Why I changed my mind


#61

We can’t even find evidence for those events, and there is also the strong motive of pride.

The feeling is mutual. I hope that any technical problems you are having can be fixed so we can continue to enjoy your contributions.


#62

I do tend to put much more weight on empirical evidence, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

I fully agree. What I am talking about is a belief based on faith which people then attempt to justify through an empirically based argument which ends up lacking empirical support. This gives the impression that faith itself is not a valid justification for that belief.

I completely understand where you are coming from. What I am getting at is that by abandoning your game you are giving the impression that your game is not valid. I am not saying that it isn’t valid, only that it can give the impression that it isn’t valid.

One of the arguments used by YEC/OEC’s that I find very revealing is when they claim that evolution is a religion as a means of discrediting the theory. What they are saying is that evolution is just as bad as YEC/OEC. When you use the tu quoque argument you are conceding that your own position is invalid. When little Tommy says, “Bobby stole cookies from the cookie jar, too!” he isn’t exactly exonerating himself.

The same can also happen when someone says that empirical means are superior to non-empirical methods, and the reaction is to try and justify your claims through empiricism. You are essentially conceding that empiricism is superior, or at least giving that impression.

I appreciate the ability to have productive discussions as well!


(Richard Wright) #63

Hi T,

This is what our disagreement is with atheists, and that is what is evidence for God.

To be short, you’re missing the boat. You look for, “scientific” evidence while not considering why we have science. You want test-tube, “proof” without realizing we are in a 100-billion light year wide test-tube that we call, “the universe”. You make court-room analogies when most humanity see that intelligent beings gathering to discuss guilt and innocence is a consequence of an intelligible creation by an omniscient being.

I will concede that I didn’t stated clearly my point about the vast majority of humans feeling the divine. I agree that that isn’t itself proof or evidence of anything. But for the individual, it is evidence. So, speaking for myself, I have evidence that a humongous and expanding physical paradigm initiated 13.8 billion years ago exists that has found a way to produce intelligent life. That to me isn’t proof but is evidence of a creator. Another verifiable fact is the vast majority of existence has felt a need to be connected to the creator or divine. The evidence for the individual is real and demonstrable. It’s not an, “emotional” reaction as you mistakenly characterize it as. It’s a conclusion based on everything the person has experienced. This goes along with Paul writes in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”


#64

I would fully agree that where atheists and theists part company is in the definition for evidence. I am happy to withhold any value judgments and just recognize that we disagree.

That is consistent with the testimony that almost all Christians relate to me.

Getting back to an earlier step in our conversation, you said that you are using logic and skepticism. I would hope that you realize that this type of evidence does not work for logic and skepticism. In order for logic to work we both have to agree that the premises are true (or be able to demonstrate that the premises are true) before we can arrive at a conclusion. Skepticism requires the type of evidence that I described earlier, the type of evidence that atheists are looking for. Like I said before, if you are not using logic and skepticism that is fine. We just use different methods for determining what is true.


(Richard Wright) #65

Hello T,

I’m not so sure these 2 comments of yours agree:

And:

Because you highly imply that believers come to their conclusions without using logic or skepticism, which seems to me to be a, “value judgement”. I will, however, take skepticism of of table since I was formerly skeptical of religion, not God. I’ve believed in God for as long as I can remember, and I have memories going back to 2 years old. Most believers (not the OP) similarly did, so it’s hard for us to relate to being skeptical on the existence of God since we’ve never had any doubt that God is the cause of existence.

Logic, however, is a different story. People can use logic at every station of their lives according to their capabilities. We know from studies that babies understand agents, so for a 3 year-old child who understands they come from their parents, they deduce that they had parents and so on, and can easily understand the notion of God. A teenager in science class studying the Big Bang can logically deduce that something or someone must have caused it, and their belief in God becomes more logical. As they get older, all the experiences of life only make logical sense if there is a God. Again, not proof, but evidence to the believer from pondering the logic of the notion of God.

Maybe not 100% relevant, but a funny thing happened at a fairly recent round-table between Max Tegmark and Ard Louis at MIT. Tegmark had just gone on and on about how grateful he was that gluons had somehow come together to form his brain, allowing him to study the inner structure of the universe and fall in love with his wife. This was immediately followed by questions from the students, and the first one was to Tegmark which was, “exactly to whom are you grateful”. It got a big laugh from the audience. Tegmark just smiled and they went to the next question. That to sums up quite nicely the atheistic approach to questions of existence, just smile and not consider the question. But to believers, the evidence provokes a logical question, “Where did this all come from?”.


(John Dalton) #66

To this atheist, the problem there is that the answer seems to be “from God, whom I can’t say from whence came”. Unless this knot can be cut, we’re all on the same logical ground for this question.


(James Schramm) #67

How is this simply not confirmation bias? The child raised to believe that a God is responsible for everything accepts that answer for all mysteries in the universe. Are you saying that a non-believing teen-ager would automatically accept a bigger mystery (God) to explain a mystery (the Big Bang and how it started)?


(James Schramm) #68

Couldn’t this position be used to justify any belief? The Muslim in Iran who feels ‘connected’ to the Divine and based on his experience believes that Allah is the true God and the Quran is true as well? You don’t believe that but how do you arrive at that conclusion? What evidence do you use to negate that person’s belief and could that same evidence be used against your beliefs?

I’m curious what you believe the eternal consequences are for someone who doesn’t accept your beliefs based on your experiences.


(Richard Wright) #69

Hello John

The god of the bible, which almost all atheists, at least in the western world and the one Richard Dawkins specifically rejects, is an eternally existing spiritual entity. So He doesn’t require an explanation, to do so is actually a mistake of logic - requiring an explanation for an explanation - which serious atheists brought up at the release of Dawkins’ The God Delusion. So to most people, the choice to explain a universe that we know had a beginning, which produces conscious, intelligent life, beauty, complexity, love, worship and sacrifice, either comes from God or a cosmic accident. The logical answer for the vast majority of people is God, based on the evidence. This God is understood to be eternally existing.


(Richard Wright) #70

Hello James,

The point of that post is to show that believers use logic in coming to faith, which T-aquaticus denies. The fact that a 2 year-old can easily understand the concept of God doesn’t prove anything. Neither does the fact that babies recognize agents, or teenagers thinking that, God started the Big Bang. But God is a logical choice for each believer along the way. So, contrary to some, believers do use logic when pondering the nature of life and concluding that God is the best explanation.


(Richard Wright) #71

Hello James again,

I was discussing the evidence for a creator, not which particular creator. It makes sense to me that Muslims feel a connection to God since there is a God, and, in fact, the Koran was based on the bible. I can make a good case for Jesus over Mohamed but that wasn’t the point of the post. For the record, I read the Koran with an open mind immediately after being baptized since someone in my church told me Mohammed was a prophet. I concluded that the Allah is a different God than the God of the bible and the 2 faiths have nothing to do with each other.


(John Dalton) #72

It doesn’t really matter what Dawkins thinks, or almost all atheists for that matter.

Furthermore, I see no logical reason to assume that what is in the Bible is correct and can serve as the foundation of a logical argument.

This leaves us with

Right away, you’re saying that some things can exist eternally. Yet the question “where did this all come from” suggests that the things we do see around us can’t exist eternally for some unexplained reason. This is a logical contradiction which you have done nothing to get us out of.

to do so is actually a mistake of logic - requiring an explanation for an explanation

I don’t understand at all.

So to most people, the choice to explain a universe that we know had a beginning, which produces conscious, intelligent life, beauty, complexity, love, worship and sacrifice, either comes from God or a cosmic accident.

That’s a false dichotomy, particularly in the light of the capital G in God suggesting the God of the Bible. How could you possibly know that those are the only two possibilities? Furthermore, in the case of God, why wouldn’t his incredibly fortunate eternal existence be deemed a “cosmic accident”?

The logical answer for the vast majority of people is God, based on the evidence.

I don’t see how you can reach that logical conclusion. You may have other reasons for believing in God, but this logical argument is not valid.

This God is understood to be eternally existing.

There’s no logical reason to assume this that I can see. I may as well just say our physical reality is understood to be eternally existing.


(Richard Wright) #73

Hello John again,

The debate is not about the bible but whether God exists. But as an aside, if a book that I had initially rejected but radically changed my life after deciding to read it, like it did mine after I did, then that is evidence for me that it contains the ultimate truths about the nature of existence.

It’s not a logical contradiction. There has to be an explanation for existence, and the logical choice is between the divine and cosmic accident. The vast majority of people in history have chosen the divine. How does God exist eternally, I don’t know but I have faith based on the evidence. Everyone has faith in something, and to believers the logical choice, based on the evidence, is to put our faith in God.

If you put the multiverse explanation in with cosmic accident, which I believe it would have to be if it exists outside of God creating it, then there are only 2 choices. Max Tegmark in the discussion I reference above said that there are 3 choices for an explanation of existence: God, the multiverse and ontological nothingness somehow creating the universe, which he rejected. So he said it comes to God and the multiverse, and he chooses the multiverse. What he didn’t explain is one, where did the multiverse come from and two, why does it have special properties, which it necessarily would have to have, to create universes with different physical constants and laws? So he has faith in the multiverse, which most New Atheists do. But that simply doesn’t do it for the vast majority in history, to leave the question of existence based on something that there is literally no evidence for. The logical choice for them has been to put their faith in God, not a physical entity that itself has no explanation.


(John Dalton) #74

Exactly. The only reason I mentioned it was because I didn’t see why you included it in your argument.

But as an aside, if a book that I had initially rejected but radically changed my life after deciding to read it, like it did mine after I did, then that is evidence for me that it contains the ultimate truths about the nature of existence.

I understand that. But it’s evidence for you.

It’s not a logical contradiction. There has to be an explanation for existence, and the logical choice is between the divine and cosmic accident. The vast majority of people in history have chosen the divine. How does God exist eternally, I don’t know but I have faith based on the evidence.

Yes it is :slight_smile: The problem is you haven’t made an explanation. You’ve only posited another hypothetical existing thing which possesses the exact same unexplainable characteristics as our known physical reality.

Everyone has faith in something, and to believers the logical choice, based on the evidence, is to put our faith in God.

I’m not sure what you mean in the first phrase, but have no qualms with your action in the last one.

If you put the multiverse explanation in with cosmic accident,

I didn’t say anything about the multiverse. I’ve been reading a bit more from cosmologists lately, and I regularly see them admit the limits of their and our collective knowledge. I’m not quibbling between two or three choices. I don’t think we even have an inkling of what or how many choices there could be.

The logical choice for them has been to put their faith in God, not a physical entity that itself has no explanation.

What seems like a logical choice for them or you is not the same as a logical necessity which people are being obtuse for neglecting to recognize, as you suggested.


(James Schramm) #75

I completely agree that they are 2 different faiths and have nothing to do with other. Which one is the correct faith? How do you determine that? That was my whole point; both faiths could be justified by experiences if that is your only criteria for a ‘connection to the Divine’.


(George Brooks) #76

@T_aquaticus

I’ve suggested to you more than once to use the “general” meaning of the word evidence.

It is correctly applicable, and it lets you avoid making provocative conclusions about a Theists logic.


#77

Ultimately, it’s not a value judgment. If you want to determine truth without logic and skepticism then that’s fine. I am not holding up logic and skepticism as the ontological truth or the only proven method of finding “The Truth”. I just prefer logic and skepticism because they seem to be the best methods in my estimation.

How is it logical that because something is required to start something that God must be that something? Something has to start water condensing in the sky, so should we logically conclude that God causes clouds to form?

How does it make logical sense?

The problem, in eyes of atheists, is that lack of logic leading to the claim “Therefore, it must be God”. It’s not that we have never considered question. The problem is the lack of independent and verifiable evidence for the answers that people claim to have.


(George Brooks) #78

@T_aquaticus,

The older you get, the more prepared you are that there is more than one kind of “logic” that can be applied to the task of “discovering the truth”.

Insisting that you have a monopoly on logic is not only a bit insulting to the average listener, but dare I say, it is quite open to debate, on definitions alone.


(George Brooks) #79

That is not the only logic in the Universe.

If you use your logic to determine the odds are 99.9999% in your favor… there is still that 0.0001 hanging out there … where you could, shockingly or amazingly, be in error.


#80

There is only one kind of logic as defined by the rules of logic. You can’t commit logical fallacies and then proclaim that you are being logical, as one general example. What you seem to be getting at is there is more than one path to the Truth (with a capital T).

As I said before, no one is being prevented from using logic so I don’t see how anyone could have a monopoly on logic.