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The "God of the Gaps" argument is still silly, no matter who uses it.


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Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Sep 2010 14:35:09 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Sep 2010 14:35:57 BDT
Many religious people have tried to bolster their argument for the existence of God using the "God of the Gaps" argument.

In very simple terms this goes: "We may know how lots of things have come about, but it's those things we can't explain which demonstrate that God exists. In fact they force us to believe in God because there is not other coherent explanation".

This is, to put it mildly, a daft argument.

In the first place it is inevitably self-defeating. Every time we learn, or think we've learnt something about life, the universe and everything - and this is a continuing process - the "God slaggers" get all excited and claim that the existence of God has been disproved. This may be (i.e. is) an equally irrational argument, but they do it anyway.

The second reason is because it totally underestimates what and who God (at least as envisaged in Judaism, Islam and Christianity) actually is.

It's like arguing that the being who created everything is now reduced to a walk-on part when nobody else can think of anything to say.

It looks very much as though Hawkings has become the victim of his own reputation and has tried to use the "God of the Gaps" argument to support the "God slagging" position instead of realising that what doesn't work as proof that God exists doesn't work as proof that God doesn't exist, either.

IF God, as depicted in Judaism, Islam and Christianity really exists then He has always existed.

Even if the big bang theory is correct, God already existed.

If there was indeed an incredibly dense "ball" of matter which exploded and became all the universes we know about, God already existed.

Many "God Slaggers" seem to think that if they make enough sarcastic comments about the concept of a God who created everything that has a "before" then that replaces the need for a genuinely rational debate.

And that if they "close" enough "gaps" they can shut out the possibility of the existence of God.

Of course they are entitled to hold those beliefs, if it gives them a sense of security and comfort. But what's the point of pretending it has any intellectual validity?

We might just as well start believing in flying teapots and spaghetti monsters!

Posted on 4 Sep 2010 23:47:33 BDT
Developer says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 5 Sep 2010 11:15:36 BDT
"It would take an accelerator the size of the galaxy to prove most of m-theory. "

And yet, at the "start" there WAS an accelerator the size of the universe!!

Scientists do not claim to know everything. That is not the way science works. Scientists are forever trying to challenge current theories. You cannot prove something doen't exist - how would you even try to do this? But if there is a mountain of evidence that something else exists instead you can use absense of evidence as evidence of absense.

Theists do claim to know everything however. And they don't need evidence to substantiate their claims. How can this be a better way to contemplate things?

For example:-
"Even if the big bang theory is correct, God already existed."

How do you know this is correct? You have no evidence whatsoever for this assumption. It cannot be proved. It can't even be tested. So where is your intellectual validity that you claim "God slaggers" don't have? You have done exactly what you accuse others of doing. But worse, you are not filling gaps in your knowledge beacuse there is no knowledge in the first place.

So before you accuse others of daft arguments and lacking intellectual validity you should turn your attention to your own beliefs and remove the very same problems otherwise your arguments are not worth considering.

Posted on 7 Sep 2010 11:51:21 BDT
Luke says:
Well said Rev!!

Posted on 7 Sep 2010 19:05:44 BDT
Paul says:
God is asserted without the slightest morsel of evidence. What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. God is no longer needed to explain anything.

Posted on 8 Sep 2010 13:00:14 BDT
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Posted on 8 Sep 2010 13:15:04 BDT
"Scientists do not claim to know everything. That is not the way science works. Scientists are forever trying to challenge current theories. You cannot prove something doen't exist - how would you even try to do this?"

Science is a method, which works on hypothesis, testing and observation. Therefore they "know" that everything must be explained according to this method. This method is naturalistic by definition. Claiming to know that this is the only method available is philosophically incorrect. For example: a tree has been planted there by accident (naturalism), or by purpose (transcendentalism). You could argue that it shows no rational basis for why its there (ergo accident) or that it provides shade (ergo purpose). Science works off observation and is therefore only able to tell us that there is a tree there. It cannot provide all the interpretative answers. This is why Gould say them as being non-overlapping magisterium.

You can prove that something does not exist - such as the invisible pink unicorn cannot exist because of the linguistic inferences used. Something cannot have colour but be invisible.

"But worse, you are not filling gaps in your knowledge beacuse there is no knowledge in the first place."

The claim of naturalism in the gaps is no more philosophically void that God in the gaps. The fact that at the start of the universe there could have been some abstract mathematical equations which lead to psychics is a theoretical claim that even Hawkins cannot prove (by his own admission). This why he says its not necessary, not that its not possible. His claims are based on set theory and logic. Both of which are systems subject to flaws. Assuming then that the start of the universe is God is a metaphysical assumption. Saying its less scientific is incorrect. There are many scientists who believe that supreme cause to be God (another word for the abstract laws), and are just as curious as to how he did it (i.e. they're scientists).

Anyway, you cant prove that everything should have naturalistic explanations only, therefore by your own criteria of testing you cannot even prove your own base assumption.

"So before you accuse others of daft arguments and lacking intellectual validity you should turn your attention to your own beliefs and remove the very same problems otherwise your arguments are not worth considering."

Ditto - though I expect you will slag me down by using ab hominem arguments (similar to your forum posts) rather than engaging in the points I raised.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2010 18:23:41 BDT
kayaker says:
Whatever it was that "caused" the universe to come into existence is certainly open to debate. However I see no logical reason to ascribe to this "cause" the characteristics which most religious people would associate with a "God", i.e. a sentient being or entity capable of (depending on which bits of which holy book you hold to be true): love, compassion, jealousy, anger etc; a being who created all this for our benefit and cares about how we live our lives. It is, of course, scientifically impossible to prove that such a god does not exist, but it is valid to make judgements as to the likelihood or necessity that he exists. I think this is what Hawking is doing in this instance.
All we can accurately say about the "cause" of the universe is that we don't know what it is. We can speculate about it and continue to search for an answer, and my personal hunch is that it comes down to some fundamental characteristic of the universe itself, which we don't yet understand, and may never come to understand. You may choose to characterise this as a fundamental abstract law of physics. Of course, I claim no certainty for this hunch. In contrast, most religious people claim absolute certainty for their notion of god, with no justification whatsoever.

B. Shepherd says: "there are many scientists who believe that supreme cause to be God (another word for the abstract laws)".

Indeed, many people choose to use the term "God" to describe the laws of physics or the unknown mystery at the heart of existence (Einstein used the word God in this sense, as I believe Hawking did at the end of "A Brief History of Time"). However this is not very helpful and certainly differs vastly from most religious people's concept of god (i.e. a personal god who answers prayers and performs miracles).

If you want to use the term "God" as "another word for abstract laws" then feel free; but don't pretend that you have much in common with the vast majority of religious people. Try to tell them about this notion of god and they will probably, with some justification, call you an atheist. Why not just avoid the confusion and make up another word for these abstract laws?

Posted on 8 Sep 2010 19:25:06 BDT
"I see no logical reason to ascribe to this "cause" the characteristics which most religious people would associate with a "God", i.e. a sentient being or entity capable of..."

Thats not a logical follow on now is it. A Flew decided there was a God, ie. an intelligent cause to the universe. But that was it, fill stop. He didn't want to ascribe any of the characteristics to it that religion does. He agreed to an Aristotle's God, i.e. unmoved mover only. So thats a bit of a straw man.

"valid to make judgements as to the likelihood or necessity that he exists. I think this is what Hawking is doing in this instance."

Um, no he isn't ! His book is not about God ! Its got 1 line in it about God not being NECESSARY to EXPLAIN the start. He is not in away shape or form trying to debunk religion because frankly he doesn't care.

"most religious people claim absolute certainty for their notion of god, with no justification whatsoever."

Again, that is not a logical follow on. For example William Craig Lane and Alister McGrath both say that their beliefs should be justified and go to absolute massive lengths to explain them. They appeal to the ontological argument, the moral argument, the resurrection argument, and loads of other arguments. Where you believe them is another story. Nevertheless, they do have their justifications - so that was straw man number 2.

If however you mean that they dont have empirical proof well that fails to take into account the ID people or Natural Theology. Again, you might not agree with their arguments but that doesn't mean their arguments don't exist.

"However this is not very helpful and certainly differs vastly from most religious people's concept of god (i.e. a personal god who answers prayers and performs miracles)."

Again, refer to the Flew statement. Some people believe in God as the intelligent cause behind the universe - and thats pretty much it. Einstein was in fact one of those people who thought that God was an intelligent cause. But he did not believe in a personal God (i.e. the prayers etc). There is a fundamental difference - please note it. My evidence for this claim is that he said he believed in Spinoza's God (which was a deist God, i.e. intelligent cause God) - and he said that God doesn't play dice (i.e. that because the cause was intelligent so was the universe) and thats why he argued that the greatest mystery in the universe is that it is intelligable. - so that was straw man number 3.

"but don't pretend that you have much in common with the vast majority of religious people"

And which religion are you talking about? Buddhism which doesn't believe in a God? Taoism which is the belief in the life structure? Shintoism, the belief in the ancestors? - that was clearly straw man number 4.

Posted on 9 Sep 2010 14:49:27 BDT
kayaker says:
Oh dear! You really are in a muddle aren't you. I don't know where to begin picking this apart (indeed I'm not even sure it is worthy of the effort), but nevertheless I'll try my best:

((("I see no logical reason to ascribe to this "cause" the characteristics which most religious people would associate with a "God", i.e. a sentient being or entity capable of..."

Thats not a logical follow on now is it. A Flew decided there was a God, ie. an intelligent cause to the universe. But that was it, fill stop. He didn't want to ascribe any of the characteristics to it that religion does. He agreed to an Aristotle's God, i.e. unmoved mover only. So thats a bit of a straw man.)))

Whatever Mr Flew's views, he clearly does not constitute "most religious people", which was what I referred to in my remark. Your response is irrelevant. However, if he describes god as "an intelligent cause to the universe" then the use of the word "intelligent" itself implies an entity which is capable of exhibiting intelligence. There is no justification for assuming that this needs to be the case. It is just as anthropomorphic as ascribing "love" or "compassion" to it.

((("valid to make judgements as to the likelihood or necessity that he exists. I think this is what Hawking is doing in this instance."

Um, no he isn't ! His book is not about God ! Its got 1 line in it about God not being NECESSARY to EXPLAIN the start. He is not in away shape or form trying to debunk religion because frankly he doesn't care.)))

I never suggested that the purpose of his book was to debunk religion. However the subject of this thread is the "god of the gaps" argument, and Hawking's book was mentioned by another poster in that context. Even if it was only one sentence, he did state that he belived that god was not necessary to explain the universe. I merely pointed this out.

((("most religious people claim absolute certainty for their notion of god, with no justification whatsoever."

Again, that is not a logical follow on. For example William Craig Lane and Alister McGrath both say that their beliefs should be justified and go to absolute massive lengths to explain them. They appeal to the ontological argument, the moral argument, the resurrection argument, and loads of other arguments. Where you believe them is another story. Nevertheless, they do have their justifications - so that was straw man number 2.)))

Once again - I make a point about "most religious people" and you come back with the views expressed by a couple of individuals. Whatever the views of Messrs Lane and McGrath, they have no relevance to the point I was making. Do you deny that most religious people claim absolute certainty for their notion of god? If you do then you are living on a different planet from the rest of us.

(((If however you mean that they dont have empirical proof well that fails to take into account the ID people or Natural Theology. Again, you might not agree with their arguments but that doesn't mean their arguments don't exist.)))

I never stated that these arguments don't exist. That would be absurd. I just think that they are poor arguments.

((("However this is not very helpful and certainly differs vastly from most religious people's concept of god (i.e. a personal god who answers prayers and performs miracles)."

Again, refer to the Flew statement. Some people believe in God as the intelligent cause behind the universe - and thats pretty much it. Einstein was in fact one of those people who thought that God was an intelligent cause. But he did not believe in a personal God (i.e. the prayers etc). There is a fundamental difference - please note it. My evidence for this claim is that he said he believed in Spinoza's God (which was a deist God, i.e. intelligent cause God) - and he said that God doesn't play dice (i.e. that because the cause was intelligent so was the universe) and thats why he argued that the greatest mystery in the universe is that it is intelligable. - so that was straw man number 3.)))

For the third time you respond with the views of an individual, when my point was with regard to "most religious people". Do you deny that the concept of god as an abstract "uncaused cause" or whatever, clashes with the concept of a personal god which is held by the vast majority of religious people (whatever their religion)? Again, if this is what you believe then you are living on a different planet.

I don't believe that Einstein ever described god as an "intellingent cause". As I said before, ascribing the characteristic "intelligence" to the cause of the universe is just as unjustified as ascribing "love" or "compassion" to it. Is gravity intelligent? Is the second law of thermodynamics intelligent? There is no reason to assume that the cause of the universe is any different.

((("but don't pretend that you have much in common with the vast majority of religious people"

And which religion are you talking about? Buddhism which doesn't believe in a God? Taoism which is the belief in the life structure? Shintoism, the belief in the ancestors? - that was clearly straw man number 4. )))

Yet again, you miss the point by several light years. I did not refer to any particular religion, but to "the vast majority of religious people" i.e. those who believe in a personal god, who cares about what we do and wants us to come and live with him when we die. Do you deny that this accurately characterises the beliefs of most religious people? If not then, once again, your response is irrelevant to the point in hand.

Oh and, by the way - You use the term "straw man" a lot; yet the context in which you use it shows that you don't actually know what it means.

Posted on 9 Sep 2010 15:38:39 BDT
"Oh and, by the way - You use the term "straw man" a lot; yet the context in which you use it shows that you don't actually know what it means."

Actually your reply shows that you don't know what a straw man is - given the amount of unnecessary generalizations that you are making. That whole post was one unsubstantiated opinion full of generalizations based on your own preception.

"I said before, ascribing the characteristic "intelligence" to the cause of the universe is just as unjustified as ascribing "love" or "compassion" to it. Is gravity intelligent?"

Actually gravity does not exist, there is an occurance we observe which we describe as gravity. Its that occurance which exists, not the actual mathematical or philosophical argument for gravity. Love and compassion are the same, they are occurance which we name. Well done for confusing yourself. The same can be said for God. Unless once again you want to lump him in with your gross over generalizations.

Posted on 9 Sep 2010 16:57:21 BDT
kayaker says:
As I suspected, you are incapable of a rational argument. Your incoherent babblings are not worthy of a response.

Posted on 9 Sep 2010 16:59:53 BDT
If you so say mate.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Sep 2010 17:13:44 BDT
"Science is a method, which works on hypothesis, testing and observation."

I agree. How else would you attempt to understand anything?

"Therefore they "know" that everything must be explained according to this method."

Not sure what you're getting at by highlighting "know". There are things which science can't describe - yet.

"This method is naturalistic by definition. Claiming to know that this is the only method available is philosophically incorrect."

I would say it is the BEST method available. What other method would you use.

" For example: a tree has been planted there by accident (naturalism), or by purpose (transcendentalism). You could argue that it shows no rational basis for why its there (ergo accident) or that it provides shade (ergo purpose). Science works off observation and is therefore only able to tell us that there is a tree there. It cannot provide all the interpretative answers. This is why Gould say them as being non-overlapping magisterium."

A tree grows because its seed landed there and it grew according to biology and chemistry and physics. That is what we observe, there is an explanation which we understand. What is irrational about this? Are you seriously saying that trees were designed to provide shade? Then they must grow where God wants them to to fit the purpose for which they were designed. There aren't many trees in the desert! But science can tell you why trees grow in only one part of the world, what kind of tree, how long it will live etc etc. Why then do I need to interpret a tree? It is simply not required to do this. Gould says NOMA but many others believe he is wrong and it can be used as an excuse to prevent scientific examination of religion.

"You can prove that something does not exist - such as the invisible pink unicorn cannot exist because of the linguistic inferences used. Something cannot have colour but be invisible."

Your question is not meaningful though is it? An invisible pink unicorn could NEVER exist in the first place. You are playing word games. If you wanted to prove a unicorn didn't exist however, how would you do that. You cannot find any evidence because there would be none as it doesn't exist to leave any. You know there aren't any unicorns however because its a mythical creature. How would philosophy or religion use a different method to show unicorns don't exist?
Now, if someone claimed that unicorns DID exist but they had no material evidence what would you say? You probably wouldn't believe them until they provided a unicorn for you to see. The onus is on the person making the claim. This is the same with God. If you postulate a God, the onus is on you to provide evidence. No amount of philosophy will ever be considered enough to prove God's existence without evidence. This is why science is so much more powerful.

"The claim of naturalism in the gaps is no more philosophically void that God in the gaps. The fact that at the start of the universe there could have been some abstract mathematical equations which lead to psychics is a theoretical claim that even Hawkins cannot prove (by his own admission). This why he says its not necessary, not that its not possible. His claims are based on set theory and logic. Both of which are systems subject to flaws. Assuming then that the start of the universe is God is a metaphysical assumption. Saying its less scientific is incorrect. There are many scientists who believe that supreme cause to be God (another word for the abstract laws), and are just as curious as to how he did it (i.e. they're scientists)."

So Hawking (not Hawkins - I think you're confused with Dawkins) says it is not possible to know how the universe came into being. Because the laws of physics braek down at a point singularity. He then goes on to say that the universe could have happen by the laws of physics though - and so God is not a requirement. You are right that he cannot say its impossible but then noone can because noone was there to record it. The odd thing is though that you know God did it. How do you "know" that? How do you "know" God is metaphysical? How do you "know" that God was the supreme cause? You see, I don't think you "know" at all. Noone does. You are telling me Hawking is wrong - a man who might be compared to Newton or Einstein - and your reason for saying he is wrong is....? Because you "know" God did it, without evidence, against all the known laws of physics, as a metaphysical assertion. I think I know would I would rather side with, and its Hawking.

"Anyway, you cant prove that everything should have naturalistic explanations only, therefore by your own criteria of testing you cannot even prove your own base assumption."

And you can't prove that philosophy or religious thinking can prove everything either. In fact, I doubt it can prove anything at all. WHy shouldn't everything have a naturalistic explanation because everything is made of "stuff" which is natural. It is only your assertion of things you claim as supernatural that require explaining outside of this - and I maintain they don't exist as there is no evidence for them.

"Ditto - though I expect you will slag me down by using ab hominem arguments (similar to your forum posts) rather than engaging in the points I raised. "

Don't think you needed to resort to petty name calling after all.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Sep 2010 17:26:37 BDT
"Actually gravity does not exist, there is an occurance we observe which we describe as gravity. Its that occurance which exists, not the actual mathematical or philosophical argument for gravity."

These 2 sentences make no sense whatsoever. You say gravity doesn't exist but its effects do?
The OCCURANCE is what we call gravity. We observe the attraction of two bodies which is governed by mathematical rules which gives us the magnitude of the effect. It is objective, measurable, predictive and real. There is no magic required. The mathematics DESCRIBE the effect. To describe them as not existing is wrong because they do exist.
What on earth is the philosophical argument of gravity?

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Sep 2010 19:17:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Sep 2010 19:42:47 BDT
"Because you "know" God did it, without evidence"

Actually, not at one point did I say I was fighting on the God side. I was only saying that some of the rash generalisations are unwarranted for X reason. My personal honest opinion is I haven't got the foggiest.

"You are telling me Hawking is wrong"

Actually I didn't say that. But lets not forget that both Newton and Einstein were also wrong on numerous things. All I am saying is just because he is Hawking doesn't make him right - which if you read what say are saying, is exactly what they are saying.

"your assertion of things you claim as supernatural"

Again, I didn't say that. I only suggested that metaphysically you cannot just discount somethings explanatory power just because you feel like it - which you must admit, is what most of the arguments suggested by some are like.

Some theologians go to great lengths to explain their ideas, and I do take it badly when people just discount that on nothing.

"WHy shouldn't everything have a naturalistic explanation because everything is made of "stuff" which is natural"

But then lets not assume that is any new. It is after all just a simply rehash of naturalism vs rationalism. Or Hume vs Descartes. As this is England I would expect Hume would win.

"No amount of philosophy will ever be considered enough to prove God's existence without evidence. This is why science is so much more powerful."

Lets not forget, 99% of Hawking's theories are just that - theories. He himself acknowledges that he can prove next to none of it. But it has rationality he suggests. String Theory, Multi-Verses, all of it... are all theories. The use of the word evidence is therefore unwarranted here.

Posted on 11 Sep 2010 23:32:18 BDT
I'd just like to point out that "evidence" doesn't have to mean scientific / empirical evidence. When talking of God, it is generally accepted that we cannot obtain scientific evidence of His existence. However, God revealed Himself in the person of Jesus. There is a wealth of historical (documentary and archeological) evidence to support the Biblical story, ably summarised by Josh McDowell (amongst others). It is this type of evidence that has led many scientists (including myself) to a Christian faith.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2010 01:07:55 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 12 Jul 2011 09:20:33 BDT]

Posted on 12 Sep 2010 01:43:09 BDT
"Eh?"

He's talking about inference to the best possible explanation. Thats what science does mate, and it works off explanatory evidence. In Hawking's case, his explanatory evidence is mathematical "proofs". In the case of Jesus, he is talking about the resurrection, and the evidence concerning the biblical events. He is suggesting that the evidence proves that Jesus rose from the dead (i.e. the appereances, the followers, Paul, James brother of Jesus - Lee Strobel wrote a whole book on them called 'The Case for the real Jesus').

Once again, whether you buy those explanations - no one cares. However, they are explanations none the less and cannot be discounted in any search for truth.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2010 10:23:12 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 12 Jul 2011 09:20:33 BDT]

Posted on 12 Sep 2010 14:37:49 BDT
"so many sciences that religious apologists have to discard"

Statement full of misintent. Clearly you're not aware of many apologists. I don't see Alister McGrath, Francis Collins, John Lennox, Dean Overman, William Craig Lane or a massive host of others doing these things. Not all apologists are 6 day creationists, but then given the misintent of your statements I'm unlikely to convince you of that.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2010 15:15:14 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 12 Jul 2011 09:20:34 BDT]

Posted on 13 Sep 2010 17:15:11 BDT
"Every time we see a psychic, or a person with telepathic powers tested the argument for it weakens considerably."

I'm amused that you automatically lump religious people into this group. You know that's complete rubbish dont you. Psyhics and Telapathic people - oh please....

"but I expect evidence for it when it is shoved in my face"

I love this argument, all the millions of times that I hear it. Read the Guardian for example and you'll see that actually there is more militant Atheists "shoving" their message down your throat than any theists. Read the comments that follow (in the comment boxes), and you'll see that there are far more vindictive atheist comments than theistic ones. In fact just read this thread for further proof. This is not to say that the theistic one's dont exist. But it does suggest that there is more evidence of it from atheists. With this in mind, I would love to known what evidence there is to suggest that theists are shoving their beliefs down peoples throats as is so often suggested.

And the arguments of creationism in the class room are equally daft. The fact is that science classes are regulated by ofsted. "Sneeking" anything into the class room that isn't government approved shows up on exams. Exams are auditted and marked by external regulators such as OCR or Edexcel. These ideas would then be traced back to the school. And the school would be told off. As there are no such things occurring, this argument remains questionable. Therefore, these arguments are just nice little catch phrases which people like to use to explain their baises - and probably could be traced back to Dawkins himself.

"Elvis Presley was still alive yet"

Yes, and tea pots & the tooth fairies. However, the fact remains that you can't equate the two beliefs. Either there is a God and the universe has a purpose (either moral or intelligent life), or as Dawkins says the universe is blind and uncaring. You can clearly see God and Elvis are not in the same bracket, so to suggest this rather ignorant.

"100% evidence that religion itself is man made"

That sentence made very little sense, but I'll try answer it anyway.

Whether God exists, or whether a religious narrative is truthful - the 2 remain different things. You cannot automatically equate God to religion. Belief in God leads to religion, whether the religious creed appropriately represents God is questionable. That being said, once again you are back to what you think God is. Of course religions are man made, but that doesn't imply there is no purpose to life and therefore no God. Religions are after all trying to work out what life's purpose is. Christians might say it to be moral, or Muslims might say its to surrender to God, or Jews might say it is to follow God's law - regardless of whether you believe the purpose they described doesn't automatically imply that God does not exist.

As purpose is a point of interpretation you cannot subject it to empirical proofs. Doing so is simply philosophical suicide.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Sep 2010 17:41:58 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 12 Jul 2011 09:20:35 BDT]

Posted on 13 Sep 2010 20:10:45 BDT
Oh dear good God.

"Every time we see a psychic, or a person with telepathic powers tested the argument for it weakens considerably"

By talking about William Craig (the Christian) - and these people together, you imply that they are in fact one and the one. Please actually learn how to argue before you accume me of taking you out of context. If you dont mean that they are the same, they why does disproving them disprove Dr Craig? Clearly you mean to say that by disproving the later, the former looks stupid. If there is no casual relation then mentioning the two in the same context is pointless.

"You need to discuss things on fair terms Mr Shepherd. --- I suppose that the 1900 years of religion being"

The most stupid thing I ever heard. Were you alive 1900 years ago? Did these things affect you? Did you hear them personally? No? Newton said that he same to his ideas on physics (for example) because he thought as God was deterministic so must his creation. Oh, by wait - I guess by being fair we should surplant his thoughts also. What about William Wilberforce who managed to abolish slavery because he believed in God. Yeah, lets get rid of that also. This is simply a daft bit of reasoning.

"displace religious prominence in society"

What? Do you actually live in England? If not then I could actually ignore this statement, as I suspect that you do you're clearly deluded. Before the Conservative Government, we had a government who prided themselves about not "doing God". Their words, not mine. What prominence do they have? Apart from a state religion which frankly is laughable in itself. And the only reason we have a state religion is because its part of the tradition and the crown. Least we forget that the Queen is also the head of the CofE.

"I know you wish it was different but rationality takes precedence; absence of evidence in a belief is universal."

Prove to me what you have a right to life. Prove to me you should be free. Prove to me we shouldn't starve you. Prove to me that everything must be proved by proved. This argue is clearly false. I'm sure that you believe in all these concepts without proof - so whats your point? A pure materialistic world view is problematic - end! Constantly attempting to argue this line of point, is in fact pointless.

"Name me one religion that doesn't propose deism either as an omnipotent and interventionist being or a metaphorical statement of the universe."

Buddhism.

"Why claim that there is a purpose to life?"

Because if there is not, then why claim a special place for humans. If man is just another animal then he deserve no special treatment. Yes, all very nice to say that we agree we're special, but if reciprocal morality ceases to be all good and fine, when 1 person stands up and says - nah, you're now all my slaves - then what? Especially if they have the power to do so.

What about when 1 man commands the murder of hundreds. Later you want to hold those men accountable for what they did - well, if there is no purpose on what grounds do you hold them accountable? They theoretically haven't do anything wrong, especially if that person is the ultimate leader & law of the land. This happened in WW2, and when the Nazi's were held accountable, they were told by the tribunals - when you stand before God you cannot say "but I was told by others to do thus" or that "virtue was not convinient at the time". This line was so memorable that they quoted it in the Kingdom of Heaven film.

Look, I'm not saying that I buy these arguments, but I almost feel insulted that someone as out spoken as you clearly has no idea of them, or what they mean.

"Religion being man made would destroy every religious interpretation of god."

According to who? Immanuel Kant said that by denying pure knowledge of God we safeguard his transcendence. Bonhoeffer, and many many other theologians said the same. But again, it would seem that you're only interested in apply your criteria to possibly the fundamentalist movement, or what you deem to be religion yourself. Please learn some theology before arguing such things.

"there is no need to even designate "purpose" to something that needs an answer"

Says who? If life is special, and the universe is majestic - and there is a purpose behind it... knowing about how majestic the universe is (science), and what purpose it serves (possibly theology) would entertain anyone. Saying that I don't need to know why Leonardo painted what he did denies half the glory of his painting. Of course I can appreciate the painting on its own, but attempting to know the purpose of it adds an extra dimension. I am not saying that you must designate purpose, but rather than the inference of purpose adds something extra.
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Participants:  9
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Initial post:  4 Sep 2010
Latest post:  13 Sep 2010

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The Grand Design
The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking (Hardcover - 7 Sept. 2010)
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