Three Proofs Against the Existence of God

MrAggie2003
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Yes, this is yet another debate on God. It’s my first such post on Texags, so I reserve the right to start one. I promise to behave and refrain from ad-hominem attacks.

Here we go:

(1) God is arbitrary.
There is no evidence for a supernatural being with the properties generally ascribed to God. If someone makes an assertion for which there is no evidence either way, the logical thing to do is simply dismiss it, just as I would dismiss the assertion that there is an invisible pink elephant floating over me. If this were the only argument against God, I would not be able to prove that God did not exist -- but you would not be able to prove that he does exist either. Hence the claim must be thrown own as arbitrary.

Comment: The reason there I say that is no evidence for God is NOT that I cannot see him. I have never seen Australia either, or my mind, or anger, or Neptune. The reason there is no evidence for God is that the characteristics ascribed to God contradict the rest of my knowledge about the world, and cannot be integrated with it (for example, I know of no intelligence that has no physical basis, or entity that spans the whole universe)

(2) God has no identity.
Everything that exists in the universe has a particular nature, and only that nature. Things are what they are – with certain properties that have certain characteristics. Every existing thing behaves in a certain way according to its nature. (Law of causality) More fundamentally, the whole notion of something existing means having a certain nature – a particular, limited nature that is one thing and not another. Everything that exists, exists as such. In other words, non-contradiction. Something cannot be two conflicting things at the same time, in the same place, and in the same respect. God is a contradictory concept – he has no nature, no (finite) identity, and no particular causal connection to the rest of the universe. Thus, God is not only an arbitrary, but also a contradictory concept, and thus impossible. You cannot argue for a contradictory concept since the notions of proof, reason, or evidence rest on the validity of logic. (Because just like everything else in the universe, logic also has a particular nature. A is A.)
If God has a particular identity, then at most, he must be an ancient, very powerful robot playing tricks with our fate. I don’t know any theists who would argue that God is a robot. Besides, if RoboGod has to play by the rules as we do, we can beat him.

(3) God is contradictory.
Many of the traits attributed to God are self-contradictory. For example, God is omnipotent, all good, and all knowing, yet evil exists. Also: God is everywhere and nowhere. Also: God loves us and sends us to hell. Also: We have free will, yet we are pre-destined. Also: immortal soul, yet we seem to be created from scratch at birth with no memories (making re-birth pointless) Also: God defines right and wrong, yet is able to change it (same as the making a stone to big to lift thing) Also: God is actually three gods, yet he is one. Also: Man is evil, yet he was saved, yet he really isn’t saved, yet God will probably forgive us anyway. Also: God act by miracles, yet he creates physical laws, so he needs none. Also: God is concerned about our fate, yet he already knows exactly what will happen. Also: Man is in God’s image, yet he is sinful. Also: Religion is supposed to make one happy on earth, yet earthy life is about suffering and sin. Also: God wrote the sole, absolute, and unchanging source of morality, yet his Book is full of contradictions, and things you’d probably say he’d oppose today (such as stoning for adultery). Also: Pride is evil for man in heaven, yet good for man on earth. I could probably think of a few dozen more contradictions, but you get the idea. God isn’t even consistent with himself. Let’s not forget: One should have blind faith in God, yet you are about to attempt to use reason to prove me wrong.


[This message has been edited by MrAggie2003 (edited 8/11/2003 9:57p).]
opk
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Your "proofs" are merely hypotheses.

You are attempting to disprove the existence of an entity which you claim does not exist.

Explain that to me.


************
"If I am not for myself, who will be?

If I am only for myself, what am I?

If not now, when?"

Hillel

************
MrAggie2003
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The burden of proof is always on the one arguing for a positive. I'm just offering a pre-emptive strike.

"If I am only for myself, what am I?" - A self-made soul.

opk
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"A self made soul"

In a G-dless universe you claim a soul for yourself?
lorenaag1
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MrAggie2003,

Welcome!

I read your post, and do not feel compelled to answer every question you posed, just wanted to comment.

For those of us who have experienced the presence of God and His saving grace and understand He is a part of us, God is certainly not arbitrary.

You say you know of no intelligence without a physical basis. To God, you have a physical basis and no intelligence or truth other than what you see. You see, the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who perish, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. Since you are still at the, is God real stage?, it is only natural you equate the belief in God with the belief there is an invisible pink elephant floating over you.

One other thing, you said God is actually three gods, yet he is one. Actually, there is ONE GOD, eternally existent in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps some of my friends here will answer your many misconceptions about so called contradictions since I don't have time tonight.

Take care and keep searching.

YYZ
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quote:

Yes, this is yet another debate on God. It’s my first such post on Texags, so I reserve the right to start one. I promise to behave and refrain from ad-hominem attacks.



Yes, well, I can see why you would want to ignore the other thread…


quote:

(1) God is arbitrary.
There is no evidence for a supernatural being with the properties generally ascribed to God. If someone makes an assertion for which there is no evidence either way, the logical thing to do is simply dismiss it, just as I would dismiss the assertion that there is an invisible pink elephant floating over me. If this were the only argument against God, I would not be able to prove that God did not exist -- but you would not be able to prove that he does exist either. Hence the claim must be thrown own as arbitrary.

Comment: The reason there I say that is no evidence for God is NOT that I can't see him. I’ve never seen Australia either, or my mind, or anger, or Neptune. The reason there is no evidence for God is that the characteristics ascribed to God contradict the rest of my knowledge about the world, and cannot be integrated with it (for example, I know of no intelligence that has no physical basis, or entity that spans the whole universe)



I see… So you being a finite being, who have not seen or experienced but about .000000000001% of the universe, are sure that God does not exist because His existence would contradict the rather minuscule (when compared to the infinite) knowledge that you claim to have accumulated in the tiny amount of time you have existed. Hmmm… So why do you feel that your knowledge of something has anything to do with the reality of whether or not such a thing is true, and on what basis do you conclude this? This is very good. I hope in this particular forum you will begin to answer my questions…


quote:

(2) The supernatural has no identity.
Everything that exists in the universe has a particular nature, and only that nature.



How do you know this is true? What is your basis for saying this is a true statement?

quote:

Things are what they are – with certain properties that have certain characteristics. Every existing thing behaves in a certain way according to its nature. (Law of causality) More fundamentally, for whole notion of something existing IS to have a certain nature – a particular, limited nature that is one thing and not another. Everything that exists, exists as such.



How do you know this is true? Have you experienced or observed everything?

quote:

In other words, non-contradiction. Something cannot be two conflicting things at the same time, in the same place, and in the same respect. God is a contradictory concept – he has no nature, no (finite) identity, and no particular causal connection to the rest of the universe. Thus, God is not only an arbitrary, but also a contradictory concept, and thus impossible. You can’t argue for a contradictory concept since the whole nothing of proof, reason, or evidence rests on the validity of logic. (Because just like everything, in the universe, logic also has a particular nature. A is A.)
If God has a particular identity, then at most, he must be an ancient, very powerful robot playing tricks with our fate. I don’t know any theists who would argue that God is a robot. Besides, if RoboGod has to play by the rules as we do, we can beat him.



Again you can never seem to justify by what authority you make your arbitrary assertions for what is true, other than to continue to make arbitrary assertions. On what basis can you state that these things are true? On what basis do you commit to your independent interpretation of the truth?



quote:

(3) God is contradictory.
Many of the traits attributed to God are self-contradictory. For example, God is
omnipotent, all-good, and all-knowing, yet evil exists. Also: God is everywhere and nowhere. Also: God loves us and sends us to hell. Also: We have free will, yet we’re pre-destined. Also: immortal soul, yet we seem to be created from scratch at birth with no memories (making re-birth pointless) Also: God defines right and wrong, yet is able to change it (same as the making a stone to big to lift thing) Also: God is actually three gods, yet he is one. Also: Man is evil, yet he was saved, yet he really isn’t saved, yet God will probably forgive us anyway. Also: God act by miracles, yet he creates physical laws, so he needs none. Also: God is concerned about our fate, yet he already knows exactly what will happen. Also: Man is in God’s image, yet he is sinful. Also: Religion is supposed to make one happy on earth, yet earthy life is about suffering and sin. Also: God wrote the sole, absolute, and unchanging source of morality, yet his Book is full of contradictions, and things you’d probably say he’d oppose today (such as stoning for adultery). Also: Pride is evil for man in heaven, yet good for man on earth. I could probably think of a few dozen more contradictions, but you get the idea. God isn’t even consistent with himself. Let’s not forget: One should have blind faith in God, yet you are about to attempt to use reason to prove me wrong.



Philosophical argumentation you might have some skill at, but theology is something that I could spend a long time educating you on. The big question would be, are you humble enough or seeking the truth about things, or have you already made up your mind, and I would just be wasting my time? My question to you however is, why do you think that you can independently arrive at the truth about such things? Again there is much you do not know about the things that you just mentioned, for example freewill, and predestination are resolvable with the understanding that freewill does not mean that people are free to operate contrary to their nature, (yes you know about the law of non-contradiction, don’t you) so if mans nature is such that he is inclined to be evil, at enmity and therefore repelled by God, then man is not really free in that regards, to choose God, and is destined to always reject God, and yet were he given a new nature that is a new creation within him that is no longer at enmity or repelled by God, and would be freely attracted to God, and ultimately destined to freely accept, entirely uncompelled. In this way he is free, that he is not compelled, but God is also sovereign, and man is predestinated according to God’s sovereign will. Either to be left alone so as to perish, or by His will that a man be born again with this new nature or new heart, that does not perish.
Again this is a theological concept that you did not know anything about, , and although it might be found to be distasteful it but it reasonably and logically answers your charge that there is a contradiction between predestination and freedom.

There you have just been educated and made known something that you previously were ignorant to. Now, you have knowledge that did not exist in your mind before, and so could be with all of your complaints, but the question is, that even if what I said was indeed an objective fact of reality, you could subjectively reject it, because it does not fit your model of truth that you have committed to be the independent arbitrator of. First you must not only recognize the fact that you have committed to this independence, but you must justify it. You might claim that certain values or reason is the ultimate authority, but you claim that independently, and it is by your own authority that you make the claim. Therefore I ask you to justify your commitment to being an independent authority.

opk
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"God is contradictory.
Many of the traits attributed to God are self-contradictory."
>We see poorly.


"God is omnipotent, all-good, and all-knowing, yet evil exists."
>True. Evil exists in the world because G-d has made man capable of it.

"God is everywhere and nowhere."
>G-d is 'everywhere' spiritually and 'nowhere' physically.

"God loves us and sends us to hell."
>G-d loves us. If there is a hell, it is of our own making.

"We have free will, yet we're pre-destined."
>True, but some things are beyond the control of man.


"...immortal soul, yet we seem to be created from scratch at birth with no memories (making re-birth pointless)"
>Why pointless?

"God defines right and wrong, yet is able to change it (same as the making a stone to big to lift thing)"
>Yes.

"God is actually three gods, yet he is one."
>I wonder about this concept myself.

"Man is evil, yet he was saved, yet he really isn't saved, yet God will probably forgive us anyway."
>Man is capable of evil...yet G-d will probably forgive us anyway.

"God act by miracles, yet he creates physical laws, so he needs none."
>G-d is not bound by physical laws.

"God is concerned about our fate, yet he already knows exactly what will happen."
>True

"Man is in God's image, yet he is sinful."
>See reference to sin above

"Religion is supposed to make one happy on earth, yet earthy(sic) life is about suffering and sin."
>"Happy on earth"? Anyone? SOME lives are about suffering and "sin".

"God wrote the sole, absolute, and unchanging source of morality, yet his Book is full of contradictions, and things you'd probably say he'd oppose today (such as stoning for adultery)."
>The Bible is the story of people, complete with their imperfections and their relationship to G-d, from which we may take lessons. It is not "The Bobsey Twins at The Seashore".

"Pride is evil for man in heaven, yet good for man on earth."
>Pride, taken to excess, is a fault. Pride, in appropriate moderation is....appropriate.

To be continued.
The Librarian
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Since I cannot seem to fall asleep, I will take a stab at your proofs.

Proof 1: God is Arbitrary

To make this easier, I will map your argument:

Assumption #1. No evidence for God's existence exists.
Assumption #2. We should dismiss any assertion for which we have no evidence.
.: We should dismiss the assertion that God exists.

Even if I granted you both assumptions and logical validity, your argument does not prove that God does not exist. It only proves that we should not believe in God. Of course, I would not grant your premise #1 and I find myself skeptical of premise #2. But you give no argument for assumption #1 or assumption #2, so I will not bother with providing counter arguments for either (it is not necessary.)

Proof #1 fails.

Proof #2: God has no identity

Assumption 1: Everything that exists has a particular nature.
Assumption 2: Everything acts according to its nature.
Assumption 3: God has no nature.
.: God does not exist (by 1 and 3)

A good deal here was superfluous to your argument, but it suffers similar problems as your earlier proof. No argument exists here. You simply make assumptions that theists would not make. Judaic and Christian theological systems expound details about the nature of God and the indentity of God, none of which resolve God into an "ancient, tricksy robot". So we can toss Assumption #3 out for soundness and your argument has no bearing. Also, you mentioned "identity" in the title of this proof, but you fail to utilize it anywhere else. Perhaps you should retitle it.

Proof #2 fails.

Proof #3: God is contradictory

This involved several very short proofs. I think I will try to combine them. Of course, your major problem, again, is that even if you were right about these things, you still have not proven the non-existence of God. Only that you should not believe in particular things about God. This proof fails before it get evaluated on that basis alone.

Assumption #1: God is omnipotent.
Assumption #2: God is omnibenevolent.
Assumption #3: God is omniscient.
Assumption #4: Evil exists.
.: God is contradictory.

First and foremost, you are missing a large number of steps. This fails on logical validity. Secondly, I would suggest reading Alvin Plantinga's "Free Will Defense" and the responses to it before continuing down this line.

Assumption #5: God is everywhere.
Assumption #6: God is nowhere.
.: God is contradictory

Christianity, at least, would not purport Assumption #6. The argument fails on soundness.

Assumption #7: God loves us.
Assumption #8: God sends us to hell.
.: God is contradictory.

You still lack the necessary steps to make a valid argument here and you still muddle the assumptions a Christian theist would make.

Assumption #9: We have free-will.
Assumption #10: We are predestined.
.: God is contradictory.

This argument has more controversy. Christians that accept assumption #9 would reject assumption #10 (in the sense that you could draw a contradiction from it, at any rate). Christians that accept assumption #10 would reject assumption #9. I believe the argument you attempted to refer to involves free-will and omniscience. A good deal has happened with that argument recently, and a number of philosophers have puzzled with it and conjured defenses that have not been successfully cracked. The issue is not settled, nor does it appear to be, but what seems to be settled is that no formal contradiction occurs in holding to both free-will and God's omniscience in a theological system. The trick has been explaining how that happens, not whether or not it would be logically inconsistent if it did happen.

Assumption #11: We have an immortal soul.
Assumption #12: We are created from scratch
.: God is contradictory.

Again, this does not fit with Christian theism, and again, you have not provided any arguments for your assumptions.

Assumption #13: God defines good and evil.
Assumption #14: God changes his definition of good and evil.
.: God is contradictory.

First, where did you get assumption #14? Second, I probably would not agree with assumption #13. God tells us the distinction betwee good and evil, but that does not imply that God defines Good and Evil. More assumptions. No arguments.

Assumption #15: There are three Gods.
Assumption #16: There is one God.
.: God is contradictory.

I do not know of a single Christian group that would agree with assumption #15. I take it you have read absolutely nothing on trinitarianism and Christology. You make a clear categorical mistake here, conflating "essence" with "person", and this proof has no bearing on anything (not even other religions).

(skipped a few really poor ones)

Assumption #17: God acts by miracles.
Assumption #18: God created physical laws.
Assumption #19: God does not need miracles.
Assumption #20: This is a valid argument.
.: God is contradictory (by 20)

Sorry chief. There was no semblence of an argument here I could dream up.

Assumption #21: Man is in God's image.
Assumption #22: Man is sinful.
(and then the argument goes -- I guess)
God's image is sinful.
God is sinful.
God is not all-good.
(Assumption)God is all good.
.: God is a contradiction.

Man brought sin into the world, flinging mud unto the image of God. So the next step you would need to take as an assumption would not comply with Christianity. The proof fails.

Assumption #23: Religion should make you happy.
Assumption #24: Life is about suffering and sin.
.: Contradiction

I do not believe either of those statements accurately reflect Christian theism (or Judaism). You simply are not careful enough to make a valid argument here. If you were being careful, I do not think the argument would work. Assumptions. No argument. The assumptions do not match Christian theism. .: The proof fails.

Assumption #25: God wrote the Bible.
Assumption #26: The Bible has contradictions.
.: God DNE.

First, #25 is wrong. God did not write the Bible. He inspired it. It is infallible, but God did not take out His almighty pen and scribble some notes for us to follow. That is completely asinine. Second, I do not buy #26 with respect to theological issues (and most other issues). I will not argue with you over it because this long post has made me realize that you know absolutely nothing about theology and theistic philosophy. I have read through many sites claiming to refute the Bible and have come away disappointed in their efforts every time. Third, you have completely missed the easiest points of Christian theism in the Bible when you bring up novelty and not stoning adulterers.

(skipping ridiculous argument about pride)

Assumption #27: We should have blind faith in God.
Assumption #28: We use reason to refute atheists.
.: Christianity is contradictory.

First, and foremost, #27, in the way you mean it (i.e. the only possible way it could contradict with #28), does not fly. Numerous accounts in the Bible exhort Christians to believe with their minds, to not be ignorant, to use argument, science, etc. Secondly, even if you were right about #27, you still cannot make the argument valid because using reason to refute an atheist would have no bearing on my blind faith. I would simply be using your insufficient, broken tools against you (arguing presuppositionally). So your conclusion doesn't follow from either assumption. The argument is invalid, unsound, and ignorant.


I do not believe that you know very much about theism. Perhaps you should educate yourself, and take a logic class, before continuing in this vein. I could understand these sorts of arguments from a young teenager, but not from the president of the Objectivist club at a University. It seems to me that your arguements concern a belief system that simply does not exist.
LSU89
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Pride. It still gets us into trouble.
It's got to be the deadliest of the sins.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

-Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5
Orphan
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AG
Well, time for this again; If you are afraid of ghosts, then you believe that ghosts exist. I believe this proposition fits in with Objectivist Philosophy.

Librarian: Don't think I've seen a counter-argument structured in that manner. I for one appreciate your efforts.

davis
Physics96
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I wouldn't echo the Librarian's criticism that these are naive arguments in the sense of being unsophisticated, but I agree that they are misdirected. Omnipotence, omnibenevolence, eternity, and immanence are all extremely thorny theological concepts, and they aren't necessarily the same as the common understanding of those terms. I would start with some of the more philosophical writers, like William Lane Craig or Alvin Plantinga. Examine their debates with atheists on some of these issues with respect to the allegedly contradictory aspects of God. With respect to the theological perspective, Aquinas may be a good place to start, but he uses terms in the sense they were used in the middle ages, so it may take a while to understand some of them.

Edit -- BTW, since theists believe that there is no contradiction between reason and theism, there is no difficulty in using reason to rebut the charge that it is contradictory to believe in theism, nor is there any difficulty in using reason to demonstrate affirmatively that theism is a rationally viable explanation. But that in itself does not suffice to compel belief, absent a revelation of God to the person.

[This message has been edited by Physics96 (edited 8/12/2003 12:29p).]
Ishmael-Ag
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Let's play lottery with God the creator of the universe. Each and every one of the things listed below had the chance of happening roughly equivalent to winning the big jackpot in a state lottery, but yet all have happened exactly right for us all to be here posting about God's said existence or not. These are all supported by my favorite subject (as creationists here can attest) scientific evidence.

1. The strength of the electromagnetic force which encourages atoms to join into molecules.

2. The strength of the strong nuclear force which holds atomic nuclei together; were it a bit stronger the diproton and not hydrogen would be the major component of matter and without hydrogen there are no stars and no life.

3. The strength of gravity which dominates the universe at distances greater than the size of molecules and clusters mass into galexies, stars, planets.

4. The mass and energy of the big bang and the original temperature and rate of expansion that allowed for the universe to unfold as it has rather than collapse upon itself or expand so fast that gravity could not form those stars, etc.

5. The ability of helium to react with radioactive beryllium during the 0.0000000000000001 seconds of it's existence to form carbon, the building block on not only life, but all the other 86 natural elements heavier than carbon. Without that process the universe would only have mass made of hydrogen and helium.

So-were we just real lucky or do you think God (or whatever you wish to call him) loaded the universal dice?



[This message has been edited by Ishmael-Ag (edited 8/12/2003 4:18p).]
MrAggie2003
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OK, I realized I have the wrong approach to this. While my arguments are true, the background knowledge required to understand the concepts involved almost requires that the reader be an atheist before he reads them.

Besides, you (the theist) are positing existence of something, so the burden of proof is on you. So, you claim that a God exists. Prove it.

[This message has been edited by MrAggie2003 (edited 8/13/2003 3:17a).]
MrAggie2003
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Ishmael,

Your argument is that the nature of the physical laws of the universe is such that they had to be precisely what they are to allow human beings to come to be. Let's take this further. Suppose that the fact that monkeys evolved from cavemen, that cavemen discovered fire, that primitive man discovered agriculture, that St Aquinas (re-)discovered Aristotle, the we didn't manage to blow ourselves up, all were a chain of extraordinary coincidences occurring right to this day, without which none of the actions that brings you and I here today would have happened.

OK, suppose this is true. Suppose that there was a googol of incredibly unlikely events that made you and I possible. My response is – what is the alternative? Certainly not the world we know, but what basis do you have to claim what the world would be otherwise?

Since the laws of reality are integrated with each other, it’s no more possible to conceive of a different universe that it is to make 2+2=5. Assumptions about what the universe would be with different laws are just that – completely arbitrary assumptions. You could claim that atoms wouldn’t form, that humans wouldn’t evolve, or that galaxies would fly apart. But I can reply that instead, plazic cryo-beings would evolve, that n-dimensional meta-grains made out of dark matter would aggregate, and that fuzzy anti-mega-puffs would form the fundamental structure of the universe. Of course I have no basis for any of this – it’s all completely arbitrary and unprovable, since our universe exists as an integrated whole in which we cannot change a single molecule without disrupting everything else. But if you see that, them you have to see that neither do you have any basis to say what the universe would be like if any of the physical constants were any different. It’s all arbitrary speculation, and it’s just as likely that plazic cryo-beings would evolve in it as humans that look just like us.

That’s one answer. Another is that the universe has existed for 13.7 billion years, + or – 5% and in that time, planets orbiting 10 to the 80 stars had have a very long time to form an evolutionary pattern that would naturally lead to intelligent life, even one very different from hours. If I can create self-evolving algorithms on my primitive computer, surely the universe can come up with something better over a few billion years. Let’s not forget that many example of convergent evolution exist today on this earth alone.
MrAggie2003
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quote:
I see… So you being a finite being, who have not seen or experienced but about .000000000001% of the universe, are sure that God does not exist because His existence would contradict the rather minuscule (when compared to the infinite) knowledge that you claim to have accumulated in the tiny amount of time you have existed. Hmmm… So why do you feel that your knowledge of something has anything to do with the reality of whether or not such a thing is true, and on what basis do you conclude this? This is very good. I hope in this particular forum you will begin to answer my questions…


I can just as easily turn this argument around to ask: “So you being a finite being, who have not seen or experienced but about .000000000001% of the universe, but you claim to know for a fact that an all-powerful unseen beings exists and controls the universe based on knowledge that you claim to have accumulated in the tiny amount of time you have existed. Hmmm… So why do you feel that your knowledge of something has anything to do with the reality of whether or not such a thing is true, and on what basis do you conclude this?”
Vander
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AG
I would also like to add that the original poster should have specified that he was talking about the Christian God and not just a God in general because a generalized God could be totally different from anything described in the original post.
Orphan
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AG
quote:
Besides, you (the theist) are positing existence of something, so the burden of proof is on you. So, you claim that a God exists. Prove it.
But you, the (fill in the blank) initiated the thread with an argument you failed to prove.

You brought the chicken to the dinner, don;t you think you ought to cook it? Your statement above is a cop-out in this case.

david
Ishmael-Ag
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MrAggie2003-you said-"surely the universe could come up with something better".

You are making the assumption that the universe HAS NOT come up with something better. I happen to assume the opposite as posters who have read other things I have written will attest. Your view there is just as earth centered as some of those to whom you are trying to disprove God. Just because we haven't met them yet (and the universe has a great natural quarantine) does not mean there are not millions or even billions of more intelligent beings than we are inhabiting other areas.

My arguments do not prove the existence of God, only give the statistical argument for the improbability that the universe created itself just this way.

So take about 1 over 50,000,000 or so to the 5th power that had to happen to be "just right". That's approximately the odds we are talking here. I'd say that using probability theory alone makes a very strong argument for a "hand" or "mind" behind creation of the universe. If you have had any statistics course then you understand that the the chance of this being the final universe out of all those other possibilities is so infinitely improbable it becomes laughable. I'd bet the house in Vegas on those odds.


[This message has been edited by Ishmael-Ag (edited 8/13/2003 2:47p).]
Ishmael-Ag
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PS-And actually cosmologists do know what the universe would be like for a change in each of those. It would not harbor any kind of life if it existed at all because it would have never come into being or even remain in being in the way it takes to create life. It would take a book to explain it all but just use your logic on each and you will likely come up with the alternatives if you change any just a little. If you want some good reads on the subject-let me know.

BlitzGD
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AG
MrAg,

Mankind was given the gift of choice. No other animal has this gift.

Assuming you are speaking of the Judeo-Christian-Islam God, well in the words of Sun Tzu "Know oneself, but know one's adversary better". Three god argument, invalid, nowhere in the texts of the Bible or Qoran does it state ther are three gods. A modern example would be you have your work self, your home self, and your social/party self, all the same person just different aspects. Next hell, it does not exist. Period. You either follow the tenets of yor faith and are granted eternal life, or you don't and you die. Now after you read the actual texts then perhaps you can make a more informed argument with actual examples from said texts that you believe support your argument.

Creation, every culture has a creation story. And surprise, surprise they are all basically the same. Now even for those big bang fellas, the overwhelming fact is this: At the beginning of the universe, something was created from nothing. The question is where? Where did the first atom come from, the first particle, the first lil bit of energy? According to the Law of Conservation of Energy/Matter the total amount of energy and matter in existence is a single unchanging number. As the amount of energy or matter increases, the other must decrease. The Big Bang theory actually refutes this as the universe had an increase of both energy and matter afterwards. But I digress, once again, where is the beginning and how did it happen? The beginning is where the proof can be found, seek and ye shall find.
Physics96
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Upon a bit more research, I believe I may have stumbled upon some of the reasons for miscommunication. I confess to having been as ill-informed with respect to the objectivist meaning of terms as Mr. Aggie was with respect to ours. I'll provide an example.

Librarian said:
quote:
Also, you mentioned "identity" in the title of this proof, but you fail to utilize it anywhere else. Perhaps you should retitle it.


In fact, this is perfectly common in the jargon of objectivists. There's a nice little summary that I found:
quote:
The third and final axiom, the law of identity, is implicit in the first two: a thing is itself. Miss Rand's new formulation of this axiom is that existence is identity.

http://www.lawrence.edu/sorg/objectivism/god.html

The website also quotes directly from Ms. Rand's writings on the subject of axioms:
quote:

[An axiom is] the identification of a primary fact of reality, which cannot be analyzed, i.e., reduced to other facts or broken into component parts. It is implicit in all facts and all knowledge. It is the fundamentally given and directly perceived or experienced, whcih requires no proof or explanation, but on which all proofs and explanations rest.
****
Existence exists--and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as a consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.


Now the theists here will probably notice that a self-perceiving consciousness is the classical definition of God's nature (particularly those who have studied Aquinas, but more generally, anyone who believes in the immanence of God). So essentially, objectivism destroys God by axiom. Furthermore, on the epistemological level, objectivism says that epistemology is ontology; existence is inseparable from perception by consciousness. Rand's assertion seems to be that if we can't agree on these concepts, we can't discuss anything at all, so by conceding to discuss metaphysics, you are accepting her axioms. The problem is that philosophers have had such discussions before and after Rand without doing anything of the sort. She may have decided that they aren't discussions worth having, but to then claim to have the only rational philosophy based on axioms that plenty of rational people reject seems a little much. No wonder she hated philosophers.

Leaving that aside, there are two essential points left:
1) I have never seen anything like the attributes of God, so God can't possibly exist.
2) God is a self-contradictory concept based on its attributes.

1) is answerable by the difference in axioms. If there is a reason to believe based on pure logic that there might be an entity with those attributes, then most of us would not require that the attributes have ever been witnessed otherwise. So, for example, the kalam cosmological argument provide a reason for anyone believing in the property of metaphysical causation that there must be a causeless first cause. Other reasons for seeking a cause might include the universality of the human search for meaning, the teleological argument, etc. Based on experience, then, and the derived existence of that cause, it may be possible to derive attributes of that cause (as Aquinas did), and one could not fairly say that the attributes were logically impossible.

2) is simply false based upon the nature of the derived attributes of God, which are exactly the attributes that Mr. Aggie has misconstrued. That's why it's important to understand theism to formulate an attack on it. The attributes of God are not simple ad hockery; they are derived from observed principles and reasonable understanding. Some of the attributes are mysterious, revealed rather than derived, but the attributes that you are describing are not within that realm (the Trinitarian nature, the Incarnation, etc.).

In conclusion, Rand posits a couple of propositions that are allegedly necessary for rational inquiry, and obviously, I doubt that they are true or necessary. At any rate, they necessarily exclude theism, and they are not subject to challenge, so it seems that dialogue between theists and objectivists is impossible (the systems are incommensurable). Even if we provide plausible but not compelling reasons for theism, the objectivist will derive a contradiction with the "axioms" of reality, and thus will be forced to reject any reason that is not absolutely compelling. Obviously, Mr. Aggie has not found any such compelling reasons, and there doesn't seem to be profit in discussing the matter further.
YYZ
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quote:

I can just as easily turn this argument around to ask: “So you being a finite being, who have not seen or experienced but about .000000000001% of the universe, but you claim to know for a fact that an all-powerful unseen beings exists and controls the universe based on knowledge that you claim to have accumulated in the tiny amount of time you have existed. Hmmm… So why do you feel that your knowledge of something has anything to do with the reality of whether or not such a thing is true, and on what basis do you conclude this?”



No, I am not committed to thinking independently as you are. My knowledge of God is dependent on God. I conclude it on the basis that the Word of God says so, and I believe it and understand it because God has chosen me and enabled me to know these truths.

Now what is your basis for claiming to know the truth? What is the basis for your commitment to independence? How do you think you can know the truth about God independent of God?

quote:

While my arguments are true, the background knowledge required to understand the concepts involved almost requires that the reader be an atheist before he reads them.



In other words one must have blind faith in himself…


[This message has been edited by YYZ (edited 8/13/2003 1:55p).]
YYZ
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Physics,

Based on what you said abotu Objectivism, would you not then call it a faith? It seems the core something that makes certain assumptions, and accepts these as true in order to build upon them. Even more if they have no justification at all for those assumptions would it not even be called a "blind faith" ?
Just wanted your opinion on that...

Physics96
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quote:
Based on what you said abotu Objectivism, would you not then call it a faith? It seems the core something that makes certain assumptions, and accepts these as true in order to build upon them. Even more if they have no justification at all for those assumptions would it not even be called a "blind faith" ?

You know, I think I would. Plenty of philosophers believe in the power of reason, but in the case of objectivism, I think it's actually gone past that to the level of "faith."
The website actually ridicules philosophers for questioning what existence actually is. It seems to me that the philosophers who question everything are the ones operating consistently, applying their rational skepticism to literally everything (Hume, Russell, Popper, etc.). They don't have faith in reason being accurate, and they don't accept any certainty at all. In objectivism, there is certainty in the power of reason, and that looks an awful lot like faith rather than reason. You might think of the axioms as the dogmas of the Rand church.
Orphan
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AG
Physics paraphrased:
quote:
..existence is inseparable from perception by consciousness.
If "perception by consciousness" is a degree of cognitive ability or quality, then new born babies simply don't exist, or for that matter, do unborn babies.

I'm going batty, but a whole new world is opening up here as regards abortion..... somebody lead me away from the point.

david

Physics96
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quote:
I'm going batty, but a whole new world is opening up here as regards abortion..... somebody lead me away from the point.

I have a similar concern. Objectivism emphasizes independence and reason so much that one wonders how much respect can possibly be had for the weak and dependent groups: children and the elderly. In general, one wonders how much a philosophy that is so far out of touch with the observable fact of our human experience (i.e., dependence in youth and old age) can be viable. If productivity, reason, and self-procured means of survival are the measures of personal value, it seems like your value starts awfully small, and plummets pretty quick after your peak earning years. I think they do respect human life qua life, but in terms of making a decision between a living, functioning woman and a fetus that can't perceive a thing outside of the womb and can't reason, who knows?
MrAggie2003
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"You are making the assumption that the universe HAS NOT come up with something better."

I'm not making any assumptions. I'm saying that guessing about what the universe would be like if any physical laws were different is completely arbitrary and unfounded.
Ishmael-Ag
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AG
"arbitrary and unfounded"-hhmm

What research have you done to write off the information provided? I can assure you mine came from excellent scientific sources but I have no idea how you have come to that conclusion. Take those 5 criteria to any cosmologist/astrophysicist you prefer and get his/her opinion on the effects of a change in any of them. You may be surprised how well founded they are in reality. It would be worth it just for the experience in engaging in a conversation with just such an expert (and I read on the other thread that you take pride in using your mind so here is a great opportunity).

[This message has been edited by Ishmael-Ag (edited 8/13/2003 7:31p).]
MrAggie2003
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Physics96,

Do you love your children and parents (if any) or do you only care for them becuase it's your "duty"? Do you consider raising children a burden that you must fulfill or a self-rewarding, productive activity?
Physics96
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quote:
Do you love your children and parents (if any) or do you only care for them becuase it's your "duty"? Do you consider raising children a burden that you must fulfill or a self-rewarding, productive activity?

Catholic answers are always "both-and" rather than "either-or," and so I'll stick to form and say both because it is self-rewarding and because it is my calling. In fact, I would be so bold as to say that it is because the activities fulfill God's purpose for me that they are rewarding. But you have brought forward the exact example that I find interesting: someone who does consider it a duty to take care of his parents, but someone who doesn't find it rewarding. Is it your position, then, that it would be immoral for the person to sacrifice his own ambitions and dreams to care for his parents? When people lose the ability to provide means for their own survival, who has the responsibility for them?


[This message has been edited by Physics96 (edited 8/13/2003 9:30p).]
The Librarian
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MrAggie2003,

Here is your general argument reworded against you.

"you (the [atheist]) are positing [non-existence] of something, so the burden of proof is on you. So, you claim that [no] God exists. Prove it."

Most atheists in philosophy of religion agree that the "burden of proof" lies both on the theist and the atheist. Neutrality does not belong to either of them. Neutrality only belongs to ignorance of the issue. Infants, if truly neutral, cannot be properly described as atheistic or theistic. They simply would not think about that conceptual scheme. They do not believe that God exists, nor do they believe that God does not exist.

Some people attempt to define atheism negatively, but a negative definition has been succesfully demonstrated of theism and the definition, even negatively defined, carries particular views posited by the members of either group.

Before this comes up, agnosticism posits a particular belief regarding the epistemology of God (that such a beings existance cannot be know).

Also, I apologize for the harshness of my earlier post. Insomnia makes me short-tempered.

"Don't you know the Dewey Decimal System?!?!" ~ Conan (the Librarian)
Physics96
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By the way, for those who haven't been following along on rationalmind.net (emphasis mine):
quote:
Three Proofs Against the Existence of God
I was feeling argumentative tonight, so I started a debate on God at the TexAgs forum. This post is mostly for my use in some future debate, but check out my arguments if you care to.

Edit: I realized that my arguments have some major flaws. While true, the background knowledge required to understand the concepts involved requires that the reader be an atheist/Objectivist before he reads them. So, I appreciate the compliments, but stand by for a rewritten version designed to respect the silly theist’s hierarchy of knowledge.


We're certainly waiting for that one with bated breath.
Ishmael-Ag
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AG
LOL-now that is funny.

Let me see you post my "silly" scientific evidence in it's entirety on your "rational" net. Like to see if their responses will be as "rational" as yours. So far I have only seen "emotional" discounting of the 5 "lottery wins" and no "rational" proof to the contrary. Use that "rational" mind to research them as I suggested in my last response. Or you can just be like us "silly" folks here.

BTW-just to give credit where credit is due, most of the 5 points were taken directly from physicist/theologian Gerald Schroeder's "The Science of God", though I have read them all elsewhere as well in the scientific literature concerning the origins of the universe. Paul Davies and Steven Hawking are other authors well worth reading on the subject.

[This message has been edited by Ishmael-Ag (edited 8/14/2003 10:50a).]
BlitzGD
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AG
If the arguments require being an athiest, then it it is asinine to present them. It is another attempt to belittle this audience. It is along the lines of: Let's play a game, I made up all the rules, but I'm not going to tell you what they are, you are so stupid that you can't play this game correctly.

Mr Ag, here is a simple challenge for you:

What is 2 + 2 equal to?

If you answer that question it will be the first question you have directly answered in any of your posts. Of course I will expect some more strawman arguments from you that have nothing to do with the question posed. If you plan on entering a formal debate, well take along plenty of blunts, both your arguments and their style is not much beyond a sixth grade level, you just happen to be using a 12th grade vocab.

As far as raising children it is an absolute joy, there is no sense of duty in it. And from a purely objective view, the only reason anyone is on this earth is to propogate, just like all other species.

Furthermore, you have no concept of faith, for if you did you would be able to understand what a fool you are trying to "enlighten" anyone who has great faith in something. Once again, learn your adversary before trying to engage him, your antics give athiest a bad name.
YYZ
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BlitzGD:

He is very reliant on faith. He has completely unjustified faith in himself. He has deluded himself that his own assumptions about reality are indeed the facts of reality even if they disagree with others. The others in that case are not properly seeing reality as it is. Of course he will admit none of this, as he has chosen that it not be true.
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