Four Bad Arguments for God

by Luke Muehlhauser on September 11, 2010 in Podcast

(part of the Why Christianity Is False series; you can also listen to this podcast online or in iTunes or via RSS)

This is a reply to Does God Exist? by Tawa Anderson.

Before giving any arguments for the existence of God, Tawa says that the existence of God is necessary for meaning:

The Book of Ecclesiastes poetically summarizes the life without God: “Meaningless!  Meaningless!  Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless!”

The irony here is that Ecclesiastes actually says life is meaningless with God. Why? For many reasons, but here is one:

…whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.1

If the universe is ruled by the God of Abraham, this God has already decided for you what your meaning and purpose will be. This is convenient for those who prefer the life of a sheep and a slave, but detestable to those who have their own purposes already. What if Gandhi had stopped what he was doing to ask what Yahweh wanted from his life?

In any case, Ecclesiastes is the last book you should be quoting if you want to argue that meaning requires the existence of God. Ecclesiastes says life is meaningless with God.

More importantly, I argue it is not the source of a meaning or purpose that matters, but its quality. Alonzo Fyfe illustrates:

Perhaps I was created by a God who got bored and who was seeking some way to entertain himself. He came up with the idea of creating a planet and populating it with people who he [programmed to] have a strong disposition to accept religious teachings without question. He then went to different groups and said, “You are God’s chosen children. You have a right and a duty to rule over the world. All others are infidels who should be either converted or killed.”

When he was done, he sat back in His heavenly recliner with his heavenly beer and potato chips and watched the unfolding drama of Survivor Earth, and he saw that it was good. Or, at least, he was entertained.

Would I prefer to be a toy built to generate conflict and drama for the sake of entertaining some God?

It would be true, in such a case, that I was created for a divine purpose. However, what matters is the quality of the purpose, not its source. In this case, [my] purpose has a particularly low quality.

Not only would I prefer not to have such a purpose, I would go so far as to actively thwart God’s purpose if that were the case, and would count my life as having meaning in doing so. I would work to promote cooperation and well-being over conflict and suffering and, if this went against the purpose of my Creator, then so be it.

An Existential Argument

First among Tawa’s arguments for God is an “existential argument from human religiosity.” Tawa notes that every ancient and medieval culture was highly religious, and that “there is indeed a hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God.”

Tell that to the healthy, satisfied, well-educated atheists of Scandinavia and they will laugh at you. Tell that to the most prestigious scientists and philosophers in the world, most of whom are atheists, and they will laugh at you. Tell that to the millions of fulfilled, moral, successful atheists around the world and they will laugh at you.

The claim that “there is… a hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God” is empirically false. It is a shameless, cult-like attempt to prop up human insecurities so that people cling even harder to the superstitions that feed off their insecurity. When people leave such lies behind, and take note of all the meaning and morality and happiness that is available without fear and superstition, that is when they leave childish and comforting notions about gods behind.

I’m not just asserting this. I’m referring to the best-supported thesis of secularization proposed so far. Religion does not provide existential security – instead, it thrives on existential insecurity. It thrives on poverty and ignorance and fear and instability and risk. The poorest nations in the world are the most religious. When people live in a society that already provides them with existential security – with stability and safety and education and health care and job security – then people don’t need gods anymore.

Tawa also notes that we humans yearn to escape death. He then makes an astonishing leap of logic:

This yearning for eternity suggests that we exist for more than just this lifetime.

No, it doesn’t. Does my yearning to be the next Matthew Bellamy suggest that I will be? Alas, no. Wishful thinking does not indicate truth.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Third, Tawa offers a brief version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA): The Big Bang must have a cause, and the cause must be personal and transcendent.

There are a whole raft of problems with with the KCA, but here are just a few:

  • The KCA presupposes an A Theory of time. But physicists have known since Einstein that the A Theory of time is false. This is old news, folks.
  • It’s hard to see how the universe could be self-caused or a necessary being, yes. But proposing a necessary being that is the opposite of everything else we understand – a timeless, spaceless, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent, personal being without a brain – is a far worse problem.
  • The KCA employs intuitions and language in a slippery and sneaky way that, when examined carefully, does not support the KCA’s aims. See Wes Morriston’s paper, “Must the beginning of the universe have a personal cause?

The Fine-Tuning Argument

The fine-tuning argument notes that certain fundamental constants of the universe exist within a narrow range of values that are life-permitting. If any of these values were slightly different, life as we know it could not exist. So it looks like a transcendent being has tinkered with the values to make things come out just right so that life could exist.

The first problem with this argument was pointed out by evangelical Christian philosophers Tim and Lydia McGrew in “Probabilities and the Fine-Tuning Argument: A Skeptical View.” The problem is this: The possible range of values for these constants is, as far as we know, infinite. Therefore, the chances that the values would fall within a very “small” range of values are equal to the chances that they would fall within a very “large” range of values. So a “fine-tuning argument” is just as powerful as a “coarse-tuning argument” – which is to say, not very powerful at all.

A second problem is that the argument seems to presuppose that life (or intelligent life, or consciousness, or whatever) has intrinsic value - that a universe with organic chemistry is intrinsically more valuable than a universe with clouds of singing gas or a universe with one hydrogen atom. But I’ve never been shown a shred of evidence that life has intrinsic value in that way. I’m only told that it has intrinsic value because it feels to us like life has intrinsic value. Well, duh! We are living beings! Of course we think we are valuable. But I’m still waiting for some evidence on this one. Yes, Christianity is a more comforting worldview for those who trust their feelings more than evidence, but, well, we already knew that. If that’s the argument, Christians should stop pretending they are responding to the evidence instead of their feelings.

A third problem is the same as one given for the KCA: Adding a timeless, spaceless, omniscience, omnipotent, omnibenevolent personal being without a brain only makes the explanatory problem worse, not better.

A Moral Argument

Tawa’s fourth argument is a moral one:

If moral standards are not grounded in something transcendent (that is, outside of humanity), it is impossible to say (as we all do) that anything is always morally wrong (or right).  Simply put, if there is no God, then the evil that men do is not evil, it simply is.

This is a rewording of Bill Craig’s moral argument: If God doesn’t exist, then objective morality doesn’t exist. But objective morality does exist. So God must exist. And how do we know this?

…deep down everyone knows that morality is objective…

That’s it. That’s the only argument he gives. Once again, Tawa’s argument depends on feelings rather than evidence. So right off the bat, his argument is without support.

But let me push further. I will argue that if God is the source of morality, then morality is not objective. My argument is very simple, because “objective morality” has typically been defined as “morality not grounded in the attitudes or nature of a person.” When morality is grounded in a particular person or group of persons, that is called subjective morality.

Here are some examples: Individual subjectivism says that right and wrong are grounded in the attitudes of a particular person. Cultural subjectivism says that right and wrong are grounded in the attitudes of a particular culture. Ideal observer theory says that right and wrong are grounded in the attitudes of a hypothetical person who is perfectly informed and unbiased. And God-based ethics says that this ideal observer really exists, and its name is God. God-based ethics is a subjective moral theory.

The way Christian apologists have avoided this embarrassing fact is to twist the term “objective morality” so that instead of meaning “morality not grounded in the attitudes of a person or persons,” for them it now means “morality not grounded in the attitudes of a particular species of primate, homo sapiens.”

But this is silly. If a giant alien appeared in the sky tomorrow and some people decided that right and wrong were grounded in the attitudes of this alien, would that be – regardless of its truth – a theory of objective morality, just because it was grounded in the attitudes of a person who did not belong to homo sapiens? Of course not.

So if theists want to say that God-based morality is objective, but only in the sense that an alien-based morality is objective, then so be it – but I am not impressed. And I don’t think that’s the kind of “objective” morality our intuitions presuppose, either – even if our feelings provided good evidence that morality was objective.

The moral argument for God falls back on itself by revealing what Christian apologists try to hide – that God-based morality is a subjective theory of morality in the same way that an alien-based morality is a subjective theory of morality.

And I didn’t even have to bring up the Euthyphro dilemma.

Concluding Thoughts

Tawa ends with a request:

I wish to conclude with a personal appeal: I entreat you to not close your mind to the possibility of God.

I agree. Anything is possible. Keep an open mind. But don’t open your mind so widely that your brains fall out. Don’t be gullible. Don’t bow down to your feelings and intuitions. Seek out more reliable ways of knowing things. Your mind should be open, but it should have a strong filter. Most claims are false, simply by virtue of the great number of claims being made. So make use of the tools available to you: logic, critical thinking, science, and so on.

Consider the principle of non-locality in quantum mechanics. A particle can affect another particle on the other side of the galaxy instantaneously, with nothing traveling between them. That is absurd. It sounds like magic to me. But here’s the thing: non-locality in quantum mechanics is supported by tons of specific, tightly-modeled evidence.

So have an open mind, even to things that seem crazy. But don’t accept crazy things because of bad arguments, feelings, and self-defeating arguments. Accept crazy things only when you are given good evidence for their truth.

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:14, ESV. []

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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Maher September 10, 2010 at 10:47 pm

consideration,

there was an experiment a year or 2 ago that measured the rate in which light from a super nova at a known distance traveled across the cosmos and there was no slow down. this indicates Einstein right in 2 ways: (1) there is no Ether and (2) light travels at constant light speed. They have a video on it on yt.

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mojo.rhythm September 11, 2010 at 6:20 am

Dude,

You so need a ratings system for your blog posts, because this so would have gotten 10/10.

Great post!

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 6:31 am

Thanks.

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consideratheism September 11, 2010 at 6:35 am

The KCA presupposes an A Theory of time. But physicists have known since Einstein that the A Theory of time is false. This is old news, folks.

Well, one objection to Einsteins theory is that is presupposes that the speed of light stays constant, and many people say that this is a claim backed with no evidence.

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 6:53 am

consideratheism,

Of course it’s possible the speed of light varies, but Einstein’s theory of general relativity is highly confirmed independent of whether the speed of light remains constant. There’s also the fact that every time we observe it, the speed of light is what we predict if its speed is constant. Remember, we’re looking for what is probable, not what is possible.

And the KCA still fails for other reasons as well, of course.

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Hermes September 11, 2010 at 7:13 am

Unfortunately, there are a multitude of worse arguments for any deity. Deepak Chopra is a slimy nonsense generator, for example. Thankfully, even though he pushes his ignorance as hard as possible, nobody has institutionalized it into a specific religious sect.

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Ajay September 11, 2010 at 7:22 am

Excellent post, Luke. I remember a while back you had a link to a website about different plausible explanations for why religions began to exist. Considering the massive amount of data used in the Norris & Inglehart book to support their hypothesis, it seems like Freud’s ‘we want a heavenly father to look over us’ argument is pretty strong. Just turns out that people will settle for a robust welfare state ;-)

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matth September 11, 2010 at 7:31 am

yes 10/10 on this one for sure

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Martin September 11, 2010 at 7:32 am

I didn’t think the case was settled with respect to A and B theories of time. As I understand it, B fits more with what we know about spacetime, but there are still arguments against it and arguments in support of A. I thought it was still an open debate…

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Zeb September 11, 2010 at 7:36 am

lukeprog:

What if Gandhi had stopped what he was doing to ask what Yahweh wanted from his life?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? As far as I can tell, all that Ghandi did was in service to God, in pursuit of God, and in submission to God.

“I have but shadowed forth my intense longing to lose myself in the Eternal and become merely a lump of clay in the Potter’s divine hands so that my service may become more certain because uninterrupted by the baser self in me.”

So I suspect that it was because Ghandi more or less “ask[ed]what Yahweh wanted from his life” that he did the great things that he did. But what if he had asked what empirical evidence and rational analysis indicated was good and achievable for him?

The lives of the great saints do alone do not provide testimony to which of the religions is most true because there have been great saints in many religions, but the lives of the saints are a big part of what convinces me that it is good to pursue religion and its subjects.

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Wrath September 11, 2010 at 7:38 am

Luke, what’s your opinion on Thomas Aquinas’ arguments?

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Erika September 11, 2010 at 7:43 am

On Ecclesiastes, it’s also worth noting that “meaningless” is a loaded translation choice and there are other ways to look at that word in context.

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Hermes September 11, 2010 at 7:55 am

On non-locality, Physicist Leonard Mlodinow (co-author with Professor Stephen Hawking of the just released book The Grand Design), tears Chopra a new one;

Physicist Leonard Mlodinow vs. Deepak Chopra

More draining of the woo cesspit can be found here (Shermer and Harris);

The Nightline Face-Off: Does God Have a Future?

Note that while Jean Houston is a few crystals too new-agey for me, she totally outclasses Chopra in both reasonableness and her ability to actually deal with reality instead of making things up. She would probably get along with Karen Armstrong at a dinner party. Houston is worth listening to from a mythic angle even if you reject (as I do) the leap to mysticism and the presumption of an actual nebulous mystery grounding reality. Chopra could be edited out and the content of the video above would go up.

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 8:09 am

Zeb,

Have you been drinking the Christian Kool-Aid? Gandhi was a lifelong Hindu.

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Hermes September 11, 2010 at 8:13 am

Zeb, were you using ‘Yahweh’ metaphorically for some generic deity category? (Gandhi, of course, never did ask Yahweh for anything as Gandhi was a Hindu. He even went as far as to say “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”)

With that in mind, Luke’s comment makes sense; Gandhi ‘had his own purpose already’ that was not from an Abrahamic deity based theism regardless of his specific religion. Luke says as much in the sentence previous to the one you quoted. For context, here’s the whole paragraph with emphasis and [notes] added;

If the universe is ruled by the God of Abraham, this God has already decided for you what your meaning and purpose will be. This is convenient for those who prefer the life of a sheep and a slave, but detestable to those who have their own purposes already. What if Gandhi [a Hindu] had stopped what he was doing to ask what Yahweh [an Abrahamic not Hindu deity] wanted from his life?

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Derrida September 11, 2010 at 8:49 am

Wow, this series is going to be a massacre.

One question: William Lane Craig argues his published debate with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, argues that, even if the range of values is infinite, we can take as our limit “those values that are universe permitting”.

What do you think of this move? Could one say that the range of universe permitting values may still be infinite, or would we have to say that the range of life permitting values, compared to the range of universe permitting values, is small but not infinite?

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Zeb September 11, 2010 at 8:50 am

Ghandi was a Hindu universalist, so I would not be surprised if he would have agreed that he did ask Yahweh [I am who am] what He wanted from his life, but we may never know. Of course if I am right about that, he would have meant that he asked the god who is God, to whom the Hebrews referred as Yahweh but for whom Ghandi used other names. I have not been able to find which if any traditional Hindu deity Ghandi focused his veneration toward, but the point is, he believed in deity and sought to understand and fulfill the divine purposes of the deity. Based on what I have been reading this morning, I bet Ghandi would have been insulted by the suggestion that he was already pursuing his own purposes and did not seek to find his meaning and purpose in God. Can anyone give any evidence against this understanding of Ghandi’s views?

This post is about purpose and meaning in relationship to the existence of God; it is not about the value of mythical character “Yahweh” conceived as a member of the ancient pantheon of Mesopotamian gods.

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Lorkas September 11, 2010 at 9:01 am

“Well, one objection to Einsteins theory is that is presupposes that the speed of light stays constant, and many people say that this is a claim backed with no evidence.”

The case for a constant c is a lot more complicated that most of us non-physicists realize, though. Here’s a video that describes one line of evidence most don’t think of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRmJbP25m-Y

The video is targeted at creationists but describes a phenomenon wherein we receive light directly from a source and also receive light from that source reflected off another object, like the halo of a supernova. There is a lag between observed changes in brightness in the light we receive directly and the light reflected off of another surface that’s equal to the distance (in light-years) between the source and the reflective surface.

We can assume a constant c and calculate the distance to those objects using trig, and the distance lines up with distances established using other methods of calculating distance. Since the distances calculated with this method can be independently verified, and the method depends on a constant c over the entire time the light has been traveling to Earth, that gives you some strong direct evidence for a constant c for at least a certain amount of time into the past.

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Chris September 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

I hate when the religious misuse Ecclesiates. It’s a diamond in the rough, the best of the bible.

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Hermes September 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

Zeb, while I appreciate your clarification, I think that what Luke wrote is direct and illustrates his point. If you don’t like his use of Gandhi specifically, mentally substitute a different one.

* * *

FWIW — not a challenge to what you wrote, just some comments on the landscape of theology/anthropology/mythology/philosophy;

You probably agree that using God (meaning Yahweh or some other quasi-Abrahamic deity) for god (as a generic deity or a philosophical placeholder for a mainly deistic non-Abrahamic deity) clutters things needlessly and that care should be applied when using those words.

Unfortunately, in common written usage, God and god are often used interchangeably leading to quite a few logical errors. Yes, I do understand what you mean on a shared mythological level, but from the investigations I’ve done in different mythic/religious stories the local/tribal/dogmatic/sectarian-theological aspects of a deity tends to override the broad application of the term god and people tend to think that the other group means not ‘ground of being’/(or many other wildly different variations) but the specific named deity they are thinking about at the moment. As an extreme example, the word “Allah” is just “God” in Arabic, yet when some non-Muslims attempt to use allah for a generic deity, they can risk legal action or even physical harm.

While I respect the Joseph Campbells of the world (him specifically as well as many other anthropologists and writers who follow myth with similar points of view to Campbell), I disagree with him when he emphasizes that there is only one archetypal deity. While he (and similar folk) are not strident on that point, and I do get what they mean, the nuances and unmovable differences also should be taken seriously and not philosophized out of the discussion.

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anon September 11, 2010 at 10:36 am

“A second problem is that the argument seems to presuppose that life (or intelligent life, or consciousness, or whatever) has intrinsic value – that a universe with organic chemistry is intrinsically more valuable than a universe with clouds of singing gas or a universe with one hydrogen atom. But I’ve never been shown a shred of evidence that life has intrinsic value in that way. I’m only told that it has intrinsic value because it feels to us like life has intrinsic value. Well, duh! We are living beings! Of course we think we are valuable. But I’m still waiting for some evidence on this one. Yes, Christianity is a more comforting worldview for those who trust their feelings more than evidence, but, well, we already knew that. If that’s the argument, Christians should stop pretending they are responding to the evidence instead of their feelings.”

I don’t get how the design argument presupposes that there is intrinsic value. To me it seems like it just presupposes something like this:

The probability of a universe like ours having life given that there is a god who wants there to be life is a lot bigger than the probability of a universe like ours having live given that there is no such god.

Or maybe something like this:

The hypothesis that there is a god who wants there to be life predicts that there will be life. The hypothesis that there is no such god predicts that there won’t be life.

I don’t see how these ideas presuppose the existence of intrinsic value.

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Hermes September 11, 2010 at 11:02 am

Anon, there’s no basis for such calculations in either case. That said, your second example includes a presupposition of value when you write;

“The hypothesis that there is a god who wants there to be life predicts that there will be life.”

So, the valuer is still in the picture even if it is a placeholder for a myriad of theistic concepts covering the details of such a valuer.

Further, the theistic explanations of that deity tend to elevate a specific group on a spec of a planet, on the top of the apple skin crust of that planet, on the dry areas only of that planet, without wings or fins, at the bottom of a gravity well pinning them to the surface. If that supposition — as it is not a hypothesis — is credible, it is an anemic one.

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Patrick September 11, 2010 at 11:19 am

This also gets to a problem with the misuse of Bayes. Any argument of the form: “X is really unlikely, but if Y, then X is practically guaranteed.” is trivially true if you sufficiently gerrymander Y.

The platypus exists. Seriously? The platypus? That thing’s crazy unlikely. Its a huge muddle of convergent and divergent evolution and physical isolation and all sorts of other events that resulted in… the platypus. So that’s really unlikely… UNLESS we posit that God is a platypus, and really likes self referential art. Therefore the platypus is evidence for the existence of the Ultraplatypode.

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Feldman September 11, 2010 at 11:46 am

It might be that we are just exist by chance. Found this article that may change the fine tuning argument a little.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909004112.htm

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Alexandros Marinos September 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Luke, you may want to substitute course-tuning with coarse-tuning.

Besides this, I am (positively) surprised to see you taking a very hard-line stance towards arguments (such as the Kalaam) that in the past you seemed to think need careful consideration.

I am also happy to see the ‘intrinsic meaning’ response to the FTA. It has ‘clicked’ for me the last few days and the argument now seems completely hollow.

I think it is the most recent form of anthropocentricism. If earth is not the center of the universe, and neither is the sun, or our galaxy, perhaps we can be the conceptual center of the universe. It was obviously made to have us here! Of course the same line of thinking would justify me in saying that the universe and all my past life was fine-tuned such that I can be here this very moment. Any minuscule change in many events of my past result in a different person, and most changes in the world’s history result in me not being here at all. Obviously the universe was fine-tuned to produce the current me! But of course I could say that for any other potential form of ‘me’ and what’s more, even if I wasn’t able to say it (e.g. if my atoms were rearranged into a frozen rock flying through deep space), there’s nothing stopping an observer from attributing to that rock the value of ultimate meaning of the universe, therefore declaring the universe fine-tuned to produce this rock.

Combined with the recent mention of philosophers leaving philosophy of religion as a settled non-interesting field, is it just me or are you losing your patience for the theist side in general?

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Jeffrey September 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I don’t see how the first problem helps refute the fine-tuning argument.

>The possible range of values for these constants is, as far as we know, infinite.

But if a constant has an infinite range and there is no more reason to expect small numbers than large numbers, it would be surprising that a constant just happened to fall between 1 and 10,000,000,000. The coarse-tuning argument appears to be a strong argument, and thus the fine-tuning argument cannot be refuted by comparing it to the coarse-tuning argument.

I like to think the constants as coming from some unknown distribution. With any distribution, large intervals are generally more probable than small ones. From this perspective, the coarse-tuning argument is obviously poor, but it is not equivalent to the fine-tuning argument.

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Derrida,

I’m not sure what limit there is on the range of values that are universe permitting. Does Craig give a reason to think there is such a limit? Is he saying there’s no logical limit but there might be a metaphysical limit or physical limit?

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Alexandros,

Thanks for the correction.

BTW, I do still think the arguments need careful consideration. Robin Collins is working on a response to the Craig-Vestrup objection, for example. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t.

Just wait for my upcoming interview with Tyler Wunder about Plantinga’s reformed epistemology. Then you will really lose your patience with philosophical theism.

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Jeffrey,

Both your objections are specifically addressed in the paper.

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Charles September 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Luke,

I really appreciate the new tone. You are seriously kicking ass and taking names.

Your responses to the existential problem, Kalam, and morality are spot on. The moral argument works because most people are unwilling to consider their intuitions are wrong. I especially enjoyed your concluding thoughts. As I read, “But don’t open your mind so widely that your brains fall out,” I was laughing so hard I nearly spit out coffee! “Your mind should be open, but it should have a strong filter.” Great words to live by.

I do think the discussion of the A and B theories of time could have had more. Which scientists endorse B theories? Why does Kalam presuppose A theories? Has Craig ever been quoted as admitting as much? And what the hell are they? (For the record, I am trained as a scientist, have read the SEP entry on this, and still don’t understand it.)

I also think your response to fine-tuning is not at the same level. The reply that those making the argument presuppose “intrinsic-ness” misses the point. I don’t think they do. Rather it is, “Given the fact that I’m alive, how is that possible?” I don’t need to assign value to my existence to make the argument. The mere fact that I exist is all that is required.

The first reference to Tim and Lydia McGrew just left me saying, “Huh?”

These points aside, I really enjoyed this post and look forward to the rest of the series!

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ShaneSteinhauser September 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Craig’s moral argument is nothing more than a dressed up fallacy of affirming the consequent.

“If God doesn’t exist, then objective morality doesn’t exist. But objective morality does exist. So God must exist.”

If it is not raining, then the ground is not wet.

*Pours some water on the ground*

But the ground *is* wet. So it must be raining.

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mojo.rhythm September 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Shane,

It’s actually a logically valid argument.

If P, then Q
Not Q
Hence, not P

It’s a modus tollens syllogism.

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Kaelik September 11, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Re: Gandhi:

Gandhiji: In the case of your daughter’s marriage, I will say ‘in the name of Truth’ instead of ‘in the name of God’. Atheists also respect truth.

I: Yes. Atheists regard truthfulness as a social necessity. Truth binds man to man in association. Without truth there can be no social organization.

G: Not only that. Truth means existence; the existence of that we know and of that we do not know. The sum total of all existence is absolute truth or the Truth. (Gandhiji spoke at length on the subject of the absolute truth.)

I: I think, truth is only relative to human experience. The concept of the absolute truth which is beyond human experience is but a hypothesis formulated by man for the convenience of his thought process. Any absolute, like the infinite, is only an imaginary something.

G: The concepts of truth may differ. But all admit and respect truth. That truth I call God. For sometime I was saying, ‘God is Truth,’ but that did not satisfy me. So now I say, ‘Truth is God.’

I: If truth is god, then why don’t you say ‘Satyam … ‘ instead of ‘Raghupati Raghava’? ‘Raghupati Raghava’ conveys to others a meaning very different from what it conveys to you.

G: Do you think I am superstitious? I am a super-atheist.

There was visible emphasis in these words.

I felt that this matter must be thrashed out fully some time. But that was not the proper occasion for it. The topic before us was the form of my daughter’s marriage and I thought I had better confine myself to it just then.

Guess who the G is claiming to be a super-atheist and saying that what he means by God is really just the existence as we know it, and not a divine being?

Oh right, Gandhi.

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Silver Bullet September 11, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Luke,

You wrote:”God has already decided for you what your meaning and purpose will be. This is convenient for those who prefer the life of a sheep and a slave”

I believe you are a determinist. If so, then can’t I just transpose determinism for God as follows:

“The forces of nature have already determined what your meaning and purpose will be. This is convenient for those who prefer the life of a sheep and slave”

Doesn’t your determinism imply that you also prefer the life of a sheep and slave?

I’m not asking to provoke you in any way. I’m just asking because I’m having a hard time with compatibilism these days. I mean, aren’t we just puppets, sheep, slaves?

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Hermes September 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Kaelik, interesting.

Is this a valid link to the source?

http://www.positiveatheism.org/india/gora13.htm

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Silver Bullet,

Those are good questions. I do have more posts upcoming on determinism and fatalism.

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Jeff H September 11, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Nice, Luke! This is a concise knockdown of pretty much all the most commonly used arguments for God. It’s got a few rough spots (as people have been pointing out), but for the brevity of the article, it’s certainly got a lot packed in there. I may have to show this one to some friends of mine…

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Kaelik September 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm

@Hermes: Yes.

@Silver Bullet

It comes down to what you define you as. If you are a naturalistic determinist, then you is just a specific pattern of molecules, and so the things you are determined to do are identical to the purpose you set for yourself, so who cares.

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MichaelPJ September 11, 2010 at 9:56 pm
exapologist September 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Just wait for my upcoming interview with Tyler Wunder about Plantinga’s reformed epistemology. Then you will really lose your patience with philosophical theism.

Can’t wait! May I ask when you plan on posting that one?

Cheers,
EA (Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot fan)

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lukeprog September 11, 2010 at 11:24 pm

exapologist,

Early November, I think…

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ShaneSteinhauser September 12, 2010 at 12:17 am

@mojo.rhythm

It is dressed up to look like a modus tollens, but it is not. Craig is using negative values to hide a fallacy of affirming the consequent.

If Godzilla did not attack Japan on 1945 there should not be radiation victims. But there *are* radiation victims. Therefore Godzillla attacked Japan on 1945.

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Zak September 12, 2010 at 12:20 am

Luke,

Great post! I always enjoy your posts… but this one was just fantastic! I agree with others, 10/10.

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Yair September 12, 2010 at 12:44 am

Consider the principle of non-locality in quantum mechanics. A particle can affect another particle on the other side of the galaxy instantaneously, with nothing traveling between them. That is absurd. It sounds like magic to me. But here’s the thing: non-locality in quantum mechanics is supported by tons of specific, tightly-modeled evidence.

No, no, no. A particle can be correlated with another particle far-far away, but it cannot affect it. There is nothing you can do here that will instantly make some specific change at the other side of the galaxy – if you could, you could transmit information above the speed of light. There is something that you can do here that will be correlated with what will happen there, but that’s not affecting it, it’s simply being different parts of a larger (correlated) reality.

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RedKing September 12, 2010 at 5:43 am

Charles: “The reply that those making the argument presuppose ‘intrinsic-ness’ misses the point. I don’t think they do. Rather it is, ‘Given the fact that I’m alive, how is that possible?’”

The question of the life’s possibility is certainly where fine-tuning arguments start, but it’s not where they end. The ones I’ve seen seem to make this conclusion: because life is so unlikely, we have to infer the existence of an intelligent fine-tuner. It’s this leap that requires an assumption of value. Here’s the way I’ve thought about it. I may be wrong, and if I’m way off base, I hope someone corrects me.

Imagine a friend invites you to a shooting gallery. You arrive late, and find that he has already left. You find, in the wall down the range, a 1 inch bulls-eye with a bullet in the center. It’s pretty unlikely that anyone would have hit the bulls-eye by chance, so you reasonably conclude that the bullet hitting the bulls-eye was fine-tuned by your intelligent friend.

But now imagine that you talk to the owner of the shooting range. He tells you a vastly different story. That day, they were testing a machine that shoots a bullet at a random spot in the wall. The owner tells you the machine shot at random, and then your friend painted the bulls-eye around where the bullet hit. Now the event isn’t unlikely at all — it just looks unlikely. Or, if you want to call it unlikely, you certainly wouldn’t call the machine intelligent.

So why are you able to say that the first event was fine-tuned? In part, because you already have some knowledge of what humans do at shooting galleries. They aim guns at targets and try to hit them. They want to hit the bulls-eye. But if you didn’t have that knowledge, and didn’t know whether someone just painted the target on afterwords, you wouldn’t be able to make an inference to design at all.

This is the case with inferring design from the high improbability of life. You have to assume that life is somehow important to the universe (or God) in order to do so, which is exactly what the argument needs to demonstrate in the first place.

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chenje September 12, 2010 at 6:53 am

as a believer from a poor continent a must say the point that most atheists use that religion is merely a crutch 4 d poor is false. being poor frees sum1 from a strictly materialistic wrldview you can stop and think about otha stuff “blessed are the poor” as 4 our rich and happy scandanavian friends dont they have tremendously high suicide rates guess the welfare state aint that satisfying after all

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Hermes September 12, 2010 at 7:04 am

Chenje, have you correlated those suicide rates with other countries that also have lower levels of sunlight?

Additionally, have you examined other data points or are you only interested in that one?

Are you familiar with the term “cherry picking”? It means picking out single pieces of data and ignoring others. (Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking )

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Peter Grice September 12, 2010 at 7:06 am

Luke, I agree with the approach you commend in your concluding thoughts. You noted that the universe has fundamental processes that do fly in the face of common sense, with an implicit caution against a naive realism. With this in mind, it seems to me your whole project is misnomered. You appeal to models and tools that have been developed in order to augment and arbitrate what merely is commonly “sensed.” As you know it was the atheist Voltaire who said “Common sense is not so common.” Of course he did equate his atheism with common sense, for instance in saying “Nothing can be more contrary to religion… than reason and common sense.” Here, though, “reason” serves as a qualifier, as it seems to with your own views above. Voltaire also quipped, “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.” So he, and you, seem to capitalize on the positive connotation of the phrase, while at the same time, chide or deride others who appeal to it (as you did above with Tawa’s appeal to a common sense intuition that life has intrinsic value). Now I don’t know any reasonable person who argues from common belief alone – as I said at the outset I agree with the need for other resources – but it strikes me as so much rhetorical convenience to suggest ad nauseam, as atheists are want to do, that logic-reason-evidence are on their side. Einstein computed that “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” But Voltaire had attributed prejudice to fools, who have failed to subdue this by the lights of reason. The enlightened individuals are the ones who have succeed. They have transcended (prejudiced) commonsense with (rational) “commonsense.” Will the real commonsense please stand up? Do you agree with Voltaire and myself that enlightened commonsense is “not so common?” You seem to have argued this point above with your analogy to the counter-intuitive quantum revolution. If so, and if you would equate enlightenment with atheism, it seems to me your blog needs to confess that atheist-sense is “not so common” after all.

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Charles September 12, 2010 at 7:38 am

Yair: There is nothing you can do here that will instantly make some specific change at the other side of the galaxy.

Sure, there is. You can measure it.

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lukeprog September 12, 2010 at 7:47 am

Peter Grice,

Do you mean that my website should not be called ‘Common Sense Atheism’? If so, see here:
http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=2998

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Peter Grice September 12, 2010 at 8:15 am

Luke, actually I originally intended to take issue with your rhetorical use of “magic” (as a transparent abuse of your “Why This Blog is Different” ethos), but decided not to complete the thought through waning time. I’ll do so at a more opportune time, since after reading your link, I shouldn’t have been so hasty.

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Charles September 12, 2010 at 8:20 am

RedKing,

I’ll have to give this more thought. I still think it is reasonable to ask the question.

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chenje September 12, 2010 at 8:34 am

Hermes a jus lukd on wikipideia n it seems that being chilly aimt got nuthng 2 do with suicide china is not cold nt they have a suicide rate wch is high they r also communists a thnk the link btwn athism n losin hp is nt hrd 2 make a do have 2 concede that wanting hp is not sufficient reason 2 bliv.

in my assesment the evidence suggests that believing or not is a matter of conscience not common sense or logic most atheistic arguements tend 2 b emotional jus lyk my belief puting on a garment of reason on an emotional arguement, no that jus wnt do.

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woodchuck64 September 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

Silver Bullet,

I mean, aren’t we just puppets, sheep, slaves?

Where do your desires come from? They can’t come from you, that doesn’t make sense. Therefore, whatever created your desires controls you. If that something is a moral agent, you are a puppet, sheep, slave. If that something is an impersonal force of nature, it doesn’t make sense to imply a moral agent with the terms “puppet”, “sheep”, “slave”. Rather, you tend to see yourself as a part or extension of that force of nature.

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Kaelik September 12, 2010 at 9:44 am

@ Chenje:

1) I do not believe you are from a poor continent. It’s possible, but unlikely. Most people from “poor continents” do not speak English as a first language. Most people who do not speak English as a first language also don’t butcher English into t3xtr sp3@k, like you do. Learn to type like a grown up. Speed in typing is not worth loss of clarity, you should be spending more time thinking about what you are going to type than actually typing it in the first place.

2) “being poor frees sum1 from a strictly materialistic wrldview you can stop and think about otha stuff “blessed are the poor””

Being rich gives people time to think about how the world actually works, and allows them to not concern themselves with material possessions, because they already have everything they need. Stopping and thinking about other stuff is easier for the rich than the poor. However, if your life is shitty, and you are generally afraid of losing everything you do have, it is quite useful as a motivating tool to think about things like God, both as a promise of protection if you are righteous, and something to care about that cannot be taken away from you.

It is statistically true that poor people and countries are more religious than rich ones. It is statistically true that if a country develops a stronger middle class, then that middle class will be less religious than the people it came from.

3) Even though China is cold (or as you put it “chilly”) (much of it is mountainous) that is not what he said. He said “lower levels of sunlight” because it has been shown that receiving less sunlight leads to depression. Alaska is the US state with the highest suicide rate, because Alaska has long winters with little sunlight.

In China on the other hand, despite being chilly, the reason most people commit suicide is because they live shitty lives, and are generally oppressed. You know how they are oppressed? One of the ways is that they are, in some cases, not permitted to practice their religion.

That’s right, the people committing suicide are not the evil communist overlords in opulent palaces. They are the common religious folk.

Not a very good example for you.

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Jugglable September 12, 2010 at 10:05 am

“It’s hard to see how the universe could be self-caused or a necessary being, yes. But proposing a necessary being that is the opposite of everything else we understand – a timeless, spaceless, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent, personal being without a brain – is a far worse problem.”

The KCA does NOT argue for all those things.

“…is a far worse problem”

Not if it follows logically.

To talk about self-causation is logically incoherent. So even if we appeal to a spaceless, timeless, immaterial cause instead of something logically incoherent, it’s still a better explanation than something we logically know CANNOT be the case.

And as far as God not having a brain–is that a problem? If you can’t entertain dualism, you can’t entertain any argument for God’s existence. And human consciousness depends on a brain, yes. But what justification is there to say that all consciousness MUST depend on a brain?

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Jugglable September 12, 2010 at 10:14 am

Luke, you’ve been getting a little arrogant. As far as your comment on Christians preferring their feelings…wow, you said you had a hard time giving up your faith, but it must have really paid off now that you’re one of the enlightened ones. How does it feel to be so superior to your family and the people you grew up with?

“But I’ve never been shown a shred of evidence that life has intrinsic value in that way.”

You could always say this. I think it’s a little stubborn. I cannot be objective about life, yes, but that said if I do try my hardest to be objective, which is the best I can do, it does seem to me more noteworthy that the universe has become aware of itself and that the concept of the entire universe can be within a brain in a localized part of the universe.

And I do think life has more intrinsic value than a cloud of gas like you said. I think you think that, too. I do think you believe in the intrinsic value of human life. Yes, it’s based on feelings, but so is your trust in your 5 senses when they tell you the external world is real.

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vanlacrmcake September 12, 2010 at 10:18 am

“I do not believe you are from a poor continent. It’s possible, but unlikely. Most people from “poor continents” do not speak English as a first language. Most people who do not speak English as a first language also don’t butcher English into t3xtr sp3@k, like you do”

The grammar/misspelling seems purported and there’s usage of words that should beyond his/her supposed vocabulary

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lukeprog September 12, 2010 at 10:30 am

Jugglable,

Not sure where you’re getting the “superior to friends and family” bit. Do you mean that I think I’m right and they’re wrong about the existence of God? Yes, that’s true. But that’s true of anyone who asserts a claim. I’ve asserted my claim, and given lots of reasons for it.

Your remark about trust in the 5 senses that the external world is real vastly oversimplifies matters, and puts everything on a level “evidential” ground. If in order to justify your religion you must justify belief in anything that is “felt” by people, I’m not impressed.

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lukeprog September 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

chenje’s IP comes from Africa, BTW. But I won’t say more than that for privacy reasons.

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Hermes September 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

Chenje, I agree with Kaelik about your choice of words and texting shorthand; I don’t believe the story you have created about yourself. I was hoping that your reply to me would show that you actually did have a point and were not only jerking me around. If you want to cut the act and actually reply, feel free to do so.

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Hermes September 12, 2010 at 11:06 am

Thanks Luke. I’ll take that into account if Chenje posts again.

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Yair September 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

@Charles:

Yair: There is nothing you can do here that will instantly make some specific change at the other side of the galaxy.

Charles: Sure, there is. You can measure it.

That won’t affect it instantly. Think of this this way: if you could measure the fact that I measured (not even the result of my measurement!) instantly, we could transmit information instantly, i.e. at infinite speed, i.e. above the speed of light. This would be in violation of Special Relativity, which as you know holds just fine. And SR holds because no, you can’t measure it – you can only measure locally. You can’t even determine, by measuring something on your side of affairs, whether I did anything at “this” instant – the only causal effect I can make is at the speed of light.

What you can measure is instant correlations. You can measure something on your end and I measure it on mine, and then we compare notes (via normal communication, at the speed of light or below) – and lo and behold, we get correlated results. Now, the correlations can even be “quantum”, which is to say they violate some theorems if one assumes that there is a Real result that was only revealed by the measurement. And that’s weird. But they are still just correlations.

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Brian_G September 12, 2010 at 11:27 am

Luke,

What if we define objective moral values as “moral values that exist independently of the recognition of any person.” I don’t think we can completely separate personhood from morality. I don’t think one could develop a sensible moral philosophy applicable to a world made up of only rocks regarding rock behaviour. Perhaps my definition is not using the term “objective” in a philosophically proper sense. Then perhaps we just need a better term for what is meant.

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Bebok September 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

As a non-believer from a not-too-rich part of a rich continent I’d say that chenje has a bit of a point here. I live in two countries, Czech Republic and Poland, which are very similar in terms of wealth, political system, health care, education, unemployment, the gap between the rich and the poor and history in the last century. The difference is that while Czech Republic is one of the most atheist countries in the world, Poland is one of the most religious. Luke’s claim that “when people live in a society that already provides them with existential security (…) then people don’t need gods anymore” looks like an oversimplification to me, at best.

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Tawa September 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Cheers, everyone. FYI, I have posted a response to Luke’s response to my original blog essay on my own blog – http://tawapologetics.blogspot.com/ – feel free to check it out if you are interested. It should also appear as a response on Apologetics315 in the next day or so.

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Jeff H September 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm

@Brian_G: I think there are two different issues you’re pointing out. Morality can be determined independently of human beliefs even if morality at its heart concerns humans. So you’re right, there is no morality regarding rock behaviour. But there might be morality concerning human behaviour that is nevertheless independent of what people decide morality to be.

@Bebok: That’s an interesting set of data. Of course, when Luke is talking about atheism and existential security, he is of course talking about a correlation. There are certainly outliers – the US being one of the most notable ones, which is very wealthy and yet unusually religious. But despite that, there is a general correlation between the two that can be seen when examining a large number of countries.

@Hermes: Thanks for the idea about sunlight! I had recently heard about Sweden having high suicide rates and was a little bit stumped on why that might be. But it makes so much more sense now! That seems like a very plausible reason. To those interested, you can read all about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for details.

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Bebok September 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Jeff,

I don’t deny the fact that there is a correlation between atheism and existential security. But Luke claimed something different – that when people had the security, they didn’t need gods. And that’s a fair bit of a stretch to me.

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Charles September 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Yair: That won’t affect it instantly.

Actually, it does. That’s why it’s called “teleportation”. See Preskill for an in depth treatment.

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ildi September 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I found this interesting blog post from 2007: Suicide rates of the world and why people kill themselves

Can one can safely assume that countries with the lowest suicide rates have the greatest number of happy people? Not really.

Group 1 countries (highest suicide rates) do have the fewest number of happy people. Only 2 percent of Russians are happy, and no one from Belarus or Ukraine is happy. About 10 per cent of Lithunians are happy.

But countries from Group 2, which have a fairly high suicide rate, have a high percentage of happy people! Like Belgium (86 per cent), Finland (83), Switzerland (89), Austria (81), France (84) and Japan (72).

About countries in Group 3 (medium suicide rate), only China and India seem to fit. About half of the Chinese are happy and about 40 per cent of Indians. On the other hand an overwhelming number of people from countries such as Denmark (91 per cent), Sweden (91), Australia (90), Canada (75) and the United States (84) are happy, belying their suicide rate.

Are more people happy in countries in Group 4, with its low suicide rates? Well, there was no data from the Muslim countries, but the majority of those in the other countries seem happy. Not a high number really – 68 percent of those in Spain, 64 per cent of those in Italy, and 59 percent of those in Brazil and Argentina. Obviously, these people may not consider themselves happy, but not are certainly not depressed enough to feel like killing themselves. The U.K, which has a low suicide rate has a high number of happy people.

The post also mentions that suicide rates may be low or almost non-existent in Muslim countries because of under-reporting due to the religious ban on suicide.

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Hermes September 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Bebok & Jeff H, along those lines, a provocatively titled thread from some clown named Hermes^ on WWGHA;

High rates of atheism: low crime, higher pay, better health and education

It includes a few videos for an overview, plus specific resources and different databases that can be handy to review the issue on your own and decide on your own if the preliminary conclusion shouted from the title of the thread is justified and if it applies in other areas as well.

-
-
^. Oh, wait, that’s me!

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Kaelik September 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

@Bebok, I am absolutely certain there is more to it than just existential security.

But that wasn’t Chenje’s point. It was that being poor allows you to not think about material concerns as much and gives you more free time.

Something that is pretty clearly and in most cases, demonstratively false.

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Robert Gressis September 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Luke, could you elaborate on how the A theory of time has been falsified by contemporary physics?

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Bebok September 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Kaelik,

“the point that most atheists use that religion is merely a crutch 4 d poor is false.” – That’s the sentence I wanted to agree with, not the following one.

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Reginald Selkirk September 12, 2010 at 5:40 pm

First among Tawa’s arguments for God is an “existential argument from human religiosity.” Tawa notes that every ancient and medieval culture was highly religious, and that “there is indeed a hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God.”

Notice the sleight of hand from “almost every human culture has had religion” to “… God.” All those various human cultures had different religions. The philosophical God has to share that one with all the pantheons, all the animistic spirits, all the sadistic volcano gods, and any nontheistic religions (such as certain varieties of Buddhism) which have ever happened. So even if religiosity is near-universal, God (with a capital G) is certainly not.

Also note that disbelief happens in every human culture as well, unbelievers have existed in all cultures. Does that mean that atheism is somehow universal, and needs explanation on similar grounds?

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Reginald Selkirk September 12, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Zeb: So I suspect that it was because Ghandi more or less “ask[ed]what Yahweh wanted from his life”

You suspect the Gandhi, raised in a Hindu setting, turned to the tribal god of Israel? Dude, get over yourself. Your buffoonish statement underlies the lack of universality in theistic claims.

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Kaelik September 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm

@Bebok

I would disagree with that sentence too. Specifically, most atheists.

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Bebok September 12, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Kaelik,

Fair enough. “Some” would be better.

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Kaelik September 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm

@Tawa

1) Your background is terrible. I had to copy paste your post to even read it. Get a different background.

(3) Luke did not appreciate my ‘existential argument’ for God’s existence – if you followed the dialogue on Apologetics 315, you will note that several others did not either. However, most countered my argument without calling it “shameless, cult-like, … lies … [and] childish,” and suggesting that I (and Christianity) thrive on “insecurity … poverty and ignorance and fear and instability and risk.” I wonder whether Luke would insist that everyone who embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is “insecure” or “superstitious” or otherwise somehow deficient (morally? intellectually?).

I too wonder if people would insist things that having nothing to do with what they say. Would you insist that 2+2=5?

Don’t be a dishonest shit and try to imply that Luke has said things he hasn’t. I can see I’m going to have to use that phrase a lot.

(4) Luke asserts (without justification or supporting evidence) that “The poorest nations in the world are the most religious.” He concludes that when people have “stability and safety and education and health care and job security,” they no longer “need gods.” I’m sure that comes as quite a shock to the tens of millions of Americans (and the millions of Canadians) who have both “stability and safety and education and health care and job security” and a vibrant Christian faith. Indeed, it comes as quite a shock to me! Let me also briefly note the rising prosperity of China, which is contemporaneous with the massive growth of the indigenous Chinese church.

Don’t bitch about not showing supporting evidence for something that is well established by various studies you can find easily enough. It’s especially ironic coming from you, seeing as you have no supporting evidence for… anything you say at all.

(5) Luke sets two arguments up as equally false. On the one side is his “yearning to be the next Matthew Bellamy.” On the other side is what I posited as the (nearly-)universal human yearning for eternal life. [I also posited the universal human yearning to know and to touch the divine reality.] He concludes: “Wishful thinking does not indicate truth.” That certainly applies to the first side of the equation (as well as my own childhood yearning to be Wayne Gretzky), but he does absolutely nothing to show how it applies to the second … because it doesn’t. The universal human desire to know and to touch the divine is not wishful thinking; it is real. Yes, we can deny it is there, we can seek to suppress and quench it. But it rises up unbidden. It is a natural desire – it comes even if nobody teaches it to us. Desiring to be like Matthew Bellamy, on the other hand … well, that’s not natural. Nor is it even remotely universal. The desire for God and the desire for eternal life are much more like the desire for sex and the desire for food than they are like the desire to be like somebody else – that was the heart of my argument. Taking these first points together, the experiential argument for God’s existence remains intact.

You want eternal life, and you want food, but wanting things has nothing to do with getting them. Conception =!= reality. You don’t get eternal life, and starving children in Africa don’t get enough food.

And I don’t get laid nearly enough.

“The universal human desire to know and to touch the divine is not wishful thinking; it is real. Yes, we can deny it is there, we can seek to suppress and quench it. But it rises up unbidden.”

Don’t be a dishonest shit. “The universal knowledge that God does not exist is real. Yes we can deny it is there, we can seek to suppress and quench it. But it rises up unbidden.”

Anyone can make a stupid claim that their opponent really agrees with them and is just willfully lying. It’s a stupid claim because it’s not true. Don’t try to insinuate that X is true of all people when people can flatly tell you it’s not true of them. I’m going to have to say this again aren’t I?

(6) Luke does not spend much time on the Kalam Cosmological argument – for those who desire to read someone who does, I recommend William Lane Craig’s work on the subject. But four brief comments are in order:
[a] Luke very misleadingly suggests that the A-theory of time is false, and that its falsity is old news. That assertion is just plain wrong: there is by no means a consensus (from any group, physicists, philosophers or otherwise) that the B-theory of time is true and the A-theory false. I’m not sure whether he is simply unaware of that, but I am honestly not sure how he could have arrived at the conclusion that the A-theory of time has been ‘disproven’ or the B-theory of time ‘proven’ or ‘established’.
[b] Even if the A-theory of time was mistaken (which it is not, in my humble opinion – rather, it is by far superior explanatorily and conceptually; at any rate, Luke has done nothing to convince anyone it is mistaken), Luke has not indicated how that would pose a problem for my argument.
[c] In a severe understatement, Luke admits that “it’s hard to see how the universe could be self-caused or a necessary being.” But then he adds that positing God as the creator is somehow a “far worse problem,” again without showing how this is the case. Naked assertions are pretty easy to make; substantiating them is much harder – but Luke has done only the former, not the latter.
[d] Luke accuses the KCA of employing “intuitions and language in a slippery and sneaky way,” but yet again does not demonstrate how. I fail to see the power of his argument – the rhetorical name-calling is quite effective when preaching to the choir, but Luke has certainly not given me any reason to take this part of his response seriously.

Perhaps familiarize yourself with the background? I mean, there’s a little button on the side where you can click and see all the posts having to do with Kalam.

(7) I’m not sure why Luke wants to be shown “evidence that life has intrinsic value;” I take this to be self-evident to reflective human beings.

So in other words, you are assuming that the questionable premises of your argument are obviously true, and declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is not reflective, and should be ignored.

“I’m not sure why Tawa wants evidence that God does not exist. I take this to be self-evident to reflective human beings.”

Neither have I ever seen any evidence that ‘love’ exists, but I don’t doubt that one bit either. It’s a sad world that never embraces the insights of human intuition and feeling.

Luckily, we do have evidence that love exists. Oops, you got bored with faking an intelligent argument and slipped right into stereotypes by accident.

and Stephen Hawking admit that.

Not keeping up with current events I see.

Yes, it is true (as I said) that “deep down everyone knows that morality is objective;” but that’s not where the argument ends. The deep intuition that we all have that morality is objective constantly wells up in our actions and words.

The deep intuition that there is no God constantly wells up in our actions and words.

Do you ever get tired of just asserting that the premises people disagree with are “just really really true, stop contradicting me!”?

Luke, along with everyone else, theist or not, acknowledges in his words and actions that he too believes in objective morality – indeed, he believes that “cooperation” and “well-being” are objectively better than “conflict” and “suffering”.

Luke does, because he believes there is an objective morality based on some totally unrelated shit, that by the way, if it is true, at no point is evidence for god whatsoever. But those other people who don’t believe that, and don’t acknowledge it in word or action? What about them? Oh right, you are just going to define that your opponents secretly agree with you and are lying to themselves:

I agree whole-heartedly, and would insist that those who disagree have consciously or unconsciously repressed the moral sensitivities that God created us with.

Oh, so it’s either conscious or unconscious, so no matter what, I’m wrong, because you insist that I’m wrong. Stop being a dishonest shit.

Of course there is a qualitative difference between the giant alien and the Christian God. God is not just ‘out there’ or ‘in the sky’ – rather, he is our benevolent Creator. He made us; the alien didn’t.

Unless of course it turns out you are wrong about the universe, and a Giant Alien did create us. In which case… oh, your argument would be stupid.

But it’s okay, your argument is so strong that if you start with the premise that God created you, you can prove that God created you.

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Hermes September 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Tawa, I second the comment on your blog being readable. It’s like wheat flour on talcum powder. If you want to have low contrast as a theme, that’s fine, but don’t do low contrast in the body of the text.

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Hermes September 12, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Tawa, if you want to do some research on the tendency of religion to be linked to wealth and other factors, take a look at the following link;

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=2076.0

It’s mine, and I don’t apologize for the title. It’s intended to get people to engage with the ideas and with the facts available. Those facts are open to investigation and are constantly updated as new details are gathered.

On a neutral note, that link provides databases that you can use to check the facts yourself. My only request is that you look at general societal health and not specific narrow issues.

To be clear: No society is perfect, but if you take all factors into consideration the characteristics of societies that are healthy tend to include specific factors, one of those is lower levels of religiosity. Does that mean that less religion is the proven reason for an increase in societal health? No. Analysis of social impacts are not as clean cut as a math problem.

Yet, we do have data and the tendency is clear. It would be irresponsible to ignore the facts based on a private intuition. If you are honest, if only to yourself, you should acknowledge this;

There are no indications that religion is a net positive on societies that have high levels of it and it seems to be a net negative.

I would hope that you ask yourself if the non-anecdotal evidence that covers billions of people show that religion is a net positive for societies that adopt it.

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Justfinethanks September 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm

You want eternal life, and you want food, but wanting things has nothing to do with getting them. Conception =!= reality.

This really can’t be emphasized enough. It’s like Tawa thinks we want something enough, we can make it true. It goes to show there isn’t really too big a difference between Christianity and The Secret.

And furthermore, this “existential argument” could be made for atheism. Let’s grant for the sake of argument that for every natural human yearning, there exists something to fulfill it. Well, clearly to be free and unruled is a very natural human desire. Everyone wants to lead their own life, without anyone telling them how to lead it. This is clearly evidenced by countless rebellions by enslaved and oppressed peoples throughout history. Whenever someone is ruled over, they almost always struggle for freedom when they have the ability.

And so that natural desire to be free must therefore be matched to an unruled universe. One in which there is no ultimate being who has command over humans and has the power to tell them what to do with their lives. And hence, there is no orthodoxly conceived monotheistic God.

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lukeprog September 12, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Robert,

Sure. I’m drafting a whole series on it now.

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Yair September 13, 2010 at 4:59 am

@Charles:

No, it’s called teleportation because physicists watched too much Star Treck and want to get budgets.

I’ve already took my courses in QM, thank you – although this does look like a good free textbook, so again thank you.

The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t push a button here and have the electron instantly go right on the other side of the galaxy. That’s what “affect” means, and you can’t do it. You can rely on the existence of certain correlations to transfer a state of matter at the speed of light; hurray, but that’s not affecting anything instantly.

But I give. If you want to insist on using the highly-misleading term “affect” to describe what non-local collapse is all about, go right ahead. I’m done barking at this tree.

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chenje September 13, 2010 at 6:13 am

Africans CAN use decent english.I am a zimbabwean studying in S Africa.I would like to challege you guys to a statistical exercise try correlating suicede rates and climatic conditions then correlate suicide rates and prevelance of atheism. if u compare coeffients the result is interesting I will say in advance.

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Hermes September 13, 2010 at 6:46 am

chenje, let’s say your guess based on one data point is right; lower religiosity leads to higher suicide rates. I’ll totally concede that point for the purpose of this conversation.

Now, what about the murder rates? The abortion rates? The disease rates? The crime rates — both violent and non-violent? How happy are most people in different societies?

I’ve given you plenty of references you can use to do your own investigation and see for yourself.

Luke has even provided references in this thread and in his “Four Bad Arguments for God (round 2) thread; http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=11526

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James Onen September 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

Africans CAN use decent english.

Yes, I think we can.. I’m a Ugandan living in Uganda – and happily atheist.

Yippeeee!!!

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James Onen September 13, 2010 at 10:36 am
Zeb September 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

Kaelik, are you saying we should think of Gandhi as an atheist then, or what?

Here are two rather long quotes from http://www.gandhi-manibhavan.org in which Gandhi explains his views of God and atheism. My interpretation is that Gandhi was using contradictory and confounding statements, either to escape the inadequacy of language in describing spiritual things, or to confuse the analytic mind, or both.

4. God is that indefinable something which we all feel but which we do not know. To me God is Truth and Love, God is ethics and morality. God is fearlessness, God is the source of light and life and yet. He is above and beyond all these. God is conscience. He is even the atheism of the atheist. He transcends speech and reason. He is a personal God to those who need His touch. He is purest essence. He simply Is to those who have faith. He is long suffering. He is patient but He is also terrible. He is the greatest democrat the world knows. He is the greatest tyrant ever known. We are not, He alone Is—YI,5-3-25, 81.

5. You have asked me why I consider that God is Truth. In my early youth I was taught to repeat what in Hindu scriptures are known as one thousand names of God. But these one thousand names of God were by no means exhaustive. We believe-and I think it is the truth-that God has as many names as there are creatures and, therefore, we also say that God is nameless and since God many forms we also consider Him formless, and since He speaks to us through many tongues we consider Him to be speechless and so on. And when I came to study Islam I found that Islam too had many for God. I would say with those who say that God is Love, God is Love. But deep down in me I used to say that thought God may be, God, God is Truth, above all. If it is possible for the human tongue to give the fullest description, I have come to the conclusion that for myself God is Truth. But two years ago, I went a step further and said Truth is God. You will see the fine distinction between the two statements, viz. That God is Truth and Truth is God. And I came to that conclusion after a continuous and relentless search after Truth which began nearly fifty years ago. I then found that the nearest approach to Truth was love. But I also found that love has many meanings in the English language at lest and that human love in the sense of passion could become a degrading also. I found, too, that love in the sense of never found a double meaning in connection with truth and not even the atheists had demurred to the necessity or power of truth. But in their passion for discovering truth the atheists have not hesitated to deny the very existence of God-from their own point of view rightly. And it was because of this reasoning that I saw that rather than say God is Truth I should say Truth is God. I recall the name of Charles Brad laugh who delighted to call himself an atheist, but knowing as I do something of, I would never regard him as an atheist. I would call him a God-fearing man though I know he would reject the claim. His face would redden if I would say, “Mr. Brad laugh, you are a truth-fearing man and not a God-fearing man.” I would automatically disarms his criticism by saying that Truth is God, as I have disarmed the criticism of many a young man. Add to this the difficulty that millions have taken the name of God and in His name committed nameless atrocities. Not that scientists very often do not commit cruelties in the name of truth. I know how in the name of truth and science inhuman cruelties are perpetrated on animals when men perform vivisection. There are thus a number of difficulties in the way, no matter how you describe God. But the human mind is a limited thing and you have to labour under limitations when you think of a being or entity who is beyond the power of man to grasp. And than we have another thing in Hindu philosophy, viz. God alone is and nothing else exists, and the same truth you find emphasized and exemplified in the kalema of Islam. There you find it clearly stated-that God alone is and nothing else exists. In fact the Sanskrit word for Truth is a word which literally means that which exists-Sat. For these and several other reasons that I can give you I have come to the conclusion that the definition-Truth is God-gives me the greatest satisfaction. And when you want to find Truth as God the only inevitable means is Love, i.e. non-violence, and since I believe that ultimately means and end are convertible terms, I should not hesitate to say that God is Love. at then is Truth?’ A difficult question, but I have solved it for myself by saying that it is what the voice within tells you. How, then, you ask, different people think of different and contrary truths? Well, seeing that the human mind works through innumerable media and that the evolution of the human mind is not the same for all, it follows that what may be truth for one may be untruth for another, and hence those who have made experiment have come to the conclusion that there are certain conditions to be observed in making those experiments. Just as for conduction scientific experiments there is an indispensable scientific course of instruction, in the same way strict preliminary discipline is necessary to qualify a person to make experiments in the spiritual realm. Everyone should, therefore, realize his limitations before he speaks of his inner voice. Therefore, we have the belief based upon experience, that those who would make individual search after truth as God, must go through several vows, as for instance, the vow of truth, the vow of brahmacharya (purity)-for you can not possibly divide your love for Truth and God with anything else-the vow of non-violence, of poverty and non-possession Unless you impose on yourselves the five vows, may not embark on the experiment at all. There are several other conditions prescribed, but I must not take you through all of them Suffice it to say that who have made these experiments know that it is not proper for everyone to claim to hear the voice of conscience and it is because we have at the present moment everyone claiming the right of conscience without going through any discipline whatsoever that there is so much untruth being delivered to a bewildered world. All that I can in true humility present to you is that truth is not to be found by anybody who has not got an abundant sense of humility. If you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth you must reduce yourselves to a zero. Further then this I cannot go along this fascinating path. –YI, 3I-I-I2-3I, 427.

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Zeb September 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Reginald

You suspect the Gandhi, raised in a Hindu setting, turned to the tribal god of Israel? Dude, get over yourself. Your buffoonish statement underlies the lack of universality in theistic claims.

First, in the post Luke was not making a point about Yahweh as the tribal god of Isralel, but Yahweh as a deity that would give meaning and purpose to one’s life. That’s why I said “more or less,” because it is apparent to me that Ghandi did seek to find meaning and purpose in a deity. And so Luke was wrong to use Gandhi as a counter example. Doubly wrong, I think, because Gandhi has come to be used as a mere token of awesome goodness in debates a way similar to how Hitler has come to be used as a token of awesome badness. Unless you really get into specifics about something Gandhi did and the effects that action had, “Gandhi” seems to me to be nothing more than a power word, and a power word used inappropriately here. Granted I’m assuming that Luke was not concerned that Gandhi would have dedicated himself to the Jewish people rather than the Indian people, but that he would have spent his time following religious dictates rather than his own purposes. And I’m saying it looks to me like Gandhi specifically did try to forsake his own purposes and follow what he thought to be the purposes of God.

And yet, I go further to say that not only did Ghandi more or less ask Yahweh what He wanted from his life, but that I think Gandhi himself would have agreed and said that indeed he did more or less ask Yahweh what He wanted from his life. I’m not saying Gandhi converted to Judaism or Christianity, but that as a universalism he believed that the same being the Hebrews called Yahweh is the being he called Truth, or Sat. Here are more quote defending that understanding of Ghandi’s thoughts.

I believe that all the great religions of the world are true more or less. I say ‘more or less’ because I believe that everything that the human hand touches, but reason of the very fact that human beings are imperfect, becomes imperfect.

I do not believe in the exclusive divinity of the Vedas. I believe the Bible, the Koran and Zend-Avesta to be as much divinely inspired as the Vedas.

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al friedlander September 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

“It goes to show there isn’t really too big a difference between Christianity and The Secret.”

Oh goodness, are you referring to that terrible book that was a nation best seller?

It seriously had so many people convinced, including my mother. It was one of the first experiences in life that taught me to be auto-skeptical of everything. I started assuming the null hypothesis ever since.

It’s especially sad because it’s mostly effective when people badly want things they don’t have. The greater the promise, the greater the sell.

‘Instant weight lose!’
‘Gain fabulous abs in two weeks!’
‘The ultimate cure for ‘whatever’!’
‘The secret that doctors don’t want you to know!’

It’s for this reason that I’m not too fond of clinical psychologists

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Cody September 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Divine Default Theory

The “God of the Gaps” is essentially a default term for information we do not have. How often in our history has the close examination of the Gaps proven an explanation that does not involve God? How often have the explanations that filled the gaps improved human life exponentially over living with the previous god explanation?
Through science and reason we have evolved ourselves from a primitive superstitious ape like creature into an enlightened human race. Not only has science improved our lives it has given us a reason to exist without the need of a sky father. Science has humbled us before the universe and given us the tools to better our existence. If only we use our tools wisely and learn from our mistakes we can continue to improve life on our planet and perhaps branch out of this world into the universe.

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Charles September 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Yair,

My earlier comments were based on a time when I held the standard view. I guess I forgot to update.

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Kaelik September 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Zeb, I would not characterize Gandhi as an atheist.

I think rather, that to as shortly summarize Gandhi’s beliefs as possible, he was somewhat of a Pantheist, who generally believed that everything that exists is a facet of God, and that God is made up of everything that exists, and nothing else (and one thing that doesn’t exist, according to most Pantheists, and also I would argue, Gandhi, is a separate “God’s Purpose” that is different from the purposes we all come up with).

I also think Gandhi was deliberately obfuscatory about religion and God specifically to allow both the Christian Brits, and the Hindu Indians (and everyone else too) to be able to think he was more on their side than he was.

Likewise, I think he mostly spoke in divine language when it made his statements less clear, because doing so made them more forceful, and it was a practical concern.

Bottom line, I don’t see Gandhi obtaining his purpose from God. He pretty clearly came up with that purpose on his own, he just happened to think that because it was his purpose, it was therefore, by default, also God’s purpose, since he was just an aspect of God.

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Bebok September 14, 2010 at 1:08 am

Something touching Scandinavian sunlight problem (if Finland counts as Scandinavia): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATXV3DzKv68

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wissam October 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

//A second problem is that the argument seems to presuppose that life (or intelligent life, or consciousness, or whatever) has intrinsic value – that a universe with organic chemistry is intrinsically more valuable than a universe with clouds of singing gas or a universe with one hydrogen atom. But I’ve never been shown a shred of evidence that life has intrinsic value in that way. I’m only told that it has intrinsic value because it feels to us like life has intrinsic value. Well, duh! We are living beings! Of course we think we are valuable. But I’m still waiting for some evidence on this one. Yes, Christianity is a more comforting worldview for those who trust their feelings more than evidence, but, well, we already knew that. If that’s the argument, Christians should stop pretending they are responding to the evidence instead of their feelings.//

I’m not sure whether the “life chauvinism” objection works with all versions of the fine-tuning argument.

Craig says, “It seems to me that the question of why we should single out (intelligent) life as an instance of fine-tuning may be less important for some versions of the teleological argument than for others. Take, for example, a version of the argument such as Robin Collins presents in our Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology formulated along Bayesian lines in terms of the probability calculus. Letting “FT” represent the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, “T” represent theism, and “ASU” represent the atheistic single universe hypothesis (i.e., there is a single universe and no God), Collins argues that the fine-tuning is significantly more probable on theism that it is on atheism: Pr (FT/T) >> Pr (FT/ASU). Therefore, the observed fine-tuning confirms the hypothesis of theism.

On this version of the argument, it doesn’t seem that your question is especially pressing. We can calculate the probabilities of other observations as well to see if they similarly confirm theism. Take rainbow planets with fiery rings (X3). Is Pr (X3/T) >> Pr (X3/ASU)? It doesn’t seem like it. There’s no reason to think that Pr (X3/T) is very high or that Pr (X3/ASU) is very low—unless you’re thinking it to be naturally impossible, in which case such a miraculous phenomenon would be evidence of theism. —similarly, for X2, singing gas, whatever you mean by that! So it seems to me that on a Bayesian approach, one can plug in any sort of observation we have and ask if it’s more probable on theism than on atheism, and if it is, then it confirms theism. Computing the comparative probabilities of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life would be a natural thing to do, given that we are intelligent, living beings”.

He continues though, “Your question seems more pressing for an argument for intelligent design formulated along statistical lines such as William Dembski presents. According to this theory for detecting design, one looks for the conjunction of high improbability with an independently given pattern”.

How would you respond to that? Luke, I would like to have a one-on-one discussion sometime (I know ur busy though).

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The real mccoy November 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

ive only skimed over your post because of my lack of attention span and because im kinda tired, but i can still see that there are couple holes in you arguments. for one, everything seems quite biast, if you want to convey a good argument you should try and understand more of the otherside of the argument. the general ideas are alright, not very compelling but they do make you think. Alot of it was somewhat confuzing, it felt like i would need a doctorate in that field to understand what your trying to say. i often thought your motive for making it so confuzing was to make others feel that much more inferior so they would subject themselves to your supirior thinking prossess. i would have loved to read the whole thing and give a more indetail comment, but its late and ive got school tomorow. ive still got some homework to finish, wish me luck

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wissam November 10, 2010 at 4:42 am

@the real mccoy

I’m a strong atheist. Anyway, the argument I posed is not mine. It was made by Dr.Craig, a theistic philosopher. Anyway, you have to specify the holes in his argument.

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Josephpalazzo November 25, 2010 at 8:20 am

I would be carefult with the concept of non-locality. It does not mean that “A particle can affect another particle on the other side of the galaxy instantaneously, with nothing traveling between them.” There is no spooky action at a distance. There is no need of hidden parameters. And no signal is sent faster than the speed of light. It simply means that if two particles are prepared in a given quantum state, unless there is an interaction, they will continue to stay in that quantum state.

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Troy January 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

wissam: I was wondering the same thing about Luke’s second objection. I’ve always understood the fine-tuning argument the way you expressed it.

Here’s something I’ve always wondered about the fine-tuning argument. What if there were an infinite sequence of universes, expanding and contracting–so our Big Bang came after the collapse of the universe before it, and so on–and each universe has different physical laws? Then eventually a life-supporting universe would come along. I suppose this is similar to the multiverse hypothesis, but I haven’t heard it discussed, even though it seems like it’s consistent with our physical theories (correct me if I’m wrong about this).

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wissam January 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm

@Troy,

First of all, the oscillating-universes-theory you’re describing has been discussed and rejected by philosopher William Lane Craig based on the absurdity of actual infinities.

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Troy January 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Wissam,

So, then, rejecting that response to the fine-tuning argument relies on the success of the cosmological argument, or at least, that part of the cosmological argument? That may well be; I’m less familiar with the cosmological argument, so I haven’t encountered the discussion you allude to. The arguments, of course, are usually treated as separate, but if this is right, that may be a mistake. This would raise the question as to what the fine-tuning argument would add, if the cosmological argument worked. Perhaps it would tell us more about the character of the creator? I’m not sure.

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Xaikiri February 6, 2011 at 8:14 am

I can’t stand this Atheist fags running around and saying God doesn’t exist. There is no world peace, because atheist, and many God haters are out there. And world peace isn’t part in the will of God. The second incorrect assumption is that God alone has created you. You are the product of choices made by your parents. Therefore, God has not predestined you to be born at all. How can you blame Him for creating you to send you to hell? LOLWUT? he third incorrect assumption is that a person destined for hell has no purpose in this life. This is also false. All people living have a purpose. Some people destined for hell will save other’s lives, either intentionally or unintentionally. Others destined for hell will be helped, encouraged, and witnessed to by others who are destined for heaven. Those who follow God’s plan are provided opportunities to help others in their spiritual path. If all people were on the same spiritual path, there would be nobody for God’s people to help. God says that all are without excuse, so He provides witnesses of his plan to give them a chance to change their minds.

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Raymond Ross July 21, 2011 at 3:49 am

Hi everyone,

I am a Christian and have been since an early age. I do not consider myself as being brainwashed as many atheists claim (which I do agree on). I have seen what appears to be a very significant change in the “religous” landscape since the late 70′s and knowing what I do know about world history I think the change makes total sense. I know many atheists and I’m really tired of religious people playing the morality card without at least knowing the person and considering their stance because everyone is different and claiming a persons “level” of morality is really no different than quantifying their intelligence.

Consider a case of a family murder, where a child is ordered to live with their mother and dies from a literal 10 day torture, beating, and mutilation. People who believe in Christianity are literally convinced that the murderer will get his/her just rewards when they meet their maker. They do this especially if someone is acquitted or if they feel lethal injection too easy of a way out… People who believe otherwise do not have that “backup” punishment expectation and I would think that they would go beyond in the effort to insure “payback”… is this even common? It’s really the only question I would have on atheist’s morality, especially if they are a former theist, acts and feels in this regard. Thank you for time!

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Hi + Lo July 29, 2011 at 4:22 am

Poop Scoop

I see a spec as the Atheist fly,
Only poop they value high.
They look down upon life and take aim,
and curse to stink our nation to shame.

Listen and you will hear this Hawk’s cry,
Me, Myself and I fly high in the sky.
All others below are like stink in dung,
no matter how old or how young.

Life to them is a big mistake,
as they look through their eyes of hate.
Their love is thundering poop crap,
while they sit back and laugh.

Many would not put up with this Kook,
yet a few always fall with poop.
Atheist worms slimes I am great,
and loves a Hawk with tummyache.

We can’t stop Hawks from stooping,
as they curse America with pooping.
Can’t stop these birds flying overhead,
but will never let this mess nest in my head.

Life is Past-ther-eyes,
Where Poop flies can’t fly.
Where worms can’t crawl,
Yes Atheist sure don’t know it ALL.

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Nate August 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I just wanted to say that your story is a lot like mine, man. Your well-reasoned arguments are refreshing.

Your words give me a lot of hope, that I can transcend this illogical belief system that was programmed into me over the course of 18 years of religious education. You overcome her shallow arguments well. It’s a gift, you have. Thanks for sharing it.

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Raymond August 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Many atheists miss the point that God transcends natural reality. He is not confined to E=MC2 like and any attempt to gain absolute understanding him will be futile– you just can’t, plain and simple, judge God for what He has done because you do not know the entire story.

Atheists love to point at the Laws of Moses (600+) to show how absurdly cruel God was in an effort to “help us see the light.” They scoff when we tell them that Jesus ushered in a new age– the “Church Age”. This is also the “generation” gap that some Christians use as a means to explain Jesus’ delay in His second coming. They fail to understand that God has ruled mankind with “dispensations” that shaped the form of the days ahead into epochs if you will. They scoff at our claims that mankind was brutal in the Old Testament and God dealt with that brutality as a result. They say God is murderous for killing so many and laugh when we tell them he sent the Flood to wipe out mankind and had he not saved Noah you and I would be dust. The Atheist tends to treat the people of that day with the same approach to today’s society and balk at the notion that Jesus birth, death, and resurrection was a pivot point for mankind to achieve salvation through faith and not by works alone. Atheists scoff at this, yet have problem seeing how quickly our society changed with regard to homosexuality. In the 80′s there were A LOT of gay AIDS jokes, scorn, and ridicule. But today, you can go to jail or be fined if you treat a homosexual in a manner that violates their sexual orientation rights… if we can flip that quick (10-15 years) the Atheist should at least allow society in the Bible to undergo change and not hold Christianity the “crazy laws and crazy punishments that Israel was ordered to live by in those days).

The Bible is under attack. Evidence-hyper Atheists do not believe the Bible to be the Word of God and the Gospel itself is trashed on the fact that there were no eye witnesses. This flies in the face the way Atheists criticize us because they don’t have problems with other histories that are worse in terms of lacking eye witness accounts. As it stands, a Historian still considers 2nd and 3rd hand accounts as being reliable. So, naturally, antichrists and atheists in general claim that the Gospel was written hundreds of years after Christ’s “supposed” death and resurrection. No they were not: they are believed to have been written before 70AD because that year Rome stormed Jerusalem and scattered the Jewish who were in fear of Roman punishment. Yet nowhere in the Gospel is the siege of Jerusalem mentioned. What do atheists think, then? In the year 150 AD someone says, “Rabbi, thank you for showing me this good news about Jesus Christ! I am changed! But please, oh please let me know why you and the other Jewish no longer reside in the land God gave you?” Rabbi: “Oh… oh that, yeah– um, we sorta decided that we needed to spread the word and had leave– others kinda got tired about the temple stuff too…” NOT! Josephus (Roman Historian) mentions the siege as do others and in the vain so should the Gospel, but it does not because it was written within a generation of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Christianity formed the turning point of mankind. God subjected himself, through His Son Jesus, to come down and rescue mankind from what would have likely turned into the self-inflicted extinction of the human race. The Bible is the only religious document that tells a well-rounded version of human history and includes a concept that no other has made: time. The Bible tells us that God existed before time itself.

I am a Christian and it is because I believe that God does have a plan, He loves us, and he wants us to come to him and those who do not come will be separated from those who know the Truth.

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Alley August 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

Hey, hate to be a pain in the backside…..but it won’t let me share it on Stumble Upon.

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Phil R January 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm

whenever i see debates about God’s existence and evidence for and against, I often ask myself, “could i ever develop a computer program that could prove my existence to other programs, using only functions, constructs and parameters of the computational world”? maybe the debate is the definition of meaningless? either i CHOOSE to believe or i don’t. the Atheist choice is also a step of faith, as this is taking a stance without 100% evidence – still much unseen, much unheard and unrevealed

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Thatguy January 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm

The argument is false. I could say that perhaps religion is the reason Gandhi succeeded at all. Maybe instead of bringing everyone down to the level of sheep and slaves religion is bringing some people up from the level they already exist at. Maybe religion is bringing everyone up. I personally cannot see any upside to Atheism. Does it enhance the quality of life to deny God? From the perspective of happiness how does Atheism help? You certainly don’t see people singing with joy about not believing in God.

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