Why I'm a Theist
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28-07-2015, 02:19 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 02:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 01:40 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I'm not sure why you think that. Folks like Daniel Dennet, Alex Rosenberg are defenders of physicalism. In fact, about 56% of philosophers subscribe to physicalism.

They are different words, and we all get the pejorative implications when "you people" start using the terms "materialism", and "naturalism".

I'm not too sure what the pejorative implications here are? Perhaps you can elaborate on this?

I do think it's curious that you take issue with a term like "materialism", though I'm not sure what aspects of it you disagree with?
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28-07-2015, 02:34 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
Hello Organic Chemist,

Welcome to the philosophical food fight.

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

I'm truly hurt my reputation hasn't gotten one good mark. Weeping

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'.

Quote: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.

I claim what you say is a tautology. 'there is a really nice explanation for the formation of the planets that doesn't require a god' provided in fact God didn't cause the universe to exist with the laws of physics that subsequently caused planets to form. We can create virtual universes in which planets form also...would you say they formed naturally no creator designer needed?

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.

Quote: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.

The implication is that if we can explain how something functions and works exclusively by appealing to the laws of physics and natural causes then that's evidence natural forces without plan or intent caused said phenomena to occur. The fatal flaw is that we can explain how something functions and works exclusively by appealing to the laws of physics and natural causes to things known to have been caused and designed by sentient beings.

Quote: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.

It makes you a god with a little G. You as a volitional being caused something to exist. Granted as a little god living in time-space you aren't transcendent. If our universe was caused to exist by the planning and engineering of a scientist in another universe would theism be correct?

Quote: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.

I only brought up abiogenesis because some of my opponents have been speaking as if its a foregone conclusion that's how life came about. I also find it a little amusing that scientists speak of finding life on a planet with the right conditions as if we know what those conditions are. Also even if some 'naturalistic' cause for the existence of life was discovered, it still involves a myriad of conditions for that to happen. However, such a discovery would be a step in the right direction.

Quote: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.

It is a known observable repeatable fact that sentient beings can cause, design and create contrivances of incredible complexity. Its alleged by atheists (or naturalists) that such can occur unaided. The evidence they provide is based on the belief it is 'natural' forces all the way down. Not sure how you tie Occams razor into this you'll have to explain.
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28-07-2015, 02:35 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 01:20 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  No one here claims "physics fixes all the facts".

That's probably more of a problem for you than you care to realize, or have ever worked out.

Jerry Coyne: “The view that all sciences are in principle reducible to the laws of physics, must be true unless you’re religious.” Either we’re molecules in motion or we’re not.

Alex Rosenberg: "“IF WE’RE GOING TO BE SCIENTISTIC, THEN WE HAVE to attain our view of reality from what physics tells us about it. Actually, we’ll have to do more than that: we’ll have to embrace physics as the whole truth about reality.”

Excerpt From: Rosenberg, Alex. “The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions.” iBooks.
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28-07-2015, 02:39 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 02:35 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 01:20 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  No one here claims "physics fixes all the facts".

That's probably more of a problem for you than you care to realize, or have ever worked out.

Jerry Coyne: “The view that all sciences are in principle reducible to the laws of physics, must be true unless you’re religious.” Either we’re molecules in motion or we’re not.

Alex Rosenberg: "“IF WE’RE GOING TO BE SCIENTISTIC, THEN WE HAVE to attain our view of reality from what physics tells us about it. Actually, we’ll have to do more than that: we’ll have to embrace physics as the whole truth about reality.”

Excerpt From: Rosenberg, Alex. “The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions.” iBooks.

I think this point of conversation would of, or would still, go better if you defined "physics 'fixes' all the facts"

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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28-07-2015, 02:41 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 12:38 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Just curious are you an anaturalist also? That's someone who doesn't deny naturalism just lacks belief in it.

I have said repeatedly that I see huge amounts of evidence for natural processes forming things within the universe but that when it comes to the questions of whether or not the universe began or how I have to say "I don't know".

Quote: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?

IF anybody was making that assertion it would be based on the countless examples we have of natural processes being sufficient to cause what we see around us. It makes perfect sense to think that they may explain more of what we don't understand and to pursue investigations in that area. On the other hand, you can fall back on "it seems improbable to me while an intelligent agent seems easier to understand" and think that you have an answer. Until you have a way to test that hypothesis, however, it is nothing more than idle speculation. We do not know the answer; picking one that feels good is not a path to solving anything.

Quote:On the other hand there is an expectation that sentient forces would do such since we create robots, artificial intelligence and virtual universes.

You've made this point many times and it doesn't get any better. The fact that intelligence CAN create doesn't mean trhat ONLY intelligence can create. We see too much that is just the product of natural processes with no intent behind it to make that jump.

Quote: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.

I was with you up to the end. Natural processes that we don't understand can appear to be magical, a point you've made, but that doesn't mean that they are. It only means that we don't know.

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

That's a good question and one that I don't have a good answer for. Too many things that people thought were supernatural have turned out to be natural as we learned more. We have no way that I know of to distinguish between an unknown natural process and something that is truly supernatural if anything like that even exists. That's why it makes sense to continue to investigate what we can and not jump to any coclusions about something being supernatural, or transcendent, or any kind of deity, or whatever you care to call it.

Quote: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?

Not that you think so, but as I'm sure you expect, I disagree completely. You presented facts that can easily be true for a completely naturalistic universe and then expressed your opinion that since we can't prove it is completely natural it might be a god. You haven't defined this god or how it operates or what it can do or how it came to be so you've added nothing of value that I can see.

Quote:How would they work minus any laws of physics?

They ARE the laws of physics. The laws of physics are human descriptions of the natural processes that we find operating around us. Gravity doesn't operate under the law of gravity... the law of gravity is our definition of how gravity operates.

Quote:
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.

That's not an answer. The conditions you said were needed to claim a god exists are also needed to claim any of the other beings exist. Whether or not you attribute the universe to them is irrelevant.

(28-07-2015 01:06 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Do we agree we are looking at these 4 options?
a. universe does exist, creator god exists (but is not obviously apparent to all)
b. universe does exist, came about from unknown natural cause

In my opinion, B is the atheist position, the one they don't care to defend or acknowledge. [/quote]

Nicely dodged. The only atheist position is that the claim that a god exists has not been proven. What you think atheists believe is not the question. The question is how can you distinguish between A and B with any degree of certainty.

Quote:A simple lack of belief is absurdly easy to maintain. There are people who lack belief in things most people accept as fact, for instance that man landed on the moon. No matter what evidence is submitted, they will maintain its all created by a hoax, demand you prove its not a hoax and then say you haven't presented any evidence. Its even easier with an opinion which by definition means there is no conclusive evidence available.

Yes, there are people who deny evidence. The difference being that all of the mathematics and physical and other evidence for the moon landing is available for scrutiny. Anybody can study the material and verify the conclusions. Given resources, anybody could duplicate the event. It is a world apart from the claim that an intelligent creator exists given that there is no concrete evidence for that. There is only supposition and everybody can use the same "evidence" to reach very different conclusions about the nature and capability of the creator from super-intelligent mind to simple natural forces. If you can't eliminate any ideas then you don't know what happened and it is not reasonable to claim anything.

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28-07-2015, 02:58 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 01:06 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Unfogged,

Quote:Do we agree we are looking at these 4 options?
a. universe does exist, creator god exists (but is not obviously apparent to all)
b. universe does exist, came about from unknown natural cause

In my opinion, B is the atheist position, the one they don't care to defend or acknowledge.

A simple lack of belief is absurdly easy to maintain. There are people who lack belief in things most people accept as fact, for instance that man landed on the moon. No matter what evidence is submitted, they will maintain its all created by a hoax, demand you prove its not a hoax and then say you haven't presented any evidence. Its even easier with an opinion which by definition means there is no conclusive evidence available.

You're kidding right? Facepalm

You are seriously saying that those who do not presuppose but are actively trying to gather and interpret hard data to answer the "unknown" part are not caring to defend or acknowledge? So the honest stance of "IDK, let's gather the evidence and see where it goes" is somehow more absurd then "I do know, and it is this thing that does stuff by a mechanism that we can't see or know about?" You, my man, are deluded.

And your analogy of the moon is silly because there is a ton of physical evidence that we've been there. There is no evidence for the supernatural.

"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."
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28-07-2015, 04:05 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(28-07-2015 01:31 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  At one time I had a 'lack of belief' also.

That's interesting. At what age and for how long and what were you doing then?

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28-07-2015, 09:22 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(23-07-2015 03:36 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  Greetings all,

I am a theist because I believe the preponderance of available evidence leads to that conclusion. The word preponderance simply means more evidence in favor of than against.

Greetings,

Please itemize the evidence so that we can discuss it.

Thanks.


Quote:However its not just the evidence in favor of theism that leads to my opinion, its also the lack of evidence in favor of the counter position that we owe our existence and the universe to mindless forces that somehow came into existence and proceeded to cause a universe and life to exist. Whether atheists wish to defend the counter claim or not the theist-atheist debate is about two propositions; We owe the existence of the universe and life to a Creator or we owe our existence to mindless forces that somehow came into existence and caused all we observe.

You seem to look at this as a two-sided coin only. Both positions you state above involve the act of creating.

But have you considered the 3rd option that nothing was ever created? We can discuss this in detail if you like.

Quote:First, I'm not claiming theism is a fact, it's an opinion.

That's an honest approach.

Quote: Its what I believe is true minus conclusive proof that would make it a fact.

Perhaps you should re-state this. How could it be a fact without conclusive proof? It would appear to me that you are making a statement of faith here, and not a statement of fact.

Quote:Therefore my 'burden' of evidence is a mere preponderance more in favor than against.

Okay, so you have reached an opinion based upon what you deem to be evidence. Please describe this evidence.

Quote: Secondly I don't care if the case I make persuades the atheists on this board. Barring irrefutable evidence God exists the majority of atheists will say at the end of this thread I didn't make a case, there is no evidence in favor of theism and all the usual rhetoric and bellyaching. The only opinion that matters are those who are undecided.

If the only opinion that matters are those who are undecided- and you are on a forum that has 99% atheists and you are posting in the section specifically designed for atheists- then don't you think you are speaking to the wrong people?

Quote:The case for theism is circumstantial. The following is from a legal dictionary.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionar...l+Evidence

Circumstantial Evidence is also known as indirect evidence. It is distinguished from direct evidence, which, if believed, proves the existence of a particular fact without any inference or presumption required. Circumstantial evidence relates to a series of facts other than the particular fact sought to be proved. The party offering circumstantial evidence argues that this series of facts, by reason and experience, is so closely associated with the fact to be proved that the fact to be proved may be inferred simply from the existence of the circumstantial evidence.

From free dictionary.com

One important benchmark of admissibility is relevance. Federal Rule of Evidence 402 states, in part, "All relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided." The goal of this rule is to allow parties to present all of the evidence that bears on the issue to be decided, and to keep out all evidence that is immaterial or that lacks Probative value. Evidence that is offered to help prove something that is not at issue is immaterial. For example, the fact that a defendant attends church every week is immaterial, and thus irrelevant, to a charge of running a red light. Probative value is a tendency to make the existence of any material fact more or less probable. For instance, evidence that a murder defendant ate spaghetti on the day of the murder would normally be irrelevant because people who eat spaghetti are not more or less likely to commit murder, as compared with other people. However, if spaghetti sauce were found at the murder scene, the fact that the defendant ate spaghetti that day would have probative value and thus would be relevant evidence.

That's fine.

Quote:I will present 5 indisputable facts that support belief in theism. They don't prove theism is true, they merely provide good reason to think it's true. I'm not going to be making any 'God of the gaps' arguments nor am I going to offer any hypothetical scenarios or cite the mere possibility of something being true as evidence theism is true.

I will review and ponder, then respond.

Thank you.

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28-07-2015, 09:45 PM
RE: Why I'm a Theist
(23-07-2015 04:59 PM)drewpaul Wrote:  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.

It's not a matter of belief with atheists. The position of atheism is best described historically as "the state of being godless." Modernly, it is best described quite simply as disbelief in gods.

We do not have any beliefs accepted as facts. That's an oxymoron. We only have facts, and no beliefs at all.

Sure, we can have opinions, and be strong willed about them. But there is a distinct difference between having a justifiable opinion as opposed to mere beliefs.

Beliefs are best characterized as something akin to faith, and in the context of religion and the subject matter of this discussion, characterizing the atheistic position as being in a state of belief is a mis-characterization and distortion of fact.

Quote: 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.

Atheists would not dispute evidence provided, if it were in fact evidence that demonstrates support for the claim. Many times people will claim something to be evidence of one thing, while completely excluding other more plausible explanations.



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.


In this scenario, no life would exist to make claims about anything, since we wouldn't have a planet to stand on.

Facepalm


Quote: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. That alone wouldn't rule out the possibility a Creator who hasn't yet created the universe or life might exist but in lieu of anything to attribute to such a Creator they'd have ample reason to decline such a belief.

This is actually a pointless statement. Just because you think it's possible that a Creator might exist does not make a point at all, unless again you provide evidence to support even the possibility.

You cannot claim that something is possible without justifying the possibility. To justify such a possibility, evidence and solid reasoning needs to be supplied.

Too much speculation going on here, so I will move on to your point.

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...

The fact that the universe exists demonstrates absolutely nothing about it being created by either a creator or by natural means.

So here's a task for you:

Can you provide any evidence to support the claim that the universe was ever created by anything?

Thank you.

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29-07-2015, 12:23 AM
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.

And it seems that theists think that because they aren't adult enough to be able to accept "we don't know" as the intellectually honest answer to certain questions.

Like 5-year-olds, they must have an answer - even a made-up one.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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