Why should a deity exist?
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02-02-2017, 08:18 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(01-02-2017 02:29 PM)JHaysPE Wrote:  I have yet to see anyone attempt to define this "God' they reject.

Reject it? Hell I not only embrace it, I embody it.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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02-02-2017, 08:30 AM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2017 08:33 AM by JHaysPE.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(01-02-2017 08:46 PM)Peebothuhul Wrote:  Hello again JHaysPE! Thumbsup

I understand if you've lost people's reposes to yourself as they slip ever backwards during the progression of the thread. No worries.

So... for some one who sees no evidence of any deity... how am I supposed to define something about which there is seemingly nothing to define? Consider

I would believe the definitions to be supplied about the subject matter of a deity would be by those who spend time actively worshiping/expecting results from said deity, no?

Much cheers to you and yours.
I believe the idea of "deity" goes to cause, objective and purpose for existence. It is rooted in a concept that the rational mind has equipped humans not only for mere survival, but in fact has equipped them for the possibility of fulfillment, which I would define as resulting from the realization of the highest ordered purpose of the individual.

An example would be one who is really good in math and science efforting to refine those skills through education and using those skills to create a portable, inexpensive water purification system for deployment in areas that need this technology. This action and assistance might then be described as a highly-ordered use of these innate and developed skills for the good of others. Much more so than the person with the same innate skills, who can't be bothered with the effort to develop them and utilize them for the same benefits and effect.

So, my question to atheists would be - given that a rational mind is capable of "over-riding" instincts and appetites (this follows from the idea of "discipline" and "habituation" resulting from "fulfillment" experienced in the accomplishment of various tasks or the utilization of skills), what is the purpose of rationality?

That this has evolved as a survival tool is without question, and it has equipped humans to be very successful at this, in some cases at the expense of other highly evolved complex creatures. But it seems that the capacities of rationality have evolved way beyond what is "required" in terms of what natural selection seems to have produced (trees survive well, and have no rationality at all that we can comprehend).

How is the atheist fulfilled? How is that defined for atheists? And what cause or explanation is assigned to the evolution of rationality that appears to some to be way above and beyond that which is necessary only for survival?

The Old testament, in my view, is a written account of oral traditions that developed an attempt to discern truth here, and provide a plausible narrative. People who possessed the exact same rationality, but lacking the development of predictive science. I think the perspective is important, with mis-characterizations and mis-interpretations of atheists noted - many Christians are bad about removing context from the Bible as well, and the resulting heresies are often cited by atheists as the prima facie cause of "not God".

I enjoy the tenor of your questions. I look forward to a dialogue with you here.
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02-02-2017, 08:32 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(01-02-2017 02:56 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  "Judge not, lest ye be judged".
Sound familiar ?

Atheists really do not accept the notion of a god.
It's not a choice. It's a fact. It's not related in any way to "faithful".
Sometimes...sarcasm doesn't come through very well without voice inflections or facial expressions as visual cues.
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02-02-2017, 08:39 AM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2017 08:43 AM by Heath_Tierney.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  I believe the idea of "deity" goes to cause, objective and purpose for existence. It is rooted in a concept that the rational mind has equipped humans not only for mere survival, but in fact has equipped them for the possibility of fulfillment, which I would define as resulting from the realization of the highest ordered purpose of the individual.

Again, all this is is the re-statement of the teleological argument, or argument from design. It has been roundly and unequivocally shown to be false and without foundation. The last attempt at it was the "irreducible complexity" argument by Dembski and Behe but that, too, was refuted.

In short, there may be an argument for a divine superintelligence, but your argument - the teleological argument - isn't one of them.
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02-02-2017, 08:52 AM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2017 09:01 AM by Peebothuhul.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  I believe the idea of "deity" goes to cause, objective and purpose for existence. It is rooted in a concept that the rational mind has equipped humans not only for mere survival, but in fact has equipped them for the possibility of fulfillment, which I would define as resulting from the realization of the highest ordered purpose of the individual.

That's... nice....

But other than sort of putting the deity within the "We don't understand all the working of the five pounds of toothpaste within our skulls.." doesn't actually do much in the way of... anything seeming 'Deific'.... Consider

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  An example would be one who is really good in math and science efforting to refine those skills through education and using those skills to create a portable, inexpensive water purification system for deployment in areas that need this technology. This action and assistance might then be described as a highly-ordered use of these innate and developed skills for the good of others. Much more so than the person with the same innate skills, who can't be bothered with the effort to develop them and utilize them for the same benefits and effect.

"Efforting" ? Consider

So, using our intelligence to learn about the physics of the reality around us and thence applying what we've figured out.... Right. Still not seeing the 'Deific' part here, sorry. Consider

From looking at all the creatures around us that are also aware... their bundles of neurons can do 'similar' (Yeah, this sentence could be expanded upon a whole lot, but I hope you get the rift) feats of cognition. Whether it's returning to a place where food is found to constructing shelter etc.

We've just got the side effect of rock throwing to be able to internalize a reality model and experiment within our skulls of what might happen.

I look forwards to other forum members expounding on what other critters are capable of mentally doing along side us homo sapiens. Thumbsup

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  So, my question to atheists would be - given that a rational mind is capable of "over-riding" instincts and appetites (this follows from the idea of "discipline" and "habituation" resulting from "fulfillment" experienced in the accomplishment of various tasks or the utilization of skills), what is the purpose of rationality?

Actually... it takes training, thinking, knowledge, study, applied education... heck a whole load of things to 'over ride' even the rudimentary instincts still cluttering up the human psych. Not to mention all the instincts that are still 'built in' and that get shed as our grey matter/neural connections develop.

You set off a loud enough/unexpected noise near me and I'll still jump away from it.

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  That this has evolved as a survival tool is without question, and it has equipped humans to be very successful at this, in some cases at the expense of other highly evolved complex creatures. But it seems that the capacities of rationality have evolved way beyond what is "required" in terms of what natural selection seems to have produced (trees survive well, and have no rationality at all that we can comprehend).

No I'm pretty sure your anthropomorphizing things again. That the natural selection process has worked upon our initial ancestor's development (And a LOT of other side branches of hominid that did not make it) doesn't to a deity point.

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  How is the atheist fulfilled? How is that defined for atheists? And what cause or explanation is assigned to the evolution of rationality that appears to some to be way above and beyond that which is necessary only for survival?

*Sigh*

I'm 'Fulfilled' pretty much just like every other hominid/animal. I have shelter, food, gainful exercise and time for distraction and learning. Again, my hpyothesis is that our minds are simply naturally selected by products of all the other things that went into our ancestor's survival.

The 'Wonders' of our 'Rationality' are only new to us as a species, after all. Wink

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  The Old testament, in my view, is a written account of oral traditions that developed an attempt to discern truth here, and provide a plausible narrative. People who possessed the exact same rationality, but lacking the development of predictive science. I think the perspective is important, with noted mis-characterizations and mis-interpretations of atheists noted - many Christians are bad about removing context from the Bible as well, and the resulting heresies are often cited by atheists as the prima facie cause of "not God".

Laugh out load

Sorry... but I always find it some what amusing that certain folks go back to 'How well the bible was written'... then they tend to have to resort to those pesky pagan Greeks and their much better worked/thought out philosophy.

As for "Words of wisdom"? There's nothing actually amazing (Please, I look forwards to your quotes of such however) contained within the current highly edited version that you'll not find some where already worked out by other, preceding cultures. To the extent that the cherry picked current version of the book could do with a LOT of that other stuff slid back in. Wink

Also a book does not closer to a deity get, either. Thumbsup

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  I enjoy the tenor of your questions. I look forward to a dialogue with you here.

You're most welcome and I'll try to keep pace mentally with yourself for as long as I can.

EDIT: Sorry, missed a bit!

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  So, my question to atheists would be... what is the purpose of rationality?

Well.. other than you anthro-ing again I would say that rationality doesn't "Have" a purpose.

Again, I'm just hypothesizing that our "Rationality" is just a side effect of our ancestors working out how to throw bigger and bigger rocks, better and better at potential danger. Everything after that is a bonus. Big Grin
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02-02-2017, 08:52 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(01-02-2017 03:28 PM)unfogged Wrote:  You said that we could test that. Please elaborate on how. Please also provide the evidence that leads you to think this may be the case in first place.
I think science is getting close to this. It becomes testable when someone offers a "machine" that is "intelligent". I note that science has done this, only t offer the concessions that what has been produced is not "intelligence", but specialized programming or algorithms suited to a specialized purpose.

I think that when science offers an intelligent machine for the purposes of analyzing DNA markers of cancer types, and I can request that machine to make me a pepperoni pizza, then there might be a testable case for whether or not "intelligence" resides within something, or is expressed by something.

(01-02-2017 03:28 PM)unfogged Wrote:  When you say that you "see purpose" you are assuming that what you are seeing was intentionally designed and I don't see that you have any justification for that. There is no evidence of any intentional design going on in the process of natural selection which means there is no intelligence behind it.
What I am saying is that by definition (for want of a better one), humans are "intelligent". Border Collies are canines, which have resulted from the "selective breeding" by the intelligent input of dog breeders, to result in a canine particular well suited for and expressing the purpose of "sheep herding". I can cite no such canine that has been "naturally selected" which expresses this purpose - I only see it in the "unnatural selection" of man to result in such a creature.

So my assertion follows from an observation that there are creatures which have evolved from what appears to be a model of purpose, as opposed to a merely random occurrence (and I am open to other possibilities, if you would like nominate them - beyond "design" and "random chance"), and from this I surmise an "intelligence" which is not sourced from the human rational mind, but nonetheless has resulted in "purpose", said purposes having assured survival.

(01-02-2017 03:28 PM)unfogged Wrote:  The fact that intelligence can use design to create things for a specific purpose doesn't mean that other processes can't produce something that also serves a purpose. You have to separate "useful" from "planned" when talking about what purpose anything serves and you are conflating the two.
I would agree with this form the example of the "rock" we were talking about, where rocks are just randomly occurring compositions, shapes, and weights, expressing properties such as sharpness, hardness, color - and within these properties, an intelligence (Primates, birds, etc.) can perceive and discern purpose.

Where I differ is in the observation that some creatures seem to exhibit purpose, which has assured their survival, resulting from natural selection, and not resulting from man's intelligence to selectively breed traits, in order to realize a purpose for man.
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02-02-2017, 08:58 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(02-02-2017 08:16 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  As an example, true selfless charity is "supernatural"; it is the expenditure of effort and resources on that which may go against the nature of self-preservation.

We'll add "supernatural" to the list of words that you have unique definitions for.

Self-preservation is only one factor. Within social species the willingness of individuals to sacrifice for others is of benefit to the species as a whole. There is nothing "supernatural" about it because it is fully understandable within the natural world.

(02-02-2017 08:30 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  So, my question to atheists would be - given that a rational mind is capable of "over-riding" instincts and appetites (this follows from the idea of "discipline" and "habituation" resulting from "fulfillment" experienced in the accomplishment of various tasks or the utilization of skills), what is the purpose of rationality?

First, your example is still based on the idea that any action that doesn't directly benefit the individual is not wholly rational. That is a very limited, dystopian view that does not match reality in my experience.

Second, the benefit of rationality is that it allows you to align your decisions to accord with reality. That allows you to make better decisions to enhance what you find to be of value and that may mean some self-sacrifice if you value things other than yourself.

Rationality turns out to be a useful tool and we assign it the purpose of helping us thrive. I don't know if it has a designed purpose because, as far as I can see, it has no intentional designer.

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02-02-2017, 09:20 AM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2017 09:25 AM by JHaysPE.)
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(02-02-2017 08:52 AM)Peebothuhul Wrote:  But other than sort of putting the deity within the "We don't understand all the working of the five pounds of toothpaste within our skulls.." doesn't actually do much in the way of... anything seeming 'Deific'.... Consider

"Efforting" ? Consider

So, using our intelligence to learn about the physics of the reality around us and thence applying what we've figured out.... Right. Still not seeing the 'Deific' part here, sorry. Consider

From looking at all the creatures around us that are also aware... their bundles of neurons can do 'similar' (Yeah, this sentence could be expanded upon a whole lot, but I hope you get the rift) feats of cognition. Whether it's returning to a place where food is found to constructing shelter etc.

We've just got the side effect of rock throwing to be able to internalize a reality model and experiment within our skulls of what might happen.

I look forwards to other forum members expounding on what other critters are capable of mentally doing along side us homo sapiens. Thumbsup

Actually... it takes training, thinking, knowledge, study, applied education... heck a whole load of things to 'over ride' even the rudimentary instincts still cluttering up the human psych. Not to mention all the instincts that are still 'built in' and that get shed as our grey matter/neural connections develop.

You set off a loud enough/unexpected noise near me and I'll still jump away from it.

No I'm pretty sure your anthropomorphizing things again. That the natural selection process has worked upon our initial ancestor's development (And a LOT of other side branches of hominid that did not make it) doesn't to a deity point.

How is the atheist fulfilled? How is that defined for atheists? And what cause or explanation is assigned to the evolution of rationality that appears to some to be way above and beyond that which is necessary only for survival?

Laugh out load

Sorry... but I always find it some what amusing that certain folks go back to 'How well the bible was written'... then they tend to have to resort to those pesky pagan Greeks and their much better worked/thought out philosophy.

As for "Words of wisdom"? There's nothing actually amazing (Please, I look forwards to your quotes of such however) contained within the current highly edited version that you'll not find some where already worked out by other, preceding cultures. To the extent that the cherry picked current version of the book could do with a LOT of that other stuff slid back in. Wink

Also a book does not closer to a deity get, either. Thumbsup

You're most welcome and I'll try to keep pace mentally with yourself for as long as I can.

EDIT: Sorry, missed a bit!

Well.. other than you anthro-ing again I would say that rationality doesn't "Have" a purpose.

Again, I'm just hypothesizing that our "Rationality" is just a side effect of our ancestors working out how to throw bigger and bigger rocks, better and better at potential danger. Everything after that is a bonus. Big Grin
So, a few thoughts:

The Bible is an attempt to preserve the writings of an ancient culture or society. For atheists, it can have value, I believe, in attempting to glean the thoughts of a similarly rational people, uninformed by predictive science. As you may be aware, the idea of writing something down was at one time considered a path to ignorance, as Socrates informs us that the highest ordered use of the skills of learning and the acquisition of knowledge was to commit it to memory. The irony of this is that we would know practically nothing of Socrates, if it weren't for the writings of his student Plato. So I am suggesting to give these writings the context that existed in the time of their creation.

I also note that "God's Word" is not written in English, but in Hebrew and Greek, and aside from wide-eyed Evangelicals, who seem to think the KJV re-entered earth's atmosphere and landed with a hot thud in 1611, the accurate study of the theological narrative contained therein can only be accomplished with proper scholarship - the same kind that results in a developed knowledge in any subject, whether it be philosophy, a physical science, history, art or music. I say this in anticipation of a mis-application of a a "no True Scotsman" label. The larger point here is "catch-22" of an atheist's disinterest in the Bible and its irrelevance to their lives, and the need to get beyond the same superficial understanding that is exhibited in "Christians", who also cannot be bothered with study and consideration, but are content to accept the same mis-characterizations as their favorite TV preacher.

The same opportunity exists within Islam and Hinduism. Hinduism is especially informative as it was uninformed by Christianity, and is equally as ancient as the Old Testament.

I am familiar with Greek and Hebrew, so I am not encumbered by the fruits of someone eles's attempts to translate the Bible.

The Book (whichever Book) develops the belief in God (or Allah, or Ganesh), but is not its source. The source is the "gut feeling" for a deity, otherwise the Book has no relevance. We are just now in an age where Judaism has outlasted the polytheism of Greek/Rome. I believe this testifies to relevance. Even if religion is nothing more than "happy delusions", it seems to have produced some productive and mentally healthy delusionals.

And on rationality. I suppose I am presuming an intelligence between Great Primate and Man, which Man presumably killed, without Man seeing the need to kill off Great Primates. The fossil record is incomplete in this regard, and it is recognized that science is trying to fill in these blanks. Perhaps you can point me to a study regarding the religiousness of great Apes, which I may consider. Or perhaps you can point me to an archeological finding of a hominid that was not Man, but exhibiting "religion". I will gladly consider these.

But for now, we seem to have "non-religious" Great Apes, and "religious" humans. That appears to be a discrete capacity - its either there or its not. And from that data, I make the hypothesis that the rationality of humans has somehow evolved this capacity (with the free election to exercise it or not noted), and that given the survival of atheists and well as religious, it would seem that this trait or capacity is "superfluous", or even "vestigial".

If you can supply the facts that support "vestigial", I'll review them and let you know what I think.
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02-02-2017, 09:47 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(02-02-2017 09:20 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  So, a few thoughts:

The Bible is an attempt to preserve the writings of an ancient culture or society. For atheists, it can have value, I believe, in attempting to glean the thoughts of a similarly rational people, uninformed by predictive science. As you may be aware, the idea of writing something down was at one time considered a path to ignorance, as Socrates informs us that the highest ordered use of the skills of learning and the acquisition of knowledge was to commit it to memory. The irony of this is that we would know practically nothing of Socrates, if it weren't for the writings of his student Plato. So I am suggesting to give these writings the context that existed in the time of their creation.

I also note that "God's Word" is not written in English, but in Hebrew and Greek, and aside from wide-eyed Evangelicals, who seem to think the KJV re-entered earth's atmosphere and landed with a hot thud in 1611, the accurate study of the theological narrative contained therein can only be accomplished with proper scholarship - the same kind that results in a developed knowledge in any subject, whether it be philosophy, a physical science, history, art or music. I say this in anticipation of a mis-application of a a "no True Scotsman" label. The larger point here is "catch-22" of an atheist's disinterest in the Bible and its irrelevance to their lives, and the need to get beyond the same superficial understanding that is exhibited in "Christians", who also cannot be bothered with study and consideration, but are content to accept the same mis-characterizations as their favorite TV preacher.

The same opportunity exists within Islam and Hinduism. Hinduism is especially informative as it was uninformed by Christianity, and is equally as ancient as the Old Testament.

I am familiar with Greek and Hebrew, so I am not encumbered by the fruits of someone eles's attempts to translate the Bible.

The Book (whichever Book) develops the belief in God (or Allah, or Ganesh), but is not its source. The source is the "gut feeling" for a deity, otherwise the Book has no relevance.

So lots of stuff.. nothing... substantial.

Yup, lots of belief systems about the place.

You seem to be doing a few things.

1) Equaling your belief system with all the others such that you then say they're all equivalent/equal and everything's fluffy.

2) You got 'Teh feels' so therefore deity.

As a final thing? As for the 'Written word'? Please look up Professor Lyn Kelly's wonderful book about her work at unraveling the secrets of Stonehenge and other Neolithic people's methods of storing information via language and mnemonics. The written word is not the be all and end all of how things can/are remembered. Thumbsup

(02-02-2017 09:20 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  We are just now in an age where Judaism has outlasted the polytheism of Greek/Rome. I believe this testifies to relevance. Even if religion is nothing more than "happy delusions", it seems to have produced some productive and mentally healthy delusionals.

Laugh out load

The current jumbled mess of different 'Faiths' have nothing along the time lines like that of the ancient Egyptians and a few other cultures, but nice try. Thumbsup

(02-02-2017 09:20 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  And on rationality. I suppose I am presuming an intelligence between Great Primate and Man, which Man presumably killed, without Man seeing the need to kill off Great Primates. The fossil record is incomplete in this regard, and it is recognized that science is trying to fill in these blanks. Perhaps you can point me to a study regarding the religiousness of great Apes, which I may consider. Or perhaps you can point me to an archeological finding of a hominid that was not Man, but exhibiting "religion". I will gladly consider these.

Um.. you've lost me with this one I'm sorry.

I was saying that the 'rationality' that you're so fond of is something that has not been with our species for very long. Simple as that. That there were other hominids along side those of our ancestors is what I was pointing out to demonstrate that even as hominids we're not that 'special'.Jjust the last, current ones.

(02-02-2017 09:20 AM)JHaysPE Wrote:  But for now, we seem to have "non-religious" Great Apes, and "religious" humans. That appears to be a discrete capacity - its either there or its not. And from that data, I make the hypothesis that the rationality of humans has somehow evolved this capacity (with the free election to exercise it or not noted), and that given the survival of atheists and well as religious, it would seem that this trait or capacity is "superfluous", or even "vestigial".

If you can supply the facts that support "vestigial", I'll review them and let you know what I think.

Consider I'm... again not sure where you're going with this. You see to have completely missed my use of the word 'Hominid' and plastered in and confused yourself with using "Ape".

Now, yes we are 'Apes'.. but that's just one level of the classification.

As for your "There's soulless animal hominids and enlightened homo-sapiens" comment? No

You're conflating 'rational' with 'belief' (While sliding away from actually explaining your deity, btw)

I acknowledge that a person can be both rational and hold beliefs. Yes

But they (The words and meanings) are definitely not the same.

So, you keep presenting your information and others here on the forum simply keep pointing out that they have nothing to actually do with anything 'rational'.

Please, where other than 'The feels' is any evidence for any deity?
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02-02-2017, 09:56 AM
RE: Why should a deity exist?
(02-02-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  We'll add "supernatural" to the list of words that you have unique definitions for.
Not sure what religion you've had exposure to, but I'll go out on a limb here and say that the definition that I presented is the view of the vast majority of Christians who use the term. "Supernatural" describes the SCUBA tanks on the diver - allowing the diver to function underwater, where it is not within the diver's nature to do so (hence "super" natural). That's really all there is to the term.

(02-02-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  Self-preservation is only one factor. Within social species the willingness of individuals to sacrifice for others is of benefit to the species as a whole. There is nothing "supernatural" about it because it is fully understandable within the natural world.
"Self-preservation" is presumed within "natural selection", as the creature exhibiting a proclivity for self-destruction is now extinct.

(02-02-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  First, your example is still based on the idea that any action that doesn't directly benefit the individual is not wholly rational. That is a very limited, dystopian view that does not match reality in my experience.
That's not what i intended to say. What I would like to say is that a creature with a proclivity for self-destruction is likely assured extinction, as natural selection would tend to favor a creature which exhibits the predilection of self-preservation.

(02-02-2017 08:58 AM)unfogged Wrote:  Second, the benefit of rationality is that it allows you to align your decisions to accord with reality. That allows you to make better decisions to enhance what you find to be of value and that may mean some self-sacrifice if you value things other than yourself.

Rationality turns out to be a useful tool and we assign it the purpose of helping us thrive. I don't know if it has a designed purpose because, as far as I can see, it has no intentional designer.
I fall back to the idea of domesticated animals resulting from selective breeding as being "existence by design". All i need to establish this is the observation that I do not observe packs of Boston Terriers competing with the Lions and Cheetahs for Gazelle on the African Plains (although that would be cool to see if someone can point me to You-tube URL). Symbiosis might be something for me to investigate, for example, because it suggests the extreme odds of two mutually evolving creatures - but I have yet to have an atheist point this out to me as serving the atheist point.

There are other examples of "purpose" that I believe I observe, and while this has been "refuted", no articles, studies or links were provided. So, as of now, I remain unmoved.
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