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Proving universal negatives

I accept that there may be some cases where it is possible to prove a universal negative, and that Kennedy's statement, if taken absolutely literally, is incorrect on that particular point, but is Godel's Theorem really applicable to this case? Philip J. Rayment 11:27, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

I agree. Goedel's theorem dealt in first order logic, but the issues in this case are about propositional logic. The Fermat example, tho, is a good one, in that it reflects "incoherency apologetics." I rewrote the section, trying to get it to apply to atheism. Suggestions are welcome. Ungtss 17:10, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

Propositional logic is also decidable, it is even the "simpler logic". Kennedy's argument rest on the premise that you cannot prove universal negatives. From a false premise you can prove anything, true and false conclusions. The rest of his argument might therefore correct or not, but his argument in itself is flawed, since the premise is flawed. If you talk about logic, you shouldn't be surprised that logic is applied to your argument. Order 18:48, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

I think we may have misunderstood one another -- I was saying that the question of the existence of God is a question of propositional logic -- not the question of Mr. Kennedy's argument. I don't see how Goedel's theorem has any link to the disprovability of the existence of God ... Ungtss 22:14, 26 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't know what logic has to do with the existence of God. But Kennedy thinks it does. However, he starts with an obvious mistake about what is logically possible, and what not. Therefore, logically speaking, his argument is flawed. And logic doesn't care about the content of an argument, it can be God or something else, but it cares about the form. And the form of Kennedy's argument is logically flawed. And you need a universal quantifier to talk about universal negatives. Propositional logic doesn't have quantifiers. Order 23:03, 26 August 2007 (EDT)
I still think that the claim that you can't prove a universal negative is true, even if it's not stated very well. The article now says that "it is possible to prove universal negatives logically if it can be shown that the characteristics of the object in question contradict each other" (my emphasis). That is, you can't prove a universal negative except in particular circumstances. So the premise is not so much wrong as incomplete or not properly stated. Philip J. Rayment 22:35, 26 August 2007 (EDT)
Ok, that why I put Goedel in there. First order logic has a universal quantifier and negation, and for any statement, thus also all universal negatives in first-order-logic, there exists a proof that it is either true or nor true. This means all, not some under certain circumstances. What the "if" part of the sentence describes is one of the most common techniques to prove universal negatives. Order 22:55, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

I should point out that this entire section is suspect to general atheistic argumentation. Having been involved in atheist vs. Christian debates on the internet for a number of years, this would go under "flavor of the month". The idea that there is no way to prove a negative has actually been a mainstay of the atheistic position as to why it can not be proven that there is no God. Even within the small spectrum of knowledge and time that humans have touched upon scientific discovery, many perceptions of what is logically "possible" have had to be rewritten. To believe that God could be disproven based upon a concept such as the problem of evil is laughable. At best, even if every single position put forth in the argument turned out to be entirely and unalterably correct, all you would show is that God can not exist in the form where He is all good, all powerful, and all knowing, as those terms are currently understood and defined. How do you believe that would then prove there is no God? Learn together 02:34, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Fair enough, if you believe that God defies logic reasoning, or is outside of the realm of logic, feel free to to do so. But a subsection that has "Logic" in its title, quoting someone referring to "the laws of logic", should at least adhere to the laws of logic and know about them. Logic doesn't care about the content, if P implies Q, and P is true, then Q is true, not matter what P and Q mean. And one of the laws of logic is that it is possible to prove universal negatives. And another is that if you start with a wrong assumption ("you cannot prove universal negatives"), any conclusion drawn from it is useless. This doesn't mean that the conclusion is wrong, it means that the logical argument is wrong. If P implies Q, and P is false, Q can be either true or false. This kind of argument is also know as fallacy.
As said, if you believe anyway that God exist, regardless of whatever logical argument, feel free to do so. If you use a logical argument, make sure it is logical. Goedel himself put forward a proof of Gods existence, a formalization of Anslem's ontological proof using modal logic, and I am pretty sure that it doesn't start with the assumption that you cannot logically proof a universal negative. Because you can. Order 07:32, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Logic is not anti-God. If you believe you have a position that disproves God, I would like to hear it. Or, to be more broad, give an example of a position where there is a proof for a universal negative. Learn together 23:45, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Logic isn't anti-god, indeed. logic is all about form, not about content. But, the "logic" argument put forward by Kennedy is logically flawed. There have been people who put forward arument infavor of god's existence that weren't logically flawed. Order 23:51, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Okay, I've given this some more thought, and also read this article by Jim Lippard, which is helpful.
It is not possible, in practice, to prove a truly-universal negative (such as 'God doesn't exist') because, as Kennedy (quoted in the article) explains, you can't check everywhere at once to show that God is not there. However, this does not (in principle) rule out disproving the existence of God on other grounds, such as claims that conflict with each other or with other known facts (see Lippard's example of skin pigmentation of pink elephants).
Additionally, not being able to prove such universal negatives is, as mentioned, a lack of practicability, not logic. Kennedy appears to be wrong in claiming that this is a law of logic.
Unless one has eliminated God as a possibility on other grounds, then given that the claim of His non-existence is a universal negative, it is not logical (reasonable?/sensible?/rational?) to argue that He doesn't exist. Therefore Kennedy's argument is still valid in its essence, if not in the way it is stated.
Philip J. Rayment 09:33, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Good analysis, and I agree almost completely. I'd say, though, that Kennedy isn't using the word "logic" incorrectly -- only that he's using it in a different sense than Order is. Kennedy's using it in the sense of good thinking -- not in the sense of formal logic, as Order is using. He's saying "it doesn't make any sense to say you can prove a universal negative in the empirical world, because you can't check anywhere." It's more of a colloquial use of the term. Order's using it in the sense of formal logic -- the kind of stuff you take your first year of college philosophy. And Order's right of course, you can prove universal negatives in formal logic -- but that's not the realm Kennedy's talking about -- he's talking about "logical thinking" -- aka "good reasoning," where I think his argument is legitimate. Of course, it then falls victim to incoherency apologetics and the "flying spaghetti monster" argument ... i.e. "I don't need to check everywhere to disbelieve in your absurd fictional being -- you need to provide evidence to support belief."
Incidentally, I really like our section now -- good collaborative effort, fellas:). Ungtss 09:57, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
I'd agree about Kennedy, except that when he says, "One of the laws of logic is that you can't prove a universal negative", it sounds like he's talking about formal logic. But then perhaps that's not what he intended. Philip J. Rayment 10:26, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Although I also think that Kennedy didn't use "Logic" by mistake, we agree that Kennedy is not talking about "Logic". Cool. Let's then change the title. Because it suggest to talk about a "logical" impossibility, and starts with Kennedy's, misleading, claim about laws of logic, that something is "logically" impossible. If he or we wants to say "empirical", then he or we should use that word. So, do we change the title or move the Kennedy claim now to the next paragraph, or what? Order 10:32, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
You don't have to be able to look everywhere at once and prove that God is nowhere; you have to prove that God must necessarily be "everywhere at once" (which I think is uncontroversial), and then prove that there is someplace -- anyplace -- without God.... if you do that, then even whatever is almost-but-not-quite everywhere is be definition not God.... of course then the question becomes is it possible to test for the presence of God anywhere, to which I would answer that if there is something anywhere, the existence of that something there is evidence of the presence of God there (all things necessarily being contingent and therefore "of God") so wherever anything is, it is impossible to prove that God is not!! Pandeism 20:50, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

Perhaps we should just clarify that he's speaking in the realm of informal logic?[1] Do you think that fits the bill? Ungtss 10:42, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

"Informal logic"? Lol, that is a "contradictio in terminis". But seriously, also in informal logic you can prove universal negatives. If the Kennedy quote is problematic from the onset, why not look for a better quote. There is nothing wrong with admitting that Kennedy put a mistake at the beginning of his argument. He is a priest, not a logician, so there is no blame in that. And it is not an article on Kennedy, but an article on atheism, and there are probably other people who said something interesting on the subject, and who say "empirical" when they mean "empirical". Order 11:24, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't know that informal logic is a contradiction in terms -- actually, we use it a lot more than we use formal logic in real life:). It just means, "common sense logical reasoning," not the abstract formal logical reasoning of the logicians. Personally, I think informal logic is much more useful in the real world than formal logic, which can't speak to the truth of its premises:). I wouldn't object to replacing the quote with something better, but I don't see any reason to -- I think it's best to give the argument (which is commonly made) and then analyze it afterwards, as we're doing ... how will people learn the limits of poor arguments unless we discuss them? Ungtss 11:29, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
By definition Logic is only concerned about form. If you look at it literally "informal logic" is a contradiction. Anyway, even in informal logic Kennedy's claim is false. People prove universal negatives all the time using informal logic. And calling it "incorrect logic" would be mean. So, we can keep Kennedy's argument, and also the discussion about what is flawed. But I'd change the title of the subsection at least to "Is atheism illogical?". Because the current title -- it's a universal negative btw, since it says that there exists no atheist philosophy that is logical -- anyway the title doesn't hold water. And in addition looks bad if you start with a bold claim, and have to back-pedal in the second paragraph. Order 11:47, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't object to your proposal. Any other thoughts? I think we're using the word "informal" in two different senses. I mean it in the sense of an informal dinner -- not rigidly and structured. You mean it in the sense of "unrelated to form." There is, of course, form in an informal dinner -- it's just not rigidly structured, just as there is form in informal logic, but it is not rigidly structured. Personally, I like my logic like I like my dinners -- informal, flexible, and fun:). Ungtss 12:17, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
There is either logic or none, as my Jesuit instructors used to say. ;-) --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 12:22, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Joseph Stalin's atheistic regime killed tens of millions of people.

Adolf Hitler's christian regime killed about the same. It's argumentum ad hominem to use the fact that a certain atheist has done something wrong as criticism for atheism as a whole. It is clear that it isn't relevant that Hitler was a christian or that the Inquisition had biblical grounds, to whether christianity is wrong or not. The same happens with atheism There are valid arguments against atheism, but this argument is a logical falacy.

Argumentum ad hominem is, just in case:

Person A states P. There is something objectionable about person A. -- Therefore claim P is false.

This is a logical falacy, please remove it, or I will. - Cristi98 22:20, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

First, Hitler wasn't exactly a Christian, even though he said apparently in 1940 that he was a Catholic, and would remain so until the day he dies. He was a theist, believing in an interventionist God, in providence, which had selected him of course, and that Christianity was corrupted by Jewish thought. No surprise that he thought that Jesus was Aryan, and also that he was a fighter, and not a victim. Anyway. But, I agree that it is pointless to point to Stalin as the representative of atheism. Dawkin's for example, would probably be in a gulag right now, not just for his pro-democracy and human rights rhetoric, but probably also for his evolutionism. "Survival of the fittest" was too capitalist for them, and they favored a version of Lamarckism, called afaik Lysenkoism. Order 22:34, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Cristi, you didn't prove your contention that Hitler's regime was Christian and I suggest researching such matters as the confessing church in Nazi Germany, Hitler's Table Talk, Hitler and the occult, and Hitler and paganism. Lastly, I suggest you examine what even the staunch atheist website states about atheism and communism: I also suggest reading the Black Book of Communism put out by the Harvard Press among other sources. Lastly, we gave a scientific study regarding atheism and immoral views.Conservative 22:40, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
The table talks are the only source of Hitler being very critical on Christianity, their historicity is very questionable, and on top of it, they also just show that Hitler was very critical of the supposedly "Jewish-Bolshevist" roots of Christianity, and of the church as independent institution, but not of the God he saw behind it all. And a letter to the editor to an atheist journal, isn't exactly proof of whatever you want to say. Socialism was an atheist ideology, sure, but that doesn't mean that atheism is a socialist ideology. Order 22:56, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
For the record, I apologize Cristi for changing you comment. However, credibility is one of the main parts of rhetoric. If person A, in your example is not credible, it does reflect on the associations person A makes. --Todd 22:48, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
I would also add that many if not most atheistic communist regimes were involved in mass butchery. See Koukle's article among other sources. And the evolutionary position played a important role in communism which I will now note in the article. Conservative 22:52, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
In the sense that evolutionists got executed. Order 22:57, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
She's gone--another vandal. --Todd 22:53, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
I am glad she came. I added the Alexander Solzhenitsyn quote because of her. Conservative 23:07, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
It's a good quote, do you need it in there twice?Edit Yeah I guess you do!Samwell 23:12, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
And now that I added the piece on Lysenkoism, it is even put in proper context. But I wonder, as soon as someone points out that equating Stalinism with atheism is as much a fallacy as equating Christianity with the Spanish inquisition, you start to even extend this paragraph. Is that the conservative way of being headstrong? Order 23:22, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Your Lysenkoism stuff was good but you made an error. Lamarkism/Lysenkoism was a historical form of the theory of evolution.Conservative 23:30, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
You might view it that way, they were all materialist, but other than that they were as opposed as scientific theories can be. You might view them as the same, but Lysenko didn't, and Stalin didn't, and if you have someone executed because he supports evolution, I'd say that you are opposed to evolution. And Darwin agree with Lamarck either. Not sure if Lamarck was still around to disagree with Darwin. Order 23:33, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Order, I appreciate the amiable disagreement. At the same time, if you do a web search on Lamarckism you will find it is a school of thought within the theory of evolution. And Lysenkoism was a type of Lamarckism according to your source.Conservative 23:42, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for you advise to do some research. And I did. You take evolution to mean the science of the change in species. Under such a broad interpretation ID is falls also under evolution. However, the crucial bit of Darwinism is that it explains evolution as purely hereditary process. If you follow the literature on Darwinism, you will find that it was an alternative to Lamarckism. And if you follow the literature on Lysenkoism you will find that supporters of evolution and Mendelian genetics were actively persecuted. Order 23:54, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Try not to use confusing words. By "evolution", I'd guess that Cons was referring to the naturalistic theory of evolution in particular, not the "study and/or critique of evolutionary theories" in general.

Anyway, the topic was the connection between "atheism", "belief in evolution" and "mass murder", right? The charge is that all three go together, a kind of guilt by association.

Are we all satisfied with CP articles on Lysenkoism, Lamarckism, and Naturalistic evolution? --Ed Poor Talk 23:49, 28 August 2007 (EDT)

To be clear about it. There are several theories about evolution, i.e. the change in species. Lamarckism and Darwinian theories of evolution are both purely materialist, and ID isn't. Often "evolution" is used for the the "Darwinian" theory of evolution, which can cause confusion. If I used it in a confusing way I did it unintended, and I am more than happy to clarify it. Order 00:17, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Clearing up confusion is one of our missions. :-) --Ed Poor Talk 00:38, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

Please use "Show Preview"

The multiple edits to increase or decrease pix size really isn't necessary. Please use the middle, "Show Preview" button to see if an edit is to your liking.
Thank you. Samwell 23:20, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

No problem. Thanks for reminding me. Conservative 23:28, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Uncited Garbage

Conservative, please join the discussion rather than you remove an entire paragraph. The is no garbage in it. If the problem is the lack of citations, then ask for them. It took us uite some discussion to come up with the current version, and your behavior shows a lot of disrespect for other CP editors. Order 23:43, 27 August 2007 (EDT)


Conservative, would you please articulate the reasoning behind this deletion in more detail? Ungtss 20:17, 28 August 2007 (EDT)

i see you are not interested in discussing your deletion of a large segment of cited, accurate, relevant, neutrally-written material. That makes me very sad.  :( Ungtss 23:17, 28 August 2007 (EDT)
Oh, stop already with the emotionalism. Any contribution to Conservapedia may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. He doesn't have to justify his deletions to you.
Actually, a lot of the article is poorly written, and senior editors often simply don't have time to justify every change.
Ironically, one of the difficulties in discussing atheism is the burden of proof. It would be good for all of us if, rather than "demanding an answer", those of us who "want something" would take the burden of proof on their own shoulders. --Ed Poor Talk 23:43, 28 August 2007 (EDT)
On the other hand, good editing etiquette should mean that we don't summarily delete parts of articles that other legitimate editors think should be there, without justifying those deletions. Philip J. Rayment 02:54, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
  • I am just saddened over this. Actually embarrassed. This is no longer so much an article, as it is a tract. I will give these so-called "senior editors" 24 hours to submit to me via email logical reasons why I should not delete the entire article and throw it open to start anew. See? More than one can play the high-handed card, but at least I can back my play. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 06:19, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

The material that was there is not from a liberal POV and is legitimate, and important. In a collaborative project such as this, one person cannot monopolize a page. DanH 18:07, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

Order of sections

Thoughts on the order of the sections? Conservative seems to want the article to begin with Bible verses. I propose the new "Types of Atheism" section. Ungtss 19:02, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

In a conservative encyclopedia I don't see why the claimed types of atheism should take the front seat to the Biblical view. Does God or the claims of so called atheists rule? Conservative 19:12, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
I added the following: In regards a biblical statement on atheism Francis Bacon stated in his essay Of Atheism the following regarding atheism: "The Scripture saith, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; it is not said, The fool hath thought in his heart; so as he rather saith it, by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it....It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip, than in the heart of man.[2] Conservative 19:19, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
I think an analysis of the types of atheism should come before the Bible verses not because atheism should take the "front seat," but because it is important to understand exactly waht we mean by the word "atheism" before we consider what the Bible (which never uses the word "atheism" or any Hebrew or Greek equivalent) has to say about people who don't believe in God. Ungtss 19:27, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
  • This is a Conservative/Christian-friendly encyclopedia. Not some Bible wiki. That does not mean one takes a back seat, or a front one. It says we will not denigrate Conservative and Christian thought, or exclude it. In this article, which is about Atheism, that is what "drives" the article. That is logical, and does not give secondary status to the Christian POV at all, it merely follows the dictates of common sense and logic. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 19:36, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

Genuine belief

I propose that, in order to maintain some semblence of neutrality, the article be written as though atheists actually believe what they claim to believe. This in contrast to Conservative's position that the article should be written as though atheists don't actually disbelieve, but only try to disbelieve, out of rebellion (replacing the word "disbelieve" with "deny" etc.). I say this not because I think Conservative's position is untrue, but because it gives the article an overly biased and polemical tone. That being said, I think a section explaining Conservative's position is highly appropriate, in the context of other positions (like another Christian position -- that some atheists are atheists out of rebellion, but other atheists are genuine -- although badly mistaken -- in their beliefs). Ungtss 19:38, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

We both know that your proposal violates the conservapedia commandment true and verifiable and your recent edits prove this. Conservative 19:39, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Others decide those things. It is not up to you alone. The people contributing to this article do have a say. That is at the essence of a wiki encyclopedia. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 19:44, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungstss, you are putting words in my mouth. I never said that atheists actually don't disbelieve. I have remained silent on this issue as you well know because you asked me this very question and I stated that it is irrelevant what I believe in regards to the matter of whether or not atheists actually disbelieve and the conservapedia commandment true and verifiable should prevail. Please do not intentionally misrepresent what I have stated at Conservapedia. Conservative 19:42, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Now, now, let's not fight amongst ourselves. I accept the viewpoint that many atheists genuinely believe that there is no God. I've studied their writings, talked with them in person. Christian writer C.S. Lewis was an atheist for a long time until he was "surprised by joy" and became a Christian in his later years.
I do not feel that "genuine or sincere" disbelief has any particular merit, by the way, if that helps.
The point of the article is to explain the positions taken. Many atheists really disbelieve. On the other hand, some of the worst creatures ever spawned "believe ... and tremble". Satan is no atheist, but he still caused a lot of trouble.
Perhaps there are some who declare there is no God because they wish to make a point or because they want to undermine others' faith. I just finished watching The Children's Hour, a movie about a rebellious little girl who repeats a scandalous rumor which she doesn't believe - just to cause trouble and to cause pain. --Ed Poor Talk 19:48, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
TK, the people at Conservapedia should not violate the conservapedia commandments. So far nobody has given any real evidence in respect to "true and verifiable" that atheists truly disbelieve there is a God and there are respectable sources that question whether or not atheists truly disbelieve. I cited one of them such as Francis Bacon. Should I cite others in the article? I can do that if you wish. Conservative 19:51, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
  • A person stating they do not, is incontrovertibly "proof" inasmuch as no one can get inside someone's head and prove they are making it up, no? We don't really have a choice as to if we believe them. They state it, and it is their belief. Exactly the same as someone proclaiming Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, no? When they say that, can we disprove they mean what they say? --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 19:55, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
TK, here is another citation which claims that atheist do not have any real conviction in regards to disbelief: "There are no atheist in foxholes....." - William T.Cummings: Sermons on Bataan, March 1942 Conservative 19:59, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
TK, we do have a choice on whether or not we are going to believe or disbelieve atheists claim of disbelief. My quote of Francis Bacon above demonstrates this. 20:01, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Tk, In regards a biblical statement on atheism Francis Bacon stated in his essay Of Atheism the following regarding atheism: "The Scripture saith, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; it is not said, The fool hath thought in his heart; so as he rather saith it, by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it....It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip, than in the heart of man —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Conservative (talk)

TK, here is another quote: "By night, an atheist half-believes in God....." - Edward Young. Night Thoughts Conservative 20:32, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Conservative that we have a choice as to whether to believe the atheist as to whether he actually believes what he claims to believe. However, I propose writing the article as though they actually mean what they say for the following reasons:
1) There is no way to objectively falsify the claim that atheists actually believe what they say they believe.
2) "People who claim to be atheists" is much more awkward than "Atheists."
3) "Claims of disbelief" is much more awkward than "disbelief."
4) Many former atheists who convert to Christianity report that their atheism was genuine, albeit misguided (e.g. CS Lewis)
5) It is a small point, not worth overshadowing the entire article;
6) When the article does not implicitly assume that people actually believe what they claim to believe (as now), it takes on a polemical, almost paranoid tone. Ungtss 22:44, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

If we went along with "true and verifiable" about everything, then we would not be able to make value judgments on issues important to conserveratives, or make any political statements. We sometimes have to take a shot in the dark. Also, the argument can just as easily be flipped around. You can't prove that they don't believe, but you can't prove they do, either. DanH 23:39, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

When the Conservapedia Commandments are at one time held up with how Conservapedia is different from Wikipedia and then at the same time said to be something that can be ignored to make value judgments important to conservatives... If it is a rule, it is a rule for everyone? right? Otherwise, this becomes something that a new user comes in and sees "It has to be true and verifiable" and then finds articles that have significant amounts of opinion and unverifiable statements, what is he or she to think about the integrity of the site? What good are high ideals if no one makes an effort to live up to them? --Rutm 11:49, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

I don't believe that Ungstss should intentionally misrepresent what I have stated and the conservapedia commandments should prevail

Ungstss, said regarding my post: "This in contrast to Conservative's position that the article should be written as though atheists don't actually disbelieve, but only try to disbelieve, out of rebellion (replacing the word "disbelieve" with "deny" etc.)." I never stated this. Ungstss knows that I did not state this because he asked me if I believe that atheists actually don't disbelieve. I declined to answer Ungstss question. I said that that Conservapedia commandments should prevail and that we should only put in what is true and verifiable in the article and it is not true and verifiable that atheists actually disbelieve or that the reason for their alleged disbelief is some form of true conviction. And respectable people have questioned on whether atheist actually disbelieve such as Francis Bacon as I indicated and then there is the stated tenuousness of stated atheism in Darwin and Sartre.Conservative 20:13, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

I have no problems saying that atheist claim to disbelieve though although the other side should be given as well contending the claim is not bona fide such as Francis Bacon. Conservative 20:15, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't believe in Francis Bacon. Samwell 20:18, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Maybe Ungstss will ask me if I am an "agnostic" on whether atheists truly disbelieve. :) I will refuse to answer that question as well. :) Conservative 20:21, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Let's put it this way Conservative: Atheists believe in exactly one less God than do you. Samwell 20:25, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Samwell, you claim that atheists believe in one less God than me. I make no claim on whether or not atheists believe in one less God than me. I would say, however, that Francis Bacon would disagree with you. Conservative 20:29, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Then Bacon has it right and the Bible has it wrong? HUH? Samwell 20:43, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Samwell, Bacon never stated the Bible is wrong. You remind me of the snake in the garden. Conservative 20:45, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Conservative, thank you for your jest. I laughed exceedingly. The Bible, in Psalms 14 and 53 both begin with the phrase ""1": The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God..."
Bacon holds "It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip, than in the heart of man."
It would appear, on the face of it, that Bacon err in his assessment. Samwell 21:01, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Satan, I mean Samwell, Read the Bacon quote below. :) Conservative 21:11, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Conservative: I'm sorry if I have misrepresented your position. Maybe if you had answered in the negative when I asked if that was your position, or you had not replaced every reference to "disbelief" with "denial," or you had not changed "atheist" to "claim to be atheist," or you had not quoted a number of philosophers holding that view (and none holding any other views), I would not have become confused. Ungtss 22:35, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungst, may editing was a work in process and before I saw your message the work was completed as far as claimed disbelief and denial in the various sentences. My apologies and it seems as if it was merely miscommunication.Conservative 23:32, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

Prominent philosophers/christian apologists and individuals who claimed there are no bona fide atheists

In regards to a biblical statement on atheism Francis Bacon stated in his essay Of Atheism the following regarding atheism: "The Scripture saith, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; it is not said, The fool hath thought in his heart; so as he rather saith it, by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it....It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip, than in the heart of man.[3]

In addition, Christian philosophers and apologists Cornelius Van Til and Dr. Greg Bahnsen argued there are no atheists.[4] Also, the English poet Edward Young wrote in his famous work Night Thoughts that "By night, an atheist half-believes a God."[5] Conservative 21:08, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

I try to stay out of this discussion, but every priest I have ever met, and I went to a catholic high school so I met a few, admitted, that at times they have doubts, too. Are they all deep in their heart atheists? I doubt it. Why should I? Order 09:09, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

There are other Christian apologists who do not accept presuppositional apologetics, such as Francis Schaefer. The fact of the matter is, alternative viewpoints exist and must be represented in our article. DanH 23:37, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

DanH, my only problem is with stating as a fact that some or all atheist truly have a conviction that there is no God or gods. It is not a fact and there is a Conservapedia commandment that everything be true and verifiable. So far nobody has given me information that is true and verifiable regarding this matter. I realize that one of the tenets of many liberals is that human nature is good. It would follow from such a tenet that we should believe those who affirmn they have no belief there is no God or gods. However, the goodness of human nature is certainly not axiomatic. A Sysop told me before I interacted with Ungstss here at Conservapedia that Ungstss was a liberal. I think what Ungstss is looking for here is affirmative action for a liberal tenet here and I see no reason to give such affirmative action and ignore a fundamental Conservapedia commandment. People expect encyclopedia to be factual and not riddled with "pseudofacts" which is what Ungstss is doing special pleading for. I say he is engaging in special pleading because he is not asking that we merely assume that there is no such thing as a atheist who truly disbelieves there is a God or gods in order to be "neutral". I don't think that Ungstss ever should his position to be truly neutral. It is a fact that there are people who claim to have not believe there is a God or gods and I have no problem with stating this as it does not in anyway violate a Conservapedia commandment.Conservative 15:44, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
Then it shouldn't be stated as fact that some or all Christians truly have a conviction that there is a God. The proverbial door should swing both ways if you're going to make your case on "it is not true and verifiable that a group of people actually believe/disbelieve or that the reason for their alleged belief/disbelief is some form of true conviction. " - posted by DarkNova
DarkNova, I don't see where the article states Christians do have a conviction that there is a God. But if it does state this there are countless Christian martyrs over the last two thousand years which I think certainly demonstrates true conviction . I also doubt you could give me one definitive case of a materialist martyr (please don't give me people who may have been martyrs for the economic system of communism). Conservative 18:08, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
Socrates. Darknova42 18:24, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
DarkNova, I suggest rereading the article. Conservative 18:57, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
If you mean the Socrates article, it doesn't say anything to the contrary. His reference to "gods" seems to be a figure of speech. Anyway. Quite a number of people died for "atheism", although it should be noted that "atheism" was used in pre-modern times also for people of a different faith or heretics, and often the only thing we have are church records. Some call Giordano Bruno atheist, other say that he wasn't, same holds probably for Thomas Aikenhead. Historians can't tell, and neither can you, Conservative. And another anyway. Because what kind of competition is this? Who has the most martyrs? Just because you can't accept that other people do actually believe what they believe. Accepting that they believe, doesn't mean that you have to accept what they believe.Order 19:25, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Ed Poor is not a vandal

Ed Poor is not a vandal. DanH 22:42, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Thanks, Dan. --Ed Poor Talk 22:45, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
I sent Ed a private mail about this post. Conservative 22:50, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
It appears as if my private email was in error. My apologies. Conservative 22:57, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Well, most of us knew that already. Do you feel you can escape repercussions from publicly saying another Sysop is a vandal, merely because you have contributed prolifically to a few articles? Don't count on that continuing forever. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 23:13, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
I didn't say another Sysop was a vandal. I thought some vandalism was done by one of the many liberal vandals.Conservative 23:24, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

But your edit note was removing "vandalism", and a sysop put everything you removed. DanH 23:26, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Dan, I obviously didn't know that. If I thought a Sysop was vandalizing Conservapedia I would have contacted Andy. I didn't contact Andy. Conservative 23:28, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

one thing we can all agree on.

This debate has shown that we need to improve our article/paragraph on Presuppositional apologetics, as only one sentence on the Christian apologetics page is devoted to the subject. DanH 23:20, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

DanH, I have been having phone conversations and emails with a prominent Christian apologist. The Christian apologist told me that he/she would assign a graduate student to edit Conservapedia. Hopefully this will happen. Conservative 23:31, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
  • If we all agree to that, yes. If not, the article will be heavily edited or revamped, as the majority of Administrators decide, no matter how august your little friend might be. They will be subject to the same merciless editing as everyone else is. End of story on that. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 23:37, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
TK, you do not seem to be very happy that someone who would be knowledgeable about Christian apologetics might be editing Conservapedia in the near future. Not surprising. I think I should be encouraged to invite people to Conservapedia on the other hand. Conservative 23:45, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
  • So long as you don't promise people things you haven't been given permission to do, it bothers me not one bit. If you are promising people their edits will not be reverted, ever, then it does. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 00:22, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Assuming people believe what they say they believe

Conservative, if you want to write the article without assuming the unverifiable idea that people believe what they say they believe, we're going to have to do it on all sides. Theists, then, will only "claim" to believe in God. Stalinists will only "Claim" to believe in Lysenkoism. Do you want the article to follow this rule consistently, or do you want to write the article to assume people believe what they say they believe, just for the sake of clarity? Ungtss 23:43, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Ungstss, I think I demonstrated via the tenuousness of prominent people who profess atheism/charitable giving/immoral views/Martin afraid to debate/etc that atheists testimony may not be the most reliable. I think the reason why a atheist cannot see design in the universe is for the same reason a criminal cannot find a policeman. So far, you have provided no evidence that the conviction is really there. Conservative 23:49, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
I did provide such evidence -- C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy. He describes his own atheism as genuine, although misguided. Incidentally, check the spelling on my name. It's Ung Tss, like the sound of a techno backbeat. Ungtss 23:52, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
I will have to read what C.S. Lewis said. Can you provide a sizable quote? Conservative 23:59, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
Sadly, I lent my copy out and there don't appear to be any copies online. Please, my friend, read it sometime. It's fantastic, and provides great insight into the mind of an authentic atheist, and the road he followed to Christ.
Here's the issue, Conservative: while you've quoted the opinion of theists that there is no such thing as a real atheist, you haven't quoted a single former atheist who describes his own experience that way. It's easy for people to accuse other people of disingenuous belief ... in fact it doesn't mean anything at all, because it's just their opinion. Find me a former atheist who says his own atheism was disingenuous, and we'll be getting somewhere. Ungtss 00:18, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Here is another example of a former atheist describing his disbelief as genuine but misguided. [6] Ungtss 17:20, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungstss, I will cite you Paul Vitz who said his former atheism was disingenuous if memory serves. Please look at the "Psychology of Atheism" citations in the atheism article. I also think we should clarify what C.S. Lews actually stated when he said he was an ex-atheist. Bt atheism does he mean he merely denied there was a God which is certainly atheism. Was he conflicted and engaging in self-deception? I really would like to see more clarity here. I certainly do not wish to stubbornly state a ill considered position that is counter evidence. I merely want to take a evidential position that is clearly in accordance with the evidence. Conservative 17:26, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungsts, I think merely saying someone was misguided is not enough. I think the issue human depravity (evil nature) certainly enters in. Conservative 17:28, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't doubt it for a second. But one can have an evil nature and still genuinely believe that which is false, no? Ungtss 17:30, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
I will cite you Paul Vitz who said his former atheism was disingenuous if memory serves
I just read The Psychology of Atheism by Vitz (and cited it in this article) -- I can find nothing in his article saying he didn't actually believe what he believed -- I hear him saying he really believed it, but believed it for bad reasons. Ungtss 17:41, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I will read the Vitz material again, but there is one thing I wish to stress about the Vitz material that I seem to recall. Vitz said he used self-serving "reasons" if memory serves and I think it does serve. So we are going beyond merely misguided but entering into the realm of being selfish/evil. Conservative 17:45, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Certainly. But that still allows us to say he actually disbelieved, just like a Nazi might genuinely believe he is superior to a Jew, albeit for bad, bad reasons. Will you allow the article to be written as though (at least some of them) actually disbelieve, and remain neutral as to whether their belief stems from good or bad reasons? Ungtss 17:50, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I read your material but have not read Vitz yet. You article merely states he was an atheist which can mean he merely denied the existence of God. Moreover, here is something your article confessed: "He also happened to say many things that I wanted to hear, since we were both atheists trying to justify our conservative inclinations without reference to God." [7] The trying might indicate their was an inward struggle and not true and utter disbelief. The article also has in its title rebellion so he simply could be rebelling but inwardly knowing there is a God. Conservative 17:58, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
He was definitely conflicted. However, I see nothing in the article indicating he "claimed," without "actually believing" that God does not exist. An atheist friend of mine is extremely conservative in many of his personal values, and he takes great pains to justify those beliefs and values without reference to God ... but he's still just as atheist as they come:). Ungtss 18:01, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Also, people who are rebelling are rarely cognizant of the fact that that's what it is. What 14 year old staying out too late says to himself, "I'm doing this to rebel!"??? Quite the contrary, they all seem to genuinely believe that they have a "right" to stay out, or their "parents don't understand" or other such adolescent drivel. Rebellion and genuine belief are not mutually exclusive ... Ungtss 18:06, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Ungtss, I just looked at the clock and I am late. I have to go. I read the notes on Vitz's lecture. I also read some other material. I think when I get back there will certainly be room for compromise. Will you be here Saturday? Conservative 18:14, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

No worries -- I'll be in and out tomorrow, but there's no rush. Enjoy! Ungtss 18:15, 31 August 2007 (EDT)