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PoeJoe
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6/27/2009 9:31:12 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I've been observing this forum for quite a while now, and I've noticed many threads that contain ignored disclaimers. Typically, they are something like: "Only Christians in this thread or intelligent atheists" or "Only Atheists and open-minded Christians".

My question to Christians:
Who and how do you qualify "smart" atheists? And what are some strong arguments you think the other side employs?

My question to atheists:
Who and how do you qualify "smart" Christians? And what are some strong arguments you think the other side employs?

Lastly, I know this will probably be ignored, but please, please, please try to keep this thread about the two above questions.
Television Rot: http://tvrot.com...
Lexicaholic
Posts: 526
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6/27/2009 10:02:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/27/2009 9:31:12 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
I've been observing this forum for quite a while now, and I've noticed many threads that contain ignored disclaimers. Typically, they are something like: "Only Christians in this thread or intelligent atheists" or "Only Atheists and open-minded Christians".

My question to Christians:
Who and how do you qualify "smart" atheists? And what are some strong arguments you think the other side employs?

My question to atheists:
Who and how do you qualify "smart" Christians? And what are some strong arguments you think the other side employs?

Lastly, I know this will probably be ignored, but please, please, please try to keep this thread about the two above questions.

As an agnostic, I feel I am qualified to answer either both or neither. If I choose neither I would have nothing to say, and that would be rather unfortunate, so I'm going to opt for both.

A smart Christian is a person who has faith that the big things are being handled, and argues the little things in reference to the here and now.

A smart Atheist is a person who recognizes that the little things aren't worth fighting over if you're losing the bigger battle.
http://mastersofcreationrpg.com... - My new site and long-developed project. Should be fun.
Volkov
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6/28/2009 7:03:16 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/27/2009 9:31:12 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
My question to atheists:
Who and how do you qualify "smart" Christians? And what are some strong arguments you think the other side employs?

"Smart" Christians are the ones that, while sticking to their beliefs, aren't closed off to anything else that anyone ever puts forward that is against what they personally believe. Take DAT and HOTM for example; both agree on a lot of points, but because HOTM is a Mormon, DAT attacks him - even if HOTM has not mentioned anything about Mormonism.
Christians that don't resort to simply saying "God is great and will punish you" in order to somehow win an argument are the "smart" Christians that deserve respect and attention.

What are some good arguments they employ? I'm not sure really. From experience and my own fallacies, some theist logic can really confound me. But, that being said, usually there is someone else that is able to understand and refute it in a way that I wouldn't be able to.

Good thread by the way, but good luck on keeping some folks on subject.
Kleptin
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6/28/2009 7:52:51 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
A smart Christian is one who has his beliefs supported by faith, who understands that the foundation of his beliefs is faith, and who practices Christianity wholeheartedly without trying to weasel out logic and reasoning to justify his beliefs where no logic or reasoning exist. Their belief stems from faith.

A smart Atheist is one who bases his conclusion off one or more logical arguments, and who does not simply assume that because the burden is not met, then God does not exist. The atheist should always have reason and logic to back up his argument, not simply take it on faith. Their belief stems from reason.

In short:

The smart Christian should be Agnostic.
The smart Atheist should also be Agnostic.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
GeoLaureate8
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6/28/2009 12:06:28 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Any of the smart Christians are really borderline agnostics who just cling to Christianity or they are apathetic Christians. If you're a Christian who can use logic and reasoning, you will soon find out that Christianity is illogical. You must completely abandon reason to be a whole-hearted Christian.

As far as Atheists, most are logical, though there are also many ignorant Atheists which really isn't any better. The thing is, Atheists are sometimes skeptical beyond reason.

That's my two cents.

.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Rezzealaux
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6/28/2009 1:05:08 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Consistent logic leads only to atheism.
First video proves how gods can't possibly exist.
Second video proves how agnosticism is a ridiculous idea.

And by proof I mean proof. Not evidence. Not "absolute dogmatic truth" either, just that these are the most airtight arguments I've ever seen.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
Kleptin
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6/28/2009 1:14:24 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 1:05:08 PM, Rezzealaux wrote:


Consistent logic leads only to atheism.
First video proves how gods can't possibly exist.
Second video proves how agnosticism is a ridiculous idea.

And by proof I mean proof. Not evidence. Not "absolute dogmatic truth" either, just that these are the most airtight arguments I've ever seen.

This fat man is about on-par intellectually as Kent Hovind. An embarrassing display of fallacy after fallacy after fallacy :/ you really call this a "proof"? I can start ripping it apart after my final.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
TheSkeptic
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6/28/2009 1:32:37 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Agnosticism is an idiotic position - a fruitless attempt at being some "third option".

Now onto the actual question:

Smart Christians are ones that are open-minded and who don't rely on the notion of faith. I'd say there are handful of them on this website, though of course I still think their arguments are silly :).

I don't think their side has any strong arguments, but the closest they can get is perhaps fumbling around with theodicies.
Rezzealaux
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6/28/2009 1:35:57 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 1:14:24 PM, Kleptin wrote:
At 6/28/2009 1:05:08 PM, Rezzealaux wrote:


Consistent logic leads only to atheism.
First video proves how gods can't possibly exist.
Second video proves how agnosticism is a ridiculous idea.

And by proof I mean proof. Not evidence. Not "absolute dogmatic truth" either, just that these are the most airtight arguments I've ever seen.

This fat man is about on-par intellectually as Kent Hovind. An embarrassing display of fallacy after fallacy after fallacy :/ you really call this a "proof"? I can start ripping it apart after my final.

Please do. I would like to see these fallacies. I also find it interesting that you made ad hominem attacks against Molyneux, when even DAT does not get them - which makes me even more anxious to see your response.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
Lexicaholic
Posts: 526
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6/28/2009 1:46:19 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 1:32:37 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Agnosticism is an idiotic position - a fruitless attempt at being some "third option".

How so?
http://mastersofcreationrpg.com... - My new site and long-developed project. Should be fun.
Kleptin
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6/28/2009 2:28:51 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I thought it interesting when I first clicked, but I started to develop a bias against the presenter because his attitude ticked me off and his presentation style reminded me too much of Kent Hovind- as if though he were some street salesman hocking a new gadget. If I were reading text, I wouldn't have responded NEARLY as strongly as I did.

Here's what I noted so far:

1. Undetectability = Nonexistence

Runs under the assumption that he can detail, with certainty, what we can and cannot detect in the future, in the present. Hidden premise that science/logic/empiricism is flawless, begs the question when dealing with a philosophy on doubt. If you're arguing against a position like Agnosticism, which is essentially based on doubt, with an argument that presupposes certainty, then the argument is tautological in nature.

2. 2+2=Green, Elves, square circles etc.

Almost the same thing. What he describes as a realm of unknowable things filled with possible existences is not a realm of possible existences. It is simply a realm of what has not been proven.

2+2=Green and square circles are flaws of English language, the existence of Elves is acceptable as an example. Observable fact has no positive proof against the existence of elves as they do against square circles. Mixing 2 strong examples with one weak one shows lack of integrity.

3. Certainty/Uncertainty

Descartes reduced the test of existence to doubting as the simplest act, thus, his argument is invalid. Agnosticism is the position of doubting, not a certain statement of uncertainty. He covers the fact that Agnosticism is negation but then he constructs an argument where he tries to make the act of doubt contradict itself? Bad tactic.

4. Clarity/Static

Ties back into the difference of not being able to know and never being able to know. Semantics argument. He forces an example where an Agnostic is making a positive claim when Agnostics don't make positive claims. He argues that the Agnostic makes an action of placing something (concept of thing whose existence is questioned) *into* the static. You don't get rid of the darkness by flicking a light switch, you simply cause the presence of light. When an agnostic is presented with the hypothetical existence of unicorns, he does not place it into the category of the static as the man in the video is asserting. The agnostic checks to see whether the unicorn is in the realm of the objectively known and if it is not, it DEFAULTS to the unknowable.

The characteristics of the THING do not go into the static. The characteristics of the thing are used to check against the objectively known realm, where the characteristics are useful. This flaw carries on to a few of his other points as well.

5. Cannot contradict atheists

Of course they can. It depends on who is making the positive claim. I can't run over and tell an Atheist that he's wrong (since I don't know), but I can evaluate his proof. No one should judge each other right or wrong based on beliefs anyway, but on proof. As of now, the main Atheistic argument is that the burden falls on Christians and/or the alleged characteristics fail via empirical standards, the problem being that they take their empirical standards to be inerrant.

6. Consistency

Straw man fallacy. Logic and reason can be used to check observation. The agnostic questions the derivation of information, it does not question the process of analyzing it as he suggests. "You're using logic to question logic" is then not a suitable argument for an atheist to use against an agnostic. There is no "other universe" that is made up of hypothetical nonexistent things, only things we have or have not found to exist, the meaning of which is that we derive things conceptually and have not linked them to anything physical. The important thing is not to rule them out based on what we currently know, because our method of deriving information is continuously growing.

If we were to use this man's analogy, the sphere of what can be known grows outwards, taking over the nebulous static.

7. Agnostic practicality/Integrity

Straw man. This was probably the straw that broke the camel's back for me. At this point, I just wanted to reach out and slap him across the face. Agnostics do not have a practical use for Agnosticism, but Atheists also do not have a practical use for Atheism. If they are dealing with a philosophy that only takes into account what we can be affected by in this universe, then they need not come up with philosophies purposely trying to disprove God, or attack Agnosticism. Burden falls on the theist, so they can just wait on the theist. But here, we have half an hour of some arrogant man, talking out his rear. Hypocrite much?
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
TheSkeptic
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6/28/2009 2:42:33 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 1:46:19 PM, Lexicaholic wrote:
At 6/28/2009 1:32:37 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Agnosticism is an idiotic position - a fruitless attempt at being some "third option".

How so?

At best agnosticism is valid only as an epistemological position, which most would adhere to. However, to take the extra step and say that we can't have an educated opinion on the existence of god is absurd - of course we can. To say that you need to be 100% certain in your belief is a ridiculous burden.
Logical-Master
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6/28/2009 2:59:07 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 1:32:37 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Agnosticism is an idiotic position - a fruitless attempt at being some "third option".

Well, you're right about it not being a third option. However, I'd have to say that unless you believe there is evidence which refutes theism, you are an agnostic atheist. This is what is more popularly being referred to as weak atheism at the moment.

Also, there is a third option (if you're implying there isn't one), and that's to have no regard for the subject entirely; apatheism.

My oh my. I comment on this subject too often.

And no group hugs please. I don't know any of you like that. :D
Logical-Master
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6/28/2009 3:01:43 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Oh wait, you're referring to some of things which aren't actually included in the literal definition and are merely what people have attributed to the idea over the years? Well that's a different story.
Lexicaholic
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6/28/2009 3:20:21 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 2:42:33 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:

At best agnosticism is valid only as an epistemological position, which most would adhere to. However, to take the extra step and say that we can't have an educated opinion on the existence of god is absurd - of course we can. To say that you need to be 100% certain in your belief is a ridiculous burden.

What if you have conflicting data? If you look at atheism versus theism as a matter of having faith versus not having faith, that's one thing. If you look at atheism versus theism as having 'belief' versus not having 'belief', that's another. You needn't rely on your beliefs. I may believe that no one in my neighborhood is inclined to rob me, but I will still lock my door in case my belief is wrong. I may believe in a god, but I will still argue using reason in case I'm wrong. Similarly, I may not believe in a god, but I won't demand that others come to the same conclusion in case I am leading them astray. I will, however, expect them to justify their beliefs to me using reason if they expect me to follow.
http://mastersofcreationrpg.com... - My new site and long-developed project. Should be fun.
Rezzealaux
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6/28/2009 3:47:40 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 2:28:51 PM, Kleptin wrote:
I thought it interesting when I first clicked, but I started to develop a bias against the presenter because his attitude ticked me off and his presentation style reminded me too much of Kent Hovind- as if though he were some street salesman hocking a new gadget. If I were reading text, I wouldn't have responded NEARLY as strongly as I did.

To be sure, this is a response based on my interpretation of the video. Ideas are always going to be hampered by presentation and language, and misinterpretation is inevitable - if we define "misinterpretation" as the receiver getting a different meaning than the deliverer. With that in mind my intepretation is also by definition a misinterpretation of Molyneux, as is yours. Not that I give a crap. I like what I see, you don't, so I'll tell you what I saw.

1. Undetectability = Nonexistence

I agree with you that the argument is false. Just because we can't detect it now doesn't mean we can't detect it later. I don't think this is what Molyneux argues though. What I see is this: He first argues that we cannot detect it right now, and then he argues that since God is self-contradictory, we no longer need to look for any evidence, as the universe is not self-contradictory.

2. 2+2=Green, Elves, square circles etc.

2+2=Green and Elves were jokes to me, so I didn't take those seriously. Square Circles is what I saw as the main meat, as most people can agree that is a self-contradictory entity. Lack of integrity, sure. One video does not make a man, though.

3. Certainty/Uncertainty

I'm not sure what you mean?

4. Clarity/Static

I'm pretty sure (((When an agnostic is presented with the hypothetical existence of unicorns, he does not place it into the category of the static as the man in the video is asserting.))) is not what he said or meant. For what you do propose, that (((The characteristics of the thing are used to check against the objectively known realm, where the characteristics are useful.))) that's cool - that's what Molyneux proposes as well. If this is what you DO do, could you take a look at the first video? In it, he proves that God is a self-contradictory entity.

5. Cannot contradict atheists

Molyneux's argument is that God is a self-contradictory entity.

6. Consistency

His analogy/metaphor is that the stargazer/stars is mankind and all of the universe, regardless of whether we've discovered it or not. His argument is that the laws of logic are consistent in this universe. The static is what he proposes the agnostic "outside" is - a place where logic is not consistent. Your extension on his analogy is a bit off of what he was intending. But it helps me understand your position a bit more.

7. Agnostic practicality/Integrity

If atheists can somehow prove that god(s) do not exist, then we can choose to not wait around on a theistic argument, because we will already know that it will be false. This is the practicality - we can then go on to spend time on other things.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

But aside from that, I'd like to know what you believe. I can tell you're an empiricist, and that you like to hold back judgement until more information can be obtained. It also seems to me that you identify pretty heavily with the word "agnostic". Either that or Molyneux just presents in a completely foreign manner to you. From my perspective and what I can see, theres not many contradictions between you and Molyneux - just that you like to be called an agnostic.

Molyneux's argument, as I've said, is mainly based on noncontradiction. He talks about empiricism, and how empiricism precedes logic, sure - but for me, that's only to account for human error in usage of logic. The universe, as far as we know, is logically consistent. Molyneux says that based on this, and that the definition of "existence" is only in this universe, then self-contradictory entities cannot exist.

The only possible point of contention I can conceive of right now is if you believe that the universe might possibly break the law of noncontradiction. Is this what you believe?
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
Kleptin
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6/28/2009 4:17:30 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 3:47:40 PM, Rezzealaux wrote:
To be sure, this is a response based on my interpretation of the video. Ideas are always going to be hampered by presentation and language, and misinterpretation is inevitable - if we define "misinterpretation" as the receiver getting a different meaning than the deliverer. With that in mind my intepretation is also by definition a misinterpretation of Molyneux, as is yours. Not that I give a crap. I like what I see, you don't, so I'll tell you what I saw.

Fair enough, that's what makes for good discussion anyway.


1. Undetectability = Nonexistence

I agree with you that the argument is false. Just because we can't detect it now doesn't mean we can't detect it later. I don't think this is what Molyneux argues though. What I see is this: He first argues that we cannot detect it right now, and then he argues that since God is self-contradictory, we no longer need to look for any evidence, as the universe is not self-contradictory.

I'm not so much focused on God as I am on his general thought process. Contradiction is usually the result of a flaw in language, which is why theists run into so many problems. Omniscience, omnibenevolence, omnipotence, when we jabber on about absolutes, we form contradictions between what exists conceptually and what exists in reality (square circle). My agnostic position is due to the fact that the theists address this and reinterpret their god accordingly, while still retaining the essence of that concept. In other words, they mangle the definition of God and move the goalposts while still calling it "God". We can't conclude that no more evidence is needed because the theists don't take "no" for an answer. They want to keep making us disprove different Gods. Atheists are the hares of Aesop's fable.

2. 2+2=Green, Elves, square circles etc.

2+2=Green and Elves were jokes to me, so I didn't take those seriously. Square Circles is what I saw as the main meat, as most people can agree that is a self-contradictory entity. Lack of integrity, sure. One video does not make a man, though.

It's hard to take a joke as a joke when it is being used to sway an audience. I've expressed annoyance at that before in another thread and it holds here: Don't expect to gloss over a serious response to a joke that has the potential and possible intent to provoke, that's my advice to the person who made the video.


3. Certainty/Uncertainty

I'm not sure what you mean?

His argument against agnosticism, reductio ad absurdem:
1. Agnostics state that no statement is certain
2. 1 is a statement
3. If 1 is true, then it is not certain

Descartes reduced existence to doubt. Doubting is the simplest act. The above proof cannot be true because (1) is an act of doubting and not an actual positive claim. To say that it is absurd to doubt is, in and of itself, absurd, since it is the most basic act possible that validates existence.

4. Clarity/Static

I'm pretty sure (((When an agnostic is presented with the hypothetical existence of unicorns, he does not place it into the category of the static as the man in the video is asserting.))) is not what he said or meant. For what you do propose, that (((The characteristics of the thing are used to check against the objectively known realm, where the characteristics are useful.))) that's cool - that's what Molyneux proposes as well. If this is what you DO do, could you take a look at the first video? In it, he proves that God is a self-contradictory entity.

Again, my issue is not with whether or not God is self-contradictory, because the theists are constantly reinterpreting God to account for the contradictions. Molyneux's argument is that since there cannot be a face in the static, an agnostic's position is absurd because according to him, an agnostic states "This object with characteristics XYZ may or may not exist" is both an act of placing it in the static AND giving it a face. Rewatch the segment where he talks about something being green and fuzzy and whatnot. That was his point, and that is what I was responding to.

5. Cannot contradict atheists

Molyneux's argument is that God is a self-contradictory entity.

I don't know how you think this is relevant, because this video is clearly on his arguments against Agnosticism, not the existence of God. His argument was that an Agnostic could not contradict an atheist because an agnostic who doubts everything must also doubt his own claim, which is a bad argument.

6. Consistency

His analogy/metaphor is that the stargazer/stars is mankind and all of the universe, regardless of whether we've discovered it or not. His argument is that the laws of logic are consistent in this universe. The static is what he proposes the agnostic "outside" is - a place where logic is not consistent. Your extension on his analogy is a bit off of what he was intending. But it helps me understand your position a bit more.

Yes, and I am arguing that this representation is absurd. It is impossible to account for what we can never know or experience, how can he then base his entire argument against agnosticism based on that one, poorly constructed analogy? It's just a giant strawman.

7. Agnostic practicality/Integrity

If atheists can somehow prove that god(s) do not exist, then we can choose to not wait around on a theistic argument, because we will already know that it will be false. This is the practicality - we can then go on to spend time on other things.

And as I have said before, the goalposts are always moving. You're on a wild goose chase. Agnosticism has a stance that is both valid and conclusive.

But aside from that, I'd like to know what you believe. I can tell you're an empiricist, and that you like to hold back judgement until more information can be obtained. It also seems to me that you identify pretty heavily with the word "agnostic". Either that or Molyneux just presents in a completely foreign manner to you. From my perspective and what I can see, theres not many contradictions between you and Molyneux - just that you like to be called an agnostic.

Molyneux's argument, as I've said, is mainly based on noncontradiction. He talks about empiricism, and how empiricism precedes logic, sure - but for me, that's only to account for human error in usage of logic. The universe, as far as we know, is logically consistent. Molyneux says that based on this, and that the definition of "existence" is only in this universe, then self-contradictory entities cannot exist.

The only possible point of contention I can conceive of right now is if you believe that the universe might possibly break the law of noncontradiction. Is this what you believe?

The law of noncontradiction has a premise that what is, is. The Agnostic in me questions the validity of designating something as what it is. For me, the law of noncontradiction is essential to logic and to mankind's understanding, but is not necessarily truth in its purest form. If a theist comes by with a definition of God that transcends human understanding, the law of contradiction holds absolutely no weight. Logical rules were developed to distinguish between what we can and what we cannot understand, not what is true and false. If the theist decides to posit an unintelligible God, which they occasionally do, then I don't see how logical proofs based on contradiction would be effective. Remember, theists keep moving the goalposts. This is why Atheism alone is never enough and never will be enough.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Rezzealaux
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6/28/2009 5:27:09 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I'm not so much focused on God as I am on his general thought process. Contradiction is usually the result of a flaw in language, which is why theists run into so many problems. Omniscience, omnibenevolence, omnipotence, when we jabber on about absolutes, we form contradictions between what exists conceptually and what exists in reality (square circle). My agnostic position is due to the fact that the theists address this and reinterpret their god accordingly, while still retaining the essence of that concept. In other words, they mangle the definition of God and move the goalposts while still calling it "God". We can't conclude that no more evidence is needed because the theists don't take "no" for an answer. They want to keep making us disprove different Gods. Atheists are the hares of Aesop's fable.

I'm not sure your view of atheists is entirely accurate - either that, or I'm not an atheist under your definitions. I confront each personalized definition of God separately. It's not like if you come up to me and say "God is defined as a tomato. God exists." and then I'll respond like "NNRRRRROOOOOOO" - it's just that embedded in most definitions of God, there are the characteristics of being omniscient and omnipotent. Though I do define my position in terms of definitions agreed upon between my opponent and I (whoever happens to be my opponent at the time), I find that as personalized as people may make the definition of God, it will almost always have those features. That's why it's in the dictionary definition, I think. And since those general characteristics are contradictory, I call myself an atheist.

His argument against agnosticism, reductio ad absurdem:
1. Agnostics state that no statement is certain
2. 1 is a statement
3. If 1 is true, then it is not certain

Descartes reduced existence to doubt. Doubting is the simplest act. The above proof cannot be true because (1) is an act of doubting and not an actual positive claim. To say that it is absurd to doubt is, in and of itself, absurd, since it is the most basic act possible that validates existence.

Just clarifying, but is the definition of doubt to say nothing is certain? Or is "Nothing is certain" an act that's a subset of "doubting"?

Again, my issue is not with whether or not God is self-contradictory, because the theists are constantly reinterpreting God to account for the contradictions. Molyneux's argument is that since there cannot be a face in the static, an agnostic's position is absurd because according to him, an agnostic states "This object with characteristics XYZ may or may not exist" is both an act of placing it in the static AND giving it a face. Rewatch the segment where he talks about something being green and fuzzy and whatnot. That was his point, and that is what I was responding to.

"This object with characteristics XYZ may or may not exist" is indeed placing it in the static and giving it a face. Let's take elves. Elves either may or may not exist. For me, I don't know anything that would prevent them from coming into being, so I'll say "Elves may exist". This is your position, yes? If something is defined and it is not contradictory, you will be agnostic as there is nothing preventing it from existing. If X is the opposite of Z however, whatever the object is, it may not exist. This is my position - God has contradictory characteristics.

I don't know how you think this is relevant, because this video is clearly on his arguments against Agnosticism, not the existence of God. His argument was that an Agnostic could not contradict an atheist because an agnostic who doubts everything must also doubt his own claim, which is a bad argument.

An agnostic who doubts everything must also doubt his own claim is a bad argument? Then I am missing something. It is very clear to me that the statement is true. Someone who doubts everything must also doubt his own claim, for his claim is a subset of everything.

Yes, and I am arguing that this representation is absurd. It is impossible to account for what we can never know or experience, how can he then base his entire argument against agnosticism based on that one, poorly constructed analogy? It's just a giant strawman.

Please define "Agnosticism". Also, there are some grammar problems that are preventing me from understanding a clear concept in this section. Was an "If" missing or something?

And as I have said before, the goalposts are always moving. You're on a wild goose chase. Agnosticism has a stance that is both valid and conclusive.

I am not on a wild goose chase. I planted my base of operations on top of 99.99% of the geese, and whenever one of the stragglers appear, I snipe them down. An apple can't fall too far from a tree - a definition of God won't be too different from the dictionary one.

Though really, does it matter? Let's say I am against concept X, it is defined as Y, and my position is "Zist". Why would it matter to me if a couple of people happened to define X as W? People still commonly accept X to mean Y, and so my position as Zist is still fine.

The law of noncontradiction has a premise that what is, is. The Agnostic in me questions the validity of designating something as what it is. For me, the law of noncontradiction is essential to logic and to mankind's understanding, but is not necessarily truth in its purest form. If a theist comes by with a definition of God that transcends human understanding, the law of contradiction holds absolutely no weight. Logical rules were developed to distinguish between what we can and what we cannot understand, not what is true and false. If the theist decides to posit an unintelligible God, which they occasionally do, then I don't see how logical proofs based on contradiction would be effective. Remember, theists keep moving the goalposts. This is why Atheism alone is never enough and never will be enough.

Questioning the validity of designating something as what it is.... I'm not sure what you mean. Naming things is arbitrary, we could call monkeys "chickens" if we really wanted to, and have chickens be called "monkeys". They'd still be what they are. (Ah, language.) As for the second half of the paragraph talking about transcending human understanding, you're going to have to give me an example of that. I mean like, how my fingers slamming away on some black keys turns into symbols that appear on my screen and how clicking the left mouse button will make these symbols viewable on another computer screen on the other side of the planet (given that they are connected by cables) is COMPLETELY beyond my understanding. But it's not beyond "human understanding". Everything follows the rules of the universe - even if we don't understand it right away, we have the chance of getting it.

This is how "Transcend human understanding" appears to me.

Transcend human understanding.
Beyond human understanding.
Beyond logic.
Beyond the rules of the universe.
Break the rules of the universe = error.

I'm going to need an example of something that transcends human understanding - no wait, that's a self-contradictory statement. Something that transcends human understanding... so if a theist comes by with a definition that transcends human understanding, we're still going to interpret it within our bounds of human understanding - by definition, that's our course of action. We won't be able to recognize that it transcends human understanding (If you have a method, please, let me know). So in that case, it's probably still going to have "omnipotent" and "omniscient" embedded in it. In which case, I'm still an atheist. Doesn't matter if they move the goalposts, they still have to be on the field; and if it's on the field, I can score.

If it's off the field - "transcend human understanding" - well then, they lose.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
Rezzealaux
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6/28/2009 5:41:07 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 5:27:09 PM, Rezzealaux wrote:
If it's off the field - "transcend human understanding" - well then, they lose.

Sorry, I got too far into the metaphor. I liked it too much :P
Disregard this last line.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
beem0r
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6/28/2009 6:25:12 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 3:20:21 PM, Lexicaholic wrote:
I may believe that no one in my neighborhood is inclined to rob me, but I will still lock my door in case my belief is wrong. I may believe in a god, but I will still argue using reason in case I'm wrong. Similarly, I may not believe in a god, but I won't demand that others come to the same conclusion in case I am leading them astray. I will, however, expect them to justify their beliefs to me using reason if they expect me to follow.
Atheism, theism, and agnosticism are not descriptors of a person's actions. Atheism and theism are descriptors of a person's beliefs. Agnosticism is also sometimes used to describe beliefs on this same issue, and that's when Agnosticism is a ridiculous ideology.

Take you, for example. You obviously have evaluated the likelihood of God at somewhere less than 50%. By the standard definitions of the words, you are in fact a strong atheist - with a >50% certainty, you believe there is no God.

Of course, that doesn't mean you're not an agnostic in the sense of the word that applies to most people - you don't think you have 100% certainty of your belief. However, that term is not useful in discussing religious beliefs, since it applies to nearly everyone and doesn't contradict theism or atheism.

But there's another sense of the word "agnostic" that people like to throw around, one that conflicts with theism and at least with strong atheism as well - the "we don't know, so therefore it's 50/50" position. This is much less tenable than the other definition of the word, and it takes some very strange logic to come to a 50/50 conclusion.
TheSkeptic
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6/28/2009 6:51:06 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
What if you have conflicting data? If you look at atheism versus theism as a matter of having faith versus not having faith, that's one thing. If you look at atheism versus theism as having 'belief' versus not having 'belief', that's another. You needn't rely on your beliefs. I may believe that no one in my neighborhood is inclined to rob me, but I will still lock my door in case my belief is wrong. I may believe in a god, but I will still argue using reason in case I'm wrong. Similarly, I may not believe in a god, but I won't demand that others come to the same conclusion in case I am leading them astray. I will, however, expect them to justify their beliefs to me using reason if they expect me to follow.

Uh, I'm not sure what you're trying to say - though beem0r summarized a good amount of why agnosticism is misguided.
Kleptin
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6/28/2009 6:56:02 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 5:27:09 PM, Rezzealaux wrote:
I'm not sure your view of atheists is entirely accurate - either that, or I'm not an atheist under your definitions. I confront each personalized definition of God separately. It's not like if you come up to me and say "God is defined as a tomato. God exists." and then I'll respond like "NNRRRRROOOOOOO" - it's just that embedded in most definitions of God, there are the characteristics of being omniscient and omnipotent. Though I do define my position in terms of definitions agreed upon between my opponent and I (whoever happens to be my opponent at the time), I find that as personalized as people may make the definition of God, it will almost always have those features. That's why it's in the dictionary definition, I think. And since those general characteristics are contradictory, I call myself an atheist.

By "Atheist", I mean, whatever you judge the guy in the video to be. If his style is essentially to focus on contradiction, it necessarily implies that he argues specific traits of God, then reduces them to absurdity. That's what I view to be a useless endeavor.

Just clarifying, but is the definition of doubt to say nothing is certain? Or is "Nothing is certain" an act that's a subset of "doubting"?

I'm not sure how to respond to that. First of all, his accusation is unwarranted because Agnostics don't say "nothing is certain" to begin with. They express doubt where warranted. The video guy assumes they doubt everything for some reason I don't quite understand.

"This object with characteristics XYZ may or may not exist" is indeed placing it in the static and giving it a face. Let's take elves. Elves either may or may not exist. For me, I don't know anything that would prevent them from coming into being, so I'll say "Elves may exist". This is your position, yes? If something is defined and it is not contradictory, you will be agnostic as there is nothing preventing it from existing. If X is the opposite of Z however, whatever the object is, it may not exist. This is my position - God has contradictory characteristics.

No, that's a positive statement. That's exactly where he went wrong. Agnostics do not say "Elves may exist". The statement would be "You can't know for sure whether or not elves exist". Agnosticism deals with knowledge, not with belief. As for "God has contradictory characteristics", according to what definition of God? Theists keep changing their definition of God and rationalizing the contradictions to make them disappear. Omnibenevolence/Problem of evil arguments were countered with free will clause, just as one example. The list goes on to infinity, however.

An agnostic who doubts everything must also doubt his own claim is a bad argument? Then I am missing something. It is very clear to me that the statement is true. Someone who doubts everything must also doubt his own claim, for his claim is a subset of everything.

But that's the thing. It's not a claim. As I said before, the doubting is not a positive statement, it can't be categorized as a claim because it is simply the act of doubting. There is a significant difference between saying "God does not exist" and "I doubt that God exists", just as how there is a significant difference between "Nothing is certain" and "I doubt the certainty of everything".

Yes, and I am arguing that this representation is absurd. It is impossible to account for what we can never know or experience, how can he then base his entire argument against agnosticism based on that one, poorly constructed analogy? It's just a giant strawman.

Please define "Agnosticism". Also, there are some grammar problems that are preventing me from understanding a clear concept in this section. Was an "If" missing or something?

Agnosticism, in relation to the God dispute, and as I define myself, is the position that we cannot be certain whether or not God exists. I define atheism as the certainty that there is no God, and theism as the certainty that there is one. As for the grammar problems, the comma between "experience" and "how" should be replaced with a semi-colon, indicating that the preceding statement is a premise and the following is a rhetorical question. To further explain: His arguments center around the accusation that Agnostics state "we can never know", when I define agnosticism as "we cannot know". All of his stuff that follows involving static or consistency etc. becomes obsolete as proofs when we clarify that.

I am not on a wild goose chase. I planted my base of operations on top of 99.99% of the geese, and whenever one of the stragglers appear, I snipe them down. An apple can't fall too far from a tree - a definition of God won't be too different from the dictionary one.

And that's when they start making the semantic arguments. Atheist arguments have existed for almost as long as Theistic arguments, it's already a couple thousand years in the running. It's a better bet to say that the hunting isn't going to stop because if you're right, far too many "stragglers" have been sniped for them to actually be stragglers.

Though really, does it matter? Let's say I am against concept X, it is defined as Y, and my position is "Zist". Why would it matter to me if a couple of people happened to define X as W? People still commonly accept X to mean Y, and so my position as Zist is still fine.

Xists will switch to Wism when they encounter Zist arguments. Xist arguments die out and Wist ones then dominate. Just like natural selection.

Questioning the validity of designating something as what it is.... I'm not sure what you mean... (truncated)

We can develop concepts of things that we do not know to exist. Similarly, we can still grasp the concept of not being able to understand certain things or realizing that we cannot understand certain things.

Rules of logic =/= rules of the universe.

Videoman stated this himself as well, that the rules of logic and science are only relevant to the universe we can observe and interact with. Theists have devised a God that "works in mysterious ways". Atheists use lack of sensory evidence against God, Theists claim incorporeality. Atheists use infinite regression argument back on the theists, they respond by saying that God exists outside of time. Atheists know how to play the game, but they play it legit. Theists have cheat codes and hacks, but they barely understand how the game is played. They don't understand the notion of a universe bound by logical constraints in which their God has no place. They take it on faith that their God is the creator of whatever it is that you are using to disprove them and with that as their premise, what use is logical disproof?

You argument and justification for remaining an atheist is that you think you can score. It has been several thousand years, there has been no goal even as of now. This is not because theism is valid, it is because theism is inherently outside the bounds of logic and purposely so.

Can you logically argue that God exists? No. Can you logically argue that God does not exist? No. Because in order to disprove something, you need to understand the argument holding it up, and clear away the foundation. You can't do that with a theist because their belief is held up with blind faith and nothing but. Logical arguments for God are just decorative in nature.

This is what I mean by "transcends human understanding". It is outside logic and our means to understand. Belief does not require understanding, only faith and obedience.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Lexicaholic
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6/28/2009 7:00:53 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 6:25:12 PM, beem0r wrote:

Take you, for example. You obviously have evaluated the likelihood of God at somewhere less than 50%. By the standard definitions of the words, you are in fact a strong atheist - with a >50% certainty, you believe there is no God.

Actually, I believe in a God, just not one that meets the standard theist definitions of all good, all powerful and all knowing, etc. I simply do not act on that belief, because I have no evidence that I might provide to prove it to others. My own observations may be flawed. Until I have a way to produce evidence, I assume that I can not make the assertion to others. I find that making that assertion is what qualifies one to be an atheist or a theist. I think that discussing the foundation of beliefs is meaningful only to the extent that someone acts upon or desires others to act upon those beliefs.

Of course, that doesn't mean you're not an agnostic in the sense of the word that applies to most people - you don't think you have 100% certainty of your belief. However, that term is not useful in discussing religious beliefs, since it applies to nearly everyone and doesn't contradict theism or atheism.

So technically then, I would be a theist?
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MTGandP
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6/28/2009 7:30:36 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
A smart Christian is no different than a smart anyone else, except that he or she has a exhibited a lack of rationality in some particular philosophical and religious areas.
TheSkeptic
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6/28/2009 7:42:50 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Actually, I believe in a God, just not one that meets the standard theist definitions of all good, all powerful and all knowing, etc. I simply do not act on that belief, because I have no evidence that I might provide to prove it to others. My own observations may be flawed. Until I have a way to produce evidence, I assume that I can not make the assertion to others. I find that making that assertion is what qualifies one to be an atheist or a theist. I think that discussing the foundation of beliefs is meaningful only to the extent that someone acts upon or desires others to act upon those beliefs.

If you have no evidence that you can provide for others as proof, then it is foolish for you to continue believing it.
ToastOfDestiny
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6/28/2009 7:47:23 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I'm with MT. A smart anyone is a person with good reason skills, knowledge, and wisdom. A smart Christian is a smart person who has good reason skills, knowledge, and wisdom. Even religiously they exhibit these characteristics. They attempt to prove the existence of their God in logical and scientific ways (although I think these proofs are largely invalid).
At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
Our demise and industrial destruction
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Only exists in your head, as already shown.

At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
reveal why you answer with a question mark
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Because it was a question.

RFDs Pl0x:
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Lexicaholic
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6/28/2009 8:21:30 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 7:42:50 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:

If you have no evidence that you can provide for others as proof, then it is foolish for you to continue believing it.

If I believed myself to have seen or encountered someone, such as an old friend at a supermarket, but hadn't the time or the possibility to confirm with certainty what I had seen, would it be foolish for me to believe I had seen that person? No. Would it be foolish to tell others that I had seen that person? Yes. The best I could say is that I believed myself to have seen the person. It's the only valid claim.

So it is with me.
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GeoLaureate8
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6/28/2009 8:25:34 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 7:00:53 PM, Lexicaholic wrote:
At 6/28/2009 6:25:12 PM, beem0r wrote:

Take you, for example. You obviously have evaluated the likelihood of God at somewhere less than 50%. By the standard definitions of the words, you are in fact a strong atheist - with a >50% certainty, you believe there is no God.

Actually, I believe in a God, just not one that meets the standard theist definitions of all good, all powerful and all knowing, etc. I simply do not act on that belief, because I have no evidence that I might provide to prove it to others. My own observations may be flawed. Until I have a way to produce evidence, I assume that I can not make the assertion to others. I find that making that assertion is what qualifies one to be an atheist or a theist. I think that discussing the foundation of beliefs is meaningful only to the extent that someone acts upon or desires others to act upon those beliefs.

Of course, that doesn't mean you're not an agnostic in the sense of the word that applies to most people - you don't think you have 100% certainty of your belief. However, that term is not useful in discussing religious beliefs, since it applies to nearly everyone and doesn't contradict theism or atheism.

So technically then, I would be a theist?

Nope. You would qualify as a Deist with an agnostic outlook.

.
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Lexicaholic
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6/28/2009 8:48:25 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 6/28/2009 8:25:34 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 6/28/2009 7:00:53 PM, Lexicaholic wrote:
At 6/28/2009 6:25:12 PM, beem0r wrote:

Take you, for example. You obviously have evaluated the likelihood of God at somewhere less than 50%. By the standard definitions of the words, you are in fact a strong atheist - with a >50% certainty, you believe there is no God.

Actually, I believe in a God, just not one that meets the standard theist definitions of all good, all powerful and all knowing, etc. I simply do not act on that belief, because I have no evidence that I might provide to prove it to others. My own observations may be flawed. Until I have a way to produce evidence, I assume that I can not make the assertion to others. I find that making that assertion is what qualifies one to be an atheist or a theist. I think that discussing the foundation of beliefs is meaningful only to the extent that someone acts upon or desires others to act upon those beliefs.

Of course, that doesn't mean you're not an agnostic in the sense of the word that applies to most people - you don't think you have 100% certainty of your belief. However, that term is not useful in discussing religious beliefs, since it applies to nearly everyone and doesn't contradict theism or atheism.

So technically then, I would be a theist?

Nope. You would qualify as a Deist with an agnostic outlook.

Works for me. I think I will continue to qualify myself as an agnostic though ... as that better reflects the extent of how my belief affects my day to day business.
http://mastersofcreationrpg.com... - My new site and long-developed project. Should be fun.