You can't know atheism is true unless God exists.

It doesn't seem likely to me that believing in a God would allow me to know the truth and reality any better than not believing in a God.

Actually it is when the logical truth is strictly explicit in suggesting that a Believing Mind is the ONLY way the truth and reality are made known.
 
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Actually it is when the logical truth is strictly explicit in suggesting that a Believing Mind is the ONLY way the truth and reality are made known.
So you say, but I don't see any reason to believe it.

You are, of course, free to believe what you want.
 
Why is it a false dichotomy? Do you agree with Komodo?
The author presents no reason why "If there is no God everything is purely material".
Everything could be purely material even if there is a God. Or there could be something more than material without there being a God.
We could all be souls or spirits inhabiting the flesh, that wouldn't necessitate a God.
Unless he is defining anything that would be beyond the material, as God.
From what I've read of Komodo's take I'd say I agree.
 
There are many philosophical objections to the notion of agent causation (cf. event causation) to which the author is appealing. Some of these are that it requires a robust account of personal identity, that it is sui generis (i.e. unique and radically different from normal causation), that it is incompatible with reductive analyses of causation, that it is committed to the existence of uncaused (and therefore random) events in the origination of free acts, and that it derives its plausibility only through conflation with regular event causation.
I'm working on the third time reading this paragraph. What do you mean by "normal" causation- or a "normal" causation?
Do these philosophical objections to agent causation arise only from naturalists or materialists or atheists, correct?

The objections:
1. personal identity -metaphysical vs physical
2. incompatible with reductive analyses of causation--you're starting to sound like Gus. Please don't invoke Occam's razor.
3. committed to the existence of the uncaused, random events secondary to free acts - only one possibility
4. it is plausible only by conflating it with a "regular" event causation-???

Would you mind specifically pointing out the exact things that you disagree with in that section? It would be easier for me to discuss it that way.
 
Idealism is often misunderstood as advocating for some kind of psychic mind-over-matter ability.

But I will explain my vision of idealism as simply as I can, by using a coffee mug as an example. What do we really know about this coffee mug sitting in front of me? Well it has a certain appearance---a pleasant cream colour, with an indented rim and a delicate-but-not-too-delicate handle. But those are just my visual experiences of the mug, they aren't properties of the mug itself. It is cool to the touch (when empty)---another part of my experience. It is "hard" in the way that glazed ceramics typically feel---again, something known through experience.

But can we say anything at all apart from our experience? Perhaps we could put the mug in a box so that I can no longer see or feel it. But I can still feel the weight of the mug in the box, if I pick it up. I can see the effects of the mug holding down the box from a gust of air. Etc. Again, these are all things about my experience, and not necessarily about the mug itself.

What about the atoms making up the mug?---surely we don't experience those. And indeed not. But atoms are just objects in our models to understand our experiences with the stuff of the mug, and those models are, once more, derived from experiment and observation---in a word, experience.
After such an intense analysis of the mug, you can experience the mug in other ways. By thinking about the mug, you can bring forth visual memories of the mug. Or you could get some paper and colored pencils and draw the mug. Your experience of the mug doesn't stop with your physical senses. As for the atoms of the mug, we can't know them individually. Individually the atoms make up the mug but individually they are not the mug.
The eighteenth-century philosopher George Berkeley thought that there was nothing more to the mug beyond those kinds of experiential things. We can make models of the mug, or have mug-experiences, so to speak. But there is no such thing as the mug itself. Berkeley thought instead that God simply fed us a steady stream of mug-experiences such as He finds appropriate.
Weird. How can we experience something that doesn't exist?
Later on, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant suggested that Berkeley was partially correct: We only have access to experience, not to the mug itself. But he disagreed with Berkeley about God feeding us experiences directly. Instead, Kant suggested that there really was such a thing as the mug itself, beyond our experience, but that we just can't know anything about it aside from the fact that it somehow produces mug-experiences.
This sound similar to Plato's theory of the forms.
If you are drinking from the mug, you wash the mug and put it on the shelf for the next time you want to use the mug. The mug itself is there and you can experience it over and over. This philosophy doesn't even corresond to our everyday experiences.
In the twenty-first century, a philosopher friend of mine by the name of Michael Long, in unpublished conversations, also agreed with Kant and Berkeley that we only have access to our experience. He also agreed with Berkeley over Kant that there is no such thing as the mug itself. But, like Kant, he still disagreed with Berkeley about God feeding us experiences directly. On Long's view, the explanation of our mug-experiences lie in the regularity of experience, so that one experience causes another, rather than being caused by external, material objects. The mug, then is really just an object in our models of experience, to help us make sense of those experiences.

It is Long's view that I once held, although nowadays I'm agnostic about it.
Was Long's everyday experiences of interacting with the things of this "uncreated" world considered to be not determined by physical laws? Does this way of experiencing the world allow for a free will?
 
But you can't get to know the truth and reality in your unbelief (atheism).
You lack belief in belief's ability to make falsehoods mistakenly known to you as truths.

Since, according to you, a person can't get to know the truth and reality in unbelief, you can't get to know it either.

This means you've provided us with the basis to reject almost everything you've ever written here about belief.

Thanks.

edit: you routinely demand that we show you where your arguments have been debunked. This (ie. my post) is just one of probably hundreds of examples of that debunking. Bookmark it, for your own edification.
 
This isn't really guiding evolution - guides implies continuous intervention.

Evolution requires two things:

1. heritable mutations,
2. changing environmental conditions

Does your god cause the mutations and/or alter the environmental conditions?

If so, what's the evidence for this?
I don't know. Maybe or maybe not but no necessarily.
 
Yes. Goodness gracious yes.

I think postulating the existence of an immaterial soul creates two problems:
1. It moves the problem of mind up a level of causation, to one that cannot in principle be explored, and
2. Multiplies entities unnecessarily

Seems simpler to just say that we don't know how things work, and never did, no big deal.
1. Can it be explored somewhat by examining those with near death experiences?
2. I'm not sure what you mean by "multiplies entities." Do you mean the human soul and the Creator of the human soul?

I don't believe I can say "we don't know how things work and never did". From my pov, it is a big deal.
When I was an atheist, it didn't matter. I could not care less to even discuss these things. Now, as Christian, it matter.
 
Determinism is not inherent to physical reality. Experience and memory however are. Thus an ability to choose and not be forced to react in a manner determined by those factors is also intrinsic in us.

You have far too simplistic a view of human nature, motivation, and action absent God.
I'm regurgitating some of this stuff from atheists like Jerry Coyne who wrote the book, Why Evolution is true. He calls humans "meat robots".
Jason Dulle, who wrote the article with the link in the OP, quotes 3-4 naturalists that say the same type of thing. Many intelligent atheists on CARM agree with determinism. (Temujin, 8crackers, Mike T... off the top of my head are determinists but not when it comes to the practicalities of life which is also mentioned in Dulle's article)

My view of human nature is more nuanced with a Christian slant. Do you have a name for your view?
 
If determinism "forces" me to believe that there is no god, and there is no god, then the belief is correct, no matter its origin.

Yes?
Ahh, there's the rub. Don't you know, intuitively humans have this empty feeling within us that wants more than what this natural life can provide.. We long for purpose and meaning and something beyond the finality of death. This something more leads us to look for a creator who is above all of this mess.

If determinism forces you to not believe in God, then you would be misaligned with those natural forces that were put into play by the hand of God. Look again at the natural world and see the beauty and the contrasts and let it speak to you about the one who made them.
 
@The Pixie, you're post #50 is the first on my agenda to respond to tomorrow.
bedtime.gif
 
I'm working on the third time reading this paragraph. What do you mean by "normal" causation- or a "normal" causation? Do these philosophical objections to agent causation arise only from naturalists or materialists or atheists, correct?
By 'normal' causation I mean event causation - a causal relation holding between events in the world, where antecedent conditions are causally sufficient to bring about an outcome. By contrast, agent causation is posited as a relation holding directly and irreducibly between an agent or person as cause, and an event as the outcome. The agent itself, rather than any action performed by the agent, or any event involving the agent, is said to somehow cause (without being a sufficient cause) the outcome. Arguments for and against the doctrine are usually (at least in academic contexts) less motivated by theism/atheism or naturalism/supernaturalism, and more by hard determinism vs compatibilism regarding free will.

Would you mind specifically pointing out the exact things that you disagree with in that section? It would be easier for me to discuss it that way.
That won't really work well, because his assumption of the viability of agent causation underlies the whole section as a presupposition, much in the same way that incompatibilism is presupposed by much of his article without being argued for. The objections I listed were a bit technical and I don't want to write an essay here, so I'll instead try to elaborate on the notions of agent causation as being sui generis and relying on conflation with event causation for plausibility, and on it being committed to uncaused events (randomness) in the generation of free acts/choices.

Speaking of an agent acting as a prime mover, originating new causal chains in the world through one's free choices initially sounds plausible, as we often speak of people making things happen. But on closer analysis, when we say that Billy caused the broken window, what we really mean is that there was a causal chain linking the event of the window breaking to prior events involving Billy - his body's movements, nerve signals, brain chemistry, etc. The notion that there might be a direct causal connection between Billy himself and some first event in a new causal chain, which doesn't reduce under analysis to some change in Billy causing the next event in the chain, is a wholly new form of causation that we do not find in science or have any direct experience of in everyday life (even if we do 'feel' ourselves to be originating our choices). Note also that causation is typically thought of as a case of some event, or set of events as prior conditions, being sufficient for the occurrence of the outcome as an effect. With agent causation, by contrast, the agent was present well before the first effect in the new chain, so cannot be considered sufficient for the effect (otherwise the effect would have been happening all the time).

Agent causation is typically brought up as a way of retaining libertarian (i.e. contra-causal) free will in the face of objections that indeterminism would introduce randomness by making free choices effectively uncaused. As noted above, agent causation certainly loses any sufficient cause by postulating the person himself as first cause, but it is thought that there is at least a cause of sorts here, and that (as the person is not an event) there are at least no wholly uncaused events involved - we trace back the chain of caused events back, not to an uncaused event, but to a person instead. But the instance of agent A directly causing the first event E1 in this new chain (A->E1) is itself an event - something that happened - and so we can still ask what caused that to occur, i.e. [ ? -> (A->E1) ]. The only answer seems to be nothing at all, i.e. Billy's directly causing the first thing to happen (presumably some brain event) that led to the broken window seems to be itself wholly uncaused and therefore no more 'up to him' than purely random indeterminism.

It might seem reasonable to object that if Billy caused that first event then clearly it must have been up to him, but when you realize that it was not any event involving him which caused E1, or any specific aspect of his personality or character playing a causal role, but rather just a completely uncaused instantiation of a causal relation between Billy as a whole and some first event, then the position seems a lot more mysterious and less plausible.
 
1. Can it be explored somewhat by examining those with near death experiences?
If an entity or phenomenon has no causal basis in material by definition, it is hard to see how its causal basis could be explored by reference to material conditions.
2. I'm not sure what you mean by "multiplies entities." Do you mean the human soul and the Creator of the human soul?
Yes. By proposing a soul, and then (on top of that) a creator of a soul, you have added two layers of things you need to explain. To my thinking, I just need to explain the relationship of mind to brain in careful objective ways, and I can't. If God is needed, I still have to explain the relationship of mind to brain in an objective way, then I have to demonstrate what a soul is, and do the same to God. The last of these seems by definition not susceptible to being explained in objective terms, much less characterizeable. Yeek. It's my favorite version of Occam's razor: do not multiply explanatory entities unnecessarily.
I don't believe I can say "we don't know how things work and never did". From my pov, it is a big deal.
When I was an atheist, it didn't matter. I could not care less to even discuss these things. Now, as Christian, it matter.
Well, I guess I put that carelessly. It matters to me too, but a lot of things matter to me that way, and ignorance and confusion is the human condition. So it doesn't stand out all that much, is what I mean.
 
Ahh, there's the rub. Don't you know, intuitively humans have this empty feeling within us that wants more than what this natural life can provide..
No, I don't know that.

And even if I did, wanting a thing does not serve as evidence that it exists.
We long for purpose and meaning and something beyond the finality of death.
Again, speak for yourself.
This something more
Hold your horses - it's a "something more" you want, not a "something more" that's been shown to exist!
That's like saying "I want a teleporter, so I'm going to search for the factory that makes them".
If determinism forces you to not believe in God, then you would be misaligned with those natural forces that were put into play by the hand of God.
Rejected - no evidence provided.
Look again at the natural world and see the beauty and the contrasts and let it speak to you about the one who made them.
This is "look at the clouds" nonsense.

To quote Douglas Adams,

'Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?'
 
If determinism forces you to not believe in God, then you would be misaligned with those natural forces that were put into play by the hand of God. Look again at the natural world and see the beauty and the contrasts and let it speak to you about the one who made them.
What about the ugliness and sheer horror found in the natural world too? If you can use the beauty in the world as part of an argument for God, then can not the ugliness be used as an argument against?

An example of the horror of the world ...
To Darwin, natural selection produced the good of adaptation but removed the need for design,[9] and he could not see the work of an omnipotent deity in all the pain and suffering such as the ichneumon wasp paralysing caterpillars as live food for its eggs.
Found here.
 
What about the ugliness and sheer horror found in the natural world too? If you can use the beauty in the world as part of an argument for God, then can not the ugliness be used as an argument against?
"That's because of sin."

Heads, they win; tails, they win.
 
Gus, what are you saying?
I'm saying that one way that people will continue the believe in some claim is if that claim is impossible, in principle, to explore whether it's true or not (that is, an unfalsifiable claim), because that allows a person to continue to believe it, as no refutation is possible, in principle. Now, an unfalsfiable claim *should* be rejected automatically, but most people haven't explored why that is true.
 
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