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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

Location: Oxford University, England
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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Discussion Forum

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Comment by Christopher Lowe on February 15, 2015 at 11:12pm

$1,800? You see, in God you really do trust!

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 15, 2015 at 10:23pm

Mac owner here, I feel your pain.

Comment by Joseph P on February 15, 2015 at 9:54pm

Yes, it took the power of a god to get the $1,800 together for my gaming computer ...

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 15, 2015 at 9:47pm

Well if a simulation is programmed, it's programmed by a programmer. Of course it doesn't lead to a god that created everything because at the top of all the simulated worlds would be the real world and that of course wouldn't have a programmer as it wouldn't be a program. But for those in the simulated worlds, those that are running the simulation of their world, would have created and have complete power over it, which is godlike right. 

Comment by Joseph P on February 15, 2015 at 8:16pm

How does that get to a god, short of randomly deciding you want to stick one in somewhere for no good reason?  It runs into the same problem as the cosmological argument.

Okay, so even if the cosmological argument was valid and sound (which it isn't), why would you call that first cause a god?

An argument is no good, if you still have all of your work ahead of you after the argument is completed.

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 15, 2015 at 8:07pm

:D

I do know of one argument not really for a god but could kind of as a consequence go there, it's by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who when asked many moons ago in an interview replied that he was agnostic, which we all known is an atheist that thinks the word agnostic will minimize the amount they have to talk to religious people :)
Anyway his thought experiment went something like this: Simulations of the world and humans in it continuously get more complex, it is fair to assume that given enough time (be it 1,000 or 100,000 years) that our simulations will become indistinguishable from reality, right down to the actually conscious human simulations. The entities in this simulation will of course naturally end up working on their own simulations, and then those, and then those etc. If this is accepted then there would be a potential for a vast number of simulated worlds which is constantly growing, but only one real world. The chances that we are in the real world and not just a simulation is miniscule. If this is accepted then those more than likely simulations themselves that made our simulation would be our god/s.
Clearly no one believes this, but it a good argument right :)

Comment by Joseph P on February 15, 2015 at 6:30pm

I like the objection but I feel it only works up to a point. A creationist could (probably never would but...) say "Yes from my position everything is designed, luckily I'm not trying to convince me ...

Well, yeah, there's always the issue of the inherent dishonesty of Christian apologetics.  Nothing we can do about that.  This is assuming that we're having a discussion in front of a bunch of undecided observers.  You're almost always doing things for the observers who are on the fence.

With any logical argument for the existence of a god, if you're arguing one-on-one, and you're actually trying to convince the person you're arguing with, you need to bypass the logical arguments entirely.  The hosts of The Atheist Experience do it best, with their theistic callers:

"Tell me what you believe and why."

The person you're arguing with almost certainly believes in their religious nonsense because of childhood indoctrination.  Any supposed logical proofs that they hold up as reasons are only post hoc rationalization of what they accepted for anything but rational reasons.  You can't get from any of the logical arguments for the existence of a god to a belief in any specific god.  That's assuming that there was actually an argument for the existence of a god which was both valid and sound, which there isn't.

"So, that's really the reason you became a Christian?  Really?  Really?!?!?"

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 15, 2015 at 6:09pm

I like the objection but I feel it only works up to a point. A creationist could (probably never would but...) say "Yes from my position everything is designed, luckily I'm not trying to convince me. The thought experiment is entirely for your benefit, and I am judging that you would find a watch too complex to not have been designed. Once the idea that something can be 'too complex to not have been designed' is established I can then refer you to the complexity of the universe..."
Of course the counter is, if complexity necessarily infers design, then "the designer" in turn would need to be designed, and "the designer's designer" ad infinitum, and if you're going to claim that "the designer" isn't designed you need to provide a reason why the loophole it slips though can't be applied to the universe (or I guess a watch ;) ).

Comment by Joseph P on February 15, 2015 at 8:33am

That's why I've been reacting how I have been, lately, Quinton.  He has no papers, published or not, which even come close to outlining his proposed alternate model.  Hell, he doesn't even have any writing which clearly outlines his objections, just badly mangled metaphors and emotional appeals to eugenics and supernaturalism.  He has no experimental data.

For a supposedly science-oriented atheist, he doesn't understand the first thing about the scientific method.  I think it's fair to categorize him more as a science fetishist, with a method similar to a 9/11 Truther or a Christian apologist.  That's why I initially thought he was one of the stealth theists that we occasionally get on the site, when he first showed up.

I don't know how he expects anyone to take this shit seriously.

On your other subject: one of the best responses I've heard to the watchmaker argument is pretty concise, actually.  If someone literally starts telling the watch-found-on-the-forest-path narrative, as I've seen many creationists do, there's a simple objection.

You think that we're looking at a watch, which you found lying in a field of watches.  You think that everything is designed.  How did you determine that the watch is designed, when you claim that everything in the universe is designed?  What's your undesigned point of reference?

It's so bad that I've taken to making the watchmaker argument for the creationists, if they make some other construction of an argument from design, since the matchmaker argument more clearly demonstrates why what they're engaging in is so silly.

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 15, 2015 at 4:12am

In the meantime some fun evo stuff. I teaching tool
http://www.biologyinmotion.com/evol/index.html

And a reply to the "if you found a watch lying on the ground" argument used by ID proponents (I love this one!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcAq9bmCeR0&NR=1&feature=fvwp

 

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