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Ask an atheist

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Askthepizzaguy, May 7, 2011.

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  1. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    Is there any real point to this? To quote one of my favourite posters, this feels like ontological wankery of the highest order.

    I'll let brennan argue what it is he thinks.
     
  2. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    He's the one that brought it up. :dunno:
    If he didn't want to get into a discussion about whether a hypothetical omnipotent wasting it's power is logically possible, maybe he shouldn't have made claims that a hypothetical omnipotent wasted it's power.
    It will be a nice change.
     
  3. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    Er, no I agreed with that statement regarding some of my responses to what you were saying and then further expounded upon my own arguments. These are two different things, please do not conflate them.

    Why would we not know? If I want to eat an apple, I go get an apple and eat it, please explain why I would be unable to understand how God would eat an apple. Would God not use the shortest route between two points to make a road? The argument that the actions of a Deity cannot be understood by mere mortals is quite ludicrous imo.

    Clement: it isn't a cop out, it's actually what we observe and therefore is about as scientific as it gets. I can't help it if people find the facts uncomfortable. If you require the existence of a metaphysical father figure in the sky to make you feel good about yourself then I can only sympathise with you, but it makes a poor argument for the existence of God.

    Your questions do not blow a massive hole in what I say, you are simply choosing not to accept the evidential basis for them because you do not like the implications. I say again: What we scientifically observe is that events happen for no reason and creation of energy and matter from nothing happens all the time. The fundamental nature of the universe we observe answers the 'big questions' of why the universe exists and how it started. We do not need God to do it in an extremely unsatisfactory way.

    ParkCungHee: If you can fit more matter in the universe it would be more efficient. An average density of something like 1 atom per square centimetre is pretty crap, especially if you consider most of the atom is empty space.
     
  4. Clement

    Clement Layman

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    You are unable to answer life's most powerful and important questions and so are the people you admire, you may sympathise with me for "requiring the existence of a metaphysical father figure in the sky to make me feel good about myself" but i sympathise with you too, for being unable to answer those questions while pretending to know so much.
     
  5. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    These questions are utterly unimportant and have no impact on how I live my life, indeed my answers give me a sense of freedom that I find quite exhilirating. These questions also make little sense when it gets right down to it.

    To use an analogy this is like you asking me where the edge of a sphere is and me pointing out that there isn't one. It might seem unsatisfactory to you but that doesn't stop it being true.
     
  6. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    He claims you have no arguments for disbelief, not ones that you have presented at any rate.

    Because knowledge of perfect benevolence requires perfect knowledge of morals. As I said, if you've got the answer to that, you should let us know. If you don't have a perfect system of moral actions, you can't claim to know how an omnibenevolent being would act, because these are synonymous.
    By what sort of mouth, if any would God eat the apple? How many teeth would that mouth have? Why is this the perfect number of teeth? Would God have to take a material form to eat the apple? What is the chemical composition of the stomach, he would digest it in, if he relied on a stomach at all?
    More importantly, would god eat the apple if he so desired it? Don't his creations need it more then he does? If he was to eat the apple, and deprive his creations of it, and create a new one to replace it, is that the same thing?

    Please provide conclusive answers to these questions, that no human will disagree upon, so we can all be in agreeance that your solutions are omnibenevolent.

    I see no reason why he would have to. Couldn't he make a road that simply goes from one point to the other, without crossing through the space between? Or perhaps he would make the road wind and twist in a pleasant manner, to provide scenic views and good shade, so that it may be enjoyed. Or perhaps he'd place it on quite a meandering road to make sure it does not disrupt the life of his creations that already live there?
    Which of these is the right choice? Not the choice you would prefer, but the definitively benevolent one.
    And the argument that humans can understand perfect benevolence is ludicrous at both it's face and it's implications. This would say that all moral disagreements are illusory. We are all capable of identifying the correct moral code of action, in all situations, and that any disagreement in the field of ethics is the result of someone deliberately lying, in argument for evil.
     
  7. Clement

    Clement Layman

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    Yes thats what they all say, don't like the questions because you can't answer them, so pretend they don't matter and stick to what you know which isn't much, yes i know the drill :D
     
  8. Leoreth

    Leoreth Prince of Blood Moderator

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    Sometimes it's better not to know the answers than to simply make answers up.
     
  9. Clement

    Clement Layman

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    I agree 100%, you see i am not a theist, i am agnostic who lost his faith years ago and cannot see how a good god could exist seeing as the universe is so cruel, but i have a problem with the arguments of absolutists, and especially those who claim to have answers to everything but in reality don't, whether they be men in white robes of of religious background, or men in white coats of scientific background, although i believe great things can come from both, i don't accept they know everything.
     
  10. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    I think he was referring to some specific comments in specific posts that you then responded to. Not to everything that I have said.

    Why would I need to understand God's perfect moral code (whatever that means) in order to understand what his goals are? I asked you what God's universe was for. You have not answered and just retreat to asking me irrelevant questions so I shall just restate my position: there is no sign of any deliberate structure in the universe, which suggests that it was not designed and therefore the supposition of a creator is unnecessary.

    What sort of teeth would God have? More nonsensical questions. We are talking about the form the universe takes, please state explicitly why I would be unable to understand what implications various philosophical considerations might have on the form of the universe.
     
  11. bathsheba666

    bathsheba666 Fast 'n Bulbous

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    I can't work you out.

    You lost your faith, ok.

    Initially you seem quite depressed about the implications of that, ok.

    But now you seem to be engaged in a more manic accusatory blast at everyone who is not depressed about the implications, and seem to think everyone has failed if they can't offer you a pat explanation for the hole in your whole.



    You can't create mass/energy out of nothing, a law of the universe....
    However before the universe existed, there was no such law.
    Hence, pouff, a universe.
    This is how I look at it. I find it very appealing on a nihilistic level.

    You don't like it ? I don't know the universal law for that, but I'm content with my own opinion.
     
  12. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Because by claiming knowledge of what an omnibenevolent being would do, you are stating that that is the highest moral action. If I was to claim knowledge of God's goals, and you were to state how he would go about it, between us we know the highest moral goal, and the course of action to reach there. To be able to claim that is a far more elaborate and bold claim then the existence of god.
    Because I hold the question to be unanswerable.
    You claimed to know how God would eat an apple. I asked you very relevent question about how he would do so.
    And I will restate my objection: You have not described (because you cannot know) what a deliberate structure to the universe would look like. So the fact that you do not see a pattern is not a meaningful one.

    The question is entirely relevant. You believe it's preposterous that you would not know how god would eat an apple. So I'm asking you, how would god eat an apple?

    I did not say that you would be unable to understand what implications various philosophical considerations might have on the form of the universe.

    I said that if you are claiming that you can know how an Omniscient, Onmipotent, Omnibenevolent being would act, you must know the answers to these questions, because you have working knowledge of Omnibenevolence.

    If you know what unlimited or infinite benevolence acts like in practice, you could let everyone know.
     
  13. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust New Englander

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    I love those questions. Some of the most interesting theoretical science addresses these questions leading to some really wild and mind boggling theories.

    But the simple fact of the matter is: "I don't know." is a perfectly good answer to those questions. And there's a period behind that answer. Because the answer is never, "I don't know so ...". Whatever way you slice it, the introduction of a diety is simply not necessary and in fact leads to more uncertainty than not introducing it. I'll show you.

    Atheist perspective (and some theist who do not subscribe to a creator god)
    Question: How did this universe form?
    Answer: I don't know.

    Theist perspective who subscribe to a creator God
    Question: How did this universe form?
    Answer: God made it.

    Follow up questions:
    - How did God came to be?
    - How did God create the Universe?
    Answers: none.

    The introduction of God leads to more questions and uncertainty than not introducing God. So until these can be answered, it's best to leave God out of the equation altogether.
     
  14. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    More like:

    Atheist perspective (and some theist who do not subscribe to a creator god)
    Question: How did this universe form?
    Answer: Something caused it to come into being. I don't have a name for it, though.

    Theist perspective who subscribe to a creator God
    Question: How did this universe form?
    Answer: Something caused it to come into being. Let's call whatever that was 'God'.

    There's not really much difference.
     
  15. Algeroth

    Algeroth 8 and 1/2

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    Are we asking atheist(s), or is this just another "Asking questions about God, Life and universe with a bit of measuring contest" thread now?
     
  16. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust New Englander

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    @Flying Pig: If it would end there, sure. But the fact that people add a whole lot more attributes to 'God' and then say he created the universe is a scam. It almost never is just the phenomena that created the Universe. This statement does not exist in a vacuum.
     
  17. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    I claimed nothing of the sort, I claimed that there is no structure to the universe beyond that that to be expected from it's underlying laws, therefore the suggestion that it was designed appears flawed. Further to this when asked what sort of structure I would expect I asked what it is for, since knowledge of the purpose of a designed object it needed in order to determine what possible forms it might take. This then, is a strawman and you have backed away from suggesting what reason the universe was created for, thus further weakening the case for the God hypothesis.

    Incorrect, I posited that I would be able to understand HOW God COULD eat an apple, whatever the details might be, since you keep stating that I cannot understand anything divine. Trying to force me to say how many teeth I think God has is frankly bizarre.

    You have not given me any parameters with which to comment, despite being asked for them. Any pattern I could describe would however be inconsistent with the known fact that there is NO SUCH PATTERN:

    Why all the waste of space and matter? If I were an omnipotent, omnibenevolent being I would perhaps create a universe in which all the matter were clumped into simple systems where a single planet orbited a small star at just the right distance to support life comfortably. There would be no carnivores to promote the general wellbeing and to reduce suffering across the animal kingdom (and also reduce the tendency of sentient beings to compete violently).

    The universe manifestly does not have any such 'designed' characteristics. Vast stretches of space and colossal amounts of matter are wasted and there is pain and suffering in abundance. So I say again that the observed characteristics of the universe, inefficient and cruel as it is, is inconsistent with the grand design of a creator being; especially an omnipotent, omnibenevolent one.
     
  18. Clement

    Clement Layman

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    You won't find me disagreeing with that, but saying "i don't know" isn't the same as saying "there is definitely no reason".
     
  19. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    It's a philosophical conundrum in causality: If A has to have a cause you have to posit B, but then applying the same standards, C must cause B, D must cause C and so on ad infinitum.

    Our current understanding of reality is that it refuses to play this game and just behaves in a weird statistical way at some point, as seen in the decay of various particles. They have a statistical halflife, yes, but there is no apparent cause of the decay, despite attempts over the years to find them. It just ...happens.

    I think a better way of putting the Atheist position is:

    Q: Why did the universe form and what is it for?
    A: The questions do not make sense in the context of the universe: there was nothing for it to come from and why does it need a reason?
     
  20. Mechanicalsalvation

    Mechanicalsalvation -

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    No doubt, there is a lot of scum all around or perhaps better call it an illusion for that may be a big part or nature of this world. But I see personaly nothing wrong with atributes as it depends very much from what angle you try to percieve the reality in question.
     
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