Author Topic: "Rational Arguments for God?"  (Read 492 times)

BooksCatsEtc

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"Rational Arguments for God?"
« on: May 12, 2017, 07:07:42 PM »
Found this on Steve Novello's Neurological blog:  Rational Arguments for God?

Nothing new here, but I've been listening to a lot of reviews of apologists' books lately so this caught my interest.  In the comments some people were complaining about Novello taking shots at an easy target, but offered no examples of a hard target.  I would like to hear anything approaching a compelling reason for theism (other than the emotional ones), if only for the novelty of it.

I also wish, so very much, that apologists would give up the Argument from Popularity for theism -- considering many of the other things that have been popular with a lot of people for a very long time, I think this argument does apologists no service whatever, in fact works against them.
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"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 09:02:22 PM »
I also wish, so very much, that apologists would give up the Argument from Popularity for theism -- considering many of the other things that have been popular with a lot of people for a very long time...

People like to breathe, therefore breathing is the one true God.
But, uh...well there it is.

"Nothing's a struggle, but everything is a challenge" - Anon


BooksCatsEtc

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 11:33:02 PM »
Well . . . there it is.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Gloucester

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 12:10:12 AM »
War and killing have, over all known history, been pretty popular as well. Greed has lots of followers, and as for sex...
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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 05:07:54 AM »
Found this on Steve Novello's Neurological blog:  Rational Arguments for God?

Nothing new here, but I've been listening to a lot of reviews of apologists' books lately so this caught my interest.  In the comments some people were complaining about Novello taking shots at an easy target, but offered no examples of a hard target.  I would like to hear anything approaching a compelling reason for theism (other than the emotional ones), if only for the novelty of it.

I also wish, so very much, that apologists would give up the Argument from Popularity for theism -- considering many of the other things that have been popular with a lot of people for a very long time, I think this argument does apologists no service whatever, in fact works against them.

I enjoyed reading that blog post even if it's shooting down over-used arguments that have no bearing on reality. Thank you for linking to it. :smilenod:

From the frankly stupid Argument from Popularity to the cowardly Pascal's Wager, added to faulty correlations, denialisms and craziness there is unfortunately no compelling argument for theism if you're looking for something that are not emotionally charged semi-thoughts. They have their inner experience and attribute it to a cultural aspect - each to his or her own. The half-assed justifications for their beliefs come afterward as most brains abhor a vacuum, and have to come up with some sort of mental gymnastics. Smart people are better at these but still don't offer any compelling logical or philosophical evidence for the existence of any god. 

The search for a compelling argument is as futile as looking for the elusive god himself, I'm afraid.  :sadnod:
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 05:32:30 AM by xSilverPhinx »
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BooksCatsEtc

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 05:39:00 PM »
War and killing have, over all known history, been pretty popular as well. Greed has lots of followers, and as for sex...

To say nothing of slavery -- so very popular for so very long.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 05:47:52 PM »
Smart people are better at these but still don't offer any compelling logical or philosophical evidence for the existence of any god. 


I think this is what peels my onions the most -- smart people should be able to come up with better arguments, and certainly more that just the same old retreads every time.  I get that there can never be evidence for a god since theists have specifically defined god as being outside of anything evidence can be found for, but it seems to me that a smart theist should be able to think up a smart reason I should behave "as if" his god exists.  Something new -- it should be obvious by now that Pascal's limp wager was DOA to skeptics.  Am I just thinking way too highly of smart people?
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Gloucester

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2017, 12:44:51 AM »
Smart people are better at these but still don't offer any compelling logical or philosophical evidence for the existence of any god. 


I think this is what peels my onions the most -- smart people should be able to come up with better arguments, and certainly more that just the same old retreads every time.  I get that there can never be evidence for a god since theists have specifically defined god as being outside of anything evidence can be found for, but it seems to me that a smart theist should be able to think up a smart reason I should behave "as if" his god exists.  Something new -- it should be obvious by now that Pascal's limp wager was DOA to skeptics.  Am I just thinking way too highly of smart people?

When I read that the word "compartmentalisation" popped into my head. No matter the IQ or subsequent experience maybe some things are held in "read only" compartments in the mind. Their brain has been formatted and only a total wipe will enable a proper reformat to a new OS.
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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2017, 05:05:34 AM »
There is no rational argument for God.  God is only encountered by revelation - self disclosure.  He cannot be accessed by evidence or logic alone.  The individual believer may feel that his experience affords a rational basis for his faith, but he will never be able to convince anyone else of that through reason.  So faith remains in the realm of the subjective, and all efforts to bring it into the realm of reason are futile.

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2017, 11:43:57 AM »
There is no rational argument for God.  God is only encountered by revelation - self disclosure.  He cannot be accessed by evidence or logic alone.  The individual believer may feel that his experience affords a rational basis for his faith, but he will never be able to convince anyone else of that through reason.  So faith remains in the realm of the subjective, and all efforts to bring it into the realm of reason are futile.

"Well . . . there it is."


“I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe.” ~Recusant

"Color me fascinated..." ~Asmodean, The Gray God.

xSilverPhinx

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2017, 03:59:29 PM »
Smart people are better at these but still don't offer any compelling logical or philosophical evidence for the existence of any god. 


I think this is what peels my onions the most -- smart people should be able to come up with better arguments, and certainly more that just the same old retreads every time.  I get that there can never be evidence for a god since theists have specifically defined god as being outside of anything evidence can be found for, but it seems to me that a smart theist should be able to think up a smart reason I should behave "as if" his god exists.  Something new -- it should be obvious by now that Pascal's limp wager was DOA to skeptics.  Am I just thinking way too highly of smart people?

I think that some of their inner experiences can be so strong that the brain will accept just about any rationalisation for the belief, even lousy ones. Intellectual justification is secondary to the experience, which is what's "real".

Maybe the cognitive dissonance is stronger in smarter people, I don't know. I'm assuming every now and then the trio Reason, Logic and Evidence creep into the mind and are either put away in some "dusty" compartment, dealt with and rationalised in a new form, or they shatter the belief structure completely.

What I find fascinating is the deconversion process. At what point or what factors trigger this process when it seems the intellectual modules in the brain finally win the tug of war and take precedence? What needs to happen? It seems to me that it depends heavily on how their belief networks are structured, and these networks vary from person to person. 

 
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2017, 04:39:15 PM »
There is no rational argument for God.  God is only encountered by revelation - self disclosure.  He cannot be accessed by evidence or logic alone.  The individual believer may feel that his experience affords a rational basis for his faith, but he will never be able to convince anyone else of that through reason.  So faith remains in the realm of the subjective, and all efforts to bring it into the realm of reason are futile.

"Well . . . there it is."

Do I get a good star and some coupons?

Magdalena

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2017, 05:50:41 PM »
There is no rational argument for God.  God is only encountered by revelation - self disclosure.  He cannot be accessed by evidence or logic alone.  The individual believer may feel that his experience affords a rational basis for his faith, but he will never be able to convince anyone else of that through reason.  So faith remains in the realm of the subjective, and all efforts to bring it into the realm of reason are futile.

"Well . . . there it is."

Do I get a good star and some coupons?


...Let me think about it.


“I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe.” ~Recusant

"Color me fascinated..." ~Asmodean, The Gray God.

BooksCatsEtc

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2017, 05:59:41 PM »
There is no rational argument for God.  God is only encountered by revelation - self disclosure.  He cannot be accessed by evidence or logic alone.  The individual believer may feel that his experience affords a rational basis for his faith, but he will never be able to convince anyone else of that through reason.  So faith remains in the realm of the subjective, and all efforts to bring it into the realm of reason are futile.

"Well . . . there it is."

Do I get a good star and some coupons?


...Let me think about it.

Maybe we could give him a set of steak knives?
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

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Re: "Rational Arguments for God?"
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2017, 06:44:00 PM »

[re: smart people and belief.]

I think that some of their inner experiences can be so strong that the brain will accept just about any rationalisation for the belief, even lousy ones. Intellectual justification is secondary to the experience, which is what's "real".

Maybe the cognitive dissonance is stronger in smarter people, I don't know. I'm assuming every now and then the trio Reason, Logic and Evidence creep into the mind and are either put away in some "dusty" compartment, dealt with and rationalised in a new form, or they shatter the belief structure completely.

OK, I can see that.  Perhaps also it's the issue of comfort -- even if a believer doesn't have a "meeting god" experience, the comfort provided by religious belief and/or religious community is so important that they'll find some way of shoehorning it on in there.

Quote
What I find fascinating is the deconversion process. At what point or what factors trigger this process when it seems the intellectual modules in the brain finally win the tug of war and take precedence? What needs to happen? It seems to me that it depends heavily on how their belief networks are structured, and these networks vary from person to person.

That is interesting, and as you say probably as varied as the reasons for belief.  You know how many atheists take offense (and rightly so) when believers tell them that if they lost their religion, then they couldn't have truly had it in the first place?  In my case, I think that's actually true.

I am not by nature a doubter -- if someone tells me XYZ is true, my inclination is to accept it esp. when the person who tells me that is older and/or more experienced then me.  Which is just about everybody.  So I spent the first 30+ years of my life trying to figure out why religious beliefs just didn't take with me.  I initially assumed I was doing something wrong, then later that perhaps I was following the wrong religion, but no correction or change made the slightest bit of difference. 

I finally realized what the road block was when, while thinking about all of this one day, it dawned on me that god was a supernatural concept.  It really took that long to occur to me: the teaching that god is unquestioningly real and my unspoken assumption that real = natural got so stuck together in my brain that I never thought to question it before.

The problem was that while I had accepted a lot of other things I was told throughout my life (at least at first) I had never, ever been able to believe in the supernatural, even as a kid.  Once I saw, consciously, what the conflict was, that was it for religion of any kind.  I could no more believe in a god than in pixies or ghosts.  Made my deconversion as fast and painless as water off a duck's back.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver