Why I'm a Theist
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27-07-2015, 10:34 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist



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28-07-2015, 06:16 AM (This post was last modified: 28-07-2015 06:40 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(27-07-2015 07:53 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Reality negates theism in all its forms.

I'm curious to hear what else you think reality negates.

Does reality negate dualism?

Does reality negate free will?

Does reality negate objective morality?

Does reality negate intrinsic values and meaning?

Is your reality, one in which physics fixes all the facts? A reality aligned to Materialistic Monism? In which "everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties, and that the only existing substance is physical."?

Is this the reality you believe in, that negates theism in all its forms?
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28-07-2015, 06:40 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(27-07-2015 09:06 PM)Dom Wrote:  You still don't get it. You are studying atheists, and you try to cram them into a box you can label nicely. You are going to find that you will need many boxes, because some of us may have some things in common, but mostly we are different. Did you read the conversion thread? You will find out a lot if you do. http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...sion-story

I don’t think anyone ever fits into a neat box, theists or atheists. I don’t even think it would be accurate to say that the sort of atheists who participate in internet forums are a representative sample of all atheists.

But when you interact with atheists you do start to see some patterns, not ones that put them in a neat box, but at least place them along some spectrum. That doesn’t mean that you and someone like Bucky are not worlds apart. Everyone still has their unique personalities and such, but in terms of worldviews, I don’t think the choices here as infinite as one imagines. Particularly when you recognize that a great deal of worldviews are already occupied by one form of theism or the other.

Quote:And my atheism is not at all a flirtation. I stopped believing when I was 10 and read the bible - for the first and last time. I am now in my 60s. I am not into science much except that I enjoy it's benefits and support the principles.

I wouldn’t say your atheism is a flirtation since you’d likely define your atheism as a lack of belief. I was talking about beliefs that you might hold, which you don’t even feel comfortable calling beliefs, but “assumptions”. You seem to suggest that you don’t really hold any strong beliefs at least in regards to your worldview, that they’re tentative in some way or the other, that you haven’t committed yourself to any of them. This is what I meant by “flirtation”.
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28-07-2015, 07:15 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 06:40 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(27-07-2015 09:06 PM)Dom Wrote:  You still don't get it. You are studying atheists, and you try to cram them into a box you can label nicely. You are going to find that you will need many boxes, because some of us may have some things in common, but mostly we are different. Did you read the conversion thread? You will find out a lot if you do. http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...sion-story

I don’t think anyone ever fits into a neat box, theists or atheists. I don’t even think it would be accurate to say that the sort of atheists who participate in internet forums are a representative sample of all atheists.

But when you interact with atheists you do start to see some patterns, not ones that put them in a neat box, but at least place them along some spectrum. That doesn’t mean that you and someone like Bucky are not worlds apart. Everyone still has their unique personalities and such, but in terms of worldviews, I don’t think the choices here as infinite as one imagines. Particularly when you recognize that a great deal of worldviews are already occupied by one form of theism or the other.

Quote:And my atheism is not at all a flirtation. I stopped believing when I was 10 and read the bible - for the first and last time. I am now in my 60s. I am not into science much except that I enjoy it's benefits and support the principles.

I wouldn’t say your atheism is a flirtation since you’d likely define your atheism as a lack of belief. I was talking about beliefs that you might hold, which you don’t even feel comfortable calling beliefs, but “assumptions”. You seem to suggest that you don’t really hold any strong beliefs at least in regards to your worldview, that they’re tentative in some way or the other, that you haven’t committed yourself to any of them. This is what I meant by “flirtation”.

Yep, Bucky and I are worlds apart. But that is a big part of why I enjoy this forum. It is very interesting to listen to what others have to say, I have learned a lot since I started coming here. Atheism is a very small part of my life and always has been, and I never enjoyed reading about religion. Reading Bucky's posts (and many others of course) widens my perspective in a casual and often humorous way.

If you are going to look at people just as atheists and theists, yeah, you will find theists everywhere. Most places in this world atheists are all closeted and you will never know who they are and what they think. The great majority of atheists are closeted to this day. Both my parents were closet atheists literally til the day they died - my dad told me a couple of months before he died, mom told me on her death bed. I was more or less closeted - I just avoided "praise the lord" type folks. Both my husbands were the same. I appreciate the young people today who speak out and make noise very much - it's about time someone opened some closet doors. The more people come out, the more people will come out. The rise in "nones" is not a reflection of an increasing number of atheists imo, it is just that with more open conversation there are more and more closeted people at least mustering the guts to check a box truthfully. I think the next couple of decades holds a lot of surprises for theists. The process is not different from what happened when gays came out over the course of a couple of decades.

My "beliefs" - I don't see them as flirtation. They are what I have learned in life up to this point, and they adjust with the acquisition of new information. That is why I chose "freethinker" under my avatar instead of atheist - I hope to always let my thoughts travel freely and adjust my views accordingly. It's called growth.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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28-07-2015, 07:53 AM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
A couple of observations.

(27-07-2015 03:43 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  This is one of the better atheist arguments. I should say argument in favor of naturalism (which in my opinion is the unstated, undefended claim of atheism). The premise of the argument is:

1. Its a fact natural forces exist
2. As we explore phenomena, particularly phenomena previously attributed to gods or Gods we discover 'naturalistic causes'
3. We have yet to discover a non-naturalistic cause for any phenomena within the universe
The argument from those facts is that its natural causes all the way down.

Feel free to rephrase the premise but I think that's it in a nutshell.

Personally, I think you stated it pretty well. But unfortunately, you seem to have forgotten this in the next part.

(27-07-2015 03:43 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  I have two rebuttals against the premise. First the position we have a track record of naturalistic causes assumes the truth of the proposition its natural causes all the way down. If its not in fact natural causes all the way down then the track record doesn't amount to a hill of beans. The premise only means something if in fact its natural causes all the way down. What we mean by natural is phenomena minus any involvement of a sentient being. For us to declare planets are formed by natural causes without the aid of a sentient being, we'd have to know that no sentient being was involved 'all the way down'.

You completely lose what you state in the first part. If literally everything we have ever discovered has caused god as Tyson put it "to be an ever decreasing pocket of scientific ignorance," the underlined is, by default, a non-sequitur. It doesn't follow your logic in the first part of the paragraph. If literally everything we discover/develop only shows that no god is required, then the default stance shouldn't be there is a god, now lets prove him wrong. That is the issue here. You nicely state that the natural shows the lack of a supernatural and then do a 180 and then say that in order to say a natural cause is the reason, one must first dismiss a god is nonsense. If your claim is that there is a god (ANY version) the burden of proof is on YOU to show that there is one and how it works. BTW, there is a really nice explanation for the formation of the planets that doesn't require a god.

(27-07-2015 03:43 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Secondly and I think this is the most damning if the premise were true that things which can be explained naturalistically we're created by non-sentient means then it shouldn't work the same with things known to have been caused or created by sentient beings. We can explain the function of a car, how it works, what makes it move, how it steers, how the engine works in unison, how the pistons go up and down and produce power naturalistically without appealing to a sentient Creator. If the premise was correct we should conclude the car was created by naturalistic forces.

You don't seem to understand that even though what you said seems different, the physics, and chemistry are all governed by the same rules of chemistry and physics. The exact same rules. Don't be fooled by the outcome as the naturalistic forces still are what make the car work, we just have figured out how to use them to our advantage.

(27-07-2015 03:43 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Its actually the opposite, the more I know of the universe, the laws of physics and chemistry, the less I'm convinced we owe our existence to mindless forces that never intended themselves to exist, the universe to exist, the laws of physics to exist and certainly not life to exist and even less so sentient life. If knowledge from those science disciplines produced evidence in favor of atheism (or naturalism) folks on this board would be pounding me over the head with such info. I am aware of the theory of how life came from non-life but the fact is using intelligence scientists as yet have been unable to duplicate the conditions in which life is alleged to have arisen. My opponents have cried foul that nature has had millions of years for it to cause life to exist as if mindless forces wanted life to exist and it just took time.

The fact is a myriad of conditions have to obtain before we get to the point abiogensis or evolution could occur if it did occur.

If this is what you think, then I would have to say, you fail to understand chemistry and physics. I am a synthetic chemist. I have made thousands of compounds that have never existed in nature before. Does that make me a god? No. (Although if you think it does and care to tithe, I can set up a Patreon) I can do what I do because I understand HOW chemicals function in a given environment and can manipulate them as such. However, I can NEVER do anything that nature can't. We have yet to do a single thing that cannot be done naturally. Name me 1 thing that we can do that nature can't. The apologetic I see coming is something like a soda can or car but the fact is that according to statistical thermodynamics, it is completely possible for all the appropriate atoms to coalesce into a car by themselves, but it is extremely, extremely unlikely. Possible, but highly unlikely. If you understood anything about advanced chemistry, you would understand the relationship between probability and chemistry and why what you said is faulty.

To address the abiogenesis point, you are right about one thing: that we haven't made our own life in a lab. Yet. Again, you seem to confuse what we don't know with what we will never know. I imagine that 500 years ago, there was some wizard that would have said that we would NEVER understand what lightning was because all of the smartest people of the time couldn't figure it out so therefore god. You are committing the same error here.

(27-07-2015 03:43 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  It should give atheists pause because one of their reasons for rejecting the existence of God is because we haven't observed God. It is a observable repeatable fact that incredibly complex contrivances can originate from mind. Its assumed by naturalists that could occur from mindless forces without them intending such to happen.

This gives me not a moment of pause because if there were observable, repeatable facts, then we could test them. Occam's Razor disposes of your statement easily in any event. The fact that there has yet to be anything supernatural that has been repeatedly observed as fact is testament to this. If you think there is something without a natural cause or a natural cause that has supernatural origins. Please present the evidence (and I mean hard evidence, not the nebulous stuff) for evaluation and peer review. The Nobel Committee would be eager to meet you. So far, you have mostly shown that you have a remedial understanding of the science and have presented no evidence as such.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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28-07-2015, 12:38 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Unfogged,

Quote:That said, atheism isn't a belief, it is a lack of belief.

Just curious are you an anaturalist also? That's someone who doesn't deny naturalism just lacks belief in it.

Quote: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.

I disagree about it being a way to get at the truth of a matter. A model or hypothesis gives us something to test to confirm or falsify the hypothesis. I don't know whether its equally possible that mindless forces that somehow came into existence without plan or intent would cause something unlike itself to exist then it would for a sentient being with intelligence, plan and design to deliberately cause the universe and sentient life to occur. I don't know who would make a proposition like mindless forces somehow came into existence and therefore I'm not the least surprised they would go on to create a universe and sentient life to exist. What would be the basis for such an expectation? On the other hand there is an expectation that sentient forces would do such since we create robots, artificial intelligence and virtual universes.

Quote: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.

Our understanding breaks down because the laws of physics we're familiar with breakdown. If the universe began to exist (at least in its current form) then whatever occurred prior wouldn't be explicable in terms of the laws of physics were familiar with. Moreover most scientists believe time began to exist when the universe came into existence. If the universe came into existence uncaused out of nothing we're back to magical explanations.

Quote: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?

What criteria is used to distinguish supernatural from natural? What basis do you use to label some phenomena natural and some other phenomena supernatural?

Quote: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.

First off, whether I have met that burden is in the eyes of impartial undecided folks, not my opponent in this debate. The only burden I had was to offer facts in favor of what I believe. As if it makes any difference in my opinion I have hands down exceeded my burden of evidence. Does that surprise you?

Quote: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.

How would they work minus any laws of physics?

Quote: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?

No because we don't attribute the existence of the universe and life to your aforementioned list.
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28-07-2015, 12:42 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 06:16 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Does reality negate dualism?
Does reality negate free will?
Does reality negate objective morality?
Does reality negate intrinsic values and meaning?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
It has already been shown to you in these fora, multiple times.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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28-07-2015, 12:43 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 12:38 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Unfogged,

Quote:That said, atheism isn't a belief, it is a lack of belief.

Just curious are you an anaturalist also? That's someone who doesn't deny naturalism just lacks belief in it.

Quote: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.

I disagree about it being a way to get at the truth of a matter. A model or hypothesis gives us something to test to confirm or falsify the hypothesis. I don't know whether its equally possible that mindless forces that somehow came into existence without plan or intent would cause something unlike itself to exist then it would for a sentient being with intelligence, plan and design to deliberately cause the universe and sentient life to occur. I don't know who would make a proposition like mindless forces somehow came into existence and therefore I'm not the least surprised they would go on to create a universe and sentient life to exist. What would be the basis for such an expectation? On the other hand there is an expectation that sentient forces would do such since we create robots, artificial intelligence and virtual universes.

Quote: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.

Our understanding breaks down because the laws of physics we're familiar with breakdown. If the universe began to exist (at least in its current form) then whatever occurred prior wouldn't be explicable in terms of the laws of physics were familiar with. Moreover most scientists believe time began to exist when the universe came into existence. If the universe came into existence uncaused out of nothing we're back to magical explanations.

Quote: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?

What criteria is used to distinguish supernatural from natural? What basis do you use to label some phenomena natural and some other phenomena supernatural?

Quote: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.

First off, whether I have met that burden is in the eyes of impartial undecided folks, not my opponent in this debate. The only burden I had was to offer facts in favor of what I believe. As if it makes any difference in my opinion I have hands down exceeded my burden of evidence. Does that surprise you?

Quote: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.

How would they work minus any laws of physics?

Quote: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?

No because we don't attribute the existence of the universe and life to your aforementioned list.

You've offered no facts. You've restated you misguided, unsupported opinions. Nothing else.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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28-07-2015, 12:47 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 12:42 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 06:16 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Does reality negate dualism?
Does reality negate free will?
Does reality negate objective morality?
Does reality negate intrinsic values and meaning?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
It has already been shown to you in these fora, multiple times.

Well, I'm not sure what Rahn's views here are, since the question was directed at him, but I wouldn't be surprised if he agrees with you.

And since you replied, I'm curious to hear your response to the other question as well:

"Is your reality, one in which physics fixes all the facts? A reality aligned to Materialistic Monism? In which "everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties, and that the only existing substance is physical."?

Is this the reality you believe in?"
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28-07-2015, 12:54 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
I don't know if reality negates anything but reality is certainly indifferent to all those things mentioned.

As for "physics fixes all the facts" and "materialistic monism" and all those other human constructs, I would say reality is indifferent to that shit, as well.

The thing about belief is ... I don't need it to have a reality. Drinking Beverage

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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