Why I'm a Theist
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27-07-2015, 11:45 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(27-07-2015 11:42 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 08:48 PM)Dom Wrote:  You do know that a factor in the hostility displayed against you here is that you are not speaking to us, only about us. Right?

"Atheists have...." "they don't deny..." You willy nilly present atheists with descriptions of who they are. The truth is that we are a mixed bag of characters, all ages, genders, cultures, races, locations and whatnot. We don't think alike at all. There is only one small thing we agree on - that we have a lack of belief in the existence of any gods. I suggest you read this thread to begin to understand what atheists have in common and what they don't. http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...sion-story

That said - I see your point there. Having a lack of belief in the existence of any gods does not actually preclude the existence of any gods.

In my long experience atheists are always hostile when there beliefs are challenged...

I have taken a great deal of time responding to specific posts.

So in other words, you've come here to antagonize and upset people because you enjoy it.
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27-07-2015, 11:46 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(26-07-2015 10:19 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  At which scale of formation events are gods required ?
Oxygen & hydrogen into water
Changing state of water into water vapor
A thunderstorm with rain
A hurricane or a super typhoon.
Mountains, continents
Planetary formations from dust and gravity
Star formations, nuclear reactions that give off electromagnetic radiation
Formation of solar systems
Formation of an entire galaxy of stars and solar systems
Galactic clusters
Super clusters
Billions of galaxies that make up a very small percentage of our known universe
Dark matter
Dark energy
All forces of nature

At what stage does your level of understanding fail to grasp what we have observed ?

At what stage of nature do you feel the need to say "This couldn't have happened by itself" ?

Its not much different from the virtual universes we create. Once all the initial parameters are input and virtual laws of nature are in place, all sorts of phenomena can occur without direct 'divine' intervention. But the only known way for such to occur is when sentient beings create such a virtual universe.
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27-07-2015, 11:51 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(27-07-2015 11:37 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(27-07-2015 11:18 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  I understand your frustration, a lot of atheists would prefer I just go away...

I come here to have a lively debate with folks I know are willing to debate this issue. Lively debate is what makes for a lively discussion board.

If that was the case you would probably have a much higher negative rating. I don't think a lot would prefer you go away. unless you're just feeling a bit confrontational or underdog labeling yourself already.

There is merely some value to questioning why some come because not everyone does come for some lively debate. Sometimes it's more preaching goals.

I have nothing to preach...there is no church of theism. Bottom line is theists believe in the existence of a Creator because they perceive its a better explanation.
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27-07-2015, 12:10 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(27-07-2015 11:51 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  
(27-07-2015 11:37 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  If that was the case you would probably have a much higher negative rating. I don't think a lot would prefer you go away. unless you're just feeling a bit confrontational or underdog labeling yourself already.

There is merely some value to questioning why some come because not everyone does come for some lively debate. Sometimes it's more preaching goals.

I have nothing to preach...there is no church of theism. Bottom line is theists believe in the existence of a Creator because they perceive its a better explanation.

Why not go talk with other like minded poeple?
You could all talk gibberish back and forth all day without argument, just like in heaven!
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27-07-2015, 12:25 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(23-07-2015 04:59 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  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...
The existence of the universe is evidence for theism to the same extent that it’s evidence for atheistic/naturalistic causes of the universe, such as a self-existent, non-personal first cause or an infinite chain of universes. In fact, I think this whole paragraph can be rephrased and flipped:

“There are certain facts that must be true for anyone to think God does not exist. For humans to have any reason to think God might not 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 natural cause is true. None of those facts needs to be true for theism to be true. Theism doesn't require the existence of a universe to believe theism is true. If the universe didn't exist theism might still be false (a natural cause might exist but not have created the universe) but there would be no evidential reason to raise the non-existence of God.”

This looks like a draw to me, that is unless you want to come up with a reason why a God is more likely than not to want to create a universe, but that would require doing some theology.

I'm just thinking out loud.
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27-07-2015, 12:27 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(23-07-2015 05:23 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  2. The fact life exists

Again this might seem like a trivial fact but I don't think anyone disputes life exists. If life didn't exist, we wouldn't be here to debate whether we owe our existence to a Creator, its the fact life exists that raises the question whether we owe our existence to mindless forces that didn't intend to cause life or cause the existence of a universe that allows life in the first place. There is no condition that needs to true for atheism to possibly be true. There are conditions that need to occur in order for us to have a debate about whether a Creator of the universe exists. Two of those conditions are a suitable place for us to live and for life to exist. No one would postulate God doesn't exist therefore I expect a universe with life to exist. The existence of the universe and life are red flags that lead folks to question the narrative that we owe our existence to mindless forces that didn't plan, design or intend either the universe or life, yet inspite of neither the desire, the intent or the plan to create life, without knowledge of how to do it according to the atheist counter claim (that nearly none of them defends) mindless forces stumbled blindly upon the formula to create life and cause a universe that allows life. Moreover if we are to believe the atheist narrative, lifeless mindless forces created something totally unlike itself...life. Yet the only way we have observed life coming about is through life. We have yet to observe life coming from non-life. The theory is that's how it came about but evidently we haven't been able to figure out using intelligence how to cause life that mindless forces are alleged to have produced without trying or knowing how.

If the universe didn't exist and life didn't exist its still possible a Creator who hasn't created anything might exist, but there would be no evidence to suspect there was a Creator. Under such a circumstance the atheists claim there is no evidence of a Creator would be true. The claim there is no evidence of a Creator is false. Now, let's be clear, the two lines of evidence I presented so far obviously doesn't persuade any atheist that God exists. However, evidence doesn't become non-evidence just because you don't agree with the conclusion. I know exactly why most atheists maintain vehemently the position there is no evidence in favor of theism. Most atheists will always deny there is evidence in favor of theism because they like to marginalize theism as strictly a faith proposition. If they were to admit there is evidence that favors the theist narrative then its no longer just a faith proposition that can be easily dismissed.
Here again, with some sort of antecedent reason to think that a God exists and what desires/abilities it has, this doesn’t amount to much. Just as “no one would postulate God doesn’t exist, therefore I expect a universe with life to exist,” no one would postulate that an uncaused intelligent being of some kind exists, therefore a physical universe with life exists, unless they already have some reason for thinking that that being wants to create life and has the ability to make it happen.

In some general sense I would grant that simply given the fact that life of some sort makes (some varieties of) theism more likely, but when we look at the specific facts of this universe and the manner in which life exists, a purely naturalistic explanation seems more likely. Everything we know about life is explained in terms of natural forces and causes, not design. Even the bits we don’t know have plausible natural hypotheses that are being tested, and the track record of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones makes it reasonable to infer that the same will happen as we try to discover how life arose from non-life.

And I think that what we know of biology and chemistry can help overcome the understandable incredulity as to how mindless processes created something unlike itself. As it turns out, on more basic levels life is very much like non-life. It’s made of the same stuff, but arranged in special ways that, based on the evidence we have, appear to have arisen gradually over long periods of time. We see this kind of thing elsewhere in nature, where simple things mindlessly work together to create more complex things. And really, if the idea of life coming from non-life gives you pause because it’s something we’ve never observed, then the idea of a mind existing without a physical body or the idea of a something purely mental causing something physical to come into existence should be just as troubling, if not more.

I'm just thinking out loud.
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27-07-2015, 12:33 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Hello Unfogged,

Quote:It might if that's what they actually said. Our understanding of the laws of physics break down under the conditions of the early universe but that's not supernatural, just a recognition that we don't know what happened.

If the singularity is inexplicable by the laws of physics we know I don't know how you can say its 'natural'. That only proves my definition of supernatural, supernatural is what can't happen unless we find out it does happen in which case it becomes 'natural' as if that's a meaningful distinction.

Quote:You obviously do not read anything that anybody responds with. When you continually stick with your strawman arguments it becomes increasingly pointless to discuss anything.

Its not my fault atheists call themselves atheists which to everyone on the street means someone who doesn't believe God exists but to atheists now means they don't deny God exists, have no better explanation they're just critics of theism.

Quote:Nobody has concluded anything. We see that "mindless forces" exist and that they have been the explanation for everything we have found so far so it makes sense to continue exploring how they might account for what we still don't know. That is not a conclusion, it is simply the only avenue of investigation that has proven fruitful.

You offer this line of reasoning to support the belief (if not conclusion) that its mindless forces all the way down. Mindless forces by themselves wouldn't produce anything, its the law of physics that cause all the things we observe.

Quote:When you provide a mechanism to detect supernatural causation we will be happy to evaluate it and use it if it proves to be effective. Until then, claiming that it is a viable answer is useless.

Sure...you'll be happy as clams. Again the word supernatural is a red herring. If you can show how mindless forces caused themselves to come into existence or offer evidence they always existed I'd be happy to evaluate that.

Quote:You are inferring something that has never been demonstrated to exist. If you are allowed to do that then you can make up anything to explain anything. Your ideas will get respect when you show that they have a basis in reality.

No I can't make up anything about anything. I pointed out earlier that certain conditions have to obtain in order for anyone to infer the existence of a Creator. Its the fact that a myriad of conditions had to obtain for life and sentience to exist that leads folks to infer the existence of a Creator.

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:Because I can show you exactly how a laptop is designed and created and I can replicate the process in front of you. You can't explain to me how a universe is created or anything about the process or even show that it had to be created in the first place.

The point is a laptop can be explained solely by an appeal to naturalistic forces which in the case of the universe is your basis for believing its mindless forces all the way down. I'm demonstrating that is a poor basis to think so. I can't explain how a real universe is caused to occur but I can show you that virtual universes with the aid of technology can be caused by sentient beings.

Quote:Are you 12? It isn't "manning up" to promote belief in something for which there is no evidence. It is just intellectually dishonest.

I have provided 5 facts in support of my contention and a working model...I can't produce the Creator and put it on display.
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27-07-2015, 12:39 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?
Earlier in the thread I pointed out that I thought that the existence of conscious (or sentient) life is evidence for theism, in a general sense, but once again the devil is in the details. In a naturalistic universe, the only way you can have consciousness is as a process of a complex physical brain, which could only come about through a long, winding history of evolution by natural selection, which would have begun with some sort of self-replicating molecules that would have formed by some unlikely chemical reaction, which would require a huge universe full of lots of stuff and given lots of time to eventually randomly bring that stuff together under the right conditions. Isn’t it a coincidence that that’s the universe we find ourselves in?

If a God exists, there are countless ways that conscious creatures could exist, depending on the abilities of the God in question. Since God exists, minds must not require physical brains, so it’s not necessary to suppose that God would have to create creatures with physical brains in order for them to be sentient. In fact, there are good reasons for God to not choose that method; brains require a lot of energy and are very fragile and prone to all kinds of damage. In humans, our brains have to be large in order to have all the complex machinery required to support our consciousness, which has lead to thousands upon thousands of women and children dying during childbirth. Some design, eh?

And speaking of design, the universe looks like the most inefficient Rube Goldberg-esque conceivable, if the end goal was to bring about sentient life. The designer would have to be so limited in power to put such a plan in place rather than just designing and making something the way human engineers do, or it would have to be evil and/or insane to use a wasteful process that require billions of years of misery and death in order to create the final product.

(24-07-2015 12:03 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  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.
On naturalism, the only way that conscious observers could evolve is if nature behaved in a way that was stable. Basically, the only way that we could be here is if the universe was consistent enough to also be understandable.

Compare this with theism, where, depending on the attributes of the God in question, the laws of nature could change on a whim, or where the existence of created beings could be sustained through endless miraculous intervention instead of some sort of stable, physical system. It would be possible that there would be no laws of nature at all, and that induction and science would be useless. I don’t think that theism entails or guarantees an intelligible, discoverable world, so I can’t count this as evidence.

I'm just thinking out loud.
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27-07-2015, 01:38 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(27-07-2015 11:42 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  In my long experience atheists are always hostile when there beliefs are challenged...

It is human nature to be defensive when confronted and atheists don't hold a candle to theists when it comes to hostile reactions to challenges. That said, atheism isn't a belief, it is a lack of belief.

(27-07-2015 11:51 AM)drewpaul Wrote:  I have nothing to preach...there is no church of theism. Bottom line is theists believe in the existence of a Creator because they perceive its a better explanation.

Identifying possible explanations and prioritizing them is a great way to decide what to investigate. It isn't a way to decide truth. The fact that something makes more sense to you doesn't mean that it is true. You need evidence that supports your case and not alternative ideas and so far the most you;ve offered has been neutral facts that are not contested on either side. They aren't evidence in favor of theism because they are equally possible, if not expected, without a god.

(27-07-2015 12:33 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  If the singularity is inexplicable by the laws of physics we know I don't know how you can say its 'natural'.

You ignored where I said that the singularity idea is not as mainstream as it used to be and are arguing against something I did not say. Events are explainable back to very close to the big bang but our understanding breaks down at that point so we do not know what happened. At the point where we do not know it does not make sense to me to claim to believe anything about it.

Quote: That only proves my definition of supernatural, supernatural is what can't happen unless we find out it does happen in which case it becomes 'natural' as if that's a meaningful distinction.

It is a meaningful distinction to me. What I'm hearing is that you assume anything you don't understand is supernatural until we figure it out. The god of the gaps rides again. Why believe that the supernatural exists when it is just a placeholder for ignorance?

Quote:Its not my fault atheists call themselves atheists which to everyone on the street means someone who doesn't believe God exists but to atheists now means they don't deny God exists, have no better explanation they're just critics of theism.

The fact that theists have long promoted a mischaracterization of atheism is not my fault. I don't mind when people start to argue on that basis but I do mind when they continue on that basis after being told repeately that they are arguing a strawman. You came here making a claim about the supernatural and that it is reasonable to believe that a creator deity exists. That gives you the burdern of proof to provide substantive evidence for that position. You have tried to do that but have failed to meet that burden of proof. If you have more evidence please provide it, otherwise we seem to be at an impasse.

Quote:You offer this line of reasoning to support the belief (if not conclusion) that its mindless forces all the way down. Mindless forces by themselves wouldn't produce anything, its the law of physics that cause all the things we observe.

Again, I do not claim to believe that it is "mindless forces all the way down". Your distinction between these forces and the laws of physics is strange since the laws of physics are simply our descriptions of our undertsanding of how these forces work. There is no distinction there.

Quote:Sure...you'll be happy as clams. Again the word supernatural is a red herring. If you can show how mindless forces caused themselves to come into existence or offer evidence they always existed I'd be happy to evaluate that.

You are the one claiming that they did come into existence and that they were most likely intentionally created by a mind. When you can demonstrate anything about the existence of that mind or how to detect it we'll have a basis for discussion. I don't claim that they alwasy existed, nor do I claim that they came into existence. I try not to make claims regarding things I don't understand.

Quote:No I can't make up anything about anything. I pointed out earlier that certain conditions have to obtain in order for anyone to infer the existence of a Creator. Its the fact that a myriad of conditions had to obtain for life and sentience to exist that leads folks to infer the existence of a Creator.

Those same conditions are needed to infer the existence of pixies, leprechauns, unicorns, vampires, werewolves, and any other concept that people have come up with. Does it makeany of them more likely? The same conditions are needed for a discussion of possible ways in which it could have happened naturally without a creator god. Does that make the creator less likely?

Quote:The point is a laptop can be explained solely by an appeal to naturalistic forces which in the case of the universe is your basis for believing its mindless forces all the way down. I'm demonstrating that is a poor basis to think so.

Many things can be explained using only natural processes and we have myriad examples of things forming via natural processes. We have exactly zero things known to have been formed by supernatural processes. It seems reaonable to me to continue pursuing natural options since (a) they have proven fruitful so far and (b) we don't have any reliable way to purse supernatural options. That said, please stop insisting that I claim that "it was natural forces all the way down". I don't make that claim. If you want to argue a strawman go elsewhere. If you want to present evidence that I should accept a supernatural explanation for the beginning of the universe when we know nothing about that event, or even if there was a beginning, good luck.

Quote:I can't explain how a real universe is caused to occur but I can show you that virtual universes with the aid of technology can be caused by sentient beings.

And as has been said many times, the fact that an intelligent agent CAN create does not mean that ONLY an intelligent agent can create. The problem here is that you are jumping from "I can't explain" to "here's an explanation" and not understanding the leap being made.

Quote:I have provided 5 facts in support of my contention and a working model...I can't produce the Creator and put it on display.

You have provided facts that do nothing to discount a naturally supported universe. I have no idea what working model you think you have provided as just saying that an intelligent agent could have done it is not a working model. Until you can rule out all other options or find a way to detect your creator I see no reason to accept your claims.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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27-07-2015, 02:08 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Atheists also get defensive because when they are challenged by a theist there is usually some sort of threat of eternal suffering attached. Not always the case, but the majority of the time.
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