Useful video

This video describes something we’ve all sort of always known about what belief in God is like.

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Faith is required

Belief in God requires faith, not proof. By demanding proof the atheist is being unreasonable.

Further the atheist is being inconsistent because there are many, many things we believe, which we don’t have empirical evidence for, and which can’t be proven. Faith, belief in the absense of complete proof is required for everything.

Now faith in God is reasonable, like faith in the past is reasonable. There are many lines of argument which indicate God exists, even if they don’t prove it. Just like there are many lines of evidence indicating the past exists, even if they don’t prove it.


I currently think the problem is there are important differences between how God is unproven, and how the past is unproven.

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Weird symmetry between atheists and theists

Theists think atheists make unreasonable assumptions which beg the question against belief and close their minds to evidence which might actually exist given that God specifically wants belief to require faith.
Which, possibly excluding the assumptions being unreasonable, is true.

I think the opposite, theists are making assumptions lead them to an unlikely to be true conclusion.

Invisible pink unicorns and reformed epistemology provide a similar symmetry.
It seems obvious to atheists that belief in God is relevantly different from belief in the external world, or structural scientific realism. And I’m fairly sure I can prove they are sufficiently different.

Theists think belief in God is different from Russel’s Teapot, and have semi reasonable arguments for why that is so.

BTW FSM¬† is different from Russel’s Teapot. The FSM is a particular version of a transcendent double omni. That you can’t rigorously show the FSM is the wrong double omni is not evidence there is no double omni.

Also the absence of pirates is not causing global warming, that graph looks like some guy just made it up in less than a minute as a joke.

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Initial description of the moral argument

Moral terms do multiple things, they don’t have a single definition. As a result most arguments are true as intended, and untrue as interpreted.

Atheists have coherent conceptions of “objective morality”. However theist conceptions differ. Thus theists are correct objective moral values don’t exist without God, and atheists are correct that they do. Other atheists correctly claim they don’t exist even if God exists.

The argument thus is about the correct conception of objective morality, not whether there is objective morality.

I use ‘wrong’ to refer to things which harm human welfare. John Rawls uses wrong to describe things rational bargainers would not agree to from behind a veil of ignorance.

If the Nazis won rational bargainers behind a veil of ignorance would still disapprove of them. The holocaust still would have caused harm on net. Obviously majority belief cannot affect this.Claiming¬† “if we had evolved otherwise different things would be wrong” is simply not using ‘wrong’ how either atheists or theists use it.

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What I’m probably going to post

When writing a lot of the time I produce something which doesn’t fit in the response which I want to make to a person (I’m something of a perfectionist, and a minimalist, and I want to write powerful valuable statements), but which I find valuable still. A lot of those are probably going to be plopped here unedited. Also realizing I can do this allowed me to figure out how I can actually create a large population of posts.

This means I’m definitely going to need to create a division between essays I actually want people to read, and ad hoc posts which are interesting, and probably fun to read, but not very well defended expressions of a position.

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Similar to Math

“The man who thinks raping a little girl is just as wrong as someone who claims 2+2=5” possibly its just because I have a naive view of the philosophy of mathematics due to being a practitioner at an undergraduate level, but I really really wish that people who use analogy to mathematics in argument would actually make the argument which shows that the correct philosophy of mathematics supports their position.

My instinct, if I am arguing morality isn’t really objective, is to hear morality is like mathematics, and think “precisely”. There is probably a connection between logical and mathematical anti realism and moral anti realism. And of course everything depends on the meaning of our terms.

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I recently graduated from Berkeley with a degree in Math and History, and my major interest is in trying to understand disagreement, overconfidence, and being wrong.

The core idea I’m currently playing with is the role word usage plays.

My initial approach was seeing the issue as people define words in a certain way, and fail to act on the fact others define the words in subtly different ways.

I still think this is a core issue, however it brings up the question of what is involved in defining a word. I quickly discovered when I claimed there is no correct definition people interpret defining X as moral, as approving of X.

My favorite way of approaching this issue currently is to see it as reflecting implicit definitions vs explicit definitions. Our implicit definition of “moral” includes something like “properly approved”.

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