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No. You Don’t Understand It

Or: How Not To Answer A Question In Thousands of Words

If I had written a short rebuttal to each answer, Stan here would have just ignored it and demanded greater depth.

Over at the aptly named “Freethought” blog, where thoughts are free to roam without any tether whatsoever, Avicenna, who claims to be a doctor, endeavors to answer the questions posed. His response is quite lengthy and wanders considerably as he manufactures his position. While I cannot reproduce his every statement due to length, I can address the essence of his statements. There is, embedded somewhere deep in the middle, this statement:

Ah yes.

See, I respected his questions. I gave honest answers and if you remember there was a commentator who didn’t understand how we as atheists validate our moral choices.

However he has not respected mine.

I am not a doctor. YET. When I am one you will be informed. I will also be “going home” for a visit so the British Readers are welcome to celebrate me getting the keys to my TARDIS.

My response wanders, that’s true but it shows examples of human thought.

”There is no way to disprove the existence of anything.”

I did say this. If you came up to me and said “I POSSESS A GOD” then I have no way to disprove your god. Really none!

But you also have no way to disprove any other god. All you can say honestly is that there is no evidence to suggest the existence of any gods. Let alone Jehovah/Shiva/Allah/Xenu.

You can’t disprove the existence of wizards either.

The first statement (sentence) is false. I can prove empirically that Avicenna is not here right now. It’s a material issue, and empiricism suits the problem: the non-existence of some things can be proven, empirically. Avicenna appears saddled with an apparent noncomprehension of the proper place for empiricism, and probably of what empiricism even entails, specifically its limitations (this grows more apparent as he moves along). He continues:

No, but you cannot disprove my existence or my claim that I own an intangible undetectable penguin. I can prove that god isn’t here right now but you lot just keep moving him behind the next wall of “stuff we don’t know about”. Currently he hides behind the Big Bang but honestly do you really think that when science solves that little conundrum he will be there? He wasn’t behind lightning and thunder and the other millions of things we considered divine. What makes you think he is going to be behind this? The History of Religion vs. Science has been “Our god is definitely behind this phenomenon! You should really have faith and not investigate it!” and then a sullen fight and begrudging changes to theology to hide their gods behind the next unproven thing.

Ah yes. The notion that empirical science shouldn’t be allowed to be applied to gods because religious people “say” so.

I assume it’s because empirical science has a history of demonstrating that the gods and miracles are nothing but cognitive biases, physical events or human ignorance.

There is no evidence anywhere to suggest the existence of any gods. Let alone the particular one we call Jehovah/Yahweh/Allah. These aren’t even hypothesis, these are superstition. No different from the laughable notion that you can somehow influence a thunderstorm or placate a volcano.

“I cannot categorically say that unicorns do not exist. What I can say is that there is no evidence for the existence of unicorns. There is no evidence for the existence of any gods.”

The above is a logical statement. We have no evidence for any gods. Maybe one day there may be evidence for some but as of now there is none. To believe in something that there is no evidence for is pretty “stupid”. I don’t believe in unicorns, Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy either. We spent thousands of years believing in non-existent gods.

Contrary to his denial of evidence, there is evidence for the existence of a creating agent; but his categorical denial places Avicenna into the position of denial of existing evidence and disciplined arguments. So he either is ignoring them or is ignorant of them. Either way, he has taken a false position which declares categorically true. And he further Poisons the Well by starting with a False Analogy, that of the unicorn, a favorite dodge of Atheists who are unused to more sophisticated argumentation.

Philosophy is not an argument against empirical science.

Existing evidence? Oh I assume it’s the prime mover nonsense. Well the Universe was not created for us. It seems awfully ginormous. It’s like suggesting cars exist solely to kill insects.

And how dare you sir! The Unicorn is the National Animal Of Scotland.

It’s not sophisticated as an argument because it doesn’t need to be. It’s an elegant argument. A unicorn is infinitely more believable than a god. One’s an entity of unimaginable power who treats humans as his personal action figures, making them dance for his amusement. The other’s a horse that comes to a point. Honestly? If you think a unicorn is LESS believable than the gods then you clearly have no idea of what sophistication is.

Would you rather I have invoked a stealthed penguin with a laser in space? Some sort of Laserous Penguin?

Then he proceeds with this absurdity:

”Because we created untouchable gods by accident.”

No. I wrote about how we created an entire mythos of an untouchable god. Kal-El. Superman as he is known in the common parlance. Where we made him so powerful we couldn’t put him in any risk so his stories stopped being gripping. You know Batman is going to win because he is Batman but you know he is weak and fragile.

Superman is practically indestructible and any solution is going to involve punching things. It’s why we like Batman more than Superman despite Superman speaking to ideals that we hold more dear.

I used Superman to show power creep.

Jehovah in Judges 1:19 cannot beat Iron Chariots. Power Creep eventually made him “All Powerful”.

This is an assertion with zero back-up. This is a Just So Story, and it presages his use of fantasy stories which he presents as fact.

I think this is the very definition of religious belief.

It’s a bad sign when you have shot apart your entire belief system yourself.

Comments

  1. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Holy crap, that is a great definition for religious belief. Incredibly, that horse did come to a point.

  2. Holms says

    I went over there to post my own answer to his ’10 questions’ post and answer, but realised that there was no point when I saw his page header:

    A former 40 year Atheist analyzes Atheism, without resorting to theism, deism, or fantasy.
    ***
    If You Don’t Value Truth, Then What DO You Value?
    ***
    If we say that the sane can be coaxed and persuaded to rationality, and we say that rationality presupposes logic, then what can we say of those who actively reject logic?
    ***
    Atheists have an obligation to give reasons in the form of logic and evidence for rejecting Theist theories.

    The guy clearly has no understanding of the null hypothesis concept, nor the burden of proof.

  3. minxatlarge says

    Today Matthew Christopher, from abandonedamerica,org, posted to his Facebook page an Epic Satire of Some Random Person on the Internet. I share it with you in sympathy, because no one deserves drivel from Some Random Person on the Internet, but everyone receives drivel anyway.

    Dear Matthew Christopher,

    I think that you are a jerk. I don’t like (your photographs/the fact that you hold workshops or what you charge for them/what you have to say about things/your attitude). I just wanted to take some time out of my day to sit here at the internet, full of its bountiful possibilities for usefulness and mirth, to tell you that.

    I know that you probably didn’t take this well because you are (insecure/narcissistic/a jerk/like everyone else on the planet who receives unsolicited and often unmerited criticism from people they don’t know), which I will take as further evidence that my negative opinion of you is correct. You obviously have some sort of problem, because what I have to say is Very Important. I was fully expecting you to thank me for taking the time out of my clearly highly prioritized schedule to tell you that your way of doing things is incorrect and mine is correct. I imagined you would perhaps send a note or some flowers, maybe a gift card to the Olive Garden, along with a signed and notarized statement that you have wronged the universe and, more importantly, me. Perhaps you could even make some sort of public announcement and name me as your replacement.

    However, much to my surprise, instead of reacting this way you instead were disrespectful enough to respond to my public criticism with annoyance, and after I tried to helpfully explain what a jerk you are for not rejoicing at the revelation that is my opinion, you banned me from your page. I’d say that I can’t tell you how patronizingly disappointed in you I am, but actually I will over the course of several long and meandering emails. There were other things I had planned to do with my evening beside write strangers missives about how vain they are not to jump for joy at my well-placed observations, but clearly, you know, PRIORITIES. I expect you will give each the time and consideration they deserve rather than just letting out a long sigh when you see ANOTHER email from me and moving it to the trash folder unread. In the charter that you should have received as someone with a moderate to low level of public presence it states in subsection 11c that “All random wackjobs on the internet have the right to have their opinion heard by offending parties, and if an agreement is not reached, they shall be entitled to a series of responses to their criticisms and complaints regardless of if they are a customer or whether the offender receives any benefit or remuneration from entering into the productivity vortex that is continually acknowledging the offendee’s presence.”

    Frankly, I don’t see how you can continue running a business when you do not stop to hash it out with every passing traveler who stops along their merry way to pitch a verbal rock at your head and then proceeds to throw as many more as possible upon an unfavorable response. You are not like all the other businesses I know of, each of whom employ people specifically to deal with my complaints, customer service representatives who afterwards go home and drink to numb the knowledge that people like me exist. I would think taking the time to listen to my Wise and Insightful Insights is the only way a person like you, who does the job of about 8 people with no staff other than themselves, would ever grow to be as successful and well respected as I am.

    If you would just look here, I have prepared a Powerpoint presentation: “The Top 57 Reasons Why You Suck and What You Should Do To Fix It”, along with accompanying source material and flow charts. If you’ll just open the companion booklet I put together to page 46, you’ll see I –

    Hey, where are you going?

    Sincerely,

    Some Random Person on the Internet

  4. Fred says

    Philosophy is not an argument against empirical science.

    Perhaps the best way to see how Stan operates is this example of his response to someone asking him to clarify his Challenge to Atheists: Prove that there is no God

    I will accept evidence that has done the following within the constraints of empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable scientific methodology:

    a) Explore every cubic inch, every cubic angstrom of space, during every femtosecond of time – historically, current, and future, for a deity which is not material in any sense, with instrumentation data on the lack of discovery
    at every point onthe [sic] universe;

    AND,

    b) Explore everything before the Big Bang using the best material technology to provide instrumental data that there is no such no-material existence.

    I will not accept mathematical, preponderance of evidence, reasonable doubt, etc. I have given the reason why.

  5. Hammiesink says

    >We have no evidence for any gods

    Really? None at all, eh? What do you think about the traditional cosmological argument? The one known as the argument from motion, or Aquinas’ First Way? Is that not evidence?

  6. johnmarley says

    @Hammersink –

    please tell me you’re joking.

    All of Aquinas’ Five Ways take the form :
    – Observation
    Unsupported assertion implying infinite regress
    Define “God” as escape from regress

    Word games are not actually evidence for anything.

    Also, even if it did prove the need for, say, an Unmoved Mover (again, it doesn’t), why would that necessarily have to be your particular deity?

  7. Hammiesink says

    The dictionary defines “evidence” as: “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.”

    A deductive argument is a set of facts (premises) that indicate whether a belief is true or valid (conclusion).

  8. Holms says

    Look out! A dictionary definition argument! Compunded by the following:

    A deductive argument is a set of facts (premises) that indicate whether a belief is true or valid (conclusion).False equivalence. A premise we accept for the purpose of an argument, no matter how jusitifed, is not the same as evidence. Rather, what Xanthë and the rest of us accept as evidence takes the form of direct measurements of physical phenomena.

    Anyway, it appears that Atheism Analysed followers are just as intellectually dishonest as the blog author himself.

  9. Hammiesink says

    >what Xanthë and the rest of us accept as evidence takes the form of direct measurements of physical phenomena

    Ok, so if that’s the case, then if something non-physical exists you will never know about it, because you will only accept physical things as evidence. In other words, you’ve created an unfalsifiable position.

  10. smrnda says

    @14

    Totally – if something is not a physical thing, or does not interact with physical things, or is not an emergent property of physical things, then how does it *exist?* in any sense?

    I’ll supply an analogy – for a while, there were psychologists who rejected internal mental states and emotions as being something that could be studied, since they could not be observed. These psychologists just lacked the tools to do brain imaging, which has shown us that you can actually *see* things going on in the brain that can be mapped to internal mental states and emotions. The emotions and internal mental states are a direct consequence of physical events in the brain. Our descriptions of these (a word like ‘anger’) corresponds to a generalized label of mental states caused by physical events.

    I’m also (formerly) a mathematician. Mathematics starts with axioms that you reason from, but this isn’t how you explore the actual real world, since you have to start with empirical evidence, since correct reasoning from faulty assumptions only *looks good on paper.*

  11. Hammiesink says

    >does not interact with physical things

    No worries, then, since the arguments of which I speak begin with the effect and reason to the cause.

  12. says

    You’ve got a nerve to suggest that my objection is to a lack of falsifiability as if this is something I’ve introduced, when in fact the traditional arguments for god make god the ultimate unfalsifiable concept ever — not that there couldn’t be a plethora of confirmatory secondary evidence that might exist (say for the Greek pantheon, reports from Mount Olympus of Zeus and Hera’s latest gossip, and what Poseidon had for breakfast this morning), but it doesn’t.

  13. Hammiesink says

    >the traditional arguments for god make god the ultimate unfalsifiable concept ever

    Whether this is true or not is irrelevant, because it does not answer my criticism that you have created an unfalsifiable position, since you simply define all evidence as physical. Physicalism is a metaphysical theory, and so needs evidence to support it. It isn’t just true by definition. See for example here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/

    But secondly, theism is not unfalsifiable. All you need to do is show one of the premises in the argument to be false in order to show that it is unsound. For example, as for the argument from change which I mentioned above, you could side with the Eleatic school and argue that change does not occur. If your argument is sound, that would show that the first premise of the argument from change is false. Then, you could argue that there is no God by pointing out all the pointless evil that occurs.

    So theism is not unfalsifiable, and even if it were, that would do nothing to refute my criticism that your position of “physicalism true by definition” is in fact unfalsifiable.

    I note that the original author mentioned that there is “no evidence” for the existence of God, to which I responded with the argument from change (Aquinas’ First Way), to which one commenter said that it has an unsupoorted assertion, and so I asked what specific premise is unsupported. I have not received answers to either of these yet.

    In short, even “weak atheists” have a belief they need to give evidence for. Namely, that there is no evidence for the existence of God. So far in this thread at least, this has been a failure. I find similar in most other forums as well. Lots of assertions, no evidence. Ironic.

  14. Al Dente says

    Aquinas’ Proofs of God rely heavily on presuppositional arguments, also known as begging the question. This is considered a logical fallacy.

  15. Holms says

    Ok, so if that’s the case, then if something non-physical exists you will never know about it, because you will only accept physical things as evidence. In other words, you’ve created an unfalsifiable position.

    Whether this is true or not is irrelevant, because it does not answer my criticism that you have created an unfalsifiable position, since you simply define all evidence as physical.

    Incorrect. If you posit that something exists but does not interact with the universe in any measurable way, how are we to test your claim? If it is not testable, it is unfalsifiable. We didn’t make the god hypothesis unfalsifiable, it was already there.

    But secondly, theism is not unfalsifiable. All you need to do is show one of the premises in the argument to be false in order to show that it is unsound. For example…

    Actually, we don;t need to do squat. The onus lies on the positive hypothesis to pull ahead of the null.

  16. says

    I share your frustration Avicenna. I answered Stan’s list as best I could over at my place and received condescension, indictments of my intelligence and rigour, ageist invocations of youthful rebellion as an explanation of atheism, brief descriptions of my answers instead of my actual answers (by comparison I don’t recall paraphrasing his questions in the slightest) and even appeals to Dawkins’ apparent wish to “destroy the Other” in an attempt to indict atheism in general. He talks of my alleged red herrings in his “rebuttal”; I didn’t even mention the professor, let alone swear fealty. I’ve also had two of his acolytes promise to pray for me. Shudder.

    I’m curious as to what Stan himself actually believes as he doesn’t make it clear what – rather, WHO he means by “moral authority” or “creating agent”. I did ask what he meant by those terms and got a scolding instead of an explanation. Apologist boilerplate, for sure, but what he’s actually apologising for isn’t clear; given his utterly pretentious condescension and general tediousness I couldn’t be arsed doing any further exploration. It’s almost as if he keeps terms purposely vague so he can simultaneously avoid clarification and scold you for requesting it in the first place. From what I’ve seen in the comments, dare to even imply a position he may hold and he’ll immediately scold you for generalising and launch into some word-salad about deductive reasoning or empiricism.

    Basically it would appear that no answer to Stan’s questions is good enough or will ever be good enough. His bar raises and lowers as rapidly as he shifts his goalposts and, frankly, he’s a tiresome fucking bore. I almost regret giving him the time of day but I actually enjoyed writing my answers.

  17. says

    Thank you, Holms @ 20. Someone needs to go over and get the concept of “burden of proof” through to Stan and his chorus.

    Seriously – do I really need to be able to prove empirically and deductively that no gods exist before atheism can be justified? I am not making that cpositive laim, nor – for what it’s worth – do practically any of the atheists whose work I’ve ever read. The ones who do, well, I beg to to differ with them on that point.

    Would Stan accept the claim “there’s a tractor on Mars that’s only visible to Jews” on its face? Or would he feel justified in saying “I don’t believe there’s a tractor on Mars at all, let alone one that’s invisible to gentiles”? If the latter, then he does understand the burden of proof – it would appear that he just applies it selectively. He certainly applies what he no doubt considers his keen analytical empiricism selectively.

  18. Holms says

    I made a short attempt to bring the null hypothesis into the conversation over at his blog, but I have now learned the error and futility of that effort. It became clear to me that he has no interest in intellectual honesty when he informed me that “Convincing you is of precisely no value; what you can prove is the only thing with value.”

    In a conversation about my defense of my atheistic stance, I’m pretty sure my opinions is pretty damn relevant because it is the entire topic!

    Meanwhile, every philosophical / deductive argument that does not cite hard data and measurements are summarily dismissed as not being science, yet his entire case for religion is philosophical and argumentative in nature.

    And just for a cherry-on-top finish: the plain hypocrisy of criticising Avicenna’s post as longwinded, only to reply with two posts, each of which is longer than Avi’s.

    It is plain that there is no point engaging with him.

  19. Hammiesink says

    Holms,

    >every philosophical / deductive argument that does not cite hard data and measurements are summarily dismissed as not being science, yet his entire case for religion is philosophical and argumentative in nature.

    That is precisely the point. Because when theists cite philosophical arguments as evidence for the existence of God, they often get told that that doesn’t count as evidence, because evidence is only hard data and measurements. For example, see my attempts above. My philosophical argument was dismissed as “not evidence” because it isn’t “physical evidence”.

    Stan is simply holding atheists to their own standards.

  20. Holms says

    The problem here is, it is the person making the positive claim that must bear the burden of proof. Thus, it is up to those positing the god-hypothesis to make the measurements to carry the claim. We atheists on the other hand occupy the null hypothesis, which is the default position in all cases while waiting for concrete findings.

    So… cough them up.

  21. Hammiesink says

    You said: “what Xanthë and the rest of us accept as evidence takes the form of direct measurements of physical phenomena”

    You did not say: “the arguments are question-begging.”

    OK, so if they are question-begging, then tell me specifically which premise of which argument requires one to already believe in God in order to accept.

  22. John Kruger says

    @Hammiesink
    The First Mover argument contains more of a Special Pleading error than Begging the Question.

    God is given an exemption from the premise “all things have a cause”, which is special pleading. Counter arguments such as “then what created god?” take advantage of this error. Others have already pointed out the problem of infinite regress is not truly avoided, and it is because of this very special pleading.

    If god need not be created, then why not the universe? If god has no cause and all things in the universe do, then god is not part of the universe and therefore does not exist. It is also an enormous leap to equate the cause of the universe with the Christian god, as johnmarley already pointed out. There is also a whopping equivocation error in the use of “cause”, in that everyday things are not “caused” ex niliho the way the latter premise wants to establish, but from other existing phenomena. “All things have a cause” then is not talking about cause in the same way as when god supposedly does it.

    Moreover, the argument is more or less moot because there are things that have been shown to occur with no discernible cause, such as the radioactive decay of elements. So even if the argument did follow, which it does not, at least one of the premises can be shown to be false.

    As far as falsifiability goes, it only applies to the scientific method. If your god concept can make no prediction than can in turn be verified by experiment, it is not scientifically meaningful and cannot be distinguished from something completely imaginary. There must be a theoretical condition that can be established by experiment that makes a theory wrong. If there is not, then the theory is not able to tell us anything about reality and is meaningless. There are many purely philosophical arguments that fit into this category, and they can only establish the coherentness of an idea. If you only want to posit your god as an idea, philosophy will suffice. If you want more than that, you need the scientific method.

  23. Hammiesink says

    >the premise “all things have a cause”

    No cosmological argument, especially not the ones I’m aware of, have that as a premise. This is a strawman fallacy.

    >If god need not be created, then why not the universe?

    Familiarity with the arguments in question would answer this easily for you.

    > If god has no cause and all things in the universe do, then god is not part of the universe and therefore does not exist.

    You would have to already be a naturalist to believe that the universe is all that exists, so this objection is question-begging.

    > It is also an enormous leap to equate the cause of the universe with the Christian god

    True. But I never said a word about the Christian god.

    >the argument is more or less moot because there are things that have been shown to occur with no discernible cause, such as the radioactive decay of elements.

    Such events are entirely dependent on further conditions, in which case the argument I’m speaking of would continue without a hitch.

    >As far as falsifiability goes, it only applies to the scientific method.

    No it doesn’t. If someone only accepts physical evidence, then they have simply defined physicalism to be true, without giving any actual evidence that it is true. Ironic.

  24. John Kruger says

    Your argument was only vaguely referenced. I apologize if it was the wrong one, feel free to state or link the actual one you want to use. I know what a strawman is, you can skip ahead to stating what your actual position is instead of just fallacy naming.

    The universe is defined as “all existing matter and space considered as a whole”. If your god does not contain matter or occupy space, I am confused as to in what manner it could “exist”. Do you have any examples of things that exist without matter or occupying space other than your god? If not, you are engaged in special pleading.

    Never mind the Christian god, why call such a thing a “god” at all? The argument does not establish intelligence or even a desire for worship, both of which seem fairly inseparable from a god concept.

    The objection used here, that the god concept is unfalsifiable, is that such a concept is incompatible with science and has no functional difference from something completely imagined. Philosophy can be of great use in identifying and eliminating contradictions in an idea (creating coherency), but just because an argument follows or cannot be shown to cause any internal contradictions does not mean it’s conclusion must be correct. The premises must also be shown to be accurate, which can only be done by testing and verification. If there can be no test, there can be no verification, and the truth of a premise is permanently unknown an cannot be relied upon to yield correct argument results.

    Science is a recursive and provisional enterprise, not a deductive one. It is justified and continuously updated by results, and needs no initial verification. Scientific theories are frequently found to be wrong, and are then updated or discarded afterwards. God would need no initial verification either, under the scientific method. The concept would just need to have predictive power that could be tested by experiment.

  25. Holms says

    >the premise “all things have a cause”

    No cosmological argument, especially not the ones I’m aware of, have that as a premise. This is a strawman fallacy.

    If things do not necessarily require a cause then there is no need to posit god as the first / uncaused cause; the universe itself may as well occupy that position. Further, even if there is a need to posit a deity as that first cause, that argument is not specific as to the nature of that being and hence could be used to argue on behalf of any deity, potentially even one that has not been revealed to us.

    If god has no cause and all things in the universe do, then god is not part of the universe and therefore does not exist.

    You would have to already be a naturalist to believe that the universe is all that exists, so this objection is question-begging.

    No. ‘Universe’ is a term with a specific meaning. By definition, anything that interacts with any part of the universe, is in the universe; anything that cannot interact is outside it. That’s just what the word means.

    It is also an enormous leap to equate the cause of the universe with the Christian god

    True. But I never said a word about the Christian god.

    So, you are arguing against the neutral / noncommittal position without making an hypothesis at all? That seems to be a pointless exercise; the neutral ‘wins’ until the evidence of a positive claim overcomes the burden of proof. Since you aren’t even offering one for consideration, the neutral position remains the most reasonable to occupy.

    As far as falsifiability goes, it only applies to the scientific method.

    No it doesn’t. If someone only accepts physical evidence, then they have simply defined physicalism to be true, without giving any actual evidence that it is true. Ironic.

    You are going around in circles, this has already been addressed: “if something is not a physical thing, or does not interact with physical things, or is not an emergent property of physical things, then how does it *exist?* in any sense?”

    We can only measure what is measureable, and if it interacts with the physical universe in any way then we have no reason to call it anything other than physical. If it is not measurable, then you are simply asserting the existence of the divine with zero justification.

  26. Hammiesink says

    Both you guys have brought up a whole lot of issues all at once. Far too many to cover in any depth.

    One of the first problems the early Greek philosophers wanted to deal with was the problem of change vs permanence. We see things changing around us, such as rivers flowing and birds flying, but things all seem to stay the same, like how the river stays a river and the bird stays a bird. What is the resolution between these two concepts? Heraclitus and Parmenides represent the two extremes. Heraclitus said everything is in flux and nothing stays the same, and Parmenides said that change is impossible.

    Note how these concepts, change vs permanence, are more fundamental than the empirical sciences. The empirical sciences would tell us what specific objects exist, but when working out the conflict between change and permanence, you are operating at a more abstract and general level than empirical science goes.

    That is the jumping off point for the unmoved mover, or translated to modern parlance the “unchangeable changer”. The most fundamental principle in the universe.

    So it is not an empirical scientific argument, but rather more basic, abstract reasoning.

    It is not guilty of special pleading.

    It is not guilty of any other trivial logical fallacy.

    If it fails, it fails for less obvious reasons.

    If it succeeds, then it establishes the existence of God.

  27. Holms says

    One of the first problems the early Greek philosophers wanted to deal with was the problem of change vs permanence. We see things changing around us, such as rivers flowing and birds flying, but things all seem to stay the same, like how the river stays a river and the bird stays a bird. What is the resolution between these two concepts?

    There is no resolution needed, because there is no conflict. Bear in mind that we have the benefit of over two millenia of reserch beyond the overly-venerated classical philosophers; with that benefit, we now know that many things that appear constant are actually in a state of flux, but at a rate far too slow to be apparent to perspective.

    Note how these concepts, change vs permanence, are more fundamental than the empirical sciences. The empirical sciences would tell us what specific objects exist, but when working out the conflict between change and permanence, you are operating at a more abstract and general level than empirical science goes.

    You are trying to make out that these concepts are somehow deeper than science in an attempt to prevent us bringing science into the question, but I’m not having it. We can examine change vs. permanence, and we can use scince to do so. In fact we needscience to do so for very long things, like evolution of those birds, or geological changes to river courses.

    If it fails, it fails for less obvious reasons.

    If it succeeds, then it establishes the existence of God.

    Your continued refusal to elaborate on this allegedly super-deep spin on the uncaused cause argument makes it hard to rebut or accept. At best though, even if successful this would not establish that [deity] exists, it would simply mean that this argument for [deity]’s existence has not been disproven. There is a large chasm between ‘proven’ and ‘not disproven’.

    However, for the reasons mentioned earlier I don’t even find this argument relevant, meaning even success does nothing towards establishing [deity].

  28. Hammiesink says

    >We can examine change vs. permanence, and we can use scince to do so. In fact we needscience to do so for very long things, like evolution of those birds, or geological changes to river courses.

    You are missing the point. Parmenides and Zeno would say that change is an illusion. That we see things changing, but in reality they are not. Science cannot resolve this dispute. This is much more abstract and fundamental than science goes.

    And it is the jumping off point for the First Way, which is, I think, the most powerful argument for the existence of an all-powerful God.

  29. Holms says

    You are missing the point. Parmenides and Zeno would say that change is an illusion. That we see things changing, but in reality they are not. Science cannot resolve this dispute.

    Again, there is no dispute. A contrarian philosopher posed several paradoxes which together posit that changes such as movement cannot occur, despite the very evident fact taht they can.

    Firstly, he set these up not because he truly believed that an arrow is unable to reach its target, but to bring about an interesting debate. He did not actually believe that shit. There is no dspute here; change can occur as is perfectly evident to every sense.

    Secondly, the paradoxes were solved by a little thing called integration. Centuries ago.

    You keep trying to exclude the scientific method – along with the pesky burden of evidence and etc. – from the god hypothesis, but it doesn’t work that way. I’m still waiting to see any documented observation of this god person. Using a logical argument to determine that something is possible to exist is not even remotely the same as proving it to exist.

    Anyway, this is about to drop off the first page, and I’m not motivated enough to continue this conversation with you. You’ve demonstrated repeatedly that you are unwilling to deviate from the same old theist apologetics, and I’m simply not going to go around the same circle again.

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