Wednesday, June 22, 2005

JewZoo and "Deducing" God's Existence

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. --Delos McKown


JewZoo believes that, although "proving God's existence cannot be done," we can use our human ability to "deduce God's presence." He then quickly outlines the Ontological Argument, the Cosmological Argument (see my take), Pascal's Wager, and the Teleological Argument. He also refers to "many more proofs besides the few I've outlined here."

If deduction is what he's after, he's going about it the wrong way. Deductive reasoning is the process of reaching a conclusion that is guaranteed to follow, if the evidence provided is true and the reasoning used to reach the conclusion is correct (from the wikipedia.)

None of the deductive "proofs" he mentioned meet these criteria. As JewZoo himself writes, the Ontological Argument "does not use any evidence." The Cosmological Argument contains an unsupported assertion. Pascal's Wager isn't even an argument. And the Teleological Argument is inductive. None of these "proofs" is deductive or remotely convincing to a non-believer. Some have been discredited for centuries. They are sophistry, not honest logical argument.

So why do religious people keep bringing up the same tired, discredited arguments? I think that they believe that if they throw enough arguments at you, you'll think, "Well if even one of those arguments is right, they're right. So they must be right." But none of them is! And yet they keep using them. Don't trust people who make disingenuous arguments; they're trying to convince by trickery.

7 comments:

Orthoprax said...

Don't trust people who throw at you a dozen arguments. That's just a lot of hand waving. One or two strong and valid arguments ought to be enough.

Conservative Apikoris said...

So why do religious people keep bringing up the same tired, discredited arguments? I think that they believe that if they throw enough arguments at you, you'll think, "Well if even one of those arguments is right, they're right. So they must be right." But none of them is! And yet they keep using them. Don't trust people who make disingenuous arguments; they're trying to convince by trickery.

This is exactly the same logic used by prosecuting attorneys. I recently sat on a jury, and you wouldn't believe the length of the charge sheet against a poor shlub who was accused of walking into a store, sticking a gun in the clerks face and stealing checks made out for $600. [I kid you not! This case actually went to court.]

We ended up acquitting the guy, because the state's evidence was total crap, the defendant had a good alibi, and the guy on the security tape didn't even look like the defendant.

But we had to decide on about 15 charges for this one act. I could see that it would be entirely possible for a jury to get confused and accidentally convict on at least one of the charges. Which I believe was the intent of the prosecutor.

It's the old adage, "if you can't convince them with your brilliance, baffle 'em with your bullshit."

ZooKeeper-Benjamin said...

Wow. I changed the word "deduce" to "reason" way before I came across this blog. It was an edit I made based on a few things, but clearly "deduce" was not the right word.

I guess this post really has no point anymore.

The reason I gave so many arguments, was to display a few ways of going about it. No one way is neccesarly correct or inccorect. It is hard to bring up this topic and skip "all the discredited arguments". Open any philosophy book. It has the arguments too.

Aethism and Theism, to me, are both beliefs. Neither can be proven. None can be known.

Drop me a line next time you qoute my blog. I came across this by accident. I would love to read it.

Jewish Atheist said...

Sorry, Zookeeper, I actually left 2 comments on your blog but they did not show up for some reason. You don't seem to have an email address listed.

ZooKeeper-Benjamin said...

I just put my email up on my sidebar. Good call.

Haloscan was being finiky yesterday. I apologize that your comments didnt come through.

What kind of Aethist are you? What are the foundations for your beliefs? (I have rooted around your blog a little but found nothing in perticular).

Jewish Atheist said...

I apologize that your comments didnt come through.

No worries.

What kind of Aethist are you? What are the foundations for your beliefs?

Hmm. Good question. I'll have to make a post about that one.

ZooKeeper-Benjamin said...

It will help me understand you, your POV, and maybe a more clear understand of your leaving Judaism.

I think I agree with you on some points about Judaism today. But I am taking an entirley different approach.