Why should a deity exist?
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24-01-2017, 09:21 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 08:28 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  
(23-01-2017 01:28 PM)Heath_Tierney Wrote:  What you seem to be describing is deism. You're at the point of a non-falsifiable argument, which is logically irrational.
I disagree that your Popperism of non-falsifiable argument is irrational. Its just outside the strictures of the scientific method - noting that philosophy and theology are not science.
If it is outside of science and is non-falsifiable, then by definition it's not scientifically valid. Therefore, it's logically irrational.

(24-01-2017 08:28 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  
(23-01-2017 01:28 PM)Heath_Tierney Wrote:  Even if you were to prove the existence of a divine superintelligence at the root of it all - and if you were, in the thousands of years of trying, you'd be the first - you still haven't gone anywhere to support your thesis (if this is your thesis) that this divine superintelligence is interested in human affairs, answers prayers, etc etc.
If I were to "prove God", that would be the end of faith for billions of rational minds on this planet. I can't be comfortable with being responsible for that.
Fair enough, but the point still stands: even if you could prove a deistic hypothesis, your argument is no further ahead.

(24-01-2017 08:28 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  
(23-01-2017 01:28 PM)Heath_Tierney Wrote:  Lots of highly intelligent and rational people were deists, by the way: Einstein, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln just to name a few.
I see atheism as the "closing off" of valid knowledge that is possible within rational thought, preferring instead to limit itself to the scientific method alone, which may be simply distilled as predictive, rather than the contemplative. There is an entire sphere of thought missing from the idea that one should be able to predict, and if one can't, the topic is irrelevant.
This takes us back to the first point: if your evidence or truth is not examinable by the scientific method, it's not falsifiable, therefore is logically irrational.

(By the way, when I say "irrational" I don't mean it in a pejorative sense, and I'm certainly not calling you irrational. Not at all. I'm referring to the scientific definition: irrational meaning not based on reason. For instance, in mathematics, an pi is irrational number. Source: Irrational numbers.)

(24-01-2017 08:28 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  My personal experience and my purely anecdotal evidence, for what its worth in the discussion, finds that the religious are able to make contemplative "leaps of faith", which are relevant to accomplishment and fulfillment, where either by discipline or ignorance, the atheist doesn't allow himself.

I'm here to seek dialogue with those who do reject faith to understand, for example, how fulfillment is experienced, and what informs choice and inspires accomplishment absent the exercise of faith as opposed to facts.

The answer of "nothing" seems to be an avoidance of the issue, to me.
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here so allow me to mirror it back to you and then you can tell me if I'm wrong:

How does an atheist find meaning when they have no faith in a divine superintelligence to give his/her life meaning?

Do I have that right? Or did I miss the mark?
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24-01-2017, 09:32 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 08:28 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  f I were to "prove God", that would be the end of faith for billions of rational minds on this planet. I can't be comfortable with being responsible for that.

I don't see why. Substituting knowledge for faith seems like a good thing to me.


Quote:I see atheism as the "closing off" of valid knowledge that is possible within rational thought, preferring instead to limit itself to the scientific method alone, which may be simply distilled as predictive, rather than the contemplative. There is an entire sphere of thought missing from the idea that one should be able to predict, and if one can't, the topic is irrelevant.

I do not see how you can define anything as "valid knowledge" if it can't be demonstrated to be true with a high degree of certainty. Atheism does not close off any spheres of thought, it is simply a conclusion to a single question "is there good reason to believe a god exists?". Skepticism is often the path that leads to atheism and that seems to be what you are talking about but even that doesn't close off any spheres of thought -- it merely distinguishes between what can be shown to be objectively true and what can't.

Quote:My personal experience and my purely anecdotal evidence, for what its worth in the discussion, finds that the religious are able to make contemplative "leaps of faith", which are relevant to accomplishment and fulfillment, where either by discipline or ignorance, the atheist doesn't allow himself.

Again, you are talking about skeptics more than atheists and even there you are just wrong. being able to distinguish between fact, fantasy, and hope doesn't prevent skeptics from contemplating anything. They just don't accept something as objectively true until there is good reason to do so.

Quote:I'm here to seek dialogue with those who do reject faith to understand, for example, how fulfillment is experienced, and what informs choice and inspires accomplishment absent the exercise of faith as opposed to facts.

The answer of "nothing" seems to be an avoidance of the issue, to me.

Rejection of faith as a path to knowledge does not preclude seeking fulfillment or eliminate inspiration or any of the things you seem to think it does.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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24-01-2017, 09:41 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 08:39 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  
(23-01-2017 05:17 PM)unfogged Wrote:  As near as I can figure it's that we evolved the way we did partly because of the way gravity works and if things had been different we would not be here so we should be grateful that gravity is the way it is
I'm more interested in your personal view than an impersonal characterisation, and its hard for me to tell which one this is.

(23-01-2017 05:17 PM)unfogged Wrote:  and since it doesn't make sense to be grateful to something that has no intent behind it
Is this a statement of faith, or is it supported by fact?

There is an argument that things that have purpose are the result of design. I observe Boston Terriers in captivity, but note no similar looking canine in the wild. Boston Terriers have come from selective breeding of domestic dogs to result in the Boston Terrier. The intelligent agent is the one doing the selective breeding (a dog breeder), and the objective is the purpose of a short-nosed dog of a smallish stature and a playful personality.

(23-01-2017 05:17 PM)unfogged Wrote:  we would be justified to believe in a god that made gravity so we could be here to thank it.... if so, it's just a convoluted fine-tuning argument.
I think that's jumping ahead - presuming a conclusion.

I was merely paraphrasing what I think you have been claiming. I have no idea what the digression about pugs was supposed to illustrate; things can be designed for a purpose but things can also be given a purpose for which they were not designed so deign and purpose are not interchangeable.

Quote:Gravity "is", and we (you and I specifically) have resulted. This could be a mere coincidence - the output of a succession of random events, shaped by the immutable behaviors of nature. It might then be argued that - had gravity not behaved as force proportional to mass of the bodies upon which it acts, but rather force proportional to the square of 1/2 the mass, there could very well be rational minds which evolved within that gravity, but it wouldn't be your rational mind and my rational mind, as we are rational minds within the existence containing gravity that acts as we know it to act. The same might be said if gravity were dynamic, rather than unchanging.

I guess the question boils down to "so what?". You have made an elaborate argument that if things were different then things would be different. That much I agree with. You seem to then be claiming that you and I should be personally grateful that things are the way they are and that events happened the way they did. OK, I'll even go along with that for the sake of discussion... so what? If you could show that some causal agent intentionally arranged things so that I could exist then perhaps I would want to express gratitude to it. If you can't show an agent then any gratitude I have is unfocused and I do not "owe" my gratitude to anything or anyone. Being grateful to exist is not evidence that there is something to be grateful to.

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24-01-2017, 11:16 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 09:41 AM)unfogged Wrote:  I guess the question boils down to "so what?". You have made an elaborate argument that if things were different then things would be different. That much I agree with. You seem to then be claiming that you and I should be personally grateful that things are the way they are and that events happened the way they did.
This also begs questions such as: should a hypothetical being who evolved in 90% gravity instead of 100%, NOT be grateful for how things turned out? About about 50%? What about 90% gravity and 15% oxygen in the atmosphere instead of 21%? What if the earth's orbit were 1% closer to or further from the sun, or if the axial tilt was a little different?

There is no particular basis to assign warm fuzzy feelings to the way things are vs some other way, so this is an utterly meaningless assertion that there is something special about the exact parameters of our existence.

What there might be SOME basis for is to appreciate that we are adapted to our environment, whatever it is, and that we will adapt to future changes if not too fast or if we have the correct technological assistance with it. That would be something that any sentient being, including a three-legged tholin-breathing creature on Pluto or Titan, could find applicable at least -- an appreciation for what natural selection and biological life affords to us.

Even there, though, no invisible deity is a necessary entity to understand / explain adaptation to environment or to appreciate its benefits.

Methinks this whole line of argument is just a back door to weasel in some form of deity as somehow necessary to explain, and/or be proven by, fitness to environment.
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24-01-2017, 12:25 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 08:28 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  If I were to "prove God", that would be the end of faith for billions of rational minds on this planet. I can't be comfortable with being responsible for that.

(24-01-2017 09:32 AM)unfogged Wrote:  I don't see why. Substituting knowledge for faith seems like a good thing to me.

As someone who values knowledge over faith, and who in fact cannot get her brain to grok religious faith, I would quite cheerfully wipe faith off the map in the blink of an eye and replace it with knowledge.

I'm sorry, but your beliefs are much too silly to take seriously. Got anything else we can discuss?
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24-01-2017, 12:31 PM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2017 08:04 AM by mordant.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 12:25 PM)Astreja Wrote:  As someone who values knowledge over faith, and who in fact cannot get her brain to grok religious faith, I would quite cheerfully wipe faith off the map in the blink of an eye and replace it with knowledge.
I hear you, but the open question is whether many people would be utterly unable to handle actual knowledge of actual reality, and would just invent new religions.

The only way for religion to be well and truly marginalized / eliminated is for enough people to pry its tentacles out of their brains with a crowbar. In practice that means fewer and fewer people being born into theist homes, fewer and fewer being born into conservative theist homes. Eventually, religious faith becomes a fringe curiosity. For that to happen, I think, will take many more generations, quite possibly a millennium.

I am dubious that religious faith would entirely disappear even then, not unless natural selection works unusually fast to make the human brain far more orderly and reliable than it presently is.
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24-01-2017, 04:42 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
I think people want an explanation for things that are out of their control. They want their lives to have some kind of meaning. People want someone to come along and tell them what is true, what is right, and how to live. The fear of the unknown is really hard to deal with. I can be chill with people believing in a god for their own comfort or to help them feel special in the big bad world.

But I don't want to have all that shoved down my throat. I don't want it to threaten my life or my livelihood.

I don't like that my family chooses their beliefs over a relationship with me. I don't like hiding my thoughts about religion around them so that things don't get tense between us.

If the pope went to Zumba class, then he may be eligible to spend eternity in my special unicorn mountain kingdom. Cool
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24-01-2017, 04:47 PM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2017 05:11 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(21-01-2017 09:40 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  Existence as we know it wouldn't exist without gravity, and its behavior according to the laws of physics that appear to describe it.

You're joking, right ? So your god didn't exist until gravity was created ? Facepalm

https://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/ev....ybGR8P0QQ

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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24-01-2017, 10:15 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 04:42 PM)hannaskywalker Wrote:  I think people want an explanation for things that are out of their control. They want their lives to have some kind of meaning. People want someone to come along and tell them what is true, what is right, and how to live. The fear of the unknown is really hard to deal with. I can be chill with people believing in a god for their own comfort or to help them feel special in the big bad world.

I know that there are profound psychological underpinnings to belief, and that it brings a lot of people comfort. I don't think it's something we should put on a pedestal, though. It would be nice to see humanity develop new coping skills to deal with the ambiguities, uncertainties and fears that beset us, skills that were less vulnerable to exploitation by churches, governments and other opportunists.

I'm sorry, but your beliefs are much too silly to take seriously. Got anything else we can discuss?
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25-01-2017, 08:29 AM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2017 01:51 PM by mordant.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 04:42 PM)hannaskywalker Wrote:  People want someone to come along and tell them what is true, what is right, and how to live.
Yes I have known a lot of people in my day who are so overwhelmed by ... for lack of a better word, life ... who are so out of touch with their own existential dread, such that it is a sort of formless panic floating over them all the time at the first sign of a little self-awareness or independent thought ... that they literally beg for someone to just tell the "what is true, what is right, and how to live".

In a way, I cannot fault people who willingly, even eagerly, abrogate a large part of their own humanity in exchange for prefabricated ideals and empty promises. The US is (still marginally anyway) a free country, so while I don't recommend living this way, I certainly understand and respect it as a personal choice.

Except.

Except that the opening this gives for ideologues, control freaks and amateur social engineers with dreams of a theocracy, the influence it gives them to dupe people into voting against their rational self-interest, produces so many of the ills of our society. Not least the fascistic regime we now live under. I lay much of the blame for that to Christian fundamentalist paranoia.
(24-01-2017 04:42 PM)hannaskywalker Wrote:  The fear of the unknown is really hard to deal with.
Except that, without for one moment minimalizing the truth in that statement, much of the difficulty is amplified to be worse than it actually is, by religious faith. In fact religious faith introduces additional problems of its own. Religious faith tells you that uncertainty is INTOLERABLE and must be AVOIDED at any cost. This is what produces the value proposition for religious fairy tales and imaginary friends. The reality is that uncertainty is entirely tolerable and that there are concrete and effective ways to reduce it and to learn to sit with it in those instances where it can't be reduced. The irony is that virtually ALL of these coping mechanisms for uncertainty are prohibited or undermined by religious ideation and replaced with a fake certitude. In the end this is far worse than the actual uncertainty, and it leaves one addicted to the crack cocaine of comforting lies.
(24-01-2017 04:42 PM)hannaskywalker Wrote:  But I don't want to have all that shoved down my throat. I don't want it to threaten my life or my livelihood.
Inherently, usually sooner rather than later, religion MUST "shove it down your throat". Because the very fact that people live with indifference to the supposedly inviolable rules and taboos and rituals of religious faith and can profess happiness, contentment and exhibit virtue, not to mention not being struck by god's wrath, is an open rebuke to the whole belief system. You MUST be marginalized and stereotyped and discounted in every possible way, and if possible, brought to heel.
(24-01-2017 04:42 PM)hannaskywalker Wrote:  I don't like that my family chooses their beliefs over a relationship with me. I don't like hiding my thoughts about religion around them so that things don't get tense between us.
Case in point ;-)
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