Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Is atheism rational?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

An atheist is certain there is no God.

According to the dictionary definition, but not every atheist fits the dictionary definition you chose. The quote i provided from you is not true. What is true is that SOME atheists assert that there is no god. What is also true is that the dictionary definition does not cover other types of atheists, such as people who are simply NOT theists.

Then again, if you review the definition of Agnostic you provided below, you should see that it requires an act of faith as well; "and that since the absolute and unconditioned, if it exists at all, cannot fall within experience,". What proof do you have of this assertion? What proof do you have that humans cannot and never will attain "ultimate knowledge is some area of study"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

L-is-A,

To summarize your position, you're agreeing that there is absolutely no evidence of the existence of Good. You're also agreeing that taking any action on the basis that God exists would be irrational. In other words, you're saying that for all practical purposes, God does not exist.

Correct?

Also, if I read you right, you're not really making an argument about disbelief in God as such, but about disbelief as such. In other words, you're equally critical of those who say FSM does not exist as you are of those who say that green-gremlins do not exist, or of those that say that God does not exist. You're saying we can never be certain of anything.

Correct?

Are you also saying that certainty is an invalid concept: i.e. that saying "I'm certain about XYZ" is not just wrong, but it is meaningless? Is that what you're saying?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, but in your original post you say (bold mine): "But to assert no God exists, also without proof, is equally foolish." But above you are saying that it's not equally foolish, that there is a 99.9999% chance that atheists are right and a 0.0001% chance that theists are right. Those odds are quite clearly stacked against theism.

Hehe! I would point out the probability of there being a God is higher than the probability of there being a Flying Spaghetti Monster God. That's provable if we can agree the chance of each specific God existing is non-zero and hence the probability of any one of them existing must be higher than the probability of a specific one existing. But true, I grant it's not equally foolish although both cases still seem irrational.

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe you're confusing things, so let's discuss your analogy in more detail. Again, "When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on him or her making a claim."

For the jury to assert the accused is THE MURDERER, the prosecutor must meet the burden of proof by demonstrating he's THE MURDERER beyond a reasonable doubt.

When the prosecutor failed to prove OJ Simpson was THE MURDERER, neither the public nor the jury asserted that was proof he was NOT THE MURDERER.

In fact, in the subsequent civil trial, OJ ended up having to relinquish quite a bit to the victim's family.

No, you are confusing someone making a claim to believe in the existence of something, and someone who is denying that person's claim because of lack of evidence and contradiction. The statements "I claim you are a murderer." and "Prove you're not a murderer." are not on equal footing. The first must be backed by evidence either perceptual observation or logical inference. The second is an arbitrary statement, meaning it lacks any connection to either perceptual observation and logical inference. It's not your responsibility to refute a claim to being a murderer that lacks any basis whatsoever. In fact, that is exactly why we have an “innocent until proven guilty” rule in law. That is exactly why if the prosecution refuses to state a positive case, the defendant doesn't even have to offer any defense whatsoever, he can just sit there and he will be declared innocent.

The arbitrary thus cannot be treated on the same level as something with a rational basis. That is what the burden of proof principle means. You cannot "disprove" a floating abstraction that has no connection with reality, therefore saying “You can't prove there isn't a God, therefore we can never know” is absurd. Claims of these kind have no connection to reality whatsoever, it is as if nothing had even been said, or if you had emitted some grunts or noises, or typed nonsense, like “aklndln;kdasnka” and demanded that it be treated the same as something with rational basis. That would be to make belief in anything the default and only cancel it out with disproof. You would have to treat any wild claim on the same level as a claim backed observational evidence or logical inference. The arbitrary is not in the same category as the rational. The arbitrary means without basis. The rational means with basis. Faith means in direct defiance of any rational basis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several issues here.

To begin with, the burden of proof. The burden of proof always lies on the person who makes the positive claim. In this case that means that it lies on the person who claims that God exist, not on the person who does not claim he exist on the grounds that no evidence (or at least no valid arguments) has ever been presented.

This leads us to another issue, namely the arbitrary. If there are no grounds to say that something is the case, then there is not even any grounds to say it is POSSIBLE. To say that something is possible presuppose there is at least SOME reason to think it is possible. For instance, I know it is possible to die, because I have seen people die. I have read about it. Most people who ever existed are not around anymore. Etc. There are grounds to say it is possible. (There are even grounds to say that, everything else equal, it is CERTAIN, not merely possible.)

If, however, there are no grounds for some claim, then it is not even any grounds to say it is possible. To claim something is possible not based on any evidence but on a "Maybe...?" which in turn rest on NOTHING, is to make an ARBITRARY, i.e., GROUNDLESS ASSERTION. There is nothing rational about that. There is nothing to excuse it epistemologically or morally. Yet this is what agnosticism is all about: to claim, on no grounds, that maybe there is a God or maybe there is not.

So is atheism rational? Atheism merely means that you do not believe in God. There are rational and irrational reasons to not believe in God. If you do not believe in God because you are a skeptic and have irrational epistemological standards, then your atheism is not rational. But if you, on the grounds of rational epistemological standards, conclude that there is no reason to believe in God, then it is rational. Part of such a rational standard is to never accept even a maybe based on nothing, i.e., to never accept the arbitrary.

You can read more about agnosticism, certainty, the possible and the arbitrary here:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/agnosticism.html

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/certainty.html

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/possible.html

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/arbitrary.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Respectively with the forgery of the existence (or not non-existence) of the arbitrary, it is definitely proven that there no God could ever exist!

Axioms for discussion (but not to be discussed (!)):

(1) Existence exists;

(2) consciousness is conscious; corollaries and relatives: volition, validity of sense;

(3) existence is identity; corollaries and relatives: inference, causality.

Now to the meat of the proof of the (non) existence of God: Has God created the universe?---The universe does not merely mean `a collection of a certain number of galaxy formation,` but rather the sum of all the existents. That which exists outside existence does NOT exist. As well, if you assume the axiom of consciouness as a primacy over each other you contradict the axiom of existence (since it`s all over your head, dude)---and therefore the axiom of consciosness (sinec the existence of a consciousness is `over your head` as well---and what does have to be conscious with if not existence?). In such a case, I would keep and throw a way the failures of the assumption of PRIMACY OF CONSCIOUSNESS as against the lord of history: Is the statement `I imagine a table therefore a table is` true? If it were, I do not imagine God. Q.E.D

Has god designed the usivese?---Not assuming the above is causality. Our nature acts so reasonably for the simpe reason it is its IDENTITY.

Is God omniscient?---`Omniscience,` in a full sense, does not simply mean `a sexy senior with a Doct. Degree in computer sience,` but rather something which is able to determine the laws all realities by his own ideas. And indeed, according to the following laws we had remained as absolutists above, there is no `chance` that something may be omniscient.

Is God infinite?---If he [it] is, an actual infinity cannot exist withtin the universe. An `infinity` does not mean `which sets of no limitation of its own size,` but in a position which is in a given stats of `to large to consist of a certain size`. If he isn`t, God is not endless and therefore not beginningless, which means he might be created, which leads us to an infinite regress assuming the theological premise that maintains: `Everything should be created.`

Does God bring Miracles---And again, a miracle`s explanation is not an act that seldom happens, but something that contradicts clear mtaphysical and logical (as a one) laws, and as such, does not exist in reality.

Could one not observe God?---A contradiction of the axioms of consciousness and validity of sense: how do you know that?

Is God `the Lord of History` or `the Lord of Fate`? If he is, we got a contradiction of the above axiom of free will. If he is not, God is not omniscient and therefore cannot do any better the human beings, hypothetically, can.

The existence of a creator consists of any possible metaphysically given law`s contradiction---and IT is absolutely a positive proposition which one can prove.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Atheism seems almost as irrational as religion. To assert a particular God exists, without proof, is foolish. But to assert no God exists, also without proof, is equally foolish."

You would be right if you were be able to define God. But you are not, since definition of God turns him into the object with defined boundaries,one out of many, which can be observed, investigated, proved. In other words definition would eliminate his divine properties. Whatever cannot be defined, doesn't exist. So this is your choice-definable ungodly God or non-definable non-existent fantasy. Unlike flight, God is arbitrary contradictory concept which cannot be proved.Epistemic tools like possibility, probability or certainty are not applicable to such a concept, as any other tools of scientific investigation.

Edited by Leonid
Link to comment
Share on other sites

LifeIsAbsurd> Atheism seems almost as irrational as religion. To assert a particular God exists, without proof, is foolish. But to assert no God exists, also without proof, is equally foolish."

You would be right if you were be able to define God.

The dictionaries is full of definitions. The American Heritage is my usual choice. I chose definition #3, the first which fits most Gods that people tend to discuss, such as the Christian God or the god of the seas Poseidon: "A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality."

But you are not, since definition of God turns him into the object with defined boundaries,one out of many, which can be observed, investigated, proved.

As far as I can tell, no part of that definition conflicts with any of what you've written.

I would also disagree with "One out of many". It's highly probably the being we just defined is non-existant and there's a slim possibility it's unique.

Whatever cannot be defined, doesn't exist.

Since we just defined God that doesn't apply.

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now to the meat of the proof of the (non) existence of God: Has God created the universe?---The universe does not merely mean `a collection of a certain number of galaxy formation,` but rather the sum of all the existents. That which exists outside existence does NOT exist. As well, if you assume the axiom of consciouness as a primacy over each other you contradict the axiom of existence (since it`s all over your head, dude)---and therefore the axiom of consciosness (sinec the existence of a consciousness is `over your head` as well---and what does have to be conscious with if not existence?). In such a case, I would keep and throw a way the failures of the assumption of PRIMACY OF CONSCIOUSNESS as against the lord of history: Is the statement `I imagine a table therefore a table is` true? If it were, I do not imagine God. Q.E.D

The essential flaw in your argument against "God created the universe." is that you redefined universe in an unusual way without updating the initial claim.

Universe means:

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

Century Dictionary: "1.The totality of existing things; all that is in dynamical connection with general experience taken collectively—embracing the Creator and creation; or psychical and material objects, but excluding the Creator; or material objects only."

Webster 1913 Dictionary: "1.All created things viewed as constituting one system or whole; the whole body of things, or of phenomena; the to~ pa^n of the Greeks, the mundus of the Latins; the world; creation."

In the American Heritage's case, universe does not mean all existance. In the Century Dictionary case, universe means all existance except the Creator. In the Webster's case, universe means all created things. In all three of these cases the statement that "God created the universe" cannot be refuted by your proof. If you want to redefine 'universe' as 'the sum of all existants' then that is fine, but then the initial claim that you must refute becomes 'God created everything we can experience in the universe except itself."

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The dictionaries is full of definitions. The American Heritage is my usual choice. I chose definition #3, the first which fits most Gods that people tend to discuss, such as the Christian God or the god of the seas Poseidon: "A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality."

As far as I can tell, no part of that definition conflicts with any of what you've written.

I would also disagree with "One out of many". It's highly probably the being we just defined is non-existant and there's a slim possibility it's unique.

Since we just defined God that doesn't apply.

Then I ask you, what evidence is this definition based on?

You can't define or prove a non-existent. It doesn't exist. You are met with a contradiction.

"A definition must identify the nature of the units, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the units would not be the kind of existents they are," (ITOE page 42).

Before something can be defined and conceptualized, it has to be observed perceptually. Things are observed perceptually by our senses and after we form percepts we can identify units. Unit identification is essential before one can differentiate between units and omit measurements to form concepts and definitions. Unless you have directly perceived God on a perceptual level through your senses, your definition is invalid and arbitrary.

Edited by Maken
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To begin with, the burden of proof. The burden of proof always lies on the person who makes the positive claim. In this case that means that it lies on the person who claims that God exist, not on the person who does not claim he exist on the grounds that no evidence (or at least no valid arguments) has ever been presented.

The burden of proof lies on anyone who makes a claim or assertion, positive or negative.

"This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." ~ Carl Sagan

This leads us to another issue, namely the arbitrary. If there are no grounds to say that something is the case, then there is not even any grounds to say it is POSSIBLE.

To clarify, to assert something is possible requires no evidence that it is true, only no proof that it is not true:

Possible - Capable of happening, existing, or being true without contradicting proven facts, laws, or circumstances.

But if you, on the grounds of rational epistemological standards, conclude that there is no reason to believe in God, then it is rational. Part of such a rational standard is to never accept even a maybe based on nothing, i.e., to never accept the arbitrary.

Maybe - Perhaps; possibly.

So, your methodology is to redefine the words possibly and maybe to mean plausible, and place the burden of proof on anyone making a positive claim as opposed to the usual anyone making a claim.

That sounds like a practical way to live life day to day, but creates less descriptive statements about the universe and conflicts with normal word usage.

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The burden of proof lies on anyone who makes a claim or assertion, positive or negative.

"This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." ~ Carl Sagan

To clarify, to assert something is possible requires no evidence that it is true, only no proof that it is not true:

Possible - Capable of happening, existing, or being true without contradicting proven facts, laws, or circumstances.

Maybe - Perhaps; possibly.

So, your methodology is to redefine the words possibly and maybe to mean plausible, and place the burden of proof on anyone making a positive claim as opposed to the usual anyone making a claim.

That sounds like a practical way to live life day to day, but creates less descriptive statements about the universe and conflicts with normal word usage.

Shifting the burden of proof to those denying a claim is a logical fallacy known as "ad ignorantium".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The essential flaw in your argument against "God created the universe." is that you redefined universe in an unusual way without updating the initial claim.

The flaw I'm noticing consistently in your argument is that you apear willing to (faithfully) accept dictionary definitions rather than consider concepts on your own and determining the essential distinctions in those concepts. The appearance is that you are more willing to take dictionary definitions on faith rather than consider with your own reasoning mind the concepts as presented by the other posters.

To clarify, to assert something is possible requires no evidence that it is true, only no proof that it is not true:

In other words, anyone can make arbitrary assertions. What do you propose we do with arbitrary assertions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The burden of proof lies on anyone who makes a claim or assertion, positive or negative.

"This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." ~ Carl Sagan

Shifting the burden of proof to those denying a claim is a logical fallacy known as "ad ignorantium".

Precisely. The one who claims "God does not exist" or "Goed does exist" has the burden to prove their claim.

I would say it's possible, but unlikely as there's no compelling evidence of their existance.

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The essential flaw in your argument against "God created the universe." is that you redefined universe in an unusual way without updating the initial claim.

The flaw I'm noticing consistently in your argument is that you apear willing to (faithfully) accept dictionary definitions

I pointed to a flaw in his argument, and rather than address that you're attempting to associate me with faith. I assure you, I have no "faith" in an unproven God, nor in Ayn Rand.

I define the words I use when there's ambiguity or confusion because if we can't understand each other there's little basis for communication.

In other words, anyone can make arbitrary assertions. What do you propose we do with arbitrary assertions?

That's simple--ignore or investigate them, as you prefer. Do not claim to know more than you do.

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Read this book. It uses the Objectivist viewpoints/arguments regarding all of this and will answer any possibly questions or contentions you have regarding Atheism:

http://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Case-Against-Skeptics-Bookshelf/dp/087975124X

Thanks, Swine. (How odd to say that without any malice!) It's an interesting book. I'm working through it. When he says atheist he simply means someone who doesn't says, "There is a God", as opposed to Ayn Rand, who says "There is no God and I can prove it." I'm not sure if the book will eventually try to rationalize a view as extreme as hers, but it's informative and entertaining in any event.

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Precisely. The one who claims "God does not exist" or "Goed does exist" has the burden to prove their claim.

I would say it's possible, but unlikely as there's no compelling evidence of their existance.

We are merely denying the claim. To ask us to prove a negative (a negation of the claim the positive makes) is to ask us to prove the non-existent. Proving something to be non-existent is a contradiction in terms and requires omniscience and omnipresence. This is why it's a logical fallacy to ask us to prove that there is no God, especially when the claim is made in the positive in the first place.

Because of this contradiction, the negative does not have a burden of proof. You are asking us to do the impossible, to prove a non-existent, or the lack of something that exists. We, as the negation, do not even have to acknowledge the affirmation's claim until they fulfill the burden of proof. Until that burden is met, the statement is arbitrary.

Edited by Maken
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, you are confusing someone making a claim to believe in the existence of something, and someone who is denying that person's claim because of lack of evidence and contradiction.

I have consistently stated the burden of proof is always on the person making the claim. You are the one making exceptions.

"Prove you're not a murderer." ... is an arbitrary statement, meaning it lacks any connection to either perceptual observation and logical inference.

"Prove you're not a murderer" claims nothing. It's a request for evidence with which the person may or may not comply.

It's not your responsibility to refute a claim to being a murderer that lacks any basis whatsoever.

Correct. The claimant (of anything) must provide proof.

That is exactly why if the prosecution refuses to state a positive case, the defendant doesn't even have to offer any defense whatsoever, he can just sit there and he will be declared innocent.

This is where you go astray. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" -- Carl Sagan

It's a common misconception that people are found innocent. In fact, they are only found not guilty. Here's a quote from the Bar Association: "There is no verdict of innocent. And, not guilty does not mean innocent. When a jury returns a verdict of not guilty, that means that the state has not convinced the jury beyond a reasonable doubt as to all the elements of the crime with which the defendant has been charged."

Lawyers get logic. A verdict of not guilty simply means YOU ARE A MURDER cannot be sufficiently proven. It does not mean YOU ARE NOT A MURDERER.

Laymen get it too. If someone is accused of child molestation, even if they're found not guilty, neighbors are going to be wary about letting their kids near them.

The arbitrary thus cannot be treated on the same level as something with a rational basis. That is what the burden of proof principle means.

The philosophical burden of proof means only, "When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on him or her making a claim." Both the claims "God exists" and "God does not exist" require proof.

You cannot "disprove" a floating abstraction that has no connection with reality, therefore saying “You can't prove there isn't a God, therefore we can never know” is absurd. Claims of these kind have no connection to reality whatsoever, it is as if nothing had even been said, or if you had emitted some grunts or noises, or typed nonsense, like “aklndln;kdasnka”

Your strongest argument: if a fact is unfalsifiable, then it's irrational to say anything about it. In that case it's irrational to say "God exists" or to say "God doesn't exist." You're agreeing with me. ;)

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are merely denying the claim.

If someone claimed "God exists" and you said, "That's irrational" or "Prove it or I don't believe you" that's normal and not what I opened this thread about.

Ayn Rand made the claim "God does not exist." She also claimed it's easy to prove.

To ask us to prove a negative (a negation of the claim the positive makes) is to ask us to prove the non-existent. Proving something to be non-existent is a contradiction in terms and requires omniscience and omnipresence.

In the general case proving a negative does not require omniscience nor omnipresence.

If a pushy person looking for a donation claimed, "I know there's a quarter in your pants pocket." I could answer "Wouldn't you like to know?" (asserting he can't know or prove that) or I could pull out my pockets and show they're empty (proving the negative). If the police tomorrow called me and claimed I murdered someone at 9pm tonight in Madrid, Spain I would prove the negative by showing them recent receipts and naming a few witnesses who saw me tonight.

In the special case of "God exists." I agree that's unfalsifiable. In that case, you could say it's irrational to say anything about his existance. That's distinct from claiming he does not exist.

(Note: While theoretical unfalsifiability applies to "God exists", it doesn't apply to all specific Gods, especially ones who are claimed to have acted upon this world.)

This is why it's a logical fallacy to ask us to prove that there is no God, especially when the claim is made in the positive in the first place.

In the interview, I don't see Donahue saying "God exists" and Ayn Rand saying "That's an irrational belief" or "I don't believe you, prove it."

I see Ayn Rand asserting "God does not exist" and further it's easy to prove. Maybe she wanted to sell more books. ;)

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If someone claimed "God exists" and you said, "That's irrational" or "Prove it or I don't believe you" that's normal and not what I opened this thread about.

Ayn Rand made the claim "God does not exist." She also claimed it's easy to prove.

In the general case proving a negative does not require omniscience nor omnipresence.

If a pushy person looking for a donation claimed, "I know there's a quarter in your pants pocket." I could answer "Wouldn't you like to know?" (asserting he can't know or prove that) or I could pull out my pockets and show they're empty (proving the negative). If the police tomorrow called me and claimed I murdered someone at 9pm tonight in Madrid, Spain I would prove the negative by showing them recent receipts and naming a few witnesses who saw me tonight.

In the special case of "God exists." I agree that's unfalsifiable. In that case, you could say it's irrational to say anything about his existance. That's distinct from claiming he does not exist.

(Note: While theoretical unfalsifiability applies to "God exists", it doesn't apply to all specific Gods, especially ones who are claimed to have acted upon this world.)

In the interview, I don't see Donahue saying "God exists" and Ayn Rand saying "That's an irrational belief" or "I don't believe you, prove it."

I see Ayn Rand asserting "God does not exist" and further it's easy to prove. Maybe she wanted to sell more books. ;)

What Rand is saying is that since there is no proof FOR a God, he doesn't exist. He can't be defined or even be recognized as possible until proof is represented. To do that is to give value and credibility to the arbitrary which is not logical.

Not to mention, Rand is refuting the claim that God exists that has presented in the course of history. Not everyone has to say that God exists for the claim to exist. The claim of the affirmation of a God came before the negation, obviously.

Edited by Maken
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What Rand is saying is that since there is no proof FOR a God, he doesn't exist.

I. Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance) the fallacy that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or that it is false simply because it has not been proved true. This error in reasoning is often expressed with influential rhetoric.

A. The informal structure has two basic patterns:

Statement p is unproved. Not-p is true.

Statement not-p is unproved. p is true.

B. If one argues that God or telepathy, ghosts, or UFO's do not exist because their existence has not been proven beyond a shadow of doubt, then this fallacy occurs.

C. On the other hand, if one argues that God, telepathy, and so on do exist because their non-existence has not been proved, then one argues fallaciously as well.

I'm surprised if a great thinker endorses what many books on logic classify as a logical fallacy. If I were to say, "Aliens will be found on Pluto within 5 years" with no evidence, you should tell me that's highly unlikely and it's irrational to believe so. You shouldn't say "Aliens won't be found on Pluto within 5 years." As far as I can tell, you would have no way of knowing that for certain.

He can't be defined or even be recognized as possible until proof is represented. To do that is to give value and credibility to the arbitrary which is not logical.

I fail to see how stating what we really know, "That's highly unlikely and it's irrational to believe so" lends credibility to the arbitrary "God exists" or "We live in the Matrix" or "Aliens will be found on Pluto within 5 years." I also fail to see how claiming something we do not really know is an improvement.

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm surprised if a great thinker endorses what many books on logic classify as a logical fallacy. If I were to say, "Life will be found on Pluto within 5 years" with no evidence, you should tell me that's highly unlikely and it's irrational to believe so. You shouldn't say "Life won't be found on Pluto within 5 years." As far as I can tell, you would have no way of knowing that for certain.

I fail to see how stating what we really know, "That's highly unlikely and it's irrational to believe so" lends credibility to the arbitrary "God exists" or "We live in the Matrix" or "Life will be found on Pluto within 5 years." I also fail to see how claiming something we do not really know is an improvement.

Because you are still giving validity to the arbitrary by saying it is "unlikely". "Unlikely" is saying that "it probably isn't, but could be". If you give credit to one arbitrary argument, you give credit to every arbitrary argument and you destroy the validity of logical argumentation. If you accept the arbitrary argument of a god, then you have to hold the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" and "Santa" and "The Easter Bunny" as equally logical arguments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because you are still giving validity to the arbitrary by saying it is "unlikely". "Unlikely" is saying that "it probably isn't, but could be".

Correct, it's highly unlikely and irrational to believe that God exists, that we'll meet aliens in the next ten years, and that machines will rebel and conquer us in the next fifty years. At the same time, these things are possible, they could be. Calling them "highly unlikely and irrational" is the truth. Calling them "false" is not.

If you give credit to one arbitrary argument, you give credit to every arbitrary argument... If you accept the arbitrary argument of a god, then you have to hold the .... as equally logical arguments.

"Flying Spaghetti Monster"

Highly unlikely and irrational.

"Santa" and "The Easter Bunny"

I'm confident I could convincingly argue Santa and the Easter Bunny do not exist. I already successfully proved the negative of two other things.

and you destroy the validity of logical argumentation.

That's an odd premise. Stating the truth shouldn't undermine the validity of logical argumentation.

Thanks for taking the time to explain her perspective. I'm begin to suspect I'm an existentialist but not an objectivist, since I'm willing to pursue logic and truth even when it doesn't support my causese. I'll go ahead and read her Introduction to Objectivist Epistemiology anyway since I've enjoyed all the other books she's written. Perhaps that will change my mind. Perhaps not. Cheers. :)

Edited by LifeIsAbsurd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Correct, it's highly unlikely and irrational to believe that God exists, that we'll meet aliens in the next ten years, and that machines will rebel and conquer us in the next fifty years. At the same time, these things are possible, they could be. Calling them "highly unlikely and irrational" is the truth. Calling them "false" is not.

Highly unlikely and irrational.

I'm confident I could convincingly argue Santa and the Easter Bunny do not exist. I already successfully proved the negative of two other things.

That's an odd premise. Stating the truth shouldn't undermine the validity of logical argumentation.

Thanks for taking the time to explain her perspective. I'm begin to suspect I'm an existentialist but not an objectivist, since I'm willing to pursue logic and truth even when it doesn't support my causese. I'll go ahead and read her Introduction to Objectivist Epistemiology anyway since I've enjoyed all the other books she's written. Perhaps that will change my mind. Perhaps not. Cheers. :)

You should look into that book, actually. I enjoyed it though I had to read it a few times to grasp it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...