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Latest Discussions Started by godzillatemple

Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature - last commented 22 June 2012 06:24 AM

Evolutionary equivalents of human intelligence - last commented 15 May 2012 10:35 PM

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Go to: Refuting supernatural

godzillatemple's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by godzillatemple

I would add the following:

7. The fact that a phenomenon has been observed that cannot be explained by current scientific theories does not provide evidence for the existence of any particular supernatural entity. All it provides evidence for is that current scientific theories may be incomplete. Or that the observed phenomenon was misrepresented, misreported, misconstrued or simply a lie or hoax.

I always crack up whenever I hear somebody argue that just because "science can't explain" something that it therefore proves the existence of God, aliens, magic, Bigfoot, etc., etc., etc.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 21:19:30 UTC | #949119

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

godzillatemple's Avatar Jump to comment 131 by godzillatemple

I think it's interesting to note, btw, that many theists seem to cling to a belief in God because they feel that a world without a God would be filled with meaningless suffering. Many atheists, on the other hand, reject a belief in of God precisely because a world with a God would be filled with purposeful suffering.

Sat, 26 May 2012 11:40:21 UTC | #943639

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

godzillatemple's Avatar Jump to comment 130 by godzillatemple

I've pointed it out primarily because I think this is actually very common. I think atheists want to be able to say 'the universe is just plain cruel and sadistic ', and I think that is precisely how many feel, but feel they cannot because that would seem to impart 'intent' everyone officially pretends to have the ' oh...its all merely amoral and indifferent' attitude.

All right, thank you for finally making your agenda clear. Although I have to say your position reminds me a bit of those who claim that atheists really believe in God since otherwise they wouldn't spend so much time arguing against his existence in the first place. Or those who claim that God is a "concept" and that atheists must therefore believe in God in order to talk about him.

I suppose I should have been more careful to title this discussion, "Intelligent Design and the apparent cruelty of nature." My apologies for not being clearer on this point up front, but I figured everybody would understand what I was talking about (and apparently I was right with one exception).

If you will permit to restate my initial premise without constantly cherry-picking my past statements and ignoring everything else I have said (I really do like my chair analogy, btw):

  1. There is a large amount of suffering evident in the natural world, much of which seems unnecessary. And by "seems unnecessary," I simply mean that I can easily imagine a world with mortality that does not involve all that suffering.

  2. Proponents of "Intelligent Design" claim that the natural world was created by an omniscient, omnipotent and loving God who cares about every single creature and who promotes so-called "Christian" values of kindness and mercy.

  3. It seems (to me, at least) that the evidence discussed in the first point contradicts the belief described in the second point.

  4. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that those who believe in Intelligent Design also accept the evidence discussed in the first point and, if so, I would like to know how they resolve the apparent contradiction. Perhaps there is no contradiction in their mind because my assumption is faulty and they do not agree that the natural world involves needless suffering. Or perhaps they simply haven't studied the matter in any depth, don't realize just how much needless suffering there is, and would actually reject their belief in Intelligent Design if confronted with the evidence.

For the record, I don't actually want to say "the universe is just plain cruel and sadistic." At most, I want to say that a supreme being would need to be "just plain cruel and sadistic" in order to purposely create a universe where so much needless suffering occurred as part of His divine plan. And I say that only to refute the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent and loving God in the first place.

Now that you have made your agenda clear, I doubt that this will put an end to your comments. But thank you for at least letting us know why you keep going off on these weird tangents of yours.

Sat, 26 May 2012 11:14:24 UTC | #943638

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

godzillatemple's Avatar Jump to comment 126 by godzillatemple

My point is surely very clear.

Yes, and it surely is irrelevant, which is the point I've been trying to make.

How about an analogy?

If you and I both agree that chairs have four legs, it doesn't matter whether we are making an a priori assumption as to the how many legs chairs have or whether there is some scientific or evolutionary basis for that belief. It doesn't matter whether there is some external or absolute notion of "chair" that we can use as a justification for our belief that chairs have four legs. All that matters is that we both share a common belief that chairs have four legs. Whether or not that belief is objectively true, we both claim to believe it.

However, it turns out that, in addition to your belief that chairs have four legs, you also happen to believe that all the chairs in the world were produced by a factory called "The Three-Legged Chair" that only makes chairs with three legs. To back up this belief, you show me brochures that supposedly come from this factory that state that they do, in fact, make all the chairs in the world and that their corporate philosophy is to only make chairs with three legs. Any chair with fewer or greater than three legs, according to these brochures, is not even really a chair at all, and you are absolutely convinced that the very definition of what is or is not a chair can only be derived from whatever this factory says and does since it is (according to your belief) the only factory in the world that makes chairs.

Given this state of affairs, would it be wrong or illogical or nonsensical for me to point out that it makes no sense for you to simultaneously claim that all chairs have four legs and that all chairs were made by a factory that only makes three-legged chairs? Further, does it even matter in the slightest whether or not I actually believe that all chairs have four legs or not? The point is, you have stated a set of beliefs which are logically inconsistent and it's perfectly valid for me to question you about that inconsistency.

Now, you may actually have an answer. You may claim that all the chairs we see in the world only seem to have four legs but that they really have three. Or you may claim that the information in the factory brochure is only being metaphorical when it states that it only makes three-legged chairs. You may even claim that you don't really believe that all chairs on earth have four legs in the first place and that I am putting words in your mouth. Or maybe you have some completely different answer. But this is exactly what I wanted to explore with this discussion -- what are the typical responses from people who believe in the global three-legged chair factory when asked to rationalize that belief with the apparent evidence of four-legged chairs all around us.

Now, it's true -- my question certainly assumes that the global three-legged chair factory believers also believe in the existence of four-legged chairs, and maybe that assumption is flawed. But stating that my underlying assumption that chairs have four legs is flawed really adds nothing whatsoever to the discussion, especially since it doesn't seem to be the type of response that a global three-legged chair factory believer would be likely to ever make.

Surely you can see that?

Fri, 25 May 2012 23:59:20 UTC | #943583

Go to: Intelligent Design and the cruelty of nature

godzillatemple's Avatar Jump to comment 123 by godzillatemple

Having said all that (repeatedly), let me also repeat what I said earlier about the origin of morality.

I do not personally believe in any sort of "absolute" morality. I believe that morality is, and should be, defined according to specific circumstances. I do believe that there is some underlying principle that is common to all moral systems ("creating unnecessary suffering is bad") and I also believe that this underlying principle may very well be the result of evolution and is therefore "hardwired" into us and not the result of mere philosophical discussion.

The problem, of course, is that different cultures either choose to suppress this innate sense of morality completely or else differ on what constitutes "needless." As I mentioned above, I suppose it is possible that those who profess a belief in a moral creator despite the evident suffering in the natural world may simply be choosing to define all suffering (and not just that of man) as "necessary." I have problems with that statement and feel it leads to other contradictions, but as I said I can at least see how that would allow somebody to reconcile two seemingly inconsistent beliefs.

Fri, 25 May 2012 19:13:54 UTC | #943549

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