Friday, November 12, 2010

Challenge to Atheists: Prove that there is no God.

Author's note: this is a repost. It will ultimately be placed in the right-hand column as a permanent challenge. It contains an addendum not included in the original, intended to help clarify the intent of the challenge.

Over at sandwalk.blogspot.com the familiar challenge is issued once again: produce evidence for God. Apparently irritated both by the argument that other's beliefs should be respected (accommodationism), as well as by someone who promised some sort of tight proof for the existence of God but didn’t come through in the clinch, Laurence Moran, the sandwalk blogger, is demanding that the proof be forthcoming, and has made the challenge to produce it.
” This brings me to my challenge. I challenge all theists and all their accommodationist friends to post their very best 21st century, sophisticated (or not), arguments for the existence of God. They can put them in the comments section of this posting, or on any of the other atheist blogs, or on their own blogs and websites. Just send me the link.

Try and make it concise and to the point. It would be nice if it's less than 100 years old. Keep in mind that there are over 1000 different gods so it would be helpful to explain just which gods the argument applies to.

I don't care where they post the argument, just get on with it. I'm not interested in any other details about theology. Those points only become relevant once you've convinced this atheist that you have a rational argument for the existence of God.”
Theists, it is asserted, have the burden of proof. As I have demonstrated before, burden of proof is a debating term referring to the party making an assertion at the start of a debate. That person makes the case for his point. Then the opposing side has the burden of rebuttal, being required to refute the case being presented using the same standards for acceptance and rejection as are used for the original case; then the rebuttor makes a counter case, the validity of which is, again, subject to the same standards for acceptance and rejection.

What the Atheists at sandwalk demand (I read only half of the comments) is a theodicy that can pass scientific evidentiary standards, or if not a theodicy, then actual material evidence of God. While Moran made the challenge in terms of “proof”, there is no logical proof that would ever pass the Atheist ability to charge it with fallacy. This is because, minimally, the premises will be declared non-valid due to lack of actual evidence, meaning material evidence.

Also ironically rejected are theodicies which are based on scientific hypotheses, because the science can never be finalized (which is a characteristic of science). Yet it is scientific evidence, material in nature and experimental under the rules of empiricism which the band of Atheists resident at sandwalk demand of evidence for God.

Arguments of an experiential nature – experiencing the deity or a spiritual experience – are rejected as “brain farts” in the words of one Atheist. All experiences are explainable in terms of brain states and / or brain chemical imbalances. Correlation is causation it is presumed. Another claims that experiences cannot be trusted because the cause of the experience cannot be correlated with the content of the experience(!)

By labeling all intuitive knowledge as fallacious, chemically imbalanced, brain farts, the Atheists have Poisoned the Well, and have used that tactical fallacy to shut down any argumentation of personal experience as delusional.

So the demand is reductively focused on material evidence of a non-material being, one that would exist necessarily outside space-time and mass-energy, a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine, much less measure using devices that do not apply in any way, being designed to measure material things.

Thus the demand itself is self-contradictory, self-refuting, and Atheists who have any logic in them at all know this. A non-coherent demand, being irrational, does not merit a response, of course, in spite of some theists attempting to respond (with arguments which cannot possibly satisfy the non-coherents making the non-coherent demand). Because the demand is non-coherent, no answer can suffice, so there is the spectacle of theists being chewed up in their attempts to match rational arguments to an irrational question, and Atheists sneering at their failures. Rationally speaking there is no rationality involved.

But more to the point, Atheists must respond with a rebuttal that adheres to the same restrictions, same rules. And that is the Challenge to Atheists:
Prove that there is no God. Place your proof here or wherever you wish to post it. But make certain that your rebuttal follows your own rules: The proof must be coherent and material; after all material is all there is under your Materialist rules.

Nothing less is acceptable. Go ahead. Face the challenge.

Addendum:
Now I will narrow the challenge by giving a basic view of what constitutes the term “God”, thereby hopefully eliminating the Atheist confusion of “many, many gods”:

There are two levels available for Atheists to attempt to refute.

First is the perceived necessity of an originating cause of the universe; for example, the cause of the original quantum field from which Hawking’s (fallacious) “spontaneous creation from nothing” theory derives. In terms of Cause and Effect, such a cause would be expected to be larger, more powerful, totally coherent, able to construct coherent structures (i.e. rational), necessary and sufficient, able to implement causation at a distance (per quantum mechanics). Note that a story such as that of “infinite universes” does not defeat the need for an original cause, it merely moves the cause back a step by using imaginary, unfalsifiable stories of unobserved objects or processes; the logical need for an originating cause persists.

Second is the theist notion of a personal relationship with the deity described in the First level. The occurrence of the relationship is internal to the individual person; is not a scheduled event; is not empirically, experimentally replicable; and most importantly it is not falsifiable using Popper’s criterion for separation of non-empirical from empirical entities. Such an event cannot be experienced by anyone other than the targeted individual, but it can be related in muted terms that are insufficient to describe the event(s) with accuracy and completeness due to their non-material, independent nature.

These two levels are necessary and sufficient to justify theism. Refuting these levels would refute the existence of a deity. However, the only refutation allowed to the materialist (Atheists are materialists) is a material refutation. Arguments without material support for their premises are incapable of containing meaning within the constraints of materialism; this is the Atheist requirement for argument as exemplified by the demand for material evidence to support an argument FOR a deity.

So refuting using anything other than material evidence is meaningless in terms of supplying any rational deniability for the existence of a deity, under the conditions set out by Atheists themselves.

271 comments:

  1. And now the inevitable retreat to agnosticism..

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  2. For some reason I feel a "Prove that there is one." coming.

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  3. What about atheists who aren't strict materialists? Some of them accept the validity of things like probabilistic arguments and Occam's Razor. Those arguments don't produce absolute truths, but they produce provisional truths that can be useful in day-to-day life.

    Atheists like that could argue against the "personal relationship with a deity" claim.

    I don't have the energy to build the whole argument right now, but it would probably contain some combination of the phrases: "Temporal lobe seizures" "Some people lie to get attention or make money." "Symbolic moral stories misinterpreted as literal history." "Radically different descriptions of Gods across different cultures" "At least most such claims are likely to be false." "On the basis of current information, Occam's Razor encourages us to assume that all such claims are false."

    Is that worth developing into complete sentences? It's not an absolute proof, but I think it meets the 'preponderance of the evidence' test.

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  4. Chaos Engineer, Actually not one of those goes beyond an inference which you choose to draw based on no evidence whatsoever. You have no concept of what happened, none. Repeat, no evidence: not a particle, not a quantum collapse, not a scan, not a reading, not an analysis; nothing, zero, nada, zip. Preponderance requires at least a little bit of evidence, not projection. Why do you believe that using mathematics relieves you from being a Philosophical Materialist? Even using mathematics on fictional entities? It is eminently possible to simultaneously be a Philosophical Materialist and to pursue fantasy hypotheticals, even while calculating probabilities.

    If you wish to assert "temporary delusion", for example, you need to provide data for your assertion: evidence. Claiming that there are lots of delusions has no evidentiary value; it is poisoning the well, a logical fallacy. If you wish to claim radical skepticism or logical positivism, then go ahead and do so, and we can discuss that.

    If you wish to assert Occam's Razor, you are asserting a belief in something that is not a law of nature, it is a rule of thumb - about which Einstein said two things:

    First, "a theory should be as simple as necessary and no simpler".

    Second,
    "Parsimony, Mach and Einstein[1]
    Ernst Mach advocated a version of Occam's razor which he called the Principle of Economy, stating that,

    "Scientists must use the simplest means of arriving at their results and exclude everything not perceived by the senses."

    Taken to its logical conclusion this philosophy becomes positivism:

    "the belief that there is no difference between something that exists but is not observable and something that doesn't exist at all."

    Mach influenced Einstein when he argued that space and time are not absolute but he also applied positivism to molecules. Mach and his followers claimed that molecules were metaphysical because they were too small to detect directly. This was despite the success the molecular theory had in explaining chemical reactions and thermodynamics.

    It is ironic that while applying the principle of economy to throw out the concept of the ether and an absolute rest frame, Einstein published almost simultaneously a paper on brownian motion which confirmed the reality of molecules and thus dealt a blow against the use of positivism.

    The moral of this story is that Occam's razor should not be wielded blindly. As Einstein put it in his Autobiographical notes:

    "This is an interesting example of the fact that even scholars of audacious spirit and fine instinct can be obstructed in the interpretation of facts by philosophical prejudices."

    ----------------------------------
    [1] This portion is taken virtually in entirety from Gibbs and Hiroshi; Univ of Calif, Riverside; http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/occam.html

    [emphasis added]

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  5. Chaos Engineer,

    Construct a formal argument using those premises.

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  6. I don't think I'm using mathematics on "fictional entities" or persuing "fantasy hypotheticals". Isn't this is just a special case of the general question, "If somebody tells me something, and I can't immediately confirm it, how much should I trust them?"

    That's a difficult problem, but in today's fast-paced global economy we're faced with it almost constantly, and after a while most of us learn to solve it well enough to get by from day to day. (That's not to say that we don't make huge mistakes every once in a while...but if we aren't willing to take the risk of making mistakes, then we won't be able to do anything at all.)

    So, if some person claims that God has a personal relationship with them, how much should we trust them?

    I don't see any reason we can't take our personal experience and our knowledge of human nature and make an educated guess at an appropriate level of trust...Certainly we'd do that with a person who says, "I was abducted by aliens" or "You don't know me, but if you help me smuggle a vast quantity of money into the country then I'll give you ten percent."

    Or maybe a better analogy would be the kind of insecure high-school student who's continually talking about his relationship with his cute girlfriend, but keeps coming up with more and more elaborate excuses for not introducing her.

    At first glance, that's a perfectly believable claim. Lots of high-school students do have cute girlfriends. But I think at some point we have to start asking: "Why doesn't he spend more time with his girlfriend, and less time bragging to strangers about how she's so much cuter than any girlfriend they'll ever have? And why has he started saying, 'You can't prove she isn't real!'" at the least provocation? At some point I think we need to consider moving the claim from the "plausible" column to the "suspicious" column.

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  7. Chaos Engineer said,
    "Isn't this is just a special case of the general question, "If somebody tells me something, and I can't immediately confirm it, how much should I trust them?"

    Actually you are creating a subjective personal sliding scale of plausibility that you use to satisfy a selective skepticism. The actual general question is "what can I know with unquestionable certainty, without the presence of tactile evidence?" This is an opening for radical skepticism - but only applied prejudicially to one case at a time, rather than universally.

    If such skepticism is applied consistently and universally, then you would have to admit to the inability to know anything for certain, since all sensory input (external existence) is fallible and all non-sensory input (internal experience and abstract cogitation) is fallible. Certainly all witness testimony and historical accounts are fallible, so fallibility of evidence is universal and nothing in the way of evidence can be trusted enough to be valued as certain knowledge.

    Creating a personal sliding scale of plausibility is not a universal solution to the general case, it is a personal proclivity placed into a personal truth-filter application. So the certainty of the validity of any decisions made with such a prejudicial filter is highly questionable, if one intends to support that approach as a general solution.

    Not only is any and all evidence - external, internal, historic, witness, etc. - not certain or infallible, so is any filtered evidence measured on a personal scale of plausibility. There is no certainty anywhere, not even certainty of plausibility.

    You need not accept any evidence, then, just by applying your personal plausibility filter, and declaring a rejection. This is very useful in justifying a preconception by the pretense of falsifying inconvenient evidence, when in actuality a falsification is no more certain than the evidence itself.

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  8. The basics are in the addendum.

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  9. I read it, I still don't see a clear definition, just the moving of goalposts with nothing explicit.

    How can one disprove something that is undefined?

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  10. Refusing the concept doesn't present an argument against it, it is just a refusal: a denial.

    Your issue of moving the goalposts is without substantiation such as from where, to where, and why that invalidates the concept or makes it unarguable.

    Perhaps by "explicit" you mean material?

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  11. No, by explicit I mean:

    Do you mean a first cause that we can have a personal relationship with? Is that specifically what you mean by "god," or are you talking about the material being as described dozens of times in the Judeo-Christian religious texts?

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  12. ...the material being as described dozens of times in the Judeo-Christian religious texts?

    I have stripped the issue down to the bare necessary and sufficient core essentials. Since you are coyly not referring to specific texts, I am not able to answer your question. However, the minimal set of necessary and sufficient conditions for both deism and theism are listed, and are available for refutation.

    I suspect that you would rather refute ancillary, non-necessary ecclesiastical additions and interpretations, than to attack the initiating conditions. But that would be for you to clear up, if you choose.

    But you are aware, I assume, that refuting ecclesiaticism does not touch the initial conditions listed above.

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  13. Ginx, see here.

    Although "theism" can mean any gods, it generally refers to the above.

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  14. So, what if I worship that which created the Prime Mover? The object of my worship cannot commune with me personally, however, so I don't think this is the god you are referring to, but I do feel confident that I venerate that which precedes the divine (which, I think, more than compensates for my inability to interact).

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  15. Martin: I find that link to be... what's the most polite word to use here... juvenile, or perhaps naive.

    To start Western Civilization with the Greeks is the common and insulting (perhaps even bordering on racist) error of modern Euro-centric academia. Egyptian, Babylonian, Celtic, Slavic, Iberian, and countless other religions all co-existed in Europe (though obviously not always peacefully) for centuries.

    I am well aware of the glaring bias of most Westerners, I just think that if one is going to discuss something, they ought to consider all the possibilities (not solely the one they were raised to cherish).

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  16. Ginx said,
    "So, what if I worship that which created the Prime Mover? "

    Since the First Cause existed outside time, i.e. timeless, then no time-related concepts existed prior to the Big Bang; creation being a cause/effect concept which requires time, then creation of a timeless entity is a notion without meaning. Of course you may believe such a thing (you likely don't believe most of what you write, being an apparent crypto-writer), but it would be a fallacious notion.

    Generally the inability to interact is hubris related, especially where intellectual humility is not valued.

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  17. Ginx, rather than dispute terminology, why not just refute the simplest concept: one first cause (as defined)? After refuting just one, then expand your effort to refuting "many" gods, if you wish. You seem to be dithering in oblique criticisms, but without making any refutations.

    Go ahead, make your refutation argument.

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  18. I’m trying to refute, I’m mostly asking questions, am I not? In a sense, you’re right: I’m not refuting anything, though your “dithering” comment seethes with condescension and does provide some motivation for seeking answers elsewhere. I’ll remain patient for now.

    Another question: what if the Big Bang is not the beginning?

    Another question: in the timelessness before creation (assuming such a condition could even exist, for argument’s sake), why is there a necessity for singularity? I suppose what I’m trying unsuccessfully to ask is… though we have arbitrarily decided that all must come from one, is it not possible (or even likely) that all came from more than one?

    Moreover, from where do(es) the Prime Mover(s) come from? And saying something cryptic like, “there was nowhere to be from” is not answering my question; I’m not asking for a map location, I’m asking for the philosophical and abstract underpinnings of the origin of Prime Movers.

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  19. Refuting entails taking a position through making an structured argument. What is your argument?

    Re: your questions,
    "what if the Big Bang is not the beginning?"

    What is your argument against the Big Bang?

    "is it not possible (or even likely) that all came from more than one?"

    Is this an evolution question or an origin of the cosmos question?

    "I’m asking for the philosophical and abstract underpinnings of the origin of Prime Movers."

    Does this quandry somehow refute the existence of a single one? If so how? What is the exact and precise refutation here? Do unanswerable questions refute science or the existence of scientists? (I can play Socrates too...)

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  20. I'm not arguing the Big Bang didn't occur, merely that we assume it is the creation of all things, yet it need not be. Also, I had a major typo; the opening line of my last comment should read:

    I’m not trying to refute, I’m mostly asking questions, am I not?

    Regarding the need for one as opposed to many: yes, it is a question of the origin of the cosmos. I don't understand why we have arbitrarily settled on one Prime Mover.

    And I'm not trying to play Socrates, I'm just asking question. I'm asking very basic and fundamental questions that, if left unasked, sap all logic from these ideas.

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  21. As I said, you may refute as many as you wish; One is the simplest concept though - one universe, one cause. What reason(s) would we have to suspect more than one cause?

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  22. First.

    First-cause arguments

    First cause arguments are described as self-refuting. For example, the philosopher Theodore Schick suggests that an argument by Thomas Aquinas can be formulated in the following terms:

    1. Everything is caused by something other than itself
    2. Therefore the universe was caused by something other than itself.
    3. The string of causes cannot be infinitely long.
    4. If the string of causes cannot be infinitely long, there must be a first cause.
    5. Therefore, there must be a first cause, namely a divine entity.

    – and suggests that this is self-refuting because "if everything has a cause other than itself, then God must have a cause other than himself. But if God has a cause other than himself, he cannot be the first cause. So if the first premise is true, the conclusion must be false."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-refuting_idea#First-cause_arguments

    Second.

    Most theists claim their particular god can be known through meditation or prayer, but such experiences point to nothing outside the mind. Mysticism can be explained psychologically; it is not necessary to complicate our understanding of the universe with fanciful assumptions. We do know that many humans habitually invent myths, hear voices, hallucinate and talk with imaginary friends. We do not know there is a god.

    There are millions of god-believers; but this is a statement about humanity, not about god. Truth is not something which is attained by vote. Religions arose to deal with death, weakness, dreams, and fear of the unknown. They are powerful mechanisms for giving meaning to life and personal/cultural identity. But religions differ radically, and appeals to inner experience only worsen the conflict.

    The theist, however, gives no independent means of testing "spiritual" insight, so it must be doubted. The skeptic does not deny the reality of subjective religious experience, but knows it can be psychologically explained without reference to a supposed transcendent realm.

    http://www.ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=refute

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  23. I repeat here the evidentiary requirements of the Challenge to Atheists:

    These two levels are necessary and sufficient to justify theism. Refuting these levels would refute the existence of a deity. However, the only refutation allowed to the materialist (Atheists are materialists) is a material refutation. Arguments without material support for their premises are incapable of containing meaning within the constraints of materialism; this is the Atheist requirement for argument as exemplified by the demand for material evidence to support an argument FOR a deity.

    So refuting using anything other than material evidence is meaningless in terms of supplying any rational deniability for the existence of a deity, under the conditions set out by Atheists themselves.


    Your arguments suggest that you did not read the challenge, because you have presented standard, old hat, non-empirical and non-material arguments.

    However, I will address them this once.
    (continued next comment)

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  24. You said,

    ”First.

    First-cause arguments

    First cause arguments are described as self-refuting. For example, the philosopher Theodore Schick suggests that an argument by Thomas Aquinas can be formulated in the following terms:

    1. Everything is caused by something other than itself
    2. Therefore the universe was caused by something other than itself.
    3. The string of causes cannot be infinitely long.
    4. If the string of causes cannot be infinitely long, there must be a first cause.
    5. Therefore, there must be a first cause, namely a divine entity.

    – and suggests that this is self-refuting because "if everything has a cause other than itself, then God must have a cause other than himself. But if God has a cause other than himself, he cannot be the first cause. So if the first premise is true, the conclusion must be false."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-refuting_idea#First-cause_arguments



    I agree that the argument is false, but not that it is self-refuting (no statement internal to the argument refutes itself; being false is not self-refutation). And I doubt that Aquinas would have made this argument. For example, the first premise is not true, it is false. In fact, the purpose of the first premise as it is written here is to serve as a Straw Man in an attempt to knock down the argument. Declaring the first premise to be true does not make it so.

    The first premise should read,

    1. Every material thing in our universe is caused by something other than itself, discounting any material thing that has been specifically part of a non-material influence (singularity) – and most material things have not been so influenced.

    And then,

    2. Therefore the universe was caused by something other than itself.

    3. The components for Cause and Effect in a material universe are, mass-energy, space-time.

    4. These components were created at the Big Bang and did not exist before.

    5. So there was no Cause and Effect before the Big Bang, but there was Cause and Effect at the Big Bang.

    6. Therefore the cause of the Big Bang was the First Cause.

    Be aware that I do not claim that this Theodicy is true, because there is no possible way to know the absolute truth of claims made in either Theodicies or in Atheodicies. But just as they can never be proven true in an epistemological sense, they cannot be proven false in an ontological sense.
    (continued)

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  25. ”Second.
    Most theists claim their particular god can be known through meditation or prayer, but such experiences point to nothing outside the mind. Mysticism can be explained psychologically; it is not necessary to complicate our understanding of the universe with fanciful assumptions. We do know that many humans habitually invent myths, hear voices, hallucinate and talk with imaginary friends. We do not know there is a god.”


    Again the statement is incomplete and therefore it is false until it is completed:
    “…such experiences point to nothing that can be measured using empirical methodology of the early 21st century, which, along with the theory of empirical limitations, admits that only currently known specific material effects can be detected and added to our knowledge of material things, while effects might exist that are outside the abilities of material detection, both now and in the future, and empiricism can say nothing regarding the existence of anything outside the current material capability, certainly not declare its non-existence”.

    “Mysticism can be explained psychologically;”

    This is a fallacy of false association; there is no proof that a First Cause is a psychological disorder, and attempting to connect the two is a logical failure. No amount of brain manipulation with drugs or electricity or whatever has any affect on the possibility of a First Cause for the universe.

    ” it is not necessary to complicate our understanding of the universe with fanciful assumptions.”

    This statement is an Ad Hominem attack against a perfectly reasonable premise; it is not a disproof, it is not evidence, it is a fanciful statement. Moreover, there is no "understanding" of the First Cause of the universe which are material empirical replicable experiments which form the basis for understanding the material universe. This statement completely misses the target, which is the Cause of the universe, not causation inside the universe.

    ”There are millions of god-believers; but this is a statement about humanity, not about god. Truth is not something which is attained by vote.”

    No one says this. This is an argument against nothing. It has no statement about a First Cause, no Material evidence whatsoever regarding a First Cause. This is a Red Herring at best. The writer did not read the challenge, obviously.

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  26. ”Religions arose to deal with death, weakness, dreams, and fear of the unknown.”

    This is a two-fold failure: First all “religions” are declared equal in this analysis. Second, the writer cannot possibly have any material evidence to back up this statement. It is blatant speculation, based on the desirability of an outcome, where the desired outcome is lack of a First Cause, and the speculation is created out of whole cloth specifically to support the conclusion. Logical Error = Rationalization in support of dogmatic propaganda.

    ”They are powerful mechanisms for giving meaning to life and personal/cultural identity.

    While giving meaning, the major religions do not discriminate between cultures, they embrace and attempt to convert all cultures. The implication is false.

    But religions differ radically, and appeals to inner experience only worsen the conflict.

    If the conflict is cultural then this is false. If the conflict is dogmatic / ecclesiastic this is still false. Appeals to inner experience do not harm anyone, and there is no evidence to the contrary. In fact, cultural conflict is more at hazard from Atheist pogrom, than from appeals to inner experience. This is a serious charge, made without data, without evidence, and with apparent malice toward the subject matter.

    ”The theist, however, gives no independent means of testing "spiritual" insight,”

    If the term, “independent” is taken to mean empirical, then this statement is true; However, theists insist that independent – meaning personal, not empirical – experience is exactly the means of understanding, so from the theist standpoint (which the Atheist is pretending to understand and develop here) this statement is false.

    ” …so it must be doubted.

    As always, “must” is an imperative term, meaning that it is absolutely necessary for reasons of either a) moral imperative, or b) authoritarian imperative. If he means the “authority of logic”, then he has failed for the reasons shown above.

    ”The skeptic does not deny the reality of subjective religious experience, but knows it can be psychologically explained without reference to a supposed transcendent realm.”

    This statement cannot be supported by any material evidence. To make such an outrageous claim, that of psychological CERTAINTY, an outrageous amount of material evidence is required (to paraphrase Carl Sagan), including the ability to measure an absence of transcendence and then absolute proof that none is involved. Brain scans showing blood flow prove nothing except that the brain is being used by software, available from somewhere, somehow. There is no material evidence as is needed to verify this expansive psychological statement, and thus it is an empty claim.

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  27. Self-refuting ideas are ideas or statements whose falsehood is a logical consequence of the act or situation of holding them to be true.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-refuting_idea

    If everything has a cause, then you cannot end the argument by declaring an uncaused-cause.

    Your arguments suggest that you did not read the challenge, because you have presented standard, old hat, non-empirical and non-material arguments.

    I attributed your wording to an incomplete understanding of the standards of evidence held by most atheists. I assumed logical, rational argument were valid. They are the type of argument that I (an atheist) would accept.

    You realize of course that First Cause Arguments and Arguments from Personal Experience are also considered "old-hat, non-empirical and non-material arguments"?

    Seeing as these are not material arguments, it seems a category error to request material evidence to counter them.

    Perhaps you could help me out by providing some examples of material evidence you would accept? Could you also clarify the degree of proof you are after? (mathematical, preponderance of evidence, reasonable doubt, etc).

    I take issue with pretty much everything you've said, but would prefer to stick to the core argument rather than expounding on each statement.

    I would also recommend that you research some of these concepts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_cause_argument#Objections_and_counterarguments

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prove_a_negative

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_religious_experience

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_Inconsistent_Revelations

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_experience_of_God#Scientific_studies_on_religious_experience

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  28. After this last time, I will no longer respond to “anonymous” comments, since everyone now seems not to have the courage or energy to select a nom de plume, and I cannot differentiate between all the writers who want to use “anonymous”. Please select a moniker, it is easy to do.

    ”Self-refuting ideas are ideas or statements whose falsehood is a logical consequence of the act or situation of holding them to be true. “

    Because wiki is modifiable and written by unknown purveyors of their own special realities, I do not use or reference it. Your Wiki quote, for example, is a false representation of self-refutation. Self refuting arguments are arguments that are internally contradictory, and the original example of self-refutation is the Epimenides, or Liars Paradox, which goes thus: “I am lying”, or "this statement is false". This statement refutes itself, because if it is true that it is false, then it cannot be true, and thus it cannot be false, as it asserts. The internal contradiction is called a self-refutation, or a paradox, or a non-coherence. This is not the same as having an argument with a false premise, which is what your quote suggests.

    ”If everything has a cause, then you cannot end the argument by declaring an uncaused-cause.”

    As I said previously, cause and effect does not apply outside of space-time. The backward looking causal chain ends at the Big Bang, beyond which the concept of cause is meaningless. So anything that exists outside of space-time is not part of the causal chain and attributing cause or causelessness is meaningless, trivial in the mathematical sense. And I did not say that everything has a cause, you said that. I said everything contained within the material universe has a cause, if one disregards.... etc.
    (continued)

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  29. "I attributed your wording to an incomplete understanding of the standards of evidence held by most atheists. I assumed logical, rational argument were valid. They are the type of argument that I (an atheist) would accept. You realize of course that First Cause Arguments and Arguments from Personal Experience are also considered "old-hat, non-empirical and non-material arguments"? Seeing as these are not material arguments, it seems a category error to request material evidence to counter them.”

    To the contrary, what I insist upon is that the Atheist support his own position using his own standards: material evidence. There is no amount of argumentation - mathematical, syllogistic or otherwise - which will satisfy an Atheist defender of his dogma that there is a deity. The Atheist position is that there is no God. God is not a material entity, yet the Atheist demands material evidence, because material evidence is the only evidence that meets the Atheist arbitrary standard (for knowledge first, evidence second). That standard of evidence must be applied to the Atheist argument as well: the Atheist, who demands material evidence of the theist, must also provide material evidence for his Atheism. It is really quite simple and quite fair to hold the Atheist to his own standard for defending his position. The ”standards that most Atheists hold for themselves” are dishonest standards under any sort of rules of fairness, on the one hand; on the other hand, the standards which require material evidence for a non-material existence are clearly based on a Category Error Fallacy, and fail basic logic.

    ”Perhaps you could help me out by providing some examples of material evidence you would accept? Could you also clarify the degree of proof you are after? (mathematical, preponderance of evidence, reasonable doubt, etc). I take issue with pretty much everything you've said, but would prefer to stick to the core argument rather than expounding on each statement. I would also recommend that you research some of these concepts.

    The Atheist community likes to have many definitions for itself, and many definitions for what it accepts as evidence. But they always reject any and all evidence that is not empirical, material.

    Material evidence, as demanded by prominent Atheists as the only source of valid knowledge, requires producing a fully Material God for them to examine under the conditions of empirical, experimental, replicable, non-falsifiable laboratory conditions. So those are the conditions under which Atheists should prove their claims conclusively that there is no God, no First Cause, in fact prove that there is no existence outside or beyond material existence: under conditions of empirical, experimental, replicable, non-falsifiable laboratory conditions. Perhaps you see the problem that Atheists have, under their own specifications for acceptable knowledge.

    I do not use Wikipedia for anything, whatsoever, and I recommend that someone who wishes to learn, go directly to actual sources of legitimate expertise, such as learning logic from the world experts in logic such as Copi, for example. If you wish to discuss the teaching of such experts, I am game. Discussing wiki is a waste of my time.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I said "Self-refuting ideas are ideas or statements whose falsehood is a logical consequence of the act or situation of holding them to be true."

    You said "Self refuting arguments are arguments that are internally contradictory"

    Is there really a notable distinction between these two definitions you want to quibble over?

    Your definitions is equally valid and applicable to the self-refuting idea of a First Cause.

    If something outside of space-time renders the concept of 'cause' meaningless, than something outside of space-time cannot 'cause' something. It is Special Pleading to claim otherwise.

    The end result remains that your rational for the existence of a god remains fallacious.

    You quoted me, and replied. But did not actually answer the questions quoted.

    ”Perhaps you could help me out by providing some examples of material evidence you would accept? Could you also clarify the degree of proof you are after? (mathematical, preponderance of evidence, reasonable doubt, etc)."

    "But they always reject any and all evidence that is not empirical, material."

    Strawman. I accept the existence of Pluto. I have never seen it and have no empirical, material evidence of its existence.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Jeremy,
    Thanks, and welcome to this blog.
    ”I said ’Self-refuting ideas are ideas or statements whose falsehood is a logical consequence of the act or situation of holding them to be true.’
    You said "Self refuting arguments are arguments that are internally contradictory"

    Is there really a notable distinction between these two definitions you want to quibble over? “


    On this blog we are looking for correct arguments, and part of that is to identify logical errors and fallacies correctly. There is indeed a large difference, because one is a complete self-negation, while the other is merely a false premise within an argument that might be correctible.

    ”Your definitions is equally valid and applicable to the self-refuting idea of a First Cause.

    If something outside of space-time renders the concept of 'cause' meaningless, than something outside of space-time cannot 'cause' something. It is Special Pleading to claim otherwise.

    The end result remains that your rational for the existence of a god remains fallacious.”

    If the material cause existed at t=0, then it is not fallacious. Moreover, there is nothing to say that a superset of material reality cannot contain a means for forcing material events, including prior to t=0. And there is nothing that says that such a forcing is required within the superset of material reality, and it is entirely possible that the entity within the superset of material reality voluntarily forced the Big Bang to occur, resulting in a rational universe with rational beings materially contained in it.

    One needs to think beyond the first obvious answer that comes to mind, and explore any and all other possibilities that the concept contains.

    “You quoted me, and replied. But did not actually answer the questions quoted.

    ”Perhaps you could help me out by providing some examples of material evidence you would accept? Could you also clarify the degree of proof you are after? (mathematical, preponderance of evidence, reasonable doubt, etc)."

    (continued)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I had thought it obvious that it is not materially viable, but I will go the distance. I will accept evidence that has done the following within the constraints of empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable scientific methodology:

    a) Explore every cubic inch, every cubic angstrom of space, during every femtosecond of time – historically, current, and future, for a deity which is not material in any sense, with instrumentation data on the lack of discovery
    at every point onthe universe;

    AND,

    b) Explore everything before the Big Bang using the best material technology to provide instrumental data that there is no such no-material existence.

    I will not accept mathematical, preponderance of evidence, reasonable doubt, etc. I have given the reason why.

    "But they always reject any and all evidence that is not empirical, material."

    Strawman. I accept the existence of Pluto. I have never seen it and have no empirical, material evidence of its existence.


    Pluto and other related objects are materially known to materially exist empirically through the empirically measured deviation in orbits of visible or otherwise empirically detectable material objects. Only its size and internal composition are in question. This is in no way similar to the proposition of a non-material entity, outside the universe. Your accusation is not valid.

    And BTW, your use of "strawman" is incorrect; I did not set up a proposition merely to shoot it down, which is what a strawman is. If the statement / premise is false, it not because it is a strawman. If you have actual evidence that the statement is false, you should present it for discussion; otherwise it stands.

    Think of the syllogism thus:

    Form:
    P1: If A is valid, then B is valid;
    P2: A is valid;
    C: therefore B is valid.

    Application of form:
    P1: If Atheists require material evidence for acceptance of a concept as valid knowledge, then Atheists must provide material evidence of their own concept in order for it to be material knowledge.

    P2: Atheists do require material evidence for acceptance of a concept as valid knowledge.

    C: Therefore P1 is valid: Atheists must provide material evidence of their own concept in order for it to be material knowledge.

    If this is not clear, I will be happy to try again.

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  33. This is why First Cause Arguments are a fallacy. Do you not recognize the amount of special pleasing?

    I'm not sure I should bother continuing. You require an infinite amount of proof for something you say by definition doesn't even exist materially.

    If you think god exists because 'nya nya you can't prove he doesn't' is a convincing argument .. have at it.

    I'm going to stick with Observable Reality.

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  34. You seem to be at the frustration point. I have been there with my own journey through Atheism and Materialism. When a favored opinion is seen to be less than sturdy in the face of rational procedures, it is truly jolting.

    Allow me to suggest this: the reason for your apparent frustration is that you have encountered the limits of your rationalizations and have found that they cannot apply to properly constructed logic with regard to the fundamentals of your belief. An unassailable challenge to one's worldview can be unsettling.

    I need to point out that you are not addressing the issue of Atheist beliefs and their lack of support, you are projecting to further concepts while dodging the lack of rational foundation for your own belief system.

    It would be wise for you to check the websites that catalog informal fallacies before making charges; you have yet to use a fallacy term correctly. Here is a site that can help:

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/specplea.html

    It is interesting that your use of the term “Special Pleading” refers to the desire to be excepted from a requirement that is made of all others. This is in fact the situation with Atheists and Philosophical Materialists, who demand a criterion to be required for others which they, themselves cannot satisfy, to wit: evidence that conforms to empirical standards. So they wish to except and exempt themselves from that requirement… a logical fallacy and a rational error.

    It is certainly not Special Pleading to demand that Atheists and Philosophical Materialists adhere to the same standards which they require of others – empirical evidence. This demand on them is inclusive, not exclusive.

    In fact, the charge of wishing to be excluded from their own standards does apply to Atheism and to Philosophical Materialism, which are therefore exercising Special Pleading on their own behalf.

    The Materialist position which you take is not warranted by logic nor by empiricism, and neither are Atheism and Materialism.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Jeremy (Anonymous)January 16, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Hahah no it is not my "belief structure" I find lacking. It's not frustration either. It is simply a failure to communicate what I see as a relatively simply idea, and recognizing that actually convincing you of anything is likely an exercise in futility. If anything, I am more convinced that observable reality is the actual reality, and the pseudo intellectual hand waving of apologists is just that.

    The burden of proof you require is to onerous to demonstrate. (An onus no atheist requires for evidence of anything.) It would be like myself asking you to demonstrate the there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and insisting that it is irrational to reject the existence of rainbow-gold because somewhere, at some time, in some corner of the universe (or before the universe began) there could somewhere exist a rainbow, with a pot of gold at its end.

    In regards to the fallacies, in the simplest terms, Special Pleading because a First Cause itself violates the premise that everything that exists has a cause. Your whole paragraph on "if t=0 .." is just details on why you think your special plea is valid .. but surely you realize you are just making shit up?

    In regards to the Strawman charge. You insist on pigeonholing MY standards of evidence into that of materialism. Making it a much broader target to knock down. Despite my assertion that non-fallacious arguments would be accepted...

    You know how most truth claims work right?

    Claimant "I have a baseball"
    Skeptic "Oh, yeah? Let's see it."
    Claimant "Here it is"
    Skeptic "Ah, I accept your claim"

    Theist "God exists"
    Skeptic "Oh yeah? Show me him"
    Theist "NONONO YOU CAN'T PROVE HE DOESN'T EXIST! YOU'RE AN IRRATIONAL MATERIALIST!!"
    Skeptic "... I'm going to go stand over there ..."

    You say you were an atheist for 40 years (you and every other apologist ha). Try those shoes on again. Have a look at what you have written. Do you still think your arguments valid?

    PS. If you do think them still valid, I would suggest adding your degree of proof to your challenge. You might get less responses, but probably more laughs.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Jeremy, Your comment on the 16th was just now found in the spam file, which I don't check very often, sorry.

    "In regards to the fallacies, in the simplest terms, Special Pleading because a First Cause itself violates the premise that everything that exists has a cause."

    You do not accept the logic but you are without a reason. I gave rational reasons; you reject them with false claims to fallacy. You may do as you wish of course, but your stridence in denying logic and failure to discuss it head-on, doesn't help your case any. "Making shit up" is not a counter argument. It is a dodge.

    Case in point:
    Theist "God exists"

    Skeptic "Oh yeah? Show me him"

    Theist "NONONO YOU CAN'T PROVE HE DOESN'T EXIST! YOU'RE AN IRRATIONAL MATERIALIST!!"

    Skeptic "... I'm going to go stand over there ..."


    Demanding that a non-material deity be produced materially upon demand is stock-in-trade Philosophical Materialism, and is a category error (actually two category errors together). Certainly you will "go stand over there" because you have no answer that can change that. If your behavior is that of a Materialist, then you should be placed into that set, regardless of your denials. And the errors you committed stand on their own, also regardless of your denials.

    "PS. If you do think them still valid, I would suggest adding your degree of proof to your challenge. You might get less responses, but probably more laughs."

    The comparable logic is to provide non-material evidence for a non-material entity. This cannot be done materially, of course, and is therefore neither empirical nor objective; so it is up to the individual to do that subjectively, and that requires an openness that is not common to materialists. Materialists are completely closed to anything outside the tangible, sensory input, and are therefore hardpressed to explain even consciousness or free will, which they are obliged to deny, in order to preserve their small oasis of comfort. Never mind that they wind up denying agency, knowledge, and the value of their own words, in the process of their denial train.

    If you choose, we can discuss the limits of knowledge under materialism in detail. (I promise to keep an eye on the spam folder - I don't know why your comment was there).

    Stan

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  37. Probably because I screamed out IRRATIONAL MATERIALIST!

    I did have a reason, I did point it out. Here I will pick it apart for you.

    If the material cause existed at t=0, then it is not fallacious. Moreover, there is nothing to say that a superset of material reality cannot contain a means for forcing material events, including prior to t=0. And there is nothing that says that such a forcing is required within the superset of material reality, and it is entirely possible that the entity within the superset of material reality voluntarily forced the Big Bang to occur, resulting in a rational universe with rational beings materially contained in it.

    All the stuff I bolded is where you are 'just making shit up'. That and all the stuff in between it.

    It's not a dodge, again, I thought it was obvious. That is not a rational reason. It is made up crap. That is not a reason that God might exist any more than its a reason to assume that we're all brains in jars.

    Demanding that a non-material deity be produced materiall...

    I did not demand that, I was comparing the ridiculous standards of proof between a typical claim and a theistic claim.

    You're the one demanding an infinite amount of proof remember? I don't care what 'category' it is, I'd like to hear any proof you have. Something from the 'real' category.

    Materialists are completely closed to anything outside the tangible, sensory input, and are therefore hardpressed to explain even consciousness or free will, which they are obliged to deny, in order to preserve their small oasis of comfort.

    I have free will. Although the way I can't stop this train wreck is making me wonder.

    Of course it is all subjective, how could it be otherwise?

    I don't know what you mean by agency, but I certainly think knowledge and value is real.

    Again, everything you are saying is wrong.

    Did you try the shoes thing?

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  38. Check the spam filter?

    ReplyDelete
  39. You have not addressed the premises. You argue by accusation, not by rational rebuttal, premise by premise. The premises were made to show that you are denying something without cause, and you have shown nothing to the contrary. You do not argue premises, you argue Ad Hominem. Please address the premises. Show that they are inconceivable, incorrect; but the accusation, “making shit up” does nothing to address them, nor to further your position.

    ” Demanding that a non-material deity be produced materiall... I did not demand that, I was comparing the ridiculous standards of proof between a typical claim and a theistic claim. You're the one demanding an infinite amount of proof remember? I don't care what 'category' it is, I'd like to hear any proof you have. Something from the 'real' category. “

    Your last sentence directly contradicts both the first and third sentences. “Material” and “real” are equivalent in Atheist parlance.

    Standard of proof; Your demand:
    Something from the ‘real’ category. (After claiming you ”don’t care what category it is” ). You do indeed demand material evidence, despite your constant denial.

    Standard of Proof, Atheist Style:
    PZ Myers: “If I pray to God to destroy the city I am standing in front of, and then the city is demolished in an instant, I will still deny that God did it and I will investigate to see how it was done.” (1) Only material evidence is allowed.

    Standard of Proof for Atheist Claims:
    Provide material proof that there is no God.

    You find this standard onerous (b.s.), because it demonstrates that your belief system (“there is no God”, by your own words) is not based on fact, and not only that, it cannot ever be fact by the exact material requirements used by Atheists in their own allegations against non-Atheists. The result is that Atheism is a religion, based on desired but unprovable conclusions.

    (1) Quoted from memory.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jeremy said,
    "Again, everything you are saying is wrong. Did you try the shoes thing?"

    You assert this without a shred of facts to back up your assertion. BTW, "wrong" is an ethical/moral term. I think you mean "false". Since you accuse falseness, show your work. Otherwise it is an empty charge. The "shoes thing" is merely sarcasm and is not an argument.

    If you want to argue against a position, you must present evidence against it, and sarcasm / accusations do not suffice. And the evidentiary conditions must be the same for both sides of the discussion: if you want "real" proof, then you must provide "real" proof yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Sigh.

    I find your burden of proof too onerous because it is literally infinite. It is impossible to meet your evidential standards.

    Why you think this is reasonable seems to be because you think that atheists require material evidence for a justified belief.

    By contrast, atheistic evidential standards are consistent. I apply the same standards of evidence to all truth claims.

    The 'shoes' thing is not sarcasm. It is a genuine request that you look at the argument from the opposing viewpoint. Play your own game against yourself and see if you can pick out all the fallacies you use.

    Here is a more complete rebuttal against the first cause argument.

    http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=First_cause_argument

    Again, two seconds on the google.

    You said to refute the concept of a deity, you must refute the concept of a first cause. Well I did that, and you shift the goal posts to .. wait for it ...

    Expose the lack of gods in every atom at every time, including before time.

    Yeah, that's logic for you.

    If you would like to be consistent, prove there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or admit you believe in rainbow gold.

    You assert this without a shred of facts to back up your assertion.

    therefore hardpressed to explain even consciousness or free will, which they are obliged to deny, in order to preserve their small oasis of comfort. Never mind that they wind up denying agency, knowledge, and the value of their own words, in the process of their denial train.


    I said I accept free will, knowledge and the concept of value. Which contradicts your assertion (made without evidence - accusations to not suffice).
    That's about as close to proof as you get.

    "You believe this"
    "No I don't, you are wrong"
    "Provide evidence I'm wrong"

    wtf

    ReplyDelete
  42. Your tone has become more measured, thank you.

    ”Sigh. I find your burden of proof too onerous because it is literally infinite. It is impossible to meet your evidential standards.”

    Yes, because the standards are material and are complete. Yes, it is infinite, but it is material. It demonstrates the impossibility of verifying your claims to certainty of knowledge. It is the same issue with the evidentiary standards you place on Theists: impossible. There can be no verbal demonstration of an internal experience which cannot be denied at some level due to inability to physically demonstrate it on the one hand, or the inability to remove doubt (solipsystically) on the other hand. It is an impossible demand to satisfy, and that is why Atheists make it. Yet they complain about similar demands made on themselves.

    ” Why you think this is reasonable seems to be because you think that atheists require material evidence for a justified belief. By contrast, atheistic evidential standards are consistent. I apply the same standards of evidence to all truth claims.”

    What then are your specific evidentiary standards, in complete and unmistakable terms?

    ReplyDelete
  43. (Continued from above)
    ”The 'shoes' thing is not sarcasm. It is a genuine request that you look at the argument from the opposing viewpoint. Play your own game against yourself and see if you can pick out all the fallacies you use. Here is a more complete rebuttal against the first cause argument.

    I will cheerfully and honestly look at any and all rebuttals, if they use standard argumentation using premise/conclusions.

    While I recommend strongly against using wiki for anything, I will consider this argument:.
    ” http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=First_cause_argument Again, two seconds on the google.

    I am not making the Kalaam argument. I am making the following argument, and I make it not to show certainty but to show the uncertainty in all arguments made with pure words:
    a) The Big Bang caused space-time and mass-energy which constitute our universe.

    b) The universe is controlled by laws which govern material behaviors.

    c) The universal law of Cause and Effect is one of those laws.

    d) Either the universal laws came into being simultaneously with the Big Bang, or they preceded the Big Bang.

    e) Either the universal laws are accidental or they are not accidental.

    f) Human logic, and hence rationality, is based on observation of the laws which govern the universe.

    g) Conclusion 1: The laws governing the universe are accidental and came into being at the same time as the Big Bang created mass-energy and space-time. The Big Bang and the laws of the universe do not have a cause (first cause), and therefore are self-caused.

    h) Conclusion 2: the laws governing the universe are not accidental and precede the Big Bang which created mass-energy and space-time.

    I) Conclusion 1 increases the improbability of the universe we experience, but this is accounted for by the infinite universe theory. However the infinite universe theory is without evidence or even the remotest possibility of evidence, and is posited as a stopgap measure against conclusion 2.

    j) Conclusion 2 presumes a prior cause of some sort (undefined at this point) for both the material universe and the laws that govern the materials. This does not require infinite universes, while it also does not attempt to refute that theory, nor does it need to. It does however, require a pre-existing source, which presumably infinite universes would also require.

    k) Conclusion 3: Conclusion 2 is more parsimonious than Conclusion 1; parsimony is not a law of nature and is not conclusive. However, there is less opportunity for internal contradiction with conclusion 2, than with conclusion 1. And there is no internal contradiction found.

    l) Conclusion 4: If conclusion 1 is valid, then human logic is accidental as are the accidental laws of the universe, and without purpose. If conclusion 2 is valid, then human logic is more likely to be valid and with purpose.
    (continued below)

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  44. (Continued from above)

    m) Final Conclusion: There is no possible material evidence either way concerning whether there is a cause for the Big Bang, which would be the First Cause of the universe. However, there is no internal contradiction in either conclusion. It is possible, however, to consider a self-caused universe with self-caused laws which govern it to be less likely due to the inability to observe material self-causation anywhere within our experience. Self causation is therefore radically unlikely. Hawking posits self-causation based on the existence of the law of gravity, but he doesn’t explain how the law of gravity created mass-energy and space-time, nor does he explain the source of the law of gravity. So Hawking’s explanation is seen as another stopgap against prior cause for either the material universe or the laws governing the material universe.

    You said to refute the concept of a deity, you must refute the concept of a first cause. Well I did that…

    I must have missed that. Declaring it false is not a refutation. Please repeat your argument against it, with clear premises, etc.

    ”…and you shift the goal posts to .. wait for it ... Expose the lack of gods in every atom at every time, including before time. Yeah, that's logic for you. If you would like to be consistent, prove there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or admit you believe in rainbow gold.”

    Your discomfort with material evidence doesn’t seem to reflect on your demand for material evidence.

    Me: "You assert this without a shred of facts to back up your assertion. therefore hardpressed to explain even consciousness or free will, which they are obliged to deny, in order to preserve their small oasis of comfort. Never mind that they wind up denying agency, knowledge, and the value of their own words, in the process of their denial train.

    You: ”I said I accept free will, knowledge and the concept of value. “


    Yes, you did say that. How is that evidence? Please explain your argument with premises and conclusion.

    ”Which contradicts your assertion (made without evidence - accusations to not suffice). That's about as close to proof as you get. "You believe this" "No I don't, you are wrong" "Provide evidence I'm wrong" wtf “

    Again, how is that evidence? Evidence for what – the non-existence of a first cause? Or evidence that you are not an Atheist, despite your statements demonstrating otherwise? If you have a belief system, please make it clear to us, using premise / conclusion. If you choose to say that you have no belief system, then why are you attempting to argue it here (especially since you believe that everything I say is "wrong")?

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  45. there is no logical proof that would ever pass the Atheist ability to charge it with fallacy
    Show me a logical proof not based in material evidence or no effect in the material that proves that there are or there are not aliens in another galaxy far from here. Can´t do it? If you can´t do it even for such a easy task, something that is inside our Universe, please answer how can you use logic alone to “prove” the existence and the nature of something that you say that by it´s very nature, extrapolate our reality and our Universe? Any attempt to do that will be, of course, fallacious. You can´t produce such knowledge with any means that we possess, so, the alternatives for somebody trying to demonstrate an immaterial being that created the material world using logic alone can only fall in one of the following categories:

    1)The person is being dishonest to himself;
    2)The person is being dishonest to others;
    3)The person is being dishonest with himself and to others.


    So the demand is reductively focused on material evidence of a non-material being
    ...
    Thus the demand itself is self-contradictory

    False again. If God exists, and he is immaterial, he already produced an material effect, the Universe. If he can produce material effects, or effects in the material world, he can produce material proofs of his existence. If a god exists and he does not want to produce material evidence for it´s existence, we are left with our faith only, and I don´t have it.

    a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine, much less measure
    Now you are being self-refuting. If we can´t imagine what God is or we can´t measure it, how do you know that he is a “being” (and not a thing) that created the Universe with intention, that he cares about us, that he will save us from the death? How do you know that this thing that makes the universe possible is a mind, if it is something that can have characteristics that we can´t even imagine?

    Prove that there is no God
    I don´t need to. If you can find positive atheists out there that will accept this trap challenge, good for you. In order to make a honest challenge you need first to define exactly wich God you are talking about, how this God is, and how you can possess such knowledge. After that we can talk about “refuting”, because it is not possible to anyone to refute an infinite number of propositions, and there´s an infinite number of Gods that human superstition can create.

    A rational person holds beliefs that are justifiable in some way or another. NO EXCEPTION. No justification, no belief. And the positions of the great majority of atheists is that the justifications that theists have for God X or Y are not valid. No valid justification for the belief in God, no belief in God. The same with leprechauns, fairies, bigfoot, UFOs and so on.

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  46. This statement cannot be supported by any material evidence. To make such an outrageous claim, that of psychological CERTAINTY, an outrageous amount of material evidence is required (to paraphrase Carl Sagan), including the ability to measure an absence of transcendence and then absolute proof that none is involved.

    The capacity of the theists to invert the burden of proof is astonishing. The only world we know is the material, and the abstract things that are contingent to the material. If there´s a transcendent reality out there, YOU are the one that need to claim exhaustive knwoledge of the material to say that the material world is not all that it is, because it can´t work by itself and need a “transcendent” reality to explain it. An indian in the deep amazon forest will say that your iPhone can only work by the action of transcendent and spiritual forces. Prove to the indian, without extensive knowledge of your iPhone, that he is mistaken. You can´t, and you don´t need to. The indian is the one that needs to show that the iPhone is the result of the action of “spirits”. In the same way, I don´t need to “prove” that materialism is true. I don´t have exhaustive knwoledge of the material world, the only one we know, so there´s no reason to extrapolate and say that something else is needed to explain it, like the indian did with the iPhone. Be my guest and play indian with me. Show me your spirits, show me you exhaustive knowledge of the material world and the validated conclusion that a transcendent reality is needed to explain it.

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  47. PZ Myers: “If I pray to God to destroy the city I am standing in front of, and then the city is demolished in an instant, I will still deny that God did it and I will investigate to see how it was done.”

    It seems to me that PZ have something that you lack: correct use of rationality.

    For people desperate to believe something, to pray for a city to be demolished and seeing it happen is proof that God exists. For a person without unbiased rationality, the event could be (or not) a coincidence, and it begs for further investigation. Exactly what PZ said he would do.

    Your moderation of my posts is really flattering. In the end, that´s all what you theists can do to support your point. Denial.

    ReplyDelete
  48. 022111 Zadra 01
    Luiz Fernando Zadra said,
    ” there is no logical proof that would ever pass the Atheist ability to charge it with fallacy
    Show me a logical proof not based in material evidence or no effect in the material that proves that there are or there are not aliens in another galaxy far from here. Can´t do it? If you can´t do it even for such a easy task, something that is inside our Universe, please answer how can you use logic alone to “prove” the existence and the nature of something that you say that by it´s very nature, extrapolate our reality and our Universe? Any attempt to do that will be, of course, fallacious. You can´t produce such knowledge with any means that we possess, so, the alternatives for somebody trying to demonstrate an immaterial being that created the material world using logic alone can only fall in one of the following categories:

    1)The person is being dishonest to himself;
    2)The person is being dishonest to others;
    3)The person is being dishonest with himself and to others.”


    First, the challenge to me is a Tu Quoque Fallacy, and is not related to the challenge made to Atheists. However, your points on the inability to answer the challenge seem to validate the position that Atheism is without an evidentiary basis, and therefore is faith based.

    ” So the demand is reductively focused on material evidence of a non-material being
    ...
    Thus the demand itself is self-contradictory
    False again. If God exists, and he is immaterial, he already produced an material effect, the Universe. If he can produce material effects, or effects in the material world, he can produce material proofs of his existence. If a god exists and he does not want to produce material evidence for it´s existence, we are left with our faith only, and I don´t have it.”


    Your position here seems to be that, yes, God might have produced the universe, so he could produce material effects but he doesn’t do it on demand; therefore, I can’t believe because I haven’t seen God produce material evidence.

    This confirms the demand for material evidence. And since you are not able to coerce evidence at your demand, then presumably other physical evidence would be required, and the rational physical universe does not qualify. Or perhaps, no physical evidence would ever qualify, including the mysterious existence of the rational physical universe; in this case, only a personal appearance by the deity on your demand would suffice.

    Now presuming that only material evidence suffices for evidence which would convince you, then your claim that it is “false again”, that the demand for material evidence of a non-material entity (one you admit chooses not to perform for you), is self-contradictory… is itself false.

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  49. a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine, much less measure
    Now you are being self-refuting. If we can´t imagine what God is or we can´t measure it, how do you know that he is a “being” (and not a thing) that created the Universe with intention, that he cares about us, that he will save us from the death? How do you know that this thing that makes the universe possible is a mind, if it is something that can have characteristics that we can´t even imagine?


    The discussion was concerning physical attributes of a non-physical being, a concept that apparently eluded you, since you seem to think that rationality of such a being is not imaginable. That is not what was stated or meant of course, and you are word-shopping for arguments. It is not non-coherent to presume that a mind is behind rational results, or that intentionality is behind rational effects.

    ”Prove that there is no God
    I don´t need to.”


    This is a classic answer to the challenge. Your subsequent ramblings indicate that you did not even read the challenge. The challenge provides two specific concepts, an intelligent First Cause for the universe, and a personal relationship.
    Your need for a better definition is not the case. You have not addressed either of the existing definitions, posted plainly above.

    ” A rational person holds beliefs that are justifiable in some way or another. NO EXCEPTION. No justification, no belief. And the positions of the great majority of atheists is that the justifications that theists have for God X or Y are not valid. No valid justification for the belief in God, no belief in God. The same with leprechauns, fairies, bigfoot, UFOs and so on.”

    Your inability to address the challenges straight on indicates that you have no justifiable evidence or argument against them. This renders your Atheist belief system just that: a belief concerning a religious topic that is itself without justifiable evidence and is therefore a religious belief. You have not justified a need for material evidence for the First Cause, nor have you provided any evidence that the First Cause did not exist, nor have you provided any evidence suggesting that the First Cause was material, nor have you provided any evidence that the First Cause was not an intentional, intelligent being. Being entirely without evidence, your belief system is a metaphysical religion.

    Perhaps you wish to try again, this time addressing the questions straight on?

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  50. ”This statement cannot be supported by any material evidence. To make such an outrageous claim, that of psychological CERTAINTY, an outrageous amount of material evidence is required (to paraphrase Carl Sagan), including the ability to measure an absence of transcendence and then absolute proof that none is involved.

    The capacity of the theists to invert the burden of proof is astonishing. The only world we know is the material, and the abstract things that are contingent to the material. If there´s a transcendent reality out there, YOU are the one that need to claim exhaustive knwoledge of the material to say that the material world is not all that it is, because it can´t work by itself and need a “transcendent” reality to explain it.


    The only rebuttal available to the Materialist / Atheist, is that I can’t see it, therefore it does not exist.

    ”An indian in the deep amazon forest will say that your iPhone can only work by the action of transcendent and spiritual forces. Prove to the indian, without extensive knowledge of your iPhone, that he is mistaken. You can´t, and you don´t need to. The indian is the one that needs to show that the iPhone is the result of the action of “spirits”.

    This is a false analogy (all analogies are false, it is merely a matter of which point they fail on, and how long it takes to get there.). The more accurate analogy might be this: An Indian deep in the Amazon forest will say that your iPhone is the product of an incredible mind which knows things that he does not know, and can do things he cannot do.

    ” In the same way, I don´t need to “prove” that materialism is true.”

    This is an astonishing statement for someone with a worldview demanding justification and material evidence. Apparently that requirement is for the other side only, not for justification of one’s own position, which is accepted with no justification.


    ” I don´t have exhaustive knwoledge of the material world, the only one we know, so there´s no reason to extrapolate and say that something else is needed to explain it, like the indian did with the iPhone. Be my guest and play indian with me. Show me your spirits, show me you exhaustive knowledge of the material world and the validated conclusion that a transcendent reality is needed to explain it.”

    I don’t engage in false analogy. But you can engage in the counter analogy which I gave above, should you wish.

    However, the spirit of your challenge is also misguided, in the sense that it is a Tu Quoque Fallacy (sub category of Red Herrings) that you feel enables you to disengage from the challenge to you.

    But you cannot disengage. Either justify your Atheist religious beliefs using your materialist philosophy, or admit fully that your belief system is without the material support that you demand of others, and therefore that your position is self-contradictory and irrational.

    Lay out your material, empirical evidence which justifies your belief system, then we can discuss it. (denial is not evidence, btw).

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  51. Luiz,
    One more note. Your use of pejoratives and derogatory terms such as "sky daddy", and the use of Category Errors such as "leprachauns" etc. indicate that you are not interested in proper argumetation, but that you are interested in defending a dogmatic religious position.

    Legitimate rational debate requires non-fallacious arguments without personal attacks, and with the open mindedness required to accept arguments that are not fallacious, gracefully. If you wish to, are able to defend your materialist stance within the constraints of your materialism, I will certainly listen. Go ahead and present your case, with the restraint that rational discussion entails. Thanks.

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  52. You can dispute the truth of my revelation, but I don´t need to give any evidence to you of my claims. My revelation is true despite your claims of the contrary, because what I felt is undeniable like conscience itself. Revelations, after all, are like noses. Everybody has one and they are all different. Be my guest if you want to endorse this absolute mediocre movement made by illusionists like Platinga and Craig. Such action is a retreat to stone age, dismissing thousands of years of knowledge accumulated about the human mind and it´s self-deception and delusional skills, that can be very proeminent, especially when the topic is religion, fear of the unknown and the necessity to survive death at all costs.

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  53. The only rebuttal available to the Materialist / Atheist, is that I can’t see it, therefore it does not exist.
    I can´t see gravity. Have you ever saw it, like a "spider-man web" holding masses toghether? How do we know it´s there? Gravity is, by all effects and standards, immaterial. If you think it´s not, show me the “gravitons”, or the “magnetrons”.

    To prove a God is very simple. And that´s the problem. The evidence that should be there isn´t, and that´s why you have to hide your god deeper and deeper in the realms of the mysterious and untouchable out-of-the-Universe realities. Show me babies around the world belonging to another cultures that born with full knowledge of Christ and the scriptures and you are done. Show me that people that receives christian prayers can cure from diseases in a rate higuer than average. Show me a cell in all living things that contains the the phrase “Made by God” writed in ancient aramaic. Such things are next to nothing for God to do. Even I can think in this examples, I´m shure that a mind that can ignit universes can do much more, and create material proof of it´s existence in number and intensity that will fry the brain of any skeptic. The exceptions are, of course: 1) God wants to remain hidden; and 2) God does not exist.

    This confirms the demand for material evidence. And since you are not able to coerce evidence at your demand, then presumably other physical evidence would be required, and the rational physical universe does not qualify.
    Please tell me how can you obtain knowledge by claiming ignorance. Do you know how the Universe occurred and in wich conditions? And if you don´t know, you can´t go out there and say “oh, an immaterial mind that need free will to leave it´s static and eternal existence did it”.


    This renders your Atheist belief system just that: a belief concerning a religious topic that is itself without justifiable evidence
    I don´t need justification to be an atheist. It´s not a belief, it´s a lack of belief.
    Do I have to prove that the Universe is not the result of a legion of immaterial leprechauns having some fun? Of course not. And so why do I have to prove to you that a single immaterial mind created the Universe with the intention to give us immortal souls is a not true proposition?

    an intelligent First Cause for the universe,
    In an immaterial realm there is no time. With no time, it´s impossible for a mind to do actions like “create”. I mind in this state can´t even think, because thinking is something that occurs in steps in time. The action of creation is a temporal construction that needs to occur within time, that didn´t existed prior the occurrence of time itself. A quantum event, or something like a quantum event that we don´t know yet don´t have such limitations, and is a much better candidate for the origin of everything.

    and a personal relationship.
    I have a personal relationship with my immaterial personal gnome. This gnome created the Universe just for me, and told me that your personal revelation is just a illusion that he implanted in your mind just to have fun. The gnome will send all christians to hell, and he said that he will not say anything more. More details will be revealed to me after my death.

    You can dispute the truth of my revelation, but I don´t need to give any evidence to you of my claims. My revelation is true despite your claims of the contrary, because what I felt is undeniable like conscience itself. Revelations, after all, are like noses. Everybody has one and they are all different. Be my guest if you want to endorse this absolute mediocre movement made by illusionists like Platinga and Craig. Such action is a retreat to stone age, dismissing thousand of years of knowledge accumulated about the human mind and it´s self-deception and delusional skills, that can be very proeminent, especially when the topic is religion, fear of the unknown and the necessity to survive death at all costs.

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  54. This is an astonishing statement for someone with a worldview demanding justification and material evidence. Apparently that requirement is for the other side only, not for justification of one’s own position, which is accepted with no justification.

    False. My acceptance of a materialist worldview is justified by the following:

    1) I don´t have extensive knowledge of the material world, the only one we know. In this case, to look to the material world and conclude that it needs something else to explain itself, a transcendent reality, would be just an error. Maybe it is true, we need something else to explain the material. But unless you have exhaustive knwoledge of the material, you are not allowed to accept the proposition “I need something more to explain it”, wich leads you to the acceptance of materialism as a principle that waits to be proven false.

    2) All explanations of the past about the the world was done by invoking the supernatural, spiritual and immaterial realities. Every time we understand how the world works, we discover that such claims are false. Those claims includes diseases, natural phenomena (thunders, earthquakes), life itself, pretty much everything you can see around you. None of them, once understanded, showed anything that can´t be natural only. Maybe the only unknown mystery that bother us now is the existence of the universe itself. The problem is, all past explanations about immaterial stuff explaining our world are just plain inventions, you discover that once you can get the real answers. Knowing that the spiritual realm is a known invention of humans in order to fill his ignorance with something, why someone should accept spiritual explanations about the origin of the Universe? Just because we don´t know how the Universe occurred? There was a time were pathogens were outside the scope of the scientific method. Should any rational person at that time accept the conclusion that diseases are caused by evil spirits because we can´t say what they are? NO! Should I accept now your claim that the universe needs a immaterial mind to occur because I don´t know how the Universe occurred? NO! Again, materialism is granted in this case as a principle, that waits to be proven false, because the material world is the only one that we can have knowledge of. If there is immaterial realities out there, YOU are the one that have to show this. Can´t do it? So sorry for you. Keep your claims of spiritual realms for yourself, please, and don´t bother other people with claims that you know you can´t show that are true.

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  55. 022211 Zadra

    ”You can dispute the truth of my revelation, but I don´t need to give any evidence to you of my claims. My revelation is true despite your claims of the contrary, because what I felt is undeniable like conscience itself. Revelations, after all, are like noses. Everybody has one and they are all different. Be my guest if you want to endorse this absolute mediocre movement made by illusionists like Platinga and Craig. Such action is a retreat to stone age, dismissing thousands of years of knowledge accumulated about the human mind and it´s self-deception and delusional skills, that can be very proeminent, especially when the topic is religion, fear of the unknown and the necessity to survive death at all costs.

    Revelations are not like noses at all. Another false analogy, because not every one has had an experience, contrary to what you think you know. I have no fear of death, contrary to your opinion, and even during my 40 years as an Atheist I had no fear of death. Your opinion is highly distorted by straw men that you want to believe. Your opinion of my experience counts as no more than an opinion, period, and one generated with no data whatsoever, and certainly with zero knowledge of what happened. You are very certain of your knowledge that you have acquired with no evidence whatsoever.

    BTW, you have not addressed the issues stated in the Challenge to Atheists.

    ”I can´t see gravity. Have you ever saw it, like a "spider-man web" holding masses toghether? How do we know it´s there? Gravity is, by all effects and standards, immaterial. If you think it´s not, show me the “gravitons”, or the “magnetrons”.

    Word shopping again. Change the word “see” to “measure”. Gravity is a physical entity, measurable by its effects.

    BTW, you have not addressed the issues stated in the Challenge to Atheists.

    ”To prove a God is very simple. And that´s the problem. The evidence that should be there isn´t, and that´s why you have to hide your god deeper and deeper in the realms of the mysterious and untouchable out-of-the-Universe realities.”

    The evidence is there. You merely deny it.

    BTW, you have not addressed the issues stated in the Challenge to Atheists.

    ”Show me babies around the world belonging to another cultures that born with full knowledge of Christ and the scriptures and you are done.”

    Are you seriously making this argument? Babies are born with intellectual capacities and zero knowledge. That is the correct argument: what is the source of the intellect? Random assembly?

    BTW, you have not addressed the issues stated in the Challenge to Atheists.

    ” Show me that people that receives christian prayers can cure from diseases in a rate higuer than average.”

    Then go here:
    http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/search/label/Prayer

    This has been confirmed to be the case in at least one double-blind with animals, too. According to your statements above, it should be sufficient to demonstrate God to you, is it? Or is your belief too dogmatic to accept it? Your answer to this will demonstrate whether you are humbly seeking answers, or whether you are preaching the Atheist Gospel.

    ”Show me a cell in all living things that contains the the phrase “Made by God” writed in ancient aramaic. Such things are next to nothing for God to do. Even I can think in this examples, I´m shure that a mind that can ignit universes can do much more, and create material proof of it´s existence in number and intensity that will fry the brain of any skeptic. The exceptions are, of course: 1) God wants to remain hidden; and 2) God does not exist.”

    False Dilemma: option 3). God does not care what you conjure up as demands for him to perform for your viewing pleasure. Option 4) Arrogance is anathema to the deity.

    BTW, you have not addressed the issues stated in the Challenge to Atheists.
    (continued)

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  56. ” Please tell me how can you obtain knowledge by claiming ignorance. Do you know how the Universe occurred and in wich conditions? And if you don´t know, you can´t go out there and say “oh, an immaterial mind that need free will to leave it´s static and eternal existence did it”.

    Ignorance is the exact state of every hypothetical development. Deduction is based on ignorance – but the possibility of an effect deriving from a cause, and experimentation is derived to confirm or falsify that. Ignorance not acknowledged is foolish. Propositions concerning the unknowable are made by the likes of Hawking and Dawkins, who write best sellers and get rich from it.

    See, here is the problem. You are demanding physical knowledge of the unknowable, and refusing to acknowledge the proposition that is made in the Challenge. Have you been to Timbuktu? Can you posit its existence anyway, based on evidence you do not personally physically have? Why can’t you address the issue in the Challenge? To tell me that I “can’t go out there and say”… is not an argument btw, it is an imperative with no reasonable support – and you made no attempt to support it.

    Please tell me how you can claim to have knowledge which you can not possibly have?

    ” I don´t need justification to be an atheist. It´s not a belief, it´s a lack of belief.
    Do I have to prove that the Universe is not the result of a legion of immaterial leprechauns having some fun? Of course not. And so why do I have to prove to you that a single immaterial mind created the Universe with the intention to give us immortal souls is a not true proposition?”


    This is the current Atheist concept: “lack of belief”. And it is a lie. Atheists specifically reject, actively, vociferously, and angrily, the idea of an intelligent, powerful, intentional, First Cause for the universe. Again specifically reject the First Cause. And they do so intentionally. I have hesitated in the past to call it a lie. But it is cowardly of me not to do so. You have a specific belief, and it is that there is no God. You do not have “no belief”.

    No justification needed? Without justification, as in your comments early on, is an indication of irrational thinking, such thinking being without a justifiable basis for being believed. Your position is contradictory: you need not be held to your own demands of others… a specific trait of hypocrisy.

    ” an intelligent First Cause for the universe,
    In an immaterial realm there is no time. With no time, it´s impossible for a mind to do actions like “create”.


    Your empirical source for this knowledge is…?

    ”I mind in this state can´t even think, because thinking is something that occurs in steps in time.”

    That is certainly one way. You assume that it is the only way based on what source of empirical data?

    ”The action of creation is a temporal construction that needs to occur within time, that didn´t existed prior the occurrence of time itself.”

    Hawking says that time didn’t exist until considerably after the Big Bang. According to him, then the creation occurred outside of time.

    Regardless of that, what is the source of your knowledge that a source outside of the x, y, z, t domain cannot produce the x, y, z, t domain?

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  57. ”A quantum event, or something like a quantum event that we don´t know yet don´t have such limitations, and is a much better candidate for the origin of everything.”

    You appear to be working from Hawking’s first book, “Brief History of Time”, which he finally realized was flawed, because the actualization of quantum events into material reality takes an observation, and what was the source of the observation that actualized the initial quantum event? It turned out to be an excellent argument for the existence of a sentient being which caused the actualization. Based on such a theory using quantum theory as it is now known brings us to the next question: without an observation to actualize the materialization, why does anything continue to exist?

    Hawking’s recent book changes all that from his original “quantum event” posit to his new posit, which is that gravity causes universes to pop into being without causes (other than gravity, of course). But that merely moves the goal posts up a notch to this: what is the source of gravity? Why does he think that gravity existed at or before t=0, when no other physical law or “thing” existed? why aren’t we observing the random and constant creation of these universes? And reading the book thoroughly brings up the questions of why one should believe unproven equations that use infinities?

    At any rate, Hawking’s new position is weaker than his first.

    and a personal relationship.
    I have a personal relationship with my immaterial personal gnome. This gnome created the Universe just for me, and told me that your personal revelation is just a illusion that he implanted in your mind just to have fun. The gnome will send all christians to hell, and he said that he will not say anything more. More details will be revealed to me after my death.

    You can dispute the truth of my revelation, but I don´t need to give any evidence to you of my claims. My revelation is true despite your claims of the contrary, because what I felt is undeniable like conscience itself. Revelations, after all, are like noses. Everybody has one and they are all different. Be my guest if you want to endorse this absolute mediocre movement made by illusionists like Platinga and Craig. Such action is a retreat to stone age, dismissing thousand of years of knowledge accumulated about the human mind and it´s self-deception and delusional skills, that can be very proeminent, especially when the topic is religion, fear of the unknown and the necessity to survive death at all costs.”


    A very long and involved reductionist strawman argument. Bottom line is that you will believe exactly in materialism and scientism, not because of your straw man, but because it satisfies your personal needs. What you have not experienced you declare to be delusion… but without a shred of physical, empirical proof to back it up. Your belief is based on your desire that it be so, and you have no other justification (as you demand of others) for your belief. If you were in any way taking an humble, agnostic viewpoint regarding those things which you cannot know, it might indicate an open mind. But you are dogmatic about the truth of those things of which you cannot possibly have knowledge. And that is the real definition of delusion.

    Few theologians of which I am aware claim the absolute knowledge of the deity, other than through the likelihood of the First Cause, and the personal experiences that some have had. The “belief” which Atheists excoriate in theists is mostly in the form of hope that what appears valid, is valid. Atheists, as you abundantly demonstrate, have an unshakeable and dogmatic belief system which they cannot materially demonstrate within their own requirements, so they create Atheodicies which they believe justify their belief system. That is blind faith in action.

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  58. ”This is an astonishing statement for someone with a worldview demanding justification and material evidence. Apparently that requirement is for the other side only, not for justification of one’s own position, which is accepted with no justification.

    False. My acceptance of a materialist worldview is justified by the following:

    1) I don´t have extensive knowledge of the material world, the only one we know. In this case, to look to the material world and conclude that it needs something else to explain itself, a transcendent reality, would be just an error. Maybe it is true, we need something else to explain the material. But unless you have exhaustive knwoledge of the material, you are not allowed to accept the proposition “I need something more to explain it”, wich leads you to the acceptance of materialism as a principle that waits to be proven false.


    This is a misstatement of the current transcendent argument, which is merely that the universe is an effect, effects require causes, the cause is greater than the effect, the cause of the universe exists outside of mass-energy, space-time and created a rational, law driven universe. This in no way interferes with the material investigation of the universe itself. Functional materialism is not the issue; philosophical materialism is the issue. Functional materialism merely states that empirical methods only apply to material entities, because material measurements are so limited. Philosophical Materialism is the belief that there is nothing that is not material. You seem to subscribe to both, using the first to justify the second, a process that is non-deductive; i.e. it is inductive and subject to the inductive fallacy: it cannot follow necessarily, much less be declared truth. It is in fact a logic category error to follow that line of reasoning.

    ”2) All explanations of the past about the the world was done by invoking the supernatural, spiritual and immaterial realities. Every time we understand how the world works, we discover that such claims are false. Those claims includes diseases, natural phenomena (thunders, earthquakes), life itself, pretty much everything you can see around you. None of them, once understanded, showed anything that can´t be natural only.”

    This is an inductive process.

    ” Maybe the only unknown mystery that bother us now is the existence of the universe itself. The problem is, all past explanations about immaterial stuff explaining our world are just plain inventions, you discover that once you can get the real answers.”

    This is the inductive conclusion. Like all inductive processes, it cannot be given a truth value of 1; its value is in its subjective perception of describing all of reality, a condition that might be personally desired, but not empirical. The falseness of "n" propositions does not indicate falseness of proposition "n+1".

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  59. ” Knowing that the spiritual realm is a known invention of humans in order to fill his ignorance with something, why someone should accept spiritual explanations about the origin of the Universe?”

    This so-called knowledge is not empirical, it is inductively derived from material considerations, and is therefore a logic category error, as well as subject to the inductive fallacy. As a truth statement, it is false; the statement cannot be known to be true. To repeat, The falseness of "n" propositions does not indicate falseness of proposition "n+1".

    As a second consideration, why should someone consider the creator of material existence to be material, when that is demonstrably a logic category error?

    ” Just because we don´t know how the Universe occurred? There was a time were pathogens were outside the scope of the scientific method. Should any rational person at that time accept the conclusion that diseases are caused by evil spirits because we can´t say what they are? NO! Should I accept now your claim that the universe needs a immaterial mind to occur because I don´t know how the Universe occurred? NO!”

    Consistent with the category errors being made continually here: pathogens are material; the cause for the universe was outside the material realm.

    ”Again, materialism is granted in this case as a principle, that waits to be proven false, because the material world is the only one that we can have knowledge of. If there is immaterial realities out there, YOU are the one that have to show this. Can´t do it? So sorry for you. Keep your claims of spiritual realms for yourself, please, and don´t bother other people with claims that you know you can´t show that are true.”

    Your rude snippiness aside for a moment, you are merely taking the unsupportable Philosophical Materialism approach to reality (under the false aegis of functional materialism), and then claiming that you need not demonstrate its validity. You claim that other views of the pre-material reality must be demonstrated within materialism (an obvious logic category error), but that your view of total material reality need not be demonstrated.

    This sufficiently demonstrates that a) your position is dogmatic and anti-rational because you cannot validate your belief system with your own standards of material proof; and b) you hold others to standards which you do not apply to yourself; and c) you cannot successfully refute the Atheist Challenge - especially by using the tools of materialism, but also by using Atheodological logic constructs.

    Now for your rudeness; this merely indicates an arrogance which is misplaced. The subject of knowledge is not a place for arrogance, it is a place for intellectual humility. Arrogance indicates a closed mind, and the likelihood of a closed mind containing knowledge of value is diminished proportionally to the degree of arrogance.

    Actually you did well, up until the end.

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  60. Luiz,

    Although this is off track, to demonstrate that materialism is not as obviously true as you seem to think it is consider this argument:

    (1) Everything contingent has an external cause
    (2) The universe is contingent
    (3) Therefore, the universe has an external cause

    The conclusion follows validly, so the only thing in question is whether the premises are true.

    (1) is true by definition. "Contingent" facts are facts that could have been different, and so they have external causes that lead to one of the many possibilities being realized. This is contrasted with "necessary" facts; facts that could not have been different. For instance, 2+2=4 is true and can be nothing else. Necessary facts do not have external causes.

    So you can't dispute (1).

    (2) seems more probably true than false. Consider that the universe could have been different. It could have had more or less galaxies, more or less entropy, it could have expanded faster or slower. If our universe is one of a multiverse, the multiverse could have had less "sub" universes. If our universe is the result of colliding M-branes, there could have been more or less M-branes.

    Also, the universe seems to have come into existence some 14 billion years ago, and will eventually die. Necessary facts are not born and do not die. 2+2=4 will always be true, whether anyone is around or not.

    So if the universe is more plausibly contingent than necessary, then the conclusion follows logically.

    This does not demonstrate theism, of course, but only that supernaturalism can be plausibly argued for and so your materialism is not as obviously true as you seem to think it is.

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  61. Hi stan

    So when someone says 'It's not a belief it is a disbelief', though invariably it will be a lie is the only way to show/know that it is a lie is by how they act?

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  62. Bentrt,
    Good question. I think the answer is to be direct: "Do you believe that there a) is a God, or b) is not a God?"

    An answer of "no belief" to this query is not a legitimate answer; an answer of "no, because..." is legitimate.

    So then, the idea of "no, because I have no belief" is an obvious internal contradiction:

    I do believe in [~Q] because I have no belief about [Q].

    Whether you can convince a dedicated Atheist dogmatist of this is another story. Logic is not a strong weapon against closed, dogmatic belief.

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  63. Bentrt,
    Oops, I didn't answer your actual question, sorry. I'm not sure how to answer it, actually. Acting dogmatic is an indicator of a religious belief system that is closed to logical counter-arguments. Denialism is common to dogmatic arguers.

    Arguing with closed Atheists usually brings no positive results, unless there are third parties present that might be influenced by rational, logical, (and calm) presentations. So there is little point to such arguments which are only one-on-one, without bystanders to influence.

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  64. I should have mentioned aggression, arrogance and ridicule as other traits.

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  65. (2) The universe is contingent
    If what you are using to calculate the odds of the Universe being a contingent thing is "it could have been different", God will face the same problem. I can give you an infinite list of immaterial minds, all different, that are eternal an capable to ignit Universes. In fact, human culture already gave us a list with some thousands of Gods, all different, all possible, and being so, God is a contingent concept, and can´t be the source of reality by your own reasoning.

    These contingent/necessity arguments are really boring (like all theological arguments). Everything that exist has the potential to ben contingent and necessary at the same time, all you need to do is to change your point of view about the object.

    The only thing capable of being truly non-contingent that I know is no existence, the nothing. Nothingness is the only concept that simply could not have been different. It´s eternal. It can´t be created, and can´t be destroyed.

    As far as I know, we probably came from the nothing. The interesting thing about this idea, is that Craig and other apologists agrees with me, just to later say that "it´s impossible to something appear from the nothing, you need a God to do it". If it´s impossible to something appear from the nothing, if it´s illogical, how God did it? God can break the rules of logic and make something appear from nothing?

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  66. The argument is not about a thousand Gods, it is about a single necessary First Cause for the Universe. Your argument using multiplicities of Gods is an inductive fail. As pointed out earlier, the probability of instance [n+1] is not determined by the first [n] instances.

    You do not even address the refutation of your previous erroneous propositions; you merely charge off in another direction. Your use of “thousands of gods” is a logical failure which you should deal with.

    Explain why 2+3=5 is contingent, please. Explain how it could have been otherwise, and what exactly it could have been. Your position on contingency is stated with the certainty that you have that information; please provide it. You say that everything is both necessary and contingent. Explain why this is not a contradiction in terms, please. And an example of "both contingent and necessary" from within your realm of material existence, please.

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  67. Before this discussion flips over completely into theodicy-land, let’s review something that you skipped over. I said above, and I repeat here:

    This sufficiently demonstrates that a) your position is dogmatic and anti-rational because you cannot validate your belief system with your own standards of material proof; and b) you hold others to standards which you do not apply to yourself; and c) you cannot successfully refute the Atheist Challenge - especially by using the tools of materialism, but also by using Atheodological logic constructs.

    I presume that your failure to address this assessment means that you do not dispute it.

    To summarize the status of the discussion at this point: You require “justification” of a material nature for any and all beliefs. You have either refused or been unable to provide any material evidence to support your own beliefs. Your argument is that others must, but that you need not, provide such support. You have not provided any material evidence regarding the Challenge which you answered here. Your position is a group of straw men, false analogies, false dichotomies, false use of probability, and other logic failures which you do not discuss or attempt to defend when they are pointed out; you merely charge onward with even more fallacious arguments.

    How do you respond to this assessment?

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  68. Luiz,

    This is not an argument for God, or any kind of theism per se. It is only to get you to see that materialism is not obviously true and so must be argued for. And pointing out the success of science and the failure of supernatural explanations within the universe does nothing to show that the universe is all there is.

    Please note that the argument is deductively valid; the conclusion must follow if the premises are true.

    The only way out of the conclusion for you is to show that (2) is false. Saying "the same would apply to God" and so forth is a red herring because it doesn't address the question of whether (2) is true or false.

    Here is an argument for the truth of (2):

    (1) Everything that could conceivably have been different is contingent
    (2) The universe could conceivably have been different
    (3) Therefore, the universe is contingent

    (1) is true by definition. And (2) seems more likely true than false. We can theorize about different amounts of entropy and matter, and cosmologists are always calculating how the expansion would have gone if this had been different. The very fact that they can conceive of these possibilities entails their possibility.

    Again, I am not attempting to convince you of the falsity of materialism per se. You don't have to accept my argument. I'm only attempting to get you to see that it is rationally supportable to not be a materialist. And if you are one, you had better have an argument for it. Otherwise, you are committing a sort-of fallacy of composition: everything within the universe has a material explanation, therefore the universe does as well.

    Stan,

    Sorry. Not trying to hijack the thread. I just think a prerequisite for the challenge is for Luiz to first see that materialism is not as obviously true as he thinks it is.

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  69. Martin,
    All measured comments are welcome... Not a problem.

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  70. I don't what happened to Luiz, but this is why I highly recommend keeping these debates in strict logical form.

    Notice how he brought up that God would need a cause also, and I could have responded that God is conceived as a necessary being. But that's a sidetrack and it would have gone down that path forever, the original argument forgotten. My argument is modus tollens, the conclusion must follow, and so the only thing in question is whether it's two premises are true or not.

    I find this highly effective, because it forces people into a corner.

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  71. Hi stan
    I was reading through your atheism guides on your .net site its really helpful. i came across you saying this and was trying to work out what you meant

    what evidence would it take to prove the existence of a deity?
    For one thing, would ordering a deity to show himself work? A no-show on the deity’s part bears no information at all.

    Does it bear no information because absense of evidence (i.e. God not appearing) is not evidence of absense, so no information is formed on whether God exists or not

    Or am I wide of the mark

    Cheers
    Ben

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  72. Ben,
    That is one way to look at it. Another way is that it is a Category Error to expect to find a non-material entity in a material investigation. And another way is to ask why a deity would show himself on the command of a mere mortal, a command that is arrogant and self-deifying.

    The point is that there is no material way in which a materialist can show the non-existence of an intelligent, intentional, first cause for the universe, yet that is what they believe. Their belief is without the evidence that they demand for "believing a thing", and is therefore a religious belief concerning a religious being, based not on evidence, but on faith.

    Some Atheists now claim not to have a positive belief, but to merely not have a God belief. This is a logical absurdity, which demonstrates the Atheist tendency toward illogic, rather than logical analysis.

    Thanks for your question, and if this didn't answer your question, I am happy to try again.

    Stan

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  73. Cool so let me get this right

    A first cause would not be a material being cos it has to reside outside of the material universe along with it not being limited by time and space- materialists claim that this first cause doesn't exist based on there being no material evidence for it (Illogical: can't expect a non material being to be materially investigated anyway)- They also claim 'don't believe anything without evidence' yet their belief in no first cause is a belief without material evidence so their view is self defeating (i.e. don't believe without evidence yet i believe without evidence) which just means the whole argument against first cause is ridiculously illogical!

    Ben ;)

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  74. BENTRT,

    Atheism is defined as an unjustified godless assumption at bottom of one's belief system, an a priori starting point upon which his or her belief system is built (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and so forth). First, it is godless by virtue of the very term itself, whose root is the Greek atheos, which means "without God" in the same way that asymmetrical means "without symmetry." Second, it is an unjustified assumption because it is an a priori starting point; that is to say, it is incapable of being justified since the very criteria by which the atheist justifies anything already has that "without God" assumption built in. (Think about it. If an atheist thought God was required for something then he would not be an atheist, would he? He would be a deist at minimum, which precludes atheism.)

    That is what atheism is, and nothing more: an unjustified godless assumption which the atheist's belief system is built upon. (And his atheistic belief system could be any number of things; Buddhism, Secular Humanism, Solipsism, Metaphysical Naturalism, Objectivism, Nihilism and so forth, or more likely some combination of beliefs which at bottom are all atheistic.)

    "So then," one might surmise, "atheism is a belief that God does not exist." Not quite. There are actually very few atheists who believe that God does not exist, primarily because such a belief is indefensible rationally. Yes atheism is a belief, but here is what that belief is: "God is unnecessary." Ponder that thoughtfully. Atheists are usually quick to tell others that atheism is the absence of belief in God, that they simply have no such belief. Now what has been pointed out above is precisely the reason why they have no such belief; i.e., their assumed "without God" starting point is precisely why they have no belief in God nor see any reason to, and why they consistently proclaim that the burden of proof rests on the theist (to show that God is necessary). In other words, the belief the atheist does not have is produced by the belief he does have. So when an atheist tells you that he merely does not have any belief in God he is putting on a smoke-and-mirrors show, trying to hide the belief he does have behind the belief he does not have.

    NOTE: Atheists might object that I used the singular "God" throughout the above and insist that atheism is not a position on one God but rather any gods, plural. I have two points in response to such an objection. First, the existence of just a single God is sufficient to shipwreck atheism against the rocks of delusion, thus plurality is superfluous. Second, the Greek atheos consists of the privative a- (alpha) negating theos (God, singular); in other words, their objection would be grammatically incorrect, as the plural of theos is theoi (and the word atheism does not come from the Greek atheoi).

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  75. BENTRT,

    "A first cause would not be a material being," you said, "because it has to reside outside of the material universe, along with it not being limited by time and space." Very roughly speaking that is so, but there is a stronger argument to be had; namely, that God (the First Cause) cannot be a material being because matter is the very thing he created, and to suggest that he is comprised of the very thing he created is to suggest that the creator created himself, which is an incoherent contradiction.

    "Materialists claim," you said, "that this first cause doesn't exist based on there being no material evidence for it." Incorrect. That is not the basis for their claim. Not to put too fine a point on it but the dirty little secret is that they have no basis whatsoever for their claim. Metaphysical naturalism is an a priori assumption that is predicated on the unjustifiable atheist starting point (i.e., God is unnecessary).

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  76. Ryft,
    Quite well put, and appreciated. I hope you stick around,
    Stan

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  77. Wow: cheers Ryft

    Hey stan- you might want to recruit Ryft to do some articles while your busy he he he :)

    Cheers guys I'm sure it won't be long before I have more questions!

    Ben

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  78. A few things Stan

    Been re-reading some stuff on your .net site about intuition, why is it that Atheists deny it and what is wrong logically with atheists that don't deny it?

    Also you said
    "Premise: “Intuition does not exist.”

    Expansion (a): “{Empirically,} intuition does not exist.” (True, but only for an overly constrained subset restricted by the rules of empiricism)."

    Can you explain what you mean by the 'True but only for an..." bit?

    Second you refer to the appendix where the blind man and the sunset analogy is but I can't find the appendix? Do you know where it is on that site

    Finally when is your eBook 3 'Spectrum of atheism' going to be available :)!

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  79. Bentrt, Sorry for the delay in answering your questions.

    ”True, but only for an overly constrained subset restricted by the rules of empiricism.”

    This statement really is a little misleading. It was intended to demonstrate that intuition cannot be detected by the use of material experimentation (empiricism). So materialists can justify their claim of non-existence only by using the rules of empiricism in a philosophical manner, rather than the pragmatic manner in which the rules are actually developed. But empiricism is a philosophy of discovery of the rules which regulate the universe, not a philosophy of the limits of reality.

    So the statement was intended to mean that intuition does not exist in a manner that is empirically testable within the constraints of mass/energy, replicability and falsifiability which limit the activities of empiricism (science).

    The “Blind Man in the Sunset” is a demonstration analogy that has this essence: Two men are standing outside, facing a sunset; one man is blind. The seeing man comments on the beauty of the colors in the sky. The blind man says,

    “There is only the warmth on our faces; there is no such thing as color. Color is a fantasy, a delusion which is created with no basis for belief in its existence. The only reason for such a fantasy is to give people false happiness in the face of the coming cold period after the warmth fades.”


    The seeing man says,

    “But I can see it plainly and clearly.”


    The blind man concludes,

    “Then you are delusional; and being delusional, you are irrational; and being irrational, you are likely prone to evil; being likely prone to evil, you must be either re-educated, isolated or eliminated”.


    Unfortunately I have not been working on the "Spectrum", so I'm not certain if/when it would be available. But thanks for your interest...

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  80. As I have said many times before: "Science informs our thinking about nature. Metaphysics informs our thinking about reality. Those who are inclined to state that nature is all that reality consists of need to understand that such is a metaphysical prejudice, not a scientific conclusion."

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  81. Anyone can make up a god. No matter in the universe has a cause that anyone knows of, despite someone saying earlier in their arguments that all matter in the universe has a cause. No one can prove that something doesn't "exist" in some way. Boohoo theres stuff I can't know, that means its plausible that some shit I made up is true if I call it a "singularity" and define absolutely nothing about it.
    Lets say some magic energy wizard outside of time made the universe? What bearing does it have on anything. Have fun arguing your life away with bullshit.

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  82. Anonymous, I am unable to detect a proof or disproof of anything in your statement. Please feel free to try again.

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  83. Let me jump in here for a moment, if I may. Current-day cosmogonists have disputed the premise that the Big Bang was the creation of all matter and energy. Various hypotheses such as M-theory, bubble universes, quantum fluctuations etc that have the Big Bang coming about in a larger "multiverse" have been proposed and are now undergoing validation. To dismiss these hypotheses as having insufficent evidentiary support is unwarranted as much as it would have been to dismiss hypotheses on the material causes of diseases in favor of beliefs attributing diseases to "evil spirits" or "God's anger" early in the Modern Age before the development of more sophisticated research instruments and concepts. Let's give the cosmologists time to prove their hypotheses.

    Where is the evidence for an immaterial First Cause causing the Big Bang? It seems the First Cause argument is based more on a belief that a material cause for the Big Bang is impossible more than actual proof of its truth. This belief is premature, given the recency of modern cosmology.

    If there is no evidence of a self-causing material universe, where is the evidence that a being that is beyond space and time could exist. Personal experience? Which ones? Christians, Mormons, Hindus, Moslems? All these religions claim validity through personal experience yet all these religions contradict each other, not to mention the experiences of those who have founded cults like the Moonies. How can anyone base a belief so important as the existence of an immaterial first cause on such an unreliable means of knowledge?

    Just askin' some questions.

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  84. Brooklynguy, welcome!

    Atheists historically have demanded physical evidence for confirmation of the beliefs of others. Please keep in mind that the challenge presented to the Atheist here is for the Atheist to do the same: provide hard evidence in the form of empirical, replicable, falsifiable experimental evidence for the Atheist belief, which is that there is no first cause for the universe.

    You said,
    ”To dismiss these hypotheses as having insufficent evidentiary support is unwarranted as much as it would have been to dismiss hypotheses on the material causes of diseases in favor of beliefs attributing diseases to "evil spirits" or "God's anger" early in the Modern Age before the development of more sophisticated research instruments and concepts. Let's give the cosmologists time to prove their hypotheses."

    It is not that there is insufficient evidence which exists, it is that there cannot possibly exist anyevidence of many of these claims. For example, in M theory the extra dimensions coexist with our dimensions, yet are not discernable due to the mass/energy limitations of our measurement capabilities and our existence. (see Flatworld). Many physicists claim that these theories are not “science” due to their non-falsifiability and are therefore metaphysical theories rather than science. It is not valid to compare rational objections to such theories based on the philosophy of science and its material limitations, with "anger of God", etc.

    Keep in mind that the point of this challenge is for the Atheist to prove, empirically within the physicalist philosophy of Atheism, the Atheist belief system: physical evidence that is conclusive for the non-existence of a first cause.

    ”Where is the evidence for an immaterial First Cause causing the Big Bang? It seems the First Cause argument is based more on a belief that a material cause for the Big Bang is impossible more than actual proof of its truth. This belief is premature, given the recency of modern cosmology.”

    Modern cosmology has not proven, empirically, any source for the universe. Stephen Hawking attributes it to gravity, in the sense (assumed, not stated) that the rules governing universal creation and natural laws precede the origination. This, then, generates the next question: what is the source of the rules? It is possible for the conceived first cause to be pushed back; if it is to be eliminated, it must be done so within the construct and constraints of the philosophy of science, and with hard physical evidence which is empirically experimentally derived, replicable, falsifiable. Otherwise, it is a religious concept, held religiously.

    This post is a challenge; the issue here is for the Atheist to provide hard evidence, empirically and materially, replicably and falsifiably, for the Atheist claim that there is no intelligent, powerful first cause.
    (continued below)

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  85. (Continued from above)


    ”If there is no evidence of a self-causing material universe, where is the evidence that a being that is beyond space and time could exist. Personal experience? Which ones? Christians, Mormons, Hindus, Moslems? All these religions claim validity through personal experience yet all these religions contradict each other, not to mention the experiences of those who have founded cults like the Moonies. How can anyone base a belief so important as the existence of an immaterial first cause on such an unreliable means of knowledge?”

    The concept of a first cause for the universe is a non-denominational, non-ecclesiastic concept and is not related to any of the things you mention. A first cause is a logical extrapolation from empirical observations of causal chains within the universe. Your concern about Moonies, etc., is a deflection from the purpose here, which is for the Atheist to prove, empirically, physically and materially, that there is no intelligent first cause in order to provide evidence for the Atheist belief system. Attempting to connect a logical concept with ecclesiastic miasma is both a Red Herring and a Guilt By Association Fallacy.

    Once again, the challenge to the Atheist is for him to provide the evidence which he demands of others: empirical, replicable, falsifiable, experimental evidence for the belief system to which he subscribes: the absence of an intelligent, powerful first cause. Arguments cannot suffice; Atheists disallow arguments for Theism by demanding hard physical evidence, and they are thus disallowed for Atheism too for the purpose of this challenge. Only solid empirical evidence will suffice here.

    Without empirical evidence, Atheist claims are held as religious tenets, unproven, yet believed.

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  86. Your challenge to atheists contradicts itself. You ask, on the one hand, for atheists to display hard physical evidence to prove there is no God, yet you also say that it is impossible for this evidence to exist. How can an atheist deal with that?

    I agree that at this stage of human scientific progress, there is no way to prove definitively whether the universe was or was not created by an immaterial First Cause. What to do in this situation is to wield Occam's Razor and choose that hypothesis that contains the least number of unsupportable assumptions. In favor of a self-caused material universe is the undoubtable existence of such things as material universes, the qauntum foam, proven by experiment to exist, gravity, etc. Immaterial universal causation requires the existence of an immaterial First Cause, whose existence can only be assumed, not supported by any commonly-accepted manner of proof. While any human who disputes the existence of the material universe would be deemed insane, most humans have not experienced the presence of a First Cause, and many who have claimed so are regarded as insane, such as David Koresh. A self-caused material universe is ergo the more rational choice.

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  87. Anonymous (please choose a moniker) said:
    ”Your challenge to atheists contradicts itself. You ask, on the one hand, for atheists to display hard physical evidence to prove there is no God, yet you also say that it is impossible for this evidence to exist. How can an atheist deal with that?”
    (Continued below)
    It is the Atheist claim that (a) evidence is required to believe a thing, and (b) no intelligent first cause exists; the Atheist believes (b), yet is unable to provide (a), producing an internal contradiction within his belief system. It is the Atheist belief which is non-coherent, so the Atheist has to deal with the internal contradiction of his own belief system. That is the point of the challenge.


    ”I agree that at this stage of human scientific progress, there is no way to prove definitively whether the universe was or was not created by an immaterial First Cause. What to do in this situation is to wield Occam's Razor and choose that hypothesis that contains the least number of unsupportable assumptions. In favor of a self-caused material universe is the undoubtable existence of such things as material universes, the qauntum foam, proven by experiment to exist, gravity, etc.”

    Unsupportable logically or empirically? What discovery empirically demonstrates the existence of multiple material universe(s), and why is it undoubtable? What is your mention of quantum foam and gravity intended to show or prove? Is your position that science can solve every question (Scientism)? The things you mention (presuming you have no evidence of any other universes) are artifacts of this universe; there is no justification for extrapolating their existence beyond this universe, unless that justification is empirically based, meaning that it is replicable and falsifiable experimentally. Can you produce references to such experiments? Without the ability for replication and falsification, such extrapolations are merely a competing metaphysic, one which fails as will be shown below.

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  88. ”Immaterial universal causation requires the existence of an immaterial First Cause, whose existence can only be assumed, not supported by any commonly-accepted manner of proof.”

    “Commonly accepted” meaning fitting within the Philosophical Materialism paradigm, which is not only unprovable, but is itself not commonly accepted because it is a non-requirement of empirical practice. We will address the logical, mathematical and empirical qualities of your argument below.

    “While any human who disputes the existence of the material universe would be deemed insane, most humans have not experienced the presence of a First Cause, and many who have claimed so are regarded as insane, such as David Koresh.”

    Ah! The you’re insane if you disagree with Philosophical Materialism ploy. That almost deserves its own fallacy name, but False Dilemma will do for now. The idea that there are merely two choices available ( accept Philosophical Materialism, or insanity) is demonstrably false. Philosophical Materialism fails under empirical necessities for material evidence of its truth value, which it cannot provide because it is a metaphysic. Because it fails, then there almost certainly is another answer beside insanity. In any case, this argument does nothing to eliminate any other solution except as an insult (Ad Hominem). But denial of a first cause, on the other hand can be shown to fail logic and mathematics as well as empirical requirements, read on.

    As for Ockham’s razor (which is not a natural law as Einstein showed) it is simpler to assume that, given Set [A], there will also exist Set [!A], and as Russell showed, the all-inclusive Superset of Set [A +SetA] = SetA cannot exist, therefore Set [!A] can and does exist because no set, Set [A], can be all inclusive. Denying the existence of Set [!A] is not rational, but it is the Atheist/Materialist position.

    ”A self-caused material universe is ergo the more rational choice. “

    Sorry that is just not the case, neither logically, mathematically, nor empirically. No such self-caused material existences have ever been seen or detected, nor is any natural law known to support such effects. Even matter / antimatter are formed from a pre-existing quantum field. In fact, to support a self-cause mechanism, an extra, complicating posit is required: a self-limit function. This is required in order to prevent things from self-causing everywhere, all the time; the universe would be chock-a-block with self-caused entities continuously popping out of nowhere without some sort of limiting function. Continuous self-causation is not seen to be the case (nor is even a single example), so self-causation is considerably more complex than just popping into existence from nothing, if the concept is to adhere to observation.

    Again, under Philosophical Materialism, self-causation does not exist. Self-causation is therefore another competing metaphysic, one that is materially unlikely per observation as well as Materialist philosophy.

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  89. "Your challenge to atheists contradicts itself."

    On the contrary, it shows that atheists cannot meet their own demands. It shows the hypocrisy of their double-standard in proposing explanations which cannot meet the demands that they insist competing explanations must meet. Let us consider one of your statements as an example and assume that an atheist had said it. "In favor of a self-caused material universe," he said, "is the undoubtable existence of such things as material universes." On the one hand, he actually proposed such a logical contradiction as a self-caused thing. (In order for X to be self-caused it must pre-exist its own existence, or exist and not exist at the same time and in the same respect.) On the other hand, he says it is "undoubtable" that multiple universes exist when he has empirical evidence for only this one. Ergo, he claims that the existence of things for which he has not a shred of empirical evidence favourably supports a logically impossible concept. This he pretends has scientific merit and explanatory power. Really. Now imagine his response were a theist to do that. The atheist's bigoted prejudice is exposed when his Special Pleading fig leaf is removed.

    "The idea that there are merely two choices available—accept philosophical materialism or insanity—is demonstrably false."

    I am inclined to think it is more of a No True Scotsman fallacy (i.e., no truly sane person rejects philosophical materialism). In the face of counter-examples demonstrating sane people who reject philosophical materialism, the response is to redefine "sane" so as to disqualify the counter-examples and thus preserve the claim.

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  90. "Accept philosophical materialism or insanity."

    By the way, that is redundant.

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  91. "Your challenge to atheists contradicts itself."

    On the contrary, it shows that atheists cannot meet their own demands. It shows the hypocrisy of their double-standard in proposing explanations which cannot meet the demands that they insist competing explanations must meet. Let us consider one of your statements as an example and assume that an atheist had said it. "In favor of a self-caused material universe," he said, "is the undoubtable existence of such things as material universes." On the one hand, he actually proposed such a logical contradiction as a self-caused thing. (In order for X to be self-caused it must pre-exist its own existence, or exist and not exist at the same time and in the same respect.) On the other hand, he says it is "undoubtable" that multiple universes exist when he has empirical evidence for only this one. Ergo, he claims that the existence of things for which he has not a shred of empirical evidence favourably supports a logically impossible concept. This he pretends has scientific merit and explanatory power. Really. Now imagine his response were a theist to do that. The atheist's bigoted prejudice is exposed when his Special Pleading fig leaf is removed.

    "The idea that there are merely two choices available—accept philosophical materialism or insanity—is demonstrably false."

    I am inclined to think it is more of a No True Scotsman fallacy (i.e., no truly sane person rejects philosophical materialism). In the face of counter-examples demonstrating sane people who reject philosophical materialism, the response is to redefine "sane" so as to disqualify the counter-examples and thus preserve the claim.

    "Accept philosophical materialism or insanity."

    By the way, that is redundant... :o)

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  92. Hmm. No True Scottsman; yes that's right.

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  93. Without evidence of god there is nothing for an athiest to prove.
    It really is that simple.

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  94. "Without evidence of god there is nothing for an athiest [sic] to prove.
    It really is that simple."


    If by evidence you mean material evidence, then your assertion is a Category Error.

    If you merely mean that an assertion may be made that "there is no God, because there is no evidence", then there is the standard requirement for evidence (material evidence in your case) to support your assertion. This requires that you must disprove any/all claims of evidence; then you must prove that the lack of evidence is necessary and sufficient evidence for your assertion that there is no God.

    I realize that your position is similar to other Atheist word games which the Atheists hope will relieve them of the need for rational justification of their worldview and belief system; hopefully you realize that such word games do not substitute for rational argumentation. If Atheism is a rational worldview and belief system, then it must be justified by successfully refuting the arguments which it denies. Because it cannot do that, Atheism as a movement has adopted irrational word games which it hopes will alleviate the need to defend itself in the forum of rational, logical debate.

    Your comment falls into the latter category.

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  95. Sorry I ahve taken so long to respond to your responses but here goes:

    You misunderstood my position. I did not say that anyone who doubts philosophical materialism is insane, I said that anyone who doubts the existence of the universe is insane. If you don't agree, then further dialogue is impossible as anyone who doesn't think the universe exists is insane.

    My point then was to argue that since there is such a thing as a material universe, it is possible there could be more than one material universe. I am not saying that there is proof multiple universes exist, I am saying it is possible they exist because one does exist. Then I argued that since there is such a thing as a material universe, it is more likely that othe runiverses exist than a being betyonf space-time and energy eixsts.

    Let me make my position clear:

    1. There is no conclusive evidence to prove either God's existence or non-existence. In the absence of such conclusive evidence, Occam's razor is applied to argue that the position which requires the least number of unprovable assumptions is the more likely one to be true. Such things as universes, gravity, energy, space-time exist. Therefore, it is more probable that a hypothesis postulating the creation of the universe as a result of the combination of knbown-to-exist material forces is true than a hypothesis that positis the existence of a non-material being beyond space-time,etc. since the existence of such a being is in doubt, as the existence of gravity, space, time is not in doubt.

    By the way, on what do you base your belief in God? That there has to be a First Cause? Well, why does there have to be a First Cause? Why cannot matter/energy have existed eternally? Our Universe had a beginning, but not necessarily matter/energy. The quantum foam is hypothesized to be beyond the space-time continuum of this universe. The bottom line is this: If you argue that there can be such a thing as something that can exist eternally,such as God, then why not such a thing as quantum foam? There is no rule of logic that requires energy to have been created. The first law of physics states that matter/energy can neither be created nor destroyed, though it certainly can change form. If you argue that everything needs a creator, well, then who created God? And if you argue that God existed without casue, why not matter/energy?

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  96. On vacation, back in two weeks.
    Stan

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  97. " burden of proof is a debating term"

    No, it is a rule of logic. You make the claim a god exists, the burden of proof is on you. Shifting the burden of proof is nonsensical. One does not prove there is no Santa Clause, unicorns, leprechauns, vampires, minotaurs, fairies etc. See Russell's Teapot and/or Carl Sagan's Dragon in the Garage.

    "the logical need for an originating cause persists"

    This concept of causality is an equivocation fallacy resulting from conflating material causality (re-arranging of energy and matter/ creation ex materia), which has been observed and is intuitively valid, with metaphysical causality (creation from literal nothing/ creation ex nihilo), which has never been observed and is neither intuitive or valid.

    "Second is the theist notion of a personal relationship with the deity described in the First level."

    This is no more valid than J.Z. Knight's notion of a personal relationship with Ramtha.

    Total FAIL

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  98. 083111 Bklynguy said,

    ”I am not saying that there is proof multiple universes exist, I am saying it is possible they exist because one does exist. Then I argued that since there is such a thing as a material universe, it is more likely that othe runiverses exist than a being betyonf space-time and energy eixsts.”

    Your likelihood calculation is based on… exactly what?

    ”1. There is no conclusive evidence to prove either God's existence or non-existence. In the absence of such conclusive evidence, Occam's razor is applied to argue that the position which requires the least number of unprovable assumptions is the more likely one to be true. Such things as universes, gravity, energy, space-time exist. Therefore, it is more probable that a hypothesis postulating the creation of the universe as a result of the combination of knbown-to-exist material forces is true than a hypothesis that positis the existence of a non-material being beyond space-time,etc. since the existence of such a being is in doubt, as the existence of gravity, space, time is not in doubt.”

    The universe created itself? Circular; an unfounded leap to avoid an ideological discomfort.

    An external cause: non-circular; linear extrapolation.

    ”By the way, on what do you base your belief in God? That there has to be a First Cause? Well, why does there have to be a First Cause? Why cannot matter/energy have existed eternally? “

    If one takes the Hawking – Penrose equations seriously, then mass-energy and space-time were created during the Big Bang, and did not exist prior to the Big Bang.
    (continued below)

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  99. Anonymous said,

    " burden of proof is a debating term"

    No, it is a rule of logic. You make the claim a god exists, the burden of proof is on you. Shifting the burden of proof is nonsensical. One does not prove there is no Santa Clause, unicorns, leprechauns, vampires, minotaurs, fairies etc. See Russell's Teapot and/or Carl Sagan's Dragon in the Garage.


    I love it when an Atheist flaps in and renounces things which have nothing to do with the subject at hand, merely to be appearing to make a point.

    No, it is not a rule of logic. And there is no “shifting” of the burden of proof. The Atheist has the Burden of Rebuttal. Merely claiming no need for the burden of proof is not a counter argument.

    Nor is the Tu Quoque Fallacy whereby the Atheist tries to equate a first cause with Santa Clause, et al. That is also a Fallacy of False Association, and it has no argument embedded in it at all. There is no attempt here to dismantle the argument being made other than to try to associate the argument with other things which the Atheist holds to be false. The hackneyed “Russell’s teapot” and “Sagan’s Dragon” arguments have long ago been shown to be strawmen created for the specific purpose of being destroyed, as if that had some logical bearing on the first cause. I’m surprised that this individual did not mention the FSM, since he thinks that fabricated strawmen are logical devices.

    "the logical need for an originating cause persists"

    This concept of causality is an equivocation fallacy resulting from conflating material causality (re-arranging of energy and matter/ creation ex materia), which has been observed and is intuitively valid, with metaphysical causality (creation from literal nothing/ creation ex nihilo), which has never been observed and is neither intuitive or valid.


    Even more amazing is the Atheist who claims “intuition” as a proof of some sort. It is highly likely that given an intuition in an argument he disdains, the Atheist would claim that “intuition is known to be highly unreliable”, just as many other Atheists have done here on this blog. And creation ex nihilo is precisely what the previous Atheist claimed in an attempt to circumvent the need for a first cause. No, it is not ex nihilo, it is a cause from an unknown state in an unknown dimension by an agent with the ability to do so, regardless of the agent’s existence outside of the nascent universe. There is no conflation involved, because there is none necessary. In fact, ex nihilo falsification is a count against Atheism (and abiogenesis-evolution too, btw) because it is usually the Atheist which makes that claim. There is nothing here that makes the Atheist case that causality could not possibly have occurred nor is there any empirical case to be made in the Atheist's favor.

    As for valid, the argument is valid, structurally; but I don't think that is what this Atheist has in mind by the term, "valid" - I doubt that he has any logical terminology in mind.
    (continued below)

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  100. (continued from above)
    "Second is the theist notion of a personal relationship with the deity described in the First level."

    This is no more valid than J.Z. Knight's notion of a personal relationship with Ramtha.


    The author still thinks that a False Association Fallacy serves as an argument. False Association is a fallacy which serves to emphasize the lack of counter argumentation available to him. He cannot make a rational argument which defeats the claim, nor can he provide any empirical evidence to defeat the claim, so he dredges up a false assertion for comparison.

    ”Total FAIL”

    The Atheist seems convinced of his own rationality regardless of not having even read the preceding comments which have previously covered these primitive Atheist points. For many Atheists, logic and rationality are merely whatever they happen to dream up at the time, or what they have brushed up against on Atheist websites. Being totally convinced of their intellectual invincibility, they think they can dance in and defeat those who have actually studied logic and rationality, and who have addressed all the Atheist fallacies which exist out there in cloistered Atheist web-land. I hope that the next contender can at least form an argument which is not fallacy-laden.

    At least read the previous arguments in the above comments.

    ReplyDelete
  101. I am a bit confused by your challenge. In this case you are making two claims, the first is there is a first cause and the second is there is a personal relationship to be had with this first cause. Then you ask atheist to refute the claims that you just made, but you didn't provide any evidence for the claims. You simply stated them.

    I will give it a go for the fun of it though. In you first claim you called Hawking's theory, fallacious. Let's look at the word fallacious. Fallacious means based on a fallacy. A fallacy is a statement or an argument based on a false or invalid inference. Therefore, your argument is that the first cause came before a false event, therefore the only conclusion that one can draw is that your claim is also false.

    The second claim is that you can have a personal relationship with the first cause of your first argument. But since your first argument, was based on a fallacious event, therefore your second claim is also fallacious.

    Now for my counter argument, I don't know what caused the universe to come into existence, if anything. I saw above someone said something about a retreat into agnosticism. But there is no retreat in to a position that was already held. Atheist is the answer to the question, "Do you believe in god(s)?" Agnostic is the answer to a the question, "Do you know if your position is 100% correct?" So one could be an agnostic atheist, gnostic atheist, agnostic theist/deist, or a gnostic theist/deist. Most atheist are agnostic, I honestly don't even know any gnostic atheist.

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  102. Dave said,
    ”In you first claim you called Hawking's theory, fallacious. Let's look at the word fallacious. Fallacious means based on a fallacy. A fallacy is a statement or an argument based on a false or invalid inference. Therefore, your argument is that the first cause came before a false event, therefore the only conclusion that one can draw is that your claim is also false.”

    You should read more carefully. What I said was that Hawking’s theory of spontaneous creation from nothing is false. Since I wrote that even Hawking has changed his tune, now claiming that gravity pre-existed the universe. Your presumption that my claim is that the event itself is false is based on an incorrect reading of the text. My claim is that creation ex nihilo is an unjustified and unjustifiable materialist claim, being based on no data whatsoever.

    You seem to have failed to note that the requirement here for rebuttal is to provide empirical, material evidence, since that was the requirement in the Atheist challenge.

    So both of your claims are false.

    ”Now for my counter argument, I don't know what caused the universe to come into existence, if anything. I saw above someone said something about a retreat into agnosticism. But there is no retreat in to a position that was already held. Atheist is the answer to the question, "Do you believe in god(s)?" Agnostic is the answer to a the question, "Do you know if your position is 100% correct?" So one could be an agnostic atheist, gnostic atheist, agnostic theist/deist, or a gnostic theist/deist. Most atheist are agnostic, I honestly don't even know any gnostic atheist.”

    It is not clear here what your position is, or whether you are even taking a position, much less making a counter argument. However, the claim of “agnostic atheism” has been shown to be a dodge for avoiding the responsibilities that Atheism places on the disbeliever: to deliver the same level of material proof for his position that he requires of theists. Whether you personally know any “gnostic” Atheists is completely beside the point, because there are plenty of them around, which is obvious with a little searching (especially if you had read the link given in the text).

    Even if one accepted your definition of Atheist, the correct answer to the question, “Do you believe in god(s)”, is “I believe there are no gods.” Any other answer is an equivocation which falls into the separate category of “agnostic”.

    And the position which states "I believe that there are no gods" is the position which needs to be defended with material, empirical evidence. Not denials or attempts at arguing it away: what is required is material, empirical evidence, replicable and non-falsified.

    When you provide such evidence, it will be considered carefully.

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  103. Stan,

    My 2nd and 3rd paragraphs weren't meant to be taken seriously. They were pointing out how you had made two claims and didn't provide any evidence for either of them and then said prove evidence that my claims are false. The point I don't think you understand is that when making a claim you must provide evidence for the claim. My rebuttal to the argument is that we don't know and to make claims that we do know is false. If I make a claim that before the big bang there was a fish named Joe who swam the big bang into happening, I would have to provide evidence for this claim. I shouldn't expect others to come up with reasons that I just made a borderline retarded statement.

    I am an atheist and an agnostic, but before any of those labels, I am a skeptic. You have to prove to me that a claim you are making is more than possibly true before I will believe that it is true. As for a god(s), is it possible that they or he or she or whatever exist, but it is neither likely nor worthy of belief. I am willing to look at and consider any evidence that you have to prove that a deity exist, and if for some reason the evidence that you present changes my position on the god hypothesis, I will be embarrassed as hell, but I will change my mind. I am more than willing for this to happen, I would be excited for it to happen, not because I need some supreme being, but because I want to hold as many true beliefs as possible. Any atheist that says different isn't a skeptic and isn't any better than a fundamentalist christian spouting dogma. Honestly I have never met an atheist who isn't willing to change their beliefs as long as the evidence is presented to prove it, but I know plenty of theist who say there is absolutely nothing that would change their opinion.

    I believe that there are no gods and my evidence is the utter lack of any evidence to the contrary. The same reason I don't believe in unicorns, the same reason I don't believe in the Easter bunny, and the same reason I don't believe in Santa Claus. And before you say they aren't accurate comparisons, you are wrong. The reason you don't see it is because you believe that God exist on faith and nothing else (based on every communication I have ever had with any theist, ever). Prove me wrong if you have real evidence. Nothing would make me happier.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Dave,
    I am enjoying this conversation more than those discussions with average Atheists. The average Atheist is bitter, arrogant and wholly convicted of his Materialism and hence the stupidity of those who disagree.

    “My 2nd and 3rd paragraphs weren't meant to be taken seriously. They were pointing out how you had made two claims and didn't provide any evidence for either of them and then said prove evidence that my claims are false.”

    I think I should ban the word “evidence” from use on this blog. The reason being that what constitutes evidence is different for materialists than it is for a non-constrained thinker. I know, because I was a strict materialist for 40 years, and finally came to understand the unnecessary constrictions of materialism after trying to understand why Atheists (I was one) make so many illogical and flat wrong statements as if they were fact.

    When it comes to evidence of things outside the set [ X ], it makes no sense to examine set [ X ], nor to demand that evidence within set [ X ] be provided for things which are constrained to set [ ! X ]. Philosophical Materialism is a logical failure for that reason – demanding material evidence for non-material entities. But the more glaring reason is that Philosophical Materialists wish to claim that science not only proves their philosophy, science also provides all possible knowledge… another blatant logical failure. Science is voluntarily materialist because it cannot make measurements of non-physical phenomena; it does not declare that to be evidence that non-physical phenomena do not exist. Science is at least logical; Philosophical Materialism is not.

    So the person who demands “evidence” must provide more granularity: what kind of evidence is being demanded? If it is material, only, then the demand is based on fallacy. What other kind of evidence is acceptable? What kind of evidence is adequate for persuasion, and what is necessary for “proof”? If it is logic, then the source of logic’s authority must be discussed. If it is philosophical argument, then the source of philosophical authority must be discussed. If it is mathematic, why should we believe math to be valid? In other words, what is it that provides knowledge of validity? And what is the source of authority for that knowledge?

    This leads into discussions of reality, and whether we can know that even ourselves are valid entities based on “evidence”.

    In my personal history, these questions needed answering before the first cause / creating cause issue could even be broached. For the questioning person, the answers to these issues are not found in empirical experiments with accompanying data. The issues themselves transcend the materialist realm. So the answers must also transcend that realm. This leaves the question of valid evidence wide open. So I ask: What do you consider to be valid evidence?
    (continued below)

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  105. (continued from above)
    ”I am willing to look at and consider any evidence that you have to prove that a deity exist, and if for some reason the evidence that you present changes my position on the god hypothesis…

    “I am more than willing for this to happen, I would be excited for it to happen, not because I need some supreme being, but because I want to hold as many true beliefs as possible. Any atheist that says different isn't a skeptic and isn't any better than a fundamentalist christian spouting dogma. Honestly I have never met an atheist who isn't willing to change their beliefs as long as the evidence is presented to prove it, but I know plenty of theist who say there is absolutely nothing that would change their opinion.”


    Being a skeptic is not something of which I would be proud. Skepticism provides no new information or knowledge. Skepticism merely dumps on ideas which are presented by seekers of “true beliefs”. A Skeptic is one who, rather than seeking truth, prides himself in pointing to the non-empirical basis for a position, one who at best can show that a logical argument is “incomplete” based on the infinite regress necessitated by his underlying Philosophical Materialism. In other words, Skepticism is both non-productive and based in Materialist fallacy.

    For an example of dogmatic Skepticism, see the introduction to Menuge’s book, “Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science”. Michael Ruse writes the introduction, saying that he “think(s) he (Menuge) is wrong and I want him refuted”. The famous Professor of Philosophy, Ruse, wants Menuge refuted – but makes no attempt of his own. This is interesting, because Menuge’s case is made syllogistically, which should be easily faulted if it were false.

    Now as for your case that my argument is false, and that I must provide evidence, how should we proceed? My claim is made, warts and all. Refutation is the responsibility of the challenger: if you have contrary evidence which provides a refutation, then present it. But first, of course, justify your source of authority for the evidence.
    (continued below)

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  106. (continued from above)
    ” I believe that there are no gods and my evidence is the utter lack of any evidence to the contrary. The same reason I don't believe in unicorns, the same reason I don't believe in the Easter bunny, and the same reason I don't believe in Santa Claus. And before you say they aren't accurate comparisons, you are wrong. The reason you don't see it is because you believe that God exist on faith and nothing else (based on every communication I have ever had with any theist, ever). Prove me wrong if you have real evidence. Nothing would make me happier.”

    You were doing so well until the last paragraph, just above. Let’s take this statement:

    The reason you don't see it is because you believe that God exist on faith and nothing else (based on every communication I have ever had with any theist, ever).

    It is good that you included the basis for your statement, because you have committed a Fallacy of False Association. You have done me a disservice by lumping me in with whoever you have discussed theism with before. You neither know me nor do you know the process or content of what I think to be probable. Nor do you seem familiar with actual theism, which you could have merely by getting a good theology book such as Millard Erickson’s.

    But letting that pass, the idea that evidence (for the probability of a non-material cause for the material universe, which has several deducible characteristics based on the nature of the universe), that that is comparable to folk legends is without basis under any logic except the Fallacy of Philosophical Materialism.

    It is possible that your attachment to Skepticism and Philosophical Materialism is too firmly attached to your personal sense of self to be broken loose by mere probability assessments based on deductions from observation. Yet surely you are disturbed that there is no possible material “proof” available to provide refutation for areas of set [ ! X ]. Or if not, then why continue this?

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  107. Stan,

    I have enjoyed it to. Who knows maybe if we would have met some where else we might have had a beer and hit it off. If I didn't hang out with people who thought that I was going to hell because of my lack of belief, I wouldn't have very many friends. Oh and Don't go banning words, next thing you know you will be burning books. Now witty banter aside.

    "When it comes to evidence of things outside the set [ X ], it makes no sense to examine set [ X ], nor to demand that evidence within set [ X ] be provided for things which are constrained to set [ ! X ]."

    The flaw with this thinking is that you say that the thing outside of set [ X ] directly affects set [ X ]. Which would leave evidence in set [ X ]. For example, if I am standing outside of a building with a sledge hammer, I can affect that building. The evidence that I affected the building is visible in or on the building.

    Valid evidence is like porn (or art if you prefer), I know it when I see it. The problem is that you are asking what evidence would I need to be convienced, not what does the evidence prove. I have never heard anyone say that science provides all of the answers, I will claim that science provides all of the answers that we have up to this point. We should believe math to be valid because it has been proven to work, time and time again. If you know of a time that it didn't let me know. The scientific method is the accepted system to prove that knowledge that we have as valid. If there is a different system, it would have to be proven to work with the scientific method.

    "Being a skeptic is not something of which I would be proud. Skepticism provides no new information or knowledge. Skepticism merely dumps on ideas which are presented by seekers of “true beliefs”. A Skeptic is one who, rather than seeking truth, prides himself in pointing to the non-empirical basis for a position, one who at best can show that a logical argument is “incomplete” based on the infinite regress necessitated by his underlying Philosophical Materialism. In other words, Skepticism is both non-productive and based in Materialist fallacy."

    I am proud to be a skeptic. I don't merely dump on ideas... I explain why they are wrong or that they don't make sense. I will also accept an idea when there is sufficient evidence, for example evolution and gravity.

    (continued below)

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  108. (continued from above)

    "Now as for your case that my argument is false, and that I must provide evidence, how should we proceed? My claim is made, warts and all. Refutation is the responsibility of the challenger: if you have contrary evidence which provides a refutation, then present it. But first, of course, justify your source of authority for the evidence."

    I didn't say that your argument is false, I said you provided no evidence for your argument. There is nothing to refute. It would be like me saying prove I don't have a invisible fairy in my hand that exist outside of the universe.

    "It is good that you included the basis for your statement, because you have committed a Fallacy of False Association. You have done me a disservice by lumping me in with whoever you have discussed theism with before."

    I made an observation. It isn's a fallacy of false association unless you are different from the people I have compared you too. If you aren't then I will apologize, but as of yet you have given me no reason to think that you are any different.

    "But letting that pass, the idea that evidence (for the probability of a non-material cause for the material universe, which has several deducible characteristics based on the nature of the universe), that that is comparable to folk legends is without basis under any logic except the Fallacy of Philosophical Materialism."

    See this just seems like the Fallacy of Fallacy Creation, which I just made up. You don't agree with Philosophical Materialism so it has to be wrong. What you don't understand is that to me god(s) are no more than folk legends. God(s) are ways to explain things that we didn't understand or don't understand. Santa explains to children where their toys came from on Christmas Morning. I hear a lot of theist say that their particular god works through them, much the same way Santa works through me to give my kids toys.

    "It is possible that your attachment to Skepticism and Philosophical Materialism is too firmly attached to your personal sense of self to be broken loose by mere probability assessments based on deductions from observation. Yet surely you are disturbed that there is no possible material “proof” available to provide refutation for areas of set [ ! X ]. Or if not, then why continue this?"

    In order to refute a claim there has to be substance to refute. You have provided none. I told you in previous post that I am willing to change my stance, when reasonable evidence is provided. I am not opposed to the "probability assessments based on deductions from observation," which is why I believe that there are life forms on other planets. I do not know that there are other life forms on other planets, but I know of at least one planet that supports life and the probability that life exist on other planets is good, considering the number of planets in just our galaxy. And I certainly would never claim to know anything about these life forms or there accomplishments or technology. I am not at all disturbed that there is no evidence for the refutation for areas of set [ ! X ] because I am not even convinced that set [ ! X ] exist.

    I was wondering, what made you become a theist? What evidence or argument convinced you? Are you only a theist or do you claim a denomination? I am an atheist, but I claim many other labels, with atheist being one of the least important ones.

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  109. Hi Dave,
    A beer, yeah. More likely these days I’d broil you up an Angus filet right off our farm here. You never know.

    You said,
    ” The flaw with this thinking is that you say that the thing outside of set [ X ] directly affects set [ X ]. Which would leave evidence in set [ X ]. For example, if I am standing outside of a building with a sledge hammer, I can affect that building. The evidence that I affected the building is visible in or on the building.”

    But this is not set theory… can you state this in sets? Here’s my take: You exist outside the set [buildings]; you cannot be found inside the set [buildings] because you are not a building. However if you created a [building: instance] then your influence could be seen inside the set [buildings], but not you, yourself. Now, that influence would be deductive and without the possibility of empirical, experimental validation. So under your criteria, it could never be “knowledge”. This is precisely the Atheist argument against miracles: an event that is an anti-material singularity cannot be repeated, so despite the actual origin, the event must be dogmatically declared to have a material cause. In other words, any unexplained events are summarily declared material and any influence from outside the set is declared impossible, not by fact, but by definition. In still other words, you are defined not to exist, if you are outside the set.

    As with all things deductive, including science, conclusions are probabilistic and never unassailably True. The potential for falsification always exists. Is there any knowledge which is unassailable? Maybe not. So the use of probability must be considered, and probabilities sometimes are assumed, rather than calculated. In other words, what is allowable as knowledge is that which a person considers “probable”, even when that consideration of probability is not calculated, but is assumed because it “seems” probable. And this is valid for science, too, because no matter how many experiments are run on a subject, there remains the chance for falsification (the black swan effect). The more experiments which are completed without falsification, the more it “seems” valid to accept the results as knowledge.

    The point here is that science - empirical, replicable, non-falsified data – is still not a criterion for incorrigible truth claims. Including the truth claim that science is necessary for validation of truth claims. (That alone is a Fallacy of Circularity which is sufficient to scuttle Philosophical Materialism).

    Now given that human knowledge of the empirical sort is probabilistic, it is can be said that it takes a leap of faith, a belief in the use of probability, to accept empirical findings as truth of the sort that is “knowledge”. Either that, or “knowledge” cannot be said to be a firm substance upon which to base our worldviews.

    So it “seems” unavoidable that we must think probabilistically when we wish to sort real from unreal, true from not true, existing from non-existing and physical from non-physical. (I feel a book coming on here, so I need to stop before it swamps this discussion).

    ”I didn't say that your argument is false, I said you provided no evidence for your argument. There is nothing to refute. It would be like me saying prove I don't have a invisible fairy in my hand that exist outside of the universe.”
    And that is the point. You want physical evidence for a non-physical entity: that is a Category Error which I have tried to demonstrate with set theory. This is the point where Materialist minds go blank; they can conceive of nothing that has no mass/energy, space/time, and no amount of examples can budge them from this unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable opinion. Is that where you are?
    (continued below)

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  110. ”I made an observation. It isn's a fallacy of false association unless you are different from the people I have compared you too. If you aren't then I will apologize, but as of yet you have given me no reason to think that you are any different.”

    I’ll take that as the insult it was intended.

    ”See this just seems like the Fallacy of Fallacy Creation, which I just made up. You don't agree with Philosophical Materialism so it has to be wrong.”

    I showed you the logic behind the fallacy of Materialism. Your statement shows that you are ignoring logic in favor of your presupposed worldview dogma. I don’t agree with Philosophical Materialism because I can show that it is not valid, logically. You are creating false straw men for use in a comparison where X, Y, and Z are false, therefore Q is also false; that is not logic, it is fallacy. Your presupposition is that Q derives from the same source as X, Y, and Z; but that is also your conclusion: when the conclusion is used as a presupposition, it is a fallacy of Circularity.

    ”I hear a lot of theist say that their particular god works through them, much the same way Santa works through me to give my kids toys.”

    You have not heard that from me. Nor will you hear it from anyone who has seriously studied theology, logic, rational thought, and philosophy. Your “theists” sound like drinking buddies of the type that are “unarmed Christians” – believers without reason. I suggest a better class of theist. Or better still, actually study the subject which you wish to refute.

    ” In order to refute a claim there has to be substance to refute. You have provided none. I told you in previous post that I am willing to change my stance, when reasonable evidence is provided. I am not opposed to the "probability assessments based on deductions from observation," which is why I believe that there are life forms on other planets.”

    Denial of substance means nothing. The claim, an argument, is that it is probable, based on known material cause and effect processes, that the universe had a cause; however, according to Hawking-Penrose, the cause if it existed, existed prior to material existence, which came at or after t=0, so the cause is presumed to be non-material; moreover, as is observed with material causes, the cause for the universe is capable of the effect with which it is associated.

    You have not addressed this argument other than to claim that it has no substance. That is not a refutation, nor is it a counter argument; it is really a plaint that there is an existing claim/argument which you cannot refute under the rules of materialism. That is the point, of course, that Atheism makes claims which it cannot prove with material evidence, but it requires material evidence from non-Atheists.

    But since you do claim belief in “probability assessments based on deductions from observation”, then you could relate how well or not well this argument accomplishes that.

    Moving on, I have been asked before what it was, argument or evidence, which produced my change of worldview. While I have written about that elsewhere perhaps it is time to expand that and place it in the “about.me” file. Give me a little time – several days maybe.

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  111. Stan,
    Ok the filet sounds like a good plan. I will bring the beer and whatever you drink. lol

    "But this is not set theory… can you state this in sets? Here’s my take: You exist outside the set [buildings]; you cannot be found inside the set [buildings] because you are not a building. However if you created a [building: instance] then your influence could be seen inside the set [buildings], but not you, yourself. Now, that influence would be deductive and without the possibility of empirical, experimental validation. So under your criteria, it could never be “knowledge”."

    My point is that even though I am outside of the building, my influence on the building is still visible and would prove that something is outside of the building.

    "The potential for falsification always exists."

    I completely agree, but the false claims are exposed by science.

    "So it “seems” unavoidable that we must think probabilistically when we wish to sort real from unreal, true from not true, existing from non-existing and physical from non-physical. (I feel a book coming on here, so I need to stop before it swamps this discussion)."

    I agree, but how often have we seen the answer to a question be magic. Humans in general want to know things and when they don't know them they are more than willing to make them up with answers like magic or god(s). I would probably read that book.

    "And that is the point. You want physical evidence for a non-physical entity: that is a Category Error which I have tried to demonstrate with set theory. This is the point where Materialist minds go blank; they can conceive of nothing that has no mass/energy, space/time, and no amount of examples can budge them from this unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable opinion. Is that where you are?"

    No, but this is the something we have discussed. I am not saying that it is completely impossible, but that it is very improbable and that until it is substantiated with evidence there is no reason to believe that the improbable something is real. For instance, there is life in places that we didn't think it was possible for life to exist. Before we found these life forms, there was no reason to believe they were real.

    "I’ll take that as the insult it was intended."

    It wasn't an insult and I didn't mean it as one, but I can see how you would take it as one. I haven't seen how you differ from the other theist. You do however say you are going to explain it later in this discussion, in the about me section later. If it is different, then I will apologize.

    (continued below)

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  112. (continued from above)

    "I showed you the logic behind the fallacy of Materialism. Your statement shows that you are ignoring logic in favor of your presupposed worldview dogma. I don’t agree with Philosophical Materialism because I can show that it is not valid, logically. You are creating false straw men for use in a comparison where X, Y, and Z are false, therefore Q is also false; that is not logic, it is fallacy. Your presupposition is that Q derives from the same source as X, Y, and Z; but that is also your conclusion: when the conclusion is used as a presupposition, it is a fallacy of Circularity."

    We have no evidence for things outside of the material. Does this mean non-material things exist? No. It only means that up to this point in history, there is no reason to believe that anything other than material things exist. If the non-material things are proven to exist, then I will change my view on non-material things. Q doesn't exist because you haven't shown Q to likely exist. X, Y, and Z also have not been shown to likely exist so they are in the same category as Q. The extreme life forms I mentioned earlier that live in places that it shouldn't be possible for them to live are a good example of this. Let's say we have a list of everything in the universe that has been shown to exist. The extreme life forms were not on the list until they were shown to exist.

    "You have not heard that from me. Nor will you hear it from anyone who has seriously studied theology, logic, rational thought, and philosophy. Your “theists” sound like drinking buddies of the type that are “unarmed Christians” – believers without reason. I suggest a better class of theist. Or better still, actually study the subject which you wish to refute."

    No, I haven't heard that from you but, I have heard it from preachers and pastors. I would hardly call a preacher or a pastor an "unarmed Christian". A lot of the Christians I talk to are "unarmed" or at least poorly armed. I wouldn't place you in that group however. I am enjoying our back and forth far more than I do with the "YouTube Christians" I have dealt with before. I have studied the subjects that I refute. For instance the Christian god and Muslim god. Which I would say are the same god but that usually pisses off most religious people.

    "Denial of substance means nothing. The claim, an argument, is that it is probable, based on known material cause and effect processes, that the universe had a cause; however, according to Hawking-Penrose, the cause if it existed, existed prior to material existence, which came at or after t=0, so the cause is presumed to be non-material; moreover, as is observed with material causes, the cause for the universe is capable of the effect with which it is associated."

    I agree that the universe had a cause. I don't agree that we presume that it is non-material because we don't know what was before the universe.

    "You have not addressed this argument other than to claim that it has no substance. That is not a refutation, nor is it a counter argument; it is really a plaint that there is an existing claim/argument which you cannot refute under the rules of materialism. That is the point, of course, that Atheism makes claims which it cannot prove with material evidence, but it requires material evidence from non-Atheists."

    Not being able to refute a claim doesn't make a claim true. You can't refute the claim that I have a invisible, non-material fairy in my hand. Does that make it true?

    "Moving on, I have been asked before what it was, argument or evidence, which produced my change of worldview. While I have written about that elsewhere perhaps it is time to expand that and place it in the “about.me” file. Give me a little time – several days maybe."

    I look forward to reading it, take your time.

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  113. The assertion that a deity is intrinsically unobservable in fallacious. This entire proof structure is based off a premise which is unmaintainable, thereby making the challenge pointless.

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  114. Coolwhoami said,
    "The assertion that a deity is intrinsically unobservable in fallacious."

    Is your second sentence intended to prove your assertion of the first sentence?

    "This entire proof structure is based off a premise which is unmaintainable, thereby making the challenge pointless."

    Your charge is without any details for anyone to even understand, much less apply any logic to. If there is a premise which is false, spell it out. "unmaintainable" has no meaning, logically.

    So you will need to be explicit with your charge, rather than just offering meaningless generalities.

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  115. Guys, it's pretty simple. There's no evidence that God exists, just as there's no evidence that the Tooth Fairy exists. Therefore, the most logical perspective is that of the Atheist.

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  116. Anonymous,
    Come out from behind the skirts of anonymity and choose a moniker... unless you're just a drive-by.

    You are under the false assumption that a non-material entity will automaticallyleave material evidence. That simplistic error is a Category Error. The demand for material evidence for a non-material entity is irrational.

    Now we can discuss, as has been done to death here, the fact that Atheists cannot disprove the assertions of non-material tracks in the form of alleged miracles, such as that at Lourdes. Atheists have no evidence to support their beliefs. Therefore their beliefs are faith based: religious. And the most dangerous type of religion: one with no ethic attached to it.

    Your tooth fairy comment indicates that you have not thought this through beyond the level of bumper sticker sound bites.

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  117. Stan,

    You have, if I understand it correctly, constructed for atheists a burden of proof based on the following (summarized): That atheists have placed a burden of proof on theists due to the materialistic requirements of their argumentation, and that because they refuse to acknowledge personal experience as a form of argument (which you so wonderfully paraphrase as "brain farts").

    In your response to this existing structure, you put forward a premise which by its very nature renders this challenge not so much of a challenge as an impossibility: that a deity,

    "one that would exist necessarily outside space-time and mass-energy, a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine, much less measure using devices that do not apply in any way, being designed to measure material things."

    needs to be disproved via material means, a proof that by that premise alone is impossible. You have issued a challenge which is not actually resolvable or arguable based solely on this particular idea, Unless we start accounting for things that would fall outside of your entire challenge (Either that we assume that a deity CAN be quantifiably measured, or that we can accept personal experiences as a valid piece of evidence)

    I am sure I have not satisfactorily constructed this because I do not dabble in philosophy on an active level.

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  118. ”You have issued a challenge which is not actually resolvable or arguable based solely on this particular idea, Unless we start accounting for things that would fall outside of your entire challenge (Either that we assume that a deity CAN be quantifiably measured, or that we can accept personal experiences as a valid piece of evidence)”

    Coolwhoami, you understand quite well, but only from the Atheist side. The Atheists cannot prove their case for the reasons you mention (rendering their argument of being evidence-based false). But they refuse to accept that theists cannot prove their case for the exact same reason.

    Atheists complain about the conditions of needing physical, empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable scientific evidence for their own position, BUT they refuse to relent on placing those conditions on theists.

    Those are the points: (a) Atheists are not what they claim to be: material evidence based; (b) they hypocritically place evidentiary requirements on theists which they refuse to accept for themselves.

    A final note is that the Materialism which Atheists assert is demonstrable internally non-coherent: Materialism cannot be shown to be valid using the Materialist requirements of material evidence for proof. That is an internal contradiction, a paradox, a non-coherence which renders both materialism and Atheism to be irrational.

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  119. Let's stop all this intellectual masturbation, shall we? The entire point of your "challenge" is to give Atheists a "taste of their own medicine," based on what YOU see as their own premises. In so doing, with your academic philosophical rhetoric, you've been at least as condescending as you accuse Atheists of being.

    You refer to the burden of proof as it would apply to the debate lectern and insist that opponents do the same in response. Not an unreasonable set of rules when they apply, but in this case it's like asking a physicist to debate Aesthetics in front of an assemblage of art students. Possibly a very interesting debate, but one that will ultimately prove nothing.

    You're either simply refusing to let go of the old "prove a negative" response, which equally applies to science and rhetoric, or in an attempt to put your opponents on the defensive, sidestepping your inability to prove your own views.

    Prove to us that something, anything, DOESN'T exist; prove it to the point where no one can ever say, "Yes, but it still COULD exist!" and then you'll have a sound starting point for your challenge.

    Until then, the "burden of proof," is still on you, no matter how much you might wish otherwise.

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  120. ”Let's stop all this intellectual masturbation, shall we? The entire point of your "challenge" is to give Atheists a "taste of their own medicine," based on what YOU see as their own premises. In so doing, with your academic philosophical rhetoric, you've been at least as condescending as you accuse Atheists of being.”

    It’s not possible to condescend to one’s superiors, now is it? As you demonstrate, Atheists come fully loaded with presumption of superiority and charge right off the bat with “intellectual masturbation”, although they obviously have no answers for the challenge being made. So rather than accept responsibility for their own claim of being evidence based, they choose to refuse the obvious rules of debate:

    ”You refer to the burden of proof as it would apply to the debate lectern and insist that opponents do the same in response. Not an unreasonable set of rules when they apply, but in this case it's like asking a physicist to debate Aesthetics in front of an assemblage of art students. Possibly a very interesting debate, but one that will ultimately prove nothing.

    By debating Atheism with Atheists and demanding that they use the same rules of evidence for themselves that the demand of theists, that is unfair and will prove nothing because the Atheists are like Art students who are incapable of understanding the issues? Very interesting argument. And probably not worth arguing against, at least by me. The other Atheists will be amazed at their characterization by you, I would think.

    ”You're either simply refusing to let go of the old "prove a negative" response, which equally applies to science and rhetoric, or in an attempt to put your opponents on the defensive, sidestepping your inability to prove your own views.”

    Wrong and wrong. I am attempting to show your "art student" Atheists the logical fallacy of both their position and their evidentiary standards.

    ”Prove to us that something, anything, DOESN'T exist; prove it to the point where no one can ever say, "Yes, but it still COULD exist!" and then you'll have a sound starting point for your challenge.

    A challenge is issued to Atheists using their own evidentiary standards. That they cannot perform to their own standards should tell them something about either their position or their standards. But of course if they are like art students and are incapable of comprehension, then the task is futile, isn't it?

    ”Until then, the "burden of proof," is still on you, no matter how much you might wish otherwise.”

    The challenge has been made; either deal with or not. But calling it unfair is merely a dodge of the responsibility of Rebuttal.

    Are you sure your not an art student? They don’t do Burden of Rebuttal either.

    The challenge Atheists make to theists is the same as the Challenge to Atheists being made here. Atheists are not about to relent on their fallacious requirement for material proof of a non-material entity... a blatant Category error.

    Further, Philosophical Materialism is unable to prove its own validity using its own criteria: physical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable empirical data. Philosophical Materialism (which virtually every Atheist is by default) is internally contradictory, non-coherent, paradoxical, and completely logically fallacious.

    Atheism and Materialism are religious constructs, based on no evidence whatsoever, and therefore are religious faiths - which deny that they are religious faiths. That only compounds their falseness, and renders the arrogance of such faithful believers to be entirely misplaced.

    If Atheists cannot provide evidence for their beliefs, then they are not evidence based; they are blind-faith based, in a demonstrably false religious worldview.

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  121. You say you want to hold atheists to “the same rules of evidence” they demand of you.

    However, one such rule is “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    If I claim to own a car, that’s so ordinary you can probably take me at my word.

    If I claim to own a nuclear missile, you should demand more evidence than my say so.

    If I claim to own a stargate to a planet in a distant galaxy, you should require evidence of the very highest quality. Even video footage would not be enough.

    Leaving aside soft atheists who make no claims about deities, a hard atheist claim that there are no gods would not be extraordinary, but completely consistent with every fact we know about our universe.

    But an immaterial being with magic wish-granting powers that circumvent the laws of physics — that requires stargate-calibre evidence.

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  122. Robin says,

    “However, one such rule is “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    That is patently absurd; it is not a rule of logic; it is not a law of physics; it is the claim of Radical Skepticism, which reserves the right for itself to determine what is “extraordinary”. The term extraordinary is so malleable that it can apply to anything which is not exactly the mathematical mean. So the statement is without explicit meaning, which is its intent: it can be applied at will as a demand for more evidence than is possible for any claim which is not “ordinary” (the mean of known knowledge). This is Carl Sagan’s ideological puppy, which is quoted as fact. It is ideology, not fact.

    The claim itself is extraordinary and therefore demands extraordinary proof of its own validity, which Sagan did not provide. That is because it is an imperative statement, not a declarative; it is a moral tenet, not an objective fact.

    Moreover, the challenge here is for you to PROVE, using material, empirical techniques, that such existence is false. Your comment does not address this in any way, form or manner; it is superfluous to the point of this entire thread.

    ” Leaving aside soft atheists who make no claims about deities, a hard atheist claim that there are no gods would not be extraordinary, but completely consistent with every fact we know about our universe.

    But an immaterial being with magic wish-granting powers that circumvent the laws of physics — that requires stargate-calibre evidence.”


    Your levels of evidentiary standards are just that: yours; your opinion. You do not address the actual claim being made, nor the actual type of evidence which is appropriate to that claim. Your list progresses from the material to the material, and has no bearing on the actual argument.

    The Theist claim is a logical deduction made based on observations of the material universe and the rational underpinnings which make logic possible. You cannot defeat the logic involved nor the existence of any of the rational underpinnings for the argument, so you take off in another direction: demanding material evidence for an existence which is not material. The insistence on this Category Error as THE argument (made in many different ways) is as tedious as it is false.

    And you do not even attempt to provide evidence for your own position; you do not address the purpose of this thread in the least.

    At least make the attempt, however feeble, to deal with the actual argument being made. Otherwise there is a one-term response to your comments: Category Error.

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  123. Robin› You say you want to hold atheists to “the same rules of evidence” they demand of you. However, one such rule is “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    Stan› That is patently absurd; it is not a rule of logic; it is not a law of physics

    What do rules of logic or physics have to do with rules of evidence?

    Incidentally, there is a similar rule in philosophy, Hume’s Maxim: No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish…

    Stan› it is the claim of Radical Skepticism, which reserves the right for itself to determine what is “extraordinary”.

    No, they don’t; our prior knowledge determines what is “extraordinary”.

    Frex, a resurrection after two days lying dead with no life support would be an extraordinary claim. That’s why we call it a miracle. Proving such an event needs sufficient evidence to overcome the fact that dead organs do not spontaneously restart after two days dead, and every contrary fact we’ve learned about decomposition.

    Stan› The term extraordinary is so malleable that it can apply to anything which is not exactly the mathematical mean.

    Extraordinary here means more than simply “improbable”. You should know better than that.

    Stan› This is Carl Sagan’s ideological puppy, which is quoted as fact.

    It’s also rational and self-evident.

    Stan› Moreover, the challenge here is for you to PROVE, using material, empirical techniques, that such existence is false.

    Okay. Human beings like to make up stories about vampires and fairies and other supernatural beings, so we have good reason to believe such stories are fictional. We could be wrong about vampires; there might be supernatural undead humans who must consume blood to survive, but such beings would contradict much that we know about human physiology. Furthermore, to our knowledge, effects which we could predict from introducing such beings into our ecosystem, like a plague of vampirism sweeping the earth, have never happened.

    So we can be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that vampires do not exist. If we were wrong about that, everything we know that contradicts vampires would be wrong too. The probability of that would be beyond miniscule. Far, far more probable we made them up.

    Same goes for gods. According of our observations of natural law, they are universal. And so far as we can be sure of the uniformity of natural law, we can be sure a supernatural being with magical powers to defy physics cannot possibly exist. If we were wrong about your impossible god, everything we think we know about physics would be wrong too. Far, far more probable that humans made up your deity, like every other deity you disbelieve, and like vampires.

    Stan› But an immaterial being with magic wish-granting powers that circumvent the laws of physics — that requires stargate-calibre evidence.

    Robin› Your levels of evidentiary standards are just that: yours; your opinion.

    Hardly just mine. When you have an extraordinary amount of evidence against to overcome, you need an extraordinary amount evidence for to do it.

    Stan› The Theist claim is a logical deduction made based on observations of the material universe and the rational underpinnings which make logic possible.

    Your theist claim contradicts observations of our material universe, and undermines logic. Logical absolutes presuppose nonexistence of exceptions to them.

    Stan› You cannot defeat the logic involved nor the existence of any of the rational underpinnings for the argument...

    It defeated itself before I arrived. “Logical” arguments for existence of a being beyond logic betray their own postulates and self-implode. Your “logic” eats itself.

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  124. Challenge accepted. Which god should I disprove?

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  125. Thanks I just read the addendum but I'm not clear which god you mean.

    Are you suggesting that your assertion of a being in the first level is defended by the "relationship" described in the second level?

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  126. Feel free to start with the Deist version (level 1), and go ahead and show your empirical, material, experimental, falsifiable but not falsified physical evidence proving its non-existence, as discussed in the Challenge.

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  127. Sounds good, I still have some nagging questions sorry.

    For the purposes of the argument are we just labeling the first cause "God" or does this god have any attributes?

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  128. Vagon,
    All these questions are answered in the Challenge. Read the addendum again.

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  129. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  130. Do you mean this:
    "larger, more powerful, totally coherent, able to construct coherent structures (i.e. rational), necessary and sufficient, able to implement causation at a distance (per quantum mechanics)" description?

    There's a lot to talk about, but not a lot to work with. Lets just start at the beginning. When you say "larger", larger than what?

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  131. When do you start the refutation?

    The point is that the cause is greater than the effect, a normal assumption of cause and effect.

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  132. Stan is it fair to say I need to know what we're talking about before I can refute it?

    Thanks for trying to explain the attribute "larger", but I still don't understand.

    I am aware greater and larger are for all purposes synonyms, what I do not understand is what you are suggesting this particular god is larger than. What size are you suggesting the "Cause of the universe" is?

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  133. Larger is not restricted to physical dimensions; there are larger purposes, for example. Let's say that this means "encompassing more than its creation".

    If that doesn't work for you, we can take the concept down even further.

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  134. That would be great, thanks because it does seem a bit vague right now.
    When you say "encompassing more" what are you referencing? Encompassing more of what?

    Also is it appropriate to tie "creation" into the definition of a term you are asking people to refute?

    Could we not say "encompassing more than the effect" or something similar?

    Cheers,
    Vagon

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  135. The effect is creation of the universe; creation of the universe is the effect.

    "Creation of the universe" is part and parcel of the Challenge. You certainly may start by refuting that the universe was an effect, that instead it is necessary and always existed.

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  136. So what do you mean by "encompassing more that the origin of the universe" I still don't understand: encompassing more of what?

    What is this extra stuff you're referring to?

    If you're not sure what you are referring to, we could always park it and move onto your next term "more powerful".

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  137. Vagon,
    Just deal with what you interpret the Challenge to mean to you. It strongly appears that you are attempting the Socratic method of asking questions without giving answers, which merely determines that nothing can be known. That will just leave you with no refutation, after a whole lot of wasted time.

    If you cannot understand the Challenge, then you won't be able to refute it anyway.

    So... The Challenge is up there, do your best to refute it.

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  138. Firstly I strongly believe things can be known, there would be no point to asking these questions if it did not result in knowledge.

    You seem to misunderstand me. From looking at you terms I actually do not know what they mean. I literally do not know what you want to talk about.

    How about you just answer the questions?

    What is this extra stuff that is encompassing an effect?

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  139. In what sense do you believe things can be known? What is the source of knowledge in which you have faith? What sources of knowledge do you reject? Why do you reject them?

    In order to provide you something which you can understand, it is apparent that I must first understand how it is that you understand things in general. So for us to proceed to helping you create knowledge of the characteristics of the Challenge, then we must first establish how it is that you acquire that which you accept as knowledge.

    Obviously this will take a good bit of exploration, before I am able to provide you with that which you need, in terms of your personal knowledge.

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  140. Hope you had a good weekend Stan.

    I don't think its apparent that we need to get to ontological foundations like you assert. Suffice to say the conversation we are having should act as an indication that I'm interested in your answers and not wasting your time. Nevertheless let me know if you really want to discuss it.

    I am still very interested in the extra stuff that is encompassed by the deity you want me to falsify. If an ontological discussion is indeed necessary, perhaps you could address this at the same time?

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  141. Since there was no "stuff" before the universe existed, if the stuff of the universe is what you reference, then the creation of that stuff must have had the power and agency to have accomplished that feat without that stuff, or at least that particular stuff. Your request for "stuff" to have been greater than need not be material stuff. Since it is generally held that the space-time dimensions also did not exist, pre Big Bang, then the creation of our universe must have existed outside of space-time, yet with the ability and agancy to create it.

    The overworked comparison of a painter to the painting he produces seems to obtain. A painter is greater than the painting in nonmaterial senses, not in the sense of containing more paint.

    However, I doubt that this will suffice to pry an answer to the challenge from you as you are apparently try to define the problem away with questions having the most obvious of answers (which you claim not to understand).

    So having accepted the Challenge, how about actually doing something about attacking the Challenge itself, with a position statement or logic or whatever you intend to apply to it? It's time for you to disprove whatever it is that you can understand pertaining to the challenge.

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  142. I really do not want to make assumptions around the deity you're trying to have me disprove. That's hardly unreasonable. In any case it seems we're making progress.

    So we are working off a big bang model, that makes things a lot clearer, thanks.

    You have asserted "creation" is the mechanism by which the universe expanded from singularity. You haven't really described the entity or the mechanism other than to say it is not material. What do you mean by not material?

    Also, off what are you basing these assumptions about causation at sub-Planck levels?

    How have you attained confidence off these assumptions to the degree that you are certain it is this "immaterial" agent?

    In response to your assertion that the answers to my questions are obvious, I have to disagree: I assume you are aware that entire branches of theoretical physics are devoted to revealing the mysteries of activity at or below the quantum level?

    To be fair to my line of questioning, your answers have (up until the last comment) proved sufficiently vague. Even now there is little to talk about at all, let alone formally disprove.

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  143. I'm well aware of the generalities of particle physics. Your concern has nothing to do with the source of the material in the first place.

    "Even now there is little to talk about at all, let alone formally disprove.

    Well, of course the challenge is to disprove what is written in the challenge. So if you can't, then you can't.

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  144. Well Stan my concern does lie with source of the material - the challenge. In fact you suggested part of this things ontology was its ability to cause an expansion at those levels.

    Stan the fact is the challenge has a lot of terms that are quite vague and unexplained.

    If we extend the physics analogy, asking me to formally disprove an undefined entity based off undefined attributes is like trying to falsify string theory based of its wikipedia article. Even then at least string theory defines its terms.

    So then the two questions surrounding the ontology you are trying to provide still stand:

    1. On what basis are you assuming your model of causation at sub-Planck levels?

    2. What do you mean by not material?

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  145. Vagon,
    As I see it, you have some choices here:

    1. You can declare the challenge to be unintelligible;

    2. You can declare the challenge to be non-coherent.

    3. You can attack the challenge as it is written (you did accept the challenge, but now you are vacillating because you don't understand it).

    4. You can throw up your hands in disgust and retreat.

    5. You can keep asking questions forever. Or until you are able to set some word trap or semantic sink hole which you think will serve your purposes.

    I accept approaches 1 through 4. I do not accept approach 5. You claim not to understand terms, even though you accepted the challenge. If that is the case, then approach 1 would be the logical approach for you to take.

    The challenge stands, you accepted, go ahead and refute it. I'm done with the games.

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  146. It seems like you've given an ultimatum, so let's start with 3.

    3. Is a non-choice as my acceptance was clearly contingent on you telling me which god you refer to. Thats hardly a big ask.

    4. Is not in my character, sorry if that frustrates you.

    5. Would be quite difficult seeing as you dodge the majority of them.

    As for games, well... you challenged me and you will not qualify your unclear terms - if this is a game you wont tell me the rules!

    --

    Now then I think it should be quite clear that the current choice is 1. and/or possibly 2.

    Noone can actually tell. I dont just assert this either. It is observable in these comments by your refusal to define terms which form the (attempt at an) ontology for the very thing you wish me to disprove.

    So then here is my refutation, reluctantly based off the limited and insufficient information that you have provided:

    1. To exist is to have attributes which are outside of our imagination. They are either negative within a domain of discourse or simply positive.
    2. The ontology you have tried to provide lists only negative (without any defined domain of discourse) or worse arbitrary attributes.
    3. Therefore the thing you label "God" has the exact same attributes as any other non-existent, imaginary thing i.e. it does not exist.

    I would very much appreciate either:
    A) An answer to my previous two questions or
    B) A concession that the challenge is a non-starter because you cannot do A) and define the thing you want disproved.

    If you take B I would also like attribution as the commenter who brought the failings of the challenge to your attention.

    Kind regards,
    Vagon

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  147. Vagon,
    I attribute to you a vague and rather undefined refutation based on your professed inability to comprehend the terms given, which you claimed required constant refining; all of which was likely intended for a non-empirical argument, directly counter to the Challenge requirements.

    So non-existence is leapt to as an article of faith, but not shown to be empirical fact, experimentally proven, replicated, falisifed and presented as a material factoid, as explcitly required by challenge.

    Therefore, this refutation fails the challenge.

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  148. Stan,

    I agree with you, but I'm not sure you recognise the consequences. As I clearly pointed out the refutation is limited and insufficient. How could it be anything else?

    You, Stan, wont tell me (or anyone else) what the challenge is. You, Stan, refuse for some unknown reason to explain terms. This is not me failing the challenge Stan, this is your challenges inadequacies, brought to light.

    I'll reiterate that this isnt just an assertion. It is observable in fact that you have consistently failed to show that even you fail to comprehend your own terms; right here in the comments.

    Not true? I sincerely hope so. I personally would love to learn what the answer is to these questions:

    1. On what basis are you assuming your model of causation at sub-Planck levels?

    2. What do you mean by not material?

    So Stan please prove me wrong and just tell us all what you actually mean. This is not about my hamstrung refutation. This is about holding you accountable for your failure to explain your terms.

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  149. Vagon,
    You do not only not understand the terms, you do not understand the issue, which is to provide empirical data.

    Allow me one last simplification for you. After which, no more bullshit about just can't understand.

    Provide empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable data showing that the universe is not the effect of a cause.

    To make it perhaps simpler, I'm not sure how simple you require, let's restate it as this:

    Provide empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable data showing that the universe is necessary and not contingent.

    If none of these terms suit you, then we are done.

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  150. Stan you said:

    "You do not only not understand the terms,you do not understand the issue,"

    Correct, because you wont tell us. Hopefully you'll fix that.

    "which is to provide empirical data."

    What other data is there?

    "Provide empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable data showing that the universe is not the effect of a cause."

    This is both a straw-man and a red-herring. Of course the big bang had a cause. What you wont tell us bout is the thing you are proposing this cause to be. If you wont tell us what it is how can we disprove it? You have repeatedly avoided telling us how you assumed your model of causation.

    "To make it perhaps simpler, I'm not sure how simple you require,"

    All I ask for is that you give me the ontology of the thing you want me to disprove. Simple enough?

    "let's restate it as this:

    Provide empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable data showing that the universe is necessary and not contingent."

    Let's not. Your challenge was not to explain causation at sub-Planck levels (only you have indicated you somehow understand this). Your challenge was to disprove a particular god. Let's stick with the challenge.

    "If none of these terms suit you,"

    You still haven't defined the attributes of the god you intend me to disprove. Those are the only terms that matter.

    "then we are done."

    I am not done, I haven't even been allowed to start. If we are done it is because you are underprepared for the grand philosophical challenge you have proposed. If you, Stan, cant even define the ontology of the thing you want people to disprove, do you really think you should be making the challenge in the first place?

    If this really is your last interaction with me Stan, take care. Hopefully you will learn from being exposed here and adjust your thinking accordingly.

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  151. "Your challenge was to disprove a particular god. Let's stick with the challenge."

    But you refuse. You must attack the nature of the challenge because you cannot attack the substance of the challenge.

    Your professed inability to comprehend the question doesn't invalidate the question. The attributes were given in plain english, which you apparently speak. You have been given ample opportunity to provide an empirical refutation, and you have not. You have been given two simplifications; you have not refuted them either.

    Your only response is to claim that I must provide you a satisfactory ontology meeting your requirements, and that after you accepted the challenge as written.

    I don't have to do anything to satisfy a challenger. The challenger has the reponsibility to refute, per the written challenge. You cannot, so you blame the challenge itself. To which I say: really? That's your response to the challenge? It doesn't suit your needs for challenging? Then why did you accept?

    This conversation is over.

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  152. It is not that I do not attack the substance of the challenge, it is that the challenge has no substance to attack. You understand the difference between an inability to comprehend and an impossibility to comprehend don't you?
    Let me give you a hint big-boy: it comes down to you actually telling people what you want them to disprove. Not spouting some vague terms which clearly amount up to nothing at the briefest of questioning.

    your so called "simplifications" were completely separate questions, blatant red-herrings. Unless of course you think disproving your specific god involves me somehow explaining causality at sub-Planck levels. I never accepted that and hypocritically you are the only one who has arbitrarily made statements surrounding that subject without answers. Go figure.

    Amusing too that you think the challenge does not suit my personal specific needs. You clearly do not understand basic metaphysics if you think a valid ontology is somehow a specific demand somehow confined to me.

    If, as we have observed, you do not understand basic metaphysics why then would you think you were qualified to issue this challenge in the first place? Unless maybe you've realised this...

    After all you do finish with "this conversation is over" like the kid who takes his football away when he is losing the game. Well you you have a choice: you can either keep playing and man up to some simple, reasonable requests or (more predictably) throw your tantrum and censor the big, bad atheist who showed your challenge was so still-born you could not even tell me what it was you wanted disproved.

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  153. A full accounting of the physics involved in the beginning of the universe is not the issue. The issue is whether the Atheist can prove that there is no First Cause as described in general terms, using his own knowledge, empirical validation and whatever ontology he can provide for his own support.

    To claim that I must do that for him is absurd. The challenge is for him to do that.

    Vagon has accepted the challenge. Now he wishes to drive the challenge his own way before answering it. He has been given ample opportunity to refute it, but he has not. He blames the challenge itself. This has become an example of attempting to place blame somewhere else for one’s own failure to produce as promised.

    Vagon is now reduced to insisting that the blame is not his, rather than to produce the necessary materials to refute the Challenge. He has claimed that the Challenge is empty, without substance, and that he can’t even find an issue within the challenge as it is written. Every question answered produces more questions, never a refutation.

    Vagon has had ample opportunity to prove the absence of a First Cause, and even though he accepted the Challenge, he is unable to deal with it.

    This is non-productive, and no further comments from Vagon regarding the Challenge will be responded to, unless the comment is a refutation.

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  154. May I play with him, Stan?

    "Challenge accepted. Which god should I disprove?" (Vagon).

    The only one that exists: the covenant God of biblical Christianity. Unless you are the first atheist, in my experience, to admit that he has either not read or not understood what the Bible has to say about the nature and character of God, you should have all the attributes you need.

    Incidentally, to say that God is larger, greater, or encompasses more than creation is to say simply that God is transcendent; namely, logically prior to and independent of creation (minimally our space-time manifold and everything it consists of). But if you are familiar with what the Bible has to say about the nature and character of God then you already understand this. On the other hand, if you are not thus familiar then unfortunately you are unprepared to accept the challenge.

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  155. Ryft,
    Well said, and welcome back, it's been a while...

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  156. Hmmm - this is really interesting. I ran across this blog at random. I'm not really religious, and googling theodicy, shows that it's insanely sophisticated. So, forgive my attempt at proving atheism -- I'm sure the theodicy guys have thought rings around it:

    Here's I think a couple of things most people think God has:

    1. He's all powerful (can do anything he wants).
    2. He's all good (I guess theodicy is about what good means, so maybe this is where things fall apart).

    I think this is true:
    Somewhere sometime someone innocent has been hurt (say a baby caught in a house fire).

    By innocent I mean what I think most people mean: someone who hasn't really caused anyone any harm intentionally.

    I claim:
    Because God is good, He doesn't want this to happen. I have trouble thinking of a definition of good for which this wouldn't be true.

    Because God is all powerful He could always stop this from happening without causing any other problem of any sort for Him or anyone else anywhere any time. After all, He can do anything he wants.

    But someone innocent has been hurt sometime somewhere.

    So this kind of God doesn't exist.

    And this kind of God is the God I believe most folks who believe in God in North America and Europe believe in.

    Now, I suppose it falls apart if you don't believe that anyone in the whole world, ever, is truly innocent enough not to deserve being hurt (for example burned up), but I don't think most people would believe that. Another possibility is that God can't do whatever He wants without messing something up, but I don't think most people believe that either. Another possibility is that maybe there's a kind of good that allows a good person let someone who doesn't deserve it get hurt even though the good person could stop it without harming anyone or anything else. Again I don't think most people would think that was good.

    So, I guess that the kind of good (that most people think of as good), all powerful (that most people think of as all powerful) God doesn't exist.

    On the other hand, most people believe in God, plus there's whole books of theodicy, so what do I know?

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  157. Anon,
    ”Here's I think a couple of things most people think God has:

    1. He's all powerful (can do anything he wants).
    2. He's all good (I guess theodicy is about what good means, so maybe this is where things fall apart).

    I think this is true:
    Somewhere sometime someone innocent has been hurt (say a baby caught in a house fire).

    By innocent I mean what I think most people mean: someone who hasn't really caused anyone any harm intentionally.

    I claim:
    Because God is good, He doesn't want this to happen. I have trouble thinking of a definition of good for which this wouldn't be true.

    Because God is all powerful He could always stop this from happening without causing any other problem of any sort for Him or anyone else anywhere any time. After all, He can do anything he wants.

    But someone innocent has been hurt sometime somewhere.

    So this kind of God doesn't exist.”


    Your presupposition number (1) is not the case; there is no reason to believe that a creating force / deity would be able to do things which are contradictory logically, nor would the deity do things contrary to his nature.

    Your presupposition number (2) places human concepts of good onto a deity which has no reason to accept human concepts as his own; what humans consider good or even essential, cannot be attributed also to a deity, without prior intimate knowledge of the deity.

    So that is an undeveloped image of a creating force / deity, and not what we have posited here.

    ”And this kind of God is the God I believe most folks who believe in God in North America and Europe believe in.”

    That is disputable, but irrelevant to the challenge, so let’s move on.

    ”Now, I suppose it falls apart if you don't believe that anyone in the whole world, ever, is truly innocent enough not to deserve being hurt (for example burned up), but I don't think most people would believe that. Another possibility is that God can't do whatever He wants without messing something up, but I don't think most people believe that either. Another possibility is that maybe there's a kind of good that allows a good person let someone who doesn't deserve it get hurt even though the good person could stop it without harming anyone or anything else. Again I don't think most people would think that was good.

    So, I guess that the kind of good (that most people think of as good), all powerful (that most people think of as all powerful) God doesn't exist.”


    Again, what is considered good to any subset of people is not relevant to what is thought good by a deity. The same goes for the concept of evil; your argument is a form of the Argument From Evil (a standard argument).
    (continued below)

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  158. (continued from above)
    Evil in the world exists; there are two arguments placed by people: first, that the world is not currently controlled by the deity, it is controlled by a force for evil which has been allowed to do so by the deity; second, if humans are to be agents, they require free will to choose between good and evil; therefore evil has to exist in order for humans to make the choice.

    The so-called evils of the world are not considered evils by Atheists, because what is, just is: there is no moral value which accompanies physical occurrences, they just occur. So pain and suffering and death by fire are evil only if humans choose to attribute some sort of value to them, or if a superior moral authority does so. Since no human has moral authority to declare natural events or disasters to be immoral / evil, then the only way that they could be evil is if the deity uses his moral authority to so declare. Thus, declaring an event or disaster to be evil requires a deity to do it. Therefore, if events or disasters are declared evil, then there must be a deity; otherwise they just are.

    ”On the other hand, most people believe in God, plus there's whole books of theodicy, so what do I know?”

    In your first attempt here you exercised the Argument From Evil. There are other arguments too, but the challenge here has a specific purpose: for the Atheist to provide material evidence (i.e. mass/energy, experimentally verified, not falsified, etc) that there is no deity, even the simple deity concept posited in the challenge.

    Because Atheists cannot do so, this challenge demonstrates that the Atheist belief system is not evidence-based as Atheists claim, and that without the evidence to support their assertions, they believe in an unproven and unprovable proposition. Hence, their beliefs are blind beliefs, religious and without justification either materially or logically.

    Care to try again?

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  159. Care to try again?
    Nope, I'm not really religious, and y'all's definitions of good, all powerful, etc. are too sophisticated for me. When good doesn't mean what I think it means, it's time to leave things up to the big brains.

    I think that the God most folks worship and look up to (me too) is a regularly good guy who can do anything He wants (including miracles and stuff that's "contradictory logically"). I'll leave the more sophisticated God for more sophisticated people.

    When you get to "creating forces" and "mass/energy" I'm way out of my league. I don't even see what it's got to do with the Bible.

    Anyways, you have really cool stuff in your blog!

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  160. Anonymous,
    Thanks for dropping by...

    The challenge to Atheists is not an argument for the Bible or for any particular human-based religion, it is an argument against the Atheist claim that Atheism is evidence-based.

    Atheists make some claims about the nature and extent of reality which they cannot prove, using their own standards for evidence. The demand physical, empirical evidence for non-material existence and any entites which might be non-material, yet they have no such comparable evidence that such things cannot and do not exist.

    And they base their entire worldview including ethics on a premise which they cannot prove, either logically or empirically. So their claims are false, all of them.

    That's all that the challenge is about...

    Thanks again for reading the blog,
    Stan

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  161. Anonymous the Simple,

    It is a bit unhelpful when visitors do not use a name of any sort; when you and so many other visitors post as "Anonymous," how does one address one's response to you specifically? I do not like the potential connotations of "Anonymous the Simple" but it's my way of ensuring that readers know I am responding to you, someone who leaves "the more sophisticated God for more sophisticated people."

    Nevertheless, your argument from suffering as stated is not a theological problem (at least for the God of biblical Christianity, which your argument implicates). Both the Christian and the non-Christian recognize that suffering exists, and suffering per se is both consistent with and accounted for in the Bible. A problem arises only if there exists any suffering that is gratuitous, a word used to describe suffering that has no justification or purpose. So if there exists gratuitous suffering, then the God of the Bible does not exist.

    And why is that? It is because gratuitous suffering and the God of the Bible are mutually exclusive concepts, in the same way that an immovable object and irresistible force are mutually exclusive concepts. In a world where there exists an irresistible force, there can be no such thing as an immovable object; the latter is rendered impossible given the former being possible. Similarly, in a world where there exists the God of the Bible, there can be no such thing as gratuitous suffering; given the former being possible, the latter is simply impossible.

    And therein lies the difficulty, for how does one prove that any instance of suffering is gratuitous?

    At any rate, despite the relevance and cogency of your potential argument, it does not meet the criteria imposed by Stan's challenge to atheists. What Stan would like to see is atheism justified empirically, that is, justified by the very criteria which atheists impose on others (at least those atheists who do so).

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  162. Atheism is a null hypothesis. A null hypothesis is a default position arising from a lack of evidence which might lead to the formation of a hypothesis.

    But you're quite amusing, I suppose, so carry on.

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  163. Atheism is not a null hypothesis, it is a rejection of specific propositions. A rejection must be accompanied with reasons for the rejection, or it is without any truth value and is only raw opinion.

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  164. Your initial statements are a bit strage to me.

    ‎"First is the perceived necessity of an originating cause of the universe; for example, the cause of the original quantum field from which Hawking’s (fallacious) “spontaneous creation from nothing” theory derives. In terms of Cause and Effect, such a cause would be expected to be larger, more powerful, totally coherent, able to construct coherent structures (i.e. rational), necessary and sufficient, able to implement causation at a distance (per quantum mechanics). Note that a story such as that of “infinite universes” does not defeat the need for an original cause, it merely moves the cause back a step by using imaginary, unfalsifiable stories of unobserved objects or processes; the logical need for an originating cause persists."

    This appears to be asking me to disprove the Higgs Field. I have no reason to try to disprove the Higgs Field. As far as I can make out, it could have existed forever.

    "Second is the theist notion of a personal relationship with the deity described in the First level. The occurrence of the relationship is internal to the individual person; is not a scheduled event; is not empirically, experimentally replicable; and most importantly it is not falsifiable using Popper’s criterion for separation of non-empirical from empirical entities. Such an event cannot be experienced by anyone other than the targeted individual, but it can be related in muted terms that are insufficient to describe the event(s) with accuracy and completeness due to their non-material, independent nature."

    The primary assertion here appears to be that a person can experience a relationship with the Higgs Field!?!?!?!? This is going to be tough. How can I prove that a person undergoing a religious experience is not really communing with the Higgs Field?

    I think the most I could do is possibly set up a condition where I induce a religious state in another person through some as yet unknown stimulus and show that the induced experience is indistinguishable from the natural state where a person thinks he or she is communing with God. That is not very satisfactory, though, since God, if He existed, could make my experiment come out whichever way He wished.

    I have to admit that the deck is thoroughly stacked. Your superior logic has subdued me. Now, where did I put that beer recipe? I have to go out and dedicate a temple to Enki.

    Enki is the Higgs Field. Who knew?

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  165. So you think that the Higgs field existed in a state called "forever"? How does "forever" exist without time? According to Hawking time itself did not uncurl into a viable form until well after the original expansion (another internal contradiction... how did the expansion occur without time?)

    Given the internal contradictions, it seems possible that temporal logic fails along with temporal physics, including the Higgs field, at the point of t=0- for the Big Bang.

    While I understand that your comment was pure snark, it does raise issues of human logical comprehension of pre-universal existence, and the ability to prove anything regarding that with space-time, mass-energy based investigations.

    You and Enki have fun.

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  166. Burden of proof is on the one making the claim LOGIC 101

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  167. Burden of proof lies with the one making the claim.

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  168. When a claim is rejected without reason, there is no reason to believe that the rejection is valid. This is especially true when the rejection is accompanied by the complaint that the Burden of Rebuttal does not apply to the rejectionist.

    The actual fact is that Atheists actively reject Theist claims, and refuse to defend their reasons for their rejections. This is intellectual dishonesty. Further, it is a definite reason to believe that Atheists have no case to present in their own defense, neither logical nor empirical and are therefore ideologically attached to a religious blind belief system.

    Claiming lack of evidence is dishonest; both logical and material evidence exists. Claiming rejection without reason is also dishonest. So where are the reasons?

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  169. My statements are not pure snark. We don't actually know what, if anything, is beyond, if that has any meaning at all, the Big Bang. The religious people have decided they know and they call that God and they say a lot of things about God - mostly contradicting other people who also believe in God in a way that allows them to have a group identity.

    The scientific community questions everything, including its own conclusions about the universe. We can say, at most, that we don't know if there is anything outside this universe. Our concepts of space and time are pretty much bound in this universe, so things like forever don't have much of a meaning for whatever is not included in the universe.

    Except gravity. It is theorized that gravity waves may come from beyond the Big Bang. We are preparing to take a look, in proper scientific fashion, when the Einstein Observatory is fully operational.

    I invite you to predict what we will see.

    Will it be God in a shower cap? Or just a between-the-universe type non-time-space that we won't quite understand when we first detect it?

    I'm betting it won't be God in a shower cap, but where will you put Him then?

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  170. Sorry that I referred to your comment as pure snark. It actually is only a high percentage of snark, such as "god in a shower cap" type of snark. What I don't detect here is any refutation. What is being stated is just Scientism as a faith statement as far as I can tell.

    In no way does this address the issue stated in the addendum, part one, of the post above.

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  171. Stan,

    Does this mean that you are not willing to put your beliefs to an empirical test?

    The Einstein Observatory is coming online and it will be used. There will be observations that can possibly check out some of the assertions that have been made about God.

    You still have the logical problem backward, as I pointed out.

    Science is going to have some empirical observations and you are just going to have the comfort of knowing that we don't really claim to prove anything absolutely.

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  172. ”Does this mean that you are not willing to put your beliefs to an empirical test?”

    That’s absurd. An empirical test is exactly what this challenge is all about. I suspect that you have not even read the post which outlines the challenge. Did you just read the title and charge to the end?

    Science is voluntarily materialist, because it cannot do two things: it cannot falsify metaphysical claims, and it cannot test anything which is not physical. That in no manner supports the claim that only physical things exist, which is the claim of Philosophical Materialism first of all, and its stepchild, Scientism. Both of those ideologies are non-coherent because they make claims of limited existence which they cannot prove using their own principles.

    ”The Einstein Observatory is coming online and it will be used. There will be observations that can possibly check out some of the assertions that have been made about God.”

    The assertions made here are not detectable with gravity fields. Show how the assertions made here will be tested physically. How will falsification occur in whatever “godless hypothesis” could be devised? In other words, your faith in the Einstein Observatory must be supported by some sort of evidence that it could, in fact, falsify the basic, necessary and sufficient conditions for Theism which is presented here. If there is no falsification hypothesis for these conditions, then there will be no falsification.

    ”You still have the logical problem backward, as I pointed out.”

    You have said nothing about a “logical problem” that I can see in re-reading your pleas for science as source-of-all-knowledge. Your position is transparently Philosophical Materialist/Scientismist. And you apparently are conflating Philosophical Materialism with deductive logic. Actual science is based on axiom-based deductive logic, and science is a subset of deductive logic, not the superset. Science is not the only way of knowing something. If that were the case, then language would have to be examined experimentally to find the truth value of each statement. Language is not amenable to scientific investigation, because it sets its own meanings via definitions. Yet it still uses informal if/then deduction and creates knowledge, just as does mathematics, more rigorously.

    The deductive logic is sound; you are invited to challenge the deduction for logical failures on the one hand, or to produce data which proves conclusively and incorrigibly that empirical, experimental scientific investigations show that the Theist argument is irretrievably false.

    Claiming future knowledge from unperformed experiments is not a substantive argument, especially considering that it does nothing to refute the premise, which includes other universes.

    ”Science is going to have some empirical observations and you are just going to have the comfort of knowing that we don't really claim to prove anything absolutely.”

    Then either you are an Atheist with absolutely no evidence or logic to support your belief systems (including the restriction of knowledge to material testability), or you are an agnostic who is in the wrong blog. Since you took the Atheist challenge, it is an acceptable assumption that you are an Atheist who is also a Philosophical Materialist, having accepted that ideology without any supporting evidence and having ignored its internal non-coherence. That places you into the position of having beliefs which are unconfirmable materially, so they are without evidentiary or logical support: they are ideological, blind beliefs, religiously held.

    This is confirmed by your claim of not needing to prove anything, yet positively rejecting Theist deductions without any corroboration: a religious position based on unsubstantiated ideology.

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  173. You're having serious issues regarding the burden of proof. You seem to be claiming that atheists assert that there is definitely no God. But an assertion that a God definitely doesn't exist is as illogical as asserting that a God certainly exists. It is a gnostic position at two ends of a spectrum where both positions has no evidence to support their definitive claims.

    I'm aware that you have already confused agnosticism as being some sort of comment on theology - but on its own it is no such thing. It is about knowledge - gnostic is to have knowledge, agnostic is to not know. This is then combined with a theist or atheist position to determine their claim.

    So any claim to know about something unknowable is a nonsense. And for you to tar all atheism as being gnostic in its origins is also wrong. There is no positive claim made and therefore no need for evidence.

    If I am to reject your claims about your theism I can only do so if I can address any evidence you can produce and refute that. If you claim a theistic view that is riddled with illogical claims then we can claim this particular view is false. But this does not mean all God's are just the false claims made. Much in the same way as Christians will claim any variety of Godly pantheons as false.

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  174. Denial Wood,

    ” You're having serious issues regarding the burden of proof. You seem to be claiming that atheists assert that there is definitely no God.”

    You have made a universal statement without the facts to back it up: here are some actual facts:

    Atheists actually do have beliefs; they believe that Theist claims are false; they believe that there is no God. This has been confirmed by the Barna Study, which found that 5,000,000 adults claim Atheism and “staunchly reject the existence of such a being [God]. The declaration that Atheists have no god beliefs or no god theories or similar statements is an attempt to protect Atheists from defending their actual belief system using either disciplined logic or empirical, experimental science.

    Regarding Burden of Proof: If arguments are rejected without there being any reason(s) for the rejections, then there are also no reasons to believe that the rejections are valid in any rational way. It is acceptable, then, to presume that the rejection is done not on a rational basis, but on an emotional needs basis at best, or on a purely irrational basis at worst.

    Now if you want to quibble about the term agnosticism when it is used in a context of Theism/Atheism, we can do that.

    ” So any claim to know about something unknowable is a nonsense. And for you to tar all atheism as being gnostic in its origins is also wrong. There is no positive claim made and therefore no need for evidence.”

    There most certainly is a positive claim. If you don’t make a positive claim, fine. But you don’t speak for all Atheists, obviously.

    ” If I am to reject your claims about your theism I can only do so if I can address any evidence you can produce and refute that.”

    The claims are made in the post above; did you miss that? And if you want physical evidence to refute empirically, experimentally, scientifically then there is always the claim of the miracle at Lourdes which was made over 150 years age and still is without empirical refutation. So you have plenty of material to work with.

    ” If you claim a theistic view that is riddled with illogical claims then we can claim this particular view is false”.

    But first you have to actually show that: what you are doing here is merely blustering, not providing any actual refutation.

    ”But this does not mean all God's are just the false claims made. Much in the same way as Christians will claim any variety of Godly pantheons as false.”

    There is no reason for Christians to claim any god is false: Christianity and Judaism both claim that the one non-natural creating agent is supreme over any other gods which might or might not exist. Your understanding of Judeo-Christianity seems limited.

    Basic Theism consists of one fundamental claim: that a non-physical agent exists which has the power to create a universe and has the power to interface/interfere with its own creation.

    So you have two possibilities to refute: the claim of Basic Theism, and the physical residual of the claims of the miracle at Lourdes.

    If you can refute those claims using the evidentiary theories of Atheism, then you will be the first. Go ahead. Let ‘er rip.

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  175. //If arguments are rejected without there being any reason(s) for the rejections, then there are also no reasons to believe that the rejections are valid in any rational way. //

    Which is why people rejected your claims of theism - because there is no reason to believe the validity of your claims.

    Perhaps you're beginning to understand the burden of proof. Not all atheists believe in your "law" that there is no God - they just don't follow any theism. They just don't have a God they follow.

    For example your Christian God is rejected as a logical contradiction from your own writings. He apparently is an omniscient and omnipotent perfect God who has human flaws such as vanity, and is prone to making mistakes that he would be aware of and have the power to prevent.

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  176. No proof is possible. How can anyone disprove that an all powerful, all knowing and invisible god exists? So I would concede that Zeus may indeed be real. Of course if your challenge was based on historical data, science, common sense and best of all, physical proof I would add more here. As it is, this game is rigged in favor of Quetzalcoatl, Horus, Thor, Jesus and thousands of other "proven" gods.  What you have is called "Faith" -belief that is not based on proof: "He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact." - from the dictionary.

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  177. SteveZ,
    Your comment doesn’t constitute a refutation, it is merely a complaint about the challenge. The challenge doesn’t mention any of the “gods” you throw into the conversation, it makes a deductive argument for you to show non-valid. In the absence of any refutations which would favor Atheism, then Atheism is seen to be exactly the “faith” proposition which you deplore: Atheism has neither logic nor hard evidence to show for proof of its beliefs. So it is a blind belief, emotionally held and without any evidentiary support: the characteristics which Atheists deplore in religions.

    "he had faith that the inability to prove his hypothesis did not affect its truth value".

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  178. Just wanted to let you know that I looked at your Challenge to Atheists I, and I'm not willing to take it. It presupposes that atheism is a claim, when it is in fact a conclusion.

    I've been going around answering a lot of "10 questions for atheists" lately, so if you have something of that nature, let me know. I'm happy to have a look.

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  179. DVD,
    A conclusion with no reason for making it is just a claim. It is without premises, which are withheld due to the intellectual cowardice to support the conclusion with either logic or empirical data. The conclusion is therefore logically irrational.

    There is just the one question for you: what are your reasons/premises for your conclusion?

    This is exactly what neither you nor any of the Atheists who show up here want to answer: "We don't have to answer".

    That is an intellectual FAIL at any and all levels.

    The argument which is given to you here in order that you can demonstrate your intellectual prowess does have premises which you could argue against, but of course you won't.

    Atheists believe something which they can't prove: blind belief, unsupported by either logic or empirical data.

    Atheism is irrational.

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  180. Gotta admit that it is so fascinating to watch atheistic arguments break like waves on the beach. Why can't they see their double-standards?

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  181. If you have definitive, fool-proof, and verifiable proof that there is a God, then you are the only person in the entire history of man that has such proof. Man has been trying to prove existence of God literally since the beginning of time and to date, has not. Please present the proof instead of just arguing that there is such proof...because this atheist, as well as most believers (I might add) are waiting for it. But, hey, I wont hold my breath... BTW, just for the record, you have the burden of proof since you believe in the existence, not those of us who don't believe in it--are you sure you thought this out? LOL

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  182. The purpose of this blog, in case you missed it, is to discuss Atheism and its responses to Theist arguments.

    You have not made an argument for Atheism nor have you refuted the argument made in the challenge. What you have done is to present your unsubstantiated opinion as fact. If you could refute the case being made, then you would have. Your rejection is off the cuff, without any weight or intellectual value.

    In fact, comments such as “…entire history of man”, and “…since the beginning of time” are without any respectable intellectual value as well.

    Your claim of needing “definitive, fool-proof, and verifiable proof” indicates two things: first, that you will very likely discard all arguments under vaporous "needs" which you can define at will for the situation at hand (demonstrating no intellectual humility which submits to disciplined arguments), and a submission to Scientism which is demonstrably false under the scrutiny of disciplined logic. These claims for neediness demonstrate intellectual haphazardness and weakness. If you care to present specific needs for intellectual satisfaction, then do so.

    When an argument is rejected without any reason, then there is no reasoning involved in the rejection. That is what you have done, and that is the position of intellectually undisciplined Atheists who insist that they have no intellectual responsibility, yet they actually believe that they “are intellectual”.

    The idea that you know what I believe is also false, since I have made no claim other than that Atheism is false. You have made no case which shows otherwise; in fact, you merely are parroting the common internet Atheist dodges, without any critical understanding of disciplined logical analytical reasoning, or disciplined deductive analysis.

    Further, you are likely a mere troll who is hiding behind the skirts of anonymity.

    There is nothing in your comment which anyone can take seriously; it is a carbon copy of Atheist intellectual responsibility dodges which are legion on the internet: Atheism is generally acquired as adolescent rebellion and most of the arguments which are made – rather are NOT made – are at that intellectual level.

    If you wish to refute the case being made in any of the Challenges using disciplined deductive processes grounded in First Principles, then do so; otherwise your failure to do so will be considered another intellectual failure of Atheism.

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  183. Stan,

    Your latest anyonymous commentator found his way her via my facebook post. We went to the same fundy school and church years ago. The church damaged a great many people and not just spiritually. Many terrible stories from those days.

    I will say this, he is not hiding behind the anonymous name. It was pobably just an oversight on his part as he doesnt hide behind false id's even when criticizing the former church.

    As for his ability to argue, well he still has yet to address my rebuttal (on facebook) of his requirement that God must physically appear, because he did so in the past, and since God has not there is no evidence God exists.

    Despite having the kalaam cosmological argument and the argument from reason presented and only non-sensical responses from him as rebuttals, he still claims I rely only on faith and that the Bible is the only thing that is offered as evidence by Christians.

    It seems many atheists stumble into the same anti-intellectual behaviour these days.

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  184. It boils down to this: Atheism is not logic-based; it is an emotional position which allows the total indulgence of the self while denying any and all intellectual and moral authority other than the self.

    That means that the individual Atheist gets to define his own logic and his own morality. So the individual Atheist can come to think of all others as logically incorrect since they do not use his logic which is peculiar to him, and all others are immoral since they do not use his morality which he made up himself.

    The Atheist comes to see himself as elite, being uber-logical and moral... at least in his own mind, where he is always right, based on his own personally derived principles.

    This is indiscernable from narcissism, which is an emotional impairment.

    That is the source of Free Thought and Humanism.

    It has proven impossible to shake an Atheist free from obvious internal contradictions (such as Materialism and Scientism) because the demand for personal eliteness outweighs any requirement to submit to known logical disciplines. The Atheist will always resort to his own rationalizations to support his emotional need for freedom and eliteness. There are concepts which support the Atheist's emotional attachment, and they are jealously held regardless of any logical falseness they might employ. So the use of logic with Atheists is only useful for bystanders who observe the process and who are not yet caught in the Atheist intellectual/moral trap.

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  185. BTW, an indicator of this is the Atheist's non-comprehension of why Atheists are not trusted. If a person is tautologically moral, then he is always "Good" regardless of what he does. So he should be trusted, right?

    Atheists fail to accept moral measurements of their behaviors, and therefore they cannot be held to any expectation for a consistent, known response to a given moral or ethical situation. They cannot be expected to behave consistently, much less in a fashion others consider to be moral.

    But the Atheists seem unable to comprehend all this, and continue to insist that they are innately "Good without God", which is the same as saying they are "Good without Morality which is consistent and known".

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  186. Stan, great blog. If you are interested, I have recently been invited to and joined a group on facebook called: "The search for truch". It has about 400 members now, but is heavily weighted with atheists. some of them get outta hand, but they're asking the tough questions and there is some serious discussion there. if any of you (believer or not) would like an invite, please let me know.

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  187. Hello, Stan.

    I've been reading through your blog for the past week-ish and enjoying it. It's encouraged me to dust off some of my old philiosphy texts just to see how much I've forgotten.

    I do want to address one point you've made several times. To wit:

    "So the demand is reductively focused on material evidence of a non-material being, one that would exist necessarily outside space-time and mass-energy, a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine, much less measure using devices that do not apply in any way, being designed to measure material things."

    In sum, you assert that atheist demands for material evidence of God constitute a categorical error because God is a non-material being. This would be akin to demanding a mathematical proof for the existence of dogs, or laboratory evidence for the truth of Euclid's Fifth Postulate. And you further counter that evidence has been offered, but of a kind that atheists, due to their materialist biases, reject a priori. Yet is not at least one evidence you offer -- the fact that a material universe exists at all -- precisely the sort of material evidence you deny can exist?

    This strikes me as a fallacy of equivocation. In asserting that evidence has been offered, you seem to have in mind something like a logically coherent syllogism. But in demanding evidence the atheist is not asking for logical argument, but simply material traces. Surely it would not be unreasonable -- let alone logically incoherent -- to presume that even a non-material being who interacted with the material universe would -- indeed must -- leave material traces. It might be analogous to my calling the police to report a burglary, then chastising the police officer when he points out there are no footprints in the snow. "Silly police officer. Burglars aren't made out of snow." Of course not, but they'd still leave footprints.

    Are you not equivocating between two definitions of evidence?

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  188. Nathanael,
    Hello and welcome.

    You ask about the material evidence which Atheists demand. What they want is not evidence for God, what they demand is evidence of God. So it is not material “traces” which they demand. They immediately reject all material artifacts (such as the universe and Lourdes) under the banner of scientism, in which they have blind faith will explain away ALL material effects by finding material causes.

    An example is the video Atheist who rejects all evidence except for the experience of a material God himself. He said that he would not believe until God hands him a cheese burger. PZ Meyers said that if he prayed for the destruction of the city he was looking at and the city was immediately destroyed, it would not be evidence of God and he would immediately begin searching for the cause of the destruction, because that is science.

    In Materialism, material observation provides the only possible knowledge; hence, Scientism. This is used to selectively obviate any uncongenial deductive arguments as well.

    Parenthetically, it makes no difference to the Atheist that Materialism (or Scientism) cannnot prove that itself is true, and is thus internally inconsistent (non-coherent/paradoxical).

    In other words, for Atheists, at least the hardened Atheists who haunt the internet, material evidence is divided into artifacts and presence. There are no possible artifacts which will convince Atheists of the existence of a deity; only the sight (material visual apprehension) of the actual deity (in a material existence) would convince them.

    Making such a demand, “show yourself!”, of a creating being is demanding physical evidence of the existence of that being – an agent which is necessarily not part of the physical existence which it created. That is a Category Error.

    It is possible for such a being to comply, of course, but why would it? Making the demand places the individual into first, a state of pompous, arrogant superiority, and second, a state of ridiculousness and absurdity, as well as rebellion against existing rational evidence.

    There is a third category of possible evidence beyond artifacts and presence, and that is deductive syllogistic arguments which Atheists denounce but cannot defeat. That is the purpose of the challenges to Atheists: to demonstrate that logic is not actually part of their philosophy. They choose the answer first, then they deny all evidence of every type which falsifies it. Their premises are based on the subsequent lack of evidence which they have created by using their skeptical denialism. So their process is rationalization combined with denialism, which is decidedly and demonstrably irrational.

    Atheism is characterized not by its claimed base in evidence and logic, but by its rejection of existing premises without cause, its irrational demands for logically and physically impossible evidence, and its proud adherence to destructive skepticism.

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  189. This thread is a great read, although getting a little predictable! It's fascinating to see the steady stream of Atheists who cannot bear to hold their beliefs up to the light of reason.

    There is one thing I would like to add in relation to the continual Atheistic claims that the burden of proof is on the Theist because the Atheist makes no claim and has only 'a lack of belief' as they like to call it.

    To me this seems like (another) failure of logic. The Atheist rejects Theism on the basis that it lacks sufficient (for their personal standards at least) material evidence. But since God/no-God is a binary debate, this is in fact a logically equivalent claim that 'Atheism is true'.

    For example:

    The letter 'A' is symmetrical. If the proposition of symmetry is applied to the letter 'P' and found to be not true, the letter 'P' is therefore asymmetrical. We do not 'lack belief in the symmetry of P', we affirm (a positive claim) that it is 'asymmetrical'. In the same way, the Atheist's denial that Theism is true is a positive claim about reality, and as such, must be evidenced.

    The only logical defence of this 'lack of belief' would be that the person claiming it had no cogniscance whatsoever of the proposition that a God exists. This is patently not the case in any of the above cases where the Atheists are aware of Theism, but explicitly reject it.

    I conclude that this 'lack of belief' and 'burden of proof is on the Theist' behaviour is an excuse for the Atheist not to have to be bothered with constructing a rational argument in support of an emotionally held belief.

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  190. Zero,
    Interesting approach, thanks. And yes, Atheism is an emotional attachment which involves the carrot of attaining relief from moral authority and the resulting self-anointing of personal superiority and elitism, and the stick which is the loss of personal superiority and elitism if Atheism is successfully defeated.

    Logic and rationality, although claimed by Atheists, plays no part in their belief.

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  191. Stan have you ever thought about the idea of the universe not being logical? What I mean by that is that there may not be a logical way to prove the existance or to disprove the existance of a first cause. Because maybe, just maybe the first cause is something that cannot be defined with logic. So all of this back and forth on the subject may be just a bunch of mental masterbaition.

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  192. John,
    If that is your position then you are asserting Radical Skepticism, and pyrrhonian nihilism; if that is your position, then fine.

    Go in peace and try to find meaning in a meaningless universe and life.
    Adios

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  193. While buying a home on credit, if I claim my bank account have a million dollar, then I must have to vindicate this claim with sufficient documents. But is there anyone ever come across a situation where they had to proof that their bank is truly empty? I never heard so.
    If you claim to find the largest piece of diamond the world have ever seen but failed to show it in your possession, that mean you don’t have it.
    As a vet if during a blood examination, if I can’t find the existence of blood protozoa in the peripheral blood sample of a patient that mean it doesn’t have protozoal infestation. I won’t have to draw the whole blood till to last drop and scrutinize all 5-10 liters of blood to vindicate my claim. Failure to prove the existence of something, mostly considered as evidence that it simply doesn’t exists.

    Similarly we don’t need to prove the non-existence of God for being a rational atheist. The incessant endeavors attempted by millions of men, women and even children, over thousands of years to prove his existence but each and every of them miserably failed. What else can be the best evidence of the nonexistence of God?
    There are some who would like to claims solipsism comes right from God and makes us aware of ourselves. It is true that we are yet to develop a scale to measure the degree of solipsism or self awareness but we have the limited ability to understand it’s presence or absence. There are few other species alongside are found to inherit self awareness and passed mirror test, (Chimpanzees, dolphins are few of them) and each and every of them are located on the terminal branches of the tree of evolution. No other animal at the basal ramification have ever shown any sign of solipsism even to the lowest degree, from which we can easily conclude it is merely an ability achieved by evolution, not a celestial gift from the almighty.
    It is true that we are yet to reach to the that level where we can understand “the nature of thought, identity and emotion” but for this instant we have discovered where they come from, for example emotion originate from amygdala of the limbic system, logical thoughts and reality associated with hippocampus, sexual thoughts are from accumbens nucleaus. Moreover we have invented the brain wave patter of those emotion and feelings, all we gotta do is to interpret.
    Definitely as human we have limitations, and there’s whole lots of thing we can’t perceive, perform and understand.
    "There is more to reality than what our senses or our instruments can detect."
    One hell of a truth, and I fully agree with it. But I can assert one thing; this inability doesn’t mean "That is the spiritual reality."
    It simply means we are yet to develop better senses through evolution and advance instruments through scientific researches to perceive it.
    The organic matters are purely represents life and it can only be created through life. A prehistoric sagacious speech nullified with the invention of urea by Friedrich Wohler. However I can still find it’s echo in the following sentence,
    "That reality is pure consciousness and it can be detected through consciousness."
    If you want to define the word reality what we can perceive then reality is nothing more than electro-chemical signals induced by outside stimuli and passing through out synapses. And if you think reality is something we can’t perceive, then how could it ever become reality? It’s just another form of imagination of our intricate self-aware mind. From the following sentence

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