Monday, August 31, 2009

Hey, you were writing a religious debate thing.

Well, guess what. I found someone worth paying more attention to at www.reasonablefaith.org, and his name is Docta Stiles I mean Dr. William Lane Craig.

Now, this guy seems like much less of a zealot than a lot of other Internet Christians. That doesn't mean he isn't one, to a degree; he made an elaborate site with a mailing list and official organization. Anyway, he's posted (some of?) his debates in a free members section, usually defending the existence of the Christian God or the existence of the accompanying morality. In the debates I learned quite a bit from both those Dr. Craig debated against and Dr. Craig himself about current arguments, and surprisingly, I also found that I disagreed with points from many of these atheists, agnostics, and occasionally softer theists of a sort or another. Primarily, I'll kick the next person who seriously uses the argument from evil against the existence of God, among other things.

For all those who haven't seen this used before, you've probably heard some form of it from an angry atheist anyway who didn't give it a name. Very vaguely:

1. If God exists, he would disallow evil.

2. God is omnipotent and omniscient, such that he is capable of enacting 1.

3. Evil exists.

4. Hence, God does not exist.

And I saw atheists and agnostics using this; professionals. Now, ok, this does not directly contradict their statuses as atheists and agnostics, but we nihilists aren't letting those fools into the tree-house after that one. The use of 'evil' as something that exists in a very real sense seems to imply objective moral values. As a nihilist, I also tend to think that of all of Dr. Craig's arguments for God, I see the very nature of defending OMVs to be among the most futile, up there with God being revealed upon examining nature. I also see Dr. Craig's defense of these two points to be blatant appeals purely to the way we take in the environment and ourselves; asking for us to see the objectivity of God in nature with only our judgment to guide us. What are our minds, though, but subjective in their functions, feeling objective because that's the only information in our personal realms? Important to note, though, is that I can't actually defend an answer of 'nothing else' for the last sentence, I'm just speculating; more to the point is whether or not we can seriously look at nature, using all bodily and mechanical senses available to us, and then infer that 'God did it.'

Other main arguments, in a personally shaded nutshell:

1. Resurrection of Jesus: Lots of eyewitnesses and literature. Lots of liars? Jesus lookalike? Jesus wasn't actually dead? Jesus was actually reanimated? I can't argue against this point seriously, because I have no background in this history. I can say that, though there are many writings of the time, people didn't understand much about the workings of natures; also, the integrity of writings can get a little shaky with mediocre known context and 2000 years between now and then. Still, this is something based on historical records.

2. Kalam Cosmological Argument:

a) Universe can't cause itself.
b) An actual infinite of causes and effects (or anything else) cannot exist.
c) The universe was caused.
d) Quoted:

If the universe has a cause of its existence, then
an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists,
who sans creation is beginningless, changeless,
immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously
powerful and intelligent.

e) And hence, said Creator caused the universe to exist.

The best breakdown of this argument I found from Dr. Craig was here (one must register for free to see this). First, I'm uncertain about a) and b); one person who debated Dr. Craig attempted to prove an actual infinite by way of measurement. Shortly: first, take a distance of any length, a metre as he called it. You may halve this metre, and you'll have two of half the first one's length. One may then halve both of those, and then have four that still sum to the original. This process is not limited. Dr. Craig responded by saying that this was a potential infinite, that though this may be repeated indefinitely, it can't be; he agrees that there may be something that tends to the infinite, but there cannot actually be an infinite. My own response to this is that no matter how much we can't fathom the divisions, that doesn't mean they can't be there.

As for a)... at least, I don't think the observed universe is responsible for causing it, but there's much that hasn't been observed that maybe can be. There may also be that which exists which will forever be outside of our perception. What we see is what we can use as evidence too, but God has been relegated to from explanations before from new discoveries. This area of physics is so uncertain and enigmatic, I won't really solidly affirm any model for now; it's great people are coming up with them, and one day I hope to coherently do one myself, but our predictions here are volatile, at least over the course of decades. I doubt we yet have the truth, we may very well not even have an approximation.

This post is getting rather long... I should add a Part 2 later. I probably will. As for Troy Brooks, author of the former proof that I had set out to examine (critically) at http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/perfectproof.htm, he's now got Youtube videos and he's written a truly colossal amount of work on his forum. I think this is his job. He asks for no repetition of points made by opponents, a reasonable request in my opinion. All this is quite well and good, but he also bans people from the forum who deny his premises. I'm attacking most of them, so I probably won't get the opportunity to defend my work when it's countered. I'm wondering, now, if this should be abandoned... but no, I'll continue, if slowly. There are better things to do with my time, but oh well.

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