A question that every theist should be asked
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05-10-2014, 08:00 AM
A question that every theist should be asked
If you want to get right to the heart of the issue with theists ask them how one can reliably distinguish between what they are calling "God" and something they may be simply imagining. Actually there is a follow up question as well: if something is indistinguishable from something that is only imaginary, isn't it imaginary?

I've yet to get a cogent answer to this question from a theist. What I get is anger which tells me I've really hit home.

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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05-10-2014, 08:10 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
That's a good angle of questioning to make people think.

Playing Devil's advocate (one of the things I do best) I can see them responding:

"It's not imaginary because the Bible says "fill in the blank" and the Bible is not imaginary" and that takes you back to discussing the Babble which, as we know, is so full of truthiness.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
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05-10-2014, 08:14 AM (This post was last modified: 05-10-2014 08:51 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
(05-10-2014 08:00 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  If you want to get right to the heart of the issue with theists ask them how one can reliably distinguish between what they are calling "God" and something they may be simply imagining. Actually there is a follow up question as well: if something is indistinguishable from something that is only imaginary, isn't it imaginary?

I've yet to get a cogent answer to this question from a theist. What I get is anger which tells me I've really hit home.

Clearly you are possessed by a debil. Drinking Beverage

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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05-10-2014, 08:16 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
(05-10-2014 08:10 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  That's a good angle of questioning to make people think.

Playing Devil's advocate (one of the things I do best) I can see them responding:

"It's not imaginary because the Bible says "fill in the blank" and the Bible is not imaginary" and that takes you back to discussing the Babble which, as we know, is so full of truthiness.

Yep that's one of the answers I get but I point out that there is no reliable method to distinguish between the things claimed in the Bible and something that the authors simply made up.

Another response I usually get is "God is not imaginary you, you, you....ninnyhead.

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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05-10-2014, 08:22 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
(05-10-2014 08:00 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  If you want to get right to the heart of the issue with theists ask them how one can reliably distinguish between what they are calling "God" and something they may be simply imagining. Actually there is a follow up question as well: if something is indistinguishable from something that is only imaginary, isn't it imaginary?

I've yet to get a cogent answer to this question from a theist. What I get is anger which tells me I've really hit home.

Occham's Razor stipulates out of many given postulated answers to a problem, the one with the least baggage is going to be your most likely answer.

So if you had to bet which is more likely

1. A god exists

Or

2. Humans make them up.

Which seems to be the least complicated?

The sad thing is outside religion people use this logic without realizing it.

A car not starting is an everyday example. People will take it to a mechanic. The mechanic does not try to fix the car by defaulting to taking the entire engine apart as a starting tactic. They will check the battery, then the cables, then maybe the ignition and starter.

Unfortunately with god claims the opposite reasoning is used. It starts with assuming everything can happen by default with an unlimited being which creates a needlessly complex idea which causes more questions than it solves. It causes the problem of "infinite regress" If a complex god started everything, then that complex god had to be started with something even more complex, and that god too had to be created by something more complex and so on and so on.

Evolutionary biology explains why humans come up with imaginary beings. They are a result of our ignorance of gap filling when we seek patterns. You can create group survival based around completely false claims. The Ancient Egyptians were successful for 3,000 years falsely believing in their polytheistic gods that were not real.

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05-10-2014, 08:49 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
(05-10-2014 08:22 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  
(05-10-2014 08:00 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  If you want to get right to the heart of the issue with theists ask them how one can reliably distinguish between what they are calling "God" and something they may be simply imagining. Actually there is a follow up question as well: if something is indistinguishable from something that is only imaginary, isn't it imaginary?

I've yet to get a cogent answer to this question from a theist. What I get is anger which tells me I've really hit home.

Occham's Razor stipulates out of many given postulated answers to a problem, the one with the least baggage is going to be your most likely answer.

So if you had to bet which is more likely

1. A god exists

Or

2. Humans make them up.

Which seems to be the least complicated?

The sad thing is outside religion people use this logic without realizing it.

A car not starting is an everyday example. People will take it to a mechanic. The mechanic does not try to fix the car by defaulting to taking the entire engine apart as a starting tactic. They will check the battery, then the cables, then maybe the ignition and starter.

Unfortunately with god claims the opposite reasoning is used. It starts with assuming everything can happen by default with an unlimited being which creates a needlessly complex idea which causes more questions than it solves. It causes the problem of "infinite regress" If a complex god started everything, then that complex god had to be started with something even more complex, and that god too had to be created by something more complex and so on and so on.

Evolutionary biology explains why humans come up with imaginary beings. They are a result of our ignorance of gap filling when we seek patterns. You can create group survival based around completely false claims. The Ancient Egyptians were successful for 3,000 years falsely believing in their polytheistic gods that were not real.

Yes and we can provide a reliable method for distinguishing between evolution and something that Darwin merely imagined.

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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05-10-2014, 08:51 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
(05-10-2014 08:49 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Yes and we can provide a reliable method for distinguishing between evolution and something that Darwin merely imagined.

Meaning? Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-10-2014, 09:05 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
Just ask, "what is god to you?" You'll get a different answer every time, sometimes won't even hold to what their books says about it.
You could also ask how do they know if a fictional character from a book isn't real. Simple, the author made it up, but how? Is it a character merely from an authors imagination or is it a amalgam of life experiences of other people in an authors life? Fictional book usually have one author, the bible has several with different perspectives, culture, and times. Who is even speaking? It's just an unreliable mess.

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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05-10-2014, 09:17 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
(05-10-2014 08:51 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(05-10-2014 08:49 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Yes and we can provide a reliable method for distinguishing between evolution and something that Darwin merely imagined.

Meaning? Consider

There is objective evidence for evolution. The nature of DNA alone guarantees that evolution will happen. Evolution being genetic change over time.

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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05-10-2014, 09:20 AM
RE: A question that every theist should be asked
(05-10-2014 09:05 AM)grizzlysnake Wrote:  Just ask, "what is god to you?" You'll get a different answer every time, sometimes won't even hold to what their books says about it.
You could also ask how do they know if a fictional character from a book isn't real. Simple, the author made it up, but how? Is it a character merely from an authors imagination or is it a amalgam of life experiences of other people in an authors life? Fictional book usually have one author, the bible has several with different perspectives, culture, and times. Who is even speaking? It's just an unreliable mess.

Yes that is an excellent point. We don't have a million different definitions of electricity or trees or rocks because these things are objective. The fact that you get a different answer about who God is from every believer is pretty strong evidence that it only exists in the mind of believers. And they can't tell me how to distinguish it from something they are imagining they are admitting this fact.

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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