A Formal Introduction and Statement of Personal Principles

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A Formal Introduction and Statement of Personal Principles

I am remiss for never having given a formal introduction of myself.

My name is David Richards, I am 25 years old, I live in the Greater Houston Area of Texas (a suburb to be precise), and I work at a small local computer repair shop as a PC tech; it's the family business.  Currently I'm working on a couple of Tech Certifications.

Several of you will be familiar with me from the Atheist / Theist Debate and Philosophy and Psychology forums, where I have given my two cents on a few threads.  I suppose it is best if I nail my colors to the mast right away, for those of you who might have had difficulty grasping where I come from.  I was raised a Charismatic Evangelical Fundamentalist Protestant but later grew to reject many of the theological attitudes expressed by that version of Christianity.  I converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity about four years ago (officially baptized and chrismated, or 'confirmed') and have studied ancient philosophy and Christianity for about seven years.

I prefer not to discuss any sort of general, vague notion of theism but, in debate, to put forth my beliefs as an Orthodox Christian, even if I do not explicitly state them as such.  Thus, many of my thoughts have been shaped around various philosophies but I always try to measure these against my life as an Orthodox Christian.  I do not believe it does any good to discuss theism-in-general, as there is no neutral concept of God to be had, upon which all theists can agree.  Among just Christians there are vastly different ways in which God is conceived, so I believe the argument will never get off the ground for atheists until they can provide an internal critique of MY view.  I attempt to do this with atheism as I see that much of it flows from naive empiricism, Enlightenment or post-Enlightenment assumptions about reason, and almost dogmatic naturalism that is self-refuting.  Another important point to keep in mind is that science is essentially a method and as such can be compatible with several different philosophical assumptions.  By itself it proves nothing, but we must interpret raw data and raw facts according to some paradigm.  Therefore I try to avoid discussions around science unless it pertains to the philosophy of science itself.

I want to stress that both theism and atheism have their simplistic adherents and their sophisticated adherents.  I do not assume that any simplistic explanation is good enough to present a cogent case for my side, and I strive to present a sophisticated explanation of my beliefs.  I expect the same of my interlocutors, which is why, when I question assumptions, I really need formal arguments to back up assertions and not mere burden-shifting and question-begging.  I am always willing to have an open discussion, but tend to become annoyed with psychoanalysis or mantra-spouting.  (Flying Spaghetti Monster being just one example.)  I believe rational atheists can, and should, do better than this.  That is all for me; this is more of a statement of principles, and I hope I haven't worn out my welcome.

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David


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There are several groups

There are several groups calling themselves "Orthodox Christians" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Christianity). Where do you fall in these groups (if indeed you do)?

"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."
— George Carlin


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I noted that I am an Eastern

I noted that I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian to distinguish myself from Western variants of Christianity, from Roman Catholic on down the line through mainline Protestant sects such as the Anglicans, Lutherans, and Presbyterians, and the more low-church Evangelicals.  The jurisdictions of Greece, Russia, Serbia, and so forth are all generally considered the same church with different cultural and ethnic expressions.  There are other "Orthodox Churches," which refers to for example the Coptic Church or the Syrian Church, which reject the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century AD.  As far as I am concerned the only "Eastern Orthodox" Churches are the Chalcedonian and the non-Chalcedonian, with the various cultural manifestations of each simply being different expressions of the same set of beliefs and practices.  So to clear up matters I don't consider myself specifically Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Antiochian, and so forth.  I consider myself as belonging to the Orthodox Church which accepts all seven of the Ecumenical Councils.

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drichards85 wrote:I noted

drichards85 wrote:

I noted that I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian to distinguish myself from Western variants of Christianity, from Roman Catholic on down the line through mainline Protestant sects such as the Anglicans, Lutherans, and Presbyterians, and the more low-church Evangelicals.  The jurisdictions of Greece, Russia, Serbia, and so forth are all generally considered the same church with different cultural and ethnic expressions.  There are other "Orthodox Churches," which refers to for example the Coptic Church or the Syrian Church, which reject the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century AD.  As far as I am concerned the only "Eastern Orthodox" Churches are the Chalcedonian and the non-Chalcedonian, with the various cultural manifestations of each simply being different expressions of the same set of beliefs and practices.  So to clear up matters I don't consider myself specifically Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Antiochian, and so forth.  I consider myself as belonging to the Orthodox Church which accepts all seven of the Ecumenical Councils.

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David

 Not sure I understand. You created an amalgamation of orthodoxies that suit you?

"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."
— George Carlin


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 Welcome to the forums.

 Welcome to the forums.

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Hullo again,Had some time to

Hullo again,

Had some time to work on your argument ?

 


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jcgadfly,No, it is not an

jcgadfly,

No, it is not an amalgamation.  It was an explanation that what many perceive to be different churches (Greek, Russian, Serbian-Croatian, Antiochian, and so forth) are actually one Church.  I stand within the Chalcedonian tradition, which means that I accept the Christian Council of Chalcedon in the Fifth Century AD.  Other churches which call themselves "Orthodox" (such as the Copts and the Syrians) reject Chalcedon.  I didn't just combine flavors but chose one tradition over another.

Anonymouse,

A bit, but what with work and all it has been difficult.  I almost did post but I had the same formatting problem and decided that I needed to go back and clean up my argument anyway.

IC XC

David


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Hi David

drichards85 wrote:

I see that much of (atheism) flows from naive empiricism, Enlightenment or post-Enlightenment assumptions about reason, and almost dogmatic naturalism that is self-refuting. Another important point to keep in mind is that science is essentially a method and as such can be compatible with several different philosophical assumptions. By itself it proves nothing, but we must interpret raw data and raw facts according to some paradigm. Therefore I try to avoid discussions around science unless it pertains to the philosophy of science itself. 

 

I'm familiar with your general stance, both my christian brothers adhere to a first cause position that allows them to ignore naturalistic empiricism in its entirety - like you seem to do they insist physicality can only be teased into life in a philosophical compartment. You can imagine that four square rationalists who are prepared to admit there are things they don't know struggle with the giddy nature of what you are saying here. Would you agree the universe and all that is in it has been around for billions of years - happily existing without philosophy - or are you a young earther?

Welcome by the way.

 

 

 

 

 

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


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Atheistextremist, I'm not

Atheistextremist, I'm not sure what you mean by a "first cause position."  I don't ignore naturalistic empiricism, I think it's self-refuting and therefore false.  It isn't so much that I maintain that "physicality can only be teased into life in a philosophical compartment" (whatever you mean by that), but theory precedes, and to a large extent shapes, our interpretation of bald facts.  Even the most basic theories have a priori assumptions which are never tested, or even provable, by the system itself; even the most elementary methods must select for certain types of evidence as valid before it gather said evidence.  If this were not true, then scientific progress would be impossible since one would have to know before doing research which research is valid but could not since that would depend on the research itself, etc.  So paradigms are inevitable and inescapable, from my view.

The problem with popular rationalism is its lack of reflection and its self-refutation.  For some reason, everything must be subjected to the rigors of logical analysis except for the premise that everything must be subjected to the rigors of logical analysis.  This is taken either to be "self-evident" (simply a weak assertion since what's evident to one person is by no means evident to another person, much less all persons) or to require no defense or to be a special case in which the axiom itself does not have to meet its own criteria but appeals to some other criteria like the good of mankind.  Pardon me for being underwhelmed by rationalism.

The real question as it pertains to rationalism is not whether or not one should be rational - I do believe that reason has its proper place in discourse, or I would not take such great pains to present reasonable arguments - but whether or not the axioms of rationalism can account for everything without, eventually, lapsing into incoherence and self-contradiction.  I don't think they can.

I haven't studied OEC vs YEC since I choose to focus on and personally study doctrines which are central and integral to my Church's confessions, as well as imminently practical for my own prayer and worship and so forth; as far as I know there's no dogmatic stance in my Church on the actual age of the earth.  I'm much more open-minded when it comes to the discoveries of secular science, I just reject the naturalist paradigm of much contemporary science as a metaphysic.  I don't believe there's any conflict until one equates theology with science, which it is not.  I'm not afraid to say I don't know here, and to leave it an open question until I've investigated the matter further.  Thanks for the welcome by the way.

IC XC

David


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My choice of phrase may not be succinct

 

enough, David, but I think my assumptions were correct. First cause is the cosmological argument - the uncaused cause as creator. If you are ok with the findings of scientific process (which I really don't think you should pin the word secular on), then the issue for you is first cause - where did all this stuff come from. This causeless cause is the only thing that would dispose of the a priori assumptions that result from accepting a first cause that was not causeless - in that case you'd really be shifting the problem sideways from what science cannot yet answer to what cannot ever be answered about a first cause for god.

Physicality being teased into life in a philosophical compartment = theories shape our interpretation of bald facts so we are together on that. I would highlight the word "our interpretation" in this case and ask whether or not you think the universe can exist without a brain in it to perceive it. Is the stuff of the universe constant apart from all our paradigms? I would say yes, it is. What would you say?

I agree with you that logic is important but using logic to prove something like the existence of god is not going to work. As you know, a logical proof rests on the integrity of its first premise and any reasoning able to prove god could be used to prove any god at all, even any thing at all. Your position on natural empiricism is interesting given your doubts about it seem to stem primarily from the the fact it can't itself be logically analysed and the fact that empericism depends on the subjective analysis of a human brain - which you seem to suggest here is unreliable and variable. I agree with that last point but it obviously applies to all human thought and I would suggest less to things that can be consistently measured using objective processes.

I agree with you that theology and science can't be equated but obviously I sit on the other side of the naturalist paradigm in that I think science can actually consistently measure what we see as reality while the religious and philosophical side does not have this capability. Instead it is built on assumptions that are equally vulnerable to being self evident or subjective, and that metaphysically position themselves so as they cannot be subject to scrutiny because this naturalistic scrutiny would be irrational and self refuting. You can see the double standard here, can't you?

Essentially what you are saying is that rational human thought cannot supply the answers - these can only be supplied by philosophy and doctrine created by another sort of human thought. I would contend that this human thought is not constrained by any boundaries outside of human imagination and in fact is entirely subjective. I don't disagree there are conceptual philosphical paradigms we can create and share but to me these are ancillary to things that exist outside our minds. All measurable evidence suggests the universe pre-dates our minds by 14.5 billion years.

The rub for me is that I am forced to accept there are things about the universe I can never know, not just in terms of scope but in terms of detail. This admission of conceptual and rational defeat is to me an expression of honesty. You, on the other hand, take this gap in our understanding and technical capability and - assume - on a vast scale.

 

Edit: I guess the thing that gets me about the mindset about the godly is that when questions about reality come up they don't ask what is the evidence we have gathered about reality but instead say what does my human doctrine say about reality. To take the latter position and with a toss of your head say you have no respect for the former position is a demonstration of profound cognitive bias. And comparing a religious doctrine to a scientific process is just way out there.

 

 

 

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


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Atheistextremist, I reject

Atheistextremist, I reject the cosmological argument as a primary proof for the existence of God because I do not believe the existence of God can be proven with rational satisfaction, in such a way that would lay to rest all possible rational objections.

The stuff of the universe is constant apart from our paradigms.  Truth does not become true when someone believes it but is rather independent of personal, subjective belief.  At the same time I would note that the coherence of my belief is that it allows for some axioms to go unproven through reason such that a basic belief can be true and necessary yet unprovable.  What clinches it for me is that the universe is neither comprehensible nor intelligible apart from a source outside itself; if we take naive empiricism to be true, as many scientists have argued, then it is impossible to derive concepts from the methods of science alone.  Thus a conceptual framework that is untestable by natural science is essential for beliefs even to progress to what we might call knowledge.  And the rationalist may be satisfied to admit that there are things he does not know, but for some reason he balks when he is told that there are things which he can know independent of reason.  If the rationalist is right, then he is wrong, because he would have to know his premise apart from reason and his premise is that reason is the primary if not the only channel of knowledge.  Many scientists and mathematicians recognize the problem so they become intuitionists while those on the other side still attempt to give a philosophical defense of some coherent system based on what are at bottom arbitrary assumptions that, to be blunt, are no more than parochial.

The processes of science may be objective but they can never be neutral since they follow from the scientist's commitments.  Scientists select for what counts as evidence in advance, which means that they must adopt some philosophy of method, which could not possibly be tested by science itself for if it could their system would be simply a tautology, self-consistent but uninformative.  Realism is an attractive option for naturalists, but it is untenable if we are to take naturalism seriously.

Sorry, a friend just called.  I will have to complete this later.

IC XC

David


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Ok, David

 

I guess this means the key to your belief is that the universe cannot be intelligible apart from a source outside itself - a source capable of providing concepts against which data about the universe can be measured. And you are saying no such conceptual framework that can be used thus is testable by natural science. Is this the heart of your position where issues of science are concerned? Could you suggest where you think the concepts of reason that science adheres to spring from? And could you explain how human reason could be called a source 'apart' from the universe?

 

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


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In your opinion, what are

In your opinion, what are the main differences between the orthodox and catholic flavors of christianity?


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Atheistextremist, I do

Atheistextremist, I do apologize but my last message was cut short by a phone call from a friend, and I am not mentally up to the task at this juncture to respond to your questions at this time but I promise to get to them later, perhaps tomorrow.  Suffice it to say you ask some good questions and I need to flesh out some thoughts from my last post but that will take more intellectual effort than I'm willing to exert right now.

Have a good evening.

IC XC

David


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KSMB,There are many

KSMB,

There are many differences between Orthodoxy and the Western sects (from Roman Catholic to the lowest church Protestant) but to get a handle on them one would need to understand how they diverge in their doctrines of God and Christ, their anthropology and human psychology, their view of what salvation entails and the nature, role, purpose, and method of prayer and worship.  These are just a few lynchpins; I believe the rest of the differences may either be reduced to or shown to relate to one of these axes.  If you would like a more detailed explanation, I would be happy to provide concrete examples or to elaborate on the aforementioned.  I'm not sure how appropriate that is to this thread and these forums though.

IC XC

David


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drichards85

drichards85 wrote:

Atheistextremist, I reject the cosmological argument as a primary proof for the existence of God because I do not believe the existence of God can be proven with rational satisfaction, in such a way that would lay to rest all possible rational objections.

The stuff of the universe is constant apart from our paradigms.  Truth does not become true when someone believes it but is rather independent of personal, subjective belief.  At the same time I would note that the coherence of my belief is that it allows for some axioms to go unproven through reason such that a basic belief can be true and necessary yet unprovable.  What clinches it for me is that the universe is neither comprehensible nor intelligible apart from a source outside itself; if we take naive empiricism to be true, as many scientists have argued, then it is impossible to derive concepts from the methods of science alone.  Thus a conceptual framework that is untestable by natural science is essential for beliefs even to progress to what we might call knowledge.  And the rationalist may be satisfied to admit that there are things he does not know, but for some reason he balks when he is told that there are things which he can know independent of reason.  If the rationalist is right, then he is wrong, because he would have to know his premise apart from reason and his premise is that reason is the primary if not the only channel of knowledge.  Many scientists and mathematicians recognize the problem so they become intuitionists while those on the other side still attempt to give a philosophical defense of some coherent system based on what are at bottom arbitrary assumptions that, to be blunt, are no more than parochial.

The processes of science may be objective but they can never be neutral since they follow from the scientist's commitments.  Scientists select for what counts as evidence in advance, which means that they must adopt some philosophy of method, which could not possibly be tested by science itself for if it could their system would be simply a tautology, self-consistent but uninformative.  Realism is an attractive option for naturalists, but it is untenable if we are to take naturalism seriously.

Sorry, a friend just called.  I will have to complete this later.

IC XC

David

 

What is your primary reason for following your particular deity then, if you don't mind my asking?

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


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Atheistextremist, that is

Atheistextremist, that is one pillar of my argument.  Due to theological considerations I do not believe that the existence of God can be proven with reason, but I do believe that naturalism can be disproven, shown to be incoherent, and thus is false.  There are several strands which I find highly problematic from a purely philosophical point of view no matter what ideology one is committed to.  Materialism in my opinion rules out realism about material objects and antirealism leaves us with no concepts against which to measure and coherently evaluate our experiences.  There is the 'Discovery Problem' of natural science, the problem that strictly speaking scientific concepts seem not to be discoverable by the methods of science.  Then we have the naive empiricism of some contemporary biologists (see: Dawkins) which has been shown to be inadequate by mathematics and modern theoretical physics.  And let's not forget evidentialism, the belief that every belief requires a certain sort of evidence in order to be justified - except for that belief, right?  When all these are taken together I do not believe that naturalism is a tenable scientific thesis and I haven't even touched on normative ethics and reason yet, which just adds one more complaint to a whole barrel-full of the unreflective assumptions that typically go up to make your modern village atheist, not forgetting the fact that he was raised in some religion and it left a bad taste in his mouth so all religions must therefore be false.  The only reason I employ such polemics is to demonstrate how easy it is to make anything sound irrational and pathetic with a few quips.  I don't deny that there are sophisticated atheist positions out there but so far on this forum my experience has been more of the same.  I hope we can have a fruitful discussion on these issues, perhaps in the Philosophy and Psychology forums.

mellestad, it is difficult to give a straightforward answer to that question.  Do you mean by personal reasons for belief or the rational conclusions which led me to adopt these views?  Since the deity is personal then my reasons for following Him will be based on the experience of persons rather than on logical deduction and ratiocination.  That being said, I do believe the Orthodox Christian doctrine of God is more coherent than other theistic models.


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So what drew you to Eastern

So what drew you to Eastern Orthodoxy if I may ask?


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Robby, the short answer is

Robby, the short answer is "Church history."  Upon further investigation I found its doctrines and methods to be more consistent with general theistic and Christian commitments than other alternatives.

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drichards85 wrote:Robby, the

drichards85 wrote:

Robby, the short answer is "Church history."  Upon further investigation I found its doctrines and methods to be more consistent with general theistic and Christian commitments than other alternatives.

IC XC

David

Did you come to it as a student of church history or is this an argument from antiquity?

"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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The former.  I do not

The former.  I do not believe that a belief is preferable simply because it is old.

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drichards85 wrote:I noted

drichards85 wrote:

I noted that I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian to distinguish myself from Western variants of Christianity, from Roman Catholic on down the line through mainline Protestant sects such as the Anglicans, Lutherans, and Presbyterians, and the more low-church Evangelicals.  The jurisdictions of Greece, Russia, Serbia, and so forth are all generally considered the same church with different cultural and ethnic expressions.  There are other "Orthodox Churches," which refers to for example the Coptic Church or the Syrian Church, which reject the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century AD.  As far as I am concerned the only "Eastern Orthodox" Churches are the Chalcedonian and the non-Chalcedonian, with the various cultural manifestations of each simply being different expressions of the same set of beliefs and practices.  So to clear up matters I don't consider myself specifically Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Antiochian, and so forth.  I consider myself as belonging to the Orthodox Church which accepts all seven of the Ecumenical Councils.

IC XC

David

So you believe in an invisible brain with no brain with magical super powers that resides everywhere and nowhere at the same time? Got it.

And this alleged invisible magical super brain was so efficient that he put us on a tiny dot in the middle of nowhere with no way to get off this dot. Gave us a home full of hazards such disease, war and crime, natural disasters,  blames it on us and allows us to kill each other to vie for his love.

Nice plan. If my co-workers were as "efficient" as your alleged invisible friend in the sky, they would all be fired for incompetence.

The reality you don't want to face is that all gods, past and present, including yours, are all products of human imagination.

Humans don't pop out of dirt, the earth was not made in 6 days and babies don't magically form without a second set of DNA, and human flesh does not survive rigor mortis.

I like the moral motifs in fiction like Star Wars and Harry Potter, but I don't believe in the Force or that little boys can fly around on brooms.

If you can accept that the Ancient Egyptians wrongfully believed that the sun was their thinking magical super hero, what makes you think your pet god is any more real? Because it is popular?.

 

 

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drichards85 wrote:mellestad,

drichards85 wrote:

mellestad, it is difficult to give a straightforward answer to that question.  Do you mean by personal reasons for belief or the rational conclusions which led me to adopt these views?  Since the deity is personal then my reasons for following Him will be based on the experience of persons rather than on logical deduction and ratiocination.  That being said, I do believe the Orthodox Christian doctrine of God is more coherent than other theistic models.

Whatever was most important to you.  If you didn't arrive at A Christian Orthodox God because of rational deduction, was it a personal experience that started it?  Some people believe in God because they felt something or saw something or learned something or...etc.

I'm always curious as to why a particular theist is, for example, Christian Orthodox rather than Sunni Muslim.

 

From my perspective the honest answer is usually simple geography anc chance...I know the only reason I was a fundamentalist Protestant was because of my environment, even though I would have rationalized it as something else if asked the question while I was still a believer.  Probably something about being moved by the Holy Spirit Smiling

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


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mellestad wrote:drichards85

mellestad wrote:

drichards85 wrote:

mellestad, it is difficult to give a straightforward answer to that question.  Do you mean by personal reasons for belief or the rational conclusions which led me to adopt these views?  Since the deity is personal then my reasons for following Him will be based on the experience of persons rather than on logical deduction and ratiocination.  That being said, I do believe the Orthodox Christian doctrine of God is more coherent than other theistic models.

Whatever was most important to you.  If you didn't arrive at A Christian Orthodox God because of rational deduction, was it a personal experience that started it?  Some people believe in God because they felt something or saw something or learned something or...etc.

I'm always curious as to why a particular theist is, for example, Christian Orthodox rather than Sunni Muslim.

 

From my perspective the honest answer is usually simple geography anc chance...I know the only reason I was a fundamentalist Protestant was because of my environment, even though I would have rationalized it as something else if asked the question while I was still a believer.  Probably something about being moved by the Holy Spirit Smiling

I am not curious at all. People believe absurd things without evidence for the same reason. They like what they believe and it gives them a false sense of comfort that over powers any rational thought that could cause them to question.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Brian37,Most of what you

Brian37,

Most of what you write either simply does not apply to me or stays at the level of bald assertion.  You should poll me for my personal beliefs before you lump me in with other believers.  For example, I do not assume all atheists are bigoted assholes who display flagrant arrogance and close-mindedness, though you help to reinforce that stereotype.  People have different reasons for belief, so did you want to present an argument via logical deduction why my belief (or theism in general) is wrong or were you just on a soapbox?

Furthermore, even if your psychoanalysis of my personal motives for belief is correct ('the reality you don't want to face...'), it in no way touches the truth of my position.  I could believe the right thing for the wrong reasons, even by accident.  How is this: the reality you don't want to face, Brian37, is that you've made an idol of your reason and would rather live your life in defiance of God and His commandments.  Your problem with Christianity is that makes demands on you that, in your sin, you simply do not wish to fulfill.  I am sure you have heard this uncharitable and unhelpful line before; now imagine when an atheist who balks at religion uses the same tired BS to level a personal attack, while at the same time claiming to be more "rational."  I simply have to laugh at this double-standard.  If you don't want it to be done to you, don't do it to others - even atheists can agree with the golden rule, though I suppose from their perspective there is no reason to.

In short, either put up or shut up.  Present an argument, but don't pull out the folk psychology peddled by some rabid anti-intellectual atheists and then consider the case closed.  You'll end up being just as dogmatic as a fundamentalist theist.

IC XC

David


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drichards85 wrote:

Brian37,

Most of what you write either simply does not apply to me or stays at the level of bald assertion.  You should poll me for my personal beliefs before you lump me in with other believers.  For example, I do not assume all atheists are bigoted assholes who display flagrant arrogance and close-mindedness, though you help to reinforce that stereotype.  People have different reasons for belief, so did you want to present an argument via logical deduction why my belief (or theism in general) is wrong or were you just on a soapbox?

Furthermore, even if your psychoanalysis of my personal motives for belief is correct ('the reality you don't want to face...'), it in no way touches the truth of my position.  I could believe the right thing for the wrong reasons, even by accident.  How is this: the reality you don't want to face, Brian37, is that you've made an idol of your reason and would rather live your life in defiance of God and His commandments.  Your problem with Christianity is that makes demands on you that, in your sin, you simply do not wish to fulfill.  I am sure you have heard this uncharitable and unhelpful line before; now imagine when an atheist who balks at religion uses the same tired BS to level a personal attack, while at the same time claiming to be more "rational."  I simply have to laugh at this double-standard.  If you don't want it to be done to you, don't do it to others - even atheists can agree with the golden rule, though I suppose from their perspective there is no reason to.

In short, either put up or shut up.  Present an argument, but don't pull out the folk psychology peddled by some rabid anti-intellectual atheists and then consider the case closed.  You'll end up being just as dogmatic as a fundamentalist theist.

IC XC

David

Tell me where I called you a bigot? I didn't. I merely cut to the chase and put your belief where it belongs, in the category of fiction. You want to make your sect out to be something special and it is not.

In the end, past and present, monotheist and polytheist all have the same thing in common, no matter how much they try to distract the skeptic by dressing the naked assertion up in elaborate claims.

Quote:
You'll end up being just as dogmatic as a fundamentalist theist.

Bad argument. I am no more "dogmatic" than if I said that the earth was a globe and not flat. Calling me dogmatic is as stupid as if you were called "dogmatic" for saying Santa isn't real.

When you can replicate and falsify your claims and get them double blind tested and independently peer reviewed, then you will have something the entire world can chew on. All I said were that your claims are not special and are one of many in human history.

UNLESS. you know something we dont? Like this alleged beings GPS location or have a sample of it's DNA?

I am brutally honest, not dogmatic. I wont rape your children or burn down your church. I simply find the concept of invisible friends(by any name) absurd superstitions and just as silly and childish as Thor or Posiden or Ra(the Egyptian sun god)

You could be the nicest person in the world, since I don't know you, nor have I ever met you, I cant judge YOU, the person. But your claims are a separate subject, and I will not lie to you, or myself merely to placate your emotions, because you hold your beliefs deer and I dont.

Let me make this clear. THIS FORUM, and the people who post on it ARE ALL DIFFERENT, but the one core thing we have in common is the attitude that nothing gets a pass just because it is uttered(SUBJECT MATTER ASIDE)

EXAMPLE:

If you came up to me and claimed, "The Chargers won the Super Bowl last year"

The only credible response to that claim would be, "Bullshit, the Saints did"

Now, what do you want me to say to claims of virgin births knowing that science says that it takes TWO sets of DNA?

You are confusing honesty with hate because it frightens you that you might be wrong. If you are going to take my short and sweet bluntness and blasphemy personally and wrongfully make me out to be the bad guy, you are in for a world of hurt caused by YOU.

Do not expect me to pretend to be something I am not to placate your own insecurities. If you have an argument for your invisible friend, make it. But do not take my responses personally. This is STRICTLY about your claims, not you.

You jumped into this fire on your own, no one forced you to do it, so do not complain when we punch back. We don't hate you, we simply find your claims absurd.

I don't give any claim a pass merely because someone utters it. I am fair to everyone even when the claim is not about a deity. If you claimed that Rodenberry predicted the modern cell phone because of his "tricorder" concept in Star Trec, I would also say "BULLSHIT".

And Jeffeson must be a dick too, because even though he believed in a "generic" god of nature, he didn't by the bullshit virgin birth or death of Jesus claim.

You are certainly welcome to stay, but please, don't take anything personally.

I simply see no credible evidence, much less any universal test humans could come up with to replicate and falsify Allah, or Thor Or your god. The concept relies on one to buy, without evidence, a magical invisible super hero who has no body, no brain, no neurons, or location.

If you want to believe in an invisible friend, I won't stop you, I will question everything you claim about this alleged being just like I would a Muslim or Hindu or Scientologist.

 

 

 

 

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If humans had no universal

If humans had no universal standard to test things, and at one point we didnt, we never would have left the caves. Popularity of a belief, argument from tradition, are not close to being solid arguments. Our tv's and cars and medicine do not require meditation or prayer anymore than your toilet requires Posiden to flush.

Now that humans know better the sell by date on all myths has past it's prime. Not just yours. I am sorry that offends you, but the only thing that really should offend you is your own credulity.

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drichards85 wrote:How is

drichards85 wrote:

How is this: the reality you don't want to face, Brian37, is that you've made an idol of your reason and would rather live your life in defiance of God and His commandments.  Your problem with Christianity is that makes demands on you that, in your sin, you simply do not wish to fulfill.

I never understood this...Christianity is about the easiest thing I can imagine, as far as life philosophies go.  There isn't any metaphysical penalty for screwing up and since everyone agrees the only idea of critical importance is Jesus you can pick a belief system that meshes with whatever your cultural preconceptions are and you'll wind up in the same place.

Christianity seems to hand out guilt and forgiveness so liberally that the concepts are, from an objective standpoint, meaningless.  Arguments over doctrine are also largely meaningless, since most sects consider the entire debate to be a side show.

 

I know Brian isn't gentle, but I don't see how you can argue that you believe something different from what he says you believe.  Every Christian I've ever known, including myself, believes(ed) in an non-material super being that birthed part of itself to a virgin and then killed itself to raise itself from the dead to create a loophole in the law it created.  I'm not aware of how you could fall under the label of Christian without falling under the spread of Brian's statement.  Perhaps you could be the 'better man' and explain point by point why his statements don't apply to your unique beliefs?

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


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Quote:In short, either put

Quote:
In short, either put up or shut up.

I did put up. I put up the reality that your god is made up fiction. Now, if you believe otherwise, which you do, YOU PUT UP. Pony up with the godsperm and zombiegod have it medically and scientifically tested and get it taught in all biology classes. I am sure you will have as much luck with that as a Muslim would trying to convince you that "Allah did it".

"Allah did it"

Is the same to me as

"Yahweh did it"

Is the same to me as

"Jesus did it"

Is the same to me as

"Thor did it"

All those are claims, not evidence. We are all entitled to our own beliefs, not our own facts.

FACT, there is no such thing, by any name, as a brain with no brain that has super powers. Thoughts are an emergent property of physical material. "Thoughts" are not a thing, but the description of the result of a physical process. There is no such thing as an "invisible brain". There never was, and never will be.

 

A billion years ago no humans were around to claim Allah, and your god will die like all gods will die when our speces goes extinct because there will be no future generations to sell these myths to. 10 billion years from now no one will be around to claim Jesus either. Sorry pulling back the curtain frighten's you Dorathy, but there really is only a man behind all these deity claims.

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Quote:I know Brian isn't

Quote:
I know Brian isn't gentle,

DAMN! I didn't gut enough kittens this morning, I must be feeling out of sorts today.

A mallard goes to the optometrist. The doctor tells the mallard he is losing his sight. The mallard decides to move out into the woods. His friends ask him why he suddenly moved. The mallard responds:

"That way I can be a duck blind". HA HA HA HA HA HA

Now, just because I think someone might be full of shit on any given claim, on any subject, does not make me a monster. It merely makes me bluntly honest.

I am, in face to face reality, probably the biggest self deprocating person, with a very silly cornball sense of humor that anyone could meet.

In all seriousness, since religion has so much influence on the world, I find it far too important to go unchallenged.

 

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Brian37,Again with the

Brian37,

Again with the accusations about me being frightened by your claims, which is just rhetorical bullying not to mention impertinent and irrelevant to whether or not my beliefs are true.  Can you prove that I'm simply frightened of your claims?  Can you get inside my head, can you unearth my psychological motives?  At any rate it doesn't matter if what you say is true - or do you think that me supposedly being scared of your position somehow falsifies my beliefs?  I can't see what the point of your soapbox is.  Perhaps you have vendetta against religious believers, but how does it apply to anything I've written?  I never claimed to be giving a formal argument for my beliefs but to be explaining what I believe, and the two are not the same.

You have made no argument whatsoever.  A logical argument is one in which you proceed in a syllogistic fashion from premises to a conclusion by a process either of deduction or induction.  Let's look at an example, shall we?

Socrates is mortal: this is an assertion.

All men are mortal (Major premise)
Socrates is a man (Minor premise)
Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (Conclusion - ding ding ding!)

Now that is an argument.  If the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.  "Your god is a fiction" is a bald assertion.  If you wish to present an argument for this assertion, then I invite you to do so.  But so far you've simply responded with sophistries that would shift the burden of proof on me and are intended to demonstrate some supposed analogy between God and creation (God doesn't have DNA) which I simply reject.  Perhaps you do not realize that I do not believe that a rational proof for God can be wholly successful, and I do not believe evidence of the type espoused by atheists is necessary for belief in God to be justified.  I believe this for a variety of reasons but before you react, would you like to know what those reasons are or would you prefer to continue to ascribe psychology to me which you can't possibly know and which, even if true, wouldn't falsify my belief?  Do you think that all of your beliefs were arrived at by culling empirical evidence to support them?  What about the belief that every rational belief must be supported by evidence in the first place?  In order to know what counts as evidence one must have an a priori method by which to select certain sorts of evidence and to rule out other sorts.  But how this belief, in itself, evidentially justified?  Um, it's not.  I stand by my claim: either present your reasons for thinking that my god is a fiction and that my personal reasons for belief somehow falsify my belief, or I simply can't engage blind theism-bashing.

mellestad,

I don't believe in your caricature of Christianity.  Both the thesis that what we do, even after conversion to some particular religion, carries no metaphysical consequences and your representation of Christian doctrine are simply not how I see the matter.  It seems that everyone wants to get into a discussion of Christian doctrine, which I'm knowledgeable about and willing to have, I'm just not sure that those discussions are apropos of a forum in which the general topic is theism versus atheism.

IC XC

David

Edit: mellestad, Also, my caricature of the religious position in response to Brian37 was intentionally one-dimensional to demonstrate the silliness of such a position in rational discourse.  I keep trying to have a rational discussion with these rational responders, but their responses are anything but "rational."  They are emotionally-charged rhetoric about how people who believe religion are simply "irrational," they believe it because of some god-of-the-gaps analysis, or some other thing about how religion is eevill but there is really no substantive dialog taking place.  As a matter of pure logic it is possible for Brian37's psychoanalysis to be completely true but it would be irrelevant to whether or not the belief is true.  I can grant that there are some believers who have the motives which he ignorantly ascribes to me (ignorance as in, without knowledge, not stupid) but that in no way brings the truth of a belief in question.  Unless he wishes to admit that those atheists who left religion because of some anecdotal experience about their childhood and because "God didn't do anything for them" are also rationally unjustified.  You can't have it both ways.


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Quote:The processes of

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The processes of science may be objective but they can never be neutral since they follow from the scientist's commitments.

BULLSHIT again.

Science is not a person, it is a process. Specifically called "scientific method".

A housing contractor can have their own bias as to HOW a house gets built and can have good skills or be a crappy illegal contractor, but both of them use THE TOOL of a hammer to build that house. The hammer has no bias, it doesn't tell people to pick it up or use it, or how to use it. A hammer can also be used to kill someone, but the hammer would have no capability of making a moral judgment in such a case since it is a TOOL, not a person.

Scientific method is very neutral. It is why a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, and an atheist can all sit in the same biology class and learn what cell division is, It is why anyone of any label can look through a telescope and look at the rings of Saturn.

WHAT IS NOT, nor ever will be universal, are the claims that Allah or Vishnu or Jesus made Saturn or mitosis.

What we do have in all of human history is the knowledge that humans are capable of believing false things. If one accepts other believers of other claims of other god/s believe false things, what makes you, or anyone for that matter in thinking you have escaped the same faulty logic others did not escape?

Ethical scientists  use the universal  NEUTRAL tool of scientific method and should WANT to be proven wrong and go where the evidence leads, not where they want it to go.

A hammer is neither a republican or democrat, it is neither a Redskins fan or Cowboys fan. Right now, our universal science IS NOT, nor do I suspect it ever will, support any claim of an invisible brain with magical super powers.

Religion works through marketing, not testing. "Defending" a position is not the same as "testing" a position. Religion relies on the faulty logic of defending first and retrofitting after the fact. NEUTRAL scientific method demands testing and independent verification which starts with data first, not naked assertions rooted in a mythological past.

 

 

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Brian37,There is no

Brian37,

There is no universally held view on what science even is.  There has not been, in history, and there is not now any monolithic scientific view.  I never said science is a person (strawman) so you should read what I wrote more carefully.  I take natural science to be a method of research, by which data is empircally collected and evaluated.  But different scientists have different commitments as to what constitutes genuine evidence and what does not.  There are also different scientific paradigms and science is anything but objective.  You should read Michael Polanyi and Thomas Kuhn.  As far as I know Kuhn wasn't particularly theistic but he still demonstrates that science doesn't operate free of assumptions.  You have to assume something you can't prove in order for science even to progress, and what those assumptions is different from Aristotle to Copernicus to Newton to Einstein to Quantum Mechanics.  So are you a scientific realist or a scientific anti-realist?  How about quantum mechanics, do you subscribe to the Copenhagen interpretion or do you prefer, say, the Bohr model?  Whatever your personal commitments they impact your interpretation of the raw data.  It is impossible simply to look at "brute facts" since no brute facts exist.  Every fact is interpreted according to some model, however unconscious.

How is exactly is science "neutral"?  What do you take neutrality to be?  Certainly the methods aren't neutral, but proceed from assumptions about what science is, before science has even begun: You can't begin something without some prior idea of what it is in the first place.  Neither are interpretations neutral.  Nor can you prove your axioms, evidentially, within the system itself.  Take the Incompleteness Theorems: for a given mathematical system, it is possible (and may even be necessary for the sake of coherence) for at least one of the axioms, however trivial, to be true and yet remain unproven.  Therefore an idea could not be proven and yet it could still, in principle, be true.  Naturalism is a project that is based on assumptions which cannot be proven by the methods of science, and the same is true for theism.  But I would be very interested to know why you believe science is neutral and, if this is the case, why there are so many competing interpretations about scientific facts?

IC XC

David


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Quote: Perhaps you have

Quote:
Perhaps you have vendetta against religious believers

Easy to demonize something you don't understand, that makes it easier to make someone your enemy when the reality is that they are not.

I have no "vendetta". I think religion excels at "getting even". I have absolutely no desire to physically harm you are take away your rights. I simply think you are full of shit. You think you are not full of shit. FINE, have at it, but if you really do want me to have a "vendetta" it wouldn't be against all religious people, but your crappy attitude and false impression that I am a "bad guy" because you don't like my choice of words.

Typical diversion tactic where you stare at the end of my finger while I point at the moon.

You are full of shit. How you make the leap to "I hate all religious  people" is pathetic and stupid. My mom is Catholic and most of my friend and co-workers are believers to some degree. So please, don't make statements about people you don't know.

NOW, for the last time:

I DO NOT HATE YOU, I DO NOT PERSONALLY KNOW YOU. Like all claims I treat yours no differently than I would if we were talking sports or politics. If I don't find your claim credible ON ANY SUBJECT I will tell you what I think.

This is a boxing ring, not a library, boxers box and can still be friends outside the ring. If you cant handle my stile, that is your problem, not mine. If you want others here to sugar coat their responses you, I cant speak for others here.

But no matter how any of us here respond to your claims all of us agree that it is about your claims, NOT YOU.

Ok? Now, can we move on, or you just going to be a whiny crybaby?

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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The difference, Brian37, is

The difference, Brian37, is you believe that an assertion about my beliefs amounts to an argument which falsifies said beliefs.  I never said anything about your personal hatred for me, but to call me "full of shit" before you have even asked for clarification on what I believe or rationally engaged any of my points, indicates close-minded bigotry.  You can assert it all day long, but that will not prove your assertion true and at this point is simply blowing hot air.  I'd love to have a discussion, if you're willing to do that while refraining from irrelevant personal insults.

IC XC

David


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Quote:There is no

Quote:
There is no universally held view on what science even is.
Quote:

Well then, if that is the case then I can go around teaching kids that computers are run by hamsters inside.

I don't know where you got a degree at, but if you do have one, I would advise you to hire a lawyer and sue that institution for selling you lies.

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Brian, this is just

Brian, this is just fallacious argumentation.  How does it follow from "there is no universally held belief as to what science even is" that someone can believe anything they want?  Furthermore, you haven't demonstrated that there is, in fact, a universally held view of what science is.  I have good reason to believe both from history and from modern and contemporary philosophers of science that science is not a monolith.  Given that it is not only possible, but is in fact the case, that various scientists and philosophers and historians of science have different interpretations as to what science is (Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, theoretical physicists, Polanyi, Kuhn, et al), it would seem my point is not only correct but has overwhelming support within the scientific community itself.

In this case the burden of proof would rest on you.

IC XC

David


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drichards85 wrote:Brian,

drichards85 wrote:

Brian, this is just fallacious argumentation.  How does it follow from "there is no universally held belief as to what science even is" that someone can believe anything they want?  Furthermore, you haven't demonstrated that there is, in fact, a universally held view of what science is.  I have good reason to believe both from history and from modern and contemporary philosophers of science that science is not a monolith.  Given that it is not only possible, but is in fact the case, that various scientists and philosophers and historians of science have different interpretations as to what science is (Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, theoretical physicists, Polanyi, Kuhn, et al), it would seem my point is not only correct but has overwhelming support within the scientific community itself.

In this case the burden of proof would rest on you.

IC XC

David

First off, stop mixing science and confusing it with scientific method. Science  are a variety of fields) and we do know what they are, such as biology, medical science, space science and psychology, to name a few.

WE DO KNOW WHAT SCIENTIFIC METHOD IS

It is the act of observation, replication and falsification and independent verification. It is a form of quality control to insure the most accurate data.

The burdon of proof is not on me. I am not the one claiming that an invisible being exists and has magical super powers. 

If good use of logic is not determined by disproving something. It is determined by proving something. Otherwise if we go by your logic, "Prove my god doesn't exist" then we would have to believe in every god ever claimed in human history.

Now, I did, as well tell you why the concept is absurd.

THOUGHTS REQUIRE MATERIAL, that is a scientific fact, not a naked assertion, thus making disembodied brain claims absurd, be they yours, or any other in human history.

Which makes more sense to you out of these two claims?

1. "Thor makes lighting"

Do I have to disprove Thor makes lighting for you to reject that claim?

Or,

Would you find it reasonable to know that people made up that god and merely wanted to believe in that god?

All I am saying is that you are no different as a human than others in the past and their false beliefs.

Go look up "Bentrand Russell's teapot" if you want a more in depth explination as to why "prove it doesn't exist" is bad use of logic.

And while you are at it I would also suggest looking up "Ocham's Razor" and "infinite regress" and the Fallacy of Pascal's Wager.

 

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drichards85

drichards85 wrote:

mellestad,

I don't believe in your caricature of Christianity.  Both the thesis that what we do, even after conversion to some particular religion, carries no metaphysical consequences and your representation of Christian doctrine are simply not how I see the matter.  It seems that everyone wants to get into a discussion of Christian doctrine, which I'm knowledgeable about and willing to have, I'm just not sure that those discussions are apropos of a forum in which the general topic is theism versus atheism.

IC XC

David

Edit: mellestad, Also, my caricature of the religious position in response to Brian37 was intentionally one-dimensional to demonstrate the silliness of such a position in rational discourse.  I keep trying to have a rational discussion with these rational responders, but their responses are anything but "rational."  They are emotionally-charged rhetoric about how people who believe religion are simply "irrational," they believe it because of some god-of-the-gaps analysis, or some other thing about how religion is eevill but there is really no substantive dialog taking place.  As a matter of pure logic it is possible for Brian37's psychoanalysis to be completely true but it would be irrelevant to whether or not the belief is true.  I can grant that there are some believers who have the motives which he ignorantly ascribes to me (ignorance as in, without knowledge, not stupid) but that in no way brings the truth of a belief in question.  Unless he wishes to admit that those atheists who left religion because of some anecdotal experience about their childhood and because "God didn't do anything for them" are also rationally unjustified.  You can't have it both ways.

Could you, perhaps, clarify where you differ?  Does sin carry a metaphysical penalty that cannot be removed?  Are there central doctrinal points that are critical to salvation outside of the 'normal' beliefs about Jesus?  Do you belief in an omnimax deity?  Do you believe God created the heavens, earth and man?  Do you belief in the virgin birth?  Do you believe in eternal judgment?  Do you believe Jesus Christ was crucified, raised, and by that process there exists a method for sinners to receive forgiveness for sinning against God?  Does the blood of the lamb wash away all sins?  Pretty much everything Brian and I are saying is a straight criticism of the Nicene Creed, just without the reverent language.

Maybe you are unique, but I've not met many Christians who would deny anything written above, and what was written above is factually identical to the statements you are criticizing.

Heck, you're even Orthodox, so again, I'm not sure how these things don't apply to you.  You say they are caricatures, but isn't that just your outrage talking?  How are they factually incorrect?

 

Not that it matters, but also try to keep in mind this is not the first time this conversation has happened on this forum, or even the hundredth.  Brian has simply decided to skip the part of the thread where everyone drags through the same arguments for hundreds or literally thousands of posts (there are single threads well over 5k posts) until it finally, inevitably, winds up where he is starting.  I still find the journey interesting, but I also understand that by even engaging in this dialog I am just playing a mind game for the sake of fun...the debate really does come down to your basic claim that your philosophy holds greater insights than practical rationalism, and I've yet to see a useful demonstration of these insights from, well, anyone...because you are right, all philosophies stand or fail on their basic premise, but I think the proof is in the pudding, and practical rationalism is the only chef that actually produces (pardon the horrid metaphor!)

But again, I'm just here for debate, and I match my tone to the person I am conversing with.  Brian just comes out guns blazing, which is his prerogative.

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


Brian37
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Quote:(Aristotle, Newton,

Quote:
(Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, theoretical physicists, Polanyi, Kuhn, et al), it would seem my point is not only correct but has overwhelming support within the scientific community itself.

Which begs the question. If being a scientist always made one right, then you'd have also believe in Newton's Alchemy which he held dearly and believed to be as possible and true as his apple experiment.

SECONDLY, Einstein in his older years had left the superstitions of his Jewish traditions and thought the bible was nothing but a childish book of superstition. Still want to claim him to be a fan of Jesus?

Saying that some scientists have some sort of belief in "something" is still not evidence, Einstein would still, beyond his own personal biases, would have wanted his claims tested and challenged and the tires kicked. You are fallaciously name dropping specifically his name, to lead others to some idea that the Christian god is the one true god. Now that I have called you on it you are going to pretend that is not what you are doing.

 

Neil Degress Tyson astrophysicist , has a Youtube video explaining the fallacy and the intellectual danger of stopping at a point in science and then saying to oneself, "We hit a ceiling in knowledge, we cant seem to break it, therefor GOD DID IT"

Sure, some scientists believe, so what. A Muslim with a PHD in biology doesn't convince you that Allah is real, does it? The ancient Greeks first used the word "atom" so why don't you believe in Dionysus. The Ancient Egyptians used science to build their pyramids, yet you don't believe that the sun is a thinking being.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Brian, I clarified in an

Brian, I clarified in an earlier post than I meant the natural sciences, not the social sciences or any other type of science.  Furthermore I have used examples of natural scientists and philosophers of science, so I took us to be on the same page and that I didn't need to clarify that I meant the natural sciences (since I've already done so).

Methods always proceed under the auspices paradigms which are mutually incommensurable.  The conclusions of one method cannot be measured against the conclusion of another without begging the question.  The presuppositions of each may exclude the other.  One need only to read Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to see that this is the case.  The scientific method has not been the same from Aristotle to Ptolemy to Copernicus because the paradigms have been different.

Your thumbnail sketch of science is fairly modern.  Not since Karl Popper in the 50's and 60's, I believe, has falsifiability even been a benchmark for what constitutes a legitimate theory.  Even if what you say is true for scientists across the board, after observations have been made they must sifted through an interpretive grid (read: paradigm, worldview, whatever) to yield any conclusions whatsoever about said observations.  A fact is different from a rational conclusion about the fact, which is why your apparent scientism is a non-starter.

I didn't ask you to prove my God doesn't exist.  You made an assertion and I asked for an argument.  One can still provide a philosophical argument that supernaturalism is false and thereby demonstrate that the Christian concept of God is either incoherent or false or both.  But if I don't get a free pass to slam my fist on the table and exclaim "God exists!" then neither do you get a pass to call my theory a fiction, accuse me of being "scared" or "frightened," tell me I'm full of shit, all without argument.  I want to know what justifies the belief that I'm simply too afraid of your position to concede it, that somehow my disagreement with you constitutes an intellectual, and perhaps moral, vice.  It is always possible for intelligent people to disagree without one of them being stupid or evil.  I don't think you're stupid or evil, but neither do I think you've given an argument but have rather stood on a soapbox and baldly misrepresented some of my points to take rhetorical shots.

By the way, I don't believe God is a disembodied brain or "pure mind," so as I've been saying from the beginning, you might want to get my beliefs right before you attack strawmen.  And while you're at it, could you at least provide one reason to think my views are false that don't depend on your own unargued-for assumptions?  Thanks, I appreciate it.

IC XC

David


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Quote:  Unless he wishes

Quote:
  Unless he wishes to admit that those atheists who left religion because of some anecdotal experience about their childhood and because "God didn't do anything for them"

The only thing "God didn't do anything for me" addresses the the absurd claim that a god can be all powerful and all loving while allowing all this crap to happen under his watch. BUT that is not the best reason or the only reason. EVIDENCE is, which you don't have, nor has any believer of any religion, past or present.

I think the conundrum postulated by Epicurus has yet to fall in it's criticism of the alleged "morality" if one is going to call a deity "all loving" or "all powerful"

My "deconversion" took years and none of it had anything to do with any good or bad that happens to me. Good things and bad things happen to everyone and people change their minds all the time and take up a religion or switch religions or give up on religion all the time. I simply don't try to turn mundane ordinary every day reality into a fictional battle between a man with a pitchfork vs a man in a robe. You call your white robe hero God, Muslims call theirs Allah and both are still fiction and are myths, just like the Egyptian gods.

There is only one good reason to hold a position. EVIDENCE. A history of passing down a myth over time is only evidence that a given culture believes this myth. That is not evidence. That is human error.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Brian37

Brian37 wrote:

Quote:
(Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, theoretical physicists, Polanyi, Kuhn, et al), it would seem my point is not only correct but has overwhelming support within the scientific community itself.

Which begs the question. If being a scientist always made one right, then you'd have also believe in Newton's Alchemy which he held dearly and believed to be as possible and true as his apple experiment.

SECONDLY, Einstein in his older years had left the superstitions of his Jewish traditions and thought the bible was nothing but a childish book of superstition. Still want to claim him to be a fan of Jesus?

Saying that some scientists have some sort of belief in "something" is still not evidence, Einstein would still, beyond his own personal biases, would have wanted his claims tested and challenged and the tires kicked. You are fallaciously name dropping specifically his name, to lead others to some idea that the Christian god is the one true god. Now that I have called you on it you are going to pretend that is not what you are doing.

 

Neil Degress Tyson astrophysicist , has a Youtube video explaining the fallacy and the intellectual danger of stopping at a point in science and then saying to oneself, "We hit a ceiling in knowledge, we cant seem to break it, therefor GOD DID IT"

Sure, some scientists believe, so what. A Muslim with a PHD in biology doesn't convince you that Allah is real, does it? The ancient Greeks first used the word "atom" so why don't you believe in Dionysus. The Ancient Egyptians used science to build their pyramids, yet you don't believe that the sun is a thinking being.

 

Brian, I never said all scientists are right and I made no mention of Newton's Alchemy or Einstein's Jewishness.  It's clear to me now that you're not reading my post or engaging my arguments directly but rather attacking what you think I am saying rather than what it is that I am, in fact, saying.  As a consequence I don't think this discussion will get us anywhere.  The point isn't that these scientists were all right or that they were religious; the point is that science is not and never has been a monolith.

IC XC

David


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mellestad, I'm not outraged,

mellestad, I'm not outraged, far from it in fact.  I have thicker skin than that.  I am only bemused that a so-called rationalist (which is, I admit, a presumption on my part - but Brian seems to be a rationalist) would launch a tirade without any substantive engagement, against my beliefs and psychoanalyze me and subject my theism to a god-of-the-gaps analysis, and so forth.  To tell me that I am "full of shit," that I'm "whiny," and all of the other rhetorical bluster is simply counter-productive, and to my knowledge I have never initiated such dramatic yet ultimately vacuous sophistry on these forums.  I have tried to open up a discussion, since that is what being "rational" is all about of course, but rather than that I get to hear about how religious people are stupid, evil, and how religious institutions supposedly corrupt humanity.  (Note: I'm not pointing to particular examples just observing general trends in "debate.&quotEye-wink  While all of that may be an interesting topic of discussion it doesn't effect the truth of whether or not God exists one way or the other.  I only spit out the rhetoric that is dished at me to show I'm no lightweight, but that shouldn't be interpretive as actual anger on my part.  It would be nice if more atheists were charitable from the get-go, but I understand that they have encountered rabid theists with very narrow cosmologies and inflammatory language and so they are probably under the illusion that the only appropriate way to talk to theists is to diss them.  Unfortunately, they are like the man who hated socialism so much that he founded his own form of socialist government.  They have, in essence, started off with "attack mode" which is contrary to their supposed principle as rationalists.  So to sum up, I'm not outraged, I'm just irritated.

I affirm most of what you say about Christian belief, though I would need some clarification on it.  What do you take to be a "metaphysical penalty"?  I wouldn't put it in quite those terms.  And God as "omnimax"?  Discussions of Christian theology are interesting, but I would rather present my beliefs rather than have them assumed.  At this point however I believe it may be necessary to do some other argumentative legwork before I present such beliefs since, if I present those first, they will automatically be rejected and there won't be much room left for discussion in the minds of atheists whose minds are shut off from the very possibility of my beliefs being true.  Atheism in itself does not require such beliefs as naturalism, empiricism, rationalism, evidentialism, and so forth, but most atheism does bolster its claims by appeal to such philosophies and methods of inquiry.  I believe that all of these philosophies and methods of inquiry may be shown to be self-refuting or incoherent or simply question-begging and that is one pillar of my argument.

IC XC

David


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"There is only one good

"There is only one good reason to hold a position. EVIDENCE."

Brian, what constitutes evidence?  And what is your evidence for this position?

IC XC
David


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Quote:  The conclusions of

Quote:
  The conclusions of one method cannot be measured against the conclusion of another without begging the question.

Said the hypocrite who just named dropped scientists from history.

First off, religion doesn't have a "method", its fans merely market their beliefs. It has no system of independent quality control. All one has to do in religion is to make shit up, write it down, and convince others that it is credible. That may take creativity but that doesn't require any credible testing. Both Kwanza and Scientology were both started in the past  century and their fans believe in their superstitions as fervently as you do in yours. You merely think you are not doing the same thing and the reality is that you are making the same mistake they do.

You want your god to be real so bad you cant see the absurdity of the claim itself. This placebo is an unfortunate  side affect of our human evolution because we did not evolve with all the answers. It is easier for a human to make up an answer for a pattern or to assume a pattern is there, when it may not be, then it actually is to set up tests to insure that our "experiences" our "observations" are really what we think they are. Scientific method is new in humanity's history so it doesn't shock me that change is slow.

But if you want to cling to the past, be my guest. Babies magically form without a second set of DNA. Funny how that hocus pocus doesn't seem to happen today outside the bible, does it?

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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drichards85 wrote:"There is

drichards85 wrote:

"There is only one good reason to hold a position. EVIDENCE."

Brian, what constitutes evidence?  And what is your evidence for this position?

IC XC
David

I suppose you didn't read where I already told you. Ok, one last time.

Come up with prior data, not personal beliefs. build a model for your data to be plugged into and a system of testing that has the ability to be replicated and falsified and independently verified. When you can do that, then you will have evidence. All you have now is a naked assertion, much less to mention that this naked assertion was invented and marketed by people who did not have the same knowledge of scientific method we do today.

Do you really believe a human can magically pop out of dirt, when you see in reality every day, a human taking two decades to reach maturity?

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Brian, do you have an

Brian, do you have an argument to present?  If the answer to that question is yes, then please do so.

Also, it would be helpful if you could refrain from name-calling.  And I know you might think I have called you names, but all I have demonstrated is that your penchant for personal insults in no way amounts to an argument and really just makes you seem like you're an asshole.  I want to believe you're not an asshole, but you don't demonstrate much charity.

All your other claims about religion not having a "method," so on and so forth, are nothing more than unsupported bald assertions.  If you can support your claims then I am interested in seeing all the empirical studies you have done on religion.  Thanks.

IC XC

David


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Brian37 wrote:drichards85

Brian37 wrote:

drichards85 wrote:

"There is only one good reason to hold a position. EVIDENCE."

Brian, what constitutes evidence?  And what is your evidence for this position?

IC XC
David

I suppose you didn't read where I already told you. Ok, one last time.

Come up with prior data, not personal beliefs. build a model for your data to be plugged into and a system of testing that has the ability to be replicated and falsified and independently verified. When you can do that, then you will have evidence. All you have now is a naked assertion, much less to mention that this naked assertion was invented and marketed by people who did not have the same knowledge of scientific method we do today.

Do you really believe a human can magically pop out of dirt, when you see in reality every day, a human taking two decades to reach maturity?

 

Unfortunately you leave my second question untouched.  What is your evidence for THIS position: "There is only one good reason to hold a position. EVIDENCE."

I understand that you believe that what constitutes evidence is the gathering of prior data (what's "prior" data? "Prior" to what? How can one know what counts as valid data unless they already have a belief in place as to what constitutes evidence?), then you build a model and plug it into a system that can be replicated, falsified, independently verified, etc.  So that's what you take to be evidence.  But where is your evidence for belief that this is evidence or even that this is the ONLY type of evidence?  On what basis do you rule out other models?  By appeals to your own?  That would be question-begging.  When you say that "There is only one good reason to hold a position. EVIDENCE." -- did you gather prior data, build a model and plug it into a system that was replicatable, falsifiable, independently verifiable, and so forth?  If you did, can you explain how it works that your belief about what constitutes evidence can be proven by the very standards it sets up as criteria for evidence and yet this is not circular?

IC XC

David


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drichards85 wrote:Brian, do

drichards85 wrote:

Brian, do you have an argument to present?  If the answer to that question is yes, then please do so.

Also, it would be helpful if you could refrain from name-calling.  And I know you might think I have called you names, but all I have demonstrated is that your penchant for personal insults in no way amounts to an argument and really just makes you seem like you're an asshole.  I want to believe you're not an asshole, but you don't demonstrate much charity.

All your other claims about religion not having a "method," so on and so forth, are nothing more than unsupported bald assertions.  If you can support your claims then I am interested in seeing all the empirical studies you have done on religion.  Thanks.

IC XC

David

Who is name calling. Not me. If you are going to waste my time and yours falsely accusing me of things I am not doing this is not going to go anywhere.

ONCE AGAIN. I don't know you, I have never met you. I am not judging you. I AM judging the claims you utter. Saying that an invisible being is a bullshit claim is not name calling. It is honest and blunt and blasphemous, sure, but hardly name calling.

There is NOTHING empirical about magical disembodied magical super brains with magical super powers. So there is nothing to study.

There IS however a history of humans making bad claims that we can and do study. You call it theology, I call it bullshit. I can study the history of Star Trec and learn the Klingon language, but that doesn't make Klingons real or Tribbles real. I can study the history of the Egyptian gods too, but that doesn't make them real either.

PLEASE, for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, stop taking what I am saying personally. This has nothing to do with you the person, this is strictly about the claims you make.

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Argumentum Ad Hitlerum

Brian37 wrote:

Who is name calling. Not me. If you are going to waste my time and yours falsely accusing me of things I am not doing this is not going to go anywhere.

[...]

You could be the nicest person in the world, since I don't know you, nor have I ever met you, I cant judge YOU, the person.

[...]

You are confusing honesty with hate because it frightens you that you might be wrong.

[...]

Do not expect me to pretend to be something I am not to placate your own insecurities.

[...]

You are certainly welcome to stay, but please, don't take anything personally.

[...]

I am sorry that offends you, but the only thing that really should offend you is your own credulity.

[...]

You are full of shit. How you make the leap to "I hate all religious  people" is pathetic and stupid.

[...]

Now, can we move on, or you just going to be a whiny crybaby?

[...]

I don't know where you got a degree at, but if you do have one, I would advise you to hire a lawyer and sue that institution for selling you lies.

[...]

Said the hypocrite who just named dropped scientists from history.

[...]

You want your god to be real so bad you cant see the absurdity of the claim itself.

[...]

PLEASE, for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, stop taking what I am saying personally.

An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: 'to the man'), is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.  The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.

Ad hominem abusive

Ad hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent in order to invalidate their argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent's personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent's arguments or assertions.

Examples:

  • "You can't believe Jack when he says the proposed policy would help the economy. He doesn't even have a job."
  • "Candidate Jane's proposal about zoning is ridiculous. She was caught cheating on her taxes in 2003."

- Wikipedia