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Old 04-03-2007, 07:32 PM   #90
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism


Originally Posted by Mike Doolittle View Post
In what way do you find my God to be incompatible with or distinct from all other gods?
Mike, we've been down this road before. Most monotheists believe in a god which answers prayers, keeps tabs on our earthly affairs, yada, yada, yada.

Because our universe exists in a finite continuum of spacetime, there was necessarily a "before" or a "beyond" since it had a finite beginning. First Cause is still required because of our universe's own natural laws by which it is defined and bound. Or perhaps you can explain how the universe popped into existence out of oblivion entirely on its own accord. First Cause is a necessity of physics.
Sorry, but physics (unlike logic) is very much a part of the natural world, and so whatever necessity it demands is irrelevant to whatever "occurred" (right) before our universe--this is why the multiverse people hypothesize that each universe has different laws of physics. Your appeal to physics doesn't wash; the paradox remains.

I addressed this earlier in the discussion. Theology is not static and absolute but, much like science, changes as our knowledge grows. It's not necessary to "filter" out any "impossible" gods, but as our understanding of the world grows, our understanding of God must grow with it. While religion serves many valuable functions, our understanding of God must not be restrained by its narrow boundaries.
I was, of course, being rhetorical with that question, but since you brought it up....

First, it is completely necessary to filter out impossible gods. The omniscient, omnipotent, morally perfect god is impossible (please spare me the yin and yang) but your intelligent designer isn't. It's better than the alternative, but the problem is that it's just one in an infinite number of possibilities (which, of course, begs the question of filtering from the infinity). The fact that you've reached an semi-exhaustive conclusion demonstrates that your "understanding" of your god came about from examining evidence through logic and science. Why you now say that your conclusions cannot be examined scientifically and logically is beyond me.

The process is not aimless, because of the very physical foundations of the universe that have allowed evolution to take place.
I can't help but to extrapolate from that that you subscribe to option 2, that the purpose of the universe was to produce life. Unfortunately for you, Creationism is a more defensive stance for backing that claim seeing as life on Earth only appeared some 4 billion years ago, while the universe was here for three or four times longer. If evolution on earth is evidence of purpose, aren't their conceivably more efficient means of ascertaining that goal?

The universe is immaculately organized and permeated by divine intelligence.
I would argue that our universe more like a screensaver than a program on a supercomputer, given just how haphazard events occur. Here, you are jumping to option 3, that the universe was made to be as it was right now.

Being the obvious Dawkins fan you are, you of all people should know that evolution, even from a secular perspective, is not aimless and random but, in fact, predictable
It is in principle predictable, but not necessarily in practice. Of course, Dawkins also advocates a blind watchmaker, which of course is in conflict with your advocation of purpose. (It should be said, I suppose, that Evolution has little to do with my original point.)

Like most cynics, you make the mistake of assuming that the human consciousness is the pinnacle of all understanding...
Sorry, but you took the cake in that department with your "perfect" universe remark.

...and that if God has a consciousness he must be thinking just like a human would.
Not it all. Any intelligent, conscious being which supposedly made the universe for the specific purpose of life could be criticized for the inefficient model we got going on now. It isn't a matter of "if I were designing a universe, I'd do this and that," rather a matter of "if this was the purpose of the universe, it could have been done better." And it could have. (Read the chapter about all the ways the universe is trying to kill us in Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Death by Black Hole.)

The fact that humans have a unique place in this universe and a unique capacity to understand it does not make our existence the sole purpose of God's will.
(Hence options 2 - 4.) It does beg the question, however: if not us than what? Be specific, Mike, what was the purpose?

Even if you are a believer who believes that God performs miracles and intervenes in the affairs of man, it would be misguided to assume that God created the entire universe just for us. Clearly there is much beyond our understanding.
Well, you're going to have to clear up two things then: your "perfect" remark and your appeal to Evolution as purpose ("The process is not aimless, because of the very physical foundations of the universe that have allowed evolution to take place").

And if ultimately you're going to argue that God's purpose is beyond our understanding, then you're essentially making the same mistake you did in appealing to our universe's limitations. There is no more evidence that God's purpose is beyond our understanding than there is evidence for purpose it all--both are, in and of themselves, equally plausible (though the latter is more probable).

By what measure do you consider any event to be "random", when the laws of the universe dictated its inevitability?
For the sake of argument, let's assume that the laws themself are a constant. That fact alone doesn't dictate the inevitability of any one event (unless you're prepared to argue for destiny). The same laws could exist and be a still different universe (butterfly effect).

I am losing count of how many times I have corrected this nonsense.
It is not nonsense. You are making a claim about the universe and if were ever found to be true, it would have to be written in science books. (Hell, it would be the greatest discovery of all.)

Feel free though to use whatever definition of "belief" you want for the sake of your self-affirmation needs.
Ironic, given that that is exactly what you are doing. I however, at least name and cite my dictionaries.

Again, I dig the hypocrisy. Had I said something to that effect, then it would have been antagonistic.

What's needed here is a clarification. You've often used the phrase "active belief". I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that. I can think of a couple of possibilities based on your use of the term:

1. A statement of qualitative fact
2. A statement of faith

Yes, asserting God's existence as the former is misguided. As I've stated repeatedly throughout this thread, I've no problem with an atheist saying that God's existence is "unprovable". Big shocker! What I have a problem with is the notion that faith is "delusional". I'm not trying to prove that God exists. I've spent plenty of time explaining why that is futile and illogical anyway. My focus is on demonstrating that belief in God is intrinsically tied to our perceptions of the physical universe, and is not arbitrary and certainly not delusional. From my perspective, the biggest obstacle to your own understanding is that you cannot seem to reconcile the fact that (2) is not (1), as you frequently use the concepts interchangeably. Moreover, you seem to have difficulty with the idea that faith uses reason as a tool, but is not reducible to it since reason itself points us to that which is beyond reason.
Mike, you want it both ways. If your god is in principle unprovable, then it is illogical; if faith is not reducible to reason, then it is unreasonable. I honestly don't get how you reconcile these issues. The only explanation I can come up with is that you think that "illogical" and "unreasonable" are necessarily pejorative terms. Some say that their god is beyond logic. I say fine, but don't scoff at people who honestly interpret that as another way of saying that the god in question is illogical. Either something is logical or it's not; if not A, then B.

Now, if the basis of your belief was faith, then fine, but as soon as you started talking like a grown-up, invoking the laws of nature and such to verify your belief, then you've opened yourself up to logical scrutiny. You can't call "base" as soon as someone starts examining your claims. (And if you're going to offended by my rhetoric here, then your set-up for a hasty exit by offense is would become all to evident. I was being metaphorical.)

I really don't get it. How are you saying that belief in your god is logical, but you're god is not? I mean, excuse me, but in what case is belief in something illogical considered logical? I'm not trying to be sarcastic here--you really aren't making any sense.
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