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Do Theists and Atheists Fight Fair?


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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.

 

That's like saying there is a gnome in the refrigerator that turns off the light evertime you close the door. You just can't see him because he only exists when the door is closed. Using your logic, I could defend the "refrigerator gnome hypothesis" against any naysayer. You've set up a totally unfalsifiable conjecture that conviniently always has a way out.

 

All the geological evidence points toward a very old Earth and you're still attempting to marginalize an elephant's worth of evidence by proposing that all the evidence is just an illusion courtesy of the deity who's very existence is the topic of debate. You're assuming you are correct in an attempt to prove you are correct. That's really the worst kind of circular logic, the "premature victory" logic circle. Don't count your chickens before they hatch; and when debating the existence of chickens, don't assume chickens exist in your argument.

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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?

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)

 

The reality of the double standard gets to the heart of the question posed which is to theists and atheists fight fair. Apparently this point was not made clear enough, judging by the moderator comments, and my apologies for that but both sides employ double standards, neither you here regardless of what group you fall in nor many atheist nor many theists for their part will admit application of the double standard and thus the answer to the question is, No Theists and Atheists do not fight fair.

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The reality of the double standard gets to the heart of the question posed which is to theists and atheists fight fair. Apparently this point was not made clear enough, judging by the moderator comments, and my apologies for that but both sides employ double standards, neither you here regardless of what group you fall in nor many atheist nor many theists for their part will admit application of the double standard and thus the answer to the question is, No Theists and Atheists do not fight fair.

What double standard?

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I concur, we need to know exactly what double standard is being talked about here. I honestly do not see one on the side of reality (I do stand ready to hear any argument that shows me to be in error) but it stands out like a sore thumb on the side of people who believe unsupported conjecture.

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That's like saying there is a gnome in the refrigerator that turns off the light evertime you close the door. You just can't see him because he only exists when the door is closed. Using your logic, I could defend the "refrigerator gnome hypothesis" against any naysayer. You've set up a totally unfalsifiable conjecture that conviniently always has a way out

 

Mississippichem,

 

Needsimprovement is applying a metaphysical explanation to historical events in order to answer how and why the evidence is as it is, but your critique asks for evidence that you know does not exist and therefore cannot possibly even support the alternative. That both sides of this argument move the goal post around and apply double standards as indicated earlier is why it is true that neither side is fighting fair.

 

All the geological evidence points toward a very old Earth and you're still attempting to marginalize an elephant's worth of evidence by proposing that all the evidence is just an illusion courtesy of the deity who's very existence is the topic of debate.

 

No, needsimprovement accepts the mountain of evidence. He is not disputing what we observe. He is answering the question how and why it got to be the way it is and he is using a theistic argument to answer that question. You object because you want him to use a scientific explanation for how and why it is so. Trouble is science cannot answer these questions, and because science and materialism have no way to answer these questions, you have no way to rebut his claim. His claim against you is no smaller than your claim against him.

 

You're assuming you are correct in an attempt to prove you are correct. That's really the worst kind of circular logic, the "premature victory" logic circle. Don't count your chickens before they hatch; and when debating the existence of chickens, don't assume chickens exist in your argument.

 

It may not be as circular as you wish to believe, though I agree it is not testable. He begins by positing a creator with particular attributes and capabilities and then he explains the evidence and shows how it is consistent with his posit. This is not circular. What he has not done is offer a method to test his posit today to validate that it is a mechanism that is presently in operation and capable of producing the effects posited.

 

The material processes advocated by atheists seem to have a similar problem in that they too are not testable. Both sides seem to accept the evidence that is available, neither are able to show that their posits are correct about how and why the evidence is as it is. Neither side fights fair.

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No, needsimprovement accepts the mountain of evidence. He is not disputing what we observe. He is answering the question how and why it got to be the way it is and he is using a theistic argument to answer that question. You object because you want him to use a scientific explanation for how and why it is so. Trouble is science cannot answer these questions, and because science and materialism have no way to answer these questions, you have no way to rebut his claim. His claim against you is no smaller than your claim against him.

I don't see him using an argument at all. He is just coming to a conclusion without building the foundation.

 

It seems to me that unless we have common ground we cannot debate. If an atheist can use the bible (or whatever theistic material there is) along with science to argue why the theist's view of God is incorrect, then we are ok. And if the theist can use science along with the bible to point out how the atheist's view of the world is incorrect, we are also ok.

 

But atheists cannot (for example) throw out theistic arguments just because they cannot be proven, and theists cannot (for example) throw out scientific arguments just because 'God could be playing a practical joke on us and that might just be an illusion'. If we don't agree to common ground on which to debate then we are just wasting our time.

 

And I think where needsimprovement made his mistake was when he invoked the 'practical joke' strategy. At that point there is no more common ground.

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I don't see him using an argument at all. He is just coming to a conclusion without building the foundation.

 

This approach is hundreds if not thousands of years old. I think it is safe to say he can skip the foundation since most are familiar with the argument.

 

It seems to me that unless we have common ground we cannot debate.

 

I suspect this is the heart of it, neither side fights fair because neither side is willing to come to a common ground.

 

If an atheist can use the bible (or whatever theistic material there is) along with science to argue why the theist's view of God is incorrect, then we are ok. And if the theist can use science along with the bible to point out how the atheist's view of the world is incorrect, we are also ok.

 

I'm not sure it's this easy.

 

But atheists cannot (for example) throw out theistic arguments just because they cannot be proven, and theists cannot (for example) throw out scientific arguments just because 'God could be playing a practical joke on us and that might just be an illusion'. If we don't agree to common ground on which to debate then we are just wasting our time.

 

In the case of what needsimprovement did here, he did not throw out the scientific argument, he accepted that the evidence indicates a long history of life on earth when interpreted according to some particular assumptions. However then needsimprovement radically changed those assumptions and came to a completely different conclusion. Since the atheist cannot demonstrate that the initial assumptions are correct, that atheist screams foul for having the rug pull out from under him.

 

And I think where needsimprovement made his mistake was when he invoked the 'practical joke' strategy. At that point there is no more common ground.

 

I suspect there never was any common ground in the first place.

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Mississippichem,

 

Needsimprovement is applying a metaphysical explanation to historical events in order to answer how and why the evidence is as it is, but your critique asks for evidence that you know does not exist and therefore cannot possibly even support the alternative. That both sides of this argument move the goal post around and apply double standards as indicated earlier is why it is true that neither side is fighting fair.

 

No, needsimprovement accepts the mountain of evidence. He is not disputing what we observe. He is answering the question how and why it got to be the way it is and he is using a theistic argument to answer that question. You object because you want him to use a scientific explanation for how and why it is so. Trouble is science cannot answer these questions, and because science and materialism have no way to answer these questions, you have no way to rebut his claim. His claim against you is no smaller than your claim against him.

 

I think the one advocating the radical counter intuitive interpretation of the evidence is the one responsible for defending it. By this logic I can attack anyone's legitimate physical argument for anything just by suggesting that it might all be an illusion. Not all hypotheses are born equal, claiming that all the evidence is an illusion whether that person accepts the evidence as empirical or not is, to put it mildly, a bold claim an should require bold evidence. If this argument is valid then I should quit school and all these scientists here in the forums should quit there jobs because there is no way of proving that any scientific data gathered isn't just an illusion. I don't like to evoke Occam's razor because it is overused but which explanation do you think fits the evidence and is simpler; the earth being as old as it appears, or the earth happening to appear several billion years old by multiple methods and actually being only a few thousand?

 

It may not be as circular as you wish to believe, though I agree it is not testable. He begins by positing a creator with particular attributes and capabilities and then he explains the evidence and shows how it is consistent with his posit. This is not circular. What he has not done is offer a method to test his posit today to validate that it is a mechanism that is presently in operation and capable of producing the effects posited.

 

The material processes advocated by atheists seem to have a similar problem in that they too are not testable. Both sides seem to accept the evidence that is available, neither are able to show that their posits are correct about how and why the evidence is as it is. Neither side fights fair.

 

I don't see what part of unexplained phenomena pushes one to conclude that some infinite yet still anthropomorphic ghost did it. Science fights fair because it presents all the evidence available in support of or against the claims being made. Religion doesn't fight fair because when it comes to things like age of the Earth and evolution they can never seem to get enough proof or experimental evidence despite the plethora that is available. Then religion refuses to conduct peer reviewed research to support it's counter claim and asks that people just take it on the fact that someone said it. Either the scientific method works and is theoretically applicable in all scenarios or it is total BS and we are wasting our time because there is no way to tell under which circumstances it applies. Someone must provide some testable or predictable, or observable, or repeatable mechanism by which a god could have faked the age of the Earth or that argument will not and should not be accepted by anyone with any objectivity at all. Wild speculation and rigorously analyzed theories that have stood the test of peer review attack are not on equal footing by anyone's measure.

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Untestable answers aren't answers, because there is no logical way to determine their truth or falsity. This is why scientists reject theistic arguments for the origins of the universe.

 

On the other hand, untestable scientific hypothesis for the origin of the universe are equally useless. This is why there is so much pressure on cosmologists to make testable predictions. For example, when Penrose made the claim that there is evidence of a cyclical universe, people took notice:

 

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/44388

 

There were many previous scientists who suggested it, but nobody seriously considered the idea because it was untestable. Now it is, and as it turns out many scientists contest Penrose's evidence.

 

Science can answer these questions. It just hasn't, yet. The evidence has yet to be gathered.

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I think the one advocating the radical counter intuitive interpretation of the evidence is the one responsible for defending it. By this logic I can attack anyone's legitimate physical argument for anything just by suggesting that it might all be an illusion.

 

You have raised many interesting and challenging points.

 

Remember though he is not making an argument that relies on physical evidence to support it. His argument provides a philosophical solution to explain physical evidence. He is not fighting fair. You though are also not fighting fair to insist on physical evidence for a philosophical construct.

 

Not all hypotheses are born equal, claiming that all the evidence is an illusion whether that person accepts the evidence as empirical or not is, to put it mildly, a bold claim an should require bold evidence.

 

Well it requires a strong argument but instead needsimprovement switched the playing field and covered it with a metaphysical approach.

 

If this argument is valid then I should quit school and all these scientists here in the forums should quit there jobs because there is no way of proving that any scientific data gathered isn't just an illusion.

 

The debate is not over the evidence, rather it is about what the evidence means. It is about how and why the world came to be the way it is, and on these questions the materialist does not have any advantage. The atheistic materialist thus far has failed to offer a causally adequate explanation for the physical facts we observe and even a logically coherent explanation for thought, self awareness and indeed the very tools that allow this debate. Rather than giving up, I would suggest that the materialist either focus on these shortcomings or relax the bold claims being made.

 

I don't like to evoke Occam's razor because it is overused but which explanation do you think fits the evidence and is simpler; the earth being as old as it appears, or the earth happening to appear several billion years old by multiple methods and actually being only a few thousand?

 

It seems simpler that the earth has been through the cycles it appears to have been through, but again this does not help us answer how it got this way and on that point Occam's razor does not seem to offer much help.

 

 

 

I don't see what part of unexplained phenomena pushes one to conclude that some infinite yet still anthropomorphic ghost did it. Science fights fair because it presents all the evidence available in support of or against the claims being made.

 

Science done right does but the dogmatic materialists don't follow this pattern. They overreach with the claims being made. The atheistic materialist claims the universe has a material cause, that life has a material only cause and that thought is an emergent property of matter. These are not scientific claims, they are based on prior commitments but science is misused to push them and science is loser when these claims are oversold.

 

Religion doesn't fight fair because when it comes to things like age of the Earth and evolution they can never seem to get enough proof or experimental evidence despite the plethora that is available.

 

I agree many theists don't fight fair when they deny even the obvious. But the materialists often oversell what is established or use evidence that established a particular fact and overextend it to support conjecture of a different sort and that does not help their case.

 

Then religion refuses to conduct peer reviewed research to support it's counter claim and asks that people just take it on the fact that someone said it.

 

Yes, theists often use and even switch to historical and philosophical proofs rather than scientific proofs. But I am sure you would agree that science is not the only source of truth.

 

Either the scientific method works and is theoretically applicable in all scenarios or it is total BS and we are wasting our time because there is no way to tell under which circumstances it applies.

 

Agreed. Science done right works, but science does not show that a creator is not necessary. The evidence of today seems instead to indicate more strongly that one is.

 

Someone must provide some testable or predictable, or observable, or repeatable mechanism by which a god could have faked the age of the Earth or that argument will not and should not be accepted by anyone with any objectivity at all. Wild speculation and rigorously analyzed theories that have stood the test of peer review attack are not on equal footing by anyone's measure.

 

It is not a valid scientific argument for sure. But as a philosophical argument it seems to have some merit. You already know the theist is not fighting fair, but because the atheist is unable to show how and why the old earth model came about without a creator, you seem to be at an impasse.

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Remember though he is not making an argument that relies on physical evidence to support it. His argument provides a philosophical solution to explain physical evidence. He is not fighting fair. You though are also not fighting fair to insist on physical evidence for a philosophical construct.

 

agreed

 

Well it requires a strong argument but instead needsimprovement switched the playing field and covered it with a metaphysical approach.

 

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 have been accused before of being a belligerent empiricist. I don't deny those titles. You know me by now Cypress. :)

 

The debate is not over the evidence, rather it is about what the evidence means. It is about how and why the world came to be the way it is, and on these questions the materialist does not have any advantage. The atheistic materialist thus far has failed to offer a causally adequate explanation for the physical facts we observe and even a logically coherent explanation for thought, self awareness and indeed the very tools that allow this debate. Rather than giving up, I would suggest that the materialist either focus on these shortcomings or relax the bold claims being made.

 

I'm making my judgment on the premise that their is yet to be even one phenomena that has been attributed to the supernatural. Physical explanations have always arisen to solve our philosophical questions and I believe they always will. Throughout history religion has played "gottcha!" with science every time religion has some "god of the gaps" argument that science cannot yet account for. Geocentric universe, flat Earth, Young Earth, germ theory and the lot. Now days we look back on that and laugh that anyone could have possibly rejected germ theory for demonic possession. Perhaps people like myself and others here will read this post in a few hundred years and laugh that we are even having this debate.

 

It seems simpler that the earth has been through the cycles it appears to have been through, but again this does not help us answer how it got this way and on that point Occam's razor does not seem to offer much help.

 

That's why I don't like to use the Razor, no one ever agrees on its use. I still think it applies there but I won't fight you over it.

 

Science done right does but the dogmatic materialists don't follow this pattern. They overreach with the claims being made. The atheistic materialist claims the universe has a material cause, that life has a material only cause and that thought is an emergent property of matter. These are not scientific claims, they are based on prior commitments but science is misused to push them and science is loser when these claims are oversold.

 

Science must assume all questions and all answers are materialistic. Science is the study of materialistic answers. I choose to find my answers in the field of study that brought us space flight, chemotherapy, nuclear weapons, and RNA suppression therapy. There is no other route to truth, other than science, that has repeatably given benefits and results for society. I like metaphysics, but it needs to know its place. It has no place making claims about prehistoric geology. Maybe science will discover God one day, I doubt it, but scientifically I will assume there is no God until sufficient evidence has been brought to light and adequately defended. Metaphysics is great, but it doesn't work in courtrooms, scientific defenses, or calculating the age of the Earth.

 

Yes, theists often use and even switch to historical and philosophical proofs rather than scientific proofs. But I am sure you would agree that science is not the only source of truth.

 

Yeah there's math too...I think science is the only route to objective truth that me and you can argue about and have a third part come in and declare who is right or wrong. Science is the best route to the truth because science admits that, if one person says 1+1=3 and the other says 1+1=2, somebody is wrong. Science doesn't allow multiple truth values. It keeps things internally consistent and keeps things so objective that sometimes one can feel the chill.

 

Agreed. Science done right works, but science does not show that a creator is not necessary. The evidence of today seems instead to indicate more strongly that one is.

 

...well you know I can't agree there but we'll leave that in the "Evolution has Never been Observed" thread.

 

It is not a valid scientific argument for sure. But as a philosophical argument it seems to have some merit. You already know the theist is not fighting fair, but because the atheist is unable to show how and why the old earth model came about without a creator, you seem to be at an impasse.

 

Alright, We'll take it down the philosophical road. What's is said deity's motivation for tricking us into thinking the Earth is really billions of years old?

 

Cypress, I'll agree that both sides "don't fight fair" in the sense that I'm fighting from a materialistic worldview while my opponents are fighting from a spiritual worldview. I would rather call it "both sides are playing different ballgames and trying to compare scores". I'm not ashamed to admit though that I think science plays a rougher no-holds-barred ballgame and if the religious want to make converts or gain way with secularists they're going to have to put on their helmets and play the mean and hard hitting peer review game.

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The universe must be more ancient than the ancients could fathom.

 

That is one reason why Genesis is such a simplistic explanation for Creation. No modern explanation including the idea of evolution would have been possible three thousand years ago for the simple reason that science as we recognize it today had yet to arrive. God could not reveal the mechanism of evolution, but God could and did reveal that Creation occurred over time and in a certain prescribed order. Genesis tells us that the universe began with an explosion of light, which modern science confirms. Genesis tells that life began in the sea and moved to the earth and the sky, which science also tells us. Science tells us that man was created last, which science also tells us. In no other world religion is the account of the order of creation so consistent with science as that of Genesis.

 

It is true there are fanciful aspects of creation also present in Genesis, but they are not sufficient to overcome the more impressively accurate aspects of creation that seems to be the product of inspiration rather than mere guesswork.

 

Yes, religion has one standard, and science has another. But in a very general way the standards do not have to be so diametrically opposed as some have tried to make out.

 

This is not a discussion about creation/ID vs evolution but whether it is recognised by theists or atheists. The debate is not about evolution because it is recognised by the Church. I am reffering to the message delivered by Pope John Paul to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences 22 October 1996. He said:

Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis.* In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.

 

By the way, "evolution" and "by accident" are two different things.

 

My appologies also. let's go back to the original topic: Theists and Atheists fight.

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The universe must be more ancient than the ancients could fathom.

 

That is one reason why Genesis is such a simplistic explanation for Creation. No modern explanation including the idea of evolution would have been possible three thousand years ago for the simple reason that science as we recognize it today had yet to arrive. God could not reveal the mechanism of evolution, but God could and did reveal that Creation occurred over time and in a certain prescribed order. Genesis tells us that the universe began with an explosion of light, which modern science confirms. Genesis tells that life began in the sea and moved to the earth and the sky, which science also tells us. Science tells us that man was created last, which science also tells us. In no other world religion is the account of the order of creation so consistent with science as that of Genesis.

 

It is true there are fanciful aspects of creation also present in Genesis, but they are not sufficient to overcome the more impressively accurate aspects of creation that seems to be the product of inspiration rather than mere guesswork.

 

Yes, religion has one standard, and science has another. But in a very general way the standards do not have to be so diametrically opposed as some have tried to make out.

 

This is not a discussion about creation/ID vs evolution but whether it is recognised by theists or atheists. The debate is not about evolution because it is recognised by the Church. I am reffering to the message delivered by Pope John Paul to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences 22 October 1996. He said:

 

 

By the way, "evolution" and "by accident" are two different things.

 

My appologies also. let's go back to the original topic: Theists and Atheists fight.

 

 

As usual needimprovement your religious agenda has written checks it cannot cash. There are two versions of creation in the bible neither of which corresponds to the way science says the evidence suggests the Earth developed...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_creation_narrative

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Remember though he is not making an argument that relies on physical evidence to support it. His argument provides a philosophical solution to explain physical evidence. He is not fighting fair. You though are also not fighting fair to insist on physical evidence for a philosophical construct.

 

Whether that is fair or not depends entirely on the context of the debate. For making philosophical arguments it's perfectly fair to invent anything you like as long as it is logically possible, and unfair to complain about that. But under the rules of science, these rules restrict all hypotheses to be testable, and also the tie-breaker rule of Occam's Razor requires that the explanation with the least extra assumptions be accepted. And yes, historical hypotheses are testable too -- they have to correctly predict the past.

 

What's not fair is to take conclusions made under one set of rules and apply it to another, and apart from being unfair it is also invalid.

 

But I am sure you would agree that science is not the only source of truth.

 

To the best of my knowledge there is no source of truth other than definition and tautology. The only things that are absolutely true are those that are defined such, and that's because that makes them a tautology. And a tautology is true because we said it is. I have a thread about that here if you think you can give a counterexample.

 

I consider science a source of "useful truth", and the best one at that, but not of "absolute truth". Science rejects many possible truths outright, but these turn out not to be of any use anyways so this isn't a problem in practice. Whether gravity is caused by the expansion of spacetime, or by little imps, or by things trying to reach "their level", it doesn't really matter to me and science only cares that the predictions are correct. But by rejecting possible truths science cannot claim to be searching for "truth" like the philosophers are, just for a subset that happens to be useful. On the other hand, while philosophers try their best to search for truth they cannot prove even the simplest of things.

 

Because of the way science is designed, a god who's actions cannot be predicted cannot ever be part of science. Yes, there are scientists who believe in a god, but that god has to either stay out of their field of expertise or act in a manner that is predictable, or unseen, or at the very least not understood by them. So when I was a theist I believed in God but he had to stay out of anything I understood, eventually remaining in only historical things, though I also figured he ought to be in charge of choosing the results of "random" quantum events which I figured was sufficient to let him be all-powerful despite staying out of the way.

 

Theology likewise is not a search for absolute truth because it makes unproven assumptions, so rejecting the possibility of truths that contradict those assumptions. This is in practice no different than assuming something like the Lord of the Rings books are true and using those assumptions as a basis for deducing things. We of course do this automatically as part of suspension of disbelief required to enjoy books not set in the real world, and become very annoyed should some of the characters not behave as they "should" under those assumptions. Of course, religion claims to apply to the real world and this presents great problems because if true it should not require suspension of disbelief.

 

Thus to be credible religion would have to conform to whatever standards of evidence the person in question requires to accept things in the real world. For example to even be considered by science (due to Occam's Razor), first they'd have to prove that something was impossible to explain via the accepted processes thus requiring a new entity, or by providing more accurate predictions than current theory -- both of which the various religions have repeatedly failed to do (and discussion of this here would be off-topic, so consider this opinion). Religion also has eyewitness testimony, but again this can easily be explained away by non-believers as people either delusional or lying. On the other hand, science has not yet explained everything, so that there are a few little areas which might make a god necessary should we ever gain enough knowledge in those areas to make a credible argument from ignorance (that we can't explain it without something more, and know the subject well enough that we should be able to were it possible).

 

While religion has consistently held its own on its own turf (despite countless attempts to disprove god), the areas people accept as explained by religion and explained by science are shifting towards science. God no longer controls lighting, the winds, rains, growing of crops, most of medicine, psychological disorders, and other such areas traditionally controlled by god, although some still attribute random aspects of those to god. So unfair as it may seem to a theist to have to play by the scientists' rules, it seems to me that soon they will run out of their own turf and have no other choice.

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That is one reason why Genesis is such a simplistic explanation for Creation. No modern explanation including the idea of evolution would have been possible three thousand years ago for the simple reason that science as we recognize it today had yet to arrive. God could not reveal the mechanism of evolution, but God could and did reveal that Creation occurred over time and in a certain prescribed order. Genesis tells us that the universe began with an explosion of light, which modern science confirms. Genesis tells that life began in the sea and moved to the earth and the sky, which science also tells us. Science tells us that man was created last, which science also tells us. In no other world religion is the account of the order of creation so consistent with science as that of Genesis.

 

Well, there is the tiny inconsistency in that Genesis is a clearly geocentric and human-centric explanation, and so the order of creation is wrong. The order they have is, first in the Bible is the earth and heavens, but no light (Genesis 1:1,2). Then light, day, and night, but no celestial objects including the sun. Then land, oceans, and clouds. Then plants. Then the sun and stars. Then the aquatic creatures, probably including aquatic mammals, and also birds before land animals. Then land animals. And finally humans. Please go reread your holy book, you don't know it as well as you thought, and the order it has is in many places inconsistent with science.

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Yes, I but I don't think a metaphysical approach is rigorous enough to go to bat for that particular claim.

 

It is a lot like stealing two bases on a bunt, but it is not illogical per se. It is not causally adequate but it does fit with observation. The materialist alternative has the same deficiencies in that it is not illogical but it is not causally adequate. However the materialist explanation also doe not fit observation as well in that there are any observations that seem to contradict what we think we know about physical only processes.

 

Another serious disadvantage the atheistic materialist has in this debate is that there are several flavors of theism that themselves are contradictory so you are left to make several arguments for the same situation. In this example we can have one theist arguing that life on Earth may not be as old as it appears while another theist accepts the apparent age of the earth. You are in the unfortunate position of having to defend against both.

 

Again though, to me, the best path forward would be to address the weaknesses in ones own argument, and avoid overstating it as many atheists do.

 

I'm making my judgment on the premise that their is yet to be even one phenomena that has been attributed to the supernatural.

 

I'm not sure it is possible from our vantage point to demonstrably attribute anything to a cause that transcends our universe. I think this is another example of where the atheistic materialist has set the bar too high. The demand is not reasonable. However there are many causes that continue to lack natural explanations, perhaps it is because there is no natural explanation. The universe appears to have a supernatural cause in that it appears to be caused by a powerful, deliberate and intelligent agent that transcends the time, material, and space constraints of this universe. If instead you meant to say that there is no evidence that a transcending creator intervenes in our universe today to cause events that don't have physical explanations in the current time, I don't se how that helps your case.

 

 

Physical explanations have always arisen to solve our philosophical questions and I believe they always will. Throughout history religion has played "gottcha!" with science every time religion has some "god of the gaps" argument that science cannot yet account for. Geocentric universe, flat Earth, Young Earth, germ theory and the lot. Now days we look back on that and laugh that anyone could have possibly rejected germ theory for demonic possession. Perhaps people like myself and others here will read this post in a few hundred years and laugh that we are even having this debate.

 

In my opinion, there are two problems with this argument. First of all the ignorance of debaters on both side of this argument has resulted in no end of overstated claims. The atheistic materialist has been sharpening the argument for hundreds of years as has the theist. Neither side has a good record of accuracy. Second, many of these errors are not accurately attributed to the theistic side of this debate and many of the ones that are attributable to the theist had more to do with politics or philosophical extensions of the theists framework than the current debate about evidence for a creator per see. The geocentric model for example was symbolic of man's relationship to the creator. The church objected to the attempts to raise the status of man in relation to the rest of the creation and that was the true nature of the debate. The flat earth belief is largely a myth propagated by historians by keying on minority opinions. Most theists accepted that the earth was round well before even the time of Christ. Modern germ theory was initiated by theists who were firmly arguing against the non-theistic notion of spontaneous creation. Just as with the flat earth myth, historians can find fringe groups who overstepped their bounds and attributed more to their creator than was warranted. The same is true of materialists even now; we need not go back too far into history to find examples on both sides of this debate. As we have agreed, neither side fights fair.

 

That's why I don't like to use the Razor, no one ever agrees on its use. I still think it applies there but I won't fight you over it.

 

I may not have been clear, my mistake. I agree it applies to the age of earth argument, but it does not apply to overarching debate which is about how and why the world is as it is.

 

 

 

Science must assume all questions and all answers are materialistic. Science is the study of materialistic answers. I choose to find my answers in the field of study that brought us space flight, chemotherapy, nuclear weapons, and RNA suppression therapy. There is no other route to truth, other than science, that has repeatably given benefits and results for society.

 

I disagree. methodological materialism rejects design as a valid cause, yet the search for extraterrestrial intelligence specifically accepts design. Forensic science also accepts design as a valid explanation. Introspection can be a source of truth. Historical studies provide a source of truth. Eye witness testimony is a source of truth. Logic and reason provides a source of truth. If you deny reason and logic and thought as a source of truth, then science cannot be a source of truth. Your argument itself is illogical.

 

 

I like metaphysics, but it needs to know its place. It has no place making claims about prehistoric geology. Maybe science will discover God one day, I doubt it, but scientifically I will assume there is no God until sufficient evidence has been brought to light and adequately defended. Metaphysics is great, but it doesn't work in courtrooms, scientific defenses, or calculating the age of the Earth.

 

Why do you choose to assume there is no creator until one is proved? Why not assume materialistic processes alone can't account for the universe until science shows it can? Your choice seems arbitrary and unscientific. The scientific approach would be to leave both as open questions and to allow for all modes of explanation so long as the explanation can be tested. Metaphysics brought us rules for logic and it is only with logic and reason that science and law makes any sense.

 

Yeah there's math too...I think science is the only route to objective truth that me and you can argue about and have a third part come in and declare who is right or wrong. Science is the best route to the truth because science admits that, if one person says 1+1=3 and the other says 1+1=2, somebody is wrong. Science doesn't allow multiple truth values. It keeps things internally consistent and keeps things so objective that sometimes one can feel the chill.

 

No, sorry argument relies on many sources of truth as the tools of debate. Without these other tools you cannot demonstrate your claim that "science is a source of truth" is true. Without these other sources of truth, science is impotent.

 

...well you know I can't agree there but we'll leave that in the "Evolution has Never been Observed" thread.

 

I was actually thinking of cosmological arguments.

 

Alright, We'll take it down the philosophical road. What's is said deity's motivation for tricking us into thinking the Earth is really billions of years old?

 

It does not make much sense to me, I can only think of one logical reason. I think the theist argument is stronger on other points so I prefer to accept geologic time and argue other points. Besides, as I mentioned before only some theists make this argument. If I were to take the Judeo-Christian view and make the argument that the bible is literally true on all points, and nothing was ever intended to be metaphorical or simplified for the direct intended audience, then I suppose I would have to argue this point, but I doubt you would insist that a 3000 year old text that has been transcribed and translated be taken literally on every sentence.

 

Cypress, I'll agree that both sides "don't fight fair" in the sense that I'm fighting from a materialistic worldview while my opponents are fighting from a spiritual worldview. I would rather call it "both sides are playing different ballgames and trying to compare scores". I'm not ashamed to admit though that I think science plays a rougher no-holds-barred ballgame and if the religious want to make converts or gain way with secularists they're going to have to put on their helmets and play the mean and hard hitting peer review game.

 

I agree. I've largely taken up the protagonist role here. Not so much because I am an advocate of this side, as because I don't see as many making a good argument from this side of the line (not that my arguments are particularly good either, but what is a poor boy to do?) and I strongly believe that truth is obtained only by strong challenge. In a different situation, I might see myself taking the side of consensus science, but not here and not now.

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If a religious person used to relying on faith, belief, and confidence in the revealed but arational 'truths' of some ancient book and a scientific person used to relying on objective evidence were lost in the wilderness, dying of thirst, and wondering if a pond they came across was safe to drink from, they would both wait to see whether animals drank from it and survived. In essence, objective standards of evidence are what we all rely upon ordinarily in all situations of life, so from this fact alone we can see that we all ultimately recognize in our everyday behavior that scientific methods are superior to faith-based thinking.

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Moderator Note

cypress, the entirety of your last post appears to be about materialism rather than atheism. That's not the topic of the thread, unless you can make that case that they are the same (in which case I think you have to also hold that theism contains no materialism whatsoever, i.e. all observed phenomena are divinely guided/miracles). However, if you admit that theism can include (some) materialism, then please stick to the topic.

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Another serious disadvantage the atheistic materialist has in this debate is that there are several flavors of theism that themselves are contradictory so you are left to make several arguments for the same situation.

 

There's several flavors of atheism as well, and not all are materialistic. And that's not particularly unusual, especially among the religions in the East.

 

I disagree. methodological materialism rejects design as a valid cause, yet the search for extraterrestrial intelligence specifically accepts design. Forensic science also accepts design as a valid explanation.

 

No one is looking for supernatural aliens. In case you didn't realize, materialists consider design to be possible without the supernatural, for example humans. Just because you may not agree with them doesn't mean you can pretend they believe things your way.

 

 

I'm not sure it is possible from our vantage point to demonstrably attribute anything to a cause that transcends our universe. I think this is another example of where the atheistic materialist has set the bar too high. The demand is not reasonable.

...

Why do you choose to assume there is no creator until one is proved? Why not assume materialistic processes alone can't account for the universe until science shows it can? Your choice seems arbitrary and unscientific. The scientific approach would be to leave both as open questions and to allow for all modes of explanation so long as the explanation can be tested. Metaphysics brought us rules for logic and it is only with logic and reason that science and law makes any sense.

 

We like to set our bar high, so that what we claim as true can be reliably believed. That you admit that you cannot prove to science's standards the things you believe in, yet still persist in believing them, shows you aren't going to be arguing scientifically. As for why we don't believe in extra things, it is Occam's Razor, and is used as a tie-breaker. Absent any reason to believe something, it is best not to include that in the theory since it can only reduce the odds of the theory being correct. So if someone says that "things fall because God pulls them downwards" and another says "things fall", the second one gets accepted absent any evidence of the extra entity. The second one encompasses the first; perhaps things fall because god pulls them downwards, perhaps not, but fall they do. By removing the unnecessary extra entities from a theory, a theory's odds of being true can only be increased.

 

People using Occam's Razor to try to disprove the existence of things are misguided. The Razor just says to remove extra entities from the theory, not to add an extra axiom that such things don't exist.

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In debate between atheism and theism, and this topic is about debate tactics, theists make largely creationistic arguments while atheists make largely materialistic arguments around the primary points of disagreement which is the exp. Since this topic is about fighting fair in debate, it seems appropriate to speak of the arguments being made on both sides as both mississippi and I are doing. I hope this adequately explains the motivation.

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For you to equate atheism with materialism, you have to abandon materialism as a theistic viewpoint. No theist can accept any science. That's trivially false.

 

Why is a materialistic argument only "unfair" when an atheist makes it and the theist disagrees? You have not explained this. You claim, for example, that most theists accepted that the earth was round well before even the time of Christ, but do not address whether they accepted this for material reasons or divine ones. The germ theory of disease, regardless of whether introduced by a theist or an atheist, is a theory that posits a materialistic cause, and replaced the theistic "model" of demonic possession. Did the theists abandon demonic possession because of holy inspiration, or because of the materialistic evidence? You aren't arguing theism vs atheism.

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For you to equate atheism with materialism, you have to abandon materialism as a theistic viewpoint. No theist can accept any science. That's trivially false.

 

Why is a materialistic argument only "unfair" when an atheist makes it and the theist disagrees? You have not explained this. You claim, for example, that most theists accepted that the earth was round well before even the time of Christ, but do not address whether they accepted this for material reasons or divine ones. The germ theory of disease, regardless of whether introduced by a theist or an atheist, is a theory that posits a materialistic cause, and replaced the theistic "model" of demonic possession. Did the theists abandon demonic possession because of holy inspiration, or because of the materialistic evidence? You aren't arguing theism vs atheism.

It seems that the supposed schism between science and religion is overblown and unnecessary. Everything I read and understand about science of all types only confirms for me the greatness of God's plan. I don't understand why some scientists ( broadly speaking) seem to think that because they can understand and quantify the mysteries of the universe that it somehow negates God.

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For you to equate atheism with materialism, you have to abandon materialism as a theistic viewpoint. No theist can accept any science. That's trivially false.

 

I disagree. To say that many atheists use materialistic arguments as I have is not making an equivalence it actually implicitly acknowledges there is a difference. I am aware that there are atheists that do not use materialistic arguments but I have not heard from that subgroup on this site, have never experienced that subgroup making explicit arguments against theism that I would consider "fighting unfair" and don't think it is too much of an error to focus on the group that generates the most attention.

 

Why is a materialistic argument only "unfair" when an atheist makes it and the theist disagrees?

 

That's an odd question to ask. I don't remember making this claim. Why are you begging the question? Materialistic arguments and explanations are perfectly good when the explanation is causally adequate. The argument becomes unfair when the claims outstrip the evidence and is driven more by prior commitment than knowledge.

 

 

You have not explained this. You claim, for example, that most theists accepted that the earth was round well before even the time of Christ, but do not address whether they accepted this for material reasons or divine ones.

 

I did not see how the reasons for accepting these ideas was important. Mississippichem offered them as past examples of where physical only explanations won out over the popular claims of the theist community. He was hoping to establish that scientists have a better track record than theists. But in the case of a round Earth, theists recognized the earth was round long before it was factually established. I don't see how the motivation is significant in this particular argument unless I misunderstood his point, and perhaps I did.

 

The germ theory of disease, regardless of whether introduced by a theist or an atheist, is a theory that posits a materialistic cause, and replaced the theistic "model" of demonic possession. Did the theists abandon demonic possession because of holy inspiration, or because of the materialistic evidence? You aren't arguing theism vs atheism.

 

No I am not because we are primarily discussing the tactics of each side. Thanks for the invite but I don't wish to stray too far from the stated topic.

 

In the case of germ theory, it was theists, in support of their fundamental belief that God is the instigator of life and thus life comes from life, set out to demonstrate that the popular non-theistic notion that life can occur spontaneously was incorrect and also that those theists who believed that disease was a result of demons was also an incorrect doctrine of the tenants of their religion.

 

Mississippichem was attempting to make the point that theism has a horrible track record with respect to predictions, but one must cherry pick examples to make this point. It is common for someone who does not understand how or why something happens to assign it to a higher power and so it will be easy to cherry pick those falsehoods because they are generally ill-conceived ideas born out of ignorance. to show that it is cherry picking, we can also look at the record of published scientific research, where recent reviews of published conclusions indicate the papers are wrong more than 50% of the time (here, here and here). The point being that any group can be shown to have a poor track record, including the scientific community, but to be fair, when dealing with the bold claims of theism, and here we are speaking of how and why this universe came to exist, how and why life on earth came to exists, and wether or not this the cause is active in our realm spiritually so anything more, like for example how some ancient group of people explained lightning 3000 years ago seems mostly irrelevant. On the major points, the universe and life in it, the atheist has nothing over the theist, available evidence seems better explained by a creative force. Despite this, when it comes to debate tactics, thought many individuals do, on the whole, neither side seems to fight fair.

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