The go a little easy on theists thread
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04-02-2014, 04:30 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
lookingforanswers Wrote:Meh, if you don't like the explanation, that's fine.

I did not say I didn't like it. I said [b]I didn't understand it.[/i]

lookingforanswers Wrote:Just, if you accept the existence of a first cause, then I think it is the most logical conclusion. If you have a better explanation though, I'd be genuinely interested to hear it.

The physics and Astronomers etc all say/point to things coming from a single, starting point. Before that? There's lots of different ideas. As for which one's better/more correct/etc? No idea m'self.

lookingforanswers Wrote:As for the 13 Billion years away thing, remember, I'm a deist, so my thought on the matter is that the creator does not intervene in daily events. I liken it more to a clockmaker. The clockmaker assembles the parts of the clock and sets it going. Based on the initial conditions he sets within the clock, he knows how the clock is going to function. He doesn't need to continually manipulate the clock to ensure that it will read 2pm at the right time. The clock will do that itself based on the initial conditions set at the time of it's creation.

So...your clockmaker...other than making the clock...Doesn't actually do anything? Doesn't that kind of make said clockmaker pointless in the scheme of things, then?

lookingforanswers Wrote:If there is a creator powerful enough to create a universe, and intelligent enough to create a universe that hasn't collapsed in on itself in the past 13B years and can actually sustain life, then is it such a jump to believe that creator would have known that humans with intelligence would eventually evolve to inhabit this chunk of rock floating in space?

So what if said clockmaker is powerful enough to have made everything. It's hence set in motion, they are outside looking in and NOT doing anything....And hence 13 billion years away and not really relevant to anything.

lookingforanswers Wrote:After all, the initial conditions required for life to exist are unimaginably precise....


Except...they aren't/It isn't.....

lookingforanswers Wrote:....And the creator would also have the advantage of knowing how the pieces in the universe work much more intimately then any watchmaker could (because he presumably created those pieces out of nothing). How much he could predict past there is a question, the answer to which changes depending on whether you believe that human kind has true free will.

See...by this...we're all just wind up toys with no free will. Not just a matter of how well the clockmaker predicted the past. Said clockmaker MUST still have determined the future. EVERYthing is running along like lock work. There CAN'T be any deviations. It's all set from the beginning. Hence... we don't have free will.

Very much cheers to all.
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04-02-2014, 04:31 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 03:14 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(04-02-2014 02:14 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  If so, then Dawkins should have welcomed the opportunity. Seriously, the opportunity to debate with a worthless hack who also happens to be one of those more famous Christian apologists? Seems like an easy target and a golden opportunity.


Not even. As Dawkins has said, debating WLC would look great on Craig's CV, but not Dawkin's. While Dawkins has taken the time to debate theists, including high ranking members of the Anglican Church; WLC is a disingenuous hack who openly admits (it's recorded and on YouTube) that nothing will ever change his mind because he knows he is right through the self-authenticating power of the holy spirit. He debates as a means of witnessing as a Christian. He's a control freak and will only debate if and when he has complete control over the proceedings, so that he can gish-gallop all over the place instead of having any real intellectual exchange. WLC has also himself refused to debate people who he knows can kick his ass, like his former student John W. Loftus (with the weak excuse that he only debates PhD's, ignore the fact that he has debated other non-PhD's before).


The man cheapens the word 'philosopher' by mere association. Dodgy

As I recall, Dawkins didn't say, "you are a control freak and I will only debate you under certain condition."

The fact that you can refer to William Lane Craig as WLC and know that people know who you are talking about is proof enough that he is famous enough that you can't fluff the challenge off by just saying, "He's not worthy of my attention". I'm sure his CV is long enough with his hundreds of scholarly publications and debates against smarter atheists than Dawkins that he doesn't need the boost.

Dawkins chooses his opponents very wisely. He challenges high ranking members of the Anglican church because he knows that he can talk over their head when it comes to scientific principles. My bet is that he avoids Craig because Craig actually has enough of a knowledge of science to argue back.

Funny how you give Craig a hard time for refusing to debate some guy I've never heard of. Maybe you are right, he might have kicked Craig's ass (no idea, seriously, never heard of the guy), but how can you give Craig a hard time for that, but accept it as a reason from Dawkins?

As for admitting he is wrong, I think Craig's attitude in that regard is stupid, but if you think Dawkins is open-minded enough to admit that he is wrong, then you are fooling yourself. Besides, that's not the point of a public debate. It's not like Dawkins was going to change the mind of any of the high ranking Catholics he debated either. The point of a public debate is for the audience to hear both sides of the story and make up their mind for themselves. I definitely think Craig should be more open-minded (which is why I disagree with a lot of his stuff), but that certainly isn't a reason to refuse to debate someone, or else Dawkins would never find any takers to debate him.
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04-02-2014, 04:35 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
Special pleading is

"I dismiss all other explanations A, B etc for X because <insert reason Y here>, but then I claim that my explanation E *which is also subject to Y* is somehow exempt from Y for <insert specious crappy reason Z>."

e.g. "All things must have a cause. Therefore the universe has a cause. That cause is God". The special pleading comes from that you've *specially* exempted God from having a cause. Why isn't the cause for God, what we call God ?

You may think you can get out of it by saying 'Well there must be an *ultimate* first cause, and *that* is what I'll call God'... But it's still special pleading. You've *specially* exempted the First Cause from the condition that all things must have a cause.

How shall we get outta this ? Well... the assertion that all things must have a cause seems very reasonable, and equally it seems very reasonable that you gotta start somewhere so there can't *be* an infinite chain. Well, that's humans for ya Wink The problem is that we know too little...

Not only are you asserting a First Cause, you're also asserting an *intelligent* first cause, which again, we can't really say anything about that. You cannot know for certain that this First Cause was intelligent. It seems safer to ignore the first cause, and concentrate on what we can actually see and measure, which is quite an incredible amount of stuff.

Making assertions about the first cause... is about as edifying as attributing the creation to Bugs Bunny. Which is why you find a lot of people don't even go for deism, 'cos while there *could* be something out there weird and wonderful and beyond the confines of the universe... it's kinda... unknowable, and therefore not worth speculating about.

Good choice of Thomas Paine by the way, he's an excellent writer Smile

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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04-02-2014, 04:53 PM (This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 11:07 PM by Taqiyya Mockingbird.)
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 04:15 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  EvolutionKills, ugh, why do you guys seem to like using the term special pleading so much? Seriously, I think I've responded to this so many time it's kind of ridiculous. You can't have a logical fallacy that applies to a conclusion, only a logical fallacy that applies to an argument. Consider the argument constructed like this:

P1: Every finite and contingent being has a cause.
P2: A causal loop cannot exist.
P3: A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) must exist.

You can attack a premise (ie. you can say you believe a causal chain of infinite length can actually exist) or you can attack the logical progression of the argument, but you can't say that the "first cause" is a special pleading, because it is the conclusion.

Saying "special pleading" in response to the cosmological argument is the equivalent of saying, "I don't like your conclusion, so it's wrong Tongue".
And once again, you disingenuous son of a bitch, your special pleading is the assumption that there is something that "does not have a cause", that just fucking "miraculously" happens to be your "creator" bullshit.

And with every one of you posts, it becomes more and more fucking obvious that you did NOT come here "looking for answers".

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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04-02-2014, 05:00 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
Shy

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We CAN work together Blush

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04-02-2014, 06:50 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 04:35 PM)morondog Wrote:  Special pleading is

"I dismiss all other explanations A, B etc for X because <insert reason Y here>, but then I claim that my explanation E *which is also subject to Y* is somehow exempt from Y for <insert specious crappy reason Z>."

e.g. "All things must have a cause. Therefore the universe has a cause. That cause is God". The special pleading comes from that you've *specially* exempted God from having a cause. Why isn't the cause for God, what we call God ?

You may think you can get out of it by saying 'Well there must be an *ultimate* first cause, and *that* is what I'll call God'... But it's still special pleading. You've *specially* exempted the First Cause from the condition that all things must have a cause.

How shall we get outta this ? Well... the assertion that all things must have a cause seems very reasonable, and equally it seems very reasonable that you gotta start somewhere so there can't *be* an infinite chain. Well, that's humans for ya Wink The problem is that we know too little...

Not only are you asserting a First Cause, you're also asserting an *intelligent* first cause, which again, we can't really say anything about that. You cannot know for certain that this First Cause was intelligent. It seems safer to ignore the first cause, and concentrate on what we can actually see and measure, which is quite an incredible amount of stuff.

Making assertions about the first cause... is about as edifying as attributing the creation to Bugs Bunny. Which is why you find a lot of people don't even go for deism, 'cos while there *could* be something out there weird and wonderful and beyond the confines of the universe... it's kinda... unknowable, and therefore not worth speculating about.

Good choice of Thomas Paine by the way, he's an excellent writer Smile

I agree, I enjoyed Paine's work. It was very thought provoking. He brought a perspective to the subject that I hadn't heard before.

I hear what you are saying about the special pleading, and I think you are likely right about why I get that reaction. The important point that I would make is that I don't use the premise, "Everything has a cause", or else you would be correct. In one thread I used the premise, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" and in this one, "Every finite and contingent being has a cause." The subtle difference in the language is what makes the counter of special pleading to be invalid.

The response I often get is, "Well, what if the universe has no cause?" I wonder, if the argument is a special pleading when used in regards to a creator, wouldn't the argument for an infinite universe be too? Why does the universe get to be exempt from the laws of causation? The thrust of the cosmological argument is that something has to be exempt from those laws or there would be nothing at all, the question is: which of those two options (or a third one, if you can think of one) is most likely?

I agree that humans know little, so I would never claim to be 100% sure about the existence of a creator. I just find it more likely than not.

Even thought the question is unknowable, I still find reasons to speculate about it, if only for the fact that I enjoy it as a puzzle to keep my mind engaged. I also find that the idea of a creator gives me comfort that there is a reason to be a good man when no one is looking and that there is a possibility of an afterlife. I also like the idea that everything in creation has a purpose (or else why was it created?). Certainly, these aren't logical reasons for believing, but I think that they do qualify as reasons why the question is worth speculating about.
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04-02-2014, 10:43 PM (This post was last modified: 04-02-2014 11:58 PM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 04:31 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  As I recall, Dawkins didn't say, "you are a control freak and I will only debate you under certain condition."


No, it has been well established that Craig only accepts debates when he has everything just the way he likes it. Strict format, his choice of when to go, his choice of topic, etc. And when he doesn't get exactly what he wants, then he refuses to debate. Which is great if the person on the other side knows of WLC's tactics before hand and tries to change things so that Craig cannot just gish-gallop all over the place, then Craig simply declines the debate. He doesn't debate, he simply has a rote format that he follows and no interest in doing anything else.

If you are so interested, why not read Dawkin's reasons from an article he himself wrote for the Guardian? It seems his biggest objection to Craig is the fact that he is a genocide apologist, and Dawkins finds that eminently repulsive and refuses to debate on moral grounds.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree...lane-craig



(04-02-2014 04:31 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  The fact that you can refer to William Lane Craig as WLC and know that people know who you are talking about is proof enough that he is famous enough that you can't fluff the challenge off by just saying, "He's not worthy of my attention". I'm sure his CV is long enough with his hundreds of scholarly publications and debates against smarter atheists than Dawkins that he doesn't need the boost.


You also seem to mistake infamy for fame. Dodgy



(04-02-2014 04:31 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Dawkins chooses his opponents very wisely. He challenges high ranking members of the Anglican church because he knows that he can talk over their head when it comes to scientific principles. My bet is that he avoids Craig because Craig actually has enough of a knowledge of science to argue back.


Quite the opposite in fact, as Craig is a quote mining scientific ignoramus.





For the record, Tunderf00t is an actual scientist.



(04-02-2014 04:31 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Funny how you give Craig a hard time for refusing to debate some guy I've never heard of. Maybe you are right, he might have kicked Craig's ass (no idea, seriously, never heard of the guy), but how can you give Craig a hard time for that, but accept it as a reason from Dawkins?


Dawkins declined the debate because of Craig's history of being a genocidal apologists, which he finds personally insulting. People have been pestering John W. Loftus (his blog is Debunking Christianity, and his books are The End of Christianity, The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True, and The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails) and Craig to debate for years, because Loftus is a former preacher and student of Craig. WLC has consistently refused to debate Loftus for any number of reasons, throwing up nothing but illogical smokescreens in an effort to save face.

An Update on Why William Lane Craig Refuses to Debate Me



(04-02-2014 04:31 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  As for admitting he is wrong, I think Craig's attitude in that regard is stupid, but if you think Dawkins is open-minded enough to admit that he is wrong, then you are fooling yourself. Besides, that's not the point of a public debate. It's not like Dawkins was going to change the mind of any of the high ranking Catholics he debated either. The point of a public debate is for the audience to hear both sides of the story and make up their mind for themselves. I definitely think Craig should be more open-minded (which is why I disagree with a lot of his stuff), but that certainly isn't a reason to refuse to debate someone, or else Dawkins would never find any takers to debate him.


That's the point, Craig doesn't debate, he gish-gallops.

The Gish Gallop, named after creationist Duane Gish, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. Sam Harris describes the technique as "starting 10 fires in 10 minutes."

The formal debating term for this is spreading. It arose as a way to throw as much rubbish into five minutes as possible. In response, some debate judges now limit number of arguments as well as time. However, in places where debating judges aren't there to call bullshit on the practice (like the Internet) such techniques are remarkably common.


http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop


WLC is not worth debating, ever, because it just gives him a platform to spread misinformation and lies. If you absolutely need to, watch his debate with Sam Harris at Notre Dame; it's one of my favorites because it shows just how sadly inept Craig is when he comes up against someone who won't play his game by his rules.




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05-02-2014, 12:09 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
Hi Lookingforanswers, my apologies for the length of the reply. I just started typing... and didn't stop. For a very. long. time. Tongue

(04-02-2014 06:50 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I hear what you are saying about the special pleading, and I think you are likely right about why I get that reaction. The important point that I would make is that I don't use the premise, "Everything has a cause", or else you would be correct. In one thread I used the premise, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" and in this one, "Every finite and contingent being has a cause." The subtle difference in the language is what makes the counter of special pleading to be invalid.

So now, on what basis do you exempt God from *beginning to exist* ? On what basis do you conclude that God is not a finite and contingent being ? Do you not see that these are both cases of special pleading (at least as far as I can see) because you have asserted some special escape route for God *without justification*. You have never seen God (you may disagree ?), you have just *defined* God, my problem with your definition is that you do not *know* if such a thing as something which exists yet did not begin to exist is even possible, nor do you know if a *being* exists which is not 'finite and contingent'.

The *other* problem I have with your modified premises is... on what basis do you assert them ? I have a problem with the original unmodified premise anyway, in that... we can't *know* that everything requires a cause. Causality sure seems logical but we're making a blanket statement about reality here, and reality has no obligation to conform to our expectations.

You are aware that current physics kinda regards time as a property of the universe ? It kinda makes it hard to talk of a time before the Big Bang... as humans it seems very logical to us that there should exist such a time, because hey, we know the age of the universe right ? 15 billion years. So let's go back 15 billion and one years and then ya know, there's a time before the big bang... except, that's seeing time as a property outside of the universe...

Trapped in this ginourmous universe as we are, we likely never will see anything outside of it, if indeed an outside exists to be seen. So... ja. Speculating about Gods and Demons seems a bit of a waste.

Quote:The response I often get is, "Well, what if the universe has no cause?" I wonder, if the argument is a special pleading when used in regards to a creator, wouldn't the argument for an infinite universe be too? Why does the universe get to be exempt from the laws of causation? The thrust of the cosmological argument is that something has to be exempt from those laws or there would be nothing at all, the question is: which of those two options (or a third one, if you can think of one) is most likely?
Hum... I agree that it's special pleading... Others may disagree. Can't right now think of a reason why it's not. I won't speculate on whether or not it has a cause, I will say that the cause of the initial Big Bang is unknown. We cannot measure anything, can't theorise about stuff beyond the universe.

Quote:Even thought the question is unknowable, I still find reasons to speculate about it, if only for the fact that I enjoy it as a puzzle to keep my mind engaged. I also find that the idea of a creator gives me comfort that there is a reason to be a good man when no one is looking and that there is a possibility of an afterlife. I also like the idea that everything in creation has a purpose (or else why was it created?). Certainly, these aren't logical reasons for believing, but I think that they do qualify as reasons why the question is worth speculating about.
You are free to believe as you like of course... Well, I say that but I think we can't choose to believe stuff, it's simply what you find likely or not.

I have a purpose - to live the most fulfilling life that *I* choose to live. I used to find the idea of an afterlife rather attractive but... I just can't see that it's anything more than wishful thinking... and ja, I don't quite see how belief in a creator gives you motivation to be a good man, especially if it's a creator as remote as the deistic one. However, whatever floats your boat Smile

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If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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05-02-2014, 06:44 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 02:24 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Is it reasonable to believe that an infinite cause and effect chain could exist?

If the answer is yes, then you have the infinite universe as your answer.

If the answer is no, then you need a first cause (one which does not require a cause of it's own) in order to break the infinite regress.

Feel free to let me know if I have missed something and am presenting a false dichotomy.

I already addressed that! Answer this question to see the fault in your logic:

What is God's cause?

If he doesn't have one, what makes him immune to this same level of reasoning? Whatever that reason is, how do you know it doesn't apply to the universe?

I'm fine with rejecting infinite regress. Now, explain how your "first cause" has to be God and cannot be the universe without simply making assumptions or assertions without evidence.
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05-02-2014, 09:04 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 04:15 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  EvolutionKills, ugh, why do you guys seem to like using the term special pleading so much? Seriously, I think I've responded to this so many time it's kind of ridiculous. You can't have a logical fallacy that applies to a conclusion, only a logical fallacy that applies to an argument. Consider the argument constructed like this:

P1: Every finite and contingent being has a cause.
P2: A causal loop cannot exist.
P3: A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) must exist.

You can attack a premise (ie. you can say you believe a causal chain of infinite length can actually exist) or you can attack the logical progression of the argument, but you can't say that the "first cause" is a special pleading, because it is the conclusion.

Saying "special pleading" in response to the cosmological argument is the equivalent of saying, "I don't like your conclusion, so it's wrong Tongue".


Special pleading is a formal logical fallacy where a participant demands special considerations for a particular premise of theirs. Usually this is because in order for their argument to work, they need to provide some way to get out of a logical inconsistency — in a lot of cases, this will be the fact that their argument contradicts past arguments or actions. Therefore, they introduce a "special case" or an exception to their rules.

While this is acceptable in genuine special cases, it becomes a formal fallacy when a person doesn't adequately justify why the case is special.

In the Thomistic cosmological argument for the existence of God, everything requires a cause. However, proponents of the argument then create a special case where God doesn't need a cause, but they can't say why in any particularly rigorous fashion. (One response to this argument, beyond pointing out the fallacy, would be to point out that nature itself could have existed eternally in some form just as they say God had existed eternally before creating nature. Although used before him, one modern philosopher who has applied this argument is Carl Sagan.)

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Special_pleading

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