|Reviews for Basic Theist Arguments|
| galileogalilei 11/4/11 . chapter 1
A very nice argument. You have some very convincing points, and unlike other religious arguments I've had, I had to take more than a split second to reason it out. Allow me to provide my counter-argument.
The First Cause Argument: Like others have pointed out, it applies to God as well. Calling the force that created the universe God in the absence of another name? Sure, that makes sense. Gotta come up with names for things somehow, right? Anyhow, I'm assuming that you don't know much about string/M theory(Hell, I only know the basics of it), but it does provide an explanation for the Big Bang; Long story short, universes collide into each other like rubber balls, triggering 'big bangs' in each. Problem is, physics has exceeded technology, and to prove String/M theory we'd need a particle accelerator about the size of the solar system. Which just is not happening in our lives.
The Appearance of Design and Order in the World - The Thumb Argument: A valid approach, however it is quickly disproved by the fact that there are many, many combinations for thumb prints. Odds are, eventually someone will have the same one as you. If you have a state lottery(The one with millions, if not billions, of possibilities), and only 500 people pick from it, you can not say that there must be an order behind it since none of them have the same numbers. The thumb argument is similar, but with vastly inflated numbers.
The Appearance of Design and Order in the World - The Watch Argument: Of all your arguments, this one by far made me think the most. The odds of our world developing, indeed, are miniscule. But then think. It has to have happened if symmetry broke. What do I mean by this? Imagine if all the matter and energy in the universe were distributed evenly; nothing would happen. All forces would cancel out. But if the 'symmetry' were broken by even the SMALLEST amount, a snowball effect would quickly cause this (Planets, stars and the like) to happen. And, just as in Cellular Automata like Conway's Game of Life, random rules have a tendency to create order, and vast amounts of it. The rules of the universe, however random and chaotic they may be, would eventually cause groups of order, like stars, and planets, and atoms have been proven to enjoy bonding into Amino Acids. Since there are countless more arrangements in which the universe is not 'symmetrical', it is actually far more likely that planets and galaxies and the like were created by themselves than not. You can argue 'But WHY is symmetry broken?'. Einstein died saying 'God does not play dice with the universe', being a metaphor for saying that the universe has no randomness. Quantum mechanics has since disproven that; the universe DOES have many elements of chance. If you have five twenty sided die to represent the universe's starting arrangement, with five twenties being completely symmetrical, you are almost assuredly going to get no symmetry. As to who/what rolls the dice, you'd need, oh... a particle accelerator the size of the solar system to figure that out.
The Desire for a purpose in life, and a person's upbringing - The Search for God Argument: You are correct in your assumption that humans try naturally to search for meaning, purpose and reason. But you also say that evolution doesn't give much reason for its development, but this is wrong. Evolution doesn't 'give' reason for anything. Evolution doesn't 'try' to create a certain species, 'try' to create smart species, or land reptiles, or anything like that. It just picks what works out of all the things it has, and goes with it. Our brains evolved our curiosity randomly, through mutation, and though most mutations are problematic, our 'curiosity' gene as I'll call it, proved to be helpful, and thus, as those with the curiosity gene survived and reproduced (Us), said gene grew prominent. Humans do not seek out God. Humans seek out an explanation, and early cave-men did not have the tools or mechanisms from previous generations to come up with accurate explanations, so instead turned to the best they could come up with; God.
The Desire for a purpose in life, and a person's upbringing - The Upbringing Argument: There's nothing to say for this, it's simple psychology, the reinforcement of beliefs, going along with the same phenomenon that if you tell someone something enough times, they will believe it.
Miracles: Miracles are, indeed, defined as events that break the natural order of the world. However, and forgive me for the childish analogy, but it's the Scooby Doo effect. People do not have an explanation, so turn to call it a miracle, but if you dig deep enough and 'unmask' the event, you will find that it does work, and may even find new laws of physics previously unknown (Hell, it took until Isaac Newton for gravity to be realized as an actual force)
Conversion: I can not speak much on this, as I have never had such events such as visions, hearing voices, shaking or speaking tongues, particularly not post-conversion, since I've never been converted. Point to you.
Prayer/Meditation: The reason people believe prayer and meditation give spiritual cleansing and peaceful feelings is because they believe it will. They think it will do these things, and so it will, just as you can influence your dreams by watching a horror movie before sleeping. I've tried this out before; prayer without the belief that prayer does nothing, and meditation, at least the methods I have done, involves the relaxing of muscles, which will of course, feel good. Beyond that, it's the same effect as prayer; you believe it will, so it does.
The Numinous: I have experienced this before, or at least a variant of it. I have not realized it has an actual name; I've been calling it the 'Damn this world is BIG' effect. Sunsets, for example, use the sun. The sun is the most pivotal thing to our existence, second only perhaps to air. It gives us life. We can not see it most of the time without going blind, however during sunsets we can, and this results in the Numinous. I'm no psychiatrist, and I won't pretend to be one intentionally, but I'm fairly certain that it has something to do with beauty, since I've looked at the sun through a telescope before (With a special device attached to prevent my retinas from being turned to ashes, because I'm not an idiot), and the Numinous failed to occur for me. In short, the Numinous is triggered by large amounts of beauty.
Wow, that was a LONG review. Hope to hear your response.
| Tasso.x.Versi 8/4/08 . chapter 1
There are lots of great men in the scientific fields that knew God was the Creator, including Pascal, Brahe, Boyle, Newton, Faraday, Davies, etc. Nothing ever progresses to better itself through time alone or mutations alone without new material added (such as the field of genetics).
My favorite example of the complexity of design is the neck bone of a deer. Now that's design!
Very well argued in your essay! Bravo.
| temerity 3/10/07 . chapter 1
I stumbled upon your penname through fanfiction (your KJ story there was great, BTW...you use words in wonderful ways. When I checked your bio I noticed that you have another account on fictionpress(just like me!) and that the majority of your writing is on fictionpress (me too).
I wholeheartedly agree with your essay. Strangely enough, as a hopeful biology major, it is biology that has strengthened my faith in God. If you look at how perfectly we are made, the bits and pieces start to add up. I loved the inclusion of the watch metaphor.
Always write on!
| low shroom 11/11/06 . chapter 1
You're right: many atheists don't know what they're talking about. However, that doesn't necessarily mean you do, either.
The only thing I have a bone to pick with is your second header. The watch, obviously, is a bad example. You should have chosen something organic, such as a fish, algae, or a human.
"Therefore, since the world does indeed have order, life cannot be fully attributed to randomness. Therefore, something, or someone, must have designed and created us."
One, it's bad writing. Alternate the first words of your sentences. Two, describe designed and created. Are you saying that God made us in a day, or are you saying that God set evolution in motion? We know for a fact that evolution happened, and that it's still happening. Micro-evolution happens every day in bacteria, like new strains of viruses that are resistant to drugs. There's macro-evolution in the fossil record, from fish with simple fins going to rudimentary legs, to fur and feathers, then to us as we know.
It's kind of sad for me to see you give out all these proofs for God's existience. Faith is not, and is never proven. That's why it's called faith. If you can't take God as it is without justifying his being with your arguments, then maybe you need to review your belief.
| Slightly Obsessive 7/13/06 . chapter 1
Very straughtforward and easy to read. Well done.
| Arn-The-Silent-Scream 9/2/05 . chapter 1
The first cause argument fails because it assignes the neccesity of creation to the universe and not God. What created God?
Your second argument is sort of a combination the the argument of natural-law and the argument for design. The argument for design is simple, if God pays that much attention to our creation (that he makes eaqch thumb print different) then he is no longer the God that Christians worship. He would afterall control your mind, having personally designed it. You would therefor not be responsible for your sins. IT would be like finding the watch only it doesn't workl right and then blmaing the watch and not the watch maker. The other argument that you bring up has to do with chance. You say that because every thumb is different (which isn't true anyway) that God must habve had a hand in it. Well I have devised an experiment to test that. Roll a die a thoughsand times and record the result. Now the odds that you will have gotten that result are extremly low, but certainly you wouldn't look at that result and say "well the odds of this are so low that it could not have happened on its own." No you'd have some result. The odds of us existing is admitedly very low. But as was the chance that you would roll...what you rolled. That doesn't prove that it couldn't have happened by chance.
The desire for purpose. Your rediculously presumptuos in stating that evolution would not have chosen those that were more inquizitive. It seems quite obvious to me that humans that seek answers are more likly to find them, and therefor more likly the survive. But beyond that this says nothing about the "God". The problem with so many religious proofs is that any religion could be proven with this information (were it true).
Religious exeriences. Prove nothing more then that people of any religion can have them, and even none religious people. Besides it still says nothing about the being God.
| mssparrington 8/14/05 . chapter 1
Interesting essay! I too am a theist. I believe in God precisely because I believe God's existence can not be proved or disproven. In such cases, I ask my heart and my gut.
The best argument I have heard to dispute the idea of the Christian God concept is- if God is good, God is not God. If God is God, God is not good. This only works for the nature of God, of course, not whether there is God or gods.
The problem with the so called intelligent design theory is that it is a paradox. If you believe that everything that exists must have been created, what created God? If something (like God, for instance), can have always existed, why can't a big chunk of matter?
Many people who call themselves 'Atheists' disbelieve in a certain God concept, yet do believe in order or design of some sort, or some other God concept, if only one of their own devising. That is a problem with semantics.
Many 'Atheists' claim Atheism as a way to rebel against having had horrible experiences having to do with religion, like being rejected by their religious families, being denied medical care because of their parent's beliefs, or getting molested by a priest.
The only true Atheist I have ever met was my father. He simply did not believe in anything unless it could be proved to his satisfaction. Try getting away with anything with a man like that around! When he was dying, I asked him what he believed would happen after. He said he'd get buried, rot in the ground, and live on, in people's memories, and in my sister and I, through our genes.
The similar semantic problem exists with Agnosticism. Since all religion is based on faith, everyone, even an Atheist, is an agnostic. Believing and knowing really are two different things. Anyone who thinks hard enough about what they truly 'know' and how they 'know' it seems to end up a Buddhist, unless they go mad.
Recently I met a person who claimed to be a religious Apathetic. He then proved he wasn't when he launched a discussion about religion. He seemed very well read on the subject of comparative religion, which turned out to be his minor at Uni. I told him I wish everyone were as apathetic about everything.
On one level, God certainly does exist, if only as a force of faith. Wars are fought, atrocities committed, masterworks painted, children fed, due to that force. If God is nothing more that a construct, a way to explain what science as yet, can not, that construct, that limit, will always exist.
Faith can be a good thing. Blind faith can't. Regardless of whether God exists, it is good to take all religious teachings with a grain of salt. Religious teachings are tools with which we explore the nature of God and ourselves and are useless without the requisite thinking and learning. Every faith has a teaching or twelve that is simply barbaric when placed directly into action.
If God did indeed create everything, God loves diversity. It would be a duller world if everyone in it believed exactly the same thing. For one thing, your essay, and religion itself would lose a lot of meaning :)
| NickelNickelNickel 6/10/05 . chapter 1
The First Cause Arguement:
While I agree with you on the point that SOMETHING must have created the Big Bang, I don't agree that it was an intelligent life form. This arguement doesn't prove a god, only that SOMETHING happened.
The Appearence of Design and Order in the World:
The watch is, in this case, a bad analogy to the universe. You know that humans make watches, and watches don't make themselves.
The Desire for a purpose in life..
Not everyone has a need to seek out a god. Some people are independant and don't need to believe that there is a force bigger than them making everything all right.
Miracles: Cannot be ENTIRELY explained by science. Humans DON'T know everything about science. Can you give me the specific case of "Miraculous healing"?
Conversion: So.. basically.. if someone is having visions, hearing voices, crying, shaking, and speaking tounges, then they AREN'T insane because they are talking about GOD, and therefore they are above the line of insanity.
Prayer/Meditation: Prayers are usually quiet and solemn. Usually, quiet and solemn things make people feel peaceful and so forth.
The Numinous: Doesn't affect everyone. Many people can look at it and feel awe and wonder just by appreciating it without having to thank a god for it every three seconds.
| ReggieLove 6/3/05 . chapter 1
Well, I don't watch TV, even the Simpsons, so I'll take a moment and review this. I really thought it was written well, all very convincing, although I wish you'd go deeper into the whole miracle thing and stuff like that. I myself am a "theist" or whatever you called them, and I believe in some sort of divine being.
I've argued with atheist friends and family for years, but I was never able to word my arguements very well. Thanks for covering that base. May I also recommed this; Proving Christianity by ChristianGeekGuy. My friend Byfireandmoonlight came across this essay once. I'm not trying to convert you to Christianity or anything, but it's still really interesting. Keep writing, Reggie
BTW, thanks for the review, yours was the most positive feedback I got.
| Ballerina with a Gun 5/14/05 . chapter 1
Nolee (known as Battle Raven here) told me about this; she said it was really good. It kind of surprised me too, since she's atheist. But I see what made her respect and like your essay. You provide a good, stable, believable debate that so many are unable to do. I also agree that so many do *not* know their stuff. I think you did a wonderful job, and hope you will sometime in the near future write another story, or something that I can also enjoy!
| Tiefling 5/2/05 . chapter 1
I didn't actually say I didn't agree with the idea that 'everything has a cause'. I was merely pointing out that it is an assumption. Maybe it's a correct one, maybe not. I don't think there is any way (so far) to know for sure. Did you read my first review? As I said before 'We humans tend to assume that everything has a beginning, middle and and end because we ourselves do, but we do not actually know whether this is Universal. Perhaps the Universe had no beginning. If it's infinite in three dimensions, why not four?'
You assume that the Universe works on logic that we can understand. Why should it?
'can anything be born from nothing?'I don't know. It's up to theists to prove that it can, since God, if he exists, must have been.
| logical-unreason 4/30/05 . chapter 1
Glad you disagreed with me, the piece is a satire against the "war on terror".
God doesn't exist btw.
| Rowana 4/24/05 . chapter 1
Tiefling, in case you drop by again:
I'd be interested on hearing why you don't agree with the idea that 'everything has a cause'. It is, as far as I know, a scientific assumption. can anything be born from nothing? If so, how do you define nothing?
| Tiefling 4/23/05 . chapter 1
I was bored today, and thought I'd stop back in and read through the other reviews.
I belive No Trust is misusing the term 'attacking straw men'. Failing to refute your opponent's argument is not 'attacking a straw man'. Attacking straw man is presenting a weak counter (whether your opponent's or an invented one of your own) argument and refuting it and claiming that therefore all counter arguments are refuted.
In any case, my main argument against the 'First Cause' is that I disagree with the assumption that 'everything has a cause'.
| flyinghigh 4/7/05 . chapter 1
Interesting arguments. I think the key to proving God's existence is that it can't really be proven per se. That's where the concept of faith comes in. However, I do believe that the complexity of the universe is one of the most valid arguments for the existence of God.