Welcome to Atheist Discussion, a new community created by former members of The Thinking Atheist forum.

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
#51

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
What I don't get is... Why come here and straight away start with the nonsense? Why not come here and engage with people, I dunno have a conversation about their life or whatever.
@JAG Do you think that these arguments are like a newsflash to people on an atheist discussion website? Tell us what you had for breakfast for Christ's sake.
The following 3 users Like TonyAnkle's post:
  • mordant, Thumpalumpacus, skyking
Reply
#52

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-05-2020, 09:05 AM)TonyAnkle Wrote: What I don't get is... Why come here and straight away start with the nonsense? Why not come here and engage with people, I dunno have a conversation about their life or whatever.
@JAG Do you think that these arguments are like a newsflash to people on an atheist discussion website? Tell us what you had for breakfast for Christ's sake.

Its not about us, its about him!

What i learned is that many (particularly the evangelicals) christians dont care for their fellow human beings, they care only for themselves. They care for others only because they think they are ordered to.

He was trying to save his own ass, preparing for the second coming. If he would give a shit about anyone of us, he would have invested more than just 5mins of ctrl-c/ctrl-v.....at least i would have. Winking
R.I.P. Hannes
The following 2 users Like Deesse23's post:
  • skyking, Reltzik
Reply
#53

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
He's apparently only concerned with earning jeezus points which he thinks he can use in the afterlife for cool, in-game upgrades.
[Image: Bastard-Signature.jpg]
The following 4 users Like TheGentlemanBastard's post:
  • Gwaithmir, Deesse23, Szuchow, skyking
Reply
#54

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-05-2020, 09:05 AM)TonyAnkle Wrote: What I don't get is... Why come here and straight away start with the nonsense? Why not come here and engage with people, I dunno have a conversation about their life or whatever.
@JAG Do you think that these arguments are like a newsflash to people on an atheist discussion website? Tell us what you had for breakfast for Christ's sake.

That's what pigeons do. They shit where they can.
Man’s innate yearning for freedom can be suppressed but never destroyed. Totalitarianism cannot renounce violence. If it does, it perishes. Eternal, ceaseless violence, overt or covert, is the basis of totalitarianism. Man does not renounce freedom voluntarily.

Vasily Grossman
The following 2 users Like Szuchow's post:
  • GenesisNemesis, Thumpalumpacus
Reply
#55

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-05-2020, 09:05 AM)TonyAnkle Wrote: What I don't get is... Why come here and straight away start with the nonsense? Why not come here and engage with people, I dunno have a conversation about their life or whatever.
@JAG Do you think that these arguments are like a newsflash to people on an atheist discussion website? Tell us what you had for breakfast for Christ's sake.
Authenticity has never been a hallmark of evangelicals. As a former evangelical I can tell you that I was socialized to carefully curate my public persona to be fake. Oh, no one sat me down and told me to be inauthentic. It was just systemically baked into the lifestyle.

First off you're supposed to be living the Victorious Christian Life where everything goes right for you and you are filled with holy joy just based on having the right beliefs and loyalties. So Job One is to conceal any aspect of your shadow or anything about your life that's less than fortunate or any personal disappointment or frustration -- or at best, acknowledge it and turn it into a heroic narrative where you're the triumphant, transcendent star of the show.

Secondly you're supposed to be right. Not politically right (although that, too), right as in correct. The whole idea is that there's discoverable, quantifiable, objectively black and white capital-T Truth to be had, of which fundamentalist Christianity of your particular flavor has a monopoly on. If you have this, then you are right and all others are wrong. So Job Two is to conceal any way in which you even appear to be mistaken, inconsistent or foolish.

Thirdly you believe in group guilt -- that you could be lumped in with the nation as a whole and receive god's wrath and rightly so because you "condoned" "sin" by not sufficiently opposing it. As a result you become obsessed with arguing, shaming, or coercing others over to your point of view. And you feel justified, even altruistic in doing so. But it's also your duty.

And so we have here the spectacle of someone -- even contrary to specific advice given them on the introductions forum IRRC -- leading with apologetics and arguing that their beliefs feel truthy and plausible to them and that's reason enough to assent to them. Arguing this to a bunch of seasoned skeptics / cynics, as if we haven't heard it all a million times before. And that's the central conceit of these folks ... they actually think their arguments are novel enough that we would have never considered them already. And furthermore: they are so compelling that if we had truly considered them, they'd be impossible to dismiss other than through willful and intellectually dishonest resistance.
The following 1 user Likes mordant's post:
  • Reltzik
Reply
#56

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-05-2020, 09:05 AM)TonyAnkle Wrote: What I don't get is... Why come here and straight away start with the nonsense? Why not come here and engage with people, I dunno have a conversation about their life or whatever.
@JAG Do you think that these arguments are like a newsflash to people on an atheist discussion website? Tell us what you had for breakfast for Christ's sake.

Because they think they'll get brownie points from this jesus character!
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
The following 1 user Likes Minimalist's post:
  • mordant
Reply
#57

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-05-2020, 04:12 PM)Minimalist Wrote:
(10-05-2020, 09:05 AM)TonyAnkle Wrote: What I don't get is... Why come here and straight away start with the nonsense? Why not come here and engage with people, I dunno have a conversation about their life or whatever.
@JAG Do you think that these arguments are like a newsflash to people on an atheist discussion website? Tell us what you had for breakfast for Christ's sake.

Because they think they'll get brownie points from this jesus character!

A far more succinct way to put it than I did, but for me the jury is still out on whether it's more carrot (brownie points from Jesus) or stick (avoiding Jesus smiting them). Depends on the sect and the personality of the individual I guess. Also on the degree of dumb luck they've had in life, so they have enough positives to wrongly attribute to their imaginary friend.
Reply
#58

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
Well in Bullshit According to Mark it directs the disciples to spread the word throughout the world...so perhaps our friend thinks he is following orders?  Of course, that instruction is in sections 8: 9-20 which were not part of whatever the original was and were tacked on centuries later by jesus freaks who were dissatisfied with the original ending.

The good news is that those same additions include the part about handling snakes and drinking poison and every year we rid ourselves of a few of the assholes due to those pursuits!
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
The following 1 user Likes Minimalist's post:
  • mordant
Reply
#59

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
It's been a while since I had something even halfway-reasoned to tear into, so I'll give it a try even if I'm late to the party.  Only responding to the OP in this post, might respond to the rest of the thread in a later one.  I'm also typing up my response as I read, so I might make a response to something in the original post that will be invalidated by something later in that post.

(EDIT FROM FUTURE-ME:  This is going to be very long.  Since the OP has been helpfully divided up into sections, My current plan is to respond with one post per section.)

(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: JAG Writes:

An alternative title for this thread: Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Plausibility)

My view is (and has always been) that with regard to arguments that deal with the spiritual unseen world and with moral values and with the supernatural, that there are no arguments that can rise to the certainty-level of 5 + 5 = 10, and that the very best anyone can ever hope to establish is probability, not certainty.

Well, I have good news for you!  As someone who has worked in octal, I can assure you that 5+5 does not always equal 10.  Sometimes, it equals 12.  With this in mind, and with the ability to identify some claims as self-contradictory and therefore certainly false, we CAN reach and even exceed that level of certainty with regard to spiritual/supernatural/value claims.

(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: What I just said deals with showing Christianity to be true as opposed to knowing Christianity to be true. William Lane Craig makes this point in his book Reasonable Faith.

William.... Lane... Craig.

.....

*long, drawn out sigh matched only by that of a parent whose child wants them to join in watching the same damn Disney movie for the thousandth day in a row, only it's not their child, but some random person off the internet, and our political leaders value the random person and their opinions more than they value me and mine to the point where they'll actively violate my constitutional rights in the random person's favor because they too are into watching the same damn Disney movie over and over and boy this metaphor really isn't working any more is it*

I've been so completely done with Craig for a decade now.  I can't hear him speak without hearing the worst type of used car salesman hyping up one argument he's selling, only to quickly and without the least bit of guilt or newfound humility move on to the next product the moment you kick the tires and the thing falls apart in front of your eyes, all while exuding the conceit that he should be regarded with a level of dignity, respect, and trust that the row of twenty collapsed cars clearly proves that he does not deserve.  His arrogance and shamelessness are immensely grating.

But okay.

Okay.

You're here, and he isn't.  I'll address this material as if it is you presenting it, since you are.  The good news is, you'll get the sort of hearing-out from me that Craig no longer will.  The bad news is that if it turns out you're trying to get us to buy an obvious lemon, you will pay the price in garnered mistrust and contempt.  No passing the buck back to Craig on this.  You're the one on this forum presenting this material.  Not him.

You're making a point, in essence, that not all demonstrations are complete and total deductive proofs, that some are merely inductive arguments based on a very heavy weight of evidence while still having the possibility of being wrong.  That's fair, and I'll agree with it.

(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: What that means is we Christians hold that we can know Christianity to be true based upon the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that lives in us and tells us that Christianity is true. It is utterly impossible for us to prove this to be true with intellectual arguments that rise to the certainty-level of 2 + 2 + 4.

*twitch twitch* Assuming you meant 2+2=4, math pedant speaking here again.  I've worked in a number system where 4 does not exist, and 2+2=1. It all folds back to the main premises of the number system you're working with, and whether they're true of the particular problem you're trying to tackle.  2+2=4 is no more proven, in general, than the validity of whole number arithmetic in regards to that particular application.  This isn't an attack and I understand that most non-math-people (and far too many math-people) can't be expected to know this.  Sorry, this is just something that I'm irrationally irritated by.  *twitch*  I understand you mean this as an example of something deductively true and unquestionable, but it's a poor example.  You're better off sticking with the Socrates-is-mortal syllogism.

Now onto more serious stuff.  SOME Christians hold that they can know Christianity is true thanks to an inner witness, and it is an utterly asinine conceit.  That it is asinine (or, more precisely, that it is severely flawed to the point that it would require absurd folly to believe it) is something that I can shown deductively.

To start with, lemme put the inner-witness argument into the form a syllogism.  It begins with a premise that you have a feeling that Christianity is true.  I would accept this premise as incorrigibly true, just as "my arm hurts" is incorrigibly true.  Maybe there are pain receptors firing in your arm, or maybe you're an amputee suffering phantom limb syndrom, or maybe you're a computer simulation feeling nothing more than a bunch of 1s and 0s that you interpret as pain, but in any of these cases you are registering an experience of pain in what you identify as your arm.  Whatever the underlying truth behind the experience, be it arm-pain or feeling-it's-true, the experience itself exists.

Next, you attribute this feeling to divine intervention, in the form of the Holy Spirit.  This is where things get extremely shaky.  Lots of different denominations have lots of different doctrines about the details of how this works, but they generally go like this:

P1  If Christianity is true, God produces a feeling (Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit) as a form of divine revelation.  
P2  I have this feeling that my belief in Christianity is true, which I am calling the Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit.
C  Therefore, what I'm feeling shows that my beliefs are true.

Or to abbreviate:

P1:  Christianity -> Feeling
P2:  Feeling
C:  Christianity

Rephrase these as you like.  Describe it as an inner voice or a burning in the bosom rather than a feeling, or say that some feeling of certainty or peace is God's way of answering questions asked in prayer and make it about prayer rather than an inner witness.  Ascribe additional qualities to it, like it being something you are incapable of denying.  That changes nothing.  The overall syllogistic structure is the problem.  This is called abduction, and it is almost never deductively valid.  It can be a strong inductive argument, depending on the additional factor of how exclusive the premise of A->B is.  If we also have other possibilities that imply B, with nothing to show that A is more likely than the alternatives, then the conclusion is not strong.  On the other hand, if we can show that A is more likely as a cause to be than all other alternatives to B combined, then the conclusion can become strong induction.  But it is only if we can show that A is the only possible cause of B that the argument becomes deductively sound.  (You were holding it up as an example of something to be completely certain about, meaning an example of something deductive, but I'll examine its merits as an inductive argument as well.)

So how exclusive is that implication?  Is Christianity being true the only explanation for an incorrigible feeling which you then go on to identify as the inner witness?  If not, is it particularly more likely than the alternatives?

Well, what are those alternatives?  Well let me brainstorm just a small sampling of possibilities...

The subject has been primed by culture and upbringing to look for an inner witness, leading to false positives; the subject has been culturally primed to regard certain things as true or good and been told that God is such, and therefore mistakes their attitudes regarding goodness and truth for the Holy Spirit's revelation; schitzophrenic voices mistaken for the Spirit; really wanting it to be true and subconsciously convincing yourself it is; OCD urges mistaken for a spirit; personal disgust at an otherwise-harmless act performed by others mistaken as a sign of divine condemnation; mundane (if bizarre) dreams being mistaken for divine revelation... on and on and on.

And that's just the incorrigible stuff, where the person directly experiences it.  When dealing with second-hand accounts of the witness, another possibility crops up:  They're lying.  Again, several possible explanations.  They want to be part of the group so they pretend to meet the qualifications even when they know they don't; or they're trying to manipulate us for money (give me your tithes!); or they're trying to manipulate us for power (vote your Christian values!); or they're trying to manipulate us to hate their enemies (burn the infidels!  Deus Vult!); on and on and on again.

Bountiful examples for each of these are to be found in our everyday lives.  People do lie to con others out of money or to court their votes.  People do engage in wishful thinking and do get primed to believe falsehoods by their culture and upbringing.  Since we have proofs of concepts for each of these, and do not (unless we wish to assume the conclusion and engage in circular logic) have a proof-of-concept for the more supernatural explanation of the inner witness, a rational evaluation of likelihood should rank these alternatives as being at least roughly as likely (and perhaps far, far more likely), barring some statistical measure of just how frequent true inner-witness-claims are vis-a-vis false ones.

Is a statistical measure is possible?  Well... not entirely.  Not without proving out the concept with a method to conclusively demonstrate which inner-witness-claims are true and which are false.  But we can find a minimum error rate, a gauge of a bare minimum frequency by which these errors occur, by noting when the claims contradict.  When one group of Christians claims the inner witness is telling them free will exists, and another claims the opposite, we know that this mechanism is not wholly reliable.  If we factor in all the conflicting doctrines from all the denominations, we see that it's fairly unreliable.  And then we expand this to similar claims bolstering the doctrines behind religions like Islam, Hinduuism, all the pagan religions... it's pretty clear that these sorts of experiences are false more often than they are true, simply by how often and how wildly they contradict each other.

All of the alternatives I've listed are mundane, with no element of the supernatural or extraordinary to them.  Some of them are rare, but all of them have been proven out in concept and are demonstrable parts of human nature and psychology.  But what if we consider supernatural or just extraordinary alternatives?  After all, we're already considering one supernatural alternative -- the Christian god -- so in fairness we should consider all the others, right?  A very abbreviated list of these could include:

Fakery by a trickster god, like Hermes or Loki or Coyote, engaging in an elaborate prank; pranks by non-deities, like faeries or ghosts; extra-terrestrials with hallucination-ray-guns, trying to keep us technologically hobbled by keeping us superstitious; on and on and on yet again.

None of these have proofs-of-concept, and none of these are particularly believable.  But what does the alternative of Christianity have over faeries, which would make it more believable?  On what basis, save an argumentum ad populum, would we rank it as the more-likely explanation?

I must emphasize in the strongest terms I can manage that everything I've said here is a legitimate concern EVEN IF the Christian god is real and EVEN IF that god is sticking witnesses into people's innards and EVEN IF all the other Christian doctrines are true.  Christianity can be true... and con artists can still set themselves up as false prophets for money and power.  Christianity can be true... and people can still mistake their personal bigotries for the inner witness, or declare in all sincere belief that God commands charity and compassion based on mistaking their own wholesome impulses for the inner witness.  Christianity can be true... and someone with a mental illness can still mistake a hallucination for a divine command.  Christianity can be true... and false doctrines can promulgate through myriads of denominations, bolstered by claims of divine revelation and confirmed by some version of the inner witness or its logical equivalent.  Christianity can be true... and competing religions can still exist, based on very similar revelation-claims.  Christianity could be true... and (hypothetically) faeries could still be pranking us with fake revelations.  In all these cases, the people might even be espousing God's actual doctrines, but they would be doing so based on a mistake and dumb luck, rather than an actual inner witness of the spirit.

But it gets even worse than that, because Christianity (excepting a few denominations here and there) believes in Satan.  It believes there exists malevolent, deceptive, supernatural entity with the power to speak into our minds, dreams, and hearts, who is the adversary of God, is so filled with pride that he wants to supplant God, and is bent on separating people from God and causing us to do horrid and wicked things to our fellow humans.  If we take the Book of Job literally, this being has immense supernatural power in this world, able to summon whirlwinds and inflict disease and who knows what else besides.  (The NT adds the ability to teleport Jesus to a mountain from which all the lands on Earth can be seen.  Since the nearest such mountain is on the moon, that's a pretty far-ranging teleport spell.)  And Christianity believes that God will at times stand back and give Satan the freedom to exercise these powers to advance his agenda... even against God's most favored.  (See, again, the Book of Job.)  If such an entity existed, some feeling in our hearts which we attribute to God could easily have a more diabolic origin.  Blindly trusting it as divine revelation would be ill-advised, and on what basis other than blind trust WOULD we regard it as divine revelation?  A religion full of people raised up and primed to blindly accept such inner-witness feelings on faith, in a world where such feelings are so often demonstrably wrong, would be the devil's playground.  It would not be hard to imagine this being the source of (to name one of countless possible examples) Hitler's feeling that he was doing God's will by being an enemy of the Jews in 20th-century Europe just as Jesus had been the enemy of the Pharisees in his day.  So if we add the Christian God to the list of possible causes of any given feeling which we ascribe to the inner witness, we must also add this:  Christianity could be true... and Satan could be feeding us counterfeit inner witnesses, which we humans are too stupid or sinful or whatever to distinguish from the real deal.

But I'm still weighing possibilities, probabilities, and likelihoods here, and that's a matter of induction rather than deduction.  I promised deduction, so here we go.

For an abductive argument like the inner-witness justification to be strong, all alternative explanations must either be dwarfed in likelihood by the preferred explanation.  Are they?  No.  No they are not.  Not even close.  If anything, for any given incorrigible experience claimed to be an inner witness of the Holy Spirit, it is THAT explanation which seems unlikely.  So when we attribute any given feeling to the inner witness of the holy spirit, can we KNOW that it actually is the inner witness of the holy spirit?  No, not unless we define knowledge so broadly as to mean simply a strong feeling of confidence which need not be justified, and that's clearly not how it's used here.  And if we cannot KNOW that a given feeling is actually the inner witness of the holy spirit, rather than any of the alternatives, can we use that knowledge-which-we-don't-posess to thereby know that Christianity is true?  Of course not.  The whole inner-witness argument is so obviously flawed that it falls apart the moment someone actually kicks the tires and thinks it through.  (Provided someone actually gives a damn and is actually willing to think and isn't so blindly trusting of the used car salesman's nice jacket and tie that they forget to kick the tires.)

But I didn't just promise to deductively show that it wasn't sound, did I?  No, I was bolder than that.  I promised to show that it is asinine.  That it was immensely, extremely, ridiculously foolish.  And it is... because believing in things that are obviously wrong is foolish enough, but doing that when the cost of error is extremely high crosses the line into asinine territory.  When god-botherers by the millions decide, on the basis of feelings (or answered prayers or whatever) that they KNOW masks are satanic and that they KNOW God wants the churches packed during a pandemic, that's asinine.  When they decide on faith alone that they KNOW that witches are real and God commands them burnt alive, and proceed to roast people by the thousands, that's asinine.  When you decide that God is telling you through the inner witness to sacrifice your children to him, and you do it, that's asinine.  (See the case of Deanna Laney.)  When (hypothetically) Satan gives you a false revelation, and you blindly declare it to be the inner witness of the holy spirit, that's asinine.  (I hear God REALLY loves people who obey Satan as if he's God.)  I could go on and on and on, but I've made the point.  Believing in big things with no regard for dire consequences on the basis of the witness of obviously-faulty reasoning is asinine, and that's exactly what the argument encourages en-masse.

And given all these problems with authenticating inner-witness revelation, why would the Christian God employ it?  Wouldn't His all-knowing nature recognize all these problems?  Wouldn't His all-powerful nature mean that He had a better option within His infinite means?  Would an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolet God be doling out inner witnesses to people's hearts as the best, final, and ultimately solitary demonstration of the doctrines that keep the people he supposedly loves out of hellfire?  No.  No, of course not, not unless He were a prankster-deity like Loki... and if He were, then nothing from Him can be believed anyway.  If we were to believe Christianity to be true, the rational deduction would be that the inner-witness justification for that belief is false.

(As an aside, what does that mean for the trustworthiness of the Bible?  John's dream that became the Book of Revelation... how was THAT authenticated as actual revelation rather than mistaken revelation?  Paul's Road-to-Damascus experience... how was that confirmed as a divine message, rather than just a hallucination or the act of a con artist?  How were his subsequent pronouncements confirmed as divine rather than just the words of a blowhard?   When the Bible was edited and assembled, and certain gospels got thrown out and others declared canon, how were those editorial choices made?)

The entire inner-witness justification is yet another one of Craig's lemons, peddled to gullible believers.  Craig knows it's a fraudulent justification, even in regards to personal belief rather than persuasive argument.  He's had too much experience in apologetics and too much training in logic not to see it's bogus.  It staggers belief that he'd fail to see it, just like it staggers belief that, say, an experienced auto mechanic were to service a car and fail to notice that the transmission was missing and the battery disconnected.  He knows it's a lemon, and he tries to sell it to you anyway.  He just adds the caveat:  "Don't share this with non-believers.  It won't work because, uh, they're missing a key bit of information, the experience of the inner witness, which is impossible for you to share.  Instead, keep it for yourself, so that if they shoot down all your other arguments you'll still have this one, which you aren't skeptical enough to examine closely, to keep you believing."  (Or words to that effect.)

I mentioned earlier a price to be paid for advancing bad arguments.   In full fairness to you, this isn't something that you advanced.  You brought it up, but you did so as something you WEREN'T putting forward and COULDN'T put forward.  But you've still accrued a bit of that price for it.  You clearly bought into it, and that tells me that you haven't thought this stuff through.  You have not carefully considered the words that Craig wrote and which you are now repeating.  You gave them a cursory examination only (if that), and that suggests to me that what you convey to us in the future is likely of a similarly unvetted nature.  I will have to proceed with heightened caution and skepticism, well above even the levels I normally bring to these discussions.

That mistrust is something you've earned.  It's not a punishment.  It's just the rational response of an audience that has begun to take your measure.

(To be continued)
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." - Isaac Asimov
The following 4 users Like Reltzik's post:
  • Peebothuhlu, Deesse23, Cheerful Charlie, skyking
Reply
#60

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: bla bla bla


That's the bizarre error, in general a part of American Fundamentalism, that WLC constantly makes. It's wrong, theologically, and logically. 
Craig is a business. He charges a great deal for his bullshit, and sells it to Fundamentalists who think .. "Ooooh, he's so smart". 
He may be financially savvy, but that's it. Google "The Bad Faith of William L. Craig". He confesses what he believes and why, and it has nothing to do with logic and "reasonableness". 

First of all, no one has ever demonstrated that whatever logical system they're using, (and there are many, .... and WLC does not name his system) ... including some totally internally consistent and correct ones that, in fact, do not obtain, in reality. Logic alone is not sufficient. One needs evidence. 

There is no reason AT ALL to make the assumption that a logical system found to be useful and applicable in this universe, and to what is observed in this (local) universe, has ANY applicability to a set of conditions which we know absolutely nothing about, (what would have been *external to this universe). So ... Craig and his ilk have built a system on a basic fundamental flaw.

Further, whatever system he's using, has insufficient information. 95% of this universe is Dark Energy and Dark Matter, and we have know clue how it works, or what logic would be applicable to it. Knowing a few things about 5  % of this universe is insufficient to make any predictions. Sean Carroll, (from Cal Tech) schools Craig about his fatally flawed assumption in their debate, (available on YouTube). 

Secondly, in Christian theology, faith is fundamentally one of the "gifts of the spirit". It's not "arrived at" by logic. 
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not a result of works,  so that no one may boast." 

Probability and logic that are applicable in a small part of this universe, until DEMONSTRATED to apply to conditions which are external to it, have nothing at all to say to us about any subject.
Doing this makes an unfounded assumption, which is 100 % invalid.

Chaos Theory does away with the teleological argument. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory
And if it doesn't, innocent infants getting cancer ought to do the trick.

Christianity is (obviously) invalidated by it's origins. The role of a messiah in Hebrew culture was never to "save from sin". They (Christians) made up the "salvation" thing.
The anointed one was supposed to re-establish the Kingdom of Israel. He didn't.
For most of its history, there was no concept of "immortality" in Hebrew culture, until late. All dead souls (shades) went to Sheol, and that's not where Yahweh lived (who... by the way was one of the sons of the chief Babylonian god, El Elyon, and that's where they got him, and adopted him, as he was the God of the Armies ... the War God, and they wanted help with their battles).  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Something I've been meaning to add to this, is the fact that the fundmental nature of what we know about reality, 
is in a way, "probabilistic", (in the sense that Uncertainty and Quantum Mechanics are "probabilistic"), but not in the way Jag is misusing the concept. In fact it's the opposite of the way Jag uses it. 

Is it "probable" in human experience, that in the famous double slit experiment in Physics, it would appear that the electron goes through BOTH slits ? No. Was Relativity and its bizarre concepts bolstered in any way by Jag's "probability" ? No. They had to be proven with evidence before they were accepted. Were the non-intuitive tensors in Dirac's math accepted as "probable". Nope. The fundamental ways in which humans have discovered reality works, are not known or "discovered" by Jag's concept of probability. Everything about Christianity is illogical, and non-probable. Everything. Reading the proceedings of the Councils, as they cooked up what came to be known as *Chrstianity* (available on Fordham University's web site) proves how totally flawed and what a totally human invention, Christianity is. They cooked up the crap, and then they voted on their stupid ideas, and not even unanimously. Jag's "probable" tells us nothing about fundamental reality, as we know from science.
The following 1 user Likes Bucky Ball's post:
  • Chas
Reply
#61

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
Y'all are wasting your breath responding to JAG. After a rather lively intro thread, he threw this crap at the wall and ran. He's not coming back to defend his points, or even clean up his mess. He's probably back at christerwarrior.com, or beattheevilatheists.org, crowing about how he "owned" those loser atheists.
[Image: Bastard-Signature.jpg]
The following 2 users Like TheGentlemanBastard's post:
  • TonyAnkle, Cavebear
Reply
#62

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-05-2020, 02:43 PM)mordant Wrote: So Job Two is to conceal any way in which you even appear to be mistaken, inconsistent or foolish.

You forgot doubts. One must always conceal doubts -- just ask Mother Teresa.
Freedom isn't free.
The following 1 user Likes Thumpalumpacus's post:
  • TonyAnkle
Reply
#63

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-15-2020, 07:49 PM)TheGentlemanBastard Wrote: Y'all are wasting your breath responding to JAG. After a rather lively intro thread, he threw this crap at the wall and ran. He's not coming back to defend his points, or even clean up his mess. He's probably back at christerwarrior.com, or beattheevilatheists.org, crowing about how he "owned" those loser atheists.

I didn't write anything for him. 
I've always written, at least in part, for the guests. There are a lot of people stopping by, who hear this garbage, 
and have not seen a rebuttal. They hear the religious side and get the propaganda about "reasonable faith" ... and these totally bogus *arguments*.
It's good they can see what a pile of crap they actually are.
The following 4 users Like Bucky Ball's post:
  • Reltzik, Minimalist, Cheerful Charlie, skyking
Reply
#64

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-15-2020, 07:49 PM)TheGentlemanBastard Wrote: Y'all are wasting your breath responding to JAG. After a rather lively intro thread, he threw this crap at the wall and ran. He's not coming back to defend his points, or even clean up his mess. He's probably back at christerwarrior.com, or beattheevilatheists.org, crowing about how he "owned" those loser atheists.

He's your typical Shit and Runner.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
Reply
#65

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
Okay, yeah, the OP seems to have done a runner.  But I'll keep posting replies to on the off-chance that they come back, or some third party finds what I have to say valuable.

(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: So I admit (as does William Lane Craig) that we can not demonstrate with logical
arguments that Christianity is true, with proof that rises to the certainty-level of
the following syllogism:

All men are mortal.
Socrates was a man.
Therefore Socrates was mortal.

I'd point out that even with the Socrates-was-mortal syllogism, it can only be established as valid with absolute certainty.  Soundness depends on the truth of the premises, and those are synthetic statements rather than analytical certainties.  Can we, for example, 100% prove that Socrates wasn't a Greek goddess in disguise?  If we can't, the second premise has a measure of uncertainty, as does the conclusion.

But that's a quibble.  Moving on...

(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: So?

So it is impossible to establish certainty (as noted above).

We have to be satisfied with establishing probability.
But when we attempt to establish probability, we immediately enter the realm
of the subjective and that is where the constant bickering and arguing back and
forth occurs, because one man's probability is another man's improbability.

For example, the Teleological Argument for the existence of God seeks to establish
probability based on the obvious order, design, and complexity that we see in the
natural world, in the human body, in the Hubble Deep Field, and for that matter on the
shelves of Walmart and Sam's Club --- all evidence of endless variety of products made
from endless varieties of raw materials. Intelligent Design.

The very best anyone can do with the Teleological Argument is to establish probability,
and thereby enter into the world of the subjective. Most Christians find the evidence
for Intelligent Design to enjoy high probability. It ought to be safe to say that all atheists,
by definition of atheism, will find the Argument from Intelligent Design to be improbable.

While I'll admit some elements can only be measured subjectivity, there are several objective measures that can be made.

For example, with the Teleological Argument and Intelligent Design, here are some objective measures we can make that bear on the strength of those arguments.

In math, the probability that something is true GIVEN what we observe is described by Bayes' Theorem:  P(A|B) = P(B|A) * P(A) / P(B), where P(A|B) means "The probability that A is true in the case where B is true" or, more succinctly, "The probability of A given B".  Applied to the Teleological Argument, this becomes:  P( God | Order ) = P( Order | God ) * P( God ) / P( Order ).  It's not always spelled out mathematically like this, but this formula is the essence of the Argument and helps make its shortcomings a lot clearer.

Tellingly, whenever theists advance this argument, they almost always fail to show any method by which they fill in a number or even ballpark estimate for P(God).  Yet without this value, calculating or estimating P(God | Order) is impossible, since without P(God) nailed down it could have any value.  (P(Order) has similar problems.  And that's before we get into the failure to account for observer bias, and the confirmation bias implicit in the arguments around P(Order | God).

The objective observation to be made here isn't that P(God) is low or high, or knowable or unknowable.  The objective observation to be made here is that some knowledge of P(God) is required for this argument to be at all useful... and theistic apologists don't give a shit.  They keep advancing this argument WITHOUT going through all the steps, believing or pretending that in the absence of an essential ingredient it can increase our understanding of the probabilities at all.  The only value this thing can have is as a game of smoke and mirrors, allowing theists to fill in their already-existing belief that P(God) is high and then walk away believing that this argument somehow confirms that belief, rather than just echoes their existing bias back at them.  It doesn't verify the belief, and examining the logic will show it can't verify the belief, not even on the level of inductive likelihood.  It's another lemon.  And we can also observe that the people who buy the lemon aren't exactly behaving like the brightest bulbs in the box.

While it does have similarities, Intelligent Design isn't quite the same as the Teleological Argument.  It hinges on the idea of irreducible complexity, that is, certain elements of an "ordered" structure cannot be separated out into independent parts, and that all the parts had to come into being together rather than separately.  This is most commonly used as a criticism of evolution, saying that this or that feature in biology (such as a bacterial flagellum or the eye) is irreducibly complex and therefore beyond the ability of evolution to produce piece by piece.  What is of note here is how frequently a leveled charge of irreducible complexity is demonstrably and brazenly erroneous.  How so many of the examples given of irreducible complexity are, in fact, reducible in principle.  Quite often those reductions have been spelled out in principle and catalogued in nature long before the charge of irreducible complexity is ever leveled, as epitomized by the farcical "you can't have half an eye" argument that anti-evolutionists so often love.

The objective observations to be made about Intelligent Design are just how frequently those false assertions of Irreducible Complexity are made, how unreliable such charges are, and how shameless their proponents are in not learning the lesson that they are poor judges of what is and isn't irreducibly complex after so many repeated failures.

So is this all about likelihoods and probabilities?  Sure.  But we can make objective observations about how people assess those likelihoods and probabilities, and about whether or not those assessments are based on sound or strong inferences.  And throughout that process, a pattern emerges.  The theists are not being reasonable in their epistemic method.  They are making, buying, and selling lemons. When they're demonstrated to be lemons, the theists quite shamelessly just reach for a new lemon, rather than questioning the process by which they ended up hawking the last clunker as if it were a piece of precision engineering.  (Or they'll pretend that the proven-lemon isn't actually a lemon.  That's a common practice as well.  It's not dead, it's just pining for the fjords.)

And then, proud of their lemons, so many of them will go on to use the "knowledge" granted by the clunkers they think are precision-engineered automotive masterpieces as justification to make our lives living hells, by sabotaging education curricula, trying to force their religion into secular spaces, hating and persecuting nonbelievers, standing in the way of vital, life-saving government policies because Bible, tearing families apart just because one person stopped believing, on and on and on.  This is where atheists become justly angry, both at the idiots who bought the lemons and at the fraudsters who sold them the lemons.

Again, you haven't actually advanced the Teleological and Intelligent Design Arguments as persuasive arguments.  But you HAVE advanced them as examples of arguments with some merit, when they are quite objectively not.  So you again pay the price for peddling a bad product, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, you should start giving a shit, take this seriously, give your jalopy a careful, critical, unbiased examination to discover how well-crafted it actually isn't, and then get the hell out of the used car trade before you accidentally give someone the moral certainty they need to blow up a Planned Parenthood clinic.

(Yes, I know the idea of low-quality cars inspiring anti-abortion terrorism is making the metaphor break down, but I just don't care right now.)
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." - Isaac Asimov
The following 1 user Likes Reltzik's post:
  • skyking
Reply
#66

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-15-2020, 07:49 PM)TheGentlemanBastard Wrote: Y'all are wasting your breath responding to JAG. After a rather lively intro thread, he threw this crap at the wall and ran. He's not coming back to defend his points, or even clean up his mess. He's probably back at christerwarrior.com, or beattheevilatheists.org, crowing about how he "owned" those loser atheists.

Yeah, drive-by theist posters... Useless and annoying. When they hang around a while, I reply just to annoy them. But they generally don't.

I used to get criticized by regulars here for pointing them out early, so I don't bother now. My theist radar detected them. But it upset Dom, so I stopped. They become obvious soon enough. Sometimes it is an exercise for the students, I guess.
I came to a fork in the road, and I took it!
Reply
#67

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
[Image: Ignore.jpg]
[Image: Bastard-Signature.jpg]
The following 2 users Like TheGentlemanBastard's post:
  • Szuchow, Deesse23
Reply
#68

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: JAG Writes:

An alternative title for this thread: Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Plausibility)

My view is (and has always been) that with regard to arguments that deal with
the spiritual unseen world and with moral values and with the supernatural, that
there are no arguments that can rise to the certainty-level of 5 + 5 = 10, and
that the very best anyone can ever hope to establish is probability, not certainty.

What I just said deals with showing Christianity to be true as opposed to knowing
Christianity to be true. William Lane Craig makes this point in his book Reasonable
Faith.

What that means is we Christians hold that we can know Christianity to be true
based upon the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that lives in us and tells us that
Christianity is true. It is utterly impossible for us to prove this to be true with
intellectual arguments that rise to the certainty-level of 2 + 2 + 4.

_________________


So I admit (as does William Lane Craig) that we can not demonstrate with logical
arguments that Christianity is true, with proof that rises to the certainty-level of
the following syllogism:

All men are mortal.
Socrates was a man.
Therefore Socrates was mortal.
....
 
The problem with all of this is that Christianity is based on the Bible's claims.  About the nature of God etc.  And makes specific claims.  The problem of evil, the problem of free will vs omnipotence, the perfect goodness of God and more.  Christianity then has all the reliability as claims of The Book Of Mormon, or L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics.

For example, the Bible tells us God foreknows the future.

Acts 15:18
18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Isaiah 42:9    
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring
forth I proclaim them to you.

Isaiah 46:9-10
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is
none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,
saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isaiah 41:22-3, Isaiah 42:9, Isaiah 44:6-7, Isaiah 46:10,
Jeremiah 1:5, Daniel 2:28, Exodus 3:19, Deuteronomy 31:21,
1 Samuel 23:10-13, Psalm 139:4-5 & 16, John 16:13, Acts 2:23,
Acts 3:18, Acts 4:27-28, Ephesians 1:11, Romans 8:29, Romans 11:2


 If God has foreknowledge of all future events, if God is essentially omniscient, then if God decides to create a Universe, God will know how that Universe unfolds from any initial state of creation God chooses.  No sentient being in that Universe can have free will.  So if that Universe has great amounts of moral evil, Hitler, Nazis, Stalin, Mao, Genghis Khan, Mongols, Islamic jihads, Idi Amin, it is God who chooses for these moral evils to exist.  That being true, claims of the existence of heaven and hell with it's infinite tortures make no sense. The existence of Satan, original sin and demons and devils makes no sense.

God then is not good, not moral.  God then is not as the Bible explicitly claims, merciful, compassionate, just and fair, God's acts are not righteous..

And we are just getting going.
I am a sovereign citizen of the Multiverse, and I vote!


The following 1 user Likes Cheerful Charlie's post:
  • skyking
Reply
#69

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
The paradox of God's free will and God's omniscience

As we have seen, the Bible repeatedly claims God has full knowledge of future events. Which has logical consequences. If God creates a Universe, God knows what will happen in that Universe at all future times. That Universe is hard determinate.

But if God has perfect knowledge of all future events, being essentially omniscient. That means at any point of time in the infinite past, God knew at what point in time God would know when he would choose to create a Universe, and what initial state of creation God would choose to do so. and all moral evils that would happen from that point in his creation.

God then has no free will. God did not really choose. The Universe is determinate, God cannot change what will happen and knows he cannot change what will happen. We and God and inhabitants of any other island Universes God might create have no free will.

How we, and God got into this situation is very hard to say much logical about this situation at all. But it destroy all theologies that claim there is an omniscient, God who creates all. God then is also not omnipotent, a determinate Universe that must result from omniscience trumps omnipotence. The entire theological definition of God as Omnipotent and omniscient and creator of anything
is now dead and gone.

I call this the "Flies In Amber Paradox". We are all like ancient flies trapped in amber, nothing can ever change. And we have always all been like flies trapped in Amber.

All I have done here is take the Bible's claims as a starting point and followed those claims to their logical conclusion. As we see, the entire set of claims theology makes about God in the end collapses into incoherence and self contradiction.

A few theologians have realized this, Open Theology, process theology, Richard Swinburne and a few others. Their solution is to drop claims God is essentially omniscient. But to do so is to abandon the Bible as a reliable revelation. At that point, every claim made by these sort of theologians is questionable and can be ignored if they cannot prove hard evidence for all or any of their claims about God.

And a lot of problems still remain.
I am a sovereign citizen of the Multiverse, and I vote!


Reply
#70

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-04-2020, 03:39 PM)Dānu Wrote: According to a staff note at AF, this thread's OP has been posted verbatim at multiple forums.

Ahhhh, the old days of Usenet.  The miracle of cross posting!  That used to be so jolly fun.
I am a sovereign citizen of the Multiverse, and I vote!


Reply
#71

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-15-2020, 07:49 PM)TheGentlemanBastard Wrote: Y'all are wasting your breath responding to JAG. After a rather lively intro thread, he threw this crap at the wall and ran. He's not coming back to defend his points, or even clean up his mess. He's probably back at christerwarrior.com, or beattheevilatheists.org, crowing about how he "owned" those loser atheists.

These types can still be useful as a teaching moment if one really knows one's theology and atheology.  It means learning to debunk real theist arguments, not just atheist arguments that sometimes are straw man arguments.  It can help one develop better arguments that might slowly spread through the net and can reach some lurkers, here to see how these debates go. If one has the right mind set, these debates can be quite fun.

The problem with really good atheology arguments is that they will not be tolerated on Christian forums. You might get two posts in and then the ban hammer falls.
I am a sovereign citizen of the Multiverse, and I vote!


Reply
#72

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-16-2020, 02:16 AM)Minimalist Wrote:
(10-15-2020, 07:49 PM)TheGentlemanBastard Wrote: Y'all are wasting your breath responding to JAG. After a rather lively intro thread, he threw this crap at the wall and ran. He's not coming back to defend his points, or even clean up his mess. He's probably back at christerwarrior.com, or beattheevilatheists.org, crowing about how he "owned" those loser atheists.

He's your typical Shit and Runner.

Still, it is nice to swat this sort with the clue stick on their way out the door.  I can make the lurkers laugh if you do it well.
I am a sovereign citizen of the Multiverse, and I vote!


Reply
#73

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
And on to final reply to the copy-pasta artist who isn't reading.

(10-03-2020, 03:03 PM)JAG Wrote: Certainty vs. Probability In Argumentation.

Says William Lane Craig:
"The Christian apologist may employ both deductive and inductive arguments in defense
of Christian theism. In order for the arguments to be good ones, the premises need to have
a particular epistemic status for us. But what sort of status is that? Certainty is an unrealistic
and unattainable goal. Were we to require that we have certainty of the truth of an argument's
premises, the result for us would be skepticism. What we're looking for is a comparative
criterion: the premises in a good argument will have greater plausibility than their respective
denials."___William Lane Craig
__________

Then Craig makes this statement:
"Plausibility is to a great extent a person-dependent notion.
Some people may find a premise plausible while others do not.
Accordingly some people will agree that a particular argument is a good one, while
others will say that it is a bad argument. Given our diverse backgrounds and biases,
we should expect such disagreements. Obviously, the most persuasive arguments will
be those which are based on premises which enjoy the support of widely accepted
evidence or seem intuitively to be true." ___William Lane Craig,

Again, something I largely agree with.

I would point out that skepticism is more than just absolute skepticism of everything.  The term also covers a less-extreme approach, in which someone simply requires substantial support for claims.  You can have skepticism without going so far as to demand complete certainty.  Nor is that moderate level of skepticism a bad thing, as demonstrated by... well, by the worst sort of used car salespeople.  (I'm talking about WLC here, in case that wasn't obvious.)

I also have to take issue with the idea of the plausibility of the premises being the key point of comparison.  That's important, yes, but that it's far from the only important consideration.  How valid or cogent is the argument's structure, and how reliably does the conclusion follow from the premises?  As we saw with the Inner Witness business, that can be the key sticking point.  Can we do more than just gauge our feeling for how plausible the premises are?  Is there any way to confirm (even if only incompletely) their accuracy?  The ability to fact-check premises makes an argument more reliable and convincing, while arguments hinging on indemonstrable premises that cannot be evaluated for likelihood at all, much less shown to have greater likelihood than their alternatives, are no stronger than the listener's faith in those premises and thus convince no one of anything new.

But overall, the main thrust of this point is reasonable.

----------

So, wrapping this up.  As near as I can tell, the point you're trying to make (or, rather, the WLC point that you're trying to regurgitate to us, but again, you're the one posting it and you can be credited or discredited for the selections you chose to post) is that complete proof is not always possible, and that argumentation falling short of certainty is still a reasonable exercise.  To which I say...

DUH.

Were there a lot of people here arguing that a complete, 100% proof was necessary, outside of the context of responding to people claiming they could prove the point to that level of certainty?  I don't read every post here so I genuinely don't know if there were, so if there were please link so I can peruse.  If not, why did you feel we should waste our time reading this?

But let me reiterate the point from before that, over and over again, apologists for theism keep advancing terrible, unreliable, broken arguments.  We might not be able to objectively reach complete certainty on their premises, but we can make frank, objective evaluations of these arguments even without that complete certainty of the truth of the premises.  We can show that a premise is false more often than true, as with the idea that THINKING you've received a divine revelation (through an inner witness or other means) implying that you've received a true one.  We can objectively show that methodologies are unreliable, such as how declarations of irreducible complexity are almost always false, and in the cases of the ones that can't be shown to be false also cannot be shown to be true.  We can objectively show that essential steps are being ignored or hand-waved away, as with the Teleological argument.  We can objectively show that an argument's structure is invalid or not cogent, as with the Inner Witness justification.

And we can go beyond that.  We can evaluate not only the arguments, but the arguer.  We can notice when we they put forward only bad arguments and never good ones.  When their go-to, top-of-the-list heavy hitters are all duds, what does that say about the ones further down the list?  Why hasn't the cream risen to the top?  Is it because the arguers are so uncritical, so blindly accepting, so utterly stupid that they can't accurately assess which ones are better than others, and instead think they're all good because they all come to the "right" predetermined conclusion?  Or is this really the best you lot have to offer?  In which case, wow, that's said.  Is the reason the cream isn't rising to the top because there isn't any cream at all?

At the end of the day, if you're trying to sell us on something and you aren't offering any good selling points, for purposes of convincing us it doesn't matter why.  If you're not offering any good selling points because there aren't any, then we shouldn't buy what you're selling and I have questions about why you're trying to sell it.  If it's because you're too inept to figure out which are the good selling points and which are the bad, then we can't trust you to judge quality and shouldn't buy what you're selling.  And if it's because you're forgoing logically sound arguments in favor of fallacious smoke and mirrors because you think we're more likely to fall for it, then we can't trust you and shouldn't buy what you're selling.  Each of these possibilities says something about your character, and none of what they say is good.

Bottom line:  What trust I extend to strangers, you are squandering.  I suspect you are not to be trusted, you certainly haven't put forward any arguments worthy of trust, and I won't be buying what you're selling.
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." - Isaac Asimov
The following 2 users Like Reltzik's post:
  • Peebothuhlu, skyking
Reply
#74

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
Quote:complete proof is not always possible, and that argumentation falling short of certainty is still a reasonable exercise.  To which I say...

DUH.

Depends on what is being proposed.  An argument that the stock market will go up tomorrow because it went down today is "reasonable" even if we have to wait a day for actual proof.

An argument that a dead jew came back to life and flew up to heaven is a whole other kettle of smelly fish.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
Reply
#75

Good Arguments (Certainty vs. Probability)
(10-04-2020, 06:58 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(10-03-2020, 04:34 PM)Dom Wrote: Well, I consider the creation you describe improbable.

Evolution, however, makes a ton of sense. It is logical. It accounts for diversity, specificity to environment, and everything that comes along with that.

All religion has to offer is magic.

Evolution touches on so many subjects that trouble the modern world. Racism, ethnic divisions, assumptions of mental illnesses, etc.

I've been arguing that for a decade at least, that urban crime is not a matter of race or ethnicity, but mostly a result of poverty. Waves of immigrants from all over the world have washed up on our promising shores. The first place they land is in cities and they group among themselves. Who wouldn't? There is common language, culture, food, and they get jobs, make friends, and work to advance. That's why they came here.

But the offspring of poverty is crime. Desperate people do desperate things to succeed. The history of criminal gangs in the US matches the waves of immigration. I am NOT saying that immigrants are naturally criminal, just that immigrants are usually more poverty-stricken and more desperate to survive.

Who would not commit a small crime to feed their children? Who would not steal bread for the same purpose?

AFAIK, every wave of immigrants have been a major part of gangs and criminals. But their children aren't. The children adapt, advance in society, make "good". Become doctors and teachers, etc.

And yah, some stay criminals. There are people who just can't live legit. But that is never a racial or ethnic tendency. Old original European descendants have some criminals in their family tree too.

To go back on topic a bit, too many people ignore common mutual and shared evolution and depend on racism or ethnic blame to explain the world. They are wrong. We are all the same. Poverty causes most of our differences and the sonner we get back to some degree of "general middle class" with opportunities to advance, the better off we will be!

I agree that racism is bullshit and evolutionary theory gives strong evidence that it's bullshit. But I'd argue that it's difficult, on the societal level, to disentangle poverty and racism as causal factors. Here in the US, the legacy of official racism (including Jim Crow and segregation, up through more modern race-influenced factors like redlining, selective policing, the war on drugs, discrimination by bank loan officers, etc) has had a huge impact on the average wealth of families of color, to name just one group. And of course it's a self-perpetuating cycle. If one group trends more towards poverty than others, then the racists will be quick to seize on that and depict race as the cause.

And of course our native-born groups have also been parts of gangs and criminals. *sideeyes the alt-right*

(This is, of course, going OT from the original topic. Let's see if the OP objects.)

(10-18-2020, 02:20 AM)Minimalist Wrote:
Quote:complete proof is not always possible, and that argumentation falling short of certainty is still a reasonable exercise.  To which I say...

DUH.

Depends on what is being proposed.  An argument that the stock market will go up tomorrow because it went down today is "reasonable" even if we have to wait a day for actual proof.

An argument that a dead jew came back to life and flew up to heaven is a whole other kettle of smelly fish.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Well, sure, but there's still a distinction between extraordinary evidence and 100% proof.  Rationalists didn't need to disprove the simulation hypothesis as an alternate explanation before accepting the weirdness of quantum mechanics as likely-true.
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." - Isaac Asimov
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)