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Old 02-16-2014, 06:16 PM
 
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Plantiga's arguments were surprisingly poor, beside the point and even illogical. I am genuinely taken aback.

His best argument is Fine -tuning. That of course has some counters, but the main argument is that it may suggests a planning mind behind it, which could be Bramah, Shiva, Allah, Zeus or the FSM as well as Biblegod.

Mind, this about the arguments against atheism rather than about a particular religion.

I'll leave this now to see what the others say, but if I think there are points unanswered, I'll go through Plantinga's interview again.
I agree that this argument was absurdly weak to have been published by The Times.

Even the argument from fine tuning was, in my opinion, ridiculous. The main point he overlooks is that if there is going to be a universe at all it will have certain characteristics, and those characteristics and physical laws will lead to certain structures and outcomes. In other words, no matter what the universe wound up looking like, it would appear to have been fine-tuned to achieve the result that came about.

It was really beyond me that an intelligent person who has thought about the issues could make any of these arguments. Unless, that is, Plantinga believes that the Creator of the Universe has "an inordinate fondness for beetles".
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
"You donít even need arguments to have a rational belief in God. Belief in God is grounded in experience."

Experience is Subjective.

Subjectivity is Irrational.

"You donít even need arguments to have a rational belief in Ghosts. Belief in Ghosts is grounded in experience."



Good points.



That would be part of the Subjectivity I mentioned.

Rationally...


Mircea
Exactly. The experience I report to you is not a reason for you to believe it corresponds to reality. My reports of my hallucinations are not a reason for you to think I actually heard the voices I described.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
I agree that this argument was absurdly weak to have been published by The Times.

Even the argument from fine tuning was, in my opinion, ridiculous. The main point he overlooks is that if there is going to be a universe at all it will have certain characteristics, and those characteristics and physical laws will lead to certain structures and outcomes. In other words, no matter what the universe wound up looking like, it would appear to have been fine-tuned to achieve the result that came about.

It was really beyond me that an intelligent person who has thought about the issues could make any of these arguments. Unless, that is, Plantinga believes that the Creator of the Universe has "an inordinate fondness for beetles".
I agree that the Fine tuning/Goldilocks argument has an effective counter, but it is the best he had. The others were simply not logical - unless one is assuming that a god exists to begin with.

That is what atheism says in not a valid assumption, which is why atheism is logical, theism is not and Plantinga is wrong. It's a pity the Times didn't get someone to comment. But then, they'd probably ask Dawkins and I'm not too sure he'd know. He'd prefer to bash creationism.

Mystic here has a pretty good stab at getting 'God' on the table, and even provides a reasonable bridge (the spiritual fossil record) instead of the leap from a 'creator' to Biblegod. Plantinga doesn't bother. He assumes that there must be a Creator (who made everything then, eh?) and that has to be Christian-god.

I still think he ought to be sacked. Not because he is a Christian, but because he misuses his University position to peddle his religious views which, as we see here are based on his Godfaith, rather than sound logic.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
If that's his main argument then he doesn't understand that the vast majority of atheists ARE agnostics. We keep going round and round about this, that there is much overlap between agnosticism and atheism and they are not mutually exclusive. The only time an agnostic is what this guy no doubt imagines they are, is when their level of doubt is fairly high, approaching 50%. Most of us think it's 99.9% likely there are no gods at all, so our agnosticism is a technicality but still quite valid. We don't KNOW that there are no gods but see no evidence to BELIEVE there are.
I think this pretty much sums it up. The vast majority of atheists are relatively rational because they hold "don't know" or "I have no proof" rather than "I know there isn't."

Now, believing you are 100% certain there is is no God is irrational, because it's a faith statement. In order to disprove the existence of a God, you would have to have (1) visited everywhere in the universe, (2) lived at all times including the origin of the universe, (3) be able to see other perspectives including nanoscopic or macroscopic perspectives, and (4) have absolute knowledge of what is true/false. You'd in fact almost have to be like a god yourself in order to disprove the existence of one.

That is, you can easily say, "I am 99% convinced there is not." But saying "I know (100% certain) there isn't one" is actually a faith statement, and thus irrational. Anyway, what's the big hangup about being rational? Reason is nonsense, because we can only prove something so far.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144 View Post
But saying "I know (100% certain) there isn't one" is actually a faith statement, and thus irrational.
Sure. Just be aware that large majority people aren't claiming 100% certainty when they say they know something (god(s)-related or otherwise). If 100% absolute airtight certainty was required for knowledge, then humans would be unable to know anything and the word knowledge would be become meaningless. After all, people are imperfect biological machines so it is always possible we're incorrect about any particular thought.

I'd be curious to see if your objection actually applies to anyone real.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:24 PM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144 View Post
I think this pretty much sums it up. The vast majority of atheists are relatively rational because they hold "don't know" or "I have no proof" rather than "I know there isn't."

Now, believing you are 100% certain there is is no God is irrational, because it's a faith statement. In order to disprove the existence of a God, you would have to have (1) visited everywhere in the universe, (2) lived at all times including the origin of the universe, (3) be able to see other perspectives including nanoscopic or macroscopic perspectives, and (4) have absolute knowledge of what is true/false. You'd in fact almost have to be like a god yourself in order to disprove the existence of one.
Well ... yes and no.

Atheists are likely to admit that they can't necessarily disprove the existence of a god, but they also can't disprove the existence of a microscopic Superman living in the corner of your eye. The point is that atheists can "disbelieve" in the existence of a god with the same certainty they can "disbelieve" anything else that even religious believers will readily admit does not exist.

Thus the classic example of not believing in a god is the same as not believing in Santa.

The trouble is the bias religion exerts on our culture. I doubt even many Christians would call an atheist to the carpet for saying something like, "I am 100% certain that a dragon does not live in President Putin's basement." But if an atheist says he is 100% certain no god exists, Christians will immediately make the claim that being 100% is just a faith-based claim.

Except ... how is it any more "faith-based" than proclaiming that no dragon exists in Putin's basement? This is what I mean about the bias. Would we really be questioning an atheist's 100% certainty that no gods exist if our culture wasn't so steeped in god belief?
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
Well ... yes and no.

Atheists are likely to admit that they can't necessarily disprove the existence of a god, but they also can't disprove the existence of a microscopic Superman living in the corner of your eye. The point is that atheists can "disbelieve" in the existence of a god with the same certainty they can "disbelieve" anything else that even religious believers will readily admit does not exist.

Thus the classic example of not believing in a god is the same as not believing in Santa.

The trouble is the bias religion exerts on our culture. I doubt even many Christians would call an atheist to the carpet for saying something like, "I am 100% certain that a dragon does not live in President Putin's basement." But if an atheist says he is 100% certain no god exists, Christians will immediately make the claim that being 100% is just a faith-based claim.

Except ... how is it any more "faith-based" than proclaiming that no dragon exists in Putin's basement? This is what I mean about the bias. Would we really be questioning an atheist's 100% certainty that no gods exist if our culture wasn't so steeped in god belief?
Exactly right. Because Christianity has such a long history, such an important influence, so many churches, and most importantly a Holy Book that looks so much like a historical validation of the belief, it is not realized - indeed dismissed out of hand - that at basis there no more logical or rational reason to believe in the god as described in the Bible and its religions as in the dragon in Putin's basement.

The argument for some controlling cosmic mind is a rather different one and there is a smidgeon of a case for it, but even that is still a 'don't know'.
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Exactly right. Because Christianity has such a long history, such an important influence, so many churches, and most importantly a Holy Book that looks so much like a historical validation of the belief, it is not realized - indeed dismissed out of hand - that at basis there no more logical or rational reason to believe in the god as described in the Bible and its religions as in the dragon in Putin's basement.
When I first became a godless bastard, I went through a phase, which I have observed in other deconverts, of still being in thrall to this, such that I tended towards "you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar"-style arguments against offending the tender sensibilities of believers by frankly calling them on points like this. Their beliefs are so cherished and their unearned respect so much a "given" that even a neutral statement that you don't believe seems to them like a bucket of ice water over their heads. So the Dawkins / Hitchens merciless derision seemed terribly insensitive to one conditioned, as I was, to respect this grand faith-tradition so near and dear to so many.

It took me awhile to see through this defense mechanism. Now I realize that many of them not only take exaggerated umbrage to the slightest disagreement (or even to lack of enthusiastic affirmation!), but they also try to actively avoid such disagreement. When I recently visited one of my brothers who is the main "rabid" fundamentalist holdout in the family -- a trip that involved him meeting my wife for the first time -- I had some concern that there would be confrontation, and in all honesty, that he'd embarrass me in front of my wife with some odd behavior or pronouncement. While he is aware I don't attend church, I've never explicitly talked to him about where I am belief-wise; we don't see each other often. In truth, he was a model of good behavior and later at some point told me, "I don't understand why you and [my other brother] have drifted away from the faith, or how you even function. But you don't have to tell me." and then he changed the subject in a way that would have made it awkward for me to enlighten him even if I had wanted to go there. And he chose a time when we were about to do something with the rest of the family and there was really no time for in-depth discussion.

This implied "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been in place now for twenty years and I didn't think it would survive a lengthy visit. They never even asked my wife about her church background to try to suss anything out. And I know they must be bursting to know all the dirt; they are still (I think) human, after all. But they are actually afraid to ask. And they are in their 70s; do I really want to disturb their slumber at this late date?

Even less uptight / liberal Christians suffer from the knowledge, at some level, that they haven't a leg to stand on, and methinks even those like Mystic who try to jettison virtually all the dogma and stick with a vague "Everywhere and everything" god, fare no better, although there is far less overt anti-intellectualism on display to out them.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:05 AM
 
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I am certainly seeing some opportunities for bridge -building, olive branches and mutual tolerance. There have been some surprising (and welcome) indications that those former fundies (and perhaps Bible -literalists) may be willing to give up trying to make a case for what has no sound evidence and accept that what they have is Faith and not fact.

That done, with an acceptance that it would not be in their interests to try to be the Top religion, let alone arbiter of society, politics, Law and education/science, and we can find ways of not so much needing to disentangle religious interference from society and the body politic, but to find ways of relating to it.

Goldenrule, I think made some good points about how it might be a needed cultural thing in society, though for myself, I'd probably prefer a Historic re-enactment of the township that was associated with Stonehenge (and the wooden equivalent) than attending Mass or a Charismatic tongue-babble session.

And those who are into the Sortagod -cosmic mind line have an interesting hypothesis, and there might be something in it. Science might yet come up with a sortagod.
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