I can't rationalize atheism
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14-04-2014, 05:38 AM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2014 06:03 AM by Mathilda.)
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
http://carm.org/materialistic-atheism-self-refuting

Quote:Materialism is the theory that matter is the only thing that exists in the universe, and that all phenomena can be explained in terms of it and its properties. This would mean that everything must operate within the bounds of physical laws, including the human brain.

Matter and the flow of energy through it. There is more I can say but I won't because I want to get to the main argument.

Quote: But this presents a problem for the materialistic atheist. A materialist atheist has no intellectual justification whatsoever to trust his own thinking because his physical brain cannot exceed the limits of physics and chemistry.


Why does the physical brain need to exceed the limits of physics and chemistry in order for a materialistic atheist to trust their own thinking?

If a brain does need to exceed the limits of physics and chemistry for someone to trust their own thinking, why doesn't the same apply to someone who is not a materialistic atheist?

What does "exceed the limits of physics and chemistry" actually mean? I can think of two interpretations, both of which can be refuted.


Quote:Therefore, there's no reason for him to conclude that his rationality is correct since his brain is acting "mechanically."

First this does not follow on from the previous statement.

Second, it is ignorant of the role of rationality in the brain. For example we can only act rationally by being able to make irrational choices when we need to start acting instead of continuing to explore all available options. Another example, a seemingly irrational act can be rational when understood as an evolved instinct.

Third, even though I cannot be sure what the person means when he describes the brain as acting "mechanically", I can pretty much expect that when I find out, I can say that it doesn't act that way.

Fourth, it's actually true that we cannot entirely trust our brains, but for totally different reasons which I can describe if you want. What this means is that we can't trust any belief so it is better not to totally rely on any one belief. This is why the scientific method is successful. We can accrue evidence that can be reproduced at will and which can be evaluated by hundreds of thousands of other brains. This allows our brains to collaborate and allows us to have far more trust in our collective findings. Anybody that thinks that a mistake has been made is free to look back on all the steps leading up to whatever conclusion they disagree with and re-evaluate them.


Quote: How does one chemical state that leads to another chemical state in the brain produce proper logical inference?

Logic is a tool, like Maths, that was invented by human brains. It does not exist outside of human culture. It is useful for reasoning about the universe but contains nothing that is intrinsically inherent in reality. So of course the human brain can produce proper logical inference because it created the concept in the first place.


Quote: There is no known mechanism that enables this.

Wrong. Dendritic trees of neurons have been shown capable of providing binary logic. Whether that is how they are used is beside the point. Computers function using binary logic and we can use computers to provide logical inferences.


Quote: The human brain is indeed sophisticated; but if it is restricted to physical laws, then it will automatically respond in a predictable way based upon brain wiring and stimulus.

Why does being restricted to physical laws mean that something will respond in a predictable way? Can the same be said of dice for example? What about quantum mechanics?

This statement shows complete ignorance of how the brain works. The brain is stochastic (probabilistic). Most neuronal cells only have a probability of signalling other neurons that they are wired to. This probability can change over time.

This statement also ignores the fact that it does not require much complexity for even a deterministic system to result in chaotic behaviour that cannot be predicted (deterministic means that there is no random chance).


Quote:This would mean that given the exact same circumstances, the exact same responses would always occur.

This and the statement above it ignores the fact that brains re-wire themselves and have different levels of neurochemicals at any point in time. This means that the exact same circumstances do not always lead to the same responses. This means that it is practically impossible for your brain to be in the same state as it was the last time round the same circumstances happened (if nothing else you'll remember it happening!)


Quote:This would mean that the atheist has no real freedom of will and has no reason to trust his thoughts about reality, God, himself, others, or experiences.

The previous statements have been shown to be false. But what applies to the atheist must also apply to the theist because nothing in the previous text suggested that being an atheist actually fundamentally changes how your own brain works. In which case no one has "real freedom of will and has no reason to trust his thoughts about reality, God, himself, others, or experiences". The most we can trust is the scientific method and the accumulation of reproducible and falsifiable evidence collected over hundreds of years. And if you don't trust it, you're more than welcome to find flaws in any findings using the scientific method.

I skipped the last part because he just repeats himself.
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14-04-2014, 06:24 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
Quote:This would mean that given the exact same circumstances, the exact same responses would always occur.

If this statement were true, would that not completey destroy the field of psychology? Does this not mean that no matter what knowledge/consequences one might gain from past responses to a given stimulus, that one is forever doomed to repeat the same responses despite having negative consequences result from said response?
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14-04-2014, 07:11 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
Yes, given the EXACT same circumstances you should get the EXACT same results, unless there are random elements in physics that produce nearly perfect results in the short term but over the long term allow for minute or larger differences.

As for the brain acting mechanically.
Acting chemically might be a better word.

I think your main issue actually involves consciousness. If the brain acts "mechanically" as you said, then its reactions fall within the realm of physics, just like a billion grains of sand in space all interacting with each other, but then why are we conscious of the world ?

Lastly, we can trust the world around us and trust our thinking precisely because the universe is stable and has repeatable verifiable results from the same circumstances.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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14-04-2014, 09:58 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(12-04-2014 05:04 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  1. No no. The ontological argument proves that if it's possible that a maximally great being exists, a maximally great being MUST exist. So, nonbeliever must now prove that a maximally great being cannot exist.
I don't have much to add since others have pretty well covered it. So the only thing I will add is regarding the statement quoted. What is considered "maximally great" is subjective - that is, it will differ from person to person. So, while you may arrive at your "god" as maximally great, someone else might arrive at Superman, Elvis Presley, Aphrodite, or even Satan.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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14-04-2014, 12:05 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
Sorry but the possibility of something existing doesn't mean that the something MUST exist.

If that were true then the possibility of an anti-god that instantly destroys any god and itself must also exist and by its very nature, no longer exists.

The mental hoops your mind has to jump through astonishes me.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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14-04-2014, 12:06 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(13-04-2014 04:54 AM)diddo97 Wrote:  I don't want to believe, but It has been proven. I cannot escape fact.

You clearly just want to follow your beliefs that you have been indoctrinated with. In the OP you speak as though you have a desire to become atheist (as though you are very much doubting your religion), but no matter how much evidence is shown to you, you simply say "Nope! I'm staying with religion no matter what contrary evidence you show me!" So l think this thread has become pointless, because we are simply wasting our time. You want to stick to your indoctrination? Fine by me. Just stop wasting everybody else's time here by pretending as though you are looking for answers.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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14-04-2014, 07:47 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(14-04-2014 12:05 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Sorry but the possibility of something existing doesn't mean that the something MUST exist.

If that were true then the possibility of an anti-god that instantly destroys any god and itself must also exist and by its very nature, no longer exists.

The mental hoops your mind has to jump through astonishes me.

This argument applies to a maximally great being. Although, I see that in order to be maximally great, something must not exist in reality, since reality is not maximally great. Therefore, we wouldn't have any way of interacting with it.

I'm hung up on the argument from solipsism now. (You can't prove that anything exists, therefore God. (I know it's bad logic, but I can't figure out a good way to refute it...))

Truth seeker.
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14-04-2014, 08:14 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
Has an Admin checked this bloke's ip to check if it is Artie?

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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14-04-2014, 09:09 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(14-04-2014 07:47 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  I'm hung up on the argument from solipsism now. (You can't prove that anything exists, therefore God. (I know it's bad logic, but I can't figure out a good way to refute it...))

You can't prove that Jackson the God Slayer doesn't exist.

“You see… sometimes life gives you lemons. And when that happens… you need to find some spell that makes lemons explode, because lemons are terrible. I only ate them once and I can say with certainty they are the worst fruit. If life gave me lemons, I would view it as nothing short of a declaration of war."
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14-04-2014, 11:16 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(14-04-2014 07:47 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  blah blah blah....in order to be maximally great, something must not exist in reality, since reality is not maximally great....

BINGO. Your god doesn't exist. Thank you for finally admitting it.

Quote:I'm hung up on the argument from solipsism now. (You can't prove that anything exists, therefore God. (I know it's bad logic, but I can't figure out a good way to refute it...))

You refute it like this:

[Image: colin-farrell.gif]


...that's all that's required.

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