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  1. #41
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I am saying that there is no coherent God to even begin discussing existence: the idea of God or Gods is so haphazard, incomplete, contradictory and mutually disbelieved by other religionists - those very people that believe in these things - we don't even know what we are talking about.

    If you don't know what you're talking about then it doesn't exist, by definition.
    But a typical theist DOES know what he/she is talking about when they say "God".

    If you go to a typical Christian church, when the Reverend says "God" the whole congregation will think of a conceptualization that is pretty much the same for everyone there and aligns with what the Reverend is talking about. Now, this may not match what other churches or religions conceive of when they say "God", but that doesn't alter the fact that these particular theists have a very coherent and describable being that they can (and probably want to) tell you about in as much detail that you might want from them.

    So if there is confusion caused by the fact that other faiths mean something different, the confusion is yours. They know what they are talking about and they have a very specific and coherent God for you to debunk if you were going to argue that their faith is false. And if you refuse to argue about why their faith is false because you don't think their faith is coherent enough to address, then you have posed no challenge to their faith.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Mican appears to be agnostic towards the Western God of Christianity. I doubt his credentials as a true agnostic since he either doesn't know or care about religions from other histories or contemporary societies.
    I made it clear in my last post that I don't give much credibility to the Christian God and the God that I am agnostic about is what I call The Bare Bones God (an intelligence that made the universe).


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    When you take an agnostic position, you are saying that these claims could be possibly true. However, when the claims are so terrible to their very foundation, I don't see how you can take that position. Are you also agnostic to pink elephants having created the universe? Or Green Happiness? Or yourself? Or me? Why do some terrible ideas raise themselves for you to be agnostic about when they should be clearly dismissed out of hand?
    Again, I am agnostic regarding the Bare Bones God and you have no shown that the concept is so flawed that one should not believe in it (unlike something like a Pink Unicorn.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    If you're prepared to give up hard earned scientific knowledge of the universe or logic or an aesthetic for a plausible narrative, what are you gaining? Are you equally agnostic about gravity or germ theory or DNA?
    My agnosticism regarding the Bare Bones God (which means that I allow that it may exist) does not contradict any valid scientific beliefs.
    Last edited by mican333; May 18th, 2016 at 04:36 PM.

  2. #42

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But a typical theist DOES know what he/she is talking about when they say "God".
    Of course they do! I'm saying that taken as an aggregate, the term is useless and should be replaced with "Christian God" or Hindu Gods or whatever. Also, as an aggregate all the claims of what this supposed creator (or creators) actually is and what they're supposed to have done is a giant mess: there's nothing there.

    So if there is confusion caused by the fact that other faiths mean something different, the confusion is yours. They know what they are talking about and they have a very specific and coherent God for you to debunk if you were going to argue that their faith is false. And if you refuse to argue about why their faith is false because you don't think their faith is coherent enough to address, then you have posed no challenge to their faith.
    I don't challenge their specific faith: I challenge the entire idea of faith or rather more precisely, I don't challenge their beliefs as having no evidence, I challenge their claims their imaginings are real and I challenge that they are allowed to apply their unproven beliefs onto others. But that's a different debate. I'll respond to your previous post shortly but I just want to clear up a couple of misconceptions.

  3. #43
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Of course they do! I'm saying that taken as an aggregate, the term is useless and should be replaced with "Christian God" or Hindu Gods or whatever. Also, as an aggregate all the claims of what this supposed creator (or creators) actually is and what they're supposed to have done is a giant mess: there's nothing there.
    But when a theist talks about believing in God, they are referring to a specific God, like the Christian God, and not the aggregate God.

    So if you want to argue that the aggregate God does not exist, I will accept that. But you have not shown that the Christian God does not exist. Christians believe that a long time ago an entity purposefully created the universe, the earth, and mankind and that entity is what is known as the Christian God. If atheism is correct, this being absolutely does not exist. So can you show that this specific God does not exist? If not, then you cannot prove atheism.




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I don't challenge their specific faith: I challenge the entire idea of faith or rather more precisely, I don't challenge their beliefs as having no evidence, I challenge their claims their imaginings are real and I challenge that they are allowed to apply their unproven beliefs onto others.
    Well, atheism only challenges that their beliefs are real (although many individual atheists challenge various religious agendas).

    But as far as I can tell, you are saying that if you combine their God will all other culture's Gods then you get something incomprehensible that no one can believe in. I'm not saying that you are incorrect about that but that it doesn't equate a valid argument that their specific beliefs are wrong.

    Hypothetically, if their beliefs are completely correct, it would still be incomprehensible if it were combine with all of the rest of the world's faith. So aggregate incomprehensibility of beliefs does not show that any individual belief is wrong.

  4. #44

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But when a theist talks about believing in God, they are referring to a specific God, like the Christian God, and not the aggregate God.
    I'm not talking about an aggregate God either - I am talking about the idea of a creator(s) of us, our world, or our universe that also has rules about how we are supposed to live.

    So if you want to argue that the aggregate God does not exist, I will accept that. But you have not shown that the Christian God does not exist. Christians believe that a long time ago an entity purposefully created the universe, the earth, and mankind and that entity is what is known as the Christian God. If atheism is correct, this being absolutely does not exist. So can you show that this specific God does not exist? If not, then you cannot prove atheism.
    Well, atheism is just a belief system; it exists because atheists exist - there's nothing further to prove about it. However, my argument isn't about atheism per se, I have no interest in a religion's particulars enough to discount them. My argument is that when you're talking about an intelligent or conscious creator then that kind of being or beings doesn't exist.


    Well, atheism only challenges that their beliefs are real (although many individual atheists challenge various religious agendas).

    But as far as I can tell, you are saying that if you combine their God will all other culture's Gods then you get something incomprehensible that no one can believe in. I'm not saying that you are incorrect about that but that it doesn't equate a valid argument that their specific beliefs are wrong.

    Hypothetically, if their beliefs are completely correct, it would still be incomprehensible if it were combine with all of the rest of the world's faith. So aggregate incomprehensibility of beliefs does not show that any individual belief is wrong.
    I'm not combining the Gods of all religions into a big morass, I am saying that as far as 'God' being a job title of at least creating life or the universe doesn't exist; that the speculation about such an event/person is just a random culturally-specific and scientifically unsurprising creation. The most likely explanation is that people must have made it up. We know people make up anthropomorphic explanations for natural phenomena all the time so this shouldn't be that controversial.


    Much like the BBG you invented (see below) it's just a crazy idea that people thought/think is a good idea.


    ---------- Post added at 07:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:31 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Then you likewise have to discount the God forwarded by the human you are addressing right now, which is me. So if the bare bones God (an intelligence that made the universe) is a fiction, you need to show that it is a fiction.
    Well, your specific bare bones God sounds even more made up than any real God, so it is easy to show it's a fiction invented for the sake of argument! It doesn't stand up to scrutiny and falls apart on its own merit.

    And the bare-bones God does not arise from a creation myth. I've explained where it comes from - it comes from logic and knowledge of human nature. I ask what would science have to prove exists before people would generally concede that a God of some kind exists and the answer is "proof that the universe was created by an intelligence". So however these ancient religions came to be is irrelevant to the veracity of the bare bones God and therefore your criticism of religion does not show that this particular God does not exist.
    I haven't seen any logic nor knowledge of human nature to explain this at all or any proof on your part. So I'm not sure about what is supposed to be proven here.

    So let me ask. Do you hold that the Bare Bones God does not exist? If so, it is your burden to show this is the case if you are to hold that NO Gods exist. If not, then you cannot claim that it's a fact that no God's exist for you do not contest that the Bare Bones God exists.
    BBG doesn't exist because it is a figment invented for this argument - those reasons are similar to the other reasons why I believe NO Gods exist - they're all made up for some reason or another.



    No, my analogy is about all religions. Each religion that disagrees with other religions equates a person who disagrees with another about AL's height. So various people disagreeing about God's properties does not mean that all of them are wrong. Perhaps a tribe in Africa who has a belief that we aren't even aware of has it right. I'm not saying that is actually the case but how do you know that it's not the case? Or maybe every story has a lot of inaccuracies but they are generally correct that an intelligent being made the universe. With a few exceptions, I believe all religions hold that the earth was created by an intelligent being.
    No, you are minimizing the actual kinds of differences that religions have. One is saying AL is tall, the other short, another says he is two people, another says he is pink incarnate, and yet another claims he is a cat.

    The range of differences is a little more than in one irrelevant and minor dimension such as in your example: it is in ALL dimensions with very little in common. Don't forget too that along with this God are all sorts of other claims such as what this God(s) did, their specific WORLD-WIDE actions, what humans they bred with and what those spawn did, and the rulers of the religion they chose to put in place and specific rules about what we do with our own genitals and mind.

    So we haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg about all these religious claims. Your analogy is terrible in ignoring the vast scope of differences and it doesn't account for cultural differences nor that culture's scientific knowledge. In your eagerness to trivialize the importance of these vast differences, you've kinda missed the forest for the one tiny tree!

    Wrong. I explained exactly how I came up with the Bare Bones God and it does not match any creation of fiction. It is derived by logic and fact.
    Right - completed invented out of the blue for the sake of argument. Correct?


    It's clear that Harry Potter is a fictional character because it is common knowledge that an author created him from her imagination. We can name that author. But you can't name the person who created the religion or show any real evidence of how these religions were created.
    So now you're saying that knowledge of this God came about how? If not via at least one human wrote it down whence came the knowledge? I think it's fair to say that our current knowledge comes from at least one human source!

    Actually, I personally don't have much belief in Gods of any particular religion.

    The God I am agnostic about is the Bare Bones God. And since no one has ever provided any evidence that this particular God does or does not exist, I remain agnostic.
    Ah, so you're actually an atheist other than in the BBG, which you created for the sake of this debate. So you're actually an atheist in other words!

    I've clearly explained my basis for forwarding the Bare Bones God. I will explain it AGAIN in Bold and any time you want to ask me how I came up with it, just go back to this bold statement.

    I derive the concept of the Bare Bones God from the notion of what science would have prove to get many, probably most, people to concede that a God of some kind exists. And if science proved that the universe was created by an intelligence, people would consider that intelligence to qualify as God. Therefore the Bare Bones God is an intelligence that created the universe.
    That's as clear as mud:
    1. The first sentence makes zero sense: BBG is a "concept" so right off the bat this is a theoretical construct and not an actual God at all.
    2. "BBG is what science would have to prove to get many people to concede that a God of some kind exists" defines precisely nothing - what does science have to do with it? which science? what does science ever "prove" anyway? and why "many people" and not one, or all? and why would they have to "concede" to a "proof" as opposed to accepting it? The phrase "a God of some kind" is a little circular of a definition.
    I don't think the rest of it is worth the trouble.

    I can name the creators of these characters. When you can name the person or persons who created God, then this analogy applies.
    Sure, Moses created the Abrahamic God when he faked going up the mountain.


    I have a Western perspectives because I'm a Westerner. What did you expect? But I don't put much credibility in any of the major religions. Again, agnostic.
    Wait, I thought you were agnostic of BBG. Are you also agnostic of ALL the other religions too!? Equally? You have no criteria or mindfulness to judge or distinguish between any of them!?

    You have provided reason for me to doubt religion. But you have not provided any real evidence that an intelligence did not create the universe.
    Other than your own made up BBG, religion is the only way you could know about any of the intelligences that people claim to have created the universe. If you disbelieve religions then you have to disbelieve the prime focus of them too. You seem to be contradicting yourself at every turn here!

    [QUTE]And one can have a belief in God without bothering with religion. For example, the Near Death Experience phenomena indicates that our souls do travel to another place after we die which, if accepted, would indicate that there's a God. I'm not saying that it's a legitimate phenomena but that even if all religion is indeed bunk, one can believe in God by means that are irrelevant to veracity of religious belief.[/QUOTE]
    A few problems here:
    1. NDE isn't a phenomena, it's made up!
    2. NDE doesn't prove souls (whatever they're supposed to be anyway) - there are other possibilities
    3. Since the person didn't die, it's a bit of stretch to claim that an NDE is anything like actual death.
    4. "if accepted": rejected!
    5. I don't see how souls (again, undefined) have anything to do with a God

    But don't bother explaining or exploring this point further: it gets us no further and is more full of holes than your explanation of BBG!

  5. #45
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Well, atheism is just a belief system; it exists because atheists exist - there's nothing further to prove about it. However, my argument isn't about atheism per se, I have no interest in a religion's particulars enough to discount them. My argument is that when you're talking about an intelligent or conscious creator then that kind of being or beings doesn't exist.
    I know your argument. And now you need to show that your argument is correct. In other words, you need to show that an intelligent creator of the universe doesn't exist.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Well, your specific bare bones God sounds even more made up than any real God, so it is easy to show it's a fiction invented for the sake of argument! It doesn't stand up to scrutiny and falls apart on its own merit.
    SUPPORT OR RETRACT that it does not stand up to scrutiny and/or falls apart on its own merits.

    Note: You seem to be new here so you might not be aware of ODN rules but if one asks you to support or retreat a claim, you need to either support it - as in provide an argument showing that your claim is true or retract the claim which means at the very least you can't repeat it again.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I haven't seen any logic nor knowledge of human nature to explain this at all or any proof on your part. So I'm not sure about what is supposed to be proven here.
    I didn't say anything was suppose to be proven. My point is that IF science proves that the universe was created by an intelligence, then it's reasonable to believe that God exists and therefore the notion that an intelligence that made the universe qualifies as "God" is supported. If you disagree, you need show that this is not so.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    BBG doesn't exist because it is a figment invented for this argument - those reasons are similar to the other reasons why I believe NO Gods exist - they're all made up for some reason or another.
    Since something can be imagined and also exist in reality, me imagining the BBG does not mean that it does not exist. So you have not show that it doesn't exist.

    As an example, right now I'm imagining a rabbit running through my backyard. The fact that I'm imagining that does not mean that there is not a rabbit in my back yard. The rabbit being there or not being is not effected by my imagining it being there.

    Likewise the existence or non-existence of the BBG is not effected by my imagining it.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    So we haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg about all these religious claims. Your analogy is terrible in ignoring the vast scope of differences and it doesn't account for cultural differences nor that culture's scientific knowledge. In your eagerness to trivialize the importance of these vast differences, you've kinda missed the forest for the one tiny tree!
    It's not terrible. It holds up fine even with extreme differences between religions. The point is if a bunch of people disagree, it doesn't mean that what they disagree about doesn't exist regardless of how large the differences are.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Right - completed invented out of the blue for the sake of argument. Correct?
    No. It's derived from logic and fact and I'm agnostic on its existence so I hold that this being might actually exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    So now you're saying that knowledge of this God came about how? If not via at least one human wrote it down whence came the knowledge? I think it's fair to say that our current knowledge comes from at least one human source!
    The issue is whether human belief in God came from God or came from human imagination. And my answer, based on all available evidence is "I don't know". I know who created Harry Potter so I know he came from human imagination. The same for Poirot. So the fact that we know that humans do create fictions does not mean that any particular belief that mankind has is a fiction.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Ah, so you're actually an atheist other than in the BBG, which you created for the sake of this debate. So you're actually an atheist in other words!
    First off, my personal beliefs are completely irrelevant to the quality or point of my argument so it doesn't matter if I'm actually an atheist, theist, or agnostic. If my argument is correct then it's correct regardless of what I actually believe.

    And I'm saying that evidence does not show that the BBG exists and it does not show that the BBG does not exist. Therefore in regards to the BBG, the only evidence-based position is agnosticism.

    If you don't have evidence that a position is true or false, then you have to concede that either position might be accurate.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    That's as clear as mud:
    1. The first sentence makes zero sense: BBG is a "concept" so right off the bat this is a theoretical construct and not an actual God at all.
    2. "BBG is what science would have to prove to get many people to concede that a God of some kind exists" defines precisely nothing - what does science have to do with it? which science? what does science ever "prove" anyway? and why "many people" and not one, or all? and why would they have to "concede" to a "proof" as opposed to accepting it? The phrase "a God of some kind" is a little circular of a definition.
    I don't think the rest of it is worth the trouble.
    1. Since I have described where the concept comes from it does not come "off the bat" and have explained why it does qualify as a God.
    2. A bunch of questions does not show that my reasoning is flawed. One asks questions if they don't understand something so all you are saying with those questions is that you don't understand my position adequately enough. So to clear up your apparent confusion, I'll re-state it and remove the parts that seem to confuse you (like "science" and "concede").

    So here is the version with the confusing terms removed.

    I derive the concept of the Bare Bones God from the notion of what it would take to get many people to concede that God exists. And if it was proven that the universe was created by an intelligence, people would consider that intelligence to qualify as God. Therefore the Bare Bones God is an intelligence that created the universe.

    And a rebuttal to that is not to ask a bunch of questions but to show that this notion is incorrect.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Sure, Moses created the Abrahamic God when he faked going up the mountain.
    And you can show evidence that this is so?




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Wait, I thought you were agnostic of BBG. Are you also agnostic of ALL the other religions too!? Equally? You have no criteria or mindfulness to judge or distinguish between any of them!?
    I said I don't put credibility in any of the major religions. I think that answers your question.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Other than your own made up BBG, religion is the only way you could know about any of the intelligences that people claim to have created the universe.
    No. There are other ways. IF God actually exists, then God can contact people and convince them that he exists and some people claim that this has happened ("I felt his presence" is something I've heard more than once). I'm not saying that this ever actually happens but just showing that there are other ways that people can believe in God.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    If you disbelieve religions then you have to disbelieve the prime focus of them too. You seem to be contradicting yourself at every turn here!
    Only because you are misinterpreting what I'm saying.

    I said I have reason to doubt the major religions. That doesn't mean that I know that everything in them is wrong. Even a non-credible source can say accurate things. As the saying goes, even a broken watch is right twice a day.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    A few problems here:
    1. NDE isn't a phenomena, it's made up!
    2. NDE doesn't prove souls (whatever they're supposed to be anyway) - there are other possibilities
    3. Since the person didn't die, it's a bit of stretch to claim that an NDE is anything like actual death.
    4. "if accepted": rejected!
    5. I don't see how souls (again, undefined) have anything to do with a God
    1. No it's not. I'm not saying the people actually left their bodies but it's a fact that some people have had the experience of leaving their bodies and traveling to the afterlife. Even if what they experienced is just a hallucination, it's not something that someone just made up. People DO experience it.
    2. If it actually happens to someone, they have reason to believe that they have a soul (since they would hold that that is what left the body)
    3. The people who have these experiences were clinically dead for a period of time so they did die.
    4. I'm talking about if the person who has the experience accepts it and some do.
    5. Many religions say that people have a soul so if one believes that souls exist, they have reason to believe that there is some truth in religion.

    But the point is it's a fact that people have had NDEs (regardless of whether they are legitimate phenomena or just hallucinations) and ended up believing in God afterwards. If you want to argue that NDEs are just hallucinations, that's fine but then my point still stands. If NDEs are hallucinations, then personal hallucinations can lead one to believe in God and therefore religion is not the only avenue for gaining belief.
    Last edited by mican333; May 18th, 2016 at 09:43 PM.

  6. #46

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The analogy seems to fit pretty well I think. "The universe exists" [Here is a piece of repeatable observation], therefore one God exists [Theory A: gravity is a result of quantum holography], ten gods exist [Theory B: gravity is the result of undetectable particles], a bunch of angels [Theory C: Gravity is a strong force that "leaks" across dimensions] and reincarnation [gravity is the affect of a combination of several unknown and undetectable dimensions on the four we observe].
    I think you continue to conflate religious beliefs with scientific beliefs as if they are the same thing. Science has a structure to determine what is true or false, no such framework exists to determine the truth value between religions - other than killing believers. And religions to this day are at an impasse as to which one is true.

    In both cases we have a single observational fact and multiple hypotheses to explain that fact. Now clearly in the latter case you accept that there is a potential explanation and you weigh each hypothesis' explanatory power and argument to understand the warrant to accept them. But in the former, identical case, you simply reject the entire concept as "out of bounds" which hints more at confirmation bias than at evaluation of argumentation.
    Interesting that you appear to know that scientific theories can be scrutinized whereas with religious ideas you claim I am rejecting it via personal opinion alone. That too is my thesis, that religion is clearly about cultural and personal opinion.

    What I am trying to point out here (along with two other Christians, an Agnostic, and an Atheist) is that your conclusion based on those premises is invalid. You can't take a set of contradictory explanations as reason to show an entire category doesn't exist.
    I understand there are differing thoughts here but I have to say the two other Christians appealed to even more imagined and unproven ideas to bolster their case. Much like how religionists think, they tend towards ideas that frankly sound ludicrous to an atheist - God's nature can be defined and God is imaginary stand out as clear examples of turtles all the way down: the idea that explaining something with even more things that need explaining is why I have to insist on arguing on common ground and why I tend to avoid debates that involve too much 'strangeness'.

    The Agnostic, can't even stick to his own dictionary definition of God, so I'm suspecting some arguing for the sake of it and his bias towards Christianity appears to me suspiciously like he finds other religions unconvincing but Christianity less so; so he's hardly a 'real' agnostic. Indeed, it appears he invented BBG purely for the sake of this argument, which is ironically my exact point about why I find religions unconvincing to begin with: he demonstrates my point exactly!

    The Atheist, I have only had a couple of rounds with, I can see his points though and I'm working through the criticisms.
    The short answer though is that I do understand some of the criticism, which is why I put it forward in the first place for debate. Where the other discussions went wrong is when religionists try to push their own ideas into the debate and get frustrated when I don't play along with their specific religious beliefs. I really try not to get involved in religious specifics for that reason but I do get suckered into them even though they are irrelevant to the central thesis.

    You missed the point of the analogy. It doesn't matter if the options are something innocuous as a box or something emotionally loaded like God. The exact options are completely irrelevant to the fundamental nature of the argument. Even if we were to accept that all the options you were presented with were absolutely absurd (which by the way is, of course, by definition an emotional reaction, not an objective standard), the answer you should pick is E.
    I'm glad that you agree with me that God is an emotionally loaded term. Clearly some of the discussions I've had have ruffled some feathers when I don't play in the games of imagination! Of course, you too make my point for me that God is likely more born out of human nature than actual nature.
    I get what you're saying about E but the analogy fails because, again, you are conflating what is reasonable with what I argue is a figment of human imagination and hiding the choices behind an answer that masks that A,B,C,D are not equal partners in the available choices.
    It's like being asked, what color is the ball, A:green, B:blue, C:octarine (which is an invented color), D:unicorn E:don't know. Except that you don't provide an honest C and D that comports with the choices we are really dealing with.
    So I have to reject the analogy because it's clearly loaded to give equal weight to the impossibles. To you they may well be equal possibilities (no God, vs one God, vs many Gods) but to me, only one choice makes sense. Good trick though it's not very endearing and seems to be sophistry if not outright fallacious.

    Your false choices end up with us debating something else entirely.

    Let's rephrase the argument with your options
    Let's say I walk you up to a door. The door is closed. There are three people to your right. Person A says: "there is a maximally great person" (This is MT's option). Person B says "there are multiple gods in the room." Person C says "there is a pink unicorn."
    These are conflicting claims. You clearly don't know who to believe since you don't know these people. So what is your answer if I were to ask you, what is in that room?


    a) a maximally great person
    b) multiple gods
    c) pink unicorn
    d) the room is empty
    e) I don't know
    You would have us accept option D, your OP. But clearly that is an unsupported conclusion. Because none of the people above has presented a good option, in your opinion, does not mean that the room is empty, right?
    Exactly, your choice are false choices, but you present them as if they are equal. You switch from one extreme (box,people,water) to (imaginary stuff). This is not an accurate analogy as to what we're talking about, which should be:

    a) a box
    b) a maximally great person
    c) pink unicorn
    d) the room is empty
    e) I don't know

    Which, for me, as an atheist boils down to:

    X) possible realistic choices (box, empty)
    Y) stuff people make up (god, unicorn)
    e) I don't know

    In this case, the answer SHOULD be e - that's the answer you want and the one that makes sense. But this highlights the flaw in your analogy - you are treating a) and b) identically as if they were equally possible. For an atheist X consists of (box,empty room) for a theist it's (box, god, empty room). Other than the weird case where a theist can't tell the difference between an empty room and god, even when the door is wide open; our debate is really about what we put in X (realistic choices).

    Your analogy completely ignores our specific point of contention, X, and introduces a third option that has nothing to do with the debate. I'm fine with E as an answer as to the beginning of the universe, I actually don't know. However, I do know, that it's most certainly not some human fiction! And that's the debate: you insist God is real or at least a real possibility and I totally reject that.

    So the analogy is useless: we're not debating how the universe was created, we are debating whether some kind of God or Gods did it.

    Also, a minor quibble: MindTrap didn't say maximally great person - he said that "which a greater cannot be conceived"; followed by an admission "reflection on the limited imagination of the people". Let's stick with what people actually said rather than putting words in their mouth - he didn't say "person", he didn't say "maximally great" either - only that it is "greater than human imagination". This thread is confusing enough as it is without having to keep your side of the story straight too!


    So string theory and some elements of quantum mechanics are "fanciful" in your opinion? I think you are substituting a simplistic definition for the universe (everything that exists) for a more precise one (the points contained within the spatial and temporal dimensions) and using it to justify a basic materialism bias.
    QM is certainly fanciful in its ideas though if it works then it's the best we have. And if there are practical side effects of Quantum Computing then we may have to adjust our thinking about reality. However, I can reject religious fancies because they clearly have terrible side-effects (killing people for all sorts of crazy reasons, hating on gays, anti-science).
    I don't have a "bias" towards materialism - it's just the only thing we ALL agree exists. You, presumably as a Christian, also want me to believe that waters can be parted, virgin births, bringing people back from the dead, dead people reuniting with their ancestors, eternal torture for others. Not only that you also have to defeat the competing claims of all the other religions!

    I contend that since you haven't even defeated other religionists in your shared realm of human imaginary people, places and powers, you should stick to materialism too.

    I'm happy to accept your premise here, but you'll have to show it to be true through a clear argument with supporting evidence.
    It should be self-evident: if it's not known then why are we talking about it as if it were real?
    But that shouldn't matter to the example. I'm not questioning the individual details of your application of reasoning to this one specific case, I'm questioning the fundamental structure of your reasoning to any and all cases.
    Of course it matters! Because you're masking the fact that your imagined choices are the same as provably real ones. Your logic lumps the two together into a false set of choices.
    The structure of your argument is such that it is inherently incorrect. It doesn't matter if it is addressing oranges, or giraffes, or gravity, or God, as Dio pointed out, you've fundamentally created a fallacious structure.
    Eh? Then please be specific exactly what is wrong with the argument given what we've discussed.

    You cannot tie the reputation of the speaker to the credibility of the argument unless the reputation of the speaker is part of the argument itself.
    I think you're finally getting it. A religious person saying the world is only 5000 years old is automatically laughed at whereas a scientist can say the it is 5 billion and we would listen as to why. The former we know is just pulling facts out of thin air based on some invented reading of his religious book written by the scientifically ignorant. His fundamentals are flawed because it is based on unreliable knowledge and his reputation is flawed because he has shown himself to be not a very critical thinker.
    You certainly have a point when it comes to both making mathematical statements of truth but when a religious person is making religious statements then it doubles the unbelievability of those statements: a scientist making religious statements would be equally disbelieved because of the fundamental flawed nature of religious knowledge - we'd be disappointed but we'd tell him to stick to his day job. A religious person making religious statements can just be dismissed because his religion doesn't pass muster to begin with.

    Another analogy: it would be as if a Harry Potter obsessed person believed it was real and he insists on describing the whole world in terms of the book. We know the book is fiction, so we can fairly disregard the pronouncements of this person purely based on his reputation from prior statements.

    Hidden in your objection is your continuing propensity to hide the real argument at hand: I am not disagreeing with religious people when they make mathematical statements, I am disagreeing with them when the make religious statements.

    I appreciate your expounding on your definition here. This, however, is a form of the Normalcy Bias linked in my earlier reference to Cognitive Biases. You are applying your expectations of the world around you to evaluate the strength of a claim.
    We know from basic genetics that inter-species breeding is impossible so I am baffled what you're disputing here.

    The reason it is a cognitive bias (and its related fallacy), is because your experiences are pretty limited. We lack a sufficient historical data set to really make this kind of "gut" call.
    Um, exactly zero people have been known to breed with animals. I think our experiences are pretty good in that regard. There may also be biological reasons too.

    For example, it is pretty fanciful to say that something can be in two different places at the same time, yet superposition is phenomenon. Or that matter can exist as a dualistic state of probabilities rather than particles until an observer comes along, but that's a quantum wave function. Or that matter pops into existence only to flash out of existence again in a nearly random state, but that is the quantum vacuum.
    Ah, but that 'something' isn't macro things or people so our natural instincts are true. We can accept particles are an exception because we know things work differently at a subatomic level. And if it happens to be provably true then we need to change our intuitions.
    But again, you're conflating scientific thought which is rigorous with that of religious thought, which clearly is not bound by any rules of physics or logic or common sense! And that's why we can have more productive arguments about science and not very much about religion - according to MT, people can just keep imagining things to get a great God: awesome!
    Likewise, that we can "raise the dead" who have been under water for 4 hours or kill a person by removing their blood, only to bring them back was all "fanciful" a few years ago, but they are modern cases of medicine.
    That you have to put "raise the dead" in quotations is clear that you are playing with the word dead. But if you're claiming that Jesus did not really die on the cross, but perhaps several days later after he was rescued by his disciples then that I find plausible. I do not find plausible that he was brain dead and started rigor Morris (clinically dead) and came back to life, which is what Chrsitians claim to be true. Please stop playing word games like this, it should be clear what 'dead' means.

    All these reasons are why we forgo our "gut" feeling on an argument and subject it to critical thinking. We apply logical tests and rules to a claim to ensure that it is valid, and then evaluate the evidence for the premises to ensure they warrant the premise and the conclusion. The only way to create a productive discussion, or indeed to do anything but fool ourselves with confirmation bias, is to apply these sets of objective rules. And that applies as much as to the arguments I think you are referencing as it does to yours.
    This is all fine and dandy - then I request all religious people make such arguments and stop inventing new questions to avoid answering the question at hand! And I request that you be honest in your analogies by highlighting exactly where we are in dispute instead of masking your religious choices inside flawed analogies.
    I'm asking you to apply this back to the structure of the argument you have been applying here. Given that these interpretations of QM are contradictory and no evidence has been offered to make one "more likely" than the other, and since many of them are subjectively fanciful (one proposes the universe is a hologram) does that mean we can reject QM as a whole? If not, why is it different than your OP in an objective sense?
    Again, you're trying to cram your end-goal, to mask the false nature of religion, into our shared framework of scientific discourse. Just because portions of a scientific theory are in huge dispute it doesn't mean throwing the whole thing away - even evolution has many disagreements within. However, that's not quite the same thing has religious disagreements which go all the way as to the fundamental nature of the deity figure, including his actual existence!
    And? Neither of those are contradictory, and if they were, it doesn't mean both of us are wrong, correct? And to be accurate, I think you misunderstood MT's argument a little bit. He was defining God as a maximally great being, that's a technical definition. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/co.../#UltConMaxGre
    Again, please don't put words into people's mouth. He wrote down what the thought was his personal definition of God and it appears to be based on imagination. Argue your own points and leave people's mistake, assuming it was even a mistake, as is. I will continue to quote MT to support my point of how God is an imaginary being. He's already dropped out so that line of argument ends there.

    Which, of course would be an equivocation fallacy right? That's why we apply standardized rules to our arguments. And, getting back to Mican's point, what specific definition of God are you rejecting as impossible? So far, it would seem, you've only rejected a series of letters, g-o-d, not a concept or a category of concepts. You have to put forward a definition if you are going to say that such an entity were not to exist.
    Again, stick with your own criticisms rather than refer to others. Mican has clearly invented a strawman BBG for the sake of his debate and in doing so again, proves my point that god is a human creation and easily invented on the fly for any purpose. He can't stick to his own dictionary definition of God either so that line of debate is useless and I'm not even clear how you can be agnostic about all the different ideas about God with zero criteria to distinguish between them. We will resolve that together and not here with you.

    For example, if I were to say "balrlarchs" are impossible! You might agree, apparently, because you have no definition of a "balrlarch" but if I were to define it as "a round sphere made of plastic struck with a club in a game invented in Scotland" and voila, the initial claim is wrong. If I'm going to posit an argument that balrlarchs are impossible, I have to define what that is. In this case, you should define what definition of God you are using here.
    I have: it's a creation of humans to explain that which they don't understand in order to hold power over weaker people.

    Ok, the terms I used were:aphysical,atemporal,intentional
    Which of these are imaginary, and why are they "imaginary." And if so, would any other scientific theory that uses such terms be automatically dismissed?
    Oh, this is about that other debate I'm refusing to subject myself to. I'll have to skip this since we have to stick to the real natural world. Unless you're insisting that there is no possible physical proof of God then these terms are less than useless. They're also a diversion from my OP, which is a criticism of what God is and the tendency of religious folk to throw in even more poorly defined terms that aren't provable. You're not helping your case any by making more stuff up, you're helping mine!

    And yet, not everyone agrees that Africa (or a better example Oceania) is a continent. So to reask this question, why would I need every priest in the world to agree, why can't I simply put forward a definition, regardless of who agrees with it?
    Well, I'm sure there are ignorant people that think Africa is a country but what does that have to do with anything? If you forward your own personal definition, which is what Mican did with BBG, you end up proving my point for me: that God is a human creation. Which is fine, if that's what you want to do but as a believer, you believe your God to be real and all others to be false right? So you end up arguing with yourself and proving my point at the same time!

    I've created three sections of this debate. The one above addresses the structural problems with your argument. This section will address our back and forth on the Cosmological Argument. The final section will address the back and forth detailing the materials of your argument.
    1. I reject your structural arguments because you have failed to highlight what we're debating: the reliability and consistency of religious knowledge. Instead, you introduce something we're not arguing about: that we don't know the answer to the origins of universe.
    2. CA is irrelevant to the debate and only adds to the confusion of religious knowledge by introducing ideas and terms that require even more debate with the conclusion of which will take us no closer to answering my OP. It is summarily ignored, just as MT's ideas of God being maximally imagined is being ignored. Your personal definitions and ideas of what God is are entirely irrelevant to the debate. The focus of the debate isn't to prove God exists, it is to demonstrate that the knowledge about God across all time and religions means that there isn't even agreement as to what God is: therefore, his existence is irrelevant.
    3. I think if it's relevant I will answer it but if it isn't I will decline and explain why. We need to focus on my goals in the OP and what you imagine the debate to be about.


    Come on SE, we've been pretty indulgent of your side of the argument. And your OP specifically stated no such argument types exist. I'm trying to counter that assertion by showing you that one does. Remember, this argument does, in fact, use the actual universe. See Premise 2: The Universe began to exist. So do you disagree with that premise? If so, why?
    Yet, in order to do you so you have to introduce too many new ideas. Just to short-cut CA though, even without going it's details, you will only succeed in proving your own specific deity exists right? It does nothing to prove other conceptions of God, right? And if it doesn't then only bolsters my point: that there is no real consistency or general agreement as to the origins of the universe. Your very narrow viewpoint to prove your own God exists does nothing to defeat my point that many different conceptions exists - if it were a true argument and logically sound then in the free market place of religions, Christianity (assuming you're a Christian) would be flooded with believers who want to enter heaven and avoid hell. People would instantly convert and we wouldn't need to debate anything.

    However, the fact is that CA is really unconvincing to other people who care very much about pleasing their God or achieving whatever Nirvana they believe needs to be achieved. So there is little point in going through your arguments: they have already failed. Again, this is factual and it is evidence that the ideas about God are very much in dispute, very emotional (as you have pointed out), easily invented (as Mican did) and more impressive with more imagination (as MindTrap defines his God). All o this just continues to prove my point that God is created by people.

    ---------- Post added at 09:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:20 PM ----------

    Sorry to shout but BBG seems to be central to your argument and it appears you are refusing to clarify your description of what it means. Either way BBG is irrelevant to your point and indeed it bolsters my point. However, since you invoke rules and stuff, it's going to be difficult to continue until you define what you mean by BBG. In answer to your challenge:


    SUPPORT OR RETRACT that it does not stand up to scrutiny.

    Note: You seem to be new here so you might not be aware of ODN rules but if one asks you to support or retreat a claim, you need to either support it - as in provide an argument showing that your claim is true or retract the claim which means at the very least you can't repeat it again.
    I did in great detail. First you admit you made it up, which bolsters my point that God is made up. Secondly, your reasoning doesn't even make sense - I go into the criticism of your bolded section in enough detail to show it doesn't stand up to scrutiny: it doesn't even parse. I assume that you will read by statements later on but will answer here that this requirement has been satisfied. It also appears to contradict your earlier dictionary definition so you need to reconcile that too

    1. Since I have described where the concept comes from it does not come "off the bat".
    2. That does not show any flaws in my argument. A bunch of questions does not show that my reasoning is flawed. An actual rebuttal would seek to argue that my position is incorrect somehow.

    So I will repeat it.

    I derive the concept of the Bare Bones God from the notion of what science would have prove to get many, probably most, people to concede that a God of some kind exists. And if science proved that the universe was created by an intelligence, people would consider that intelligence to qualify as God. Therefore the Bare Bones God is an intelligence that created the universe.
    I am not saying your reasoning is flawed! I am trying to understand your poorly worded description. Repeating it does nothing to explain to me what you mean!
    I CHALLENGE YOU TO DEFINE BBG IN A WAY THAT MAKES SENSE. PER YOUR OWN RULES YOU NEED TO DO THIS BEFORE CONTINUING TO USE BBG AGAIN. Again, my questions are:

    You have shown absolutely no holes in my explanation of the BBG. SUPPORT OR RETRACT that there are holes in it and that means that you have the burden to point out these holes with an actual argument (and questions are not arguments).
    Fair enough, your BBG 'derivation' is flawed in the form of reasons, as opposed to questions:

    1. "I derive the concept": you haven't actually derived anything - you're just making a statement. SUPPORT OR RETRACT that you have derived something - what are your premises and conclusion
    2. "concept of the Bare Bones God": you are already conceding that BBG is not real - he's just a 'concept', an idea, with no evidence or proof. It is at best a hypothesis. I am not debating against hypothetical Gods, I am debating against actual Gods that people actually have religions about. So BBG is totally irrelevant and doesn't fall under the auspices of the debate.
    3. "the notion of what science would have prove ": this is pure speculation, you haven't shown what science would have to prove - you're imagining some criteria of proof without detaiingl it - i.e. this is useless because you fail to specify what this notion is. Please describe what this proof is.
    4. "many", "probably most" are just as lacking in detail as the rest of the statement - and if it's most people then it's useless as any kind of proof and takes us no further than defining any God. Most people already believe in the Abrahamic God so we already have this situation so BBG adds nothing to forward any point and just adds to the growing list of equally unproven conceptions of God
    5. "of some kind" is an equally worthless statement since it's additional speculation without any kind of proof.
    6. SUPPORT OR RETRACT that "if science proved the universe was created by an intelligence, people would consider the intelligence to qualify as God". This is blatantly false because there are other intelligences that people would NOT consider as God: if that intelligence turned out to be an intelligent robot then people would be horrified; or if it was created by their equivalent of Satan (and their God was locked up somewhere). There are infinite reasons as to why this is flawed.
    7. "Therefore ..." is a just a circular argument: you're saying if science proves X is God then X is God!
    8. This 'derivation' of BBG does not align with your earlier dictionary definition. From an earlier post you say " Since we are speaking English, we can use pretty much any English language dictionary. Here's an online dictionary. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/god?s=t". The definition doesn't specify that God is "intelligent", yet you say it is a requirement of BBG. Your BBG doesn't define it as being a "ruler", whereas the dictionary claims it to be a key attribute. In fact: SUPPORT OR RETRACT the dictionary definition or please reconcile BBG with the dictionary definition.

    BBG is a vague way for you to try and summarize all the Gods into a single sentence but in doing so, AND PAY ATTENTION HERE, it is merely one more definition to add to the existing definitions. My argument isn't about specific definitions of God. My argument depends on the fact that there are MANY DEFINITIONS OF GOD. You're just helping my argument along by adding another one. That said, as I pointed out BBG is not a deity that any really believes in.

    Also, since you don't actually believe in BBG, i.e. you do not pray to him since he doesn't rule over you, per the definition that you yourself provided, then he is just a fiction that you invented for the sake of argument. In being a human creation, you again prove my point that Gods are just human creations.

    So:

    1. I have shown BBG is flawed.
    2. It doesn't align with the dictionary definition you brought up earlier
    3. Even if it isn't flawed, it bolsters my argument.
    4. BBG is ultimately irrelevant to my argument, which relies on many people and a religion about the God: unless you can show external proof BBG exists and is believed and supported by a religion it doesn't qualify under my OP.

    Can we agree that BBG is irrelevant to the argument? Also, please also stick to your definition of God or drop it. You appear to silently drop points of argument with no warning and contradict them later on; please support or retract your dictionary definition of God or BBG or both or reconcile the two.


    ------------------------ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I know your argument. And now you need to show that your argument is correct. In other words, you need to show that an intelligent creator of the universe doesn't exist.
    No I don't because that's not what I'm arguing. I am arguing that the conceptions of this creator are so vastly different that they are clearly made up by people


    I didn't say anything was suppose to be proven. My point is that IF science proves that the universe was created by an intelligence, then it's reasonable to concede that God exists and therefore the notion that an intelligence that made the universe qualifies as "God" is supported. If you disagree, you need show that this is not so.

    If you don't disagree, than I will consider this notion to be accepted for the sake of argument.
    No it doesn't! If science proves that the universe was created by an intelligence, there are plenty of additional choices that are MUCH MORE reasonable than God, an invention we already know is made up by people: it could be an alien scientist, or more likely scientists - we could be just a big experiment in a universe-wide petri dish. That's more believable than a deity that breeds with humans. It could be a machine intelligence, and that machine was created by even more powerful aliens - there are plenty of choices that are more realistic than "God". So I reject that it is reasonable at all to concede that God exists.


    Since something can be imagined and also exist in reality, me imagining the BBG does not mean that it does not exist. So you have not show that it doesn't exist.

    As an example, right now I'm imagining a rabbit running through my backyard. The fact that I'm imagining that does not mean that there is not a rabbit in my back yard. The rabbit being there or not being is not effected by my imagining it being there.
    Ah, but rabbits are perfectly reasonably things to exist and I would not dispute that. However, if you imagined that a pink elephant was in your back yard then I think I can safely conclude you are inventing it. Thus, since we both know that people invent Gods all the time, and yours sounds like an imaginary creation (and one that doesn't follow your dictionary definition either - let's not forget how quickly you drop points rather than concede them), I can disbelieve that in the same way I already disbelieve Gods.

    You are falsely conflating clearly imagined things (pink elephants) with real things (rabbits) and treating them as equal possibilities. This is clearly a false notion and since we're disputing whether God is imagined or real. Granted you believe BBG to be just as real as a rabbit but I believe BBG is like a pink elephant. So this doesn't help us at all. We're back to where we've started.

    It's not terrible. It holds up fine even with extreme differences between religions. The point is if a bunch of people disagree, it doesn't mean that what they disagree about doesn't exist regardless of how large the differences are.
    Again, you ignore that the type of disagreement is important to this debate. Height is a reasonable thing to disagree about; whether AL is a pink unicorns or 5 pink unicorns is very relevant since pink unicorns don't exist. Again, you mask the real debate by hiding behind clearly rational things. Our debate isn't between what is clearly real and rational (rabbits, height) or about clearly imagined things (pink elephants or unicorns). Our debate is about whether God belongs in one bucket or another.


    The issue is whether human belief in God came from God or came from human imagination. And my answer, based on all available evidence is "I don't know". I know who created Harry Potter so I know he came from human imagination. The same for Poirot. So the fact that we know that humans do create fictions does not mean that any particular belief that mankind has is a fiction.
    Not a fiction but certainly from a human source. If all signs point to God being created by humans (i.e. they are, as MindTrap pointed out, subject to human imagination) then it likely is. We already know of people that claim to have communicated to God or the dead or other religious demons and souls but they are hardly convincing to anyone.

    First off, my personal beliefs are completely irrelevant to the quality or point of my argument so it doesn't matter if I'm actually an atheist, theist, or agnostic. If my argument is correct then it's correct regardless of what I actually believe.
    True - but you're the one that pointed out that you're an atheist. That you're only an atheist to one particular aspect of God and an atheist to others is very relevant because that's why religion is such a big mess. You're only adding to this mess, thus proving my point that God is created by people.

    And I'm saying that evidence does not show that the BBG exists and it does not show that the BBG does not exist. Therefore in regards to the BBG, the only evidence-based position is agnosticism. If you don't have evidence that a position is true or false, then you have to concede that either position might be accurate.
    You haven't even been able to define your BBG in a coherent manner yet so we can't even begin to talk about BBG existing or not existing! Again, this is exactly my point: your poor definition of BBG just adds to the already huge inventory of terrible and contradicting definitions of God. It adds no clarity nor moves the argument forward. Even if you define BBG well, I will throw it into the big bucket of existing definitions of God and reject the whole thing en-masse.


    And you can show evidence that this is so?
    The Bible - he's the one with the 10 commandments.


    I said I don't put credibility in any of the major religions. I think that answers your question.
    Right, so you're an atheist!


    No. There are other ways. IF God actually exists, then God can contact people and convince them that he exists and some people claim that this has happened ("I felt his presence" is something I've heard more than once). I'm not saying that this ever actually happens but just showing that there are other ways that people can believe in God.

    If you disbelieve religions then you have to disbelieve the prime focus of them too. You seem to be contradicting yourself at every turn here!
    OMG, you're doing it again: now you're inventing new powers that God can have before being able to show he exists! I agree there are many ways people claim God works - that's my point: his powers are so vast so as to be totally useless. Introducing magical powers is exactly why god is so unbelievable!


    1. Support or retract
    2. If it actually happens to someone, they have reason to believe that they have a soul (since they would hold that that is what left the body)
    3. The people who have these experiences were clinically dead for a period of time so they did die.
    4. I'm talking about if the person who has the experience accepts it and some do.
    5. Many religions say that people have a soul so if one believes that souls exist, they have reason to believe that there is some truth in religion.
    1. http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...-proof-heaven/ describes how a famous neurosurgeon claimed he had NDE. It concludes "But what is more likely: That Alexander's NDE was a real trip to heaven and all these other hallucinations are the product of neural activity only? Or that all such experiences are mediated by the brain but seem real to each experiencer? To me, this evidence is proof of hallucination, not heaven."
    2. Of course they have reason to believe this - I am not asking about peoples faulty reasoning: I am asking how it PROVES souls exist.
    3. But rigor mortis hasn't set in right? So they're not really dead.
    4. And I don't: it doesn't matter if people believe crazy things, that's obvious. The point is whether their beliefs are real and I don't accept NDEs as being anything other than a hallucination.
    5. No, it's just an example of confirmation bias.

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I'm not talking about an aggregate God either - I am talking about the idea of a creator(s) of us, our world, or our universe that also has rules about how we are supposed to live.
    Ok, here's something we can examine. Let's talk about this at face value.

    What reasons do we have to think that...

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality

    ...DOES NOT exist, and also CANNOT exist?

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I think you continue to conflate religious beliefs with scientific beliefs as if they are the same thing. Science has a structure to determine what is true or false, no such framework exists to determine the truth value between religions - other than killing believers. And religions to this day are at an impasse as to which one is true.
    Beliefs are a reference to the psychological relationship between the claimant and the claim. The claim itself is not, by itself a belief, but a claim. The statement, "The universe was created by the Pantheon" is just as much a claim as "gravity is the result of quantum holography." Both are hypotheses with underlying argumentation. And both are beliefs in relation to say an ancient Greek and Lawrence Krauss respectively.

    In both cases we have an observed effect, a proposed hypothesis, and a method to disprove said hypothesis. In fact, the major criticism of quantum holography is exactly the same as the major criticism of the Pantheon, it is internally incoherent. IE that certain premises within the argument preclude each other.


    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    Interesting that you appear to know that scientific theories can be scrutinized whereas with religious ideas you claim I am rejecting it via personal opinion alone. That too is my thesis, that religion is clearly about cultural and personal opinion.
    If I have characterized your argument here I apologize. It has appeared to several of us that your argument has been one where you think you can dismiss what you define as a religious explanation absent argument or evidence because it is subjectively fantastical. IE you think it is bizarre therefore it cannot be objectively true.

    You can see how that structure of argument would be fallacious. Perhaps we've missed a subtlety in your argument, could you elaborate?


    Quote Originally Posted by sE
    Much like how religionists think, they tend towards ideas that frankly sound ludicrous to an atheist
    Then you can imagine how the claim that "nothing exploded" must sound to a theist. ;-)

    Regardless, I'd like to refer back to the point you were quoting here. It is one of a purely logical argument, not a religious issue, and one Dio has also pointed out.

    It seems that in several places in your argument you have argued that because there are multiple, competing ideas of how to define a concept that the concept itself is incoherent. That is problematic from a critical analysis point of view. Can we agree that even when there are multiple, contradictory hypotheses for an idea, that that doesn't mean they are all, automatically, incorrect?


    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    In this case, the answer SHOULD be e - that's the answer you want and the one that makes sense. But this highlights the flaw in your analogy - you are treating a) and b) identically as if they were equally possible.
    Not at all. Let's reframe the question again with probabilities you would hopefully find acceptable.

    a) a box (97%)
    b) a maximally great person (0.001%)
    c) pink unicorn (0.000001%)
    d) the room is empty (1%)
    e) I don't know

    Now, given those probabilities, if I ask the question, "what do you know is in the room?" Your answer must still be e, right? You might have a strong guess that it is a. You might hope it is a. You might believe it is a. I am asking what do you know. The answer then is e, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    Also, a minor quibble: MindTrap didn't say maximally great person - he said that "which a greater cannot be conceived"; followed by an admission "reflection on the limited imagination of the people". Let's stick with what people actually said rather than putting words in their mouth - he didn't say "person", he didn't say "maximally great" either - only that it is "greater than human imagination". This thread is confusing enough as it is without having to keep your side of the story straight too!
    In Post 18, MT offered a relatively plain text offering of a standard philosophical concept. I've known MT for nearly 10 years, I'm pretty sure he wasn't arguing God is imaginary, he was trying to walk you through the standard philosophic definition of a theist God. He said: "that than which a greater can not be conceived"

    I completely understand how to a layperson or someone untrained in philosophy that sounds like "imaginary." But, if you go back to the Stanford philosophy dictionary I linked you'll see that what it is talking about is a being that is "maximally great." That the definition of a maximally great being is a being that has properties such that greater examples of those properties cannot be conceived of. Here conceived is not a synonym for imaginary, it is a synonym for thought of coherently.

    I also understand the Stanford Plato dictionary can be a bit dense, but I really would encourage you to peruse it, as it clarifies what MT meant.


    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    I don't have a "bias" towards materialism - it's just the only thing we ALL agree exists.
    Except..we don't all agree it exists. There are non-materialist athiests out there you realize right? There are also the holographers I've referenced several times who argue that the material world doesn't exist. There are several ideologies that would posit the material world is a figment. Now, I'm not one of those, but it is important to point out that the consensus you are relying on for your assumption is a bit shakier than you believe.

    Regardless, why does it matter if we all agree? That would just make it an appeal to popularity fallacy, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    It should be self-evident: if it's not known then why are we talking about it as if it were real?
    Apparently not to String Theorists. Regardless, it is a premise we need some rationale for. Why would you say that the physical universe is all that can and does exist? What is the logic or evidence that warrants that conclusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    Of course it matters! Because you're masking the fact that your imagined choices are the same as provably real ones. Your logic lumps the two together into a false set of choices.
    It appears you are mistaken in the nature of the objections we are all putting towards you. We are not saying that you are wrong in this case because of its details. We are saying you are wrong in all possible cases because the logical format of your argument is invalid.

    IE there is no possible set of alternatives you could put into the structure of the argument that makes it a valid argument. It cannot be used to disprove Thor any more than it could be used to disprove Mickey Mouse, Yossarian, or the Tuatha De Dannan.

    Your argument is untenable as it currently stands for two reasons.

    1) You have concluded there is no clear conception of God because there are multiple, competing conceptions of God. That is an unwarranted conclusion. There are multiple, competing ideas about where the moon came from (accretion vs impact event), it doesn't mean that both are wrong. Nor does the existence of what could be described as a "silly" idea (that it is made of cheese) mean that we have "no clear conception" of what the moon is or how it formed, it means we have three different arguments that we must weigh accordingly (one of which is likely to be relatively quick).

    2) Let's say that there was no clear concept of God. That everyone, every single person had, at most a vague notion rather than a definition. That still doesn't mean that God doesn't exist. To refer to Dio's example, we had at best a vague notion of what a cell was when it was first discovered, but that doesn't mean that DNA and Bacteria didn't exist, only that their exact nature was unknown.


    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    I think you're finally getting it. A religious person saying the world is only 5000 years old is automatically laughed at whereas a scientist can say the it is 5 billion and we would listen as to why. The former we know is just pulling facts out of thin air based on some invented reading of his religious book written by the scientifically ignorant. His fundamentals are flawed because it is based on unreliable knowledge and his reputation is flawed because he has shown himself to be not a very critical thinker.
    So when we approach the claim, "the Earth is 5000 years old" we dismiss it, I agree. The question is why. I dismiss it because it is made without any warranted support or evidence. The claim is either a bare assertion fallacy, or usually a separate fallacy based on whatever reasoning is put forward. The important point is that I dismiss it because of its argument, not because of the claim itself.

    What I think (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that you assign it to a category of claims called "religious" (the criteria for which appears to be the subjective take on "fantastical") and then dismiss it as such. That is a fallacious reason to dismiss an argument however because it is; a) subjective (since you can't provide an objective criteria for which claims fit this category and which don't) and b) a hasty generalization fallacy (because you simply assign it to a category of claims without reviewing the supporting argument).


    Again, the point here is not to question your take on any specific claim, it is to point out that the fundamental reason you are adopting or rejecting claims is problematic and needs to be addressed. As Dio put it, we need to walk through the argument's structure, then we can deal with the specific premises.



    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    Another analogy: it would be as if a Harry Potter obsessed person believed it was real and he insists on describing the whole world in terms of the book. We know the book is fiction, so we can fairly disregard the pronouncements of this person purely based on his reputation from prior statements.
    So when he says, "There is a city called London" you would be logically warranted to reject that claim?

    You remind me here of the archaeologists that laughed at Schleimann. The Illiad, being a piece of fiction clearly couldn't be referencing something real, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    Ah, but that 'something' isn't macro things or people so our natural instincts are true. We can accept particles are an exception because we know things work differently at a subatomic level. And if it happens to be provably true then we need to change our intuitions.
    The fact that time and space warp based on velocity isn't a micro phenomenon. Large atomic clocks become unsynchronized when accelerated, they clearly aren't micro. The point is that our intuition is, in fact, pretty terrible in all areas, but especially so in areas we don't have a lot of familiarity with, like the creation of the universe.

    Let me point this out before you get too confident in your intuition. Below is a list of cognitive biases that occur specifically because people rely on their intuition. These biases are so popular that they are named and published in research journals and taught in psychology textbooks. (You should take a specific look at Belief Bias, which is the cognitive bias reflected in the idea you posted above that you can dismiss an idea because it is "fantastic.")


    Anchoring or focalism
    The tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor", on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information that we acquire on that subject)

    Automation bias
    The tendency to excessively depend on automated systems which can lead to erroneous automated information overriding correct decisions.

    Availability heuristic
    The tendency to overestimate the likelihood of events with greater "availability" in memory, which can be influenced by how recent the memories are or how unusual or emotionally charged they may be.

    Availability cascade
    A self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse (or "repeat something long enough and it will become true").

    Backfire effect
    When people react to disconfirming evidence by strengthening their beliefs.

    Bandwagon effect
    The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink and herd behavior.

    Base rate fallacy or Base rate neglect
    The tendency to ignore base rate information (generic, general information) and focus on specific information (information only pertaining to a certain case).

    Belief bias
    An effect where someone's evaluation of the logical strength of an argument is biased by the believability of the conclusion.

    Bias blind spot
    The tendency to see oneself as less biased than other people, or to be able to identify more cognitive biases in others than in oneself.

    Choice-supportive bias
    The tendency to remember one's choices as better than they actually were.

    Clustering illusion
    The tendency to overestimate the importance of small runs, streaks, or clusters in large samples of random data (that is, seeing phantom patterns).

    Confirmation bias
    The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.

    Congruence bias
    The tendency to test hypotheses exclusively through direct testing, instead of testing possible alternative hypotheses.

    Conjunction fallacy
    The tendency to assume that specific conditions are more probable than general ones.

    Conservatism (belief revision)
    The tendency to revise one's belief insufficiently when presented with new evidence.

    Contrast effect
    The enhancement or reduction of a certain perception's stimuli when compared with a recently observed, contrasting object.

    Decoy effect
    Preferences for either option A or B changes in favor of option B when option C is presented, which is similar to option B but in no way better.

    Distinction bias
    The tendency to view two options as more dissimilar when evaluating them simultaneously than when evaluating them separately.

    Dunning-Kruger effect
    The tendency for unskilled individuals to overestimate their own ability and the tendency for experts to underestimate their own ability.

    Essentialism
    Categorizing people and things according to their essential nature, in spite of variations.

    Exaggerated expectation
    Based on the estimates, real-world evidence turns out to be less extreme than our expectations (conditionally inverse of the conservatism bias).

    Experimenter's or expectation bias
    The tendency for experimenters to believe, certify, and publish data that agree with their expectations for the outcome of an experiment, and to disbelieve, discard, or downgrade
    the corresponding weightings for data that appear to conflict with those expectations.

    Focusing effect
    The tendency to place too much importance on one aspect of an event.

    Forer effect or Barnum effect
    The observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some beliefs and practices, such as astrology, fortune telling, graphology, and some types of personality tests.

    Framing effect
    Drawing different conclusions from the same information, depending on how that information is presented

    Frequency illusion The illusion in which a word, a name, or other thing that has recently come to one's attention suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards (not to be confused with therecency illusion or selection bias). Colloquially, this illusion is known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.

    Gambler's fallacy
    The tendency to think that future probabilities are altered by past events, when in reality they are unchanged. The fallacy arises from an erroneous conceptualization of the law of large numbers. For example, "I've flipped heads with this coin five times consecutively, so the chance of tails coming out on the sixth flip is much greater than heads."

    Hard–easy effect
    Based on a specific level of task difficulty, the confidence in judgments is too conservative and not extreme enough

    Hindsight bias
    Sometimes called the "I-knew-it-all-along" effect, the tendency to see past events as being predictable at the time those events happened.

    Hot-hand fallacy
    The "hot-hand fallacy" (also known as the "hot hand phenomenon" or "hot hand") is the fallacious belief that a person who has experienced success with a random event has a greater chance of further success in additional attempts.

    Hyperbolic discounting
    Discounting is the tendency for people to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs. Hyperbolic discounting leads to choices that are inconsistent over time – people make choices today that their future selves would prefer not to have made, despite using the same reasoning. Also known as current moment bias, present-bias, and related to Dynamic inconsistency.

    Identifiable victim effect
    The tendency to respond more strongly to a single identified person at risk than to a large group of people at risk.

    IKEA effect
    The tendency for people to place a disproportionately high value on objects that they partially assembled themselves, such as furniture from IKEA, regardless of the quality of the end result.

    Illusion of control
    The tendency to overestimate one's degree of influence over other external events.

    Illusion of validity
    Belief that furtherly acquired information generates additional relevant data for predictions, even when it evidently does not.

    Illusory correlation
    Inaccurately perceiving a relationship between two unrelated events.

    Impact bias
    The tendency to overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact of future feeling states.

    Insensitivity to sample size
    The tendency to under-expect variation in small samples.

    Irrational escalation
    The phenomenon where people justify increased investment in a decision, based on the cumulative prior investment, despite new evidence suggesting that the decision was probably wrong. Also known as the sunk cost fallacy.

    Less-is-better effect
    The tendency to prefer a smaller set to a larger set judged separately, but not jointly.

    Moral credential effect
    The tendency of a track record of non-prejudice to increase subsequent prejudice.

    Negativity effect
    The tendency of people, when evaluating the causes of the behaviors of a person they dislike, to attribute their positive behaviors to the environment and their negative behaviors to the person's inherent nature.

    Negativity bias
    Psychological phenomenon by which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories compared with positive memories.

    Neglect of probability
    The tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty.

    Normalcy bias
    The refusal to plan for, or react to, a disaster which has never happened before.

    Observer-expectancy effect
    When a researcher expects a given result and therefore unconsciously manipulates an experiment or misinterprets data in order to find it (see also subject-expectancy effect).

    Optimism bias
    The tendency to be over-optimistic, overestimating favorable and pleasing outcomes (see also wishful thinking, valence effect, positive outcome bias).

    Ostrich effect
    Ignoring an obvious (negative) situation.

    Outcome bias
    The tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made.

    Overconfidence effect
    Excessive confidence in one's own answers to questions. For example, for certain types of questions, answers that people rate as "99% certain" turn out to be wrong 40% of the time.

    Pareidolia
    A vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) is perceived as significant, e.g., seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing non-existent hidden messages on records played in reverse.

    Pessimism bias
    The tendency for some people, especially those suffering from depression, to overestimate the likelihood of negative things happening to them.

    Planning fallacy
    The tendency to underestimate task-completion times.

    Post-purchase rationalization
    The tendency to persuade oneself through rational argument that a purchase was good value.

    Pro-innovation bias
    The tendency to have an excessive optimism towards an invention or innovation's usefulness throughout society, while often failing to identify its limitations and weaknesses.

    Pseudocertainty effect
    The tendency to make risk-averse choices if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to avoid negative outcomes.

    Recency illusion
    The illusion that a word or language usage is a recent innovation when it is in fact long-established (see also frequency illusion).

    Regressive bias
    A certain state of mind wherein high values and high likelihoods are overestimated while low values and low likelihoods are underestimated.

    Rhyme as reason effect
    Rhyming statements are perceived as more truthful. A famous example being used in the O.J Simpson trial with the defense's use of the phrase "If the gloves don't fit, then you must acquit."

    Risk compensation / Peltzman effect
    The tendency to take greater risks when perceived safety increases.

    Selective perception
    The tendency for expectations to affect perception.

    Semmelweis reflex
    The tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts a paradigm.

    Stereotyping
    Expecting a member of a group to have certain characteristics without having actual information about that individual.

    Subadditivity effect
    The tendency to judge probability of the whole to be less than the probabilities of the parts.

    Subjective validation
    Perception that something is true if a subject's belief demands it to be true. Also assigns perceived connections between coincidences.

    Survivorship bias
    Concentrating on the people or things that "survived" some process and inadvertently overlooking those that didn't because of their lack of visibility.

    Time-saving bias
    Underestimations of the time that could be saved (or lost) when increasing (or decreasing) from a relatively low speed and overestimations of the time that could be saved (or lost) when increasing (or decreasing) from a relatively high speed.

    Third-person effect
    Belief that that mass communicated media messages have a greater effect on others than on themselves.

    Weber–Fechner law
    Difficulty in comparing small differences in large quantities.

    Well travelled road effect
    Underestimation of the duration taken to traverse oft-traveled routes and overestimation of the duration taken to traverse less familiar routes.

    Zero-risk bias
    Preference for reducing a small risk to zero over a greater reduction in a larger risk.

    Zero-sum heuristic Intuitively judging a situation to be zero-sum (i.e., that gains and losses are correlated). Derives from the zero-sum game in game theory, where wins and losses sum to zero. The frequency with which this bias occurs may be related to the social dominance orientation personality factor.

    Actor–observer bias
    The tendency for explanations of other individuals' behaviors to overemphasize the influence of their personality and underemphasize the influence of their situation (see also Fundamental attribution error), and for explanations of one's own behaviors to do the opposite (that is, to overemphasize the influence of our situation and underemphasize the influence of our own personality).

    Defensive attribution hypothesis
    Attributing more blame to a harm-doer as the outcome becomes more severe or as personal or situational similarity to the victim increases.

    Egocentric bias
    Occurs when people claim more responsibility for themselves for the results of a joint action than an outside observer would credit them with.

    Extrinsic incentives bias
    An exception to the fundamental attribution error, when people view others as having (situational) extrinsic motivations and (dispositional) intrinsic motivations for oneself

    False consensus effect
    The tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them.

    Forer effect (aka Barnum effect)
    The tendency to give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. For example, horoscopes.

    Fundamental attribution error
    The tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior (see also actor-observer bias, group attribution error, positivity effect, and negativity effect).

    Group attribution error
    The biased belief that the characteristics of an individual group member are reflective of the group as a whole or the tendency to assume that group decision outcomes reflect the preferences of group members, even when information is available that clearly suggests otherwise.

    Halo effect
    The tendency for a person's positive or negative traits to "spill over" from one personality area to another in others' perceptions of them (see also physical attractiveness stereotype).

    Illusion of asymmetric insight
    People perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers' knowledge of them.

    Illusion of external agency
    When people view self-generated preferences as instead being caused by insightful, effective and benevolent agents

    Illusion of transparency
    People overestimate others' ability to know them, and they also overestimate their ability to know others.

    Illusory superiority
    Overestimating one's desirable qualities, and underestimating undesirable qualities, relative to other people. (Also known as "Lake Wobegon effect", "better-than-average effect", or "superiority bias".)

    Ingroup bias
    The tendency for people to give preferential treatment to others they perceive to be members of their own groups.

    Just-world hypothesis
    The tendency for people to want to believe that the world is fundamentally just, causing them to rationalize an otherwise inexplicable injustice as deserved by the victim(s).

    Moral luck
    The tendency for people to ascribe greater or lesser moral standing based on the outcome of an event.

    NaÔve cynicism
    Expecting more egocentric bias in others than in oneself.

    NaÔve realism
    The belief that we see reality as it really is – objectively and without bias; that the facts are plain for all to see; that rational people will agree with us; and that those who don't are either uninformed, lazy, irrational, or biased.

    Outgroup homogeneity bias
    Individuals see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of other groups.

    Projection bias
    The tendency to unconsciously assume that others (or one's future selves) share one's current emotional states, thoughts and values.

    Self-serving bias
    The tendency to claim more responsibility for successes than failures. It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests (see also group-serving bias).

    Shared information bias
    Known as the tendency for group members to spend more time and energy discussing information that all members are already familiar with (i.e., shared information), and less time and energy discussing information that only some members are aware of (i.e., unshared information).

    System justification
    The tendency to defend and bolster the status quo. Existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged, sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest. (See also status quo bias.)

    Trait ascription bias
    The tendency for people to view themselves as relatively variable in terms of personality, behavior, and mood while viewing others as much more predictable.

    Ultimate attribution error
    Similar to the fundamental attribution error, in this error a person is likely to make an internal attribution to an entire group instead of the individuals within the group.

    Worse-than-average effect
    A tendency to believe ourselves to be worse than others at tasks which are difficult.

    Bizarreness effect
    Bizarre material is better remembered than common material.

    Choice-supportive bias
    In a self-justifying manner retroactively ascribing one's choices to be more informed than they were when they were made.

    Change bias
    After an investment of effort in producing change, remembering one's past performance as more difficult than it actually was

    Childhood amnesia
    The retention of few memories from before the age of four.

    Conservatism or Regressive bias Tendency to remember high values and high likelihoods/probabilities/frequencies as lower than they actually were and low ones as higher than they actually were. Based on the evidence, memories are not extreme enough

    Consistency bias Incorrectly remembering one's past attitudes and behaviour as resembling present attitudes and behaviour.

    Context effect
    That cognition and memory are dependent on context, such that out-of-context memories are more difficult to retrieve than in-context memories (e.g., recall time and accuracy for a work-related memory will be lower at home, and vice versa)

    Cross-race effect
    The tendency for people of one race to have difficulty identifying members of a race other than their own.

    Cryptomnesia
    A form of misattribution where a memory is mistaken for imagination, because there is no subjective experience of it being a memory.

    Egocentric bias
    Recalling the past in a self-serving manner, e.g., remembering one's exam grades as being better than they were, or remembering a caught fish as bigger than it really was.

    Fading affect bias
    A bias in which the emotion associated with unpleasant memories fades more quickly than the emotion associated with positive events.

    False memory
    A form of misattribution where imagination is mistaken for a memory.

    Generation effect (Self-generation effect)
    That self-generated information is remembered best. For instance, people are better able to recall memories of statements that they have generated than similar statements generated by others.

    Google effect
    The tendency to forget information that can be found readily online by using Internet search engines.

    Hindsight bias
    The inclination to see past events as being more predictable than they actually were; also called the "I-knew-it-all-along" effect.

    Humor effect
    That humorous items are more easily remembered than non-humorous ones, which might be explained by the distinctiveness of humor, the increased cognitive processing time to understand the humor, or the emotional arousal caused by the humor.

    Illusion of truth effect
    That people are more likely to identify as true statements those they have previously heard (even if they cannot consciously remember having heard them), regardless of the actual validity of the statement. In other words, a person is more likely to believe a familiar statement than an unfamiliar one.

    Illusory correlation
    Inaccurately remembering a relationship between two events.

    Leveling and Sharpening
    Memory distortions introduced by the loss of details in a recollection over time, often concurrent with sharpening or selective recollection of certain details that take on exaggerated significance in relation to the details or aspects of the experience lost through leveling. Both biases may be reinforced over time, and by repeated recollection or re-telling of a memory.

    Levels-of-processing effect
    That different methods of encoding information into memory have different levels of effectiveness.
    List-length effect A smaller percentage of items are remembered in a longer list, but as the length of the list increases, the absolute number of items remembered increases as well.

    Misinformation effect
    Memory becoming less accurate because of interference from post-event information.

    Modality effect
    That memory recall is higher for the last items of a list when the list items were received via speech than when they were received through writing.

    Mood-congruent memory bias
    The improved recall of information congruent with one's current mood.

    Next-in-line effect That a person in a group has diminished recall for the words of others who spoke immediately before himself, if they take turns speaking.

    Part-list cueing effect
    That being shown some items from a list and later retrieving one item causes it to become harder to retrieve the other items.

    Peak–end rule
    That people seem to perceive not the sum of an experience but the average of how it was at its peak (e.g., pleasant or unpleasant) and how it ended.
    Persistence The unwanted recurrence of memories of a traumatic event.

    Picture superiority effect
    The notion that concepts that are learned by viewing pictures are more easily and frequently recalled than are concepts that are learned by viewing their written word form counterparts.

    Positivity effect
    That older adults favor positive over negative information in their memories.

    Primacy effect, Recency effect & Serial position effect
    That items near the end of a sequence are the easiest to recall, followed by the items at the beginning of a sequence; items in the middle are the least likely to be remembered.
    Processing difficulty effect That information that takes longer to read and is thought about more (processed with more difficulty) is more easily remembered.

    Reminiscence bump
    The recalling of more personal events from adolescence and early adulthood than personal events from other lifetime periods

    Rosy retrospection
    The remembering of the past as having been better than it really was.

    Self-relevance effect
    That memories relating to the self are better recalled than similar information relating to others.

    Source confusion
    Confusing episodic memories with other information, creating distorted memories.

    Spacing effect
    That information is better recalled if exposure to it is repeated over a long span of time rather than a short one.

    Spotlight effect
    The tendency to overestimate the amount that other people notice your appearance or behavior.

    Stereotypical bias
    Memory distorted towards stereotypes (e.g., racial or gender), e.g., "black-sounding" names being misremembered as names of criminals.

    Suffix effect
    Diminishment of the recency effect because a sound item is appended to the list that the subject is not required to recall.

    Suggestibility
    A form of misattribution where ideas suggested by a questioner are mistaken for memory.

    Telescoping effect
    The tendency to displace recent events backward in time and remote events forward in time, so that recent events appear more remote, and remote events, more recent.

    Testing effect
    The fact that you more easily remember information you have read by rewriting it instead of rereading it.

    Tip of the tongue phenomenon
    When a subject is able to recall parts of an item, or related information, but is frustratingly unable to recall the whole item. This is thought an instance of "blocking" where multiple similar memories are being recalled and interfere with each other.

    Travis Syndrome Overestimating the significance of the present.[108] It is related to the enlightenment Idea of Progress and Chronological snobbery with possibly an appeal to novelty logical fallacy being part of the bias.

    Verbatim effect
    That the "gist" of what someone has said is better remembered than the verbatim wording. This is because memories are representations, not exact copies.

    Von Restorff effect
    That an item that sticks out is more likely to be remembered than other items

    Zeigarnik effect
    That uncompleted or interrupted tasks are remembered better than completed ones.

    All of the above come from my previously cited source.

    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    That you have to put "raise the dead" in quotations is clear that you are playing with the word dead.
    Not at all. By every standard definition of the word "dead" these individuals have died. They were declared dead by a doctor, their heart had stopped, brain activity had stopped and celular decay had begun.

    The point, rather than sophistry, is that because things feel or seem extraordinary is not a valid reason to automatically rule them out. You have to apply more rigor than emotional reaction.


    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    This is all fine and dandy - then I request all religious people make such arguments and stop inventing new questions to avoid answering the question at hand! And I request that you be honest in your analogies by highlighting exactly where we are in dispute instead of masking your religious choices inside flawed analogies.
    Ok, I'll talk to them I guess?

    And I have been. Remember, the reason you found the analogies "dishonest" was because of your emotional reaction based on your cognitive biases. That was the entire point of the exercise. Without that emotional defense, the point of the analogies should be a bit clearer.

    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    Again, you're trying to cram your end-goal, to mask the false nature of religion, into our shared framework of scientific discourse. Just because portions of a scientific theory are in huge dispute it doesn't mean throwing the whole thing away - even evolution has many disagreements within. However, that's not quite the same thing has religious disagreements which go all the way as to the fundamental nature of the deity figure, including his actual existence!
    But I'm asking you why the two points are different. QM goes to the fundamental nature of the universe (hologram, wave function, matter, etc), so being basically fundamental doesn't really distinguish the two. If these were so obviously different categories to require their own sets of logical rules, you should be able to show pretty easily why they are different?

    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    I have: it's a creation of humans to explain that which they don't understand in order to hold power over weaker people.
    So your argument is that "a creation of humans to explain certain things" is impossible?

    If you are simply defining God as a human creation and then declaring he doesn't exist, then you've committed a begging the question fallacy:

    Description of Begging the Question
    Begging the Question is a fallacy in which the premises include the claim that the conclusion is true or (directly or indirectly) assume that the conclusion is true. This sort of "reasoning" typically has the following form.
    1. Premises in which the truth of the conclusion is claimed or the truth of the conclusion is assumed (either directly or indirectly).
    2. Claim C (the conclusion) is true.
    This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because simply assuming that the conclusion is true (directly or indirectly) in the premises does not constitute evidence for that conclusion. Obviously, simply assuming a claim is true does not serve as evidence for that claim. This is especially clear in particularly blatant cases: "X is true. The evidence for this claim is that X is true."
    Some cases of question begging are fairly blatant, while others can be extremely subtle.

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/falla...-question.html

    Perhaps you'd like to offer a different definition of God that would apply to your argument?

    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    1. I reject your structural arguments because you have failed to highlight what we're debating: the reliability and consistency of religious knowledge. Instead, you introduce something we're not arguing about: that we don't know the answer to the origins of universe.
    2. CA is irrelevant to the debate and only adds to the confusion of religious knowledge by introducing ideas and terms that require even more debate with the conclusion of which will take us no closer to answering my OP. It is summarily ignored, just as MT's ideas of God being maximally imagined is being ignored. Your personal definitions and ideas of what God is are entirely irrelevant to the debate. The focus of the debate isn't to prove God exists, it is to demonstrate that the knowledge about God across all time and religions means that there isn't even agreement as to what God is: therefore, his existence is irrelevant.
    3. I think if it's relevant I will answer it but if it isn't I will decline and explain why. We need to focus on my goals in the OP and what you imagine the debate to be about.
    You asked us to provide a definition of God that comports to the material universe, correct? I offered you one and you rejected it based on it having too many undefined, new concepts. You also asked that the definition not be one that we just "made up." That requires a deductive (rather than inductive) approach, which is what the CA offers.

    This is a second take at offering that definition via deduction so that you would have the definitions of the concepts being referenced. IE I am showing you how we can get a coherent definition of a "BBG" as you and Mican have taken to referencing.

    Your entire OP is predicated on there not being a definition, and you've been asking us over and over to provide one. Here I am trying to provide one to you.

    So given that, do you have an objection to any of the premises? Or, would you rather return to straight definition?

    On a side note, this argument was also prompted by a comment you had earlier saying that there were no coherent arguments for the existence of God. When I offered you one, you rejected it as "irrelevant." Those two points seem a bit incoherent. If you are still interested in a sound argument for God, we could also continue the Cosmological Argument for that purpose. If that is not part of this thread, then I would still recommend a quick perusal of the argument so that we can operate off of shared definitions.


    Quote Originally Posted by SE
    Just to short-cut CA though, even without going it's details, you will only succeed in proving your own specific deity exists right? It does nothing to prove other conceptions of God, right? And if it doesn't then only bolsters my point: that there is no real consistency or general agreement as to the origins of the universe.
    I think the group's response to this though is, and?

    Who cares if there is general agreement? There are still people advocating a flat earth or a geocentric model of the solar system. Those facts don't reflect on the argument that the earth is, in fact, round or that the earth orbits the sun right?

    To paraphrase you: "Well, I'm sure there are ignorant people that think that materiel demi-gods could have created a material universe but what does that have to do with anything? "
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.Ē -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  9. #49

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    RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Ok, here's something we can examine. Let's talk about this at face value.

    What reasons do we have to think that...

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality

    ...DOES NOT exist, and also CANNOT exist?
    On face value, creating everything including oneself is a contradiction and I have no idea what the source of morality even means.


    However, I think I had offered some great examples of that existing with alien scientists, pink elephants and perhaps even our future selves or we could just be brains in vats. I'm not saying such scenarios are IMPOSSIBLE though. However, and if you look at Mican's now seemingly abandoned dictionary definition, that is actually a very incomplete list of the expectations about God: namely, he is a ruler, we are expected to pray to him and he holds an dominion over our afterlife.

    What I am saying is impossible, given our understanding of physics, biology and chemistry are all the other claims: breeding with humans, parting water, flying horses, souls, ghosts, Angels, predicting the end of the world, reincarnation, you get my drift.

    What is also impossible are the weird narratives about God getting us into trouble in the garden of Eden and Jesus, a clone or slice of God, sacrifices himself to himself to forgive us for a position we had nothing to do with.

    But all this talk of absolutes really ignores the core of my argument, that all these claims and contingent special powers and beings and the need for God to be maximally whatever, are very ordinary claims made by people lacking a modern scientific worldview. It is very much more likely that God is a figment of our imagination than he really exists.

    In aggregate, there is so little consistency between the claims from multiple perspectives around the world, that there really isn't one definition of the thing that created the world that rules over us and makes us do things or else. So in that sense, it makes no sense to talk about existence at all: we don't bother with things that are clearly fictional yet for religious claims, which are also clearly fictional to everyone not of that religion, we treat it differently.

    To continue to argue it may be 'possible' ignores the vast number of reasons why it is very much more likely scenario it is made up.
    Last edited by SadElephant; May 19th, 2016 at 02:11 PM.

  10. #50
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Sorry to shout but BBG seems to be central to your argument and it appears you are refusing to clarify your description of what it means. Either way BBG is irrelevant to your point and indeed it bolsters my point.
    If it is irrelevant to my point, then you should concede my position regarding the BBG and move on. My point in the bolded argument is that the BGG qualifies as a God. That's it. If you don't have a problem with that notion, then just concede that.

    Then we can move on to arguing whether the BBG exists or not. Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    However, since you invoke rules and stuff, it's going to be difficult to continue until you define what you mean by BBG.
    I have defined it clearly numerous times. It's "An intelligence that made the universe". I assume you understand what that means.

    Please be aware that I have not even attempted to argue that the BBG actually exists. So shall we move on to that issue?



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I did in great detail. First you admit you made it up, which bolsters my point that God is made up.
    Which is utterly irrelevant to whether the BBG makes sense. Something can be made up and still make perfect sense.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Secondly, your reasoning doesn't even make sense - I go into the criticism of your bolded section in enough detail to show it doesn't stand up to scrutiny: it doesn't even parse.
    No, you asked a bunch of questions. Criticism would be making statements showing that there is a flaw in my position. Questions are not criticisms.

    I assume that you will read by statements later on but will answer here that this requirement has been satisfied. It also appears to contradict your earlier dictionary definition so you need to reconcile that too




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    1. "I derive the concept": you haven't actually derived anything - you're just making a statement. SUPPORT OR RETRACT that you have derived something - what are your premises and conclusion
    They are all present in the argument. I will bold the premises and underline the conclusion.

    I derive the concept of the Bare Bones God from the notion of what it would take to get many people to concede that God exists. And if it was proven that the universe was created by an intelligence, people would consider that intelligence to qualify as God. Therefore the Bare Bones God is an intelligence that created the universe.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    2. "concept of the Bare Bones God": you are already conceding that BBG is not real - he's just a 'concept', an idea, with no evidence or proof. It is at best a hypothesis. I am not debating against hypothetical Gods, I am debating against actual Gods that people actually have religions about. So BBG is totally irrelevant and doesn't fall under the auspices of the debate.
    I do not concede that BBG is not real. But that issue is irrelevant to whether the concept makes sense or not. Something can make sense and yet not exist. So this point does not show that the BBG does not make sense even if it is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    3. "the notion of what science would have prove ": this is pure speculation, you haven't shown what science would have to prove - you're imagining some criteria of proof without detaiingl it - i.e. this is useless because you fail to specify what this notion is. Please describe what this proof is.
    I have clearly shown what science would have to prove Ė it would have to prove that an intelligence made the universe. Since more detail is not needed before a person with basic comprehension would understand what I mean, no further detail is needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    4. "many", "probably most" are just as lacking in detail as the rest of the statement - and if it's most people then it's useless as any kind of proof and takes us no further than defining any God. Most people already believe in the Abrahamic God so we already have this situation so BBG adds nothing to forward any point and just adds to the growing list of equally unproven conceptions of God
    Which has nothing to do with whether the concept of the BGG is clear enough to be understood. So this does not reveal a flaw in the concept. If you want to move from whether the BGG is a coherent concept to wheth

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    5. "of some kind" is an equally worthless statement since it's additional speculation without any kind of proof.
    Again, I am not saying that there is proof of the BBG so this point does not show that the concept is inherently flawed.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    6. SUPPORT OR RETRACT that "if science proved the universe was created by an intelligence, people would consider the intelligence to qualify as God". This is blatantly false because there are other intelligences that people would NOT consider as God: if that intelligence turned out to be an intelligent robot then people would be horrified; or if it was created by their equivalent of Satan (and their God was locked up somewhere). There are infinite reasons as to why this is flawed.
    You are not abiding by my scenario so your complaint is irrelevant. My point is that if people knew nothing about this intelligence except that it created the universe (and therefore it being a robot is not relevant to my scenario), they would generally consider that intelligence to be God. Maybe not every single person, but certainly enough people for the term ďGodĒ to fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    7. "Therefore ..." is a just a circular argument: you're saying if science proves X is God then X is God!
    I am not saying that. Iím saying that if science proves that something exists that people would generally consider to be God, then God exists.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    8. This 'derivation' of BBG does not align with your earlier dictionary definition. From an earlier post you say " Since we are speaking English, we can use pretty much any English language dictionary. Here's an online dictionary. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/god?s=t". The definition doesn't specify that God is "intelligent", yet you say it is a requirement of BBG. Your BBG doesn't define it as being a "ruler", whereas the dictionary claims it to be a key attribute. In fact: SUPPORT OR RETRACT the dictionary definition or please reconcile BBG with the dictionary definition.
    I donít claim that BBG aligns with the dictionary definition of God so I have no need to support that it does. Dictionary definition are based on how people define the words. In my hypothetical situation, people would consider the BBG to be God and therefore create a definition for God that is not currently in the dictionary.

    I have to ask - do you actually think that people would not generally consider an intelligence that made the universe to be God if they discovered that such a thing actually existed? Do you think most people would say "I'm going to hold off calling it God until I learn whether it's also the ruler of the universe"? I find that notion to be rather silly. But if we need some kind of evidence on what people would think, I suggest we ask a third party. There's other debaters who can answer the question "If you learned that an intelligence made the universe, would you consider that intelligence to be God?" and if we get more "yes" than "no", then we have reason to accept that the BBG would qualify as a God. And if we get more "no"s then we can conclude that people would not consider the BBG to be a God.

    And if you actually find this issue irrelevant or you feel it doesn't really effect your argument, then just concede that point that the BBG would qualify as a God and move on from there. I'm certainly not asking you to accept that it exists and I am not arguing that it exists and will not argue that at any point in this debate. So why not jettison a bunch of irrelevant issues (if you feel it is irrelevant) and just concede this particular point?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    BBG is a vague way for you to try and summarize all the Gods into a single sentence but in doing so, AND PAY ATTENTION HERE, it is merely one more definition to add to the existing definitions. My argument isn't about specific definitions of God. My argument depends on the fact that there are MANY DEFINITIONS OF GOD. You're just helping my argument along by adding another one. That said, as I pointed out BBG is not a deity that any really believes in.
    Which is completely irrelevant to whether it exists or not. Things donít exist just because people believe it exists and things donít not exist because no one thinks it does. There are literally billions of undiscovered things in this universe that no one even thinks about, let alone believe that they exist and yet they exist. So the BBGs existence (or lack thereof) does not depend on peopleís belief in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Also, since you don't actually believe in BBG, i.e. you do not pray to him since he doesn't rule over you, per the definition that you yourself provided, then he is just a fiction that you invented for the sake of argument. In being a human creation, you again prove my point that Gods are just human creations.
    Just because someone imagines something does not mean that it does not exist. I can imagine a rabbit in my backyard. That does not mean that there is no rabbit in my backyard.





    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    1. I have shown BBG is flawed.
    I have shown that your supposed flaws are not flaws at all in my rebuttals. About half of them were arguing that it doesn't exist, not that the concept which has no bearing on whether the concept itself is flawed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    2. It doesn't align with the dictionary definition you brought up earlier
    3. Even if it isn't flawed, it bolsters my argument.
    4. BBG is ultimately irrelevant to my argument, which relies on many people and a religion about the God: unless you can show external proof BBG exists and is believed and supported by a religion it doesn't qualify under my OP.
    So you are only addressing Gods that are present in religions? If so, then you are not addressing every conceptualization of God and therefore cannot show that no Gods exist but only that the Gods of various religions don't exist (assuming you are successful in your argument).

    .

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Can we agree that BBG is irrelevant to the argument? Also, please also stick to your definition of God or drop it. You appear to silently drop points of argument with no warning and contradict them later on; please support or retract your dictionary definition of God or BBG or both or reconcile the two.
    I can forward two separate versions of God in this debate. You are certainly talking about many more Gods than just two. There's the "dictionary God" and there's the "Bare Bones God" and I can talk about them separately without dropping one of them.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    No I don't because that's not what I'm arguing. I am arguing that the conceptions of this creator are so vastly different that they are clearly made up by people
    Okay. Now support that argument. I'd suggest a logic chain (where premises are introduced and logic leads one to the desired conclusion). I'll create a logic chain of your argument, as best as I understand it, for you. And you can either confirm that I have your argument correct or you can make whatever changes you need to make it accurate to what you are arguing.

    1. FACT - there are different conceptualizations of God in the different religions of the world
    2. FACT - If any of the conceptualization were valid, there would be a certain level of consistency amongst the religions
    3. THEREFORE - since there is little consistency, the conceptualizations of God in the various religions are not valid
    4. THEREFORE - since the conceptualizations are not valid, they must have been invented by human minds.
    5. THEREFORE - all conceptualizations of God are human inventions
    6 THEREFORE - All Gods are human inventions.

    I won't rebut this argument at this time since I don't know if I have your argument correct or not. Once you confirm it or correct it, then I will rebut it.




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    No it doesn't! If science proves that the universe was created by an intelligence, there are plenty of additional choices that are MUCH MORE reasonable than God, an invention we already know is made up by people
    : it could be an alien scientist, or more likely scientists - we could be just a big experiment in a universe-wide petri dish. That's more believable than a deity that breeds with humans. It could be a machine intelligence, and that machine was created by even more powerful aliens - there are plenty of choices that are more realistic than "God". So I reject that it is reasonable at all to concede that God exists.
    In your scenario, the aliens would be God.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Ah, but rabbits are perfectly reasonably things to exist and I would not dispute that.
    It doesn't matter if you would dispute it or not. I admitted that I imagined the rabbit and odds are there isn't a rabbit in my backyard (There are rabbits in my neighborhood but I seldom see one near my house so odds are none are on my property at any given time). So does the fact that I imagined that there's a rabbit in my backyard mean that it's a fact that there's no rabbit in my backyard? Of course not. The rabbit being in my backyard or not being in my backyard is not effected by my imagination of it. In other words, the rabbit is not less likely to exist just because I impinged it. And likewise the BBG is not less likely to exist because I imagined it.

    Feel free to present your reasons for holding that the BBG does not exist. But the fact that I imagined it is not a reason to conclude that it does not exist. My imagination does not effect the odds of it existing.




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Again, you ignore that the type of disagreement is important to this debate. Height is a reasonable thing to disagree about; whether AL is a pink unicorns or 5 pink unicorns is very relevant since pink unicorns don't exist. Again, you mask the real debate by hiding behind clearly rational things. Our debate isn't between what is clearly real and rational (rabbits, height) or about clearly imagined things (pink elephants or unicorns). Our debate is about whether God belongs in one bucket or another.
    I'm addressing your argument that forwards that because different religions disagree about various aspects of God, then God does not exist.

    So logically you are saying "If people disagree about certain details regarding something, that something does not exist." And my AL examples shows that the logic is flawed and I'm intentionally using something that we know did exist to prove my point. If your argument was correct, then an argument over AL's height would support that he never existed.




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Not a fiction but certainly from a human source. If all signs point to God being created by humans (i.e. they are, as MindTrap pointed out, subject to human imagination) then it likely is. We already know of people that claim to have communicated to God or the dead or other religious demons and souls but they are hardly convincing to anyone.
    But that doesn't mean that all of them didn't actually communicate with God. I mean if someone actually DID communicate with God, no one would be convinced so people not being convinced of a certain claim that they are not inclined to accept does not mean that the claim is false.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    You haven't even been able to define your BBG in a coherent manner yet so we can't even begin to talk about BBG existing or not existing!
    "An intelligence that made the universe" is incoherent to you? I will credit your intelligence and comprehension to hold that you do understand what that means are able to debate whether an intelligence that made the universe exists or not.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    your poor definition of BBG just adds to the already huge inventory of terrible and contradicting definitions of God. It adds no clarity nor moves the argument forward. Even if you define BBG well, I will throw it into the big bucket of existing definitions of God and reject the whole thing en-masse.
    And if you combine the BBG to every other conceptualization of God then you get the Aggregate God and I agree that the Aggregate God is an incompressible mess and you should reject it. But that in no way shows that any of the individual Gods that comprise the mess do not exist.

    If it so happened that one of the Gods in your jumble actually did exist, the jumble would still be a mess. So the jumble being mess does not show that any of the individuals Gods that you tossed into that mess don't exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    The Bible - he's the one with the 10 commandments.
    If you accept that bible as evidence that Moses went up the mountain to get the ten commandments then you likewise should accept that he actually got the ten commandments from God.

    And if you reject the bible's version of what happened (and I assume you do), then you likewise have no basis to conclude that Moses did anything in the bible and therefore cannot identify him as the person who made up a God.



    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Right, so you're an atheist!
    Not putting credibility in something does not mean that one always rejects whatever it says. If I know a guy who is a liar, I won't trust what he says but that doesn't mean that I know that everything he says is a lie. An untrustworthy person sometimes tells the truth.




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    OMG, you're doing it again: now you're inventing new powers that God can have before being able to show he exists! I agree there are many ways people claim God works - that's my point: his powers are so vast so as to be totally useless. Introducing magical powers is exactly why god is so unbelievable!
    Talking to people is a magical power? And you are ignoring my point. I'm saying that there are ways that people can believe in God without dealing with religion. You have not rebutted that claim and therefore it stands until it is rebutted.

    So again, there are ways for people to believe in God beyond dealing with religion.




    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    1. http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...-proof-heaven/ describes how a famous neurosurgeon claimed he had NDE. It concludes "But what is more likely: That Alexander's NDE was a real trip to heaven and all these other hallucinations are the product of neural activity only? Or that all such experiences are mediated by the brain but seem real to each experiencer? To me, this evidence is proof of hallucination, not heaven."
    That's enough to prove my point. I'm not arguing that people actually do leave their bodies and so on. I'm saying that people can end up believing in God without dealing with religion. So assuming that the "dead" person has vivid hallucinations that tricks him into believing in God, he still winds up believing in God without religion.

    So the point is religion is not the only avenue for a belief in God and therefore the issue of what differing religions say does not apply to all theists.

  11. #51
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    On face value, creating everything including oneself is a contradiction and I have no idea what the source of morality even means.
    Well, I didn't take from your comment that you meant "everything including oneself" (and I do appreciate that you didn't say excluding oneself either), but if it's ok with you, let's suppose for the sake of discussion that we're not talking about a being that created itself (I don't know of any faiths that hold to such a belief, for what that's worth), but otherwise possesses the properties you described.

    What reasons do we have to think that...

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything (except itself) and
    3) who is the source of morality

    ...DOES NOT exist, and also CANNOT exist? What about such a being is self-contradictory? Why is a such a being acting as the source of morality incomprehensible to you?

  12. #52

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    RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, I didn't take from your comment that you meant "everything including oneself" (and I do appreciate that you didn't say excluding oneself either), but if it's ok with you, let's suppose for the sake of discussion that we're not talking about a being that created itself (I don't know of any faiths that hold to such a belief, for what that's worth), but otherwise possesses the properties you described.

    What reasons do we have to think that...

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything (except itself) and
    3) who is the source of morality

    ...DOES NOT exist, and also CANNOT exist? What about such a being is self-contradictory? Why is a such a being acting as the source of morality incomprehensible to you?
    I didn't say they do not or cannot exist! I already cited examples such as space scientists or engineers that would qualify. I also suggest we could be living in a vat or a computer simulation. But we are talking about what is REASONABLE to believe given the evidence at hand. More importantly, we are talking about ACTUAL deities not even more fiction! Note, I'm talking about points 1 and 2 here.

    As for point 3 I don't understand the phrase "the source of morality"? Explain. This of course, highlights a classic failure of religion - its propensity into invent new things that have to be explained and explanations that now bring in even more things to explain. So at this point it is clear that YOUR definition of God is a total non starter. I can safely conclude such a creature cannot exist because it's definition makes no sense.

    Secondly, as I also pointed out earlier, your definitions are very much inventions on the fly. You can create your own Gods if you want, as Mican is trying to do, but being creations is exactly what I'm talking about here! You bolster my case to show how simple it is to create Gods! You even include inexplicable notions such as "the source of morality".

    Thirdly, your description is incomplete and nothing like other Gods: so they don't qualify. You could have a super alien called Bob create the universe and call him God: but do you accept that he rules over us or can force us to do things? Would you pray to Bob? Did Bob bring people back from the dead or create flying horses or part waters? Does Bob also promise us an afterlife?

    So this line of argument is kinda useless. If you're planning to say that you can conceive of a God that would be compatible with this universe in order to defeat the OP then that won't work either: you're missing the religion and belief system and most importantly believers with a history and artifacts. And your clearly inventing him for the sake of argument. Both are my points about the fallibility of God across all religions. So I think you're wasting time going down this road.

    Therefore, we are further from being able to describe God than where we started!
    Last edited by SadElephant; May 20th, 2016 at 05:11 AM.

  13. #53
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    As for point 3 I don't understand the phrase "the source of morality"? Explain. This of course, highlights a classic failure of religion - its propensity into invent new things that have to be explained and explanations that now bring in even more things to explain. So at this point it is clear that YOUR definition of God is a total non starter. I can safely conclude such a creature cannot exist because it's definition makes no sense.
    So because you don't understand what "the source of morality" means you can conclude that a being who is the source of morality does not exist?

    It doesn't seem that other people have a problem comprehending the concept.

    So I agree that if you can't understand a concept, discussing such a thing is a non-starter (for you, that is). But that just means that you are not capable of making an argument for or against it at all - not that you can conclude that it doesn't exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Secondly, as I also pointed out earlier, your definitions are very much inventions on the fly. You can create your own Gods if you want, as Mican is trying to do, but being creations is exactly what I'm talking about here! You bolster my case to show how simple it is to create Gods! You even include inexplicable notions such as "the source of morality".
    And as I pointed out, just because something imagines something does not mean that it doesn't exist. If I imagine a rabbit in my backyard that does not mean that there is no rabbit in my backyard.

    And I'm not inventing God. I'm defining God and arguing that the definition that I forwarded is valid. So your whole argument that I invented God is just wrong.

    In order to discuss whether something exists, you have to define exactly what it is. I actually thought that God being an intelligence that made the universe is a no-brainer but since you put up so much resistance to that, I'lm going to drop the BBG because it needlessly bogs down the debate. But I am going to stick to the dictionary definition.

    So God is:
    1. Intelligent (as in capable of thinking)
    2. The Creator of the universe
    3. The Ruler of the universe

    So those are necessary descriptors. In other words if no being exists that has those three attributes, then God does not exist. And if a being exists that has those three attributes, then that being is God. I someone invents another attribute, like God is of the male gender, it has no bearing on whether God exist or not. In other words if there is a being that has all three attributes mentioned above but is not male, then that person invented something about God that is not true but that does not mean that God doesn't exist. As analogy, if I invented the notion that my Dad is an General in the Army, the fact that he's not a general does not mean that he's not my Dad.

    So if you are going to show that God does not exist, you need to show that no being exists that has those three attributes.

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    Thirdly, your description is incomplete and nothing like other Gods: so they don't qualify. You could have a super alien called Bob create the universe and call him God: but do you accept that he rules over us or can force us to do things? Would you pray to Bob? Did Bob bring people back from the dead or create flying horses or part waters? Does Bob also promise us an afterlife?
    If Bob the alien was the creator and ruler of the universe, then he would fit the dictionary definition of God and therefore is indeed God. Whether I would pray to him and so on is completely irrelevant to whether he fits the definition of God.


    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    So this line of argument is kinda useless. If you're planning to say that you can conceive of a God that would be compatible with this universe in order to defeat the OP then that won't work either: you're missing the religion and belief system and most importantly believers with a history and artifacts. And your clearly inventing him for the sake of argument. Both are my points about the fallibility of God across all religions. So I think you're wasting time going down this road.

    Therefore, we are further from being able to describe God than where we started!
    No, he's effectively challenged you. If you can't show that a being who created the universe and is the source of morality (which is more or less the same thing as the ruler as morality is based on rules) does not exist, then you can't show that God does not exist.

    You made arguments about why this cannot exist and I've effectively rebutted all of them. Saying that you can't comprehend God and therefore can't discuss it does not show that God doesn't exist - it just shows that you are incapable of having the debate on whether God exists or not and therefore are incapable of showing that God does not exist.

    If I asked "Does a Casa exist?" and you don't understand Spanish well enough to know that "Casa" means "house", it does not mean that a Casa (House) does not exist. You answer in that situation would not be "It does not exist" but "I don't know what you mean so I can't give you an answer."
    Last edited by mican333; May 20th, 2016 at 07:04 AM.

  14. #54
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I didn't say they do not or cannot exist!
    Ok, but in your opening post you claimed that you 'believe that God doesn't exist' (that's a positive claim) and you also claimed that 'what we understand about the universe doesn't allow for these beings to exist' (another positive claim), so it seems to me that, in some important sense, you’re claiming exactly what I’ve suggested you’ve claimed by my questions.

    But, again for the sake of common ground, let’s agree on the more absurd stuff. We’ll call that comic-book version of God "Marvel’s Amazing God" (or “MAG” for short). We both agree that a thing that created itself is nonsense; that God creating a burrito so hot that he can’t eat it is nonsense; we agree that crackers literally turning into the body of 2,000 year old dead Middle Eastern man is nonsense.

    I mean, I suppose we could spend our time pontificating over whether the creator of the universe really does fret over my masturbation habits, but do we really want to argue about that?

    So, let’s go back to the primitive man that was incidentally right about 1) the existence of things too small to be seen by the naked eye 2) things of that sort being the cause of some illnesses.

    In terms of evidence, this guy has literally the same evidence for such things as people have for the existence of God. Also, this guy is literally just thinking about this; he’s not testing it or anything else. It simply entered his mind and he has absolutely nothing else with which he has authenticated this thought. What this means is that there are probably a great many things concerning his idea that he’s DEAD WRONG about. As a matter of fact, it turns out that the guy thinks these small objects are particles of evil that make people sick. How ridiculous! Right?

    BUT! He’s not entirely wrong. He’s wrong about the little pieces of evil, but he’s NOT wrong about the little pieces.

    So, let’s put aside the “pieces of evil” part of your God claims; the MAG version. When we do that, we’re left with what you described HERE; namely:

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality

    Let’s call THIS being NOT-MAG. (Not to be confused with the spice)

    In my view, there’s nothing inherently problematic with NOT-MAG. I don’t KNOW that there are no problems, but nothing about nature of physics seems to be opposed to the existence of NOT-MAG. In fact, it’s entirely possible for people to be RIGHT about NOT-MAG. But, just as the man who’s wrong about the little pieces of evil, some believers in NOT-MAG might have quite a bit of MAG pollution in there amongst their beliefs. OUR goal here, based on YOUR original claim, is to discover if they’re wrong about NOT-MAG too.

    NOW let’s go back to your original claim:

    you 'believe that God doesn't exist' (again, that's a positive claim) and you say that 'what we understand about the universe doesn't allow for these beings to exist' (again, another positive claim)

    So, how is it that the universe itself is at odds with

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality?

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  16. #55

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Ok, but in your opening post you claimed that you 'believe that God doesn't exist' (that's a positive claim) and you also claimed that 'what we understand about the universe doesn't allow for these beings to exist' (another positive claim), so it seems to me that, in some important sense, youíre claiming exactly what Iíve suggested youíve claimed by my questions.
    Yes, I am indeed claiming God doesn't exist. But not for the reasons you're arguing against. I am saying that God doesn't exist because of what we KNOW. Everything else is just speculation (often requiring more unsubstantiated things to support it) or clearly fiction.


    But, again for the sake of common ground, letís agree on the more absurd stuff. Weíll call that comic-book version of God "Marvelís Amazing God" (or ďMAGĒ for short). We both agree that a thing that created itself is nonsense; that God creating a burrito so hot that he canít eat it is nonsense; we agree that crackers literally turning into the body of 2,000 year old dead Middle Eastern man is nonsense.

    I mean, I suppose we could spend our time pontificating over whether the creator of the universe really does fret over my masturbation habits, but do we really want to argue about that?
    Well, if they're part and parcel of the claims made about a particular God, the of course! All you and Mican are doing is INVENTING some kind of deity that could be compatible with the known world. But they fall into the criteria of human creations so are automatically junked.

    So, letís go back to the primitive man that was incidentally right about 1) the existence of things too small to be seen by the naked eye 2) things of that sort being the cause of some illnesses.

    In terms of evidence, this guy has literally the same evidence for such things as people have for the existence of God. Also, this guy is literally just thinking about this; heís not testing it or anything else. It simply entered his mind and he has absolutely nothing else with which he has authenticated this thought. What this means is that there are probably a great many things concerning his idea that heís DEAD WRONG about. As a matter of fact, it turns out that the guy thinks these small objects are particles of evil that make people sick. How ridiculous! Right?

    BUT! Heís not entirely wrong. Heís wrong about the little pieces of evil, but heís NOT wrong about the little pieces.
    Indeed he is not. On the other hand would you put the same weight and belief if he said it were due to ghosts or God or pink elephants?


    So, letís put aside the ďpieces of evilĒ part of your God claims; the MAG version. When we do that, weíre left with what you described HERE; namely:

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality

    Letís call THIS being NOT-MAG. (Not to be confused with the spice)

    In my view, thereís nothing inherently problematic with NOT-MAG. I donít KNOW that there are no problems, but nothing about nature of physics seems to be opposed to the existence of NOT-MAG. In fact, itís entirely possible for people to be RIGHT about NOT-MAG. But, just as the man whoís wrong about the little pieces of evil, some believers in NOT-MAG might have quite a bit of MAG pollution in there amongst their beliefs. OUR goal here, based on YOUR original claim, is to discover if theyíre wrong about NOT-MAG too.

    NOW letís go back to your original claim:

    you 'believe that God doesn't exist' (again, that's a positive claim) and you say that 'what we understand about the universe doesn't allow for these beings to exist' (again, another positive claim)

    So, how is it that the universe itself is at odds with

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality?
    You still need to explain what "the source of morality" means. It's very unclear what you mean by source and actually what you mean by morality needs to be clarified a bit too.

    And you also still fail to address:
    1. Your deity is a total fiction that you just created for the purpose of this debate.
    2. You don't cover any of the other claims made of God; eg being a ruler.
    3. No miracles
    4. No history or believers
    5. No religious texts or other artifacts

    So, you're arguing with a straw man God that I'm not even covering. Why?

  17. #56
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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    So, you're arguing with a straw man God that I'm not even covering. Why?
    Well, not really. All I've done is stripped away all the comic book stuff (which you agree we should, because it's just silly), and examined what's left. If you look at the three "major" religions, their deity does indeed possess the characteristics of 1) intelligence 2) created everything 3) arbitrates morality. The God of Christianity does, the God of Islam does, and the God of Judaism does. So literally ALL these religions believe in a God that is:

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality

    Now, they're quite wrong about the comic-book stuff, but they may be entirely right about the three above; such a being MIGHT VERY WELL exist. That is, they're almost certainly PARTIALLY wrong, but are they ENTIRELY wrong? I'm more interested in the latter than the former, because the former is self-evident. But the latter? I think it's an interesting question.

    So do you want to ignore the comic-book versions, or do you want to continue to argue against them? Frankly, I'm keen on a more robust and intellectual conversation, but if you want to stick with the comic-book versions, I'm quite happy to leave you to that.

    EDIT:

    Just to underline the point, EVEN IF Mican and myself are completely inventing a deity out of thin air (and I maintain that I am not, for reasons already explained), you've made the positive claim that such a being doesn't exist.

    This is the very first sentence in your opening post:

    "As an atheist, I have many reasons to believe that God doesn't exist - either the one shared by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam nor the many aspects of the Hindu deities or any other imaginary conscious creator."

    So with that last statement, you opened yourself to defend the claim that ANY conscious creator being - invented or no - DOES NOT exist.

  18. #57

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, not really. All I've done is stripped away all the comic book stuff (which you agree we should, because it's just silly), and examined what's left. If you look at the three "major" religions, their deity does indeed possess the characteristics of 1) intelligence 2) created everything 3) arbitrates morality. The God of Christianity does, the God of Islam does, and the God of Judaism does. So literally ALL these religions believe in a God that is:

    1) an intelligent being that
    2) created everything and
    3) who is the source of morality

    Now, they're quite wrong about the comic-book stuff, but they may be entirely right about the three above; such a being MIGHT VERY WELL exist. That is, they're almost certainly PARTIALLY wrong, but are they ENTIRELY wrong? I'm more interested in the latter than the former, because the former is self-evident. But the latter? I think it's an interesting question.

    So do you want to ignore the comic-book versions, or do you want to continue to argue against them? Frankly, I'm keen on a more robust and intellectual conversation, but if you want to stick with the comic-book versions, I'm quite happy to leave you to that.
    I can't drop what you call comic-book stuff because nobody believes in a god like that. A key component of my argument is the craziness of all the ideas that are fundamental to these religions. Without believers or a religion your minimal God is a total fiction, which again, is my point.

    In addition, you have leaked comic book stuff - "the source of morality" doesn't make sense at all. It's less believable than Mican's BBG (which doesn't make sense for other reasons I will address with him). And you still haven't explained what that phrase even means!

    That you pick an entire BRANCH of a religion - with Abrahamic roots from a single source, the Torah, you're ignoring all the religions that have ever existed!

    You can't put boundaries around MY argument and keep taking away stuff that is included in order to support your argument.

    Finally, I get you want a robust debate about an intelligent creator but that's a totally different thread. For me, I want us all to examine the world's religions, most of whom we disbelieve, and draw some conclusions about whether this God thing can exist. Given that everyone approaches this problem by ADDING more fiction, new ideas and unsubstantiated claims and sentences that don't parse, everyone is missing the point!

    ---------- Post added at 09:01 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post

    "As an atheist, I have many reasons to believe that God doesn't exist - either the one shared by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam nor the many aspects of the Hindu deities or any other imaginary conscious creator."

    So with that last statement, you opened yourself to defend the claim that ANY conscious creator being - invented or no - DOES NOT exist.
    If it's imaginary then by definition it is a human creation and doesn't exist!

    And I'm sure I also explain the statement that these Gods are believed in, have done crazy things in contradiction known science, have narratives that don't make sense.

    So I think I'm not ruling out the idea of a possible conscious creator - I gave you a ton of examples of conscious creators but I wouldn't think they would qualify as a God. Don't forget there are a lot of connotations around a deity that makes them different from a more ordinary, science based creator.

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I can't drop what you call comic-book stuff because nobody believes in a god like that.
    They don't? All three majors absolutely do. Saying they don't is like saying no one believes in cars with four wheels, windows and headlights because someone believes in cars with four wheels, windows, headlights and magic powers.

    And if you're going to contend that imagined things are necessarily non-existent, then you'll have to accept that - supposing that someone imagined that small objects caused illnesses before the age of microscopes - germs didn't exist before microscopes.

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    They don't? All three majors absolutely do. Saying they don't is like saying no one believes in cars with four wheels, windows and headlights because someone believes in cars with four wheels, windows, headlights and magic powers.

    And if you're going to contend that imagined things are necessarily non-existent, then you'll have to accept that - supposing that someone imagined that small objects caused illnesses before the age of microscopes - germs didn't exist before microscopes.
    I mean no one believes in a God that doesn't have the comic book stuff you want to drop. So your proposing a totally unsupported fiction.

    Saying it is a small object is not the purpose of the debate. The purpose of the debate is to say that small objects that are conscious demons is so nonsensical and clearly made up, because science.

    Removing the very reason why gods are human creations of fiction would turn it into a totally debate that would be entirely theoretical, even more fictional and less grounded in reality.

    You'll not everyone is attempting to do this because I suspect everyone agrees that the gods as believed are pretty silly. Except for their own of course. Why is it so hard to stick with the actual real world and not resort to loaded fictional ones!?

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    Re: RELIGION 1: Does the known universe allow God to exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by SadElephant View Post
    I mean no one believes in a God that doesn't have the comic book stuff you want to drop. So your proposing a totally unsupported fiction.
    In what sense is it fiction? Does someone who believes the Loch Ness monster not believe in dinosaurs? Does someone who believes in telepathy not believe in communication?

 

 
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