Monday, January 25, 2016

James McGrath disproves atheism

James McGrath is a professor of religion at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

He is one of those "sophisticated theologians" who dismiss modern atheists because we haven't spent years studying theology and because we haven't experienced the true existential angst of Jean-Paul Sartre. As a group, they hold to the position that the "New Atheists" are amateurs in the study of religion and their arguments can be easily dismissed.

The sophisticated theologians see themselves as scholars who have studied the problems of theology and have developed a very sophisticated apologetics that answers all of the questions about the existence of gods. They think that "New Atheists" are attacking strawmen by concentrating their fire on the worst of religions. According to the sophisticated theologians, the New Atheist position is simplistic and anti-intellectual.

These "sophisticated theologians" are the people PZ Myers mocks in The Courtier’s Reply. The point should be clear from the story but, just to be sure, let me state it explicitly. Sophisticated theology begins with the assumption that gods exist (usually the Christian god) then develops its elaborate apologetics based on that assumption. They ignore the real question which is whether their gods exist or not (i.e. is the Emperor wearing any clothes?) [see Courtier's Rely].

This group also seems to be remarkably naive about science and atheism in spite of the fact that they portray themselves as intellectuals. For example, let's look at a recent post (Jan. 25, 2016) by James McGrath on his blog Exploring Our Matrix: Atheism Disproved.
Atheism is easy to disprove. Watch:
  • Cats exist
  • Ancient Egyptians (as well as some current cat owners) worship cats as gods
  • Therefore, gods exist
  • Therefore, atheism is false
I am being somewhat flippant, but as I have pointed out before (then using the example of the universe as god for pantheists), unless one defines clearly what one means by “god,” then one cannot make sweeping statements such as that “there is no god of any sort.”

Or at least, one can make them, but they are easy to rebut.
You would think that a sophisticated theologian would make the effort to understand the meaning of atheism as defined by people like Richard Dawkins and most of the other New Atheists. They (we) use the word "atheist" to mean a person who does not believe in gods. Dawkins makes this very clear in The God Delusion where he describes a strong atheist as one who knows for certain that there is no god. He declares that he is not one of those atheists. In fact, he is an atheist agnostic, however ...
I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.
I am an atheist. I don't believe in supernatural beings. I don't believe in any of the gods that I know about. I don't believe that cats are gods. It's not up to me to define the kinds of gods I don't believe in. If you believe in one of them, then tell me what you believe and why, ... then I'll let you know whether I believe in your god.

If you want to define a "theist" as someone who believes that cats are gods but who doesn't believe in any supernatural beings, then we can have a discussion about your sanity.

James McGrath has not disproved atheism. He has proved that we are fully justified in using the term "sophisticated theologian" as irony.

He proves this even more effectively in his Facebook post where he says ...
I have often heard atheists say that they are like theists, except that they deny the existence of one more god than theists do.

We can also point out that most atheists and theists share in common a tendency to make sweeping statements about "gods" or "other gods" not existing, when in fact in a number of examples they dispute their divinity, not their existence.

Sweeping statements are best avoided, as they tend to be easy to rebut. Click through for more thoughts on this topic.
The actual quote from atheists like Richard Dawkins is ...
[M]odern theists might acknowledge that, when it comes to Baal and the Golden Calf, Thor and Wotan, Poseidon and Apollo, Mithras and Ammon Ra, they are actually atheists. We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. (Richard Dawkins, The Devil's Chaplain, p. 150)
We believe in one less god than you do.1 This is not the same as "deny the existence of gods."

James McGrath did get one thing right. Sweeping statements are best avoided because they are usually easy to refute. That's not a very sophisticated way to behave.


1. Actually several less gods than most Christians believe in because most of them are polytheistic when it comes to supernatural beings. Even if they roll three of their gods into one, they often still believe in Satan, Saints, and angels.

154 comments :

  1. Irks me that someone like this is making waaaaaay more money than I am, in a more secure job, with a pension. Why can't I teach drivel for big bucks?!

    Dave Bailey

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    1. You're far too late.

      I was still an undergraduate when I realized that I could get a job paying big bucks, with tenure, for teaching whatever I wanted. So I went to graduate school.

      My friends weren't so clever. They finished their undergraduate degree and went to work in the real world for companies like IBM and Sears. Some of them became high school teachers.

      Ten years later (six years for a Ph.D. and four years as a post-doc) I got a job at a lower salary than any of those friends. Furthermore, they had been making money for ten years.

      Are you still wondering who's the stupid one? :-)

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    2. Doc I find it odd that you equate money with intelligence. The reason that equation doesn't work is this integrity thing get's in the way. Caring about things other than money that's my problem.

      Doc you are a very intelligent guy and I respect your learning and the achievements you have made. Yet you are the naïve one. you think the only thing science needs to worry about is the content of science. But without understanding it's relationship as a discipline to everything else you are ghettoized.

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  2. I'm sorry. It's the responsibility of atheists to provide a workable definition of "god"?

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  3. Normally I'm with you 100% Larry (to the extent that a layperson can understand your science posts) but cats are gods.

    Just ask any cat.

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  4. James McGrath was just exercising his wry sense of humor. You are taking him a bit too seriously.

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    1. I am glad someone gets my sense of humor. But I would add that I was using a very tongue-in-cheek example to make a point that I've tried to discuss with Larry in the past, with little success, namely that definitions are important, and that a pantheist who rejects supernaturalism will share a lot in common with atheists, but rejection of every possible definition of "God" is not one of them.

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    2. So you have evidence that ANY god exists?

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    3. Don't hold your breath waiting ...

      It is good to know that we can still depend on sophisticated theologians for a not-stop stream of comedy gold.

      James should take his show on the road.

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    4. @James McGrath

      I get the humor. I tried to focus on the point you were trying to make about the importance of definitions.

      Do you understand that there are different definitions of "atheist" and that you used one that many of us disagree with?

      Do you understand that it's not up to nonbelievers to describe every possible kind of supernatural being or "god"?

      So far, I've yet to encounter anyone who calls themselves a "theist" whose beliefs about god are no different than those of an a-theist. If you have an example then please share it.

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    5. So what exactly is your point, James?

      Do you really think atheism entails rejection of "every possible definition of 'God'"? It is possible that someone's definition of God might include common, everyday, non-supernatural house cats. If so, would it be the fault of atheists for not considering this particular definition when they say they do not believe gods exist? Or is it the fault of the person whose definition of the term is so loose as to be meaningless?

      I'm also not sure what your point is in bringing up pantheism. Sure, an atheist will reject that. So?

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    6. I can imagine that there is a god. I can also imagine Queen Elizabeth presenting me with the Royal Treasure. I have a real good imagination. I'm sure that a "sophisticated" philosopher/economist could construct a logical and valid reason why I should get the Royal Treasury (and why a god exists).

      However, the vast evidence suggests that, regardless of clever and compelling arguments, I should not be planning my next few purchases with help from the Royal Treasury. Likewise with god. You can smoke pot and come up with compelling arguments all day long, but until there is evidence...

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    7. Atheists presumably disagree with pantheists about the appropriate way to talk about all that exists, and not about whether everything exists. Do you understand "atheism" to mean, not the denial that anything that might be called a god exists, but that anything deserves to be considered "divine"?

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    8. You need to clarify what is meant by "divine".

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    9. James, as humour - not so good, as evidence - even worse.

      You are not actually ever going to provide any evidence for your deity, are you ?

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    10. James McGrath asks,

      . Do you understand "atheism" to mean, not the denial that anything that might be called a god exists, but that anything deserves to be considered "divine"?

      I'm going to say this as politely as I can and that's hard to do since you have been corrected many times.

      ATHEISM IS NOT THE DENIAL THAT GODS EXIST. IT IS THE LACK OF BELIEF IN ANY OF THE GODS THAT HAVE BEEN PROPOSED.

      I don't know what you mean by "divine." Give me an example of something "divine" that a theist believes in and I'll tell you whether I believe in it or not.

      BTW, thank-you for behaving like a typical sophisticated theologian. Many Sandwalk readers haven't seen one up close. (They can come to our dialogue on Friday night if they want to see another one.)

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    11. James McGrath is an excellent example of why theology is not a legitimate study for universities to support. Religion, yes; theology, no.

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    12. “History has the relation to truth that theology has to religion — i.e., none to speak of”


      ― Robert A. Heinlein

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    13. @Jeffrey Shallit

      One of my colleagues at the University of Toronto is Don Wiebe in the Theological Department at Trinity College.

      He is an atheist. He is doing a good job of studying theology the way it should be studied.

      Unfortunately, he's not been very successful at converting the other professors in the department. :-)

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    14. Wow, this is really something.

      I don't believe in alien abductions. - Haha, not so fast! Some people may think that nightmares are alien abductions, and are you really willing to claim that you don't believe nightmares happen? Checkmate, you unsophisticated thinker!

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    15. Somebody hasn't read Daniel Dennett's work on free will.

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    16. I don't think Larry understood my point, which was that an argument against a specific theological claim is more likely to be effective than a broad sweeping one that isn't broadly applicable.

      I'm a religious studies scholar, not a theologian, although the terminology isn't always a useful guide, since in the UK, the departments where things like historical critical study of the Bible and other forms of religious studies are done are still often called departments of theology.

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    17. "I don't think Larry understood my point, which was that an argument against a specific theological claim is more likely to be effective than a broad sweeping one that isn't broadly applicable."

      Atheists don't believe in a supernatural god because there is no convincing evidence such a god exists. Why do you find that imprecise or not broadly applicable?

      For an atheist, how would contesting an individual theological claim of a particular religion be more effective?

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    18. @James McGrath "...an argument against a specific theological claim..." Yes, if only we could hear one of those. Emphasis on the "specific".

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    19. I dare anyone here to hit me with an atheist argument.

      I'm not even Christian, I'm agnostic. Go.

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    20. You need to double-dog dare if you're going to get any good responses. But here's my atheist argument: there is no evidence that gods exist. Therefore we should not think that gods exist. Knock yourself out.

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    21. What do you consider to be an atheist argument?

      The only necessary atheist argument is that there is insufficient evidence for the God hypothesis.

      Q.E.D.

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  5. Of all the noxious forms of theism to pick arguments with, why not pick the pantheist who rejects supernaturalism or the theistic evolutionist who is just as passionate about opposing intelligent design and other forms of creationism?

    We may not agree on everything but in many respects, these people are natural allies when it comes to some of the most important causes that this blog champions.

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    1. The militia people of Flint are our natural allies against a government that purposefully harms the people. Do you support them and their cause just because they support the people of Flint?

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    2. Perhaps you could use an analogy that didn't involve American politics?

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    3. Why? Because that's exactly what this is. It's not science. It's not religion.

      It's using someone whose tactics and beliefs you abhor to support your cause (whether it is right or not).

      I'm sorry, but facts shouldn't need support (they do, but they shouldn't). I personally will not ally myself with someone who is so weaselly that they won't answer a simple question. A question which happens to undermine their entire logical system, but that's not my problem. It's their's for using such a pitiful argument in the first place.

      That's one reason I'm not a politician, nor do I play the political game at work... which is why I'm just a worker instead of the boss. I don't turn to people who are IDiots and whose beliefs are harmful to reality just because they are a convenient helper for the truth.

      It may be that I am wrong in this practice. But I can only do what I think is best, using the best evidence that I have. And all of that suggests that accommodating fringe beliefs is not helpful to anyone.

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    4. We may not agree on everything but in many respects, these people are natural allies when it comes to some of the most important causes that this blog champions.

      In the war between rationalism and superstition—or science vs religion—theistic evolutionists are not my allies.

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    5. @OgreMKV

      > "Why"

      Because I'm not American. While I've heard about what happened in Flint, I'm not familiar with the intricacies of the situation.

      @Larry
      From my perspective the most serious problem we face in this "war" are fundamentalists.

      People like James and other bloggers at the patheos progressive christian site are useful because they can appeal to theists in ways that anti-theists cannot.

      They provide an avenue and a community for extremists to begin to moderate their views, question things and even look at their beliefs critically.

      I'm not a christian any more but for me at least, places like biologos were instrumental in helping me to reject creationism as well as other forms of fundamentalism.

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    6. Aceofspades,
      Apologies, my US centricity finally bit me in the butt.

      Basically, would you ally yourself with a group whose policies and beliefs you abhor just because they happen to be supportive of one particular thing that you also support?

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    7. No... But I might ally myself with a group whose policies and beliefs i'm neutral towards (or even policies / beliefs I find mildly aggravating) if they happen to stand with me on something I'm passionate about.

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  6. McGrath is a lazy slacker and a clown. He gets his money from the faith of people who believe in a real God, i.e one who answers prayers and cares about them. Instead of addressing the difficult/impossible task of providing evidence, or at least arguments, for such a God, he pulls stunts like this. No wonder he doesn't allow comments.

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    1. You are mistaken about his not allowing comments. He is actually very generous in allowing and responding to comments, whether on his blog, his Facebook page, or here at Sandwalk.

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    2. I stand corrected about comments. I would still like to know what arguments he provides for the God he obviously believes in, and why we don't hear about them rather than these facile stunts.

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    3. What arguments are to be provided? The Bible is pretty clear on the evidence for God, I know it's not evidence you're willing to accept being that faith is required. I find it strange that atheists who are familiar with the Bible ask for evidence, even more peculiar are the theists who try to provide it. I think if that evidence were to be provided it would make God's word false, in the bible at least. I suppose I'm assuming i know what evidence you require, maybe I'm wrong.

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    4. The only thing more prevalent than atheists demanding evidence for god is theists asserting they have it. I have billboards all over my town declaring there is evidence for god.

      I am constantly being reminded of how evil I am. I cannot even be trusted when I say I just don't know, but am pretty sure there is no old man in the sky dispensing rule books.

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    5. Here is your argument for the existence of God, Beau, paraphrased:

      The Bible says God will not provide any evidence for his existence.

      There is no evidence for the existence of God.

      Therefore, the the Bible is proven correct, and God exists.


      LOL! Do you really expect anyone to buy such a patently ridiculous "argument"?

      (BTW, do you notice that it contradicts itself?)

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    6. Hey Beau,

      Speaking for myself, my preference would be that you keep your "evidence" and the rest of your odious belief system to yourself.

      Feel free to enjoy your religious snuff porn in private and have the good manners and common decency to keep it that way.

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    7. Lutesuite, no i don't expect that to convert you, it is what it is though. I could post a bunch of bible verses to support the position but i don't think you're interested in that.

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    8. Lutesuite, i notice it contradicts itself when you paraphrase and rearrange it. There's no proof of God in my statement, there's a possibility to falsify what many of us consider to be the word of God. I'm not sure many would agree with me, just my opinion. Good day sir.

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    9. I find it strange that atheists who are familiar with the Bible ask for evidence, even more peculiar are the theists who try to provide it. I think if that evidence were to be provided it would make God's word false, in the bible at least.

      Beau, I suppose I'm just not thinking fast enough, but this last sentence puzzles me. Are you saying that one comes to God through faith rather than evidence (and that's the way it should be), or something else?

      A couple of notes about this:

      - I don't intend to argue with you about your response, I'm asking because I'm curious what you meant.

      - I was raised Jewish. The Jewish and Christian attitudes toward the issue of faith were summarized IMO quite neatly by a rabbi speaking to me and a Christian girlfriend once (oversimplified as all such brief summaries are, but still I thought nicely done): Jews think one will come to faith through good deeds; Christians think one will come to good deeds through faith.

      I myself eventually came to think that good deeds would happen if I did them and wouldn't if I didn't, independent of the existence or non-existence of deities. So I figured I'd just do good as far as I was able and let other folks talk to deities if they wished.

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    10. I do not recognize myself at all in the comment about my supposedly not allowing comments, not even in its statement about my alleged religious proselytization. Is there any chance that I am being mistaken for someone else?

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    11. Judmarc, Yes i believe one comes to know God through faith and seeking Him in one's heart. The evidence, for me at least, came after seeking Him. I think the evidence is unique to each believer and is revealed as the relationship grows.

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    12. By "seeking god in your heart" you can eventually delude yourself into believing in anything. This phrase you've learned about how to "find god" is actually just a recipe for taking the steps necessary for self-deception.

      By "seeking UFO's in your heart" you'll end up believing in those too. It's all the same nonsense people who believe they're clairvoyants, or crystal-healers, or tarot-card readers etc. tell you, that if you're "skeptical" it won't work. You have to "believe in your heart" and then, viola! - you'll find it/activate your magical powers.

      Self-deception all of it. What you're effectively just saying is that you should start believing it long before your find it, and eventually your subconscious will produce it for you.

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    13. I'll just leave it at this, either i was subjected to a miraculous amount of coincidence in my life or God revealed Himself to me. It's futile to describe the experiences because you'd ask for proof of that which i can't provide. I know hundreds of believers with the same experience. I can't say whether or not you've given God an honest try so i can't speak for your experience nor can you speak for mine. At the end of the day I'm happy and that's all that matters right?

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    14. Forgot to include when i was seeking Good i didn't want to believe in him. I didn't want to have anyone to answer to for my behavior.

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    15. Thanks for the clarification, Beau. I think it may help me understand future questions you raise and how best to communicate to you in return any responses I might have.

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    16. Thank you jumarc for being civil and kind in your response. All of you who comment on this blog are very intelligent and could teach us that are less scientifically inclined. Sometimes the tone of the responses makes that difficult so i truly appreciate yours.

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    17. "I'll just leave it at this, either i was subjected to a miraculous amount of coincidence in my life or God revealed Himself to me."

      That's what everybody who self-decieves say.

      "It's futile to describe the experiences because you'd ask for proof of that which i can't provide."

      No, I wouldn't ask for proof. I'd ask how you yourself would distinguish self-deception from fact. Are you even aware of how you would do that?

      "I know hundreds of believers with the same experience."
      Did they also follow the recipe?

      "I can't say whether or not you've given God an honest try so i can't speak for your experience"

      If by honest try you mean "followed the recipe for self-deception" repeatedly throughout my life, or at a young and easily manipulated age, then no I haven't.

      But I did believe in god until sometime in my early 20's because I was raised as a liberal christian. But I've never been keen on the whole belief before facts thing. Call it a failing of mine if it makes you feel better.

      " At the end of the day I'm happy and that's all that matters right?"

      I actually don't believe you're at all happy. In fact I suspect that's part of the reason you come to this blog in the first place, because somehow you feel that the mere existence of atheists is a threat to your belief and your happiness.

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    18. How do the people who think they "experience a relationship with god" (whatever this means, do you people hear voices?) distinguish genuine contact with god, from their subconscious playing tricks on them?

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    19. Atheists threaten my existence? They threaten my belief? I actually spit up my food laughing just now. The atheist strikes fear into my existence the same way the sight of a an overweight women makes me fear she may have consumed the world's food supply. It doesn't happen. If i were afraid or sheltering my beliefs why would i come to a blog that poses logical arguments against it?

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    20. Excuse me my mistake. An atheist threatens my happiness the same as when i see a baby laugh, sleepless nights wondering if that lil guy used up all the world's good ting times and laughter. Atheism doesn't move me like that, it's interesting to observe and talk about that's about it.

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    21. Yes yes bla bla. You're here to expose yourself to other points of view. lol

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    22. ... except you don't care, as long as you're happy that's all that matters. Cool, I guess my work here is done. Godbelief is not about facts or truth, it's on telling pleasurable stories to yourself. Have fun with that Beau.

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    23. Re James McGrath

      Maybe they are confusing you with Alister McGrath.

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    24. Hey Beau,

      In the future you may want to keep your mouth closed while chewing your food.

      And in fact that is useful advice for a variety of situations.

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    25. Sometimes the tone of the responses makes that difficult so i truly appreciate yours.

      It helps that my best friend growing up was and so far as I know is a believing Christian, and one of the only practicing Christians I know of. (The latter refers to the fact that he really does treat others as he would wish to be treated. I spent nearly every day with him for six years growing up and literally never heard him say an unkind word about anyone else, nor act toward anyone else with anything but kindness. These days he is an astrophysicist with a long list of published articles in top journals, has run experiments on the Hubble, etc. He spends much of his spare time building housing for people who would otherwise be homeless.

      As for my being civil, you should watch out - I'm quite serious. It is easy to hold to a belief system when it is being aggressively challenged; defense is the natural reaction. When someone civil and friendly and intent on doing good in the world says he doesn't personally feel a belief in God is necessary for that - in fact in most cases it appears to be a hindrance due to natural human tribalism - and in terms of feelings of the glory of creation and immanence, science is all you could ever want and more (science says you are made of exploding stars); then despite the fact that I have no wish whatever to "convert" you or change your mind, you may find yourself thinking "Hmm, this fellow is sounding rather reasonable." And that, it seems to me, might present some dangers in terms of your world view, since you seem to have a natural curiosity.

      But of course you're an adult and this is fully up to you.

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  7. Like the comment I left on that McGrath's on Facebook, "I really don't care about what definition is used. For anything other than pithy, mundane and banal definitions like "god is love", no claim of divine existence (an objective claim) has the required objective empirical evidence to support it. Not one. How's that for a sweeping statement?"

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  8. I find posts like McGrath's informative. For instance, I didn't know until reading his that some people think "flippant" is a synonym for "foolish" or "stupid".

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  9. @James McGrath

    My real name if Faizal Ali.

    Have you blocked me from your Facebook page?

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    1. I unfriended you since your comments there struck me as trolling, since you (1) seemed to be claiming that I was advocating particular religious views, whereas the only point I made was that atheists (and anyone) who wants to address the views of others ought to do so accurately and with the needed specificity; and (2) you seemed to suggest repeatedly that not only I but others were saying things that we never said. I found that very unsettling, which is why, having accepted your friend request, I decided that friendship was unlikely to be possible. If there was some misunderstanding, I'd be happy to see it rectified. But you should still be able to comment, as people with whom I am not Facebook friends can comment on my Facebook posts.

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    2. OK, for some reason I was not able to access the page, but now I am again.

      I think you're engaging in a bit of projection there, though. You are the one saying that, when atheists reject pantheism, they reject the existence of reality itself. I don't see how you have justified that claim at all.

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    3. When and where did I say that? What I said (clarifying the same point to you yet again) is that, if one makes a sweeping statement that "no god of any sort exists" then one's statement can easily be dismissed. The point is to speak with precision if one hasn't been, not a point about atheists in general.

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    4. So you are still saying the claim that "no god of any sort exists" can be dismissed on the basis that cats (which are not gods) exist?

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    5. I am saying that, if one expresses oneself in that way, then one is open to the objection that the cosmos or all that exists is something real, and something that is regarded as divine by pantheists, and thus one's statement "no god of any sort exists" is demonstrably false. If you had said "I am not persuaded that anything that exists, or existence in its entirety, is appropriately spoken of as divine," then you might or might not be correct, but you would at least be taking pantheism into account in your statement.

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    6. Wrong. If pantheists consider all of reality to be "divine", then all of reality is a god according to their belief, and that would still be covered under atheism.

      If someone wants to call their belly button lint "divine" even though he knows that it is nothing but plain, old belly button lint with no special powers or attributes, it is not the fault of atheists for failing to consider the existence of this "god". The lack of precision lies in this person's misuse of the term "divine."

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    7. This has a close parallel in the realm of Jesus mythicism. Saying that Jesus was not God is not the same thing as saying that the historical figure about whom such claims were later made never existed.

      Why is this distinction so hard for you to grasp, never mind accept? One can be an atheist and reject both the existence of theistic gods, and the divinity of any existing thing. Why think it is better to be unclear on these points rather than clear?

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    8. Kindly cite where I have not grasped nor accepted that distinction. It's very rich for you to complain about being misrepresented, then turn around and do just that to others.

      You still haven't explained what "divinity" means in your usage. If it's distinct from god, then it really has nothing to do with atheism, does it?

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    9. I am not discussing "my" usage. I am discussing the range of usages of these terms in the English language, as represented by a variety of religious traditions. I've said that before and am saying it again. I really don't think it should be necessary to repeat myself this many times.

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    10. I'll just repeat the message I just posted on Facebook:

      Suppose you go to a seafood restaurant and order the sole. But instead of bringing you fish, they bring you the bottom part of someone's shoe. Well, that is a "sole", right? It's your fault for not being specific enough with your language. Or, do you think it would be reasonable for the restaurant to have understood what sort of "sole" you meant, from the context in which you used the word?

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    11. If you are having a conversation with a person who uses the word "God" in a particular way, then obviously if you are discussing their view of God, that is the kind of focused discussion I was advocating. What I addressed in the post are statements outside of the context of a seafood restaurant or shoe repair store which fail to recognize the possibility that their statement might be confusing or unpersuasive without that narrower context.

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    12. Problem is, when you are discussing atheists and their views on god, you are in such a focused discussion. A belief that holds some vague notion that "god" is the physical universe and our sense of wonder at it, or whatever nonsense you are including under the rubric "pantheism", is not a subject of the discussion.

      When Larry speaks of "gods", are you sincerely confused as to whether he might include the physical universe in that category?

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    13. I have had that very conversation with Larry. He criticized what he thought I believe. I explained to him that I do not believe in the supernatural. He comtinued to press to offer arguments for supernatural beings that I do not believe exist. It is precisely such conversations that have persuaded me of the need for clarity and precision that was the point of my post.

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    14. That response does not seem to have anything to do with what I asked. I repeat: When Larry speaks of "gods", are you sincerely confused as to whether he might include the physical universe in that category?

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    15. James McGrath says,

      I explained to him that I do not believe in the supernatural. He continued to press to offer arguments for supernatural beings that I do not believe exist.

      Good. I think that "gods" are equivalent to supernatural beings—at least to a good approximation. I think that if you are a theist then you believe in at least one god or one supernatural being.

      Thus, you are not a theist by any reasonable definition. You are an atheist. Welcome to the club.

      It is precisely such conversations that have persuaded me of the need for clarity and precision that was the point of my post.

      I'm glad you're attempting to be precise. This means that you won't make the silly mistake of saying that all atheists deny the existence of any gods. Instead, because you are being precise you will acknowledge that the atheists you are dealing with define atheism as the lack of belief in any gods.

      You are one of those atheists.

      Glad we cleared that up.

      Delete
    16. Jame McGrath says,

      One can be an atheist and reject both the existence of theistic gods, and the divinity of any existing thing. Why think it is better to be unclear on these points rather than clear?

      Do you honestly think you are being clear by bringing up the "divinity of any existing thing"? What the heck does that mean?

      It looks to me like you're deliberately obfuscating in order to avoid serious discussion about the lack of evidence for gods.

      Rather than deal with the conflict between belief in gods and atheism you prefer to quibble about the "precise" meaning of "god" and "atheism" in order to deflect any criticism of your personal worldview.

      They must teach this in religion classes since it seems to be a common tactic.

      Delete
    17. I teach students to open their worldviews to criticism as much as possible. And being clear about what they think, and about what others think, and about why they disagree with whomever they disagree with, are important parts of that process.

      Delete
    18. Good. Then maybe you could explain, in clear language, exactly what you mean by "divinity", since you've already been asked that more than once and have yet to respond.

      When your students ask you questions, are you as evasive about answering them as you are here?

      Delete
    19. It is precisely such conversations that have persuaded me of the need for clarity and precision....

      You're not doing a very good job. Why don't you just say what you think instead of blathering on vaguely about a pantheism in which none of us, including you, believe?

      Delete
    20. The academic study of religion at a secular university is about learning what diverse peoples and groups around the world and throughout history have believed and continue to believe.

      Delete
    21. James McGrath says,

      And being clear about what they think, and about what others think, and about why they disagree with whomever they disagree with, are important parts of that process.

      Excellent! So why do you disagree with people like me who don't believe in any gods or supernatural beings?

      Remember to be clear.

      Delete
    22. What gave you the impression that I disagree with you about that particular point?

      Delete
    23. Mr. McGrath, that is some expert trolling right there. 8/10

      Delete
    24. The irony of McGrath lecturing others on the importance of clarity and precision in their discussions is almost too rich.

      Delete
    25. @James McGrath

      When someone writes a blog post titled "Atheism Disproved" where they use a ridiculous definition of atheism to mock atheists, it's easy to assume that they disagree with atheism.

      Or is that your peculiar way of being clear about what you really think?

      Delete
    26. My take (which is admittedly speculative as James McGrath seems ill disposed to actually making his views expilcit):

      I think the real issue here, from McGrath's viewpoint, is that he is butthurt over the fact that the pantheism he proposes as a workable compromise between atheism and theism is not taken seriously by either side. So he's just stomping his feet a bit about that.

      An(other) analogy: It's as if, in the "debate" over the existence of unicorns, there was one small faction who took the position that unicorns do exist, but these unicorns have no horns on their forehead and are commonly called "horses." James McGrath, then, would be a representative of this faction who insists that, henceforth, anyone who makes the claim "Unicorns do not exist" must instead qualify this by saying, "Unicorns do not exist, except in the form of hornless unicorns referred to as 'horses'."

      I suspect such a demand would simply be ignored, and rightly so.

      Delete
    27. Larry, I think the fact that you interpreted the post the way you did, even though I have explicitly told you before in conversations on your blog and on Facebook that I do not believe in the existence of supernatural beings, shows the real possibility for communication to break down even when one tries very hard to be clear.

      We see the same thing in lutesuite's insistance that I must be making an argument for some views that I have explicitly told him both here and on Facebook that I do not hold, although in his case the communication about these matters has been repeated so many times just within the past few days that I am at a loss to know why he refuses to accept what I say and insists instead that I am saying something else.

      Delete
    28. Maybe you just express your ideas so poorly that people are unable to discern what they actually are. Consider the possibility at least.

      More specifically, it could be you prone to the very problem you warn against in the post under discussion: That you use words the have multiple meanings in an imprecise and unclear manner, or you ascribe meanings to them that differ from the general, consensus usage.

      Delete
    29. It'd also help if you actually responded to direct questions put to you, rather than obfuscating and going off on tangents.

      HTH.

      Delete
    30. I have done nothing but that. I can only assume that you read a single blog post on its own, and made some false assumptions which you could have avoided by reading more from the blog, or by actually asking questions and listening to the answers.

      Delete
    31. So what do you mean by "divinity"? If you have already answered it in these comments, please show where you did so, because I missed it.

      Delete
    32. If you are asking about my own personal views, then "divinity" is not a term that it would make much sense to use in articulating them. But simce my blog post was not about my views, I assume you are asking what the term means from the perspective of religious studies? It tends to be used to demote attributes unique to God or gods. In most systems of thought that would include immortality, whereas in classical theism it includes things like omnipotence, which could not be part of the definition in a polytheistic systm, for obvious reasons.

      Delete
    33. Oh. So in what sense can all of reality be said to be "divine"?

      Delete
    34. BTW, where else did you write that answer here? I still can't seem to find it.

      Delete
    35. The use of the term will depend on the system of thought you are referring to. In classical theism, all of reality is not normally thought of as divine, although Sufi mystics do interpret the shahada to mean that nothing but God exists. A pantheistic naturalist, if they used the term, would probably mean it metaphorically, as a way of talking about the sacredness of all things.

      Delete
    36. Oh. So when an atheist says he does not believe any gods exist, how is that position refuted when a pantheist uses the term "divine," in reference to all of reality, only as a metaphor?

      Delete
    37. Also, are you going to answer my other question? Where else in this discussion have you explained your understanding of the term "divinity"?

      Delete
    38. I'm not sure what you are asking for that goes beyond what I've already written.

      Delete
    39. I'm not sure what you are asking for that goes beyond what I've already written.

      To which question are you responding now?

      Delete
    40. «So when an atheist says he does not believe any gods exist, how is that position refuted when a pantheist uses the term "divine," in reference to all of reality, only as a metaphor?»
      The same way it that the position that states one doesn't believe in unicorns is refuted by me using "magical unicorn" as metaphor while describing my friend's white horse.
      Hint: it isn't.

      Delete
    41. The same way that there's still no unicorn (magical horse with a horn in its forehead, and who's blood is silver according to some), there's still no immaterial intelligent, emotional being who has power over mankind or any other kind of supernatural "higher power".

      Delete
    42. James McGrath would have us believe that, if a small group of people decide to use the term "unicorn" to describe plain old horses with no horns on their foreheads and regular blood in their veins, then everyone else is now unable to say they do not believe in the existence of unicorns without first specifying that they mean only the magical horned unicorns with silver in their veins. 'Cuz that's how language works. Apparently.

      Delete
    43. No, I referred very clearly to longstanding and well-established word usage, not that that should matter, since word usage does indeed change over time.

      What do you think you accomplish by misrepresenting what I said?

      Delete
    44. So is it your understanding that, when most people use the word "gods", they are including all that exists in that category? It does not matter how "longstanding and well-established" a particular anomalous use of a term is. It remains anomalous, and the onus is not on those who use it in the standard manner to clarify they are not using it anomalously.

      Delete
    45. lutesuiteWednesday, January 27, 2016 2:18:00 PM
      It seems so...

      Delete
  10. I am saying that, if one expresses oneself in that way, then one is open to the objection that the cosmos or all that exists is something real, and something that is regarded as divine by pantheists, and thus one's statement "no god of any sort exists" is demonstrably false.

    I think it is you who is being imprecise. I can certainly say I think no god of any sort exists, and the fact that someone else thinks "That chair is God" (an actual quote from a high school health class film on the evils of marijuana) doesn't negate my thinking. In other words, someone saying they think a chair is God does not disprove the proposition that no gods exist.

    If I'd said "I think no one believes in any sort of God," or "no entity exists that some addle-pated fool regards as a divinity," *those* statements would be negated by our poor stoned friend.

    ReplyDelete
  11. From the post-
    “If you believe in one of them, then tell me what you believe and why, ... then I'll let you know whether I believe in your god.”

    God is ‘what started the universe’. I believe that because it seems everyone who has told me about god tells me that.
    Also when I’m asked “Do you believe in god?” I can answer “Something started this universe,” and often this makes it possible to change the subject without further discussion, so I think it is a broadly acceptable description.

    I believe this god exists because the universe exists and had a beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Free logic lesson, Jack Jackson:

      From the premise "God, by definition, started the universe", it does not follow that "Anything that started the universe must be God."

      HTH

      Delete
    2. We also don't know that the universe had a beginning.

      Delete
    3. Jack Jackson said: "I believe this god exists..."

      Which "god"?

      Delete
    4. For some lame reason many god/God believers think that "god" or "God" is all they need to say and everyone will understand who or what they're referring to, even though thousands or millions of so-called gods/Gods and associated stories have been invented by people. The associated stories that allegedly support the existence and actions of so-called gods/Gods have been and are variously interpreted and modified by so-called 'religious leaders' and each believer has had and has their own 'image' of what their chosen (or newly invented) god/God is like, including what it/they/he/she did, didn't, does, or doesn't do, etc.

      Many god/God believers ask for or demand lots and lots and lots of intricately detailed explanations and rock solid evidence for the origin of the universe, the origin of life, evolution, anthropogenic climate change, radiometric dating, etc., from scientists but many of those god/God believers don't and won't provide any explanations and evidence for their religious beliefs and claims, or even a name of the so-called "god" or "God" they believe in.

      Hey god/God believers, there's nothing wrong with asking scientists for explanations and evidence (unless you're just being a troll) but when you think or assert that your religious beliefs are the correct alternative to an aspect of science that you think is wrong you should provide just as detailed explanations and just as solid evidence, or more, for your religious alternative.

      Delete
    5. That's the point McGrath seems to be trying to make. Except, for some reason, he is chastising those who try to point out that error (i.e. atheists), rather than those who actually make the error.

      A concept of "god" that is so nebulously defined that it can encompass the entire naturalistic universe is indefensible.

      Delete
    6. Well, the idea that atheists are the ones who get to define what "God" is and is not allowed to mean to people who use it to express their religious or spirituals is equally indefensible, but here you are defending it nonetheless.

      But as you must have understood by now even if you did not initially, my point was not that this view of God is persuasive, but that it exists, and that someone who is arguing against every concept of God cannot ignore it and consider their mission accomplished after having engaged only a subset of religious thinking.

      Delete
    7. Well, would you look at that. James McGrath misrepresenting what I wrote. For a change.

      I did not say atheists get to define "god". I am saying the term should be used in a manner that is clear and precise, not nebulously or anomalously. Exactly the point you claim to be trying to make.

      The pantheist definition of "god", as you present it here, is not just unpersuasive. It's incoherent, and therefore an atheist in not obliged to mention this every single time he discusses claims regarding god's existence.

      Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't pantheism often considered a form of atheism? I mean, you're the religious scholar, so you should know.

      Delete
    8. There are certainly some who consider pantheism to be a form of atheism.

      It wasn't clear that you were acknowledging pantheism's definition in the way I advocated should be done, as opposed to saying what the term is or is not allowed to mean, in the way you previously had.

      Delete
    9. Something started this universe,” and often this makes it possible to change the subject without further discussion....

      There is a lot in that one sentence. But it is fine as far as it goes. Some people might be so incurious that they are satisfied with the idea that a one word answer justifies changing the subject. So be it.

      But there is more to it because this inclination actually also typifies the most vocal religionist. This is because the religious person is not actually interested in the origin of the universe or even the origin of life and humans. What they require is the conviction that something is in ultimate control, and that there is a plan, and that this plan most importantly includes the fact that their lives are not random and that death is not the end.

      All of the rest of the preposterous and contradictory and evidence-free details of religous faith, and the anti-science convictions that usually attend it, help distract from the possibility that the truth of existence is an existential abyss altogether too frightening to acknowledge. Curiosity kills the cat and incuriosity means safety.

      Delete
    10. While saying that people should be precise in their arguments, you were imprecise. Now you say that atheists don't get to define what God is, and lo and behold, you presume to define what "atheists" are:

      someone who is arguing against every concept of God

      No, just no. Are you seriously contending that everyone who doesn't believe in a deity is making a universal claim against the existence of anything, since some damn fool can decide to call whatever it is God? Cats, the universe, ad infinitum, ad nauseam?

      It seems that is indeed what you're contending, and if so, it's a little logical/semantic game that may interest perhaps two people in the world, of whom you are one and we are not. Larry has pointed out the absurdity of your argument, and in doing so I'm afraid has provided it far more publicity than it deserves.

      Delete
    11. There are certainly some who consider pantheism to be a form of atheism.

      Yeah. Including minor figures like Schopenhauer:

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pantheism/#DivCos

      And you don't seen the problem this presents for your argument? If pantheism could be atheism, then it's a bit weird of you to accuse atheists of disregarding pantheism as a form of theism.

      Delete
    12. You seem to still be missing the point. There are different kinds of pantheism. Hindu pantheism may be much harder to simply rename "atheism" than Spinoza's. But even in the latter kimd of case, the fact that someone - Richard Dawkins is also among them - says that pantheism is simply atheism, does not mean that all pantheists even of this sort agree.

      Delete
    13. I'm missing the point? That's a good one.

      Yes, there are different views of pantheism. Including the view that it is a form of atheism. Arguably, that is the most correct view on the subject.

      So, in the midst of the present discussion in which you have been admonishing atheists for using the term "god" in a manner that is inaccurate and overly restrictive, kindly indicate where you have previously acknowledged that pantheism may, in fact, be nothing more than a form of atheism.

      Oh, I guess you haven't. Well, isn't that interesting.

      Delete
    14. Anyway, we risk losing the forest for the trees, which of course is what "sophisticated theologians" love to do.

      Here, in a nutshell, is your argument, in your own words (expressed as a rhetorical question):

      Do you understand "atheism" to mean, not the denial that anything that might be called a god exists, but that anything deserves to be considered "divine"?

      But just what does the term "divine" mean? After much prodding, we were finally able to get this definition from you:

      (Divinity) tends to be used to denote attributes unique to God or gods.

      So putting the two together, your position can be summarized as:

      Atheism means, not the denial that anything that might be called a god exists, but that anything deserves to be considered to possess attributes unique to God or gods.

      Do you not see how insipid and meaningless that distinction is? It's the equivalent of saying:

      The lack of belief in three-headed humans means, not the denial that anything that might be called a three-headed human exists, but that anything deserves to be considered to possess attributes unique to three-headed humans.

      I hope that helps you understand why your argument is not being treated with the respect you think it deserves.

      Delete
  12. Also, god should be immaterial (not made of matter or energy, that is something non-physical), by the words of many, intelligent, emotional and has power over mankind.

    ReplyDelete
  13. lutesuite- SRM
    To be more precise-
    What started the universe is god and god is what started the universe.

    I’m waiting for your disproof of the big bang cosmology.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What started the universe is god and god is what started the universe."

      Which god? You seem to demand a second by second replay of the big bang. I would like to know exactly which god did it? And why only this god?

      Delete
    2. Still not getting this "logic" thing, are you, Jack Jackson? Find a good book on the subject and look up "circular reasoning."

      Why would I have to disprove big bang cosmology? Are you under the misimpression that this demonstrates that the universe had a "beginning"?

      Delete
    3. Here are links to a couple of the times I've discussed the topic previously:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/03/why-be-an-atheist-rather-than-a-pantheist.html

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2015/02/is-this-atheism.html

      Delete
    4. Oh, good for you. You've discussed it before somewhere.

      Are you under the impression that no atheists have ever addressed the topic of pantheism before? Obviously not, those two blog posts explicitly refer to it.

      So what is your point? That atheists, whenever they discuss the existence of gods, must make explicit reference to pantheism as one model of god which they reject? But every time you mention pantheism, you are not obliged to explain why you do not consider it a form of atheism?

      Why the double standard?

      Delete
    5. For those who can't be bothered to follow the links to James McGrath's blog, here's the COMPLETE blog post for the first link.

      I keep coming back to this question. Richard Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion, says that pantheism is just “sexed-up atheism” (p.40).

      I have never been able to grasp why someone who believes this would choose atheism over pantheism.

      Seriously, if you had a choice between anything, and that same thing sexed-up, which would you choose?

      I would like to hear from those who identify with one of these categories or the other on why you self-identify as one rather than the other.


      Hope that clears things up.

      Delete
    6. Yes, I was going to comment on that.

      McGrath seems to have missed the connotations of the term "sexed up", which was used by the British government in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq by Tony Blair and Geo. Bush. It referred to the idea that intelligence reports should be misrepresented so as to exaggerate the risk posed by Saddam Hussein, in order to enlist public support for the invasion.

      I suppose that Dawkins fault, and not McGrath's for failing to inform himself of the context of the term.

      Delete
    7. The second link is to a post that clearly shows what James McGrath means when he talks about being clear and being precise about definitions.

      Mystics in the Islamic tradition were accused of pantheism, which Richard Dawkins famously declared to be nothing more than “sexed-up atheism.” Hume depicts the mystical theist Philo as being accused of atheism in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

      It is interesting that, when thinkers increase the degree to which God is thought of as truly ultimate, transcendent, and infinite, and less anthropomorphically, this is viewed not as a more majestic view of God, but as “atheism.”

      Delete
    8. lutesuite-
      tautology- a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form.

      My belief is that god is what started the universe and what started the universe is god.
      That’s the only statement about this god that is for sure true. It is tautological by necessity in that it can’t be otherwise stated.

      If the universe has no beginning, then the god I’m talking about does not exist.

      That’s the god I believe in and I don’t think it is odd. What people do is make a mistake when they imagine that because god started the universe god can hear them think, or heal a cancer or part a sea.
      It is possible the only act god can do is start a universe. It’s possible god ended when the universe started.

      I think the ‘big bang’ is generally seen as the beginning of this universe.
      What are you talking about?

      Delete
    9. tautology- a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form.

      My belief is that god is what started the universe and what started the universe is god


      Well, good for you.

      I might believe that I shit gold bricks and, therefore, gold bricks are what I shit. That may be a tautology, but can you think of any reason that someone should take that belief seriously?

      I think the ‘big bang’ is generally seen as the beginning of this universe.

      Maybe "this universe", but not the universe. I guess it could be, but that is far from the only possibility, and not necessarily the most likely one.

      http://edge.org/response-detail/25538

      Delete
    10. I think the ‘big bang’ is generally seen as the beginning of this universe.

      The beginning or really darn close to it, yes.

      But I missed the "God was here" signature amongst the cosmic microwave background radiation, I must say.

      Delete
    11. lutesuite-
      Some say all definitions are tautologies.
      Actually I think many people, maybe even billions, have taken the notion that god started the universe and what started the universe is god seriously. My experience is purely anecdotal, but it does seem there is broad agreement on that point about god.
      That’s how I arrived at the definition I’m using.

      judmarc
      maybe you have confused god with donald trump.

      Delete
    12. Some say all definitions are tautologies.

      Those people are obviously not very bright.

      Actually I think many people, maybe even billions, have taken the notion that god started the universe and what started the universe is god seriously.

      So? Is that the only reason you can provide for believing that, and not believing that I can shit gold bricks? That other people believe in God? That's a very poor reason.

      Delete
    13. lutesuite-
      Please give an example of a definition that is not a tautology.
      I use the word ‘god’ the way I do because I think it is the common denominator of how people use it.
      Since I think this universe had a beginning, then whatever started it is god by definition. There really isn’t any belief involved beyond the belief that this universe had a beginning.
      What is your disbelief? Do you question this universe had a beginning?
      Do you question that what started this universe is called ‘god’?
      Are you thinking I’m making some other claim?

      Delete
    14. please give an example of a definition that is not a tautology.

      All of them. When you look up a definition of say, the word "Cat" in the dictionary, what does it say? Not just "cat." That would be stupid.

      Can you give an example of someone actually saying that all definitions are tautological? Preferably not someone stupid.

      Since I think this universe had a beginning, then whatever started it is god by definition.

      Wrong. The definition of "god" is not "everything that could have started the universe". Look it up if you don't believe me.

      Here's the mistake you are making. A cat is an animal that drinks milk. Now, if you are told that there is an animal that has drunk some milk, does that animal have to be a cat? Think carefully and let me know your answer.

      What is your disbelief? Do you question this universe had a beginning?

      I don't know, and neither does anyone else. Except you, apparently. So that makes you the world's greatest cosmologist. So why haven't I heard of you before? Why don't you cite the article in which you revealed this great discovery?

      Delete
    15. lutesuite,
      When I read the ‘God Delusion” by Dawkins, I recognized myself as someone he would call an atheist.
      Surely most the religious people I know would say that about me.
      But I have talked to people of various beliefs about this and from my experience they nearly all would agree that god started this universe. There seems to be quite a bit of disagreement about what has happened since, but the most agreeable statement I’ve ever found about god is that it started this universe.
      So I take that as a definition. And I leave it at that.

      When asked what god I believed in I answered. The challenge was apparently rhetorical.
      Sorry for the confusion.

      All definitions are restatements of the same thing. That is to say they are tautological. I might be saying that definitions are tautological by definition. Yes, I am saying that.

      Delete
    16. OK, well if you enjoy muddled thinking like that, that's your problem. You obviously don't think you need any help with that, so I'll stop trying.

      Delete
    17. In case you are still following this discussion, Jack Jackson, here is an excellent video from Sean Carroll, who knows a thing or two about the Big Bang. In it, he explains why the BB does not mean the universe had a beginning and why, in his opinion, the universe probably didn't:

      Sean Carroll - Did the Universe Begin?

      Delete
    18. lutesuite-
      This seems very off topic, but…

      From physics we can say there is no such thing as ‘empty space’.
      Carroll is positing a ‘supernatural’ entity to begin the universe and calling this supernatural entity ‘empty space’.
      He also tells us general relativity is wrong. Sounds a bit cranky.

      Interesting interview.

      Delete
    19. Right. Sean Carroll is a "crank". We should all, instead, be listening to "Jack Jackson", whoever the fuck he is, when it comes to physics and cosmology.

      I look forward to reading Jack Jackson's explanation of how general relativity applies to the singularity that must have existed if the classical Big Bang represented the actual beginning of the universe.

      I also look forward to his explanation of why empty space, as described by Carroll in that video, could not exist, except as a "supernatural" entity.

      Delete
    20. lutesuite-
      You attack me for things I don’t say. It’s odd.

      As for the beginning of time-
      http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

      Quantum mechanics doesn’t have any ‘empty space’. Carroll points this out in the interview you linked to. Also try-

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_state

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-point_energy

      Empty space does not and apparently can not exist in nature according to our current theories.
      But it is being given power to make the universe. Something that doesn’t exist in nature yet made all nature would be supernatural, I think.

      Delete
    21. How weird. You accuse Carroll of postulating the existence of some sort of "empty space" that does not exist in nature, then cite the very interview to which you are referring as evidence against the claim you accuse him of making. I can't fathom a mind that operates like that.

      The "empty space" to which he refers is the very vacuum state described in your link. You might have been confused by his using a different term, but I would have thought that was obvious from the context.

      So if an actual "empty space" cannot possibly exist, then there's no need for your God to bring anything into existence, is there?

      Delete
  14. I just don't think that to "disprove atheism" you should use a metaphorical use example. Because, as I said it's because you compare something to a mythical being that it's going to start existing. Also, except for that use, at least in modern days (that is things people actually believe and not just as a metaphor), god is an immaterial being - one that thinks, decides do create, etc. It is a supernatural being. And one thing that is made clear by the most prominent atheist is that they are referring to the idea of a supernatural supreme being (who, for many, is the creator). That is atheism.

    ReplyDelete