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August 03, 2008

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The ontological argument never made sense to me either. The one I'm familiar with is basically Anselm's first, though the second is basically the same thing. It's not very effective either; a large portion of atheists think that the Abrahamic God (who most of the people trying to convert you will follow; they comprise around 1/2 of the world, and the largest after them is the Hindus, who don't really believe in converting people and are polytheist, so it doesn't apply to them anyway)is in no way perfect, and other theists, except maybe polytheists, will note that it applies to theirs as well.

The ontological argument requires no evidence in the same sense that mathematical arguments require no evidence. However, the fundamental flaw is that math only proves things within a formal set of rules, while the ontological argument attempts to prove the real existence of something.

Finding the precise flaw in any particular variant of the ontological argument is like trying to find the error in one of those mathematical proofs that 1=2.

Finding the precise flaw in any particular variant of the ontological argument is like trying to find the error in one of those mathematical proofs that 1=2.

Actually, if you mean the one I'm thinking of, that proof has a fairly easy to spot divide by zero error.

And the major flaw in pretty much every variant of the OA is that it defines God as an existent being in the premises and then the conclusion is "Therefore God exists." It's a tricky tautological circularity.

I can define all sorts of things into existence. Doesn't mean they exist. When this was pointed out to proponents of the OA using a somewhat famous "Perfect Island" argument (basically that the perfect island must exist somewhere because it is more perfect to exist than not exist), they first said "Well, you can always make an island bigger or warmer or something, so how do you know it's the Perfect Island?" which was rebutted with "More is not always better, and there can be defined an abstract optimum island which, under the OA, must therefore exist," which was geniusly "rebutted" with "Well...The OA only works for God. So there."

Oh, special pleading.

However, the fundamental flaw is that math only proves things within a formal set of rules, while the ontological argument attempts to prove the real existence of something.

Exactly.

If you want an ontological argument, here's one. God is sometimes defined as an entity such that nothing greater can exist. Yet, an omnipotent god should clearly be able to create something greater. By contradition, a god defined in this manner cannot exist.

It's a lot like saying that there exists an integer n, such that no other integer m > n exists.

I would highly suggest for you, and any one else interested to read the book ""The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions." by self-professed secular Jew and mathematics/philosophies teacher David Berlinski.
This tells the story of a Jew who was forced to dig his own grave prior to being shot by a German soldier. Prior to being shot, the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.” The Jewish gentleman pointed what i think is the real problem with atheism. "If you have the time please check the book out

Also, based on the book review, it's completely wrong. Hint: Hitler and his followers justified their actions to themselves. Guess how they did it? I'll give you a second.


No, its not that because there is no God, there's no reason to not kill, which is an idiotic idea anyway. (Atheist=/=immoral; evolutionarily, morality is a survival strategy. The less you screw people over, the more likely they are to help you.) They said that it was God's will that they kill all the Jews.

Matt also apparently forgets that most Germans involved in that business were Christian.

And I don't need to be watched to do the right thing. If anything, the delusion of an all-watching Might Makes Right deity retards moral development. People who believe in that sort of thing focus only on punishment and reward, not what's right. I think it's an inherently violent mindset.

Whenever a person says that evolutionary morality is responsible, I laugh. Why? Because if you are going by "evolutionary" morality, what is the best strategy?

1) Try to get as many traits that are socially desirable.
2) Donate to sperm banks. ALOT.

If anyone tries that stategy, let me know. For the most part people DON'T follow an evolutionary optimal stategy- after all, retirement money is that which could have been spent on your kids!

Matt:

I would highly suggest for you, and any one else interested to read my post Evolution Not Responsible for Hitler, where I show that it was Christianity that inspired Hitler, not atheism.

Yes, funnily enough, it turns out that unquestioning belief in authority figures, and in mythology (as though it were actually real), and NOT rationality and insistence in evidence to back up claims, is what is responsible for horrors such as the holocaust.

Matt:
Before suggesting that the Nazis' evil was caused by atheism, look at the photo in this recent article from a Berlin newspaper. (Click on it to enlarge.)

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/Drittes-Reich-Mariendorf;art270,2534202

You will see a carving from a church built in the late 1930s, showing Jesus walking among his disciples, one of whom is a Nazi soldier, recognizable by the helmet.

You might like to explain why these "atheists" believed they were good Christians. (Please think carefully about what you are getting yourself into before you say they weren't "true" Christians.)

This tells the story of a Jew who was forced to dig his own grave prior to being shot by a German soldier. Prior to being shot, the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.”
But the soldier went ahead and shot the old man anyway (presumably - the article isn't clear on that). So what exactly is the point of this story?
In any case, plenty of theists have committed murder whilst fully and firmly believing that "God is watching them". Oh, I forgot, these weren't True Theists - no True Theists would commit murder.

Matt:

It appears that if you do support this book, and support it's easily falsifiable conclusion that atheism is to blame for the Holocaust we can make some very simple conclusions about both you and Berlinski:

1. You both suck ass at performing proper historical research.

2. You are both incapable of forming independent thoughts.

Here's a simple historical research task I set you and Berlinski:

Read Mein Kampf. Count the number of times that Hitler mentions evolution, Darwin, natural selection or atheism as inspirations for his work and beliefs. Then count the number of times Hitler mentions God, religion, Christianity, Martin Luther, Catholicisim and faith as inspiriations for his work and beliefs.

Do be sure to let us know the results.

After that, do some research on the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 - that's the one where the Catholic church decreed that Muslims and Jews had to wear special dress to distinguish themselves from Christians, and that Jews could not hold public office. Sound familiar?

Then, when you've finished there look up the concept of Jewish deicide.

Then look up The history of anti-Semitism.

Lo and behold, we find anti-Semitism has always been deeply ingrained in both western and christian culture and belief and long before atheism was ever a serious presence or force. What a surprise, religious people projecting there own hatreds on the non-religious in a disgusting attempt to shift the blame.

And what religion do we think the majority of Wehrmacht and Waffen SS soldiers belonged to? And what religion do we think the majority of the inhabitants of the Axis power nations belonged to?

And which military organisations and nations were responsible for the Holocaust?

You and Berlinksi are both either wilfully ignorant and dishonest, or idiots. Which is it?

As for this:

Prior to being shot, the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.” The Jewish gentleman pointed to the real problem with atheism. If there is no God to watch what you are doing, then why should you be circumspect in your behavior? Certainly the Germans at Auschwitz, who gassed Samuel Goldfein, did not believe that God was watching them. As Berlinski points out, that is the real problem with atheism.

Could the author be any more wrong? The point, genius, is that the Jewish man hoped to plead with the German soldier by appealing to God's future punishment of the German for his actions - he was appealing not to the consequences of atheism, but to belief in a diety. I thought that was fairly obvious. Furthermore, history tells us this if nothing else very clearly; once there is a God, anything is justifiable if done in his name.

I'll leave you with the words of Voltaire:

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

As well as the even more appropriate:

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Incidentally, I posted this same comment over at the book review and it is currently awaiting review by the admins there. Any guesses what the outcome may be?

Well, two days and they still haven't posted my response Matt, why do you think that is given the closing statement from the review? Should I post again and be more polite do you think? Or do you think they are just practising the well proven art of censoring dissenting opinions. Can we think of any 20th century German government that may have acted so?

Remember, Cisco at jaajoe says:

Thank you, David Berlinski, for providing an irrefutable response to the militant atheists.

Irrefutable in what sense? That you won't post any refutations of it because you'd look like morons if you did?

And why the silence in the face of our responses Matt?

"the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.”"

I wonder who it was who reported this incident? How did they survive to tell the tale?

Or is it just a fabricated piece of emotionalist rhetoric attempting to silence any further discussion through the force of moral gravity? If so, I find it completely and utterly tasteless.

You've got the book Matt, how about providing the reference. Poor show by the way, Matt - telling people to read a whole book, and then not bothering to read the comments people write in answer.

.....
PS Jimmy B- your comment still isn't up at jaajoe's. Hardly surprising somehow, when I look at the rest of the site - They reckon Obama is funded by Hamas, (with funding like that no wonder he can outgun the Republicans and the Clintons!); the Iraq war is going well, and for history buffs they have a "today in terrorism" section.

Yakaru:

I know, I even made a more polite version minus the insults, and added a challenge to them to stop acting in true Nazi fashion by censoring dissenting opinions.

And still nothing. Surely if you are confident your position is irrefutable you don't mind posting an opposing viewpoint?

Yes, Jimmy, but did you remember that God was watching you while you were typing? They don't want to give space to people who have been deluded by the devil, do they.

But seriously, shitheads like Berlinski are exploiting all those who suffered under the Nazis to try and stifle debate. And if the Nazis were so godless, then why did they close down the atheistic German Freethinkers League?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Freethinkers_League

Its chairman authored a book called "Our Struggle Against the Third Reich" and for his resistence, he was beheaded. What a fucking disgrace for Berlinski to ignore the fate of such people.

And let us not forget the Wehrmacht belt buckle.

Just the thing for the fashion conscious non-god believing fascist soldier.

Re: Jimmy Blue's comment about atheism and the Nazis at jajoe's site (comment-August 06, 2008 at 10:08 AM).

I also posted a comment shortly after yours. Yours isn't up but mine is. Obviously, joe knows no one would have any freaking clue how to answer yours. He wouldn't've posted mine either if he'd bothered to check up on a few key words:

I asked Berlinski (who has also commented there) for his opinion on the fate of the "Deutscher Freidenker-Verband" under the Nazis. Berlinski (who no doubt speaks German) hasn't answered of course, so I've added another comment explaining who they were (i.e. atheistic German Freethinkers League whose leader was beheaded by the Nazis).

I wonder if he'll put that up. If he doesn't, it proves him to be a fucking hypocritical coward with no brains, no morals and no German-English dictionary.

I think there is God or some higher power and if you take the rules of faith (prior to them being polluted by organized religion/men) they do make sense. If this Earth is truly the place where we test our spirit and faith, then we cannot (in order for the test to work) have direct knowledge of another word/dimension/heaven.

Why? Because life can be too hard and imagine, for example, what would happen if we knew for sure there is paradise. There would be mass suicides all over the world as soon as people hit hardships because it would just be easier that way. If someone is meant to build their soul or character on this plane by living with a problem of any sort then they must be denied the certainty of heaven because if he or she knew they'd likely off themselves rather then "suffer" thru the experience and possibly build the soul.

I think God, or whatever you wish to call this higher power, did leave many signs along the way for anyone who wants to see them. I also think that the relationship between humans and God is very complex and long and that the complete truth of religion is hidden within many different religions. Kind of like a mosaic which you need to put together. I think, when properly practiced in the spirit of love, humanity and compassion, all monotheist religions provide path to enlightenment but I also think that the path can only be explored individually and not under the complete trust into humans/priests who claim to be the exclusive guides to such enlightenment.

I will finish with one final thought. I don't think science and rational thought, and religion at its pure core are mutually exclusive. I think they can complement each other. There is something spiritual within us, there are thoughts, emotions, dreams, desires, premonitions, sense of connectivity, yearning to know the reason why we are here, hope that we are part of something more. We are capable of noble and heroic acts, of love and sacrifice and that is not just a product of biology. Sure, you can explain how this or that chemical in your body or hormone produces certain feelings etc, but you can't explain why the combination of those hormones or chemicals produces certain type of emotion and why we all feel that there is something more, albeight we don't know what.

Dino:

and why we all feel that there is something more, albeight we don't know what.

We don't all feel there is something more than this life.

Which kind of makes everything else you say a waste of time.

Dress it up how you want, religion relies on the supernatural. Science and the supernatural are mutually exclusive by their very nature. Science or rational thought and religion are not compatible and do not compliment each other.

Wow, Dino, posting the exact same screed on two sites? In that case, I'll do the same to counter it.
First, I said,

Lesse:
1)Why should there be a test of spirit/faith? If there is an omnipotent being, he already knows who would pass and who would fail. Additionally, since suicide is considered wrong by most religions, it probably wouldn't result in mass suicide, since that would result in Hell.
2)Signs left by God my stinky mustalid ass. There are no signs left by God; pretty much everything we've found so far has a non-God explanation, and we're working on the rest. Also, if we're supposed to piece it together out of the monotheistic religions (why those by the way? They're not near as much fun as polytheistic ones), then how do we know what is true and what isn't from the holy texts? Answer: We fucking can't!
3) There's no spiritual emotions or whatever in us. We aren't the special creations of God with special emotions only for us. Things like dolphins and bonobos have been known to show altruism, for example.
[Dr. Cox] o/' Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, wrong wrong wrong wrong! You're wrong! You're wrong! You're wrong! o/' [/Dr. Cox]

Then you said:

King of Ferrets

1) Maybe for the same reason you drink water and eat every day though you know you will need to do it again. Mix this thought with the concept of free will and the answer should be there. As for the Hell maybe the suicide rule is there to scare people off. Maybe there is no hell in the classical sense;

2) I would strongly disagree with you. Just observe around you.

3) If you truly feel that then I think you are empty inside.

And then I said:

Dino: Still wrong!

1) So if there wasn't a test of spirit I'd be dead? But I thought the point of the afterlife was that nobody dies? Also, if there is no Hell in the classical sense, and it was revealed, most people probably would commit mass suicide; but, if there wasn't, why make the test in the first place? Just to see what happens even though you already know?

2) Some 39, I see. Maybe 125 by implication. Also, how are we supposed to know what is real from the different books and what isn't? You don't answer that.

3)35, maybe 56, 85, and 142. I do feel things, I just don't see any reason to think they're God-given emotions instead of just naturally evolved emotions.

That's about right, isn't it?

Oh, and the other thread he posted at can be found here.

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