Going to be doing a report on how theism is illogical

Ralavik
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Going to be doing a report on how theism is illogical

It's for composition 2 and I was writing my teacher to see if it was okay to go with my selected topic and thesis. I want to do my paper on this specific topic but what I found interesting was his response. After reading through what was said do you think I should not write about how theism is illogical but strictly on how atheism is misunderstood in the public eye?

 

This was taken as an excerpt-

 

I wrote


"Atheism is a more logical choice than theism"

 

His response

Can you give me the reasons in the thesis?  What kind of choice are we talking about?

 

My response

I suppose to word it differently, it is more logical to be an atheist than to be a theist. I can also narrow it down further to say that theism is illogical. The reasons for which I'll give testament in my research but will include Bible and circular reasoning, scientific studies and the opinions of prominent disbelievers like Richard Dawkins. I may even go further to say how it not only is illogical but causes harm.

If that is ok?

 

His response

Okay.  What main points are you going to make?

 

My response

Well, I haven't spent too much time on my outline just yet but it will go something like this-

A. The problems with religion
1.Perspective- How you were raised massively affects how and what you believe.
2. Religion and War
3. Religion and Bigotry- Separates us in a bad way
4. Morals and judgment of others

B. The wrong forms of belief and thought
1. Pascals Wager
2. Circular Reasoning- People hold their beliefs to be true (faith) therefore don't need proof.

C. The problems with God
1. Realistic appeal- How can a god be "all loving" if a place such as Hell is created by him?
2. How can God both be Omnipresent and omnipotent? If he knows everything that he will do does he himself have free will?


D. The problems with the Bible
1. Slavery is condoned in the Bible and so is sexism
2. Contradictions
3. People take many different approaches and views to what their holy book means and can be dangerous- Example of radical muslims and their actions

C. Scientific studies against religion
1. The majority of elite minds of scientists of the National Academy of Science and Fellows of the Royal Society disbelieve in a personal god.


Pretty rough so far but I plan to make it more cohesive.

This ok?

 

His response

You are going to beat up on religion as opposed to championing atheism?  I will be openminded, but I think you have to seriously consider an audience that will quite resistant.  Put your ideas into full sentences.  Good job.  bs

 

I wrote

I don't like to think I'm beating up on it, just merely stating what one can see from it and its problems. How can I define atheism without defining its counter position of theism? In other words, I take my stance on atheism because of what I perceive from theism. The two are interwoven in debate I'm afraid.

My goal isn't to spark controversy but I will be stating exactly how I feel about the issue, no harm intended.

-----------------------------------------------

 

Anyways, do you think I'm wrong?


 


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Quote: You are going to beat

Quote:
You are going to beat up on religion as opposed to championing atheism?  I will be openminded, but I think you have to seriously consider an audience that will quite resistant.  Put your ideas into full sentences.  Good job.  bs

(Already posted, but it glitched.  If I double post, sorry.)

He's telling you this is going to be a hard A to get.  I think he's telling you that he's a theist, too.  You're going to have to write your paper better than the rest of the class to get the same grade.

Quote:
Anyways, do you think I'm wrong?

I think you're exactly right.  However, you should consider the extra work this is going to be, and the possibility that you're going to make a lower grade than if you take something less controversial.

Are you really familiar with all the arguments you're going to make?  You have to close as many doors as possible by addressing common counter-arguments.  Are you capable of writing a technically perfect, or near-perfect paper?  It's likely you'll be counted off harshly and not given any benefit of the doubt.

 

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

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Ralavik
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Quote:I think you're exactly

Quote:
I think you're exactly right.  However, you should consider the extra work this is going to be, and the possibility that you're going to make a lower grade than if you take something less controversial.

Are you really familiar with all the arguments you're going to make?  You have to close as many doors as possible by addressing common counter-arguments.  Are you capable of writing a technically perfect, or near-perfect paper?  It's likely you'll be counted off harshly and not given any benefit of the doubt.

 

Out of the topics of business, political science, economics, psychology, sciences/healthcare, I went with Sociology and Religion. I feel that I know more than the average person does and I have the resources available to me to back up my claims. It's a research paper so I have to have cites. 

 

 

 


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Oh no.. you don't want to

Oh no.. you don't want to beating up on poor religion.   WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?

Maybe you could narrow it down a bit tho.  Find something very specific to critique, because there are obviously tomes on this topic. 

 

 


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I don't think that you're

I don't think that you're wrong on this.  I once did a paper on how there is no logic behind the idea that video games and other media cause violence in children.  This in a town that banned the wearing of trench coats in school after Columbine and had teachers that believed the chick tract that DnD leads to suicide and devil worship just to give you an idea of an "audience that will be quite resistant".

I don't think you could ask for a better resource on forming clean, concise arguments against religion than you have here.  Do your best and try to keep your paper on target.  I'd suggest focusing in on a larger area of illogic instead of spreading it out.  I know it's tempting to hit them all, but maybe focusing in on the things like Pascall's wager, circular logic, arguments from authority, and the other logical fallacies made by religion would be better.

Getting into the war, bigotry, slavery, sexism, etc. might make it seem like you're trying to start the Atheism\Christianity body count up again, and after all, the topic of the paper is why religion is illogical.  Bigotry, slavery, and sexism are also illogical, but are independently so from religion (i.e. you don't have to be religious to be a bigot).

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I actually agree with your

I actually agree with your teacher that just beating up on religion is no way to make your very good point. Your point, as I see it, is that atheism is better than theism because atheism represents an accurate view of the universe. To back this up, of course, you will have to show why there is no justification for belief in a god or gods. This is simple: there is no evidence for the existence of a god or gods. You will then need to discuss why the following things do not constitute evidence:

- faith-based claims (faith is not a valid way to form beliefs)

- the existence of religion itself, including documents like the Bible (there's no reason why these things cannot be man made)

- the existence of unexplained things such as life or the universe (not knowing does not mean goddidit)

- people's wishes and feelings (people can imagine and hallucinate all kinds of false and fantastic things)

- the existence of a basic human moral intuition (we have a shared ancestry as social animals so it makes sense that we share certain attitudes about appropriate behaviour in society)

- miracles and other supernatural phenomena (no reliable evidence for these has ever been presented and "supernatural" is an incoherent concept)

 

That should be more than enough to fill up whatever word count you need.

 

 

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Go for it

I would write the paper, but would def steer clear of some of the topics in your outline.  I would focus on the topics that you can show evidence for and attack with logic.  Discussing the morals in the bible can show that the belief system is indeed sick, but it doesn't disprove that it's real and that it's what Yahweh really wants.

If you are going to cite the bible, then cite stories like noah's ark, the tower of bable, and exodus and show the scientific evidence for how these things can't possibly be true no matter how metaphorical you take them.  From there draw your conclusions that the bible can't be viewed as a factual book, and thus christians don't have anything to support any of their beliefs.

You could probably point out similar falsities of the Q'uran and other popular holy books.

That's just my $0.02

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan


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There's a few big problems

There's a few big problems with this topic:

1. In order to successfully argue your stance you're going to have to disprove religion or at least make one hell of a good case. Unless this is an upper-division college level paper that spans over 20 pages I would suggest choosing a different subject because a shorter paper just won't be long enough to sufficiently argue your case.

2. Your paper sounds like its going to be very biased. While its impossible to avoid bias in an argumentative paper you should always try to reduce your bias as much as possible. Otherwise your argument will not only be relatively weak but will also be a case of preaching to the choir. In other words (and this is partly what your instructor was pointing out) the only people who will read through your argument with any modicum of seriousness are those who share your same views. A good argumentative paper is aimed at a critical audience, especially one that holds a view opposite to the one being argued for. The entire purpose of an argumentative paper is to persuade and if you turn off your audience then you pretty much failed to do that. If you really want to do this topic then you'll need to throw in arguments for theism and then explain why these arguments aren't adequate to oppose the ones you're making (be careful to avoid the strawman fallacy). This is what your instructor was saying in his last response to you.

3. He was also implying that a better approach to your paper would be to take a defensive rather than offensive tone. It's easier to champion atheism with positive points than to argue that atheism is the better choice because all the other options suck. The reason is that by going on the offensive its not only easier to commit fallacies and inject large amounts of bias into your paper but its also a lot easier to turn off your audience (which is going to get you a bad grade). By taking a more non-confrontational approach you still get to argue that atheism is a better choice than theism but at the same time you avoid pissing off your readers.

4. Your paper gets off topic. Your thesis is that "atheism is more logical than theism" yet you start attacking Christianity later on. Going after Christianity doesn't lend credence to your larger, more general argument that theism is illogical. While you can use Christianity as an example of theism's inherent problems you'll also have to use other religions as an example as well (not only to avoid bias but most importantly to show that the problems you're pointing out are widespread in theism and not just limited to one or two religions). If you do decide to go this route you'll need to ensure that you don't pick similar religions. So don't, for example, use Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as your examples, but rather, say, Christianity, Hinduism, Norse mythology, and Scientology (I picked these since they cover different forms of theism. Christianity is a large western religion, Hinduism is a large eastern religion, Norse mythology is a defunct religion, and Scientology is an example of a cult). If you don't want to go through all this trouble then I'd suggest chopping out your Christian arguments and instead focusing on theism in general.

Those are just the major issues that I saw. There's some other issues I'm seeing as well but since your outline doesn't look like its complete I'll hold my breath. Point being, I don't think your instructor is being unfair, biased, or otherwise implying that he doesn't like your topic because it promotes atheism. He's just warning you that, as it stands now, your topic and approach need serious refining if you want a good grade. Personally I always avoided topics like religion in my writing courses since they were just too large and complex to argue for the assignments I was given. If the assignment you're writing for requires a lengthy paper then I'd say go ahead since you can easily get 25+ pages out of this topic. However, if all you need to write is something less than 10 pages I'd choose another topic.


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I think you're going to have

I think you're going to have to be very careful to make this work.  For one thing, be really clear on your definitions.  Your initial proposition is how atheism is more logical than theism, yet your supporting arguments seem to deal more with religion than with theism.  Also, be sure to define what you mean by atheism, e.g. "strong" vs. "weak" atheism, but don't assume that your audience is familiar with those terms.  If you try to pit general theism against strong atheism, I think it will all come down to absence of evidence vs. evidence of absence, which will then lead to the issue of justified confidence in the beliefs in question... but I consider these to be epistemological issues rather than logical issues.

If the position you're arguing is that atheism is more logical than theism, I think you'll run into trouble... theism, by itself, doesn't necessarily imply a logical contradiction.  That is to say, it's possible to hold a theistic world view that is 100% internally logically consistent, yet is unlikely to accurately represent reality.  For example, off the top of my head, God exists and created the universe without beginning or end for the sole purpose of having something of minor interest to watch when he gets bored.  Of course, in that situation, the theist would have no direct knowledge of this hypothetical God, so the belief is not epistemologically valid, but it's still logically consistent.  On the other hand, if you try to show that any possible theistic world view is epistemologically invalid, you have to assume that no evidence exists to justify a belief in any imaginable God... which comes really, really close to the begging the question fallacy.

I do, however, think that you could write a good paper if you were to argue that it would be more logical to choose atheism over theism considering only common logic-based arguments for each. Though, if you did that, you'd have to be honest and include the illogical arguments people use to justify atheism if you don't want your paper to appear to be strategically including only those arguments that support your thesis.  Then again, depending on what type of writing assignment it is, that may or may not be a good thing (and I'm not an English major, so I couldn't tell you).

 


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Thank you all for your

Thank you all for your input. You are right to those who stated that being overly bias in a paper, especially direct attacks, will only hinder my point. Therefore I will try and stay on the topic of atheism and use much more diverse religions as examples then Christianity. It was my point to get into the broader scope of theism and not into any one particular belief system. My outline dictates otherwise but I will revise it and make it work.

 

This is supposed to be a 12 page paper in APA format (So it'll be winding down to 9 for actual meaningful content) although it can be as long as it needs to be.


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Would you please post the

Would you please post the report here when you're done and allow us to give it a special area in our book section?

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Ralavik wrote:Thank you all

Ralavik wrote:

Thank you all for your input. You are right to those who stated that being overly bias in a paper, especially direct attacks, will only hinder my point. Therefore I will try and stay on the topic of atheism and use much more diverse religions as examples then Christianity. It was my point to get into the broader scope of theism and not into any one particular belief system. My outline dictates otherwise but I will revise it and make it work.

 

This is supposed to be a 12 page paper in APA format (So it'll be winding down to 9 for actual meaningful content) although it can be as long as it needs to be.

Yes, your outline up there was quite broad, narrowing it down seems like a good idea. If I were you, I'd go after the very idea of faith, and show it to be irrational. Then you wouldn't have to go into specific religions, but you will still offend people who are brought up thinking faith is a virtue Smiling


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Interesting topic...........................

Sir, as I am exceedingly interested in your stated opinion, might I inquire how you personally have arrived at the position that theism is illogical? Augustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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If your paper was about

If your paper was about Christianity your outline would fit. But |"theism" refers to any belief in a deity.

I wouldn't single out Christianity in your paper. You could draw on it but draw from other religions as well. Try to keep your arguments generic since the title of your paper is about "theism" and not "Christianity".

I would focus on things like where science starts vs where religion starts when it comes to answering a question? Science is based on prior data. Deity belief is rooted in ancient myth written by unscientific people.

FOR EXAMPLE

"How is the sex of a baby determined?

Scientific method has laid the groundwork for the discovery of DNA and chromosomes|(sp). We know that XY chromosomes  determine the sex of the baby.

The solution the theist gives is "god did it" which semantically is not an explination, but a claim. 

"Allah did it, Yahwey did it, Vishnu did it" are all offered as explinations to how things happen, but are not evidence, merely claims. There is no emperical way to falsify such claims. What the theist has failed to demonstrate in that claim is the PROCESS of how it happened, and "who" they claim "did it" does not offer up an observable process.

(then you could go into why such claims should not default to automatically being true(Bentrand Russell's "TEAPOT ORBITING JUPITER&quotEye-wink 

Definitely bring up the problems with the omni- attributes like:

"All powerful" can an omnipotent god give up its power forever? Can an omnipotent god murder innocent people? If he can, he cannot be called all loving. If he cant he cannot be called all powerful. From a semantic standpoint.

This lowercase "god" approach allows you to speak to claims of many religions without singling out one.

 

You could give examples like. If one rightfully rejects Thor making lighting, and can rightfully put it in the same boat as claims of Tarot cards or Big Foot and one can see the absurdity of flying around on a broom. Then one should see the absurdity of plants "poof" suddenly existing without photosynthesis.

STRICTLY SPEAKING, this is only advice. I cant tell you what to write or how to write it, just giving you some ideas.

I think the teacher is just as concerned with you following your outline as they are the substance.

A paper is simple to write, HARD TO GET STARTED, but simple to write.

1. Say what you are going to say

2. Say it.

3. Say what you said.

Follow your outline

 

 

 

 

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I'm In Comp 1

I'm in Comp 1 right now and I too write a lot of assignments on the religious topic. My instructor always has a suprised look on her face when I hand in something, but I get a kick out of it. Like your instructor; mine always tries to get me to lessing the tone of my Topic Sentences, but I still find a way to inject everything I was going to say from the start...

Slimm,

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"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called Insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called Religion." - Robert M. Pirsig,


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agustine wrote:Sir, as I am

agustine wrote:

Sir, as I am exceedingly interested in your stated opinion, might I inquire how you personally have arrived at the position that theism is illogical? Augustine

 

I don't feel like being drawn into a debate, sorry.


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I'm having a go at revising

I'm having a go at revising my outline and have made some changes.

 

Thesis-  "Atheism, the logical choice" <-(Would this be too demeaning?) I was thinking somewhere along the lines of- "Atheism and disbelief; why a freethinker is thus called" but I thought it wasn't clear enough.

 

As I'm supposed to assume the reader has no background knowledge of the subject I'll open up my intro as such-

A. Intro

1. Explain atheist views

2. Explain how an atheist is sometimes portrayed as immoral, "lost", or evil. Counter these assertions.

3. Explain how atheists have made a positive impact. (List some renowned atheists)

 

B. The problems with believing

1. Perspective

2. No evidence

3. Numerous religions and beliefs (which one is the right one?)

 

C. Arguments for theism

1. Pascals Wager- debunk (Not a true form of faith)

2. World seems like it was created- debunk (As the world is estimated over billions of years old evolution came into play)

3. "How can something come from nothing?"- debunk (By that logic what then created god?)

4. Nature and beauty of the earth- debunk (When something is put into perspective and an opinion is formed another perspective is then created ie the opposite viewpoint. If something exists that is "beautiful" then there is something that is "less than" or not beautiful)

5. "Everything has a creator"- debunk (Ties into question 3)

6. Personal experience- debunk (The brain is sophisticated beyond our comprehension)

7. Holy word- debunk (Man made, has been through many translations over thousands of years, no proof)

(If anyone else has anymore topics that are major that I'm overlooking please let me know)

 

D. Arguments against theism

1. Circular reasoning- Argument against faith

2. God of the gaps- Just because we can't explain something doesn't mean a god must exist

3. Burden of proof- Burden of proof always lies on the asserting party

4. Majority of scientists disbelieve in a personal god- Wow, really? Yes

 

E. Conclusion

1. There is no basis for which theism can stand

2. Atheists are people who happen to not believe in god and like to think outside the box. (Morality)

---------

 

So, what do you think?

 

On another note if you look at "Arguments for theism" number 3 and my debunking of it I made a point I never really thought of before. Meaning, if counter opposing sides exist universally then that means if there is no universe ie "nothing" then there has to be the counter of a universe ie "existence". For a god not to exist the godless must, thus us.

 

Obviously this is flawed but I thought it an interesting concept.

 

 


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Ralavik wrote:I'm having a

Better. I'd suggest moving points 2 and 3 from your intro though into your "arguments for theism" section. Reason being that by dealing with morality you've started into part of your argument already in your intro which is something you don't want to do. Those two points fit much better in your second section as arguments for theism that you can then argue against (since religion as a necessary moral guide for society tends to be a common argument from theists). In their place in the intro put theistic views on the matter. This should also give you a smoother transition into your first argument.

Also be careful with your holy word topic. Not all religions/religious stances have a holy book. You can probably still use the point but just make sure to point out that your argument is only a counter to those religions who claim to have extra evidence in the form of holy scripture.

Finally I'd probably leave the "majority of scientists are atheist" argument out of your paper if I were you since the logic is a bit fallacious. You're pretty much saying "person X has stance Y therefore stance Y is the correct one". Though I suppose as long as you propose that the reason scientists are largely atheist is because of highly developed critical thinking skills as a result of their profession as opposed to intellectual factors then it would be a valid argument for your paper.

Oh, and just to help out with your debunking of the religious experience here's an article you may find helpful: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/04/04/neurotheology/index.html

The relevant part of the article is that any kind of rhythmic/repetitive action combined with a belief that it actually does something will elicit a religious experience. So the Muslim form of praying (don't know what to call it but its where they go through various motions/positions several times during prayer), the Jews' habit of rocking back and forth while praying, chants...the intense feelings associated with those actions can be scientifically explained.

Anyway, the outline looks good. As long as you flesh it out with a healthy amount of cited facts and strong arguments you should be fine.


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I do not intend to debate you either.............

I apologize for my lack of clarity. Despite your presuppositions, I was particularly interested in your description of theism as being "illogical". It appears to me, if I understand you correctly, after reading your introductory statements, that you have used the term more as an epistemic predicate than an attempt to advance an assertion that theism in whole or in part is something that, in your estimation, is violative of, for example, a specific tenet of first order logic.......

 

Augustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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For your consideration............

May I submit, for your perusal and consideration, the following proposals from a theistic perspective:

       With respect to point 2(a), although thinking theists would never attempt to advance a proposition that immorality is a corollary of atheism, I think individuals who hold to an atheistic world-view are vulnerable on at least two points:

1. Epistemic

2. Metaphysical

The epistemic point admits of two taxonomies:

1. Knowledge in general

2. Knowledge of values both epistemic and non-epistemic

With respect to epistemic point one, the criticism arises as a result of the atheistic espousal of a naturalized epistemology, more specifically the view that knowledge can only be obtained through, and is exhausted by, the methods of the hard sciences, to wit: physics and chemistry. Thus according to this view all knowledge entails physical facts. Although Epistemology has been, for all practical purposes - note the qualifier - the exclusive domain of Philosophy, this view has given rise to - despite the fact that it is no longer the predominate view in Philosophy - the fact/value dichotomy.

As a conspicuous entailment of epistemic point one, epistemic point two clearly follows. This particular view is wholly the logical outworking of a naturalized epistemology whereas values, both ethical and of course even epistemic for example, cannot be statements of fact, or in the limpid language of David Hume matters of fact, chiefly because they cannot be explained in physical language. Moreover, because knowledge of values cannot be obtained through a process of induction whereby information is gleaned through discreet and iterative experimentation, values then are reduced, on the naturalist view, to mere subjective and quite aptly, idealistic contrivances.

The difficulties resulting therefrom are indeed insuperable. Take for example the logical positivist positing coherence as a necessary condition underscoring the predictive value of a given theory. Yet the condition of coherence, as noted by the eminent Philosopher Hilary Putnam in his book "The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays" is an epistemic value judgment. Moreover, the Platonic Virtues, Eudemonia, or other values as most notably expressed in the classic formulation: the good, the true and the beautiful, have been, in point of fact, proposed as a criterion in science under certain circumstances yet they suffer, on the naturalist view, from the same defect, to wit: they cannot be described in physical language and accordingly cannot be statements of fact.

Additionally, as it pertains to knowledge of ethics, the atheistic vulnerability arises again as wholly the result of a naturalized epistemology extrapolated existentially. Here the criticism, as I noted previously, should not be that immorality is a corollary of atheism, but that because value judgments are not matters of fact, good as well as evil can in fact be logically supported within the atheist world-view. Praise or condemnation of a given act is entirely subjective. Thus adherence to an atheistic world-view can lead to the logical outworking of either a Mother Theresa or a Pol Pot because in the final analysis values are not factual.

With respect to metaphysical point two the vulnerabilities here are in fact legion, yet for the purposes of brevity allow me to quote one of the most prolific defenders of atheism in the twentieth century, the great Philosopher Albert J Mackey, in his book "The Miracle of Theism," wherein he quite astutely advanced the following proposition, "Moral properties constitute so odd a cluster of qualities and relations that they are most unlikely to have arisen in the ordinary course of events without an all-powerful god to create them." Mackey's point is that in God's most conspicuous absence, the atheist would be hard pressed to submit to anything other than "felicitous congeries about nature" (Buckley, W.F., Jr.), and as physical facts cannot adequately explain metaphysical postulates, this entails that metaphysical postulates themselves cannot admit of cognitive meaning.

With respect to point B(1), perspective is somewhat ambiguous, your assertion contained within point B(2) is arguable at best, your point B(3) should be couched within the context of the first law of propositional logic. Point C(3) is of particular interest. You have mis-stated the general principle of causality, that is all things that begin to exist must have a cause. That cause can either be necessary as a result of its nature or contingent and thus dependent on an external cause. Framing the point as you have renders you vulnerable to the infinite regress criticism. It appears as though you are also raising the fedes' et ratio argument. Be very careful insofar as this is generally viewed by philosophers, even those who hold to a naturalist position, as an exceedingly superficial distinction.

          I wish you well in your endeavor sir........

         Augustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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I don't mind being drawn

I don't mind being drawn into an argument...

agustine wrote:

As a conspicuous entailment of epistemic point one, epistemic point two clearly follows. This particular view is wholly the logical outworking of a naturalized epistemology whereas values, both ethical and of course even epistemic for example, cannot be statements of fact, or in the limpid language of David Hume matters of fact, chiefly because they cannot be explained in physical language. Moreover, because knowledge of values cannot be obtained through a process of induction whereby information is gleaned through discreet and iterative experimentation, values then are reduced, on the naturalist view, to mere subjective and quite aptly, idealistic contrivances.

No problem. It is theists that insist that values must occupy some exalted philosophical space beyond the realm of the human mind, without being able to offer any plausible description of where or what such a space might be. Naturalistic atheists are quite comfortable with the fact that values exist as thoughts in human brains. Anyone wishing to argue that values, in order to be valid, must exist somewhere else, should first point to where else the value could come from. Naturalism is only an idea, just like any other -ism you can name.

It is, of course, possible to describe values naturalistically by describing the brain activity which creates them and the physiological, evolutionary, cognitive, social and cultural factors which led to their present form. 

agustine wrote:

The difficulties resulting therefrom are indeed insuperable. Take for example the logical positivist positing coherence as a necessary condition underscoring the predictive value of a given theory. Yet the condition of coherence, as noted by the eminent Philosopher Hilary Putnam in his book "The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays" is an epistemic value judgment. Moreover, the Platonic Virtues, Eudemonia, or other values as most notably expressed in the classic formulation: the good, the true and the beautiful, have been, in point of fact, proposed as a criterion in science under certain circumstances yet they suffer, on the naturalist view, from the same defect, to wit: they cannot be described in physical language and accordingly cannot be statements of fact.

Not true. It can be observed that things which lack logical coherence do not exist and statements which lack logical coherence are never true. Logic can be validated naturalistically. However, none of this is necessary for atheistic values to survive your assault. Your position that values must be facts in the same way as pianos are facts begs the question. Why must values be something more than ideas?

agustine wrote:

Additionally, as it pertains to knowledge of ethics, the atheistic vulnerability arises again as wholly the result of a naturalized epistemology extrapolated existentially. Here the criticism, as I noted previously, should not be that immorality is a corollary of atheism, but that because value judgments are not matters of fact, good as well as evil can in fact be logically supported within the atheist world-view. Praise or condemnation of a given act is entirely subjective. Thus adherence to an atheistic world-view can lead to the logical outworking of either a Mother Theresa or a Pol Pot because in the final analysis values are not factual.

Is it your position that theistic values cannot be "logically outworked"? Down through history, how many evil positions have been defended using the Bible?

Even if there are ethical values floating around in the universe independent of our thought, we still have nothing but our brains with which to perceive them. You can rail against the arbitrariness of our values all you like, but in the end you have nothing better with which to replace them.

agustine wrote:

With respect to metaphysical point two the vulnerabilities here are in fact legion, yet for the purposes of brevity allow me to quote one of the most prolific defenders of atheism in the twentieth century, the great Philosopher Albert J Mackey, in his book "The Miracle of Theism," wherein he quite astutely advanced the following proposition, "Moral properties constitute so odd a cluster of qualities and relations that they are most unlikely to have arisen in the ordinary course of events without an all-powerful god to create them." Mackey's point is that in God's most conspicuous absence, the atheist would be hard pressed to submit to anything other than "felicitous congeries about nature" (Buckley, W.F., Jr.), and as physical facts cannot adequately explain metaphysical postulates, this entails that metaphysical postulates themselves cannot admit of cognitive meaning.

Mackey simply begs the question. There is no reason why we can't account for morals with evolution and history. I see very little in our moral code that is very different from that of our primate ancestors. Buckley can call it names if he likes, but the fact is that the naturalist is perfectly well equipped to explain morals.

Metaphysics is for people who think that their thoughts define the universe and not the other way around. The universe doesn't have to make sense to be the way it is.

 

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I appreciate your comments.......................

Dear sir, thank you for taking the time to offer a most thoughtful series of comments. Although it was not my intention to inaugurate a debate, I think it is incumbent upon me to sketch a somewhat concise response. At the outset your introductory comments are of interest to me. If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that according to my view values are physical entities. I am led to this position chiefly because you allude to venue, that is values being somewhere in addition to values occupying space. I do not think I ever suggested that values are physical entities. I do not think values have for example the necessary physical properties of hardness and/or solidity, or extension so as to enable them to occupy space (see Kantian Metaphysics), nor do I think they have accidental properties such as color. My point was chiefly epistemic, or because of the fact that values are non-physical entities, that is they do not admit of an explanation that falls within the ambit of physics or chemistry, according to the naturalist view they cannot be known.

What I also find interesting is that it appears as though your attempted resolution of the matter in effect affirms my point. By way of further explanation, within the context of your rejoinder you have indicated that values "exist as thoughts in human brains." Now thoughts are a certain mental content. They are the direct result of episodes of thinkings and as such only exist when your having them. Now despite the fact that I am not my brain and central nervous system, the fact that I am a substance or substantial self, I know my mental states through a process of first person introspection. Distinguishing thoughts from beliefs which a person holds whether or not they are the subject of an immediate mental state, I would grant that you are partially correct, values are non-physical entities. This of course has no bearing upon my comments which were chiefly epistemic in character. Yet because you have indicated that values are implicitly non-physical, the subject vulnerability continues to obtain.

With respect to your comments:

"Not true. It can be observed that things which lack logical coherence do not exist and statements which lack logical coherence are never true. Logic can be validated naturalistically."

My point to which your foregoing comments pertain illustrates the gratuitous presuppositions of the naturalist. The questions resulting therefrom is:

How does one simply presume that with which his world-view does not provide adequate grounds for knowing? In other words, how does one know that which is unknowable? Nevertheless, regarding your response I do grasp your point at all. Why would you draw into the discourse statements of modal necessity such as existence as used when the manifest gravamen of the complaint is chiefly epistemological?

Regarding you comment:

"Is it your position that theistic values cannot be "logically outworked"?"

I would never entertain such a view. The logical outworking of theism in general, and Christian theism in particular is embodied in the life of Christ.

Regarding your comments:

"Down through history, how many evil positions have been defended using the Bible?"

Granted most emphatically, yet this represents the illogical outworking of a theistic or more specifically Christian World-view. Nevertheless, the great Augustinian maxim continues to obtain, that is, "one should never judge a philosophy by its abuse." With atheism though, because values do not inform insofar as they cannot be known through the methods of the hard sciences and accordingly are non-factual, as I alluded in my initial commentary either a Mother Theresa or a Pol Pot can in fact result from its logical outworking........

Regarding your final comment:

I don't think so..... Mackey here is exceedingly intellectually honest. The proposition he clearly enough advances is that physical properties do not entail moral properties. To attempt to reduce moral properties to physical facts is tantamount to trying to get something from nothing. Your position here is untenable.

One last comment that I find ultimately shocking, to wit: "I see very little in our moral code that is very different from that of our primate ancestors." Are you seriously suggesting that primates are moral agents? That they have the capacity to apprehend moral postulates and are concerned with moral matters, attitudes and behaviors. Please,in all seriousness please clarify this point.........

Thank you so much..............

Augustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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Agustine, man, lay off the

Agustine, man, lay off the thesaurus. Using big words like that just pisses people off because its obvious you're trying to be wordy. You sound like the kind of guy who walks into a deli and says "If it is not terribly onerous could you please apply a liberal amount of diluted acetic acid, preferably 1 molar or 4-8% by volume, atop my sandwich? And I use 'my' tentatively, of course, as I have not yet disbursed unto you financial compensation in order to procure ownership of the aforementioned aliment" instead of saying "Can I get some vinegar on there too?". Just type normally. Or as you might say "Attempt to condense your diction so that those lacking temporal resources may be appeased".

For example, instead of

"Dear sir, thank you for taking the time to offer a most thoughtful series of comments. Although it was not my intention to inaugurate a debate, I think it is incumbent upon me to sketch a somewhat concise response."

You could say

"I didn't mean to start an argument, but if you insist..."

or if you'd really prefer to keep up the over-politeness of your posts

"Thanks for the reply. I didn't mean to start an argument, however I feel I don't have any choice but to respond."

Granted I'm being a bit of a prick here for nagging like this but reading your posts is really aggravating since you drag your sentences out so much. Its hard to understand what you're trying to say because you make everything so unnecessarily complex and lengthy.

My rant aside and getting back on topic, one thing that struck me in your last post was (and admittedly this is all I really bothered to read for reasons I already explained):

"One last comment that I find ultimately shocking, to wit: "I see very little in our moral code that is very different from that of our primate ancestors." Are you seriously suggesting that primates are moral agents? That they have the capacity to apprehend moral postulates and are concerned with moral matters, attitudes and behaviors. Please,in all seriousness please clarify this point........."

This may be surprising to you, but yes, primates, at least chimpanzees, have morals that they abide by. It's been observed in ethology on many occasions and it's not very surprising when you take evolution into consideration. Primates tend to be social animals so it makes sense that they/we developed a psychology that allows us to live in large groups without everything dissolving into anarchy. This would have had to have evolved early on as well (otherwise primates would have either gone extinct or evolved into a solitary species) which explains why its observed across primate species.

Examples of morality in chimps include not sharing (give a chimp a banana and another one half a banana and the one who got less will go batshit insane. Perform the same experiment in a group of chimps and if the chimp who receives food doesn't share he'll get ostracized for a period of time thereafter), risking one's life to save another (chimps have been observed attempting to rescue a fellow chimp that fell in a river. Problem: Chimps can't swim), punishment for violence (its been observed that chimps who harm other chimps will get ostracized from the group), and more. If you're really interested in this topic just type "chimpanzee morality" into google or something like EBSCOhost.

Humans and other primates (especially chimpanzees) really aren't that different. To add another example, chimps can do math (in fact, some research indicates that they can do simple operations better than humans). Really, the difference between humans and other primates is a difference of degree, not kind.


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Corp gets +1 to Verbal Agility!

That was excellent, Corporeal. This had been yet another thread featuring the obligatory theist trying to toe the party line in new and interesting ways and completely, utterly failing to so much as pique my interest, but you just improved the whole thing! NOW I'm gonna have to go read the whole thing and laugh at Agustine (what, you don't believe in gusts? a-gustine - can we expect an a-gustine creed, inciting all good xians to refrain from fanning motions in favor of hurricane winds or no wind at all?).

Either that, or I'll give Corp the much deserved attention he has very rightfully earned in his future posts and get on with ignoring agustine as a windy wanna-be. Cheers!

"But still I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me!" ~Rudyard Kipling

Mazid the Raider says: I'd rather face the naked truth than to go "augh, dude, put some clothes on or something" and hand him some God robes, cause you and I know that the naked truth is pale, hairy, and has an outie
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Point Taken.............

Your point is well taken although my present condition is unfortunately a handicap that is wholly the result of a liberal education, in the classic sense. How then does one placate the individual who takes offense at the casual use of the unfamiliar word? At least at the outset I am certain that you would take greater offense at the size of my nose than at my verbiage, which is most often the case. The exchange between Buckley and Muggeridge on this point is instructive. I would ask only for your forgiveness, irrespective of the fact that one cannot have a sense impression of the virtue in question - and with that in mind just humor me - and patience, oops, as my long-windedness is not something that I spend much time thinking about. Always appreciative Augustine.............

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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Wanna-be, Absolutely!!!!!!!!!!

To my friend Mazid the Raider

I think you have hit the nail on the proverbial head. I would under any circumstance aspire to be counted amongst the intellectual giants such as Aurelius Agustine or even yourself. Alas, I am left with myself. If you would excuse me, I concede the point that I am not terribly bright, as is quite evident. Although I suspect that I should feel privileged that you would condescend to take an interest in my comments, if only for your own amusement. I can only hope that someday I would again find myself worthy of your attention. Humbly Augustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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If you would be so kind........

          I was wondering, only insofar as I am interested in the moral concept of justice as it was framed initially by Aristotle, explained with greater specificity in the Talmund, expanded upon with precision by Aquinas and now possibly the subject of gross revision by John Rawls, I was hoping that you would be so kind as to direct me to any writings by prominent chimpanzee thinkers on the subject. Given your affinity for the highly developed chimpanzee civilization coupled with your assertion that humans and chimpanzees are relatively indistinguishable, or as you put it "really aren't that different." I am certain that such writings would be readily accessible to you. Authors first names will be sufficient, anything like Bongo or Clyde will do.

By the way, have you identified from amongst the chimpanzee civilization any atheists or do the majority espouse theism. I suspect atheism would be the predominant world-view given their vast intellectual prowess. I was also wondering whether the quote "researchers" obtained the consent of the chimpanzees prior to observing them only insofar as I am sure they are readily cognizant of their moral right to privacy. I know I would be offended and even ponder legal action if a researcher undertook a daily observation of me including what I would consider certain intimate moments. Curiously, is there an emerging body of chimpanzee legal precedent regarding the right to privacy. One would think so if they are in fact moral agents........

           Anxiously

           Augustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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agustine wrote: I was

agustine wrote:
I was wondering, only insofar as I am interested in the moral concept of justice as it was framed initially by Aristotle, explained with greater specificity in the Talmund, expanded upon with precision by Aquinas and now possibly the subject of gross revision by John Rawls, I was hoping that you would be so kind as to direct me to any writings by prominent chimpanzee thinkers on the subject. Given your affinity for the highly developed chimpanzee civilization coupled with your assertion that humans and primates are relatively indistinguishable, or as you put it "really aren't that different;" I am certain that such writings would be readily accessible to you. By the way, have you identified from amongst the chimpanzee civilization any atheists or do the majority espouse theism. I suspect atheism would be the predominant world view given their vast intellectual prowess. Anxiously Augustine

Dear humble anxiously awaiting Augustine,

Though I am not the individual you were discussing the aforementioned subject of morality and social behaviour within our primate ancestors I do wish to contribute to said conversation in the form of links to sites of the WWW (World Wide Web.)

http://www.janegoodall.org/chimp_central/

Said link leads to a site of the webs which is dedicated to and upheld by the Jane Goodall Institute. I take it for granted that a person of your higher education and upbringing is well aware of Dame Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees.

I will of course let you be the judge of her work, for any further words from me is not necessary, of course of you don't find Jane's work appropriate enough there are the next few pages which also depict animal social behaviour and etiquette (Author's note: some of these articles are also about the social behaviour of OTHER animals, which just goes to show you how such manners and behaviour aren't exclusive to homo sapiens)

 

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlGZthogIdY trailer for Wolfman: Leader of the Pack - A must watch documentary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism_in_animals - Altruism in animals

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethology - A wide subject but I'm sure there are good examples in this article.

 


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agustine wrote:Your point is

agustine wrote:

Your point is well taken although my present condition is unfortunately a handicap that is wholly the result of a liberal education, in the classic sense. How then does one placate the individual who takes offense at the casual use of the unfamiliar word? At least at the outset I am certain that you would take greater offense at the size of my nose than at my verbiage, which is most often the case. The exchange between Buckley and Muggeridge on this point is instructive. I would ask only for your forgiveness, irrespective of the fact that one cannot have a sense impression of the virtue in question - and with that in mind just humor me - and patience, oops, as my long-windedness is not something that I spend much time thinking about. Always appreciative Augustine.............

I'm glad your higher education gave you a large vocabulary. Unfortunately it seems that they failed to make you equally proficient in writing skills. Your form of writing is what is referred to as purple prose, writing so verbose that it confounds any attempt at communication the writer was trying to make by drawing the reader's attention to the language rather than the meaning.

In regards to your other post, I never stated that chimpanzees were mentally on par with humans, rather that both species exhibit common psychology. Notice the part where I said "the difference between chimps and humans is one of kind not degree"? That doesn't means that people are smarter than chimps, just not in the ways that you think of. Chimps have basic morality; humans have religion. Chimps can do basic non-lingual mathematic operations; humans can do calculus. Chimps display a mild propensity for language acquisition; humans have thousands of large, complex languages. All human intelligence has done is magnify cognitions and behaviors that already existed in primates. Make no mistake, the difference in degree between human intelligence and chimp intelligence is vast but humans are not unique in terms of our mentality.

Anyway, I've already told you what you can do to find more information on chimp morality and someone else has already given you several links so if you're truly interested in being enlightened then you have everything necessary to do so. However, I'm willing to bet that you won't read up on any of this seeing as how you seem unwilling to even consider the notion that morality is not a human or divine invention.


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If you hear a loud clap,

If you hear a loud clap, that will be the sound of your teachers mind shutting.

 

Seriously, I hope you win a few de-converts out of this.  I would have done the same thing in my little town of Texas.. but I always had the fear of becomming an Atheist's version of Mathew Shepard.  I think many people just need the fact persented to them, I don't know how many people I have met in my life and thought to myself "It's like they are afraid of thinking" any subject no deeper than base ball or American Idol and they become very sheepish about speaking.

To go beyond your limits you must first find them.


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I appreciate the compliment..................

Again, point well taken! However the condition to which you allude appears to affect only persons, if in fact there may be any, easily disposed to frequent distraction. Among this peculiar class one may generally find Barak Obama supporters, adult video game enthusiasts, and participants of Ultimate Fighting events. Nevertheless, given your crisp riposte I would not be inclined to assign you to this class. I suspect you would probably fall into my class, that is the self-deprecating, philosophy-loving, slap stick comedy enthusiasts. I'm kidding of course unless I have yet again distracted you through my feigned erudition and sophistry.

I am happy that my off-hand comments elicited that which is readily discernible, especially when one considers the outworking of the law of identify, to wit: chimpanzees are not humans. Human beings are not prime numbers. Socrates is not a planet. The law of identity continues to obtain. Accordingly your substantive explanation requires no further elaboration. There is however, only one point to which I disagree, that is your comment, "All human intelligence has done is magnify cognitions and behaviors that already existed in primates. Make no mistake, the difference in degree between human intelligence and chimp intelligence is vast but humans are not unique in terms of our mentality." On this point we part company for obvious reasons. I unfortunately find your explanation short of compelling and thus arguable at best...........

Thanks again..........

Augustine

Crede ut intelligas et fides ut intelligas.............


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*sighs*Why do you people

*sighs*

Why do you people keep letting theists post in the no-theist section of the forums?  He's posted too much by now to not completely screw up the thread. 

Just remind them that they are not allowed to post in here and to please move the discussion to the General Convo section.

Unless any other mods can see a reason why I should not do so, I'm going to delete/erase anything said by a theist in this thread from now on.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Back to the topic at hand

To reconnect with the original topic of this post...

 

Ralavik, how is that report coming?  I hope that all of the comments you received have helped you to narrow down your outline to more of a surgical strike on the illogic of religion and less of a carpet bombing.  I'm actually curious as to the current state of the project.

Also, if you've already turned in a revised outline, what was your teacher's response?

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HisWillness
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 "Atheism is a more

 "Atheism is a more rational choice than theism" (since "astronomy" is a more rational choice than "astrology", "chemistry" is a more rational choice than "alchemy", etc.) is actually a pretty easy essay to write. You don't even need to reference religion. Honestly, why would you have to reference anything imaginary? Make sure to check Santa and the Tooth Fairy off, too, then. Maybe leprechans, Apollo and Amon Ra. I'm sure Poseidon would be upset if you left him out of it. And Zeus.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that the specifics of religion aren't really that important to the argument. The names of the gods are incidental to their existence. Not believing in supernatural all-powerful somethings is rational, and believing that they're there isn't.

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agustine wrote: Dear sir,

agustine wrote:
Dear sir, thank you for taking the time to offer a most thoughtful series of comments. Although it was not my intention to inaugurate a debate, I think it is incumbent upon me to sketch a somewhat concise response. At the outset your introductory comments are of interest to me. If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that according to my view values are physical entities. I am led to this position chiefly because you allude to venue, that is values being somewhere in addition to values occupying space. I do not think I ever suggested that values are physical entities. I do not think values have for example the necessary physical properties of hardness and/or solidity, or extension so as to enable them to occupy space (see Kantian Metaphysics), nor do I think they have accidental properties such as color. My point was chiefly epistemic, or because of the fact that values are non-physical entities, that is they do not admit of an explanation that falls within the ambit of physics or chemistry, according to the naturalist view they cannot be known.

Allow me to clarify: values are abstract concepts similar to the principles of mathematics. In this sense, they are non-physical. However, they do not exist, at all, without the physical presence of a brain and the support of certain mental states. My conclusion is that values are constructs of the human mind in its attempt to create and organize information about the world that is ultimately useful for guiding behaviour.

So values can be known only to the extent which it is possible to know the contents of another person's head. However, theoretically, they CAN be known in all their characteristics as physical entities. 

agustine wrote:

What I also find interesting is that it appears as though your attempted resolution of the matter in effect affirms my point. By way of further explanation, within the context of your rejoinder you have indicated that values "exist as thoughts in human brains." Now thoughts are a certain mental content. They are the direct result of episodes of thinkings and as such only exist when your having them. Now despite the fact that I am not my brain and central nervous system, the fact that I am a substance or substantial self, I know my mental states through a process of first person introspection. Distinguishing thoughts from beliefs which a person holds whether or not they are the subject of an immediate mental state I would grant that you are partially correct, values are non-physical entities. This of course has no bearing upon my comments which were chiefly epistemic in character. Yet because you have indicated that values are implicitly non-physical, the subject vulnerability continues to obtain.

You are just wrong on several points here. Thoughts do exist in memory even if they are not being held in consciousness at a particular time. Introspection is a mental state and not qualitatively different from any other mental state. Values are naturalistically explainable as constructs of physical brains.

agustine wrote:

With respect to your comments: "Not true. It can be observed that things which lack logical coherence do not exist and statements which lack logical coherence are never true. Logic can be validated naturalistically." My point to which your foregoing comments pertain illustrates the gratuitous presuppositions of the naturalist. The questions resulting therefrom is: How does one simply presume that with which his world-view does not provide adequate grounds for knowing? In other words, how does one know that which is unknowable?

Naturalistic preumptions, as you call them, are necessary for thought and life. I do not need to know the ultimate truth or untruth of them to know they are valid: my continued existence proves them.

agustine wrote:

Nevertheless, regarding your response I do grasp your point at all. Why would you draw into the discourse statements of modal necessity such as existence as used when the manifest gravamen of the complaint is chiefly epistemological?

Because you are deluding yourself if you think that you know anything. Epistemology is a philosophical wank. All you or anyone can do is construct a working worldview from the basic principles that ensure your survival.

agustine wrote:

Regarding you comment: "Is it your position that theistic values cannot be "logically outworked"?" I would never entertain such a view. The logical outworking of theism in general, and Christian theism in particular is embodied in the life of Christ.

Then I guess I don't know what you mean by the term "outworked."

agustine wrote:

Regarding your comments: "Down through history, how many evil positions have been defended using the Bible?" Granted most emphatically, yet this represents the illogical outworking of a theistic or more specifically Christian World-view. Nevertheless, the great Augustinian maxim continues to obtain, that is, "one should never judge a philosophy by its abuse."

Why are we to assume that the people who justified evil using the Bible were illogical or wrong and those that have not, are not? Isn't this the no-true-Scotsman fallacy?

 

agustine wrote:

With atheism though, because values do not inform insofar as they cannot be known through the methods of the hard sciences and accordingly are non-factual, as I alluded in my initial commentary either a Mother Theresa or a Pol Pot can in fact result from its logical outworking........

Values do inform and can be known through the hard sciences. Just ask someone what his values are. Now you know his values.

 

agustine wrote:

Regarding your final comment: I don't think so..... Mackey here is exceedingly intellectually honest. The proposition he clearly enough advances is that physical properties do not entail moral properties. To attempt to reduce moral properties to physical facts is tantamount to trying to get something from nothing. Your position here is untenable.

So you say. The fact is that all moral properties are reduceable to physical entities, namely, human thoughts. It is your attempt to turn thoughts into some larger, independently existing rule of nature that attempts to get something from nothing.

agustine wrote:

One last comment that I find ultimately shocking, to wit: "I see very little in our moral code that is very different from that of our primate ancestors." Are you seriously suggesting that primates are moral agents? That they have the capacity to apprehend moral postulates and are concerned with moral matters, attitudes and behaviors. Please,in all seriousness please clarify this point......... Thank you so much.............. Augustine

Of course primates are moral agents. They are possessed of working brains and even rudimentary consciousness. They have social rules that govern their behaviour and which they feel bad about violating. They can and do make choices to follow the rules or violate them. our behaviour is different only in its level of complexity.

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Well since you insist on

Well since you insist on debating him I can't in good conscience stop him from replying.  Agustine, feel free to respond.

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I accept your obeisance.

agustine wrote:

To my friend Mazid the Raider

I think you have hit the nail on the proverbial head. I would under any circumstance aspire to be counted amongst the intellectual giants such as Aurelius Agustine or even yourself. Alas, I am left with myself. If you would excuse me, I concede the point that I am not terribly bright, as is quite evident. Although I suspect that I should feel privileged that you would condescend to take an interest in my comments, if only for your own amusement. I can only hope that someday I would again find myself worthy of your attention. Humbly Augustine

It's a little sad that you would resort to such groveling in my presence, but I accept your obeisance none the less. Unfortunately, you still don't merit any more of my time than to poke a little light fun. If you were to relinquish your pretentious yearnings after the eloquence of your betters I might, perhaps, take the time through your effluence for a nugget of thought - hopelessly, yet diligently.

Just a word of advice: eloquent writing flows from elegant thought, and from word use, not words used. It isn't your vocabulary to which we object, it's the awkward word usage and generally unreadable quality. These things are amusing enough in the skilled hands of (for example) Stephen Fry and Hugh Lorie, but in your wooden fingers they are nothing more than the pretentious prattle of a youth.

Ralavik: How's the paper coming? Smiling

"But still I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me!" ~Rudyard Kipling

Mazid the Raider says: I'd rather face the naked truth than to go "augh, dude, put some clothes on or something" and hand him some God robes, cause you and I know that the naked truth is pale, hairy, and has an outie
Entomophila says: Ew. AN outie


peppermint
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What your teacher oh so

What your teacher oh so wonderfully forgets:

You can't "champion" A that is a lack of B without addressing the cons of B. Someone needs to brush up on their Logic.

Oh, he's obviously a theist. Or just easily peeved by strong opinions. He may be trying to help, but I say go for it! Tough essays make you a better writer.

Narrow it down, though. Focus your thesis. Too many subtheses will become too much information. Don't worry about your teacher's opinion or feelings...argue away! GOD BLESS AMERICA Eye-wink

*Our world is far more complex than the rigid structure we want to assign to it, and we will probably never fully understand it.*

"Those believers who are sophisticated enough to understand the paradox have found exciting ways to bend logic into pretzel shapes in order to defend the indefensible." - Hamby


JanCham
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I hope this helps.

Ralavick, I was thinking about something along the same lines just today.  Every once in a while I'll write down a short story, usually in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.  If I either read or write, I put myself into the story and try to lose myself into the plot.  When you can do that well enough, you no longer feel like a reader, but one of the characters themselves. When I was a theist, that very same feeling came over me when I thought about heaven, hell, rapture, Jesus, exc.  Atheism is more logical because it allows you to pull yourself away from the story and read it as fiction.  I think if theists did that just for a short time, they would find that it's just as unrealistic as Harry Potter.

 

Personally, I find it silly that people can read a book about a magical academy and know that is fiction... and yet believe in a virgin giving birth, a talking snake, a talking bush, a 450 foot boat that could carry every species in the world, a group shout that could break down a wall, or any of the odd things in the bible.

To go beyond your limits you must first find them.


Ralavik
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My thread, tis derailed!

My thread, tis derailed!

 

Nah it's been interesting.

 

Anyways, I was wondering about some things of which I mentioned in my paper.  Here is an excerpt from one paragraph-"However, because logic can't be proven by logic as argued by some apologetics, the various other problems with believing will be brought up."

 

As well I have another statement that I'm not sure about. "Some would also remark on the notable odds it would take for life to come into existence as an argument for theism. However, they can't equate to how much time could have passed before this existence came to be."

 

By the way, my teacher and I had a nice discussion about the topic when I went into school last. It was refreshing and enlightening to know that he knows where I'm coming from, despite him being a theist. His response made it sound like he didn't care for atheism or didn't know much on the topic but I was surprised. He doesn't think ill of me at all and actually says he doesn't like the fundies that would try to control everything in government.

 


HumanisticJones
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Ralavik wrote:As well I have

Ralavik wrote:

As well I have another statement that I'm not sure about. "Some would also remark on the notable odds it would take for life to come into existence as an argument for theism. However, they can't equate to how much time could have passed before this existence came to be."

As a man that has run a few DnD games in my time, I can address the statistics here.  As to whether or not this is relevant to your paper... it does seem to be a quality of theism that the creator entity had some hand in making life on earth, deism would fit with abiogenesis, but theism tends to put the origin of life in the hands of god.  On to the math...

If you take 20 10-sided dice and roll them, the combination of number and the order you rolled them had a 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 chance of happening.  By the standard theistic argument of long odds, that should have never happened.  The odds against it were so great it would be akin to picking up a certain grain of sand from the beach.  Compare this to the statistical odds of the arrival of a primitive self-replicating protein chain (the origin of life) by random molecule interaction.  This is like picking a certain combination of the dice that we want and then attempting to get it by rolling the set of dice.

Now with just one set of dice, this will take us anywhere from the first roll to the 1x10^20th roll (in layman's terms, a freaking long time).  However, chemical processes don't just happen in one place at a time.  We have millions of reactions going on around us within a few feet.  If you have one million sets of those dice you'll get the roll in 1x10^11 sets of rolls.  If you have 1x10^20 sets of dice rolling, the statistically one of them will get it the first time.

The improbability of the origin of life is disarmed by the facts of large number of reactions occurring, the amount of time available for these reactions to jumble around, and that it only had to hit the right combination once.  Yes, just once.  The moment you have a self-replicating protein, there will soon be a lot of self-replicating proteins.


 

The Regular Expressions of Humanistic Jones: Where one software Engineer will show the world that God is nothing more than an undefined pointer.