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Old 07-22-2013, 02:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Hey, if it works for them, that's fine with me. Some people seem to be happier believing in a god.
That's ok with me too. What is not ok is that there are some with more or less organization, money, media and even political support behind them, who seem to think that everyone else should believe in it, too. And that those who do not should be vilified, treated as untrustworthy, not fit to hold office, be citizens or allowed to stay out of religious activities.

They notably (we see it on the boards here all the time) think that we should not say that we are happier not believing in a god and are marshalling better and and more rational arguments for it too.

But we shall, because people at least have the right to hear both sides of the case and make up their own minds.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:10 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Hey, if it works for them, that's fine with me. Some people seem to be happier believing in a god.
It's fine with me, too, and I am not going to disabuse anyone of such notions unless they are actively seeking to be free of them. There is no point; a person has to be sufficiently self aware and committed to dealing in reality to make that particular journey.

I often wonder what would have happened to me if I had been more fortunate in life and had not had experiences that awakened me from my pleasant religious slumber and forced me to think things through. I have three older brothers who grew up as I did and their lives are instructive.

One was a pillar of the church, a happy person by nature, but died at the gates of retirement from bone cancer, hurt and broken, wondering how he had failed god.

One is still a dedicated and active fundamentalist, but constantly frustrated and angry with life in all the many respects it has not gone according to the "script". The two adopted boys who grew up to be thankless profligates. The son who isn't that warm and fuzzy towards him. The wife who has learned to stand up to his patriarchal controlling nature. The family business that will die with him because no one is interested in inheriting it.

The last one, his wife left him for another man, and he nearly died from despair. His business collapsed and he has lived hand to mouth ever since. Eventually he remarried and his second wife has severe depression, the kind that is amenable only to electroconvulsive therapy. He still clings to theism, refusing to look at it anymore though; he hasn't been inside a church in probably twenty years.

Observing all this, it seems I am not missing much. Life happens. If you can't flex with it, the gradually accumulating cognitive dissonance eventually consumes all your life force.

That's not to deny that some theists appear happy to the end or that some atheists aren't struggling with their own issues. It's not so much a matter that realizing religion doesn't have the answers is some sort of magic solution to all of life's problems; it's just that religion is ultimately just one more hinderance to seeing clearly.

The thing is that there are so many layers to human folly and blindness that even religion can be an improvement. That same eldest brother who died of cancer, was "saved" by religion in his youth from a life of dissipation, carousing with drunken Navy buddies. Religion gave him something better to belong to than a pack of aimless and foolish young men. It was a lifeline at the time; it served a purpose. But he never moved beyond that. He confused "better" with "best". He didn't recognize how long the journey was, and mistook a way-station for his destination.

Many thoughtful writers have proposed that religion is a stage of development that everyone goes through, either momentarily or for many years, but the idea is to continue developing beyond it.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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The believer generally attempts to solves the problem of evil with the all-powerful free-will argument. As poor as this argument is, it seems to appease the obvious doubt caused by the problem. However, the free-will argument does not in anyway appease the problem of natural evil (I prefer to call it suffering as well). We live in a world that seems to be designed to cause human suffering. From earthquakes to tsunamis to floods to drought to tornadoes to volcanic eruptions to hurricanes to flesh eating bacteria to genetic disease to, one could go on and on, most of the suffering has nothing to do with human volition. Surely an all-powerful god could create a world better than this, unless it's not a omnibenevolent god as they claim.
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Rossi View Post
If there was a loving creator who made man as the apex of his universe, and who loved man, he would not have made creatures, from bacteria, to spiders. to fire ants, to snakes etc., capable of killing us (unless is a sadistic, not loving, creator).

Nor would he have deliberately made us capable of falling from "grace" especialling knowing in advace the exactl details of just that happening.

Conclusion?

No such creator does or could exist.
There's an easy fallacy to that.

You do exist. Therefore, somehow you were created, which probably means such a sadistic creator exists. (Or some sort of massive crapshoot, which is more unsettling, because it basically means there were crazy odds against you and everyone existing in the first place)

The alternative, or course, is that such concepts as grace and fall are irrational constructs that an omnipotent immortal couldn't care less about. Likewise, the concept that God made man as apex is equally irrational, and narcissistic to boot. Fire ants are highly intelligent and organized, and could easily be considered the rulers of Earth but for their size.

Why is man so vulnerable? Because life on Earth is so temporary, humans have reason to value their lives and those of other humans.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144
You do exist. Therefore, somehow you were created, which probably means such
a sadistic creator exists. (Or some sort of massive crapshoot, which is more
unsettling, because it basically means there were crazy odds against you and
everyone existing in the first place)
How exactly would one go about calculating the odds of a supernatural creator existing?

And do we really know the odds of life existing from purely natural processes and how often it leads to intelligent life? It may in fact be a very common natural phenomenon, we just have no other comparisons to measure it against aside from the life we see on this planet. In my opinion, we have no way of assessing these odds and calling it a "massive crapshoot" could be just as inaccurate as calling it "common place". It's an open ended question.

I'd imagine the odds of natural processes leading to intelligent life is many times higher than it being intelligently created, especially if said creator isn't natural itself.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:24 AM
 
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It's not the odds of a supernatural being existing. I could easily buy a theory that human beings are their own "gods." It's the odds of life and existence existing in the first place. Human, plant, and animal life all have to arise somewhere. Forget meteors coming from the sky and hitting Earth. There would not be an Earth without an Origin.

It's rather simple logic. I have a blank canvas (Void), it will stay blank for all eternity until I (whatever is Origin, because this is by definition an Origin) start painting something. Any notion otherwise is not logical. Oh, sure, a bunch of flies (some other theory) could come along and puke on it, but all this would result in is the canvas dissolving in acid. Not a painting. And even then, it would still constitute Cause. Painting random strokes blindfolded (the equivalent of the chances of creation "just happening" not from nothing doing nothing (blank canvas, see above) but by random chance) and expecting it to look like this is a crapshoot. I'm a painter on occasion, not a great one either. I couldn't do this one without spending hours of careful design. So I ask you just what universe you live in that you'd believe this is the case, when it clearly doesn't work for anything I try to make.

The argument of what created God, and similar things are moot point discussions, for the simple fact that we do not have an accurate definition of what God is/isn't (God/Origin/Cause could be literally anything from the Big Bang, to random chance (highly unlikely), to Nature, to the universe, to some self-creating paradox, to any random person on the street up to and including some guy vehemently trying to convince you God doesn't exist). And yes, you can have a fundamentally atheistic view of what this Origin is. But a nihilistic view (no cause) is not sound, and I'd have to deem you insane.

Basically, the reasoning is, if the best evidence you have for a deity not existing, is that it might be callous or cruel, the mere fact that you exist provides a counter-argument, that something may have created you just for the perverse pleasure of torturing you.

Like an Eldritch Abomination.

That said, such a deity would not care if you disagree. It's gonna punish you anyway.

Now, if such a creator instead had some lofty character building goals, and all sorts of good intentions, stuff like pain and suffering would exist as a teaching tool for greater happiness. But it still created you.

But, if such a deity is benevolent, easygoing, and apathetic, again, nobody cares if you don't believe in God.

So, given what I've said above and below, what can we safely assume? Nothing more or less than that at the end of the day, it's up to you what to believe. Which is absolutely fine with me, so long as you don't attempt to disprove mine.

Last edited by bulmabriefs144; 07-25-2013 at 03:39 AM..
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOTaTHEIST View Post
And do we really know the odds of life existing from purely natural processes and how often it leads to intelligent life? It may in fact be a very common natural phenomenon, we just have no other comparisons to measure it against aside from the life we see on this planet. In my opinion, we have no way of assessing these odds and calling it a "massive crapshoot" could be just as inaccurate as calling it "common place". It's an open ended question.
My guess is that life is more common than most seem to think, but, it doesn't matter because the distances between the stars are so vast that it will be a long time indeed before we could witness it and even longer before we could bear witness to our homeworld.

Indeed, while life itself may be fairly common, sentient life would be less so, and technological civilizations still less so, and technological civilizations with interstellar reach still less so (we are not even meaningfully in that club yet). Therefore, to an extent, the nontrivial odds of life existing are trumped by the very low odds of it ever mattering that it exists in the sense that we'd ever know about it.

In the next few generations we may find some low-level microbial life, maybe even some exotic higher level forms, in our own solar system, likely on Mars or Ganymede or Callisto or Titan or such places, and I expect a lively debate whether they were somehow seeded from Earth or from some common source or evolved independently from scratch. But I think contact with other sentient beings exceedingly unlikely, and we'll never know with absolute certainty that life arises independently unless we develop the ability to widely survey at least our own galaxy and have enough of a data sample to demonstrate that life invariably evolves on its own given enough time and the right conditions.

This is a gap in which god(s) will continue to hide, methinks.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144
It's the odds of life and existence existing in the first place.
The odds of life and existence existing is exactly 100 percent, unless of course you don't wish to call the life found on this planet life and the existence we see all around us existence.

Quote:
So, given what I've said above and below, what can we safely assume? Nothing
more or less than that at the end of the day, it's up to you what to
believe.
It strictly doesn't matter what anyone believes, but the facts strongly suggest unintelligent natural processes lead to changing states such as galaxy formation, star formation, solar nucleosynthesis, star death/novae, planet formation, compound formation, life formation, complex life formation, etc.. All of these things, aside from the last two which remains an open question, seem to be extremely common. This stuff we can safely assume. What we can't yet safely assume is what happens beyond the bounds of our observable universe. It could be in fact that existence is infinite, in which case all the things listed above would be infinite and make assessing probability nonsensical.

Quote:
Which is absolutely fine with me, so long as you don't attempt to disprove mine.
Disprove your what exactly? To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what you're going on about other than claiming we live in a highly improbable existence. I just don't believe that bit is true and is simply an unsubstantiated claim designed to prop up the idea of "intelligent creation".
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:35 PM
 
354 posts, read 246,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant
Indeed, while life itself may be fairly common, sentient life would be less so, and technological civilizations still less so, and technological civilizations with interstellar reach still less so (we are not even meaningfully in that club yet). Therefore, to an extent, the nontrivial odds of life existing are trumped by the very low odds of it ever mattering that it exists in the sense that we'd ever know about it.
Another fan of Drake I would guess

In the known universe there are what, approximately 200 billion galaxies? Each galaxy averaging probably 100 billion stars. If just one star in every galaxy has current (temporally speaking) sentient life, that gives us 200 billion in the known universe alone (this does not of course address extinct species). Of course you're quite correct in saying we don't know anyone else is out there (yet), but the probability seems very high, especially now that we do know extra-solar planet formation is common.

Quote:
This is a gap in which god(s) will continue to hide, methinks.
The ambiguous nature of the gods makes them easy to shoehorn just about anywhere. All we can do is make that space smaller and less comfortable.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:48 PM
 
354 posts, read 246,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144
But, if such a deity is benevolent, easygoing, and apathetic, again, nobody cares if you don't believe in God.
People such as myself who don't believe in gods only care because there are people (like yourself?) who make claims about gods that seem unreasonable. Saying a god is omnibenevolent and omnipotent does not mesh logically with our reality, which I believe is what this thread was attempting to address. If you're going to believe in a god you should at least make said god logically consistent.
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