The Dawkins Delusion

 
 
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JGrice02
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14 January 2007 06:09
 

That which God exists? The Christian one, or Vishnu, or Zeus?

That’s a good question.  Like Turner said, I’m not sure the answer to that question can be a properly philosophical discussion.  For my part, yes, I would say the Christian God.  It is the rationality of the Christian worldview in conjunction with my faith in his revelation that leads me to him as opposed to other gods.  Does that mean I’m correct?  Not by your standards, but what makes your standards more correct than mine?  Nothing I suppose; that is, nothing that is not presupposed by your worldview (and mine).

[ Edited: 14 January 2007 06:12 by ]
 
 
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JGrice02
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14 January 2007 06:11
 

arildno, I’m not sure I follow.  Can you say the same thing in a different way?  Dumb it down for me if you must.  Thanks.

 
 
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arildno
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14 January 2007 07:00
 

Okay, you go aroud with some fancy idea about “knowledge” in that head of yours that doesn’t include empirical evidence as a necessary subset of knowledge.
That is why you have a wrong conception of “knowledge”.

 
 
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JGrice02
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14 January 2007 07:17
 

Okay, you go aroud with some fancy idea about “knowledge” in that head of yours that doesn’t include empirical evidence as a necessary subset of knowledge.  That is why you have a wrong conception of “knowledge”.

Is that your way of explaining something differently or attacking me if for no other reason than I disagree with you? I asked for some clarification because I’m not sure what you are even saying.  If you don’t want to clarify for me that’s fine.

 
 
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CanZen
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14 January 2007 07:18
 

JGrice02, you accuse Dawkins of shoddy reasoning using the “most scientists are atheists” fact to show that theists are not true scientists. Your logical syllogism

    “(1) True scientists do not believe in God.
(2) Most scientists today do not beleive in God.
(3) Scientists who do beleive in God are not true scientists because true scientists do not believe in God. “

That is certainly not Dawkin’s logical construct . . . it is yours.  But this type of argument stems from the Dawkins position that belief in god MUST be adjudicated within the domain of science.  He is opposed to those who claim that science and theistic belief are two separate domains that cannot intersect.

Now (most) theistic scientists belong to the “separate domain” group, but in the context of Dawkins position (that theistic knowledge claims are hardly different from scientific knowledge claims especially in the area of existence) both fields must be adjudicated by similar techniques and open to similar critiques.  When this position is clearly understood, it becomes obvious that theistic knowledge does not pass the test in the same way that Newton’s laws of motion or the theory of evolution pass the test.  I’m sure Dawkins acknowledges that very different paradigms formulate the grounds of the hard sciences versus theology, but TRUE scientists should be kept separate from theistic scientists who apply at least two different standards of evaluation to different forms of knowing.  However, on the question of existence (the ontology), those theistic scientists claim to uphold the scientific methodology with one hand and then contradict that methodology with the other.  Are these true scientists?  If the scientific method is the basic epistemic model of “true” scientists, why would anyone think that theistic scientists were just like those who accept the science model all the way down?

The fact is that most theistic scientists are not biblical literalists, in fact they are often theistic in a very general and opaque way -  and that being the case, they can be generally accepted for their scientific work on the actual veracity of that work in the context of the principles of science.  Their theism can be largely dismissed, until certain of them join the conversation defending theism on the backs of their own scientific history. Then they cross the line and Dawkins rightfully attacks their arguments with sound scientific critiques.

Bob

 
 
 
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JGrice02
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14 January 2007 07:38
 

That is certainly not Dawkin’s logical construct . . . it is yours.

I said in my statement that it may not be his position.  But it is not something I constructed.  It has been argued on this board to some extent.

 
 
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Climacus
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14 January 2007 07:50
 

[quote author=“Joad”]Santa and god are both invisible friends.

Santa is visible. Or, at least, he would be if he existed.

 
 
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Joad
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14 January 2007 07:54
 

JGrice02,

It also seems to me perfectly rational that God exists.

Seems that someone might have presented some rational reason. We’ve been waiting thousands of years.

What possible form of rationality would state: We are, therefore we are INFERIOR.
Inferior to what? Doesn’t matter. We must assume that we are inferior.
As a corallary, we may not confuse our inferiority with simply being different.
God must exist to demonstrate the truth of our unworthinesss.

 
 
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Climacus
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14 January 2007 07:56
 

[quote author=“stardusk”]Tell me man of the Windy City…who declares that God is outside of reality, non-finite and impervious to empirical testing? Humans do…

Humans also declare that matter attracts matter and that humanity evolved from microbes. Saying that humans declared something isn’t really informative.

Theology works from the basis of a presupposition of God’s existence…

That’s not true. The tradition of negative theology, for example, comes to the conclusion that God does not exist (and yet still they believe).

theology is an empty discipline…

Prove it.

Here’s a comparison to think about. Economics (or, at least, a large part of the field) works from the basis of all sorts of crazy assumptions. Does it follow that it’s an empty discipline?

 
 
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camanintx
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14 January 2007 08:09
 

[quote author=“Climacus”][quote author=“stardusk”]Tell me man of the Windy City…who declares that God is outside of reality, non-finite and impervious to empirical testing? Humans do…

Humans also declare that matter attracts matter and that humanity evolved from microbes. Saying that humans declared something isn’t really informative.

No one declared that matter attracts matter or that humanity evolved from microbes. They came to these conclusions after careful study of the way objects behave. And since these theories allow us to predict how objects will behave in certain situations, they can be very informative.

 
 
 
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JGrice02
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14 January 2007 08:10
 

Seems that someone might have presented some rational reason. We’ve been waiting thousands of years.

There are plenty of rational reasons.  Empirical proofs, as it were?  No, but rational reasons none the less.  In the end such a belief cannot be proven empirically so to even ask for such proof is to misunderstand the nature of faith.

At any rate, I’ve got some Greek Homework to complete before the season premier of 24 tonight (which I cannot miss).  So thanks to all for great discussion.  Perhaps we can pick up sometime tomorrow.

 
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lightning_fast_draw
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14 January 2007 09:05
 

When I listen to people like McGrath I always come to the same conclusion; ultimately his arguments are based upon faith. He presents no concrete data that god exists. Instead, he responds to minutia that confuses that straightforward, simple proposition.

Faith is a belief that is not based on proof. You can attach other comments to the definition, like those who believe in faith are immature, but the core definition of faith is unaltered. You can quote all the authorities you like to support your faith, but that still does not alter it’s meaning. It simply distinguishes your religion from a cult.

Further drift from the core arguments for faith is whether or not religion is a good or bad thing which again is extraneous to proving the existence of god. To argue that most scientists are atheists is easy enough to prove but the point is mute. No scientist I’m aware of has proved the existence of god.

Posing a question in a way that is straight forward and easy to understand - are large groups of people who believe in unsubstantiated assertions a good or bad thing? - at least frames the debate in a way that can be proved or disproved. However, it still does not overcome the greater question of is your belief in god based on facts?

Theists cannot win this debate based upon facts. They can dance around this reality until their legs give out but this is why theists will always be frustrated by atheists who pose that simple question.

 
 
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FaixaPreta
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14 January 2007 09:14
 

Excellent post L_F_D.

 
 
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JGrice02
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14 January 2007 10:26
 

I think McGrath and other theists would say theism is based on facts - indeed, facts are fundamenal to the theistic worldview - but to arrive at theism one must look beyond the facts and try to understand what they are pointing toward.  Once the facts have taken you as far as they can all that is left is faith.  I suppose this might be the fundamental difference between atheists and theists. 

Atheists tend to argue that, given the evidence, we have no right to make that step of faith.  Theists tend to argue, as CS Lewis did, that faith is the final step toward a complete and rational worldvew.  The question, then, is not so much whether faith is rational, but whether it is warranted given the facts.  It is the warrant of Christian belief that has captured the attention of many modern epistemological philosophers.  That’s why the work of Alvin Plantinga is so crucial to Christians.

For this reason anyone who limits what they can know or believe based on fact is unable to believe in a personal God.  Someone might think God possible given that facts can rationally point toward the existence of a God, but since the facts do not necessarily prove God exists then one cannot hold such a position apart from faith.  That makes perfect sense to the theist who supposes that belief in God hinges on one’s ability to have faith.

Okay, that was a good break.  Interesting comments, LFD.  Back to studying.

 
Bad_Conduct
 
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Bad_Conduct
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14 January 2007 10:51
 

By any reasonable definition of “knowing”, we “know” what we experience, i.e, empirical evidence is a trivial subset of our knowledge base.

- arildno

That which God exists? The Christian one, or Vishnu, or Zeus?

There is only one God. No one claims or names God, he just is. It is God who has divided us. I mean, if you agree For my part, yes, I would say the Christian God. (JGrice02) I’ll just assume you speak english. I don’t read enough latin to understand Zues.

...you go aroud with some fancy idea about “knowledge” in that head of yours that doesn’t include empirical evidence as a necessary subset of knowledge. That is why you have a wrong conception of “knowledge”.

I disagree. I would argue I could guess how far I could throw a baseball by standing in one place with the ball in hand more accuratly than I could figure it out mathematically. The physics and angels and forces may all be correct, but there are too many variables. On the other hand, I’ve experienced throwing a baseball before so I can take a guess I could throw it just as far as before.

“most scientists are atheists”

Einstien believed in God, I’m sure Stephen Hawkins does as well. The more you understand, the more questions will arise.

Santa is visible. Or, at least, he would be if he existed.

Santa is an advertisement. Created and designed by Coca-cola to get you to buy useless products every year. Buy into it.

We are, therefore we are INFERIOR Is false. Most everyone on Earth is inferior to someone else in some way or another. Essentially, God’s existence includes us therefor we are equal. Do you respect your lungs and liver?

Economics (or, at least, a large part of the field) works from the basis of all sorts of crazy assumptions. Does it follow that it’s an empty discipline?

Yes, if you don’t make any money or you make more money than you need.

The tradition of negative theology, for example, comes to the conclusion that God does not exist (and yet still they believe).

We could argue Santa Claus, we would eventually come to the conclusion that Santa Claus is not a person, but a personification for Christmas. Santa Claus is an action and not a discription. If Coca-Cola never designed Santa, then he would not exist. God as already been defined, you can’t prove it incorrect because you can’t describe what God isn’t without using a word to describe what God is.

They came to these conclusions after careful study of the way objects behave.
They are still theories none-the-less, and don’t forget. Matter could attract to energy in actuality. The more questions we ask, the more answers we will get. Seems that someone might have presented some rational reason. We’ve been waiting thousands of years. I don’t know anyone who’s 1000 years old.

No scientist I’m aware of has proved the existence of god.

You could infinitly argue that nothing really exists, reality is only in your head. Everything you see is a self-derived dillusion based on miss information, poor eyesight, damaged hearing and numb fingers. Everything you think is real exists in a completely different manner for a completely different reason. The problem is, I can’t prove something I believe in. You can’t disprove it either.