Another straw-man atheist story

Atheism is a belief just like not believing sweden exist, really .....

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#21  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 07, 2018 1:46 pm

MS2 wrote:
Thommo wrote:Yes, that is a fair point MS2.

We know that there is such a thing (and therefore that such a thing is physically/metaphysically possible) as intelligent life, but we do not know there is such a thing as a creator of universes. This is again an evidence based distinction. I would, however, slightly agree with the theist here that such things do technically need to be pointed out if we want to make a distinction between our strength of non-belief or confidence of non-belief on the one issue rather than the other.

I think that if I attempt to evaluate how surprised I would be if tomorrow (a) Sweden was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist, (b) Intelligent alien life was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist or (c) The Catholic God was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist, I can easily rank them in order of which would surprise me the most.

That assumes it is possible to show without a shadow of a doubt that the Catholic God exists. Whereas I was trying to say that god-concepts (hyphen specially added!) don't make sense (at least the ones I know about). If that's right, it is difficult to conceive how such an 'impossible thing' could be shown to exist.


How do they not make sense, in this respect?
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#22  Postby MS2 » Jan 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
MS2 wrote:
Thommo wrote:Yes, that is a fair point MS2.

We know that there is such a thing (and therefore that such a thing is physically/metaphysically possible) as intelligent life, but we do not know there is such a thing as a creator of universes. This is again an evidence based distinction. I would, however, slightly agree with the theist here that such things do technically need to be pointed out if we want to make a distinction between our strength of non-belief or confidence of non-belief on the one issue rather than the other.

I think that if I attempt to evaluate how surprised I would be if tomorrow (a) Sweden was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist, (b) Intelligent alien life was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist or (c) The Catholic God was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist, I can easily rank them in order of which would surprise me the most.

That assumes it is possible to show without a shadow of a doubt that the Catholic God exists. Whereas I was trying to say that god-concepts (hyphen specially added!) don't make sense (at least the ones I know about). If that's right, it is difficult to conceive how such an 'impossible thing' could be shown to exist.


How do they not make sense, in this respect?

I've never yet come across a modern god concept that doesn't carry with it its own impossibilities. For example, the Catholic God mentioned by Thommo is supposedly 3-persons-yet-1-person, both human and divine, etc etc. In this context, we were talking about whether there could be evidence for the existence of something and I was thinking about a couple of things. First, if a supposed 'thing' cannot be sensibly described then it can't be known what sort of evidence there should be for us to look for. Second, if the supposed 'thing' has internal impossibilities, then, regardless of absence of external evidence, the presence of internal impossibilities is reason to disbelieve (as opposed to just not making a judgement).
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#23  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 07, 2018 6:32 pm

MS2 wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
MS2 wrote:
Thommo wrote:Yes, that is a fair point MS2.

We know that there is such a thing (and therefore that such a thing is physically/metaphysically possible) as intelligent life, but we do not know there is such a thing as a creator of universes. This is again an evidence based distinction. I would, however, slightly agree with the theist here that such things do technically need to be pointed out if we want to make a distinction between our strength of non-belief or confidence of non-belief on the one issue rather than the other.

I think that if I attempt to evaluate how surprised I would be if tomorrow (a) Sweden was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist, (b) Intelligent alien life was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist or (c) The Catholic God was shown without a shadow of a doubt to exist, I can easily rank them in order of which would surprise me the most.

That assumes it is possible to show without a shadow of a doubt that the Catholic God exists. Whereas I was trying to say that god-concepts (hyphen specially added!) don't make sense (at least the ones I know about). If that's right, it is difficult to conceive how such an 'impossible thing' could be shown to exist.


How do they not make sense, in this respect?

I've never yet come across a modern god concept that doesn't carry with it its own impossibilities. For example, the Catholic God mentioned by Thommo is supposedly 3-persons-yet-1-person, both human and divine, etc etc. In this context, we were talking about whether there could be evidence for the existence of something and I was thinking about a couple of things. First, if a supposed 'thing' cannot be sensibly described then it can't be known what sort of evidence there should be for us to look for. Second, if the supposed 'thing' has internal impossibilities, then, regardless of absence of external evidence, the presence of internal impossibilities is reason to disbelieve (as opposed to just not making a judgement).


I see. With regards to the Catholic god, the idea isn't 3-persons-yet-1-person, though it's probably true to say it amounts to that unless one is prepared to make some fairly convenient metaphysical commitments.

But that aside, if you're interested in assessing whether a god can be shown to exist, wouldn't it be reasonable to start with the less elaborate god-concepts of philosophy, than with those of religion? Unless you've studied those and also found them wanting, of course.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#24  Postby MS2 » Jan 07, 2018 8:52 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
MS2 wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
MS2 wrote:
That assumes it is possible to show without a shadow of a doubt that the Catholic God exists. Whereas I was trying to say that god-concepts (hyphen specially added!) don't make sense (at least the ones I know about). If that's right, it is difficult to conceive how such an 'impossible thing' could be shown to exist.


How do they not make sense, in this respect?

I've never yet come across a modern god concept that doesn't carry with it its own impossibilities. For example, the Catholic God mentioned by Thommo is supposedly 3-persons-yet-1-person, both human and divine, etc etc. In this context, we were talking about whether there could be evidence for the existence of something and I was thinking about a couple of things. First, if a supposed 'thing' cannot be sensibly described then it can't be known what sort of evidence there should be for us to look for. Second, if the supposed 'thing' has internal impossibilities, then, regardless of absence of external evidence, the presence of internal impossibilities is reason to disbelieve (as opposed to just not making a judgement).


I see. With regards to the Catholic god, the idea isn't 3-persons-yet-1-person, though it's probably true to say it amounts to that unless one is prepared to make some fairly convenient metaphysical commitments.

But that aside, if you're interested in assessing whether a god can be shown to exist, wouldn't it be reasonable to start with the less elaborate god-concepts of philosophy, than with those of religion? Unless you've studied those and also found them wanting, of course.

Good point.

And I haven't studied them. I suppose that tho I'm aware they exist I've never felt any reason to do so because I've assumed the religious versions are the ones that 'matter' because they are the the ones that have effects (through their followers) in the real world. I guess I have also presumed that if some philosopher had come up with a credible, workable god concept I would have heard about it, eg when reading around, or on a board like this.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#25  Postby SkyMutt » Jan 08, 2018 5:00 am

Tracer Tong wrote:With regards to the Catholic god, the idea isn't 3-persons-yet-1-person, though it's probably true to say it amounts to that unless one is prepared to make some fairly convenient metaphysical commitments.


Perhaps you could explain those "metaphysical commitments" that give a clearer representation of the Catholic god, because "3 persons yet 1 person" is in plain language exactly what the Catholic catechism teaches.

From his famous and classic Confessions, Bk. 13, Ch. 11, St. Augustine writes:

I speak of these three: to be, to know, and to will. For I am, and I know, and I will: I am a knowing and a willing being, and I know that I am and that I will, and I will to be and to know. Therefore, in these three, let him who can do so perceive how inseparable a life there is, one life and one mind and one essence, and finally how inseparable a distinction there is, and yet there is a distinction. Surely a man stands face to face with himself. Let him take heed of himself, and look there, and tell me. But when he has discovered any of these and is ready to speak, let him not think that he has found that immutable being which is above all these, which is immutably, and knows immutably, and wills immutably.

...

These “three” do not “equal” one if we are trying to say 3=1 mathematically. These three are distinct realities, relationally speaking, just as my own being, knowing, and willing are three distinct realities in me. Yet, in both God and man these three relationally distinct realities subsist in one being.

As St. Augustine points out, we can never know God or understand God completely through this or any analogy, but it can help us to understand how you can have relational distinctions within one being. And we can see this is reasonable.

The weakness inherent here—there are weaknesses in all analogies with reference to God—is that our knowing, being, and willing are not each infinite and co-extensive as the persons of God are. They subsist in one being in us, but they are not persons.

...

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us another analogy wherein we can see the reasonableness of the Trinity by helping us to see the possibility of distinct persons who possess the same nature. CCC 2205 provides:

The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.

When we think of a family, we can see how a father, mother, and child can be distinct persons and yet possess the same nature (human), just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons who each possess the same nature (divine).

The weakness, of course, is that in God each person possesses the one infinite and immutable divine nature, and is therefore, one being. Our analogous family consists of three beings. Again, no analogy is perfect.

But in the end, if we combine our two analogies, we can at least see both how there can be three relationally distinct realities subsisting within one being in the anthropological analogy, and how there can be three relationally distinct persons who share the same nature in the analogy of the family.

[source]


In my opinion, "metaphysical" in this and most other instances is a glorified term for hand-waving, but by all means show me the error in my understanding.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#26  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 08, 2018 12:46 pm

SkyMutt wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:With regards to the Catholic god, the idea isn't 3-persons-yet-1-person, though it's probably true to say it amounts to that unless one is prepared to make some fairly convenient metaphysical commitments.


Perhaps you could explain those "metaphysical commitments" that give a clearer representation of the Catholic god, because "3 persons yet 1 person" is in plain language exactly what the Catholic catechism teaches.
...
In my opinion, "metaphysical" in this and most other instances is a glorified term for hand-waving, but by all means show me the error in my understanding.


I couldn’t, because I made no such claim.

And that is not exactly what the catechism you quoted teaches “in plain language”; indeed, it seems to deploy just the sort of convenient metaphysical assumptions I alluded to in order to avoid such a position, your quotation helpfully illustrating my point. You may not be persuaded by such metaphysical high jinks, and I’m really not either.

MS2 wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
MS2 wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:

How do they not make sense, in this respect?

I've never yet come across a modern god concept that doesn't carry with it its own impossibilities. For example, the Catholic God mentioned by Thommo is supposedly 3-persons-yet-1-person, both human and divine, etc etc. In this context, we were talking about whether there could be evidence for the existence of something and I was thinking about a couple of things. First, if a supposed 'thing' cannot be sensibly described then it can't be known what sort of evidence there should be for us to look for. Second, if the supposed 'thing' has internal impossibilities, then, regardless of absence of external evidence, the presence of internal impossibilities is reason to disbelieve (as opposed to just not making a judgement).


I see. With regards to the Catholic god, the idea isn't 3-persons-yet-1-person, though it's probably true to say it amounts to that unless one is prepared to make some fairly convenient metaphysical commitments.

But that aside, if you're interested in assessing whether a god can be shown to exist, wouldn't it be reasonable to start with the less elaborate god-concepts of philosophy, than with those of religion? Unless you've studied those and also found them wanting, of course.

Good point.

And I haven't studied them. I suppose that tho I'm aware they exist I've never felt any reason to do so because I've assumed the religious versions are the ones that 'matter' because they are the the ones that have effects (through their followers) in the real world. I guess I have also presumed that if some philosopher had come up with a credible, workable god concept I would have heard about it, eg when reading around, or on a board like this.


I guess it depends on what you like to read; unless you’re specifically reading philosophy of religion stuff, you probably won’t encounter philosophically oriented definitions of god. From my limited reading in the area, it doesn’t seem as though the internal coherence of god-concepts is routinely questioned; the interest lies more in asking why the existence of a god described by such a concept seems at odds with facts of the world.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#27  Postby SkyMutt » Jan 08, 2018 4:35 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
SkyMutt wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:With regards to the Catholic god, the idea isn't 3-persons-yet-1-person, though it's probably true to say it amounts to that unless one is prepared to make some fairly convenient metaphysical commitments.


Perhaps you could explain those "metaphysical commitments" that give a clearer representation of the Catholic god, because "3 persons yet 1 person" is in plain language exactly what the Catholic catechism teaches.
...
In my opinion, "metaphysical" in this and most other instances is a glorified term for hand-waving, but by all means show me the error in my understanding.


I couldn’t, because I made no such claim.

And that is not exactly what the catechism you quoted teaches “in plain language”; indeed, it seems to deploy just the sort of convenient metaphysical assumptions I alluded to in order to avoid such a position, your quotation helpfully illustrating my point. You may not be persuaded by such metaphysical high jinks, and I’m really not either.


Three persons yet one person, in plain language given by CatholicAnswers:

Yet, in both God and man these three relationally distinct realities subsist in one being.

... [I]n God each person [of the "Trinity"] possesses the one infinite and immutable divine nature, and is therefore, one being.


That source doesn't contradict the plain language. You haven't said why the plain language is incorrect, you've merely asserted that the Catholic conception of a single god who is at the same time three gods cannot be accurately described as "3 persons yet 1 person." If you understand this, it shouldn't be difficult for you to show why "3 persons yet 1 person" is incorrect.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#28  Postby Tracer Tong » Jan 08, 2018 5:10 pm

SkyMutt wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
SkyMutt wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:With regards to the Catholic god, the idea isn't 3-persons-yet-1-person, though it's probably true to say it amounts to that unless one is prepared to make some fairly convenient metaphysical commitments.


Perhaps you could explain those "metaphysical commitments" that give a clearer representation of the Catholic god, because "3 persons yet 1 person" is in plain language exactly what the Catholic catechism teaches.
...
In my opinion, "metaphysical" in this and most other instances is a glorified term for hand-waving, but by all means show me the error in my understanding.


I couldn’t, because I made no such claim.

And that is not exactly what the catechism you quoted teaches “in plain language”; indeed, it seems to deploy just the sort of convenient metaphysical assumptions I alluded to in order to avoid such a position, your quotation helpfully illustrating my point. You may not be persuaded by such metaphysical high jinks, and I’m really not either.


Three persons yet one person, in plain language given by CatholicAnswers:

Yet, in both God and man these three relationally distinct realities subsist in one being.

... [I]n God each person [of the "Trinity"] possesses the one infinite and immutable divine nature, and is therefore, one being.


That source doesn't contradict the plain language. You haven't said why the plain language is incorrect, you've merely asserted that the Catholic conception of a single god who is at the same time three gods cannot be accurately described as "3 persons yet 1 person." If you understand this, it shouldn't be difficult for you to show why "3 persons yet 1 person" is incorrect.


I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying at all. My point is simply that, at least on orthodox Catholic theology, the claim isn't that God is three persons yet one person, as all the sources you've quoted indicate. Rather, in order to avoid this obviously contradictory claim, metaphysical categories are invented: God is said to be (say) one 'substance' or 'being' while constituting three 'persons'. As I've said, I don't find such a metaphysical move convincing; neither, it seems, do you.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#29  Postby SkyMutt » Jan 10, 2018 5:38 am

OK, I think I understand where my error is. Thank you for your patience. I've been assuming that Catholic theology would at least be internally consistent. There appears to be a logical contradiction here.

The dogma of the Holy Trinity

The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the "consubstantial Trinity". The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: "The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God." In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), "Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature."

[source]


If the "Father" is the Catholic god whole and entire, as is the "Son" and the "Holy Spirit," and they are persons, then it would seem necessarily that the Catholic god is a person as well. In addition, if human beings are made in the image and likeness of the Catholic god then that god must be a person. Apparently he is not, even if he is spoken of as one, as in this sentence.

I received nine years of Catholic education and got top marks in religion class but did not attend a Catholic university, where I suppose such important distinctions are elucidated.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#30  Postby aban57 » Jan 10, 2018 10:58 am

SkyMutt wrote:OK, I think I understand where my error is. Thank you for your patience. I've been assuming that Catholic theology would at least be internally consistent. There appears to be a logical contradiction here.

The dogma of the Holy Trinity

The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the "consubstantial Trinity". The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: "The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God." In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), "Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature."

[source]


If the "Father" is the Catholic god whole and entire, as is the "Son" and the "Holy Spirit," and they are persons, then it would seem necessarily that the Catholic god is a person as well. In addition, if human beings are made in the image and likeness of the Catholic god then that god must be a person. Apparently he is not, even if he is spoken of as one, as in this sentence.

I received nine years of Catholic education and got top marks in religion class but did not attend a Catholic university, where I suppose such important distinctions are elucidated.


Apparently not :)
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#31  Postby Blip » Jan 12, 2018 7:49 am


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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#32  Postby truelgbt » Sep 12, 2018 10:39 pm

A land mass like Sweden and a supernatural entity like God are not of the same category, hence, no parallel can be made in arguing a point.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#33  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 13, 2018 4:53 am

truelgbt wrote:A land mass like Sweden and a supernatural entity like God are not of the same category, hence, no parallel can be made in arguing a point.


Who decided that God is a supernatural entity? Maybe it's just a stupid story invented by ignorant, pre-scientific people a long time ago. It's the Lake Wobegon of philosophy: "The little town that time forgot, and the decades cannot improve."

Tracer Tong wrote:I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying at all. My point is simply that, at least on orthodox Catholic theology, the claim isn't that God is three persons yet one person, as all the sources you've quoted indicate. Rather, in order to avoid this obviously contradictory claim, metaphysical categories are invented: God is said to be (say) one 'substance' or 'being' while constituting three 'persons'. As I've said, I don't find such a metaphysical move convincing; neither, it seems, do you.


Yeah, well. In light of my above remark, this is just showing off a bit of theological education. Now, it's fine with me if somebody wants to claim that a "theological education" is some category of education. Whether or not you find anything in it convincing, it's just a brand of philosophical chewing gum for the compulsively verbal such that people use it to try to say what category God falls into. When I say "compulsively verbal" don't think I don't know what I'm talking about, which is not necessarily about you.

quas wrote:Except that you can prove that there is no god.
God, of the Judeo-Christian variety, contradicts all the historical and scientific understanding that we have. It even violates common sense and basic logic.


What about all the other kinds of gods, if you think there are other kinds? What kind of pretentious twattery is the enumeration of all the different kinds of gods, including the ones that have not yet been enumerated?

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A more fatal flaw in the analogy is equivocating non-belief in X with belief in not-X.


But really, it's the non-belief that one apparently has to keep reciting because of some mistake that somebody else made, and that's fine as far as it goes. It's driven, however, by nothing more than the shit somebody else said. I'm not suggesting that what I just wrote isn't driven by the shit somebody else (with an apparent theological education) said. Somebody tries that equivocation on me and you see what he gets. I'd relish a chance to show you the way some equivocator shuts the fuck up when that happens, because we simply stop arguing endlessly about supernatural categories and whether or not we should expect any evidence for them. It's the endless argument that informs you how equivocation is not the fatal flaw that actually ends an argument. At that point, non-belief becomes something almost palpable.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#34  Postby laklak » Sep 15, 2018 3:31 am

Ah, another classic "'checkmate atheist!" story. Ben Stein should make a movie. Ranks up there with "so turn this rock into a puppy". It's foolproof, atheists don't have any come back and they retreat in confusion, awed by the unassailable logic.
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Re: Another straw-man atheist story

#35  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 15, 2018 4:53 am

laklak wrote:Ranks up there with "so turn this rock into a puppy".


This kind of thinking has no understanding of economics, and presumes I'd always rather have a puppy than a rock. Around a certain strain of theist, I'd much rather have a rock. So turn this rock into some serious brain damage.

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