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Old 03-11-2007, 01:33 PM   #77
Mike Doolittle
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Nic, a couple pages back I linked to some stuff that talks in more depth about Kant's philosophy from a theistic perspective. No, Kant wasn't opposing the process of logic. But, Kant was a professed theist. He believed like I do that God's existence is unprovable through the use of pure reason, but 'knowable' through interpretive understanding of reality.

Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
The simple fact is that no one can know anything which they cannot, in some way, perceive.
Of course. But I've repeatedly repeated that my statement of faith isn't a naturalistic fact claim. I don't have a problem with any atheist stating the obvious: that God's existence is totally unprovable. Not too many people of faith, aside from a very vocal minority of fundamentalists, would dispute that claim. However, what I have a problem with is taking it a step further and saying that faith and belief in God is in it itself absurd, superstitious, etc. Faith is of course believing naturalistically unknowable things. But that doesn't mean that faith itself is without logical foundation. We base our faith on what we know, and what we don't and can't know.

If we are complete products of the natural world, as the theory of evolution states, then it follows that we are subjected to all laws which govern said natural world. That we have the capacity to interpret our world as we please is beside the point, as our interpretations do not make it necessarily so.
The theory of evolution does not prove that we are "complete" products of the natural world, nor does it give any insight into what our true origins may be, or how the "natural" world came into being in the first place.

You seem to hold the belief, and I could be wrong here, that all that exists should be completely knowable through naturalistic observation. In other words, nothing can exists outside of our existential bubble and science will ultimately be able to explain everything. You scoff at the notion of transcendence, because you assume that science can ultimately figure it out. That may be true, but you fail to acknowledge that your own naturalistic perspective is merely interpretive and assumed.

But you're missing my point, which is that "logical inference" by itself is only slightly more useful than thoughts made at random.
The question here is what do we base our faith on, and where do we separate faith from fact claims. Faith is not a fact claim, but it's based on interpretations of known facts, as well as what we do not and cannot know.

If anything, Mike, that is a common thread. I've stated many times that your god may or may not exist, and by doing so yielding my claim to absolution.
If neither of us are making claims of absolution, what's the problem?

The difference is that I have higher standards for belief.
No you don't. You just believe that anything that exists must be ultimately material and observable. You've made an assumption about the limitations of naturalism. If you can't objectively know something, you just say, "We don't know yet" -- assuming that it *can* be known, even if such an assumption flies in the face of all known laws of the universe.

We both look at what caused the big bang, I chose to say "I don't know" and you say "God did it!" Sometimes, it's the very fact of choosing to interpret where the problem lies. There is little if any value in interpretation which can't produce justifiably unique ideas.
No, I choose to say, "I don't know how it happened, but I based on what I can know, I believe that there are signs of creation, purpose and meaning in our existence. Thus I believe in God. I don't claim to know what God is, how God created the universe, or any of that... but I can see the limitations of my material understanding and believe there is something beyond this world."

"Justifiably unique" is a non sequitor. It's an arbitrary concept defined by you alone, based purely upon your assumptions on the limitations (or lack thereof) of naturalism.

Wrong. Science can exist without theology. But modern theology needs science like a fiend needs a fix.
No, you're wrong. The process of scientific inquiry does not need theology, but its implications sure do. If they didn't, folks like Dawkins wouldn't be writing books about them.

Further, science, unlike theology, does not need to change it's fundamental claims every time there is a grand theological breakthrough.
Nor does theology. The fundamental concepts that run through all religions are the same now as they were thousands of years ago.

Yeah, my point was that your understanding of your god exists only because your understanding of natural world, particularly the genuine mysteries concerning the birth of our universe. If those mysteries are ever found to have natural causes, then your god will be "that which caused that which caused."
You've often stated that "God is the perpetual Z", but that's not true. The question is, what would be required to find that the universe had a naturalistic cause? The answer is that we would have to completely rewrite the laws of physics. But more on that in a minute.

But in the meanwhile, wouldn't it be prudent to have no opinion on the matter?
Faith is not a fact claim about the precise process by which we came into existence, it's belief in purpose and meaning in our world that lies beyond the material self.

If the soul existed independent from the body, then it should not matter if you fell or your head because you couldn't cause psychical damage to an immaterial entity. Yet modern neurology has demonstrated brain damage can result in a person becoming fundamentally different in their behavior.
Well duh. But that doesn't change the concept of the soul. Again, you are not the nervous system. You are the user. The nervous system may become unusable, but you are still you. Your spirit remains without an worldly avatar. This seemingly amazing information you're presenting isn't anything spectacular. When you keel over dead, you can't use your nervous system. We can see that when someone dies, they stop acting like they used to. Soul is belief that the self transcends its material vessel, and the advances in cognitive neurology haven't done anything to undermine that concept.

Again, with the circular argument. You're just arbitrary stating that their has to be a transcendent when that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.
I'm not stating it arbitrarily. I'm stating it based on the known laws of physics. You're basically telling me that we may someday totally rewrite the laws of physics and find that the universe can indeed be infinite, self-causing, and self-perpetuating -- things that are all completely at odds with our current knowledge. Remember that naturalism is by definition that which is within our universe. So if we found a naturalistic cause, we would be showing that the universe is indeed self-causing. If it is self-causing, it is also infinite. If it is infinite, it is self-perpetuating. Finding a naturalistic origin to the universe means demonstrating that the universe is infinitely perpetuated by its own self-contained laws. All of these things are completely impossible based upon our modern understanding of physics. In other words, if you don't believe in transcendent reality, you have to believe in things that completely contradict everything we know about the universe.

So, yes, if the laws of science are rewritten, Einstein's work is tossed out the window and our universe is indeed shown to be capable of things that physicists now believe are impossible, then yeah belief in God will become totally meaningless and unnecessary. Until that happens though, your belief in unlimited bounds of naturalism will continue to be every bit as faith-based as my belief in God.
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Last edited by Mike Doolittle; 03-11-2007 at 01:53 PM.
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