Nick wrote:In the total absence of evidence for any deity hitherto dreamed of, it is logical to look elsewhere for explanations. However, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so one must acknowledge the theoretical possibility of a deity. However, as there are better explanations, the probability remains vanishingly small.
Again, the basic question is, do you know what you are looking for? What according to you is a deity? Secondly, 'vanishingly small', is an invalid conclusion of a premise that states - 'as there are better explanations'. What are these explanations? The explanation, I presume would be of some phenomenon...do these 'better' explanations include the phenomenon called god? Best way to answer this is to first define god.
Nick wrote:I'm taking as a guide the concept of the god of the 3 major world faiths. That might seem arrogantly western-centric,
Perfect! And there in lies the problem
Nick wrote: but in truth, the average modern westerner finds the concept of other gods (Norse, Roman, Greek, Asian etc) too ridiculous to consider seriously.
Another illogical conclusion...you say the 'average modern westerner finds...', my question - aren't the average modern easterners equally relevant?
Nick wrote: There's a lesson here: the western god is the same.
Sorry Nick, the lesson here is that you do not know what is the definition of god. You are assuming western god is the same. At least attempt to define western god, and eastern god, and any other god...southern? northern? northeastern?
Nick wrote:Well, as a starting position, how about looking for a source of morality and a cause of the universe? In neither of these cases is there any evidence of a supreme being, nor is it the best explanation, by a long chalk. Our experience of energy led to hypothesis and testing, to theory and prediction, and has itself responded to research. That does not apply to any religion.
Again, what is your understanding of god? Your entire argument depends upon one thing, that is your definition of god. And unless you can define it, you will not be making it clear whether you are speaking in the air, or you know what you are talking about as in you have some logical rationale (means the logical rationale that is used in determining logical fallacies. Everyone has some "logic" or rationale in his views, the question is, whether that logic is agreeable to the established logical fallacy determination. But I'll give it to you that the established logical fallacy determination itself is not complete, rather can never be complete)
Nick wrote:(I may come back to your astronomy example later. It is straightforward to deal with)
That won't be necessary because it is only an example. Focusing too much on the example will lead us to debate the example rather than the original point to be debated.