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March 25, 2010

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Theist: Who made evolution?
Actual Atheist: Who says anybody did?

RonH

Alternatively:

Theist: Who made evolution?
Actual Atheist: Chemical evolution apparently - though we don't know all the details.

Theist: Who made evolution?
Actual Atheist: Who says anybody did?
Theist: Riiiiight. That's the problem.


Theist: Who made evolution?
Actual Atheist: Chemical evolution apparently - though we don't know all the details.
Actual Theist: Did chemical evolution also "make" morality, rationality, conciousness? And, how did the universe pop into being uncaused out of nothing? Chemical creation??

Wow, Plato was right, dialogues really are more fun and effective!

RonH:
"Theist: Who made evolution?
Actual Atheist: Who says anybody did?"

I think that's a reasonable answer. Why do atheists have such a problem when theists give the same answer about God?

Atheist: Who made God?
Theist: Who says anybody did?

Trying to prove or disprove the existance of God is futile. Our brains just don't have what it takes. It is like expecting an infant to understand Eintein's theory of relativity. It's not going to happen. People are entitled to their own beliefs, but absolute knowing through logic or deduction is not possible. I personally believe in God. But I am not going to even try and convince anyone that what I believe is the absolute truth. Either there is a God or there is'nt. And this fact will continue to be true regardless of what is said on the blog or others.

"Trying to prove or disprove the existence of God is futile."

Why?

"It is like expecting an infant to understand Eintein's theory of relativity."

How so?

These initial remarks suggest that you have an understanding of logic and God that would enable you to see the futility of proof. Presumably based on the complexity of any such proof.

These claims are, themselves, not to be accepted without proof.

"People are entitled to their own beliefs, but absolute knowing through logic or deduction is not possible."

People would be entitled to their beliefs whether we could prove the existence of God (or His non-existence) through logical deduction or not. So what people have a right to believe is idle in this discussion. Why even bring it up?

"I am not going to even try and convince anyone that what I believe [that God exists] is the absolute truth."

You certainly have the right to refrain from the attempt. Just as others have the right to make the attempt.

"Either there is a God or there is'nt. And this fact will continue to be true regardless of what is said on the blog or others."

Either Goldbach's Conjecture is true, or it isn't. And this fact will continue to be true regardless of what is said on the blog or others.

So what?

None of this comprises an argument against apologetics.

Sam,
The difference is we have evidence of evolution.
RonH

Sam:
thank you for your critique of my thoughts.

Human logic is infantile. A logiac expaination disproving God will always be met with a logical explanayion for the existance of God. Thedebate will never snd, therfore it is infantile.

Have you met an infant who understands Einstein's theory of relativity? If so, please elaborate.

Re: the proof of the existanc of God, I seee nothing on this post or others that lead me to believe that any logic presented is remotely adequate to address such complexities.

To make a point not otherwise staed. Why else?

Exactly.


So why defend it?

RonH, I don't see how that is relevant to whether "Who says anybody did?" is a legitimate response to "Who made God?" or "Who made evolution?"

Dave, although you addressed me, I think you meant to address WisdomLover. But I'll respond anyway.

First, I second everything WisdomLover said. And I would add that trying to prove or disprove God is NOT futile. To be futile is to be without effect. But speaking at least for myself, arguments for God are what moved me from agnosticism to theism. They were not without effect, so they were not futile.

If by "absolute knowing," you mean "certainty without the possibility of being wrong," I tend to agree with you. But why take such an all-or-nothing approach? Does "probability" not exist in your worldview? Would you apply the same standard to every other area of your life--that it's completely futile to argue for any point of view unless that argument can give you absolute certainty? I suspect not. Not only is certainty unattainable in most situations, but it's also unnecessary. Reasonableness is enough. When I go out to eat, I'm not absolutely certain the waiter or cook didn't spit in my food. When I get in my car, I'm not absolutely certain I won't get killed or seriously injured. Life is full of uncertainty, but it doesn't render us immobile. We act on what we have good reason to think is true, however fallible we may be. Why should belief in God be any different? It's not as if you can be neutral about it.

You said that since the debate between the existence or non-existence of God will never end, that it's therefore futile. Would you apply that same standard to any debate that is never resolved? Suppose you and I never come to an agreement about whether theistic debates are futile. Does that make everything you've said infantile just because you can't get me to agree with you or I can't get you to agree with me? It seems so by your own reasoning. Why are you defending your point of view if you think it's infantile to defend a point of view you can't get everybody to agree with?

Point taken.
Good luck in your debate.

"Human logic is infantile. A logic explanation disproving God will always be met with a logical explanation for the existence of God. The debate will never end, therefore it is infantile."

Everything you just said about proofs for the existence of God can be said with equal truth about the proofs of elementary truths of arithmetic. Is arithmetic proof, therefore, infantile?

"Have you met an infant who understands Einstein's theory of relativity? If so, please elaborate."

This is not germane to my question. You said that proving the existence of God is like asking an infant to understand Einstein's theory. I simply asked you why this is so. I never disputed the point that no infant can understand Einstein's theory.

"Re: the proof of the existence of God, I see nothing on this post or others that lead me to believe that any logic presented is remotely adequate to address such complexities."

I'd suggest that you expand your researches into this topic beyond the confines of this thread, and beyond blog comment threads in general.

In Classical Literature, try these sources:

St. Anselm's Proslogion

Part One of Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica

William Paley's Natural Theology

In Contemporary literature, you can start with any of the excellent sources on STR's own web site, but that's only a start.

Let us return to the point of the thread, rather than allowing Dave's remarks to kill it (which may well be what he was shooting for).

Sam asked what difference the atheist sees in the following exchanges.

Exchange 1:
Theist: Who made evolution?
Atheist: Who says anybody did?

Exchange 2:
Atheist: Who made God?
Theist: Who says anybody did?

Ron said:

"The difference is we have evidence of evolution."

But Ron's claim can't be right, can it? For starters, Ron is saying that there is some evidence for evolution. I agree with him on this point.

But there is more. He is saying that this is what distinguishes evolution from theism. He is thereby claiming that it is not the case that there is some evidence for theism. That is, he is saying that there is no evidence for theism.

This strikes me as a very unlikely, and perhaps even logically untenable, claim. Is there really no evidence for theism?

*****

Now, I would have said that the difference is that everyone on all sides of the issue recognizes that the thesis of evolution, if true at all, is contingently true. On the other hand, many very clever people, e.g. William of Ockham, have argued that the existence of God is necessary and self-evident. So the riposte "Who said anyone made God?" is very different from the riposte "Who said anyone made evolution?"

If God's existence is a self-evident and necessary truth, then the claim that someone made God is like the claim that someone drew a square circle.

On the other hand, since the evolutionary thesis is at best contingently true, the claim that evolution exists without being made imlpies that the principle of sufficient reason is false (because at least one contingent thing, evolution, exists without there being a sufficient cause of its existence).

So the riposte in Exchange 1, above, is saying that the theist is assuming that the principle of sufficient reason is true. But the riposte in Exchange 2 is saying that the atheist is asking a logically incoherent question.

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