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Ch. 5: The Assumption of a God 
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 Ch. 5: The Assumption of a God
Ch. 5: The Assumption of a God

Please use this thread to discuss the above section of Lex Bayer and John Figdor’s “Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century.”

You’re also welcome to create new threads however you see fit.



Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:31 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 5: The Assumption of a God
I thought they did a solid job with this subject. They avoided preaching to the choir (ha ha) by laying out patiently all the challenges to the existence of God, according to the previous four assumptions. I don't think I would have made "There is no God" a non-commandment if I were making a list, though. I wonder what others think. It seems a negation of the ideas of others rather than a statement of positive principle.

Here's where I thought they nailed the faith thing: "No, people believe in God out of faith. Or, to put it into the terms we've been using, people believe in a given religion because they choose it as their set of starting assumptions. A religion is assumed to be true, and only then does a whole system of belief and behavior emerge from that assumption.

In short, God is an assumption, not a belief.

Remember, we've already shown that starting assumptions are never logically justifiable. Right? Otherwise they aren't starting assumptions. But in real life we operate from them anyway. So why are religious assumptions any less valid than an assumption about an objective reality? We can't logically prove that any assumption has more or less merit than any other. But we can say the assumptions we've already made lead us to a system that doesn't need God to function successfully" (pp-53-54).

What about a question theists always counter with: Well, then how did the universe begin? "I don't know. That means that we admit the answer is simply beyond our current ability to conceive or even define appropriately with language" (55).



Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:44 am
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Post Re: Ch. 5: The Assumption of a God
DWill wrote:
starting assumptions are never logically justifiable. Right? Otherwise they aren't starting assumptions. But in real life we operate from them anyway. So why are religious assumptions any less valid than an assumption about an objective reality? We can't logically prove that any assumption has more or less merit than any other. But we can say the assumptions we've already made lead us to a system that doesn't need God to function successfully" (pp-53-54).

Religious assumptions are far less justifiable than objective scientific assumptions. An assumption is justified by its consequences. If an assumption leads to a result that differs from what we know to be the case, the assumption is wrong. Newton assumed that Euclid’s axioms about lines describe the path of a beam of light. Newton was proved wrong by Einstein’s discovery that light bends in a gravitational field. The religious assumption that the God of the Bible exists as literally described in Genesis is disproved by scientific discoveries in physics, evolution and geology. But Euclid and Genesis still have a sort of ideal validity, even if they don’t literally describe our material universe.

If we assume that Christ was born of a virgin, it means that major premises of scientific biology are incorrect. But as Hume explained, it makes far more sense to say the belief in the miracle is wrong than that all our related scientific knowledge is wrong. With this either/or, we have a basis to accept the logical justification of the existence of matter and the non-existence of supernatural entities as a coherent and systematic foundational principle for logical explanation of objective reality.


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Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:51 pm
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