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Topic: The Problem with Atheism (Read 161663 times)

  • Frenzie
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The Problem with Atheism

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #50

Hmm, hard to answer taking into consideration the lack of gravity in His habitat.

Therefore let me ask you something more simple.
God created man. Doesn't He?

Did He only create Adam and Eve as we are told or did He start mass production?
If it was only Adam and Eve, were they black, white or of other color for that matter?


Ahhh... now you stopped asking me about material "proofs" of my God... :)
That never again you ask me again about such imbecility.

If God created Adam and Eve, as you were told, and your ridiculous capacity of thinking doesn't take you out of there, is not my problem. Ask your fellow Protestants to answer you your childish questions.

Ersi, you talk too much. There's no need and you'll never get an answer from this people. They are way behind you.
  • Last Edit: 2013-12-12, 00:26:47 by Belfrager
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #51
What of an ocean wave approaching the shore that's a few centimeters higher than the one before and the one to follow. Immaterial? Energy transfer through a substance, while mathematically definable, requires some intelligence to separate the wave from the water. That intelligence may give it significance. "The force that makes water strong and that one is different/better. " But even if the wave isn't misunderstood and everything is known about it... So what? As the wave hits the shore none of what was thought matters anymore. It's been part of events that will end.

Any waves we cast are relevant within circumstances and that can change.

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #52



Yes... the validity of the arguments, indeed...
How much does your God weights? One kilogram? two kilograms? a tonne? can't be weighted? he doesn't exist.
The cumulus of "valid" thinking.

How much does God weigh?
Hmm, hard to answer taking into consideration the lack of gravity in His habitat.

The concept of immaterial is worth taking seriously. Question about weight is a contradiction of terms when concerning the immaterial world.

Some examples about immaterial are mathematical objects and logic itself. You can't say that these things don't exist. You use them daily and they are indispensable. Therefore they exist. Yet they weigh nothing and can't weigh anything. They have no location, speed, or change of form. They are immaterial.

Everything eternal and logically necessary is immaterial. Such as the concepts of cause and effect - they are just concepts, but you can't take a single breath without them.

So your god is nothing but an abstract concept which has about the same power to throw your ass into hell as a Riemann integral :o


But it's okay. Even Bertrand Russell, a formidably subtle thinker mostly, fell inescapably back into gross reasoning whenever God was mentioned. He assumed that a giant teapot in the sky sufficiently refutes any notion of God. This from the guy who made a considerable contribution to set theory...

I'll take Missing The Point By A Mile for $1000, Alex.

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #53


Hmm, hard to answer taking into consideration the lack of gravity in His habitat.

Therefore let me ask you something more simple.
God created man. Doesn't He?

Did He only create Adam and Eve as we are told or did He start mass production?
If it was only Adam and Eve, were they black, white or of other color for that matter?


Ahhh... now you stopped asking me about material "proofs" of my God... :)
That never again you ask me again about such imbecility.

If God created Adam and Eve, as you were told, and your ridiculous capacity of thinking doesn't take you out of there, is not my problem. Ask your fellow Protestants to answer you your childish questions.

I see, proof by pompous asshattery. Now I'm convinced ::)

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #54
So your god is nothing but an abstract concept which has about the same power to throw your ass into hell as a Riemann integral :o

Abstract concepts have amazing powers. Take right and wrong, true and false for example. Hell is when you are ignorant of the power of these concepts.

Quote from: Macallan
Quote from: ersi

But it's okay. Even Bertrand Russell, a formidably subtle thinker mostly, fell inescapably back into gross reasoning whenever God was mentioned. He assumed that a giant teapot in the sky sufficiently refutes any notion of God. This from the guy who made a considerable contribution to set theory...

I'll take Missing The Point By A Mile for $1000, Alex.
Russell's argument fails to address the immaterial. Thus missing the point.

Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #55


Then, some atheist doesn't argue what is believed, rather the validity of the arguments.


Yes... the validity of the arguments, indeed...
How much does your God weights? One kilogram? two kilograms? a tonne? can't be weighted? he doesn't exist.
The cumulus of "valid" thinking.

Things that don't exist are weightless, but
Δm=Ec2=Nhλc

Does that help?

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #56

So your god is nothing but an abstract concept which has about the same power to throw your ass into hell as a Riemann integral :o

Abstract concepts have amazing powers. Take right and wrong, true and false for example. Hell is when you are ignorant of the power of these concepts.

When was the last time an abelian group answered your prayers?


Quote from: Macallan
Quote from: ersi

But it's okay. Even Bertrand Russell, a formidably subtle thinker mostly, fell inescapably back into gross reasoning whenever God was mentioned. He assumed that a giant teapot in the sky sufficiently refutes any notion of God. This from the guy who made a considerable contribution to set theory...

I'll take Missing The Point By A Mile for $1000, Alex.

Russell's argument fails to address the immaterial. Thus missing the point.

Russell's argument has nothing to do with whatever you're imagining right now or at any other time. Missing the point by a mile. At least. And deliberately.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #57


So your god is nothing but an abstract concept which has about the same power to throw your ass into hell as a Riemann integral :o

Abstract concepts have amazing powers. Take right and wrong, true and false for example. Hell is when you are ignorant of the power of these concepts.

When was the last time an abelian group answered your prayers?
Mathematical symbols and objects guide the thought process, they have explanatory power, they enable predictions. See the connection? Sure you do, but you deny it.

Quote from: Macallan

Russell's argument has nothing to do with whatever you're imagining right now or at any other time. Missing the point by a mile. At least. And deliberately.
If his argument had nothing to do with the actual concept of God, then it was a strawman. If it had nothing to do with anything, then it was worse than that.

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #58



So your god is nothing but an abstract concept which has about the same power to throw your ass into hell as a Riemann integral :o

Abstract concepts have amazing powers. Take right and wrong, true and false for example. Hell is when you are ignorant of the power of these concepts.

When was the last time an abelian group answered your prayers?

Mathematical symbols and objects guide the thought process, they have explanatory power, they enable predictions. See the connection? Sure you do, but you deny it.

Sure - all human inventions, just like all gods. Oh, did you mean something else? ::)


Quote from: Macallan

Russell's argument has nothing to do with whatever you're imagining right now or at any other time. Missing the point by a mile. At least. And deliberately.

If his argument had nothing to do with the actual concept of God, then it was a strawman. If it had nothing to do with anything, then it was worse than that.

Still missing the point, still quite deliberate.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #59
Quote from: ersi

Mathematical symbols and objects guide the thought process, they have explanatory power, they enable predictions. See the connection? Sure you do, but you deny it.

Sure - all human inventions, just like all gods. Oh, did you mean something else? ::)
If you say that e.g. thought process is human invention, then you just ran into the causality dilemma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_egg_problem

The discussion can continue when you solve the dilemma.


Quote from: Macallan

Russell's argument has nothing to do with whatever you're imagining right now or at any other time. Missing the point by a mile. At least. And deliberately.

If his argument had nothing to do with the actual concept of God, then it was a strawman. If it had nothing to do with anything, then it was worse than that.

Still missing the point, still quite deliberate.

You actually know the work I am referring to? Name its title along with its point [edit]and how I missed the point[/edit]. (Hint: You don't have to answer.)
  • Last Edit: 2013-12-12, 18:38:54 by ersi

Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #60
Your concept of reality leads you to believe there's a cliff at the end of your understanding.  There isn't.

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #61

Quote from: ersi

Mathematical symbols and objects guide the thought process, they have explanatory power, they enable predictions. See the connection? Sure you do, but you deny it.

Sure - all human inventions, just like all gods. Oh, did you mean something else? ::)

If you say that e.g. thought process is human invention, then you just ran into the causality dilemma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_egg_problem

Always presupposing your own beliefs, I see.



Quote from: Macallan

Russell's argument has nothing to do with whatever you're imagining right now or at any other time. Missing the point by a mile. At least. And deliberately.

If his argument had nothing to do with the actual concept of God, then it was a strawman. If it had nothing to do with anything, then it was worse than that.

Still missing the point, still quite deliberate.

You actually know the work I am referring to? Name its title along with its point [edit]and how I missed the point[/edit]. (Hint: You don't have to answer.)

You were referring to Russell's teapot, forgot that already? ::)

Also, which "concept of god" is it this time around? Last time I checked there was no such thing as a universally accepted one.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #62

You were referring to Russell's teapot, forgot that already? ::)

Also, which "concept of god" is it this time around? Last time I checked there was no such thing as a universally accepted one.

Immaterial. Forgot that already?

And yes, this concept is universally accepted in all major religions (including Asian religions and ancient ones - Zeus was also immaterial) but you can limit yourself to Christianity so you remember the topic better.

Russell's teapot fails to address the universally accepted concept. I could elaborate on several aspects how his analogy fails, but it's not worth it as long as you are too brief yourself and possibly not even really interested in the topic.

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #63


You were referring to Russell's teapot, forgot that already? ::)

Also, which "concept of god" is it this time around? Last time I checked there was no such thing as a universally accepted one.

Immaterial. Forgot that already?

Still as vague as it gets ::)


And yes, this concept is universally accepted in all major religions (including Asian religions and ancient ones - Zeus was also immaterial) but you can limit yourself to Christianity so you remember the topic better.

Now that's just plain ridiculous. Do you seriously believe that your concept of 'god' is the same as smiley's?


Russell's teapot fails to address the universally accepted concept. I could elaborate on several aspects how his analogy fails, but it's not worth it as long as you are too brief yourself and possibly not even really interested in the topic.

Still deliberately missing the point I see. But since you insist on living in your own little world instead of reality this is pointless.

Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #64
"Firstly, how is that first item specifically describing a concept of a beginning coupled with an end, & secondly how in the world do you derive anthropomorphism from it?"

Give me an example of someone else who can make sense of it? :)
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  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #65

Now that's just plain ridiculous. Do you seriously believe that your concept of 'god' is the same as smiley's?
I have to give you this one. His concepts really are dismissible, probably even in the crude way Russell did.

But I'm not talking to him nor am I talking about him. I am talking to you and you are talking to me. Thus far you have responded to absolutely nothing I have had to say.

You would see that the concept of God I referred to is universal, if you even superficially read anything about theology. But I already got your point: You are just talking for the sake of talking, only using my posts as another opportunity to hear the sound of your own voice. You didn't even clarify how I was missing Russell's point. Hence I was not missing any point. End of story.

  • string
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #66
The connection between "beginning and end" and anthropomorphism? It's quite simple really. We live in a world where things start, happen and end. It is thus familiar for us to think in those terms. IF one postulates other, non-corporal entities, then one needs tho accept that our own perception of what is "right" may not be the only one.

By the way I put "IF" in capital letters because it's a big if.

You remember the recurring question, "what was there before God?" Well the equally recurring answer is "God is outside time and space". In other words even God believers do not feel it necessary to stick with the human mindset of there being a start and a stop; Anthropomorphism is as good a way to describe start/stop viewpoint as any.

Anyway, to get back to the point that Mac was valiantly trying to discuss, there is arguably a truth to the universality of mankind's need to believe in something greater than himself (I think it goes back to the Mother/Child relationship), but that is not the same as there being a consensus on everyone believing in one God. Some think God is Allah, others think it is the Sun, others the Earth and so on. Even within nominally the same religion there are different views. If there were a single God then he/she/it would have some form of multiple personally disorder. Maybe SF's apparent viewpoint of his God being his alone and none else's is the way to go.

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #67


Now that's just plain ridiculous. Do you seriously believe that your concept of 'god' is the same as smiley's?
I have to give you this one. His concepts really are dismissible, probably even in the crude way Russell did.

What I mean is if your concept of 'god' is so vague that it's acceptable to christians, hindus, muslims etc. it's essentially meaningless. It's not like even protestant christians can agree on one among themselves ( compare fundie evangelicals with their old testamental fire & brimstone interventionalist god who sends tornados up their asses whenever a state at the other end of the US allows gay marriage, with for example, episcopalians )


But I'm not talking to him nor am I talking about him. I am talking to you and you are talking to me. Thus far you have responded to absolutely nothing I have had to say.

Then it's time for you to learn to read, don't you think?


You didn't even clarify how I was missing Russell's point. Hence I was not missing any point. End of story.

Actually I did, and if you actually read what you're 'responding' to you would have got that. The point he's making is that there's no sense in believing something exists if there is no evidence whatsoever for it and its existence can't be verified. What you're trying to do is obviously to construct yourself an abstract thing you can call 'god' which doesn't need evidence. Unfortunately it's indistinguishable from the voices in your head.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #68

Anyway, to get back to the point that Mac was valiantly trying to discuss, there is arguably a truth to the universality of mankind's need to believe in something greater than himself (I think it goes back to the Mother/Child relationship), but that is not the same as there being a consensus on everyone believing in one God. Some think God is Allah, others think it is the Sun, others the Earth and so on. Even within nominally the same religion there are different views. If there were a single God then he/she/it would have some form of multiple personally disorder.

Look, we all clearly don't have the same mother. Pretty much all of us in this forum have a different mother, and we even have a different word for mother in our respective languages, so how can there be a universal Mother/Child relationship? But if you can infer a universal Mother/Child relationship beyond all our particular mothers, then what prevents you to see the same about "mankind's need to believe in something greater than himself"? Are you saying that mankind is the greatest and there's nothing greater than mankind? How do you justify this belief?

For me, it's not a matter of belief. It's a matter of inevitable logical deduction. Once you arrive at the conclusion, you either face the consequences of your own thinking or you will deny your own mind to your own detriment. No belief necessary at any stage.



The point he's making is that there's no sense in believing something exists if there is no evidence whatsoever for it and its existence can't be verified. What you're trying to do is obviously to construct yourself an abstract thing you can call 'god' which doesn't need evidence. Unfortunately it's indistinguishable from the voices in your head.
The point that Russell missed in all this was that the "abstract thing" was the universally accepted definition of God in theology all along. Just read some Augustine or Thomas Aquinus (Christians) or Avicenna or Ibn Tufail (Muslims) or absolutely anything about Vedanta or Buddhism. But you don't even need to read those.

It's enough to refer back to Russell's own concept of universals in his Problems of Philosophy to see how "abstract things" are actually more objective than empirical objective things. They make math work, they make logic work. By observing and following those "abstract things" we can tell if our thinking (or someone else's thinking) is right or wrong, true or false, makes sense or not. Those "abstract things" - universals - are the measure, the absolute standard. You would not be able to even argue against me without thinking that you have such a standard,  the standard which is abstract by definition. There is no other verification than by means of those "abstract things".

Truth is one such thing. Can you show me the truth? No. It's abstract. Since this is so, does truth not exist because it can't be "verified"? Russell surely believed truth exists, even though his own reasoning showed it's an a priori abstract universal and cannot be empirically verified.

Let's say that the analogy was, as you say, about "believing something exists if there is no evidence whatsoever for it and its existence can't be verified". Unfortunately the analogy of a teapot in the sky does not apply when we are talking about immaterial things, because empirical verification does not apply to immaterial or metaphysical objects. What applies to immaterial and metaphysical objects is logical proof, mathematical proof. (All this this is argued by Russell himself in chapters 7-9 of Problems of Philosophy) In this kind of proof, empirical detection has absolutely no value as a measure of "existence". For example, anyone of us is able to detect their own dreams or voices in their own head, but you of course deny the value of those, even though they are detected! Hence detection by itself is insufficient for evidence or verification.

So, what evidence are you asking for? In metaphysics, the logical proof is absolutely dependent on definitions. Incidentally, this is so in investigative science too. The outcome of a science project depends a lot on how you formulate the problem. In logic and metaphysics, the outcome depends absolutely on how you define things. For example, if truth is abstract and you say that abstract things are non-existent, then your discussion with me is your own self-refutation, because you are talking about nothing by your own definition, while asserting that you are saying something. From my point of view, truth exists and is worth revealing and defending and this is why I am having this discussion.

If Russell's analogy is about an abstract or metaphysical object (which God is), it's a bad analogy because Russell's analogy refers to a physical empirical object, not to an abstract object as it should. On the other hand, if his analogy is meant as a shift-of-burden-of-proof device to show that it makes no sense to refute ad-hoc empirical objects, then the analogy is not just bad (because by virtue of being about empirical objects it cannot be about God), but FALSE. Namely, you CAN disprove ad-hoc empirical objects by going where the empirical object is and detect it there - or fail to detect it and thus disproving it. Empirical objects necessarily have location and can be detected. If the empirical object, such as a giant teapot in the sky, is not detected, then it doesn't exist. This is so by the definition of empirical objects.

So, to conclude, if Russell's analogy is about abstract metaphysical objects, it's a bad analogy. If it's about empirical objects, it's a false analogy. Not only do I see the point of his analogy, I also see where the analogy goes wrong. The analogy only works as a light joke, not as an insight about anything.

And I have the same conclusion about your remarks. If you want a further response from me, elaborate properly on your definitions, such as definitions of existence, evidence, verification etc.

  • string
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #69


Anyway, to get back to the point that Mac was valiantly trying to discuss, there is arguably a truth to the universality of mankind's need to believe in something greater than himself (I think it goes back to the Mother/Child relationship), but that is not the same as there being a consensus on everyone believing in one God. Some think God is Allah, others think it is the Sun, others the Earth and so on. Even within nominally the same religion there are different views. If there were a single God then he/she/it would have some form of multiple personally disorder.

Look, we all clearly don't have the same mother. Pretty much all of us in this forum have a different mother, and we even have a different word for mother in our respective languages, so how can there be a universal Mother/Child relationship? But if you can infer a universal Mother/Child relationship beyond all our particular mothers, then what prevents you to see the same about "mankind's need to believe in something greater than himself"? Are you saying that mankind is the greatest and there's nothing greater than mankind? How do you justify this belief?

For me, it's not a matter of belief. It's a matter of inevitable logical deduction. Once you arrive at the conclusion, you either face the consequences of your own thinking or you will deny your own mind to your own detriment. No belief necessary at any stage.


A straight question.

Do you believe (or has your logic led you to the conclusion) that there is
1  just one God,
2  or that there is no God
3  or that there are several


  • Frenzie
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #70
Are you saying that mankind is the greatest and there's nothing greater than mankind? How do you justify this belief?

For me, it's not a matter of belief. It's a matter of inevitable logical deduction. Once you arrive at the conclusion, you either face the consequences of your own thinking or you will deny your own mind to your own detriment. No belief necessary at any stage.

That sounds an awful lot like an ontological argument.

The point that Russell missed in all this was that the "abstract thing" was the universally accepted definition of God in theology all along. Just read some Augustine or Thomas Aquinus (Christians) or Avicenna or Ibn Tufail (Muslims) or absolutely anything about Vedanta or Buddhism. But you don't even need to read those.


Let's assume he was ignorant and wrong about the eastern religions when he wrote this:
Quote from: Russel
Monotheism, which at the beginning of the Antiochan persecution had been the creed of only part of one very small nation, was adopted by Christianity and later by Islam, and so became dominant throughout the whole of the world west of India. From India eastward, it had no success: Hinduism had many gods; Buddhism in its primitive form had none; and Confucianism had none from the eleventh century onward.

(But although some denominations of Hinduism hold a monotheistic viewpoint, I'm not sure if that suffices to say he's wrong as such.)

How would that change anything about his central argument regarding the development of the concept?
Quote from: Russel
In the earliest times of which we have definite history everybody believed in many gods. It was the Jews who first believed in only one. The first commandment, when it was new, was very difficult to obey because the Jews had believed that Baal and Ashtaroth and Dagon and Moloch and the rest were real gods but were wicked because they helped the enemies of the Jews. The step from a belief that these gods were wicked to the belief that they did not exist was a difficult one. There was a time, namely that of Antiochus IV, when a vigorous attempt was made to Hellenize the Jews. Antiochus decreed that they should eat pork, abandon circumcision, and take baths. Most of the Jews in Jerusalem submitted, but in country places resistance was more stubborn and under the leadership of the Maccabees the Jews at last established their right to their peculiar tenets and customs.

Quote from: Russel
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.


Remember, your argument is effectively that the eastern religions are like Christianity. If anything, that makes his arguments more applicable, not less.

To claim that your god concept is nothing at all like an immaterial teapot is special pleading. It incrementally developed from its own teapot, starting out rather crudely with the likes of Baal and Zeus, much like Russel wrote. The teapot tries to make you aware of the outsider test.

  • Macallan
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #71

Are you saying that mankind is the greatest and there's nothing greater than mankind?

How exactly do you measure 'greatness'?
Otherwise that statement of yours is utterly meaningless.



The point he's making is that there's no sense in believing something exists if there is no evidence whatsoever for it and its existence can't be verified. What you're trying to do is obviously to construct yourself an abstract thing you can call 'god' which doesn't need evidence. Unfortunately it's indistinguishable from the voices in your head.
The point that Russell missed in all this was that the "abstract thing" was the universally accepted definition of God in theology all along. Just read some Augustine or Thomas Aquinus (Christians) or Avicenna or Ibn Tufail (Muslims) or absolutely anything about Vedanta or Buddhism. But you don't even need to read those.

You keep making that claim, with no justification whatsoever. Not that you actually posted anything remotely resembling a definition. No, 'immaterial' isn't one.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #72

A straight question.

Do you believe (or has your logic led you to the conclusion) that there is
1  just one God,
2  or that there is no God
3  or that there are several

Just one.


Are you saying that mankind is the greatest and there's nothing greater than mankind? How do you justify this belief?

For me, it's not a matter of belief. It's a matter of inevitable logical deduction. Once you arrive at the conclusion, you either face the consequences of your own thinking or you will deny your own mind to your own detriment. No belief necessary at any stage.

That sounds an awful lot like an ontological argument.
Let's say it is the ontological argument. Refute it.

[snipping an awesome quote from Russell]
(But although some denominations of Hinduism hold a monotheistic viewpoint, I'm not sure if that suffices to say he's wrong as such.)

Even ancient pre-Christian Greeks (at least the philosophically-minded ones) had a solid concept of an abstract God above/beyond all others. Read Plato's Republic and other works for extensive discussion about God without a name. Had Plato been an entrenched polytheist, he surely would have given a name to the god he was referring to. Sure, there are gods with names there too, but this makes it all the more clearer that Plato was able to distinguish between particular gods plus the abstract one.

As to Hinduism, instead of polytheism, consider the concepts of monolatrism and kathenotheism.

To claim that your god concept is nothing at all like an immaterial teapot is special pleading.
"Immaterial teapot" is a contradiction in terms. Russell did not make such a mistake. Actual quote from Russell: "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."

Instead of immaterial, he suggests it's "too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes". He is clearly talking about detecting. So, no, he is not talking about immaterial. He is enough of a philosopher and logician to know that immaterial is irreconcilable with empirical detection. Consequently, I tend to suspect that he tacitly knew he was not refuting God as defined in theology. He was just making a little joke at the expense of literalist fundies, even though his atheist followers think he was making an actual serious philosophical argument. It's likely that he didn't. It's also possible that he did, but then he was crudely mistaken.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #73
Let's say it is the ontological argument. Refute it.

I can make up all kinds of things. Doesn't mean they exist.

Even ancient pre-Christian Greeks (at least the philosophically-minded ones) had a solid concept of an abstract God above/beyond all others. Read Plato's Republic and other works for extensive discussion about God without a name. Had Plato been an entrenched polytheist, he surely would have given a name to the god he was referring to. Sure, there are gods with names there too, but this makes it all the more clearer that Plato was able to distinguish between particular gods plus the abstract one.

Back in my freshman year, the introduction to Western philosophy course taught me philosophy got started in Miletus in the sixth century BCE. Plato then, a few centuries later, is pretty much the embodiment of the highly evolved, sophisticated, immaterial teapot that took centuries to develop. It's rather strange how you say even pre-Christian Greece when so much of Christianity was based on Platonic thoughts. I'm talking about archaic-primitive cultures, not the so-called father of Western civilization.

"Immaterial teapot" is a contradiction in terms. Russell did not make such a mistake.

You're the one who argues for the existence of an immaterial teapot, not I.

Instead of immaterial, he suggests it's "too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes". He is clearly talking about detecting. So, no, he is not talking about immaterial. He is enough of a philosopher and logician to know that immaterial is irreconcilable with empirical detection. Consequently, I tend to suspect that he tacitly knew he was not refuting God as defined in theology. He was just making a little joke at the expense of literalist fundies, even though his atheist followers think he was making an actual serious philosophical argument. It's likely that he didn't. It's also possible that he did, but then he was crudely mistaken.

You're still missing the point. It's about how the teapot can evolve from this potentially empirically detectable teapot into a sophisticated, reasoned, immaterial teapot. But to an outsider, it's still a silly teapot.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Atheism
Reply #74

Let's say it is the ontological argument. Refute it.

I can make up all kinds of things. Doesn't mean they exist.

In philosophy and logic, when you "make up", then it comes to be. It means it will exist. And its seeds are already here and now.

For example consider some things often thought of as "unreal" but with unmistakably real consequences: Nightmare that gives you real scare, sweat on your skin and trembling in your muscles. Voices in your head that tell you to kill the prime minister. The prime minister will be in real danger and you *will* be put away... Psychologically, metaphysically, ethically, legally and socially these are not unreal things even though they may be completely "made up".

My argument, therefore, is: Be very  careful what you make up, because it *will* become reality, if it already isn't.


You're still missing the point. It's about how the teapot can evolve from this potentially empirically detectable teapot into a sophisticated, reasoned, immaterial teapot. But to an outsider, it's still a silly teapot.
I suppose I am indeed missing the point. The reason is that I am trying to take you seriously. I am trying to think how you are making a reasoned argument. I have these questions about your argument:

1. Is the "potentially empirically detectable teapot" the same teapot that Russell referred to?
2. If yes, did the outsider detect it or not?
3. If not, then how does the outsider know that it's just a silly teapot?
4. If yes to #2, then we are back at #1, because Russell says the teapot is too small to be detected, in which case you are making a different argument than Russell. Spell out your own argument so that I may not miss the point!
5. Disregarding all about detection and granting that the "insiders" have a different idea of the teapot than the outsider - how do you determine that the outsider's view is correct? And when you have a way of determining this, doesn't this make *you* the true impartial otsider rather than the outsider your argument is referring to? Isn't the outsider of your argument enmeshed in his own ideas about other things with regard to which he is an insider? In other words, how do you define the outsider? An example/analogy would be helpful, thanks.