an ongoing interview
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28-07-2015, 06:14 PM
an ongoing interview
So in my last semester I became close with another student, pretty, smart, young and with a questioning attitude. As we sat next to each other she looked over and saw me overlooking TTA forums and leaned over and asked, "are you an atheist?"...I said yes...she replied cool, I have so many questions....then she looked over my resource library here as a guest on her own time, and we exchanged a few thoughts and and I answered some of her questions...so anyway, now we are in another semester, and she is taking a world religions class, her final project is to conduct an interview with someone on their beliefs, and she asked if I would be willing, and of course I said yes, so I thought it may interest some to see the interview unfold and my answers..I will add each question and my answer as they happen...

Question one received today was:

1) What religious/nonreligious group or theology do you identify with?

GWG: I identify with Atheism. My epistemological journey to truth started as a Christian, and I was debating some atheists, and they brought up some points that got me to thinking, so I did research and sought academic education in religion in order to be able to defend my faith, and strengthen it through knowledge. The opposite happened, the more I learned, the less I believed. Then I went to "more spiritual then religious", then agnostic, and finally atheism...it is an informed choice. All gods of religion can be traced back to their creator; man.

It is a complete fabrication, and this is why it requires faith. Faith is the belief in something without any evidence. If it had evidence, it wouldn't require faith, it would simply be fact. Faith and belief in the transcendental world, magic, and miraculous events even in the face of superior evidence to the contrary, is the definition of delusion. As an intelligent, educated adult, I do not believe in magic, universe creating super deities, or a magical transcendental world.

All religion's creation stories are equally ridiculous, yet billions purport to believe it. So after a long contemplative and introspective analysis of world history, archaeological evidence and biblical historicity, I have come to the conclusion it is false, and since no evidence of deities exist, and the known universe is the opposite of what one would surmise would exist if an intelligent designer created it, then one must accept no gods exist.

.........

Smartass

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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28-07-2015, 06:25 PM (This post was last modified: 28-07-2015 06:46 PM by DLJ.)
RE: an ongoing interview
(28-07-2015 06:14 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  ...
the known universe is the opposite of what one would surmise would exist if an intelligent designer created it, then one must accept no gods exist.
...

Question 2)...

Were you there?

Angel

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28-07-2015, 06:30 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
(28-07-2015 06:25 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 06:14 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  ...
the known universe is the opposite of what one would surmise would exist if an intelligent designer created it, then one must accept no gods exist.
...

Question 2)...

Where you there?

Angel

Big Grin

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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28-07-2015, 06:55 PM (This post was last modified: 28-07-2015 07:00 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: an ongoing interview
Question 2 just received, and answered below, time for bed. More to follow I am sure..

2) You say there is no evidence, historical or otherwise, to support the existence of God or Gods. Yet, the cosmological argument/theory uses science/physics to support the argument that there is a God/Self-Being. Do you believe this argument is flawed? If so, why?

GWG: First let’s look at the Cosmological argument:

Incorporating Aristotle's notion of a "prime mover" into Summa Theologica and elsewhere, Thomas Aquinas famously formulated his version of the cosmological or "first cause" argument. According to this argument, the things which we see around us now are the products of a series of previous causes. But that series cannot go back in time forever. Thus there must be some first cause which was not itself caused by anything else. And that first uncaused cause is God. The argument can be put more formally as follows:

1. Every thing has either been caused to exist by something else or else exists uncaused.
2. Not every thing has been caused to exist by something else.
3. Therefore, at least one thing is itself uncaused.

There are several problems with this argument. The most crucial objection to the argument itself is that unless we know that premise 2 is true, the argument fails. If the universe is infinitely old, for instance, everything could indeed be caused by something else before it; the series of causes could go back forever. But perhaps more importantly, one could hold that the argument succeeds without believing that God exists. There could be multiple uncaused causes—multiple gods, say—or the uncaused cause could be an unintelligent, impersonal force. Finally, the argument holds that God is required to explain the existence of the universe, but offers no explanation for why God exists. If you invoke God to answer the question "Why is there a universe rather than nothing?" you raise the further question "Why is there a God rather than nothing?" The fundamental question—"Why is there something rather than nothing?"—remains unanswered either way; so why invoke a potentially nonexistent God to explain a universe which we know exists? This is the epitome of god-of-the-gaps argument. We don’t know…so….god.

One cannot state with any degree of validity that the first causal theory doesn't apply to the mythical egocentric abrahamic god because one has the unique opinion he is the "eternal god", thus wasn't "caused". How does one arrive at that thought? How does one ascertain ones version of "god" is eternal? Which god by the way? There are so many, yet each fan club thinks their god is the only god, the true god and the only true religion. The irony of that kills me. 4500 different religions, all of which claim their god is the one, the truth and the light. Christianity alone has over 40,000 strains of their delusion, and each declares all others are not "true christians".

The major premise of the argument, ""everything had a cause," is contradicted by the conclusion that "god did not have a cause." You can't have it both ways. If everything had to have had a cause, then there could not be a first cause. If it is possible to think of a god as uncaused, then it is possible to think the same of the universe.

Some theists, observing that all "effects" need a cause, assert that god is a cause but not an effect. But no one has ever observed an uncaused cause and simply inventing one merely assumes what the argument wishes to prove. If a god can be thought eternal, then so can the universe. The word "cause" is a transitive verb. Causality requires temporality. If god exists outside of time, he cannot cause anything.

The latest spin on this position by christian philosophers like William Lane Craig is that:

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This may be seductive to those who already believe in a god. To me, it seems awfully suspicious. The clause "Everything that begins to exist" sounds artificial. It is not a phrase we hear outside the context of theistic philosophy. It appears to be an Ad Hoc construction designed to smooth over earlier apologetic efforts.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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28-07-2015, 07:35 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
A+

Thumbsup

Class dismissed.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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28-07-2015, 07:44 PM (This post was last modified: 28-07-2015 07:49 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: an ongoing interview
Another detail to add to your already-good takedown of the cosmological arguments:

The examples we have of things beginning to exist, or coming into being, only have causes in the sense of things that caused them to be manufactured out of existing materials. With a chair being constructed, we have previously-existing parts being brought together and assembled. With a sculpture, we have an already-existing block of marble being chipped away at by the sculptor. This isn't creation, not in the sense that the beginning of the universe is creation. It's just the rearrangement of existing material.

We don't have any grounds for saying that anything coming to exist ex-nihilo must have a cause. ... for that matter, we don't have a single observed case of something coming to exist ex-nihilo at all. Once we undo the false equivocation between creation-from-existing-materials and creation ex-nihilo, the premise that all new things must have a cause is completely without evidential support.

EDIT: One other thought: As you continue this conversation, rebutting these arguments, I suggest taking time after each one to stop and do some examination of this person's thought process. Once they think the argument is wrong... why did they think it was right in the first place? If they were in error to think it a good argument, what was the source of that error? Where did their thought process go wrong? How can that be improved on? Are there other places where you are employing this unreliable manner of reasoning?
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28-07-2015, 09:43 PM
RE: an ongoing interview
Goodwithoutgod and Reltzik...

....genuine bad asses.
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29-07-2015, 06:47 AM
RE: an ongoing interview
(28-07-2015 07:44 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Another detail to add to your already-good takedown of the cosmological arguments:

The examples we have of things beginning to exist, or coming into being, only have causes in the sense of things that caused them to be manufactured out of existing materials. With a chair being constructed, we have previously-existing parts being brought together and assembled. With a sculpture, we have an already-existing block of marble being chipped away at by the sculptor. This isn't creation, not in the sense that the beginning of the universe is creation. It's just the rearrangement of existing material.

We don't have any grounds for saying that anything coming to exist ex-nihilo must have a cause. ... for that matter, we don't have a single observed case of something coming to exist ex-nihilo at all. Once we undo the false equivocation between creation-from-existing-materials and creation ex-nihilo, the premise that all new things must have a cause is completely without evidential support.

EDIT: One other thought: As you continue this conversation, rebutting these arguments, I suggest taking time after each one to stop and do some examination of this person's thought process. Once they think the argument is wrong... why did they think it was right in the first place? If they were in error to think it a good argument, what was the source of that error? Where did their thought process go wrong? How can that be improved on? Are there other places where you are employing this unreliable manner of reasoning?

Great input, thanks, much appreciated. I look forward to her next question, I saw it pop up on my phone but it is easier to read on my actual email, and I can't access it at work. I believe it is something to do with what is the purpose of life if god doesn't exist...an easy one to spin back at her. Smile

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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29-07-2015, 07:20 AM
RE: an ongoing interview
Betting there's going to be a "where do we get our morality from?" at some point.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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29-07-2015, 07:50 AM
RE: an ongoing interview
Hope there's a happy ending Big Grin

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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