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How does one disprove God and prove free-will?

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tommyedison
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1. I don't believe in a god because there is no evidence of such existence.

2. I believe in a god because although there is no evidence of "his" existence, there is no evidence to "his" lack of existence.

Sure it is and it's usually based on some reasoning.  Statements such as...

do NOT summarize the issue as post forth in the original post, and they are not stand alone. They ALWAYS beg further questioning to find the reason. Choosing to believe something or not believe something without any further reasoning is arbitrary.

That is true, however, my point was that sometimes you don't want to give reasons. With a believer, reasons don't work and providing them with some will ultimately give you headackes, metaphorically speaking. This is why, when I talk about my not believing in god to a believer, I start from the statements I wrote. I only give reasons if I have enough reasons to do so. Otherwise, there is a simple counter-question of "Why should I let you know my reasons?" although I've never used it yet.

There is no need to prove the lack of existence of something for which there is no evidence to prove it exists in the first place.

This is also true. I can understand that. But can a believer? If you give him such an answer, he'll bombard you with the "evidence" such as you mentioned are inconclusive. In the end, you'll simply have to do as you said near the end of your post - turn away and leave, and that won't stop him from bugging you down with quotes from the bible or wherever and whatever.

My ultimate goal when I talk to a believer is to make him stop bugging me about my disbelief - to make him shut up. This I usually do by telling him what he doesn't expect to hear. I don't give my real reason for not believing; instead I say that for example I don't like the idea of god and what god stands for. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the idea of god, only that is not a reason good enough to assume that he doesn't exist. If that needs elaboration, I do so and the believer is satisfied. If I give him my real (primary) reason - that there is no conclusive evidence of such creature as god, he won't leave me alone; I know this from my own experience.

My statement #1 is a specific stand alone statement and says nothing more that what others CHOOSE to assume if they try to read more into it than is there.
Let's assume then, for the sake of the argument, that there is a god and that there is conclusive evidence of his existence. What is your position towards it - do you believe in god, do you know about god, do you not believe, do you not know, or something else? This is just for a small clarification.

There are many things in this world that one can believe in without have definitive proof.  Sit on a jury sometime and that may provide you with a good example.

That, I'm afraid, is not possible at present - in Croatia, there is no jury.

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That is true, however, my point was that sometimes you don't want to give reasons.

Hmm, perhaps your point should be that sometimes YOU don't want to give reasons. I do give reasons. That's part of the hook in my mind. When they start to try to prove a gods existence using evidence, I point out the "faith" issue and how it's not supposed to rely on proof. I ask them why are they trying to prove something to me that they are supposed to take on faith. There's nowhere they can go with that, at least no one I have met so far.

This is also true. I can understand that. But can a believer?
That really depends on the believer. I don't know until I put it forward and see their response.

My ultimate goal when I talk to a believer is to make him stop bugging me about my disbelief - to make him shut up.

Okay, so when you said my statements were wrong, you must have said them within the context of your ultimate goal. My ultimate goal is different. I have no problem with you choosing your manner of argument based on your goals, but I don't think that you need to tell me my approach is wrong because it doesn't fit your goals.

I will discuss the issue with them until it loses entertainment value for me, then I will either end the discussion or walk away. So far, I have either gotten people to understand my view (whether they agree with me or not), or they walked away.

Let's assume then, for the sake of the argument, that there is a god and that there is conclusive evidence of his existence. What is your position towards it - do you believe in god, do you know about god, do you not believe, do you not know, or something else? This is just for a small clarification.
Ask my specifically what you wish to clarify. I have no position on a fictional set of circumstances put forth for the sake of argument.

That, I'm afraid, is not possible at present - in Croatia, there is no jury.

Ahh, that makes it difficult.

If you were to sit on a jury in the a country that had a jury system, you could be asked to obejctive consider facts on whether or not someone has committed a crime. You were not present to witness the crime yourself, but several pieces of evidence certainly indicate the defendant committed the crime. There could be fingerprints, bloodstains, DNA, property recovered at the suspects residence and a whole host of other things that point to the defendants guilt short of direct evidence such as a person actually eyewitnessing the crime or the suspect's confession. All this evidence can (and frequently does) lead reasonable people to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect committed a crime though none of it is direct conclusive proof. Note that the standard of proof in the US legal system is "beyond a reasonable doubt", not "beyond all doubt".

The point of that is to illustrate instances where an objective person may legitimately believe something without conclusive proof.

VES

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Note that the standard of proof in the US legal system is "beyond a reasonable doubt", not "beyond all doubt".

BTW, do you know of the proposal in Massachussetts to introduce a third category -- "beyond all doubt" -- for capital cases? If that little epistemological twist won't just confuse the hell out of the jury...

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BTW, do you know of the proposal in Massachussetts to introduce a third category -- "beyond all doubt" -- for capital cases? If that little epistemological twist won't just confuse the hell out of the jury...

Actually, I wasn't aware of that. Wow! It's soooo incredibly easy to throw in unbelieveable and unreasonable "evidence" to cause a smidgin of doubt.

I'll look to see how this turns out.

VES

Edit: PS: Here's a link for a story on the Mass. situation.

http://www.truthinjustice.org/MA-dp.htm

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I don't believe in God because I have no reason to. The exact same reason that I don't believe in giant purple aliens with 6 legs and 12 nipples- There is nothing to lead me to believe that they exist.

Now, when it comes to disproving God- here's one I have been thinking about:

If God is said to have created the world yet the rest of the universe just existed without God's interference, then why could the world not have existed also without his intereference? Surely if the rest of the universe- the planets, the stars, the space could have just existed then the earth could have as well.

The reply I would expect from a person who believes in God would be "God didn't just create the world, he created the universe". My next question would then be "Where was God when he created the universe?". Because if the universe is defined as:

1. All matter and energy, including the earth, the galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space, regarded as a whole.

2. A. The earth together with all its inhabitants and created things.

B. The human race.

3. The sphere or realm in which something exists or takes place.

(courtesy of dictionary.com)

First of all I am going to dismiss definition number 2 because it ignores parts of the other two definitions making it somewhat incomplete and second because I think when we say "Universe"- we mean not only the earth and the human race- but that we mean space, all the other planets and stars, matter and energy, and everything as a whole- basically definition number 1 and 3.

Well if we accept definition number one of the universe then it would appear that the only way God could have created the universe is if he is somewhere other than a place where all matter and energy and the contents of intergalactic space are- meaning he somehow resides in a place without matter or energy, and seeing as conciousness is a product of matter in certain formations it is obvious that nothing could exist here but a vacuum, let alone a God.

If we accept definition number 3 then it would appear that God exists in nonexistence and somehow managed to create the earth out of nothing when he didn't exist.

The only defense the religious have against this is that God must exist somewhere else... some other type of universe- which they call heaven. If we can prove that the universe has no boundaries or limits that obviously leaves that option out. Even if we cannot- if a universe needs to be created then how could a God exist in another universe? unless his universe somehow didn't need creation. Now if the religious can accept that an alternate universe (heaven) exists without creation then why can our own universe not exist without creation? If they can concieve of a being that exists in nonexistence and creates a universe out of nothing then the argument stops there.

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Hmm, perhaps your point should be that sometimes YOU don't want to give reasons.  I do give reasons.  That's part of the hook in my mind.  When they start to try to prove a gods existence using evidence, I point out the "faith" issue and how it's not supposed to rely on proof.  I ask them why are they trying to prove something to me that they are supposed to take on faith.  There's nowhere they can go with that, at least no one I have met so far.

That really depends on the believer.  I don't know until I put it forward and see their response.

Okay, so when you said my statements were wrong, you must have said them within the context of your ultimate goal.  My ultimate goal is different.  I have no problem with you choosing your manner of argument based on your goals, but I don't think that you need to tell me my approach is wrong because it doesn't fit your goals.

You're right. I did do that. Now that you mention it, I always do that. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Ask my specifically what you wish to clarify.  I have no position on a fictional set of circumstances put forth for the sake of argument.

What I wanted to clarify is the "position" you have on things for which there is conclusive evidence. Do you say then you know these things or do you still say you believe these things? I'm asking this because I noticed that the word "believe" is being used arbitrarily by many people. I've even heard them say that they "believe" a certain mathematical theorem is correct - not that they "know" it's correct.

If you were to sit on a jury in the a country that had a jury system, you could be asked to obejctive consider facts on whether or not someone has committed a crime.  You were not present to witness the crime yourself, but several pieces of evidence certainly indicate the defendant committed the crime.  There could be fingerprints, bloodstains, DNA, property recovered at the suspects residence and a whole host of other things that point to the defendants guilt short of direct evidence such as a person actually eyewitnessing the crime or the suspect's confession.  All this evidence can (and frequently does) lead reasonable people to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect committed a crime though none of it is direct conclusive proof.  Note that the standard of proof in the US legal system is "beyond a reasonable doubt", not "beyond all doubt".

The point of that is to illustrate instances where an objective person may legitimately believe something without conclusive proof.

I see.

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You're right. I did do that. Now that you mention it, I always do that. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

No problem.

What I wanted to clarify is the "position" you have on things for which there is conclusive evidence.

I understand the distinction between knowing and believing. One can't argue a belief or disbelief in that which is factually established. If it's a fact it requires no belief. I have never disputed that. The distinction I was drawing was that sometimes there is inconclusive evidence was supports something which can lead people to rationally believe that something based on an objective review of the relevant data.

It appeared to me that you did not recognize that middle ground between belief and facts and that beliefs, while being choices, do not have to arbitrary. One of the reasons why there is a god debate is because some people view certain things as evidence (inconclusive or otherwise) while others, such as myself, do not see any evidence.

VES

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This is a false alternative, common in many areas but rearing its ugly head in a more fundamental issue here.  "Volitional" does not imply "arbitrary."  If it takes an act of volition to come to hold a belief--i.e., if you have to choose to believe something (and I think that is the case)--that says nothing about whether your reasons for choosing to do so were objective or arbitrary in any given case.

This is my first posting, so I hope that my question is clear. I have "observed" that Liberals (as a gross exageration) tend to be meaner (lying, cheating) than Conservatives in the present political climate. I am wondering if in any way this might have something to do with the greater secularism on the Left? If this is true, then does it have anything to do with the presence on the Right of the "Religious Right" that believes in a god of morals, right and wrong, good and evil? The best argument that I have heard for the existence of a god is the "argument from design." What is a good argument against the argument from design? Thank you. jtaub ;)

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This is my first posting, so I hope that my question is clear. I have "observed" that Liberals (as a gross exageration) tend to be meaner (lying, cheating) than Conservatives in the present political climate. I am wondering if in any way this might have something to do with the greater secularism on the Left? If this is true, then does it have anything to do with the presence on the Right of the "Religious Right" that believes in a god of morals, right and wrong, good and evil? The best argument that I have heard for the existence of a god is the "argument from design." What is a good argument against the argument from design? Thank you. jtaub  :D

Jtaub, I would suggest you take three steps:

1) If you don't get full answers to your questions, post them on one or more separate new threads.

2) You are really asking at least two questions. Each deserves attention, but they could be handled separately:

Why do liberals and conservatives appear, to you, to be so different ethically?

What is an effective way to counter an Argument from Design, as a "proof" of God?

3) Break your message "at the joints" -- by using one paragraph for each main point. Readers are more likely to read the message and more likely to answer each part.

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Could you please tell me what is argument from design?

Thanks in advance

I was going to ask something similar:

Why don't you give what sounds to you like a "good" argument from design, simple, but containing the elements you find most convincing, and we'll see what we can do.

I can't spell out all the connections right now, but I think if you understand Rand's identification of "the primacy of consciousness" versus "the primacy of existence", you'll find that the "argument from design" usually resolves to someone working from a primacy of consciousness premise, and they find it unthinkable to see things from a primacy of existence premise.

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This is my first posting, so I hope that my question is clear. I have "observed" that Liberals (as a gross exageration) tend to be meaner (lying, cheating) than Conservatives in the present political climate. I am wondering if in any way this might have something to do with the greater secularism on the Left?

In a sense, yes. It is really an issue of morality and values. The left now represents nihilism, which is the absence and/or destruction of values. The religious conservatives are more value-oriented and their moral edicts often translate into thou shalt not lie, cheat, or steal. Both of these are far from the moral ideals of Objectivsim, but if I were walking down a dark alley at night I would rather be confronted by a man who wanted to convert me than one who stuck his hand in my pocket.

What is a good argument against the argument from design?

Who designed the designer? If people are willing to exempt the designer from being designed, then why not just accept existence as such and cut out the middleman.

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In a sense, yes. It is really an issue of morality and values. The left now represents nihilism, which is the absence and/or destruction of values. The religious conservatives are more value-oriented and their moral edicts often translate into thou shalt not lie, cheat, or steal. Both of these are far from the moral ideals of Objectivsim, but if I were walking down a dark alley at night I would rather be confronted by a man who wanted to convert me than one who stuck his hand in my pocket.

Who designed the designer? If people are willing to exempt the designer from being designed, then why not just accept existence as such and cut out the middleman.

Thank you all for your input. I'll try to phrase my question more clearly, divided, and succintly from now on. I think the first part is answered. The argument from design simply says that all this intricacy (including the physical laws) around and including us could not have happened randomly. As far as "who designed the designer" is concerned, while I am no religious scholar, I believe the answer given is that the designer always was and didn't need designing. After all, even Aristotle postulated an Unmoved Mover. That's why I said that this was religion's strongest argument. Even an "icon" on secularism gives into it a bit. jtaub :P

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The argument from design simply says that all this intricacy (including the physical laws) around and including us could not have happened randomly.

Can you see how this presumes that everything that happens either has to be caused by consciousness - willed or chosen - or else it's "random" ? "Chance" and "randomness", when projected into existence, are notions that come from a failure to accept causality.

They are useful mathematical tools for statistitions, but they don't refer to actual processes that occur in nature. Everything in existence acts in accordance with it's nature - that is, follows the law of causality.

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As far as "who designed the designer" is concerned, while I am no religious scholar, I believe the answer given is that the designer always was and didn't need designing.

But then, as I said, why not just get rid of the middleman designer and accept the fact of existence. If you can accept that the "designer" need not have been designed, then why not accept existence as not having been designed?

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Thank you all for your input. I'll try to phrase my question more clearly, divided, and succintly from now on. I think the first part is answered. The argument from design simply says that all this intricacy (including the physical laws) around and including us could not have happened randomly. As far as "who designed the designer" is concerned, while I am no religious scholar, I believe the answer given is that the designer always was and didn't need designing. After all, even Aristotle postulated an Unmoved Mover. That's why I said that this was religion's strongest argument. Even an "icon" on secularism gives into it a bit. jtaub :(

Well, first of all God is anti-science. God can have no rational explanation. God is anti-reason as he cannot be explained. As for the argument for design, if God can just exist, matter can just exist. According to Occam's razor the latter theory should be right.

People say that it is impossible for so many coincidences like the Earth being at the perfect position from the Sun, etc. to happen so that life could be created. What they do not understand is that it is not to create life that the events happen, it was because those events happen that life came into existence. Life is a by-product. It was not a purpose for the supposed "coincidences" to happen.

Even if God exists, then why did he have to create life so many years after the universe came into being. Why didn't he create it at the start only?

The Judeo-Christian-Islamic God is omnipotent. But omnipotence precludes the idea of free will. Which leads to the fact that if God exists, we cannot have free will. Which means that whatever we do, we are not responsible for it nor can decide what we do. We are infact, predestined. Then isn't it wrong for God to play with us like that?

Even if God created us, although he didn't, who is he to decide what is wrong what is right? All the theists' arguments to follow God consist of fear. They say that disobedience leads to Hell. It is only criminals who use fear as an argument. Morality is something to be understood, not obeyed.

Hope this answers your question.

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Well, first of all God is anti-science. God can have no rational explanation. God is anti-reason as he cannot be explained. As for the argument for design, if God can just exist, matter can just exist. According to Occam's razor the latter theory should be right.

People say that it is impossible for so many coincidences like the Earth being at the perfect position from the Sun, etc. to happen so that life could be created. What they do not understand is that it is not to create life that the events happen, it was because those events happen that life came into existence. Life is a by-product. It was not a purpose for the supposed "coincidences" to happen.

Even if God exists, then why did he have to create life so many years after the universe came into being. Why didn't he create it at the start only?

The Judeo-Christian-Islamic God is omnipotent. But omnipotence precludes the idea of free will. Which leads to the fact that if God exists, we cannot have free will. Which means that whatever we do, we are not responsible for it nor can decide what we do. We are infact, predestined. Then isn't it wrong for God to play with us like that?

Even if God created us, although he didn't, who is he to decide what is wrong what is right? All the theists' arguments to follow God consist of fear. They say that disobedience leads to Hell. It is only criminals who use fear as an argument. Morality is something to be understood, not obeyed.

Hope this answers your question.

The first reply to my first posting was that I was perhaps posting in the wrong area. I think that was correct, and I apologize. I was not then, nor am I now prepared to engage in a discussion of God's existence. All I was after was an explanation of why there seems to be so much more immorality/amorality on the political Left, and I hypothesized that it might have something to do with the greater secularism of the Left. I think I understand that the general Objectivist position is that human reason is the highest entity, thereby making God both impossible and unnecessary. To the previous post, I can only say that I really don't think that most religious people find science antithetical to religion. Why should they? They would say that God gave us science too. I think that they'd also say that God gave matter existence. Here, I'm willing to do some serious reading. The argument from design was first advanced by a minister in a book in 1812 called "The Theology of Nature." As was pointed out, the rebuttal came in "The Blind Watchmaker." I plan to read both books. What came first--human life and a need for an Earth or vice versa, I don't think is relevant to whether or not there was a "designer." Finally, the question of whether or not free will exists versus determinism again is not tied to God's existence. As long as we can make choices which carry us in different directions, we have at least a form of free will. Again, I apologize for straying into an area where it appears I don't belong. Thank you for your input. If I really think that I have anything of value to add, I will post it at a later date. jtaub

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You are right to be disconcerted by your friend's demand that you disprove his claim. The key is to identify the assertion "God exists" for what it is: the arbitrary. He is the one making the claim so he is the one that has to show proof. This is called "the onus of proof" and it is a very important logical principle.

As an atheist, you should refuse to consider the matter further until some evidence is offered. By accepting his premise that you must disprove his claim, you have already lost the argument as this drops the onus of proof principle.

See "The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False" in Chapter 5 of OPAR.

You can also point out that even if you accepted their belief in God, you don't believe in worship. As a free individual you do not consider yourself subservient to anyone, even a magic all being, master of time space and dimension.

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