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Monday, May 5. 2008
If there were no God, there would be no atheists.
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G.K was a bit too western and narrow in his concept ergo;
, as an explicit position, either affirms the nonexistence of gods or rejects theism. When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities, alternatively called nontheism. Although atheism is often equated with irreligion, some religious philosophies, such as secular theology and some varieties of Buddhism such as Theravada, either do not include belief in a personal god as a tenet of the religion, or actively teach nontheism.
Notice gods in the definition and the reference to atheists and in inclusion of at least one well established religion.
If we want to accept only Western thought as the final word in all things then G.K does ok , but if one takes a more ecumenical approach he fails.
OK, Brun. But I'm from the blue-collar KISS old-school: Test the truth of a phrase through it's inverse. Thus:
If there were only aetheists, there would be a God.
Well THAT doesn't fly.
Same conclusion, shorter route. More time free to contemplate Burke's The Universe.
(All right, my tongue is in my cheek. Easier to do when you're typing.)
If there were no atheists or theists, there would still be God.
"If there were no atheists or theists, there would still be God."
Right. But what would He do with Himself all day?
# 1 Proving something by using it's inverse is insane. Show me any aspect of logic that embraces that as reasonable and logical.
#2 Burke understands what we knew about the Universe when he did the series. Even if he did the series today we would still not know the universe. We are finding the immutable laws of Isaac Newton even have serious flaws, just as we are finding our sciences haven't reached the end of knowledge. What you are studying is the foundational history of the Universe, not THE UNIVERSE as it exists at this moment.
#3 twolameflash...that's like saying if their were no people on Earth there would be no oxygen. Lame.
You can't prove the existence of God, God is a faith in something more omnipotent than mankind, but there it ends.
You might as well prove to the South Sea Islanders that their cargo cult isn't God.
Fair point, but I think GK's quote was more of a quip than a proof.
Re Burke - your criticisms are fair, but I think the series gets better after that intro.
"# 1 Proving something by using it's inverse is insane. Show me any aspect of logic that embraces that as reasonable and logical."
Aw, c'mon. I said tongue in cheek. It was a jibe, in the spirit (I believe) of GK's original quote. That was not meant to be some display of 'pure logic'.
I doubt our feeble minds can really grasp anything 'pure' anyway. Or, as Descartes should have said: "I think, therefore I am, I think."
But the 'inverse test' often works as a rule of thumb, if not an absolute.
"Everyone loves green."
"No one hates green."
Proving one suggests the inverse is true. Doesn't necessarily prove the inverse, for sure. But sometimes it's easier or more straightforward to demonstrate one sort of concept than its most direct ancillary. This is commonly practiced in physics, which is starting to sound more like philosophy than science these days. The absence of one effect is used to suggest the existence of another, until better proof comes along. It's not absolute, it's just the best we can do with what we have.
Don't make me resort to pasting smileys in these comments. Hey, I'm just avoiding REAL work, not writing a thesis.
"#3 twolameflash...that's like saying if their were no people on Earth there would be no oxygen. Lame."
Not an apt comparison. If one believes in God, one believes that God exists with or without man. According to the teachings of most Christians (and some other religions), God existed before mankind and will exist after mankind. Therefore, my understanding of God is that He exists independent of my - or anyone's - beliefs.
God requires belief and faith in order for me to work with Him (and vice versa), but NOT in order for Him to exist. That is a key distinction.
By way of contrast, Tinkerbell REQUIRES belief in order to exist. That is my knowledge of Tinkerbell, based my understanding of Peter Pan.
The existence of oxygen requires a certain faith in science. That is not the same as a belief or faith in oxygen. Again, unlike Tinkerbell, oxygen does not require my existence or belief to enable its existence. That is my understanding of science, and of oxygen.
explain how this happens please
If one believes in God, one believes that God exists with or without man.
Give that statement a minute to sink in and see if it isn't a bit on the non sense side.
The existence of oxygen requires a certain faith in science
This is absurd. O2 was here long before man; ergo long before science, long before man knew science. Come on man, give yourself a chance, don't just type.
Who had the "faith" a rock? a cockroach? Faith is human generated concept, even if you are a Platonist and believe that everything already exists it's just up to man to uncover it's existence; it's still a human concept.
"If one believes in God, one believes that God exists with or without man."
This was noted in my earlier comment. It is a central teaching of Christianity and other religions: God existed before man, and will exist (eternally) after we are gone.
If one believes in God, at least in the Judeo-Christian sense, one therefore believes that God exists with man (now) and without man (before we came to be, after we are gone).
Unlike Tinkerbell, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, God does not depend on our belief to exist.
I'm sure one can find some divergent teaching which states that God's existence depends on our belief in Him. Or, that God does not exist any more than Tinkerbell, etc. Or that God is a Giant Watermelon. I have no gripe with those who choose to believe such things, and I am a man who likes his watermelon. But in mainstream teachings, twolane's statement is quite well-grounded. He did say IF one believes, not that one MUST believe.
As an aside, as a temporal being, I must say it gives me some pause to contemplate ANYTHING that is eternal. Even the universe, we are told, will end. Or perhaps it will end and be reborn. My entire lifetime is so fleeting as to be unnoticable on that scale, yet it is the measure of everything I know and do. Obviously, anything that spans the universe and all of time is laughably beyond my comprehension.
"The existence of oxygen requires a certain faith in science"
At one time, the existence of oxygen was unknown to the best thinkers of the day. The Earth was also flat, and it was blasphemous to say otherwise.
My belief in oxygen's existence today is dependent on my faith in the current state of our scientific knowledge. I'm pretty secure with regards to oxygen, and see nothing to contradict what I have been told. But I am also well aware that, historically, what is considered knowledge beyond reproach today will be tomorrow's foolishness.
Most everything I was taught in high school physics class, for example, is right out the window. Protons, neutrons and electrons are NOT all the particles that exist. Pluto is no longer a planet. Gravity warps space - or maybe, gravity IS a warp of space. There may be millions of dimensions.
Observing an object changes it. Things can be in two places at once, and probably are, unless they are not. Of course, if you observe this, you have changed it.
There is wisdom in understanding, first and foremost, that uncertainty abounds, and that at some level, uncertainty actually RULES. The observable world is composed as much of poetry as 'fact'.
Of course, the universe exists outside of whether or not we exist to observe it. It is our tenuous understanding of what the world is composed of and the rules that govern it that is in constant flux. A hundred years from now, what you believe to be the existence of oxygen may be a running gag among physicists.
Since I have never tested for the existence or nature of oxygen myself, my belief and understanding of it is based on my faith in those who have done so over the years. I am taking their word for it, and I believe they made their best efforts to get answers. I am also aware that things change, and that 'unassailable' knowledge is proven to be mistaken all the time. If scientific method is the careful observation of results, ignoring science's historical stumbling is very unscientific.
So yes, my belief and understanding in the existence of oxygen is based on my faith in science.
twolane's statement is quite well-grounded.
everything we have stated is founded in the existence of man.
there would be no conversation about anything without man's being, be it physical or metaphysical.
Gentlemen we have made our points and I believe each side have equated itself with honor and good feeling, honesty and faith.
For the record I believe in the existence of God a priori man, I was just being the other viewpoint for I believe that brings out our best.
That, and I do not see how science gets past the question of the prime moving force, the initiator. I do not believe science will ever admit it must be God. You and I know differently.
"I do not see how science gets past the question of the prime moving force, the initiator."
Me neither. The harder we try, the more squirrelly it gets.
I probably went on way too long. The nature of the argument, and desire to avoid actual work, I fear is too compelling.