a thinking Christian-could it be??

seen too much
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a thinking Christian-could it be??

Well, I have been trolling this site for a short while. Not to be nosy, but to see what the mind of an atheist is like. What do you believe, not believe etc. I have been given great answers, been cursed at, a pet peeve of mine, called a liar once, but I have learned alot, and thank you for your honesty.

The one thing I learned a great deal by just observing your posts is that Christians, in your opinion are mindless robotic idiots. We have been accused of not researching, accepting our faith blindly, etc. You know what, Ithink you may be on to something. It was hard to admit, but when I saw the wealth of knowledge here, I was blown away. How could I have been so lax in my own pursuit of what I claim to believe? I have had the desire to do so, but life gets in the way, and it keep being put on the back burner. This site has brought to light something I wish to rectify in my own life.

Now, here is where we split. I am in the elementary stages of study now. Doing research on the computer, reading historians work. And here is what shouts out at me. Please forgive what may be percieved as novice observation, remember, I am early in my pursuit. I feel, in both an atheist study, or Christian study what I find is men trying to pursuade others that their way is right. I have been researching the work of Eusebius, I have a great book by Paul L. Maier. In case it matters, He is no idiot. He is the russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient history at Western Michigan U. He has a Ph.D summa cum Laude from the Un. of Basel, the first American to ever do so. I am enthralled at the work of Eusebius. He sites other historians of his time. Josephus, philo. My husband has their writings, and will get to them in the near future. what I have begun to realize is that we could go back and forth debatiing whose source is more qualified, smarter, whatever. You could accuse me of believing in men who lie to get their agenda across, yet I could do the same. I am I getting my thoughts across clear? I am not trying to belittle anyone, but if it comes across that way, forgive me, I am trying to be as sincere as my keyboard will let meSmiling I feel, truly when all is said and done, each person will need to make up their mind as to who they choose to believe. you will chose the authors you want, as will I. I have already conceited the fact I allowed myself to be ignorant in my faith on some levels. I have been so busy loving being a Christian I let the academia slide. No longer.

One last note, different subject. As my name implies, I did not chose the way of a Christian blindly. Some weird stuff has happened to me in the time I have been a Christian. I stopped questioning it after a while, but have been blown away by it to often to deny it. I have seen to much. Go ahead, call me whatever you want. But hear what I say, I never wanted to be a Christian. I hated God, and did everything I could to piss Him off. I had a tragic childhhood, and He was to blame. Everything I did was to make Him hate me as much as I did Him. You can believe me , well, I know you won't, thats fine. I have seen to much, and on that note, I will go. Have a great day, and yes, I will continue trolling.


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There's a lot wrong with

There's a lot wrong with your post. So much that it's not worth it.


Tarpan
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I'm curious... I'll let you

I'm curious...

I'll let you have your faith in God and won't follow up on that, but I am immensly curious about why Christianity.

I'll allow that you have witnessed miracles or whatever, I don't really want to get into that...but I want to know what specifically you could have seen / witnessed / experienced over hte years that points to one singular description of your God? What exactly clarified that it was Yahweh / Jesus Christ and verified the story of Mary, Jesus' life etc etc?

How were you able to ascertain that it was that one specific description of God rather than another God that just doesn't care what you call him? 

Or, for that matter, how were you able to ascertain that it wasn't just an alien with superior powers to yours that is invisible and has fantastic telephaic abliity that came to yours and others pleas? 


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seen too much wrote: Well,

seen too much wrote:

Well, I have been trolling this site for a short while. Not to be nosy, but to see what the mind of an atheist is like. What do you believe, not believe etc. I have been given great answers, been cursed at, a pet peeve of mine, called a liar once, but I have learned alot, and thank you for your honesty.

The one thing I learned a great deal by just observing your posts is that Christians, in your opinion are mindless robotic idiots. We have been accused of not researching, accepting our faith blindly, etc. You know what, Ithink you may be on to something. It was hard to admit, but when I saw the wealth of knowledge here, I was blown away. How could I have been so lax in my own pursuit of what I claim to believe? I have had the desire to do so, but life gets in the way, and it keep being put on the back burner. This site has brought to light something I wish to rectify in my own life.

Now, here is where we split. I am in the elementary stages of study now. Doing research on the computer, reading historians work. And here is what shouts out at me. Please forgive what may be percieved as novice observation, remember, I am early in my pursuit. I feel, in both an atheist study, or Christian study what I find is men trying to pursuade others that their way is right. I have been researching the work of Eusebius, I have a great book by Paul L. Maier. In case it matters, He is no idiot. He is the russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient history at Western Michigan U. He has a Ph.D summa cum Laude from the Un. of Basel, the first American to ever do so. I am enthralled at the work of Eusebius. He sites other historians of his time. Josephus, philo. My husband has their writings, and will get to them in the near future. what I have begun to realize is that we could go back and forth debatiing whose source is more qualified, smarter, whatever. You could accuse me of believing in men who lie to get their agenda across, yet I could do the same. I am I getting my thoughts across clear? I am not trying to belittle anyone, but if it comes across that way, forgive me, I am trying to be as sincere as my keyboard will let meSmiling I feel, truly when all is said and done, each person will need to make up their mind as to who they choose to believe. you will chose the authors you want, as will I. I have already conceited the fact I allowed myself to be ignorant in my faith on some levels. I have been so busy loving being a Christian I let the academia slide. No longer.

It is true that people disagree and that both sides have sources to cite. The thing is, only one side of the issue can be 'right'. There can not both be a god and not be a god, so one side or the other in this debate, regardless of the intelligence or education level of the participants on the particular side, is right and one is wrong.

Leaving aside, for the moment, the issue of whether or not one can, as you state, "choose to believe" one way or the other (I don't think beliefs are a matter of choice) an issue arises as to what one is supposed to do if they believe they are right. If I see absolutely no reason why anyone should have a belief in this god thing and in fact believe it to be detrimental to society as a whole for people to hold such beliefs, then I think I should be expected, even by those who disagree, to voice my belief and try to get others to see things as I do. I, in turn, should expect those who disagree with me to do the same. Maybe in the end everyone will simply stay where they are, believing as they believe, but that should not stop me from trying to get others to see the reality of our existence as human beings and the best course for society as I believe it to be.

So, we are left with educating ourselves on these matters, as much as possible, and presenting our view in the hopes that others will come to see the 'truth' of our particular side. 

Quote:
One last note, different subject. As my name implies, I did not chose the way of a Christian blindly. Some weird stuff has happened to me in the time I have been a Christian. I stopped questioning it after a while, but have been blown away by it to often to deny it. I have seen to much. Go ahead, call me whatever you want. But hear what I say, I never wanted to be a Christian. I hated God, and did everything I could to piss Him off. I had a tragic childhhood, and He was to blame. Everything I did was to make Him hate me as much as I did Him. You can believe me , well, I know you won't, thats fine. I have seen to much, and on that note, I will go. Have a great day, and yes, I will continue trolling.

And, in turn, I have seen too much to believe that a god exists. My childhood was a very good one and my life now ain't too shabby but from my picture of reality there is absolutely no reason to think this god thing exists. I don't hate god as I can't hate what doesn't exist. I just don't see any reason to think such a thing exists and think that placing responsibility for humanity in the hands of some fictional entity (which is what theism does in the end) is a bad way to go about affecting real change on the human condition.

I never wanted to be an atheist. I simply have been all my life. I just don't have the ability to believe something I see absolutely no reason to believe. The good that has come to me in my life has been a human good. It has been thanks to human parents and human friends and human society members all working hard and doing the best they can to make this world a good place to be a human. Not once have I seen any evidence that this god thing has any hand in anything that I have experienced, good or bad, nor can I even begin to fathom what it is that makes others able to believe such a thing exists.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you my perspective on the matter so that you could see why, whether or not peoples beliefs are changed by these conversations, the conversations themselves are important.

You have a nice day as well. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


seen too much
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Tarpan, I guess the best

Tarpan, I guess the best answer I can give is the things I experienced, well, initially I didn't know the source of it. Until I started reading the bible, and I saw confirmation in it.

I do not believe in aliens, no one has shown me proof. 


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You're right, magilum. 

You're right, magilum.  But, unfortunately, someone has to do it...

seen too much wrote:

Well, I have been trolling this site for a short while. Not to be nosy, but to see what the mind of an atheist is like.

I can relate.  When a believer, I was quite fascinated at the concept of atheism.  I genuinely couldn't comprehend how someone could possibly think there was no god, much less find a reason to live if there wasn't one. 

seen too much wrote:

What do you believe, not believe etc. I have been given great answers, been cursed at, a pet peeve of mine, called a liar once, but I have learned alot, and thank you for your honesty.

Haven't paid attention to your particular exchanges, but in general, I think you get as good as you give on this site. 

seen too much wrote:

The one thing I learned a great deal by just observing your posts is that Christians, in your opinion are mindless robotic idiots.

I doubt any of the former xians here would describe themselves as former mindless robotic idiots.   xians have minds just like anyone else, and yes, there are thinking xians.    It's just that xians who think do not remain xians.

seen too much wrote:
We have been accused of not researching, accepting our faith blindly, etc. You know what, Ithink you may be on to something. It was hard to admit, but when I saw the wealth of knowledge here, I was blown away. How could I have been so lax in my own pursuit of what I claim to believe? I have had the desire to do so, but life gets in the way, and it keep being put on the back burner. This site has brought to light something I wish to rectify in my own life.

Excellent.

seen too much wrote:

Now, here is where we split. I am in the elementary stages of study now. Doing research on the computer, reading historians work. And here is what shouts out at me. Please forgive what may be percieved as novice observation, remember, I am early in my pursuit. I feel, in both an atheist study, or Christian study what I find is men trying to pursuade others that their way is right.

I'm not certain, but I fear you might be operating with a false dichotomy here, namely that it's either atheism or xianity.  If you are only researching xianity to the exclusion of all other religions, you are already tainting your study with a bias. 

seen too much wrote:
I have been researching the work of Eusebius, I have a great book by Paul L. Maier. In case it matters, He is no idiot. He is the russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient history at Western Michigan U. He has a Ph.D summa cum Laude from the Un. of Basel, the first American to ever do so.

 Name-dropping doesn't count for much.  I could compile a list of atheists with impressive accolades, but I wouldn't think to persuade you with that.  It is possible to be smart and still be wrong.

seen too much wrote:
I am enthralled at the work of Eusebius. He sites other historians of his time. Josephus, philo.

You said you are in the early stages of research.  Hopefully as you advance in your research, you shall discover on your own why Josephus, Philo et al  are not tenable citations.  (As an exercise, see if you find the work of Bukhari as enthralling as Eusebius).

seen too much wrote:
 

My husband has their writings, and will get to them in the near future. what I have begun to realize is that we could go back and forth debatiing whose source is more qualified, smarter, whatever.

Or....we could actually come to agreement on whose sources are more qualified, and settle the debate.

seen too much wrote:
 

You could accuse me of believing in men who lie to get their agenda across, yet I could do the same.

You could.   But...you said you are in the early stages of research.  Hopefully as you advance in your research, you will come to realize that the burden of proof is always on the claimant.  And what men would you accuse me of believing in?  My atheism is not the result of the "enthralling" writings of another, nor does my atheism indicate any specific agenda.  I simply find religious beliefs unenthralling.

seen too much wrote:
  

I am I getting my thoughts across clear?

You're getting there.

seen too much wrote:
  

I am not trying to belittle anyone, but if it comes across that way, forgive me, I am trying to be as sincere as my keyboard will let meSmiling I feel, truly when all is said and done, each person will need to make up their mind as to who they choose to believe. you will chose the authors you want, as will I. I have already conceited the fact I allowed myself to be ignorant in my faith on some levels. I have been so busy loving being a Christian I let the academia slide. No longer.

One last note, different subject. As my name implies, I did not chose the way of a Christian blindly. Some weird stuff has happened to me in the time I have been a Christian. I stopped questioning it after a while, but have been blown away by it to often to deny it. I have seen to much.

 Weird stuff happens all the time.  To everyone.  If you've already chosen to be a christian (as you "conceited" above), it is not surprising that you will analyze an instance of weird stuff through the tainted lens of that already chosen belief.  

seen too much wrote:
  Go ahead, call me whatever you want. But hear what I say, I never wanted to be a Christian. I hated God, and did everything I could to piss Him off. I had a tragic childhhood, and He was to blame. Everything I did was to make Him hate me as much as I did Him. You can believe me , well, I know you won't, thats fine.

Of course I won't, and you know that.  You certainly can't expect me to be impressed when you say you hated god and tried to piss him off, if I don't believe there is a god to hate or piss off.   I'm sorry you had a tragic childhood, but hopefully (as your research advances) you will realize you're not the only one out there with a tragic childhood, so your tragic childhood does nothing to strengthen your argument.

seen too much wrote:
  I have seen to much, and on that note, I will go. Have a great day, and yes, I will continue trolling.

I haven't seen enough.  Have a great and un-tragic day. 

 

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


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seen too much

seen too much wrote:

Tarpan, I guess the best answer I can give is the things I experienced, well, initially I didn't know the source of it. Until I started reading the bible, and I saw confirmation in it.

I do not believe in aliens, no one has shown me proof.

 

I'd love it if you could be more specific.

How many religious texts have you read? How many religions did you extensivly research to see if the same things were not stated? Why did you come to the conclusion that those texts were correct and that they were not duped by the same invisible entity?

To be clear, I am accusing you of reading 1 thing, seeing something you like, and commiting yourself to it without extensive research.  Even the research you have done I would suggest is more than likely specific to research of one faith and not recognizing the fact that it is likely all duplicated in many other religions, other sects of your religion, and many religions both your religion.

There are over 2000 sects of just Christianity, and in the realm of over 4000 known gods just in recorded human history.

How were you able to come to the conclusion that 1 specific religion, 1 specific god, and 1 specific sect and interpretation was the accurate one to follow?

I ask you to be ask specific as you are willing to be. 


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If you really have been

If you really have been reading this site as much as you claim, then the fact that you can say

"The one thing I learned a great deal by just observing your posts is that Christians, in your opinion are mindless robotic idiots. "

proves that you are prone to grossly inaccurate assessment of what you read, which seems explicable as you only noticing things which confirm your pre-conceptions, a very common problem which we all have to beware of in ourselves.

I honestly can't think of any posts that would suggest that the writer actually thought of Christians in that way. Maybe you read someone who did, but it in no way could be said to apply so generally as to represent 'our opinion'. Deluded, confused, uninformed, ignorant, self-deceived, self-righteous, arrogant, etc. to varying degrees, certainly, but 'mindless robotic idiots', don't think so.

If you approached the Bible the same way, it is hardly surprising you "saw confirmation in it".

Apparently you have been shown proof of at least one powerful being able to cause you to have the various experiences you claim. Any such entity could make you feel or believe whatever they wanted you to. I doubt it would not require infinite power, so a more limited but still vastly advanced alien culture could be behind this, and would seem to be less of a stretch than the biblical God, it seems to me....

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

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I used to be a Christian

I used to be a Christian and I actually thought I'd seen miracles and demons and all kinds of shit. What you believe colors your perceptions. When I stopped believing in miracles and demons, I stopped seeing them.

It's very telling that when you speak of not wanting to believe, you speak of making god angry. Obviously, you were never an atheist. You always believed in the Christian god, but you also believed he was an asshole. "Hating god" does not equal atheism. Smiling

I also went through an "angry at god" stage. It took me awhile to realize there was no one to be angry with.

Let me leave you with a quote:

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it doesn't go away."-- Philip K. Dick  

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BobSpence1 wrote: If you

BobSpence1 wrote:

If you really have been reading this site as much as you claim, then the fact that you can say

"The one thing I learned a great deal by just observing your posts is that Christians, in your opinion are mindless robotic idiots. "

proves that you are prone to grossly inaccurate assessment of what you read, which seems explicable as you only noticing things which confirm your pre-conceptions, a very common problem which we all have to beware of in ourselves.

I honestly can't think of any posts that would suggest that the writer actually thought of Christians in that way. Maybe you read someone who did, but it in no way could be said to apply so generally as to represent 'our opinion'. Deluded, confused, uninformed, ignorant, self-deceived, self-righteous, arrogant, etc. to varying degrees, certainly, but 'mindless robotic idiots', don't think so.

If you approached the Bible the same way, it is hardly surprising you "saw confirmation in it".

Apparently you have been shown proof of at least one powerful being able to cause you to have the various experiences you claim. Any such entity could make you feel or believe whatever they wanted you to. I doubt it would not require infinite power, so a more limited but still vastly advanced alien culture could be behind this, and would seem to be less of a stretch than the biblical God, it seems to me....

Word. Smiling  

It seems we were thinking along the same lines, but it was very observant of you to notice that the beliefs of seen too much have colored her perceptions of atheists on this site. 

To be fair, my current perception of Christians would certainly color my opinion of those on a Christian site.  I have been both a fundamentalist Christian and an atheist.  Atheists treated me nicer when I was Christian than Christians treat me now that I'm an atheist.  Christians have been horribly abusive.  I hate religion and especially Christianity because it is the religion that has affected me.  And I am suspicious of Christians because their religion will definitely influence them to treat me shabbily.  

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magilum
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Fine... seen too much

Fine...

seen too much wrote:
Well, I have been trolling this site for a short while. Not to be nosy, but to see what the mind of an atheist is like. What do you believe, not believe etc. I have been given great answers, been cursed at, a pet peeve of mine, called a liar once, but I have learned alot, and thank you for your honesty.

Trolling.

seen too much wrote:
The one thing I learned a great deal by just observing  your posts is that Christians, in your opinion are mindless robotic idiots.

Whose posts? Your description, even if you don't utilize it as such, is a straw-man.

seen too much wrote:
We have been accused of not researching, accepting our faith blindly, etc.

Maybe you can do what Alister McGrath couldn't, and explain how faith is something other than blind acceptance of a premise.

seen too much wrote:
You know what, Ithink you may be on to something. It was hard to admit, but when I saw the wealth of knowledge here, I was blown away. How could I have been so lax in my own pursuit of what I claim to believe? I have had the desire to do so, but life gets in the way, and it keep being put on the back burner. This site has brought to light something I wish to rectify in my own life.

Right...

seen too much wrote:
Now, here is where we split. I am in the elementary stages of study now. Doing research on the computer, reading historians work. And here is what shouts out at me. Please forgive what may be percieved as novice observation, remember, I am early in my pursuit. I feel, in both an atheist study, or Christian study what I find is men trying to pursuade others that their way is right.

Ah, the nihilistic, everyone-has-an-opinion, "whatever" stance. Ideas are just equally-weighted things to toss into some bucket, either to be believed or not, based on some arbitrary criteria. Do I like the way it sounds? does it feel "truthy" to me?

seen too much wrote:
I have been researching the work of Eusebius, I have a great book by Paul L. Maier. In case it matters, He is no idiot. He is the russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient history at Western Michigan U. He has a Ph.D summa cum Laude from the Un. of Basel, the first American to ever do so. I am enthralled at the work of Eusebius. He sites other historians of his time. Josephus, philo. My husband has their writings, and will get to them in the near future.

I actually have to give props for reading an author you don't like.

seen too much wrote:
what I have begun to realize is that we could go back and forth debatiing whose source is more qualified, smarter, whatever. You could accuse me of believing in men who lie to get their agenda across, yet I could do the same.

This is a common complaint of those whose position is unsupported by evidence.

seen too much wrote:
I am I getting my thoughts across clear? I am not trying to belittle anyone, but if it comes across that way, forgive me, I am trying to be as sincere as my keyboard will let meSmiling

I don't value your qualifying remarks, and view them as passive-aggression. The content of your ideas is what matters here, all sugar coating aside.

seen too much wrote:
I feel, truly when all is said and done, each person will need to make up their mind as to who they choose to believe.

The question is whether each person values comprehension over comfort.

seen too much wrote:
you will chose the authors you want, as will I. I have already conceited the fact I allowed myself to be ignorant in my faith on some levels. I have been so busy loving being a Christian I let the academia slide. No longer.

One last note, different subject. As my name implies, I did not chose the way of a Christian blindly. Some weird stuff has happened to me in the time I have been a Christian. I stopped questioning it after a while, but have been blown away by it to often to deny it. I have seen to much. Go ahead, call me whatever you want. But hear what I say, I never wanted to be a Christian. I hated God, and did everything I could to piss Him off.

That's paradoxical -- you'd have to believe in something in order to have feelings about it, so you were a Christian then, too, albeit an uncooperative one.

seen too much wrote:
I had a tragic childhhood, and He was to blame. Everything I did was to make Him hate me as much as I did Him. You can believe me , well, I know you won't, thats fine. I have seen to much, and on that note, I will go. Have a great day, and yes, I will continue trolling.


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seen too much wrote:   I

seen too much wrote:

 

I do not believe in aliens, no one has shown me proof.

 

oh,irony.. 

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

dudeofthemoment wrote:
This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

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seen too much

seen too much wrote:

Tarpan, I guess the best answer I can give is the things I experienced, well, initially I didn't know the source of it. Until I started reading the bible, and I saw confirmation in it.

I do not believe in aliens, no one has shown me proof.

Holy crap. What an irony. Smiling 

I also used to believe in God because of personal experience. But this personal experience didn't infact point to the existence of the Christian God. The reason I believed in God was because I was an idiot.

Trust and believe in no god, but trust and believe in yourself.


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There could be a thinking

There could be a thinking Christian, but it definitely isn't you.


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Quote:

Quote:
The question is whether each person values comprehension over comfort.


Indeed.

Quote:
Maybe you can do what Alister McGrath couldn't, and explain how faith is something other than blind acceptance of a premise.


Quote:
Faith. def.
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
—Idiom
9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary

Faith. def.
n.
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.
American Heritage Dictionary

faith. def.
noun
1. a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; "he lost his faith but not his morality" [syn: religion]
2. complete confidence in a person or plan etc; "he cherished the faith of a good woman"; "the doctor-patient relationship is based on trust"
3. an institution to express belief in a divine power; "he was raised in the Baptist religion"; "a member of his own faith contradicted him" [syn: religion]
4. loyalty or allegiance to a cause or a person; "keep the faith"; "they broke faith with their investors"
Wordnet by Princeton University

Dictionary.
noun
1. a book containing a selection of the words of a language, usually arranged alphabetically, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, etc., expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary: a dictionary of English; a Japanese-English dictionary.
2. a book giving information on particular subjects or on a particular class of words, names, or facts, usually arranged alphabetically: a biographical dictionary; a dictionary of mathematics.
3. Computers.
a. a list of codes, terms, keys, etc., and their meanings, used by a computer program or system.
b. a list of words used by a word-processing program as the standard against which to check the spelling of text entered.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary



After reading all the definitions of faith I see no reason to accept your statement that faith is blind acceptance of a premise. The closed thing, definitely, that comes to this assertion is that faith is "not based on proof"; yet, the assertion that a necessary condition of "not based on proof" is "lacks any proof" faults logic as much as the assertion that a necessary condition of "not carbon-based" is "lacks any carbon."

Quote:
Proof. def.
–noun
1. evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.
2. anything serving as such evidence: What proof do you have?
3. the act of testing or making trial of anything; test; trial: to put a thing to the proof.
4. the establishment of the truth of anything; demonstration.
5. Law. (in judicial proceedings) evidence having probative weight.
6. the effect of evidence in convincing the mind.
7. an arithmetical operation serving to check the correctness of a calculation.
8. Mathematics, Logic. a sequence of steps, statements, or demonstrations that leads to a valid conclusion.
9. a test to determine the quality, durability, etc., of materials used in manufacture.
10. Distilling.
a. the arbitrary standard strength, as of an alcoholic liquor.
b. strength with reference to this standard: “100 proof” signifies a proof spirit, usually 50% alcohol.
11. Photography. a trial print from a negative.
12. Printing.
a. a trial impression, as of composed type, taken to correct errors and make alterations.
b. one of a number of early and superior impressions taken before the printing of the ordinary issue: to pull a proof.
13. (in printmaking) an impression taken from a plate or the like to show the quality or condition of work during the process of execution; a print pulled for examination while working on a plate, block, stone, etc.
14. Numismatics. one of a limited number of coins of a new issue struck from polished dies on a blank having a polished or matte surface.
15. the state of having been tested and approved.
16. proved strength, as of armor.
17. Scots Law. the trial of a case by a judge alone, without a jury.
–adjective
18. able to withstand; successful in not being overcome: proof against temptation.
19. impenetrable, impervious, or invulnerable: proof against outside temperature changes.
20. used for testing or proving; serving as proof.
21. of standard strength, as an alcoholic liquor.
22. of tested or proven strength or quality: proof armor.
23. noting pieces of pure gold and silver that the U.S. assay and mint offices use as standards.
–verb (used with object)
24. to test; examine for flaws, errors, etc.; check against a standard or standards.
25. Printing. prove (def. 7).
26. to proofread.
27. to treat or coat for the purpose of rendering resistant to deterioration, damage, etc. (often used in combination): to proof a house against termites; to shrink-proof a shirt.
28. Cookery.
a. to test the effectiveness of (yeast), as by combining with warm water so that a bubbling action occurs.
b. to cause (esp. bread dough) to rise due to the addition of baker's yeast or other leavening.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary


You may ask, "where is your proof then?" I would respond, "for my faith?" "Yes," you might say. Subsequently I would state this:

That inquiring as to what proof I have of my faith requires a definition of certain elements. My proof (def. 1, sufficient to prove to me, & 2, tending to serve as evidence to me) is whatever I "feel" it is conducive to the notion that it tends or is sufficient for my faith (let's say I'm a protestant christian). This can be as simple as "nature, as a whole." Evidence, nor proof, needs to be universally or even majoritatively accepted as sufficient or tending to lead to one conclusion necessarily, although that is how many people use the terms here.

In summary, merely because the evidence I feel to be evidence sufficient doesn't not mean that it has to be evidence sufficient or tending to lead to a particular conclusion for you. Yet, strict prescriptive linguistics would mark me correct if, after stating whatever "proof" I have, I said "here is my proof, therefore, it is not a blind acceptance of a premise."

-RtG


BobSpence
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It would be silly to ask

It would be silly to ask someone for 'proof' for their faith - if they had proof as normally understood, their would be no point in their expressing 'faith' in their beliefs.

Actually I think 'proof' is too strong a word to be used in any of this argument - strong evidence pointing to the particular conclusion is the most that we should hope for. Asking someone for 'proof' of their faith is really not fair, on this ground alone.

IMHO, the strongest question that can be asked of someone of 'faith' is how do they justify their particular faith over the many other forms which religious faith takes among different groups and individuals, which often involve contradictions in what they believe about the ultimate questions of purpose, moral codes and the existence and attributes of God(s). This is the real problematic aspect of 'faith' of the religious kind, if the only justification is internal feelings and experiences, there is no way to argue that one is more 'true' than any other, or that any are true.

Now many people will assert, with some justification, that their faith brings them emotional peace, helps drive them to doing good works. etc. This proves that faith can be helpful psychologically, not that there is anything outside the mind, in some 'supernatural' sense, that corresponds to the beliefs.

Pointing to 'all of nature', or whatever, as 'proof' of your faith, is a misuse of the word. It may very well be that your intellectual and/or emotional/spiritual reaction to contemplating these things is why you hold to a particular faith, and maybe you can say it is the reason for your faith, but it should not be called 'proof'. That implies an actual reasoned argument, with at least the semblance of a chain of logical argument. That natural world exists for everyone, and is just as legitimately used as justification for every world-view, including atheism.

So when someone asks why you have faith, that is not a useful answer. You need to show some specific linkage to the specifics of your world-view. Of course once you start doing this, you are getting dangerously close to providing evidence, which is NOT what faith is about Smiling .

 

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


RhadTheGizmo
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Hi Bob, I don't think you

Hi Bob, I don't think you were around here last time I left.. I enjoyed your response, definitely approached the question in a different manner than what I am used to.

So.. here we go.

Quote:
It would be silly to ask someone for 'proof' for their faith - if they had proof as normally understood, their would be no point in their expressing 'faith' in their beliefs.

Agreed.  There is a "common use" of the word and a "technical use."  I was making a semantical argument in my last response...that was all.  At least IMO, the definition of "proof" only requires that it be sufficient evidence for someone not everyone or even many people.

So, yes, the question, I feel, doesn't have much purpose and is only misleading.  What most people mean when they say "show me proof" is "show me proof sufficient for me," which has entirely different implications.

Quote:
Actually I think 'proof' is too strong a word to be used in any of this argument - strong evidence pointing to the particular conclusion is the most that we should hope for. Asking someone for 'proof' of their faith is really not fair, on this ground alone.

Well, IMO, I think this would present the same problem.  Strong evidence pointing to a particular conclusion for someone, everyone, or just a great majority of people?  The use of the word "evidence" is inherently subjective, IMO.  Unless restricted to a scientific or legal sphere, evidence can refer to anything that leads anyone to a particular conclusion.  Granted, it maybe an "irrational" use of evidence, nevertheless, still "evidence" within the strict meaning of the word.  Nevertheless, making a "rational" argument for why certain "evidence" can lead to a particular conclusion, is usually easy enough.  However, a self contained, consistent, logical construct for evidence => conclusion is not what is usually sought after.

Quote:
IMHO, the strongest question that can be asked of someone of 'faith' is how do they justify their particular faith over the many other forms which religious faith takes among different groups and individuals, which often involve contradictions in what they believe about the ultimate questions of purpose, moral codes and the existence and attributes of God(s). This is the real problematic aspect of 'faith' of the religious kind, if the only justification is internal feelings and experiences, there is no way to argue that one is more 'true' than any other, or that any are true.

True. True. True.  Yet, isn't this problem the same for humanistic/consquentialist morality? Taken to its natural end, one might be able to say that there is a certain morality that is absolutely right in the consequential-ist view, but how would anyone know this from their particular viewpoint which is bound physically and temporally to the present? Instead.. I would venture to say IMO that it is only their internal feelings and experiences which justify their view on morality.  Is that to say that their view on morality is incorrect? or just incapable of being proven?

Nevertheless, I do feel as if the question "why this religion over that" is a valid question, one that I every religious person should answer for themselves.

Quote:
Now many people will assert, with some justification, that their faith brings them emotional peace, helps drive them to doing good works. etc. This proves that faith can be helpful psychologically, not that there is anything outside the mind, in some 'supernatural' sense, that corresponds to the beliefs.

True. It does "prove" in the one sense and not necessarily to the other, yet, then again, it does "prove" for someone people as well.  Though, for me, this would not be sufficient evidence.

Quote:
Pointing to 'all of nature', or whatever, as 'proof' of your faith, is a misuse of the word.

I don't believe so... nevertheless, I could be wrong.  An element to the use of the word proof requires something, something which we tend to forget in discussion: i.e. proof to whom?

Quote:
It may very well be that your intellectual and/or emotional/spiritual reaction to contemplating these things is why you hold to a particular faith, and maybe you can say it is the reason for your faith, but it should not be called 'proof'. That implies an actual reasoned argument, with at least the semblance of a chain of logical argument.

If God, then nature.  Many people would agree with this conditional statement.

The second step of the "reasoned argument" would be: There is nature, therefore there is evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for God.

The word "proof," depending on what definition you use, requires sufficiency or "tending to be evidence."  These definitions require an object of whom it is to be sufficient for who to whom it is tending to be evidence for.  Yet, with this "reasoned" argument.. non-exclusive evidence could be "sufficient" for some and could "tend to be evidence" for others.

Much of the criminal legal system is based upon evidence not-exclusive to one particular conclusion.  Yet, we still consider it "proof" and "evidence" in the legal sense.  I'm not saying that my use of the words would suffice in the legal realm, yet, I am not bound by the more restrictive use of the words in the legal sense.

Yet, my reasoning follows the construction of a "reasoned" legal argument.

If murder, then intent.

There is intent, therefore there is evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for murder.

Quote:
That natural world exists for everyone, and is just as legitimately used as justification for every world-view, including atheism.

True.

Quote:
So when someone asks why you have faith, that is not a useful answer. You need to show some specific linkage to the specifics of your world-view. Of course once you start doing this, you are getting dangerously close to providing evidence, which is NOT what faith is about Smiling .

I'm not sure I understand your final summary in this quote.  Maybe I've misunderstood it all! :/


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Weird stuff happens all the

Weird stuff happens all the time to everyone. Many things that happen in life have an amazingly low probability of happening. If you pick up a deck of cards and deal your self 5 of them, the probability that you would have dealt yourself those cards is 1 in 3.2*10^9 - far less probable than your chances of winning the lottery. So every hand is a miracle. You witness thousands of things happening each day - so everyone regularly witnesses very weird things happen. If you're already a christian, it is not surprising that you analyze an instance of weird stuff, through the tinted lens of your religious beliefs, and conclude that your seeing miracles. Fundamentalist Moslems constantly report miracles, fundamentalist Hindus constantly report miracles, voo doo followers constantly report miracles, fundamentalist Christians constantly report miracles, in fact, the more primitive the believe, the more miracles are witnessed.

 Another source of miracles is that the fakery of many miracles can not be detected even by sophisticated witnesses. Uri Geller convinced many scientists that he really had the ability to bend spoons until magicians showed them how it was done http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Geller.

Another source of miracles is mass-hallucination and mass-hypnoses. The reactions of people around you can change your perceptions of what your seeing. 70,000 people saw the sun dance in Fatima Portugal in 1917 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Fatima; 6,000 people witnessed an appearance of Jesus Christ (Maitreya) in Kawangware, Nairobi in 1988 http://www.mcn.org/1/Miracles/job.htm; Jim Jones would perform a fake walking on water miracle, using no apparatus at all, for his new converts (see Robert M Price, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, p. 23). Millions have witnessed statues of Hindu gods drinking milk http://milkmiracle.com/.

Another source of miracles is selective memory, where people tend to memorize and remember things that agree with their beliefs http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god11.htm.

Another source of miracles is that your memories change depending on your beliefs. see Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time (Paperback) by Michael Shermer.

 Every reasonably unbiased person who has investigated a miracle has concluded that a natural explanation was more likely.

when you say "faith" I think "evil lies"
when you say "god" I think "santa clause"


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Hi Bob, I don't think you were around here last time I left.. I enjoyed your response, definitely approached the question in a different manner than what I am used to.

So.. here we go.

Quote:
Actually I think 'proof' is too strong a word to be used in any of this argument - strong evidence pointing to the particular conclusion is the most that we should hope for. Asking someone for 'proof' of their faith is really not fair, on this ground alone.

Well, IMO, I think this would present the same problem. Strong evidence pointing to a particular conclusion for someone, everyone, or just a great majority of people? The use of the word "evidence" is inherently subjective, IMO. Unless restricted to a scientific or legal sphere, evidence can refer to anything that leads anyone to a particular conclusion. Granted, it maybe an "irrational" use of evidence, nevertheless, still "evidence" within the strict meaning of the word. Nevertheless, making a "rational" argument for why certain "evidence" can lead to a particular conclusion, is usually easy enough. However, a self contained, consistent, logical construct for evidence => conclusion is not what is usually sought after.
Of course it is probably not what is sought after, but discussion based on this usage of 'evidence' and 'proof' is pretty pointless, IMHO.. We should strive for something closer to the scientific sense, maybe the legalistic sense. Which means we try to link it via logic to actual observations and fairly well-established information.
Quote:


Quote:
IMHO, the strongest question that can be asked of someone of 'faith' is how do they justify their particular faith over the many other forms which religious faith takes among different groups and individuals, which often involve contradictions in what they believe about the ultimate questions of purpose, moral codes and the existence and attributes of God(s). This is the real problematic aspect of 'faith' of the religious kind, if the only justification is internal feelings and experiences, there is no way to argue that one is more 'true' than any other, or that any are true.

True. True. True. Yet, isn't this problem the same for humanistic/consquentialist morality?
Any form of morality has a strongly subjective component, although we can make strong cases that certain behaviour patterns are far more likely to consistent with the sort of society most people would prefer to live in. This is a largely separate issue from evidence for belief in God as such.

Quote:
Taken to its natural end, one might be able to say that there is a certain morality that is absolutely right in the consequential-ist view, but how would anyone know this from their particular viewpoint which is bound physically and temporally to the present? Instead.. I would venture to say IMO that it is only their internal feelings and experiences which justify their view on morality. Is that to say that their view on morality is incorrect? or just incapable of being proven?
A historical and psycholical perspective does allow us to have a broader perspective, and morality must involve a degree of social consensus which allows us the possibility of transcending to a useful extent these individual perspectives, if we believe that morality is more than just a personal view. After all, a purely subjective view of morality iscorresponds to the Golden Rule, doesn't it?

At least this is an improvement over the mostly abysmal excuse for morality we see in the Bible....

Curious that you switched to this morality issues rather than how we evaluate evidence for the existence of the various supernatural entities that distinguish the different religions.

Quote:
Nevertheless, I do feel as if the question "why this religion over that" is a valid question, one that I every religious person should answer for themselves.

Quote:
Now many people will assert, with some justification, that their faith brings them emotional peace, helps drive them to doing good works. etc. This proves that faith can be helpful psychologically, not that there is anything outside the mind, in some 'supernatural' sense, that corresponds to the beliefs.

True. It does "prove" in the one sense and not necessarily to the other, yet, then again, it does "prove" for someone people as well. Though, for me, this would not be sufficient evidence.

Quote:
Pointing to 'all of nature', or whatever, as 'proof' of your faith, is a misuse of the word.

I don't believe so... nevertheless, I could be wrong. An element to the use of the word proof requires something, something which we tend to forget in discussion: i.e. proof to whom?

Quote:
It may very well be that your intellectual and/or emotional/spiritual reaction to contemplating these things is why you hold to a particular faith, and maybe you can say it is the reason for your faith, but it should not be called 'proof'. That implies an actual reasoned argument, with at least the semblance of a chain of logical argument.

If God, then nature. Many people would agree with this conditional statement.
Makes absolutely no sense to me. Totally devoid of logic. Empty and meaninfgless assertion. Silly.

Quote:
The second step of the "reasoned argument" would be: There is nature, therefore there is evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for God.

Absolutely not. Got it backwards. 'God' is a lame and logically inept attempt to 'explain' nature, or at least some aspects of nature. It is explain something unknown with an even less comprehensible proposition, which in turn logically demands an explanation.

To repeat my point in the post, 'nature' is a source of evidence for every proposed explanation for why 'Life, the Universe, and Everything' is as it appears.

To repeat, 'If God, then nature' is a nonsense. 'If nature, therefore God' is massively presumptive.

Quote:
The word "proof," depending on what definition you use, requires sufficiency or "tending to be evidence." These definitions require an object of whom it is to be sufficient for who to whom it is tending to be evidence for. Yet, with this "reasoned" argument.. non-exclusive evidence could be "sufficient" for some and could "tend to be evidence" for others.

Much of the criminal legal system is based upon evidence not-exclusive to one particular conclusion. Yet, we still consider it "proof" and "evidence" in the legal sense. I'm not saying that my use of the words would suffice in the legal realm, yet, I am not bound by the more restrictive use of the words in the legal sense.

Yet, my reasoning follows the construction of a "reasoned" legal argument.

If murder, then intent.

There is intent, therefore there is evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for murder.

Backwards again. There is a death, evidence points to unnatural causes, therefore a killing. Evidence presented for intent, therefore murder. I am genuinely puzzled at your statements here.
Quote:

Quote:
That natural world exists for everyone, and is just as legitimately used as justification for every world-view, including atheism.

True.

Quote:
So when someone asks why you have faith, that is not a useful answer. You need to show some specific linkage to the specifics of your world-view. Of course once you start doing this, you are getting dangerously close to providing evidence, which is NOT what faith is about Smiling .

I'm not sure I understand your final summary in this quote. Maybe I've misunderstood it all! :/

Replying with 'nature' as why you have faith does not explain why you have faith, it merely states that you derive your reasons from nature, but I would expect some elaboration, ie the chain of thinking linking aspects of nature to specifics of your faith. But this would seem to possibly conflict with the idea of 'faith' itself, as a belief not directly and naturalistically justifiable. My problem thru all this is that you do appear to conflate 'proof', 'evidence for', with the more general idea of what ideas/observations/contemplations/experiences lead you to adopt a particular faith. I guess it still depends on how much explicit 'logic' is used to connect ideas, rather than going from one idea to another by association and intuition.

My comment was based on the thought that the more one attempts to present a less subjective justification for your particular faith, the more you reduce the need for 'faith'. It is precisely because I base my assumptions (I prefer this to 'beliefs', to stress that I try to allow for adjustment as I learn) on what I read and observe from a wide range of sources, and try to discount personal biases as far as possible. I do recognise the vital part the non-rational, emotional, even 'spiritual' aspects of our thinking play in our life, while recognising how they can mislead us in assessing external reality.

EDIT: Apologies if you sense a growing level of irritation in my post, but I found many of your statements so strange. I do appreciate the opportunity to engage someone with a very different point of view from my own, it is all part of my attempt to come to a better understanding of the variety and range of human nature and the way our minds 'work'. 

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


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: EDIT: Apologies if

Quote:
EDIT: Apologies if you sense a growing level of irritation in my post, but I found many of your statements so strange. I do appreciate the opportunity to engage someone with a very different point of view from my own, it is all part of my attempt to come to a better understanding of the variety and range of human nature and the way our minds 'work'.

It's why I do it too.  So, with that in mind, I will respond.

Quote:
Of course it is probably not what is sought after, but discussion based on this usage of 'evidence' and 'proof' is pretty pointless, IMHO.. We should strive for something closer to the scientific sense, maybe the legalistic sense. Which means we try to link it via logic to actual observations and fairly well-established information.

If ever you have read my posts in the pasts, you will find that I never set out to "prove" that God, in the Christian sense, exists or that he is more likely to exist then some other concept of God.  I only set out to address the assertion that a theist could not be rational.

To do this, I came forth with the argument that, consistent with the technical use of language (i.e. consistent with the definitions in the dictionary) that a theist can be rational in his belief.

Many posters, IMO, make one statement but, I believe, they are intending to make another argument altogether.

What they say is: Show me evidence for your God or prove that your God exists.

When, what they really mean is: Show me scientific evidence for your God and "scientifically prove," whatever standard that might be, that your God exists.

This, is difficult, not sure it is even possible.  I'm not trying to win *the* argument, only trying to change the language of the argument to make it more clear.  Perhaps, however, I'm misunderstanding the whole debate.

Quote:
Any form of morality has a strongly subjective component, although we can make strong cases that certain behaviour patterns are far more likely to consistent with the sort of society most people would prefer to live in. This is a largely separate issue from evidence for belief in God as such.

True. My point was merely to suggest that like a concept of non-relativistic morality can be considered a rational belief, so therefore to can a belief in some form of "God."  Granted, "God" without any definition, surely is meaningless.

Quote:
A historical and psycholical perspective does allow us to have a broader perspective, and morality must involve a degree of social consensus which allows us the possibility of transcending to a useful extent these individual perspectives, if we believe that morality is more than just a personal view. After all, a purely subjective view of morality iscorresponds to the Golden Rule, doesn't it?

Perhaps.  Yet so does the "degree of social consensus"--all morality does.  People merely point to the "social consensus" as if this somehow makes it less "subjective."  True, depending on how one might frame objective and subjective, yet, you will find some social consensus in some social setting that might disagree with most "moral" positions.

Anycase, as side issue.  I didn't mean to be carried away on it, was merely asking a question.

Quote:
Curious that you switched to this morality issues rather than how we evaluate evidence for the existence of the various supernatural entities that distinguish the different religions.

You can't.  I don't believe.  "Religions" are like "conspiracy theories"--they fit the facts not because they are true but because they were formed after-the-fact.

IMO.

Quote:
Makes absolutely no sense to me. Totally devoid of logic. Empty and meaninfgless assertion. Silly.

That's fine.  It isn't devoid of logic though.  Everything is based upon a "meaningless" assertion.. everything. (Large assertion, but, still, IMO, I think it's true.  A non-self-evident assertion that everyone seems to accept is "People other then myself exist as independent entities." This is a "meaningless" assertion because the opposite assertion is equally as likely and unlikely).  You have to start somewhere.  This conditional statement is where some people start to deduce a belief in God.  It doesn't "prove" anything.. because the original premise can't be proven.  Does that mean it isn't true? Or does that mean that it isn't "logical" to deduce from? Of course not.

It's only "irrational" if someone claims that it does prove something.. which I haven't done.  Which I won't do.  Which I took explicit steps not to do.

Quote:
Absolutely not. Got it backwards. 'God' is a lame and logically inept attempt to 'explain' nature, or at least some aspects of nature. It is explain something unknown with an even less comprehensible proposition, which in turn logically demands an explanation.

The condition statement, the "reasoned argument" is not meant to "explain nature" it is meant to "explain faith."

I need to explain God as little as I need to explain all of nature.  

Quote:
To repeat, 'If God, then nature' is a nonsense. 'If nature, therefore God' is massively presumptive.

I think I am failing to make my point.  "If nature, therefore God" is not the argument I made.  As I said before, that would be irrational.  To make it more clear, I will restate:

If the conditional statement is true that "If God, then nature," then nature would serve as evidence for God.  Not conclusive evidence, since it is only a necessary condition for God, but evidence nonetheless.

Quote:
Backwards again. There is a death, evidence points to unnatural causes, therefore a killing. Evidence presented for intent, therefore murder. I am genuinely puzzled at your statements here.

I am connecting sufficient and necessary conditions.

If X, then Y. = conditional statement
"If X" = sufficient condition.
"then Y" = necessary condition.
If murder, then intent = conditional statement because, definitely, murder requires intent.

So IF murder (sufficient condition) then intent (necessary condition).

If the necessary condition is proven, it does not prove that the sufficient condition exist, only allows for the possibility that it can exist.

This is what is meant by "...evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for murder."

Quote:
Replying with 'nature' as why you have faith does not explain why you have faith, it merely states that you derive your reasons from nature, but I would expect some elaboration, ie the chain of thinking linking aspects of nature to specifics of your faith.

I did not say i is the reason I have faith, I said it was the reason one might have faith.  Furthermore, I don't believe one needs to "drive [his] reasons from nature," nature itself, IMO, can be evidence in itself.  There is no maxim which states otherwise, no logical argument based upon necessary conditions which leads to the conclusion that nature, in and of itself, cannot be used as evidence in its strictest sense.  Of course, perhaps, I just have not thought of it. IMO, it has not been made here.

Quote:
To repeat my point in the post, 'nature' is a source of evidence for every proposed explanation for why 'Life, the Universe, and Everything' is as it appears.

This, is an assertion.  A premise from which arguments are made.  It is not self-evident, nor, IMO, is it a necessary conclusion based upon the strict definitive uses of the word "evidence."

..I posted the definition of all these words in my first post for a reason.  Because that is the basis for my argument because that the primary contentions being made were using those words.  Absent any qualifiers, adjectives, etc, these are the definitions, IMO, that must be used.

Quote:
My problem thru all this is that you do appear to conflate 'proof', 'evidence for', with the more general idea of what ideas/observations/contemplations/experiences lead you to adopt a particular faith. I guess it still depends on how much explicit 'logic' is used to connect ideas, rather than going from one idea to another by association and intuition.

I am conflating nothing.  I cannot conflate a word by using it in a way consistent with its definition.

Quote:
My comment was based on the thought that the more one attempts to present a less subjective justification for your particular faith, the more you reduce the need for 'faith'.

I agree.

Quote:
It is precisely because I base my assumptions (I prefer this to 'beliefs', to stress that I try to allow for adjustment as I learn) on what I read and observe from a wide range of sources, and try to discount personal biases as far as possible. I do recognise the vital part the non-rational, emotional, even 'spiritual' aspects of our thinking play in our life, while recognising how they can mislead us in assessing external reality.

Understood.  I try the same (if I understand you correctly)


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

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Makes absolutely no sense to me. Totally devoid of logic. Empty and meaninfgless assertion. Silly.

That's fine. It isn't devoid of logic though. Everything is based upon a "meaningless" assertion.. everything. (Large assertion, but, still, IMO, I think it's true. A non-self-evident assertion that everyone seems to accept is "People other then myself exist as independent entities." This is a "meaningless" assertion because the opposite assertion is equally as likely and unlikely).
I disagree. Not meaningless, and the opposite is not necessarily equally likely to be true, IMHO.

A pretty reasonable assumption, in fact, even if the opposite by some fluke, was equally likely.

"This coin will land heads up." is not a meaningless statement even though the opposite is normally assumed to be equally likely.

Both that and your statement do have content which can at least be investigated, or be the subject of coherent speculation, even if not 'provable'.

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You have to start somewhere.
I totally agree.
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This conditional statement is where some people start to deduce a belief in God. It doesn't "prove" anything.. because the original premise can't be proven. Does that mean it isn't true? Or does that mean that it isn't "logical" to deduce from? Of course not.

It's only "irrational" if someone claims that it does prove something.. which I haven't done. Which I won't do. Which I took explicit steps not to do.
Not sure where you are going here, but I don't really disagree.
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The second step of the "reasoned argument" would be: There is nature, therefore there is evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for God.
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Absolutely not. Got it backwards. 'God' is a lame and logically inept attempt to 'explain' nature, or at least some aspects of nature. It is explain something unknown with an even less comprehensible proposition, which in turn logically demands an explanation.
This is where you've lost me again.

'Nature' can only be evidence for its own existence. Nature is palpably existent, unless you are into soiipsism. 'God' is an enormous unjustified assumption.

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The condition statement, the "reasoned argument" is not meant to "explain nature" it is meant to "explain faith."

I need to explain God as little as I need to explain all of nature.
You only need to explain God if you wish to make any progress in this discussion. To repeat, 'If God, then nature' is a nonsense. 'If nature, therefore God' is massively presumptive.
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I think I am failing to make my point. "If nature, therefore God" is not the argument I made. As I said before, that would be irrational. To make it more clear, I will restate:

If the conditional statement is true that "If God, then nature," then nature would serve as evidence for God. Not conclusive evidence, since it is only a necessary condition for God, but evidence nonetheless.
But since it is purely a totally unjustified assertion, it serves no purpose whatsoever.

Or else it is entirely circular.

If the statement "if A, then B" is true, then B would be evidence for A. If a creator would create something, then the existence of something is evidence for a creator, I guess you are saying. IOW if God is necessary for Nature to exist, then Nature is evidence for God. Nothing substantive here, the argument being to establish what are the minimum requirements for something that could precede what currently exists and 'cause' it to come into existence. Is there any logical requirement that anything is required to preced Nature, and would it have to have any attributes commonly ascribed to a 'God'. I see none.

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Yet, my reasoning follows the construction of a "reasoned" legal argument.

If murder, then intent.

There is intent, therefore there is evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for murder.

 

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Backwards again. There is a death, evidence points to unnatural causes, therefore a killing. Evidence presented for intent, therefore murder. I am genuinely puzzled at your statements here.

I am connecting sufficient and necessary conditions.

If X, then Y. = conditional statement
"If X" = sufficient condition.
"then Y" = necessary condition.
If murder, then intent = conditional statement because, definitely, murder requires intent.

So IF murder (sufficient condition) then intent (necessary condition).

If the necessary condition is proven, it does not prove that the sufficient condition exist, only allows for the possibility that it can exist.

This is what is meant by "...evidence, although not evidence exclusive, for murder."
NO. 'IF murder' makes no sense - we can only establish 'murder' by seeking evidence for intent - 'murder' is NOT a starting point, a fact, a given. It does not make sense to reason from a conclusion back to the arguments leading to the conclusion.
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Replying with 'nature' as why you have faith does not explain why you have faith, it merely states that you derive your reasons from nature, but I would expect some elaboration, ie the chain of thinking linking aspects of nature to specifics of your faith.

I did not say i is the reason I have faith, I said it was the reason one might have faith. Furthermore, I don't believe one needs to "drive [his] reasons from nature," nature itself, IMO, can be evidence in itself. There is no maxim which states otherwise, no logical argument based upon necessary conditions which leads to the conclusion that nature, in and of itself, cannot be used as evidence in its strictest sense. Of course, perhaps, I just have not thought of it. IMO, it has not been made here.
Maybe , but there is definitelly no logical argument that it can, in any particular case. I can't help observing here that according to an assertion you made earlier, this means that the assertion that nature can be evidence for something is 'meaningless'.
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To repeat my point in the post, 'nature' is a source of evidence for every proposed explanation for why 'Life, the Universe, and Everything' is as it appears.

This, is an assertion. A premise from which arguments are made. It is not self-evident, nor, IMO, is it a necessary conclusion based upon the strict definitive uses of the word "evidence."

..I posted the definition of all these words in my first post for a reason. Because that is the basis for my argument because that the primary contentions being made were using those words. Absent any qualifiers, adjectives, etc, these are the definitions, IMO, that must be used.

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My problem thru all this is that you do appear to conflate 'proof', 'evidence for', with the more general idea of what ideas/observations/contemplations/experiences lead you to adopt a particular faith. I guess it still depends on how much explicit 'logic' is used to connect ideas, rather than going from one idea to another by association and intuition.

I am conflating nothing. I cannot conflate a word by using it in a way consistent with its definition.
'Evidence' , according to a dictionary I use is:

'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid'.

I did not see a definition of 'evidence' in your earlier posts. You quoted one for 'proof', but evidence is a more meaningful level to approach this.

It IS conflating a word when you use more than one of its alternative meanings or usages in the same argument without taking care to distinguish the two usages, even if both cases are consistent with one of the alternative usages of the word.

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


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: I disagree. Not

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I disagree. Not meaningless, and the opposite is not necessarily equally likely to be true, IMHO.

solipsism is not equally likely to be true as non-solipsism? I would disagree but that is just my opinion.

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A pretty reasonable assumption, in fact, even if the opposite by some fluke, was equally likely.

"This coin will land heads up." is not a meaningless statement even though the opposite is normally assumed to be equally likely.

Conceded.

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Both that and your statement do have content which can at least be investigated, or be the subject of coherent speculation, even if not 'provable'.

How exactly can it be investigated whether or not solipsism is true? or non-solipsism? Or the relative probabilities one to the other?

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Not sure where you are going here, but I don't really disagree.

I am trying to distinguish between the theist who claims that someone other than himself should believe something because that person accepts premises that cannot be proven--as opposed to the theist that doesn't make the claim.

One I would venture to say is rational--the other, IMO, not.

It is not irrational, IMO, to say "I accept premise A, although improvable, thereby I believe conclusions B, C, D, which are derived from that premise, so that I can reach goal X."  That, in and of itself, is not irrational.

Once that person starts to claim that his "rational" is equivalent to "truth"--that is where problems are created.

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'Nature' can only be evidence for its own existence. Nature is palpably existent, unless you are into soiipsism. 'God' is an enormous unjustified assumption.

I don't believe in solipsism because I don't feel it would be very useful for how I wish to live my life.  Not because their are any reasons, outside of those personal ones, to not believe it.

As for the whole "nature" can only be evidence for its own existence--is once again, I believe, an assertion.  One I don't accept because I don't believe it can be derived from any commonly accepted premise nor is it self-evidence.

Then again.. I haven't defined evidence. So let me take the opportunity.
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ev·i·dence      /ˈɛvɪdəns/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ev-i-duhns] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -denced, -denc·ing.
–noun
1.    that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2.    something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3.    Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.
–verb (used with object)
4.    to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest: He evidenced his approval by promising his full support.
5.    to support by evidence: He evidenced his accusation with incriminating letters.
—Idiom
6.    in evidence, plainly visible; conspicuous: The first signs of spring are in evidence.

Once again, all these definitions are missing on crucial element, a proper framing.  Take definition 1 for instance, "that which tends to prove or disprove something."  Does this mean universally tend to disprove or disprove something?  Early astronomers observations and mathematical equations certainly did not "universally tend to disprove or disprove something."

That begs the question, can what is not considered evidence by the majority of people at one time "actually be" evidence in the absolute sense? Or only when a majority of people think it is?  Or are we merely placing a judgment on it based upon our "commonly held" feelings now?

In my opinion the definition of evidence "begs" qualifiers, mainly, (1) to whom and (2) for what?

"Evidence" to a scientist for the sake of a scientific paper is much different then "evidence" to a isolated tribesman for the sake of proving "magic."

Prescriptively, the word can be used correctly while referring to a host of things.

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You only need to explain God if you wish to make any progress in this discussion. To repeat, 'If God, then nature' is a nonsense. 'If nature, therefore God' is massively presumptive.

But since it is purely a totally unjustified assertion, it serves no purpose whatsoever.

Or else it is entirely circular.

Once again, I am not arguing "god exists" merely that the belief that he does can be rationally held.

Circular logic is still logic and is still "rational."  It only becomes "irrational" when it is used in an attempt to convince someone who doesn't hold some of the premises necessary to get within the circle.  In such a case, this is begging the question.

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If the statement "if A, then B" is true, then B would be evidence for A. If a creator would create something, then the existence of something is evidence for a creator, I guess you are saying.

Yes.

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IOW

No idea what this means.

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if God is necessary for Nature to exist, then Nature is evidence for God.
I never said God is necessary for nature to exist.  That is not what is implied by "If God, then nature."

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Nothing substantive here, the argument being to establish what are the minimum requirements for something that could precede what currently exists and 'cause' it to come into existence. Is there any logical requirement that anything is required to preced Nature, and would it have to have any attributes commonly ascribed to a 'God'. I see none.

Once again.  Not the argument being made.  Not the implication of the conditional statement.

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NO. 'IF murder' makes no sense - we can only establish 'murder' by seeking evidence for intent - 'murder' is NOT a starting point, a fact, a given. It does not make sense to reason from a conclusion back to the arguments leading to the conclusion.

I'm not sure I understand what your problem is with this statement.

When I say "If murder, then intent" does not meant that "murder" is a "starting point."   Conditional statements of X -> Y DOES NOT imply that one starts from X.  In FACT, the opposite is the case.

X is a sufficient condition.  In order to establish the sufficient condition you MUST establish the necessary conditions.

IF murder, then intent.

INTENT is what needs to be established in order to establish murder.  My statement does not imply that "murder" has been accepted as true already.

This logic applies the same to "IF God, then nature."

It is not backwards because it does not imply the acceptances of ANYTHING as a given, a fact, a starting point.  It is merely a premise, the acceptance of which, leads to methods of proof.  The same as the standard for murder.

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Maybe , but there is definitelly no logical argument that it can, in any particular case. I can't help observing here that according to an assertion you made earlier, this means that the assertion that nature can be evidence for something is 'meaningless'.

Only if the statement "nature can be used as evidence" is as equally probable as the contrary assertion.  Yet, I don't see that as the case.  Since evidence refers to the functional use of something--I don't see how an argument can be formed that claims that nature can not be used in the required manner.

How can you say that "nature cannot tend to prove something to someone"? To use the word evidence, strictly, only requires that.

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'Evidence' , according to a dictionary I use is:

'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid'.

This requires the same things.

Indicating to whom? You? Me? Everyone?

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It IS conflating a word when you use more than one of its alternative meanings or usages in the same argument without taking care to distinguish the two usages, even if both cases are consistent with one of the alternative usages of the word.

And I have only used 1. Care to point out where I have used multiple ones?


seen too much
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can someone tell me where I

can someone tell me where I can find info on Bukari, I can't find anything about him. I want to know who he was, I did find his writings yesterday, but nothing on him historically.


zarathustra
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Here's just one academic

Here's just one academic link.  You should be able to go from there if you're so inclined.

I am in no way endorsing islam - in fact, it's quite nonsensical.  But it is instructive to observe how adherents of other religions labor to justify their own beliefs, the same way xian apologists do. 

 

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/sbtintro.html

There are no theists on operating tables.

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BobSpence
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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
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I disagree. Not meaningless, and the opposite is not necessarily equally likely to be true, IMHO.

solipsism is not equally likely to be true as non-solipsism? I would disagree but that is just my opinion.
To assume that any proposition is equally likely to be true as its negation is totally unjustified
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Both that and your statement do have content which can at least be investigated, or be the subject of coherent speculation, even if not 'provable'.

How exactly can it be investigated whether or not solipsism is true? or non-solipsism? Or the relative probabilities one to the other?
Can't prove it, and it's not really on topic, but since I know that at least one intelligent agent exists, others obviously could exist.

The idea that what I perceive is entirely generated from my own mind, or whatever other speculation could explain it other than the simple one that external reality actually does correspond roughly to the simplest explanation that doesn't violate logic, is not the most reasonable, would be perverse. Ockham's razor...

Couldn't nail down probabilities, but a more thought-out listing of possibilities and their implications is the appropriate way to approach proposition like solipsism, theism, and other speculations with no actual 'real world' evidence.

There are literally an infinite number of ideas about the ultimate nature of reality which cannot be disproved, the varieties of Theism are just one small sub-set. So even if you want to assign some a priori probability for one particular scenario, based on assigning equal likelihood to each, then 'vanishingly small' would be the most honest answer, not 50/50.

THAT is the rational assessment, IMHO.

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Not sure where you are going here, but I don't really disagree.

I am trying to distinguish between the theist who claims that someone other than himself should believe something because that person accepts premises that cannot be proven--as opposed to the theist that doesn't make the claim.

One I would venture to say is rational--the other, IMO, not.

It is not irrational, IMO, to say "I accept premise A, although improvable, thereby I believe conclusions B, C, D, which are derived from that premise, so that I can reach goal X." That, in and of itself, is not irrational.
Not necessarily irrational, but not rational. What I mean is, not going against and denying clearly established observations or concepts, BUT not based on positive reasoned logic and evidence, AKA rational thinking.

UNLESS you have actual evidence, such as examples of other people who have adopted the same strategy, that by assuming premise A, and its consequent implications, you will be more likely to reach your goal. IOW your statement would need quite a bit more elaboration before it could be accepted as reasonable.

It strikes me as a purely psychological strategy to get yourself into a particular frame of mind to make it easier to accomplish some task.

My biggest problem is the 'belief' bit. I don't see a 'belief' as something you choose, but rather as a conclusion based on current evaluation of the evidence available to me.

This seems to mark a difference between those who see 'Pascal's Wager as reasonable and those who don't, ie is real belief something we 'choose'.

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Once that person starts to claim that his "rational" is equivalent to "truth"--that is where problems are created.

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'Nature' can only be evidence for its own existence. Nature is palpably existent, unless you are into soiipsism. 'God' is an enormous unjustified assumption.

I don't believe in solipsism because I don't feel it would be very useful for how I wish to live my life. Not because their are any reasons, outside of those personal ones, to not believe it.

This does seem to sum up a key difference in the way we look at things. To a point I do agree, in that I think certain working assumptions, which are not solidly 'provable', are more likely to be useful in accomplishing various things.

However I 'believe' I should be alert to evidence, reasons, outside my own current perspective that there may be problems with those assumptions. IOW I try not base my assumptions ('beliefs' in your terms) purely on 'personal' feelings. This is the best way to be sure I have adopted the assumptions most likely to help my goals.

These posts are getting a bit long, I think I will break here and respond to the rest of your points in another post.

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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Just noticed one of your

Just noticed one of your comments: "IOW" is shorthand for "In other words". Sorry, I assumed you would have come across this before.

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As for the whole "nature" can only be evidence for its own existence--is once again, I believe, an assertion. One I don't accept because I don't believe it can be derived from any commonly accepted premise nor is it self-evidence.

Then again.. I haven't defined evidence. So let me take the opportunity.
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ev·i·dence /ˈɛvɪdəns/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ev-i-duhns] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -denced, -denc·ing.
–noun
1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2. something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3. Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.
–verb (used with object)
4. to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest: He evidenced his approval by promising his full support.
5. to support by evidence: He evidenced his accusation with incriminating letters.
—Idiom
6. in evidence, plainly visible; conspicuous: The first signs of spring are in evidence.

Once again, all these definitions are missing on crucial element, a proper framing. Take definition 1 for instance, "that which tends to prove or disprove something." Does this mean universally tend to disprove or disprove something? Early astronomers observations and mathematical equations certainly did not "universally tend to disprove or disprove something."
No, this is already covered by using the word 'tends', which implies that, on balance, it leans one way, but not absolutely. I think you are actually confusing the issue here.
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That begs the question, can what is not considered evidence by the majority of people at one time "actually be" evidence in the absolute sense? Or only when a majority of people think it is? Or are we merely placing a judgment on it based upon our "commonly held" feelings now?
In some areas, which involve highly subjective values, such as 'ethics', there can only be a consensus-based 'truth'.

But at the other end of the scale, say the question about whether the earth is at the center of the solar system, there is hard evidence. In earlier times, before telescopes and mathematical techniques had developed to gather and analyse the data, there was no real evidence either way, just a default assumption.

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In my opinion the definition of evidence "begs" qualifiers, mainly, (1) to whom and (2) for what?
IMHO, 'evidence' that lends itself to such varied interpretation is simply not solid evidence at all. Or alternatively, as would be the case in astronomical observations, the person for whom the physical images of objects orbiting a body other than the earth, as Galileo showed in his observations of the moons of Jupiter, did not constitute evidence, means that that person is simply lacks the knowledge to understand the evidence, or in denial.
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"Evidence" to a scientist for the sake of a scientific paper is much different then "evidence" to a isolated tribesman for the sake of proving "magic."
I would rather state that the evidence should include, where necessary, sufficient background information to enable the individual to understand it. If it is not practical to get the tribesman 'up to speed' in evaluating the evidence, then in a sense you are right, but the difficulties can in principle be identified and addressed, by providing the backgound information.

The problem lies precisely with what different individuals regard as adequate justification for adopting a new idea or proposition, and their awareness of how their personal judgement is likely to be affected by their pre-conceptions, biases, emotional reactions, etc.

My point is that, yes, people assess evidence very differently, but we don't have to leave it there. We should try and get each side to make more explicit why they make such different assessments, to elaborate why they may reject the evidence. I recognise this is not necessarily going to get anywhere, but lets at least try and pin down as far as possible what the problem is: lack of appropriate training or experience, background knowledge, or some fundamental belief system which cannot accept what the evidence seems to point to, or whatever.

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Prescriptively, the word can be used correctly while referring to a host of things.

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You only need to explain God if you wish to make any progress in this discussion. To repeat, 'If God, then nature' is a nonsense. 'If nature, therefore God' is massively presumptive.

But since it is purely a totally unjustified assertion, it serves no purpose whatsoever.

Or else it is entirely circular.

Once again, I am not arguing "god exists" merely that the belief that he does can be rationally held.

Circular logic is still logic and is still "rational." It only becomes "irrational" when it is used in an attempt to convince someone who doesn't hold some of the premises necessary to get within the circle. In such a case, this is begging the question.
Yes, the logic is still logic, but it doesn't provide justification for the belief as more than speculation, it merely demonstrates that the concept is internally consistent.
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If the statement "if A, then B" is true, then B would be evidence for A. If a creator would create something, then the existence of something is evidence for a creator, I guess you are saying.

Yes.

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if God is necessary for Nature to exist, then Nature is evidence for God.
I never said God is necessary for nature to exist. That is not what is implied by "If God, then nature."

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Nothing substantive here, the argument being to establish what are the minimum requirements for something that could precede what currently exists and 'cause' it to come into existence. Is there any logical requirement that anything is required to preced Nature, and would it have to have any attributes commonly ascribed to a 'God'. I see none.

Once again. Not the argument being made. Not the implication of the conditional statement.
Ok I guess I should give up trying to understand just what you are trying to argue here...
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NO. 'IF murder' makes no sense - we can only establish 'murder' by seeking evidence for intent - 'murder' is NOT a starting point, a fact, a given. It does not make sense to reason from a conclusion back to the arguments leading to the conclusion.

I'm not sure I understand what your problem is with this statement.

When I say "If murder, then intent" does not meant that "murder" is a "starting point." Conditional statements of X -> Y DOES NOT imply that one starts from X. In FACT, the opposite is the case.

X is a sufficient condition. In order to establish the sufficient condition you MUST establish the necessary conditions.

IF murder, then intent.

INTENT is what needs to be established in order to establish murder. My statement does not imply that "murder" has been accepted as true already.

This logic applies the same to "IF God, then nature."

But whereas 'intent' is clearly part of the legal definition of 'murder', I see no analogy with 'God' and 'nature', unless perhaps you are referring to a Pantheistic deity. Apart from the problem that 'murder' is an event, an action, and 'intent' describes a mental state accompanying the action, whereas the other is a statement about existence of entities and 'things'. Establishing that 'nature' exists, in no way implies that 'God' exists.
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It is not backwards because it does not imply the acceptances of ANYTHING as a given, a fact, a starting point. It is merely a premise, the acceptance of which, leads to methods of proof. The same as the standard for murder.
Whatever you are trying to say here, I am sure there are much more direct and intelligible ways to express it. I can't really see it as a premise, the words God and Nature are reall either too ill-defined or broad to base an argument on, by themselves. There is nothing to 'accept' there, it is too unspecific.

If you want to go into the argument for 'God' to explain the existence of 'Nature', ok, then say it - all this other stuff about murder and intent is not helpful.

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Maybe , but there is definitelly no logical argument that it can, in any particular case. I can't help observing here that according to an assertion you made earlier, this means that the assertion that nature can be evidence for something is 'meaningless'.

Only if the statement "nature can be used as evidence" is as equally probable as the contrary assertion. Yet, I don't see that as the case.
OK, that statement merely asserts that it may be possible to derive support for the proposition in question from Nature - "Nature is evidence for God" is an assertion not an argument, it requires actual evidence to justify it.
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Since evidence refers to the functional use of something--I don't see how an argument can be formed that claims that nature can not be used in the required manner.

How can you say that "nature cannot tend to prove something to someone"? To use the word evidence, strictly, only requires that.

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'Evidence' , according to a dictionary I use is:

'the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid'.

This requires the same things.

Indicating to whom? You? Me? Everyone?
'Nature' IS NOT EVIDENCE. It is not a 'body of facts'. It is like responding in a trial that your evidence for intent of killing in Los Angeles is 'California'. Yes the evidence is almost certainly in all the available data about what has happened in the state in recent times, but until you present a more specific chain of argument linking specific data to the specific event, it is hardly an adequate response.
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It IS conflating a word when you use more than one of its alternative meanings or usages in the same argument without taking care to distinguish the two usages, even if both cases are consistent with one of the alternative usages of the word.

And I have only used 1. Care to point out where I have used multiple ones?

Hmmm, maybe you didn't actually use it in the sense of legal evidence - I may have assumed that from your 'murder' example. So if you only meant it in the 'weaker' sense of anything inclining someone to accept a particular belief, rather than the actual data and supporting argument justifying the position, I apologise.

I think you go too far in trying to reduce your arguments or propostions to a few words.

'If murder, then intent' should be expanded back to "if murder is to be proved, then intent must be proved", to convey a clearer meaning. Or did you mean that since a trial judgement was 'murder', there must have been evidence for 'intent', which while true, is a even less intersting and useful. It sounds like pointless semantic games to me. 

Clarity and avoidance of ambiguity is even more important if you want to argue about more abstract things like the existence and nature of God.

Adopting a belief in a speculative entity because you find it helpful somehow, is arguable rational, so long as you don't claim it is more than a useful fiction.

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


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: No, this is already

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No, this is already covered by using the word 'tends', which implies that, on balance, it leans one way, but not absolutely. I think you are actually confusing the issue here.

I don't believe I am, but I might be.  Once again.. "tends" needs framing as well.  I don't think "tends" necessarily means "on balance," i.e. in the majority of circumstances.

I'm just making a semantical argument but one that I feel is important nonetheless.

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In some areas, which involve highly subjective values, such as 'ethics', there can only be a consensus-based 'truth'.

How big does this consensus have to be?

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But at the other end of the scale, say the question about whether the earth is at the center of the solar system, there is hard evidence. In earlier times, before telescopes and mathematical techniques had developed to gather and analyse the data, there was no real evidence either way, just a default assumption.

Umm.. there was empirical, observational, evidence.  You think the astronomers of old, those before telescopes and "methematical techniques" just made "default assumptions"?  I would beg to differ.  Their astronomical models were often times very complex based upon their "evidence," i.e. observational evidence, that they had at the time.

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IMHO, 'evidence' that lends itself to such varied interpretation is simply not solid evidence at all. Or alternatively, as would be the case in astronomical observations, the person for whom the physical images of objects orbiting a body other than the earth, as Galileo showed in his observations of the moons of Jupiter, did not constitute evidence, means that that person is simply lacks the knowledge to understand the evidence, or in denial.

Once again.. let me point out that I am making a semantical argument.  One which means to point out that without any qualifiers, "evidence" is very subjective, as well as, "proof."

What Galileo presented was evidence to his model.. but to assert that people the astronomers that predated him didn't have "evidence" (or a synoymous word in their language) does not hold weight IMO.  Perhaps, however, this isn't what you meant to say... or, in the alternative, that I am just wrong.

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My point is that, yes, people assess evidence very differently, but we don't have to leave it there. We should try and get each side to make more explicit why they make such different assessments, to elaborate why they may reject the evidence. I recognise this is not necessarily going to get anywhere, but lets at least try and pin down as far as possible what the problem is: lack of appropriate training or experience, background knowledge, or some fundamental belief system which cannot accept what the evidence seems to point to, or whatever.

Granted, in most regards, this is the problem.  However, when the argument is about the "rationality of a theistic belief" the question isn't so much "why do you reject X evidence"--but "why do you accept X as evidence"?

While they both my be relevant questions, the latter seems to turn a conversation rather pointless.  

In anycase.. "lack of appropriate training or experience, background knowledge, or some fundamental belief system"-- once again, are all things that galileo-ian contemporary astronomers would have told galileo when he came to them with his "evidence."

My point being, that these conversations should always be approached with a bit of humility, not only with positing that ones own evidence is "more convincing" then someone else's-- but also that someone else's may be, at some future time, more relevant then your own.

This is not to say that all conversations about these things are pointless.. I do think there is a certain importance in a "self-consistent structure," i.e. logical construct.

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Yes, the logic is still logic, but it doesn't provide justification for the belief as more than speculation, it merely demonstrates that the concept is internally consistent.

I can "speculate" as to where I will be in 10 years... and I can live my life as if that "speculation" were actually going to happen.

"Speculation" can be the reason for a belief.

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But whereas 'intent' is clearly part of the legal definition of 'murder', I see no analogy with 'God' and 'nature', unless perhaps you are referring to a Pantheistic deity. Apart from the problem that 'murder' is an event, an action, and 'intent' describes a mental state accompanying the action, whereas the other is a statement about existence of entities and 'things'. Establishing that 'nature' exists, in no way implies that 'God' exists.

'Intent" is part of the legal definition of "murder" because we say it is.  Not because of any sort of "inherent" quality of the words themselves.  Words are nothing until you give them meaning through use of other words.

In the same way, "nature" as clearly part of the requirements of "God" is another axiom people like to make.  I was saying IF you accept the normative statement that "IF God, then nature" then nature is evidence for God.  Yet, there is, as you say, no reason to requires your to accept the normative statement.

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Whatever you are trying to say here, I am sure there are much more direct and intelligible ways to express it. I can't really see it as a premise, the words God and Nature are reall either too ill-defined or broad to base an argument on, by themselves. There is nothing to 'accept' there, it is too unspecific.

If you want to go into the argument for 'God' to explain the existence of 'Nature', ok, then say it - all this other stuff about murder and intent is not helpful.

Alright.  It was just analogy.  Perhaps a poor one.

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OK, that statement merely asserts that it may be possible to derive support for the proposition in question from Nature - "Nature is evidence for God" is an assertion not an argument, it requires actual evidence to justify it.

This seems to be bringing us back into a circle again.  Not all assertions require arguments.  For the *sake* of argument, some assertions can be accepted.  For instance, for the sake of argument, as I mentioned earlier, one must accept the assertion that "people exist as separate entities apart from me."  To have any argument at all, this assertion must be accepted, even though solopsism is just as reasonable an assertion to make and would use all the same "evidence."

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'If murder, then intent' should be expanded back to "if murder is to be proved, then intent must be proved", to convey a clearer meaning. Or did you mean that since a trial judgement was 'murder', there must have been evidence for 'intent', which while true, is a even less intersting and useful. It sounds like pointless semantic games to me.

Semantics are the most important of things.  Change the language of the game, change the game itself.  I think religious people would be a lot less offended if instead of an RSS person saying "You retard, your belief is irrational! it has no evidence whatsoever and requires that you turn a blind eye to all other reasonable thoughts as well as reject all contradictory evidence!"--they might say, "Excuse me, your belief is scientifically irrational.  By that I mean, that as a scientific model it carries no weight because it posits that there are things in this word for which there can be no explanation.  Furthermore, your belief doesn't seem to make an rational scientific connections, nor accept scientifically contrary evidence.  Instead it seems to be based upon feelings or personal observations, untestable, unfalsifiable.  This would not be accepted as valid in the scientific community."

Cheerio.

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'If murder, then intent' should be expanded back to "if murder is to be proved, then intent must be proved", to convey a clearer meaning.

Yes, that is what I was going for.  I'm sorry about all the "If X, then Y."  It has been ingrained into me through countless hours of testing for the LSAT as well as discussions after-the-fact.

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Clarity and avoidance of ambiguity is even more important if you want to argue about more abstract things like the existence and nature of God.

Not what I'm arguing.  I'm arguing for the rationality of theistic systems.

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Adopting a belief in a speculative entity because you find it helpful somehow, is arguable rational, so long as you don't claim it is more than a useful fiction.

Heh.  I was *almost* with you the entire time.

Adopting a belief in a speculative entity because you find it helpful somehow, is arguably rational (something I agree with), so long as you don't claim it as more than only rational for yourself the time you claim it to be rational."

For instance, to be rational I can claim my belief as "more than a useful fiction."  In fact, in response to most peoples question "Does God exist?" I answer, "I believe he does."

I don't have to admit, or claim less then, "useful fiction."  That would seem to defeat the purpose of holding the theistic (in this case, Christian) belief system in the first place.


BobSpence
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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
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No, this is already covered by using the word 'tends', which implies that, on balance, it leans one way, but not absolutely. I think you are actually confusing the issue here.

I don't believe I am, but I might be. Once again.. "tends" needs framing as well. I don't think "tends" necessarily means "on balance," i.e. in the majority of circumstances.

I'm just making a semantical argument but one that I feel is important nonetheless.

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In some areas, which involve highly subjective values, such as 'ethics', there can only be a consensus-based 'truth'.

How big does this consensus have to be?
That's up to individual judgement, or perhaps there can be a consensus on what size such a consensus should be...

I guess my point here that even the assessment of how subjective or objective morals ultimately are, or should be, is itself very subjectivem as the endless debates in this area demonstrate.

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But at the other end of the scale, say the question about whether the earth is at the center of the solar system, there is hard evidence. In earlier times, before telescopes and mathematical techniques had developed to gather and analyse the data, there was no real evidence either way, just a default assumption.

Umm.. there was empirical, observational, evidence. You think the astronomers of old, those before telescopes and "methematical techniques" just made "default assumptions"? I would beg to differ. Their astronomical models were often times very complex based upon their "evidence," i.e. observational evidence, that they had at the time.

Before the development of instruments which could measure the relative movements of the celestial objects, they really did not have evidence adequate to argue either way, and the default assumption of geo-centrism really was the reason, and entirely understandable.
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IMHO, 'evidence' that lends itself to such varied interpretation is simply not solid evidence at all. Or alternatively, as would be the case in astronomical observations, the person for whom the physical images of objects orbiting a body other than the earth, as Galileo showed in his observations of the moons of Jupiter, did not constitute evidence, means that that person is simply lacks the knowledge to understand the evidence, or in denial.

Once again.. let me point out that I am making a semantical argument. One which means to point out that without any qualifiers, "evidence" is very subjective, as well as, "proof."
Of course, individual ideas about what constitutes evidence is subjective, but the development of science demonstrates that a way of assessing evidence which allows us to reduce the effect of these individual opinions, and thus is arguably more objective.
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What Galileo presented was evidence to his model.. but to assert that people the astronomers that predated him didn't have "evidence" (or a synoymous word in their language) does not hold weight IMO. Perhaps, however, this isn't what you meant to say... or, in the alternative, that I am just wrong.
Until they had a telescope that clearly allows us to observe things like the movements of the Jovian moons, they did not have relevant evidence
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My point is that, yes, people assess evidence very differently, but we don't have to leave it there. We should try and get each side to make more explicit why they make such different assessments, to elaborate why they may reject the evidence. I recognise this is not necessarily going to get anywhere, but lets at least try and pin down as far as possible what the problem is: lack of appropriate training or experience, background knowledge, or some fundamental belief system which cannot accept what the evidence seems to point to, or whatever.

Granted, in most regards, this is the problem. However, when the argument is about the "rationality of a theistic belief" the question isn't so much "why do you reject X evidence"--but "why do you accept X as evidence"?

While they both my be relevant questions, the latter seems to turn a conversation rather pointless.

In anycase.. "lack of appropriate training or experience, background knowledge, or some fundamental belief system"-- once again, are all things that galileo-ian contemporary astronomers would have told galileo when he came to them with his "evidence."
Galileo's evidence was very clear, if they couldn't accept or understand it, it was definitely their problem.
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My point being, that these conversations should always be approached with a bit of humility, not only with positing that ones own evidence is "more convincing" then someone else's-- but also that someone else's may be, at some future time, more relevant then your own.
We don'y just posit that out evidence is better, we should be prepared to justify it by sound arguments, and of course it may be overturned by later discoveries and insights, but until then all we are saying is that some particular theory seems to be the best currently available.
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This is not to say that all conversations about these things are pointless.. I do think there is a certain importance in a "self-consistent structure," i.e. logical construct.

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Yes, the logic is still logic, but it doesn't provide justification for the belief as more than speculation, it merely demonstrates that the concept is internally consistent.

I can "speculate" as to where I will be in 10 years... and I can live my life as if that "speculation" were actually going to happen.

"Speculation" can be the reason for a belief.

In that personal planning context, ok, but that is not relevant to beliefs about the existence or otherwise of speculated entities such as 'God'. We require more that speculation to justify belief. In science we call it a hypothesis. Needs experimantal and/or observational evidence before we elevate it to the status of a theory.
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But whereas 'intent' is clearly part of the legal definition of 'murder', I see no analogy with 'God' and 'nature', unless perhaps you are referring to a Pantheistic deity. Apart from the problem that 'murder' is an event, an action, and 'intent' describes a mental state accompanying the action, whereas the other is a statement about existence of entities and 'things'. Establishing that 'nature' exists, in no way implies that 'God' exists.

'Intent" is part of the legal definition of "murder" because we say it is. Not because of any sort of "inherent" quality of the words themselves. Words are nothing until you give them meaning through use of other words.
Of course, I was not arguing anything about the words themselves, just the meanings and definitions. Dunno what your point is here.
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In the same way, "nature" as clearly part of the requirements of "God" is another axiom people like to make. I was saying IF you accept the normative statement that "IF God, then nature" then nature is evidence for God. Yet, there is, as you say, no reason to requires your to accept the normative statement.
Nonsense. Axioms are propositions, Evidence doesn't come into it. If you define that two concepts are associated in a particular way, then of course either concept will point to the other, but that's purely because you have associated them in your mind. It is a gross abuse of the word 'evidence' to drag it in here.
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Whatever you are trying to say here, I am sure there are much more direct and intelligible ways to express it. I can't really see it as a premise, the words God and Nature are reall either too ill-defined or broad to base an argument on, by themselves. There is nothing to 'accept' there, it is too unspecific.

If you want to go into the argument for 'God' to explain the existence of 'Nature', ok, then say it - all this other stuff about murder and intent is not helpful.

Alright. It was just analogy. Perhaps a poor one.

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OK, that statement merely asserts that it may be possible to derive support for the proposition in question from Nature - "Nature is evidence for God" is an assertion not an argument, it requires actual evidence to justify it.

This seems to be bringing us back into a circle again. Not all assertions require arguments. For the *sake* of argument, some assertions can be accepted. For instance, for the sake of argument, as I mentioned earlier, one must accept the assertion that "people exist as separate entities apart from me." To have any argument at all, this assertion must be accepted, even though solopsism is just as reasonable an assertion to make and would use all the same "evidence."
How do you justify the statement that "solopsism is just as reasonable"?
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'If murder, then intent' should be expanded back to "if murder is to be proved, then intent must be proved", to convey a clearer meaning. Or did you mean that since a trial judgement was 'murder', there must have been evidence for 'intent', which while true, is a even less intersting and useful. It sounds like pointless semantic games to me.

Semantics are the most important of things. Change the language of the game, change the game itself. I think religious people would be a lot less offended if instead of an RSS person saying "You retard, your belief is irrational! it has no evidence whatsoever and requires that you turn a blind eye to all other reasonable thoughts as well as reject all contradictory evidence!"--they might say, "Excuse me, your belief is scientifically irrational. By that I mean, that as a scientific model it carries no weight because it posits that there are things in this word for which there can be no explanation. Furthermore, your belief doesn't seem to make an rational scientific connections, nor accept scientifically contrary evidence. Instead it seems to be based upon feelings or personal observations, untestable, unfalsifiable. This would not be accepted as valid in the scientific community."

Cheerio.

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'If murder, then intent' should be expanded back to "if murder is to be proved, then intent must be proved", to convey a clearer meaning.

Yes, that is what I was going for. I'm sorry about all the "If X, then Y." It has been ingrained into me through countless hours of testing for the LSAT as well as discussions after-the-fact.

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Clarity and avoidance of ambiguity is even more important if you want to argue about more abstract things like the existence and nature of God.

Not what I'm arguing. I'm arguing for the rationality of theistic systems.
Not my point. I was saying that I find many of your statements less than clear. I am saying I find many of your arguments for that proposition ambiguous and less than clear.
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Adopting a belief in a speculative entity because you find it helpful somehow, is arguable rational, so long as you don't claim it is more than a useful fiction.

Heh. I was *almost* with you the entire time.

Adopting a belief in a speculative entity because you find it helpful somehow, is arguably rational (something I agree with), so long as you don't claim it as more than only rational for yourself the time you claim it to be rational."

For instance, to be rational I can claim my belief as "more than a useful fiction." In fact, in response to most peoples question "Does God exist?" I answer, "I believe he does."

I don't have to admit, or claim less then, "useful fiction." That would seem to defeat the purpose of holding the theistic (in this case, Christian) belief system in the first place.

Yeah, that's the problem with adopting a 'useful fiction', it doesn't quite work until you manage to convince yourself that is actually more than that. (religious) faith = deliberate self-deception.

This is apart from the risk that however 'useful' a speculative belief may be under particular personal or social conditions, it may well cease to 'work' if circumstances change, precisely because it is NOT based on solid evidence.

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


RhadTheGizmo
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Alright... well.. I can see

Alright... well.. I can see that my point isn't settling about how concepts of "evidence" will always be subjective without any sort of qualifiers. Words such as "relevant" are just as meaningless without some sort of qualifier limiting the issue to some sort of construct.

As for solopsism. If you can give one bit of evidence for non-solopsism that cannot equally be used to support solopsism, I will be very surprised.

And now.. more to the point:

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Yeah, that's the problem with adopting a 'useful fiction', it doesn't quite work until you manage to convince yourself that is actually more than that. (religious) faith = deliberate self-deception.

This is apart from the risk that however 'useful' a speculative belief may be under particular personal or social conditions, it may well cease to 'work' if circumstances change, precisely because it is NOT based on solid evidence.


Religious faith = deliberate self-deception. If choosing to believe in "non-solopsism" is a "deliberate self-deception" then, fine, I agree that you are being consistent. But, personally, I think the language lacks a basis. All the evidence is the same, to view it in one way rather than the other, does not make one a "deliberate self-deception"--although I think one must be aware that there are other ways of viewing the problem.