A fan of Plantinga has some thoughts/questions about RRS

Sapient
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A fan of Plantinga has some thoughts/questions about RRS

> Joel sent a message using the contact form at
> http://www.rationalresponders.com/contact.
>
> The first of this is what I posted on my blog, the end is where my
> questions to you come in. Thanks.
>
> I recently heard of the rational response squad (RRS) and their blasphemy
> challenge from a friend and decided to look into it. Frankly, I don't care
> much about the whole thing. It is the same debate that has been going on
> for centuries and will continue to go on for centuries. There will always
> be people who believe in God and people who don't.

Do you believe that based on faith? What sort of proof do you have to show that over the next several hundred thousand years we wont all be atheists or even vice versa we wont all be theists? You don't care much about the "debate" about God? Do you recognize at least that someone is either right or wrong? Do you care if you are wrong? I'd love for real answers to these questions as opposed to the usual dodging that we get around here.

> It seems as though many of the arguments (on both sides) are being made
> from empirical data and scientific 'proofs'. However, as far as I
> understand my faith, the presuppositions of Christianity are not
> scientifically or empirically based. Rather, they are faith-based or
> 'revelation-based'.

I agree, claims of Christianity are faith based.

> Moreover, I don't put much stock in science or many of its presuppositions
> anyway. Things like: the world is orderly, this order can be discovered and
> tested, my senses are reliable, etc., etc. So, to test our arguments
> against the modern canon of science is itself a flaw. (I also have a whole
> post on science to further clarify if need be)

You don't put much stock in science? Do you realize the machine you just corresponded on with me is a result of scientific advancement? The ability to send the message is a result of science? Your ability to post to a blog is the result of science? I wonder, do you go about the rest of your daily life doing all sorts of things that you don't put "much stock in?" If you don't put much stock in science, why trust it at all? Do you turn on the light switch and each time wonder if the light will actually turn on?

> The RRS have a good mode of operation by putting the burden of 'proof' on
> Christians so that they have to come up with an irrefutable case for
> theism. Whether or not such a case exists is the topic of another blog. I
> would submit, though, that even if such a case does/did exist, guys like
> the RRS would not be dissuaded of their current position. Why? Because
> information alone does not cause action or decision, emotion does. (before
> someone starts debating this, it is pretty much the consensus of all
> philosophers, since David Hume first argued for it).

So would you argue that your religious belief is not one based on information but one based on emotion? I disagree with your statement, but I'm curious if you believe it as well.

> Apparently, though, it is more about Christianity than theism. The
> blasphemy challenge is directly associated with belief in Christ, which
> itself shows that there is some sort of emotionally charged bias to attack
> Christianity and not solely theism. This rational response, then, seems
> more closely associated with emotion than with rationality.

It is more about Christianity than other religions simply because Christianity is the most dominant in the English speaking world, the only language we speak fluently. It's not about emotion, it's about what we are familiar with and what our audience is familiar with. Furthermore it has been three months since I received an email from anyone of any other major religious belief (including Islam), the obverse however is that we receive thousands of hits and dozens of emails from Christians everyday. It simply makes very little sense for us to address people who aren't even listening to us. On the show we consistently have stated that we are against all forms of theism, in fact the mantra of the site is one against theism, not any specific sect or version of it (that should tell you something).

> Do I think that Christianity is rational? Absolutely. People like Alvin
> Plantinga have continually demonstrated that belief in God is rational
> (or, at least, that it is not irrational). My concern is for those who
> hold more firmly to atheism because of bad arguments (like one from
> science) or because of the lack of some magical proof that provides a kind
> of Cartesian certainty.

Would you like to come on our radio show and show us how Christianity can be rational? We're all ears.

> The bottom line is that when the atheist has the burden of proof placed
> upon him, he can't come up with any more of a scientific or rationally
> justifiable reason to abandon the faith than the Christian can to prove
> the certainty of God. It is about faith.

Burden of proof of what?

> My questions:
>
> 1.Other than an emotional testimony or scientific 'fact' what causes
> Christian belief to be Irrational (since you are rational, not scientific
> or emotional, responders)?

Well at it's core, Christianity is an irrational belief because it's not one that has ever been logically defended. However we're willing to change everything we do if someone can prove us wrong. We did a show about this, you're welcome to download it for free:
http://www.briansapient.com/carrier/RRS_Show24_64k.mp3

> 2.Why do you continue to promote richard dawkins book, the God Delusion,
> when Alvin Plantinga has already completely destroyed it? To see his book
> review of the G.D. Look here:
> http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2007/002/1.21.html

I read it, and wasn't compelled to believe that Plantinga "completely destroyed" it as you have, that's why. The continuous ad hominem attacks from a Philosopher also left a bad taste in my mouth as he claimed Dawkins was sophomoric, he showed his hypocrisy. (and likely his emotion as you pointed out in a previous comment)

>
> 3.Have any of the rational responders ever read Alvin Plantinga's
> 'Warranted Christian Belief'?

I personally have not, but I believe (without asking them again) that both Kelly and Todangst have read it.

> Best wishes,
>
> Joel
>

Same to you.

- Brian Sapient


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I've heard that same

I've heard that same argument more times than I care to remember. The usual comment (only here dumbed down) that "science requires just as much faith as does religion" has absolutely no basis for being thought, much less said.
We use certain words for a reason. The world faith, as it is generally and societally understood, carries the notion of blindly believing something without evidence or in spite of evidence to the contrary. 
Scientific fact (well, actually theory considering that is as solid as it gets in the scientific community) is based in reliable testing through many different reliable methods that confirm the raise in likelihood and probability of the said occurrence happening again. 
This seems to be a challenging notion for many theists (especially Christians) to grasp. They do not know anything of science and hence discard it as ridiculous faith along with the rest of the religions they disregard for the same reason the Atheist disregards all religion and God. They blind themselves to their own hypocrisy and faulty logic and use it when they come to face with the beliefs of another individual. 


jpatrick
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Maybe I was not clear

 

Brian,

 

Thanks for the reply. I honestly didn't think I would be receiving one. I have to say, I think that you missed the thrust of my post. I will try to reexplain. It was probably my fault for not being more clear.

 

When I said that I don't put much stock in science, the point that I was intending to convey is that I put no stock in science as far as matters of faith go. It would be completely irrational for me to do so. I am sorry I did not make this more clear

 

When most people say the word science they are referring to “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation” (dictionary.com). Science is, by definition, empirical- it attests to those things as understood by the senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound. If science is strictly empirical, then how could any number of lab experiments of any kind demonstrate any result that is anything other than empirical? They can't. Therefore, the metaphysical dualist (essentially, the Christian) is not going to turn to science to have his questions about reality, or metaphysics, answered by something that, by its nature, has no hope of answering his questions.


So, not only can science not be used to eliminate the existence of God, neither can it be used to prove the existence of God. Scientific evidence, at best, can lend to an already established belief, but cannot be the grounding for belief itself.


Some scientists have propagated the idea that only those things proven by science can be verified as being truthful (call this proposition P). However, the foundation for this belief, that P, is itself not verified by science, and is, therefore, self-referentially incoherent.


So, we have determined, then, that science cannot speak or give results to anything non-physical and science cannot be the standard for truth. If this is so, then what is the purpose of science? Simply, to help construct an understanding of how the world usually works. Well, then, does science do a good job of this? Many times it does. A lot of incredible medical (and other) advances and discoveries have been made through scientific experimentation- the things that you pointed out in your last email. However, even in the area science can speak to, my doubts remain.


In logic there is what is called the fallacy of composition. This basically asserts that it is a fallacy to know something about a part and then attribute it to the whole. For instance, my dog is black, therefore, all dogs are black. Right? Of course not. In a similar fashion, science is required to do the same thing. There is absolutely no way that the whole of the scientific community can test all of the natural world at once in order to come to a conclusion. Essentially, they test a small part over and over and over again and if the results maintain, it becomes fact. But aren't they just committing the fallacy of composition? Yes, in many ways they are.


So, I am pretty much immediately skeptical when someone says “its a scientific fact” and I always dismiss any statement made about God when the means to the conclusion are scientific.

 

This is what I mean when I say that I don't put a lot of stock in science. I hope that makes it more clear.

 

Brian, you stated: “So would you argue that your religious belief is not one based on information but one based on emotion?  I disagree with your statement, but I'm curious if you believe it as well”

 

No, I would not say that my belief is based on emotion alone. That would be absurd. My belief is founded upon information (the propositional truth of the Bible). That is not what my statement was referring to. My statement was in reference to what causes action or decision. If someone said that a woman was being raped in the room next door, it isn't the information that causes someone to do something about it, you have the emotional predisposition that it is wrong, and the information allows you to act on what you have already established as being wrong.

 

This is why I said that even if a case for theism was presented that was irrefutable, the RRS would not be dissuaded, but would probably never stop looking for a reason why the case could be dismissed. For instance Bertrand Russell, the man who practically invented symbolic logic as we know it today said that the Ontological argument was sound. He too didn't bother though, even after his own admission that there was an argument for theism that he had to admit as being valid/sound (as the study of logic defines those words). However, I could be wrong. Maybe the RRS is legitimately concerned about truth.

 

I said:

The bottom line is that when the atheist has the burden of proof placed upon him, he can't come up with any more of a scientific or rationally justifiable reason to abandon the faith than the Christian can to prove the certainty of God. It is about faith.”

 

And your response was:

Burden of proof of what?”

 

Maybe I didn't make myself more clear. By way of example. My statement is: I believe in God. Can someone please show me why this statement is irrational?

 

You said:

Well at it's core, Christianity is an irrational belief because it's not one that has ever been logically defended.”

 

However, my response is, something doesnt have to be logically defended in order for it to be rational. I think that you may be misunderstanding this word. Something is irrational when it has been shown to be non-rational. Otherwise there is no reason to question it. So, my statement again: I believe in God. Can someone give me a reason why this is an irrational statement.

 

Thanks again for your time Brian, I know you are a busy guy. I hope you secure what you are looking for.

Blessings,

 

Joel Patrick


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jpatrick

jpatrick wrote:
 

Brian,

Thanks for the reply. I honestly didn't think I would be receiving one. I have to say, I think that you missed the thrust of my post. I will try to reexplain. It was probably my fault for not being more clear.

When I said that I don't put much stock in science, the point that I was intending to convey is that I put no stock in science as far as matters of faith go. It would be completely irrational for me to do so. I am sorry I did not make this more clear

When most people say the word science they are referring to “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation” (dictionary.com). Science is, by definition, empirical- it attests to those things as understood by the senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound. If science is strictly empirical, then how could any number of lab experiments of any kind demonstrate any result that is anything other than empirical? They can't. Therefore, the metaphysical dualist (essentially, the Christian) is not going to turn to science to have his questions about reality, or metaphysics, answered by something that, by its nature, has no hope of answering his questions.

So, not only can science not be used to eliminate the existence of God, neither can it be used to prove the existence of God. Scientific evidence, at best, can lend to an already established belief, but cannot be the grounding for belief itself.

So you could believe in the existence of a tree even if you could not use any of your senses to arrive at the conclusion that a tree exists? This makes no sense. The only means of discovering the true nature of reality available to humans are the senses you listed. Remove all your senses and you could not establish the truth of any claim. A belief can not be grounded in anything other than empirical observation as without empirical observation no coherent claim (or any claim at all for that matter) can even be made to begin with.

A brain is the means by which a human being processes the data received by the senses. Take away the senses and there is nothing to process.

Quote:
Some scientists have propagated the idea that only those things proven by science can be verified as being truthful (call this proposition P). However, the foundation for this belief, that P, is itself not verified by science, and is, therefore, self-referentially incoherent.

Irrelevant. Science works. Whether or not the information is true is unimportant if the results are reliable in every possible situation. If the results are not reliable in every possible situation, then when a situation arises in which the results are not reliable, science corrects in accordance with the new data. No other means of discovery can do this.

Faith can never lead to reliable interpretation of data. Faith as a basis for belief is not a means by which one can every form reliably true beliefs.

Quote:
So, we have determined, then, that science cannot speak or give results to anything non-physical and science cannot be the standard for truth.

Science can be, and is, the only reliable means to arrive at truth. The objection that science can not give results to anything non-physical is only important in the case that something non-physical exists. Without presupossing it does this objection becomes utterly irrelevant.

While science can not be the basis for truth science (empirical observation) is the only reliable means to arrive at truth. The basis for truth rests in physical reality. Physical reality is all a human being can know as that is all that is available to human senses.

 

Quote:
If this is so, then what is the purpose of science?

To discover truth. 

 

Quote:
Simply, to help construct an understanding of how the world usually works. Well, then, does science do a good job of this?

It is the only thing that does a good job of this. 

 

Quote:
Many times it does. A lot of incredible medical (and other) advances and discoveries have been made through scientific experimentation- the things that you pointed out in your last email. However, even in the area science can speak to, my doubts remain.

There is no reason dobts should not remain. Science is a tool for discovery used by humans who can misinterpret results or base results on incomplete data.

One can call into question the reliability of one's senses in giving an accurate picture of reality. There is not even any necessity to our picture of reality, as received through empirical observation, being a true picture of reality. It is, however, the only picture of reality we have and thus it is more than just by faith in our senses that we trust it to give us an accurate picture of reality. It is by necessity as the only means of discovering reality available to us. We have no choice but to base our understanding of true reality on data collected by our senses.


Quote:
In logic there is what is called the fallacy of composition. This basically asserts that it is a fallacy to know something about a part and then attribute it to the whole. For instance, my dog is black, therefore, all dogs are black. Right? Of course not. In a similar fashion, science is required to do the same thing. There is absolutely no way that the whole of the scientific community can test all of the natural world at once in order to come to a conclusion. Essentially, they test a small part over and over and over again and if the results maintain, it becomes fact. But aren't they just committing the fallacy of composition? Yes, in many ways they are.

Completely unimportant for the reasons stated above. Now, show me any way in which faith can be expected to lead to reliably true information.


Quote:
So, I am pretty much immediately skeptical when someone says “its a scientific fact” and I always dismiss any statement made about God when the means to the conclusion are scientific.

Skepticism is great. Dismissing senses as unreliable in producing a true picture of reality is not only silly, but will lead you to nothing but incoherence. Show me anything you can know without using your senses to tell you it is true.

Even to know through the fact that you think that you exist you must know what it means to exists which you could have no concept of devoid of any senses. Existence devoid of sensory perception is incoherent. Sensory perception must be trusted in order for one to have any concept of existence. Even to think you could be a brain in a vat or tricked by a demon into trusting your picture of reality you would have to know what a brain and a vat were, or what it is to be tricked, and these require that you trust your sensory based picture of reality. 

So what statements about god do you not dismiss? What are these statements that aren't reliant on our sense derived picture of reality and how can you expect them to lead to even a practicl picture of reality much less a reliably true picture?

Quote:
This is what I mean when I say that I don't put a lot of stock in science. I hope that makes it more clear.

No offense but I don't think lack of clarity is the problem as much as a lack of sound reasoning. There is no good reason (nor even so much as any real  ability) to distrust sensory perception, empirical observation, as delivering a reliable picture of reality. There is every reason to distrust faith in doing so.

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


jpatrick
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  I dont have a lot of time

 

I dont have a lot of time but this is my short response:

 

First, your example of a tree is not relevant to my statement since my statement was in regards to the metaphysical NOT the physical.

 

Second, I did not say that empirical data plays no part in forming beliefs. I said that it isn't the part that is reliable.

 

Third, “science works” is a horrible reason for why you are saying what you are saying. I am not a pragmatist (a theory of truth). Critique the content of my statement, don't brush it off as “irrelevant.”

 

Fourth, your statement about faith never being reliable for true beliefs: how do you know that your cognitive faculties are working properly? Reason it out... it will end up with, 'because i just do' (faith).

 

Fifth, you are right. If you believe that no immaterial reality exists then being an empiricist and holding only to science is your only option. But I do believe in an immaterial reality (consciousness for example) and it has yet to be proven as irrational.

 

Sixth, science is often is REQUIRED to base beliefs on only the part and not the whole. Like I said, science is good for some things. But if we are talking about God and the non-material then science CANNOT help at all (you made this clear already too).

 

Seventh, the statements about God that I do not arrive at by empirical data are the one's that I believe by faith as in the Bible. I read it and believe it. I don't observe the natural world and come to the conclusion 'God exists' (for the 100th time, that is why science cant speak to this area of debate).

 

Last, this debate is not about the reliability of science anyway. What is it about? I made the statement: I believe in God. Can someone give me a rational explanation of why this is irrational?

Blessings,

Joel

p.s. If there are a lot of responses like these I will not be answering them, simply because I do not have the time.


Sapient
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Here was my response to the

Here was my response to the email that Joel sent me and also posted here:

 

If you believe that faith should explain matters of our existence and that science can't, then what can we do to determine which religion is the right one?  If faith is what you use to help you answer questions that science can't, then what makes belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster any different than belief in your god?  I posit it's irrational to think in the manner you are because when you do you are simply creating an answer you don't have proof for to explain away something you don't yet understand (how we came to exist), furthermore the answer you come up with is no more right or wrong than any other answer anyone could conceive.  This of course unless you want to use logic or science to defend your religious claims, for if you do that, you will be showing that in fact it is science and logic that are the more valid forms of determining if a belief is true or not.   The best to you,   - Sapient

 

- Brian Sapient


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Just a quick response as

Just a quick response as you didn't really address anything.

jpatrick wrote:
 

I dont have a lot of time but this is my short response:

 

First, your example of a tree is not relevant to my statement since my statement was in regards to the metaphysical NOT the physical.

The metaphysical is only known by its relation to the physical, hence the name. If it wasn't for our understanding of the physical, reliable or not, we would have no way to consider the metaphysical.

 

Quote:
Second, I did not say that empirical data plays no part in forming beliefs. I said that it isn't the part that is reliable.

It is the only part that is reliable. There can be no other part until we trust our senses.

 

Quote:
Third, “science works” is a horrible reason for why you are saying what you are saying. I am not a pragmatist (a theory of truth). Critique the content of my statement, don't brush it off as “irrelevant.”

But it is irrelevant being as that you have no other means of arriving at truth. Empirical observation is the only available means. Faith is not a means for arriving at truth. If you think it is you should explain how faith can lead to truth.

 

Quote:
Fourth, your statement about faith never being reliable for true beliefs: how do you know that your cognitive faculties are working properly? Reason it out... it will end up with, 'because i just do' (faith).

Whether or not one's cognitive faculties are working properly has nothing to do with the issue. Unless placed in contrast with another's cognitive faculties how can this matter? If it works, it works. Once placed in contrast to another's we have a basis for discerning the reliability.

 

Quote:
Fifth, you are right. If you believe that no immaterial reality exists then being an empiricist and holding only to science is your only option. But I do believe in an immaterial reality (consciousness for example) and it has yet to be proven as irrational.

You don't even know what an immaterial reality is except that it is not a material reality. You have no basis for a belief in it other than as a contrast to what your senses tell you exist. It is wholly reliant on your sensory perception.

 

Quote:
Sixth, science is often is REQUIRED to base beliefs on only the part and not the whole. Like I said, science is good for some things. But if we are talking about God and the non-material then science CANNOT help at all (you made this clear already too).

You don't even know what non-material is except as a contrast to material which you only know by your sense. Without trusting your senses as the reliable means of discenring you get nowhere.

 

Quote:
Seventh, the statements about God that I do not arrive at by empirical data are the one's that I believe by faith as in the Bible. I read it and believe it. I don't observe the natural world and come to the conclusion 'God exists' (for the 100th time, that is why science cant speak to this area of debate).

But you can only understand the bible through your sensory perception and its claims relations to existence as perceived through empirical observation. Thus anything that you believe as a result of reading the bible you believe as it compares to what you know to exist through empirical observation, through trusting your senses. When you then try to use faith as a means for holding as true the claims made within that are no based in 'sensable' reality is where you lose the ability to discern truth from fiction.

 

Quote:
Last, this debate is not about the reliability of science anyway. What is it about? I made the statement: I believe in God. Can someone give me a rational explanation of why this is irrational?

I don't care to play semantics games with the term irrational. I just wanted to point out the faulty reasoning on comparing faith and science as equal means for discerning truth.

Quote:
Blessings,

Joel

p.s. If there are a lot of responses like these I will not be answering them, simply because I do not have the time.

I don't blame you there.

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


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TO: Any 'professing atheist'

Mod edit -  removed spam


jpatrick
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  “If you believe that

 

“If you believe that faith should explain matters of our existence and that science can't, then what can we do to determine which religion is the right one?”

 

This is a fair question, but one that does not relate to the question of whether or not the existence of God is irrational. However, my answer is a personal one. First, I believe that christianity is the most coherent of all systems. And, second, the impact that it has had on my life, my experience, further lends to my belief (note: experience is not the foundation of my belief).

 

“If faith is what you use to help you answer questions that science can't, then what makes belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster any different than belief in your god?”

 

I believe that you are saying, enthymematically, that there is no further reason to justify a belief in the existence of God then there is to justify the belief in a FSM. Right? Well, first, this too does not show that belief in a God is irrational, it is simply taking a seemingly irrational belief and equating it with the belief in a God. There is no necessary connection. If you want to posit a FSM and talk about the rationality of it, we can.

 

“I posit it's irrational to think in the manner you are because when you do you are simply creating an answer you don't have proof for to explain away something you don't yet understand (how we came to exist),”

 

What you are positing is that one has to be able to demonstrate how he knows what he knows. However, this isn't so. Like I said in my response to the other guy (in the forum). How do you know your cognitive faculties are working rightly? How do you know when you can trust your senses and when you cant (surely you have been tricked before by thinking you have seen something that actually ended up being something else)? How do you know you did or did not eat breakfast this morning (then how do you know you are remembering properly?)? How do you know you are not a brain in vat like on the movie matrix? How do you know that everything in the universe didn't double in size last night? How do you know other minds exist? You cannot show how you know any of these things, but you do in fact know them. Does that make these beliefs irrational? No.

 

The epistemological system you are putting forth with that statement cannot be justified.

 

“furthermore the answer you come up with is no more right or wrong than any other answer anyone could conceive. This of course unless you want to use logic or science to defend your religious claims, for if you do that, you will be showing that in fact it is science and logic that are the more valid forms of determining if a belief is true or not”

 

Talk about a straw man. I in no way equated logic and science as both being unreliable. Science, yes. Logic, no. they are completely different schools of though. Of course reason has to be used to come to conclusions, to test the validity of things, to measure the coherence of a system. And, of course christianity uses reason when explaining the existence of God. What I am waiting for is for someone to use reason to show me why the statement “I believe in God” is irrational.


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To Vessel

Vessel,

I appreciate your time. You are a smart guy. I really dont have time to continue to interact. Sorry.

 Best of luck to you. Never stop honestly searching. Search, don't just defend.

Blessings,

Joel


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jpatrick wrote: What is

jpatrick wrote:

What is it about? I made the statement: I believe in God. Can someone give me a rational explanation of why this is irrational?

 

Good day Joel. I just read through your posts with Sapient and Vessel. If I may, I would like to interject one bit of opinion which might help sort some things out between you and Sapient.

When someone says, "A belief in God is irrational" I see them as  saying something that is correct. When the R.R.S. (including Sapient of course) says that a belief in God is irrational, I don't see this statement as necessarily being a derogatory statement towards theists. Rather, I see this statement as merely pointing out that a belief in God is based on faith. Faith is irrational. Therefore, a belief in God is irrational. 

What does all this mean? Well, in my opinion, you can never say that a belief in God is not irrational, because it is based on faith. Someone may say that a belief in God is also backed up by personal experience, but then that's purely subjective and indemonstrable, so in my opinion, still rightly deemed irrational.

So in regards to your question in the quote above, I hope that you can find some rational appeal in the explanation I just provided. 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


jpatrick
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  Jread, I agree and

 

Jread,

I agree and understand that the RRS is not attempting to be derogatory.

You stated:

“Rather, I see this statement as merely pointing out that a belief in God is based on faith. Faith is irrational. Therefore, a belief in God is irrational.”

You further stated:

What does all this mean? Well, in my opinion, you can never say that a belief in God is not irrational, because it is based on faith.

However, I am going to have to disagree. First, you must define 'irrational.' dictinary.com gives three definitions (I am sure Webster or whoever will give similar ones):

  1. without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason.

  2. without or deprived of normal mental clarity or sound judgment.

  3. not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical: irrational arguments.


So, then, you are saying that something that must be believed in order to be known (essentially, faith) is 'deprived of reason' or 'sound judgment' or is 'utterly illogical.' On the contrary, if you will look at the last response I sent to sapient you will see that I listed a few of many beliefs that fall in the same category that everyone must ascribe to.

Last, you stated:

Someone may say that a belief in God is also backed up by personal experience, but then that's purely subjective and indemonstrable, so in my opinion, still rightly deemed irrational.

Also, if you read above, you will see that I made it clear that my belief is not grounded in experience.

Thanks for your reply

Joel Patrick

Again, as I said to Vessel, I dont have a lot of free time, so I may not be responding to every post.


jread
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jpatrick

jpatrick wrote:

However, I am going to have to disagree. First, you must define 'irrational.' dictinary.com gives three definitions (I am sure Webster or whoever will give similar ones):

  1. without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason.

  2. without or deprived of normal mental clarity or sound judgment.

  3. not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical: irrational arguments.



So, then, you are saying that something that must be believed in order to be known (essentially, faith) is 'deprived of reason' or 'sound judgment' or is 'utterly illogical.' On the contrary, if you will look at the last response I sent to sapient you will see that I listed a few of many beliefs that fall in the same category that everyone must ascribe to.

By pointing out other beliefs that are irrational, it doesn't explain how a belief in God is not irrational.

Since we both like definitions, (I frequently have used them in other posts) have a gander at this one,

Reason:

  1. The basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction. See Usage Note at because, why.
  2. A declaration made to explain or justify action, decision, or conviction: inquired about her reason for leaving.
  3. An underlying fact or cause that provides logical sense for a premise or occurrence: There is reason to believe that the accused did not commit this crime.
  4. The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence.
  5. Good judgment; sound sense.
  6. A normal mental state; sanity: He has lost his reason.
  7. Logic. A premise, usually the minor premise, of an argument.

All three definitions of 'irrational' contained either the word reason or sound. Reason is what I just posted the definition for and 'sound' can be understood as a logical term, therefore included among 'logical sense.'

I feel that the bold definition is the most pertinent to our discussion. So, where can we find a logical sense, or cause, or fact in our belief in God, rationally? I would venture to guess that there is no such indisputable, plain, self-evident fact or logical sense for a belief in God. Furthermore, since faith is needed to believe in God, then a rationally evident reason or fact for his existence does not exist. If it (a rational reason) did exist, then why would we, as believers, need faith at all for a belief in God?

I just can't see how your explanation of other irrational beliefs that people have, explains how a belief in God is also not an irrational belief. In short, I don't think a belief in God is meant to be considered rational. Trying to saying to say that a belief in God is not irrational, seems to me, a pointless endeavor since the very nature of a belief in God is beyond rationality and rational evidence.

 

Quote:

Last, you stated:

Someone may say that a belief in God is also backed up by personal experience, but then that's purely subjective and indemonstrable, so in my opinion, still rightly deemed irrational.

Also, if you read above, you will see that I made it clear that my belief is not grounded in experience.

I understood that and in no way meant to direct that comment to you individually. I only mentioned it because others frequently bring it up in discussions similar to ours. I was trying to avoid such future occurrences of personal experience invoking.

If you choose to disagree, then that it is your business and I respect that. I am just trying to interject a bit of mediation between Sapient and yourself, so we can all come to a better understanding of each others thoughts and feelings. Good day to you.
 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


ELECTROGOD (not verified)
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jpatrick wrote: I believe

jpatrick wrote:

I believe in God. Can someone give me a rational explanation of why this is irrational?

Well, first we have to determine which god-idea you are referring to.

Since you refer to Plantinga I can assume that it's the Christian version of "god".

There are a great number of reasons why the Christian version of god is irrational beginning with the history of the religion, how it's constructed from other previous god myths, the problem of "evil", the way it's god-character violates it's own moral mandates, etc. But some of the best reasons are how it's book that is supposed to be the actual words of it's god is so filled with errors and contradictions, bad history and bad philosophy:

http://www.members.aol.com/ckbloomfld

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/intro.html

http://www.atheists.org/christianity/contradictions.html


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Welcome, Electrogod. I see

Welcome, Electrogod.

I see that you've been a member for some time and have just started posting.  Terrific!

Although somewhat "belated", we'd love it if you'd hop over to General Conversation, Introductions and Humor and introduce yourself. 

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Cpt_pineapple
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One of my pet peeves is when

One of my pet peeves is when people say science and God are uncompatable. I hate it when Theists try to disregard science and when atheists try to use science to show there is no God.


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Christiantiy is not about

Christiantiy is not about believing in god. You cna't be a christian unless you drag the god-man in.

I can kinda sorta see how someone can believe in god, even though I dont' think it really makes sense to believe it. But even if I agree that belief in god itself can be rational, that does not make christiantiy rational.

Christianity (meanign the basics) is horrendously irrational and I am quite stunned that anyone believes it.