>I believe this because the information that I have observed either through research and even existentially leads me to believe in the existence of God. For instance, I have never come across any being capable of creating itself. In actuality that’s like saying that something is the cause of itself. Now, is it possible that somehow something in one of the corners of the universe can be credited with its own origin, possibly. Its possible but based on my personal observations and what I at present know to be true, I don’t believe it to be the case. If you want evidence for this its simple cause and effect. Action and reaction. If I put my hand on a hot stove my hand will get burned.
This sounds an awful lot like the fallacy of ignorance (not sure if that’s the name). I don’t know how it happened, therefore it must be a god. I also notice you use loaded words like “existential” and “created.” The problem with both of those is that they are ideas. Made up. At one point in human history, someone conceived them and they gained in popularity. But they have no observable validity. Sure, existentialism is a fun thing to ponder, but so are invisible pink unicorns.
To your point, just because no sentient being you’ve observed has been capable of coming into existence without having been born from a similar creature doesn’t mean there’s a god. In fact, that’s an immense leap of logic. Especially given how most people define god as omnipotent, omniscient, and all that. The one thing in no observable, provable way leads to the other. I don’t know what your personal observations are and what you know to be true. I don’t know what you’re getting at with your cause and effect example.
>Both science and religion acknowledge a lack of knowledge. First off religion tends to be more of a guided outline rather than a system of facts.
I don’t know what preachers or rabbis or anyone else you’ve been listening to, but entire political campaigns are built on the “facts” of religion, not the guidelines. The Crusades were not based on guidelines, nor the Inquisition, nor the Holocaust, nor the witch hunts, nor anything else that religion has consistently claimed to be absolutely true. I know people right now who truly believe that the Earth is just over 5,000 years old. They don’t consider it a guideline. They don’t consider it debatable. They consider it a fact. Period.
>Not to mention that often times they deal more with issues of morality than anything else.
That’s not true. Your beloved Christianity gives very strict positions on all kinds of things, not at all restricted to morality. Where people can put their genitalia for one.
>It becomes very obvious by looking at how for example Christianity has evolved over the course of time to see that some religions in and of themselves do allow for change. From the time it was first established in the middle east till today, it has gone through an extraordinary transformation of ideas. From Aquinas to Martin Luther to John Calvin. The development of ideas and philosophies have been one of the cornerstones for the growth and development of Christianity and in some cases even flowed over into the scientific community.
Yes, Christianity has evolved. So what? That further proves my point that it’s useless and arbitrary. Every Christian I have ever met has claimed to have a solid grasp of the “truth.” When I ask them specific questions of how they define god, a soul, whether hell is real, all that, inevitably they come to some version of “I don’t know.” When pressed on why they believe it, to a one, they arrive at some version of “I feel that it’s true.” So what? I feel all kinds of things are true. Doesn’t mean I’m right.
To the second point, the only reason religion has “flowed over” into science is that it’s had no choice. Every single time science has come up with some notion that’s even come close to countering a religious idea, the religious have cried foul. Then, eventually the religious community forces itself to accept that notion.
>Here’s where certain sciences can get into a little bit of trouble. Sciences such as mathematics, physics, and other physical sciences are helpless when it comes to issues of morality.
So what? Those sciences never had the goal of dealing with morality. I’ll get to morality itself in a second.
>Evolution states that at some point there was primordial soup/sludge which contained very simple single celled organisms. Over the course of time these organisms reproduced and due to a mutation or whatever the case maybe evolved into more complex organisms. The cycle repeats until you end up with human beings. This is known as macro evolution.
It is known as “macro evolution” only in the Creationist/Intelligent Design/Christian apologetics community. To my knowledge, legitimate scientists with no religious agenda don’t have these terms.
Plus, nobody ever said humans are the pinnacle of evolution. We are a point in one path, not all.
>The thing about this is that micro evolutionary changes are what Darwin spoke of in Origin of Species when referring to the beak shape of a breed of finches from the Galapagos Island region. I even remember reading in one of my textbooks about the Peppered Moths of England that changed color due to the amount of soot in the air during the Industrial Revolution. There is in actuality no evidence to support said claims about micro evolutionary advances leading to an eventual macro evolutionary change.
First, I’m not an evolutionary biologist and don’t pretend to be one. Second, given that, my understanding of evolution (not micro or macro) is small changes and mutations over a long time, the more adaptive changes lasting, the less dying out. That’s it. There is in fact quite a lot of evidence supporting what you call “macro evolution” but since I don’t have it memorized, I’ll leave you to look for it if you’re interested.
Beyond that though, whether evolution explains everything or not is not the point. Even if what you claim is true, that does not necessitate a god. It’s another logical fallacy claiming that the one necessarily leads to the other.
>At first I believed you to be hinting at something of a hedonistic lifestyle but after reading and re reading I would like to think that’s not the case.
Even if I were, what’s wrong with that? The definition of hedonism is experiencing joy for its own sake. Do you not like joy for its own sake?
>For instance, good and evil are simply illusions.
That’s always been the case. We as a community (I’m going to use this word in place of “society” or “country” or “group”) have arbitrarily decided that 1 there are good and evil and 2 sort of what they are.
The best example that pops to the top of my head is from a recent film, one of my favorites, The Dark Knight (don’t laugh–okay, you can laugh a little). In a scene near the end, the Joker gives a speech in which he essentially says that as a community, we have no problem with a bus load of soldiers going off to die horrible deaths because it’s part of the plan. But if a truck strikes a bus load of kids, everyone goes crazy because it’s not part of the plan!
As a community, we’ve agreed that certain things, like raping children, are evil and certain other things, like churches, are good. But what happens when the churches rape the children? Well, then we don’t quite know what to do. Should we shut down the churches? Of course not. They’re good. Should we pretend the rapes didn’t happen? In thousands of cases over decades, sure, but someone has to pay for it, right? So we send a priest or a bishop to jail for the rapes, but does that really solve the problem? Some say yes. Some say no. The point is, we don’t know. We only know what we agree on.
>They are in fact nothing more than simply the individual’s perception of what they consider to be good or evil and at the end of the day hold no significant weight.
I’d change “individual” to “community”, but yes, I agree. Take the bombing of Hiroshima. I’ve spoken to many, many people who, with a straight face, say that the bombing of that city, including civilian men, women, and children, obliterating all of them, was perfectly justified to end World War II. The fact is, we have documented evidence that that bombing had nothing to do with the end of the war. Sure, it was dramatic and coincidentally near the end, but it was not a cause of that effect. But that doesn’t matter. The unceremonious execution of millions of people for no other reason than where they happened, at the time, to be standing, is justification enough.
Was the President who okayed the decision evil? Was the soldier who pressed the button that dropped the bomb evil? Were the millions of Americans who voted that President into office, then later approved the action evil? They can’t all be evil, right? They’re basically good people who have families, friends, and communities. Those are good things, right? So what’s the solution? Evil or not?
>Things like justice hold no weight. For instance, the student at Virginia Tech who randomly killed many other people and then himself has in actuality beaten justice.
Well the fact that he’s dead and so couldn’t stand trial, yes, he’s beaten justice. But let’s look at this. First, “justice” is a made-up concept. As a community, we’ve decided there’s such a thing. But even as a community, we can’t really decide what justice means. Is the death penalty just? I don’t think so, but millions of people do. Who’s right? Is it just that a convenience store robber who steals a couple hundred bucks gets 25 to life, but Bernie Maddof, who stole millions and millions of dollars from thousands of people’s pension funds and retirement accounts gets no worse? I mean, the robber inconvenienced (pardon the pun) probably one person. Maddof ruined thousands of people’s lives. Big difference.
>But more importantly, you lose the capacity for hope which is by far one of the worst things lost.
Again, “hope” is a made-up concept. And in the atheistic view, you don’t lose it at all. It’s just more simplified. I have evidence of the action of looking towards the future with a positive attitude as being a reasonable thing. I hope to live to 80. Given my current state of health (perfect) and my family history of life expectation, I probably will. Do I know I will? No. I hope so. If, however, my entire family all died at the age of 40, I’d be a bit more skeptical of my chances.
>When you get into finding your own meaning and purpose in life what you find is that although it sounds good at first, when you reach the end of that rope, you’ll find there’s nothing there.
The same is true of religion, just that religion tells you a vicious lie that it can’t possibly demonstrate. And in fact, religions like Buddhism tell you exactly what I’m saying. I don’t see millions of Buddhists giving up and jumping off cliffs. (Yes, I know that’s an appeal to popularity.)
>In fact if you were to live out this great life by your own personal standards. You got the things in life you always wanted, made your own purpose and attempted to live it out, once you reach the end of your life you’ll realize a few things. First off that everything that you have ever done is meaningless.
Not so. Everything you’ve ever done had meaning for you and your community. But let’s take the religious side. What’s the meaning there? To glorify god? To be a good person? To what end? To get into Heaven? That last one cannot be proven at all, so if all you do is in order to get into Heaven, you’re living a lie. If you believe it with all your heart, you’re living a delusional lie.
>In a universe of no inherent meaning everything you have ever done is simply done to pass the time at best.
Not true. It’s done to enjoy life to its fullest. Now what I find joyful you may find a waste of time, but the same could be true in reverse. And again, with the religious side, what’s the inherent meaning there?
>You might have been the person to change life on Earth forever but it’s inherently pointless.
Of course it is! What possible point is there? And so what if you change life on Earth? Sure that may matter while you’re alive, but after you’re gone, you don’t care. If the question is why should great people do great things, because it enhances the community. The fact is, that’s why any of us do anything. If I give to charity, it’s not to please the Invisible Sky Man, it’s because i want to help my community. Why? Because communities can’t exist if every person is wholly self-serving. Why should communities exist? Because humans obviously have an instinct to have them. We more easily survive in a group than alone.
>We’ve done nothing but climb to the top of the evolutionary ladder to discover that there’s nothing there.
It’s an assumption that we’ve climbed to the top, but even if we have, yes, but it’s the same with religion. Be a great person all your life just to die and what? Rot? That’s all we have evidence of what happens.
>Secondly, you’ll realize that at best you’ve set yourself up for a bigger fall. All of the happiness and joy in your life up to that point will do nothing more than lead you into a much greater despair at the glance of facing your impending descent into nothingness.
That’s not true. Looking back on your life, you could feel joy and pride at living a full life. We’re all gonna die. No amount of preaching will ever change that. How you choose to look at it makes all the difference. It’s no better to live a lie only in those final moments to wonder if it’s really true. I prefer not to live a lie and know, not fear, but know that yes, I’m going to die and be happy with my existence to that point.
>The question I wanted to ask was at what point does there not need to be a creator when it comes to the Big Bang?
It is a human construct that someone must make something. On a universal level, we have no reason to believe that that is true.
>I understand that we don’t know the answer to that question but at the same time it in no way refutes the existence of a creator.
You can’t disprove a negative. Try it. Prove that the Easter Bunny does not exist. It’s impossible, but you don’t automatically assume that the Easter Bunny does exist just because you can’t prove that it doesn’t.
>The success of science sometimes leads people to think that because we can understand the mechanisms of the universe, then we can safely conclude that there is no God who designed and created the universe in the first place.
The fact is we can conclude neither that there is or that there isn’t. The burden of proof is on the assertion, especially when no one can truly define it. If I claim that there’s an Easter Bunny, you have no reason to believe me. Even if I show the eggs the Easter Bunny supposedly dropped, you have no reason to assume that the Easter Bunny is the one who dropped them. Sure, you could assume that that’s true, but then why not assume anything about anything? Why not assume leprechauns created the universe in order to have something to play with? But the fact is, you don’t assume that. Why? How is a leprechaun any less valid of an idea than a god? At least I can define a leprechaun. Every time I ask people what god means to them, I get a wide range of answers. Everything from “he’s love” to “he’s a sentient force that controls the universe.” I find it odd that people constantly say “he” and not because I require a politically-correct unisex, but because it points to the greater issue, it’s all assumption.
And that’s the point. It’s all made-up, unverifiable, discordant, bullshit. The sole reason that people take the notion of a god seriously is that it’s popular. Oh, wait, and that people are terrified of their own demise. But neither of those reasons equals validity.
I don’t want to die because I have a biological imperative not to. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to automatically believe whoever has the nicest-sounding fairy tale about what happens after. Especially if that charlatan claims his fairy tale to be inerrant truth. The fact is, that person has no proof of what he claims and so I have no reason to believe him.
>But thanks for listening and just hit me up if you have anything else to add.
Before I posted that, this came:
>I believe you have misunderstood what it is that I have actually said. I was referring not to the evolutionary track of a particular sentient organism, I am speaking of it’s origins. In fact what I said was I have never come across any being capable of creating itself. In actuality that’s like saying that something is the cause of itself.
Fair enough. I may have interpreted it too literally. My point still stands. Whether beings can create themselves or not does not lead to a god.
>For any belief there are certain tests you complete to justify said belief, and just so we’re clear both atheism as well as theism are both belief systems.
Of course. I don’t deny that. By the same token all morals are beliefs as are all political systems.
>There’s an empirical test and there’s an existential test. When it comes to the existential test for atheism at best its along the lines of hedonism. Now, I’ll take this opportunity to address something else that you said as well. You say, The definition of hedonism is experiencing joy for its own sake. Do you not like joy for its own sake? That is in fact not the definition for hedonism. Hedonism says that pleasure in and of itself is the only intrinsic good. Not joy. Joy and pleasure are at two completely different ends of the spectrum.
Now we’re getting down to the semantics (By the way, which dictionary did you use, because, as I’m sure you’re aware, different dictionaries use different definitions and words change over time, so there’s no finite meaning for most words). Whether its “joy” or “pleasure” we’re talking about, we can agree that both are positive things.
Experiencing positive things for the purpose of experiencing them I see as a good thing. Therefore, I still don’t see what your issue is with hedonism.
>That also implies that anything that doesn’t give pleasure is in effect not good or bad. That I’ll disagree with till the day I day.
I don’t understand what you mean or why you disagree.
>Honestly, some of the best things about humans come through suffering of some type. For instance, a good character at least as compared with our society’s standards come about through suffering to some extent. When someone’s trying to live a healthy lifestyle, for them to experience any kind of pain whether it be from the breaking and developing of muscles is considered to be a negative in the face of hedonism.
Now we’re talking about greater and smaller degrees. I agree that the logistics of building muscles often requires a certain amount of discomfort, but I recognize that that discomfort ultimately leads to a reward. Whether this is strictly hedonistic or not is of no concern to me. If you don’t like hedonism, fair enough. That’s your prerogative, but to outright declare it as bad seems silly.
>I don’t see how Christianity is useless and arbitrary simply because the ideas about it have evolved over the course of time.
Religious systems are useless because any positive effect derived from them can be derived from other, less destructive components of society. Religious systems are arbitrary because of what they teach depending on what they teach and how they teach it.
One sect of Christianity says that Hell is a real, physical place of perpetual torture and punishment. Another sect says that Hell is more a realm where you simply don’t feel the presence of god. There’s no way to tell which one is right.
One sect of Christianity preaches that if you haven’t taken a special bath, you will go to Hell regardless of anything else you’ve done or not done in your life. Another sect teaches that this special bath is unnecessary. There’s no way to tell which one is right.
Some sects of Christianity have claimed that God and Jesus are the same. Others have said they are not. There’s no way to tell which one is right.
>But you seem to be under the impression that your existential views do not in some way influence the beliefs that you hold.
Of course I’m influenced. We all are. And as I’ve said many times to other people, the instant I see any reason at all to believe in any god, I will convert on the spot.
>As I said before atheism just like theism is a belief system. In the event that you don’t believe so feel free to prove me wrong.
The assertion is that there is a god. The burden of proof is on that assertion. I can no more prove that a god doesn’t exist than I can prove that the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist. Or leprechauns. Or invisible pink unicorns. Or Zeus. Or Loki. You believe in one and not the others. Why?
>For instance, Max Weber influenced by Christian theology wrote about the development of capitalism in the Western European societies and how it was in fact a result of Calvinistic thought within the church at the time. There are many others in completely different areas of science including even some quantum physics. It’s often negatively used by people that during the inquisition that Galileo faced claim that the Aristotelian scientific idea of a fixed unmovable universe which at the time was held by pagan scientists as well as the Roman Catholic Church.
People have been influenced. So what? And your example of Catholics perfectly demonstrates my point. They claimed that the universe was the way they thought it was. They were willing to kill Galileo for his disagreement. Kill him?? If the Catholic faith has such a stranglehold on capital T truth, wouldn’t they already know he was right? Why would there even have been a debate? The fact is the Church changed its mind officially only when the vast majority of everyone already knew that Galileo was right.
>At this point that’s nothing more than your personal opinion derived from some of your own existential beliefs. There’s simply no empirical method for prescribing meaning for anything.
Exactly! Which is why I say we must, if we so choose, create our own. And I recognize that this is my opinion. I’ve also said I’d be happy to be proved wrong. Cross that. Ecstatic! I’ve simply not seen any reason to believe that I am.
>If you’re claiming that nothing has meaning then it doesn’t matter when your alive just like it wouldn’t matter when you’re dead.
I’m claiming that nothing has any intrinsic meaning handed down from some supernatural force. If life has meaning, it is what we, the community, or I, the individual, decide it to be. If the community doesn’t decide there’s meaning, there isn’t. Same as with the individual.
It doesn’t intrinsically matter that I’m alive just as it won’t when I’m dead.
>You at best could give things some sort of pseudo meaning if you don’t mind me using the term but at the end of the day nothing is the best you can hope for. At the end of your life you can rest on whether you believed yourself to have lived a good life all you want but if what you’re saying is true, then that doesn’t matter anyway.
No, not in any intrinsic way, absolutely not.
>At the end of the day either there’s meaning or there’s not. There is no meaning for certain things here and there. This is one of those instances where it’s either all or nothing.
I say here is no intrinsic meaning, so nothing. But that’s why I also said that if one is looking for meaning, all one has to do is create it for one’s self. The fact is, that’s what we do anyway.
>At the end of the day most religious philosophies boil down to this…your actions have consequences whether you agree with the severity of the consequences or not. From an atheistic world view, you can call that a lie since well nothing has meaning anyway.
Not at all. Of course actions have consequences. We understand that from daily life, not from religion. My problem with religion, in this context, is that it claims that there are very positive and very negative consequences for certain sets of actions, the consequences which it can’t possibly demonstrate to be true.
>Last time I checked, Buddhism could be split into a couple of categories. There are those who hold a pantheistic world view which says god is everything and everything is god and that when we die we become one with the universe and the cycle of life and death starts over again. On the other hand you have the Buddhists who hold a somewhat atheistic world view in where they don’t believe in any sort of divine entity but believe that the universe is nothing more than a continual cycle without a beginning and without an end that keeps going on forever.
I’m no Buddhism expert, but okay. So what?
>Also, like I said before, there are a LOT of people who believe simply for the sake of believing and have never really looked into what it is they believe and why.
Which is drastically irresponsible especially when their beliefs are used to commit atrocities. Or even in less dramatic cases anything that is done which affects all our lives that is justified by some religious delusion.
>Once again you’ve brought up things like joy and pride but from an atheistic standpoint, they mean nothing.
They intrinsically mean nothing, of course. But it’s obvious that we assign meaning to things.
>I mean you said it your self when talking about the pointlessness of life, Of course it is! What possible point is there? I’m not sure where you go the notion that it’s simply out of fear that people tend to believe in God. But just for the sake of argument, lets say this was in fact an accurate critique of theism in general. Then ask yourself, could not the same critique be made of atheism. Since you’re somewhat claiming that people invent their religious beliefs to suit their longings and aspirations. But the thing about it is that atheism can be regarded as a projection of human hopes. Its pretty evident that this very well could have been the case during the rise of atheism during the late 18th early 19th centuries where people like Joseph Stalin attempted to create a world devoid of a god.
Ah, yes, the Stalin argument. Stalin was bad. Stalin was an atheist. Atheism is therefore bad. That’s obviously a logical fallacy. And I think you know why. Hitler was a Roman Catholic. Blah blah blah. Etc. etc.
I got the notion of fear because most theists tell me they’d rather be wrong and please the Invisible Sky Man than not and be punished. Or some version of that.
It seems to me that you’re conflating issues:
1 there is no intrinsic meaning to the universe.
2 in absence of intrinsic meaning, if we desire meaning, we must create our own.
Feel free to point out the fallacy.
>Now do the biological imperatives that you speak of also account for the number of people who commit suicide. How would you explain such a drastic contrast to our instincts.
Why don’t people constantly fuck? That’s also a biological
imperative. Because we clearly have some control over our instincts. Why do people smoke and drink and do drugs? We know cognitively and instinctively those activities can kill us. Because we have cognitive faculties that can override certain instincts. I think that’s pretty obvious.
>Or better yet how would you explain some of the martyrs from the Judeo-Christian history. When I say martyrs I don’t mean those particular muslims who see fit to blow themselves up killing dozens of people. Those aren’t martyr, they’re murders at best. I talk about the guys like off the top of my head like the Apostle Paul, St. Ignatius, William Tyndale who were martyrs in the true sense of the word.
Big deal. They offed themselves. So what? Plus, I have no evidence that they existed or did such things. Feel free to provide it.
>Now you say that Especially if that charlatan claims his fairy tale to be inerrant truth. The fact is, that person has no proof of what he claims and so I have no reason to believe him.. The same case holds true for atheism. What proof do you have that the world is meaningless, what evidence do you hold that there is in fact no god, and what evidence is there to support any of the claims you make that claim there is not one.
Again, the burden of proof is on the assertion. Assertion 1: there is a god. Okay, prove it. Assertion 2: there is a Heaven. Great, show me. I can’t prove a negative.
Why don’t you believe in Loki, in Zeus, in Quetzalcoatl, in fairies, in ghosts, in the Loch Ness monster? Each of these has just as much evidence as a god. Yet you take the idea of a god seriously and you consider the other ideas ridiculous.
Additionally, I make no claims at all about an afterlife. I claim that we die. This is an irrefutable fact. I make no claims as to anything after death. Maybe something happens, but maybe fairies exist. The point is, there’s no way to know, but the evidence points to nothing happening. Therefore, until proved otherwise, that’s what I believe. I don’t assume fairies exist until someone disproves that.
As for meaning/meaninglessness my proof is 1 that any religious meaning has no evidence and 2 any societal meaning is arbitrary. 100 years ago it was perfectly moral to own someone. Now it is not. Arbitrary.
I’m not sure what other claims you claim that I claimed.
>At the end of the day you would have to make more of a claim that there could very possibly not be one. Since first talking with you I have done a considerably amount of research into the area of evolution and the big bang but at the end of the day I still see no evidence that refutes the existence of a God.
Arg. Okay, I’ll go at this again. I can’t, CAN’T disprove a god just as much as I CAN’T disprove the existence of the Easter Bunny. There is an equal amount of evidence for both. You choose to believe in the one and not the other. Why?
>I’m still not seeing how the probability issue here is considered a moot point. If its on the assumption that because the mountain of evidence is in someway able to refute the mathematical probability, I would have to say that there’s some kind of a discrepancy somewhere. Now does that mean its with the probability, possibly. But the same can be said true for the so called mountain of evidence.
My point with probability is simply that people claim that evolution is so improbable as to be impossible. The counter to that is that existence itself is so improbable as to be impossible, and yet here we are, so clearly the mathematical probability is a non-issue. Both possibilities are incalculably improbable. Yet the one happened, our existence. So to argue from probability is useless.
>One of my biggest discrepancies with all the evidence behind evolution is because I keep hearing different things where ever I turn. I’m not talking about it strictly from an evolutionary or creationism standpoint. Within the strictly scientific community there are in essence different sects if you don’t mind the terminology that say completely different things that paint a different picture.
You’d have to give me some examples and, so what? The Big Bang theory is just one theory to the origin of the universe. Some believe ours is one of a multiverse. If someone comes up with evidence that disproves the Big Bang theory, awesome, I’ll stop believing it.
>All I’m saying is that at the end of the day, there’s not really a clear cut evolutionary picture which I believe brings a certain degree of skepticism about what may or may not be true.
Except that the fact that species change over time is an observed, documented, irrefutable fact. Why this happens is also pretty well understood. What’s the issue?
>Once again thanks for listening and for the record even if I knew nothing else about u the fact that u’d see fit to bring up the dark knight makes u a stand up guy in my book. Lol.
Well thank you, though I’m disappointed that you didn’t address that.