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  1. #481
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    How is any of that rant actually connected to my post?
    I apologize if that came off as a "rant". I sometimes substitute brevity for tactfulness...

    My point is, theism in general can make a pretty tidy case as a possibility for the universes' existence, as we are pretty much in the "nobody knows for sure " realm. It is when a particular religion is chosen that things get sticky.
    As support for that, I cited two very common examples where the average Christian does not fallow the Bible and instead inserts their own ideas of right/wrong. This can be seen at pretty much any Christian funeral.
    The point is, if you are not fallowing the Bible, you aren't actually a Christian whether you think you are or not and it is all too common for people to pick and choose what the like about Christianity (insert other religions as well here...).
    This is not rational.

    If a Muslim told me:
    "the Koran rang true to him"
    "he has an inner knowledge Allah exists"
    "he had prayed to Allah and was given guidance"
    "Allah having created the universe makes the most sense to him"

    What should I say to this person??
    Since those two religions are mutually exclusive, there is a rational disconnect. Either you or the Muslim person are wrong. Period!
    As you both use similar evidence of your claims, the is no rational way to chose a particular religion.

    Hopefully that is more explanatory and less offensive, I mean no disrespect.

    (ps. I love the RR quote you use, "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan". The way Reagan could fight using only humor at times was totally awesome. Todays politicians could/should learn this...)

  2. #482
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    "The Bible rings true to me" is an assessment, not a theistic belief.
    You are claiming that the bible is an accurate representation of the truth. Please provide your justification for this theistic claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    "I have an inner knowing" is a statement of HOW and WHY something is known, not a statement of the belief itself.
    Regardless of what kind of statement you think it is, you have not provided justification for the knowledge you claim to have.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Describing how I received guidance is a statement of experience, not of a theistic belief.
    You are claiming, without justification, that you have received guidance. You may believe you have, but have not provided any justification for your claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Explaining that I assessed the validity of universe and life origins is describing a logical process, and reason for a belief, not an expression of a theistic belief.
    You are claiming that creation, a theistic claim, is the most accurate representation of the truth. Please provide the justification for this claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Yes, "So, I believe in God" is an expression of theistic belief. You got that one right.
    Providing your assessment of whether I accurately labelled any of your statements is entirely irrelevant. You still haven't provided rational justification for them, and since many of them are claims regarding the truth, a lack of justification makes believing them irrational.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Yep. People can rationally come to different conclusions on the same subject. It happens all the time.
    Since you have not provided the rational justification for the various conclusions you are claiming are the truth, you cannot claim to have come to them "rationally".

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    You really need to be able to separate the reasons for a belief from the belief itself.
    No, you need to provide valid reasons for your belief. That is what has been requested from the very beginning. Please do so or indicate where you have so that I can respond.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I believe the Ford Mustang is the absolute best car for me.
    Comparing something mundane like a car preference to claims of truth about the universe and reality in general isn't going to get you very far. Further, it does not answer the question. Here it is again: Do you think that, if someone were to make the exact same statements as you just did but about a different theistic belief system, they'd be rationally justified in believing in their specific theistic claims, which directly contradict yours? Differences in car preferences are not relevant to this question.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I could give you a hundred more examples of how people can rationally disagree on the same issue or subject, but you don't really need them.
    Yes, they aren't required because they're irrelevant. You seem to think that all those irrelevant statements about a car preference serve to somehow make a valid point, or somehow exempt you from having to provided rational justification for the theistic claims in your statements.

    Really, it would help greatly if you actually responded with the rational justification for the theistic beliefs which you hold and answered the questions asked of you directly and clearly. However, as with our other discussions, it seems that you are yet again on the same old path of avoiding actually responding and instead making irrelevant comparisons in order to avoid addressing the lack of justification for your position, and attempting to blame your failure to respond with valid statements on the position your opponent holds, or on some other irrelevant aspect of their character which you invent.

  3. #483
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    You are claiming that the bible is an accurate representation of the truth. Please provide your justification for this theistic claim...
    Regardless of what kind of statement you think it is, you have not provided justification for the knowledge you claim to have...
    You are claiming, without justification, that you have received guidance. You may believe you have, but have not provided any justification for your claim...
    Etc, etc, etc.
    It’s not my burden to convince you that the Bible is true, or that my inner knowing is true, or that I’ve received guidance when praying. I’ve only claimed that I believe those things, and have not claimed you should.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Since you have not provided the rational justification for the various conclusions you are claiming are the truth, you cannot claim to have come to them "rationally".
    Can and did.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Comparing something mundane like a car preference to claims of truth about the universe and reality in general isn't going to get you very far. Further, it does not answer the question. Here it is again: Do you think that, if someone were to make the exact same statements as you just did but about a different theistic belief system, they'd be rationally justified in believing in their specific theistic claims, which directly contradict yours?
    Already answered. It happens all the time. You haven’t denied that is true. Pick virtually any subject, and there will be people who come to different opinions or beliefs in that area, whether using the same or different information and experiences. Your expectation that there should be no differences in theistic beliefs, in contrast with most any other subject, is the real special pleading in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Really, it would help greatly if you actually responded with the rational justification for the theistic beliefs which you hold and answered the questions asked of you directly and clearly. However, as with our other discussions, it seems that you are yet again on the same old path of avoiding actually responding and instead making irrelevant comparisons in order to avoid addressing the lack of justification for your position, and attempting to blame your failure to respond with valid statements on the position your opponent holds, or on some other irrelevant aspect of their character which you invent.
    I’ve given my response, and explained that my belief in God is reasoned on my experiences and assessments. That you disagree is no real surprise and, frankly, of no consequence, because you are not a neutral expert whose opinion on what constitutes rational thought must be respected.

    Now let’s examine your burden. Your claim is that “Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified.” You are claiming that the beliefs of nearly 6 billion people, more than 80% of the world’s population, are irrational. That is an extraordinary claim. And every time an atheist hears an extraordinary claim, they insist that the claim be accompanied by extraordinary evidence. So that must apply to your claim here.

    That is your burden, Futureboy, to provide extraordinary evidence that all theistic beliefs are irrational. So far, you’ve offered only some flimsy logic and kneejerk rejections of the reasons people have offered for their beliefs. Unless and until you provide legitimate, powerful and persuasive support for your extraordinary claim, your op fails for lack of support.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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  5. #484
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    It’s not my burden to convince you that the Bible is true, or that my inner knowing is true, or that I’ve received guidance when praying. I’ve only claimed that I believe those things, and have not claimed you should.
    Nor have I stated that you need to convince me. This thread is about you claiming to have rational justification for your beliefs. You have not provided any, therefore your beliefs are not rationally justified.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Can and did.
    Then you admit that you're claiming they are justified without actually having provided any rational justification. Fine by me.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Already answered. It happens all the time.
    Ok, then your answer is that you consider other theists, with theistic beliefs contradictory to yours, to be just as rationally justified in believing them as you are in believing yours. Next question: Do you think their justification is the same as yours, or do you think they have other, different justification?

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Pick virtually any subject, and there will be people who come to different opinions or beliefs in that area, whether using the same or different information and experiences.
    This is not a matter of opinion. You have made claims about the nature of reality, and you have not provided support for those claims, nor rational justification for why you believe them.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Your expectation that there should be no differences in theistic beliefs, in contrast with most any other subject, is the real special pleading in this thread.
    I've explained the difference: one is a mundane preference about a product choice, the other is a truth claim about the nature of the universe and reality in general. Until you provide a valid rebuttal, the difference stands, and your comparison remains invalid.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I’ve given my response, and explained that my belief in God is reasoned on my experiences and assessments.
    To which I've responded with an explanation of why your statements don't serve as the "reason" you claim they do. Further, you've stated here that your belief is based partly on assessments which themselves requires justification, and failing to provide that justification, the assessments are merely just more unsupported claims. Please provide the rational justification for the claims you've made. Otherwise, they remain without rational justification. Until you provide valid responses to my rebuttals of the claims which you made, they stand as rebutted and do not count as rational justification, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    That is an extraordinary claim.
    This is nothing more than an assertion. Citing 6bill or 80% of people (who make contradictory claims) doesn't mean a thing. I guess next you'll be claiming that our use of anno domini has some significance. There have been quite many instances when a vast majority of the population has believed something which turns out to be wrong and/or irrational. Therefore, there is nothing extraordinary about a majority believing in something without justification and being wrong in doing so, especially when their beliefs directly contradict each other, and especially when they fail to provide rational justification for their beliefs (free tip: just because a lot of people believe something doesn't mean it's true or that it's rational for you to believe it, too).

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    So far, you’ve offered only some flimsy logic
    Simply name-calling it "flimsy logic" doesn't magically mean you've addressed someone's arguments. You've had every chance to respond directly to the logic I've offered, but have failed to do so, instead making flawed comparisons, failed tu quoques, and wildly incorrect ad hominem assessments of my past. Talk about kneejerk.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    kneejerk rejections of the reasons people have offered for their beliefs.
    Again, this is nothing more than name-calling. Simply calling the rejections "kneejerk" does nothing to address the arguments I've made to point out why the reasons given fail to provide rational justification.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Unless and until you provide legitimate, powerful and persuasive support for your extraordinary claim, your op fails for lack of support.
    And unless you support your claim that it is extraordinary, this is a bare assertion with no effect on the OP, and your theistic beliefs remain without rational justification until you do.

    Sadly, it appears that the assessment at the end of my last post was quite accurate.

  6. #485
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Someone put it quite aptly: "If you can't show it, you don't know it".

    The general idea is that, since it's in our interests to believe things which are true, then belief in claims which have not been demonstrated to be true is not rationally justified.

    We operate on certain standards of evidence which have been demonstrably proven to be the most reliable method available to us currently when determining what is true or what to believe (to varying degrees of certainty, of course). Further, it has also been demonstrably proven that not applying or disregarding these standards leads to results which are incompatible with the truth.

    Using faith instead of these standards, is one such example of a method that provides results which are demonstrably incompatible with the truth.

    If our goal is to have as accurate an understanding of reality/truth as possible (by believing as many true things, and as few false things, as possible), then by definition we must apply the same proven standards to all claims when deciding what to believe in order for our belief/knowledge to be rationally justified.

    Disregarding those standards in order to believe something which does not meet them is nothing more than special pleading and intellectual dishonesty.
    Hi Future Boy,

    I have some time available, so I wanted to jump in here because your OP sparked my discussion bug. As usual, cheers to the ODN community... My apologies if I say something already repeated by others, as I do not have the time to read every post in this thread. Thanks for your OP, which is entitled:

    "Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified"


    Miriam Webster defines "rational" :

    1. a : having reason or understanding
    b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : reasonable, a rational explanation, rational behavior

    Miriam Webster defines "reasonable" as:

    1. a : being in accordance with reason, a reasonable theory
    b : not extreme or excessive, reasonable requests
    c : moderate, fair, a reasonable chance, a reasonable price

    2 a : having the faculty of reason
    b : possessing sound judgment a reasonable man

    My point with the dictionary quote, is that it is very hard to pin down exact thresholds of what is "reasonable and therefore rational". According to this definition proposed by Webster, reason is not an absolute and well defined bar. However, (with "wiggle room") it seems that if one does use their faculty of "understanding", which includes logic and thought, to come to a conclusion, then it is within the concept of "rational". It does seem that even rational things may be proved untrue and that some people or actions or beliefs may be more rational than others.

    My point is that your OP has not yet really defined anything; or compelled a universal standard upon us.

    Be that as it may, here are some comments anyway.

    There are many things and events in our lives that require us to decide. Sometimes we have the luxury of remaining undecided. However, I have noticed that life does not pander to our ignorance. Life goes on and we need to make decisions, regardless of how much information (or lack of needed information) there is.

    I will propose two general kinds of decisions.

    1. A decision which shows the person has disregarded or even assaulted sound logic and facts in favor of something opposed to those facts.

    2. A decision where the person lacks any definite proof one way or the other and must decide based on their best judgment.

    I also propose that #2 is what most people face all the time. Choices in the #1 variety are rare indeed; or at least we don't notice them as much as the #2 variety.

    Type #1 example:

    A man is told by a doctor that the pain he is feeling in his side is caused by his appendix. He needs an immediate operation to save his life. He asks a second and third opinion of other qualified doctors that day and has x-rays and other tests taken which all show the same conclusion.

    Instead of believing and acting upon this information, the person flips a coin to decide if he will undergo surgery or not. Unsatisfied with the first toss, he goes best two out of three. OR, he merely says that the doctors are probably out to get him (having no reason to believe so) and goes home without the surgery.

    Type #2 example: A person has some extra cash. He gets a phone call from his brother and then from his best friend, each asking to borrow $100. He feels he can only afford to lend to one, but not the other. He decides that since his brother called first, and since blood is thicker than water, he should help his brother and tell his friend that he is sorry but cannot help him now.

    Type #1 can be called irrational behavior.

    Type #2 is still rational, even if the person cannot verify that what they are doing is proven to be correct. In the end, they are deciding the best course of action with what they've got. You can't ask for more than that.

    Almost all decisions involving religion, morality, and belief, are usually framed in an environment where the person cannot absolutely prove everything. Yet, they are compelled to decide, or at least act. Those who make that decision with the best they have available to them, are certainly rational.

    Telling people that they cannot attempt to solve questions of belief, unless they have every proven fact before them, is itself irrational and more to the point, very unreasonable. Life just doesn't work that way.
    An idealist is willing to suffer for what they believe in.

    A fanatic is willing to make others suffer for what they believe in.

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  8. #486
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Almost all decisions involving religion, morality, and belief, are usually framed in an environment where the person cannot absolutely prove everything. Yet, they are compelled to decide, or at least act. Those who make that decision with the best they have available to them, are certainly rational.
    Hello again RabbiDak
    Glad to see you roaming around here @ ODN again!

    In general I would agree with you, but God is a different matter than general life decisions. Since a persons "eternal life" is at stake and most religions are mutually exclusive, choosing a particular religion when none stands out from the rest as truth, does not seem rational. One would think "God's word" would be fairly obvious and stand out from human words, at least to most people.

    After all, very few people argue that the sun or moon don't exist. Why should God's existence be more ambiguous, especially if He desires humans to act in certain ways???


    I believe you could be as sure about God as anything in your life, if God so chose. I see no reason He would not allow this (IOW, make it possible to know as well as you know anything).

  9. #487
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Hi Belthazor, nice to see you here too.

    Disclaimer: I feel it is a good idea just to say for the record that I do not try to convert people to Judaism. Its actually against my religion.

    1) Is there one religion that stands out from the rest, making it the rational choice?

    2) Even if there is, why would G-d "make it difficult" to be sure about His existence?

    So the answer to number one is: YES, its Judaism. (shocked? )

    Every religion on Earth past or present, ancient or modern, has what is called its "revelation narrative". This is the part of the religion that shows how the religion started, and how the founders knew they got a message from their "God". (God, the Creator, the force, multiple deities, the great ahm, an alien, a spiritual entity, angels, etc. ... I will just call that simply "God" for now.)

    Absolutely all religions on Earth, start about the same way. An individual, or small group of original followers have a revelation where "God" appears or communicates with them in private. Future recruits to the religion will have to accept the fact that the leader spoke to "God", on faith.

    The only exception to this pattern is Judaism. Specifically, the Law of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) is introduced to the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai. "G-d" Himself reveals his presence to all Israel (many thousands of men women and children including some foreigners) and speaks to them (the text of the 10 commandments). The original Israelites were not asked to take anything on "faith" when dealing with their G-d.

    In Judaism, we do not believe in G-d. Rather, we know G-d exists. Our faith challenge is if we "trust" Him. Faith in Judaism is not belief, but trust. In all other religions, first one must believe, then also trust.

    There is a famous set of verses in the Bible that shows just how much G-d wants to "stick His neck out" to show this point. Deuteronomy 4: 32-36:

    32 "For ask now regarding the early days that were before you, since the day that G-d created man upon the earth, and from one end of the heavens to the other end of the heavens, whether there was anything like this great thing, or was the likes of it heard?

    33 Did ever a people hear G-d's voice speaking out of the midst of the fire as you have heard, and live?

    34 Or has any god performed miracles to come and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, with trials, with signs, and with wonders, and with war and with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great awesome deeds, as all that the L-rd your G-d did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

    35 You have been shown, in order to know that the L-rd He is G-d; there is none else besides Him.

    36 From the heavens, He let you hear His voice to instruct you, and upon the earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire."

    The Bible here claims that there is not even a chance you will have "heard" another religion make the claim that a public revelation ever occurred with their god.

    So at this point, I am proposing that there is a religion that is very very different from every other one and stands out as credible in its revelation claim.

    So what about #2? Why would G-d make it hard to easily know He exists and what the true religion is?

    G-d is preserving free choice. In this world, if G-d were to make it super obvious that He is real and in your face, people would serve Him only out of fear. So this world has the opportunity for a person to search and discover G-d at a comfortable pace. If the person does find Him, he can truly serve out of free choice.

    I am interested to see your comments.
    Last edited by RabbiDak; August 7th, 2018 at 12:08 AM.
    An idealist is willing to suffer for what they believe in.

    A fanatic is willing to make others suffer for what they believe in.

  10. #488
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    My point is that your OP has not yet really defined anything; or compelled a universal standard upon us.
    The standards we utilize every day in all other things are pretty clear, and I've referred to them multiple times throughout the thread. If you have some theistic beliefs which you believe are rationally justified, please provide it, and we can discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I will propose two general kinds of decisions.
    1. A decision which shows the person has disregarded or even assaulted sound logic and facts in favor of something opposed to those facts.
    2. A decision where the person lacks any definite proof one way or the other and must decide based on their best judgment.

    ...

    Type #1 example:
    A man is told by a doctor that the pain he is feeling in his side is caused by his appendix. He needs an immediate operation to save his life. He asks a second and third opinion of other qualified doctors that day and has x-rays and other tests taken which all show the same conclusion.
    Instead of believing and acting upon this information, the person flips a coin to decide if he will undergo surgery or not. Unsatisfied with the first toss, he goes best two out of three. OR, he merely says that the doctors are probably out to get him (having no reason to believe so) and goes home without the surgery.

    Type #2 example: A person has some extra cash. He gets a phone call from his brother and then from his best friend, each asking to borrow $100. He feels he can only afford to lend to one, but not the other. He decides that since his brother called first, and since blood is thicker than water, he should help his brother and tell his friend that he is sorry but cannot help him now.

    Type #1 can be called irrational behavior.
    Type #2 is still rational, even if the person cannot verify that what they are doing is proven to be correct. In the end, they are deciding the best course of action with what they've got. You can't ask for more than that.
    While interesting, these types and your examples don't really map to the real world with real people, and especially don't map to religion. Rarely are the decisions we have to make in life as clear-cut being type 1 or 2 as you try to make them out to be, and there's a fluid spectrum in which we find ourselves whenever making any decisions. Of course, if we had to choose only one type, then #1 would not be it, but there are issues with your assessment and examples regardless.

    For one, your examples make it seem as though the choices are simply between one or another option - basically the false dichotomy fallacy. But with religion, we have countless "brothers" and "friends" asking for our money, and no way of identifying which are which. A more fitting example for #2 with religion would be if you had $100, and you received 1000 anonymous, unsigned letters asking you for money, only one of which being your true brother, but with no way of knowing which. Choosing one letter because it's the first one you opened, or because you like how it was written and the envelope it came in, and then claiming that it's the one from your true brother would definitely not be considered rational, would it?

    Further, there are elements of type #1 in most religious beliefs, as multiple claims made by religions are opposed to the facts, but are believed anyway. Add to that the fact that nearly all the claims lack sufficient evidence of any kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Almost all decisions involving religion, morality, and belief, are usually framed in an environment where the person cannot absolutely prove everything. Yet, they are compelled to decide, or at least act.
    In what way is anyone compelled to decide which religion to believe in, and on what basis do you just throw out rational skepticism which would prevent deciding on any one religion based on a lack of convincing evidence?

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Those who make that decision with the best they have available to them, are certainly rational.
    No, simply deciding with the best available evidence is not a reliable pathway to truth. I personally care about whether the things I believe are true, and I endeavour to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible. Theists unfortunately don't share these traits.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Telling people that they cannot attempt to solve questions of belief, unless they have every proven fact before them, is itself irrational and more to the point, very unreasonable. Life just doesn't work that way.
    And telling people that they must absolutely solve the question of belief and choose one religion over all others when there's no reason for it and throw out rational skepticism is even worse.

    ================================================

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Disclaimer: I feel it is a good idea just to say for the record that I do not try to convert people to Judaism. Its actually against my religion.
    Don't worry, as that's not what this thread is about. This thread is about your claim that you have rational justification for the beliefs which you hold.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    So the answer to number one is: YES, its Judaism. (shocked?)
    Not shocked at all, since nearly every religion makes this same claim in some form, either by outright claiming that all other religions are wrong, as you have done, or by claiming that all other religions are at their core the same and are under the one true religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Absolutely all religions on Earth, start about the same way. An individual, or small group of original followers have a revelation where "God" appears or communicates with them in private. Future recruits to the religion will have to accept the fact that the leader spoke to "God", on faith.

    The only exception to this pattern is Judaism. Specifically, the Law of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) is introduced to the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai. "G-d" Himself reveals his presence to all Israel (many thousands of men women and children including some foreigners) and speaks to them (the text of the 10 commandments). The original Israelites were not asked to take anything on "faith" when dealing with their G-d.
    You have not offered any concrete difference between Judaism and the "all religions on Earth" mentioned above. A small group of followers are claimed to have a revelation, and all future recruits have to accept that on faith. Judaism is no exception as you yourself just described. Further, the story of the exodus is not sufficiently supported by fact nor accepted by the majority of historians and archaeologists. So any claims that this story is true need to be supported by actual evidence. Do you have any?

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    In Judaism, we do not believe in G-d. Rather, we know G-d exists. Our faith challenge is if we "trust" Him. Faith in Judaism is not belief, but trust. In all other religions, first one must believe, then also trust.
    You have again failed to offer any concrete difference between Judaism and "all other religions". All you're doing here is claiming that your religion is not believing but knowing, which other religions claim just as readily.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    So at this point, I am proposing that there is a religion that is very very different from every other one and stands out as credible in its revelation claim.
    You have not supported this.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Why would G-d make it hard to easily know He exists and what the true religion is?
    G-d is preserving free choice. In this world, if G-d were to make it super obvious that He is real and in your face, people would serve Him only out of fear.
    There is just so much wrong with this reasoning. The "free choice" argument fails due to a number of issues, but mainly that it goes against your very own statement above:
    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    "G-d" Himself reveals his presence to all Israel (many thousands of men women and children including some foreigners) and speaks to them (the text of the 10 commandments).
    So the first Israelites served god only out of fear.

    In addition to that, there are also numerous characters which would absolutely know that god existed (assuming the claims are true), but are still able to express their free will and rebel against him.

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Hi Futureboy,

    I picked your OP text as what I was commenting on. It seemed to be a broad based statement. I responded accordingly. I do not want to be guilty of a straw man, but I do not have time to read the entire thread.

    Could you help me by:

    1) Stating a few basic ideas about the standards we use everyday that you have already made clear?

    2) OR simply direct me to a previous post # (or 2) you have written that you think would clear up things for me; so I can look at it myself?

    Thanks.

    It seemed to me that your OP is addressing the entire human condition and not just when to join a specific religion. That is why I say life has many many choices which will demand your attention and call upon your best efforts decision which will include a measure of "belief" no matter what.

    You claim my type 1 and 2 choice category is a false dichotomy? You even say that most decisions in life do not fit my types?

    OK, please provide, say, 3 different examples of a life choice which does not fall under my two types. I gave examples. Can you?

    Otherwise, you have me saying they do map to a real world with real people and you saying that it does not. We would be at an impasse.

    I did not say that picking a specific religion is always a compelling choice. I also did not reject or "throw out" healthy skepticism of anything. I merely said that there are a lot of life choices which fall under the category of "religious, moral, and belief based". I gave the example of the loan request as one such situation which requires someone to act under what they believe to be the best moral code they understand; without definite proof that they are right or wrong being available. I also claim that such a person is still "rational" for making said choice.

    If your OP is sticking to "Picking a specific religion on the current world menu is not rational", then I can switch gears. I already have opened a discussion about just that, due to my response to Belthazor (and I am happy if you both respond to it). Actually, you have responded to it.

    Before I respond further to our "Judaism vs. World religions" discussion, it is important to note that I do not subscribe to Cartesian proof.
    I suspect you also do not. I think as we go, we would need to define the threshold for belief. We may find that your threshold for belief requires more "evidence, proof" than my threshold. I will stay say that mine is rational. I will also say that having a threshold which is unreasonably high is counterproductive. I foresee that you and I will probably disagree and try to convince each other as to what truly constitutes a threshold for rational belief. Simply, what amount of doubt is acceptable to still trigger the threshold for rational belief in something?

    As to Judaism:

    I am bothered by your first comment. You said: "...either by outright claiming that all other religions are wrong, as you have done.."

    Where have I claimed in this discussion that all other religions are wrong? I don't think I did. The right or wrong of any religion or part of its system, is not relevant at this point.

    I am just starting to present a reason for rational belief in one, while still being skeptical of the others. That's all.

    I said that I agree with being skeptical of other religions because their revelation claim is always one in private. Its not that I know for a certainty they are false, simply because their revelation narrative is a private one. It is that since it is in private, it is not even subject to falsification at all on any level. Either you believe Joseph Smith found golden plates in the forest (Mormonism) or you don't.

    Coupled with the fact that competing religions (Islam, Dianetics, Christianity, Bhuddism, etc.) all without exception, rely on similar testimony, makes belief in any of them, a very questionable leap of faith. So even if I was inclined to believe that private testimony is enough to convince us of rational acceptance (which I do not), we would still need to explain why one is better than the other? IOW, Pascal's wager doesn't help if multiple religions threaten to send you to hell. So we agree here I think.

    I then showed that Judaism's revelation narrative claim is one of public revelation, as opposed to a private one.

    I did not yet show why that particular claim is completely compelling and free of all other holes or issues, YET. I admit that at this stage in discussion it is merely a claim. BUT, it is a type of claim that is radically different from any other religion in the history of mankind with no exception. It claims that millions of Israelites together in unison, heard their God speak to them with words and laws. It also claims those identifiable people lived and went on to perpetuate the event as history.

    I am surprised that you comment: "You have not offered any concrete difference between Judaism and the "all religions on Earth" mentioned above. A small group of followers are claimed to have a revelation, and all future recruits have to accept that on faith. Judaism is no exception as you yourself just described. Further, the story of the exodus is not sufficiently supported by fact nor accepted by the majority of historians and archaeologists. So any claims that this story is true need to be supported by actual evidence. Do you have any?"

    A) The text of the Bible for Judaism does not describe any small group of followers at all. It describes the entire population of people with tribal and family names who heard God in overwhelmingly convincing numbers of witnesses. Why did you compare the Jewish claim to any other by describing it as a "small group"?

    B) I acknowledge that the Exodus story, science, and archaeology, may play a further role in subjecting this claim to falsification. However, at this stage, if we cannot even agree that there is a fundamental initial difference between this type of claim and a private one, then we can already agree to disagree without spilling more cyber ink.

    I would ask that you accept my acknowledgement that of course there may be other problems that need addressing. Could you hold on to them until we have progressed there?

    Again, my claim is that in order to evaluate the religions of the world, the very first thing for a rational person to ask is how the initial inventors of this faith, claim to have their revelation of God (their TRUTH?)? If it is a private event, then it is not even worth considering. If it was a mere claim of a public event, then that mere claim by itself is enough. So, we should proceed to subject it to further question and investigation.

    Also, if we found that the human sociological condition (out of an estimated 165 religious families in history; containing thousands of religions and cults) has produced many (or even a handful) of competing religions that claim a public revelation story; then such a story would still confuse us, because why should we pick one over the other? IOW, surely any good religion PR man would benefit from concocting a lie/myth with lots of witnesses and public revelations?

    BUT, it seems that after exhaustively searching history, the Hebrew Bible is actually the only such claim. Therefore, we need only concern ourselves with believing it or not. We will never be faced with asking why a competing public claim isn't also right? That's because there is no competing public claim; only competing private claims. So, its either Judaism, or Agnosticism for the rational mind.

    The itching question does remain: Why has no other religion, (especially after seeing the great success of Judaism's popularity) ever created a myth of a public meeting with God, and having that large group survive to have progeny and a solid historical tradition of the event?

    As to the free choice issue:

    Yes, you are right. The events at the Sinai revelation contradict the idea that G-d would want to "hide" Himself so as to allow for a free environment. However, the Sinai event is an exception to the rule. This is because it must be. G-d did not wish to have a world where people have no reason at all to believe in Him. So, he had to offer a public revelation. But, such things are rare in history, because constant public revelations will erode free choice. Did the original revelation erode free choice and cause the recipients to be more afraid than purely choosing out of love or a completely settled mind? YES. Too bad, it had to be done so rational people would have a basis to investigate the truth at all! Without a revelation, no one would have any reason to rationally believe anything.

    As to rebels? YUP, the human psyche is capable of many things. But that is a deep discussion which I think will go off track?

    TY
    An idealist is willing to suffer for what they believe in.

    A fanatic is willing to make others suffer for what they believe in.

  12. #490
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    1) Stating a few basic ideas about the standards we use everyday that you have already made clear? 2) OR simply direct me to a previous post # (or 2) you have written that you think would clear up things for me; so I can look at it myself?
    Certain examples have been discussed, such as consistency and proportionality (post 31).

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    It seemed to me that your OP is addressing the entire human condition and not just when to join a specific religion. That is why I say life has many many choices which will demand your attention and call upon your best efforts decision which will include a measure of "belief" no matter what.
    This "demand your attention and call upon you" is the sticking point for me. I just don't see any justification for saying that a decision to believe any one religion is required in any way, which is why rational skepticism leads us to withholding belief in claims which have not met their burden of proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    You claim my type 1 and 2 choice category is a false dichotomy You even say that most decisions in life do not fit my types?
    My apologies if I didn't express myself clearly, but the false dichotomy issue isn't with the fact that you offered only two types, but instead about the examples you provided (flipping a coin, a choice between two people to lend money).

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I gave the example of the loan request as one such situation which requires someone to act under what they believe to be the best moral code they understand; without definite proof that they are right or wrong being available. I also claim that such a person is still "rational" for making said choice.
    And I discussed why the example fails. Further, your statement that they are "without definite proof" is not true, since they have the proof that the brother called first, and that the brother is his blood relative. If these are the standards which are in play when making the decision, then you cannot say that no proof is available when making it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I think as we go, we would need to define the threshold for belief. We may find that your threshold for belief requires more "evidence, proof" than my threshold.
    There is no absolute threshold. The threshold would depend on the claim. This is the principle of proportionality.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I will stay say that mine is rational.
    I understand that. I'm interested in why you think it is rational, and what the rational justification is.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I will also say that having a threshold which is unreasonably high is counterproductive.
    Nor do I advocate for an unreasonably high threshold.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I am bothered by your first comment. You said: "...either by outright claiming that all other religions are wrong, as you have done.."
    Where have I claimed in this discussion that all other religions are wrong? I don't think I did.
    You asked the question:
    Is there one religion that stands out from the rest, making it the rational choice?
    And answered it with:
    So the answer to number one is: YES, its Judaism. (shocked?)

    This is an explicit claim that Judaism is the one rational choice, and an implicit claim that all other religions are not rational choices (they are wrong).

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    The right or wrong of any religion or part of its system, is not relevant at this point.
    It's relevant in that literally all religions make the same claim as you do in one way or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I am just starting to present a reason for rational belief in one, while still being skeptical of the others. That's all.
    And the reasons you present are just as readily employed against yours by the others, with just as much claim to validity.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I said that I agree with being skeptical of other religions because their revelation claim is always one in private. Its not that I know for a certainty they are false, simply because their revelation narrative is a private one. It is that since it is in private, it is not even subject to falsification at all on any level. Either you believe Joseph Smith found golden plates in the forest (Mormonism) or you don't.
    This is little more than an appeal to popularity. Further, you have no evidence that the revelation occurred as you describe it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I then showed that Judaism's revelation narrative claim is one of public revelation, as opposed to a private one.
    Which is irrelevant and you have no evidence for. Please provide the rational justification for why you believe the claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    It claims that millions of Israelites together in unison, heard their God speak to them with words and laws.
    Yes, god violated their free will in order to have them believe in him out of fear.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    A) The text of the Bible for Judaism does not describe any small group of followers at all. It describes the entire population of people with tribal and family names who heard God in overwhelmingly convincing numbers of witnesses. Why did you compare the Jewish claim to any other by describing it as a "small group"?
    The size of the is irrelevant, especially considering the claim is unsupported. What you describe when criticizing all other religions is that there was a direct revelation, and then all future recruits have to accept the claims on faith. This is no different than Judaism. Therefore you have not offered any concrete difference, and appear to have selected some arbitrary and irrelevant aspect of your claim as support for it.
    Further, if numbers are in any way of import (they're not), then we need only look to current statistics to see which one is the best. Or we could alternatively look at which religion has grown the most recently to see which is the best. Or even better, if the number of people affected is the criteria (it's not), then the religion which started with only a single recipient of the word but has managed to amass a large following is surely the most powerful & compelling.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    However, at this stage, if we cannot even agree that there is a fundamental initial difference between this type of claim and a private one
    There is no difference of rational importance.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Again, my claim is that in order to evaluate the religions of the world, the very first thing for a rational person to ask is how the initial inventors of this faith, claim to have their revelation of God (their TRUTH?)?
    And I reject your claim. The first thing for a rational person to ask is what evidence there is for the claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    If it is a private event, then it is not even worth considering. If it was a mere claim of a public event, then that mere claim by itself is enough.
    No, it's not enough. If it was, then why aren't you a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, who even just recently had millions of followers, many of whom will claim to have witnessed his miracles? He had a birthday once, and a more than million people attended. Surely, this is a great and compelling faith!

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Also, if we found that the human sociological condition (out of an estimated 165 religious families in history; containing thousands of religions and cults) has produced many (or even a handful) of competing religions that claim a public revelation story; then such a story would still confuse us, because why should we pick one over the other? IOW, surely any good religion PR man would benefit from concocting a lie/myth with lots of witnesses and public revelations?
    None of this constitutes actual evidence, and is not rational justification for believing in any claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    The itching question does remain: Why has no other religion, (especially after seeing the great success of Judaism's popularity) ever created a myth of a public meeting with God, and having that large group survive to have progeny and a solid historical tradition of the event?
    Again, it's irrelevant, and does not serve as evidence for the claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Yes, you are right. The events at the Sinai revelation contradict the idea that G-d would want to "hide" Himself so as to allow for a free environment. However, the Sinai event is an exception to the rule. This is because it must be.
    Oh, well then, that settles it! How could I be so ignorant? Magic exception to the rescue!

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    G-d did not wish to have a world where people have no reason at all to believe in Him. So, he had to offer a public revelation.
    One can just as easily say that a god who does not need to rely on a mass revelation, but can convince millions to believe in him based on simple beginnings, is of course the one true deity.
    Or what about the mass-experienced miracle of the eucharist, attested to by millions every time it is done?

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    But, such things are rare in history, because constant public revelations will erode free choice.
    Yes, they are indeed rare. In fact, we have not one single confirmed instance of one happening. Further, you have no support for the claim that it will erode free choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Did the original revelation erode free choice and cause the recipients to be more afraid than purely choosing out of love or a completely settled mind? YES. Too bad, it had to be done so rational people would have a basis to investigate the truth at all! Without a revelation, no one would have any reason to rationally believe anything.
    Again, nothing about mass hallucinations indicates that any claims associated with it are true.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    As to rebels? YUP, the human psyche is capable of many things.
    Yes, the human psyche is capable of rebelling against a deity of which they have received a direct revelation. This refutes the free will argument.

  13. #491
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Disclaimer: I feel it is a good idea just to say for the record that I do not try to convert people to Judaism. Its actually against my religion.
    I appreciate that sir

    I am very interested in your opinion on this subject. You personally have come up in a long running PM Squatch and I are having about religion. You both are quite sure of your positions and since I see Judaism and Christianity as mutually exclusive, I am genuinely interested both your thoughts.

    I learned a few things about Judaism last time we talked, I suspect I will learn more this time around

    ---------- Post added at 06:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:41 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Every religion on Earth past or present, ancient or modern, has what is called its "revelation narrative". This is the part of the religion that shows how the religion started, and how the founders knew they got a message from their "God". (God, the Creator, the force, multiple deities, the great ahm, an alien, a spiritual entity, angels, etc. ... I will just call that simply "God" for now.)
    Exactly. All start with people telling a story basically. Whether just one person or many people, they were personally selected by God to hear his message and relate it to others.
    This in itself is odd. God created all humans equal, yet only just one/few get to actually "speak" with God's about His message for ALL humanity.

    Were God to tell the story Himself would clear up tons of confusion. Obviously most, if not all religions are just made up by man.

    ---------- Post added at 06:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:00 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    The only exception to this pattern is Judaism. Specifically, the Law of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) is introduced to the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai. "G-d" Himself reveals his presence to all Israel (many thousands of men women and children including some foreigners) and speaks to them (the text of the 10 commandments). The original Israelites were not asked to take anything on "faith" when dealing with their G-d.
    1. Why does any one need to take anything on "faith" when dealing with their G-d."? What purpose could this serve?

    2. So was ALL off Israel devoid of free will at this point? If so, did they ever get attain free will again?
    Why not let ALL humans in on the "conversation" at this point?

    3. I don't understand the "free will argument" at all, no matter which religion professes it.
    How can a person even make a free will choice if he doesn't know what the choices are??
    God allowing Himself to be known violates no ones free will that I can think of. It would not "make" people fallow for instance.
    To allow for the truth to be known violates no ones free will, people are still free to believe or act however they wish???

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Again, my claim is that in order to evaluate the religions of the world, the very first thing for a rational person to ask is how the initial inventors of this faith, claim to have their revelation of God (their TRUTH?)? If it is a private event, then it is not even worth considering. If it was a mere claim of a public event, then that mere claim by itself is enough. So, we should proceed to subject it to further question and investigation.
    Yes interesting, the "initial inventors" seems very appropriate terminology in most if not all cases of religion.

    Have you considered that even in your scenario it is still VERY incredibly "private" in that almost ALL of humanity is excluded??
    It is still just a select "few" humans (even if there were millions of people/Israelites that were allowed to "see/hear/know", this is an incredibly small group of people compared to all of humanity, And just in a very small geographic area).

  14. #492
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Continued for : Futureboy

    I find your description in post 31 and your idea of “consistency and proportionality” to be abstract and vague.

    Do you mean, at least in part, that you subscribe to “Extraordinary beliefs require extraordinary proof.”?

    I do not subscribe to that. One reason I do not is because it is almost always guilty of “moving the goalposts” fallacy. Also, once something is evidence for a “natural event, I see no compelling reason that such evidence is not also good enough for a “supernatural or rare” event. It is not the event discovered, but rather the evidence, which contributes to rational belief. So when you say below, that the “threshold depends on the claim” I disagree. Since I am consistent, and you are the one proposing that the strength of evidence needed, changes with the claim; the burden of proof seems to be upon you to prove why that is so. I just continue applying the same level of required evidence against any claim. That seems most rational. Why change it?

    For instance, if a crowd of people saw a traffic accident, then their testimony is evidence. If I believe their report, then next week, when the same group of witnesses says they all saw a man rise from the dead; I will also believe them in the same fashion. I will not require “additional evidence” to confirm their testimony.

    If you do require such, I would like to hear why you hold that way?

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

    (In my example of the lending of money, I compared a brother (who called first) to a best friend. I did not claim the brother, or calling first, were “standards”. I didn’t say there was no proof. I presented a dilemma. There is no certain proof one way or another. Its up to your reasonable decision.)

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

    OK, what is the definition of “evidence” according to you? You have responded to me a few times pointing out that “I have no support or evidence etc.”
    So please define your terms. What do you mean by no support and evidence?
    I understand the rest and am waiting to hear what you mean by definition of evidence before responding further, since my response depends on it.
    An idealist is willing to suffer for what they believe in.

    A fanatic is willing to make others suffer for what they believe in.

  15. #493
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    Do you mean, at least in part, that you subscribe to “Extraordinary beliefs require extraordinary proof.”?

    I do not subscribe to that. One reason I do not is because it is almost always guilty of “moving the goalposts” fallacy. Also, once something is evidence for a “natural event, I see no compelling reason that such evidence is not also good enough for a “supernatural or rare” event. It is not the event discovered, but rather the evidence, which contributes to rational belief. So when you say below, that the “threshold depends on the claim” I disagree. Since I am consistent, and you are the one proposing that the strength of evidence needed, changes with the claim; the burden of proof seems to be upon you to prove why that is so. I just continue applying the same level of required evidence against any claim. That seems most rational. Why change it?

    For instance, if a crowd of people saw a traffic accident, then their testimony is evidence. If I believe their report, then next week, when the same group of witnesses says they all saw a man rise from the dead; I will also believe them in the same fashion. I will not require “additional evidence” to confirm their testimony.

    If you do require such, I would like to hear why you hold that way?
    Question: If I told you that yesterday my pet dog learned a new trick, would you believe me? Why or why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I did not claim the brother, or calling first, were “standards”.
    Your language explicitly stated the standards, the proof, and the reasoning behind why he should choose one instead of the other:
    "He decides that since his brother called first, and since blood is thicker than water, he should help his brother"

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I didn’t say there was no proof.
    You said no definite proof is available. This is false, as explained above. Whether it is "definite", whatever that means, is irrelevant. There were facts/information available to him which were used to justify a course of action. Hence no dilemma.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    I presented a dilemma. There is no certain proof one way or another.
    And I explained why this is false.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbiDak View Post
    OK, what is the definition of “evidence” according to you? You have responded to me a few times pointing out that “I have no support or evidence etc.”
    So please define your terms. What do you mean by no support and evidence?
    I understand the rest and am waiting to hear what you mean by definition of evidence before responding further, since my response depends on it.
    While a single definition is available ("the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid") it doesn't clearly explain the issue with the evidence for supernatural claims, since we (at least most people - you appear to be an outlier) generally adhere to certain principles/standards which would affect the nature of evidence sufficient for a claim.
    Let's put a pin in this, for now, until we get clarity on the above.

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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    I see no reason to do that.
    Why not? You defined them as "fantastic" as a reason to reject them as explanations. How is that not an appeal to your emotional reaction to the claim? Or, at least, an appeal to our own biases? If I were to tell the people in Plato's Cave parable that the shadows were just mock images of reality they would call it fantastic as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    HUH? You said a person with no knowledge of Gov't! By reading/learning before making a proper decision you have rendered your point to irrelevance.
    I didn't quite say that, I said "But even if I approached someone who knew virtually nothing about the IRS. Someone who was blissfully unaware of federal income taxes, agencies, etc. That person could still reasonably answer the question, "Does the government have the power to levy an income tax?"

    It fits our analogy a bit better as well. Neither of us is arguing that we have no knowledge of physical laws, just incomplete knowledge of physical laws. Likewise, our hypothetical person has incomplete knowledge of federal government structure and the tax code. Even though they lack insight into federal budgeting, and IRS structure, they can answer a basic question about if the government has the ability to levy an income tax.

    Likewise, even if we don't have a full understanding of the nature of dark matter or quantum gravity, we can answer basic questions not affected by those gaps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    My point was/is, one is obvious, the other is not at all.
    This is shifting the objection though. Your original objection as that we couldn't rule out chance because we didn't understand the full mechanics. That arguement still applies to the 787 analogy, obvious or not. (The fact that it is so obvious is a feature of my response, not a bug. The obviousness is why it is an argument ad absurdum). When we apply your reasoning to something that is obviously designed and built by humans it falls apart. Thus the underlying objection is clearly flawed.

    To escape the conclusion of your argument, you are forced to shift it to a subjective criteria of "obviousness." Which perhaps works, emotionally, for us, but certainy not for someone from the middle Amazon, who has never encountered complex machinery or aircraft.

    Both that person and us, are still confronted with a simple reality. None of us know how a 787 is built. That fact isn't material to whether its probability of being assembled by chance is statistically concievable or not.

    [And just to put it into perspective, the odds of a 787 being assembled by a tornado are about 1(followed by more zeros than sand grains on this planet<-Not hyperbole) times more likely than the observed fine tuning.]


    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    Um, no.
    My point was/is, one is obvious, the other is not at all.
    But something beign "obvious" is not a rational reason to object to a claim. Something being "obvious" is an appeal to our own predispositions and biases, not rational argument.

    Your original rebuttal was that we can't really address the three options in teh fine tuning argument (chance, necessity, design) at all because we can't detail the entirety of the laws of physics.

    In form, that is identical to the example I offered. If I encounter a 787 in a junkyard

    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    To support the universe was indeed "fine tuned" you would have to show intent ie a consciousness that purposefully did this.
    In what sense? When physicists use the term (https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.02533, https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.08643, https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.00180, https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.02755) they aren't invoking intent or conciousness at all. I recognize this has been a stumbling block for a lot of people in the thread, but that is because we are invoking common parlance for a scientific term.

    It would be like asking me to defend SCOTUS' use of the word "person" for corporations, but insisting that I use the common usage of the term rather than the legal use of the term. Or to argue about if a person medically died when their heart stopped at 10:02 or when the doctor declared them dead at 11:30. Or any one of a thousand other examples where everyday use of a term doesn't fit the precise term used in a professional field.

    The premise is a technical usage of the term, thus we have to stick to the technical meaning, not the popular usage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    Unless humans travel faster than light safely, almost all of the universe is out of our reach (assuming humans won't survive for billions of years). That and the fact that most of the universe is deadly to humans leads me to believe it wasn't "made just for us".
    Nor can we survive in 98% of the oceans. Or anywhere on the moon. But without either human life wouldn't be possible. Again, this goes back to the confusion between optimal or perfect for life and life permitting. No one has argued that God's sole intent was to maximize the livable space humans can occupy, so I don't see how that is an objection.

    Nor does it, even in that context, address the argument at hand. The argument at hand isn't about intent or something being "made just for us."

    Rather, it is a technical question. There are three possible explanations for a physical phenomenon at question within the realm of physics; physical necessity, chance, design.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    To the latter:
    1) God needs no cause.
    2) God IS an actual infinity.
    3) God need fallow no natural law.
    4) God is conscious but has no physical presence and is timeless etc (how could such a being even be said to exist?).
    5) God need not have existed in another universe prior (or even now) to creating this one.
    1) But I haven't argued that everything needs a cause. Things that begin to exist require a cause. If, for example, the universe were an eternal, steady state universe with no beginning, just a brute fact as it were, it wouldn't require a cause. To use a more mundane example, if a ball is sitting at rest on a table at min=1 and at min=2, I don't require a cause at min 2 because there isn't a change to explain. Causes are required when there are state changes or effects to explain.

    2) It's been a long thread and lots of participants, but I don't recall having made this argument. Future brought in that question as a red herring, but I don't recall it being part of my argument at all.

    3) I also don't necessarily remember making this argument. Can you ad some context? Conceptually, why would God be bound by the physical laws of the universe? Tolkein isn't bound by the laws of Middle Earth.

    4) That isn't a rule I've propsed and then exempted God from, right? That is your objection, which I rebutted earlier.

    5) I also never proposed any rule that all things exist within some kind of spatial-temporal universe that God was exempt from. I said our universe was a spatial-temporal one. Why would that be an inconsistency?


    Quote Originally Posted by Bel
    You change my words all the time but usually fail to show a significant difference. I would rather focus on my ideas than semantics, though I appreciate your thoroughness...

    We define time as only applying to our universe.
    Correct?
    Sorry, I don't mean any offense by changing the words (and I'm aware it might come off cocky or condescending sorry). You asked me if it was a fair rephrasing of what I was arguing and I thought it had some gaps from what I was trying to convey. In this case, I wanted to change the last statement just to prevent any confusion about the implication that an event happened "earlier" than t=0. It has been a confusion that has come up in the past.

    To anwer your question. Yes, with a big, hairy caveat. If, when we say "our universe" we are using the definition I offered future in post 307, “the entirety of a connected spacetime manifold” rather than a more generic understanding of the universe.


    Quote Originally Posted by future
    I understand that you brought up the arguments in response to Frank’s challenge, but the arguments don’t support even “a broad theistic belief”. KCA supports that the universe had some unknown & unknowable cause, and Fine Tuning supports that the universe was designed by some unknown & unknowable thing to create black holes.
    I get that you are saying these because you've run into a limit in your ability to respond to the arguments presented, but neither argument had those conclusions.

    Rather, you disengaged from both arguments by changing the subject. I'd be happy to engage you on any of the premises, or on the structure, but to do so, you would need to present a coherent challenge to those premises or an analysis of the arguments' structure. Until you do so, this remains posturing.

    Quote Originally Posted by future
    Now I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that a key factor in having a belief is how one came to it it, and whether that process was rationally justified.
    How did you come to believe in gravity?

    Quote Originally Posted by future
    Then why not present those reasons as your rational justification for believing in the Xtian deity?
    Who says I'm not? You are asking for me to present evidence to eliminate other forms of theism which seems like an entirely different argument, but one we can get to later. Since it is a build-on the argument we are currently discussing, we have to resolve that before moving on. Its similar to teaching physics, I have to get you to understand gravity and matter before I can introduce special and general relativity.

    Quote Originally Posted by future
    So the initial reasons for how you cam to belief were not rational, and your initial belief was not rationally justified?
    Wait, what? Where did I say anything like that? I said my initial coming to faith was not based on these arguments, not that it was irrational.

    Quote Originally Posted by future
    This sounds fine. Now can you show they think this was because of intent and not just saying the parameters for our universe to exist in it's current form are very limited?
    That is premise 2. If we agree on premise 1, I can offer that support, but it makes little sense to move on before we establish the foundation of the argument.

    Can we agree that the fine tuning described by physicists in the papers referenced can be explained by either: chance, necessity, or design?



    You also didn't engage the discussion of infinities. Did the text help to clarify the two different types of infinites and how a potential infinite (the kind you were referring to when you reference "counting to") never actually gets to infinity?

    1 and 2 deal with two distinct forms of infinites. 1 addresses a potential infinity which isn't so much an infinite set, but a direction. As the link describes, "Potential infinity refers to a procedure that gets closer and closer to, but never quite reaches, an infinite end. For instance, the sequence of numbers 1, 2, 3, 4,... gets higher and higher, but it has no end; it never gets to infinity. Infinity is just an indication of a direction -- it's "somewhere off in the distance."" When you describe "counting an infinite number of times" you are (more or less) referencing a limit function, which gets infinitely close to a value, but never quite gets there.

    2 deals with an actual (sometimes called completed) infinity. IE a set of things that has an infinite number of members. These do not involve a process, like potential infinites, but rather rely on a definitional set to contain infinite members.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I get that you are saying these because you've run into a limit in your ability to respond to the arguments presented
    It would be best if you simply addressed the issues I pointed out rather than making petty ad hominems.
    Bottom line: None of the arguments you've presented necessarily support the specific Xtian theistic claims which you believe. Whether you think I am able to respond to the arguments presented is irrelevant. Even if we granted the conclusions of each of your arguments (which we don't, since they all fail due to lack of support for their premises), all we'd be left with is that A) the universe has a cause, B) the universe appears finely-tuned for the creation of black holes, and C) morality is objective and must come from some authority. Nonce of these conclusions necessarily support Xtian theistic claims. Without direct support for your Xtian theistic beliefs, they remain unjustified.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    neither argument had those conclusions.
    If you want to present arguments in support of Xtian theism, then by all means, do so. Otherwise, arguments which don't necessarily lead to a conclusion which exclusively support Xtian theism will be disregarded.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Rather, you disengaged from both arguments by changing the subject.
    The subject has been quite clear from the beginning. Either present & defend the rational justification for your specific theistic beliefs, or they remain unjustified.

    I didn't "disengage" from KCA by "changing the subject", I explained why it doesn't even get past P1 as pointed out in post #313 (1. "outside our physical/temporal dimensions" is not a coherent concept and 2. changes in existing matter/energy in an existing universe fail as examples in support of P1 of KCA). Your response failed to address #2, and only asked the question of why #1 is not a coherent concept. I'm not surprised that you would try to frame it that way, but it doesn't change the facts.

    Bottom line: KCA fails at P1 because we have no examples of things actually beginning to exist (we have no examples which cannot be expressed as changes in existing matter in an existing universe), and because "existence" is by definition tied to our observable physical/temporal dimensions.
    For FT, I am not disengaging from the argument, but simply pointing out the inherent claim you are making but not supporting, which is that the universe was finely-tuned for the creation of human life on earth. If you choose to take my "pointing out why an argument fails to support a conclusion", and instead call it "disengaging from the argument", that's fine by me, but it in no way addresses the issue I've pointed out with using such an argument as support for Xtian theistic beliefs. If you refuse to respond to the issues which have been pointed out, then the arguments you've presented do not serve as rational justification for belief in Xtian theisic claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'd be happy to engage you on any of the premises, or on the structure
    Engaging in a discussion of the premises or structure of arguments which do not necessarily support any specific theistic belief, let alone your specific theistic belief, would be irrelevant to the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    How did you come to believe in gravity?
    It would depend of what you mean by "gravity". If you mean the force of attraction observed when objects tend to fall towards the earth, then the method of learning this would be the observed phenomena of objects tending to fall towards the earth. If you're referring to the theory of gravity, then this requires further investigation, since the detailed theory of gravity includes proportional calculations of mass and distance. In any case, the claims regarding gravity have met their burden of proof and are quite easily demonstrable, and do not require ambiguous, nebulous, or fallacious arguments as support.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Who says I'm not?
    You say you're not.

    After you presented the KCA, FT, Moral arguments, I asked you if these were the arguments which convinced you to believe in the first place, to which you answered that, No, "they were not". Therefore, with these arguments, you aren't presenting the arguments which convinced you in the first place, according to your own admission. So I again point out that you are not presenting the original arguments which originally convinced you to believe, and you already agreed that this is the case. The question remains: why not present the arguments which convinced you in the first place? What's wrong with those? Do you think that a Xtian theist, who continues to believe based on similar arguments as those which convinced you in the first place, and who hasn't reached the same position as you of basing their Xtian beliefs on these new arguments, is less rationally justified in their belief than you are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You are asking for me to present evidence to eliminate other forms of theism which seems like an entirely different argument, but one we can get to later.
    No, it isn't an entirely different argument. For an argument to support your specific Xtian theism, it must necessarily exclude other theistic claims/beliefs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Since it is a build-on the argument we are currently discussing, we have to resolve that before moving on.
    Again, if you want to present arguments in support of Xtian theism, then by all means, do so. "Build-on arguments" which do not necessarily lead to a conclusion which exclusively supports Xtian theism will be disregarded.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Its similar to teaching physics, I have to get you to understand gravity and matter before I can introduce special and general relativity.
    Nobody's teaching anyone here. You're either presenting rational justification for your specific theistic beliefs, or you're not. So far, you're not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Wait, what? Where did I say anything like that? I said my initial coming to faith was not based on these arguments, not that it was irrational.
    Your statement was: "this thread isn't about how I came to belief, it is about whether theistic belief is rational"
    This is a statement expressing the incompatibility of the two areas (1. how one comes to a belief, and 2. whether a belief is rational).

    So, are you claiming that the arguments which led you to believe in the first place are rational? If so, then the question remains: Why not present them here? By not presenting them here, does that mean you think they aren't such strong rational justification as compared to the arguments you have presented (KCA, FT, Moral)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That is premise 2. If we agree on premise 1, I can offer that support, but it makes little sense to move on before we establish the foundation of the argument.
    FYI, You quoted Belthazor as me. I did not say "this sounds fine" to any of your arguments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Can we agree that the fine tuning described by physicists in the papers referenced can be explained by either: chance, necessity, or design?
    No, since one of the options you've offered ("design") has the unsupported premises of: 1. designed for what? and 2. "design" implies a designer. The "design" option is basically begging the question. For FT to serve as rational justification for any kind of theism, you'd first have to support that human life on earth was the intention behind the design. And even then you'd be SOL with supporting Xtian theism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You also didn't engage the discussion of infinities. Did the text help to clarify the two different types of infinites and how a potential infinite (the kind you were referring to when you reference "counting to") never actually gets to infinity?
    Your response did not address my post #426. Here it is again with clarification:
    1. You can count to infinity if you count an infinite number of times.
    - The absurdity of any claims which combine verbs like "get", or any other iterative process, with the concept of infinity (your post #422).

    2. Wouldn't a deity that exists outside of space & time be infinite?
    - The special-pleading of claiming that the universe cannot be infinite, but a deity can.

 

 
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