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8/11/08

Challenge to Atheists

[Also posted at atheism analyzed].
Atheists are de facto Materialists. Materialism is a necessary consequence of denying the supernatural. As Materialists they tend to revere empiricism as a source of truth. And they are convicted of their own possession of the singular truth of the universe, that there is no first cause.

Since Atheists have possession of the truth, they should not be adverse to sharing it here with us. The truth, of course, would be material and in the form of empirical experimental data, replicated by separate disinterested scientific teams, unfalsified, yet falsifiable, peer reviewed and published in a major scientific journal. These are criteria frequently cited by Atheists, and should be agreeable to them.

Here is a partial list items requiring material, empirical proof (See Rules below):

Note: If you can prove #4 (abiogenesis), there is $1,000,000.00 waiting for you here.

more below:


1. Prove there is no God.

2. Prove Materialism is true.

3. Prove Monism is true.

4. Prove abiogenesis actually happened.

5. Prove macroevolution actually happened.

6. Prove Parsimony is a Law of Nature.

7. Prove Universal Uniformitarianism exists in all cases.

8. Prove wisdom does not exist.

9. Prove humans are perfectible.

10.Prove universal happiness is a moral imperative.

11.Prove information is identical to the media scaffold upon which it resides.

12.Prove the Multiverse exists.

Rules:
1. Only empirical experimental data, replicated by separate disinterested scientific teams, unfalsified yet falsifiable, peer reviewed and published in a major scientific journal.

2. No generalities or philosophical meanderings will be accepted; only empirical (material) experimental proofs are allowed.

3. Truth by majority vote is not accepted; Truth by deferring to authority is not accepted.

67 comments:

  1. You know, if you're going to try to debunk atheism, you need to understand what it is. Over and over I hear atheists describing what they mean when they call themselves atheists, and over and over again I hear the Christian re-define it.

    An atheist just lacks belief in any god. It's not that he knows for certain there is no god. He can know that there are not certain gods. For instance, if a particular concept of god includes contradictory elements, then he would know that that particular god was not real.

    My point being, number 1 is not relevant for most atheists because most atheists don't claim that they know for certain that there is no type of god at all. It's just that they lack belief in any particular god.

    Same with 2 I would assume. An atheist might believe that the material world is all there is. There's no reason to take belief in fairies and leprechauns seriously. But I can't absolutely prove it.

    Are atheists monists?

    4 is a tough one to prove. People speculate, and I think their speculations are often plausible, but that's far different from a proof.

    5 is pretty easy. Go here for instance.

    Wisdom does not exist? Who says that wisdom doesn't exist?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1. Scarlett Johansson hasn't done any nude scenes.
    2. I think Madonna took care of this one: "we're living in a material world"
    3. I caught it once in High School.
    4. Genesis 2:7
    5. Ha ha. You don't believe in evolution. You're silly.
    6. I don't know if it's a law or anything, but it would be a pretty good name for a hamster. I still prefer "Marzipan", though.
    7. I went to UU church once, but they were a little too crunchy for me.
    8. Your post.
    9. Me without my shirt on.
    10. I propose a different moral imperative: make everyone but Stan happy.
    11. What? People believe this? Have they never taken a computer science course or what?
    12. I saw The Dark Knight there. It was showing on four screens. Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Actually, there are atheists who most certainly do claim to have absolute knowledge that no gods exist at all.

    For instance, I am sure that Peter will be making his way to this post sooner or later and he will be glad to positively affirm that no gods exist at all.

    Another example is Professor of Philosophy Daniel Dennett who wrote: “We atheists don’t believe that there is any God” (Daniel Dennett, Thank Goodness!).
    He said “We” and included all atheist, I did not say that.

    Moreover, this is how atheism has been classically defined by The Academic American Encyclopedia, The Random House Encyclopedia-1977, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy-1995, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy-1995, The Dictionary of Philosophy, Thomas Mautner, Editor-1996, The World Book Encyclopedia-1991, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy-1967, The Encyclopedia of Religion-1987, The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics-Vol II, Funk and Wagnall's New Encyclopedia-Vol I, Webster's New World Large Print Dictionary, et al.

    The problem is that most atheist today are agnostics who do not know it or do not admit it or I do not know what.

    aDios,
    Mariano

    ReplyDelete
  4. The "lack of belief in god" is easily debunked, as has been done here before. If you have heard of the possibility of a god, you have four choices:
    (a)ignore the concept;
    (b)reject the concept;
    (c)accept the concept;
    (d)defer a decision due to lack of data.
    If you ignore the concept, you have effectively rejected it as having meaning in your life. So (a) and (b) are Atheistic. (c) is theistic; (d) is agnostic.

    To say that you lack "god belief" is not possible; it is a deception created to deflect arguments away from the truth: Atheists deny God.

    This "lack" of belief is a fairly recent innovation to the Atheist library of Red Herrings. It doesn't work. Sorry.

    Once again, Atheists will need to provide Material proof of their assertions, or they will be seen to believe a principle that has no proof. It is taken on faith. In other words, religion.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Stan, does that mean you are "waiting for the evidence to come in" on fairies? The Chaos Gods? The tooth fairy? Santa Claus?

    After all, they haven't been proven false...

    There are more things that haven't been proven false than there are that I can think of!

    Or, more succiently, flying teapot.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can't tell whether stan suddenly developed a sense of humor, in which case this is genuinely funny satire, or whether he is being serious?

    Mariano:

    "The problem is that most atheist today are agnostics who do not know it or do not admit it or I do not know what."

    Isn't this just wishful thinking on your part? I think that most atheists who call themselves atheists are probably the equivalent of a number 6 on the scale in TGD, i.e. "strongly convinced there's no such thing as a God and living my life accordingly, but not absolutely certain." Calling this agnosticism would be an insult to genuine agnostics.

    I would speculate that it's rather the other way around: there is very likely a significant population of closet atheists pretending to be agnostics simply out of ignorance or a reluctance to commitment (what with all the social stigma that this entails in the US!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Material" proof that a supernatural, non-material being does not exist?

    Right. How's about the lack of evidence for your god as opposed to switching the burden of proof.

    And of course, do you people try to show that every other god except yours does not exist? No. Yet you ask that of us. You people are just one god away from being atheists yourselves.

    You people can't seem to, or more likely don't want to say, that the reason atheists don't believe in god is because we've seen that there's no evidence for him.

    Inaccurate so-called "infallible" holy books and whatnot help our case in showing that there's no evidence for your gods.

    Though all sorts of excuses will be made up to explain away mistakes in the various holy books and the theists will want us to try to disprove a negative.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Stan, to say that an atheist "denies god" is baloney. That's saying that they actually believe in god but don't want to.

    Guess what? That's not the case. If you think it is, the onus is on you to show it; something you have not done here.

    As to us having to provide "material" proof that god does not exist? Do people ask for "material proof" that unicorns and fairies don't exist when confronted with someone who doesn't believe in them??

    For someone who claims to have been an atheist for forty years one would think you'd have thought about that.

    I guess that claim is just another thing you said that isn't true.

    ---------------
    The fact that there are 30,000 different religions all saying "those other guys are wrong" is one of the reasons why I'm an atheist.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love how you put "deny the supernatural", as if the supernatural is somehow already proved and has mountains of evidence supporting it.

    Good luck with that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Another example is Professor of Philosophy Daniel Dennett who wrote: “We atheists don’t believe that there is any God”

    That's right. That's different from saying "There is definitely no type of god at all." If you were to ask me if I thought that life existed elsewhere in the universe I would say yes. That's what I think is probably true. I'm not absolutely certain, and I can't prove it, but that's my belief. That's like the claim of the atheist. You ask me what I believe and I tell you. I don't think there is any type of god at all. Holding to that opinion makes you an atheist, but it doesn't mean you are claiming you can prove it.

    Stan, the atheist takes option b. He doesn't think there is a god. He doesn't think there are fairies or leprechauns or invisible teapots floating around Saturn. But he holds beliefs with a certain degree of certainty. Some things he is very certain of (he is certain that he exists). Some things he is quite certain of, but not 100%. There are no elephants in his house. God does not exist. Some things he believes are true, but he holds with less certainty. The attacks at the WTC were not an inside job. Oswald killed JFK. He holds these opinions, but wouldn't be stunned if the evidence overturned them, in which case he would change his opinion.

    I can tell you good reasons to believe that any particular god does not exist. I can show you empirically that there are observable features about our world that make better sense on the assumption that there is no god. That justifies a position of atheism, and as I understand it that is why people take an atheistic position. It's not because they can prove with certainty that there is no god.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mariano,

    Well, for one thing, no one can speak for all atheists. There is no "pope" or "bible" of atheism.

    However, I have no qualm with that Daniel Dennett quote. Atheism simply means "without theism". If you don't believe in any gods, you are by definition an atheist. It's as simple as that.

    This lack of belief does not require absolute knowledge. An atheist may note the myriad of contradictory religious and outlandish supernatural claims, see no reason why any of these unproven claims is more valid than the next, and thus choose not to believe any of them.

    Also, the claim that an atheist must have absolute knowledge that there are no gods to disbelieve in said gods is a double-standard. Is absolute knowledge required to believe in any god(s)? Do you have absolute knowledge that the gods of Hinduism don't exist? Or that Allah does not exist? If not, then why is such knowledge necessary for non-christians to disbelieve in the god of your religion?

    Furthermore, agnostic simply means "without knowledge". Agnosticism deals with a lack of knowledge of gods, while atheism deals with a lack of belief in gods. They are not mutually exclusive terms. One can be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.

    Also, even if you define agnosticism as not being sure whether you believe or not, you're still dealing with non-belief. In other words, someone who isn't sure that they believe in a god is not believing in a god, and is, therefore, an atheist.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nice Post

    I look forward to a serious answer though....

    (could be a looooooooong wait)

    Peace

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm a believer, but I'll put forward some answers I've seen on these.

    1. Prove there is no God.
    It's not necessary to prove negatives. "No God" belief is "default", and rather, God should be proved first. We are "born atheists" and do not have to prove no God as long as we keep continue to find no evidence for God.

    2. Prove Materialism is true.
    We have 5 senses and all of them handle physical things. If there is a non-material entity, it cannot be experienced by humans, therefor we have no reason to postulate non-material entities in the first place.

    3. Prove Monism is true.
    We have not found it to be otherwise. No need to postulate things until there is evidence for them.

    4. Prove abiogenesis actually happened.
    Abiogenesis is a logical conclusion, it must be true, even if we can't witness it directly.

    5. Prove macroevolution actually happened.
    This is a silly red herring by creationists. Macroevolution is simply what results from thousands of microevolutions taking place. Lots of little changes eventually make a big change.

    6. Prove Parsimony is a Law of Nature.
    It doesn't have to be, but it makes things easy, seems to work, and there is no reason to postulate things outside what our senses detect. So simple, material explanations work best.

    7. Prove Universal Uniformitarianism exists in all cases.
    We have no evidence or reasons to believe otherwise, we are working within our senses. To say things worked differently is to just fling random assertions without merit or evidence. Humanity has, since we've had our senses, experienced that today "works" the same as yesterday did. What ELSE are we left with except figuring it has always been so?

    8. Prove wisdom does not exist.
    It exists as each person defines it. One person might think wisdom is doing what is most practical, or helps the greatest number of people, or increases the happiness of one's family, etc...
    But I find no universal definition of what is wise given in nature.

    9. Prove humans are perfectible.
    I can only prove they can get "better", as we've seen them progress through history, we can say they will improve some more, but I don't have to believe they are perfectible.

    10.Prove universal happiness is a moral imperative.
    This is the state where humankind has its greatest experience. In other words, we don't live better by being sad, or lonely, or depressed. Happiness is the greatest state of being, therefore it's what we should (i.e. moral imperative) work toward. There doesn't seem to be any reason why we should work toward any other state of being.

    11.Prove information is identical to the media scaffold upon which it resides.
    I wouldn't say identical to, but without the media, the information doesn't exist. WITH media, information is "possible", and we live in a world where useful information came to exist on evolved media and continues to expand and refine.

    12.Prove the Multiverse exists.
    We are one universe, and while multiverse is not a necessary belief, there is little stopping us from at least entertaining the idea that other universes exist besides ours.
    --------------------------

    Again, I'm a Christian, but those are what I would perceive as some answers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "An atheist just lacks belief in any god. It's not that he knows for certain there is no god."

    Absolute bullshit. Stop trying to redefine atheism.

    Over and over I hear atheists describing what they mean when they call themselves atheists (i.e. one who believes there is no god), and over and over again I hear neophytes and ignoramuses like you try to redefine it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Samuel Skinner;
    We will be glad to post your other comment.
    Please just remove the web-address to that website and resend the rest of it.
    aDios,
    Mariano

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey- it was worth a shot. That thing would have given you nightmares. No, it wasn't imagry or disgusting- it was a review of a book series. It turns out John Ringo is... disturbed. I apologize for posting it- I had to find a way to get it out of my head. I will repost my responce to the listing. It will be differant- I do these on the spur of the moment. Late at night. On sleeping pills. While listening to music. And switching back and forth between this and the thread that refuses to die.

    Sadly, I am not kidding for any of these.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Samuel Skinner;
    Please take care of yourself and if you ever need anything please do let me know.
    aDios and shalom,
    Mariano

    ReplyDelete
  19. First, let us start with the rules. The rules stipulate that

    "1. Only empirical experimental data, replicated by separate disinterested scientific teams, unfalsified yet falsifiable, peer reviewed and published in a major scientific journal."

    This rules out questions of philosophy and logic. They are not emperical problems as can be seen by the Greeks- they went far in philosophy and their science had to be redone.

    The rest of this is reasonable, except "disinterested". Given that atheists define atheists and theists in a way that covers everyone you can't find a person outside it. It is more of an "in practice" problem than logical one.


    "2. No generalities or philosophical meanderings will be accepted; only empirical (material) experimental proofs are allowed."

    Except that concepts aren't material and he wishes for us to deal with concepts several times. It is impossible to deal with something like "wisdom" without philosphical meandering- after all, you first must give the word its meaning!


    3. Truth by majority vote is not accepted; Truth by deferring to authority is not accepted.

    No objection, except for preferances. Preferances are determined by a persons vote- capitalism is based on it with the "vote" being a persons purchases.

    Now to the points!


    1. Prove there is no God.

    Proving a negative. Also, which God? A God that kills you for diobeying the Sabbath obviously doesn't exist due to the emerical fact that people who don't obey the Sabbath still live. For this question God must be defined.



    2. Prove Materialism is true.

    The rules state we are only allowed to use materialism! Given the rules exist to makes sure that this is unbiased, it is a sure sign the person proposing them accepts materialism!

    Alternatively, a person could attempt to prove it (hopefully he doesn't require mathematical or logical, but "weight of evidence") by showing that there are no nonmaterial objects in the universe. Energy obviously exists, but it is part of matter- it can be changed into it after all, and vice versa.

    3. Prove Monism is true.

    The entire field of neurobiology, along with all painkillers, behavior modification drugs, recomendations for nutrition for higher IQ, lobotomies and the ability to identify areas based on function works on monism. It easily passes the weight of evidence. Alternate explanations have been made, but they violate Occum's Razor AND are unfalsible.

    4. Prove abiogenesis actually happened.

    I can't do that Dave. However, given that life exists and we aren't counting the supernatural, than it had to happen. As to showing it is true, I would direct you to chemistry. They will do it eventually. Give them time- I mean, it has been only fifty years since we discovered DNA! You are asking them to duplicate something that offers no financial benefit- of course progress will be slow! Who would pay for it?

    5. Prove macroevolution actually happened.

    By macroevolution you mean speciaztion, yes? Well, we have seen past examples in the fossil records and we see present signs of it happening. It is similar to the evidence for plate techtonics in that way.

    6. Prove Parsimony is a Law of Nature.

    Parsimony isn't a law of nature. This refers to Occum's Razor, right? The razor is a logical rule. A law of nature is something that can never be violated. Occum's razor CAN lead to incomplete results.

    7. Prove Universal Uniformitarianism exists in all cases.

    It doesn't. Venus is an excellent counter-example.

    8. Prove wisdom does not exist.

    Not as a physical object. As a description of a trait in people, it does.

    9. Prove humans are perfectible.

    "Those who work for perfection will find no rest this side of the grave". The accurate question "Can people be improved". The civil rights movement shows yes.

    10.Prove universal happiness is a moral imperative.

    Define morality please- I am very interested in what YOUR standard is. If happiness isn't the goal, what is?

    11.Prove information is identical to the media scaffold upon which it resides.

    I must proven the words I write are composed of bytes and nothing else? Isn't that like proving I lack an invisible friend?

    Note- this is a common antievolution argument. That information is "added" to DNA by an outside source. Er yeah- it is called mutations.

    12.Prove the Multiverse exists.

    There is no reason to believe it exists.

    Finally I'd like to adress Chuck:

    "An atheist just lacks belief in any god. It's not that he knows for certain there is no god."

    Absolute bullshit. Stop trying to redefine atheism.

    Over and over I hear atheists describing what they mean when they call themselves atheists (i.e. one who believes there is no god), and over and over again I hear neophytes and ignoramuses like you try to redefine it.

    Thank you Chuck for your opinion. If you had actually had substance in there I would mock you, but as it is you state the definition is wrong because differant atheists say differant things.

    Chuck seems not to have realized a concept I like to call "categories". What it means is that people who say there is no God and people who say they have no reason to believe in God are both atheists- after all they both "lack belief in any god".

    Now you may go with the "This definition was invented and is new, credit it to Flew, drag up quotes, claim it is new and drag us in a semantic fight. Or you can actually adress people whose position it is. People who admit they can't prove a negative, but lack a belief and think that Occum's Razor shouldn't be selectively applied.

    You can rebrand them agnostics (which ignores that agnosticism is about knowledge, while atheism and theism are about faith) if you like, but you still haven't adressed their arguments.

    Thanks Marino for informing me the reason my post was removed. I get paranoid when my posts get removed and I am not given a reason.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I published what turned out to be a rather wordy answer to the challenge here:

    http://beliefisdead.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  21. "'An atheist just lacks belief in any god. It's not that he knows for certain there is no god.'

    Absolute bullshit. Stop trying to redefine atheism.

    Over and over I hear atheists describing what they mean when they call themselves atheists (i.e. one who believes there is no god), and over and over again I hear neophytes and ignoramuses like you try to redefine it."


    Ad hominim aside, who's trying to redefine atheism? Both "one who doesn't believe that god(s) exist" (weak atheism) or "one who believes that no god(s) exist" (strong atheism) are valid positions, and both deal with non-belief in god(s).

    ReplyDelete
  22. Morescode burps, "I love how you put "deny the supernatural", as if the supernatural is somehow already proved and has mountains of evidence supporting it."


    As if you or any other pseudo-skeptical new atheist have somehow already proved that reality consists strictly of material objects.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It is truly illuminating watching Atheists deny that they deny the existence of a deity, which they equate with a unicorn.

    "'Material' proof that a supernatural, non-material being does not exist?" ...Illuminating the double standard of requiring god to show himself, and that deists/theists prove there is a deity using material proof of your designation.


    "Furthermore, agnostic simply means "without knowledge". Agnosticism deals with a lack of knowledge of gods, while atheism deals with a lack of belief in gods. They are not mutually exclusive terms. One can be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist."...Illuminating that losing contact with absolute moorings to truth allows any type of personal construct that one can imagine.

    Vigilante offers a well written version of the standard Atheist responses, which are not empirical proofs, nor even philosophical proofs, as the first item (the burden of proof dodge)indicates. "A"-theism is the challenge to theism; it is devised specifically with that in mind, to challenge theism. The burden of proof is on the challenger. But that is all beside the point. The issue of burden of proof is a dodge. It is a Red Herring intended to drag the conversation away from the challenge to Atheists: being materialists, show material, empirical proof for your assertions.

    The challenge which they can't abide addressing is that they cannot prove what they actually claim, that there is no deity.

    So they make subsidiary claims:

    I don't have to prove it (burden of proof dodge);

    I actually claim something different, using word jockying and sliding meanings;

    The first cause is equivalent to the tooth fairy;

    There are 30,000 religions therefore there is no first cause;

    Happiness is good but religion doesn't make me happy, therefore there is no first cause.

    None of these stand up to rational standards, much less empirical proof. Show us the science, the material, empirical reasons for your assertions. Otherwise you are asserting something you cannot prove, which makes it a belief of the same nature as blind religious belief. Only it is a belief that you makeup as you go, which is irrational.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Stan "Otherwise you are asserting something you cannot prove, which makes it a belief of the same nature as blind religious belief."
    The lack of gods so far indicates that atheism is a prudent course. When gods appear, atheists will change. We won't like it, but we'll change. Whether or not those gods will be worthy of worship (or if they'll even ask for/require it), is another matter entirely.
    As long as the gods remain as Sagan's garage dragon, theism is silly.
    There. I said it. Sorry if I was a bit rude there. Some of your beliefs are silly. (Some of mine, no doubt, are too.)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Nice dodge, Stan. Bottom line is, you refuse to see the point with us "equating" your god with a unicorn...so I'll ask: Do you require someone to prove that unicorns do not exist when someone tells you that they don't?

    As far as I'm concerned; the points made in my original comments still stick.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The burden of proof is on the challenger.

    Yes, (other) Stan, we've heard that before. And yes, you're still dead wrong in this context.

    Consider:

    Person A claims there are UFOs.

    Person B claims there are not UFOs.

    Upon whom lies the burden of proof in this scenario?

    You're partially right, anyway -- the a deity is not the same as a UFO, but the application of the burden of proof is unaffected by a change in the subject of the claim.

    This "lack" of belief is a fairly recent innovation to the Atheist library of Red Herrings.

    [sarcasm]

    No way! We have a library of Red Herrings? Awesome!

    [/sarcasm]

    Who would ever have guessed that you'd pull out the Red Herring card, however inappropriately, in any of your posts...

    (Incidentally, and I'm taking a big risk here, there is a pool amongst us atheists as to which of your posts on this site will not whine that your opponents are tossing about Red Herrings. It's $50 per entry, and my only entry is for your 2,718,281st post. I'm hopeful that you'll start posting every second so that I'll know the fate of my wager by the end of the month...)

    Anyway, here are my attempts at selected proofs you have requested:

    1. Impossible to prove, but an evidently unnecessary hypothesis. Occam's razor applies.

    2. Please define Materialism. If you are asking if material objects have a material nature, then that is self-evident by definition. If you mean the philosophy that nothing beyond the material world exists, I yet have no data to support anything beyond, but contrary to your Straw Man here, not all atheists dogmatically adhere to this sort of philosophy.

    3. Please define Monism. If you mean the philosophy that a singular substance ultimately defines all of reality, then we lack the technology to support this theory. If you mean the view that reality is one giant entity, then I do not support that view, and submit my own independent existence as proof against it. If you mean to question the concept that all things are interdependent, then I submit your oxygen requirement for sustaining your life as proof for such a position.

    4. Abiogenesis is a given. The process which defines it, however, is under dispute. That process cannot be defined at present.

    5. Simple. Survive a million years and I'll show you.

    6. Impossible to prove -- Ptolemy may well be right: planets, stars, the sun, the moon; all celestial objects may orbit the earth in circular orbits, with circular epicycles attached (ad nauseum). Since his system fits the data, it is acceptable. Now, use his system to put a satellite into 'apparent' orbit around Europa ('apparent' because we both recognize that the satellite would actually be in orbit around the earth, with daisy-chained sets of epicycles).

    (Optional response to [6]:

    Imagine your boss assigns you the task of printing the whole numbers 1 through 2,000,000,000 (inclusive). You may use any tool at your disposal. Avoid the Law of Parsimony while keeping your job.)

    7. Please define "Universal Uniformitarianism". Since this very topic is the second listed site for this phrase via Google, I doubt it exists at all as a philosophical view. Given the apparent dichotomy regarding "uniformitarianism" and "catastrophism", and using the individual definitions of these terms, I can say with some confidence that a mix of the two is necessary to account for the present geological state -- hence, not universally one or the other.

    8. I submit that your posts are proof enough of this.

    9. I submit that if an entity can become more perfect, then it is perfectible. Since humans have been observed to change behavior patterns radically -- some from "bad" to "good", and others from "good" to "bad" -- at least one such human has necessarily become more perfect -- even if temporarily -- and a sufficient number of such changes toward perfection would necessarily produce a perfect human, regardless of the definition of a "perfect" human.

    Q.E.D.

    10. Impossible to prove, as happiness is not universal. Assuming individual behavior can be modified to the point that happiness can become universal, then clearly universal happiness would be an ideal, but even this does not make it a moral imperative.

    11. What?! Who taught you how to be unambiguous? Moses? In what is undoubtedly a vain effort to respond to your intended question, I submit the following encrypted message:

    This message is poorly encrypted.

    I submit that you cannot decrypt this message, and that I have therefore shown that indeed, information is not identical to the media scaffold upon which it rests... whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.

    (Optional response to [11]:

    Locate a .mp3 file on your system (or some other audio file). Open it in a text editor. If the file does not playback the appropriate audio, or if it is not visibly the same audio, then the information is not identical to its media scaffold. That being said, the information is nonetheless identical, regardless of the media scaffold. I'm still not sure what you're trying to prove with this challenge, but clearly the media scaffold supporting some arbitrary information influences the way in which that information is perceived, even if the information itself is unchanged.

    Simpler even than this explanation, consider two students solving an algebra problem. Since their two answers may disagree, the "media scaffolding" is necessarily the difference, for the information is clearly identical. Hence, again, information is not identical to its scaffolding, even if it is dependent upon the same.)

    12. String Theory, which posits multiple extra dimensions (beyond the familiar 3+1), is not universally held in the scientific community, nor are various other theories which postulate extra dimensions (which would populate your "Multiverse"). Among other reasons for this reluctance to accept String Theory (and other multi-dimensional theories) is that they lack a specific quality required of true theories: that they are falsifiable. No scientific theory can truly be proven true, per se, so your request is invalidated already, but for posterity's sake it is prudent to remind the layperson that the major objection to String Theory (and its brethren) is that it, like religion, is unfalsifiable, and therefore, it is not science.


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


    Now then, (other) Stan, if your challenge is fair even in the slightest, then quid pro quo is in order. However, rather than require opposite renderings of each of your challenges, I will require only the following:

    1. Prove there is a god -- any god at all.

    2. Prove Transcendentalism is true.

    3. Prove wisdom exists.

    4. **Prove the Law of Parsimony is false, or even superfluous.

    Your rules:

    1. Any data whatsoever -- material, transcendent, spiritual, ethereal -- is acceptable, so long as I can directly experience it personally. You will have to trust that I will honestly evaluate submitted data.

    2. No generalities or philosophical meanderings will be allowed, nor will any references to a Red Herring in your 2,718,281st post.

    3. Only appeals to logic are allowed, with the exception of my personal experience of immaterial data. This means personal revelation that I cannot also experience is excluded.

    Special rules for challenge #4:

    Your proof of this challenge is not subject to any of the restrictions outlined above, but instead must meet the following criteria:

    1) The proof must be no fewer than 5,000 words in length -- it is acceptable to repeat the phrase "I have hereby proven the Law of Parsimony to be false and/or superfluous" as many times as necessary to obtain the necessary wordcount.

    2) The proof must be manually drawn onto patterned gift wrap (that is, onto the patterned side) cut into 8x12 pages, using a black permanent marker, both sides of which pages will then be scanned or photographed, in full color at a resolution no smaller than 3.0 MP, uploaded to a suitable location online as .tif, and linked in your response to the other three challenges.


    I anxiously await your proofs.

    --
    Stan

    ReplyDelete
  27. "'Furthermore, agnostic simply means "without knowledge". Agnosticism deals with a lack of knowledge of gods, while atheism deals with a lack of belief in gods. They are not mutually exclusive terms. One can be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.'...Illuminating that losing contact with absolute moorings to truth allows any type of personal construct that one can imagine."

    Aside from being a jump to conclusion, that argument actually illustrates a problem with religion. When dealing with the claims of one of the myriad contradictory religions or any baseless supernatural claims, you can hold any type of "personal construct" you want, depending on which "absolute moorings to truth" you subscribe to.

    "I don't have to prove it (burden of proof dodge); "

    By your reasoning, you have the burden of proof to disprove the existence of Allah, the gods of Hinduism, or any other gods you don't believe in. The existence of any god(s) of any religion has yet to be proven. Atheists find no compelling reason to believe such claims.

    If atheists are trying to dodge the burden of proof, so are theists.

    "I actually claim something different, using word jockying and sliding meanings;"

    For example?

    "The first cause is equivalent to the tooth fairy;"

    I've heard no such argument. However, we have about as much evidence for the existence of the tooth fairy as we do for the existence of any god(s) of any religion. Also, the idea of a "first cause" is another unproven assumption. What would have caused the "first cause"? Even if there was such a thing, we have no way of knowing what it was, whether or not it still exists, whether or not it was even a living, sentient being, much less anything supernatural. It may well have been the tooth fairy, for all we know.

    "There are 30,000 religions therefore there is no first cause;"

    There are far more than 30,000 different religions. In fact, I've read some estimates that there are over 30,000 denominations of Christianity alone! That fact alone neither confirms nor refutes the possibility of a first cause, but as I said before, even if there was a first cause, we don't know what it was.

    "Happiness is good but religion doesn't make me happy, therefore there is no first cause."

    Either a christian or an atheist might hold their beliefs (or non-beliefs) for comfort and happiness. That is a personal prerogative that neither confirms nor refutes anything. Who claims otherwise?

    ReplyDelete
  28. stan:

    Since you appear to consider it logically possible to disprove the existence of God, I am curious. How would you go about to disprove the existence of Ra? Or Marduk, or Quetzalcoatl, or just any deity of the Egyptian, Olympian, Vedic, Mesopotamian, Aztec or Norse pantheon? Why don't you pick one and disprove its existence for us, maybe that will give us unbelievers some idea of how to answer your question about Yahweh.

    ReplyDelete
  29. uhhhmmmm, let's see, lots of smoke but no real, material answers so far. Thanks for your answers and keep trying. You must have some sort of material reasons for your belief system.

    Adonais, your comment strikes the closest to the heart of the situation that you are in. You ask for guidance to do something you cannot do. No one can. And that is the point: that Atheist belief is not based in a material reality, even for those who do claim materialism. (I can disprove the "lack of belief" thing again if you wish... and the denial of materialism thing too).

    Anyway, thanks for your comments guys, keep looking for those material, empirical proofs for your belief system! When you find one, let us know.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow, all these atheists keep punting to obscure mystical mumbo jumbo. Where's the EMPIRICAL, TESTABLE PROOF, guys? You're failing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ah yes, the old "we can't prove god doesn't exist, so therefore we don't have to defend atheism". Oldest trick in the atheist's grab-bag of rhetoric.

    There are two ways to show that God doesn't exist

    1) Internal logical incoherencies in the concept of God, entailing that his existence is logically impossible.

    2) Inductive arguments from features of the universe that, were there a God, we should (or should not) expect. (E.g. arguments from evil).

    ReplyDelete
  32. adonias,

    "How would you go about to disprove the existence of Ra? Or Marduk, or Quetzalcoatl, or just any deity of the Egyptian, Olympian, Vedic, Mesopotamian, Aztec or Norse pantheon?"

    Give some information about the one you want logical arguments against. Once you do, it's easy to show that they probably don't exist.

    The same cannot be said about the classical theistic God (omnipotent, omniscient, and omniscient). No atheist has ever produced a successful argument against his existence. Likewise, no atheist has ever produced a successful argument against the fact that Jesus (specifically) is God.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anyway, thanks for your comments guys, keep looking for those material, empirical proofs for your belief system! When you find one, let us know.

    Soooo... (other) Stan is punting on:

    --The fact that the burden of proof of the existence of a deity lies squarely at the feet of the one claiming the deity exists

    --The fact that even were he to deny this burden of proof, his denial requires then that he prove the non-existence of each god he denies

    --The four simple proofs I have requested of him, with much more relaxed rules

    And, dammit, I lost the pool. Your last post didn't include a reference to a Red Herring.

    Two more things -- first, I can prove everything to you in one simple equation:

    [(a + b)^n] / n = x

    Respond!

    Second, I have provided you with the requested material, empirical proofs of each item. I did this yesterday, when we spoke in person. Your inability to recall this exchange is not my problem, and since I took such a financial risk in exposing any of the answers to you in the first place, I shall refuse to again provide them.

    --
    Stan

    ReplyDelete
  34. Where is all the empirical proof from the athiests responses??

    Methinks the athiests like to play Double Standards when it comes to showing proof.

    In my own personal experience there are another group of believers that also play this game of double standards during debate: muslims.

    PS if we can establish Jesus resurrection as the best explanation for all the evidence available, and conclude that is what happened 2000 years ago, by default that means there is no need for any beliefs for any/all other god(s), as the Risen Jesus truly reveals God in Christ.

    So we don't really need to be confused about all the lovely other gods that are thrown in (as a dodge if anything else).If Jesus rose from the dead, the God of the Bible exists and is the True God. Simple really.

    Well, lets proceed with more double standards from the crowd that can't provide the emperical data/evidence for their beliefs

    **SIGH**

    Peace

    ReplyDelete
  35. "There are two ways to show that God doesn't exist

    1) Internal logical incoherencies in the concept of God, entailing that his existence is logically impossible.

    2) Inductive arguments from features of the universe that, were there a God, we should (or should not) expect. (E.g. arguments from evil)."


    *sigh*

    These are decent suggestions, but the reality is very different. Theists never accept any arguments from induction or inductive evidence as relevant, because they can always come up with some special excuse to explain the observed null result ("God doesn't work that way" or "God doesn't think like that"). Prayer experiments and "miracles" come to mind. Same for logical inconsistencies; there are plenty around (e.g. trilemma and theodicy), but theologians simply fudge the definitions of words in order to obscure the problem. Lots of logical inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible, but that's waved away with a dozen different special explanations.

    As someone noted before, it is not generally true that a negative proof is impossible, but it depends entirely on what one is trying to prove. The Michelson-Morely null-result disproved the aether theory, or at least proved that the aether was obviated. In mathematics many kinds of proofs are also negative proofs; but in general negative proof is only possible for very specific and well-defined propositions that make some sort of prediction. God, on the contrary, is so loosely defined as to be almost undefined—and that is the material point: by allowing the definition of God to be infinitely malleable you can make him immune to disproof. Whatever conceivable test I propose, you can always come up with a special explanation for why it won't work (cf. Sagan's garage dragon).

    And that is why you also will not be able to disprove any other God (if you want to try, take a stab at the Flying Spaghetti Monster), because I can play the same game of special pleading and moving goalposts. Not that I would want to.

    "Where's the EMPIRICAL, TESTABLE PROOF, guys?" (charles)

    "Where is all the empirical proof from the athiests responses??" (patel)

    "You must have some sort of material reasons for your belief system." (stan)

    Indeed—where is the empirical testable proof FOR God?

    Materialism is currently the best explanatory framework for understanding the world. If something better comes along I'll consider it. Matarialism is demonstrably veridically robust; we could start over from scratch, posit that everything we know is possibly wrong, and we would rediscover every natural law that we currently know of. Try verifying religion that way, by saying that everything is possibly wrong and that you have to rediscover it—would you be able to rediscover it?

    ReplyDelete
  36. "Wow, all these atheists keep punting to obscure mystical mumbo jumbo. Where's the EMPIRICAL, TESTABLE PROOF, guys? You're failing."

    The same statement could be made to theists. If there's no empirical, testable evidence that any god(s) exist, how can we provide such evidence that they don't exist?

    "Give some information about the one you want logical arguments against. Once you do, it's easy to show that they probably don't exist.

    The same cannot be said about the classical theistic God (omnipotent, omniscient, and omniscient). No atheist has ever produced a successful argument against his existence. Likewise, no atheist has ever produced a successful argument against the fact that Jesus (specifically) is God."


    Why is the god of Christianity any more likely to exist than Allah, Vishnu, or any other god? Can you provide the same type of evidence against their existence that you're asking of atheists?

    ReplyDelete
  37. PS if we can establish Jesus resurrection as the best explanation for all the evidence available, and conclude that is what happened 2000 years ago, by default that means there is no need for any beliefs for any/all other god(s), as the Risen Jesus truly reveals God in Christ.

    So we don't really need to be confused about all the lovely other gods that are thrown in (as a dodge if anything else).If Jesus rose from the dead, the God of the Bible exists and is the True God. Simple really.

    Except for the fact that there is really no real good evidence that he rose from the dead at all; just a bunch of stories made up a few decades after the supposed fact.

    ReplyDelete
  38. stanthtt said:

    "I can prove everything to you in one simple equation:

    [(a + b)^n] / n = x "


    As usual, stanthtt, your logic is inverted: the actual equation is:

    [(a + b)^n] / n = 1/x

    as I indicated in our private correspondence, copies of which are now on display at the Smithsonian.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Personally I don't think that the burden of proof should be on atheists to demonstrate that any sort of entity DOESN'T exist. But since some people seem to find that perspective unconvincing, here is one such argument that I have yet to see debunked to my satisfaction:

    The following statements cannot all be simultaneously true under any circumstances:

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent
    4. There is evil in the world.

    If God has the power to do anything at all, and knows about everything, then he should be able to stop all abuses of power from occurring through direct or indirect intervention without harming anyone or intervening with anyone's free will. Any attempts to show that God does not do so because of his respect for human free will, which is the most common defense, is flawed because omnipotent means that God can do EVERYTHING, including rewriting the laws of logic and causality, in order to make the world just and happy. Omnipotence and Omniscience are a blank check on the Judeo Christian God's power. As such if God is truly benevolent, there should be no obstacle preventing him from having created the world in such a way that no injustices would ever occur without even the need for intervention or interference with free will. This doesn't rule out the idea of a God that is omnipotent and omniscient but indifferent, or a God that is omnipotent and benevolent but not omniscient since he might not know about abuses, or a God that is benevolent and omniscient but not omnipotent because he won't be able to do anything about it. But would any of those entities deserve rightly to be called Gods in the sense that most Christians refer to him?

    Please debunk me, because if possible I truly would like to believe in a God. I just can't see any way that doing so makes sense, at all. It seems like a comfort blanket, wishful thinking.

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  40. If you're looking for absolutes, you're going to be disappointed. "Proofs" are for math. The rest is based on rational theories that string together incomplete evidence.

    "1. Prove there is no God."
    The lack of an interventionalist god indicates the lack of an interventionalist god. Things run as though no god is required. Nothing fails like prayer. JC didn't return after the destruction of Herod's temple but before all of "this generation" had passed.
    This does not exclude the possibility of a deist-style god. Theist gods don't seem to be that kind of god, however. As such, proof of a deist god would put you in the same boat as us. Save some time and grab an oar now.

    "2. Prove Materialism is true."
    Everything that we can detect is materialistic or of matter/energy. This is up to and including "mind", which appears to be one outcome of a sufficiently advanced brain. As with the interventionalist god hypothesis, any interaction where the supernatural effects the natural is potentially measurable, even if only indirectly. The supernatural consistently fails to show up at any level higher than anecdotal (putting it roughly on par with homeopathy). Spooks don't show up when cameras are there. Prayers aren't any better than placebo when subjected to double-blind testing. As such, the supernatural hypothesis lacks evidence.

    "3. Prove Monism is true."
    Mind is brain. When brain changes, whether by chemical, electrical, hormonal, or damage, "you" change. The same thing appears to occur in all of nature's wee beasties. There is no reason to posit a higher level that manipulates matter, is immortal, and isn't negatively effected by things that change the body that it's controlling.

    "4. Prove abiogenesis actually happened."
    No idea. There are people looking at potentials and possibilities, but I doubt that any hypothesis will ever progress to solid theory. That's still a step ahead of the god hypothesis. None of them so far have passed on a Creation tale that even remotely resembles the evidence.

    "5. Prove macroevolution actually happened."
    The geologic column, genetics and common descent lead to the reasonable conclusion that evolution happens. God could be tinkering with select members of populations over many generations, but that hypothesis is not necessary, as the system appears to run fine on its own.
    And what does the common competing view state? Grass before Sun and moon, and whales before insects, approximately 6,000 years ago, it says here in my KJV...well, that's quite the, um, story.

    "6. Prove Parsimony is a Law of Nature."
    Law? No. A good suggestion? Yes. While parsimony can result in faulty reductionism, making things unnecessarily complicated is a good way to arrive at the wrong answer. Jacob's breeding program in Gen30, for example, could've used a healthy dose of parsimony. For a more modern example, think 9/11 Truther.

    "7. Prove Universal Uniformitarianism exists in all cases."
    In our experience, the universe consistently works the way that the universe works. While that isn't proof that everything works the same way everywhere and has worked exactly the same always (and it doesn't. The rules change with changes of scale, as in quantum theory, and at the extreme ends, as with absolute zero, the Big Bang, and light speed. Fruit flies live in a world of viscous air and surface tension while ours is mostly gravity), there is no reason to assume that Tuesday doesn't exist on Neptune until we have evidence that it doesn't.

    "8. Prove wisdom does not exist."
    What? You mean wisdom as in applying knowledge and experience for more accurate problem solving, or using what worked in the past to predict what'll work in the future? Granpappy's wise, 'cause a lifetime of experience and the memory thereof lets him know the best time for plantin'.

    "9. Prove humans are perfectible."
    Again, huh? Utopia doesn't exist (hence the name). Better is possible. perfection is illusion. Trying to fit the square peg of Man into the round hole of perfection just results in a bunch of cut corners.

    "10.Prove universal happiness is a moral imperative."
    I like being happy. You being happy makes me happy. My suffering makes me sad. Your suffering makes me sad, as well. The same with you? Good. That's about as much of a "moral imperative" as you'll get. The "best" result is from a minimum of suffering. As for maximizing happiness, I can slip on a banana peel if you need some help getting started, but after that you're on your own.

    "11.Prove information is identical to the media scaffold upon which it resides."
    Huh? I assume you're talking about either genetics or brain/mind. For the former, find a fertilized egg and change the code for "blue eyes" to "hazel eyes". Jr will have hazel eyes. For the latter, carve the letter A out of the language area of your brain. How many letters does our alphabet have? 25? Yes, I know, I keep using a letter that doesn't exist. You'll adapt.
    I hope I've explained that in a way that confuses you as much as it does me.

    "12.Prove the Multiverse exists."
    No idea. It's an amusing mental exercise at this point. Also, it's a weak hypothesis with negligible evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  41. "So we don't really need to be confused about all the lovely other gods that are thrown in (as a dodge if anything else).If Jesus rose from the dead, the God of the Bible exists and is the True God. Simple really.
    Except for the fact that there is really no real good evidence that he rose from the dead at all; just a bunch of stories made up a few decades after the supposed fact."


    My mention of gods of other religions is to illustrate the hypocracy of the argument that you must disprove the god that the theist believes in to be an atheist. If it's a dodge for atheists, it's a dodge for theists.

    I agree, however, that without evidence of resurrection (or any other Christian claim), a skeptic would not be convinced, whether or not a Christian could disprove any other religion.

    ReplyDelete
  42. "Except for the fact that there is really no real good evidence that he rose from the dead at all; just a bunch of stories made up a few decades after the supposed fact."


    -Leaving very little time for legend to develop. (especially when compared to the miracles and legends that developed over much time in other religions)

    Also, oral tradtions proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus that were well established within 3 years of the Event, which is even agreed upon by skeptics

    http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/dialog_rexperience/dialog_rexperiences.htm


    Not forgetting the conversions of Church Persecutor Paul, and James the brother of Jesus, and the empty tomb.

    When investigated in detail, a very compelling case can be made for the death & resurrection of Jesus of Nazereth.

    And if the conclusion really is so, that by default shows that Jesus is the Way and that all other religions only contain some truths, but most certainly are not the way to realise and truly know God.


    And it also single-handedly shows that in reality, atheism is about as real/relevant/applicable/rational/ accurate as the FSM.

    Peace

    PS still not seen convincing answers to the original post. It seems that some answers, such as modusops', have been presented to literally take the 6 day creation (see Modusops' answer 5, **note that the hebrew word for day, "Yom" does not always mean 24 literal hours**), present it as though that is what all Christians believe, and then use that as a strawman argument to knock down. Many Christians have no problem seeing Gen ch 1 etc as a metaphor. And it most certainly has its accuracies - In fact stating that the universe (including time) had a beginning is exactly what we have found out from the Big Bang. And there is compelling reason to believe a designer/creator -God- is the cause of the BB. The cause must be outside of time as time was created at the BB. God in the Bible is described with terms that denote eternity, no beginning and no end (google whe meaning of Gods name YHWH). That sounds like a cause the exists outside of time. Remember also that at the time of Gen being written the greeks thought the universe as something eternal, having no beginning, and other religions thought that the earth was some sort of by-product of other gods battling, or mating, with each other. Along comes an inspired author who states that the Universe was actually created at a single point by one God. And it certainly takes MUCH more faith to believe that the BB came from nothing, in comparison a lot less faith to believe in a Creator God being responsible for the BB.

    Yet this argument for God is mostly (but not always) shoved aside by atheists so they can set up a strawman argument to knock over, in order to show there is no evidence for God, then use that conclusion as evidence for complete materialism. This is the sort of tactic used over and over again by athiests whether they are science popularisers or just plain ol' joe athiests on the web.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "Indeed—where is the empirical testable proof FOR God?"

    Maybe some suggestions/explanations for that can be put in another topic later on?

    In the meantime what we see in this statement from Adonias is the classic dodge.

    We are asking YOU to put forward the empirical this time (Cue the "We don't need to show the emperical, we just have the default 'lack of belief'").

    If you can't do it, then don't apply double standards and ask us to provide the emperical, unless you don't mind being seen as hypocritical.

    Peace

    ReplyDelete
  44. The atomic one said:

    "The following statements cannot all be simultaneously true under any circumstances:

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent
    4. There is evil in the world.


    And,

    "Please debunk me, because if possible I truly would like to believe in a God.

    If you are serious about the last part, then consider this: you did not say OMNI-benevolent. For example, no parent who wishes that his children progress in wisdom protects them from all danger. He allows them to experience danger and learn from it. You might argue that there is a difference in degree, that humans are exposed to pain and death... and that is true and valid... BUT the difference in degree goes on to include differences in magnitude between Atheist reality and theist reality.

    Atheist reality ceases at death; therefore it is to be shunned and perpetual life here on earth is to be sought. So for the Atheist, death is evil. Or at least not a personal benefit.

    For the theist, life does not end at death, it continues on a different plane, different dimensions, in a better fashion.

    So experiencing pain and death is not pleasant, but it is not "evil" as is defined by the Atheist - relativist. And relatively speaking, the Atheist is not able to define an "ABSOLUTE" moral value of either good or evil, so is pain and suffering really evil? Many, many Atheists have thought not.

    Thus the argument from evil is a relativist argument from a relativist non-morality launchpad, and therefore only has meaning to those of similar relative moral underpinnings. Since it has no ABSOLUTE value, the argument from evil is a failure in a logical sense, under which truth is, in fact, an absolute must. Any premise that is less than true, is necessarily false. The argument from evil is false.

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  45. Hi atomic one,

    Your post looked interesting, so I thought I might respond.

    Personally I don't think that the burden of proof should be on atheists to demonstrate that any sort of entity DOESN'T exist

    If your opinion is the minority opinion, and/or there is some evidence for the view you oppose, then you owe an account of why you disagree. And most atheists do this. On a very simple level, the question "why don't you believe in God?" deserves some sort of answer. If most of the world thinks that God exists, saying "because there's no evidence" is a justification itself - you are rejecting the claim that there is any evidence. Or your response might be, "the evidence is weak compared to the reasons to think God does not exist" - here you argue that any evidence presented for God's existence is weak and better explained some other way. At any rate, you do offer reasons for thinking either that God does not exist, or the reasons why some think He exists are weak.

    The problem of evil is probably the biggest problem for theists, but it is not unresolvable. So far as I've seen, it usually boils down to an increase in the probability that God does not exist. ie, the current level of evil makes it more improbable that God exists - not impossible. When you weight the evidence, the problem of evil might tip the scales for you.

    The following statements cannot all be simultaneously true under any circumstances:

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent
    4. There is evil in the world.


    There is no inherent contradiction in these statements. We might add the following proposition to make the contradiction exist:
    5. A benevolent being will always reduce evil to the maximum of their ability

    Then your argument is that an omniscient and omnipotent being will be able to eliminate all evil totally if he wishes, and being benevolent means He would. You add the following:
    6. An omnipotent being can rewrite the laws of logic and causality

    I see my job as being to show you that no inherent contradiction exists. I agree that evil makes it less probable that God exists. I also think that it is the strongest argument that atheists have, but that it doesn't deductively show that God does not exist.

    One answer to the problem of evil is free will, as you mention. Premise 5 might be true. But there might also be a true proposition like:
    7. It is evil to override the will of a free agent

    Then suddenly (ignoring premise 6) it becomes impossible for an omniscient, omipotent benevolent being to eliminate *all* evil. There must be some weighting of moral statements. Eg, "it is wrong to take a life", but "it is more wrong to let a serial killer live than it is to preserve life". Or, "meditating on murder is wrong", but "preventing someone from meditating on murder if they choose is wrong". Perhaps the latter is a greater evil.

    Your response to this approach was something like premise 6, which I reject. Your claim was that premises 1->4 alone present an unresolvable contradiction. That's simply not true - adding premise 5 (which strengthens your argument) and premise 7, gives a non-contradictory set. You need to claim the unwarranted premise 6. I hold the idea that omnipotence is limited to those things which are logically possible, and that the logically impossible is impossible even for God. There are things that God cannot do, rather than simply does not wish to do. One common example is that God could not make a square circle (as we normally understand these terms). So drop premise 6, and add this premise:
    8. An omnipotent being can do all and only those actions which are not logically impossible
    We take logical impossibility as being something that cannot ever be true, in any possible world.

    And this premise is both very plausible, and resonates with the Christian understanding of God - for example, Christians say that God cannot lie. Not just that He chooses not to, but that He is incapable of doing it.

    Please debunk me, because if possible I truly would like to believe in a God. I just can't see any way that doing so makes sense, at all. It seems like a comfort blanket, wishful thinking.

    I hope that I've helped clear this up for you, and shown you that there is no inherent contradiction in those four premises without adding extra ones. The above is only one solution to the problem of evil, and there's a few. Once you step over this major hurdle (the problem of evil), you can realise that the worst is behind you. It's then time to look at some of the arguments and reasons for thinking God does exist - those arguments that increase the probability in your own mind that He does exist. For me, I don't doubt God's existence. But for others like yourself I can understand that these things make it harder.

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  46. Mr. Patel:

    "Also, oral tradtions proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus that were well established within 3 years of the Event, which is even agreed upon by skeptics http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/dialog_rexperience/dialog_rexperiences.htm
    Not forgetting the conversions of Church Persecutor Paul, and James the brother of Jesus, and the empty tomb
    When investigated in detail, a very compelling case can be made for the death & resurrection of Jesus of Nazereth."


    Riight.

    R. M. Price takes care of Habermas's extrapolations on the resurrection of Jesus in chapter 12 of his book Jesus is Dead.

    On the demise of Biblical history, check out Hector Avalos: How Archaeology Killed Biblical History - Part 1 of 2

    Seeing as you referred to oral tradition, you may want to read up on it's presence (i.e. folk lore) in the Bible: Holy Writ as Oral Lit: The Bible as Folklore (Alan Dundes, 1999)

    Incidentally, on the topic of oral tradition, how do you feel about the astrotheological claims of scholars like Massey, Graves and Frazer, and in modern times Earl Doherty, Acharya S, Robert M. Price and many others? And on the hero myth in particular we have Campbell and Raglan; what of their accounts? If you invoke "oral traditions"....you're opening the floodgates.....

    Adonais wrote: "Indeed—where is the empirical testable proof FOR God?"

    Patel: "Maybe some suggestions/explanations for that can be put in another topic later on?

    In the meantime what we see in this statement from Adonias is the classic dodge.

    We are asking YOU to put forward the empirical this time (Cue the "We don't need to show the emperical, we just have the default 'lack of belief'").

    If you can't do it, then don't apply double standards and ask us to provide the emperical, unless you don't mind being seen as hypocritical."


    Ahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaahhhhhhh

    Hah. Oh hahahheeeee....

    On a serious note, although you don't deserve it, ever since I gravitated to this blog, the request for theists to present their evidence has been a recurring theme on my agenda, and restated frequently. But mysteriously, the blog writers have never humored me.

    And here we have stan asking atheists for an empirical disproof of God, and then we have YOU saying that atheists asking for reciprocation in the form of an empirical proof FOR God is hypocritical, and calling my request for reciprocation a "dodge"?

    I guess there's logic, and then there's theo-logic. If you keep this up we're going to need a new dictionary.

    ReplyDelete
  47. How about this?

    - Mankind has a history of inventing imaginary gods in order to personify nature so that he can control it, or at least have a relationship with it in hopes of appeasing it to some degree. "I'm worried the rain isn't going to come this planting season. I need to sacrifice/dance/shake a stick/etc to make the Rain God happy so that he sends the rain." Humankind has done this, by some estimates, 30,000 to over a million times throughout history. Godchecker.com currently has a database of 2,850 gods.

    - Mankind has revealed itself to be a "compulsive liar" in this respect, so why should I believe it now? Fool me once shame on you, fool me 2,850 times, shame on me?

    - Thousands of years ago, lightning was outside the realm of human understanding. There simply was no explanation of how it could work. Lack of explanation = it must be Zeus! Hurtling lightning bolts from the sky! Little did people know at the time that if they had simply waited another few thousand years, we'd be creating lightning ourselves with simple machines. Belief in Zeus isn't necessary anymore.

    - Extend that situation to modern times. We don't currently have an explanation for the origin of the universe. What if in the year 2,000,000 A.D. universe-creating kits are including in every children's lab set sold at Toys R US? "Create your own universe! Watch abiogenesis happen as cells form from the primordial soup! Then watch them evolve into creatures! What kind of animals will YOUR kit produce! Fun for the whole family!" I'm not saying that's going to happen; I'm just saying there is a large historical precedent for it.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'd consider this version to be stronger:

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent
    4. God allows some of his creations to suffer intolerably for eternity in hell.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Scary,

    I'd consider this version to be stronger:

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent
    4. God allows some of his creations to suffer intolerably for eternity in hell.


    Two responses:
    1. This one is very specific to Christianity - this argument won't show that there is no God, but at best just shows that the Christian conception of hell is contradictory with the existence of God. In that sense it is much weaker
    2. I don't see why you think this is stronger, unless you're ignorant of Christian theology. You will need to explicitly point out where the strength in this formulation lies - otherwise it seems that you're just trying to be provocative, with more rhetoric than argument.

    ReplyDelete
  50. "otherwise it seems that you're just trying to be provocative, with more rhetoric than argument.
    "


    It's quite possible I am doing just that, but if there ever was a place for provocative rhetoric as opposed to argument, it's on this blog wouldn't you agree?

    "This one is very specific to Christianity - this argument won't show that there is no God, but at best just shows that the Christian conception of hell is contradictory with the existence of God. In that sense it is much weaker"

    You are correct again, it is very specific to Christianity.. BUT so are these.

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent

    There is no reason a "God" would have to be any of these 3 either.
    Those are Christian-type concepts of what "God" is. So yes I think my version is stronger because it illustrates the internal contradiction of the Christian "God". Which is really what most of you believe anyway.

    Here's how I as a believer of a generic "God" would deal with the following:

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent
    4. There is evil in the world.

    I'd simply ask, what proof do we have that "God" is benevolent?
    Why does "God" have to be omniscient?
    Why does he have to be omnipotent?

    The original group of internally contradictory statements only make sense in a Christian-type framework as well.

    So but at best just shows that the Christian conception of hell is contradictory with the existence of God. is exactly what I was hoping to achieve.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I was impressed by the strength of croath's and stan's arguments, as it's the first time that I've found a convincing rebuttal of the problem of evil construction.

    However, I think that premise 6 is implied by most religious texts that posit a God in particular; all of the Abrahamic faiths certainly, and basically every other religion I've looked at (with the possible exception of certain interpretations of Buddhism) give considerable emphasis to miracles, which are almost by definition demonstrations of God's ability to warp causality at least with his will, performing what is essentially magic. If God can make people turn into pillars of salt and help Noah somehow fit every animal in the world onto a tiny boat (just as the easiest example, though there are equivalent ones from nearly every religion if you look hard enough), he certainly could've worked out a way to reduce evil and suffering.

    Another point is that God is said to have created the universe from scratch, and if you accept that this had any causal power at all you should accept that the start state of the universe has some effect on the starting state and conditions each person finds themselves in. Theoretically without even using premise 6, if God created the universe, and is omniscient, he should have been able to create it such that the conditions of the life each person was born into nudged them along in such a way that their sufferings would be minimized even with the full exercise of free will. He doesn't necessarily need ALL powers to do this; just the ones he is usually attributed. Many theists argue that this would not be "true" freedom of will, but I argue that if that definition of free will is used, then we already don't have it because circumstances that exist already heavily impact our lives and development. It wouldn't have made a difference if he designed things differently in such a way that less misfortunes would have happened (he's omniscient so he should know how too =p).

    However the point about God not necessarily having to be omnibenevolent was spot on. I am just wondering though, if God is not omnibenevolent, what defines the boundaries of his supposed benevolence? What determines whether he behaves benevolently or malevolently? And what is the maximum amount of cruelness God is allowed while he remains "benevolent"? It seems like if God is not omnibenevolent then his benevolence is reduced to a question of interpretation of what benevolence is...

    For instance, if a man has a gun and can shoot me, but instead steals all of my stuff, I could consider him benevolent because he didn't kill me or malevolent because he robbed me. Admittedly that is an extreme example, but it introduces a peculiar gray area into the debate that is interesting.

    As for the question of moral standards that Stan raised, I disagree with the premise that there being no God means that there are no objective goods or evils in the world. That may be the case, but it doesn't follow definitively from atheism and you have not sufficiently demonstrated it for my taste.

    And as for Croath's question of where the burden of proof lies and my not sufficiently explaining that, I did not talk about it because the arguments that I would make are some of the same arguments that were raised endlessly by atheists and agnostics in the past few comment threads. I didn't find the rebuttals by theists convincing, and it had been talked to death so much that I really wanted to change the subject of the debate because this seems to be a sticking point that no one can come to a compromise on. Suffice it to say if I had to take a position, I would agree that since nobody comes into the world with a knowledge of any religious system, agnosticism is the ground floor of belief and therefore religion is the proposition that has to be proven, not its antithesis. I consider myself an agnostic, or as some have chosen to define it a "weak athiest," (I'm not interested in terminology debates) in that I have not seen convincing evidence to believe in the existence of a God yet but am open to the possibility if it can be supported and demonstrated to my liking.

    So in summary, while I am not convinced that a God exists by this necessarily, I am now convinced that it is theoretically possible for a God to exist, if he encompasses some mixture of both good and evil, instead of being only good.

    ReplyDelete
  52. As a response to Scary Jesus' comment that

    "1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent
    4. There is evil in the world."

    Is a construction that only applies to the Christian God, it's actually broadly applicable to basically every monotheistic Abrahamic religion including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and might be applicable to some lesser known faiths such as Bahai (I don't have the knowledge of these faiths to know whether this is true or not.) As such it encompasses the vast majority of religious faith on the earth. I think the only major movements that are excluded are Hinduism (which also believes in a single God that is essentially the aggregate of all consciousness, and therefore can theoretically include evil which exempts it from applicability), Buddhism (in which the poetic mystical stuff can in nearly all cases be interpreted as metaphor, and doesn't explicitly posit a deity).

    If you say that there is a God, but he doesn't necessarily have the attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence, then it raises the question of what qualities are necessary for a being to be a God? I could claim that I am a God who is simply not omniscient or omnipotent (though I like to think I'm benevolent ;-) ) but that wouldn't fly for most people. So what qualities does God have to have in order to be God?

    ReplyDelete
  53. but if there ever was a place for provocative rhetoric as opposed to argument, it's on this blog wouldn't you agree?

    Nope. This blog may have its share, but it's by no means the epitomical example.

    You are correct again, it is very specific to Christianity.. BUT so are these.

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is benevolent


    No they're not. God is typically conceived to have at least the first two attributes, outside Christianity. Only when you enter into polytheism does it become common to see a more anthropomorphised sense of deity - with limited power, omniscience and benevolence.

    There is no reason a "God" would have to be any of these 3 either.

    Sure, if you see no reason why you can't redefine words on the fly. There's no reason why "atheist" would have to refer to someone who does not believe in God - we just happened to define it so that it does refer to that. So too does God typically refer to a being with those three traits above - even outside of Christianity. God typically refers to an eternal necessarily existant being who had the freedom and power to create the universe as He pleased. If you want to talk about some other entity, then you'll just miss the mark.

    So yes I think my version is stronger because it illustrates the internal contradiction of the Christian "God". Which is really what most of you believe anyway.

    As I pointed out in my original reply to you, even *if* I take your argument seriously, I see no reason why the premise you added makes God's existence more unlikely than the formulation 'the atomic one' presented. You haven't explained why, or pointed out where this contradiction lies. As a Christian, it might be an important point to me personally, but:
    * You haven't demonstrated why this argument makes Christianity untenable (or improbable) - there seems to be little or no logical connection between the premises, so you need to explicitly point them out
    * Even if I were convinced Christianity was untenable, I would still be a theist. My belief in God's existence is not just dependent on my Christian faith - be He called Allah, Zeus, Yahweh or whatever. He exists, and the problem of evil is supposed to show that my belief that He exists is improbable. Your formulation fails to do that.

    I'd simply ask, what proof do we have that "God" is benevolent?
    Why does "God" have to be omniscient?
    Why does he have to be omnipotent?


    Again, you're free to postulate such an entity, but don't call it God. It is an unreasonable strategy of yours to redefine words to make your point, and in fact belies desperation.

    So but at best just shows that the Christian conception of hell is contradictory with the existence of God. is exactly what I was hoping to achieve.

    Yet you failed to take even the most basic steps towards achieving this. Where's your argument?

    ReplyDelete
  54. atomic one,

    I'm glad you found my response somewhat helpful, and I was glad you picked up the same error in scary's response that I pointed out.

    I'm just writing a quick post for now, due to time constraints. I don't think that Christianity (or Abrahamic faiths in general) support premise 6. As I pointed out as a quick example, Christianity teaches that God cannot lie:


    You may also find this article helpful about the problem of evil. William Craig says that he grappled with the problem of evil for quite a while - I personally have never felt it as being too strong of a problem, so have not given it the depth of thought that it deserves:


    Anyway, this is just a quick response for now. I may give a more in-depth one when I have time. Thanks for your reply.

    ReplyDelete
  55. "God is typically conceived to have at least the first two attributes, outside Christianity."

    Intersting, why would they concieve that apart from Christianity?

    You are Christian bent at this age in your life I imagine. Other than Christianity what proof of god whatsoever do you offer to say that god is omniscient? Or omnipotent? Is it because people think he is? You are free to define your imaginary being as you will, but atheists exist and stand, They are defined by existance, not fantasy.

    Oh Craig, you are working so hard and getting nowhere.

    ReplyDelete
  56. "Other than Christianity what proof of god whatsoever do you offer to say that god is omniscient? Or omnipotent? Is it because people think he is? You are free to define your imaginary being as you will, but atheists exist and stand, They are defined by existance, not fantasy.
    Oh Craig, you are working so hard and getting nowhere."

    Scary Jesus, I agree that the existence of a God is still not demonstrated, but that was not what you set out to do in your argument. You set out, if I understand correctly, to demonstrate that the concept of hell means that the Christian God cannot rightly be conceived of as benevolent.

    I agree with you on this point to a large degree, but the argument you posted for it was confused and cluttered, and you can't expect someone who disagrees with you to take you seriously if you do not have a case in which the steps of your logic are explicitly and dispassionately demonstrated.

    Back to the imaginary being comment, if you start from the premise that God is imaginary then this entire debate is meaningless as you have assumed that the topic of debate is nonexistent. It seems like a cheap way out of your previous statements honestly, just shutting down the debate.

    As for proof that God is omnipotent and omniscient, it's more a matter of omnipotence (or at least great and inexplicable power) and/or great knowledge are considered to be some of the characteristics that define God(s) and separate him/her/them from us mere mortals. If a God doesn't have at least one of these characteristics, it becomes questionable why they are thought of as a God in the first place since the definition of a God implies that they have some great power. So in that sense it is a consensus that God has at least omnipotence or omniscience of some kind, but it is a consensus inherent to the terminology that's being used. I am unclear as to what point you are trying to advance by denying a theoretical God omnipotence or omniscience anyway. What case does that advance?

    Additionally, I know that this is teh internetz, but you should really be more polite to the people you debate with, if you truly want to make a genuine argument and learn instead of just expressing your opinion. I am not sure if this was your intention but you come off as somewhat arrogant and condescending in my view. That is not conducive to open and honest debate and perpetuates negative stereotypes that prevent future discussions from taking place.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Yeah, I'm not doing a very good job explaining myself here, in fact I don't really think I have a point at all. Just yammering away I guess. I don't take it too serious, arguing gods existance is akin to argueing who the best batman was.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Mr. Patel:

    "Also, oral tradtions proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus that were well established within 3 years of the Event, which is even agreed upon by skeptics http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/dialog_rexperience/dialog_rexperiences.htm
    Not forgetting the conversions of Church Persecutor Paul, and James the brother of Jesus, and the empty tomb
    When investigated in detail, a very compelling case can be made for the death & resurrection of Jesus of Nazereth."

    Riight.

    R. M. Price takes care of Habermas's extrapolations on the resurrection of Jesus in chapter 12 of his book Jesus is Dead.

    A member of the infamous Jesus seminar! The group that use coloured beads to establish what happened in history. Not a reliable method by any strech... anyway, his book, judging by the reviews, uses ad-homs, has no index, no footnotes, very little references about authors and sayings/writing pertaining to them (leading to many assertions on Price behalf) and is just a re-hash of the various internet postings (which are dealt with in detail by The Case for the Real Jesus http://www.amazon.com/Case-Real-Jesus-Journalist-Investigates/dp/031024210X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219262551&sr=8-1 )

    Price's explanation for a non-physical resurrection is actually dealt with by N.T. Wright, and is also dealt with in significant portions by the mentioned book above. As one sound and extensive review wrote, it seems as though Price has problems following where the evidence leads. The positive reviews did mention Price has a sense of humour in his writing style though, so I could probably read it for a little chuckle?

    Considering the above - why should I trust it?

    Anyways, Habermas had Price owned in this debate

    http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/search/label/Robert%20Price

    On the demise of Biblical history, check out Hector Avalos: How Archaeology Killed Biblical History - Part 1 of 2

    My response is best summed up by the one most atheists love to hate, JP Holding
    http://www.tektonics.org/af/avalos01.html


    Seeing as you referred to oral tradition, you may want to read up on it's presence (i.e. folk lore) in the Bible: Holy Writ as Oral Lit: The Bible as Folklore (Alan Dundes, 1999)

    So this book explains as folklore: events such as the death of Jesus, the belief that the disciples seen him alive after, (a belief they would die for), the conversion of Paul, James, the empty tomb? The admission of embarassing evidence in the gospels? Enemy attestation in other historical documents? (Afterall, this is the evidence I am using, so the book had better have explanations for ALL these events!) These are events that are accepted by the majority of scholars that study them (although not always leading to belief in the Risen Jesus) and only rejected by the fringe - rejected more than often due their own agendas. But hey, Folklore explains all of the above, right?


    Hmmm. Another huge strech needed there methinks. I wonder how the this folklore missed other Biblical scholars, even skeptics? Maybe you could read this link

    http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/dialog_rexperience/dialog_rexperiences.htm

    and explain how the folklore was unnoticed by nearly 2000 scholars (believers, skeptics) on the subject of Jesus, His death & resurrection.


    Incidentally, on the topic of oral tradition, how do you feel about the astrotheological claims of scholars like Massey, Graves and Frazer, and in modern times Earl Doherty, Acharya S, Robert M. Price and many others? And on the hero myth in particular we have Campbell and Raglan; what of their accounts? If you invoke "oral traditions"....you're opening the floodgates.....

    Acharya S?!?!? Sorry even Dawkins forum once posted that she is not-all there when it comes to her crazy assertions. And if you read the last link I posted, you can see how oral tradition in 1 Cor 15 can be established and accepted by scholars to well within 3 years of Jesus being on earth. Can you point me to evidence where A.S own theories on oral traditions are so well accepted by majority of biblical scholars please?

    The only floodgates that are truly being opened are evidence for Jesus death & resurrection.

    Adonais wrote: "Indeed—where is the empirical testable proof FOR God?"

    Patel: "Maybe some suggestions/explanations for that can be put in another topic later on?

    In the meantime what we see in this statement from Adonias is the classic dodge.

    We are asking YOU to put forward the empirical this time (Cue the "We don't need to show the emperical, we just have the default 'lack of belief'").

    If you can't do it, then don't apply double standards and ask us to provide the emperical, unless you don't mind being seen as hypocritical."

    Ahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaahhhhhhh

    Hah. Oh hahahheeeee....


    On a serious note, although you don't deserve it

    ---arrogance slipping through a little?---


    ever since I gravitated to this blog, the request for theists to present their evidence has been a recurring theme on my agenda, and restated frequently. But mysteriously, the blog writers have never humored me.

    And here we have stan asking atheists for an empirical disproof of God, and then we have YOU saying that atheists asking for reciprocation in the form of an empirical proof FOR God is hypocritical, and calling my request for reciprocation a "dodge"?

    Sorry mate, but you do dodge. An extensive discussion with you & MedicineMan shows this on MedicineMans initial post to this blog. You demand us for empirical proof, whilst at the same time dodging our request to you/other atheists to provide proof for your beliefs: you are applying double standards.

    And dodging.

    It is not Double standards IF you can ask/demand us for proof AND also provide your own emperical proof for your own beliefs WHEN we request it. We are both playing the game with the same rules.

    But you don't provide, you dodge. You expect the emprical from us, but refuse/cannot give emperical yourself. Dodge.

    I guess there's logic, and then there's theo-logic. If you keep this up we're going to need a new dictionary.

    I think it is the atheists that are really desperate for a new dictionary, particularly so they can re-define the accpeted definition of atheism.

    http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/search/label/Atheism%20definition%20of

    I can only think that your reply will again - dodge (particularly emperical proof for your own beliefs) - and be full of more grammatical gymanastics as to try and show you have an intellectual edge... but go ahead.

    God Bless & Peace

    Mr Patel

    ReplyDelete
  59. mr patel, you're quite the mind job.

    You theists keep the God hypothesis immune to disproof by arbitrarily inventing special explanations. This makes the hypothesis veridically worthless, and the rest is all smoke and mirrors. And in the absence of positive evidence, you rebuke atheists for failing to provide a negative?

    You want empirical evidence that your God doesn't exist? Prayer doesn't work. That's an experimental, empirical fact. How come you don't already accept this? Because there's no principle or theory pinning down the definition of God, so you can always invent special excuses to explain away anything you like. And you do. Full well knowing this and yet calling on atheists to "empirically disprove" God is the ultimate act of disingenuousness.

    Do you imagine that you are somehow being clever by asking atheists to provide a negative that you perfectly well know can not be produced? And when atheists point this out to you in an attempt to educate you, you call that a "dodge," even though you have failed to provide a single shred of positive evidence yourself? This is rank hypocrisy and a dumbfounding denial of reality.

    I really do not expect any empirical evidence from you, since I am aware of the reality of it, but I do expect you to acknowledge this absence of evidence, and I do expect you to understand the impossibility of what you're requesting—even stan admitted as much, although maybe for different reasons.

    Citing the Bible as evidence for God is just circular. Your belief that you have "evidence" for Jesus and the resurrection by oral tradition is silly, and your obsession about 1 Cor 15 is a red herring that has been debunked by Price and others: TRADITION ODER INTERPOLATION?

    It is quite funny, and very predictable, that from the list of astrotheology references that I rounded up you would pull out Acharya S to ogle at and ridicule. Is this because she's the only one you know about, thanks to her controversial reputation? Are you aware that she bases most of her ideas on the material of Massey, Graves, Frazer and others, and are you even aware what they wrote about?

    You ask: "Can you point me to evidence where A.S own theories on oral traditions are so well accepted by majority of biblical scholars please?" This is another hilarious and oxymoronic request. By definition, anything that goes against the establishment will of course not be "well accepted" by the same! I'm sure you believe that this is "proof" of something! I'm in no way defending Acharya S or her theories, but you should be aware that if you invoke oral traditions in the bible as a source of historical truth, then you have no rationale for disregarding the claims of oral tradition in extrabiblical sources, and you should be open to the implications from comparative religion. Obviously you're not, so there's some major hypocrisy going on there somewhere.

    You ask: "I wonder how the this folklore missed other Biblical scholars, even skeptics?" I have no idea, but I also don't know if your claim that they did is true. But quite possibly, bible scholars are not generally experts on folk lore! Dundes was. You don't seem to understand what it means to invoke oral tradition, and that's why I told you to look up Dundes. Oral traditions that become codified into text at a later stage will leave telltale signs revealing their folkloristic origins. Those signs are all over the Bible (and the Koran as well).

    Between astrotheology, Jewish myth-making, folk lore, political construction and Christian interpolation and harmonization—we have all the explanatory framework for understanding what the Bible is. God need not apply.

    But then, this is just another "dodge" as viewed from within your delusional cloister.

    A suggestion for your future is to read a book before commenting on its contents.

    "I think it is the atheists that are really desperate for a new dictionary, particularly so they can re-define the accpeted definition of atheism."

    It is entirely up to you whether you want to keep arguing against straw men, but don't expect real flesh and blood atheists to comply with your theory of what is "accepted."

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  60. Hi Adonias

    I think this can be my last post with you on this topic as you:

    1. rely on psuedo-scholarship, sensationalism and speculation rather than following where all the evidence leads

    (you completely miss the argument: I am not using the Bible as the word of god, just as a set of historical documents. Therefore I am not using a circular argument)

    2. You still keep dodging. You have not provided any responses to the original 12 questions posted by Stan.

    Have a nice day

    Peace

    Mr Patel

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  61. I meant to post this: Prayer works:

    http://www1.wsvn.com/features/articles/specialreport/MI75423

    God Bless

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  62. "I am not using the Bible as the word of god, just as a set of historical documents."

    Well therein lies the rub: how do you know that the Bible reflects historical facts? That's the material point; if there were strong evidence as to the historicity of the gospels we would hardly be having this discussion today, the question would be settled. That the estimated veracity of the bible has decreased with the advance of investigation techniques and modern science and literature studies is a major clue where things are heading. We're not skeptical of the Bible today because we are dumber than 500 years ago. We're skeptical for different reasons.

    I don't know how to understand your accusation that I am "relying on pseudo-scholarship" while you are reading the Bible as historical truth!?

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  63. Hi. Short time reader , first time responder. While there is alot of very fun vitriol and strawman arguements here I thought I'd insert my two cents. Whilst caught up in all the arguements for and against God many of you have missed a simple point. The reality is that you cannot prove materialism is correct through purely materialist methods. Indeed no one here has provided any actual empirical evidence to prove that the material world is all that there is, simply because it can't be done. Or to put it another way, one cannot empirically test something that is non-empirical. It is like me asking for you all to provide testable proof that we are not all merely simulations in a giant game of Sim City. Just as you cannot demand from God (if we enter the proposition he is real) to submit himself to any kind of tests. Indeed if we follow the proposition he is real then we already know he will not and a lack of intercession proves nothing. As a side point, disproving Zeus is in fact testible. Positing his existence, we can easily determine his reality by testing his nature. We know he is a fickle god who routinely attacks any who challenge or insult him. To test Zeus' existence merely step outside and spit on his name. If you are not struck by lightning then Zeus does not exist. Odin is also testible. Simply await Ragnarok. If it does not occur, then no Odin. Catnarok is a very different matter. But, I've typed long enough. Just for references I am a Democrat Agnostic.

    On a side note, a great number of atheist replies here read like something Pat Robertson would write. Just switch a couple words around and *bang* instant Republican talking points.

    ReplyDelete
  64. @inquisitormelvin

    I don't think that you can say that if Zeus is testable in this way the Abrahamic Gods are not. Numerous times in the old testament God supposedly intervened to turn people into salt, declare his unending support for the people of Israel (look how that turned out for them), and destroy entire cities and communities because they were sinful. These seem pretty Zeus-like, but on a massive scale. As for Ragnarok... that's like saying that the Christian Gods are empirically demonstrable if you just wait for the Apocolypse. It works if you presume the assumption to be true, but it doesn't help us much until the arbitrary event happens and it's too late, so it's in effect useless.

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  65. "On a side note, a great number of atheist replies here read like something Pat Robertson would write. Just switch a couple words around and *bang* instant Republican talking points."

    Do you mind pointing out a few of these? I'm not being facetious; if I am guilty of this behavior I would definitely want to know about it in order to improve myself.

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  66. "Whilst caught up in all the arguements for and against God many of you have missed a simple point. The reality is that you cannot prove materialism is correct through purely materialist methods. Indeed no one here has provided any actual empirical evidence to prove that the material world is all that there is, simply because it can't be done. Or to put it another way, one cannot empirically test something that is non-empirical."

    Nor do we have any evidence for supernatural claims. Without evidence for even the existence of anything supernatural, there is no reason to believe that anything supernatural exists. Otherwise, we might as well believe any and all supernatural claims.

    Furthermore, if the non-empirical cannot be tested empirically, how can it be tested?

    "It is like me asking for you all to provide testable proof that we are not all merely simulations in a giant game of Sim City."

    The same question could be asked of theists. Can they disprove it? Why are the claims of god(s) any more valid?

    "Just as you cannot demand from God (if we enter the proposition he is real) to submit himself to any kind of tests. Indeed if we follow the proposition he is real then we already know he will not and a lack of intercession proves nothing."

    There's no reason to presuppose that a god or gods exist. Nor does "lack of intercession" by any supernatural being demonstrate its existence. Obviously, a non-existent being also would not submit to tests.

    "Odin is also testible. Simply await Ragnarok. If it does not occur, then no Odin."

    The same could be said about the Christian God and the Rapture. Assuming you thoroughly disproved Zeus and Odin, two down, only several thousand more to go!

    "On a side note, a great number of atheist replies here read like something Pat Robertson would write. Just switch a couple words around and *bang* instant Republican talking points."

    For example?

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  67. On the contrary, the challenge should be put towards theists to prove the supernatural. To date there have been no supernatural findings, so it is up to those who assert the supernatural to come up with proof. Besides that, there are also many studies which do well to debunk the idea of the supernatural in the first place. NDE's and OBE's have been found to be at the level of the brain only and not anything supernatural; there have been many studies that prayer does not work, and that ghosts seem to be caused by electromagnetic fields.

    This site is a sham; full of pseudo-intellectuals.

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