Sorry. I'm new here, but I'm already confused.
Why are people arguing the existence/non-existence of God? Honestly is anyone aware of an online conversion being made? In either direction? Has anyone EVER said, "Oh wow, I guess you're right. So there really is/isn't a God."?
To me it makes more sense debating the existence of Santa Clause - which is supported by a great deal more physical evidence. At least I've SEEN Santa Clause.
It seems that engaging in such arguments actually adds strength to theist perspectives because a logical argument should assume a reasonable basis on both sides. Whoever has the best case or makes the best argument wins.
Are there any sound logical arguments in support of God? I assume not. Why then do we argue with people who are not swayed by certainty?
More broadly, why are we here (at TA).
Allow me to thank every contributer to this thread. This is SUCH a good site.
But "Fred..." said something I have to ask everyone about. He said:"realising that there is no god (ok ok probably is no god)".
I've seen this elsewhere, too - even as part of atheist campaigns. Is it becoming a standard position of some kind. I don't get it. It's like if I say, "I'll take this pencil, hold it out in front of me, and release it. It will probably fall." What does "probably" mean here. 99 times out of 100? What happens on the hundredth time? Does it sprout wings and fly away?
What on earth is wrong with an atheist saying, categorically, "There is no God."?
I actually posted it as a discussion. Nelson makes some great rebuttals by bringing in Deism, but I simply do not perceive 'godness' in deistic assertions of a conscious prime mover.
In that thread, Reg said, "We are meant to be polite and respectful of the concept". Really? Is that where "There is probably no God" comes from? Respect?
I have discovered the basic building block of the universe. It's the size of a marble and it's sitting on the desk right in front of me. If it were to be destroyed (which is, of course, impossible) the entire universe would crumble.
Does this concept have your respect? Or are we only supposed to respect fantasies that are shared among several people?
Most of my philosophical discussions haven have taken place with a dear friend (now dead), a Doctor of Philosophy at Loyola University. Many if not most of our discussions ended with our agreeing to disagree on the definition of a word or a phrase. As a result of this and after many long years of discussion, I came to (my own) conclusion that, because words do not have fixed meanings, philosophy is largely a word game and that genuine logical thinking can only take place within the realm of mathematics.
I would call Heather's "strong atheism" "real-world atheism". Nelson opened his rebuttal with a problem of definition of terms (as I might have expected), but what I see as his key assertion is:
"natural explanations work whereas supernatural explanations do not." but that they have not worked only means they're not likely to, not that they absolutely can not"
So, back to my original analogy, the pencil I release will only probably fall. We cannot absolutely state that it will not sprout wings and fly away.
To me proofs of the possibility of God lie with the syllogisms I learned in high school as proofs of God - all fallacious. Good mathematicians could prove that 1 = 2. I may or may not be able to identify the fallacy they're using but I nevertheless KNOW that their "proof" is fallacious, a trick, and that, in the real world, 1 does NOT = 2. (Unless you're just playing word games.)
Further I categorically state that there is no God. Is that disrespectful?
Actually you can. If I tell you about a monster under your chair, you can tip over your chair and prove it doesn't exist. When most people talk about gods they are talking about an entity that can be entreated to intervene in the natural order - but no such intervention can be entreated. After that the rest seem to stumble off into "well even if he doesn't answer prayer he still exists" denials but I declare that if it doesn't answer prayer then it is not a god.
I am absolutely certain that a long long time ago, in every single galaxy that was far away, there was a complete absence of force practicing Jedi's, and so it remains until this day. I am certain of this because George Lucas made it up and his act of writing a story does not bring that story into being. It's the same for gods.
i'm not trying to be antagonistic. i do not believe there is a god, or anything like a god or gods; but i cannot prove that there is NOT a god. I can argue that there is absolutely no rational basis for believing that there is a god, and can argue that there is a strong rational basis for believing that the idea of there being a god is absurd, i cannot, alas, prove it.
just because i can't see the monster beneath my chair doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. i don't have any good reason to believe that it exists since i can't see it, and apparently no one else can but you, that doesn't mean that there isn't an infinitesimal chance that there is in fact a monster under my chair and you are the only person that can see it :( but i repeat, infinitesimal. BUT, I am going to proceed as if my belief that the monster doesn't exist were true since there seems to be absolutely no reason to believe that is does exist except that you told me it was there. So the end result is basically the same as saying that there is no monster underneath my chair, but avoiding the trap of making an absolute statement, which is exactly the same as claiming that is, in fact, a monster underneath my chair that no one can see but you.