Oh god no


I forgot all about this debate.

These signs will be going up around campus, so I guess I’m committed. Or should be committed.

At least I insisted that “god” needed to be defined, so I’m going to be debating the nonexistence of “an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being.” The other side has to defend the absurdly difficult proposition that such a being exists in the absence of any evidence for it, so at least I’ve got that going for me.

I am going up against a philosopher, though, so I dread the haymaker deepities he’ll throw at me.

Comments

  1. hemidactylus says

    Look up some street epistemology videos for pointers in keeping it focused on him, asking stuff like how he came to believe as he did, what would increase/decrease his confidence, how an outsider with a differing theistic view would view his beliefs, how he would believe if born in a different milieu (counterfactual stuff). Keeps the focus off your beliefs and unravels his beliefs using his framing.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    I’m in for the root beer.

    Be sure to point out the mismatch every he switches definitions of “God,” and make it very clear that inability to disprove some abstract omni-God does nothing to support the existence of the very limited YHWH of the Christian Bible.

    Bonus points if you find an opportunity to mention that according to the Bible, YHWH is a liar (Gen 2:16-17), while the “Serpent” tells the truth (Gen 3:4-5).

    You could also mention that the existence of a God is insignificant if you do not also believe that human beings have souls, that those souls continue into an afterlife, and that God has disposition as to how those souls spend their afterlife. I.e. the Christian worldview, which is predominant in those parts, goes way beyond simply a belief in God.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Just read “The Answer” , a short science fiction story by Frederic Brown.

    Clearly, God is not in our past but in the future.
    All hail the Eschaton!

  4. wzrd1 says

    How does one define the ineffable?
    Sounds like a debate that cannot even begin, save if the defining party commits heresy.

  5. salvelinus says

    The odd he’ll throw at you the William Lane Craig‘s version of the cosmological argument is 1.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Also, a “Burton & Cyb” story called “The Next God Will Be A Better One” published in Heavy Metal, back when SF & fantasy comics magazines for adults were still commercially viable.

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    @5: Thanks. Apparently he is a proponent of skeptical theism, which is used as a counter-argument to the problem of evil.

    Skeptical theism is the view that God exists but that we should be skeptical of our ability to discern God’s reasons for acting or refraining from acting in any particular instance. In particular, says the skeptical theist, we should not grant that our inability to think of a good reason for doing or allowing something is indicative of whether or not God might have a good reason for doing or allowing something. If there is a God, he knows much more than we do about the relevant facts, and thus it would not be surprising at all if he has reasons for doing or allowing something that we cannot fathom.

    If skeptical theism is true, it appears to undercut the primary argument for atheism, namely the argument from evil…

    If we can’t know what God wants, then his existence is irrelevant to ours. We certainly can’t trust religious manuscripts such as the Bible to accurately convey God’s wishes. The Bible is filled with historical errors, scientific errors, moral errors, and contradictions.

    He also seems to be an opponent of abortion, which is off-topic.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    Be sure to get a good haircut before the debate, so they can’t dismiss your arguments for that reason.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    My apologies – it leads to an italian-language site I cannot navigate. I recommend googling the title and the author.
    Meanwhile, why are the people in the image dressed as papists? I hope they are not wearing red shoes as well.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    Reginald Selkirk @ 14
    At least PZ has a proper beard (like a proper AD 500 Christian retcon writer busy introducing pagan notions like a devil/antigod).

  11. says

    I think we’re not going to get into the idea of a Christian god at all, so I’m not going to bring up the Bible or any other religious text. This is supposed to be about the existence of a divine abstraction, identified by pure reason, or something.

  12. AstroLad says

    There was a similar debate some years ago. I don’t remember who was involved, or when. The one thing I do remember is that when the benevolent god topic came up, one of the counter arguments was one of the parasitic worms, possibly Onchocerca volvulus. They can migrate to the eye and cause blindness. Even the god botherer was horrified by what is does to many thousands of children every year.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Wzrd1 @ 18
    Thank you.

    If skeptical theism is his thing, he should reason like some Russians in exile during the Tokyo earthquake: God responded to the prayers made during the Russo-Japanese war, but as He is 10 light years distant it took a while.

    This would also tie in with a Philip K. Dick story where they casually mention finding the corpse of God floating in interstellar space.

  14. ardipithecus says

    Holy texts of any kind are not evidence for the existence of a deity. They are prescriptions for living one’s life promoted by people who are not living your life; all dressed up with parables and such to make it more convincing.

    Citing religious texts is merely kicking the can down the road unless there is an unambiguous evidentiary trail to the deity that wrote it.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    If the guy is a philosopher, I would suggest to him that if God exists, he is in another world line / branch of the multiverse. We just happen to be in a time line where he is absent.
    (This opens the question “why is God present in some time lines and not others” and the answer is – of course- “quantum”).

  16. Artor says

    I hope it’s decent root beer at least. Canned Mug or Barq’s would be a disappointment. IBC would be a step in the right direction. Virgil’s would mark an impressive level of consideration from the organizers. Discuss?

  17. charley says

    I imagine this kind of audience response. “I didn’t understand everything Perry said, but he’s a respected philosopher at Purdue and sounds like he really knows his stuff. The other guy is a biology professor with a blog.”

  18. birgerjohansson says

    OT
    Ardipithecus @ 22
    Is that a hominid contenporary with, or significantly later than australopithecus?

  19. iiandyiiii says

    Will it be on YouTube, or otherwise streamed (live or uploaded later)? I’d like to watch it. Or, even better, read it (if it’s transcribed).

  20. birgerjohansson says

    I was hoping for something more exotic than root beer, as religion is associated with cool psychoactive stuff.
    Wait, is there some ‘secret ingredient’ in their popcorn? Kava in the root beer? Count me in.

  21. says

    This is supposed to be about the existence of a divine abstraction, identified by pure reason, or something.

    In that case, I think you can legitimately take the position: “Who cares?”

  22. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 12

    Skeptical theism is the view that God exists but that we should be skeptical of our ability to discern God’s reasons for acting or refraining from acting in any particular instance.

    Sooooo… It’s like deism then? It’s just as wrong as normal theism but it’s slightly less obnoxious.

  23. birgerjohansson says

    Skeptical theism:
    if god is only fractally present, it would explain why things are so bad.
    Let’s think of other buzzwords that can be shoehorned in. Paradigm? Synergy? Naah, too nineties.
    .
    Reginald Selkirk @ 6
    The Koran goes way beyond Genesis, and says god “is the best of liars”.

    Wait, if God and the devil is standing at one gate each, -one gate leading to death, one gate leading to safety- which question should you ask god and the devil to find the safe gate?

  24. ajbjasus says

    Dammit.

    You lost already – you used his name as a cuss word so you know in your heart ….

    Etc etc.

    R Comfort

  25. chigau (違う) says

    Remember what happened to Richard Feynman when he tried to debate some rabbinical students.

  26. Paul K says

    I just signed in to say that I’d like to be a member of the band The Haymaker Deepities, regardless of the kind of music they play and the fact that I don’t play any instrument.

  27. birgerjohansson says

    Chigau @ 37
    I am not familiar with the incident, but any debate that includes the concept “we are the Chosen” is bound to go downhill fast.

    Ajbjasus @ 36
    A music video by a very different Perry had some ornament that looked a bit like an arabic word, and because religion muslims got her to remove that from the video. Easily as silly as creationism.
    (and for Chrissake, keep the migraine-inducing Ray Comfort out of this. Unless it is an episode of God Awful Movies – Comfort provides plenty of material for jokes).

    Ardipithecus @ 22
    After checking with wikipedia I understand your chosen name- technically, humans are a continuation of the lineage. Hell, it might be ardipithecus that met the Black Monolith!

  28. Reginald Selkirk says

    @25: I like the cut of your jib!

    But this is a philosophy club on a small state college campus, I think it is safe to say they do not have the budget for Virgil’s or any decent root beer. Consider it an argument against the existence of G-d.

  29. says

    If he’s a skeptical theist, then he can’t argue in favor of an “omnibenevolent being”. Not unless you dump the accepted (human) definition of “benevolent”, and that would make the whole argument moot.

    An omnibenevolent being would not create/allow childhood cancer, among other things. Remember, he/she/it is also omnipotent and omniscient, so that being the case, are you arguing that he/she/it can’t come up with another means of reaching their desired goals without resorting to childhood cancer? Doesn’t sound very ommipotent to me.

  30. Nathaniel Hellerstein says

    Bill Cosby expressed something like skeptical theism once. He said something along the lines of “Do you realize how hard it is for God to end poverty, war, oppression, and bring Mideast peace… without making it look like a miracle?”

  31. birgerjohansson says

    Jimf @ 42
    An omniscient, omnibenevolent god would not restrict cancer immunity and 2-century life spans to bowhead whales and let the other organisms suffer.

    And why not cut off pain for any organism that is dying of age or disease? Pain only makes sense if it allows organisms to avoid harm.

  32. Pierce R. Butler says

    How can you disprove the existence of an omnipotent being determined to conceal all signs of its own existence?

  33. wzrd1 says

    birgerjohansson @ 39, just checked my monolith logs, closer to 6 million years ago, so an uncharacterized species thus far. The DNA is recorded in the logs. ;)

    @ 44, yeah, was tracking that, laughing the entire time. Apparently, the Swedes are encouraging the Germans by their example.

    Nathaniel Hellerstein @ 43, peace, end of hardship and disease is easy. One good thermonuclear war with cobalt salted bombs should do the trick, no miracles needed.
    A totally Gnostic god solution. And fundie Xstians and Muslims hate Gnosticism. Largely, because they can’t figure it out.

  34. wzrd1 says

    OT: 41 Indian workers freed from collapsed tunnel, were trapped for 17 days. Good job, rescuers!

  35. eliza422 says

    I feel like any “god” that needs to be philosophized into existence isn’t anything worth bothering with. Not that any of the other ways people think a god exists are any better, but I find these types of arguments especially pointless.

  36. birgerjohansson says

    Going off on a tangent… The guy PZ is meeting is no creationist, but it is useful to learn geology just in case. Or simply because it can be fun!

    This guy is a marvellous geology professor who knows how to grab and keep your interest.
    “Investigate mysterious features with a geologist”
    https://youtu.be/3JraT49a1tw

  37. birgerjohansson says

    Wzrd1 @ 49
    Great!

    Wzrd1 @ 48
    Your gnostic god solution sounds like a “monkey’s paw” wish.
    Maybe you should go with ‘invasion of the pod people’ instead, at least something survives (but what if the pod people are atheists? Maybe zombies are the solution).

  38. Jean says

    Any omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being would not allow religion to exist. So we can dismiss the idea out of hand.

  39. astringer says

    birgerjohansson @ 33

    Let’s think of other buzzwords that can be shoehorned in. Paradigm? Synergy? Naah, too nineties.

    How about the more modern “digital twin”. Similar to god but unable to parameterise turbulence. Oh, and needs frequent data input (a.k.a. “prayer”) to nudge divergence back on course. Or something.

  40. wzrd1 says

    Speaking of gods, the god-emperor’s attorneys have argued before a court that Trump did not swear an oath to support the Constitution, hence he cannot be barred from the ballot for mere insurrection.
    The oath is as follows: “I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States so help me God.”.
    So, preserve, protect and defend is not support, hand wave, shit, but I can’t drink enough to even allow that to settle. Totally neutral buoyancy in a pool of shit.

  41. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    What interactions with human environments suggest that particular model of a single thing is the best fit to explain them?

    Are there any criteria at all, or it is this just hand-waving all the worst horrors as mysteriously justified and praiseworthy? Would it be ethical to promote such a god of horrors if you forfeit your own judgment?

    If there are no empirically discernible or even foreseeable interactions, it’s irrelevant… and paradoxical: to propose an “omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent being” that didn’t meddle for the benefit of all.

  42. DanDare says

    Stick to burden of evidence and the logical inconsistency of omnimax gods.
    Look out for false equivalents (the universe is god).
    Break down sylogisms presented with crap premises or non sequitur conclusions.
    You already know all this but hold it in mind.

  43. DanDare says

    “How can you disprove the existence of an omnipotent being determined to conceal all signs of its own existence?”

    Don’t have to.

  44. birgerjohansson says

    Chigau @ 52

    Thank you.
    While they respected learning, their training reduced them to “rule obeyers” without questioning the rules at all. It seems so wasteful.

  45. John Morales says

    birger, hm.

    Personally, I thought the salient part of chigau’s reference was this:
    “And do you know what happened? They’re rabbinical students, right? They were ten times better than I was! AS son as they saw I could put them in a hole, they went twist, turn, twist – I can’t remember how – and they were free! I thought I had come up with an original idea – phooey! It had been discussed in the Talmud for ages! So they cleaned me up just as easy as pie – they got right out.”

  46. says

    Should be fun. Several years back I did a semester course entitled “The Qur’anic Foundation of Islamic Science” presented by a leading Islamic philosopher. We butted heads politely on a weekly basis. The main divide was the definition of science. It seems Islam has a broader definition. Basically any study is a form of science. So theology, study of religious texts and traditions is a science. So are the natural sciences. They are all divided into various categories and all are considered sacred. There is some overlap. Mathematics for instance somehow bridges between the theological sciences and the physical/natural sciences and there is even a place for astrology and alchemy. It was an interesting semester. For the major assignment I dissected and contradicted one of his book chapters. He set some conditions around me doing it including doing so from an Islamic perspective. Fortunately I had access to a good library with translations and commentaries of works from classical Muslim scholars which gave me the material i needed. He actually gave me an A for pointing out the many errors and providing alternative views.

  47. nomdeplume says

    Always amused/amazed by the way the religious believers profess to understand the actions/motives/ideas of a “‘god” for whom no evidence for its existence is presented, nor any evidence that the writer/speaker has actually communicated with his undemonstrated god.

  48. whheydt says

    Re: wzrd1 @ #56…
    They missed a bet on the oath. “…so help me God” isn’t part of the oath, as specified in the Constitution.

  49. birgerjohansson says

    John Morales @ 65
    Noted. They are clearly trained well in logic. The problem I see is that so many clever people get locked into a profession of serving something that does not exist.

  50. says

    @40: Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy — Benjamin Franklin.
    The lack of beer at this event is proof that the Morris Philosophy Club — doesn’t.

    • • •

    The key to all of these debates — and it’s implicit in the Wedge Document, and the entire spectrum of arguments in favor of nonnaturalistic cause (even as to not-yet-understood naturalistic cause) — is argument from privilege. The easiest analogy is to the “burden of proof” (although the problem of argument from privilege is one of those logic problems that has been controversial for a couple of millennia): That one lemma is presumed to be the position that has the privilege to be taken as true if the counterlemma fails of proof. The sneaky, and intellectually dishonest, thing that happens in almost all of these debates is that the nonnaturalist side claims privilege… and all too often, the naturalist side allows it to happen. (Probably because historically, those arguing the naturalist side tended to end up sharing the fate of Giordano Bruno.)

    When I’m caught in these arguments (and I’ve had to be, and had to be diplomatic† about it, professionally for several decades), I explicitly deny, up front, that incompleteness of proof concedes the entire debate. That the naturalistic weltanschauung cannot — yet — explain everything in detail should not be allowed to even hint that “therefore there must be a supernatural explanation, and therefore a possessor of such force = a deity.” I can almost guarantee that Hendricks’s initial presentation will try to claim privilege, if only by implication, because privilege is implicit in “skeptical theism” (everything for which there isn’t a clear, coherent, demonstrable, and replicable natural cause that can be presented persuasively in that argument forum and believed by that audience must therefore be supernatural). These arguments often devolve to the Aristotelian fallacy, which ends up making everybody involved look foolish.

    † Not tactfully: Tact means not saying anything mean or insulting; diplomacy means telling someone to go to hell and leave them thinking they’ll enjoy the trip. I’ve had to be tactful on occasion, but prefer diplomacy.

  51. KG says

    If no evidence is allowed to count against the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being (which would seem to be the “sceptical theism” dodge), then clearly no evidence can count against the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnimalevolent being. Suppose God’s aim is to maximise suffering of all beings except itself. Since it knows much more than us, no apparently nice aspects of life (the “problem of good”) can count as evidence against such a being’s existence – they may contribute to maximising total suffering in ways we are too limited to comprehend.

    That point leads on to a more comprehensive problem: if there is an omnipotent being, then we have no good grounds for trusting any observation or reasoning, or for believing anything at all. Each one of us will observe, reason and believe exactly how the omnipotent being decides we should.

  52. cheerfulcharlie says

    God foreknows the future. Isaiah, 41, 42, 44, 46, Jeremiah 1, etc. This list is not exhaustive. And God is good, just, merciful, and compassionate. And created all. No, if God creates all, God must choose an initial state of creation. If God choose an initial state of creation, God will know how that Universe shall unfold in full detail. If that Universe has Mongols, Nazis, Bolsheviks and others of this ilk, that is solley and only because God made a bad choice of the initial state of creation. God then is not good,merciful, compassionate et al.

    If God foreknows the future, then 13.75 million years ago when God created the Universe, God knew he would make a bad initial state of creation, with Mongols,,Nazi, and Bolsheviks and all assorted moral evils. A trillion years ago, God would know he would eventually create this Universe and make his bad choice.

    But God is eternal God always knew that eventuallynhe would create an evil Universe with Mongols, Nazis, and Bolsheviks. God has no free will, no choice in this matter Neither do we. A mysterious, eternal fate decides all, including what God must do. So God has no free will, we have no free will, and all is as it is, will be, and always was. Where does this mysterious fate that controls all things, including God come from?

    Augustine claimed that for God, all is one Big Now, for God, past, present, and future are one and the same. I call this the Flies In Amber scenario. A God claimed to create all and foreknows the future, the God of the Bible, Quran, and God of the Philosophers, simply is impossible.

    Theological fatalism taken to its logical conclusion. All hail inexorbable fate, my fellow flies!

  53. StevoR says

    Best wishes and what for him being slippery, misogynist and bigoted. Call that out when he is.

    Which I’m sure you will.

    Probly a good idea tohave ypurself or independent people there record in full if possible. For precaustion against misleading edits later.

    Suck eggs like this… Dóh shoulda taken the shell off first me! ;-)

  54. StevoR says

    Is sucking eggs actually a thing asking metaphorically?

    Like do people do that now? Did we once? Where’d that ome from? Chooks I presume.. mostly..

    Also willthere be an audioence vote and if so, maybe remidn ghalf or more the audience (based onstats) that this klown is afemale slaver -Forced Birther sometime during.

  55. StevoR says

    Clarifying fix :

    Best wishes and watch (listen too more so! -ed) for him being slippery, misogynist and bigoted. Call that out when he is.

    Why yes, it is well past time I was sleeping. How’d yáll guess?

    Auto-correct stop changing my flicking worlds…

  56. seversky says

    I see Hendricks is an anti-abortionist. I would be interested to hear his comments on Judith Jarvis Thompson’s A Defense of Abortion

  57. Reginald Selkirk says

    @74 cheerfulcharlie
    If God foreknows the future, then 13.75 million billion years ago when God created the Universe…

    FIFY

  58. Doc Bill says

    I think you’re doomed, PZ! I’d suggest you lay in a quart of egg nog and a good quantity of your preferred dilutent – rum/brandy/bourbon. You’ll need it.

    Hendricks theological “arguments” fall along these lines:

    If an ebony wood wand containing a strand of unicorn hair can act as a magical instrument to channel a wizard’s magical powers, then objects at a distance could be lifted with the Leviosa spell.

    Good luck with that kind of reasoning!

  59. =8)-DX says

    @hemidactylus #2 “street epistemology”

    Ew, those wankers are even more annoying than street evangelist creationists of the Ray Comfort sort. They ought to know better.

  60. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @KG #73:

    then clearly no evidence can count against the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnimalevolent being.

    He thinks human brains/senses are built to detect capital-T Truths, not just pragmatically muddle through their environment with tolerable morbidity as a species on average.

    A good god who wants to be known would bake god detection into physiology. Therefore good goddidit. (All thoser humans who don’t detect god—or detect the wrong ones—don’t count cuz they’re just resisting.)

    If you assume a god exists, the kind that’d make you capable of something more solid than blind guessing, then if such a god happens to exist, then you won’t have blindly guessed. Ta-da!
     
    Article (docx): Perry Hendrics – The proper basicality of belief in God and the evil-god challenge

    a belief is basic if and only if it isn’t based on another belief. […] Reformed epistemologists hold that belief in God can be properly basic—it can be justified in the absence of argument. […] If God exists, then belief in God is probably justified.
    […]
    Plantinga argues that God—if he exists—would intend to produce creatures that know him and can have a relationship with him, and that this would involve producing creatures with cognitive faculties that form true beliefs about him.
    […]
    maltheists can’t mirror
    […]
    we have good reason to think that it’s unlikely that evil-god would ensure that his creatures’ beliefs about him are produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties. This is because it’s worse to hold unjustified beliefs than it is to hold justified beliefs, and this means that evil-god has reason to ensure that his creatures’ beliefs about him aren’t formed by way of proper function.

    In other words, since evil-god is concerned with increasing the baddness in the world, he has reason to ensure that his creatures’ beliefs about him aren’t justified, since unjustified beliefs are worse than justified beliefs. […] whether or not evil-god exists, belief in evil-god is probably unjustified.

  61. says

    PZ it is important that you deliver an opening ‘knock-out punch’. You should wear your mask and in your opening statement, FIRMLY state: “I am wearing this mask to prevent my opponent from being infected with my Rational Critical Thinking and to protect myself from infected by any of his superstitious beliefs.”

    And, PZ should not allow ANY mention of deities, the supernatural, beliefs, etc. to go unchallenged.
    Kick ass and take names later!

  62. says

    beliefs are smoke –
    In our book: OMNIASCENDENCE (tm & © copr 2016) pg. 108 we carefully define beliefs – –

    “Beliefs are defined as feelings, impressions, popular opinions
    or vague ideas not based on rational thought or fact, but rather
    based on superstition, myth, repeated stories, rumor and hearsay in
    which some form of confidence is placed by some people.”

  63. John Morales says

    shermanj, so, by your book, you do not have a belief that 2+2=4, since that is a proposition that is based on rational thought or fact.
    And you do not believe that flicking the light switch will switch the light, for similar reasons.

    Quite the crippled and situation-specific definition, that is.

    In my own estimation, beliefs are cognitive content held as true, regardless of provenance. Simple, general, flawless.

  64. says

    @85 John Morales wrote: shermanj, so, by your book, you do not have a belief that 2+2=4, since that is a proposition that is based on rational thought or fact.
    I reply: We are not so feeble minded as to need to place some unsubstantiated confidence in a rumored ‘belief’ that 2+2=4, since it is demonstrably true.
    @85 John Morales wrote: And you do not believe that flicking the light switch will switch the light
    I reply: Why would we need to rely on a ‘belief’ that the light switch will turn on the light when we can do switch it on and observe the reality (in our world, at least) that the light is on. That is not ‘situational’. Beliefs ARE smoke, not substantiated. We don’t need the superstitions that are beliefs. It is sad that you must rely on mere unsubstantiated confidence in a belief you ‘hold as true’. Our definition has been analytically, critically examined by many sophisticated minds, including university professors and found to be credible. I will play no more semantic games with you.

  65. John Morales says

    shermanj:

    We are not so feeble minded as to need to place some unsubstantiated confidence in a rumored ‘belief’ that 2+2=4, since it is demonstrably true.

    So it’s not a true belief, by your definition.
    That’s exactly what I noted.
    Again: In your ad hoc definition, rational beliefs do not exist.

    Beliefs ARE smoke, not substantiated.

    And this is a proposition that you do not believe, right?

    (If you did believe it, it would be a belief, and therefore smoke)

    We don’t need the superstitions that are beliefs.

    Almost there.
    What we don’t need is the beliefs that are superstitions.

    Our definition has been analytically, critically examined by many sophisticated minds, including university professors and found to be credible.

    Oh, I believe it. It is indeed credible that it is your definition.
    The definition that is what you believe, ostensibly.
    Your belief, and their belief — allegedly.

    I will play no more semantic games with you.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantics

  66. KG says

    maltheists can’t mirror
    […]
    we have good reason to think that it’s unlikely that evil-god would ensure that his creatures’ beliefs about him are produced by properly functioning cognitive faculties. This is because it’s worse to hold unjustified beliefs than it is to hold justified beliefs, and this means that evil-god has reason to ensure that his creatures’ beliefs about him aren’t formed by way of proper function.

    In other words, since evil-god is concerned with increasing the baddness in the world, he has reason to ensure that his creatures’ beliefs about him aren’t justified, since unjustified beliefs are worse than justified beliefs. […] whether or not evil-god exists, belief in evil-god is probably unjustified. – CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain quoting Perry Hendricks

    Since few if any “maltheists” exist, an argument aimed at maltheists is otiose; the point being made is that the “sceptical theist” dodge can be mirrored. An evil God would very likely want to fool people into believing it was benevolent, thereby increasing the horror and despair they feel when it reveals its true nature to them, so any evidence or argument for a benevolent god is also evidence or argument for a malevolent one. Aside from that, even on its own terms, the claim that a benevolent God would want us to be able to reason correctly fails, because the “sceptical theist” has told us we can’t possibly know that God doesn’t have good reason for doing anything that looks bad to us, so it might have good reason for giving us the unreliable cognitive faculties which, according to the evidence, we have (odd that Hendricks doesn’t appear to have noticed this). As for this “properly basic” crap, no-one who isn’t trying to prop up an unfounded belief in a benevolent deity needs to take it seriously.

  67. KG says

    Further to my #88, it’s interesting that Hendricks and the other proponents of “reformed epistemology” (snort!) appear to have retreated from trying to argue for their imaginary friend’s existence, to trrying to argue that they are justified in belieiving in it. IOW, it’s no longer about God, it’s all about them!

  68. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @KG #89:

    it’s no longer about God, it’s all about them!

    Yep. And even if you let them declare, “Sensus divinitatis! I’m innately infallible about a thing wanting a relationship, and you’re lying/broken to disagree (it must not want a relationship with you). I win!” there’s no relationship to be had. It’s just their one-sided fantasizing about the thing.

    OMG, I just googled some random apologetics: ~Jesus died painfully AND left you a whole book. What more do you want from him!? So clingy!~

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