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Debate: There is a rational warrant for belief in God.

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DavidV
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Help me out with this one please, because I am stuck:

It seems to me that it is impossible to experience physical evidence that either proves or disproves God's existence. Human technology just isn't to the point where we can send a camera out to the very edges of existence and say, "well, no God here". So, even though the Godless scenario is obviously the more likely and reasonable, it still seems unscientific to me to be absolutely assured that there is no God.

Is that a correct way of thinking?

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Help me out with this one please, because I am stuck:

It seems to me that it is impossible to experience physical evidence that either proves or disproves God's existence. Human technology just isn't to the point where we can send a camera out to the very edges of existence and say, "well, no God here". So, even though the Godless scenario is obviously the more likely and reasonable, it still seems unscientific to me to be absolutely assured that there is no God.

Is that a correct way of thinking?

Contradictions are not possible. Any claimed definition of God involves a contradiction. Beyond those definitions, "god" is an empty word, as meaningful as "flarghn".

As for the contradiction in your post - what is meant by observing something at or beyond "the edge of existence"?

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Help me out with this one please, because I am stuck:

It seems to me that it is impossible to experience physical evidence that either proves or disproves God's existence. Human technology just isn't to the point where we can send a camera out to the very edges of existence and say, "well, no God here". So, even though the Godless scenario is obviously the more likely and reasonable, it still seems unscientific to me to be absolutely assured that there is no God.

Is that a correct way of thinking?

There is no physical evidence, but there is logical evidence. You can't have physical evidence of supernatural claims, it doesn't make those claims disprovable.

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'GreedyCapitalist'

On November 18th, I will debate Dr. Joe Hinman on the topic of the existence of God.

Some time ago, I debated a local "right to life" committee in a public forum; it attracted about 250 people and the local press; I was essentially alone! They tried to cut me off on several occasions; I reminded them that they invited me and the rules gave me equal time. Given the press was in attendance, they yielded.

It was tough! And at the end, about 20 pro-lifers gathered around me and started their attack. I remained calm throughout - which infuriated them: they wanted an emotional, not intellectual, debate and did not get it. The press was somewhat surprised as well.

This might give you a couple clues as to how it might all come down. Good luck, stay focused.

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Help me out with this one please, because I am stuck:

It seems to me that it is impossible to experience physical evidence that either proves or disproves God's existence.

Actually... that's a different question than what GreedyCapitalist has said he's going to debate. He is going to debate whether or not there is a "rational warrant for the belief in God".

It really should be a short debate since all descriptions and definitions of God clearly state that He can exist outside of the laws of the universe, outside the laws of logic and outside of human rationale. So then, by definition you must "believe" and not know by rationale. How can anyone possibly argue only using our earthly powers of reason to explain something that is beyond reason and does not even claim to adhere to it.

As for proving or disproving God. You're right that you cannot literally disprove God since proving the absence of something non physical and non-measurable in a potentially infinite universe is... well... pretty much the definition of impossible. :) The existence of God could, however, be proven since he is ostensibly an omniscient being with limitless powers. A simultaneous world-wide physical materialization of Himself in front of every living human would suffice (imho).

Anyway, I don't have a problem with believers only because they are believers. As long as the person philosophically understands, admits and accepts that their belief IS outside of all reason and rationale. I do know some people like this, but it is rare.

I'm interested in how this debate will go. I'm trying to think if there is any way to play with the words to make a "rational warrant for belief in God". I suppose one could take the position that:

"It is rational to believe in God because it makes me feel better. It makes me happy. I grant that basing my actions on 'God's will' is irrational because there's no certain and objective way to know God's will. All things being equal if I chose not to believe in God, I would be unhappy all my life and that would be irrational."

lol That's the best I can do.

Kinda reminds me of the famous quote:

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know." Donald Rumsfeld

Believing in unknown unknowns might bring some people inner peace. :pirate:

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'Weston' date='Nov 13 2009, 02:10 PM' post='236356'

It seems to me that it is impossible to experience physical evidence that either proves or disproves God's existence.

And if he says that, you just say: that's true, but the burden of proof is on you - the believer.

Logic dictates that. Keep it as simple as possible.

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There have been a million threads on this subject. Move to one of them

That was not a question; it was a rhetorical response to you.

You said "There is no physical evidence, but there is logical evidence. You can't have physical evidence of supernatural claims, it doesn't make those claims disprovable."

There is no logical evidence - unless you want to present some.

And one does not have to disprove those claims.

Do you understand what I am saying?

Edited by TLD
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It still seems unscientific to me to be absolutely assured that there is no God.

Is that a correct way of thinking?

Not exactly. It's beyond the domains of science to say that anything is absolutely (i.e. without context) assured. But the (contextual) assurance that there is no god is philosophical, not scientific.

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know." Donald Rumsfeld
My favorite obfuscation :pirate:
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As for the contradiction in your post - what is meant by observing something at or beyond "the edge of existence"?

It was an exaggeration. I meant to make the point that God (according to theists) is a supernatural being, and we as humans have no way to observe or experiment with things of supernatural qualities (I know supernatural things cannot exist, but there is only logical proof even of that).

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That is going to be a little hard, since “God” has only three characters, and the search won’t return any results. I know I've had a very hard time trying to find those threads.

I put in "Deity". You can find several topics, though there are many that contain that word

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...ghlite=%2BDeity

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Some time ago, I debated a local "right to life" committee in a public forum; it attracted about 250 people and the local press; I was essentially alone!

That's really fascinating. I might want to try that myself for the next debate topic. How did it go - did the debate really address the issues? Do you feel like your opponent or the audience learned something? Did you make any mistakes? What did you learn from the experience?

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What do you think about making that my entire argument?

It should definitely be the crux of your argument. Explain the three contradictions, and their inevitability. In his statements, your opponent will necessarily have to either 1) contradict himself or 2) evade giving any specifics to "god" - which itself is a contradiction of identity.

He will contradict himself, and your goal is to identify the contradiction and show how fundamental and inescapable they are.

His big arguments, unless he's a complete nutter, will be the necessity of a First Cause and fine-tuning, which you should be able to easily destroy if you come prepared.

Edited by brian0918
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That's really fascinating. I might want to try that myself for the next debate topic. How did it go - did the debate really address the issues? Do you feel like your opponent or the audience learned something? Did you make any mistakes? What did you learn from the experience?

Obviously abortion is a very emotional topic; the "pro-life" side made a very emotional presentation.

I kept it quite fundamental and simply wiped out all their arguments - in theory.

The audience was primarily - not totally - on their side, but I think a few did learn a new argument or two.

As I said, they gathered around me to continue their emotions after the formal debate; I remained calm, and that always infuriates an emotional crowd.

I can't say I made any mistakes. But one quickly learns in such an environment that it is hard to get emotional subjective people to listen to reason and rationality. I wish I had had more time to get them to calm down and see that my arguments were in fact more reasoned than others they had heard. Over time, I have been able to get pro-lifers to get really interested in the Objectivist approach to such an issue; of course, that does not change many minds.

Thanks for asking.

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