Why should a deity exist?
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25-01-2017, 12:28 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 12:25 PM)Astreja Wrote:  
(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.

Faith is a choice
Knowledge is a necessity and right
So knowledge above faith

Oh no. He's here - God
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25-01-2017, 12:34 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 09:09 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Furthermore, we don't have the only rational mind. We simply have the most highly-developed rational mind.
So we need a definition of "rational" here? You seem to me to be defining rationality as perhaps a sliding scale, where a dog, who waits to go outside before peeing, is exercising "rationality".

Fair enough. I'll concede your "spectrum of rationality", if you will allow me to place a marker on that spectrum, above which rationality would be defined as "uniquely human" in complexity or or sophistication, and below which is the "dog waiting to pee outside" variety of rationality.

(24-01-2017 09:09 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  We observe almost literally every characteristic found in humans in the other primates, in rudimentary form. This is true for complex puzzle solving, high-order memory, displays of empathy and altruism, and pretty much everything else humans do by the age of five... when our brains are roughly the size of that of a chimpanzee. (Chimps actually exceed adult humans in certain types of memory-based puzzle solving, due to brain architecture.) [Link is to a video.]

We also observe several of these characteristics in other intelligent, social animals, such as dolphins and sea lions.

It is clear that you are placing undue importance on our high intelligence, which is why I call it an anthropocentric argument. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that our intelligence is anything other than an evolutionary direction, any more than the minimizing/loss of our body hair and bipedal architecture are noteworthy.
Hopefully I addressed this above. I'll concede a rationality that exists in dolphins that is beyond our human comprehension at this time, in terms of its sophistication, if you'll concede that this "uniquely dolphin" rationality has little relevance for humans who do or do not believe in God. It raises the questions as to whether dolphins engage in these type of discussions, which is interesting, but irrelevant.

(24-01-2017 09:09 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  The short answer to your implied question is that it was not magic, but our hands... and their usefulness for crafting tools (something we already see chimpanzees beginning to do) and aiding in the hunt, which seem to have prompted our rising intelligence.

Your willingness to try to insert magic where it is wholly uncalled-for is at the root of why people trained in science tend to mistrust the wisdom/pronouncements of the theologically-minded.
I simply see this as identifying yet another branch on a regression of cause. Yes, opposable thumbs, as a genetic mutation, assured natural selection, as our environs apparently favors opposable thumbs for primates. And yes, high intelligence naturally selected, because certainly that capacity has assured success of humans (so far)

Begging your pardon, but all I see in this is support for an unfathomably complex chain of events with an incomprehensible number of steps that occurred over an incredibly long amount of time of execution. This has already been conceded.

If an atheist is grateful for existing...what is the object of that gratitude? You're an atheist, I am not - so the question is already answered by me. How do you answer? Telling me your not grateful is valid. Telling me that you need no object, is valid (although rationally sketchy, which I believe I can show). I'm not trying to win an argument here; the perspective has validity for me, the opinion has validity for me. Especially knowing the beliefs or "facts" which inform that perspective.

So take a chance - walk the plank. Exercise a little faith and tell me that at the zenith of joy experienced during a nice day outdoors with friends, to what is the gratitude directed for the "existence" - the sum of the conditions that have supported life, including the lives of friends, the coincidence of being alive and being capable of feeling "joy" and "fulfillment" in moments like these - in German, it is "Gem├╝tlichkeit" (we don't really have an English word for this)
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25-01-2017, 12:51 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 09:41 AM)unfogged Wrote:  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.
Can you supply an example of a thing, which has purpose, but exists by random mutation? Humans are great at using butter knives for flat-head screwdrivers, and the like. But butter knives exist to spread butter, not tighten covers for electrical outlets in the house. The thing that exists for the purpose of tightening electrical outlet covers has a handle better suited to the job, and a cross section conducive to applying more torque to the screw head than a butter knife.

The dog story illustrates the evolution of a creature by intelligent input driving towards a purpose. And I used the term "design" for this.

(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.
Okay. You are conceding that point to my argument.

(24-01-2017 09:41 AM)unfogged Wrote:  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?
"Grateful" suggests an object to which that gratitude is directed. Otherwise, one is just giddy, without the attribution to object.

(24-01-2017 09:41 AM)unfogged Wrote:  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.
I would distinguish between "gratitude" and "happiness" in this way. Being "grateful" for the incredible good luck of an unexpected lottery windfall might be expressed by donating a small portion of that windfall to a favorite charity or cause, whereas being "happy" is simply the emotion of not having to worry about finances as much because of the unexpected windfall. The point of the definition is for the sake of the discussion, more so than writing a new English dictionary. I simply would like to distinguish between the emotion that informs a choice and a willed action resulting from it, as distinct from just the emotion felt regarding the situation.
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25-01-2017, 12:57 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 09:21 AM)Heath_Tierney Wrote:  
(24-01-2017 08:28 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  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:  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:  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?
You missed the mark. Art, music, philosophy, theology - are all going to be "logically irrational" to you, even though these can be very reasoned endeavors and accomplishments.

An irrational number in mathematics has nothing to do with logic or reason. It means that it can't be expressed as a fraction.

Plato's Republic would be an interesting start. Perhaps you've already read it?
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25-01-2017, 01:04 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 12:25 PM)Astreja Wrote:  
(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.
In my own personal opinion, faith is the grist of the mill of innovation. I think that if one rejects the operation of taking some things on faith, then one is destined to follow, not lead, when it comes to human endeavors. This isn't religious faith, but the ability to decide and act, absent certitude.

If you tell me that this type of faith is okay, but religious faith is not, then I will accept the concession that the operation of faith has some value in human endeavors, and leave that thought for now, to come back to later on.

I would suggest that if the ability to choose and act absent certitude is a capacity that has value in human endeavors, but religious faith is unacceptable, then I would suggest a comfort or discomfort with risk. You are comfortable acting in faith if past patterns indicate acceptable odds of making a choice a particular way. That is worth exploring as it relates to "Why should a deity exist?".
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25-01-2017, 01:10 PM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2017 01:13 PM by JHaysPE.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 11:16 AM)mordant Wrote:  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?
While interesting, the question is entirely irrelevant to me. This "alt-existence" is not what we have. We have the existence we have, where gravity is an attractiive force proportional to the mass of a body and inversely proportional to the square of the distance.

(24-01-2017 11:16 AM)mordant Wrote:  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.
Where you are headed is Aquinas, and perhaps in terms of contemporary update - Michael Behe.

I'm not 'headed" anywhere, other than to present questions to and digest the answers of those who are either uninformed by theistic faith, or think they don't or can't exercise it. All of this is, in fact, in the line of "Why should a deity exist?"
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25-01-2017, 01:12 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(24-01-2017 04:47 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  You're joking, right ? So your god didn't exist until gravity was created ? Facepalm

https://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/ev....ybGR8P0QQ
Do you read the posts to which you reply?
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25-01-2017, 01:37 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(25-01-2017 12:51 PM)JHaysPE Wrote:  Can you supply an example of a thing, which has purpose, but exists by random mutation? Humans are great at using butter knives for flat-head screwdrivers, and the like. But butter knives exist to spread butter, not tighten covers for electrical outlets in the house. The thing that exists for the purpose of tightening electrical outlet covers has a handle better suited to the job, and a cross section conducive to applying more torque to the screw head than a butter knife.

If I pick up a knife and use it to tighten a screw then I have given that knife the purpose of tightening screws. The fact that it was intentionally designed to spread butter is irrelevant. The butter knife has whatever purpose I use it for.

Quote:The dog story illustrates the evolution of a creature by intelligent input driving towards a purpose. And I used the term "design" for this.


Yes, you misuse words frequently. You might say that life we see today was "designed" by natural selection but it can be very misleading to do so since "design" typically includes the idea of an intelligent agent with and end goal in mind. Whoever invented the butter knife had a purpose in mind and designed the knife for that purpose. There's no evidence that dogs or people or any other naturally occurring things were designed by anything other than the natural selection process.

Quote:
(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.
Okay. You are conceding that point to my argument.

Tautologies are hard to deny. They are also largely useless.

Quote:"Grateful" suggests an object to which that gratitude is directed. Otherwise, one is just giddy, without the attribution to object.

Perhaps to you it does. It does not imply that to me at all. I can be glad that I exist without feeling any need for any object. Giddiness doesn't enter into it at all; I am not giddy that I exist.

Quote:I would distinguish between "gratitude" and "happiness" in this way. Being "grateful" for the incredible good luck of an unexpected lottery windfall might be expressed by donating a small portion of that windfall to a favorite charity or cause, whereas being "happy" is simply the emotion of not having to worry about finances as much because of the unexpected windfall. [/quote[]

Thank you for refuting your argument. My donation to a charity would not be an expression of gratitude for the windfall to the cause of that windfall; it would be a desire to spread the happiness that I am experiencing.

[quote]The point of the definition is for the sake of the discussion, more so than writing a new English dictionary. I simply would like to distinguish between the emotion that informs a choice and a willed action resulting from it, as distinct from just the emotion felt regarding the situation.

As I said before, and I think you may be agreeing, the emotion is the same. If you are going to restrict the use of gratitude to cases where there is a specific agent responsible then I am not grateful to exist because I see no agent. I don't assume that because I'm glad things worked out I must be feeling grateful and that must mean there is some agent to thank.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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25-01-2017, 01:42 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(25-01-2017 12:57 PM)JHaysPE Wrote:  You missed the mark. Art, music, philosophy, theology - are all going to be "logically irrational" to you, even though these can be very reasoned endeavors and accomplishments.

Art, music, philosophy all appeal to the brain. The brain is a scientifically testable object, through reason and inquiry. Through things like MRI scans and the like, you can actually see the brain react to art, music etc that's pleasant (or unpleasant). Source: Image Of Our Brains Listening to Music. It's pretty cool.

Nothing non-scientific about it. You forgot architecture, also based on reason. See The Golden Ratio.

Theology is nothing more than made-up stuff about made-up stuff.

(25-01-2017 12:57 PM)JHaysPE Wrote:  An irrational number in mathematics has nothing to do with logic or reason. It means that it can't be expressed as a fraction.

That, of course, was my point: that calling something irrational wasn't an insult, it was just a statement based in fact.

(25-01-2017 12:57 PM)JHaysPE Wrote:  Plato's Republic would be an interesting start. Perhaps you've already read it?

I've probably forgotten more philosophy than you're likely to ever read. Again, no insult intended - please don't take it like that - it's just a statement of fact.

Aristotle's The Nicomachean Ethics is worth a read, as is Confucius' The Analects and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. Personally, I prefer Aristotle but that's just my own preference. All are available, for free, as PDFs at a number of online sites.
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25-01-2017, 01:44 PM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
Hello JHaysPE! Big Grin

Terribly sorry i've not greeted you and such yet. Different times zones, shift work etc.

Welcome to the forums and hope you'll enjoy your time here. Smile

So, since I'm really behind in the conversation. Blush

Might you drop a small post to just highlight your position?

I'll be more than happy to chat back and forth with you. Smile

Much cheers.
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