The God Delusion - Chapter 3

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The God Delusion - Chapter 3

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Dawkins presents several arguments used to argue for God's existence:

- The Unmoved Mover
- The Uncaused Cause
- The Cosmological Argument
- The Argument from Degree
- The Argument from Design (Teleological Argument)
- The Ontological Argument
- The Argument from Beauty
- The Argument from Personal Experience
- The Argument from Scripture
- The Argument from Admired Religious Scientists
- Pascal's Wager
- Bayesian Arguments

Does Dawkins adequately refute the arguments for God's existence in this chapter?

I'll also repost McCulloch's questions:
  • Does God provide a natural terminator to the infinite regresses?
  • Is there any validity to Anselm's Ontological Argument?
  • Is the Argument from Beauty valid?
  • Is the Argument from Personal Experience valid? Is it being used or is this Dawkins' strawman?
  • Is the Argument from Scripture valid? Is this another strawman?
  • Does anyone use the Argument from Admired Religious Scientists?
  • Let's not re-do Pascal's Wager
  • Is there any validity to Bayesian Arguments promoted by people such as Stephen Unwin?
  • Did Dawkins leave out or misrepresent any major argument for God's existence?

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Post #51

Post by jjg »

zzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZ! can you present anything to contradict what I've said? I never said truth exists as an entity like an object in space. I said such concepts as truth are objects of knowledge.

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Post #52

Post by QED »

QED wrote:Please desist from filling these pages with long strings of Z's
jjg wrote:zzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
What a comedian :roll:
jjg wrote:My statements have nothing to do with plotonic thinking, but on what distinguishes between the different science disciplines.
jjg wrote:can you present anything to contradict what I've said? I never said truth exists as an entity like an object in space. I said such concepts as truth are objects of knowledge.
Plato in [i]The Republic[/i] wrote:The sun ... not only furnishes to visibles the power of visibility but it also provides for their generation and growth and nurture though it is not itself generation. ... In like manner, then ... the objects of knowledge not only receive from the presence of the good their being known, but their very existence and essence is derived to them from it, though the good itself is not essence but still transcends essence in dignity and surpassing power.
The question is does this dignity and power have an independent existence that can act on the world without the intermediary of mind to cause effects? This is what has been debated since Plato's writing and this is what we would hesitate to call a sound philosophic principle.

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Post #53

Post by jjg »

I'm not a platonic thinker and I am not presenting a platonic argument.

I do not believe universals exist independantly of the mind. The world of the senses is of individual objects.

The mind has the ability to pick universals from the particular world of the senses.
You're barking up the wrong tree completely. Try again.

You agree with me that a concept like truth is not independant of the mind, but nonetheless the mind can present such a concept to it independant of sensible things.

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Post #54

Post by Confused »

QED wrote:
jjg wrote: There is a common objection against the First Cause argument which runs somewhat along these lines: it is quite true that every event must have a cause, but if the principle of causation be true, why should not the First cause have a cause?

Very simply because an uncaused cause, or First Cause alone answers to the true idea of a cause.
I'm sorry, but this simply doesn't fly as logic because the conclusion invalidates the first premise, "Everything requires a cause" rendering it no longer a universal truth.

The argument can only be valid if we take both premises to be true and the conclusion pulls the rug from under its own feet. This is a very old philosophical "chestnut" and there's at least another half-dozen fatal flaws in it. I respectfully suggest that if you want to debate this further you start a new topic in the philosophy subforum. It's only a suggestion though :D
Sorry to be jumping in late, but I beleive we are looking at a special plea arguement that has been debated to death in other threads. I don't see any place where Dawkins gives it validity rather than exposes it for the fallacy it is.
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Post #55

Post by Confused »

jjg wrote:QED, the premise is still true. Can you show som sort of detail that it isn't and remember I'm not talking about physics but ontology.

Final, I said an infinite regress in time.

Everything in our universe is in a constatnt state of flux and potentiality and needs a purely actual cause to explain it.
We know nearly minimal about our universe. Yes we know it is anything but elegant. It is messy and confusing and has things we can't even define yet. How can we look for a cause if we cannot define it yet?
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

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Post #56

Post by Confused »

Sorry for jumping in so later here: been down. Gonna see how much I can cover here in separate posts:
1) I want to address the first three of Aquinas arguments: As Dawkins says: "They make entirely unwarranted assumptions that God himself is immune to the regress". This is special plea. Making God exempt for no apparent reason at all.

2) The argument from degree: I have to concur with Dawkins here. Simply stating the proof of God is our ability to measure good and bad is a poor argument. I say this because societal norms differ on good and bad. What we might consider good here in the US may be considered rude or bad in Italy. So this cannot be held as a standard for His existence.

3) The teological argument: Simply because something looks designed doesn't make it designed. I love to color those Kaleidoscope (spelling?). They are just random squiggly lines with no real pattern. But when colored in one way, they can appear designed because of the pattern I have chosen to color it with. Not all things that appear designed are designed. Our universe itself may have an appearance of being elegant and designed, but in reality it is a violent jumble of mysterious violence.
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

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Post #57

Post by Confused »

The ontological argument:
I have to admit, I am a bit disappointed in Dawkins here. The childish nature goes beneath not approaching religion with kiddie gloves, but instead, seems to ridicule it for the sake of ridiculing it. I think he slammed Anslem and rightly so. It seems that most Dawkins chose for this section were those who spent more time thinking and less time seeing. More time trying to find the most elegant way to phrase the simplest sentences than trying to make their sentences make sense. Sort of like Hawkings first book "A brief history in time". It was a great book, but few understood it. His second follow up "A briefer history of time" made his information easier to understand for those lacking in a higher physics degree. Either way, Dawkins did provide Kant and Hume to provide the errors in the thinkings. Still one philosopher refuting another is most difficult to follow. Kant and Hume were just as guilty as finding elegant ways to refute the Ontological argument. However, they were quite effective. Just as Gaskings example failed to prove God didn't exist, Anslems example failed to prove he did. To me, this entire area is pure speculation without much substance to it.
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

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Post #58

Post by Confused »

Argument from beauty:
If beauty is proof, then I fear all those ugly people must be mishaps. All those ugly plants (weeds) and animals and swamps, etc.... are enough to dispel this myth.

Argument from Personal experience:
Here I have tread lightly. For those Dawkins mentions as having seen God or angels, I wish he would have gone deeper into the creations of the mind by neurochemicals, synaptic misfiring,etc... But he has opted to hold out until the 10 th Chapter. I will only say that if one person sees it, the odds of it being real are slim, if a dozen, the odds increase of it being real, if hundreds, they increase even more, etc..... The problem is that one must either be a party of these hundreds or have reliable, unbiased records of the sight. We lack these. I don't doubt the beleif that people have in God based on personal experience or personal relationship. However, I have to agree with Dawkins "Don't expect the rest of us to take your word for it...." (pg 92).
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

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Post #59

Post by Confused »

Arguments from scripture:
Dawkins provides nothing new here. Point blank, scripture cannot prove scripture. Dawkins addresses the issues of validity of scripture, manipulation of it, translation of it, the authors of it, etc.. All things that have been rehashed a hundred times, so I found little in this area new.

Arguments from Admired Religious Scientists:
Dawkins addresses some good points here. He displays how some scientists find science to confirm the presence of God while others use the same data in favor of naturalism. But I agree with Dawkins in that noted scientists that don't misconstrue data such as Polkinghorne and Collins confound me. They present science as it is meant to be presented, yet maintain their belief in Christianity. This confounds me as well. However, I think his statements between himself and Crick had much merit: To say that science is about how things work and religion is about why is a cop out. We already know evolution to be a driving force as to why things exist and work as they do now. We also know that should a climate shift etc... occur, those who couldn't adapt would die out. There is nothing special about this. It is simply the survival of the fittest. Watson retorted "Well, I don't think we are for anything. We're just products of evolution. You can say 'Gee, your life must be pretty bleak if you don't think there is a purpose' But I am anticipating having a good lunch.". I think Watson was on to something here. Life doesn't need some overall grand purpose. Rather than trying to attain such an unattainable feat, I think living for your next purpose (ie. lunch) is more than enough.
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

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Post #60

Post by Confused »

Pascals Wager:
I don't think Dawkins did enough credit here. I view pascals wager as a fallacy yes, however, I think that those who believe in God, Christ, whatever will be in hell with the non-believers should he exists if this is their sole reason for believing. Scripture says specifically God can see into the hearts of man. If their belief is built on the "it can't hurt to believe" then their belief is false. I also believe that if those who believe in God base their belief on mere indoctrination as a youth rather than discovering the truth on their own merit are also condemned. It isn't their belief they hold true then. It is what they were taught to belief, but not a belief of their own making. Yes, I know that baptism at a point at which one is intelligent enough to make their own decision to accept Christ is suppose to represent the point at which they hare making their own choice. But they aren't. Not if they are accepting Him without researching Him. Without seeking the truth about Him. If they lack the knowledge to make an informed decision to accept the truth of Him, they are doing nothing better than pascals wager, hence, are still not worthy of God because God will see into their hearts and see that they accept not Him, but what they were taught about Him.
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

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