Monday, August 20, 2007

Delusion VI - Chapter 3

Objection! Argumentative. In "Arguments for God's Existence" it appears to me like an elaborate debate style argument. Except that his side of the debate goes uncontested. Like an advocate, he is sure never to be lying, but you never can tell how much spin he puts on anything in particular. Without going in and going to the source of every detail, there is no hope to know if he is exaggerating any claims. Some of the arguments are familiar, some are not. The familiar arguments he is painting his own colour. Where there is discrepancy between historical accounts of the bible and other history he is implying the biblical one is wrong. I am not sure that all his claims of the bibles inaccuracies are unexagerrated, but I do not need any convincing that the relationship between described individual details of the bible and what actually happened is incidental. However, I am inclined to take any "historical facts" mentioned in the "God Delusion" with the same amount of skepticism - ie. I just skim over any actual historical details and ignore them as irrelevant to his points.

10 comments:

winstoninabox said...

Although the Bible being the Word of God, wouldn't you expect it to be error free?

Dr. Clam said...

winstoninabox: Welcome back! This is however a 'where is teh windrider in crossroads' sort of question which does not advance the cause of truth and is unlikely to lead us into interesting waters. Marco is not a fundamentalist and has lots of experience arguing with people who expect the Bible to be error free. He is quite right that critics of the Bible are often naively ready to embrace counter-narratives about particular events which are based on flimsy evidence and later turn out to be untrue.

Marco said...

I feel I am immune to external arguments to believe in God. I am feeling intense pressure from this book and the books owner (my father) to "convert" to atheism. I have concrete reasons to believe atheism is not a solution to anything, however. I will get to them in the appropriate chapters.

winstoninabox said...

Sorry I don't know the windrider/crossroads question. Google tells me it may have something to do with World of Warcraft???

I'm happy to retract the question. Whether the Bible is historically accurate or not is neither here nor there as to providing proof of God, anymore than if Harry Potter's books are geographically accurate as to their portrayal of London providing proof that magic exists.

I wouldn't call atheism a 'solution'. It is a position come to after viewing the evidence. It doesn't inherently solve problems. And I'm unsure what problems there are to solve.

Marco said...

A philosophy in life ought in fact to solve problems, I believe. Whether it be a philosophy passed down from generation to generation, the one of your peers, a combination of sources or a new one, one invents - It resolves the issue both individually and in like-minded groups about how to make moral decisions. Atheism, with its accusatory tone on God-based philosophies throws out the baby with the bath-water, IMHO, AND leaves behind a vaccuum that could be filled with more destructive philosophies. As far as evidence is concerned, there is no evidence that we should have any morals other than to make our species successful. Does this mean they are a non-binding philosophical construct?

winstoninabox said...

Morals and the existence of God are separate issues. We can and do have morals without God. There are millions of (possibly billions of) non-believers who still hold morale beliefs.

Atheism isn't accusatory in tone. It sounds accusatory because it is being used in contrast to belief in the supernatural.

And it is certainly not as accusatory in tone as any monotheistic religion that says my God exists and your god doesn't.

And believing in something that's not true because something else worse may take its place again doesn't qualify the existence of God. But it does show a certain lack of faith in people.

Dr. Clam said...

And it is certainly not as accusatory in tone as any monotheistic religion that says my God exists and your god doesn't.

Monotheistic religions don't as a rule say that. They say:'your God is an imperfectly realised imagining of my God'.

Saying 'your God doesn't exist, nyah nyah!' as Dawkins does, is certainly more accusatory than that.

Believing in something that may or may not be true because your knowledge of history and human nature leads you to believe that the probability is high that it would be replaced by something worse is perfectly rational. It does indeed show a lack of faith in people, but no-one in their right mind would put faith in creatures like that. Most of them are perfectly decent as individuals, but collectively they are a mob of nitwits.

winstoninabox said...

Monotheistic religions don't as a rule say that. They say:'your God is an imperfectly realised imagining of my God'.

You obviously went to a different Sunday school than I did.

Saying 'your God doesn't exist, nyah nyah!' as Dawkins does, is certainly more accusatory than that.

Dawkins isn't atheism. But over the last few weeks I've become much less enamored with his tone.

Believing in something that may or may not be true because your knowledge of history and human nature leads you to believe that the probability is high that it would be replaced by something worse is perfectly rational.

"May or may not be" is hardly a fair assessment of the probability. The idea that the world would be overtaken with some horrible soul crushing morality should God be found to be absent from the world universe seems a little on the far side to me. As I said, plenty of people live quite happily without God. Maybe its only believers who have a lack of faith in humanity?

Marco said...

Morals and the existence of God are separate issues. We can and do have morals without God.

We'll get to that when I read the appropriate chapters. I'd like to see the whole of Dawkins' take on it before I rip him to shreds. I believe that his arguments will ring hollow in my ears.

winstoninabox said...

I hope not, because you're virtually saying that Atheists are immoral. 8-)