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Atheist Dilemma


Guest 2smart4u

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Then a moslem and a jew spoke up from the audience.  The moslem said, "But if I'm right, then both of you have made the mistake and only I will get to heaven when I die."

The jew said, "You're all spiritual people, even you atheist, you who have struggled with your faith, but if I am right, then all of us, even you, will get to heaven when we die."

"when I die ..... I win." 

Good grief!!

He watches the debate on television, apparently quotes at length from memory, and you take the quotation at face value?

Let's hope you never have to endure a careless paraphrase of your words that results in ridicule for you, Gavin.

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Guest Paul

(1) Okay, and you think about forgiving a murderer for murder, and then another murder, and then another murder ... a trillion upon a trillion ad infinitum. Isn't that your idea of justice?

Of course, Paul would probably say that he wants God to somehow stop the murderer without any hell.

Isn't taking away somebody's freedom to act a punishment? Won't a murderer be tormented by the inability to murder? Tormented ... for an eternity?

Hell would mean that imperfect beings who decline to be made perfect would not have fellowship with God. I don't expect any less from justice. Paul's concept of justice seems more vulnerable to criticism, IMHO--but Paul has decided to abandon that debate for some reason (habit's as good a guess as any).

Look, you folks think you have the right to say what God's eternal justice is, assuming of course that there is a god. Those of us who disagree with you have the right to comment on what you're saying. You can't have it both ways.

Yes, and? Where did he suggest he wanted it both ways?

(2) If that's what you suspect, then why have you been dodging the criticism of your view of justice?

(1) No. As I told you before, you can't compare justice in the hands of an omni-everything god to justice in an imperfect world that is full of limitations. A person of spiritual discernment would understand that.

(2) I haven't. I've been ignoring you for the same reason Arthur walked away from the Black Knight after severing all four of his limbs from his body. Your dissembling became tiresome long ago, Bryan, which is why no one is responding to your attempts to challenge Gavin after he thoroughly trounced you, as Leigh quite properly observed.

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Yes, and?  Where did he suggest he wanted it both ways?

(2) If that's what you suspect, then why have you been dodging the criticism of your view of justice?

(1) No. As I told you before, you can't compare justice in the hands of an omni-everything god to justice in an imperfect world that is full of limitations. A person of spiritual discernment would understand that.

How does that remotely address the mathematical problem I pointed out for your model of justice?

(2) I haven't. I've been ignoring you for the same reason Arthur walked away from the Black Knight after severing all four of his limbs from his body.

Where are the arms and legs, then? You haven't addressed the mathematical problem. How can you claim to have lopped it off? Indeed, your claim ironically resembles that of the Black Knight, not Arthur.

Your dissembling became tiresome long ago, Bryan, which is why no one is responding to your attempts to challenge Gavin after he thoroughly trounced you, as Leigh quite properly observed.

Heh. You know as well as I do that you were dismayed to see Gavin agree with me about epistemology. And maybe you haven't seen where he agreed that Paszkiewicz was misrepresented (which you have tended to deny).

Again, if my arms and/or legs have been lopped off, point to one of the writhing on the ground--a specific example. You can't, because your claims are similar that way--built on nothing.

This is yet another post to stack up in Paul's archive of evidenceless claims peppered with ad hominem ("A person of spiritual discernment would discern that," "Your dissembling became tiresome").

That, by the way, was evidence in support of my claim. Maybe you'll learn the technique one day.

Edited by Bryan
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(1) No. As I told you before, you can't compare justice in the hands of an omni-everything god to justice in an imperfect world that is full of limitations. A person of spiritual discernment would understand that.

How does that remotely address the mathematical problem I pointed out for your model of justice?

Where are the arms and legs, then? You haven't addressed the mathematical problem. How can you claim to have lopped it off? Indeed, your claim ironically resembles that of the Black Knight, not Arthur.

Heh. You know as well as I do that you were dismayed to see Gavin agree with me about epistemology. And maybe you haven't seen where he agreed that Paszkiewicz was misrepresented (which you have tended to deny).

Again, if my arms and/or legs have been lopped off, point to one of the writhing on the ground--a specific example. You can't, because your claims are similar that way--built on nothing.

This is yet another post to stack up in Paul's archive of evidenceless claims peppered with ad hominem ("A person of spiritual discernment would discern that," "Your dissembling became tiresome").

That, by the way, was evidence in support of my claim. Maybe you'll learn the technique one day.

Mathematical problem? I'd like to see that spelled out. What is Bryan main-lining?

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QUOTE(Paul @ Jun 4 2007, 08:31 PM)

You think about what causing someone to suffer in unremitting torment for a trillion trillion years would mean, and then another trillion trillion and a trillion trillion after that, ad infinitum.

Okay, and you think about forgiving a murderer for murder, and then another murder, and then another murder ... a trillion upon a trillion ad infinitum.  Isn't that your idea of justice?

What a ridiculous non-sequitur by Bryan. Come on, Bryan. Even you're more objective than that.

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QUOTE(Paul @ Jun 4 2007, 08:31 PM)

You think about what causing someone to suffer in unremitting torment for a trillion trillion years would mean, and then another trillion trillion and a trillion trillion after that, ad infinitum.

What a ridiculous non-sequitur by Bryan. Come on, Bryan. Even you're more objective than that.

It follows, dear heart, from Paul's statement that justice amounts to never giving up on somebody.

Think about it.

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It follows, dear heart, from Paul's statement that justice amounts to never giving up on somebody.

Think about it.

In the universe of an unlimited god of infinite resources, patience and above all Love, that is exactly what it would mean. You think about it. I've been asking you to do that for quite some time.

Alternatively, elucidate for us the fallacy or fallacies in that conceptualization.

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In the universe of an unlimited god of infinite resources, patience and above all Love, that is exactly what it would mean. You think about it. I've been asking you to do that for quite some time.

I replied after that request (promptly), and you retired (just as promptly).

Alternatively, elucidate for us the fallacy or fallacies in that conceptualization.

I administered a reductio ad absurdum to your view, and you've left it standing.

You figure it out.

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In the universe of an unlimited god of infinite resources, patience and above all Love, that is exactly what it would mean. You think about it. I've been asking you to do that for quite some time.

Alternatively, elucidate for us the fallacy or fallacies in that conceptualization.

Correction on my last post: If memory serves, Paul trusted to the omnipotence of god to figure out some way to forgive, prevent murder, and avoid eternal punishment (giving up on somebody) all at the same time.

On the face of it, that's no better than my appealing to god's omnipotence to find a way to make hell perfectly just (not that I have made any such appeal).

Paul's problem is that he just doesn't seem to have the ability to see how bad his arguments are.

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I replied after that request (promptly), and you retired (just as promptly).

I administered a reductio ad absurdum to your view, and you've left it standing.

You figure it out.

Your "reductio ad absurdum" was not germane. In fact, it was sillly, which is why I didn't respond. I should know better than to bother responding now, but I have a few minutes on my hands.

You're making niggling, pedantic arguments about what would be the grandest and most important aspect of reality, if it had or has any basis in fact. What you're doing is like sitting down to a top-quality Steinway Grand piano and playing chopsticks as mechanically as the most unschooled four-year-old after a first lesson.

If there was or is a loving god, he/she/it is would not be (or is not) indifferent between our happiness and our misery. You treat this whole question as though there are rules by which an omnipotent god would have to abide regardless of the outcome, completely overlooking the fact that a loving and omnipotent god would care deeply, profoundly and ultimately about the outcome. In your vision, God's will is thwarted --- but wait, no, because you wash the Love completely out of God. Presto, problem solved because this god of yours is now indifferent to whether we suffer in eternal torment or revel in glory as long as the workman-like rules are kept; except of course, that you've just created an ever greater problem apparently at a level that is completely hidden from you. Because now you've reduced God not just to a petty little bean-counter in a black suit and narrow tie, but to something far worse than that.

The irony is that I, the non-theist have to point this out to you. The absurdity is that even after I and others do point it out, you still don't get it.

I just spent a day in court continuing the trial of a medical malpractice case. We're in our second week of trial, and my expert witness was on the stand today. The attorney for the defendant we believe is the most culpable was trying to cross-examine my expert. He's a good lawyer, and he was asking technically sound questions, but his client dug himself such a deep hole that when my expert would blast him with an especially solid answer (and there were quite a few of them), the jury would smile with satisfaction, and when the lawyer would ask the next question they would frown, shake their heads, even look at me and roll their eyes. All that cross-examination accomplished was to aggravate the jury even further against his client. There's no point in my explaining the meaning of this story to you. When you're ready to understand it, you will do so on your own. Until then, no amount of explaining by me or anyone else will get through to you. The human mind opens only from within. We can't take a can opener and open it from without, though I will admit that sometimes the thought of trying is appealing.

So in the future and as I've told you before, if I don't respond to you, it doesn't mean that I've accepted your argument. I'm quite certain I speak for others in saying that, and not because I can read their minds but because they've said so. It truly is a pity that you cannot seem to hear this.

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Your "reductio ad absurdum" was not germane.

Really? Why not?

In fact, it was sillly, which is why I didn't respond.

Yeah? What was silly about it?

I should know better than to bother responding now, but I have a few minutes on my hands.

Ah, too busy/too vapid as I predicted in a post I composed immediately prior to this one (without previewing Paul's response here).

Watch how stupid your mode of argumentation is, Paul:

Your "reductio ad absurdum" was not germane.

Your claim that the reductio ad absurdum was not germane is not germane

It was silly

Your claim that the reduction ad absurdum was silly is silly.

If you note that my response has nothing to back it up, congratulations. It is designed to perfectly mirror your charges, which likewise have nothing to back them up. It's only a real argument if one of us backs up his claims.

Which one of us should go first?

You're making niggling, pedantic arguments about what would be the grandest and most important aspect of reality, if it had or has any basis in fact.

LaClair mode in response:

Your complaint is just a hand-wave.

(no argument takes place with this type of exchange--and this is Paul's typical mode)

What you're doing is like sitting down to a top-quality Steinway Grand piano and playing chopsticks as mechanically as the most unschooled four-year-old after a first lesson.

LaClair mode in response:

You response is the equivalent of a (toddler) tossing his bowl of spaghetti in tantrum over not having his juice cup placed within his reach.

(again, no content to the argument--Paul prefers to live on empty rhetoric)

If there was or is a loving god, he/she/it is would not be (or is not) indifferent between our happiness and our misery.

There we agree. Be careful, now. Somebody might get the idea that you intend to argue your side of things.

You treat this whole question as though there are rules by which an omnipotent god would have to abide regardless of the outcome, completely overlooking the fact that a loving and omnipotent god would care deeply, profoundly and ultimately about the outcome.

And suddenly Paul is right back to his ususal method of making charges without any substantiating evidence.

There are rules by which god must abide if we are to discuss the issue reasonably: the rules of logic

I've already pointed this out, but I'll do so again in greater detail.

Paul has assured us that via god's omnipotence surely he can preserve justice without ever sending people to hell.

Is that a good argument? I think I can prove that it is not with reductio ad absurdum:

If Paul relies on an unexplained piece of divine intervention to make his point, then so will I. God, via his omnipotence, is able to send people to hell justly.

If Paul doesn't like my argument above, finding that it somehow begs the question of whether hell is really just (according to reason), then he should look to his own argument to see the same problem. Paul owes an explanation for justice based on unending forgiveness. Thus far, Paul will have no part of it ("not germane" "silly").

In your vision, God's will is thwarted --- but wait, no, because you wash the Love completely out of God. Presto, problem solved because this god of yours is now indifferent to whether we suffer in eternal torment or revel in glory as long as the workman-like rules are kept; except of course, that you've just created an ever greater problem apparently at a level that is completely hidden from you. Because now you've reduced God not just to a petty little bean-counter in a black suit and narrow tie, but to something far worse than that.

Too bad you don't have any argument other than a hurricane's worth of windbaggery.

Would it be okay for God to put somebody in hell for 24 hours (I know, "not germane" or "silly" but just bear with me for a moment)?

The irony is that I, the non-theist have to point this out to you. The absurdity is that even after I and others do point it out, you still don't get it.

How surprising can it be that we don't get it, considering your spectacular reluctance to explain it?

I just spent a day in court continuing the trial of a medical malpractice case. We're in our second week of trial, and my expert witness was on the stand today. The attorney for the defendant we believe is the most culpable was trying to cross-examine my expert. He's a good lawyer, and he was asking technically sound questions, but his client dug himself such a deep hole that when my expert would blast him with an especially solid answer (and there were quite a few of them), the jury would smile with satisfaction, and when the lawyer would ask the next question they would frown, shake their heads, even look at me and roll their eyes. All that cross-examination accomplished was to aggravate the jury even further against his client. There's no point in my explaining the meaning of this story to you.

You make it sound like you're playing to the jury. :)

Something I've pointed out about you a number of times, coincidentally.

When you're ready to understand it, you will do so on your own.

That's your cue to roll your eyes at whatever I say, jury.

Paul need not explain himself. He's counting on you to share his misconceptions and mistaken points of view. Don't let him down. And above all don't expect him to actually support what he says. Just accept it.

Until then, no amount of explaining by me or anyone else will get through to you. The human mind opens only from within. We can't take a can opener and open it from without, though I will admit that sometimes the thought of trying is appealing.

So in the future and as I've told you before, if I don't respond to you, it doesn't mean that I've accepted your argument.

How many times do you think you need to tell me that when I've never provided you any good indication that I think you agree with me if you don't respond?

(because he's playing to the jury--he probably hopes they'll accept the implication that I assume no response indicates that concedes my arguments).

I really like the "no amount of explaining" will get through to me part. Pretty convenient for a guy who routinely avoids providing evidence and explanation, isn't it? In effect, it is my fault that Paul doesn't argue for his claims. The fact that I would assuredly fail to understand their grace and perspicuity practically forces Paul to refrain from the attempt. Really, I should be ashamed of myself. ;)

I'm quite certain I speak for others in saying that, and not because I can read their minds but because they've said so. It truly is a pity that you cannot seem to hear this.

I'd be speaking for others if I called you a big fat idiot, too, but that doesn't really prove anything, does it?

But Paul can hardly help himself when it comes to playing to the jury, so what do I expect?

You've got no argument, LaClair. You may think you do, but chances are extremely high that I've seen it before and I know how to bring it tumbling down. And that's with logic, not with long-winded fallacies such as you seem to prefer in debate.

Keep running away, coward. Run away in your own thread.

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