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Is the Evidence the Same?

ethang5
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11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

Consider this statement by the famous atheist, Bertrand Russell.

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Note that many atheists here have said pretty much the same thing. This is what is usually referred to as Russells Tea Pot. But is this true? Is this a reasonable statement to make? Let's take a look shall we?

(For this argument I will treat as true the atheist claim that "there exists no evidence FOR the existence of God.")

Is the evidence for God exactly like the evidence for a cosmic teapot?

According to what atheists mean, the answer is yes. They claim there is absolutely no evidence for a cosmic teapot, exactly like the situation for God. No evidence whatsoever. Their conclusion therefore is, the belief in God should be treated exactly like the belief in a cosmic teapot.

Consider this question,
Is the evidence for extraterrestrials the same as the evidence for cosmic teapots?

According to atheists, the answer is yes. There is absolutely not one shred of evidence for cosmic teapots OR extraterrestrials.

Yet, how many of you are willing to treat the possibility of extraterrestrials exactly like the possibility of a cosmic teapot? Who agrees with the blunt statement that -the belief that extraterrestrials exist is exactly the same as the belief that a cosmic teapot exist?

Only the hopelessly biased or the painfully stupid would agree.

So then we see a new thing. A real thing obviously never considered by atheists.
The lack of evidence for a theory is not all that determines the quality of a theory.

There are things which can have no evidence and yet still be reasonable to believe. So, is the belief in God one of those things or not?

Consider history. There was a time when we lacked evidence for many things we now take for granted. What if we had approached the idea of the Earth having a molten core, exactly like the belief in fairies?

What if we had treated the idea that diseases were caused by tiny creatures, exactly like the idea that fairies lived in the Irish forests?

But this is precisely what atheist are advocating in the case with God!
Of course, the atheist will say, "Even without evidence, germs and the Earth having a molten core are possible things. Fairies are not." And this is true, but that does not fix the atheist's problem, for what we deem "possible" now, is based on current knowledge. But knowledge changes.

There was a time that if you told any scientist on Earth that humans traveling faster than the speed of sound and remaining alive was possible, he would have laughed in your face as a believer in fairies. There was a time if you said you believed that two men on opposite sides of the Earth could talk to each other in real time hearing each other's recognizable voices you would be branded ignorant of science.

The lack of evidence alone for a theory is not enough to render the theory false. The quality of the theory matters. Even to atheists. For example, The belief that there may be sentient entities composed entirely of energy is not of equal quality to the belief that the stars determine our destinies. (Astrology)

So then the question is.
Is God possible? Is it reasonable to believe God is a possibility?

Atheists want us to suppose that the belief in God is qualitatively equal to the belief in cosmic teapots. They claim this based of the general principle that;
...all theories with a zero quantity of evidence, are qualitatively equal.

But we know this isn't true! Even atheists themselves, outside the topic of God, do not behave as if this is true. Ask an atheist (who is married) if he believes his wife loves him and he will say yes. Ask him to show any evidence of this and he will have none. He does not treat his belief of his wife's love the same way he is suggesting we treat the belief in God. Why? Both beliefs have equal amounts of evidence.

Because with his wife, he isn't being disingenuous.

"But I can see my wife" is the usual reply. The question is not whether your wife exists, but whether she loves you.

So we see that the atheists claim that "all theories with zero evidence are qualitatively equal" is illogical, and the atheist himself does not behave as if it is universally true.

Even if we assume the atheist correct that there is no evidence for God, the conclusion he suggests from that claim is illogical. And the principle on which he justifies that conclusion is not only violated by him himself in virtually every other similar situation, but is also easily demonstrated to be illogical.

I will address the question, "Is it reasonable to believe God is a possibility?" in my next few posts.
ethang5
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11/3/2014 10:23:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Russell's Teapot: Does it Hold Water?

http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com...

Here is a famous passage from Bertrand Russell's Is There a God?

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

One thing Russell is doing in this passage is making an unexceptionable point about burden of proof and/or the ad ignorantiam fallacy. If the existence of X has not been disproven, it does not follow that X exists, or even that it is reasonable to believe that X exists. So if anyone were to affirm the existence of something like Russell's celestial teapot or Edward Abbey's angry unicorn on the dark side of the moon, then the onus probandi would be on him to support his outlandish claims. The burden of proof would not rest on those who deny or dismiss such claims.

So far, so good. Russell is of course doing more than underscoring a couple of obvious points in the theory of argumentation. He is applying his points of logic to the God question. Here too I have no complaint. If the existence of God has not been disproven, it does not follow that God exists or even that it is reasonable to believe that God exists.

But the real appeal to atheists and agnostics of the Teapot passage rests on a third move Russell makes. He is clearly suggesting that belief in God (i.e., belief that God exists) is epistemically on a par with believing in a celestial teapot. Just as we have no reason to believe in celestial teapots, irate lunar unicorns (lunicorns?), flying spaghetti monsters, and the like, we have no reason to believe in God. But perhaps we should distinguish between a strong and a weak reading of Russell's suggestion:

S. Just as we cannot have any reason to believe that an empirically undetectable celestial teapot exists, we cannot have any reason to believe that God exists.

W. Just as we do not have any reason to believe that a celestial teapot exists, we do not have any reason to believe that God exists.

Now it seems to me that both (S) and (W) are plainly false: we have all sorts of reasons for believing that God exists. Alvin Plantinga sketches about two dozen theistic arguments. Atheists will not find them compelling, of course, but that is irrelevant. The issue is whether a reasoned case can be made for theism, and the answer is in the affirmative. Belief in God and in Russell's teapot are therefore not on a par since there are no empirical or theoretical reasons for believing in his teapot.

Another suggestion embedded in the Russell passage is the notion that if God existed, he would be just another physical thing in the physical universe. But of course this has nothing to do with anything maintained by any sophisticated theist. God is a purely spiritual being.

Another problem with the teapot analogy is that God as traditionally conceived in the West is not an isolani " to use a chess expression. He is not like an isolated pawn, unsupported and unsupporting. For if God exists, then God is the cause of the existence of every contingent being, and indeed, of every being distinct from himself. This is not true of lunar unicorns and celestial teapots. If there is a lunar unicorn, then this is just one more isolated fact about the universe. But if God exists, then everything is unified by this fact: everything has the ground of its being and its intelligibility in the creative activity of this one paradigmatic being.

This is connected with the fact that one can argue from general facts about the universe to the existence of God, but not from such facts to the existence of lunar unicorns and celestial teapots. Thus there are various sorts of cosmological argument that proceed a contingentia mundi to a ground of contingent beings. But there is no similar a posteriori argument to a celestial teapot. There are also arguments from truth, from consciousness, from apparent design, from desire, from morality, and others besides.

The very existence of these arguments shows two things. First, since they move from very general facts (the existence of contingent beings, the existence of truth) to the existence of a source of these general facts, they show that God is not a being among beings, not something in addition to what is ordinarily taken to exist. Second, these arguments give positive reason for believing in the existence of God. Are they compelling? No, but then no argument for any substantive philosophical conclusion is compelling.

People like Russell, Dawkins, and Dennett who compare God to a celestial teapot betray by so doing a failure to understand, and engage, the very sense of the theist's assertions.

To sum up. (i) God is not a gratuitous posit in that there are many detailed arguments for the existence of God; (ii) God is not a physical being; (iii) God is not a being who simply exists alongside other beings. In all three respects, God is quite unlike a celestial teapot, a lunar uncorn, an invisible hippopotamus, and suchlike concoctions.

I am quite at a loss to explain why anyone should think the Teapot analogy any good. It leaks like a sieve.
bulproof
Posts: 25,303
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11/3/2014 10:29:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
disprove received dogmas
Bing Bong............sorry.
That's a fail.
Beastt
Posts: 5,135
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11/3/2014 10:41:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Note that many atheists here have said pretty much the same thing. This is what is usually referred to as Russells Tea Pot. But is this true? Is this a reasonable statement to make? Let's take a look shall we?

Is the evidence for God exactly like the evidence for a cosmic teapot?

According to what atheists mean, the answer is yes. They claim there is absolutely no evidence for a cosmic teapot, exactly like the situation for God. No evidence whatsoever. Their conclusion therefore is, the belief in God should be treated exactly like the belief in a cosmic teapot.

Consider this question,
Is the evidence for extraterrestrials the same as the evidence for cosmic teapots?

According to atheists, the answer is yes. There is absolutely not one shred of evidence for cosmic teapots OR extraterrestrials.
STRAWMAN. I've never made any such assertion, nor can I recall any other atheist making that assertion. We know that teapots are something made on Earth by humans. So the odds that a teapot would simply be floating about in the millions of miles of space in the solar system are essentially zero. But we tend to recognize that if life has formed on one planet, there is essentially zero possibility that this has only happened on one planet. So no, the evidence is not the same. That said, aside from a few vague photos, there remains no evidence out our disposal for examining the comparative likelihood of the teapot, verses the likelihood of aliens. But the evidence is most certainly not the same.

Yet, how many of you are willing to treat the possibility of extraterrestrials exactly like the possibility of a cosmic teapot? Who agrees with the blunt statement that -the belief that extraterrestrials exist is exactly the same as the belief that a cosmic teapot exist?

Certainly not I. Nor do I know of any other atheist who would agree with such an absurdity. Do I have evidence for the existence of grasshoppers and flies in some of the most wide open prairie lands still left in the world? No. Would I suggest that this means they do not exist? Of course not. Would I suggest that there is a fountain of youth sitting somewhere among those lands? Certainly not.

Magical over-bearing sky-fairies who do nothing are always substantially less likely than biological life on other planets. But again, this is a matter of odds, rather than direct objective evidence. Yet odds also work against the existence of God. What are the odds that God could be answering prayers, yet somehow keep this completely hidden from the numeric outcome of objective studies on prayers?

Only the hopelessly biased or the painfully stupid would agree.

So then we see a new thing. A real thing obviously never considered by atheists.
The lack of evidence for a theory is not all that determines the quality of a theory.

There are things which can have no evidence and yet still be reasonable to believe. So, is the belief in God one of those things or not?
Odds make them reasonable. The odds for God are still essentially zero.

Consider history. There was a time when we lacked evidence for many things we now take for granted. What if we had approached the idea of the Earth having a molten core, exactly like the belief in fairies?
There's nothing magical or contrary to physics about a molten core.

What if we had treated the idea that diseases were caused by tiny creatures, exactly like the idea that fairies lived in the Irish forests?
Again, nothing about microbes violates physics.

But this is precisely what atheist are advocating in the case with God!
Sorry, God DOES violate physics, odds, and evidence.

Of course, the atheist will say, "Even without evidence, germs and the Earth having a molten core are possible things. Fairies are not." And this is true, but that does not fix the atheist's problem, for what we deem "possible" now, is based on current knowledge. But knowledge changes.
There you have it; fairies are not possible... yet God is? Why?

There was a time that if you told any scientist on Earth that humans traveling faster than the speed of sound and remaining alive was possible, he would have laughed in your face as a believer in fairies.
Not true at all. There's no evidence showing supersonic speeds to be incompatible with life. Earth travels at supersonic speeds.

There was a time if you said you believed that two men on opposite sides of the Earth could talk to each other in real time hearing each other's recognizable voices you would be branded ignorant of science.
Once again, you're showing an ignorance of science. What physical laws are violated?

The lack of evidence alone for a theory is not enough to render the theory false.
S
The quality of the theory matters. Even to atheists. For example, The belief that there may be sentient entities composed entirely of energy is not of equal quality to the belief that the stars determine our destinies. (Astrology)

So then the question is.
Is God possible? Is it reasonable to believe God is a possibility?

Atheists want us to suppose that the belief in God is qualitatively equal to the belief in cosmic teapots. They claim this based of the general principle that;
...all theories with a zero quantity of evidence, are qualitatively equal.

But we know this isn't true! Even atheists themselves, outside the topic of God, do not behave as if this is true. Ask an atheist (who is married) if he believes his wife loves him and he will say yes. Ask him to show any evidence of this and he will have none. He does not treat his belief of his wife's love the same way he is suggesting we treat the belief in God. Why? Both beliefs have equal amounts of evidence.

Because with his wife, he isn't being disingenuous.

"But I can see my wife" is the usual reply. The question is not whether your wife exists, but whether she loves you.

So we see that the atheists claim that "all theories with zero evidence are qualitatively equal" is illogical, and the atheist himself does not behave as if it is universally true.
A "concept" (you're misusing the word "theory") which violates physical laws is not equal to one which does not.

Even if we assume the atheist correct that there is no evidence for God, the conclusion he suggests from that claim is illogical. And the principle on which he justifies that conclusion is not only violated by him himself in virtually every other similar situation, but is also easily demonstrated to be illogical.
If it's logical to rule out fairies, it's logical to rule out God.
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
ethang5
Posts: 4,117
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11/3/2014 11:37:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:41:05 AM, Beastt wrote:
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Note that many atheists here have said pretty much the same thing. This is what is usually referred to as Russells Tea Pot. But is this true? Is this a reasonable statement to make? Let's take a look shall we?

Is the evidence for God exactly like the evidence for a cosmic teapot?

According to what atheists mean, the answer is yes. They claim there is absolutely no evidence for a cosmic teapot, exactly like the situation for God. No evidence whatsoever. Their conclusion therefore is, the belief in God should be treated exactly like the belief in a cosmic teapot.

Consider this question,
Is the evidence for extraterrestrials the same as the evidence for cosmic teapots?

According to atheists, the answer is yes. There is absolutely not one shred of evidence for cosmic teapots OR extraterrestrials.

STRAWMAN. I've never made any such assertion, nor can I recall any other atheist making that assertion. We know that teapots are something made on Earth by humans.

Then the tea pot analogy fails. Because no theist claims that God is something made on Earth by humans.

So the odds that a teapot would simply be floating about in the millions of miles of space in the solar system are essentially zero. But we tend to recognize that if life has formed on one planet, there is essentially zero possibility that this has only happened on one planet. So no, the evidence is not the same.

Thank you for your support.

That said, aside from a few vague photos, there remains no evidence out our disposal for examining the comparative likelihood of the teapot, verses the likelihood of aliens. But the evidence is most certainly not the same.

But there is NO evidence for either. And you are agreeing with me that the beliefs should NOT be treated the same. Thanks.

Yet, how many of you are willing to treat the possibility of extraterrestrials exactly like the possibility of a cosmic teapot? Who agrees with the blunt statement that -the belief that extraterrestrials exist is exactly the same as the belief that a cosmic teapot exist?

Certainly not I. Nor do I know of any other atheist who would agree with such an absurdity.

Thank you. Then what is the significance of the atheist's sole emphasis on "no evidence at all"?

Do I have evidence for the existence of grasshoppers and flies in some of the most wide open prairie lands still left in the world? No. Would I suggest that this means they do not exist? Of course not. Would I suggest that there is a fountain of youth sitting somewhere among those lands? Certainly not.

So you treat two beliefs, for which you admit you have no evidence, differently. Thanks for your support.

Magical over-bearing sky-fairies who do nothing are always substantially less likely than biological life on other planets.

Why, when there is not one shred of evidence for either?

But again, this is a matter of odds, rather than direct objective evidence. Yet odds also work against the existence of God.

Then why is it that atheists never bring up odds? They only harp on the claim that "there is absolutely no evidence for God."

What are the odds that God could be answering prayers, yet somehow keep this completely hidden from the numeric outcome of objective studies on prayers?

The atheist prayer question is so stupid that I cannot answer truthfully without insulting you, and I don't want to insult you. Thankfully, it is off topic.

So then we see a new thing. A real thing obviously never considered by atheists.
The lack of evidence for a theory is not all that determines the quality of a theory.

There are things which can have no evidence and yet still be reasonable to believe.

So, is the belief in God one of those things or not?

Odds make them reasonable. The odds for God are still essentially zero.

How do you know the odds of God?

Consider history. There was a time when we lacked evidence for many things we now take for granted. What if we had approached the idea of the Earth having a molten core, exactly like the belief in fairies?

There's nothing magical or contrary to physics about a molten core.

Yes. We know that now.

What if we had treated the idea that diseases were caused by tiny creatures, exactly like the idea that fairies lived in the Irish forests?

Again, nothing about microbes violates physics.

Yes. We know that now.

But this is precisely what atheist are advocating in the case with God!

Sorry, God DOES violate physics, odds, and evidence.

Show how.

Of course, the atheist will say, "Even without evidence, germs and the Earth having a molten core are possible things. Fairies are not." And this is true, but that does not fix the atheist's problem, for what we deem "possible" now, is based on current knowledge. But knowledge changes.

There you have it; fairies are not possible... yet God is? Why?

Read the second post on this thread.

There was a time that if you told any scientist on Earth that humans traveling faster than the speed of sound and remaining alive was possible, he would have laughed in your face as a believer in fairies.

Not true at all. There's no evidence showing supersonic speeds to be incompatible with life. Earth travels at supersonic speeds.

Yes. We know that now.

There was a time if you said you believed that two men on opposite sides of the Earth could talk to each other in real time hearing each other's recognizable voices you would be branded ignorant of science.

Once again, you're showing an ignorance of science. What physical laws are violated?

A mans voice cannot carry to the other side of the Globe. His lungs do not have the capacity to create such loud noise. A noise that loud would probably kill the man. (I know he wont get it, but there's no need to rush)

A "concept" (you're misusing the word "theory") which violates physical laws is not equal to one which does not.

Yes. my point exactly. It is not only simply whether we have evidence for it now, (quantity) but how sensible is it? (quality) Yet atheists when harping on the celestial tea pot theme NEVER bring up quality, only quantity. They say, "There is absolutely no evidence for God, just like for fairies, therefore.......it is as reasonable to believe in God as it is to believe in fairies."

That is clearly illogical.

Plus, we must know the physical laws before we can know whether a concept violates them or not. Our knowledge grows.

Even if we assume the atheist correct that there is no evidence for God, the conclusion he suggests from that claim is illogical. And the principle on which he justifies that conclusion is not only violated by him himself in virtually every other similar situation, but is also easily demonstrated to be illogical.

If it's logical to rule out fairies, it's logical to rule out God.

Why? It cannot be because both have no evidence, as we have shown that to be illogical and violated by the atheist himself.
ethang5
Posts: 4,117
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11/3/2014 11:38:38 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:42:13 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
http://www.academia.edu....

http://www.andrewmbailey.com...

Dont' see the appeal of the argument myself.

Yet it is so popular among atheists. One can only wonder.....
Burzmali
Posts: 1,310
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11/3/2014 11:40:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

Consider this statement by the famous atheist, Bertrand Russell.

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Note that many atheists here have said pretty much the same thing. This is what is usually referred to as Russells Tea Pot. But is this true? Is this a reasonable statement to make? Let's take a look shall we?

(For this argument I will treat as true the atheist claim that "there exists no evidence FOR the existence of God.")

Is the evidence for God exactly like the evidence for a cosmic teapot?

According to what atheists mean, the answer is yes. They claim there is absolutely no evidence for a cosmic teapot, exactly like the situation for God. No evidence whatsoever. Their conclusion therefore is, the belief in God should be treated exactly like the belief in a cosmic teapot.

Consider this question,
Is the evidence for extraterrestrials the same as the evidence for cosmic teapots?

According to atheists, the answer is yes. There is absolutely not one shred of evidence for cosmic teapots OR extraterrestrials.

Yet, how many of you are willing to treat the possibility of extraterrestrials exactly like the possibility of a cosmic teapot? Who agrees with the blunt statement that -the belief that extraterrestrials exist is exactly the same as the belief that a cosmic teapot exist?

Only the hopelessly biased or the painfully stupid would agree.

So then we see a new thing. A real thing obviously never considered by atheists.
The lack of evidence for a theory is not all that determines the quality of a theory.

There are things which can have no evidence and yet still be reasonable to believe. So, is the belief in God one of those things or not?

Consider history. There was a time when we lacked evidence for many things we now take for granted. What if we had approached the idea of the Earth having a molten core, exactly like the belief in fairies?

What if we had treated the idea that diseases were caused by tiny creatures, exactly like the idea that fairies lived in the Irish forests?

But this is precisely what atheist are advocating in the case with God!
Of course, the atheist will say, "Even without evidence, germs and the Earth having a molten core are possible things. Fairies are not." And this is true, but that does not fix the atheist's problem, for what we deem "possible" now, is based on current knowledge. But knowledge changes.

There was a time that if you told any scientist on Earth that humans traveling faster than the speed of sound and remaining alive was possible, he would have laughed in your face as a believer in fairies. There was a time if you said you believed that two men on opposite sides of the Earth could talk to each other in real time hearing each other's recognizable voices you would be branded ignorant of science.

The lack of evidence alone for a theory is not enough to render the theory false. The quality of the theory matters. Even to atheists. For example, The belief that there may be sentient entities composed entirely of energy is not of equal quality to the belief that the stars determine our destinies. (Astrology)

So then the question is.
Is God possible? Is it reasonable to believe God is a possibility?

Atheists want us to suppose that the belief in God is qualitatively equal to the belief in cosmic teapots. They claim this based of the general principle that;
...all theories with a zero quantity of evidence, are qualitatively equal.

But we know this isn't true! Even atheists themselves, outside the topic of God, do not behave as if this is true. Ask an atheist (who is married) if he believes his wife loves him and he will say yes. Ask him to show any evidence of this and he will have none. He does not treat his belief of his wife's love the same way he is suggesting we treat the belief in God. Why? Both beliefs have equal amounts of evidence.

Because with his wife, he isn't being disingenuous.

"But I can see my wife" is the usual reply. The question is not whether your wife exists, but whether she loves you.

So we see that the atheists claim that "all theories with zero evidence are qualitatively equal" is illogical, and the atheist himself does not behave as if it is universally true.

Even if we assume the atheist correct that there is no evidence for God, the conclusion he suggests from that claim is illogical. And the principle on which he justifies that conclusion is not only violated by him himself in virtually every other similar situation, but is also easily demonstrated to be illogical.

I will address the question, "Is it reasonable to believe God is a possibility?" in my next few posts.

The idea that the Earth has a molten core started from observable evidence: volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. Through further investigation, the idea was confirmed. The same goes for the germ theory of disease. Similarly, the ideas of fairies and gods started from observable evidence (yet unexplained phenomena), but that evidence was later found to be caused by completely natural processes. Every test of any god, or fairies, has turned out exactly the same: either natural processes at work or the results were such that it was impossible to identify the cause. Unexplained results were just as likely to point to fairies, gremlins, magical donuts, or purple dragons, or even natural processes, as they were to point to anyone's idea of a god. So, with such an abysmal track record, I think atheists can be forgiven for taking such a skeptical view of god claims.

We can demonstrate with reasonable certainty that gods don't exist any time that they are defined with testable attributes, and they have always failed such tests.
RoderickSpode
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11/3/2014 12:23:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:23:32 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Russell's Teapot: Does it Hold Water?

But the real appeal to atheists and agnostics of the Teapot passage rests on a third move Russell makes. He is clearly suggesting that belief in God (i.e., belief that God exists) is epistemically on a par with believing in a celestial teapot. Just as we have no reason to believe in celestial teapots, irate lunar unicorns (lunicorns?), flying spaghetti monsters, and the like, we have no reason to believe in God. But perhaps we should distinguish between a strong and a weak reading of Russell's suggestion:

S. Just as we cannot have any reason to believe that an empirically undetectable celestial teapot exists, we cannot have any reason to believe that God exists.

W. Just as we do not have any reason to believe that a celestial teapot exists, we do not have any reason to believe that God exists.

Now it seems to me that both (S) and (W) are plainly false: we have all sorts of reasons for believing that God exists. Alvin Plantinga sketches about two dozen theistic arguments. Atheists will not find them compelling, of course, but that is irrelevant. The issue is whether a reasoned case can be made for theism, and the answer is in the affirmative. Belief in God and in Russell's teapot are therefore not on a par since there are no empirical or theoretical reasons for believing in his teapot.

I think there's a whole other kind of peer status symbol in the adult world that compares remarkably well with the schoolyard peer status symbol. It's perhaps more sophisticated, and is based on intellect rather than muscle (or in lesser grade levels, who's daddy can beat up who's daddy), but the similarity is compelling. In the schoolyard, it's not really about what is ultimately right, but rather what nurtures the status symbol image (what is cool). There's a hardening that takes place that rejects adult intervention, and the appeal to sincere care. To give in would be weak. The typical gang scenario where a code is broken if a gang member gives in to service from an outside authoritative source attempting to extend help. Sometimes the rejection is without any particular reason other than the embracing of rebellion, or it might include the conclusion that the authoritative figures are insincere.

While in the adult world, the atheist activist removes the more juvenile elements from their repetoire (Dawkins can beat up Craig, etc.), at times just through conversation alone, bitterness reveals itself (even in public media debates). I believe that there are deep rooted psychological reasons for the rejection of the Creator particularly among atheist activists that are similar to the juvenile rejecting sincere authority.

Another suggestion embedded in the Russell passage is the notion that if God existed, he would be just another physical thing in the physical universe. But of course this has nothing to do with anything maintained by any sophisticated theist. God is a purely spiritual being.

A problem many atheists seem to have is that if God is any sort of omnipotent being, even if not the God of the Bible, they still need to address the imperfections of life in conjunction with this type of Creator's morality. And since they generally do not want to claim that just any creator has to be evil based on that premise, the idea of the Creator being just another physical being has it's advantages (e.g., this physical being/creator would nothing to do with natural disasters).
ethang5
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11/3/2014 12:25:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 11:40:55 AM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

The idea that the Earth has a molten core started from observable evidence: volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. Through further investigation, the idea was confirmed. The same goes for the germ theory of disease. Similarly, the ideas of fairies and gods started from observable evidence (yet unexplained phenomena), but that evidence was later found to be caused by completely natural processes. Every test of any god, or fairies, has turned out exactly the same: either natural processes at work or the results were such that it was impossible to identify the cause. Unexplained results were just as likely to point to fairies, gremlins, magical donuts, or purple dragons, or even natural processes, as they were to point to anyone's idea of a god. So, with such an abysmal track record, I think atheists can be forgiven for taking such a skeptical view of god claims.

We can demonstrate with reasonable certainty that gods don't exist any time that they are defined with testable attributes, and they have always failed such tests.

I don't know if you missed the point of the post or if you knowingly decided to ignore it. In either case, when you post something on topic, I may respond in kind. Thanks.
Beastt
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11/3/2014 12:46:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 11:37:10 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 10:41:05 AM, Beastt wrote:

STRAWMAN. I've never made any such assertion, nor can I recall any other atheist making that assertion. We know that teapots are something made on Earth by humans.

Then the tea pot analogy fails. Because no theist claims that God is something made on Earth by humans.
Firstly, there is no indication that God is anything other than a fabrication of humans on Earth - human imagination. Secondly, no one said that only the quality of being a human construct on Earth, disqualified a given concept from the probability of existing. But it is one quality which helps to disqualify the teapot.

So the odds that a teapot would simply be floating about in the millions of miles of space in the solar system are essentially zero. But we tend to recognize that if life has formed on one planet, there is essentially zero possibility that this has only happened on one planet. So no, the evidence is not the same.

Thank you for your support.
Which I'm sure you wish you had. But nothing I've offered supports the inane conclusion that because God is not a teapot floating in space, he is therefore plausible. Even if you dismiss every other proposed quality of God, the mere assertion of a disembodied intelligence makes him less likely than the teapot. We know that teapots do exist, and we know that objects in space, do float about.until/unless acted upon by a force which gives them velocity.

That said, aside from a few vague photos, there remains no evidence at our disposal for examining the comparative likelihood of the teapot, verses the likelihood of aliens. But the evidence is most certainly not the same.

But there is NO evidence for either. And you are agreeing with me that the beliefs should NOT be treated the same. Thanks.
Sorry, but we do have evidence for teapots. The evidence for aliens, aside from probability based on the known development of life, is flimsy. The evidence for God is non-existent.

Yet, how many of you are willing to treat the possibility of extraterrestrials exactly like the possibility of a cosmic teapot? Who agrees with the blunt statement that -the belief that extraterrestrials exist is exactly the same as the belief that a cosmic teapot exist?

Certainly not I. Nor do I know of any other atheist who would agree with such an absurdity.

Thank you. Then what is the significance of the atheist's sole emphasis on "no evidence at all"?
Teapots do exist. They are not a concept contrary to what is known to exist. The only question is; has one been relocated into space?
Life does exist. By all objective indications, it formed spontaneously through chemical interactions. The question is; did it only occur on one planet?
There is no indication of disembodied life, which is a contradiction to itself - an oxy-moron. There is no indication that disembodied knowledge is possible. Knowledge is physical. There is no mechanism by which a supposed disembodied knowledge could create the physical, from the non-physical. There is no statistical, objective or probabilistic evidence for God.

Do I have evidence for the existence of grasshoppers and flies in some of the most wide open prairie lands still left in the world? No. Would I suggest that this means they do not exist? Of course not. Would I suggest that there is a fountain of youth sitting somewhere among those lands? Certainly not.

So you treat two beliefs, for which you admit you have no evidence, differently. Thanks for your support.

*** VIOLATIONS OF PHYSICAL LAWS
Once again, this obviously does not support your claim because your entire claim rests on a strawman as I have already shown. Grasshoppers and flies are known to exist, and they're known to exist on wild grasslands. So there is nothing outside of the laws of probability in suggesting them to be likely on unexamined grasslands. Not so for God. And this should be blatantly evident to you. But for the sake of your bias, you remain willfully blind to the obvious. Flies and grasshoppers are far more likely than a disembodied life, which creates the physical through disembodied thought. God is simply fantasy, stacked atop fantasy, supported only through additional fantasy. Not so for teapots, grasshoppers, or flies.

Magical over-bearing sky-fairies who do nothing are always substantially less likely than biological life on other planets.

Why, when there is not one shred of evidence for either?
Because one is perfectly acceptable within all of the known laws of physics. The other is completely rejected by multiple laws of physics. To claim them as equally likely is the act of utter desperation and logical suicide.

But again, this is a matter of odds, rather than direct objective evidence. Yet odds also work against the existence of God.

Then why is it that atheists never bring up odds? They only harp on the claim that "there is absolutely no evidence for God."
I've brought up odds many times (i.e. statistics in prayer studies). I'm an atheist. So your claim is purely false.

What are the odds that God could be answering prayers, yet somehow keep this completely hidden from the numeric outcome of objective studies on prayers?

The atheist prayer question is so stupid that I cannot answer truthfully without insulting you, and I don't want to insult you. Thankfully, it is off topic.
The nature of that response is so obvious, the steam is still rising to call in the flies. Answer the question and don't be so cowardly and disingenuous in the future. How?

So then we see a new thing. A real thing obviously never considered by atheists.
The lack of evidence for a theory is not all that determines the quality of a theory.

There are things which can have no evidence and yet still be reasonable to believe.

So, is the belief in God one of those things or not?

Odds make them reasonable. The odds for God are still essentially zero.

How do you know the odds of God?
If I write an entire post consisting of all of the obvious violations of physical laws presented in the concept of God, will you stop pretending you've never heard them? ***(See: VIOLATIONS OF PHYSICAL LAWS, above).

Consider history. There was a time when we lacked evidence for many things we now take for granted. What if we had approached the idea of the Earth having a molten core, exactly like the belief in fairies?

There's nothing magical or contrary to physics about a molten core.

Yes. We know that now.
And we knew that then. Stop pretending like we didn't.

What if we had treated the idea that diseases were caused by tiny creatures, exactly like the idea that fairies lived in the Irish forests?

Again, nothing about microbes violates physics.

Yes. We know that now.
And we knew that then. Do you think you're hiding the fear you show when you make such ridiculously disingenuous statements? You appear as though you are running from a bee... slapping at a anything and everything in utter desperation. It's really quite silly.

But this is precisely what atheist are advocating in the case with God!

Sorry, God DOES violate physics, odds, and evidence.

Show how.
***(See: VIOLATIONS OF PHYSICAL LAWS, above)

Of course, the atheist will say, "Even without evidence, germs and the Earth having a molten core are possible things. Fairies are not." And this is true, but that does not fix the atheist's problem, for what we deem "possible" now, is based on current knowledge. But knowledge changes.

There you have it; fairies are not possible... yet God is? Why?

Read the second post on this thread.
Why? You'll simply double-back on everything as you've already begun to do. Desperation makes you irrational.
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
RoderickSpode
Posts: 2,384
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11/3/2014 12:52:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:23:32 AM, ethang5 wrote:


I am quite at a loss to explain why anyone should think the Teapot analogy any good. It leaks like a sieve.
The teapot analogy is completely absurd. It's basically Russell trying to flex a particular muscle to impress his colleagues at the atheist philosopher's version of Venice Beach.
Burzmali
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11/3/2014 1:39:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 12:25:34 PM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 11:40:55 AM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

The idea that the Earth has a molten core started from observable evidence: volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. Through further investigation, the idea was confirmed. The same goes for the germ theory of disease. Similarly, the ideas of fairies and gods started from observable evidence (yet unexplained phenomena), but that evidence was later found to be caused by completely natural processes. Every test of any god, or fairies, has turned out exactly the same: either natural processes at work or the results were such that it was impossible to identify the cause. Unexplained results were just as likely to point to fairies, gremlins, magical donuts, or purple dragons, or even natural processes, as they were to point to anyone's idea of a god. So, with such an abysmal track record, I think atheists can be forgiven for taking such a skeptical view of god claims.

We can demonstrate with reasonable certainty that gods don't exist any time that they are defined with testable attributes, and they have always failed such tests.

I don't know if you missed the point of the post or if you knowingly decided to ignore it. In either case, when you post something on topic, I may respond in kind. Thanks.

I thought the direct refutation of one of your supporting points, that we should treat your god idea the same way we've treated valid scientific ideas, would be something you'd like to actually discuss. I guess I was mistaken.
ethang5
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11/3/2014 1:48:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 12:46:21 PM, Beastt wrote:
At 11/3/2014 11:37:10 AM, ethang5 wrote:

STRAWMAN. I've never made any such assertion, nor can I recall any other atheist making that assertion. We know that teapots are something made on Earth by humans.

Then the tea pot analogy fails. Because no theist claims that God is something made on Earth by humans.

But it is one quality which helps to disqualify the teapot.

Thank you for agreeing with me that the tea pot analogy fails.

So the odds that a teapot would simply be floating about in the millions of miles of space in the solar system are essentially zero. But we tend to recognize that if life has formed on one planet, there is essentially zero possibility that this has only happened on one planet. So no, the evidence is not the same.

Thank you for agreeing with me that concepts with zero evidence are not all qualitatively the same.

But nothing I've offered supports the inane conclusion that because God is not a teapot floating in space, he is therefore plausible.

I'm glad because that isn't my conclusion. We both agree it's inane. Perhaps it's yours?

Even if you dismiss every other proposed quality of God, the mere assertion of a disembodied intelligence makes him less likely than the teapot.

Why would God have to fit your definition of human life? Isn't it kinda of stupid to change the definition of God and then claim God violates physical laws? Does the theist claim that God is a human subject to natural law?

That said, aside from a few vague photos, there remains no evidence at our disposal for examining the comparative likelihood of the teapot, verses the likelihood of aliens. But the evidence is most certainly not the same.

Thank you. That is my point, except that there is in fact no evidence for either at all. Yet, you agree with me that they should be treated differently.

Sorry, but we do have evidence for teapots.

That is not evidence for one floating in space.

The evidence for aliens, aside from probability based on the known development of life, is flimsy.

Untrue. There is at present no evidence WHATSOEVER for alien life.

The evidence for God is non-existent.

Had you read the OP, you would not be telling me what I told you earlier.

Certainly not I. Nor do I know of any other atheist who would agree with such an absurdity.

Thank you. Then what is the significance of the atheist's sole emphasis on "no evidence at all"?

Teapots do exist. They are not a concept contrary to what is known to exist.

The point is that there is no evidence for a tea pot floating out in space.
You agreed that the tea pot analogy was disqualified. Would you like to recant?

Life does exist. By all objective indications, it formed spontaneously through chemical interactions.

Untrue. All observable science and from the dawn of time has shown that life comes from nothing but life.

There is no indication of disembodied life, which is a contradiction to itself - an oxy-moron.

Is the theist's claim that God is a man under natural law?

There is no statistical, objective or probabilistic evidence for God.

Had you read the OP, you would not be telling me what I told you earlier.

So you treat two beliefs, for which you admit you have no evidence, differently. Thanks for your support.

*** VIOLATIONS OF PHYSICAL LAWS
Once again, this obviously does not support your claim because your entire claim rests on a strawman as I have already shown.

As you have said, not shown.

Grasshoppers and flies are known to exist, and they're known to exist on wild grasslands.

So any claim about them is plausible?

Not so for God. And this should be blatantly evident to you.

I am simply not ignorant. I know that the point of our exercise is whether the lack of evidence for God is the same as the lack of evidence for fairies or tea pots as atheists claim. It isn't.

Flies and grasshoppers are far more likely than a disembodied life, which creates the physical through disembodied thought.

Beastt, calm down. You are agreeing with me. If you say no, then you are unwittingly agreeing with me. I am the one agreeing with you that concepts are judged on MORE than just the amount of evidence we have for them, we judge whether the concept is rational also.

God is simply fantasy, stacked atop fantasy, supported only through additional fantasy. Not so for teapots, grasshoppers, or flies.

But it isn't the existence of God against tea pots and grasshoppers. It's whether they are qualitatively the same BECAUSE there is no evidence for them.

Why, when there is not one shred of evidence for either?

Because one is perfectly acceptable within all of the known laws of physics.

So you agree with my initial claim, just because two claims have zero evidence, does not necessarily mean they should be treated alike.

But again, this is a matter of odds, rather than direct objective evidence.

Yet all you will hear atheist moan about is the complete lack of evidence!

What are the odds that God could be answering prayers, yet somehow keep this completely hidden from the numeric outcome of objective studies on prayers?

The atheist prayer question is so stupid that I cannot answer truthfully without insulting you, and I don't want to insult you. Thankfully, it is off topic.

The nature of that response is so obvious, the steam is still rising to call in the flies. Answer the question and don't be so cowardly and disingenuous in the future.

If you want an answer to your question, start a thread. Don't demand I derail my own thread on an inane question. And it is off topic.

So then we see a new thing. A real thing obviously never considered by atheists.
The lack of evidence for a theory is not all that determines the quality of a theory.

There are things which can have no evidence and yet still be reasonable to believe.

As beastt has so graciously co-asserted.

So, is the belief in God one of those things or not?

Odds make them reasonable. The odds for God are still essentially zero.

How do you know the odds of God?

If I write an entire post consisting of all of the obvious violations of physical laws presented in the concept of God, will you stop pretending you've never heard them?

I haven't heard your reasons. Why should I assume?

(See: VIOLATIONS OF PHYSICAL LAWS, above).

Within the definition of God is the claim that He is the cause of physical laws and thus not subject to them. You have to deal with the actual claim and not what you'd like it to be.

Consider history. There was a time when we lacked evidence for many things we now take for granted. What if we had approached the idea of the Earth having a molten core, exactly like the belief in fairies?

There's nothing magical or contrary to physics about a molten core.

Yes. We know that now.

And we knew that then. Stop pretending like we didn't.

Are you saying we've always known it?

What if we had treated the idea that diseases were caused by tiny creatures, exactly like the idea that fairies lived in the Irish forests?

Again, nothing about microbes violates physics.

Yes. We know that now.

And we knew that then.

Then when? In 1437?

But this is precisely what atheist are advocating in the case with God!

Sorry, God DOES violate physics, odds, and evidence.

So what? The claim does not place God under physical law.

There you have it; fairies are not possible... yet God is? Why?

Read the second post on this thread.

Why?

You asked. And that's where the answer is. If you don't want to read the answer, quit asking the question.
ethang5
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11/3/2014 1:57:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 1:39:26 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 12:25:34 PM, ethang5 wrote:

Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

The idea that the Earth has a molten core started from observable evidence: volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. Through further investigation, the idea was confirmed. The same goes for the germ theory of disease. Similarly, the ideas of fairies and gods started from observable evidence (yet unexplained phenomena), but that evidence was later found to be caused by completely natural processes. Every test of any god, or fairies, has turned out exactly the same: either natural processes at work or the results were such that it was impossible to identify the cause. Unexplained results were just as likely to point to fairies, gremlins, magical donuts, or purple dragons, or even natural processes, as they were to point to anyone's idea of a god. So, with such an abysmal track record, I think atheists can be forgiven for taking such a skeptical view of god claims.

We can demonstrate with reasonable certainty that gods don't exist any time that they are defined with testable attributes, and they have always failed such tests.

I don't know if you missed the point of the post or if you knowingly decided to ignore it. In either case, when you post something on topic, I may respond in kind. Thanks.

I thought the direct refutation of one of your supporting points, that we should treat your god idea the same way we've treated valid scientific ideas, would be something you'd like to actually discuss. I guess I was mistaken.

Oh sorry. It really would have helped me if you had included the refutation in your post.

The timeline of our knowledge is irrelevant. There was a time we had not one shred of evidence for a molten core. Yet, the claim for a molten core was NOT similar to others claims with zero evidence. That is a fact. Anyone saying that every claim with zero evidence should be treated the same is an idiot.

Do you refute that?

Then you go on to the moot, "there is no evidence for God." Something I said I would accept at the beginning of the thread.

My point is that, given that there is no evidence for God or a celestial tea pot, is it correct/logical to treat both claims equally?

Want to take a shot at that?
Burzmali
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11/3/2014 2:28:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 1:57:32 PM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:39:26 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 12:25:34 PM, ethang5 wrote:

Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

The idea that the Earth has a molten core started from observable evidence: volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. Through further investigation, the idea was confirmed. The same goes for the germ theory of disease. Similarly, the ideas of fairies and gods started from observable evidence (yet unexplained phenomena), but that evidence was later found to be caused by completely natural processes. Every test of any god, or fairies, has turned out exactly the same: either natural processes at work or the results were such that it was impossible to identify the cause. Unexplained results were just as likely to point to fairies, gremlins, magical donuts, or purple dragons, or even natural processes, as they were to point to anyone's idea of a god. So, with such an abysmal track record, I think atheists can be forgiven for taking such a skeptical view of god claims.

We can demonstrate with reasonable certainty that gods don't exist any time that they are defined with testable attributes, and they have always failed such tests.

I don't know if you missed the point of the post or if you knowingly decided to ignore it. In either case, when you post something on topic, I may respond in kind. Thanks.

I thought the direct refutation of one of your supporting points, that we should treat your god idea the same way we've treated valid scientific ideas, would be something you'd like to actually discuss. I guess I was mistaken.

Oh sorry. It really would have helped me if you had included the refutation in your post.

The timeline of our knowledge is irrelevant. There was a time we had not one shred of evidence for a molten core. Yet, the claim for a molten core was NOT similar to others claims with zero evidence. That is a fact. Anyone saying that every claim with zero evidence should be treated the same is an idiot.

Do you refute that?

Then you go on to the moot, "there is no evidence for God." Something I said I would accept at the beginning of the thread.

My point is that, given that there is no evidence for God or a celestial tea pot, is it correct/logical to treat both claims equally?

Want to take a shot at that?

All claims should be treated the same in that the person making them should be expected to provide evidence. And if that burden is not met, then they should be treated the same in being rejected or further investigated until the burden is met. Since the burden has not been met for god or for the teapot, then I think they should be treated the same in that regard. Now, one may be more worthy of investigation than another. The teapot is irrelevant to most people, while the god claim potentially is relevant to everyone. However, the god claim has been tested and retested so many times with the burden unmet that I'm inclined to think it deserves about as much consideration as the teapot, or fairies, at this point.
MEK
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11/3/2014 5:50:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:23:32 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Russell's Teapot: Does it Hold Water?

http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com...

Here is a famous passage from Bertrand Russell's Is There a God?

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

One thing Russell is doing in this passage is making an unexceptionable point about burden of proof and/or the ad ignorantiam fallacy. If the existence of X has not been disproven, it does not follow that X exists, or even that it is reasonable to believe that X exists. So if anyone were to affirm the existence of something like Russell's celestial teapot or Edward Abbey's angry unicorn on the dark side of the moon, then the onus probandi would be on him to support his outlandish claims. The burden of proof would not rest on those who deny or dismiss such claims.

So far, so good. Russell is of course doing more than underscoring a couple of obvious points in the theory of argumentation. He is applying his points of logic to the God question. Here too I have no complaint. If the existence of God has not been disproven, it does not follow that God exists or even that it is reasonable to believe that God exists.

But the real appeal to atheists and agnostics of the Teapot passage rests on a third move Russell makes. He is clearly suggesting that belief in God (i.e., belief that God exists) is epistemically on a par with believing in a celestial teapot. Just as we have no reason to believe in celestial teapots, irate lunar unicorns (lunicorns?), flying spaghetti monsters, and the like, we have no reason to believe in God. But perhaps we should distinguish between a strong and a weak reading of Russell's suggestion:

S. Just as we cannot have any reason to believe that an empirically undetectable celestial teapot exists, we cannot have any reason to believe that God exists.

W. Just as we do not have any reason to believe that a celestial teapot exists, we do not have any reason to believe that God exists.

Now it seems to me that both (S) and (W) are plainly false: we have all sorts of reasons for believing that God exists. Alvin Plantinga sketches about two dozen theistic arguments. Atheists will not find them compelling, of course, but that is irrelevant. The issue is whether a reasoned case can be made for theism, and the answer is in the affirmative. Belief in God and in Russell's teapot are therefore not on a par since there are no empirical or theoretical reasons for believing in his teapot.

Another suggestion embedded in the Russell passage is the notion that if God existed, he would be just another physical thing in the physical universe. But of course this has nothing to do with anything maintained by any sophisticated theist. God is a purely spiritual being.

Another problem with the teapot analogy is that God as traditionally conceived in the West is not an isolani " to use a chess expression. He is not like an isolated pawn, unsupported and unsupporting. For if God exists, then God is the cause of the existence of every contingent being, and indeed, of every being distinct from himself. This is not true of lunar unicorns and celestial teapots. If there is a lunar unicorn, then this is just one more isolated fact about the universe. But if God exists, then everything is unified by this fact: everything has the ground of its being and its intelligibility in the creative activity of this one paradigmatic being.

This is connected with the fact that one can argue from general facts about the universe to the existence of God, but not from such facts to the existence of lunar unicorns and celestial teapots. Thus there are various sorts of cosmological argument that proceed a contingentia mundi to a ground of contingent beings. But there is no similar a posteriori argument to a celestial teapot. There are also arguments from truth, from consciousness, from apparent design, from desire, from morality, and others besides.

The very existence of these arguments shows two things. First, since they move from very general facts (the existence of contingent beings, the existence of truth) to the existence of a source of these general facts, they show that God is not a being among beings, not something in addition to what is ordinarily taken to exist. Second, these arguments give positive reason for believing in the existence of God. Are they compelling? No, but then no argument for any substantive philosophical conclusion is compelling.

People like Russell, Dawkins, and Dennett who compare God to a celestial teapot betray by so doing a failure to understand, and engage, the very sense of the theist's assertions.

To sum up. (i) God is not a gratuitous posit in that there are many detailed arguments for the existence of God; (ii) God is not a physical being; (iii) God is not a being who simply exists alongside other beings. In all three respects, God is quite unlike a celestial teapot, a lunar uncorn, an invisible hippopotamus, and suchlike concoctions.

I am quite at a loss to explain why anyone should think the Teapot analogy any good. It leaks like a sieve.

I have not read all of the responses so I apologize if I am echoing another.
I believe the term "atheist" has loosely been used from time to time synonymously with "a deist". Although I am speaking for myself, I believe others share my view that we cannot know whether or not there exists some supernatural deity. Like B. Russell"s tea pot " we cannot disprove a negative. Now, with that being said " I can fully concede that there may be a god. I can even grant you that this is a possibility.
This is significantly different than positing that there is an intervening god who cares for us, answers prayers, has a place for us to go after we die, cares what we do and what we think, etc. This would be the "theists" position for which we (the "atheist") say, there is simply no evidence to support this assertion.
So in regards to your claim that atheists give special circumstance to the likelihood of there being other life forms somewhere that are not extended to an existing god is only valid if we are NOT talking about an intervening god. Believing others like or similar to us exist outside of our universe is logical. Believing that there is a supernatural entity intervening in our lives capriciously and surreptitiously.
ethang5
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11/4/2014 9:18:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 2:28:24 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:57:32 PM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:39:26 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 12:25:34 PM, ethang5 wrote:

Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

The idea that the Earth has a molten core started from observable evidence: volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. Through further investigation, the idea was confirmed. The same goes for the germ theory of disease. Similarly, the ideas of fairies and gods started from observable evidence (yet unexplained phenomena), but that evidence was later found to be caused by completely natural processes. Every test of any god, or fairies, has turned out exactly the same: either natural processes at work or the results were such that it was impossible to identify the cause. Unexplained results were just as likely to point to fairies, gremlins, magical donuts, or purple dragons, or even natural processes, as they were to point to anyone's idea of a god. So, with such an abysmal track record, I think atheists can be forgiven for taking such a skeptical view of god claims.

We can demonstrate with reasonable certainty that gods don't exist any time that they are defined with testable attributes, and they have always failed such tests.

I don't know if you missed the point of the post or if you knowingly decided to ignore it. In either case, when you post something on topic, I may respond in kind. Thanks.

I thought the direct refutation of one of your supporting points, that we should treat your god idea the same way we've treated valid scientific ideas, would be something you'd like to actually discuss. I guess I was mistaken.

Oh sorry. It really would have helped me if you had included the refutation in your post.

The timeline of our knowledge is irrelevant. There was a time we had not one shred of evidence for a molten core. Yet, the claim for a molten core was NOT similar to others claims with zero evidence. That is a fact. Anyone saying that every claim with zero evidence should be treated the same is an idiot.

Do you refute that?

Then you go on to the moot, "there is no evidence for God." Something I said I would accept at the beginning of the thread.

My point is that, given that there is no evidence for God or a celestial tea pot, is it correct/logical to treat both claims equally?

Want to take a shot at that?

All claims should be treated the same in that the person making them should be expected to provide evidence. And if that burden is not met, then they should be treated the same in being rejected or further investigated until the burden is met.

So you do think that all claims with similar zero evidence should be treated equally. Fine. Now answer the OP's question. There is zero evidence for the Loch Ness Monster. There is zero evidence for extraterrestrials. Is the search for extraterrestrials of the same import as the search for the Loch Ness monster? Remember, you said both claims should be treated equally.

Since the burden has not been met for god or for the teapot, then I think they should be treated the same in that regard.

Ok good. You seem to be using the principle that all zero evidence claims are qualitatively equal.

Now, one may be more worthy of investigation than another.

This is a contradiction. If you think all claims with zero evidence should be treated the same in "that regard", [zero evidence], then you cannot regard one as being more worthy of investigation. That is not treating them equally.

The teapot is irrelevant to most people, while the god claim potentially is relevant to everyone.

Then why on Earth do you think they should be treated the same?

However, the god claim has been tested and retested so many times with the burden unmet that I'm inclined to think it deserves about as much consideration as the teapot, or fairies, at this point.

How about extraterrestrials then? They have been tested even more than God. It is relevant to most people. Do you think the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is as silly as searching for God?

See, I'm trying to show the atheist first that,
- their claim that all zero evidence claims should be treated equally is illogical, and not consistently followed, even by them.
And second,
- that their use of a different principle when the "zero evidence" claim is about something other than God betrays a logic nullifying bias on their part.

Which is why I doubt you can answer the questions in this post to you.
ethang5
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11/4/2014 9:55:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 5:50:33 PM, MEK wrote:
At 11/3/2014 10:23:32 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Russell's Teapot: Does it Hold Water?

I have not read all of the responses so I apologize if I am echoing another.

Feel free. Non-Troll participation is always welcome.

I believe the term "atheist" has loosely been used from time to time synonymously with "a deist". Although I am speaking for myself, I believe others share my view that we cannot know whether or not there exists some supernatural deity.

I don't believe we cannot know, but for the sake of argument here I will accept your claim as true.

Like B. Russell"s tea pot " we cannot disprove a negative. Now, with that being said " I can fully concede that there may be a god. I can even grant you that this is a possibility.

I think your position is reasonable so far.

This is significantly different than positing that there is an intervening god who cares for us, answers prayers, has a place for us to go after we die, cares what we do and what we think, etc. This would be the "theists" position for which we (the "atheist") say, there is simply no evidence to support this assertion.

But that doesn't matter for this current thread. The content of the claims are not the point, but whether all claims having zero evidence are qualitatively the same. To put it plainly, is the belief in God, for whom we agree has zero evidence, the same as belief in fairies? Is that position logical?

So in regards to your claim that atheists give special circumstance to the likelihood of there being other life forms somewhere that are not extended to an existing god is only valid if we are NOT talking about an intervening god.

Forgave me, but my experience with atheist in totality shows that they object to ANY God, and feel the claim of fairies for example, is exactly the same as the claim for any God, theist or deist. Their principle (when addressing the claims of God) is the same. Zero evidence claims are all equally incoherent. Do you agree with this or do you disagree?

Believing others like or similar to us exist outside of our universe is logical.

Your claim above is illogical. It seems logical to you because you probably already accept the idea that life began spontaneously. Believing that others like or similar to us exist outside of our universe is no more or less logical than believing that others unlike or dissimilar to us exist outside of our universe, or that no life exists outside of our universe.

There is no evidence for any. And if you believe that all zero evidence claims are to be treated equally, you cannot believe some zero evidence claims are more - anything. So either you agree that belief in God is NOT the same as belief in fairies, and can treat some zero evidence claims differently, or you agree that belief in God is the same as belief in fairies and cannot logically treat some zero evidence claims differently from others.

The problem here is that the atheists wants to have and use BOTH mutually exclusive principles, depending on whether they are responding to a claim about God or not. That is illogical.

Believing that there is a supernatural entity intervening in our lives capriciously and surreptitiously.

You probably got cut off mid sentence, but again, the content of the claim matters not here. The only pertinent questions are, Does the claim have evidence or not? If not, is it the same as all other claims having zero evidence?
Skepticalone
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11/4/2014 12:18:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/4/2014 9:55:01 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 5:50:33 PM, MEK wrote:

But that doesn't matter for this current thread. The content of the claims are not the point, but whether all claims having zero evidence are qualitatively the same. To put it plainly, is the belief in God, for whom we agree has zero evidence, the same as belief in fairies? Is that position logical?

Zero evidence claims should not be treated equal, especially when a claim involves multiple unverifiable assertions. Let us compare the existence of extraterrestrials and the existence of the creator god. We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (verifiable). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable). Basically, there is only one assumption. Now for the claim of god: I'll admit it depends on what definition of god the claim posits, so let's go with the common personal god who created the universe. There are multiple assertions associated with this zero evidence claim. God is immaterial (unverifiable), this Immaterial being created the universe (unverifiable), this being directly interacts with nature to punish or protect humans (unverifiable), and humans can have a relationship with this being (unverifiable). We have at least four assumptions already, and if we get into the real definition theists prefer when proselytizing, then the list of assumptions can greatly increase. Bottom line: there are many more assumptions associated with the existence of god than with the existence of extraterrestrials. God is less likely to exist than ET.

Zero evidence claims should be considered on the probability they could be true, and less assumptions makes them more probable.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Burzmali
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11/4/2014 12:25:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/4/2014 9:18:54 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 2:28:24 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:57:32 PM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:39:26 PM, Burzmali wrote:
At 11/3/2014 12:25:34 PM, ethang5 wrote:

Is the evidence for God the same as the evidence for, say, fairies?

The idea that the Earth has a molten core started from observable evidence: volcanic activity, earthquakes, etc. Through further investigation, the idea was confirmed. The same goes for the germ theory of disease. Similarly, the ideas of fairies and gods started from observable evidence (yet unexplained phenomena), but that evidence was later found to be caused by completely natural processes. Every test of any god, or fairies, has turned out exactly the same: either natural processes at work or the results were such that it was impossible to identify the cause. Unexplained results were just as likely to point to fairies, gremlins, magical donuts, or purple dragons, or even natural processes, as they were to point to anyone's idea of a god. So, with such an abysmal track record, I think atheists can be forgiven for taking such a skeptical view of god claims.

We can demonstrate with reasonable certainty that gods don't exist any time that they are defined with testable attributes, and they have always failed such tests.

I don't know if you missed the point of the post or if you knowingly decided to ignore it. In either case, when you post something on topic, I may respond in kind. Thanks.

I thought the direct refutation of one of your supporting points, that we should treat your god idea the same way we've treated valid scientific ideas, would be something you'd like to actually discuss. I guess I was mistaken.

Oh sorry. It really would have helped me if you had included the refutation in your post.

The timeline of our knowledge is irrelevant. There was a time we had not one shred of evidence for a molten core. Yet, the claim for a molten core was NOT similar to others claims with zero evidence. That is a fact. Anyone saying that every claim with zero evidence should be treated the same is an idiot.

Do you refute that?

Then you go on to the moot, "there is no evidence for God." Something I said I would accept at the beginning of the thread.

My point is that, given that there is no evidence for God or a celestial tea pot, is it correct/logical to treat both claims equally?

Want to take a shot at that?

All claims should be treated the same in that the person making them should be expected to provide evidence. And if that burden is not met, then they should be treated the same in being rejected or further investigated until the burden is met.

So you do think that all claims with similar zero evidence should be treated equally. Fine. Now answer the OP's question. There is zero evidence for the Loch Ness Monster. There is zero evidence for extraterrestrials. Is the search for extraterrestrials of the same import as the search for the Loch Ness monster? Remember, you said both claims should be treated equally.

Since the burden has not been met for god or for the teapot, then I think they should be treated the same in that regard.

Ok good. You seem to be using the principle that all zero evidence claims are qualitatively equal.

Now, one may be more worthy of investigation than another.

This is a contradiction. If you think all claims with zero evidence should be treated the same in "that regard", [zero evidence], then you cannot regard one as being more worthy of investigation. That is not treating them equally.

The teapot is irrelevant to most people, while the god claim potentially is relevant to everyone.

Then why on Earth do you think they should be treated the same?

However, the god claim has been tested and retested so many times with the burden unmet that I'm inclined to think it deserves about as much consideration as the teapot, or fairies, at this point.

How about extraterrestrials then? They have been tested even more than God. It is relevant to most people. Do you think the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is as silly as searching for God?

See, I'm trying to show the atheist first that,
- their claim that all zero evidence claims should be treated equally is illogical, and not consistently followed, even by them.
And second,
- that their use of a different principle when the "zero evidence" claim is about something other than God betrays a logic nullifying bias on their part.

Which is why I doubt you can answer the questions in this post to you.

Let's back up and start scoping the argument. When is a claim determined to have zero evidence, and from what perspective? And when do we determine that claims are being treated the same or differently? For instance, person B tells person A a claim of X and a claim of Y. At this point, X and Y have no evidence to support them from A's perspective. So are we talking about this point where A should treat one differently from the other? Because I think both should be treated the same at that time: person A should evaluate and clarify X and Y to determine whether one or both is worth further consideration.

So please provide some boundaries for what we're talking about and I'll be able to respond more clearly.
RoderickSpode
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11/5/2014 5:02:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/4/2014 12:18:28 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/4/2014 9:55:01 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 5:50:33 PM, MEK wrote:

But that doesn't matter for this current thread. The content of the claims are not the point, but whether all claims having zero evidence are qualitatively the same. To put it plainly, is the belief in God, for whom we agree has zero evidence, the same as belief in fairies? Is that position logical?

Zero evidence claims should not be treated equal, especially when a claim involves multiple unverifiable assertions. Let us compare the existence of extraterrestrials and the existence of the creator god. We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (verifiable). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable). Basically, there is only one assumption. Now for the claim of god: I'll admit it depends on what definition of god the claim posits, so let's go with the common personal god who created the universe. There are multiple assertions associated with this zero evidence claim. God is immaterial (unverifiable), this Immaterial being created the universe (unverifiable), this being directly interacts with nature to punish or protect humans (unverifiable), and humans can have a relationship with this being (unverifiable). We have at least four assumptions already, and if we get into the real definition theists prefer when proselytizing, then the list of assumptions can greatly increase. Bottom line: there are many more assumptions associated with the existence of god than with the existence of extraterrestrials. God is less likely to exist than ET.

What exactly is the evidence that life came about through natural processes? Or maybe I should ask, what do you mean by that? I think all atheists and theists alike agree that humans and animals come to life through a natural birthing process, but I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean. Where is the evidence that life ultimately came about through natural processes?

In just about any discussion regarding the evidence for God, the opposition will make numerous references to the God of the Bible when that reference wasn't there to begin with. You haven't quite gotten that far (getting into the character of the God of the Bible is a common distraction), but when you're implementing a personal God, you've already stepped out of bounds. I read ethang5's first initial posts a second time, and didn't see any references to God other than evidence of God's existence as an omnipotent creator. Once the evidence for the existence of said God is established, then one can move forward with God's relationship to man, which theological view is more plausible, etc. But not until then.

Your assertion that ET is more likely to exist is based on your assertion that life came about naturally. If life came about naturally, then one might rationalize that life must have come about naturally on other planets. If however life was brought about by an omnipotent creator, what reason is there to suggest that life on earth is not the only life God chose to create as we don't have any evidence of ETs to begin with?

So what leads you to believe evidence points to life coming about through natural processes?
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,135
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11/5/2014 7:45:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 5:02:24 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 11/4/2014 12:18:28 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/4/2014 9:55:01 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 5:50:33 PM, MEK wrote:

But that doesn't matter for this current thread. The content of the claims are not the point, but whether all claims having zero evidence are qualitatively the same. To put it plainly, is the belief in God, for whom we agree has zero evidence, the same as belief in fairies? Is that position logical?

Zero evidence claims should not be treated equal, especially when a claim involves multiple unverifiable assertions. Let us compare the existence of extraterrestrials and the existence of the creator god. We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (verifiable). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable). Basically, there is only one assumption. Now for the claim of god: I'll admit it depends on what definition of god the claim posits, so let's go with the common personal god who created the universe. There are multiple assertions associated with this zero evidence claim. God is immaterial (unverifiable), this Immaterial being created the universe (unverifiable), this being directly interacts with nature to punish or protect humans (unverifiable), and humans can have a relationship with this being (unverifiable). We have at least four assumptions already, and if we get into the real definition theists prefer when proselytizing, then the list of assumptions can greatly increase. Bottom line: there are many more assumptions associated with the existence of god than with the existence of extraterrestrials. God is less likely to exist than ET.

What exactly is the evidence that life came about through natural processes? Or maybe I should ask, what do you mean by that? I think all atheists and theists alike agree that humans and animals come to life through a natural birthing process, but I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean. Where is the evidence that life ultimately came about through natural processes?

In just about any discussion regarding the evidence for God, the opposition will make numerous references to the God of the Bible when that reference wasn't there to begin with. You haven't quite gotten that far (getting into the character of the God of the Bible is a common distraction), but when you're implementing a personal God, you've already stepped out of bounds. I read ethang5's first initial posts a second time, and didn't see any references to God other than evidence of God's existence as an omnipotent creator. Once the evidence for the existence of said God is established, then one can move forward with God's relationship to man, which theological view is more plausible, etc. But not until then.

Your assertion that ET is more likely to exist is based on your assertion that life came about naturally. If life came about naturally, then one might rationalize that life must have come about naturally on other planets. If however life was brought about by an omnipotent creator, what reason is there to suggest that life on earth is not the only life God chose to create as we don't have any evidence of ETs to begin with?

So what leads you to believe evidence points to life coming about through natural processes?

You are absolutely correct about 'life arising by natural processes'. This is a bit of an assumption on my part. Life arising by natural processes has not been completely verified, but we do have evidence to suggest it is at least possible.

As far as the god assumption, I will correct it to your definition. The corrected list of assumptions should read as:

(ET) We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (assumption based on verifiable evidence). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable).

(God) God is immaterial (unverifiable). God is all powerful (unverifiable) God created the universe (unverifiable). God created life (unverifiable).

Even in this corrected form, ET is still much more plausible than god.

Also, I think you have missed the point, which was to establish zero evidence claims are not equal. The probability of a claim being true is dependent on the number of assumptions associated with it. We may disagree in our beliefs (or lack thereof), but we should be able to agree on what are assumptions, and quantify (at least in a very fundamental way) what is more probable.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Double_R
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11/5/2014 8:27:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
According to what atheists mean, the answer is yes. They claim there is absolutely no evidence for a cosmic teapot, exactly like the situation for God. No evidence whatsoever. Their conclusion therefore is, the belief in God should be treated exactly like the belief in a cosmic teapot.

That is not the conclusion. Your entire OP is built on a strawman.

First of all, if you actually pay attention to Russell's quote you would realize that he is talking about the burden of proof and how society has conditioned us to disregard it when it comes to religious claims.

Second, no one is saying that all theories without evidence are qualitatively equal. The idea of a tiny tea pot in orbit was designed to be stupid so that no one would take that possibility seriously. That is important so that no one gets hung up on that point, freeing them to focus on the actual point. But instead what you and many theists did was create your own, then attribute it to the analogy. This is always the problem with analogies, they can be extremely useful in communicating an idea but that only happens when the person listening to it has an interest in understanding it as opposed to subconsciously looking for every reason not to.

Consider history. There was a time when we lacked evidence for many things we now take for granted. What if we had approached the idea of the Earth having a molten core, exactly like the belief in fairies?

Of course, the atheist will say, "Even without evidence, germs and the Earth having a molten core are possible things. Fairies are not." And this is true, but that does not fix the atheist's problem, for what we deem "possible" now, is based on current knowledge. But knowledge changes.

This is all entirely irrelevant. Knowledge does change, and when it changes that is when you would be justified in accepting truths based on such knowledge. Appealing to the history of humans being wrong serves no purpose other than giving one a green light to believe whatever they want under the guise of "you could be wrong".

Ask an atheist (who is married) if he believes his wife loves him and he will say yes. Ask him to show any evidence of this and he will have none. He does not treat his belief of his wife's love the same way he is suggesting we treat the belief in God. Why? Both beliefs have equal amounts of evidence.

First of all, "extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence" is all that is needed to understand why you are wrong.

Second, the ring on the mans finger is far more evidence that his wife loves him then we will probably ever have for God. And there is a very big difference between an individual having no evidence for his conclusion and an individual not being able to produce any evidence to convince others.
Fly
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11/5/2014 9:35:33 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Ethang5:

Your most glaring issue in this thread is that you fail to define what "god" is. Until you define what it is you are talking about, there can be no truly rational or meaningful discussion.

Also, I can see that how you view "evidence" could be an issue of disagreement as well. Please also define that term in the context in which you are using it here.

The use of vague terminology explains why everyone seems to be talking past each other here...
"You don't have a right to be a jerk."
--Religion Forum's hypocrite extraordinaire serving up lulz
RoderickSpode
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11/5/2014 10:52:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 7:45:09 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/5/2014 5:02:24 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 11/4/2014 12:18:28 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/4/2014 9:55:01 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 5:50:33 PM, MEK wrote:

But that doesn't matter for this current thread. The content of the claims are not the point, but whether all claims having zero evidence are qualitatively the same. To put it plainly, is the belief in God, for whom we agree has zero evidence, the same as belief in fairies? Is that position logical?

Zero evidence claims should not be treated equal, especially when a claim involves multiple unverifiable assertions. Let us compare the existence of extraterrestrials and the existence of the creator god. We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (verifiable). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable). Basically, there is only one assumption. Now for the claim of god: I'll admit it depends on what definition of god the claim posits, so let's go with the common personal god who created the universe. There are multiple assertions associated with this zero evidence claim. God is immaterial (unverifiable), this Immaterial being created the universe (unverifiable), this being directly interacts with nature to punish or protect humans (unverifiable), and humans can have a relationship with this being (unverifiable). We have at least four assumptions already, and if we get into the real definition theists prefer when proselytizing, then the list of assumptions can greatly increase. Bottom line: there are many more assumptions associated with the existence of god than with the existence of extraterrestrials. God is less likely to exist than ET.

What exactly is the evidence that life came about through natural processes? Or maybe I should ask, what do you mean by that? I think all atheists and theists alike agree that humans and animals come to life through a natural birthing process, but I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean. Where is the evidence that life ultimately came about through natural processes?

In just about any discussion regarding the evidence for God, the opposition will make numerous references to the God of the Bible when that reference wasn't there to begin with. You haven't quite gotten that far (getting into the character of the God of the Bible is a common distraction), but when you're implementing a personal God, you've already stepped out of bounds. I read ethang5's first initial posts a second time, and didn't see any references to God other than evidence of God's existence as an omnipotent creator. Once the evidence for the existence of said God is established, then one can move forward with God's relationship to man, which theological view is more plausible, etc. But not until then.

Your assertion that ET is more likely to exist is based on your assertion that life came about naturally. If life came about naturally, then one might rationalize that life must have come about naturally on other planets. If however life was brought about by an omnipotent creator, what reason is there to suggest that life on earth is not the only life God chose to create as we don't have any evidence of ETs to begin with?

So what leads you to believe evidence points to life coming about through natural processes?

You are absolutely correct about 'life arising by natural processes'. This is a bit of an assumption on my part. Life arising by natural processes has not been completely verified, but we do have evidence to suggest it is at least possible.

As far as the god assumption, I will correct it to your definition. The corrected list of assumptions should read as:

(ET) We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (assumption based on verifiable evidence). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable).

(God) God is immaterial (unverifiable). God is all powerful (unverifiable) God created the universe (unverifiable). God created life (unverifiable).

Even in this corrected form, ET is still much more plausible than god.

Also, I think you have missed the point, which was to establish zero evidence claims are not equal. The probability of a claim being true is dependent on the number of assumptions associated with it. We may disagree in our beliefs (or lack thereof), but we should be able to agree on what are assumptions, and quantify (at least in a very fundamental way) what is more probable.
Going back to step one, the possibilities suggested for life to have ultimately come about naturally are not any greater than an omnipotent creator. If we can agree, then we can move on to your other points as far as the verifiables. Intelligent design is verifiable. We see it right in front of us every day. There's no valid reason to believe that nature itself cannot be a product of intelligent design. We have many testimonies throughout history in a belief in a supreme omnipotent creator. This may have off-shoot into belief in mythology, but that doesn't render an omnipotent creator a myth. There are people of all classes in society who for various reasons believe in an omnipotent creator including scientists. Testimonies are certainly verifiable. The idea of ETs has lead to it's own set of fairy tales that many take seriously.

And planets being similar to ours doesn't increase the likely hood of intelligent life in that it just adds to the extreme odds against life coming into existence on this planet by natural processes. The chances were slim enough on this planet alone.
Fly
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11/5/2014 11:25:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Yes, there is definitely a great misunderstanding of what constitutes "zero evidence claims" going on in this thread.

There is evidence of the natural. Hence, there is evidence for naturalistic claims AND naturalistic possibilities (ET life, abiogenesis, etc.).

There is no evidence for the supernatural. Hence, there is zero evidence for supernatural claims AND supernatural possibilities.

Yes, there was a time when humankind knew much less about nature, and it was reasonable to attribute seemingly mysterious natural events to equally mysterious supernatural causes-- i.e. "argument from ignorance." The reasonableness of such attribution is getting less and less... and less. In the present day, such belief in the supernatural is being sustained mainly by momentum (i.e. tradition) rather than reasonableness.
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mortsdor
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11/5/2014 11:38:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 10:18:41 AM, ethang5 wrote:
Consider this question,
Is the evidence for extraterrestrials the same as the evidence for cosmic teapots?

no it's not.

you can plausibly make an argument for extraterrestrial life being probable, somewhere, based upon the necessary conditions for life (as we know them) and the size of the (known) universe.

You would need to also suggest it probable that Abiogenesis would occur in some such conditions, sometimes
(which may be making some assumptions, but at least they're assumptions that are plausibly explainable in the framework of apparent reality), or that life could travel such distances somehow.

Such arguments (which are based in/Rely upon the accepted framework of 3-dimensional, physical reality) may or may not be convincing.. but so long as they're based in that accepted reality they make sense to consider.

A cosmic teapot floating in space is a rather particular thing to have to prove... It'd be like trying to prove that there are not only Aliens, but that they'll have 31 eyes on the left side of their head and 11 on the right.

It's hard to see how a cosmic teapot could have gotten there so long ago...
It would require a bunch of particular knowledge about things in the past.. The most plausible would be that humans had a very similar society ages ago and some space man for some reason decided to put a teapon in orbit... but that would require a whole bunch of premises that are, seemingly, wholly without justification.

What would be Worse is if the claim was that the teapot was not only a teapot, but a Magic teapot with a genie inside. :P
for that would rely upon Not only comprehensible (given the 3-d physical framework of reality) but unlikely premises.... but also rely upon notions that go completely beyond the framework which the apparent world Demands.
mortsdor
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11/5/2014 11:39:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 11:25:54 AM, Fly wrote:
Yes, there is definitely a great misunderstanding of what constitutes "zero evidence claims" going on in this thread.

There is evidence of the natural. Hence, there is evidence for naturalistic claims AND naturalistic possibilities (ET life, abiogenesis, etc.).

There is no evidence for the supernatural. Hence, there is zero evidence for supernatural claims AND supernatural possibilities.

Yes, there was a time when humankind knew much less about nature, and it was reasonable to attribute seemingly mysterious natural events to equally mysterious supernatural causes-- i.e. "argument from ignorance." The reasonableness of such attribution is getting less and less... and less. In the present day, such belief in the supernatural is being sustained mainly by momentum (i.e. tradition) rather than reasonableness.

Ah, just read this..

Basically this.
Skepticalone
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11/5/2014 11:41:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 10:52:08 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 11/5/2014 7:45:09 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/5/2014 5:02:24 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 11/4/2014 12:18:28 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 11/4/2014 9:55:01 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 11/3/2014 5:50:33 PM, MEK wrote:

But that doesn't matter for this current thread. The content of the claims are not the point, but whether all claims having zero evidence are qualitatively the same. To put it plainly, is the belief in God, for whom we agree has zero evidence, the same as belief in fairies? Is that position logical?

Zero evidence claims should not be treated equal, especially when a claim involves multiple unverifiable assertions. Let us compare the existence of extraterrestrials and the existence of the creator god. We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (verifiable). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable). Basically, there is only one assumption. Now for the claim of god: I'll admit it depends on what definition of god the claim posits, so let's go with the common personal god who created the universe. There are multiple assertions associated with this zero evidence claim. God is immaterial (unverifiable), this Immaterial being created the universe (unverifiable), this being directly interacts with nature to punish or protect humans (unverifiable), and humans can have a relationship with this being (unverifiable). We have at least four assumptions already, and if we get into the real definition theists prefer when proselytizing, then the list of assumptions can greatly increase. Bottom line: there are many more assumptions associated with the existence of god than with the existence of extraterrestrials. God is less likely to exist than ET.

What exactly is the evidence that life came about through natural processes? Or maybe I should ask, what do you mean by that? I think all atheists and theists alike agree that humans and animals come to life through a natural birthing process, but I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean. Where is the evidence that life ultimately came about through natural processes?

In just about any discussion regarding the evidence for God, the opposition will make numerous references to the God of the Bible when that reference wasn't there to begin with. You haven't quite gotten that far (getting into the character of the God of the Bible is a common distraction), but when you're implementing a personal God, you've already stepped out of bounds. I read ethang5's first initial posts a second time, and didn't see any references to God other than evidence of God's existence as an omnipotent creator. Once the evidence for the existence of said God is established, then one can move forward with God's relationship to man, which theological view is more plausible, etc. But not until then.

Your assertion that ET is more likely to exist is based on your assertion that life came about naturally. If life came about naturally, then one might rationalize that life must have come about naturally on other planets. If however life was brought about by an omnipotent creator, what reason is there to suggest that life on earth is not the only life God chose to create as we don't have any evidence of ETs to begin with?

So what leads you to believe evidence points to life coming about through natural processes?

You are absolutely correct about 'life arising by natural processes'. This is a bit of an assumption on my part. Life arising by natural processes has not been completely verified, but we do have evidence to suggest it is at least possible.

As far as the god assumption, I will correct it to your definition. The corrected list of assumptions should read as:

(ET) We have evidence life came about on this planet through natural processes (assumption based on verifiable evidence). We know there are many many other planets similar to ours in this vast universe (verifiable). Life may have arisen on other planets (unverifiable).

(God) God is immaterial (unverifiable). God is all powerful (unverifiable) God created the universe (unverifiable). God created life (unverifiable).

Even in this corrected form, ET is still much more plausible than god.

Also, I think you have missed the point, which was to establish zero evidence claims are not equal. The probability of a claim being true is dependent on the number of assumptions associated with it. We may disagree in our beliefs (or lack thereof), but we should be able to agree on what are assumptions, and quantify (at least in a very fundamental way) what is more probable.
Going back to step one, the possibilities suggested for life to have ultimately come about naturally are not any greater than an omnipotent creator. If we can agree, then we can move on to your other points as far as the verifiables. Intelligent design is verifiable. We see it right in front of us every day. There's no valid reason to believe that nature itself cannot be a product of intelligent design. We have many testimonies throughout history in a belief in a supreme omnipotent creator. This may have off-shoot into belief in mythology, but that doesn't render an omnipotent creator a myth. There are people of all classes in society who for various reasons believe in an omnipotent creator including scientists. Testimonies are certainly verifiable. The idea of ETs has lead to it's own set of fairy tales that many take seriously.

And planets being similar to ours doesn't increase the likely hood of intelligent life in that it just adds to the extreme odds against life coming into existence on this planet by natural processes. The chances were slim enough on this planet alone.

Except, life did come to exist on this planet. Life came about (we can agree on that, right?). Life thrives on this type of planet. Hypothetically, if we searched the universe and found no other planets like ours, then we can know the odds of finding life like us is pretty much zero. Finding more planets like ours increases the odds of finding life like ours. Suggesting more planets that can support life (as we know it) decreases the likelihood of life arising naturally, does not follow.

As to the zero evidence claim,you are getting caught up on the examples instead of the purpose for them. More assumptions = less likely. Do you agree? Even if I accept your objections to my list of assumptions, one option is more likely than another.

Also, we should be using evidence to determine if our premises are assumptions, not pseudoscience or arguments from ignorance.
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What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten