Friday, August 2, 2013

Top Ten+ Questions For Atheists

[Author's note: I recently came across an older challenge to provide ten top questions for Atheists to answer, a challenge which I failed to act on. Some of these have been asked here before. So here is the (first) list of ten+]:

1. Can you prove empirically that there is no creating agent for the universe? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim

2. Can you prove deductively that there is no creating agent for the universe? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim

3. What are your moral principles? List them completely.

4. What makes your moral principles “moral”, rather than personal guidelines? Perhaps you will want to define "moral" from the Atheist viewpoint.

5. What is the source of your morals?

6. What makes that source a “moral authority”, with unquestionable, indubitable ability to determine what is morally Good and what is morally Evil in a purely materialist context, where evolution has caused our existence?

7. Can you empirically prove your morals to be valid for all humans? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim.

8. Why should anyone trust you, or any Atheist? Be specific.

9. Can you prove, empirically, that the incident which is referred to as the Miracle at Lourdes was purely a physical phenomenon? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim.

10. Are your political leanings toward the Left? If so explain why in detail (i.e., "Yes, because....)

11. At what age did you become an Atheist? What is your current age?

13 comments:

DannyM said...

No takers, Stan?

Now there's a shock.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why the the typo exists as question 1 and 2 is the same. answer to question nr.3 Do you believe that man can not exist without god given rules, its a myth. Just look at children play, rules are implemented by them. morals are just rules.
Read more here:
http://vryepoltergees.blogspot.com/2013/09/are-we-born-evil.html

Its also easy to say no takers if the content of submissions needs to be aproved.

Michael said...

I'll answer your questions after you show that any gods (note that's ANY gods, not just your favorite pet deities) exist. Empirical evidence only. "I've got faith" doesn't cut it.

Can't do it, can you?

Stan said...

anonymous,
You don't know the difference between the term "empirical" and the term "deductive"?

And you did not answer the question for number three, did you? The point is made by yourself: Atheists just make up their own rules to suit themselves.

That's why no one can trust Atheists: they can change their rules when the current set of rules become inconvenient. Even many Atheists don't trust Atheists for this very reason. Yet Atheists wonder why they are trusted less than child molesters.

I moderate only to remove trolls whose intent is disruption or who choose to attack me personally (the juvenile option). All other comments are posted.

Stan said...

Michael,
You have exercised the logical failure of Category Error. A god, any god per your request, which exists outside the material universe (having existed before he created the universe) cannot be expected to be found within the universe.

It is futile to search Set [A] to find the elements of Set [!A].

So here you have a logic failure and a mathematics failure, together in your misapplication of "empiricism".

Now I'll give you one more: Empiricism cannot be applied to any application which is outside of its specific purvue: which material testing via experimentation. Non-material claims cannot be tested, and cannot be be verified or falsified using experimentation.

That is three reasons that your objection is false.

Now, go ahead and answer the questions, or admit that you can't answer most of them, and refuse to answer the rest.

See, that is the problem for Atheists: Atheism provides no explanatory power for any issue which is not based on material existence: minerals, space and time. Outside of those boundaries it is hopelessly useless. So Atheists are forced to assume that there are only three dimensions, not the eleven predicted by String Theory, because the Atheist default to Materialism as a basis for ideology becomes radically endangered if there are more than three, into which they cannot see, even a bit, by using only three dimensions to test for the others.

John Harrington said...

1. Can you prove empirically that there is no creating agent for the universe? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim

No.

2. Can you prove deductively that there is no creating agent for the universe? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim

No.

3. What are your moral principles? List them completely.

That's a bit unreasonable of a request. But, in general, morality is a system by which we get along with others. I'm also a compassionate and empathetic person. I can't be the cause of harm in others without pain to myself. My motivation for getting along with others should be obvious.

4. What makes your moral principles moral, rather than personal guidelines? Perhaps you will want to define "moral" from the Atheist viewpoint.

Morality is a system by which we get along with others. What makes my principles moral is the extent to which I achieve that goal.

5. What is the source of your morals?

Reason motivated by compassion and empathy.

6. What makes that source a moral authority, with unquestionable, indubitable ability to determine what is morally Good and what is morally Evil in a purely materialist context, where evolution has caused our existence?

There is no such authority. And "God" is not such an authority either, since the faithful interpret the will of their gods in multiple ways, even within the same religion. No matter how faithful of a Christian you believe yourself to be, there was another Christian at some time in history who would have tortured you to death for being that kind of Christian.

7. Can you empirically prove your morals to be valid for all humans? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim.

I can't force reason and compassion on all humans, but I believe these are common human values. Civilization has been getting gradually better and better over the centuries by the moral standards I mention above (see, Steven Pinker's recent book Angels of our Better Nature for the complete evidence that this is so), as religion has been on the wane.

8. Why should anyone trust you, or any Atheist? Be specific.

For the same reason anyone should trust you, experience with your character. Religious people are no more trustworthy than atheists. In fact, the percentage of atheists in the prison population is smaller than outside prison. Majority or plurality atheist countries generally have lower crime rates.

9. Can you prove, empirically, that the incident which is referred to as the Miracle at Lourdes was purely a physical phenomenon? If the answer is yes, then you must show your work if it is to be considered anything more than just a claim.

I am so uninterested in "miracles", I wouldn't even bother.

10. Are your political leanings toward the Left? If so explain why in detail (i.e., "Yes, because....)

No. Although, more and more, I find that if I just accept science and reason I'm branded a "leftist". I'm really not any kind of leftist.

11. At what age did you become an Atheist? What is your current age?

It was a gradual process, but I had completely abandoned gods by about age 18. I'm 47. Only 6% of religious people become religious after the age of 14, when the brain is less malleable and people develop reason and skepticism. Religion is a childish thing, for the most part, something best left in childhood.

Stan said...

John,
Thanks for your answers. I do have some questions.

First, given that you do not claim either empirical or deductive reasons for rejecting theist positions, how do you justify your Atheism? In other words, what makes your rejection of theist positions valid?

Second, you give a rough definition for morality from your perspective, but do not give any principles which derive from that perspective. Do you define it further as doing whatever it takes to get along with people? Or perhaps whatever it takes to eliminate harm to other people? These would be both relativist and consequentialist principles.

Next you state this:
” Morality is a system by which we get along with others. What makes my principles moral is the extent to which I achieve that goal.”

This implies that achieving the goal is the definition of “moral”. That appears to be purely consequentialist, with the objective being “getting along”. Is that correct?

The source of your moral objective is “Reason motivated by compassion and empathy.” How would you deduce the complexity of a moral response to the rapist of your wife or daughter? Would you expect everyone to deduce the same response? How do you filter out incorrect and/or emotional responses?

Given your response to moral authority, why should anyone take the morals of anyone else as being valid? Without a common morality based on understandable and commonly accepted principles wouldn’t “getting along” be difficult? Also, you seem to deny that that Judeo-Christianity has well known principles which are outlined biblically, is that the case? The fact that different interpretations have occurred seems to mean to you that there can be no valid principles present. This position complicates the Atheist position of imputing morality to reasoning, since Atheist reasoning is in general contaminated with emotional overtones which are acquired in adolescence, and never relinquished. So Atheist reasoning has much less authority based on that.

Next you make this claim:
” I can't force reason and compassion on all humans, but I believe these are common human values. Civilization has been getting gradually better and better over the centuries by the moral standards I mention above “

Civilization produced the most horrific slaughters (under Atheist regimes) ever encountered on this planet in just the last 100 years. Slavery, including sexual slavery in the USA is increasing, not decreasing. The USA is awash in STDs acquired by sexual irresponsibility. Commitment via marriage is almost eliminated. Personal responsibility is replaced by the responsibility of “society”, or worse, the government. Pregnancies are terminated en masse for parental convenience by killing the preborn. The list is really quite long, and it demonstrates a nation which is now a moral wasteland, including the media and especially politically, of course. Relativism, the lack of specific principles, has an entropic effect on actual morality, it would appear. Relativism is the result of recognizing no moral authority other than the self; it is caustic to society.
(continued below)

Stan said...


Next, your reasons to be trusted are valid. However you ignore the process of comparing an individual’s behaviors to his stated belief system. A Judeo-Christian has a specific behavior structure to which his behavior can be compared. An Atheist has nothing of the sort. So the behaviors of an Atheist must be compared to the expectations of Judeo-Christianity, since there is no benchmark for Atheists. Atheists who do not accept Judeo-Christian ethics will not be able to generate trust. It is not possible for a consequentialist or relativist or pragmatist to be trusted if he behaves according to his belief set. His behaviors will be inconsistent and unpredictable, hence untrustworthy.

Your claims about the prison population have been shown to be based on mismanaged data, if you are using the standard Atheist data. That can be discussed further if you wish.

” Majority or plurality atheist countries generally have lower crime rates.”

Only if you exclude the high crime rate countries such as Russia, and you exclude government crimes against its citizens as in China.

” It was a gradual process, but I had completely abandoned gods by about age 18. I'm 47. Only 6% of religious people become religious after the age of 14, when the brain is less malleable and people develop reason and skepticism. Religion is a childish thing, for the most part, something best left in childhood.”

I seriously doubt your claim of 6%, because older, more mature people frequently take up religion. However, I am open to your source of data, which is what?

Further, the current findings on mental maturation show that the human frontal lobe (rational processing) does not mature until the early twenties, ranging up to the late 20’s. Developing independent reason before the frontal lobe matures is unlikely, as anyone with teenagers can report. I also became an Atheist at the age of 18 and gave it no serious intellectual challenge until 40 years later, when I found that it could not stand up to disciplined rational attack.

Your claim that “religion is a childish thing” is not the case unless you want to believe your own prejudice. And that statement is a prejudice, not a rational deduction. For example, Aquinas was a far superior thinker to any of the New Atheists, who merely rationalize premises to fit their presupposed conclusions. Even Bertrand Russell was a dualist, even though he claimed Atheism (in support of his sexual adventurism and hatred for Absolutes). As for Pinker, I don’t have that book but his others are a sorry array of listing those premises which support his admittedly presupposed Materialist Atheism. There are a number of conversions out of Atheism by respected intellectuals, from Sartre to Einstein to Flew and so on.

John Harrington said...

I wrote a response, but I really don't feel like dividing it up into chunks acceptable to the comment char limit. If you want to send me an email, I'll send it to you, and you can divide it up and put it in the comments, if you want. Or not.

My email is beartiger@gmail.com.

Michael said...

Stan says: "You have exercised the logical failure of Category Error. A god, any god per your request, which exists outside the material universe (having existed before he created the universe) cannot be expected to be found within the universe."

So you're saying that gods don't exist in the universe. So you're as atheist as I am, because a god which doesn't exist in this universe is the same as a god that doesn't exist at all.

That's one problem with discussing gods with goddists. You folks keep changing your definition of gods to suit whichever argument you're using. If I ask for evidence for gods you brush me off with a vague, deist deity which effectively doesn't exist. But when you're talking amongst yourselves, you're referring to the familiar old geezer with flowing white beard who occasionally answers prayers, decides who wins high school football games, and has an unhealthy fascination with your sex lives.

Stan said...

Michael said,
"So you're saying that gods don't exist in the universe. So you're as atheist as I am, because a god which doesn't exist in this universe is the same as a god that doesn't exist at all."

That can only be considered valid IFF you can prove that material existence is the only existence and that there is no other existence either prior to or in parallel with the material, mass/energy, space/time existence to which we are confined. (This will be difficult for you, considering String Theory, of course, but go ahead).

That proof of the validity of materialism would require material proof, of course (there being only material existence), which would necessarily be empirical for objectivity, so would involve experimental, replicable, falsifiable but not falsified, peer reviewed data (same as Atheists typically require for evidence of a deity).

When that is provided, then it would be possible for you to make that claim, but not before. Failing to provide the proof for the lack of non-material existence would render your comment baseless.

"That's one problem with discussing gods with goddists. You folks keep changing your definition of gods to suit whichever argument you're using. If I ask for evidence for gods you brush me off with a vague, deist deity which effectively doesn't exist. But when you're talking amongst yourselves, you're referring to the familiar old geezer with flowing white beard who occasionally answers prayers, decides who wins high school football games, and has an unhealthy fascination with your sex lives."

You have no idea or knowledge regarding my beliefs beyond that which I have given you, so your characterization is a figment of your imagination and is an intentional dodge which you are using to avoid analyzing the issue which is under discussion.

Further, the basic definition given you here is not controversial amongst monotheists, so your avoidance cannot be legitimately based on that.

If you could perform such an analysis and point to errors, you would do so, but you have not, so obviously you cannot.

So it is obvious that your belief set and resulting worldview is based not on rational deductive processing, but on your emotional reaction, which you have amply demonstrated with your bigoted view of the Other.

Hank_Says said...

Some answers at the link below.

You're welcome to join the conversation at my blog - all welcome.

http://almosteverythingsucks.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/top-ten-apparently-questions-for-atheists/

Asis Bapi said...

This post is as relevant as someone complaining that today's Christians are still to be blamed for the Inquisition!

Got it?
T-shirt