I can't rationalize atheism
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12-04-2014, 11:52 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
Diddo you remind me of Marvin the depressed robot from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


"Oh what's the use anyway, not even an electronic sausage."

Why so gloomy all the 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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12-04-2014, 11:54 PM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(12-04-2014 11:27 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(12-04-2014 11:24 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  Facepalm

I'm going to make a claim!

Not only does Santa Clause exist, but he is the one true god all theists everywhere (including you, maybe) have been searching for!
Now since I know, for a fact, Santa Clause exists & is god, it is your job to prove me wrong!

What? Satellite imagery of the North Pole? What the fuck is a satellite? I've never seen one; I don't believe you! You're just making it up, and using fancy shmancy words I don't know to try and confuse me, but oh ho, it ain't gonna work on me! Santa Clause is lord!

See how utterly ridiculous I sound..... Blink

ManlyGirl gave me leave to fuck you in your ass. You are rather attractive.

Yeah.... I'm going to need video evidence Drinking Beverage

I hope that the world turns, and things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you. - V for Vendetta
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13-04-2014, 12:25 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(12-04-2014 04:54 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  I would much rather not believe in a god, but there are a few things that I cannot escape.

1. The ontological argument, which shifts the burden of proof onto atheists
2. The cosmological argument
3. The fact that I'm a pathetic piece of shit. Who am I to question the really smart people who believe?
4. The idea that materialism is self refuting/argument from solipsism

1. Atheists have no burden of proof when it comes to the existence of a supernatural being, just as people that don't believe in fairies or leprechauns do not have the burden of proof on disproving the existence of those beings.

2. The fact that the universe, or our planet, exists is no proof for the existence of a supernatural being. You do not get to insert this claim for which you have no evidence, and claim that it has equal credibility. This is as ridiculous as a person walking along a road and coming across a crime scene where a man that was murdered is laying on the ground, and then the person saying to the cops "He was killed by the evil God Loki!" Then the police respond saying "Sir, do you have any proof that this evil god exists, let alone that he killed this man?" The man replies "No, but the fact that this man exists, combined with the fact that you can't prove that Loki DOESN'T exist, means that my claim has equal validity as anything else!"

It is perfectly fine to say "I don't know the answer to that question yet, but let's try and see if we can find that answer!" That is a far more rational approach than simply making some supernatural claim because it makes you feel better, because in your eyes a bullshit answer is better than no answer.

3. You don't have to think of yourself as a "pathetic piece of shit". Are you incredibly insignificant in the scheme of the universe? Yes, but so is everybody else, and so is our planet. If our planet was destroyed tomorrow, do you know what it would mean for the rest of the universe? NOTHING! The universe will continue to go on as it does now, and as it did for the billions of years before our planet existed. It would be incredibly conceited on our part to think that we are so special in the scheme of the universe.

4. As other members have already said on here, ontological and cosmological arguments are just baseless assertions.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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13-04-2014, 02:01 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.
2. Everything that exists has a cause. Do you disagree with that statement
3. I am lower than a normal person
4. http://carm.org/materialistic-atheism-self-refuting


1) It might help if you actually provide an argument for those of us who don't bother with pre-packaged philosophy and who look at each one on base principles. How did you get to that conclusion? A proof you say? Was that a mathematical proof? That's the only thing I can imagine even being a proper attempt and an equivocal one at that.

2) It's a meaningless line of inquiry because the cause must then exist and therefore also have a cause. This is a homunculus argument which pushes the explanation away to something else that we have no hope of explaining so we don't have to try. As people have said before, what caused God?

3) So?

4) Written by someone who doesn't understand how the brain works or how the scientific method works, or even what logic is which is clearly not seen being used in that webpage. (Hint, vesicle release into synaptic clefts is stochastic, temporal plasticity means that what you have previously learnt has an affect on how your brain responds in the future, science is based on a large body of evidence amassed by hundreds of thousands of brains that builds on previous work and which weights theories by probability as seen by how many people are researching it).
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13-04-2014, 02:14 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(12-04-2014 04:54 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  I would much rather not believe in a god, but there are a few things that I cannot escape.

1. The ontological argument, which shifts the burden of proof onto atheists
2. The cosmological argument
3. The fact that I'm a pathetic piece of shit. Who am I to question the really smart people who believe?
4. The idea that materialism is self refuting/argument from solipsism

Probably tackled by others a zillion times already, but...

1. There are multiple arguments refered to as "the" ontological argument. The ones apologists keeping whipping out are crap. To cite two examples:

Platinga produces an ontological argument based on multiple universes (not shown to exist). He baits us with the prospect that truths about things (like whether they exist) are relative to the universe they're in, and then switches to declaring a truth that extends amongst all universes. The definition of a universe is so vague as to be meaningless in this argument, and he equivocates on it mercilessly to arrive at his predetermined conclusion. He also presumes "maximal greatness", which is highly questionable on many levels. First, that we could ever coherently imagine such a thing's properties. Is existence a property of maximal greatness? Platinga maintains yes. Plato maintains no. Second, he presumes that there is some universal standard of greatness in the first place. As humans, we may interpret one thing as better than another from our perspective, but the notion that there is some sort of abstract truth of greatness (rather than simply interpretation of greatness) is utterly unsubstantiated. Third, he presumes a well ordering, or at least a partial ordering... no such thing as tradeoffs. The maximally great thing doesn't have to put aside mercy to be just, or justice to be merciful... even in situations where there is a logical contradiction involved in being both. Again, this presumption is without basis. Fourth, once such a linear ordering is uncritically accepted, he presumes a maximal element. This is utterly unsupported, and there are many situations where, given an ordering mechanism, we can always produce something greater than any given element. For example, what's the greatest integer? Yet by Platinga's premises (which is rooted in obsolete forms of mathematics), there must be a maximal element. Name any candidate, and I can name a greater integer just by adding 1 to yours. (No, "infinity" is not an integer.) There IS no greatest integer. And finally, and this is where the bullshit orchestra reaches its crescendo, he presumes that such a concept would have the agency to bring itself in existence by its maximal perfection before such maximal perfection had even been brought into existence. It's like the Munchhausen Trilemma trying to give itself form by pulling itself out of nonexistence by its own hair. That feeling you have of not quite being able to grasp the logic of it? That's not a sign of the argument's genius. It's a sign of the argument not having any logic to grasp, but putting on a good show of faking it.

For the second example, Craig's ontological argument presumes that for truth to exist, there must exist an abstract mind encompassing the truth values of all statements, as something to reference to. I agree that there must be something containing truth that can be referenced to determine what that truth is. I call that something "reality". But I'm not Craig. Craig often says something along the lines of, "we know of just such a thing that can contain truth like this: An abstract mind." Except we don't know of any abstract mind. Not a one. Every mind we've ever interacted with... our own, those of our friends, or are pets, or are computers... are rooted in the material world. There is no good reason to believe that these minds would continue to exist if their brains were obliterated. Craig pins the entirety of his argument on an assumption that has never, ever, not once, not with millions of people wanting it to, never ever ever been born out for me or you or him to see.

Bad arguments do not shift the burden of proof at all... unless it's further onto the arguer, because we discover that they cannot be trusted.

2. The Cosmological argument basically says, "something had to make the universe, ergo God did it." It faces two hurdles. First, proving that something had to cause the universe. This rules out infinite universes (cyclical universes, something we can't detect preceding the Big Bang, etc), as well as spontaneous generation (which, if not exactly an observed event, falls in the category of "hey, we can't prove it didn't happen once, and it's no less implausible than your unprovable proposal"). A lot of the formulations of the cosmological argument run afoul of the question of, "Wait, if everything has to have a creator, then why create God? If you wish to arbitrarily name God an exception to this rule, why can I not name the universe an exception just as arbitrarily?" The second problem is proving that this supposedly necessary cause was God.... your God, specifically. If you watch Craig, this is where he switches from fast-talking into "end-of-car-commercial-lease-conditions" hypertalk. It's because this part of his argument is totally absent of support and he wants to blaze through it so fast that we don't have time to spot that the streaking blur is actually a buff, streaking Emperor. Sometimes this is done just through arbitrary definition: "Okay, whatever created the universe? I'm defining that to be God. That's what I mean when I use the word God." Which is.... kinda silly. Yeah, sure, I'll agree that the Big Bang probably happened, but I'm not gonna call it God, or anything remotely akin to the contemporary notion of God. You can do that if you want, but if you do, I reserve the right to change the word "hat" to mean "donkey" as a way of proving that you have your head up your ass. If you get to object to me doing that, I get to put forward my own objections.

3. WHICH smart people? There are loads and loads of smart people who call those arguments bullshit... the really smart people who DISbelieve. Who are you to question those? Which is what you're doing, really. (Also, why question smart people? Because that's how you become a smart person yourself.)

4. You know something? I've never gotten dualism. I've never gotten people who divide the world into material versus.... what's the other category for you? Spiritual? Godly? I've heard too many options from too many people to even guess which one you've picked. But I get the general sense of what you're doing. You've got two conceptual buckets. You're putting a bunch of stuff into one bucket labeled "material", and everything else is going into another bucket with some label I can't read but which basically means "not material". And I can't for the life of me make out what standard you're using to sort them by. How do you determine what goes into one bucket and what goes into the other? Does happiness go into the not-material bucket? Okay.... why? That's part of what I don't get.

The other part I don't get is WHY EVEN SORT THEM AT ALL? Do you interact with them differently? Does happiness mean more or less, feel better or worse, because you've conceptually placed it in a different bucket from, I dunno, potatoes? I don't get that at all. It is what it is. How does throwing down this arbitrary classification scheme change that? If it arises from physical processes of brain chemistry, is it not still happiness? If it's injected into our brains by invisible angels wielding magical happiness syringes that double as trumpets, is it not still happiness? Why the hell is drawing that arbitrary line so important? KNOWING what causes something, that can be valuable. I can get behind that. But that makes materialism a conclusion from evidence... if that evidence exists... rather than a classification scheme. If there's something which isn't material, just show it to me, convince me it's not material in nature.... and hell, maybe be totally outrageous and actually give me a notion of what does or doesn't count as material... and if you do all that I'll buy into it.

Also, solipsism. I really, really hope you're using this in a strictly philosophical manner, describing the notion that we can individually be certain about the existence of nothing, save our own minds. That, I can actually agree with. There IS an element of doubt for everything else. Maybe I'm a brain plugged into the Matrix. Maybe I'm dreaming right now. Maybe that huge pool of water I'm seeing in the middle of the desert is actually a mirage. Maybe my hand isn't actually itching the way it feels like, because it got amputated a year ago. (No, it didn't, just a hypothetical.) I don't get why you're using some sort of fear-based appeal to this consequence. Just saying, "HEY, LOOK OUT, IF A'S TRUE YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH B AND THAT'S AWFUL!" doesn't stop either A or B from being true. And you know what? That's life. We're not omniscient. We make false assumptions and false observations all the time. Pretending we don't just makes us more vulnerable to them. The only way to partially cure our ignorance is to be aware of it... not just plugging our ears and going lalalalalala.

Anyhow, that's my response to the OP, gonna peek ahead and respond to the rest of our thread in my next post.
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13-04-2014, 02:42 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(12-04-2014 05:04 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  
(12-04-2014 05:00 PM)natachan Wrote:  1) no, sweety, it doesn't. There is no link between physical reality and thought. You say there is? Provide evidence.
2) The existence of the universe is evidence for nothing but the universe. "I don't know" doesn't mean God did it.
3) I've written a long piece on sin. Search if you want. Short version: being a normal human does not count as a crime.
4) Explain. This looks like word salad to me.

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.
2. Everything that exists has a cause. Do you disagree with that statement
3. I am lower than a normal person
4. http://carm.org/materialistic-atheism-self-refuting

1. Okay, Plantinga's Modal Ontological Argument. Thanks for clarifying, already dismantled.
4. .... first, that does not self refute. "You might be wrong" does NOT turn into "you are wrong". DUH. Does the human brain make mistakes? YES! ALL THE TIME! This is perfectly consistent with the universe we observe. Nor is it a unique property of materialism. (Also, defined as viewing the universe as being entirely matter? Really? No energy or spacial dimensions? Wow, you're defining the material very, very narrowly.) I mean, even if you're buying into some sort of direct special revelation from God, how do you identify a particular thought or emotion or vision as such? On what basis do you say that this one funky dream is God telling you to, I dunno, send money to Uganda so that they can imprison gays for life, and that other dream is just a result of bad anchovies on your pizza? What method do you use for discerning which is which? How do you tell the difference between a bush that's burning because it's God, versus a bush that's burning because someone dropped their cigarette butt into it, versus one that you're hallucinating because of the funky mushrooms on last night's pizza? Even if you DON'T buy into a materialistic universe, there's a huge risk of solipsism. Nor is materialism, as you've defined it, dependent on solipsism. So, just to be clear? RELIGIOUS PEOPLE HAVE BAD BRAINS TOO. They get stuff wrong too! The real questions are, how can we identify when we've gotten it wrong and switch to getting it right, and who's got the better schema for that? I'd point to science's "question your hypothesis and test it every way you can approach" as the better method, head and shoulders above "buy into a philosophy based on bronze age thinking without evidence and refuse to ever doubt it or the people espousing it". One of these has the potential to spot that it's in error. The other does not.

((Also, while the exact neurology of the brain is still not completely understood, we can tackle things like the scientific method in an algorithmic sense, in which the algorithm is well-defined and demonstrably effective, and human society has been empirically shown capable of performing the algorithm. (EDIT: At least, well enough for the algorithm to work its magic, which is pretty damn bad, but the algorithm's robust enough to make do.) That is sufficient. I don't need to know the position and velocity of every electron in my calculator to be able to understand that it works reliably.))

Also, random thought. If you'd much rather not believe in a God, doesn't that totally destroy Plantinga's modal ontological argument? Wouldn't a maximal God necessarily be something that everyone wanted to believe in? Chalk that up as failure #19468 of that argument.
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13-04-2014, 04:30 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(13-04-2014 02:42 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  Also, random thought. If you'd much rather not believe in a God, doesn't that totally destroy Plantinga's modal ontological argument? Wouldn't a maximal God necessarily be something that everyone wanted to believe in? Chalk that up as failure #19468 of that argument.

If we're talking about the silly Christian God, sure.

Truth seeker.
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13-04-2014, 04:41 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
But here you said
(12-04-2014 04:54 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  I would much rather not believe in a god,
Do you want to believe or not?

“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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13-04-2014, 04:43 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(13-04-2014 04:41 AM)DemonicLemon Wrote:  But here you said
(12-04-2014 04:54 PM)diddo97 Wrote:  I would much rather not believe in a god,
Do you want to believe or not?

Did you look at what you replied to? Confused

Truth seeker.
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13-04-2014, 04:47 AM
RE: I can't rationalize atheism
(13-04-2014 04:43 AM)diddo97 Wrote:  
(13-04-2014 04:41 AM)DemonicLemon Wrote:  But here you said
Do you want to believe or not?

Did you look at what you replied to? Confused

You posted crappy reasons why you felt compelled to believe, but having to believe something isn't the same as wanting to do it. And just earlier, when asked if you wanted to believe, you specified just not the Christian god, implying there was a god you liked.

“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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