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Old 16th March 2020, 05:30 AM   #321
JayUtah
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
. You probably didn't see the post because it was buried by the many OT posts made by other posters.
No.

Every time you get in trouble you accuse everyone else of being off-topic. Now you're doing it, ironically, in a thread complaining about how everyone derailed all your other threads.

The forum provides a mechanism where you can report posts that are off-topic, or otherwise violate the rule against derailing threads. The moderators will then rule on their relevance and remove any posts that don't fit. Use that mechanism. Do not simply accuse everyone else of going off-topic as a rhetorical ploy to avoid arguments you can't address. Of course using that mechanism requires you to convince someone else that posts really are off-topic, which I suspect you can't or wont do. It's far more fun to keep heaping blame on everyone else.
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Old 16th March 2020, 05:38 AM   #322
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Again picking "I don't know what analogies are or how they work and can't possibly be asked to follow one" as a hill to die defending doesn't make people look anywhere near as smart or clever as they think it does.
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Old 16th March 2020, 06:08 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Wait what?

I have always maintained that religion isn't silly JUST because the analogy is silly. Are you now agreeing with me?
Religion is silly because religion is silly. The analogy is designed to highlight the silliness of religion.
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Old 16th March 2020, 06:12 AM   #324
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Again picking "I don't know what analogies are or how they work and can't possibly be asked to follow one" as a hill to die defending doesn't make people look anywhere near as smart or clever as they think it does.
I warned you guys this would happen.

Even when the analogy is perfectly cromulent, the argument from analogy will always fail. Because the person who is supposed to receive the didactic wisdom of the analogy will never play along. Anyone who pleads ignorance of the thing itself will plead ignorance doubly of the thing analogous.

If psionl0 doesn't agree that the claim of existence without testable properties is a worthless claim about an irrelevant existence, on its face, what on earth makes you think he'll agree to that the example of the garage dragon illustrates this prinicple?
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Old 16th March 2020, 06:51 AM   #325
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Every time you get in trouble you accuse everyone else of being off-topic.
That's because it's true. It has taken this long to get back to the analogy.
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Old 16th March 2020, 06:56 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If psionl0 doesn't agree that the claim of existence without testable properties is a worthless claim about an irrelevant existence, on its face, what on earth makes you think he'll agree to that the example of the garage dragon illustrates this prinicple?
I don't know about "worthless" but I agree about "without testable properties" (which would make progress impossible).

The question is whether any such claim is also "silly" just because someone managed to make up a silly analogy rather than a more neutral one.
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Old 16th March 2020, 06:57 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That's because it's true.
Prove it like I asked. Put up or shut up. Or get a more convincing act.
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Old 16th March 2020, 07:00 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
The question is whether any such claim is also "silly" just because someone managed to make up a silly analogy rather than a more neutral one.
No, you're trying to defeat the analogy by poisoning the well rather than discuss what the analogy actually tries to teach you about your argument.
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Old 16th March 2020, 07:05 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Religion is silly because religion is silly. The analogy is designed to highlight the silliness of religion.
Pretty sure it isn't, actually. It just shows why we ask for evidence. Whether an assertion without evidence counts as silly, well, that's a whole other debate.
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Old 16th March 2020, 07:24 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Pretty sure it isn't, actually. It just shows why we ask for evidence.
Then it goes to illustrate a comically ad hoc sequence of reasoning that moves the goalposts of the original claim until it's unfalsifiable -- and unrecognizable. "Maybe your attempt to falsify my claim failed for this additional purely conjectural reason, and not because my claim is false." In some people's judgment, that kind of reasoning could be considered silly.

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Whether an assertion without evidence counts as silly, well, that's a whole other debate.
I think that judgment would turn on what actually is asserted, because without evidence people will resort to prima facie evaluations. This is why the analogy has to mention something that's facially implausible. it's to show that the line of reasoning remains unchanged, but faith in the outcome turns on, as PsionI0 termed it, emotional grounds instead. People are habituated to accept the notion of gods as facially plausible, and dragons as not. This leads them wrongly to believe that a cogent logical or ontological argument can be made, because we like to think our beliefs are rational regardless of why we actually hold them. The analogy points out the same line of reasoning is put forward to escape falsifiability for gods as the analogy illustrates for dragons. The silliness of dragons in the face of the supposed lack of silliness of gods is supposed to show that belief correlates to the prima facie assessment, not the line of reasoning.
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Old 16th March 2020, 08:05 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I don't know about "worthless" but I agree about "without testable properties" (which would make progress impossible).

The question is whether any such claim is also "silly" just because someone managed to make up a silly analogy rather than a more neutral one.
Any such claim is silly in and of itself. The analogy does not make it silly. The analogy only makes its inherent silliness more clear.

Nobody is trying to convert a sensible claim to a silly one, by introducing an invisible dragon. The analogy works because the silliness of claiming an untestable dragon is directly analogous to the silliness of claiming an untestable god.

The analogy is presumed to be useful in situations where people are too attached to the idea of a god to see the inherent silliness of their claim. It is hoped that by replacing the untestable god with an untestable dragon, the obvious silliness of the dragon will bring to the claimant's attention the inherent silliness of claiming an untestable god.

Is it your position that claims of untestable gods are *not* inherently silly?
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Old 16th March 2020, 08:15 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I think that judgment would turn on what actually is asserted, because without evidence people will resort to prima facie evaluations. This is why the analogy has to mention something that's facially implausible. it's to show that the line of reasoning remains unchanged, but faith in the outcome turns on, as PsionI0 termed it, emotional grounds instead. People are habituated to accept the notion of gods as facially plausible, and dragons as not. This leads them wrongly to believe that a cogent logical or ontological argument can be made, because we like to think our beliefs are rational regardless of why we actually hold them. The analogy points out the same line of reasoning is put forward to escape falsifiability for gods as the analogy illustrates for dragons. The silliness of dragons in the face of the supposed lack of silliness of gods is supposed to show that belief correlates to the prima facie assessment, not the line of reasoning.
So basically it is IS an analogy. That's what analogies do.
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Old 16th March 2020, 08:28 AM   #333
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Any such claim is silly in and of itself. The analogy does not make it silly. The analogy only makes its inherent silliness more clear.

Nobody is trying to convert a sensible claim to a silly one, by introducing an invisible dragon. The analogy works because the silliness of claiming an untestable dragon is directly analogous to the silliness of claiming an untestable god.

The analogy is presumed to be useful in situations where people are too attached to the idea of a god to see the inherent silliness of their claim. It is hoped that by replacing the untestable god with an untestable dragon, the obvious silliness of the dragon will bring to the claimant's attention the inherent silliness of claiming an untestable god.

Is it your position that claims of untestable gods are *not* inherently silly?
Disagreed. The uniqueness of a prime mover premise is not a special pleading; it is truly a one-of-a-kind condition, like playing golf on the moon is silly except for the specific case of Apollo astronauts. So as an analogy against any god, it doesn't fly.
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Old 16th March 2020, 08:51 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Disagreed. The uniqueness of a prime mover premise is not a special pleading; it is truly a one-of-a-kind condition, like playing golf on the moon is silly except for the specific case of Apollo astronauts. So as an analogy against any god, it doesn't fly.
It's not an analogy against anything.

It's an illustration of the inherent silliness of making any untestable claim. The uniqueness of the prime mover doesn't enter into it. Only the untestability of the claim of its existence. You wouldn't believe in a dragon you can't test. Why would you believe in a prime mover you can't test? Why wouldn't you promptly reject the latter claim on exactly the same basis as the former?
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:00 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's not an analogy against anything.

It's an illustration of the inherent silliness of making any untestable claim. The uniqueness of the prime mover doesn't enter into it. Only the untestability of the claim of its existence. You wouldn't believe in a dragon you can't test. Why would you believe in a prime mover you can't test? Why wouldn't you promptly reject the latter claim on exactly the same basis as the former?
Because in all of our understanding of the universe, there is really only one question where we are devoid of knowledge. It is a special case.

You can just as well default to Einstein's ether argument, but that is slightly to the side of the Garage Dragon. A refusal to consider a premise is different from analogizing the incomprehensible with the familiar.
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:07 AM   #336
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You can't play the "I told you not to use analogies!" card when you're one of the people who pretends not to understand them.

Here's an idea, stop pretending like analogies are some new forbidden argumentative technique and then trying to take us to task for using them.
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:16 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You can't play the "I told you not to use analogies!" card when you're one of the people who pretends not to understand them.

Here's an idea, stop pretending like analogies are some new forbidden argumentative technique and then trying to take us to task for using them.
LOL.

I understand analogies fine. I just don't think they have as much didactic value as their fans believe. Either the teacher is using the analogy to steal a base in their actual argument, or the student is willfully ignoring the analogous elements that rebut their own argument, or both. There are very few, very limited scenarios in which argument or instruction by analogy is going to work. A freewheeling debate, between peers with no obligation to agree with each other or learn from each other, is not one of those scenarios. You'd think that a bunch of intelligent skeptics engaged in such freewheeling debates would have figured this out by now. But no. The analogies just keep on coming.

When was the last time you argued by analogy, and the person you were talking to said "when you put it that way, I see your point and agree with it"?

When was the last time you argued by analogy, and the person you were talking to said "that's nice, but can you describe the thing in its own terms?" and you were willing and able to do so?
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:21 AM   #338
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This whole invisible dragon thing, for example. It's a perfectly cromulent analogy. I'm not averse to using it myself, in principle.

But psionl0 doesn't accept it. He's signaled pretty clearly that he doesn't accept it, and he's not going to accept it. So I'm not going to belabor it. The dragon's beside the point anyway.

What's more, psionl0 has signaled pretty clearly that he doesn't accept the the actual point in its own terms either. So the whole question of the analogy is entirely moot. Sweep the analogy off the table, deal directly with the question of untestable claims, and nothing changes in your debate with psionl0.

The analogy isn't doing anything for you. Why insist on it?
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:33 AM   #339
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Well, in my case basically that's because that's what this thread is ABOUT. Discussing gods on their own merits would be a bit offtopic here, innit?
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:56 AM   #340
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So we're just supposed to abandon an entire subgenre of language use because Woo Slingers want to play obtuse?

No. Sod that.
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Old 16th March 2020, 09:59 AM   #341
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, in my case basically that's because that's what this thread is ABOUT. Discussing gods on their own merits would be a bit offtopic here, innit?
To my mind, it's about whether the analogy actually works for psionl0. Which it manifestly doesn't, and won't. Obviously this is the right thread to discuss the analogy, its application, and its chances of success.

It's also even a good thread for recognizing that it's not going to be a very successful analogy no matter how much we debate it, for reasons which by now should be abundantly clear.

I don't mind talking about it. I just happen to reject the philosophy that analogies like this actually have a lot of value.
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Old 16th March 2020, 10:02 AM   #342
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's not an analogy against anything.
Against a particular object, no. Although there is an object at the center of the analogy, eviscerating the dragon is not the objective.

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It's an illustration of the inherent silliness of making any untestable claim.
I would go even farther than that. If you read the whole chapter, it focuses on the process that starts with making a claim and then continues by applying ad hoc reasoning to dodge every specific attempt to falsify the claim. So the challenge is: I have a dragon in my garage; falsify the claim. The other party proposes tests based on collecting evidence and drawing inferences. The proponent simply parries each one with a new ad hoc claim -- ad hoc because the reasoning is based on what has to be the case to avoid falsification, not what might logically follow from the essence of the "prime mover," or what has documentary or empirical proof.

So the moral is not just, "Don't make untestable claims." It's, "Don't make ongoing untestability the goal of your intellectual process."

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You wouldn't believe in a dragon you can't test.
Specifically I wouldn't believe in a dragon that has been progressively and speculatively defined almost exclusively in terms of how to avoid any proposal to test it. That's what Sagan is saying to me. The notion of using a dragon instead of some "neutral" object could be considered immaterial, but see below. The point is to show that the existence of the object is held up by a line of ad hoc reasoning obviously motivated by an ongoing desire to believe in its existence regardless of reasonable observation or inference.

Even other believers in dragons would lose you after a while. One of the proposed tests is to detect heat from the dragon's breath. The proponent says, "Maybe the dragon's breath is exactly the same as ambient temperature." The suggestion is that failure to detect the heat would no longer be dispositive. But at that point, some believers will have to point out that breathing fire is a very common, if not necessary, trait of dragons. Proposing isothermic breath is not only ad hoc, but contrary to established belief. This is where you show that you're thinking purely in terms of how to avoid falsification, not in terms of what dragons are. And the point Sagan arrives at at the end of the chapter is that this exercise, if carried to its ultimate conclusion, provides something that is veridically nonexistent.

We're hung up on the comparative silliness of dragons and gods because that's where our OP wants us to be. He's poisoning the well so that he doesn't have to look at the structural equivalence of the argument the analogy presents. Atheists will probably see the proposals as equally silly. Someone else might not, citing the "emotional" prima facie predisposition that favors gods and jumps on the rhetoric against ridiculing theistic beliefs. But the whole point of the analogy is that these emotional prima facie concerns blind the god-believers to the paucity of their reasoning. They think that since a theistic belief is acceptable on some grounds, it should also have some acceptance on logical and philosophical grounds. In order to illustrate why this is not the case, the object in question must be chosen so as to avoid prima facie acceptability. It doesn't have to be "silly" per se, but it helps if it is because that ensures the desired analysis will not be polluted by facial-plausibility intruders.
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Old 16th March 2020, 10:14 AM   #343
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
So we're just supposed to abandon an entire subgenre of language use because Woo Slingers want to play obtuse?
Yes. You're supposed to do exactly that.

At least when you're trying to debate with woo slingers. Just argue the thing in its own terms, and let it stand or fall on that basis.

I'm not saying abandon the entire subgenre across the board. I'm saying, use the right tools for the job. And if the job can't actually be done, don't waste a lot of time insisting that this tool should totally work and you should keep using it for everything all the time.

And, obviously, if you can't argue the thing in its own terms, then you're not qualified to argue it by analogy anyway.

I'm saying that if you stop to consider how to argue the thing in its own terms, you'll abandon the analogy yourself as a redundant and obfuscatory layer of abstraction.
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Old 16th March 2020, 10:21 AM   #344
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This whole invisible dragon thing, for example. It's a perfectly cromulent analogy. I'm not averse to using it myself, in principle.

But psionl0 doesn't accept it. He's signaled pretty clearly that he doesn't accept it, and he's not going to accept it. So I'm not going to belabor it.
Whether we belabor a rebuttal is a practical concern. Whether a rebuttal refutes a claim is irrelevant to whether the proponent accepts that it does. The intransigence of a proponent does not defuse the rebuttal or enliven whatever excuse the proponent makes for sidestepping the rebuttal -- including accusations that it's irrelevant.

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Sweep the analogy off the table, deal directly with the question of untestable claims, and nothing changes in your debate with psionl0.
The analogy is to the process by which initially testable claims are progressively rendered untestable by a process of ad hoc revision. That PsionI0 has effectively skipped to the end of the chapter doesn't mean the analogy is inapt as a rebuttal. Sagan notes that the claim becomes increasingly unrecognizable as anything the farther the process goes, and that this has ontological impact over whether anything rendered untestable by endless ad hoc refinement can exist at all in any meaningful sense. "I'm not talking about any particular god," doesn't render the analogy inapt, nor the argument Sagan goes on to synthesize from it.

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The analogy isn't doing anything for you. Why insist on it?
We don't have to insist on the analogy in order to discuss ontological empiricism. But the analogy is the subject of the thread, not abstract philosophy. If the argument in the thread is, "You guys keep bringing up this irrelevant analogy every time I try to show how brilliant I am," then the aptitude of the analogy is eminently on point. A separate discussion can and should be held on the ontology of gods without dragons.

Now whether belaboring the aptitude of the analogy in the face of someone who is pulling out all the stops to avoid seeing his critics points, is good argumentation -- well, that's always the order of the day in these forums.
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Old 16th March 2020, 10:24 AM   #345
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
To my mind, it's about whether the analogy actually works for psionl0. Which it manifestly doesn't, and won't. Obviously this is the right thread to discuss the analogy, its application, and its chances of success.

It's also even a good thread for recognizing that it's not going to be a very successful analogy no matter how much we debate it, for reasons which by now should be abundantly clear.

I don't mind talking about it. I just happen to reject the philosophy that analogies like this actually have a lot of value.
Well, in as much as any analogy does or doesn't work, really. The one problem with analogies isn't from a logical perspective, but from the perspective that even a category 3 retarded can figure out that they can play dumb and go "OMG, so you're saying that <insert blatantly spurious way to invalidly extend the analogy>". And the more retarded, the less they even have to PLAY dumb there.

Literal example from Slashdot about a decade ago, AFTER showing why a conjecture wouldn't work in practice. So it wasn't even an argument from that analogy, but a humorous quip at the end of the message.
Me: "So X is kind of like communism: sounds good in theory, can't work in practice."
Literal answer: "OMG, are you saying that X killed millions?!"
Derp.

But anyway, no matter what the analogy is, or whether it's even part of the argument, one needs some brains to attack the argument logically. One needs virtually no brains (and I guess even the less the better) to go for the extended analogy fallacy instead.

That's just something we'll have to live with, I guess.
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Old 16th March 2020, 10:41 AM   #346
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
...use the right tools for the job.
The analogy in question is generally an appropriate tool for the argument presented, for the reasons given. One proponent's categorical rejection of the analogy on obviously flimsy grounds doesn't speak ill of the tool, or of his critics' appropriate deployment of it. Yes, it may persuade us to change approaches with that one person, but this thread is about the validity of this particular approach. Hence the persistence to validate or invalidate the tool in question, not litigate the underlying propositions.

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And, obviously, if you can't argue the thing in its own terms, then you're not qualified to argue it by analogy anyway.
If the proponent is unwilling to see how the analogy describes his line of reasoning, then I argue he won't be willing to accept a rebuttal framed in any other way against the same line of reasoning. People who are unwilling to face effective modalities of argumentation head-on are unwilling look at their argument no matter how the rebuttal is framed. If there existed an effective approach against intransigence, there wouldn't be intransigence. Once you give someone the leeway to argue, "My critics always derail my brilliance," when the rebuttals in question aren't actually derails, then it becomes a wild card he can play whenever things go badly. I suspect that's what concerns some people in this thread.

Now whether anyone wants to continue to engage such dishonest tactics is a decision every person has to make for himself.
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Old 16th March 2020, 10:53 AM   #347
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This whole invisible dragon thing, for example. It's a perfectly cromulent analogy. I'm not averse to using it myself, in principle.

But psionl0 doesn't accept it. He's signaled pretty clearly that he doesn't accept it, and he's not going to accept it. So I'm not going to belabor it. The dragon's beside the point anyway.

What's more, psionl0 has signaled pretty clearly that he doesn't accept the the actual point in its own terms either. So the whole question of the analogy is entirely moot. Sweep the analogy off the table, deal directly with the question of untestable claims, and nothing changes in your debate with psionl0.

The analogy isn't doing anything for you. Why insist on it?
I quite agree.

About the only thing that I can determine is 'psionl0' does not believe in any sort of God/Gods, but he sure does like to dispute the various rationales that other people have for not believing in any sort of God/Gods.

As for me, I have seen this sort of thing a few times before here on the Forum.
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Old 16th March 2020, 01:10 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Actually I responded to you in post #169 but you never got back to me.

Okay, so you wrote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
The next step would be to ask "why bother with something that is scientifically untestable and evidently unknowable"?

Fascinating. I ask you, then, "Why bother with something that is scientifically untestable and evidently unknowable?"


I fear that you don't really want to discuss this, though. As you then wrote:

Quote:
I don't intend to push that step in any direction.

So, what would you like to discuss now, seeing as you and I have defeated all of the invisible dragon analogies. I'm pretty sure you just want to go on complaining that each and every member of the forum has yet to abandon this argument. But I have, so just talk to me. We can show these people what great arguments can be made once invisible imaginary winged serpents are gone from the debate.
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Old 16th March 2020, 01:11 PM   #349
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"I don't intend to take this discussion anywhere where I might have to make any statements of actual context or make actual concrete points I might have to defend."

Yeah we know Jabba 2.0. We're just not going to let you control the debate like that.
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Old 16th March 2020, 10:57 PM   #350
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
To my mind, it's about whether the analogy actually works for psionl0. Which it manifestly doesn't, and won't. Obviously this is the right thread to discuss the analogy, its application, and its chances of success.
Whether or not it is "silly" to speculate about gods when no possible test is available is a matter of opinion. I would describe it as "pointless" at best and I don't believe that somebody who chooses to exercise faith should be labeled as "silly" (although there are many exceptions to that rule).

There are any number of things that are currently unknowable and untestable. Invisible dragons is one. Alien "cloaking" technology is another. The latter is not chosen for an analogy presumably because it is science fiction that might become a reality some day (just like many other science fiction devices).

Using invisible dragons to demonstrate that in your POV speculating about gods is silly is fine. Using it to demonstrate that everybody should regard speculation about gods as silly is less fine.
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Old 16th March 2020, 11:07 PM   #351
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Fascinating. I ask you, then, "Why bother with something that is scientifically untestable and evidently unknowable?"

I fear that you don't really want to discuss this, though. As you then wrote:
Quote:
I don't intend to push that step in any direction.
I could start a thread like "How important is it to deny the existence of gods?" if you were interested. It wouldn't be as straight forward as this thread though.

I would certainly add my POV to such a thread but it has become obvious by now that any statement that doesn't fall under the category of strong atheism will be regarded as evangelism. That is why I wouldn't push the thread in any direction.
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Old 17th March 2020, 02:38 AM   #352
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You are either a theist or not. If you believe in a god you are a theist. If you don't believe in a god you aren't. When one does not believe in a god one is an atheist.

The question whether any of the religions' gods exist has (for all the ones I know of) been answered for sometime. For example the many gods that the various "Abrahamic" religions claim exist we know don't exist as the empirical evidence they claim for such existence is on examination lacking.

"Could a god exist?" is a very different question and it requires a definition for the word god before it has meaning. Even if your answer is "I don't know" you are an atheist as you do not have a belief in a god.
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Old 17th March 2020, 03:59 AM   #353
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
"Could a god exist?" is a very different question and it requires a definition for the word god before it has meaning.
No it doesn't. It just means "could god A or god B or god C or . . . exist"?

If your position is "no god that has ever been believed in or that anybody might dream up could possibly exist" then as an atheist, you don't have to define any god to deny its existence. You don't even have to speculate on the characteristics of the unspecified god to deny its existence.
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Old 17th March 2020, 04:14 AM   #354
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No it doesn't. It just means "could god A or god B or god C or . . . exist"?

If your position is "no god that has ever been believed in or that anybody might dream up could possibly exist" then as an atheist, you don't have to define any god to deny its existence. You don't even have to speculate on the characteristics of the unspecified god to deny its existence.
Could god psionIO exist?
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Old 17th March 2020, 04:18 AM   #355
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I'd say it's patent nonsense to make any claim about X existing or not existing, without defining what what X is.

Try this: Zagothrax exists.

Without having some idea as to who or what might qualify as (a) Zagothrax, how would that statement even make any sense?
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Old 17th March 2020, 04:22 AM   #356
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Try this: Zagothrax exists.
That's a trick question! Everybody knows that "Zagothrax" is a synonym for "water".
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Old 17th March 2020, 04:25 AM   #357
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Any standard dictionary has definitions for "dragon", "garage " and "god". Accepting the former, and ignoring the last, seems like special pleading.
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Old 17th March 2020, 04:52 AM   #358
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That's because it's true.
Literally no one else in the thread agrees with you on this. Let it go.
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Old 17th March 2020, 05:04 AM   #359
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Originally Posted by sphenisc View Post
Any standard dictionary has definitions for "dragon", "garage " and "god". Accepting the former, and ignoring the last, seems like special pleading.
If "Zagothrax" is supposed to be some form of god then any hard core atheist will say "it doesn't exist" before (if ever) they ask what it is.
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Old 17th March 2020, 05:56 AM   #360
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
If "Zagothrax" is supposed to be some form of god then any hard core atheist will say "it doesn't exist" before (if ever) they ask what it is.
"Some form of god" is a very broad definition. E.g., the "divine Logos" of platonics, and taken over by early Xians, would nowadays be just what we call "physics." E.g., pantheists would say that the whole universe is their god. E.g., the ancient Egyptians said that all their 170 or so pharaohs were actual gods.

Clearly saying that physics don't exist would be just anti-intellectual nonsense. Saying the universe doesn't exist is the kind of solipsism that even post-modern philosophers laugh at. And saying that all the Egyptian pharaohs didn't exist is a bit of a CT.

For a lot of those the focus is less on "prove that it exists" and more on whether they actually qualify as gods. As in, "prove that it has the minimum attributes to be considered a god." I.e., we're back to definitions.

So, yes, even for "some sort of god", if that's all you know about the entity I call Zagothrax, it's a bit meaningless to jump directly at "exists" or "doesn't exists" without knowing WHAT you're claiming exists or doesn't exist.
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