The go a little easy on theists thread
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
05-02-2014, 09:56 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
@EvolutionKills, I'm glad you posted Dawkins' article; however, I had already read it and reading it was the main reason that I considered him a total and utter coward for refusing the debate.

His hogwash about "he's a genocide apologist" is about as blatant an ad hominem as you could possibly use. That's like me refusing to debate you on the existence of God because of your stance on abortion (disclaimer, I don't know what your view on it is and I'm not trying to start an abortion discussion). We'd have a lot fewer debates in parliament if all of the pro-choicers refused to debate the pro-lifers on any topic, and vice versa. Even if each side thinks the others' view is repugnant, it doesn't make a difference to a discussion about transfer payments for municipal infrastructure. WLC's views on the Old Testament have nothing to do with the proposed debate topic. Using it as an excuse not to debate is a ridiculous smokescreen thrown up by Dawkins.

Also, it's not like WLC is preaching that we should be committing modern day genocide or anything. He is talking about the morality of events that occurred thousands of years ago. Ultimately, Dawkins may think that WLC's views are repugnant, but that is only because he doesn't believe in a God (and maybe because he's never met a caananite). If you work from the assumptions that WLC is working from ie. God exists, God ordered the attack, and an afterlife exists where any innocents among them would receive eternal bliss in heaven at the cost of transient pain, then the analysis changes a lot. Now, I reject those premises myself, but working from those premises the whole thing actually is consistent. Especially, since God could easily judge the caananites more leniently in the afterlife than he otherwise would have on account of ending their lives early and taking away their opportunity to "turn from their wicked ways" later in life. We couldn't possibly know the answer to that.

Either way, I'm not going to address your other reasons because those aren't the ones that Dawkins uses to avoid the debate. Dawkins just puts his tail between his legs and tries to distract people's attention from the fact that he was too much of a coward to accept a challenge.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-02-2014, 10:34 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 12:09 AM)morondog Wrote:  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 argument is only meant to show that a "first cause" exists, nothing more. It's not until we start addressing other arguments that we start giving the "first cause" attributes and the name "God". It isn't a special escape route. Just looking at this particular argument, there is still the possibility that the "first cause" has none of the attributes normally attributed to God (the argument doesn't even get to the point of talking about whether the first cause is sentient or intelligent). Calling it an "escape route for God" is jumping ahead in the analysis and rejecting this argument based on the conclusions of following ones.

I definitely have never seen God (unless you look at it in a broad Spinoza type sense where the universe is part of God). I leave open the possibility that an infinite universe could conceivably be a solution to the problem, too, but I simply find the "first cause" explanation to be the more likely option.

(05-02-2014 12:09 AM)morondog Wrote:  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

Agreed, and I appreciate the sentiment.

(05-02-2014 09:04 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  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

I partially responded to this issue above.

It may be that the problem is the term "special pleading" gets thrown about in a couple of different ways. I still don't think it applies based on my previous comments; however, your comment raises an interesting point with your statement that, "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."

Say you use the premise the way you have stated it (which was not the way I stated it) "everything has a cause". That premise has to have a "special pleading" exception or else life would not exist. Whether that pleading is, "an infinite regress of causes and effects is possible" or "a first cause started the cause and effect chain" is the debate, but either of those requires a "special pleading" because either one requires an exemption from the premise that "everything has a cause". If we just reject both of those possibilities based on being "special pleadings" then we are left with no possible solutions to the question of how we could possibly exist (like I say, unless I am missing a third option). So, at least one of the "special pleadings" then becomes necessary as long as you are comfortable with the assumption that "we exist". The question then only becomes, "which special pleading is more likely?"

If you want to formulate the issue in that manner, sure, but it still removes "special pleading" as an answer to the cosmological argument and simply replaces it with "which special pleading is the most likely solution to the question of our existence?"
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes lookingforanswers's post
05-02-2014, 12:09 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
@lookingforanswers:

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.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like RobbyPants's post
05-02-2014, 12:15 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 12:09 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  @lookingforanswers:

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.

Don't be silly.

He's defined it that way.

It's air-tight.

CHECKMATE, ATHEISTS.

... this is my signature!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes cjlr's post
05-02-2014, 01:25 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 12:09 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  @lookingforanswers:

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.

Hmmm, I'm a little confused. If we reject infinite regress, how does the universe being ever-existent solve the problem? I may need some clarification, but I don't see how an ever-existent universe can act as a first cause.

I'm interested in the concept you present, but I don't know if I understand how it works.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-02-2014, 01:41 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 10:34 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(05-02-2014 12:09 AM)morondog Wrote:  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 argument is only meant to show that a "first cause" exists, nothing more. It's not until we start addressing other arguments that we start giving the "first cause" attributes and the name "God". It isn't a special escape route. Just looking at this particular argument, there is still the possibility that the "first cause" has none of the attributes normally attributed to God (the argument doesn't even get to the point of talking about whether the first cause is sentient or intelligent). Calling it an "escape route for God" is jumping ahead in the analysis and rejecting this argument based on the conclusions of following ones.
Um. But I don't think that the argument succeeds in showing that a first cause exists... For my benefit, could you lay it out one more time. In point form like this:
1. Everything that exists and has a beginning must have a cause.
2. The universe exists and has a beginning.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause which exists.
4. That cause may or may not have a beginning.
5. If the cause has a beginning then it must have a cause too.
6. If the chain continues infinitely then BANANA. Therefore the chain does not continue infinitely.
7. Therefore there must be a first cause or a BANANA.
8. That first cause or BANANA is what we call God.

I gave it my best effort, feel free to modify Wink

Quote:I definitely have never seen God (unless you look at it in a broad Spinoza type sense where the universe is part of God). I leave open the possibility that an infinite universe could conceivably be a solution to the problem, too, but I simply find the "first cause" explanation to be the more likely option.
More likely implies a probability evaluation ? Or is it just a feeling ? For me it just seems a bit far fetched...

*Especially* the bit about God being intelligent. Intelligence is a human attribute. If there is creator out there... it *completely* beyond our ken, so much that apply attribute like intelligence to creator is like fricken *bacteria* having an opinion on the benevolent nature of the Sun. *People* used to worship the burning light in the sky and think it was intelligent too.

We'll love you just the way you are
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.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes morondog's post
05-02-2014, 01:43 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 01:25 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Hmmm, I'm a little confused. If we reject infinite regress, how does the universe being ever-existent solve the problem? I may need some clarification, but I don't see how an ever-existent universe can act as a first cause.

I'm interested in the concept you present, but I don't know if I understand how it works.

What I'm getting at is this: so, we'll reject infinite regression. If this is the case, we are assuming something started everything, basing this on what we've seen thus far around us. If we assume the thing that started the universe if God, that begs the question "What caused God?

Since we're not going infinite regression here, I assume the answer isn't "God's dad", or something, because, what would have caused him. So, you will have to give God some arbitrary qualities (such as being "timeless" or "eternal", or whatever) to solve this problem. There are two unanswered questions with this approach:

1) Why (or even, how) is God timeless? Just because you say so? Asserting something, even if it helps your argument, doesn't make it true.

2) Why couldn't the universe simply be timeless, instead? Why does whatever event that seeded this whole thing have to be God? For sake of this argument, all "God" is, is a means of explaining an otherwise unexplained phenomenon.

Does that make more sense? If not, what part am I not being clear on?


Also, on a side note, "I don't know" is a perfectly valid answer to the first cause argument. It's not like any of us can observe the beginning of the universe, and there's no evidence that God exists that doesn't require you to assume he exists in the first place.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RobbyPants's post
05-02-2014, 01:56 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
What Mr Pants has done, is propose an *alternative* explanation which *also* fits the premises of the first cause argument. He's said "OK, I'll take it as given that there must be some kind of first cause".

The question is now, *why* do you choose your intelligent God explanation over his Universe explanation ?

Note that he's not saying that his Universe explanation is correct, but you *are* claiming that your God explanation is at least *more likely* (your words, and to be fair you said only that *you* find it more likely). We want to know why you think that it is more likely, out of the myriad other explanations.

We'll love you just the way you are
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.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes morondog's post
05-02-2014, 02:20 PM (This post was last modified: 05-02-2014 02:23 PM by RobbyPants.)
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 01:56 PM)morondog Wrote:  What Mr Pants has done, is propose an *alternative* explanation which *also* fits the premises of the first cause argument. He's said "OK, I'll take it as given that there must be some kind of first cause".

The question is now, *why* do you choose your intelligent God explanation over his Universe explanation ?

Note that he's not saying that his Universe explanation is correct, but you *are* claiming that your God explanation is at least *more likely* (your words, and to be fair you said only that *you* find it more likely). We want to know why you think that it is more likely, out of the myriad other explanations.

Thanks for paraphrasing it.

(Heh. On a side note, it's been a while since I was called "Mr. Pants". This was actually suggested at my wedding rehearsal ten years ago for how my wife and I wanted to be introduced after we were pronounced husband and wife: Mr. and Mrs. The Pants.)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RobbyPants's post
05-02-2014, 02:24 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 02:20 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Thanks for paraphrasing it.

Thanks for not bein' annoyed Smile I realised afterwards that it might have been a bit rude to explain some guy who's standing *right there* Tongue

We'll love you just the way you are
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.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: