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Arguments and empirical evidence that no god exists

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Alun

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Post Number:#46  PostSeptember 8th, 2010, 7:41 pm

That is not what this thread is about Marabod, nor is it something I am interested in.

My mistake was apparently assuming you were posting on-topic.
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Post Number:#47  PostSeptember 9th, 2010, 2:10 am

Alun wrote:That is not what this thread is about Marabod, nor is it something I am interested in.

My mistake was apparently assuming you were posting on-topic.


How can one post "on topic" if the main object discussed in this topic is not existing? You imply that there must be some "proof", some "empirical evidence" that this object exists - so please, just present it! No need to go in circles.

I am saying that there is no empirical evidence of this existence - so I am ready to assess such if it ever would be provided.

This is a philosophical issue, not an emotional one. As such it requires a good selection of the relevant info about the evidence of support to either point of view, but so far there is NONE (at least known to me!) which supports the existence of God. You are aware of such? Good! Pointing to it would be an invaluable contribution on your part. Just make it as simple as possible please, without Schroedinger's cats your friend likes to breed. Kinda "God exists because of this and that".
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Post Number:#48  PostSeptember 9th, 2010, 9:36 am

Here's my two cents,

The main problem that impedes a conclusion that both 'side's agree on is that:

1.Omnipotent God(s) is able to control what is perceived as logic.
2.The only way to converse about such matter would be to use what we perceive already.

These two contradicting statements/assertions render all progress impossible.If we can only use logic to converse and reason whether God exists or not,how do we know that God is not making us think logically so he would not be known to exist,for example.Whether He wants us to know is for another time but the fact remains that we are now uncertain if what we perceive as logic is not really just the omnipotent God using his powers.So we would be unable to find out what the truth is until He shows himself, or some evidence is of undeniable doubt and beyond question.

That aside, I humbly suggest we split this thread into two separate ones, one where the omnipotent God is unable to change the laws of logic whatsoever and another where the Omnipotent God can do anything,logical or otherwise. That prevents confusion,unless the whole point is so we can 'thrash' out the differences in perception and just have an intellectually stimulating experience.*

*Then again, if He could control what we perceive as logic and we assume He exists, this thread would have little to no purpose since He already is 'there' and thus whatever conclusion we drive from this discussion would be irrelevant.So we should assume the laws of logic are constant,since that does not prove God does not exist;it merely means that there is room for debate.

Now, for what I think about the existence of God.I do not believe He exists.First off, if God existed, why would he want to hide himself from us?Would meeting the creator cause an event so destructive/undesirable that any chance of meeting is denied by Him? Secondly, God created us,flawed and ignorant about our purpose.Could He not create a 'perfect version' of us?Or does the creator have flaws of His own,which would mean He cannot be omnipotent since He should be able to do anything?

However,we end up with the fact we may never know what His 'purpose' for creating us is.Yet the main problem is that He made us in such a way that we were able to stop and say 'Hey,wait a minute this does not seem right' and question why injustice and suffering exists.So regardless of His purpose for creating us, it was not so we could fully embrace Him.If so, He could have just made us do so.

Cheers!
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Post Number:#49  PostSeptember 9th, 2010, 8:13 pm

NoPityNoRemorse wrote:Here's my two cents,

The main problem that impedes a conclusion that both 'side's agree on is that:

1.Omnipotent God(s) is able to control what is perceived as logic.
2.The only way to converse about such matter would be to use what we perceive already.

These two contradicting statements/assertions render all progress impossible.If we can only use logic to converse and reason whether God exists or not,how do we know that God is not making us think logically so he would not be known to exist,for example.Whether He wants us to know is for another time but the fact remains that we are now uncertain if what we perceive as logic is not really just the omnipotent God using his powers.So we would be unable to find out what the truth is until He shows himself, or some evidence is of undeniable doubt and beyond question.

That aside, I humbly suggest we split this thread into two separate ones, one where the omnipotent God is unable to change the laws of logic whatsoever and another where the Omnipotent God can do anything,logical or otherwise. That prevents confusion,unless the whole point is so we can 'thrash' out the differences in perception and just have an intellectually stimulating experience.*

*Then again, if He could control what we perceive as logic and we assume He exists, this thread would have little to no purpose since He already is 'there' and thus whatever conclusion we drive from this discussion would be irrelevant.So we should assume the laws of logic are constant,since that does not prove God does not exist;it merely means that there is room for debate.

Now, for what I think about the existence of God.I do not believe He exists.First off, if God existed, why would he want to hide himself from us?Would meeting the creator cause an event so destructive/undesirable that any chance of meeting is denied by Him? Secondly, God created us,flawed and ignorant about our purpose.Could He not create a 'perfect version' of us?Or does the creator have flaws of His own,which would mean He cannot be omnipotent since He should be able to do anything?

However,we end up with the fact we may never know what His 'purpose' for creating us is.Yet the main problem is that He made us in such a way that we were able to stop and say 'Hey,wait a minute this does not seem right' and question why injustice and suffering exists.So regardless of His purpose for creating us, it was not so we could fully embrace Him.If so, He could have just made us do so.

Cheers!


I can distinguish an extensive work of thought in this post, but in practical terms - is it really worth complicating a very simple issue?

The main and most important component of the current discussion, is that we are trying to establish a system of positive or negative proofs for something which simply cannot be seen or anyhow else encountered. Subjective Realities of us reflect the really existing material objects, and contain their images; there are cases known when a Subjective reality registers an Image, which matches to none at all of really existing objects; this case is called "fantasy" or "delusion".

Before trying to prove or disprove God, we at least need to settle which exactly God we are talking about! The side in denial cannot come up with such definition, as they see no God around; the side promoting the idea so far presented only Schroedinger's cat as an example of God. Basing on this, I can clearly say that Schroedinger's cat is NON-EXISTENT and never was existing, means a God represented through it does not exist as well.

It is all the same as "show me the money" case - as it is nothing to discuss if there is no such money existing!
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Post Number:#50  PostSeptember 10th, 2010, 1:06 am

Hi NoPityNoRemorse

I believe that now everyone in this thread understands we're talking about a God who does not breach our capacity to think logically.

I personally believe in a God who is more powerful than this (and even if I didn't, I'd believe we have no reason to think logic is immutable). So this thread is less interesting to me than it could be, but we have quite a few threads about God already, and I'm not sure even further divisions would really help us examine the topic. As you and Scott point out, it's fairly useless to argue about a God who can distort logic anyway.

As to your arguments: I can see how those might be convincing. Of course, you realize they essentially have only subjective appeal? Likewise, if I were to give any positive argument for God's existence, I think it could only have subjective (or invalid) appeal.
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Marabod wrote:I am saying that there is no empirical evidence of this existence - so I am ready to assess such if it ever would be provided.

I have always agreed with this claim. What I disagree with is this claim:
Marabod wrote:By its sense the term "exist" is applicable to the material entities of the Objective Reality. If something exists objectively, then this something is always available for examination.

As I said, by this definition, an asteroid which is so far from our galaxy as to never be observed by humans somehow does not count as a material entity of objective reality. According to the usual definitions of these words, that is simply incorrect. If it actually is there, then it is a material entity of objective reality, regardless of whether it is ever "available for examination."
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Post Number:#51  PostSeptember 10th, 2010, 3:44 am

Alun wrote:
Marabod wrote:I am saying that there is no empirical evidence of this existence - so I am ready to assess such if it ever would be provided.

I have always agreed with this claim. What I disagree with is this claim:
Marabod wrote:By its sense the term "exist" is applicable to the material entities of the Objective Reality. If something exists objectively, then this something is always available for examination.

As I said, by this definition, an asteroid which is so far from our galaxy as to never be observed by humans somehow does not count as a material entity of objective reality. According to the usual definitions of these words, that is simply incorrect. If it actually is there, then it is a material entity of objective reality, regardless of whether it is ever "available for examination."


Your example is conditional! IF it is there, and "there" here is "no one knows where". Conditional sentences suggest the condition to have been materialised, before the statement acquires some sense - yes, IF it is there, and we know where, then it would be the object of our Objective reality. But not before it is found "there". objective reality is not a static set of objects, it expands continuously together with the expansion of our knowledge about it.

Say, there was no satellites of Mars in our Objective reality before early 19th century, when Schiaparelli discovered them. And only AFTER they were discovered, we remembered that the ancients actually were saying Ares/Mars had two sons...

There was no Radium in our Objective reality before Curie; there was no Relativity in it before Einstein; no radio before Marconi; no light bulb before Edison... So what? What could Friedrich the Great tell you about an electric light bulb? He would not be able to understand your question! Because the Objective reality of his time knew no electricity. And the Objective reality, perceived by the cats, has no George Washington in it and no gravity forces...

Your asteroid example is to the highest degree primitive and pseudoscientific, I actually feel like talking to some shaman from an Amazonian tribe now... It is completely beyond my understanding how a 21st century person can think like that.
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Post Number:#52  PostSeptember 10th, 2010, 12:23 pm

Marabod wrote:objective reality is not a static set of objects, it expands continuously together with the expansion of our knowledge about it.

That is not objective reality, that is human knowledge. Or intersubjective reality. By your thinking, the big bang was not an objectively real event (in the past) until we discovered it, which made it become objectively real retroactively. I see absolutely no reason to substitute the words, "What people know at any given time," with, "Objective reality."

And you aren't giving me a reason, you're just calling me a shaman for my disagreement with your terminology. Seriously, I am becoming tempted to post after a disclaimer that says:

"If you do not believe in the use of dictionaries, please do not talk to me without expressly stating so."
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Post Number:#53  PostSeptember 10th, 2010, 3:24 pm

Alun wrote:
Marabod wrote:objective reality is not a static set of objects, it expands continuously together with the expansion of our knowledge about it.

That is not objective reality, that is human knowledge. Or intersubjective reality. By your thinking, the big bang was not an objectively real event (in the past) until we discovered it, which made it become objectively real retroactively. I see absolutely no reason to substitute the words, "What people know at any given time," with, "Objective reality."

And you aren't giving me a reason, you're just calling me a shaman for my disagreement with your terminology. Seriously, I am becoming tempted to post after a disclaimer that says:

"If you do not believe in the use of dictionaries, please do not talk to me without expressly stating so."


You are thinking in a manner of a slave of any authority! Who told you that Big Bang can be called "event" at all? Big Bang is a currently accepted scientific THEORY, which completely lacks any experimental confirmation. This is why the famous Large Hadrone Collider was built - to substantiate it. Few billion Euros down the track we still do not have any confirmation - and you are already building your point of view on it.

Big Bang belongs to Science, one is not required to believe or disbelieve in it. It is not a part of some religious teaching. It is simply a current Cosmogony view, not a law in any sense and not a fact certainly. Remove Big Bang completely - and the Science would not change at all, because it has no critical significance in it, it is just a model. Not saying that "we discovered" is a severe overstretch - what was YOUR contribution?

There is no such Philosophical Category as "intersubjective reality". There is only two realities - the Objective one and the Subjective one; the latter contains the virtual reflections of the former, and these reflections include "human knowledge" as a component. Subjective realities of different Observers are "negotiated" continuously between each other, and through this negotiation the objective nature of the sources of the reflected objects is established. You and me both saw that asteroid - so we negotiate our reflections of it... No asteroid (or God for that matter) = no reflections, nothing to negotiate! Strange, that you are recommending others to read the dictionaries, and do not know such a simple thing!
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Post Number:#54  PostSeptember 10th, 2010, 4:13 pm

Marabod, this is not going anywhere. I've already posted dictionary definitions. I would prefer not to waste my time posting philosophical definitions for you to ignore as well.
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Post Number:#55  PostSeptember 10th, 2010, 10:53 pm

Unintelligent Design Argument (an undeniably valid modus tollens)

Premise 1: If there was an omnipotent creator god, we would be very intelligent designed.
Premise 2: We are not very intelligently designed.

(Examples of premise 2 include the way women give birth that would work well if we were 4-legged non-erect creatures, tonsils, tailbone, appendix, wisdom teeth, erector Pili, male nipples, and the way the older emotional part of our brain has more physical ability in terms of brain mechanics to control the newer deep thinking, frontal lobe.)
Conclusion: There is not an omnipotent creator god.


Your premises assume two things here that derail your conclusion.

1. If God used evolution to arrive at mankind as we now exist, then what proof have you that this evolutionary process is complete and man is now a finished product?

2. Physiology demonstrates that both male and female nipples are loaded with sensitive nerves that accentuate the sexual experience. What's wrong with male nipples?


What I like to call the Nobody's Home argument.

If we ring a door bell and nobody answers, we can take that as evidence that nobody is home. (Note the difference between proof and mere evidence.) Similarly, scientific studies of the effectiveness of prayer can help us figure out whether or not a god exists (premise 1). Scientific studies have repeatedly found that prayer is utterly ineffective regardless of who prays, of which god they pray to and of what they pray about (premise 2). For example, The Boston Globe reports in the article A Prayer for Health by Alice Dembner (2005): "One of the most scientifically rigorous studies yet, published earlier this month, found that the prayers of a distant congregation did not reduce the major complications or death rate in patients hospitalized for heart treatments." [...] "A review of 17 past studies of 'distant healing,' published in 2003 by a British researcher, found no significant effect for prayer or other healing methods." In another example, the Associated Press reported in their article, Power of prayer flunks an unusual test, "In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications." Here are a couple other articles from the Baltimore Sun reporting essentially the same type of findings: Distant prayer doesn't help heal Metaphorically speaking, we're ringing the door bell, carefully waiting for someone to answer and nobody is. Non-metaphorically speaking, (conclusion) this is evidence god does not exist.


Again your premises make narrow assumptions about the role of a God vs. the role of man in these issues. There's sufficient logical recourse to assert that God is not obligated to resolve every human illness. Just think of all the unemployed healthcare professionals and the service industries that revolve around medicine...the science and economic positioning that would be disrupted were God to intervene at the bequest of every petitioner. God is not obligated to do for man what man can do for himself.


One of various arguments expressing the so-called problem of evil (as a modus tollens)

Premise 1: If there was an omnipotent or otherwise supernaturally powerful god, he would not cause or let utterly, unproductively awful things such as the holocaust which entailed the mass-murder of children to occur.
(Elaboration on premise 1: An omnipotent god causes and has determined everything and is thus ultimately responsible for everything. An other supernaturally powerful god would still, even if not directly involved, would be at fault for not interfering--which he can since he is so powerful to be supernatural.)
Premise 2: Utterly, unproductively awful things like the holocaust have happened.
Conclusion: Neither an omnipotent nor otherwise supernaturally powerful god exists.


The faulty assumption inherent in these premises is the assumption an omniscient God wouldn't know when and how to intervene...certainly not as a parlor trick to prove his existence to anyone. And, even more damaging to this PoE argument is the fact that you can't derive an ought from an is...remember? It is true evil is present everywhere in the world. But to declare that because God can resolve this problem he therefore OUGHT TO is a double standard. God is not obligated to do for man what man can do for himself.



The Only Possible God would be a Sadist argument

Premise 1: If there is a god meeting one of the definitions from the OP, he has the power to stop or at least extremely reduce the amount of unproductive suffering* caused to humans.
Premise 2: Lots of unproductive suffering occurs.

(Elaboration of premise 2: Consider all of the murders, all of the rapes, all of the starvation, all of the torture, all of the miscarriages and stillbirths, all of the most awful spontaneous birth defects, all of the young children who slowly, painfully die with great suffering of natural causes thanks in part to a lack of supernatural intervention.)
Premise 3: If a being has the capability to stop unproductive suffering, and doesn't, that god is a sadist.
(Elaboration of premise 3: Even if the god didn't want all happy humans, the god could at least have interfered enough to stop many of natures mistakes from occurring even if that meant a sort of supernatural euthanasia. For instance, consider a birth defect that causes a baby to necessarily die before its first birthday after great, great suffering; the god could have stopped this baby from being conceived in the first place. But instead the god's supernatural powers cause us to be here but, at least for many of us, under great pointless suffering.)
Premise 4: If there is a god, he is not a sadist.
Conclusion: There are no gods.

Epicurus came up with a similar argument in 300 BCE in which he proved with logic that there cannot be a benevolent, all-powerful god:
Epicurus wrote:The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"


Epicurus and the PoS are both fair targets of the "Ought from an Is" criticism. God is not morally obligated to do for man what man can do for himself. Is that why we walk by beggars and drunks without getting personally involved in their lives to resolve their percieved problems? Does that make us immoral?


Teleological Argument

Premise 1: If there are any supernaturally powerful gods influencing and determining material events, then all of these events would have evidence of purpose and intentional, supernaturally intelligent design.
Premise 2: Many things do not have any purpose.

(Elaboration of premise 2: Science shows us dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago; what was their purpose? What was the purpose of the 65 million years and all its various moot details between the extinction of the dinosaur and the start of the human species? What is the purpose of Pluto? What is the purpose of stars billions of light years away? What is the purpose of planets that can only be seen with a telescope? What is the purpose of an insect terd made millions of years ago that has long since been destroyed and gone? Consider all the billions of species who have gone extinct on Earth throughout its entire history. The fact that 99.9% of species that ever existed on Earth have gone extinct is evidence that there is no purposeful design.)
Conclusion: There are no supernatural intelligences influencing and determining material events.


This is what I call the argument from arrogance. Assuming a God who uses evolution as his creationary toolkit, which of the above stated events could you confidently remove from the evolutionary chain and still arrive at your own existence at this time? Likely, none of them. I'd hate to have to choose which universe shaping events to eliminate. I wouldn't dare to assume I have enough knowledge and understanding of the intricate relationships between all these events to begin reducing things at whim, just because I assume its a waste of time or energy.


If you think any of these arguments are unsound, please specify for each argument you think is unsound whether or not you at least agree that argument is valid. If you agree it is valid, then please specify exactly which premises you agree are true and exactly which premises you think are false. (There's little point to debate the truth of and evidence for any premise in depth unless we agree the syllogism of which the premise is a part is valid.)


Personally, I have no belief in Gods but I thought I'd provide you some food for thought, in the interest of charity and precision.
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Post Number:#56  PostSeptember 10th, 2010, 10:53 pm

Unintelligent Design Argument (an undeniably valid modus tollens)

Premise 1: If there was an omnipotent creator god, we would be very intelligent designed.
Premise 2: We are not very intelligently designed.

(Examples of premise 2 include the way women give birth that would work well if we were 4-legged non-erect creatures, tonsils, tailbone, appendix, wisdom teeth, erector Pili, male nipples, and the way the older emotional part of our brain has more physical ability in terms of brain mechanics to control the newer deep thinking, frontal lobe.)
Conclusion: There is not an omnipotent creator god.


Your premises assume two things here that derail your conclusion.

1. If God used evolution to arrive at mankind as we now exist, then what proof have you that this evolutionary process is complete and man is now a finished product?

2. Physiology demonstrates that both male and female nipples are loaded with sensitive nerves that accentuate the sexual experience. What's wrong with male nipples?


What I like to call the Nobody's Home argument.

If we ring a door bell and nobody answers, we can take that as evidence that nobody is home. (Note the difference between proof and mere evidence.) Similarly, scientific studies of the effectiveness of prayer can help us figure out whether or not a god exists (premise 1). Scientific studies have repeatedly found that prayer is utterly ineffective regardless of who prays, of which god they pray to and of what they pray about (premise 2). For example, The Boston Globe reports in the article A Prayer for Health by Alice Dembner (2005): "One of the most scientifically rigorous studies yet, published earlier this month, found that the prayers of a distant congregation did not reduce the major complications or death rate in patients hospitalized for heart treatments." [...] "A review of 17 past studies of 'distant healing,' published in 2003 by a British researcher, found no significant effect for prayer or other healing methods." In another example, the Associated Press reported in their article, Power of prayer flunks an unusual test, "In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications." Here are a couple other articles from the Baltimore Sun reporting essentially the same type of findings: Distant prayer doesn't help heal Metaphorically speaking, we're ringing the door bell, carefully waiting for someone to answer and nobody is. Non-metaphorically speaking, (conclusion) this is evidence god does not exist.


Again your premises make narrow assumptions about the role of a God vs. the role of man in these issues. There's sufficient logical recourse to assert that God is not obligated to resolve every human illness. Just think of all the unemployed healthcare professionals and the service industries that revolve around medicine...the science and economic positioning that would be disrupted were God to intervene at the bequest of every petitioner. God is not obligated to do for man what man can do for himself.


One of various arguments expressing the so-called problem of evil (as a modus tollens)

Premise 1: If there was an omnipotent or otherwise supernaturally powerful god, he would not cause or let utterly, unproductively awful things such as the holocaust which entailed the mass-murder of children to occur.
(Elaboration on premise 1: An omnipotent god causes and has determined everything and is thus ultimately responsible for everything. An other supernaturally powerful god would still, even if not directly involved, would be at fault for not interfering--which he can since he is so powerful to be supernatural.)
Premise 2: Utterly, unproductively awful things like the holocaust have happened.
Conclusion: Neither an omnipotent nor otherwise supernaturally powerful god exists.


The faulty assumption inherent in these premises is the assumption an omniscient God wouldn't know when and how to intervene...certainly not as a parlor trick to prove his existence to anyone. And, even more damaging to this PoE argument is the fact that you can't derive an ought from an is...remember? It is true evil is present everywhere in the world. But to declare that because God can resolve this problem he therefore OUGHT TO is a double standard. God is not obligated to do for man what man can do for himself.



The Only Possible God would be a Sadist argument

Premise 1: If there is a god meeting one of the definitions from the OP, he has the power to stop or at least extremely reduce the amount of unproductive suffering* caused to humans.
Premise 2: Lots of unproductive suffering occurs.

(Elaboration of premise 2: Consider all of the murders, all of the rapes, all of the starvation, all of the torture, all of the miscarriages and stillbirths, all of the most awful spontaneous birth defects, all of the young children who slowly, painfully die with great suffering of natural causes thanks in part to a lack of supernatural intervention.)
Premise 3: If a being has the capability to stop unproductive suffering, and doesn't, that god is a sadist.
(Elaboration of premise 3: Even if the god didn't want all happy humans, the god could at least have interfered enough to stop many of natures mistakes from occurring even if that meant a sort of supernatural euthanasia. For instance, consider a birth defect that causes a baby to necessarily die before its first birthday after great, great suffering; the god could have stopped this baby from being conceived in the first place. But instead the god's supernatural powers cause us to be here but, at least for many of us, under great pointless suffering.)
Premise 4: If there is a god, he is not a sadist.
Conclusion: There are no gods.

Epicurus came up with a similar argument in 300 BCE in which he proved with logic that there cannot be a benevolent, all-powerful god:
Epicurus wrote:The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"


Epicurus and the PoS are both fair targets of the "Ought from an Is" criticism. God is not morally obligated to do for man what man can do for himself. Is that why we walk by beggars and drunks without getting personally involved in their lives to resolve their percieved problems? Does that make us immoral?


Teleological Argument

Premise 1: If there are any supernaturally powerful gods influencing and determining material events, then all of these events would have evidence of purpose and intentional, supernaturally intelligent design.
Premise 2: Many things do not have any purpose.

(Elaboration of premise 2: Science shows us dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago; what was their purpose? What was the purpose of the 65 million years and all its various moot details between the extinction of the dinosaur and the start of the human species? What is the purpose of Pluto? What is the purpose of stars billions of light years away? What is the purpose of planets that can only be seen with a telescope? What is the purpose of an insect terd made millions of years ago that has long since been destroyed and gone? Consider all the billions of species who have gone extinct on Earth throughout its entire history. The fact that 99.9% of species that ever existed on Earth have gone extinct is evidence that there is no purposeful design.)
Conclusion: There are no supernatural intelligences influencing and determining material events.


This is what I call the argument from arrogance. Assuming a God who uses evolution as his creationary toolkit, which of the above stated events could you confidently remove from the evolutionary chain and still arrive at your own existence at this time? Likely, none of them. I'd hate to have to choose which universe shaping events to eliminate. I wouldn't dare to assume I have enough knowledge and understanding of the intricate relationships between all these events to begin reducing things at whim, just because I assume its a waste of time or energy.


If you think any of these arguments are unsound, please specify for each argument you think is unsound whether or not you at least agree that argument is valid. If you agree it is valid, then please specify exactly which premises you agree are true and exactly which premises you think are false. (There's little point to debate the truth of and evidence for any premise in depth unless we agree the syllogism of which the premise is a part is valid.)


Personally, I have no belief in Gods but I thought I'd provide you some food for thought, in the interest of charity and precision.
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Post Number:#57  PostSeptember 23rd, 2010, 7:17 pm

Alun, please forgive me for breaking your post into so many pieces of quotes to respond below.

Alun wrote:That said, I can still interpret your argument as if 'omnipotence' does not include the power to distort meaning (in the above way or any other way).

I thank you for being able and willing to disregard our disagreement about meaning to interpret my argument and discuss the matter at hand. :)

Scott wrote:Premise 1: If there was an omnipotent creator god, we would be very intelligent designed.
Premise 2: We are not very intelligently designed.
Conclusion: There is not an omnipotent creator god.
Alun wrote:I think my rebuttal to this particular argument mostly stands as it was: Even if the god is very logical, and incapable of intruding on our logic, it's still impossible to fathom what he might consider a good idea for a design. Sure, you can think of many standards of success which life on earth and which the rest of the universe does not meet, but how do you decide what standard of success god must use? So I disagree with the premises, as before.

Am I correct to take that paragraph as a rebuttal of premise 2? Taking it as such, I think you are right that I cannot say premise 2 is true as surely as I can say that I ate pancakes for breakfast this morning. However, I personally am confident that premise 2 is probably true. If I could show that premise 1 and 2 were both each definitely true, then I would have thereby proven god (as defined for sake of argument) does not exist. I admit I have not proven this but merely provided evidence for it based on the probability of the truth of premise 2. So when you ask how do I "decide what standard of success god must use" your implication is right that I cannot decide what he absolutely must do. Consider the great chef analogy: If I take you to a restaurant and you know nothing of the restaurant or the cook of the food except by tasting the dish brought in front of you. Assuming the first premise (If a great chef cooked this food, it will be great food.) is true, then you can judge the presence of a great chef cooking the food by the taste of the food. You taste the food and it is bad, like it had been microwaved. Perhaps it has been proven to you that there is no great chef cooking the food to the degree that you could be wrong that the food was bad. Only if you were omniscient could you say 100% that premise 2 (the food was poorly prepared by the chef) is false. But there's a huge range between complete ignorance and omniscience wherein is all human knowledge. This non-omniscience but not complete ignorance is what gives us probabilities. If you have some evidence that the food is bad, then you can say it is from that state of evidence probably true that the food is bad, which is evidence (but being a probability still not proof) that there no great chef cooked that food.

Scott wrote:scientific studies of the effectiveness of prayer can help us figure out whether or not a god exists (premise 1).
Alun wrote:There is really no way to know whether god cares to answer prayers.

You are right. Let me rephrase. If I could know 100% that a god would answer prayers if he existed (in addition to 100% knowing premise 2), then god's nonexistence would be proven to me. However, I think I have provided evidence not proof that god does not exist by severely limiting the type of god that could exist.

In analogy, if a detective finds out a potential suspect's alibi is a lie it does not prove the suspect is guilty, since there still are some reasonable possible scenarios that explain the lie, the lack of alibi but it is evidence since it narrows eliminates some of the possible scenarios in which he is innocent thereby making it more probable that one of the scenarios in which he is guilty is true.

Scott wrote:Scientific studies have repeatedly found that prayer is utterly ineffective regardless of who prays, of which god they pray to and of what they pray about (premise 2).
Alun wrote:[There is really no way to know whether god], e.g., rewards for them in an afterlife.

Fair enough. But don't people usually pray specifically for something to happen before they die? Surely many people prayed that the incarcerated Jews wouldn't be murdered by the Nazis by the millions, for example. In another example, consider a a woman was about to be attacked and raped by a gang of hoodlums, and she quickly got on her knees and prayed to god to prevent her from being raped but her prayer has no effect (in this life); even if after she physically dies 60 years later--perhaps after having suffered from unrelated personality-altering brain injuries and complete memory loss decades after the rape (more examples like this)--say she was kept alive in some afterlife, I'm not sure how that prayer could be answered since the time has passed.

Scott wrote:Premise 1: If there was an omnipotent or otherwise supernaturally powerful god, he would not cause or let utterly, unproductively awful things such as the holocaust which entailed the mass-murder of children to occur.
Premise 2: Utterly, unproductively awful things like the holocaust have happened.
Conclusion: Neither an omnipotent nor otherwise supernaturally powerful god exists.
Alun wrote:Again, we don't know what god considers evil, or if evil now ends up having better or compensatory effects in some other way.

Though I did quote a similar argument by Epicurus in which the word evil is used, I did not use the word evil in my argument. (As you know, I am an amoralist.)

Alun wrote:Again, neither premise is guaranteed.

They both can not be guaranteed true. If they could, then I would have proven god does not exist. But I will debate that they are each at least probably true which gives us evidence not proof.

Alun wrote:The same can be said for the last two arguments: We do not know if 'bad' things really are unproductive, purposeless, etc., and we do not know if god cares if they are bad, unproductive, purposeless, etc.

As contextualists, we both realize that in a certain sense of the words, we can't know anything for certain. But using there normal definitions, we can know things; I know the sky is blue; I know I ate pancakes for breakfast; I know the pancakes tasted good to me. Like with the pancakes, I think I can know or at least have evidence to show probable truth of the statement, The mass-murder of millions of Jews including children is an unproductively, utterly terrible or in other words destructively awful. For example, don't you agree that it is at least probably true that the mass-murder of millions of Jews including children is an unproductively, utterly terrible or in other words destructively awful? You may say that talking about god changes that context so that we behave like nihilists who can't know anything, but I'm not asking you about god or hypothetical gods here. I'm asking you a question that could equally be asked by one atheist to another in a discussion not at all about god. I'm asking you, don't you agree that it is at least probably true that the mass-murder of millions of Jews including children is an unproductively, utterly terrible or in other words destructively awful?

Alun wrote:Without the possibility that god is illogical, there are only so many possible gods who could be posited, and who could then theoretically be ruled out. The problem remains, however, that nearly comprehensive knowledge of existence is needed to rule out the popular ones.

Incidentally, the posters in the thread Which gods don't you believe in, and why don't you? have each been asked to give their reasons for not believing in 8 of at least nine sets of specific popular gods.

Alun wrote:As it stands, you can only rule out gods who have very specific purposes--e.g., a logical god who does not want any human being to ever have an appendix does not exist.

I think we've pretty much ruled out any god but a sadistic god who is a poor designer and behaves without purpose and who wants us to not believe in him.

Alun wrote:Any general purposes may yet be explained by what we don't know of the universe;

We may find evidence that proves O.J. Simpson's innocence and explains away the evidence that he is guilty. We may find evidence that we live in The Matrix. We may find evidence that there is intelligent life on Mars far more advanced than us and explains away the current alleged evidence that there isn't life on Mars. We may find... because, I agree, these things have not been proven (at least in some context for each). But 'we may find' is not a refutation of current evidence except to demonstrate that the evidence is not proof. It's not the same to refute evidence by pointing out actual extenuating circumstances that negate the evidence as to say we may find extenuating circumstances that negate the evidence.

***

NoPityNoRemorse, I enjoyed reading your post. What most stuck out to me was your point about god hiding himself from us. I like the way Schellenberg formalized the argument of reasonable non-belief which I posted in post #17.

***

Marabod wrote:Before trying to[...] disprove God, we at least need to settle which exactly God we are talking about!

There is a definition of the word 'god' as it is to be used in this thread provided in the OP.

Marabod, I appreciate all of your input, but your repeated claims that there is no evidence that a god exists are off-topic.

Also, considering your talk about objective and subjective reality, I would appreciate it if you could post your response to Stenger's scientific argument about god's nonexistence which I posted in post #17. I think that one will be most useful to you.

***

Whynot, thank you for playing devil's advocate and giving me some food for thought.

Whynot wrote:If God used evolution to arrive at mankind as we now exist, then what proof have you that this evolutionary process is complete and man is now a finished product?

Wouldn't everything an omnipotent being does be a finished product?

Whynot wrote:Physiology demonstrates that both male and female nipples are loaded with sensitive nerves that accentuate the sexual experience.

Do you have a source for this claim, namely one that talks not only of humans but of all or at least most creatures that have two genders and male nipples?

During the very early stages of fetal life, before the sex hormones have had a chance to do their stuff, all humans are basically bisexual. This is why we males have nipples, which in addition to nerves include equipment for the function of milk-feeding that do not provide sexual excitement but are developed before the hormones that determine sex are developed in the fetus (source). This--like the other examples of unintelligent design--make sense if humans evolved by evolution via natural selection but not if we were built intelligently from scratch.

Whynot wrote:Again your premises make narrow assumptions about the role of a God vs. the role of man in these issues. There's sufficient logical recourse to assert that God is not obligated to resolve every human illness. Just think of all the unemployed healthcare professionals and the service industries that revolve around medicine...the science and economic positioning that would be disrupted were God to intervene at the bequest of every petitioner. God is not obligated to do for man what man can do for himself.

It isn't that he didn't intervene in each and every case; it's that he didn't intervene in any. The prayer did nothing in any case.

I think it's a stretch to say god makes people sick and lets them suffer and die as a handout to the medical industry. Besides he could just snap his fingers and put money in their pockets or at least cause a problem that is a boon to industry and employment without making people terribly ill or dead.

Whynot wrote:Epicurus and the PoS are both fair targets of the "Ought from an Is" criticism. God is not morally obligated to do for man what man can do for himself. Is that why we walk by beggars and drunks without getting personally involved in their lives to resolve their percieved problems? Does that make us immoral?

I didn't say god is immoral. I said the only god that could exist would have to be a sadist, so assuming god is not a sadist, then no god exists.

Whynot wrote:This is what I call the argument from arrogance. Assuming a God who uses evolution as his creationary toolkit, which of the above stated events could you confidently remove from the evolutionary chain and still arrive at your own existence at this time? Likely, none of them. I'd hate to have to choose which universe shaping events to eliminate. I wouldn't dare to assume I have enough knowledge and understanding of the intricate relationships between all these events to begin reducing things at whim, just because I assume its a waste of time or energy.

I appreciate your understanding of the butterfly effect. However, an omnipotent being could just snap his fingers and make the universe as it is now, or as it was 1 million years ago, or as it was 5 billion years ago which was even before Earth existed. You say "assuming god uses evolution as his creationary toolkit," but I make no such assumption.

Consider the great chef analogy: I take you to a small restaurant, the only evidence you have about whether or not the greatest chef in the world is in the kitchen cooking all the food that comes out or not is the food you eat. The food comes out, you eat it, it tastes poorly made and microwaved. You say, "this is evidence that the greatest chef in the world is not cooking the food here." I say, "Assuming he is using a microwave as his cooking mechanism, we would expect the food to be not that great because microwaves don't cook great food." My statement might be true, but it hardly rebuts your evidence because the truth of the assumption itself is unjustified and is evidence of the contrary. A great chef wouldn't use a microwave; and I don't think god would use billions of years of natural selection and evolution to do what he could do better just as easily. That a microwave was used is itself evidence that the food was not made by a great chef.

Thanks again everyone!
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Post Number:#58  PostSeptember 25th, 2010, 5:45 am

Whynot, thank you for playing devil's advocate and giving me some food for thought.
My pleasure.

Whynot wrote:If God used evolution to arrive at mankind as we now exist, then what proof have you that this evolutionary process is complete and man is now a finished product?


Wouldn't everything an omnipotent being does be a finished product?

Not if it used evolution as its means to accomplish an end. Processes in lieu of substances.

Whynot wrote:Physiology demonstrates that both male and female nipples are loaded with sensitive nerves that accentuate the sexual experience.


Do you have a source for this claim,

Nah...just very vivid experiences. :P Shall I quote chapters of specific porn flicks that visually demonstrate the veracity of my claim?

namely one that talks not only of humans but of all or at least most creatures that have two genders and male nipples?

Couldn't speak for my cousins and such but for me...ooh lala! :lol:

During the very early stages of fetal life, before the sex hormones have had a chance to do their stuff, all humans are basically bisexual. This is why we males have nipples, which in addition to nerves include equipment for the function of milk-feeding that do not provide sexual excitement but are developed before the hormones that determine sex are developed in the fetus. This--like the other examples of unintelligent design--make sense if humans evolved by evolution via natural selection but not if we were built intelligently from scratch.

Well, you are creating an unjustified intelligence vs. unintelligence dichotomy here. In as much as you presented this analogy I am at liberty to point out that male nipples serve more than one purpose which, IMHO appears very intelligent. Something as simple as a nipple that serves more than one purpose. What's unintelligent about that design...assuming it was designed, of course? Evolution, itself, if it were shown to be a product of creation, demonstrates an extreme amount of intelligence. Who, among men, could have concieved of such a methodology? Hell, it took us thousands of years to begin to even comprehend it.

Whynot wrote:Again your premises make narrow assumptions about the role of a God vs. the role of man in these issues. There's sufficient logical recourse to assert that God is not obligated to resolve every human illness. Just think of all the unemployed healthcare professionals and the service industries that revolve around medicine...the science and economic positioning that would be disrupted were God to intervene at the bequest of every petitioner. God is not obligated to do for man what man can do for himself.


It isn't that he didn't intervene in each and every case; it's that he didn't intervene in any. The prayer did nothing in any case.

Which proves he is no respecter of persons...yes?
This, in itself, is considered a virtue when observed about the character of a human leader...so why is it now become an indictment?

I think it's a stretch to say god makes people sick and lets them suffer and die as a handout to the medical industry. Besides he could just snap his fingers and put money in their pockets or at least cause a problem that is a boon to industry and employment without making people terribly ill or dead.

Well, now hold on there cowboy...you've moved the goalposts on us here. There was no mention in your proposition of God making people sick. And let's not forget the intrinsic physiological ability of self healing that is also evidence of intelligent design.

Whynot wrote:Epicurus and the PoS are both fair targets of the "Ought from an Is" criticism. God is not morally obligated to do for man what man can do for himself. Is that why we walk by beggars and drunks without getting personally involved in their lives to resolve their percieved problems? Does that make us immoral?


I didn't say god is immoral. I said the only god that could exist would have to be a sadist, so assuming god is not a sadist, then no god exists.

Ummm...doesn't "sadist" convey a certain moral sentiment? Certainly few people line up to assume that title...yes?

Whynot wrote:This is what I call the argument from arrogance. Assuming a God who uses evolution as his creationary toolkit, which of the above stated events could you confidently remove from the evolutionary chain and still arrive at your own existence at this time? Likely, none of them. I'd hate to have to choose which universe shaping events to eliminate. I wouldn't dare to assume I have enough knowledge and understanding of the intricate relationships between all these events to begin reducing things at whim, just because I assume its a waste of time or energy.


I appreciate your understanding of the butterfly effect. However, an omnipotent being could just snap his fingers and make the universe as it is now, or as it was 1 million years ago, or as it was 5 billion years ago which was even before Earth existed. You say "assuming god uses evolution as his creationary toolkit," but I make no such assumption.

Yes, you made that assumption in your first set of propositions based on intelligent vs. unintelligent design...remember? Whatever you introduce, either explicitly or implicitly, is fair game.

Consider the great chef analogy: I take you to a small restaurant, the only evidence you have about whether or not the greatest chef in the world is in the kitchen cooking all the food that comes out or not is the food you eat. The food comes out, you eat it, it tastes poorly made and microwaved. You say, "this is evidence that the greatest chef in the world is not cooking the food here." I say, "Assuming he is using a microwave as his cooking mechanism, we would expect the food to be not that great because microwaves don't cook great food." My statement might be true, but it hardly rebuts your evidence because the truth of the assumption itself is unjustified and is evidence of the contrary. A great chef wouldn't use a microwave; and I don't think god would use billions of years of natural selection and evolution to do what he could do better just as easily. That a microwave was used is itself evidence that the food was not made by a great chef.

Thanks again everyone!


Ok, so your proof that God doesn't exist is based on your value judgement about greatness...would you find that very convincing were you a theist? How did you arrive at the metaprinciple of greatness to establish this judgement? Because there appears to be evidence that God didn't create by divine fiat is hardly a justification to declare non-existence.
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Post Number:#59  PostSeptember 27th, 2010, 4:19 pm

Whynot wrote:Not if it used evolution as its means to accomplish an end.

I think using a means to accomplish an end contradicts the trait of omnipotence.

Whynot wrote:There was no mention in your proposition of God making people sick.

This allegedly possible being is omnipotent. He is the all-knowing cause of everything.

Whynot wrote:Ummm...doesn't "sadist" convey a certain moral sentiment?

No, sadism is the deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, second definition). I'm an amoralist so if some other people imply something about morality by the word sometimes; I still don't. (For more on amoralism see my posts: The Clarity of Amorality, What Moral Terms Can Mean, and The four types of equivocal moral debates.) Also, in contrast to an amoralist like myself, I find most moralists think that sadism, at least certain kinds, is morally good. For example, see the moral justification for wanting to hurt others in the threads: How do you feel about vengeance?, Does Society Need Prisons, and Murder - Do you always oppose it? Actually, now that I think about more, I can see a very interesting relationship between sadism and belief in god. I despise sadism so it makes sense that I don't believe in god in that way since god would have to be sadist, but perhaps a sadist or at least the kind of person who gleefully supports capital punishment and enjoys stabbing out people's eye's (as revenge perhaps) would be more willing to believe there's god who chooses to have the holocaust happen and chooses for babies to be born with painful terminal illnesses. (Some religions go so far as to claim this sadistic god actually tortures people in an afterlife, throwing them into some hell for eternity).

Whynot wrote:Ok, so your proof that God doesn't exist is based on your value judgement about greatness[...] How did you arrive at the metaprinciple of greatness to establish this judgement? Because there appears to be evidence that God didn't create by divine fiat is hardly a justification to declare non-existence.

Firstly, I admit it is not proof, only evidence.

Secondly, by greatness I was referring to the quality of the food prepared by the chef which I mean as an analogy of the intelligence of the would-be designs of a would-be creator. That food was prepared by a microwave and thus poorly is evidence to me that it was not made by a great chef, and that life on Earth is the result of evolution by natural selection is evidence that it was not created by the snap of some omnipotent, omniscient being's fingers.

Back to the issue of evidence vs. proof, I don't have much evidence against a person's belief that there is a sadistic god who wants reasonable people to not believe he exists. That's why my evidence isn't quite proof, because that are exceptions. In comparison, we cannot prove that O.J. Simpson is guilty, because there are reasonably possible extenuating circumstances that would explain away the evidence that he is guilty while still providing for his innocence. There are also unreasonable doubts--like maybe O.J. and his victims are all actors and we are unknowingly on the Truman Show. I cannot prove that any possible god does not exist beyond a reasonable doubt let alone beyond an unreasonable doubt.

Whynot wrote:would you find that very convincing were you a theist?

Insofar as a person is convinced by my arguments, then they would no longer be a theist, so the question is an unanswerable contradiction is it not?
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Re: arguments

Post Number:#60  PostSeptember 30th, 2010, 10:55 pm

Whynot wrote:Not if it used evolution as its means to accomplish an end.


Scott: I think using a means to accomplish an end contradicts the trait of omnipotence.

whynot: How so? Isn't omnipotence a means of accomplishing an end? There's also omniscience involved which provides the guidance for omnipotence.


Whynot wrote:There was no mention in your proposition of God making people sick.


Scott: This allegedly possible being is omnipotent. He is the all-knowing cause of everything.

whynot: Being depicted as the first cause of everything is not equivalent to directly making people sick.

Whynot wrote:Ummm...doesn't "sadist" convey a certain moral sentiment?


Scott: No, sadism is the deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, second definition). I'm an amoralist so if some other people imply something about morality by the word sometimes; I still don't. Actually, now that I think about more, I can see a very interesting relationship between sadism and belief in god. I despise sadism

whynot: You're an amoralist but you despise sadism?


Scott: so it makes sense that I don't believe in god in that way since god would have to be sadist, but perhaps a sadist or at least the kind of person who gleefully supports capital punishment and enjoys stabbing out people's eye's (as revenge perhaps) would be more willing to believe there's god who chooses to have the holocaust happen and chooses for babies to be born with painful terminal illnesses. (Some religions go so far as to claim this sadistic god actually tortures people in an afterlife, throwing them into some hell for eternity).

whynot: Sorry Scott, but I don't see any connection between omni-benevolence and sadism. Moral assignments like this leave you open to theistic demands to provide a moral foundational basis, sans god, before they will accept your usage of such terms. Claiming amoralism would invoke a contradiction.

Whynot wrote:Ok, so your proof that God doesn't exist is based on your value judgement about greatness[...] How did you arrive at the metaprinciple of greatness to establish this judgement? Because there appears to be evidence that God didn't create by divine fiat is hardly a justification to declare non-existence.



Scott:Firstly, I admit it is not proof, only evidence.

Secondly, by greatness I was referring to the quality of the food prepared by the chef which I mean as an analogy of the intelligence of the would-be designs of a would-be creator. That food was prepared by a microwave and thus poorly is evidence to me that it was not made by a great chef, and that life on Earth is the result of evolution by natural selection is evidence that it was not created by the snap of some omnipotent, omniscient being's fingers.

whynot: None of which responds to my criticism that allowing ID opens the door to argue that evolution is an ongoing process and any assesments of intelligence at this time is likely to be premature. And, the rebuttal that evolution, itself, is an extremely intelligent means of doing business versus...? Can you posit some other, more intelligent, means of creation?

Scott: Back to the issue of evidence vs. proof, I don't have much evidence against a person's belief that there is a sadistic god who wants reasonable people to not believe he exists. That's why my evidence isn't quite proof, because that are exceptions.

whynot: But your initial definition of this god conveys nothing that would allow us to draw any conclusions whatsoever about what it wants reasonable people to believe, one way or the other. As it is, we could conclude that said entity could care less.

Scott: In comparison, we cannot prove that O.J. Simpson is guilty, because there are reasonably possible extenuating circumstances that would explain away the evidence that he is guilty while still providing for his innocence. There are also unreasonable doubts--like maybe O.J. and his victims are all actors and we are unknowingly on the Truman Show. I cannot prove that any possible god does not exist beyond a reasonable doubt let alone beyond an unreasonable doubt.

whynot: Methinks you have stuffed a red herring with straw and fitted it with panteloons to make it appear, for all the world, like a strawman.

Whynot wrote:would you find that very convincing were you a theist?


Scott: Insofar as a person is convinced by my arguments, then they would no longer be a theist, so the question is an unanswerable contradiction is it not?

whynot: Then you have such a person you can present before us to testify of their deconversion based on your arguments to substantiate this claim of a contradiction? The point being, you must needs tighten up this argumentation. The deeper we climb into your justifications the more difficult it becomes for us to follow your arguments exclusively to your desired conclusions.
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