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Subject: how can we satisfyingly discuss "There is no God"? rss

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lotus dweller
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The statement "There is no God" has various interested bystanders, opponents, proponents and bored passer-bys.

It seems possible to hold to ""There is no God"without reason, logic or rationality.

However lets explore what reasons we have for our stances towards "There is no God".

This will be doable without using the word "atheist". It may even be easier without using the word "atheist". And please avoid the word "agnostic" as it too has confounding meanings.

For me, I find the world currently explained by science to be very incomplete, lacking as it does any understanding of the subjective. I also see that General Relativity and the Standard Model are not compatible which is curious if they describe a unified universe. The lack of a Theory of Everything says to me that there is very much science does not know. And I remain doubtful whether the human intellect can fully understand the universe.

So there is plenty of room, as I see it, for God, The Spaghetti Monster and Huey to exist.
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chiddler wrote:
Science admits its current limits, but looks for answers it doesn't yet know.


Science claims nothing, it provides tools to measure the universe and interpret those measurements.

Quote:
Some religion claims ultimate answers it doesn't have and can't back up. Some religion, basically, lies.


Fixed that for you.

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lotus dweller
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chiddler wrote:

We can certainly argue that 'God' is a poorly defined and incoherent concept and that the phrase 'There is a God' is so weakly defined as to be meaningless and best replaced by 'I believe in something I can't adequately explain and which is significantly different to the things that others who claim to believe in the same thing believe'.

Science can't explain everything yet, and probably never, as some important data cannot be gathered or even perceibved, but unlike religion it doesn't claim that such an explanation is possible, or even meaningful.

There's no way an 'ultimate' explanation of reality could eb possible - but defin ition we would not have the frame of reference in which to palce or understand it.

Science admits its current limits, but looks for answers it doesn't yet know.

Religion claims ultimate answers it doesn't have and can't back up. religion, basically, lies.


So relating this directly and specifically to "There is no God" as per the OP I get: "religion lies".
If you have other reasoning for your stance towards "There is no God" please share.
edit Maybe your post is all related to "There is no God" but I'm too dense to see that. If so please relate your reasoning logic and rationality clearly and directly towards "There is no God".
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Pinook wrote:

So there is plenty of room, as I see it, for God, The Spaghetti Monster and Huey to exist.

Out of curiousity, does our inability to completely explain the universe lead you to believe in a particular deity?
 
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cloudboy wrote:
Pinook wrote:

So there is plenty of room, as I see it, for God, The Spaghetti Monster and Huey to exist.

Out of curiousity, does our inability to completely explain the universe lead you to believe in a particular deity?

No - just a large diffuse cloud of conceivable possibilities and a Rumsfeldian C-prime, where C is everything I can conceive of and where C-prime is everything I am unable to conceive of.
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Michael Ziegler
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To answer that I recall the section of the Scriptures that says "Be careful, lest any man spoil you through philosophy or vain deceit (and this last part is always left out)...for these things have their origin based on human tradition...and NOT on Christ."

Any "tradition" would include Science and their attempts to explain everything away as some sort of natural process. Since Science only recognizes the physical based on it's philosophic root, that is why they resisted the idea of "invisible" germs (just like religious zealots resisted discoveries that the earth was not the center of all) until it was proven by physical means beyond a doubt through inventions like the Microscope, telescope, etc. We are still learning.

As to the idea of God, well we only have the communications recorded by witnesses. Since they are long gone, we have trouble accepting what they said considering limitations of the time in which they lived and our modern interpretation based on 21st Century mindsets.

What is recorded tells us that God has always existed, that he created all things and that his "invisible" qualities are even evident in that which he created, so that we are "without excuse".

The implication of this statement is that man is in denial of evidence even in the physical realm, not just "spirituality".

If you ask me "Is there a God" I would say yes. I see this physical reality as too complex to have arisen by chance. I also believe that although a Supreme being created this physical universe, his "invisible" qualities somehow are standing outside of it in a way we cannot see or understand as of yet. Therefore, a man cannot "see" the Kingdom of God, unless he is born in spirit and in truth. (The acknowledgement that we are more than just flesh, that the spiritual is a reality as well as the physical, and that this physical is not eternal.)

This is as best as I can explain the matter without getting involved in religious matters compared to science. I have also tried to answer it honestly and hopefully without getting anyone riled up or upset.
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Pinook wrote:
cloudboy wrote:
Pinook wrote:

So there is plenty of room, as I see it, for God, The Spaghetti Monster and Huey to exist.

Out of curiousity, does our inability to completely explain the universe lead you to believe in a particular deity?

No - just a large diffuse cloud of conceivable possibilities and a Rumsfeldian C-prime, where C is everything I can conceive of and where C-prime is everything I am unable to conceive of.

So, it doesn't lead you to believe in a specific god? That's sort of where I come down on gods as well.

As for how I feel about the statement "There is no God" - well, I haven't seen any compelling evidence that any gods exist, but I'm not certain, so, if I were pedantic, I wouldn't make a statement like that.
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Trelane wrote:
Any "tradition" would include Science and their attempts to explain everything away as some sort of natural process.


As an aside, I think God and his actions can and will be explained as purely natural processes. I don't think there is a 'supernatural', just stuff that we don't understand yet.
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If lightning struck all the discussants dead at the same time? That might be satisfying.
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We can do this by trying to glue a hot dog to brick wall.
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lotus dweller
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49xjohn wrote:
We can do this by trying to glue a hot dog to brick wall.

This is outrageous. The OP clearly states "However lets explore what reasons we have for our stances towards "There is no God"."

"by trying to glue a hot dog to brick wall" obviously does not in any way explore "reasons".

"Tich tich tich 49xjohn, you have failed to comply."

"Guards, take him to the reclamation station."
 
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chiddler wrote:
'Christianity is so unlikely to be true that i treat it as absolutely false', because the specific religion makes specific claims,...


You have my total moral support, heart-felt and unreserved, in the starting of a thread that explores the specific claims that Christianity makes.

I will donate 1GG when the final consensus decision is reached.
 
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I stand by my statement, and shall wave my hot dog to all passersby, no matter they be theist, atheist, or otherwise. It's relevant.
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WhiteKong wrote:

I'm not even an atheist, ...

Hey bud, this is an "atheist" free zone. Keep yer confounding and confusing concepts to yourself as the OP asks.

edit: But reading the rest of your post I find the cut of yer jib greatly interesting. Stick around if you want, but watch yer language.
 
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I've never seen any evidence for the existence of gods. The complexity of the universe is no argument because if the universe is too complex to have come into being without an external force, then how did these gods come into being?

I found the conception of the Christian god to be self-contradictory. The more I read the Bible, and the more I went to church, the more it fell apart.

I don't see the point to using gods to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. Then they're just a placeholder until we understand more.

I also wonder whether it really matters. It is of academic interest how the universe came about and how life first started, but does it matter on a day to day basis? Because we don't know and probably cannot know their intentions or expectations their existence or non-existence is actually unimportant. It is just our own wish to be important in the universe that leads us to tell ourselves that we're something special to the designers/manufacturers. Perhaps this is some early prototype languishing, forgotten, in the back of some cupboard.
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Pinook wrote:
So there is plenty of room, as I see it, for God, The Spaghetti Monster and Huey to exist.


There is also room for those tiny elves who live on top of all solid surfaces, producing friction by holding the hands of the elves on the other solid. Lubrication with a liquid, of course, reduces the friction because most elves are busy swimming - they love it. Polishing (or "elven genocide", as I prefer to call it) also reduces friction. They are incredibly self-conscious, though, so whenever an experiment would show them they hide.

However, most people would be intellectually hostile, dismissive or at least suspicious regarding my little friends, even if they are possible. The same for things like philosopher's stone, unicorns or green martians - all of which can't be ruled out of existence given our knowledge.

Why? I think that's an important question, as it goes directly to the problem of proof for or against god(s), the burden of proof, etc.
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Chad Ellis
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WhiteKong wrote:
The existence of order implies a creator (IMO)


Why? Maybe the difference between theists and atheists is not whether one sees order or entropy but rather whether one thinks that the order implies a creator...

Going back to the OP, I absolutely agree that there's plenty of "room" for God. From a philosophical perspective, God has always seemed like a very poor answer to the really deep questions. I recognize that other people feel exactly the same way and see God as a very profound answer. Maybe I just lack that "God-shaped hole" that many theists think is in all of us.
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Michael Ziegler
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Brad in response to your comment, since Scripture is viewed by Protestants to be "Final Authority" you have to expect it as a resource. The Catholic Church does NOT agree with this. They see the Church as the main focus and the Bible as documents, inspired yes, but not a final resource, so you see there is not even agreement in these circles.

What I am always fascinated by in this day and age is the Scientific/Creationist attempts. Here science it being retro-fitted into history and ideas are being advanced to try to explain dinosaurs, which in my opinion is really silly.

Today I even expect an argument to start with "I swear to God I'm an atheist"
 
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Chad Ellis
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WhiteKong wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
WhiteKong wrote:
The existence of order implies a creator (IMO)


Why? Maybe the difference between theists and atheists is not whether one sees order or entropy but rather whether one thinks that the order implies a creator...


Absolutely correct. And there is no definitive evidence for either conclusion.


Definitive? No. But on what basis do you argue that the order of the universe implies a creator? And, at the risk of asking the obvious, is your proposed creator not also orderly?
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WhiteKong wrote:
What exactly is your definition of entropy? If we dropped that bomb on Hiroshima 1000 times, we get the same result every time wouldn't we? It would blow up. I don't think that even one time, butterflies would decend out of the bomb and shoot sunshine all over the city. What happened to Hiroshima wasn't entropy, it was calculated, and it can be repeated over and over. That's order.

And what isn't orderly about the way that a meal is digested? It comes out as feces every time. I have never digested a meal and then shit out gold bars, monkeys, or a planet. Always feces.


Mark is perfectly right here, his examples are both great increases in entropy. You should probably look for some review of entropy and its manifestations; the popular notion that entropy = chaos is often misleading. Moreover, the sense of necessity in the outcome of digestion that you identify as order is a sign of a process involving entropic change - because entropy is organisational order, in the sense that it provides a temporal and energetic framework in which cause-effects relationships can be observed.
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WhiteKong wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:

Mark is perfectly right here, his examples are both great increases in entropy. You should probably look for some review of entropy and its manifestations; the popular notion that entropy = chaos is often misleading. Moreover, the sense of necessity in the outcome of digestion that you identify as order is a sign of a process involving entropic change - because entropy is organisational order, in the sense that it provides a temporal and energetic framework in which cause-effects relationships can be observed.


Why does the "temporal and energetic framework" exist, and who or what created it? Did it create itself? If so, how?



Does everything have to be created? Could not some things have been there for ever, uncaused causes as it were?

 
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WhiteKong wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:

Mark is perfectly right here, his examples are both great increases in entropy. You should probably look for some review of entropy and its manifestations; the popular notion that entropy = chaos is often misleading. Moreover, the sense of necessity in the outcome of digestion that you identify as order is a sign of a process involving entropic change - because entropy is organisational order, in the sense that it provides a temporal and energetic framework in which cause-effects relationships can be observed.


Why does the "temporal and energetic framework" exist, and who or what created it? Did it create itself? If so, how?


The temporal and energetic framework is in our perception. The reason of its existence is that, since the processes that regulate our cognitive functions are also entropy-driven, we perceive time and causality as happening in the same "direction" as them.

A simple analogy: in a room, the ceiling is always above, and the room is always below, because our definition of ceiling and floor depends on our perception of above and below.
 
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WhiteKong wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:
WhiteKong wrote:
HeinzGuderian wrote:

Mark is perfectly right here, his examples are both great increases in entropy. You should probably look for some review of entropy and its manifestations; the popular notion that entropy = chaos is often misleading. Moreover, the sense of necessity in the outcome of digestion that you identify as order is a sign of a process involving entropic change - because entropy is organisational order, in the sense that it provides a temporal and energetic framework in which cause-effects relationships can be observed.


Why does the "temporal and energetic framework" exist, and who or what created it? Did it create itself? If so, how?


The temporal and energetic framework is in our perception. The reason of its existence is that, since the processes that regulate our cognitive functions are also entropy-driven, we perceive time and causality as happening in the same "direction" as them.

A simple analogy: in a room, the ceiling is always above, and the room is always below, because our definition of ceiling and floor depends on our perception of above and below.


Then we agree. It all comes down to our own individual perception, not a verifiable or provable set of facts. I believe that's what I've been saying all along.


I'm not saying that the existence of entropy depends on what we perceive; it's fairly easy provable - just mix two liquids and then try to separate them.

Back to the analogy, I could be amazed by the fact that, in every single room I have been at, the ceiling was above and the floor was below. Isn't it a sign that this world is full of order? Surely some designer must have put all the ceilings above and all the floors below, right?
 
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You get a geek nickle for demonstrating that the limitations of Induction swing both ways.

Nice posts, Brad.

In my opinion, Scientific Skepticism is 'agnostic' on the issue of the God existing/not existing. Thats because you just can't use induction to demonstrate either. There's just no way to make an experiment about it.

This isn't bad- it just means that the question of the existence of God is not a scientific question. It defies scientific analysis. Thats neither proof, nor a denial of existence. Its just a limitation on how we can use induction to 'prove' anything.

One unfortunate side effect of the political battles over Creationism (Evolution Denial) is that, in response to battling a militant Theism trying to impose its conceptions of theology as 'science', there are some who have moved beyond mere Skepticism into the realm of militant 'belief' in an atheistic Ideology of 'God Denial' (or Dawkins-ism, but I think God Denial sounds better). And, of course, Thiests, under attack from this God Denialism respond by tarring ALL atheists with that brush- just as the God Denialists basically seek to imply that if you believe in God, you must also be as 'non-scientific' as the Evolution Denialsts.

Its polarized debate- and I, for one, am deeply saddened to see Science so misused by the God Denialists- in order to 'save' Science from the perceived threats of Religion, they will destroy it- by making it into a closed ideology as well, instead of an open system.

Darilian
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Chad Ellis
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WhiteKong wrote:
In our world, an object such as a watch has enough order and complexity to suggest that it was created and did not occur naturally, even if I can't definitively prove who created the watch or when. So, inductively, the order and complexity of the universe suggest that it was created, and did not occur naturally, even if I can't definitively prove who created it or when.


I think there are at least two fairly serious weaknesses in this induction.

First, we have many observed instances of complexity (even what IDists would call specified complexity) arising without a designer (or at least without one that we know.) Choosing a watch as your data point for induction is no more valid than choosing a non-designed example.

Second, unless you engage in hand-waving by invoking the unmoved mover, concluding that complexity must be designed doesn't really work. If the natural world is too complex to have arisen without agency, then why is it satisfying or reasonable to posit that the agency in question arose without agency? It's turtles all the way down...

Quote:
It's really not a fair argument for atheists to sit back and poke holes in the theistic theories without themselves offering to defend the scientific explanations in which they believe. So, now that I have answered the question, I will ask the same one to you: On what basis do you argue that the order of the universe (or lack thereof) implies that there is no creator?


I don't know that it implies anything. This is where I disagreed with you before -- you say that when we can't answer something we both end up on faith. I say that you end up on faith (and claim knowledge you lack) while I end up with a bunch of things I don't know.
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