Theists, I want your best reasoning
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04-12-2014, 11:10 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 10:37 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(04-12-2014 10:17 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  You are saying that observational evidence of being robbed is enough to assume that a robber exists and that he robbed you.

Consider Tomasia's analogy of "creator = robber" might not be too far off the mark, after all believing in a creator being robs you of your common sense faculties.

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04-12-2014, 11:11 AM (This post was last modified: 04-12-2014 11:16 AM by cjlr.)
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 11:04 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(04-12-2014 10:49 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Small children also think there must be an external purpose for everything they see. Then they grow up.

I know, Bonhoeffer, Rev. King, Oscar Romero, Herbert Mccabe were all small children, unlike the emblems of adult hood, like Dawkins and Hitchens, and those that line the halls of this forum space.

That is not what I said, but feel free to whine against straw man misrepresentations.
(and hey, it's an appeal to authority to boot, so that's almost bingo! but protip: no, "there was once a good person who was a theist" is not an argument)

Insisting on external meaning is entirely childish. Particularly as in the case of theists where that meaning is necessarily unknown and indeed unknowable. This is not a judgement. It is a statement of fact. We know a great deal about how our minds develop. Guess what? That's how. Deal with it.

But no, I'll address your very stupid objection anyway. We are, none of us, without our own biases and irrationalities. That's the human condition. An intelligent person falls prey to failures of reasoning as surely as any other - and they're better at it, because that's what intelligence is. Intelligence, knowledge, charisma, integrity, works either scientific or humanitarian - so what? We do not and cannot treat all subjects dispassionately or with pure reason. We may be extremely rigorous in one sphere and yet blindly superstitious in another. We evolved to be efficient, not effective; cognitive dissonance saves a lot of mental CPU cycles (for a simple analogy).

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04-12-2014, 11:18 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 09:33 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(04-12-2014 09:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  Why would the universe have to come from somewhere?

It doesn't have to.

Therefore the existence of the universe is not evidence of God.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-12-2014, 11:20 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 11:11 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Particularly as in the case of theists where that meaning is necessarily unknown and indeed unknowable. This is not a statement of judgement. It is a statement of fact. We know a great deal about how our minds develop.

That's an interesting statement. Are you saying that if human life did have such a meaning, it would be unknowable to us?

Is it possible to know the meaning of a book written a few hundred years ago? Or is this also unknowable?

Is it unknowable because the very question of meaning doesn't adapt well to laboratory testing, or even what passes for scientific investigations?
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04-12-2014, 11:21 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 11:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Meaning is not what we apply to things, it's something we find in things.

Same difference.
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04-12-2014, 11:24 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 07:03 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(03-12-2014 07:02 PM)microterf Wrote:  I see a lot of Christians that come on here and make comment on the threads, I have yet to see one of them make a good point that didn't have an obvious rebuttal, and they are always attacking other views. I would like to hear the best argument that you can give for why YOU believe. You've obviously read through a lot of the same stuff the rest of us have, yet somehow still believe. Sell me with your best argument.

I'll step up.

The tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.

Yes, we can. You are an ignoramus.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-12-2014, 11:28 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 11:18 AM)Chas Wrote:  Therefore the existence of the universe is not evidence of God.

Yea, I guess not.
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04-12-2014, 11:32 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 11:20 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(04-12-2014 11:11 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Particularly as in the case of theists where that meaning is necessarily unknown and indeed unknowable. This is not a statement of judgement. It is a statement of fact. We know a great deal about how our minds develop.

That's an interesting statement. Are you saying that if human life did have such a meaning, it would be unknowable to us?

Oh? What is it, then?

And remember, all the other contradictory answers given by others over the millennia have precisely the same amount of substantiation behind them as you do. There can be no single correct answer under such circumstances.

However, I am merely repeating back to you the ever-inadequate claims of theists themselves. Every important question they are asked - say, of the form, "why is X the way it is" - must necessarily then be answered as, "because God made it that way". And inevitably upon asking "why did God make it that way" the answer is some special disingenuous blend of "His ways are not our ways" and "the lord works in mysterious ways".

If the theist's answer is "we don't know" then, yes, I feel justified in saying - if they are correct in saying there is, in fact, an answer - that the answer is "we don't know".

(04-12-2014 11:20 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Is it possible to know the meaning of a book written a few hundred years ago? Or is this also unknowable?

Cute. Although - and I do hope you understand the difference? - a book is not the universe.

But no, we can't know the original intent of an author without additional documentation. We can make guesses, depending on the situation and what additional information we possess. That is because it is possible for a human work to possess meaning as understood by artistic criticism and literary analysis - this is a fairly well-defined concept.

You've yet to coherently define what it would even mean for "the universe" to have "meaning". Which would seem to need to be step one...

(04-12-2014 11:20 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Is it unknowable because the very question of meaning doesn't adapt well to laboratory testing, or even what passes for scientific investigations?

If it is something intrinsic to the nature of the universe itself, then that is amenable to scientific investigation by definition. If it is not, then it is subjective and irrelevant.

We might consider vacuous claims of "objective" morality by way of comparison. Even granting the special pleading and presupposing they exist exactly as defined by any particular proponent (contradicting, naturally, other proponents) we nonetheless observe many people who do not follow these purported "objective" precepts, and their (non)existence makes no empirical difference.

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04-12-2014, 11:57 AM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
Going back to the opening question on this thread of why I believe, I'm reminded of a Bertrand Russell quote:

Christians hold that their faith does good, but other faiths do harm. At any rate, they hold this about the communist faith. What I wish to maintain is that all faiths do harm. We may define “faith” as a firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of “faith.” We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead to strife, since different groups substitute different emotions. Christians have faith in the Resurrection; communists have faith in Marx’s Theory of Value. Neither faith can be defended rationally, and each therefore is defended by propaganda and, if necessary, by war.

I would heartily agree with Russell were it not for the fact that I would define "faith" as a firm belief in either something for which there is no evidence or some evidence or overwhelming evidence! But I have faith in a person, not an idea. Yes, Russell is correct, it would be difficult to form an ironclad proof for Marx's Theory of Value. It is less difficult to prove for oneself that Jesus is a person desiring a relationship with individuals. That relationship is one very strong reason why I trust Him and believe.

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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04-12-2014, 12:01 PM
RE: Theists, I want your best reasoning
(04-12-2014 11:32 AM)cjlr Wrote:  If it is something intrinsic to the nature of the universe itself, then that is amenable to scientific investigation by definition. If it is not, then it is subjective and irrelevant.

Great post cjlr! That's the thing I've realized, theists swim in the subjective, but the subjective is entirely based on one's own perspective and imagination. So someone that has created a god concept in their imagination has basically conceded at some level that their god was generated from their imagination. This is verified by the heavy use of imaginary concepts like "objective morality", "perfection" "omnipotence" etc. to describe their imaginary concept that only exists inside the imagination.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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