Author Topic: Wondering [#672]  (Read 2231 times)

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Offline AGuyCalledPaul

Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2008, 11:39:07 PM »
[author=L6 link=topic=2406.msg53283#msg53283 date=1227133620]

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The position of a majority of atheists on this site is simply this:
It is impossible to know whether a god exists

This position is not only logical, given a lack of evidence, but applaudable.  No one should believe something that has so much effect on one's life without evidence.

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Every time someone brings up these so-called facts that should shatter our non-faith, they turn out to be lies, unfalisifiable, or just plain wrong.

I sense some frustration with religious people who declare things to be true or untrue without any obligation to support their declarations logically or accept proven scientific fact.  I have the same frustration with anyone who claims that lack of evidence for a god is proof in itself that there is no god.  This is an illogical position.  No one can engage in a logical discussion where there is a rejection of any and all logical proofs that are in opposition to their own cherished ideas.

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There can be no evidence for a god.

Is it OK if I assume this is simply your opinion or can you build a proof for this statement?

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it's a mistake to say you can "logically" discuss "evidence" for that god's existence. What evidence could there possibly be?

I like this wording better.  Remember three or four years ago when the noted physist from Rice University, Arthur Few, announced that he had converted from atheism and now considered himself to be an agnostic?  It made national news, so you may remember.  His conclusion was that the scientific evidence of design in our universe was so overwhelming that he could no longer intellectually deny it.  Another example would be Thomas Crick, the biologist who discovered the helical construction of DNA.  He wasn't even an agnostic, but couldn't accept the accidental appearance of life on our planet.  His conclusion was that life had to come from another planet or another universe.

I'm not very good with remembering names, but I've heard of at least a dozen noted scientists who were not religious, but made similar statements about evidence for a probability that our world is not a random result of chaos.  There are some smart and logical people who are not religious who dispute your claim that their could not be evidence for an intelligent source outside of our universe.  I'm no expert and am under no illusion that you would accept my reasoning on the subject of god, but I wish you wouldn't think that everyone who disagrees with you is some sort of a religious nutcase.

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And more importantly, how would it [evidence] lead to Yahweh in particular? I ask this question over and over on this forum and NEVER receive a response.

My response is, I don't know.  I think the solution, if there is one, would have to work something like a crossword puzzle.  The clue in last Sunday's crossword for 1 across was, "Place to see." with four letters.  There is no way that anyone can logically arrive at a conclusive answer to that clue by itself.  However, by the time you get answers to 1, 19, 23, 27 and 32 across and 1, 2, 3 and 4 down that all fit together you can be fairly confident in the answer to 1 across.  (By the way, the answer was gala).  You mentioned an interconnected web of observable relationships.  It would have to be something like that.  Now I can already see you highlighting this to quote it with the response, OBSERVABLE????  Let it rest for now, OK?  This is only an important question for an agnostic, it's not a logical starting point for an atheist.

Online Azdgari

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2008, 11:44:04 PM »
Paul, how can you make this statement:

This is only an important question for an agnostic, it's not a logical starting point for an atheist.

After acknowledging and applauding this statement of L6's:
The position of a majority of atheists on this site is simply this:
It is impossible to know whether a god exists

???
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline L6

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2008, 02:54:38 AM »
Paul, just wanted to let you know I will be gone until Monday. I'll read/reply then. :)
God's existence is contingent upon the illusion that morality is dictated by religious authority.

Offline Hermes

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2008, 08:19:16 AM »
AGuyCalledPaul, some points on Anthony Flew (not Arthur Few);

1. He says he's a deist.

2. He's suffering from dementia. 

3. 'His' latest book was not written by him; it was written by a fundamentalist ghost writer.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #33 on: November 20, 2008, 08:30:58 AM »
I'm not very good with remembering names, but I've heard of at least a dozen noted scientists who were not religious, but made similar statements about evidence for a probability that our world is not a random result of chaos.  There are some smart and logical people who are not religious who dispute your claim that their could not be evidence for an intelligent source outside of our universe.  I'm no expert and am under no illusion that you would accept my reasoning on the subject of god, but I wish you wouldn't think that everyone who disagrees with you is some sort of a religious nutcase.

It doesn't matter much if you are a nutcase or they are geniuses ... if the evidence is available to be scrutinized over and if necessary challenged.  If it holds up to that analysis, that would be interesting.

About 7% of current scientists are theists.^  It's interesting that some are not non-theists, but without evidence for those positions as addressing reality they could say whatever they want and it would remain unsupported as far as other scientists (theists or non-theists) are concerned.

So, calling on authorities is interesting but does not rise much beyond trivia.





^. From a talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2008, 08:45:17 AM »
Now I can already see you highlighting this to quote it with the response, OBSERVABLE????  Let it rest for now, OK?  This is only an important question for an agnostic, it's not a logical starting point for an atheist.

Agnostics and atheists aren't exclusive groups.  In a strict sense, I'm an agnostic atheist as are most atheists here.

Here is a poll you might find interesting;

What is your religious position?
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=833

Currently, people have voted on the following, though there are other options;

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Gnostic Atheist - I know for certain that there are no gods.     - 6 (6.1%)
Gnostic Monotheist - I know for certain that only one specific god exists.    - 8 (8.1%)
Gnostic Polytheist - I know for certain that there is more than one god.    - 1 (1%)
Agnostic Atheist - I do not know for certain, but I think there are no gods.    - 34 (34.3%)
Agnostic Monotheist - I do not know for certain, but I think only one specific god exists.    - 3 (3%)
Agnostic Polytheist - I do not know for certain, but I think there is more than one god.    - 2 (2%)
Agnostic Pantheist - I do not know for certain, but I think that everything is god.    - 3 (3%)
Agnostic Deist - I do not know for certain, but I think there is a god that started the universe but does not actively meddle with it or us.    - 4 (4%)
Ignostic Atheist - While the concepts of god(s) are meaningless, it is likely that there are no gods.    - 8 (8.1%)
Ignostic Pantheist - While the concepts of god(s) are meaningless, it is likely that that everything is god.    - 1 (1%)
Ignostic Deist - While the concepts of god(s) are meaningless, it is likely that there is a god that started the universe but does not actively meddle with it or us.    - 1 (1%)
Apnostic Atheist - I don't care if there are any gods, but I guess there are no gods.    - 3 (3%)
Apnostic Pantheist - I don't care if there are any gods, but I guess that everything is god.    - 1 (1%)

Note what monotheists tend to choose vs. any other group.  If you group ignostic and apnostic with agnostic, the differences become more interesting.

The sample size is small, and is self-selected, yet I've run this poll in one form or another 3x (this poll and 2 others) and the results have been similar each time.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #35 on: November 20, 2008, 02:30:52 PM »
Paul, you questioned the statement "there can be no evidence for a god". I'd like to expand on this notion on my own behalf - my response is here.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 03:24:34 PM by Deus ex Machina »
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Offline AGuyCalledPaul

Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2008, 01:16:41 AM »
[author=Azdgari link=topic=2406.msg53389#msg53389 date=1227156244]

This response is for Azdgari who asked how I can applaud atheists who take the position that it is impossible to know whether a god exists while at the same time declining to address the question of how any evidence for a god could support the existence of Yahwey.  I claimed it was an inappropriate starting point for an athiest.

Sorry I wasn't clear.  My intent was to say that anyone who doesn't believe in the existence of a god because they don't see any evidence for a god is being both logical and consistant.  I didn't mean to give the impression that I personally believe there is no evidence for a god.

My statement was intended to contrast the "impossible to know whether a god exisits" position with "it is possible to know that a god doesn't exist."  The first position is logical, given a lack of evidence, and the second seems to me to be illogical and insupportable.  The first position can be approached logically.  It allows me to ask, "what about this?"  The second position only allows a discussion over the possibility that a god may exist, which is frustrating because the proof that a god may exist is the lack of proof that a god can't exist.  There are no facts upon which to build a proof that god can't exist.  Without facts, there is nothing to discuss.

The same issue arises between the statements, "I don't believe there is evidence for a god" and "There can be no evidence for a god."  It changes the nature of the discussion.  The question of whether god or evidence for a god does exist is totally different from the question of whether a god can exist.  The first is a question of probabilities, the second is a question of possibilities.

As for the question about how evidence for a god could lead to support the existence of Yahwey, my opinion is that it is only an academic question for an atheist.  For the person who doesn't believe in any god, it doesn't seem very important to solve the problem of how they would decide which god to believe in if they did believe in a god.  I'm not sure I understood why it seemed to be so important to L6.  I think the answer would have something to do with why L6 believed in god and what kind of a god he believed in.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2008, 01:29:24 AM by AGuyCalledPaul »

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2008, 02:20:17 AM »
My statement was intended to contrast the "impossible to know whether a god exisits" position with "it is possible to know that a god doesn't exist."  The first position is logical, given a lack of evidence, and the second seems to me to be illogical and insupportable.

Actually, in terms of some specific type of god, we may be able to provide a proof that it can't exist - for instance, if its attributes are inconsistent with reality. That's sort of what I was driving at. You can't disprove all values of "god", but you could potentially disprove a particular notion of the divine that was self-contradictory or at variance with known facts.
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Offline AGuyCalledPaul

Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2008, 11:37:11 AM »
Actually, in terms of some specific type of god, we may be able to provide a proof that it can't exist - for instance, if its attributes are inconsistent with reality.

O.K.  Could you give me an example?

Offline Hermes

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2008, 11:51:49 AM »
Actually, in terms of some specific type of god, we may be able to provide a proof that it can't exist - for instance, if its attributes are inconsistent with reality.

O.K.  Could you give me an example?

An omnimax deity -- all-good (omnibenevolent), all-knowing (omnicient), and all-powerful (omnipotent) -- conflicts with what we know of reality.  (Note that this is not specific to any religion or deity or even pantheon of deities.)

See the Problem of Evil for one of many examples where an omnimax deity does not fit with reality;

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEkJJidVjGU[/youtube]


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The Riddle of Epicurus
(Earliest known statement of the Problem of Evil)

If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
Then He is not omnipotent.

If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.

If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?

If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?

http://riddleofepicurus.com
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline AGuyCalledPaul

Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #40 on: November 23, 2008, 10:21:11 PM »
An omnimax deity -- all-good (omnibenevolent), all-knowing (omnicient), and all-powerful (omnipotent) -- conflicts with what we know of reality.

Perhaps it does conflict with what we know of molecular reality.  But outside of the divinity claimed by Persian kings and Roman emporers, I'm not aware of any religions that claim their deities to be molecular, carbon based life forms.  Most religions claim their dietities had a hand in creating all, or part of what is our reality -- interacting with it, but not themselves subject to its limitations.

Quote
The Riddle of Epicurus
(Earliest known statement of the Problem of Evil)

If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
Then He is not omnipotent.

If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.

If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?

If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?

Such logic can only shed light on truth when in includes all relevant possibilities.  I'm not at all sure that a created being is in a position to comprehend all the possibilities behind the nature of the environment in which it finds itself.  One obvious possibility, however, that this riddle omits is the possibility that God can prevent evil and will end evil at some point, but uses it for the time being to strengthen or refine certain elements of his creation.  Maybe God has some other reason to tolerate evil in order to bring about an ultimate good.  How would we know?  If a god existed, would we be qualified to judge him?  Would we be in a position to know all the motives and facts that prompted his actions?

Offline Hermes

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #41 on: November 23, 2008, 10:30:48 PM »
An omnimax deity -- all-good (omnibenevolent), all-knowing (omnicient), and all-powerful (omnipotent) -- conflicts with what we know of reality.

Perhaps it does conflict with what we know of molecular reality.  But outside of the divinity claimed by Persian kings and Roman emporers, I'm not aware of any religions that claim their deities to be molecular, carbon based life forms.  Most religions claim their dietities had a hand in creating all, or part of what is our reality -- interacting with it, but not themselves subject to its limitations.

If you take that track, then you have opted for an unreal and unknown parallel world ... that you can not know anything about.  You've opted for superstition and/or solipsism in part or in whole.

If you disagree, tell me how you can know you are right...and if you are just speculating then what I said remains unchallenged in a serious way.

Quote
The Riddle of Epicurus
(Earliest known statement of the Problem of Evil)

If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
Then He is not omnipotent.

If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.

If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?

If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?

Such logic can only shed light on truth when in includes all relevant possibilities.  I'm not at all sure that a created being is in a position to comprehend all the possibilities behind the nature of the environment in which it finds itself.  One obvious possibility, however, that this riddle omits is the possibility that God can prevent evil and will end evil at some point, but uses it for the time being to strengthen or refine certain elements of his creation.  Maybe God has some other reason to tolerate evil in order to bring about an ultimate good.  How would we know?  If a god existed, would we be qualified to judge him?  Would we be in a position to know all the motives and facts that prompted his actions?

Read through the riddle again.  Your comments are addressed by it very succinctly.

One way out of this riddle is to claim that your deity is not an omnimax in one way or another.  That would be consistent with the text of the Bible.  Unlike Epicurus, I don't see that it is necessary for a deity to be an omnimax at all.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline L6

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2008, 07:16:10 PM »
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Every time someone brings up these so-called facts that should shatter our non-faith, they turn out to be lies, unfalisifiable, or just plain wrong.
I sense some frustration with religious people who declare things to be true or untrue without any obligation to support their declarations logically or accept proven scientific fact.  I have the same frustration with anyone who claims that lack of evidence for a god is proof in itself that there is no god.  This is an illogical position. 
Anything with a name is represented by a symbol in your mind, and each symbol in your mind is contigent upon other symbols, all ultimately contingent upon your personal experience of reality. I have personal experience of horses and animal horns, but no personal experience of unicorns. I can logically imagine a unicorn in the absence of any evidence of their existence, but my imagination doesn't prove anything, and unless evidence is presented to me outside of my own imagination, I have no logical reason to believe unicorns actually exist. Disbelief in unicorns is both a logical and practical position, the null hypothesis.

Logic and imagination can combine all the various symbols in my head in countless ways and conjure up all sorts of wild hybrid symbols, but without evidence of their existence, there is no logical reason to even humor their existence outside of my own mind. Logic can generate a symbol (hypothesis), but repeated experience substantiates (proves) it.

As pertains to "god", once again I have to stress that you haven't even defined "god". If you define it using symbols I'm familiar with--symbols borrowed from our common experience--then "god" should be directly observable. Like a unicorn. If you define it using symbols that, by definition, can not be experienced, like "infinity", then your definition is unfalsifiable and has nothing to do with human experience. Is it logical to believe in something with no analogues to any symbols in my or any other human's experience? Is it more logical to "suspend disbelief" (whatever that means) in this thing than in unicorns? If so, why?

No one can engage in a logical discussion where there is a rejection of any and all logical proofs that are in opposition to their own cherished ideas.
If it truly is proof, then most of us here would accept it. Can you provide an example where an atheist here has rejected rigorous proof of a precisely defined god? Let's move past the argument about arguments.

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There can be no evidence for a god.
Is it OK if I assume this is simply your opinion or can you build a proof for this statement?
A generic "god" has no attributes or characteristics whatsoever, and everything in our experience has attributes. How can you have a evidence for something that by definition has no symbol upon which to base that evidence?

There are some smart and logical people who are not religious who dispute your claim that their could not be evidence for an intelligent source outside of our universe. 
Yes, that's called the Argument from Personal Incredulity. Everyone projects what they know onto their own definition of "god" and then determines whether "god" is likely to exist based on that. Mathematicians are the most deistic, and biologists are the most atheistic. Mathematicians find patterns in systems that are orderly by design. Biologists observe life as it is. Mathematicians (surprise surprise) see order everywhere and are more prone to such incredulity. Biologists not so much.

Regardless, being an authority in one area of science doesn't give you authority on "god". It just influences your definition of "god".

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And more importantly, how would it [evidence] lead to Yahweh in particular? I ask this question over and over on this forum and NEVER receive a response.
You mentioned an interconnected web of observable relationships.  It would have to be something like that.  Now I can already see you highlighting this to quote it with the response, OBSERVABLE????  Let it rest for now, OK?  This is only an important question for an agnostic, it's not a logical starting point for an atheist.
Yes, it would have to be something like that, but that's precisely what we do not see.

For the record, all atheists are agnostics, so I don't know why you consider my question irrelevant or illogical for atheists. I am generically agnostic toward "god" until you provide me with a definition of "god". I can then be gnostic regarding that particular named god, such as Yahweh or Thor or Siva, depending on whether their existence would dismantle my web of observable relationships but not replace it with a new one with the same strength, or explanatory and predictive power.

And to answer your question about why I care so much about the course from "god" to "Yahweh" is because it is the followers of "Yahweh" (and "Allah" and "Brahma" and so on) that cause social problems. It is faith like theirs that enables them to do evil in the name of good.
God's existence is contingent upon the illusion that morality is dictated by religious authority.

Offline L6

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2008, 07:23:28 PM »
Most religions claim their dietities had a hand in creating all, or part of what is our reality -- interacting with it, but not themselves subject to its limitations.
That's fine, but it's simply imagination and by definition completely irrelevant to human life, and yet they somehow go on to say that this non-interacting entity (or entities) dictates that we can't eat pork, shouldn't boil our kids in their mother's milk, and should put more weight on our left leg when taking a dump.
God's existence is contingent upon the illusion that morality is dictated by religious authority.

Offline gold_digging_ants

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Re: Wondering [#672]
« Reply #44 on: December 25, 2008, 04:35:34 PM »
I obviously can't speak for anyone else here (let alone the person/ people who made the videos), but here's my take on it.  First of all I'll tell you that my undergraduate tertiary education is in ancient history.  Although that doesn't prove that I'm not making wild assertions, it may support my case somewhat (to justify my case properly I'd need access to the library- it's a public holiday here, and the university library doesn't re-open for about ten days.  It would also require it being after 9am, which it is not, and that I'd been out of bed slightly longer than I have).

You see, most of the people in the stories about Jesus who saw miracles like a man born blind that had his sight restored and a dead and buried man coming back to life still didn't believe.  Sure the questions were a little different.  Instead of asking if God existed they were asking if Jesus got his power from God.  However, since most of them that saw the miracles didn't respond to Jesus as if he were directed by God, I think it is safe to assume that if the question was about the existence of God they would not have responded with belief and submission to God. 

I beg to differ.  In the ancient world, they believed in magic.  They believed it could come from all sorts of different sources, good and bad.  If we're to believe ancient sources (not just the Bible), some doctors healed people in the same way Jesus did (and others used different hocus pocus).  The world of medicine was mysterious and magical right up until the 18th or 19th century CE (that's two or three hundred years ago, not thousand).  Hippocrates' and Galen's theories (which were predominant after the Dark Ages in Europe- Shakespeare, for example, talks about humours, an idea which originated in Hippocrates- and began in ancient Greece and Rome) were an improvement on some of the other crazy stuff being proposed during the classical era (spanning the 5th century BCE to the 3rd century CE, so Jesus is in that).  Although they proposed, broadly speaking, examination rather than reliance upon magic, Hippocrates' and Galen's ideas are extremely superstitious- and they're the most rational the people in the time of Jesus had!  The idea of demons was a common explanation for disease, or a curse from the gods (Hippocrates writes a treatise refuting the notion that epilepsy was the "sacred disease"- although some of his explanations are hilarious- and there are countless references throughout the ancient authors to the diseases that would afflict you if you displeased the gods).  The Bible has reference to God inflicting diseases on people, and the Greco-Roman gods supposedly intervened in people's lives all the time (and not just with a warm fuzzy feeling or you finding a winning lottery ticket on the pavement- Herodotus talks about a mysterious spirit entering the dreams of Xerxes, the Persian king, and threatening him for doubting the demon and not wanting to go to war against Greece.  The spirit threatens to poke out the eyes of one of his advisors who dresses in Xerxes' pyjamas and goes to sleep in Xerxes' bed, trying to fool the spirit). 

In such a superstitious world, where magic comes from people, from gods (both the Jewish god and other gods- and the ancient Greeks and Romans weren't above believing in the power of foreign gods, either), and from other mysterious magical powers (such as demons- that's in the Bible), if some guy starts performing magic, no matter where he says he gets this magic, the reasonable ancient would wonder where these powers came from.  Even if it was greater magic than they were used to seeing.  The question, then, was not "does magic (to heal people of these afflictions) really exist?", which would be my (first) question.  The ancients clearly believed in such magic.  The question was "where does this magic come from (and why should I believe this guy when he says Yahweh gave it to him)?"  In the stories you mention, Jesus only claims that his powers come from God- he doesn't prove to these sceptics that that's where the power comes from. 

It'd be a bit like me- someone with a very limited scientific education- suddenly appearing with a scientific breakthrough that was worth the Nobel Prize (and rather than claiming that 'god did it', claiming it was my own work).  Science is part of our world, so is groundbreaking science.  The question is not whether science exists.  But nobody with a modicum of intelligence could look at my educational background and reasonably conclude that I came up with it, without me providing some pretty strong evidence that that was the case. 

Now, as for the rest of it (sorry for mutilating your post, but I thought it made most sense to deal with ancient, then modern)

I read some posts to a Lauren Green article that led me to your website.  I skimmed through Chapter 5 and appreciated your logical approach to the "problem" of God.  I realize you don't have time to respond to emails, but I'm writing anyway -- just for myself I suppose.  What I'm wondering is if an amputees' limbs were restored, would you believe in God, or are you only clinging to a logical excuse to disblieve? 

(g_d_a edit- the middle of this post has been cut and dealt with above)

I'm wondering if, in order to believe, would you have to see the amputee's limbs restored or would you accept medical records and eye witness reports. I'm wondering if you did see an amputee's limbs restored would you be happy and excited to obtain some empirical evidence, or would you be disappointed in the failure of your logical arguments.  I'm wondering if you have truly wondered about the existence of God or are just defending yourself and your opinions.  I'm wondering if your questioning the existence of God is honest or phony.  Just wondering.

If an amputee’s limb or limbs were restored, in a way that could not have happened in the natural world or through modern medicine, and there was clear documentation that this has occurred without non-magical human intervention (medical records are more important than eyewitness reports, and I’d prefer at least two independent medical reports- though one would do- and probably written and photographic documentation as well), that would be evidence for the supernatural.  That something is coming in and breaking the usual laws of biology.  I would probably then accept that some form of magic exists. 

My next question, along with the ancients, would be where this magic comes from.  I’d need evidence that it was Jesus/ Yahweh rather than Allah, Zeus, Thor, or the pixies at the bottom of the garden.  I probably would need more evidence than many ancients would have accepted for the origins of this magic (‘my father told me that Zeus strikes perjurers with lightning, and so-and-so was in that temple hit by lightning during the storm, therefore so-and-so is a perjurer’).  I don’t know what would constitute proof that one form of supernatural being over another had performed the magic.  But just like in the ancient world, there are many beings proposed that can perform magic.  (How do I know that Harry Potter didn’t do it while hiding under his invisibility cloak?)  If the person/ people healed is/ are Christian, and had prayed for this miracle (given money to a faith healer, had a priest bless them, etc), that would only form the first step in the chain of proof.  (Again, Harry Potter could have been listening in on these pleas, pitied the poor Muggles, and healed them- limbs can be regrown in J.K. Rowling’s world, in case you didn’t know)  I would need some sign that it was Yahweh rather than another supernatural being (and even the previous amputee saying they saw Jesus wouldn't do- again with the Harry Potter, but he can modify memories, according to the story.  I'd need something more substantial than one person's eyewitness account that they saw Jesus/ Yahweh himself).  I don’t know what would constitute sufficient proof, but it would have to be pretty bloody amazing, and unique to the Christian god, to prove that the thousands of other supernatural causes posited throughout human history couldn’t possibly have done it.  If Yahweh is all-knowing and all-powerful, he would know, and he would be able to do it.

Would such proof- not only that it really was magic, but also, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was the Christian god that did it- make me believe in the Christian god?  Certainly- not believing something despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary would be stupid.  Would it make me worship it?  Probably not, but that’s beyond the scope of this question (and answered in some of my other posts).

Would I be excited, or disappointed?  I would be immensely curious.  I would wonder how this supernatural being, which had been curiously silent for so long, would alter the course of humanity.  I would wonder how the study of science- and all disciplines, since Yahweh could alter history- would adapt to the inclusion of the supernatural (since it would now have been observed for study, even if it wasn't able to be continually observed).  I would be excited by the knowledge gained, certainly.  Disappointed?  Probably not.  Arguments are good based on the evidence we currently have.  If the argument were mine, I’d be proud that I made a good argument based upon what we knew before Yahweh intervened.  

Edit: nothing changed above, just wanted to apologise for butting into the conversation and starting again.  Very inconsiderate (I like answering these questions, but that's no excuse).
« Last Edit: December 25, 2008, 04:52:15 PM by gold_digging_ants »
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