Jako's Soft Reasoning

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Davidmc
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Jako's Soft Reasoning

Postby Davidmc » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:30 pm

Miklos Jako's piece "In Defence of Soft Atheism" is a remarkably hollow piece and a curious inclusion in Skeptic, except as a testimonial to the woolly thinking of even those who consider themselves intellectuals. The nadir of his piece was in the last two points which he claims to make as "strong arguments for God". These two, titled "Life must come from life" and "The life-force argument" show a significant shallowness of thought and a deep ignorance of science. An understanding of molecular and evolutionary biology would provide powerful arguments to counter Jako's feeble offering that God "makes more sense to me". Strong arguments? I think not.

Unfortunately, this view (and ignorance) is widespread (as Jeremie Harris observes in another article in the same issue) which makes me wonder why Jako has been given space to air his particular brand of theism. You may as well ask for submissions from any random person in downtown Knoxville.

Jako goes on to display further misunderstanding with his reference to "the over-active imagination of theists" and "the under-active imagination of atheists". The truth is actually the direct opposite. To say "God did it" is the ultimate failure of imagination and while atheists speak derisively of believers' "imaginary friend"' it is the ability to imagine that drives science. Once the empirical work is done, the theorising begins. Ideas are postulated, tested, discarded. Imagination is key.

MickJ
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Re: Jako's Soft Reasoning

Postby MickJ » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:23 am

In a sense, David, you are correct, my arguments for God are quite hollow––as scientific theory. But I am not doing science. Your very words referring to my "deep ignorance of science," betray your presupposition that I'm doing science. I'm not; I'm doing philosophy. I'm reflecting on a topic that does not really come under the province of science. I clearly already agreed that science can't establish the existence of God.

In formal debates between atheists and theists, I notice how each side often complains that the other side did not address the issue. I see why: They are speaking different languages. They are coming at issues from very different starting points, different worldviews, and different ways of thinking. It's not that people on either side are shallow; it's that they think differently.

I don't think my arguments for God are shallow at all. I think it makes more sense that consciousness has come ultimately from a greater consciousness, and not from mere matter. Evolutionary biology explains how this occurred, incrementally, but does not really explain why it should occur. Yes, A causes B, and B causes C, etc., etc., but why should it do that? You think matter rises to the level of intelligence by itself, without any intelligence to guide it? Maybe it does (you obviously think it does), but it seems more rational to me that there is a great intelligence behind it.

Do you think understanding molecular biology will give you a good understanding of the true nature of love, or friendship, or honesty, or beauty, or laughter? Are these things not real life? They are to me. Yet they resist scientific explanation. Reducing them to chemical reactions does not really explain their essence. The point is that there are other types of knowledge than science. Science is a fantastic, prime, essential way of thinking, but there are other ways of thinking also.

I can't help but think you are subliminally associating my position with traditional theism. I was clear I strongly reject traditional religion, yet you put my position into the same category as Bible Belt fundamentalism. There is a world of difference! And I'll warrant I've done more in my life to combat traditional religion than you have!

I was clear I reject God-of-the-gaps thinking, except for that final gap, how the whole thing started, yet you seem to think I am prone to being satisfied with saying "God did it" as a normative response.

An essay called Clarifying "Soft Theism" on my website "ConfrontingBelievers.com" further explains my position and how it differs from traditional religion.

I wrote the Skeptic piece because I think militant atheism is exclusionary and counter-productive to the skeptical movement. There are theists, such as myself, who strongly reject paranormal nonsense, AND reject traditional religion. I wanted to delineate how a "soft theism" is not so unreasonable, although apparently to you ANY kind of theism is not reasonable.

Would you ostracize Steve Allen and Martin Gardner? Would you consider their positions shallow? I'm guessing you would.

I think your assessment of my position as "hollow," is hollow.

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Re: Jako's Soft Reasoning

Postby Doubting Thomas » Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:03 pm

Davidmc wrote:Miklos Jako's piece "In Defence of Soft Atheism" is a remarkably hollow piece and a curious inclusion in Skeptic, except as a testimonial to the woolly thinking of even those who consider themselves intellectuals. The nadir of his piece was in the last two points which he claims to make as "strong arguments for God". These two, titled "Life must come from life" and "The life-force argument" show a significant shallowness of thought and a deep ignorance of science. An understanding of molecular and evolutionary biology would provide powerful arguments to counter Jako's feeble offering that God "makes more sense to me". Strong arguments? I think not.

Unfortunately, this view (and ignorance) is widespread (as Jeremie Harris observes in another article in the same issue) which makes me wonder why Jako has been given space to air his particular brand of theism. You may as well ask for submissions from any random person in downtown Knoxville.

Jako goes on to display further misunderstanding with his reference to "the over-active imagination of theists" and "the under-active imagination of atheists". The truth is actually the direct opposite. To say "God did it" is the ultimate failure of imagination and while atheists speak derisively of believers' "imaginary friend"' it is the ability to imagine that drives science. Once the empirical work is done, the theorising begins. Ideas are postulated, tested, discarded. Imagination is key.

If Jako is in error then you must prove this, either through logical argument or by providing evidence to the contrary. Refuting one theory based on an opposing theory is generally not sufficient evidence to satisfy most true “intellectuals”.

There is no universal definition of God. One who chooses to refute God is refuting his own definition of God, another’s definition of God, or all definitions of God.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. – William Shakespeare

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Re: Jako's Soft Reasoning

Postby Monster » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:54 pm

Davidmc wrote:Miklos Jako's piece "In Defence of Soft Atheism" is a remarkably hollow piece and a curious inclusion in Skeptic, except as a testimonial to the woolly thinking of even those who consider themselves intellectuals. The nadir of his piece was in the last two points which he claims to make as "strong arguments for God". These two, titled "Life must come from life" and "The life-force argument" show a significant shallowness of thought and a deep ignorance of science. An understanding of molecular and evolutionary biology would provide powerful arguments to counter Jako's feeble offering that God "makes more sense to me". Strong arguments? I think not.

Unfortunately, this view (and ignorance) is widespread (as Jeremie Harris observes in another article in the same issue) which makes me wonder why Jako has been given space to air his particular brand of theism. You may as well ask for submissions from any random person in downtown Knoxville.

Jako goes on to display further misunderstanding with his reference to "the over-active imagination of theists" and "the under-active imagination of atheists". The truth is actually the direct opposite. To say "God did it" is the ultimate failure of imagination and while atheists speak derisively of believers' "imaginary friend"' it is the ability to imagine that drives science. Once the empirical work is done, the theorising begins. Ideas are postulated, tested, discarded. Imagination is key.

I finished reading Jako's article recently. I have to agree with Davidmc.
Listening twice as much as you speak is a sign of wisdom.


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