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  1. #1
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    Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Using faith instead of these standards, is one such example of a method that provides results which are demonstrably incompatible with the truth.
    Can you define what you mean by the term "faith"?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    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).
    Which standards of evidence are you speaking of?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Can you define what you mean by the term "faith"?
    Belief in something without evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Which standards of evidence are you speaking of?
    There are quite a lot, but for the most part, they're the same kind of standards all of us use every day in every other (non-faithful) endeavour we undertake when we need to be sure about something.

  4. #4
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Belief in something without evidence.
    One way to work today, I was at a stoplight with a red car in front of me. I believe that there was a red car in front of me and yet I have no evidence that it was there. So my belief that there was a red car at the stoplight technically qualifies as "faith", right? But is it irrational for me to have faith that there was a red car?

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

    This isn't really a response, I'm simply pointing out the incompatibility of your statements.

    Statement 1:
    There was a red car in front of me.

    Statement 2:
    I believe that there was a red car in front of me but I have no evidence.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    This isn't really a response, I'm simply pointing out the incompatibility of your statements.

    Statement 1:
    There was a red car in front of me.

    Statement 2:
    I believe that there was a red car in front of me but I have no evidence.
    How are those statements incompatible?

    Are you saying that because there really was a red car in front of me, my belief that there was a red car isn't actually a belief? One can only "believe" things that aren't true?

  7. #7
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    How are those statements incompatible?
    You're the one saying that there was a red car, and you are making a statement of fact. On what basis do you make that statement, and why should I believe you that there really was a red car there, especially if you say that you don't have any evidence that there was?
    Either there really was a red car there, and its presence there provided you with the necessary evidence to be able to say that it was there, in which case your statement that you believe it was there without evidence is nonsense. Or, conversely, there really wasn't a red car there, and you simply started to believe there was one out of the blue and without evidence, in which case your statement that there was a red car there is nonsense. Hence the two statements made together are incompatible.

    ---------- Post added at 03:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:57 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Can you define what you mean by the term "faith"?
    I answered too quickly. The full definition - it really goes without saying - should be expressed as "belief in something without sufficient evidence".
    Some other definitions would work as well, since they encompass the same general idea:
    - "strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof"
    - "firm belief in something for which there is no proof"
    - "belief that is not based on proof"
    - "strong or unshakable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence"

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

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    You're the one saying that there was a red car, and you are making a statement of fact. On what basis do you make that statement, and why should I believe you that there really was a red car there, especially if you say that you don't have any evidence that there was?
    Either there really was a red car there, and its presence there provided you with the necessary evidence to be able to say that it was there, in which case your statement that you believe it was there without evidence is nonsense.
    Okay. Here's the miscommunication (and this is what I was trying to iron out). I consider "evidence" to be something that one can show someone else. If I had taken a picture of the car, THEN I would have evidence that the car was there. Since I didn't take a picture, all I have to rely on for thinking the car was there is my memory. I don't consider that to be evidence even if the car was actually there.

    So I think you need to provide a definition of "evidence".

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Okay. Here's the miscommunication (and this is what I was trying to iron out). I consider "evidence" to be something that one can show someone else. If I had taken a picture of the car, THEN I would have evidence that the car was there. Since I didn't take a picture, all I have to rely on for thinking the car was there is my memory. I don't consider that to be evidence even if the car was actually there.
    In your original post, I'm not the one who believes the car was there, you are, so the evidence is for you, not me. If you say you saw a car, then that's what you should say, and that's your evidence for your belief that there was a car there. Hence you saying you don't have evidence for your belief being incompatible with you saying that there was a car.
    For me to then believe you that there was a car there, the evidence is that you say you saw a car. There isn't a sufficient reason for me to question your claim that you saw a car, since the claim is somewhat mundane, and I have no reason to think you'd lie about it.

    But again, if all you say is that you simply believe there was a car and have no evidence for your belief, then this is incompatible with your making the statement that there was a car.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    In your original post, I'm not the one who believes the car was there, you are, so the evidence is for you, not me. If you say you saw a car, then that's what you should say, and that's your evidence for your belief that there was a car there.
    And I assume you agree that my belief that the car was there is rational and evidence-based, right?

    The fact that I have no external evidence (something that I can show you) makes no difference in whether my belief in the car being there is rational and evidence-based, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    There isn't a sufficient reason for me to question your claim that you saw a car, since the claim is somewhat mundane, and I have no reason to think you'd lie about it.
    But assuming that the car was actually there and I actually saw it, whether you question my claim or think I'm lying has no bearing on whether my belief that the car was there is rational or not If the car was there and I actually saw it, then my belief in the car being there is rational no matter what anyone thinks about it.

    If there was an elephant in the road and I saw it, you probably would not believe me when I say I saw it, but if it really was there, then my belief that it was there is a rational belief nonetheless.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    But again, if all you say is that you simply believe there was a car and have no evidence for your belief, then this is incompatible with your making the statement that there was a car.
    Only by your unusual definition of certain words. Again, "evidence" does typically mean something that one can show someone else. But I don't care to bog things down in a semantic debate. If you want to define "evidence" to include memories of events, I'll go along for the sake of debate.

  11. #11
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    The fact that I have no external evidence (something that I can show you)
    But you do. You're showing me a person who believes that they saw a car. This is actual and sufficient evidence for me to believe that there was a car. Really, Mican, this isn't rocket science. I'm sure you have conversations with people regularly where they make statements which you believe solely on the evidence that they themselves believe the statement. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned the kind of standards we all use every day.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Only by your unusual definition of certain words. Again, "evidence" does typically mean something that one can show someone else. But I don't care to bog things down in a semantic debate. If you want to define "evidence" to include memories of events, I'll go along for the sake of debate.
    Evidence can be defined as: "the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid".
    By not making incompatible statements and providing available facts such as you seeing a car, you are providing sufficient evidence that there was a car. There's nothing unusual about it. In fact, your restriction of "something that one can show someone else" is what's bizarre here. Again, everyday standards, dude.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    But you do. You're showing me a person who believes that they saw a car. This is actual and sufficient evidence for me to believe that there was a car. Really, Mican, this isn't rocket science. I'm sure you have conversations with people regularly where they make statements which you believe solely on the evidence that they themselves believe the statement. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned the kind of standards we all use every day.
    So if someone believes they talked to God and tells me that they talked to God, then they've presented evidence that they've talked to God. And let's say for the sake of argument, that I'm a theist (so I think such a thing can happen) and the person who tells me is someone I generally trust.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So if someone believes they talked to God and tells me that they talked to God, then they've presented evidence that they've talked to God. And let's say for the sake of argument, that I'm a theist (so I think such a thing can happen) and the person who tells me is someone I generally trust.
    Again, everyday standards, dude. One of those is that the evidence be proportional to the claim. Otherwise, we'd be believing all sorts of contradictory claims (assuming we have the intellectual honesty to apply the standards consistently). Really, it's not rocket science.

    Further, this is quite irrelevant to the OP, which is about an individual person's belief, not about believing what someone tells you. So while your example has been interesting as a demonstration of how not to apply rational standards consistently, we're going to move on from it now.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Again, everyday standards, dude. One of those is that the evidence be proportional to the claim.
    Whether the evidence is proportional to the claim is irrelevant to whether the evidence is evidence.

    Sure, you can question the evidence if you find the claim unbelievable but you can't say that evidence was not given and therefore the belief is not evidence-based.


    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Further, this is quite irrelevant to the OP, which is about an individual person's belief, not about believing what someone tells you. So while your example has been interesting as a demonstration of how not to apply rational standards consistently, we're going to move on from it now.
    Actually, you are the one who introduce what others think into the equation ("There isn't a sufficient reason for me to question your claim that you saw a car, since the claim is somewhat mundane, and I have no reason to think you'd lie about it."). So let's go back to the red car with me being the only subject.

    If I believe that the car was there because I have a memory of seeing the car, then I have enough evidence to be rationally convinced that the car was there, right? What I can or cannot show others is irrelevant to whether my belief is rational, right?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Whether the evidence is proportional to the claim is irrelevant to whether the evidence is evidence.
    Again, everyday standards, dude. If all you care about is just having evidence, any evidence at all, by all means, go nuts. Let me know how that goes for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Actually, you are the one who introduce what others think into the equation
    No, you defined evidence with "I consider 'evidence' to be something that one can show someone else." Again, if that's what you think is evidence for your own beliefs, then you obviously wouldn't think you have evidence for any of them. Again, when determining what an individual should believe, that individual should use consistent and reliable standards of evidence. "Having something to show to others" doesn't really make the cut.

  16. #16
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Again, everyday standards, dude. If all you care about is just having evidence, any evidence at all, by all means, go nuts. Let me know how that goes for you.
    Well, any evidence at all means that it doesn't qualify as "faith" per your definition. You said that faith is a belief without evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    No, you defined evidence with "I consider 'evidence' to be something that one can show someone else." Again, if that's what you think is evidence for your own beliefs, then you obviously wouldn't think you have evidence for any of them. Again, when determining what an individual should believe, that individual should use consistent and reliable standards of evidence. "Having something to show to others" doesn't really make the cut.
    And I said that I will go by what you want for the definition of evidence.

    Now let's get back to the debate at hand and respond to my actual points. To repeat:

    If I believe that the car was there because I have a memory of seeing the car, then I have enough evidence to be rationally convinced that the car was there, right? What I can or cannot show others is irrelevant to whether my belief is rational, right?

  17. #17
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Well, any evidence at all means that it doesn't qualify as "faith" per your definition. You said that faith is a belief without evidence.
    Which I later clarified to not having sufficient evidence. Again, if you want to believe that the type/quality/scope of evidence is not important just because I posted too quickly in a previous post and not actually think about the standards of evidence you yourself use everyday, then by all means, go nuts.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If I believe that the car was there because I have a memory of seeing the car, then I have enough evidence to be rationally convinced that the car was there, right? What I can or cannot show others is irrelevant to whether my belief is rational, right?
    Seriously, dude, this isn't rocket science. What you're describing is something that we all do every day. If you want to try and play word games and twist some of my statements or play gotcha with a specific turn of phrase or choice of words, then don't bother, since you're obviously not interested in considering your own rational thought processes and how you evaluate claims every single day. I have no interest in engaging such pointless intellectual dishonesty.

  18. #18
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Which I later clarified to not having sufficient evidence.
    Define "sufficient evidence".

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Again, if you want to believe that the type/quality/scope of evidence is not important just because I posted too quickly in a previous post and not actually think about the standards of evidence you yourself use everyday, then by all means, go nuts.
    But the standard that I use is generally trusting that what I see and experience is what reality is.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Seriously, dude, this isn't rocket science. What you're describing is something that we all do every day. If you want to try and play word games and twist some of my statements or play gotcha with a specific turn of phrase or choice of words, then don't bother, since you're obviously not interested in considering your own rational thought processes and how you evaluate claims every single day. I have no interest in engaging such pointless intellectual dishonesty.
    I think you are the one playing word games. I'm just trying to get you to nail down what you mean. And you can dodge my arguments with whatever lame excuse you want to come up with but the reality is that I have shown that it IS rationale for one to put some faith in what they experience with my scenario with the red car. I'd say you trying to quit the debate when I'm making my point is what's intellectually dishonest.

    And btw, the OP says "If you can's show it, you don't know it" which refers directly to something that one can SHOW to others. Your argument seems to be changing with each of my challenges. Moving the goalpost, it appears.

  19. #19
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Define "sufficient evidence".
    Again, I'm not interested in playing games, Mican. You yourself use certain standards of evidence every day. For example, when you hear about another person claiming they were abducted by aliens, you don't just go believing them based on the insufficient evidence provided. You know exactly what it means for evidence to be sufficient.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But the standard that I use is generally trusting that what I see and experience is what reality is.
    Your use of the word "generally", means you already know what I'm talking about with regards to varying degrees of sufficiency of evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I have shown that it IS rationale for one to put some faith in what they experience with my scenario with the red car.
    And I have not disputed this - you're literally arguing with yourself at this point. That's what happens when you pretend you don't know what's going on in your own head when you use rational standards every day and instead try to play gotcha and semantic games. Again, as I already explained for you in post #7 (the same post I clarified the definition of faith): "[the car's] presence there provided you with the necessary evidence to be able to say that it was there". For the last time, this isn't rocket science. You know exactly how it works and what's going on, but for some reason want to ignore that and pretend.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    And btw, the OP says "If you can's show it, you don't know it" which refers directly to something that one can SHOW to others.
    Mican, you were the one who expressed your definition of evidence as something you can show others, while in the same post asking me how I would define it. I then provided you with the real definition, explaining why yours was nonsense. You now bringing up the catchy mnemonic phrase from the OP and assuming that this is the definition which should apply, even after I provided you with the definition and explained, in detail, why your standard would fail on its own, is just more pointless gotcha playing. For someone who claims to not want to have semantic debates, you sure end up leading so many of them down that path. Again, I completely understand it's because you want to ignore your own rational thought process in order to play gotcha, but believe me, it's pointless.

  20. #20
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    Re: Theistic beliefs are not rationally justified

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Again, I'm not interested in playing games, Mican. You yourself use certain standards of evidence every day. For example, when you hear about another person claiming they were abducted by aliens, you don't just go believing them based on the insufficient evidence provided. You know exactly what it means for evidence to be sufficient.
    Right. But if I had a very vivid memory of being abducted by aliens, then I would say that I have sufficient evidence to believe in aliens. Likewise if someone were to experience being contacted by God or some other supernatural event, then I would say that they have sufficient evidence to believe in whatever they experienced.

    And IF the thing they experienced actually happened then it would almost certainly be rationale to believe it happened.


    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    And I have not disputed this - you're literally arguing with yourself at this point. That's what happens when you pretend you don't know what's going on in your own head when you use rational standards every day and instead try to play gotcha and semantic games. Again, as I already explained for you in post #7 (the same post I clarified the definition of faith): "[the car's] presence there provided you with the necessary evidence to be able to say that it was there". For the last time, this isn't rocket science. You know exactly how it works and what's going on, but for some reason want to ignore that and pretend.
    I do know how it works and I'm applying the same standard that I use for the car to the issue of the supernatural/theistic. I'm being consistent.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Mican, you were the one who expressed your definition of evidence as something you can show others, while in the same post asking me how I would define it. I then provided you with the real definition, explaining why yours was nonsense. You now bringing up the catchy mnemonic phrase from the OP and assuming that this is the definition which should apply, even after I provided you with the definition and explained, in detail, why such a standard would fail on its own, is just more pointless gotcha playing. For someone who claims to not want to have semantic debates, you sure end up leading so many of them down that path. Again, I completely understand it's because you want to ignore your own rational thought process in order to play gotcha, but believe me, it's pointless.
    No, I'm trying to get you to nail down your definitions and then sticking to them. And I could point out where the definition keeps shifting but really, THIS is what's pointless. As I've said in the past, this is the debate network, not the complaining network. So spare me your faulty interpretations of what you think I've done and just stick to debating the topic at hand, alright. I'm likely not going to respond to anything that tries to lay blame and offers complaints.

 

 
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