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REPLY #98g TO
This is the seventh of an eleven-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
You are demonstrating a severe ignorance of non-Yahvistic religions.
(R) Thats false. Read on and you'll see why....
(MB) I'll read on, but I predict I'll see no specific, relevant examples.
Not all religions believe that the universe is a product of a god.
(R) No where in my above statement did I qualify "creator" to apply strictly to the *universe* being created.
(MB) Oh, really? How else does the term "creator" apply in an intelligent designer scenario? How does your answer disprove my statement?
Not all religions believe that their gods are transcendental.
(R) Trancendental to physics?
(MB) Transcendental to *anything*.
(R) The Hindus believe in a giant turtle that holds the world balanced on the top of its shell. Don't to try to tell me that such a feat would not trancendental to physics; and there are many more examples I could give.
(MB) How would this be transcendental to physics? It should be obvious that a normal turtle can balance a basketball on top of its shell. Why couldn't the scale be ramped up to a giant turtle holding up the Earth? Yes, it's silly, but it's not any violation of anything in physics.
Also, need I point out that the turtle is not a Hindu god -- much less one which created anything? So, how does this example prove me wrong?
(R) Furthermore, all religions believe in gods that are trancendental to humans.
(MB) Tell that to a Theravaada Buddhist or a Jainist (among others). Now, how was I wrong about you being ignorant of non-Yahvistic religions?
There are even religions which have no all-powerful gods at all.
(R) All-power has no bearing on the attributes of intelligence or trancendence.
(MB) How does this show my statement to be wrong? Also, please explain how "all-powerful" would *not* include either intelligence or transcendence.
This demonstrates the need for you to define your purported "intelligent designer".
(R) I already have. Here, I'll codify for you: Intelligent Designer: "A causal agent that is trancendent to physics and the dimensional limitations thereof; an agent that is intelligent who acted with mindfulness and design."
(MB) A "codified" tautology is still a tautology -- and is still just as meaningless.
You couldn't be more wrong. The definition of the purported "intelligent designer" is crucial to the supporting evidence for your claim. This definition will necessarily narrow the field of possibilities.
(R) I gave the necessary definition with only the necessary attributes. Any further attributes are irrelevant for the purposes of this debate.
(MB) If that's the best you can do, this debate will certainly be as short as originally predicted. Why are you determined to provide as few details in support of your argument as you can?
(R) If, on the other hand, you believed in a specific intelligent designer different from the one I believe in, and the purpose of the debate was to see who's concept was better supported, then a comparitive "intelligent designer" debate would be necessary. Since you believe in NO intelligent designers whatsoever, such a debate is NOT necessary.
(MB) If there were three, four or five competing intelligent designer ideas, there would need to be three, four or five sets of supporting evidence provided. If there is only one such idea, there must still be one set of supporting evidence. You can't avoid this just because you say you have the only claim. Your claim must still be supported. Besides this, the simple fact is that there are many different intelligent designer claims in the totality of Man's religions. Therefore, you will need to demonstrate why yours should be preferred above any or all others.
(R) If you claim that NO intelligent desigers exist, ANY intelligent designer's existence would falsify your claim.
(MB) Yep. But, you will *still* have to support your version of that argument. If no intelligent designer's existence can be demonstrated, then my views have not been falsified, correct?
Since you are most certainly not going to advance any possibility which is inconsistent with your chosen deity, any claims to the contrary are disingenuous.
(R) I'm not making contrary claims.
(MB) Yes, you are, when you suggest that your intelligent designer might possibly have some quality that is inconsistent with the deity you choose to worship. To deny this is to admit that your religion is wrong about its deity.
(R) I am simply claiming that the detail that you are requesting is only appropriate for a comparitive theism debate.
(MB) Wrong. The detail is an inherent and necessary part of your claim. To continue to avoid it is to admit that you are uncomfortable with the ramifications of your own idea.
(R) You are not a theist, so I can not very well have a comparitive theism debate with you now can I?
(MB) Sure you can. I just don't believe that you have the requisite knowledge to engage in such a debate.
Therefore, this does boil down to "Christianity vs. Atheism" with "materialism" being nothing but a buzzword.
(R) No, because atheism is a denial of ALL gods, not just a Christian God.
(MB) Actually, atheism is a lack of belief in all gods -- which may or may not extend to outright denials of their existence. In any case, your argument is irrelevant since you are not going to be positing anything that is not consistent with your particular flavor of Christianity.
Also, one does not have to deny ALL gods in order to be atheistic. For example, I'm sure you would agree that your views are atheistic in regards to the existence of any deity other than Yahweh, correct? In this way, you are more atheistic that I am since I allow for the possible existence of numerous possible gods, while you only allow for the existence of one. It's been said that the difference between a "strong atheist" and a "Christian" is that a strong atheist simply disbelieves in one more god than does a Christian.
(R) Furthermore, atheism would be false even if Vishnu was the intelligent designer. It does not matter which deity exists. If ANY deity exists, atheism and materialism would be false.
(MB) True, but you are *still* not going to argue that Vishnu might actually exist and that Yahweh might not, are you? Therefore, your argument is not consistent with what you are eventually going to support (if you ever get around to actually supporting anything).
(R) So it boils down to a "Theism vs. Atheism" + "Materialism vs. Trancendence" debate.
(MB) This is not true because there are many scenarios where those are not connected issues. A theistic argument does not need to include transcendence and does not necessarily exclude materialism. That's why I keep hammering for details. If you prefer to remain generic, you have no meaningful argument at all since there are so many contradictory possibilities.
Since you are supporting a theistic argument, that argument must be supported by evidence for the existence of some God. Without such evidence, you have no argument whatsoever.
(R) LOL. You are just making up arbitrary criterias as you go.
(MB) Oh, really? Explain to me how any theistic argument does *not* include the necessity of positing the existence of some God. Such an existence can't be taken as a given.
(R) Ockham's razor suggests that the simplest explanation is the superior one since it poses no unnecessary attributes.
(MB) You are forgetting that "the simplest explanation" is one which also is supported and which does an equally good job of explaining an observation. Anybody can invent a simple solution that is completely unsupported and quite nonsensical. Occam's Razor does not demand that we select such a solution solely because it is simple.
(R) All the attributes I have supplied for the intelligent designer hypothesis are only the necessary ones which are central to an existential claim.
(MB) So, the intelligent designer idea is to be considered to be worthy simply because of a tautology? How does this tautology do anything to shoulder the burden of proof for any claim of existence for an intelligent designer?
(R) You are insisting that I supply all forms of perpherial attributes to the intelligent designer that are not central to its basic existence.
(MB) I'm asking that you supply *something* substantive. Tautologies ain't gonna get it.
(R) Whether or not a man is named "Steve," likes chocolate, and wears a beard is unnecessary for determining the existence of simply a "man." In other words, I am arguing for the existence of a man, not "a man named Steve who wears a beard and likes chocolate."
(MB) But, your tautological argument says that the man exists simply because he has the quality of being a "man". When you actually produce the man in question, will he not have demonstrable qualities such as those you mentioned? And, you are certainly not going to be trying to defend the possible existence of a clean-shaven vegetarian named Fred if the man you believe to be the one and only man is Steve, are you?
Therefore, you *must* delve into what you seem to fear. Gods don't exist simply because you disagree with non-belief in them.
(R) I am not in fear of anything so that statement is merely your imaginative assumption about what *YOU think* I fear.
(MB) If you are, as you have said, a fundamentalist Christian, then you *do* fear this because the existence of God is the thing around which you base your entire life. To have that existence challenged or potentially disproven would threaten everything you stand for and would cause you to face the prospect of rethinking everything you've ever done or believed. Fundies would rather cling to old dogma than face that prospect. Yes, there is fear involved here.
(R) Also, I never claimed that gods exist simply because I disagree with non-belief in them - now did I?
(MB) You don't seem to have any other reason to believe in them. Let's remember that your main argument is that atheism must be proven or else the existence of gods is the more likely possibility.
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