Why I'm a Theist
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24-07-2015, 12:21 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Hi Drew,

I'm really new to the forum, so if you'll forgive me, I'm going to jump in here on Page 9. I skimmed through most of the posts, so if I simply repeat things already said I apologize.

First I would like to address this:
Quote:First I want to debunk one of the most popular myths of atheism. The belief accepted as fact that there is no evidence in favor of theism. This belief is sacrosanct to atheists because if atheists were to admit there is evidence (facts) that comport with theism that would elevate theism to an intellectual belief and most atheists will have none of that. Atheist seek to marginalize theism as a faith proposition only without any basis in fact. Therefore no matter what lines of evidence I present atheists will dispute that any evidence has been submitted. So be it.

I think part of the reason you received such a cold reception was because of your first paragraph. I'm sure you don't like others second guessing your innermost motivations, and we are the same way. In addition, I don't care whether your argument is considered an "intellectual belief" (whatever that may be) to my fellow atheists, Christians, Hindus, or the KKK. I just care about what's true. I try to keep an open mind, although I have to admit; I've been debating online and in person for 15 years (on the atheist side, longer on the Christian side before that) and I don't think it likely that I'll encounter an argument that will make me a theist, but ya never know. I agree with you that debates can persuade and inspire the audience. But I encourage you to think it possible to influence your interlocutor as well. After all, debates were instrumental in making me an atheist. It may seldom (if ever) happen in a flash-bang during the debate, but people continue to think of points made long after the debate is over. Also, saying that the two sides will never influence each other's world views implies that you yourself would also never change your position. It is my hope that you care about honesty and truth and are willing to consider ideas opposing your own.

Quote:If there was no universe, no life, no laws of physics, stars, planets or galaxies the claim there is no evidence in favor of theism would actually be true. If somehow we could have this discussion (even though we wouldn't be around) I could say I think a Creator of the universe and life exists the atheists would rightly point out that no universe or life exists so your claim of a Creator is baseless.

I don't think this is true. What about a god that abhors creation? Or an omnibenevolent god that can see the future of his creations and knows there is going to be nothing but suffering if it creates? Or a god so perfect it lacks nothing, and so feels no desire to create since it just sits there, basking in it's own perfection? Or a god (as you mention) that hasn't created yet. I'm sure we could think of more. But really, isn't this just one giant non-sequitur? We have a universe. Likewise with your assertions about a chaotic universe. Perhaps god itself is really chaotic and it likes things that way. I believe we live in a chaotic universe anyway, but we can save that for later.

Quote:What if there wasn't only a universe but one which appeared to have rules of behavior imposed on it so that it caused stars, galaxies, solar systems and planets to exist. I'd have at least a factual basis to conjecture that an engineer of some sort was involved.

I think using a word like "imposed" is premature here. It kinda smuggles in the idea of something or someone that does the imposing right? It reminds me very much of St. Thomas Aquinas, in his fifth proof saying that "natural things move towards an end". It presupposes purpose.

Quote:In a murder case one of the first lines of evidence a lawyer will produce is a corpse. Although cases have been tried (and won) without one it sure helps. Just the fact of a corpse alone hardly means its murder or that a defendant is guilty and in a criminal case to get a conviction a lawyer must make a case that is beyond reasonable doubt. Nevertheless lawyers will submit a corpse as evidence a murder has occurred to lay a foundation. <snip>

Since you admit here that you can have a murder without a corpse being present, and a corpse without a murder, I really see no point in using this analogy at all. I mean, you refute it yourself.

Quote:1. The fact the universe exists

There are certain facts that must be true for anyone to think God exists. For humans to have any reason to think God might exist, we must have a place that allows us to live. There are in fact several facts and conditions that must be true in order for there to be any reason to think the existence of a Creator is true. None of those facts needs to be true for atheism to be true. Atheism doesn't require the existence of a universe to believe atheism is true. If the universe didn't exist atheism might still be false (God might exist but not have created the universe) but there would be no evidential reason to raise the existence of God. Additional lines of evidence soon to follow...

People have already mentioned the anthropic principal here, I'm not sure if you addressed it or not. Really it's pretty easy. Any type of (sentient) life that finds itself in a given universe is going to notice that they can live within said universe. Kinda inevitable.

This answers your second point as well, regarding life in the universe, which really is just the same as your first point as far as I can tell.

Between both points, it seems to me that you're smuggling in a concept without saying it explicitly. That the universe exists so that we may live in it. That it was made for us. Of course, this gets us nowhere near god yet, even if we were to allow you to smuggle this in under your trenchcoat. Could you explain to me how you are not presupposing purpose using observation alone? I fail to see how this is any different than the Jehova's Witness that knocked on my door and told me to "look at the trees". If I go outside and see a puddle, it doesn't mean it rained. It could have been a spill or the sprinkler system. It doesn't even make it more likely that it rained as opposed to the other two possibilities I mentioned just considering that puddle as the evidence.

Let me ask you a question. How do you tell something that was designed, as opposed to something that wasn't?

"I take all knowledge to be my province."
-Sir Francis Bacon
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24-07-2015, 12:25 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(24-07-2015 11:59 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  How many forums have you peddled this shit on? How many atheist have you convinced of theism in the process? Does atheism make a claim in the rejection of theistic claims?

When normal people reject a claim (atheists excluded) its because they think the claim is untrue. I don't know of anyone who rejects claims they think are true just to be obstinate or argumentative. Do you think the claim of theism is true?

Atheists can always remain unconvinced (just as theists) because the fact is no one truly knows how the universe and subsequently how sentient beings came to exist and whether such was intentionally designed to occur or if it was an act of serendipity. Atheists can always justify there point of view by just pointing out no theist has ironclad incontrovertible evidence we are the result of a Creator. They can also make the bogus claim (as they so often do) that there is no evidence that supports theism.
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24-07-2015, 12:33 PM (This post was last modified: 24-07-2015 12:37 PM by pablo.)
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Quote: I don't know of anyone who rejects claims they think are true just to be obstinate or argumentative.

You're kidding right?
Theists do this even when proof has been presented and thoroughly explained to them. Happens all the time.
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24-07-2015, 12:44 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
It has occurred to me, drewpaul might be confused as to the purpose of this forum section.

Real life debates with theists is place for Atheists to discuss debates they've had in REAL LIFE (meaning face to face) with someone who randomly comes to their door or engage on a street corner or even a believing family member.

This section isn't for theists to come and try to debate atheists online. We have other areas geared for that.

With that in mind, I'm going to move this thread to the more generic Atheism/Theism section.

If drewpaul wishes to engage one on one with someone, we have the Boxing Ring or if he wishes to debate separately a group we have Melee.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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24-07-2015, 12:46 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(24-07-2015 10:56 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  
(24-07-2015 10:47 AM)xieulong Wrote:  I have faith(HAH!!!)Laugh out load that the average reader in the information age is well armed enough to see through ID posts. What're the differences between believer vs non-believer, I think it's mostly information.

I highly doubt that, access to information does not mean that one is capable of understanding them. Also information are filtered so main difference would be rather how information are interpreted not in the wealth of it.

Difference would be outlook on things, believers easily can found same wealth of knowledge as non believers.

I don't think you're disagreeing with me too much. When I say "The difference is information", it includes interest, interpretation and understanding thereof. English is my second language, perhaps my poor writing was not good enough to convey the subtlety of what I meant to get across?

I do think however, the wealth and the ready availability of information is a very powerful tool against all sorts of woo, including ID. When someone is doubting or deciding, I think they tend to want to seek out and understand more information. The ease of access to information and abundance of which is of tremendous assistant on their journey to educate themselves. Take our "Share your own de-conversion story" thread; the majority of the shared stories are people gathering information and educating themselves.
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24-07-2015, 12:46 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
At work.

Hello! Big Grin

(24-07-2015 12:25 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  ......... They can also make the bogus claim (as they so often do) that there is no evidence that supports theism.


Ah! So you will be posting your evidence soon, then?
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24-07-2015, 12:54 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(24-07-2015 12:46 PM)xieulong Wrote:  I don't think you're disagreeing with me too much. When I say "The difference is information", it includes interest, interpretation and understanding thereof. English is my second language, perhaps my poor writing was not good enough to convey the subtlety of what I meant to get across?

I interpreted it quite literary. But if you mean these things then I agree. And as for English it's same with me, my mother language is Polish.

(24-07-2015 12:46 PM)xieulong Wrote:  I do think however, the wealth and the ready availability of information is a very powerful tool against all sorts of woo, including ID. When someone is doubting or deciding, I think they tend to want to seek out and understand more information. The ease of access to information and abundance of which is of tremendous assistant on their journey to educate themselves. Take our "Share your own de-conversion story" thread; the majority of the shared stories are people gathering information and educating themselves.

Yes information could be powerful tool against nonsense but if one is firmly entrenched in particular brand of it then information does not matter. Information is only useful to those who search for answers; if one already found THE TRUTH then what else info he need?

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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24-07-2015, 12:55 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(24-07-2015 12:25 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  
(24-07-2015 11:59 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  How many forums have you peddled this shit on? How many atheist have you convinced of theism in the process? Does atheism make a claim in the rejection of theistic claims?

When normal people reject a claim (atheists excluded) its because they think the claim is untrue. I don't know of anyone who rejects claims they think are true just to be obstinate or argumentative. Do you think the claim of theism is true?

Atheists can always remain unconvinced (just as theists) because the fact is no one truly knows how the universe and subsequently how sentient beings came to exist and whether such was intentionally designed to occur or if it was an act of serendipity. Atheists can always justify there point of view by just pointing out no theist has ironclad incontrovertible evidence we are the result of a Creator. They can also make the bogus claim (as they so often do) that there is no evidence that supports theism.

So, since you didn't answer the question I will ask it again. If I (as an atheist) reject the claims of a theist about their god existing, am I making a claim and if so, what is the claim I am making?

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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24-07-2015, 01:02 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(24-07-2015 11:55 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  I'm going to respond to a bunch of posts in this post. I know it makes it harder to follow but I don't have infinite time.

Don't really see how it saves time this way but whatever....

Quote:I didn't claim it was magic.

You didn't use the word magic but you are posting that there is a diety who made it all happen. It is a distinction without a difference.

Quote:The case I make is from observed facts nothing in the gaps. We haven't found a naturalistic solution either. Just claiming Naturedidit doesn't help.

The case you are making is completely god of the gaps. You admit that we have natural explanations for much of what we see but harp on the fact that we can't say what is at the beginning of the chain of events. I say that if every step we've figured out has a natural solution then it makes sense to continue searching for natural solutions to what we do not yet understand. You point to what we do not yet understand and insert a god. That is classic god of the gaps.

Quote:My complaint is that you and others act as if its all wrapped up in a bow also its a naturalism in the gaps argument.

That isn't what anybody has been saying at all. We frequently state that "I don't know" is the most honest answer. If you have evidence to support a supernatural causation please present it, otherwise your leap to a god is irrational.

Quote:I have no idea who designed the Creator or how the creator came to be. Secondly any 'naturalistic' explanation suffers the same fate.

Which is what I've been saying about the universe except that the universe, especially at the start, is a much simpler thing than a conscious deity so the options of it having always existed or having been created out of nothing are much less improbable than an intelligent disembodied mind.

Quote:Theism is a hypothesis about how the universe and life came to exist, not a hypothesis about how the Creator came to exist.

I moved that out of place because it highlights what I see as a dishonest tactic used by many theists. The argument proposes a god because of all the difficulties and unknowns around creating a universe. The solution, however, suffers from all the same problems and yet theists dismiss it as a mystery or out of scope or whatever. We agree that we do not understand how the universe as we know it came to be. The difference is that I'm not willing to plug in a magical solution that just pushes the questions back a level and then stop thinking about it.

Quote:The point is that intelligent beings can do things that appear magical..but there not.

Fine. I just don't see how that supports your argument in any way.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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24-07-2015, 01:04 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(24-07-2015 12:03 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  3. The fact sentient life exists.

A lot of atheists say we should look for the simpler naturalistic explanation for things such as life and sentience and we should avoid claiming a miracle happened. But which scenario is really less miraculous, that the universe, life and sentience is the result of plan and design or the result of mindless forces that didn't intend such to occur but happened anyway? Let's compare it to the existence of a computer, would it be less miraculous to say a computer is the result of design and engineering or it was the unintended by product of the laws of physics that unintentionally created a computer? Before anyone blows a gasket I know in response you're going to say it's an unfair comparison because we know a computer was designed and engineered. The point is in trying to avoid the supernatural miracle of a Creator causing the existence of life and sentience it would seem a greater miracle is being called for by claiming that mindless, lifeless forces without plan or intent caused something greater than itself to exist. Is anyone going to argue that sentience and mind isn't greater than the source it is alleged to have come from?

4. The fact the universe has laws of nature, is knowable, uniform and to a large extent predictable, amenable to scientific research and the laws of logic deduction and induction and is also explicable in mathematical terms.

In other words it has many of the same characteristics as things known to have been planned, engineered and designed and is why in effect scientists are able to reverse engineer the universe.

5. The fact there are several characteristics of the universe that fall within an extremely narrow range that not only allow life as we know it, but also allow the existence of planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies.

As far as I can tell all of these hypotheses fall within the same category. You are claiming that they all, more logically, point to a designer. These "logical answers" "list of evidences" -- whatever you would like to call them -- are merely assertions brought on by your opinion that complexity implies design just because you want it to be that way. You can smuggle in the statement that it makes the most sense but that boils down to you wanting it to be that way since it makes the most sense to you. There is, of course, no evidence of design beyond what some people perceive there to be. In addition, given that we have evolved with an innate ability to recognize patterns, it is expected that we will find design all around us, but nothing suggests that anything about it was designed in any way. This is one giant argument from incredulity.

One of the previous posters asked a pertinent question: how can you tell if something is designed or not? Given that you are already looking for design, you will find design everywhere. But how can someone who is not looking for design recognize this same design? That is to say, How can we know something was designed or not, without relying on personal opinions or vague assertions? The answer is that we can't. Recognizing design apparently depends on whether or not you want it to be designed.

Furthermore, an argument from design makes the assumption that organisms are perfectly formed by some sort of creator. (Why would it create something imperfect on purpose?) Unfortunately for the argument, and for living creatures, this just isn’t so. Our bodies have many design flaws that no engineer would have allowed.

Example 1: our mammalian laryngeal nerve, which connects the larynx to the brain, goes around the aorta when it wouldn't have to. In giraffes it takes over fifteen feet of nerve length to cover the few inches from brain to larynx. An equivalent pictorial of this would be having a blender six inches from an outlet in your kitchen yet using an extension cord to loop all the way around the island back to the outlet just to plug it in. Does that make sense from a design point of view?

To assume that design is the best explanation is simply not looking at the picture with intellectual honesty. There are other more plausible explanations for the diversity of life i.e. evolution. Our common ancestry with fish shows that our laryngeal nerves shoots off in the wrong direction and has to make a u-turn. In fish, this nerve goes to the last of the gills at the back of the head. As mammals evolved, the gills moved around and became other organs (such as the larynx) but the laryngeal nerve still had to start out in its original direction toward the bottom of the neck.

**Crickets** -- God
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