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Theism and Atheism

Posted Jun 12, '13 at 3:35pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,667 posts

Knight

maybe we should focus on whether claim C is rational and just set aside the question of evidential relations.

First off this is a rather incredible claim, On that basis I would say it would be irrational to accept without solid evidence. But since you want to avoid the evidence argument let's move on.

The source of this claim comes from people handing these stories down from word of mouth. A method notorious for creating errors in stories. We could rationally accept something mundane in this fashion since we would have other events that commonly take place to draw from, but not an extraordinary one.
More so the original people who made the claim are unknown, leaving us with no first hand verification.

The different sources give us widely different accounts of this claim. The accounts change from culture to culture, from community to community, within communities and can even vary from person to person.

Out of those varying claims the nature of this entity can be logically inconsistent, contradictory and paradoxical.

Out of those making the claims, those leading the pack are often found to use lies in order to promote what they are saying and will attempt to suppress any claim contrary to theirs and will even try to quell questioning their claim.

So just on the basis of the claim alone we are left with a widely inconsistent extraordinary claim, fashioned by unknown people, carried on through unreliable means, with some of the most dishonest among us promoting it as true.

I'm going to say, no it's not rational.

(Note: I'm not saying everyone promoting this claim is dishonest.)

 

Posted Jun 13, '13 at 8:27am

Moegreche

Moegreche

2,765 posts

Moderator

On that basis I would say it would be irrational to accept without solid evidence.

I completely agree. We might quibble on what counts as solid evidence, but I think you and I would agree that many theistic claims have little to no evidence. But, of course, we are in a way begging the question against the theist. We count certain things as evidence (empirical observations, a certain class of arguments, etc.) at the exclusion of other purported forms of evidence. Thus we have ipso facto disregarded the basic premises upon which theistic belief is founded. As a result, the conversation can't even get off the ground. So, as you point out, let's just grant the evidence and see what happens.

Out of those varying claims the nature of this entity can be logically inconsistent, contradictory and paradoxical.

Well put, this is exactly what I'm thinking. In the same way, if I have evidence for a claim that is logically inconsistent I need to do something about it. We can note that accepting an inconsistent claim is irrational without even thinking about the evidence in support of this claim. (This ends up being a bit weird because the inconsistency of a claim is itself evidence against the claim, so it seems unavoidable to talk about evidence. But we can avoid this by invoking some fundamental principles of rationality).

So now we ask: what theistic claims fail on these principles of rationality? Furthermore, what are these principles? For the latter, I'd suggest the following:

1) We should not accept claims that are internally inconsistent.
2) We should avoid whenever possible inconsistency in our overall network of beliefs.
3) We should not accept claims that lead to beliefs that are inconsistent in terms of (1) or (2).

Feel free to modify or argue against any of this - it's all off the cuff. But if this is right, are there specific theistic beliefs that violate (1), (2) or (3)?

 

Posted Jun 15, '13 at 11:49am

mbbs112

mbbs112

174 posts

man you guys confused me,i dont even know what mage and moegreche are talking about except a little about the "Incredible claim"

 

Posted Jun 15, '13 at 12:36pm

nichodemus

nichodemus

11,853 posts

Knight

Moe is a philosophy professor, I wouldn't be surprised you're stumped,

 

Posted Jun 15, '13 at 7:47pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,667 posts

Knight

man you guys confused me,i dont even know what mage and moegreche are talking about except a little about the "Incredible claim"

Let's work off my summary.

"So just on the basis of the claim alone we are left with a widely inconsistent extraordinary claim, fashioned by unknown people, carried on through unreliable means, with some of the most dishonest among us promoting it as true."

Skipping the incredible part, It's an inconsistent claim. Ask a Christian to describe God you will get different details than a Muslim, You will get a different description of detail from a Jew. A Wiccan will say there are more than one and so on. The details of god change from place to place, person to person.

We don't know the first people to come up with those claims. Even if you want to say God gave someone this information we don't know who it was who first received that information and thus can't verify validity.

The main method that these holy texts were passed on for a good number of years was word of mouth. Despite what some apologetics may try to claim this is a very unreliable form of passing information on, errors occur. With out a more solid source to go back to by the time it was written down we could have formed many errors.

There are proponents of religion who are lairs. It's not just people on the fringe either. There are plenty of people who listen to who are just flat out lying.

 

Posted Jun 16, '13 at 11:11am

Moegreche

Moegreche

2,765 posts

Moderator

The details of god change from place to place, person to person.

Well put, Mage. I would even take it a step further and claim that even an individual's theistic beliefs create inconsistencies and are thus irrational to hold.

Take the fundamentalist Christian viewpoint from which the Earth is 6,000 or so years old. In order to maintain this belief, the person in question would have to completely reject most (if not all) scientific inquiry, methodology, and tools. Such a person would essentially be living in the dark ages and learning new things would seem to be an impossibility.

Those that reject fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible end up losing justification for their beliefs entirely. Even if we allow for the circular reasoning we see in Christianity, the question of justification is still there. They claim that the Bible is the word of God which justifies their beliefs. Yet they cherry-pick those claims which haven't been completely refuted by scientific inquiry. The fact that they don't accept the entire Bible thus undermines their justification in a way that is distinct from worries about circular reasoning.

While I'm mostly ignorant of the revealed truths in other religions, I would expect a similar argument could be run against all of the world's major religions. In short, I don't think it would be hard to force theistic belief into (1-3) from above.

 

Posted Jun 16, '13 at 11:44am

mbbs112

mbbs112

174 posts

The details of god change from place to place, person to person.

Not really,It is said in history that even after 600 years the Quran remains unchanged from its original pretext so no

 

Posted Jun 16, '13 at 11:59am

Kasic

Kasic

5,570 posts

Not really,It is said in history that even after 600 years the Quran remains unchanged from its original pretext so no

If I went and asked three Muslims what Allah looks like, I would be told different answer. I I went and asked three Christians, they would tell me those three Muslims were wrong about what God looks like and each give me different answer from each other and the Muslims. If I then went to ask three Jews what God looks like, I would be told he is YHWH or w/e (too tired to remember) and that the Christians and Muslims are wrong, and proceed to give me three additional, different descriptions.

In the end, I have 9 different descriptions, with everyone saying the other is wrong. And this is only looking at three religions that share a good deal of scripture.

 

Posted Jun 16, '13 at 12:04pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

2,765 posts

Moderator

Not really,It is said in history that even after 600 years the Quran remains unchanged from its original pretext so no

The fact that the Quran doesn't change has nothing to do with a believer's rationality. For example, the Quran contains a flood story similar to Noah - does it not? If you believe this flood story is true, then your beliefs are inconsistent with the insurmountable scientific evidence against this fact. You would have to reject scientific inquiry.
If, on the other hand, you don't believe the flood story then you're cherry-picking from the word of God. How could one part of a divinely revealed book be false and other parts true? This defeats the justification for believing anything contained therein (at least on the sole basis that it's the word of God).

 

Posted Jun 16, '13 at 1:01pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,667 posts

Knight

Not really,It is said in history that even after 600 years the Quran remains unchanged from its original pretext so no

Even if we can get consistency from one religion this is still regional/cultural. Islam isn't the only ones claiming that a god exists nor are they the only ones claiming certain attributes to a god. Now if we could have the Quran describe God and someone on the other side of the world with no connection or knowledge of what's being said in the Quran is being propagated and come to the exact same description. That would show consistency.

But that's not what we get. What we get is "there's one god", "there are many gods", "God hates X Y and Z", "God is all loving", "God is a bearded guy in the sky", "God is a woman", "God is a genderless big ball of light" and so on.

 
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