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Agnostics are Illogical
Posted: 22 February 2011 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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PLaClair - 22 February 2011 06:12 AM

Then GdB asks in post # 59: “Your asteroidal creator created all life but it did not create the earth and the stars. So is it god?” That fairly begs the tail to wag the dog, suggesting that there is a range of acceptable definitions for “god,” such that a definition that falls outside those parameters is unacceptable: on what basis?

Can you explain? If the question for god makes any sense, there must be acceptable definitions. If it is impossible, then of course the question does not make any sense.

And BTW, I forgot one possibility. Assume:
- we discover the natural cause of the big bang
- we discover that an asteriod brought life to earth
- we discover aliens did everything that seems to be done by god historically in the bible (Moses and the mountain, Ezechiel, Jesus etc)
i.e. we have different natural explanations for all the separate aspects attributed to god. What then? We are not agnostics anymore. Or are we still because we did not find Vishnu? Would the Christians be content? (OK god did this, but not that…)

So where are we?

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Posted: 22 February 2011 08:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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GdB - 22 February 2011 07:06 AM
PLaClair - 22 February 2011 06:12 AM

Then GdB asks in post # 59: “Your asteroidal creator created all life but it did not create the earth and the stars. So is it god?” That fairly begs the tail to wag the dog, suggesting that there is a range of acceptable definitions for “god,” such that a definition that falls outside those parameters is unacceptable: on what basis?

Can you explain? If the question for god makes any sense, there must be acceptable definitions. If it is impossible, then of course the question does not make any sense.

Assume that there is an “asteroidal creator” that “created all life but . . . did not create the earth and the stars.” Call it AC. Assume further that AC is the most powerful being in the universe and that it has no beginning and no end.

Understanding that AC is real, what would you call it?

Why should anyone care whether you or anyone else thinks AC fits an arbitrary human definition of “God,” which had not been known to be a real entity until the existence of AC was verified?

Now take the contrary assumption: there is no such entity. If that is true, then “is it god?” doesn’t mean anything because there’s no real entity to measure the concept against. The objection you posited is like criticizing someone for only jumping ten feet of the way across a twenty-foot-wide abyss, while everyone else jumped fifteen feet. Who cares? The result is the same.

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Posted: 23 February 2011 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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PLaClair - 22 February 2011 08:21 PM

Why should anyone care whether you or anyone else thinks AC fits an arbitrary human definition of “God,” which had not been known to be a real entity until the existence of AC was verified?

It might be we mean the same. Any human definition of something is arbitrary, when the entity it is referring to is something we have no consistent idea about. Compare god with the Higgs boson. The Higss boson fills a rather precise ‘hole’ in a scientific theory. If it is not found there, we know the theory cannot be correct as it stands. But we do not have such a theory of god. Not even Christians agree, and it becomes even worse if you ask all religions.

Compare it to following 2 statements:

“Unicorns do not exist”.
“Unicorns exist, they live in Africa, and in fact they are ugly, have a thick skin, and do not look like horses at all”

200px-One_horned_Rhino.jpg

How do you decide which is right?

What is a atheist saying when he says god does not exist? Or what is it, of which an agnostic does not know anything about?

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Posted: 23 February 2011 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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GdB - 23 February 2011 12:14 AM
PLaClair - 22 February 2011 08:21 PM

Why should anyone care whether you or anyone else thinks AC fits an arbitrary human definition of “God,” which had not been known to be a real entity until the existence of AC was verified?

It might be we mean the same. Any human definition of something is arbitrary, when the entity it is referring to is something we have no consistent idea about. Compare god with the Higgs boson. The Higss boson fills a rather precise ‘hole’ in a scientific theory. If it is not found there, we know the theory cannot be correct as it stands. But we do not have such a theory of god. Not even Christians agree, and it becomes even worse if you ask all religions.

Compare it to following 2 statements:

“Unicorns do not exist”.
“Unicorns exist, they live in Africa, and in fact they are ugly, have a thick skin, and do not look like horses at all”

200px-One_horned_Rhino.jpg

How do you decide which is right?

What is a atheist saying when he says god does not exist? Or what is it, of which an agnostic does not know anything about?

Perhaps we are saying the same thing. I’m saying that these discussions, debates and arguments are more about us than about the nature or shape of things.

So the most pertinent question is not whether that rhinoceros “is” a unicorn but whether people saw a rhinoceros and called it a unicorn or whether the genesis of “unicorn” was more akin to that of a minotaur.

Similarly, the more interesting question about God is not whether a supreme being exists but why some people answer the question in the affirmative, some in the negative and some say they don’t know. Yes, their conception of God matters but that’s a starting point, not an endpoint. Saying that one concept or another “is” or “isn’t” God doesn’t shed much light and usually deflects the discussion into meaninglessness, confusion and/or irrelevance.

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Posted: 23 February 2011 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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PLaClair - 23 February 2011 04:14 AM

Perhaps we are saying the same thing. I’m saying that these discussions, debates and arguments are more about us than about the nature or shape of things.

So the most pertinent question is not whether that rhinoceros “is” a unicorn but whether people saw a rhinoceros and called it a unicorn or whether the genesis of “unicorn” was more akin to that of a minotaur.

Similarly, the more interesting question about God is not whether a supreme being exists but why some people answer the question in the affirmative, some in the negative and some say they don’t know. Yes, their conception of God matters but that’s a starting point, not an endpoint. Saying that one concept or another “is” or “isn’t” God doesn’t shed much light and usually deflects the discussion into meaninglessness, confusion and/or irrelevance.

Do you mean the ‘historical question’ about god? The question how this concept got into the world? That can be very enlightening, of course, but it seems it is not enough. If some christians identify the cause of the big bang with god, others with the god who created the world in 6 days, and again others as the ‘ground of all existence’, independent of the historical development of the concept of ‘god’, I think we can just shrug our shoulders.

So it is the first question, and as long we get no definite answer, it is the last too. How can we answer the question if a god exists answer with ‘yes’, ‘no’ or even ‘I don’t know’ if we do not know what we are asked?

So the different answers people actually give depend on what they use as definition for ‘god’, and on their believe that something in reality to which their definition refers actually exists or not.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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GdB - 23 February 2011 08:09 AM

How can we answer the question if a god exists answer with ‘yes’, ‘no’ or even ‘I don’t know’ if we do not know what we are asked?

That’s my point. The question “does God exist” is meaningless without a definition of God. So why continue to ask the question that way, when we know that there are so many different definitions of God?

We get into these turf wars over the meaning of a word, as though someone can own a word. Every time we do that, we have the tail wagging the dog.

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