"You can't be certain"
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09-01-2014, 12:22 AM
"You can't be certain"
Over the New Years holiday I went to visit my parents. Both know of my atheism, and have received it in rather mixed ways. My mom, who is a devout catholic, has been very accepting of it. My father however has been rather critical. He claims to be agnostic but when pressed his views fall somewhere between deism and revisionary Christianity. My mother is a rationalist, my father is an irrationalist. Both are highly educated, though not in science. My father is just educated enough to think he is an expert on science and physics. He took a survey course in college and has been reading popular science books since.

When going down to visit I had decided not to discuss my beliefs, since I have two young siblings (13 and 17 years younger than me) who are still in school and who I did not want to rely on my judgement. I also believe it would be rude since it is my parents decision how the two of them should be raised.

It is an eight hour drive there, so I had audiobooks loaded onto my phone. My dad asked to see my list and I allowed him to view it. He came to The God Delusion and he says to me: "you know the premise if this book is flawed."

"I don't think so."

"The universe is uncertain, you can not be certain of anything. He is certain."

"I don't think you've read the book," I say.

"I have. He is absolutely certain. Therefore his argument is invalid."

I really don't know how to respond to this. I don't want to be impolite and call his argument, which sounds suspiciously like the you-can't-disprove-God argument, out in front of my young siblings. But I also want him to stop the proselytizing.
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09-01-2014, 02:01 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
Well...you're Father is kind of correct.

We really don't know if gravity will suddenly stop working tomorrow...Or a whole range of other things which seem to have been ongoing since seemingly forever (Or as long as we've been able to figure out they are going on) will just suddenly stop.

However, since all these things have been rolling on seemingly forever (Or..or about 13 billion years) we can be kind of safe to say that they won't just suddenly and arbitrarily stop in the next hour..or day..or week..etc.

So...yes..the universe is uncertain...but things definitely seem to have 'certainly going on' for a long time. Smile

It's the usage of the word that's probably causing th hiccup.

Much cheers to all.
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09-01-2014, 02:27 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
(09-01-2014 12:22 AM)natachan Wrote:  "I have. He is absolutely certain. Therefore his argument is invalid."

'Are you certain?' Angel

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09-01-2014, 02:37 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
(09-01-2014 02:01 AM)Peebothuhul Wrote:  Well...you're Father is kind of correct.
*your

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09-01-2014, 08:12 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
Peebothuhul Wrote:

Well...you're Father is kind of correct.

*your

Uups... Blush
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09-01-2014, 08:33 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
Can we be certain that the universe, galaxies, stars, planets, and life didn't just pop into existence 30 seconds ago, complete with high school memories, scars, and dirty laundry? No.
Can we be certain that the universe/multiverse wasn't created by an entity of some sort? No. But based upon physical evidence, logic, Bible errancy, etc., we can be pretty damned certain that it wasn't created by the god depicted in the Bible.

Long before I became an atheist I concluded that: if there is a god, it sure isn't whom anyone here thinks it is.

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09-01-2014, 08:57 AM
Re: "You can't be certain"
I don't think it's an accurate take from what's in that book.

That books read like an expanded reference guide giving sources with more specific certainty on various topics.

"Love is hot, Truth is molten!"
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09-01-2014, 09:06 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
Deleted. Carry on...
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09-01-2014, 09:07 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
(09-01-2014 08:33 AM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  Long before I became an atheist I concluded that: if there is a god, it sure isn't whom anyone here thinks it is.

Who. The verb "to be" is a linking verb, so it gets subjects on both sides. That's why, when someone knocks at your door, you ask "Who is it?" instead of "Whom is it?"

And the correct response is, "It is I." Which no one says. But that's the correct way to answer. You shouldn't say "It's me." That's grammatically incorrect.

Then again, if you said "It is I" outside MY door, I might not let you in -- just on sheer principle. You arrogant grammar nazi.
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09-01-2014, 09:07 AM
RE: "You can't be certain"
(09-01-2014 08:33 AM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  if there is a god, it sure isn't whom anyone here thinks it is.

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Angel

Which simplifies to: god is an emotional response to a physical stimulus.

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