Sorry - you're disproving a positive, not proving a negative.
Volcano's exist. Eruptions exist. They simply can't occur in your "hotel room". They nevertheless exist - and making a statement about their non-occurrence has no influence on their existence....
Proving the non-existence of that for which no evidence of any kind exist - this is the point.
Proof, logic, reason, thinking, knowledge pertain to and deal only with that which exists. They cannot be applied to that which does not exist.
You can apply the rules of logic to non-existence and infer some things - but it is speculation - but that's all.
Ultimately, any positive statement that's even based on facts that have been erroneously interpreted can be refuted - simply by exposing the errors in the interpretation of the facts.
That's all it takes.
Willa, when one proves a positive, one also proves any number of negatives. If you prove that you have eyeballs in your orbital sockets, you also prove that they do not contain golf balls, hail, moon rocks, black holes, neutron stars, or any number of other orbs.
If I state that there are no moon rocks in your eye sockets, you can prove that handily, right?
You are asserting something completely different however. You are asserting that one cannot prove or disprove a claim where evidence is unattainable. I would agree with you with one change: one cannot prove or disprove a COHERENT claim where evidence is unattainable. It isn't merely the negative that one cannot prove in such a case, but also the positive. Yet people don't wander the internet claiming that you cannot prove a positive.
However, in the case of the existence of a creator of existence, an omnipotent omnibenevolent deity, or any other oxymoron, they disprove themselves by contradicting themselves and, thus, cannot actually exist. Proving such negatives is child's play.
Joel, as much as I'm sure we all appreciate you walking us through the pond of black swans... again... you are very much mistaken. My argument is not an example of induction.
Your example is disingenuous in that you surely realize the poverty of the comparison. Swans are real things. In a pinch, I could even paint one black or purple or even plaid if I had money riding on it. "Swan" is also a word with a coherent definition.
"God" is not an actual word in that it doesn't have a coherent definition, even though it has myriad connotations. Your assertion that some day some one might dream up a coherent definition is neither reasonable, nor even a reasonable cause to doubt the existence of all previous attempts to define a being who, if he was somehow real, has had all eternity to make the scene as it were.
I can save you trouble and define God as a black swan. There. coherent and existent and we can all go to church and pray to it and take pictures of ourselves praying to it and post that on the wikipedia page.
But that isn't how it works. If I make an irrational assertion, you need not have doubt in my assertion while waiting for me to completely redefine my terms so that they might somehow make sense. You see, we aren't really debating over whether or not the being's name is "God." We are debating whether or not there exists a creator of existence... which said creator would not exist to create... but that's neither here nor there... literally. We are debating whether or not said creator is also the ultimate authority of said existence, prescribing morality and taking names and kicking ass and passing out twinkies.
We are not debating whether or not someone might decide to define "God" as a largish weasel or a high-top table or a cup of hot coffee. Any definition still has to render a deity capable of the impossible, which, by definition is still incoherent. Do you not understand that it is logically impossible to define such a being as would qualify it as God without resorting to oxymoron? It isn't just that such a definition is waiting to be found, cuddled up no doubt in a nest of black swans, but that any definition that would identify the being as a deity is, necessarily, irrational.
By your logic, I need only insist that the definition of swan is "a purely white water fowl" and your precious black birds wouldn't qualify and I could happily assert all the livelong day that there are no black swans. But that isn't how we do business here in semantics land now is it?
We aren't talking about induction here, Joel. I appreciate how hard you had to work, what with consulting wikipedia and the example of the swans right there on the page and all, but you are embarrassingly guilty of false analogy here. Swans and definitions of God don't have enough in common to warrant the comparison in the first place. That took some serious contriving on your part so that you could falsely assume induction.
In the second place, the atheist position of 100% disbelief in God is multi-pronged. It consists not only of checking premises and not allowing oxymoronic definitions up until now and the impossibility of the attributes necessary to describe the supposed being, but the simultaneous prohibition of traits that might make it possible. It consists further of real world evidence that contradicts the supposed qualities of the being and the existence of a being with those qualities.
So you see, in order to honestly recognize the possibility that God exists, it isn't even that you must come up with a coherent definition, you must alter reality and create this being from scratch so that he can rationally have the traits necessary to qualify as God. Of course, if you possess the power to actually manufacture from scratch an actual God in the real world, you might try out for the title yourself. But, I doubt you'll find the recipe on Wikipedia.
Joel Potter: You don't need to explain.
You've probably heard the Pope call people cowards for believing in "moral relativity", and implying that there is no such thing as moral gray areas or ambiguities.
You and I know there is - any mature person whose had a modicum of life experience knows this, but thanks for the point. It's much appreciated.
Therefore, it is up to the person making a claim to prove it. Similarly, a Theist making a claim of a Deity should be required to produce the proof, not the Atheist to disprove it by checking for the Deity under every rock or nook or cranny. It's about logistics not logic.
The burden of proof lies with the one who makes these claims and the standard is evidence. All you can say is that I have reviewed the evidence and it is insufficient. I'm open to the possibility but there is no evidence.
(Although I think christianity is on a downward turn, I'd like to say the following)
I've been thinking about the above types of arguments that are always found in Atheist forums. And I would like to say they have no substance. Sitting back and listening to an argument/proof about god and then giving a YES or NO about the 'proof', and not the topic, is meaningless.
proof: theistic rhetoric
People who believe the lack-of-evidence/burden-of-proof-argument is enough to get by on, and see no need to take the god issue any further are the beginning of the end of proactive thought. To dismiss a christians 'proof' about gods existence is meaningless unless you yourself think about god and come to a conclusion about god for yourself.
If you can think by yourself and make your own decision about God, based on your own thoughts and your own 'proof', then there is something you must use in order to do this. And that something is your brain. But you are not using your brain at all, especially in regards to the God myth, if you believe it is only up to the person making the claim.
Many atheists use the 'burden of proof' statement the same way chistians quote verses from the bible. They use it as a standard come back that they have learnt by heart. But there is a problem with the 'burden of proof' statement, in regards to God, in that it stops you from thinking critically about God. And lack of thinking is the very thing many atheists accuse christians of.
Another thing I often hear atheists say is, 'we need to teach our children critical thinking because christian dogma stops them from thinking for themselves'. But atheists also say 'I haven't seen enough evidence about it so I won't waste my time thinking about it'. Can you see what is wrong here? Many atheists want their own children to think and I assume make decisions after thinking, but when it comes to God, many atheists don't want to think about it and don't want to make a decision about it.
Atheists can make decisions about god and it only takes a few seconds. And it is easy.
For example: my decision is; there is no god, there never has been, there never will be.
Don't be passive and leave you brain blank/unused in regards to gods existence. Use your brain and make a real decision.
TV personalities like Dawkins are professionals at playing with words and making things sound intelligent. But that doesn't mean you have to copy them. Just using the 'I have not seen sufficient evidence/the burden of proof lies with you' statement, on its own, is a meaningless statement. It is an excuse to intellectually run away. It is an excuse to leave part of your brain blank and unused. It is intellectual laziness.
It is an excuse to intellectually run away. It is an excuse to leave part of your brain blank and unused. It is intellectual laziness.
No it is not, I've yet to hear any description at all of god(s) that do make sense. So when the topic comes up in conversation I would first have to find out what god(s) the other person is talking about before I could say anything meaningful about it.
For instance, the "Einsteinian God" is very hard to disproof and I would know many a people who's beliefs more closely resemble an invisible "prime mover" then a personal god (which is easier to disproof).
I'll hazard a guess, you are probably living in a country where one religious view dominates public life. This causes you to belief that you know quite well what people consider to be (or define as) god(s) and thus it's easy for you to claim that "there is no god, there never has been, there never will be." There are however many religious people that have defined their god(s) to an undefinable woowoo-laden quasi-Einsteinian god, which they cannot demonstrate but which is near impossible to disproof.
They are both Atheists. Neither of them believe in god. All they are doing is changing the meaning of God from 'omnipotent guy' to 'the natural world'. I think these two guys are just trying to be polite. Einstein is being polite to his fellow Jews, many of who were very religious and Spinoza is being polite to everybody around him so he doesn't get burnt at the stake.
What you have done Rob is shift the goal posts in regards to what God is.
To prove it is intellectual laziness, I ask you to tell me who God is. I ask you to tell me where he exists. How does he communicate with us? Does god love you? Rather than be a parrot and copy the opinions of others, come up with your own opinion about God. Now please answer the questions I gave you. Don't copy other peoples work, use your own brain and come up with some answers.
There are however many religious people that have defined their god(s) to an undefinable woowoo-laden quasi-Einsteinian god, which they cannot demonstrate but which is near impossible to disproof.
Call me closed minded Rod. You have convinced me I should not ask you for proof about what you are talking about. What you have done here is write an undefinable sentence.
I am Australian Rod.
As for Religion, I am as dogmatic about there being no god as I am about there being no religion. To put it simply there are no religions. There never has been there never will be. The reason why I say this is as follows: Everything we believe in is man made. All the religious doctrine is man made. God in man made. All the morals(both good and bad morals) are man made. Religion plays no part in our lives. Each individual is 100% responsible for his or her own actions. Religion is never responsible, only the individual.
So what are all those people around the world doing in their mosques and churches and temples? They just enjoy sitting next to each other, having a little chat, and listening to some guy in front of them.
And I can keep on going:
There are no Jews there never has been there never will be.
There are no Christians there never has been there never will be.
There are no Muslims there never has been there never will be.
There are no Buddhists there never has been there never will be
And so on.
For me, my statements are a stand against those that wish to control others and a stand against mental laziness.
"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."
He wasn't being polite. He clearly used it as both a metaphor (as in to say the Universe itself is GOD), and as a mockery of the GOD concept.
They just enjoy sitting next to each other, having a little chat, and listening to some guy in front of them.
This is largely a false statement.. It's a very narrow-minded view of what organized religion is, and why it's actually a problem that holds man back in the dark ages. Religion is essentially the psychological manipulation of an individual. Religions are not about visiting friends exactly.. It's more about the worship of authority. Much of it is profiteering, or straight up cult like. It's like watching those out there with signs that say "GOD HATES FAGS", or those who stuff a bible in a dying man's face to use his death and tragedy as a propaganda tool... There is so much wrong with religion that it can not just be said to be "people at church holding hands"..
If you think there are no religions, you then do not know what religion is. It's the retardation of the advancement of human knowledge. And I mean real knowledge and not mystical self-invented knowledge.. The problem isn't with the fantasy, it's when those who think fantasy is actually real, and then become Theocritus and dangerous. It's when fantasy starts to teach people to be intentionally dumb, or that it's a sin to seek knowledge that doesn't adhere to the ideological constructs of the ideology.. such as:
The Tree of Knowledge and the forbidden fruit.. Most people do not grasp what this actually means in terms of human psychology, or in terms of it's purpose.. So the Adam and Eve story about the tree of knowledge and the forbidden fruit was a story about control. Hence it's forbidden to educate yourself, or to seek knowledge that will not be obedient to the ideology. It's well understood in the mechanics of brainwashing people. And it's thus a sin to seek knowledge. The difference between right and wrong was not entirely about morals, or ethics. It was about right being the following of the religion, and wrong being defiant of it. Thus anything that is against the ideology is demonic, sinful, evil, ect. And thus should be murdered, killed, or segregated from society... it's about making you feel less of a human if you do not devote your life to blind obedience to the church/religion. And you wonder why you have Christians out there with "GOD HATES FAGS" signs, or out there protesting at peoples funerals. Religion is for the ignorantly insane, or the plain ignorant. It literally depends on people being complete morons in order for it to have any relevance. Why do you think they prey on peoples emotions, tragedies, children, fear, and vulnerabilities as indoctrination tools. ?
I know this because I was a Christian, and I was taught how to use these tools when I did advertising for many Churches over the last 20 years.
And if you read the link, I posted a bit on how religious brainwashing works. And I included books on the subject.
He wasn't being polite. He clearly used it as both a metaphor (as in to say the Universe itself is GOD), and as a mockery of the GOD concept.
I consider this to be polite. The reason why I consider this to be polite is that he continues to use the word GOD. He doesn't deny the existence of GOD. He just changes its meaning.
I don't blame religion for any abuse to children nor do I blame religion for how we grow up. If anybody abuses a child, it is the abuser that has committed the crime. He is at fault. It has nothing to do with religion. If parents send their kinds to Sunday school and if some of the kids take it all literally, it is not the fault of the Sunday school. It is the fault of the parents. Religion has nothing to do with it.
We either take full responsibility for our own lives or we can blame others for things that happen. We can of course blame others, we can do a percentage type blame. You can say to yourself I am 90% responsible of my own actions and other people must take 10% responsibility for my actions. Or you can say I only accept 50% responsibility for my own actions and 50% is the responsibility of others or religion.
Me I take 100% responsibility for my own actions. But that doesn't mean I don't try and help others. I go to the local church and help out by cooking and cleaning etc for the disadvantaged in society.
All the points that are mentioned in the article exist in all levels of society and in all societies. Leaders of major corporations in 3rd world countries go to brothels and have sex with young girls and young boys, these same leaders expect everybody to work for substandard wages or for free. All the points in the text are not limited to religion. All the points in the text are what we humans do to each other, have always done to each other, and we will continue to do this to each other.
there will always be individuals among us, free thinkers, that don't do the above, that don't abuse any of the advantages they have. And these free thinkers will try and counter those that abuse power.
Are you the Jackel?
As for your brainwashing essay, I agree 100%. But indoctrination and mind control are not limited to religion. The army for example. in the army we all get complete indoctrination on what we have to do. If we aren't heavily indoctrinated there is no way we can do what we do. The Mafia, same thing. Terrorism, is the same. It's all about indoctrination and mind control. Getting others to comply to, commit and ignore crimes is all about indoctrination.