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Old 17th March 2020, 06:06 AM   #361
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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.
Nope.

Atheism isn't a belief, it is a lack of a particular belief.

An atheist is simply someone who when asked "Which god do you believe in?" Answers "none.

And if the entity you are asking about is not a god that any of the religions claim exist then of course you have to define the god you are talking about.
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:11 AM   #362
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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.
Not really. Dictionaries only give a rough outline for example:

(in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.

2.

(in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity. "a moon god"

As you can see the dictionary definition refers you to the religion for the specific definition.
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:38 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You don't even have to speculate on the characteristics of the unspecified god to deny its existence.
"God" is specific enough for most such purposes. You keep trying to deny that words have meanings that people use to express ideas.
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:41 AM   #364
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Again this is all a farce. If anyone really needed language as "precise" as they do in the God discussion they'd never be able to function.

Nobody buys the "We just have to clear" whining when it comes from pedants despite it always being the thing they always try and hide behind.

We're speaking a language where "fly" means to act of moving through the air, a small winged insect, and the front flap of a man's pants and muddle it through it somehow. If someone tells you "Your fly is down" you don't have to stop and figure out which "fly" they mean because "Listen for context" is literally the first skill an English speaking person has to master. Nobody can is incapable of doing it.

The idea that we have to stop and have a breakdown of what the word "God" means in order to have this (and again only this) discussion is insane.

If I say there's no beer in the fridge we don't have to stop and completely redefine and clarify the word "beer."
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:45 AM   #365
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Atheism isn't a belief, it is a lack of a particular belief.
No way! None of the atheists in this thread are saying "meh". They are vehemently denying the existence of all gods.
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:46 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Not really. Dictionaries only give a rough outline...
True, both for dragons and gods. Visual depictions of dragons vary throughout history, but there's a concrete enough concept that if I say "A large winged serpent that can breathe fire," the room will replace that description with the single word, even if they have different pictures in their minds. If I say, "I don't believe in dragons," I don't need to have specifically considered an invisible gravity-defying incorporeal thing with isothermic breath in order for that word to have meaning and be a reasonable statement.
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:47 AM   #367
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No way! None of the atheists in this thread are saying "meh". They are vehemently denying the existence of all gods.
Even if that were true it wouldn't change the fact that atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief.

But you're wrong. Plenty of atheists are saying meh, even in this thread, and none are "vehemently" denying the existence of all gods. That would be a strawman, in case you're wondering.
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:47 AM   #368
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No way! None of the atheists in this thread are saying "meh". They are vehemently denying the existence of all gods.
Please link to the post where I vehemently deny the existence of all gods. Go on. I dare you.
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:49 AM   #369
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No way! None of the atheists in this thread are saying "meh". They are vehemently denying the existence of all gods.
Only because people are vehemently demanding either that he exists or he gets extra "could be, maybe, just saying" credit that we have to acknowledge.

If you look in the fridge, see no beer, and just say "There is no beer" are you "vehemently denying the existence" of beer in the fridge? Are you wrong for doing so?

Will you ignore this, fringe reset, or pitch a hissy fit?
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Old 17th March 2020, 06:49 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
"God" is specific enough for most such purposes. You keep trying to deny that words have meanings that people use to express ideas.
Denying an Abrahamic God or Zeus is fair play. But in your opinion, is categorically denying a prime mover out of hand covered by the same argument? Honest question, not bait.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:05 AM   #371
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Denying an Abrahamic God or Zeus is fair play. But in your opinion, is categorically denying a prime mover out of hand covered by the same argument? Honest question, not bait.
I don't grasp what you're trying to ask. Be more specific in what you mean by "categorically denying a prime mover."
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:07 AM   #372
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I don't grasp what you're trying to ask.
"What's the minimum amount of allowable God?"
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:11 AM   #373
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The trouble with a prime mover is that itís just another wild ass guess with no reason to lend it any more seriousness or weight than if a cave guy wondered if someone carved crystals because they looked more purposeful than a typical rock. If you mean itís not as silly on itís face as a god that cares how you use your willy, sure. If you mean itís not still in the category of uselessly untestable ideas, though...
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:12 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
"What's the minimum amount of allowable God?"
That for which there is evidence.

I say it's reasonable not to believe in what falls into the category of things for which there is no evidence. The problem is that "prime mover" has a variety of meanings, some that would fall into the category of evidential belief and others such as the Aristotelian proposition that fall into the category of ancient navel-gazing -- i.e., unevidenced belief. If someone is asking me what my "categorical" statement is, if any, we have to be clear on what category is being referred to.

If both "god" and "dragon" have generic definitions that are nevertheless precisely enough defined that we have a multipage hissy fit on how a story about one cannot possibly fit a story about another, then I say we have enough specificity in "I don't believe in any god" that it's a reasonable and scientifically defensible statement to make. We don't have to endure an exhaustive comparison between all concepts of gods and all concepts of dragons to make sure there's not enough correspondence to support denying the aptitude of Sagan's analogy.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:14 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I don't grasp what you're trying to ask. Be more specific in what you mean by "categorically denying a prime mover."
The Invisible Dragon argument seems to demonstrate that one untestable/unprovable premise should not be privileged. But a prime mover would by its nature untestable, so it would seem that the Dragon is not a valid analogy. Yet many atheists champion this particular argument as a slam dunk against any form of entity beyond spacetime (it's own creation, which I would think it would logically not be found within).
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:15 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
But a prime mover would by its nature untestable
No.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:16 AM   #377
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The Invisible Dragon argument seems to demonstrate that one untestable/unprovable premise should not be privileged. But a prime mover would by its nature untestable, so it would seem that the Dragon is not a valid analogy. Yet many atheists champion this particular argument as a slam dunk against any form of entity beyond spacetime (it's own creation, which I would think it would logically not be found within).
Have you read the relevant chapter in Sagan?
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:17 AM   #378
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
The trouble with a prime mover is that itís just another wild ass guess with no reason to lend it any more seriousness or weight than if a cave guy wondered if someone carved crystals because they looked more purposeful than a typical rock. If you mean itís not as silly on itís face as a god that cares how you use your willy, sure. If you mean itís not still in the category of uselessly untestable ideas, though...
Not really a wild ass guess. Casualty is a thing. 'Everything was always there' is not much more persuasive than prime mover.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:18 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
But a prime mover would by its nature untestable...
To be clear: are you referring to the Unmoved Mover in Aristotelianism?
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:20 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Have you read the relevant chapter in Sagan?
Admittedly not in a while, so I am relying on the discussion thread with its input from posters.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:22 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Only because people are vehemently demanding either that he exists or he gets extra "could be, maybe, just saying" credit that we have to acknowledge.

If you look in the fridge, see no beer, and just say "There is no beer" are you "vehemently denying the existence" of beer in the fridge? Are you wrong for doing so?

Will you ignore this, fridge reset, or pitch a hissy fit?
Fixed.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:25 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Admittedly not in a while, so I am relying on the discussion thread with its input from posters.
Okay, I'm arguing according to what Sagan meant in the book. The point he makes early in the chapter is that by a process of ad hoc refinement, any concept may be rendered infinitely untestable no matter where you start. This is the same induction by which Aristotle derives the Unmoved Mover. And yes, he goes to examine philosophically why that is identical to non-existence.

In any case, if you're going to ask me to reason about my beliefs "categorically," I've specified the category of beliefs that I believe it's reasonable to deny and why.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:26 AM   #383
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//Slight Hijack//

In 3001: The Final Odyssey the (underrated and highly recommended) 3rd sequel novel to 2001: A Space Odyssey astronaut Frank Poole, the man killed by HAL in the first novel while outside the ship on a repair mission, is found out beyond the orbit of Pluto, floating in deep space by a comet water mining ship and brought back to life sometime early in the 4th Millenium.

There's a wonderful scene in the book where Frank is learning about religion in the far future and learns it's degraded/evolved (depending on how you want to look at it) into a distinction so foreign he literally can't comprehend it.

Indra, his cultural guide in that time, explains that religion in her time (after Frank drops the word "God" into casual conversation is shocked when people react as if he's uttered a swear) as being split (mostly, pockets of older religions still exist here and there) into two camps; Theist and Deists.

Quote:
"You've lost me. Definitions, please." said Frank.

"They were slightly different in your time, but here are the latest versions. Theists believe there's not more than one God; Deists believe there is not less than one God." said Indra.

"I'm afraid the distinction's too subtle for me." admitted Frank.

"Not for everyone; you'd be amazed at the bitter controversies it's aroused." replied Indra.
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Last edited by JoeMorgue; 17th March 2020 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:27 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
If you look in the fridge, see no beer, and just say "There is no beer" are you "vehemently denying the existence" of beer in the fridge? Are you wrong for doing so?
The wonderful thing about the American quarantine panic as experience in Utah is that while the diaper aisles are bare, the beer aisles are plentifully stocked.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:31 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
To be clear: are you referring to the Unmoved Mover in Aristotelianism?
For the sake of a discussion thread, I prefer not to argue by proxy. The OP seems to ask if any/all gods are logically disproved by the Dragon. I think not. I think the analogy describes an atheists position neatly, but simply does not accept the premise of [any type of] prime mover. Hence, the Invisible Dragon is not usefully as a proof, which is what I think the OP is getting at.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:32 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Denying an Abrahamic God or Zeus is fair play. But in your opinion, is categorically denying a prime mover out of hand covered by the same argument? Honest question, not bait.
Not answering for anyone else but Ö

There is ample evidence the abrahamic god and Zeus are fictional characters created by humans.

Similar but not exactly the same - A prime mover is a concept created by humans without any evidence for its existence (much like the garage dragon)

You seem to be arguing that the magnitude of the question has bearing on if a made up answer deserves special consideration.

Q1 - Super important question with universe shattering implications Ė Answer: I donít know but it might be this thing I just made up for which I have no evidence Ė and the thing I made up canít have any evidence.

Q2 Ė Silly question with no implications that nobody cares about Ė Answer: I donít know but it might be this thing I just made up for which I have no evidence Ė and the thing I made up canít have any evidence.

You seem to be saying that answer one deserves special consideration but answer two can be dismissed because of the nature of the question. If so, do any and all made up answers to Q1, that have no evidence, deserve equal consideration?
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:35 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
I think the analogy describes an atheists position neatly, but simply does not accept the premise of [any type of] prime mover.
I need to know what you intend "prime mover" to mean before I can respond as to whether I think Sagan meant to refer to it.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:51 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I need to know what you intend "prime mover" to mean before I can respond as to whether I think Sagan meant to refer to it.
Holup: we are not discussing interpretations of Sagans wrk, if I understand the OP. Psionl0 asks if the argument as used on the forum is valid. I tend to agree that the argument sounds very persuasive at first blush, but is overextended to try to cover anything unseen.

I will bone up on the major writers and get back to the discusdion with some more clarity. Got one more student to extract from coronoapocalypse.
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Old 17th March 2020, 07:59 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
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.



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.



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.
Fair enough.

I do think that is is an apt analogy. I think there's value in debating or belaboring it. I apologize for triggering the sidebar.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:01 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Holup: we are not discussing interpretations of Sagans work...
Yes we are, because that's where the analogy is found whose aptitude we are discussing, and the author's discussion of how the analogy is meant to apply. How are we not discussing how properly to interpret the analogy?

Quote:
if I understand the OP...
Either argue as proxy or don't.

Quote:
...but is overextended to try to cover anything unseen.
Now you've switched horses from "prime mover" to "anything unseen." If you want a discussion on what Sagan's analogy allows or disallows, and the propriety of either, you'll have to consistently and unambiguously use words.

Quote:
I will bone up on the major writers and get back to the discusdion with some more clarity.
Clarity would be much appreciated, thank you.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:03 AM   #391
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
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.
Everybody should regard untestable claims as silly, and not make them.

Everybody should regard claims that become untestable through ad hoc revision as silly, and not indulge in ad hoc revision to avoid tests of their claims.

Speculating about the untestable is fine, in my opinion. Also in my opinion, the analogy is not about speculation, but about claims. Would you agree that speculating about untestable things is not silly, but claiming they exist is silly?
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:06 AM   #392
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The core of the "Dragon in the Garage" metaphor is the endless game of refinements.

Note that in the metaphor the person doesn't start out arguing for an invisible, incorporeal, floating, mute dragon.

He starts out arguing for just a "dragon" and adds the invisible, incorporeal, mute, floating, etc, etc parts in response to things that would prove (or at least show) whether or not his dragon exists.

The Prime Mover / First Cause / Watchmaker is the same thing. It's not a God, it's a refinement of God to explain away something that might disprove or prove (or again at least show one way or the other) God exists.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:09 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
The Prime Mover / First Cause / Watchmaker is the same thing. It's not a God, it's a refinement of God to explain away something that might disprove or prove (or again at least show one way or the other) God exists.
Perhaps some people use it that way, but the notion of a Prime Mover predated monotheism in the culture that coined the term. Not everybody who ever speculated on theology was a modern Christian.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:13 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by Finster View Post
Not answering for anyone else but Ö

There is ample evidence the abrahamic god and Zeus are fictional characters created by humans.

Similar but not exactly the same - A prime mover is a concept created by humans without any evidence for its existence (much like the garage dragon)

You seem to be arguing that the magnitude of the question has bearing on if a made up answer deserves special consideration.

Q1 - Super important question with universe shattering implications Ė Answer: I donít know but it might be this thing I just made up for which I have no evidence Ė and the thing I made up canít have any evidence.

Q2 Ė Silly question with no implications that nobody cares about Ė Answer: I donít know but it might be this thing I just made up for which I have no evidence Ė and the thing I made up canít have any evidence.

You seem to be saying that answer one deserves special consideration but answer two can be dismissed because of the nature of the question. If so, do any and all made up answers to Q1, that have no evidence, deserve equal consideration?
psionl0 objects to the silliness of the Garage Dragon. I think the silliness is one of the most important elements of the analogy. It strips away the cosmic importance of the question, and prompts you to look at the logic of it from outside that appeal to emotion.

It's also something of a litmus test, right? The logic you use to claim things of cosmic importance should not be the same form of logic that "proves" untestable garage dragons.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:23 AM   #395
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Holup: we are not discussing interpretations of Sagans wrk, if I understand the OP. Psionl0 asks if the argument as used on the forum is valid. I tend to agree that the argument sounds very persuasive at first blush, but is overextended to try to cover anything unseen.
It would help if you or psionl0 could provide some concrete examples of this over-extension.

In my necessarily limited experience, the Garage Dragon rebuttal only ever comes out when someone asserts or requires the existence of something untestable. This is usually in a conspiracy-theoretical or woo-mongering context.

"The Apollo Project could have been faked if they used heavy dust granules to prevent billowing in the sound stage atmosphere."

"If they'd tried that, we would have seen evidence A, B, and C, that supported such a claim."

"Not if it was heavy dust granules that also don't exhibit properties A, B, or C."

"Then we'd expect to see X, Y, and Z."

"Not if the dust also didn't have those properties either."

"So why didn't they just use the Invisible Dragon in my garage? It has all the necessary properties - magic, flying, completely lacking in all testable properties A-Z."

At which point psionl0 says, "now you're just being silly."

That's the secret, Cap. The claim was silly all along.

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Old 17th March 2020, 08:28 AM   #396
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Not really a wild ass guess. Casualty is a thing. 'Everything was always there' is not much more persuasive than prime mover.
Pushing the question back to where did the prime mover come from, thanks causality. The prime mover is Ďeverything was always thereí with more steps.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:30 AM   #397
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Everybody should regard untestable claims as silly, and not make them.

Everybody should regard claims that become untestable through ad hoc revision as silly, and not indulge in ad hoc revision to avoid tests of their claims.

Speculating about the untestable is fine, in my opinion. Also in my opinion, the analogy is not about speculation, but about claims. Would you agree that speculating about untestable things is not silly, but claiming they exist is silly?
Depends.

If you are proposing the existence of life from outside our planet or dark matter or some unknown phenomenon that might be testable at some future time. Then no.

If however, you're positing the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or some magical being that suspends everything we know about the physical rules of the universe then yeah, I think it is silly..

BTW, although I doubt they exist, Big Foot, Yeti, or the Loch Ness Monster would be far less silly then an invisible dragon or any and every god claim I have ever heard. A so far unseen animal would be unusual and maybe unlikely, but would not change a thing about what we know about nature of existence. Even a dragon, wouldn't change that. That is until you gave it properties that nothing else has. Not to mention the fact that those properties seem to be a dodge.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:30 AM   #398
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It's stopping at a random turtle on the "Turtles all the way down" pile and declaring that one God.

If the universe can't just self create and that answer is good enough then neither can God.
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Old 17th March 2020, 08:51 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
The core of the "Dragon in the Garage" metaphor is the endless game of refinements.
One among many important lessons. Others include the notion that ad hoc thinking has no explanatory power. Applying induction to the endless game of refinement, one arrives at something that is "inherently" untestable. But if something has no testable effect -- regardless of how that proposition is arrived at -- then it has no meaningful existence.

Nor is the analogy limited to theist claims. Sagan, for example, also applies it to alien abduction and UFO claims.
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Old 17th March 2020, 09:01 AM   #400
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No way! None of the atheists in this thread are saying "meh". They are vehemently denying the existence of all gods.
Sorry if reality doesn't match your expectations.

I am an atheist as I don't believe in any god.
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