Sunday, October 03, 2010

A No-Brainer

 
It's been a week since I issued A Challenge to Theists and their Accommodationist Supporters.
This brings me to my challenge. I challenge all theists and all their accommodationist friends to post their very best 21st century, sophisticated (or not), arguments for the existence of God. They can put them in the comments section of this posting, or on any of the other atheist blogs, or on their own blogs and websites. Just send me the link.

Try and make it concise and to the point. It would be nice if it's less than 100 years old. Keep in mind that there are over 1000 different gods so it would be helpful to explain just which gods the argument applies to.
There have been over 500 comments on that posting and dozens of attempts to meet the challenge, ranging from the fact that Babylon hasn't been re-built to variations of the old Cosmological and Ontological Arguments that have been around for centuries.

I think it's fair to say that nobody came up with anything that even remotely resembles a modern "sophisticated" argument that the Gnu Atheists are ignoring. Therefore, I declare victory.

From now on, whenever any accommdationist or theist accuses me of not having studied philosophy or theology I'll point them to my post and remind them that the Emperor really doesn't have any clothes. That includes a few people who sent me email messages explaining why they wouldn't lower themselves to post a comment on my blog. They implied that they still had some really good arguments for the existence of God but they aren't going to reveal them to me because I wouldn't understand them.


104 comments:

  1. Of course you don't understand them. Stupidity is only understandable to stupid people.

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  2. I think that what you need to do is spend a hundred years studying all religions before denying any of them. It's the atheists' burden, to study everything before denying anything; whereas all that a True Christian needs to know are the Four Spiritual Laws, or the Seven Sacraments or that Jesus wrote the U.S. Constitution to exclude evolution and gay rights.

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  3. Wait, people actually used the ontological argument? They read a request for the very best arguments for the existence of God and the first thing that comes to mind is an argument that is little more than "I define God as a thing that exists. Therefore..." Really, people?

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  4. "Wait, people actually used the ontological argument?"

    But they tried to use it in a sophisticated fashion.

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  5. Wait! But you forgot Plantinga's incredibly sophisticated argument! (Which we know is incredibly sophisticated because Plantinga is such a widely respected philosopher). In case you missed it, Plantinga's argument is something like this:

    1) Consider a like, really, really awesome unicorn in a world instance W.

    2) We define here a maximally awesome unicorn as a unicorn which is like, really, really awesome in every instance of W.

    3) A maximally awesome unicorn possibly is exemplified.

    4) Therefore, a like, really, really awesome unicorn possibly necessarily exists.

    5) Therefore (using the S5 form of modal logic) a like, really, really awesome unicorn necessarily exists.

    6) Therefore unicorns exist. QED.

    Or something like that. I'm sure the philosophers around here will correct any errors.

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  6. You certainly may declare victory if you wish, but I would like to hear an answer to my argument. Not that I think my views are of much importance, but here you have a clear way to refute Biblical-based orthodoxy. Just rebuild or reinhabit Babylon.

    There, I put it in your lap. I mention again that this has been tried.

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  7. lee_merrill,

    this is a very old game of counting the hits and ignoring the misses. How many alleged "prophesies" are there in the Bible, anyway? IIRC several of the failed ones were pointed out to you in the previous thread.

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  8. Interesting how there were 500 comments for the one post, and lots of emails. Now? Zero input from theists as to any actual evidence for their nonsense. The Babylon stuff is extra silly, of course... but worth a giggle. Just one.

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  9. When I ask a religious friend a similar question, her answer is that it's a matter of faith. If the existence of God could be proved, it would be science (or logic), not religion.

    Religious truths are accepted on faith. By definition that means that one can't be certain. If one could prove or otherwise establish the existence of God, it would be an empirical fact or a logical truth, not a matter of faith and not a matter of religion.

    One might follow up and ask why one would accept things on faith. But that's a separate question.

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  10. Blue: "One might follow up and ask why one would accept things on faith. But that's a separate question."

    I reckon it's the only question.

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  11. apparently the problem is that the gnu atheists are busy attacking theology and religion, but believers do not know of either. They have are personal belief experience which atheists are incapable of understanding.

    At least that is some peoples take on the latest pew poll showing atheists being most knowledgeable about religion.

    I think the point is - gnu atheists must not be allowed to be considered worthy to debate.

    Either they do not understand theology, and only debate the common mans experience of religion - the attack leveled against for example Dawkins, or they focus on lofty theological matters, and thus do not engage the 99% of believers who just believe in a big skydaddy.

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  12. Well done ... you defeated that strawman real good.

    Now, how about admitting that your demand for a brand spanking new killer argument for the existence of God was not something that most of the people you aimed the original post at ever claimed existed?

    And why would variations of old arguments like the cosmological or ontological arguments that take into account the objections and try to correct for them not count, anyway?

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  13. Now, how about admitting that your demand for a brand spanking new killer argument for the existence of God was not something that most of the people you aimed the original post at ever claimed existed?

    Larry's post was in response to the FREQUENTLY made claim- and specifically the reiteration of it in Shooks' stupid article- that "know-nothing atheists" are ignoring such arguments. It's natural to ask in reply to that: just what are those arguments? [crickets]

    You sure used a hell of a lot of words on that thread to show what we knew before you even showed up, that you've got nothin'. Sure sign of an idiot. As is demanding that a post be about what YOU think it should be about rather than what the OP intends it to be about.

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  14. And why would variations of old arguments like the cosmological or ontological arguments that take into account the objections and try to correct for them not count, anyway?

    Umm, because the "variants" remain comically awful arguments. Defining something into existence is never going to work.

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  15. Steve LaBonne,

    Larry quotes Shook as saying this:

    "There are philosophical atheists who have quietly and successfully kept pace. The discipline of atheology is quite capable of matching these theologies with its skeptical replies, so atheists need not be intimidated."

    Thus, Shook clearly thinks that all the arguments have responses. So, that the arguments have responses in no way invalidates them ... if we want to address what Shook really means by that. And we knew this from the beginning: a lot of the accomodationists are atheists, so they clearly don't think that there is an all-singing, all-dancing proof of God out there that atheists are missing. Looking at why _I_ say that a lot of atheists are ignorant and theology and philosophy, it seems more likely that they are all arguing that the arguments aren't as ridiculous as the caricatures that some athiests portray them as.

    Now, if that's the case, how do you think Larry Moran's challenge actually applies to that sort of criticism? Bluntly ... not at all.

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  16. Looking at why _I_ say that a lot of atheists are ignorant and theology and philosophy

    Few, though, are as ignorant as your good self. Your "contributions" tho that thread were laughable.

    Seriously, just fuck off. You have nothing at all to say and you say it at disgusting length.

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  17. Larry, I'm afraid you did find existence of gods, but very personal ones - verbosestoic, Garamond Lethe and John Davison clearly recognise the preternatural inspiration that they bring to their own insights that we humbler folk are privileged to share.

    OK, I hadn't got the enthusiasm to read the first mudslides of burble in verbostoic's sludgefest. GL is, as you say, a self-regarding "oh I knew you wouldn't understand" sophist who brought nothing or import to the table (except his feeling of superiority). John Davison clearly believes every discussion is about him and his rambling monomania (Davison: you're wrong, your hypothesis is thorough-going drivel, and having a persecution complex doesn't make you right - at your age, show some maturity and accept your brain has blown a circuit on this one.)

    Arguments and evidence for god? Nope, they are as evident as god itself.

    Disappointing, I'd hoped for some metaphysical red meat somewhere on this disputatory barbecue, but it was all philosophical veggieburgers.

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  18. @ verbosestoic:

    You've accidentally shown the exact problem that we're going on about here, by engaging in the behavior yourself.

    The point of this seems to be that people like you cry "strawman" at atheists constantly, but when we ask for the real thing we're supposed to be attacking, we get... nothing. Or, at most, we get a restatement of failed arguments like whatever cosmological or teleological nonsense is popular this week.

    What we don't get it the good arguments, just your whining that we're attacking strawmen. If you can't present the "real man" behind the strawman, and neither can anyone else, then maybe the strawman is all there is to religion.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Hans,

    "OK, I hadn't got the enthusiasm to read the first mudslides of burble in verbostoic's sludgefest. "

    How charitable of you, then, to characterize it without reading it. Especially since I was clear in the other thread that I don't think that there are proofs for the existence of God that work.

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  21. Improbable Joe,

    The problem is that the real issue under debate here is "Do at least some atheists demonstrate an ignorance of theology when they criticize it?" Larry Moran's reply to that question is to demand brand-spanking new really good arguments for the existence of God. The problem is that most of the people he's criticizing are atheists, and so don't think those arguments exist. I, personally, am an agnostic theist and don't think such arguments exist. And yet, I -- and presumably they -- all think that the answer to the above question is "Yes", while Larry Moran seems to think it's "No".

    Instead of asking the obvious question of "What do you think those atheists are missing?", Larry Moran translates the challenge into HIS terms and what HE wants: a really good, new argument for the existence of God. But just like a rose garden, we never promised him that (begging his pardon). So it is a strawman to think that he has refuted the original question by demanding an argument that clearly a large number of the people he's targetting, at least, don't and never thought possible.

    If, instead, he'd asked what they meant, I'm sure that he'd find that some did think there were good, new arguments (Armstrong's or Swinburne's) that I'm very sure that you, I and Larry will find to be either not new, not good, or both. Some will answer that sometimes they don't understand the arguments they're criticizing, and that if they did they'd see the really GOOD arguments against them (Shook might fit here; I certainly do). And so on. And then the discussion could proceed with real people and real groupings of real arguments.

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  22. Brain Hertz: Plantinga's argument is just a rehash of Aquinas' argument from contingency. Nobody deep thinks that deep shit is deep. (Trying to be as obtuse as Anselm: God="that than which no greater thing can be imagined") What ev.

    /Edited. Too tired.

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  23. verbosestoic "Looking at why _I_ say that a lot of atheists are ignorant and theology and philosophy, it seems more likely that they are all arguing that the arguments aren't as ridiculous as the caricatures that some athiests portray them as."

    So while you admit that all theistic arguments are ultimately losers, you feel that none fail as spectacularly and comically as some atheists pretend. I disagree. Theistic arguments are all pretty stupid when you get down to it. Sometimes you have to untangle them a bit to see where the stupidity lies, but for anyone with brain, it's unbelievable that they are offered in seriousness by intelligent people. So, no, I can't even concede respectability. Theism is every bit as absurd and ridiculous as its worst critics maintain.

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  24. Who is this "God" fellow, anyway?

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  25. I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of God's existence which this comment box is too small to contain.

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  26. ereador:

    "Brain Hertz: Plantinga's argument is just a rehash of Aquinas' argument from contingency. Nobody deep thinks that deep shit is deep. (Trying to be as obtuse as Anselm: God="that than which no greater thing can be imagined") What ev."

    Sure, but Plantinga's argument did get mentioned in the earlier thread as one of those "sophisticated" arguments that "atheists are ignoring". Plantinga isn't exactly a fringe character, either, and is apparently a highly regarded philosopher (although he does seem to say some incredibly silly things about science).

    The argument itself seems to be a rather trivial bare assertion, but wrapped in a veneer of logic that makes it appear to be saying something much more sophisticated than it really is.

    But then, I'm just a stupid atheist. What would I know?

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  27. 1) There must be: a Most Unintelligible Concept.

    2) Unintelligibility is incompatible with existence.

    3) Therefore: a completely unintelligible being who actually existed would be even MORE unintelligible by virtue of its existence.

    4) Therefore: that which is the Most Unintelligible Concept must actually exist as a conscious being. (It must both be a conscious being and not be a conscious being, because every violation of the law of the excluded middle makes something more unintelligible)

    5) Something that unintelligible could only be arrived at through ontological word games, and therefore we would call it God.

    6) Therefore: God exists.

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  28. H.H. "So, no, I can't even concede respectability. Theism is every bit as absurd and ridiculous as its worst critics maintain."

    And notably, verbosestoic has done nothing to convince us otherwise.

    What does it mean to be an agnostic theist anyway? Is it like a belief in beliefs?

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  29. "Do at least some atheists demonstrate an ignorance of theology when they criticize it?"

    Good (non-existing) God, man, you're like this with every single question. When you're on a plane, and the stewardess asks whether you want beef or chicken, do you snap that it's a stupid question and we need to redefine 'want' in this context?

    The question was not 'are some atheists ignorant of the latest exciting developments in theology?', the question is 'what are those atheists missing as a result?'.

    And the answer was, apparently, God exists because he made ninety nine predictions, none of which came true, but another one was that Babylon would never be inhabited again, and even though there are people living in Babylon, that doesn't count and Babylon is uninhabited, therefore God exists.

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  30. gillt,

    "What does it mean to be an agnostic theist anyway? Is it like a belief in beliefs?"

    Agnostic: believes that we at least currently cannot know whether or not God exists. The strong position is that the proposition is unknowable. I hold the strong position.

    Theist: Believes that God exists.

    Agnostic theist: One who believes that God exists but claims that the proposition is at least currently knowable.

    Does that clear it up for you?

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  31. Anonymous,

    "Good (non-existing) God, man, you're like this with every single question. When you're on a plane, and the stewardess asks whether you want beef or chicken, do you snap that it's a stupid question and we need to redefine 'want' in this context?"

    Well, I certainly wouldn't say it was a stupid question, since I, well, never say that [grin].

    That being said, when we're talking about words that can both vary at least subtly from person to person and are really, really important to the discussion, then yes I would. So, in the above case, I may well ask what specifically the beef or chicken is: roast, steak, hamburger versus fried, broiled, or whatever. That does not seem unreasonable to me. Does it seem unreasonable to you?

    "The question was not 'are some atheists ignorant of the latest exciting developments in theology?', "

    Well, again you've misstated my question, which was more about specific comments, but taking Shook into account, we can bump it up and point out that since the arguments -- even Shook's -- were aimed at specific ones the question seems fairly fair. Shook, for example, was clearly not calling out all atheists on that.

    "the question is 'what are those atheists missing as a result?'. "

    My answer: they make odd statements like H.H.'s or gillt's, where they pronounce all theological arguments stupid without giving sufficient evidence that they understand them well enough -- and are unbiased enough -- to make that assessment.

    Again, I think they're all wrong. I don't think they're stupid, just wrong. Or, at least, insufficient.

    "And the answer was, apparently, God exists because he made ninety nine predictions, none of which came true, but another one was that Babylon would never be inhabited again, and even though there are people living in Babylon, that doesn't count and Babylon is uninhabited, therefore God exists."

    Shouldn't you be taking this up with lee_merrill, not me?

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  32. I will cheerfully stipulate that it's unknowable whether Russell's teapot exists. But there's no good reason to believe in it. End of story.

    Yawn. If that's all you've got I don't know why it takes you 1,000,000 words to try to convey it.

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  33. verbosestoic,

    no, that doesn't clear it up. You said that you hold a strong agnostic position, that is, that the existence of god is unknowable. Then you go on to say that the existence of god is at least currently knowable. Which is it?

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  34. Brian,

    "no, that doesn't clear it up. You said that you hold a strong agnostic position, that is, that the existence of god is unknowable. Then you go on to say that the existence of god is at least currently knowable. Which is it?"

    Oops, typo. I clearly meant "unknowable" there. Sorry about that.

    Although it is interesting that your reply was not the standard, polite "I think you meant unknowable there in that last definition" but a demand that I settle it ...

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  35. Verbosestoic: "Does that clear it up for you?"

    You confused things horribly.

    You said something like god is currently unknowable or knowable and always unknowable or something.

    How can you be a strong agnostic but also part theist?

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  36. "Although it is interesting that your reply was not the standard, polite "I think you meant unknowable there in that last definition" but a demand that I settle it ..."

    Why would I automatically know which one of your contradictory statements was the one which you intended? I asked you to settle it because I didn't know.

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  37. "Shouldn't you be taking this up with lee_merrill, not me?"

    I know it's not what you're arguing ... but at least it's someone taking up the challenge.

    We're all agnostic. It's impossible to know if god exists (this, itself, I'd see as a strong piece of evidence god doesn't exist).

    I think we all understand that questions of definitions can be important. Can you see that, in this context, they also very strongly resemble the last resort of scoundrels? Priests used to say it was obvious god existed because who else moved the sun or caused thunder. By the eighteenth century all God did was create the universe and then man. The nineteenth century got rid of the latter, the twentieth the former.

    It's God as that knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail - arm chopped off, leg chopped off, other arm, other leg, and still he claims he'll win the fight.

    The reason atheists like creationists isn't so much the fact they're morons who are really, really easy to win debates with ... it's that they debate, they don't endlessly defer it by saying we need a different type of table to sit around, or different chairs.

    Just for giggles, give me one argument you think's a positive, persuasive reason a god you'd want to worship *might* exist. You're agnostic ... what keeps you from atheism? You know the universe can't be agnostic, after all.

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  38. verbosestoic said...

    "[Some atheists] make odd statements like H.H.'s or gillt's, where they pronounce all theological arguments stupid without giving sufficient evidence that they understand them well enough -- and are unbiased enough -- to make that assessment."

    Why is the onus on me to prove to you that I'm informed enough to have an opinion? Considering that no one successfully managed to answer Larry's challenge, I really don't think you're in any position to cast aspersions. Maybe my statements only appear odd because you lack the necessary comprehension. Where's your demonstration that you possess sufficient understanding of the available counterarguments to question my assessment? Where's your demonstration of impartiality?

    Perhaps you're simply unaware of how absolutely devastated the case for god has been rendered over the preceding centuries. Maybe you're just ignorant of how desperate the arguments for theism have become. It's possible you're simply unaware of the great deal of positive evidence amasses against the god hypothesis, or haven't considered apologetic arguments deeply enough to spot their shortcomings. The case for god has failed and court has been adjourned. It's high time theists acknowledged their defeat.

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  39. verbosestoic wrote:

    "Well done ... you defeated that strawman real good.

    Now, how about admitting that your demand for a brand spanking new killer argument for the existence of God was not something that most of the people you aimed the original post at ever claimed existed?"


    Well, John Shook seems to disagre with you, since he wrote:

    "Christian theology has come a long way since St. Thomas Aquinas. Under stress from modern science and Enlightenment philosophy, it has explored cosmological, ethical, emotional, and existential dimensions of religious life. Many kinds of theology have emerged, replacing a handful of traditional arguments for God with robust methods of defending religious viewpoints."

    It seemed obvious to me that Prof. Moran was aiming his post at Shook and his alleged compatriots with their supposedly robust defenses of religion. Although I have to wonder if Dr. Shook is shifting the goal posts when he goes from "arguments for God" to "defending religious viewpoints". Especially since the latter need not actually include arguments for God.

    verbosestoic continues:

    "And why would variations of old arguments like the cosmological or ontological arguments that take into account the objections and try to correct for them not count, anyway?"

    Again, it seemed quite clear from Prof. Moran's post. He wrote:

    "I'm betting that wimps like John Shook and his accommodationist friends don't have a damn clue what they're talking about. I'm betting that they haven't the foggiest notion of any new and sophisticated arguments for the existence of God that the New Atheists haven't already addressed."

    Old arguments don't count because, in Prof. Moran's opinion at least, they've been decisively refuted. If someone thinks they've corrected for those objections, as you suggest, then those are new arguments, aren't they?

    In sum, your objections to Prof. Moran's posts seem way off base. Which is all the more bemusing, since you consider God's existence to be unknowable in principal. Basically, you and Prof. Moran are in agreement that there are no persuasive empirical or logical arguments for God.

    Of course, you choose to believe in God anyway, where Prof. Moran does not. (Nor do I, just to state my own bias.) But that's another matter entirely.

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  40. Verbosestoic: "
    "[Some atheists] make odd statements like H.H.'s or gillt's, where they pronounce all theological arguments stupid without giving sufficient evidence that they understand them well enough -- and are unbiased enough -- to make that assessment.""

    Hey, that's not very charitable, since I spent the last few days scanning and responding to your lengthy dodges and double-speak, looking for a single nugget of insight concerning your theism and coming up short.

    You should be thanking me for trying to keep you honest.

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  41. "Maybe you're just ignorant of how desperate the arguments for theism have become."

    Again, a serious and major argument against gods is just how moribund theology is. Whole fields of human endeavor that didn't exist a hundred years ago are now sprawling and vibrant.

    The churches of the world are a vast, well-funded network but what have they achieved in that time? The field of astronomy has made several extraordinary discoveries in the last few *weeks*. When was the last new thought a theologian had? The 'arguments' for god were torn about by the Ancient Greeks. Epistemology? Well ... the Greeks had a word for that, too.

    As above, so below - theology is very clearly the same mystery-religion shell game that the gods have always been. There are great mysteries, my son, but you are not well enough prepared to understand them ...

    Now, those of us that live in a university town, here's a serious question: would you rather have a Department of Theology, or a new car park?

    The theology professors needn't be out of a job. They'd look great in high-visibility jackets.

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  42. Babylon was, more or less, rebuilt in 1100. What exactly is it missing? Is it just that it has the wrong name? If so, then why is Jesus allowed to not have the name "Emmanuel" and still "fulfill" the prophecy of being born of a "virgin"?

    (Yes, not only is that one a likely mistranslation, but Jesus's mom's virginity was never remotely proven, merely asserted by texts long after the birth. Heck, I doubt the man's actual parents were even named Mary and Joseph; the whole nativity narrative is so obviously a tacked-to-the-beginning myth.)

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  43. >> Brian Hertz: IIRC several of the failed ones were pointed out to you in the previous thread.

    But making a claim will not establish a claim. Glad to discuss the best failures (so to speak) in a forum such as theologyweb.com or freeratio.org. I have discussed such matters in both places, actually.

    >> Lenoxus: Babylon was, more or less, rebuilt in 1100.

    Well, Al Hillah is near Babylon, but the ruins of Babylon are elsewhere.

    Does anyone dispute that the more people try and rebuild Babylon, and fail, the more likely it is that something other than coincidence explains this?

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  44. lee_merill: "Does anyone dispute that the more people try and rebuild Babylon, and fail, the more likely it is that something other than coincidence explains this?"

    Absolutely. Say I make the following prophecy: "lo and behold, every day the sun will rise." Does every passing day on which the sun rises make it MORE LIKELY that my 'prophecy' is no mere speculation, but driven by supernatural forces?
    (According to the "observing a green apple is evidence that all ravens are black" viewpoint - that is, extreme pedantry - yes, it is. But for such a mundane 'prediction,' the added likelihood is negligible)

    Do you really dispute that with every act of handwaving, frantic goalpost-shifting, and stark denial of evidence contradicting your position, we'll treat you with increasing derision and contempt?

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  45. > Dymara: Does every passing day on which the sun rises make it MORE LIKELY that my 'prophecy' is no mere speculation, but driven by supernatural forces?

    So any prediction I make, the more it happens, it doesn't matter?

    Natural processes produced it, because I can predict the sun will rise again tomorrow.

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  46. @Mike Haubrich:

    Did you see the study the other day, showing atheists know more about religion (in a historical, by the numbers sort of way, yes. Personal interpretations are hard to measure.)? We dont need to spend a hundred years studying every religion. We have learned more in a decade of demolishing christian comments and attacks than most christians ever do, and the same is true for all religions. You folks may need a "hundred years" to study these things. We need minutes. And it turns out we still know more than you hundred-year-scholar types. Like you said, a true christian doesnt need to know that most of his treasured religious fables were re-workings of old pagan holidays, or jesus-ified greek myths. There are a lot of virgin births, it seems! No need for christians to know about that though.

    And maybe before you religious kooks speak up about anti-science beliefs, I remind you that all of modern technology and medicine is reliant on the theories we use being repeatedly tested as functioning in real life. Your computer, your antibiotics, etc,. were all developed with the same methods being used now for evolution and climate change. If you deny science, get off the computer, since by your own flimsy explination of how scientists are always wrong, the internet either is not real or is magic, since it cant work without all the science behind it working!

    Ignorant jerks,.

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  47. The ontological argument is the Ralph Wiggum of theology. Except not as cute.

    When it comes to prophecy arguments, it's crucial to remember the strength of the original claim: that the Bible is at-least-indirectly authored by an all-knowing God. So it only takes one failed prophecy to knock down conventional theism, and there are dozens.

    If you want to argue that at least one verse of the Bible is inspired, that's another conversation — one that very few people bother having, like arguing that the Earth is ten million years old.

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  48. lee_merrill: "So any prediction I make, the more it happens, it doesn't matter?

    Natural processes produced it, because I can predict the sun will rise again tomorrow."

    Well, at least you understand that I'm not a divinely inspired prophet. Congratulations on STILL managing to miss the point, though, as is made apparent by the first part of your response.

    Your argument is literally that since two grandiose projects haven't borne any fruit, the only possible conclusion is that a magical invisible sky fairy must exist and be shaping events in order to prevent said grandiose schemes from fruition. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If efforts to rebuild Babylon had resulted in workers being flung back by an unknown force while a booming voice announced "You shall not cross me, mortals," and subsequent attempts met with the same supernatural intervention, then you'd have a case. However, a grandiose plan failing when the money behind it dries up and the key parties lose interest is an entirely mundane occurrence, and does not justify any such conclusion. Saying that the effects of divine intervention are indistinguishable from mundane chance is equivalent to saying that no divine intervention has ever occurred.

    Besides, you're equivocating. The Babylon prophecy isn't as vague as you'd like; Isiah 13:20 says:
    "It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there." (KJV). Emphasis mine. The prophesy didn't just make a generalistic claim that would provide you ample room to move goalposts about whether a reconstructed city could qualify as Babylon, OH no. One single Arab pitching a tent in the ruins of Babylon is sufficient to falsify the prophecy. (If you want to argue with the version, pick any other; modern translations are even more explicit. E.g. NIV says "no Arab will pitch his tent there")

    Obviously, someone who's Arabic pitching a tent on ground that used to be part of Babylon has happened many, many times; pick an archeological trip, Saddam's paltry reconstruction efforts, whatever.

    Are you going to stick to your previous commitment to renounce your faith now? I should note that if you don't, you'll be further "reinforcing" the notion that I have prophetic powers :(

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  49. lee_merrill: "So any prediction I make, the more it happens, it doesn't matter?

    Natural processes produced it, because I can predict the sun will rise again tomorrow."

    Well, at least you understand that I'm not a divinely inspired prophet. Congratulations on STILL managing to miss the point, though, as is made apparent by the first part of your response.

    Your argument is literally that since two grandiose projects haven't borne any fruit, the only possible conclusion is that a magical invisible sky fairy must exist and be shaping events in order to prevent said grandiose schemes from fruition. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If efforts to rebuild Babylon had resulted in workers being flung back by an unknown force while a booming voice announced "You shall not cross me, mortals," and subsequent attempts met with the same supernatural intervention, then you'd have a case. However, a grandiose plan failing when the money behind it dries up and the key parties lose interest is an entirely mundane occurrence, and does not justify any such conclusion. Saying that the effects of divine intervention are indistinguishable from mundane chance is equivalent to saying that no divine intervention has ever occurred.

    Besides, you're equivocating. The Babylon prophecy isn't as vague as you'd like; Isiah 13:20 says:
    "It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there." (KJV). Emphasis mine. The prophesy didn't just make a generalistic claim that would provide you ample room to move goalposts about whether a reconstructed city could qualify as Babylon, OH no. One single Arab pitching a tent in the ruins of Babylon is sufficient to falsify the prophecy. (If you want to argue with the version, pick any other; modern translations are even more explicit. E.g. NIV says "no Arab will pitch his tent there")

    Obviously, someone who's Arabic pitching a tent on ground that used to be part of Babylon has happened many, many times; pick an archeological trip, Saddam's paltry reconstruction efforts, whatever.

    Are you going to stick to your previous commitment to renounce your faith now? I should note that if you don't, you'll be further "reinforcing" the notion that I have prophetic powers :(

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  50. > Lenoxus: If you want to argue that at least one verse of the Bible is inspired, that's another conversation ...

    I think I could construct an argument that way, because (along the lines of your argument about one failure undoing traditional theism), one real supernatural event undoes the whole setup of naturalism.

    ReplyDelete
  51. lee_merrill: "So any prediction I make, the more it happens, it doesn't matter?

    Natural processes produced it, because I can predict the sun will rise again tomorrow."

    Well, at least you understand that I'm not a divinely inspired prophet. Congratulations on STILL managing to miss the point, though, as is made apparent by the first part of your response.

    Your argument is literally that since two grandiose projects haven't borne any fruit, the only possible conclusion is that a magical invisible sky fairy must exist and be shaping events in order to prevent said grandiose schemes from fruition. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If efforts to rebuild Babylon had resulted in workers being flung back by an unknown force while a booming voice announced "You shall not cross me, mortals," and subsequent attempts met with the same supernatural intervention, then you'd have a case. However, a grandiose plan failing when the money behind it dries up and the key parties lose interest is an entirely mundane occurrence, and does not justify any such conclusion. Saying that the effects of divine intervention are indistinguishable from mundane chance is equivalent to saying that no divine intervention has ever occurred.

    Besides, you're equivocating. The Babylon prophecy isn't as vague as you'd like; Isiah 13:20 says:
    "It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there." (KJV). Emphasis mine. The prophesy didn't just make a generalistic claim that would provide you ample room to move goalposts about whether a reconstructed city could qualify as Babylon, OH no. One single Arab pitching a tent in the ruins of Babylon is sufficient to falsify the prophecy. (If you want to argue with the version, pick any other; modern translations are even more explicit. E.g. NIV says "no Arab will pitch his tent there")

    Obviously, someone who's Arabic pitching a tent on ground that used to be part of Babylon has happened many, many times; pick an archeological trip, Saddam's paltry reconstruction efforts, whatever.

    Are you going to stick to your previous commitment to renounce your faith now? I should note that if you don't, you'll be further "reinforcing" the notion that I have prophetic powers :(

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  52. > Dymara: Obviously, someone who's Arabic pitching a tent on ground that used to be part of Babylon has happened many, many times ...

    "She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there." (Isa 13:20 NIV)

    But this is all one statement, the latter phrases being illustrative of the first phrase. So this would mean Babylon would not be a place where Arabs set a tent community, nor would it be pastureland for flocks.

    Yes, these latter are easier, so if you or someone else can do this, more power to you. But what would be very indisputable would be having a mayor in Babylon, or have it be a tourist attraction in Iraq.

    There are current plans for a Babylon tourist site, we'll see how that develops.

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  53. How pathetic. No amount of equivocation can get you out of the fact that the 'prophecy' specifically claims "no Arab shall pitch his tent there." I rest my case.

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  54. When it comes to the religious who claim to have "convincing arguments", I set them a standard for convincing me which they should have no trouble meeting, if their religions were true:

    Science has produced the theories of the Big Bang, abiogenesis and evolution which all collectively explain the universe as it is. For you, the religious, to convince me, you must produce something which cannot be explained by scientific research.

    Since there are claims of such things in your religious books and you claim they actually happened, you need only demonstrate one to me.

    In the case of christians, for example, dead people walking: come with me to a hospital morgue, and raise a man back to life who is proven clinically dead such as being decapitated in a car crash. Splitting the waters between Cuba and Florida, a la Cecil B deMille, would also suffice.

    If you can do it, your "god" exists. I will then believe whatever you say.

    If you can't do it, or you can't get your "god" to perform on cue, then it doesn't exist. Forever after, you must shut up about your "god" because you failed to provide acceptable proof.

    If you won't do it, you refuse to even try, then you know your "god" doesn't exist, and by refusing, you are admitting that you are a liar. I will forever let the world know you are one for not having put up or shut up when you had the chance.

    For the less pleasant religious types, I substitute things such as suggesting christians commit suicide and return to life in three days, rather than finding unfortunates in hospital morgues.


    P Smith

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  55. "Does anyone dispute that the more people try and rebuild Babylon, and fail, the more likely it is that something other than coincidence explains this?"

    Yes.

    If they fail for all the reasons large building projects fail. If they can't find the money or political will, that's not unusual. If everyone who died was struck by lightning or fell into a crack in the ground that suddenly opened up, that would probably be different.

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  56. "one real supernatural event undoes the whole setup of naturalism."

    Yes.

    No arguments.

    A couple of weeks ago, the Pope declared it a miracle that a man in hospital being treated with painkillers prayed and his pain went away slightly more slowly than is normal for someone recovering from that operation.

    *That's* how desperate your side is.

    You have to find *one*, *once*.

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  57. Babylon ...

    http://www.hwarmstrong.com/ar/Disproves.html

    ... to cut a long story short, an evangelical group in the seventies made a big deal about this prophecy, then realized their mistake and that Babylon was inhabited. They decided to pulp the book ... then decided to sell existing stocks because they were making money.

    Bottom line: Babylon is inhabited (you can look on Google Maps for confirmation), the prophecy was demonstrably wrong. Therefore, it's proof against God, not for it.

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  58. lee_merrill:

    ">> Brian Hertz: IIRC several of the failed ones were pointed out to you in the previous thread.

    But making a claim will not establish a claim. Glad to discuss the best failures (so to speak) in a forum such as theologyweb.com or freeratio.org. I have discussed such matters in both places, actually."

    Huh? Making a claim will not establish a claim? What does that mean? You mean you get to pick the "prophecies" you like after you see how they all turn out?

    No, I'm not going to join some other forum to discuss it. You presented the argument here.

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  59. So ... all we need to do to prove or disprove God is go to the site of Babylon and if there are Arabs there or no ostriches, God doesn't exist?

    (If there are ostriches - or aren't Arabs - there, of course, it doesn't mean God does exist).

    Wow.

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  60. " Anonymous said...

    So ... all we need to do to prove or disprove God is go to the site of Babylon and if there are Arabs there or no ostriches, God doesn't exist?"

    I don't know if there's any Arabs there, but there's an American military camp that lies on parts of the site.

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  61. So, lee_merrill, renounced your faith yet?

    That's so funny, there's permanent villages inside the walls of Babylon. Oh well, shows you the stupidity of prophecy. I prophesize lee_merrill will not renounce his/her faith, ergo I'm supernatural. See the flaw in the logic yet lee_merrill?

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  62. Well, I looked on Google earth near Al Hilla, and there's a spot called "Babil" nearby, but no buildings. Does someone have the coordinates?

    > Making a claim will not establish a claim? What does that mean?

    I meant claiming prophecies have failed doesn't make it true, I need arguments for any conclusions.

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  63. «I meant claiming prophecies have failed doesn't make it true, I need arguments for any conclusions. »

    Nice double-standard you have there -- you provide no evidence or argument for any prophecy having come true, but you demand it for every single failure?

    Look, if someone paid your airfare to Iraq, and you could see, for yourself, an Arab pitching a tent in Babylon, and/or a shepherd grazing a flock there, would you agree that the prophecy is clearly falsified and that therefore God does not exist? Is that what it would take?

    If not, why not?

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  64. "Well, I looked on Google earth near Al Hilla, and there's a spot called "Babil" nearby, but no buildings. Does someone have the coordinates?"

    Before we do that, can we clarify: if the area is inhabited, you will accept that the Babylon prophecy was false?

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  65. Anonymous,

    "I think we all understand that questions of definitions can be important. Can you see that, in this context, they also very strongly resemble the last resort of scoundrels? Priests used to say it was obvious god existed because who else moved the sun or caused thunder. By the eighteenth century all God did was create the universe and then man. The nineteenth century got rid of the latter, the twentieth the former. "

    But my attempts to get clear definitions are clearly not of that sort, and I'm both very careful not to call something obvious and very clear about the limitations of my arguments. My demand that you define evidence is to avoid the typical cycle, where I suggest that something that we normally consider evidence is evidence, the atheist counters that that's not evidence, I demand why it stops being evidence in that case, and eventually they retreat to "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", which concedes the original point. If you can outline what counts as evidence for you and why, we can just debate over that while eliminating the middle-man statements of "I met your challenge!" "No you didn't!".

    "The reason atheists like creationists isn't so much the fact they're morons who are really, really easy to win debates with ... it's that they debate, they don't endlessly defer it by saying we need a different type of table to sit around, or different chairs. "

    I think if you read my blog I clearly do debate. But my years of formal philosophy have made me interpret things charitably and make sure that I both examine what I and other people mean when we use words and watch for -- and highlight -- problems with my own views.

    "Just for giggles, give me one argument you think's a positive, persuasive reason a god you'd want to worship *might* exist. You're agnostic ... what keeps you from atheism?"

    Putting aside your slight misinterpretation of agnostic -- since, as I said, theists can be agnostic because theism is about belief and agnosticism is about knowledge -- these are two different questions for my worldview. The answer to the first is probably the fact that it is a cultural belief, passed down from generation to generation that seems to have worked out well-enough for them. It's a very weak argument -- as you might guess -- because that claim can be made for all religions. That being said, I'm hesitant to ignore those chains completely.

    As for why theist and not atheist, the best answer I can give is this: I have the belief, and the arguments of atheists are insufficient to compel or convince me to give it up. Essentially, the flip side of Larry Moran's view.

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  66. H.H.,

    "Why is the onus on me to prove to you that I'm informed enough to have an opinion?"

    Oh, well, if it's just an opinion, then carry on. I'll just happily ignore you, since an opinion is not fact and if you are just stating an opinion that has no impact on me or anyone else. We have no reason to accept your opinions as facts. There. All done.

    As for burdens of proof, I don't say that any argument is just stupid and not worth considering. I will say it is wrong. And I will support that wrongness and point out exactly where it is wrong. If you are saying that the arguments are just completely stupid have been devastated, and really smart people disagree with you, no matter how smart you actually are that's going to look very suspicious. Thus, the burden of proof. And if we start from having no reason to think that you are better or even as good as the people who disagree with you, we would be right to be skeptical.

    And shouldn't you want people to be skeptical?

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  67. gillt,

    "Hey, that's not very charitable, since I spent the last few days scanning and responding to your lengthy dodges and double-speak, looking for a single nugget of insight concerning your theism and coming up short. "

    I took that into account when making my statement.

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  68. "It seemed obvious to me that Prof. Moran was aiming his post at Shook and his alleged compatriots with their supposedly robust defenses of religion. Although I have to wonder if Dr. Shook is shifting the goal posts when he goes from "arguments for God" to "defending religious viewpoints". Especially since the latter need not actually include arguments for God. "

    I'm not sure it's moving the goalposts if his position actually is that they are defending religious viewpoints and not proving the existence of God. Shook is actually quite clear in the quote I already addressed that he doesn't think the arguments can't be refuted, so about the only quibble is over the definition of "new".

    "Old arguments don't count because, in Prof. Moran's opinion at least, they've been decisively refuted. If someone thinks they've corrected for those objections, as you suggest, then those are new arguments, aren't they?"

    Then the dismissal of some of the arguments in the other post is incorrect and unfair, since there were many examples of arguments that attempted to patch up existing ones, including mine, which argued that the best argument is not one argument, but a combination of the two, and I think I also had room to note that one of the main complaints about the ontological argument -- you can't settle existence with a logical argument -- may well be false if we're dealing with a necessary entity, since you simply cannot prove anything about such a thing empirically.

    So, new arguments, by your definition. And Shook and all atheist accomodationists and myself are all denying that an argument that works exists. So you should be able to start seeing why I made the accusation of it being a strawman, if the things the accomodationists and theists are referring to are not those Larry Moran demanded in his challenge.

    If Larry Moran was really interested in the debate, his challenge would not have been for this sort of specific argument, but a demand for what we mean when we say that some atheists are missing important theological issues. I could very well have answered that, but Larry Moran does not seem to be interested in what his opponents are actually saying.

    "Which is all the more bemusing, since you consider God's existence to be unknowable in principal. Basically, you and Prof. Moran are in agreement that there are no persuasive empirical or logical arguments for God."

    Which is what makes my complaints all the more important. We agree on the status of the arguments, and yet I still agree that there is something very right about the challenges of people like Shook. That's a contradiction that cries out for Moran to ask "Why is that?", if he was interested. He doesn't seem to be.

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  69. "The churches of the world are a vast, well-funded network but what have they achieved in that time? The field of astronomy has made several extraordinary discoveries in the last few *weeks*. When was the last new thought a theologian had? The 'arguments' for god were torn about by the Ancient Greeks. Epistemology? Well ... the Greeks had a word for that, too. "

    So, what's new in moral philosophy? Let's take Sam Harris' new book. There's nothing new there. The neuroscience is new, but even that's been done before, and Harris' overall theory is just utilitarianism. Does that make moral philosophy useless or in any way problematic?

    As for epistemology ... it has made great strides over the decades. We no longer think that knowledge requires absolute certainty. That's a big step, even if we don't have the complete answers yet, and sometimes can't even agree on what to do to find them.

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  70. There is not a shred of scientific evidence for a personal God and never has been. Nevertheles, the living world demands that one or more "Creators" once acted to set in motion a Plan which I believe has now been completed with the present flora and fauna. This conclusion was independently reached by others long before me, notably William Bateson, Leo Berg Pierre Grasse, Otto Schindewolf and Robert Broom, who capitalized the word "Plan" to emphasize his conviction. Those are some of my sources, among the greatest biologists of all time not one of whom was a religious or atheist fanatic. I have summarized this thesis in my published papers, on my weblog and and in my book of essays now available from Lulu publishers -

    "The Unpublished Evolution Papers of John A. Davison."

    The Darwinians have always pretended that they never had any credible critiques, a posture that continues to this day. They can no longer get away with it as the near future will finally establish.

    The notion that life could have accidentally arisen even once by chance is absurdly unreasonable and those who still adhere to this proposition are doomed to disgrace to become little more than pathetic little footnotes in the history of evolutonary science.

    "It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it to be true."
    Bertrand Russell

    "To insist, even with Olympian assurance, that life appeared quite by chance and evolved in this fashion, is an unfounded supposition which I believe to be wrong and not in accordnce with the facts."
    Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms. page 107

    "... the main features of the evolutionary trend were laid out right from the start with the abrupt, discontinuous appearance of the type, and with evolutionary potential being restricted right from the start to certain paths."
    Otto Schindewolf, Basic Questions in Paleontology, page 361

    Commenting on both ontogeny and phylogeny -

    "Neither in the one nor in the other is there room for chance."
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis. page 134

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

    jadavison.wordpress.com

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  71. "a Plan which I believe has now been completed with the present flora and fauna"

    Great, you just made a testable hypothesis.

    The Plan, capital letter and all, is complete. Well, let's accept that.

    So ... if one more species goes extinct, then you'd concede you're wrong?

    Or did you mean individuals? In which case, if anything's born or dies from now on, you're wrong?

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  72. Blue,
    If the existence of God could be proved, it would be science (or logic), not religion.

    Even worse than that. I've 'always' held that if we could prove the existence of God, that would also imply that he would be accessible by our instruments, and from there it would not be much left before we could control him, predict what he could do and what he couldn't.

    In short, it is not inconceivable that we may solve all the mysteries of the universe and that also implies that we will know all there is to know about, if there is anything to know, which I very much doubt.

    For God to be able to have any effect in the universe, he'll have to be part of the universe; how else could he be able to interact with anything inside the universe.

    Logic is our friend, it solves all the riddles.

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  73. "how else could he be able to interact with anything inside the universe."

    Indeed. It's an ancient problem, one that the Christians tied themselves into knots trying to solve.

    A related problem: if there are souls, how do they interact with the body?

    The solution the Catholic church agreed on is *hilarious* - the soul and body overlap, but it's a kind of coincidence, because they *don't* interact. God sort of drives the body on behalf of the soul.

    I mean ... good grief.

    Is it that hard to admit you're just meat?

    I think one of the theistic urges is just an absolute refusal to imagine the world makes sense, or that sense can be made of the world.

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  74. "I'm not sure it's moving the goalposts if his position actually is that they are defending religious viewpoints and not proving the existence of God. Shook is actually quite clear in the quote I already addressed that he doesn't think the arguments can't be refuted, so about the only quibble is over the definition of "new"."

    OK then, so if he really was saying that there are no good contemporary arguments for god (which makes it rather strange that in the very next paragraph he says his book will contain "All of the major traditional and contemporary arguments for God"), what exactly do you think Shook meant by "defending religious viewpoints"? I can think of three meaningful ways of parsing that statement:

    1) The literal way in which Larry and others have been interpreting it - you can take a religious viewpoint, including all the supernatural claims, and if not prove it at least make a reasonable argument in its defence.

    2) "Religious viewpoints" is meant in a more metaphorical sense - a sense of awe about nature, a social construct, or some other thing that you are calling "religion" but which has no supernatural component. But if this is the case then Shook is guilty of theologian-like levels of equivocation since this is clearly a different thing from what conventionally religious people believe and from what atheists are criticising (in fact the first chapter of The God Delusion is in a large part about how the book is not concerned about the likes of Einsteinian pantheism).

    3) It is possible to defend a viewpoint without caring whether it's true or not - it's defencible if it makes people feel happy, or encourages them to behave, for example. A serious argument could be made for this, but let's not pretend this is the same issue as the question of truth.

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  75. Furthermore, even if we do accept that Shook, and the myriad other accommodationists who prattle on about Sophisticated Modern Theology (TM) really were using a different definition from the obvious, they are still guilty of exactly what they're being criticised for. They proudly state that there are all these great ways of "defending" (for some definition of "defending") "religious" (for some definition of "religious") "viewpoints" (for some definition of "viewpoints"), and then seemingly forget to mention a single one. Larry is entirely right to call their bluff here, if these defences exist then it shouldn't be so hard to tell us what they are.

    Verbosestoic is a perfect example of this, over dozens of posts complaining that this challenge is attacking a straw man and saying that atheists are arrogant for taking Shook at his word, the closest we've got to an explanation boils down to "I know all the important theological stuff you're missing, but you wouldn't be interested so I'm not telling."

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  76. Blue wrote (on behalf of their religious friend) - Religious truths are accepted on faith. By definition that means that one can't be certain. If one could prove or otherwise establish the existence of God, it would be an empirical fact or a logical truth, not a matter of faith and not a matter of religion.

    I bought that when I was still religious, but now it just doesn't make sense. Why is religion, by definition, a matter of faith. When I read the Bible, there were plenty of examples of God interacting with his creation - talking to people, setting bushes on fire, becoming Jesus, visits from angels, demonic possession, etc. Now, what do we get? Aside from the Benny Hinns, nothing but warm feelings and miracles that are indistiguishable from dumb luck. Seriously, why would a god decide to make his miracles less impressive as our knowledge of the universe increased?

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  77. verbosestoic, what possible reason is there for assigning the adjective "necessary" to the word entity unless one is attempting to conjure up a phantasm by defining it into existence? There is no necessity for necessities to be entities, and no entity which is necessarily necessary. The very fact that you consider this sleight-of-hand fallacy of bare assertion to be one of the better arguments for god's existence quite amply demonstrates the paucity of theistic reasoning. And I've never dismissed an theistic argument as stupid without first examining and dismantling it. My opinion that apologetics are absurdly unconvincing to anyone but the seriously deluded is the conclusion of a great many decades of study.

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  78. > Lee: Well, I looked on Google earth near Al Hilla, and there's a spot called "Babil" nearby, but no buildings. Does someone have the coordinates?

    > Anonymous: Before we do that, can we clarify: if the area is inhabited, you will accept that the Babylon prophecy was false?

    Certainly. And "inhabited" will of course require people. But buildings is a strong argument for the presence of such.

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  79. Andrew M,

    Thanks for expressing my thoughts on Shook so well. His segue from "arguments for God" to "defending religious viewpoints" struck me as almost deliberate equivocation.

    ***

    verbosestoic, you wrote:

    "So you should be able to start seeing why I made the accusation of it being a strawman, if the things the accomodationists and theists are referring to are not those Larry Moran demanded in his challenge.

    If Larry Moran was really interested in the debate, his challenge would not have been for this sort of specific argument, but a demand for what we mean when we say that some atheists are missing important theological issues."


    Except that the claims of theists are predicated on the existence of a theistic God. It seems entirely reasonable to me for Prof. Moran to ask for justification of said God's existence. If He can be justified, we can proceed to those theistic claims that arguably follow. If He cannot be justified, we can ask whether there are any "religious viewpoints" that remain valid in the absence of His existence.

    Honestly, you'd make an excellent Courtier. Prof. Moran asks for evidence that the emperor has any clothes at all, and you insist that's a strawman - that he should be focusing on the important theological issues like whether the emperor's shoes are the right color, or if his tie is too wide.

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  80. It's nice to see that Lee is still making the same failed claims, the same lies to "give up his faith", and the same shifting of goalposts after 6-odd years. Too bad I can't find the old IIDB threads where he repeats the same claims. And, just as oblivious and impervious to evidence. Brings back memories.

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  81. '> Anonymous: Before we do that, can we clarify: if the area is inhabited, you will accept that the Babylon prophecy was false?

    Certainly. And "inhabited" will of course require people. But buildings is a strong argument for the presence of such."

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=hanging+gardens+of+babylon&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.764224,79.013672&ie=UTF8&hq=Hanging+Gardens+of+Babylon&hnear=Hanging+Gardens+of+Babylon,+Al+Hillah,+Babil,+Iraq&ll=32.479286,44.438587&spn=0.001097,0.002411&t=h&z=19

    ... and there we go. You can see the people at that scale, you don't need to come up with a theory that angels drove all those cars to that car park.

    Let's remind ourselves - Jeremiah 51:42-43:

    "The sea will rise over Babylon;
    its roaring waves will cover her.
    Her towns will be desolate,
    a dry and desert land,
    a land where no one lives,
    through which no man travels."

    Oh ... I've got it. That isn't a river, it's the sea. And those cars are all driven by *women*.

    Checkmate.

    So, let's move on. A few verses earlier, 51:16, it says

    "He [God] sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses."

    So ... do you believe God keeps the winds in big sheds when they aren't blowing?

    The Bible is often, as here, wonderful and poetic. But it's as *true* as the Dukes of Hazzard. You believe in Boss Hogg, numbnuts, kudyukyukyuk.

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  82. "Logic is the enemy of science."
    John A. Davison

    jadavison.wordpress.com

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  83. Andrew M.,

    "OK then, so if he really was saying that there are no good contemporary arguments for god (which makes it rather strange that in the very next paragraph he says his book will contain "All of the major traditional and contemporary arguments for God"), what exactly do you think Shook meant by "defending religious viewpoints"? "

    Look, it's abundantly clear that he doesn't think that the arguments can't be refuted. So what do you mean by "no good"? Moran's standards seemed pretty high to me.

    I also think we're spending way too much time focussing precisely on what Shook said. Take this quote from this very post:

    "From now on, whenever any accommdationist or theist accuses me of not having studied philosophy or theology I'll point them to my post and remind them that the Emperor really doesn't have any clothes. "

    I'm not going to try to guess at what Shook was really after. I think you guys are interpreting it stronger than he means it, but he might mean it differently. But the above quote implies that Moran thinks that his challenge means that he can answer ME by pointing to that challenge. I think the strong stance Moran took DEMANDS that he's looking for proofs -- or at least really, really strong and convincing arguments -- that no atheist accomodationist (which includes Shook) ever claimed existed. So I think it's pretty safe to say that Moran's challenge doesn't seem to address what they're actually concerned about. And what I can say with absolute certainty is that his challenge in no way addresses what I'M concerned about.

    So, either he excludes me from that quote above or, at least with respect to me, he's attacking a strawman. Which is it?

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  84. Andrew M.,

    "Verbosestoic is a perfect example of this, over dozens of posts complaining that this challenge is attacking a straw man and saying that atheists are arrogant for taking Shook at his word, the closest we've got to an explanation boils down to "I know all the important theological stuff you're missing, but you wouldn't be interested so I'm not telling." "

    Um, my whole comments about "He's not interested" have been based entirely on the fact that Moran -- and, it seems, people like you -- are declaring victory over their opponents before asking them what they're really concerned about, and instead positing interpretations that are contradictory. Again, no atheist accomodationist will claim there is a convincing argument for the existence of God. That's why they're atheists. What they will say is that the arguments are more nuanced, detailed, and take more into consideration than some of the replies of atheists make them out to be.

    See, if you'd ASKED me to provide my view and what I think are problems, or if Moran did, I would have. I actually even gave a brief summary of an example in my first comment on the challenge post:

    "As an example, Dawkins tries to address the ontological argument in "The God Delusion". At my blog, I posted part of a -- sadly unfinished -- critique of that book and noted that he really, really doesn't understand the ontological argument. At all. He ignores what's probably the best argument against it, misses the point of arguments like "the perfect island" in making his counter, and the only decent argument is one from I think Gasking which ALSO misses the point, but is miles better at it than anything Dawkins did."

    If you wanted more detail, I can give more detail. I can give more. A lot of my blog posts are just my pointing out how people like Myers and Coyne and Harris and others don't understand the underpinnings of the things they're criticizing or promoting. And all of this without ever being asked why I actually think the charge has merit.

    Instead, in the challenge thread most people read the first sentence of the argument and then went on to criticize me on things that I'd pointed out myself in my comment.

    So don't call me out for failing to provide examples or explanation; all you have to do is look and you'd find them. Or, heck, even just ASK.

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  85. H.H.,

    "verbosestoic, what possible reason is there for assigning the adjective "necessary" to the word entity unless one is attempting to conjure up a phantasm by defining it into existence? "

    I actually derived the at least possibility of one from an argument, and didn't try to define it into existence there either. The only counter to that that had any stamina was QM, and the only example given of things that were contingent and uncaused in any detail were virtual particles, which while clearly contingent also seemed clearly be caused.

    At any rate, it's up for consideration whether or not there is such a thing, and that's as far as I ever pushed it.

    "There is no necessity for necessities to be entities"

    Good thing I never posited that. I posited that in one case -- causal chains of entities -- it would have to be, if it was required, but that's as far as I went.

    "and no entity which is necessarily necessary. "

    Isn't this something you need to prove, not merely assert?

    "The very fact that you consider this sleight-of-hand fallacy of bare assertion to be one of the better arguments for god's existence quite amply demonstrates the paucity of theistic reasoning."

    I'd be more bothered by this if I thought you knew what my argument actually was. Hint: it isn't only one traditional argument.

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  86. qetzal,

    "Except that the claims of theists are predicated on the existence of a theistic God. It seems entirely reasonable to me for Prof. Moran to ask for justification of said God's existence. If He can be justified, we can proceed to those theistic claims that arguably follow. If He cannot be justified, we can ask whether there are any "religious viewpoints" that remain valid in the absence of His existence."

    I certainly think this is reasonable, and think it is reasonable for Moran or you or anyone else to say both "Unless you provide this proof, I won't believe in God" AND "Unless you provide this proof, theology is uninteresting to me." The problem is that the people who are claiming that some of the atheists don't know enough theology are doing so because those atheists have waded into theology and gotten it spectacularly wrong. Saying that it doesn't interest you when you've started into it -- which, I hasten to point out, Moran DOESN'T -- doesn't absolve you from having to defend your claims when you waded into it of your own free will. If some atheists are going to do theology and philosophy, they'd better do it right ... and should expect to be called on the carpet if they get it wrong. Just as Larry Moran and Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins call out people who get the biology wrong.

    "Honestly, you'd make an excellent Courtier. Prof. Moran asks for evidence that the emperor has any clothes at all, and you insist that's a strawman - that he should be focusing on the important theological issues like whether the emperor's shoes are the right color, or if his tie is too wide."

    Two points, one of which might be a bit repetitive:

    1) In any field, you sometimes have to talk about things that you don't know exist. These are things that are part of theories or components of it or are parts of the definitions of what you're looking for. This is done for a few reasons. First, you need to talk about some things while ignoring if they really exist to determine what it would mean if they did, so that you can go test it. Second, if you have competing theories that cannot be settled it's quite reasonable to act as if the one you favour is true until an experiment settles it. Third, a method of disproving something is asserting that it does exist and seeing if we get a contradiction (almost the same as the first case). So, sometimes in figuring out if it exists we'll have to think -- at least provisionally -- in a framework that it does. Science does this, too, so this isn't a problem.

    2) As I said above, if an atheist wades into discussions of the ties or shoes and gets the ideas wrong, it's quite reasonable for those who are studying it to call them out for it, and quite unreasonable to level a Courtier's Reply in that case. Which, unfortunately, are the cases where it is generally invoked ...

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  87. verbosestoic: "I actually derived the at least possibility of one from an argument, and didn't try to define it into existence there either."

    Anselm and anyone who employs his argument is trying to define a being into existence using rhetorical sleight-of-hand. That's what the ontological argument is.

    I'm not sure what the first part of your sentence says. I suspect a typo has garble the intended meaning. I think you're trying to say you've only offered necessary beings as a possibility, which makes your argument rather pointless, since anything's possible. An infinite number of beings are possible. But you have to do better than possible. If necessary beings aren't a certainty and we can imagine doing without them, then they clearly aren't necessary, are they?

    "At any rate, it's up for consideration whether or not there is such a thing, and that's as far as I ever pushed it."

    Ah, "up for consideration," is it? But we've been considering possible gods all along. So you've not actually advanced anything here. We're just back to square one, with us pointing out that all the arguments for god fail to persuade. Assertions offered without justification may be dismissed without justification.


    ["There is no necessity for necessities to be entities"]

    Good thing I never posited that. I posited that in one case -- causal chains of entities -- it would have to be, if it was required, but that's as far as I went.

    The necessary cause of a chain of contingent entities need not be an entity unless, for some reason, you deny that life may have a wholly materialistic origin. So again, a being which isn't actually necessary can't be a necessary being. And the weaselly phrase "if required" only serves to make your argument circular (required beings are required), and is clearly an admission of failure, since "requirement" or necessity is exactly the trait your supposed to be proving and not merely assume.


    ["and no entity which is necessarily necessary."]

    Isn't this something you need to prove, not merely assert?

    There exists no valid justification for a necessary entity. It makes just as much sense to speak of necessary states or necessary processes. Lacking proof that necessary entities are indeed necessary, we can conclude they aren't.


    I'd be more bothered by this if I thought you knew what my argument actually was. Hint: it isn't only one traditional argument.

    Ah, the old "secret argument you don't know about" ruse. I'd be more bothered if you've offered a single successful argument up to this point, but since you haven't, I can't say I'm exactly trembling with anticipation.

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  88. "Ah, the old "secret argument you don't know about" ruse. I'd be more bothered if you've offered a single successful argument up to this point, but since you haven't, I can't say I'm exactly trembling with anticipation."

    Exactly.

    Verbosestoic, do you at least understand our frustration with this tactic?

    We're not the ones being obtuse or obscure.

    But put this another way: if the best evidence for the Christian God requires intense theological and philosophical training just to be told its basic parameters, what percentage of Christians do you think would understand it?

    Play your card, or fold.

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  89. > Anonymous: ... and there we go. You can see the people at that scale, you don't need to come up with a theory that angels drove all those cars to that car park.

    But that's at Al Hillah, correct? which may indeed be the location of the famed Hanging Gardens, but that is not Babylon.

    > Let's remind ourselves ... I've got it. That isn't a river, it's the sea.

    Waves, and then desert. But neither need be forever. What is forever is ruinous and uninhabited.

    > Checkmate.

    Check your facts, matey!

    > "[God] sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses."

    > So ... do you believe God keeps the winds in big sheds when they aren't blowing?

    But of course! So did Jeremiah. No, wait, they knew when poetic language was in use, it does happen, you know, and you can detect it.

    "He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses." (Psa 33:7)

    OK, so nobody is (or was) thinking that if you look at the right time, you will see all these jars, and the seas stored up in them.

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  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  91. "> Checkmate.

    Check your facts, matey!"

    Gosh, and here was me thinking 'presented with unambiguous evidence he was wrong, he would keep his oath and renounce his faith'.

    http://www.iraqimage.com/pages/browse/Babylon.html

    You're wrong. Here's a picture, taken from space by science, that shows you are wrong.

    If this was about anything other than a religious belief, the sheer level of reality denying would be treated as a mental condition. Fortunately, we live in enlightened times. It's a little sad, really - at least the people who see fairies at the bottom of the garden get to see their fairies.

    "But of course! So did Jeremiah. No, wait, they knew when poetic language was in use, it does happen, you know, and you can detect it."

    It's true, you know. It's like Harry Potter *some* of it's true, you just have to know which bits.

    I'm done.

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  92. > Anonymous: Here's a picture, taken from space by science, that shows you are wrong.

    That's a different location, you know, if you keep giving me a different picture every time, I shall start to wonder if you know where Babylon is. Now this looks indeed like it could be Babylon. And it appears to be just walls.

    > It's true, you know. It's like Harry Potter *some* of it's true, you just have to know which bits.

    Some of which is literal, some of which is poetic. Are you sure all the Bible is strictly literal? That would be odd. If not, indeed you have to decide which is which--this does not somehow refute the Bible.

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  93. "That's a different location, you know, if you keep giving me a different picture every time, I shall start to wonder if you know where Babylon is. Now this looks indeed like it could be Babylon. And it appears to be just walls."

    ... apart from all the buildings, cars and people.

    It's about six hundred feet from the previous location.

    It's the ruins of part of ancient Babylon, surrounded by modern settlements full of human activity. Now, if you are arguing that this counts as 'uninhabited', you're arguing that because there are ruins of older buildings in Rome, Jerusalem, Beijing and Delhi, then those cities are also 'uninhabited'. If you think Delhi is uninhabited then you think something that is pretty much the exact opposite of true.

    You are wrong, you've been proved wrong. If you genuinely don't understand that, you're a mental case in need of professional help.
    Seriously.

    You may consider this some test of your faith, or something along those lines. Are you doing God's work commenting here on this nasty atheist's blog? Like the other Anonymous, I'm not going to fuel your fantasy.

    You are wrong, if you don't understand why, there's no way I can persuade you. Please, please just keep this sort of reasoning away from loved ones and daily life, confine it to your fairy stories. Please, please don't self harm your body as much as you've clearly self-harmed your mind.

    Good luck.

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  94. H.H.,

    "Ah, the old "secret argument you don't know about" ruse. I'd be more bothered if you've offered a single successful argument up to this point, but since you haven't, I can't say I'm exactly trembling with anticipation."

    And this, basically, just proves that you really don't know what my argument is. See, it can't be a secret argument since I posted it in the original challenge thread. I presumed, from how this discussion went, that you'd read it and knew that. Clearly, you didn't.

    Additionally, you are asking me for a "successful" argument when I've clearly and repeatedly said that I don't think one exists. That's never been my point. So that sort of challenge is, in fact, utterly irrelevant to what I'm talking about.

    Let me give you a quick summary of the argument and some of the particulars:

    1) Use some form of the First Cause argument to establish that we need something to exist that isn't contingent, and is thus necessary. Note that when I talk about "entity" I do generally mean "thing". That also gets us to the point where that thing is responsible for creating the universe.

    2) Use a different argument to establish that that necessary thing is intelligent. Maybe a variation of the Argument from Design.

    If these work, then we have an intelligent creator of the universe, which is for all intents and purposes a god. Atheism, then, is defeated.

    Now, this argument is not convincing, because there are things that we, at least currently, don't know that we'd need to know, and ways to break each part of the argument. It also doesn't establish which of the current believed in gods exist, if it's any of them. But I never claimed either, so that doesn't bother me too much.

    As for the ontological argument, my only comment on that is that the presumption -- that I myself made -- that you need an empirical basis to prove the existence of something breaks down at the "necessary thing" level. You CAN'T prove the existence of a necessary thing empirically because you can't prove necessity empirically. It has to be logically, since necessity is logical necessity and so a logical trait. And even THAT -- which seems obvious now that I've seen it -- is debatable.

    So much for secrets, then. It's all out there, in a short form.

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  95. Anonymous,

    "Exactly.

    Verbosestoic, do you at least understand our frustration with this tactic?

    We're not the ones being obtuse or obscure."

    Neither am I. I've been pretty clear about my comments, and about the only time I've ever refused to get into a discussion was over epistemology, and that was based on the hard-won experience that, really, no one really DOES want to get into the details of that ... even if it's relevant.

    "But put this another way: if the best evidence for the Christian God requires intense theological and philosophical training just to be told its basic parameters, what percentage of Christians do you think would understand it?"

    Now, where did I ever say that?

    You're engaging in an argument that I will dub the "Scarecrow Fallacy". You take a couple of words or a form of an argument that looks like another argument, and leap to take it as that sort of argument, taking the clothes of the scarecrow to be a real farmer. The problem is, it isn't, and while you rather handily defeat the scarecrow the real farmer is looking at you, puzzled. This is a prime example, since this is not the argument I've used and I've pointed that out repeatedly, but you've taken my comments that some atheists get the theology wrong and my comments about the argument not being understood and translate it to the "You need to learn complex theology" argument ... despite the fact that I have not nor would I ever use that argument. I don't tell people to read things when I make these arguments; I explain them myself.

    Thus, this demand completely misses what I'm talking about, so no relevant response can be formed.

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  96. > Anonymous: It's about six hundred feet from the previous location.

    It's about 4 miles from Al Hillah, which was the previous place that was being pointed out to me as Babylon here. We need to make up our minds about the location.

    > It's the ruins of part of ancient Babylon, surrounded by modern settlements full of human activity.

    But the different locations being pointed out here makes me wonder. Those might be barracks, for all I know, or abandoned barracks, even. That might be an area of excavation near Babylon, or Saddam's abandoned new palace which he was building over the old one.

    And how about this quote, if we are all just googling for such?

    "All that remains of the original ancient famed city of Babylon today is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers."

    If so, it would seem we're not looking at ancient Babylon here.

    > Please, please just keep this sort of reasoning away from loved ones and daily life, confine it to your fairy stories.

    The room is spinning a bit, yes.

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  97. ETA: "All that remains of the original ancient famed city of Babylon today is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers."

    That would not be "rebuilt", nor reinhabited.

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  98. So, still no rigorous evidence presented for the existence of whatever pet magic entities supernaturalists happen to choose to believe in? Quelle surprise.

    Oh, and here's a tip for any supernaturalists still smarting after their failure to meet Sandwalk's challenge. "My favourite mythology says so, therefore it's true" doesn't count, because the existence of your pet magic entities is the core assertion upon which your mythologies are built, and which has never been supported in a critically robust fashion at any time by any supernaturalist. Indeed, supernaturalists have had 5,000 years to deliver the goods on this one, and those of us who prefer reality to mythology are still waiting for something other than the usual apologetic hot air.

    Oh, and while you're at it, here's another tip for you. Apologetics is about as much use as a fishnet condom. Want to know why? Because at bottom, apologetics is nothing more than the erection of convoluted semantic fabrications, in order to provide the illusion of support for presuppositions, with which to dazzle the gullible and the uneducated. In a world where literacy is widespread, access to vast repositories of real information at the click of a mouse if an engineering reality, and the fatuousness of various apologetic fabrications is documented on numerous websites, you need something better than Craig's Kalam bait and switch, or nebulous wibble about "design" without understanding what it takes to have genuine evidence for "design" in your lap.

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  99. verbosestoic, "Now, this argument is not convincing."

    Yes, I know. That's what I've been saying all along. So what's your objection again? That it's unfair to characterize such pathetic and unconvincing arguments as stupid? You haven't said anything to disabuse me of that conclusion.

    Look, in the future, next time an atheist accurately characterizes the arguments for god as miserable failures, just do everyone a favor and assume they know what they're talking about, especially since you ultimately agree with the conclusion.

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  100. While I think it's useful for atheists to demonstrate just how feeble the arguments for the existence of God are, we know it's impossible to prove a negative. Demonstrably, nothing like the Christian God exists, but Christians have adapted by just removing all claims. Then, when they accidentally make a claim they immediately retract it ('we can't say anything about Him' / 'right, so you think God's male' / 'by he, I meant of course that he's beyond gender' ... followed of course by the timeless gambit 'while I have been passionately arguing this for five hundred web posts, now, giving every indication that this was my position, I personally don't believe it').

    Fuck that shit. Christians either know, deep down, that it's self-serving lies and deliberate obscuration or they'll never know.

    No Christian is a Christian merely because there's some loophole that means God might exist, after all. It's all an after-the-fact rationalization.

    Atheists have to move the argument away from 'exists', which is as settled as it'll ever be.

    This argument has to stay in the social sphere. And we can't keep pointing to the atrocities. Christians operate a double standard where they can invoke Augustine as evidence, but if we mention the Crusades or Inquisition 'that was a long time ago'. We've got an ex-Nazi Pope who shielded pedophiles. No one argues with that, and somehow there are still - they claim - a billion Catholics who see him as a moral leader.

    The science argument and atrocity argument are already as far into the atheist side as it's possible to get.

    Yes, religion's harmful, but people know that, they've adapted that into their worldview.

    We have to concentrate on the banality of religion. It's sheer pointlessness. We can live a good life and do charitable works and get a sense of community without there being religions. We can find strength in others, beat our personal problems and so on.

    People scared to 'think for themself' are not always wrong to be scared. We're all flawed and limited. We need reassurance and support a lot of the time. People can think some stupid, dangerous things - god or no god.

    We need to make a better case for why gods are millstones, why 'losing your religion' is like losing a tumor. Why waking up one day without God is like having a rattling radiator that suddenly fixes itself and you didn't realize until you heard how peaceful it was just how annoying, distracting and wasteful the problem had been.

    We don't have to prove a negative, the impossible task the theologians have set us. Our task is far more simple: we only have to get people to stop believing he exists. And, deep down, no one really believes. Deep down, they know that faith's mere methadone, not the real deal.

    A god that no one prays to is a mere fictional character. One day, quite soon, Jesus will stand alongside Captain America and Iron Man in the Avengers, like Thor and Hercules before him.

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  101. ROTFLMAO is the only possible response to Moron's declaration of victory.

    Larry says, From now on, whenever any accommdationist or theist accuses me of not having studied philosophy or theology I'll point them to my post and remind them that the Emperor really doesn't have any clothes.

    As if creating a 'demand for evidence of God' topic on a blog is equal to actually learning anything on philosophy.

    Hard to believe anyone with a PhD could be so foolish as to make such an inane statement!
    It's like a 5th grade drop-out stating he's understood all about genetics by creating a blog topic on it.

    Did you get your PhD from a box of corn flakes Larry?

    Yet, the average shoe size IQ atheist nerd, like 99% of the atheists that posted, can never figure out that if you can't prove a negative and have thus zero evidence against the existence of God, your whole position is necessarily held by pure blind faith!

    Atheism has no logical foundations whatsoever.
    They are obliged to deny the existence of logical absolutes and absolute truth yet atheists are always trying to win arguments against evidence for God using logical absolutes & trying to prove the absolute truth of their blind faith based position!

    And what shall we say of a allegedly intelligent man declaring victory in field where he clearly does not understand the implications of his own position?

    "The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula or the remotest part obeys the thought-laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory, in other words, unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based. The difficulty is to me a fatal one; and the fact that when you put it to many scientists, far from having an answer, they seem not even to understand what the difficulty is, assures me that I have not found a mare's nest but detected a radical disease in their whole mode of thought from the very beginning. The man who has once understood the situation is compelled henceforth to regard the scientific cosmology as being, in principle, a myth; though no doubt a great many true particulars have been worked into it." -CS Lewis
    -a man far more intelligent than all the dim witted atheist blog "debaters" put together.

    Atheism is an idea that doesn't matter. Nothing through nothing, for no reason creating all things with all moving to eternal oblivion.

    This utter vanity they fight tooth and nail for, even though, if true, leaves all arguments both impossible to prove -no absolutes = no such thing as proof- and titanically futile from start to finish.

    "The atheists are for the most part imprudent and misguided scholars who reason badly who, not being able to understand the Creation, the origin of evil, and other difficulties, have recourse to the hypothesis the eternity of things and of inevitability....." - Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary
    Well he got that right at least.

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  102. Gary says,

    As if creating a 'demand for evidence of God' topic on a blog is equal to actually learning anything on philosophy.

    1. What has this got to do with "learning anything about philosophy"?

    2. I didn't expect a full and detailed presentation of a proof. All I asked for is some indication of what the proof looks like. Is that really too much to ask?

    BTW, it has not escaped my notice that you avoided the question. I guess you can write a lengthy comment attacking atheism but it would take much longer to prove the existence of God. Right?

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  103. Gary says,

    Yet, the average shoe size IQ atheist nerd, like 99% of the atheists that posted, can never figure out that if you can't prove a negative and have thus zero evidence against the existence of God, your whole position is necessarily held by pure blind faith!

    Why are believers always so stupid? I do not say that I've proven the non-existence of God. I do not say that I've proven the non-existence of Santa Claus or the tooth fairy either.

    The burden of proof rests with those who promote the existence of those entities. If I've failed to be convinced, that doesn't mean I have FAITH in the non-existence of the tooth fairy.

    It's really not so hard to understand your opponents if you work at it.

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  104. Gary says,

    -CS Lewis
    -a man far more intelligent than all the dim witted atheist blog "debaters" put together.


    I liked The Chronicles of Narnia but the rest of his fictional writings weren't so good.

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