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Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 31

by johnsonav (#43469417) Attached to: Atheism is irrational

No, it's still just an argument. Perhaps you mean to say that one of the premises of this argument has recently received some sort of empirical confirmation?

Either way, the linked post isn't a particularly good presentation of the Kalam argument. Which is why I referenced the far more complete and careful presentation above. Any discussion of the argument, and its theological implications (if any) will probably deal with points touched on there (and not in the linked post).

Comment: Fallacy (Score 1) 214

(By the way, I've been unable to find a precise name for the cognitive fallacy wherein if you observe that all things which achieve goal Z have attribute X, then you come to think that attribute X is a good predictor of achieving goal Z. It's not the same as the "post hoc fallacy" or the mistaken belief that "correlation equals causation," because both of those are about the illusion of causation. I'm talking about the correlation being an illusion in the first place â" where people come to believe that attribute X is a good predictor of achieving result Z, ignoring the fact that there may be enormous numbers of cases where attribute X is true, but which never go on to achieve result Z. If you know the exact name of that fallacy, shoot me an email and submit a comment below.)

Sounds kinda like the base rate fallacy to me.

Comment: Re:Proof? (Score 1) 18

by johnsonav (#35393590) Attached to: Atheist and Faith

But proof of what? If I observe what appears to be water, is that proof that I'm observing actual water? (I'm thinking of mirage situations.)

Insofar as our senses are fallible, an observation that appears to be an X can only be evidence, not proof, that one has observed an actual X.

Comment: Proof? (Score 1) 18

by johnsonav (#35386956) Attached to: Atheist and Faith

I think the need for "proof" before believing something to be true is wrongheaded. "Proof" is the kind of thing one gets in mathematics. I haven't got a proof that Washington was the first president, that I have a brother, or that the sun will rise tomorrow; but I believe each of those things. What I do have, however, is quite a lot of evidence that those things are true. Am I being irrational, by your lights?

But replacing "proof" with "evidence" leaves your main thesis in a questionable position. Because the theist will be quick to point out that he *does* have evidence for his position: the testimony of those who profess to have had experiences with God, the existence of some holy book which purports to be about the deity in question, and a plethora of arguments from natural theology. I'm not suggesting that these things constitute *sufficient* evidence, or even especially strong evidence. But they are evidence.

I might suggest a reformulation along Clifford's lines: "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."

Assuming one follows that maxim, and assuming that there is insufficient evidence to believe the proposition "God exists" either true or false, one would seem to be more agnostic than atheist.

Comment: Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 729

by johnsonav (#35053708) Attached to: Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

Well, ok. I promise this is my last post. I understand its not very fair to you to just wave my hands and tell you how stupid this argument is, if you've never had it. Its the theological equivalent of talking to a intro to physics student about the absolute speed of light. They always propose hypothetical situations, which you already know they are going to be wrong without them asking. I just thought I'd head you off at the pas and give you some time to reflect on the flaw before getting into a heated debate. But given the way our discussion has already gone, you don't seem to be picking it up, or understanding 80 % of my posts. If you don't understand Calculus, its tough to teach ODE, no? So consider this the physics for poets digest.

I'll ignore the condescension, since you actually follow it up by talking about the argument itself.

Me: #2 fails because I believe an All knowing, All loving God can have reasonable people who do not believe in him. A principle in many denominations of Christianity is that of God granting us free will. If we have free will, we can choose or not choose to believe in God.

We can choose our beliefs? Even with a libertarian view of free will, it isn't simply a given that we are capable of choosing our beliefs. You need some kind of doxastic voluntarism to be true, for this to be an objection to the argument. Do you have any evidence that this is the case?

Additionally, he has given us testimonials form other credible sources, but prefers to let other humans do the Evangelization. It does not logically follow that an all Loving Creator God must directly communicate with his creation.

Nothing in the argument entails that a perfectly loving God must directly communicate with his creation. This is nothing more than a red herring.

You: An All loving God would want everyone to know he exists, so they could love him too!

Not quite. A perfectly loving God would want everyone to believe that he exists, because such a belief is required for a mutually explicit, meaningful love relationship to exist between God and his creations. I don't know what else "perfectly loving" could mean, other than the desire to participate in such a relationship with everyone who was willing.

[more red herrings and straw men]

Not much else to respond to here.

Comment: Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 729

by johnsonav (#35049844) Attached to: Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

I'm not sure at all what to make of your "warnings". Do you not think it important to understand the meanings of the words we use, or to aim for precision in that understanding? If your understanding of "unsurpassable" (note: not simply "unsurpassed") or "perfectly loving" differs from mine, that's fine. But to suggest that there's some harm in being exacting when talking about these issues seems a little odd.

Comment: Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 729

by johnsonav (#35049068) Attached to: Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

Well, honestly you failed on step #2. We could argue about it, but it would really just you arguing that a God you don't believe exists must display a certain property in a certain way, in order for you to prove that he doesn't exist. It gets circular, and really just ends up with you defining a God you don't want to exist, and I certainly wouldn't want to exist ( believer that I am). its stupid and a waste of time, as all proofs and disproofs of God are.

Well, sure. This argument only "works" if you understand "God" to be a perfect or unsurpassable being. If you don't think God is such a thing, then it probably doesn't apply to whatever that thing is. But that's very different than the enterprise of natural theology/atheology being a waste of time.

Comment: Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 729

by johnsonav (#35047074) Attached to: Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

Disprove the existence of God. It's OK. I'll wait.

Well, I'm not the person you asked. But I'll give it a go.

1) If there is a God, he is perfectly loving.
2) If a perfectly loving God exists, reasonable non-belief in the existence of God does not occur.
3) Reasonable non-belief in the existence of God does occur.
4) No perfectly loving God exists.
5) There is no God. (Schellenberg 1993: 83)

Comment: Re:The Kalam Argument - Epic Win (Score 1) 631

by johnsonav (#33020648) Attached to: Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

1) Time cannot have started an infinite amount of time ago, because adding a finite amount of time to a negative inifnity will never result in the present day.
2) Therefore the universe cannot be infinitely old
3) Therefore it had a starting moment
4) Therefore it is more likely it was created than not.

Sadly, this isn't even valid. At least the modern, three-premise version of the argument (as defended by William Lane Craig) has that going for it. However, something like this is appropriated by Craig as justification for his second premise. Unfortunately, his arguments for the impossibility of an "actual infinite" fail just as badly.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy

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