A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
03-05-2017, 06:51 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2017 07:12 PM by Glossophile.)
A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
In perusing the comments on a video by Hemant Mehta ("The Outsider Test for Faith"), I came upon a theist (John Cerminaro) quoting Antony Flew, apparently an atheist-turned-believer. In the quoted passage from a book of his, Flew argued that an inanimate object will never become animate and self-aware, even after trillions of years. It was basically the familiar incredulity regarding (a)biogenesis and the evolution of sentience, which is an argument from ignorance and possibly a straw man all rolled into one. Nothing new there, really. He went on to argue that, if anything at all exists, something eternal must have preceded it. "Take your pick," he says. Either God or the universe itself must have been eternal, and Big Bang cosmology falsifies the latter, so the former must be true. So I guess we can add a false dichotomy to Flew's list of fallacies.

Anyway, the standard response would be to point out that inanimate objects don't reproduce themselves with random mutations and selective pressures influencing the outcome of that reproduction, but another thought occurred to me that may be the more fundamental flaw in this argument. The table that Mr. Flew used as an example may not be animate, but at least it's material. God, as conceived by most modern theologies, is immaterial. The theist balks at the notion that any mere hunk of inanimate material can ever become animate and self-aware on its own, and yet, they don't seem to think twice about ascribing animacy and self-awareness to something that is not even material! It's not even that this immaterial entity just has the potential to become animate and self-aware given enough time! This entity has always been and always will be animate and self-aware! Apparently, something as comparatively simple as a unicellular microorganism can't possibly arise from mere matter without deliberate external intervention, but something that is at least as complex as the human mind if not more so (i.e. the mind of God) can exist eternally without any raw matter underlying it at all!

Right. Makes perfect sense. Dodgy

If matter alone is not up to the task of independently developing life and sentience, then a complete absence of matter certainly isn't either. I'm probably not the first to think of this, but I think it is at least one of the less common rebuttals, which is odd, because this apparent contradiction seems like a rather glaring hole in the theist's argument. Or maybe I've just arrived in a roundabout way to the question of where God came from. Thoughts?

The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. – Carl Sagan
Sōla vēritās sancta in philosophiā nātūrālī est absentia vēritātum sanctārum.
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Glossophile's post
03-05-2017, 07:06 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Fallacy
"if anything at all exists, something eternal must have preceded it" - that was quite the jump, hope he didn't sprain a brain cell (I'm sure he needs every precious one of what little god gave him Dodgy )

[Image: 1236963278_spring-board-jump.gif]

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Vera's post
03-05-2017, 07:07 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Fallacy
(03-05-2017 06:51 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  In perusing the comments on a video by Hemant Mehta ("The Outsider Test for Faith"), I came upon a theist (John Cerminaro) quoting Antony Flew, apparently an atheist-turned-believer. In the quoted passage from a book of his, Flew argued that an inanimate object will never become animate and self-aware, even after trillions of years. It was basically the familiar incredulity regarding (a)biogenesis and the evolution of sentience, which is an argument from ignorance and possibly a straw man all rolled into one. Nothing new there, really. He went on to argue that, if anything at all exists, something eternal must have preceded it. "Take your pick," he says. Either God or the universe itself must have been eternal, and Big Bang cosmology falsifies the latter, so the former must be true. So I guess we can add a false dichotomy to Flew's list of fallacies.

Anyway, the standard response would be to point out that inanimate objects don't reproduce themselves with random mutations and selective pressures influencing the outcome of that reproduction, but another thought occurred to me that may be the more fundamental flaw in this argument. The table that Mr. Flew used as an example may not be animate, but at least it's material. God, as conceived by most modern theologies, is immaterial. The theist balks at the notion that any mere hunk of inanimate material can ever become animate and self-aware on its own, and yet, they don't seem to think twice about ascribing animacy and self-awareness to something that is not even material! It's not even that this immaterial entity just has the potential to become animate and self-aware given enough time! This entity has always been and always will be animate and self-aware! Apparently, something as comparatively simple as a unicellular microorganism can't possibly arise from mere matter without deliberate external intervention, but something that is at least as complex as the human mind if not more so (i.e. the mind of God) can exist eternally without any raw hardware underlying it at all!

Right. Makes perfect sense. Dodgy

I'm probably not the first to think of this, but I think it is at least one of the less common rebuttals, which is odd, because this apparent contradiction seems like a rather glaring hole in the theist's argument. Thoughts?

Yeah, magical thinking is all it is.

[Image: 37706499.jpg]

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like TheInquisition's post
03-05-2017, 07:12 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Fallacy
So before I take a step, I must have taken an eternal number of steps first ?

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Rahn127's post
03-05-2017, 07:15 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Fallacy
Why do they feel the absolute NEED to cram this "eternal sentient being" thing into the picture?

Ooooh, right, because of the "You'll be punished for eternity if you're not convinced enough by these extremely specific unverifiable claims that you've heard asserted by other human beings" narrative.
*yawn* Same old same old Sleepy

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes cactus's post
03-05-2017, 07:50 PM
A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
Flew was the world's most overrated atheist turned senile deist. After a lifetime of using his brain, suddenly he abandons all rationality? I don't buy it. Senile dementia and nothing more. If Flew had all his gray cells firing appropriately, he would have known that the argument from personal incredulity just doesn't fly.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 9 users Like Rachel's post
03-05-2017, 07:55 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
(03-05-2017 07:50 PM)Rachel Wrote:  Flew was the world's most overrated atheist turned senile deist. After a lifetime of using his brain, suddenly he abandons all rationality? I don't buy it. Senile dementia and nothing more. If Flew had all his gray cells firing appropriately, he would have known that the argument from personal incredulity just doesn't fly.

This ^ Thumbsup
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like jennybee's post
03-05-2017, 08:12 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
(03-05-2017 07:50 PM)Rachel Wrote:  Flew was the world's most overrated atheist turned senile deist. After a lifetime of using his brain, suddenly he abandons all rationality? I don't buy it. Senile dementia and nothing more. If Flew had all his gray cells firing appropriately, he would have known that the argument from personal incredulity just doesn't fly.
He also didn't become an evangelical Christian, which is weird because evangelicals crow about his conversion as if it's a moral victory for them. In fact he's at most a deist, which they would still try to convert to fundamentalist thinking if they could.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like mordant's post
03-05-2017, 08:42 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
Let's see what else we can "prove" with this "logic".

Charged particles cannot come from non-charged particles. NO IONIZATION ALLOWED!

Water cannot come from Fire, no matter how many hydrogen flames you see. Guess the classical theory of the elements was right.

Thoughtful action cannot arise from an unthinking body. Sorry, Congress.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Reltzik's post
03-05-2017, 08:56 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
It's Special Pleading all the way down.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Paleophyte's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: