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Do Theists and Atheists Fight Fair?


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Surely they thought they were doing the right thing. I don't think anyone wakes up and says 'what evil can I do today?'.

 

Then I define evil as to be so nihilistically self-involved as to condone the murder of millions, all to further your own selfish goals.

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agreed     Yes, I but I don't think a metaphysical approach is rigorous enough to go to bat for that particular claim. That's my opinion though, I'm biased because I'm a strict materialist and ha

We should also note current philosophy on causation. Normally, I'd post a link for the following quote, but I couldn't find it anywhere on the net, so I typed out the passage myself.   From Freedom

What double standard?

Then I define evil as to be so nihilistically self-involved as to condone the murder of millions, all to further your own selfish goals.

I think there's substantial evidence that Hitler at least acted out of motives other than self-interest. He was acting in accordance to what he thought was God's will to improve the world.

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I think there's substantial evidence that Hitler at least acted out of motives other than self-interest. He was acting in accordance to what he thought was God's will to improve the world.

 

So if I start believing God wants me to go around elementary schools and slitting kids' throats, and I do this without remorse, I'm not evil, only delusional?

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So if I start believing God wants me to go around elementary schools and slitting kids' throats, and I do this without remorse, I'm not evil, only delusional?

How can it be evil to do the will of an all-loving being? Who said anything about being delusional?

Edited by ydoaPs
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I don't think I know of any private dwellings that have lightning rods (possibly quite different in USA) although I guess the big stately homes do. I really do not think it had any major scietal effect in the UK. I never heard of any anti-religious fervour when they were introduced, whereas many scientists had to move from catholic dominated southern europe to protestant nw europe to avoid persecution and gain funding and favour.

For a long time, I blamed religious persecution on religion but now I think that the culprit was actually authoritarianism and religion was just the ideological vehicle the tyrants used to try to control others. I say this not because I want to defend religious people against the blame, because I definitely think the people themselves were to blame. Just after having studied the theological philosophies, I don't think that persecution is inherent in them. They are abused for that purpose. Religion also motivated many monks and others to study nature rigorously and perform impressive feats of design and labor. Probably it was the impressiveness of such work that stimulated some people to usurp religion as a means of control. It's not easy to sort out the users from the abusers in history any more than it is to sort out physicists with good intentions from those who intend to contribute to the instruments of killing and domination.

 

What would make atheism vs. theism a "fairer fight" would be for it not to be a fight at all, but a survey of the beneficial and detrimental aspects of various aspects of each ideology that falls under the two general umbrellas. Likewise, it would be interesting to study the ways in which theism or atheism have been used and also abused to see how the same ideologies can be used for good in one situation and evil in another (if you can bear to use the terminology "good" and "evil" that is; otherwise you can replace them with "beneficial" and "detrimental").

 

 

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Yes, but I find many inaccurate statements by atheists that put theism in a bad light, when coming up with an accurate statement is 20 seconds away on Google. It seems as if the rigor is not as important when criticizing religion as it is when supporting science.

 

In conversations with many of the atheists I know, the reason they cite for this is that they take it as an assumption (they take it as an article of faith) that theism and other religions are false and therefore there is no need to be rigorous since their position is factually true and truth speaks for itself.

 

 

It certainly does. So do you think it was the atheist's fault? Did the theist ignore reasonable arguments? Was he right or wrong?

 

As I said before, it takes two to tangle. They are both at fault. The theist presented several very poor arguments but the atheists arguments were not much better.

 

 

(my bold)

Exactly my point. It seems like it takes a lot more evidence to convince a theist of something if a theory contradicts their worldview, than if it doesn't. Shouldn't the same standard hold for all science?

 

I think you are extracting the bolded portion and taking it out of context. The bigger problem are those who set the science standard too low for ideas that support their favored political or metaphysical views. Evolutionary theory is an example of one of these and it leaves it vulnerable to attack because it lacks the rigor that other scientific ideas contain.

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I think there are definite differences in the way the two groups thinks, the religious need a yes-no, white-black, right-wrong, type existence, the less religious to atheistic don't need total certainly in life and can deal with a world of less certainty that changes as new knowledge comes in.

 

 

The methods of validation of claims (reliance on replicable experiments versus reliance on holy books) are different in these two area of knowledge. But some scientists are also deists and some deists are also scientists. Newton, for example, was active in both fields.

 

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikopedia)

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I wouldn't be at all surprised. But let's take evolution as an example. There was a lively thread going tonight where a theist (he didn't bring up his belief in God until he symbolically gave us the finger while signing off for the night) appeared to ignore or make fun of what I felt were reasonable arguments for evolution. It appeared to me that he was doing this because it was at odds with the bible. I don't see that kind of behavior for topics like plate tectonics or medicine. That type of behavior is why it appears to me that theists feel under attack by science.

I disagree, one cannot make judgements based on great religious scholars. Once you have met a scientific theist then you can understand what their scientific proof they might have.

 

The methods of validation of claims (reliance on replicable experiments versus reliance on holy books) are different in these two area of knowledge. But some scientists are also deists and some deists are also scientists. Newton, for example, was active in both fields.

 

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikopedia)

As was Albert Einstein.

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The methods of validation of claims (reliance on replicable experiments versus reliance on holy books) are different in these two area of knowledge. But some scientists are also deists and some deists are also scientists. Newton, for example, was active in both fields.

 

The sciences that come into question are primarily historical science. These sciences do not rely on replicable experiments, instead they rely in inference and a prior commitment generally driven by a world-view. The methods of validation are far more similar than you would have us believe.

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I think you misunderstand that group. It was the theists that first set science apart from religion. They did it when several theistic thinkers attempted to objectively prove the existence of their God. They set the bar too high and when they couldn't clear the bar they instead concluded that religion and science were in two different magisterial groups. Myself, I think that if a religion is true it must conform to science and likewise true science must include the possibility of a creator.

 

 

NO, this seems mostly off the mark. Atheists only need facts about certain things, on others they depend on a continued lack of evidence. Its about where one puts their faith not the presence or absence of it.

I have always believed that truth cannot contradict truth. If science and religion do not agree, it is either a case of bad science or bad religion. Sometimes, the facts and data do not disagree but interpretations are most frequently in error.

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I have always believed that truth cannot contradict truth. If science and religion do not agree, it is either a case of bad science or bad religion.

 

 

We can also see it differently . All scientific models indicate that the universe is billions of years old and earth is 4.5 billion years old. This is surely in contradiction with religions who say that the earth is a lot younger than that. It may be the case where when one starts seeing from the God's point of view the earth is indeed a lot younger than that. I mean our space-time continuum may be something which appears only in our minds and the true actual physical space-time may be completely different or like the distinction of phenomena by kant. So we might need both kind of models to account for both religious as well as scientific worldviews. We might accept both the truths with out having to show that one is bad and other is good.

 

 

Cypress said

 

Myself, I think that if a religion is true it must conform to science and likewise true science must include the possibility of a creator.

 

I personally don't have any problem to include divine in science and it is not that impossible to prove the objective existence of god. The problem is as A_tripolation said it is intellectually dishonest. We can not include Divine unless there is a good testifiable repeatable method or an hypothesis for the empirical evidence for the existence of god. One has to inevitably hold this strong scientific frame of mind so that one does not fall into the belief of some pseudoscience which is even more worse than believing in some testifiable scientific model which has not enough evidence to account for what it claims to explain.

Edited by immortal
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I personally don't have any problem to include divine in science and it is not that impossible to prove the objective existence of god. The problem is as A_tripolation said it is intellectually dishonest. We can not include Divine unless there is a good testifiable repeatable method or an hypothesis for the empirical evidence for the existence of god. One has to inevitably hold this strong scientific frame of mind so that one does not fall into the belief of some pseudoscience which is even more worse than believing in some testifiable scientific model which has not enough evidence to account for what it claims to explain.

 

I think we agree. There cannot be two sets of standards, one for material only explanations and one for explanations that include a maker.

 

It becomes much more difficult though since most arguments occur over historical sciences where repeatable methods, deductive reasoning an direct evidence is much more difficult to come by and this is where double standards begin to be used by the materialist science advocates. Many continue to insist the advocate for creation present direct and repeatable evidence that a creator existed at that point in history, but does not generally apply that same standard to their own argument that their favored processes existed then and had the ability to produce the posited effect or even that they are in operation today. This poor behavior only serves to diminish the materialist argument and call much of what is claimed by them into question. The creationist is properly chastised for making an argument that something is factually true because it was written long ago by someone who claims to have talked to God, but the materialist makes a similar error by taking materialism as a prior commitment as Lewontin does here:

 

"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen"

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It becomes much more difficult though since most arguments occur over historical sciences where repeatable methods, deductive reasoning an direct evidence is much more difficult to come by and this is where double standards begin to be used by the materialist science advocates. Many continue to insist the advocate for creation present direct and repeatable evidence that a creator existed at that point in history, but does not generally apply that same standard to their own argument that their favored processes existed then and had the ability to produce the posited effect or even that they are in operation today. This poor behavior only serves to diminish the materialist argument and call much of what is claimed by them into question. The creationist is properly chastised for making an argument that something is factually true because it was written long ago by someone who claims to have talked to God, but the materialist makes a similar error by taking materialism as a prior commitment as Lewontin does here:

 

 

!

Moderator Note

I've already split creation/ID vs evolution crap out of this thread once. To be relevant one must assume that no scientists are theists. So, knock it off.

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I think we agree. There cannot be two sets of standards, one for material only explanations and one for explanations that include a maker.

 

It becomes much more difficult though since most arguments occur over historical sciences where repeatable methods, deductive reasoning an direct evidence is much more difficult to come by and this is where double standards begin to be used by the materialist science advocates. Many continue to insist the advocate for creation present direct and repeatable evidence that a creator existed at that point in history, but does not generally apply that same standard to their own argument that their favored processes existed then and had the ability to produce the posited effect or even that they are in operation today. This poor behavior only serves to diminish the materialist argument and call much of what is claimed by them into question. The creationist is properly chastised for making an argument that something is factually true because it was written long ago by someone who claims to have talked to God, but the materialist makes a similar error by taking materialism as a prior commitment as Lewontin does here:

 

I don't see how there is any double standard described there. The processes we see now and the fact that they don't seem to change is taken as evidence that the same processes existed before. Surely if someone demonstrated that there now exists a creator that didn't change it would be taken as evidence that the same creator existed earlier. The only creators we see now is ourselves, and currently the evidence is not consistent with human creation of the universe nor of life on earth billions of years ago. Thus any such creator would have had to be a different creator, one which has not yet been demonstrated to exist. What is questioned is not the capabilities of the creators, but their very existence. The materialistic processes on the other hand exist now and don't seem to change, nor is there anything to suggest that they did not exist in the past.

 

(lets not get into whether there is evidence or not for a creator in this thread, since that is an entire debate that we already have many threads for -- but I'll take it that you think there is evidence for a creator and most of us here don't, and just leave it at that)

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We can also see it differently . All scientific models indicate that the universe is billions of years old and earth is 4.5 billion years old. This is surely in contradiction with religions who say that the earth is a lot younger than that. It may be the case where when one starts seeing from the God's point of view the earth is indeed a lot younger than that. I mean our space-time continuum may be something which appears only in our minds and the true actual physical space-time may be completely different or like the distinction of phenomena by kant. So we might need both kind of models to account for both religious as well as scientific worldviews. We might accept both the truths with out having to show that one is bad and other is good.

I was under the impression that dating anything was an iffy situation.

 

The billion year old Earth concept is a necessary component of evolution, and without that extreme length of time, evolution would be all but impossible. Even so, if God did indeed create the world, no one could say at what state it was created. So while God may have created Earth 15,000 years ago, He could easily have created it in the state of a 4.5 billion year old planet.

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I was under the impression that dating anything was an iffy situation.

 

The billion year old Earth concept is a necessary component of evolution, and without that extreme length of time, evolution would be all but impossible. Even so, if God did indeed create the world, no one could say at what state it was created. So while God may have created Earth 15,000 years ago, He could easily have created it in the state of a 4.5 billion year old planet.

 

Try that one at a murder trial. But your honor, for all we know the world could have been created yesterday complete with a corpse. The forensic experts are relying on assumptions that the world functions today as it always has, but these are nothing but assumptions!

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I was under the impression that dating anything was an iffy situation.

 

The billion year old Earth concept is a necessary component of evolution, and without that extreme length of time, evolution would be all but impossible. Even so, if God did indeed create the world, no one could say at what state it was created. So while God may have created Earth 15,000 years ago, He could easily have created it in the state of a 4.5 billion year old planet.

Is He trying to jerk us around???

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Moderator Note

For the last time, do not turn this into a creation vs. evolution discussion. It is not synonymous with theists vs atheists, which is the topic of the discussion.

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I was under the impression that dating anything was an iffy situation.

 

The billion year old Earth concept is a necessary component of evolution, and without that extreme length of time, evolution would be all but impossible. Even so, if God did indeed create the world, no one could say at what state it was created. So while God may have created Earth 15,000 years ago, He could easily have created it in the state of a 4.5 billion year old planet.

To me this is the most unfair debate tactic I've run into when debating with theists. The ace in the hole. "Nothing is impossible for God, in fact, it is easy for him."

And when this card is played the debate is over. Where can I possibly go from here? We can't talk about evidence. We can't talk about the bible. We can't talk about philosophy. Because any point I make can be countered with "But God could easily be showing/hiding [fill in the blank] from you to lead you to this erroneous conclusion of yours." Makes me wonder why we are talking in the first place.

 

I don't know why God would to do this to me. I don't know why he would make it a point of hiding evidence of his existence by doing things like making a 15,000 year old earth appear to be 4.5 billion years old. But it feels like he is jerking me around. Or that the person debating like this is.

Edited by zapatos
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I was under the impression that dating anything was an iffy situation.

 

Well then someone has mislead you, radioactive dating is accurate enough for us to know the earth is at least 4.5 billion years old, that life has been here for at least 3.5 billion years, nothing iffy about it needsimprovement.

 

The billion year old Earth concept is a necessary component of evolution, and without that extreme length of time, evolution would be all but impossible. Even so, if God did indeed create the world, no one could say at what state it was created. So while God may have created Earth 15,000 years ago, He could easily have created it in the state of a 4.5 billion year old planet.

 

If? IF? If god did create the world? If frogs had wings they wouldn't bust their little wet asses every time they jump. How the hell can if be part of a serious discussion when there no evidence of an If... If god did that then he is totally disingenuous. If the Earth is the shell of a giant turtle that would change everything... totally unfair way to discuss anything neddsimprovement, a prime example of theist's not honestly discussing the topic.

 

No because there is only one standard. And Catholic Church accepts evolution. :P

 

 

No needimprovement, only in your mind is there only one standard, only in your mind...

Edited by Moontanman
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