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God Does Not Exist Because. . . (2)

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Initial post: 11 Sep 2010 11:14:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Sep 2010 12:32:00 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
Following Stephanie's idea to set up a second thread for when the original God Does Not Exist Because. . . thread is deleted in 800 or so posts. Suggest we just let it drop down the list until we need it!

What follows is Sam Hunter's summary of the OP of the original thread (the poster and all his posts was deleted by Amazon), to remind us where it all started.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: The above OP written by Michael James is a weak attempt to parody what he thinks is an atheistic position. He doesn't mean what he says. He is actually a Christian and his real views can be found elsewhere on this forum. I wouldn't waste your time on them though...

M. James,

You said:
"We know that God does not exist because men who wear white coats and thick glass who work in science laboratories and own large tape measures and test-tubes and look into microscopes and telescopes tell us in their best condescending, patronising, know-it-all voice that there is absolutely, almost certainly only a small possibility that there could be a God, so we can not argue with these intelligent, all wise and all knowing people. What would we `slow, dim ' people really know, anyway .. really I ask you?"

Ad hominem attacks, misrepresentation and would have been a strawman if you'd bothered to knock it down...

You said:
"We know there is no God because of all the starving people in Africa. If there was a God of love he would feed every one, right?"

This is the `Problem of Evil' and it is a genuine dilemma for those who believe in a benevolent god.

You said:
"And we have no responsibility to help these people, right?"

Misrepresentation, strawman if you'd knocked it down.

You said:
"We know there is no God because Hollywood celebrities with bright, white teeth, and perfect combed hair and bodies of goddesses and Adonis's with millions of dollars rolling into their bank accounts tell us they do not believe there is a God, so that seals the deal right there. There cannot be a God if they say so ... right? With white teeth like that they must know what they are talking about ... right?"

Misrepresentation, accusation of argument from authority (or maybe, argument from celebrity).

You said:
"We know there is no God because of all the sexually abused girls in the various Asian countries in the east and if there was a God he would stop this..."

See above re: Problem of Evil.

You said:
"...and I have no responsibility to help these young girls, right?"

Misrepresentation, strawman if you'd knocked it down.

You said:
"We know there is no God because there are so many documented cases of sexual perversion, infidelity and financial misappropriation amongst preachers and ministries there can be no God or He would `do something' with these individuals..."

See above re: Problem of Evil.

You said:
"...and they can not have the same free will I have to express my atheism."

Huh? Possible strawman, probable rubbish.

You said:
"We know that there is no God because we `feel' so inspired to have a deep hatred and resentment toward the Christian God for the way our life has turned out. I mean if there was a God of love why does my life suck so bad."

Ad hominem attack, misrepresentation, strawman if you'd knocked it down.

You said:
"All of these deductions are almost conclusive `evidence' that there cannot be a God and I am willing to risk missing the Glory of heaven and the tortures of hell based on all this evidence!!"

Misrepresentation, strawman if you'd knocked it down.

May I suggest that if you want to debate people and be taken seriously by them that you drop the anger, the wholesale sarcasm, the preaching and the logical fallacies. People are far more likely to listen to you and to understand the points you are trying to make if make your posts reasoned, well thought out and polite. If someone were to read one of your posts as they are at the moment they could be forgiven for thinking that you are trolling (which, of course, I'm not accusing you of). If you keep an open mind, admit the possibility that you could be wrong, listen to what others have to say and evaluate what they present to you, you will get a lot further.

Posted on 11 Sep 2010 11:19:48 BDT
It's deleted at 10k posts? that's pretty sh*t of amazon isn't it?

(Sorry, off topic)

Posted on 11 Sep 2010 12:16:47 BDT
Mr. Bde Wall says:
Thanks Isobel,

I thought I'd outline some of my reasons for my lack of belief, keep your ball rolling :)

1) God has meant a great many things, in different contexts - the meaning has shifted, deferred. The God of the early old testament has a tribal flavour to him, something baring little resemblance to Jesus Christ, and the figure of Christ has been represented in enormously differing ways. Cultural and social factors seem to dramatically shape how people interpret the bible and the character of Jesus.

2) The problem of Anthropomorphism. Since Hume, it is has no longer been a good argument to say that a supposed design requires a conscious agent behind it, to have created it. Just because we are conscious agents who create, doesn't mean the universe requires a larger scale conscious agent to explain it. All anthropomorphic Gods seem to fail, in my view.

3) Gods that are not anthropomorphic - what are they then? Many religious traditions maintain that we can say little or nothing about God. This is better than the super-human picture, but, as Wittgenstein said 'a nothing will do just as well as a something, of which nothing can be said'.

4) Many claim God has intervened in the world, but I see no clear examples of this. I don't know of any clear-cut cases of 'supernatural' happenings. I don't even know how we could sufficiently demarcate a natural from a supernatural occurance, given we don't know everything about the natural world.

5) Language. How the world is addressed has a history. There is no means of discussing ontology 'objectively' (by this, I mean free from the context of a socially formed discursive practice), as if we can reflect its being with language, when language itself like a net, that differentiates, categorises etc in ways determined by human discursive practice - it doesnt simply reflect the real.

6) The main one - I have no experience of God that I'm aware of. It might be that my experience of everything is an experience of God, but I don't see how I can know that, or even how I could believe that without a pretty extreme leap in logic.

Some of the better arguments for God/religion are based on the idea that religion/God is simply a part of our make-up, part of what it is to be our-kind-of-being in the world. I think though, the human subject isn't static, and we may well be transforming, culturally, into a set of beings where the symbol of God is not of as much relevance or importance to us (this isn't true across the whole globe, of course, but in much of europe). Perhaps, for better or worse, religion will fade. But if it doesn't, it will radically transform itself, as it always has, in relation to wider goings on in the world.

please do challenge me. The points are there to be challenged, not to be laid down as 'trump cards'...!

much peace,

Ben

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 13:56:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Sep 2010 13:56:59 BDT
gille liath says:
Oh...you're no fun. I was looking forward to seeing GDNEB exploding in a blaze of prolix pedantry...

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 14:19:08 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
The idea was to let this one sit unused until the other one does just that, and then maybe we can start fresh on this one.

Posted on 11 Sep 2010 16:44:29 BDT
Mr. Bde Wall says:
oh.. sorry. my bad :s

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 20:38:48 BDT
Ku says:
My experience in the U.S. amazon forum was that the thread gets locked, not deleted. Nobody can post anymore. So it slowly but surely falls down the list of current discussions.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 21:37:36 BDT
I may be wrong about this, but I seem to remember people on one of the music forums saying that a thread there was deleted once the limit had been reached and all of the posts had been lost.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 21:40:59 BDT
Ku says:
I see.

Well, this is what they do in the American one.

http://www.amazon.com/tag/politics/forum/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1S3QSZRUL93V8&cdThread=Tx1P4LZM5JZM81Y&displayType=tagsDetail

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 21:52:59 BDT
Ku says:
And this is what they did in the U.K. amazon pop forum.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/tag/pop/forum/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxXLVY06NHMPYZ&cdThread=Tx16XFSLHLTESSO&displayType=tagsDetail

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 22:23:10 BDT
Fair enough. I must have remembered incorrectly.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 22:26:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Sep 2010 22:28:07 BDT
Ku says:
Or your source was confused.

It doesn't matter to me one way or the other. I'd be quite happy to see that thread disappear, truth be told.

Just wanted to indicate that there are people around here who won't be surprised if it stays - but in a locked state.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2010 22:29:10 BDT
gille liath says:
But it's not quite the same blowing something up, if you have a spare in the shed.

Although if what Ku says is correct, we'll be cheated even of that spectacle.

Posted on 12 Sep 2010 11:58:47 BDT
yinyang says:
And a man said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.
And he answered, saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasures;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul."
Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

Kahlil Gibran

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 13:32:24 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Ben,

Just to pick up on your points;

1) I would argue that 'god' is an undefined word that is elastic enough to encompass every belief system that has ever been imagined. I agree with the idea of theological noncognitivsm, and this is why i have no confidence in anyone who professes to believe in a 'god'. What exactly are they believing IN?
It is very much a game of smoke and mirrors.

2) Totally agree. The human tendency to personify unknown forces is something we know occured constantly throughout our history. Any 'god' that is personal and feels emotions appears to be just a super-personification of ourselves projected out to infinity.

3) Wittgenstein's comment resonates with me, a short excerpt from 'Why does E=mc˛' puts this better than i could, it occurs when he is expaining why the idea of absolute time/space are not useful:

'Useful in a scientific sense means that the idea has observable consequences. That means it has some kind of effect that can be detected by carrying out an experiment. By "experiment" we mean any measurement of anything at all; the swing of a pendulum, the colour of light emitted by a burning candle flame, or the collisions subatomic particles in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. If there are no observable consequences of an idea, then that idea is not neccessary to understand the workings of the universe, although it might have some sort of chimerical value in making us feel better.'

He then goes on to explain Russell's teapot, and continues with:

'Russell's point is not to assert his right to be left alone to his personal delusions, but that devising a theory that cannot be proved or disproved by observation is pointless in the sense that it teaches you nothing, irrespective of how passionately you may believe in it. You can invent any object or idea you like, but if there is no way of observing it or its consequences, you haven't made a contribution to the scientific understanding of the universe.'

Thats pretty much my position, 'god' as this undefined unobservable entity is superfluous to our understanding of the world.

4) This is one that has made me think perhaps more deeply about the universe and what exactly this 'god' thing does. I too have no experience of the so-called 'supernatural'. The problems begin with the assumption that the supernatural exists in the first place, and the fact that it is a positional reference from our past when these 'gods' would live above ourselves. 'Above nature' makes about as much sense today as saying '3 metres to the left of nature'.

Then there are further problems when it comes to identifying what is supernatural. How is this done?
Answer: It isn't, it is just asserted.

Much like lightning was thought to be 'supernatural' at one time Now that we understand it, it is just natural.

5) You might have to explain this a bit more, as i only dimly grasp at what you are trying to say.

6) This is one of those things that i ask about, but receive a welter of conflicting replies from that indistinct 'feeling' when you ar ethinking about a subject to actual voices that will heal your big toe.

Since we cannot agree on what 'god' actually represents, it follows on that no-one can categorically state that they have experienced this 'god' and given the ability of human minds to imagine anything, i do not see how this could ever count as any sort of substantial evidence in favour of a particular belief.

Think about it, if there is one correct deity, that means we have quite literally imagined *thousands* of other deities and religions! With all the attendant pomp and circumstance that was also imagined in great detail.

Posted on 14 Sep 2010 14:12:50 BDT
Neutral says:
AJM

gives the impression that the following paragraph was attributable to Wittgenstein. "'Useful in a scientific sense means that the idea has observable consequences. That means it has some kind of effect that can be detected by carrying out an experiment. By "experiment" we mean any measurement of anything at all; the swing of a pendulum, the colour of light emitted by a burning candle flame, or the collisions subatomic particles in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. If there are no observable consequences of an idea, then that idea is not neccessary to understand the workings of the universe, although it might have some sort of chimerical value in making us feel better.'

CERN was not established until three years after Wittgenstein's death so Wittgenstein could not have made the comment attributed to him. As "Why does E=mc˛?" was written by Cox and Forshaw can it be taken that the quote was theirs and not Wittgenstein's?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 14:45:28 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Sep 2010 11:43:42 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 15:32:05 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Um, yes of course it was not Wittgenstein's book.

I was commenting on the quote attributed to Wittgenstein given by Ben. I said that it resonated with me. Perhaps i could have constructed the sentence to make that more clear, but why make such an issue of it Phil?

Surely you can follow the thread of the conversation to which i was replying?

Posted on 14 Sep 2010 18:19:38 BDT
Mr. Bde Wall says:
Hi guys,

Many thanks to AJ for reading through my post in its entirety, and commenting, systematically, on each of my 6 thoughts. On most points I think you agree and have thought in a simular way, and draw from other sources which compliment what I was saying. I think point (3) surrounding the idea of God as indefinable was an interesting one as you expanded on it in a different direction to me. I was aware you weren't quoting Wittgenstein (so, it seems, was everyone else) but from another text :)

Apologies for the awkward wording of point (5), which, unsurprisingly, is the one thats difficult to grasp (entirely my own fault). What I would like to say is that, I think its important to bear in mind, when we address anything, our thought process is playing a role - we can't make sense of things free of this. I think our conceptions are shaped by a whole range of histories - our own direct social history (e.g. upbringing, cultural background and so forth), but also, the history of the language we use, which structures our thought virtually all the time. This has implications for any attempt to identify the underlying mechanisms at work behind life, the universe and everything, be it a God behind it or anything else. This has some implications for science too - the role of science is thus here not a case of 'verifying' hypotheses, but creating the most workable accounts of nature that we can, with the situated grasp of things we have. I expect I may ruffle some people's feathers there, they might see it as undermining scientific achievement, but it really doesn't. Science is essential for living in the world, and offers extremely valuable criteria for directing our knowledge and practice.

many thanks,

Ben

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 22:37:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Sep 2010 22:50:22 BDT
Neutral says:
Ian Lying Maxwell

whose vocabulary seems to be largely limited to the word "drivel" and the contents of whose postings consist of the word "drivel" once more proves what a hypocritical liar he is. Having repeatedly stated he has Neutral on ignore he sticks his nose into a post in which Neutral asked for clarification of a poorly constructed argument by AJM and tries to make a Federal case out of it. Given Ian Lying Maxwell's proven record of limited intellectual ability (minus on the accepted scale) it's clear he is so blinded by prejudice that he cannot recognise a straightforward question when it is asked. Still Ian Lying Maxwell, who can be renamed as Mr R Sole Maxwell, simply confirms he is one of those posters immediately posts "no" whenever Neutral contributes to this or any other thread is consistent in his mendacity.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 22:47:04 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Sep 2010 11:44:31 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 22:49:55 BDT
Neutral says:
AJM wrote,

"Surely you can follow the thread of the conversation to which i was replying?" Neutral followed to the extent that he asked a straightforward question which was, " As "Why does E=mc˛?" was written by Cox and Forshaw can it be taken that the quote was theirs and not Wittgenstein's?" The answer to that question is "yes" and that's all you needed to write in reply.

Your response, "why make such an issue of it Phil? " completely missed the clearly stated reason for the question which was confirmation the quote came from Cox and Forshaw. Neutral didn't make an issue of it AJM did. Ian Lying Maxwell tried to turn it into a war crimes tribunal. The nature of both responses was prejudicial, partial and totally unnecessary. Frankly, Neutral would be more than happy if the pair of you kept him on ignore if it results in eliminating such pathetic and puerile responses. And you claim to be men of reason!!!

Incidentally Neutral is reasonably familiar with Wittgenstein but had never heard of the book by Cox and Forshaw.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 22:54:30 BDT
Neutral says:
Ian Lying Maxwell

resorts to his usual sewer response which is amazing seeing as he has Neutral on ignore. In fairness, Ian Lying Maxwell is still accurate when he describes himself as a "degenerate moron" although Neutral suspects the Society of Degenerate Morons would object to having Mr Ian Lying R Sole Maxwell as a member owing to his inability to prove he is intelligent enough to be a human being, let alone a moron.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Sep 2010 00:04:46 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Sep 2010 11:45:02 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Sep 2010 00:28:59 BDT
Neutral says:
Ian Lying Maxwell wrote,

"Loser". You certainly are, Ian. You certainly are.
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Initial post:  11 Sep 2010
Latest post:  5 Mar 2012

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