Theism's fatal flaw
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17-02-2015, 07:57 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(16-02-2015 08:16 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 07:43 PM)Chas Wrote:  I thought it clear that I meant knowledge about reality; apparently not.

A claim that a god or gods exist is a claim about the nature of reality.
Science is the only functional method we have for that kind of knowledge.

But what if certain questions about reality, are in some sense explored the same we consider questions about the moral of a story?

That has never yielded useful results.

Quote:One such question could be, why did religions develop?

This is well-trodden ground. Superstitions are misfirings of useful mental constructs, people use this for control of others.

Quote:In order to answer such a question, you would likely have to understand the sort of questions religions attempted to answer, you would have to engage religious scriptures, attempting to derive the meanings and purposes those writings were attempting to convey. You'd have to be attuned to the life of the communities in which these religious traditions belonged to.

I well understand what questions religions attempt to answer. They fail.

Quote:Other questions could be how has our moral imagination developed over time, the transitioning from religious to secular moral frames, and perceptions of reality.

Those are questions that can be answered scientifically.

Quote:These sort of questions involve the same sort of abstract thinking, involved in contemplating the meaning of a narrative.

They also require logical evidence-based thinking.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-02-2015, 08:57 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(16-02-2015 04:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(12-02-2015 01:50 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  A starting point must be undeniably true, since the rest of the hierarchy of the worldview is dependent upon its truth. If the starting point is at all questionable, then the rest will be at best questionable. "God" is not undeniably true. I can deny the existence of God without contradicting a single fact that is known to be true. So "God" as a starting point fails in this regard.

So basically the starting point, has to be one that meets the criteria of being scientifically rigorous, i.e. clearly defined terminologies, quantifiable, reproducible and, given to highly controlled experimental conditions. It has to hold up to the scrutiny of the scientific method, or else it wouldn't be justifiable? Does this sum it up?

No. We're not at the point of science yet. We're talking about the very foundations of knowledge. A proper starting point does not need to be proven. It is self evident and its truth is implicit in any proof. So the starting point would have to be true for there to be such a thing as science. It has to be undeniably true. To deny it would contradict a fundamental fact of reality which is directly observable. As I said, the concept existence, subsuming everything that exists is such a starting point. God, a consciousness which existed prior to any objects for it to be conscious of is not a proper starting point because it is not observable or provable. It is simply an arbitrary claim. Consciousness presupposes existence because it presupposes the question: consciousness of what?

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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17-02-2015, 09:04 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(16-02-2015 05:57 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 04:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  So basically the starting point, has to be one that meets the criteria of being scientifically rigorous, i.e. clearly defined terminologies, quantifiable, reproducible and, given to highly controlled experimental conditions. It has to hold up to the scrutiny of the scientific method, or else it wouldn't be justifiable? Does this sum it up?

There is no evidence for any gods, so making a god's existence the starting assumption is not logical.

Also, starting without that assumption leads to no contradictions.

By their own description of God, it is un-observable, incorporeal, supernatural and therefore neither provable or dis-provable. It is completely arbitrary. That's why it must be taken on faith. To start with the arbitrary is to start with nothing as your starting point. That's why we get the question: Where did everything come from?
If they weren't starting with nothing, then this question would not arise.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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17-02-2015, 10:43 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(17-02-2015 08:57 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  No. We're not at the point of science yet. We're talking about the very foundations of knowledge. A proper starting point does not need to be proven. It is self evident and its truth is implicit in any proof.

I would probably have to decipher the meaning of this using a series of examples.

I hold that my wife has never been unfaithful to me during the several years of our relationship, though I haven't combed through all her texts, her Facebook messages, confirmed her whereabout on every particular occasion, hired a private eye to investigate. I hold this to be true, through my own subjective evaluation.

Bob holds that life is nothing but sound and fury, signifying nothing, this belief is based on his subjective evaluation of life. His friend Adam on the other believes the opposite, based on his own perception of life, that there does seem to be some rhyme and reason for it, some sense of moral direction, as signifying something, rather than nothing. There seems to be some story here, one in which we’re all a part of, rather than a meaningless series of coincidences.

How does the role of self-evident truth apply here? Is the self-evident truth in regards to my wife, the fact that she exists? If so wouldn’t that mean the conclusions of Bob and Adam are also based on a self-evident truth, that life exists?
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17-02-2015, 11:46 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(17-02-2015 09:04 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 05:57 PM)Chas Wrote:  There is no evidence for any gods, so making a god's existence the starting assumption is not logical.

Also, starting without that assumption leads to no contradictions.

By their own description of God, it is un-observable, incorporeal, supernatural and therefore neither provable or dis-provable. It is completely arbitrary. That's why it must be taken on faith. To start with the arbitrary is to start with nothing as your starting point. That's why we get the question: Where did everything come from?
If they weren't starting with nothing, then this question would not arise.

No, no, no, no, no. Observable, corporeal (in the person of Jesus, for one notable example) and provable. But you have to step forward and be counted.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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17-02-2015, 12:18 PM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(17-02-2015 07:57 AM)Chas Wrote:  This is well-trodden ground. Superstitions are misfirings of useful mental constructs, people use this for control of others.
....
I well understand what questions religions attempt to answer. They fail.


And you've reached this understanding how? By using the scientific method? So If I were to evaluate religions, comb through their various scriptures, applying the scientific method, I would draw the same conclusions you did?

And let me guess, when you read an account like the Genesis story, you see it as addressing the question of how life came about, an attempt to answer the same questions which we answer today with the theory of evolution, with the big bang, etc...? Is this the gist of your conclusion here?

Quote:
Quote:Other questions could be how has our moral imagination developed over time, the transitioning from religious to secular moral frames, and perceptions of reality.

Those are questions that can be answered scientifically.

But the moral of the three little pigs can't be discovered scientifically?
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18-02-2015, 09:13 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(17-02-2015 11:46 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 09:04 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  By their own description of God, it is un-observable, incorporeal, supernatural and therefore neither provable or dis-provable. It is completely arbitrary. That's why it must be taken on faith. To start with the arbitrary is to start with nothing as your starting point. That's why we get the question: Where did everything come from?
If they weren't starting with nothing, then this question would not arise.

No, no, no, no, no. Observable, corporeal (in the person of Jesus, for one notable example) and provable. But you have to step forward and be counted.

No, No, No, No, No. Not provable. There is only one source to look to for the story of Jesus, the Bible. A claim can not be evidence of its own truth. You should know that. And when I read about Jesus raising people from the dead, turning water into wine, being resurrected and talking to his disciples after three days, there is no alternative for me but to imagine these things. I can't verify that these things happened. I can't investigate in any way other than to read the Bible and just accept it on faith without evidence. When I'm imagining Jesus turning water into wine how is what I'm imagining not imaginary?

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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18-02-2015, 09:43 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(17-02-2015 10:43 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 08:57 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  No. We're not at the point of science yet. We're talking about the very foundations of knowledge. A proper starting point does not need to be proven. It is self evident and its truth is implicit in any proof.

I would probably have to decipher the meaning of this using a series of examples.

I hold that my wife has never been unfaithful to me during the several years of our relationship, though I haven't combed through all her texts, her Facebook messages, confirmed her whereabout on every particular occasion, hired a private eye to investigate. I hold this to be true, through my own subjective evaluation.

Bob holds that life is nothing but sound and fury, signifying nothing, this belief is based on his subjective evaluation of life. His friend Adam on the other believes the opposite, based on his own perception of life, that there does seem to be some rhyme and reason for it, some sense of moral direction, as signifying something, rather than nothing. There seems to be some story here, one in which we’re all a part of, rather than a meaningless series of coincidences.

How does the role of self-evident truth apply here? Is the self-evident truth in regards to my wife, the fact that she exists? If so wouldn’t that mean the conclusions of Bob and Adam are also based on a self-evident truth, that life exists?

I'm not sure what these examples have to do with a philosophical starting point. For instance my starting point is existence. In both of these examples my starting point is implicit. You would have to exist and your wife would have to exist before you could suspect her of any thing. Bob would also have to exist in order to contemplate the meaning of his life. Now suppose a Solipsist believes that he is a consciousness only and he can't be certain that anything exists. We know he is wrong because existence exists and consciousness is a product of existence. When Imanuel Kant says that the things we see and experience around us are not really real, we can know that he is full of it because existence exists. Any idea which contradicts the axiom of existence is false. That's what I mean by a proper starting point. It may seem ridiculous to think in such terms but it isn't if you realize that if you don't state these premises explicitly then you will not be able to avoid contradicting them later on. Consider the catch Phrase "That's just true for you". This catch Phrase violates the axiom of existence because it proposes a different truth for different people. This is fine if someone is talking about a subjective preference or opinion but not when talking about reality.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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18-02-2015, 09:43 AM (This post was last modified: 19-02-2015 07:32 AM by Chas.)
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(17-02-2015 12:18 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 07:57 AM)Chas Wrote:  This is well-trodden ground. Superstitions are misfirings of useful mental constructs, people use this for control of others.
....
I well understand what questions religions attempt to answer. They fail.


And you've reached this understanding how? By using the scientific method? So If I were to evaluate religions, comb through their various scriptures, applying the scientific method, I would draw the same conclusions you did?

And let me guess, when you read an account like the Genesis story, you see it as addressing the question of how life came about, an attempt to answer the same questions which we answer today with the theory of evolution, with the big bang, etc...? Is this the gist of your conclusion here?

The Genesis story is, like other pre-scientific tales, a myth. It is an attempt by ignorant people to explain their existence.

Quote:
Quote:Those are questions that can be answered scientifically.

But the moral of the three little pigs can't be discovered scientifically?

The moral of The Three Little Pigs is discovered through the evidence that is the text. It is arrived at rationally, logically, analytically based on evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-02-2015, 05:03 PM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
Scotsman, I'm going to copy and paste the first and only reply to your initial post (I copy/pasted it to the other board like I mentioned):

"I think that's a lot of hot air...big words, obfuscation while basically forcing the poor stupid believer into a trap by defining the parameters of his belief.

Fortunately, I know what to do with a Gordian Knot.."
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