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Scotty Vs. Waxwings - Commentary/poll


Celsus
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At first glance Scotty's three arguments all seem to me to presuppose the existence of God, which is the conclusion he wants to demonstrate. So they're all circular. Even #3, "if there is no God, life is meaningless," rests on theistic assumptions about the conditions you need to have to have a meaningful life. Some theistic premise is already slipped in among those conditions, like "a life constructed by the human being is not meaningful unless there's a divine entity for whom that human is living" or something like that.

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It is interesting to see Scott focus his thoughts in this manner. This perhaps a better format to discuss ideas than it going all over the place and going no where in various threads all over the forum.

 

Scott's basic premise for belief in a Creator rests on three arguments:

 

1. The Watchmaker's argument

2. The power of belief

3. God as a belief to add meaning to life

 

Of course in the last two of these premises, any system of belief accomplishes exactly the same thing, whether it is a theistic belief or non-theistic in nature. It therefore does not speak of evidence of the thing believed in, but rather the power of belief in a humans mind.

 

The first premise, the Watchmakers argument, is a common fallacy of human perception, that the result was the purpose. The world as we have it is all about adaptive purpose. We take what is; find a use for it, then after the fact assume the purpose we found for it was its intended purpose all along.

 

We look at the results and then ask, "what are the odds"? Very true, it would be astronomical that events would occur again in such a manner to produce exactly these results, but this is like throwing 100,000 nuts and bolts onto the ground and then take the resulting placement of each nut and each bolt, then saying "let's see if it can happen identically again." That's besides the point, it's the intitial placement that has nothing to do with odds. It has everything to do with the properties of the elements and the forces interacting with them.

 

The same holds true for our perception of beauty. The beautiful sunset evokes a positive emotional response, and because we take pleasure in this, we see that a purpose exists in it to evoke this feeling. Of course to the person living in nature fighting for his survival, the sunset evokes feeling of terror, as the signal of the approaching night predators. Now the purpose of the world to him is not something that would come from a loving God of peace and joy, but a terror in his very struggle to keep from being torn to shreds by some animal that desires his body for a meal.

 

Again, in this there is no evidence of a Creator, only that we have selective responses to things that we like, and things that we don't. I can have an emotional response to blobs of color tossed randomly on a piece of canvas. This was not "drawn" with willful intention, it was just random, but the patterns and combinations of colors can and do evoke responses. It then becomes our imagination that assigns some intention behind it to explain why it would have that effect on us.

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Well, Scotty has been put on a leash...it could get interesting, now that he has to follow rules and structure. He may not last. Already, in his opening remarks...hell, when it comes down to theology and philosophy stuff, I'm probably the equivalent of the village idiot here, but even I could handle those...

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Ohhhh....I like this by waxwings:

 

...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.

 

Yeeeooowwza

 

 

popcorn.gif

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I give Scott kudos for making a good effort. Of course the arguments in the last response are circular in nature (which I'm postive will be exposed by waxwings), but he is making a good presentation of his points for the most part. It's nice to see a focused dialog like this.

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There was a debate?

 

-EDIT-

Seriously though. JS needs to back up his reasoning and needs to stop using the same arguments. Especially when the arguments have been refuted.

 

Waxwings obviously won but I think debate could have been much better

 

-EDIT-

Oh yeah, don't you think that this voting is kinda.....biased? Majority of the people voting are ex-christians. Meh.....even so I even think christians would agree that JS's debate tactics could have been much better.

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Who won?

 

I would say Waxwings, easily. Scotty failed to adequately address many of his pertinent arguments.

 

Also, this is just absolutely wrong:

 

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.

 

This an urban legend from the horrific Columbine school shooting. It didn't happen, but xtians have been wild to spread the story. Interesting that Scotty didn't recognize it was about Columbine... :scratch:

 

And at any rate, it's fairly disgusting to use a tragedy like that as an evangelizing tool. Not accusing Scotty of this, just the original framers of the myth.

 

Here's the link:

 

The News article says that one of the witnesses to initially tell the story about Cassie being asked about her belief in God was Craig Scott whose sister Rachel was among those killed in the rampage. He told investigators that he heard the exchange about God and thought it was Cassie's voice that said "yes," but he did not actually see who had said it. According to the article, Scott was later able to point to where the gunman was at that time that he heard the exchange, but that he indicated a table where a different student, Valeen Schnurr, had been hiding. Schnurr's mother says Valeen was lying wounded on the library floor and was praying when one of the gunmen approached her and asked if she believed in God. The News article says she replied by saying, "Yes, I believe in God." The gunman did nothing more and Valeen survived. The Salon article says Valeen was saying, "Oh, my God, oh, my God, don't let me die," when one of the gunmen asked her if she believed in God. She said "yes" and was then asked why. She said, "Because I believe and my parents brought me up that way." Salon says that in the end, the investigators concluded that Valeen's was the only encounter in the library where anyone was asked about God. None of those who thought the question had been asked of Cassie actually witnessed it, they only heard it and, it is suggested, heard Valeen's voice, not Cassie's.

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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.

It isn't worth talking to him now. Everything that he just discussed and everything that was mentioned in the debate was thrown out of the window. We showed him why we feel it is logical for one not to believe in god. We showed that his reasoning showed flawed logic for believing in God. Yet he has said......

 

Taylork, I do not believe it is reasonable for a person not to believe in God....This is irrational and illogical thinking.

 

The only person that can make understand is himself. I nor anyone else here can't because we are "irrational and illogical" in his eyes.

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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.
Slippery bastard. I utilize this technique when I don't want to answer a question truthfully, but without lying. First the guy repeats the statement that prompted the question in the first place, then he cites his opener again, which he contradicted, so now he's using statements he's rendered pointless as though he forgot he already said it, and also forgot, or never knew that they didn't answer anything.
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
Okay... you said this already. What I asked is why is that the case? Nevermind, don't worry. You'll probably just answer the question with the question again.
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Clearly Waxwings was the winner, and I don't say so from a biased perspective as an Ex-C atheist, but objectively. Waxwings' arguments were clear, followed a rational string of thought, and were backed up by example. His replies pointed out clearly where JS' points were fallacious, and again backed up by example. All of JS' arguments seem to come not from rational thinking, but purely from feelings and emotions. "I feel god, therefore god exists". That must be the only way to sustain a belief in fundie xianity...it's irrational at its core, so what's left besides emotions? Yet we, as unbelievers, are called irrational by this person? Incredible.

 

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable" (Mencken)

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Cool debate, I'm sorry I didn't get into it. I checked my mail the next day and found that the debate had started and was nearly finished by before the end of the weekend.

 

What the hell was the rush?

 

Oh yea, Waxwings won.

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Interesting. And yes, Waxwings won. Not because I'm a nonbeliever. I really had hoped Scotty could bring something new, something logical to the table.

 

So, in that, I'm a bit disappointed. Same old, same old.

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I give credit to Scott for the exercise and bringing what he had to the table in the best way possible. Waxwings however had the stronger arguments and a more cohesive presentation and was therefore the winner.

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I do not think this was a good debate. Scotty repeated assertions without bringing in any new arguments or rebutting the arguments of Waxwing. Scott has recourse to arguments from incredulity: the universe cannot be explained without saying a creator created it; there can't be purpose without God. The first bumps the thing to be explained from universe to creator. The second brings many disguised theistic premises into its discussion of purpose.

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I hope Scott has at least taken note of what waxwings has outlined for him. Maybe, at some future time, Scott will realize somethings being told to him and this memory will spur some insights.

 

It is very obvious that Scott does not or cannot understand what waxwings was saying to him. He doesn't seem to understand how logic works (I no expert by far!), but maybe he will someday and he might realize that you can't debate with someone just by repeating your beliefs again and again. Waxwings was trying to have a debate, but I don't think Scott understood what that meant. At least he tried!

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Wawings clearly won this debate. His arguments pretty much confirmed my own non-belief - Scotty isn't the most convincing debater.

 

I too definitely take issue with this:

 

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. ... This is irrational and illogical thinking.

From an atheist perspective, as we all know, it is Christianity that is irrational and illogical. It is from our perspective that what Christians think and believe is utterly irrational and illogical. If one is to survive in this world, one must engage their brain, learn to think for themselves, and apply logic.

 

Just my $0.02.

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