A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
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04-05-2017, 06:47 AM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
Interesting point but you seem to have forgotten of the theist's #1 favorite fallacy: special pleading.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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04-05-2017, 08:40 AM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2017 09:03 AM by true scotsman.)
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
(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 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?

You are absolutely right! But there is an even more fundamental flaw here in that he commits the fallacy of the stolen concept. "if anything at all exists, it must be preceded by something ". The notion that something, which presumably existed, precedes "anything at all that exists" is an obvious stolen concept and a self-contradictory notion. There goes a need for a god to explain existence, as if there could be an explanation for existence. The whole of theistic thought rests on a stolen concept. How could something be the cause of "anything at all" that exists. Blank out.

The big bang theory says that the universe was once a super-dense point of energy. All the energy that exists was contained in this small incredibly dense, incredibly hot ball and it expanded and cooled and formed matter and then stars and then all the heavier elements and then planets and asteroids and all the other stuff that we observe and all the stuff that we do not observe such as dark matter. It also says that time began with this expansion. In order for this ball of energy to expand it had to exist. therefore the universe is literally outside of time. Time is a measurement of motion relative to an objective standard. A year is the measurement of one revolution of the Earth around the sun. A minute is a measurement of one revolution of the minute hand on the clock which is in turn a measurement of a tiny fraction of the Earth's rotation around the sun. But when it comes to the universe as a whole, the totality of what exists, there's nothing to measure it's motion against, no other objects in relation to it. So the concept of time simply does not apply to the Universe. It is literally eternal. It only applies within the universe. It's non-sensical to say that time exists outside the totality of what exists.

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04-05-2017, 09:16 AM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
(04-05-2017 08:40 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  But when it comes to the universe as a whole, the totality of what exists, there's nothing to measure it's motion against, no other objects in relation to it. So the concept of time simply does not apply to the Universe. It is literally eternal. It only applies within the universe. It's non-sensical to say that time exists outside the totality of what exists.
^^ This right here.

Time is also apt to be meaningless within the concentrated homogeneity of the pinprick initial* version of the universe, which likely had no differentiation or relations within itself by which to define or measure time.

* Always assuming of course that it's not cyclic; I should say, the initial state of this iteration of the universe, or possibly, the initial state of this part of the multiverse.
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04-05-2017, 09:32 AM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
(04-05-2017 09:16 AM)mordant Wrote:  
(04-05-2017 08:40 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  But when it comes to the universe as a whole, the totality of what exists, there's nothing to measure it's motion against, no other objects in relation to it. So the concept of time simply does not apply to the Universe. It is literally eternal. It only applies within the universe. It's non-sensical to say that time exists outside the totality of what exists.
^^ This right here.

Time is also apt to be meaningless within the concentrated homogeneity of the pinprick initial* version of the universe, which likely had no differentiation or relations within itself by which to define or measure time.

* Always assuming of course that it's not cyclic; I should say, the initial state of this iteration of the universe, or possibly, the initial state of this part of the multiverse.

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Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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04-05-2017, 09:56 AM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
I always love when they assert that "something can't come from nothing, therefore god", and you then say "Ok then something had to come before and create god", the response is "No, god is eternal".

I mean for christ's sake they might as well just respond "NU-UHHHH!!!"
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04-05-2017, 10:19 AM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
Well, fuck me... all those adolescent years I wasted nurturing my pet rock. Moving it about to suit the weather; dusting and washing it; taking it for a drive; laying it in a nest of wood straw every night etc. Dodgy

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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04-05-2017, 05:42 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
Comparing the idea that abiogenesis can't be possible because a table cannot become alive is analogous to the idea that evolution is false because a monkey cannot give birth to a human. Your points about how evolution is a slow process involving small incremental changes over long periods of time is very similar to the idea of the various theories for abiogenesis. While abiogenesis is an event (or maybe even a couple of events scattered throughout the world) and not a process, the theories speculate that this likely also took a long time to occur itself through the repeated interactions between multiple ingredients until the fated random combination became a self sustaining process based on organic compounds. I think the most popular theories on this that are gaining traction is chemical reactions occurring around a volcanic vent in water. Organic compounds + energy in the form of heat + __________ = first living organism. A process was still occurring that led up to the start of life.

I used to take comfort a long time ago in the idea of Aquinas's first cause and principle mover ideas along with the notion that the Big Bang was the most viable theory on the origin of the universe. But today, it seems so flimsy of an idea to hang your hat on, and IMHO, it seems to be the closest thing people can come up with that "proves" the existence of God. The problem with this is if they are correct and there is a prime mover that we can call God, it's far from a guarantee that he/she/it is one of the gods written about in the myriad of holy books available. First off, which one would it be? Second, it would more likely be that this God would be closest to what a deist believes because it seem so clear to me that everything runs according to what we can predict and model with scientific theories.
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05-05-2017, 04:26 PM
RE: A Rarely Highlighted Theistic Contradiction?
(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 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?

well, to be fair we have to look at what matter is. Its not really matter as we use the word. It really is energy, or the net average of events in energy.

Nobody knows what energy is past it doing stuff. It does work. life is a lot of work in a small volume.

so I would say you are on the right track. Keep thinking. there is no theist type god. But what is going on is more than just denial of anything that we think theists can use too.
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