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This forum is open discussion between atheists and all theists to defend and debate their views on religion or non-religion. Please respect that this is a Christian-owned forum and refrain from gratuitous blasphemy. VERY wide leeway is given in range of expression and allowable behavior as compared to other areas of the forum, and moderation is not overly involved unless necessary. Please keep this in mind. Atheists who wish to interact with theists in a way that does not seek to undermine theistic faith may participate in the World Religions Department. Non-debate question and answers and mild and less confrontational discussions can take place in General Theistics.


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  • Tassman
    replied
    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
    Tassman is a clever devil, isn't he? :imp: :satan: :devil:
    So those who can find no merit in your god-did-it argument are deemed to be of Satan?

    That God as Creator and Sustainer is "an unnecessary complication" . . . ! That is not going to work, as far as I am concerned.
    That’s OK. All you need do is supply substantive evidence of God’s existence. Otherwise adding God into the equation is an unnecessary and unsupported complication"

    I see radically different hypotheses:
    1) God created and sustains the universe.

    How do you know?

    2)The universe is all what we can or will be able to observe.
    The universe is everything that exists.

    3) There is no god as creator and sustainer, but the universe (what we can observe) is not all of what's out there beyond our bodies (no souls).
    Are you referring to ‘Idealism’ whereby the universe supposedly arises from consciousness, rather than the other way around? All the evidence indicates that consciousness is an emergent process of electrochemical actions occurring in the material brain. If other forms of consciousness exist they have yet to manifest themselves.
    Last edited by Tassman; 12-04-2014, 04:57 AM.

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  • Truthseeker
    replied
    Tassman is a clever devil, isn't he? :imp: :satan: :devil:

    That God as Creator and Sustainer is "an unnecessary complication" . . . ! That is not going to work, as far as I am concerned. I see radically different hypotheses:
    1) God created and sustains the universe.
    2)The universe is all what we can or will be able to observe.
    3) There is no god as creator and sustainer, but the universe (what we can observe) is not all of what's out there beyond our bodies (no souls).

    Leave a comment:


  • Tassman
    replied
    Originally posted by seer View Post
    You know Chaos, I'm really getting tired of this double standard. Prove that what goes on in your mind, deductively and empirically, actually corresponds to reality. Even a simple understanding of the works of Descartes will tell you that it can't be done. You rely totally on assumption, on unprovable faith if you will.
    No one can “prove that what goes on in your mind, deductively and empirically, actually corresponds to reality”, but this does not warrant the addition of an unsubstantiated god hypothesis to explain reality. This is merely adding an unnecessary complication which in itself cannot be “proved” either.

    Now back to you - prove that a non-intelligent force could or did created this universe. Or do you take that position by faith?
    There is no reason to think that that the universe arose from a conscious intelligence. If you think it did then prove it. "The idea of a "god" creating the Universe is a mechanistic absurdity clearly derived from the making of machines by men." Fred Hoyle. It's another example of God made in Man’s image!

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  • seer
    replied
    Originally posted by ChaosRain View Post
    And thus we come to the biggest issue with arguing with the religiously convinced. Getting them to prove that God exists without using logical fallacies or relying upon assumption after assumption.
    You know Chaos, I'm really getting tired of this double standard. Prove that what goes on in your mind, deductively and empirically, actually corresponds to reality. Even a simple understanding of the works of Descartes will tell you that it can't be done. You rely totally on assumption, on unprovable faith if you will.

    Now back to you - prove that a non-intelligent force could or did created this universe. Or do you take that position by faith?

    Leave a comment:


  • JohnnyP
    replied
    Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
    So they say that there was nothing special about the fruit itself? It could have been any apple tree, for example, and God just said do not eat from that one random tree? that is not the impression I get from Genesis.

    Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
    There are a lot of ideas, that the fruit had special powers etc., but here's one close to what I said:
    Source: Chabad

    Another angle on the same question: Is it possible to interpret the incident as one of simple obedience: obedience to G-d is good, non-obedience is evil? But then why the whole issue of knowledge? Why is the tree called the knowledge of good-and-evil?
    ...
    In this reading, Eve already had a knowledge of what was good, for she had been eating of the delightful fruits of the Garden of Eden. She had no knowledge of its opposite. She didn't know what could happen in a world of time, where fruit could be unripe or could decay into ugliness. -Source

    © Copyright Original Source


    Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
    I have been trying to find web pages that would say what Jews thought at that time, the best I found was this:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/sin_gene.htm

    Do you have any better?

    I have never heard of that before. Do you have any references?

    Did they believe Satan was cursed to crawl on his belly?

    I offer this:

    Genesis 3:1 presents the serpent simply as an animal. But how to explain his ability to talk? Some interpreters suggested that at first all animals were able to talk. The second century BC book of Jubilees says that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, “the mouth of all the beasts and cattle and birds and whatever walked or moved was stopped from speaking because all of them used to speak with one another with one speech and one language” (3:28). Philo said that, “in olden times…snake could speak with a man’s voice” (On Creation 156). The historian Josephus said, “at that time all living things spoke the same language” (Jewish Antiquities 1:41).
    http://biologos.org/blog/genesis-cre...crafty-serpent
    I've seen some say that, some say that it's just allegory like the way chocolate cake is calling your name, other say that the Serpent is Satan the Angel of Death and Evil Inclination. For example: Numbers 21:6 describes saraph/fiery serpents biting the people, then Numbers 21:7 refers to them using the same term nachash/serpent as Genesis 3:2. And here are some sources alluding to it although they don't explicitly state everything I said:
    Source: Wiki

    Seraphs appear in the 2nd-century BC Book of Enoch[5] where they are designated as drakones (δράκονες "serpents"), and are mentioned, in conjunction with cherubs, as the heavenly creatures standing nearest to the throne of God. -Source

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: Shema Yisrael

    The animals of Eden were neither predatory beasts of the wilderness nor the domesticated animals with which we are familiar; they were awesome beings possessed of beauty and wisdom, which, like Adam and Eve and the first ten generations of humankind, peacefully subsisted on vegetation alone. Their mode of existence was not something to be shunned or pitied, as it is today. Indeed, sea-creatures and fowl were deemed worthy of receiving the first explicit Divine blessing, given on the fifth day of creation (Genesis 1:22). The other animals were created on the sixth day, together with Adam and Eve, and they received a separate affirmation of Divine favor (ibid. 1:25).

    The dignity of animals is borne out by a number of sources. The Talmud states that God conferred with the souls of all animals prior to creation, and they readily agreed to be created as such, even choosing their own physical forms.[1] This teaches us that they were deserving of God's consideration, and that they were given to understand their destiny in positive terms. Another testimony to the worthiness of animals is their connection to angels. Although angels are incorporeal spiritual beings,[2] their forms as envisioned by the prophets were often those of animals. This suggests that in their spiritual source, animals occupy an exalted rung - an inference supported by the fact that the Torah uses animals to symbolize the Twelve Tribes of Israel.[3] -Source

    © Copyright Original Source


    This is kind of an opposite view implying that creatures in Genesis 1 are angels:
    Source: Sacred Texts

    Said Rabbi Jose: "All these beings have six wings, never more nor less, and therefore the words 'After his kind' are applied to winged angelic creatures. In their rapid flight through the world they observe and note the actions of men and report them on high, and thence it is written: 'Even in thought, curse not the King and curse not the rich in thy bed chamber'" (Eccles. x. 20). -Source

    © Copyright Original Source


    Then of course these verses, which I interpret Satan as the Cherub in the Garden and power behind the King of Tyre...
    Source: KJV

    Ezekiel 28:12-15 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

    © Copyright Original Source


    ...same as Satan the Serpent is the power behind the Beast Kingdoms here:
    Source: KJV

    Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    Revelation 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

    © Copyright Original Source


    To summarize, since...

    a. The Tree of Life is apparently in a heavenly realm (Genesis 3:24, Revelation 2:7).

    b. Heavenly serpents are related to cherubim/seraphim (Numbers 21:6), and they have qualities of a lion/beast, ox/cattle, eagle/fowl like the creatures made to be Adam's helpmeets (Genesis 2:20, Ezekiel 1:10, Revelation 4:7).

    c. Satan is described variously as a heavenly serpent, angel, and tempter (Ezekiel 28:14, Revelation 12:9; Genesis 3, Job 1-2, Matthew 4, etc.).

    ...I don't see any reason to interpret that there were literal talking snakes in a heavenly realm.

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  • ChaosRain
    replied
    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    Aha! But as the one asserting the positive proposition “that a deity actually exists in reality”, the burden of proof rests with you.
    And thus we come to the biggest issue with arguing with the religiously convinced. Getting them to prove that God exists without using logical fallacies or relying upon assumption after assumption.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tassman
    replied
    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
    Tassman doesn't understand that people who work on the basis of methodological naturalism should not be expected to come up with decisive evidence for God the creator. He may be right to dismiss whatever evidence or scientific theory there is for God the creator, but he should not forget that there won't be much if at all of those things because methodological naturalism rules them out at the start, anyway.
    Yes scientific methodology rules out “those things” and so does the standard tool of historians, namely historical-critical methodology given that biblical texts cannot be considered as divinely inspired by historians. Thus any truth claims made by a biblical text must be open to possible refutation and this is unacceptable to most believers!

    Ultimately, faith-based belief and subjective spiritual experiences are all that's available to religionists.

    As for the controversy regarding the center of the universe, it seems unlikely the sun would be at the center of mass of the whole universe. Actually, "the center of mass of the whole universe" may be a meaningless concept.
    The sun is at the centre of our solar system NOT “at the centre of mass of the whole universe”. There's no "controversy". And, as I’m sure you are aware, our solar system is just one of billions of such solar systems in our galaxy alone, which in turn is just one of billions of such galaxies in our universe. This is turn is increasingly considered by cosmologists to be just one of an infinite number of universes – if multiverse theory is correct.
    Last edited by Tassman; 12-02-2014, 04:11 AM.

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  • Truthseeker
    replied
    Tassman doesn't understand that people who work on the basis of methodological naturalism should not be expected to come up with decisive evidence for God the creator. He may be right to dismiss whatever evidence or scientific theory there is for God the creator, but he should not forget that there won't be much if at all of those things because methodological naturalism rules them out at the start, anyway.

    As for the controversy regarding the center of the universe, it seems unlikely the sun would be at the center of mass of the whole universe. Actually, "the center of mass of the whole universe" may be a meaningless concept.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tassman
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelp(p) View Post
    The premises are truth is theism is true.
    The premises of a metaphysical argument are assumptions. If they were tested premises they would be science, not metaphysics.

    All I'm saying is that's how the way you argue makes you look.
    I am presenting facts as I see them; I don’t think that warrants being called a “cad”. But if it makes you feel better………….

    No, I don't think history is quite the same as science in that regard. One can hold that the record seems to indicate that Christ rose from the dead and still try to find a natural explanation for that.
    There are numerous stories of people rising from the dead in scripture, e.g. Elijah supposedly raised the son of the Zarephath widow, many saints rose from the grave at the death of Jesus and strolled into Jerusalem. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead and etc. Not to mention the apotheosis of many Roman emperors and Alexander the Great and many others.

    Such beliefs were commonplace and acceptable in the credulous pre-scientific era. But not today! They are considered fanciful and unlikely. Historians are not equipped to assess whether or not they actually occurred, but there's no good reason to think they did.

    Scientists posit things that seem to boggle common sense all the time (punctuated equilibrium, quantum indeterminacy, time dilation, massless particles) but they don't get called miraculous. You can't really do that with a claim of a 6,000 year-old earth.
    In science “things that seem to boggle common sense” are called working hypotheses and they are subject to testing until such time, if ever, they are verified. If they cannot be verified they are dismissed as a failed hypothesis.

    In history one can only give consideration to all the available evidence (and there’s precious little in the Jesus story) and decide which explanation best fits the facts. But a non-natural explanation is always regarded as the least likely. Any possible natural explanations, no matter how unlikely, is preferable.

    I'm not going to further derail this thread into a historical debate. Just pointing out if you said things like this, you wouldn't seem like you were just hand-waving.
    Well you shouldn't have taken for granted that I was “just hand-waving”.

    No, it would only be ad Populum if I was saying that this alone is proof of the truth of theism. I'm just saying that it makes theism more likely by default.
    There is no "proof" of the “truth of theism.” Theism was popularly believed to be true in the pre-scientific era due to the absence of alternative explanations for otherwise inexplicable occurrences. In short, a god-of-the-gaps position. And popular opinion does not make “theism more likely by default”. Scientific methodology has shown popular opinion to be wrong on many occasions e.g. from the demonic explanation of insanity (as held by Jesus) to the movements of the sun, moon and stars around a fixed earth.

    When investigating something, science usually begins by testing the popular explanations. Copernicus had to give reasons for heliocentrism before it could be accepted by others. He couldn't just sit back on his heals and ask the geocentrists to prove him wrong.
    Science is based on observation and tested hypotheses, NOT on popular opinion. Copernicus provided tested scientific evidence supporting heliocentrism and it was up to the geocentrists to try and prove the evidence wrong. They did so by banning his findings. The same applied to Galileo. Why: because they contradicted the theological dogma of the day. Regrettably we see the same trend by religion throughout history - including the denial of the fact of Evolution by many religionists today.

    You're begging the question that without God all this would even be possible.
    It’s not a question to be considered. There is no reason to include a deity in the equation. “God-did-it” is an unsubstantiated hypothesis.
    Last edited by Tassman; 12-01-2014, 03:51 AM.

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  • Kelp(p)
    replied
    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    Nevertheless in all instances the premises remain assumptions and cannot be established as ‘true’ by testing or experimentation. Therefore, no matter how logically valid the argument, you cannot be certain the conclusion is true given that we cannot know the premise is true.
    The premises are truth is theism is true.

    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    “Disingenuous cad”! How dare you sir. Harrumph.
    All I'm saying is that's how the way you argue makes you look.
    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    There are no solid historical arguments for the historicity of the critical, non-natural aspects of the Jesus story, namely the virgin birth, resurrection and miracles. Historical methodology does not allow for non-natural occurrences such as these. In history any possible natural explanation of an unusual occurrence, no matter how unlikely, is considered more probable than attributing it to a miracle.
    No, I don't think history is quite the same as science in that regard. One can hold that the record seems to indicate that Christ rose from the dead and still try to find a natural explanation for that.

    Scientists posit things that seem to boggle common sense all the time (punctuated equilibrium, quantum indeterminacy, time dilation, massless particles) but they don't get called miraculous. You can't really do that with a claim of a 6,000 year-old earth.

    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    Furthermore there is no first-hand reportage of the alleged extraordinary occurrences in the NT – none outside the bible at all and in the NT all the accounts are hearsay, ascribed to anonymous authors and written decades later. The exception is Paul and there is no record he ever met Jesus. He claims his “revelation” came direct from God and "from no man" anyhow. The much vaunted Papias references, as per Bauckham, are all second or third hand accounts too.
    I'm not going to further derail this thread into a historical debate. Just pointing out if you said things like this, you wouldn't seem like you were just hand-waving.

    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    This is just the Argumentum ad Populum Fallacy. The “majority of humanity” also believed for eons that the stars revolved around a stationary earth. They were wrong on this just as they were on many other things popularly thought to be true for millennia.
    No, it would only be ad Populum if I was saying that this alone is proof of the truth of theism. I'm just saying that it makes theism more likely by default. When investigating something, science usually begins by testing the popular explanations. Copernicus had to give reasons for heliocentrism before it could be accepted by others. He couldn't just sit back on his heals and ask the geocentrists to prove him wrong.

    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    And why would you want to when, unlike any previous period of history, there's so much data and emerging knowledge in the many and various areas of scientific endeavour such as physics, cosmology, biology, evolution, neurobiology
    You're begging the question that without God all this would even be possible.

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  • Tassman
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelp(p) View Post
    They are assumed to be true in theoretical discussions, yes. But that doesn't mean there are not good arguments for their truth- namely the Cosmological Arguments,
    Nevertheless in all instances the premises remain assumptions and cannot be established as ‘true’ by testing or experimentation. Therefore, no matter how logically valid the argument, you cannot be certain the conclusion is true given that we cannot know the premise is true.

    the argument from historical evidence such as the Empty Tomb, Holding's Impossible Faith argument, etc. You obviously disagree with these arguments, but not acknowledging their existence makes you look like a disingenuous cad who dismisses things without actually researching them.
    “Disingenuous cad”! How dare you sir. Harrumph.

    There are no solid historical arguments for the historicity of the critical, non-natural aspects of the Jesus story, namely the virgin birth, resurrection and miracles. Historical methodology does not allow for non-natural occurrences such as these. In history any possible natural explanation of an unusual occurrence, no matter how unlikely, is considered more probable than attributing it to a miracle.

    Furthermore there is no first-hand reportage of the alleged extraordinary occurrences in the NT – none outside the bible at all and in the NT all the accounts are hearsay, ascribed to anonymous authors and written decades later. The exception is Paul and there is no record he ever met Jesus. He claims his “revelation” came direct from God and "from no man" anyhow. The much vaunted Papias references, as per Bauckham, are all second or third hand accounts too.

    This is hardly overwhelming evidence.

    No, you and your New Atheist, philosophical naturalist kin are the ones coming in as a minority and historical newcomer trying to cast aspersions on what the majority of humanity has believed, and believed had good reason behind it, for eons.
    This is just the Argumentum ad Populum Fallacy. The “majority of humanity” also believed for eons that the stars revolved around a stationary earth. They were wrong on this just as they were on many other things popularly thought to be true for millennia.

    Reality is not "atheist until proven guilty," that's absurd. You're the one making the proposition that the universe has such properties that it doesn't need a God to exist.
    Atheism is the default position. It is up to you to give reasons for positing a god. And why would you want to when, unlike any previous period of history, there's so much data and emerging knowledge in the many and various areas of scientific endeavour such as physics, cosmology, biology, evolution, neurobiology and all the cognitive sciences that actually do provide real, testable answers and make testable predictions. Religion cannot do this; its been superseded.

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  • Kelp(p)
    replied
    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    I understand that the arguments for the existence of God are based upon “mutually granted propositions”, or axioms. But these axioms are themselves mutually agreed assumptions, which are accepted, or considered self-evidently true. But they cannot be established as ‘true’ by testing or experimentation and therefore, no matter how logically valid the argument, you cannot be certain the conclusion is true. Logically true, yes; actually true, not necessarily.
    They are assumed to be true in theoretical discussions, yes. But that doesn't mean there are not good arguments for their truth- namely the Cosmological Arguments, the argument from historical evidence such as the Empty Tomb, Holding's Impossible Faith argument, etc. You obviously disagree with these arguments, but not acknowledging their existence makes you look like a disingenuous cad who dismisses things without actually researching them.

    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    But as the one asserting the positive proposition “that a deity actually exists in reality”, the burden of proof rests with you.
    No, you and your New Atheist, philosophical naturalist kin are the ones coming in as a minority and historical newcomer trying to cast aspersions on what the majority of humanity has believed, and believed had good reason behind it, for eons. Reality is not "atheist until proven guilty," that's absurd. You're the one making the proposition that the universe has such properties that it doesn't need a God to exist.
    Last edited by Kelp(p); 11-30-2014, 01:20 AM.

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  • Tassman
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelp(p) View Post
    Not conjecture, logical reasoning based on mutually granted propositions like "Spirit is a coherent concept." and "It is possible to have a mind without a body." and "It is possible for the immaterial to effect the material."
    I understand that the arguments for the existence of God are based upon “mutually granted propositions”, or axioms. But these axioms are themselves mutually agreed assumptions, which are accepted, or considered self-evidently true. But they cannot be established as ‘true’ by testing or experimentation and therefore, no matter how logically valid the argument, you cannot be certain the conclusion is true. Logically true, yes; actually true, not necessarily.

    And I think there is. There, we've both hurled a hundred different elephants at one another and we're still back where we started.
    Aha! But as the one asserting the positive proposition “that a deity actually exists in reality”, the burden of proof rests with you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kelp(p)
    replied
    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
    What is the definition of "elephant hurling" and which part of Tassman's post is an instance thereof?
    Elephant hurling is throwing a huge body of work at someone and saying, "Read all this to find out how wrong you are." Tassman's usual mantra that there is no reason to believe in God is basically throwing all of atheist scholarship at me while at the same time hand-waving away the arguments for the existence of God.

    Since turnabout is fair play, I did the same thing back at him and now we're back where we started.

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  • Truthseeker
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelp(p) View Post
    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    When human beings give their deity the same attributes they themselves have, only bigger and better, they are merely making their deity in their own image. There is no substantive reason to believe that such a deity actually exists in reality.
    Elephant hurling and hand-waving of arguments for the existence of God noted and given all the attention it deserves.
    What is the definition of "elephant hurling" and which part of Tassman's post is an instance thereof?

    Leave a comment:

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