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30-01-2014, 02:12 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
Looking for other florida keys residents...
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30-01-2014, 03:02 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(30-01-2014 02:12 PM)kimmi Wrote:  Looking for other florida keys residents...

Because abandoned threads from long ago are where Florida Keys residents hang out...

Welcome Smile I don't live in Florida Keys. But I saw in a documentary that you have alligators there.

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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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31-01-2014, 04:23 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-04-2013 08:55 AM)Abdul Alhazred Wrote:  I assume there are some theists here?

Even the most hard headed rationalists among us get through the day without always demanding absolute proof of everything. Right?

Challenge to theists: Never mind absolute proof, give us some reason to suppose that the existence of God might be a plausible inference.

Warning: "Things we don't know" is not a reason to believe made up shit, so don't try and pull that one.

Any takers?

Can't believe you went 5 pages without anyone replying to this. I consider myself to be a classical deist, not a theist but I'll see what I can do.

First of all, I should preface this, I assume the challenge is to give a plausible reason why a God (ie. a "first cause" creator) exists, not any particular religion's God. If you want a proof of some particular religion's God, you may want to ask someone other than me.

Anyways, the argument that I have always thought to be the most convincing reason to believe in the existence of a creator is the cosmological argument, which can be simply stated like so:

Part #1
Premise #1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
Premise #2. The universe began to exist
Therefore, the universe had to have a cause

Part #2
Premise #1. The universe had to have a cause
Premise #2. An infinite regress of causes and effects is impossible
Therefore, there had to be a first cause which did not require a cause.

Now, there are other forms of the argument, but this is the one that I like to use.

The main premise that I have heard from atheists is an objection to the premise that the "universe began to exist". The evidence that the universe began to exist is the universe's expansion, stemming from the big bang theory. I assume I don't need to argue too much to establish the big bang theory, so I'll skip that. The important part of the big bang is that the theory establishes that the universe cannot be ever-existent. It had a starting point a finite period of time in the past at the point of the big bang.

There was a theory a while ago that the big bang didn't preclude the universe being ever-existent, because of a conception called the big crush. The idea was that the universe was cyclical; it would expand to a point and then contract. Once it contracted to the size of a singularity (the big crush) it would then expand again (the big bang). I believe that this theory has been generally rejected by the scientific community, due to the fact that, 1. There is no evidence supporting the idea that the universe can/will contract (the expansion is accelerating, not decelerating), and 2. All the attempted models of such a universe turned out to be unstable (so, an infinite cycle of those expansions and contractions could not occur).

Anyways, unless you have an issue with any of the other premises, the result of the argument is that a "first cause" has to exist. That first cause has to have a few necessary qualities, which I will go through quickly:

1. The first cause has to have existed for an infinite period of time before the existence of the universe (assuming that time actually has any meaning outside of the universe).

2. The first cause has to be capable of existing outside our universe (because obviously it couldn't be in the universe before creating it).

3. The first cause has to be an "agent" (ie. capable of free-thought). The first cause existed for an infinite amount of time before the existence of the universe, but the universe was created a finite time ago, so the question becomes: What changed such that the "first cause" created the universe? The "first cause" was there for infinity before creating the universe, so what changed to cause it to create the universe? The answer seems to have to be that the "first cause" is a "free agent", something that could choose to create or not create. If the "first cause" was not a free agent then there is no reason for it to have created the universe a finite time ago, as opposed to creating the universe an infinite number of different finite times ago. (Remember, you cannot rely on an external stimulus to explain this, as this would cause another infinite regress problem, ie. where did that external stimulus come from)

4. Obviously, if the above holds true, then that creator would also have to be unimaginably powerful (to have created a universe) and unimaginably intelligent (to have created a stable universe that hasn't collapsed in on itself and is actually capable of sustaining life).

Anyways, I hope that lays it out well enough. I'll just briefly address a couple of the common atheist responses and why they are invalid.

First of all, I often get the response of "what caused God", or "why does God get to be exempt from needing a cause." The problem with that response is that the creator in the above argument is not a premise, it is a conclusion. The problem is everyone has a pre-conceived notion of God, based on the beliefs of all the religions that we hear about in the everyday world. So, I think that when atheists hear the argument, they think of the God they learned about when they were a kid in Sunday School and think, "why does he get to be exempt." Try to forget any pre-conceived notions and imagine that you have never heard the word God before. This argument doesn't talk about a big dude with a beard sitting on a cloud, it doesn't require the creator to be morally perfect, it doesn't require that he intervene in the lives of humans or listen to our prayers. So, don't think of that pre-conceived notion of God in your head and say, "why does he get to be exempt". Instead, remember that the creator in the argument is the conclusion of the argument, not a premise. You cannot logically attack an argument without going after either a premise or the logical progression from the premises to the conclusion. The objection of "why does God get to be exempt" is an attack on the conclusion directly, and doesn't actually address the argument itself.

Second, for some reason a lot of atheists like using the phrase "God of the Gaps" and somehow think that the phrase has a magical power to counter an argument without attacking the premises or the logic. The fact of the matter is that it doesn't work here. "God of the Gaps" is a fallacy that applies to things like "I can't explain how Sally's cancer went away, therefore God did it." The cosmological argument is a completely different animal. The reason is this:

The example of Sally's cancer can essentially be put into argument form as follows:

1. I can't explain how Sally's cancer went away
2. If something cannot be explained then God did it
Therefore, God cured Sally's cancer.

The argument obviously has a problematic premise. Premise #2 essentially assumes the conclusion. The difference in the cosmological argument is that the second premise above is not there. The cosmological argument does not rely on an absence of knowledge to prove anything, it relies on premises that, based on our current level of scientific understanding, are true. Interestingly, the term "God of the Gaps" was a term coined by Christian Theologians, not atheists, to point out the fallacy of relying on things like Sally's cancer cure for God's existence.

I hope my response satisfies your request.
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31-01-2014, 04:35 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
lookingforanswers finds a zombie thread that gets reopened by some weird quirk and trots out his tired argument that has been posted many times before by himself and others and expects some action.

I suggest he not get any. Well I did this once.
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31-01-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-04-2013 09:36 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Proof only applies to mathematics. Smartass

What I'd like to see is a demonstration that one of these two following things does not occur:

Theist projecting ego as identity of god.
Theist regurgitating spoon-fed ecclesiastical bullshit.

But those two things always seem to happen. For the most part, the theist seems incapable of thinking for himself, for skeptical analysis of his own thought process; and even when it does happen, the Rationalizer kicks in, and the theist disappears into his own navel in a whirlpool of circular logic.

And then there's the problem of being me. I remember being this proto-humanoid dying of freight in recognition of what I was looking at as being "the creator of the universe." Which is to say, why the fuck can I stand before Almighty God, and call him a motherfucking douchebag, yet they cannot? Can not even conceive of such a thing?

Keep coming up with the same answer. Ego. I mean, "motherfucking douchebag" cannot even apply to "creator of the universe;" but it sure seems to label the theist pretty well.

But then again, there's another problem with me. I have seen Void, and embraced it. I can hardly wait to end. Big Grin

Re
"For the most part, the theist seems incapable of thinking for himself, for skeptical analysis of his own thought process; and even when it does happen, the Rationalizer kicks in, and the theist disappears into his own navel in a whirlpool of circular logic."

So true.

The essence of religion is the power of priests which is maintained by the suppression of thought.
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31-01-2014, 04:50 PM (This post was last modified: 31-01-2014 04:55 PM by Phil Hill.)
Re: RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(31-01-2014 04:23 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(06-04-2013 08:55 AM)Abdul Alhazred Wrote:  I assume there are some theists here?

Even the most hard headed rationalists among us get through the day without always demanding absolute proof of everything. Right?

Challenge to theists: Never mind absolute proof, give us some reason to suppose that the existence of God might be a plausible inference.

Warning: "Things we don't know" is not a reason to believe made up shit, so don't try and pull that one.

Any takers?

Can't believe you went 5 pages without anyone replying to this. I consider myself to be a classical deist, not a theist but I'll see what I can do.

First of all, I should preface this, I assume the challenge is to give a plausible reason why a God (ie. a "first cause" creator) exists, not any particular religion's God. If you want a proof of some particular religion's God, you may want to ask someone other than me.

Anyways, the argument that I have always thought to be the most convincing reason to believe in the existence of a creator is the cosmological argument, which can be simply stated like so:

Part #1
Premise #1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
Premise #2. The universe began to exist
Therefore, the universe had to have a cause

Part #2
Premise #1. The universe had to have a cause
Premise #2. An infinite regress of causes and effects is impossible
Therefore, there had to be a first cause which did not require a cause.

Now, there are other forms of the argument, but this is the one that I like to use.

The main premise that I have heard from atheists is an objection to the premise that the "universe began to exist". The evidence that the universe began to exist is the universe's expansion, stemming from the big bang theory. I assume I don't need to argue too much to establish the big bang theory, so I'll skip that. The important part of the big bang is that the theory establishes that the universe cannot be ever-existent. It had a starting point a finite period of time in the past at the point of the big bang.

There was a theory a while ago that the big bang didn't preclude the universe being ever-existent, because of a conception called the big crush. The idea was that the universe was cyclical; it would expand to a point and then contract. Once it contracted to the size of a singularity (the big crush) it would then expand again (the big bang). I believe that this theory has been generally rejected by the scientific community, due to the fact that, 1. There is no evidence supporting the idea that the universe can/will contract (the expansion is accelerating, not decelerating), and 2. All the attempted models of such a universe turned out to be unstable (so, an infinite cycle of those expansions and contractions could not occur).

Anyways, unless you have an issue with any of the other premises, the result of the argument is that a "first cause" has to exist. That first cause has to have a few necessary qualities, which I will go through quickly:

1. The first cause has to have existed for an infinite period of time before the existence of the universe (assuming that time actually has any meaning outside of the universe).

2. The first cause has to be capable of existing outside our universe (because obviously it couldn't be in the universe before creating it).

3. The first cause has to be an "agent" (ie. capable of free-thought). The first cause existed for an infinite amount of time before the existence of the universe, but the universe was created a finite time ago, so the question becomes: What changed such that the "first cause" created the universe? The "first cause" was there for infinity before creating the universe, so what changed to cause it to create the universe? The answer seems to have to be that the "first cause" is a "free agent", something that could choose to create or not create. If the "first cause" was not a free agent then there is no reason for it to have created the universe a finite time ago, as opposed to creating the universe an infinite number of different finite times ago. (Remember, you cannot rely on an external stimulus to explain this, as this would cause another infinite regress problem, ie. where did that external stimulus come from)

4. Obviously, if the above holds true, then that creator would also have to be unimaginably powerful (to have created a universe) and unimaginably intelligent (to have created a stable universe that hasn't collapsed in on itself and is actually capable of sustaining life).

Anyways, I hope that lays it out well enough. I'll just briefly address a couple of the common atheist responses and why they are invalid.

First of all, I often get the response of "what caused God", or "why does God get to be exempt from needing a cause." The problem with that response is that the creator in the above argument is not a premise, it is a conclusion. The problem is everyone has a pre-conceived notion of God, based on the beliefs of all the religions that we hear about in the everyday world. So, I think that when atheists hear the argument, they think of the God they learned about when they were a kid in Sunday School and think, "why does he get to be exempt." Try to forget any pre-conceived notions and imagine that you have never heard the word God before. This argument doesn't talk about a big dude with a beard sitting on a cloud, it doesn't require the creator to be morally perfect, it doesn't require that he intervene in the lives of humans or listen to our prayers. So, don't think of that pre-conceived notion of God in your head and say, "why does he get to be exempt". Instead, remember that the creator in the argument is the conclusion of the argument, not a premise. You cannot logically attack an argument without going after either a premise or the logical progression from the premises to the conclusion. The objection of "why does God get to be exempt" is an attack on the conclusion directly, and doesn't actually address the argument itself.

Second, for some reason a lot of atheists like using the phrase "God of the Gaps" and somehow think that the phrase has a magical power to counter an argument without attacking the premises or the logic. The fact of the matter is that it doesn't work here. "God of the Gaps" is a fallacy that applies to things like "I can't explain how Sally's cancer went away, therefore God did it." The cosmological argument is a completely different animal. The reason is this:

The example of Sally's cancer can essentially be put into argument form as follows:

1. I can't explain how Sally's cancer went away
2. If something cannot be explained then God did it
Therefore, God cured Sally's cancer.

The argument obviously has a problematic premise. Premise #2 essentially assumes the conclusion. The difference in the cosmological argument is that the second premise above is not there. The cosmological argument does not rely on an absence of knowledge to prove anything, it relies on premises that, based on our current level of scientific understanding, are true. Interestingly, the term "God of the Gaps" was a term coined by Christian Theologians, not atheists, to point out the fallacy of relying on things like Sally's cancer cure for God's existence.

I hope my response satisfies your request.

I have a major problem with the KCA and it isn't the one you expect. It's that on the quantum level causality has no meaning. Causality is a macroscopic property so it doesn't apply. Further, not everything that begins to exist has a cause. Firstly, you can't make that claim without being omniscient yourself for the simple reason that none of us has seen "everything"come into existence. Second is an example of something uncaused for you. Take nuclear decay. Yes things decay according to defined half lives yet a half life is for a group of particles not an individual. There is no way to tell when any given particle will decay since it is uncaused. My third objection is because of the inability of deductive logic to prove anything. You see in deductive logic the conclusion is always embedded in the premises. Sorry but the KCA doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

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31-01-2014, 07:47 PM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(31-01-2014 04:23 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Premise #1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
Premise #2. The universe began to exist
Therefore, the universe had to have a cause

Premise #1 is still an assumption. What you know is that everything you've observed thus far has had a cause. You didn't observe the cause of the universe. You're assuming it has a cause like everything else in your premise, then you assert it in your conclusion.

That's called begging the question. It's a form of circular reasoning.
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01-02-2014, 08:27 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
.





NOTlookingforanswers.





The people in this forum -- including myself -- have already destroyed your "cosmological argument" bullshit many times over in the very short time you have been here. Spamming it ad nauseum all over the boards and in necro threads isn't going to make it or you any less bullshit.


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You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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02-02-2014, 08:51 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
Argh, already discussed this enough with you Robby, Jah and Taqiyya (ok, well I didn't actually discuss it with you Taqiyya because you are the equivalent of talking to a fundy Christian...state your conclusion loudly enough and hopefully someone will accept it). Frankly, I didn't notice that the thread was necro'ed and I saw someone looking for an explanation that I could provide. If you guys disagree, fine I've heard your side of the argument and I find it to be as unconvincing (or more unconvincing) that you seem to find mine. If you don't want to read it fine, you never had to and I wasn't talking to you, anyways.

Robby, of course we can't know 100% that premise #1 is true, just like we can't know 100% that any premise is true (for all I know the computer I am typing on doesn't exist and I live in the Matrix), but we have thousands of years of human observation by billions of people that support that premise. Also, the reverse of premise #1, "that things can begin to exist without out a cause" is one that I'm willing to guess you would reject in any other circumstance except this one. If someone showed you something and told you that it spontaneously appeared out of nothing you would do one of three things 1. you would consider that person to be mistaken (probably delusional), 2. you would consider that person to be lying or, 3. you would look for a scientific explanation for how that thing began to exist (as you would assume that the apparently spontaneous effect must have had a cause). If you really have any interest in trying to make sure that your beliefs are rooted in objectively rational thought, try identifying your prejudices (everyone, myself included, has prejudices that affect how we reason things out) and think about whether you would hold the same belief in the absence of those prejudices. In this case, ask yourself, "Would I accept this premise if it wasn't presented in an argument about a deity?". I think that if you do that you will realize that if I was talking about a proof of the theory of gravity, evolution, etc, you would probably accept the premise, considering it is consistent with every human observation ever made.

Hey Phil, you are talking to me again, cool! I'm not sure what you mean by, "causality doesn't have any meaning at the quantum level." You may have to explain that one. I responded above to the issue of premise #1. Similarly, I don't know much about nuclear decay, but I have an extremely hard time believing that it is entirely uncaused. Do you really believe that nuclear decay happens spontaneously without any cause at all? Nothing in the environment around it makes a difference? Are you sure that the causal relationship isn't just something that science can't explain, yet, but eventually will be able to explain? And, on your third point, I don't really know how to even approach the objection that deductive logic can't prove anything. Seriously? Yes, you have to have accurate premises, but I'm a little confused here. How do you move from premises to conclusions except for by logic? And, if the premises are true does it matter if the conclusion is embedded in them? If the premises are true, then they are true, and a conclusion embedded therein would be true as well. I might be missing the point of your objection.
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02-02-2014, 09:38 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
@lookingforanswers Re: Cosmological Argument

Firstly, the argument that X has property Y (where 'X' is 'the universe' and 'Y' is 'requiring a cause') on the basis that some or all of X's parts have property Y is invalid due to the 'fallacy of composition'. It's easy to demonstrate this with an example.

P1: All atoms are invisible.
P2: I am made entirely out of atoms.
C1: Therefore, I am invisible.

Secondly, I'm unaware of anything that has ever begun to exist. Both we as humans and nature in general have never 'created' anything; all we have done is reassembling atoms and energy that already existed to begin with.

Thirdly, we don't, as of yet, know whether or not the universe began to exist; it's possible that we live in an oscillating universe that has always existed.

Finally, you appear to have deluded yourself into thinking that you have something new or insightful to offer; that is not the case. What you have done so far is regurgitating philosophical arguments that have been shown to be unsound decades, sometimes even centuries ago, all the while ignoring inconvenient responses on several occasions.

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