On 7/10/2013 1:59 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 1:58 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 7/9/2013 11:06 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

    On Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 11:53 PM, chris peck <chris_peck...@hotmail.com
    <mailto:chris_peck...@hotmail.com>> wrote:

        there are many words like that which we use without any fuss.

        The word 'game' is a famous example where different games possess a 
myriad of
        properties which are shared by some and not others. In fact there 
doesn't seem
        to be a set of properties sufficient to capture the nature of all games.
        Nevertheless, we use the word without any fuss.

    Words with broad meanings are fine. Where they lead to trouble is when one 
    the non-existence of all things that belong to very wide classes.  For example 
    don't believe there exists any game that I would enjoy". As you point out, 
    statement applies to an immense set of possible objects because so many 
    games exist.  Without knowing or experiencing every possible game, how can 
such a
    belief be justified?

    It's justified by introspection as to what one believes.

One may believe that, but the belief has no justification. Just because someone dislikes 800 out of the 800 games they have tried is not proof that they dislike all games. This reminds me of the joke where the physicists try to prove all odd numbers are prime: Physicist: "1 is prime, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 - that's strange, must be experimental error..., 11 is prime, 13 is prime. It is proven!"

At least it's evidence. Do you only believe things that are "proven"? I'd consider disliking 800 out of 800 games pretty good evidence.

    Note that it is NOT the same as the assertion, "There is no game that I would 

I can see see some difference between "I don't believe there exists any game that I would enjoy" and "There is no game that I would enjoy.", but there are many atheists who will confidently say "God does not exist". But even if an atheist said "I don't believe in God", it still suffers from being a horribly ambiguous statement.

Many statements are pretty ambiguous without context.

    So does an "agameist" simply fail to believe there is a game he would enjoy 
 or does
    an "agameist" assert, as a fact, there is no game he would enjoy.

Either one potentially. I like Bruno's use of "not" and "believe" to clearly distinguish between these two characterizations.

    Likewise, when Dawkins says he believes in no Gods, how can he make 
rightfully make
    such a statement without knowing all possible religions and conceptions of 
God in
    those religions?

    The same way he can say believes in no teapots orbiting Jupiter.

That analogy does not work. There are logical reasons suggesting the low probability of a teapot orbiting Jupiter. What are the logical reasons that no God-like entity exists anywhere in reality?

Depends on what "God" means. If you allow theologians to define it, it could mean almost anything. If you take common usage to define it - like all other words - there are both logical and nomological reasons not to believe God exists.

    Isn't it possible, (even suggested by some of our scientific theories), that
    something that is infinite, uncreated, eternal, and responsible for your 

    Logically possible.  Nomologically?

It is probable. If you put any stock in any of the various scientific theories that suggest an infinite reality.

Infinite space or time don't imply a superhuman being whose approval we should 

UDA, mathematical realism, string theory, cosmic inflation, many worlds. I think you dislike these ideas in part because they shake the foundation of atheism: it becomes much harder to deny the existence of objects on the mere basis that we can't see, if one accepts that reality is as big as these theories suggest. Similarly, you once argued against fine-tuning on the basis that it would provide ammunition for intelligent designers. This isn't the ideal way to find correct theories.

I argued that fine-tuning counted *against* a supernatural creator. I don't recall ever arguing against it simply because it supports intelligent design.

    Isn't it possible that the simulation hypothesis could be true and that a
    hyper-intelligent mind could explore (create?) reality through simulation?  
    hyper intelligent beings could even "save" other simpler beings by copying 
    pasting them into a reality under its control.
    Isn't it possible that universalism is the correct theory of personal 
identity, and
    there is in truth only one experiencer, the one soul behind all the eyes of 

    And it's possible we are the puppets of supernatural demons bent on 
creating the
    worst of all possible worlds.

But there is no evidence, argument, or justification for this.

Sure there is. Look at all the evil and suffering in the world. Life that makes us hope in the face of inevitable death, not only of ourselves but of everyone and everything we know.

    Atheism, in its naivety, rejects all these possibilities without even 
realizing it
    has done so.

    "Rejects" as in "fails to believe" - as any rational person would.

Rationality does not justify their rejection of these theories. Your statement above is a perfect example of the atheist assumption that rationality is always on the side of their dogma. Tell me, what is irrational about universalism? It is an idea that Erwin Schrodinger, Kurt Godel, Fred Hoyle, Freeman Dyson, Arnold Zuboff, etc. all independently arrived upon, and is supported up by many thought experiments on the subject of personhood and personal identity.

I don't think it's irrational. You're putting words in my mouth. But the purpose of experiments should be to test a theory. What test might falsify universalism?

Sorry I forgot the existence of a single mind sounds too much like God, and therefore must be false and no rational person could ever come to such a conclusion!

    Various existing religions across the world have described God in terms 
    identical to the three examples above.

    No religion with more than a handful of adherents posits an impersonal God.

The second God I mentioned (the hyper-intelligences that exist as Jupiter brains/omega point civilizations, AI's with unlimited computing power in the UD, etc. are not impersonal. They are thinking, conscious entities. If reality is very big, then these entities are certain to exist.

Do you need to seek their approval?  If not why regard them as God?

    Of course the apologists for religions have used such terms, because they 
    much the evidence is against a personal God and so they have sought to 
    something on which they can hang the word "God".

Atheists would prefer that we forgot about logical realistic Gods and focus on only the impossible, illogical, inconsistent ones, it makes their lives a lot easier.

Atheists know what God they fail to believe in, the God of theism. That's why they are a-theists and not a-deists.

    What motivation does atheism have to reject these notions of god?  It seems 
    only reason is the dogma: "there is no god", and so it was proven "anything 
    even has the appearance of a god is obviously false at the start."

    The atheists I know (including Dawkins and Stenger) are careful to define 
"God" as
    the god of Abraham as described in the Torah, the Bible, the Quran, the god 
of theism.

Sounds like further confirmation of Bruno's theory.

    They directly admit that the god of deism is possible - though there is no 
reason to

    Isn't it better to have an unbiased, agnostic, and open mind on ontological
    questions which are no where close to being settled?

    But if you believe things just because they are possible then you're so 
open minded
    you're in danger of having your brains fall out.

Don't worry; it hasn't happened to anyone I know.

        And in a way the fact 'God' means different things to different people 
isn't a
        problem. If I say someone is an atheist, you can say that this person 
has some
        conception of God, whatever it is, and doesn't believe that thing 
exists. You
        can say that much at the very least.

    In that case everyone is an atheist, as you could cook up any definition of 
    God that person will not believe in.

    Which is just the converse of dreaming up "possible" gods in order that you 
    claim everyone MUST believe in one of them and so everyone is religious.

It is (some) atheists saying no gods exist. It only takes one counter example to disprove that proposition.

    The word atheist is either meaningless (if it applies to specific or certain
    God/gods), or it is inconsistent/unsupported if you apply it to more general
    definitions of god.  It's a word that seems to carry less than 1 bit of 

    I think a far better term (one that perhaps many people really mean when 
they say
    they are agnostic or atheist) is that they are a "free thinker" as in:
    "The philosophical <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy> viewpoint 
that holds
    opinions should be formed on the basis of logic
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic>, reason
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason>, and empiricism
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism>, rather than authority
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authority>, tradition
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradition>, or other dogmas

    Free thought is also more in line with the a genuine scientific attitude, 
    many sects of atheism are prone to authority and dogmas.

    I agree with the first clause.  The second makes me wonder where are these 
"sects of
    atheism"  where are their dogmas promulgated, where do they meet, how are 
they counted?

What I meant is that there are brands of atheism where the adherents care more about preserving their own belief of "no god" than listing to what logic, reason, and empiricism say.

And then there seems to be everybody else, who are exercised to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING they can hang the tag "God" on.

"People are more unwilling to give up the word 'God' than to give up the idea for which the word has hitherto stood"
    --- Bertrand Russell

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