I. This Thread, Me, and You
This is the fifth incarnation of the (in?)famous "Psalm 14, FTW" thread. The initial thread was created by myself and it's title is a reference to the titular psalm which claims that atheists are all fools and that none have ever or will ever do good. It was created in response to a thread by WW2Dude in which he would ramble on and evangelize but refused to allow any dissenting opinion. I took offense both at the concept of the thread and the fact that WW2Dude evidently thought that truth is something so fragile and weak that it cannot stand up to scrutiny. Several scores of pages and lots of hilarity and nonsense later (Highlights including WW2Dude summoning his father to argue with me and the theists of the threat (WW2Dude and Vang mostly) arguing that there are certain situations under which genocide is a morally acceptable course of action) the thread died when I was forced to take a sudden leave of absence from these boards due to personal reasons. Thom started a second incarnation but this one focused itself a bit too strongly on evolution in my opinion and eventually tapered out when Vang, the only one as far as my quick re-skim of the thread goes, who was defending creationism suddenly disappeared and stop replying.
Not wanting to see this thread die I created its third incarnation.
That died with the old-old forum.
Same story for the fourth.
So here we are at the fifth verse, same as the first.
For those who don't know me I am a dystheistic anti-theistic atheist. I am firmly convinced that if there was a God or gods they would be, by default, evil and I am also as strongly convinced as I am of anything else that there is no God or gods and that the belief that there is is one that is harmful to both the individual and humanity as a whole. I also, however, strongly believe that every single person is entitled to believe whatever on Earth they want to believe, no matter how stupid or vile their beliefs may be. This does not, however, mean their beliefs are exempt from criticism or that they have the right to force their beliefs on others or demand that others fund their beliefs.
Anyway, this thread is for the timeless theism/atheism debate. If no one wants to take up the plate first lemme know and I'll be happy to toss out a topic to get things started.
II. Some Guidelines
1. Be up to date. I predict and hope this thread will be as big and successful as the first and so, to that end, I make the same suggestion I made in the first thread - Please read at least the three most recent pages before posting anything. I'm aware this thread may become quite huge but I don't think it's too much to ask that you read at least those three pages so as to get a general feel for where things currently are headed and to, hopefully, minimize the amount of repeated arguments.
2. Be civil. Unless someone says or does something truly reprehensible/ignorant let's try and treat each other with the respect we all deserve.
3. Be reasonable.
This ties into the things below a bit. I don't expect you all to be theology and/or philosophy majors but at least try and back up any claims with some form of reasoning beyond "because!." I'm not asking for citations or things but do at least make sure you are posting arguments and not statements.
III. Some Common, Bad, Theistic Arguments Refuted
1. "Without God life is not worth living."
Now while I cannot say how much I disagree with this statement it is also a statement that is completely irrelevant to the existence or non-existence of God or gods. If a man's wife dies his life may very well become unlivable and miserable but this fact does not make his wife any less dead. Whether life without God is worthless or not has absolutely no bearing on whether or not God does in fact exist. The same thing applies to any arguments like "Atheists are evil and we need God to be good" whether or not this is true means nothing to whether or not God exists. On the flip side I don't want any fellow atheists necessarily using the horrible atrocities committed in the name of God or purportedly by God as evidence either. Hitler existed and he was evil. Atheism may be wrong but dystheism/misotheism may still be right.
2. "Things exist, ergo they must have a creator."
This is an laughable argument that is so clearly unsound that, to my knowledge, no modern theologian dares utter it. Even without bringing up the fact that the human mind is hard-wired, by virtue of being rooted in reason and logic, to assume a creator where it sees order this is still an unsound argument. If the argument for God is that everything must have a creator than God too must have a creator and His creator a creator and so on unto infinity. If we argue that God is the sole exception and that He is without cause than the entire argument collapses as we can just as well argue that there is no God and that the universe itself is the sole exception and devoid of creator. One cannot have it both ways.
Arguments put forth without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
4. "I don't have to prove God exists you have to prove He does not!"
No, no I do not. You are claiming that God or gods exist(s) and I am claiming you have yet to prove such a thing. The burden of proof is solely on the heads of the theists.
5. The Ontological Argument: Existence is not, in and of itself, a quality. QED
IV. Related Links
The Skeptics Annotated Bible
The Church of Reality
Positive Atheism's Big List of Scary Quotes
V. Opening Challenge
With all that introductory nonsense out of the way I'm going to do something I shouldn't do in an attempt to foster discussion - I'm going to present an argument against God's existence when the burden of proof is not mine.
In order to know something exists we have to know something about it. Existence is determined by qualities. There is nothing mankind claims to know without knowing anything about it. Theistic agnosticism, ergo, makes the insane claim of "I know God exists." "What is God?" "I don't know" "Then what do you know exists?" "I don't know that either."
Clearly then if the modern theist is to make any claims at all about their beliefs being anything but the most insane abortions of reason they must be able to say something about God. My challenge then to the theists is to give me some qualities about what God is - note that I said what God is, not how he behaves. "Good" is not a quality of existence and, in the case of God, is also highly dubious.
So that's my challenge/initial claim and I'd love to see it addressed, of course I don't mind steering the thread in other directions either if that's where it ends up going - I aim to please.