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Strong and Weak Arguments
#91
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 08:19)chimp3 Wrote: I think philosophical arguments about reality are weak . Philosophers for centuries asked "What is mind?" and never came close to discovering a synapse or neurotransmitter. It took the scientific method  to do that. Philosophy is better used for moral argument and we do not require gods for that. All moral precepts can be argued without religious assumptions.

Best atheistic argument about morality: 

Name one good or noble thing that can not be accomplished without religion!

Man, did you hit the nail on the head!  I hate when people think that philosophical arguments have any more meaning than the haughty babble that they are.  If you want to be smart, study the sciences.  If sounding smart is enough for you, philosophy is your bag.
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#92
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 10:07)Alex K Wrote:
(10th January 2017, 09:18)Whateverist Wrote: I've always assumed stuff just has a way that it happens to be and when all the stuff that is interacts with all the other stuff that is, we get the universe.  The universe seems more Jackson Pollock than representational to me.

I think I'm not high enough to understand Smile Can you elaborate what you mean by stuff interacting with stuff?


There is medication for this you know.  

But all I'm saying is I assume there is a real world out there, composed of stuff with properties ripe for discovery.  Those properties interact with the properties of other stuff in ways dictated by those properties in ways which are also ripe for discovery.  Though ripe, none of these discoverable things are necessarily discoverable or understandable by us.  Here I'm deliberately leaving "stuff" defined vaguely as whatever it is that is out there.  But, on faith, I accept that stuff is out there and did not require being cobbled together out of nothing and its dials set to precise constants for the sake of making life possible in exceedingly rare goldilocks zones scattered throughout the cosmos. To further elaborate my whacked out philosophy, I also assume that there never was a pure nothing but only pre-existing states receding back into forever.

I know, I'm a radical.  Don't shun me.
(16th February 2017, 18:16)TheOther JoeFish Wrote: So what you're saying is that I can harass all of the members I want for the next 168 hours, as long as I do so in my signature?
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#93
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 09:10)ukatheist Wrote: Strongest theist argument: for me is first cause (but only in so far as you would name any non-natural cause 'god'), although, I consider a natural first cause most likely at this point in time. Weakest theist argument: Anything that assigns attributes to 'god', or implies that 'god' is anything other than the first cause.

A couple of points for clarification...

The First Cause demonstration as found in Question 2 or Aquinas's Summa refers to efficient causes. Efficient causes are objects and not events. For example, the efficient cause of a table would be a carpenter rather than the work performed by the carpenter.

Secondly, the demonstration applies only to an essentially ordered series of increasing dependence and not an accidental one, such as a sequence in time. He isn't saying there was temporal beginning, like the Big Bang. Any apologetic (or objection) that suggests the need for something 'before' the Big Bang is based on a misreading.

Finally, none of the Five Ways exists in isolation of one another. While each one ends with the statement "...and this everyone considers to be god," the type of god one gets is the summation of all Five Ways. On its own, the best the 2nd Way gets you is Pantheism. However in light of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Ways, the physical universe is disqualified as the "god" in question.

Hopefully, you don't interpret this as a direct defense of the demonstration. I feel it speaks for itself. But it cannot do so, if the terms of the demonstration and its place in the whole of Article 3 are not properly understood.
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#94
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 12:01)Vast Vision Wrote:
(10th January 2017, 10:14)paulpablo Wrote: But I'm not a theist so the descriptions of god you're talking about mean nothing to me.
It only makes sense to argue against a god as imagined by theists; primarily the christian and islamic god as this is the majority.

Another weak argument that comes into my mind is the argument from authority. Thinking that the fact that there are religious scientists would somehow represent a valid argument for religion. Quoting religious scientists is one of the first things many theists do in a debate.

But I haven't accepted that the only possibility of a God could be what Christians and Muslims describe god as.


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Impersonation is treason.





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#95
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
No worries, I'm probably confusing things. Meant the cause of the universe rather than aquinas five ways.

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#96
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(9th January 2017, 17:53)Alex K Wrote:
(29th December 2016, 14:18)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: I would like to hear what AF members think are the weakest arguments supporting their position and strongest arguments against it. Believers are invited to admit the skeptical objections they find most reasonable (even if they do not sway you) and critique the worst apologetics. Skeptics are invited to admit which apologetic seems most reasonable (even if they do not sway you) and critique the least valid objections. So I’ll start…

IMO the weakest apologetic is Pascal’s wager since it relies entirely on a specific cultural context.

IMO the most reasonable objection comes from Kant. He proposes that ‘being’ is not a proper predicate and therefore the saying that God’s essence is the same as His existence is problematic.

Among the weakest for: Theodicy, that may cast doubt that there is a loving God, but doesn't really make a case for atheism

Strongest against: Fine tuning, contrary to what some deniers say, several physical constants and combinations thereof cannot be changed by more than a tiny fraction without wreaking havoc on our universe's ability to support life.

Would it not make sense to alter more than one constant.
They don't exist in isolation and to alter one would have an effect on the others surely.
Opinions are like arseholes.
Once somethings firmly in there its very hard to dislodge.





 








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#97
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 18:08)downbeatplumb Wrote:
(9th January 2017, 17:53)Alex K Wrote: Among the weakest for: Theodicy, that may cast doubt that there is a loving God, but doesn't really make a case for atheism

Strongest against: Fine tuning, contrary to what some deniers say, several physical constants and combinations thereof cannot be changed by more than a tiny fraction without wreaking havoc on our universe's ability to support life.

Would it not make sense to alter more than one constant.
They don't exist in isolation and to alter one would have an effect on the others surely.

Whether the physical constants exist in isolation or are independent is a subtle question. I also think it is two slightly different questions whether they are physically linked in their values by a unified theory, and whether it makes sense to vary them independently in the context of a fine tuning argument. If, say, it turned out that there is an underlying unified physics theory at work in nature (*) without free parameters and which can only result in the physical constants we observe, you can still ask, "why is nature such that the unified physics results in parameters which are exactly right to support complex life, and if I deviate only slightly from the ratios imposed by the unified theory, it doesn't any more". In other words, I think we are allowed to vary physical parameters independently for the sake of a philosophical fine tuning argument even if they are linked physically by a unified theory.

Assuming there isn't an underlying unified theory with no free parameters, many of the parameters we observe are connected by predictions of the standard model of particle physics. E.g.you have 100something chemical elements, but only 24 free parameters in the standard model or so, so obviously when only taking into account the standard model, these 100something atomic masses cannot possibly be varied independently in the context of the theory.

(*) I knowingly neglect the philosophical distinction between what is actually in nature, and our theoretical description thereof, because otherwise I'd never finish. But I assume that we rely on our best theories to talk about nature.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14, KJV revised edition

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#98
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 15:36)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: Finally, none of the Five Ways exists in isolation of one another. While each one ends with the statement "...and this everyone considers to be god," the type of god one gets is the summation of all Five Ways. On its own, the best the 2nd Way gets you is Pantheism. However in light of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Ways, the physical universe is disqualified as the "god" in question.

Actually, that's exactly what the five ways do, they exist in isolation from one another and there is no logical dependence between the conclusion of one and another. It is a leap that you and Aquinas make that all the ways address the same object.
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#99
RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 11:00)Neo-Scholastic Wrote:
(10th January 2017, 08:19)chimp3 Wrote: I think philosophical arguments about reality are weak . Philosophers for centuries asked "What is mind?" and never came close to discovering a synapse or neurotransmitter. It took the scientific method  to do that.
Actually Emanuel Swedenborg outlined the first neural theory. (But then again he made that discovery before turning mystic)

Swedenborg as a brain scientist was on to something but then he became a failed architect. C + for effort.
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RE: Strong and Weak Arguments
(10th January 2017, 19:20)Jörmungandr Wrote:
(10th January 2017, 15:36)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: Finally, none of the Five Ways exists in isolation of one another. While each one ends with the statement "...and this everyone considers to be god," the type of god one gets is the summation of all Five Ways. On its own, the best the 2nd Way gets you is Pantheism. However in light of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Ways, the physical universe is disqualified as the "god" in question.

Actually, that's exactly what the five ways do, they exist in isolation from one another and there is no logical dependence between the conclusion of one and another.  It is a leap that you and Aquinas make that all the ways address the same object.

You point is well taken. That seems to be a common opinion since Aquinas did not explicitly draw the connection between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Ways. Each Way demonstrates the existence of something logically prior to all other things. This means that either there are three things, each of which is logically prior to the other two, or there is a single thing that is logically prior to everything else in three distinct ways. The former makes no sense whereas the later does.
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