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Scotty Vs. Waxwings - Existence Of God


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Asimov has not been on for 24 hours. Debate is handed off to Waxwings.

 

 

This is a debate thread between Scotty (J.S.) and an atheist from ExC.net. Waxwings has stated he is up for this. Only J.S. and Waxwings may post here. All comments from the peanut gallery will be posted in the Comment Thread. Waxwings and Scotty cannot post in the Comment Thread.

 

Scotty is the proponent, Waxwings is the Opponent

 

The debate will follow this format:

 

Round One:

Proponent opens

Opponent refutes

 

Round Two:

Proponent refutes above

Opponent refutes above

 

Round Three:

Proponent cross-examines - 3 questions only.

Opponent answers - 250 words each question.

 

Round Four:

Opponent cross-examines - 3 questions only.

Proponent answers - 250 words each question.

 

Round Five:

Proponent concludes - 500 word limit

Opponent concludes - 500 word limit

 

Membership Q&A

Member questions - 3 questions to each participant. 1 question only per member. A total of 6 questions asked. Question must be submitted to Bruce by viewers and will be posted to the debate participants.

 

Bruce

 

 

 

 

Opening from Scotty (J.S.)

 

There's been alot of conversationg of the existence of God and I am making a discussion on the matter in this thread. Now, when I say God, I mean a Creator, not necessarily that God of the Bible. I have some valid reason for believing in God.

 

#1. The existence of the world. I remember last year when I when went to visit my dad for a week in Jacksonville, Flordia where he was working. One morning we got up really early to go fishing. As we were driving away from the bait shop, we saw the sun rise. It was incredible! My dad said "How can anyone think there's not a God?". That is a good question. When we look at a painting that is so beautiful that it is beyond words, where do we think it came from? Did a person paint it, or did it just come into existence? Of course, the latter is absurd, because we know that paintings cannot simply pop out of no where. A person has to paint them. It is the same with God. This world could have never come into existence by itself. When I see the beauty of the sun rise, when it seems all the incredible colors mix together, or when I go flying in an airplane and I look over the beauty of creation, what do I say? I don't say, "My goodness! It's amazing how lucky we became that all of this just sprang into existence!". That's the same illogical thinking as believing a painting simply sprang into existence. No, a Creator must have made this world, as an aritst would have created that painting.

 

#2. The power of God to change lives. We have seen in today's world, God's power to change lives for the better. I have seen and heard stories and have personally experienced the power of God to change lives. People seem to be at peace under the most difficult circumstances and have held their ground in the midst of opposition. For example, I know of a time when two high school kids had plans to blow up the school. They were also trying to prove that God had no power to save anyone. One of the gunmen put a gun to a girl's head and said "Do you believe in God?" {they may have said Jesus instead of God, I don't remember}, she said yes and they shot her in the head. She held true to this faith and was willing to die for it! Now that's strong faith! People don't die for something knowing it is false. Neither do people die for something they just made up to make them feel better.

 

#3. Life without God is absurd! If there is no God, we have no purpose. What purpose do we serve in the long run? What difference would we have made 1,000,000,000 years later when {and if} the world is gone and we are all in nothingness? Without God, human life is worthless. Who cares about 9/11? Who care than many good people were murdered on that day? What difference does it make in the long run? Absolutely none. What about the brave person who gives his life for his friends. Is that not insane, to know life will end at the grave, and give your life for your friends? Shouldn't we be enjoying life to the fullest and not sacrificing ourselves when there will be no more existence, whatsoever, at all? What purpose do we serve, day by day? Ok, so we help the poor, feed the hungry, visit prisoners and the like. So what? 1,000,000,000 years from now {assuming the world will be gone by then} we will be nothing. Why is there law? Do we simply decide what is good and descent or evil and wrong? Let's say someone rapes a young girl and murders her by slitting her throat, then throwing her into a muddy ditch. Ok, now, one person might say "That is horribly evil and that person should go to prison!" Another person might say, "Well, I don't think it's too bad. People should do whatever they want to, even if it includes rape and murder of an innocent young girl". If there is no God, which do we agree with? Personally, I would be disgusted if someone thought rape and murder was anything other than wicked. How do we decide what is right and what is wrong, if there is no God? There is absolutely no reason to believe rape and murder are wrong, because there is no God to give us that conscience to know that it is wrong. On that other hand, if there is a God, things would be different. There would be purpose and meaning in our lives. We would be here to serve God, to love and be loved by Him. We would then understand what are right and wrong, because He gave us a conscience to know the difference between the two. We would know that we would not just be "nothing" after death, but we would have immortality with God. Human life matters, because we are not dealing with something that just goes into non-existence when we die, {like an insect} but we are dealing with human souls.

 

Those are three, I believe, to be sound arguments for believing in a Creator. I have other reasons to believe in God, also. First, I would like to ask, why do you not believe in God?

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Guest waxwings

Hi Scotty, thanks for agreeing to have a debate with me. I hope we can reach an agreeable consensus based on the merits of our arguments. First I'd just like to clarify that when we say 'god' for the purposes of this debate, we're not limited to the Christian god per se, but to the idea of an anthropomorphic creator god; a being with a human-like way of thinking and purpose to his actions.

 

Those are three, I believe, to be sound arguments for believing in a Creator. I have other reasons to believe in God, also. First, I would like to ask, why do you not believe in God?

 

I'll decline to answer that question at the moment, as we have a cross examination round coming up. Now on to your arguments:

 

 

#1. The existence of the world. I remember last year when I when went to visit my dad for a week in Jacksonville, Flordia where he was working...It was incredible! My dad said "How can anyone think there's not a God?". That is a good question. When we look at a painting that is so beautiful that it is beyond words, where do we think it came from? Did a person paint it, or did it just come into existence? Of course, the latter is absurd...A person has to paint them. It is the same with God. This world could have never come into existence by itself. When I see the beauty of the sun rise, when it seems all the incredible colors mix together, or when I go flying in an airplane and I look over the beauty of creation, what do I say? I don't say, "My goodness! It's amazing how lucky we became that all of this just sprang into existence!". That's the same illogical thinking as believing a painting simply sprang into existence. No, a Creator must have made this world, as an aritst would have created that painting.

 

This item is actually two arguments, both of which are fallacies.

 

Your first contention, that existence implies a creator, also popularly know as the 'watchmaker argument' or Paley's argument by design requires some information you simply don't have in order to be valid. While it's certainly true that this diverse and extraordinary universe we live in appears to be the result of forces we don't fully understand (and may never understand), that does not mean those forces are intelligent, or acting with purpose.

 

You cite a painting as an example of a manmade object; could the painting have appeared randomly you ask? Perish the thought, it's absurd, as it indeed is. But then you make a very serious error in your reasoning. You draw a conclusion that god must exist because a painter exists in the analogy.

 

But the universe is very different from a painting, isn't it? In fact, one is a dreadful analogy for another in this example. We know a painting is manmade because we've seen men make them. We know the tools, the pigments, the canvas and their origins. We've seen people. We are people. We know a painting is manmade from real, observable experience. We have no observations of any god to draw the same conclusions about the universe; quite the opposite in fact. Whenever we turn our powers of observation to a mystery of the universe, we find unexpected, often delightful things, but we do not find any god, nor do we need human-like intelligence to explain why electrons repel each other, or why molecules self-replicate, or anything else in our experience.

 

Your second argument used to bolster the first--sort of a one/two punch of logical fallacies--is an argument from incredulity. You say, the universe is amazing, diverse, awe-inspiring, ect., so god must exist. There's any number of ways to demonstrate that this is wrong. For example, try reversing it: if you weren't amazed by the universe, would that necessarily mean that god doesn't exist? If so, why does your amazement mean he does? Further: does this argument work for any god? Could we say Allah exists because a muslim experiences awe, as he routinely does? How about the millions of gods of the Hindus? Is their personal feeling that the universe is beautiful, or that they're glad to be alive proof of all those gods? How many gods can you prove by your own personal amazement? Is it equally valid for me to say 'The universe is so beautiful that it could only have been created by gravitation and electromagnetism?' If not, why not?

 

Clearly, whatever your personal feelings, they are not proof of god any more than my personal feelings are proof that the atheist position is right.

 

#2. The power of God to change lives. We have seen in today's world, God's power to change lives for the better. I have seen and heard stories and have personally experienced the power of God to change lives. People seem to be at peace under the most difficult circumstances and have held their ground in the midst of opposition. For example, I know of a time when two high school kids had plans to blow up the school. They were also trying to prove that God had no power to save anyone. One of the gunmen put a gun to a girl's head and said "Do you believe in God?" {they may have said Jesus instead of God, I don't remember}, she said yes and they shot her in the head. She held true to this faith and was willing to die for it! Now that's strong faith! People don't die for something knowing it is false. Neither do people die for something they just made up to make them feel better.

 

First let me say I find it almost absurd that you cite a girl getting shot at the moment she most needed god's intervention and clearly didn't get it. Usually theists like to cite as miracles incidences where someone survived in difficult circumstances.

 

Be that as it may, this argument really is a subset of your previous reference to personal feelings. While you can attribute "changes" in your life to god all you want, that doesn't serve as evidence I or anyone else reading this debate can accept. Let's also consider for a moment what happened in these people's lives and what god's role allegedly was.

 

People are at peace, you say. They find strength which allows them to overcome adversity. This is no doubt true of some. Others do not overcome though, in spite of their faith. The difference between the former and the latter is that you don't cite the latter as proof that god doesn't exist. Nor is it established that god has any role in the strength these people find. Is it possible that these people might find strength if they just had a belief in an imaginary god? Do you think a person would set a new personal record running home if his house was on fire? What if you just told him his house was on fire? The belief here is more than sufficient to explain feelings of empowerment or encouragement. What is perhaps more interesting is that the belief is far from perfect at its ostensible job of providing 'strength' or 'miracles', even if failures are ignored while so-called successes are offered up as incontrovertible truth. We cannot draw any conclusions about god's effect on people at all, as people all live, die, find happiness, misery and everything in between, regardless of their belief in god.

 

 

#3. Life without God is absurd! If there is no God, we have no purpose. What purpose do we serve in the long run? What difference would we have made 1,000,000,000 years later when {and if} the world is gone and we are all in nothingness? Without God, human life is worthless...If there is no God, which do we agree with? Personally, I would be disgusted if someone thought rape and murder was anything other than wicked. How do we decide what is right and what is wrong, if there is no God? There is absolutely no reason to believe rape and murder are wrong, because there is no God to give us that conscience to know that it is wrong. On that other hand, if there is a God, things would be different. There would be purpose and meaning in our lives. We would be here to serve God, to love and be loved by Him. We would then understand what are right and wrong, because He gave us a conscience to know the difference between the two. We would know that we would not just be "nothing" after death, but we would have immortality with God. Human life matters, because we are not dealing with something that just goes into non-existence when we die, {like an insect} but we are dealing with human souls.

 

If you cannot imagine a purpose in life without god, then I would say you need to get out more. But once again, this is not logically valid or even relevant to the discussion. I can't argue your first point; if there is no god, and our purpose is to serve god, then we have no purpose. All of this is true. Unfortunately for you, now you've placed the burden of proving that our purpose is to serve god on yourself. How do you propose to do that? Do you have instructions from god explaining what our purpose is? You might want to back away from this, as you're probably about to put yourself outside the scope of this debate.

 

As to the claim that love, good, evil, etc, would not exist without god, I can only say you have made no connection between one and the other. This is as much a non sequitur as it was when you said existence itself is proof of god. Good and evil are concepts in all cultures, regardless of religious beliefs. Associating morality with belief in god was unheard of in the world prior to Biblical times, yet people did indeed make value judgments. You'll note that in human morality, there is a lot of variation, too; not everyone agrees on what is good and what is bad. Some things we almost all agree on (like murder is bad). On others there is almost no consensus (use of contraception: moral or immoral?). When the morality of an issue is decided, it is done by people, not gods. In the above example of contraception, Christian adherents across the whole spectrum disagree, yet they all believe in god. Clearly, their moral view on that is not dependent on any one god. Even murder is not so black and white; one Christian might excuse the wartime murder of captives, while another condemns it. Which one is listening to god? How would you know? Further, if god is the arbiter of morality, which god is it? Allah commands you to beat your wife if she's disobedient. Is that moral? Should wives be obedient? Many muslims certainly think so. Meanwhile, the god of the Bible commands us to kill witches. Should we act on that moral guideline? Why not? If we defy it, aren't we creating our own morality?

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Yes, we are talking about a Creator, not necessarily the Christian God.

 

#1. You're right. The universe is different that a painting. The painting is man made, as you have said, we can actually see people paint them. What about the things we cannot see in this world, yet we believe it exists, like, love, hate, and even the wind? Is there any proof that they exist? What is the proof? The effect it has on people? All of them effect people. It's the same with God. He can effect people, and we know this by the testimonies of others, and perhaps by personal experience, although, I know a personal experience is not relevant to the conversation.

 

I would still believe in God, even if I didn't think of the universe as awe-inspiring. If God didn't exist, like I said in my first post, human life is worthless. If God doesn't exist, what is our purpose, and what will it matter if the universe is gone 10,000,000 pears from now? What real purpose would this universe have made?

 

As we have both mentioned before, we are talking about a Creator in general. To be thankful and glad to be alive is evidence for God, be it Allah, or the Hindu gods.

 

#2. I mentioned that girl getting shot to show that people who believe in God do not just believe in Him out of fear, as I had heard people say around the forums. People who believe in God usually have a very deep faith in Him. Deep enough to die for what they believe in.

 

I believe you're right in one area, when you said "All people live, die, find happiness, mysery, and all in between". That's very true. But in some cases, some of these may be evidence of God's existence. I think we can agree that evil exists. I believe what happened on 9/11 was very evil, indeed. There are other evils in the world also {rape, murder, child abuse, beating your wife, etc}. Now, some things seem so evil that we wonder "What makes a person do this?". Well, what does make a person do this? Are they just bad people? Or do they simply do things that they ought not do? What should we do? What Society has deemed worthy to do? If Society says we can do something, then I guess we can do whatever we want that Socitey says we can do. Or is it possible that a supernatural being gives us, as I mentioned, consciences to know the difference between good and evil? That is what we call God, and perhaps, the force behind evil, is the Devil.

 

#3. Ok, so people decide what is moral. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense because if people decide what is moral, do we always accept that? Let's say, Society deems child molestation moral and legal. Should we accept this? I don't think so. Surely there must be an ultimate Law Maker, who gives us our conscience, by which we know right from wrong. I believe that we can agree it is wrong to go out and kill someone, to rob a bank, to rape someone, or molest a child. How do we know these are wrong? Because Society deems them wrong? Surely there is a Law Maker who reveals to us what is good and evil.

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Guest waxwings

#1. You're right. The universe is different that a painting. The painting is man made, as you have said, we can actually see people paint them. What about the things we cannot see in this world, yet we believe it exists, like, love, hate, and even the wind? Is there any proof that they exist? What is the proof? The effect it has on people? All of them effect people. It's the same with God. He can effect people, and we know this by the testimonies of others, and perhaps by personal experience, although, I know a personal experience is not relevant to the conversation.

 

No it's not, though I will address your continued insistence that your gut feelings on the matter are relevant in my closing.

 

I would still believe in God, even if I didn't think of the universe as awe-inspiring. If God didn't exist, like I said in my first post, human life is worthless. If God doesn't exist, what is our purpose, and what will it matter if the universe is gone 10,000,000 pears from now? What real purpose would this universe have made?

 

Here you 1) concede to my point that your argument from awe is not valid (since your belief in God is unaffected by it either way) and 2) repeat your previous arguments without adding any new substantive matter to them. That's rather like telling me a joke about black people, then when I object that the joke is racist, you change 'blacks' to 'Jews', but leave the joke otherwise unmodified. It's still the same joke, it's still racist; you just changed the ingredients.

 

I can imagine numerous, plausible reasons why I experience love (or hate, or whatever) that do not require a god at all. Love, along with all our emotional responses, could be the result of evolution; animals with strong tendencies to certain behaviors survive while others don't. This is commonly observed. Perhaps we love in order to cooperate, because cooperation turns out to have a survival advantage. That we call these evolved emotional incentives 'love' and romanticize them is, I grant you fascinating behavior, but it needs no divine explanation at the present time.

 

The real, glaring flaw though, the non sequitur that lies at the root of your arguments, goes unanswered. In this instance, instead of personal awe equalling belief in god, now the existence of intangible things like 'love' or 'hate' equate to the existence of god. Yet in order for this to be valid, you have to demonstrate that these things can't exist without god, not just say they can't and leave it at that. In a valid argument, the conclusion must follow the premise, and that cannot happen while possibilities such as the ones I've raised above are not eliminated, let alone while no connection at all has been established between the conclusion and the premise. We still have no idea why the existence of anything you've cited is impossible without a god. You clearly have no idea why they are impossible without god.

 

In a debate it is not merely sufficient for you to repeat your argument. If we just went back and forth like that, no one would ever figure anything out and I'm sure both you and I would prefer not to waste our time going in circles. The purpose here is to examine each position honestly and determine which one has more merit, logically speaking. I must ask that you remember that even ideas like 'purpose' are highly subjective and have virtually no logical value in this context. Certainly the 'purpose' of a butter knife is to be a butter knife, but I've used one as a screwdriver. A rock has no 'purpose' at all until a man or animal picks it up and puts it to some use, and even then the 'purpose' varies. The man may turn it into an axe. A squirrel may use it to open nuts.

 

To win your case, you must present arguments which are also consistent. It is logically valid to say salt water conducts electricity because we can complete an electrical circuit with it. You do not find that if I try to close a circuit with salt water, it doesn't work in your house. You do not find that in Iraq, salt water fails to conduct electricity. The experience and the observation are consistent no matter what. Note that although we cannot see electricity, we can see its effects and predict them with flawless accuracy, which not only gives us good grounds to believe electricity exists, it also gives us useful applications, like computers that allow us to debate people we've never met before.

 

Meanwhile, all of your results vary wildly depending on any given person's point of view. To demonstrate the degree to which your arguments are invalid logically, imagine if your computer worked as consistently as, say god cures AIDS. Certainly, if you are correct, God has changed the life of some AIDS victim somewhere with a miraculous recovery. But how many millions are praying just as fervently (perhaps even more) for the same recovery? What if your computer only came on once in every thousand times you plugged it in? Imagine if every time it came on, you had no idea why, or what it had done. Imagine if it gave a different answer every time you typed in an equation. If computers worked like this, no one would use them, nor would you see anyone expecting anyone else to use them. Pay me the same courtesy that you would pay me in not trying sell me a bunk computer by sparing me arguments that work as poorly.

 

#2. I mentioned that girl getting shot to show that people who believe in God do not just believe in Him out of fear, as I had heard people say around the forums. People who believe in God usually have a very deep faith in Him. Deep enough to die for what they believe in.

 

I said nothing about fear. No one in this discussion did. That was another debate. May I suggest that you focus your efforts on the real argument, rather than writing responses to arguments which do not exist? I can assure you, if you do you will have much better success in all your endeavors and save a great deal of time.

 

...in some cases, some of these may be evidence of God's existence. I think we can agree that evil exists. I believe what happened on 9/11 was very evil, indeed. There are other evils in the world also {rape, murder, child abuse, beating your wife, etc}. Now, some things seem so evil that we wonder "What makes a person do this?". Well, what does make a person do this? Are they just bad people? Or do they simply do things that they ought not do? What should we do? What Society has deemed worthy to do? If Society says we can do something, then I guess we can do whatever we want that Socitey says we can do. Or is it possible that a supernatural being gives us, as I mentioned, consciences to know the difference between good and evil? That is what we call God, and perhaps, the force behind evil, is the Devil.

 

Evidently I am failing to impress upon you the degree to which every single argument you have made is the same in nature as the one that preceded it, but I will try again anyway.

 

9/11 was evil. Unless you're Osama Bin Laden or much of the Muslim world, in which case it was just peachy. Blowing up a tower full of people is not nearly so 'evil' when the people in it happen to be your enemy, or (gasp) even if you just think they're your enemy. For every single example of morality you can provide, there is an alternative view, even ones you consider as clear cut as 9/11.

 

Consider the Sawi, a tribe indigenous to New Guinea. When a missionary by the name of Don Richardson introduced told them the story of Jesus, the tribesmen found Judas Iscariot to be the hero; among these headhunters and cannibals, treachery through "fattening" victims with friendship before the slaughter was considered clever and brave. If god, as you claim, gave us morality, why isn't it consistent?

 

 

#3. Ok, so people decide what is moral. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense because if people decide what is moral, do we always accept that? Let's say, Society deems child molestation moral and legal. Should we accept this? I don't think so.

 

If morality comes from god, then what you think is irrelevant, but in every case, you cite only moral viewpoints you personally endorse. If, as you claim, there were some universal morality, then right and wrong would be instinctively known and acknowledged by all of us. I agree that we should not accept child molestation or murder. Since you and I, and many other people do, child molesting is proscribed. Here.

 

In other countries, however, it is commonplace. In our own western cultures in Europe and America, only a century ago you would have seen people as young as 12 and 13 getting married. Today, that's 'child molestation'. Even Christians do not have a consistent 'moral law'. The rules have changed dramatically over time (unless part of this universal law still includes burning witches, for example). It is as safe to say you and I would find the morality of 300 years ago horrifying and barbaric, and that we would likely find the same true 300 years from now.

 

You cannot cite universal morality as proof that god exists if no such morality exists.

 

Moreover, even assuming it did--assuming we all had a natural belief that kittens were evil, or that swimming was indecent, or something like that--that would still not mean god exists, because the conclusion does not in any way connect to the premise.

 

Surely there must be an ultimate Law Maker, who gives us our conscience, by which we know right from wrong. I believe that we can agree it is wrong to go out and kill someone, to rob a bank, to rape someone, or molest a child. How do we know these are wrong? Because Society deems them wrong? Surely there is a Law Maker who reveals to us what is good and evil.

 

When that god hands down her guidelines, we'll know she exists. Perhaps if you could produce such a document, then you might have a case, though I imagine (and this is just a guess) that you would have a difficult time showing that some 'book of god', if you will, was really in any way related to god.

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I guess it's time for the questions. These questions will be an overall look at the main conversation.

 

#1. As I asked in my first post, why do you, personally, not believe in God {A Creator of any kind}?

 

#2. Do you believe there is not the slightest possibility of the existence of a Creator?

 

#3. I said earlier that there would be no point to our existence if there was no God. So let me ask you; 10,000,000,000 years from now when we are all dead and gone {including the universe} what would have been the point of our existence? What would it have mattered at all if we even existed?

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#1. As I asked in my first post, why do you, personally, not believe in God {A Creator of any kind}?

 

For as long as people have been around, they've tried to understand and explain their world. Before we had developed tools like logic and the scientific method that we could use to study the world, we explained things in anthropomorphic terms. The sun was a man in a chariot. Rain fell, we assumed, because someone wanted it to. It was (and still is for many people) natural to think of the world from a people perspective.

 

But the more we learned, the more we learned that the universe is a big, diverse place in which things happen that are quite beyond our egotistical, narrow perspective. We found out that there isn't a sky man opening windows to make the rain. There is no chariot for the sun. As our understanding grows, what we find, over and over again, is that the things we used god to explain have explanations that don’t need an invisible man.

 

Gods aren’t entirely vague concepts. They’re anthropomorphic. They’re our effort to ‘humanize’ the world. Unfortunately, we’ve learned now that the world isn’t human and it’s increasingly obvious that what’s keeping people from letting go of the many gods they worship is not the gods’ effectiveness at explaining the great unanswered questions, but their own very human reluctance to change what they believe. I don’t believe in gods because, unlike you, I’ve overcome the emotional obstacles to seeing the world in non-anthropomorphic terms.

 

#2. Do you believe there is not the slightest possibility of the existence of a Creator?

 

No, I don't actually. It is egotism and a conceit to presume to know everything when one doesn’t. Having said that though, it is only fair to acknowledge that I give gods roughly the same odds of existing that I give unicorns or fairies.

 

While it’s true we can’t rule out things when we don’t have any good evidence, we also can’t responsibly rule them in without good evidence. It would be a huge waste of time to devote one’s life attempting to disprove that unicorns exist. You could search every square inch of the planet Earth for them, and unicorn believers would still observe that you hadn’t looked on Pluto for them, or that you hadn’t considered before that they were invisible. Even so, until someone presents a solid case for the unicorn, I’m content to not believe in them, ditto gods.

 

Please also note that specific gods can be disproved. Although we refer to some ‘generic’ god in this discussion, the reality is that most people worship a specific god. In every case where this is so, we find that that god can be compared to our observations and ruled out. The gods in the Bible and the Koran (many would say they’re the same) for example, make very specific claims that we can test. These gods fail those tests, so we can rule them out. To date, we have no specific god concepts that pass the test of existing harmoniously with our observations.

 

#3. I said earlier that there would be no point to our existence if there was no God. So let me ask you; 10,000,000,000 years from now when we are all dead and gone {including the universe} what would have been the point of our existence? What would it have mattered at all if we even existed?

 

Ten million years from now, I’ll be long dead. Why should I care what happens then? The people who around then, if they will even be called such will have their own concerns to deal with. I think it’s preposterous to worry about them when we have plenty to worry about now.

 

I’m sorry you want to live forever. I’m sorry that you’re so preoccupied with having some imaginary father figure to imbue your life with ‘purpose’ that you’re actually worried about what the world will be like when you’re dead and dust. If the sensation of having sex, or feeling wet grass under your bare feet, or listening to a song, or learning about the world, or just breathing isn’t enough for you, then I’d say you’re not only hopelessly greedy, you’re also missing the point entirely.

 

Earlier I explained and gave examples of how purposes originate from people, not gods. If you wait for god to give you one, then you’ll never have a purpose, or worse yet, some unscrupulous guy will make one up that suits his needs. If you still insist on having one, I suggest you do what the man who first chipped flakes away from a stone to make a hand axe did: give it a purpose. That’s what we do, and while it's only a million or so years since that happened, every one of us alive today can thank that man, whoever he was. That matters to me.

 

And here are my three questions:

 

1) Excluding for a moment any thought of gods: can you imagine circumstances where someone's personal feelings made it impossible for him to accept the reality of a situation? If yes, please provide an example.

 

2) Can you imagine circumstances where it might be dangerous to ignore the facts and just 'listen to your heart'? If yes, please provide an example.

 

3) Can you accept the possibility that your own feelings about god might be interfering with your ability to evaluate your belief rationally?

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#1. I suppose. For example, if someone's spouse is cheating on him, and he had plenty evidence that she was, but "felt" that the spouse still loved him, so he didn't believe the evidence.

 

#2. While there may be other examples, I'll use the same one as in number 1.

 

#3. There are many things in the Christian faith that are up for debate. However, the very foundation of the Christian faith is not up for debate. I do not deny the possibility that I am wrong in some of the things that are up for debate. I do not, however, believe that I am wrong about the foundation of the Christian faith. The belief that God does not exist is as absurd to me as saying the sun is not bright, the grass is not green, water is not wet. I am fully convinced that God exists.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

I think this has been a fairly good debate. While we both hold the same beliefs we held when we began this debate, at least we were able to state what we believe and why.

:magic:

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Guest waxwings

At the beginning of this, I said I hoped we would both take part in a process where two arguments are compared, and the stronger of the two is agreed upon. While we may not even end up agreeing on the final disposition of god, or while there may be other arguments that we have not explored, a consensus based on the dispassionate arbiter of logical merits would prevail.

 

But having read your final, succinct contribution, and your answers to my questions, that does not appear to be the case. I cannot say this was a good debate.

 

Since I've responded to each of your arguments in kind in the above posts, allow me to present, as a final thought, some ideas that I am a proponent of. It is not sufficient in my view to just refute another's arguments. You have to have your own reasons which support your position as well.

 

There are many things in which one can place his faith, so that it bears fruit. I am not strictly speaking, an opponent of faith. Faith isn't just a belief where no evidence exists, it's a confidence in things that are valued. One have faith in one's spouse, oneself, or in ideas.

 

In your debate, you repeatedly cite certain moral 'truths' as one of the reasons you believe in god. But what you did not have is any faith in the the morals themselves, or their value or purpose. To you, it's sufficient that some invisible god has handed them down for you to obey. Your have no faith at all in your own judgement, intelligence, compassion, sense of justice or honesty, and because of that, you can't make moral judgments, you can only parrot those that someone else has taught you.

 

For centuries, so-called 'witches' were tortured and brutally killed because it was the 'right' thing to do, but only if doing the 'right' thing means unquestioningly accepting the claim that an ancient anthology of myths is true. Had people the courage and decency to have faith in their own moral judgement, such a thing would never have happened. That they did eventually question these barbaric acts and make the decision to find them immoral after all is a triumph of humanity as much as it is a failure of god.

 

Both your rigid, unflinching refusal to consider your own fallibility in matters you remain in utter ignorance of, the dog-like obedience of the adherents who burned witches and your strange assessment that this was a 'good' debate are all different facets of the same concept. In each case, all it would have taken to do the 'right' thing is a willingness to learn.

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This concludes the main section of the The final phase is "Questions from Viewers".

 

DO NOT post you question(s) directly. Send them to me and I will post three to each participant. This ensures we don't get repeat questions.

 

Bruce

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From Dhampir to Scotty

 

I would still believe in God, even if I didn't think of the universe as awe-inspiring. If God didn't exist, like I said in my first post, human life is worthless. If God doesn't exist, what is our purpose, and what will it matter if the universe is gone 10,000,000 pears from now? What real purpose would this universe have made?

Having said this, and having used as your first argument for the existence of god the fact of existence, and the awesomeness thereof, what exactly about existence points toward evidence of God, if in contradiction to your OP, it is not the perception of order, thus beauty to be found therein? Furthermore, what about purpose makes it integral that there be a god, and why would there not being one make there be no purpose?
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Dhampir - I think the times when I really feel God's presence is when I'm sitting on my porch. I see squirrels, birds, the sun, trees, and everything else that God made. Everything has it's purpose and everything knows what it is there for. Or, as I said in my first post, the sunsets or sunrises just look like God's handiwork, like a painter, and I simply do not and cannot believe something like that could come about by chance. Also, if there is no God, no one can really say why this world exists. For example, we live, we die, life goes on. 10,000,000,000 years from now if the universe is gone by then, no one can really say what the ultimate purpose of existence is, no one can say why the world was created in the first place, except there be a God.

 

Taylork, I do not believe it is reasonable for a person not to believe in God. Saying "There is no God" is saying this world came into existence by chance. There is no real reason that we do exists, and once we die, it is over. I honestly do not know how someone can say, with a straight face, there is no God, when they see the way the world and the universe work. Now, I understand how no one has seen God, nor can see Him. However, like I said in my first post, it's like saying a painting has burst into existence and there is no one who painted it. This is irrational and illogical thinking.

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To Waxwings from Lizard

 

Please also note that specific gods can be disproved. Although we refer to some ‘generic’ god in this discussion, the reality is that most people worship a specific god. In every case where this is so, we find that that god can be compared to our observations and ruled out. The gods in the Bible and the Koran (many would say they’re the same) for example, make very specific claims that we can test. These gods fail those tests, so we can rule them out. To date, we have no specific god concepts that pass the test of existing harmoniously with our observations.

Let me say first, I agree with the statement above. But, what kind concept and/or test could be harmonious with our current observations? Or would we need a whole new set of observations?

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Guest waxwings

To Waxwings from Lizard

 

Please also note that specific gods can be disproved. Although we refer to some ‘generic’ god in this discussion, the reality is that most people worship a specific god. In every case where this is so, we find that that god can be compared to our observations and ruled out. The gods in the Bible and the Koran (many would say they’re the same) for example, make very specific claims that we can test. These gods fail those tests, so we can rule them out. To date, we have no specific god concepts that pass the test of existing harmoniously with our observations.

Let me say first, I agree with the statement above. But, what kind concept and/or test could be harmonious with our current observations? Or would we need a whole new set of observations?

 

Thanks for the question! For a moment I didn't think anyone was going to ask me anything.

 

To be honest, I cannot think of any god which would be consistent with any observations we have made, nor one that is consistent with our logical framework. Certain 'god-like' attributes are intrinsically contradictory (e.g. omniscience and omnipotence).

 

However, while such concepts may be contradictory based on our current understanding, and while no observations on our part have ever supported the existence of a god, we should not rule out wholesale the possibility, however remote, that at some undetermined point in the future new information will reshape our beliefs.

 

The point here that is most relevant is that we should form our beliefs and actions on what we do have to go on, not what we don't have, and make changes as necessary when new information is available. This parsimonious approach has led to steady, reliable improvements in our understanding of the world throughout history.

 

Presently, it seems to me that only a complete overturning of our understanding of the natural world would be required to demonstrate that a god exists.

 

P.S. Love the pirate hate, Bruce. Reminds me of a joke:

 

What kind of socks to pirates wear?

 

Arrrrrrrrrggggggyle!

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