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  1. #21
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    The so what comes from the expansion on your above statement. Try it, you'll see. Just imagine what I have asked you to in the OP.
    Alright, done. Now what?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  2. #22
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by mican
    You said I should imagine a world where the majority believes in Santa Claus. Alright I will. Santa, by definition, delivers toys to the children of the world every Christmas Eve. Now, I know that Santa doesn't do that. I've never received a gift from Santa. Neither have my children.
    You don't know with absolute certainty that you or your children have never received a gift from Santa. It's possible that your belief that you or your children have never received such a gift is a false belief.

    For instance, maybe it's the case that Santa gave you only the gifts you REALLY wanted and needed the most when you believed in Him and you never realized that Santa was the being giving you those gifts.


    And every person that I know has the same experience.
    Weak. If you'd lived 500 years ago in a village in the middle of Africa there is every reason to think that you and all the people you knew would believe that the sun traversed the earth's sky each day while the earth remained stationary. Just because everyone you personally know believes what you believe doesn't make your belief true.

    So I have incontrovertible evidence that Santa does not exist and so does everyone else. So they have clear, incontrovertible evidence that Santa does not exist.
    "Incontrovertible"? No. Most adults have very good reasons, not "incontrovertible" evidence, to disbelieve that Santa exists.

    Those, BTW, are essentially the same reasons they have to disbelieve that the Christian God exists: A) Absolutely no evidence of the alleged being's physical existence and B) evidence that the legend of the alleged being's existence is myth-based.

    And yet they do believe in Santa! They actually believe something that anyone who observes simple reality will know does not exist. That is crazy!
    And yet some people believe the Christian God (all three of Him!) exists! They actually believe something that anyone who observes simple reality will know probably doesn't exist. That is crazy!

  3. #23
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Weak. If you'd lived 500 years ago in a village in the middle of Africa there is every reason to think that you and all the people you knew would believe that the sun traversed the earth's sky each day while the earth remained stationary. Just because everyone you personally know believes what you believe doesn't make your belief true.
    Ahem. Funny to see an atheist making this argument, since it's atheism that thinks our beliefs have to be grounded in the best evidence available to us--and for the people in that African village, the best evidence available would indeed show that the sun travels around the earth.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  5. #24
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Ahem. Funny to see an atheist making this argument, since it's atheism that thinks our beliefs have to be grounded in the best evidence available to us . . .
    Funny to see anyone make the argument that our beliefs do not have to be grounded in the best available evidence to us to count as rational beliefs.


    . . . and for the people in that African village, the best evidence available would indeed show that the sun travels around the earth.
    The point is not just that mican uses the fact that everyone he knows personally holds the opinion that X is true to be a very good reason for him to believe that X is true. The point is that mican uses this to be strong evidence that X is true even though he also knows that the majority of the people in the world hold the opinion that X is not true.

  6. #25
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    You don't know with absolute certainty that you or your children have never received a gift from Santa. It's possible that your belief that you or your children have never received such a gift is a false belief.

    For instance, maybe it's the case that Santa gave you only the gifts you REALLY wanted and needed the most when you believed in Him and you never realized that Santa was the being giving you those gifts.
    But Santa gives gifts to all of the children ever year. Such a phenomena would have been confirmed to exist by now if it existed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    Weak. If you'd lived 500 years ago in a village in the middle of Africa there is every reason to think that you and all the people you knew would believe that the sun traversed the earth's sky each day while the earth remained stationary. Just because everyone you personally know believes what you believe doesn't make your belief true.
    No. Your rebuttal is weak. I am talking about experience, not belief.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    "Incontrovertible"? No. Most adults have very good reasons, not "incontrovertible" evidence, to disbelieve that Santa exists.
    If a being who, by definition, takes a certain action exists, then evidence of that action would be present. Since evidence of that action does not exist the being that takes that action does not exist. That is incontrovertible evidence that the being does not exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    And yet some people believe the Christian God (all three of Him!) exists! They actually believe something that anyone who observes simple reality will know probably doesn't exist. That is crazy!
    I have provided evidence that Santa does not exist. What evidence do you have that God does not exist?

  7. #26
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I have provided evidence that Santa does not exist. What evidence do you have that God does not exist?
    LOL. Okay well that is no more than anecdotal evidence. I'll do you one better. Here is scientific evidence disproving God. Which disproves God in the same way as you have dis-proven Santa.

    The Earth was created by God about 6000 years ago. We have incontrovertible evidence (literally) that the Earth is millions of years old. So God does something that we know wasn't done (like Santa and gifts) and therefore God doesn't exist.
    abc

  8. #27
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Xeno: If you want to have a good engagement with people in a debate its important to have some respect for your opponent. This argument makes it sound like you have no respect for them. You are then asking your audience to nod their head and say to themselves, yep, Atheist's have no understanding of my beliefs and think God is like Santa, clearly they are idiots just like I thought they were. At least that is what they are thinking about you. Why do you feel the need to engage the sympathy of your opponent for how much you dislike their argument? Its not going to work.

    If you want to commiserate, its better to do that among just atheists. Sure, we all get that sinking feeling sometimes that our opponent lives in a fantasy rather than a shared reality but that's our burden to bear, not something we should be expecting our opponents to give two shakes about.

    So while they can technically understand the feeling you describe, they are at the same time, thinking you are an idiot for feeling it.
    Last edited by Sigfried; July 30th, 2012 at 09:10 AM.
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  9. #28
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    LOL. Okay well that is no more than anecdotal evidence. I'll do you one better. Here is scientific evidence disproving God. Which disproves God in the same way as you have dis-proven Santa.

    The Earth was created by God about 6000 years ago. We have incontrovertible evidence (literally) that the Earth is millions of years old. So God does something that we know wasn't done (like Santa and gifts) and therefore God doesn't exist.
    Most theists do not believe that God created the Earth 6000 years ago, only a small minority of them believe that. Since it is not a common theistic belief that the Earth was made 6000 years ago, that cannot be a necessary descriptor of God (a "necessary descriptor" being something a being must have to qualify as that being, such as Santa must give gifts to be Santa).

    To find God's necessary descriptors, consult the dictionary definition of God.

  10. #29
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    Funny to see anyone make the argument that our beliefs do not have to be grounded in the best available evidence to us to count as rational beliefs.
    What evidence is there that the universe didn't come into existence five minutes ago with the appearance of age?
    What evidence is there that your memory is reliable?

    Remember, you don't get to assume that either of those are true. You have to show it from the evidence.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  11. #30
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    What evidence is there that the universe didn't come into existence five minutes ago with the appearance of age?
    What evidence is there that your memory is reliable?
    Best available evidence, not absolute proof. We have evidence available that our memory is at least somewhat reliable (but also that it is not absolutely reliable). We have evidence the universe didn't just come into existence, but it is of course not absolute. We don't have much evidence to suggest it was created 5 minutes ago so the best evidence is that it did not.

    Religion and metaphysics just aren't good deductive topics. They are almost always best addressed as inductive.
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  12. #31
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If a being who, by definition, takes a certain action exists, then evidence of that action would be present. Since evidence of that action does not exist the being that takes that action does not exist. That is incontrovertible evidence that the being does not exist.
    While I agree with you that a belief in God is not as silly as a belief in Santa, I don't believe the belief in God versus Santa is a matter of lack of evidence that one doesn't exist versus incontrovertible evidence that one does not exist.

    First, the quoted argument does not follow. Lack of evidence that an action did not happen does not even disprove the action, never mind disprove the existence of the being doing the action. The action could very well have happened in a place where no one saw it. Perhaps Santa once, and only once, gave a boy in a third world country a present while no one was looking. I'm not saying it did, I'm simply saying there's no proof it didn't.

    Second, the argument that Santa does not exist because you and everyone you know has never received a gift from him has a valid counter (i.e., one that would follow if all of the premises were true). While it is true that Santa is a being who gives presents every Christmas Eve, I believe the mythology surrounding him also states he is a being who only gives presents to the good people of the world (you know, "making a list, checking it twice, going to find out whose naughty or nice . . ."). I could therefore make the following argument:

    P1: Santa only gives presents to good people in the world.
    P2: You and everyone you know are not good.
    C: Santa did not give you and anyone you know any presents.

    Do you know for a fact that you lived up to Santa's definition of good? Do you know for a fact that you, anyone you know, or anyone in the world lives up to his definition of good? If you don't, how can you know that there weren't other reasons Santa has not given anyone to your knowledge gifts? And if you can't rule out the other reasons, and if a valid argument in favor of one of those reasons can be forwarded, how can you say that Santa's nonexistence is incontrovertible? What criteria does an argument have to fulfill in order to bring an opposing argument into dispute without necessarily disproving it?

  13. #32
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    Do you know for a fact that you lived up to Santa's definition of good? Do you know for a fact that you, anyone you know, or anyone in the world lives up to his definition of good? If you don't, how can you know that there weren't other reasons Santa has not given anyone to your knowledge gifts? And if you can't rule out the other reasons, and if a valid argument in favor of one of those reasons can be forwarded, how can you say that Santa's nonexistence is incontrovertible? What criteria does an argument have to fulfill in order to bring an opposing argument into dispute without necessarily disproving it?
    Well, would moving it from "inconvertible" to "really, really solid" be acceptable to you? I think you're splitting hairs. The point is we have solid evidence that Santa does not exist while the argument that God does not exist is usually based on lack of evidence.
    Last edited by mican333; July 30th, 2012 at 01:49 PM.

  14. #33
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Well, would moving it from "inconvertible" to "really, really solid" be acceptable to you? I think you're splitting hairs. The point is we have solid evidence that Santa does not exist while the argument that God does not exist is based on lack of evidence.
    Well, I don't know if this is true either. I mean, we know very well that Santa doesn't deliver presents to all the children of the world, and likewise we know that the Earth wasn't made in seven days; there's lots of evidence supporting both of these things. Likewise presents are credited to Santa and Earth is credited to God. So insofar as we understand many things that are credited to each of things beings, we have evidence that they do not exist. So I guess it really comes down to what "God" you're talking about and what they're credited with doing.

    But then if we just pick things we don't yet understand to chalk up to God, it seems like we're just making a God-of-the-gaps argument, and then a person might rebut that by saying that there are many things that we used to credit to divine origin that we now understand very well. That doesn't mean that God doesn't exist, of course, but it does call into question why we'd ever credit the divine with anything at all, wouldn't you say?

  15. #34
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Well, would moving it from "inconvertible" to "really, really solid" be acceptable to you? I think you're splitting hairs. The point is we have solid evidence that Santa does not exist while the argument that God does not exist is based on lack of evidence.
    It's not splitting hairs considering "disputable" and "indisputable" (which is what a "really, really solid" argument is) are exact opposites.

    As far as "really, really solid" goes, then sure, but not for the reasons you stated. You've only forwarded lack of evidence as a reason to not believe in Santa. That is precisely what you admit is the case for God. As there can be no degree of "lack of evidence" one can only assume, based on your arguments, that there is an equal lack of evidence for God and Santa.

    The only reason it is more reasonable to believe in God and not Santa is because even the people who created Santa have never expressed any serious belief in his existence.

    And as far as MyX's argument goes, I agree with the inaccuracy of the analogy, though again not for the reasons you expressed. The analogy is inaccurate because no mythology surrounding Santa has ever described him as an omnipotent being who considered those who did not believe in him to be wicked. There would therefore be no reason for his followers to think people who do not believe in him are wicked and therefore no reason for them to go to war with or not elect people who do not believe in him.

    Simply put, Mican, I disagreed with your premises, but not the claim you forwarded in your first post.

  16. #35
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Its hard to use the Santa comparison without being derisive in some way. Claims for Santa are simply easier to verify or exclude with physical evidence. God is too nebulous. The bible itself has some bits you can go after with hard evidence but a quick re-interpretation makes those irrelevant to the believer. Challenge the flood on the hard geology and you just get a regional flood or an allegorical flood (or a load of crap from answers in genesis). With Santa there is no outside time and space lore (though it would help him with the proposed powers he has). And with Santa there are plenty willing to admit they just made it up.

    Now if you were arguing with a child that Santa was fake and the child believed in Santa, that I think is closer to what arguing with a theist feels like. You know they mean well and are not stupid, you know they have been given a lot of information that you think is not accurate, and you are trying to show it too them. But instead of one kids notions and a social legend that is intentionally fanciful, you are going up against 2000 years of tradition, refined argument, and the full weight of human aspiration for immortality and absolute meaning. It's far more challenging.

    What always boggles my brain is when one religious person points at another tradition and says "Wow that sure is crazy" when meanwhile they have a lot of equally wacky stuff in their own faith. They of course have a long winded justification for said wacky stuff, but they assume other religions don't have an equally long winded justification for their crazy stuff. That's when I feel like the doctor in a loony bin watching an argument between Nepolean and Billy the Kid about how the pyramids were built. Deciding which one is right just feels like a false dilemma.
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  17. #36
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    It's not splitting hairs considering "disputable" and "indisputable" (which is what a "really, really solid" argument is) are exact opposites.
    My point is that there is very, very good reasons to not believe in Santa Claus so pointing out it's not quite incontrovertible instead of completely incontrovertible is quibbling.

    Quote Originally Posted by czahar View Post
    As far as "really, really solid" goes, then sure, but not for the reasons you stated. You've only forwarded lack of evidence as a reason to not believe in Santa. That is precisely what you admit is the case for God.
    So if you reach into your pocket and find no coin, you don't take the lack of evidence that there is a coin in your pocket as evidence that there is no coin in your pocket?

  18. #37
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I think if you keep comparing God to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy people will always be inclined to challenge whether or not the comparison is valid. If you want to make your point better then you need to at least pick another entity like Vishnu or something. You'll get nowhere by starting off with mockery. And why should you, really?
    I think it is because that is one of the only type of arguments that Xeno has against theism (and it's been responded to in every one of his threads which are similar).

    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...n-In-My-Garage
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...ef-in-Unicorns
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...eving-In-Magic
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...sm-Irrational?
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...ic-of-Religion

    Mican: A belief in Santa Claus is significantly less rational than a belief in God
    Xeno: That is debatable. Atheists would take the side of 'a belief in God is equally as rational as a belief in Santa'. But this is beside the point. Please stick to the debate presented in the OP.

    It isn't beside the point. You are saying that it is the same and are asking everyone (including theists) to view the world through YOUR eyes (which btw, do not represent atheism and I don't think most atheists share your radicalized views, and I know that academics/philosophers do not). In order to view the world this way, we must accept that the belief in God is equitable to the belief in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa, etc... If the belief were equitable, then you'd have a point...but since they are not (and you have not demonstrated them to be), then your argument...as everyone else has explained, fails as it is a false analogy.

    That is, you are claiming that the beliefs are the same but not actually supporting that they are...and as such, there is no reason to believe that they are. This is a repeated claim that you make in all your threads of this sort and has been refuted in every instance.

    ---------- Post added at 07:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:15 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    ...and I pointed out that for the sake of this debate the 'validity of the comparison' is irrelevant. It is assumed to be true for the sake of this debate.
    How is this not like:

    "Let's assume for the sake of the argument that atheists are child molesting, cat raping, baby eating black people who listen to nothing other than Liberace, think that Fred is the most brilliant entertainer in the history of mankind, expert seal clubbers and want nothing more than to electrocute all human beings with the last name ending in -berg or -stein."

    Now...there are, for the sake of a hypothetical argument or thinking exercise, good reasons to assume certain propositions (without necessarily accepting them to be true). But when we make a comparison with an actual entity or concept (such as in this case, "atheism" instead of something we have made up for the sake of the argument) the assumption can easily fall flat and thus rejected, since the subject of comparison which is actual, is not or cannot be remotely compared to what is our hypothetical. In other words, it's a meaningless exercise. What it does however, as in both your argument and in my hypothetical setup re: required assumption, is merely attempt to throw a particular belief system or group of people into a negative light through fallacious reasoning. In other words, the only thing it does is attempt to stir up trouble and/or insult a particular group...nothing else. There is no meaningful, true, or valid hypothetical that exists that can come from my required assumption about atheists above...any more than such a thing can come from yours. It is an absurd requirement (the hypothetical assumption) and just all around bad reasoning that wouldn't make it out of a 1st yr philosophy class discussion window. There is no atheist or theist who should accept my insistent "hypothetical" as a meaningful and sound comparison and likewise, none that should accept yours.

    Now, I realize you may not necessarily agree that it is meaningless. In the instance that the argument maker thinks there is a sound comparison, there must be a reason for that comparison to be sound. So, if you sincerely do believe there is a reason for the comparison to be sound, what is it? If you do not think it is sound, then you have agreed with us. And if the comparison is not sound, it cannot be applicable. And if the comparison is not applicable, then the argument which is contingent upon it being applicable is fallacious. And if the argument is fallacious...well, then it need not be considered...why? Because it's fallacious.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; July 30th, 2012 at 08:11 PM.
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  20. #38
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Well every Atheist that I have talked to agrees that God is on the same playing field as Santa.
    It's quite obvious that this is true from the consistently low quality of argument that you frequently present on the topic that the only feedback you get about your atheistic notions would likely be from people who "agree that God is on the same playing field as Santa" without much additional thought for the matter except to dismiss both notions as self-evidently crazy. It's precisely for this reason (among others) that I have stopped debating with you and don't really even bother to read your posts or arguments anymore. Quite frankly, even if they weren't usually openly insulting in their assumption that we're either crazy, deluded, ignorant or stupid, your arguments are also faulty, full of holes, and generally of sufficiently low quality to make me feel like debating you about theism is a waste of my time.

    Dio is exactly right on this matter... I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in engaging with someone who doesn't even bother to disguise his condescention and derision for my beliefs when he expresses his disagreement. It's insulting and incredibly arrogant, and yet you seem to remain totally tone-deaf to this problem which has been pointed out to you, not just here but elsewhere, too. If your arguments showed any real justification for what appears to be an excessively high opinion of your own intellectual and perceptive powers I might be inclined to give your words more weight. Instead, your arguments consistently lack internal consistency, ignore facts and reality, and frequently require the intended target to ignore reality or assume the truth of clearly flawed or outright contradictory points. Why should I or any self-respecting theist agree to humor you in your ill-constructed stipulations just so you can heap derision on our heads? No... instead of taking constructive criticism from more reasonable people who are actually aligned with your own philosophical beliefs and engaging in some honest self-reflection about your arguments, you decided to take the road of egoism and take every chance you get to point out how silly we theists are for believing in faeries, unicorns, Santa, magical aliens, and any other nonsense you care to compare our beliefs to on a given day.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide
    To you it is crazier but to Atheists it is not, it is equally as crazy. I am not interested in your world view, I am interested in an atheists world view.
    This is why you fail. You seem to be totally incapable of examining a belief structure outside your own narrow-minded arguments. You're not interested in a theist's world-view at all... just an atheistic one... and so every argument you hear, every piece of evidence you encounter, and every debate you have just adds to your own confirmation bias.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide
    Don't take Santa as literal. That is missing the point.
    No, Xeno... I think it is you who are missing the point. Comparing the carefully considered, reasoned beliefs of a theist to a clearly and demonstrably false belief in something whose reality is relatively easy to verify or refute and then using that straw man to direct ridicule at theists for being "crazy" is why all but the most charitable theists here seem to have stopped addressing your arguments altogether. Even your own fellow atheists are trying to help you out, here.... you're never going to get anywhere as long as you persist in assuming that we're all crazy and you're not or that we're all less intelligent than you are just because we believe in God and you don't. And from what I can tell, that's basically the shape of nearly every single one of your arguments, if you boil it down to its most basic elements... yet another flawed analogy between some clearly ridiculous premise and theistic belief that you think leads to an inevitable conclusion that we're all just a pack of dimwitted nutjobs who insist on being self-deluded for some reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    LOL. Okay well that is no more than anecdotal evidence. I'll do you one better. Here is scientific evidence disproving God. Which disproves God in the same way as you have dis-proven Santa.

    The Earth was created by God about 6000 years ago. We have incontrovertible evidence (literally) that the Earth is millions of years old. So God does something that we know wasn't done (like Santa and gifts) and therefore God doesn't exist.
    Characteristic of your consistently flawed approach to a reasoned critique of theism. Others have been charitable to point out some of the flaws in your argument, so I will not belabor the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So if you reach into your pocket and find no coin, you don't take the lack of evidence that there is a coin in your pocket as evidence that there is no coin in your pocket?
    Unfortunately, mican... this is one of the points that I have to disagree with you on using. The argument that "absence of evidence is not evidence for absence" is a pretty commonly used theistic argument, and it does generally hold true.
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    just all around bad reasoning that wouldn't make it out of a 1st yr philosophy class discussion window.
    Strange, I got an A+ in my first year philosophy class.

    Now, I realize you may not necessarily agree that it is meaningless. In the instance that the argument make thinks there is a sound comparison, there must be a reason for that comparison to be sound. So, if you sincerely do believe there is a reason for the comparison to be sound, what is it? If you do not think it is sound, then you have agreed with us. And if the comparison is not sound, it cannot be applicable. And if the comparison is not applicable, then the argument which is contingent upon it being applicable is fallacious. And if the argument is fallacious...well, then it need not be considered...why? Because it's fallacious.
    Are you sure you made it out of your 1st year philosophy class? Cause if you did you should know the difference between a valid argument and a sound argument.

    ---------- Post added at 11:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:58 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    It's precisely for this reason (among others) that I have stopped debating with you and don't really even bother to read your posts or arguments anymore. Quite frankly, even if they weren't usually openly insulting in their assumption that we're either crazy, deluded, ignorant or stupid, your arguments are also faulty, full of holes, and generally of sufficiently low quality to make me feel like debating you about theism is a waste of my time.
    LOL... and yet here you are reading my post and responding to it.
    abc

  22. #40
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    Re: Eyes of an Atheist

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide
    Strange, I got an A+ in my first year philosophy class.
    I'm not sure how, unless your philosophy's standards for handing out A+ are low enough to render their opinion meaningless.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    LOL... and yet here you are reading my post and responding to it.
    A mistake I won't be making again, I assure you. If you are this incapable of taking well-reasoned, very detailed and (from others, at least) constructive criticism and examining your arguments' strength objectively, I have no further interest in engaging you at all.
    -=[Talthas]=-
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