Belief is Irrational

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Belief is Irrational

If you believe in invisible, intangible beings with magical powers, you can NOT claim to be 100% Rational.
This doesn't mean you are unintelligent, stupid or insane. It means what it says, you can not lay claim to being completely rational.

LC >;-}>

 

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While I agree, I doubt

While I agree, I doubt anyone is 100% rational. Emotions can do amazing things to logic.

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Emotional Rationality

Yes indeed... didn't someone say something to the effect that it's our "delusion about the goodness, beauty and intelligence of our children is all that keeps us from strangling them at birth..."

LC >;-}>

 

 

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Heh, that certainly sounds

Heh, that certainly sounds familiar.

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Louis_Cypher wrote:If you

Louis_Cypher wrote:

If you believe in invisible, intangible beings with magical powers, you can NOT claim to be 100% Rational.
This doesn't mean you are unintelligent, stupid or insane. It means what it says, you can not lay claim to being completely rational.

LC >;-}>

 

It is impossible for any human to be 100% rational at every second of their lives. From birth to death, if one reaches old age, there are billions and billions of thoughts and split second decisions that we make and there will never be a perfect human being that will be 100% rational all the time.

However, we can seek when there are disputes on the nature of the human condition, better ways to collectively filter out bias so that irrationality has less of a chance of creeping in.

Evolution isn't about perfection, it is merely about getting to the point of reproduction. Evolution is biology based, not label based. And no matter what label we hold, no matter who ends up on top, in the long term our species and even this planet will die.

So while seeking to filter out bad claims and bias, we must always understand as a species that there will never be a utopia.

 

 

 

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That's not what I'm saying....

No, we can never be assured of rationality in our lives but, we can seek to eliminate obvious and persistent bits of irrationality. Superstition comes to mind. Purging ones self of all those little habits and thought patterns brought about by culture and upbringing. If there is anything in your life that requires 'faith' to work... you have to ask yourself "Do I NEED this?"

But the original subject was about invisible, intangible beings with magical powers. No one who accepts them as real can claim rationality. I stand by that.

 

LC >;-}>

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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 This doesn't sound so much

 This doesn't sound so much like an attack on the "invisible, intangible magic man in the sky" as it is on idealism or anything not hardcore materialism. While materialism is the view most consistent to what we see, I think it's best to concede ignorance and remain agnostic in regards to "intangibles."

 

On the other hand, wouldn't it be irrational to hold the (strong) belief that only material exists given our a)inability to perceive anything beyond matter and b) our inability to know if there IS anything beyond matter?

 

Basically, empiricism is the best we have so far, but even that has it's short comings.


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War_Pig wrote: This doesn't

War_Pig wrote:

 This doesn't sound so much like an attack on the "invisible, intangible magic man in the sky" as it is on idealism or anything not hardcore materialism. While materialism is the view most consistent to what we see, I think it's best to concede ignorance and remain agnostic in regards to "intangibles."

On the other hand, wouldn't it be irrational to hold the (strong) belief that only material exists given our a)inability to perceive anything beyond matter and b) our inability to know if there IS anything beyond matter?

Basically, empiricism is the best we have so far, but even that has it's short comings.

Doesn't require a commitment to "hard-core materialism" to ridicule the God concept.

"Hard-core materialism" is a bit of a reductionist strawman in this context. "Naturalism" would be more accurate description of the position of most of us here, I think..

There are plenty of 'intangibles' that it is entirely rational to accept. Energy, space-time, principles of Physics, Quantum effects of many kinds, Multi-dimensions, etc.

It is not the 'intangible' that I have a problem with, it is anything lacking evidence, that cannot be detected or measured either directly or via its effect on something we can detect/measure.

We can measure the Earth dragging space-time around with it. Is that 'tangible'?

We have no problem with the 'immaterial', the abstract, whatever. 

It is the concept of an immaterial intelligence, or even an immaterial entity capable of meaningfully interacting with our Universe, that is, on the face of it, absurd, and clearly made up by superstitious people, so does not deserve to be taken seriously without some damn serious evidence. IOW no evidence for its reality, and plenty of highly plausible reasons why people have a tendency to have such beliefs. Nothing to explain. Nothing yet, anyway.

Alien civilizations, even the possibility of travelling across the Universe via wormholes, all far more worthy of treating seriously than that any of the vast number of imagined 'supernatural' entities might actually exist outside the world of human imagination.

Empirically gathered evidence and observation, rather than 'pure reason', but analysed and theorised about via Reason, is all we have, and it almost certainly can't lead us to Ultimate and Perfect knowledge, but that is a naive idea in itself. 

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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Rationality part deux...

Bob had it right on the button...

I'm an unrepentant materialist, I dwell in the natural world. And in this place I call reality, we are allowed to dream, to imagine and to speculate all we wish. We can not, however lay claims of reality to our speculations, nor call our imaginings and dreams fact.

The mind, intelligence, consciousness... that which defines sentience is an emergent phenomena of the physical brain. We know of no mechanism, real or even hypothetical wherein sentience can reside outside of a material form. Yet, the superstitious make just that claim without a bit of evidence.

LC >;-}>

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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Nevermind. I'll edit this

Nevermind. I'll edit this later.


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The Irrationality of Rationality

We have looked in the mirror and fallen in love--with ourselves. Narcissists go to the same graveyards. Now what? Where will we be in 100 years? Are we certain? Keep looking in the mirror. Peace. Conundrum

signed


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Louis_Cypher wrote:Bob had

Louis_Cypher wrote:

Bob had it right on the button...

I'm an unrepentant materialist, I dwell in the natural world. And in this place I call reality, we are allowed to dream, to imagine and to speculate all we wish. We can not, however lay claims of reality to our speculations, nor call our imaginings and dreams fact.

The mind, intelligence, consciousness... that which defines sentience is an emergent phenomena of the physical brain. We know of no mechanism, real or even hypothetical wherein sentience can reside outside of a material form. Yet, the superstitious make just that claim without a bit of evidence.

LC >;-}>

I layman's terms, we can all dream, but we can't make shit up and claim it to be fact.

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Conundrum101 wrote:We have

Conundrum101 wrote:

We have looked in the mirror and fallen in love--with ourselves. Narcissists go to the same graveyards. Now what? Where will we be in 100 years? Are we certain? Keep looking in the mirror. Peace. Conundrum

Was that an argument, or an attempted subtle attack, or something else?

Welcome, by the way.

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Conundrum101 wrote:We have

Conundrum101 wrote:

We have looked in the mirror and fallen in love--with ourselves. Narcissists go to the same graveyards. Now what? Where will we be in 100 years? Are we certain? Keep looking in the mirror. Peace. Conundrum

That's cryptically poetic.  Since you haven't made your position clear, I will fill in the blanks and assume you are referring to us as narcissist.  Narcissism has many meanings but I'm also assuming (since you haven't made it clear) that you are implying "inflated self worth".  An atheist's core claim is that there are no personal gods, a theist's core claim is usually that someone out there is constantly watching, helping and taking precious time from causing famine, plagues and natural disasters, to help said theist pass an English exam.  

I'm not sure who has the overly inflated self worth.

We all go to the same graveyards? I'm assuming you metaphorically mean that we all die.  I will likely be buried elsewhere then most everyone on this forum.  I fail to see the relevance, and again, we get that... there is no argument there, we all die, we're not special other then subjectively... I'm confused by your choice of metaphors.  

In 100 years we'll be wiser as a group if we're lucky, if religious leaders have their way, in 100 years we'll have an analogous "dark ages" period. 

Are we certain? By certain I believe you're again implying 100% certainty.  With that definition I'm certain of NOTHING except for "Cogito ergo sum".  

If looking in the mirror is a metaphor for critical introspection, then by all means, continue to do so, if by that you mean to echo our views, I don't think I've ever met a place that was more critical of irrationality.  I'm quite confident that my views will only be "mirrored" on this forum if they are rational. 

Peace and welcome.  Smiling

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Louis_Cypher wrote:No, we

Louis_Cypher wrote:

No, we can never be assured of rationality in our lives but, we can seek to eliminate obvious and persistent bits of irrationality. Superstition comes to mind. Purging ones self of all those little habits and thought patterns brought about by culture and upbringing. If there is anything in your life that requires 'faith' to work... you have to ask yourself "Do I NEED this?"

But the original subject was about invisible, intangible beings with magical powers. No one who accepts them as real can claim rationality. I stand by that.

LC >;-}>

What if some smart guy develops a hypothesis or whole testable theory that allows the existence of something very much like invisible, intangible beings with magical powers? Will you change your opinion? Will you apologize to all these people you called irrational? Will you want to learn more?

Someday I'd like to have a serious conversation about (sometimes) invisible (to most of people) intangible beings generating kinetic vector field that resembles magical powers. It is an interesting topic and it is not entirely theoretical, I must say. 

I suspect that most of skeptics don't really care. They did not choose to fight for rationality, they just want to stand against the bullshit and live in peace. So once they see that some extraordinary claim is harmless or actually possible, they lose interest. Going in deeper and examining the science behind that is too much of a work for something they did not choose.

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This place is like a box of granola...

Luminon wrote:

Louis_Cypher wrote:

No, we can never be assured of rationality in our lives but, we can seek to eliminate obvious and persistent bits of irrationality. Superstition comes to mind. Purging ones self of all those little habits and thought patterns brought about by culture and upbringing. If there is anything in your life that requires 'faith' to work... you have to ask yourself "Do I NEED this?"

But the original subject was about invisible, intangible beings with magical powers. No one who accepts them as real can claim rationality. I stand by that.

LC >;-}>

What if some smart guy develops a hypothesis or whole testable theory that allows the existence of something very much like invisible, intangible beings with magical powers? Will you change your opinion? Will you apologize to all these people you called irrational? Will you want to learn more?

Someday I'd like to have a serious conversation about (sometimes) invisible (to most of people) intangible beings generating kinetic vector field that resembles magical powers. It is an interesting topic and it is not entirely theoretical, I must say. 

I suspect that most of skeptics don't really care. They did not choose to fight for rationality, they just want to stand against the bullshit and live in peace. So once they see that some extraordinary claim is harmless or actually possible, they lose interest. Going in deeper and examining the science behind that is too much of a work for something they did not choose.

 

And... they aren't laughing at you, they are laughing with you...

 

LC >;-}>

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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Rationality

Probably  all of the above.  Any attack is purely intellectual, and not really intentional.  Everyone has the right to believe or not believe anything they so desire, within the bounds of human rights of course.  The battlegrounds are the finite and the infinite--the natural and supernatural--theos and atheos.  The participants are usually biased by various forms of egomania--mostly inherited from one called Narcissus.

The human kind still has a serious problem with origin and purpose.

Albert from Einstein believed in an intelligence greater than his.  What did he see at the atomic level?  A sub-atomic intelligence.  Al never admitted a personal relationship with this intelligence.

I Ramble.

Peace,

Conundrum

 


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 Belief in the reality of

Belief in the reality of the Supernatural, in Gods. is an ultimate Narcissism. It requires one to believe that your finite and fallible mind can 'know' the unknowable, can in some sense comprehend the incomprehensible, that you can know the nature and motives of a 'God' sufficiently to 'know' that it is 'good', or that it 'loves' us, despite the nature of the world it allegedly created for us.

 

 

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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A Ration of the Irrational

"Behold; Man is become as one of us, to know good and evil".  Man cannot deal with Truth, being unable to recognize  nor define it.  So he morphs through life, contemplating his navel on Mars Hill nobbling on triticale bars and bemoaning the insufficiencies of Aristotle and the lastest cosmology.

 

There is Truth out there which sets one free from the bondage of the Ego mania.  Search for:  The Unknown God.

 

Peace.

Conundrum


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Oooo, let me play too...

Conundrum wrote:

"Behold; Man is become as one of us, to know good and evil".  Man cannot deal with Truth, being unable to recognize  nor define it.  So he morphs through life, contemplating his navel on Mars Hill nobbling on triticale bars and bemoaning the insufficiencies of Aristotle and the lastest cosmology.

 

There is Truth out there which sets one free from the bondage of the Ego mania.  Search for:  The Unknown God.

 

Peace.

Conundrum

 

Green tail lights make my dinosaur hum. "I am the egg man, I am the egg man, I am the walrus..." Be it ever so humble there's no place for you here. Find the star and squash it. I am dick-cheese.

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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I believe:

Louis_Cypher wrote:

Conundrum wrote:

"Behold; Man is become as one of us, to know good and evil".  Man cannot deal with Truth, being unable to recognize  nor define it.  So he morphs through life, contemplating his navel on Mars Hill nobbling on triticale bars and bemoaning the insufficiencies of Aristotle and the lastest cosmology.

 

There is Truth out there which sets one free from the bondage of the Ego mania.  Search for:  The Unknown God.

 

Peace.

Conundrum

 

Green tail lights make my dinosaur hum. "I am the egg man, I am the egg man, I am the walrus..." Be it ever so humble there's no place for you here. Find the star and squash it. I am dick-cheese.

LC >;-}>

 

LC: have you considered Prozac? Most of us who suffer from abberations of the cerebral cortex need a little help.

Obviously, our indubitable basic beliefs are from different galaxies. Whatever happened to the concept of the open mind?

Peace,
Conundrum


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I'd say it boils down to

I'd say it boils down to what one means by belief. If belief means conviction without uncertainty than yes, belief in intangible, invisible beings is irrational. That kind of belief brings down towers. but why stop there? wouldn't any belief held so strongly be irrational?

Are you certain that you are living in a material world? Can you defend that completely? Do you think you have the means to do so?

 


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conundrum wrote:Probably 

conundrum wrote:

Probably  all of the above.  Any attack is purely intellectual, and not really intentional.  Everyone has the right to believe or not believe anything they so desire, within the bounds of human rights of course.  The battlegrounds are the finite and the infinite--the natural and supernatural--theos and atheos.  The participants are usually biased by various forms of egomania--mostly inherited from one called Narcissus.

The human kind still has a serious problem with origin and purpose.

Albert from Einstein believed in an intelligence greater than his.  What did he see at the atomic level?  A sub-atomic intelligence.  Al never admitted a personal relationship with this intelligence.

I Ramble.

Peace,

Conundrum

 

Another person taking a scientist words out of context. In Einstein's last letter he said while he liked the Jewish tradition he found the writings as "although noble, childish"(Regarding the ignorance of the writers of their holy books in their clearly superstitious claims written in an unscientific age)

Einstein's "god" was not a god, nor a personal god. It was the concept of nature and our seeking to understand nature.

 

"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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To claim that Einstein's God

To claim that Einstein's God was not a God at all is a pretty bold claim given how adamantly he rejected atheism.

 


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War_Pig wrote:I'd say it

War_Pig wrote:

I'd say it boils down to what one means by belief. If belief means conviction without uncertainty than yes, belief in intangible, invisible beings is irrational. That kind of belief brings down towers. but why stop there? wouldn't any belief held so strongly be irrational?

Are you certain that you are living in a material world? Can you defend that completely? Do you think you have the means to do so? 

Belief does not mean that.

Belief is still belief, whatever degree of certainty or confidence one attaches to it. Any level of belief in things for which there is not only no evidence, but can be no evidence, such as omnipotent/infinite gods, is not rationally justifiable.

If the strength of the belief is reasonably consistent with the plausibility and/or amount of evidence pointing to the possible truth of what is believed in, there is no problem.

We don't require 100% certainty to justify accepting any proposition. All empirical, ie, objective knowledge has a degree of uncertainty associated with it.

We are justified in assuming, a term I prefer to the word 'believe', that something is the case, as long as it seems to match reality adequately, as in allowing us to predict to a useful degree the result of some action.

Assuming a world of matter and energy, as described by Physics, certainly works extremely well. That is all I need to know. It has guided the development of the technology that is allowing us to communicate.

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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War_Pig wrote:To claim that

War_Pig wrote:

To claim that Einstein's God was not a God at all is a pretty bold claim given how adamantly he rejected atheism.

His 'God' was not the kind of God accepted by 'believers'.

Quote:

I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil.

Quote:

That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

I personally have problems with quotes such as the above, but his 'God' is still not that of religions, there is no doctrine or dogma associated with it.

Do you have quotes where he specifically "rejected atheism"?

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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Unquestionably. But theism

Unquestionably. But theism is a blanket statement for all beliefs in god, not just the commonly accepted ones.

Denial of atheism:

“I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what that is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the most intelligent human toward God.”

And then:

"In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."

Quotes he made in support of theism are too numerous to list.


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"Any level of belief in

"Any level of belief in things for which there is not only no evidence, but can be no evidence, such as omnipotent/infinite gods, is not rationally justifiable."

There is no evidence that we are living in a material world. There can be no evidence. Your reason alone tells you that the perceived solidity of things, and maybe the consistency of nature makes this assumption justifiable.

How does this differ from belief in God? When I look to nature I see order. Solar systems are ingenious systems which allow for a constant feed of energy to be fed to planets, which in turn allows entropy fighting processes like evolution to take place. How did we get so lucky as to have solar systems?

 

 

"We don't require 100% certainty to justify accepting any proposition. All empirical, ie, objective knowledge has a degree of uncertainty associated with it."

Then it's probably best if we leave the word knowledge out of our vocabulary, except for when being theoretical. To claim knowledge, one asserts that their beliefs overlap with reality, in other words, that one has "truth." Because this can't be known, given our strict epistemological criteria, everything we believe, is just that. People who claim to have knowledge are loonies. If anyone is irrational, it's these guys.

 


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Ooooo, let's play 'mine the quote!
I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit 
priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies 
about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and 
have always been an atheist. 

Albert Einstein, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr, July 2, 1945

 

The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of 
human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still 
primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No 
interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. 

Letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, January 3, 1954

I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of
 what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and 
actions of human beings. 

- Albert Einstein, responding to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein's question "Do you believe in God?"

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a
 lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a 
personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.
 If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the 
unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our 
science can reveal it. 

- Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist (1954), quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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He doesn't claim atheism in

He doesn't claim atheism in any of those quotes. The first one addresses how he is viewed in the eyes of a Jesuit priest. The rest only express his distaste for religions and the God thereof.

 


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War_Pig wrote:"Any level of

War_Pig wrote:

"Any level of belief in things for which there is not only no evidence, but can be no evidence, such as omnipotent/infinite gods, is not rationally justifiable."

There is no evidence that we are living in a material world. There can be no evidence. Your reason alone tells you that the perceived solidity of things, and maybe the consistency of nature makes this assumption justifiable.

There is massive evidence that we live in a 'material' world. In common usage, 'matter' is that which is not mind or 'spirit'. Do you deny that there is 'something', that is not 'us' or the people we deal with, that we observe and interact with? That is all it means to say 'we live in a material world". That we perceive something beyond ourselves that is still there when we come back to it IS the evidence.

Remember, evidence doesn't have to be 100% proof - that is what is not possible.

We have massive evidence that we live in a world that corresponds fairly closely to our sense experience. 'Matter' is that which gives 'things' some persistent structure. Anything which retains its shape is evidence. Matter is simply anything which occupies space and has volume.

Physics IS evidence. It works.

Quote:

How does this differ from belief in God? When I look to nature I see order. Solar systems are ingenious systems which allow for a constant feed of energy to be fed to planets, which in turn allows entropy fighting processes like evolution to take place. How did we get so lucky as to have solar systems?

As described in your statement, our 'belief' in a material world does not differ from a belief in God, but that is because your statement is patently in error, in denying that we have evidence.

We have no evidence for God. We have evidence of order. Order does not require an intelligence, merely matter, ie persistent entities. Intelligence is dependent on the pre-existence of an ordered reality, not the other way round.

We have no evidence that we were 'lucky'. That would involve assuming there is only one possible precise state of the laws of Physics, etc, that would lead to a structure that would support the emergence of life of some kind. It didn't have to be a solar system. That sounds like the 'fine-tuning' argument, which has been shown to be not valid.

A 'solar system' only requires a star and gravity and smaller chunks of matter. Actually only matter and gravity, chunks of matter of all sizes up to stars and beyond are formed by gravity pulling mater together. Hardy remarkable luck. It seems now that maybe most stars have planets. And given the size of the universe, it would be remarkable if there wasn't at least one planet suitable for some form of life.

It is only remarkable to the naive and uninformed, so in that case it is arguably rational, as it was to our ancestors. But in the context of current understanding, it is no longer rational. IOW it is no longer possible to make a rational argument for those old ideas when you include current science in your propositions.

Quote:

"We don't require 100% certainty to justify accepting any proposition. All empirical, ie, objective knowledge has a degree of uncertainty associated with it."

Then it's probably best if we leave the word knowledge out of our vocabulary, except for when being theoretical. To claim knowledge, one asserts that their beliefs overlap with reality, in other words, that one has "truth." Because this can't be known, given our strict epistemological criteria, everything we believe, is just that. People who claim to have knowledge are loonies. If anyone is irrational, it's these guys.

I have always held that the word 'knowledge' is very slippery, and should probably be avoided in serious discussion of our beliefs and assumptions. The common philosophical definition of 'knowledge' as "justified true belief" is f**king idiotic, precisely because it includes the word 'true' in it, which makes it a useless circularity. Epistemology is pretty useless, riddled as it is with crap like that. I don't give a rat's arse about "strict epistemological criteria", I simply don't use or refer to 'epistemology'.

Of course all we have is belief, assumptions, instincts, intuitions, which can be held with varying degrees of confidence. The only assumption which can be reasonably held with virtually perfect certainty, IMHO,  is 'cogito ergo sum', ie 'I think, therefore I am'. The 'Laws of Logic' would be pretty much up there, namely that there are separate 'things' we can identify in our 'world' (Law of Identity), and that contradictions are not valid, ie anything which seems to show that A = not A must be wrong.

From there, we can only have beliefs and assumptions.

I distinguish 'assumptions' as those ideas we consciously choose and recognize as such, as not clearly and unambiguously demonstrated by the evidence, from 'beliefs', which I don't see as something we choose, but are driven to by our perceptions, experience and reasoning, as being what everything at least seems to point to.

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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Quote:There is massive

Quote:
There is massive evidence that we live in a 'material' world. In common usage, 'matter' is that which is not mind or 'spirit'. Do you deny that there is 'something', that is not 'us' or the people we deal with, that we observe and interact with? That is all it means to say 'we live in a material world". That we perceive something beyond ourselves that is still there when we come back to it IS the evidence.

Remember, evidence doesn't have to be 100% proof - that is what is not possible.

We have massive evidence that we live in a world that corresponds fairly closely to our sense experience. 'Matter' is that which gives 'things' some persistent structure. Anything which retains its shape is evidence. Matter is simply anything which occupies space and has volume.

Physics IS evidence. It works.

It's a massive stretch to go from "our world seems consistent" to "our world is made of solid stuff called matter and only that stuff exists."

Dreams can show the same kind of consistencies. And yet those are of the mind. That's not evidence at all. As for the solidity of things, things taking up space, that's false, or at least "unjustifiable held" for the time being. That's the old orthodox view that can't be rationally defended today in light of quantum physics. We don't KNOW what matter is, as it may as well just be a different "state" of space (whatever the hell that is.)

Quote:
As described in your statement, our 'belief' in a material world does not differ from a belief in God, but that is because your statement is patently in error, in denying that we have evidence.

"That we perceive something beyond ourselves that is still there when we come back to IS the evidence" is hardly convincing.

How do you know your bed exists when you leave your bedroom? You assume that because it's there when you get back, that it was also there when you were gone. Idealism and quantum observationism would say it was gone during that time, but the result when you return is the same.

 

Quote:
We have no evidence for God. We have evidence of order. Order does not require an intelligence, merely matter, ie persistent entities. Intelligence is dependent on the pre-existence of an ordered reality, not the other way round.

No, order doesn't require intelligence, but it sure as hell prefers it. And if we accept the existence of just one universe, the odds are entirely against the existence of order, especially on the grand scale we see in our universe. But then, whose to say that there's one universe? Maybe there's an infinite number, in which every scenario, everything, and everywhere exists. ya know, to accommodate for our perceived luck. Scary thought. 

Lucky for us empiricists, evidence precedes belief so we can casually scoot that notion under the rug for now.

 

Quote:
We have no evidence that we were 'lucky'. That would involve assuming there is only one possible precise state of the laws of Physics, etc, that would lead to a structure that would support the emergence of life of some kind. It didn't have to be a solar system. That sounds like the 'fine-tuning' argument, which has been shown to be not valid.

Our universe has been shown ideal for the emergence of black holes, which in turn means lots of big stars, which in turn means lots of nuclear fusion, which in turn means a lot of this stuff we call solid matter.

What life-forms do you suppose we entertain then? Energy beings? Hydrogen golems?

 

Quote:
A 'solar system' only requires a star and gravity and smaller chunks of matter. Actually only matter and gravity, chunks of matter of all sizes up to stars and beyond are formed by gravity pulling mater together. Hardy remarkable luck. It seems now that maybe most stars have planets. And given the size of the universe, it would be remarkable if there wasn't at least one planet suitable for some form of life.

It is only remarkable to the naive and uninformed, so in that case it is arguably rational, as it was to our ancestors. But in the context of current understanding, it is no longer rational. IOW it is no longer possible to make a rational argument for those old ideas when you include current science in your propositions.

Hrumph! You've made the all to common mistake of confusing simplicity with second-rate. You can't possibly think that solar systems are as insignificant as you make them out to be, can you? The center based heat source, the rotating planets to ensure energy is spread evenly, etc. Atheist or not, it's an incredible system that only a very specific "dial setting" on the laws of physics can account for.

The only difference between modern man and his ancestors is we know HOW solar systems are created. We are still left in awe as to why the laws have allowed them to form. If you're not even remotely perplexed by that then you're simply not thinking.

Quote:
 I have always held that the word 'knowledge' is very slippery, and should probably be avoided in serious discussion of our beliefs and assumptions. The common philosophical definition of 'knowledge' as "justified true belief" is f**king idiotic, precisely because it includes the word 'true' in it, which makes it a useless circularity. Epistemology is pretty useless, riddled as it is with crap like that. I don't give a rat's arse about "strict epistemological criteria", I simply don't use or refer to 'epistemology'.

Of course all we have is belief, assumptions, instincts, intuitions, which can be held with varying degrees of confidence. The only assumption which can be reasonably held with virtually perfect certainty, IMHO,  is 'cogito ergo sum', ie 'I think, therefore I am'. The 'Laws of Logic' would be pretty much up there, namely that there are separate 'things' we can identify in our 'world' (Law of Identity), and that contradictions are not valid, ie anything which seems to show that A = not A must be wrong.

From there, we can only have beliefs and assumptions.

I distinguish 'assumptions' as those ideas we consciously choose and recognize as such, as not clearly and unambiguously demonstrated by the evidence, from 'beliefs', which I don't see as something we choose, but are driven to by our perceptions, experience and reasoning, as being what everything at least seems to point to.

Well put. I have nothing to say to this.


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Brian37 wrote:Another person

Brian37 wrote:

Another person taking a scientist words out of context. In Einstein's last letter he said while he liked the Jewish tradition he found the writings as "although noble, childish"(Regarding the ignorance of the writers of their holy books in their clearly superstitious claims written in an unscientific age)

Einstein's "god" was not a god, nor a personal god. It was the concept of nature and our seeking to understand nature.

My suggestion would be that you, and many others here, only know the Christian god-concept, which is primarily that of a Bearded Old White Guy who controls the entire Universe on the end of a string.

I didn't have a clue what panentheism was before I found a definition of it, but it most closely matched the concept I had of G-d at the time I found it.  If you say that Einstein's conceptualization of "god" was "the concept of nature", and from everything I've read in all my readings of Einstein (which go back over 4 decades) that is correct, Einstein could most accurately be described as a panentheist.

The problem many people have with god-concepts is that most of them are so heavily influenced by Bearded Old White Guy In Robe or Well-Hung Naked Guy Holding Hammer / Lightning Bolt / Pitchfork (okay, so many of them weren't really all that well-hung ...) that conceptualizing ANYTHING which lacks body parts as a deity is just about as impossible as can be.

I can't begin to count the number of arguments against the existence of god and/or gods that somehow involve non-physical "brains" or some other inside-space-time-manifestation.  The answer to me was that G-d is not a thing in the space-time-occupying sense of a thing.  G-d created space-time (and I don't mean in a Higgs sense, I mean in the sense that G-d created the Higgs boson and the rest of the GUT), G-d does not exist =within= space-time.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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BobSpence wrote:We have

BobSpence wrote:

We have massive evidence that we live in a world that corresponds fairly closely to our sense experience. 'Matter' is that which gives 'things' some persistent structure. Anything which retains its shape is evidence. Matter is simply anything which occupies space and has volume.

Physics IS evidence. It works.

And here you go spinning off into being completely wrong.

We cannot prove that =anything= outside our heads even exists.  For that matter, we can't even prove our head exists.  Scientifically, there is simply =zero= proof that there is even such a thing as "physical reality".  Not only is the vast majority of the Universe empty, the vast majority of what people think of as "filling the Universe" is empty space.  "Matter" is more "nothing" than "something".  What you think of as "volume" is Columbic Repulsion -- the opposition of stuff to other stuff, beyond which there is more No Stuff than Other Stuff.

You not only never touch the table you try to touch, but your mind doesn't even directly perceive touching the table you never actually touch.  Everything we know about the entire Universe is perceived indirectly, at best.  We do not "see things", we see the effort "things" make to insure we do not "see" them.

THAT is Physics.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder wrote:Brian37

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Another person taking a scientist words out of context. In Einstein's last letter he said while he liked the Jewish tradition he found the writings as "although noble, childish"(Regarding the ignorance of the writers of their holy books in their clearly superstitious claims written in an unscientific age)

Einstein's "god" was not a god, nor a personal god. It was the concept of nature and our seeking to understand nature.

My suggestion would be that you, and many others here, only know the Christian god-concept, which is primarily that of a Bearded Old White Guy who controls the entire Universe on the end of a string.

I didn't have a clue what panentheism was before I found a definition of it, but it most closely matched the concept I had of G-d at the time I found it.  If you say that Einstein's conceptualization of "god" was "the concept of nature", and from everything I've read in all my readings of Einstein (which go back over 4 decades) that is correct, Einstein could most accurately be described as a panentheist.

The problem many people have with god-concepts is that most of them are so heavily influenced by Bearded Old White Guy In Robe or Well-Hung Naked Guy Holding Hammer / Lightning Bolt / Pitchfork (okay, so many of them weren't really all that well-hung ...) that conceptualizing ANYTHING which lacks body parts as a deity is just about as impossible as can be.

I can't begin to count the number of arguments against the existence of god and/or gods that somehow involve non-physical "brains" or some other inside-space-time-manifestation.  The answer to me was that G-d is not a thing in the space-time-occupying sense of a thing.  G-d created space-time (and I don't mean in a Higgs sense, I mean in the sense that G-d created the Higgs boson and the rest of the GUT), G-d does not exist =within= space-time.

Then why call it God, or G-d and not the awesome turtle outside space-time that created the thing which created the Higgs field?  With your definition of god, I see absolutely no point of even considering such a thing.  It may very well be a trans-dimensional chicken of doom... it's complete gibberish.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:Then why call it

Ktulu wrote:

Then why call it God, or G-d and not the awesome turtle outside space-time that created the thing which created the Higgs field?  With your definition of god, I see absolutely no point of even considering such a thing.  It may very well be a trans-dimensional chicken of doom... it's complete gibberish.

Because you are hung up on "My god has a flaccid penis and can beat up your god with a flaccid penis".  It doesn't matter if it's Bearded Old White Guy, or Cosmic Turtle, or Giant Chicken of Doom -- all of those "things" are "things".  G-d is no-thing.

I don't say these things to be blasphemous, but to make the point that there are other god-concepts besides ones that require a human-being-shaped entity (or turtle or chicken or colander filled with pasta ...) which pulls the strings of the Universe and zaps people who don't do whatever that particular god happens to want.

It would appear that all of the gods you don't believe in fall into the category of "idol worship".  Which means that conveniently I very likely don't believe in all of the gods that you don't believe in.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder wrote:And

FurryCatHerder wrote:

And here you go spinning off into being completely wrong.

We cannot prove that =anything= outside our heads even exists.  For that matter, we can't even prove our head exists.  Scientifically, there is simply =zero= proof that there is even such a thing as "physical reality".  Not only is the vast majority of the Universe empty, the vast majority of what people think of as "filling the Universe" is empty space.  "Matter" is more "nothing" than "something".  What you think of as "volume" is Columbic Repulsion -- the opposition of stuff to other stuff, beyond which there is more No Stuff than Other Stuff.

You not only never touch the table you try to touch, but your mind doesn't even directly perceive touching the table you never actually touch.  Everything we know about the entire Universe is perceived indirectly, at best.  We do not "see things", we see the effort "things" make to insure we do not "see" them.

THAT is Physics.

I think the distinction here was between the material (meaning particles, energy and their interactions) and the supernatural implied in the previous posts (meaning spiritual, transcendent, not of material).  I'm sure Bob and many others here are aware of the stuff to non stuff ratio, the point was, however, that such ratio, low though it may be, is still a NATURAL explanation for our world.  

I'm not sure what you refer to as proof.  You can prove a large set of things exists outside of a solipsistic paradigm.  You cannot prove with 100% certainty, but relative to any given criteria you may prove anything.  If you preset the parameters for any proof, you may arrive at 100% satisfaction of set parameters.  If you then turn around and change set parameters to let's say, a smaller scale, then the parameters change and the previous proof is no longer satisfactory.  What you mean to say is that there will always be a set of parameters that you can think of, that the proof I provide is not 100% satisfactory.  Which is not the same as saying that you cannot prove anything.  That's just silly solipsistic philosophy.   

@ War Pig... I really liked your avatar dude, please don't go all irrational on us.  

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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FurryCatHerder wrote: Ktulu

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Then why call it God, or G-d and not the awesome turtle outside space-time that created the thing which created the Higgs field?  With your definition of god, I see absolutely no point of even considering such a thing.  It may very well be a trans-dimensional chicken of doom... it's complete gibberish.

Because you are hung up on "My god has a flaccid penis and can beat up your god with a flaccid penis".  It doesn't matter if it's Bearded Old White Guy, or Cosmic Turtle, or Giant Chicken of Doom -- all of those "things" are "things".  G-d is no-thing.

I don't say these things to be blasphemous, but to make the point that there are other god-concepts besides ones that require a human-being-shaped entity (or turtle or chicken or colander filled with pasta ...) which pulls the strings of the Universe and zaps people who don't do whatever that particular god happens to want.

It would appear that all of the gods you don't believe in fall into the category of "idol worship".  Which means that conveniently I very likely don't believe in all of the gods that you don't believe in.

I knew you were a closet atheist Smiling

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:I think the

Ktulu wrote:

I think the distinction here was between the material (meaning particles, energy and their interactions) and the supernatural implied in the previous posts (meaning spiritual, transcendent, not of material).  I'm sure Bob and many others here are aware of the stuff to non stuff ratio, the point was, however, that such ratio, low though it may be, is still a NATURAL explanation for our world.  

I'm not sure what you refer to as proof.  You can prove a large set of things exists outside of a solipsistic paradigm.  You cannot prove with 100% certainty, but relative to any given criteria you may prove anything.  If you preset the parameters for any proof, you may arrive at 100% satisfaction of set parameters.  If you then turn around and change set parameters to let's say, a smaller scale, then the parameters change and the previous proof is no longer satisfactory.  What you mean to say is that there will always be a set of parameters that you can think of, that the proof I provide is not 100% satisfactory.  Which is not the same as saying that you cannot prove anything.  That's just silly solipsistic philosophy.

The problem is that you've arbitrarily defined what is "material" and what is "silly solipsistic philosophy".

Or put another way, you believe with 100% confidence something that cannot, by your own admission, be proven with 100% certainty.

The "stuff" that makes up the ratio "low though it may be" is made up of "stuff" that occupies no space at all -- a proton is made up of three quarks (uud) and quarks are, themselves, far smaller than the proton they produce.  So far as I've been able to determine, the further "into" matter we "look", the less there is to matter.  Based on that trend, there really is "nothing", which is far from "silly solipsistic philosophy".

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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Ktulu wrote:FurryCatHerder

Ktulu wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

It would appear that all of the gods you don't believe in fall into the category of "idol worship".  Which means that conveniently I very likely don't believe in all of the gods that you don't believe in.

I knew you were a closet atheist Smiling

Panentheism isn't like most "theisms".

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder wrote:The

FurryCatHerder wrote:

The problem is that you've arbitrarily defined what is "material" and what is "silly solipsistic philosophy".

Or put another way, you believe with 100% confidence something that cannot, by your own admission, be proven with 100% certainty.

The "stuff" that makes up the ratio "low though it may be" is made up of "stuff" that occupies no space at all -- a proton is made up of three quarks (uud) and quarks are, themselves, far smaller than the proton they produce.  So far as I've been able to determine, the further "into" matter we "look", the less there is to matter.  Based on that trend, there really is "nothing", which is far from "silly solipsistic philosophy".

hehe, I've touched a nerve.  The solipsism remark was towards your "you can't prove ANYTHING" remark.  

I agree with your statement fundamentally but the way you have worded it leaves so much room for interpretation that I felt it needed to be clarified.  Left to "you can't prove anything" allows room for so much woo and neo-spiritual BS that a distinction needs to be made.  

I personally say that you cannot prove anything other then "Cogito ergo sum".  Everything else is expressed in degrees of certainty.  This, however, doesn't give equal footing to spiritual half talk BS, versus peer reviewed, repeatable experimental data.  The degree of certainty I attribute to scientifically obtained data, while not proven 100%, is so so high in the 99.999% that for all pragmatic purposes we may as well call it certain.  It just saves on words.  I could say I believe this to a degree of 99.9999% certainity, except for in the case that... blah blah.  Instead I will just claim it as practical truth.  

Once we have established that we have a subjectively flawed epistemic frame of reference, it is impractical to continually bring it up.  It is also impractical, bordering on incorrect to claim that the tautological definition of knowledge is one hundred percent certainty.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:FurryCatHerder

Ktulu wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

The problem is that you've arbitrarily defined what is "material" and what is "silly solipsistic philosophy".

Or put another way, you believe with 100% confidence something that cannot, by your own admission, be proven with 100% certainty.

The "stuff" that makes up the ratio "low though it may be" is made up of "stuff" that occupies no space at all -- a proton is made up of three quarks (uud) and quarks are, themselves, far smaller than the proton they produce.  So far as I've been able to determine, the further "into" matter we "look", the less there is to matter.  Based on that trend, there really is "nothing", which is far from "silly solipsistic philosophy".

hehe, I've touched a nerve.  The solipsism remark was towards your "you can't prove ANYTHING" remark.  

I agree with your statement fundamentally but the way you have worded it leaves so much room for interpretation that I felt it needed to be clarified.  Left to "you can't prove anything" allows room for so much woo and neo-spiritual BS that a distinction needs to be made.  

I personally say that you cannot prove anything other then "Cogito ergo sum".  Everything else is expressed in degrees of certainty.  This, however, doesn't give equal footing to spiritual half talk BS, versus peer reviewed, repeatable experimental data.  The degree of certainty I attribute to scientifically obtained data, while not proven 100%, is so so high in the 99.999% that for all pragmatic purposes we may as well call it certain.  It just saves on words.  I could say I believe this to a degree of 99.9999% certainity, except for in the case that... blah blah.  Instead I will just claim it as practical truth.  

Once we have established that we have a subjectively flawed epistemic frame of reference, it is impractical to continually bring it up.  It is also impractical, bordering on incorrect to claim that the tautological definition of knowledge is one hundred percent certainty.

I'll agree that it is possible to devolve into excessive navel gazing, but disagree that navel gazing is, in fact, navel gazing.

I disagree with "Cogito ergo sum" -- I think the best we can actually prove is "Cogito ergo cogito cogito" (sorry, never took Latin -- I'm sure the declination or whatever is completely wrong), "I think therefore I think I think."  Understanding that "thought" is all there is is pretty heady stuff and back when I had more time to think about thinking, I used to throw "thoughts" into my mind to chew on.  The appeal of all that "woo" for me is that when I have time to "think about thinking", life just seems to move a lot more smoothly.

I had a friend growing up who put "I think therefore I think I think" best -- he asserted that we (his circle of friends, and by extension everyone on the planet, since the people not in his immediate circle of friends where us imagining what he was imagining us imagining ...) were all a figment of his imagination, and went on to challenge us to disprove the assertion.  The really annoying thing about that assertion is that it can't be disproven.  Several decades later, after the invention of Facebook, we ran into each other on-line and I bought that up -- that we were all a figment of his imagination.  He remembered making that statement and picked it up again, without missing a beat.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder wrote:I'll

FurryCatHerder wrote:

I'll agree that it is possible to devolve into excessive navel gazing, but disagree that navel gazing is, in fact, navel gazing.

I disagree with "Cogito ergo sum" -- I think the best we can actually prove is "Cogito ergo cogito cogito" (sorry, never took Latin -- I'm sure the declination or whatever is completely wrong), "I think therefore I think I think."  Understanding that "thought" is all there is is pretty heady stuff and back when I had more time to think about thinking, I used to throw "thoughts" into my mind to chew on.  The appeal of all that "woo" for me is that when I have time to "think about thinking", life just seems to move a lot more smoothly.

I had a friend growing up who put "I think therefore I think I think" best -- he asserted that we (his circle of friends, and by extension everyone on the planet, since the people not in his immediate circle of friends where us imagining what he was imagining us imagining ...) were all a figment of his imagination, and went on to challenge us to disprove the assertion.  The really annoying thing about that assertion is that it can't be disproven.  Several decades later, after the invention of Facebook, we ran into each other on-line and I bought that up -- that we were all a figment of his imagination.  He remembered making that statement and picked it up again, without missing a beat.

Metaphysical solipsism is likely the most fruitless and self defeating personal philosophy one can adopt.  I it as the ultimate laziness of exploring alternative options.  In my line of work, I often find a weak analogy of this mindset.  Not so much solipsistic in itself, but more of an inability to think outside the box ( if I'm permitted the cliche and pun).

One of the aspects of my job is to identify inefficiencies in a given process and suggest, design and test alternative solutions.  Unfortunately, this puts me head to head with people's egos that have been doing said process for years on end.  The most often remark I get is "there's no need to reinvent the wheel", or "this works fine the way it is, why fix it if it ain't broken".  To me, it sounds like intellectual laziness.  Enter solipsism... I can almost see the attraction, but you MUST establish a starting point, otherwise you have a rational equivalent of infinite regress. You are a dream inside a dream.... ad infinitum.  For me, there seems no more logical starting point then "Cogito ergo sum".

It has the nice ring of solipsism, but it has the added benefit of having the balls to make a firm statement.  Now that I am sure I exist, I have to set parameters of what I consider existence.  Once you start defining a frame of reference, you can measure knowledge relative to that basic currency.  

So, back to your friend's challenge, the answer is quite simple.  You have to ask him to define the frame of reference.  Once he has decided that "real" existence ( as opposed to figments of imagination ) has the property of X, Y, Z, then you can find the set of elements with said properties.  The parties involved need to intellectual consistency/honesty to not move the goal posts.  Again, if you tautologically define non existence as everything other then ONESELF, then likely you are everything, and by definition everything you think exists.  The distinction then becomes "figments of your imagination" are just things that exist, but are not what YOU incorrectly consider ONESELF.  I can run circles around intellectually lazy people, it's my job (I'm actually quite new to this position but learning fast)

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:Metaphysical

Ktulu wrote:

Metaphysical solipsism is likely the most fruitless and self defeating personal philosophy one can adopt.  I it as the ultimate laziness of exploring alternative options.  In my line of work, I often find a weak analogy of this mindset.  Not so much solipsistic in itself, but more of an inability to think outside the box ( if I'm permitted the cliche and pun).

Metaphysics, if not merely navel gazing, is far from being "lazy", it's considering things from outside a box who's very existence is in doubt.  Physics is to Metaphysics as Yin is to Yang.  To suggest that Science is "real" is to risk stopping at the surface of a table and say "Yup, it's a table.  It's definitely solid."

Quote:
One of the aspects of my job is to identify inefficiencies in a given process and suggest, design and test alternative solutions.  Unfortunately, this puts me head to head with people's egos that have been doing said process for years on end.  The most often remark I get is "there's no need to reinvent the wheel", or "this works fine the way it is, why fix it if it ain't broken".  To me, it sounds like intellectual laziness.  Enter solipsism... I can almost see the attraction, but you MUST establish a starting point, otherwise you have a rational equivalent of infinite regress. You are a dream inside a dream.... ad infinitum.  For me, there seems no more logical starting point then "Cogito ergo sum".

The problem with "Cogito ergo sum" is precisely that it doesn't acknowledge the assumption that "thinking" is existence.

Descartes didn't stop with Cogito, he went on to discuss precisely what I'm referring to -- that we have no assurance that what we think is real, and that we aren't merely thinking that what we think is real.

Up until I was in my late teens I very routinely had dreams in which I was flying.  I still periodically have those dreams, but not as much as before.  Once I realized that while flying in my dreams I had all of the same concerns that I imagined I might have if I could, in fact, actually fly.  Descartes makes the point with the "Dream Argument" that we cannot trust our senses because we know that our =mind= can be fooled into experiencing things that we've never actually experienced.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder wrote:Ktulu

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Metaphysical solipsism is likely the most fruitless and self defeating personal philosophy one can adopt.  I it as the ultimate laziness of exploring alternative options.  In my line of work, I often find a weak analogy of this mindset.  Not so much solipsistic in itself, but more of an inability to think outside the box ( if I'm permitted the cliche and pun).

Metaphysics, if not merely navel gazing, is far from being "lazy", it's considering things from outside a box who's very existence is in doubt.  Physics is to Metaphysics as Yin is to Yang.  To suggest that Science is "real" is to risk stopping at the surface of a table and say "Yup, it's a table.  It's definitely solid."

I meant metaphysical-solipsism as opposed to methodological-solipsism, not all of Metaphysical is intellectually lazy.  Though some here may argue that is exactly the case.  I think we're at the point where we are talking past ourselves.  It's likely my fault, I most always assume too much and tend to skip over things that I consider obvious.  I didn't imply science is "real", I simply implied that it has a much higher probability then non tangible concepts.  Also, in the context of the above quote, I consider science as the pursuit of a higher probability of reality, hence not intellectually lazy, as opposed to metaphysical-solipsism that has a big tattoo on it's forehead stating "you can't prove that".  To me that just reeks of laziness.  I hope that cleared things up a little. 

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Quote:
One of the aspects of my job is to identify inefficiencies in a given process and suggest, design and test alternative solutions.  Unfortunately, this puts me head to head with people's egos that have been doing said process for years on end.  The most often remark I get is "there's no need to reinvent the wheel", or "this works fine the way it is, why fix it if it ain't broken".  To me, it sounds like intellectual laziness.  Enter solipsism... I can almost see the attraction, but you MUST establish a starting point, otherwise you have a rational equivalent of infinite regress. You are a dream inside a dream.... ad infinitum.  For me, there seems no more logical starting point then "Cogito ergo sum".

The problem with "Cogito ergo sum" is precisely that it doesn't acknowledge the assumption that "thinking" is existence.

Descartes didn't stop with Cogito, he went on to discuss precisely what I'm referring to -- that we have no assurance that what we think is real, and that we aren't merely thinking that what we think is real.

Up until I was in my late teens I very routinely had dreams in which I was flying.  I still periodically have those dreams, but not as much as before.  Once I realized that while flying in my dreams I had all of the same concerns that I imagined I might have if I could, in fact, actually fly.  Descartes makes the point with the "Dream Argument" that we cannot trust our senses because we know that our =mind= can be fooled into experiencing things that we've never actually experienced.

I don't want to get into epistemic nuances in this conversation, suffice it to say that by stating"I think, therefore I am" must ultimately have an "I" to originate the thought.  I was referring to this fundamental conclusion from "Cogito ergo sum" versus any distinction relative to any specific branches of epistemology.

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Solipsism...

If you shoot a solipsist, is it murder or therapy?

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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War_Pig wrote:He doesn't

War_Pig wrote:

He doesn't claim atheism in any of those quotes. The first one addresses how he is viewed in the eyes of a Jesuit priest. The rest only express his distaste for religions and the God thereof.

 

Did you ever consider how much more dogmatic society was back then? It amazes me that he even got away with the quotes posted here without some nut popping him off. I bet if alive today, especially with all the new things we have uncovered since, he'd no doubt call himself an atheist. I find it highly likely he avoided the word because of the stupid stigma people like you falsely attach to it.

Even Jefferson, if he ran today could not get elected with what he said about religion and the absurd fantastic claims it makes.

So at the very least, even if he had a generic god, he would STILL despise the childish myths and violent tribalism it causes.

You want to lead us to the god of Abraham which is your ultimate goal. Using Einstein to do it is intellectually dishonest. regardless if he was an atheist or not. He rejected that particular god.

Outside this bad argument, you fail to consider that the "cause" of evolution and even that of the universe is the cause of a "what" and not a "who". Just like the ocean god Neptune does not cause hurricanes because it is merely a myth.

Einstein would not value the OT as literal fact , much less consider it a science textbook. At best he found some nice stories in it, at the most. But he considered the whole thing myth regardless.

Everything that is is the cause of a process and conditions of natural science, not a magic man with a magic wand. Much less that of the bloodthirsty mafia boss of the OT and bible.

 

 

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Belief in God is irrational?

Belief in God is irrational? This presupposes that it is irrational to believe anything without proof. All belief systems start with axioms. This applies to atheism, science, mathematics, and propositional logic itself. The Christian's axioms are self-consistent and make good sense of the evidence. The atheist's axioms are ultimately self-refuting. The greatest form of irrationality is to believe in rationality when that rationality was supposedly ultimately produced by non-rational random combinations of chemicals.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20


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 "The Christian's axioms

 "The Christian's axioms are self-consistent and make good sense of the evidence"

And you can't name one.

"The atheist's axioms are ultimately self-refuting"

The only axioms atheists have are the ones you've made up?

 "The greatest form of irrationality is to believe in rationality when that rationality was supposedly ultimately produced by non-rational random combinations of chemicals."

Good thing that science doesn't work the way you're strawmanning it.

 

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War_Pig wrote:Quote:There is

War_Pig wrote:

Quote:
There is massive evidence that we live in a 'material' world. In common usage, 'matter' is that which is not mind or 'spirit'. Do you deny that there is 'something', that is not 'us' or the people we deal with, that we observe and interact with? That is all it means to say 'we live in a material world". That we perceive something beyond ourselves that is still there when we come back to it IS the evidence.

Remember, evidence doesn't have to be 100% proof - that is what is not possible.

We have massive evidence that we live in a world that corresponds fairly closely to our sense experience. 'Matter' is that which gives 'things' some persistent structure. Anything which retains its shape is evidence. Matter is simply anything which occupies space and has volume.

Physics IS evidence. It works.

It's a massive stretch to go from "our world seems consistent" to "our world is made of solid stuff called matter and only that stuff exists."

Which is NOT what I did.

There is matter AND energy, at the very least. String theory and other hypotheses may suggest the possibility of more.

Quote:

Dreams can show the same kind of consistencies. And yet those are of the mind. That's not evidence at all. As for the solidity of things, things taking up space, that's false, or at least "unjustifiable held" for the time being. That's the old orthodox view that can't be rationally defended today in light of quantum physics. We don't KNOW what matter is, as it may as well just be a different "state" of space (whatever the hell that is.)

No they don't, at least in general. Otherwise, most people would be continually uncertain about what was a dream and what wasn't.

I refer to a deep consistency and correlation between the experiences of the bulk of people, which is definitely NOT what we observe in dreams. We do have dreams which we cannot easily, if at all, distinguish from non-dream experience. And that is because those dreams are more closely based on re-running our memories of 'real' experiences. I have had one or two such experiences that I actually remember. Very confusing. But that is not the bulk of dreams for most people, otherwise we would have a very different culture around dreams than we do.

It is the inconsistency with our everyday experience, which remains basically the same in appearance and behavior from day-to-day, and where events proceed in a reasonably orderly manner, without wild jumps and discontinuities, which is how we can have reasonable confidence that it is not a dream.

"Things taking up space" is a definition of matter, not a "view". Category error. 

Physics classifies a specific group of fundamental particles as "matter particles", which form the components of atoms, the fundamental bits of 'matter', and others as "force particles", as carriers of  forces, such as electromagnetic and the weak and strong forces. It is proposed that gravity is also mediated by a "graviton". This contemporary physics, and involves Quantum Theory as well. That specifically defines what matter IS. You are about as wrong as you could be.

Quote:

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As described in your statement, our 'belief' in a material world does not differ from a belief in God, but that is because your statement is patently in error, in denying that we have evidence.

"That we perceive something beyond ourselves that is still there when we come back to IS the evidence" is hardly convincing.

How do you know your bed exists when you leave your bedroom? You assume that because it's there when you get back, that it was also there when you were gone. Idealism and quantum observationism would say it was gone during that time, but the result when you return is the same.

Quantum Theory tells us that the probability that any macro object such as a piece of furniture will change state or position at random over the life of the universe is so incredibly tiny that we really can safely ignore it. It says that the chance of it ceasing to exist is essentially zero, since that would be a massive violation of matter/energy conservation. "Idealism" is just a primitive philosophical idea, not relevant is a serious discussion.

Quote:

Quote:
We have no evidence for God. We have evidence of order. Order does not require an intelligence, merely matter, ie persistent entities. Intelligence is dependent on the pre-existence of an ordered reality, not the other way round.

No, order doesn't require intelligence, but it sure as hell prefers it. And if we accept the existence of just one universe, the odds are entirely against the existence of order, especially on the grand scale we see in our universe. But then, whose to say that there's one universe? Maybe there's an infinite number, in which every scenario, everything, and everywhere exists. ya know, to accommodate for our perceived luck. Scary thought. 

Lucky for us empiricists, evidence precedes belief so we can casually scoot that notion under the rug for now.

"Order" prefers "intelligence"? WTF are you smoking? Intelligence requires order. That's the way it works.

Order emerges virtually inevitably if reality is composed of many particles of only a few types - orderly patterns and structures form easily whenever a group of identical objects are brought together. The fundamental components of any reality have to be simple. Quantum theory tells us that reality is not infinitely divisible, which implies that the smallest units of existence are ultimately all identical. Building up from this suggests order is inevitable. The odds are very much in favor of "order" as well as randomness, which is what we see.

We are NOT "lucky". That is an early and mistaken view. You need to update your ideas.

Quote:

Quote:
We have no evidence that we were 'lucky'. That would involve assuming there is only one possible precise state of the laws of Physics, etc, that would lead to a structure that would support the emergence of life of some kind. It didn't have to be a solar system. That sounds like the 'fine-tuning' argument, which has been shown to be not valid.

Our universe has been shown ideal for the emergence of black holes, which in turn means lots of big stars, which in turn means lots of nuclear fusion, which in turn means a lot of this stuff we call solid matter.

What life-forms do you suppose we entertain then? Energy beings? Hydrogen golems?

Black holes only require gravity and matter particles. As do stars and planets and galaxies. Not so special. No universe could exist without a version of matter particles, ie particles which persist for useful time periods. As does life.

Big stars do not require the existence of black holes. It has been suggested that big galaxies, ie collections of stars, are made more likely to form around big black holes. But stars only require clouds of gas and/or dust of sufficient size. 

Quote:

Quote:
A 'solar system' only requires a star and gravity and smaller chunks of matter. Actually only matter and gravity, chunks of matter of all sizes up to stars and beyond are formed by gravity pulling mater together. Hardy remarkable luck. It seems now that maybe most stars have planets. And given the size of the universe, it would be remarkable if there wasn't at least one planet suitable for some form of life.

It is only remarkable to the naive and uninformed, so in that case it is arguably rational, as it was to our ancestors. But in the context of current understanding, it is no longer rational. IOW it is no longer possible to make a rational argument for those old ideas when you include current science in your propositions.

Hrumph! You've made the all to common mistake of confusing simplicity with second-rate. You can't possibly think that solar systems are as insignificant as you make them out to be, can you? The center based heat source, the rotating planets to ensure energy is spread evenly, etc. Atheist or not, it's an incredible system that only a very specific "dial setting" on the laws of physics can account for.

The only difference between modern man and his ancestors is we know HOW solar systems are created. We are still left in awe as to why the laws have allowed them to form. If you're not even remotely perplexed by that then you're simply not thinking.

I did NOT say or imply anything about stuff being "second-rate". And I did not say solar systems are "second-rate" or "insignificant". You are the one assuming something that is not unusual is automatically 'second-rate'. That is a logical fallacy.

The original "fine-tuning" argument has been shown to be flawed, as only considering the consequence of varying one 'constant' at a time. It is analogous to only exploring the edges of a cube (if there were three constants under consideration) and ignoring the vastly greater number of combinations making up the whole volume.

Solar systems are very important, I am simply pointing out that they are almost inevitably formed out of any sufficiently large cloud of dust and gas.

The planets have nothing to do with "ensur[ing] energy is spread evenly", as if that was even necessary or important.

The center will inevitably become the "heat source", as gravitational attraction, which condensed the cloud in the first place, will mean that that is where the greatest density will be, and the highest temperatures, as the gravitational potential energy of the original cloud is converted to thermal energy.

It does not need to be 'dialled-up" at every stage, as you seem to imply. Only a profound ignorance could lead you to these conclusions.

Life does not necessarily need a solar system. An isolate body of a suitable size-range to allow a low level nuclear reaction to fire up inside it may even suffice.

 

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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jcgadfly wrote:Lee2216

jcgadfly wrote:

Lee2216 wrote:
 "The Christian's axioms are self-consistent and make good sense of the evidence"

And you can't name one.

1. Everything which has a beginning has a cause.

2. The universe has a beginning.

3. Therefore the universe has a cause. 

4. Complex specified information always requires an intelligent message sender.

5. All living organisms have complex specified information.

6. Therefore the complex specified information in living organisms requires an intelligent message sender. 

Refute any one of these criteria logically.

jcgadfly wrote:
Lee2216 wrote:
"The atheist's axioms are ultimately self-refuting"

The only axioms atheists have are the ones you've made up?

Where's your proof I've made this up? This is just your assertion.

jcgadfly wrote:
Good thing that science doesn't work the way you're strawmanning it.

What does science have to do with you being irrational?

 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20