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I have a question about Verificationism. As I understand it Verificationists

I have a question about Verificationism. As I understand it Verificationists criticise theists whose beliefs aren't verifiable. How would they respond to the following scenarios; (1) A theist determines her belief based on a single coin toss. It came up heads this verifying her belief in God. She went into the test accepting it could come out either way and saying she would genuinely disbelieve if it came out tails and genuinely believe if it came out heads. (2) She repeats this process every morning. And thus ends up some days believing others not. Or, something different; (3) A particular believer believes Christ will return in 10, 000 years. Thus his belief is meaningful and verifiable, one needs only wait a very long time. Would they say he should remain in a suspension of belief? I have heard of the theory of eschatological verification, did verificationists disregard this too? On what grounds?

Verificationists typically say that for a claim to be meaningful it must be empirically testable. Tossing a coin might test claims about gravity, mechanics, or the symmetry of the coin, but it does not test an unrelated claim.
It is probably meaningful to believe that Christ will return in 10,000 years (so long as we're specific about what "Christ" and "return" mean) but that does not mean it is plausible.
In thinking about what is rational to believe we need to consider both meaningfulness and plausibility.

Verificationists typically say that for a claim to be meaningful it must be empirically testable. Tossing a coin might test claims about gravity, mechanics, or the symmetry of the coin, but it does not test an unrelated claim. It is probably meaningful to believe that Christ will return in 10,000 years (so long as we're specific about what "Christ" and "return" mean) but that does not mean it is plausible. In thinking about what is rational to believe we need to consider both meaningfulness and plausibility.

A friend of mine self identifies as a Christian but rejects the concept of a

A friend of mine self identifies as a Christian but rejects the concept of a personal anthropomorphic god. It appears to me that a person who rejects that concept of god seems to have much more in common with an atheist than a Christian since it seems that many Christians subscribe to the view of god which my friend rejects. Does it make sense to identify with the Christian tradition when one is rejecting-it appears to me- a fundamental part of the religion?

Good question. Today it seems that there are versions of Christianity which are very heterodox, treating the incarnation more as a saving metaphor rather than a real event and so on. On the traditional concept of God in Christianity, I think few Christians would describe God as "anthropomorphic." Yes, the Bible and Christian creeds refer to God as a creator, a being who has power, knowledge, super-abundant goodness, and one might think of this as anthropomorphic insofar as humans are also creators and have power, knowledge, and some of us are good (!), but the attributes of God in traditional Christianity God is omnipresent, eternal or everlasting, Triune, not just knowing but omniscient and this seems to amount to thinking of God as quite distinct from an anthropomorphic deity such as we find in Greco-Roman contexts of Zeus / Jupiter, etc...

A more vexing issue today is over the question of whether the God of Christianity should be thought of as personal or as three persons (in the Triune Godhead). One Christian philosopher, Brian Davies, at Fordham University thinks of God in terms of being, and not in terms of what I think he calls person theism.

There is more to being a Christian (or a Jew, or a Muslim, or Buddhist) than subscribing to a particular set of beliefs. Religions incorporate ritual, culture and history as well as beliefs. It is a matter of opinion whether or not beliefs are "fundamental" or "necessary" for membership in a religion. (Some Christian denominations require it, but not Christianity as a whole, and not most branches of other religions). Indeed, I self identify as an atheist and a Jew and see no contradiction in doing so. Most atheists have other identifications (religious, political, ethical, national etc) since identifying yourself in terms of what you don't believe isn't really much of identity.

Theists often claim that the complexities of nature and the tiny details that

Theists often claim that the complexities of nature and the tiny details that allow human life to exist are evidence of god, as nothing so intricate and unlikely could happen without a designer. I believe that this is not the case as the universe is infinitely massive, and there are thousands, probably even millions of different planets. Logically, it is inevitable that at least one of those randomly created planets would have the required characteristics for life to survive. Can anybody provide a convincing counter argument to this?

Actually the universe is not infinite, although it is extremely large. Your claim that "it is inevitable that at least one of the millions of planets has the required characteristic for life" is not a logical claim (it is not true because it follows the laws of logic); it is an empirical claim and depends crucially on the likelihood of (a) a suitable planet and (b) suitable evolution on that planet. We don't yet know how likely or unlikely the evolution of life is, because our understanding of evolution, and life, is paltry. Intelligent design theorists take advantage of this ignorance to argue that a designer was necessary for the wonderful yet highly improbable complexity of life. But in fact we do not know how (un)likely life is in this universe or how a designer might work in the universe.

Actually the universe is not infinite, although it is extremely large. Your claim that "it is inevitable that at least one of the millions of planets has the required characteristic for life" is not a logical claim (it is not true because it follows the laws of logic); it is an empirical claim and depends crucially on the likelihood of (a) a suitable planet and (b) suitable evolution on that planet. We don't yet know how likely or unlikely the evolution of life is, because our understanding of evolution, and life, is paltry. Intelligent design theorists take advantage of this ignorance to argue that a designer was necessary for the wonderful yet highly improbable complexity of life. But in fact we do not know how (un)likely life is in this universe or how a designer might work in the universe.

Actually the universe is not infinite, although it is extremely large. Your claim that "it is inevitable that at least one of the millions of planets has the required characteristic for life" is not a logical claim (it is not true because it follows the laws of logic); it is an empirical claim and depends crucially on the likelihood of (a) a suitable planet and (b) suitable evolution on that planet. We don't yet know how likely or unlikely the evolution of life is, because our understanding of evolution, and life, is paltry. Intelligent design theorists take advantage of this ignorance to argue that a designer was necessary for the wonderful yet highly improbable complexity of life. But in fact we do not know how (un)likely life is in this universe or how a designer might work in the universe.

A lot of people think we shouldn't conduct stem cell research or cloning based

A lot of people think we shouldn't conduct stem cell research or cloning based on the idea that man shouldn't 'play god.' My response; why not? Now, I'm an atheist, but even if we were to assume the bible were literal truth, why should we not try to emulate god if he is so perfect and wondrous? Is there any logic behind the playing god argument? What logic *can* be attributed to religion, at any rate...

I think you are right to discern that the "playing God" objection to stem cell research/cloning is not what it seems to be. Those who offer this objection seem quite comfortable with the idea of "playing God" in well proven medical interventions e.g. appendectomy for appendicitis, C-section for obstructed labor, chemotherapy for leukemia. Of course there are some people (Christian Scientists, for example) who forgo most medical care on religious grounds. But the vast majority of those who worry about "playing God" with stem cell research/cloning are happy consumers of the best that health care has to offer. The question is, why don't they extend that happy consumer attitude to stem cell research/cloning? I am not sure of the answer to this, but I think it may have to do with the uncertainty that currently exists around these new technologies (will they work? will they produce monsters of some kind?). So it may be a risk aversive attitude of the kind "leave it to God, we don't know enough to intervene in this area." It expresses caution about experimenting with human beings, and modesty about our technological abilities, which is appropriate (if not taken too far).

Of course for every person who says that we shouldn't "play God" there is usually another person who says "God helps those who help themselves." Religious language can be used on both sides of this debate.

I think you are right to discern that the "playing God" objection to stem cell research/cloning is not what it seems to be. Those who offer this objection seem quite comfortable with the idea of "playing God" in well proven medical interventions e.g. appendectomy for appendicitis, C-section for obstructed labor, chemotherapy for leukemia. Of course there are some people (Christian Scientists, for example) who forgo most medical care on religious grounds. But the vast majority of those who worry about "playing God" with stem cell research/cloning are happy consumers of the best that health care has to offer. The question is, why don't they extend that happy consumer attitude to stem cell research/cloning? I am not sure of the answer to this, but I think it may have to do with the uncertainty that currently exists around these new technologies (will they work? will they produce monsters of some kind?). So it may be a risk aversive attitude of the kind "leave it to God, we don't know enough to...