Why I'm a Theist
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25-07-2015, 07:06 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(25-07-2015 05:08 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Rocket,

Please note the jackasses you speak of didn't come up with the concept of weak atheism or coin the phrase. We can pin that tail on atheists...

What tail? It was a useful term until people started doing what you're doing right now, and using it to imply something else. Jackass.


Quote:That would only demonstrate that you are far from being an impartial passive reviewer of facts. If you're aware of other facts countermanding the ones I present it suggests you have more than a casual interest.

You have yet to present any facts. Let me say it again: You have yet to present any facts. You have repeatedly presented conclusions about facts, but that does not make them into a new set of facts. And we solidly reject your conclusions, for reasons we are stating as clearly as we can, just as we also will not allow you to relabel them facts.

Further, being aware of more facts than the ones you present means only that I am not willing to let you define the only set of facts that may be considered in forming my own conclusions about your proposals. You say there are only five facts; it turns out there are ten, and I am aware of the other five, which when considered as a full unit of ten shines new light on your five. That does not make me biased, it makes me unwilling to accept your bias, that I might remain neutral.

Quote:With you this is a moot issue I think you have a fairly strong opinion (like most of the atheists in here) that the notion of God is just a silly outdated belief whose time has come. Come on guys and gals come out of the closet, quit hiding behind the 'I just lack belief in the existence of God gambit' man or woman up as the case maybe admit what everyone knows anyway you don't believe God exists, you don't believe the universe was created by a Creator and that everything can or will have a naturalistic explanation. Why do you folks seem so afraid to say that? I know at one time it may have seemed a great debating tactic but it has long lost its usefulness.

That's what makes this a Ergo Decido fallacy. You're trying to imply that because we have come to the conclusion that Gods are all manmade, we cannot impartially make such a determination, because our minds are made up. But that's just not how a scientific mindset works! Saying otherwise shows that you are either unaware of the methodology of those who accept the Scientific Method of thinking/reasoning, or are deliberately trying to slander science in an attempt to gain ground for pseudoscientific reasoning approaches. I suspect the latter.

If you think people are afraid to say that (as I do) they are convinced by the body of evidence that God is 100% made up, you haven't spent much time looking around this forum.

So, per your request, I'll be as plain as possible: I am an agnostic atheist. Or, per the earlier definitions, I am both a "weak" and "strong" atheist simultaneously.

My agnosticism is a philosophy: I do not believe it is possible, here in the natural universe, to present evidence on the transcendent nature of a Supernatural Being that is sufficient to call it a "known" phenomenon, making it an unknowable question: a+gnosis = without+knowledge.

My atheism is my opinion: I am convinced that the gods of mankind are just that, of mankind, wholly made out of our imagination. Every one of them. They are not real, and need not be worshiped. Therefore, I am an atheist, a+theos=without+god.

"I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
-Stephen F. Roberts (emphasis mine)

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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25-07-2015, 10:52 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(25-07-2015 04:25 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  
(25-07-2015 02:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  They may be facts, but they are not evidence.
You are offering your interpretations and opinions as evidence, and that is the problem.

That's not a problem, that is what is done in a court case or in a debate. Both pleaders lay out facts (that are deemed relevant and probative) then argue (offer opinion and interpretations) from those facts. Its up to the triers of fact to determine who makes the better case. The problem in a forum like this atheists masquerade as impartial objective reviewers of fact and qualified to render a fair verdict by pretending they only 'lack belief'. But they always let the cat out of the bag because eventually they start arguing what they really believe that God doesn't exist, that such belief is akin to belief in fairies and magic and so forth and that all phenomena can be explained naturalistically. I think even you would agree once someone starts making a case for their preferred explanation, they're no longer passive skeptics of a claim true?

The nature of reality is not decided like a court case, it is decided on objective evidence.

You have presented no objective evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-07-2015, 03:28 AM
Rainbow RE: Why I'm a Theist
I am not a fan of philosophical arguments. This discourse is at best a distraction, and at worst, an exercise in intellectually dishonesty, or futility. You win arguments by who can use the least amount of fallacies, or lose arguments by who can build the deepest logical construction. This construct alone rarely produce any measurable, observable, predictable, or falsifiable results. Using only this as a construct, there is no dichotomy for that which is NOT possible and that which IS possible. There could also be an UNKNOWN. Let me tell you a story;

I was very excided to experience my first time aboard an airplane. Like most kids, the joy of doing something that grown-ups do, also made ME feel very grown up. My excitement was only amplified by the sounds of the engines, and the confident voice coming over the intercom. I really enjoyed the coordinated mime that the air stewards performed, explaining the safety regulations. I couldn't begin explaining the anticipation I felt just before take-off. The noise that the engines made was almost deafening. I wasn't afraid, since no one else seem concerned, and the view was absolutely breathtaking. The attention we received by the air stewards really made me feel special. Being a newbie, the turbulence was a lot of fun to me. When the pilot said we would be reaching 30,000 feet, I wanted to know what could be up that high. When we reached the cruising altitude, I looked out the window and saw pockets of light, coming straight up from the ground. I asked my parents, "What are those lights coming up from the ground? They told me that they were souls coming up from the ground. As they got closer to the plane, I could see that they were indeed shimmering people of all shapes, colours and sizes. As they moved further above us, they started to hold hands and form a kind netting. I asked, "What are they doing"? I was told, "They were repairing the Ozone Layer to protect all the people down below". All I could say at that point was, "WOW". This was a sight that I would never forget or DISBELIEVE, no matter what anyone else could tell me toward the contrary.

Sixty-three studies, from 1928-2012, more than just indicate that a corollary exist between intelligence and religiosity. The more intelligent you are, the less religious you are. As I grew intellectually, I understood that the answer I was given, was because of my perceived intellectual level of understanding and my level of acceptance. In other words, if your perceived intellectual level of understanding is that of a 10yo, then that is the level of answers that you will receive. The problem is that you are not a 10yo, and cannot accept the level answers given. Unless there are other motives, all answers would be intellectually threatening. Shell
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26-07-2015, 05:50 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
I know the majority of people in this thread are giving themselves "conclusions" by face-palming as MSBB so pleasantly put it one time. Wink However, given the aforementioned information my question is simple. Why continue to even engage the OP? At this point, I see no reason to even continue to acknowledge his assertions based on his opinion. He's shooting blanks. Let him revel in the gnosis placed before him in the previous 22 pages.

**Crickets** -- God
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26-07-2015, 07:06 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Hi, drewpaul.

Just to let you know, I have read the main posts where you present your arguments, but I've only skimmed the rest of the thread. I typically stay away from long threads like this, but based on the conversations you've been having, I feel like I should throw my hat in the ring. Just know that I may bring up something that you've responded to elsewhere that I haven't seen, so I may end up making you repeat yourself. Hope you don't mind.

First, I have to say that I agree with you that there actually is evidence for God's existence, at least for certain concepts of God. It actually irks me a bit when I hear other atheists say that there is no evidence for God's existence, which as actually a pretty strong claim (which makes it even more odd coming from people who identify as "weak" or "agnostic" atheists precisely to avoid making strong claims that they don't feel they can support). I think it mostly comes down to them using a different definition of the word "evidence."

When I say I'm an atheist, I mean to say that I believe that God doesn't exist. And by God, I'm generally referring to one of two things: the God of classical theism (the "maximally great" being, ie one that is all-knowing, all-powerful, morally perfect, uncreated, etc.), and the specific, named, personal (G)od(s) worshiped in various religions (which may or may not be held as identical to the God of classical theism). Since those are both very specific things, I can bring very specific arguments against them, but obviously the more vague we get, the less effectively I can argue (arguments against the "God of the Bible" don't work against the generic God of classical theism, arguments like the problem of evil or divine hiddenness don't work against a God that isn't considered morally perfect, omnipotent, etc.), so obviously I'm less confident in my belief that there is no God as we move away from specified concepts. This is relevant since you seem to be arguing for something less than a "maximally" great being (I did see one post where you said you were avoiding theology and attempts to figure out exactly what attributes this God of yours has).

Still, I also identify as a naturalist, which means that minds are something that arises from the physical world and not the other way around, I still would reject the sort of God you're proposing here. A lot of this will boil down to our differing at the level of intuition, which means that some things I say just won't be at all convincing to you (and vice versa) and there won't be much we can offer one another to support these intuitions. But I think this is where we need to start before we can delve into the arguments you've presented, so here it goes.

I think the main problem that people run into when they propose a God that is not the God of classical theism but that is still the "first cause" is trying to account for why such a thing exists in the first place. With classical theism, you can attempt to tie God's omni-attributes together with some sort of necessary existence in the form of an ontological argument, but without that, you're kind of left grasping for straws if you try to give an account as to why this particular less-than-maximally-great being can be the thing that exists without a cause. Naturalists run into a similar problem when they try to propose some fundamental non-mental thing as the first cause (if they take the first cause route at all), but at this point they're pretty much on the same level as the supernaturalist/theist.

I do think we have a few reasons for if not outright rejecting the idea that the first cause is something mental then at least holding it in suspicion.

First, every example of something mental we have come across is based in something physical. Even if you hold to some form of dualism, the fact remains that minds and brains are somehow linked, so if you propose that something mental exists completely absent of any sort of physical underpinning, you're talking about something completely outside of our background knowledge, which lowers the prior probability. I'd go a step further and say that a completely unembodied mind is actually incoherent, kind of like saying that fire can exist without any fuel or combustible gases, but I'm not fully prepared to defend that.

Next, if you're insisting the first cause is something mental that existed prior to anything physical, you run into the issue of "from nothing, nothing comes" that theists usually like to foist on atheists. If you accept it as true that something cannot come from nothing (and we're talking about philosophical, absolute nothingness here, not the Lawrence Krauss-style "something that is only colloquially nothing" nothingness), then how can the physical universe have come into existence? Classical theists will usually use this point to argue for omnipotence, saying that the first cause was powerful enough to cause creation ex nihilo, but that doesn't fix it for me. It still seems like a violation of the initial problem, and it merely subverts the issue to say that "something is powerful enough to do the impossible." I came across a comment recently that said that this was like saying that you could throw up a missed lunch with a powerful enough dry heave.

Now, you could say that there was something physical that also exists without a cause, and that God merely molded that. Or you could take a more pantheist route and say that the physical world is made from God in some way. There are issues with both of those as well, but I won't bother going into that unless you actually want to propose that either of them is the case.

Next, I think that mental things are complex, and I think that a first cause would have to be something simple. We're pretty deep into the land of simple intuition here, so if you don't agree with either of those things, there may not be much I can do. If you say that God is simple, I'll point you to Matthew Ferguson's great post on that subject here. But I still think that the first cause would be something simple. Again, that's just what our experience points to: simple things coming together to form complex things. I think it would be a leap to propose that the first thing, the thing that exists without cause or explanation, is the most complex thing in existence.

I feel like there was at least one more thing I wanted to mention, but it's slipped my mind. I'll let you know if I think of it, but I'll leave this as-is for now. I'm going to go back and look at your arguments and see what I have to say about them specifically, but again, I'm used to addressing those as evidence for the God of classical theism, not a vague supernatural being with unknown attributes, so my usual rebuttals may not work here. For a preview of how this would have/may still go, do a search for Paul Draper's Fallacy of Understated Evidence.

Looking forward to your reply.

I'm just thinking out loud.
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26-07-2015, 12:41 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(26-07-2015 07:06 AM)KnowtheSilence Wrote:  First, I have to say that I agree with you that there actually is evidence for God's existence, at least for certain concepts of God. It actually irks me a bit when I hear other atheists say that there is no evidence for God's existence, which as actually a pretty strong claim (which makes it even more odd coming from people who identify as "weak" or "agnostic" atheists precisely to avoid making strong claims that they don't feel they can support). I think it mostly comes down to them using a different definition of the word "evidence."

You have added your assertion to the theists' assertions that there is evidence of God, yet none of you present any evidence.

What is your definition of evidence and what is the evidence?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-07-2015, 12:43 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(26-07-2015 12:41 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 07:06 AM)KnowtheSilence Wrote:  First, I have to say that I agree with you that there actually is evidence for God's existence, at least for certain concepts of God. It actually irks me a bit when I hear other atheists say that there is no evidence for God's existence, which as actually a pretty strong claim (which makes it even more odd coming from people who identify as "weak" or "agnostic" atheists precisely to avoid making strong claims that they don't feel they can support). I think it mostly comes down to them using a different definition of the word "evidence."

You have added your assertion to the theists' assertions that there is evidence of God, yet none of you present any evidence.

What is your definition of evidence and what is the evidence?

Throw in a definition of god too, while you're at it.
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26-07-2015, 12:51 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(25-07-2015 04:38 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Let me ask you...do you lack belief in leprechauns or do you disbelieve in leprechauns?

I can't speack for JennyB. But i think we would say we lack the belief in Leprechauns as well.

Here's why.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/de...ad-project





People believe that Leprechauns, Elves, Troll exist. Their clam for these things is equivalent to the clam that you are making. I can not believe in these because i lack the required evidence to form a conclusion. In the mean time i say that these things don't exist.

I'm not asserting that leprechauns, exist. I'm taking the stance that in all likely hood they don't. I've never seen a leprechaun, body or other wise. I've never seen an ability's of a leprechaun. And I've never seen any effect of a leprechaun on the world. It's up to the people that say leprechauns exist to prove other wise.

The feeling you have toward leprechauns is the same feeling we have towards your god.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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26-07-2015, 01:02 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
I believe his evidence lies in his lack of understanding.
In a universe without a god, there would be nothing preventing him from understanding complex topics or from having rational thoughts.

His own inability to comprehend is evidence that something outside the known universe is mentally blocking his own mind from rational thought.

Only another mind of extreme power would be capable of such a feat, therefore a god must exist.

Smile

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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26-07-2015, 01:03 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Unfogged,

Quote:If you could prove to me that no natural process that we know of could be responsible for the universe, abiogenesis, sentience, or any other topic it wouldn't begin to be evidence for a supernatural use. You actually have to provide evidence FOR that conclusion, not just eliminate other options. Known processes vs god is not a dichotomy.

I never claimed it was impossible for all we observed to be the result of mindless mechanistic forces that didn't plan or intend to:

Cause themselves to exist
Cause the universe to exist
Cause the laws of physics to exist
Cause the laws of physics to be such that stars, planets, solar system and galaxies to exist.
Cause the chemicals and conditions for abiogenesis to occur (if it did occur)
Cause the conditions for sentience to emerge.

All without any intention or plan to do so or a degree in physics or engineering. This is without even considering the other issues of time beginning to exist and the notion that mindless forces could operate outside of time and space. The current theory is that the big bang emerged from a phenomena (I don't think it could be called an object) known as the singularity. A phenomena that scientists say the laws of physics and time don't apply to (sounds rather supernatural doesn't it?).
This would make the notion that mindless forces given enough time could self assemble a working laptop look like child's play.

There is no ironclad irrefutable evidence or proof that mindless forces could or did achieve such results. The evidence I hear atheists offer is that things can be explained by an appeal to natural causes after the fact of a universe existing with seemingly inviolable laws of physics that appear to dictate how things occur and supposedly that allows them to conclude that its 'mindless forces' all the way down. That's a poor premise though because things known to have been caused intentionally by design can also be explained by an appeal to the laws of physics. As a hypothetical assume the natural universe we live in was caused to occur by a transcendent Creator. That would lead us to believe the universe is knowable and is capable of being reverse engineered. The reason science has any success in understanding the universe is because it has rules. Just like if we came across alien technology we would be able to figure it out.

Quote:You are taking something that we don't have a naturalistic answer for and saying that god is a reasonable possible answer. That is the classic god of the gaps. You may be dressing it up with elaborate language but you are using god to plug a hole in our knowledge.

I'm citing observed facts we do know to infer the cause of what we don't know which I might add is exactly what you do. Are you engaged in a classic naturalism of the gaps? I will call out naturalism in the gaps when my opponents on this board start citing things like maybe this is one of an infinitude of universes or state abiogensis is how life started when we don't actually know that for a fact.

Quote:First, there's that strawman again. I am not claiming to know that mindless forces did it. I have said repeatedly that the best answer is "I don't know". What I do see, however, is that those mindless forces have been shown over and over to explain a great many things that used to require a god so if I had to bet on it I'd suspect they will be shown to be sufficient to explain much more. If that is leaping to a conclusion (even though I am not concluding anything, just wagering), it is a much shorter leap than one to a supernatural cause that has never been demonstrated to exist or shown to be needed. Besides, all that is above and beyond atheism which is solely the position that no god has been shown to exist.

A Creator hasn't been shown to be needed because its assumed its not needed. I could assume a laptop has no Creator and use as evidence the fact it works without a creator directly involved in making it work and all its functions can be explained naturalistically no Creator necessary. Does that give you reason to think a laptop came about by mindless forces? Why not?

Quote:Which leads us right back to the dishonest special pleading that theists use for their god solution. It suffers all the same potential holes, plus it has NEVER been shown to be the right answer to any problem. I keep saying that I don't pretend to have the answers and you keep ignoring that.

You're arguing an opinion as I am. I don't know for sure God caused the universe to exist any more than you know for sure natural forces alone were sufficient to cause as we observe but those are our respective beliefs. I'm making a case for my opinion as you are yours. It suffers from the same holes because you place the same limitations a natural cause has and project them to a supernatural cause. The singularity can't exist if only naturalistic things can exist.

Quote:A naturalistic cause would, by definition, not be magical. The fact that you (or I) do not understand how something could have happened naturally doesn't mean that magic was involved. That said, I have no way to distinguish a supernatural cause from a transcendent cause form a magical cause. If you think there is a difference I look forward to hearing what specifically differentiates between them. As far as I can see, it is just a kind of special pleading.

The delineation of what is natural or supernatural is a moving goal post that moves every time something that was thought to be impossible occurs. 200 years ago time dilation was considered the stuff of science fiction. Today we know it does happen so its natural. If things can come into existence uncaused out of nothing how do you say that's not magic? I know if some person caused something to come into existence out of nothing that would be magic. But if nothing causes something to come into existence uncaused...then its natural whatever the hell that means.

Quote:No, you have claimed that a supernatural god is a reasonable explanation for everything so you have the burden of proof. My position as an atheist is that I don't see evidence that justifies that claim so I will wait until such evidence is presented. Using the common court analogy, the defense attorney CAN attempt to prove his client is innocent but his job is only to show that the prosecutor hasn't made a sufficent case for guilt.

Just because I'm manning up and offering an opinion for what I believe to be true doesn't mean I should be penalized. I could just say I lack belief in the notion mindless natural forces caused the universe and life to exist...do I get a pass if I express it that way? Secondly I am making a case, I presented undisputed facts and argued from those facts in favor of my opinion.

Quote:My position as an atheist is that I don't see evidence that justifies that claim so I will wait until such evidence is presented. Using the common court analogy, the defense attorney CAN attempt to prove his client is innocent but his job is only to show that the prosecutor hasn't made a sufficent case for guilt

I'm sure the counter case you have made is more than sufficient to convince your fellow atheists who are already totally convinced of your point of view. I would frame this case as a choice between two possibilities. We owe our existence to mindless forces that didn't intend to create themselves or the universe we live in and then without plan or intent or knowledge proceeded to create something utterly unlike itself life and sentience or we owe our existence to a transcendent being of great power who deliberately caused the conditions and laws of physics that account for our existence. Then I would lay out the facts that support that conclusion. If in response all you do is criticize my belief you will lose badly.

Quote:Atheists are people and have the same curiousities as theists. We may speculate on other forms of life but we don't claim anything about them. The point is that the fine tuning argument tacitly assumes life like we do know it and that is an unwarranted assumption given the rest of the argument. Theists argue "if we change this constant then life can't exist" and all the atheist is saying is prove that our kind of life is the only kind.

You are attempting to use facts not in evidence to support your conclusion even though you admit you don't know if life in some other form exists. I'm trying to explain things as they stand now not based on some finding that may or may not occur. You have to at least admit, that is a naturalism in the gaps argument isn't it?

Quote:You offered facts but your evidence consists of those facts embellished with your opinions of why a supernatural cause is the best explanation. .

Of course that is how folks make a case or debate a topic. They cite facts they think comport with their belief, then argue from those facts. It would be foolish and rather boring to debate a topic we already know the answer to.
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