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So, someone here is saying this statement is a straw man.

Would you think he's right?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
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Daniel Galeano's profile photoJoel Bass's profile photoJack Matirko's profile photoPeter Darley's profile photo
24 comments
 
By definition it can't be a straw man, because it doesn't talk about what other people believe.
 
Nope, it's not a straw man... I'm not sure it's a great argument, though. It insists that anybody who believes in anything has to use the scientific method. I don't think that's how most humans throughout history have lived, actually. I love the scientific method, and I think it's extremely helpful. But if someone's on their deathbed, hoping there's an afterlife, I think the scientific method might not be foremost on their mind, and that's okay, isn't it?
 
It's not saying that people aren't allowed to believe things without evidence, just saying that if you expect to convince someone of something, you better bring the evidence.

And specifically, if you want to convince ME (the author of the sentiment) I'm not going to listen if you don't demonstrate your claims with science.
 
The whole point of faith is to believe in something in spite of having no proof in it. I just can't base my life on something that, in my opinion, goes against nearly every experience of every person to have ever lived.
 
The comment is based on a questionable and probably false premise: "Deities are not falsifiable".
 
I think it's true that many deities are not falsifiable, which is an excellent reason to not believe they exist.
 
Not a straw man as it is a very defined statement which does not replace a pro religious argument with anything but, "show me proof."
One nitpicky point. I don't think it is necessary to force the religious person to use the scientific method. Showing direct evidence is not the scientific method. It's just showing data. If I showed you an invisible pick unicorn (or maybe just her hot breath smelling of pepperoni) you should and probably would start believing in invisible pink unicorns. OK, maybe not the best example. How about a nice photo of Russel's Teapot taken from a satellite on the other side of the sun? By looking at that photo I might become a believer in teapots without having to make a falsifiable hypothesis in the first place.

But I digress. Anyone who calls the posted statement a strawman is someone who will argue until you are very very tired. Not worth it.
 
Not everyone's mind is based upon reason; most people are ruled entirely by their emotions and only use reason after the fact to try and justify those emotions.

The person who demands falsifiability before accepting things, bases his mind on reason and logic. His core premise is different, he will never agree with those who base their beliefs on emotions. Religion is an emotion, like anger, people just feel it, they don't think it needs to be proven, they don't understand how atheists think at all.

The comment is not a straw man, the person calling it that is just a religious person not understanding that to a person of reason, if something isn't falsifiable, then it simply isn't.
 
In philosophy, the "straw man" argument is considered a logical fallacy, created when one side in a debate misrepresents his adversary's argument and then attacks his own false construction of his opponent's argument.

Advocates of evolution have called criticisms of the theories of abiogenesis and speciation "straw man" arguments against evolution, laughably contending that evolution is a "stand-alone" concept and these other theories are separate and distinct.

This is the ultimate "straw man" argument....evolution has been presented as a complete and total alternative to creationism, usually cast specifically as Young Earth Creationism to create the most effective straw man. Yet by comparison, evolution by narrow definition is incomplete
 
It can't be a straw man because in order to misrepresent something, you have to represent it in the first place. The author is only pointing out that if believers want to convince him or her of the existence of god they just need to make a convincing argument based on some actual evidence ... which so far they haven't done.
 
You are exactly correct, +Ramon Leon . If it isn't falsifiable, it simply isn't. Theists, having been shown that all their previous falsifiable gods (Zeuss, Thor, Queztocoatl,...) don't exist, have retreated to the only possible defensive position, which is claiming that their god is outside or beyond our reality, can't be tested by science, and is unfalsifiable. Well, if that's the case, then their god doesn't exist, and it certainly can't intervene in our universe where its actions or properties would be measurable and testable.
 
No it's not. It's the core problem with religion. A straw man would be "I prayed for a car, and it never came, therefore religion is wrong."
 
If something isn't falsifiable then it is indistinguishable from fiction. Falsifiability is how we separate fact from fiction. Theists don't understand this because their minds aren't based on reason. They have no problem claiming the universe can't exist without a creator and in the very next statement allow their god to exist without a creator. They don't see this as a logical contradiction because they don't use logic, they use emotion.

Emotion isn't rational. Atheists and theists can never and will never agree, it is an uncross-able divide; opposing world views. You can't reason with those who don't grok reason.

Logical fallacies themselves are tools of the reasonable. Minds based on emotions can't apply them because it requires reason to do it correctly.
 
Is not "straw man" mis-characterizing one's claim? If you say I believe in god, and I say well then the burden of proof is on you, I am not mis-characterizing your claim. That would be a straw man fallacy.
 
Did you show the "someone here" these comments? Plussies do it again!!, you want an answer to a question-post on G+!
 
My Plussies never let me down. Thank you everyone for your insight. I am totally posting all this on there to show the someone there, how wrong he is.
 
Bugme Not's argument is itself a straw man and a bit disingenuous.

Science does not say, as BN asserts, that Deities cannot be tested because they are not falsifiable.

What science says is, in order to test claims about deities, they have to have testable measurable effects in the real physical world. They have to interact with reality in some way. If deities DO interact with the real world then, yes, science can test for these claimed interactions. If they do not, then there isn't much point in even discussing whether they exist or not.

At present the only tests of such interaction with the real world that I am aware of are the studies done on the efficacy of intercessory prayer on medical outcomes. As I recall there was no discernible effect. Thus a particular claim about deities was tested AND falsified.

While a believer in deities may concede that, in the above case, that a claim about their deity was falsified they may retreat (as they usually do) to the position that, yes, well, but the deity still exists. This retreat as been going on in fits and starts for thousands of years.

It is a retreat to irrelevance.

The final claim about deities is that the believer claims that belief in it makes them 'feel better', 'comfortable', 'meaningful', 'loved', (or whatever) While such claims may be relevant per individual it is hardly a compelling basis to make a claim that the deity actually exists.
 
You've been using my computer, +DanGaleano, not cool!
 
Well, not to mention that it's extremely painful to listen to hours and hours of apologetics trying to get me over to their camp. My son once said, if you have to use a tool more complex than fingerpainting to explain Christianity, you're making it too complex.
 
I'm not sure the commenter understands what metaphysics is but that aside, they fail to understand something that a lot of people forget. Strawman arguments are relative. What is a valid characterization of one person's argument could be a strawman of another's. However, since this is just a statement of fact as to why you are an atheist not a counterargument trying to apply the term strawman to it is just nonsensical.
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