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Old 03-18-2007, 05:45 PM   #78
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Originally Posted by Mike Doolittle View Post
Of course. But I've repeatedly repeated that my statement of faith isn't a naturalistic fact claim.
But you have said, and continue to say, that your claim is "reasonable." Well, if so, then it follows that yours are claims based upon reason and can be scrutinized as such. (More on that below.)

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 materialistically 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.
(Continued from above.)

You want it both ways. If you based you beliefs on things unknowable or unproven then you are by definition being superstitious. There are not two ways about it, either something is logical or it is illogical. There is no middle ground.

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.
See, that's the problem with you new-aged liberal theist types, y'all are always playing down the reality of fundamentalism. The US is a very religious country, and no small chunk of our country believe that God is real simply because the Bible says so (sadly, the only minority relevant to this discussion is the one which believes that evolution was a completely natural process). Understand that books like The Purpose Driven Life and the Left Behind series have sold tens of millions of copies and complete nutjobs like Pat Robertson have followers by the millions.

I know you still have a slight affection (if not nostalgia) for religion, but please do not make the mistake of marginalizing the threat of fundamentalism. The rise of mega-churches and fundamentalist universities show no indication of the "not too many people of faith" you speak of.

The theory of evolution does not prove that we are "complete" products of the natural world...
Even by your worldview, I don't see the opposition to my saying we are complete products of the natural world. Even if it was an intelligent designer which gave birth to said natural world, there is pretty much no denying that we exist only because of a long, if aimless, sequence of events which occurred inside of it.

...nor does it give any insight into what our true origins may be...
But it did give us the implication of what the origins may not be (as you yourself will affirm later in the post with your Dawkins remark). The theory of evolution by natural selection was huge precisely because it refuted the long-standing belief that "god did it." It made it possible for even the most lasting ponders not to have a theological basis. Darwin himself realized the implications of this.

...or how the "natural" world came into being in the first place.
I didn't say it did.

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.
Once again, that is not my belief, rather a straw-man which you continue to erect for whatever reason. I do not believe that all that exists "should" be completely knowable or even partly knowable, but I do believe that unknowable things are not worth defending or believing, and certainly make for unproductive discussion. I do not scoff at the idea of transcendence, rather your adoption of a transcendence to explain what you don't (or indeed can't) know. It is, in my opinion, intellectual sloppiness.

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.
Again, there does exist a scale to measure your "interpretations" so you're continued appeal to that effect is irrelevant. All interpretations are not created equal. Yours, in particular, are gratuitous at best. Mine are based upon reason and logic and are therefore better--yes, better--than yours. This would be true if we were talking about anything else, yet here you demand exception only to put a superficial mask on otherwise unreasonable claims. It is not simply a matter of "you have your interpretation and I have mine." I'm sorry, but it's not. Rather a matter of whose interpretation is more reasonable (or even reasonable it all).

If neither of us are making claims of absolution, what's the problem?
The problem is that you played the dreaded "dogma" card, as your kind often do.

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.
Yes, Mike, and that does nothing to refute my claim that I have a higher standard of belief. You yourself agreed that nothing can be known which cannot be perceived. Thus, if it ain't observable, it ain't knowable; and if it ain't knowable, then I would consider my reluctance to believe a virtue rather than a vice.
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