The go a little easy on theists thread
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06-02-2014, 11:46 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 11:06 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(06-02-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I guess I would only rephrase the word "assumption" to "educated guess"...it still doesn't make it right, but I don't consider it pulled out of thin air either.

Allow me to put "assume" in context. I mean that in terms of assuming that there is an eternal cause one step ahead ahead of the universe, and also that the cause is "god". I mean, assuming the universe is eternal is also an assumption. I'm curious why do you consider the concept of God to be not "out of thin air" in the same way that assuming the universe being eternal wouldn't also be "out of thin air"?


What I'm getting at is, you need to assume God exists in the first place to be able to use him as a seed for the first cause. Otherwise, you're leaving the cause itself so nebulous as to be meaningless other than "it started everything". Does that make more sense, or am I missing something?


My guess? An infantile need (that he probably doesn't even realize he has) to anthropomorphize it.

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06-02-2014, 11:49 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 11:23 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  
(06-02-2014 11:19 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Just because a belief is untrue does not make it worthy of mockery.

Really?

Think about it in any other topic. Do you mock people's views on how to approach a problem at work? Do you mock people's views that their sports team is better than yours? Do you mock people's views on which movie deserved to win the Oscar? Do you mock people's views on fashion that differ from yours? Do you mock people's political views because you disagree?

You may be right in all of those situations, but if you are mocking all those beliefs just because you disagree with them you may, in fact, just be an asshole.
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06-02-2014, 12:09 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 11:49 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(06-02-2014 11:23 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Really?

Think about it in any other topic. Do you mock people's views on how to approach a problem at work? Do you mock people's views that their sports team is better than yours? Do you mock people's views on which movie deserved to win the Oscar? Do you mock people's views on fashion that differ from yours? Do you mock people's political views because you disagree?

You may be right in all of those situations, but if you are mocking all those beliefs just because you disagree with them you may, in fact, just be an asshole.


You said Belief that is Untrue............ should not be mocked.
I'm pretty sure they should be mocked. Look to your own words to see what I actually addressed.

As for making fun of who thinks what should have won the Oscar for best film - those are opinions. And yes opinions get mocked all the time. By anyone.

And No - not all who mock this or that are necessarily assholes. You need a broader scope of the world, my friend.

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06-02-2014, 01:00 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 11:40 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Just briefly, if the first cause had no cause of it's own, it would have to be around for infinity before the start of the universe. It couldn't be a transient cause, because then it would require it's own cause (and, therefore, not be a first cause).

This is where my first assumption comes in. I admit a weakness here because this analysis does require me to think in terms of time (ie. something happening before something else), and it certainly is possible (if not likely) that the first cause would exist outside of time. That having been said, I use the assumption simply because I have no way to conceive of anything outside of time. Anyways, returning to the analysis...

I'm not going to assert this as the true reason, but as a way of saying it might be possible in the strictest sense of the word.

From my understanding, really dense things like black holes affect space and time. I've heard people suggest that the singularity was dense enough (infinitely dense?) that there was no time before it. Effectively, it would have been the beginning.

Now, it's a crazy concept that is hard to conceptualize. Similarly hard as picturing an intelligent entity that created everything at some random point. What was going on before that point? I think either approach suffers from the same "it's ridiculously unfathomable" problem.


(06-02-2014 11:40 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Anyways, like I say, I'm not 100% certain, and I have pointed out a couple of the issues that I have identified that are, in my opinion, potential question marks. I'm not trying to convince you I'm right, but that is the general outline of the analysis that I use to consider it to be an "educated guess" as opposed to a simple "assumption".

No, I get that. If you were to ask me my official response to how this all started, it would be "I don't know". It's a perfectly valid response. It's not like we can directly observe it, or anything. Wink
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06-02-2014, 01:07 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 10:11 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(05-02-2014 09:49 PM)WindyCityJazz Wrote:  In post number 75 of this thread, you said "Since I got here, all I see is a bunch of closed-mindedness and people who are blinded by their personal prejudices (whether it be arrogance, anger at organized religion, etc)." That sounds like every other creationist that comes onto this forum and complains about the arguments that atheists make against a god.

You do not have to accept every argument given on here. However, when you call Dawkins a coward, a hack, and a sorry excuse for a scientist, while praising William Lane Craig, it comes off as reeking of an angry Christian claiming that the creationist side is the one that wins debates, while scientists are hacks. I'm not saying that is your intention, but it certainly came across that way to me.

I think the problem with the "where did the universe come from?" and "where did the creator come from?" is misunderstood. "Where did the creator come from?" is merely a response to the creationist claim. Atheists, on the other hand, aren't claiming anything. We freely admit that we don't yet know the answer to the question of "Where did the universe come from?". The thing is, we don't bullshit ourselves into thinking that we do. It is far more mature to admit that you don't know an answer to a question than to bullshit yourself into thinking that you do. THAT is the point! Saying "The universe was created, but God has always existed" is a completely hypocritical statement by creationists, and that's why we point it out. We don't claim that the universe has always existed. We simply admit the fact that we don't know the answer to that question yet. You claim that people are nor listening to your point, but you are the one not listening to our point in the matter. Several atheists have already pointed this out, but you keep ignoring that and claim the atheists are using the "where did your God come from?" as their proof. You simply skip over this and accuse atheists of using that question as their stance. We have not found any proof for the existence of a god, or anything supernatural. Religious people want to say that their claim is automatically true even though there is no evidence for it. They simply turn around and say, "Well, you don't know the answer to the question of the origins of the universe, therefore we are automatically right!"

As I said in an example in an earlier thread, this is like police coming to a murder scene and not knowing who had killed the man that was murdered. A random man walks up to them and says:"That man was killed by the evil god Loki!"
Police: "Do you have any proof that this evil god named Loki exists, let alone that he killed this man?"
Man: "No, but you don't know who killed him, so my claim is just as good as yours or anybody else's until you prove otherwise!"

Does that man's claim have credibility, even though he has no proof? If the murderer is never found, does that make the man who made the claim automatically right?

See, that's exactly the situation here. Creationists are saying "We have no proof of this, but you have no proof otherwise, so we are right and you are wrong and that's all there is to it!"

I apologize for my comment in post #75, I let my emotions get the best of me for a second. I was a little pissed off by Vosur at the time, but you will notice that Vosur and I made nice shortly thereafter. If you look at my other statements on multiple threads I have in fact given a lot of credit to the atheists on this forum (both specific atheists and more general comments) for making good points, arguing cleverly, and generally being quite civil. You still have your trolls like Taqqiya Mockingbird (who I have been basically ignoring) and now EvolutionKills (who I'm planning to start ignoring), but I don't hold their stupidity and lack of civility against the rest of you, just as I hope that no one on here holds the ignorance and closed-mindedness of some who believe in a greater power against me.

As for your other points, while it may be 'mature' to admit that you don't know an answer, I don't agree that it is a good thing to stop trying to find an answer. I'll admit full well that I don't know that a creator exists 100%, I have only ever claimed that I find it more probable than not based on the evidence and arguments with which I have been provided to date.

To be fair, on your other point, you can't lump all the atheists on here together. Some of them are agnostic atheists and take the position that we don't know the answer. Some of them present themselves as stronger gnostic atheists who have the answer.

I have heard the point made about "what caused God" and have answered it multiple times. I certainly have never made the argument "we don't know, therefore God". In my arguments I have used the facts that are known, along with reasonable premises to get to the conclusion that a "first cause" must exist. I understand that my answer has generally not been accepted, but I understood that would likely be the case since I am on an atheist forum. If you went and presented your points on a theist forum you know they wouldn't be accepted, but that wouldn't make you wrong, and it wouldn't mean that you weren't listening to what they had to say. Intelligent people can reasonably disagree on things.

I'm not really trying to convince anyone on this forum that I'm right, I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of having the discussion and I pick up some interesting knowledge from hearing different perspectives than my own on these issues. If I hope to accomplish anything in arguing about the existence of a God (other than to potentially find some atheist argument I haven't heard before) my only hope would be to show that there is a rational basis for the belief (even if you don't agree I'm right) and that not all those who believe in the existence of a higher power are closed-minded nutbars.

Your burden of proof example works both ways. I understand your point...if I want to convince someone that a creator exists then I have the burden of proof. That having been said, the opposite is also true...if anyone on this page wants to convince me that a creator does not exist, or that it is foolish to believe that a creator exists, then they have the burden of proof.

I'm a lawyer, so allow me a courtroom example (I saw someone use a contract law example on another page, so I'll use that one): Two people enter into a contract. A buyer agrees to pay a supplier $1000 for a shipment of widgets. If the deal doesn't close as planned, who has the burden of proving their damages? The answer is: the plaintiff (ie. whoever makes the claim that they have suffered damages). The plaintiff may be the supplier who claims that the buyer stiffed him on payment, or it could be the buyer who claims that the goods were never delivered. The same analysis holds when it comes to who has to prove the existence and legitimacy of the contract in the first place. The person who has the burden of proof is the person who is relying on the contract. If the buyer wants to rely on that contract they can't simply say, "the seller has failed to prove that we didn't have a contract." But, similarly if the seller wants to rely on that contract he can't simply say, "the buyer has failed to prove that we didn't have a contract."

To translate this to your proposed scenario, the man who claims that Loki was the killer does have the burden to prove his claim. However, if the police officer said, "I don't believe you, I'm charging you with the murder." The police officer (or the Crown attorney) would then have the burden of proof that the man is the actual murderer.

I have heard some atheists say that those who believe in a creator always have the burden of proof because they are making the claim. I disagree. I think that whoever is trying to change the beliefs of the other has the burden of proof, whether it be atheist, deist or theist. If everyone is content to let everyone else believe what they believe, then no one has any burden. But, if you (or I) want to convince someone else to change their views, then you (or I) then bears the burden of proof.



First of all, I did not say that we should not search for the answer because we don't know where the universe came from. Did you even read my full post? I specifically said We freely admit that we don't YET know the answer to the question of "Where did the universe come from?" Go back and look at it.

No, it is not the burden of proof of atheists to disprove the existence of a god. You are making the claim, and we are saying "You need to show proof of that claim." You can't turn around and say, "Well, you have to disprove my claim!" We aren't claiming a damn thing. We only go by evidence. Why does the word EVIDENCE get completely ignored over and over again? Where...is...the...EVIDENCE?

I can go around making any bullshit claim I want that you can't disprove. I could say I was visited by 3 gods last night that told me they were the creators of the universe, and you couldn't disprove me. My claim doesn't deserve ANY credibility unless I can prove it. It is not the job of others to disprove it.

We are NOT trying to get you to change your views. You came here to supposedly look for answers, and the only thing you have done is state that you are a creationist and ask atheists to prove you wrong. We don't give a care what you believe, and we're not here to convert you. YOU came HERE, so don't try to turn it around on us and act like we're trying to convert you.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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06-02-2014, 02:07 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 03:49 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Hey Morondog, you are pretty close, I think I'd modify it to the following:

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. Either the chain must continue infinitely, or a cause must exist that had no beginning.
7. An infinite chain is impossible.
8. A first cause is possible.
9. Therefore, a first cause must exist that had no beginning.
These are the problems I have with your reasoning. Apologies for the long wait before I replied. All the bolded stuff is assumptions which I feel cannot be evaluated easily or indeed even in principle for truth value. i.e. we don't know and as far as I can see we can't know if they are correct.

Basically because of that I chuck the whole argument as being unsound. Also not mentioned is the concept that time is a property of the universe. While I have no expertise to comment on that, certainly if it *is*, then to speak of a cause *before* the universe is difficult.

What I can say, the most I can accommodate deism, is that there's no real way to say that a deistic creator does not exist, but again, that goes to the level of that really, there's no real way to say that the universe was not constructed by fairies within the past 100 years, who meticulously crafted all the fossils and so forth, and fake history, just for a laugh.

Quote:For the sake of avoiding unnecessary aspects, I'll just stop there and leave out the part of naming the first cause, because the word 'God' is loaded and could be construed as a jump in logic.

Obviously, any one of these premises can be questioned. For instance, you may reject #7 and say that an infinite chain is not impossible, in which case you would be left with two conclusions which, at least theoretically, are possible and the question would be: which of the two options is more likely to be true. Either way, we are dealing in things that are beyond human comprehension (I don't think the existence of an infinite chain without a beginning is any more comprehensible to the human mind than the idea of a cause that does not require a cause), accordingly, we may never know the answer for certain (at least in this life)
Ja Smile You get it... so... I dunno. Basically IMO you have to conceed that your deity is kinda just you wishing that it was true, and maybe it is true, but as we've discussed and as you say, the required knowledge is lacking and I certainly believe we cannot test for it, it's an unfalsifiable (and therefore scientifically useless) idea...

Um yeah... not that I wanna bash your beliefs, but you put forward an argument *for* them... and I can't resist picking away at stuff like that...

What I'm interested in now is, do you agree with me... or do you feel that this argument (which AFAIK goes by the name the Kalaam cosmological argument) still has merit ?

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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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06-02-2014, 02:35 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 01:07 PM)WindyCityJazz Wrote:  No, it is not the burden of proof of atheists to disprove the existence of a god. You are making the claim, and we are saying "You need to show proof of that claim." You can't turn around and say, "Well, you have to disprove my claim!" We aren't claiming a damn thing. We only go by evidence. Why does the word EVIDENCE get completely ignored over and over again? Where...is...the...EVIDENCE?

I can go around making any bullshit claim I want that you can't disprove. I could say I was visited by 3 gods last night that told me they were the creators of the universe, and you couldn't disprove me. My claim doesn't deserve ANY credibility unless I can prove it. It is not the job of others to disprove it.

We are NOT trying to get you to change your views. You came here to supposedly look for answers, and the only thing you have done is state that you are a creationist and ask atheists to prove you wrong. We don't give a care what you believe, and we're not here to convert you. YOU came HERE, so don't try to turn it around on us and act like we're trying to convert you.

I never claimed that it is the burden of atheists to prove the non-existence of God...unless you are one of those atheists who tries to convert non-atheists. If you are not, then great.

If you are an atheist who tries to convert others then you are making a claim. You are claiming, "Your beliefs are wrong", or "Your beliefs do not have any credibility". Either of those is a positive statement. Thus, if you are asserting it, and you have the burden of proof. Religious people aren't making a "claim" just because they believe. They are only making a "claim" if they try to tell you that you should believe it.

If a Jehovah's witness shows up at your door to convert you they have the burden of proof. But, my religious mother doesn't have the burden of proving anything to you just because of what she chooses to believe.

If you want to make up silly crap about me then go ahead, but if you read any of my posts then you know you are full of crap. I have never once stated anything on these forums without being prepared to back it up with reasons and evidence (and considering that my beliefs differ from most on these forums I have backed them up continuously). I certainly have never come on here asserting something with no support and asking atheists to prove me wrong.

I apologized in my last post and was trying to be nice. I'm a little surprised at your accusations and the harshness of your response.

If you take a look through the forum rules you'll find this, "This forum isn't just for atheists. It is for anyone - no matter what race, religion, sex, sexual preference, or anything else. Anyone is welcome to participate and express their opinions." As far as I can tell, I'm welcome on this forum, too, regardless of my beliefs.
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06-02-2014, 02:41 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 02:35 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  "This forum isn't just for atheists. It is for anyone - no matter what race, religion, sex, sexual preference, or anything else. Anyone is welcome to participate and express their opinions." As far as I can tell, I'm welcome on this forum, too, regardless of my beliefs.
You are, but... it's kinda... more an assertion of your right to be here than a guarantee that you'll be treated nice. It's the net, it's up to you to look out for yourself...

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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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06-02-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 02:07 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(05-02-2014 03:49 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Hey Morondog, you are pretty close, I think I'd modify it to the following:

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. Either the chain must continue infinitely, or a cause must exist that had no beginning.
7. An infinite chain is impossible.
8. A first cause is possible.
9. Therefore, a first cause must exist that had no beginning.
These are the problems I have with your reasoning. Apologies for the long wait before I replied. All the bolded stuff is assumptions which I feel cannot be evaluated easily or indeed even in principle for truth value. i.e. we don't know and as far as I can see we can't know if they are correct.

Basically because of that I chuck the whole argument as being unsound. Also not mentioned is the concept that time is a property of the universe. While I have no expertise to comment on that, certainly if it *is*, then to speak of a cause *before* the universe is difficult.

What I can say, the most I can accommodate deism, is that there's no real way to say that a deistic creator does not exist, but again, that goes to the level of that really, there's no real way to say that the universe was not constructed by fairies within the past 100 years, who meticulously crafted all the fossils and so forth, and fake history, just for a laugh.

Quote:For the sake of avoiding unnecessary aspects, I'll just stop there and leave out the part of naming the first cause, because the word 'God' is loaded and could be construed as a jump in logic.

Obviously, any one of these premises can be questioned. For instance, you may reject #7 and say that an infinite chain is not impossible, in which case you would be left with two conclusions which, at least theoretically, are possible and the question would be: which of the two options is more likely to be true. Either way, we are dealing in things that are beyond human comprehension (I don't think the existence of an infinite chain without a beginning is any more comprehensible to the human mind than the idea of a cause that does not require a cause), accordingly, we may never know the answer for certain (at least in this life)
Ja Smile You get it... so... I dunno. Basically IMO you have to conceed that your deity is kinda just you wishing that it was true, and maybe it is true, but as we've discussed and as you say, the required knowledge is lacking and I certainly believe we cannot test for it, it's an unfalsifiable (and therefore scientifically useless) idea...

Um yeah... not that I wanna bash your beliefs, but you put forward an argument *for* them... and I can't resist picking away at stuff like that...

What I'm interested in now is, do you agree with me... or do you feel that this argument (which AFAIK goes by the name the Kalaam cosmological argument) still has merit ?

The way I classified it to RobbyPants is that my belief in a creator is essentially an "educated guess". I think the argument does have merit, but from that perspective. It doesn't conclusively prove the existence of a first cause largely for the reasons you stated. A couple of the premises are ones that we can't know for sure. Obviously, your acceptance of the whole of the argument has to do with your acceptance of the premises.

I mentioned this to RobbyPants, but the concept of existence outside of time is definitely a problem with the argument, and probably one of the more major problems that I have identified. The acceptance of temporal time and effect is really just because I have no way to conceive of anything outside of time. Certainly, that does not mean that it is right, but it is the reason that I formulate my argument in that way.

Essentially, the reason for premise #7 is the same: I reject the possibility of a cause and effect chain without a beginning because I can't conceive of it, and because there is no precedent for it in the observable universe. Obviously, that does not mean that it cannot be the case. It could be true and be beyond my understanding.

I guess for me I tend to think more like a lawyer than a scientist...probably because I am a lawyer, lol. In a civil case, once the arguments and evidence have been presented the jury is asked to make a decision based on the balance of probabilities (ie. is something more likely than not). 51% sure gets you over balance of probabilities, but 50% does not (in that case the tie goes to the defendant). That is where the scale of justice symbol comes from (ie. you put the evidence on each side and see which one tips the scales).

Imagining that the existence of a creator is a civil court case, both sides get to present their evidence and arguments. On the deist side the cosmological argument is presented (I actually have never read Kalaam himself, so I hesitate to call it the Kalaam cosmological argument). The premises for the argument are not subject to a scientific level of proof, just to that balance of probabilities level. The atheist perspective goes on the other side; however, for the most part that seems to be the agnostic atheist perspective of (we don't/can't know).

For me (as my one and only jury member) the cosmological argument is sufficient to put myself over that 51% level and tip the scales. I may not know the answer for sure, but if I were on a jury and I had to make my best decision on the available evidence and arguments I would rule in favour of deism.

Now, does that mean I'm necessarily right? Nope. Does that mean I can satisfy a scientific level of proof? Nope. But, I'm not a scientist and that's not the standard I apply. And, since my beliefs have no negative consequences (ie. having to blow myself up for the cause or commit ritual suicide) and actually have positive consequences (ie. they provide me comfort, a basis for morality, etc), I am comfortable continuing to believe them.

Oh yeah, and, no worries about picking at my arguments. Part of the reason that I'm on here is to challenge my own beliefs and the basis on which I believe them. If I didn't mind having my beliefs questioned I'd be silly to come on to these forums and put them forward, lol.
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06-02-2014, 04:42 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 02:41 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(06-02-2014 02:35 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  "This forum isn't just for atheists. It is for anyone - no matter what race, religion, sex, sexual preference, or anything else. Anyone is welcome to participate and express their opinions." As far as I can tell, I'm welcome on this forum, too, regardless of my beliefs.
You are, but... it's kinda... more an assertion of your right to be here than a guarantee that you'll be treated nice. It's the net, it's up to you to look out for yourself...

Lol, yeah, I know. I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself.
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