U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 07-10-2013, 10:44 AM
 
1,701 posts, read 1,996,068 times
Reputation: 1027

Advertisements

Atheists and Theists: when debating each other, have you ever come across a question posed by the other side that has stumped you? Or at least made you pause and think?

And how did you answer it?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 07-10-2013, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,115,930 times
Reputation: 1399
Why should we Atheists debate with Theists?

They have their beliefs and we have ours and both of us are satisfied with our approach to life. Why debate?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 11:10 AM
 
1,701 posts, read 1,996,068 times
Reputation: 1027
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Why should we Atheists debate with Theists?

They have their beliefs and we have ours and both of us are satisfied with our approach to life. Why debate?
That's easy. 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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 11:14 AM
 
39,172 posts, read 10,865,034 times
Reputation: 5092
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
Atheists and Theists: when debating each other, have you ever come across a question posed by the other side that has stumped you? Or at least made you pause and think?

And how did you answer it?
At last A thread with a new and interesting question. Well, in fact there have been a few. The T rex soft tissue, the Calf altar and Jebl Lawz site, and in fact the whole Wyatt case for the Red sea crossing, the Ica stones and Acambara statues, the NAMI Ark, the Hard Question was a long -standing challenge to the materialist default and that is about it, really. Maybe the list of archaeological/historical 'proofs' of Jesus gave me some work, but it soon became clear that a lot was irrelevant (like the Babylonian inscriptions) and dubious (like the Tomb of Samuel or Solomon, was it, which is more likely of hasmonean date) and that very interesting silver scroll of 600 BC with a quote from Numbers on it as part of a blessing. It really didn't add up to much but an indication that the books of the law were of more importance than the other ones at that relatively early stage.

The T rex soft tissue I recall stopped me dead in mid -hoot (on the old AN forum that was) and I could imagine that soft tissue in an airtight seal might just survive indefinitely, but I could see that would be a hard one to argue.
Of course it later came out that the soft tissue itself had really been mineralized as part of the fossilization process and the T Rex hamburger argument was grossly overdone.

Jebl Lawz in fact turned out to look less like the sinai site than a scatter of scree and a rock outcrop with herdmans' graffiti on it. The Land bridge is handy for a crossing, but why on earth should it be there? That column on the Egyptian side is just a column without even a trace of inscription and the one with that very dubious translation on the saudi side (no photo or even a copy - just a 'translation') has conveniently vanished. now the evidence seems to indicate that Solomon had no business setting up pillars there and even if he did, it was no more than medieval monks deciding where arthur had been buried. The handy wells deemed sweet or bitter to fit in with the Bible text are easily cherry picked.

The NAMI ark, well that had us all going for a while and it was either a real structure up there or it was a total fake. I haven't had an update recently, but it looks to me like a dropped and rather dead donkey.

The Ica stones looked a ludicrous fake from day one with their humans riding pterodactyls, but the claim that conquest date -specimens existed in spanish museums stopped me for a while, but this was never substantiated. The Acambara figurines really look like childrens' plastacene models copied from kiddy comics and it is only the deadly serious story of their attested discovery by some bod who could never have been deceived and the supposed ancient dating that kept them on the table. However, the circumstances of the finding looked suspicious and it was suspicious that the bod who bought them convinced they were kosher, never had suspicions.

Now, the hard question kept me going for a while mainly because it was abstruse and hard for a layman to follow. I now pretty much understand it and it is abstruse because it is complicated with irrelevancies and what looks to me like confusion. However that may be, I am now satisfied that it is no more a problem for atheism than string theory.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 07-10-2013 at 11:24 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,115,930 times
Reputation: 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
- most religions condemn atheists to hell
You can imagine how much that wories me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
- religions push policy (e.g. do not teach evolution in school, teach creationism)
Neither belief matters to me. We are alive. Who cares how we got here?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman249 View Post
- religions get special status and too much attention (e.g. tax exempt)
They are important to a lot of people and get very little government support. Let them be exempt from taxes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,089,205 times
Reputation: 6081
To the point of the OP, occasionally a theist point does cause me to pause and think, which is a Good Thing, although much of what they assert is factually unsupportable. As to being "stumped", atheists are stumped by some of the Great Questions, but we admit it whereas a theist prefers to say "GodDidIt". A theist is seldom heard to utter the words, "I don't know" because theism in general is selling certitude and anyone in the market for certitude inherently is averse to sitting with uncertainty. On the other hand most unbelievers are content to have no opinion until an opinion can be formed from available data. We are generally willing to form no opinion even in areas where it is unlikely that there will ever, or at least in our lifetime, be answers.

Much of the theism vs atheism debate really boils down to whether or not you insist everything be explicable, right this very minute, or at least where not, you're willing to buy any random explanation (aka "faith") or accept very flimsy promissory notes ("someday in the sweet by and by we'll understand") or a demand to shut the heck up and quit asking annoying questions ("god moves in mysterious ways and we must never question him or not blindly trust him").
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 11:40 AM
 
1,701 posts, read 1,996,068 times
Reputation: 1027
Default Fine-tuning of the universe

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.

In summary, the fine-tuning of the universe refers to the astonishing precision of the universe's physical constants. In order to explain the present state of the universe, scientific theories require that these mathematical constants of nature and the beginning state of the Universe have extremely precise values.

Some of these constants include: speed of light, relative mass of electrons and protons, gravity, pi .. and so on. It is widely believed by physicists that these physical constants are so finely-tuned that even infinitesimal deviations could have caused the Universe to collapse --- and there would be NOTHING.

So the universe seems fine-tuned for life.

Sir Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer, said this:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. Adds Dr. David D. Deutch: If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

And many other notable scientists including Hawking have alluded to this .....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 11:52 AM
 
39,172 posts, read 10,865,034 times
Reputation: 5092
Yes. Of course it is true that there are some questions that can't be answered except with a 'nobody knows' but I was really thinking in terms of some proffered facts that really caused me to re - examine everything I thought I knew up to then as regards some aspects of the religion debate. Some really hard evidence for some religious claim. For the rest it tends to be more making claims without any real backup and just dismissing, explaining away, ignoring or denying the counter -argument.

That doesn't matter. That the counter - argument is actually sound is all that matters, not whether any theist apologist is going to accept it.

I might mention also on Tentmaker (Seeker might recall it) someone claiming the Carolina phosphate beds as a collection of all kinds creature carcasses as evidence of a flood. In fact it turned out to be pretty standard Devonian Tethys sea layers with fish deposits and a couple of washed in animal fragments. It was a lively trade in sharks' teeth that attracted attention. It just took a bit of research but didn't add up to much. Some associated claims about dinosaur skeletons turned out to be totally mistaken as they referred to complete skeletons found on other sites.

P.s sorry if my memory is at fault, confusion between the devonian and the mezozoic Tethys sea. I think the phosphate beds were devonian.

In fact I think the point was based on this book

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgur...ed=0CDYQrQMwBQ

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 07-10-2013 at 12:01 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 12:00 PM
 
1,701 posts, read 1,996,068 times
Reputation: 1027
Those things might not matter to you (as an individual), but affect many around the world. Catholics for years have denounced the use of contraception, and their policies have done nothing but flame the spread of HIV in places like Africa.

And evolution is not only about how we got here. It is one of the most fundamental scientific theories that is the basis for innovation in molecular biology and biotechnology. So it does matter.

You are debating a non-issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
You can imagine how much that wories me.




Neither belief matters to me. We are alive. Who cares how we got here?




They are important to a lot of people and get very little government support. Let them be exempt from taxes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2013, 02:08 PM
 
1,701 posts, read 1,996,068 times
Reputation: 1027
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Yes. Of course it is true that there are some questions that can't be answered except with a 'nobody knows' but I was really thinking in terms of some proffered facts that really caused me to re - examine everything I thought I knew up to then as regards some aspects of the religion debate. Some really hard evidence for some religious claim. For the rest it tends to be more making claims without any real backup and just dismissing, explaining away, ignoring or denying the counter -argument.
I understand what you are saying. But it is a little hard to say 'nobody knows' to the fine-tuning argument. Especially when notable physicists have not been able to rationally explain the reasons behind this precision in the natural constants. You move one decimal point, and there is nothing ...... it does blow your mind ... doesn't it?

As far as arguments based on anthropological or biological facts go.. they are all hokum.

I should add that I have been fairly impressed by Douglas Wilson's line of argument against atheist Christopher Hitchens. He basically said that the Christian worldview derives everything (morality, truth, untruth) from the Bible. And it cannot be criticized using any other worldview (like rationality, science, other religions).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top