The something to do with religion thread


#1

Copied from discussion on the thread for Rise of a Leader:

’ “Now this is an unfair statement, for the precise reason’s I have stated.”

I disagree. If you reject the terms as having any attributes, such as those given by myself, then you seem to be stating that the words have no meaning; I cannot accept that. Even if you think the terms are broad and vague, they still have properties. If I was to call someone a hippie, it wouldn’t be clear exactly what I was saying, true, but one can safely surmise it is not someone who is in favour of industrial development, temperance, social etiquette, or bathing.

“Thus we return to the cult; I must reiterate that all cults are simply small religions”

Properly speaking, I wouldn’t call it a cult, either, - although that term has been watered down, in the past few centuries. At present, we would call any ceremonially devoted movement a cult; I maintain that cults actually must pertain to the divine. Which the aspects surrounding the Nazi party did not really do.

“ancient Egyptian religion in which the pharaoh was indeed the child of a god”

Making it a religion proper, - or a large cult proper, - since nobody said the divine couldn’t be instantiated materially, so long as it isn’t grounded thus.

“we will see that Kim Jong-Un is subject to the radicalization and fanaticism that pursues the leader of a cult”

Whereas here we have a pseudo-religion, or a pseudo-cult, because the divine is lacking, with the form having been appropriated.

“no religions hold any empirical or logical evidence for their deity(ies)”

Obviously there is no empirical argument for their most foundational claims. But no LOGICAL evidence? None? Dear sir, there is plenty.

I think this is my favourite: http://www.ewtn.com/library/theology/godasfir.htm

@adjppm1227 Knock yourself out, kiddeh.


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#2

@P0Rt3R In evolution all life spawns from a single protein cell that replicates, and then evolves. We would be related in the loosest possible definition of the word either way.


#3

I believe there just might be a moral to this story… But hell if I know what it is.


#4

Words have no meaning. You can attach a meaning to a word, or a word to a meaning, but nothing more. The word “dog” doesn’t have anything to do with the real animal. It doesn’t look like it, it doesn’t sound like it, it doesn’t act like it. In fact, other people doesn’t use it to refer to the animal, and call it “perro” or “犬”. And, when you look at a dog, it doesn’t have anything that would make you call it “dog”. Alternatively, you can also take “dog” and change its meaning to use it as an insult against another human being.

Then, is trying to explain the existence of an abstract deity through the use of words with meanings attached to them that are made of other words, logic and rhetoric really acceptable?


#5

@Aquila “Words have no meaning”

A friend of mine said exactly that, once. We still bring it up and laugh at him about it.

What you mean to say is sounds or symbols have no meaning in and of themselves, and are not essentially connected to particular objects, which is true. However, when said sounds or symbols are associated mentally with a concept/notion/Idea/etc. (which, in turn, refer to objects), we term the union a ‘word’, - and they most certainly have meaning. Which is why you and I can understand what I’m writing, right now. That the union of sound/symbol and concept(etc.) is mind dependent, and that the association is an accident of the sound/symbol, - and, indeed, of what the concept refers to, - is irrelevant.

"Then, is trying to explain the existence of an abstract deity through the use of words with meanings attached to them that are made of other words, logic and rhetoric really acceptable? "

God is not abstract, He’s transcendental, for a start. But yes, when you consider that words are really just communications of concepts(etc.), and that concepts(etc.) are simply activities of the mind, which may pertain to the external world, then what you are asking me is: “Is it legitimate to use thought to figure out what exists?” - To which my answer is: Yeah.


#6

I have neither the time nor inclination to read through all of that in its entirety, looking for the fallacy within. However, with zero uncertainty, within a fallacy there shall be.


#7

@andymwhy What, my post, or Blessed John Duns Scotus’ argument? And you know there is a fallacy, how?


#8

John Duns Scotus’ argument.

I know because from past experience, there always is. It will either be an assumption or a circular argument (the bible is true because it says so in the bible).

Clearly, my statement that I ‘know’ is false, without having read it how could I say that? It was lazy writing on my part and what I should have said is that, due to all the evidence to contrary, and the lack of evidence for, in all likelihood there will be an error within. However I still have neither the time nor inclination to read through it.


#9

@andymwhy “I know because from past experience, there always is.”

Given that the topic is fallacies, that comment amused me.

But yes, I have no problem with scepticism about claims of proof, even when I am disinclined to read them. I am, for example, sceptical that Hegel ever wrote anything that wasn’t gross, mindless imbecility, - and I find reading him presents me with a strong impulse to gouge out my eyes and cleanse my mind with grappa. To claim that every argument he made was erroneous, however, would be bigotry on my part. I dislike bigotry.


#10

@Drazen, I don’t believe you’d read the entirety of my post, ironic as that is.

The problem with the notion of god is that whatever argument is put forward for his existence, the same argument could be applied to the existence of fairies, unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters. The argument is not accurate.

In this case, the argument, as beautifully written as it is, is too long to warrant my reading through it. As it was written 700 years ago (+?) I’m sure many scholars better equipped than me have read through it and disproved it just the same. If not, then it would surely be better known and quoted by all god believers.

Of course, if there was some empirical evidence then that would be a different story. However, there is none. Only evidence to the contrary.


#11

@andymwhy I can assure you, I read it. My response was more of a general point, than a criticism of yourself.

“whatever argument is put forward for his existence, the same argument could be applied to the existence of fairies, unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters. The argument is not accurate.”

I’m afraid that’s completely untrue.

If I were to present an argument for an intellective foundation of the Universe, this could in no way entail such spatiotemporally restricted, personally limited entities as fairies, unicorns, or that spaghetti nonsense. They simply wouldn’t fit the bill.

There are numerous more arguments like Scotus’, given by some very clever men, which bluntly exclude the possibility for the foundation of the universe being Italian cuisine.

I think you’re referring to the sort of arguments given by people who I’ve heard described by an Anglican chaplain as “Insane evangelical low-protestants”, who argue for an efficient cause for the universe! That they think in such mechanic terms reveals their crudity, so don’t expect solid philosophical theology from them.

“I’m sure many scholars better equipped than me have read through it and disproved it just the same”

People tried disproving Scotus. They found out that too hard, so they just ignored him instead, and destroyed his fucking library. But still, many scholars read him and agreed with him, however, so the door swings both ways.

“If not, then it would surely be better known and quoted by all god believers.”

It certainly ought to be. But a) most people couldn’t understand Scotus if he was shown to them, and b) opposing atheists would simply dismiss him off-hand rather than address him. E.g., Dawkins dismissing the Ontological Argument on the grounds of “It’s just sophistry” - No counter-argument, just a sneer.

“Of course, if there was some empirical evidence then that would be a different story.”

Impossible, we’re talking about something transcendental. As any edgy teenage solipsist could tell you, we can’t even prove YOU exist empirically, - your soul is transcendental also, y’see, but I still don’t think you’re a mere phantasm of my imagination.

“Only evidence to the contrary.”

Such as?


#12

@andymwhy
R’amen!


#13

@Aquilla, going with the good ol’ primal way of reason, huh? :(|)


#14

@Drazen
http://godisimaginary.com/i14.htm


#15

The foundings of the Christian god (I believe that is the god in question here, although we could equally discuss any other god) are based upon the bible: a book written by humans long after said events are supposed to have taken place. Hence, the book is purely gossip (gospel, if you will). The book itself is riddled with inaccuracies and impossibilities that it’s standing as a book of facts is laughable. The simplest proof that the bible is wrong is the fact of evolution. The bible’s inaccurate claims that the world is a mere 6000 years old have been completely demolished by scientists.

“Impossible, we’re talking about something transcendental. As any edgy teenage solipsist could tell you, we can’t even prove YOU exist empirically, - your soul is transcendental also, y’see, but I still don’t think you’re a mere phantasm of my imagination.”

A simple piece of evidence to prove the existence of god would be a sighting of god. Easily achievable and it would take nothing on his part, being supposedly omniscient. It would also stop the spread of atheism and false deities and bring harmony to the entire planet. The lack of any sightings for 2000 years leads to four conclusions:

  1. God is dead. As he is omniscient, this is impossible.
  2. God is not omniscient. Then he is either a liar or not real.
  3. God is evil. There’s a lot of suggestions towards this in the old testament.
  4. God doesn’t exist.

Take your pick.


#16

@andymwhy
Very good argument. I typed up one along those lines, but I decided it was best just to post a link that had them all thoroughly stated.

My favorite is when they say God is omnipotent. Sorry, that’s literally impossible. If he CAN’T create a boulder so heavy he can’t lift it, he’s not all powerful. If he CAN, he’s still not all powerful.

@Drazen
I wish magic was real, but it isn’t.


#17

Andy, Sam: have you noticed the great extent to which you’re arguing with what you think Drazen should have claimed, instead of what he’s actually saying? He’s not the kind of Christian that your catchy polemics were written for. In fact, he’s so far from that strawman that it’s a bit embarrassing.

I’m much closer, being an aforementioned insane evangelical low-protestant, and I’ll pop some thoughts up here for you to take a whack at when I have a bit more time. But meanwhile, you might try limiting yourselves to what he’s arguing, rather than imagining him as some convenient version of William Lane Craig.


#18

The problem, @Havenstone, is that whatever Drazen is arguing through that link is overly complicated and written in old English, meaning it would take a long time to read and understand. Once understood, it would then take more time to find and point out the error in logic. I don’t have the time to waste on a pointless exercise. If Drazen would like to rewrite the argument in plain English in less words, I’d be happy to take a look.


#19

Here is an old mathematical example of a proof that 2 = 1.

Step 1: Let a=b.
Step 2: Then a^2 = ab,
Step 3: a^2 + a^2 = a^2 + ab,
Step 4: 2 a^2 = a^2 + ab,
Step 5: 2 a^2 - 2 ab = a^2 + ab - 2 ab,
Step 6: and 2 a^2 - 2 ab = a^2 - ab.
Step 7: This can be written as 2 (a^2 - a b) = 1 (a^2 - a b),
Step 8: and cancelling the (a^2 - ab) from both sides gives 1=2.

To the layman, it is correct and everything we know about mathematics goes out the window.

However, any mathematician would spot the error on the second read through (perhaps even on the first) and the whole thing falls apart very quickly.

The same will be true of Drazen’s article. No matter how it is dressed up, it will be possible to simplify down.

Edit: (Sorry I didn’t edit before)

I’ve just had a quick scan through the link Drazen posted and came across this:

“9 [Arg. II] Furthermore, the existence of a thing is self-evident if it is impossible to think of anything greater than it. For if one were to grant the opposite of the predicate, it would destroy the subject; because if the thing in question did not exist one could think of something greater, viz. its existence, which is greater than its non-existence. And this seems to be Anselm’s argument in chapter two of the Proslogion.”

Simplified, this says that something exists if you can’t think of something greater than it. You could start small by imagining a plant, then imagine a tree; that’s greater than a plant. You can go on, mountain, planet, sun, universe, until you get to the end: God. Hence, god must exist.

Um… if it’s not obvious why this is illogical, I’ll spell it out. Imagining something exists doesn’t make it real. You can imagine a spaceship so big that it would dwarf the universe but for it to actually exist is preposterous. Hence, imagining that god exists doesn’t mean that god exists. The first statement: “…the existence of a thing is self-evident if it is impossible to think of anything greater than it.” is clearly wrong.

You could also take this another way when looking at this part:
“…if the thing in question did not exist one could think of something greater, viz. its existence, which is greater than its non-existence.”

This states that something that exists is greater than something that does not exist. Fine, then a tea cup is greater than god as a tea cup exists, god doesn’t.


#20

Even if you don’t want to engage with a famously dense philosopher, it’s worth recognizing that Drazen is arguing from metaphysical first principles. Not the bible. Not magic and miracles. And the first mover he’s talking about is unlikely to be “sighted” (and on what he’s said so far, there’s no reason to think Drazen’s divinity particularly wants to be sighted, or cares what/ whether we think of It). So that whole barrage flies right past his bow, while some other interesting challenges and queries go unsaid.