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When idiotic theistic arguments are present, why don’t we hear from the intelligent theists?
Posted: 28 October 2009 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I believe we have some intelligent theists on these forums. I believe I’ve conversed with some of them and that they’ve brought at least better arguments than a lot of the ultra fundy crap that travels through here so often. In my discussions with some of them, they’ve shown an ability to recognize a coherent argument in the opposition and for at least what I consider to be noble-enough causes, they reject the atheistic position. Often I read the intelligent theists wonder where we come up with some of our generalizations for the idiocy that we describe when we talk about the theistic suppositions. And yet they are no where to be seen when the very idiots that we generalize about show up and tout their crap. Hey, as far as I’m concerned an idiotic argument is an idiotic argument. If I see an atheist making retarded claims and showing that he doesn’t know what it means to remain logically consistent, I’ll call him on his crap. So where are these guys? I’m sure they can’t agree with all of the bs. Do they think it’ll hurt their positions? It strengthens my confidence in their ability to be logical as far as I’m concerned. I really don’t care about the theist vs atheist debate. I’m far more concerned about the rational vs idiots imposing their idiocy on society debate.

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Posted: 28 October 2009 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Kaizen - 28 October 2009 04:25 PM

I believe we have some intelligent theists on these forums. I believe I’ve conversed with some of them and that they’ve brought at least better arguments than a lot of the ultra fundy crap that travels through here so often. In my discussions with some of them, they’ve shown an ability to recognize a coherent argument in the opposition and for at least what I consider to be noble-enough causes, they reject the atheistic position. Often I read the intelligent theists wonder where we come up with some of our generalizations for the idiocy that we describe when we talk about the theistic suppositions. And yet they are no where to be seen when the very idiots that we generalize about show up and tout their crap. Hey, as far as I’m concerned an idiotic argument is an idiotic argument. If I see an atheist making retarded claims and showing that he doesn’t know what it means to remain logically consistent, I’ll call him on his crap. So where are these guys? I’m sure they can’t agree with all of the bs. Do they think it’ll hurt their positions? It strengthens my confidence in their ability to be logical as far as I’m concerned. I really don’t care about the theist vs atheist debate. I’m far more concerned about the rational vs idiots imposing their idiocy on society debate.

Good point. All of theology is more about how we think than about any theological claims, none of which even approaches verifiability.

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Posted: 28 October 2009 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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PLaClair - 28 October 2009 04:49 PM

Good point. All of theology is more about how we think than about any theological claims, none of which even approaches verifiability.

Many intelligent theists acknowledge this. Many don’t claim some solid logical proof or physical evidence that god necessarily exists. They realize that there is a degree of faith involved and don’t pretend otherwise. And then we get the dummies that come by here and act like they know what they’re talking about. It really goes against the image of a rational theist. I do think that they’re out there but the ones that are outspoken really drown out the rational ones.

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Posted: 28 October 2009 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi. I don’t know if I can consider myself an intelligent theist or not but it’s often futile to argue with “non-intelligent” theists, so I for my part stay away. I’m more interested in getting answers to my questions than arguing in circles. There is no “proof” for God, just as there is no “proof” against God. A good conversation centers around worldviews, not supposed absolutes. I believe there is a God, but I don’t “know”. Secular humanism is a good worldview, I believe “Calvinism” is as well. That’s something to argue about.
P.S. Sorry about my many quotation marks, I do this often, can’t find the “perfect” words… grin

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“In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.” (Heinrich Heine)

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Posted: 28 October 2009 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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You managed to get two “smarties” to regurgitate things they have heard from demagogues, in a couple of threads.

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Dan

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Posted: 28 October 2009 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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MikeD - 28 October 2009 06:45 PM

Hi. I don’t know if I can consider myself an intelligent theist or not but it’s often futile to argue with “non-intelligent” theists, so I for my part stay away. I’m more interested in getting answers to my questions than arguing in circles. There is no “proof” for God, just as there is no “proof” against God. A good conversation centers around worldviews, not supposed absolutes. I believe there is a God, but I don’t “know”. Secular humanism is a good worldview, I believe “Calvinism” is as well. That’s something to argue about.
P.S. Sorry about my many quotation marks, I do this often, can’t find the “perfect” words… grin

Hey Mike,

You certainly seem to fit on the intelligent side in my book so far. It’s a shame you only have 17 posts. We need to balance out the crazies on the theistic side. Again, I’m more than willing to tell a self proclaimed atheist who’s spewing fecal matter out the mouth where he can direct it. Thanks for showing up in this thread.

Phil

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Posted: 28 October 2009 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Some Guy - 28 October 2009 07:31 PM

You managed to get two “smarties” to regurgitate things they have heard from demagogues, in a couple of threads.

What can I say? It’s a gift.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hey Phil… by the way, what does Kaizen mean?... I’m not a smart-ass showing up here to “convert” people… I came across the CFI website through the Skeptical Inquirer magazine. When I “converted” I was at a very low point and I believed the Christian message with all my heart. Later I left my church. Good people and honest people, but I couldn’t stay. They believed things I just couldn’t accept. Really the problem wasn’t the beliefs, everyone can believe whatever they want, but the insistence on making beliefs being accepted as facts. I began reading and much of my reading led to leaving. Christian reading by the way, at the time. Mostly historical. I was “without church” for years, until I found the “Reformed”, which in my view have brains. Of course you can argue about theology, even, or especially, with the Reformed, it’s a very distinct, thorough and meticulous theological viewpoint, rejected by many “modern-day” Christians, but it is a through-and-through worldview without any gaps whatsoever. John Calvin was a genius of organization and the followers of the Reformed tradition are not less educated. I am, however, not convinced, not convinced of anything. I can listen to Hitchens, Dawkins, Nietzsche and Feuerbach and I find great and stimulating discourse… but penetrating? No.
In the end it’s all belief… faith… and that scares me. Is there no reality? Worldviews are fine, helping to organize one’s life… but true??? Truth is the one thing eluding us. And then comes Jesus of Nazareth, saying: I came to bear witness to the truth… and: I am the truth… but is the recorded Jesus the real Jesus? Is the Christ of faith the Jesus of fact? - Even there numerous things have been written. I have read Bart Ehrman, Michael Arnheim, Bertrand Russell… all of them, even the New Age gurus and Gnostic people. I am not, in no way, disregarding their opinions or conclusions… but they are based on faith. Often I must say the Christian scholarship is much deeper, but in the end… it’s faith. I have torn down my beliefs to an extend I almost have nothing left and I try to live on that rest. What I really would like to do is begin building, but on what? - I’m here to get some input. I like to read the threads, don’t reply much. I do get unsettled by misunderstandings producing false structures but even there eventually you tear things down to nothing. Hey, the human enterprise is an interesting adventure! You know, one of the things I remember being really great was a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando… the story of mankind in that big, round thing there. That had a great effect on me, I loved it! You leave and you feel… HUMAN! - I think no matter how much we agree or disagree the fact that we’re thinking is great enough. Sorry about the long story, just thought it would fit.

Greetings.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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MikeD - 29 October 2009 10:59 AM

I have torn down my beliefs to an extend I almost have nothing left and I try to live on that rest. What I really would like to do is begin building, but on what? - I’m here to get some input.

Start with studying natural sciences and mathematics. It is the foundation of all we know, and our best system of learning about life, the universe and everything. Perfect? Of course not, but science is the best system mankind has devised for learning how things work.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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fotobits - 29 October 2009 12:39 PM
MikeD - 29 October 2009 10:59 AM

I have torn down my beliefs to an extend I almost have nothing left and I try to live on that rest. What I really would like to do is begin building, but on what? - I’m here to get some input.

Start with studying natural sciences and mathematics. It is the foundation of all we know, and our best system of learning about life, the universe and everything. Perfect? Of course not, but science is the best system mankind has devised for learning how things work.

As much as I think these are important for anyone to look into, I’m not sure if science and math can speak on things that can replace the value that religion can bring to the individual. I really think this is one of those places where philosophy shines, that is, if it utilizes the best information that we have from science and math. Science and math are excellent tools to describe some aspects of reality to us, but I don’t think they tell us what to do this such information, at least in themselves.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Kaizen - 29 October 2009 01:06 PM
fotobits - 29 October 2009 12:39 PM
MikeD - 29 October 2009 10:59 AM

I have torn down my beliefs to an extend I almost have nothing left and I try to live on that rest. What I really would like to do is begin building, but on what? - I’m here to get some input.

Start with studying natural sciences and mathematics. It is the foundation of all we know, and our best system of learning about life, the universe and everything. Perfect? Of course not, but science is the best system mankind has devised for learning how things work.

As much as I think these are important for anyone to look into, I’m not sure if science and math can speak on things that can replace the value that religion can bring to the individual. I really think this is one of those places where philosophy shines, that is, if it utilizes the best information that we have from science and math. Science and math are excellent tools to describe some aspects of reality to us, but I don’t think they tell us what to do this such information, at least in themselves.

I caught that, too. Science and math encompass all we know about the material world, but nothing substitutes for perception and experience in making value judgments and the like. In no way does this suggest that consciousness is not a product of the organic brain.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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PlaClair said:

...nothing substitutes for perception and experience in making value judgments…

And how are you going to make informed value judgments without understanding how reality works? You don’t have to understand quantum physics to know that murder is wrong, but when science and technology pervade every aspect of our lives you cannot make informed decisions without studying science and math at the liberal arts level. This does not require a college education. There are plenty of layman’s books explaining biology, physics, cosmology, and neuroscience.

MikeD said he has read everything he could get his hands on about world views, and found them all lacking. He asked where to go next. He is seeking truth, not opinion.

I can listen to Hitchens, Dawkins, Nietzsche and Feuerbach and I find great and stimulating discourse… but penetrating? No.
In the end it’s all belief… faith… and that scares me. Is there no reality? Worldviews are fine, helping to organize one’s life… but true??? Truth is the one thing eluding us.

You want opinion? Study philosophy. You want truth? Study science.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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MikeD - 29 October 2009 10:59 AM

Hey Phil… by the way, what does Kaizen mean?...

Kaizen is a Japanese term often utilized in the business world that roughly translates to “constant improvement.” The kaizen concept has played a huge role in the growth of the Japanese car industry, particularly Toyota which I believe is now the number one car company in the world. Ironically, the concept was taught to the Japanese by an American (Dr. W. Edwards Deming). It’s a fascinating story. I use it to remind me of my priorities every so often.

I’m not a smart-ass showing up here to “convert” people… I came across the CFI website through the Skeptical Inquirer magazine. When I “converted” I was at a very low point and I believed the Christian message with all my heart. Later I left my church. Good people and honest people, but I couldn’t stay. They believed things I just couldn’t accept. Really the problem wasn’t the beliefs, everyone can believe whatever they want, but the insistence on making beliefs being accepted as facts. I began reading and much of my reading led to leaving. Christian reading by the way, at the time. Mostly historical. I was “without church” for years, until I found the “Reformed”, which in my view have brains. Of course you can argue about theology, even, or especially, with the Reformed, it’s a very distinct, thorough and meticulous theological viewpoint, rejected by many “modern-day” Christians, but it is a through-and-through worldview without any gaps whatsoever. John Calvin was a genius of organization and the followers of the Reformed tradition are not less educated. I am, however, not convinced, not convinced of anything. I can listen to Hitchens, Dawkins, Nietzsche and Feuerbach and I find great and stimulating discourse… but penetrating? No.
In the end it’s all belief… faith… and that scares me. Is there no reality? Worldviews are fine, helping to organize one’s life… but true??? Truth is the one thing eluding us. And then comes Jesus of Nazareth, saying: I came to bear witness to the truth… and: I am the truth… but is the recorded Jesus the real Jesus? Is the Christ of faith the Jesus of fact? - Even there numerous things have been written. I have read Bart Ehrman, Michael Arnheim, Bertrand Russell… all of them, even the New Age gurus and Gnostic people. I am not, in no way, disregarding their opinions or conclusions… but they are based on faith. Often I must say the Christian scholarship is much deeper, but in the end… it’s faith. I have torn down my beliefs to an extend I almost have nothing left and I try to live on that rest. What I really would like to do is begin building, but on what? - I’m here to get some input. I like to read the threads, don’t reply much. I do get unsettled by misunderstandings producing false structures but even there eventually you tear things down to nothing. Hey, the human enterprise is an interesting adventure! You know, one of the things I remember being really great was a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando… the story of mankind in that big, round thing there. That had a great effect on me, I loved it! You leave and you feel… HUMAN! - I think no matter how much we agree or disagree the fact that we’re thinking is great enough. Sorry about the long story, just thought it would fit.
a Greetings.

Thanks for that introduction Mike. In speaking to people from different denominations of Christianity, I can safely say that not all are equal in terms of critical thinking. In my experience, the 7th day Adventists tend to really think things through especially in contrast to the “non-denominational” fundy types that have gotten so much popularity lately. I really don’t know much about the Calvinists. Maybe you can start a thread on what aspects of Calvinism you find so compelling.

I tend to see religion as philosophy that doesn’t insist upon logical integrity. Not to say that all religious beliefs are completely without merit. But the religious beliefs that I can agree with to at least some extent are the ones that I can see the reasoning in. Which really makes me wonder why the religion itself is necessary, outside of some fundamental acceptance of a “god(s).” I don’t think there are any solid arguments or clear evidence for god(s), but I don’t necessarily think that all versions of them are dangerous. I do challenge the idea that belief in god(s) is necessary for a happy and moral (using the word loosely to not imply god) life. Not that I know so much, but I would suggest that many of the positive aspects that you receive from religious belief can be provided through philosophy. And you might need to pave a new road within philosophy to find them, which is another reason why I can see that it’s not that popular with many folks. It’s not spoon fed to any of us and there’s no guarantee of being absolutely right. For the other aspects that religion provides that you may not be able to find in philosophy, I would argue that they are most likely an unnecessary crutch that you or others may not be aware of. My personal justification for such a belief is in my observation that there are plenty of happy and moral atheists, myself included.

I’m not trying to win you over or anything, just giving my thoughts on the topic.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Hey guys, thanks for the posts. I realize all that too. Math and science are good ways to “know” something but then the framework, the paradigm, to put it into, the “worldview”, is the problem. Secular humanism would be such a worldview, but then, is it true? - I wish with all my heart that it is true. It would simplify things around my head immensely. But then, when I listen to other explanations, mainly Christian, it doesn’t seem so simple anymore.
I’m reading two books right now: Feuerbach’s “Being of Christendom” (bad translation) and Bultmann’s “Early Christendom”. Both are very fascinating. Feuerbach is a philosopher, so he’s more engaging in the “nature” of things while Bultmann is strictly a historian. Bultmann is known for the “demystification of the New Testament”, that’s why I wanted to read him. Feuerbach is not anti-Christian, Bultmann is a Christian, though Bultmann is the “devil” to many Christians.
Anyway, I’m sitting here trying to figure out the truth that may not even exist. I just wrote in an essay that I wish I were a cat… eat, drink, sleep and fuck… and all the while trying to look good… what a mess!
What is you people’s convictions? I mean not in detail, I mean whether or not there is a description, like secular humanism or the like.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Wow, there’s a lot of replies going on here… I think I very much agree that math and science provide truth while philosophy and religion provide opinion, although my very thoughts of “science” are shattered to a degree since science, to a point, depends on a certain philosophical “epistemology”, which could be torn down. To live and function in society only a minimal understanding of the world around is required. Society in general does not reject even “non-functioning” members, that is here in the West. All that relies on our understanding of the world. I, for my part, am a big supporter of Amnesty International. I cannot agree with people being imprisoned for their opinions. Other peoples around the world see no problem with that, neither did Europeans or Americans years ago. - I have always thought like that, even as a kid before I knew “right from wrong”. - Why? What is that overlying consciousness that pervades some people and not others? God? - If it were the Christian God, all through the ages, I’d be convinced. But even Calvin, Luther and the Puritans acknowledged death, even violent or torturous death, as a means of good conduct. Why?
I am perplexed, I admit, I have no answer.

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Posted: 29 October 2009 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I am not sure about the Puritans, but Calvin and Luther were sick men. I would go so far as to call them both evil. Their world views are definitely perverse. Looking to such men for moral guidance is ill-conceived.

I know philosophers can “tear down” scientific epistemology, as you put it. That is precisely one reason I (and many scientists) have little use for philosophers and philosophy. Science works. If it did not work we would not be having this discussion via the Internet. If science did not work our global society would not exist. If science did not work my father would have died three years ago. Scientists figure things out. Engineers get things done. Philosophers sit around talking about picayune details.

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