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Atheism is irrational

johnsonav Re:Well... (31 comments)

No, it's still just an argument. Perhaps you mean to say that one of the premises of this argument has recently received some sort of empirical confirmation?

Either way, the linked post isn't a particularly good presentation of the Kalam argument. Which is why I referenced the far more complete and careful presentation above. Any discussion of the argument, and its theological implications (if any) will probably deal with points touched on there (and not in the linked post).

about a year and a half ago
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Atheism is irrational

johnsonav Well... (31 comments)

If you're going to hang your hat on the Kalam argument, might as well cite a better treatment. The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology has a fairly good chapter on it. Might be worth more of a look than this.

about a year and a half ago
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Delayed Outrage Over A Censored Site; What's a Better Way To Spread News?

johnsonav Fallacy (214 comments)

(By the way, I've been unable to find a precise name for the cognitive fallacy wherein if you observe that all things which achieve goal Z have attribute X, then you come to think that attribute X is a good predictor of achieving goal Z. It's not the same as the "post hoc fallacy" or the mistaken belief that "correlation equals causation," because both of those are about the illusion of causation. I'm talking about the correlation being an illusion in the first place â" where people come to believe that attribute X is a good predictor of achieving result Z, ignoring the fact that there may be enormous numbers of cases where attribute X is true, but which never go on to achieve result Z. If you know the exact name of that fallacy, shoot me an email and submit a comment below.)

Sounds kinda like the base rate fallacy to me.

more than 2 years ago
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Atheist and Faith

johnsonav Re:Proof? (18 comments)

But proof of what? If I observe what appears to be water, is that proof that I'm observing actual water? (I'm thinking of mirage situations.)

Insofar as our senses are fallible, an observation that appears to be an X can only be evidence, not proof, that one has observed an actual X.

more than 3 years ago
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Atheist and Faith

johnsonav Re:Sounds more like an agnostic to me (18 comments)

But nonetheless, it does take faith to believe that there is no god, hence atheists do have faith.

I have to wonder what you mean by "faith" here. Are you of the opinion that there is not (or perhaps, cannot be) sufficient evidence to render a belief that God does not exist rational to hold?

more than 3 years ago
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Atheist and Faith

johnsonav Proof? (18 comments)

I think the need for "proof" before believing something to be true is wrongheaded. "Proof" is the kind of thing one gets in mathematics. I haven't got a proof that Washington was the first president, that I have a brother, or that the sun will rise tomorrow; but I believe each of those things. What I do have, however, is quite a lot of evidence that those things are true. Am I being irrational, by your lights?

But replacing "proof" with "evidence" leaves your main thesis in a questionable position. Because the theist will be quick to point out that he *does* have evidence for his position: the testimony of those who profess to have had experiences with God, the existence of some holy book which purports to be about the deity in question, and a plethora of arguments from natural theology. I'm not suggesting that these things constitute *sufficient* evidence, or even especially strong evidence. But they are evidence.

I might suggest a reformulation along Clifford's lines: "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."

Assuming one follows that maxim, and assuming that there is insufficient evidence to believe the proposition "God exists" either true or false, one would seem to be more agnostic than atheist.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

johnsonav Re:Seriously... (729 comments)

Well, ok. I promise this is my last post. I understand its not very fair to you to just wave my hands and tell you how stupid this argument is, if you've never had it. Its the theological equivalent of talking to a intro to physics student about the absolute speed of light. They always propose hypothetical situations, which you already know they are going to be wrong without them asking. I just thought I'd head you off at the pas and give you some time to reflect on the flaw before getting into a heated debate. But given the way our discussion has already gone, you don't seem to be picking it up, or understanding 80 % of my posts. If you don't understand Calculus, its tough to teach ODE, no? So consider this the physics for poets digest.

I'll ignore the condescension, since you actually follow it up by talking about the argument itself.

Me: #2 fails because I believe an All knowing, All loving God can have reasonable people who do not believe in him. A principle in many denominations of Christianity is that of God granting us free will. If we have free will, we can choose or not choose to believe in God.

We can choose our beliefs? Even with a libertarian view of free will, it isn't simply a given that we are capable of choosing our beliefs. You need some kind of doxastic voluntarism to be true, for this to be an objection to the argument. Do you have any evidence that this is the case?

Additionally, he has given us testimonials form other credible sources, but prefers to let other humans do the Evangelization. It does not logically follow that an all Loving Creator God must directly communicate with his creation.

Nothing in the argument entails that a perfectly loving God must directly communicate with his creation. This is nothing more than a red herring.

You: An All loving God would want everyone to know he exists, so they could love him too!

Not quite. A perfectly loving God would want everyone to believe that he exists, because such a belief is required for a mutually explicit, meaningful love relationship to exist between God and his creations. I don't know what else "perfectly loving" could mean, other than the desire to participate in such a relationship with everyone who was willing.

[more red herrings and straw men]

Not much else to respond to here.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

johnsonav Re:Seriously... (729 comments)

Well, that's fine with me, I suppose. I just think it is curious that you keep repeating how "pointless" and "circular" this argument is, yet you don't actually bother to point out how it is so. As it doesn't seem like you're interested in an actual exchange, I'm done now.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

johnsonav Re:Seriously... (729 comments)

I'm not sure at all what to make of your "warnings". Do you not think it important to understand the meanings of the words we use, or to aim for precision in that understanding? If your understanding of "unsurpassable" (note: not simply "unsurpassed") or "perfectly loving" differs from mine, that's fine. But to suggest that there's some harm in being exacting when talking about these issues seems a little odd.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

johnsonav Re:Seriously... (729 comments)

Well, honestly you failed on step #2. We could argue about it, but it would really just you arguing that a God you don't believe exists must display a certain property in a certain way, in order for you to prove that he doesn't exist. It gets circular, and really just ends up with you defining a God you don't want to exist, and I certainly wouldn't want to exist ( believer that I am). its stupid and a waste of time, as all proofs and disproofs of God are.

Well, sure. This argument only "works" if you understand "God" to be a perfect or unsurpassable being. If you don't think God is such a thing, then it probably doesn't apply to whatever that thing is. But that's very different than the enterprise of natural theology/atheology being a waste of time.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

johnsonav Re:Seriously... (729 comments)

Nah. If it is going to be formalized, it will look something more like:

1. A -> B
2. B -> ~C
3. C
4. ~B
5. ~A

And that's how the argument should be understood.

more than 3 years ago
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Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society

johnsonav Re:Seriously... (729 comments)

Disprove the existence of God. It's OK. I'll wait.

Well, I'm not the person you asked. But I'll give it a go.

1) If there is a God, he is perfectly loving.
2) If a perfectly loving God exists, reasonable non-belief in the existence of God does not occur.
3) Reasonable non-belief in the existence of God does occur.
4) No perfectly loving God exists.
5) There is no God. (Schellenberg 1993: 83)

more than 3 years ago
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Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

johnsonav Re:The Kalam Argument - Epic Win (631 comments)

1) Time cannot have started an infinite amount of time ago, because adding a finite amount of time to a negative inifnity will never result in the present day.
2) Therefore the universe cannot be infinitely old
3) Therefore it had a starting moment
4) Therefore it is more likely it was created than not.

Sadly, this isn't even valid. At least the modern, three-premise version of the argument (as defended by William Lane Craig) has that going for it. However, something like this is appropriated by Craig as justification for his second premise. Unfortunately, his arguments for the impossibility of an "actual infinite" fail just as badly.

more than 4 years ago
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Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

johnsonav Re:Still doing that? (631 comments)

Atheism cannot be proven.

If you mean to say that "God does not exist," cannot possibly be the conclusion of a sound argument, you're simply wrong. Indeed there are many valid arguments which would serve as candidates (evil, hiddenness, etc.).

more than 4 years ago
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My thoughts on the last episode of Lost

johnsonav Re:The island was not purgatory! (4 comments)

One unanswered question for me is "who was the Smoke Monster"? Jacob's brother doesn't fit- for the SM was obviously on the island in Egyptian times (from the hieroglyphs on the wall of the temple) but Jacob's biological mother arrived in Roman times (from the use of Latin as a common language).

Well, I think it's certainly plausible that, although Jacob's brother was the smoke monster we saw active on the island, he wasn't the *only* smoke monster that has ever existed on the island. There were people on the island before Jacob/MiB ever got there. Doesn't seem too much of a stretch to imagine that the MiB wasn't the first guy to get tossed down the golden-hole (indeed, the skeletons we see down there attest to that).

more than 4 years ago
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Long Odds For Online Gaming Legislation In US

johnsonav Re:First Thought (148 comments)

People should only be taxed for what they use, when I buy an online good for physical money what service of the government am I using? I use paypal which is a private company to use my private credit card on a private site to get something online which go through the privately owned internet lines which I pay for out of my own pocket, to another privately owned server where I play my game.

That's all well and good, I suppose. But when you pay money for an online good and the seller reneges on the deal to deliver, just don't come crying to the government-run courts or police, okay?

more than 4 years ago
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New "Circuit Breaker" Imposed To Stop Market Crash

johnsonav Re:Good Fix... (460 comments)

Remember also that every trade on the market which is not directly linked to the true value of a stock actively destroys information because it introduces noise into the market, polluting the use of that stock's trading symbol as a measure of real wealth (rather than imaginary fantasy wealth).

(Emphasis mine)

What exactly is the "true value of the stock"? If your answer has anything to do with the future (future revenue, future earnings, etc.), please explain how you're able to know the "true value" of anything which has yet to happen.

more than 4 years ago
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Ireland's Blasphemy Law Goes Into Effect

johnsonav Re:No, it's a stupid idea... (845 comments)

atheism is simply the assertion of a universal negative. such an assertion is both unproven and unprovable. therefore, atheism is a religion ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion - see #2 and #4).

I'm afraid you're mistaken. I am quite confident when asserting the universal negative, "God does not exist". I am also confident, for exactly the same reasons, when asserting, "There are no married bachelors", or "Five sided squares do not exist".

Far from being "logically indefensible", or "unproven and unprovable", logic requires that we affirm these truths.

more than 4 years ago
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A philosophical question

johnsonav Re:Um... (23 comments)

And yet, capitalism with it's incentive structure *ALSO* fails quite often to produce enough to both meet demand and save ahead for a rainy day.

When you're complaining about not producing enough, you're advocating for increased efficiencies and productivity. Sure, producing enough to cover every possible "rainy day" is not in the cards, regardless of economic system; producing as much as we can is the best we can do. If you're advocating trading production for some other goal, you're going to produce less, not more.

t brings production closer in line to demand so that they can charge higher prices per unit. But yes, I'd agree it's a waste- but it's an efficient waste, one that maximizes profit.

By employing that idled portion of the labor force, you would increase supply; but, you'd also increase demand. Profit would grow as efficiencies of scale take hold.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Steve Jobs Takes Leave of Abscence

johnsonav johnsonav writes  |  more than 5 years ago

johnsonav (1098915) writes "Steve Jobs has announced he will be taking a "medical leave of absence" until the end of June. His medical issues have proven to be worse than thought. Tim Cook, the current COO, will be taking over Job's responsibilities."
Link to Original Source
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FBI Privacy Violations Confirmed

johnsonav johnsonav writes  |  more than 6 years ago

johnsonav (1098915) writes "The AP reports, "An audit by the inspector general last year found the FBI demanded personal records without official authorization or otherwise collected more data than allowed in dozens of cases between 2003 and 2005." Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the breaches occurred before the FBI enacted reforms in 2007 to prevent abuse. A previous audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, "blamed agent error and shoddy record-keeping for the bulk of the problems and did not find any indication of criminal misconduct." Far from unusual, more than 5% of requests are unauthorized, "In 2005, for example, Fine's office found more than 1,000 violations within 19,000 FBI requests to obtain 47,000 records.""
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Did Anyone Else Notice This?

johnsonav johnsonav writes  |  more than 5 years ago

So...

I was browsing around on the front page, and clicked on this story. I noticed that the little box in the upper right hand corner, which normally has my user information, had someone else's. Every time I refreshed the page, the page thought I was a different user.

Clicking around, on different front page stories, I found that some pages had this behavior and some didn't.

Is this happening to anyone else?

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