Monday, May 30, 2016

The Irrefutable Argument For Atheism?

Ben Love, writing at ExChristian.net, claims to have found an argument for Atheism which he feels is self-evident and irrefutable. When he discovered this argument he left Christianity. Needless to say, the comment block is filled with compliments on this feat, and on Ben’s brilliance.

Here’s the argument:

“It is no different with free will. The one who enables the choice must be considered complicit in the end result. After all, the end result occurred under the umbrella of the enabler’s purview. This logic is amplified when we consider that if a higher being gives responsibility to a lesser being, the higher being should be held accountable for what the lesser being does with that responsibility. I can’t help but feel that not only are these conclusions self-evident, they are also irrefutable. That is why, to me, God’s complicity in our sinfulness renders the entire theological understanding absurd. The argument inherently undermines itself and collapses… and the belief system collapses with it.”

So. Regarding free will; if God creates beings with free will to choose evil, then God is responsible for the evil which his free-agents do.

This, he says, is mathematical in the following sense, that of the identity equation:
If X=Y, and Y=Z, THEN X = Z and therefore if Z = Bad, then God, X, is bad.
Presumably Ben doesn’t really think that God = Human is a substitute for X=Y. Because it is obvious that:
God /= human
So it must be a sub-characteristic of God which is equal to human. Since this is about free will and culpability, then it might be one of those. Let’s try Free Will first:
Free Will of God = Free Will of humans?
Well that doesn’t work, because God’s free will is much different and more powerful than the free will of humans which is miniscule in comparison. Even if the categories overlap, God is not asserting the same free will decisions which a human is asserting. So If they are not equal, the identity equation doesn’t apply.

Let’s try culpability, then:
God’s culpability = Human culpability?
Culpability is a quality which an external observer decides is applied to an actor, based on rules laid down for that actor, which the actor violates. It makes sense for God to observe and judge humans based on rules made for humans, applying culpability as it is found. It makes no sense for humans to observe and judge God based on rules made for humans but not for God. So God cannot be culpable for violating rules made for humans, and being judged by humans. While God has enabled free will for humans which enables evil choices, God cannot be judged based on the rules for humans.

Then let’s try morals:
God’s morals = human morals?
That is hardly equitable either, for this reason: IF God made morality for humans, and humans are not equal to God, then why should we expect human morality to apply to God? For example, which of the Ten Commandments even makes sense if it is directed at God? None. So the equal morality option fails.

What other possible attributes of God might equate to the corresponding attributes of humans? Intellect? Capacity for Ethical fabrications? Love for specific objects? Universal Love? Fear? Lust? Greed? Hate? Empathy? Compassion? None of these work in attempting to equate God and humans in the equation of identity which Ben uses.

As a further test, the mother of a child which grows up to be a man who does evil deeds is not considered culpable for the deeds of the grown child. Hitler’s mother is not considered the mother of the Third Reich. This goes directly contrary to Ben’s claim.

The identity equation part of the argument is the main basis for the conclusion being drawn. That has been shown not to work, when substitutions are actually tried, rather than presumed, as Ben does.

But the argument also goes further, because it can be expressed in words and maybe syllogisms as well.

Here’s Ben:
”If God (x) gives us free will (y), and free will (y) results in our sinfulness (z), then God (x) is responsible for (z). If X = Y, and Y = Z, then X = Z. At this point, Y is just a needless middle man. If X = Z, then God is responsible for sin. To state this differently, the one who permits the choice is ultimately the one responsible for the choice. If God, being a perfect intelligence compared to us, saw fit to entrust his imperfect creations with free will, one would have to assume that this perfect intelligence knew ahead of time what would happen. Moreover, one would have to conclude that he who permits the choice is just as responsible as he who made the choice.”


Ben equates God to human free will. Then he equates free will to sinfulness. But God is not equal to human free will and human free will is not equal to God. So the equation is not applicable; but maybe his argument is:

“…the one who permits the choice is ultimately the one responsible for the choice.”

This is true for a parent child relationship, where the child has no maturity to understand and no self-control to adhere to the guidelines of the parent, and the parent leaves the child unsupervised in a dangerous environment. But are adult humans mere children, with no decision capacity or moral or intellectual tools for self-regulation rendering them unable to know or understand the outcome of free will choices? That’s not the case. Theism relates that God expects humans to know and understand the outcome of their free will choices. In fact there are several cases which do inhere and can cause “evil” outcomes due to non-complicity with God-driven moral rules:
First, is immaturity.

Second is mental incapacity.

Third is rebellion in a mature, normative mind.

Fourth is accidental non-complicity.

Fifth is emotional non-complicity.

Sixth is the intellectual presumption of X = 0 or null (no God; no rules; no complicity required)
Of these only numbers three and six are truly culpable for their actions (possible the fifth, as well). If we assess number three, we can conclude that free will did indeed enable evil outcomes. Yet the backward equality for assigning responsibility still stops at the human, because there is no equality between human and God. Further there is no expectation that God has the responsibility for preventing evil actions by human actors, because if it exists, then God set it up to work that way. God does, in fact, create the Good vs. Evil dichotomy by which Evil is an expectation, when free choice is abused.

But perhaps Ben thinks that God should prevent evil. And in fact this is an unstated premise in his argument:

“If evil exists, then God is responsible for stopping it.”
(Ben’s assumption, paraphrased).
There is no equivalent theist theology which believes that, and so that argument doesn’t invalidate either theism or the proposition that a creating deity exists. Theism posits that God created a balance, because if only Good exists without Evil, then first there is no longer any valid benchmark by which Good can be determined, and second, any choice made would be between two “good” choices, and there would be no development possible for humans to attain moral intellects. Most importantly, this is a moral judgment made by a human which is demanded of a deity; such a demand is irrational, because humans have no power over a deity, and thus any demand is a useless exercise.

Because this necessary but unstated premise is meaningless, the entire syllogistic statement of the argument being made is necessarily false. I.e., this necessary but false premise is sufficient to render the entire syllogism false.

Further, by going Atheist, Ben assumes membership in the ideology within which there exist neither good nor evil. What exists, exists in a frame of deterministic, unvalued, nonpurposeful, material existence in which what exists is neither good nor bad, it just “is”. Since the Atheist perception is that there is no God, then nothing exists in Z which is evil. So option six, above, is moot. Yet Ben also sees that evil does in fact exist, and he blames it on God.

So Atheism according to Ben is internally contradictory.

It was Dawkins’ claim that what Hitler did was “distasteful, but not evil”. Because evil doesn’t exist in a purely material universe.

The syllogism has failed, completely.

And the second part of the identity equation fails, also, because under Atheism, Z = 0, and under theism Z = a necessary construct set up by God. Neither is equal to "human free will", Y.

Conclusion:
There is no equality in either kind or degree between X and Y, as Ben tries to use them to hold qualities of humans and God. There is no equality in degree or kind between Y and Z, either. So the identity equation produces no useful connection for the culpability which Ben claims exists.

In fact, the assertion of the identity equation, without the actual use of data plugged into the equation, is a basic, functional, error in logic, the A fortiori Fallacy, with an embedded Category Error. I.e., since the identity equation exists and is valid, it exists and is valid in a circumstance where a Category Error is asserted.

Finally, the syllogistic form demonstrates that there is a necessary but false premise which negates the validity of the argument.

35 comments:

Steven Satak said...

Stan, Ben Love presented himself with a rational-sounding argument, then used it to convince himself to do something he was probably strongly inclined to do in the first place.

He chose the Blue Pill.

The problem lies in his continuing to insist it was really the Red Pill he swallowed all along.

Ben Love is color-blind. That need not affect my choices, and it doesn't. But I appreciate your calling him out on it, and proving he doesn't have a rational leg to stand on.

Rikalonius said...

Ben sounds like he read Hitchhikers Guide the Galaxy and decided that the Babble Fish argument was sound theology.

Ben's argument is of course only aimed a single religious dogma. Even if I grant that Christianity is wholly wrong, it doesn't preclude the existence of a trans-dimensional super-being that we colloquially refer to as God. Ben is merely trying to apply the moral codes of Christianity against a deity in which they don't believe. It isn't enough that they say, "I don't believe" because the cognitive dissonance they feel is like the Tell Tale Heart, so they must drown out their discomfort with theologically vacuous arguments.

So can I say that liberals who are enabling Islmofacism by failing to confront it are inevitably responsible for the choices made by adherents to Islam when they kill people?

As you say, Stan, the fallacy is compounded as he asserts, to paraphrase "The God I don't believe in will not interfere with free will to assert my (Ben's) will. Ergo it should plain to all that no deity exists."

Talon said...

Is Ben's argument that free will = evil? One can choose to do good, but humans often don't, therefore evil exists because God made it possible to make a bad decision? Why aren't the humans involved responsible, when they could have chosen to do otherwise? Does Ben blame auto manufacturers when a car-owner should drive drunk or neglect to wear a seatbelt? Why not?

Ben's sort of argument from evil is ridiculous, and implies in order for God to exist, we would have to live in a Teletubby land, as STL's Michael discusses here:

https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/neil-degrasse-tysons-argument-from-evil-toothless-and-useless/

If God did interfere with Ben's free will to reject Him, Ben and other atheists would label Him a tyrant, because it would make for a less than voluntary relationship. Apparently what Ben really wants out of a Creator is an abusive, overbearing Daddy or a coddling, cosmic helicopter parent smothering all other impulses and opportunities for spiritual or character development.

Phoenix said...

“If evil exists, then God is responsible for stopping it.” (Ben’s assumption, paraphrased).

Ben is also a bit vague in his reasoning. Is he implying that God CAN but chooses not to prevent evil. Or God cannot prevent evil? This vague statement subtly relays a false dichotomy to the readers. The other option of course is that God has sufficient moral reasons for allowing evil to occur (parapaphrasing Dr. Craig).
1) The human is allowed to experience the outcome of his (evil) creation.
2) There is no limit to which God can use evil for the benefit of good.

For example; recently in the news a man with a rare disease was mugged and left for dead. When the press released his story, the victim received many donations from the public and helped to raise awareness for his rare condition and to help make treatment more easily accessible.

A simple story of how a bad situation for one man was turned into victory for all. No one in his right mind would blame this victim for the evil which happened to him. If man is able to do this small gesture of good then what is God able to do with a breadth of possibilities?

JBsptfn said...

Stan,

I posted this article in the commments section, and you got an interesting reply (look at the most recent comments) from someone named BoomSLANG:


Quote" Odd that whoever authored this rebuttal would not try that rebuttal right here as it applies to the very article in question.

They write....

"Free Will of God = Free Will of humans?

Well that doesn’t work, because God’s free will is much different[SNIP](italics added)

Uh-oh! Special pleading(fallacy) right out of the gate.

Free will: noun 1. free and independent choice; voluntary decision

(ref: Dictionary dot com)

"God" either has free and independent choice, or "God" does not have free and independent choice. Use your free will and choose one or the other(since, per usual "God" is obviously choosing to not to answer for himself)

the rebuttal continues.....

"Even if the categories overlap, God is not asserting the same free will decisions which a human is asserting."

Firstly, free will has to be defined(see above), and then it has to be determined if the individuals around which the discussion is centered possess "free will", or not. E.g.."God"; free will? Yes/no. Man; free will? yes/no, etc.

"So If they are not equal, the identity equation doesn’t apply."

There's no "identity question", pal. This so-called "identity question" is a ruse so that when you (and other theists) employ the fallacy of special pleading it's not so obvious.

continues....

"God’s culpability = Human culpability?"

Special pleading. The sequel.

goes on....Culpability is a quality which an external observer decides is applied to an actor, based on rules laid down for that actor, which the actor violates. It makes sense for God to observe and judge humans based on rules made for humans, applying culpability as it is found. It makes no sense for humans to observe and judge God based on rules made for humans but not for God."

*Except that if you define "God" as a being who answers to no one and to no thing(nothing), then anything goes. "God" is his own "judge", is he? Then kiss objective morality good bye. All discussion is moot. This supposed omnibenevolent "God" of yours could decide that he wants to be "evil", and according to proponents of Divine Command Theory, there is nothing stopping him. You, the theist, cannot call such a god "evil", nor can you judge the actions of that god as "evil", because you cannot judge "God".

"So God cannot be culpable for violating rules made for humans"

Right, right. So, again, you're essentially saying that your "God" doesn't have to abide by it's own rules. See here*, and stick it in your memory bank."Quote


That is part of the rebuttal. I would have posted the rest, but Blogger is being a pain.

Stan said...

Free will rebuttal:
Not special pleading. God's free will covers the ability to create universes, including space/time, mass/energy, and an unknown amount more. Man's free will does not and is limited to pre-existing choices. Totally different both functionally and conceptually. Claiming a fallacy without details is the same as claiming an equation applies without actually applying the terms in the equation: false argument. This rebuttal fails.

"There's no "identity question", pal. This so-called "identity question" is a ruse so that when you (and other theists) employ the fallacy of special pleading it's not so obvious."

Ben specifically used the identity equation. Saying that there's no identity question is without any question false. The identity equation is one of his two main arguments. Denial of the obvious is poor logic.

"*Except that if you define "God" as a being who answers to no one and to no thing(nothing), then anything goes. "God" is his own "judge", is he? Then kiss objective morality good bye."

"Right, right. So, again, you're essentially saying that your "God" doesn't have to abide by it's own rules."

Theists define God as a single being. There is no possible moral conundrum for a single being, existing all by hxrself. Would God be doing evil... to whom? Hxrself? There is no reason to think that the being that transfers mass from instant to instant, consistently over billions of earth years would be inconsistent in creating moral rules, any more than creating inconsistent physical rules. Claiming otherwise goes against observations of the universe, and therefore against rationality. So that charge is false, under Reductio.

Anyone can judge God, and all with the same outcome: if there is god, the result is trivial, because the disparity between the human and god is both much larger than the human can comprehend, and it is uni-directional because such criticism is just more human behavior, and is based in ignorance of the whole.

God's culpability vs. human culpability is not special pleading, and the charge is without any meaning or support in fact. God cannot be culpable of violating the rules made only for humans, any more than a programmer can be culpable for violating the rules he makes for software operation. The converse is irrational.

This critique is being presented by someone who randomly applies certain fallacies he thinks he knows or has seen somewhere, and he applies the accusation without any reasoning or explanation. That is knee-jerk critique, and is hardly worth even considering since it has no actual content, other than that it is false.

I don't have time to look over there right now. But if he wants an actual debate at some point, I'm definitely up for that. Asserting blatantly non-applicable fallacies indicates a lot.

boomSLANG said...

"Not special pleading. God's free will covers the ability to create universes, including space/time, mass/energy, and an unknown amount more. Man's free will does not and is limited to pre-existing choices. Totally different both functionally and conceptually."

IOW, you disagree with the provided definition of "free will", in which case, there's no need for either of us to waste the other's time with point-by-point rebuttals. If "God" has his/her/its own definition of "free will", "morality", and for that matter, everything else, then golly, using the limitations of mere human language to communicate on the subject is a monumental waste of time, at best. For example, if I bring up the "Problem of Evil" and a theist's comeback is that "God set it up that way"(actual statement by theist, BTW), my conclusion would be that God is then at least partially culpable, since, well, God set it up that way.

But according to the mindset that's being propagated here, the theist can conveniently just retort, "Nope, sorry, God's definition of 'culpable' is totally different both functionally and conceptually!"

Thanks but no thanks on that sort of goose chase.

Xellos said...

boomSLANG:

"you disagree with the provided definition of "free will""

Okay, let's see what the provided definition is. Taking from the linked post:

"In other words, free will states that we the creations are permitted by the Creator to exercise a measure of autonomy in our personal lives."
>we the creations

The definition itself says nothing about the Creator's free will (just the creation's) and in fact suggests what Stan says, that God's free will is different from human free will. You are the one disagreeing with definition.

"For example,"

How is it an example to anything in your post above? It's a non sequitur anecdote, which also presents allowing something to happen as forcing it to happen.

"But according to the mindset that's being propagated here, the theist can conveniently just retort, "Nope, sorry, God is not culpable! Just above, Stan explains why." "

FTFY

Stan said...

Boomslang,
Xellos has answered your response nicely.
Any other issues?

boomSLANG said...

"Xellos has answered your response nicely. Any other issues?"

Correct, he or she has provided a definition from the link(thx, Xellos). However, that definition was not the one I was referring to. I proffered a working definition taken from Dictionary dot com, and I referenced it accordingly(quoted above by the guy who arranged our meeting by copying and pasting what I had written on the other site). This is not to say that the author of the article in question didn't find the definition he supplied in some other dictionary. Maybe he did; maybe he didn't. Whatever the case, neither definition affects what I've been contending all along, nor does the argument that man has to choose from "preexisting choices", and "God" does not. 'Not one iota of relevance to my argument, which was when it comes to the "Problem of Evil" and a theist proposes that "God set it up that way"(i.e..for evil to exist and for it to be a problem), that's the deal-breaker for me, because no matter which definition one uses, it doesn't preclude a scenario in which "the Creator" could have chosen to *not* "set it up that way".

But to answer your question, nope, no other issues, for the reasons that I provided previously. Nice chattin'

Stan said...

Boomslang,
Yes, the creator could have set up a human with a truncated will which allowed only "Good" decisions. But only if there is a universe in which a decision made by one human is always a good decision for all other humans involved as well.

Prime example: The decision to abort one's progeny might be seen as "Good" for the woman, but bad for the father, and worse for the aborted humman. On the other hand, keeping the child through birth might be seen as good for the child who was not killed, good for the father, bad for the mother. In fact, the abortion decision is frequently "Good" for the boyfriend, bad for the mother, and bad for the preborn human progeny.

There are many such conundrums in natural life. Elimination of those choices would eliminate most if not all decisions from human ability to decide. That's how utopia works: there is no contrary reality allowed in any ideal utopia. All contrary worldviews must be extinguished.

Stan said...

A belated thought from the past. Atheists presume to know what God should have done in order to satisfy their own Atheist preferences, and they declare the deity to be evil or non-existant if God hasn't satisfied their demands.

This presumption of moral and intellectual superiority to a deity is without any possible rational support, and indicates the Atheist's penchant for self-anointed elitist superiority over all of the universe. Yet unless the Atheist knows intimately the actual mind of the creating deity, he cannot claim his own superiority without making up stories which he declares to be superior to those in the mind of the deity.

Since he cannot actually know if his stories of intellectual and moral superiority really are superior, then the claim cannot come from any grounding in actual Truth. Thus the claims are circular, being grounded only in the self-presumptive superiority of the Atheist and the declared inferiority of God.

It is delusional to operate intellectually from such a position. It is also delusional to believe such claims which are made solely on the self-presumed superiority of the Atheist who makes the claims.

boomSLANG said...

Stan,

I've explained to you why I think we'd be wasting each other's time to further attempt to achieve common ground. Thus, it seems to me that perhaps you are the one with an issue(?). Look, we can stop here and I'll be on my merry way, or if you'd like, I can explain why I find your latest defense of the "Creator" to be lacking - for a quick example - how/why it would create another set of problems if we are also to believe that the "Garden of Eden" was originally intended to be a garden paradise and the eternal dwelling place of man. This place is also referred to as "the paradise of God" in the Bible. Surely "God" is present in a place called "the paradise of God", noting that we are told that "God" cannot be in the presence of "sin".

Note, none of this is to say that there isn't some sort of apologetic for what I few as a conundrum. But alas, Christian apologetics are not meant to convince people like me. No, they're meant to help the already-convinced when dealing with people like me(and sometimes to quell their own doubts). Have a good one.

Stan said...

Welp, go in peace, if you must go. But of course, any argument presented here will of necessity receive a response; that's what the site is all about. For example, according to the Old Testament rendition of the Utopia called Eden, it was not problematic until the two humans received the knowledge of Good and Evil, which was forbidden them, but which they took, using their free will. The knowledge of Good and Evil destroyed any chance to a utopia existence without the conflict that Good and Evil present to a utopia. This is not evidence either for or against the existence of a creating agent for the universe. It is congruent with every human attempt to establish utopias on earth, though.

What is your objection to the concept of an extra-universal agent with the ability and motivation to create the universe? Do you require material evidence?

Stan said...

I want to add, the question above is not a Christian apologetic issue. It is a functional issue which does bear on the fundamental theism of many different forms of theism. But it is a question of how to attach a sufficient cause to an observed effect. In that sense it is purely Aristotelian deduction, based on inductive observation of an empirical nature.

boomSLANG said...

"go in peace, if you must go."

Fair enough, except that nowhere have I said that I "must go", which is why I sought your preference. And since you are still asking me questions, I guess that answers that, doesn't it?(rhetorical)

"But of course, any argument presented here will of necessity receive a response; that's what the site is all about."

'Can't choose to not respond, eh? So much for that "free will" junk, I guess.(j/k) But seriously, I understand why you'd need the last word on a site dedicated to showing how delusional atheists are and how they all claim to be intellectually superior. It wouldn't look good to your readership. I get it.

"For example, according to the Old Testament rendition of the Utopia called Eden, it was not problematic until the two humans received the knowledge of Good and Evil, which was forbidden them, but which they took, using their free will."

'Funny, then, that the bible's redactors also refer to that "Utopia" as a "paradise of God", when presumably "sin" cannot be present wherever "God" is. Yes, odd, because if "sin" is absent, then there'd only be "good choices"(according to at least one theist), but yet, "God" doesn't seem to mind only "good choices", you know, since "the Utopia called Eden"(on earth) was his original plan, and "Heaven" is the backup plan.

"The knowledge of Good and Evil destroyed any chance to a utopia existence without the conflict that Good and Evil present to a utopia"

The conflict that Good and Evil present to a utopia. Okay, let's simplify it: Is a "a utopia" possible with "good choices", exclusively? a) yes, b) no

"What is your objection to the concept of an extra-universal agent with the ability and motivation to create the universe? Do you require material evidence?"

Hang on just a second. You're going to take the time to dedicate a separate post to second-guessing me and all atheists, labeling us "delusional" for daring to speculate on the topic of "God", and now you're going to sit there and ask me what my objections are?

This, again, is what I mean by a discussion destined to go nowhere. You've not convinced me that you're the least bit interested in wanting to know what I genuinely believe (or don't believe). Best as I can tell, your curiosity is ruse.

Stan said...

Best I can tell, you have no reasonable answer.

Stan said...

” 'Funny, then, that the bible's redactors also refer to that "Utopia" as a "paradise of God", when presumably "sin" cannot be present wherever "God" is. Yes, odd, because if "sin" is absent, then there'd only be "good choices"(according to at least one theist), but yet, "God" doesn't seem to mind only "good choices", you know, since "the Utopia called Eden"(on earth) was his original plan, and "Heaven" is the backup plan.”

The “bible’s redactors” is not an identifiable source, is it. The translation from the Latin Vulgate refers to that utopia as “paradise of pleasure”, and just “paradise”.

“Holy Bible; translated from the Latin Vulgate; A.D. 1609; copyright 1914; pub. Lepanto Press; p7,8.”

” Is a "a utopia" possible with "good choices", exclusively? a) yes, b) no”

Probably. Did you sign up for a utopia, but you got born here instead? Why do you think that your existence should be utopian, if there is a God? Or if you were God? Or if God should do it your way?

boomSLANG said...

"Best I can tell, you have no reasonable answer."

Best as I can tell from your "Belated thought from the past" post, you think that atheists are about as far from reasonable as one can get. I mean, they're all delusional, after all. So, at this point you're just being redundant(at best).

boomSLANG said...

"The 'bible's redactors' is not an identifiable source, is it"

No. But oddly enough, that's never stopped believers from referencing material from said unidentifiable source when they feel it bolsters their position, has it?

"The translation from the Latin Vulgate refers to that utopia as 'paradise of pleasure', and just 'paradise'."

Makes sense. A place where there's "only good choices" available would lead to pleasure, I suppose.

Me: Is a "a utopia" possible with "good choices", exclusively? a) yes, b) no

You: "Probably".

Figures. But, whatever. You'd told me all I need to know on that topic. When it comes to the "Problem of Evil", no, the creator didn't need to "set it up that way", after all. Your own answer to the question reveals this.

"Did you sign up for a utopia, but you got born here instead?"

Not only that, but I signed up to be white and born in a first world country, too! Haha. Just kidding. But really, in a natural world we'd fully expect to see human suffering along with the good in life. We'd also expect to see more suffering in third world countries, and interestingly, that's precisely what we see. I suppose it could just a big coincidence. But I don't think so.

"Why do you think that your existence should be utopian, if there is a God?"

Totally depends on which "God" you mean. I mean, from a deist standpoint god created stuff and hauled butt out here. We'd expect to see suffering in that scenario, too. On the other hand, a god who is claimed to oversee its creation(it's "children") and who is also claimed to be things like omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, does't get off so easy, IMO.

"Or if you were God? Or if God should do it your way?"

It seems to me that God's way should be better than mine or yours in every conceivable way. Can you not agree with at least that much? For instance, if I saw a child being molested in broad daylight, I wouldn't stand there with arms folded as it went down. Doing so would make me a jerk, at best, and I trust you'd agree. IOW, if getting involved makes me compassionate, then in theory, "God" should be even more compassionate. And yet, the defense we hear is that the perpetrator's "free will" takes precedence over the child's "free will"(as if children choose to be raped). That's not compassion; that's excuse-making.

Stan said...

”Best I can tell, you have no reasonable answer."

Best as I can tell from your "Belated thought from the past" post, you think that atheists are about as far from reasonable as one can get. I mean, they're all delusional, after all. So, at this point you're just being redundant(at best)”


Well, you could actually try to prove that it is not delusional by showing that it is non-circular – or you can accept that believing in the circularity of “Appeal to the Authority of Oneself” is in fact a delusional logical path. Because that is the issue. If you choose to take that as an affront rather than a challenge, then you are not here to assert logical defense for your own worldview, you are here to … just take offense. But you have presented logic as a defense before, why not now?

”"The 'bible's redactors' is not an identifiable source, is it"

No. But oddly enough, that's never stopped believers from referencing material from said unidentifiable source when they feel it bolsters their position, has it?”


This is not dodge ball. What is your source? I gave you my source; now it’s up to you. What is your source?

”"The translation from the Latin Vulgate refers to that utopia as 'paradise of pleasure', and just 'paradise'."

Makes sense. A place where there's "only good choices" available would lead to pleasure, I suppose.

Me: Is a "a utopia" possible with "good choices", exclusively? a) yes, b) no

You: "Probably".”

Figures. But, whatever. You'd told me all I need to know on that topic. When it comes to the "Problem of Evil", no, the creator didn't need to "set it up that way", after all. Your own answer to the question reveals this.


But you didn’t ask the proper question, did you? Here's the right one:

”Did the creator have a reason for the way it is set up?”


That is the question. The universe could have remained NOT set up, just as well. Did the creating agent have a reason for moving it out of the null position, and into the position of actualized existence with consistent rules for physical behavior. I.e., why is there not nothing, when nothing is the null position??

”"Did you sign up for a utopia, but you got born here instead?"

Not only that, but I signed up to be white and born in a first world country, too! Haha. Just kidding. But really, in a natural world we'd fully expect to see human suffering along with the good in life. We'd also expect to see more suffering in third world countries, and interestingly, that's precisely what we see. I suppose it could just a big coincidence. But I don't think so.”


Yes. There is a reason. But not under naturalism, which has no concept of either Good or Evil. In a natural world, suffering just is. That’s all. It just is. Neither Good nor Bad. The judgment comes when the Atheist – Materialist assumes that suffering is evil, even though his own worldview can’t contain evil. Then he blames God, which he doesn’t believe in.

If suffering isn’t evil, then God isn’t evil, even under the false claims of culpability. There is no evil. That’s the necessary conclusion of a natural universe.

Stan said...

"Why do you think that your existence should be utopian, if there is a God?"

Totally depends on which "God" you mean. I mean, from a deist standpoint god created stuff and hauled butt out here. We'd expect to see suffering in that scenario, too. On the other hand, a god who is claimed to oversee its creation(it's "children") and who is also claimed to be things like omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, does't get off so easy, IMO.


Which version of a creating agent for the universe claims “omnibenevolent”? You are equating theism to religion. They are not the same. If you wish to argue a specific religion or cult, this is not the place, because we discuss the existence vs. the non-existence of a creating agent for the universe here.

So as far as I can see, you didn’t answer that question.

”"Or if you were God? Or if God should do it your way?"

It seems to me that God's way should be better than mine or yours in every conceivable way. Can you not agree with at least that much?”


Whose definition of “better” shall we use? If we use your definition of “better”, then please define it. Under naturalism and Atheism there is no judgment possible regarding “what is, just is”. So “better” is not definable in material terms – it is a judgment, an opinion.

” For instance, if I saw a child being molested in broad daylight, I wouldn't stand there with arms folded as it went down. Doing so would make me a jerk, at best, and I trust you'd agree. IOW, if getting involved makes me compassionate, then in theory, "God" should be even more compassionate. And yet, the defense we hear is that the perpetrator's "free will" takes precedence over the child's "free will"(as if children choose to be raped). That's not compassion; that's excuse-making.”

So your deduction runs like this:
1. You see something which is “evil”, in your judgment.
2. You would immediately move to stop that evil.
3. Because God doesn’t prevent all evil,
4. Then God is culpable.
5. And thus you are “better” than God.
6. Even though “evil” doesn’t actually exist in a natural, material, godless world.

Now, why, as an Atheist living in an all-natural world which is defined by cause and effect, determinism and evolution, do you see any act as “evil”, when everything merely “exists” because it “exists”, naturally? (And don’t bother defaulting to “well, don’t YOU see rape as evil? What I view as evil is not the point). Under what theory of naturalism or evolution is "evil" defined?

You seem to believe that “evil” does, in fact, exist. But that is not a natural, material artifact of nature or of evolution. In fact, in an all-natural universe, “evil” is merely a human construct which is not grounded in any self-evident first principles; evil is just subjective opinion, based on acculturation of the opinion-holder. If there is no objective evil, how can God be responsible for it? This appears to present an internal contradiction in your worldview, or at least in your thought process regarding placing culpability on God for the girl’s suffering. If you disagree, please explain why.

And the deeper issue would be this: you are not happy with the set-up of the natural world, and your idea of the creating agent for the universe is that such a power should restrict all situations to be beneficial to humans such that free will is not useful or necessary. Why do you wish to live without free will? What would that benefit you? What could you know or understand without free will?

And again, what is beneficial for one human might not be beneficial for other humans; that makes utopia a self-referencing, internally contradictory concept.

It is logically sound to have created a natural universe, and free will to deal with it. And as always, if you disagree with that, then please explain why.

boomSLANG said...

This...

"But not under naturalism, which has no concept of either Good or Evil. In a natural world, suffering just is. That’s all. It just is. Neither Good nor Bad."

As you might've guessed, I strongly disagree with this, but the good news is, I caught it early enough with just a cursory read of your latest that we don't have to waste each other's time going down this whole rabbit hole of atheism/naturalism having to account for things like "an Objective morality" and "Good and Evil", yadda, yadda. After all, I could just as easily say, "Under theism, the Divine moral-giver does not adhere to an external standard of Good/Evil or right/wrong, and therefore, 'Good' is arbitrary and can change on a whim. In fact, 'Good' is merely the Divine moral-giver's opinion, which ironically leaves theists in the very same subjective boat in which they like to put atheists."

It's been nice chattin', despite knowing the end result. Bye now!

Phoenix said...

I think tree serpent (boomslang) has a basic misunderstanding of set theory.

He argues that whatever applies to the creation (subset) must be equally true of the Creator (Proper Superset).

A proper superset must contain all the elements of the subset, but have at least one element which the subset does not contain. Therefore the proper superset and subsets are not equal

Let God = G, c=creation, f=free will, p=omnipotent, k=omniscience,pr=omnipresence

c = {f}

G= {f,p,o,pr}


Boomslang thought he could show up here, hurl some rhetorical gambits and claim victory. He soon found out he is way out of his depth over here, hence the quick bail out. Furhtermore, he also misunderstands our position: Our argument is not that God can violate the law of free will, it is that God has more options available than the average mortal, and may over ride free will because of his superior knowledge of these laws. Just as our knowledge of flight allows us to temporarily suspend the laws of gravity but we do not violate any physical laws when in flight.

Stan said...

I'm not sure whether Boomslang is leaving or if that is just his characteristic sign-off. I thought earlier that he was leaving, but he chastised me for that thought. He might be leaving; he's certainly not really engaging in any issues.

Boomslang, your idea that a creating deity could change the concepts of Good and Evil is correct, just as is the idea that a creating deity could eliminate gravity, stop time in its tracks, or just cancel the entire "universe project" altogether. But all the physical laws for the universe have not changed. If there is a deity, the deity is very, very consistent.

The problem here is, first with the rejection of those consistencies, by the mere idea that they "might" change, because they "could" change. Second, as with the prior argument (not addressed by you), you don't prove anything different from the charge against Atheism, you merely throw out a Tu Quoque Logic Fallacy in a sort blizzard of rhetoric and leave.

The charge remains: Atheism provides an amoral environment within which any sort of activity may be defined as "moral". This is without question; it has been empirically determined by the Atheist hegemony across half the earth during the 20th Century, with rivers of blood.

Your habit of throwing out the "rabbit hole" defenses is interesting. You are here, but you don't want to discuss things which are fixed in your mind. Then you are dogmatic in those areas and unwilling to address them.

That plus your apparent unwillingness to address the other issues brought before you makes me wonder, why are you even here? Your arguments are without substance, your attitude is arrogant, and your response is very selective and neglects most subjects as "rabbit holes". So why ARE you here?

I promise to allow you the Last Word, if you'll explain yourself (if you are in fact leaving). OK?

Stan said...

Phoenix,
Yes. I like your set analysis.

In fact, I'd like to take it one step further:

Let God = G, c=creation, f=free will, p=omnipotent, k=omniscience,pr=omnipresence

c = {f}

G= [{f,p,o,pr}, AND {NOT f,p,o,pr}].

The Atheist concept of a deity is far too small. They seem to think of the deity as just a slightly smarter version of themselves, but that their intellect and morality is actually superior anyway. It boils down to "what a deity would necessarily entail", vs. "what they want".

Here's what I have observed that Atheists want:
1. Perfect total autonomy over intellect, morality, and material existence.
2. No challenge to their autonomy by any Objective values, either logic necessities or moral necessities.
3. Not to be judged by the huge majority of historically bloody Atheist projects which dominated half the Earth in the 20th and early 21st centuries.
4. Not to be judged at all, because it is their right as superior creatures to judge the more inferior creatures, using their untethered intellect and morality. Being judged by their inferiors is both an affront and is not necessary to assign value to.

I suspect that boomslang will come back for at least one more shot, AND that he will not address the circularity issue of Appeal to Self-Authority because he cannot.


Stan said...

After a quick scan I see that there were four or five questions for Boomslang, none of which he answered. He does not want to engage, it appears that he really just wants to appear to have knowledge that he won't reveal.

boomSLANG said...

"I promise to allow you the Last Word, if you'll explain yourself (if you are in fact leaving). OK?" ~ Stan

Here's the rub, Stan: I've already explained myself as best as I know how when it comes to what I'm contending on the subject of "free will" as it applies to the "Problem of Evil". I've illustrated that in a world where there is a Divine Creator who oversees its creation, that if I, presumably one of its "creation" whose intelligence is totally limited, can conceive of a world in which "evil" isn't a problem, that the "Creator"(whose intelligence presumably exceeds my own a bazillion-fold) could conceive of the same world. We're told that biblegod originally intended an earthly "Utopia", aka, "Paradise", aka, "Eden", aka, "Paradise of God", for man to dwell eternally. "Sin" wasn't in the original plan, Stan, which tells the reasonable among us that "only good choices" wasn't an issue for the "Planner". But curiously, theists insist that "only good choices" is an issue because it tampers with the creation's "free will". I even asked you pointblank in a multiple choice question if Utopia could be had if "only good choices" were available, and you said "Probably".

Long about that time the script is all of the sudden flipped and everything we were discussing about biblical doctrine is deemed "religion", and further, I'm told that I have no grounds to contest or even question said doctrine, because under naturalism there is no "Good" or "Evil", yadda, yadda, and that it's all subjective. Okay, wonderful, except that I'm not the one claiming that there is an Objective Morality; theists are, and the fact that I can't account for such a thing doesn't make Moral Objectivists "correct", by default. In fact, I've illustrated why/how Moral Objectivists are in the same "subjective" boat in which they love to put me.

But I "get it", Stan, you and your constituents in theism reject anything and everything that is "atheism", concluding that I and all atheists are "delusional" for daring to question "God", because, alas, the mere mortal beings that we are means that we cannot possibly know the mind, motives, etc., of this (supposed) "God". Meanwhile, theists, who evidently like to forget that they, too, are also mere mortals whose intelligence is limited, sit here and are cocksure that they know the mind, motives, etc., of "God". Funny, that.

As for the "Last Word", or even the "last word", 'don't care. Take it or leave.

boomSLANG said...

Correction: should have read "Take it or leave it".

boomSLANG said...

Dear Mr/Mrs Phoenix,

Feel free to exercise your free will and find where I "claim victory". Claim victory? To the contrary. I've explained how/why it's impossible to be victorious in a "game" in which my opponent simply defines his or her "Avatar" as incapable of losing, and further, how it's a waste of everyone's time. See, no matter what I say/do/think; no matter which "move" I make, anything and everything is met with, "Sorry, you lose!", accompanied with posts about by how delusional I am for even attempting to get in the game. 'Good thing real life doesn't work that way.

As for your attempt to school me with "subset" equations and flight analogies, I'm afraid that this tree serpent doesn't find the phoenix' feathery rationalizations convincing. IOW, you've made a distinction without a drop of difference as far as I'm concerned. To be blunt: your "equation" isn't worth a plug nickle to me. See, this tree serpent doesn't give a rat's patooty if you call it "violating" free will, or "over riding" free will, because at the end of the day if the "God" that you revere so much actually exists, it is, as we speak, sitting there with his thumb up his rectum as children are being raped. 'Know what that means? That means that even you are more compassionate than your "God"(assuming that you wouldn't stand there making excuses about the rapist's "free will" if you happened upon a child getting raped).

I know, I know, I have no grounds to say "rape" is "wrong"...::eyeroll::

In closing, please never lose your "faith", Phoenix. Serious sh*t. It would be a very scary day indeed if certain people found out that there is no Divine, moral-giving babysitter in the sky to watch over all the children here on earth. And yes, final thoughts. At least on this blog. Bye all!

Stan said...

I promised not to comment on Boomslang's final message. Apparently he has left the blog for good. Judge for yourselves whether he has answered any of the questions put to him above.

Xellos said...

"I'm leaving", says increasingly nervous man for the 7th time this day.

Keep going m8, maybe you'll make it to Encyclopedia Dramatica.

JBsptfn said...

Boomslang's theory of a deity reminds me of Gerald Woerlee, an Anesthesiologist from The Netherlands who believed that God and Mary should be stoned to death (using a scripture in Deuteronomy) for having Jesus out of wedlock (I would put the link up, but his site is gone now).

Phoenix said...

Boomslang, what you find unconvincing is of zero consequence and pure opinion. The rest of your post can be summarized as this; 'God does not prevent rapes from happening therefore he does not exist.'
Few problems here;
1. His argument presupposes evil exist without defining the term.
2. Presupposing the existence of evil also implies that there exists moral absolutes but that in turn would imply a moral law giver which Boomslang must account from a purely secular/naturalistic stance.
3. Should God only prevent rape or what about lesser evils such as stealing a pencil?
4. Should God force everyone to be good and remove their free will but that would be a violation of free will and contrary to God's nature.
5. Last, why must the world be the way Boomslang insist it should operate what makes your way the best way?

yonose said...

Hello Everyone!!

Because some people do not believe in metaphors even if they are true:

Many strong atheists fall into the trap of Epicurean Self-Importance (yes, is a metaphor I invented, but well that explains a lot), because, it is easier to assign responsibilities to an imaginary construct of what they intra-subjectively dislike, rather than trying to be people who recognize their faults and defects and trying to minimize them.

There are more immature people than ever whose egos just make them more judgemental than most of us would wish to be, sadly some of them with psychological problems and dysfunctional families (there are positive correlations, not talking about possibly unknown causation).

Remember, fanatics -whether religious, agnostic, or atheist- are belligerent, and if not controlled, they are potential killers, everywhere. First slangs, then threats, then murderers.

Kind Regards.