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:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 271 of 271
Stan said...

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.


Actually, you have combined two issues: Philosophical Materialism on the one hand, and probability on the other. You are asserting the examination of physical entities in order to find other physical entities. That has no bearing on the search for a non-physical entity. Searching the realm of mass/enegy in the pursuit of something which contains neither mass nor energy, is futile from the outset. It is engaging in the typical fallacy, Category Error. Further, you cannot fully vindicate your claim of non-protozoal infestation beyond some level of probability, given that you have not examined all possible locations. This probability might be acceptable, yet it is still not an absolute.

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?

You have made a universal claim which you cannot support since you cannot possibly know the findings of all humans who have made the correct, non-physical search, rather than the above presupposition of physical investigation as satisfactory for investigating a non-physical entity. Theists will even grant that you have not found any deity in your physical searching; the wrong search has been performed.

Stan said...

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.

I am not aware of any responsible evolutionary theorist who claims that the “tree” of evolution has terminal branches other than extinction. In fact, it is now thought that every species is on a path of extinction because Kimura proved that the only mutations to be passed along are deleterious, not beneficial. Also, selection is not creative and is not causal in speciation. So your argument, being based on the older Darwinist mutation/selection theories, is without meaning. Refer to the new “Extended theory of Evolution”, written by the Altenberg 16 evolutionary scientists for a modern view.

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.

And here you have presumptively chosen a cause and an effect without knowing whether they are either cause or effect. The blood flow measurements of brain activity show an area which is exercised in certain conditions; it does not show causation, it shows exercise, and that only.

Further, if it is presumed that the physical brain components actually are causal, then determinism must be in play as well, and free will, intellect, and the human as a causal being cannot exist. This is because causally, every cause/effect interaction has perfect prior dependency on the immediately preceding cause/effect transaction – clear back to the big bang. Thus, just as boulders roll downhill after erosion has removed their barriers, so every human action is predetermined, and has no creative or intellectual value. Darwin recognized this, saying that his critical worry was “how the thoughts of man could have any value if they were derived from a brain evolved by random forces”. (paraphrased)

Stan said...

”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.”


Actually it means that Aristotelian deductions must be satisfied via hypothetico-deductive empirical discovery, or it means that such empirical methods are insufficient and inadequate for the task. If that is the case, then whatever new logic is deemed “adequate” will replace Aristotelian empiricism, and all material investigations will have to be re-fit to the new process. That, of course, places many of the current empirical understandings in jeopardy.

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."


That sentiment is also promoted by the early theorists of quantum mechanics, and is established in the Copenhagen Interpretation. However, the newer theory of Quantum Field Theory seems to nullify that concept and simplifies existence to energy force fields. Interestingly, the four basic forces cannot account for many of the “directed forces” found in molecular biology of the cell. Biology of living entities violates much of known physics; however, dead biological objects do perform exactly to physics principles, including entropy.

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
"A world that is not made of matter, where time and space don’t exist."
I can only find the imagination but no trace of reality (most probably a fault of my conception).
Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Einstein all just changed our perception toward reality but not the reality itself to validate some spiritual absurdities. And the same thing will be done by their successors.


This completely ignores black holes (not visible/perceptible), dark energy and dark matter. Most of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy; we can physically perceive only 5 or 6 % of the universe using material techniques; materialism is vastly inadequate for use in discussing existence or “reality”, if reality is presupposed to be only and solely physical (mass/energy)

"God is real"
"An apocalypse coming"
These are two sentence peoples are hearing since the dawn of civilization yet there’s nothing happened, and I am so fucking sick and tired of hearing them over and over again.

Kind Regards
Dr Ovi


You might be sick and tired, but you don’t know what people have been saying from the dawn of civilization because that is a universal claim, based on knowledge you cannot possibly have.

However, it serves as an expression of your exasperation with your inability to convince others that you do know, for a fact, that there is no prior entity which either created mass/energy and space/time, and/or continues to sustain its existence from one planck instant to the next planck instant, because you know, for a fact, that all existence is material on the one hand, and just consciousness on the other hand. This is special knowledge, indeed, and I’d like to hear more about how you know those things.

Steven Satak said...

@Nastika: if what you say is true about the brain, why should I pay the slightest attention to what you write here? Your statements, by your own admission, contain no more truth than the rustling of leaves in the breeze.

And if you are sick and tired of hearing things, put your earplugs in. It's easier than twisting your worldview into something that flatters your ego but has nothing to do with objective reality.

Dragon fang said...

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.

Because you made a testimony, there are reasons to believe you should be eager to show us if you are truthful, and that the claim is easily tested and confirmed/falsified?

I've heard financial aid workers are practically beady-eyed about you proving your bank account is empty.


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.


Because you made a testimony, and there are reasons to believe you should be eager to show us if you are truthful.

Because the claim is easily tested and confirmed/falsified. The Modus Tollens [denying the consequent] argument goes as such:

1- If a protozoal infection exists in the patient, I should be able to observe it in blood examination.
2- I did not observe a protozoal infection in the blood examination.
C: Therefore, a protozoal infection does not exist in the patient.

1- If A, then B.
2- Not A.
C: Therefore, not B.

A valid argument. Bravo.


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?

Similarly, an other Atheist throws away all rationality at the mention of God, and declares arguments from ignorance rational through poor use of irrelevant analogies.


I am genuinely impressed that you managed to personally ask millions of men, women, and even children throughout known history and challenge them to prove his existence. Your powers know no bounds; not even logical fallacies can deter you.



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.

Maybe "I think, therefore I exist" might help you clear some doubts?


Different animals have different degrees of self-recognition, ergo supernatural selection and miraculous random mutations, yippe. It takes a special kind of deletion to evolve the story-weaving capability that any species have anything remotely close to human consciousness.

Dragon fang said...




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.

Too bad that mild reading in philosophy of science will reveal that we will never be able to understand the nature of thoughts via. the scientific method.

Why haven't we started industrial production of emotion by extracting amygdalas?! Oh, you meant that amygdalas are merely associated with emotions, never mind.


I am fairly sure that brain wave patterns existed before recently. Are you proposing that brain wave pattern indicate what it is like for something to happen rather than that something is happening? What those subjective experiences are, or why they occur all by observing brain correlations?


Definitely as human we have limitations, and there’s whole lots of thing we can’t perceive, perform and understand.

That statement is too good to come from a materialist and a member of the cult of scientism; I am sensing a 'but'.



"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."


Continuation: But it definitely mean that it is material reality, because reasons.

Gee, guess its time to start the search for the Stone of Truth and Helmet of Legitimacy, perchance they spares us from this vortex of irrationality we fell in.


It simply means we are yet to develop better senses through evolution and advance instruments through scientific researches to perceive it.

Ah, so there is no more to reality than what our (not necessarily current) senses or our instruments can detect. Thought you'd pull a fast one.



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


Never figured you for a panpsychist.

So your statements boils down to: "Consciousness is produced by something that you get conscious of". Damn, I thought I could define matter without reference to consciousness...

Of course of course, reality is whatever runs along in your head, there is no moral obligation -certainly not to accept any of your statements-, and you want us to share an illusion that we are having an illusion.

Stan said...

"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."

This is a dichotomy formed thus:
First horn: reality exists only as electrochemical neural response to certain forms of outside stimuli.

Second horn: without electrochemical neural response, there is nothing which exists which can be called reality.

The use of the term "reality" is not a proper descriptor for existence. Both horns refer primarily to existence, with an improper use of the term "reality".

By reducing "reality" to existence, and physical existence at that, the entire conversation has been self-limited to ontology, which is fine, unless one wishes to stop there without acknowledging both epistemology and all theories of unknowability.

By writing a faulty dichotomy it can be made to appear, on first glance, that a point has been made when in fact it has falsely eliminated many other options (False Dichotomies are very common). Attempts to limit dichotomies to two horns frequently overlooks the obvious logical alternatives, which in this case attempts to eliminate existence which has not either been neurologically stimulated or which is detectable in that manner or even detectable by devices which extend the detection of human senses. There is no reason to think that these extensions will find all of existence, since only proposed existence is cause for the development of devices to detect it.


Joe's World said...

What's that old saying about proof, mathematics and alcohol?

Atheists can't prove that gods don't exist. It could be that gods exist yet appear entirely non-existent. But what is it to believe other than what appears true if not self-deception?

Two things are true; we live in a universe that appears entirely godless, and gods appear to be imaginary.

For evidence of this we can present the universe, and the entire of recorded history.

It may be that gods exist, but they have no effect, do not appear to intersect with reality at all, and bear all the hallmarks of the human imagination.

Atheists prefer to believe what appears to be true.

Joe's World said...

What is it they say about proof, mathematics and alcohol?

Atheists cannot prove that gods do not exist. It could be that gods do exist yet appear exactly non-existent. But what is it to believe other than what appears true if not self-deception?

Two things atheists can say; that the universe appears entirely godless, and that gods appear to be imaginary.

For evidence of this we can present the entire universe and all of recorded history.

Atheism is just honesty.

Stan said...

Joe,
Atheism denies the existence of good/evil and truth/falseness. There are no absolutes under Atheism.

Thus there is no such thing as honesty. Honesty requires congruence with truth, not congruence with "appearance".

And further, if Atheism actually did allow congruence with appearance, then it would admit that the "appearance of design" existing in all life actually points to a designer, rather than claiming that the "appearance of design" is a real appearance which is a delusion "because there is no designer". Logical circularity in the defense of a desired outcome, rather than using deduction and accepting the truth of the deduced outcome.

There is no grounded deduction which points to life, automated feedback integrated information systems, consciousness, intellect - all derived from the physical characteristics of minerals, atoms, sub-atomic particles or any other material existence. yet this is what Atheists choose to believe, in the face of contrary evidence.

So, considering the logical failures of Materialism (internally incoherent), logical failures of Atheism, and the failures of deduction in considering the source of life, it becomes apparent that Atheism is a rational failure, and is a blind belief. And further, it is an irrational rejection of available evidence which cannot be explained under purely material concepts.

Finally when you claim the appearance of non-existence, you make an empty, evidence and logic free claim. Until you have refuted all possible evidence you are arguing from a position of ignorance. Granted that it is self-assured ignorance, but it is still ignorance until all evidence is refuted, using appropriate, rigorous, validated techniques.

Phoenix said...

Atheists cannot prove a negative but their worldview consists almost entirely of negative claims AND they demand proof.How Atheists fail to see this self-refuting predicament is beyond me.

Steve 11 said...


Either:

a) God impacts the material world; or
b) God does not impact the material world

If God holds a personal relationship with those people, then those people are influenced as to behavior, and therefore God impacts the material world, because the behavior of people impacts the material world.

Therefore, if theism is true, God impacts the material world, and materialists are justified in testing the material world for this impact, rather than relying on theistic syllogisms.

Stan said...

Steve11,
You must somehow prove, materially of course, that such relationships are material in nature. That means finding a "relationship object" consisting of mass/energy, rather than mere abstractions of beliefs and behaviors. (Actual discovery of a material "relationship object", for investigation using material techniques).

When you have proven that the relationship is a material thing (object), such that we can all investigate it separately using the proper equipment, then empirical science can investigate it. (amenable to investigative empiricism)

Then you must also prove that the material relationship object now exists, whereas it would not have existed as a material relationship object without the relationship. (general causation)

Further, if you do find a material object which you call the "material relationship object", you must prove that it is precisely the relationship with a deity, and not some other relationship. (specific cause)

Finally, the failure at any stage of this sort of rigorous investigation is inductively non-proof regarding (a) the existence of a relationship; (b) the existence of a relationship specifically with a deity; (c) the existence of a deity.

Keep us posted of your progress in this investigation, and the necessary falsification retesting, as well.

And last, if you cannot falsify a syllogism, yet you reject it, you have in essence declared your denial of logic as the basis for the determination of true and valid thinking. Given that, what basis do you use, if not logic?

Steve 11 said...

Stan,

I wasn't claiming that the relationship existed at all, nor that it was material. Theists claim there is a relationship. if there were any relationship, irrespective of whether or not there is any non-material element, you would see material evidence resulting from behavior changes. Either way, the test is a material one, which does not require a full categorization of all steps prior to the expected observable impact.

You could claim that the relationship has no observable effect on people, but that would seem to me to be unexpected, given the profound effects claimed by so many millions on their lives.

Phoenix said...

Steve

Atheists have all sort of ideas what God must be and look like if he exists. God according to theism is a personal Being but not a human being, God is a mind/consciousness without a physical body. And because God is consciousness he influences/affects people via inspiration, directly or indirectly, that is personal to the individual.

Now, your contention is that this effect this God consciousness exerts on the individual must be directly visible by a third party,just like we are able to detect the interactions the four forces have on objects. In other words, the specifications for the the non-physical interactions between minds must be the same as the material interactions. Am I correct so far?

Steve 11 said...

Phoenix:

No, my contention is that, if God has a personal relationship with individuals, that this would be non-trivial and behavior influencing. We can observe behavior with our standard senses.

Alternatively, it is trivial and has absolutely no influence on people's behavior.

Stan said...

Steve11,
I see. You would conclude that since Christian rehabilitation programs in prisons produce markedly less recidivism, that would be evidence.

Christian programs in prisons are, in fact, documented to produce less recidivism; however, as with all aspects of human life even double blind tests commonly contradict each other. There are too many factors affecting behavior to be able to sort out which is actually causal.

Most Atheists do not believe in non-measurable existence. I.e. for them all existence is defined by Philosophical Materialism: Mass/energy in space/time. All of which is deterministic. Behaviors are caused by the prior positions of electrons in millions upon millions of synapses, which tumble at t=t+1 in deterministic fashion. Yet the precise paths of causation are too complex to trace.

Behavior changes in unpredictable yet deterministic fashion depending upon the physical input influences which are so many and varied that they cannot be accurately known in a scientific fashion.

Thus the general Atheist philosophical position is that a person might change for a great many reasons, all deterministic and yet unknowable. For example, a person might experience a trauma and believe it to be a connection to a deity. Or experience a delusion which recurs and so on.

Without the empirical, replicable, falsifiable, experimental, open data, peer reviewed and journal published sort of cause/effect, not many - if any - Atheists would be convinced by behavior changes. And again, the data exists regarding recidivism.

Stan said...

From Johnson, Larson, Pitt

"The scarcity of research about prisoners and the influence of religious variables on inmates' adjustment and recidivism can be attributed to potential problematic biases held by both religious workers and scientific researchers (Larson et al. 1986; Larson et al. 1995; Larson, Sherrill, and Lyons 1994; Post 1995). Many chaplains, ministers, and religious volunteers who work in religious programs have been reluctant or have lacked the skills to undertake publishable research. This reluctance had been fueled by a broader historical skepticism about the relevance of religion held by many in higher education, and at best by university researchers' ambivalence in studying spirituality or religion (Jones 1994, Larson et al. 1994).

RELIGION AND REHABILITATION

Tocqueville (1833) was correct when he observed that rehabilitation and reformation are two different things: We can measure rehabilitation, but we cannot measure reformation. Though we can observe that some inmates unquestionably may have changed in positive ways, there is no way of observing whether they have "repented." The former inmate still may be a "very bad" person "on the inside," but as long as he does not commit illegal acts when he leaves prison, as he did previously, he is "rehabilitated." This intriguing distinction warrants research.

Other than anecdotal accounts, the literature contains relatively little research linking the possible influence of religion to its potential beneficial, neutral, or even harmful influence on the rehabilitation of offenders. This deficit is somewhat surprising because most of the published studies have found inverse and essentially beneficial relationships between measures (usually single-item measures) of religiousness and various measures of crime or delinquency. In a recent, important study, Evans et al. provide perhaps the most comprehensive treatment of the topic and conclude that "among our religiosity measures, participation in religious activities was a persistent and noncontingent inhibitor of adult crime (1995:195)." This finding held even after controlling for secular constraints, religious networks, and social ecology. The results of that study are noteworthy because some research has shown that various measures of religiosity or religious commitment lose their significance in the presence of secular controls (Albrecht, Chadwick, and Alcorn 1977; Cochran, Wood, and Arneklev 1994; Elifson, Peterson, and Hadaway 1983). Evans et al. (1995) succeeded in resolving some of these issues, however, by testing the religion-crime relationship with a comprehensive crime measure and three separate dimensions of religiousness, not merely with a single item. Their results are consistent with other published research showing that religion has similar benefits in other areas of impulse control or deviance, such as drug and alcohol abuse (Gartner, Larson, and Allen 1991; Larson et al. 1994)."

Steve 11 said...

Stan,

Would not the best position with respect to the existence of these personal relationships be agnosticism, then, given that there is no agreement on what behaviorial signature to expect, the difficulty in measuring them as well as the difficulty in identifying delusion and dishonesty?

Stan said...

Steve11,
Absolutely. At least from an external standpoint, agnosticism is definitely warranted. My relationship with a deity cannot be experienced or even tested by anyone else. That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. It does mean that materialist techniques are not a means to "truth" under these, or any, circumstances; they never provide more than contingent knowledge which is subject to revision as further information and/or technology demands. And only for testable, replicable, falsifiable issues.

Talon said...

In a similar vein to Stan's distinction of investigating material vs non-material forces, Edward Feser's commentary on the perils of Scientism.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1174/

Phoenix said...

Steve

While your objection seems unique and frankly a bit bizzare, in the end it all boils down to the old Atheist staple: prove God or his work materially.

Your objection is this:
1.What is seemingly God's influence on his followers" behavior is too trivial.
2.And whatever trivial behavior is inspired by God can't be witnessed with the senses.

Regarding 1, perhaps you should stipulate what you consider non-trivial behavior.Although triviality is a subjective concept, I'm certain christian missionary work such as the building of hospitals,educational institutions, counseling centres, soup kitchens, etc. can be considered of the utmost importance.
Regarding 2, I think the counter examples stated above are sufficient and pass for empirical observation.

Phoenix said...

Would not the best position with respect to the existence of these personal relationships be agnosticism,

Why should others who claimed to have personally experienced God adopt agnosticism because there are others who claimed to not have experienced God? That is not a rational position to adopt under such conditions.

...the difficulty in measuring them as well as the difficulty in identifying delusion and dishonesty?

Ah, and we're quickly back to Philosophical Materialism with a dash of Radical Skepticism. How do you propose one should measure personal experience and if unable to do so, should we reject all experiences as brain farts?

JBsptfn said...

Check this out:

Chat Pilot-Godisamyth.blogspot.com: The Pros of Atheism

This guy believes that Atheism and Naturalism is more reliable than any religion. He used to be a fundamentalist Christian, but now he is on the other side of the Fundamentalist coin. Sad.

Steve 11 said...
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Steve 11 said...
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Steve 11 said...

Phoenix,

Re: Why should others who claimed to have personally experienced God adopt agnosticism because there are others who claimed to not have experienced God?

Non-corroborated thoughts should be treated with agnosticism, always, full stop, divine or otherwise, when they are remembered in our material reality. If I were to have what I felt was a clear vision of a murder and, convinced of it's future truth, I would not be justified in acting on that information unless materially corroborated. This is true whether or not I believe the information was divine in origin. It is also true irrespective of what information, or lack thereof, was revealed to me.

This does not mean that I claim material reality is the only reality, only that I am not yet convinced of non-material means of corroborating memories.

Phoenix said...

Steve
This does not mean that I claim material reality is the only reality, only that I am not yet convinced of non-material means of corroborating memories

I'm starting the think you are not one of those Atheists who only pretend to be open-minded skeptics when in fact they are closed-minded ideologues.Surely, if I present a study that confirms memories of NDEs are real then you'll gleefully accept it and reject Materialism because you are now convinced there exists a non-physical reality.

Steve, go here: “Reality” of near-death-experience memories

All these years Steve, all you ever wanted was corroboration of the non-material. Well, now you have it and there shall be no more fallacious moving of the goal posts/raising the bar to impossible standards because you Steve are different, you are nice.

Steve 11 said...

Phoenix,

My position has moderated towards agnosticism in some respects, partly due to some great content on this site.

So, before I address near-death experiences, what's your view on the ethics of an individual acting in material reality on experiences had with no material signature? An example would be a user having an experience that leads them to violent action against another person who did not share this experience.

My experience as been that some people have one standard of ethics or epistemology for acting upon person experiences for theistic claims, but another for non-theistic claims.

Is the violent action justified in one, both, or neither cases? If neither, would that not make you agnostic about your own personal experiences?

Phoenix said...

So, before I address near-death experiences, what's your view on the ethics of an individual acting in material reality on experiences had with no material signature? An example would be a user having an experience that leads them to violent action against another person who did not share this experience.

I honestly do not understand the question or your example. Could you rephrase?

My experience as been that some people have one standard of ethics or epistemology for acting upon person experiences for theistic claims, but another for non-theistic claims.

Yes,that's correct. I treat my car differently to what I would treat a sentient being

Is the violent action justified in one, both, or neither cases? If neither, would that not make you agnostic about your own personal experiences?

Again, I'm trying hard to understand your point.Please rephrase.


Stan said...

I also don't understand the question.

I do have some points to make regarding the validity of memories.
First: If memories are always to be held with agnosticism, then nothing can be held as real. This is because all of our sensory “reality” is delayed from actual events by the transit times of bioelectric signaling, plus the constant motion of time away from t(event), while providing ever more signaling and distraction.

Events involving material entities which change somehow during the event can be known by comparing material condition A to material condition B.

If the event is non-material, it could be recorded materially as soon after the event as possible. This places the event into second-hand status. The event itself cannot be tested, materially. But that would be a Category Error anyway.

If a person experiences event W, it could be a delusion, illusion, or a real event.

How is an outsider to judge? He cannot. However, that doesn’t invalidate the event.

Second. I’m going to relate an event that I'm confident that none of you have had. I had it, and it is seared into my mind. My memory of it is quite clear, and no one can declare it otherwise. Here it is:

In 1982 I was the process area manager and senior engineer in a small integrated circuits lab. One of the many hazardous processes involved the deposition of silicon onto wafers using pressurized silane. It was a small specialty lab, and this process was done in a very large bell jar, made of one inch thick quartz. It was overkill in order to handle the pressure the process required.

The process was equipped with overpressure relief and also alarms, and one day the alarm went off. All the clean room personnel came charging out of the area. The lead tech and I entered the area to try to turn off the process. Just as we approached the bell jar, it exploded. Shards of quartz flew past us and at us at the velocity expected from an extremely high pressure explosion. We were fully dressed for the occasion and were not hurt, but the image, in mental slow motion, of those sharp pieces of quartz flying slowly at my face is not forgettable. It is written into some special memory which is reserved for just such occasions.

It is clear to me, not necessarily to anyone else, that the event I have described actually occurred, that my memory of it is clear and accurate, and that no amount of skepticism from the outside has any bearing on its truth. It is also clear that it is not necessary for me to even attempt to convince anyone else of the validity of that memory.

So being agnostic about my experience is impossible for me, and is trivial when expressed by anyone else.

Thus attacking someone's memories is a pursuit without value, especially when the memories are with regard to something which is not physically, materially verifiable.

The claim of illusion, delusion, insanity, etc. is commonly used by Atheists to devalue personal experience. yet they turn around and cite their own personal inductive experiential claims of finding no trace of deity anywhere in the universe.

Steve 11 said...

Stan, Phoenix,

The lab example above had a material signature. Stipulated that many people can be confident that certain materially corroborated memories are largely accurate. I was asking about whether or not it is ethical to act upon personal experiences that have no material signature. To dumb it down, if you feel certain that you remember an experience whereby God, or something else, says to do something, is that enough that you should do that something, irrespective of what "it" is? If not, are you not agnostic as to personal experiences unless corroborated?

Re: If memories are always to be held with agnosticism, then nothing can be held as real.
Agreed, which is why I only applied this attribute to those that cannot be corroborated outside of your memories.

It's possible that all personal theistic experiences you feel are true are actually true. It's also possible that some or none are actually true. Ergo agnosticism in self-assessment until corroboration.

Re: being agnostic about my experience is impossible for me
Really? Always, no matter what your physical state - concussed, drugged, near death, emotionally compromised, perhaps all of the above, you would never question a single memory?























Phoenix said...

Okay, here's my memory which I cannot verify but is real to me and I did question it and analyze it from every angle I could.

I once dreamt I would meet an old school buddy I haven't seen in years. He would ask me to go with him and do some catching up. We ended up at a strange place where the two of us were in seriously big trouble. When I woke up I was extremely relieved it was only a dream. The next morning forgetting all about my dream I went to visit my old neighborhood where I grew up in and where I attended 3 different schools.So I knew dozens if not hundreds of people there. But lo and behold, who shows up out of the blue was my buddy from the dream. He was on his way to take his son to his mother and asked me if I could meet him in half hour, after he drop his son off. I agreed, and only when he left did I remember the dream. "It was only a dream",I kept telling myself,"nothing will happen.Go on and catch up with your buddy". Well, I didn't and went straight home. Few years later when I saw him again my friend was a homeless drug addict,until the present day. I'm not sure if that day has any relation but I'm glad I did not find out.

This dream and my memories of the experiences are still very vivid. I can't prove what happened,not even to my friend. But I'm certain and not agnostic that it was not an illusion.

Stan said...

There is no remaining physical component which would "corroborate" my memory: none. So the materialism argument does not apply. My memory belongs to me, only me, and cannot be falsified no matter how hard you try.

And I actually agree with you. There is no point in discussing or even mentioning such an experience with a Materialist Skeptic. And I think that most people who do have such experiences discuss them only amongst others who have had them too. Not unlike veterans of vicious wars don't talk about their experiences except with other veterans.

People who go out of their way to discuss their experiences with Materialist radical skeptic nay-sayers are either naive ingenues or are insane. These types of discussions have no effect on the preordained skeptic, and are of no value to anyone.

The religious (except Islamists) are increasingly hesitant to reveal anything about their religious beliefs, especially if they are engaged in a business or government employment. Even private businesses are under attack, as are religious orders (Little Sisters of Mercy).

Atheism's empty VOID is the new morality and the new instrument of legal interpretation.

In this culture, it actually would be irrational to insist that someone listen to, much less believe, a non-Materialist personal experience.

Stan said...

I should address this:
Steve11 said,
"Re: being agnostic about my experience is impossible for me
Really? Always, no matter what your physical state - concussed, drugged, near death, emotionally compromised, perhaps all of the above, you would never question a single memory?"


This represents a complete misreading of what I said. I was referring to a single experience, a memory which is indelible. I was NOT referring to every memory or every dream. Also, I have never been "concussed, drugged, near death," although like all humans I have been "emotionally compromised", but certainly never "all of the above". And certainly human memory can be fallible; no one is arguing that point. Your problem is not to demonstrate that fallibility exists, but that specific instances of memory are faulty.

Many Atheists take the position that since fallibility exists, then every single instance is a failure - until proven otherwise using Materialist techniques. This is a double fallacy on the part of Atheists: first, the experience in question is not material; second, materialist techniques cannot, under any circumstances, provide any knowledge regarding non-material entities, experiences, etc.

One cannot find goldfish by inspecting only the sludge in the bottom of hog pens.

Mr. Jibaku said...

"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."

False. It means that you have not seen it, you have no proof as if it exists or not. You are making assumptions for the sake of your narrative; sans rational logic.

JBsptfn said...

Phoenix,

Your experience above reminds me of this experience I found on NDERF:

NDERF: Stephen I Experiences

Phoenix said...

What I've learnt about sharing these experiences is that a lot of people have them. And after sharing them, the listener would usually say, "I thought I was the only one" or "I thought something was wrong with me". This is especially ture when it comes to NDES. Many Atheists have denounced Materialism, after they've reached the limits of rationalizing those experiences away by claiming chemical imbalances or some other excuse. I've even read one skeptic claim that aliens could have implanted fake memories of non-material experiences. Of course, to the dogmatic Materialist who belongs to some skeptical organization cannot and would not allow himself to even entertain the possibility that such experiences are real and transcendent.

I especially enjoy watching Atheists attempt to debunk NDEs. There are dozens of pet theories on why NDEs are nothing but hallucinations but none of them match the data. The reports of NDEs are increasing at an alarming rate and it would be a shame if those people allow their insecurities to silence them. Like I said, many Atheists have left Materialism because of them.

Phoenix said...

Steve

It's possible that all personal theistic experiences you feel are true are actually true. It's also possible that some or none are actually true. Ergo agnosticism in self-assessment until corroboration

Steve, how do you suggest one corroborate a theistic experience? If you claim one can't then you are certain. If you are certain that theistic experiences can't be confirmed then they're illusions. This would put you into the category of Materialist or Physicalist, not agnostic.

Steve 11 said...
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Steve 11 said...

Phoenix,

Re: "how do you suggest one corroborate theistic experience?"
I think it's a more general issue - how to you corroborate any experience that has no materialistic signature. That's a difficult question, one for which haven't yet heard a great answer, especially no great falsifiable answer - ergo agnosticism.

Re: "If you are certain that theistic experiences can't be confirmed then they're illusions. This would put you into the category of Materialist or Physicalist, not agnostic."
Non-sequitur. Theistic experiences could be true and yet can't be confirmed by humans when they are alive. Even if it were true, that is not what agnosticism, in respect of these types of memories, necessarily entails. As an agnostic, I don't take a view as to truth either way because I don't see a way, at this time, to test whether they are true or false. The truth is unknown or unknowable.

Stan,

Re: "Your problem is not to demonstrate that fallibility exists, but that specific instances of memory are faulty."
I was being cheeky when I asserted you meant all experiences - shame on me for that, and granted that it is an issue with specific instances.
However, I do not claim to know with certainty that my, or anyone else's, memory is faulty with respect to specific instances of non-materially corroborated experiences, so it's actually somebody else's problem. There's no verification, and no falsifiability, that leads me to conclude that agnosticism is a dishonest position.

Phoenix said...

Steve

I think it's a more general issue - how to you corroborate any experience that has no materialistic signature. That's a difficult question, one for which haven't yet heard a great answer, especially no great falsifiable answer - ergo agnosticism.

Falsifiability generally refers to material claims. Non-material claims can be tested using Reductio ad Absurdum. Your preoccupation with material methods would indeed put you into the category of Materialist.
========

Non-sequitur. Theistic experiences could be true and yet can't be confirmed by humans when they are alive. Even if it were true, that is not what agnosticism, in respect of these types of memories, necessarily entails...

Your non-sequitir charge is false. I said: If you claim one can't then you are certain. If you are certain that theistic experiences can't be confirmed then they're illusions.This would put you into the category of Materialist or Physicalist, not agnostic.

This could be restated formally thus:
1. ~P -> Q
2. Q -> S
C. S -> T

Restated Syllogystically using a Chain Argument:
P1. If you claim one cannot then you are certain
P2. If you claim certainty then theistic experiences are illusions.
C. If you claim theistic experiences are illusions then you're a Materialist
=====

As an agnostic, I don't take a view as to truth either way because I don't see a way, at this time, to test whether they are true or false. The truth is unknown or unknowable.

The part in bold is where you place your self into a paradox. I'm unable to take this statement as truth since it claims truth is unknown. Since your statement is self-refuting, I'm forced to reject it out of hand as irrational. Feel free to try again and use a deductive argument this time.

Phoenix said...

JBstpfn

Love that site. They have a lot of good material on NDEs.

JBsptfn said...

To Phoenix: I know. Did you check out Rev. Price's Corner on that site? Very interesting story. What's interesting is that other pastors in his denomination (Episcopal, which I hear leans towards the liberal side) didn't believe in a life after death, and said that NDE's were a race memory.

I have had e-mail correspondence with Price on a few occasions, and I asked him why those people were in the ministry if they didn't believe in a life after death. He said that he brought that up in a meeting when he asked them "What are we all doing here, then" when they denied NDE's again or something.

Steve 11 said...

Phoenix:

Re: I'm unable to take this statement as truth since it claims truth is unknown
Oh, I see what happened. I did my best to convey that I was agnostic with respect to non-materially corroborated memories, specifically. The bolded text was meant to be a definition of agnosticism, where applied to a claim, not to be taken out of context and in turn claim that there are no knowable truths in the universe.

The syllogism fails in that it unjustifiably conflates agnosticism and materialism.

P1. If you claim one cannot then you are certain
- Certain of what? The agnostic position is fully compatible with it being a real experience, a misremembered or misinterpreted one, or any states in between. A materialist would say it cannot exist outside that person's mind. An agnostic's position is that we, as living humans, have not demonstrated the ability to be able to determine the truth of the matter, and that possibly there is no way to do so.

P2. If you claim certainty then theistic experiences are illusions.
- Fails as P1 is unsound

C. If you claim theistic experiences are illusions then you're a Materialist
- Fails as P1 is unsound
- Conclusion contradicts the definition of agnostic, which in this case holds we are not currently capable of knowing whether or not they are illusions.




Phoenix said...

Oh, I see what happened. I did my best to convey that I was agnostic with respect to non-materially corroborated memories, specifically.The bolded text was meant to be a definition of agnosticism, where applied to a claim, not to be taken out of context and in turn claim that there are no knowable truths in the universe

This is an extremely poor excuse. Your claim explicitly mentions "truths are unknowable". Perhaps it was a Freudian slip, which you did not intend to reveal. Nonetheless it is consistent with most of your posts thus far, showing your epistemological position to be identical to Radical Skepticism.

===

The syllogism fails in that it unjustifiably conflates agnosticism and materialism

When you assert that one cannot corroborate non-physical experiences then you have claimed certainty. Agnosticism typcially does not make a positive nor negative claims either way. Strong Agnostics contradict themselves when claiming the metaphysical is unknowable and can never be known. A negative claim concerning the ontology of God and the non-physical places one into the category of Atheism/Materialism/Physicalism.

===
- Certain of what?
I thought it was obvious. The discussion is regarding the certainty of verifying non-physical experiences. I simply shortened it to save space.

- Fails as P1 is unsound

P1 is sound. It is the strong or closed Agnostic position which is internally incoherent. It makes claims of certainty while adopting an uncertain position simultaneously.

Steve 11 said...

Phoenix,

Re: Your claim explicitly mentions "truths are unknowable".
- False. I said "The truth is unknown or unknowable", singular, with an or condition, in a paragraph referencing agnosticism with respect to a specific issue.

I draw the line at direct misquotation - thanks for the discussion.

Stan said...

Steve11,
Now, now... Don't give up so easily, just make the correction and keep moving along. This is a good, worthy conversation where both sides are intellectually responsible, and I'd hate to see it stop over this.

Stan

Phoenix said...

Steve

I paraphrased you. You're quibbling over a banal technicality really. The discussion is about what can be known regarding any extrapolation beyond the physical, be it non-physical experiences, God, NDEs, consciousness, etc. Is it a single truth? Does validating one automatically give credence to or implicate the others? On the other hand, does refuting a single case negate all other theist propositions?

I understand your current position as follows:
1. Your methodology for truth acquisition is the empirical method. Considered by Materialists to be the only reliable method for truth acquisition.

2. Whatever cannot be subjected to empiricism must be doubted, indefinitely. Strong Agnosticism.

Phoenix said...

JB

That is weird.Do they say why they deny NDEs? What are their pet theories?

JBsptfn said...

Phoenix,

John Price said that faculty members of his denomination's (Episcopal) seminary would tell him that NDE's were a race memory or a hallucination.

I asked John once if they believed in Soul Sleep (no life until resurrection day) or no life after death at all (like the Sadducees), and he said that they believed as the Sadducees did.

P.W said...
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Phoenix said...

JB,
I bet they cannot name the source of the "hallucinations". Is it drugs such as ketamine, or the brain's self-manufactured DMT, or is it hypoxia or is just simply the brain's coping mechanism as it clings to it's last semblance of life, better known as The Dying Brain Hypothesis?

BTW, Mr. Chatpilot pulled a real scumbag move on me. He failed to post my last rebuttal to the evidential requirements he sought that would prove God. I also pointed out to him that this is one of the reasons why "Honest Atheist" is an oxymoron.

JBsptfn said...

They didn't say what the nature of the hallucinations were. The Dying Brain Theory doesn't make sense, though. I don't think that the brain has you outside of your body when you are clinically dead.

As for ChatPilot, he is a baby. He had some recent entries on his site where he was talking about how God was mean or something. Just your typical Atheist whiner. Joe did an entry about him on his blog:

Metacrock's Blog: ChatPilot's "God is a Myth" site

In the entry, Joe basically said that his original conversion to Christ probably wasn't real.

Phoenix said...

The great irony about the Dying Brain Hypothesis is that Atheist scientists are fond of quoting it when rebutting NDEs but the author herself is not a scientist,except a part time psychology lecturer who has even admitted her work on NDEs are mostly speculative.

=========


Okay, so Chatpilot has just posted my response. I'm still awaiting his though.

Martyn Cornell said...

“the Atheist's denial that Theism is true”

But atheists don’t deny that theism is true. They merely point out that there is no evidence for it being true. Your entire blog is an exercise in parading a massive straw man.

“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.”

Your evidence for this is what?

I would argue that the theists’ emotional attachment to the idea of ever-lasting life, desperation to find meaning in a meaningless universe and yearning to find a grounding for moral absolutes is the reason for promoting the unprovable idea of a non-material cause for our material universe, and emotion and wishful thinking are allowed to form the basis for belief, rather than logic and rationality.

JBsptfn said...

Martyn, read these before posting any more nonsense:

DOXA-Outrage and Incredulity: The Atheist Charge of No Proof

DOXA: List of God Arguments

Stan said...

Martyn,
The evidence for that is the testimony of Atheists, such as Dawkins, and such as the Atheists at PZ Meyers site.

Your argument regarding what you think motivates theists is trivial. Unlike the statements and actions of Atheists which prove the analysis of their motivations and worldview, no theist makes the claims which you make.

Further, the logic deductions are sound: IF there is a beginning to mass/energy and space/time, THEN either that material event had a cause or it did not.

IF the material event had no cause, THEN that defeats the concept of universal determinism.

IF the material event had a cause, THEN that cause was necessarily not mass/energy, space/time in its nature.

IF the cause for the material event was NON material, THEN non-material capacities exist.

IF there is non-material causation, THEN Philosophical Materialism is false.

IF there is non-material causation, THEN it is sufficiently complex to cause the material universe and everything in it, including consciousness, agency, intellect - all of which are not physical, mineral composites which are demonstrable under material scrutiny.

IF non-material causation is sufficiently complex, THEN it has consciousness, agency and intellect. Further, since we observe one universe rather than many universes, Then that universe was a singular event, which is congruent with the concept of purposefulness.

Now for the Atheist deduction:
Either the universe and everything in it is an accident of a pre-existing natural existence, OR it always existed in some form.

Empirically, neither assertion can be proved, and both are outside of the capacity of logic to determine the Reduction Ad Absurdum validity. This is because both are infinite regressions of a material nature. So under the principles of universal logic where infinite regressions are deemed irrational due to no grounding, then the Atheist argument is irrational.

Martyn Cornell said...

JBsptfn: I've read all those arguments before, thanks. They all boil down to: "We can't think of another answer so it must be god." And many actually have two possible answers. Apparent fine tuning? Could be god - but could be the multiverse. Overall - not good enough. And exactly the same failing applies to the attempt to answer the "no proof" attack: "I can't think of another explanation for my mystical feelings, so it must be god." Again, not good enough. Incidentally, that page is in shocking need of a good copy editor: it's almost unreadable, the typos are so bad.

Stan: your whole chain of logic stars from an unprovable if, and relies on the way on an insistance that universal determinism must apply even to the singularity that was the Big Bang. And on the other side, just because you don't like infinite regression, that doesn't mean it can't be true. Infinity requires much less strain to believe in than god.

Oh, and you may try to dismiss my comments on your motives as "trivial" but you and your friends clearly put in a huge amount of effort and energy into playing whack-a-mole with the athiests who pop up here. Exactly why are you so defensive?

Stan said...

”JBsptfn: I've read all those arguments before, thanks. They all boil down to: "We can't think of another answer so it must be god."

That answer is without content. It is merely the statement of a mantra. It could be stated, “I can’t think of a refutation, so I’ll just punt with this excuse rather than give actual reasoning”.

”And many actually have two possible answers. Apparent fine tuning? Could be god - but could be the multiverse. Overall - not good enough.”

There is precisely NO evidence for a multiverse; it is the Atheist metaphysical creation story which is irrationally based on infinite regressions, and is created out of whole cloth due to the necessity of defeating the threat of the theist position. Of your two answers, you MUST choose the less rational in order to preserve your irrational Philosophical Materialism. That is a sign of desperate ideological mental capture.

”And exactly the same failing applies to the attempt to answer the "no proof" attack: "I can't think of another explanation for my mystical feelings, so it must be god." Again, not good enough. “

And again, since you have zero proof and zero ability to provide an empirical case, you again resort to empty, canned rhetoric, while pretending that it has actual meaning. It does not. It is actually a very sorry sort of response, and it comes from a presumption of knowing something which you cannot possibly know – the experience which others have had, and you have not. All in all, a poor performance with no intellectual content whatsoever, and arrogantly presented.

”Incidentally, that page is in shocking need of a good copy editor: it's almost unreadable, the typos are so bad.”

He has dyslexia, which prevents him from seeing like you and I. So the use of a spell checker could change words to an improper word, thus changing meanings. You could volunteer to edit for spelling.

Stan said...

”Stan: your whole chain of logic stars from an unprovable if, and relies on the way on an insistance that universal determinism must apply even to the singularity that was the Big Bang.”

No, it emphatically does not. It gives two cases. Read it again for meaning. Either there was a cause or there was not. Each case has consequences. you cannot avoid that it you are analyzing

”And on the other side, just because you don't like infinite regression, that doesn't mean it can't be true. Infinity requires much less strain to believe in than god.”

First you claim an “unprovable” statement as your refutation; then you champion the logic fallacy of ungrounding in the form of the unprovable infinite regression. You obviously feel that you are at liberty to create your own logic ad hoc, depending on the instantaneous needs of your ideology. But that doesn’t work for disciplined logic such as you might learn in college logic 101. Your position is non-coherent, and therefore irrational. But it is obviously necessary in order to maintain your worldview.

”Oh, and you may try to dismiss my comments on your motives as "trivial" but you and your friends clearly put in a huge amount of effort and energy into playing whack-a-mole with the athiests who pop up here. Exactly why are you so defensive?”

The purpose of this site, in case you missed it, is to analyze Atheist positions using pure logic and/or material evidence which Atheists claim to be their domain. This is done using the standards of Aristotelian deductive logic (as noted above, the disciplined principles of logic 101). Perhaps you are thinking that your positions must be accepted because you assert them with a form of superiority and the confidence of your elitism. You will find that that doesn’t work here. If you make a truth statement, then either you must support it using impeccable logic or the Materialist principles of Atheism, or you must admit that it is unsupportable, and therefore it is purely ideological, in the sense of religiously held. That applies to infinite regressions, for example.

So rather than “defensive”, you have misinterpreted the aggression with which logic and evidence is pursued here. If you have either disciplined deductive logic or falsifiable empirical evidence to support the Truth of Atheism, feel free to present it. You will be the first one ever to do so.

So yes, absolutely your consideration of motivations is trivial, because this site will use standards of logic and material evidence. If you can prove anything here to be false, then do it - using actual disciplined logic and/or material, falsifiable, empirical, experimental evidence.

Stan said...

Infinite Regression Fallacy
An analogy: infinite chain of standing Dominos:
No matter how many dominos you add to a line or group, they will never "fall" by themselves because every faller is completely dependent upon its prior. That's why dominos only fall when some outside force makes it happen.

In the same fashion, every premise in an infinite regression argument has a truth value of zero, because there is no original argument which grounds the chain in actual truth. Further, it is not possible to know if the arguments are of valid construction because there are too many to analyze. Thus an argument based on an infinite regression cannot possibly have a truth value of more than zero.

Martyn Cornell said...

“There is precisely NO evidence for a multiverse”

But nor is there any evidence that an immaterial being can call into effect, and affect, our material world: only your assertion that it must be so, because you can’t think of any other explanation. I fail to find evidence-free assertion convincing.

There appear to be three choices: the start of the material world was caused by an immaterial being; the start of the material world had no cause; or there was, in fact, no start. You seem to be rejecting that last one because it’s unprovable: but plenty of unprovable things are still true. I’m not saying the infinite multiverse IS true: but it certainly seems more parsimonious as an explanation than the idea of an immaterial being that can affect the material.

Martyn Cornell said...

Oh, and by the way: "Kimura proved that the only mutations to be passed along are deleterious, not beneficial." - no he didn't.

Joe Hinman said...

Martyn Cornell said...
“There is precisely NO evidence for a multiverse”

But nor is there any evidence that an immaterial being can call into effect, and affect, our material world: only your assertion that it must be so, because you can’t think of any other explanation. I fail to find evidence-free assertion convincing.

do you even know how to read? if you read my arguments as you claim to have. You probably just read the first line. Had you read my FT argument you would know that I have 26 reasons why Multiverse does not beat FT.

Joe Hinman said...

There appear to be three choices: the start of the material world was caused by an immaterial being; the start of the material world had no cause; or there was, in fact, no start.

Have you actually read anything about this topic? First you have no reason to suppose an immaterial from of being could not exist or create. Secondly being material or immaterial has nothing to do with it. Although it does seem all matter is cotangent so that's a reason to think the origin o all can't be material. Thirdly,


the start of the material world had no cause;

all material things have causes so attributing the universe to no cause is foolish,

or there was, in fact, no start.

science says there was. it's called the big bang,.

Joe Hinman said...

But nor is there any evidence that an immaterial being can call into effect, and affect, our material world: only your assertion that it must be so, because you can’t think of any other explanation. I fail to find evidence-free assertion convincing.


No the God arguments mentioned are the reasons, you are arguing in a circle. You are using your position as unbelieving as an argument against the pro God arguments then asserting there are no reasons, you have not beaten any arguments you are merely asserting their untruth based upon the very position in question.,

your premise rests upon your conclusion, circular reasoning..,

I]m going to put these arguments up on atheist watch and you can come debate me on them there. you wont have 200 comments in the way, I have an audience,

Joe Hinman said...

Challenge to atheists especially Martyn Cornell Fine tuning and cosmological arguments.

Stan said...

Nastika said,
” only your assertion that it must be so, because you can’t think of any other explanation. I fail to find evidence-free assertion convincing.”

This comment betrays the hollowness of your argument. You do not attack the actual logic, you make up false psychological assertions for motivation. So you use story telling rather than logic. And you won’t address the classical Category Error of demanding material evidence for non-material arguments. You have failed completely to exercise either deductive logic or empirical evidentiary support for your Atheism.

Further, the fact that you prefer the obvious fallacy of Infinite Regression indicates that you are completely beholden to an ideology which you defend with irrational propositions in order to salvage your cherished but irrational beliefs. By refusing to accept responsibility for your use of logic fallacies, you show your contempt for logic, and your preference for ideology.

” You seem to be rejecting that last one because it’s unprovable: but plenty of unprovable things are still true. I’m not saying the infinite multiverse IS true: but it certainly seems more parsimonious as an explanation than the idea of an immaterial being that can affect the material.”

No. I reject made up stories which are created in the service of an ideology. There is no Materialist proof or indication that there is either a multiverse, OR an infinite regression in time. There is absolutely no reason to think that either exists, EXCEPT to defend the ideology of Atheism. Since Atheism is based in “logic and evidence”, according to its own false advertising, then logic should apply. The concept of infinite regression as a valid argument or proposed existence is logically FALSE (proof of this was given to you). To assert it as Truth in order to avoid a different conclusion is FALSE.

To continue to assert it while knowing that it is false is irrational, a practice of deception, and therefore it is blatant intellectual dishonesty. And that is obviously done in the protection of a false ideology which cannot stand up to the impartial scrutiny of actual, real logic.

” Oh, and by the way: "Kimura proved that the only mutations to be passed along are deleterious, not beneficial." - no he didn't.”

Empty assertion; not accepted.

Martyn Cornell said...

the classical Category Error of demanding material evidence for non-material arguments.

The error is in insisting that the answer to material existence can even be non-material. It’s nonsense on stilts. And it staggers me that you declare: “I can’t give you the evidence you demand because it can’t be shown” and expect anyone to accept that.

The concept of infinite regression as a valid argument or proposed existence is logically FALSE (proof of this was given to you).

You might feel you can declare that logic rules out infinite regression as an argument: you haven’t produced any argument to rule it out as a fact.

Oh, and by the way: "Kimura proved that the only mutations to be passed along are deleterious, not beneficial." - no he didn’t.”

Empty assertion; not accepted

Where’s your proof that’s what he said? The empty assertion here is being made by you.

Joe Hinman said...

Cornell, you answers to my arguments sucked. you lost if you leave it there.


Challenge

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