You're right and you're wrong. If I assert positively that there is no god, then I am obligated to prove my position. If, however, as I do, I assert that I have seen no credible evidence for god, I am merely obligated to prove that I have seen no credible evidence, which I have not.However, if you positively state to me that there is a god, under the rules of logic and argumentation, you are indeed obligated to show me credible proof.That's how logic works.
Rather you can do what intelligent Atheists like Quentin Smith do, try to make the case that somehow God is logically impossible or try to show that the Universe is eternal or that the Universe could somehow have come into existence by itself without a cause. That is how logic really works. The problem is unlike the Classic Atheists of old who actually respected rational investigation the modern New Atheist is just well.......lazy.I of course blame Dawkins, Hitchens, & Harris for this nonsense.
Farmer,Finally someone gets it! You are right, I should be able to mount a defense for my worldview, and I can. The fact that I do not believe in gods is a small part of my worldview.But just because my worldview entails that I don't believe in any gods, it does not follow that I should be able to prove that no gods exist. I suspect that your worldview entails that you do not believe that each of your fingers is controlled by an immaterial gremlin that reads your mind and types out what you intend to type. But I would never expect or demand that you prove the gremlin theory false. Rather, I would expect the gremlin theorist to make the case.So now what?We must find common ground. Both you and I agree that the natural world exists. But you make an additional claim. A claim I have so far no reason to believe is true.
I suppose it depends on what kind of evidence you're looking for. Regardless, atheist philosophies are a bit more subtle than just a simple, outright belief that God does not exist. Instead, if you're a metaphysical naturalist like Sagan you might say something like, "The universe is all there is, ever was, or ever will be." This is one example of an atheist belief that arises from certain assumptions. In this case, it is likely based on the presumption of the primacy of a scientific epistemology which essentially precludes a being like God. A person like Sagan might ask, "Where's the [scientific] evidence for God?" This might seem like a legit question, but first one would have to wonder what would lead an atheist to ask for this kind of evidence. As a point of fact, this kind of evidentialism (which you may or may not share) is logically invalid and I can demonstrate why it is. As a point of fact, you seem to assume that atheism is the default position until proven otherwise, but every attempt to prop atheism up philosophically that I have witnessed as failed. Why should I presume a worldview which has not rational, philosophical basis is the default worldview to hold?
Apparently I like to say, "As a point of fact" quite often.
My first comment is directed at the first commentor. UnBeguiled, this comment is for you.Finally someone gets it! You are right, I should be able to mount a defense for my worldview, and I can. The fact that I do not believe in gods is a small part of my worldview.This is a fact that many atheists seem to be unaware of, and many apologists would do well to take note of. But just because my worldview entails that I don't believe in any gods, it does not follow that I should be able to prove that no gods exist.Perhaps not. What I'm really trying to get at is the idea that your worldview, which leads you to atheism requires some burden of proof. If, for intsance, you base your atheism on scientism, you should demonstrate why scientism is sound before assuming that atheism is true. I suspect that your worldview entails that you do not believe that each of your fingers is controlled by an immaterial gremlin that reads your mind and types out what you intend to type. But I would never expect or demand that you prove the gremlin theory false. Rather, I would expect the gremlin theorist to make the case.This falls under the same category as the FSM or the invisible pink unicorn which I previously addressed in my post. We must find common ground. Both you and I agree that the natural world exists. But you make an additional claim. A claim I have so far no reason to believe is true.This brings me back to my original point, that atheists aren't atheists simply because they believe that the natural world exists. Instead they often employ a scientistic (yes, that is a word) epistemology, or they subscribe to metaphysical naturalism and so on. Neither of these viewpoints are self-evident, and so I can say to you that I see no reason to accept these 'philosophies' which lead you to believe that atheism is the default point-of-view. I'm not trying to escape my burden of proof, as I still think I have that burden, for the record.
I was reading William Lane Cragg a few days ago. Part of the problem is narrowly defining Atheism as being a person "without god(s) belief". The problem with that narrow definition is that well if true then all new born babies are "Atheists" since they are "without god(s) belief".That sort of makes a mockery of Atheism as a philosophy if you ask me. I'm a veteran of various Catholic Vs Protestant theological debates. It's a tactic we both use on each other. Shifting the burden of proof. In any dispute it is NOT enough to shift the burden on the other guy. Both sides need to accept they have a burden of proof.You Atheists need to make a positive case for Materialism & Metaphysical Naturalism. Otherwise you are just blowing smoke. Still those Atheists who do try never get the press coverage. The media simply trys to sell the simpleminded atheism of Dawkins & Hitchens.Sad really. The Intelligent Atheists are a better challenge for us Theists.
Hi IrishFarmer,I sympathize with your frustration, but maybe this clarification will help. You are absolutely right that atheists must be taken to task for their assertions just as much as theists. It is not fair or intellectually honest to give atheists a free pass.However, when it comes to the specific position of "I lack a belief in a god or gods", this is not a positive assertion and does not place a burden of proof on the holder to demonstrate that these supernatural entities do not exist. If someone makes no other claims, there's not a whole lot you can do except present the evidence of your god and try to convince them.On the other hand, positions like "altruistic behavior can be explained without a god" or "life evolved from non-life" or "the fact that 95% of the world believe in a higher power has a natural explanation" or "metaphysical naturalism is true" all place a burden of proof on the person making the claim. If they say that the evidence for any of these claims is simply "common sense" you should absolutely not let them get away with it. These statement, while possibly true, are far from being obviously true.So, in summary: atheism requires no proof, but positive assertions made by atheists definitely do.At the same time, I don't tend to hear a lot of atheists making these claims (except for maybe the first one, which is controversial but has some strong scientific evidence). Most of the time, atheists take the position of "well, we don't really know. I am unconvinced by your supernatural explanation, but I don't claim to have the definitive answer". You don't need to have the right answer to spot a wrong answer.I'm curious to know about these implausible scientific explanations that are usually coupled with lacking a belief in a god or gods. Do you feel that atheists are asserting these explanations as factually true? Or are they just using them as a response to a strong theistic claim such as "without a god, morality could not possibly exist"? Strong claims need only weak evidence to be taken down. Weak claims are harder to defeat, which brings me to my next point.It is true that the existence of the Christian god could be defeated by showing that it is logically inconsistent. However, if that is the only way that Christians believe their god could be disproved, then all that has been demonstrated is that the Christian god is a logically consistent idea. This idea does not necessarily have anything to do with reality. To demonstrate that would require additional ways in which it could be defeated. For example, if you want people to believe that your god answers prayers, then there needs to be some way to disprove that your god answers prayers. Otherwise, why should anybody believe you?So if you are prepared to claim that "God" is more than just a logically consistent imaginary concept, then you'll have to describe some of these other properties that could, in theory, be disproved.I disagree with you that atheists all have to play the worldview construction game. Not everyone feels the need to have an accounting of everything. I haven't met many atheists who would say "naturalism is true" or "science is the only way to truth". They may say something more like "I see no evidence for the supernatural" or "science is the only demonstrably reliable means to truth I've encountered" but that leaves a lot of room for "I don't know" and "I don't care". Most Christians I know, strive to have an accounting of everything, but you have to be careful not to project that onto others--it's just not the case that everyone requires a complete worldview to get by day to day. I think that you overestimate the difficulty of constructing a foundation for atheism. It's really not that hard. For instance, you could just be a nihilist--believe in nothing. Bam. Done. Now if you want to start claiming to know something, and you want to get in the business of convincing other people, it gets a little harder. Still, you don't have to have all the answers to call B.S. on someone else who claims to have it all figured out.Anyway, I enjoyed your post. If you have any thoughts about my comments, I'm interested in hearing them.Happy Mothers' Day!
Farmer,I will take 'scientism' to mean the position that empirical knowledge is the only kind of knowledge. I do not hold such a view.I do hold the view that at this point in history, the various methods of science are the most reliable methods at getting at what is most likely true. Based on that I have come to Naturalism.I suspect that you may try to claim that I cannot demonstrate that the methods of science are reliable without first assuming that empiricism is reliable. And you will be right.But you too assume empiricism. All animals do. So every time you use your sense organs to gather data in order to act, you are stealing the concept of my worldview.In fact, in order to make a response, you will be borrowing from my worldview by relying on the fruits of science and by using your eyes to see the screen and tactile sense to type.You should not criticize my worldview, if you must borrow from my worldview in order to do so.I flesh out my worldview somewhat here:http://unbeguiled.blogspot.com/2008/10/naturalism-consquence-of-science.html
As usual, all talk and no substance. But that's just what I've come to expect from such intellectually stunted individuals. Atheists don't have anything to prove, and all the evidence is in favor of an all natural world anyways. Richard Carrier's book is an excellent overview of such evidence and I highly recommenced it. Thus far I haven't seen anyone successfully argue against Carrier's evidence and arguments. If our "worldview," though I just like to call it what it is - reality, is truly as flimsy or on equal footing with the theistic view why in the hell has no theist been able to fully justify their belief in such an immaterial worldview? Science is discovering naturalistic explanations all the time.The atheist "worldview" also does not rest on any "assumptions." It actually rests on evidence - testable evidence in many cases (as far as directly testing supernatural claims). So far there has been no evidence of any supernatural part of the world. The arguments at this blog are as pathetic as always.
UnBeguiled,That's an excellent point. Theists are forced to steal parts of science and naturalism in order to fight against science and naturalism. It's pretty humerous when you think about it. Not to mention hypocritical.If a theist truly wants to argue using their actual worldview - and only their worldview - they can only use the bible and nothing else. Anything else is stealing and hypocritical.
Definition: God - a spiritual being that created the universe.1. All human experience has shown that created things are created by one or more beings with bodies.2. The universe was created. (supposedly)3. Probably, by induction, the universe was created by one or more beings with bodies.4. If God exists, then the universe was created by a being without a body. (analytic truth)5. Therefore, God probably does not exist. (from 3 and 4 by modus tollens)
Definition: God - a spiritual being that caused the existence of the universe.Assumption: Kalam is sound.1. All human experience shows that physical effects have physical causes.2. The universe is a physical effect. (from Kalam)3. Probably, by induction, the cause of the universe was physical.4. If God exists, then the cause of the universe was non-physical.5. Therefore, God probably does not exist. (from 3 and 4 by modus tollens)
Definition: God - a spiritual being that created the universe out of nothing1. All human experience shows that created things are made from pre-existing stuff.2. The universe was created. (supposedly)3. Probably, by induction, the universe was created out of pre-existing stuff.4. If God exists, the universe was created out of non-pre-existing stuff.5. Therefore, God probably does not exist. (from 3 and 4 by modus tollens)
UnBeguiled,All of your arguments beg the question for physicalism, so no wonder you arrive at a physicalist conclusion! This is merely playing to the atheist peanut gallery, not engaging against the Christian worldview.Obviously I grant that most, even virtually all, human experiences are as you say, but inductive inferences are overturned by only one counterexample. You don't have a justification for utilising the principle of induction. There are serious problems with a few other statements:-1. All human experience shows that physical effects have physical causes.-The laws of logic are not physical.-1. All human experience shows that created things are made from pre-existing stuff.-We're not Mormons here. God is not a created thing.
Rhology,I am defending why I don't believe in gods based on my worldview. I use induction for pragmatic reasons. All animals do, including you. You should not borrow from my worldview, then criticize me for doing the same thing you do.I do not expect you to be persuaded by my arguments. Rather, I am answering the challenge of the original post. I long ago realized that people who are satisfied with invoking magic as a causal explanation are unlikely to be persuaded by science and argumentation.I at no point invoked a presupposition of physicalism.
Rhology,Obviously I grant that most, even virtually all, human experiences are as you sayThat is why I am a Naturalist. I do not have any experience of non-physical causation or immaterial beings with magical powers. That is why I find theistic arguments so implausible.Asking me to 'justify' induction (for other than pragmatic reasons), is making an unreasonable demand. You cannot justify induction either, without begging the question. (Claiming a god ensures the uniformity of nature is no help.)
>Asking me to 'justify' induction (for other than pragmatic reasons), is making an unreasonable demand.I reply: You mean like making empirical demands of evidence for a non-empirical catagory?;-)Cheers.
BenYachov,So you believe that your god is not empirically detectable? You don't believe that your god has intervened in the world in any detectable way? If that's true, then you're right that a demand for evidence would be unreasonable. But that wouldn't be much of a god, now would it? It certainly wouldn't be the Christian, Muslim or Jewish god.But if you assert that your god turned water into wine or parted the Red Sea, or sent Hurricane Katrina to punish abortionists, then you have to play by the rules that everyone else does and provide some evidence. You can't have it both ways.
Definition: God - a spiritual being that interacts with the physical universe1. If God exists, we would have empirical evidence that God interacts with the universe.2. We don't.3. Therefore, God does not exist.
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>So you believe that your god is not empirically detectable? I reply: Not directly anymore then you could directly detect a superstring.>You don't believe that your god has intervened in the world in any detectable way?I reply: What type of intervention are we talking about? Creatio continuans? Providentia ordinaria? or Providentia extraordinaria? Of course I believe God intervines but with out specifics I can't answer the question.>If that's true, then you're right that a demand for evidence would be unreasonable. But that wouldn't be much of a god, now would it? It certainly wouldn't be the Christian, Muslim or Jewish god.I reply: Rather you are going to have to give me something to work with rather then ambigouity. >But if you assert that your god turned water into wine or parted the Red Sea, or sent Hurricane Katrina to punish abortionists, then you have to play by the rules that everyone else does and provide some evidence. You can't have it both ways.I reply: So you ARE demanding empirical evidence for a non-empirical catagory. If I could produce the wine Jesus transformed from water how could science tell us it was once water?But if I had a bunch of eyewitnesses telling me they saw him do it. I should consider that.Just like with the Sun dancing at Fatima.
That reminds me . . . Definition: God - a rational spiritual being that specially created human beings in his own image1. Things created by rational beings are created with an appropriate scale. (Example: You would not build a dog house as big as the pentagon. That would be idiotic. The scale is inappropriate.)2. If God exists, the universe would be an appropriate size indicative of human specialness.3. The universe is fracking ginormous, way out of proportion for human specialness, indicating that humans are in no way special.4. Therefore, God does not exist.
Definition: God - a rational spiritual being that specially created human beings in his own image>1. Things created by rational beings are created with an appropriate scale. (Example: You would not build a dog house as big as the pentagon. That would be idiotic. The scale is inappropriate.)I reply: Ironically according to Hugh Moss Atheists prior to the 19th century complained the universe was too small. They complained "Wouldn't an Infinite God make an Infinite Universe or at least a Larger One?Would a King build a shack to live in instead of a Palace?"Back then according to the current science the Universe was just the solar system. So which is it?
BenYachov,Where in my argument does it say anything about God being infinite?An infinite being is unintelligible to me. I would not make an argument that was unintelligible, especially to myself.
>Where in my argument does it say anything about God being infinite?>An infinite being is unintelligible to me. I would not make an argument that was unintelligible, especially to myself.I reply: But since mainstream Theism(classic Jewish, Christian & Muslim belief) assumes an Infinite God "refuting" the existence of a finite "god" that is not postulated by mainstream Theism is a pointless exercise.I'm a total strong Atheist in regards to the existence of any finite "gods".Anyway the shifting the burden of proof tactic is getting old.Please provide empirical or some other type of positive evidence for Metaphysical naturalism.
BenYachov,I do not like the term "metaphysical naturalism". My own worldview I would call mere naturalism. You can read the details of why I am a naturalist here.In summary, currently the most reliable inter-subjective ways of acquiring knowledge are the various methods of science. So, using our most reliable methods, we have never encountered anything supernatural. We find no ghosts, demons, gods, ferries, or angels. Consequently, I don't believe any of those things exist. I'm a mere naturalist.It does you no good to claim that the god you believe in is not discoverable by empirical methods. In that case, you are certainly not an orthodox Christian.
Ben,If you want it formally:1. If after an intensive search of the world scientists and historians have found no evidence for likely candidates for a supernatural event, then naturalism is probably true.2. After an intensive search of the world, scientists and historians have found no uncontroversial evidence for likely candidates for a supernatural event.2. Therefore, naturalism is probably true.
>It does you no good to claim that the god you believe in is not discoverable by empirical methods. In that case, you are certainly not an orthodox Christian.I never said that. I said to the other person that God cannot be directly detected by empirical means. Also given the existence of God & granted that God turned a vat of water into wine you & your friend have yet to postulate an empirical experiment by which you could discern that the wine was once water.As for my orthodoxy I am orthodox by the standards of the (Roman) Catholic Church.You are making a catagory mistake by equating the Uncaused Cause of the Universe with Elves & ferries.1. some things have a cause.2. It is impossible for everything to have a cause.3. Therefore there must be an uncaused cause.>1. If after an intensive search of the world scientists and historians have found no evidence for likely candidates for a supernatural event, then naturalism is probably true.I reply: The above is not self evident. To assume it is merely begging the question.>2. After an intensive search of the world, scientists and historians have found no uncontroversial evidence for likely candidates for a supernatural event.I reply: How do you define "uncontroversial"? Is there "controversial evidence"? Why is it "controversial"?Also this is a mere universal negative that assumes without proof naturalism & empirical verificationuism. >2. Therefore, naturalism is probably true.I reply: Where is the positive empirical evidence?(I can turn the same metaphysical catagory mistake right back on you till you stop making it).Cheers.
BTW UnBeguiled I should warn you there is an Atheist troll here that likes to pretend to be other people. I take it you have noticed him?I bring this up because if for some reason you read any posts in my name that are insulting to you please not it's not me.I merely disagree with you. I bear you no ill will.
3. Therefore there must be an uncaused cause.Yes, it's called the quantum vacuum.You rejected my first premise. Let's explore that.After an extensive search of our standard sized bedroom, my girlfriend and I have have not found an elephant. Therefore, there is probably not an elephant in our bedroom.Are we justified in our conclusion?-----------------I have no good reasons to believe a vat of water was miracled into wine.
>Yes, it's called the quantum vacuum.I reply: Yeh....a quantum vacuum is NOT a vacuum in the strong philosophical sense(absolute nothing) but is merely the quantum state with the lowest possible energy. Thus virtual particles that arise "un-caused" in a quantum vacuum don't come from nothing but they emerge from the Zero Point Energy field that is the quantum vacuum. They are only called "uncaused" in the weak sense in that we don't as of yet understand the physical conditions that cause Zero Point Energy to become a Virtual Particle. Sort of like a pre-scientific barbarian would not understand how condensation occurs but could reasonably conclude rain somehow comes from clouds. So they don't come from nothing (like the Universe) in the strong sense. Also science tells us quantum events can only occur in space time. The thing about Big Bang is that matter & Energy didn't just burst forth from the Initial Singularity but Space & Time did as well. So how can you have a quantum event cause Big Bang when Big Bang is the cause of the conditions under which quantum events happen?OTOH if you still want to claim quantum events can occur without space time & like Hawkings & others reduce the Universe to a Quantum Wave Function then you still have to postulate an Uncaused Cause that produced the Wave Function & according to a strict Copenhagen interpretation you would need an Intelligence to observe or measure the wave & cause it's collapse to bring about the creation of the Universe.>You rejected my first premise. Let's explore that.>After an extensive search of our standard sized bedroom, my girlfriend and I have have not found an elephant. Therefore, there is probably not an elephant in our bedroom.>Are we justified in our conclusion?I reply: If your room is no bigger then 10X20X15 feet then I would say yes. However if your Room is a room on the Death Star that is about a cubic mile & filled with lots of stuff then I would say you are not justified in your conclusion. Anyway the Room in question is a planet with a diameter of about 12,756.2km. I find it hard to believe you can reasonably sustain your universal negative under present conditions. You would have to visit every spot on planet Earth in every time period if it's history to sustain your first premise.>I have no good reasons to believe a vat of water was miracled into wine.I reply: I must remind you it was your co-Atheist Dane who demanded "evidence" that water was once turned into wine. I merely pointed out that by his own standard it was an irrational demand. If it is a reasonable demand then it is reasonable for Rhology to claim "You don't have a justification for utilizing the principle of induction."You can't have it both ways.Peace out I have some Zombie movies to watch.
I am not a physicist. I am aware of purely naturalistic speculative models of the origin of the universe.But, I'm more interested in what the data shows: we have no data prior to the first Planck time. So, who knows what happened then or how? Not me. Also, it seems we either need an infinite regress or an un-caused cause, both of which to me seem intuitively absurd. But, I don't give much credence to intuition.However if your Room is a room on the Death Star that is about a cubic mile & filled with lots of stuff then I would say you are not justified in your conclusion.So you believe in Leprechauns?Enjoy the Zombies.
Waste of SPACE!.....Damn, carpal tunnel again. Anon atheists are better at these waste-of-life typing games.
...Actually, some atheists are better at waste-of-life mind games rather than typing:(after being spanked with Death Star analogies): "So you believe in Leprechauns?"Yes, they're called the RRS. I have yet to find any true Irish among them, but they all tend to live in underground hovels and horde the monies of others, secreting them away in tin cans and primus stoves. They also dance naked for money on occasion so I hear, and are known to follow rainbows (in the modern sense) to the nearest tripod and camcorder, where they flail about in front of a lens for the sake of several youtube viewers in Podunk, South Carolina.
well said kh123, I don't have a clue what the fuck you were saying, but you said it well.
UnBeguiled,So you use induction, but you can't justify it. This is a very serious matter. If you can't justify it, then you have no explanation for any grounding of intelligibility, education, learning, study, science, technology, or anythg. You need to grapple with that.I can of course justify it w/o begging the question. I don't assume induction to justify it - THAT would be begging the question. And it's what you do.I presuppose the God of the Bible, and if TGOTB exists, then induction is sound due to His promise of keeping the processes according to which the world operates in place until the Eschaton. You said:-You should not borrow from my worldview-That's not borrowing from yours. Mine accts for induction just fine, I don't need to reach into yours, which can't even acct for induction, for that. You said:-I at no point invoked a presupposition of physicalism.-Then you said:-I do not have any experience of non-physical causation or immaterial beings with magical powers. That is why I find theistic arguments so implausible.-So, which is it? According to my presupposition, you have seen plenty of immaterial being, since you do know He exists but you suppress the truth in wickedness. And on yours, you simply see those things and chalk them up to not-immaterial-being-ness, but without any other reason than...ding ding ding, you assume physicalism. Peace,Rhology
Rhology,You are joking, right?induction is sound due to His promise of keeping the processes according to which the world operatesSo how do you know God will keep his promise? You say he always has? So what, that does not mean he always will. It does you no good to just assert that that is "his nature", as I could just assert that it is the "nature" of nature to remain uniform.You cannot use induction to justify induction. You are begging the question, as I predicted you would.The problem of induction remains.Nice try though!