2 of 2
2
The ontological argument, for Egor
Posted: 16 February 2012 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1191
Joined  2011-08-01
Write4U - 15 February 2012 08:59 PM

Another musing.

Can there be perfection? Does perfection not mean perfect equilibrium? Does perfect equilibrium not mean static? Does static not mean the end of Cause and Effect?
Does the end of Cause and Effect not mean the end of everything. No potential, no quantum, no matter, no gravity, no reality, no existence.

IMO, the “Uncertainty Effect” in quantum necessarily prevents perfection. Therefore, if perfection in nature cannot be attained, it matters not if we can imagine it. As long as the Universe is dynamic, there is no (cannot be) perfection.
Therefore a perfect god (being) does not (cannot) exist.

I was thinking along the same lines. The very idea of perfection, in my opinion, only has meaning when there is some standard against which to measure it. I can define a perfect circle or a perfect plane only because a definition exists to which examples can be compared.

But to try to describe an abstract entity (which may or may not exist) as perfect really makes no sense.

Finally, the very idea that “existence is more perfect than non-existence” could be challenged. Anything that exists has the potential to have flaws revealed. But something that does not exist can escape such scrutiny. In fact, going back to my analogies from geometry above, there is no such thing in existence as a perfect plane, but I can describe what properties one would have—if it existed. Using the ontological argument, (if I understand) therefore a perfect plane does exist.

 Signature 

Free in Kentucky
—Humanist
“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15368
Joined  2006-02-14
FreeInKy - 16 February 2012 07:05 AM

But to try to describe an abstract entity (which may or may not exist) as perfect really makes no sense.

In general I agree. But there are arguments—from Plato and the neo-platonists IIRC—that claim to establish this notion of perfection, but I can’t recall precisely how they go. (One is found in the Symposium, IIRC).

I do think that notions of perfect knowledge and omnipotence make sense (the one is to know everything that can be known, the other is to be able to do anything that is possible to do), and I’m not troubled by the concept of perfect moral goodness, either (doing always and only what is morally best). The problem IMO is not to establish that this is meaningful, but rather to establish that such a being exists.

FreeInKy - 16 February 2012 07:05 AM

Finally, the very idea that “existence is more perfect than non-existence” could be challenged. Anything that exists has the potential to have flaws revealed. But something that does not exist can escape such scrutiny. In fact, going back to my analogies from geometry above, there is no such thing in existence as a perfect plane, but I can describe what properties one would have—if it existed. Using the ontological argument, (if I understand) therefore a perfect plane does exist.

Well, I’d go further. The notion that “existence is more perfect than non-existence” is meaningless. In order to make sense of it, you have to posit some thing, X, which can either have the properties of existence or of non existence. But to posit X in the first place is just to claim that it exists. It’s not like nonexistent things “exist” in some realm called “non-existence”, where they have properties of non-existence. This is senseless talk.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10
dougsmith - 16 February 2012 07:18 AM
FreeInKy - 16 February 2012 07:05 AM

Finally, the very idea that “existence is more perfect than non-existence” could be challenged. Anything that exists has the potential to have flaws revealed. But something that does not exist can escape such scrutiny. In fact, going back to my analogies from geometry above, there is no such thing in existence as a perfect plane, but I can describe what properties one would have—if it existed. Using the ontological argument, (if I understand) therefore a perfect plane does exist.

Well, I’d go further. The notion that “existence is more perfect than non-existence” is meaningless. In order to make sense of it, you have to posit some thing, X, which can either have the properties of existence or of non existence. But to posit X in the first place is just to claim that it exists. It’s not like nonexistent things “exist” in some realm called “non-existence”, where they have properties of non-existence. This is senseless talk.

Well, I thought we were talking about physical existence, as opposed to merely existence within the mind.

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  102
Joined  2012-01-07

The ontological argument only applies to “a being in which no greater can be conceived.” It doesn’t apply to leprechauns or gold coins. Obviously, those things are not a being in which no greater can be conceived.

This argument is difficult, because it relies somewhat on a mystical way of thinking. You have to take some time and think about a being in which no greater can be conceived. Of course, for an atheist, this is a dangerous proposition because you could end up recognizing God in the process and losing your atheistic faith.

Be that as it may, this argument shows the necessity of a being that corresponds to our notion of God. In other words, we know about God, because God necessarily exists.

Try a thought experiment: Think about who created God. No matter what you envision, you realize that if God is created, then there is a “God” a “greater being” above him responsible for his creation. Eventually, you get to a concept like that of Brahman or the Veridican concept of God as the monistic entity of fundamental consciousness. Then you realize you can’t go any further. Then you realize the being, if he exists, has to exist, or else you can still make up a greater being—one that really does exist.

But you say, “The mind, the imaginings, does not make something exist.” And you’d be right. The ontological argument is merely a way of recognizing God with your mind. It’s not really a proof of God. That is, unless you realize that God must exist, and then it has been proven to you—to you.

And that is the way God is proven: He is proven one individual at a time. There will never be a temple where he resides where you can go and see him sitting on his throne during a tour package to the Holy Land. How would that be God? We could always imagine a being greater than that.

And God, according to Anselm, is the being of which no greater can be conceived.

 Signature 

Then Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled; you believe in God. Believe also in Me. (VGJC 44:17)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10
Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

But you say, “The mind, the imaginings, does not make something exist.” And you’d be right. The ontological argument is merely a way of recognizing God with your mind. It’s not really a proof of God. That is, unless you realize that God must exist, and then it has been proven to you—to you.

You listed this as one of your evidences for God’s existence, but it seems you have backtracked on that?

Either way, here’s my response to the teleological argument, for you: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/12726/

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15368
Joined  2006-02-14
domokato - 16 February 2012 10:31 AM

Well, I thought we were talking about physical existence, as opposed to merely existence within the mind.

I’m not sure what you mean.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15368
Joined  2006-02-14
Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

The ontological argument only applies to “a being in which no greater can be conceived.” It doesn’t apply to leprechauns or gold coins.

It’s actually stated: “a being than which no greater can be conceived”. (I.e. nothing is greater than this being).

I know that it wasn’t supposed to apply to leprechauns, but the argument, if it were any good, would apply to leprechauns just as easily as God. (Since a super-leprechaun is a leprechaun than which no greater can be conceived).

I’ve already given the argument.

In form, that is known as a reductio ad absurdum, which shows that the form of the argument is no good. We’ve also already elucidated that problem, above.

Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

This argument is difficult, because it relies somewhat on a mystical way of thinking.

Do you mean that the argument isn’t valid or sound? Then why give the argument at all?

If you don’t mean that, then what is “a mystical way of thinking” and how precisely does it work in clarifying the purported validity and soundness of this argument?

Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

Try a thought experiment: Think about who created God. No matter what you envision, you realize that if God is created, then there is a “God” a “greater being” above him responsible for his creation. Eventually, you get to a concept like that of Brahman or the Veridican concept of God as the monistic entity of fundamental consciousness. Then you realize you can’t go any further. Then you realize the being, if he exists, has to exist, or else you can still make up a greater being—one that really does exist.

To begin with, this confuses the ontological argument (about the supposed greatness of being) with the cosmological argument (that God is the universal ‘first mover’). They are separate arguments.

But leaving that aside, try the natural numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4 .... Eventually you get to infinity, which is bigger than any number. Then you realize you can’t go any further.

Except that first, you can’t get to infinity by counting, which demonstrates that any offhanded theorizing about infinities is suspect to begin with, and second you can always go further. In fact, there is no limit to the orders of infinity, and therefore no way to refer to them in a meaningful, mathematical way.

You can’t claim to know that everything has a beginning, nor that if everything has a beginning, it is not itself infinitely long, nor least of all that if everything has a beginning it is a person. Armchair cosmology doesn’t cut it.

Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

The ontological argument is merely a way of recognizing God with your mind. It’s not really a proof of God. That is, unless you realize that God must exist, and then it has been proven to you—to you.

What you seem to be saying here (again, correct me if I’m wrong) is that the ontological argument is worthless as a rational argument for the existence of God, since you will only accept it if you already accept its conclusion ab initio. Or to put it another way, the conclusion of the ontological argument is more credible than any of its premises taken individually.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1191
Joined  2011-08-01
dougsmith - 16 February 2012 12:21 PM

What you seem to be saying here (again, correct me if I’m wrong) is that the ontological argument is worthless as a rational argument for the existence of God, since you will only accept it if you already accept its conclusion ab initio. Or to put it another way, the conclusion of the ontological argument is more credible than any of its premises taken individually.

That’s the way I took it as well. I actually thought it was a better argument for god before the christian apologist got hold of it!  LOL

 Signature 

Free in Kentucky
—Humanist
“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2012 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2012-02-12

Any conversation about first cause devolves into infinite regression. There is no final answer to who created the creator, if that question even seems at all reasonable to you. It can only be considered in the same manner as all deity existence issues, and that is with mysticism. Mysticism is imagination advertised as evidence.

Of course, for an atheist, this is a dangerous proposition because you could end up recognizing God in the process and losing your atheistic faith.’


Faith and atheist are incompatible terms. Atheism is indifferent to faith. One who is atheist due to adherence to skeptical inquiry is impervious to faith. Skeptical inquiry that discovers evidence proving the existence of the supernatural negates the need for faith in it, because the discovery establishes existence. Sans evidence, skeptics decline to accept propositions, including investment in faith belief. Skeptics may entertain conclusions that are not accurate from time to time, but abandon them when evidence thought to exist proves not to support them.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 February 2012 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  102
Joined  2012-01-07
dougsmith - 16 February 2012 12:21 PM
Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

The ontological argument only applies to “a being in which no greater can be conceived.” It doesn’t apply to leprechauns or gold coins.

It’s actually stated: “a being than which no greater can be conceived”. (I.e. nothing is greater than this being).

You’re right…where’s my box of gold stars, dang it!

You can’t claim to know that everything has a beginning, nor that if everything has a beginning, it is not itself infinitely long, nor least of all that if everything has a beginning it is a person. Armchair cosmology doesn’t cut it.

They’ve been saying everything (except God) has a beginning for a long time. An infinite chain of causes has been considered absurd for a very long time. I understand these ideas undermine atheism, and I realize that in the modern age, atheists will do everything they can go try to renege on these very fundamental logical axioms—they simply have to, even if it means sounding illogical or like magical thinking. The modern atheist doesn’t care about that anymore. All they want is to throw up enough smoke so the average person will defer to their intellectual authority “Well, he must know what he’s talking about; he’s the one with the Ph.D.”

Today the modern atheist believes things come into existence out of nothing and for no reason—JOKE.

They believe the universe is eternal—JOKE

They deny they say there is no God—JOKE

But none of that matters. That’s not what any of this is about. This is all about who will have power over society. And the more ignorant, cog-in-the-machine dolts you can get to accept your authority over what they should believe, the more power you will have. Like the woman I once met who was having an affair with a married man and told me, “Well, Jesus wants me to love him (add in a Mississippi accent).
You will always be able to fool those people, and the world is made of those people. The Church is full of those people.

Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

What you seem to be saying here (again, correct me if I’m wrong) is that the ontological argument is worthless as a rational argument for the existence of God, since you will only accept it if you already accept its conclusion ab initio. Or to put it another way, the conclusion of the ontological argument is more credible than any of its premises taken individually.

I think the ontological argument is extremely rational and true. But it requires one to contemplate God in such a way that they won’t be inclined to do that unless they already have an affinity for God. When an atheist is asked to contemplate a being than which no greater can be conceived. They think of unicorns and leprechauns; they don’t think about God. In order to get into the frame of mind required to contemplate a being than which no greater can be conceived, they have to go mystical. They have to transcend thoughts that are merely grounded in the physical universe. Eventually, they would come to realize the necessity of such a being. But an atheist is never going to do that.

But don’t forget: Apologetics is not just an attempt to convert atheists. It’s also an attempt to strengthen the faith of believers. Because believers doubt all the time—they just try not to give themselves over to it.

 Signature 

Then Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled; you believe in God. Believe also in Me. (VGJC 44:17)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 February 2012 12:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  102
Joined  2012-01-07
1984isnow - 16 February 2012 02:01 PM

Faith and atheist are incompatible terms. Atheism is indifferent to faith. One who is atheist due to adherence to skeptical inquiry is impervious to faith. Skeptical inquiry that discovers evidence proving the existence of the supernatural negates the need for faith in it, because the discovery establishes existence. Sans evidence, skeptics decline to accept propositions, including investment in faith belief. Skeptics may entertain conclusions that are not accurate from time to time, but abandon them when evidence thought to exist proves not to support them.

Is that right? Well, let me ask you this: Does dark matter exist? Does dark energy exist? Did the process of evolution begin life on this planet? Did an intelligent omnipotent being create the universe and does it sustain it? Did Jesus of Nazareth exist? Did Socrates exist? Is the uiverse 13.7 billion years old? Did the Virgin Mary exist?

I could go on, but I’d rather not create an MMPI for atheists.

 Signature 

Then Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled; you believe in God. Believe also in Me. (VGJC 44:17)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 February 2012 05:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15368
Joined  2006-02-14
Egor - 17 February 2012 12:26 AM

They’ve been saying everything (except God) has a beginning for a long time.

Who has? Not Aristotle. Not even Aquinas.

Egor - 17 February 2012 12:26 AM

An infinite chain of causes has been considered absurd for a very long time.

By whom? Based on what argument? Again, Aristotle and Aquinas didn’t think an infinite chain of causes was absurd. They were right.

It’s hard for you to argue that an infinite chain of causes implies atheism when one of the fathers of theology himself believed it.

Egor - 17 February 2012 12:26 AM

I understand these ideas undermine atheism, and I realize that in the modern age, atheists will do everything they can go try to renege on these very fundamental logical axioms ...

Um, which axiom of logic are you talking about? To help, HERE is a list of some of the most fundamental.

And how exactly does any of this “undermine atheism”? Atheism doesn’t force one to accept a universe that is infinitely long. In fact, I don’t think there’s any reason to accept one until and unless cosmology demonstrates it to be the case scientifically. For example, Stephen Hawking proposes a universe that is finite but without boundary. See HERE.

It’s hard to argue that a finite universe undermines atheism when atheistic scientists are proposing finite universes.

Egor - 17 February 2012 12:26 AM

Today the modern atheist believes things come into existence out of nothing and for no reason—JOKE.

Not only the atheist, the theistic scientist does too. Indeed, it’s a fundamental part of contemporary quantum mechanics. See the quantum electrodynamic vacuum. Particle pair-creation and annihilation goes on everywhere and constantly in the universe: particles coming into existence out of nothing and for no reason.

It’s hard for you to argue that coming into and going out of existence for no reason is absurd when it’s actually a fundamental part of contemporary physics.

Egor - 17 February 2012 12:26 AM

They believe the universe is eternal—JOKE

No, they don’t. They allow the professional cosmologist to do his job, rather than assuming that they can do a better job by reading old books of fables and sitting in their armchairs daydreaming.

Egor - 17 February 2012 12:26 AM

I think the ontological argument is extremely rational and true. But it requires one to contemplate God in such a way that they won’t be inclined to do that unless they already have an affinity for God. When an atheist is asked to contemplate a being than which no greater can be conceived. They think of unicorns and leprechauns; they don’t think about God. In order to get into the frame of mind required to contemplate a being than which no greater can be conceived, they have to go mystical. They have to transcend thoughts that are merely grounded in the physical universe. Eventually, they would come to realize the necessity of such a being. But an atheist is never going to do that.

IOW the atheist demonstrates that the argument, if good, would result in an absurdity and rejects it. The theist, “going mystical”, conveniently overlooks that the argument is bad. Do you have to smoke something to “go mystical”?

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 February 2012 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2012-02-12

I think the ontological argument is extremely rational and true. But it requires one to contemplate God in such a way that they won’t be inclined to do that unless they already have an affinity for God.

EDIT: I don’t quite have this software down, and when I tried back-grounding a quote I accidentally deleted my response to it. Here goes again:

The supernatural, including god-concepts, is not supported by evidence. Until evidence that proves its existence is available to examine, there is literally no thing to contemplate, no thing to evaluate for rationality or truth.

It is impossible to develop an affinity for no thing. It is possible, on the other hand, to develop affinity for faith belief in mystical products of imagination. Faith belief typically is accompanied by one degree or another of personal emotional investment. It is part of inherent normal human capacity to react with emotion to real encounters. It is equally inherent human capacity to self-generate equally powerful emotional feelings in an instant, simply using imagination. Mysticism is experience in the latter category of capacity, but not the former.

[ Edited: 17 February 2012 09:16 AM by 1984isnow ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 February 2012 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2012-02-12

Claims that deserve attention:

Today the modern atheist believes things come into existence out of nothing and for no reason—JOKE.

There may well be some atheists now and in the past who hold beliefs about things for which there is no evidence, but there is vast reason to note this has never been true of all atheists, so the fallacy of sweeping generalization is particularly applicable regarding atheist convictions.
Physics recently speaks to some aspects of emergence—existence out of nothing—I am presently not informed enough to intelligently comment on. Things that exist possess measurable properties which establish a reason they exist: because they exist, they are.
Any evidence-free or untestable notions regarding existence of any sort, and any reasons for it, are purely speculative. They may be scientific hypotheses, they may be mystical yearning for resolution to mystery, but unless hypothesis graduates to theory, there is only one accurate answer atheists, scientists, faith believers, or anyone else may honestly provide if asked for reasons why existence is, which is, as Mark Twain said: “I am gratified to be able to answer your question. I don’t know.”

They believe the universe is eternal—JOKE

Physics addresses this. I won’t be rude and read into this an inherent claim that deists believe eternity is property that belongs only to a supernatural entity, and that entity will bestow or withhold eternity according to its divine will, which applies equally to all of its creation, including both humans and celestial objects known as the universe, and by virtue of that fact a claim that the universe is eternal is a blasphemous comparison of a thing to the deity creator. Wait. Yes, I will too read this into Egor’s statement.

They deny they say there is no God—JOKE

My experience is that atheists and others who do not believe in god are not of uniform mind upon a resolute conviction that the existence of a supernatural deity is not possible. Some say it is an absolute impossibility, some say it is necessary to withhold judgement pending potential undiscovered evidence, the deist says there is no doubt about it. I say don’t know, but I doubt it to the point I am always, still, somewhat astonished that the notion carries any appeal if it is based on a model of deities humans have dreamed up so far. Anything that might exist is unlikely, in my opinion, to have much if anything in common with human concepts of deity. Besides, if such a thing does exist, nobody’s opinion on the issue matters a whit—including my own.

But none of that matters. That’s not what any of this is about. This is all about who will have power over society.

Goal post relocation. The discussion up to the point where you introduce this claim actually is solely concerned with the existence of a deity. Power in society, who wields it how/why, is a separate and unequal discussion. It seems to me far more important than relatively meaningless debates like this, but at this late point in the game it is a pointless diversion. Begin it elsewhere and it could be as fun and informative as this topic is.

Does dark matter exist? Does dark energy exist?

Yes. Accrued amounts of knowledge re this material will only continue to grow.

Did the process of evolution begin life on this planet?

As phrased, this begs the question of first cause. No, evolution did not begin life. Evolution is not in any way responsible for first cause, nor is it accurate to assert that claim ever originated with Darwin or Wallace, or anywhere within the scientific community. Furthermore, evolutionary theory (proven by three corroborating dating methods, tested and proven for veracity) identifies a process only, one that proceeds from the earliest known life form on the planet, single cell bacteria, to all present existing life, as well as all past extinct life. It is our good fortune that Richard Dawkins recent book, The Magic of Reality, explains this beautifully at a 9th or maybe 6th grade level—hell, I could understand it—and the book is a quick read.

[quote]Did an intelligent omnipotent being create the universe and does it sustain it?

Asked and answered. Unlikely in the extreme, but ‘I don’t know’ is most accurate.

Did Jesus of Nazareth exist?

Hard to say. Objective critical analysis of scripture proves nothing, especially since many claims are not supported elsewhere. Gospel accounts follow the Pauline epistles, and date from some 70 years after the time proposed as the crucifixion event, which alone makes the claim they are eyewitness accounts implausible. Accompany that with contradictions within/between the four gospel accounts, no corroborating mention of Jesus and Biblical events recounted of his life in any sources outside the Bible (Josephus is post hoc also), and there is no real evidence for his presence. The supernatural attributes I reject out of hand until supported by something other than imagination. Did a social revolutionary named Jesus exist at that time and wield influence that frightened Roman and Jewish authorities? Who knows? Far from impossible. Many community organizers came before, and many have come since.

Did Socrates exist?

There is as much physical evidence for Socrates existence as for Pythagorous, Siddharha Gautama, Jesus, or William Tell. The first two stand out as indisputable actual historical personages because of corroboration in a substantial amount of writings of contemporaries. Sid (Buddha) is about as likely as Jesus, William Tell is complete myth. Whoever wrote and taught what is attributed to Sid did a tight job with psychology, common sense, and pretty much airtight rationality. Some practitioners added a lot of mysticism later that pleases them.

Is the uiverse 13.7 billion years old?

Yeah, more or less. Science is about getting it right, so it is not impossible undiscovered evidence or better interpretive methodology or instrumentation might result in a revision. At this point, things are validated to the point that any alteration would unlikely exceed one percent or so, and probably only a few tens of thousands of years. Not much at this scale.

Did the Virgin Mary exist?

A virgin named Mary impregnated by the god of the Bible who gave birth to a supernatural human being? Please. So unlikely I hate to write this, but: I don’t know.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 February 2012 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10
Egor - 17 February 2012 12:26 AM
dougsmith - 16 February 2012 12:21 PM
Egor - 16 February 2012 10:44 AM

The ontological argument only applies to “a being in which no greater can be conceived.” It doesn’t apply to leprechauns or gold coins.

It’s actually stated: “a being than which no greater can be conceived”. (I.e. nothing is greater than this being).

You’re right…where’s my box of gold stars, dang it!

Maybe you’re not aware, but in philosophy word usage can change the meaning of sentences pretty drastically.

You can’t claim to know that everything has a beginning, nor that if everything has a beginning, it is not itself infinitely long, nor least of all that if everything has a beginning it is a person. Armchair cosmology doesn’t cut it.

They’ve been saying everything (except God) has a beginning for a long time. An infinite chain of causes has been considered absurd for a very long time.

Who is this “they”, and why don’t you just present your own arguments? I guess I should expect that blindly accepting what you’re told and using appeals to authority is par for the course for believers, but I thought you wanted a debate.

But none of that matters. That’s not what any of this is about. This is all about who will have power over society. And the more ignorant, cog-in-the-machine dolts you can get to accept your authority over what they should believe, the more power you will have.

If you’re just making a play for power, then you can drop the religious charade with us - we won’t mind.

But don’t forget: Apologetics is not just an attempt to convert atheists. It’s also an attempt to strengthen the faith of believers. Because believers doubt all the time—they just try not to give themselves over to it.

Ah, faith as a virtue. What, again, is so virtuous about not requiring evidence and reason to support your beliefs?

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 2
2