Friday, December 23, 2016

Aswedenism

You think that my denial of Sweden is an actual claim of some kind, that it's a belief. But it isn't. It's a non-belief. There's nothing I need to explain–rather, I'm talking about something I lack, namely a belief in Sweden, so I don't need to give any evidence for it.

I don't have to provide evidence for my non-belief in Atlantis, El Dorado, Shangri-La, or the Customer Support Department at American Airlines, and nor need I for my non-belief in Sweden. I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claimingnothing. I'm merely rejecting one your  beliefs, your belief in Sweden. Andy Bannister, The Atheist Who Didn't Exist (Monarch Books, 2015), 31-32.

HT: Steve Hays

470 comments:

1 – 200 of 470   Newer›   Newest»
grodrigues said...

I sometimes think that defining Atheism as an absence or lack of a particular belief was a move by some mean Christian posing as an Atheist to make Atheists look bad.

SteveK said...

proving that they aren't fooling anybody, except maybe themselves.

Ilíon said...

"I sometimes think that defining Atheism as an absence or lack of a particular belief was a move by some mean Christian posing as an Atheist to make Atheists look bad."

Agnosticism was invented by a God-denier so as to:
1) drop the baggage associated with atheism
2) pretend that he had no burden of proof vis-a-vis his atheism

The attempted redefinition of "atheism" was a ploy to get in on that action.

Legion of Logic said...

I am not a sports fan. I do not watch any sport, I do not care about any teams, and I find the very concept of sitting on a couch watching strangers wear funny uniforms and chase a ball around to be rather unappealing. Sports have no impact on my life whatsoever, and people who know this about me respect it, to the extent that they care.

However, if I claimed to merely be a non-fan of sports, yet spent my time not only trashing people who watched sports, but narrowed down to baseball and spent all my time trying to convince people that baseball fans were idiots or ignorant and should not watch any sport - BUT ESPECIALLY BASEBALL - then no one would believe that I am simply not a fan of sports. They would be rightly suspicious that I have some bone to pick with the sports world, primarily baseball. I would also have no grounds to whine that I was disliked by all the meanie sports fans. At that point, I definitely have asserted a position into the sports realm, and sports fans can call on me to defend that position.

Sorry atheists, but once you reach the point where you spend all your time trying to refute god-belief, in particular Christianity, rather than simply being indifferent to religion, you have put on a uniform and have joined the game. You now have positions you hold and must defend. Good luck defending atheism!

Ilíon said...

"I am not a sports fan. I do not watch any sport, I do not care about any teams, and I find the very concept of sitting on a couch watching strangers wear funny uniforms and chase a ball around to be rather unappealing. Sports have no impact on my life whatsoever, and people who know this about me respect it, to the extent that they care."

Indeed.

Sarte said "Hell is other people". What he meant is, "Hell is other people talking about (and about nothing but) The Game".

"... but narrowed down to baseball and spent all my time trying to convince people that baseball fans were idiots or ignorant and should not watch any sport - BUT ESPECIALLY BASEBALL"

Gotta disagree wit' ya' ... it's football that people should especially not watch.

Legion of Logic said...

I made a guy mad at me when I asked why he liked football, which consists of colorful spandex-wearing, testosterone-fueled giants grabbing at and climbing over one another in the pursuit of balls. I guess those are the aspects of football one isn't supposed to acknowledge.

Joe Hinman said...

it's a big mistake to realize the level of attachment of east coast Pemmican intelligentsia for the wretched game of baseball. i'ts only because i'm from Texas that I can stand outside the norm and see the futility of baseball, the true superiority of football. Yet even Texas has it's Rangers.

The true greatness of America (ie kick ass acquisitive red neck spirit) will always require three things, worship of money, racial bigotry and baseball.

Jo F said...

Well, I won't claim it's an objective fact, but Cross Country is the best sport there is. To participate in, anyway.

Ilíon said...

LoL: "I guess those are the aspects of football one isn't supposed to acknowledge."

Given the news of late, it seems that the NFL intends to make those aspects explicit and in-your-face.

Ilíon said...

some hard-core leftist liar: "The true greatness of America (ie kick ass acquisitive red neck spirit) will always require three things, worship of money, racial bigotry and baseball."

... who doesn't understand a thing about Americans, or rednecks.

Cal Metzger said...

The post shows that someone doesn't understand how rational belies are formed. Is that what you are advertising?

Post: "You think that my denial of Sweden is an actual claim of some kind, that it's a belief. But it isn't. It's a non-belief. There's nothing I need to explain–rather, I'm talking about something I lack, namely a belief in Sweden, so I don't need to give any evidence for it."

One doesn't give evidence FOR a non-belief; one has a better explanation for the evidence (all the relevant evidence) that doesn't include the non-belief. That is all there is to it.

You can't ape what you don't understand. If you try to, it just makes you seem ignorant, in a Dunning Kruger kind of way.

Post: "I don't have to provide evidence for my non-belief in Atlantis, El Dorado, Shangri-La, or the Customer Support Department at American Airlines, and nor need I for my non-belief in Sweden."

Yup. Because evidence FOR a non-belief is nonsensical. One has a better explanation for the evidence (all the relevant evidence) that doesn't include the non-belief. That is all there is to it.

Post: "I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claiming nothing. I'm merely rejecting one your beliefs, your belief in Sweden."

You're making a claim that you have a better explanation for the evidence (all the relevant evidence) that doesn't include a belief in Sweden. You are not making a claim, per se, that Sweden doesn't exist. In other words, you are saying that you have an explanation that isn't ad hoc, predicts, is consistent with background knowledge, has scope, etc., in which Sweden does not exist.

The problem is that you don't really have this explanation.

And that bothers you because the explanation that doesn't include the Christian god works better (isn't ad hoc, predicts, is consistent with background knowledge, has scope, etc.) than the one that does, in all the ways that a non-belief in Sweden does not work.

Hmmmm.

Joe Hinman said...

on said...
some hard-core leftist liar: "The true greatness of America (ie kick ass acquisitive red neck spirit) will always require three things, worship of money, racial bigotry and baseball."

... who doesn't understand a thing about Americans, or rednecks.

you dumb ass I grew up in taxes fool obviously I know more about red necks, come to Dallas and I'll prove it by kicking your ass into the nearest bar then I'll buy the beer

Joe Hinman said...

I know more about red necks I've been beaten up by more of them.

Joe Hinman said...

Idion here's a clue, he Pigs are changing the signs,

Legion of Logic said...

"And that bothers you because the explanation that doesn't include the Christian god works better (isn't ad hoc, predicts, is consistent with background knowledge, has scope, etc.) than the one that does, in all the ways that a non-belief in Sweden does not work."

Are you adopting the tactics of American Atheists with their billboard that says "You KNOW it's a myth"? Do you believe that VR, or anyone who posts here for that matter, thinks or even suspects the quoted portion of your post?

If so, I put that tactic right up there along with "The only reason you don't agree with me is you don't understand my argument." Both are nothing but, shall we say, excessive confidence in one's own opinion.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "Are you adopting the tactics of American Atheists with their billboard that says "You KNOW it's a myth"? Do you believe that VR, or anyone who posts here for that matter, thinks or even suspects the quoted portion of your post?"

Is there a better explanation for VR's post than the one I suggested?

Aren't there times when being charitable to a position means pointing out what one observes as the best explanation?

Isn't being frank about one's thoughts the soul of reasonable discussion?

-----

Legion: "If so, I put that tactic right up there along with "The only reason you don't agree with me is you don't understand my argument." Both are nothing but, shall we say, excessive confidence in one's own opinion."

The problem is that there really are times when someone disagrees with you because they don't understand your position. So declaring that observation out-of-bounds is like admitting that those who disagree with you are not capable of reason.

Legion of Logic said...

"So declaring that observation out-of-bounds is like admitting that those who disagree with you are not capable of reason."

If there was something I knew to be an ironclad fact - sticking my hand into an acetylene torch will result in a burn - and I wanted to transmit this fact to another, there are numerous strategies I could take - explanation, demonstration, etc. If I explain/demonstrate and they remain unconvinced, to tell them the reason they don't agree with me is because they don't understand may be factually accurate, but it is entirely unhelpful. At best, I come across as arrogant to the other, and they will become even less inclined to listen to me.

Of course, that's dealing with an ironclad fact. When it's something that is not so easily provable, for me to use that argument could be factually accurate, but it could also be that it's my position that is wrong, but I'm so confident in my own powers of reasoning that I simply assume they are the ones who are wrong. So again, no good reason to use that argument. Regardless of the situation, at best I come across as arrogant - even if it's true - and at worst I come across as a complete idiot.

Legion of Logic said...

"One doesn't give evidence FOR a non-belief; one has a better explanation for the evidence (all the relevant evidence) that doesn't include the non-belief. That is all there is to it."

Typically, atheists in these discussions adopt the position that atheism is simply a lack of belief in any god, and is based upon a perceived lack of evidence supporting the existence of a god. It's almost impossible to get any of them to defend any sort of naturalistic explanation, be that a multiverse or whatever, as very few of them want to actually have to defend an assertion. In my experience, the vast majority of atheists I've debated perceive "no evidence" for a god, but assume that there is some sort of naturalistic explanation without being able to demonstrate or defend a single one of them.

By your definition, then, would you say that their atheism is not based upon a rational thought process, since they are unable to articulate an alternative explanation beyond "I don't know, but it's not a god"?

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "By your definition, then, would you say that their atheism is not based upon a rational thought process, since they are unable to articulate an alternative explanation beyond "I don't know, but it's not a god"?"

You don't seem to understand the thought process.

It's more along the lines of understanding that "We don't know exactly and for certain, but people working together over the course of centuries" is a better explanation for how the pyramids were built than, "Isis and her magic."

Why do you suppose that believers resist this simple and straightforward process regarding explanations and evidence?

bmiller said...

Cal:
"Post: "I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claiming nothing. I'm merely rejecting one your beliefs, your belief in Sweden."

You're making a claim..."


Thank you Cal, for trying to show how this common and unreasonable type of argument contradicts itself. I look forward to you continuing the battle wherever you find it.

Legion of Logic said...

"Why do you suppose that believers resist this simple and straightforward process regarding explanations and evidence?"

We don't. It's a known fact that people can build structures, even if the exact method is unknown. Thus, there is no reason to assert extra variables.

This is different than trying to assert that a god is a worse explanation than "no god" for why anything exists and why that something is the way it is. Believers, particularly those who have actively engaged atheists and understand the best arguments of both sides, recognize that God is a superior explanation and that atheists have yet to present a good enough counter argument to refute it. Certain beliefs can be aggressively attacked, such as young earth creationism, but God belief itself? I've yet to find an atheist attack that even puts a dent in it, much less a naturalistic explanation for existence itself. There are no good naturalistic explanations for that. Not one.

It's possible some new groundbreaking evidence might emerge, or a cutting new philosophical argument that provides a superior framework of thinking, which wold demolish the foundations for god belief, but I'm not holding my breath.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "You're making a claim that you have a better explanation for the evidence (all the relevant evidence) that doesn't include a belief in Sweden. You are not making a claim, per se, that Sweden doesn't exist. In other words, you are saying that you have an explanation that isn't ad hoc, predicts, is consistent with background knowledge, has scope, etc., in which Sweden does not exist. "

bmiller, pretending he has found a gotcha! : "Thank you Cal, for trying to show how this common and unreasonable type of argument contradicts itself. I look forward to you continuing the battle wherever you find it."

There's a contradiction in what I wrote -- in the section that you quoted (from my entire paragraph above), that is accurate and doesn't misrepresent what I actually wrote? Do tell.

Read my words above. Scratch your head and try to support what you've claimed.

Surprise. You won't, because (surprise!) you can't.

Here's a trick for you, bmiller. Pick your battles, and only comment when you see a problem involving inconsistency, hypocrisy, and sanctimony. And try not to demonstrate any of those qualities when you comment.

It's amazing how the above could sort things out for you. But that's all on you, and until you try no one else can help you.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: ""Why do you suppose that believers resist this simple and straightforward process regarding explanations and evidence?"
bmiler; "We don't. It's a known fact that people can build structures, even if the exact method is unknown. Thus, there is no reason to assert extra variables."

Then why do you say the above, then immediately follow by inserting an extra variable here:

bmiller: "This is different than trying to assert that a god is a worse explanation than "no god" for why anything exists and why that something is the way it is."

By your own admission above, you agree that there is no reason to insert an extra variable. Then immediately after, you assert that an explanation with an extra variable (the universe PLUS god) is no worse than the explanation without the extra variable (the brute fact of the universe).

I think you must have a different set of reasoning for believing what you do, because you aren't applying the principle consistently that you say you are (no extra variables) to your belief in existence.

bmiller said...

@Cal,

Cal:
"Post: "I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claiming nothing. I'm merely rejecting one your beliefs, your belief in Sweden."

Cal, responding to the Post:

Cal:"You're making a claim..."

Cal (while stomping his feet):
"Here's a trick for you, bmiller. Pick your battles, and only comment when you see a problem involving inconsistency, hypocrisy, and sanctimony. And try not to demonstrate any of those qualities when you comment."

I assumed that you were attempting to point out a contradiction in the type of argument used in the OP indicated by the bolded text. I approved with the contention.
Explain to me why you are showing hostility to me for agreeing with you that the argument is contradictory.

The irony of your advice is noted.

Here is some advice in return. Actually take your time and attempt to understand what other people write before responding and, oh yes, I am not Legion of Logic so don't attach my name to his quotes.

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "I assumed that you were attempting to point out a contradiction in the type of argument used in the OP indicated by the bolded text."

Yes, and your assumption is wrong.

bmiller: "I approved with the contention."

I don't know what the sentence above means.

bmiller: "Explain to me why you are showing hostility to me for agreeing with you that the argument is contradictory."

I pointed out that you can't support what you claimed -- that I had been "trying to show how this common and unreasonable type of argument contradicts itself." I was not. That you find my subsequently pointing out your misrepresentation to be a kind of hostility is your problem, not mine.



bmiller said...

@Cal,

Once again:

Cal:
"Post: "I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claiming nothing. I'm merely rejecting one your beliefs, your belief in Sweden."

Cal, responding to the Post:
Cal:"You're making a claim..."

The original Poster indicated twice that he "was not making a claim".
You responded by saying he was "making a claim" indeed, contrary to the (ahem) claim of "not making a claim". This is where I think you stumbled on the truth. It is contradictory for one to make the claim that he is not making a claim. However, if you want to hold both "making a claim" and "not making a claim" are both true in the same respect at the same time, be my guest.

The rest of your response also asserts precisely what the poster denied.

The OP makes the assertion that he is not making a claim and therefore has no need of an explanation nor to consider any evidence of his position.
Cal responds:"You're making a claim that you have a better explanation for the evidence .."

Who knew? The secret meaning of the OP is exactly the opposite of the apparent meaning.

B. Prokop said...

"And that bothers you because the explanation that doesn't include the Christian [G]od works better (isn't ad hoc, predicts, is consistent with background knowledge, has scope, etc.) than the one that does"

I always find it interesting that atheists seem to think that believers are ever "bothered" by anything they say. Cal, you may rest assured that nothing you have ever posted has caused me to lose a nanosecond of sleep, worrying over it.

"the explanation that doesn't include the Christian [G]od works better"

Um.. the Christian explanation explains the Resurrection far batter than any atheistic alternative. Wait, allow me to re-word that. The Christian explanation is the only game in town. As I have posted several times before, after 2000 years of trying, no non-Christian explanation for the accounts we have of the Resurrection comes even close to being believable, or even coherent. We have libraries full of evidence of the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, and not one shred of evidence against them. How can that be? You'd think that after generations of attempts, someone ought to have come up with at least one credible alternative explanation to there having occurred an actual, literal, physical, historical, verifiable Resurrection of Jesus the Christ on the morning of the 27th of March A.D. 33.

So, contrary to what Cal asserts (with no evidence, by the way), The explanation that includes the Christian God does work better - way better. (Better, as in it actually works, and none of the others do at all.)

And when you're done chewing on that one, it also works better when dealing with the issues of consciousness, morality, beauty, truth and falsehood, sin, the existence of evil, the fact that there is something rather than nothing, and even the demonstrable superiority of baseball over football! I'd say that's a pretty good track record!

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "However, if you want to hold both "making a claim" and "not making a claim" are both true in the same respect at the same time, be my guest."

Cite me saying that both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time.

Dishonest much?

Interenet apologists are the worst. The. Worst.

bmiller said...

Cal,

Me:"However, IF you want to hold both "making a claim" and "not making a claim" are both true in the same respect at the same time, be my guest."

Cal:
"Cite me saying that both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time.

Dishonest much?

Interenet apologists are the worst. The. Worst."

I think people who charge others with dishonesty for their own apparent lack of understanding what a conditional statement is are to be pitied.
You've failed to interact with
1)your own statements
2)and my observation that you've contradicted the OP
3)while at the same time maintaining that I am wrong.

Look Cal, your post from December 26, 2016 7:57 AM, listed 3 snippets from the OP.
Your responses indicated that you agreed with the first 2.
Cal:"One doesn't give evidence FOR a non-belief"
Cal:"Yup"

The 3rd response is what I've quoted upteen times.

I agreed with you that the argument is fatally wrong. Are you now saying that is correct?

Miguel Corleone said...

Cal: "Cite me saying that both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time. "

What is so frustrating about this is that he JUST DID, Cal.

Twice!

I've been following the conversation here and damn! Is this Cal guy the best defender of atheism in these pages??

Ilíon said...

^ Ultimately, *every* God-denier becomes Cal; it's inevitable, as God-denial is self-refuting.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: ""Cite me saying that both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time. "

bmiller cannot do this. Still, he tries to save face:

bmiller: "I think people who charge others with dishonesty for their own apparent lack of understanding what a conditional statement is are to be pitied."

What conditional statement? I honestly think you don't know what a conditional statement is.

bmiller: "You've failed to interact with / 1)your own statements"

False. You've apparently failed to understand what I wrote, and seem to think that just because I commented here my comment must, perforce, be in direct opposition to the OP.

bmiller: "2)and my observation that you've contradicted the OP"

And if you read what I wrote you would see that my comment re the OP was to correct some parts of it, and to agree with others. It seems we should add "contradict" to the group of term you don't know how to use correctly.

bmiller: "3)while at the same time maintaining that I am wrong."

You make false statements. When challenged to provide citations, you just repeat your claims, revealing that you don't understand the position you want to criticize (it seems because you assume everything I write must be wrong, or opposed by you. Whatever.), and this also makes you appear dishonest. So, wrong, and dishonest, to be clear.

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "Cite me saying that both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time. "

Miguel: "What is so frustrating about this is that he JUST DID, Cal. / Twice!"

Then it shouldn't be hard for you to (twice!) cite me saying that both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time. So, please cite me saying that "both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time."

Please show that you understand what it means to cite. (It doesn't mean repeat yourself, per bmiller.)

Joe Hinman said...

causality in miracle hunting

B. Prokop said...

It's a shame that we've allowed this conversation to devolve into "Just how dishonest is Cal?" Ultimately, the answer to that question isn't very interesting. But what is really interesting is something Cal himself brought up, which is "Which 'explanation' actually works in the Real World?"

I maintain that for every one of the Big Questions, Christianity answers them where materialistic atheism does not, and it does so with clarity, consistency, and coherency. (See my list in my previous posting for examples.)

Miguel Corleone said...

Cal, to do that would be to fall for your strawmanning.

You and I know that bmiller didn't *simply* say you were arguing that "both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time."

In fact he said more than that, which I quote below:

----------------
"Once again:

Cal:
"Post: "I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claiming nothing. I'm merely rejecting one your beliefs, your belief in Sweden."

Cal, responding to the Post:
Cal:"You're making a claim..."

The original Poster indicated twice that he "was not making a claim".
You responded by saying he was "making a claim" indeed, contrary to the (ahem) claim of "not making a claim". This is where I think you stumbled on the truth. It is contradictory for one to make the claim that he is not making a claim. However, if you want to hold both "making a claim" and "not making a claim" are both true in the same respect at the same time, be my guest."
[End Quote]
-------------

Read that PLEASE. And then read your response. And then realize how dumb it was.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "It's a shame that we've allowed this conversation to devolve into "Just how dishonest is Cal?" Ultimately, the answer to that question isn't very interesting. But what is really interesting is something Cal himself brought up, which is "Which 'explanation' actually works in the Real World?"

I agree.

Cal Metzger said...

Miquel: "You and I know that bmiller didn't *simply* say you were arguing that "both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time."

I specifically asked you this:

Me: "Then it shouldn't be hard for you to (twice!) CITE ME saying that both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time. So, please CITE ME saying that "both making a claim and not making a claim are both true in the same respect at the same time."

Please show that you understand what it means to cite. (It doesn't mean repeat yourself, per bmiller.)

--------

Miguel, showing what he think is a citation that responds to my request.

Cal:"You're making a claim..."

That's it. 4 words. And the words that follow go on to explain how it is that I am a) acknowledging that that a claim is indeed being made, and b) clarifying what the claim is (a claim THIS, not a claim THAT...).



bmiller said...


Cal:"What conditional statement? I honestly think you don't know what a conditional statement is."

The very first sentence in the post you were responding to. The one where I put IF in bold font so those who actually read what I write wouldn't miss it.

I've provided your own quote multiple times and highlighted where you assert exactly the opposite of the OP. That's almost literally the definition of a contradiction.
I guess pointing this out makes me dishonest in Cal-world.

bmiller said...

@B. Prokop,

What the OP mocks is the common atheist argument that their position does not require any explanation or evidence while the opponent's side does.
On the face of it, it is special pleading. The attempted justification is the claim that they are not making a claim, which is itself self-contradictory.

It's true that we should be really be discussing explanations, but the OP would insist that he doesn't have to.

Cal seems to implicitly agree that the OP is wrong and actually does make a claim, and considers evidence and explanations (contrary to the OP statements). It's curious that he is enraged that I agree with him.

Ilíon said...

B.Can't-We-All-Just-Get-Along: "It's a shame that we've allowed this conversation to devolve into "Just how dishonest is [Name-a-God-Denier]?""

It's bound to happen -- and keep happening -- until all you "nice" people get it into your heads that *all* God-deniers are intellectually dishonest, else they wouldn't be God-deniers. Now, understanding this basic fact doesn't mean that you are required to bluntly state it, as I do from time to time, but it will save you a lot of frustration in your interactiosn with them.

B.Prokop: "But what *is* really interesting is something Cal himself brought up, which is "Which 'explanation' actually works in the Real World?"

I maintain that for every one of the Big Questions, Christianity answers them where materialistic atheism does not, and it does so with clarity, consistency, and coherency.
"

Sure, but before a person can even consider Christianity, he has to move from God-denial to let us call it "mere theism". And "mere theism" also "answers them where materialistic atheism does not, and it does so with clarity, consistency, and coherency" (as, how can it not, being foundational to Christianity?)

For example, a Real World question one might ask is, "How is it that the world contains rational (embodied) beings?"

Trying to answer this question on the basis of (any variety of) atheism quickly devolves into incoherency and self-contradiction, showing that the incoherency and self-contradiction is inherent in the basic premise: "There is no Creator-God".

Cal Metzger said...

Me: "Cal:"What conditional statement? I honestly think you don't know what a conditional statement is.""
bmiller: "The very first sentence in the post you were responding to. The one where I put IF in bold font so those who actually read what I write wouldn't miss it."

The first sentence of the post: "You think that my denial of Sweden is an actual claim of some kind, that it's a belief. "

???

Me: "I've provided your own quote multiple times and highlighted where you assert exactly the opposite of the OP. That's almost literally the definition of a contradiction."

bmiller, quoting me: "You're making a claim..."

??????

At this point I doubt anyone has any idea what your'e talking about.

bmiller said...

@Cal,

Cal:"What conditional statement?" December 27, 2016 6:34 AM in response to my post of December 26, 2016 9:56 PM

First sentence of my post on December 26, 2016 9:56 PM:
Me:"However, IF you want to hold both "making a claim" and "not making a claim" are both true in the same respect at the same time, be my guest."

??? indeed.

Cal"bmiller, quoting me: "You're making a claim...""

Of course the entire quote I've repeated included the OP stating he was "was not making a claim". Your assertion contradicts the OP but how would you know I meant this?

Oh yeah, because I said:
"I've provided your own quote multiple times and highlighted where you assert exactly the opposite of the OP."

I don't about anyone else, but I'm pretty sure now that at least one person has no hope of getting a clue.







Miguel Corleone said...

Ilion: "Sure, but before a person can even consider Christianity, he has to move from God-denial to let us call it "mere theism". And "mere theism" also "answers them where materialistic atheism does not, and it does so with clarity, consistency, and coherency" (as, how can it not, being foundational to Christianity?)

For example, a Real World question one might ask is, "How is it that the world contains rational (embodied) beings?""

Hi sir, is there a blogpost or article where you have fleshed this out? It's just that I would be really interested to read it.

Cal Metzger said...

@bmiller,

Ah, I finally see what you think is a conditional statement.

If you want to concede that you are a special kind of moron, then be my guest.

bmiller said...

@Cal Metzger,

If you mean I look like a moron for actually repeating my posts multiple times because you either don't understand them or remember them, you may have a point.

I'm pretty sure that you're chuckling to yourself because you're sure that conditional is what you use after shampoo. It's kind of entertaining when you actually try to come up with something other than insults, but you rarely do that.

In respect and tribute to Princess Leia"
"The Farce is strong with this one."

SteveK said...

Reading this thread is like watching a car wreck in slow motion. Cal always seems to be involved in these

Jo F said...

...But I like cal xD. If you guys are too hard on him he may leave and then this blog will become a lot less fun without there being different perspectives, disagreement, etc. There are only so many atheists who regularly respond here anyway, how boring it would be if everyone here agreed on everything.

Jo F said...

*not to say that I don't hope you come around eventually, Cal--not to say, on the other hand, that I'm not open to persuasion to another view

Cal Metzger said...

bmiller: "I guess ...me dishonest...:
stevek: "Reading...in slow motion."

Hey, if you guys want to shoot yourselves in the foot, then be my guest!

Ilíon said...

Michael Corleone: "Hi sir, is there a blogpost or article where you have fleshed this out? It's just that I would be really interested to read it."

Here is one instance: You are the proof that God is

B. Prokop said...

Ilion: "It's bound to happen -- and keep happening -- until all you "nice" people get it into your heads that *all* God-deniers are intellectually dishonest, else they wouldn't be God-deniers."

You misunderstood my comment, Ilion. I wasn't giving Cal any credit for his nonexistent intellectual honesty. I was simply saying that endless discussion of his intellectual dishonesty is BORING! Almost any other topic would be more interesting (and far more profitable).

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: " I wasn't giving Cal any credit for his nonexistent intellectual honesty."
Prokop: "As I have posted several times before, after 2000 years of trying, no non-Christian explanation for the accounts we have of the Resurrection comes even close to being believable, or even coherent. We have libraries full of evidence of the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, and not one shred of evidence against them."

What was that you were saying about intellectual honesty?

B. Prokop said...

No intellectual dishonesty whatsoever in what you quoted. I am being totally honest in stating that. Every word of that statement is true.

If you disagree, don't just coyly call into question my honesty - show me where I'm wrong. (And where I was willfully wrong. Otherwise, I was not being dishonest, just incorrect.)

SteveK said...

ILion - Here's how I would condense your blog post into a few bullet points.

Your rational life is proof that God exists because:

1) The *potential* for your rational life in this universe must have existed prior to you actually existing. This is true for all rational life.

2) If this potential for rational life ceased to exist at any time, then rational life would not actually come to exist and you would not exist.

3) However, potential things do not exist as actual things. If they did exist like that, then they would be actual things. In other words, this potential is really an actual thing.

4) Therefore, actual rational life has always existed. That rational life we call God.

(atheists can call it something other than God if they want to argue for that, but they cannot deny the logic)

Ilíon said...

"You misunderstood my comment, Ilion. I wasn't giving Cal any credit for his nonexistent intellectual honesty. I was simply saying that endless discussion of his intellectual dishonesty is BORING! Almost any other topic would be more interesting (and far more profitable)."

But I agree. I'm just pointing out that if people engage intellectually dishonest persons on the presumption that they are honestly seeking truth but are simply mistaken about how to go about it, when they realize that the other isn't *simply* mistaken, but is dishonest, they *tend* to react by trying to reason the other out of his dishonesty.

B. Prokop said...

OK, I can second that.


But then, how does one go about engaging with the intellectually dishonest? The Gospels don't give us much hope for any positive outcome. ("Cast not your pearls before swine." "Shake the dust of that town from your feet." etc.)

Cal Metzger said...

Ilion: "But I agree. I'm just pointing out that if people engage intellectually dishonest persons on the presumption that they are honestly seeking truth but are simply mistaken about how to go about it, when they realize that the other isn't *simply* mistaken, but is dishonest, they *tend* to react by trying to reason the other out of his dishonesty."

You are mostly correct. But after that, I fall back to ridiculing the beliefs. That is, I think the last, best hope for the deluded -- the motivation to not appear ridiculous.

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "If you disagree, don't just coyly call into question my honesty - show me where I'm wrong."

This is immensely false: "As I have posted several times before, after 2000 years of trying, no non-Christian explanation for the accounts we have of the Resurrection comes even close to being believable, or even coherent."

People overwhelmingly show themselves capable in falling for superstitious stories. That is a verifiable, reliable, and objective fact. It is entirely believable, and completely coherent. And none of those things are present in the story of the resurrection. Your statement is about as false as a statement can be.

Also, quite the whopper here: "We have libraries full of evidence of the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, and not one shred of evidence against them."

Name the single, most reliable source outside the Gospels that is filled with evidence that attests to the historicity of the Gospels. Your best example. Then list the top 20 (a minuscule fraction of one library, let alone the libraries of which you speak.)

Then explain why wrote the whoppers you wrote, and why your failure to back up your assertions (as I described) won't change your bluster one iota in the future.

B. Prokop said...

"Name the single"... etc.

The remainder of the New Testament (well, you did say "outside of the Gospels")
St. Ignatius of Antioch, especially his Letters to the Ephesians, the Magnesians, the Trallians, the Romans, the Philadelphians, the Smyrneans, and to Polycarp.
The Martyrdom of Polycarp, by anon.
Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies
Justin Martyr, Dialog with Trypho, Apologies
Every last archaeological finding in the Holy Land in the past several centuries.
The writings of St. Jerome
Alfred Delp, Prison Writings
Divine Mercy in My Soul, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Icon based on a painting made by St. Luke himself
The Most Holy Rosary
The Liturgy of the Mass
Sub Tuum Praesidium
St. Maximilian Kolbe, Immaculate Conception, Who Are You?
The History of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church
The 23.5 degree axial tilt of the Earth from its orbital plane

I know, that's more than 20, but it's hard to stop once you're on a roll.. and there are so many more worthy of listing!

Come back to me after you've read all of these in their entirety, and pondered the significance of those which aren't texts.


Cal Metzger said...

@Bob, so 9 writings? And among them something from Alfred Delp (born in the 1900's), is among the top 10 sources for providing what you call "evidence that attests to the historicity of the Gospels"?

Didn't take long for those libraries to run out of shelves of material now, did it?

You saved my favorite for last in the "library" : The 23.5 degree axial tilt of the Earth from its orbital plane.

Evidence! Internet apologist style!



B. Prokop said...

So, you're biased toward writings? Why is that? Let's see your reasoning as why written evidence is more reliable than other kinds.

And you're biased against 20th Century sources? Why is that? A reverse chronological snobbery, perhaps?

(And personally, I regard my last entry as the most convincing.)

Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "So, you're biased toward writings?"

When someone says he has evidence that attests to an event, then cites something written by someone 1900 years after the fact, I observe that someone isn't going to provide what one would expect when he says he has evidence.

Prokop: "Let's see your reasoning as why written evidence is more reliable than other kinds."

I don't think that written evidence is very convincing when it comes to describing events that have only ever happened in stories. I love Game of Thrones; I don't think that it's very good evidence that Westeros exists.

Prokop: "nd personally, I regard my last entry as the most convincing."

I'll leave the fact that a man thinks that the 23.5 degree axial tilt of the earth is something that belongs in a library, and that it is the most convincing evidence for the Resurrection, stand as my observation that religious belief doesn't seem to have any connection to a rational process for evaluating evidence whatsoever.

And with that I have to say that it looks like all but a few loonies are left defending the rationality of Christian belief here. I wonder why that is?

SteveK said...

So far we've learned from Cal that:
Evidence from [insert arbitrary date here] is too old to be evidence.
Evidence from [insert name of science journal here] isn't very convincing because it's written evidence.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"I don't have to provide evidence for my non-belief in Atlantis, El Dorado, Shangri-La, or the Customer Support Department at American Airlines, and nor need I for my non-belief in Sweden."
That's true, the burden of proof, or more accurately, the burden of convincing evidence, is on the one making the positive assertion.

Mythical places are described in books, places like Atlantis and the garden of Eden. The default position is that those are just made up stories until convincing evidence is presented, which of course, has not happened for those two examples.

To contact American Airlines in the USA you may call 800-433-7300 . You can speak with a human being. If you have a reservation already you can give that reservation number to that human being and he or she will find your details from that number, which is very convincing evidence that a customer service organization for American Airlines does in fact exist.

Please provide me with the phone number to god.

Legion of Logic said...

"And with that I have to say that it looks like all but a few loonies are left defending the rationality of Christian belief here. I wonder why that is?"

I don't care for my conversations getting buried under insult-fests, so I abandon threads once they hit that point. Which occurs more and more quickly it seems.

"Please provide me with the phone number to god."

Who or what is god, and is there reason to believe that god utilizes telecommunication services?

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "I don't care for my conversations getting buried under insult-fests, so I abandon threads once they hit that point. Which occurs more and more quickly it seems."

I don't either. And I exclude you from the loonies here.

I don't agree with you, and I will point out where I think you're being inconsistent, but you're mostly fun to talk to.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Who or what is god, "
Based on the utter lack of supporting evidence for the assertion of any sort of god it is just another delusion of the human brain.

"and is there reason to believe that god utilizes telecommunication services? "
God is purported to speak to humans, so it would really be nice to ring up to heaven and have a chat.

I can provide a great many evidences for an American Airlines customer service department and the existence of the nation of Sweden. I have never encountered a shred of evidence for god, but since I was thoughtful enough to provide the American Airlines number I feel common courtesy calls for the author to provide me with god's phone number.

B. Prokop said...

"Please provide me with the phone number to [G]od."

There are actually several. The best is the Mass. You can find one daily at the nearest Catholic church to you. The Brevarium Romanum (a.k.a., the Divine Office) is another excellent choice. One of my favorites is the Holy Rosary - a direct line with no operator to the Godhead. Heck, even the lowly Lord's Prayer is good for a quick text message or a tweet.

But nothing beats a face-to-face conversation during Eucharistic Adoration.

Legion of Logic said...

"Based on the utter lack of supporting evidence for the assertion of any sort of god it is just another delusion of the human brain."

Then it's likely that god does not use phones, if this entity or thing or place you call god is nothing but a delusion.

bmiller said...

B. Prokop has given evidence for his opponents to evaluate regarding his position.
I think it is only fair for his opponents to present evidence for their position for Bob to evaluate.

Does anyone disagree?

Stardusty Psyche said...

"There are actually several. The best is the Mass"
Oh interesting, I see, so if I go to a special shrine and chant some incantations that is the equivalent of stepping into a phone booth and ringing up the big OG. Oh, yes, rock solid evidence for god indeed.

"One of my favorites is the Holy Rosary"
I see, so if I manipulate some beads on a string that makes special rings to the big daddy and he comes hither in a flash. Yesss, of course, more rock solid evidence for god.

"even the lowly Lord's Prayer"
I will not have you denigrating the chants the almighty taught. But yes, I can see that if we chant special incantations then god's gonna listen up real quick.

"face-to-face conversation during Eucharistic Adoration"
Sure, because nothing says "I worship your face" like cannibalistic eating of the face, or arms, or blood, or whatever parts of the body you are snacking on.

Ok, so to recap, we have group chants in a shrine, fiddling with beads on a string, individual memorized chants, and cannibalizing a cracker.

I can't imagine why anybody would consider Catholics to be primitive and superstitious.

I sill want some evidence though, I mean, beads and crackers just don't seem like god to me.

B. Prokop said...

"don't seem like [G]od to me"

And why is this a problem for anyone except you?

B. Prokop said...

"I s[t]ill want some evidence though"

Moving the goalposts? All you originally asked for was a "phone number" for God. That was the question I answered.

Jo F said...

@Cal

You are mostly correct. But after that, I fall back to ridiculing the beliefs. That is, I think the last, best hope for the deluded -- the motivation to not appear ridiculous.

Ah, yes, the ‘ole, “everyone in the history of humanity, both past and present, up until now has been delusional except for me” kind of arrogance. I’ve met far too many atheists who think they’re smart just because they’re atheists. It seems you’ve bought into the condescending New Atheist narrative that the religious are idiots to be your punching bag. The way you see it, we’re at the mercy of our intellectual superior. Give me a break.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
I don't think that written evidence is very convincing when it comes to describing events that have only ever happened in stories. I love Game of Thrones; I don't think that it's very good evidence that Westeros exists.

This is a circular argument: "the 'stories' aren’t true because they’re just stories. Therefore, Christianity is not true." If you want to show that, you’d need to give an argument for it. Please be fair Cal.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
"I'll leave the fact that a man thinks that the 23.5 degree axial tilt of the earth is something that belongs in a library, and that it is the most convincing evidence for the Resurrection, stand as my observation that religious belief doesn't seem to have any connection to a rational process for evaluating evidence whatsoever. “

I don’t see the connection. A foolish exponent of a certain belief has no bearing on whether or not that belief is true. This is reversible as well. I could find you plenty of atheists making such foolish statements. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair for me to dismiss atheism because there exist a few foolish atheists, or to dismiss everything you’ve said for that reason. Why don’t you worry about *my* arguments, not those of unintelligent folks who’s you think you can refute.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

"And with that I have to say that it looks like all but a few loonies are left defending the rationality of Christian belief here. I wonder why that is?”

Care to substantiate that? Or am I supposed to take that on blind faith? P.S. “all but a few loonies”—I know that, in your world, all intelligent people (including yourself) are effectively Gods, yet atheists, but considering the population of atheists in America (around 2-3%) I wouldn’t say there’s a “few” loonies. In the very least, you’d have to say there are quite a few loonies, Billions in fact.

“If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Here’s your chance to demonstrate your intellectual honesty: listen to these podcasts regarding the veracity of that “superstitious book” and respond so as to prove that you did so. It could save your life, and in the very least would provide you an informed opinion:

Jo F said...

I'll try to start simply:

What is a philosophical argument? Think of it as a mechanism for deriving implications from certain observations of the natural world. If, from these, we arrive at theological implications, they are just as significant as any other information (say, from science...which is built upon philosophy anyhow) in that they are explanatory and represent an advance in knowledge. There has been a considerable change in the Anglo-American collegiate realm regarding Christian theism, especially in philosophy departments. The secularization of academia today was, in large part, due to the privatization of Christian institutions and advances in observational astronomy. The former because Christians left colleges for their own academic strongholds, and the latter because we began to see what had previously been thought of as astrological influences and personifications as what they really are: distant spheres of (hydrogen) gas (which should stop no one from considering Christianity, in light of the fact that our belief system distinguishes the radically contingent universe from a God who exists by the necessity of His own nature).
___
Since the late 1900s we have done away with positivism, and its attendant verification principle (the idea that only that which can be verified through the senses is true...an idea which cannot be verified through the senses. It's positively self- defeating, meaning that it is self-referentially incoherent) and the works of philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga (the most contributive philosopher of religion in recent years...before he retired he was the president of the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers) in revamping classical arguments for God's existence (such as the Ontological Argument, which has now become an exercise in modal logic), refuting the argument for atheism from the existence of evil in both its logical and probabilistic forms, and defending the position that belief in God is an epistemologically warranted metaphysical initiative (meaning that, in the absence of a defeater for Christian theism, it qualifies as a belief that can be held without reference to anything in reality, wholly substantiated by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit). The following are some arguments for the existence of God that I have so far studied and found compelling, and consider them in cumulation as indicative of the supernatural and of an orthodoxly conceived monotheistic God or of whatever other theologically significant conclusion their exponents aspire to establish:

Jo F said...

[A Leibnizian Formulation of the Argument from Contingency](https://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/pruss-alexander-22the-leibnizian-cosmological-argument22.pdf) (God best explains the universe's being existent rather than not), [Arguments from our Moral Experience](https://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/linville-mark-22the-moral-argument22.pdf) (we perceive an objective realm of moral values and duties that could not otherwise exist without God), [from the coherency of the concept of God](http://www.reasonablefaith.org/defenders-3-podcast/s4) (the idea of God should not make sense unless He actually does exist. It's remarkable that it would be a rational idea. This is more popularly known as the Ontological argument, and I suggest you look into it as it is defended by William Lane Craig for an approachable start to studying it), [from the probable origin of the universe](http://www.reasonablefaith.org/in-defense-of-the-kalam-cosmological-argument) (from which one may deduce a personal cause), [from reason](https://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/the-argument-from-reason.pdf) (One version would go like this: evolution selects on phenotypes, and by extension, on survival value, not truth value. Thus, we have a defeater for naturalism by its invalidation of our cognitive faculties, rendering the naturalistic conclusion invalid...however, this version is a combination of multiple arguments iferring from the existence of the reasoning process justification for rejecting naturalism in favor of a theistic alternative), from [the inability for non-theism to correspond to one's participation in reality](http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god) ((the consequences to atheism are so great that it seems we are forced, by our nature, to worship God. But to hold atheism is to not recognize God, conversely, holding theism is to recognize (worship) God. From a Christian perspective, should it surprise us that to draw away from the Source of Life in our greatest purpose--which would be to worship God AKA hold (Christian) theism--is to find a life unlivable?)),

Jo F said...

[from religious experience](https://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/kaiman-kwan-the-argument-from-religious-experience-blackwell-companion.pdf), [the historically and historiographically corroborated resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth](http://www.lydiamcgrew.com/Resurrectionarticlesinglefile.pdf), from intentional states of consciousness, the phycological relevance of neurological confluence, etc. (see that paper on the argument from reason), from the ["fine tuning" of initial cosmological and subsequent universal conditions for the development of intelligent life](http://home.messiah.edu/%7Ercollins/Fine-tuning/Abridged%20Version%20of%20Fine-tuning%20book.doc), [from the applicability of mathematics to the physical world](http://www.reasonablefaith.org/god-and-the-applicability-of-mathematics), from [Certain Aspects of the Laws of Nature](http://home.messiah.edu/%7Ercollins/Arguments%20for%20Gods%20Existence/God%20and%20the%20Laws%20of%20Nature.doc.doc) and more. (If ever you were to take an interest in Aristotelian metaphysics, *Aquinas* by Edward Feser would be a great introduction to Thomas Aquinas's "Five Ways" which you should certainly at least look into his blog for the basics. I'll recommend that you start with [this post, patiently read to get the most out of it.](http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html) As an analytic philosopher that became a Christian from atheism after studying Thomism, I think you'll find he argues from a higher standard, endeavoring to convince not Christians but atheists as adamant as he was)...you'll find further recommended reading on many of those arguments listed after their respective reference sections.

Jo F said...

On Intelligent Design--Here's what I think...there's a a great deal of confusion regarding inferences from instantiations of biological complexity to an Intelligent Source. Many equate this with Young Earth Creationism, when it's entirely different. Some stop when they fail to see how it categorizes as science (it doesn't, and that's not what matters anyway). Here you will find arguments such as that [from the existence of consciousness](https://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/the-argument-from-consciousness.pdf), the first cell of life, irreducible complexity, the linguistic properties of DNA, and the like. [Antony Flew would be a good example of a world-famous atheist turned theist over these sorts of arguments from apparent design/teleology](https://www.amazon.com/There-God-Notorious-Atheist-Changed/dp/0061335304) (the equivalent to Dawkins from the last generation however, but the difference would be in his having an informed opinion and philosophical excellence, in addition to his desire for meaningful discourse).

I think an honest assessment of each of these will show that they at each at least raise the probability that God exists on their own. Now, I want to guard against what keeps many from fully seeing the force behind natural theology: they are meant to be taken cumulatively, so that together they can raise the probability of theism's truth value such that it is rational to lend credence to it.

I get this a lot: "if there were evidence for Christianity, then everyone would be a Christian. Therefore, Christianity is not substantiated." I hope you can see why this should not be taken seriously. Firstly, it could be said of any worldview. If there is something evidently true on atheism, why isn't everyone an atheist? And so, if there truly is something rationally compelling about Christianity, I believe you will find it by earnestly seeking Christ where many others have found it (I've described some of these authentications below). Furthermore, college study is oriented towards specialization, which is decided by one's interests.

Jo F said...

As for Christian evidences, I was originally convinced of Christianity by simply reading the Bible. If you are interested in pursuing truth, rather than arguments (which bear the inherently biased objective of discerning *who's* right rather than *what's* right) then I highly recommend that you seek God where He can be found: in His word, [from which faith is derived](http://biblehub.com/romans/10-17.htm), as it appears in the actions and words of Christians, and in the text itself. I think you'll find, in the person of Jesus Christ, that He knows us too well, and loves us far too much, to *not* be our Father. By this, I mean that there is something so true about Christianity: it makes too much sense. And way too much sense out of life and the world. As C.S. Lewis said, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." After I earnestly sought God for the first time, like (I should hope) David ("a man after His own heart"), I found that the scales fell from my eyes, like Paul, and I gained an entirely new perspective of the world and was changed to so great an extent in ways that I can only regard as supernatural.

Not only that, I find Christianity to be a remarkably consistent and coherent worldview--not only as correspondent to reality, or as a philosophical conclusion to explain a wide range of the data of human experience, but also as an existentially relevant and experienced reality. Everything Jesus said has proven itself true in my life. Even this: John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Beyond that, I suggest you look into these:

[After establishing some reliability for the New Testament](http://www.bethinking.org/is-the-bible-reliable/the-historicity-of-the-new-testament), we may consider fulfilled prophecies as evincing the Christian God's existence and further authenticating the Bible, as well as the argument popularized by C.S. Lewis known as the "trilemma". The idea is that Jesus clearly did not intend to leave people with the option of taking Him to be just a very good moral teacher. Rather, He made numerous radical claims such as that of His own divinity. Now I don't care if you think you're a piece of toast, and you're looking for some butter to suit you, but if you think you're God, you're hopeless. You would have to be absolutely insane, a liar, or something far worse... and yet I have found Christ, as have many others, to have a remarkably practical understanding of the world that exceeds my own.

Furthermore, His being *perfect* was noted by multiple New Testament writers (who would have otherwise stayed fishermen, for example). Now, they did not describe the sort of "perfection" one might ascribe to a pop-star for being beautiful or talented...they meant *moral* perfection, and in the literal sense. Who on earth would say such a thing about anyone? And why is it that I can't help but feel the same way after hearing of His life? And why is it that, of all things, the only charge his enemies could place on Him was blasphemy--no doubt, after trying everything else. It seems everyone admits He was perfect in character, so to call Him a liar is just as absurd. It seems He desires that, even today, we will either take Him to be Who He claimed to be, or place Him on the cross for blasphemy like the rest. The same argument can be applied to Paul, who claimed to have seen Jesus Christ risen and wrote much of the New Testament in letters to many of the early churches he spent the rest of his life establishing.

Jo F said...

Next to that, there's the fact that at least five of the early Christian disciples of Jesus faced gruesome executions for trying to spread His message. I am likewise inspired to die for Christ...but they're the ones who matter here: no one dies for what they *know* is a lie. Not for that kind of claim, at least. The fact that they spent so much of their lives, and were so motivated to share the Gospel that they individually gave up their lives and careers to evangelize in foreign lands for however long they would live shows that they were convinced it was true and that they had seen Jesus risen. Think about it: the fact that Jesus spent His whole life giving with none to gain (true love as it is proven) in acts of altruistic service and edifying advice, died an innocent man, and claimed to give even that death for our sake is incredible. If it were all a deception for money, or self promotion, would you not expect the Bible to end with some kind of call to action (such as "give us all your money", or "now join our leader in war") that demonstrates selfishness? Much to the contrary, it seems God died only to give His life for our sake, *just so* He could convince us to do the same: giving our lives to others in acts of love and kindness as we follow Him.

Here an apologetics communicator, philosopher of religion, and New Testament scholar presents the contemporary case for [The Resurrection of Jesus](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyxR8uE9GQ). Keep in mind that naturalistic explanations will need to plausibly entail these facts in tandem with each other. Many dismiss this argument as being merely an appeal to authority, so I hope you'll find this as helpful for giving some of the reasons for which these are considered factually correct premises by the majority of New Testament scholars today.

You should definitely talk to your Church pastor and parents about this. It's a good thing you're questioning your beliefs--I would think you intellectually dishonest to do otherwise despite having that capacity. Also note that it's in many ways, I think, a good thing that you should doubt the truth of this message--as it lets you see what life would be like without God, and learn to appreciate Him more. Sadly, we only take seriously the things we loose and miss. Perhaps when you find Him again you'll never break away--in a new resolve to follow Him more each day and take on His chance to become a new person each day, more like the masterpiece He created you to be. That's my prayer for you!

I'm happy to answer your questions and elaborate wherever, just reply or PM me. Here are some further resources I recommend for you in pursing Christ:

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart."

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig (website and book by the same name. The website is one of the best apologetics websites out there. He's an apologetics communicator/highly contributive analytic philosopher/NT Scholar and more)

Jo F said...

Desiringgod.org is great for preaching and hearing the word of Christ. I think you'll find much of the intellectual permission needed to assent to Christian theism by simply hearing the word of God, and that can very well start at that website. In addition to that, I think C.S. Lewis's books are helpful for learning about the faith.

[A post I wrote which may help](https://www.reddit.com/r/TrueChristian/comments/4t7gau/15_biblical_truths_every_christian_wishes_they/?utm_content=title&utm_medium=user&utm_source=reddit&utm_name=frontpage)

Apologetics315, Bethinking.org, CARM.org are all pretty good. Gotquestions.org is pretty good for many theological questions but not philosophy, I'm afraid.

Knowledge and Belief in God by Alving Plantinga

Anything by John Lennox (Oxford Mathematician and Christian Apologist)

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright (New Testament scholar)

The Devil's Delusion by David Berlinski (secular Jew, critic of New Atheism and the theory of evolution by natural selection...which I find compatible with Christianity by the way. It's a question of science, not of theology, to me--on whether macroevolution by natural selection occurred)

[What are we to Make of Jesus?](https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=what+are+we+to+make+of+Jesus&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) essay by C.S. Lewis

The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (a collection of essays by some of today's most capable defenders of 10 theistic arguments)

Simply Christian by N.T. Wright

meant to add above but ran out of room: [from Logical Laws](http://www.proginosko.com/docs/The_Lord_of_Non-Contradiction.pdf)

Search "Two Dozen Or So Theistic Arguments" for Plantinga's lecture notes.

Jo F said...

[Timothy McGrew's interview on this philosophy podcast](http://www.brianauten.com/Apologetics/interview-tim-mcgrew.mp3) + [this series](http://www.apologetics315.com/2012/11/audio-resources-by-tim-mcgrew.html) articulate many of the reasons that show just how credible the Biblical documents are. Should serve as a helpful introduction. Things like 1. the sheer number of coincidental correspondences between two independently written documents purporting to account for the same event, especially when one fills the details the other left out, 2. the sacrifice of the apostles in their lifestyles, careers, and even painful deaths soon to come--just to share this message. It becomes difficult to take them as liars at that point. They had nothing to gain, they lost it all, they lived for moral edification of all things. If you read Lewis's essay I linked you, you'll hear more elaboration on the strong preconditions that would have them hostile to accepting Jesus as a messiah in the first place. The deification of an individual is the *last* thing you would expect in ancient-Roman Jewish society. Lunatics? Jesus, the apostles, Paul, all of them? Were they just crazy? With malicious intent eliminated, and considering the magnitude of insanity required for claims *this* radical, the atheist is left with quite the burden of proof in having to show just how their lunacy can be reasonably inferred beyond some prejudice-consigned naturalism. And thus their writings stand for themselves: read Paul's letters, and the accounts of Christ. Do they not exhibit perfect sanity, relatable truths, and a practical understanding of the world--far wiser and profound than most? These are all evidences in favor of Christian theism that are to be taken *in a cumulative case*. A hypothesis that solves 24+ problems has significant evidence in its favor: especially when it accounts for much of the most fundamental data in human experience. I think after an honest assessment, the reliability of the NT documents makes it *very* difficult to say there could be a naturalistic or atheistic take on these issues that would out-do that of Christianity's explanatory power.

I used to have many good objections to Christianity, but I found that they have good answers. I think, for viewing the Christian side to these objections and questions, Reasonablefaith.org will be helpful. There, you will find many debate transcripts and other materials that elaborate on these arguments.

I hope this helps!

B. Prokop said...

Jo F,

Unless I mis-read you, you called me (in your comment of 7:31 PM) "foolish" three times and "unintelligent" once. Care to elaborate? On what grounds do you come to these characterizations? Care to explain just what it is I said that is so foolish and unintelligent? I am standing ready to defend my comments.

Cal Metzger said...

Jo F: "I used to have many good objections to Christianity, but I found that they have good answers. I think, for viewing the Christian side to these objections and questions, Reasonablefaith.org will be helpful. There, you will find many debate transcripts and other materials that elaborate on these arguments."

You began this comment dump with the reprimand, to me, of: "The way you see it, we’re at the mercy of our intellectual superior. Give me a break."

And then you go on, and on, listing the gullible things you've fallen for, as if I (and any other reader here who doesn't share your beliefs) hadn't encountered them before.

You're right about one thing; when one becomes a grown up thinker, glancing over your litany of credulousness is like landing on an isolated island and being told laughably incorrect beliefs about the world you've already seen.

Clearly, you've never left your island. I'm sure you think it's wonderful, but don't think for a moment that you know something the rest of us who don't share your beliefs haven't seen already, and that you don't actually know what you think you do. We've seen what you imagine you know, and we know how mistaken you are.

Give me a break, indeed.

Jo F said...

"I'm sure you think it's wonderful, but don't think for a moment that you know something the rest of us who don't share your beliefs haven't seen already, and that you don't actually know what you think you do. We've seen what you imagine you know, and we know how mistaken you are."

Ah, so you've reviewed all these already? Splendid! Well, we should get right to it: please explain which premises of the argument from the Laws of Nature you find tenuous. If you don't mind constructing, to your understanding, its formal phrasing I would be in a better position to asses what you have to say.


You began this comment dump with the reprimand, to me, of: "The way you see it, we’re at the mercy of our intellectual superior. Give me a break."

Nevertheless, you're not defending yourself against that. So if it's true, where did I go wrong? And your smarter-than-though tone in this reply would be confirmatory of this.

"Clearly, you've never left your island. I'm sure you think it's wonderful, but don't think for a moment that you know something the rest of us who don't share your beliefs haven't seen already, and that you don't actually know what you think you do. We've seen what you imagine you know, and we know how mistaken you are."

I'm not sure I see the argument here. Let me check again. Nope, still nothing--funny, it's almost like you've just asserted what you think is the case without providing anything to support it. Strange how reversible your rhetoric is: Cal, clearly, you've never left your island. I'm sure you think it's wonderful, but don't think for a moment that you know something the rest of us who don't share your beliefs haven't seen already, and that you don't actually know what you think you do. We've seen what you imagine you know, and we know how mistaken you are.

Whelp, just proved Christianity is true there. I'm learning from you, and I have to say, simply asserting "I'm right, you're wrong" is much easier than giving evidence in its favor.

Stardusty Psyche said...

" B. Prokop said...
"don't seem like [G]od to me"
And why is this a problem for anyone except you?"

At the moment you are talking to me. You can imagine whatever you wish, of course. But since these alleged methods of communicating with an invisible sky daddy were addressed to me then my first person response is appropriate.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"B. Prokop said...

"I s[t]ill want some evidence though"

Moving the goalposts? All you originally asked for was a "phone number" for God. That was the question I answered"
Nope, no phone number provided.

The phone number I gave was provided as evidence per the OP. You failed to provide a phone number or any alternate form of evidence for this thing you imagine you call god.

To paraphrase Sarah Palin, god is one big fail.

Jo F said...

"Jo F,

Unless I mis-read you, you called me (in your comment of 7:31 PM) "foolish" three times and "unintelligent" once.

Oh no, was just playing along with what Cal said

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty Phyce
"You failed to provide a phone number or any alternate form of evidence for this thing you imagine you call god."

Feel free to work through my comments and the linked literature for an attempt to substantiate Christian theism. Get back to me after you've studied those, please!

B. Prokop said...

"Oh no, was just playing along with what Cal said"

OK, then all is good.

I'm a bit disappointed in the response to my comment, however. I was trying to be deliberately provocative, in hopes of starting a genuinely interesting conversation. But no one took the bait.

Pity.

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
" B. Prokop said...
"don't seem like [G]od to me"
And why is this a problem for anyone except you?"

At the moment you are talking to me. You can imagine whatever you wish, of course. But since these alleged methods of communicating with an invisible sky daddy were addressed to me then my first person response is appropriate.

it's I'm skeptical's soc puppet. ere's the deal I'mas long as you play this little game of ridiculing all answers by making like any view of God is automatically absurd and based "sky daddy" then you never actually consider anything seriously, you are regurgitating the echo chanber and proving what I've sadi about you,

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
"B. Prokop said...

"I s[t]ill want some evidence though"

I gave you evidence and you refused to read the material ,as with my previous comment you did not listen to my explanations of the N scale or the body of empirical quantitative research I was explicating you merely assumed it can't be true and proceeded to ridicule it. no one needs this waste of time.

Joe Hinman said...

Clearly, you've never left your island. I'm sure you think it's wonderful, but don't think for a moment that you know something the rest of us who don't share your beliefs haven't seen already, and that you don't actually know what you think you do. We've seen what you imagine you know, and we know how mistaken you are.

why don't you try actually something, I guess you just don't know what it means,. stop talking about how stupid your opponents are and actually say something! try actually showing what rule of logic a God argument violates.

Joe Hinman said...

Cal that was for you


why don't you try actually saying something, I guess you just don't know what it means,. stop talking about how stupid your opponents are and actually say something! try actually showing what rule of logic a God argument violates.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Jo F said...

@ Stardusty Phyce
"You failed to provide a phone number or any alternate form of evidence for this thing you imagine you call god."

Feel free to work through my comments and the linked literature for an attempt to substantiate Christian theism. Get back to me after you've studied those, please! "
"Go read a book" or "go read a series of articles" is a particularly weak form of conversational argumentation. I can give you links to countless books and articles that show you are wrong. So what?

If you cannot succinctly state in your own words what your argument is then you do not understand what you are talking about, which apparently you do not.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said...
" making like any view of God is automatically absurd and based "sky daddy" then you never actually consider anything seriously,"
Nobody here or on your blog or anyplace else has ever presented and serious arguments for god.

All arguments for god fail immediately.

I think "sky daddy" is a very justified characterization. Just recall the lord's prayer, and all the Christian depictions of our father in the clouds.

What is the factual difference between a stained glass window picture or fresco of a father in the clouds as compared to "sky daddy"?

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Joe Hinman said...
"I s[t]ill want some evidence though"
I gave you evidence and you refused to read the material"
You can't state the evidence succinctly in your own words therefore you do not understand it.

I read your little articles, debunked then, and you failed to respond on your own thread. Now you come over here telling false stories about me. All you do is blow smoke.

If you have some arguments for god and evidence for god succinctly state it in your own words, else you are just putting up a smokescreen.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe "what rule of logic a God argument violates."
You would have to be more specific about which god argument you are talking about, but in general all god arguments boil down to such fallacies as special pleading, non-sequitur, false dichotomy, self contradiction, etc.

Even if a valid argument is formed it invariably turns out to be unsound due to a false premise typically due to a lack of understanding of the difference between the mathematical concept of infinity and the irrationality of an infinite series of a time sequence of events, or some other fundamental error of scientific knowledge or existential reasoning.

Could you be more specific? Anybody?

B. Prokop said...

EVIDENCE FOR GOD

- There is something rather than nothing.
- Consciousness exists.
- Individuality exists.
- Good and evil exist.
- Beauty exists.
- Man is sinful.
- Reason works.
- The universe is understandable.
- The universe had a beginning.
- The present moment is now (rather than at some point infinitely into the future).
- Jesus the Christ rose from the dead, on the 27th of March, A.D. 33.
- The Church has survived 2000 years of unrelenting assault by the Roman Empire, the Arian Heresiarchs, the barbarian invasions, the Northsmen, the Islamic invaders, the Albigensians, the Protestant revolt, the French Revolution with its "Cult of Reason", the Nazis and the Stalinists, and the New Atheists. (I suspect it will survive Stardusty Psyche.)

Now kindly do not ever again say you have never been presented with evidence for Christianity. You might not be convinced by it, but you can no longer (honestly) say you haven't seen it.

Legion of Logic said...

"All arguments for god fail immediately."

Such as?

Legion of Logic said...

"Now kindly do not ever again say you have never been presented with evidence for Christianity. You might not be convinced by it, but you can no longer (honestly) say you haven't seen it."

From what I recall from my encounters with Stardusty on the Shadow to Light blog, his operational definition of evidence when it comes to God (or "god" to the childish or uneducated) is "ironclad proof that converts me, Stardusty, to Christianity on the spot." Everything you listed will be rejected with a handwave as not counting as evidence.

Once he rejects everything you listed as not being evidence, try getting from him what the criteria are for something to count as evidence for something else. It gets hilarious, if one can get amused at futile tedium.

B. Prokop said...

What a bizarre, idiosyncratic definition of evidence!

By that standard, the prosecution presented no evidence in the OJ trial, because the jury was not convinced by it.

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
Joe Hinman said...
" making like any view of God is automatically absurd and based "sky daddy" then you never actually consider anything seriously,"
Nobody here or on your blog or anyplace else has ever presented and serious arguments for god.

yes my argument is so un-serious it only has 200 empirical studies from peer reviewed journals to back it up and you have not one single counter study not one. That;s so un-serious.l brilliant job I'm skeptical you just proved me right you are NOT intellectually capable of understanding arguments,




All arguments for god fail immediately.

I think "sky daddy" is a very justified characterization. Just recall the lord's prayer, and all the Christian depictions of our father in the clouds.

What is the factual difference between a stained glass window picture or fresco of a father in the clouds as compared to "sky daddy"?

more yea.boo theory

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
Joe "what rule of logic a God argument violates."
You would have to be more specific about which god argument you are talking about, but in general all god arguments boil down to such fallacies as special pleading, non-sequitur, false dichotomy, self contradiction, etc.

no I don';t lick any you can't find one that violates a rule of logic,you don't knowlogic

Even if a valid argument is formed it invariably turns out to be unsound due to a false premise typically due to a lack of understanding of the difference between the mathematical concept of infinity and the irrationality of an infinite series of a time sequence of events, or some other fundamental error of scientific knowledge or existential reasoning.

Could you be more specific? Anybody?

you still have not made an argument you some hypothetical drivel, to try impress us uity your sophomoric understanding of science,,

there is enough going on in the previous 108 posts you could find an argument if you really tried, all you do is argue agaisnt personality

Joe Hinman said...

B. Prokop said...
EVIDENCE FOR GOD

- There is something rather than nothing.
- Consciousness exists.
- Individuality exists.
- Good and evil exist.
- Beauty exists.
- Man is sinful.
- Reason works.
- The universe is understandable.
- The universe had a beginning.
- The present moment is now (rather than at some point infinitely into the future).
- Jesus the Christ rose from the dead, on the 27th of March, A.D. 33.
- The Church has survived 2000 years of unrelenting assault by the Roman Empire, the Arian Heresiarchs, the barbarian invasions, the Northsmen, the Islamic invaders, the Albigensians, the Protestant revolt, the French Revolution with its "Cult of Reason", the Nazis and the Stalinists, and the New Atheists. (I suspect it will survive Stardusty Psyche.)

Now kindly do not ever again say you have never been presented with evidence for Christianity. You might not be convinced by it, but you can no longer (honestly) say you haven't seen it.


all goo building blocks now put then into a freamework that illustrateshow they work tomake argument, btw youj got a book.,
December 29, 2016 9:32 AM

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

EVIDENCE FOR GOD

- There is something rather than nothing.
*Fails to explain how god exists. Only pushes the problem back a step. God has no explanatory value on this ancient riddle.
- Consciousness exists.
*Non-sequitur. An unlimited number of alternate speculations can be made, rendering god merely one infinitesimal speculation. Brain function is sufficient to account for consciousness and for that we have a very great deal of scientific evidence, as opposed to zero for god
- Individuality exists.
*Hopelessly vague assertion
- Good and evil exist.
*No absolute standard for good and evil has yet been identified. Morals are postulated at base and thus merely relative.
- Beauty exists.
*Beauty is a subjective judgement of the brain. God is mere speculation.
- Man is sinful.
*See morality above
- Reason works.
*Non-sequitur. The universe has order, god is mere speculation.
- The universe is understandable.
*Non-sequitur. See "reason works"
- The universe had a beginning.
*That is unknown and remains a riddle. God has no explanatory value in this riddle.
- The present moment is now (rather than at some point infinitely into the future).
*The infinity of past time is the great unsolved existential riddle. Future time need not be infinite, rather an unbounded but always finite value. God has no explanatory value in these considerations.
- Jesus the Christ rose from the dead, on the 27th of March, A.D. 33.
*Superstitious story telling like countless other such stories. How primitive.
- The Church has survived 2000 years of unrelenting assault by the Roman Empire, the Arian Heresiarchs, the barbarian invasions, the Northsmen, the Islamic invaders, the Albigensians, the Protestant revolt, the French Revolution with its "Cult of Reason", the Nazis and the Stalinists, and the New Atheists. (I suspect it will survive Stardusty Psyche.)
*Non-sequitur. Competing speculations have also survived. Mere perpetuation of a myth does not make that speculation any more evidenced.


Well, at least you put down some specifics...

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Legion of Logic said...
Once he rejects everything you listed as not being evidence, try getting from him what the criteria are for something to count as evidence for something else. It gets hilarious, if one can get amused at futile tedium."
*God, being omnipotent, will make that clear to me.

It is sometimes said that science does not tell us what is true, rather, it tells us what is false.

All arguments for god yet presented are either demonstrably false, irrelevant, or of no explanatory value because they are a particular idle speculation among an unlimited number of alternative idle speculations rendering the god argument infinitesimal.

I expect an omnipotent being to do much better than that.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe "yes my argument is so un-serious it only has 200 empirical studies from peer reviewed journals to back it up "
People can enter a particular mental state and that is well documented.

The notion that this is somehow evidence for god is just silly. It is not a serious argument. It isn't an argument at all. What argument?

Human brain state therefore god...how absurd.

SteveK said...

I'm not convinced, therefore atheism

Stardusty Psyche said...

"SteveK said...
I'm not convinced, therefore atheism "
You are an afairyist, and aunicornist, and aboogymanist all because you are unconvinced such entities exist. You have heard stories of such things but you dismiss them as mere fiction due to a lack of convincing evidence for them.

I say fairies in your head give you consciousness, morality, and a sense of beauty. You say you are an afairyist because I have presented no evidence for these fairies I assert, and we can sit up all day long making up all manner of fictitious explanations of that sort, rendering them all mere idle speculation.

Just like god.

Legion of Logic said...

"You are an afairyist, and aunicornist, and aboogymanist all because you are unconvinced such entities exist."

I'm an aStardusty-knows-how-to-recognize-and-evaluate-evidence-ist. That's because I've seen no evidence to convince me that reality is otherwise. Much like I am an anaturalist, because I have seen insufficient evidence to convince me that existence is possible without a god.

Of course, given sufficient evidence, I'm willing to change my mind on either. But given the extremely embarrassing comparison of God belief to fairies, I suspect a godless reality will be the easier to demonstrate of the two.

SteveK said...

"Just like god."

Explain in detail how you KNOW God is just like all those other things. I'm not convinced that you know what you're talking about but maybe you can show me.

Nova Conceptum said...

LL "I'm an aStardusty-knows-how-to-recognize-and-evaluate-evidence-ist. That's because I've seen no evidence to convince me that reality is otherwise."
That's OK, I am not asserting that I am an authority and you should therefore take my word for it. That would be fallacious reasoning.

"Much like I am an anaturalist, because I have seen insufficient evidence to convince me that existence is possible without a god"
Our existence is self evident. My personal existence is an absolute truth. Assuming you are a real human being, then your existence is an absolute truth that you can absolutely prove to yourself.

You say god, I say supercalifragilisticexpialidociousum. Whatever traits you ascribe to god ad hoc I ascribe to supercalifragilisticexpialidociousum ad hoc. Further, there is no upper bound on the number of such speculations and they are all equally lacking in evidence to support them, so they are all mere idle speculations of no explanatory value.

Without any doubt whatsoever existence is an absolute truth. There absolutely is an existence as opposed to absolutely nothing at all. God has no explanatory value as to how or why this existence is the case. God is merely one more idle speculation.

"But given the extremely embarrassing comparison of God belief to fairies"
Indeed, anyone who asserts god or believes in god should be embarrassed that they hold a belief of no more merit than belief in fairies.


SteveK said...

There's a lot of straw being hurled around here. Amazing.

Nova Conceptum said...

SteveK said...
"Just like god."
Explain in detail how you KNOW God is just like all those other things"
First we must define knowledge.

Knowledge is a probability estimate.

To say that I know something requires a set of foundational postulates. In ordinary conversation most of us take these foundational postulates for granted and proceed on the basis of accepting them as fact because to launch into a long philosophical framework of knowledge at every turn of conversation and experience would be tedious and functionally paralyzing.

Within the context of this thread god is simply one of an unlimited number of idle speculations, and in that respect is no different than any other.

SteveK said...

"Knowledge is a probability estimate."

#LOL

Legion of Logic said...

"Indeed, anyone who asserts god or believes in god should be embarrassed that they hold a belief of no more merit than belief in fairies."

With statements like this, I have more evidence for fairies than I do evidence that you have the slightest clue what you are talking about. You literally do not understand any of the arguments for believing in God, do you?

Stardusty Psyche said...

"SteveK said...
"Knowledge is a probability estimate."
#LOL"
Interesting, how do you know things? What does it mean to know a thing? Do you have absolute knowledge of anything? If so, which things? Of those things you say you know, yet you say you do not absolutely know how do your rank your confidence level that your perceived knowledge is in fact correct?

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Legion of Logic said...

"Indeed, anyone who asserts god or believes in god should be embarrassed that they hold a belief of no more merit than belief in fairies."

With statements like this, I have more evidence for fairies than I do evidence that you have the slightest clue what you are talking about. You literally do not understand any of the arguments for believing in God, do you? "
I understand that for all arguments for god I can use the following words interchangeably with equal validity:
Fairies
Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousum
God

None have any explanatory value, all are equally valid idle speculations, none has any more evidence to support them than the other.

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
"Legion of Logic said...

put your money where your mouth is? debate me in a formal debate. I propose as judges Victor, Eric Sotnack and Jeff Lowdoer. that gives you two atheists to one

Joe Hinman said...

"Indeed, anyone who asserts god or believes in god should be embarrassed that they hold a belief of no more merit than belief in fairies."

that is still what I said you are doing, childish yea.boo theory stuff, boo that I don't like that boo that. not an argument,

put your money where your mouth is and debate me formally.

Legion of Logic said...

"None have any explanatory value, all are equally valid idle speculations, none has any more evidence to support them than the other."

Assuming they are all being proposed as the necessary first cause, they all would share the trait of being a possibility, which naturalism can't meet. That's how I feel about naturalism - great at description, worthless at explanation. Which means that God, your god, fairies and Mary Poppins theme all share the trait of having superior explanatory power for existence than naturalism. Your assertion that God has no explanatory power is false, and shows you don't understand the logical arguments behind god belief, which again leads me to wonder why you think you are justified in rejecting them. I could be wrong, of course, so what are the reasons Christians differentiate between God and nature as the first cause, and why it is not special pleading to do so? Can you articulate what you reject?

An explanation for existence is just one aspect of the evidence for God, of course. While fairies (assuming they are proposed as the creator, which would make them gods by human reckoning) in of themselves are also possibilities as an ultimate explanation, do they have as much explanatory power as God regarding other lines of evidence? That would be where the intelligent among us would discern the difference between God and the fairies.

SteveK said...

Dusty
"Interesting..."

How do you know it's interesting? What does it mean to know it's interesting? Do you have absolute knowledge...blah, blah, blah

Jo F said...

@ Prokop and Stardusty

"All arguments for god yet presented are either demonstrably false, irrelevant, or of no explanatory value because they are a particular idle speculation among an unlimited number of alternative idle speculations rendering the god argument infinitesimal.

I expect an omnipotent being to do much better than that."

Not sure if this is actually supposed to be an atheistic argument against the possibility of an omnipotent being existing. If so, please inform me because I think it is quite clearly a failing argument if that's what you intend it to be.

My response to some of Stardusty Phsyce's responses to Prokop, but I also will critique Prokop's statements so both are especially welcome to discuss this with me.
_________________________________________
"EVIDENCE FOR GOD

You:
- There is something rather than nothing.
*Fails to explain how god exists. Only pushes the problem back a step. God has no explanatory value on this ancient riddle."

Me:
God, by definition, is uncaused. Contrary to your objection, God does not have to be caused by the logic of this argument because the whole point of the argument is that the universe *needs* an uncaused cause in order to be explained, and it has an explanation *because of* the principle of sufficient reason (the idea that things have explanations). It needs an uncaused cause to explain it because the universe has no resources in of itself to explain itself, making it a contingent being, as it is contingent upon the intervention of something else in order to exist (this would be God's cause). After establishing that the universe has this explanation of its existence in there being a cause of it, a conceptual analysis of what a cause of the universe would be reveals that it must be a transcendent cause of a transcendent being which has agency, personhood, moral perfection, omnipotence, simplicity, and oneness (see the final pages of this essay beginning with the heading "The Gap Problem" for some of the cases that have been made for these characteristics of that cause: http://alexanderpruss.com/papers/LCA.html ).

The argument itself establishes a transcendent cause (which already weakens naturalism, and by extension, atheism for reasons I'm glad to elaborate on). Therefore, the naturalist will have to refute the argument before approaching its theologically significant expansion in order to maintain his worldview with epistemological warrant (to the extent that the argument succeeds in establishing its conclusions. I think an honest assessment, at the very least, raises the probability of God's being existent significantly).   

Additional arguments are made to deduce from this cause its having the characteristics I mentioned. Thomas Aquinas wrote *hundreds* of pages on explicating this cause and arguing for its being God.

You:
"-consciousness exists
*Non-sequitur. An unlimited number of alternate speculations can be made, rendering god merely one infinitesimal speculation."

Me: here's where I feel you've jumped to a conclusion without assessing the argument. I know several atheist philosophers who agree that consciousness is more probable on theism than atheism, which shows there's reason to fairly consider this argument. (Now, that is not to say that their conclusions prove its veracity).

The argument aspires not to merely *speculate* on the existence of consciousness, rather it purports to derive a theologically significant conclusion from assessing the best explanation of the development of consciousness from inorganic materials (as naturalism would have us believe).

You: "Brain function is sufficient to account for consciousness and for that we have a very great deal of scientific evidence, as opposed to zero for god"

Me: I think you are confusing the argument from consciousness with something else…

Jo F said...

...This objection does not relate to the argument from consciousness because the argument is not making the point that mental processes are irreducible to (discoverable) neurology (however, I believe this position can be defended), rather, the argument is making the point that there is no (and could not be) an adequate naturalistic explanation for the development of consciousness.

Understand that when discussing this argument with one of its proponents, the term "consciousness" refers to all mental processing, including our awareness of it. The reason for this terminology is that if its exponents were to say that their case is against naturalism's being able to account for all "goings on" *in the brain* they would accidentally concede to the naturalistic account (they do not want to make the assumption that all mental activity is reducible to *the brain*, even though finding that mental activity is reducible to the brain would still not defeat the argument's inference of an Intelligent Source. I suspect this is all due to the theist's tendency to consider the possibility of there being a soul.).

Now, I am understudied in this argument and will be reading this paper ( https://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/the-argument-from-consciousness.pdf ) by J.P. So that we can actually debate this later. Hopefully my comments so far will help you in progressing towards an informed opinion on the subject.

You:  
- Individuality exists.
*Hopelessly vague assertion

Not necessarily. I'd be interested in hearing Prokop's defense of the argument behind this. You shouldn't just assume there isn't an argument to be made here, though I think you're correct in saying that Prokop has only asserted this. (At least in his last comment)

You: "- Good and evil exist.
No absolute standard for good and evil has yet been identified."

Me: I would argue that one such standard has been identified by the elimination of all other moral theories except that of theism (divine command theory). So far all atheistic alternatives provided, in my studies opinion, fail to account for the perceived objectivity of moral values and duties. They are perceived as being objective in the sense that moral facts are thought of as being true independent of what others think--we would just disagree on what those objective facts are. To demonstrate this, I would appeal to your moral experience and ask you to reflect on whether the proposition that the sex slavey of seven year olds in South Sudan is good produces in you the feeling that the proponents of this slavery are wrong about their moral choice. In doing so, you invalidate their moral perceptions--an imitative which would never occur on moral relativism. Also, note that all moral theories are mutually contradictory, so there are only so many live options for us.

Jo F said...

You: "Morals are postulated at base and thus merely relative."

Me: Could you please explain what you mean by this more?

You: "- Beauty exists.
*Beauty is a subjective judgement of the brain. God is mere speculation."

Me: There are several arguments which appeal to our experience of beauty--to which of these Prokop is referring to, I'm not sure, however I'll provide two relatively independent arguments to consider.

1. We perceive more to beauty than what naturalism would have us believe: that it is no more than the arbitrary fondness of a particular chunk of matter for another chunk of matter. Beauty seems an attribute of teleology, suggesting purpose, in the same way complexity has often been associated with design. However, Christian theism seems to provide more apt contextual data for there being beauty: it is rooted in God's nature, and is in service of the primary purpose of His Creation (to glorify Himself; the hard part is determining what glorifying God looks like, as this would be very different than the self glorification of a human). Furthermore, our capacity and propensity to appreciate beauty fits extremely well within this purpose, and the notion that we are made in the likeness of God.


2. Perhaps it could also be argued that beauty, as with the joy of creating, is relatable to God. If we are truly created in His image, this is exactly what one would expect. God loves to create, and by definition is the Creator of this universe. Ray Bradbury once said "writing cleanses the soul," admitting that he simply cannot understand why either. This is strange as this is on naturalism, however, Christianity would make perfect sense of this universal obsession of humans to often endeavor in their entire lives creating to find such joy and purpose in doing so: because it relates us to our God-created nature, that of having His likeness (which would include the enjoyment of creating). Both of these arguments make note of the *great extent* of their respective observations regarding beauty.

3. If it is true that A. there are other ways the world could have gone, and also that B. a significant number of these other possible worlds are just as or nearly as likely to have occurred as the world which did occur (which presumably is the case), we could infer from the existence of beauty to this marvelous extent a *choice* having been made because it would seem arbitrary on atheism. For example, the existence of love, and the fact that a close up view of any snowflake reveals an individuated masterpiece, and that the brilliance of patterns and "colors" appear in just about everything (music, the seen landscapes of the world, mathematics, the night sky and stars, the northern lights, etc.) would be an extremely "generous" gift of the naturalistically proposed "chance" to give us *this*.
I don't think these arguments are all that strong on their own, of course, and am open to persuasion one way or the other regarding them. Of course, their cumulative force is considerable and definitely in addition to the total cumulative case for Christian theism.

Jo F said...

Arguments 1 and 2 in particular correspond to the thesis that if Christianity is true, numerous aspects of the universe reveal that they are exactly what we would expect to be the case in such a way that substantiates the faith. My meaning is that that Christianity presents an undeniably practical perception of the world, underscoring its truth.

You:
"- Man is sinful.
*See morality above"
Me: I think Prokop was relating to the thesis I just explained. There are several arguments regarding morality that I believe  substantiate that thesis, and perhaps you could realize them with some reflection.

You:
"- Reason works.
*Non-sequitur. The universe has order, god is mere speculation."

Me:
I'm not sure what the order of the universe has to do with refuting the argument from reason, and I disagree with your initial statement. The process of reason seems to me highly problematic for naturalism as this worldview implies that reasoning is impossible. On naturalism, mental events  must be reducible to neurological activity in the brain. However, if this reduction is assumed then our notion of reasoning ascribes something to the brain which it cannot perform, because the materials it would be reduced to have no mental content within them and at no point could a logical leap be made from the lack of confirmatory mental content in these basic materials to the mental content of the reasoning process.

You:
"- The universe is understandable.
*Non-sequitur. See "reason works"

Me:
Well, Albert Einstein did say, "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible." All scientists must assume that science can first be done in order to do it: the crucial assumption that there is something to be discovered, that the universe is intelligible. Theism provides a ready explanation: God created us in part to be able to discern this, and also...

Jo F said...

...intentionally made it such that it works by certain patterns and consistencies that are attainable through the mind because they were made from a mind in the first place. It would seem naturalism leaves us no reason to think this would be the case, and yet it is. I'd be interested in hearing Prokop defend this to his understanding.

You:
"- The universe had a beginning.
*That is unknown and remains a riddle [of the universe's possible beginning]."

Me:
Even Laurence Krauss accept that the universe most likely began to exist, so I think you're understating things.

You:
"God has no explanatory value in this riddle."

Me:
I disagree on the grounds that I believe and am willing to defend A. the principle that whatever begins to exist must have a cause of its existence, and B. the universe's having a beginning entails it's coming into existence from either nothing or a transcendent cause (the former being the only live option for that naturalist, the latter being the far more reasonable theistic conclusion).

Of course, with uncertain premises, you need not take this as a certain conclusion. And you have every reason to face and earnestly pursue the authentication of there being a God if this so. Thus, if you continue with this "all or nothing" approach to the evidence in favor of theism then I'll have to conclude you're not being objective or critical in your thinking. I'm not assuming that yet, of course.

You:
"- The present moment is now (rather than at some point infinitely into the future).
*The infinity of past time is the great unsolved existential riddle. Future time need not be infinite, rather an unbounded but always finite value."

Me:
Could you please explain what you mean by "an unbounded but always finite value" and how this avoids the theistic argument from the probable beginning of the universe?

Jo F said...

You:
"- Jesus the Christ rose from the dead, on the 27th of March, A.D. 33.
*Superstitious story telling like countless other such stories. How primitive."

Me:
What, particularly, is "superstitious" or "primitive" about the Biblical documents? Do you have arguments in favor of that assertion?

Allow me to marshal evidence in favor of the credibility of these documents so that you perhaps will see what makes the Bible the most credible document from antiquity times: http://www.bethinking.org/is-the-bible-reliable/the-historicity-of-the-new-testament

The fact is that your rhetorical dismissal of the Bible would jeopardize nearly all historical scholarship regarding anything from the past, including all of our knowledge of Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Shakespeare, etc.--whether you want to research this or not. In my last few comments I linked resources which I recommend you study from if you'd like to have an informed opinion on this matter.

You:
"- The Church has survived 2000 years of unrelenting assault by the Roman Empire, the Arian Heresiarchs, the barbarian invasions, the Northsmen, the Islamic invaders, the Albigensians, the Protestant revolt, the French Revolution with its "Cult of Reason", the Nazis and the Stalinists, and the New Atheists. (I suspect it will survive Stardusty Psyche.)
*Non-sequitur. Competing speculations have also survived. Mere perpetuation of a myth does not make that speculation any more evidenced."

Me:
I don't think Prokop's giving much of an argument here, I'm afraid. He'd need to go into more detail here for me to see specifically how this substantiates Christianity.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe "put your money where your mouth is and debate me formally."
Hmm, not sure what this is supposed to mean. So called formal debates typically don't do much to illuminate issues. Debates in the competitive sense are not intended to find truth, rather to score debating points at the expense of rationality, which is of no interest to me.

My experience with engaging you thus far is that your argumentation style is very scattered and when I address your specific points you either accuse me of a false identity, tell me go go read a book, or simply fail to respond at all.

So, I don't know what you mean by "formal debate" but I am not at all optimistic about its value.

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Your assertion that God has no explanatory power is false, and shows you don't understand the logical arguments behind god belief..."

Explanations are, at their heart, about prediction. Do you agree? If not, define what you mean by having "explanatory power."

Last time you said that the First Way showed that deity must exist, I pointed out that the First Way does NOT show that deity must exist. Do you disagree? If so, will you cite the First Way where you think that it shows that a deity must exist?

I would ask why you think explanatory power and logical arguments are related (I don't see why they would be), but I'm more interested in the first two sets of questions above.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"being a possibility, which naturalism can't meet"
Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousum is natural stuff with all the asserted properties of god necessary to account for our observed existence.

"While fairies (assuming they are proposed as the creator, which would make them gods by human reckoning) in of themselves are also possibilities as an ultimate explanation, do they have as much explanatory power as God regarding other lines of evidence?"
For an assertion to have explanatory value it must rise above the level of idle speculation. I can assert demons my you sick, but that has no explanatory value because it illuminates no mechanism, it shows no evidence for a cause and effect, it demonstrates no association, it merely asserts out of nothing that demons exist with the power to make you sick. It is a meaningless and vacuous assertion, as is god.

Naturalism actually has evidence for eternal existence. No human being has been able to reconcile matter as we know it with first cause, nor an infinite regression of material existence, yet that is what all the evidence points to, an eternal existence of the material. This evidence is all around us in our observation of conservation.

So, I can speculate a natural substance that can be eternal and give rise to matter as we know it just as easily as you can speculate a god. Thus god has no advantage over naturalism in terms of first cause.

The evidence is even simpler. Matter/energy are eternal but we humans have yet to develop the correct understanding of how that can be the case. We have powerful evidence for this naturalistic view, conservation of matter/energy.



Cal Metzger said...

Jo F: "The fact is that your rhetorical dismissal of the Bible would jeopardize nearly all historical scholarship regarding anything from the past, including all of our knowledge of Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Shakespeare, etc.--whether you want to research this or not. "

Our knowledge of Rome, Greece, Shakespeare, etc., is knowledge about events that are consistent with our experience about how the world works today.

The bible writes about many events that do not happen today, AND THAT ONLY OCCUR IN STORIES. Why should we believe that events that only happen in stories, and that NEVER happen in reality, are anything more than stories?

Do you think it makes you seem smart, or do you think it makes you seem, gullible, that you believe about some events that only happen in stories, and that never, ever happen in reality?

Stardusty Psyche said...

"SteveK said...
Dusty
"Interesting..."
How do you know it's interesting?"
Because I am self aware, therefore I am absolutely certain it is interesting to me because I experience my own interest.

" What does it mean to know it's interesting? "
It means that my brain has internal self monitoring data processing paths such that I have awareness of myself. I have sensory information about my own internal brain processes. My self awareness is similar to a self diagnostics computer thread running in a co-processor. I am aware that I have decided to place analytical resources on these particular brain processes and I experience the emotional response of interest.


"Do you have absolute knowledge"
Yes. Absolute knowledge is information for which I assign a probability of 1 as being real. Cogito ergo sum being the most famous example.

"...blah, blah, blah""
I am not surprised you dismiss these classic issues that have occupied brilliant minds for millennia.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Jo F said...
@ Prokop and Stardusty"
Dang Jo!!! Scanning down I see you posted a great volume of stuff so I appreciate that but allow me to apologize in advance to all if it seems like I am loading up this thread.

I appreciate the engagement from all so I'll have a go at all your words and again thanks and apologies in advance for loading up the thread.

Jo F said...

@Stardusty

You:
"...and for that we have a very great deal of scientific evidence, as opposed to zero for god”

Me:
It’s difficult to see why God would need scientific evidence in his favor when by definition God is a metaphysical philosophical conclusion outside of science’s (naturalistic) methodology. Now, if you mean that from scientific data God’s existence cannot be inferred, I strongly disagree. At this point I’d have to ask: do you espouse scientism—the belief that science is the only source of meaningful knowledge? Or do you believe that science is the superior and preferable source of knowledge? I am speaking of science as a process, here, or the scientific method.

You:
"I think "sky daddy" is a very justified characterization. Just recall the lord's prayer, and all the Christian depictions of our father in the clouds.”

Me:
I disagree. These references in the Bible to an anthropomorphic God-the-father are not literal. You'd see that with an honest reading of the texts. The Bible explains "God is Spirit"

You:
What is the factual difference between a stained glass window picture or fresco of a father in the clouds as compared to "sky daddy”?

Me:
No offense, but I can't help but take this as a frivolous rejoinder.

You:
"Go read a book" or "go read a series of articles" is a particularly weak form of conversational argumentation. I can give you links to countless books and articles that show you are wrong. So what? If you cannot succinctly state in your own words what your argument is then you do not understand what you are talking about, which apparently you do not."

Me:
I see, so by simply linking you essays to further your pursuit of truth you think you can assume that I don’t understand the material. Well then.

You:
"All arguments for god fail immediately.”

Me:
How does an argument “fail immediately?” That's like saying a car starts indefinitely. Do you mean that, in the process of formulating such an argument, the goal of substantiating theism fails in every case?

You:
"Joe "yes my argument is so un-serious it only has 200 empirical studies from peer reviewed journals to back it up "
People can enter a particular mental state and that is well documented.

The notion that this is somehow evidence for god is just silly. It is not a serious argument. It isn't an argument at all. What argument?

Human brain state therefore god...how absurd.”

Me:
If I’m reading him correctly here, well, I don’t think you’re reading him correctly here. He said this to evince the credibility of the materials he’s recommended you in order to show they are worth reading, not that God exists. No offense, but why do I feel I have to state the obvious?

"I'm not convinced, therefore atheism”

That’s a stretch, depending on your definition of atheism of course. With which definition of atheism do you identify by?

Jo F said...

"You are an afairyist, and aunicornist, and aboogymanist all because you are unconvinced such entities exist. You have heard stories of such things but you dismiss them as mere fiction due to a lack of convincing evidence for them.I say fairies in your head give you consciousness, morality, and a sense of beauty. You say you are an afairyist because I have presented no evidence for these fairies I assert, and we can sit up all day long making up all manner of fictitious explanations of that sort, rendering them all mere idle speculation. Just like god."

No, no, this is emphatically *not* "just like God.” Most atheists would first reply in defining atheism as a lack of belief in God, placing their certintiy not in the proposition that God does not exist but that there is no warranted reason to believe that God exists. However, for all intents and purposes they will live as though the former were true, but when pressed to it they'd profess the latter.

So the later is more interesting. Taking Christopher Hitchens as an example, the typical purported justification for it is that there are no indications in favor of theism, let alone Christian theism. This is why they claim that they should have no more reason to name their lack of belief in santa clause as "a-santaclausism". The difficulty with this, of course, is that belief in God and belief in Santa Clause are arrived at for entirely different reasons. Belief in God is meant to be *explanatory* of much of the most fundamental data in human experience; belief in Santa Clause is not.

So consigning believers in God as no more rational than someone who insists that Santa Clause exists is unfair on grounds of the reasons one hold the belief, and also for another reason: there are positive reasons to believe in God.

Now, the philosophical ignorance of Hitchens is on full display when he takes this "all or nothing" approach to the evidence for theism. By his "Santa Clause analogy" he refuses to assent to theism's having plausible explanations for anything whatsoever. Of course, it's quite possible to believe that both theism and naturalism provide plausible explanations for some natural phenomena while finding the explanation of one *more* plausible than that of another. Here's the adamant and implicit assertion of Hitchen's view which he could not be consistent with without incurring the same intellectual mockery: that theism provides no plausible explanations of any phenomena in the natural world whatsoever, that plausible theistic explanations cannot coexist with plausible naturalistic explanations, and certainly not ones which are more plausible than those of naturalism. In short, it's another one of his catch-all cop-outs meant to justify his dismissive attitude (or "intellectual laziness") towards theological talk of any kind.

So it seems to me that the level of confidence such atheists have comes more so out of an impulse to be rid of the God question, and/or to buy into the New Atheist narrative of intellectual and phycofunctuonal superiority that affords their condescending attitudes.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
*All arguments for god yet presented are either demonstrably false, irrelevant, or of no explanatory value because they are a particular idle speculation among an unlimited number of alternative idle speculations rendering the god argument infinitesimal.
I expect an omnipotent being to do much better than that.*

"Not sure if this is actually supposed to be an atheistic argument against the possibility of an omnipotent being existing. If so, please inform me because I think it is quite clearly a failing argument if that's what you intend it to be. "

It is not an absolute disproof because I am unable to absolutely prove the negative.

It is a justification for placing god in the catagory of idle speculation which is of infinitesimal value.

B. Prokop said...

Jo F,

Very interesting postings. My only quibble is that I wasn't listing arguments, but rather evidence (which is what Stardusty was asking for. Evidence is the raw material for arguments, but ought not to be confused with them.

And thank you for jogging my brain. I failed to list

- Meaning, purpose, and intent exist.

and, of course

- Love exists.

Again, items to be added to the "evidence" pile. They are not arguments.

Also, from a purely Catholic perspective, I could add

- Jesus, Mary, and the saints have credibly appeared on numerous occasions to specific individuals over the centuries (St. Juan Diego, St. Bernadette Soubirous, St. Margaret Mary, Sister Lúcia of Fátima and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, and many, many others.

- The lives and testimonies of the saints. Just try and learn about the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe and come away thinking your materialistic life is more meaningful than his. Or Dorothy Day, or Archbishop Romero, or Fr. Daniel Berrigan, or Alfred Delp, or Thomas Merton, or Ammon Hennacy, or St. Teresa of Calcutta, or Elba and Celina Ramos (to confine myself to just the 20th Century).

Jo F said...

@Stardusty
When you said:
*All arguments for god yet presented are either demonstrably false, irrelevant, or of no explanatory value because they are a particular idle speculation among an unlimited number of alternative idle speculations rendering the god argument infinitesimal.
I expect an omnipotent being to do much better than that.*

and I said:
"Not sure if this is actually supposed to be an atheistic argument against the possibility of an omnipotent being existing. If so, please inform me because I think it is quite clearly a failing argument if that's what you intend it to be. “

You now responded:
It is not an absolute disproof because I am unable to absolutely prove the negative.

My response:
It is *nothing near* an "absolute disproof", don’t be so assertive.

You:
It is a justification for placing god in the catagory of idle speculation which is of infinitesimal value.

Me:
I highly recommend you read through all of my responses to you given previously before responding. If you respond one at a time before reading them all, you’ll make me repeat myself. I already addressed this issue but you haven’t yet come across my comments. PS: Thanks for the discussion so far!

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
You:
- There is something rather than nothing.
*Fails to explain how god exists. Only pushes the problem back a step. God has no explanatory value on this ancient riddle."

Me:
"God, by definition, is uncaused."
---Unicorns, by definition, are uncaused. No value.

" the universe *needs* an uncaused cause in order to be explained,
---Ok, it's unicorns, see definition above.

" a conceptual analysis of what a cause of the universe would be reveals that it must be a transcendent cause of a transcendent being which has agency, personhood,"
---Non-sequitur. It could just be superstuff, or really dumb unicorns that are powerful but not self aware that bumble about creating stuff like worm feces.

"moral perfection, "
---Non-sequitur. The universe just is. It doesn't need morals to exist and neither does life. Nor do we need an external source of moral perfection.

"omnipotence,"
---It does not follow, again. Sorry Jo, you are just making this stuff up out of nothing. The universe does not need an omnipotent cause, just a sufficient cause or an eternal existence.


"simplicity,"
---god knows everything yet is simple?
Sorry Jo, this is getting kind of silly.

So I went to your link
http://alexanderpruss.com/papers/LCA.html
Wow, what a blizzard of nonsense. So many fallacies, so little time. The piece is riddled with begging the question and worse.

"Thomas Aquinas wrote *hundreds* of pages on explicating this cause and arguing for its being God."
---Aquinas uses only unsound arguments to prove god.

" You:
"-consciousness exists
*Non-sequitur. An unlimited number of alternate speculations can be made, rendering god merely one infinitesimal speculation."

Me: here's where I feel you've jumped to a conclusion without assessing the argument. I know several atheist philosophers who agree that consciousness is more probable on theism than atheism,"
---Ok, a few atheists are wrong too.


"You: "Brain function is sufficient to account for consciousness and for that we have a very great deal of scientific evidence, as opposed to zero for god"

Me: I think you are confusing the argument from consciousness with something else…"
---There is no rational argument for god from the observation of human consciousness.

December 29, 2016 4:07 PM

Jo F said...

@ Cal,

You:
"Explanations are, at their heart, about prediction. Do you agree? If not, define what you mean by having 'explanatory power.'

Me:
Predictability is just one way to evaluate a theory, and is not always useful. Some theories, for example, are empirically equivalent in their predictions: i.e. there are ten different interpretations of quantum mechanics, three different interpretations of special relativity, and despite being empirically equivalent hypotheses they each posit different explanations. Other factors then can come into play, for example, explanatory power, degree of ad-hocness, simplicity, plausibility, etc—these are examples of other theoretical virtues besides predictability that are used to evaluate a hypothesis.

In particular, holding a theistic explanation to the qualifier that these better enable predictions would be misguided for the reason that the God-hypothesis posits a free-willed agent. Therefore, you’d need to predict His actions, which isn’t helpful and innocuous to the validity of the hypothesis.

To my understanding, "explanatory power" would refer to a hypothesis’ ability to recognizably explain certain observations with especial depth compared to other hypotheses, or that hypothesis’ ability to recognizably explain a greater quantity of observational data than another hypothesis. Coupled with plausibility/efficiency in explanation/simplicity/etc. this serves as a virtue in favor of a hypothesis.

You:
"Our knowledge of Rome, Greece, Shakespeare, etc., is knowledge about events that are consistent with our experience about how the world works today. The bible writes about many events that do not happen today, AND THAT ONLY OCCUR IN STORIES."

Me:
No offense, but could you please explain how our knowledge of Rome, Greece, and Shakespeare, are “consistent with our experience about how the world works today,” in a way the Bible is not?

You:
"Why should we believe that events that only happen in stories, and that NEVER happen in reality, are anything more than stories?"

Me:
This is circular reasoning. First you make an unsubstantiated assertion that the Bible accounts “events that only happen in stories,” and then ask why they should be taken as "anything more than stories". This is like saying, “Miracles are impossible because Christianity is not true, therefore Christianity is not true.”

You:
"Do you think it makes you seem smart, or do you think it makes you seem, gullible, that you believe about some events that only happen in stories, and that never, ever happen in reality?"

Me:
Are you saying miracles never happen in reality because you’ve never seen one? How much have you looked into this? Note that the Gospels involve quite a lot of miraculous events *because the Son of God was on here*. Of course miracles would be obviously more prevalent at that time than now. However, I wouldn’t say miracles don’t occur now at all either.

However, even if it were true that miracles do not occur these days, that does nothing to invalidate the testimony of someone from the past accounting for the occurrence of such a miracle. At least, by itself, there’s no reason to reject it or accept it until other factors are considered. These factors are well-articulated in this essay, which I highly recommend you read: http://www.lydiamcgrew.com/Resurrectionarticlesinglefile.pdf

For immediacy, you may want to first watch some or all of this presentation given by an analytic philosopher, NT Scholar, and apologetics communicator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyxR8uE9GQ

B. Prokop said...

Since the subject of miracles supposedly happening only (or primarily) in the past, and not so much nowadays, may I cite the following, which was (I believe) my very first posting to Dangerous Idea, way back in 2007:

Early on in George MacDonald's fairy story Phantastes, we come upon the following scene. The book's main character (Anodos) is suddenly confronted by a magical creature, who then speaks to him. Allow me to quote the passage in full:

"Anodos, you never saw such a little creature before, did you?"

"No," said I, "and indeed I hardly believe I do now."

"Ah, that is always the way with you men; you believe nothing the first time; and it is foolish enough to let mere repetition convince you of what you consider in itself unbelievable."

That little three line exchange is one of the most profound statements I have ever read about how many people approach the miraculous. Just think about it. Were a person to come across a single lifeform in an otherwise lifeless universe - heck, were he to find a single strand of DNA, he would either refuse to believe it existed, or proclaim it a miracle. But here we are in the real world, surrounded by trillions and trillions of incomprehensibly complex lifeforms, and all too many many people dismiss it all as just “the way things are", or even the product of blind, purposeless chance.

The same thing goes for the Resurrection. Its very singularity is a stumbling block to many skeptics, but the same people will not be bothered for a second by the fact that there are billions of people alive all around them right now. Why should coming to life a second time be any more unbelievable than the first time? (The usual objection is we don’t see it happening every day.) So is it "mere repetition", in MacDonald's words, that makes the starkly incredible fact of one's own existence so casually accepted?

I believe that MacDonald has hit upon an unexamined (and therefore unchallenged) assumption underlying skeptical thinking. Let me call it The Singularity Problem. (A problem, that is, for the skeptic.) Basically, the issue can be stated quite simply. A main objection to miraculous events raised by skeptics is that they are not common, or even sui generis. Thus, we frequently hear people objecting to Christ’s Virgin Birth because we don’t see such births happening around us as a norm. But why should we? The singularity of the event is definitionally mandated by its miraculous nature. Until we somehow rule out the possibility of one-of-a-kind events on grounds stronger than ruling them out on principle (which, after all, amounts to a "because I said so" argument), we cannot object to their existence on those grounds alone.

I say this underlying assumption needs to be examined and defended, not simply accepted a priori. Otherwise, the skeptic must somehow make the case that we are not quite literally surrounded by countless miracles all the time.

Cal Metzger said...

Jo: "Predictability is just one way to evaluate a theory, and is not always useful."

Nope. A theory that doesn't predict is actually not useful. At least not how I understand the term useful.

Theories are built on hypotheses, and hypotheses are tested (falsified) agains their predictions. That's why I wrote what I wrote.

Jo: "No offense, but could you please explain how our knowledge of Rome, Greece, and Shakespeare, are “consistent with our experience about how the world works today,” in a way the Bible is not?"

Historical study (capital H) is about natural events. The bible contains many, many stores of supernatural events, which Historians understand to be stories about supernatural events, not events that actually happened.

This is basic stuff.

Me: ""Why should we believe that events that only happen in stories, and that NEVER happen in reality, are anything more than stories?"
Jo: "This is circular reasoning. First you make an unsubstantiated assertion that the Bible accounts “events that only happen in stories,” and then ask why they should be taken as "anything more than stories". ”

Wow, you just write false stuff, and then repeat it? Is that what you do full time or something?

First off, my statement isn't circular; it's called an observation. Observations aren't circular. They are observations. You might mean that you think that verifiable, reliable, objective magical events happen today and disagree with me on that fact, but even then your objection couldn't be about circularity.

Jo: "This is like saying, “Miracles are impossible because Christianity is not true, therefore Christianity is not true.”

Nope. It's more like EXACTLY what I said. Virgin births happen in stories. In the real, examinable world, where things that constitute knowledge are reliable, verifiable, and objective, not su much. This isn't definitional; it is an observation about reality. It makes those of us who care about understanding how the world really works go, Hmmmm.

Jo: "For immediacy, you may want to first watch some or all of this presentation given by an analytic philosopher, NT Scholar, and apologetics communicator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyxR8uE9GQ"

Another story about real miracles is all you can offer. You know what would actually work for you, instead. A real miracle, one that is reliable, verifiable, and objective. Like everything else we all acknowledge about events that happen all the time in reality.

Jo F said...

@Star Dusty

You:
"God, by definition, is uncaused."
---Unicorns, by definition, are uncaused. No value.

Me:
On the contrary, unicorns would be, by definition, caused—unlike God, an uncaused causer, as everything caused by Him is causally contingent upon Him, and in order to explain the universe one must appeal to a cause, and by extension a being which exists by the necessity of its own nature. This is because the universe has an explanation for its existence by the principle of sufficient reason (the idea that things have explanations), and because the universe cannot in it of itself explain its own existence.

Furthermore, unicorns—like everything except God—are not capable of causing a universe to exist. Now, call that uncaused cause whatever you want, but it would be a bizarre form of atheism to concede to there being a supremely powerful “unicorn” that began the world’s existence. This is a structurally-valid deductive argument which you must refute one or more premises of in order to reject with epistemological warrant. Whether you think it’s explanatory or not, or intelligent or not, or as absurd as a unicorn *does not matter.* All that matters is whether the premises are true, and if so, the conclusion inescapably follows by the rules of logic. And so I’ll formally state it to allow you to either accept as sound or explain which premise you object to:

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature, or in an external cause).
2. If the universe has an explanation for its existence, that explanation is a cause which transcends it.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is a cause which transcends it. 

If you still disagree, please explain which premise you find wanting?

You:
" the universe *needs* an uncaused cause in order to be explained,
---Ok, it's unicorns, see definition above.

Me:
Please clarify: you believe the universe “is unicorns”?

You:
” a conceptual analysis of what a cause of the universe would be reveals that it must be a transcendent cause of a transcendent being which has agency, personhood,"
---Non-sequitur. It could just be superstuff, or really dumb unicorns that are powerful but not self aware that bumble about creating stuff like worm feces.

Me:
You’ve merely *asserted* that a transcendent cause of the universe could be “dumb unicorns” or “superstuff”. If you’d like to help your position, you’ll have to give an *argument* for it. Otherwise, please note to me that you now see, in light of what I’ve said, that you misunderstood.

You:
“moral perfection, "
It doesn't need morals to exist and neither does life. Nor do we need an external source of moral perfection.

Me:
I never said that the universe needs morals in order to exist, so I’m not sure to what or who’s argument you are objecting to. Nor did I say that we need an external source of moral perfection. That is and has never been defended as an argument for the existence of God in the history of philosophy.

You:
"omnipotence,"
---It does not follow, again. Sorry Jo, you are just making this stuff up out of nothing. The universe does not need an omnipotent cause, just a sufficient cause or an eternal existence.

Me:
In an extremely simplistic way, and since you are unwilling to read the three pages (what a shame, you’d get a lot out of it) of that essay I linked to you, I will explain why a cause of the universe would have to be enormously powerful: because it is a cause of the universe. Thus, all power in the universe is far less than that which begins it all. Any power of a member of the causal chain is presumably inferior to that of the initial cause. Thus, if this argument succeeds in establishing an initial cause of the universe, this cause would be enormously powerful. (for much needed elaboration, please pay your best attention to the there or so pages of the essay I linked you at the very end under the heading “The Gap Problem”).

Jo F said...

You:
”simplicity,"
---god knows everything yet is simple?
Sorry Jo, this is getting kind of silly.

Me:
Simple relative to the universe, yes—which is all I need to establish in order to avoid the “Occam's Razor” objection. A mind can be less complicated than that which it creates. We see this, for example, in the calculations of calculators. The machines are really quite simple compared to the vast number of highly complex mathematical data they can analyze, interpret, and extrapolate.

You never responded to the article’s arguments on simplicity, however, so I await this response unless you already concede that a transcendent cause of the universe could potentially be simple.

You:
So I went to your link
http://alexanderpruss.com/papers/LCA.html
Wow, what a blizzard of nonsense. So many fallacies, so little time. The piece is riddled with begging the question and worse.

Me:

You:
"Thomas Aquinas wrote *hundreds* of pages on explicating this cause and arguing for its being God."
---Aquinas uses only unsound arguments to prove god.

Me:
Yah, something tells me you don’t have an informed opinion on this matter. Here’s a place to start on the Thomistic Cosmological Argument: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html

Dr. Feser makes philosophy compulsively readable and funny. I think you’d get a TON out of that article. I highly recommend you read it carefully to get the most out of it and don’t just scan, when you get the chance.

You:
"-consciousness exists
*Non-sequitur. An unlimited number of alternate speculations can be made, rendering god merely one infinitesimal speculation."

Jo F said… here’s where I feel you've jumped to a conclusion without assessing the argument. I know several atheist philosophers who agree that consciousness is more probable on theism than atheism,"
Stardusty said…—Ok, a few atheists are wrong too.

Me:
A few atheists who actually gave the argument an honest assessment without saying, “there is no rational argument from the observation of human conscience” despite having never read the literature on the subject. By your standards, I could get away with saying the theory of biological macroevolution by natural selection is false because I say so, despite having never read the relevant literature—all because someone who disagrees with me claimed to contrary.

You:
There is no rational argument for god from the observation of human consciousness.

I see. So the last president of the American Philosophic Association failed to see what you see on pain of *irrationality*, simply because you say so despite knowing next to nothing about it. You might as well assert that unicorns exist, that’s how weak your arguments are, frankly. You just assert one thing after another without substantiating any of it. I know you’re smarter than that, but apparently I’m not worth the effort? In which case, why am I conversing with you? Do I not deserve your best when I gave you mine?

You:
“that is what all the evidence points to, an eternal existence of the material. This evidence is all around us in our observation of conservation.”

Me:
Clearly you don’t understand the laws of conservation—none of which posit the cosmological conclusion that the universe is past-eternal. Contrary to this claim, in Cambridge at a conference with Stephen Hawking attending, Dr. of Cosmology Alexander Vilenkin delivered a paper which surveys contemporary cosmology with respect to the question “Did the Universe Have a Beginning?” He concluded, “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” Now that’s a remarkable statement. Vilenkin does not say merely that the evidence for a beginning outweighs the evidence against a beginning. Rather he says that all the evidence we have says that the universe has a beginning. Thus, the person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science.

Jo F said...


You:
“So, I can speculate a natural substance that can be eternal and give rise to matter as we know it just as easily as you can speculate a god. Thus god has no advantage over naturalism in terms of first cause.”

A natural substance transcends the universe that causes it? Please explain how that is a coherent idea (or else concede that you are redefining God in order to avoid the theological significance of the Lebnizian cosmological argument’s conclusion).

You:
“The evidence is even simpler. Matter/energy are eternal but we humans have yet to develop the correct understanding of how that can be the case. We have powerful evidence for this naturalistic view, conservation of matter/energy.”

Me:
Please give me a resource somewhere to back up what you are saying, because in my studies of this subject I have never once heard it said that we can infer from the tendency for matter and energy to be conserved certainty of the eternality of the past. Rather, it seems to me you are ignorant of what the laws of conservation actually refer to: not their permanent conservation over time, but their conservation in interactions *after* the cosmological beginning.

You:
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousum is natural stuff with all the asserted properties of god necessary to account for our observed existence.”

Me:
Either you simply redefined God because you don’t like that conclusion, despite conceding to the cosmological argument, or your entire comment is incoherent by the law of non-contradiction.

You:
Debates in the competitive sense are not intended to find truth, rather to score debating points at the expense of rationality, which is of no interest to me.


Me:
That largely depends on the debate, in my experience, though I think I see where you’re coming from. Thanks again for discussing this with me so far!

Jo F said...

@ Cal,

You:
“Jo: "Predictability is just one way to evaluate a theory, and is not always useful."

Nope. A theory that doesn't predict is actually not useful. At least not how I understand the term useful.

Me:
Oh, well if you simply define “usefulness” with respect to a theory as its contribution of knowledge from which predictions could be made, then there’s no problem with a theistic explanation to begin with as it provides useful explanatory data just the same.

You:
Jo: "No offense, but could you please explain how our knowledge of Rome, Greece, and Shakespeare, are “consistent with our experience about how the world works today,” in a way the Bible is not?"

Historical study (capital H) is about natural events. The bible contains many, many stores of supernatural events, which Historians understand to be stories about supernatural events, not events that actually happened.

This is basic stuff.

Me:
I see, so firstly you make an appeal to authority in saying that Historians understand supernatural events as inherently lacking historicity. You’re wrong, though, and if appeals to authority count for anything, you should become a Christian, as the vast majority of New Testament Scholars assent to the primary facts which undergird the inference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

You: “…my statement isn't circular; it's called an observation. Observations aren't circular. They are observations. You might mean that you think that verifiable, reliable, objective magical events happen today and disagree with me on that fact, but even then your objection couldn't be about circularity.”

I did not say that observations are circular; rather, I said that the way by which you made your observations employed circular reasoning. Nevertheless, I will not insist on this because I don’t think it matters.



You:
Virgin births happen in stories. In the real, examinable world, where things that constitute knowledge are reliable, verifiable, and objective, not su much. This isn't definitional; it is an observation about reality. It makes those of us who care about understanding how the world really works go, Hmmmm. “

Me:
Actually, I know of one particular virgin birth that happens not in a “story” but in several Biblical documents which have been confirmed on all sides as being under the genre of historical biography. So there are historical accounts in which virgin births happen, and these historical accounts purport to recounting events which happened in “reliable, verifiable, and objective…” things “in the real, examinable world.” Now, the question is whether the evidence in favor of these accounts are strong enough to authenticate them such that it is rational to believe in them. Their containing miracles, of course, does not invalidate them—there is no inherent reason to reject OR ACCEPT an account that contains miracles just because it contains miracles. Rather, *more* contextual data would be necessary to make a conclusion.

Quoting an article on the Huffington post:

“Yet it is not just people in the first century who have believed in miracles. Various polls peg U.S. belief in miracles at roughly 80 percent. One survey suggested that 73 percent of U.S. physicians believe in miracles, and 55 percent claim to have personally witnessed treatment results they consider miraculous.
Even more striking than the number of people who believe in miracles is the number who claim to have witnessed or experienced them. For example, a 2006 Pew Forum survey studied charismatic and Pentecostal Christians in 10 countries. From these 10 countries alone, the number of charismatic Christians who claim to have witnessed or experienced divine healing comes out to roughly 200 million people. This estimate was not, however, the most surprising finding of the survey. The same survey showed that more than one-third of Christians in these same countries who do not claim to be charismatic or Pentecostal report witnessing or experiencing divine healing....

Jo F said...

... And the reports in these countries appear to be merely the tip of the iceberg. The survey did not include China, where one report from the China Christian Council over a decade ago attributed roughly half of all new Christian conversions to “faith healing experiences.” Another report from a different source in China suggested an even higher figure. Clearly many people around the world experience what they consider miracles, sometimes in life-changing ways.”

Pew Research Center is very good at what they do.

You:
Jo: "For immediacy, you may want to first watch some or all of this presentation given by an analytic philosopher, NT Scholar, and apologetics communicator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyxR8uE9GQ"

Another story about real miracles is all you can offer. You know what would actually work for you, instead. A real miracle, one that is reliable, verifiable, and objective. Like everything else we all acknowledge about events that happen all the time in reality.

Me:
If you thoroughly and honestly watch that video, or better yet, read the article which I linked you applying the probability calculous to the argument from miracles regarding the historical inference from several well established facts to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you’ll find that there is a great case made for “a real miracle, one that is reliable, verifiable, and objective,” through the tools of logic and reasoning.

B. Prokop said...

Fascinating discussion, but I still maintain that all this desire for "evidence" and "proof" is ultimately not the real issue. I attempted to address this over on my own blog, here.

Allow me to quote the most relevant passage:

I particularly love the fact that way back in the 19th Century and as recently as 1960, there used to be on display in Paris a metal bar, which by definition was one meter in length. If anyone wanted to know exactly how long a meter was, one could point with absolute confidence to that bar and say, “That long!” because a meter was defined by the bar’s length. (Nowadays, a meter is defined by the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458th of a second. Science ruins everything!) ... OK then, what about the Big Questions? Do we have the equivalent of that standard meter against which to measure our deepest beliefs, our most fundamental principles, our bedrock of faith? As a Catholic Christian, I can state with confidence that we do. Although it is outside the scope of this blog to demonstrate the historicity of the Resurrection, it ought to be nevertheless beyond dispute, even to an atheist, that were one to be satisfied by reason and evidence that Jesus the Christ actually did rise from the dead on the 27th of March, A.D. 33 – literally, physically, historically, in all truth… then one would by necessity have to come to terms with this event. Either we measure all that has occurred before and after, (not only in history but also (and far more urgently) in our own lives) by it, or we must reject it utterly. If true, then nothing else matters, except in its relation to that One Great Fact. If false, then we are wasting our time by even thinking about it.

I have elsewhere discussed the utility of a lens, by means of which all comes into focus. The Resurrection of Christ is that lens. Seen in its light, everything makes sense – nature, history, the universe itself, and my own life (and yours, too). Absent its diamond sharp focus, all is a blur of unresolved, meaningless data.

Legion of Logic said...

"Nope. A theory that doesn't predict is actually not useful. At least not how I understand the term useful."

There's a dead body on the floor, and a person standing over the body holding a gun. A reasonable theory at that point is that the person with the gun murdered the victim.

Does that explanation have any sort of predictability to it? If so, what is it? If not, is it not a useful explanation? Or when you talk about theories, are you only referring to scientific matters?

Will answer your other post to me asap.

Joe Hinman said...

Dusty seemed so confident until I challenged him to debate

see my new blog piece fact sheet

Trump will gut Social security

Joe Hinman said...

"Nope. A theory that doesn't predict is actually not useful. At least not how I understand the term useful."

There's a dead body on the floor, and a person standing over the body holding a gun. A reasonable theory at that point is that the person with the gun murdered the victim.

a lot of people don't understate what predictions are. Prediction is built into most social since research because it's built into quantitative analysis. Like in the study of mystical experience to ask questions designed to determine how many have experiences that match Stace's theory is to predict that either Stace's theory is correlated to modern experience or nit is not.In arguing against the body of research I talk about atheists have acted like it doesn't predioct when in reality it has built in predictions.

Joe Hinman said...

B. Prokop said...
Fascinating discussion, but I still maintain that all this desire for "evidence" and "proof" is ultimately not the real issue. I attempted to address this over on my own blog, here.


I agree. the atheists are just pulling the illusion of technique,evoking the forms of scientific investigation without understanding what they do.,

Joe Hinman said...

Another story about real miracles is all you can offer. You know what would actually work for you, instead. A real miracle, one that is reliable, verifiable, and objective. Like everything else we all acknowledge about events that happen all the time in reality.

most of these atheists trying to evoke science don't understand what it means, i talked to a member of the Lourdes miracle committee who said double blind is not as directly empirical as the studies of Lourdes where they actually compare the patents condition to it what it was before the event, you don't need an experimental group and a control group for that. it's more empirical.It's more directly observational.

Joe Hinman said...

Jo the guy you are arguing with is just pulling a bait and switch, miracles are things that don't happen. They thought to be impossible. So saying "this doesn't conform to the norm for how we know nature works" is not proof that an event didn't happen, the event by definition does not conform if the norm.

it's only fair that they want verifiable, Lourdes Miracles are verifiable, but replicabilty is impossible for a miracle by definition.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
You: "- Good and evil exist.
No absolute standard for good and evil has yet been identified."

Me: I would argue that one such standard has been identified by the elimination of all other moral theories except that of theism (divine command theory)."
You are begging the question, assuming an absolute standard exists, and when all other standards fail to be absolute, merely assuming ad hoc divine morality must be it.


" So far all atheistic alternatives provided, in my studies opinion, fail to account for the perceived objectivity of moral values and duties. They are perceived as being objective in the sense that moral facts are thought of as being true independent of what others think--we would just disagree on what those objective facts are. To demonstrate this, I would appeal to your moral experience and ask you to reflect on whether the proposition that the sex slavey of seven year olds in South Sudan is good produces in you the feeling that the proponents of this slavery are wrong about their moral choice. "
Argument ad populum. You are confusing broadly held sensibilities with an absolute outside source for those sensibilities.

Animals of a particular species display common behavior because their innate structure is very similar. Human beings are social animals. Altruistic morality is merely an evolved mechanism to drive a net reproductive advantage.

We appear to be rec4eiving signals from an outside central source when in fact most of us feel similarly because we are innately structured so similarly.

December 29, 2016 4:09 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Jo F said...
You: "Morals are postulated at base and thus merely relative."
Me: Could you please explain what you mean by this more?"
Even the most seemingly obvious moral proposition rests on fundamental principles that are postulated, not proved. We can say torturing babies for fun is wrong. Most people agree. But why? Perhaps you assert that promotion of human flourishing is good, ok, but why? If we continue to ask why why why like the incessant child eventually one always gets down to moral assertions that are postulates, not absolutely provable.

" Beauty seems an attribute of teleology, suggesting purpose, "
Yes beauty has function, perhaps most obviously in the perception of a beautiful mate.

Beauty can also be a side effect. One misconception about evolution is that every trait has advantage derived from the evolutionary process. Not true. Evolution is messy, inefficient, undirected, lacking in goals, and limited by inherent structural possibilities.

So, the perception of beauty in the case of choosing a mate can be an evolved benefit. Once the brain structure for this sort of beauty is evolved it may apply to perceptions of a wide array of objects that have no reproductive benefit or even a negative effect on the organism. Perception of beauty in an abstract painting can be a side effect of brain structure that evolved to perceive beauty for a reproductive advantage.

The rest of your argument is confirmation bias, applying your preconceived notions of god to your personal feelings of beauty.


" it would seem arbitrary on atheism."
Ok. I know that bothers many or most people. I am fine with it.


" I don't think these arguments are all that strong on their own, of course,"
I agree.

"their cumulative force is considerable and definitely in addition to the total cumulative case for Christian theism."
Sorry Jo, you only present a large accumulation of confirmation bias reading into beauty a god.

Beauty therefore god is a non-sequitur.

December 29, 2016 4:10 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
Arguments 1 and 2 in particular correspond to the thesis that if Christianity is true, numerous aspects of the universe reveal that they are exactly what we would expect to be the case in such a way that substantiates the faith."
Begging the question. You construct a god by assigning to god ad hoc the magical capacity to make the universe just as we observe it and then say how correct your god is because it matches what we observe.

You are like the author that makes "predictions" of past events by describing them after they happen.

" There are several arguments regarding morality that I believe substantiate that thesis, and perhaps you could realize them with some reflection."
I have reflected long on the moral argument and it is entirely vacuous.

" I'm not sure what the order of the universe has to do with refuting the argument from reason, "
Reason is merely the function of an ordered system (the brain) acting in conjunction with another ordered system (the rest of the universe).


" The process of reason seems to me highly problematic for naturalism as this worldview implies that reasoning is impossible. On naturalism, mental events must be reducible to neurological activity in the brain. However, if this reduction is assumed then our notion of reasoning ascribes something to the brain which it cannot perform, because the materials it would be reduced to have no mental content within them and at no point could a logical leap be made from the lack of confirmatory mental content in these basic materials to the mental content of the reasoning process."
What is this mystery substance you call "mental content" the materials cannot have?

Reason is a dynamic brain process, not a static material.


Well, Albert Einstein did say, "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible."
I will refrain from accusing you of quote mining because I think you mean only to sort of broach a general sense as opposed to offer a definitive proof.


"All scientists must assume that science can first be done in order to do it: the crucial assumption that there is something to be discovered, that the universe is intelligible. "
That is a postulate. "Assumption" does not emphasize the self aware nature of a postulate as being provisional. All science is provisional. Science rests on a number of provisional postulates. We are well aware that they are not proved, only asserted as apparently true but always subject to modification.


"Theism provides a ready explanation: God created us in part to be able to discern this, and also..."
Substitute "fairies" for "god" and you get the same thing. I can also substitute "magic stuff" for god with equal validity.

God, fairies, and magic stuff have equal explanatory value, none.

December 29, 2016 4:10 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
...intentionally made it such that it works by certain patterns and consistencies that are attainable through the mind because they were made from a mind in the first place. "
Mere post hoc convenient definition. The storyline is rigged. Any soap opera script writer can do as well.

"It would seem naturalism leaves us no reason to think this would be the case, and yet it is."
I suggest you look into computing structures more, or do you have a CS background of any kind? I realize that is kind of unfair because it is such a huge subject and I generally detest "go read a book" argumentation.

So, in short, the brain is a massively parallel data processing structure. Research in brain injuries, neuroscience, neurosurgery, brain scanning technology, and sensory testing all converge on the scientific fact of no mind/brain duality.

Mind is dynamic brain function.

"You:
"- The universe had a beginning.
*That is unknown and remains a riddle [of the universe's possible beginning]."

Me:
Even Laurence Krauss"
Krauss is a woo monger who lost his credibility with his ridiculous book called "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing"


"accept that the universe most likely began to exist, so I think you're understating things."
I think you meant misunderstanding things. Nobody understands the origin of existence and god has no explanatory power in that ancient riddle.

See this summary to realize how the speculation of god adds nothing positive, only makes things worse, and has no positive explanatory power
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explanatory_power

" Me:
I disagree on the grounds that I believe and am willing to defend A. the principle that whatever begins to exist must have a cause of its existence, "
I can just as easily speculate magic stuff. The speculation of god is meaningless and just saying there is this magical thingamabob out there with all these whacky properties and I just define it to be so there it is.

Utterly pointless speculation.

Stardusty Psyche said...

"and B. the universe's having a beginning entails it's coming into existence from either nothing or a transcendent cause (the former being the only live option for that naturalist, the latter being the far more reasonable theistic conclusion)."
If god is eternal than something can be eternal because god must be something else god would be absolutely nothing at all and absolutely nothing at all has no properties or powers of any sort.

If something can be eternal then that thing is natural because it exists, and nature is that which exists and is something. If god does not exist as a natural something then god is absolutely nothing at all which god cannot be.

An eternal god is a naturalistic assertion. Nothing could be more natural than the thing of original existence. God must be some thing else god is no thing and no thing has no properties and no powers.

If a thing can be eternal it need not be god, rather the eternal thing only must have sufficient mechanism to give rise to the thing we observe, our universe.

But how can any thing be eternal? You say a thing can exist outside space and time, yet this progenitor thing acts in a time sequence of events, so it must be inside time. Yet and infinite time sequence of events is irrational.

Thus the great unsolved existential riddle. The god speculation has no explanatory power since it only pushes the problem back a step making the problem worse, not better.



Me:
Could you please explain what you mean by "an unbounded but always finite value"
Consider counting up if you never die. A boring life, but consider you count up once per second. 1, 2, 3, 4... for the rest of your life, and you never die.

Will you ever count up to infinity? No. Is there a particular maximum value you can count up to? No. At any particular time is your count finite? Yes.

Thus, your count up is a time sequence of events into the future, is unbounded (no particular upper limit) and always finite (always a particular number at any particular time, and you are always at a particular time).

Thus, a time sequence of events cannot ever achieve infinity. Infinity is not a number. Infinity is a concept.

"and how this avoids the theistic argument from the probable beginning of the universe?"
There is no solution to this riddle published by any human being. This is the great existential riddle that has occupied brilliant minds for millennia and remains unsolved, or at least, if it has been solved, no human being has published that solution into general circulation.

God has no explanatory power in this ancient riddle.

December 29, 2016 4:11 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

"Jo F said...
You:
"- Jesus the Christ rose from the dead, on the 27th of March, A.D. 33.
*Superstitious story telling like countless other such stories. How primitive."

Me:
What, particularly, is "superstitious" or "primitive" about the Biblical documents? Do you have arguments in favor of that assertion?"
That is a very large subject, but the Bible is a rather gruesome book in its totality with a few bits of genuine wisdom sprinkled in here and there.

Primitive stories about creation, genocide, virgin birth, demon possession, and on and on abound.

The Bible is for me personally very childish. I believed it as a child, uncritically accepting the bizarre stories as adults told them to me. Parroting the words as a child does. As soon as I grew to the Jewish age of a man (I am not a Jew but I can appreciate how 12 is seen as a point of a certain level of maturity) I recognized the childish nature of these stories and I put away this childish thing along with all the other fairy tales I had been taught.


" Allow me to marshal evidence in favor of the credibility of these documents so that you perhaps will see what makes the Bible the most credible document from antiquity times:"
There are no credible ancient religious documents of any sort.


" The fact is that your rhetorical dismissal of the Bible would jeopardize nearly all historical scholarship regarding anything from the past, including all of our knowledge of Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Shakespeare, etc."
We dismiss the Roman gods, the stories set on Olympus, and the plays of Shakespeare as all mere fiction. The Bible is in that same class.

"--whether you want to research this or not. In my last few comments I linked resources which I recommend you study from if you'd like to have an informed opinion on this matter."
You are conflating analysis of basic historical events with mythology.

December 29, 2016 4:11 PM

Jo F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
Me:
It’s difficult to see why God would need scientific evidence in his favor when by definition God is a metaphysical philosophical conclusion outside of science’s (naturalistic) methodology. "
Gee, that's convenient. Reminds me of the person who claimed to have a magic object but refused to show it to me. Are you actually taken in by that kind of assertion?

" At this point I’d have to ask: do you espouse scientism—the belief that science is the only source of meaningful knowledge? Or do you believe that science is the superior and preferable source of knowledge?"
Science is a tool for learning how things work.

" These references in the Bible to an anthropomorphic God-the-father are not literal. "
Ok for you, but lots of people take it very literally.


" You:
What is the factual difference between a stained glass window picture or fresco of a father in the clouds as compared to "sky daddy”?

Me:
No offense, but I can't help but take this as a frivolous rejoinder."
It is indeed absurd in the sense of reductio ad absurdum, thus my point made.



" You:
"Go read a book" or "go read a series of articles" is a particularly weak form of conversational argumentation. I can give you links to countless books and articles that show you are wrong. So what? If you cannot succinctly state in your own words what your argument is then you do not understand what you are talking about, which apparently you do not."

Me:
I see, so by simply linking you essays to further your pursuit of truth you think you can assume that I don’t understand the material. Well then."
You did not read my conditional statement carefully, hence your strawman characterization of it.

" You:
"All arguments for god fail immediately.”

Me:
How does an argument “fail immediately?”"
All concise arguments for god fall flat within a few sentences. Only a relatively few sentences are required to counter any argument for god.

The vast volumes written to argue for god are massive puffery. Any concise argument for god can be debunked in very short order.


You:
"Joe "yes my argument is so un-serious it only has 200 empirical studies from peer reviewed journals to back it up "
People can enter a particular mental state and that is well documented.

The notion that this is somehow evidence for god is just silly. It is not a serious argument. It isn't an argument at all. What argument?

Human brain state therefore god...how absurd.”

Me:
If I’m reading him correctly here, well, I don’t think you’re reading him correctly here. "
Joe and I are old buddies from way back :-)
He is on about mystical experience and 200 studies and on and on. You can find it here if you are interested:
http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2016/12/dialogue-with-skeptic-on-mystical.html#comment-2422135618800159358



" With which definition of atheism do you identify by?"
I am strongly personally convinced there is no god.

December 29, 2016 5:00 PM

Jo F said...

Bias abounds...For anyone in doubt of that, go ahead and read my replies to stardust above and see which sentences he chooses to respond to and which he does not, and of course what he actually says. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else here thinks he's actually made a substantive response to one of my replies to him. If not, please explain.

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you later toady, Stardusty, even though you've taken nothing I've said seriously and used no critical thinking whatsoever.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
No, no, this (fairies) is emphatically *not* "just like God.”...

"By his "Santa Clause analogy" he refuses to assent to theism's having plausible explanations for anything whatsoever."
Magical fairies, supercalifragilisticexpialidocousum and super Santa are just as plausible as god.

" that theism provides no plausible explanations of any phenomena in the natural world whatsoever,"
If idle speculation is plausible then mere plausibility has no value. God is idle speculation, plausible or not.


" So it seems to me that the level of confidence such atheists have comes more so out of an impulse to be rid of the God question, and/or to buy into the New Atheist narrative of intellectual and phycofunctuonal superiority that affords their condescending attitudes."
I confidently dismiss all primitive mythologies, of which Christianity is just one of many. I try to maintain humanistic empathy for the individual theist but I confess to lapsing into condescension from time to time in the face of this vast reservoir of absurdities.


December 29, 2016 5:01 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
"You:
"God, by definition, is uncaused."
---Unicorns, by definition, are uncaused. No value.

Me:
On the contrary, unicorns would be, by definition, caused"
Noooo, these are magic unicorns I define as uncaused. It's not god, it herds and herds of magic unicorns romping about in and out of time and space. When they spit they create a universe without even realizing it. My definition, let's see you disprove this plausible explanation:-)

BTW, I found a story about magic unicorns in an old pot in a cave so it must be true!



" Furthermore, unicorns—like everything except God—are not capable of causing a universe to exist. "
See above, it's unicorn spit. Plausible by definition, gotta respect it.


1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature, or in an external cause)."
2. If the universe has an explanation for its existence, that explanation is a cause which transcends it.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is a cause which transcends it.

5. If god exists then god has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature, or in an external cause), since god is part of everything.
6. If god has an explanation for its existence, that explanation is a cause which transcends it.
7. God exists.
8. Therefore, the explanation of god’s existence is a cause which transcends it.
9. Therefore, god has a god, god's god, the god god.
10. Therefore, there are an infinity of gods.


"If you still disagree, please explain which premise you find wanting?"
Sorry, you have only proved that there must be an infinity of gods. Was that your intent?

Thus, the great existential riddle remains unsolved by the speculation of god.



" You:
" the universe *needs* an uncaused cause in order to be explained,
---Ok, it's unicorns, see definition above.

Me:
Please clarify: you believe the universe “is unicorns”?"
Sure, why not? I mean, if we are just going to make up speculations by definition one is as good as another.


" Me:
You’ve merely *asserted* that a transcendent cause of the universe could be “dumb unicorns” or “superstuff”."
Exactly!

"If you’d like to help your position, you’ll have to give an *argument* for it. "
Why? Unicorns are by definition all the magical stuff I need for a plausible explanation, just like god has all these wonderful properties by definition. Same same.



" Me:
I never said that the universe needs morals in order to exist, so I’m not sure to what or who’s argument you are objecting to. Nor did I say that we need an external source of moral perfection. That is and has never been defended as an argument for the existence of God in the history of philosophy."
Ok, then there is no moral argument for god, nor would god need to be moral at all, much less perfectly moral.


" You:
"omnipotence,"
---It does not follow, again. Sorry Jo, you are just making this stuff up out of nothing. The universe does not need an omnipotent cause, just a sufficient cause or an eternal existence.

Me:
In an extremely simplistic way, and since you are unwilling to read the three pages (what a shame, you’d get a lot out of it) of that essay I linked to you, I will explain why a cause of the universe would have to be enormously powerful: "
Omnipotence and enormously powerful are very different.

" (for much needed elaboration, please pay your best attention to the there or so pages of the essay I linked you at the very end under the heading “The Gap Problem”)."
I did go to that link. It is hopelessly tedious and fallacious. There is no need for god to have all powers over the future operation of the clockwork, only enough power to create it and set it in motion. But that only pushes the problem back to god's god ad infinitum.


December 29, 2016 8:00 PM

T said...

Honestly, anybody who compares God to unicorns in terms of causation is revealing a complete lack of thoughtfulness.

Ilíon said...

"Nope. A theory that doesn't predict is actually not useful. At least not how I understand the term useful."

I have no idea who wrote that (and I'm not going to look), but I'm confident it was from one of the 'atheist' trolls. I saw it only because LoL quoted it.

To me, the amusing thing about this statement is that it --
1) is typically deployed by God-deniers;
2) is typically used to elide and conflate the difference between "useful" (for some purpose) and "true";
3) is typically used by said God-deniers to hand-wave away any evidence presented them which *they* don't find to be "useful" ... for the purpose of denying the reality of the Creator;
4) IF applied honestly to 'modern evolutionary theory' (aka Darwinism, the Origins Myth of atheism) shows it to be not-useful, since that "theory" cannot be used to predict anything.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

You:
”simplicity,"
---god knows everything yet is simple?
Sorry Jo, this is getting kind of silly.

Me:
Simple relative to the universe, yes—which is all I need to establish in order to avoid the “Occam's Razor” objection. A mind can be less complicated than that which it creates. We see this, for example, in the calculations of calculators. The machines are really quite simple compared to the vast number of highly complex mathematical data they can analyze, interpret, and extrapolate."
But your omniscient god did not merely create this calculator, he also knows every detail of every calculation it will ever make. This would be like a computer that logged on record the state of every transistor at every moment.

God knows every detail of everything for all time. The number of storage elements required for this is on the order of the number of particles in the universe times the number of picoseconds the universe will ever exist.

Omniscience is utterly compatible with simplicity in any sense of the word.



You:
So I went to your link
http://alexanderpruss.com/papers/LCA.html
Wow, what a blizzard of nonsense. So many fallacies, so little time. The piece is riddled with begging the question and worse.

Me:

You:
"Thomas Aquinas wrote *hundreds* of pages on explicating this cause and arguing for its being God."
---Aquinas uses only unsound arguments to prove god.

Me:
Yah, something tells me you don’t have an informed opinion on this matter. "
When stated as arguments his last line is always "and this everyone understands to be god". How idiotic.


"Here’s a place to start on the Thomistic Cosmological Argument: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html"
This is just a very longwinded series of strawman arguments.




" Dr. Feser makes philosophy compulsively readable and funny. I think you’d get a TON out of that article. I highly recommend you read it carefully to get the most out of it and don’t just scan, when you get the chance."
All he says is "go buy my book", and then proceeds to set up and knock down a series of strawmen.



" Jo F said… here’s where I feel you've jumped to a conclusion without assessing the argument. "
What argument?

" By your standards, I could get away with saying the theory of biological macroevolution by natural selection is false because I say so, despite having never read the relevant literature—all because someone who disagrees with me claimed to contrary."
If you did that you would be wrong because macro evolution is just a lot of micro evolutions strung in sequence.

See, it really is not that hard to simply state the basic idea or argument. Vast volumes have been written on evolution, but anybody familiar with the subject can do a nice job summing it up in a few paragraphs. When somebody refers me out to a whole book without stating the argument that is a smokescreen.

Stardusty Psyche said...



" 
You:
There is no rational argument for god from the observation of human consciousness.

I see. So the last president of the American Philosophic Association failed to see what you see on pain of *irrationality*, simply because you say so despite knowing next to nothing about it. You might as well assert that unicorns exist, that’s how weak your arguments are, frankly. You just assert one thing after another without substantiating any of it. I know you’re smarter than that, but apparently I’m not worth the effort? In which case, why am I conversing with you? Do I not deserve your best when I gave you mine?"
Gee, I mean, I can only do so much! If you really want more detail as to why god is so utterly unnecessary for consciousness I suggest Dennet or Harris as popular writers.

No, I don't expect you to just take my word for anything, but I have never heard an argument from consciousness that rises above argument from ignorance or mystical non-sequiturs. Scientific research converges on mind as a brain function.




You:
“that is what all the evidence points to, an eternal existence of the material. This evidence is all around us in our observation of conservation.”

Me:
Clearly you don’t understand the laws of conservation—none of which posit the cosmological conclusion that the universe is past-eternal."
All our established physics restates conservation in many ways. Equations are just that, the LHS equals the RHS. There is no poof term in the equations of physics.

Since matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed and it exists the conclusions are obvious, it has always existed and will always exist. That is what experiment confirms and that is what our equations tell us.

We have a conceptual problem or a real problem with an infinite past of a time sequence of events, hence the great unsolved existential riddle.





"Contrary to this claim, in Cambridge at a conference with Stephen Hawking attending, Dr. of Cosmology Alexander Vilenkin delivered a paper which surveys contemporary cosmology with respect to the question “Did the Universe Have a Beginning?” He concluded, “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” Now that’s a remarkable statement."
Indeed remarkable in its inexcusable conflation of poorly defined terms. "The Universe" is conflated with "All Existence" and "Our Big Bang". That should be obvious yet it leads to a very great deal of popular confusion.

" Vilenkin does not say merely that the evidence for a beginning outweighs the evidence against a beginning. Rather he says that all the evidence we have says that the universe has a beginning."
This is a hopelessly simplistic idea that is really beneath such great minds. Our Big Bang appears to have been very small in the past. What came before that and how the stuff of our universe passed through from t=-1 to t=1 is unknown at this time.

" Thus, the person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science."
I am sorry you have been victimized by the sloppy language of our greatest physicists. It is a truism that the greater the physicist the worse the teacher.

I suggest Sean Carroll as one source to begin to modernize your perspective. One thing he will diplomatically state is that we ought not be using general relativity to discuss the conditions of the earliest big bang because that theory is known to fail under those conditions. That should have been obvious to Hawking and many others but for a very long time such folks have persisted in that blatant display of public irrationality.

In human history "the universe" has grown from the Earth and sky, to the solar system, to the galaxy, to the big bang. Each time people have stopped their concept of all there is at the limits of observation of the era, such is the limited thinking of humankind.


December 29, 2016 8:01 PM

Joe Hinman said...

Carroll has the credentials in cosmology but imn dealing with regionalism other ideas he's totally Dictaphone and his work is slip shod. His review of mind and cosmos was crime against thought. For the dawkies who don't really know science but just spit back the echo chamber he's great just regurgitate ad infinitem

Joe Hinman said...

I am skeptical in his guise as mild mannered atheist Dusty speaks is pretending to know science. He will do his troll thing loudly but one thing he will not do is debate me with judges who really know logic.

B. Prokop said...

Cal is far more likely to be Skeppy's sock puppet than Stardusty. The style of the former is closely aligned to Skep, whilst that of Stardusty is unique.

That said, all three of them demonstrate the same inability to absorb new data and a predilection for tossing off bald statements of their opinion as fact without any supporting reasoning. Example: "All arguments for god fail immediately."

Notice how Stardusty says "all" - not "all that I have seen" or "all that I have examined", but just "all", which implies "all possible arguments", thus rejecting out of hand and ahead of time anything that might cause him to reconsider his beliefs. (I.e., "Don't confuse me with the facts - my mind's made up!")

Joe Hinman said...

Cal seems tro understand more than skep. The reason I think Dusty is is because on cadre blog the two of then were arguing the same stuff when one stopped the other took up with same lines.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...
"You:
“So, I can speculate a natural substance that can be eternal and give rise to matter as we know it just as easily as you can speculate a god. Thus god has no advantage over naturalism in terms of first cause.”

A natural substance transcends the universe that causes it? Please explain how that is a coherent idea"
It isn't coherent but it is also not what I said. An eternal thing does not cause itself, rather, it has always been. Ascribing eternal existence to god only makes things worse because it invents an unknown. Again, please see the wiki for Explanatory Power.

Conservation is powerful evidence for eternal material stuff.


" Me:
Please give me a resource somewhere to back up what you are saying, because in my studies of this subject I have never once heard it said that we can infer from the tendency for matter and energy to be conserved certainty of the eternality of the past."
Science doesn't do certainty. Science does evidence. The logic is glaringly obvious.

If it can't be created or destroyed and it exists then it has always existed and will always exist.

You don't need a meteorologist to know which way the wind blows (apologies to Mr. Zimmerman)

" Rather, it seems to me you are ignorant of what the laws of conservation actually refer to: not their permanent conservation over time, but their conservation in interactions *after* the cosmological beginning."
That is a further speculation. No physics exists as to how that could be the case. There is some preposterous arm waving out there by woo mongers such as Krauss and ridiculously irrational applications of a theory known to fail at the point it is being applied by otherwise brilliant people like Hawking, but that sort of muddled thinking is falling out of favor, very thankfully, so hopefully we can get the popularized terminology straightened out and undo all the damage these terrible physics teachers have done.

{" You:
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousum is natural stuff with all the asserted properties of god necessary to account for our observed existence.”

Me:
Either you simply redefined God because you don’t like that conclusion,"
No, I have provided a much simpler speculation as an alternative to the inherently incoherent Christian god and the somewhat less objectionable deistic notions.


" You:
Debates in the competitive sense are not intended to find truth, rather to score debating points at the expense of rationality, which is of no interest to me.


Me:
That largely depends on the debate, in my experience, though I think I see where you’re coming from. Thanks again for discussing this with me so far!"
You are welcome but you can be sure Joe will beat his chest about this, whatever.


December 29, 2016 8:02 PM

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said...

" I am skeptical in his guise as mild mannered atheist Dusty speaks is pretending to know science. He will do his troll thing loudly but one thing he will not do is debate me with judges who really know logic."
If you have a format in mind that allows for an exchange of carefully considered points for the good faith purpose of the pursuit of truth I will consider it.

Else, not interested.

December 30, 2016 7:37 AM

SteveK said...

"Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you later toady, Stardusty, even though you've taken nothing I've said seriously and used no critical thinking whatsoever."

Hence the reason he was finally banned from the Shadow to Light blog. He's a troll.

Stardusty Psyche said...

" T said...

Honestly, anybody who compares God to unicorns in terms of causation is revealing a complete lack of thoughtfulness."
Hi T, I can appreciate how you feel that way. God is a subject studied in earnest very deeply by very many for millenia, often at a PhD level for life. It seems like a very serious endeavor and I can see how you really do not appreciate my trivialization of it. I can imagine you might even be personally offended by my words. Any discomfort I may cause is an unfortunate side effect, not at all a goal or even a matter of indifference to me.

I sometimes use reductio ad absurdum or expandio ad absurdum (apologies for the mangled Latin) to illustrate a point. Religion is one of those things that seems so serious to so many but seems quite frivolous to me.

The point is that the number of potential alternative speculations is unbounded. Any one of which seems preposterous to you. So I have succeeded in conveying to you how preposterous the speculation of god is to me.

In fact magic unicorns are exactly as likely and plausible and have the same explanatory power as any particular formulation of the god speculation. Perhaps my use of ad absurdum will give you food for thought.


December 30, 2016 6:42 AM

Jo F said...

Stardusty not only admits to condescension, but demonstrates it in his every word. His severe lack of intellectual honesty has caused me to realize there's simply no point in replying. Somehow, he's more dogmatic than some religious people I know.

Anyone in doubt of this should read my replies to Stardusty (and Cal) on December 29th, and his latest replies, and ask yourself just how much critical thinking was employed in his latest responses. Perhaps we'll have a more meaningful exchange on a later post by Dr. Reppert. Whelp, my work here is done.

B. Prokop said...

"Perhaps my use of ad absurdum will give you food for thought."

Only if arsenic is classed as a food.

B. Prokop said...

Hey, Victor! Consider posting a link to this article as a discussion topic.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...
" The style of the former is closely aligned to Skep, whilst that of Stardusty is unique."
Given the importance of literary style in analyzing authorship of scripture I would have thought this would have occurred to Joe.


" That said, all three of them demonstrate the same inability to absorb new data and a predilection for tossing off bald statements of their opinion as fact without any supporting reasoning. Example: "All arguments for god fail immediately."

Notice how Stardusty says "all" - not "all that I have seen" or "all that I have examined", but just "all", which implies "all possible arguments", thus rejecting out of hand and ahead of time anything that might cause him to reconsider his beliefs. (I.e., "Don't confuse me with the facts - my mind's made up!")""
Oh, I am not so sinister as all that. In conversational English it is common practice to forgo some of the formalities and caveats that would be found in a formal argument.

At some point I trust the reader to recognize a generalization as such when stated succinctly absent the formally necessary caveats.

But by all means, if you can succinctly state an argument for god that does not fail immediately please do so.


December 30, 2016 9:00 AM

B. Prokop said...

"If you can succinctly state an argument for [G]od that does not fail immediately please do so."

Jesus the Christ verifiably rose from the dead (literally, physically, historically) early in the morning of March 27th, A.D. 33, having been executed by the Romans (dying at 3 PM) on March 25th.

Nothing else matters, and no other argument is necessary.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Jo F said...

Stardusty not only admits to condescension,"
Nobody's perfect all the time! I do my best to do my best. I get knocked down, but I get up again.

" but demonstrates it in his every word. His severe lack of intellectual honesty "
Tut tut, methinks you are engaging in a bit of internet mind reading of my intentions.

Dishonest? How so? Say there Jo, you listed a lot of items and I responded to every one of them. Then the chain reaction started because you expanded on each point and if I expand on all of your expansions pretty soon we hit criticality and kablooie. So I insert the control rods of brevity and trimming to keep the reaction contained at manageable levels.

It might seem dishonest to you but that is actually me telling you things you are not necessarily comfortable hearing.

I have put a lot of words out there almost all of which are direct responses to items addressed to me. If you can find a self inconsistency in there, fine, I would appreciate knowing what it is.


" he's more dogmatic than some religious people I know."
Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, but that guy lost, so maybe he is not such a great source to quote, still, there's a grain of wisdom in there someplace. I have simply never encountered any theistic arguments that are sound and I have been searching for many years.


" Anyone in doubt of this should read my replies to Stardusty (and Cal) on December 29th, and his latest replies, and ask yourself just how much critical thinking was employed in his latest responses."
Ok, I read them and I think the high level of critical thinking employed in those responses was quite commendable:-)


December 30, 2016 11:53 AM

B. Prokop said...

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, but that guy lost."

Don't blame me. I voted for him.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...
"
"If you can succinctly state an argument for [G]od that does not fail immediately please do so."

Jesus the Christ verifiably rose from the dead (literally, physically, historically) early in the morning of March 27th, A.D. 33, having been executed by the Romans (dying at 3 PM) on March 25th.

Nothing else matters, and no other argument is necessary."
Well, that fails in several respects.
1. That alleged event is not verifiable in a scientific sense or even an historic sense. That event is not repeatable, nor was it recorded by scientific instrumentation, nor do we have such scientific evidence for analogous events that would at least make your assertion scientifically plausible. Further, stories of past miracles abound. To accept the historicity of this story would require acceptance of the historicity of a great many competing stories. The story has all the trappings of mythology, which is different than chronicling an historic occurrence of ordinary human events. If you are going to point to stories in a book about miraculous past events you have competition from a whole lot of other religions.
2. Much else matters. Even if those recording this event were telling the truth it would not prove god, only that people of that day could somehow think a man was dead and later that he came to life. This says nothing about the power to create a universe, the property of omniscience, omnipotence, perfect morality, immortality, existence outside space and time, or the other mutually self contradictory properties ascribed to the Christian god.
3. A vast array of other arguments are necessary to account for our universe and all we observe in it. A visitation by space aliens with medical tricorders would be far more likely than a god, since we know life, space travel, and technology are all very real, such a visitation would only require a more advanced version of what we already know, as opposed to god which is entirely speculative out of whole cloth.
4. The citation of the exact date and time is preposterous. This reminds me of October 23rd, 4004 BC. Yes I know both you and Ussher have some convoluted apologetic for this but please try to understand how laughable this level of asserted precision is to the rest of us.

To paraphrase Palin, the resurrection is one big fail.



December 30, 2016 12:20 PM

Legion of Logic said...

"Explanations are, at their heart, about prediction. Do you agree? If not, define what you mean by having "explanatory power."

I can't think of a way to respond that doesn't come across as flippant so bear with me. Explanations explain, regardless of if they are useful to predict anything else. Why did I draw a circle on a workbench? Nothing more than whimsy in that instance. That is the explanation, but does it have any useful traits, particularly an ability to predict, despite being a true explanation?

On topic, for sake of argument, say that it is a literal fact that a god created the universe, so that creation is the explanation for why the universe exists. What predictive power would that explanation have? I may be misunderstanding the link you make between explanation and prediction, because outside of scientific theories I don't see a necessary link.

"Last time you said that the First Way showed that deity must exist, I pointed out that the First Way does NOT show that deity must exist. Do you disagree? If so, will you cite the First Way where you think that it shows that a deity must exist?"

Because the core conclusion of the thought process is one of potential vs actuality. Matter and energy exist as potentials - the example he uses in the argument is wood burning. Wood has the potential to get hot, but the wood will not get hot unless acted upon by intense heat. And that intense heat only exists because of another action causing a potential to be realized, and so on.

What's important to understand about the first (and second) ways is that they aren't based upon sequential events per se. The top card in a house of cards is contingent upon multiple factors existing simultaneously in order for it to exist - it's not just a sequential chain of causes. The universe could very well be eternal and have no beginning - but that does not change the flaw I see in stopping with the universe as a brute fact. Matter and energy are being acted upon and changing states by other forms of matter and energy, and each form is contingent upon something else.

Infinite past is something I can't comprehend regardless of a god or no god in the picture, but I see no possible way for all of reality to consist of nothing but things that are contingent upon other things to exist - that's like a house of cards floating in midair. There has to be something that is not contingent that exists as a foundation for the house of cards - the table upon which it rests.

On top of that, this first mover has to exist eternally (otherwise it owes its existence to something else and is not the first mover) be incapable of being acted upon to change its nature (otherwise it is contingent and not the first mover), not be made of matter and energy (these are contingent, even if they are literally eternal), and must be capable of acting upon and influencing the universe (otherwise it is not a mover and is utterly irrelevant to existence). I know of one viable answer to all those qualities, and by human standards it would be a being that would match the definition of a deity. Some form of non-sentient, matter/energy-like substance as a first mover simply doesn't strike me as plausible.

I'm sure you'll reject my reasoning here, but that's what makes sense to me. Pretty much the only game in town, on that front.

B. Prokop said...

"not verifiable in a scientific sense"

Irrelevant. It's not a scientific proposition. Not everything is.

"That event is not repeatable"

100% correct... and your point? (See my posting above from Dec 29, 7:03 PM.)

"nor was it recorded by scientific instrumentation"

So?

"To accept the historicity of this story would require acceptance of the historicity of a great many competing stories."

Since literally billions of people have not found this necessary, on what grounds do you say that it is?

"The story has all the trappings of mythology"

Actually, it has NONE of them. Mythology is always placed "once upon a time" or "long, long ago in a galaxy far, far way", whilst the Gospels are painfully exact in their historical setting ("In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.")

"you have competition from a whole lot of other religions"

Duh. And this is news? If the existence of other religions were a problem for Christianity, it would have disappeared ages ago. So obviously, it's not a problem.

"Even if those recording this event were telling the truth it would not prove [G]od"

It's good enough for me.

Bottom line: Just because you're not convinced by an argument does not mean that it has failed. It simply means you personally haven't been convinced by it.





B. Prokop said...

"The citation of the exact date and time is preposterous."

Not at all, not at all. That is what makes Christianity sui generis amongst religions, to the extent that it doesn't really deserve to be listed alongside them. It is its own genus and species. Christianity is an account of verifiable, historical events that can be precisely located in time and space. No misty "in the Age of the Gods" here, no cloudy Olympus, no never-never land.. but rather exact placement in specific locations at precisely determinable times. The level of detail has no parallel.

The "citation of the exact date and time" is not only not preposterous, it is key to the Kerygma. ("For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." 2 Peter 1:16) ("That which ... we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands ... we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to it you." 1 John 1:1) ("This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses." Acts 2:32)

B. Prokop said...

Belief in an infinite past is no different than belief in turtles all the way down.

T said...

Stardusty, you again completely miss the point regarding Unicorns and God.

Whether their existence is *probable or not* isn't the issue. You specifically replied to someone's comment that "God is uncaused" by saying that "Unicorns are uncaused". Which strongly implies a serious lack of thought and reflection on your part. If you want to be taken seriously around here you'll need to display a greater level of reasoning about the basic concepts in play.

Cal Metzger said...

Jo F: "Oh, well if you simply define “usefulness” with respect to a theory as its contribution of knowledge from which predictions could be made, then there’s no problem with a theistic explanation to begin with as it provides useful explanatory data just the same."

Nope. Theistic explanations don't actually provide useful explanations. If they did, we'd call them by their simpler name -- explanations.

What do they call an theistic explanation that works? An explanation.

Jo F: "I did not say that observations are circular; rather, I said that the way by which you made your observations employed circular reasoning. Nevertheless, I will not insist on this because I don’t think it matters."

Nope. You inferred circular reasoning from my observation. But my observation stands on its own: magical events, like the virgin birth, only happen in stories. That's not reasoning; that's an observable fact. You can't just say, "Well, I disagree." In order to convince anyone that magic happens in reality, you need to demonstrate magic happening in reality. Stories aren't reality.

What requires ad hoc reasoning is a theistic explanation like yours, where magical events happen, EXCEPT IN THOSE TIMES WHEN THEY CAN BE SCIENTIFICALLY OBSERVED.

So, to be clear, my observation is not circular. And my explanation for my observation (that magical events only happen in stories) is the simplest one -- that magical events don't actually occur in reality because (surprise) reality is consistent with itself. Your explanation, that magical events happen in reality but only when there is no scientific observation, is ad hoc. And ad hoc explanations lose, every time. And by lose, I mean they aren't to be taken seriously, and those who insist on believing in them should be ridiculed for being aggressively gullible.

JoF: "Actually, I know of one particular virgin birth that happens not in a “story” but in several Biblical documents which have been confirmed on all sides as being under the genre of historical biography."

LOL. You are some kind of a rube if you think anyone, on any side, categorizing a story as "historical biography" supplants the simple observation that events are recorded without scientific control.

Here's a simple fact about history: we tentatively consider historical documentation, pending standard caveats (source, conflicts, identities, environment, recording and transmission, standard human biases, etc.), EXCEPT THOSE THAT ARE NOT CONSISTENT WITH OBSERVABLE REALITY. That is why, for instance, we don't accept the idea that Zeus transformed into a swan and impregnated some maid -- because we have never, ever observed anything remotely like that happening in reality.

History = the record of human and natural events, with human and natural events being constrained by all those forces that we observe working today. Magic doesn't occur today, so we understand that stories about magic are best explained by the human propensity to be gullible about supernatural stories.

That's all there is to it. It's not even complicated, is it?

JoF: "The survey did not include China, where one report from the China Christian Council over a decade ago attributed roughly half of all new Christian conversions to “faith healing experiences.”

LOL.

Ever wonder why magic happens where there is the least amount of scientific observation?

Hmmmmm.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

"nor was it recorded by scientific instrumentation"

So?"
So the account lacks verifiability. You said "Jesus the Christ verifiably rose from the dead ". But all you have is some ancient stories. Lacking any recordings ,physical evidence, or repeatability your central claim, that of verifiability, is false.

All you have is a story written long after the supposed fact by supposed witnesses. That is worthless for verifiability.

" "To accept the historicity of this story would require acceptance of the historicity of a great many competing stories."

Since literally billions of people have not found this necessary, on what grounds do you say that it is?"
Citing billions of people is mere argumentum ad populum. My statement is based on standards of evidence. If you accept after the fact writing of purported miracles then there are vast numbers of such accounts of equal verifiability, none.

Your claim to verifiability is false.

" "The story has all the trappings of mythology"

Actually, it has NONE of them. Mythology is always placed "once upon a time" or "long, long ago in a galaxy far, far way","
That is just silly.

" whilst the Gospels are painfully exact in their historical setting ("In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.")"
So? Somebody made up a story and added some names, so what?



" "you have competition from a whole lot of other religions"

Duh. And this is news? If the existence of other religions were a problem for Christianity, it would have disappeared ages ago. So obviously, it's not a problem."
It is a problem for a claim of exclusivity given your little story is just as lacking in verifiability as all the rest.



" "Even if those recording this event were telling the truth it would not prove [G]od"

It's good enough for me."
Indeed, that lack of critical thinking skills in that segment of your brain is a common defect of our species. You are obviously a highly intelligent person generally, yet on this particular subject your reasoning skills glaze over and you simply accept a story of a miracle as somehow indicative of a whole collection of traits that are rationally not demonstrated by this purported event even if it were true.

Francis Collins is like that, as are many otherwise brilliant theists.


" Bottom line: Just because you're not convinced by an argument does not mean that it has failed. "
Right, it fails because you have claimed verifiability falsely. It fails on the lack of rational merit to your claim of verifiability, not because any assertion of my personal authority.


December 30, 2016 4:33 PM

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"That is why, for instance, we don't accept the idea that Zeus transformed into a swan and impregnated some maid -- because we have never, ever observed anything remotely like that happening in reality."

Ah, but we have observed something "like that happening in reality" - the Annunciation and the Birth of Christ. The reason the Zeus myth exists at all is because the historical Incarnation DID occur - in real time, in identifiable circumstances, with specificity in place and time.

"All you have is a story written long after the supposed fact"

The Gospels are far more than "a story", and even you know that. And they were hardly written "long after the supposed fact". The earliest Gospel to be written, Matthew, was complete less than 6 years after the Resurrection. Hardly a "long time".

"Citing billions of people is mere argumentum ad populum."

It is not. It is in refutation to your assertion that accepting the Gospel "requires" one to accept all the competing narratives. Since billions of people have not done so, it is obvious that no such requirement exists.

"That is just silly."

A cute way of proving to all and sundry that you do not engage in serious discussion. I demonstrated that the Gospels in no way resemble mythology, by citing specific differences. To show that I am wrong, you need to do more than close your ears and yell "Nyah, nyah, nyah!"

"So? Somebody made up a story and added some names, so what?"

Do you honestly believe that's how the New Testament was composed? Because if so, you really need to go back to school and actually learn something about what you are spouting off so ignorantly. Seriously, stop embarrassing yourself.

"given your little story is just as lacking in verifiability as all the rest"

But you fail to see the essential difference between the Gospels and "all the rest". Christianity is the ONLY religion that rests on actual events that can be placed in specific locations at precise times, with names, dates, and a wealth of (often frankly extraneous) detail completely absent in "all the rest". The positive case for the historicity and veracity of the Gospel narrative is overwhelming, and (as I have previously posted) there has never been a believable counter-narrative to challenge it, despite 2000 years of trying.

"It's good enough for me." ... that lack of critical thinking skills

Au contraire, it was decades of extensive research and very critical thinking that led me to accept the Gospels as.. (wait for it).. the Gospel Truth.

Stardusty Psyche said...

B. Prokop said...

" Belief in an infinite past is no different than belief in turtles all the way down."
Hence the great existential riddle for which the idle speculation of god has no explanatory power.

December 30, 2016 4:52 PM

Jo F said...

@ Stardusty
See: Hilbert's Hotel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert's_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel

1. If the universe has an infinite past, a simultaneous infinity of objects is possible.
2. If a simultaneous infinity of objects is possible, Hilbert's Hotel is possible.
3. Hilbert's Hotel is impossible.
4. So, the universe doesn't have an infinite past.

If the universe has a finite past, then the universe began to exist.
The universe has a finite past.
Therefore, the universe began to exist.

Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
The universe began to exist.
Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.


Thanks to Dr. Alexander Pruss for blogging about this.

Stardusty Psyche said...

T said...
"
Stardusty, you again completely miss the point regarding Unicorns and God.

Whether their existence is *probable or not* isn't the issue. You specifically replied to someone's comment that "God is uncaused" by saying that "Unicorns are uncaused". Which strongly implies a serious lack of thought and reflection on your part."
You fail to comprehend the point, which is merely defining some magical speculated entity as uncaused has no explanatory power and is thus worthless.

I can make up stories about uncaused beings of many sorts, like god for example, or magic unicorns, or turtles, or whatever. All such speculations are of equal value.

Magic unicorns is an entirely appropriate alternate speculation to the theistic speculation of god. Both speculations are equally frivolous, but you take one of them very seriously.


December 30, 2016 5:28 PM

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 470   Newer› Newest»