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Old 01-23-2007, 05:53 AM   #1
Nicato
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The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

(May offend.)

Biologist Richard Dawkins made a two-part documentary which attacked religious faith, featuring several religious figures (including the recently outted Paul Haggard).

Filmmaker Rod Liddle made a rebuttal claiming that atheists can be just as fundamentalist as their religious counterparts and that it is not religious faith per se which is at the root of all evil, featuring Richard Dawkins himself among others.

Both BBC (Channel 4) documentaries are available online. View them; discuss.

The Root of Evil? Part 1.
The Root of Evil? Part 2.
Trouble With Atheism.

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Old 01-23-2007, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Liddle makes an oversight in his piece. He basically claims that because atheists believe in Darwinism and Darwinism's core principles leave no room for what we call morality, Darwinism therefore leaves no room for morality it all. Although "natural selection" and "survival of the fittests" are core principles of Darwinism there is a Darwinian explanation for morality.

Mortality is a meme (coincidentally, a term which Dawkins coined), a viral entity which infects the vast majority of us. Those of us who are not infected by it suffer a sort of artificial selection: the people who steal and kill are imprisoned; the people who are antisocial are socially shunned; the people throughout history who are immoral (like Hitler or Stalin) are vilified and people who were moral visionaries (like Jesus or Confucius) are praised centuries after their deaths. It follows then that morality can be considered a "fit" property of humans. Further, memes are themselves evolved* and thus subjected to all the core principles of Darwinism.

*And our morality has evolved! Here in the States people are generally less sexist and racist than they would have been as little as fifty years ago. (Ironically, atheists are one of the few people who could be still be considered true outcasts in even liberal American society. As the comedian Bill Maher said, we have a more diverse Congress, one that looks like America, but there are no diversity of ideas.)

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Old 01-23-2007, 02:46 PM   #3
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

As to Riddle's non sequitur, what's stopping Darwinists from adopting Eugenics? I can give a scientific answer to that.

Darwinin's is a theory of evolution by natural selection. Two of the predominate things which effect the evolution of a species are its environment and random mutations. Eugenics, conversely, is a process of artificial selection which, at time of its conception until now, cannot adequately account for our natural environment and does anything but promote random mutations. While the result of Evolution on Earth is a process of five billion years of slow, gradual changes, Eugenics, being subjected to man's ideal of fitness, is inherently shortsighted.

Let's put it this way: most of the functions of our brains are unconscious. We breath in air, our hearts beat without so much of a conscious thought. When we are ill, we don't tell our bodies to deploy white blood cells and when injured we don't tell our bodies to heal our wounds. We aren't conscious of these actions and frankly we don't need to be. The responsibility required for proper Eugenics is like the responsibility required for giving us conscious control over even the most basic unconscious functions of our brain. (In which case we'd all be dead within minutes.)

Also, lest we forget, nobody is perfect. You may have a genetically intelligent, attractive woman*, but what if she has a hereditary inclination for breast cancer? Does Eugenics see her as fit or unfit? Chances are that we all have genetic "defects" of one kind or another. The question is by what criteria are we deeming fitness and how do we know enough to know that the defects aren't in some way advantages? (For example, people with a natural inclination toward obsessive compulsive behavior are as productive as they are annoying.) Further, as Eugenics by its nature (pun intended) frowns upon random mutations, it may end up limiting our further evolution altogether.

Selective breeding works for animals because they often serve us very few direct purposes, chief of which are our consumption. Humans, on the other hand, serve multiple purposes to other humans. While practicing homosexuals may not pass their genes on to the next generation, they are just as capable as anyone else of producing memes through engineering, architecture, literature, fashion, music, medicine, culture and so on.

Finally, the advancements in medicine may defeat the purpose of selective breeding altogether. Don't know about you, but I'd rather identify and modify the gene which causes an allergic reaction to peanuts than I would stop those who suffer from it from fucking.

See, there is a rational, scientific argument against Eugenics, even in spite of it being morally flat wrong.

*And I do stress "may have" because I'm not convinced that "intelligence" is all that different between the average human.

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Old 01-23-2007, 04:39 PM   #4
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
Liddle makes an oversight in his piece. He basically claims that because atheists believe in Darwinism and Darwinism's core principles leave no room for what we call morality, Darwinism therefore leaves no room for morality it all.
I don't think that's exactly his assertion. His assertion is intended to rebut the arguments of strict atheists by asserting that Darwinism fails to solve the problem of morality; the morality of atheism is ultimately subject to the same arbitrary delineations that it's given by religion.

Numerous scientific disciplines are exploring the evolution of religion and social norms, including sociology, anthropology and evolutionary biology. Certain atheists are asserting that religion is essentially worthless and that science tells us everything we need in order to live. But describing the biological and sociocultural origins of morality doesn't solve the problem of morality by creating some sort of "rationally moral" set of principles that we should follow. It can only describe, in general, the consequent-relative nature of human morality. It doesn't change the fact that moral decisions are secondary to an intuitive, irrational thought process.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:21 PM   #5
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #4):
I don't think that's exactly his assertion. His assertion is intended to rebut the arguments of strict atheists by asserting that Darwinism fails to solve the problem of morality; the morality of atheism is ultimately subject to the same arbitrary delineations that it's given by religion.
If that is the case then he is arguing against a man of straw, as I don't know any prominent intellectual atheists who would disagree with that. I know, at least, that Dawkins concedes as much when he asserts that most moderate believers use their morality to decide what is religious, rather than use their religion to decide what is moral; that the criterion by which we choose what is moral from our holy books is incumbent upon all of us.

Liddle should have named names.

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Numerous scientific disciplines are exploring the evolution of religion and social norms, including sociology, anthropology and evolutionary biology.
I would also add evolutionary psychology to your list. EP basically links modern human nature to the behavior of our ancestors in hunter-gatherer colonies. (Unfortunately, there is a lot to link.)

Quote:
But describing the biological and sociocultural origins of morality doesn't solve the problem of morality by creating some sort of "rationally moral" set of principles that we should follow. It can only describe, in general, the consequent-relative nature of human morality. It doesn't change the fact that moral decisions are secondary to an intuitive, irrational thought process.
I don't know if I agree with that. I think people would have to study the biological and sociocultural origins of morality on a mass scale before your hypothesis can be tested. I mean, as of 2007, most people have a skewed, intellectually void version morality's origins. I think there is a certain humility you get when you realize how fragile morality is once you put it out of the absolution of "God made it."

As to your second point, that the human thought process is inherently irrational and intuitive, I agree. However, I do believe that us humans have the capacity to adopt a more rational thought process, we just need only to become more conscious.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:54 PM   #6
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
If that is the case then he is arguing against a man of straw, as I don't know any prominent intellectual atheists who would disagree with that. I know, at least, that Dawkins concedes as much when he asserts that most moderate believers use their morality to decide what is religious, rather than use their religion to decide what is moral; that the criterion by which we choose what is moral from our holy books is incumbent upon all of us.
He was responding to the notion that science solves the moral problems created by fervent religious devotion. He makes the point that it is human nature, irrespective of religion, that drives people against each other. His obviously rhetorical suggestion that we take Eugeniks to its logical extreme was an example of how the abandonment of theological concepts if favor of a strictly positivist viewpoint does not inherently preclude a more compassionate society.




Quote:
I don't know if I agree with that. I think people would have to study the biological and sociocultural origins of morality on a mass scale before your hypothesis can be tested. I mean, as of 2007, most people have a skewed, intellectually void version morality's origins. I think there is a certain humility you get when you realize how fragile morality is once you put it out of the absolution of "God made it."
I agree, and moral absolutism is logically absurd, but that's not really what I was getting at.

Quote:
As to your second point, that the human thought process is inherently irrational and intuitive, I agree. However, I do believe that us humans have the capacity to adopt a more rational thought process, we just need only to become more conscious.
Sure, I agree. But let me give you an example. If a person decides to visit his lonely, dying friend in the hospital, you might be able to find a variety of scientific explanations for the behavior – i.e., a host of factors that may influence his desire to see his friend rather than, say, sit at home and watch TV. But in the mind of this person, he is never going to be thinking, "I am going to go visit my friend because [insert rational, scientific reason]." He is going to say, "I'm visiting my friend because I care about him and it's the right thing to do." All science does is observe and explain natural phenomena. Any behavior is by definition a natural phenomenon that can be observed and presumably explained in some way. But being able to explain a behavior's sociocultural, psychological or evolutionary influences doesn't necessarily bring us any closer to helping us define the moral paradigms that guide our actions.
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:52 PM   #7
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #6):
Sure, I agree. But let me give you an example. If a person decides to visit his lonely, dying friend in the hospital, you might be able to find a variety of scientific explanations for the behavior – i.e., a host of factors that may influence his desire to see his friend rather than, say, sit at home and watch TV. But in the mind of this person, he is never going to be thinking, "I am going to go visit my friend because [insert rational, scientific reason]." He is going to say, "I'm visiting my friend because I care about him and it's the right thing to do."
I see your point, but I did not suggest that we should adopt a strictly rational thought process, only a "more rational thought process." Of course, it isn't practical (or even possible) to calculate every event of your day in terms of whether it is or is not rationalism. I'm basically saying that the problem of humanity isn't that we are just way too rational. And I don't think we're disagreeing it all.

Quote:
He was responding to the notion that science solves the moral problems created by fervent religious devotion. He makes the point that it is human nature, irrespective of religion, that drives people against each other.
Sure he was. And he did make that point well. But now we're drifting away from my original complaint, which was in making that point was arguing against a straw man?

Quote:
His obviously rhetorical suggestion that we take Eugeniks to its logical extreme was an example of how the abandonment of theological concepts if favor of a strictly positivist viewpoint does not inherently preclude a more compassionate society.
I don't know if Liddle was being all that rhetorical. I mean, he did harp on that point for a good while. He seems to me to be clearly saying that Eugenics follow Darwinism, so Darwinists should follow Eugenics.

I do think the question of whether there is a vacuum which religion currently fills is an interesting one. But, again, if people were only more rational (and genuinely curious), I think they'd find that the awe of looking up at starry sky (which is, in fact, looking back in time) can be just as satisfying as any religious experience. For me, at least, the vacuum is filled.

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Old 01-25-2007, 05:48 AM   #8
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #11):
What you're really defining are traits of the Christian God...
And the Muslim God, Jewish. The God of Abraham, Yahweh, upon which all three religions are based; yes that is the god of which I speak. That is the god which slightly more than half of the world's human population believes in.

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...and your use of certain terms seems to have implicit assumptions that Christians might not agree with.
Do I? Most Christians generally agree that their god cares about them, listens to prayers, is all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly moral. What assumptions are objectionable here?

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But a personal god need not be incompatible with the world the way it is.
This is true. A hypothetical personal god need'nt necessarily be incompatible with the ways of the world, but the god which I defined--the one which billions of people believe in--clearly is.

Quote:
And, there are not an "infinite number of equally plausible possibilities." This only occurs when you start arbitrarily defining traits of this higher power...it's erroneous to think that this is between Jesus and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. It's between the concept of a creative god and a self-perpetuating universe.
I don't think you've demonstrated my assertion of infinite regression to be false. The simple fact is that there is as much evidence for a "creative god" as there is for the Invisible Pink Unicorn--which is to say: none. If it is not reasonable to believe in something without evidence then it is not reasonable to believe in any deity, even a one as vague and inconsequential as a "creative god."

(Further, any defining traits of any unfalsifiable entity are by definition arbitrary.)

---

Also, how are you defining agnosticism? Do you think of it as some kind of Limbo between atheism and theism; do you think that agnosticism and atheism are necessarily mutually exclusive? I can only infer from your blog entry that both answers are "yes" but I'd rather you answer these questions directly.

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Old 01-26-2007, 05:52 PM   #9
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Do I? Most Christians generally agree that their god cares about them, listens to prayers, is all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly moral. What assumptions are objectionable here?
Specifically, your definitions of God's omnipotence and omniscience may not be congruent with what many people believe. And even if they are, they're not necessarily incompatible.

Quote:
I don't think you've demonstrated my assertion of infinite regression to be false.
Other than the fact that an infinitely self-perpetuating universe violates the known laws of physics or that matter and energy do not magically appear out of nothing, what do you want me to say? I don't think the idea of a creative God stretches the imagination any more than the idea of self-perpetuating multiverses or the notion of "chance" allowing the perfect balance of the infinite variables required for our existence.

Keep in mind also that the purpose of the "first cause" argument isn't to say "everything has a cause." It's to say, "everything that exists in our universe has a cause". For example, if I asked you to count back from infinity to zero, could you do it? Of course not. It's impossible to traverse an infinite series. The very fact that our universe exists within a dimension of time is shows that our universe is not infinite. There is no such thing as "infinite past." Since an infinite universe is a mathematical impossibility, there must have been something eternal, something without a cause, that brought our universe into existence.

So really, I think the burden of proof is on you to explain how an infinite regress is even possible, or how a self-perpetuating infinite universe could exist without violating the laws of physics.

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The simple fact is that there is as much evidence for a "creative god" as there is for the Invisible Pink Unicorn--which is to say: none.
There's a simple distinction you fail to make here. You could say that the creator of the universe is an invisible pink unicorn or Jesus or a guy named Joe, but you're still talking about the creator of the universe.

Quote:
Also, how are you defining agnosticism? Do you think of it as some kind of Limbo between atheism and theism; do you think that agnosticism and atheism are necessarily mutually exclusive? I can only infer from your blog entry that both answers are "yes" but I'd rather you answer these questions directly.
To answer both questions, no. You assume that nothing you can empirically quantify is worth concerning yourself with, and I'm not about to tell you that point of view is wrong, since I could obviously never prove it. But faith is by definition intuitive. The whole point of faith is believing in things that can't be quantitatively known or proven.

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Originally Posted by avptallarita
(regardless of the fact that we haven't done so just yet; in terms of knowledge, atheistic belief doesn't imply closure, while theistic does).
I don't think theism implies closure. I think it's reasonable to alter our perspective of theistic concepts as we learn more about the universe. But fundamentally, theism isn't so much concerned with "how". It's concerned with "why". The atheist has no choice but to suggest that "why" is an irrelevant concept. A theist views intuition as a valid and valuable tool for understanding our world and our place in it.

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you cannot postulate a being which transcends our faculties of reason, because to postulate is itself an act of reason.
I don't think your conclusion follows your premise here. Faith needs our faculties of reason, but is not reducible to it.
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Old 01-28-2007, 01:40 AM   #10
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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I don't think your conclusion follows your premise here. Faith needs our faculties of reason, but is not reducible to it.
Well, to me this argument seems circular. The bases of reason are logical equivalences, deductions, analyses, syntheses, etc. which are necessarily rooted in language. Your claim that reason is insufficient to knowledge boils down to the idea that there is a kind of knowledge which transcends language, something which seems by definition impossible to me.

I agree that there are feelings and sentiments which are experienced prior to language. But the way they are processed and understood (in order to infer a knowledge from them) is through functions of reason and language, and they cannot therefore be considered knowledge in and of themselves. Your very distinction of the questions "how" and "why" is a linguistic construction, and likewise, the claim itself that reason is insufficient to knowledge (or whichever definition you give of faith) is based on language and reason - the functions you're claiming to transcend.

You can definitely have a "feeling" that precedes language, but it cannot be a specific feeling-of-a-creator-God, because the concept of a "creator God" is based on language.

EDIT: Actually, scrap all that. Since you seem to think there are feelings in us which point to the existence of God, and since I'm not feeling anything that I recognise as such (which is not to say that I have no perceptions or inspirations of beauty, by the way - I just don't call them spirituality), then I'd appreciate your suggestions on how to start feeling them or what to do to work on their perception. I might have been "closed" to spirituality when I was an adolescent, but I don't think I am anymore, and provided the suggestions are reasonable I'll try and pursue them (if not now, then this summer).

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Old 01-28-2007, 02:17 AM   #11
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Avptallarita View Post
EDIT: Actually, scrap all that. Since you seem to think there are feelings in us which point to the existence of God, and since I'm not feeling anything that I recognise as such (which is not to say that I have no perceptions or inspirations of beauty, by the way - I just don't call them spirituality), then I'd appreciate your suggestions on how to start feeling them or what to do to work on their perception. I might have been "closed" to spirituality when I was an adolescent, but I don't think I am anymore, and provided the suggestions are reasonable I'll try and pursue them (if not now, then this summer).
Check out my latest blog at the apostasies.blogspot.com site. I try to at least give a general outline of how I feel that creation, purpose, and faith are all connected.
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Old 01-28-2007, 06:40 AM   #12
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #20):
Honestly Nic, if you think the Problem of Evil argument is an inescapable conundrum for the faithful, you need to do more homework.
Like I've said repeatedly, I'm defining a very specific deity here. Of course, POE is only valid if the god in question is omniscient, omnipotent and morally perfect but there is evidence to suggest that that is the predominate conception of god. I'm not positing the argument as an end-all against faith (or "the faithful"), just as a damn good argument against a certain god which the majority of theists just happen to believe in.

To put it another way: whether or not it is ever reasonable to believe in any god, all gods are not created equal. Some, like your "creative god" are at least compatible with the universe, but most are not; the god of Abraham is not.

Quote:
Counterarguments are littered all over religious apologist sites...
Not good enough. If you don't have a counterargument, then the (very) least you could do is give me a specific link to such an apologist site. Making vacant deferments does not a proper rebuttal make.

You say I need to do my research? Well, methinks you need to show your work. What/where is the counterargument?

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But if you're an atheist, you have no choice but to believe the universe is infinite. Otherwise, you're forced to explain how the universe just suddenly "happened" and spacetime just "popped" into being without cause.
Are you actually claiming that the onus is on the atheist to prove that your "creative god" doesn't exist? Because that is three kinds of audacious.

Atheism presupposes no forced positive beliefs; I'm an atheist and I choose to be agnostic as to the cause of the universe.

Quote:
There had to have been something outside our universe, something that transcends any physical laws as we know them, that brought us into existence.
The laws of physics exist inside a vacuum which we call the universe (mathematics, however, exist independent of our universe). Yes, whatever happened before the Big Bang doesn't necessarily have to conform to the rules of physics, gravity, or time because those laws only exist (as we know them; as far we know) inside our universe. We are not disagreeing on this point so stop acting like we are.

The issue is (A) whether or not whatever caused the Big Bang can be considered a "god" and (2) whether or not it is reasonable to actively believe in such a "god" when there is no evidence to support that belief. This is why infinite regression isn't just a handful of pink unicorns, rather an underlying problem with hypothesis of a "creative god." (More on that below.) A "Creative god" supposes planing or design when the cause of the Big Bang could have been as random and aimless as a farting bunny.

Quote:
Saying the pink unicorn brought the universe into existence is just saying that god is a pink unicorn, not that there is a magical pink unicorn but no god.
Mike, you don't get it. I'm saying that god gave the pink unicorn a hand job. (I'm being ironic.)

That the "creative god" is just one of an infinite number of equally plausible explanations does not lend any credence to the notion that all equally plausible explanations are the "creative god." (It's generally not considered good logic to hold a static conclusion no matter what the variables which precede it are.) Your notion that the pink unicorn is god is flawed.

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Old 01-27-2007, 07:26 AM   #13
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Mike Doolittle View Post
Specifically, your definitions of God's omnipotence and omniscience may not be congruent with what many people believe. And even if they are, they're not necessarily incompatible.
I'm sure there exists some liberal monotheists with less definitive conceptions of the god of Abraham, but it has been my experience that that is the exception and not the rule.

And the god which I defined is most definitely incompatible with the reality of the world. (Problem of Evil.)

Quote:
Other than the fact that an infinitely self-perpetuating universe violates the known laws of physics or that matter and energy do not magically appear out of nothing, what do you want me to say? I don't think the idea of a creative God stretches the imagination any more than the idea of self-perpetuating multiverses or the notion of "chance" allowing the perfect balance of the infinite variables required for our existence.
I have to agree with you on one point. Believing in a "creative god" isn't any more unreasonable than believing in a multi-verse. That said, both are just two of an infinite number of equally plausible possibilities. As to the relevance of "chance" when speaking in terms of a habitable universe...it is debatable and I'll show you why:

My father has discarded billions of sperm throughout his lifetime, yet only three went the distance (resulting in myself and my two sisters), so to speak. Now, is it meaningful to ask of all the possible biological mothers available in 1984, of all the possible instances for my conception, and of all his billions of discarded sperm, what are the chances of my existing as I do? What if I were to put all four of my grandparents into the mix, and there grandparents and so on? If I were to compose a statistic going back only six generations, factoring all the possible unborn ghosts that could be in my place, it would surely show my existence to be so improbable that just the fact that I am here could be considered a bona fide miracle; if I included the billions of years to the origin (or origins) of life, the equation would show my existence to be so improbable that I, in fact, don't exist. Yet here I am. And so too may we be in such a universe.

(Also, the fact that we live in a universe with gravity is a much more consequential "what are the chances?" than the fact that we live in a universe capable of spawning life. Gravity is one of, if not the driving force of the universe, life is quite literally a relatively insignificant byproduct (as far as we know)--we are made of star stuff, as Sagan and Moby would say.)

(Also, one could argue how meaningful it to declare that there is no "infinite past," seeing as time as we know it didn't start but 13-15 billion years ago. (Was there a time before time?))

Anyway, I think the only reasonable position to claim is that of ignorance. We just don't yet know what happened before the big bang. We may never know. I think people who actively believe in your "creative god" are doing so sans evidence and thus unreasonably. (Further, I think it is a clear cut case for positing god in the gaps of known knowledge.)

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So really, I think the burden of proof is on you to explain how an infinite regress is even possible, or how a self-perpetuating infinite universe could exist without violating the laws of physics.
Your examples are infinite regressions because any explanation for the origin of the universe are without evidence, thus equally plausible, thus all unfalsifiable. The big bang could just as well be the aftermath of a fart of a celestial bunny or the money shot of an alien unicorn as it could be the result of a "creative god."

Or your example is infinite regression because the laws of the universe which you've defined (in particular, it's being finite) leave no room for an eternal anything, let alone creator. (If said creator exists outside the universe and time, then why can't the farting bunny, the ejaculating unicorn, or so on?)

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You assume that nothing you can empirically quantify is worth concerning yourself with, and I'm not about to tell you that point of view is wrong, since I could obviously never prove it. But faith is by definition intuitive. The whole point of faith is believing in things that can't be quantitatively known or proven.
You've got my number, dead to rights even. I, however, would add that just because something is intuitive doesn't make it right. It may be perfectly intuitive for me as an adult male to fuck anything that walks (and it is), but it doesn't mean I should (yet I do).
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Old 01-28-2007, 02:15 AM   #14
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
I'm sure there exists some liberal monotheists with less definitive conceptions of the god of Abraham, but it has been my experience that that is the exception and not the rule.

And the god which I defined is most definitely incompatible with the reality of the world. (Problem of Evil.)
Honestly Nic, if you think the Problem of Evil argument is an inescapable conundrum for the faithful, you need to do more homework. Counterarguments are littered all over religious apologist sites, and if you read Eastern philosophy, which is the perspective I generally align myself with, you'd see perspective that believes in a distinct need for what you call "evil". Yin/Yang and the Buddhist concept of suffering might be good places to start.

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Your examples are infinite regressions because any explanation for the origin of the universe are without evidence, thus equally plausible, thus all unfalsifiable. The big bang could just as well be the aftermath of a fart of a celestial bunny or the money shot of an alien unicorn as it could be the result of a "creative god."
I felt your points about chance were tangential, and not something I was really disputing anyway, but I thought this is worth discussing as I really think you're missing the point.

The notion of an eternal universe or a self-perpetuating universe is not a mere "God of the Gaps" argument; on the contrary, such a thing actively violates known laws of science. See for example the Oscillatory Universe and the Cyclic Universe of String Theory. The former has been abandoned entirely since the 50s, and the latter, introduced in 2001, is disputed not only due its inherent conundrums, but its roots in string theory which is itself controversial.

But if you're an atheist, you have no choice but to believe the universe is infinite. Otherwise, you're forced to explain how the universe just suddenly "happened" and spacetime just "popped" into being without cause. You'd still be stuck though, because that in itself would violate the laws of physics even more obviously than the idea of an infinite universe.

For the universe to bring itself into existence (self-causing) or exist infinitely (self-perpetuating) violates the laws of physics and mathematics. There had to have been something outside our universe, something that transcends any physical laws as we know them, that brought us into existence. If I postured some sort of theological musing that actively violated the laws of physics, you'd jump all over it in criticism. Yet you, the purportedly more "rational" person, would have me believe that the universe is either self-causing or self-perpetuating, two things which in themselves violate the laws of physics. I only ask that you hold yourself to the same standard as you would hold a theist.

All you're doing with the tired old "pink unicorn" stuff is ascribing meaningless and arbitrary traits to this creative being that brought us into existence. Maybe God is a pink unicorn. It's irrelevant. Saying the pink unicorn brought the universe into existence is just saying that god is a pink unicorn, not that there is a magical pink unicorn but no god.



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You've got my number, dead to rights even. I, however, would add that just because something is intuitive doesn't make it right. It may be perfectly intuitive for me as an adult male to fuck anything that walks (and it is), but it doesn't mean I should (yet I do).
Really Nic, is it necessary to fill every post with something about shitting, fucking and coming? Incidentally, I've posted a new blog that covers all this stuff in some amount of detail (including a lot of the stuff I've already said), from creation to purpose to the pragmatic value of faith. I believe the idea of creation is intrinsically connected to things we feel intuitively, which manifest themselves in common behaviors such as altruism. I'd explain it all, but between writing it all and being on the TOS forums all night, well... I can only take so much theological discussion in one day.

Since you seem to eat this stuff up, you might check out the theologyonline.com forums. It's fun, partly just to fuck with the biblical literalists. But you'd certainly find some company for your views.
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Last edited by Mike Doolittle; 01-28-2007 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 02-05-2007, 01:00 AM   #15
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

I haven't forgotten about the thread fellas. I'm a little burned out on theology right now between this, the TOL forums and my own reading. I'll chime in soon enough.
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