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Old 07-23-2013, 01:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Well, let me nudge your imagination a little .....
Unless you live in a bubble, you are affected by religion almost on a daily basis.
Where I live far less than in the U.S. believe me.

But when I lived in the U.S. I did not waste my time holding "debates", like this thread is an example of, with individuals simply because the currency has "In God We Trust" on it. There is no point in it whatsoever, except to get a big roaring HO about your point of view (whichever one it might be.)

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Like I had said earlier:
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The religious beliefs infringe into the non-believer's lives on a regular basis. To list a few:
- most religions condemn atheists to hell
- religions push policy (e.g. do not teach evolution in school, teach creationism)
- religions get special status and too much attention (e.g. tax exempt)

Therefore one side needs to lose the argument.
None of these....and certainly not that ridiculous first one - (I mean, do you really care about that bit of pootinky), are any reason for me to debate with any theist.

I take my objections to the ballot box, and give my support and money to those who do not support religion in public life. I am not about to waste my personal time in the kinds of totally asinine atheist vs theist debates that occur constantly in this religion forum.

They stand as an excellent lesson in how utterly pointless this kind of "debate" is.
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:29 PM
 
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I really do not like debating non-issues. You are seriously trying to convince me that religion has NO impact on the lives of non-religious people?
Where do you want me to begin? The religious wars and persecutions that have killed millions of people might not affect you personally .... but affects human-kind!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevxu View Post
Where I live far less than in the U.S. believe me.

But when I lived in the U.S. I did not waste my time holding "debates", like this thread is an example of, with individuals simply because the currency has "In God We Trust" on it. There is no point in it whatsoever, except to get a big roaring HO about your point of view (whichever one it might be.)
Do you live in la-la land? Like I said, it might not affect you personally .... but it affects US as a whole. The blockages in stem cell research due to religious reasons have affected you and me. They have hindered Scientific research and a possible cancer treatment ....



Quote:
None of these....and certainly not that ridiculous first one - (I mean, do you really care about that bit of pootinky), are any reason for me to debate with any theist.
You can call it ridiculous, but even today there are countries where you can be persecuted for being an atheist. By condemning me to HELL, the religious people are NOT staying out of my life. Whether or not you take that seriously is irrelevant.
Me calling you a " dirty **** pig" may or may not offend you. But it does not mean that it is okay for me to call you names.

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I take my objections to the ballot box, and give my support and money to those who do not support religion in public life. I am not about to waste my personal time in the kinds of totally asinine atheist vs theist debates that occur constantly in this religion forum.
They stand as an excellent lesson in how utterly pointless this kind of "debate" is.
I am sorry, but this is a stupid argument. Atheists are minorities. Any ballot issue that pits atheists against theists is only going to end one way! That's why such a debate is essential. You need to change public opinion.

If you are so convinced that these debates are useless and a waste of your time ... then why are you .... umm .. debating?
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Why should we Atheists debate with Theists?
The thread is not about whether we should or not. The thread is about... and for.... people who do. Why try and hijack and derail it? If you have no interest in debating then simply leave the field and leave us to our thread on the topic. Do you go into threads on football and ask "Why bother playing the game anyway it is useless" for example? Or if someone in the cookery forum asks for a recipe for pulled pork do you go in and say "Why do you want that, pork is yucky!".

If you have nothing to add to the topic, simply do not post on the thread. There is rules around here about thread hijacking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
The question that plays with my mind till this day is the "fine tuning of the universe" argument and how some claim that this serves as a pointer to a god or creator.
The problem with that "argument" is that the fine tuning is wholly declared and assumed. It is like a puddle coming alive and marveling that the hole it finds itself in _just happens_ to be the right shape to accommodate that puddles shape. When in fact it was the puddle that formed to fit the hole.

There is no reason to think the universe is or was fine tuned. Certainly not for life. Rather life formed to fit the hole it found itself in.

To answer your main OP question though.... no nothing the theists have come out with has "stumped" me except in so far as there are questions none of us have the answers to where the current answer is "W" do not know". The issue for me is that theists use such open questions as if they are evidence for god. "You do not know? Well GOD answers that question. Therefore GOD!".
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
The problem with that "argument" is that the fine tuning is wholly declared and assumed. It is like a puddle coming alive and marveling that the hole it finds itself in _just happens_ to be the right shape to accommodate that puddles shape. When in fact it was the puddle that formed to fit the hole.
The term "fine tuned universe" has been used by several people out of context. But here, I was simply talking about the astonishing precision of the universe's physical constants that has been alluded to by many mathematicians and physicists.

The speed of light is one such constant. If I were to apply your puddle analogy here: I would be saying that the speed of light just took up the precise value of 299 792 458 m/s to fit the universe. Maybe you are right .. I don't know! It is an interesting way of looking at it ....

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There is no reason to think the universe is or was fine tuned. Certainly not for life. Rather life formed to fit the hole it found itself in.
Yes. I agree. LIFE formed to fit the conditions on EARTH.

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To answer your main OP question though.... no nothing the theists have come out with has "stumped" me except in so far as there are questions none of us have the answers to where the current answer is "W" do not know". The issue for me is that theists use such open questions as if they are evidence for god. "You do not know? Well GOD answers that question. Therefore GOD!".
Theists who do that are STUPID.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:58 PM
 
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To consider the point Kevxu made, while in the UK, religion is not the threat to reason that it is (or was) in the US, it is still far too influential. It is still considered ok to try to get UK society to dance to the religious tune, to give it special consideration, respect and authority in our society - as a whole and individually.

I watched a programme wherein Dawkins was lecturing a bunch of schoolkids on the evidence of evolution, because they had been sold creationism. It mentioned that pressure is put on schools not to mention evolution, never mind teach it.

Absolutely there is no cause for complacency in the UK let alone in the US. It is needed and urgent to increase the pressure, not ease up.

P.s. While evolution -theory is really not important in the religion debate, it has become so, not just because it undermines a literalist reading of Genesis, but because it is a sort of article of faith that evolution must be false if Christianity (and Islam too, it seems) is true.

It is unacceptable that a mechanism with the evidence behind it that evolution has should be elbowed out of education because of some doctrinal prejudice against it.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
The term "fine tuned universe" has been used by several people out of context. But here, I was simply talking about the astonishing precision of the universe's physical constants that has been alluded to by many mathematicians and physicists.
I know. And as I said that percision is wholly declared and assumed. It is often misrepresented by theists in debate such as Militant Homophone Dinesh D'Souza.

What people like Dinesh do it declare that if you changed ONE constant the universe would fall apart and could not exist. Therefore the universe MUST be exactly as it is now or it could not exist.

There is a subtle lie of ommission...... a complete non-sequitur.... hidden in the gap after the first full stop there. A leap of monumental proportions that theists like Dinesh hope you do not notice.

That is: While it may be true that changing ONE constant would break the system that does NOT mean that ALL the constants have to be as they are now.

Take an analogy. Imagine a game of tug of war. The game is evenly matched. No side is winning. They pull and they pull but no side gains an advantage. Dead lock. Now if I say "If I change one attribute about the contestants I would break this deadlock! For example if I make Fred 100 pounds heavier his team would have weight advantage therefore the deadlock would be broken.

That is all true. However if I then said "This means that we have hit on the one combination of players that could possibly result in a deadlock" I would be outright lying. Sure I could replace Fred with a player 100 pounds heavier. But I could then replace Mike on his team with someone weaker. Or replace someone on the other side with someone stronger. Or simply add or subtract a player from either side entirely. In fact there are any number of infinite combinations of people that could result in a deadlock.

The same is true of "fine tuning". They might be right that changing ONE constant would cause the universe to break down but that does not mean the universe must be as it is now. There could be other combinations balancing that change. There could be other constants in other universes. We can add, subtract and change players/constants in our game and end up with an infinite number of combinations that result in a stable universe.

So yes if you change the speed of light in a vacuum you change a lot... but if OTHER things are changed to balance that then you have another stable universe, and another, and another, for infinity.

So beware that little leap/trick/lie hidden in the theist "argument" on this matter. It is one they hope (pray) you will never notice. But now it has been pointed out to you and you are forearmed with the knowledge to resist that technique.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Yes. I agree. LIFE formed to fit the conditions on EARTH.
Yeah thats another problem with their "argument". They declare the universe is fine tuned for life when in fact the monumentally vast majority of it is anything but. There are parts of it that would kill you in an instant. In fact _even then_ on earth there are whole parts that are uninhabitable by life as we know it. So the idea that the universe is fine tuned for life is just a joke. The universe is a continuum of conditions and one tiny tiny tiny portion of it happens to support life.

So saying the universe is fine tuned for life is like a tiny red bug sitting on the EXACT part of a rainbow that just happens to match his color and declaring "This rainbow is fine tuned to camouflage me".... ignoring entirely the vast array of color on either side of him that is anything but. It is THAT mass ignoring of inconvenient fact that makes up the theist world view.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:30 AM
 
1,701 posts, read 1,997,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
There is a subtle lie of ommission...... a complete non-sequitur.... hidden in the gap after the first full stop there. A leap of monumental proportions that theists like Dinesh hope you do not notice.

That is: While it may be true that changing ONE constant would break the system that does NOT mean that ALL the constants have to be as they are now.

Take an analogy. Imagine a game of tug of war. The game is evenly matched. No side is winning. They pull and they pull but no side gains an advantage. Dead lock. Now if I say "If I change one attribute about the contestants I would break this deadlock! For example if I make Fred 100 pounds heavier his team would have weight advantage therefore the deadlock would be broken.

That is all true. However if I then said "This means that we have hit on the one combination of players that could possibly result in a deadlock" I would be outright lying. Sure I could replace Fred with a player 100 pounds heavier. But I could then replace Mike on his team with someone weaker. Or replace someone on the other side with someone stronger. Or simply add or subtract a player from either side entirely. In fact there are any number of infinite combinations of people that could result in a deadlock.

The same is true of "fine tuning". They might be right that changing ONE constant would cause the universe to break down but that does not mean the universe must be as it is now. There could be other combinations balancing that change. There could be other constants in other universes. We can add, subtract and change players/constants in our game and end up with an infinite number of combinations that result in a stable universe.
Well, said. I especially like your tug of war analogy. To reiterate: you are essentially saying that while universal constants might appear fine tuned, one could conceive of an infinite number of constants, that in combination might 'work' in the same sort of way.

Thinking in this direction basically leads one down to the idea of multiple universes. For better or worse .. the idea of multiple universes raises more questions than it answers.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:01 AM
 
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Default A debate between christopher hitchens and douglas wilson

Staying on topic ...
I did say earlier in this thread that I found theologian Douglas Wilson's arguments to be quite intriguing. While they did not "stump" me ... I think he does try and debate atheism from a very unique angle. And makes some very interesting points.

Here's an excerpt from his debate with late Christopher Hitchens.

Quote:
DOUGLAS WILSON's response to Hitchens:
Now we really need to address the point you (Hitchens) continue to miss. I am not talking about whether atheists must do evil, or if they can do evil. I have denied the former, and you have now granted the latter. But that is not the point. We are not talking about whether your atheism compels you to run downtown this evening to shoot out the street lights. I grant that it does not. And we are not talking about whether atheists can do vile things. You grant that they can. We are talking about (or, more accurately, I am trying to talk about) whether or not atheism provides any rational basis for rational condemnation when others decide to misbehave this way. You keep saying, “I have come to my ethical position.” I keep asking, “Yes, quite. But why did you do so?”
So the point is not whether we could rustle up some nice places governed by atheists or some hellholes governed by Christians. If given a choice between living in a Virginia governed by Jefferson and living in a Russia under the czars, I would opt to live under your beloved Jefferson. Fine. But this is not a concession, because it is not the point.
Take the vilest atheist you ever heard of. Imagine yourself sitting at his bedside shortly before he passes away. He says, following Sinatra, “I did it my way.” And then he adds, chuckling, “Got away with it too.” In our thought experiment, the one rule is that you must say something to him, and whatever you say, it must flow directly from your shared atheism—and it must challenge the morality of his choices. What can you possibly say? He did get away with it. There is a great deal of injustice behind him, which he perpetrated, and no justice in front of him. You have no basis for saying anything to him other than to point to your own set of personal prejudices and preferences. You mention this to him, and he shrugs. “Tomayto, tomahto.”

I am certainly willing to take the same thought experiment. I can imagine some pretty vile Christians, and if I couldn’t, I am sure you could help me. The difference between us is that I have a basis for condemning evil in its Christian guise. You have no basis for confronting evil in its atheist guise, or in its Christian guise, either. When you say that a certain practice is evil, you have to be prepared to tell us why it is evil. And this brings us to the last point—you make the first glimmer of an attempt to provide a basis for ethics.
You say in passing that ethical imperatives are “derived from innate human solidarity.” A host of difficult questions immediately arise, which is perhaps why atheists are generally so coy about trying to answer this question. Derived by whom? Is this derivation authoritative? Do the rest of us ever get to vote on which derivations represent true, innate human solidarity? Do we ever get to vote on the authorized derivers? On what basis is innate human solidarity authoritative? If someone rejects innate human solidarity, are they being evil, or are they just a mutation in the inevitable changes that the evolutionary process requires? What is the precise nature of human solidarity? What is easier to read, the book of Romans or innate human solidarity? Are there different denominations that read the book of innate human solidarity differently? Which one is right? Who says?
And last, does innate human solidarity believe in God?
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Thinking in this direction basically leads one down to the idea of multiple universes. For better or worse .. the idea of multiple universes raises more questions than it answers.
It might lead you to that idea but it is not an idea that my point relies on, implies, or refers to. My point stands entirely apart from that idea.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
I did say earlier in this thread that I found theologian Douglas Wilson's arguments to be quite intriguing.
They are not his arguments. The exact same arguments were made 1000s of times by 1000s of people long before he ever came into this world.

He is basically asserting the argument from morality. That anyone can be moral or immoral. But there is no way of grounding an objective morality without a god.

This is an invented argument. The argument invents the concept of an objective morality. Declares it exists. Then demands you explain the existence of this objective morality if there is no god.

The reason the argument fails is that basis I just mentioned.... the existence of objective morality.... is wholly assumed and asserted out of nowhere. Speakers like Wilson are wholesale extracting it from their back orifice.

Essentially it is a circular argument. You assert based on nothing there is a god and you use this to assert there is an objective morality. You then use that objective morality to assert there is a god. And so on around and around in that circle ad infinitum.

the issue is that to break that circular argument the speaker either needs to evidence the existence of god.... or evidence the existence of an objective standard of morality and "right" and "wrong".

As they have done neither their argument is essentially a linguistic attempt to pull themselves up into the air by the bootstraps.
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