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The cosmological argument


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In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 16:21:26 BDT
D. Doronron says:
"Open minded thinking doesn't work like that."

Funny isn't it that if a person starts from the position that God exists then they have a closed mind and if someone starts from the position that God doesn't exist they have an open mind. Sounds to me more like name calling than an appeal to reason. From my experience many atheists have minds which are just as closed as the people that they criticise.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 16:25:18 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
"Funny isn't it that if a person starts from the position that God exists then they have a closed mind and if someone starts from the position that God doesn't exist they have an open mind"

Who starts from a position that God doesn't exist? I certainly didn't. I was taught, and assumed it was true, that God did exist. Later in life I came to the conclusion that I didn't actually believe that this was so.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 16:26:37 BDT
That isn't a strawman argument.

Many atheists, myself included, have not decided in advance that God, or any other deity, doesn't exist. We have looked at the evidence and found no reason to accept that God exists. If any evidence for God's existence comes along, we'll take a look at it.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 16:42:26 BDT
D. Doronron says:
"Sam Hunter says:

Many atheists, myself included, have not decided in advance that God, or any other deity, doesn't exist. We have looked at the evidence and found no reason to accept that God exists. If any evidence for God's existence comes along, we'll take a look at it."

Interesting Sam that you say that you have not decided in advance but look at some of what you say:

"We have found NO reason to accept that God exists. If ANY evidence comes along..." The reality is that there's plenty of evidence and plenty of reasons. OK you may say there is more against or that the evidence for is not compelling. That's your opinion and you are of course entitled to it. But to say there is NO reason or evidence does indicate that you have rather made your mind up in advance.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 16:46:01 BDT
No, that indicates that I've looked at the evidence and found no reason to think that God exists. It doesn't indicate that I've made up my mind beforehand.

If you have any evidence for the existence of God, or any other deity, then please present it.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 16:51:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jul 2012 16:52:19 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"Funny isn't it that if a person starts from the position that God exists then they have a closed mind"
It's not funny, it's called thinking. You're meant to do it before you reach your conclusion.

"... and if someone starts from the position that God doesn't exist they have an open mind."
Correct because that person has already started working with one god concept among the many possibilities. Your beliefs are not the only game in town and an atheist doesn't treat them with any greater influence than any other.

"Sounds to me more like name calling than an appeal to reason."
No, it're reason and I think your going to have to take it on faith because reason doesn't appear to be something you have access too in this situation.

"From my experience many atheists have minds which are just as closed as the people that they criticise."
Brilliant!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 16:57:13 BDT
D. Doronron says:
Yet again Sam "If you have ANY evidence for the existence of God, or any other deity, then please present it."

The evidence is out there in abundance if you look for it. As I said you may disagree that's your right. But the fact that you simply insist on saying that there is no evidence whatsoever just shows that you have decided in advance that there isn't ANY evidence whatsoever.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 17:01:21 BDT
No, it means that I've not come across any evidence. I ask you for your evidence because it might be something that I've not found before. If it seems that your evidence is incontrovertible, I might be forced to change my mind concerning the question of God's existence. That's the reason I keep asking people for evidence. Just because no-one has come up with any so far is no reason to stop searching.

So, if you have any specifics rather than vague references to abundant evidence being out there, then please present it.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 17:23:08 BDT
Spin says:
Sam: Evidence for the existence of God? Me. Only a deity could have created a perfection such as myself. My intelligence is shadowed only by my physical beauty. =)

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 18:03:11 BDT
richard says:
D,
The argument in question is the cosmological one and I was making a comment on it.

I think the cosmological argument depends heavily on man's definition of a monotheistic god. It is man that conceives this god to be without beginning and without end and to be all knowing and all powerful and it's these concepts that allow man to then propose that god is without cause and has the power to create the universe. If one then decides that before the universe expanded into existence there was nothing then it follows that the only thing that existed was god and only god could cause something from nothing.

So I am saying that some theists already believe that god exists and look for arguments that back up their belief and that the cosmological argument is seen by some as a good one!

Of course it can be said that some atheists have decided in advance that God doesn't exist and only look for/accept as valid arguments that prove their position. So what? It's irrelevant although I would like to point out the problem with trying to prove something does not exist unless those who think it does can provide some criteria by which a thing's existence can be tested. How can Atheists prove god does not exist until theists can provide something to test against? I am therefore at a loss to understand how you think it can be argued that `these Atheists' look to prove their position!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 19:56:52 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 3 Jul 2012 19:58:44 BDT]

Posted on 3 Jul 2012 20:03:01 BDT
^ Was this deleted evidence?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2012 20:10:48 BDT
AJ Murray says:
It might have been, apparently there's a lot of it about.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 09:45:54 BDT
D. Doronron says:
"Sam Hunter says:
No, it means that I've not come across any evidence. I ask you for your evidence because it might be something that I've not found before. If it seems that your evidence is incontrovertible, I might be forced to change my mind concerning the question of God's existence. That's the reason I keep asking people for evidence. Just because no-one has come up with any so far is no reason to stop searching."

You're doing it again Sam ... NO-ONE has come up with ANY evidence. Just try typing the words "evidence for God" or something similar into Google and you'll find more evidence than you can read in a life time. Go along to a church one Sunday and just approach people as normal human beings and ask why they believe. Of course you wont do any of this will you? Why? Because you will only accept it if it is "incontrovertible". But how incontrovertible is your evidence Sam. When it comes to the big bang do you believe it was a one off event that started everything or was it a collision of two 10/11 dimensional branes that exist in a multiverse? When it comes to how life got started on earth was it transpermiation, seeding by comets, minerals in black smokers or something else? When it comes to evolution was it gradual or do you go for punctuated equilibrium? I ask these questions incidentally not because any of them prove God, obviously they don't. My point is this - If you are looking for incontrovertible evidence then it doesn't exist. There is no incontrovertible evidence supporting your position or mine. As a Christian I have no problem admitting that there are arguments both for and against God and I'm comfortable with the fact that none of the evidence on either side is incontrovertible. But here's the bottom line Sam. You seem to think that you're open minded and that you're not prejudging the argument but you're the one denying that there's any evidence when it's there at the touch of a button and insisting on "incontrovertible" evidence when none exists for your own position.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 09:52:54 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"Just try typing the words "evidence for God" or something similar into Google and you'll find more evidence than you can read in a life time."
I found some results and had a quick look, how many gods are we looking for here exactly?

Where do you place Dr. William Lane Craig's proofs within your estimations?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:06:36 BDT
I don't say that people don't come out with things that they think is evidence for God, but none of it has turned out to actually be evidence. This is not pre-judging it, it is post-judging. For example, there are some people who claim that the existence of the universe is incontrovertible evidence for God. When you look into this assertion, you'll find that it's wrong. The universe is not evidence of God.

I don't deny that there could be evidence for a deity, but I've not seen any, and I have looked, and so I have no confidence in the idea that a deity exists.

As for your science questions, I have no problem in saying that I don't know the answers. Scientific knowledge is always tentative to varying degrees. This is based upon the invaluable evidence. Faith is not a easy to determine reality.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:21:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jul 2012 10:26:27 BDT
D. Doronron says:
"Drew Jones says:
"Just try typing the words "evidence for God" or something similar into Google and you'll find more evidence than you can read in a life time."
I found some results and had a quick look, how many gods are we looking for here exactly?

Where do you place Dr. William Lane Craig's proofs within your estimations?"

I haven't read any Dr William Lane Craig so I can't comment. Likewise as you say there's all kinds of information about all kinds of Gods. My point is not that you agree with my position. It's a free world and you can make your own conclusion. My point from quite a few posts back now is that so many claim to be open minded when they are clearly not looking for or ignoring evidence which contradicts their position. It's also clear that there are also plenty of people who think they are not prejudging the argument when they obviously are. And for the record I think yes there are some Christians out there who are just as blinkered about things as Atheists. For me It's really disappointing though that much of the debate these days seems to take the form of being entrenched and throwing abuse - Is that really the adult way to do things? Take a look around at what's on the net and the way people talk about Christians (or Jews or Muslims) would we allow half of the comments to be made about people who are black? Would we allow similar comments to be made about women? So why do we allow them when it comes to religion? I say again, it's a free world and you can make up your own mind. But make it based on as much evidence as you can for AND against. And don't claim to be open minded or impartially judging if you don't.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:25:49 BDT
Well put Sam, but I feel you can go one step further.

Since no source I have ever found has presented any evidence which makes it more likely God exists I can reasonably conclude those people presenting evidence do not believe in God for sound reasons.
Since there are unsound reasons for believing in God I have looked into what they are.
Having seen the evidence for the unsound reasons to believe in God i conclude that belief in god is based on the properties of Man rather than any specific aspect of the universe.
Given this I conclude that I can disregard belief in God in any discussion of the existence of God and as such must come to the conclusion it is unlikely in th extreme that any god or gods exist.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:28:58 BDT
"when they are clearly not looking for or ignoring evidence which contradicts their position."
And as has been said, that's false. We are looking at the evidence. And we are judging the evidence and none of it actually evidences the claim.

"So why do we allow them when it comes to religion?"
Because unlike sex, nationality or skin colour, religion is a matter of choice (or rather a matter which is not fundamental from birth). If you regularly step out infront of busses I can call you a blithering idiot and rant against your selfishness. If you believe that the sun is a candle in the sky I am surely well within my rights to a) try and change your mind and b) call you deluded, ignorant etc. for this position.

It's no different when your reasoning is so backwards you conclude that there is an intelligence behind the universe.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:39:39 BDT
"My point from quite a few posts back now is that so many claim to be open minded when they are clearly not looking for or ignoring evidence which contradicts their position."

You have this backwards and it highlights why your argument falls down. We aren't only looking for evidence that affirms our position and ignoring evidence that contradicts our position, we are looking at the evidence and our position is informed by that.
If you have your own evidence for God, then please present it. We'll take a look at that as well and it will become part of what informs out position. Whether that position will have changed from what it presently is our not will depend on your evidence.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:45:13 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"My point from quite a few posts back now is that so many claim to be open minded when they are clearly not looking for or ignoring evidence which contradicts their position."
But this point is made with poor logic. What you've done is arrive late to a discussion many were already having, we've collectively discussed many things, considered them and come to the conclusions *after* the fact. You've entered the discussion after this point and worked with the idea as if it was the starting point and people came to their positions a priori. There's no reason for you to have made this assumption, it's your mistake you are pushing onto others. If you think you have something original please share it but I feel confident you don't.

"And for the record I think yes there are some Christians out there who are just as blinkered about things as Atheists."
While you are technically correct the numbers are not equal and it't not necesscery to close your mind and remain atheist, unlike remaining Christian (or other denomination). When it comes to nailing your theism to a specific god it can only be done by a leap of faith because it can not be done on evidence. Christianity has none over and above any of the other religions, if you have decide upon things by way of faith then you have to compartmentalise your thinking, enter into special pleading etc. All that is a form of close mindedness. Atheism just requires the evidence for theism to be poor rather than make a concious effort to shut it out.

"For me It's really disappointing though that much of the debate these days seems to take the form of being entrenched and throwing abuse - Is that really the adult way to do things?"
I think it maybe your prediliction to enter late into a discussion and wrongfully presume yourself able to tell people that they did spend their time discussing things but just throw around dogma that may be the root cause of the irritation you find. There is of course abuse that does get thrown about, both aggressive and passively insinuated but let's not make this an ad hominem fallacy, you can be insulting and correct.

"Take a look around at what's on the net and the way people talk about Christians (or Jews or Muslims) would we allow half of the comments to be made about people who are black? Who we allow similar comments to be made about women? So why do we allow them when it comes to religion?"
Really? Are you seriously going to try and equate a belief you presumably hold to freely to a predujuce based on something fixed like skin pigmentation or gender? You're just no good at logic and arguments are you? You're religion is demonstarbly wrong, your understanding of things woeful and you want to be held to be equal to people who think about the things they accepted? Come on.

"I say again, it's a free world and you can make up your own mind. But make it based on as much evidence as you can for AND against. And don't claim to be open minded or impartially judging if you don't."
You're just simply wrong if you think that there is equal weight to the arguments or any merit to your closed-mindedness gambit. You clearly have no understanding or apprication for the discussion you entered.

Please watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI&feature=relmfu

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:49:28 BDT
I'd agree with that statement as you used the word "unlikely" towards the end. I might say that specific deities (such as the Christian God) don't exist, but I still can't make the positive claim that no gods exist. I treat the universe and my life as though no gods exist because there's no evidence that they do, but I've not yet found a way to take that last mental step to that positive statement. I'm still just about hanging on to the agnostic part of my agnostic atheism.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:55:19 BDT
G. Heron says:
Drew Jones

"Where do you place Dr. William Lane Craig's proofs within your estimations?"

Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 10:59:12 BDT
I also hold onto the agnostic part. I don't know what evidence we could find that would move me to gnosticism. But on the claim "There is no thing in the universe appropriately referred to by God" I think evidence suggests it far more likely true than false. And as such I believe it.

I think the Step to strong atheism is as justified as the step to A-smurf-ism. I also think the level of agnosticism is the same.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2012 11:02:49 BDT
D. Doronron says:
"Drew Jones says:
You're just simply wrong if you think that there is equal weight to the arguments or any merit to your closed-mindedness gambit. You clearly have no understanding or apprication for the discussion you entered."

Thank you for being so "open minded"!!
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
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Initial post:  20 Apr 2012
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