot encompass a concern for others. But a basic human need is for affiliation with others. Even a 'self serving' person can include the concern of others as part of what he considers 'himself'. I.e. I need this person in order to achieve X, ergo I must protect this person. Even villians, criminals have need of others. Even a complete psychopath can find utiltity in another (albeit in a limited form), no doubt....

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

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todangst
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adamgrant wrote:If there are

adamgrant wrote:
If there are no absolutes, then I believe that there can be no deciding factor as to which morals are demanded.

Do you really think that there is no 'deciding factor' as to what is moral?

Take a 5 year old child who does not want to share. Her playmate cries out in frustration. Immediately parents swoop down on both of them, to provide them with moral instruction.

Mother: "You should share. It is good to share. How would you like it if she didn't share with you?"

Five year old: I would hate it!

Mother: so, that's how your friend feels.

Here a means for a 'deciding factor' is presented by our number one inculcator of morality: mom. And what is her deciding factor? Equity, fairness, based on human emapthy.

Human beings are more alike than they are different. There are some universals (or near universals) to be found in humans.

1) They literally need to rely on others to survive
2) They literally need to socialize with others, or they will suffer greatly psychologically
3) They have the ability to project their own feelings onto others, as a means of working out the needs of others.
4) They can rely on this skill to aid them in acheiving goals 1 and 2.

Quote:

Therefore, no individual would have the authority to tell another individual that a certain act was wrong, or evil, or immoral.

Try telling that to mom and dad.

Human socieites are not a collection of "individuals' who spring into existence fully formed - completely apart from others. The exact opposite is the case: People literally develop inside a woman, and grow up as part of a dyad, or a family. We tend to recognize this a biological or physical dependence, but we often fail to realize that this is a psychological dependence as well.

As we grow up and undergo a process that we call 'individualization', we fall for a deception... that what we are is really 'individual'... the reality is that what became your psyche was once literally part of your mother's psyche, your father's, your family's, your community's... what you are is a collection, a unique blend of a group of others.

here's another reason why individualization is a deception: think about who nearly every teen rebels against: mom and dad! The people they are most like in the world?

What's the best way to insult most teens? Tell him he's just like his dad! Or "you're just like your mom!"

Why is this so painful for us... because we know that we what we are IS to a great deal our parents... so we strive to do whatever we can to be 'different'... but the reality is that we are a blend of our parents, and other significant others in our lives... we are a unique blend, no doubt.... but a blend, a combination....

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It would merely be personal preference, that the other individual has no obligation to obey.

Preference?! Hardly! It's a matter of survival!

Quote:

If one was to believe a consensus or society is the deciding factor of morals, then society is made the standard.

You act as if people are outsiders, considering whether or not to partake in a particular consensus, when in fact, people are born into the consensus. The great error of Rousseau was the idea of a social contract... the reality is that people aren't 'outsiders' buying into a contract... because there's no such thing as being 'outside' of the human condition (unless your mother dies the second you are born, and leaves you in the wilderness)

People are born into the supposed 'social contract' and are litearlly a part of it.....there's nothing for anyone to 'join'.... it would be like claiming that adults choose whether or not to be human beings..... to be human is to be a social being.

This includes you. A great deal of what you think is 'you' already existed before you were born. It existed in your father, your mother, their parents, and so on.

I mean, just look at what you are here arguing for... ideas that were around eons before you were born.... that there is a 'right' set of morals for all contexts, that there is a 'god' who created them.... there's NOTHING original to your claims, nor to your arguments! You're just one more guy spitting back a meme you swallowed whole before you were even able to question it....

and yes, I do the same thing too....how can I escape it? All I can do is question it.

Quote:
But, as we all know, societies change. A society may state that incest is wrong, then later that same society may change its law and say that incest is correct.

So, since socities change, a society might allow incest?

This is the fallacy of a sweeping generalization.

Let's apply your logic to a few other situations.

- Salaries change, so my boss might pay me 400 billion dollars an hour.

- Weather changes, so it might hail donuts and spaghetti.

- Television changes, so television might soon go all Shakespare, 24 hours a day.... in Swahili.

The fact that societies 'change' does not imply that they change basic, core features of morality!

Unless what it is to be human changes, we can't rationally expect that core features of morality would change.

The mistake in your argument is that you assume the ability to change leads to infinite malleability. And your error is based on your misreading of the human condition - you assume that intersubjectivy equates with 'nihilism' when in fact intersubjectivity is based on rational judgement given a particular set of facts in a particular context.

Quote:
How can one thing be wrong and later change into good?

Because situations change, context dictates whether an action is moral or immoral.

But again, the fact that the moral character of a behavior may change given a particular context does not mean that morality is infinitely malleable.

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This is illogical. If something is truly good, it must stay good forever.

So, do you still put unknown objects in your mouth to figure out what they are?

No?! But it was a very good thing to do when you were 3 months old! So, I'm confused....

So, do you still fingerpaint? Play with blocks? Do you still wear diapers?

Or do you recognize that context can change what is 'good'?

I think you recongize that context changes things.

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it cannot change or go against its own nature.

But if you are talking about a moral rule, it's 'nature' is itself predicated upon context! A thing is good or bad based on elements specific to what it is to be human....

Quote:

Or, one society may declare that incest is immoral, and another declare that it is moral. How can something be moral and immoral at the same time? I believe this would be illogical. It goes against the law of non-contradiction.

You're incorrect. The law of non contradiction has to do with internal inconsistency - internal contradictions. Unless one person or group both accepted and rejected something as immoral, there is no contradiction here.

Quote:

If you personally believe that morals are decided by a society, then would you not have to agree that any theistic society holds to the correct morals for their society?

The problem with your question is the assumption you make when you use the phrase 'correct morals'

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

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Insidium Profundis
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I do not see anything wrong

I do not see anything wrong with incest (provided it is consensual). The only real argument against it is that it increases the possibility of recessive genetic defects. It is based on the same reasoning as eugenics, which I actually support, but it is not necessary that there will be recessive genetic defects expressed in an incestuous birth. Plus, if you have a hot sister, the stimulus for incestuous sex is unlikely to be the desire to procreate. Copulation is often enough!

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todangst, i have respected

todangst, i have respected your highly intelligent input from the day i started here. however, i have a few points to contend.

todangst wrote:

1) They literally need to rely on others to survive
2) They literally need to socialize with others, or they will suffer greatly psychologically

i understand this as a reality of society as it exists at the moment, but there is absolutely no foundation for a statement that one human needs other humans to survive. a human stranded in 'the wilderness' is not guaranteed to die.
also, your indictment of 'psychological suffering' belies the morality that "this is the way the human mind should operate." i've referenced the study of feral children elsewhere on the board, and i see no indication that their differing psychological states were in any way a detriment to their survival.

todangst wrote:

So, since socities change, a society might allow incest?

and why not? i agree with Insidium Profundis on this occasion.
todangst wrote:

- Salaries change, so my boss might pay me 400 billion dollars an hour.

- Weather changes, so it might hail donuts and spaghetti.

- Television changes, so television might soon go all Shakespare, 24 hours a day.... in Swahili.


none of these illustrate scenarios of 'right' or 'wrong'.

todangst wrote:

Unless what it is to be human changes, we can't rationally expect that core features of morality would change.

todangst wrote:

Because situations change, context dictates whether an action is moral or immoral.

i agree with your assessment of the so-called "human condition", but i still do not see how this affects the total subjectivity of morality. you seem to be holding some limbo between moral absolutism and subjectivity. yes, morals are imbued in us from childhood, but as adults, do we not have the ability to see through that indoctrination? and does this adult perspective not allow us to form an individual opinion?
this is the core of morality, opinion. morality can not be a fact, as it is not falsifiable.

todangst wrote:

But again, the fact that the moral character of a behavior may change given a particular context does not mean that morality is infinitely malleable.

why not? at what point does the change stop (a stoppage would disprove the infinity of the situation).
it can do one of 2 things: it can change from good to bad, or it can not. if it can change, then it can also change back, and forth, and there is no exhaustivity. if it changes once, precedent indicates that it can change again.

todangst wrote:

So, do you still fingerpaint? Play with blocks? Do you still wear diapers?

Or do you recognize that context can change what is 'good'?


again, these examples have nothing to do with right or wrong, they merely have to do with advancing methods of learning. maybe i do fingerpaint. the elderly wear diapers. can that be considered 'wrong'?

i agree wholeheartedly with everything else, and my intention is not to debase you, but simply further my ever-present assertion that morals have no constant or absolute basis.

Fear is the mindkiller.


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DrFear wrote:todangst, i

DrFear wrote:
todangst, i have respected your highly intelligent input from the day i started here. however, i have a few points to contend.

Thanks!

todangst wrote:

1) They literally need to rely on others to survive
2) They literally need to socialize with others, or they will suffer greatly psychologically

Quote:

i understand this as a reality of society as it exists at the moment, but there is absolutely no foundation for a statement that one human needs other humans to survive.

There is such a foundation: the fact that infants cannot survive without a mother.

Quote:

a human stranded in 'the wilderness' is not guaranteed to die.

This is true, an adult human may well survive. But in order for an adult to be an adult, he must first be an infant, and then a toddler, and then a child. In order for a person to survive, 'alone', in the wilderness, they first have to be part of a succesful social group - they have to undergo nurturing to some degree, and they must undergo a process of invididualization, to some degree... these processes require interaction.

So we literally cannot survive without interaction with others. The 'individual' who survives, on his own is already an interpersonality.
So perhaps I will amend my statement to read: we cannot survive totally on our own... there must be a time of affiliation with others, at least with a mother. For at least some period of time.

Quote:

also, your indictment of 'psychological suffering' belies the morality that "this is the way the human mind should operate."

I think it is an objective fact, as seen in studies of human development, that in order to develop as a human, one must undergo certain social interactions. To be brought up in isolation leads to profound difficulties.

Quote:

i've referenced the study of feral children elsewhere on the board, and i see no indication that their differing psychological states were in any way a detriment to their survival.

Well, leaving aside the controversy regarding "feral children" and their actual existence, and taking the claim at face value,"feral" does not equate to complete isolation, but to putative isolation from humans. So there's the matter of whether an animal or set of animals can possibly serve as 'surrogate society' that allow "feral children' to undergo the processes required for survival.

But, ... I do want to put forth a need for both of us to be hesitant on this matter - I really don't see how we can make assessments concerning putative feral children.... for we'd have to have details about their living arrangements prior to their discovery... which appears paradoxical to say the least.... how can we know what sort of interactions they had? And what judgements can we make concerning their state of life prior to discovery? We can only infer, based on presumptions....

todangst wrote:

So, since socities change, a society might allow incest?

Quote:

and why not?

Because we know from biology that incestuous couplings lead to the procreation of biologically unfit humans. From this, even primitive societies appeared able to learn that the behavior was one to be avoided. This is precisely where objective reality entere the picture, influencing subjective judgement.

There's very good evidence that incest is a taboo in pretty much every culture - the cross cultural phenomena points to it being something rather basic to human culture - for a long time. So, for this reason, the liklihood of it suddenly changing appears low.

Do you know of any culture that found incest morally desirable?

Quote:

i agree with Insidium Profundis on this occasion.

Why? The fact that something could potentially change isn't a reason, in of itself, to imagine that it's likely to change. Is there any evidence of any culture that holds incest in moral regard? I believe that incest is seen as taboo even in the most primitive of cultures. The fact that the same taboo arises cross culturally, even cross-chronologically, tells us something. Even the societies that accepted human sacrifice cringed at incest!

todangst wrote:

- Salaries change, so my boss might pay me 400 billion dollars an hour.

- Weather changes, so it might hail donuts and spaghetti.

- Television changes, so television might soon go all Shakespare, 24 hours a day.... in Swahili.

Quote:

none of these illustrate scenarios of 'right' or 'wrong'.

Seeing as they were never intended to do so, I don't see a problem. The intention of those parodies was to demonstrate the fact that the fact that something might change does not support the notion that it can change drastically. There are limits to what changes are possible - or probable. The fact that television changes does not support the probability of an "all shakespeare, all swahili, 24 hours a day' network, because there is a real life audience with real limits as to what it will endure. (well, save for a few shakespeare loving swahilis...)

todangst wrote:

Unless what it is to be human changes, we can't rationally expect that core features of morality would change.

todangst wrote:

Because situations change, context dictates whether an action is moral or immoral.

Quote:

i agree with your assessment of the so-called "human condition", but i still do not see how this affects the total subjectivity of morality.

I reject the subjective/objective split in morality, I believe morality has both subjective and objective features.

Take a look at this:

http://www.infidelguy.com/members/AlonzoFyfe/desire_utilitarianism_11.shtml

Desire Utilitarianism.

Quote:

you seem to be holding some limbo between moral absolutism and subjectivity.

Why is that a limbo? Why can't morality have both objective and subjective features? We are biological beings. We have specific limits, due to our biology. There are physical limits, objective facts.

Again, I'd suggest reading Fyfe on this, he covers it better than I have here.

Quote:

yes, morals are imbued in us from childhood, but as adults, do we not have the ability to see through that indoctrination?

Sure, our conversation itself is evidence of that. But the very 'individual' who questions is born of these interactions.

Quote:

and does this adult perspective not allow us to form an individual opinion?

The very concept of 'individual opinion' relies on social interaction... not much need for a moral system if you live alone on an island, without even the ability to talk. So we're still influenced by the other...

Quote:

this is the core of morality, opinion. morality cannot be a fact, as it is not falsifiable.

There is more than just opinion, however. There are both matters of fact and matters of judgement. Some aspects of morality are objective and falsifiable. Others are not.

todangst wrote:

But again, the fact that the moral character of a behavior may change given a particular context does not mean that morality is infinitely malleable.

Quote:

why not?

Because human beings are not infinitely malleble. We have identity as human beings, which is to say that we have limits. As long as human beings are biological entities with a certain set of characteristics, there are always going to be potential 'moralities' that lead to the destruction of humanity just as there will be moral systems that lead to the succesful adaptation of the human species to his environment.

This is precisely where 'facts' enter into the equation... i.e. matters of human survival.

Quote:

at what point does the change stop (a stoppage would disprove the infinity of the situation).

A moral system that leads to the eradication of humans, for one. Physical impossibility for another. There's probably a lot more.... based on the limits of physics, human biology, etc.

Quote:

it can do one of 2 things: it can change from good to bad, or it can not. if it can change, then it can also change back, and forth, and there is no exhaustivity. if it changes once, precedent indicates that it can change again.

Sure, it can change, but there must be limits, as per the type I've described.

todangst wrote:

So, do you still fingerpaint? Play with blocks? Do you still wear diapers?

Or do you recognize that context can change what is 'good'?

Quote:

again, these examples have nothing to do with right or wrong,

Again, you miss the point of the analogy. The point here is that context changes what we determine to be good. In this case, the change in context has to do with a change in cognitive development for the individual.

Quote:

they merely have to do with advancing methods of learning.

They have to do with how cognitive development influences preferences. What we call 'good' changes based on our ability to perceive the world.

Quote:

I agree wholeheartedly with everything else, and my intention is not to debase you, but simply further my ever-present assertion that morals have no constant or absolute basis.

I agree that context is king... but this doesn't imply that there are both objective and subjective elements to morality.

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

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Insidium Profundis
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Moral progress is something

Moral progress is something that cannot be evaluated in any reasonable sense without the assumption of the existence of some sort of objective morality.

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Insidium Profundis

Insidium Profundis wrote:
Moral progress is something that cannot be evaluated in any reasonable sense without the assumption of the existence of some sort of objective morality.

I believe there must be both objective and subjective elements... even if Desire Utilitarianism isn't your bag, check out Alonzo's page, as he addresses this issue well.

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

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drewboomafoo
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I just joined and don't have

I just joined and don't have time to read all that has been posted here. I don't know how the topic went from atheism vs. theism on the first page to the morality of incest on this page, but I have a question for whoever said that the only evaluative tools we have are empiricism and the scientific method. You may have heard this question before, but I have never heard an answer...how can one use the scientific method to prove that the scientific method is the only way of knowing things?


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your question makes no

your question makes no sense.

the scientific method is the process by which proof is provided.

so my question is, what other 'methods of knowing' did you have in mind?  ones that don't involve proof, if i may infer....

without proof, it is unwise to accept things as true. 

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Incest

By the time I registered I lost sight of the post I wanted to reply to, so this is as good a post as any. Sticking out tongue

The question was raised as to whether any society had accepted that incest was "moral".  I can think of two offhand that saw incest as god(s) ordained, those being Old Kingdom Egypt and the European Monarchies.  Both saw maintaining a pure bloodline as an act of moral responsibility.


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Theist attempts to prove God by logic

Theist attempts to prove that God exists

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/baxendale2.html


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mdf1960 wrote: Theist

mdf1960 wrote:

Theist attempts to prove that God exists

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/baxendale2.html

 

Wow, that's fucking hilarious.

I'm just to .


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Just for clarification,

Just for clarification, Einstein was not a theist.

Atheism rejects a theistic view of god. Webster: theism: belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world. (I think Sapient cleared this up with the OED link.)

Einstein's view seemed to be pantheism (a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the univers).

 Another possibility for an atheist is deism (a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe).

So, by these definitions, all deists are atheists and all pantheists are atheists.

-Triften

(I may be way off on this... it's approaching 4am. Smiling


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adamgrant wrote:alright. I'm

adamgrant wrote:
alright. I'm a theist. let's chat. how are we gonna start? how about you give me evidences that God doesn't exist, and then I'll give you evidences that he does. I would like to add from the start, that I believe faith must be backed up by evidence. it must be logical, it must flow. if it does not follow it's own premises, then it cannot be truth and should not be believed. You cannot separate faith from reason. Therefore my faith in a God is not blind, it is not irrational. Our faiths may be in opposition, but through logical discussion we can possibly come to common conclusions. So, in the words of Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together."

Hello, before I say or debate anything I want all theists to watch 'The God Who Wasn't There', I'm not trying to convert you or anything, it's just before you ask any questions towards atheists watch the video, it will save so much time and effort on my , and other atheists, part. That gives factual information ,in my opinion, on the reasons we are atheists. Oh and KoRnYAtheist it is hilarious.

 


Jeffrick
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??

skeptiform5 wrote:

adamgrant wrote:
alright. I'm a theist. let's chat. how are we gonna start? how about you give me evidences that God doesn't exist, and then I'll give you evidences that he does. I would like to add from the start, that I believe faith must be backed up by evidence. it must be logical, it must flow. if it does not follow it's own premises, then it cannot be truth and should not be believed. You cannot separate faith from reason. Therefore my faith in a God is not blind, it is not irrational. Our faiths may be in opposition, but through logical discussion we can possibly come to common conclusions. So, in the words of Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together."

Hello, before I say or debate anything I want all theists to watch 'The God Who Wasn't There', I'm not trying to convert you or anything, it's just before you ask any questions towards atheists watch the video, it will save so much time and effort on my , and other atheists, part. That gives factual information ,in my opinion, on the reasons we are atheists. Oh and KoRnYAtheist it is hilarious.

 

 

 

 

 

               skeptiform 5   did you notice the time difference between your post and adamgrant;   3 years,  3  months.

 

                     

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Sapient wrote:adamgrant

Sapient wrote:
adamgrant wrote:
I will define "God" to mean "that which a greater cannot be thought."
Ok, so god is infinity and it exists. Great! We're both theists now. Now we just need to find a dictionary to actually agree with our new definition. Oh, I'm gonna just accept that infinity exists based on the fact that we can conceive it, but can you point me to a place where I can witness infinity occurring? It would make me feel better about my new found theism. Oh and does infinity do anything or have any properties, or is it merely a byproduct of the big bang?

Actually, when mathematicians looked more closely at infinity they discovered the concept of cardinality, which is basically sizes of infinity.  It turns out there are infinitely many sizes of infinity, and thus no largest.  As such "that which a greater cannot be thought" is a mathematical impossibility.  QED.

 

 

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

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