Just an opinion on the more proper object of criticism

jeffreyalex
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Just an opinion on the more proper object of criticism

When I was an atheist, rather militant actually, what I hated was religious dogmatism, and I just happened to not think a God exists. I don't think I would've been disappointed had God made an appearance. When I began to study philosophy I heard substantial formulations of the arguments that folks like Dawkins set up only to be easily defeated, and found that they had some force, even if they were not solid proofs. I read Mackie, for example, fervently. I hoped to find complete refutation for all arguments for God, because at that time my hero was Chris Hitchens. I loved Hitchens long before he became associated with the New Atheism. I thought the religious were all fools. My conclusion, after a fierce struggle to believe otherwise (because I thought it would make me no different from the idiots I'd been calling delusional for so long), was that there are reasons, or rather, I want to say, I came to the conclusion that it is not utterly unreasonable to suspect that there is an intelligence of some sort at work in creation. 

So I admitted that belief in a Creator God is reasonable given the experience of life. I did not admit that religious belief was reasonable nor did I begin to believe in God. I merely admitted it's not so ridiculous as the popular authors would have it. 

What's surprised me, and I mean really surprised me, shocked me, stupefied me, is that in the last few weeks on this forum I went from being completely agnostic to leaning toward the theistic side. I just can't believe it, but I have to admit it. 

Why? For example, the insane evasion people have tried to make from arguments like the fine-tuning argument. From denying what physics and leading scientists tell us, to coming up with the most absurd analogies, to invoking the anthropic principle and clinging to it for dear life when it answers nothing, to saying that they will believe any theory (from an infinity of universe to the all possible worlds interpretations of quantum) before admitting the possibility of an intelligent mind. I've encountered such shocking closed-mindedness before, and it was something I condemned then, and still do.

I've mentioned in a few posts that I studied sociology in school, and my interest in the new atheism is partly from a view on it as a social phenomena. So many people who haven't read, say Kuhn, or Popper, or Lakotos, or Thaggard, or Smart, or Hartshorne, or Swinburne, or Mackie, or any positivist even, are convinced so strongly that they are vastly more intelligent than your average believer (not even saying lunatic fundamentalist). It's bewildering. William James would've called it a religion like any other, and it's a fundamentalist one, at that. 

I'd like to know, whose reasoning do they rely on? For example, a certain poster in this forum who knows who he is. He's read one book at most, I swear, on any topic. But he has such conviction and arrogance. I have to wonder if he thinks he would be able to stand his ground against a proper philosopher of religion. I'd bet he'd have his butt handed to him, and I'd bet he knows that's true. I wonder if he would have the arrogance to tell, for example, Shrodinger or Einstein that they're silly idiots for believing. The dynamic of belief for people like that is precisely faith: they don't know the serious arguments from one side, nor do they know the responses to them from the other. They choose based on insufficient knowledge and no investigation, and just have faith that their side ultimately has the better argument. Currently, it so seems that the atheist side is the side of the smart folks and religion is the side of the midwestern dimwits. I do understand why people want to be on the winning side. There are social motives and ego motives. I wanted to be on Hitchens side, for example. I did NOT want to be on the side of the Westboro Baptists who would have me burn in hell. 

What I want to suggest is that belief in God is not what so many of the new atheists need to be worried about. It is not going away. It is not even so irrational as they think. What atheists, and believers in God as well, should be against is dogma, religions which claim to know what God wants because it says so in a book, religions which claim to know who's burning in hell, and who should live and who should die. As Hitchens always pointed out, religion can make an otherwise sane man fly a plane into a building. I strongly feel that should be the focus of critique if the goal is a more enlightened free and equal society. Belief in God is not going anywhere, and I don't think we should want it to. Humans will always, and should always, wonder and think about God. It'll be a sad day when we all decide it's settled. What we need is to stop letting men tell us that they and they alone know the truth.

Sorry for the total lack of eloquence. Anyway, just an opinion. 


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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:
First, you think that if you don't know something you should say nothing, yet you started a thread trying to apply probability to one situation in order to draw an analogy to another. 

You failed because the example is obviously not analogous and because you made the most basic mistake possible. This demonstrates that you don't understand what you're talking about. Yet you talk about it.

 

No, dummy. I was demonstrating the fallacy of large numbers. In statistics, no matter how great the odds against, if it happens it happens. A thing is not impossible because of the odds against.

But then you know nothing about statistics and you refuse to learn anything on the subject. Studied ignorance is not a virtue.

No, Nony. In real life, what happens happens. That's not a deep statistical truth. Quite obviously, if there is a chance greater than zero of something happening, it is not impossible. That doesn't mean it isn't improbable. It is more probable to land heads in a coin toss than it is to win the lottery. 

You're making it a trend to say I know nothing. In fact, I took a required 4 terms in statistics. Not that that's to the point when we're talking about a basic analogy which is mistaken in every way possible. As I said, I don't need to be a statistician to observe something completely basic. For example, again, it is more improbable to land heads in a coin toss than to win the lottery. 

 

And finally, to say that we don't know that the constants COULD have been any different doesn't make any point. Physicists tell us it appears they could very well be different. If there is a physically necessity that they are as they are, though there does not seem to be one, it would only be the more uncanny that a physical reason exists that the values MUST be such that they permit life. 


EXC
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jeffreyalex wrote:What I

jeffreyalex wrote:

What I want to suggest is that belief in God is not what so many of the new atheists need to be worried about. It is not going away. It is not even so irrational as they think. What atheists, and believers in God as well, should be against is dogma, religions which claim to know what God wants because it says so in a book, religions which claim to know who's burning in hell, and who should live and who should die.

I'm not sure what the point of such a belief would be. There is a creator, but we can know anything about him, we can't know his motives, he doesn't communicate with anyone. What a waist of time! People believe because they believe they will get something out of it like immortality, financial help, popularity, etc...

jeffreyalex wrote:

As Hitchens always pointed out, religion can make an otherwise sane man fly a plane into a building. I strongly feel that should be the focus of critique if the goal is a more enlightened free and equal society.

But you're only going to get to this better society through the application of science and reason. When you are sick, you don't go to a doctor that is either untrained in medical science or relies on unproven methods. Yet we live in a democracy where theists and other such irrational types vote, teach, run for public office serve as judges and juries. This is why we have a dysfunctional societies leading to a lot of misery in the world.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:jeffreyalex

EXC wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

What I want to suggest is that belief in God is not what so many of the new atheists need to be worried about. It is not going away. It is not even so irrational as they think. What atheists, and believers in God as well, should be against is dogma, religions which claim to know what God wants because it says so in a book, religions which claim to know who's burning in hell, and who should live and who should die.

I'm not sure what the point of such a belief would be. There is a creator, but we can know anything about him, we can't know his motives, he doesn't communicate with anyone. What a waist of time! People believe because they believe they will get something out of it like immortality, financial help, popularity, etc...

jeffreyalex wrote:

As Hitchens always pointed out, religion can make an otherwise sane man fly a plane into a building. I strongly feel that should be the focus of critique if the goal is a more enlightened free and equal society.

But you're only going to get to this better society through the application of science and reason. When you are sick, you don't go to a doctor that is either untrained in medical science or relies on unproven methods. Yet we live in a democracy where theists and other such irrational types vote, teach, run for public office serve as judges and juries. This is why we have a dysfunctional societies leading to a lot of misery in the world.

 

I wouldn't agree that people believe because they think there's something in it for them. I don't think there's anything in it for me, but I entertain the thought that there is a God.

Nor would I agree that better societies are solely the result of science and reason. If I am a white man and I desire to obtain riches for myself and people like me, I am perfectly reasonable to enslave another group. I can even develop the means to control this group (weapons) and keep it healthy cheaply (genetically modified foods, medicines, drugs). That's an application of science and reason, but I'm sure that's not the better society you had in mind. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:

No, Nony. In real life, what happens happens. That's not a deep statistical truth. Quite obviously, if there is a chance greater than zero of something happening, it is not impossible. That doesn't mean it isn't improbable. It is more probable to land heads in a coin toss than it is to win the lottery. 

You're making it a trend to say I know nothing. In fact, I took a required 4 terms in statistics.

If that were true you would have responded very differently by now. But it may be both true and the course was for undergrads and for simple things like test design not for serious use.

Quote:
Not that that's to the point when we're talking about a basic analogy which is mistaken in every way possible. As I said, I don't need to be a statistician to observe something completely basic. For example, again, it is more improbable to land heads in a coin toss than to win the lottery. 

And finally, to say that we don't know that the constants COULD have been any different doesn't make any point. Physicists tell us it appears they could very well be different. If there is a physically necessity that they are as they are, though there does not seem to be one, it would only be the more uncanny that a physical reason exists that the values MUST be such that they permit life. 

If you toss a coin a million times you will get a particular sequence of heads and tails. That particular sequence has exactly the same probability as all heads or all tails. It appears you do not understand that.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

No, Nony. In real life, what happens happens. That's not a deep statistical truth. Quite obviously, if there is a chance greater than zero of something happening, it is not impossible. That doesn't mean it isn't improbable. It is more probable to land heads in a coin toss than it is to win the lottery. 

You're making it a trend to say I know nothing. In fact, I took a required 4 terms in statistics.

If that were true you would have responded very differently by now. But it may be both true and the course was for undergrads and for simple things like test design not for serious use.

Quote:
Not that that's to the point when we're talking about a basic analogy which is mistaken in every way possible. As I said, I don't need to be a statistician to observe something completely basic. For example, again, it is more improbable to land heads in a coin toss than to win the lottery. 

And finally, to say that we don't know that the constants COULD have been any different doesn't make any point. Physicists tell us it appears they could very well be different. If there is a physically necessity that they are as they are, though there does not seem to be one, it would only be the more uncanny that a physical reason exists that the values MUST be such that they permit life. 

If you toss a coin a million times you will get a particular sequence of heads and tails. That particular sequence has exactly the same probability as all heads or all tails. It appears you do not understand that.

 

 

Nony, can you listen? I UNDERSTAND that such a sequence has the same probability of occurring as all the other possible sequences do. I KNOW they all have the same probability. For the last time, the comparison is not between any sequence and any other sequence. 

If you have a bunch of pieces of paper numbered one through a million and pull one out, I KNOW that that piece has the same chance as the others. If I tell you, pull out number 457,923 and you pull it out, THAT would be remarkable. It would be the highly improbable coincidence of my giving you a number and your drawing that very number, versus the necessary unremarkable fact that had I not suggested the number you would have OF COURSE pulled out some number, which had the same chance as the others.

 

Stop pretending you're some sort of mathematics statistics genius when you don't see a most basic point. If you were to tell me to guess the number you were thinking, 1 - 1,000,000, and I guessed it you would be amazed. If I did it three times you'd be amazed^10. However, if you just told me to pick a number without having one in mind yourself, you would not be surprised by any number I would have picked. 

 


harleysportster
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jeffreyalex wrote: Nor

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

Nor would I agree that better societies are solely the result of science and reason. If I am a white man and I desire to obtain riches for myself and people like me, I am perfectly reasonable to enslave another group. I can even develop the means to control this group (weapons) and keep it healthy cheaply (genetically modified foods, medicines, drugs). That's an application of science and reason, but I'm sure that's not the better society you had in mind. 

 Science has given us pasteurization, air-conditioning, cures for various diseases, electricity, the ability to travel into space, refrigeration, and many other things. 

Science has also given us atomic weapons, chemical warfare, and the potential to do great harm. 

Science in of itself can either do great destruction or great advances, depending upon the application of it. 

Same could be said with god belief. Some men supported slavery via the bible and religion, some abolitionists opposed it via religion. 

However, would these people (scientists or religious) have not held the same values whether religion or not ? 

Take Oppenheimer and his remorse over his work. Take the people who hid Jews from the Nazis. Take any example that you would like. 

Do these people act out of a god belief, or is this simply within their nature ? 

Now in my own personal opinion, to stick to the topic at hand, I personally do not want a society based on ANY system solely. But, irregardless of what it is based upon, there is always the human factor and corruption to consider. 

There are no Utopias upon this world. One man's meat is another man's poison. 

Do I have ideas about what a better society would look like ? I think everyone does. Would that society materialize if people like me were in charge ? I think not. 

I personally do not think there are any TOTAL solutions to a productive society. 

I believe in way more freedom and way less government, but that is all. I couldn't guarantee that everyone would be happy with most of my ideas. 

Besides that, if no society has created a Utopia over the past few hundreds of thousands of years, I doubt very seriously that I could come up with a total solution. 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

..... I have yet to come across any necessity for sentient or self aware in any theist concept of origins. All I have found is an anthropomorphic assumption of same. Nor have I found anything worthy of big words or heady concepts in any historic development of concepts of gods.

    You better inform the pantheists  to drop the theist from their name as their "god" is in no way sentient or self aware, your assumptions not withstanding.   "Sentient" is a big word ?

Should those who declare themselves pantheists ever come up with a working defintion of what that means which distinguishes them from all the rest and they all agree I will deal with them at that time. Until then I can't tell them from polytheists.

Quote:
(Also, do words like "omniscient", "omnipotent", "omnipresent" also inspire such disdain from you?   What exactly constitutes a "big word" in your view?)

Disdain? No more than any other gibberish term merits disdain. Just people people can string words together does not mean the resultant word has any validity as describing anything.

I particularly dislike it when I have to go through demonstrating the terms are nonsense. Omniscient but in Genesis it had to walk to Sodom to see what was going on. Omnipotent but it can't do evil leading to more mental masturbation as to why not. Omnipresent -- see walking above. People who pretend to use words which are undefined in any useful sense are idiots.

Is defining terms important? It is essential to all of science and engineering which has been the source of all progress. Theologians have never added anything to human knowledge. Theologians have never had any tangible benefit to mankind. And in fact religions ignore them when they conflict with dogma so they add nothing to religion either because religions just barely tolerate them.

There is a similarly incredibly huge collection of nonsense in masturbatory theologh which assumes simply because the language can create a statement that merits a question mark at the end that it is a valid question. In science one learns half the trick is finding the right question to ask. In theology if it can be stated in the form of a question it is valid as there is no basis for resolution of any question.

Theologeans are idiots. Scholarship is not reason. A database query is the equivalent of scholarship. People who can make consistent sense out of a database query get my attention and not ridicule. In the professional inquiries I have made outside my field I have gotten the kind of response I give to non-idiots.

If I have been unclear I can rephrase the above in nastier terms if you wish. 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

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ProzacDeathWish wrote:

            Yes, but what "heady concept" does that word express ?

Considering your current nun fetish have you considered getting a screen grab of Paris Hilton from Machete?

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

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danatemporary wrote:
Unsurprisingly There is going to be a re-action to what you've begun to suggested. Did the general experience turn out in any way like you imagined?. Look at it another way. There is a danger everyone runs when basis's are too much or often times is "to my own mind". The Ancients feared the chaos of nature. I have found people fear the chaos when every man views things according to his own formulation. Remember we are watching.

Let me point out the proper question is, did the experience last?

In every practical learning experience the feeling lasts. In religion it never works again. All of magic Mother Theresa is based upon a one time, never repeated experience. Arithmetic works every time and forever.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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Ktulu wrote:
hehe, the theory that a proper British accent can cause your umbrella to become an anti gravitational device?

hehe, or the theory that big words represent heady concepts? I'm not sure, I'm not big on heady things and English is my second language, eloquence often eludes me Smiling

No, the idea is that people invent big words which they never give any working defintion and they bandy it around as though it were other than words, that it were something real.

I have raised this many times in simpler terms. The idea that abstract nouns can be treated as real things is the most common thing I have raised as in treating good and evil as real things rather than as abstractions. Treating adjectives as nouns in the grammer sense. Doing that is absurd but it is common.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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jeffreyalex wrote:
I wouldn't agree that people believe because they think there's something in it for them. I don't think there's anything in it for me, but I entertain the thought that there is a God.

Nor would I agree that better societies are solely the result of science and reason. If I am a white man and I desire to obtain riches for myself and people like me, I am perfectly reasonable to enslave another group. I can even develop the means to control this group (weapons) and keep it healthy cheaply (genetically modified foods, medicines, drugs). That's an application of science and reason, but I'm sure that's not the better society you had in mind. 

It does not matter much what you agree with. It is a fact that before science everything was a miracle because everything was divine intervention. A miracle was an extraordinary intervention.

Slavery makes sense in all pre-industrial societies. Science ended slavery. Please do not try to claim chattel slavery is the only kind of slavery solely for the purpose of shooting down the fact. Serfdom is a form of slavery.

A better society is one in which the average life span increases. Next question.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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jeffreyalex wrote:
Stop pretending you're some sort of mathematics statistics genius when you don't see a most basic point. If you were to tell me to guess the number you were thinking, 1 - 1,000,000, and I guessed it you would be amazed. If I did it three times you'd be amazed^10. However, if you just told me to pick a number without having one in mind yourself, you would not be surprised by any number I would have picked.

So then you agree, on the assumption of a low sperm count the odds against your existence are 1:10e7. And that both parents had the same odds against and their parents and so forth back to the appearance of bisexual reproduction. Correct?

And even though that is a very large number you agree that has nothing to do with you being able to think the larger the number the more significant. Correct?

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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harleysportster wrote:
Science has given us pasteurization, air-conditioning, cures for various diseases, electricity, the ability to travel into space, refrigeration, and many other things. 

Science has also given us atomic weapons, chemical warfare, and the potential to do great harm. 

Science in of itself can either do great destruction or great advances, depending upon the application of it.

While not trying to take an immunity bath for science all those are engineering. I am equally qualified as an engineer and did make a career of developing better ways to kill people. But technically it is engineering you are talking about.

Quote:
Same could be said with god belief. Some men supported slavery via the bible and religion, some abolitionists opposed it via religion. 

However, would these people (scientists or religious) have not held the same values whether religion or not ? 

Take Oppenheimer and his remorse over his work. Take the people who hid Jews from the Nazis. Take any example that you would like.

Consider no one hid gypsies, gays or Slavs to see who was really hated. Jews were really also rans.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:
Stop pretending you're some sort of mathematics statistics genius when you don't see a most basic point. If you were to tell me to guess the number you were thinking, 1 - 1,000,000, and I guessed it you would be amazed. If I did it three times you'd be amazed^10. However, if you just told me to pick a number without having one in mind yourself, you would not be surprised by any number I would have picked.

So then you agree, on the assumption of a low sperm count the odds against your existence are 1:10e7. And that both parents had the same odds against and their parents and so forth back to the appearance of bisexual reproduction. Correct?

And even though that is a very large number you agree that has nothing to do with you being able to think the larger the number the more significant. Correct?

 

There is no coincidence, though. The chances of the Jeff sperm cell were 1 in 10^7, yes. That is the same as me thinking up a random number between 1 - 1,000,000. It's going to be a number, it's going to be unique, and it's going to have a chance of 1 in a million. If you'd predicted the number I make up however, that would be impressive.

Look at it from a different perspective:

Your point "The chances of YOU existing are very tiny" (where "you" means me, a unique person different from the others possible) would apply equally to every single possible person that may have been born from those 10^7 sperm cells.

The argument "The chances of YOU existing are very tiny" (where "you" means 'a universe capable of sustaining life') would NOT apply to every single possible universe. It would apply only to a vanishingly tiny set of possible universes.