Why does everyone seem to miss this?
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28-07-2013, 05:37 AM
RE: Why does everyone seem to miss this?
I skipped a lot on this thread but..to the original post.. I find it funny that one of my turning points in life was realizing that I was cowering in a foxhole.. I had all but let go of faith except for in times of duress in my life..but..when I looked back and realized that those were the only moments I clung to "god".. I felt liberated by knowing that it was psychology in the works and it actually made it easier to let go.. It was a moment of realizing my self worth and that I didn't have to cling to an imaginary friend to get through a hard time.

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28-07-2013, 10:40 AM
RE: Why does everyone seem to miss this?
(26-07-2013 12:35 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  I saw a theist arguing with someone the other day and they had reverted to the classic "there are no atheists in foxholes" argument. The other person did the classic atheist thing and started arguing back that there are.

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins pointed out how two kids arguing about the truth of their respective religions with "Mine's true and yours isn't" wasn't a meaningful argument.

Quote:"...and he says, 'The Koran is correct and true.' And
Clare, over here, says, 'No, the Bible is true.' So we talked
about the similarities between what they say and the
places where they disagree. And we agreed that they could
not both be true. And eventually I said, 'Sorry Shaquille,
you are wrong, it is the Bible that is true.' And he said,
'Sorry Mr McQuoid, you are wrong, it is the Koran.' And
they went on to lunch and carried on discussing it there.
That's what we want. We want children to know why it is
they believe what they believe and to defend it."

What a charming picture! Shaquille and Clare went to lunch
together, vigorously arguing their cases and defending their incompatible
beliefs. But is it really so charming? Isn't it actually
rather a deplorable picture that Mr McQuoid has painted? Upon
what, after all, did Shaquille and Clare base their argument? What
cogent evidence was each one able to bring to bear, in their
vigorous and constructive debate? Clare and Shaquille each simply
asserted that her or his holy book was superior, and that was that.

I think we all immediately recognize the poverty of such arguments when we aren't a part of them, but the combatants don't recognize it because of cognitive dissonance. I've seen many examples on this very forum of mere assertions along the lines of "Nuh uh, you're wrong and I'm right" with no more support than that, and these same people would read your reasoning and say to themselves "that is such a poor argument over atheists in foxholes! What a couple of saps!" with no self-awareness that in different contexts they would make the same mistake.

But the argument isn't necessarily badly structured. A Christian could be implying that atheists who pray have an unconscious belief in God that only comes out when denial is no longer an option. You and I may see it differently, but you've got to be careful about what argument the Christian is actually making so that we don't straw-man their argument. It's silly to argue that belief in God makes God real, but Christians completely agree -- they may actually see this as an example of evidence of God making us, in that we have a universal belief in him. When we atheists don't believe that the universal belief exists, we're arguing against the validity of a premise rather than the soundness of the argument's struture.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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28-07-2013, 11:15 AM
RE: Why does everyone seem to miss this?
Valid point, and now that I think about it, I guess presenting the "no atheists in foxholes" as a valid argument in favor of god's existence is sort of like arguing for the existence of unicorns by pointing out that you are more likely to believe in them while tripping on acid.

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