вторник, 16 юли 2019 г.

Bible Arguments 15

By DeYtH Banger


""No one has ever seen God."
—John 1:18
Many of my debate opponents agree with me that there is actually no evidence for a god. If there were, we would not be having the debate. No one would be asking, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” because there would be better ways to argue. If there were truly evidence for a god, they would put it on the table. By now someone should have won the Nobel Prize for pointing out such evidence."

- Dan Baker


"They simply assert that their god hypothesis (or presupposition, as some theists honestly phrase it) is the best explanation for our current lack of knowledge. This is an argument from ignorance, not evidence.
Granting the lack of evidence, some believers come back with the brilliant parry: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” So there! Since we atheists cannot absolutely prove that their supernatural god does not exist, they can pretend to be justified in maintaining their belief in what might be true, what is true to them by faith or presupposition. But, then, since no one can prove to me that leprechauns do not exist, can I assert that they do? Look at a box of Lucky Charms! If the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, can you argue that I should stop believing in leprechauns? Of course you can. The absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but it is certainly evidence of absence. Absence is not a thing, but evidence of absence definitely is a thing. You can hold it in your hand."

- Dan Baker

"If something truly does not exist, the only possible evidence for its nonexistence would be the absence of evidence for its existence where we should expect it to be. Richard Dawkins points out in The God Delusion that “a universe with a God would look quite different from a universe without one.” So far, conducting a comprehensive scientific search of the structure of the universe—certainly more thorough than any bomb squad—the chart has come up empty. We have evidence that God does not exist. We don’t have proof, but it is safe to go back in the building Why are theists free to say leprechauns do not exist but atheists are not free to say the same about God? Well, because they believe in God and not in leprechauns. When Anselm concluded his famous ontological argument, thinking he had neatly proven the existence of God using mere words (which truly is something from nothing), he couldn’t resist making a prayer with a jab at us nonbelievers: “Why, then, has the fool said in his heart, there is no God (Psalms 14:1), since it is so evident, to a rational mind, that you do exist in the highest degree of all? Why, except that he is dull and a fool?”29 If anybody was dull, it was Anselm."

- Dan Baker

"I think most believers are kinder than Anselm and would never stoop to name-calling or hurl insults, like the bible does, in order to belittle opposition or score a rhetorical point against atheists. I think most honest believers who truly wrestle with definitions and assumptions can admit that we atheists are just as committed to clarity as they claim to be. We disagree, but disagreement is not a crime. If more believers would respect the motives of atheists, wouldn’t that be something, from nothing."

- Dan Baker

"The next day the lonely bird flies back over the sodden spot and sees that the anthill is gone. It glides further down the muddy riverbed and spots you, wandering alone, doing the only thing you know how to do, smelling around, moving some dirt. What if the bird were to yell down, “Stop it! It’s pointless. Your queen is dead. Nobody cares, don’t you see? You’re wasting your time. Nothing lasts forever.” Would you say, “Oh, sorry,” and just give up? Or would you say, “I am an ant. What else am I supposed to do?”
Would your life have meaning."

- Dan Baker

"If God is using us to convey a “meaning,” then who
is he talking to? Are people and ants just piano keys that God plays to amuse himself?
In the case of the dots on the canvas and the marchers in the band, we do know there was a human designer, but in the case of life itself we do not know that. In fact, we now know that life is the result of impersonal evolution and is not intelligently directed or designed at all. Since it looks designed—since natural selection utilizing randomness is not intuitively grasped by our minds—we (some of us) make the mistake of imagining there was an intelligent meaning behind it all."

- Dan Baker

"We don’t want to feel pointless. We want a stamp of approval, or a sense that our activities are directed by and pointing to something larger than ourselves. We don’t want to be mere dots on a canvas that could burn up, or ants that get washed away in a flash flood. We want to feel big, or a part of something bigger than just us, little us.
There is a silly scene in the movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure where Pee-wee loses control and falls off his bicycle in front of a crowd of children. As he stands up he says, “I meant to do that.” That is very funny, but why? Because intention indicates meaning. It might also give dignity, depending on how you value bike-handling skills. What Pee-wee meant by “meant” (the meaning of meaning) was planning followed by intention followed by execution (hopefully followed by praise, or at least not ridicule). The humor in that scene comes from knowing that he was desperately trying to back engineer the process, saving face by making it appear that the accident was deliberate. He was attempting to instill meaning where there was none.."

- Dan Baker

"Every cell in your body contains “meaning” from your ancestors. (I put “meaning” in quotes because it is just information that is passed. It becomes meaning when we think about it.) Your ancestors were not talking directly to you, but like an artist, they created a product that speaks to the future..."

- Dan Baker


"The cosmos doesn’t care. A flash flood will destroy it all. There is no meaning to any of this.” Even if true, would they have stopped? Of course not. Humans do what humans do. My great-grandparents John and Angelita and Jack and Lizzie (from different diasporas) led meaningful lives, in both senses, from their point of view as well as mine. Even if they had had no grandchildren—and some people indeed lead meaningful childless lives by choice, enhancing and protecting the lives and genes of others—their life would have been their life, and that is beautiful all by itself…"

- Dan Baker

"We can indefinitely stack symbols upon symbols, concepts upon concepts, reaching up to an infinite God or down to nothingness, but it is all a trick of language. If it doesn’t ultimately refer to anything real, it is vacant vocabulary. “In the beginning was the Zord, and the Zord was with God, and the Zord was God,” the gnostic evangelistic John tells us in his first sentence. But what does that mean? A zord can be useful (like the word “word”), but only if it ultimately refers to something that actually exists—a referent to which the symbol of the symbol can point. At the end of the day an algebraic equation has to resolve to so many apples or kilometers, or it is just make-work. The “meaning of life” never resolves to anything real, but the “meaning in life” certainly does…"

- Dan Baker

"At that final point of our unavoidable destiny, there will be no Mockingzird in the Sky, no “Zord of God” calling down “I told you so.” It will all be over and forgotten—and since there will be no one left to do the forgetting, it will be truly unforgettable. Do you find that depressing? I find it exhilarating.
In the movie Annie Hall by Woody Allen, nine-year-old Alvy has stopped doing his homework, so his mother takes him to a psychiatrist who asks, “Why are you depressed, Alvy? “Well, the universe is everything,” Alvy says, “and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything! … What’s the point?”
“What has the universe got to do with it?” his mother asks. “You’re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!”
Alvy and his mother are both right. There is no meaning in the cosmic picture, but there is meaning in the here and now. Here in Brooklyn.9 How do you feel about that? What can you do about it? You already know that your not-too-distant descendants will forget about you, or even if they don’t—even if you become astonishingly famous."

- Dan Baker

"Live your own life. If you are reasonable and kind, you will discover that meaning is not handed to you from on high; it emerges naturally from your own life-driven purpose."

- Dan Baker

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