Recently debated some unbelievers on Facebook:
Piotr's modus operandi is sneak-and-retreat attacks. He never offers any substantive argument. He never rebuts the evidence which Jonathan presents. Instead, he issues the same prerecorded denials. Tendentious denials that pretend there is no evidence, while he turns his back on the evidence that Jonathan amasses. He never engages the argument. He's a tape recorder on playback, with a one-sentence message.
Does Claason think the narrative attributes the success of Jacob's selective breeding to "having mating animals stare at branches"? Is that just an applause line? Is he unaware of the fact that the narrative attributes the outcome to God's overruling providence?
Notice the tactic of atheists like Claason. They use a bait-n-switch. Rather that address the evidence for Christianity, they change the subject and talk about leprechauns or Bigfoot. That's a diversionary tactic. Moreover, it's an argument from analogy minus the supporting argument. For the comparison to work, they would need to argue that Christianity is, indeed, parallel to leprechauns or Bigfoot. But they don't flesh that out because they can't.
Yes, Tim, it's a diversionary tactic since you do not and cannot engage the evidence, so you try to shift the discussion to hypotheticals about Bigfoot and leprechauns. And, yes, a claim is a claim, which applies perforce to your question-begging denials. That elementary point has yet to sink in for you.
Claason trots out the "pet dragon," which is an unattributed rip-off of Sagan's garage dragon, which is an unattributed rip-off of Flew's invisible gardner. And this is a just a decoy. Rather than engaging the evidence for theism in general or Christianity in particular or the evidence against naturalism, they deflect attention away from the real debate by pointing to faux analogies.
The Jews by and large rejected the idea that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophesies. These only seemed credible, for the most part, to Gentiles who only read the Old Testament after the fact.
Except for Luke, the NT was written by Jews. And Luke was likely a convert to Judaism, prior to Christianity.
In addition, you fail to explain why you think it's significant that Jews "by and large" rejected the messiahship of Jesus. Do you think truth is determined by taking a headcount? Keep in mind that the Jewish establishment excommunicated Jewish followers of Jesus, so that was a tremendous disincentive for a Jew to even consider the evidence for Jesus. Then you had the disastrous Jewish wars with Rome, followed by the separation of church and synagogue. So it's not as if many Jews had an opportunity to examine the evidence for Jesus dispassionately. There were many distractions and disincentives.
You've given no justification for why the common Jewish rejection of Jesus is supposed to be significant. You just keep harping on the same tendentious claim. Rejecting something isn't self-validating. It's only as good or bad as the reason for rejecting something.
You're confusing what constitutes good evidence or good argumentation with what sometime finds persuasive. For instance, parents may deny that their teenager is hooked on drugs, despite impressive evidence.
If god existed we would have proof. this is allegedly an important thing.
i) Notice how he begins with the gratuitous assumption that such proof is lacking. It's especially ironic in the context of a Facebook wall by a Christian apologist who presents multiple lines of evidence.
ii) That's characteristic of many atheist commenters on this wall. They are oblivious to the fact that they constantly assume what they need to prove. They simply make assertions about the alleged lack of evidence or reasons, as if their position is self-evident.
iii) In addition, I don't know if Mattison is using "proof" as synonymous with "evidence". For instance, I can have compelling evidence for something without having to turn that into a formal argument. I can have evidence that I have two hands without having to present a philosophical proof that I have two hands.
Something with the alleged daily impact of a god would be tracked and proven like any other creature
But if the God of Christian theism exists, then he's not like any other creature. Mattison doesn't even grasp how to properly frame the issue.
To a great extent, God is a precondition for the existence of anything else. To take a comparison, consider arguments for abstract objects (e.g. numbers, logic, possible worlds). If these exist, they subsist outside space and time, so their existence can't be empirically demonstrated. Rather, they are proven by appeal to their indispensable explanatory value.
bcuz it allegedly is of high impact to the planet
Consider the existence of other minds. That has high impact on the planet, but how would Mattison go about proving the existence of other minds?
Or consider the reality of time. Time has a pervasive impact on the planet. Yet it's common for philosophers and scientists to regard the "passage" of time as illusory. Or take the debate between temporal metrical objectivism and temporal metrical conventionalism. Nothing is more pervasive in human experience than time, yet time is very hard to pin down. One problem is that we lack direct knowledge of time. Rather, we infer time from its effects on other things. Moreover, time is so fundamental that it's hard to prove or explicate by reference to something even more elemental.
i say that god is allegedly of high impact to our planet, this would b provable
i) Consider evidence for miracles and answered prayer. For instance, Craig Keener’s Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts is a useful compilation of case studies. But people like Mattison don't move in circles where they are likely to experience that. And they don't read books like that. They just fold their hands and say, "Where's the evidence?"
ii) In addition, atheists erect filters like methodological naturalism or Hume's essay on miracles to preemptively screen out evidence for God's existence.
iii) Finally, the expectation depends on your theological tradition. In predestinarian traditions like Thomism and Calvinism, it is not God's will that everyone come to a saving knowledge of himself. So widespread disbelief is quite consistent with that theological outlook.
have u seen the "evidence for god" that gets posted? analyzed it?
What does that question even mean? Firsthand observation? Books on miracles, historical evidence, theistic proofs, &c.?
historical evidence of god?
As in archeological confirmation of the Bible.
like the big stuff? or stuff like solomons temple? do u have evidence of noahs ark? do you have evidence of exodus?
Just recently, Jonathan hosted a webinar with Timothy McGrew on the topic.
Actually, in any other realm of life, we use our critical faculties to assess claims and situations. When your religion asks us to abandon our reason…
Begs the question. Moreover, it's naturalistic evolution that undermines reason. Not to mention eliminative materialism.
You have an extraordinary claim, you provide extraordinary evidence.
Parroting Sagan doesn't make Sagan's diktat true:
i) Define extraordinary claim
ii) Define extraordinary evidence
iii) Justify your assertion that "extraordinary claims" (whatever that means) demand "extraordinary evidence (whatever that means).
iv) Are you saying the existence of God is an extraordinary claim? If so, where's your argument for that contention?
Are you saying it would be extraordinary for God to perform miracles? If so, where's your argument for that contention?
A non believer holds no burden of proof.
So a non believer that chain-smoking raises the risk of lung cancer and emphysema has no burden of proof. Is that your principle?
If God is a necessary being, then it would be extraordinary if he didn't exist. Indeed, that would be impossible.
Once again, you just regurgitate Sagan's assertion. But that's something you need to be able to defend. You haven't given any reason to justify Sagan's assertion. So you can't actually justify your reliance on Sagan's dictum.
If God exists, why would his existence be extraordinary? If he exists, then God exists in every possible world. Why wouldn't God's existence be the most ordinary, bedrock datum there can be?
You haven't proven that it exists in any world, let alone any possible world. There's no point regurgitating WLC. you have no evidence. All you can do is verbally masturbate.
We're discussing the concept of God, and whether that's a concept of an "extraordinary" being.
You're confused. You parroted Sagan's dictum about extraordinary claims demanding extraordinary evidence (in the context of theism). Therefore, you're implying that the God's existence is conceptually extraordinary. Since that's how you chose to frame the issue, the question is how you justify your classification. What's extraordinary about the idea of God's existence? After all, the definition of God (or classical theism) includes God existing in every possible world. How would something that has no exceptions be extraordinary rather than ordinary? How would something whose existence is inevitable be extraordinary rather than routine? And there's no point in you demanding "evidence" until we nail down the definition of evidence, and what evidence is suited to the nature of the object under review. I'm responding to you on your own grounds. You need to rise to the challenge.
BTW, for some odd reason you insinuate that I'm channelling WL Craig. That's another confusion on your part. For instance, I've appealed to modal realism (abstract objects), whereas Craig is a modal fictionalist. If, therefore, you knew what you were talking about, you wouldn't suggest that I'm getting my arguments from Craig. And as far as that goes, Craig is hardly the only Christian philosopher or apologist of note. The list is long.
Maybe you don't know what evidence is supposed to look like. For instance, what's the evidence for unobservable subatomic particles?
Poor attempt at dodging the question. You haven't shown evidence for your god existing. All it has to do is show it's face.
To the contrary, there are atheists who say they'd dismiss any empirical evidence for God as a hallucination.
Not dodging the question, but considering your definition of what constitutes evidence.
You're unable to defend your criteria. All you have are empty slogans that you can't back up.
Scott is like the Russian astronaut who "disproved" God's existence because he didn't see God in outer space.
And if it's impossible to prove abstract objects (e.g. logic, numbers, possible worlds) empirically, then they don't exist? Are you aware of how philosophically jejune your claim is?
Moreover, it's possible to prove a nonempirical via it's empirical effects.
You can't prove a negative.
Isn't that assertion itself a universal negative? So is it provable or unprovable?
The one who makes the claim (God exists) is obliged to prove it.
That's a schoolboy error which so many village atheists make and parrot. But a denial is no less a truth-claim than an affirmation. To assert that something is not the case, or to assert that there's insufficient evidence for something, is a claim with a corresponding burden of proof.
Suppose Jim says chain-smoking raises the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Suppose Joe denies that chain-smoking raises the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Or suppose Joe says there is no strong evidence one way or the other. Is the onus only on Jim?
According to Dale, I can't prove that there are no elephants in my closet. I checked my closet three times, but I may have missed an elephant hiding in the corner.
Atheism is not a positive claim.
You repeat that slogan, which is logically irrelevant to the burden of proof. Atheism needn't be a "positive" claim to be a truth-claim. Consider a few formulations:
i) There is no God
That's a truth-claim
ii) There's insufficient evidence for God's existence
That's a truth-claim.
iii) There's evidence that God doesn't exist
That's a truth-claim.
However you formulate it, atheism is asserting something to be the case. A denial is asserting something to be the case. To assert that something is not the case is still a claim about reality.
Hence, an atheist has his own burden of proof.
You can't prove a negative means it is impossible to look everywhere and try every possibility to locate the thing or find evidence supporting the premise.
I gave you a simple illustration of how it's possible to prove a negative. Do you think it's impossible to prove that there are no elephants in your closet?
One of the funny things about atheists is how they pride themselves on their superior rationality, how they look down on "fundamentalists," but most atheists are not intellectuals, so they rely on vacuous slogans and simplistic rules of thumb.
There are some brilliant atheists, but the rank-and-file atheist is not in that league.
The God claim is not limited to a closet. A closet can easily be inspected.
So your blanket principle that a universal negative can't be proven is false. Now you've had to scale back your original overstatement to something far more modest.
An atheist is a person who lacks belief in a god or gods. There is nothing to prove.
What about a person who lacks belief that chain-smoking raises the risk of cancer and emphysema? Is there nothing to prove? No burden of proof? Is his nonbelief reasonable or warranted absent evidence?
You're hiding behind vacuous rhetoric. It only takes one or two trivially easy counterexamples to expose how hollow that rhetorical gambit is.
But I can say there is insufficient evidence to convince me to believe.
And when asserting that there's insufficient evidence, guess what?–that's a truth-claim, with a corresponding burden of proof.
That is not the same as your statement #2. All of your statements are positive claims due to the way you worded them.
You're confusing grammar with propositions. The fact that a proposition can be expressed as a grammatical negation doesn't change the fact that it's a truth-claim. Making a statement about reality, or what's justifiably believed.
Lacking a belief is not a claim.
What makes lacking belief not a claim but having belief a claim? What makes lack of belief in a god or gods not a claim, but belief in a god or gods a claim? If you're saying these are merely descriptive psychological states, then that applies to both.
but none of these are an accurate way of stating the definition of an atheist.
Really? Here's how prominent atheist J. J. Smart defined it, in the SEP entry on atheism/agnosticism:
‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.
Here's how Graham Oppy defines it:
Atheism is the rejection of theism: a-theism. Atheists maintain some or all of the following claims: that theism is false; that theism is unbelievable; that theism is rationally unacceptable; that theism is morally unacceptable. G. Oppy, "Arguments for Atheism," S. Bullivant & M. Ruse, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Atheism (OUP, 2014), 53.
RobinFebruary 13, 2014 6:21 PM
Massimo wrote: "... to which my response is that I’m an a-theist in the same way in which I am an a-unicornist: this is not to say that I know for a fact that nowhere in the universe there are horse-like animals with a single horn on their head."
However I may have to take you to task about your own logic, because these are not analogous situations.
"God" is a theory about the fundamental nature of all of reality, "Unicorn" is a theory about a horse with a horn on its head.
Eliminating the theory of the unicorn does not imply any counter theory, however eliminating a theory about the fundamental nature of all of reality surely constitutes and alternative claim about the nature of reality.
i) A telltale symptom of people who aren't up to the intellectual challenge is when they imagine that you can settle philosophical issues by consulting a dictionary. That fails to distinguish between the meaning of words and the meaning of concepts. The idea of atheism is not, in the first place, a question of how to define a word but how to define a concept. For instance, you can't learn what the theory of relativity is by looking up the word "relativity" in a dictionary.
ii) It's also an indicator of the level at which many atheists operate. Their spokesmen aren't the highly intellectual atheists like Oppy, but hack popularizers like Coyne, Dawkins, Hitchens et al.
Jonathan isn't striking an idiosyncratic stance. If one position has superior explanatory power over another, that's definitely an argument in its favor. That's standard in science (to take one example).