Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Tue May 01 2007 - 12:43:10 EDT

*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.*

Because presupposing the Christian God supplies a coherent framework for a
meaningful worldview, including (but not limited to) a fully-orbed view of
nature, human nature, and epistemology. Presupposing a Spaghetti Monster
does no such thing. Given that coherency is a key test of the
justifiability of a knowledge claim, I'd say there's a vast gulf separating
presuppositions about God and the Spaghetti Monster.

*Because you were
> raised in this tradition, exposed to the relevant teachings and have
> accepted His existence.
*
My being raised in the tradition certainly influenced my views (and at the
end of the day, as a theological matter, my faith is a gift of grace in any
event). However, you're presuming to know what challenges I've faced
concerning those views and how I've come to justify my views in light of
such challenges. I believe my Christian faith and worldview have come to be
my own and that I'm able to justify the knowledge claims that relate to my
faith with more than just appeals to my parents. Quite honestly, the
comparison of my faith journey and my religious epistemology to belief in a
Spaghetti Monster, in this regard, is offensive.

*Is our faith in
> our God so much different from the faith of others in different
> God(s)?*

Yes, because a god lacking any bit of the character, nature, attributes,
etc. of the Christian God is not capable of holding together the coherent
worldview underwritten by the concept of the Christian God.

*The spaghetti monster may be 'tongue in cheek' but that does not make
> appealing to the spaghetti monster somehow unreasonable. What about
> a-fairyians?*

A-fairyians is another silly comparison because, once again, fairies do not
underwrite a coherent worldview as does the concept of the Christian God.

On 5/1/07, PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> explanation'.
>
> 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
> God(s)?
> The spaghetti monster may be 'tongue in cheek' but that does not make
> appealing to the spaghetti monster somehow unreasonable. What about
> a-fairyians?
>
> On 5/1/07, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'm not sure Collins' argument on this particular point is all that
strong
> > because it doesn't really address the pragmatist's epistemology. OTOH,
the
> > Spaghetti Monster response, IMHO, is just silly. There's a reasonable
basis
> > to presuppose God, defined fully and richly as the God revealed in
> > scripture. There's no reasonable basis to presuppose a Spaghetti
Monster,
> > 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
done
> > nothing but a bit of sophistry in applying a silly name to God).
> >
> >
> >
> > On 5/1/07, PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com> 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 of
> > > 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 disproved.</quote>
> > >
> > > You think atheists are a nuisance? Just imagine those a-fairyists....
> > >
> > > Pim
> > >
> > > On 5/1/07, Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > At 10:25 AM 5/1/2007, David Opderbeck wrote:
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Whenever anyone -- even an atheist -- says anything, he is
presupposing
> > a
> > > > universe in which a thing called "truth" may be encoded and passed
from
> > mind
> > > > to mind through a medium called language. These are huge
> > presuppositions,
> > > > and only serve to re-emphasize the crudity of the atheist mind.
Unless
> > an
> > > > atheist is an abject nihilist, then he doesn't have the courage of
his
> > > > 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
they
> > > > necessarily have access to universal truth or that their atheism is
true
> > in
> > > > an "absolute" sense. They simply argue that, given what the human
mind
> > 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:
> > > >
> > http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/search?q=atheism+least+rational
> > > >
> > >
> >
> >
>

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Received on Tue May 1 12:43:38 2007

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