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Online Azdgari

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #290 on: April 22, 2013, 06:32:36 PM »
Magicmiles, you have deliberately chosen to agree with Paul's opinion.  That's your responsibility.  It's not the Bible's.
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Offline skepticofatheism

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #291 on: April 22, 2013, 07:00:48 PM »
skepticofatheism

Sorry I'm late to the game. I'd like to be sure I have this right.

Historically people have said that there is a god. Currently people say there is a god. In both cases, the claim is made without solid evidence.

thats a baseless assertion, made by atheists like a mantra. there has never been more evidence for Gods existence in history than today.


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And yet I, as an atheist, am tasked with proving that this oft-claimed, poorly described, variously talented, occasionally omnipotent, multi-interpreted and ineptly/selectively worshipped deity is false? Do i have that correct?

no. just present convincing arguments that philosophical naturalism is true. Make positive arguments for strong atheism.

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My position (not a worldview, it doesn't dictate any part of my existence except what I do on Sunday morning and when hanging around on this site) is that there is no reason to think there is a god.

that means, you believe, your thinking is a result of dead rocks producing life by chance, and this life becoming conscious trough evolution? what amazing faith you have.....

http://www.icr.org/article/einsteins-gulf-can-evolution-cross-it/


Offline Astreja

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #292 on: April 22, 2013, 07:26:38 PM »
I've thought about this, and can only conclude that my faith in God's nature would probably be weakened. It's a really hard thing for me to answer, because there has just been no obvious, honest answer I can give. I don't think it would cause me to stop believing God existed, because my belief in God is not tied to whether anyone else believes. But He says everyone does, so if that was wrong....I just don't know. Clear as mud?

No, that's fine, MM.  Just wanted you to run it through your mind a bit so that I'd have an idea where you were coming from with the "everyone believes" assertion.  This might be the kind of thing where there is no single definitive answer, and just accepting the ambiguity of the what-if might be enough.  (FWIW, when I run into things like this I'll accept something as hypothetically possible, but currently insoluble and not directly relevant to where I'm at, and put it on the back burner till something changes.)

Thanks for taking time with the question.
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Offline Jag

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #293 on: April 22, 2013, 07:30:58 PM »
what amazing faith you have.....

And now we see the real problem, at long last. We don't rely on faith - that's a believer position, not a skeptical one. You really should try to limit your responses to what is actually said, not what you keep trying to infer from it, because you keep making the wrong inferences.

Considering the name you chose, you should be rather embarrassed that I had to point that out to you.
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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #294 on: April 22, 2013, 07:35:48 PM »
skepticofatheism

Sorry I'm late to the game. I'd like to be sure I have this right.

Historically people have said that there is a god. Currently people say there is a god. In both cases, the claim is made without solid evidence.

thats a baseless assertion, made by atheists like a mantra. there has never been more evidence for Gods existence in history than today.

Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.


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Quote
And yet I, as an atheist, am tasked with proving that this oft-claimed, poorly described, variously talented, occasionally omnipotent, multi-interpreted and ineptly/selectively worshipped deity is false? Do i have that correct?

no. just present convincing arguments that philosophical naturalism is true. Make positive arguments for strong atheism.

Cute, but you want proof? What are you standards? Can my proofs of the non-existence of god be as whimpy as the religious proofs that he does exist? Or are you going to hold me to an actual standard and ask for things like facts and figures and photographs. Something you can't do. I just want to be sure that I'll get to play with a fair deck.

And of course I can't prove there is no god because the religious never supply enough info about their deity to refute it. Any effort on my part to point out inconsistencies, shortcomings or flaws will probably be parried by a dodge, a redefinition, an excuse, a harrumph. But not with information, which the religious are sorely short of. If you don't count the fairy tales.

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Quote
My position (not a worldview, it doesn't dictate any part of my existence except what I do on Sunday morning and when hanging around on this site) is that there is no reason to think there is a god.

that means, you believe, your thinking is a result of dead rocks producing life by chance, and this life becoming conscious trough evolution? what amazing faith you have.....

http://www.icr.org/article/einsteins-gulf-can-evolution-cross-it/

No, it isn't a matter of belief. It is a matter of accepting that our current level of scientific knowledge is complete enough to make the creation of the universe, the existence of matter and my existence plausible.

What makes your god plausible? That he is a god, so he doesn't need an explanation? That he's god, so he has always been?

Here is the big problem. Either there is a god or there isn't. We don't know. Neither one of us. You can claim you are sure there is, I can claim that I'm sure there isn't. Neither of us have any say in the matter. Either such supernatural agents exist or they don't.

If you are comfortable that there is a god, that is fine. I am in no position to tell you that you are wrong or complain in any other way about your beliefs, under normal circumstances. But you'll notice that you came her to hassle us. I didn't fly down to Brazil. So if you are going to waltz in here and make your various religious claims, you need to provide us with more than just your opinion. You need to provide us with more than the standard religious fare that insists that god is big on faith and that's why he doesn't make himself known. Because that sounds exactly like an excuse. And if the best the religious can do is make that and similar excuses about the fact that there are no (unless you can correct that, as I requested earlier in this post) proofs that there is a god.



Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #295 on: April 22, 2013, 08:17:50 PM »
thats a baseless assertion, made by atheists like a mantra. there has never been more evidence for Gods existence in history than today.
Funny how this so-called 'evidence' of yours is wholly in the realm of testimonials.  Meaning we have to take your word for it that you got everything right and didn't mess up somewhere.  You'll have to excuse me for not considering that reliable evidence.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
no. just present convincing arguments that philosophical naturalism is true. Make positive arguments for strong atheism.
The real question is, why do we need to posit the existence of a deity in order to explain why the universe works as it does?

Quote from: skepticofatheism
that means, you believe, your thinking is a result of dead rocks producing life by chance, and this life becoming conscious trough evolution? what amazing faith you have.....
Ah, argument from incredulity.  No wonder you think a deity is necessary.

Quote from: skepticofatheism
http://www.icr.org/article/einsteins-gulf-can-evolution-cross-it/
Ah, another argument that abstractions are their own reality and thus have to be held within a mind to keep existing, aka TAG.  What the creationists who make this argument fail to understand is that abstractions don't exist independently.  There is no "abstract realm" which material objects have to cross over.  Abstractions are simply mental shorthand that we do in order to get a grip on reality.  For example, language, which the article makes a big deal about as if it's something amazingly special, is simply a way for us describe things and communicate those descriptions to others.  That's all there is to it.  The words we use didn't float around in some invisible ethereal world before we started using them.

To put it another way, Einstein's Gulf doesn't actually exist, any more than this "world of abstractions" has its own independent existence.  Abstractions are nothing more than ways for us to get a mental handle on things that exist, and thus there is no 'gulf' between reality and abstractions.  Abstractions exist within reality.

Offline screwtape

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #296 on: April 22, 2013, 09:03:22 PM »
yes, i do. What better alternative do you have on hand ? please present it.

40 invisible men and women in space...blahblahblah.  And a couple of pets.
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Offline skepticofatheism

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #297 on: April 22, 2013, 09:40:02 PM »
Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.

i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 09:41:49 PM by skepticofatheism »

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #298 on: April 22, 2013, 10:53:30 PM »
40 invisible men and women in space...blahblahblah.  And a couple of pets.

Except for the "invisible" part, that sounds like the backstory for one of My NaNoWriMo novels.  ;D

Heck, it's probably the backstory for a lot of novels.  Paging Joseph Campbell...
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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #299 on: April 22, 2013, 10:55:54 PM »
"In other words, even if it *is* real I don't care, because it has no perceivable effect on My reality."

I hate to disagree with you, but if "it" [God] is real, He will have a profound effect on Your reality.

Tell your imaginary friend to get on with the business of smiting Me, then.  I'm almost out of whisky. 8)
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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #300 on: April 23, 2013, 02:13:32 AM »
Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.

i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

John writes Mary's name in the sand but she can't see it. She died of genetically transmitted breast cancer at the age of 16. Isn't god wonderful!

Lets see. DNA codes for Cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, albinism, multitudinous cancers, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, hemophilia, various anemia's, deafness of many kinds, hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, cleft lip, dwarfism, some neuropathies, congenital heart disease, dementia, emphysema, blindness of various sorts, Huntington's disease, immunodeficiencies, infertility, microcephaly, prion disease, thyroid diseases and literally hundreds of other health problems.

Should we, like you know, send your god a thank-you letter for this?

At least 25% of all pregnancies are spontaneously aborted by the body, many before anyone knows that there is a pregnancy. Are you proud of that track record? And those impregnations that make it to birth all too often suffer one or more of the many hundreds of of diseases and conditions caused by bad genes. Does this sound like the work of a perfect being? I don't think so.

Such health problems make all the sense in the world when viewed through the eyes of science. There is no reason for genetic material to be passed on whole and complete and healthy every single time. There is no reason to expect that genes will codes properly each time through the procreation process, and there is no reason to think that genetic diseases won't actually happen. Since they do, all the time.

About half the women in my fathers side of the family end up with Parkinson's disease by the time they are 60-65. The males don't, or at least haven't yet. Victims in my family include some very religious people, so I don't think it is god striking down the bad ones. I'm a male and I'm fine. What sort of god would not beat me to a frickin' pulp for being an atheist since the early 1960's?

I know that you're astounded by the fantastic world of DNA, which is indeed incredible. But you are also incredulous and you feel a need to explain how such a thing could happen. Within your very limited framework. And you have an unwillingness to consider anything besides what you really really really want to be true. So you choose astonishment over science.

That's fine. Just don't call it proof. It wouldn't hold up in court. Nor would any other claims you might make.

Your faith doesn't transfer to my real world. Stop insisting that it should. Our standards are different.

Well, not really. I have some. You don't. But you know what I mean.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #301 on: April 23, 2013, 02:50:06 AM »
If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there.

Indeed I don't, because I have a priori knowledge that there are humans in existence, and that the alphabet exists, and what those words mean.  It is therefore a reasonable assumption that the words appeared there by human hand rather than by the accidental actions of wind and rain.

That is where the analogy fails to work: your god has NOT written plain and clear English words into the rock.  It has taken great pains to ensure that everything it does can be completely explained by natural processes without the need for the intervention of a deity.  Your god wrote "  .    -     ~" on the rock, at best.

Your analogy about DNA (or indeed ANY part of "creation") also fails to address the most impiortant point.  What would anything look like that was NOT created?  What standard are you judging against?

Where are the words in the sand that were NOT written by humans, that you use as your baseline to say "these were written by humans, these were made by the wind"?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline skepticofatheism

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #302 on: April 23, 2013, 05:28:01 AM »
Can you do me a favor and point me in the right direction. I am unaware of any. Nobody has shown up here with viable info on the subject. If you've posted some before, I assume you won't mind posting it again to save my poor soul.

i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

John writes Mary's name in the sand but she can't see it. She died of genetically transmitted breast cancer at the age of 16. Isn't god wonderful!

Lets see. DNA codes for Cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, albinism, multitudinous cancers, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, hemophilia, various anemia's, deafness of many kinds, hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, cleft lip, dwarfism, some neuropathies, congenital heart disease, dementia, emphysema, blindness of various sorts, Huntington's disease, immunodeficiencies, infertility, microcephaly, prion disease, thyroid diseases and literally hundreds of other health problems.

Should we, like you know, send your god a thank-you letter for this?

At least 25% of all pregnancies are spontaneously aborted by the body, many before anyone knows that there is a pregnancy. Are you proud of that track record? And those impregnations that make it to birth all too often suffer one or more of the many hundreds of of diseases and conditions caused by bad genes. Does this sound like the work of a perfect being? I don't think so.

Such health problems make all the sense in the world when viewed through the eyes of science. There is no reason for genetic material to be passed on whole and complete and healthy every single time. There is no reason to expect that genes will codes properly each time through the procreation process, and there is no reason to think that genetic diseases won't actually happen. Since they do, all the time.

About half the women in my fathers side of the family end up with Parkinson's disease by the time they are 60-65. The males don't, or at least haven't yet. Victims in my family include some very religious people, so I don't think it is god striking down the bad ones. I'm a male and I'm fine. What sort of god would not beat me to a frickin' pulp for being an atheist since the early 1960's?

that is not evidence that the information stored in DNA has not a designer as origin.

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I know that you're astounded by the fantastic world of DNA, which is indeed incredible. But you are also incredulous and you feel a need to explain how such a thing could happen. Within your very limited framework. And you have an unwillingness to consider anything besides what you really really really want to be true. So you choose astonishment over science.

I am totally open to consider a different hypotheses than God. If you are able to show me one, just ONE example of codified information, that does not come from a mind, you topped my proof.

Quote
That's fine. Just don't call it proof. It wouldn't hold up in court. Nor would any other claims you might make.

baseless assertion. It does not need to hold up in court. It will stand , and hold up, as long as you are unable to provide me with one example of codified information, as stored in dna, that does not come from a mind.


Offline skepticofatheism

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #303 on: April 23, 2013, 05:31:17 AM »
What would anything look like that was NOT created?  What standard are you judging against?


very simple. It would NEVER be codified information, since we know only conscious minds can create it.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #304 on: April 23, 2013, 07:51:26 AM »
i have presented one already. If you read on a sand dune ? John loves Mary, you deduce logically, that a intelligent human being wrote that on a sand dune. you dont ponder, if it might have been the wind, and so a probable explanation for the written message there. Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.
This is such a bad argument that I'm not even sure where to start.

First off, why are you so sure that chance can't have created DNA?  This sounds an awful lot like an argument from incredulity - because it sounds unbelievable to you, it must not be true.

Second, the human mind is good at detecting patterns, even patterns that don't actually exist.  This is why we see meaningful shapes in clouds, for example.  Indeed, we're a little too good at it - to the point where if we see something that appears to have meaning, it's easy to not even consider alternate explanations for it and just conclude, "this was done by someone".

Third, while it's certainly possible that an intelligent being could have created DNA, you're putting way too much stock in the idea of it being codified information.  DNA is nothing more than a sequence of bases that signal for various amino acids.  It isn't "codified information" in the sense that you use, like, say, binary code[1].  But DNA doesn't do that.  It isn't organized in a way that has independent meaning, or is even particularly efficient, the way binary code is.  It's simply strung together in the way you'd expect from something that developed independently.

itsliekwritnagsenenecwituotpuctnuaitonorspelgninoenlognsrtign[2]

Not only that, but the 'words' aren't even necessarily in the right order.  And it only has four letters, which is pretty well useless for conveying actual information.  The only reason we can use binary code for anything is because we already have higher-level languages which give the extremely simple binary additional framework.  That itself suggests a way to verify whether it is actually codified information - find evidence of the higher-level language that would turn DNA from a meaningless string of nonsense to something that we can actually read and get meaning from.

Better get cracking if you want to prove that.  And if you're not willing to do the work, then don't expect anyone else to believe you.
 1. Which, while it's just two 'letters', 0 and 1, is organized in such a way that it creates meaningful information, as we'd expect from something created by intelligent beings.  And even then, we have to use more complicated programming languages in order to actually do anything with binary code.
 2. It's like writing a sentence without punctuation or spelling in one long string.

Offline screwtape

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #305 on: April 23, 2013, 08:24:25 AM »
Same with the codified information stored in DNA. It has a intelligent being as origin. Chance does not create codified information.

Ipse dixit.  I've talked to you about this already hereJust because you said it does not make it true.  You need to show your work or cite legitimate sources.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #306 on: April 23, 2013, 09:12:34 AM »

I am totally open to consider a different hypotheses than God. If you are able to show me one, just ONE example of codified information, that does not come from a mind, you topped my proof.


DNA is an example of codified information, that does not come from a mind.

If I thought of another one, you would claim that this also came from the same mind? Obviously examples are quite rare, as we still haven't verified life on other planets, owing to the distance. Would you be claiming that all life on other planets was also proof of your God, or just this one? I don't see God saving people on other planets, because he only had one begotten son (unless you count Satan.)

BTW, are you claiming that God helps life along at all points, or would you be willing to concede that life could have kept going, and evolving without God watching? That is, do you think your God is fantastic enough to create a self evolving system, or is he a bit of a dullard, who created a form of life that needs his constant supervision?


Re: "evidence". You said that there is more evidence for "God" now, than ever. Can you define what "evidence" is? We find in science that there is plenty of evidence of a scientific paradigm, and as Creationists (and assorted fringe loonies) rightly point out, scientific opinion can turn on a dime, because the evidence wasn't really what we thought it was. Evidence is prone to interpretation.

For example, this bit of cheese, next to me, is evidence that the moon is made from cheese. You just have to put on the correct hat, to see it as such.

We notice, notoriously, that evidence for God can be interpreted as also evidence against God.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 09:14:20 AM by Add Homonym »
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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #307 on: April 23, 2013, 09:52:58 AM »
baseless assertion. It does not need to hold up in court. It will stand , and hold up, as long as you are unable to provide me with one example of codified information, as stored in dna, that does not come from a mind.

The problem here is that there is nothing I can say that you won't claim comes from a mind. You like it best when there is only one mystery (where did god come from?) that you get to explain away via one final excuse and poof, everything seems clear to you.

You are  assuming that chaos and disorganization are the only natural states, and that only a god could form anything even slightly organized. Based only on the "facts" you have in your mind. Because of that, none of us are able to have a conversation with you. Because you think that everything you've made up is absolutely true, and that it should be obvious to all of us. That your thoughts are synonymous with the dictionary definition of the word "fact". Hence we have no way of telling you otherwise.

Your entire reality is in your head and requires no external validation. The rest of us want to be sure that our thoughts don't color every aspect of reality. Hence the lack of an actual conversation here. Our words are static to you.

Actually, our words are apparently transmitted at a radio frequency you have no antenna for.  Sadly, that means you can't even read this. Hence you are just pretending when you respond.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #308 on: April 23, 2013, 10:09:09 AM »
What would anything look like that was NOT created?  What standard are you judging against?

very simple. It would NEVER be codified information, since we know only conscious minds can create it.

Can you define "codified information" please?

What is your opinion on the thought experiment that suggests that a vast number of monkeys and typewriters could, given time, produce a book? 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #309 on: April 23, 2013, 10:18:20 AM »
The problem here (well, one of the many problems here) is the use of the terms "random" and "chance" as if they mean something that could never happen.

Random means anything in the realm of possibility could happen with equal frequency. Chance means you pick one of the random possibilities. Once you pick one of the possibilities, it is reality, no longer "random chance". So, something can be very unlikey, but still happen. So when a religious person like skepticofatheism says "I just can't believe that x could happen by random chance" they are saying:

Nobody can ever win the lottery.
Nobody can ever be in a plane crash and a train crash in one lifetime.
Nobody can ever get cancer three different times and recover each time.
Nobody can ever have triplets.

Etc.

Because these things are very unlikely does not mean they can never happen, and they happen by "random chance". Some things can never happen (severed human limbs growing back) for reasons that we understand. Other things happen very rarely.

Life appears to be one of the unlikely random chance-y things. Some chemicals got mixed in the right way at the right times. Each snowflake is different, but they don't need anybody to "organize" them to do that beautiful crystal thang.
We are alive on earth because we have won the universal lottery. That's it. ;)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #310 on: April 23, 2013, 10:26:11 AM »
Actually, our words are apparently transmitted at a radio frequency you have no antenna for.  Sadly, that means you can't even read this. Hence you are just pretending when you respond.

Never mind that; he hasn't even worked out what an atheist is, yet.
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Offline median

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #311 on: April 23, 2013, 10:33:45 AM »
Well, I suppose that might be a fall back. It still demonstrated that something doesn't exist, namely a present deliverer that works with the laws of physics, delivering physical presents. That one we absolutely know, and proved, does not exist.

You "suppose" it's a fallback? Huh? How dishonest. I just completely refuted your claim. If you can make the argument about Santa Claus, we can make it about your God. Please acknowledge the point and let's move on.

I actually don't think that there is some extra burden of atheists to prove a god doesn't exist. Everyone has the same burden to come up with a theory that works with all the data we have. If you can accommodate all the data you know of without needing a god to explain anything you are either obligated to look at more or justified in not believing in one, even if you don't have any specific arguments against the existence of a god.

There is at least one problem with the statement above. It is NOT the case that, "Everyone has the same burden to come up with a theory that works with all the data we have." No actually, we do NOT have to provide a "theory that works with all the data." This statement is based in the religious assumption that we MUST choose a conclusion. FALSE! We do not have to choose (contrary to the absurd notion in the bible) a theory. We can simply be honest and admit that we do not know. And if one admits that they do not know, then they are someone who does not have knowledge of a God (agnostic). At that point we would ask them why they have chosen to believe without good reason.

It's just that the idea of "you can't prove a negative" is sortof dumb. Otherwise the theist can just say "I don't have to prove that God doesn't not exist because I can't prove a negative."

This is called the Fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof (Argumentum Ignorantium). Two negatives (in this context) are equivalent to a positive! And this is actually complete and utter intellectual dishonesty because you're trying to play word games in order to open the door for burden shifting. Think about the Santa Claus example for a few minutes and you might realize why this arguments fails miserably.

Even the more refined "You can't prove negative existence claims" is bad. You can prove that Santa, as usually conceived, doesn't exist. I can prove there is no visible pink unicorn in my room. I can prove there is no elephant sitting on my keyboard. I can prove that there is not yet a third post by me in this thread. Or at least I can prove them by the same standard we have for other things.

So many fallacies, so little time. For one, I haven't made this claim. So you are committing the fallacy of a Straw Man argument. Second, it is universal negative claims that cannot be proved. Did you not know this? As I demonstrated in my last post to you, one cannot prove there is no Santa Claus for this very reason. We simply have no good reason for thinking there is a Santa Claus (just like we have no good reason for thinking there is a "Yahweh" deity). So we ought to, at the very least, withhold judgment and withstand the temptation toward credulity.

There may be some things the existence of which cannot be disproved, but it takes an additional argument beyond either of these slogans to show that it CAN'T be done. Incidentally, there are some decent arguments why this might be the case for a classical theistic God, but they do have to be made and defended.

Again, this argument hints at the fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof. We atheists (just like we a-Santa-Clausists) are not the ones claiming Yahweh, Santa Claus, faires, unicorns, or leprechauns etc exist. If you want to assert that Yahweh (or some other deity) exists, then be prepared to defend that assertion (just like you would need to defend an actual assertion of belief in Santa Claus).
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 10:36:00 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Mrjason

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #312 on: April 23, 2013, 10:54:57 AM »
....
So, something can be very unlikey, but still happen...

Like the wind blowing sand into the shape of a sand castle

Prof Cox on entropy -

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #313 on: April 23, 2013, 10:57:36 AM »
one cannot prove there is no Santa Claus for this very reason. We simply have no good reason for thinking there is a Santa Claus

Can you prove there is no tiger in your bedroom?

I would say that tigers are rather large, and given the volume of a tiger, if I inspect all spaces that could contain a tiger, and there is no tiger in those spaces, then logically, there cannot be a tiger in my room.

In the case of Santa, with enough surveillance, Santa could be ruled out. However, there could be room for invisible quantum Santas, that exist on the Planck scale, that could not ordinarily be found using conventional surveillance equipment.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 10:59:23 AM by Add Homonym »
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Offline median

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #314 on: April 23, 2013, 11:00:35 AM »
atheism is NOT a worldview.

Of course it is.

http://carm.org/atheism-worldview

Carm? Really?

Matt Slick stole his "worldview" ideas from the late Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen - who in turn took the idea from Cornelius Van Til. All 3 of these characters were, and are, sadly mistaken. Why? Because they based their assertion about atheism upon the fallacy of equivocation. They falsely assumed a definition of atheism which is NOT (at all) what we hold. Is A-Zeusism a worldview? How about A-Pantheism?

For the billionth time, ATHEISM IS THE LACK OF BELIEF IN A GOD. That is all. Therefore, atheism is NOT a worldview. Atheists, no doubt, have views of the world but many of us differ greatly in those views. If you had studied Bahnsen you would have realized that he later changed his position on this in order to avoid the fallacy. But still that didn't help.

Your CARM article from Slick states, "Likewise, atheism  is a worldview because it deals with the same issues.  It says that God  does not exist1, that we determine our own  purpose, that we evolved, that we develop our own morals, etc."

Eeeyyyy!

1. Atheism does NOT say "God does not exist" (straw man fallacy)
2. Atheism does NOT say "we determine our purpose". It deals with the question of god(s) and and that is all (straw man fallacy)
3. Atheism does NOT say "we evolved". Science says that and many Christians accept the evidence (straw man fallacy again)
4. Atheism does NOT say "we develop our own morals". It doesn't deal with morals at all but only the question of god(s).

So, Slick's assertion about atheism is 100% false. Atheism deals ONLY with the question of god(s) and nothing else. We hold that there is insufficient evidence to warrant belief and that theism has not met it's burden of proof. So you are sadly mistaken.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 11:03:30 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline median

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #315 on: April 23, 2013, 11:10:04 AM »
one cannot prove there is no Santa Claus for this very reason. We simply have no good reason for thinking there is a Santa Claus

Can you prove there is no tiger in your bedroom?

I would say that tigers are rather large, and given the volume of a tiger, if I inspect all spaces that could contain a tiger, and there is no tiger in those spaces, then logically, there cannot be a tiger in my room.

In the case of Santa, with enough surveillance, Santa could be ruled out. However, there could be room for invisible quantum Santas, that exist on the Planck scale, that could not ordinarily be found using conventional surveillance equipment.

In my previous post to Mango I described a scenario in which a person attempts to defend Santa Claus (like theists do with God) with the common childhood belief that Santa Claus holds supernatural characteristics. So we are not just talking about proving a negative. We are talking about proving a universal negative. We could search every area of our current galaxy and Santa could be outside it. We could search everywhere in our logical universe and Santa could be in another dimension, another universe, or somewhere we haven't checked (undetectable), just like Christians think God is undetectable from our inquiry ("No man can see God and live") etc. Thus, his assertion is just plain false and we can use the same arguments to attack Santa that we do Yahweh. They are in the same category.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline median

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #316 on: April 23, 2013, 11:21:14 AM »
very simple. It would NEVER be codified information, since we know only conscious minds can create it.

Your assertions are assuming what a conscious mind is, what information is, and that your position on these subjects is the correct one. Have you studied the philosophy of information or the philosophy of mind? Have you presented a thesis on these subjects? You do know there are many different positions on this, don't you? I actually have a degree in these subjects and studied them quite in depth. If you'd like to debate them I'd be glad to.

In short, as far as I'm concerned the terms "information" and "consciousness" are merely words that we use to describe abstractions  (i.e. - guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine exhibit chemical reactions that WE call "information") but that is a metaphor. As for consciousness, let's start here. All of the evidence we have demonstrates that the mind is wholly connected to, and is a property of, the physical brain (i.e. - that they are indistinguishable from each other). What makes you think there is some "spiritual" thing - if you do think that?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Astreja

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #317 on: April 23, 2013, 12:39:17 PM »
that is not evidence that the information stored in DNA has not a designer as origin.

Then where is this alleged designer?  There is no trace of it anywhere in the universe.

Quote
I am totally open to consider a different hypotheses than God.

Quite frankly, I don't believe you.  I, Myself, think that your mind is shut tight as a bear trap submerged in a bucket of 5-minute epoxy.
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Offline mango

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Re: A Challenge to Christians
« Reply #318 on: April 23, 2013, 02:08:41 PM »
Median,
I think there is a more cheritable way to understand what I was writing. I usually don't like slashing posts into quote bits, but I don't really know what else to do here.

You "suppose" it's a fallback? Huh? How dishonest. I just completely refuted your claim. If you can make the argument about Santa Claus, we can make it about your God. Please acknowledge the point and let's move on.
My claim was 'you can prove "positive a-Santa-Clausism"'
That really depends on the tenants of Santa-Clausism. I always thought that Santa-Clausism was committed to some physical constraints. I didn't know you meant "totally and utterly magical Santa-Clausism." I actually all along had in mind that there are some things that are by definition unprovable to not exist, I just didn't think Santa fit the bill.
The best examples are so called "Epiphenomenalons" - particles more useless than which cannot be conceived. They exist and are located spatiotemporally, but do not engage in any causal interactions at all. It is at least possible that they exist, but short of parsimony we have nothing to rule them out. I was under the impression Santa was a little more tangible.

It is NOT the case that, "Everyone has the same burden to come up with a theory that works with all the data we have." No actually, we do NOT have to provide a "theory that works with all the data." This statement is based in the religious assumption that we MUST choose a conclusion. FALSE!
I don't know why you think this is a religiously motivated claim. I agree that we could run around like universal skeptics and just not believe anything, but that's just not practically possible. Also, I do think there are some constraints on rationality. If you get a letter from your bank saying your account is overdrawn, I would say you are rationally obligated to form a belief about the state of your finances. You are not entitled to just withhold judgment.
Otherwise, you get the odd results that you can look at all the evidence from fossils, geology, etc. but still say "You know what, I'm gonna withhold judgment on the age of the universe." At some point it becomes irrational to withhold judgment. But, this constrained to rationally accommodate evidence you gather is not anything particularly religious. I actually meant this as a defense that atheists may be in their epistemic rights to not have any particular arguments against a God. Notice I said "same burden." If you can rationally accommodate data by withholding judgment, then you are fulfilling the constraint. I just reject the notion that you are justified to not form a belief in the face of any evidence whatsoever. It would indeed be too much to demand that for any snippet of information we get we immediately have to postulate a theory of how this came to be.

This is called the Fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof (Argumentum Ignorantium). Two negatives (in this context) are equivalent to a positive!
That's not what I did. I was making a point about propositional logic. I gave an explanation of what "You cannot prove a negative" would mean for propositional logic. And that is "For any proposition p, you cannot prove ~p." And that is utter nonsense as you point out, for you can stick a negation sign in front of any proposition. There is nothing logically "deep" about a proposition including a negation. Propositions are not "negative." It's not a thing in logic, and hence the utterance is just ill informed. That is ALL I said. I was trying to hone in on what true thing in the neighborhood we can actually say while throwing out the silly things on the way. That is standard philosophical procedure. You actually ended up with what I was going for when you explained that what you really mean is "You cannot prove a universal negative." More on that in the end.
So many fallacies, so little time. For one, I haven't made this claim. So you are committing the fallacy of a Straw Man argument.
Again, I was trying to point out what not to mean when saying things about proving negatives.

Again, this argument hints at the fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof.
In order for there to be a fallacy of shifting the burden of proof, there must be a principle which things require proof. This principle needs to be stated and perhaps defended, and it needs to be shown why it applies to the Christian God. None of these I take are particularly hard, but my post was about ways NOT to state the principle. This wasn't supposed to be some bait and switch trick post, just clarification.

But...
Now that you HAVE given your principle, I can take a shot at it:
it is universal negative claims that cannot be proved
Again, I will lay out what this could mean, and show which of the options don't work by giving counterexamples to the various formulations.
First, it could mean that we cannot prove propositions with a universal quantifier and a negation. Such as
"For all x, there is no x such that Fx"  (?x ~Fx)
That's not true though. We can prove there is no uranium sphere as large as the universe. We can do this a) because it isn't here right now and b) because uranium spheres above a certain diameter just start nuclear reactions, so you couldn't possibly lump that much uranium together.
Maybe you meant "There does not exist anything that is F" (~?x Fx)
That is logically equivalent to the other statement though, so it fails for the same reason.

Well, it looks like you mean something different when you say "universal" and "negative"? Or maybe you have some implicit restriction on the properties F that we can do this with such that it rules out uranium spheres the size of the universe. If there are restrictions on the kinds of things, then you need to explicate them and say why it applies to God.

Other examples of things I would consider universal negatives we can prove:
"There is nothing that is a third arm of mango"
"There is nothing that is a 5000 foot tall human"
"There is nothing that is an invisible US president"

By the way, by prove here I mean the kind of standard we have for proving "I have hands," even if I can't prove that "I'm not a brain in a vat" (Again, nothing deep about the negation in the second phrase. I could have said "my brain is in my body," and given the context that would be about the same, I was just trying to bring the standard of "prove" below general skepticism)

Now, it seems right to say that we can't prove:
"There isn't a magical Santa Clause that manipulates everyone's memories to think they buy present, transfers money to businesses from people, moves products off shelves/factories to living rooms and steals wrapping paper. (Or changes everyone's memory about what products they made, stocked, sold, etc.). Also, he does this by bodily flying trough the earth while going down chimnies and flying on reindeer, and magically compresses large amounts of matter into medium sized burlap bags, only to decompress them within nanoseconds inside our living rooms. Oh, and he's a realist about the nice/naughty distinction, though he often gets it colossally wrong (All the rich jerk kids still get the most presents)."
We can't prove that thing doesn't exist, though that seems more because of skepticism in general rather than something deep about "proving negatives"
Also, I still contend that the thing I just described isn't "Santa" - "Santa" gets the naughty-nice distinction right, and the magical thing we can't disprove doesn't.