Evidence

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Evidence

What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God? And who (or what) makes this determination?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Everyone makes that

Everyone makes that determination for themselves, and everyone has the right to criticize everyone else for their choices.   


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RatDog wrote:Everyone makes

RatDog wrote:

Everyone makes that distinction for themselves, and everyone has the right to criticize everyone else for their choices.   

Okay. But you didn't address the first question: "What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God?"

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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The person holding the

The person holding the belief makes the determination for his or herself in most countries.  In others, the government considered the holy book (often the Qur'an today, the Christian Bible in the past) to be sufficient evidence, and makes that determination for people.

 

The burden of proof for personal belief differs from person to person.

 

Most commonly, theists will generally accept what their parents or family say as evidence enough.  More commonly, people have been converted, using the power of the converter (e.g. superior weapons, wealth, or numbers) as evidence- it doesn't even always have to be forced (though it often is, in one way or another), but people will frequently be impressed into a belief.

In any of the aforementioned cases of 'evidence' however, these are inductive, and appeals to authority- "they're right about some things, so they must be right about others".  It's not sound logic, but most people don't understand that. (the same arguments have applied to Scripture, as the words of long dead authorities)

 

Beyond that, one has "feelings", such as the feeling of "presence" theists often feel.  Those who are already inclined to theism will often decide on particular gods based on this.

A subjective feeling, however, is biased empirical evidence (not objectively valid).  People will think blue coloured sugar water tastes better than transparent sugar water when they can see the colour- perception bias feeds back into itself.

I have yet to meet anybody to apply the scientific method to these "feelings"- however, it could be done if there were a sufficient number of participants.  If successful (by the theist's view), this would only determine that there was in fact some real feeling, and not what that feeling means.

Some people, nonetheless, consider this sufficient evidence of a god (where it's only evidence of a feeling at best- and not even evidence of one due to lack of experimentation). 

Though perhaps arguably less irrational than appeal to authority, it's still not any form of objective evidence of anything.  A study using the scientific method, would be significantly better, but theists usually don't believe in science, so would be loathe to do one (particularly as it risks proving that the feeling is entirely subjective, as a mental construct).

 

Appeal to authority and empiricism aside, there is one other form of evidence some suggest:  Deductive, rational proofs.

 

This isn't evidence, however- this is speaking of a proof, which is beyond evidence.  Attempts at these are found in such claims as ontological proofs of a god.

Were these proofs of sound reasoning (none yet presented have been), then they would be objectively valid proof (superior, even to the scientific method, which perfects empiricism).

Many people who are easily confused by a complex series of rapid-fire ideas, and can't understand the entire concept at once can be tricked by these.  Some people simply miss certain logical flaws (which are ignored, unfortunately, when pointed out).

 

Wherein rational proofs are frequently and successfully used to disprove a particular god or gods, and have never yet been used successfully to provide a proof for one, this method- though the attempt is the most rational- is ultimately the least rational in practice.

 

 

 


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Paisley wrote:Okay. But you

Paisley wrote:

Okay. But you didn't address the first question: "What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God?"

 

 

If my reply above didn't answer this for you, perhaps you should rephrase this question as:

 

"What *would* qualify as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in my god [please explain WHICH god] for *you*?"

 

 

You need to define the god that you are speaking of, and make sure you clarify that you mean what evidence would be sufficient for the replier in particular.


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Paisley wrote:RatDog

Paisley wrote:

RatDog wrote:

Everyone makes that distinction for themselves, and everyone has the right to criticize everyone else for their choices.   

Okay. But you didn't address the first question: "What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God?"

First you would have to define the god you are taking about, and then you would have to tell me weather you are talking about my personal opinion or asking me to make some kind of objective claim.  


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Good question

Paisley wrote:

What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God? And who (or what) makes this determination?

 

I don't think the standard level of evidence would suffice. God is a alleged to be a mighty universe creator. I don't think you can insist that we apply the same evidential standards to the existence of god as we might apply to the allegation the Queen of Sheba bathed in milk. One or two historical sources would be enough to confirm the delicious possibility of Sheba-flavoured Moove.

The worry with this question is the potential presence of a hans blix trapdoor leading to a pool of sharks. That trapdoor is likely to be the fact that ultimately humans are obligated to make up their own minds in the subjective reality inside their own heads. Personally, if all the accredited authorities saw and tested and believed the evidence and I saw the evidence, and then I went over to god's and had tea and cupcakes on his heavenly porch, bull-nose verandah streaming a dazzle of celestial fairy lights, and later we had a quick tour of the multiverse on god's quantum broomstick then I'd probably be disposed to believe.

Of course, given we have no idea of what this god might be, or what his qualities and character might be, nailing down the evidence needed would be tough. A personal appearance replete with intergalactic fireworks would do it for me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Blake wrote:Beyond that, one

Blake wrote:

Beyond that, one has "feelings", such as the feeling of "presence" theists often feel.  Those who are already inclined to theism will often decide on particular gods based on this.

A subjective feeling, however, is biased empirical evidence (not objectively valid).  People will think blue coloured sugar water tastes better than transparent sugar water when they can see the colour- perception bias feeds back into itself.

I have yet to meet anybody to apply the scientific method to these "feelings"- however, it could be done if there were a sufficient number of participants.  If successful (by the theist's view), this would only determine that there was in fact some real feeling, and not what that feeling means.

Actually, this has been validated by science. The "presence of God" that theists feel is attributed to the gene VMAT2  (a.k.a. the God Gene). Evidently, spiritually-inclined individuals are favored by natural selection. They are more apt to be optimistic, healthy, and have more offspring. IOW, atheism is a genetic defect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene

 

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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RatDog wrote:Paisley

RatDog wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Okay. But you didn't address the first question: "What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God?"

First you would have to define the god you are taking about, and then you would have to tell me weather you are talking about my personal opinion or asking me to make some kind of objective claim.  

Okay. Let's start with a simple pantheistic conception of God....that God is consciousness itself...and that the consciousness from which you see the world is the same consciousness from which I see the world and the same consciousness from which every sentient being sees the world. Deity thus defined: What qualifies as sufficient evidence (for you personally) to justify a belief in such a God?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:RatDog

Paisley wrote:

RatDog wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Okay. But you didn't address the first question: "What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God?"

First you would have to define the god you are taking about, and then you would have to tell me weather you are talking about my personal opinion or asking me to make some kind of objective claim.  

Okay. Let's start with a simple pantheistic conception of God....that God is consciousness itself...and that the consciousness from which you see the world is the same consciousness from which I see the world and the same consciousness from which every sentient being sees the world. Deity thus defined: What qualifies as sufficient evidence (for you personally) to justify a belief in such a God?

That rather idiosyncratic version of 'God' is not remotely equivalent to the God concepts in mainstream religions. It is little more than a label for consciousness, along with the rather dubious assumption that our consciousness is shared. Not really a God concept that 90+% of Theists that come here would identify with.

It would be far more useful to start with something closer to the traditional Christian God.

Regarding 'The God Gene', you should read this article to get another perspective on this idea.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Cunningly Rommel lured

Paisley wrote:

 

Okay. Let's start with a simple pantheistic conception of God....that God is consciousness itself...and that the consciousness from which you see the world is the same consciousness from which I see the world and the same consciousness from which every sentient being sees the world. Deity thus defined: What qualifies as sufficient evidence (for you personally) to justify a belief in such a God?

 

the british tanks towards his hidden 88s.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Paisley wrote:RatDog

Paisley wrote:

RatDog wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Okay. But you didn't address the first question: "What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God?"

First you would have to define the god you are taking about, and then you would have to tell me weather you are talking about my personal opinion or asking me to make some kind of objective claim.  

Okay. Let's start with a simple pantheistic conception of God....that God is consciousness itself...and that the consciousness from which you see the world is the same consciousness from which I see the world and the same consciousness from which every sentient being sees the world. Deity thus defined: What qualifies as sufficient evidence (for you personally) to justify a belief in such a God?

For such a god as you describe the only evidence I could think of would be statistics. I guess that, such a god you describe could be proven by being outside the standard deviations of a few well thought out tests. If we share consciousness then maybe we share knowable (through a method other then language), and if we share knowledge then that knowledge can be tested for. If we do not share knowledge then I cannot see how your words can be justified in an objective sense. Truth cannot necessarily be known, but what is known is in fact truth. Perhaps there is a limit to human knowledge, but that limit cannot be breached through simple making thing up. Maybe there are truths that we will never know, but if that is the case adding additional dogma will solve nothing.


I don't really have a lot of faith in anything except perhaps hope. I do hope for the world I live in, because I hope that people can be great. I have seen progress in technology, and in the progression of human culture. Perhaps that progress is not great, but it is something. If we are all connected I cannot see it outside of a cultural or genetic sense. To prove it to me you will have to give me something justified outside of your feelings, or assumptions

 


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Paisley wrote:Actually, this

Paisley wrote:



Actually, this has been validated by science. The "presence of God" that theists feel is attributed to the gene VMAT2  (a.k.a. the God Gene). Evidently, spiritually-inclined individuals are favored by natural selection. They are more apt to be optimistic, healthy, and have more offspring. IOW, atheism is a genetic defect.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene



For one, that's not the kind of study I was referring to- I'm aware of that, and you can read up on it on your own.  But I'll get back to that.




It disgusts me when people selectively choose which "science" to support based on their motives.  Many vegetarians do this (I'm vegetarian- I argue with them about it), and it doesn't become you any more than it does them.



What is and is not a genetic defect is largely a matter of opinion- and yours wreaks of profound arrogance.




First, evidence that theists as individuals are happier and have more offspring is tenuous at best, as what evidence there is, it is correlation, and not causation- this has more to do with liberalism, education, and world economy.  As people become more educated, and move into a stronger work based economy, they become less religious and have fewer accidental children as a result of the education [demonstrated], and less happy/reproductive due to the excessive work stress/time [demonstrated]- which in part provided the wealth that allowed the education to begin with.  This is not a necessary link with secularism, and as we understand stress and behavioral psychology better and apply those to our modern work industry, these things could improve irrespective of theism.



Even if your wild accusations are true, which they are not evidenced, this doesn't indicate better fitness for a species or society (which perhaps you cannot see due to ignorance of evolution).  Allow me to correct this:  Evolution is not a blind race for individual dominance, particularly with a social species; it just as much involves game theory; emergent rational behavior that benefits the group as a whole.



As these theists often occupy different reproductive pools from many atheists, were we to discuss the two as different *species* (they are not, but discussing them as so) we would not be fundamentally off-base.  Particularly, it would be prudent in discussing which traits *are* favorable to human society and the species' survival as a whole, as if all individuals expressed them.



Reproduction:  Humans are in no immediate danger of dying out, and many species- including humans- devastate their environments by over-reproducing.


Humans reproducing unchecked like deer or rabbits without predation is not conducive to the most favorable outlook for the species in my opinion.



If you like the probable outcomes of over-reproduction- rising crime rates, poverty, lack of education, and environmental destruction- perhaps that is favorable to you.




"Happiness": Aside from the work correlation (which makes up a large part of it), happiness has also been evidenced somewhat to be a result of global ignorance or apathy (a correlation with theism- not causation; but for the sake of argument we'll assume it) within a society that is otherwise educated.



In a society where this is the norm, however, we don't have those convenient trappings of life, like modern medicine.  This tendency, at best, may be a way to cope with misery in a more effective manner, as the lowest castes of untouchables, or peasants in medieval Europe.



Remove all progress of secular society, and take into account a society made up of the devoutly faithful- and satisfied- and there is no advancement beyond primitive medieval society.  Slaves don't need to wish for freedom, and neither do women.  People don't try to fix things, or improve things, because that's just how things should be.



It is dis-satisfaction with the world that drives progress- it is, if anything, my and my peers' unhappiness with the way of things that drives us to curiosity, to pursue science- from running water to modern medicine and technology.



It's why communism doesn't work and capitalism does (if allowed to).  It's why theism has traditionally and statistically been a force of the past, and the secular wave as been a force of the future.




I agree that an individual theist is often happier in the same position as an atheist (while as I've said, the theism is generally an incidental correlation with other factors that result in it); but this is only because the theist/apathetic conservative is benefiting from all of the hard work of secular society.  Theism by itself, independent of the apathetic conservatism, as a global force, makes the whole significantly more miserable- from social "ethic" police to conservative terrorism.



So that hypothetical population of strictly theists is far less 'happy' overall; given the medieval classism, the toil, the disease, the infant mortality, and the short life-span, poor education, and lack of leisure.  The atheist population, on the other hand, could find itself by now far beyond modern health and living standards- we can't know, because such a population doesn't exist.  However, it could also be argued that a mixture of the two is the most efficient means to progress (worker bees and thinking bees).



Either way, religion likely served humans well in their tribal days, by uniting groups in cult-unity, and expressed through faith in leadership where divisiveness in rulership would have spelled doom.  Today, however, it also holds us back and brings divisive forces to bear against democratic social progress in favor of cult leaders and deities.  Whether the docile workforce it may or may not provide along with that is sufficient compensation remains in question- and that I can not answer for certain- but I can say that if it is necessary, it has definitely become less so over time.



So no, atheism is not a genetic defect- but is this supposed gene correlated to Theism a genetic defect?



In antiquity- it definitely wasn't, but I would argue it was probably essential (though those without the expression have also been).  Today- there's quite a bit of debate about it.  RRS might say it is- I'm not willing to go out on that limb with quite as much confidence, although I would lean in that direction.



I will say that I consider it a personal defect, as a matter of opinion as to the values of a person, though making statements with certainty that I know better than evolution would be arrogant.



For your own sake, at least, please stop pretending to understand natural selection and evolution when you clearly do not- your being willing to make more certain and arrogant statements about evolution than I am is a huge red flag considering the vast differences in comprehension.



I also presume you probably are not even willing to understand evolution unless you think it suits your ends of insulting us while bolstering your own sense of self worth- so all of this is probably wasted on you.  I hope it has helped somebody, though.


 


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Paisley wrote:Blake



Paisley wrote:



Blake wrote:



Beyond that, one has "feelings", such as the feeling of "presence" theists often feel.  Those who are already inclined to theism will often decide on particular gods based on this.



A subjective feeling, however, is biased empirical evidence (not objectively valid).  People will think blue coloured sugar water tastes better than transparent sugar water when they can see the colour- perception bias feeds back into itself.



I have yet to meet anybody to apply the scientific method to these "feelings"- however, it could be done if there were a sufficient number of participants.  If successful (by the theist's view), this would only determine that there was in fact some real feeling, and not what that feeling means.





Actually, this has been validated by science. The "presence of God" that theists feel is attributed to the gene VMAT2  (a.k.a. the God Gene)...






Back to this "feeling"- I am aware of this, and that is not what I'm talking about.  In fact, you couldn't have brought up something less relevant or more *opposite* to what I was talking about if you tried- congratulations.  The ambiguous, and subjective feeling you refer to is obvious- using that as "evidence" is like saying "god is shocking me with electricity" and then demonstrating that people feel electric shocks.



Evidence of this real "feeling" would have to demonstrate that it was the *same* feeling, or same set of feelings, that are stimulated/detected, and not a subjective one that varies wildly from person to person based on expectation.  That is, it couldn't be genetically caused, or biased by the person.



For example- I want evidence of blue light.  Do I go about it by proving that humans have eyes?  No.  These are used to detect many things, and are not caused by blue light.  Do I go about it by proving that humans have hallucinations of a colour that may or may not have any resemblance to blue?  No.



If I want to find evidence of blue light, I find something or somebody that can supposedly detect it, and expose that instrument or person to "blind trials", with things that are thought to have blue light, and things that are thought not to.  I repeat this many times, particularly in the case of human instruments, to determine if people can detect the phenomena associated with "blue light".  That still doesn't tell me anything about blue light, or what it is- but now I know there's something there.



Is the "god gene" a gene that gives us a kind of "Spiritual eye" that detects things?  Is the "god gene" one that is expressed through increased susceptibility to hallucinations?



Theists and atheists may disagree on this point, but either way it is not evidence of a god or gods, nor of "the" feeling that is associated with said god.



I'm talking about a consistent feeling of stimulus- like light.  People feel that their gods are more or less present in certain areas or situations, or that some things are spiritually charged and yield god mojo upon contact.  THIS is what would be tested.



The closest thing to this that has been done to my knowledge is stimulation of the (I believe) prefrontal cortex to induce spiritual experiences.  While interested, this only demonstrated that that part of the brain is responsible, however, and that magnetic fields are a possible means of stimulating it- not an actual blind investigation into the actual presence of something that is being felt.  This would only serve as a good additional control factor for the experiment, at best.


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OhDude

Paisley wrote:
Actually, this has been validated by science. The "presence of God" that theists feel is attributed to the gene VMAT2 (a.k.a. the God Gene). Evidently, spiritually-inclined individuals are favored by natural selection. They are more apt to be optimistic, healthy, and have more offspring. IOW, atheism is a genetic defect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene

HA! If this were true (and I'm not saying it isn't, not the actual raw part about a genetic factor in spiritual experiences. Your utterly retarded misrepresentation of what a Genetic 'Defect' is, much less whether something being a Genetic 'Defect' actually makes it wrong, is an entirely different matter, but others have already elaborated on that.), then wouldn't this reduce Spirituality, that bastion of subjective personal experiences that you love to tout as proof of your long sought after soul, down to a simple Chemical Response in the Human Brain, which can thus be affected by Genetics?

Congratulations, if this 'God Gene' ends up being correct, it means that the 'divine presence' and 'spiritual response' can be explained away as a simple over-achieving Transmitter Pump in the neurons of a person's brain that is flooding them with serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, essentially getting them "High on the Holy Ghost." It can also explain some people's long touted 'hightenned sensitivity' to the spiritual as this genetic variance giving them a greater propensity towards these feelings of spiritual bliss.

Oh Paisley, sowing the seeds of your own destruction yet again are we? Do you even bother to Read what you cite? Or do you just read enough to mistakenly think it supports your position and then run with it? Well, thanks once again for pointing us towards some more evidence that supports Physical Monism and gets us one step closer to proving we don't need a S.O.U.L. to account for the range of Human Experiences.

Where's your beloved Dualism now Paisley?

HA HA HA HA!

When you say it like that you make it sound so Sinister...


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Paisley wrote:What qualifies

Paisley wrote:

What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God? And who (or what) makes this determination?

I honestly did not read all of the replys to this before answering so someone (probably) touched on this. 

Sufficient evidence to justify ones belief in God is purely subjective.  There will never be enough evidence to prove God's existence, but there surely is enough evidence to justify one's (lack of) belief.  In your case, you feel that you can justify your belief in God through the evidence and experience you have gained.  The problem is, your evidence, just as much as mine,  is  circumstantial.  What you may consider fool proof evidence, I consider myth and hearsay (and vice versa). 

The determination is made by the individual gathering his own evidence.  The problem is that the evidence obtained is mixed with personal bias and past experiences so no one's sample of evidence is really the same. 

For me, there is no sufficient evidence nor will there ever be.  This argument of is there/isn't there has been going on for hundreds (thousands?) of years, and even with an ever-increasing mass of scientific information, neither side has budged.   I suspect neither side will. 

So I guess what I'm getting at there is no measurable way to test for God(s) pr belief, so the argument is going to continue indefinitely.  Whichever bulk of information you choose to believe is entirely up to you.


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Update: I did read through

Update: I did read through them and I got a little lost.

 

I feel like this thread turned into a "Does god exist?" topic as opposed to "Evidence to justify a BELIEF in God".  I don't think these are the same concept due to an enormous amount of subjective factors.

Some people say that the raw beauty of the world is enough for them to believe in God.  This, in my estimation, is irrational thinking.  However, if that's how someone wants to justify their BELIEF, then good for them-- it doesn't make it correct. 

A belief: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.  It is a state of mind, not a fact.  "State of mind" implys an individual's current feelings/beliefs.  That being said, if a state of mind can change, and a belief is a state of mind, then a belief can change. 

It is statistically possible for the more informed and convinced atheists on this forum (Brian, Sapient, Gene-- looking at you) to someday change their state of mind, through their own subjective evidence, and believe in some sort of god (More than likely not a God that is currently worshipped by the masses, but a god all the same). On the flip side, Paisley could someday feasibly join the dark side. 

Evidence one way or the other will never be conclusive as to whether God actually exists.  Believing either side of the argument is obviously possible, and people on both sides justify their reasoning in whatever way they please.  As long as it is sufficient to said individual, then it is enough evidence to justify their belief.


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BobSpence1 wrote:Paisley

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Okay. Let's start with a simple pantheistic conception of God....that God is consciousness itself...and that the consciousness from which you see the world is the same consciousness from which I see the world and the same consciousness from which every sentient being sees the world. Deity thus defined: What qualifies as sufficient evidence (for you personally) to justify a belief in such a God?

That rather idiosyncratic version of 'God' is not remotely equivalent to the God concepts in mainstream religions. It is little more than a label for consciousness, along with the rather dubious assumption that our consciousness is shared. Not really a God concept that 90+% of Theists that come here would identify with.

He asked me to define God, not you. Newsflash: There are other religious beliefs besides Christian and Islamic fundamentalism! Hinduism is a major religion (by all accounts) and this is exactly what is taught by Vedanta Hinduism. The divine reality is called Brahman. Brahman is infinite being, Brahman is infinite bliss. Brahman is infinite consciousness. And the atman (i.e. the soul) and Brahman are one. Spiritual enlightenment is the self-realization of this truth. That you are ignorant of this teaching (which is basically New Age introductory metaphysics 101) probably explains why you failed to recognize Sam Harris' religious and mystical beliefs as expressed in his book entitled "End of Faith." I suggest you educate yourself first before giving your opinion on comparative religions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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BobSpence1 wrote:Regarding

BobSpence1 wrote:

Regarding 'The God Gene', you should read this article to get another perspective on this idea.

It's a biased perspective. Jeffrey Schweitzer is an atheist who is taking a hissy fit (like you) at the prospect that spiritual dispositions may have been favored by evolution because spirituality confers a survival benefit. Having said that, his argument for the origination of religion - the fear of the unknown, the drive to control natural forces and be the master of one's fate, the desire of political leaders to employ it to wield power - can also qualify as an argument for the origination of science.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Blake wrote:Paisley

Blake wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Actually, this has been validated by science. The "presence of God" that theists feel is attributed to the gene VMAT2  (a.k.a. the God Gene). Evidently, spiritually-inclined individuals are favored by natural selection. They are more apt to be optimistic, healthy, and have more offspring. IOW, atheism is a genetic defect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene

For one, that's not the kind of study I was referring to- I'm aware of that, and you can read up on it on your own.  But I'll get back to that.

It doesn't matter. You said that there was no evidence that believers actually feel the "presence of God." I provided you with a source that suggests otherwise.

Blake wrote:

It disgusts me when people selectively choose which "science" to support based on their motives.  Many vegetarians do this (I'm vegetarian- I argue with them about it), and it doesn't become you any more than it does them.

I know exactly what you mean. For example, I find it somewhat annoying when atheists selectively choose Richard Dawkins' concept of a meme (the alleged psychological counterpart of the biological gene) in order to promote the pseudo-scientific idea that believers are infected with a "God virus."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion

Blake wrote:

What is and is not a genetic defect is largely a matter of opinion- and yours wreaks of profound arrogance.

Puhlease! If a non-believer used the research on the gene VMAT2 to argue that mystical expereinces are not actually caused by an encountered with God or the Divine reality, but are simply the result of a neurotransmitter being released, then you would be full of glee. However, I took the offensive and now you are simply sore because I cleverly used the concept of the "God gene" in order to demonstrate that atheism is actually a genetic defect.

By the way, I would suggest that you keep your posts to a minimum. I neither have the time nor patience to respond to bloviated rebuttals that really amount to nothing more than venting.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:It doesn't

Paisley wrote:

It doesn't matter. You said that there was no evidence that believers actually feel the "presence of God." I provided you with a source that suggests otherwise.

 

You didn't read what I wrote, or didn't understand it.

A cookie to anybody who can actually translate what I said to her/him- not that it matters.

If anybody else didn't understand, I will try to rephrase it.

 

Quote:

Puhlease! If a non-believer used the research on the gene VMAT2 to argue that mystical expereinces are not actually caused by an encountered with God or the Divine reality, but are simply the result of a neurotransmitter being released, then you would be full of glee.

 

I do not "fill with glee", as such.  An argument of this kind would be the wrong use of that supposed evidence, because a god could have placed the gene in order to produce the release.

Somebody above argued to that effect, and I don't think much of his reasoning in regards to that statement- I will soon correct him.  You may notice that I spend much time, often more, correcting the mistakes other atheists make, and giving suggestions for better arguments- this is because they're capable of learning and critical thinking, and it furthers a secular cause by producing more competent debaters.

 

For reference to the poster who made this argument- the more applicable argument is as such:

"This would imply that any god placing said genes is picking and choosing who to allow to experience it before birth, thus negating the concept of free will in regards to choosing faith by blocking people out from infancy"

However, that's only an argument against a small supposition of some definitions of a god, and it's not really an argument I care to spend time making, as there are far simpler disproofs of gods that do not rely on potentially flawed empirical evidence (particular any definition reasoned poorly enough to dare including the notion of free will).

However, if anybody is interested in making this argument, I would be happy to provide support, or more details on it.

 

Quote:
By the way, I would suggest that you keep your posts to a minimum. I neither have the time nor patience to respond to bloviated rebuttals that really amount to nothing more than venting.

 

While it's funny that you think that I'm responding for your benefit, my responses are actually not for you *ghasp*. 

Simply: You are closed minded, and more importantly, objectively crazy (you harbor contradictions, and so the ideas you already hold cannot be falsified in your mind); you aren't planning to think or learn anything in the near future- it would be silly of me to expect you to make sense of my responses. 

My responses are for my amusement, and for the amusement of others who are reading- but more importantly, to serve to educate anybody who may be reading these while 'on the fence', and to provide example arguments to those atheists reading (we remember good arguments we've seen and use them later).

When you fail to read my replies, and make the same argument again, it saves me time.  Moreover, it prevents you from learning from your mistakes, which saves all of us time.

 

Please, by all means, don't respond to my criticisms of your statements- it's better for us all. 

 

The irony of your situation is that you aren't convincing anybody, but are actually helping young atheists cut their teeth in debate by hanging around here.  You're like a vaccine- an apologist who has been chopped to bits and made harmless; just enough for the cubs to grow an immunity on and develop some serious debating skill.

 

 

Edit: To the atheists reading- yes, I considered deleting the last paragraph from my post, but I appreciate the irony too much, and she/he won't believe it anyway- which makes it even more amusing to me.


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Couple of things:  1]

Couple of things:

 

 

1] Evidence for God is not nor should it be "subjective". Either God exists or he doesn't.  Either Bigfoot exists or he doesn't. So if we use a subjective measurement to measure an objective reality, we run into problems.

 

2] For the actual evolution of religion

 

http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~ara/Manuscripts/AtranNorenzayanBBS.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Okay. Let's start with a simple pantheistic conception of God....that God is consciousness itself...and that the consciousness from which you see the world is the same consciousness from which I see the world and the same consciousness from which every sentient being sees the world. Deity thus defined: What qualifies as sufficient evidence (for you personally) to justify a belief in such a God?

That rather idiosyncratic version of 'God' is not remotely equivalent to the God concepts in mainstream religions. It is little more than a label for consciousness, along with the rather dubious assumption that our consciousness is shared. Not really a God concept that 90+% of Theists that come here would identify with.

He asked me to define God, not you. Newsflash: There are other religious beliefs besides Christian and Islamic fundamentalism! Hinduism is a major religion (by all accounts) and this is exactly what is taught by Vedanta Hinduism. The divine reality is called Brahman. Brahman is infinite being, Brahman is infinite bliss. Brahman is infinite consciousness. And the atman (i.e. the soul) and Brahman are one. Spiritual enlightenment is the self-realization of this truth. That you are ignorant of this teaching (which is basically New Age introductory metaphysics 101) probably explains why you failed to recognize Sam Harris' religious and mystical beliefs as expressed in his book entitled "End of Faith." I suggest you educate yourself first before giving your opinion on comparative religions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman 

Who asked you to define God? The OP has no reference, sorry, so I naturally assumed you would be referring to the overwhelmingly most likely category of God concepts that is discussed in these forums. Did 'he' clearly refer to the Brahman sort of God?

BTW I think it is a relatively innocuous and ultimately vacuous version of belief.

I have read 'End of Faith', and not surprisingly, you appear to have grossly misunderstood Sam Harris, just as you don't remotely understand Daniel Dennett. You have not remotely the comprehension and insight to grasp the ideas of those guys.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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BobSpence1 wrote:Who asked

BobSpence1 wrote:

Who asked you to define God? The OP has no reference,

RatDog did....go back and read post #5.

BobSpence1 wrote:

sorry, so I naturally assumed you would be referring to the overwhelmingly most likely category of God concepts that is discussed in these forums.

Well, your assumption was wrong. I'm sorry to disappoint you but I don't subscribe to your "Mickey Mouse" conception of God!

BobSpence1 wrote:

Did 'he' clearly refer to the Brahman sort of God?

No, he didn't. That's why it went over your head. Did he profess to be an atheist in his first book? Answer: No, definitely not. Did he  denounce the materialist worldview in his first book? Answer: Yes, most definitely.

BobSpence1 wrote:

BTW I think it is a relatively innocuous and ultimately vacuous version of belief.

Well, it happens to be the belief that your idol (Sam Harris) was promoting in the "End of Faith."

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have read 'End of Faith', and not surprisingly, you appear to have grossly misunderstood Sam Harris, just as you don't remotely understand Daniel Dennett. You have not remotely the comprehension and insight to grasp the ideas of those guys.

I didn't have to read it twice. I got it right the first time. Evidently, my reading comprehension is better than yours. Sam Harris was clearly promoting "spirituality" and "mysticism" (based primarily on Eastern religions) in the "End of Faith." Your futile attempt to sugarcoat it will not conceal the fact that your 'atheistic' role model was praising the merits of meditation and prayer. (Incidentally, what Daniel Dennett labeled as the "Witness Protection Program" in "Consciousness Explained" is what Sam Harris would know as Brahman.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Harris_(author)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_Faith

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Sinphanius wrote:If this

Sinphanius wrote:

If this were true (and I'm not saying it isn't, not the actual raw part about a genetic factor in spiritual experiences. Your utterly retarded misrepresentation of what a Genetic 'Defect' is, much less whether something being a Genetic 'Defect' actually makes it wrong, is an entirely different matter, but others have already elaborated on that.), then wouldn't this reduce Spirituality, that bastion of subjective personal experiences that you love to tout as proof of your long sought after soul, down to a simple Chemical Response in the Human Brain, which can thus be affected by Genetics?

Congratulations, if this 'God Gene' ends up being correct, it means that the 'divine presence' and 'spiritual response' can be explained away as a simple over-achieving Transmitter Pump in the neurons of a person's brain that is flooding them with serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, essentially getting them "High on the Holy Ghost." It can also explain some people's long touted 'hightenned sensitivity' to the spiritual as this genetic variance giving them a greater propensity towards these feelings of spiritual bliss.

You interpret everything through a materialistic prism. I don't. That's the difference. You could make the same argument for psychedelic or sacramental herbs (which have been used religiously from time immemorial). However, I don't recall the LSD-laden 1960's as being referred to as the "dawning of the age of atheistic materialism." Why do you think that is?

Now, would be an appropriate time to get with the program...tune in and tune out....and sing "let the sunshine in."

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:You interpret

Paisley wrote:

You interpret everything through a materialistic prism. I don't. That's the difference. You could make the same argument for psychedelic or sacramental herbs (which have been used religiously from time immemorial). However, I don't recall the LSD-laden 1960's as being referred to as the "dawning of the age of atheistic materialism." Why do you think that is?

Now, would be an appropriate time to get with the program...tune in and tune out....and sing "let the sunshine in."

 

How exactly is it possible to view the world without a worldview?


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

 

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Who asked you to define God? The OP has no reference,

RatDog did....go back and read post #5.

BobSpence1 wrote:

sorry, so I naturally assumed you would be referring to the overwhelmingly most likely category of God concepts that is discussed in these forums.


Well, your assumption was wrong. I'm sorry to disappoint you but I don't subscribe to your "Mickey Mouse" conception of God!

I was not referring to my concept of God, I was referring to the most common version of the idea presented to us by Theists. which is typically some version of the Christian deity.

Do you consider the common Christian concept of God to be a "Mickey Mouse" conception?

EDIT: I personally think of it more as a "Santa Claus for adults".

Pantheistic Gods are less lame, but only slightly. They are massively inconsistent with the realities of time and space on the scale of the Universe, which pretty much makes any meaningful coherence of the Universe as a whole, especially in any human time-scale, intrinsically impossible. Are you aware of or following the "Global Consciousness Project"? It is trying to prove the reality of the connection between our conscious minds, and so far, from my reading of their results, have certainly failed to produce anything like the correlations one would expect if your idea had any validity.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Did 'he' clearly refer to the Brahman sort of God?

No, he didn't. That's why it went over your head. Did he profess to be an atheist in his first book? Answer: No, definitely not. Did he  denounce the materialist worldview in his first book? Answer: Yes, most definitely.

If you are referring to Sam Harris in his book "The End of Faith", which I have beside me as I type, he referred to the Buddhist practice of meditation. I can find no reference to Brahmanism.

That book is his first book, and he is most assuredly Atheist.

Sam Harris wrote:

Thus, genuine mysticism can be "objective" - in the only normative sense of the word that is worth retaining-in that it need not be contaminated by dogma.

Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not. The mystic has recognised something about the nature of consciousness prior to thought, and this recognition is susceptible to rational discussion. The mystic has reasons for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical.

A kernel of truth lurks at the heart of religion, because spiritual experience, ethical behaviour, and strong communities are essential for human happiness. And yet our religious traditions are intellectually defunct and politically ruinous. while spiritual experience is clearly a natural propensity of the human mind, we need not believe anything on insufficient evidence to actualize it. Clearly, it must be possible to bring reason, spirituality, and ethics together in our thinking about the world. This would be the beginning of a rational approach to our deepest personal concerns. It would also be the end of faith.

The only world-view he is denouncing is the religious variety, anything based on 'faith'.

He is clearly endorsing the application of rational, empirical investigation to assess the value of mystical practices.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

BTW I think it is a relatively innocuous and ultimately vacuous version of belief.

Well, it happens to be the belief that your idol (Sam Harris) was promoting in the "End of Faith."

See the quotes above. He was not subscribing to any belief, and the only belief system he refers to is Buddhism, which while having some roots in Hindu culture, is not Brahminism.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I have read 'End of Faith', and not surprisingly, you appear to have grossly misunderstood Sam Harris, just as you don't remotely understand Daniel Dennett. You have not remotely the comprehension and insight to grasp the ideas of those guys.

I didn't have to read it twice. I got it right the first time. Evidently, my reading comprehension is better than yours. Sam Harris was clearly promoting "spirituality" and "mysticism" (based primarily on Eastern religions) in the "End of Faith." Your futile attempt to sugarcoat it will not conceal the fact that your 'atheistic' role model was praising the merits of meditation and prayer. (Incidentally, what Daniel Dennett labeled as the "Witness Protection Program" in "Consciousness Explained" is what Sam Harris would know as Brahman.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Harris_(author)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_Faith

I didn't ask you to read it again. I just said you completely misunderstood it.

I agree that no matter how many times you read it, your preconceptions will not let thru any accurate  interpretations of it.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You interpret everything through a materialistic prism. I don't. That's the difference. You could make the same argument for psychedelic or sacramental herbs (which have been used religiously from time immemorial). However, I don't recall the LSD-laden 1960's as being referred to as the "dawning of the age of atheistic materialism." Why do you think that is?

Now, would be an appropriate time to get with the program...tune in and tune out....and sing "let the sunshine in."

 

How exactly is it possible to view the world without a worldview?

Why are you asking me this question?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Quote:Why are you asking me

Quote:

Why are you asking me this question?

 

Because you implied that we are biased by our worldviews, while you aren't by yours.  That or you were suggesting it were actually possible to have a blank slate on which to build a worldview.


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v4ultingbassist wrote:

Quote:

Why are you asking me this question?

 

Because you implied that we are biased by our worldviews, while you aren't by yours.  That or you were suggesting it were actually possible to have a blank slate on which to build a worldview.

No, I didn't. You're reading something into my response that isn't there. Everyone interprets evidence based on their respected worldviews. That shouldn't be miscontrued that perspectives can never change.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley

Paisley wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Quote:

Why are you asking me this question?

 

Because you implied that we are biased by our worldviews, while you aren't by yours.  That or you were suggesting it were actually possible to have a blank slate on which to build a worldview.

No, I didn't. You're reading something into my response that isn't there. Everyone interprets evidence based on their respected worldviews. That shouldn't be miscontrued that perspectives can never change.

 

There is a certain implication in saying we look through a 'prism' and you don't.


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v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

No, I didn't. You're reading something into my response that isn't there. Everyone interprets evidence based on their respected worldviews. That shouldn't be miscontrued that perspectives can never change.

There is a certain implication in saying we look through a 'prism' and you don't.

No, I didn't say that. Either your reading comprehension is not very good or you are deliberately distorting what I said in order to make an issue out of a non-issue. This is what I said: "You interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. I don't. That's the difference." 

I don't interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. Why? Because I am not a materialist. In my worldveiw, consciousness is fundamental. Therefore, I see the world differently than the materialist. What exactly aren't you grasping here?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:What qualifies

Paisley wrote:

What qualifies as sufficient evidence to justify a belief in God? And who (or what) makes this determination?

 

God must be defined before any evidence can be presented either way. Otherwise the question is subjective to ones own definition of god. By my definition of god, gods exist, and I am one. But I chose a definition that has a real and practical application, as well as being based in reality. Most people who fling around the term are talking about magic, which does not exist, and therefore neither does their god by association.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Sinphanius wrote:Paisley

Sinphanius wrote:

Paisley wrote:
Actually, this has been validated by science. The "presence of God" that theists feel is attributed to the gene VMAT2 (a.k.a. the God Gene). Evidently, spiritually-inclined individuals are favored by natural selection. They are more apt to be optimistic, healthy, and have more offspring. IOW, atheism is a genetic defect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene

HA! If this were true (and I'm not saying it isn't, not the actual raw part about a genetic factor in spiritual experiences. Your utterly retarded misrepresentation of what a Genetic 'Defect' is, much less whether something being a Genetic 'Defect' actually makes it wrong, is an entirely different matter, but others have already elaborated on that.), then wouldn't this reduce Spirituality, that bastion of subjective personal experiences that you love to tout as proof of your long sought after soul, down to a simple Chemical Response in the Human Brain, which can thus be affected by Genetics?

Congratulations, if this 'God Gene' ends up being correct, it means that the 'divine presence' and 'spiritual response' can be explained away as a simple over-achieving Transmitter Pump in the neurons of a person's brain that is flooding them with serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, essentially getting them "High on the Holy Ghost." It can also explain some people's long touted 'hightenned sensitivity' to the spiritual as this genetic variance giving them a greater propensity towards these feelings of spiritual bliss.

Oh Paisley, sowing the seeds of your own destruction yet again are we? Do you even bother to Read what you cite? Or do you just read enough to mistakenly think it supports your position and then run with it? Well, thanks once again for pointing us towards some more evidence that supports Physical Monism and gets us one step closer to proving we don't need a S.O.U.L. to account for the range of Human Experiences.

Where's your beloved Dualism now Paisley?

HA HA HA HA!

 

nice was about to post this


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Paisley

Paisley wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

No, I didn't. You're reading something into my response that isn't there. Everyone interprets evidence based on their respected worldviews. That shouldn't be miscontrued that perspectives can never change.

There is a certain implication in saying we look through a 'prism' and you don't.

No, I didn't say that. Either your reading comprehension is not very good or you are deliberately distorting what I said in order to make an issue out of a non-issue. This is what I said: "You interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. I don't. That's the difference." 

I don't interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. Why? Because I am not a materialist. In my worldveiw, consciousness is fundamental. Therefore, I see the world differently than the materialist. What exactly aren't you grasping here?

The part of the conversation under discussion reads like you believe the materialst's world view is biased but the panentheistic view (yours) is not. Now your claiming both views are biased. Find a position and stick to it.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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Paisley

Paisley wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

No, I didn't. You're reading something into my response that isn't there. Everyone interprets evidence based on their respected worldviews. That shouldn't be miscontrued that perspectives can never change.

There is a certain implication in saying we look through a 'prism' and you don't.

No, I didn't say that. Either your reading comprehension is not very good or you are deliberately distorting what I said in order to make an issue out of a non-issue. This is what I said: "You interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. I don't. That's the difference." 

I don't interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. Why? Because I am not a materialist. In my worldveiw, consciousness is fundamental. Therefore, I see the world differently than the materialist. What exactly aren't you grasping here?

If you really wanted to clarify your intent, would you accept the statement that you (Paisley) interpret everything "through a DUALISTIC prism" ? Feel free to put something else in place of DUALISTIC if you find that not accurate.

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Is there any way to 'prove'

Is there any way to 'prove' or 'disprove' a pantheistic god?  Aren't you just stuck with logic games unless you think your deity intercedes in the physical world?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Is there any

mellestad wrote:

Is there any way to 'prove' or 'disprove' a pantheistic god?  Aren't you just stuck with logic games unless you think your deity intercedes in the physical world?

 

I don't even know if they'd be logic games... pantheism is essentially irrefutable (from any naturalism-based perspective) if it is literally the belief that nature=god.  Other forms of pantheism do put positive claims on 'god/nature,' so they can be argued against, but the most basic pantheist view is irrefutable from a naturalistic perspective (because it is naturalism... with a twist).  At least that's the way I see it.  Since that definition of god is so removed from standard ones, some pantheists are seen as atheists.


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v4ultingbassist wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Is there any way to 'prove' or 'disprove' a pantheistic god?  Aren't you just stuck with logic games unless you think your deity intercedes in the physical world?

 

I don't even know if they'd be logic games... pantheism is essentially irrefutable (from any naturalism-based perspective) if it is literally the belief that nature=god.  Other forms of pantheism do put positive claims on 'god/nature,' so they can be argued against, but the most basic pantheist view is irrefutable from a naturalistic perspective (because it is naturalism... with a twist).  At least that's the way I see it.  Since that definition of god is so removed from standard ones, some pantheists are seen as atheists.

So what's the point?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Gimme head with hair...Long beautiful hair...

 

Quote:
You interpret everything through a materialistic prism. I don't. That's the difference.

Fun Fact: No I don't.

Quote:
You could make the same argument for psychedelic or sacramental herbs (which have been used religiously from time immemorial).

Shit, Really? Ya Think? I mean its not like I've already pointed out this very thing to You several times on this forum. And its definitely not like every time I do you shove your head in the sand and start screaming that it 'Doesn't prove anything' as you have repeatedly demonstrated yourself of being utterly incapable of adressing the fact that there is recorded evidence for a physical relationship between the brain and the mind, while you have no evidence at all for even the existence of your beloved soul.

Quote:
However, I don't recall the LSD-laden 1960's as being referred to as the "dawning of the age of atheistic materialism." Why do you think that is?

Because the hippies were too busy getting stoned off their asses to consider and discuss the implications of their recreational habits?
Because Hippies are Retarded?
Because This is a complete non-sequiter that does nothing whatsoever to address my point?
Because we actually did see a massive upswell in the number of Atheists since the 60s?


I'm going to have to go with option C, and yes that is my final answer, although all four were likely at least partly true, however they don't adress the fact that your 'response' to me was nothing more than you attempting to distract from the real issue. Just because people didn't acknowledge it or give it a properly descriptive name doesn't make it false, nor does it make it true.

All your 'Response' to me did was ignore my point and assert that I was wrong based on your own infantile fixation on names.  I guess I shouldn't be suprised given that this is how every debate with you has gone, but seriously. 

Come on Paisley, that tha best ya got?
 

When you say it like that you make it sound so Sinister...


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mellestad wrote:

So what's the point?

 

I guess respect for nature?  I'm not really sure.  It kind of represents natural's wonderism, in a weird way.  Except that his isn't theistic. 


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BobSpence1 wrote:Paisley

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

No, I didn't say that. Either your reading comprehension is not very good or you are deliberately distorting what I said in order to make an issue out of a non-issue. This is what I said: "You interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. I don't. That's the difference." 

I don't interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. Why? Because I am not a materialist. In my worldveiw, consciousness is fundamental. Therefore, I see the world differently than the materialist. What exactly aren't you grasping here?

If you really wanted to clarify your intent, would you accept the statement that you (Paisley) interpret everything "through a DUALISTIC prism" ? Feel free to put something else in place of DUALISTIC if you find that not accurate.

I did clarify my intent in post #38 by stating..."Everyone interprets evidence based on their respected worldviews."

That you are seeking to manufacture a problem where there is none speaks volumes on how petty you truly are.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

No, I didn't say that. Either your reading comprehension is not very good or you are deliberately distorting what I said in order to make an issue out of a non-issue. This is what I said: "You interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. I don't. That's the difference." 

I don't interpret everything through a MATERIALISTIC prism. Why? Because I am not a materialist. In my worldveiw, consciousness is fundamental. Therefore, I see the world differently than the materialist. What exactly aren't you grasping here?

If you really wanted to clarify your intent, would you accept the statement that you (Paisley) interpret everything "through a DUALISTIC prism" ? Feel free to put something else in place of DUALISTIC if you find that not accurate.

I did clarify my intent in post #38 by stating..."Everyone interprets evidence based on their respected worldviews."

That you are seeking to manufacture a problem where there is none speaks volumes on how petty you truly are.

That statement says nothing about your world-view, which is what was asked.

You are dodging - you are happy to put a simplistic label on what you assume our world view is, but you are apparently unwilling to describe yours in the same way.

A simple yes or no would have all you needed to respond with here, instead you dodge. 

If you think a phrase like that is inadequate to fairly define your world-view, then concede that you should not have applied it to ours, especially when you are basing it on naked assumption.

Otherwise, simply say yes, no, or a nominate the word or phrase which best describes yours. 

Why do you refuse to elaborate your world-view, for reference, and simple open fairness, so we have more context for evaluating your posts, while persistently labelling what you assume ours is?

'Consciousness is fundamental" doesn't quite cut it. It is even consistent with a position that asserts that consciousness is a physical process - it can still be validly claimed to be fundamental in some sense.

Are you a Dualist or not?

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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BobSpence1 wrote:I was not

BobSpence1 wrote:

I was not referring to my concept of God, I was referring to the most common version of the idea presented to us by Theists. which is typically some version of the Christian deity.

Do you consider the common Christian concept of God to be a "Mickey Mouse" conception?

I consider your concept of God to be a "Mickey Mouse" conception. How you arrived at it does not concern me.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Pantheistic Gods are less lame, but only slightly. They are massively inconsistent with the realities of time and space on the scale of the Universe, which pretty much makes any meaningful coherence of the Universe as a whole, especially in any human time-scale, intrinsically impossible. Are you aware of or following the "Global Consciousness Project"? It is trying to prove the reality of the connection between our conscious minds, and so far, from my reading of their results, have certainly failed to produce anything like the correlations one would expect if your idea had any validity.

Yes, I am aware of the "Global Consciousness Project." I am the one who informed you of the project. Duh! It would appear that Sam Harris does not exactly share your skepticism on the subject. He recommended Dean Radin's book entitled  "The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena" on page 242 in the "End of Faith." (Dean Radin is one of the parapsychologists heading up the GCP.)

BobSpence1 wrote:

If you are referring to Sam Harris in his book "The End of Faith", which I have beside me as I type, he referred to the Buddhist practice of meditation. I can find no reference to Brahmanism.

Well, Meera Nanda disagrees with you. She wrote an article entitled "Spirited Away" in which she reviews Sam Harris' first book and takes him to task for promoting the spiritual practices of both Dzogchen Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta Hinduism. (Do you really think there is a difference between Buddha-nature and Brahman?)

Nanda's article appeared in the "New Humanist" - the largest journal of atheism, secularism, and freethought in the U.K. A link is provided below. Read it and weep.

http://newhumanist.org.uk/973

BobSpence1 wrote:

That book is his first book, and he is most assuredly Atheist.

No, you're wrong. Sam Harris never considered himself an atheist upon publishing "End of Faith." And I challenge you to find the terms "atheist" or "atheism" in that book. The link below supports my claim.

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=91018580&blogId=316315723

By the way, I said that Sam Harris promoted "spirituality" and "mysticism" in the "End of Faith." And then you provide me with quotes from Sam Harris on him praising the merits of spirituality and mysticism. How exactly does this refute my claim?

I find it very strange that a so-called "hard-core/militant atheist" is promoting mysticism - a spiritual practice that holds that direct knowledge of God or the divine reality can be experientially known! Who primarily engages in this practice? Answer: Religious monks and nuns!

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mysticism

BobSpence1 wrote:

The only world-view he is denouncing is the religious variety, anything based on 'faith'.

He is clearly endorsing the application of rational, empirical investigation to assess the value of mystical practices.

"The idea that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article of faith." pg. 208 "End of Faith" by Sam Harris

It would appear to me that Sam Harris believes that your materialist worldview is based on faith.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I was not referring to my concept of God, I was referring to the most common version of the idea presented to us by Theists. which is typically some version of the Christian deity.

Do you consider the common Christian concept of God to be a "Mickey Mouse" conception?

I consider your concept of God to be a "Mickey Mouse" conception. How you arrived at it does not concern me.

I have no concept of God as such. Why can't you answer a simple question?

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Pantheistic Gods are less lame, but only slightly. They are massively inconsistent with the realities of time and space on the scale of the Universe, which pretty much makes any meaningful coherence of the Universe as a whole, especially in any human time-scale, intrinsically impossible. Are you aware of or following the "Global Consciousness Project"? It is trying to prove the reality of the connection between our conscious minds, and so far, from my reading of their results, have certainly failed to produce anything like the correlations one would expect if your idea had any validity.

Yes, I am aware of the "Global Consciousness Project." I am the one who informed you of the project. Duh! It would appear that Sam Harris does not exactly share your skepticism on the subject. He recommended Dean Radin's book entitled  "The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena" on page 242 in the "End of Faith." (Dean Radin is one of the parapsychologists heading up the GCP.)

Can you tell me roughly how far that reference is into which chapter? I must have a different edition, I can find no reference on that page or in the index to either Radin or the Project.

Please note I am not denying he mentioned it, I just cannot find it in my copy.

Even if he did, it would not surprise me, since he is determined to keep an open mind, and is prepared to look into anything which may be relevant to his ideas, but he does insist that it be properly empirically investigated.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

If you are referring to Sam Harris in his book "The End of Faith", which I have beside me as I type, he referred to the Buddhist practice of meditation. I can find no reference to Brahmanism.

Well, Meera Nanda disagrees with you. She wrote an article entitled "Spirited Away" in which she reviews Sam Harris' first book and takes him to task for promoting the spiritual practices of both Dzogchen Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta Hinduism. (Do you really think there is a difference between Buddha-nature and Brahman?)

Nanda's article appeared in the "New Humanist" - the largest journal of atheism, secularism, and freethought in the U.K. A link is provided below. Read it and weep.

http://newhumanist.org.uk/973

Wikipedia wrote:

In the Hindu religion, Brahman (bráhman, {{lang|sa|} ब्रह्मन्}) is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this Universe.

 

Within many schools of Mahayana Buddhism, the Buddha-nature ... is taught to be a truly real and pure, but internally hidden immortal potency or element within the mind of all beings, for awakening and becoming a Buddha. There are conflicting interpretations of the idea in Mahayanic philosophy. The idea may be traced to Abhidharmic thought, and ultimately to statements of the Buddha in the Nikayas. Other terms for the Buddha-nature are Tathāgatagarbha and Sugatagarbha.

 Hmm...  doesn't seem to be exactly the same idea to me, although of course there are some general ideas shared. Brahman doesn't say anything about becoming a Buddha.

 

When I read more fully the sections of the book that article quotes from, I find they don't quite convey the same impression as the article. IOW, reading the book is the ultimate reference for what Sam was actually thinking when he wrote it, and it seems like Meera was a little hasty and shared the wide presumption that because Harris is prepared to seriously investigate some of these traditions he has 'gone off the deep end'. I will give my reading of the actual book precedence over someone writing a review.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

That book is his first book, and he is most assuredly Atheist.

No, you're wrong. Sam Harris never considered himself an atheist upon publishing "End of Faith." And I challenge you to find the terms "atheist" or "atheism" in that book. The link below supports my claim.

[quotehttp://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=91018580&blogId=316315723

Are you serious? He is unhappy with the word 'Atheist' and the associations it has come to have - he is not a believer in God(s). Do you seriously not get it?

in that same article, Daniel Dennett said, in commenting on Harris' talk: ""I think Sam's right that the term atheist is a risky term in some ways because it minimizes and marginalizes what the real issue is: which is irrationality and a failure to respect reason. Belief in God is just one aspect of that. "

Are you now going to claim that Dennett is a closet believer?

Quote:

By the way, I said that Sam Harris promoted "spirituality" and "mysticism" in the "End of Faith." And then you provide me with quotes from Sam Harris on him praising the merits of spirituality and mysticism. How exactly does this refute my claim?

He nowhere asserts belief in God or Gods. He acknowledges, and I agree with him, that we need a degree of the sort of mental activity that is typically referred to as 'spiritual' in the sense of the basic feeling/emotion that Religions typically preempt and claim as an indicator of the 'divine' presence, just one of the things that religions typically take over and distort in a way that that he clearly finds objectionable.

Quote:

I find it very strange that a so-called "hard-core/militant atheist" is promoting mysticism - a spiritual practice that holds that direct knowledge of God or the divine reality can be experientially known! Who primarily engages in this practice? Answer: Religious monks and nuns!

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mysticism

He is explicitly not 'promoting' the religious distortions of those ideas. It is irrelevant how many people practice the religious versions of meditation and mysticism.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

The only world-view he is denouncing is the religious variety, anything based on 'faith'.

He is clearly endorsing the application of rational, empirical investigation to assess the value of mystical practices.

"The idea that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article of faith." pg. 208 "End of Faith" by Sam Harris

It would appear to me that Sam Harris believes that your materialist worldview is based on faith.

No, that is not a reasonable reading of that part of the book. He said nothing about the 'Materialist World-View". You are applying what he said way out of context.

He is merely stating that scientist have insufficient evidence to justify the assertion that the brain produces conscious, not that it cannot be true. I think he goes a bit far there in discounting what science does know about the connections between the brain and consciousness.

Incidentally, are you sure Harris mentioned the Global Consciousness Project in The End Of Faith? I originally assumed you must have a different edition when I could not find any mention of it on the page number you quoted, but I see that the quote you just gave is indeed on p 208.

Incidentally, I note that he reproduces an article on a scientific study of the Brain on his web site:

Quote:

Religious belief may seem to be a unique psychological experience, but a growing body of research shows that thinking about religion is no different from thinking about secular things —at least from the standpoint of the brain. In the first imaging study to compare religious and nonreligious thoughts, evaluating the truth of either type of statement was found to involve the same regions of the brain.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, used functional MRI to evaluate brain activity in 15 devout Christians and 15 nonbelievers as the volunteers assessed the truth or falsity of a series of statements, some of which were religious (“angels exist&rdquoEye-wink and others nonreligious (“Alexander the Great was a very famous military ruler&rdquoEye-wink. They found that when a subject believed a statement—whether it was religious or not—activity appeared in an area called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is an area associated with emotions, rewards and self-representation.

And although the nonbelievers rejected about half of the statements the believers accepted, the brain scans of both groups were indistin guishable, providing further proof that evaluating truth or falsity is independent of the content of the statement in question. “The fact that we found the same brain processing between believers and nonbelievers, despite the two groups’ completely different answers to the questions [about religion], is pretty surprising,” says Jonas Kaplan, a research psy chologist at U.C.L.A. and co-author of the study. The finding adds to the mounting evidence against the notion, popular in the scientific community as well as among the general public, that religious faith is somehow different from other types of belief, explains co-author Sam Harris, also of U.C.L.A. In contrast to this assumption, he says, “Believing the sun is a star is rather the same as believing Jesus was born of a virgin.” [For more on the neuroscience of religion, see “Searching for God in the Brain,” by David Biello; Scientific American Mind, October/November 2007.]

Strange for someone who rejects scientific ideas about the brain and consciousness to give prominence to such a report.

I am watching a video debate he had with a Rabbi on the topic "Does God Exist?". He has no apparent problems with being included in with Dennett, Hitchens, and Dawkins. He is manifestly for Science and against Religion, he just has a problem the word "atheist' because of the connotations it has accumulated.

It is the height of absurdity to even hint that he believes in a God.

The fact is eager for any actual empirical evidence on the nature of conscious, possible benefits of mystical and meditative practices, while quite explicitly rejecting the religious pre-emption of those areas of our internal experience.

All way to subtle and over the head of someone with your narrow and blinkered view-point.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Paisley:Sam Harris

Paisley:

Sam Harris explicitly has said that he does not use the word Atheist because he thinks it is an empty, unnecessary term. He uses the example that it would be like feeling that you needed a special word to label yourself as not believing in Astrology.

IOW he does not use the word, precisely because he thinks that non-belief in God is so clearly the most rational stance, that it gives Theism too much respect to use a word to label yourself as "not a Theist".

So it is because he accepts the non-theist position so strongly, precisely the opposite to your assumption.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:Paisley

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

"The idea that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article of faith." pg. 208 "End of Faith" by Sam Harris

It would appear to me that Sam Harris believes that your materialist worldview is based on faith.

No, that is not a reasonable reading of that part of the book. He said nothing about the 'Materialist World-View". You are applying what he said way out of context.

He is merely stating that scientist have insufficient evidence to justify the assertion that the brain produces conscious, not that it cannot be true. I think he goes a bit far there in discounting what science does know about the connections between the brain and consciousness.

You're spin-doctoring here in order to "save face." Here's the context:

Quote:

"Most scientists consider themselves to be PHYSICALISTS (emphasis mine); this means, among other things, that our mental and spiritual lives are wholly dependent upon the workings of our brain."

(source: pg. 208, "End of Faith" by Sam Harris)

Physcialism (a.k.a. materialism) holds the view that our "consciousness" (what Harris is calling our mental and spiritual lives here) is wholly dependent on the brain and its interactions. This is a position I have clearly opposed. And this is a position that you have clearly upheld. Intellectual honesty demands that you acknowledge this.

What does he say about this materialistic view?

Quote:

"The place of consciousness in the natural world is a very much an open question. The idea that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article faith."

(source: pg. 208, "End of Faith" by Sam Harris)

What is a reasonable interpretation of this statement taking into account the context of which it is written? Answer: That Sam Harris believes that the physicalist (or materialist) view that our consciousness is produced by our brain "is little more than an article faith." What is it an article of faith of? Answer: The materialist worldview.

Moreover, Harris goes on to say the following on the next page...

Quote:

"Consciousness may be a far more RUDIMENTARY (emphasis mine) phenomenon than living creatures and their brains. And there appears to be no obvious way of ruling out such a thesis experimentally." 

(source: pg. 209, "End of Faith" by Sam Harris)

The belief that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality is the basis for Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta Hinduism. That's a pantheistic/panentheistic concept. And this explains why Sam Harris is very enthusiatic about "spirituality" and "mysticism" and why he is very open to the idea of the paranormal (or psi phenomena) and reincarnation.

I am not going to continue to fence with you on this matter. I can see that it would be an exercise in futility. But let's be very clear: I am a nonmaterialist (as it would appear that Sam Harris is). I believe that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality and I fully reject the notion of an objective, physical world existing independently of consciousness. I am open to dualism, panpsychism, idealism or any other "ism" which acknowledges that consciousness is fundamental. I am open to psi phenomena (I actually believe that psi phenomena has been scientifically establised) and reincarnation (as it would appear that Sam Harris is). I subscribe to panentheism and I believe that God, Brahman"(a.k.a. as "sat chit ananda" or truth, consciousness,bliss), Buddha-nature, the Tao, the Logos, Divine Love and so forth can be experientially known through the practice of spirituality and mysticism.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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I would disagree with Harris

I would disagree with Harris that the question of consciousness is quite that much of an open question as he maintains, but I am right with him in his contempt for religion, faith, theology, the gross inadequacy of religion-based 'moral' systems,  and his atheism - I don't mind using the word, even if thinks it should be unnecessary.

I hope you would be honest enough to acknowledge that you got his position on atheism completely wrong.

For all that, I am prepared to overlook some of his views on consciousness - at least he is determined that it should be investigated scientifically, along with mysticism and meditation.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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From what I see in this last

From what I see in this last post, Paisley, you are shrinking the scope of the definition of physicalism and increasing the scope of the definition of materialism in order to make them synonyms.

Harris seems to be saying that there is no way to know for sure how consciousness actually works, though most scientists believe that it is due to the workings of the brain. I get this from his use of phrases like "The place of consciousness in the natural world is a very much an open question" and "Consciousness may be..." and "And there appears to be no obvious way of ruling out such a thesis experimentally."  There is nothing to say tha Harris is sure of anything about consciousness and he certainly isn't suggesting a god did it.

And before you jump on my case about it - you were the first to quote mine your quotes

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jcgadfly wrote:From what I

jcgadfly wrote:

From what I see in this last post, Paisley, you are shrinking the scope of the definition of physicalism and increasing the scope of the definition of materialism in order to make them synonyms.

Harris seems to be saying that there is no way to know for sure how consciousness actually works, though most scientists believe that it is due to the workings of the brain. I get this from his use of phrases like "The place of consciousness in the natural world is a very much an open question" and "Consciousness may be..." and "And there appears to be no obvious way of ruling out such a thesis experimentally."  There is nothing to say tha Harris is sure of anything about consciousness and he certainly isn't suggesting a god did it.

And before you jump on my case about it - you were the first to quote mine your quotes

Harris explicitly stated that the physicalist notion "that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article faith." (source: pg. 208, "End of Faith" by Sam Harris)

The bottom line here is that Sam Harris (one of the four horsemen of the New Atheist movment) shares my viewpoint on this matter, not yours. Your vain attempt to downplay it will not alter the fact.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:jcgadfly

Paisley wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

From what I see in this last post, Paisley, you are shrinking the scope of the definition of physicalism and increasing the scope of the definition of materialism in order to make them synonyms.

Harris seems to be saying that there is no way to know for sure how consciousness actually works, though most scientists believe that it is due to the workings of the brain. I get this from his use of phrases like "The place of consciousness in the natural world is a very much an open question" and "Consciousness may be..." and "And there appears to be no obvious way of ruling out such a thesis experimentally."  There is nothing to say tha Harris is sure of anything about consciousness and he certainly isn't suggesting a god did it.

And before you jump on my case about it - you were the first to quote mine your quotes

Harris explicitly stated that the physicalist notion "that brains produce consciousness is little more than an article faith." (source: pg. 208, "End of Faith" by Sam Harris)

The bottom line here is that Sam Harris (one of the four horsemen of the New Atheist movment) shares my viewpoint on this matter, not yours. Your vain attempt to downplay it will not alter the fact.

But Harris has not denied it as a possibility, he just thinks it has not been adequately demonstrated.

He also does not believe in any form of Deity, he puts Theism in the same category as Astrology, and has said several times that we should not need to identify ourselves as 'atheists' any more than we need to have a word to identify ourselves as non-believers in Astrology.  Dennett has said he sees his point, but thinks there is still value in using the term 'atheist'.

He is very interested in scientifically, ie empirically, investigating consciousness and other aspects of mental activity such as mysticism and meditation.

Get it straight, Paisley.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology