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Arguments that just don't make sense in the first place! - Comments

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 1 by Steven Mading

There is a means of refuting an argument in which all you do is simply point out that the premises contradict each other and cannot be simultaneously true for that reason alone, regardless of the rest of the argument. It sounds like this is the situation you're talking about here. For example, all you have to do to respond to a claim that god exists outside space and time is to point out that "exists" and "is outside time and space" are mutually exclusive concepts, and explain why that is.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 14:44:51 UTC | #894704

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 2 by Peter Grant

Theist:

God exists outside space and time

So then you agree with me, you're also an atheist?

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 15:10:41 UTC | #894713

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 3 by Neodarwinian

Why argue?

God exists outside of space and time.

Uh, any evidence for that?

Argument not supported by evidence are words. Even an argument that has the evidence behind it ( I am reminded of the recent death of Lynn Margulis ) can have a hard slog getting accepted. Then you have the " argument " of where god exists.

My apartment also exists outside of space and time, so I am not too worried about losing that time typing this on Thursday morning.

I do agree, that " argument " about where " magic man " is makes no sense.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 15:50:02 UTC | #894720

Ditchkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Ditchkins

It seems to me that scientifically we have no idea what a timeless, spaceless reality is like. Therefore you cannot say that the hypothesis of the Christian God is illogical.

The fact is that we cannot rule a God out on the basis of our own lack of ability to understand any reality beyond the natural. Scientific minds need good imaginations, and they also need humility in the face of their own ignorance. Reality often proves stranger than we humans can anticipate or imagine, the history of science has already taught us this much. We should all learn from it.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 17:28:18 UTC | #894757

blitz442's Avatar Comment 5 by blitz442

Jump to comment 4 by Ditchkins

It seems to me that scientifically we have no idea what a timeless, spaceless reality is like. Therefore you cannot say that the hypothesis of the Christian God is illogical.

I have no idea what an invisible pink unicorn is like. Do I get to assume that it exists anyway, and that people who charge that my concept of an invisible pink unicorn is illogical are being close-minded and unimaginative?

Of course not. The invisible pink unicorn can be dismissed on the grounds that the description is self-contradictory; if I introduce the attribute of invisibility then I cannot also bring in the attribute of color.

Christians assert that their god is a person who cogitates. Cogitation seems to require causation, and causation cannot happen a-temporally. So to say that a being that thinks can exist in a reality without time or space is to attempt to merge two fundamentally inconsistent attributes. It is an exercise in incoherence, and can be dismissed as nonsense.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 17:49:16 UTC | #894763

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 6 by Alan4discussion

God exists outside of space and time.

Well there's certainly no evidence of gods existing inside space and time, or having any effect in the material universe.

Therefore Jesus!

What??????!!! Ah! - another gap-ologist!

It works like the output of the postmodernist generator -meaningless complexity and obfuscation posing as profundity - often followed by the disingenuous pretence that others can't understand this "advanced" thinking!

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 18:15:57 UTC | #894769

Layla's Avatar Comment 7 by Layla

If God exists outside of space and time then the whole argument of what created God seems to be invalid.

Why would something outside of space and time not need a cause? I don't get why that should be.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 18:16:59 UTC | #894770

blitz442's Avatar Comment 8 by blitz442

Layla

If God exists outside of space and time then the whole argument of what created God seems to be invalid.

Why would something outside of space and time not need a cause? I don't get why that should be.

Or, if causation does not apply to God because He hangs out outside of space and time, then God cannot cause anything to exist either.

The theist cannot possibly argue that God needs no cause because cause/effect is alien to an existence outside of space and time, but then say that God caused everything to be.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 18:41:42 UTC | #894775

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 9 by Alex, adv. diab.

Comment 4 by Ditchkins :

It seems to me that scientifically we have no idea what a timeless, spaceless reality is like. Therefore you cannot say that the hypothesis of the Christian God is illogical.

The fact is that we cannot rule a God out on the basis of our own lack of ability to understand any reality beyond the natural. Scientific minds need good imaginations, and they also need humility in the face of their own ignorance. Reality often proves stranger than we humans can anticipate or imagine, the history of science has already taught us this much. We should all learn from it.

Oh cool, so Leprachauns really do exist? I have always wondered how they were supposed to hide the gold at the end of the rainbow, since in physics I learned that rainbows don't really exist in the air but get created in my eye by reflections of light inside small droplets. However, since I can't imagine at all how Leprachauns operate in this situation, maybe it is true after all!

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 18:42:30 UTC | #894776

Layla's Avatar Comment 10 by Layla

There's two types of conversations we can have (as people).

We can have the type of conversation where we're bound to the rules of reason and logic and where we look to evidence and the observable world. That's the sort of conversation where if I say something about space and time, you can say "Oh no, that couldn't be because such-and-such scientific line of reasoning or scientific evidence makes it not so".

Then there's the type of conversation where somebody just makes something up and says "Well, you can't prove it isn't so!"

That last type of conversation rests on the premise that strictly speaking absolutely anything could be possible because we could all just be wrong or deluded. For example, strictly speaking nobody can prove that this whole thing hasn't just been a dream inside Woody Allen's head and no amount of scientific evidence you pile up to prove that the physical world exists proves anything in those terms because if the hypothesis is true it's all just imaginary evidence in Woody Allen's head.

In that type of conversation anything goes. No restrictions are being placed on the hypothesis either in terms of evidence or logic. Therefore you are also free to posit anything you want in return.

If somebody tries to play the second kind of game with you and then tries to confine you to what is actually logically possible they've switched rules halfway through.

So if they say to you "There exists a concious agent which has no brain" they've already decided to posit something that, from everything we humans currently know, is impossible. At that point they can't say "Oh no, you cannot say it must have had a cause because it's outside space and time" They're now trying to play by normal rules of rational conversation but the premise is still of the type "I can just make anything up I want".

So there's two ways you can respond to that. Either remind them that their own initial idea has already broken free of logical restrictions, and/or simply play by the same rules in your answer. "No, no, God MUST have had a cause if he exists outside of space and time. Why? Because it is the nature of God to be both the causer and the caused".

Or alternatively you can ask them to defend their own premise on logical terms. For example, "How can there be a concious agent outside of space and time?" "How can there be a consious agent at all without a brain?"

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 19:13:30 UTC | #894785

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 11 by Alan4discussion

Comment 10 by Layla

Or alternatively you can ask them to defend their own premise on logical terms. For example, "How can there be a concious agent outside of space and time?" "How can there be a consious agent at all without a brain?"

Or..... If it's undetectable ... how would you know anything about it?

Or.. By making up a concept of an undetectable what-not "outside of space and time, this allows for any undisprovable wild guess about any object to be presented as fact!??! Err no! The Flying Spaghetti Monster is not lurking there really! It is just made up and pushed into a mysteriously contrived gap in knowledge. If science does not know what is beyond Planck, neither does anyone else.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 19:47:38 UTC | #894796

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 12 by Sean_W

I think logic probably deals perfectly well with the argument, God exists outside space-time and therefore does not require a cause. Doesn't it say,

The nothing is such that it exists nowhere and therefore requires no cause

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 20:41:37 UTC | #894825

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 13 by Schrodinger's Cat

I am interested in whether you agree with me that many religious and philosophical dilemmas or arguments are not really problematic from a logical point of view but more from a semantic point of view.

A classic example is the intrinsic 'goodness' of God.

The problem that arises is that before the creation of anything, when God was supposedly sitting there in the void, God simply didn't have anyone to be good to.

What conceivable meaning can one place on the inherent and independent 'goodness' of a being in such a situation ? How does one 'be good' in the void ? How can one be inherently good in a situation where there is nobody to even be bad to ?

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 20:58:27 UTC | #894833

Layla's Avatar Comment 14 by Layla

I think these are all problems of logic not of semantics.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 21:01:08 UTC | #894834

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 15 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 4 by Ditchkins

It seems to me that scientifically we have no idea what a timeless, spaceless reality is like. Therefore you cannot say that the hypothesis of the Christian God is illogical.

The fact is that we cannot rule a God out on the basis of our own lack of ability to understand any reality beyond the natural. Scientific minds need good imaginations, and they also need humility in the face of their own ignorance. Reality often proves stranger than we humans can anticipate or imagine, the history of science has already taught us this much. We should all learn from it.

Is this the God who is SO far beyond space, time, and all possible comprehension.........that he's developed an unhealthy obsession with foreskins, the smell of burnt animals, and stoning to death anyone who collects firewood on the Sabbath ?

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 21:19:04 UTC | #894840

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 16 by Alan4discussion

Comment 4 by Ditchkins

It seems to me that scientifically we have no idea what a timeless, spaceless reality is like. Therefore you cannot say that the hypothesis of the Christian God is illogical.

It seems to me that scientifically we have no idea what a timeless, spaceless reality is like. Therefore you cannot say that the hypothesis of the Holy Levitating Mangel Wurzel is illogical.

Yes I can understand the "logic" there.

Reality often proves stranger than we humans can anticipate or imagine, the history of science has already taught us this much. We should all learn from it.

We don't know so just make something up! - Sounds like a good reason why the incredulous should uncritically believe anything suggested to them !

Or does it?

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 21:40:39 UTC | #894850

blitz442's Avatar Comment 17 by blitz442

Comment 14 by Layla

I think these are all problems of logic not of semantics.

Agreed. I think that theology largely consists of using semantics to try to wriggle out of the logical dilemmas that infest religious claims.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 21:42:24 UTC | #894851

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 18 by Steven Mading

Comment 4 by Ditchkins :

It seems to me that scientifically we have no idea what a timeless, spaceless reality is like. Therefore you cannot say that the hypothesis of the Christian God is illogical.

The fact is that we cannot rule a God out on the basis of our own lack of ability to understand any reality beyond the natural. Scientific minds need good imaginations, and they also need humility in the face of their own ignorance. Reality often proves stranger than we humans can anticipate or imagine, the history of science has already taught us this much. We should all learn from it.

It is illogical to argue in favor of the existence of an entity for whom your only evidence is merely "Its existence hasn't been disproven". Yes, that is a very illogical hypothesis, despite the fact that you can't seem to see why that's illogical. (Hint, it's because there's an infinite number of things that MIGHT exist if the criterion you want to use is that it's good enough to claim it exists merely because it hasn't been disproven. The number of things that actually exist must be finite. Therefore the likelyhood of any randomly chosen hypothesized thing to exist merely because it hasn't been proven not to exist is a probability that becomes zero because you're trying to divide a finite number by infinity. This is why you MUST have a better reason to propose a thing existing than merely "it hasn't been proven not to exist".)

The number of hypothetically existing things is infinite. The number of existing things is finite. Therefore the sensible default in the face of no evidence is NOT to take the stance "there is a 50% chance this thing exists.". The sensible default in the face of evidence is to act as if there is a 0% chance until you have reason to believe you're dealing with one of the rare exception cases of an actually existant hypothetical thing.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 21:49:03 UTC | #894853

gr8hands's Avatar Comment 19 by gr8hands

Also, the question "What is the meaning of Life?" pre-supposes that Life has a meaning. One needs to point this out, by stating that the person asking the question is making the pre-supposing, and a better first question would be "Does Life have a meaning?"

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 22:53:11 UTC | #894875

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 20 by QuestioningKat

The solution to God existing outside of space and time is to include us being outside of space and time. In some circles we are experiencing the collective dream. In this dream state called reality we are experiencing all of the laws of nature, evolution, death, etc. but our Higher Consciousness ( the Divine within) is connected to the Oneness that is outside of space and time. The solution is to redefine God as not outside of you, but part of you and all of this is one big dream.We've just forgotten it and are pretty challenged at tapping into our divine nature. Seriously.

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 00:29:23 UTC | #894900

dust2dust's Avatar Comment 21 by dust2dust

. . . .

                        42

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 05:03:48 UTC | #894933

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 22 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Isn't "outside space and time" an oxymoron?

To consider something as being "outside" something else gives it a spatial or temporal definition.

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 09:53:13 UTC | #894975

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 23 by Alan4discussion

Comment 22 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

A good point - but probably outside the reasoning skills of the creationists who use it!

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 10:37:11 UTC | #894984

Ditchkins's Avatar Comment 24 by Ditchkins

It seems many here don't like my opinion posted previously. The very predictable unicorns and lepricauns have made their obligatory appearances. We are discussing the possible existence of an immaterial being...what do proposed material beings have to do with what I stated?

A universe exists and demands an explanation. No one is proposing that the cause is a material being 1 ft tall living in ireland, dressed in green. That type of entity would not be able to do the job we require. An hypothesis in keeping with the historical attributes of the christian god however cannot be ruled out. If it can be ruled out, enlighten me as to exactly why. Subjective reasons such as I don't like the idea of a god or it souinds crazy just don't cut it. We don't know enough to rule god out. It is arrogant to rule his existence out at this stage!!!

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 11:59:30 UTC | #895008

Ditchkins's Avatar Comment 25 by Ditchkins

In relation to comment 22 above...

Just a thought... We know already that some things exist outside of space and time, for instance 'truth'. Can we point to it (space) or predict when it will age beyond redemption or fall victim to entropy(time)?

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 12:56:15 UTC | #895020

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 26 by Steve Zara

Comment 25 by Ditchkins

Truth doesn't exist. It's an abstraction.

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 13:16:52 UTC | #895027

inquisador's Avatar Comment 27 by inquisador

I have been thinking along the same lines lately, and I agree that the 'outside space and time' idea is God-negating. Anything outside time and space is impossible as there is no such thing. Is there?

If there were such a thing, it would surely be impossible to act or appear or create stuff in the material (real) world, as God of the Bible was claimed to do. For example, he made everything out of nothing, he came out of nowhere; and he walked and talked in the Garden of Eden with Adam & Eve; he tormented Job, killing his family, and massacred those Hivites, Canaanites, Amorites, Jebusites and err, Partyinvites.

None of that could in any sense be logically consistent. Either God is a material entity of some kind, in which case he would be subject to the laws of physics, and I don't see how he could create a universe by magic; or, he is non-temporal and immaterial, in which case I would have to conclude that he was non-existent in any real sense and therefore far from omnipotent, rather totally impotent.

Even if he were magical enough to somehow switch back and forth between the two realms, that would not help him. He would be equally useless in either case.

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 13:32:33 UTC | #895029

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan4discussion

Comment 24 by Ditchkins

It seems many here don't like my opinion posted previously.

Challenges on the basis of fallacies and lack of evidence have nothing to do with the (theist) subjective judgement of "liking". (I like this idea so it must be true does not work here.)

The very predictable unicorns and leprechauns have made their obligatory appearances. We are discussing the possible existence of an immaterial being...what do proposed material beings have to do with what I stated?

Actually the lack of material evidence suggests that they are just as "immaterial" as gods.

A universe exists and demands an explanation.

Science has provided much evidence of details of this. If you have evidence which is new to science, produce it. If you do not, admit that you have no way of knowing!

No one is proposing that the cause is a material being 1 ft tall living in ireland, dressed in green. That type of entity would not be able to do the job we require.

Apart from there being no definition of "the job" or how this "job" would work, What evidence do you have that an all powerful leprechaun could not do miracles? Existence is not dependent on human proposals. (Black holes existed long before any one proposed them.) I only ask because you suggest this applies to gods, but somehow not to leprechauns.)

An hypothesis in keeping with the historical attributes of the christian god however cannot be ruled out.

You would first have to write such a hypothesis, but many biblical descriptions can be ruled out on the basis of self inconsistency, lack of evidence, and being contrary to the laws of science, but in keeping with the delusions and imagination of human story tellers. A hypothesis which does not exist cannot be ruled out, but that does not make any suggestion with a vague reference to a hypothesis true. Clear definitions and evidence are required.

If it can be ruled out, enlighten me as to exactly why.

You would need to produce a hypothesis of why and how it exists "outside space and time", and show a connection between it and the real material universe. Christian mythology is set on Earth, which is categorically inside the material universe.

Subjective reasons such as I don't like the idea of a god or it sounds crazy just don't cut it.

So why do you use subjective assertions that you like the idea so it must be true? Only the utterly gullible believe in anything where the remotest possibility cannot be ruled out! (I could win the lottery by some sort of mistake, despite not buying a ticket) Positive evidence of existence is required.

We don't know enough to rule flying-saucers out.

We don't know enough to rule leprechauns out.

We don't know enough to rule magic invisible dragons out.

We don't know enough to rule god out.

Would that be any particular gods or a full set?

Thor, Woden, , Zeus, Venus, Vesta, Allah, Earth-mother, Moinee, Dromerdeener, Ashara, Odin, etc

It is arrogant to rule his existence out at this stage!!!

Really? Or just reasonable - given that there is no "stage" or credible hypothesis at present!

When you have produced some evidence of her/its existence, there will be a "stage" and a hypothesis to refute. At the moment there is nothing to rule out, because nothing has been defined and put forward as a hypothesis. All you have offered is vague disjointed suggestions and confused thinking.

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 14:19:13 UTC | #895035

blitz442's Avatar Comment 29 by blitz442

Comment 24 by Ditchkins

It seems many here don't like my opinion posted previously.

It's not so much that your opinion is not "liked"; it's that your opinion seems specious.

The very predictable unicorns and lepricauns have made their obligatory appearances.

Fine, change it to an immaterial unicorn or an immaterial leprechaun. Have we moved into the realm of a serious hypothesis now?

You don't like the comparisons of your God to things like unicorns or faries, but this is what you invite when your only positive argument for the existence of God is "you cannot disprove that an immaterial being exists". The believer in a unicorn or fairy can use the exact same argument.

A universe exists and demands an explanation.

It exists, but it may not require an explanation. It may just simply be. This may seem like a dodge, but this is exactly what theists claim about God. I find it far more parsimonious to attribute this quality of "just being" or just existing to the Universe itself.

An hypothesis in keeping with the historical attributes of the christian god however cannot be ruled out. If it can be ruled out, enlighten me as to exactly why.

Let's list some of the attributes.

Perfect Transcendent Omnipresent Omnipotent Omniscient Omnibenevolent Triune

Let's start with perfect. If He is perfect, and He created the Universe, how could the Universe contain imperfection?

Also, why alter reality and create an imperfect Universe in the first place, if everything was already perfect?

Finally, this attribute of perfection is neither proven (how could you prove that?) or necessary for a god. So why do Christians insist on it?

Moving on to transcendence and omnipresence....these two things seem contradictory. How can you be both independent of and beyond the Universe and yet exist in it, in every molecule and quark?

Omniscience. Jesus is a smart guy. Omnipotence. Jesus can do anything that is logically possible.

Except change his own mind (this would negate his omniscience). His omniscience also does not fit well with our supposed capacity for free will; after all, he knows in advance every thought that you will ever have and he is never wrong.

Also, God has a will. Because he is all powerful, his will cannot be resisted. But it is resisted every day when people commit evil acts. So was this evil exactly what God intended? But then, how could an evil being also be perfectly good?

God is all-merciful. But Christians also believe that he created a place called Hell, the worst place imaginable. Now, I know that apparently new data has come from God about Hell; these days Christianity tends to describe Hell in euphemistic terms, as "mere separation from God for eternity". Ok, but how does this still not involve suffering for eternity?

From the Christian perpective, is there really a worse outcome for a being like us than Hell? So the all-merciful being deliberately brought into existence beings that he knew with 100% accuracy (really smart fellow, remember?) would end up suffering for eternity???

That seems a bit dickish, to tell you the truth.

Oh, and then we have the new math of the triune God. God is one being, indivisible. But he has three distinct personalities and natures. Like when he sent his only son to die for humanity, he was sending himself. Before his execution, he pleaded with himself to save himself. He refused to save himself, probably because he remembered that because he is God, he can't actually die or even suffer.

I know, Christians have a word for this; it is a Mystery. A "mystery" that is indistinguishable from something that is simply a jumble of incoherence.

So before we even get to the question of any EVIDENCE (ha!) of this immaterial being who hangs out in the timeless and spaceless realm, we have a whole mess of ridiculous conjectures that can't even get out of their own way.

Therefore, why should we take the Christian claims any more seriously than the claims that a unicorn exists?

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 14:43:52 UTC | #895037

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 30 by Tyler Durden

Comment 24 by Ditchkins :

Subjective reasons such as I don't like the idea of a god or it souinds crazy just don't cut it.

Similarly, subjective reasons such as "my god exists because I just know\feel it" just don't cut it. Yet this is all we ever hear from theists due to a lack of evidence.

We don't know enough to rule god out. It is arrogant to rule his existence out at this stage!!!

And yet you've assigned this god a specific gender. How curious. And arrogant.

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 14:48:06 UTC | #895039