New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
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21-07-2015, 08:44 PM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
Hello all,

First a brief introduction, I am a philosophical theist, not a religious person. I don't consider it a fact we owe our existence to a personal agent who created the universe but a reasonable opinion based on evidence.

I started reading the letter in the OP and wanted to start by commenting on this exchange.

Quote:"But I believe an equally important burden of proof lies open for the atheist to prove God’s non-existence."

This is not how the burden of proof works. Atheism makes no direct claims, other than to disregard the claims of the existence of any gods. There is no positive assertion in atheism, and one must understand that to use the term properly.

Supporting material: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic...n_of_proof

If every negative assertion required a burden of proof, then knowledge would never be attained, as all the time would be spent disproving all claims which don't initially meet their burden of proof. If I asserted that Zeus did in fact, exist, would it be your responsibility to climb Mt. Olympus to snap pictures? No, it would not. You'd demand proof of my claim, or dismiss it. That which is presented without proof, should be dismissed without proof.

This is a poor analogy (actually a self-serving analogy). If I claim a dead body has been murdered and you claim it wasn't we equally share a burden of proof because your claim it wasn't murder is an assertion it was natural causes (assuming we don't dispute the existence of a dead body). Just as the claim the universe wasn't caused by an intelligent agent is a claim it was caused (or always existed) by non-intelligent agents. I could frame my belief in theism as a lack of belief in mindless unguided forces producing the universe and life, but I'm sure that claim wouldn't get a pass on providing evidence just because I stated it in a negative.
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22-07-2015, 03:43 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
(21-07-2015 08:44 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  
Quote:"But I believe an equally important burden of proof lies open for the atheist to prove God’s non-existence."

This is not how the burden of proof works. Atheism makes no direct claims, other than to disregard the claims of the existence of any gods. There is no positive assertion in atheism, and one must understand that to use the term properly.

This is a poor analogy (actually a self-serving analogy). If I claim a dead body has been murdered and you claim it wasn't we equally share a burden of proof because your claim it wasn't murder is an assertion it was natural causes (assuming we don't dispute the existence of a dead body). Just as the claim the universe wasn't caused by an intelligent agent is a claim it was caused (or always existed) by non-intelligent agents. I could frame my belief in theism as a lack of belief in mindless unguided forces producing the universe and life, but I'm sure that claim wouldn't get a pass on providing evidence just because I stated it in a negative.


Quote:Atheism makes no direct claims, other than to disregard the claims of the existence of any gods. There is no positive assertion in atheism, and one must understand that to use the term properly.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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22-07-2015, 06:32 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
(21-07-2015 08:44 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Hello all,

First a brief introduction, I am a philosophical theist, not a religious person. I don't consider it a fact we owe our existence to a personal agent who created the universe but a reasonable opinion based on evidence.

I started reading the letter in the OP and wanted to start by commenting on this exchange.

Quote:"But I believe an equally important burden of proof lies open for the atheist to prove God’s non-existence."

This is not how the burden of proof works. Atheism makes no direct claims, other than to disregard the claims of the existence of any gods. There is no positive assertion in atheism, and one must understand that to use the term properly.

Supporting material: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic...n_of_proof

If every negative assertion required a burden of proof, then knowledge would never be attained, as all the time would be spent disproving all claims which don't initially meet their burden of proof. If I asserted that Zeus did in fact, exist, would it be your responsibility to climb Mt. Olympus to snap pictures? No, it would not. You'd demand proof of my claim, or dismiss it. That which is presented without proof, should be dismissed without proof.

This is a poor analogy (actually a self-serving analogy). If I claim a dead body has been murdered and you claim it wasn't we equally share a burden of proof because your claim it wasn't murder is an assertion it was natural causes (assuming we don't dispute the existence of a dead body). Just as the claim the universe wasn't caused by an intelligent agent is a claim it was caused (or always existed) by non-intelligent agents. I could frame my belief in theism as a lack of belief in mindless unguided forces producing the universe and life, but I'm sure that claim wouldn't get a pass on providing evidence just because I stated it in a negative.

The claim of an intelligent origin for the universe does not require refutation when it is presented without evidence.

Present the evidence and the discussion can begin.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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22-07-2015, 06:38 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
(21-07-2015 08:44 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Just as the claim the universe wasn't caused by an intelligent agent is a claim it was caused (or always existed) by non-intelligent agents.

It isn't so much a claim that the universe was not caused by an intelligent agent as one that we have no way to investigate or test the hypothesis that it was which makes it unreasonable to believe that claim.

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22-07-2015, 10:45 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
Quote:The claim of an intelligent origin for the universe does not require refutation when it is presented without evidence.

Present the evidence and the discussion can begin.

The debate about the existence of God can't begin if I as a theist don't deny God exists and it turns out as an 'atheist' you don't deny God exists either....what's there to debate?
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22-07-2015, 10:50 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
(22-07-2015 06:38 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(21-07-2015 08:44 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Just as the claim the universe wasn't caused by an intelligent agent is a claim it was caused (or always existed) by non-intelligent agents.

It isn't so much a claim that the universe was not caused by an intelligent agent as one that we have no way to investigate or test the hypothesis that it was which makes it unreasonable to believe that claim.

That is why we have opinions about such things. A belief is an opinion about a matter apart from conclusive evidence its true. Its not unreasonable to have an opinion regarding matters apart from conclusive proof. By the same token there is no way to investigate the claim or test the hypothesis we owe our existence to mindless mechanistic forces, is that an unreasonable claim as well?
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22-07-2015, 10:53 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
(22-07-2015 10:45 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  
Quote:The claim of an intelligent origin for the universe does not require refutation when it is presented without evidence.

Present the evidence and the discussion can begin.

The debate about the existence of God can't begin if I as a theist don't deny God exists and it turns out as an 'atheist' you don't deny God exists either....what's there to debate?

The discussion can be about why you think so. I don't believe in the existence of any gods because there is no evidence of the existence of any gods.

Do you have any evidence?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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22-07-2015, 10:56 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
(22-07-2015 10:50 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  
(22-07-2015 06:38 AM)unfogged Wrote:  It isn't so much a claim that the universe was not caused by an intelligent agent as one that we have no way to investigate or test the hypothesis that it was which makes it unreasonable to believe that claim.

That is why we have opinions about such things. A belief is an opinion about a matter apart from conclusive evidence its true. Its not unreasonable to have an opinion regarding matters apart from conclusive proof. By the same token there is no way to investigate the claim or test the hypothesis we owe our existence to mindless mechanistic forces, is that an unreasonable claim as well?

It is not unreasonable as there are evidenced reasons to think so. Evolution is a mindless algorithm that is sufficient to explain the diversity of life.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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22-07-2015, 11:14 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
Drewpaul - You're essentially asserting magic. We're unfamiliar with magic.

You can't walk into a room and say "Magic happened! You have to prove it didn't!" and expect people to take you seriously.

Only in the realm of religious claims are people brazen enough to say that the listener has the burden of proof.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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22-07-2015, 11:28 AM
RE: New Atheist Dukes it Out with Seasoned Pastor
(22-07-2015 10:45 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  
Quote:The claim of an intelligent origin for the universe does not require refutation when it is presented without evidence.

Present the evidence and the discussion can begin.

The debate about the existence of God can't begin if I as a theist don't deny God exists and it turns out as an 'atheist' you don't deny God exists either....what's there to debate?

The debate has to start off on the assumption that a god is even a plausible thing. As of right now, no god has ever been shown to plausibly exist outside the imagination. Making the odds of its hypothesized existence 0.

If you say a god is plausible, then the conversation/debate can begin about why you think so.

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