RE: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue May 01 2007 - 12:39:44 EDT

Choosing what to believe is very much like choosing a particular
mathematical model to describe some section of the physical aspect of
Nature. The criterion in making the choice is to have the most of human
experience and some aspects of Nature being best explained by our
choice. I choose the Christian faith since it answers most of my
questions regarding being, purpose, meaning, values, etc. The next
problem is to integrate the Christian faith with the findings of
unadulterated science. That is all one can do, to choose what
constitutes one's worldview.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of PvM
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 12:18 PM
To: David Opderbeck
Cc: Janice Matchett;
Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

I'd argue that there is as much basis to presuppose a spahjetti
monster, Zeus, Thor, Wodan, or the countless other Gods as there is to
presuppose a Christian God. Using Collin's logic, we are all guilty of
rejecting these based on insufficient evidence about their
probabilities. This seems exactly the flawed approach chosen by ID.
Until we know more, we should presuppose God as 'the best

So why is the Christian God far more 'reasonable'? Because you were
raised in this tradition, exposed to the relevant teachings and have
accepted His existence. However, others have come to very different
conclusions based on much of the same evidence and arguments.

I fail to see how one can claim that there is no reasonable basis to
presuppose a spaghetti monster, while implying that there is a
reasonable basis for presupposing other such entities. Is our faith in
our God so much different from the faith of others in different
The spaghetti monster may be 'tongue in cheek' but that does not make
appealing to the spaghetti monster somehow unreasonable. What about

On 5/1/07, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> I'm not sure Collins' argument on this particular point is all that
> because it doesn't really address the pragmatist's epistemology.
OTOH, the
> Spaghetti Monster response, IMHO, is just silly. There's a reasonable
> to presuppose God, defined fully and richly as the God revealed in
> scripture. There's no reasonable basis to presuppose a Spaghetti
> which is an entity so vastly different than God that the comparison is
> infantile. (Unless, of course, you define the Spaghetti Monster to
have all
> the same properties and characteristics as God, in which case you've
> nothing but a bit of sophistry in applying a silly name to God).
> On 5/1/07, PvM <> wrote:
> > This kind of logic leads to a simple conclusion: The Spaghetti
> > Monster, the flying teacup and fairies exist, after all, those
> > a-fairyists have a faith which "is the least rational of all choices
> > because that assumes that you know enough to assume the possibility
> > fairies" and surely reject a perfectly good idea...
> >
> > Collins' argument seems illogical to say the least, especially when
> > applied to any other 'entity', such as Thor, Zeus, the flying
> > spaghetti monster etc.
> >
> > As Dawkins so aptly observes
> >
> > <quote>A friend, who was brought up a Jew and still observes the
> > sabbath and other Jewish customs out of loyalty to his heritage,
> > describes himself as a 'tooth fairy agnostic'. He regards God as no
> > more probable than the tooth fairy. You can't disprove either
> > hypothesis, and both are equally improbable. He is an a-theist to
> > exactly the same large extent that he is an a-fairyist. And agnostic
> > about both, to the same small extent. Russell's teapot, of course,
> > stands for an infinite number of
> > things whose existence is conceivable and cannot be
> >
> > You think atheists are a nuisance? Just imagine those
> >
> > Pim
> >
> > On 5/1/07, Janice Matchett <> wrote:
> > >
> > > At 10:25 AM 5/1/2007, David Opderbeck wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Whenever anyone -- even an atheist -- says anything, he is
> a
> > > universe in which a thing called "truth" may be encoded and passed
> mind
> > > to mind through a medium called language. These are huge
> presuppositions,
> > > and only serve to re-emphasize the crudity of the atheist mind.
> an
> > > atheist is an abject nihilist, then he doesn't have the courage of
> > > absence of convictions. ~ Janice
> > >
> > > Not to defend atheists, but is this really a fair
characterization? I'm
> not
> > > so sure. Many atheists are pragmatists. They don't presume that
> > > necessarily have access to universal truth or that their atheism
is true
> in
> > > an "absolute" sense. They simply argue that, given what the human
> is
> > > capable of knowing, and given the limits of human language,
atheism is
> the
> > > only epistemically justifiable alternative..."
> > > @ Francis Collins: "I would argue that atheism is the least
rational of
> all
> > > choices because that assumes that you know enough to assume the
> possibility
> > > of God [in the first place]"
> > >
> > > ~ Janice ... More:
> > >
> > >
> >

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Received on Tue May 1 12:40:12 2007

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