Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
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16-10-2014, 09:18 AM (This post was last modified: 16-10-2014 09:23 AM by unfogged.)
Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
There are many good arguments against accepting belief in a god or scriptures but there are also some that are not so good. I thought it might be interesting to look at claims made by atheists that may not hold up so well against a knowledgeable theist.

My first nomination would be "the bible claims that bats are birds" referring to Leviticus 11. It is true that English translations say this but, as I understand it, the original would be better translated as "winged creatures" or "flying creatures" or something like that. It is presented as an example of bad science in the bible but there isn't any science claim being made.

The argument can be salvaged by using it to point out that the theist is reading a translation that alters the original meaning. What they believe is the bible actually isn't, it has been altered by translation and since that translation can be shown to be wrong it was evidently not inspired or guided by any god. Unless the reader is fluent in Aramaic and Greek as spoken 2000 years ago they are basing their beliefs on somebody else's interpretation of the bible.

That still isn't a strong argument but is better than claiming that the science is wrong.

What arguments do you think atheists misuse or should avoid?

[Full disclosure: this was inspired by the 'Destroy a faith in one sentence' thread but I didn't want to derail that since it is looking for arguments that are good to use]

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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16-10-2014, 09:25 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
Being an atheist and not an anti-theist, I try to avoid making the claim that there is no god. Making that claim opens a whole set of arguments for proof of non-existence that I have no interest in trying to make.
I would rather reject their god claims and leave the burden with the theist.
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16-10-2014, 09:27 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
This is a lot harder than the other thread Consider
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16-10-2014, 09:29 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
One big issue is that a lot of believers are not very well educated and also don't know the bible very well.

You can't tell someone they are using a strawman argument when they don't know what that is.

Most all arguments require either knowledge of details in the bible or general education.

It would be nice to see a collection of simple arguments anyone can understand.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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16-10-2014, 09:33 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
(16-10-2014 09:18 AM)unfogged Wrote:  My first nomination would be "the bible claims that bats are birds" referring to Leviticus 11. It is true that English translations say this but, as I understand it, the original would be better translated as "winged creatures" or "flying creatures" or something like that. It is presented as an example of bad science in the bible but there isn't any science claim being made.

<Looks around nonchalantly whistling blandly>
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16-10-2014, 09:50 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
(16-10-2014 09:33 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  
(16-10-2014 09:18 AM)unfogged Wrote:  My first nomination would be "the bible claims that bats are birds" referring to Leviticus 11. It is true that English translations say this but, as I understand it, the original would be better translated as "winged creatures" or "flying creatures" or something like that. It is presented as an example of bad science in the bible but there isn't any science claim being made.

<Looks around nonchalantly whistling blandly>

Not sure I know why.... do you disagree that the original text isn't making the claim that bats are birds?

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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16-10-2014, 09:50 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
Most arguments that include the word "prove" or "proof" are on shaky ground.

Unless, of course, it's the denial.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-10-2014, 10:56 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
(16-10-2014 09:18 AM)unfogged Wrote:  What arguments do you think atheists misuse or should avoid?
  • There are unicorns in the Bible (this seems to be a translation issue, as well).
  • Theists are just afraid of dying (the reasons for belief are way more nuanced than that).
  • Any arguments about the morality of God (Note: I think these can be good for discussion, but they never work as arguments. You'll just learn how much the theist is willing to excuse.)
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16-10-2014, 10:59 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
(16-10-2014 09:50 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(16-10-2014 09:33 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  <Looks around nonchalantly whistling blandly>

Not sure I know why.... do you disagree that the original text isn't making the claim that bats are birds?

Third on the list of the thread I just started ...

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid666327

Although this does show that your thread is useful so we don't fall into these traps again. On the other hand, the fact that the current translation talks about bats as birds shows that when reading the Bible you need to accept that it has been translated multiple times. Some Christians really do take each word as gospel truth.
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16-10-2014, 11:05 AM
RE: Arguments against beliefs that might be better avoided
If you actually want to have a discussion you should not make concrete points or point out direct problems in the bible or religious reasoning's. They get defensive and that is the end of the discussion. Stick with asking questions that make them think and have to defend their point. Counter with simple opinion type arguments such as "I do not agree with that line or reasoning", "In my opinion that seems far fetched", "That seems incorrect". Of course there is the making them defend their point not being aggressive "I don't get that, can you try again", "Really, what about....", "Why is that, do you think".....

If you are going to pick a bible verse and tear it apart you just a soon burn the bible because you are going to get similar reactions.

The quickest way to end a discussion is to make it confrontational.
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