How to be an Atheist apologist?

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#21  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 11, 2011 7:09 pm

Mick wrote:Lowder was being facetious, of course.


And probably aiming his barbs, however indirectly, at a target other than the one you assume to be the case.

Mick wrote:however he is critical towards village atheists


What is one of these? Please, do tell.

Mick wrote:and so I suspect there is some underlying seriousness to this post in some degree or another.


Ah, the smell of wishful thinking.

Mick wrote:He takes the case for theism seriously


And what case would that be? Only we've been waiting for supernaturalists to come up with something other than made up shit for 5,000 years, and they still haven't delivered. Just because supernaturalists think that their pet mythologies constitute established fact doesn't make it so - on that basis, the Harry Potter novels are evidence for Hogwarts.

Mick wrote:as well as the case for Jesus' resurrection


Oh please, do tell us all what independent corroboration exists to support the assertions about this purported "event". Last time I checked, the only so-called "evidence" for this was the assertions contained within your favourite mythology, written decades after the purported "event" took place, by people who were pre-disposed to think in terms of magic entities, because they were too backward to bother paying attention to reality.

Mick wrote:and in fact I have seen him criticize his fellow scholarly atheists quite a bit.


Was there any substance to this, or was it merely a lot of hot air?

Mick wrote:Skeptics should take note.


Why should we take note of someone who thinks that treating mythology as fact is in any way respectable? Please, once again, do provide us with some substance here, and succeed where 5,000 years of past supernaturalist hot air have failed. A Nobel Prize awaits you if you achieve this.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#22  Postby BlackBart » Dec 11, 2011 8:07 pm

Village Atheists? :what:

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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#23  Postby Rumraket » Dec 11, 2011 8:20 pm

It's the new buzzword... hilarious coming from the street preacher.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#24  Postby Paul G » Dec 13, 2011 12:55 pm

Mick wrote:Lowder was being facetious, of course. however he is critical towards village atheists, and so I suspect there is some underlying seriousness to this post in some degree or another. He takes the case for theism seriously as well as the case for Jesus' resurrection, and in fact I have seen him criticize his fellow scholarly atheists quite a bit. Skeptics should take note.


LOL denied.

He takes a man dying for three days and coming back to life seriously? LOL.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#25  Postby Paul » Dec 13, 2011 3:30 pm

Still wondering what Mick thinks a 'village atheist' is.

Paul wrote:
Mick wrote:Lowder was being facetious, of course. however he is critical towards village atheists, and so I suspect there is some underlying seriousness to this post in some degree or another. He takes the case for theism seriously as well as the case for Jesus' resurrection, and in fact I have seen him criticize his fellow scholarly atheists quite a bit. Skeptics should take note.


What do you think "village atheist" means Mick? Do you think it is pejorative?
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#26  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 13, 2011 7:06 pm

Paul wrote:Still wondering what Mick thinks a 'village atheist' is.

Paul wrote:
Mick wrote:Lowder was being facetious, of course. however he is critical towards village atheists, and so I suspect there is some underlying seriousness to this post in some degree or another. He takes the case for theism seriously as well as the case for Jesus' resurrection, and in fact I have seen him criticize his fellow scholarly atheists quite a bit. Skeptics should take note.


What do you think "village atheist" means Mick? Do you think it is pejorative?


I'm beginning to suspect it's used with allusion to the words "village idiot". Wouldn't be the first time we'd been subject to condescension of this sort, simply because we don't treat made up mythological shit as fact.

Oh, and speaking of which, it's not for us to do the supernaturalists' work for them. If they want us to regard made up mythological shit as real, then they'd better start presenting real evidence for said made up mythological shit. "My magic man is real because my mythology says so, and my mythology is right because my magic man wrote it" will simply result in much deserved pointing and laughing. Another clue for any passing supernaturalists is this: assertions are not explanations. Learn the difference between the two. But perhaps they need a little time to learn the basics of proper discourse - after all, they've been peddling blind assertions about magic entities, and insisting that said assertions be treated as fact, for 5,000 years, and they've only recently been properly challenged on this. Perhaps they need 5,000 years to learn how proper discourse is conducted.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#27  Postby Animavore » Dec 13, 2011 7:21 pm

Calilasseia wrote:
I'm beginning to suspect it's used with allusion to the words "village idiot".


I thought it was more along these lines.

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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#28  Postby purplerat » Dec 15, 2011 5:15 pm

Just thought I'd take a crack at this one.
10. Compare belief in God to belief in Santa Claus, leprechauns, invisible pink unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster, and so forth, as if all supernatural explanatory hypotheses are equally plausible, despite the fact that considerations from inductive logic like scope, simplicity, etc. show that these hypotheses do not have equal intrinsic probability.

All supernatural hypotheses are equally plausible, with that plausibility being null. Plausibility is an inherently naturalistic quality. Therefore if something is said to be supernatural it's plausibility is null. This is not apologetics but rather simple logic.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#29  Postby Agrippina » Dec 15, 2011 7:22 pm

I have seen Hogwarts, I might even have a photo somewhere.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#30  Postby laklak » Dec 15, 2011 8:16 pm

Agrippina wrote:I have seen Hogwarts, I might even have a photo somewhere.


Me too. Several videos exist AND there's a ride at Universal Studios in Orlando. So it must be true, neh?
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#31  Postby Shrunk » Dec 15, 2011 8:47 pm

Could anyone find the "sarcasm" Lowder claims is contained within the article?
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#32  Postby Regina » Dec 15, 2011 8:53 pm

Shrunk wrote:Could anyone find the "sarcasm" Lowder claims is contained within the article?

So it's not just me who had a hard time finding it? :scratch:
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#33  Postby sennekuyl » Dec 15, 2011 9:51 pm

No. Even the OP had trouble.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#34  Postby Paul G » Dec 15, 2011 10:44 pm

purplerat wrote:Just thought I'd take a crack at this one.
10. Compare belief in God to belief in Santa Claus, leprechauns, invisible pink unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster, and so forth, as if all supernatural explanatory hypotheses are equally plausible, despite the fact that considerations from inductive logic like scope, simplicity, etc. show that these hypotheses do not have equal intrinsic probability.

All supernatural hypotheses are equally plausible, with that plausibility being null. Plausibility is an inherently naturalistic quality. Therefore if something is said to be supernatural it's plausibility is null. This is not apologetics but rather simple logic.


Yeah I hate this shit. Somehow God is more deserving of consideration because the idea deals with a more important subject? Has been around longer? Millions take it seriously? What? No physical evidence is no physical evidence, however much importance you attach to it.
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Re: How to be an Atheist apologist?

#35  Postby jlowder » Dec 16, 2011 1:16 am

Paul G wrote:Yeah I hate this shit. Somehow God is more deserving of consideration because the idea deals with a more important subject? Has been around longer? Millions take it seriously? What? No physical evidence is no physical evidence, however much importance you attach to it.


http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/2006/12/sarcasm-how-to-be-atheist-apologist.html?showComment=1323998028603#c4453644275200653874
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Re: How to be an Atheist apologist?

#36  Postby Thommo » Dec 16, 2011 3:53 am

Welcome to the boards JLowder.

I have a couple of quick questions regarding that comment response you just made to Paul on your message board, I hope you don't mind if I take a couple of specific claims as fragments rather than the whole text:

JLowder wrote:Two examples will, I hope, help to make this point clear. First, compare the hypothesis that emeralds will remain green in the future to the hypothesis that they will sooner or later change from green to blue or from green to some other color. The former hypothesis is more probable than the latter, not because (or not just because) we have evidence that color changes of this sort never occur. Rather, it is intrinsically more probable because it attributes objective uniformity over time to the world while the latter hypothesis attributes objective change.


Is there a justification for this claim? If for example we make the same claim about an item for which we do have evidence that it is likely to not remain the same colour, do you still suggest that we should prefer the former hypothesis than the latter? (Say, for example, an emerald left for the next 100 billion years.)

JLowder wrote:This simply confuses the distinction between intrinsic probability and what Draper calls "predictive power." No physical evidence is relevant to predictive power, NOT intrinsic probability.


I wonder if you could perhaps be a bit more precise about what you mean by the term "intrinsic probability" here? The mathematical term from probability theory is usually given as something like:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_theory wrote:Modern definition: The modern definition starts with a finite or countable set called the sample space, which relates to the set of all possible outcomes in classical sense, denoted by Ω. It is then assumed that for each element x in Ω, an intrinsic "probability" value f(x), is attached, which satisfies the following properties:

I would like to draw attention to the fact that this relates to countable sample spaces in discrete probability distributions specifically.

Whilst it seems that one can link probability theory to what it is rational to believe based on the evidence via say Cox's Theorem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cox%27s_theorem) it is reasonably clear from assumption 3 that one needs a single objective derivation of the probability* of the existence of a god to assign it a non-zero likelihood and it is far from clear that any such derivation can be found - indeed the oft cited principle of indifference expressly cannot be used as it demands (unsurprisingly) a symmetry between the options to which we are to be indifferent.

*to be clear the method of derivation need not be singular, but rather the estimated probabilities of all such methods must be equal.
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#37  Postby Mick » Dec 16, 2011 5:08 am

Elsewhere he writes:

jlowder wrote:Based on those two factors, I think it's pretty clear different supernatural explanatory hypotheses are not equal in terms of simplicity or scope and hence do not have equal intrinsic probability. Furthermore, I don't think those two factors justify the claim that theism has zero intrinsic probability.


Theism has zero intrinsic probability? How would a theist ever raise its probative value?
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#38  Postby Thommo » Dec 16, 2011 5:34 am

Mick wrote:Theism has zero intrinsic probability? How would a theist ever raise its probative value?


By providing evidence, and thereby qualitatively bringing it into the same category as the hypotheses that it is tested against. (Note that this is conditional on the view that there is no evidence for the existence of a god, a view that you likely do not share).

There are technical issues here with assigning finite probabilities to elements of the uncountable set of unevidenced hypotheses which make the application of simple bayesian updating of the priors (potentially) flawed from a technical standpoint.
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Re: How to be an Atheist apologist?

#39  Postby Ihavenofingerprints » Dec 16, 2011 5:47 am

Whats the intrinsic probability of an invisible unicorn living in my garage?
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Re: How tp be an Atheist apologist?

#40  Postby purplerat » Dec 16, 2011 5:51 am

jlowder wrote:
Paul G wrote:Yeah I hate this shit. Somehow God is more deserving of consideration because the idea deals with a more important subject? Has been around longer? Millions take it seriously? What? No physical evidence is no physical evidence, however much importance you attach to it.


http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/2006/12/sarcasm-how-to-be-atheist-apologist.html?showComment=1323998028603#c4453644275200653874

Welcome to the forum jlowder.

My objection to your claim that

10. Compare belief in God to belief in Santa Claus, leprechauns, invisible pink unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster, and so forth, as if all supernatural explanatory hypotheses are equally plausible, despite the fact that considerations from inductive logic like scope, simplicity, etc. show that these hypotheses do not have equal intrinsic probability.


is the supernatural part. I would agree that for otherwise [natural] untestable or unproven hypotheses all are not equally plausible. The problem is that once you define a hypothesis as being supernatural there is no way to determine it's plausibility since plausibility is a natural quality. If it's at all plausible then it's not supernatural.

In your defense of this position you even avoid discussing the supernatural, i.e.


Here is what Draper writes about scope:
"Let's start with scope. Roughly speaking, scope is a measure of how much a hypothesis purports to tell us about the contingent features of the world.[7] Relative to certain practical goals, the larger the scope of a hypothesis, the better; but relative to the goal of truth, large scope is a vice rather than a virtue. For the more that a hypothesis says that might be false, the more likely it is to say something that is false, and hence the less likely it is to be true. For example, the statement that there is an animal behind the door says much less than the statement that there is a dog behind the door which in turn says much less than the statement that there is a collie wearing a red scarf behind the door. Thus, the first of these statements is intrinsically much more probable (though perhaps less useful) than the second and the second is intrinsically much more probable than the third. Similarly, the statement that there is no collie wearing a red scarf behind the door says much less than the statement that there is no dog (of any kind) behind the door which in turn says much less than the statement that there is no animal behind the door, not even an ant or a spider. Thus, of these three statements, the statement that there is no collie wearing a red scarf behind the door is the most probable intrinsically, while the statement that there is no animal of any kind behind the door is the least probable intrinsically."


and
And here is what he writes about simplicity:

"A hypothesis can be simple in more than one way, and simplicity can make a hypothesis better just by making it easier to use and understand. When, however, the simplicity of a hypothesis is understood to be a measure of the degree of (objective) uniformity that the hypothesis attributes to the world, then it is more than a merely pragmatic theoretical virtue. It is a sign of truth. Two examples will, I hope, help to make this point clear. First, compare the hypothesis that emeralds will remain green in the future to the hypothesis that they will sooner or later change from green to blue or from green to some other color. The former hypothesis is more probable than the latter, not because (or not just because) we have evidence that color changes of this sort never occur. Rather, it is intrinsically more probable because it attributes objective uniformity over time to the world while the latter hypothesis attributes objective change.[8] A second example concerns Aristotle's theory that physical objects are of two fundamentally different sorts: terrestrial and celestial. Unlike terrestrial objects, celestial objects are not composed of earth, water, air, or fire; and the laws that govern their behavior are not the same as the laws that govern the behavior of terrestrial objects. Even in the ancient world, it was recognized that attributing such ontological variety to nature was a weakness in Aristotle's physics. Alternative theories that postulated greater uniformity were intrinsically more probable than Aristotle's theory. Of course, Aristotelian physics was widely accepted for centuries, but only because it appeared to have much greater predictive power than its simpler competitors. In the end, of course, it proved to be false."


In neither of the quotes which you use to defend your claim does the word supernatural even appear. In fact both quotes are discussing entirely natural things. Dogs, doors, scarves, emeralds and colors are all natural things. The hypothesis made in the above quotes are natural hypothesis so yes we can evaluate plausibility. What I would challenge you to do is to provide actual examples of supernatural hypotheses and show how their plausibilites can be evaluated.
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