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Asimov And Deism


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Asimov, you've made an inflamatory accusation that deism is "intellectual dishonesty". Can you clarify for me exactly how it is that I'm lying?

 

I think I already know what your answer is going to be but I'd like to hear it from you first.

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Guest Donjared

Asimov, you've made an inflamatory accusation that deism is "intellectual dishonesty". Can you clarify for me exactly how it is that I'm lying?

 

I think I already know what your answer is going to be but I'd like to hear it from you first.

 

I think he was making his case on the "Donjared & Deism" thread. Just like I said before, in Asimov's opinion, we can't claim to use reason in all our conclusions and still believe in a God. Because, again in Asimov's opinion, a God is unprovable.

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Since it's not proper for me to argue that point in the other thread, I've started a new one. I'm sure he won't mind restating his position.

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Can you clarify for me exactly how it is that I'm lying?

 

I did not say you were lying. I think you need to read up a bit on what intellectual dishonesty is before you go making uninformed remarks like that.

 

I think I already know what your answer is going to be but I'd like to hear it from you first.

 

Well, essentially Deism advocates a God belief through the faculty of reason. Since there is no justified belief in God that does not result in a logical fallacy, your position is intellectually dishonest.

 

Since it's not proper for me to argue that point in the other thread, I've started a new one. I'm sure he won't mind restating his position.

 

I do mind, because it's exactly on topic of my thread and I said you could.

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I did not say you were lying. I think you need to read up a bit on what intellectual dishonesty is before you go making uninformed remarks like that.

Very interesting Asimov. Wikipedia defined "Intellectual Dishonesty" as "the advocacy of a position known to be false." Wikipedia Article

 

Last time I checked, lying was the act of knowingly saying something that wasn't true.

 

So if I understand you correctly, you didn't accuse me of lying. You just accused me of lying. Glad we cleared that up.

 

essentially Deism advocates a God belief through the faculty of reason.

As I understand this philosophy, it rejects scripture and church tradition, advocating instead understanding the Creator through the Creation itself. Hence Paine's quote, "The (only) Word of God is the Creation we behold". We are given the power of reason and hence we assume we're supposed to use it. Faith, essentially believing what others tell you to believe, is looked upon as the supression of reason and critical thinking.

 

Deists differ from atheists in that we marvel at the natural universe and see a design behind it. You may allege that this is intellectual dishonesty since there's no hard proof either way as to whether the universe was made or just happened. That's why it's called "philosophy" and not "science".

 

I do mind, because it's exactly on topic of my thread and I said you could.

Actually, you mentioned you might ignore me and that you intended the thread to be a 1-on-1 with Don.

 

P.S. Why do you bold everything you write?

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Well, essentially Deism advocates a God belief through the faculty of reason. Since there is no justified belief in God that does not result in a logical fallacy, your position is intellectually dishonest.

 

I disagree. But then, no one views a belief the same way, and while I claim to be a deist myself, perhaps I've modified it to work for me. I don't think deism "advocates" anything at all. If anything, I've always seen it as stripping down the BS that religion has created and viewing the idea of a supreme being with "fresh eyes". Which means to me realizing we don't know anything at all and that people are much more comfortable with their anthropomorphic pro-religion view. That and they seem to be allergic to the words "I Don't Know."

 

I don't like to refer to a supreme being as "god" myself, because when I do, someone is bound to start thinking of the being described in the bible whether they conciously realize it or not. I say "supreme being" instead. It's genderless, formless, and undefined by human conventions.

 

As for how much if any involvement this being has in our day to day? I don't know. I kind of doubt such a being would take personal interest in every single little thing each sentient being does. Not that such a being would be incapable of taking some interest here and there, either way, I really don't think any human being is capable of looking at a situation and making the claim that "god got involved". If such a being did get involved, I doubt it would be in any way easily recognizable by human standards.

 

Anywhoo....that's my take on it. Questions are welcome, but I hope you enjoy hearing "I don't know" a lot because I'm not afraid of saying it (and I "know" enough about lots of different things.....so I know that not knowing in no way makes me stupid).

 

P.S. Why do you bold everything you write?

 

It's just his "thing". :grin:

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Very interesting Asimov. Wikipedia defined "Intellectual Dishonesty" as "the advocacy of a position known to be false." Wikipedia Article

 

Last time I checked, lying was the act of knowingly saying something that wasn't true.

 

So if I understand you correctly, you didn't accuse me of lying. You just accused me of lying. Glad we cleared that up.

 

Are you being obtuse on purpose?

 

a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=l...amp;x=0&y=0

 

 

As I understand this philosophy, it rejects scripture and church tradition, advocating instead understanding the Creator through the Creation itself. Hence Paine's quote, "The (only) Word of God is the Creation we behold". We are given the power of reason and hence we assume we're supposed to use it. Faith, essentially believing what others tell you to believe, is looked upon as the supression of reason and critical thinking.

 

So?

 

Deists differ from atheists in that we marvel at the natural universe and see a design behind it. You may allege that this is intellectual dishonesty since there's no hard proof either way as to whether the universe was made or just happened. That's why it's called "philosophy" and not "science".

 

I allege it's intellectual dishonesty because your belief is based off of a known logical fallacy. Since you claim to use reason, having a logically fallacious belief is intellectually dishonest.

 

A philosophy which is logically fallacious is still a false belief.

 

Actually, you mentioned you might ignore me

 

Tongue in cheek, hence the laugh.

 

and that you intended the thread to be a 1-on-1 with Don.

 

I did, but I said that if you had a specific issue I'd permit it.

 

P.S. Why do you bold everything you write?

 

Why not?

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Are you being obtuse on purpose?

Perhaps you are the one who is slow to understand here. I'm trying to explain your distinction contains no difference.

 

So?

I just thought perhaps explaining what the philosophy means would relate to the discussion on whether or not said philosophy was intellectually dishonest.

 

I allege it's intellectual dishonesty because your belief is based off of a known logical fallacy. Since you claim to use reason, having a logically fallacious belief is intellectually dishonest.

Only if you claim certainty.

 

Atheism is not, as you've claimed in another thread, the belief that there is no god. At least most atheists I've known deny this definition. They simply state that they see no reason to believe in any god. Deism is simply the mirror of this perspective. I'm not certain there is a god. I'm inclined to believe in one based on what I see in the universe.

 

Why not?

I was just curious. Is there a reason?

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Perhaps you are the one who is slow to understand here. I'm trying to explain your distinction contains no difference.

 

My distinction contains a world of different. Advocacy of something known to be false and speaking a fallacy with intent to deceive are two entirely different things.

 

Intent isn't present in intellectual dishonesty.

 

I just thought perhaps explaining what the philosophy means would relate to the discussion on whether or not said philosophy was intellectually dishonest.

 

Ok, I disagree with the usage of the word faith in that aspect since faith is belief in something regardless and sometimes in spite of logic or evidence, which is related to but not directly the definition you gave...I believe it's a broader and more applicable definition.

 

Only if you claim certainty.

 

I fail to see anywhere in the ID definition where it makes mention of certainty. If you advocate something through a logically fallacious belief, you are still advocating it whether or not your belief is certain or 50% certain.

 

Atheism is not, as you've claimed in another thread, the belief that there is no god. At least most atheists I've known deny this definition. They simply state that they see no reason to believe in any god.

 

Now here is where you are creating a distinction where none exists.

 

There may or may not be no reason to believe in God, but they still believe that there is no God. Call it the disbelief in a deity if you will, it's the same thing worded differently.

 

It would be like calling theism the disbelief that there isn't no god...worded differently but the same thing.

 

Deism is simply the mirror of this perspective. I'm not certain there is a god. I'm inclined to believe in one based on what I see in the universe.

 

Thus providing no rationale. What about the universe indicates a justification for believing in God?

 

I was just curious. Is there a reason?

 

Habit from a few years ago. I like the look too.

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Ok, I disagree with the usage of the word faith in that aspect since faith is belief in something regardless and sometimes in spite of logic or evidence, which is related to but not directly the definition you gave...I believe it's a broader and more applicable definition.

This may be a matter of somantics. It's important to define our terms carefully in any discussion to be sure we're on the same sheet of music. This is especially true for abstract philosophical discussions.

 

My definition of faith: Letting someone else think for you.

 

I justify this definition with the common usage of the term. The admonishment, "just have faith" seems to be another way of saying "stop asking questions and believe what you're told."

 

Faith typically takes the form of referring to books or church traditions to understand "the Truth" instead of reliance upon reason, personal experience and instincts. Because I define faith this way, I see atheists, agnostics, deists, pantheists and transcendentalists as freethinkers despite their differences on the God issue.

 

Intent isn't present in intellectual dishonesty.

What else would be the intent of knowingly advocating something false?

 

If I were to speak out in favor of a false belief system knowing it is false and I convince others to embrace this belief, are they not deceived? What else would be my intention of pushing the false belief system except to deceive others in this manner?

 

Maybe I'm just not getting it. What is the distinction?

I fail to see anywhere in the ID definition where it makes mention of certainty.

OK, here's a very important distinction that I want to make clear right now. Deism is NOT ID. ID does present itself as science (specifically as an alternate theory to evolution). Although masquarading as deism, it's really Biblical Creationism redux.

 

If you advocate something through a logically fallacious belief, you are still advocating it whether or not your belief is certain or 50% certain.

What am I advocating? Did you read the definition I provided earlier?

 

Again, there's an important difference here between science and philosophy. Philosophy, or beliefs, are based on life experiences, gut instincts, subjective views and other approaches which would not be accepted as proof in a science lab. Additionally, philosophy deals with abstract topics science can't address such as "Was the universe made or did it just happen?"

 

The deist is inclined to say "made" and believes that since we have reason, we must have been intended to use it and therefore looks to the natural universe and reason to understand this Creator. What is "dishonest" about this?

 

Now here is where you are creating a distinction where none exists.

Wrong. Doubt isn't necessarily denial. "I see no reason to believe..." is doubt. "There is no..." is a positive denial. This is how strong atheism is distinguished from soft atheism.

 

On the "made or just happened" question, the soft atheist doubts the "made" answer and makes "just happened" the default assumption (process of elimination). This is how atheism is distinguished from agnosticism, since the agnostic has no default assumption. He or she simply disregards the question as unanswerable.

 

So the atheist does take a stand as well on this question. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. It's a matter of philosophy, not science.

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My definition of faith: Letting someone else think for you.

 

I think your definition is more concise and would fit with the "belief regardless of evidence or logic" in a way.

 

What else would be the intent of knowingly advocating something false?

 

If I were to speak out in favor of a false belief system knowing it is false and I convince others to embrace this belief, are they not deceived? What else would be my intention of pushing the false belief system except to deceive others in this manner?

 

Hm, I'll accept that.

 

OK, here's a very important distinction that I want to make clear right now. Deism is NOT ID. ID does present itself as science (specifically as an alternate theory to evolution). Although masquarading as deism, it's really Biblical Creationism redux.

 

ID = Intellectual Dishonesty. :lmao:

 

What am I advocating? Did you read the definition I provided earlier?

 

You are advocating a belief in God through an appeal to wonder.

 

"Deists differ from atheists in that we marvel at the natural universe and see a design behind it."

 

Philosophy, or beliefs, are based on life experiences, gut instincts, subjective views and other approaches which would not be accepted as proof in a science lab. Additionally, philosophy deals with abstract topics science can't address such as "Was the universe made or did it just happen?"

 

Some philosophies are....that's not the issue, NS. The issue is whether or not your philosophy is logically fallacious. Which it is, because it's based on an emotional appeal.

 

Wrong. Doubt isn't necessarily denial. "I see no reason to believe..." is doubt. "There is no..." is a positive denial. This is how strong atheism is distinguished from soft atheism.

 

No. Doubt is uncertainty.

 

"I see no reason to believe" is a justification for disbelief. Atheism is disbelief. In either case one is denying a God exists.

 

On the "made or just happened" question, the soft atheist doubts the "made" answer and makes "just happened" the default assumption (process of elimination). This is how atheism is distinguished from agnosticism, since the agnostic has no default assumption. He or she simply disregards the question as unanswerable.

 

I disagree with that. You're muddying the issue. Atheists don't automatically think the universe "just happened" by default. We're talking about God here, stick to God.

 

A rational person disbelieves a claim until a proper justification is given to believe. An atheist disbelieves the God claim because there is no proper justification. By that very statement the atheist believes that there is no God because there is no reason to believe in one.

 

Agnosticism is irrelevant in this discussion, please don't bring redundancies like agnosticism in here.

 

So the atheist does take a stand as well on this question. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. It's a matter of philosophy, not science.

 

Everyone who hears of the God concept takes a stand on it. This isn't germaine to the discussion, since I never once said anything about science until it was brought up.

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I think your definition is more concise and would fit with the "belief regardless of evidence or logic" in a way.

Belief that is based on personal experience, gut instincts, etc. would not fall under the catagory of letting someone else think for you. However, such things, while they may be the basis for a philosophy are not considered "evidence".

 

ID = Intellectual Dishonesty.

Ah. You understand that ID is a common acronym for Intelligent Design?

 

Some philosophies are....that's not the issue, NS. The issue is whether or not your philosophy is logically fallacious. Which it is, because it's based on an emotional appeal.

It's based on personal perspective. What philosophy isn't?

 

Atheists don't automatically think the universe "just happened" by default.

Yes they do. Process of elimination. If you have a choice between A and B and you eliminate A, you are choosing B.

 

The choice is was the universe made or did it happen. If you eliminate "made", than you're left with "happened".

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  • 4 weeks later...
Atheists don't automatically think the universe "just happened" by default.

Yes they do. Process of elimination. If you have a choice between A and B and you eliminate A, you are choosing B.

 

The choice is was the universe made or did it happen. If you eliminate "made", than you're left with "happened".

 

Now you're just being ignorant. There's a huge difference between something 'just happening' and 'happening for a reason' (and I don't mean in a fate sort of way).

 

I don't believe the universe was made by any deity or any other sort of being you want to imagine. I do believe that the universe 'happened' in another way, namely the Big Bang. It didn't just happen for no reason, there is a catalogue of scientific research to enforce the position that the universe was spawned from a singularity.

 

Why the singularity came to be is another topic altogether, but there certainly is no reason to assume that a god put it there.

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If the basis of your deism is your belief in a design element in the universe, I'd love to see your reasoning for it. I believe this is one of Asimov's sticking points on this. If you can't provide rational explanations for why you think the universe is designed you are being intellectually dishonest. This is NOT the same as lying. Lying implys and intent to decieve. Intellectual dishonestly is holding something as true without the evidence to back it up. It's not lying because you believe your point is true. That's the difference.

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If the basis of your deism is your belief in a design element in the universe, I'd love to see your reasoning for it. I believe this is one of Asimov's sticking points on this. If you can't provide rational explanations for why you think the universe is designed you are being intellectually dishonest. This is NOT the same as lying. Lying implys and intent to decieve. Intellectual dishonestly is holding something as true without the evidence to back it up. It's not lying because you believe your point is true. That's the difference.

 

Yes!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for not responding earlier. I just now noticed this thread had new activity.

 

Now you're just being ignorant. There's a huge difference between something 'just happening' and 'happening for a reason' (and I don't mean in a fate sort of way).

Now you're just playing somantic games to create a distinction without a difference. By your definition, nothing "just happens", is that not so? Everything that transpires is caused by some force or other.

 

When I say, "just happened", I mean happened without design. An object accidently knocked off a table that fell to the earth just landed where it fell. You could argue that it was pulled by gravity and pushed by the force that knocked it off the table to its eventual location but that's a distinction without a difference.

 

If I'm wrong about the position you're taking, can you please provide me with some examples of what you would consider to have "just happened".

 

Btw, I'm well aware of the Big Bang Theory, thankyou. This is a hypothetical explaination of the birth universe and it looks rather miraculous to me. Same is true for evolution. We've gone from micro-organisms to what we are today and will become who knows what in eras to come.

 

This is NOT the same as lying. Lying implys and intent to decieve. Intellectual dishonestly is holding something as true without the evidence to back it up. It's not lying because you believe your point is true. That's the difference.

This point has already been addressed above.

 

The point I made that was lost on Asimov and apparently some others is that deism is not science and makes no claim to be. It's philosophy. Philosophy can be legitimately based on subjective perceptions, life experiences and gut feelings. The subjective statement, "the universe looks designed" need not be proven any more than the statement "beautiful day out there today".

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The subjective statement, "the universe looks designed" need not be proven any more than the statement "beautiful day out there today".

 

Problem is that "the universe looks designed" is not a valid justification to support the assertion that "God exists". That is essentially what you are trying to do.

 

Aesthetics requires individual appeal, belief in God is the claim of an objectively existent being who created the entire universe. Don't conflate the two, because they're not the same thing.

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But ultimately the difference in this subjective view is all that separates the deist from the atheist and it is as subjective as any esthetic critique.

 

Case in point: The Big Bang seems rather miraculous to me. Redross seems to feel otherwise. There's nothing wrong with either view. It's just our subjective perceptions.

 

As for making claims about God, please remember not to confuse me with a Christian who has very specific ideas about what God is, what God wants and what God hates. Deists, unlike Christians, Muslims, etc., make no positive assertions about the nature of this enigmatic First Cause any more than atheists do in their speculations about the unconsious forces that created this universe.

 

Like the atheist, we try to understand our universe better through open-minded observation. That's what deism is all about, "the only Word of God is the Creation we behold." And of course people can shift between atheism, agnosticism, deism, etc. based on where their observations and experiences lead them. That's what being a freethinker is all about.

 

Nothing dishonest about any of that.

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Case in point: The Big Bang seems rather miraculous to me. Redross seems to feel otherwise.

Actually, I agree; the Big Bang does seem rather miraculous to you.

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It's just our subjective perceptions.

 

Yea, but I don't see the relevance in that.

 

You say that it's miraculous, but a miracle presupposes a God...so now you're begging the question. You can say "the universe looks designed"...ok...but so what? :)

 

Yea, they are subjective perceptions, and that's my point. You're using your emotional appeals to justify a belief in an objective God.

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