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    07 May '14 22:301 edit
    Since the theists here have been oh so gracious and responsive to discussion regarding my recent original argument submission ( Thread 158639 ) as well as a submission from the literature ( Thread 158939 )...ahem...here is another offering for debate from the literature. It is an argument by John Schellenberg. I think it ought to encourage interesting and fruitful debate. This topic is related to Drange's argument from nonbelief, discussion on which has already been initiation by JS357 earlier in this forum, if I recall correctly.

    The basic idea is that if it is the design intention of a loving creator that his/her creatures at least be in a position to freely choose to relate (or not) with him/her; and in light of the fact that a creature's being in such a position requires that the creature hold the belief that the creator exists; then the fact that some creatures do not hold this belief, and on intellectually honest grounds no less, would present a problem for the idea that such a creator exists. Here is a formulation of the argument by Schellenberg:


    1. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God are in a position to participate in such relationships--i.e., able to do so just by trying to.

    2. No one can be in a position to participate in such relationships without believing that God exists.

    3. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists (from 1 and 2).

    4. It is not the case that all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists: there is nonresistant nonbelief.

    5. It is not the case that there is a perfectly loving God (from 3 and 4).


    The argument is clearly logically valid. So if you do not agree with the the conclusion, then which premise(s) do you reject and why?

    ----------------------
    Explanation and abbreviated defense of the argument by Schellenberg can be found here:

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/john_schellenberg/hidden.html

    Interestingly, if you read through the page and then click on "Continue the Debate" toward the end, then it will take you on to considered counter-arguments; and then counter-counter-arguments, etc. So, it is a good way to get background perspectives from both sides of the argument.
  2. Territories Unknown
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    07 May '14 22:45
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Since the theists here have been oh so gracious and responsive to discussion regarding my recent original argument submission ( Thread 158639 ) as well as a submission from the literature ( Thread 158939 )...ahem...here is another offering for debate from the literature. It is an argument by John Schellenberg. I think it ough ...[text shortened]... ents, etc. So, it is a good way to get background perspectives from both sides of the argument.
    The first thing that comes to mind is the most obvious.
    There isn't a man on the face of the planet who holds to the idea of a non-existent God who didn't first believe such a being exists.
  3. Joined
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    07 May '14 22:482 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    The first thing that comes to mind is the most obvious.
    There isn't a man on the face of the planet who holds to the idea of a non-existent God who didn't first believe such a being exists.
    Huh? Surely that's empirically false.

    But even if it is true, so what? It would not show that any premise is false. The argument asserts that nonresistant nonbelief exists. That would not somehow be rendered false in the case that belief preceded such nonbelief.
  4. Territories Unknown
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    07 May '14 22:56
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Huh? Surely that's empirically false.

    But even if it is true, so what? It would not show that any premise is false. The argument asserts that nonresistant nonbelief exists. That would not somehow be rendered false in the case that belief preceded it.
    I am quite certain the empirical evidence supports the veracity of the claim.

    And it does lean against the argument on "nonresistant," despite Schellenberg's insistence otherwise.
    How does he explain people of equal-to or greater-than intelligence who take a "serious and honest examination of all the evidence of experience and argument they can lay their hands on" yet reach different results, i.e., their faith is solidified, not eroded?
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    07 May '14 23:281 edit
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    I am quite certain the empirical evidence supports the veracity of the claim.

    And it does lean against the argument on "nonresistant," despite Schellenberg's insistence otherwise.
    How does he explain people of equal-to or greater-than intelligence who take a "serious and honest examination of all the evidence of experience and argument they can lay their hands on" yet reach different results, i.e., their faith is solidified, not eroded?
    I am quite certain the empirical evidence supports the veracity of the claim.


    On the basis of what? Show us the relevant evidence, then. Please provide the supporting considerations that make you so certain of its veracity.

    After that, though, you will still have the task of explaining why the claim is relevant; why its truth, supposing it is true, would be a problem for the argument.

    And it does lean against the argument on "nonresistant," despite Schellenberg's insistence otherwise.
    How does he explain people of equal-to or greater-than intelligence who take a "serious and honest examination of all the evidence of experience and argument they can lay their hands on" yet reach different results, i.e., their faith is solidified, not eroded?


    So now you're claiming that if nonbelief exists, it is invariably "resistant" because otherwise we have no way of explaining why persons of equal or greater intelligence reach a different conclusion on the basis of their own honest evaluations?

    If so, that's patently false. We have many ways of explaining the fact that different persons can reach contrary positions on the same issue, even when both persons have reached their respective positions on the basis of honest evaluation. Mainly, it has to do with considerations of differences in cognitive abilities; or differences in interpretive abilites in relation to evidential considerations; or differences in availability to evidential sources and relevant testimonial sources; or differences in experiential history; or differences in milieu and environmental conditioning that paint evidential interpretation in ways that are unconscious and non-introspective to the interpreter; among others and combinations of these.

    Additionally, I would just point out that your assertion here is dialectically symmetric to the claim that if belief in God exists, it is invariably irresponsible and akin to wishful thinking or appeal to consequences, since otherwise we have no way of explaining why persons of equal or greater intelligence reach a different conclusion on the basis of their own honest evaluations. (Unless you want to claim that persons who believe are all greater in general intelligence than any of those who do not, which is just outlandish.) This claim is no more or less absurd than your own, and they both seriously misrepresent belief formation in similar ways and show alarming ignorance concerning those factors that can affect belief formation and evidential interpretation, even under characteristically honest deliberation on the part of the agent.
  6. SubscriberSuzianne
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    08 May '14 00:081 edit
    Just like all such attempts at logic, the problem is usually in the givens.

    Just because some people are so ignorant to the point they do not believe in God does not mean that God does not exist.



    Edit: Yes, you guessed it, I'm a student of the googlefudge school of debate. Why just debate when you can debate AND insult at the same time?
  7. SubscriberBigDoggProblem
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    08 May '14 00:12
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    Just like all such attempts at logic, the problem is usually in the givens.

    Just because some people are so ignorant to the point they do not believe in God does not mean that God does not exist.
    This really cleared up a lot of points and helped us all understand one another's position better. 😕

    With posts like this, I wonder why the poster comes here at all. Just to tell us how sure they are they are right?! Really?
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    08 May '14 00:24
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    Just like all such attempts at logic, the problem is usually in the givens.

    Just because some people are so ignorant to the point they do not believe in God does not mean that God does not exist.



    Edit: Yes, you guessed it, I'm a student of the googlefudge school of debate. Why just debate when you can debate AND insult at the same time?
    It works better when you actually demonstrate that your opponent is wrong,
    before [if called for] insulting them or their position.

    Otherwise you are probably following the RC school of 'debate'.

    So... Would you like to present an actual argument, Other than you don't like the
    conclusion?
  9. Territories Unknown
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    08 May '14 00:241 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    I am quite certain the empirical evidence supports the veracity of the claim.


    On the basis of what? Show us the relevant evidence, then. Please provide the supporting considerations that make you so certain of its veracity.

    After that, though, you will still have the task of explaining why the claim is relevant; why its truth, suppo ...[text shortened]... tial interpretation, even under characteristically honest deliberation on the part of the agent.
    Show us the relevant evidence, then.
    Pretty sure that falls to the one staking the claim in the first place.
    As has been discussed more times than necessary but apparently requires repeating here, man's default position has always been theistic/deistic in nature.

    According to the World Factbook of 2010 (I know, I know: it's a propaganda tool of the CIA, but here's their link nonetheless: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/print_2122.html), atheism/non-religious ranks as the literal last of all world religions, comprising around 2% of the world's population.

    Man did not grow from atheism/non-religious to theism/deism, although one could make an argument that a small portion of man is traversing in the other direction.
    A very, very small portion, but a portion nonetheless.

    Given man's current state, in conjunction with the history of man since the dawn of his recording of his state of affairs, he has always been--- and continues to be--- theistic/deistic by nature.

    That being said, it must be shown, that man who has no natural inclination for God.

    After that, though, you will still have the task of explaining why the claim is relevant; why its truth, supposing it is true, would be a problem for the argument.
    Without even a casual glance at vox populi, it is imperative upon the argument to present a persuasive scenario for the case of a person going against his natural grain without purposeful intent otherwise.

    According to the argument in chief, it is an unnamed reason which compels a man from his natural state to a state of disbelief.
    He says as such when he hones in on emotional or behavioral opposition, just to be clear.
    This person just doesn't have any other choice, really.

    Point?
    Since man's natural inclination it to accept the idea of God, it takes concerted effort otherwise to reject that notion...
    not merely a passive stance on the issue.


    Mainly, it has to do with considerations of differences in cognitive abilities...
    Go on...

    This claim is no more or less absurd than your own, and they both seriously misrepresent belief formation in similar ways and show alarming ignorance concerning those factors that can affect belief formation and evidential interpretation, even under characteristically honest deliberation on the part of the agent.
    All well and good, LJ, but doesn't explain how we all start off loving God.
  10. Territories Unknown
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    08 May '14 00:25
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    It works better when you actually demonstrate that your opponent is wrong,
    before [if called for] insulting them or their position.

    Otherwise you are probably following the RC school of 'debate'.

    So... Would you like to present an actual argument, Other than you don't like the
    conclusion?
    So basically, your usual MO?
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    08 May '14 00:28
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    So basically, your usual MO?
    You know I had a mental argument as to whether to go with calling it the
    RC school of debate, or the Freaky school...

    Still not certain I made the right call...
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    08 May '14 00:312 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    The first thing that comes to mind is the most obvious.
    There isn't a man on the face of the planet who holds to the idea of a non-existent God who didn't first believe such a being exists.
    I feel entitled to comment.

    A logical conclusion from this is that there is no person alive who never in their life believed such a person (God) exists. Because under this scenario, there can be only two sorts, believers who now believe, and believers who now don't. (We leave aside whether they believed in the right God.)

    This claim needs empirical support. But it is as irrelevant as would be a parallel argument about the tooth fairy.

    The claim seems to hint at the "rejecting God" cliche; that is to say; that no one simply lacks belief; instead they actively choose to believe that God does not exist, as some sort of "rebellion."

    A handy trope.

    It's actually a straw man argument, but I'm not inclined to connect the dots for anyone who does not see this. Edit: Because everyone is already convinced they are right.
  13. Territories Unknown
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    08 May '14 01:01
    Originally posted by JS357
    I feel entitled to comment.

    A logical conclusion from this is that there is no person alive who never in their life believed such a person (God) exists. Because under this scenario, there can be only two sorts, believers who now believe, and believers who now don't. (We leave aside whether they believed in the right God.)

    This claim needs empirical suppo ...[text shortened]... a straw man argument, but I'm not inclined to connect the dots for anyone who does not see this.
    This claim needs empirical support. But it is as irrelevant as would be a parallel argument about the tooth fairy.
    A couple thoughts on this musing.

    The tooth fairy can be traced to (at earliest) around 1894, call it for Spain.
    Man's belief in God?
    Challenge you to find even the earliest writings of man which doesn't include it.

    A handy trope.
    That makes--- nearly literally--- no sense.
    Do you have anything I can latch onto?

    It's actually a straw man argument, but I'm not inclined to connect the dots for anyone who does not see this.
    Well, then.
    Be gone.
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    08 May '14 03:54
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Since the theists here have been oh so gracious and responsive to discussion regarding my recent original argument submission ( Thread 158639 ) as well as a submission from the literature ( Thread 158939 )...ahem...here is another offering for debate from the literature. It is an argument by John Schellenberg. I think it ough ...[text shortened]... ents, etc. So, it is a good way to get background perspectives from both sides of the argument.
    Trying to follow this, how about i tell you what i know. God's love is not limited to only those aware of Him. God's love reaches out to all, whether you know Him or not. There are some people who fully reject Him. There are others, that do not comprehend God. They will honestly say they don't believe. Yet these people touch others with their own hearts. God knows these people, and sees all they do. It can be said, these people ARE God's children.
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    08 May '14 04:261 edit
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    [b]This claim needs empirical support. But it is as irrelevant as would be a parallel argument about the tooth fairy.
    A couple thoughts on this musing.

    The tooth fairy can be traced to (at earliest) around 1894, call it for Spain.
    Man's belief in God?
    Challenge you to find even the earliest writings of man which doesn't include it.

    A handy ...[text shortened]... 'm not inclined to connect the dots for anyone who does not see this.
    Well, then.
    Be gone.[/b]
    "The tooth fairy can be traced to (at earliest) around 1894, call it for Spain.
    Man's belief in God?
    Challenge you to find even the earliest writings of man which doesn't include it."

    Is this an argument from longevity of people having belief? That's at least novel. But yes, we can mutually be gone. I will continue to seek.
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