The God Delusion - Chapter 2

Debate specific books

Moderator: Moderators

Locked
User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18571
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

The God Delusion - Chapter 2

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Not a whole lot of action in chapter 1 so far. So, I'll go ahead and start up chapter 2. Discussions can still continue in chapter 1, but hopefully by starting chapter 2 more people will want to get involved.

I'll repost McCulloch's proposed questions:
- Is the God Hypothesis ("there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us") "a scientific hypothesis like any other", one that should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis?
- Is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria valid?
- Does the inability to disprove the existence of God provide a positive reason to believe?

I'll also throw in some other questions:
- Is agnosticism impoverished?
- What exactly does Dawkins have against Michael Ruse?

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18571
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

Post #41

Post by otseng »

McCulloch wrote: To me faith is applying a greater probability to the truth of a proposition than is warranted by the evidence.
I like this definition.

However, wouldn't it be true that given a set of evidence, that different people would assign different probabilities to what would be the truth (assuming that a probability can be assigned at all)? What is reasonable to one person might not be reasonable to another. How are we then able to objectively determine what is truly reasonable or not?
mbl020980 wrote:Yes, I suppose we can all start making up terms and defining them to suit our arguments, but I think the only way we’ll make progress here is if we eschew semantic games and conduct an honest, forthright debate.
What terms are you referring to? The only term I "made up" was "blind faith". For "faith", I simply reiterated a definition from dictionary.com - "belief that is not based on proof".

I would agree that such a stringent requirement is impossible to achieve for daily circumstances. But, I think it does illustrate the fact that we cannot know with 100% certainty of almost everything. If we do not have 100% certainty, then there will always be an element of uncertainty.
FinalEnigma wrote:Believing/accepting(possibly cautiously) something that has all kinds of evidence pointing toward it,(though without actual 'proof) is not faith by my understanding. its being reasonable.
If Christians have all kinds of evidence for their belief, then they would be considered "reasonable"?

User avatar
FinalEnigma
Site Supporter
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 3:37 am
Location: Bryant, AR

Post #42

Post by FinalEnigma »

otseng wrote:
McCulloch wrote: To me faith is applying a greater probability to the truth of a proposition than is warranted by the evidence.
I like this definition.

However, wouldn't it be true that given a set of evidence, that different people would assign different probabilities to what would be the truth (assuming that a probability can be assigned at all)? What is reasonable to one person might not be reasonable to another. How are we then able to objectively determine what is truly reasonable or not?
mbl020980 wrote:Yes, I suppose we can all start making up terms and defining them to suit our arguments, but I think the only way we’ll make progress here is if we eschew semantic games and conduct an honest, forthright debate.
What terms are you referring to? The only term I "made up" was "blind faith". For "faith", I simply reiterated a definition from dictionary.com - "belief that is not based on proof".

I would agree that such a stringent requirement is impossible to achieve for daily circumstances. But, I think it does illustrate the fact that we cannot know with 100% certainty of almost everything. If we do not have 100% certainty, then there will always be an element of uncertainty.
FinalEnigma wrote:Believing/accepting(possibly cautiously) something that has all kinds of evidence pointing toward it,(though without actual 'proof) is not faith by my understanding. its being reasonable.
If Christians have all kinds of evidence for their belief, then they would be considered "reasonable"?
If the evidence they have outweighs evidence against it to the extent of high probability then yes, obviously. The most reasonable thing to do in a situation is to accept(even if cautiously) whichever position has the preponderance of evidence. But I don't see that this is the case for christianity.

In the situation of christianity I see it as being soo muddled by the 2000 years since the inception of the religion and the endless heated debate that has taken place in those 2000 years for eaither position to be truly shown to the average sense to be correct. It takes thorough examination at the least to reach a valid position.

As for the proabilities I very rarely if ever personally ascribe a 100% or a 0% probability to anything(I would have said never, but that would be self defeating)

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18571
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

Post #43

Post by otseng »

FinalEnigma wrote: If the evidence they have outweighs evidence against it to the extent of high probability then yes, obviously. The most reasonable thing to do in a situation is to accept(even if cautiously) whichever position has the preponderance of evidence.
I see there to be much more evidence for the existence of a God than against. Even in the book, Dawkins only presents one argument against the existence of a God.
In the situation of christianity I see it as being soo muddled by the 2000 years since the inception of the religion and the endless heated debate that has taken place in those 2000 years for eaither position to be truly shown to the average sense to be correct.
Even if it has been "muddled", that doesn't show the original version is not true. The current form might be off, but the original could still be valid. Also even if it has been debated for 2000 years, it likewise does not show it to be wrong.
It takes thorough examination at the least to reach a valid position.
I highly doubt anyone here has done a thorough examination to arrive at their conclusion. I'd be most impressed if anyone has done a thorough examination of all the evidence.

User avatar
McCulloch
Site Supporter
Posts: 24068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 9:10 pm
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Been thanked: 2 times

Post #44

Post by McCulloch »

otseng wrote:I see there to be much more evidence for the existence of a God than against.
I do not.
otseng wrote:Even in the book, Dawkins only presents one argument against the existence of a God.
Not quite true. In the previous chapter he dismantled various arguments which have been in use historically and are still being used by Christian apologists.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

jjg
Apprentice
Posts: 244
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Victoria, B.C.

Post #45

Post by jjg »

He hasn't dismantled anything but just shown his own faulty understanding of the arguments.

User avatar
FinalEnigma
Site Supporter
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 3:37 am
Location: Bryant, AR

Post #46

Post by FinalEnigma »

otseng wrote:
FinalEnigma wrote: If the evidence they have outweighs evidence against it to the extent of high probability then yes, obviously. The most reasonable thing to do in a situation is to accept(even if cautiously) whichever position has the preponderance of evidence.
I see there to be much more evidence for the existence of a God than against. Even in the book, Dawkins only presents one argument against the existence of a God.
Well, of course I disagree. But this isnt the place to debate every little piece of evidence.
In the situation of christianity I see it as being soo muddled by the 2000 years since the inception of the religion and the endless heated debate that has taken place in those 2000 years for eaither position to be truly shown to the average sense to be correct.
Even if it has been "muddled", that doesn't show the original version is not true. The current form might be off, but the original could still be valid. Also even if it has been debated for 2000 years, it likewise does not show it to be wrong.
I never meant to say it did. I was merely pointing out that, as you said, there are so many arguments built up back and forth that it would be very difficult to actually look thoroughly through everything.
It takes thorough examination at the least to reach a valid position.
I highly doubt anyone here has done a thorough examination to arrive at their conclusion. I'd be most impressed if anyone has done a thorough examination of all the evidence.
[/quote]
As would I. I dont claim to have examined everything, just as much as i can of what ive come across, i do admit though, i've been lazing a little lately. It's tough to take the time to examine everything that comes your way.

User avatar
QED
Prodigy
Posts: 3798
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:34 am
Location: UK

Post #47

Post by QED »

jjg wrote:He hasn't dismantled anything but just shown his own faulty understanding of the arguments.
jjg -- this is supposed to be a debate. The one-line post you presented here might have been a good opener for a lengthy post listing each point that Dawkins has misunderstood -- but you left that part out. We attempted to debate the First Cause argument with you in Chapter 3 but all I can recall of your responses are a long string of Z's -- no actual reasoning. This would be the more appropriate place for you to set out the misunderstandings that you perceive.

jjg
Apprentice
Posts: 244
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Victoria, B.C.

Post #48

Post by jjg »

The justify yourselves in the chapter 3 thread instead of agreeing with one liners like Dawkins wrote off these arguments.

User avatar
Confused
Site Supporter
Posts: 7308
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:55 am
Location: Alaska

Post #49

Post by Confused »

jjg wrote:The justify yourselves in the chapter 3 thread instead of agreeing with one liners like Dawkins wrote off these arguments.
Where are these one liners you assert Dawkins has used? If you wish to refer to chapt 3, then by all means, go there. But where in chapt 2 do these one liners that you have used been used by Dawkins?
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

User avatar
Confused
Site Supporter
Posts: 7308
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:55 am
Location: Alaska

Post #50

Post by Confused »

McCulloch wrote:
otseng wrote:I see there to be much more evidence for the existence of a God than against.
I do not.
otseng wrote:Even in the book, Dawkins only presents one argument against the existence of a God.
Not quite true. In the previous chapter he dismantled various arguments which have been in use historically and are still being used by Christian apologists.
I have to agree here, however, I think it isn't so much he has presented more evidence for or against the existence of God. I think he has presented a much stronger arguement against the probability of the existence of God and he uses much of chapters 3 and 4 to defend this.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

Locked