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Author Topic:   The evolution of an atheist.
Bikerman
Member (Idle past 3036 days)
Posts: 276
From: Frodsham, Chester
Joined: 07-30-2010


Message 226 of 280 (577018)
08-26-2010 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 221 by GDR
08-26-2010 7:45 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
quote:
There is a case to be made for the existence of that intelligence

What case is there for the existence of such an intelligence? I have seen none produced yet...
The case against is easy. We know that life evolved on earth. We have several possible mechanisms for how it could have got going in the first place. We know pretty well where the universe originates, and though the theory is developing, there is no requirement, or even role for, a designer - other than possibly setting the quantum numbers on a dial and pressing a button, and even then there are more parsimonious explanations.
Given, then, that there is no requirement for a designer then to propose one it has to be justified in that it brings something to the table. Occam tells us that given the same phenomenon and two or more possible explanations with equal explaining 'power' , the explanation with the fewest additional entities is to be preferred.
So this Creator idea must earn its keep. It makes no predictions that I can think of that are refutable, so it adds no information to that already known. Therefore.....

(and the case just becomes even more clear when you take into account that you have added a whole new layer of complexity and not actually solved the basic assumption which leads you to propose the designer - viz who designed the designer. It is just regression in the name of avoiding it)

Edited by Bikerman, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 221 by GDR, posted 08-26-2010 7:45 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 233 by GDR, posted 08-26-2010 11:07 PM Bikerman has responded

    
Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 227 of 280 (577019)
08-26-2010 9:41 PM
Reply to: Message 223 by Minnemooseus
08-26-2010 8:56 PM


Re: The God lottery - and what about Hank
Minnemooseus writes:

The worldly existence of lotteries is certain while the concept of "God" is nebulous - It is hard to even define the possibilities of what "God" is.

My meaning was that a particular claim about a deity equates to a lottery ticket; it might be right, it might not. We don't know the odds, and within that pool of possible tickets is the ticket that says "No gods exist". There isn't really a "drawing" per se, one is right even if it is never chosen.

Minnemooseus writes:

Removing most of the extraneous baggage of worldly religions, I would state that the bare-bones definition of "God" would be "some extremely (if not omni) powerful entity who may choose to do (hopefully good) things for you".

See, this isn't required. Each ticket equates to a particular claim; the existence of the lottery isn't equated with the existence of the deity, the potential of the ticket winning is equated with the potential of the deity claim being correct.

Minnemooseus writes:

But while I would feel highly confident that no million from Hank is coming my way, I am considerably less confident that such a Hank might actually exist.

Or you could reasonably admit that you have no way to determine that Hank and his million don't exist, but that the evidence provided in support of the claim isn't sufficient for you to consider the offer legitimate.

In that case you are not making a positive claim so you bear no burden of proof. Considering you *have* no proof that seems the most appropriate position to take.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 223 by Minnemooseus, posted 08-26-2010 8:56 PM Minnemooseus has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 231 by Minnemooseus, posted 08-26-2010 10:42 PM Phage0070 has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 228 of 280 (577020)
08-26-2010 9:46 PM
Reply to: Message 223 by Minnemooseus
08-26-2010 8:56 PM


Re: The God lottery - and what about Hank
Minnemooseus writes:
The bare-bones version of "Kissing Hank's Ass":

Someone comes to you and tells you that there is this billionaire named Hank who will give you a million dollars if you kiss his ass (in the literal sense).


Now that you put it that way, I recognize Hank as a Nigerian 419 scammer.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 223 by Minnemooseus, posted 08-26-2010 8:56 PM Minnemooseus has acknowledged this reply

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4782
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 229 of 280 (577030)
08-26-2010 10:37 PM
Reply to: Message 224 by Bikerman
08-26-2010 9:14 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
Bikerman writes:

But it isn't a 2-way choice, and it has bugger-all to do with religion. You seem to be implying religion is the meaning and therefore atheism = no meaning.

It isn't black and white. I guess it's more where we put our emphasis. As for the last part, I'm not sure why you think I'm implying that as I'm not. We all make moral choices in this life no matter what we believe. I can see where an atheist would find all sorts of meaning in life. Family comes to mind as the most obvious one.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by Bikerman, posted 08-26-2010 9:14 PM Bikerman has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4782
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 230 of 280 (577031)
08-26-2010 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 225 by Phage0070
08-26-2010 9:14 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
Phage0070 writes:

If we actually don't know, then it not only addresses the issue but is the only honest approach.

Sure it's an honest approach but it has nothing to offer as to whether there is a creative intelligence behind our existence or not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 225 by Phage0070, posted 08-26-2010 9:14 PM Phage0070 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 232 by Phage0070, posted 08-26-2010 11:01 PM GDR has responded

    
Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3708
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 231 of 280 (577032)
08-26-2010 10:42 PM
Reply to: Message 227 by Phage0070
08-26-2010 9:41 PM


Re: The God lottery - and what about Hank
Minnemooseus writes:

But while I would feel highly confident that no million from Hank is coming my way, I am considerably less confident that such a Hank might actually exist.

Or you could reasonably admit that you have no way to determine that Hank and his million don't exist, but that the evidence provided in support of the claim isn't sufficient for you to consider the offer legitimate.

In that case you are not making a positive claim so you bear no burden of proof. Considering you *have* no proof that seems the most appropriate position to take.

I now see I said something other than what I meant to say:

...I am considerably less confident that such a Hank might actually exist.

should have been:

I am considerably less confident that such a Hank does not exist.

Anyway, you say I'm not making a positive claim. If I had said "(I believe) God/Hank does not exist", would that be a positive claim that calls for "proof" aka evidence? I stand that non-existence is a valid default (I believe they call it the null hypothesis). Is it possible to find evidence of non-existence? Of course not. You need to show me evidence that I'm wrong.

Moose


This message is a reply to:
 Message 227 by Phage0070, posted 08-26-2010 9:41 PM Phage0070 has not yet responded

    
Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 232 of 280 (577036)
08-26-2010 11:01 PM
Reply to: Message 230 by GDR
08-26-2010 10:40 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
GDR writes:

Sure it's an honest approach but it has nothing to offer as to whether there is a creative intelligence behind our existence or not.

Dishonest approaches which have more to offer on issues we don't actually have knowledge about are called "lies".

Just, you know, FYI.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 230 by GDR, posted 08-26-2010 10:40 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 234 by GDR, posted 08-26-2010 11:09 PM Phage0070 has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4782
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 233 of 280 (577037)
08-26-2010 11:07 PM
Reply to: Message 226 by Bikerman
08-26-2010 9:23 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
Bikerman writes:

What case is there for the existence of such an intelligence?

All of things that you listed are very interesting,(although in some cases you resorted to a "science of the gaps" argument), but they are all instances of how things happened.

If you are going to decide on theism vs atheism you have to look at what caused things to happen.

Let's assume that science can produce a chemical solution to abiogensis. We would think ourselves very clever but in order for that to happen someone would have to reproduce the situation that first brought life into the world. In other words the scientist in question would be the initiator or the designer if you like of this second abiogenesis. That then begs the question of who or what caused abiogenesis all those millions of years ago.

So even after that huge leap forward in science we are still left with the question of whether all things have a material cause or whether there is a cause from an external intelligence.

The case is that we have something instead of nothing, we have cellular life emerging from basic molecules, and from single celled creatures we have evolved into sentient beings. No matter how much science is able to explain to us how that happened it can only speculate as to what caused it to happen. It either happened through materialistic chance, (or however you want to word it but you know what I mean), or it was designed by a designer. The choice isn't a scientific one. Science is agnostic.

There are all the other arguments such as the fine tuning of the universe that can be made by those who are qualified to make them. Iím sure you know them better than I do but in the end we all draw our own conclusions.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 226 by Bikerman, posted 08-26-2010 9:23 PM Bikerman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 235 by Bikerman, posted 08-26-2010 11:25 PM GDR has responded
 Message 238 by Rrhain, posted 08-27-2010 3:36 AM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4782
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 234 of 280 (577038)
08-26-2010 11:09 PM
Reply to: Message 232 by Phage0070
08-26-2010 11:01 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
Phage0070 writes:

Dishonest approaches which have more to offer on issues we don't actually have knowledge about are called "lies".

Honest approaches which have more to offer on issues we don't have sufficient knowledge about are called "opinions".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 232 by Phage0070, posted 08-26-2010 11:01 PM Phage0070 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 239 by Theodoric, posted 08-27-2010 10:05 AM GDR has not yet responded

    
Bikerman
Member (Idle past 3036 days)
Posts: 276
From: Frodsham, Chester
Joined: 07-30-2010


Message 235 of 280 (577039)
08-26-2010 11:25 PM
Reply to: Message 233 by GDR
08-26-2010 11:07 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
quote:
Let's assume that science can produce a chemical solution to abiogensis. We would think ourselves very clever but in order for that to happen someone would have to reproduce the situation that first brought life into the world. In other words the scientist in question would be the initiator or the designer if you like of this second abiogenesis. That then begs the question of who or what caused abiogenesis all those millions of years ago.
This is a nonsense argument. Firstly you don't have to show something happening for it to be scientifically valid. And secondly it doesn't beg any question - begging the question is a fallacy. Any such explanation has to setout what steps are involved and I'm pretty sure none of them will be 'Miracle' or 'Designer'.
quote:
o even after that huge leap forward in science we are still left with the question of whether all things have a material cause or whether there is a cause from an external intelligence.
No, we aren't. You are, but the logic of your position is unsustainable. Your entire justification is that if we can invent something then it implies any natural analogue requires design. That is classic begging the question. There must be a designer because a designer is required. So like most instances of begging the question, it is also completely tautologous and therefore adds nothing.
It completely misses the point that this is no argument at all because it is regressive - it simply shifts the problem down a stage, it doesn't actually answer the question which you seem to think science needs some help with...

Science isn't agnostic. An agnostic is one who doesn't believe the existence of God can be proved or disproved. Science is a way of thinking about things and to that extent it admits no such pre-conditions.

The fact is that you still haven't given an answer to 'what evidence'.
The choice is between coherent, logically consistent and self-consistent theories, and nothing at all. There isn't any evidence and science doesn't deal with personal revelation. So there is a scientific explanation, sometimes several competing ones, or there is faith in a creator intelligence, unevidenced. It isn't a choice...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 233 by GDR, posted 08-26-2010 11:07 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 236 by GDR, posted 08-27-2010 12:32 AM Bikerman has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4782
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 236 of 280 (577043)
08-27-2010 12:32 AM
Reply to: Message 235 by Bikerman
08-26-2010 11:25 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
Bikerman writes:

This is a nonsense argument. Firstly you don't have to show something happening for it to be scientifically valid.


That's fine. I just used an example but the point still holds true. Science may well explain abiogenesis but that is something different than saying what caused it.
Bikerman writes:

And secondly it doesn't beg any question - begging the question is a fallacy. Any such explanation has to setout what steps are involved and I'm pretty sure none of them will be 'Miracle' or 'Designer'.

I guess that the uninterested wouldn't ask the question but it is a question both of us have already considered. There are no steps as this isn't a scientific question. It is an opinion based on whatever it is we have to go on.

Bikerman writes:

No, we aren't. You are, but the logic of your position is unsustainable. Your entire justification is that if we can invent something then it implies any natural analogue requires design. That is classic begging the question. There must be a designer because a designer is required. So like most instances of begging the question, it is also completely tautologous and therefore adds nothing.

Not at all. I don't think anyone questions the idea that this world has the appearance of design. That however is not the same thing as it actually be designed. If you like I'll rephrase things that way. The question then is, does the world just have the appearance of being designed or is it actually designed. I have my opinion or belief, and you have yours which is the opposite of mine.

Bikerman writes:

Science isn't agnostic. An agnostic is one who doesn't believe the existence of God can be proved or disproved. Science is a way of thinking about things and to that extent it admits no such pre-conditions.

Hmmmm...maybe. I would consider that it is possible that science could prove God, but I can't see how it is possible to disprove Him but I have a hunch you might disagree.

Bikerman writes:

The fact is that you still haven't given an answer to 'what evidence'.
The choice is between coherent, logically consistent and self-consistent theories, and nothing at all. There isn't any evidence and science doesn't deal with personal revelation. So there is a scientific explanation, sometimes several competing ones, or there is faith in a creator intelligence, unevidenced. It isn't a choice...

Well... I've said all along that Christianity is a faith but I don't accept that it is a blind faith. There are a large number of people far brighter than me, and possibly even brighter than you that do believe as I do, which doesn't prove anything except to demonstrate that it is an accepted belief for a number of thoughtful people. Is it evidence? No. The Bible exists and purports to tell us about God. Is it evidence? Yes, but only if we are prepared to give it credibility. I have emotions and am self aware. Is that evidence? It's evidence of something but we can't be sure what.

I have drawn, then altered and altered again the conclusions that I have come to. It's been an interesting process for me and it goes on. I don't expect to either prove my position or convince you to change yours. My goal was just to have you and anyone else reading this to have something of an understanding of how I have come to my beliefs. I think that is similar to your reason for starting this thread.

I see you having another sleepless night. Enjoy the sunrise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by Bikerman, posted 08-26-2010 11:25 PM Bikerman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 237 by Bikerman, posted 08-27-2010 2:47 AM GDR has responded

    
Bikerman
Member (Idle past 3036 days)
Posts: 276
From: Frodsham, Chester
Joined: 07-30-2010


Message 237 of 280 (577070)
08-27-2010 2:47 AM
Reply to: Message 236 by GDR
08-27-2010 12:32 AM


Re: Theology and Imagination
quote:
Not at all. I don't think anyone questions the idea that this world has the appearance of design. That however is not the same thing as it actually be designed. If you like I'll rephrase things that way. The question then is, does the world just have the appearance of being designed or is it actually designed. I have my opinion or belief, and you have yours which is the opposite of mine.
No. You sort of get there and lose it at the end. Yes, we have the appearance of desig, no it isn't actually design. That's not just an opinion. Evolution can't accomodate directed evolution and it is the only theory around. It is a straight case of Occam, the God hypothesis explains/predicts nothing, doesn't solve the imaginary first-cause problem and involves introducing a new infinite, or at least massively complex, entity. It cannot be logically sustained.
quote:
Hmmmm...maybe. I would consider that it is possible that science could prove God, but I can't see how it is possible to disprove Him but I have a hunch you might disagree.
How many times?....science doesn't do proof.
quote:
There are a large number of people far brighter than me, and possibly even brighter than you that do believe as I do, which doesn't prove anything except to demonstrate that it is an accepted belief for a number of thoughtful people. Is it evidence? No. The Bible exists and purports to tell us about God. Is it evidence? Yes, but only if we are prepared to give it credibility. I have emotions and am self aware. Is that evidence? It's evidence of something but we can't be sure what.
Well, the appeal to authority is of course useless because there IS no authority. It is also dangerous ground to move onto because a hell of a lot more smartpeople don't believe.
The bible isn't evidence unless you are prepared to take third party unwitnessed accounts, which contain inconsistencies & fabrications, and have no historical support. It isn't a case of credibility, it is blind faith.
Emotions and self-awareness is evidence that we have emotions and are self-aware. Why would be it evidence for something else? Is the fact that I have 2 ears and a left hand signify something special? Or is it simply a series of evolutionary adaptations? I see no reason to believe otherwise.

I think the case you really have is summarised in a sentence.

"I am self-conscious and I cannot accept that this 'me' can one day just stop.."

It is human and understandable - anyone who cannot empathise probably hasn't thought about it enough.
There is no good reason to think it is true and lots of reasons to think otherwise. We know that the 'you' that is so wonderfully unique in all of us - that 'You' can be switched off at will with the right drugs. We also know a great deal about what happens to that 'you' when different physical brain damage occurs. There is no possible mechanism for storing memory, consciousness and personality after death, so it is left as 'a matter of faith' but it is absurd. Once the brain is dead then anything that was or could be considered 'you' is gone. It cannot be otherwise - there is no storage device in a body suitable for duplicating consciousness. As far as we know the minimum complexity of such a container would be brain-like. So the notion of a soul is a nice little myth, but it always had problems and modern science renders it completely redundant.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 236 by GDR, posted 08-27-2010 12:32 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 240 by GDR, posted 08-27-2010 9:13 PM Bikerman has responded

    
Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 238 of 280 (577073)
08-27-2010 3:36 AM
Reply to: Message 233 by GDR
08-26-2010 11:07 PM


GDR writes:

quote:
Let's assume that science can produce a chemical solution to abiogensis. We would think ourselves very clever but in order for that to happen someone would have to reproduce the situation that first brought life into the world. In other words the scientist in question would be the initiator or the designer if you like of this second abiogenesis. That then begs the question of who or what caused abiogenesis all those millions of years ago.

We're back to the question that never gets answered! Yay!

Is there anything that happens on its own or is god required for everything?

For example, suppose I take a handful of change and toss it on the ground. Do the coins come to their final position on their own or does god come down and personally, deliberately, and consciously place each coin in its final position?

If they come to their position on their own, why would humans being able to create life chemically make humans the "designer"? It isn't like they are manually adjusting the chemical bonds of the molecules. They aren't grabbing individual atoms and pushing around electrons to create covalent and ionic bonds. Instead, they're just putting chemicals together and letting them react all on their own.

Whether I put the vinegar and baking soda together or whether or not an earthquake shakes the shelves causing the box of baking soda to split open as it his the ground and the bottle of vinegar to shatter as it his the ground is immaterial. I am not the one causing the reaction between the acid and the base. How the chemicals get in proximity of each other such that they can react is of no consequence to the fact that they do react when in proximity. That happens all on its own.

Unless, of course, nothing happens on its own.

Is there anything that happens on its own?


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 233 by GDR, posted 08-26-2010 11:07 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 241 by GDR, posted 08-27-2010 9:19 PM Rrhain has responded

    
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5954
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 239 of 280 (577140)
08-27-2010 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 234 by GDR
08-26-2010 11:09 PM


Re: Theology and Imagination
Phage0070 writes:

Dishonest approaches which have more to offer on issues we don't actually have knowledge about are called "lies".

Honest approaches which have more to offer on issues we don't have sufficient knowledge about are called "opinions".

Gee I see you don't disagree with Phage on his point. I guess you feel much better with lies than opinions?

This one post completely crystallizes your worldview and beliefs. No thank you, I don't need any more lies in my life. Opinions are more than welcome, but no lies please.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
This message is a reply to:
 Message 234 by GDR, posted 08-26-2010 11:09 PM GDR has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4782
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 240 of 280 (577270)
08-27-2010 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 237 by Bikerman
08-27-2010 2:47 AM


Re: Theology and Imagination
Bikerman writes:

No. You sort of get there and lose it at the end. Yes, we have the appearance of desig, no it isn't actually design. That's not just an opinion. Evolution can't accomodate directed evolution and it is the only theory around. It is a straight case of Occam, the God hypothesis explains/predicts nothing, doesn't solve the imaginary first-cause problem and involves introducing a new infinite, or at least massively complex, entity. It cannot be logically sustained.

The study of evolution is the study of what happened. Why can't it be designed or directed? Occam is just a principle. When you are looking for solutions you should first consider the simplest one. It has nothing to do with what the actual solution is. You keep invoking occam has if it's evidence.

Bikerman writes:

"I am self-conscious and I cannot accept that this 'me' can one day just stop.."

This is your version of the old condescending Marxist "opiate of the masses" view. What I'm interested in is the truth. I happen to believe that there is more to this world than we are able to perceive with our 5 senses.

Bikerman writes:

It is human and understandable - anyone who cannot empathise probably hasn't thought about it enough.
There is no good reason to think it is true and lots of reasons to think otherwise. We know that the 'you' that is so wonderfully unique in all of us - that 'You' can be switched off at will with the right drugs. We also know a great deal about what happens to that 'you' when different physical brain damage occurs. There is no possible mechanism for storing memory, consciousness and personality after death, so it is left as 'a matter of faith' but it is absurd. Once the brain is dead then anything that was or could be considered 'you' is gone. It cannot be otherwise - there is no storage device in a body suitable for duplicating consciousness. As far as we know the minimum complexity of such a container would be brain-like. So the notion of a soul is a nice little myth, but it always had problems and modern science renders it completely redundant.

All of that is absolutely true, but only if the materialistic view of the world is correct. If there is a spirtitual or other-dimensional aspect to our existence then there are other possibilities.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 237 by Bikerman, posted 08-27-2010 2:47 AM Bikerman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 242 by crashfrog, posted 08-27-2010 9:28 PM GDR has responded
 Message 250 by Bikerman, posted 08-28-2010 11:55 AM GDR has responded

    
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