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Letter to a Christian Nation: Counter Point by RC Metcalf
Posted: 25 April 2007 04:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]RC Metcalf wrote:

Remember, too, that it is impossible to completely disprove the existence of any god. I would, therefore, prefer to focus on the weight of evidence in support of the Judeo-Christian God.

First of all, it is a SIMPLE matter to disprove the existence of ALL Gods.
Disproving the Judeo-Christian God is easier than most.

There is no STANDARD for determining if an entity is a God. It might just be some alien life form.

The Judeo-Christian God is disproven by the Bible. We know that Superman does not exist because we have Superman Comic books, which provide the SOURCE of the Superman story. Likewise, we know that the Judeo-Christian God does not exist because we have the Bible, which is the SOURCE of his story.

There is no mention of the existence of Superman, outside of Superman comics. Likewise, there is no mention of the existence of Jehovah outside the Bible.

In all human history, no society ever mentioned the existence of Superman unless it had been exposed to Superman comics. Likewise, no society had ever mentioned Jehovah unless it had been exposed to the Bible.

If you are going to argue with this guy at all, please use valid reasoning.  Your logic above is so full of holes you could drive a truck full of deities through it.

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Posted: 25 April 2007 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]
The Judeo-Christian God is disproven by the Bible. We know that Superman does not exist because we have Superman Comic books, which provide the SOURCE of the Superman story. Likewise, we know that the Judeo-Christian God does not exist because we have the Bible, which is the SOURCE of his story.

This is an example of a genetic fallacy.  The source of an idea, argument, or notion does not tell us anything about its validity.

The fact that God (or Superman, for that matter) is described only in the Bible does NOT show that God (or Superman) does not exist.  All that we know of Socrates comes from books, but this obviously does not show that Socrates did not exist.

We know that Superman does not exist because we know that it is highly unlikely that intelligent aliens have ever visited Earth. It is even more unlikely that such aliens would look like human beings.  It is even more unlikely that such aliens would have super-human powers such as X-ray vision and the ability to fly.  Superman is a fanciful creation that bears no similarity to anything that exists.  Further, we have no evidence that anything like Superman has ever existed.  That is how we know that there is no Superman (not simply that we have Superman comics).

The non-existence of God should be demonstrable without appealing to what is ultimately a pathetic argument.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 25 April 2007 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]  
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Perhaps I wasn’t clear.

The Bible is the ONLY source for God. Socrates had peers, so we have evidence that he existed, outside of books.

The Bible is not a book of essays by God. It is novel about a fictional character. Remove that single source, and the Judeo-Christian diety disappears in its entirety.

It is not a genetic fallacy to point out that if the Source of a character is a work of fiction, then the character does not exist. Romeo and Juliet never existed. That is not a matter of debate.

We know that Superman does not exist because we know that it is highly unlikely that intelligent aliens have ever visited Earth

That is irrelevant. Even if aliens with Xray vision had visited earth, none of them would be Superman. None of them would have been found by Ma and Pa Kent because Ma and Pa Kent are fictional.

So, even if there could be some entity that could do some of the the things described in the Bible, it still would not be the God of the Bible.

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Posted: 25 April 2007 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]Perhaps I wasn’t clear.
<snip>

From what I gather, what you’re trying to say is that the Bible isn’t proof of god’s existence because there is no evidence that the Bible is anything more than fiction.  By analogy, Superman comics aren’t evidence of the existence of Superman, because there is no evidence that Superman comics are anything more than fiction.  I agree with this.

Still waiting on that other evidence…

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“If there is nothing that can convince you that you are wrong, then you don’t need anything to convince you that you are right.” - waltercat

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Posted: 25 April 2007 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]  
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what we can say about Superman is that we know he doesn’t exist because he is a made-up character.  But we don’t know that he is a made up character just in virtue of the fact that he is only mentioned in books.  We know he is a made-up character because we know who made him up, when he was made-up and why he was made up.

The same cannot be said of God.  We know that He is only mentioned in books, but this does not imply that He is a made up character.  Unlike Superman, there are people who claim that God does exist.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 25 April 2007 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]  
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Waltercat,

I see no distinction whatsoever between the made-up character of Superman and the made-up character of Jehovah.

We know who made up Jehovah, when he was made up, and why he was made up.

There are many people who beleive that Superman exists. We all them ‘children’. Sometimes they even tie a towel around their necks ond jump off roofs.

To expand a bit on my anaolgy…We also know that Superman does not exist because he did not arrive on earth in the 1930’s. We know that Smallville never existed. Metropolis and the Daily Planet do not exist. Even if we didn’t know that he was a comic book character, we would still know he didn’t exist because of all the other fictional events in his story.

Likewise, we know that the entirety of events and actions surrounding the Jehovah character are all fictional. From the Creation fiction, Noah’s flood, to the parting of the Red Sea, we have a litany of fictitious events.

The Bible proves the non-existence of Jehovah by a preponderance of fictional events.

Even if some entity existed, it would not be the entity described in the Bible.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 04:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]Waltercat,

I see no distinction whatsoever between the made-up character of Superman and the made-up character of Jehovah.

We know who made up Jehovah, when he was made up, and why he was made up.

There are many people who beleive that Superman exists. We all them ‘children’. Sometimes they even tie a towel around their necks ond jump off roofs.

To expand a bit on my anaolgy…We also know that Superman does not exist because he did not arrive on earth in the 1930’s. We know that Smallville never existed. Metropolis and the Daily Planet do not exist. Even if we didn’t know that he was a comic book character, we would still know he didn’t exist because of all the other fictional events in his story.

Likewise, we know that the entirety of events and actions surrounding the Jehovah character are all fictional. From the Creation fiction, Noah’s flood, to the parting of the Red Sea, we have a litany of fictitious events.

The Bible proves the non-existence of Jehovah by a preponderance of fictional events.

Even if some entity existed, it would not be the entity described in the Bible.

 

Unfortunately, this may be conclusive for you, but it doesn’t meet the standards of a rational argument.  The catch is in your last line: some entity might exist and might well be the entity described in the bible, but the people who wrote those descriptions just got things wrong, added lots of other attributions, and generally only saw and described what their cultural background allowed them to see and describe.  If a myopic artist paints a lousy portrait that doesn’t mean the subject of the portrait doesn’t exist.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]
We know who made up Jehovah, when he was made up, and why he was made up.

Well, we know who wrote about Yaweh (we know something about the people, but not the specific details about the individuals).  But we certainly don’t know, on this basis alone, that Yaweh was made up.  Those who wrote about him DID believe that they were writing about a real figure (unlike Jerry Siegel, who knew he was creating a fictional character).

To expand a bit on my anaolgy…We also know that Superman does not exist because he did not arrive on earth in the 1930’s. We know that Smallville never existed. Metropolis and the Daily Planet do not exist. Even if we didn’t know that he was a comic book character, we would still know he didn’t exist because of all the other fictional events in his story.

Likewise, we know that the entirety of events and actions surrounding the Jehovah character are all fictional. From the Creation fiction, Noah’s flood, to the parting of the Red Sea, we have a litany of fictitious events.

But it is possible that the fictional events described in Genesis are allegorical, stories that represent some important truths about Yaweh and His plan.  And it is equally possible that the writers of these stories understood that they were allegorical rather than literal.

Again, nobody claims that Superman is a real figure who should be worshiped (small children don’t count).  But there are many people, including the authors of the Biblical texts, who do claim that Yaweh exists.  That makes the analogy very weak.

Suppose that 2000 years from now our civilization is gone and a new one has taken its place.  Most of our history has been lost.  Suppose that someone discovers a copy of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, which mentions Franklin Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh and Adolph Hitler.  Would it be reasonable for these people to say that, since the characters appear only in a book (a work of fiction at that), that therefore they know that they never existed?

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 26 April 2007 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]  
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Once again, I think the confusion here is between these two statements:

1. The existence of the Bible is not proof of Yahweh’s existence (agree)

2. Yahweh does not exist because of the existence of the Bible (disagree)

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“If there is nothing that can convince you that you are wrong, then you don’t need anything to convince you that you are right.” - waltercat

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Posted: 26 April 2007 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]  
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burt wrote:

If a myopic artist paints a lousy portrait that doesn’t mean the subject of the portrait doesn’t exist.

Within limits. If the artist paints the subject as having 3 heads and 9 arms, then that subject does not exist.

Waltercat,

The number of people who believe is irrelevant. More people believe in vampires than either God or Superman.

If a future civilization finds books, and has no historical record to judge their acuracy, then it would give the benefit of the doubt to those people who might have existed. It would have to dismiss as fictional those people who could not have existed.

They might wrongly conclude that Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, James Bond actually existed. They would rightly conclude that Bart Simpson, werewolves, and zombies did not exist.

edge100,

We know that the God of the bible doesn’t exist because it is such an absurd character. It is a nonsensical character to those who do not believe the Bible. But, even if a person wanted to believe in the God described by the Bible, the inconsistencies make that impossible.

To clarify my position:

That entity, described as Jehovah in the Bible, cannot exist AS DESCRIBED.

I don’t know why anyone would disagree. We all know that as soon as you debate a Christian about God, he changes the definition of God.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]burt wrote:

If a myopic artist paints a lousy portrait that doesn’t mean the subject of the portrait doesn’t exist.

Within limits. If the artist paints the subject as having 3 heads and 9 arms, then that subject does not exist.


To clarify my position:

That entity, described as Jehovah in the Bible, cannot exist AS DESCRIBED.

 

You mean when Picasso painted a portrait, the bizareness of it means that the person whose portrait it was didn’t exist?  The entity described in the bible is a cultural projection and exists as such.  Whether there is an ontological basis behind the projection is another question.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]  
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When burt says;

“You mean when Picasso painted a portrait, the bizareness of it means that the person whose portrait it was didn’t exist?”

How does he in any way respond reasonably to what Joad said;

“That entity, described as Jehovah in the Bible, cannot exist AS DESCRIBED.”

This is the way in which christians delude themselves into their theistic beliefs.  Of course burt knows that Joad is perfectly correct, rational, and reasonable in the claim that he makes and burt even admits this in his next two sentences, when he basically agrees with Joad, Yet that opening statement by burt, is an instance of intellectual dishonesty, and it is just dishonest enough to confuse those who aren’t careful.

In the opening sentence burt wants us to assert that even though the portrait of Jehovah in the Old Testament is bizarre, that is the fault, so to speak, of the artists who painted him and not a problem for the real, actual god who posed for the portrait (enter the Picasso analogy). Obviously, burt admits he is not making an ontological argument, even though he has just implicitly made one.

So how does this work again?  First you make an implicit inference via analogy that god exists regardless of the erroneous picture of him that we are given. then two sentences later you declare to be making no ontological claims about the same god.  All faulty reasoning here.  Bamboozlement 101 taught very efficiently by Alvin Plantinga.

Bob

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Posted: 27 April 2007 04:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]When burt says;

“You mean when Picasso painted a portrait, the bizareness of it means that the person whose portrait it was didn’t exist?”

How does he in any way respond reasonably to what Joad said;

“That entity, described as Jehovah in the Bible, cannot exist AS DESCRIBED.”

This is the way in which christians delude themselves into their theistic beliefs.  Of course burt knows that Joad is perfectly correct, rational, and reasonable in the claim that he makes and burt even admits this in his next two sentences, when he basically agrees with Joad, Yet that opening statement by burt, is an instance of intellectual dishonesty, and it is just dishonest enough to confuse those who aren’t careful.

In the opening sentence burt wants us to assert that even though the portrait of Jehovah in the Old Testament is bizarre, that is the fault, so to speak, of the artists who painted him and not a problem for the real, actual god who posed for the portrait (enter the Picasso analogy). Obviously, burt admits he is not making an ontological argument, even though he has just implicitly made one.

So how does this work again?  First you make an implicit inference via analogy that god exists regardless of the erroneous picture of him that we are given. then two sentences later you declare to be making no ontological claims about the same god.  All faulty reasoning here.  Bamboozlement 101 taught very efficiently by Alvin Plantinga.

Bob

Sorry Bob, but I have to correct your interpretations of my intent.  I didn’t want to argue in favor of the existence of the deity described in the bible, what I wanted to do was demonstrate that Joad’s argument was incorrect by pointing out the obvious response.  The Picasso comment was a response to Joad’s comment about the 3 heads and 9 arms or whatever.  I’m making the perfectly valid point that when dealing with a description of something the fact that there are contradictions, fallacies, and such in the description does not automatically falsify the existence of the thing proportedly described, all it does is indicate the failings and limitations of the describer.  What Joad could properly have said is that no such deity as described in the bible can exist given our current state of scientific knowledge and therefore, as far as we can tell, either there is no deity that is the subject of that description, or the description got it wrong (if there is no such deity, of course, the description is neither wrong nor right except in its ontological attribution, it is fiction).  Joad was trying to draw an ontological conclusion from an epistemological claim.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]  
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I think we have moved past Joad’s original argument, which was:

[quote author=“Joad”]The Judeo-Christian God is disproven by the Bible. We know that Superman does not exist because we have Superman Comic books, which provide the SOURCE of the Superman story. Likewise, we know that the Judeo-Christian God does not exist because we have the Bible, which is the SOURCE of his story.

I thought that this looked like an example of a genetic fallacy, since Joad appeared to be arguing that God does not exist by making claims about the origin of the idea of God.  That is not a legitimate argumentative move.  The origin of an idea tells us nothing about that idea’s validity

I stand by that assessment. However, Joad has indicated that he was misunderstood and that his actual argument was to the effect that God, as described in the Bible, is too ridiculous to be believed:

[quote author=“Joad”]We know that the God of the bible doesn’t exist because it is such an absurd character.

But this is a very different sort of argument than the fallacious one above.  And I trust Joad that I misunderstood his point originally.  The point is that it is highly improbable that any being exists that is precisely as God is described.  I agree with this but point out that we know that this being’s existence is improbable not because He is only described in books, but because he is described as having attributes that no known entity is capable of possessing. 

Furthermore, we should make a couple of important distinction.  First we distinguish between an entity that is exactly as God is described in the Bible and the kind of God most people believe in.  Very few people believe in the former sort of entity (Fred Phelps is a notable exception).  But many people believe in an entity that is very much like that described in the Bible.

Second, we need to not that Joad’s argument does not give us certain knowledge that God (of whatever variety) does not exist.  That something is improbable does not make it impossible.  The correct conclusion to draw is that the onus is on the person who believes in the existence of God to provide solid evidence of His existence.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 27 April 2007 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]  
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Waltercat,

I probably made the mistake of using overlapping arguments.

The God of the Bible does not exist because the source is a work of fiction, AND the description provided by that source is far too inconsistent and contradictory for that God to exist.

Either point is sufficient.


Burt,

I could properly have said: No such diety as described in the bible can exist DUE to the contradictory descriptions in the Bible. We do not need any additional scientific knowledge.

I agree, that to a certain extent, that errors in descriptions are not a disproof. However, a direct contradiction is a disproof. IE: A Round Square does not exist.

Additionally, the Bible is a special case, since it is the SOLE source of information about Jehovah.
It claims to provide a description of God provided by God. It leaves no room for error.

Canzen,

Thanks for your supporting arguments.

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