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Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 20, 2018 at 12:11 am)emjay Wrote: Well, as I said, can we just agree to compromise on that? I wasn't thinking of it necessarily being a dry and rational reaction... more like awe. So can we just compromise?; you (seem to) think people always  react that way, I think they sometimes do. I understand what you're saying in principle, so is that enough?
I agree with you there, people don't always respond this way. Genuine, lasting, and transformative awe is a thing, too.
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RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 7, 2018 at 7:27 pm)vulcanlogician Wrote: So, last week I was browsing the internets and came across a blog post by Eve Keneinan entitled "Intellectually Dishonest Atheists." 

I clicked the link hoping to find an article which would make some significant points and perhaps challenge me to become more intellectually honest. I was sorely disappointed. The article did not challenge me at all. Well... maybe a little bit... but for the most part I felt like I didn't get my money's worth (and keep in mind the article was free to read online.)

Keneinan made three main points, each divided into various subpoints:

1) Atheists often suffer from a "persistent inability or refusal to distinguish God from a god or gods"

When I want to capitalize, I tend to use Jehovah's name.  If I don't want to capitalize, I use "god."  Christians often try to prove a god, and then make a logical leap, assuming that the god they have "proven" is Jehovah.  (See the first cause argument.)  As a way of coping whith the confusion which that move causes, I try not to capitalize the word "God."   

Quote:3) Atheists often engage in "persistent use of the burden of proof fallacy, that is, the rhetorical trope which combines an argument from ignorance (“my position is the default position,” i.e. “my position is true until proven false, so I need not argue for it) with special pleading.

People who identify as atheists generally use the word to refer to all non-theists.  Nontheism is the default position.  When Keneinan says that atheism "means the negation of theism," she's using a different definition of "atheist."  If we define atheism her way, then atheism obviously isn't the default position.  And we don't claim that strong atheism (the belief that gods don't exist) is the default position.  

I have trouble believing that she made that misrepresentation accidentally.  And if it was an accident, she's in no position to be carping about people who have trouble distinguishing "god" from "God."  

Eve Keneinan Wrote:A persistent inability or refusal to distinguish God from a god or gods. This is a distinction 3 or 4-year-old children can easily grasp, so any atheist who claims not be be able to grasp it is either severely intellectually impaired or lying.
The doctrine of the Trinity is a contradiction.  Nobody can understand a contradiction.  Not 3 or 4 year old children, and not adults with advanced degrees in theology.  If Keneinan is a Christian, then she's totally out of line for making fun of people who don't comprehend nonsense that she can't understand herself.  

Quote:Why do I feel that this article, in the course of criticizing intellectual honesty, is it itself intellectually dishonest?

It's clear that she's lying.  [/quote]
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 19, 2018 at 10:19 pm)vulcanlogician Wrote:
(March 19, 2018 at 10:30 am)SteveII Wrote: It stands to reason there is only one correct concept of God. It also stands to reason that if the redemption of mankind through Christs is the single most important event in the history of the world, groundwork for that has to be laid for centuries or more. Concepts have to be understood and critical mass has to be built. This kind of continues in my comments below.

It is obvious that we are somehow wired to believe in God/higher power/supernatural/purpose/destiny etc. I think it is in this general context that William James is referring. When talking about Christians and the phrase "feel the presence" of God, you are no longer talking about a generic feeling--you are talking about the result of a personal relationship with the God through the Holy Spirit. This seems to be a logical progression from general to specific.

This progression also begins to deal with arguments about the Hiddenness of God. A typical atheist argument is that God would make a better case for himself. But isn't that just something akin to: God is hidden from me, therefore God is hidden from everybody, therefore God doesn't exist?
The “believing in holy texts before believing in God” thing was not meant as a jibe. It was a genuine observation. And it represents the heart of my problem with religions claiming a universal God. And my problem addresses the "scripture before God" thing. It seems like many theists assume God’s intention and essence are accurately portrayed in their scriptures, and that, using the scriptures, they can make definite statements about God’s nature. But what if (assuming they can do this) they might still make misstatements about the reality of God? What if they only know part of the story. This much is suggested by Christian scripture itself.

The Book of Job 38:2-5 Wrote:“Who is this that obscures my plans
   with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
   Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

As an atheist, this verse has been tossed in my face a couple times. But remember: God isn’t addressing an atheist here. He’s addressing a theist. Job, a theist, has presumed knowledge of God that he does not have. If Job, a righteous man, is guilty of making presumptions about God, then how guilty might any other believer be? Just because you have read a book about God that your fellow believers hold in high esteem, does this mean that you won’t make assumptions about God that are not in error? Job made errors in his assumptions. Isn't it possible that you are prone to the same foibles as Job?

Not as much as you probably think. Job is the oldest book of the Bible. There are no written reference works at all from which he could work out a systematic theology. For starters, we have the book of Job! -- along with 65 other books spanning over 1500 years.  I'm sure that there are errors in various doctrines. However, there are only a few Christian doctrines where an error would be critical. But these doctrines are so thoroughly attested to/cross referenced that it is hard to see where the internal error could be. 

1. Deity of Christ
2. The true condition of man related to God
3. Salvation by Grace
4. The resurrection of Christ
5. There is only one God

Quote:I am going to present the case for the pluralistic hypothesis here. Of course, I’m an atheist, not a pluralist—but that doesn’t matter because I’m merely adopting the position to argue against the plausibility of a universal God who is only accurately described in the scriptures of a single culture.

I’ll start with a list of assumptions. I’m sure you are going to challenge some of them, so I’ve numbered them to make your task easier. Smile

1) God exists.
2) God is a universal figure, not just the tribal god of the Israelites.
3) God is too vast a being for any human intellect to comprehend completely.
4) It is possible for a believer (no matter how devout or righteous) to make false assumptions about God.
5) God revealed himself to the authors of the Old Testament.
6) It is possible that (while they reported a genuine divine experience), the authors of the OT might have left some aspects of God undisclosed.
7) It is possible that (while they reported a genuine divine experience), the authors of the OT might have made false assumptions about God.

I expect pushback on #7. I expect no pushback on item #1. For the stuff in between, maybe. I’m going to defend #7 a bit before I proceed. To begin this defense, I’m going to differentiate it from the assumption that the Bible says anything erroneous about God. Even one who adopts the position of Biblical inerrancy might still accept #7. Look at the image below.
[Image: rabbduck.jpg]

The image can be interpreted in two ways. You will either see a duck or a rabbit. Let’s say that you see the duck. You can make many statements about the image of the duck that are factually correct. For instance, you can say that its beak points to the left, that its eye is in X proportion to the rest of its head, etc. Any number of statements you make about the image of the duck can be true. Just because you haven’t said anything about the image of the rabbit, doesn’t mean that you’ve made false statements concerning the image in general.

Now consider a different individual who sees the image of the rabbit instead. He might make statements about the proportion of the rabbit’s ears along with a slew of other observations that seem irrelevant to one who is only considering the image of the duck. Both interpreters of the image might assume that they are speaking of two completely different things, even though both of them make factually correct statements about the same image.

I think you are prone to accept assumption #6. If not, I’m sure I’ll hear about it. But if so, you must conclude that two completely different interpretations of a single phenomenon may both be factually accurate (at least hypothetically).

I would say that #6 and #7 are certainly possible. But the probability plummets each time another author from another time or experience states/infers/expounds on the same characteristic of God. Even events make more sense (or have more meaning) when looking at the larger context. After several such cross-references, the likelihood of an error is very low. The Bible (as a set of documents) is by far, in order of magnitudes, the most analyzed in history. 

Look at the Gospels for example. The disciples clearly could not make sense of the bigger picture until after Christ's resurrection. While they had some OT information (they were not scholars by any stretch), a huge part of the meaning of anything Jesus said was lost on them. But they knew something was special so they paid attention. Today, we have the benefit of their experiences and memories to glean more information to put together with the OT and the Epistles. A cumulative case.

Quote:This is why I brought up James’s argument about "the unseen" in my previous post. Personally, I reject James’s assertion here. But, most theists find it a good argument—so much so, in fact, that they often present it in their case against atheism. A theist could go two ways with James’s argument.

1) Perception of God via an intuitive or emotional sense is possible.


2) It isn’t.

You’ve already admitted to #1, so let’s see what follows from it:

1) Only Jews and Christians from a single segment of world history were allowed communion with God.


2) Others from different cultures were allowed communion with God.

Again, as an inclusivist, you’ve already said you accept #2, but you may have some additional counterarguments to thrust at this particular either/or, so feel free. But assuming you accept #2, then:
1) Nothing written down by non-Jews is factually accurate about God.
2) Non-Jews might have written down factually accurate statements about God.
Accepting #2 leads to pluralism. The pluralistic hypothesis likens God to the rabbit/duck image. Some people see a rabbit. Others see a duck. But all refer to a single entity when they produce statements about God.

You characterize my answers just fine. Regarding the last choice, I would go with #2. The obvious example of Job comes to mind. However, I disagree with your statement that #2 leads to pluralism. It may be a necessary condition for pluralism, but there are many stops on the train before you go that far. "Factually accurate" statements about God could come in the form of simple things like "God is Love" from some hippy with his own ideas about reality and who's bigger picture of God is way off.  Some "Great Spirit" religion might believe a whole bunch of true things about God. 

But the phrase religions pluralism means that two or more religions are valid. Getting some things about God right does not make your religions valid. It could be just one thing that as long as it is important enough component, it makes the whole religion invalid in relation to another religion. For example, if a religion does not have my #1-5 above, I don't consider the religion itself to be a valid path to God. 

This does not rule out the inclusivist view because God could use an otherwise invalid religion as a conceptual framework/starting place and then make additional  specific truths known to the individual. In this case, it was the additional specific truths that make salvation possible--NOT the invalid religion. 

Revelation 22:13 Wrote:I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Bhagavad  Gita 7:7-10 Wrote:7. There is nothing whatsoever higher than Me, O Arjuna! All this is strung on Me as clusters of gems on a string.
8. I am the wetness in water, O Arjuna! I am the light in the moon and the sun; I am the syllable Om in all the Vedas, sound in ether, and virility in men.
9. I am the sweet fragrance in earth and the brilliance in fire, the life in all beings; and I am austerity in ascetics.
10. Know Me, O Arjuna, as the eternal seed of all beings; I am the intelligence of the intelligent; the splendour of the splendid objects am I!

The concept of God is alive and well in all people of all times. It does not follow that we can't compare and contrast religions for truth value, internal consistency, applicability to human struggles, answers to question about origin/purpose/meaning, reflects/interprets the reality we live in, etc. 

I think it is pretty clear logically that there can be only one or no true religion.
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 21, 2018 at 2:38 pm)SteveII Wrote: I think it is pretty clear logically that there can be only one or no true religion.

My bet is on the latter.
[Image: mtfbwyf.jpg]
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm)Lutrinae Wrote:
(March 21, 2018 at 2:38 pm)SteveII Wrote: I think it is pretty clear logically that there can be only one or no true religion.

My bet is on the latter.

I'll take the middle ground...some are more true than others.
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 21, 2018 at 2:38 pm)SteveII Wrote: The concept of God is alive and well in all people of all times. It does not follow that we can't compare and contrast religions for truth value, internal consistency, applicability to human struggles, answers to question about origin/purpose/meaning, reflects/interprets the reality we live in, etc. 

A regular swiss army of a god you have there, Stevo. But can I get it with a hemi?
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 9, 2018 at 3:55 am)Mathilda Wrote: I can understand why it can be seen as a lazy get-out clause but maybe it helps to think of it as a burden of effort.

Take Huggy's recent claims in the Odin thread about there being photographic proof of his god's work. He did not present the evidence before then telling us that we needed to now find ways to counter his claims. That was deliberately intended to put us in an impossible situation. How can we refute something when we don't even know what we're supposed to be refuting? He was trying to make it look like we couldn't refute his claims because they could not be refuted rather than because he had not provided any details. So we pushed for him to provide evidence. He finally acquiesced and then it became trivial to point out why it was complete and utter bullshit.


*emphasis mine*

I agree. It's pretty trivial to offer wild speculations, and consider it a refutation.

That requires little to no effort...
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm)Hammy Wrote:
(March 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: Thanks for proving my point.

Nope. Because you're still the dickhead here for irrelevant reasons, and the fact you have an imaginary friend is just a fact.... I mean, you are a theist right? And the God you believe in is imaginary and childish right? And you do have a relationship with him like you would a friend right?

Changing the name of someone else's imaginary friend doesn't make a person a dick. If I had an imaginary friend called Alf and you insisted on calling him Benny, you wouldn't be a dick just because I was a moron who had never grown up. Who cares what I called my imaginary friend, it wouldn't make you a dick for being unable to resist having a little harmless fun with my unbelievable idiocy.

Theism is too cheap to cheapen.

Sorry, but this is one that bothers me. If you really had an imaginary friend named Alf, whom you really believed in, it would be cruel for someone else to insist on calling him Benny. It's argument by ridicule. It rather reminds me of the arguments over the meaning of the word "atheist" in which people who are not atheist, insist that their usage is correct.

(March 9, 2018 at 7:23 pm)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: Pretty long winded about something you claim not to care about.

Oh I do care, just not so about the underlying god claim. What I do care about is the results of having a bunch of people walking around making decisions based on their belief in and claim to understand the will of god. I particularly care if if that beleif drives public policies I think are wrong.
If there is a god, I want to believe that there is a god.  If there is not a god, I want to believe that there is no god.
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
God's pretty quiet unless you already believe.
RE: Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments?
(March 9, 2018 at 5:54 pm)Mister Agenda Wrote: I think some objects seen in the sky are UFOs in the sense that they have never been identified and perhaps never will be, but I'll call bullshit on Huggy's UFO-summoning guy when a confederate with a balloon is the more likely explanation.

Again, wild speculation = refutation in the mind of an atheist.

Nothing was posited in that video other than that the object was a UFO in the strictest definition of the term, yet somehow you're able to just speculate what the object was purely based on nothing, and expect everyone to just accept your speculation simply because you say so.

If you have evidence of the object being a balloon, then submit it, until then find somewhere to sit down.

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