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AtlantisRises

'It's just my opinion'

134 posts in this topic

I have a non belief that there are such things as people with non beliefs because there simply is no evidence that such a person exists ;)

I have an even greater non belief that there are scientifically based non beliefs about things in which cannot be investigated scientifically. ;) ;)

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I might add that propaganda can make the irrational seem rational -- techniques such as testimony, stacked deck, the Big Lie, appeals to our better selves and what we wish were true, and of course that old standby, cultural pressure and even legal pressure.

The same could be said about any atheistic view touted by those who claim to have exclusive knowledge. The problem with your postulate is that it is not 100% true. I entered my relationship with God solely based on my own reading of what the Bible said. I submitted myself only to Jesus Christ, not to any man, church, denomination, or religion. I know that you wish that religion was not based on choice, but for myself, and for dozens of others whom I have know personally, it is a choice.

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Try again after you have investigated the definitions of 'divinity', as that and 'humanity' (in the sense I used it within my analogy) are both class object identifiers.

Nah, no thanks, if you can't explain it then I don't think it will be fruitful for me to continue to just make guesses what you are talking about. I understand that leprechaun refers to a more specific entity than 'divinity', but you haven't explained why that difference has anything to do with my analogy comparing the reasoning behind believing leprechauns exist and gods/divinity existing. I understand divinity and humanity are class object identifiers, so what? Would you prefer I don't use 'leprechauns' and just refer to 'fairies', of which a leprechaun is just one example, so that we are comparing class identifier to class identifier? My argument probably is not going to change much if I do. Right now you might as well be noting that leprechauns are Irish and divinity is not restricted to just that, which of course is not a difference that invalidates the analogy, the analogy does not depend at all on that specific difference in attributes.

One issue is that to me you keep, yes, conflating two separate things: the definition of what is being claimed to exist and whether that thing actually exists. My analogy only corresponds to the latter and can be only done once we have determined or claimed something about the former. You seem to object when we use actual examples of divinity that people actually believe in as that is not comprehensive enough, atheists reject all divinity so we have to use a more general definition, which when I asked then what that general definition actually is, you confused me by talking about 'everything, anything, and nothing' which has to do with whether divinity actually exists, not how it is defined. Here's what you said what seems like eons ago now when we started this:

Thus the only reference to such a thing we should use which has any use in logical debate, is the one which is as undefined as possible.

You admit that you can't debate about something that is entirely undefined, yet you won't give me any definition of what atheists should be using in this logical debate. You seem to think that when specific gods of actual religions are argued against that atheism does have logical arguments and you even go further than I do and say they can be 'empirically or logically falsified'. So then what exactly changes when we argue against the claim (without including whether or not it actually exists and what the reasoning is behind it; that is the purpose of the debate in the first place) using a general 'class' of divinity? Because to me, and most etymologists, divinity refers to gods, and some of the atheist arguments I know of do make arguments against specific examples of religious gods that may also apply to the general class of 'gods'. And I'll leave it there as I seem to be doing what I just said I wasn't going to, guessing what you are talking about.

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One issue is that to me you keep, yes, conflating two separate things: the definition of what is being claimed to exist and whether that thing actually exists.

How is saying "this exists" any different to the claim "this exists"? Everything is a claim, and it is either accepted or denied on the basis of evidence provided to support that claim.

I understand that leprechaun refers to a more specific entity than 'divinity', but you haven't explained why that difference has anything to do with my analogy comparing the reasoning behind believing leprechauns exist and gods/divinity existing.

If you understand that, and understand that the same argument regarding ' specificity of definition' should not be applied to specific objects as class objects, then why can you not see how your analogy comparing leprechauns to divinity was flawed?

The leprechaun is defined in all the definitions I know of, with similar - if not identical - attributes. This makes the claim of the leprechauns existence a relatively simple matter to disprove. Divinity is a class of objects with wildly different attributes, some contradictory - some even with no stated attributes or nature. This makes the claim of the existence of divinity, in the general sense - as it could be anything from that class, which doesn't include just the major religion's definition(s) of deity - extremely difficult, if not impossible, to disprove.

There is simply no way these two concepts, leprechauns vs divinity, are remotely comparable in their ability to be argued, defined, proved, disproved, etc.

when I asked then what that general definition actually is, you confused me by talking about 'everything, anything, and nothing' which has to do with whether divinity actually exists, not how it is defined.

It is exactly how divinity (the class object identifier) is defined*, because it encompasses all that people believe divinity might be. Contrarily, you seem to wish to limit the definition of divinity to just those definition's given of the deities of major religions.

You admit that you can't debate about something that is entirely undefined, yet you won't give me any definition of what atheists should be using in this logical debate.

I have given you that definition, but you don't wish to acknowledge it - perhaps because you know your argument will fail, or has already failed?

Forgive me if I have used language which seems combative, or even aggressive. It simply seems to me that you do not want to consider contemplating what I have asserted and are being deliberately obtuse as a result. I may be mistaken, and it may be I haven't been able to put my points across with the clarity I believe I have, but that is how it appears to me.

*Yes, various dictionaries will have "a god/divine being" as a definition. Due to it's non-specific nature, this definition means precisely what I have already stated - it could be "anything, everything or nothing".

Edited by Leonardo

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How is saying "this exists" any different to the claim "this exists"? Everything is a claim, and it is either accepted or denied on the basis of evidence provided to support that claim.

Those are not the two statements that need to be separated, it is 'this exists' and 'what is 'this'?'. Without providing some kind of definition of what 'this' is, you cannot possibly, logically say that atheism has no argument against it.

If you understand that, and understand that the same argument regarding ' specificity of definition' should not be applied to specific objects as class objects, then why can you not see how your analogy comparing leprechauns to divinity was flawed?

You can have a more specific definition of class objects, class objects do have definitions right? 'Morality' does have a definition, even though everyone's specific conception and opinion concerning what is moral or not differs wildly. Similarly divinity has a definition, even though everyone's specifics about what things actually have the quality of divinity differ wildly also. But neither morality nor divinity are defined as 'nothing'; I think what you are trying to say is that divinity may actually have no referent in reality. Neither does Bugs Bunny, but that doesn't mean that the definition of Bugs Bunny, or the class 'cartoon characters' is 'nothing'.

The leprechaun is defined in all the definitions I know of, with similar - if not identical - attributes. This makes the claim of the leprechauns existence a relatively simple matter to disprove.

Really now? Then please do so, I'd be interested to hear how you arrived at the end of the rainbow to determine whether there were leprechauns there or not.

Divinity is a class of objects with wildly different attributes, some contradictory - some even with no stated attributes or nature.

No; who exactly has claimed that divinity has no attributes, and if they did, why are they even using 'divinity' in the first place since it apparently has no meaning at all? The only way this makes sense is if you are continuing to conflate the two different questions: what is divinity defined as, and does divinity actually exist. I think what you are really saying is that people believe that there is nothing in reality that actually is divine; that does not change the definition of what divinity means, even for that person, to 'nothing'. I don't think the divine exists but divine still has a definition that is not 'nothing'. I believe you are saying that in actuality, everything, anything, or nothing may actually be divine; that has nothing to do with the definition of what has been claimed to exist.

This makes the claim of the existence of divinity, in the general sense - as it could be anything from that class, which doesn't include just the major religion's definition(s) of deity - extremely difficult, if not impossible, to disprove.

I don't think it's possible to 'disprove' either of these questions. What I said is that I disbelieve in divinity for largely the same reason I disbelieve in leprechauns. I am not restricting my definition of divinity to just the major religions, I'm including all gods in that, those are the members of the class. So make your claim then that you don't think can really be argued against, but don't just say 'divinity' if you don't mean 'gods' without then clarifying what you do mean as specifically as you can given that it is a class. The reason I don't think there are any gods, not just of any particular religion, is because no one has yet provided any evidence that any exist, and the 'reasoning' that I have heard to justify believing in the specific gods, that cover the vast majority of what people actually believe and claim concerning divinity, I don't find to be logical and find to usually involve special pleading. There might well be some other conception that I haven't heard of that my reasoning for disbelieving is not logical when applied to, but I haven't heard of it yet.

There is simply no way these two concepts, leprechauns vs divinity, are remotely comparable in their ability to be argued, defined, proved, disproved, etc.

Try me. I think the fact that no one can provide any evidence of each to be a nice starter on comparability.

It is exactly how divinity (the class object identifier) is defined*, because it encompasses all that people believe divinity might be. Contrarily, you seem to wish to limit the definition of divinity to just those definition's given of the deities of major religions.

I have no wish to limit it. Again, who has defined divinity as meaning 'nothing'; that is not the same thing as saying that nothing is divine. I can't say that any more plainly.

I have given you that definition, but you don't wish to acknowledge it - perhaps because you know your argument will fail, or has already failed?

Ha, yes, that's I'm sure it.... don't hurt yourself patting yourself on the back. Okay, so divinity is 'the general concept of the divine' (note, that is not compatible with the definition being 'nothing'). Great, what about that differentiates it from leprechauns that is relevant to the analogy that is being made? Can anyone demonstrate a god or leprechaun exists? No. Can anyone 'disprove' that either of those exist? No. Is there some meaningful, valid argument to be made or reasoning supporting the existence of any kind of divinity (i.e., the class) that would differentiate it from that of leprechauns? Unknown, but I think there should be and you should be able to state it if what I think you are saying is correct.

Forgive me if I have used language which seems combative, or even aggressive. It simply seems to me that you do not want to consider contemplating what I have asserted and are being deliberately obtuse as a result. I may be mistaken, and it may be I haven't been able to put my points across with the clarity I believe I have, but that is how it appears to me.

Same here Leo, I do not take these conversations seriously enough to really get angry about them and I certainly don't mean any offense, we are just having a, ha, spirited discussion, and I wouldn't even bother if I didn't think you were a smart guy and worth sharing ideas with. I'm more than willing to contemplate what you are saying, but I'm unclear on specifically which of my responses to you are actually invalid or don't represent your position and most importantly why.

*Yes, various dictionaries will have "a god/divine being" as a definition. Due to it's non-specific nature, this definition means precisely what I have already stated - it could be "anything, everything or nothing".

As I said, I think what you are really saying here is that anything, everything, or nothing may actually be a divine being; that is not the same as saying a divine being is defined as 'nothing'. Unless we want to tear all of reality apart and make this conversation impossible, a 'being' by definition is something and therefore cannot simultaneously be defined as 'nothing'. I'm also assuming your point is not that because there are so many conceptions of divinity in the specifics, that the atheist cannot rule out that there is one somewhere that someone has that cannot be disputed; that may be the case, but then we would need to know what that specific is. Again, atheism is not the belief that something that can mean anything doesn't exist.

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"Divine" implies a deity, "holy" does not. Now what is a "deity?" Dictionaries are of little use here, as we see from some of the posts above. I would say to most people a "deity" is a sentient, intelligent being with abilities ("powers") substantially exceeding that of any human.

Of course there could exist beings who we do not think of as deities who are nevertheless more powerful -- aliens, super-heroes, etc., with confuses the issue and makes the existence of "deities" questionable.

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"Divine" implies a deity, "holy" does not. Now what is a "deity?" Dictionaries are of little use here, as we see from some of the posts above. I would say to most people a "deity" is a sentient, intelligent being with abilities ("powers") substantially exceeding that of any human.

Of course there could exist beings who we do not think of as deities who are nevertheless more powerful -- aliens, super-heroes, etc., with confuses the issue and makes the existence of "deities" questionable.

Consider concentric rings of awareness.

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Those are not the two statements that need to be separated, it is 'this exists' and 'what is 'this'?'. Without providing some kind of definition of what 'this' is, you cannot possibly, logically say that atheism has no argument against it.

I'll try again...

Atheism is not just saying "the Christian God doesn't exist", or "the Hindu gods don't exist". If it was just that, most theists could be considered atheists which is nonsensical.

Atheism is the general belief that no deity exists - it is the rejection of divinity.

Trying to tie atheism - which is a belief regarding the existence of a class of objects - to a belief regarding the existence of a specific alleged divine entity, is false.

Therefore, the definition of what atheism rejects, is the definition of 'divinity'. Not the definition of a specific alleged divine being, or a concatenation of the definitions of all alleged divine beings - but the definition of the class-object identifier within which all those definitions, and including the alleged divine beings which are undefined.

This is the definition of divinity, which in this sense is "any/all imaginable (and those unimaginable) divine being/s", which equates to what I stated "anything, everything and nothing".

The definition of divinity includes "nothing" because of the possibility that no divine being(s) actually exist.

Edited by Leonardo
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I'll try again...

Atheism is not just saying "the Christian God doesn't exist", or "the Hindu gods don't exist". If it was just that, most theists could be considered atheists which is nonsensical.

Atheism is the general belief that no deity exists - it is the rejection of divinity.

I can agree with all of that.

Trying to tie atheism - which is a belief regarding the existence of a class of objects - to a belief regarding the existence of a specific alleged divine entity, is false.

I obviously disagree with this, and have explained why and asked for specifics why it is false. Do you disagree with the concept of reasoning by analogy? To defeat and rebut analogies does not just require pointing out any difference between the analogized objects, it requires explaining why the specific differences invalidate that analogy. You either haven't said or I clearly do not understand why, 'there is no evidence except what particular people do believe and have believed about gods and leprechauns to support either of their existences', which is what my analogy is mostly based on, is invalidated because there are many different conceptions of gods.

Therefore, the definition of what atheism rejects, is the definition of 'divinity'. Not the definition of a specific alleged divine being, or a concatenation of the definitions of all alleged divine beings - but the definition of the class-object identifier within which all those definitions, and including the alleged divine beings which are undefined.

Obviously I disagree with starting this with 'therefore', as one of the points of contention is why you think the comparison is false and what part of the differences between this class object and more specific object invalidates the analogy. I entirely disagree with your italicized statement, alleged divine beings are not literally 'undefined', they are 'beings' and have the quality of being divine, those provide the definition and allow us to even put them in the class of 'the divine' in the first place.

This is the definition of divinity, which in this sense is "any/all imaginable (and those unimaginable) divine being/s", which equates to what I stated "anything, everything and nothing".

Let's not use any general word like 'equate'. I know I can leave long posts, but the reason I do so is that by laying out the detail I'm hoping that gives you the opportunity to say, "Ah LG, you and I agree on specific points A and B, but not C and here's specifically why". Do you agree that your above actually says with more specificity the following: "The class of 'divinity' includes "any/all imaginable and unimaginable divine beings". The definition of divine is to be 'god-like' to leave it simple; "god-like" does have some definition, if for no other reason that it can be distinguished and is not identical to 'mammalian' or 'blue'. It is possible that in reality, it could be that everything, anything, or nothing is actually 'divine'; if nothing is actually divine, then that does not change the definition of 'divine' to be equal literally to 'nothing', it changes the definition of divinity to be 'divine creatures that don't actually exist', just like cyclops are 'one eyed humanoid giants that don't actually exist'." Do you have any disagreements with any of that, is that a more specific restatement of what you are saying?

The definition of divinity includes "nothing" because of the possibility that no divine being(s) actually exist.

Fine, if that is the way you'd like to put it, but you then agree the key word is 'include'; the definition of the divine does not literally become equal to 'nothing'.

So yes, I'm still unclear on specifically why your noting that divinity is a class and leprechauns are not is a difference that invalidates the analogy. But do you have a problem with this approach: atheists are not technically required to make arguments against the class divinity, instead they can make specific arguments against all the members of that class. This has been done to some extent, I'd say a large one given how many theists it covers, as I think you agree when you don't dispute that specific religious gods have been satisfactorily rebutted or 'falsified' as I think you put it. So the vast majority of the specific gods in this divinity class have already been dealt with, and some of the arguments against those specific conceptions apply to all the conceptions evaluated so far, such as, 'the evidence for the gods claimed to date is no better than the evidence for leprechauns" (note, I'm comparing the specific object of leprechaun to each specific object within the divine class, so this should get around your issue with the comparison of classes to specific conceptions). Now it is entirely possible that someone somewhere may have a conception of divinity that these same arguments do not apply to, but until it is defined in some way we cannot say that atheism is opposed to it as the atheist may not agree that these unknown conceptions even belong in the class of 'divinity' because they are too undefined; again, and I really think this is important, atheism does not reject the existence of some thing that is undefined to the point that it is impossible to even evaluate.

Actually, maybe a better question to ask is do you know of some philosopher or some other writer who makes this same argument you are making? If you do, please provide a reference and maybe if I read their explanation of the argument I'll better understand it. Most importantly, have a good weekend!

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I have managed to get by with the formulation that gods are hypothetical beings said to exist outside of physical time and space ("properly eternal"), who can nevertheless exert causal influence within time and space ("powers"), and who acknowledge no strictly superior porperly eternal power ("top"). That has gotten me out of "wattabouts" like space aliens, King Kong, angels, elementals, Jinn, etc. The formulation is intentionally neutral between rival candidates for acknowledged "superiority," and requiring strictness in topness tolerates mere hierarchy within a pantheon of similar-in-kind beings (Zeus and Hermes are both gods).

As literary characters, they are a diverse bunch. I have no idea whether the class has any real instances, and cannot insist that the phrase "to exist outside of physical time and space" means anything. It is, however, conceivable, and has potential physical reference, like "the Prophets" of Deep Space 9 (who exist inside a wormhole, so outside what we call space and time, and despite being physcial in some sense, nevertheless function as the pantheon of the nearby planet's religion; I am happy to count them as divine, but not "The Founders of the Dominion" in the same hypothetical ontology - they exist only in ordinary space and time, despite being much more talented than me, and despite being worshipped by people they engineered to do so).

Unless somebody objects, I take atheist to mean, usually, somebody who professes, with whatever confidence suffices for them to make a profession, that the term gods has no actual real instances, that there are no properly eternal top powers. I happily relax that, upon request, to include the hedge "among the hypotheses examined so far." I have yet to encounter anybody who wants the hedge who expresses the slightest optimism that the unexamined cases will turn out differently :) .

Whether that helps and whom it favors, I leave to those who have already contributed.

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"Outside time and space" is perhaps not enough, as various aliens from a different time and space can be imagined that would not be "gods." Therefore one might say "outside any time and space."

With that definition, it is of course impossible to rule out their existence, but it is not important either. It is when one adds that they intersect with us that one takes a view, and of course one immediately asks what evidence exists. If nothing convincing is forthcoming, then one is justified in saying they don't exist, similar to denying the existence of good old Santa. If convincing evidence is forthcoming, then they become a proper subject for scientific study or at least observation.

Let me repeat that this is a separate question from the one of the existence of "infinite" beings of the sort found in Western religions, where logical problems arise allowing a more definite view.

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"Outside time and space" is perhaps not enough, as various aliens from a different time and space can be imagined that would not be "gods." Therefore one might say "outside any time and space."

It is, of course, fine to reject anybody else's defintion of something, but this one does capture, at least, what I mean when I use the words gods and divine. The Prophets seem to thrive in whatever "is" inside a wormhole, but what is inside isn't my space and time. And, that much is insufficient for them to be gods in the proposed definition, since they must also function causally in this space and time. DS-9 never does explain how that would be possible.

My guess is that the discovery of somebody like the Prophets would be an excellent occasion to re-examine everybody's definitions of many things :) .

If nothing convincing is forthcoming, then one is justified in saying they don't exist, similar to denying the existence of good old Santa.

Well, no, I deny Santa because I have a mountain of evidence that he doesn't exist, and that all phenomena ever attributed to his agency were in fact caused by other beings. In contrast, I don't actually know whether the Universe has a creator or not, whether what I call "random" is in fact an intention which I do not discern, etc. The cases are different.

If convincing evidence is forthcoming, then they become a proper subject for scientific study or at least observation.

Yes, but not a problem which interests me. Science is not, even for its most enthusiastic practitioners, a complete guide to truth, and in any case, systematically values some hypotheses according to preference-like rather than, or in addition to, truth-like criteria. What science does well, it does very well, but whether the phrase "properly eternal top power" refers is altogether outside any actual living scientist's profesional domain of expertise.

Let me repeat that this is a separate question from the one of the existence of "infinite" beings of the sort found in Western religions, ...

I think you mean something other than "Western." The Classical Greek gods are mortal (they killed their parents, who would have killed them), and finite in all other senses. The "infinite" Gods that come most readily to mind are of Semitic and Arabian origin, not Western at all, and have become popular worldwide, not just in the West.

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OK-- Abrahamic religions. We do not need counter-evidence to not accept Santa. Absence of evidence for anything extraordinary is sufficient; to the rational skeptic the default is and properly should be non-belief.

You seem to want a "god" to be not subject to causation. I think none of us are and that causation is a statistical illusion created by the fact that our level of existence is composed of gazillions of atoms and similar particles behaving randomly but subject to probabilities.

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Frank

We do not need counter-evidence to not accept Santa. Absence of evidence for anything extraordinary is sufficient; to the rational skeptic the default is and properly should be non-belief.

We don't ever need evidence to form an opinion. Prioristic beliefs are fine. As it happens, I do have evidence about Santa, and it swamps any prioristic opinion(s) I may once have held on that subject. "Extraordinary" is reliably in the eye of the beholder. (You may be sure that some posters think a world without God would be extraordinary, and both atheists and theists have described my religious beliefs as extraordinary to them. I must be doing something right.)

I am rational and I am sceptical, but I do not reason about uncertainty according to wide-ranging and ungrounded heuristic defaults. You personally do that? Peachy. It's your belief corpus. And yes, of course, if your beliefs don't contradict each other, then they are rational, independently of how you arrived at them. Just like Pope Francis' beliefs, Richard Dawkins', and Tom Cruise's.

You seem to want a "god" to be not subject to causation.

Well, I am a sceptic about the well-foundedness of "causation." So, it seems we might just agree about that :) .

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The default, to not believe without evidence, anything extraordinary, is essential, and you probably do it too. We can't avoid it, and your implications here kinda irritated me. Even the mundane, if it is important, must be checked. When my daughter talks about men with two heads, I automatically don't believe, and so do you. Given a news report of such a person and one might think again.

What is extraordinary or not is I suppose, as you say, in the eye of the beholder, although I would also say I have yet to see any significant disagreement there. Arguments usually come down to whether the proffered evidence is persuasive or not. There is always evidence. Indeed, just that something is imaginable is evidence.

I don't find the idea of ghosts to be extraordinary, but most Westerners do, nor the idea of rebirth. Still, over time, I have come to realize that the evidence

for these phenomena is less than enough to warrant a strongly affirmative opinion, let alone belief.

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The default, to not believe without evidence, anything extraordinary, is essential, and you probably do it too.

I assent to the rationality of prioristic belief formation, as is obligatory for Bayesians (I am not one, but I agree with the admissibility of what they hold to be obligatory).

When my daughter talks about men with two heads, I automatically don't believe, and so do you.

You know what I do? We've met? You remind me of a story, which illustrates what I would do.

I was walking down the street in the Big City at sunset, and a goshawk flew low and crisp over the traffic. Nobody else sees her - she's dark, the light is low, Big City traffic demands attention. So, I follow her on foot, and she perches atop a building, out of sight. And I wait below, because she will soon show off on the building ledge. Meanwhile, a mother and her young daughter go to their car, parked near where I'm standing. Mom gets busy, her head and arms in the back seat, her feet outside, fixing the child seat, while her daughter waits on the sidewalk.

The goshawk struts out onto the ledge for her audience of two, the little girl and your obedient servant. The little girl calls out "Mommy, there's a really big bird here." Mommy, busy with the seat, grunts back, doesn't look. I'd give odds that what she heard was "Mommy, Big Bird is really here," or some such. (Big Bird is a famous Jim Henson character.)

Well, OK, Big Bird wasn't really there, but a really big bird was. Now, maybe Mom wouldn't have appreciated the beauty of the goshawk anyway. But after the goshawk flew off into the sunset, I gave the girl a thumbs-up as I walked away. She did well to tell Mom to come look.

I tell this story as an illustration of the downside of "default rules" that "automatically" eliminate inexpensive opportunities to learn. So, if your daughter talked to me about two-headed men, I'd hear her out. If I didn't already know, and that woman's daughter told me "Look, Big Bird is here," I'd have looked. And I'd win, no Big Bird, but something better, a goshawk showing off.

although I would also say I have yet to see any significant disagreement there.

You need to get out more, Frank.

Indeed, just that something is imaginable is evidence.

No, whatever I imagine is a hypothesis. We can't test (expose to the possibility of belief change) any hypothesis with any of the same data we used to formulate it, e.g. that we did formulate it.

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I would slay that the mere fact that you can frame a hypothesis is evidence for it. Not persuasive or even good evidence, but still evidence.

Maybe you need to get out more; the arguments are over issues, rarely over method.

Your homily appears to have the lesson that you might miss something if you function with assumptions and defaults. Well, it's a big world and inevitably I miss most of it anyway. We need to have some efficiency in the issues we choose to invest the study required to form opinions, and can leave the rest either to the experts or to a default.

Your expression "prioristic belief" sounds to me much like prejudgment.

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Maybe you need to get out more; the arguments are over issues, rarely over method.

Perhaps we usually participate in different arguments. This one between us, you'll notice, has a lot to do with method.

Your homily appears to have the lesson that you might miss something if you function with assumptions and defaults.

The lesson is that which heuristic somebody applies is reasonably related to expected costs and benefits. It usually costs me little to listen to somebody for a few moments; the potential benefit is that "really big bird" and "two-headed man" turn out to be real things I'm interested in.

If I am on some urgent errand, then I wouldn't stop to chat unless I did understand what was said to me. Higher costs for the same benefit may lead to different choices. But "automatically" assuming that 'everything that I fail to recognize immediately as referring to a real object doesn't refer to a real object' is an unattractive policy - although if that's what you like, then fine for you.

The idea of applying a "one size fits all" heuristic to every occasion where I do not immediately understand what the other person is saying isn't for me. And since it has been asserted as a fact that I do it anyway, I rise to point out that no, as a matter of fact, I do not.

Your expression "prioristic belief" sounds to me much like prejudgment.

It's a standard term. "Prior" refers both to "from first principles" and "before the observation of evidence." What does the "pre" in prejudgment refer to, in your view? If it turns out to be the same, why should I be concerned?

Edited by eight bits
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I obviously disagree with this, and have explained why and asked for specifics why it is false. Do you disagree with the concept of reasoning by analogy?

Not at all. I do not think that reasoning by analogy should form the entire basis for an opinion, however.

To defeat and rebut analogies does not just require pointing out any difference between the analogized objects...

Yes, it can require just that. To show the analogy is false in any way "defeats and rebuts" that analogy. If pointing out the inconsistency in the subjects analogised is sufficient, then I'm happy to consider the analogy "busted".

I entirely disagree with your italicized statement, alleged divine beings are not literally 'undefined'...

Really, so you would give the Deist "unconcerned being" the definition you follow with, being...

...they are 'beings' and have the quality of being divine.

So, 'undefined' divine beings are actually defined as "being divine"? That is about as specific as my "anything, everything and nothing" definition, wouldn't you agree?

Fine, if that is the way you'd like to put it, but you then agree the key word is 'include'; the definition of the divine does not literally become equal to 'nothing'.

I do believe I used the exclusive conjunction "or" when including "nothing" in the list I provided as a definition. I did not simply say, "the definition of divinity is nothing".

So yes, I'm still unclear on specifically why your noting that divinity is a class and leprechauns are not is a difference that invalidates the analogy.

Because, as I have already explained, the leprechaun is a specific instance of a being (allegedly), while divinity is a whole class of objects with no 'set' description, definition, etc. To analogise your analogy, it is the same as saying arguing against the existence of giant flying, fire-breathing dragons is equal to arguing against the existence of all alleged mythological beings. It's not equal at all.

Edited by Leonardo

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when I put in that it is my opinion, i mean it as "this is how i think/feel on this after living on this earth for 50 yrs (or however old i was at the time i posted), and i am not going to go online and find a bunch of links to show you that my opinion is correct because goodness me, my personal perceptions, personal experiences, and knowledge gained from that, is not going to be found online as reference points to link on.

*shrugs*

on this site, sometimes THAT needs said because otherwise they expect you to leave a reference link. I have yet found one for my life experience yet.

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If pointing out the inconsistency in the subjects analogised is sufficient, then I'm happy to consider the analogy "busted".

So would I, but I don't believe you've done so. You've pointed out a difference, class vs specifics, but not explained specifically why this invalidates the analogy; as I said, it's like pointing out that leprechauns are Irish whereas the class of divinity is not, that difference in Irishness does not invalidate the analogy so you can't just point out a difference and leave it at that.

Really, so you would give the Deist "unconcerned being" the definition you follow with, being...

Deism is the belief that a god exists but he does not interfere with the world and can be ascertained through reason and evidence. That doesn't sound undefined to me.

So, 'undefined' divine beings are actually defined as "being divine"? That is about as specific as my "anything, everything and nothing" definition, wouldn't you agree?

Does 'divine' have no definition? 'Anything, everything and nothing' is not the definition of divine, it is a statement about what may actually be divine in reality.

I do believe I used the exclusive conjunction "or" when including "nothing" in the list I provided as a definition. I did not simply say, "the definition of divinity is nothing".

No, the definition of divine is not 'everything, anything or nothing'. Check your dictionary. I asked you a specific question above about whether my fleshing out of your statement was correct, where I split out the definition from the class from the question of whether they actually exist, you didn't say whether you agree or not.

Because, as I have already explained, the leprechaun is a specific instance of a being (allegedly), while divinity is a whole class of objects with no 'set' description, definition, etc. To analogise your analogy, it is the same as saying arguing against the existence of giant flying, fire-breathing dragons is equal to arguing against the existence of all alleged mythological beings. It's not equal at all.

What is being compared in any analogy are never fully equal, otherwise it wouldn't be an analogy. At what point when we start adding to a class does it become inarguable? You seem to agree that specifics can be 'refuted', such as cyclops. If I expand to 'all Greek mythological beings' and now have a class that includes cyclops and pegasi and cerberus, have I now done something to make that class inarguable? What is it specifically and why? Obviously if I expand it further to 'all mythological beings' than you think it does invalidate the analogy? Why? Is it that there are some mythological beings that I don't personally know about and thus I can't be sure my analogy applies to or that doesn't have the same problem as leprechaun belief? Name them. Is it that there might be mythological beings that no one has ever specified or imagined and thus I can't argue against them? If they are not defined with some attribute then you can't say I even disagree that they exist and thus can't say that the analogy is illogical. If this is as deep as it goes and this position is largely your opinion that is entirely fine, but when you use the word 'illogical' and 'false' I thought, perhaps mistakenly, there was more reasoning to be provided to justify it, but the same statement just seems to be provided: the analogy is false and illogical because what you are comparing are not equal. Explain specifically how their inequality invalidates the analogy.

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Deism is the belief that a god exists but he does not interfere with the world and can be ascertained through reason and evidence. That doesn't sound undefined to me.

That seems a fine definition for deism, but what about a definition of "divinity"? Do you have one to promote? One that isn't "a divine being"?

Does 'divine' have no definition? 'Anything, everything and nothing' is not the definition of divine, it is a statement about what may actually be divine in reality.

Well, I'm not a professor of language, but it seems to me a "definition" is a "statement about what something might be." Maybe you'd like to correct me on that, as well?

No, the definition of divine is not 'everything, anything or nothing'.

Then what is it? I, at least, have fronted up with a definition. If you wish to say it's wrong, then provide us with an alternative that is substantially different to mine.

What is being compared in any analogy are never fully equal, otherwise it wouldn't be an analogy. At what point when we start adding to a class does it become inarguable? You seem to agree that specifics can be 'refuted', such as cyclops. If I expand to 'all Greek mythological beings' and now have a class that includes cyclops and pegasi and cerberus, have I now done something to make that class inarguable? What is it specifically and why? Obviously if I expand it further to 'all mythological beings' than you think it does invalidate the analogy? Why? Is it that there are some mythological beings that I don't personally know about and thus I can't be sure my analogy applies to or that doesn't have the same problem as leprechaun belief? Name them. Is it that there might be mythological beings that no one has ever specified or imagined and thus I can't argue against them? If they are not defined with some attribute then you can't say I even disagree that they exist and thus can't say that the analogy is illogical. If this is as deep as it goes and this position is largely your opinion that is entirely fine, but when you use the word 'illogical' and 'false' I thought, perhaps mistakenly, there was more reasoning to be provided to justify it, but the same statement just seems to be provided: the analogy is false and illogical because what you are comparing are not equal. Explain specifically how their inequality invalidates the analogy.
So would I, but I don't believe you've done so. You've pointed out a difference, class vs specifics, but not explained specifically why this invalidates the analogy; as I said, it's like pointing out that leprechauns are Irish whereas the class of divinity is not, that difference in Irishness does not invalidate the analogy so you can't just point out a difference and leave it at that.

The degree of difference is what makes the analogy false. Forgive me if that seems rather obvious, but to me it was. I appreciate an analogy, by definition, has to be of something 'different' than what is being compared with, but the object of good analogy is to get that degree of difference as small as possible - to make the comparison reasonable.

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That seems a fine definition for deism, but what about a definition of "divinity"? Do you have one to promote? One that isn't "a divine being"?

Do you not have access to a dictionary? Eight bits above provided a good definition also, I guess he also must not realize that the definition of divinity is 'everything, anything, and nothing', seems to be a prevalent problem. I'm an atheist because I don't believe in gods. I define gods as actual theists define 'gods'. You define 'divinity' as 'everything, anything, and nothing'; that's great, you have that right, but the disbelief in 'everything, anything, and nothing' is not the definition of atheism, is it? That's the problem with defining 'divinity' that way, that is not the definition that atheism rejects. We seem to be playing word games.

Well, I'm not a professor of language, but it seems to me a "definition" is a "statement about what something might be." Maybe you'd like to correct me on that, as well?

I'm no professor either, but I don't like your definition of 'definition'. Bigfeet sightings and footprints may be actually be accounted for as mis-identifications of bears, 'the something that bigfeet might be' then is bears, but no one would say that the 'definition' of bigfoot is a bear, a bigfoot is a tall hairy humanoid creature, with I agree has lots of variation, but none of those variations result in the 'definition' of bigfoot actually being bear, the definition of bigfoot, what he is claimed to be, is not and doesn't include 'bear'. No one would be justified using the term 'bigfoot' interchangably with 'bear', which you could if that was truly the definition. Likewise the definition of 'divinity' is not just a vague 'everything, anything, and nothing', because if I really meant to use the phrase 'everything, anything, and nothing' in some context, I can't just use the word 'divinity' instead, which I could if that was actually the definition. Now please, feel free to disagree with me on this and point out what you don't agree with, but I've written a lot about 'definitions', parsed out statements of yours into what I think are more precise explanations, and you don't respond to it at all. Please, I'm all for being corrected here, but you're not even acknowledging that I'm typing all this stuff justifying what a definition is, all of which to me shouldn't really need explaining and is actually very obvous.

Then what is it? I, at least, have fronted up with a definition. If you wish to say it's wrong, then provide us with an alternative that is substantially different to mine.

My definition of 'divine' is god-like, I said this earlier. If that is not specific enough, then consult what actual theists define as 'god-like', since that is actually what atheism disagrees with. Or alternatively, provide your own definition or proposition of divinity to be argued against, you don't even have to believe it, but right now you are saying my argument is illogical while simultaneously refusing to say with any specificity what your definition of the conception of divinity that atheism is being illogical about actually is. It is an empty claim. And like you I'm not meaning this as hostile or anything, but I'll remind you that it was just a few posts ago you suggested I was purposely being obtuse and that I knew my argument was a failure; I've provided repetitive detail and you do not do the same or really even acknowledge its existence, which is pretty much the definition, ha, of being obtuse, right?

The degree of difference is what makes the analogy false. Forgive me if that seems rather obvious, but to me it was. I appreciate an analogy, by definition, has to be of something 'different' than what is being compared with, but the object of good analogy is to get that degree of difference as small as possible - to make the comparison reasonable.

If it was truly 'obvious' as you claim, then shouldn't it be a simple matter to explain how this difference that exists invalidates the analogy I'm making? You instead have just flat out restated it in several consecutive posts and then immediately skipped to 'therefore' as I pointed out. Actually, no the simple 'degree' of difference, however you are proposing to measure that, does not necessarily make the analogy false, it depends if the difference is something that is relevant to what is being analogized and the argument being derived from it. I can make an analogy between worms and humans because we both need oxygen to survive, and the degree of difference is pretty sizable despite the analogy still being valid. So you can't just say the degree of difference makes it false without saying why, nice try though.

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My definition of 'divine' is god-like, I said this earlier.

Yes, I know, I read it.

And what does "god-like" mean? It's not at all descriptive, and it's no less ambiguous a definition than the one I provided. It is my opinion that your definition and mine have the same essential meaning.

So, since you are so upset about me providing a definition "anything, everything or nothing", please clarify what "god-like" means - and please include all the descriptions of what you imagine "god-like" can be, because we are talking about a class object here, not a specific being or beings but all possible, imaginable divine beings (or non-beings since divinity is alleged to be ineffable, then it might defy rational description.)

Edited by Leonardo

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After doing some simple research, it would appear that the use of the word Divine and Divinity is defined on -how- it is used and in what context. Below I share my findings, as I utterly love words.

Google definition:

Google search: define divine

Divine

Adjective: Of, from, or like God or a god.

Noun: A cleric of theologian

Verb: Discover (something) by guesswork or intuition: 'his brother usually divined his ulterior motives.'

Synonyms:

- adjective: heavenly, godlike, celestial, supernal

- noun: theologian, clergyman, ecclesiastic, priest

- verb: foretell, predict, prophesy, augur, prognosticate

Oxford Dictionaries:

http://oxforddiction.../english/divine http://oxforddiction.../english/divine

Adjective: (1) of or like God or a god: heroes with divine powers, paintings of shipwrecks being prevented by divine intervention

* devoted to God; sacred: divine liturgy

(2) informal very pleasing; delightful: he had the most divine smile

Noun: (1) (dated) a cleric of theologian.

(2) (The Divine) providence or God.

Divinity

Google definition: Google search: define divinity

Noun: (1) The state of quality of being divine: 'Christ's divinity'.

(2) The study of religion; theology: 'A doctor of divinity.'

Synonyms: deity, godhead, god, theology

Oxford Dictionaries:

http://oxforddiction...nity?q=divinity

Noun (plural divinities)

[Mass noun] (1) The state or quality of being divine.

[count noun] A divine being; a god or goddess: busts of Roman divinities

(The Divinity) God.

(2) The study of religion; theology: A doctor of divinity.

Origin: Middle English: From old French divinite, from Latin divinitas, from divinus 'belonging to a deity' (see Divine (1) ).

Bonus word! --> Kenotism - doctrine that Christ rid himself of divinity in becoming human (http://phrontistery.info/isms.html)

Examples of quotes using the word divine/Divine:

Study the past, if you would divine the future - Confucius

To err is human; to forgive, divine - Alexander Pope

All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine - Socrates

Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known. -Blaise Pascal

No one was ever great without some portion of divine inspiration - Marcus Tullius Cicero

To err is human, but it feels divine - Mae West

Kind Regards:)

Edited to add: This isn't my opinion, by the way. I'm just passing on some well grounded knowledge!

Edited by Asadora
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