Hello folks. I'm a newbie here and just thought I'd introduce a subject in perhaps a way that I hadn't noticed use before. I'm a thiest and don't apologize for it, despite the fact that some believe theism is evil. But my topic isn't evil at the moment. My topic is more in the realm of how do we know this or that?
So I wondered if I could prove Dawkins exists. The parallel is obvious. I've never seen him, so if seeing is believing, then I suppose I should think he doesn't exist, or at least that I have no proof of his existence. But I do believe he exists, so obviously I think that I don't have to have direct observation to reasonably believe he exists. One reason I believe he exists is I read a book called The Blind Watch Maker. Based on an intelligent design type argument, I think Dawkins exists. My personal opinion is if I can believe Dawkins exist based on indirect evidence, what could stop me from believing there is a creator of the universe? My opinion at the moment is that proving Dawkins exists, is in the same boat as proving a creator of the universe exists. so if I believe one, why would it be unreasonable to believe the other?
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The problem is the bar for convincing me that Richard Dawkins exists is much lower than the bar for god. For example if you told me you had waffles at IHOP this morning; your word alone would probably be enough to convince me, and a copy of your bill would probably convince just about anyone. If you told me you had waffles with Elvis on the moon at an IHOP this morning, a simple receipt isn't going to convince me. Even if the receipt says "Moon IHOP" on it and had Elvis's signature.
The claim that Richard Dawkins is a person is very mundane: we've all met lots of people; so it does not take a lot of convince me that there is a person out there somewhere with the name Richard Dawkins.
The typical claim about god is that there exists a unique supernatural creature, who created the entire universe, but cares about what I do in my bedroom. That claim is pretty far out there, and I will need quite a bit of some very high quality evidence before I will accept it...
The topic isn't about what anyone does in the bedroom. It is an epistemological topic.
So, to clarify your position, sans bedrooms, you have a double standard based on your feelings that to believe a creator of the universe exists is "pretty far out there", therefore the standard of proof must be higher. That's just the way you take it up. There are other people who don't take it that way. They think belief that a creator exists is reasonable and normal. So you set up a double epistemological standard based on your personal feelings about it being "pretty far out there".
There is nothing wrong with you having a belief system you feel comfortable with. But you seem to assume everyone should share your feelings even though there is no reason for every one else to share your personal biases.
Apollo--Do you exist -I mean Apollo the God. You said your a theist. What kind of theist are you. Are you a Christian and believe Jesus was born a virgin and was ,resurrected from being dead. Do you believe Allah is God and if you kill the infidels you will go to heaven(paradise) to be with God and 72 or 73 virgins. Or are you Jewish and believe Moses got the 10 commandments from the burning bush(God). Or is Apollo your God. What kind of theist are you. Who is your God.
Public information announcement:
"fred,k" is actually the infamous troll of the Atheist Republic forum.
Generally referred to as "Kenny", has been banned many times under different names.
Previously known aliases include: "Kenny Schweiger", "Kenny", "myself", "alleycat", "richardd", "Christopher", "marken", "punkin", "amber", "Simon".
Claims to be an atheist. But he has a fondness for using "sarcasm", even though no one ever gets his sarcasm and he has been told this many times, he keeps posting such deceiving comments.
He seems obsessed with religions, creationists and the stupidity of Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, Joel Osteen, Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity, Donald Trump, Vanna White, Sarah Palin, etc.
This announcement will be posted whenever he spams, agitates, confuses or flies of the handle.
Also, he finds these announcements 'boring'.
These are intelligent questions.
I am none of those theists. For the purposes of this topic, I could care less what some ancient writing claims, and what values they insist on.
The parameters of my post were confined to proving Dawkins exists compared to proving a creator of the universe exists. The parameters are purely epistemological and designed to focus the topic on how do we know something or not know something.
Well you really can't prove either in the strictest sense of the word, just provide evidence. Don't take much to convince me another human exists. Would take quite a bit to convince me on a supernatural creature.
I'm not sure what you mean by "supernatural" creature. Belief that a creator exists occurred long before the concept of supernatural was invented. Supernatural is a concept invented in the Middle Ages, by some influential Catholic theologian, and it just muddied the water, so I don't think in those terms. The theologian in question invented a dualistic view of the universe:Nature/Grace. The realm of Grace is supposed to be where all religion resides including the supernatural. I don't believe that the universe is divided in such a way, so the term supernatural doesn't make sense to me.
I am from the Judeo-Christain tradition.
I don't believe Jesus was born of a Virgin. That portrayal was made by Matthew referring to something Isaiah wrote about a coming Messiah. But Isaiah never said the Messiah would be born of a virgin, rather, of a young woman old enough to be married. Essentially Matthew made it up, which, in story writing, is permitted.
No I don't believe he was resurrected. But I believe his friends and associates believed he was. My speculation is that the Romans took the body from the sepulchre on Saturday,and got rid of it. When his family and friends came for it later, it was gone. Since they did believe in an afterlife, they believed he had risen.
My God is the creator God.
"I've never seen him, so if seeing is believing, then I suppose I should think he doesn't exist, or at least that I have no proof of his existence."
This is a very naive way to look at it.
For Dawkins to NOT exist, there would have to be a massive conspiracy of faked books, video clips on the internet, several conventions and schools who would have been disappointed that he did not show up for speeches, multiple debate events where he would have to be faked, multiple shows and news stations that had to fake his presence, and so on.
And all those he appears with in videos would either have to be in on the conspiracy or faked themselves. For example: Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Christopher Hitches, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Ricky Gervais.
And of course his opposition like William Lane Craig and several religious leaders, cardinals and priests.
On top of that you have the major difference in that nobody claims that Dawkins is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, or has any supernatural powers.
But I do believe Dawkins exists. I believe he exists even though I have no direct observation of him. I don't require direct empirical evidence to believe something or someone exists. And even if I did have direct evidence of him and believed he existed, I could be mistaken. One aspect of my point is, seeing and believing isn't a guarantee of truth.
I think I phrased it incorrectly which detracted from my point. What I should have said was if seeing is required before believing, and if I never saw Dawkins, I shouldn't believe he exists.
I forgot to mention:
It's also quite possible to see Dawkins with your own eyes. You could go to an event that Dawkins will attend. And possibly meet him in several different other ways.
But I don't need to see Dawkins to believe he exists. I already believe he exists even though I never observed him directly. I don't need to see a book creator directly to believe he exists. Similarly, I don't need to see a universe creator to believe he exists. Both beliefs are in the same epistemological boat. So if it is reasonable to believe Dawkins exists, it is reasonable to believe a creator exists.
So we agree Dawkins exists, and I think we agree my reasons for believing he exists are acceptable. Using the same epistemological methods, I believe it is acceptable to believe a creator exists.
But this is the point, I think were some atheists want to change the criteria for what is an acceptable belief. As far as I can tell, they do so based on their personal feelings or biases - their own unproven presuppositions, if you will.
In essence, what the double epistemological double standard boils down to is the atheists faith in their unproven presuppositions.
I wonder if the double standard would be acceptable both ways. If a theist were required to meet a higher bar to show that belief a creator exists, wouldn't it be valid to require an atheist to meet the same higher bar to show their beliefs are reasonable? Come to think of it, I don't recall reading Dawkins writing that his personal beliefs must meet a higher bar, yet apparently thiests must meet a higher bar. I wonder what that is about?.
Mind you, I don't really care that atheists exist. Doesn't bother me. I believe in freedom of faith.
Apollo - "So if it is reasonable to believe Dawkins exists, it is reasonable to believe a creator exists."
No, for the reasons I outlined above. By this logic if it is reasonable to believe you ate at IHOP this morning, it is reasonable to believe you ate at IHOP with Elvis on the moon this morning. It is not unreasonable to hold these claims to different standards.
Apollo - "...if seeing is required before believing..."
Who advocates that position?
My beliefs are reasonable for me.
Apparently not for you. That's OK by me. You have different and double standards for determining what is believable for you.
Nyarlathotep, you answer "No, for the reasons outlined above." You seem to want to impose your reasons on others (me) as if you have a universal criterion for truth.
I believe there is no objective external fixed criterion for truth. All criterion for truth are internal to the knower. In other words people make up their own criteria for truth. Obviously, this is at least in part subjective.
So, if you would say belief in a creator is not reasonable for you based on your personal subjective criterion for what is believable, I could accept that.
However, if you think your higher bar is some external objective fixed universal criterion for truth, and that you are justified in imposing your criterion on me, and others, I think you are mistaken.
You don't need to see anybody to BELIEVE they exist. I could believe that anybody exists, but it doesn't become true because of that. It appears to me that you are claiming, that because he wrote a book which you have read, you can now claim that he exists. This isn't true. Seeing a book with a name written on it doesn't make that name a person, even if you believe it is. If, for instance, I told you that I read a book called "XYZ" by Samson Ian Earl, and that I believed that he was a real man, it wouldn't make him any less of a total fake I just now created. Belief and proof are two very different things that I feel are being confused in this thread. Proof has nothing to do with whether one claim is more or less outlandish than another, as long as they can be proven. Belief has nothing to do with proof, as a long as a person is convinced of its reality.
I am using the coherence theory of truth.
It is true that an author could be a fake.
This isn't an argument that proves Dawkins exists. Nor is it an argument that proves God exists. I think if you read my posts you will find I didn't use the word proof.
I think when a person reads a book, a creation, an invention, it is reasonable for them to believe there was an author, a creator. You see the act of writing the book is a creative act, and when you see a a thing that is obviously created, it is reasonable to believe it had a creator.
"Reasonable to believe" is not meant to mean absolute proof.
Living entities look like a creation/invention. If it is reasonable to believe the book had an inventor/creator, it is reasonable to believe the universe had a creator.
I believe God created all the natural processes. He created material and natural processes in such a way that abiogenesis was possible, and in a way that evolution was possible. When science studies natural processes it is studying Gods work; it studies *how* God created life. Since science studies the natural processes that God created, it isn't possible for science to be in conflict with my belief in God.
I don't have to see Dawkins to believe he exists. Similarly I don't have to see God to believe he exists. When I see their work it is reasonable to believe they both exist. Both beliefs are justified.
the two may or may mot be in the same boat. there is evidence that some person or persons wrote a book. what is your evidence of the divine?
Living beings exist. (Do you doubt that?).
Living beings are an invention like thing. (Do you doubt that?)
It is reasonable to believe an invention had an inventor. (Do you doubt that?)
That's that's evidence for a creator of living beings.
Oh, cool, I will answer too.
"Living beings exist. (Do you doubt that?)."
"Living beings are an invention like thing. (Do you doubt that?)"
Yes. It does not appear that living beings are 'inventions'.
"It is reasonable to believe an invention had an inventor. (Do you doubt that?)"
"Living beings are an invention like thing. (Do you doubt that?)"
Yes. It does not appear that living beings are 'inventions'.
How do you define invention? And what could explain an invention?
"How do you define invention?"
Something that was invented.
"And what could explain an invention? "
Things that do not occur naturally. Take humans, for instance. Pregnancy is not a magic process, but a natural one, so there is no need to assert magic in order to explain your existence.
What religious belief do you follow? I was conceived by my parents, not created by any god.
My evidence Dawkins exists is his creative work.
My evidence God exists is his creative work.
If you see a creation/invention, it is reasonable to believe there was a creator.
1. A living thing looks like an invention. 2. I believe God invented living things.
1 and 2 are coherent with each other. So it is reasonable (coherent) to believe God exists.
"1. A living thing looks like an invention."
"2. I believe God invented living things."
Bare assertion, needs more evidence. Even if one concluded that living beings are "invented" it does not necessarily follow that the "inventor" was god. That is merely you jumping to preferred conclusion and ignoring any and all other possibilities. If we did conclude that things are invented, you need positive evidence to support a specific inventor, otherwise your assertion is baseless.
"1 and 2 are coherent with each other. So it is reasonable (coherent) to believe God exists."
No, you jump some steps. If you replace 'god' with 'pixies', I think you will see what most of us find objectionable about your "logic" in this instance.
"Bare assertion, needs more evidence. Even if one concluded that living beings are "invented" it does not necessarily follow that the "inventor" was god. That is merely you jumping to preferred conclusion and ignoring any and all other possibilities. If we did conclude that things are invented, you need positive evidence to support a specific inventor, otherwise your assertion is baseless."
I don't ignore other possibilities. A creation implies a creator, and a creator implies a creation. (Example: Dawkins' book is a creation, which implies a creator. The mutual implication is not a *necessary* implication. Therefore there are other possibilities. )
I ask you for other possibilities to consider. But you seem to shy away from offering evidence for that.
What seems to be the problem in articulating other possibilities?
Here is a couple of possibilities for you:
1. the material of the universe always existed. But that's an a priori assumption that conflicts with your a priori assumption that direct empirical evidence is required.
2. The material off the universe just magically appeared out of nowhere. Poof! But that is an a priori assumption as well that conflicts with your a priori assumption that direct evidence is required.
Any other possibilities you would like me to consider?
"I don't ignore other possibilities."
Well, you sure as hell don't mention any. Nor do you bother to point out that your argument equally supports the idea of universe creating pixies.
"A creation implies a creator, and a creator implies a creation."
Even if you determine that something was created, that does not imply anything about said creator.
"I ask you for other possibilities to consider."
To which, I answered that we don't even know enough to determine what possibilities exist.
"But you seem to shy away from offering evidence for that."
You seem to shy away from offering evidence for your god.
"What seems to be the problem in articulating other possibilities?"
I want you to imagine a bubble. Everything you know, and everyone else knows, is inside that bubble. Can anyone conclusively say anything about anything outside that bubble without looking like a presumptuous fool?
"Here is a couple of possibilities for you:"
Oh, dear, let me guess. You will issue another false dichotomy that does not even point out that you don't know the possibilities either, right?
"1. the material of the universe always existed."
If universe appears to have had a beginning, it implies the material in it had a beginning. There is more than adequate evidence to conclude that there was a beginning. Ergo, the evidence seems to indicate the material inside of it had a beginning.
"But that's an a priori assumption that conflicts with your a priori assumption that direct empirical evidence is required."
Direct empirical evidence is required to call something fact, or to support a level of confidence in a claim.
"2. The material off the universe just magically appeared out of nowhere."
This is where you fall off the wagon. The admission that material had a beginning makes no assumptions about how it began to exist. I, at no point, said that the material came from nowhere. I don't KNOW where it came from. I am making NO assumptions about where it came from. You are.
"Poof! But that is an a priori assumption as well that conflicts with your a priori assumption that direct evidence is required."
Reading comprehension, it's important.
"Any other possibilities you would like me to consider?"
How about the idea that the universe and the material in it was caused by something we don't understand, and can make no positive claims about? How about you stop asserting positive claims where none can be reasonably made? You willing to consider that?
One can be a philosopher and say that this "is an epistemological topic."
As a scientist, I say, "Screw it, let's do the experiment. Pick up the phone and call him."
You get me the number for God and I'll get you the number for Richard D.
All experiments are tied to one or more unprovable assumptions. You are assuming that if the creator doesn't answer the phone, then the creator doesn't exist. I don't buy your assumption, and there is noting requiring me to accept it. I screen my calls, and if I don't answer it doesn't mean i don't exist.
Another of your assumptions is seen in "lets do the experiment". why is your experiment the experiment? Why couldn't the experiment be your experiment that you chose because it happens to result in what you already believe?
There is nothing wrong with being atheist as far as I'm concerned. But designing experiments in order to achieve the result that you already assume, isn't really scientific.
Atheism is the LACK of belief in a god.
Theism is the belief (as you stated) in the god.
You're the one presenting the positive, it's up to you to prove it.
The burden of proof always lies with the presenter of the postulation.
Well put bob.
Was just gonna say something similar, instead I will jump to the next strongest argument.
"Does Dawkins exist?"
It is a legitimate question on it's own.(usually they use Socrates though)
However it is not worded correctly to be placed or parallel to the theistic god.
(since you are a theist, I will assume you are not talking about an other type of god)
The right question would be:
1.Is there any reason to believe in the existence of a Theistic god?
2.Is there any reason to believe in the existence of a R. Dawkins?
None what so ever. There is just no way to validate any scrap of evidence of his existence.
There are his videos, books, etc... Telephone number, listed on the directory and you can talk to him in person if you really try hard enough.
As Pagmatic put it and you ignored his reply:
"For Dawkins to NOT exist, there would have to be a massive conspiracy" considering the huge amount of evidence of his existence.
For God to NOT exist, there would have to be LACK OF FAITH in him.(since there is nothing to support his existence except faith)
Thus VERY LIKELY considering the lack of faith everybody has in other gods except his own.
Which is more likely, "a massive conspiracy" or "lack of faith in something"?
Our every day life is based on what is more likely.
Why would you make an exception for a theistic god?