Does Dawkins exist?
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You are assuming belief in a creator is provable. Also, using the word prove is assuming we agree on what is proof.
Based on previous posts, atheists prefer a "higher bar" that suits your personal preconceived ideas. For my self I don't require a higher bar. Also in previous posts, I explained there is not external universal criterion for truth. Criteria for truth, or criteria for what is believable is invented by the individual knower. Your criteria for what is believable, true, proven, is different than mine. You require a double standard standard to filter out what you don't want to believe, and I don't require a double standard.
Your definition of atheism is fine by me: Atheism is the lack of belief in God. Nothing wrong with that. However, you seem to be implying you don't need to justify lack of belief in god. Other atheists seem to claim atheism is about knowing for sure a creator doesn't exist. I think your position apparently just not believing is more understandable compared to the claim there is proof a creator does not exist.
In sum, I'm not saying the existence of a creator is provable, I'm saying belief in a creator is reasonable because it coheres with my other beliefs that are reliable.
I' am also saying that some atheist seem to want to impose their personal criteria for what is believable on to me, as if, their criteria is some universal external fixed criteria. The reality is criteria for truth, what is believable, what is provable is made up by the individual, and therefore is not necessarily imposable on others.
"I'm not saying the existence of a creator is provable, I'm saying belief in a creator is reasonable because it coheres with my other beliefs that are reliable."
Can't you see that you are changing the subject here,
Are you or are you not claiming that the belief in a Theistic god is reasonable.
A creator could be anything even the sun is a creator of life.
My main position was on the assumption that you believe in the Theistic ridiculous proposition.
"I'm a thiest and don't apologize for it"
If you think that the concept of a creator IS the theistic claim, you are either insane or unbelievable hypocritical.
The theistic claim is much much more then that.
It dictates to innocent children the belief that this creator is a good guy that has a personality and that engineered everything they experience, good or bad, life or death. That he is constantly there watching over them and they should be guilty if they disobey his "suggestions" on the pain of eternal torture if they do not bow down to his will by the deadline, their own death which god himself engineered.
So either you start defending your own claims and stop dodging and cushioning with the creator excuse or else I will consider you as an insane person that needs mental help. (thus ignore you)
Changing the subject. I think half the subject was, Does Dawkins exist? I read an entity called a book. It looked like a creation that was attributed to a guy named Dawkins, and I came to believe that the creator Dawkins existed despite the fact I'd never seen him. and did not witness his creative activity. Similarly, I look at some of the universe, it looks like an invention, a creation, so I believe in a creator. Seems reasonable in both cases.
I presented that to see what, if any, response I would get. That's all. Nothing nefarious.
"Even the sun is a creator" I do believe the energy from the sun is an essential component in creation of life, but it doesn't create life all by itself as far a s I know.
As to the other stuff you attribute to theism, it wasn't part of the theme of this thread. I may get to it in due course in other threads. You seem to assume that all theists must believe a set of beliefs, that you have decided they must believe, and I don't buy that. I'm the type of theist who believes in evolution, for example.
You seem very frustrated. I'd feel terrible if you thought I was doing that. You seem to assume that any and all theists must be your enemy.
In my view, there is nothing wrong with being an atheist. Be a good one.
It is my impression that the atheists here don't know theism very well. You only know it from the perspective of critics of theism. You have decided theism is your enemy, and it is wise to know your enemy well. My opinion is you would do well to learn theism from the inside, and then critique it. You only know it from the outside, and so the critiques of it are lacking.
Also there are atheist authors who I believe reason very deeply, and I have learned from. I don't see their level of thinking on this site so far.
I am defending my own claims. Just because you make far out assumptions about what I claim, doesn't make it so: those are your assumptions that you have faith in.
"I came to believe that the creator Dawkins existed despite the fact I'd never seen him. and did not witness his creative activity."
You "came" wrong then, you should not believe anything without proper justification.
On the other hand, there was no reason to doubt his existence either, so unless there is reason to doubt, you should just let it slide.
If you tell me that you are eating a pizza right now, I won't believe you but neither would I doubt your claim, I would simply abstain from my judgment until I acquire more knowledge.
If you truly never did have enough evidence for Dawkins existence, you should have abstained from judgment and not believed without evidence.
Same applies to your god.
Your argument is flawed to the core, apart from avoiding to answer anything presented thus far with dishonesty.
""Even the sun is a creator" I do believe the energy from the sun is an essential component in creation of life, but it doesn't create life all by itself as far a s I know."
You know wrong, it does, go look it up.
"It is my impression that the atheists here don't know theism very well. You only know it from the perspective of critics of theism."
lol, you are the one who is throwing falsities and outright absurdities left right and center.
may I remind you that most atheists here come from a theistic background, they know your religion more then you would ever know it. They became atheists because they know it better then you currently know it.
"I am defending my own claims."
Epic fail, you are changing subject constantly to avoid answering or defending your own claims.
"those are your assumptions that you have faith in."
Right back at you, and if you have a shred of honesty or sanity left in you, you know it.
"Are you or are you not claiming that the belief in a Theistic god is reasonable?"
Answer the dam question and stop changing subject.
Jeff, you have gone off the rails. I said a long time ago, belief in God is reasonable. It is "properly justified" and I provided a justification. it is in the same epistemological boat as believing some person exists whom I have never seen. You don't have to see to reasonably believe.
Example: Science believes evolution of life is a fact. But no scientist ever observed the origin of life. Therefore, science takes as fact some events they never saw, never could see, and never experimented with and never could experiment with. When I say belief in god is reasonable, I am not doing anything that science doesn't already do.
Your example is flawed and false, i explained it in the other topic fact vs belief.
Evolution and origin of life are 2 different subjects.
Evolution says nothing about the origin of life, even though some people try to use evolution to explain it with hypothesis and such.
Evolution is a fact.(it can be observed in labs)
Origin of life by evolution is a hypothesis.
Understand the difference, do some basic research and then come here and apologize for your insane behavior of accusing people like "Science" and atheists alike.
"When I say belief in god is reasonable, I am not doing anything that science doesn't already do."
You are, you are just to ignorant and frankly unreasonable to see it.
Typical brainwashed theist, very stereotypical to say the least.
We have one like you every week, that comes here make some absurd basic common sens claims and then goes to hide under some rock with shame.
I suggest you go do some research first before wasting more of our time.
Daniel Dennet does some good work on explaining conscienceness and has some interesting views on it. Perhaps you are in some sort of matrix that has no Richard Dawkins. If you find an epistemological answer, let me know.
I believe Dawkins exists, so what are you talking about?
This argument/attempt by theists really gets old:
MAKERS OF SUPERNATURAL CLAIMS HAVE THE INESCAPABLE BURDEN OF PROOF!
I'm not making supernatural claims. I don't buy into the structure of the universe implied by the term "supernatural". See my post above on the topic of "supernatural" as it is a time and space waste to repeat it.
Just an indirect tactic to claim your not doing what you are doing.
Sorry, your thread title "Does Dawkins exists?" side-tracked me.
"My opinion at the moment is that proving Dawkins exists, is in the same boat as proving a creator of the unaiverse exists. so if I believe one, why would it be unreasonable to believe the other?"
You say "creator of the universe", not god or Yahweh or Jesus. Then you dismiss ancient writings, even though your profile says you're a Christian.
You need to define what you mean by "creator of the universe", otherwise it could be a pure deistic god who initiated creation, but is indifferent to humans, doesn't want worship, doesn't listen to prayers, etc...
Without knowing what you're asking, it's kind of hard to give you an answer...
Adding some points...
You are using the words "belief" and "faith". It's important to clarify what the words mean in the context your discussing. Depending on the definition used, they can mean the same thing or they can mean completely different things.
I tend to use "faith" to mean "belief without evidence", while I tend to use "belief" to mean "belief based on evidence.". As in the term "a leap of faith".
"Both beliefs are in the same epistemological boat."
How do you figure that?
"Using the same epistemological methods, I believe it is acceptable to believe a creator exists."
Are you saying we are using the same epistemologies?
I would say that
- you are using 'Faith' as your epistemology, although you have not specified a specific faith.
- I'm using 'Rationalism' as my epistemology.
"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."
You'll have to be a bit clearer. What IS the criteria for what is an acceptable belief?
And how are atheists trying to change it?
Could you clarify what "their own unproven presuppositions" means? What presuppositions?
"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 theists must meet a higher bar. I wonder what that is about?"
Also very interesting. What does that mean, "a higher bar"?
He clearly stated he is a theist Prag
"I'm a thiest and don't apologize for it"
BTW (could not resist after reading it for the second time)
"despite the fact that some believe theism is evil."
We do not believe he is evil, he himself proves he is an evil character when he chose to drown babies and innocent people/animals just because there weren't enough "pure" men on earth at the time. (not women, they are insignificant)
If he waited a generation and then gave life to more decent batch himself of men, he would have achieved the same or an even better result without killing people.
But the christian god has to prove he is a mass murderer after all, and show you who is the boss.
Most of all, innocent people must pay for his own failures and incompetence rather than creating good men from start.
Here is how he fares with other evil characters:
You raise many valid questions and concerns. I will try to address as many as I can.
1. "Higher bar": that term was introduced by an atheist poster higher up in this thread. You see there are criterion for what beliefs are acceptable to a person. I don't require direct observation to believe something. So that means I can believe Dawkins exists, even though I never directly observed him. It is reasonable for me to believe he exists since I read his book "The Blind Watchmaker" I saw intelligent design in that book, and so I assume there was a being who created the book. The book itself states it was created by Dawkins. I have no facts to the contrary, so I assume Dawkins exists and he created the book. similarly, I see intelligent design in the universe. Just one living cell is a machine far more complex than any machine humans made. I have no facts contrary to the idea there is a creator of that cell, and indeed the entire universe, so it is reasonable for me to believe there is a creator. I essentially use the same bar, or criterion to decide what is believable in both cases: my belief Dawkins exists, and my belief a creator exists.
Atheists, bless their souls, prefer to not believe in the existence of a creator. Nothing wrong with that. But some feel they must justify their lack of belief. in order to achieve justification, they use a "higher bar". In other words, they invent criteria for truth that is tighter, more difficult to achieve and apply that tighter criteria only to things they don't want to believe. To me that is a double standard.
2. I don't dismiss ancient writings out of hand, it is just a bottomless pit to introduce it in this context. It is better left for another thread otherwise the focus is lost. The existence of a creator or not, doesn't rely on what ancient writings claim so it is irrelevant.
3. Faith = believing something that is unprovable. Beliefs: all beliefs are tied to one or more unprovable assumptions. So every belief has a degree of reliance on faith.
4. Rationalism as your epistemology. I use the coherence theory of truth, which is rationalistic, so I think we are quite similar but not necessarily the same. I believe all people acquire a set of beliefs. the set of beliefs one has maybe incoherent. In other words, it is possible for a person to hold contradictory beliefs, and if so, that persons system of beliefs would be considered incoherent, and unreliable. The goal in this epistemology is to attain coherence. So when it comes to my attention that I have a belief that contradicts my other beliefs, I have to abandon one or more beliefs in oder to achieve (rational) coherence.
However, it should be noted that just because your system of beliefs, or my system of beliefs is coherent, it doesn't guarantee truth. Rationalism doesn't guarantee ones beliefs are reliable. For example, if you reason in a linear fashion you always start with at least one premise. A premise is an unprovable assumption. If you believe the unprovable assumption, that is faith. and if you believe the conclusions of a rational argument, your belief is tied to the faith in your original premise. If one does not reason in a linear fashion, and opts for the coherence approach, it still involves faith. If you ever studied logic this will be easy to see. I'll try to explain it this way: a set of beliefs is rational if all the beliefs are rationally consist with each other. But if you put a "not" sign in front of each belief in that rational system it is still rational even though all the beliefs are the exact opposite.
For example, if I was to believe: 1. Dry food is healthy. 2. Rolled oats is dry food. and 3. rolled oats is healthy. all those three beliefs are consistent with each other. But if I put a "not" sign in front of all of those beliefs, it is still a rational set of beliefs even though they are the exact opposite.
So obviously rationalism doesn't guarantee truth. In sum, linear reasoning relies on faith in the premise of the reasoning. and coherence reasoning relies on the faith that the opposite isn't true.
Just to give a further example of how the coherence theory works. I believe in the existence of God. So all my other beliefs about anything has to be consistent with my belief in god, (or, I have to get rid of my belief in the existence of God.)
An atheist doesn't believe in the existence of God, so if they follow the coherence theory of truth, all their beliefs have to be coherent with their atheist belief.
Both atheists and theists who have a coherent system of beliefs should keep in mind, that if we put a "not" sign in front of our beliefs, our beliefs are still rational.
So to get to your deeper question: my belief in the existence of Dawkins,and my belief in the existence of god is in the same epistemological boat because both beliefs are coherent with my system of beliefs. I use the same method - a form of rationalism - to arrive at both beliefs. Anything that is consistent with my coherent system of beliefs is an acceptable belief.
"the coherence theory of truth"
The best explanation I could find for it, was this:
"Put simply: a belief is true when we are able to incorporate it in an orderly and logical manner into a larger and complex system of beliefs. Sometimes this seems like an odd way to actually describe truth - after all, a belief can be an inaccurate description of reality and fit in with a larger, complex system of further inaccurate descriptions of reality. According to the Coherence Theory of Truth, that inaccurate belief would still be called "truth.""
It explains why I can't understand most of your reasoning.
However, you neglected to answer my first point:
"You need to define what you mean by "creator of the universe", otherwise it could be a pure deistic god who initiated creation, but is indifferent to humans, doesn't want worship, doesn't listen to prayers, etc.."
Since you make statements like:
"The existence of a creator or not, doesn't rely on what ancient writings claim so it is irrelevant."
It makes me wonder, what god are you arguing for? What do you mean by "creator of the universe"?
I'm glad you looked up the coherence theory of truth. Shows intelligent behavior.
I don't feel the need to define "creator of the universe". What difference does it make? I simply believe that the universe is a creation. So then it is reasonable (coherent) to believe there is a creator of it. Stated differently, it isn't irrational to believe in a creator of the universe. Similarly, I believe the book The Blind Watchmaker is a creation. So it is reasonable to believe there exists a creator of the book.
What do I mean by creator of the universe? I mean the same thing as when I say there is a creator of the book the Blind Watchmaker. The book itself is evidence of a crreator of the book. Similarly, the universe itself, if recognized as a creation, is evidence of a creator.
I accept the fact that atheists don't believe the universe is a creation. And since they don't believe that way, there is no reason for them to believe in a creator. Doesn't bother me.
What I don't get about atheists is some claim there is proof there is no creator. What do they mean by proof? What is their view of what knowledge is? You see, atheists talk as if there is a division between belief and knowledge even though no such division really exists.
"I believe the book The Blind Watchmaker is a creation. So it is reasonable to believe there exists a creator of the book."
Your simplified analogy is not very accurate, since books are assembled. They don't grow from seeds and the do not procreate.
"I accept the fact that atheists don't believe the universe is a creation. And since they don't believe that way, there is no reason for them to believe in a creator. Doesn't bother me."
That's good. I commend you on that.
"What I don't get about atheists is some claim there is proof there is no creator."
That is a major generalization. There are atheist who claim that, I'm sure. But I have seen very few that does make such a claim. I'm personally confident to a high degree that the god of the Abrahamic religions does not exists. But I would never say that I have proof of that, and I can therefore not say that I'm 100% sure.
"You see, atheists talk as if there is a division between belief and knowledge even though no such division really exists."
Well, I can't say that I understand your epistemology at all, so I really don't get your argumentation about that.
Books are assembled. Huh? It was created before it was assembled. the act of writing ones thoughts is the act of creating the book.
I read your posts. I think your posts are a creation from your mind. so it is reasonable to believe you, the creator of your posts exists.
I'll give an illustration of my epistemology from science that I hope will illustrate in part what a "fact" is.
1. Science takes the theory of evolution of life to be a fact.
2. but scientists never observed the origin of life, or even the origin of species, nor could they.
Therefore, science takes as a fact some event or events that are unobservable. Clearly, the view that a "fact" must be directly observed, in order to be a "fact" is not practiced by science. So I incorporate what science did by taking evolution as a fact into my epistemological framework and my definition of "fact". Science does not operate according to the way positivist & empiricist philosophy claimed it did. I have no faith in the positivist and empiricist view of science and facts. Science never paid any attention to them anyway.
"the act of writing ones thoughts is the act of creating the book."
I see you point in how you referred to the writing process itself, not the actual book.
As you wrote in the original post:
"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?"
By your reasoning, you should believe in all gods, not just the Christian god Yahweh/Jesus. You should also believe a whole range of folklore and legends.
I would like to know what you believe about some things:
- How old do you believe the Earth is?
- How old do you believe the Universe is?
- Do you believe in or deny evolution?
- Do you believe your god listens to, and even answers peoples prayers?
- Do you think your god actively participates in, and guides peoples lives?
- Do you think your god causes natural disasters? Earthquakes, floodings, tornados?
- Do you believe that the devil exists?
- Do you believe in ghosts, demons or exorcism?
- You say the scriptures are mostly literature, so you don't believe in the bible?
- Do you believe that other religions could also be true?
- You say you believe in "A creator", but how do you link that creator to the Christian faith?
Actually no. By my reasoning it is possible, but not necessary there is a creator God. The reasoning employed does not mean it is necessary God exists. Similarly, by the reasoning employed, it isn't necessary Dawkins exists. It simply means it is reasonable to believe they exist (which does not contain *necessary* to believe.
Incidentally I don't believe Jesus is God. There are many types of Christians, just as there are many types of atheists.
Then by your reasoning it's reasonable to believe all creator deities exist?
I'm getting more and more curious about why you keep avoiding to answer questions about your beliefs...
There were eleven questions in Pragmatic's post. I'm just not sure which, if any, you answered, Apollo.
how old is the earth: I'd go with current estimates by the relevant scientists.
How old is universe: I'd go with current estimates by cosmologists.
I wrote many times since I arrived here, and even in this thread, Yes. I believe in evolution, not only as the origin o species, but also as the origin of life. I take the theory of evolution as a fact. (However, I'd like to point out that some atheist here does not approve of the way I use the word "belief" and "fact" and has threated to get me banished from the site because I don't agree with his definition of fact and belief. I await his inquisition.)
I don't pray. However, I am thankful for the creation.
God expects people to answer their calling. All people are created response-able, and all people are called to be that way. the calling everyone has is to create (positive) meaning.
I don't believe God causes natural disasters.
I believe the devil exists metaphorically. Ted Bundy was a devil. Stalin was a devil.
I believe ghosts, demons, and exorcism are tall tales. However, it is possible to take demons and exorcism metaphorically.
I believe in the Bible as literature, and so i interpret it literarily. You see the bible uses literary techniques, so it is appropriate to interpret is as literature. It also uses symbolic language, so when it does, interpret it as a symbol ie look for the intended concept.
One doesn't have to take the Bible literally to believe in it. The Bible is not a rational book, nor is it a science book, so taking it that way is a serious error. But that doesn't mean it is meaningless. Some authors if the Bible believed that God used natural disasters to punish people. Other Biblical authors believed nature did not discriminate - the rain falls on the good and bad alike. Some authors of the bible believed in eternal life, where as other authors did not. so to "believe in the bible" does not really make sense, as it contradicts itself. A believer who reads the bible has to make a choice about which side of the controversies they agree on.
Can other religions be true. All of my beliefs, scientific beliefs or other beliefs could be false. Other religions can be true including stealth religions - eg ideologies that deny they are religious in nature.
How do I link a creator to the Christian faith? There is no such thing as "the Christian Faith" There are many disparate Christian faiths. My version is one of many.
I was raised a fundamentalist Christian. As I got older and more educated I realized many fundamentalist beliefs were unreliable. So I commenced a process of abandoning unreliable beliefs, and retaining and acquiring reliable beliefs. Part of that process was is it reasonable to believe God exists? Yes it is as I have explained many times here. (One of the best written material to help me do that was written by an atheist scientist, a chemist, whose depth of thought and search for the truth was, in my education, unsurpassed.)
I don't believe Jesus is God. None of his associates thought he was God. None of them prayed to Jesus. They accepted him as a leader (lord and saviour), not as God. Jesus was not elevated to God status until several hundred years later when the doctrine of the Trinity was formulated. It was designed to resolve an internal church controversy, and had nothing to do with what the contemporaries of Jesus actually believed. But I'm sure many Christians would not agree. I'm sure they would pray and get the truth, instead of just studying the book.
Thank you for the answers. Sorry that I didn't catch that you had already written about evolution.
"some atheist here does not approve of the way I use the word "belief" and "fact""
I'm not very surprised. I have a hard time understanding your way of reasoning and thinking. I can't say I have grasped your epistemology at all (The Coherence Theory of Truth).
Also, many of your comments have had an undertone of contempt and animosity against atheists. Even if it has been completely unintentional, it triggers an emotional response that can be hard to resist...
"All of my beliefs, scientific beliefs or other beliefs could be false."
This certainly doesn't sound like the usual Theists wanting to debate religious beliefs, quite the opposite.
"There is no such thing as "the Christian Faith""
LoL, that's an interesting statement! I think there are several million Christians Theists who would disagree with you... :)
"Jesus was not elevated to God status until several hundred years later when the doctrine of the Trinity was formulated."
True, not something most Christians seem to be aware of.
You view the bible as inspirational literature.
You don't believe God causes natural disasters.
You don't pray.
You don't believe Jesus is God.
You seem to have no problem accepting scientific discoveries.
...and as you wrote:
"How do I link a creator to the Christian faith? There is no such thing as "the Christian Faith""
I can't really see what makes you identify as a Christian. I can't see what would make you a Theist. I can't see what differentiates you from a Deist.
If I'm wrong about these assumptions, what is it that makes you identify as a Christian?
If I may ask, is your variant of Christianity a particular denomination, or do you mean that it's your own interpretation?
No answers for me?
If you don't want to answer, just say so. I can accept that. But just pretending not to notice the questions, is getting a bit tired...
The message I get from Apollo's discourse is "The Creator exists because I want him to exist."
Why make a case for god when you can just play word games?!