The atheists' dilemma

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by voiceofwood, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    And yet the simplest expression moves mountains ... and, of course, it begs the question as to whether a sophisticated idea of God is any more essentially 'real' or 'true' than the most naive expression?

    Personally, I don't think so.

    The French phenomenologist Murleau-Ponty said 'to know something, you have to be able to make a tour of it'. If you can't conceive it, in its entirety, you can't know it.

    How well can we really expect to know anyone?

    And yet we venture to declare we know God.

    You do not go for the paternal image. It's not one that draws me, either. My faith is far more kataphatic than the average.

    But to call the apophatic declaration 'nonsense' is a highly subjective opinion not supported by the lived example of those who do think in those terms.

    Their idea of a paternal old man with a long grey beard sitting on a throne is no more nonsense than yours of 'elder brother' (an idea, it seems to me, He specifically distanced Himself from) and 'way-shower'. They're both equally subjective and anthropocentric.

    Way shower? I do not believe I have to get myself crucified to experience God.

    (Nor do I perceive any need to crucify anyone else for what they believe.)

    We would all, I think, refute as nonsense 'the divine right of kings', and indeed it is popular to refute as nonsense the 'simple' or 'naive' belief of others (as we see it).

    But are we sure our notion of 'the divine right of me' is not equally nonsensical?

    I am as yet not aware of anyone successfully demonstrating why the 'naive' expression is deficient?

    I can see plenty of flaws in the argument 'I know what's best for me'.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    oh too much fun my nuclear trigger brother...
    Simplest expression some giant convoluted mythology god?
    I don't venture to know... I know of a feeling for me...an explanation for you (generic royal you) will always be wanting
    Nonsense to me, and nonsense to teach kids...I got no issues with imaginary things like santa clause or easter bunnies....all in good fun, but why start off with confusion??
    My elder brother is not of G!d but of that mangod that walked the earth...
    lol, there you go again...the nuclear option that nobody initiated... Did any male doctor experience pregnancy or abortion before he performed the operation? Do I need to turn off a faucet to know that what someone taught me is true? Now metaphysically...how many times have we been crucified? Killing off our old self, our old ways, our old beliefs, going thru the trials, take this cup from me, wilderness experiences, fighting with the our own devils??? Thanks to the wayshower, our elder brother who has gone before us we can see our way thru and understand it is all a process.
    yeah...
    my divine rights end when your divine rights begin... is that so tough, or do you need to be more almighty?


    Seriously in my country, that stalwart belief in the old guy in the sky, turns into adults who say things like the great flood created the grand canyon, or that women can't get pregnant from rape, or white folks and black folks shouldn't mate...it is biblical.

    Whenever you decide to visit the US...don't miss Virtual Tour | Creation Museum
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I don't think the well-founded atheist suffers any more of a dilemma than the well-founded believer.

    I think anyone who sets out to live the best kind of life he or she can, within the parameters of love per se, which is all-inclusive of 'the other', and not simply the love-of-self which excludes 'the other' is someone to be admired.

    Given that proviso, I'm not particularly sure God's bothered either way ...
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    see there....agreement
     
  5. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    How did I miss the target? Please explain.

    Oh, I see I did post my post, more or less repeated in #97, above. It's #3 in the Ultimate Proof of God thread.
     
  6. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    And the angels wept, for they saw that it was good.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    lol, silly angels.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Well you might find it 'convoluted', or assume it 'mythology' ... but that's you.

    A more useful and less prejudicial response would be to say "I don't get it, but... " or "This is one way, but it doesn't do it for me ... " Instead of "it's nonsense... "

    Your words rather suggest you don't understand, which would be a more honest and less prejudicial response, than to say it's nonsense.

    And you haven't really answered the question.

    ... and yet ...
    Then you're passing your prejudices on to the young. You're just turning out mini versions of yourself.

    But you do have issues ... and you impress them on the young ... I mean, just because you're confused, doesn't mean everyone else is.

    You do rather assume, it seems, that your way is the only right way of thinking.

    Not everyone, Wil, that's the point. You choose to classify an entire range of thought under the banner of a particular negative stereotype, because you choose to see everyone that way.

    That's prejudice, Wil.

    There you go again, d'you not see? Always 'we' are never quite as cool and right-on as you ... :D
     
  9. Shibolet

    Shibolet Well-Known Member

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    So, what is taking you so long to tell me what Logic is in your opinion?
     
  10. Shibolet

    Shibolet Well-Known Member

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    Love here as all-inclusive of the other, is not love per se but respect. No one who professes to love his neighbor is supposed to be believed. He probably means respect.
     
  11. Shibolet

    Shibolet Well-Known Member

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    When we don't know how and why things happened, we must be open to the concept of probability and I missed that characteristic in your post #97.
    Yes, I do expect atheists to confess that among all possibilities, there is also a "place" for the existence of the Primal Cause. They usually don't acknowledge that possibility as if the only thing they are sure of is that the Supreme Creator is not in the picture to exist even as a theory.
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    No he means love....you don't have to like, you don't have to respect....but you are asked to love.



    There you go again, d'you not see? Always 'we' are never quite as cool and right-on as you ...

    Yes Thomas, I am 'cool' because of my inability to express in words the concepts that I have in my heart and mind. too funny....


    Michelangelo slowed the expansion of Christian ideas forever by that silly painting on the ceiling....imo. And the concept of a larger than life passive aggressive off his meds G!d throwing plagues or bumper crops on a whim while keeping a spreadsheet of the good and bad is what drives people to leave the church and become atheists or agnostics.....so there is some good in that I suppose.
     
  13. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    I'm sorry Shibolet but I'm still unclear about what you think about my post #97. I have 3 questions, each with 3 or more options for your answer, including "none of the above."

    Q1 :When you say you missed the characteristic of probability in my post, do you mean


    1. you missed it because you weren't reading carefully enough, and in fact, it was there?
    2. you missed it because it wasn't there.
    3. none of the above (please explain)

    Q2:Here you appear to be speaking of atheists in general. What do you think of my response to the question. Did I

    1. acknowledge the possibility that the Supreme Creator might be the Primal Cause?
    2. deny it.?
    3. none of the above (please explain)
    Q3: In your current opinion, do I

    1. miss the target completely ? (if so what am I getting wrong?)
    2. get some of it right? (if so what am I still getting wrong?)
    3. get all of it right?
    4. None of the above.
     
  14. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    Wil, why is it important to call other beliefs silly or convoluted, what dose that add?
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Well none of us can express our innermost feelings. But there's nothing funny about the prejudice you spout, and you have no difficulty in expressing them.

    Maybe it's your prejudices that renders quite simple notions as 'confused' and 'convoluted'?

    Oh dear ... another bundle of silly prejudices ...
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I am an Atheist to anyone who insists G!d is some larger than life white male human made in our image.

    I am Agnostic to any 'supreme, super natural being/entity'

    I am Panentheist as I see G!d, an essence, not physical presence, but a principle a law that is in us all between us all binding us all as one.

    and for your benefit....If you believe in THOR or ZEUS or any similar cartoon character as G!d almighty, king and creator of the universe....I'll try to stifle my chuckles.
     
  17. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    In a rather stark contrast to your motto that Whatever Works for You.
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    You are correct, it is hot and humid, and I should respond and not react.

    I have more in line though, more tolerance for those that believe in the flying spaghetti monster than those that insist the world is flat.
     
  19. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    Just want to get a read on you!
     
  20. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Hi Shibolet.

    I don't like labels.
    But technically - in the theist/atheist debate - I am more on your side of the fence than on the other.
    But typically, in this kind of debate, atheists have better arguments - because atheists base their arguments within a "critical thinking" process. Theists, all too often, retreat to older (pre-scientific) forms of disputation, frequently to Aristotelian-style logic - most of which is outmoded, leaving the theist's argument extraordinarily lame for anyone who is up-to-date as a modern thinker.
    1. First premise: The universe is composed of matter;
    2. Second premise: Matter cannot cause itself to exist;
    3. Resultant premise: Therefore, the universe was caused to exist.
    --Shibolet, Post #88.
    1. Your First Premise is very solid. As long as you admit that matter can be converted into energy and energy converted into matter. And that there is a conservation of matter/energy - i.e. that the same total amount of matter/energy which existed at the Big Bang still exists within the Universe today, and will continue to do so.

    2. Your Second Premise is so weak that it could probably be described as "dead wrong," not just "unlikely." The underlying assumption of this premise is that the Big Bang "created" all matter/energy. I am no astrophysicist, but I doubt any astrophysicist actually believes that. The much more logical argument is that matter/energy has always existed: i.e. there has never been a time when matter/energy has not existed.

    Before the Big Bang, the Universe was compacted into one massively small Black Hole. And some random event within the compact organization of that primordial Black Hole tipped the then extant arrangement (of matter/energy) within the Black Hole into a condition so volatile as to generate "critical mass," triggering the explosion. The Big Bang did not "create" the Universe as we know it. The Big Bang was just one "tipping point" event in a series of tipping-point events which intermittently breakdown the existing ecosystem (i.e. the elements of the universe organized in one particular way) and build a new ecosystem (the universe organized in a new way - which, in some sense, is an entirely new universe):
    Day One: Black Hole (a configuration of matter/energy which scientists are as yet unable to experimentally or mathematically describe).
    Day Two: Big Bang - "gravity" separates from the "electronuclear" force and the resulting (cooling/expanding) stew of subatomic particles produces the "Grand Unification Epoch."
    Day Three: the "strong-force" separates from the "electronuclear force" producing the "Electroweak Epoch."
    Day Four: the "weak-force" separates from the "electromagnetic force" producing the "Quark Epoch."
    Day Five: quarks become confined within hadrons producing the "Hadron Epoch."
    Day Six: neutrinos cease to interact with other particles producing the "Lepton Epoch."
    Day Seven: lepton and anti-lepton pairs annihilate producing the "Photon Epoch."
    Day Eight: hydrogen and helium nuclei capture electrons to form stable atoms which produces the "Dark Ages."
    Day Nine: the first stars begin to shine (". . . And then there was light").
    Eight days pass before the God of Genesis 1 gets involved and adds on His seven days to the process.
    Each of these pre-Genesis epochs are defined in terms of self-organizing, self-regulating ecosystems. So why should any of us have reason to believe that the next seven days "of creation" are any different?

    3. Your Resultant premise does not follow, Shibolet. There is no one linear cause which "created" the Universe.
    The "Universe" is actually a series of short-lived ecosystems, each of which were relatively stable until they hit a tipping point. Chaos ensued but matter/energy rapidly stabilized, however being now organized in a new configuration. Until . . . the cooling/expanding universe crosses another critical line - cannot hold together - and transforms (i.e. organizationally dies and is reborn-transfigured) once again . . . And on it goes.
    (Same is true of biological evolution on Planet Earth: many long stable periods which reached a tipping-point, chaos ensues but eventually the planetary biological ecosystem re-stabilizes under a new "self-organizing" principle. But with much sudden genetic change - i.e. new species - occurring during that transformational moment of instability.)

    Ecosystem. And tipping-point.
    (Self-organization. And a critical-point at which the existing organization destabilizes.)

    All material systems need matter and energy to operate. But they also need two immaterial elements to regulate matter and energy: i.e. homeostasis (relative stability) and flexibility (quanta of instability in order to either adapt to or to anticipate change). The better these immaterial regulators work, the more viable the ecosystem is.
    (Read up on Ecological theory and Chaos theory - i.e. "nonlinear" systems - and on "nonlinear causality" more generally.)

    The Polytheistic gods of the ancient world were gods of homeostasis (they purportedly "created" the world of domesticated plants and animals, intending it as a stable and orderly world, a logical and just world).
    The later Monotheistic deity also purportedly "created" an orderly and just world. But He was, by contrast, also a deity of instability, a deity who anticipates meaningful change. (As did also the non-deistic "Dao" of the 300 BCE Chinese.)

    "Creation" is bad science (i.e. not how God works) regarding the larger/surrounding environment (i.e. God is too sophisticated to work in the same simplistic linear manner as the polytheistic deities did).

    But 99.7% of the cultures on this planet, at core, have exactly the same Creation Myth as the "next culture over" does (though a detail here or there might be different). And every one of them touts the exact same Creation Myth as the one found in Genesis 1. But this mega-myth has been around for 45,000 years, passed on generation to generation. And (to my eye) has served the human race pretty well.

    The mega-myth deals in dualities. A creator god splits the world conceptually in two. Then splits each part of the world - once the part is fully comprehended - in two again. Each split part is a "creature" (a "big idea") which is then assigned "to manage" some portion of creation.
    Checkout recent neurological research: this is exactly how an infant's brain begins to develop from Day One after birth. The child actively separates one thing from another, then employs each piece as an animated concept to organize portions of reality . . . which is done, so that the child begins to feel like they are in control of their immediate perceptual reality:
    He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "Day," and the darkness He called "Night" . . .
    God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault "Sky" . . .
    "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "Land," and the gathered waters He called "Seas" . . .
    "Let there be lights in the vault of Sky to separate Day from Night" . . . God made two great lights - the greater light to govern Day and the lesser light to govern Night . . .
    --Genesis 1:3-18.
    We read this as poet language today. But Creation stories across the planet took this all very literally. The creation of paired-creatures (Day/Night, Sky/Earth, Land/Sea, Sun/Moon), which populate the world, are creatures who actively interact with humans. The Priestly-author who scribbled Genesis 1 (25 centuries ago) worked very hard to de-anthropomorphize the language of this 45,000 year old myth, but he or she only half-succeeded.
    --Genesis 1 as an accurate image of the objective/external universe of planetary humans? . . . Dead wrong!

    --Genesis 1 as an accurate image of the subjective/perceptual universe of the developing infant? . . . Probably pretty damn close!
    What you are looking at in all cosmological (creation) myths . . . is the infancy of God . . . Who is learning to learn (who is self-educating).
    This myth is . . . part memory of a person's (pre-language) nonverbal self back in infancy. And is . . . part-guide to help the now-parent/adult to interact with their newborn infant in an intuitively effective manner - regarding the child's cognitive development - during the 20 or so months before this child learns to grammatically speak.
    Cosmological myths accurately indicate how infants actually "create" their reality - a procedure involving (very early cognitive: nonverbal) thinking processes.

    Shibolet, (as I see it) the only truth about "Creation" - as a linear causal process - is this neuro-biological one.
    And as a part-time theologist . . . I can live with that!

    Can you?

    Jane.

     

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