Atheism Is Not A Belief System

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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby RAnthony » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:17 am

Falsifiability or verification. If your opinions or beliefs cannot be falsified or verified, they are meaningless to anyone besides yourself. If the theists could produce a god that could be tested, I'd have to admit that there was a god. Of course, if they did produce a god I'd probably be forced to point out that any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic (or as Kirk said "what does god want with a spaceship?") but that's nitpicking. if they could produce a being, or even a phenomina, that could be reliably checked and confirmed, I'd have to say they might have something.

...however, I'm not holding my breath on that count.

There is no such thing as perfect. Not perfect faith, perfect knowledge, etc. We delude ourselves with the dream of perfection, but perfectionism is a disease, not a dream to be achieved. I've met some pretty good priests and pastors over the years, but I've never met or ever heard of one that had perfect faith. Everyone had doubts. I simply wish that they'd keep they're doubts to themselves, and not burden me with the their need to remove their doubts by attacking my lack of faith. I'm perfectly happy without it...
"I unsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker with no past at my back." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby RAnthony » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:42 am

Also; as for belief systems that include Atheism, I noticed that my favorite religionist populated his list with what he deemed were negative philosophies.

Me personally, I'm satisfied with classifying myself as an Objectivist (http://www.atlassociety.org/) even though I'm convinced (as the empress herself was) that 90 percent of Objectivists haven't a clue what the philosophy actually promotes. So using that as an indictment of Atheism is going to fall on deaf ears in this quarter. But beyond that the list was basically bullshit.

If you really wanted a list of philosophies, you have to start with Humanism http://www.secularhumanism.org/ and then move on down the list. It's pointless to start anywhere else.

Somewhere on your list you'd have to include Unitarian Universalists as well http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian_Universalism and when you start including actual religions on your list, you've pretty much established that there's nothing really damning about being an atheist...
"I unsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker with no past at my back." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:17 am

RAnthony wrote:Falsifiability or verification. If your opinions or beliefs cannot be falsified or verified, they are meaningless to anyone besides yourself. If the theists could produce a god that could be tested, I'd have to admit that there was a god. Of course, if they did produce a god I'd probably be forced to point out that any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic (or as Kirk said "what does god want with a spaceship?") but that's nitpicking. if they could produce a being, or even a phenomina, that could be reliably checked and confirmed, I'd have to say they might have something.

...however, I'm not holding my breath on that count.

There is no such thing as perfect. Not perfect faith, perfect knowledge, etc. We delude ourselves with the dream of perfection, but perfectionism is a disease, not a dream to be achieved. I've met some pretty good priests and pastors over the years, but I've never met or ever heard of one that had perfect faith. Everyone had doubts. I simply wish that they'd keep they're doubts to themselves, and not burden me with the their need to remove their doubts by attacking my lack of faith. I'm perfectly happy without it...




(A) All statements which cannot be verified or falsified are meaningless.
(B) Verify or falsify statement (A).
Contradiction.


That is the beginning and end of this crap argument.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby RAnthony » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:50 am

Full disclosure. Due diligence. Evidentiary requirements. I could go on. All human interactions of value have some basis for verification or falsification. Once again doc, you're simply wrong.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby RAnthony » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:04 am

...and my eyes rolled so hard I got a concussion and couldn't post for days, when I brought up the Golden Rule previously;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term "Golden Rule" (or "Golden law", as it was called from the 1670s).[2][7] As a concept of "the ethic of reciprocity," it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[2][6] It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, "two-way" nature in various ways
---
Statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt in the story of The Eloquent Peasant.[8][clarification needed] Rushworth Kidder discusses the early contributions of Confucius (551–479 B.C.) (See a version in Confucianism below). Kidder notes that this concept's framework appears prominently in many religions, including "Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world's major religions".[9] According to Greg M. Epstein, " 'do unto others' ... is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely."[10] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".[11]
Flawed, irrelevant, and...
...what were those other mindless dismissals of a a fundamental principal of human interaction? I forget now.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby ryanm » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:47 pm

boethius wrote:No, that confidence is based on an assumption--unprovable--that everything within the material world is internally consistent and understandable by human reasoning.

That is an assumption. The universe could be irrational, could be random. The scientist assumes it is not. When faced with new phenomenon, the scientist assumes it must have a material cause and looks for that material cause BEFORE he has any direct evidence of a material cause.

Before the scientist finds the material cause for phenomenon X, he is taking on faith that such a material cause exists.

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Maybe it's not a strawman, maybe you really just don't get it...

Do you understand the difference between taking something on faith (assuming the truth of something without regard to evidence) and assuming consistency with previous experience while you look for evidence that would suggest otherwise? The latter is what science does. It says "So far, in our aggregate experience, the world appears to be consistent and understandable. So, for a given phenomena, let's start from the most consistent and understandable explanation, and then look for evidence that the most consistent and understandable explanation may not be the correct one."

And before you argue my defenitions:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith
faith [feyth]
noun
2. belief that is not based on proof

Faith has no regard for evidence, at all, period. What my pastor told me when I was young is that "proof denies faith." If you were to have proof of something, it becomes impossible for you to have faith in it, because you have the evidence in front of you; no faith required. It becomes simple fact.

There is exactly zero in common between what scientists do when they make assumptions (which is to look for ways to falsify their assumptions), and what the religious do when they have faith (which is ignore any evidence which might falsify their faith).
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:04 pm

RAnthony wrote:Full disclosure. Due diligence. Evidentiary requirements. I could go on. All human interactions of value have some basis for verification or falsification. Once again doc, you're simply wrong.



I just pointed out that your statement is self-contradictory and I am "simply wrong"? Can you please tell me how you do not contradict yourself?

You say that all statements are meaningless unless they can be empirically verified. Can you please empirically verify that statement? Or do you really mean that everybody else must meet a standard you do not hold for your own opinions?

If "simply wrong" is the answer to that, then I guess we really did decide to leave logic and reason at the door.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby RAnthony » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:38 pm

I could just as truthfully point out that your statements are vermillion, and then explain why they are that specific color, and it would be just as tangential and irrelevant. FYI, I empirically verified the statement, because I knew that you would ignore the point of the post and deflect it in a direction you send all atheist arguments; that they are all illogical. Citing standards in common use that in essence replicate what the statement says on it's face; that to be of value, information must be verifiable or falsifiable. The statement isn't self-contradictory if in fact it is verifiably true.

You are wrong unless you want to start talking about the value of entertainment or story-telling, as a way of giving value to falsehoods or metaphors, I'll leave that to you if you want to walk that fine line.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:08 pm

RAnthony wrote:I could just as truthfully point out that your statements are vermillion, and then explain why they are that specific color, and it would be just as tangential and irrelevant. FYI, I empirically verified the statement, because I knew that you would ignore the point of the post and deflect it in a direction you send all atheist arguments; that they are all illogical. Citing standards in common use that in essence replicate what the statement says on it's face; that to be of value, information must be verifiable or falsifiable. The statement isn't self-contradictory if in fact it is verifiably true.

You are wrong unless you want to start talking about the value of entertainment or story-telling, as a way of giving value to falsehoods or metaphors, I'll leave that to you if you want to walk that fine line.




How is it verifiably true that only verifiable statements are meaningful? Do you not realize you also threw out science with that heuristic? This was a philosophical dead end -- like more than a half a century ago. Where do you even find this stuff?

Verificationism was abandoned because of that self-contradiction. Falsificationism only has value when applied to scientific statements. It's more accurate to say that a statement is not scientific unless it can be falsified. If you applied that heuristic to all statements, then besides being a contradiction, you would lose the underpinnings of the philosophy of science itself. You need the philosophy of science in order to describe what essentially is a membership relation for scientific statements. That is what falsification means. If a statement can be empiracally falsified, then it is scientific. But to get to that point, you must utilize a lot of epistemology that definitely does not qualify according to this criteria.

It's a bad direction. You don't need to resort to this argument to defend atheism. It's a guaranteed loss in a real debate because you cannot escape the self-contradiction.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby DrYouth » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:07 am

So then DrS - theism is not falsifiable...
Atheism is also not falsifiable.
Any efforts to prove either are in vain.
The score remains Atheists 0: Theists 0

Referring to science to support or refute Theism is essentially illogical.

I believe drtrech's point was pointing to science - i.e. the scientific observations that have led us to conclude that the universe had a beginning - as evidence supporting Theism is essentially silly.

Theism is not a falsifiable construct. Looking for evidence of something that cannot be proven false is essentially illogical.
As for Atheism it often points to evidence that seems to "disprove" theism... This is equally misguided. The best atheism can do is say that certain aspects of Theism may seem "unlikely" but there is no way for atheism to prove Theism to be "false" - or Athiesm to be "true" for that matter.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby drtrech » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:00 pm

Just because one side of a coin is "heads," it doesnt mean that the other side is "tails.".

Blank is not "tails" and it is only perceived as blank because the "heads" side was created.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby ryanm » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:56 pm

drtrech wrote:Just because one side of a coin is "heads," it doesnt mean that the other side is "tails.".

Blank is not "tails" and it is only perceived as blank because the "heads" side was invented.

Fixed that for you. ;)
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby Rhoetus » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:06 pm

RAnthony wrote:I've caught Rhoetus in so many contradictions now that I'm bored with the game.
Have you now? And what contradictions would those be? Just because I don't spend every waking hour on here doesn't mean I wont stop by and spank you again if I need to... although DocS's pointing out the illogic of your verificationism/falsificationism is hilarious to me. That trap has been set for 50 or more pages and you blithely walked right into it.
Rhoetus wrote:So, give me a New Testament quote that points out that women are not equal... I have given you a quote that shows they unequivocally are equal.
To which you respond:
wise_owl wrote:If Person A has to Obey person B, but Person B does not have to Obey Person A, than they are not equal.
Which not only does not give a quote, but your conclusion does not follow from your premises. You are driving down the highway, and a flagman signals you to shift lanes. You are obliged to obey him. Are you thus less than equal to that flagman? Or how about this, the President is about to step onto a stage and his Secret Service agent holds out a hand to restrain him until she gets the "all clear". Is then the President less than equal to that Secret Service Agent? How about the other agent obliging that agent to restrain the President?
Oh, here are some quotes... lets see what one of them actually says, shall we? 1 Peter 3:1 "In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News." and verse 7 "In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you..." Now, if we left it there, then I might agree with you...certainly not misogynistic, but possibly sexist... but lets go just a little further...for context. verse 1, why would you accept the authority of your husband? becuase "Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words." Not because God wants the man to lord over the woman, but because it is a form of witnessing. And verse 7, first, we are to honor our wife, treat her with understanding, not bully her just because we are stronger, and now for what comes after the points of elipses above...", but she is your EQUAL partner in God's gift of new life." and the next line? "If you don't treat he as you should, your prayers will not be heard."
wise_owl wrote:The Catholic Church didn't come up with it's 'No Lady Priests' rule by fiat.
Actually, it did exactly that... do you know what fiat means? Its not just a buggy little car.
wise_owl wrote:Never men being admonished to chastity or modesty.
...so you really don't have any knowledge of the Bible, do you? Search for self-control some time and see how many are woman-specific.
wise_owl wrote:I would disagree with your morally here; being free does have intrinsic greater moral value than being a slave.
And I will disagree with your morality here...you are claiming that a master is morally superior to his/her slave? If anything the opposite could be argued... that one who does not enslave another has more moral value... thus being a slave would be morally superior to being a slave master. It is times like this that I despair of having an intelligent discussion.
wise_owl wrote:I disagree. Plenty of us are in that position. Hell, all of us. And no, they arent' restricted to it, but than by that logic one could say "Well why rail against Nazism, I mean Mass murder isn't limited to Nazism".
No, none of us are in a position to claim just how much suffering, rape, and murder would have been avoided. First, because none of those things came to an end with emancipation. Secondly, National SOcialism by itself isn't a terrible construct. However, under the reign of Hitler and his associates, when racism was given full rein, it certainly was a system to be railed against.
wise_owl wrote:If 'god says so' is the only guiding principal to morality than anything can effectively be justified, and usually is.
However, it must be justified. One would have to show HOW it is justified. Without Divine COmmand, you areleft to your own devices, when no justification other than "I thought it was the right thing to do" or "I don't think you are doing the right thing" is the only justification needed for any of the same actions.
wise_owl wrote:Your god isn't the Muslims god, yet both of you are making the exact same theological arguments for both 'his' existance, and his moral supremacy.
Neither Muslims nor I worship a god. I believe we both worship the same God, but have differences in how we see His revelation...thus, yes, we have the same basic arguments for His existence and moral supremecy. It would probably hold for any Supreme Being, even one that the Abrahamic traditions would reject.
wise_owl wrote:Yes you are. All your moral judgements can be referenced back to this invisible friend. "God says so". If God tells you to mass murder children in preparation for the end-times, what argument do I have against that? What argument do you? You don't. To you, in fact, not to obey this invisible friends wll would be intrinsically evil.
Back to 3rd grade then... No, I'm not. All of my moral judgements should be referenced back to my "invisible friend". If God told me to mass murder children, then it would, in fact, be a moral obligation to do so. It is an interesting counter-factual, and let us explore it some... how would I know that it was God telling me to do such a thing? Give me a scenario where that might happen.
wise_owl wrote:In the end, all you have is your own moral judgement, as do I, you selectively want to suggest that elements of your moral judgement are somehow above reproach, or otherwise you 'God' is useless to your morally.
None of the elements of my moral judgement are above reproach. I have never claimed they are... I have indeed pointed out that they are at least AS FLAWED as any other. My God is the moral standard to which I strive... the ideal to which I will not get in this life.
wise_owl wrote:Regardless however, again, even if we accept the rest of the Cosmological argument, the 4th postulate doens't lead to the god of theism.
Actually it does... that god may not be the God of the Abrahamic traditions, but it would be a necessary being, supremely powerful, transcendent of time and space, immaterial and non-physical. The jump to who fills that billet is where you can argue, but not that something is by necessity in that billet. As to the qualities... it must be necessary rather than contingent, because any contignet being would have a cause...and thus it would travel upwards toward the necessary being, supremely powerful because all energy in the universe would have come from this being, transcendent of time and space because both time and space require a cause, as does what is material and physical. The arguemt for personal comes from the need for this being to have created from its own free will, independent of any prior conditions. These aren't the arbitrary set of qualities you would have them be... they also fit in just right with the Abrahamic Tradition's sense of God.
wise_owl wrote:You don't seem to understand quantum mechanics than. You can't point to a cause for virtual particles besides 'existence'.
(Then... not "than") Dare I say it? Yes, I dare... tautology...poof your argument magically goes away. But now I'm getting ungracious...alright, let me try to refocus... Because there is time, space, energy and material in the universe in which virtual particles exist, they cannot claim to be uncaused. You can claim to not understand where/when/from what they come, but not that they exist as necessary items...indeed, the fact that they "leave" after an indeterminate period of time proves that they are not necessary.
wise_owl wrote:Your argument once more quickly goes from logic to tuatology. "Well they exist so they must have a cause" which undermines of the argument in of itself.
First, that is not my argument... it is your strawman version of the argument. THe argument would more appropriately be "they started to exist, so they have a cause" Secondly, this whole "tautology" thing is getting old. It is your own personal taxicab fallacy, dismissing something when you don't want it. A statement is only a tautology when it brings no further value to a statement. "Salt is Salt" is a tautology, "Salt is NaCl" is not a tautology. Otherwise, any positive statement that is true, is thus a tautology...including this statement: "a tautology is saying the same thing twice" (and by the way, it is a flaw in style, not substance)
wise_owl wrote:. My argument here is basically that any god that could, would commit suicide.... of course ultimately this isn't an argument, it's demonstrative of the ridiculousness of the logical construct theists revert to.
Why do you say that a god who could would commit suicide? What basis do you have for making this statement? We don't need to look at deities to see that mere mortals CAN commit suicide, but don't always to so.
wise_owl wrote:I respectfully disagree. This is another invertable position. 'Good is merely the absence of Evil'.
Not really, the absence of evil can easily be neutral, not necessarily good.
wise_owl wrote:Why not kick out the middle man and just say there is an objective, discoverable system of morality that exists independently of anythign else, something akin to mathematics. This is exactly what you are claiming, save that you are asserting this system is sentient and make decisions.
Close... Rather I assert that the sentient, decison-making being is what morality is dependent upon. If you had this system that existed independently of anything else then you would have your god. This is pretty ridiculous though, as it would imply that if nothing but this system existed it would still be true....if that were the case then it would follow that the system would either be dependent upon moral agents, and thus not actually independent, or else that it would have nothing at all to say about contingent beings...which would make it something very much akin to mathematics, but not at all akin to morality.
wise_owl wrote:So in summation; The Cosmological argument really isn't one. God cannot be a font of morality because than their fundamentally isn't morality. Also, the way that can be told is not the true unchanging way.
Your summation is based upon a list of false statements, or at the very least arguably false statements. The Cosmological argument holds and God is the font of morality because without a God there is no morality. As to "the way that can be told"...just because we may not be able to perfectly apply the "way" does not mean that it doesn't exist...simply that we are imperfect. Just because our understanding of the Big Bang has changed over time doesn't mean that it is then false.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby boethius » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:41 pm

ryanm wrote:
drtrech wrote:Just because one side of a coin is "heads," it doesnt mean that the other side is "tails.".

Blank is not "tails" and it is only perceived as blank because the "heads" side was invented.

Fixed that for you. ;)

According to the Jared Diamond video earlier in this thread, it was evolved. Independently, many times, by nearly every human culture ever studied.
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Re: Atheism is not a belief system

Postby ryanm » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:54 pm

Rhoetus wrote:Back to 3rd grade then... No, I'm not. All of my moral judgements should be referenced back to my "invisible friend". If God told me to mass murder children, then it would, in fact, be a moral obligation to do so. It is an interesting counter-factual, and let us explore it some... how would I know that it was God telling me to do such a thing? Give me a scenario where that might happen.

Say a booming voice from the sky told you you needed to sacrifice your son... or maybe you were told that an unclean people were living in your promised land and they needed a little genocide... you know, the usual biblical scenarios. And the question, which you posed, is the correct one: how do you know you're being commanded by god? In all of this argument that is the correct question. And the only possible answer is that you don't; you believe. So what your argument amounts to is that because you believe that god is good, then you attribute your own, personal, moral decisions to god, and your own, personal, immoral decisions to the devil, and essentially justify it all in hindsight.


Actually it does... that god may not be the God of the Abrahamic traditions, but it would be a necessary being, supremely powerful, transcendent of time and space, immaterial and non-physical. The jump to who fills that billet is where you can argue, but not that something is by necessity in that billet. As to the qualities... it must be necessary rather than contingent, because any contignet being would have a cause...and thus it would travel upwards toward the necessary being, supremely powerful because all energy in the universe would have come from this being, transcendent of time and space because both time and space require a cause, as does what is material and physical. The arguemt for personal comes from the need for this being to have created from its own free will, independent of any prior conditions. These aren't the arbitrary set of qualities you would have them be... they also fit in just right with the Abrahamic Tradition's sense of God.

Actually, it doesn't. It's based on the untestable premise that the universe began to exist in the sense that you are using the phrase "began to exist." Which is not proven, or even self-evident. It's an assumption. Anyone can build a logical argument on assumptions that can't be tested.

Because there is time, space, energy and material in the universe in which virtual particles exist, they cannot claim to be uncaused. You can claim to not understand where/when/from what they come, but not that they exist as necessary items...indeed, the fact that they "leave" after an indeterminate period of time proves that they are not necessary.

Uh... same could be said for any deity.

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