[quote author=“cgallaga”]I am going to have to contend that your definition was arbitrary (based on random choice or personal whim) as you present it alone without source after you found the definition not to your liking.
As I said before, I found the definitions you quoted unilluminating, since one can be a strong and weak atheist at the same time.
Since you were the one who brought them up, not me, you should be the one to explain how they advance the debate. Why should we care whether one is a strong or weak atheist?
[quote author=“cgallaga”]Does my dog care if an infant was killed? I doubt it. Good and Evil are subjective assessments that do vary through time. Look at how much we rewrite history as we discover new things branding some as good and others as evil as it suits our moral or ethical philosophy at the time of judgment.
Well, opinions about what is good and evil change over time. That does not imply that what is actually good and evil change. Opinion over whether the world was flat changed over time too. And yet the world did not change from flat to spherical.
On your analysis slavery was good in the antebellum south but evil now. Torture was good during the Spanish Inquisition, but evil now. Is that OK with you?
[quote author=“cgallaga”]Doug, you have a very bad habit in debate of realigning words and meanings and twisting what was said to make a point. Please stop putting words into my mouth. I NEVER claimed I know gods judgment of good or evil or that I even know god. what I said was WHEN YOU ASCRIBE YOUR DEFINITION OF GOOD AND EVIL TO A CONCEPT OF GOD YOU ARE ANTHROPOMORPHIZING THE CONCEPT OF GOD. I am certainly atheistic about a god that fits your subjective definition of good an evil.
Cgallaga, before you throw around accusations of “twisting words”, you might read what I said a bit more carefully. I never said you knew what god’s judgment of good and evil was. What I said quite clearly was that if you posit a god who thinks that killing infants is moral, you are positing something that isn’t perfectly good, and hence isn’t god. That is a conditional.
[quote author=“cgallaga”]The point being that you or I can honestly be atheistic about very specific descriptions of god, but that atheism does not prohibit other descriptions by default.
Very good—here it sounds like you agree that you are an atheist about the standard definition of god ...
As I have said before many times, the definition of god that I am concerned to refute (and am atheist about) is that he is the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfectly good person who created the universe. That is the standard theological concept of god. Obviously there are many other concepts of god.
I don’t think any atheist should be concerned to refute—or disagree with—every possible definition of god. Some people (Pantheists) say that god is just the universe. On that definition of god I am a theist. So I explicitly do not reject every possible theistic definition.
[quote author=“cgallaga”]There are many schools of philosophy/theology that propose that god cannot be known or understood in any human terms. And many of those propose that the human explanation of god (the truth value) is as incoherent as a dog trying to understand an explanation of quantum theory. Those schools include Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism some schools of Christianity Islamic Sufism, and Judaism as well as many forms of Deism Gnosticism and Pantheism. To reject all (and perhaps as yet discovered) ides of god because of a few current popular bad apples is hubris of the highest order.
(1) If god “cannot be known or understood in any human terms” then why are we discussing him at all? Certainly we cannot pray to such an entity, since we can’t know who to pray to, or how to pray. If we cannot understand him, then how do we know he created the universe? Since we cannot understand him, we cannot know he is perfectly good, all knowing, or all powerful, since those are human concepts. So we can’t know he is god.
I have just given you a quick argument as to why I reject this sort of theology. It is incoherent. Nobody should be concerned to refute incoherent theologies. They refute themselves.
(2) Contrary to your assumptions I am very familiar with this sort of negative theology. However it is far from universal in Buddhism and Hinduism, I can assure you.
(3) A dog can’t understand quantum theory, that is certainly correct. But that doesn’t show that the truth value of quantum theory is incoherent. It just shows that the dog can’t know the truth value of quantum theory.
[quote author=“cgallaga”]Please present an objective definition or perfect good (and I assume the antithesis is imperfect evil) that we are to measure this deity by. Otherwise it is just your subjective and anthropomorphic human understanding of god and fails by the same series of tests.
Sorry, it’s not up to me to make that definition coherent, but up to the theologians who claim that god exists, or the agnostic who says that god might exist.
All I need to show is that on any sensible understanding of good, there is no reason to believe a perfectly good being created the universe. For a “sensible understanding of good” I refer to our everyday concept of good: being charitable towards others; treating others as we would have them treat us; being empathetic of others’ problems and pains; unwillingness to cause unnecessary pain; not murdering, not stealing, not lying unless absolutely necessary; and so on.
[quote author=“cgallaga”]And yes many things that you listed can be and often are named good or evil depending on the perception of the person making the judgment. After all the earthquakes formed our beautiful terrain and brought rich minerals to the surface enabling us to have the technology we have today. The rains are part of a weather system that gives us life, a small mudslide (we have plenty here) can help us notice slope weakness and thus prevent a major slip later. The holocaust is one of those hot button items (like comparing people to Hitler or Rosa Parks) that people like to misuse; but good things resulted from the holocaust I think anyone who wanted to look could find evidence for that.
Look, you are very concerned to demonstrate an agnostic position. I understand that. I certainly think there is room for a reasonable agnosticism; it is clearly no worse than a reasonable theism.
What I am interested in doing is getting clarity in the arguments.
So: is it possible that a perfectly good god was responsible for mudslides that kill thousands of people, the holocaust, babies and children dying of cancer and AIDS? Yes. There’s no logical contradiction involved in such a story. But that’s not what I was arguing. What I was arguing is that we have no reason to believe that there was any point to these senseless deaths and this terrible pain. We have to believe that every last death, every last twinge of pain, is absolutely necessary or else god is a torturer and murderer for no purpose. And are we really supposed to believe that god tortures small children with cancer in order to make adults learn things?
What would we think of a doctor who gave a baby cancer in order to teach adults things?
Is it possible that god did this? Well, I suppose it is, in the same way it’s possible that the moon is made of green cheese. But it certainly isn’t reasonable to believe.
[quote author=“cgallaga”]I also find it boring to throw up Santa or the Easter Bunny whenever discussing god. Non Sequitur. The Easter Bunny and Santa were in some ways more real than the Roman Catholic God as was presented to me in youth. Those candies and gifts came from somewhere. And while my explanation of where changed over time (and through positive evidence like seeing my Mom place them out; if you ask my Mom they were a very real spirit of giving embodied in her and that she hoped through those traditions to pass on to me. Thus is an evolved and evolving definition they both are proven plausible.
Er, so now you’re saying that you are becoming agnostic about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? If not, then why do you say “they are both proven plausible”?
Indeed, this is the crux of my difficulties with your philosophical position. Throughout our argument you have basically said that we can’t know anything; that it’s hubris to claim knowledge; and that therefore it’s hubris to claim knowledge that god does or doesn’t exist. OK, then, what about facts about the physical world? What about mathematical theorems? We know about those, don’t we? What about the Tooth Fairy, Superman, Odin, Thor? Surely we know that those don’t exist.
Now, if you want to say that those are equally unknowable (due to issues with “hubris”), then it seems you are just misusing terms like “know”. You have a sort of private, totally idiosyncratic, way of talking about knowledge when you are discussing philosophical issues on internet forums. But I guarantee when you are back at home talking about normal things with friends you will say “I know where I left my keys.” You will say “I know that the store is out of sausages.” But these are claims of knowledge that things do and don’t exist.
If this is not what you want to claim then I am genuinely confused about what your position is.