A comment on the forum post "Arguments Atheists Make" By HydroMan
harpalycus47: A comment on the forum post "Arguments Atheists Make" by HydroMan
I cannot understand how a theist can create a long post critiquing ‘atheist arguments’ but when his own critiques are taken to task, can simply delete all responses.
I was under the impression that this was a forum (“a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged”) not where any opposing point of view is simply expunged.
The original post ended with:
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)
So, I am not sure what the justification is in not giving an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope he has.
As I only looked and commented on the first paragraph, I shall reproduce that together with my answers, so anyone can see that they were reasonable points made without any vituperation.
He did answer them, but when I responded he deleted not only my post but his own answers, which was interesting.
So, I’m afraid I can only supply my answers to his, though it does quote his post so his arguments can be readily assembled again (somewhat ironically similar to the resurrection of Celsus’s work from that of Origen). If he considers that this is unfair to him, he is welcome to come and engage in conversation, where I can promise him that there will be no deletions of his posts.
The original initial exchange:
ARGUMENTS AGAINST GOD AND THE CHRISTIAN GOD
If God was the beginning, then what came before God?
This is no different than asking, “If the Big Bang was the beginning (occurred 13 billion years ago), what came before it?” There was no ‘before’. It is more logical to believe that an intelligent Being intentionally created all things for a reason and a purpose, as opposed to a random cosmic expansion spontaniouisly creating itself for no reason or purpose.
If God created the universe, who created God?
(Edited by harpalycus47)
harpalycus47: The First Response
I presume that your comment about there was ‘no before’, refers to the current, widely accepted and well evidenced understanding of the so-called Big Bang - that spacetime began with the Big Bang so there was no time before it. At least ‘our’ time. Nobody can go beyond the initial Planck time as the laws of physics break down. So, we do not know whether there was a time before it, what its nature would be or anything about it. To fill that gaping void with some unknown cause is purely a guess, and one moulded by the nature of this universe as well, so to imagine that it could even exist is problematical. Causality might be limited to our local universe and play no role in a greater cosmos. It is parochial thinking.
To then take the leap of faith to identify this unknown cause with an intelligent being is totally beyond reason. Please explain to me the ‘logic’ of this argument. What inductive or deductive argument can be used? Who can say that even the ‘laws of logic’ would apply in a greater cosmos?
It poses all sorts of questions. What is the precise nature of this God? Does she/he/it change our universe in any way once it has been created? What was the purpose of this entity in creating the universe?
Now to come to the atheists’ argument, Which I admit is basically a tu quoque, but a valid one. At least within the logic we use in this local universe. If we say that nothing can come into being by itself, then God must face the same stipulation and so on into an infinite regress. If we say that something can come into being by itself (or exist eternally, necessarily or whatever other term you wish to invent for the purpose) then why cannot this be applied to the universe itself? Not a knock-down argument, I know, but it would certainly be favoured by William of Ockham. Ultimately a necessarily existing God is begging the question, simply introducing a term that grants the required property, with absolutely no evidence or reason for supposing that it could exist. It is effectively defining God into supposed existence.
It might be true, but there is no evidence or reason to suppose it is, and certainly overwhelming statistical evidence that it is not, say, specifically the Christian God, when one considers all the other divine claimants, not to mention the infinite number of unimagined, and indeed, unimaginable alternate possibilities.
I have no idea how the universe began, though Krauss is suggesting possibilities that may even be able to be empirically tested one distant day. But I have no idea. I don’t know. You, no doubt, believe that you do, but you have no valid and accessible reasons to justify your belief.
harpalycus47: The Response to HydroMan’s Deleted Post.
‘If God created the universe, who created God?’
Effectively this has been addressed above. The question is valid. God simply pushes the question back one step, makes the whole thing more complex without justification and requires an infinite regress. To simply say that God is uncaused is to attribute a quality that we do not know can exist to somebody that we do not know exists. You are defining the answer into existence. If it does mean something and can exist then the problem of how we can have a universe existing without cause immediately becomes perfectly acceptable. If a god can be uncaused then so can the universe. Anything that can be postulated about a god can be postulated about the universe or the cosmos or about a myriad of alternate gods and ‘causes’.
The word creation is begging the question as creation implies agency and causation, neither of which can be demonstrated. We should really ask, how did the world come into being.
‘It is more logical to believe that an intelligent Being intentionally created all things for a reason and a purpose, as opposed to a random cosmic expansion spontaneously creating itself for no reason or purpose.’
I note that you do not offer a logical argument that would support this claim.
‘And this always seems to be a problem. Atheists demand physical evidence for a non physical being.’
No, they simply demand evidence. If you can provide any evidence for a non-physical being then please do so. If you cannot then admit that you do not have any evidence.
All the ‘evidence’ I have seen is based on personal incredulity, supposition, the following of a particular mythological account, one of very many, and subjective experience which, by definition, cannot be verified by any other person. Which doesn’t mean that you are necessarily wrong, but nothing there gives positive grounds for it being true.
Nor is it actually nonsensical to look for physical evidence in the case of a deity who allegedly manipulates the physical laws of the universe as in, for example, miracles. This means that physical evidence could indeed be produced. In fact, are you really saying that god cannot produce such evidence if he wishes to? And Christians are not slow to point to any such supposed evidence. The alleged archaeological evidence for the parting of the Red Sea (Actually the Sea of Reeds which is not necessarily the same) is a fun example. It could be demonstrated that intercessory prayer actually works, for another example, but it doesn’t. If Jesus died today and was duly resurrected, then we could certainly apply scientific tests to show beyond reasonable doubt that it had happened. It would not ‘prove’ God did it, but it would certainly make it look a great deal more likely. The question should be why does a god who can produce physical evidence to convince people, and who supposedly wants people to know the truth, actually refuses to produce such evidence?
‘Because the universe is the effect, not the cause.’
You are begging the question yet again. You introduce something as a premise that leads to the conclusion that you want. You say it is an effect and thus conclude it cannot be the cause. You have introduced the answer you want to get. But what evidence do you have that the universe is an effect rather than a cause? The laws within that universe do not apply to the whole. Time, space, the physical laws, quite possibly causation itself came into being as constituents OF the universe. And we have one example of a universe and do not understand that. How can you possibly know that it is not its own cause?
‘The universe had a beginning hence cannot be eternal.’
It can be if there is no time ‘outside’ of the universe. As there was no ‘before’ in the situation, then the universe will be, indeed, ‘lasting or existing forever; without end.’ Alternatively, if the universe is part of a cosmos or multiverse then that can be eternal and individual universes being spawned by it, in whatever manner, will have a beginning but the Cosmos itself will not. We have no way of knowing anything about it.
‘It is totally reasonable to believe an intelligent being created the universe. The alternative would be to believe the rational came from the irrational. Law and order came from chaos and disorder. Life came from non life.’
Exactly how do you see the rational coming from the irrational? The words only apply to thought patterns. A complete understanding of rationality is contentious, but generally thought patterns are either rational or irrational depending upon whether they correctly adhere to the laws of thought such as the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction and the law of excluded middle. These are axioms derived from our experience of the world and so the two separate out from the initial situation. The one does not come from the other.
Law and order does indeed come from chaos. A stable solar system from a gas nebula for example.
Life from non-life. Indeed, it almost certainly does. No one has succeeded in creating anything like the complex evolved life of today – that took billions of years, but the field of abiogenesis has repeatedly shown the ability of the constituents of replicating molecules appear readily under many varying conditions. We may never know the exact how, for obvious reasons, but all the evidence shows that life is essentially replicating molecules, in other words chemistry, that lipid cells form naturally, that complex forms of life are created by symbiosis e.g. as in the mitochondria of eukaryotic cells and the combined effect of natural selection pressures and deep time. There is nothing mysterious about the creation of life in terms of general principles.
And here’s a question. Why did God create initial chaos and a universe without life to begin with? If he had to interfere with that universe to get these, like an inventor tinkering with his invention to get it to work properly, as seems to be implied in the assumption their appearance requires an intelligent creator, why did he not, as an omnipotent God, create the universe so it automatically and lawfully led to temporary order and the appearance of life, as indeed seems to be the case. Then these would indeed be ‘natural’ phenomena, creating a natural world by natural laws, as indeed it seems to be!
‘To believe the rational mind came from an irrational process of events would lead me to conclude that I cannot trust my rational mind.’
How could you rationally conclude that if you cannot trust your rational mind? A modern version of the Cretan liar paradox? Our minds are, in fact, not that trustworthy. We are bounded by limitations, fallacious heuristics, the unknown and downright flaws. But our thinking, and that is our evolutionary niche, is honed by simple experience. As an example, we can generally trust our eyes. Eyes that don’t give us accurate information about the actual nature of things don’t survive the demise of their owner. Similarly, rationality emerges from our slow and painful learning as to how the world actually works. There is no problem in an atheistic world view with trusting rationality. Perhaps though one might ask why God gave us rationality that is so prone to faults and glitches. Critical thought is a hard won and imperfect skill.
‘The facts are, life comes from a lifegiver. Laws come from a lawgiver. This is what we see and observe.’
Indeed. Could you give me one example of a lifegiver that you have observed? Life invariably comes from life. Cells divide to create new cells. They are not given life. There is never a break in the river of life. It just flows endlessly. Then could you give me evidence of one lawgiver? And we are clearly talking scientific laws here, not judicial ones. The word law has two very distinct and totally different meanings. Parliament makes or ‘gives’ judicial laws. Where have you seen anything like the law of gravity or the second law of thermodynamics be made or given by something. And you cannot say God, because that is the conclusion you are trying to reach.
GeraldtheGnome: You made mistakes on this forum, all of them were the same types as you have made elsewhere. I know that you don’t want me to be specific about that. I won’t for now so don’t fret. Everyone is an Atheist. Show me one person that believes that all gods and goddesses aren’t made up and I’ll show you a flying Pig. Religious people are certain about what they cannot prove right now and about what they will not be able to prove in the future. They counter that by deleting what goes against what they cannot prove and/or use a false claim as ‘proof’ of what in reality they don’t have the proof of and/or they tell you that it’s really just you that has to prove why you are right. Each religious god and goddess is imaginary and that is worked out by what is falsely claimed about each one of them.
axocanth: Re: "Everyone is an atheist" (above)
If "Everyone is an atheist" is understood to mean "Everyone doesn't believe in some gods" then we might as well say "Everyone is a virgin" inasmuch as everyone hasn't had sex with certain people. Compare:
Paul is a devout Christian. He believes in the Christian god, but he doesn't believe in other gods. So he's actually an atheist.
John is a devoted husband. He has sex with his wife but not other women. So he's actually a virgin.
Both are equally true . . . if you're speaking a language that is not English.
And both are equally silly.
Oh, and Ringo, meanwhile, is what we might call a "poly-alkie". He drinks several bottles of whisky, wine, and rum every day. He doesn't drink gin or tequila, though, so he's actually teetotal.
GeraldtheGnome: Well that was a dumb comparison. Do you want to continue on being stupid about it ? An Atheist is about not believing in a god or for that matter with many. A virgin is about someone who has never had sex, there is a difference, that's why what you told me was very stupid. Smack yourself on the side of the head for me. You made a lot of errors, never use the word and at the front of a sentence or after a comma.
The point is that given a claim of divine existence, single claim is doubted, or, more usually, denied outright, by those of other religions. There is no claim that is accepted by all. Now if someone claims that a house is haunted by a spirit called Jiminy Cricket, and another that it is the ghost of a previous inhabitant, a third that it is a time traveller dropping by from time to time, or that it is Bigfoot travelling from a parallel universe, I maintain that rationally makes every claim doubtful.
If there was a single creator God, would not one reasonably expect most people to have a very similar concept of such? If we have such a wide mixture, none of which have any real evidence for anything, every one of which is denied by all the other believers, one is entitled to say that the chances are that they are all wrong. Seeing mankind can invent so many manifest false gods, the chances of one small subsection getting it right is simply not credible. It's what Ockham's Razor was made for.
GeraldtheGnome: Those that are religious think that no one can prove to them that their god or god or god’s or goddesses are made up, that is an argument that they make against us. Well the thing is they do fail their, when the claim about ta god or whatever is proven not to even be possible then they are stuffed.
axocanth: @ Harp (2 posts above)
Yes, that all sounds quite sensible to me.
What DOESN'T sound sensible at all is Gerald's claim--repeated ad nauseam--that people who believe in some gods but not others are atheists.
It's as sensible as saying men who have sex with some women but not others are virgins, or that people who drink certain alcoholic beverages but not others are teetotalers.
There is good news and bad, though, depending on how one views the virgin birth story.
The good news is: If--following Gerald's reasoning--we are all indeed virgins, then all of a sudden the story becomes a lot more plausible. After all, EVERY birth is a virgin birth.
The bad news is: It doesn't seem all that miraculous any more.
Finally, one can only wonder at the moron who coined the term "atheist" if, as Gerald argues, EVERYONE is an atheist. What's the point of an "atheist-theist" distinction if everyone is an atheist?
Some people, eh.
axocanth: @ Harp
I would say one thing, though . . .
"If there was a single creator God, would not one reasonably expect most people to have a very similar concept of such?" - you (above)
What you're saying here is that, insofar as different people attach different descriptions to the same name (= "God" ), they can't all be referring to the same entity. Indeed, it seems likely that they are not referring to anything at all, or at most ONE is (i.e. the one with the right description) . . . assuming this god even exists!
A scientific realist like yourself has to be very careful saying things like this. Compare:
"Through the centuries, beginning with Dalton, say, until the present day, scientists have attached different descriptions to the same name (= "atom" ), so they can't all be referring to the same entity. Indeed, it seems likely that they are not referring to anything at all, or at most ONE is (i.e. the one with the right description) . . . assuming atoms even exist!"
What the scientific realist needs to say is something like the following:
"Through the centuries, beginning with Dalton, say, until the present day, scientists have attached different descriptions to the same name (= "atom" ) . . . NONETHELESS THEY WERE ALL REFERRING TO THE SAME THING".
Otherwise, we do not have a progression of theories about the same thing, as you wish to claim, but a succession of theories about NOTHING.
To paraphrase yourself:
"If there was a single entity (atom), would not one reasonably expect most people to have a very similar concept of such?"
Clearly, scientists throughout the ages have entertained quite different concepts of atoms. The scientific realist, however, needs to maintain that they were all talking about the same thing!
harpalycus47: I would like to know what the different concepts of the atom were? They undoubtedly began with Dalton's idea of small discrete spheres with the microscopic equivalent of the macroscopic properties of that element. Then the concept changed with increasing evidence, Such as Rutherford's description of the nucleus. What were these incredibly different concepts? I think people have had a similar concept at the various stages of our investigation of its nature, I would be interested to know in any serious alternatives. And certainly nothing as extreme as the Abrahamic God, Zeus, pantheism, deism, and the like (allowing for the instrumentalists like Mach who denied that they even existed but were just a convenient way of explaining empirical observations.).
axocanth: Well, to save me getting out the history books, why don't we switch from atoms to gravity?
The description that Newtonians attached to the concept of gravity was something like this:
* An attractive force, inherent in all massive bodies, that acts instantaneously over any distance against a backdrop of absolute space and absolute time which are independent of one another.
The Einsteinians meanwhile:
* The curvature of spacetime. Space and time are not absolute and independent. Gravity is not an attractive force. And it doesn't act instantaneously over any distance.
How different could two concepts be? The various god concepts may have more in common than Einstein's and Newton's do!
Now, as a realist, you have to say something like this:
"Newton and Einstein had very different concepts of gravity. Nonetheless, the latter's theory is a continuation, and not a replacement, of the former's. The two men, despite their different concepts/descriptions of gravity, were REFERRING to--were talking about--THE SAME THING."
And it's very hard to reconcile the above with a descriptive theory of reference.
Lucky for you, Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke have an alternative theory of reference.
GeraldtheGnome: Errors were made on this forum. Those Atheists that are religious like to think that Atheists who aren't religious are denying a god and rejecting one and all of that crap. Others though think that because there are Theists that means that Theists are not also Atheists. sorry but it's not a simple black and white situation. That is why once again I hope that 'Ax' will slap himself on the side of his head for me. A Christian is a Theist towards any god/s and/or goddess/goddesses that he or or believes in, however he or she is an Atheist about any god or goddess that he or she does not believe in. Since it's about not believing in a god (which does not make a difference even if that one believes in one god) it means that the person is an Atheist. Each one who is religious is a Theist and an Atheist at the same time. For example a Theist for Christianity is an Atheist when it comes to all other gods and goddesses.
Once again 'Ax' stupidly brings up the virgin rubbish, a virgin is someone that has never had sex with anyone, an Atheist is someone that even if he or she believes in at least one god then he or she still doesn't believe in any other god. Atheism is not just solely about the subject of not believing in every god.
GeraldtheGnome: To Harp. I wish you used a Thesaurus before you decided to use the words vituperation and expunged. There are better word alternatives. That aside I’ll get to what you are on about. There was no beginning to everything, even the first verse of The Book of Genesis has the latter part of the verse contradict the first part of the verse. When someone thinks that the verse in question is about what happened once they run into trouble. Anything and anyone, including any god or goddess were not around before any beginning. Both cannot be true when they cancel out each other. The other problem for those that love that verse is that it is impossible for there to be a beginning, something always came before something else and something will come from something else in the future.
The other thing is that any god or goddess claimed to have no origin is an imaginary one. Even if someone is under the impression that a god or goddess formed from nothing then that really is the belief of one that is imaginary. Then there is the fact that even after you get past the problem of gods and goddesses every creation verse in The Book of Genesis, chapter one is about all but the gods and goddesses were created from nothing. Do note that it includes the first two Humans being created from nothing and that it is not about the couple in the next chapter. The other thing is that if they believe that The Holy Spirit of verse two is a part of a Holy Trinity then they are knowingly or unknowingly for Polytheism about three Gods with that belief alone.
The thing is that there are those, including yourself that do have a problem when it comes to The Great Singularity, The Big Bang Theory, The Red Shift and Abiogenesis.
harpalycus47: Tough luck, Gerald. It's my language and I shall continue to use my words, the words that come naturally to me, perfectly good words. I shall speak in my voice, not yours. It will be a sad day when the Puritan Word Police expunge words like vituperation from the lexicon..
GeraldtheGnome: You don't understand the true concept of what language means, another thing, this isn't about word police, it's about the sheer fact that you are too scared to use words that most people use, maybe it's due to some false sense of superiority over others. I like everyone being equal to me in every way possible, so no you are in the wrong and you just don't want to admit it. Most people don't use those words so be like most people. So tough luck to you not to me hypocrite. Also you have typed on here so it is not your voice as you put it. Damn political correctness again. Go and become a university lecturer if you think otherwise, use it there, not here. I don't give a damn what you find in any lexicon. So stop being arrogant and ignorant of the fact.
No back to what is about the topic, which you decided to stray away from with your self entitlement and self importance. There is no proof that a singularity happened, only the possibility of such, there is no proof that The Big Bang Theory is true, only the possibility of such, the same with The Red Shift and with Abiogenesis. What I did agree with you about was in regards to everything to do with evolution, so with what you told him I saw no reason in regards to the subjects only any reason for your deleted messages on that forum to have been deleted. I can guarantee you that even within your own country if 100 percent of the population of people in your country saw those two words less than 50 percent of the population would know what they mean, keep that in mind and be considerate and respectful to the likes of them at least, if not to anyone else. The majority does rule in such a case and in that case you are not one of the majority.
axocanth: If you ask me, people like Shakespeare ought to be hung.
What a pretentious asshole, eh? Using all those fancy words that ten-year old children can't understand.
GeraldtheGnome: Well you made a lot of errors there. Most people aren't 10 years old despite your behaving like one. Most people 18 and over do not use any ridiculous word that they understand yet know that the rarely used word is best not to use. There is no need to use words that are in a dictionary or elsewhere that hardly anyone uses that some use just because it's available. I know of many words that I can use that are rarely used but like on every forum Ax there is no reason to use them since there are better words to use, not just due to anyone who doesn't understand what they mean but due to the overwhelming majority of people that do understand them but are not as foolish of some to use those words. Your we're bit only is in regards to the very small minority of people that support your flawed logic. Do you want to go to your very stupid virgin theory again too ? Yes, that from you w really was worthless, just like your inability to use a Thesaurus.
Now what I was getting at before that is that HydroMan is not the only one who has no evidence to prove what he has claimed is certainly true. All that has been found and all that will ever be found is any any example of life. No one will ever know what was the first one and how that one came into existence, that's not just something that the religious will never explain. I know someone that got an A plus for his role in Macbeth, I won't tell you who that was. Your last two messages were much ado about nothing really. Every word has a time and a place to be used, not every word however should be used used on this forum, not even once for each word that shouldn't be used on here.
axocanth: Yeah, you're right. Instead of all that crap about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Shakespeare should just have had Hamlet say:
"I'm gonna top myself, mate. And never use 'and' at the start of a sentence."
GeraldtheGnome: You just made a lot of errors again. Things to do with Shakespeare are appropriate only in certain places, this forum, that is nothing to do with him, is not one of those places. This is supposed to be about the crap that HydroMan has done, it’s not supposed to be about your unrelated crap. For the record no one should ever have done what you just referred to, especially you of all people. No one should ever do it again either.
axocanth: Anyone wanna see my Gerald impression?
"I really hate dictators like Bob. Now let me tell you how you WILL and WILL NOT use language . . . "
GeraldtheGnome: You just made a lot of errors there. Everyone who can speak uses a language. You also have never heard me speak quotation marks man. Get back to what the forum is supposed to be about instead of your self righteous politically correct garbage, false accusations and false claims.
axocanth: Yes, it's essential that we all stay firmly on topic . . . just as soon as you're through "correcting" everyone's grammar.
GeraldtheGnome: Stop being a hypocrite by solely making it about you and your fragile ego. It’s about HydroMan’s bad behaviour, not about your own bad behaviour and constant errors you self important fool. At least unlike you I never had even one message that was 100 percent about something unrelated. Stop behaving like a very childish five year old having a tantrum or just don’t put on another message on any forum at all. You were the one who actually went firmly off the topic in the first place, it’s only me that makes mistakes according to you on here. We have typed on here, we haven’t used our language to speak to each other here, so cease making false accusations about me. Everyone makes mistakes, we both do, get used to it and accept it.
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