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A metaphysical argument against objectivism

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The Last Superstition isn't about Catholicism or any other kind of religious dogma, it's a polemic against the philosophical worldview and ignorance of the New Atheists (Richard Dawkins et al).

Since the author is a traditional Roman Catholic, he argues from a religious premise. Identifying the basic premise from where an individual is arguing from works quite well for finding out his/her the agenda. His polemic against Dawkins & Co is therefore also an attack against a philosophical worldview that rejects the god premise.

I agree, neither the Bible nor Church dogma qualifies as evidence, but the book isn't about Theology; the arguments fall into the category of what's called Natural Theology, where no appeal is made to divine revelation, religious texts, or "blind" faith -

Natural theology does not attempt to explain truths beyond reason such as the Incarnation or the Trinity, and it certainly does not attempt to base anything on claims made in the Bible.

But since Feser is a traditional Roman Catholic, it would be quite interesting to get him to explain why he thinks those alleged "truths beyond reason" are in fact true.

Rather, natural theology uses other sources of evidence. Natural theology appeals to empirical data and the deliverances of reason to search out, verify, justify, and organize as much truth about God as can be figured out when one limits oneself to just these sources of evidence.

What has to be examined: does it constitute evidence? For labeling something as evidence doesn't necessarily make it so.

I was attracted to this book for 2 reasons. I have recently read Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and thought that many of the so-called arguments in it were very bad indeed

Dawkins has been accused of being inconsistent in his argumentation, for example by Rupert Sheldrake, who claims that Dawkins, while attacking teleology, then smuggles in teleology through the backdoor by speaking of a "selfish" gene.

Even though I'm an atheist, I was interested to discover that there are in fact, purely rational arguments for religious views.

It certainly pays to make oneself familiar with attempts that 'rationally' argue for a god's existence (and their rebuttals), because one can study the flaws and see why any attempt to prove a god's existence must fail. And why to claim knowledge about non-existence of a god is also fallacious. Absence of evidence (of a god) is not evidence of absence (of a god).

As for alleged 'proofs' of a god's existence - Thomas Aquinas' 'first cause proof' for example may, at first glance, sound appealing because it seems to put a stop to the endless causality chain; but on closer scrutiny [the following is a quote from Leonard Mlodinow]: "The argument does nothing more than transfer the mystery of how a universe can come from nothing to the mystery of how God god could have come from nothing. Simply asserting that God is God because God requires no cause doesn't get us very far." (L. Mlodinow, War of the Worldviews, p. 89/90).

True, Feser is a Catholic, and the style of his book is certainly polemical, but surely the arguments should be taken on merit? it's sounds like you're "poisoning the well" here ("he would say that God exists, because he's a Catholic"). For what it's worth, Feser used to be an atheist (although he was raised as a Catholic, he rejected it as dogmatic nonsense in his youth), what eventually turned him around were the arguments he presents in the book. Also, Feser is aiming to reveal the poverty of materialism (as espoused by Dawkins et al) as a philosophical worldview, as much as he is making the case for Theism (or at least, Deism), and that poverty and incoherence is recognized by many atheist philosophers, whose work he often cites in the book.

As for the polemics, he's only giving as good as he gets from the New Atheists. Having read The God Delusion myself, I can certainly understand Feser's frustration (although he does give Dawkins credit for realizing that if you're going to dismiss all religious thinkers as a bunch of idiots, you have to at least make a minimal effort to actually refute them). It was only after reading TLS that I realized there was even such thing as Natural Theology. Like most atheists, I (rather arrogantly) assumed that believers MUST be deceiving themselves, and that the only conception of God was that of something similar to (1) in my above post; i.e. a magic sky daddy or something analogous to Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Dawkins et al do nothing to discourage such ignorance, in fact they positively encourage ridicule of religious belief. Dawkins took the view that, after 9/11, it was time to go on the offensive against religion. But "religion" covers a vast range of beliefs and cultures, some of which are "Wacka wacka", but you can't lump it all into the category chosen by a few religiously motivated terrorists.

I can appreciate that some may become a bit irritated by the attacks on the New Atheists, though. Another of Feser's books - "Aquinas", covers the same ground and is written in a more "academic" style, although I haven't read it.

"The argument does nothing more than transfer the mystery of how a universe can come from nothing to the mystery of how God god could have come from nothing. Simply asserting that God is God because God requires no cause doesn't get us very far."

But that's not what Aquinas' argument says, and its purpose isn't to put a stop to any infinite regress. It might even mean something to ask "then what caused God?" if one of the premises in the argument was "everything has a cause", but it isn't. See here.

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Regarding O'ist Metaphysics, it's not so much that I'm disputing anything, more that I find it a bit vague. I've no problem with the law of identitiy per se, it's the relation of it to cause and effect which I find fuzzy. Sorry, I know that's vague, I'm re-reading parts of OPAR and ITOE and I'll get back to you with something more concrete, hopefully.

Hi Davy,

I think you will find that NB writes more to the point on causality than AR. I'm sorry I don't have my references handy but you will find a page or two on causality in Branden's The Psychology of Self-Esteem. NB also briefly discusses the idea of metaphysical dualism in one of his later books (might be The Art of Living Conciously...I think MSK referenced it recently) and mentions that AR was in agreement with his thoughts in this area. Here he suggests that consciousness and matter may both emerge from a common underlying substance. While still vague, this is a step pointing the direction of their metaphysical thinking.

I have spent a lot of time thinking on the issues of causality myself from the starting point provided by AR and NB. From my view, if "what a thing is determines what it does" then there is no need to look for an outside cause. There is no need to look for a first cause or a Prime Mover. AR and NB were suggesting a fundamental shift in how we understand the nature of causation. When we move from seeing causation as a relationship between the action of one thing and the action of another thing to a relationship between what a thing is and what it does, everything changes. It is a fundamental paradigm shift. The need for a Prime Mover comes from a different view of causality from AR and NB's. The question doesn't even come up in the story line of their worldview.

Paul

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the feedback. After a bit of Googling I found this, which seems to more or less sum up what you're saying?

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So, a question that comes to mind is:

Could there be a God within the universe, within existence?

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Hi Paul,

Thanks for the feedback. After a bit of Googling I found this, which seems to more or less sum up what you're saying?

Davy,

As familiar as this article reads to me, I don't think I've actually read it before. Thank you.

This article is clearly early in Branden's writing because it is written within Rand's language and worldview. However, there is no doubt that he has his own authentic vision and his clarity and insight are quite profound.

Personally, I've always had a sense of resonance with NB's objective metaphysical foundations and the worldview that has emerged through his writing. My point of departure with him is on the level of his connectedness with the social element of his psyche and how this comes through in his work. There is a worldview that grows from our capacity for empathy and consideration for other people's perspectives. This worldview is left largely untapped in AR and NB's work.

What I appreciate about your approach in what you have written above, Davy, is your openness, as an atheist, to seeing the world through other points of view without a sense of conflict or competition or defensiveness against other worldviews. It gives me a sense of you seeking truth without the need for exclusion of alternate perspectives to your own. Both AR and NB have tended to exclude other worldviews, with arguments to justify the exclusion. This stops the development of a worldview that grows from our capacity for empathy and consideration for other people's perspectives. The ultimate negative judgement from an Objectivist is the judgement of "social metaphysics." I see this as the explosive lock guarding the door to developing a worldview from the empathic, connected, social part of our psyche.

But how he [God] is in other things created by him may be considered from human affairs. A king, for example, is said to be in the whole kingdom by his power, although he is not everywhere present. Again, a thing is said to be by its presence in other things which are subject to its inspection; as things in a house are said to be present to anyone, who nevertheless may not be in substance in every part of the house. Lastly, a thing is said to be substantially or essentially in that place in which its substance is. [Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy]

I find this quote very interesting. I tend to see people's stories about the world as metaphors first and then assess the metaphysical value only after stepping inside and seeing the world from within the stories. This approach allows me to be more inclusive of perspectives that could be considered in conflict with my own. I tend to see "God stories" as metaphors attempting to capture some element of truth in reality. Very often this truth comes from the sense of connectedness and wholeness we can see in the universe. The striking thing about this quote is it is describing God as occupying the role of cause in a whole-to-part causal system.

If we consider the idea that God created all things as an understandable error in logic, as discussed in NB's article, the rest is an interesting metaphor for a quantum system.

A king, for example, is said to be in the whole kingdom by his power, although he is not everywhere present.

For a king "to be in the whole kingdom by his power" suggests an image of subjects acting by their own motives and choices within the limits set by the king. This is the concept of freedom within limits. The limits, in a quantum system, are set by the system as a whole. The probability of a particle being measured in a particular place at a particular time can be seen as determined by how the whole system shapes the space in which the particle acts. Similarly, the action of a particular subject in the kingdom is determined by the identity of the subject-- his motives, inner stories, thoughts and choices-- AND the limits to the social space, in which the subject acts, created by the king (amongst other social relationships).

Again, a thing is said to be by its presence in other things which are subject to its inspection; as things in a house are said to be present to anyone, who nevertheless may not be in substance in every part of the house.

As the previous quote was viewing the holistic system from the perspective of the king, this quote is seeing the same holistic system from the position of the subjects. The limits to the social space that influence their choices exist inside the subjects who are making those choices. In this way the power of the king exists inside the subjects. Applying this as a metaphor to the quantum case: the probabilities that exist in superposition for a particle can be seen as defining the space in a whole system and existing in the particle, limiting its actual position when measured.

Lastly, a thing is said to be substantially or essentially in that place in which its substance is.

Here, Aquinas is presenting a worldview that opposes that of the Copenhagen interpretation (CI) of QM. The CI suggests that we cannot know anything about reality beyond the limits described by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, so our stories of reality must be confined to what can be observed, measured and mathematically modeled. This puts the physical substance of things as existentially secondary to our perception of them. Aquinas is saying that essence or substance or reality is in the thing that exists, rather than in our perception of it. I tend to agree with Aquinas, just without the God metaphors.

If we look at AR and NB's concept of causality-- what a thing is determines what it does-- in light of Aquinas' perspective, quantum realities and whole-to-part causation, we find it needs to be expanded to be more inclusive:

What a thing is determines what it does in the context of the whole systems of which it is a part.

Written this way we have a foundational causal statement from which to build a more detailed causal framework which can include reciprocal whole-to-part causal systems. Such causal frameworks can lead to a causal interpretation of QM (once the CI is understood as a philosophical doctrine used to exclude philosophical insightfulness from explorations of the nature of reality) and can lead to a causal explanation of the universe without the need for a god to fill in the spaces of the causes we do not understand.

Interesting... both the Copenhagen interpretation of QM and the god interpretation of causal events are built to neutralize our capacity to develop a causal foundation and creatively develop a causal story of the universe that fits all the evidence. I guess causality makes strange bedfellows. AR and NB took an important step towards a causal story of the universe. This is what attracted me to their work. I say, let's keep working on it.

Paul

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However, we know life exists and acts like they say the universe does. There is absolutely no evidence dark energy and dark matter exists except in their minds--kinda like the accusation they keep leveling at believers in God.

But wasn't e. g. the idea of black holes in the universe also a mere hypothesis first? Maybe it is only matter of time when what is called 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' will be identified?

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Xray,

I'm not against the hypothesis of dark matter and dark energy. I'm against the cavalier dismissing of other possibilities as hogwash where there is something known to refer to and postulating something totally unknown in order to fit the math as the only hypothesis worth looking at.

Michael

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So, a question that comes to mind is:

Could there be a God within the universe, within existence?

I'm growing a beard, then I'll getcha!

--Brant

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So, a question that comes to mind is:

Could there be a God within the universe, within existence?

I'm growing a beard, then I'll getcha!

--Brant

Thanks Brant...

I think it is an interesting question within the Brandon exposition about the absurdity of a first causer...

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What I deduce about the Western Gods is exactly the kind of thing that confuses me - For example the fact the identity of these Gods assumes such details as they have an existence that is everywhere at once (yet non-present and unaccounted so they are also nowhere at all). Their consciousness extends into all things and all people since it is everywhere yet unidentified and not interacted with so they are seemingly nowhere at all by any account. In fact, they don't have an identity since mathematically the concept of infinite is not a real number; it’s just a mathematical construct for equations.

By deduction I come to a dead end since there are no attributes of an entity to review and no entity to examine for attributes to identity. As I see it, the Western God(s) contradict the Law of Identity since there is literally nothing to deduce from.

Thus, I need information to actually hang a discussion on. Perhaps when I return from this weekend I’ll look up those links more, or any input is welcome.

Dan,

As I understand it, Omnipresence is to be understood (at least According to Aquinas) in an analogical sense.

But how he [God] is in other things created by him may be considered from human affairs. A king, for example, is said to be in the whole kingdom by his power, although he is not everywhere present. Again, a thing is said to be by its presence in other things which are subject to its inspection; as things in a house are said to be present to anyone, who nevertheless may not be in substance in every part of the house. Lastly, a thing is said to be substantially or essentially in that place in which its substance is. [Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy]

In The Last Superstition, Feser says that we might usefully distinguish five gradations in one's conception of God:

1. God is literally an old man with a white beard, a kind if stern wizard-like being with very human thoughts and motivations who lives in a place called Heaven, which is like the places we know except for being very far away and impossible to get to except through magical means.

2. God doesn't have a bodily form, and his thoughts and motivations are in many respects very different from ours. He is an immaterial object or substance which has existed forever, and (perhaps) pervades all space. Still, he is, somehow, a person like we are, only vastly more intelligent, powerful and virtuous, and in particular without our physical and moral limitations. He made the world the way a carpenter builds a house, as an independent object that would carry on even if he were to "go away" from it, but he neverthe less may decide to intervene it its operations from time to time.

3. God is not an object or substance alongside other objects or substances in the world; rather He is pure being or existence itself, utterly distinct from the world of time, space, and things, underlying and maintaining them at every moment, and apart from whose ongoing conserving action they would be instantly annihilated. The world is not an independent object in the sense of something that might carry on if God were to "go away"; it is more like the music produced by a musician, which exists only when he plays and vanishes the moment he stops. None of the concepts we apply to things in the world, including to ourselves, apply to God in anything but an analogous sense. Hence, for example, we may say that God is "personal" insofar as He is not less than a person, the way an animal is less than a person. But God is not literally "a person" in the sense of being one individual thing among others who reasons, chooses, has moral obligations, etc. Such concepts make no sense when literally applied to God.

4. God as somewho who has had a mystical experience of the sort Aquinas had.

5. God as Aquinas knows Him now, i.e. as known in the beatific vision attained by the blessed after death.

Further gradations between some of these are no doubt possible, but this will suffice for our purposes. Obviously, each grade represents an advance in sophistication over the previous one. Grade 1 represents a child's conception of God, and perhaps that of some uneducated adults. Grade 2 represents the conception of some educated religious believers, of popular apologetics, and of arguments like Paley's "Design argument". Grade 3 is the conception of classical philosophical theology: of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and other such thinkers. Grades 4 and 5 are attainable only if granted supernaturally by God.

There's an excellent blog post by Feser which you might find useful, I still think it's better to read the book, in which he devotes a lot of pages to laying the groundwork, as it were, to a proper understanding of Aquinas' "Five Ways". There's also a link to a utube lecture which covers the same ground.

To understand the arguments of classical natural theology -- arguments like Aquinas’s Five Ways, for example -- you need to understand the difference between empirical science on the one hand and metaphysics and the philosophy of nature on the other. And you need to understand how the attitudes that classical philosophers (Aristotelians, Neo-Platonists, Thomists and other Scholastics) take toward these three fields of study differs from the attitudes common among modern philosophers (whether early modern philosophers like Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, and Co., or the average contemporary academic philosopher, who has -- often unreflectively -- inherited his basic philosophical assumptions from the early moderns). For the arguments in question are grounded in the philosophy of nature (and in some cases in metaphysics) and not in natural science; and they are grounded in a classical rather than modern philosophical understanding of the three fields and their relationship to one another.

That is interesting and I might add it has more artistic merit, but the practical side of me is simply more bewildered.

If “omniscient” does not mean all present but simple ownership in existence, then God(s) are actually just more advanced beings that have property in existence much like we do our homes. This would render them not a God but a later day version of us much like primitive man might view us today with our technology. Interesting idea but unfortunately it makes the concept of divinity moot since such a being is not a creator as the theory of the divine goes but a participant in reality.

As for the 5 choices, I get the degrees in understanding and it is a good testimony to the evolution in thinking, but the irony is the child’s image of the old man with the white beard is the only one that has an Identity. The more advanced versions systematically remove the measurements to render God a concept of no discernible Identity since He literally has no measurements. By the time we get to level 5 we are told we can never Identify him in this existence.

No Identity? Identify something outside of Existence? That violates metaphysical facts of nature all over the place.

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So, a question that comes to mind is:

Could there be a God within the universe, within existence?

I'm growing a beard, then I'll getcha!

--Brant

I need to learn the power of the beard. I've been doing something wrong all these years!

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So, a question that comes to mind is:

Could there be a God within the universe, within existence?

Would this go in the direction of pantheism, and also imply that god evolves as the universe evolves?

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It might even mean something to ask "then what caused God?" if one of the premises in the argument was "everything has a cause", but it isn't.

If it is argued that God requires no cause, couldn't an atheist counter this by "matter requires no cause"?

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It might even mean something to ask "then what caused God?" if one of the premises in the argument was "everything has a cause", but it isn't.

If it is argued that God requires no cause, couldn't an atheist counter this by "matter requires no cause"?

It doesn't matter unless you matter about the matter sanctioning the matter.

--Brant

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It might even mean something to ask "then what caused God?" if one of the premises in the argument was "everything has a cause", but it isn't.

If it is argued that God requires no cause, couldn't an atheist counter this by "matter requires no cause"?

Matter doesn't require a cause. The law of causality is not a primary, it is a correlary to the law of identity. All entities have identities which manifests themselves in ways which cause "causes." These identities do not have to have "causes" themselves, otherwise you will run into the "infinite reduction" problem.

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The cause argument is a cyclical argument set to an infinity loop since you never get to a root cause of anything. What caused the universe? God(s)… What caused God? Uh-Oh… either a higher power than God did (you’ve marginalized your subject) or you think God is the end of the line so you have defeated your method of argument.

Your best bet is to go with the second since God could also be identified as an atheist. He doesn’t believe in a higher power either.

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Your best bet is to go with the second since God could also be identified as an atheist. He doesn’t believe in a higher power either.

Ha.

Sensible Fellow. Which is why He doesn't mind being given the boot, Himself.

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The cause argument is a cyclical argument set to an infinity loop since you never get to a root cause of anything. What caused the universe? God(s)… What caused God? Uh-Oh… either a higher power than God did (you’ve marginalized your subject) or you think God is the end of the line so you have defeated your method of argument.

So either one gets into an 'infinite regresss spiral' or one collpases the causality premise because one has arbitrarily stopped the causality chain by positing God as the end of the line.

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Yes but: where's the future in applying a rational argument to someone who accepts the existence of god,

on faith? The problem of 'infinite regress' is in it being a self-affirmatory argument, otherwise

called preaching to the already converted - i.e. oneself and other atheists. I've heard a religious person blow

it off with "Oh, well God is capable of creating Himself". Try disproving supernatural premises, logically..

Ultimately, all this is wrongly argued in logic and epistemology - when in fact the non-existence (or existence)

of god is metaphysically grounded, I think.

If a person has to be persuaded of what is self-evident, then he will likely never

be convinced.

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Matter doesn't require a cause. The law of causality is not a primary, it is a correlary to the law of identity. All entities have identities which manifests themselves in ways which cause "causes." These identities do not have to have "causes" themselves, otherwise you will run into the "infinite reduction" problem.

This is the essence of AR and NB's concept of causality. When understood it replaces the view of causality at the base of the current discussion and causes a paradigm shift that makes this discussion as interesting as a discussion on how many epicycles are needed to account for the apparent motion of Mars.

I am trying to understand why people don't get this.

Thanks Matt.

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Matter doesn't require a cause. The law of causality is not a primary, it is a correlary to the law of identity. All entities have identities which manifests themselves in ways which cause "causes." These identities do not have to have "causes" themselves, otherwise you will run into the "infinite reduction" problem.

This is the essence of AR and NB's concept of causality. When understood it replaces the view of causality at the base of the current discussion and causes a paradigm shift that makes this discussion as interesting as a discussion on how many epicycles are needed to account for the apparent motion of Mars.

I am trying to understand why people don't get this.

Thanks Matt.

What you are saying is that we should come to know ALL about something by studying it and gathering its attributes. That sounds great. Unfortunately our perception even aided by our best technology is about 15 orders of magnitude in resolution from Rock Bottom ( Planck Length, Planck Time etc.) So we will probably never know the True Identity of things. We have to continue playing the game of mathematically modeling the fuzzy perceptions that we do get with our natural senses and the only partially technological crutches we can build.

Sorry Plato. Stumbling out of the Cave with just our eyes and a magnifying glass will not enable us to see The Good.

Ba'al CHatzaf

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What you are saying is that we should come to know ALL about something by studying it and gathering its attributes. That sounds great. Unfortunately our perception even aided by our best technology is about 15 orders of magnitude in resolution from Rock Bottom ( Planck Length, Planck Time etc.) So we will probably never know the True Identity of things. We have to continue playing the game of mathematically modeling the fuzzy perceptions that we do get with our natural senses and the only partially technological crutches we can build.

Sorry Plato. Stumbling out of the Cave with just our eyes and a magnifying glass will not enable us to see The Good.

Ba'al CHatzaf

Not what I'm saying. There is more than just mathematical thinking and modeling to take us beyond direct observation. There is causal thinking and modeling which can also take us beyond direct observation. At one time this type of thinking and modeling stood at the heart of physics. It's the baby that got thrown out with the bath water.

Lowly tradesmen are the only ones who use causal thinking and modeling to any advanced level anymore. And we know they are lowly because they don't think in deep logic, abstract concepts and mathematical language.

The irony is that Einstein was at once the defender of causality and the one who put some of the last nails in the coffin of causal thinking in modern physics, after the Michelson/Morley experiment, with his switching to metaphor and mathematics as his guide to modeling and producing relativity theory.

The final nail was the Copenhagen interpretation of QM. All this washing our hands of causal thinking and modeling based on an inadequate concept of causation. And this has shaped our understanding, education, thinking and policies ever since.

We made a mistake. Lets reevaluate.

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Yes but: where's the future in applying a rational argument to someone who accepts the existence of god,

on faith?

Since rational arguments, combined with scientific findings, have largely contributed to the fact that no one who has grown up in our modern contemporary society believes in the existence of e. g. a "thunder god" anymore, imo the future does lie in continuing to confront believers with empirical facts.

Such as the findings of Darwin for example. Even Deepak Chopra with his spiritual, non-materialistic worldview concedes that "Darwin stands in the road as the enormous obstacle that religion never got around." (D. Chopra/ L. Mlodinow, War of the Worldviews, p. 122).

Leonard Mlodinow (in the same book, p. 46) quotes Nietzsche:

[L. Mlodinow.]: Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "Formerly, one sought the feeling of the grandeur of man by pointing to his divine origin: this has now become a forbidden way, for at its portal stands the ape, together with other gruesome beasts, grinning knowingly as if to say: no further in this direction!"

To this day, certain groups of fervent theists continue to fight the theory of evolution tooth and nail. It is easy to see why.

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Yes but: where's the future in applying a rational argument to someone who accepts the existence of god,

on faith?

Since rational arguments, combined with scientific findings have largely contributed to the fact that e. g. no one who has grown up up in a modern society believes in the existence of a "thunder god" anymore, imo the future does lie in continuing to confront believers with empirical facts.

Such as the findings of Darwin for example.

But I don't distinguish between a thunder god, a benign, bearded Father, or anything else

man has comforted himself with. All are supernatural. I also can't see that atheism is spreading - outside of parts of Europe. Best I can tell, religion is re-inventing itself pragmatically to accept some aspects of science, and some may even embrace Darwinism soon. The fundamentally mystic premises aren't going away.

What I'm noticing is that not only is Faith mostly undisturbed by empirical evidence - but that, psychologically, the faithful grow stronger in their belief, precisely BECAUSE OF increasing empirical evidence to the contrary.

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Yes but: where's the future in applying a rational argument to someone who accepts the existence of god,

on faith?

Since rational arguments, combined with scientific findings have largely contributed to the fact that e. g. no one who has grown up up in a modern society believes in the existence of a "thunder god" anymore, imo the future does lie in continuing to confront believers with empirical facts.

Such as the findings of Darwin for example.

But I don't distinguish between a thunder god, a benign, bearded Father, or anything else

man has comforted himself with. All are supernatural. I also can't see that atheism is spreading - outside of parts of Europe. Best I can tell, religion is re-inventing itself pragmatically to accept some aspects of science, and some may even embrace Darwinism soon. The fundamentally mystic premises aren't going away.

What I'm noticing is that not only is Faith mostly undisturbed by empirical evidence - but that, psychologically, the faithful grow stronger in their belief, precisely BECAUSE OF empirical evidence to the contrary.

I don't get this "empirical evidence to the contrary." Is it some kind of reactive, reverse psychology?

--Brant

there can be no "empirical evidence to the contrary" for there is nothing actually to be contrary to--faith is blather, irrational and nuts--there is nothing referencing the metaphysical at all--and "faith in reason" is a contradiction in terms for anyone's information (FAI) too BTW (if anyone wants to bring that up)

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