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October 16th, 2012 (12:43 PM).
The Fresh Prince of Kanto
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Hanging from the edge of a cliff
I came here thinking of talking about space. I had this awesome thought of talking about Red Bull Stratos to prove it. But I guess I'm a bit late.
I completely want to hear this argument. :D If you get a minute, VM me with it! I love me some arguments that use grounded, earthly concepts to explain bigger things.
Well, there have been major floods. Science proves it. The only thing is that no one can prove a major flood as described in the Bible. But, correct me if I'm wrong, they can't disprove it either, right? So it's another case of belief.
*puts on philosophical hat*
Ah, but can you prove anything? Or disprove it, for that matter? Let’s say I want to prove that I don’t have a tail. I cannot observe any tail; it would be rather awkward when I sat down if I did, and I don’t experience any such discomfort; and really there’s no evidence to suggest that my tail exists.
So if someone asked you to prove that they didn’t have a tail, those are the types of things you’d point to. And if they didn’t accept it – if they said that their tail was invisible, intangible and retracted whenever they sat down – you’d think they were an idiot.
But here’s the thing – you haven’t
that they don’t have a tail. As long as there’s some other possibility, we should strictly remain in doubt – and after all, it’s possible that their tail is invisible/intangible/retractable. We can’t prove it isn’t. We can say it’s highly unlikely, of course we can – but we could be wrong. So we haven’t
The logical conclusion to this line of thought is Descartes’ famous statement: ‘I think, therefore I am’. Having doubted every belief he held – because after all, a deceitful demon could be tricking him into thinking trees were green when in fact they had purple spots, and we can’t prove that such a demon doesn’t exist – the only thing Descartes felt he could be sure of was that he existed. Because, if he didn’t, who would be doubting his existence? (This is clearer in the extended version of the statement: 'I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am'.)
I’ll wrap this up. You said that ‘the only thing is that no one can prove a major flood as described in the Bible’. Absolutely. Then you say, ‘but, correct me if I'm wrong, they can't disprove it either, right? So it's another case of belief’.
Well, yes, but we don’t tend to think of most things that way! If someone asked you, ‘do you believe in cats?’ you’d think they were being irritating on purpose. But strictly speaking, belief is cats is just as uncertain as belief in a flood:
‘The only thing is that no one can prove that cats exist. But, correct me if I'm wrong, they can't disprove it either, right? So it's another case of belief.’
But would you say, in casual conversation, ‘cats exist’ or ‘I believe that cats exist’? I’m betting on the former. And so we have to ask ourselves - does religion deserves special consideration? Are we justified in saying that the simple fact that you can’t disprove something makes it a reasonable belief? Or is arguing ‘well, you can’t disprove the flood!’ just as silly as arguing, ‘well, you can’t disprove my tail!’
Ah, yeah, if you guys really think you just want to have the club be about Atheists and stuff, sure. I'll stay out if you want. And I suppose sometimes there is a kind of duty for us when we talk here. Christianity does include spreading the belief in the Bible. Some people try to do it, just not the way they should.
I love having you here, personally! :D It’s great to be able to chat about religion with someone who knows the ins and outs better than I do. What does everyone else think?
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