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AnthroGeek
New Member

USA
38 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  01:59:09  Show Profile Send AnthroGeek a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I will not lie, I have had one phil class as a student and it has done nothing but piss me of so far, and that was a year ago.

I came across a youtube theist who seems well versed in it - at least beyond that of myself.

I have not the proper skills to express why he is wrong but I can't help think he is full of shit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY1gEXYhfIM&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZZNirHPwKw&feature=channel


Something I just can't quite put my finger on but it feels like he is playing word games and lacking any evidence on his part. He might very well make a good argument but it seems to lack anything of substance.

So all you folks versed in the ways of philosophy that would be willing to show me what I am missing would be most helpful.(I would take more classes in it but I made an agreement that if I was to enroll in another phil class that my prof could just smack me on the head and say no)



A series of fun one-liners about various pseudoscientific claims and, even better, a concise description of the scientific method - Ken Feder on Skeptic Friends Network from "Frauds, Myths and Mysteries"

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  10:09:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I watched the first video. It's 17 minutes, and the guy is at least well-spoken and reasonably clear in what he's saying. One general problem he has is with the idea of "negative atheism". But for him-- and perhaps he's right-- "negative atheism" is the notion that you literally have a non-view (see ca. the 8:02 mark) , and that you have some sort of "neutrality" on the position. He likens it (see ca. the 8:40 mark) to being a rock or turtle, and "without a position" on the god question.

According to the wiki on the topic, he seems correct:
Weak (or negative) atheists include implicit atheists (those who have thought little, or not at all, about gods) and those who explicitly eschew belief in deities without asserting deities do not exist.
But when phrased like that, it's hard to imagine anyone in the modern world being a so-called negative atheist.

So he wants us all to be so-called "positive atheists" which allows him to shift to his next argument-- namely that just because there's no proof for god doesn't mean we shouldn't believe in one. But fuck, he gets into the sort of argument I hate, and is why I hate philosophy. It goes like this: the argument that you have to have evidence to believe in something would then itself require evidence. To which I say screw that. But regardless, he wants to argue that even if there's no evidence for a god, it doesn't mean that one should default to atheism.

However, his main argument for this is to just say that "it's false to give atheism the benefit of the doubt" and to keep rephrasing this for several minutes, each time taking longer and longer to do so (this is at ca. the 12 minute mark). At some point, he quotes atheist philosophers who say things like (and this is a direct quote from the video; I haven't checked the works in question):
to fail to provide for the non-existence of God is... to virtually concede the debate to the person who at least gives some arguments, however weak, in behalf of the position that God exists
But none of this holds water for me. Suppose this guy-- Veritas 48-- came to my door and said that unless I paid him $50 and give him my flat screen HD TV, some assassins would kill me at some point in the next 3 weeks. Could I possibly refute this? Not really. It is impossible to provide compelling evidence that assassins won't kill me in the next 3 weeks. But is that reason to give Veritas 48 even a huge black and white TV, let alone hard currency? Hardly.

But again, he seems to say that in order for the atheistic argument to be valid, I need to offer more solid, positive evidence for it (see the 14 minute mark). But this seems ridiculous. If I told Veritas 48 that if he goes to work tomorrow, he'll die and he should call in sick-- and that moreover, that's the sole futuristic prediction I can make-- should he listen to me at all?!?

In short, this guy's arguments aren't all that compelling. Moreover, they're made weaker by the fact that god isn't defined at all. What god or gods is he talking about? Is it Zeus? Yahweh? Or some un-named (and, of course, nebulously-defined) supernatural force? It's hard to provide arguments against something that has no concrete definitions!

If I had the time and technical knowledge, I'd love to craft a YouTube reply to this guy. But I'll leave that for someone else...
Edited by - Cuneiformist on 01/03/2010 12:29:46
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  11:09:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That was a good read, Cuneiformist.

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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  12:28:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But is that reason to give Veritas 48 even a huge black and white TV


You have a black and white TV?

It goes like this: the argument that you have to have evidence to believe in something would then itself require evidence. To which I say screw that.


Why? We have plenty evidence of this assertion. All that we know through science and all that pseudoscientists don't know is perfect evidence.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  12:39:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ricky
It goes like this: the argument that you have to have evidence to believe in something would then itself require evidence. To which I say screw that.
Why? We have plenty evidence of this assertion. All that we know through science and all that pseudoscientists don't know is perfect evidence.
Well, I guess I should have clarified. As I said-- and he's quoting some philosopher here-- he suggests that there is an argument that in order to believe in something, then you have to have evidence for it. However, he goes further (again following the philosopher whose name I forget) suggesting that this very argument itself lacks evidence and so it is self-refuting. That is, there is no evidence to believe that you need to have evidence to believe something.

My mind gets sort of bent out of shape trying to think about that, but my experience tells me that this isn't true. As I noted above-- and this Veritas guy must know it-- he believes in all sorts of things without evidence (like the idea that assassins aren't going to kill him, or that he'll not die if he goes to work tomorrow). So the whole thing is just some masturbatory exercise in philosophical hoop-jumping, and not based in reality.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  15:25:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cune.....

he suggests that there is an argument that in order to believe in something, then you have to have evidence for it. However, he goes further (again following the philosopher whose name I forget) suggesting that this very argument itself lacks evidence and so it is self-refuting. That is, there is no evidence to believe that you need to have evidence to believe something.
There is ample evidence that for the fact that you have to have evidence to sustain belief. The required evidence is simply the fact of consistent and unfailing repetition of the phenomenon in which one has belief -- under given conditions, a result or phenomena will occur unfailingly, every time the conditions are met. It is the standard test of any scientific theory necessary to make the theory axiomatic.

There is no set of conditions yet discovered that will invariably and unfailingly create a situation that demonstrates the existence or presence of God. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that God exists.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  15:29:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That is, there is no evidence to believe that you need to have evidence to believe something.


Yes there is! When you believe things without evidence, you let in things like Laetrile and cold fusion: things that we know don't work. This is empirical data that it is better to have evidence to believe something.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  16:10:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ricky

Yes there is! When you believe things without evidence, you let in things like Laetrile and cold fusion: things that we know don't work. This is empirical data that it is better to have evidence to believe something.
Only if you already believe that things like "empirical data" are reflections of the real world.

The guy Cune is talking about would suggest, I'm sure, that basic logic itself is nothing more than an evidence-free belief, so to base any other beliefs on it (like that one should have evidence before believing something) is just a matter of faith. At least as far as his attempt at a counter-argument to evidentialism goes. I mean, he's just trying to rebut evidential requirements, but he's doing so in a way that would pretty much mean that there's no such thing as knowledge (which is self-refuting, also).

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  17:17:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The guy Cune is talking about would suggest, I'm sure...


I suppose our difference is that I'm not so sure. You may very well be right, but you are bringing his ideas to a level of solipsism that does not occur in the video. This I find unjustified, tentatively.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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AnthroGeek
New Member

USA
38 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  18:20:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send AnthroGeek a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you Cune

In short, this guy's arguments aren't all that compelling. Moreover, they're made weaker by the fact that god isn't defined at all. What god or gods is he talking about? Is it Zeus? Yahweh? Or some un-named (and, of course, nebulously-defined) supernatural force? It's hard to provide arguments against something that has no concrete definitions!


The lack of what defines god was my biggest gripe.I just couldn't think of a good example. Your tv/assassins one was the kind of thing I was looking for.

It as if he wants to pit an argument lacking evidence against a positive evidence based counter claim. It is really not quite a shifting of the burden of proof as I can tell, but it is so close that it just gets under my skin.


A series of fun one-liners about various pseudoscientific claims and, even better, a concise description of the scientific method - Ken Feder on Skeptic Friends Network from "Frauds, Myths and Mysteries"
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  18:58:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ricky

I suppose our difference is that I'm not so sure. You may very well be right, but you are bringing his ideas to a level of solipsism that does not occur in the video. This I find unjustified, tentatively.
No, he's actually rejecting the idea that all beliefs require evidence. He's doing so by off-hand asserting that "all beliefs require evidence" is an unevidenced belief, and leaving it at that. He hasn't bothered to think through the consequences of that belief, because he rejects the premise. If he were to do so, he should end up in a nasty solipsistic pit.

By the way, this guy's biggest problem seems to be that he can't argue against the "psychological state" that is "negative atheism" (because he's right: it's not a truth claim or an argument, it's simply a lack of theism), and so he desperately wants atheists to become "positive atheists" (by re-defining negative atheism out of the picture, which is very silly) because he can argue against that. Or at least he thinks he can.

Of course, the silliest part of Veritas 48's video is where he tries to give the root, a-, different meanings based on bad pronunciation. He contrasts "ay-theism" with "ah-moral," and insists that the same Greek root means different things in those words. Sorry, bud, but a- means "without," not "no." He also seems rather annoyed that people are involved in trying to shift the popular meaning of "atheism" from "belief that there is no god" to "lack of belief in god," when the ancient Greeks seem to have used the word to simply denote godlessness, and the popular movement today is simply trying to get back to that point linguistically.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  19:37:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.
By the way, this guy's biggest problem seems to be that he can't argue against the "psychological state" that is "negative atheism" (because he's right: it's not a truth claim or an argument, it's simply a lack of theism), and so he desperately wants atheists to become "positive atheists" (by re-defining negative atheism out of the picture, which is very silly) because he can argue against that. Or at least he thinks he can.
Thank you, Dave for phrasing what I had trouble doing this morning. Because you're entirely correct. He absolutely has a vested interest in making all atheists fall under a certain camp so that he has an easier time with his argument.

Of course, the silliest part of Veritas 48's video is where he tries to give the root, a-, different meanings based on bad pronunciation. He contrasts "ay-theism" with "ah-moral," and insists that the same Greek root means different things in those words. Sorry, bud, but a- means "without," not "no." He also seems rather annoyed that people are involved in trying to shift the popular meaning of "atheism" from "belief that there is no god" to "lack of belief in god," when the ancient Greeks seem to have used the word to simply denote godlessness, and the popular movement today is simply trying to get back to that point linguistically.
This is another good point-- namely that his time defining atheism by its Greek roots is absolutely worthless.
Edited by - Cuneiformist on 01/04/2010 07:30:07
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  19:43:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe someone should invite Veritas 48 here to see the above comments?

Never mind. I just did it...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  20:24:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Answered your own question, by action. You are evolving Kill, not bad. SS

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  22:58:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist

Thank you, Dave for phrasing what I had trouble doing this morning. Because you're entirely correct. He absolutely has a vested interest in making all atheists fall under a certain camp so that he has an easier time with his argument.
He did have one other argument against "negative atheism." Or at least one other reason that it should be done away with or disregarded. He says that we should all agree to get rid of such implicit atheism because people who don't want to be called atheists would fall under such a broad definition. In other words, Veritas 48 thinks it's a bad thing that people who are (for all practical intents and purposes) atheists might get labeled "atheists" against their desires.

But, there are plenty of religious people who don't want to be called religious. There are plenty of conservatives who don't want to be associated with that label. How many jerks actually call themselves jerks? And one might note that not a single zebra has announced its acceptance of the label "zebra."

A refusal to accept that a particular definition holds for a particular person is done for one of two reasons. One, the definition is factually incorrect (like calling Rush Limbaugh a communist). Or two, the person simply doesn't want to be associated with a label that surely does apply (like calling Rush Limbaugh a hypocrite). Sure, non-spiritual non-theist agnostics who think only of "positive atheism" when they hear the word "atheist" aren't going to want to be called "atheists." But the word has more than one meaning (true for the last 2,500+ years), like many other words. I have a hard time believing that the Oxford English Dictionary (cited by Veritas 48) supplies only the "positive atheist" definition of the word.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2010 :  00:06:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist
As I said-- and he's quoting some philosopher here-- he suggests that there is an argument that in order to believe in something, then you have to have evidence for it. However, he goes further (again following the philosopher whose name I forget) suggesting that this very argument itself lacks evidence and so it is self-refuting. That is, there is no evidence to believe that you need to have evidence to believe something.

I think that's just bullshit.
Of course people have to have evidence for what they believe.
The question is what standard of evidence you require.

For a theist, the priest's or minister's say-so is evidence enough to believe that what he says is true. The mere existance of the Bible may be the evidence that fuels his belief.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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