Help with a Christian/ Atheist Debate

Pathofreason
Superfan
Pathofreason's picture
Posts: 320
Joined: 2006-12-23
User is offlineOffline
Help with a Christian/ Atheist Debate

I got this posted on my face book. How would you guys respond to this?  Other arguments in favor of the existence of God:
John Locke said if universal truth exists, then it must exist a priori. he called this inherent knowledge "innate ideas." he said if we are to gain any knowledge from anywhere besides our lived experience, it should be knowledge everyone is born with. there's no denying that God is an idea that is in every human mind on the planet. even in remote places of africa or the jungles of south america the concept of religion and God exist. every culture, every society, every country has its own variant of religion and its respective God(s). even where they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God, the concept of God still exists. therefore, according to Locke, if a universal truth, existing a prior, is to be known, it can only be innate; and, since the idea of God is innate and universally recognized than it also follows that God necessarily exists.
Report
 
Eric Velasquez (Texas) wrote
at 11:51pm yesterdaySt. Aquinas said that in this reality things work to an end. this is evident by the way they act nearly, or almost nearly, the same way every time, not fortuitously, but designedly (i.e. the tides, plant life, bonding of molecules, etc).
in this reality, there are things that have knowledge, and things that lack knowledge. things that lack knowledge must be guided to an end by things that contain knowledge, as an archer guides an arrow. God is that archer, that knowledgeable being that guides all things that lack knowledge.
Report
Eric Velasquez (Texas) wrote
at 11:54pm yesterdaySt. Aquinas also said that things, like the planets, are constantly in motion. anything in motion, must have been set into motion by something else in motion, which, itself, was set into motion by something else, and so on to infinity. but you can't go all the way to infinity, as there has to have been a primary mover to set off that first motion. this unmoved mover is God.

Co-Founder of the Atheist/Freethought website Pathofreason.com

www.pathofreason.com

Check it out


Pathofreason
Superfan
Pathofreason's picture
Posts: 320
Joined: 2006-12-23
User is offlineOffline
additional

I see some mistakes in his arguments but need help wording it.


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Pathofreason wrote: since

Pathofreason's friend wrote:
 since the idea of God is innate and universally recognized than it also follows that God necessarily exists.

That whole paragraph just demonstrated that God exists as an idea. No argument there, but just because I can think of a Leprechaun doesn't mean that a Leprechaun actually exists.

Pathofreason's friend wrote:

 

Eric Velasquez (Texas) wrote
at 11:54pm yesterday

St. Aquinas also said that things, like the planets, are constantly in motion. anything in motion, must have been set into motion by something else in motion, which, itself, was set into motion by something else, and so on to infinity. but you can't go all the way to infinity, as there has to have been a primary mover to set off that first motion. this unmoved mover is God.

 

Even if there did have to be a primary mover (and that's questionable), how do you know that this primary mover is the exact God you're thinking of?

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Pathofreason's friend

Pathofreason's friend wrote:
St. Aquinas said that in this reality things work to an end. this is evident by the way they act nearly, or almost nearly, the same way every time, not fortuitously, but designedly (i.e. the tides, plant life, bonding of molecules, etc).

Of course it seems harmonious to us - that keeps us alive. If we thought the world was completely devoid of beauty and harmony, the entire population would be depressed and suicidal.

Pathofreason's friend wrote:
in this reality, there are things that have knowledge, and things that lack knowledge. things that lack knowledge must be guided to an end by things that contain knowledge, as an archer guides an arrow. God is that archer, that knowledgeable being that guides all things that lack knowledge.

There are too many logical jumps in that to correct. Yes there are things with knowledge. The assertion that things lacking knowledge have to be guided is ambiguous and strange, and the sudden introduction of an archer is unnecessary. It's telling, though, considering the predilection that believers have for submissiveness and wanting an all-powerful sky daddy to tell them what to do.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Archeopteryx
Superfan
Archeopteryx's picture
Posts: 1037
Joined: 2007-09-09
User is offlineOffline
Quote:John Locke said if


Quote:

John Locke said if universal truth exists, then it must exist a priori. he called this inherent knowledge "innate ideas." he said if we are to gain any knowledge from anywhere besides our lived experience, it should be knowledge everyone is born with. there's no denying that God is an idea that is in every human mind on the planet. even in remote places of africa or the jungles of south america the concept of religion and God exist. every culture, every society, every country has its own variant of religion and its respective God(s). even where they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God, the concept of God still exists. therefore, according to Locke, if a universal truth, existing a prior, is to be known, it can only be innate; and, since the idea of God is innate and universally recognized than it also follows that God necessarily exists.

 

Well, the problem with that is that even if all cultures around the globe have the concept of something, it doesn't mean that the concept must exist in material reality. All cultures around the world have a concept of monsters, too, after all. This just points to some universal aspect of human experience/psychology that tends to lead to similar concepts. It's not all that impressive if you think about, just like the fact that all cultures have monsters isn't all that impressive. How alike are those monsters? How alike are those gods? It's like saying "All cultures have arrived at some form of a concept of some kind of ultimate good being". I mean, it's not really that surprising or even interesting.

 

Quote:

St. Aquinas said that in this reality things work to an end. this is evident by the way they act nearly, or almost nearly, the same way every time, not fortuitously, but designedly (i.e. the tides, plant life, bonding of molecules, etc).
in this reality, there are things that have knowledge, and things that lack knowledge. things that lack knowledge must be guided to an end by things that contain knowledge, as an archer guides an arrow. God is that archer, that knowledgeable being that guides all things that lack knowledge.

 

Well, that statement is simply not true. Simple as that. Aquinas suggests that everything in nature is guided and is working toward some purpose or ultimate goal. We all know this isn't true. All thinking creatures do things toward an end, sure. But an apple doesn't fall from a tree with the intention of achieving anything. It simply fell because gravity exists. Tidal waves don't kill and destroy with the intention of working toward some grand cosmic scheme. They're not even conscious. Tidal waves just happen under certain weather conditions. Water doesn't flow down river with the intention of reaching the sea. It is forced down the river by physical forces, completely without consciousness.

To put it another way, as I've said in other threads, a sun that came into existence as the result of a spinning gas cloud that collapsed and exploded is completely indistinguishable from a sun that came into existence because a god made a spinning gas cloud collapse and explode in order to form a sun. And yet, one of these two things is adding in variables that are completely unnecessary, simply because someone wants that variable to be in there. You can do the same thing with any part of nature all you want, just as Aquinas did, but that doesn't make you right. It just makes you imaginative and a bit of a wishful thinker.

 

Quote:

St. Aquinas also said that things, like the planets, are constantly in motion. anything in motion, must have been set into motion by something else in motion, which, itself, was set into motion by something else, and so on to infinity. but you can't go all the way to infinity, as there has to have been a primary mover to set off that first motion. this unmoved mover is God.

 

I'm going to assume you already know the numerous fallacies with the first-cause argument, as it's one of the first things atheists seem to learn. =]

 

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
There was once a time when

There was once a time when the whole planet thought the Earth was flat. Doesn't make it true. The argument makes the case that the *idea* of God is universal. But that *idea* could easily be mistaken.

The argument from Locke is a false dichotomy, and a fallacy of affirming the consequent:

If there is a universal truth, then it will be universally known a priori

God is universally known.

Therefore God is a universal truth.

This is the fallacy of affirming the consequent:

If A, then B

B.

Therefore A.

Your theist opponent needs a course in basic logic.

The false dichotomy is in presuming that there are only two options: Something is a universal truth and also known a priori, or something is NOT a universal truth and is also NOT known a priori. The missing option is: Something is NOT a universal truth, but happens to be believed a priori.

It could simply be that all humans have an innate error in their thinking such that they all believe something that happens to be false.

Merely *having* an idea does not inherently support the *truth* of that idea.

Also, he assumes that we are *born* with the idea. We are not. Before the idea of God, there were many gods. Before that, there were 'spirits'. Before that, humans simply thought everything had its own living force (animism).  It is false that we always and everywhere have the idea of a singular creator-god.

There are villages in the Amazon rainforest/mountains that are still in the stone age and have never been contacted by modern civilization. These people have never heard of Yahweh or Allah, or any other monotheistic god. At best they might believe in nature gods of the rivers and forests. More likely they simply believe that everything has its own 'spirit', or that everything is alive (animism).

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
Eric Velasquez wrote: Other

Eric Velasquez wrote:

Other arguments in favor of the existence of God:

John Locke said if universal truth exists, then it must exist a priori. he called this inherent knowledge "innate ideas." he said if we are to gain any knowledge from anywhere besides our lived experience, it should be knowledge everyone is born with. there's no denying that God is an idea that is in every human mind on the planet. even in remote places of africa or the jungles of south america the concept of religion and God exist. every culture, every society, every country has its own variant of religion and its respective God(s). even where they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God, the concept of God still exists. therefore, according to Locke, if a universal truth, existing a prior, is to be known, it can only be innate; and, since the idea of God is innate and universally recognized than it also follows that God necessarily exists.

As Archeopteryx has pointed out, every culture has the concept of "monsters," too. (Strange: I thought "monsters" when first reading this, as well. But you beat me to the punch, Archeopteryx!) We are naturally curious; and when we can't find the answers, we often invent the answers. "God" is a pretty obvious answer to any hard-to-answer question: a being who has the power to do anything, or group of beings who between them have all that power, doing the stuff we can't explain, like throwing lightening around, or causing earthquakes, or killing some babies in the crib, or causing drought, and so on.

"God" and "monsters" are pretty well related that way, I guess.

The fact that "God" exists differently in each mind is an indication that "God" is not real. If this God really existed, and wanted us to believe in him, he'd give us all the same viewpoint of him.

Quote:

St. Aquinas said that in this reality things work to an end. this is evident by the way they act nearly, or almost nearly, the same way every time, not fortuitously, but designedly (i.e. the tides, plant life, bonding of molecules, etc). in this reality, there are things that have knowledge, and things that lack knowledge. things that lack knowledge must be guided to an end by things that contain knowledge, as an archer guides an arrow. God is that archer, that knowledgeable being that guides all things that lack knowledge.

Things don't work to an end. Things work consistently. There is a huge difference. If they were to work to an end, then there is a plan. That is, saying that things work toward an end is begging the question of God, as God is implicit in the phrase, "working toward an end." (Actually, this is a problem with almost all of Aquinas's proofs of God: he assumed God from the get-go, and so all his problems are worded assuming God exists.)

But, if the universe is merely behaving consistently, then it's an indication that the laws of nature are consistent. Or: the universe is consistent. No God required.

In fact, one of the indications of a God would be inconsistency. Imagine: you have a universe that operates under laws that are described by mathematics. That makes them predictable (at least in a probablistic sense) and consistent. Then you have a God that interferes with that consistency and predictability to his own end. For a power to act on the universe from outside, you would expect to see inconsistencies as that outside agent screwed around with the universe.

As for a "guiding" of knowledge: how is it that humans solve sodoku puzzles? Do we consult outside authority? Do we require the assistance of cosmic help? No. We fill in the bits that we understand, which then helps us figure out more off the puzzle. We do this until we have solved the entire puzzle. (As an aside: humans don't "make" sodoku puzzles. There is a logical algorithm used to produce them, as well as a mathematical description of the minimum requirements for a unique, solvable puzzle. A human designed the puzzles, but the characteristics of a sodoku puzzle are mathematical in nature. That is: sodoku puzzles already existed in mathematics, in a philosophical sense. I mention this only to curtail the counter-argument, "Aha! There is a designer of sodoku puzzles!" )

The same is true of reality. If it is consistent, then we (inquisitive and clever beings that we are) will figure out how it is consistent. We will figure out how the mathematical descriptions of our observations of reality all fit together.

Which makes more sense: that there is an arbitrary being guiding our knowledge, or that the universe is internally consistent and mathematically necessary, and we are simply puzzling it all out?

Quote:

St. Aquinas also said that things, like the planets, are constantly in motion. anything in motion, must have been set into motion by something else in motion, which, itself, was set into motion by something else, and so on to infinity. but you can't go all the way to infinity, as there has to have been a primary mover to set off that first motion. this unmoved mover is God.

Again, "unmoved mover" is begging the question. If you invoke God as the cause of the universe, then you must necessarily invoke another cause on God, and yet another cause on that cause, and so on. Otherwise, you are providing special dispensation to God that you are unwilling to provide to the universe. This is neither philosophically nor logically satisfying.

Further, the invokation of God is justified because "the universe is too perfect and beautiful and complex." So, God is invoked, who is more perfect, beautiful, and complex, to justify the existence of the universe.

Surely Eric will be able to spot the logical fallacy in that argument.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
 Sigh. natural ftw. (Or at

 Sigh. natural ftw. (Or at least the most iron-clad answer.)


Archeopteryx
Superfan
Archeopteryx's picture
Posts: 1037
Joined: 2007-09-09
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:There was once

natural wrote:

There was once a time when the whole planet thought the Earth was flat.

 

Actually, I recently learned that this is largely a myth. For example, how could it be possible for everyone to be afraid that Columbus was going to sail off the edge of the earth (ostensibly, because they thought the earth was flat until Columbus proved them wrong) if Dante Alighieri, writing in the 13th/14th century was drawing illustrations of a round earth with Hell descending toward the middle? Answer: the "flat earth" wasn't a widely held belief as the culturally-driven myth likes to suggest. It would probably be better to use the example of everyone thinking the sun revolved around the earth.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Archeopteryx wrote:natural

Archeopteryx wrote:

natural wrote:

There was once a time when the whole planet thought the Earth was flat.

 

Actually, I recently learned that this is largely a myth. For example, how could it be possible for everyone to be afraid that Columbus was going to sail off the edge of the earth (ostensibly, because they thought the earth was flat until Columbus proved them wrong) if Dante Alighieri, writing in the 13th/14th century was drawing illustrations of a round earth with Hell descending toward the middle? Answer: the "flat earth" wasn't a widely held belief as the culturally-driven myth likes to suggest. It would probably be better to use the example of everyone thinking the sun revolved around the earth.

I did not say "In the time of Columbus", I said "There was once a time". I couldn't give a rat's ass what Columbus' contemporaries thought. That is not the point. Just move the calendar back a couple more thousand years, and my point still stands. There was once a time when the entire population of humans thought the earth was flat. Maybe it was 100,000 years ago. Who cares? The point still stands.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
The concept of a "prime

The concept of a "prime mover" is quaintly naive but hopelessly inadequate an approach to understanding physics. A simple example of where it falls down is wind - which moves many things but itself is set in motion by temperature disparities, some of which are created - almost ironically - by wind itself.

 

Using the "prime mover" principle one can, with semantic accuracy, therefore ascribe that role to one of many things which contribute to those disparities or even to wind itself, none of which conclude understanding of the process. The formation of gasses, the revolution of the earth, solar combustion - all these things and many more contribute as a primary force but are themselves processes which have a physical cause.

 

The human tendency is to stop thinking at the point where these causes are unobservable to the casual eye and attribute everything beyond that point to divine intervention. Thomas Aquinas settled for a point which made sense to an inquiring mind uneducated in basic physics. Modern theologians do the same, they simply choose a different point. But science is thankfully shrinking their scope - the "god" shortcut is and always has been an unhelpful interference in understanding the universe.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


Archeopteryx
Superfan
Archeopteryx's picture
Posts: 1037
Joined: 2007-09-09
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Archeopteryx

natural wrote:

Archeopteryx wrote:

natural wrote:

There was once a time when the whole planet thought the Earth was flat.

 

Actually, I recently learned that this is largely a myth. For example, how could it be possible for everyone to be afraid that Columbus was going to sail off the edge of the earth (ostensibly, because they thought the earth was flat until Columbus proved them wrong) if Dante Alighieri, writing in the 13th/14th century was drawing illustrations of a round earth with Hell descending toward the middle? Answer: the "flat earth" wasn't a widely held belief as the culturally-driven myth likes to suggest. It would probably be better to use the example of everyone thinking the sun revolved around the earth.

I did not say "In the time of Columbus", I said "There was once a time". I couldn't give a rat's ass what Columbus' contemporaries thought. That is not the point. Just move the calendar back a couple more thousand years, and my point still stands. There was once a time when the entire population of humans thought the earth was flat. Maybe it was 100,000 years ago. Who cares? The point still stands.

 

I'm aware of what you said, and I was only offering the Columbus myth as the most famous product of the flat earth myth. But that in itself was not my point. I wasn't only saying that people didn't hold the flat earth view during the time of Columbus. What I was trying to communicate is that there doesn't seem to be any historical evidence that indicates that the flat earth was EVER a popular view at ANY point in history. There apparently is only evidence that a small handful of ancient Greeks held the view, but they were never influential.

So while there have been some people in the past who have believed in a flat earth, the most widely held view throughout documented history seems to have been that the earth is round. And so, like I said, it's probably not safe to assert that the flat earth was ever believed by "the entire population of the earth" when evidence doesn't support that it was ever even a popular view, let alone a view held by everyone on the planet.

I apologize if it was persnickety to bring it up.

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Archeopteryx wrote:natural

Archeopteryx wrote:

natural wrote:

Archeopteryx wrote:

natural wrote:

There was once a time when the whole planet thought the Earth was flat.

 

Actually, I recently learned that this is largely a myth. For example, how could it be possible for everyone to be afraid that Columbus was going to sail off the edge of the earth (ostensibly, because they thought the earth was flat until Columbus proved them wrong) if Dante Alighieri, writing in the 13th/14th century was drawing illustrations of a round earth with Hell descending toward the middle? Answer: the "flat earth" wasn't a widely held belief as the culturally-driven myth likes to suggest. It would probably be better to use the example of everyone thinking the sun revolved around the earth.

I did not say "In the time of Columbus", I said "There was once a time". I couldn't give a rat's ass what Columbus' contemporaries thought. That is not the point. Just move the calendar back a couple more thousand years, and my point still stands. There was once a time when the entire population of humans thought the earth was flat. Maybe it was 100,000 years ago. Who cares? The point still stands.

 

I'm aware of what you said, and I was only offering the Columbus myth as the most famous product of the flat earth myth. But that in itself was not my point. I wasn't only saying that people didn't hold the flat earth view during the time of Columbus. What I was trying to communicate is that there doesn't seem to be any historical evidence that indicates that the flat earth was EVER a popular view at ANY point in history. There apparently is only evidence that a small handful of ancient Greeks held the view, but they were never influential.

So while there have been some people in the past who have believed in a flat earth, the most widely held view throughout documented history seems to have been that the earth is round. And so, like I said, it's probably not safe to assert that the flat earth was ever believed by "the entire population of the earth" when evidence doesn't support that it was ever even a popular view, let alone a view held by everyone on the planet.

I apologize if it was persnickety to bring it up.

 

You appear to be suffering from the 'myth of the myth of the flat earth'. It goes something like this: At some point in relatively recent times, people began to use the example of "People in the Dark Ages used to think the Earth was flat, until Columbus set them straight." Even more recently, some would object to that, rightly pointing out that it is a myth that educated people in Columbus' time thought the Earth was flat. Hence, the term 'flat Earth myth'. But that appears to have morphed into "There was no point in history when most/all people thought the Earth was flat, rather than round." This is what I hereby dub the 'flat Earth myth myth'.

The origins of the spherical Earth theory are somewhere in the neighbourhood of the 4th Century BC in Greece (possibly somewhat earlier in India, I'm not sure). Before that, the only prevailing theory was the intuitively obvious idea that the Earth is either flat like paper, or flat like an infinite plane. Ignoring mountains and valleys, of course.

The ancient Egyptians thought the Earth was flat. So did the Hindus, Chinese, etc. etc.

Consider this: There was a time in your life when you had to be taught (or you picked it up by over-hearing it) that the Earth is round. Before that, you just looked around you and it was obvious that it was flat. The spherical Earth is not by any stretch an obvious idea. Now, that cultural knowledge had to originate at some point in time. The time before that time, all people thought the Earth was flat. QED.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Archeopteryx
Superfan
Archeopteryx's picture
Posts: 1037
Joined: 2007-09-09
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:You appear to

natural wrote:

You appear to be suffering from the 'myth of the myth of the flat earth'. It goes something like this: At some point in relatively recent times, people began to use the example of "People in the Dark Ages used to think the Earth was flat, until Columbus set them straight." Even more recently, some would object to that, rightly pointing out that it is a myth that educated people in Columbus' time thought the Earth was flat. Hence, the term 'flat Earth myth'. But that appears to have morphed into "There was no point in history when most/all people thought the Earth was flat, rather than round." This is what I hereby dub the 'flat Earth myth myth'.

The origins of the spherical Earth theory are somewhere in the neighbourhood of the 4th Century BC in Greece (possibly somewhat earlier in India, I'm not sure). Before that, the only prevailing theory was the intuitively obvious idea that the Earth is either flat like paper, or flat like an infinite plane. Ignoring mountains and valleys, of course.

The ancient Egyptians thought the Earth was flat. So did the Hindus, Chinese, etc. etc.

Consider this: There was a time in your life when you had to be taught (or you picked it up by over-hearing it) that the Earth is round. Before that, you just looked around you and it was obvious that it was flat. The spherical Earth is not by any stretch an obvious idea. Now, that cultural knowledge had to originate at some point in time. The time before that time, all people thought the Earth was flat. QED.

 

Touche. I was failing to consider non-western cosmologies, as well as the simpler last bit. I withdraw the argument and concede. Thank you for entertaining the aside.

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 15833
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I find it funny that

I find it funny that Christians think that they are claiming something as their own original idea. BUT there were ancient greeks postulating long before Locke about weither knowledge was something already there and we merely uncover it, or it is not there and we descover it.

There was a guy on my last job who tried to justify Christianity by claiming that Aquinus knew about quantem theory and all he could do is say "Aquinus was a smart man and people followed him around and wrote down everything he said"

When I asked him for evidence for Aquinus's quantum equations all he could do is quote and ambiguous quote much like, "The sky is blue".

This is the fallacy of "appeal from authority".

This fails because these same people would not attribute the ancient greeks of knowing what an electron was or what a quark was merely because we now use the word "atom". When they used it it was not used in modern terminology, but an abstract concept merely meaning, "The smallest thing we can imagine".

If we are going to equate abstract observations to historical people as proof of their deities existing, then people should still believe in the polythistic greek gods of antiquity.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Brian37 wrote:I find it

Brian37 wrote:
I find it funny that Christians think that they are claiming something as their own original idea. BUT there were ancient greeks postulating long before Locke about weither knowledge was something already there and we merely uncover it, or it is not there and we descover it.

As a classicist, I get that all the time. Struggling to translate something, I'll reach the end of the paragraph and think, "hey, these guys thought of that first?" Of course, they also thought a lot of crap. Try reading any of the early medical writings. Yikes.

Brian37 wrote:
There was a guy on my last job who tried to justify Christianity by claiming that Aquinus knew about quantem theory and all he could do is say "Aquinus was a smart man and people followed him around and wrote down everything he said"

Oh boy. Must ... control ... fist ... of death!

Brian37 wrote:
When I asked him for evidence for Aquinus's quantum equations all he could do is quote and ambiguous quote much like, "The sky is blue".

Oh, well then. Here I was all confus-- FIST OF DEAAAAAAATH!

Brian37 wrote:
This is the fallacy of "appeal from authority".

I believe the expression "boy howdy" applies.

Brian37 wrote:
If we are going to equate abstract observations to historical people as proof of their deities existing, then people should still believe in the polythistic greek gods of antiquity.

Or simply be insane, because that's what that kind of thinking is.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Archeopteryx wrote:Touche. I

Archeopteryx wrote:

Touche. I was failing to consider non-western cosmologies, as well as the simpler last bit. I withdraw the argument and concede. Thank you for entertaining the aside.

There is something so refreshingly masculine about conceding a point like an adult. I don't mean to exclude women saying "masculine", I just don't have a better word. I'm trying to express the opposite of whining like a little bitch, which is the rough equivalent to what I see a lot on this site when people get stuck in their plagiaristic feedback loops, fingers tired from so much cutting and pasting, and will never even consider another's point of view.

*sniff* I love you guys.

PS - don't mind me. I get sentimental any time people act like adults having an adult conversation. It's just so rare.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
 Quote:As a classicist,

 

Quote:

As a classicist, I

 

Quote:

resent the implication that

 

I

 

Quote:

cut and paste

 

much. Or that I am

 

Quote:

whining like a little

 

rough equivalent.

 

Quote:

Dang!

 

 

 

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
 Haha! Genius!

 Haha! Genius!


Conor Wilson
Posts: 451
Joined: 2008-01-07
User is offlineOffline
Actually, Will...

...I once heard something similar about Thomas Aquinas.  It had to do with...(brace yourself, irrationality is on the way,)...the existence of angels.  Apparently the Angelic Doctor wrote that when angels move, they simply stop existing wherever they are, and start existing at the "target point," if you will.  This sort of movement is said to be "quantum movement," which notion I am wholly unqualified to refute, assuming that there is some sort of error, here.  Thus did Thomas Aquinas allegedly "write about quantum movement" all those centuries ago.

 

Aren't you...so glad...that you have me around to tell you these things?

 

Conor


A_Nony_Mouse
atheist
A_Nony_Mouse's picture
Posts: 2880
Joined: 2008-04-23
User is offlineOffline
Pathofreason wrote:Help with

Pathofreason wrote:

Help with a Christian/ Atheist Debate

I got this posted on my face book. How would you guys respond to this?  Other arguments in favor of the existence of God:
John Locke said if universal truth exists,

If an abstract noun exists

Pathofreason wrote:
then it must exist a priori.

and as it does not then what he says is nonsense.

If anyone can show me a pound of univeral truth I will reconsider my opinion.

Pathofreason wrote:
he called this inherent knowledge "innate ideas." he said if we are to gain any knowledge from anywhere besides our lived experience, it should be knowledge everyone is born with. there's no denying that God is an idea that is in every human mind on the planet. even in remote places of africa or the jungles of south america the concept of religion and God exist. every culture, every society, every country has its own variant of religion and its respective God(s). even where they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God, the concept of God still exists. therefore, according to Locke, if a universal truth, existing a prior, is to be known, it can only be innate; and, since the idea of God is innate and universally recognized than it also follows that God necessarily exists.

Quite a slight of hand there. If it depends upon inate knowledge then both a single, one and only god exists as well as a plurality of gods and because of inate knowledge of both conditions both must exist at the same time.

He is also arguing that things of which there is no inate knowledge do not exist. A casual reading of even an elementary science text will find dozens of things which cannot be possible because of the absence of inate knowledge of them.

I find it more than a little annoying when philosophers are treated as though they are other than people who enterain the masses without doing an honest days work.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Conor Wilson wrote:...I once

Conor Wilson wrote:
...I once heard something similar about Thomas Aquinas.  It had to do with...(brace yourself, irrationality is on the way,)...the existence of angels.

I was braced, and it still got me.

Conor Wilson wrote:
Apparently the Angelic Doctor wrote that when angels move, they simply stop existing wherever they are, and start existing at the "target point," if you will.

I once dated an angelic doctor. Anyway ...

Conor Wilson wrote:
This sort of movement is said to be "quantum movement," which notion I am wholly unqualified to refute, assuming that there is some sort of error, here.  Thus did Thomas Aquinas allegedly "write about quantum movement" all those centuries ago.

AH-hahahahaha! Ha! Heh. Hehe. Whooo. *tear*

Oh, that was good. Very good. Now, if Thomas Aquinas actually did any math, then we'd have something. I didn't know that was the source of the misunderstanding. Oh, man. Funny.

Conor Wilson wrote:
Aren't you...so glad...that you have me around to tell you these things?

So very glad.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
He was a real piece of shit

He was a real piece of shit that Aquinas chappie - as dogmatic as a newt with tunnel vision, and of course with all the christian self-serving logic and meaning convolutions of ... well of a christian actually, at least of his day.

 

Take this one:

 

"... After Christ's birth, to believe in Him, was to believe
in Christ's birth at some time or other. The fixing of the time,
wherein some were deceived was not due to their faith, but to a human
conjecture. For it is possible for a believer to have a false opinion
through a human conjecture, but it is quite impossible for a false
opinion to be the outcome of faith."
 

 

Just think about that last little deduction and then picture it rattling around in the otherwise vacuous mind of a psychopathic moron at the controls of a hijacked airliner.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:"... After

Nordmann wrote:

"... After Christ's birth, to believe in Him, was to believe
in Christ's birth at some time or other. The fixing of the time,
wherein some were deceived was not due to their faith, but to a human
conjecture. For it is possible for a believer to have a false opinion
through a human conjecture, but it is quite impossible for a false
opinion to be the outcome of faith."

"I have faith that faith cannot produce a false opinion. Therefore, faith cannot produce a false opinion. QED."

That doesn't sound too far off most arguments for God or faith. A little begging of the question never hurt anybody.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
nigelTheBold wrote:A little

nigelTheBold wrote:

A little begging of the question never hurt anybody.

Gives me a headache every time. Then I'm left with this sort of disappointment. So I believe we know who it hurts: me.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Quote:St. Aquinas also said

Quote:

St. Aquinas also said that things, like the planets, are constantly in motion. anything in motion, must have been set into motion by something else in motion, which, itself, was set into motion by something else, and so on to infinity. but you can't go all the way to infinity, as there has to have been a primary mover to set off that first motion. this unmoved mover is God.

The concepts in this quote are just soo-o-o obsolete.

First, it treats the state of rest as being fundamentally different from a state of motion, which only makes sense if there is such a thing as Absolute space.

Isaac Newton, who did still believe in Absolute space, still formulated the Laws of Motion, which demolish the concept of motion embodied in the quote.

First Law of Motion: "A body continues to maintain its state of rest or of uniform motion unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force."

So it no more or less requires something to start something moving than to cause it to be a rest. Outside influence, which we define as 'force', is required for any change of velocity, either in magnitude or direction.

As for initiating motion, another of Newton's ideas, Universal Gravitation, demolishes the 'need' for a First Mover, at least in the simple sense.

Consider two bodies which are at some instant motionless, whether in the old Absolute Space terms or with respect to some intertial observing frame of reference, separated by some modest distance, and far enough away from any other bodies that we can ignore the gravitational field of all but the other body.

Gravitation attraction alone will require that they will be accelerating toward each other, ie, even if at any instant they are stationary, they will start moving, at an increasing rate. In no sense can a gravitational field be said to be equivalent to another body in motion. So Aquinas' initial assumption is simply invalid.

Aquinas may have been smart, but

1. Knowledge and understanding of the physical universe has moved on vastly since his time, so any arguments he based on the physical assumptions of his time which have since been superseded no longer can be considered valid.

2. He clearly used his intelligence to search for forms of argument and assumptions which fitted his pre-conceived assumption of the existence of God, not necessarily consciously 'bending' the logic, but assuming that his intuitive feeling of the 'correctness' of an argument was solely due to it being 'true' rather than because it was more consistent with his presuppositions, a well recognized tendency of human reasoning.

EDIT:

The only sense in which there is still an argument there, or at least a question, is about the need or otherwise for an initial cause, and to the required nature of any initial 'cause'.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


A_Nony_Mouse
atheist
A_Nony_Mouse's picture
Posts: 2880
Joined: 2008-04-23
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:First Law

BobSpence1 wrote:

First Law of Motion: "A body continues to maintain its state of rest or of uniform motion unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force."

We could redo Monty Python and the Holy Grail with that one. Does there have to be a prime mover to set things in motion? What do you mean, absolute or relative? I don't know ... (screaming as he flies away)

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


Conor Wilson
Posts: 451
Joined: 2008-01-07
User is offlineOffline
Will...

...I'm glad that I was able to provide some amusement.

 

But I'm still somewhat in the dark.  I mean...I'm aware of, say, energized electrons moving to a higher energy state...but I have to admit: I don't know much of the math involved.  I *can* state that Aquinas probably engaged in armchair rationcination; theology is absolutely notorious for that, and with good reason.  Can you shed any light on your "...if Thomas Aquinas did any math..." comment?  I know that I could stand to increase my knowledge of the hard sciences...

 

Conor


Conor Wilson
Posts: 451
Joined: 2008-01-07
User is offlineOffline
nigelTheBold wrote:

""I have faith that faith cannot produce a false opinion. Therefore, faith cannot produce a false opinion. QED."

That doesn't sound too far off most arguments for God or faith."

 

My $0.02: The frightening thing is, in order to really "have faith," you must, of course, be of the correct religion, as anything else is mere opinion, and not "faith."  Isn't it rather easy to see how this could lead not just to intolerance, but actual murderousness?

 

Man, am I glad I finally deconverted.

 

Conor


Conor Wilson
Posts: 451
Joined: 2008-01-07
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:

"As for initiating motion, another of Newton's ideas, Universal Gravitation, demolishes the 'need' for a First Mover, at least in the simple sense."

 

My $0.02:  Geez...now you tell me.  Where were you when I was in my high school apologetics course?  Seriously, I do wish that I had realized this way back then.  It might have saved me a lot of grief.  The fact that there does not need to be a Prime Mover in order for motion to exist does kind of demolish the whole Cosmological Argument, which is mostly what convinced me of God's existence on a logical level.

 

BTW...what, exactly, is "Absolute Space," and how does it differ from modern notions of space?  (I assume that "Absolute Space" is not curved by gravity, but that's just a guess on my part.)

 

Conor


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Conor Wilson wrote:Can you

Conor Wilson wrote:
Can you shed any light on your "...if Thomas Aquinas did any math..." comment?

The thing is that most of quantum mechanics is math (actually, I believe I can safely say "all&quotEye-wink, so maybe Aquinas mentioned discrete quanta in his writing, but that's like me saying "That's relative" and then claiming to have anticipated Einstein's work. 

If you want to "understand" quantum mechanics, you have to take a fourth year statistical physics course. In order to take a fourth year statistical physics course, you would have had to do the rest of the physics degree. It's really that bad. Some people pretend like they get it, and some do in only the most vague way (like me), but I've put the word above in quotes for a very good reason: if you think you get it, you probably don't. 

Conor Wilson wrote:
I know that I could stand to increase my knowledge of the hard sciences...

If you're ever trying to pick up a physicist, that's an AWESOME line. You might want to bat your eyelashes at the same time. Until that time, just read everything that deludedgod has written on this site. If that's too much, pick up a used first-year physics textbook. It's amazing how much information is in one of those things (as compared to books required for arts courses). You could revive civilization with a decent modern first year textbook in physics. No joke. I still have mine.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:The only

BobSpence1 wrote:

The only sense in which there is still an argument there, or at least a question, is about the need or otherwise for an initial cause, and to the required nature of any initial 'cause'.

And this is the gap into which the gods are placed. We now know a fair amount about the events of the big bang, but we're still working on what may have happened before that. As far as I've read, there's mathematically some support for an expansion on the other side ("before" the big bang), so another gap may be closing.

I'm just responding to the quotes around "cause", because it's important for those not familiar with the material to know that when space gets squished like that, so does time. So once you get closer to the big bang, there's a warping of the naïve meanings of "cause" and "effect", and we can only express the environment through heavily Greeked math. (Seriously, have you seen that stuff? It's like the whole Greek alphabet in there!)

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Blank (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Converse Error

Didn't read most responces, so this might have been pointed out already...

This argument is making the converse error.  The converse error is an argument like this:

If A, then B

B

Therefore, A

 

This kind of argument is logically invalid, and is the exact type of argument used.  Observe

If true and not experienced (A), then innate (B)

God is innate (B)

Therefore God is true (A)

 

This is a logically invalid argument, as it is making the converse error.


Zaq
atheist
Zaq's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: 2008-12-24
User is offlineOffline
Ninja'd by Natural, but yes,

Ninja'd by Natural, but yes, the first is just the Converse Error.  Consider the following

All Chickens have Feathers

This thing has Feathers

Thus it is a Chicken (no, it's a Duck)

 

For the second, it makes the false assumption that things are guided because they appear to be guided.  ID used this false assumption with regard to design.  Consider:

This twenty looks real.  Thus, it is real (no, it's counterfeit).

 

For the third, the statement is incorrect anyway.  Things in motion only need a mover if they were previously not in motion.  Also, this "initial mover" may as well have been some law of physics, like the second law of thermodynamics, or it could very well have been a random quantum process such as Hawking radiation, which is about as "causeless" as one can get.  Furthermore, this whole infinite regress argument only leads to one reasonable response: "What moved God?"

*Bit nit-picky, but motion is all relative to your reference frame anyway.  Pick anything in the universe, and there's always an (inertial) reference frame in which that thing is moving.  Thus EVERYTHING is and ALWAYS WAS moving.  Combine this with the corrected "Things in motion only need a mover if they were previously not in motion" and problem solved!  Tell whoever posted this argument to stop working with a Newtonian framework and learn some Relativity.

 

EDIT:  FYI I am an undergraduate physics/math major who just finished a couse in quantum, and I completely agree that quantum is all math.  However, it's also remarkably successful in terms of predictive power.

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

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.