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Do Theists and Atheists Fight Fair?


zapatos
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I find it incredible to accept your claim that no theistic arguments are testable. In the specific case under discussion though mississippichem specified testability as a criteria and thus the reason for inclusion. But not all truth claims require testability as a criteria. A singularity is just one of many cases. I would hope that just a little thought would lead to to several others.

 

Name one. Your argument against applying science to "singularities" appears to be that it can't be tested. Isn't that also the case with the theistic explanation?

 

If it can't be tested, how does one know it to be true?

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Science today has been hijacked by an ideology.

 

Let us look at Hubble and redshift:

 

 

http://astronomy-mall.com/Adventures...e/peculspr.htm

 

 

 

http://news.discovery.com/space/no-t...t-quasars.html

http://news.discovery.com/space/no-t...t-quasars.html

 

This article tells us there is no time dilation for quasars. There are other examples of non-distance related redshift. Even the sun exhibits a redshift. Hubble himself admitted his observation may not have something to do with distance.

 

 

The Church has infallibly determined that the universe is of finite age.

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Cypress: In response to your post, I would add the following two clarifications. First, while there may well be truths which cannot be discovered by scientific methods, the problem is that they cannot be discovered in any sufficiently rigorous sense of 'discovery' to come up to the standards of science. Scientific inference under its strict rules of induction and hypothesis formation guards carefully against the introduction of false hypothetical assumptions or entities at every step, but since non-scientific methods of inquiry and theory-construction do not follow this discipline, they are just not as reliable as scientific thinking. So any 'truths' they come up with will always be defective relative to the safest standards of inference we know, as well as according to the standards of inference we use in everyday life. You would not buy land in Flordia from me on the basis of a feeling, an intuition, a belief, or a sense of the inner presence unto you of the reality of that parcel of land, but rather, you would require strict, positivist evidence that the land was real, that I owned it, and that I could legally transfer it to you unencumbered. The fact that we ALWAYS reason this way except in the special case when we are talking about religious belief indicates that our ordinary practice of truth-seeking impeaches the validity of religious truth-seeking.

 

Second, while some atheistis might adopt metaphysical world views, the key issue is whether they have to by virtue of their atheistic beliefs. Since atheists only have to adopt the positivistic methodology, and make existence posits only on the basis of empirical evidence, mathematical interpretations of that evidence, and the minimal demands of coherence of the theory-structure built on that evidence, they are not naturally or inevitably committed to any metaphysical assumptions, as theists are by virtue of the defective relation between the kind of evidence they use and the ambitious hypotheses they affirm.

 

It would be a mistake to imagine that atheists are doing anything metaphysical by denying the existence of God even without having conducted an exhaustive inventory of everything in the universe to demonstrate that he is nowhere to be found. If it were to be regarded as metaphysical to say that there is no God unless his non-existence were proved by direct empirical evidence, then we would be forced actively to maintain the possibility that the Tooth Fairy is real. The fact is that we can assert with confidence that extraordinary things do not exist unless there is very good evidence to prove them; we don't have to disprove them.

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but since non-scientific methods of inquiry and theory-construction do not follow this discipline, they are just not as reliable as scientific thinking. So any 'truths' they come up with will always be defective relative to the safest standards of inference we know, as well as according to the standards of inference we use in everyday life.

 

How can you objectively establish the truth of these statements?

 

You would not buy land in Flordia from me on the basis of a feeling, an intuition, a belief, or a sense of the inner presence unto you of the reality of that parcel of land, but rather, you would require strict, positivist evidence that the land was real, that I owned it, and that I could legally transfer it to you unencumbered.

 

Thanks for making my point with these excellent examples of truths from non-scientific disciplines. These are not scientific tests and not scientific methods. These are established by historical documents and eyewitness notaries and social norms. Theists also rely on scientific methods, historical documentation, eyewitnesses and social norms. Atheist debaters mischaracterize their opponent and thus don't fight fair when they deny this.

 

The fact that we ALWAYS reason this way except in the special case when we are talking about religious belief indicates that our ordinary practice of truth-seeking impeaches the validity of religious truth-seeking.

 

Not all atheists ALWAYS reason this way, and MANY theists do use this same reasoning processes. I am not an atheist and I reason the way you describe, but I find many atheists making truth claims based on unsupported belief and prior commitments as opposed to reason and logic.

 

Second, while some atheistis might adopt metaphysical world views, the key issue is whether they have to by virtue of their atheistic beliefs.

 

The fact that they do is enough for this thread.

 

 

Since atheists only have to adopt the positivistic methodology, and make existence posits only on the basis of empirical evidence, mathematical interpretations of that evidence, and the minimal demands of coherence of the theory-structure built on that evidence, they are not naturally or inevitably committed to any metaphysical assumptions, as theists are by virtue of the defective relation between the kind of evidence they use and the ambitious hypotheses they affirm.

 

Both atheists and theist construct defective relations between evidence and conclusions, but neither group need to. A theist can adopt positivistic methodology and make make existence posits solely on empirical evidence and so forth. The dispute is always about what the evidence means. Theists observe and sense evidence. They simply reach different conclusions about what the evidence means. this dispute is not about the evidence it is about how and why the evidence came to be the way it is.

 

It would be a mistake to imagine that atheists are doing anything metaphysical by denying the existence of God even without having conducted an exhaustive inventory of everything in the universe to demonstrate that he is nowhere to be found.

 

Only some atheists make claims that are unwarranted. Only some have metaphysical beliefs based on prior commitments.

 

If it were to be regarded as metaphysical to say that there is no God unless his non-existence were proved by direct empirical evidence, then we would be forced actively to maintain the possibility that the Tooth Fairy is real.

 

I don't make this claim. Your example is a straw man.

 

The fact is that we can assert with confidence that extraordinary things do not exist unless there is very good evidence to prove them; we don't have to disprove them.

 

Nor do I make this claim. I have not seem anyone ask you to disprove anything. You are begging the question.

 

However many atheists do assert with confidence that the universe and everything in it has a material only source. This claim is metaphysical and lacks empirical support. It is certainly not following the method you describe.

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However many atheists do assert with confidence that the universe and everything in it has a material only source. This claim is metaphysical and lacks empirical support.

 

True. The correct claim here is that everything in the universe is explainable with only a material source. By Occam's Razor actively adding the extra axiom to exclude any other possibilities is inappropriate.

 

Why not? Can't I be a theist and believe that God created the universe and the laws of physics and allowed them to run their course?

 

Sure you can. There's no reason your theism has to extend to anything past creating the universe. In fact, I could be a theist and believe god is not involved whatsoever in this universe, not even its creation. But if you're not including god in an activity it is a secular activity.

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Why not? Can't I be a theist and believe that God created the universe and the laws of physics and allowed them to run their course?

 

Yes, but believing God created the laws of physics is different from believing he caused an apple to drop. That's a mechanistic result; one mass attracts another mass via gravity. It is removing God to a place where the hypothesis cannot be falsified. F=GMm/r^2 is not an example of theism, even if a theist is doing it.

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Cypress: There's nothing metaphysical in the atheist's assertion that the entire universe is material, since that assertion is simply based on induction from all the observable empirical evidence collected so far. Only someone asserting, as the theists do, that there are non-physical entities has a high burden of proof to meet for that statement, given that it is inconsistent with the natural extension of induction from all the cases observed so far.

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Cypress: There's nothing metaphysical in the atheist's assertion that the entire universe is material, since that assertion is simply based on induction from all the observable empirical evidence collected so far.

 

Straw man argument. I clearly referred to the source or cause of this material. Many atheists make bold claims about the source and cause of the material, the universe and the the configuration of much of this material including the configuration that results in life. You changed the claim to make it seem like I was referring only to the material itself.

 

 

Only someone asserting, as the theists do, that there are non-physical entities has a high burden of proof to meet for that statement, given that it is inconsistent with the natural extension of induction from all the cases observed so far.

 

Those who assert as many atheists do, that there is a material explanation for this universe, that material only causes are responsible for the configuration of this universe and life in it, also have a high burden of proof to meet for these statements. Many attempt to make a proof, but all attempts have failed.

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Only inferences based on material hypotheses yield the kind of results which are testable and satisfy positivistic criteria of evidence. This makes inferences based solely on material hypotheses methodologically superior, since we know that they are more easily disciplined by the demands of explanatory economy, testability, and reproducibility. Of course it is always theoretically possible that there may be immaterial causes, entities, or otherwise explanatory structures in the universe, but since once we allow immaterial hypotheses to enter our reasoning we open up a whole Pandora's Box of undisciplinable potential entities (phlogiston, calorique, the luminiferous aether, a space-time structure which acts but is not acted upon, the Tooth Fairy), this approach can only be adopted after we are certain that all reliable methodologies are truly exhausted.

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Lets see, how would this go,

 

Theist<----------------------------------------------------> Atheist

lightning is the wrath of God<-------------------------------->Lightning is electricity from the sky

 

Trying to control where lightning<--------------------------->Put this rod on your house or barn and it will

strikes is blasphemy!<--------------------------------------->prevent lightning strikes!

 

Now only churches are being hit...<-------------------------->Now! only churches are being hit...

 

Church says unfair standard being used to judge science and religion when talking about lightning?

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Only inferences based on material hypotheses yield the kind of results which are testable and satisfy positivistic criteria of evidence.

 

The mind is a prime cause for many testable and positivistic outcomes and yet the mind has not been shown to have a material only source and to be material only. Your claim is false.

 

In addition you once again have moved the goal post and failed to address the reality that many atheists don't follow this strict pattern. Those atheists who don't fight fair extend their conclusions well beyond what can be demonstrated by tests and evidence. Many even admit what they do; they admit that their conclusions are based on prior commitments.

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Since materialistic hypotheses are the preferred hypothetical form given their congruence with everything we can ordinarily agree exists in everyday ontology (we can all agree that the Earth is round but not that there are angels, for example), and since materialistic hypotheses are part of a more conservative and reliable form of explanation since they generate only testable, replicable, positivistic assertions, our default position is that the human brain and everything it generates is material. You can offer a proof that it might in fact be immaterial, but you would face a heavy burden of proof to establish this, given the primacy (set out above) of materialistic hypotheses.

 

If we are both wondering how the lights go on in the room when we flick the light switch, saying that electrons flow along the wires when the circuit switch permits this flow is always going to be the preferred explanatory form to saying that invisible fairies are carrying invisible lanterns in response to flicking the switch, given that testing procedures commanding public, ad oculo agreement can establish the first sort of explanatory entities but not the second sort. Also, once we start positing invisibles to explain anything, there is no limit to how many and how various our hypotheses can be, in contrast to positivistic explanations, which strictly limit our accounts to the minimum number and variety of material things required to cause the phenomenon in question. If invisible fairies with invisible lanterns can 'explain' the light arising from flicking the switch, then why not invisible trolls, dragons, ghosts, angels, or God?

 

In terms of the original question of this thread, when we are referring to 'atheists' and 'theists,' I think we have to attribute to them what they must essentially do in their thinking by the definition of the positions which designate them, rather than by what some atheists or theists empirically and contingently happen to believe in, which really has nothing to do with the question of the thread. Atheists and theists may contingently happen to believe in millions of different irrational and inconsistent theories just because any group will have divergent opinions on many subjects, but considering all the things they might believe or say won't clarify how atheists and theists MUST think per se in terms of how they are defined.

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Yet you are still moving the goal post because what you are arguing is evidence based arguments, which despite your claims, are not the exclusive domain of atheism, vs. unsupported claims, which are not the exclusive domain of theists. You are arguing a different topic than this thread. You are arguing evidence vs. conjecture, but the theists who fight fair do use an evidence based approach although you refuse to acknowledge that fact and the atheists who don't fight fair don't use an evidence based approach.

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Cypress, it has been asked several times in this thread to provide a theistic explanation for anything in the natural world that is more useful than a science explanation. so far you have skipped all around it but not provided any such example. I can provide a great many scientific explanations of natural phenomena that work quite well but none from theistic explanations, care to address this?

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Cypress: The proper answer to your point is to note that at least at the final stage of any argument for the existence of God, the theist must be willing to have resort to positing the existence of something immaterial -- in this case, God. But the proper inferential move in such a case would always be to await the further possibility of a materialistic explanation, for all the reasons specified above (the incongruity of introducing a new type of explanatory ontology, the essential limitlessness of immaterial hypotheses, the indiscipline of admitting non-testable, non-publicly displayable, non-repeatable, non-positivistic, non-operationally specifiable entites, with all the risks of false inferential steps they introduce, etc.). So no matter how far the theistically inclined reasoner could go, he would always at the last step either have to violate the canons of secure inference or stop before positing a God.

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Cypress, it has been asked several times in this thread to provide a theistic explanation for anything in the natural world that is more useful than a science explanation. so far you have skipped all around it but not provided any such example. I can provide a great many scientific explanations of natural phenomena that work quite well but none from theistic explanations, care to address this?

 

The question is an off topic diversion and thus a red herring. I am sorry but on this site the rules are clear. The topic here is whether or not atheists and theists fight fair. I note that neither side fights fair when they overextend their position beyond what the evidence can explain. Your claim that you can provide a great many scientific explanations is yet another example of the way many atheists don't fight fair. You are begging the question by implying that science is the exclusive providence of atheists when it is in fact not.

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You are begging the question by implying that science is the exclusive providence of atheists when it is in fact not.

It actually is unless you want to redefine the supernatural as being material. Supernatural, by definition, is outside the confines of science.

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Cypress: The proper answer to your point is to note that at least at the final stage of any argument for the existence of God, the theist must be willing to have resort to positing the existence of something immaterial -- in this case, God.

 

Nonsense. The theist making an evidence based argument would not ever posit something that cannot be supported by evidence, and there is no need to do so.

 

But the proper inferential move in such a case would always be to await the further possibility of a materialistic explanation, for all the reasons specified above (the incongruity of introducing a new type of explanatory ontology, the essential limitlessness of immaterial hypotheses, the indiscipline of admitting non-testable, non-publicly displayable, non-repeatable, non-positivistic, non-operationally specifiable entites, with all the risks of false inferential steps they introduce, etc.).

 

The proper move would be to leave all possible options open that are consistent with evidence but also note that the explanation that is most congruent with available evidence should be the one that is favored. Those like you who favor prior commitments (in your case an obvious bias to materialism) don't fight fair.

 

So no matter how far the theistically inclined reasoner could go, he would always at the last step either have to violate the canons of secure inference or stop before positing a God.

 

False, since a final cause escapes both the theist and atheist, neither side holds an advantage on this point. The atheist who favors materialism as you seem to actually has the more severe issue with recursion since all we know about material tells us it must have had a beginning, and thus cannot be a final cause. Your failure to address this is yet another way the atheist does not fight fair.

 

It actually is unless you want to redefine the supernatural as being material. Supernatural, by definition, is outside the confines of science.

 

The truth of my statement does not depend on the definition of supernatural. Theists make science based and evidence based arguments. Your claim is false and yet another example of how atheists don't fight fair.

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The atheist who favors materialism as you seem to actually has the more severe issue with recursion since all we know about material tells us it must have had a beginning, and thus cannot be a final cause. Your failure to address this is yet another way the atheist does not fight fair.

A materialist believes in the laws of conservation of matter and energy. Beginnings don't have to enter into it.

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The question is an off topic diversion and thus a red herring. I am sorry but on this site the rules are clear. The topic here is whether or not atheists and theists fight fair. I note that neither side fights fair when they overextend their position beyond what the evidence can explain. Your claim that you can provide a great many scientific explanations is yet another example of the way many atheists don't fight fair. You are begging the question by implying that science is the exclusive providence of atheists when it is in fact not.

 

You opened the door to this when you equated materialism with atheism many posts back.

 

Since this topic is about fighting fair in debate, it seems appropriate to speak of the arguments being made on both sides

 

Since you have previously claimed that it's fair to bring up the arguments, how about answering the question?

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You opened the door to this when you equated materialism with atheism many posts back.

 

When I noted that the group of atheists that don't fight fair seem to overwhelmingly overextend materialistic arguments, you admonished it as an off topic post. Are you going to remove that admonishment? Since you are no longer moderating this thread, I will instead stick to the site rules. Moontonman, you are welcome to start a new thread.

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When I noted that the group of atheists that don't fight fair seem to overwhelmingly overextend materialistic arguments, you admonished it as an off topic post. Are you going to remove that admonishment? Since you are no longer moderating this thread, I will instead stick to the site rules. Moontonman, you are welcome to start a new thread.

 

You argue that examples are on-topic when you want to use them, and now you are arguing that coming up with examples is off-topic, and try and hide behind the rules so that you don't have to present any. No, I won't remove the admonishment, because you are tacitly admitting that it was deserved!

 

What I will do, if desired, is split off the recent debate into a new thread.

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