Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
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11-11-2012, 07:16 PM
Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
...as an explanation.

I've been thinking, and it seems that using 'god' (small or large g, doesn't matter) as an explanation is treated too well. The word 'god' describes a complex, abstract idea. It varies widely, but in pretty much all modern uses, it refers to a human-like entity with a mind holding infinite knowledge, who also has limitless powers, who created humanity for a reason and who retains an interest in human affairs. Even the most basic deist god is equally irrational; an undefined 'blah' not of physical substance, which exists only to create a universe and then bum out. The very notion of a god is absurd, and creates more questions than it answers. Intelligence or action requires physical existence. To even allow for the existence of a god we have to create the idea of something that violates everything we have ever observed or understood about the universe. When people use the term 'god' as if it is a reasonable explanation, it bothers me severely. A god, no matter how you define it, is probably the least reasonable concept to explain the origin of the universe.

Saying "a god did it" is an answer for a fool, because what you are really saying is "a magical entity which violates every law of physics and has no basis in observed reality, and which has always existed but outside our dimension, decided for no reason to create this universe". I could, in a similar manner, propose the idea of an invisible rock which spits out other particles into parallel dimensions, and call that a queeglegip. Now, we may disagree on the particulars of queeglegips, some saying it affects ten dimensions, others saying five, some saying it popped into existence on its own, others saying it was always there, but we can all agree that the universe could not have formed on its own or always existed, and must have been created by a queeglegip.

My point is, the word 'god' wraps up an absurd concept in a neat little package that lends unwarranted legitimacy to it. There is no reason to give the notion any more respect than you would give to queeglegips.

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11-11-2012, 08:12 PM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
(11-11-2012 07:16 PM)Elesjei Wrote:  To even allow for the existence of a god we have to create the idea of something that violates everything we have ever observed or understood about the universe.
This could have been said about quantum mechanics a few decades ago.

The reason that the God Hypothesis is treated with respect is because it's ancient and wide-spread. I'm not saying it's true (obviously, because I'm an atheist), but just because you can't wrap your head around the idea doesn't mean that nobody can.

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11-11-2012, 08:20 PM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
The almighty queeglegip does not approve of your mockery.

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11-11-2012, 10:37 PM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
(11-11-2012 07:16 PM)Elesjei Wrote:  ...as an explanation.

I've been thinking, and it seems that using 'god' (small or large g, doesn't matter) as an explanation is treated too well. The word 'god' describes a complex, abstract idea. It varies widely, but in pretty much all modern uses, it refers to a human-like entity with a mind holding infinite knowledge, who also has limitless powers, who created humanity for a reason and who retains an interest in human affairs. Even the most basic deist god is equally irrational; an undefined 'blah' not of physical substance, which exists only to create a universe and then bum out. The very notion of a god is absurd, and creates more questions than it answers. Intelligence or action requires physical existence. To even allow for the existence of a god we have to create the idea of something that violates everything we have ever observed or understood about the universe. When people use the term 'god' as if it is a reasonable explanation, it bothers me severely. A god, no matter how you define it, is probably the least reasonable concept to explain the origin of the universe.

Saying "a god did it" is an answer for a fool, because what you are really saying is "a magical entity which violates every law of physics and has no basis in observed reality, and which has always existed but outside our dimension, decided for no reason to create this universe". I could, in a similar manner, propose the idea of an invisible rock which spits out other particles into parallel dimensions, and call that a queeglegip. Now, we may disagree on the particulars of queeglegips, some saying it affects ten dimensions, others saying five, some saying it popped into existence on its own, others saying it was always there, but we can all agree that the universe could not have formed on its own or always existed, and must have been created by a queeglegip.

My point is, the word 'god' wraps up an absurd concept in a neat little package that lends unwarranted legitimacy to it. There is no reason to give the notion any more respect than you would give to queeglegips.
I'll agree with the main thrust of your gripe, but I'll take issue with something in your intro: The omnipotent omniscient etc "God" you ascribe as being the generally-accepted metamodel is actually fairly specific to Judaism and its descendents. Most conceptions of gods are more along the Greek or Norse lines: Human in personality, thought, and intelligence, superhuman but limited in power, both flawed and fallible, basically comic superheroes. (This includes forgetting their established powers from time to time.) Though Christianity and Islam have made a great effort to overbear and extinguish these beliefs, they are still present and found in Eastern religions like Hinduism, remade European religions (neo-Helenism, neo-Norse, Wicca), various indigenous religions...

I make this point because Christian apologists are often deluded into thinking they only need to prove a god is necessary, and lo, it will then automatically be theirs. There's a smorgasbord of possible belief out there, but through studied ignoring the apologist will sidestep the question entirely. Calling them on it (such as with the "one god less than you do" comment) is powerful only if we don't buy into the notion that any god must be as they describe.

That said, yes, it was just a minor quibble and doesn't impact your main point. The God of the Gaps is a frustrating headache... and doubly so when the true believers then do everything they can to prevent an alternative explanation of the gap (eg, evolution) from being discovered, disseminated, or accepted.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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11-11-2012, 10:46 PM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
Hey, Elesjei.

This makes me think of Occam's Razor. By and large, it's a good rule of thumb. But when a rule of thumb gets confused for the only way to do something, we have issues. All humans have a need to have a relationship with the larger world. For those that believe in Occam's Razor, there are very specific limitations to that relationship. Other's don't see the world so literally and have different relationships (I deliberately avoided characterising what those relationships are). So while I think that mixing "a wizard did it" with scientific explanations is wonky at best (square peg, round hole stuff), I don't dismiss the importance of non-scientific and/or non-literal world views. Queeglegip might not be a part of good science, but that doesn't mean that shklee's without value.

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12-11-2012, 06:10 AM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
(11-11-2012 10:46 PM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-Bill Shakespeare
This quote is always misused, it seems. The emphasis is on *philosophy*, not on *your*. Hamlet was putting Horatio down for assuming things in his philosophy for being true, and it wasn't because Horatio's philosophy specifically was mistaken but that he was making assumptions of truth.

Defending theism again, huh? Yes, I was critical of this argument, too, but not because I thought theism needed defending. Again, I find you trying to be the champion for God, not for reason. Imagine my surprise.

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12-11-2012, 08:06 AM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
Starcrash.

How exactly am I championing Theism here? You're like a rabid dog with a bone and I gotta say, brother, it gets tiresome. "There's more to life than pure science and/or Occam's Razor," is not a ringing endorsement for Theism. That assumes a false dichotomy.

Also, you haven't demonstrated how that quote was misused. You outlined exactly how I was using it.

One day, I truly hope that you take the time to get to know me because I am not the man you assume me to be.

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12-11-2012, 11:51 AM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
(12-11-2012 08:06 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Starcrash.

How exactly am I championing Theism here? You're like a rabid dog with a bone and I gotta say, brother, it gets tiresome. "There's more to life than pure science and/or Occam's Razor," is not a ringing endorsement for Theism. That assumes a false dichotomy.

Also, you haven't demonstrated how that quote was misused. You outlined exactly how I was using it.

One day, I truly hope that you take the time to get to know me because I am not the man you assume me to be.
Did I accuse you of "championing" theism or "defending" it? I'm pretty sure I said you were defending it. If I thought your argument could be summed up as "there's more to life than pure science and/or Occam's Razor", I wouldn't have made that accusation. Can you imagine your words (the actual words you used, not your summation here) in the mouth of an atheist? Now I know you're not claiming to be an atheist, but rather an agnostic... and that's the idea I keep challenging when I say that you're presenting the theist's point-of-view. Again. And again. I'm like a dog with a bone? Perhaps, because I have to keep re-iterating this subject every time you present evidence yet again for my hypothesis, because it never seems to stick. People -- including yourself -- give you the benefit of the doubt despite the overwhelming evidence that you are not agnostic. I just want you to be honest about it.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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12-11-2012, 02:12 PM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
Queeglegips really don't exist either? Blink

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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12-11-2012, 02:44 PM
RE: Seems like 'God' gets a free pass
(12-11-2012 02:12 PM)Impulse Wrote:  Queeglegips really don't exist either? Blink
'Tis a sad reality that we all must accept. Weeping

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