Reason is a religion

spumoni
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Reason is a religion

Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?


RhadTheGizmo
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YARN wrote: I am here to

YARN wrote:

I am here to advocate a weak version of Spumoni's claim - I support the claim that people can make reason into a religion.

Talk about narcissism - you say "THIS THREAD HAS TO DO WITH SPUMONI'S CLAIM AND MY RESPONSE TO IT." What about other atheist's response to it? What about my response to it? Note: This is not a personal attack, it's just a little friendly ribbing.

I am baffled that you want me to somehow invalidate reasoning via modus tollens. No thanks, I like to help myself to contraposition every now and again too. Smiling One does not have to attack this operation, however, to problematize the Popperian solution to the problem of scientific induction. Harry Collins, for example, does no such thing in bringing up difficulties like experimenter regress in replicating negative findings. My argument that applied reason that tests actual evidence (not theoretical evidence in which we can grind out conclusions with no regard for material validity)

I see that you agree with another poster who claims that one suffers the pain of contradiction if you use reason to attack reason. I make no such attack. Reason is a tool which can be used reflexively. When you reason about reason, yes you find that there are problems. You do not have to throw down the tool of reason to realize that as a tool it has limits. There are paradoxes, mysteries, and frontiers even in the land of reason. So long as you stay on fairly well established ground, however, you can make claims that are good enough for now (i.e., respectable) about how other parts of the territory are perilous or not fully understood. And yes, someday, we may very well find that we are currently missing the "Zero" or we may never discover it -- our reasoning may always be limited. This does not bother me, because I don't venerate reason, I just try to use it as best I can (with mixed results).

Please don't be upset with me for not clicking on any link. The last time I did, my computer got a virus and I woke up a theist the next day. I won't tell you to go read a book -- I will try to make the argument as best I can. I will read your response as best I can. If you understand your argument, you should be able to paraphrase or replicate it here, right?

BTW - I am not trying to debunk using induction. I am just pointing out that we do not have airtight justifications.

I am glad, however, that you don't take me too seriously. This is, after all, just a website.

As for my alleged ad ignorantium - please allow me the latitude to use a little wit -- read it charitably -- if you give me the benefit of the doubt (i.e., assume that I am reasonably educated and have sought out the sensus communis on this matter in addition to considering various arguments), then it is not narcissistic for me to be incredulous when you announce that the problem has been now and forever completely and totally resolved, full stop. I am sorry, but extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence - and since our game is one of dialectic (i.e., I am not accepting reading assignments), you will need to offer your proof here. Honestly, what do think the most likely result is going to be if poll a pod of "experts" on the problem of induction? We are going to get as many answers as we do respondents. Sure, there will be some dominant lines of response and I think you and I will be able to agree that some proposals are wack, but in the end will we find the holy Grail?

The rational thing to do, in my humble opinion, would be to concede my point, and then to say SO WHAT? Don't make an inviolable faith out of a tool and you still have the upper hand in our argument. But there is apparently felt need on your part to deny that there are loose ends in the land of reason and it is precisely this that I point out to use as a sort of "twitch" -- this is not an attack, but an observation.

Gosh Golly.... there sure are a lot of big words in there-- and latin phrases.

This is not an attack, merely an observation. Smiling 


YARN
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Bob,

Bob,

You sound like a reasonable (dare I say rational) guy, but you have to admit that your comment is rather audacious. Also, since any time we run into a deep problem of how to do science we have to recur to philosophy of science, I would not be so cavalier about dismissing the fact that the philosophical community, as a whole (since, as you note, there will always be a lunatic fringe), has not been able to bring the problem of induction to a close. This means that philosophy of science has the same problem.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think the problem of induction should keep anyone up at night. If it does (or if it would if you were forced to agree that there was a problem), then I would (and do) suspect a sort of panicky twitch of faith.

But even if I am wrong, even if, the problem of induction has been SOLVED (only an 5,000 other problems to go! Hurrah!), even if I am incorrect in my suspicions in your case, is it so beyond the realm of plausibility to conceive that a person could mistake the map for the territory - to venerate the instrument as the end? Do you think that there are no people who hold such a position? My claim is only that reason can become a religion - NOT that it is necessarily the case - NOT that rationality is silly. It is such a small point that it is hard that a person could be intellectually honest in contesting it. It's not like you would have to sign up for Jesus Camp to agree that people can get carried away about anything.

EDIT:

"Gosh Golly.... there sure are a lot of big words in there-- and latin phrases.

This is not an attack, merely an observation. Smiling"

Yeah, I tend to be a little "wordy," but I am not using big words just for the sake of using big words. The posters I am responding to are kickin' it at a high level (they use some big words too), and it is actually more economicaly to compress my argument this way (rather than spell everything out and insult the intelligence of two men who are as smart if not smarter than myself) - But, if you can't run with the big dogs, you can always bark on the porch. Smiling  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BobSpence
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YARN wrote: BTW - I am not

YARN wrote:

BTW - I am not trying to debunk using induction. I am just pointing out that we do not have airtight justifications.  

The whole point of our approach is that we don't seek  airtight justifications. It is this assumption that airtight justifications are required to gain useful understanding of the world that is the source of the 'problem of induction'.

 You keep going on about the limitations of reason etc. We fully acknowledge this, as does Science. We have said this repeatedly.

What, pray, is your alternative to reason? 

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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YARN wrote: Bob, You

YARN wrote:

Bob,

You sound like a reasonable (dare I say rational) guy, but you have to admit that your comment is rather audacious. Also, since any time we run into a deep problem of how to do science we have to recur to philosophy of science, I would not be so cavalier about dismissing the fact that the philosophical community, as a whole (since, as you note, there will always be a lunatic fringe), has not been able to bring the problem of induction to a close. This means that philosophy of science has the same problem.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think the problem of induction should keep anyone up at night. If it does (or if it would if you were forced to agree that there was a problem), then I would (and do) suspect a sort of panicky twitch of faith.

But even if I am wrong, even if, the problem of induction has been SOLVED (only an 5,000 other problems to go! Hurrah!), even if I am incorrect in my suspicions in your case, is it so beyond the realm of plausibility to conceive that a person could mistake the map for the territory - to venerate the instrument as the end? Do you think that there are no people who hold such a position? My claim is only that reason can become a religion - NOT that it is necessarily the case - NOT that rationality is silly. It is such a small point that it is hard that a person could be intellectually honest in contesting it. It's not like you would have to sign up for Jesus Camp to agree that people can get carried away about anything.

EDIT:

"Gosh Golly.... there sure are a lot of big words in there-- and latin phrases.

This is not an attack, merely an observation. Smiling"

Yeah, I tend to be a little "wordy," but I am not using big words just for the sake of using big words. The posters I am responding to are kickin' it at a high level (they use some big words too), and it is actually more economicaly to compress my argument this way (rather than spell everything out and insult the intelligence of two men who are as smart if not smarter than myself) - But, if you can't run with the big dogs, you can always bark on the porch. Smiling

 

Hah.  I take this as friendly ribbing.  Eye-wink

What is life without a bit of learning of new words and latin phrases.. how un-fun would that be? :P 


YARN
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Rhad,  I am glad that you

Rhad,

 I am glad that you have a sense of humor. I wouldn't take a lot of what I say too seriously.   


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YARN, are you actually

YARN, are you actually reading my posts, or just skimming them for hot button issues? I specifically acknowledged the value of the Philosophy of Science.

To say anyone elevates the ideal of reason to the status of a religion does seem to be broadening the definition of 'religion' to virtual meaninglessness.

 I repeat, what is your alternative to reason?

And if you want audacious, the area of study I definitely and un-apologetically regard as not valid, as a real waste of time and space, that would be Theology. 

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


YARN
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"YARN, are you actually

"YARN, are you actually reading my posts,"

Yes, I am reading your posts. I think that a lot of what you say makes good sense. At bottom, I am not sure that we disagree about that much.

"or just skimming them for hot button issues? I specifically acknowledged the value of the Philosophy of Science."

Fair enough. I was just a little taken aback by your off-hand dismissal of philosophy in regard to induction.    

"To say anyone elevates the ideal of reason to the status of a religion does seem to be broadening the definition of 'religion' to virtual meaninglessness."

As Tadangst(?) pointed out, I am arguing somewhat colloquially here. His criterion of believing in something for which one has no proof offers one brightline -- and there are some people who think that reason can do stuff that it can't. There are some people who hold out for certainty in a world of probability. What is so threatening about the idea that some irrational people get carried away with reason? I submit that you should concede this point.  

Just for fun, let's look at the situation anthropologically:

Do you have a God-term? Yes (reason)

Do you have a Devil-term? Yes (God)

Do you have apostles/prophets? Yes (Dawkins, Dennett, etc.) 

Are people here working hard to spread the faith? Yes

Do people congregate here to share their faith and support their paradigm? Yes 

Is there a collection plate? Yes (I see the names of supporters as a write these words) 

Does your world-view involve deep metaphysical commitments? Yes

Does your group express contempt or intolerance for people who do not share your deep commitments? Yes (See your own comments below)  

Does this literally make atheism a religion? Perhaps not, but there are some striking similarities. Again, I was making a weak claim about defective versions of rationality.    

"I repeat, what is your alternative to reason?"

Lemon flavored skittles, whiskey, and Xbox 360 -- oops, wait a second, I never argued that we need an alternative to reason to begin with. My alternative to one form of reason can only be another form of reason -- our argument should center on what sorts of reasons are adequate.    

"And if you want audacious, the area of study I definitely and un-apologetically regard as not valid, as a real waste of time and space, that would be Theology."

Well, I guess it's a good thing I am not a theologian.  

BTW: Nietszche dropped by and gave me the bad news.HUBBLE IS DEAD! Take that deep field imagery! -- Just kidding I too shall miss Hubble images.   

At any rate, don't get your blood pressure up - I am just playing a dialectical game here.  

 


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YARN wrote: Do you have a

YARN wrote:

Do you have a God-term? Yes (reason)

Do you have a Devil-term? Yes (God)

Do you have apostles/prophets? Yes (Dawkins, Dennett, etc.)

Are people here working hard to spread the faith? Yes

 

But faith is belief without evidence. I think we have lots of evidence that reason is something useful and to be trusted. (Your later items keep mentioning faith, so I'll wait for this one to be resolved.)

-Triften 


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I am not surprised you were

I am not surprised you were taken aback by my comments on Philosophy in general. It is as likely to be a source of error as useful information, unless it closely checks its premises and conclusions against more rigorous disciplines. if they still think there is a 'problem of induction', that to me just indicates how irrelevant they are. Seriously, they can go and join their even more useless colleagues in TheologyCool .

I hope you aren't someone who takes people like Anselm of Canterbury seriously, or in more contemporary context, Alvin Plantinga Tongue out.

I am glad you admitted you were not being entirely serious here, otherwise I would have to take serious issue with your mapping of my attitude to reason to aspects of religion, it doesn't deserve to be taken seriously anyway.

Thoroughgoing, informed, rationality/reason is aware of all the limits and limitations of human reason and takes this into account along with everything else in making judgements about the nature of reality.

Are there people who consider themselves rational who aren't as fully informed on these things as others? Well, d'uh!

Oh, and since Servicing Mission 4 has been approved, "These upgrades will keep Hubble functioning at the pinnacle of astronomy well into the next decade". (http://hubblesite.org/servicing_mission_4) And "We are continuing to make excellent progress in our preparations for the servicing mission, which is presently targeted to fly in September 2008." (most recent News Release on Hubble from NASA Jan. 29, 2007)

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


YARN
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Bob, I am glad that the

Bob,

I am glad that the Hubble is not yet out of commission (Nietzsche always was a little hasty in pronouncing things dead).

I am also glad that you conceded my central claim. The point is, as you note, "duh"-level trivial (conceptually), but it has non-trivial ramifications (it’s a kind of a cautionary reminder - yes, even your side can get goofy).

I think that if I were not a known and tracked "enemy combatant" -- it would have been a lot easier to get here. There is an inclination to rally around the flag, which inclines advocates to make claims that their side is not committed to. This sets back our ability to openly dialogue. For example, there is a tendency amongst evolutionists (or so I once read a noted evolutionary scientist say) to not want to air their dirty laundry in public (communicating through the press the various theoretical inconsistencies and weaknesses in evidence that evolutionists debate about) for fear that creationists will jump on such evidence as proof that evolution is all bunk. The consequence, however, is that the general public winds up getting an oversimplified picture. 

There are, of course, valid rhetorical motivations for not tipping the weakness of one’s hand to an opponent, not because one actually has the weaker hand, but because in the battle for hearts and minds, the perception of weakness can set back the cause. When one habitually takes such an argument stance for such a rhetorical purpose, however, there is the possibility of tripping yourself up. This danger is admittedly slight in cases where the advocate is well-grounded, but the danger for the newly initiated remains high. If your “conversion” to atheism was built upon a rhetorically puffed-up case for reason, you stand to be scandalized when you someday learn that human knowledge is not a crystalline palace, but “Neurath’s raft.” 

I think the best place to start an open dialogue is not from an imaginary foundationalist fortress. Neither does it begin by making demands that the other person cannot meet (e.g., I challenge you to disprove, beyond all doubt, the existence of the FSM or tadangst inviting me to disprove the validity of modus tollens as a logical operation). 

Yes, to me this is a sort of game (I am not going to email you an invitation to get saved), but I think that it is a more interesting game if we are a little less zealous. I think that you have the upper hand in terms of argument position, so you have little to lose. For me, it is interesting to argue from the weaker position as it poses the greater challenge.    

Cheers,

YARN


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Quote: Do you have a

Quote:

Do you have a God-term? Yes (reason)

News flash, not all atheists are uppy, RRS types. Heck, there are atheists that don't like science and reason and the like.

But then again, I shouldn't expect much when you like to do blanket statements, and continuus self-touching-term-changing. 

Quote:
Do you have a Devil-term? Yes (God)

this sounds a lot like you are saying we would hate to have a god. 

Quote:
Do you have apostles/prophets? Yes (Dawkins, Dennett, etc.)

Again, not all athiests are the uppy, RRS types. And even more self-touching-term-changing.

Quote:
Are people here working hard to spread the faith?

*Sigh*, this kinda sounds like a small sample fallacy.

"HUURRR HHUUURR!!! RRS therefore all atheists (It's like me saying Hitler, therefore all xians and subgroups) . The Rational Responce Squad does not represent all atheists, heck I don't even agree with the idea that theism is inherenly irrational, but The more I see the theists that hang around here, the more I start thinking "I could be wrong!"

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why do you think Yarn's

why do you think Yarn's comments were directed toward you?


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BobSpence1 wrote: YARN,

BobSpence1 wrote:

YARN, you somewhat over-react to what I said about Philosophy.

I wrote:

you may or may not have gathered from the tone of my comments, that I really do not put much weight on the works of philosophers, since I see little or no REAL knowledge about the world coming from that source. It seems to me mostly speculation - the truly valuable components of Philosophy in the classical sense have pretty much been spun off into true Disciplines, such as Logic, Mathematics, and Science.

The problem with Philosophy as I see it is the flip side of its main value, its very openness in addressing all conceivable aspects of thought and argument. It generates an awful lot of crap as well as genuine new concepts, and is very prone to generating 'schools' which may be little more than cliques mutually supporting each other, following a particular fashion.

It also has a tendency, as Richard Carrier has noted in a past RRS show, of paying a bit too much respect to historical but somewhat superseded ideas and practictioners, as compared to Science for example. I found myself very much in agreement with Richard in that show. This tendency is probably not so much an inherent problem with the subject as such, as with the traditions of its practitioners.

As I said, it has certainly been of immense value in the past, as it nurtured the more disciplined areas I mentioned, and may very well inspire further such spin-offs. We need it for that alone.

I also said that it is valuable as a form of disciplined speculation at the fringes of Science.

I honestly don't see this as "writ[ing] off the entire discipline of philosophy as a valid enterprise!".

That's bone dead obvious to anyone capable of a sober reading of your post.  

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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BobSpence1 wrote: YARN,

BobSpence1 wrote:

YARN, are you actually reading my posts, or just skimming them for hot button issues? I specifically acknowledged the value of the Philosophy of Science.


Bob, thanks for again hitting the nail on the head, and making the same clear observation I have made: you can't discourse with someone who can't even read your post properly. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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YARN wrote:I am here to

YARN wrote:

I am here to advocate a weak version of Spumoni's claim - I support the claim that people can make reason into a religion.

Talk about narcissism - you say "THIS THREAD HAS TO DO WITH SPUMONI'S CLAIM AND MY RESPONSE TO IT." What about other atheist's response to it?

 

As usual, you have no ability to comprehend what is actually said to you.

1) It's not narcissism for a mod to get the board to stick to a topic. It is your narcissim that is in question: your need to talk about whatever pleases you, damn the thread, and your need to go on about yourself rather than stick to the issues...

2) However, at the same time, you've been invited, continually, to speak about whatever you want - make whatever thread you like   - What I've told you is that your comments in regard TO MY POSTS ought to stick to the topic, seeing as you are responding to my posts about the topic! This is why other comments you made had no relevance.

You will be utterly unable to follow these simple points, so I only write them for posterity.

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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YARN wrote: Rhad, I am

YARN wrote:

Rhad,

I am glad that you have a sense of humor. I wouldn't take a lot of what I say too seriously.

 

Anyone who comments on an issue, while steadfastly refusing to learn about it, cannot be taken seriously.  

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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YARN wrote:

YARN wrote:

If your “conversion” to atheism was built upon a rhetorically puffed-up case for reason, you stand to be scandalized when you someday learn that human knowledge is not a crystalline palace, but “Neurath’s raft.”

Personally, I never found anything remotely convincing in the God story, so I never experienced a "de-conversion".

You are again making this extreme dichotomy between perfection and unavoidable biases. I'm prepared to accept that some atheists may have such a misunderstanding about the possibility of perfect knowledge, but does seem more the domain of Theists, at least those stupid enough to take the concept of Revelation seriously. I doubt anyone here makes that assumption.

As I said before, the idea of our finite minds and senses achieving perfect knowledge about anything is deeply irrational. I honestly don't think your point is valid wrt to the vast majority of atheists.

Any such problems with the atheist, rational approach to gaining some sort of understanding of reality apply in spades to the Theist position. Their "raft" firmly settled to the bottom of the sea long ago.

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


todangst
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BobSpence1 wrote:YARN

BobSpence1 wrote:

YARN wrote:

If your “conversion” to atheism was built upon a rhetorically puffed-up case for reason, you stand to be scandalized when you someday learn that human knowledge is not a crystalline palace, but “Neurath’s raft.”

Personally, I never found anything remotely convincing in the God story, so I never experienced a "de-conversion".

Same here. I'd add yet another blunder to Yarn's ledger: the mere fact that one can question the inductive process is not a reason, on it's own, to reject any particular inductive conclusion!  . You can't just point to the very abilty to doubt, in itself, as a reason to doubt any particular claim other and beyond the uncertainty that is already acknowledged in induction. This is the fallacy of arguing to inductive uncertainty

Quote:

You are again making this extreme dichotomy between perfection and unavoidable biases.

Yes, this is the typical error found in this theistic complaint: give me perfect or else universal skepticism rules the day! The theist never gives us his perfect reason for accepting that reason need to be perfect to work.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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“That's bone dead obvious

“That's bone dead obvious to anyone capable of a sober reading of your post.”

Dem’ bones are gonna rise up! You give Bob props for not holding philosophy in contempt, but I am not so sure. Consider what he says later on:

“I am not surprised you were taken aback by my comments on Philosophy in general. It is as likely to be a source of error as useful information, unless it closely checks its premises and conclusions against more rigorous disciplines. if they still think there is a 'problem of induction', that to me just indicates how irrelevant they are. Seriously, they can go and join their even more useless colleagues in Theology Cool .”

We get the disarming smiley face at the end, but Bob clearly does not respect philosophy as much as you do. You told me to wait and see what he says – well he said it. Philosophy isn’t completely useless, just mostly useless – not exactly a ringing endorsement.

“you can't discourse with someone who can't even read your post properly.”

Huh, I don’t get it. Can you say the middle thing again?

“1) It's not narcissism for a mod to get the board to stick to a topic. It is your narcissim that is in question: your need to talk about whatever pleases you, damn the thread, and your need to go on about yourself rather than stick to the issues...”

If you take a look at the title and point of this thread (“Reality is a Religion”) I am clearly within the topic area – I have advocated a weak version of this claim “Reality can be made into a religion.” No, I have not championed the case of the OP, but so what? You only have a handful of people posting here anyway. I give you arguments and you play traffic cop.

“2) However, at the same time, you've been invited, continually, to speak about whatever you want - make whatever thread you like - What I've told you is that your comments in regard TO MY POSTS ought to stick to the topic, seeing as you are responding to my posts about the topic! This is why other comments you made had no relevance.”

You’re so vain – you probably think this post is about you, don’t you? Your comments have been made in response to my comments. You are now hooked on the horns of your own dilemma. 1. Either I am now topical, because you have made me topical be including me in your “official” discussion of the thread OR 2. Your own comments are off topic because they are meta-thread topics. You have just made a whole flurry of non-topical posts because they are centered on little ole me.

No doubt when I post a thread you will tell me it is in the wrong forum and so on. Don’t get mad at me just because I refuse to take your ill-conceived invitation fo rme to impugn contrapositive negation. Am I only on topic if I attempt to prove the 2 + 2 = -23.6?

“Yes, this is the typical error found in this theistic complaint: give me perfect or else universal skepticism rules the day! The theist never gives us his perfect reason for accepting that reason need to be perfect to work.”

Cough, cough. Excuse me while I take these words out of my mouth. If you had actually read my posts, you would have noted that I never launched a jihad on human reason. I am not arguing for universal skepticism. I am just trying to be honest about human reason (pointing out its limits and the possibility of confusing the map with the territory) and it appears to be getting you bent out of shape – hence I have made the observation of a certain panicky “twitch” amongst the faithful apostles of universal reason. To even point this out gets you mod-smacked, accused of illiteracy, and goaded with pointless challenges. You will be utterly unable to follow these simple points, so I only write them for posterity.

 

 

 


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hello wrote:

hello wrote:
why do you think Yarn's comments were directed toward you?

Becuase it's an "The atheists are.." thing.

Of course it's not just towards me only 

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"Because it's an "The

"Because it's an "The atheists are.." thing.

Of course it's not just towards me only"

I am glad that, unlike tadangst, you realize that I am not talking directly and only to you -- but then again, if you read my comments carefully, you will note that they are not directed to all atheists everywhere -- my anthropological comments were based on what I see on this website. I didn't say, for example, that all atheists pass the collection plate - I said that atheists here are pumping the faithful for cash. NPR also pumps their faithful for cash, so obviously this is not a sufficient condition. Then again, NPR doesn't have promos that encourage people to record themselves taunting people who don't see the world in the same way that they do (e.g., "OK, go down to your Clear Channel radio and tell them that you reject the RNC in the most a--hole way you can think of and post it YouTube!" ). You will also note that I only claimed that there are striking similarities with religion. "Religion" is not so easy a thing to define. The easist method is simply to point to people who claim that they are a religious group, but this quickly runs aground when we find some religions calling other religions "cults". We would need to find an agreeable way to define our terms before seriously attempting to test the claim that atheism is a religion. This, however, leads me to my final point - you will note that I lead off the observation with the words "just for fun" - funny how the joke is never all that funny when it comes at your expense, isn't it? And here we have another similarity with religion - no sense of humor when the shoe is on the other foot. Tongue out

 


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Quote: if you read my

Quote:
if you read my comments carefully, you will note that they are not directed to all atheists everywhere -- my anthropological comments were based on what I see on this website.


But alas, you are still sticking words in mouths.

I do not see the idea of god or gods as a devil "Term".

And Dawkins and the like, I barely heard much from them, although James Randi is another story (I like to listen to his lectures (Quite a wit))

 

Then there is the most luaghable part. "You god is reason... HUURR!! Please I like being force feed, what YOU THINK what I think. Sarcasm aside, I do not see reason as a good. Neither do I see science as a god. YOUR God is how YOU define it, and if I had a god, I would define it MYSELF! not unless you find it okay for me to say, your god is the earth, or a hammer, or maybe it's in my pants (Now worship it).

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this particular problem is

this particular problem seems to be easy to address. i think it is safe to say that yarn wasn't talking about you. if it seemed like he/she did, that was a mistake or a misinterpretation.


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Ophios wrote: Quote: if

Ophios wrote:

Quote:
if you read my comments carefully, you will note that they are not directed to all atheists everywhere -- my anthropological comments were based on what I see on this website.


But alas, you are still sticking words in mouths.
 

 This makes at least 3 people in this thread who have had to point out to Yarn that he's off the mark.

Yarn hasn't demonstrated the ability to get a single post correctly, let alone an ability to judge the site.

The only thing his 'judgements' can reveal are the workings of his imaginatation.

He's practically refused to read anything concerning the topics he's discussed, and when called on it, tried to write it off as a 'joke' - yet the reality is, he hasn't read a thing, and he is  still looking for excuses to allow him to read....

And hey, I can see why: facts just get in the way of what he wants to say.... 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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todangst wrote: Ophios

todangst wrote:
Ophios wrote:

Quote:
if you read my comments carefully, you will note that they are not directed to all atheists everywhere -- my anthropological comments were based on what I see on this website.


But alas, you are still sticking words in mouths.

This makes at least 3 people in this thread who have had to point out to Yarn that he's off the mark.

Yarn hasn't demonstrated the ability to get a single post correctly, let alone an ability to judge the site.

The only thing his 'judgements' can reveal are the workings of his imaginatation.

He's practically refused to read anything concerning the topics he's discussed, and when called on it, tried to write it off as a 'joke' - yet the reality is, he hasn't read a thing, and he is still looking for excuses to allow him to read....

And hey, I can see why: facts just get in the way of what he wants to say....

i have been viewing this discussion go back and forth and i have been able to appreciate points on both sides. i don't think yarn is way off the mark and i would even go as far as saying todangst and yarn aren't as different as todangst is making it out to be.

todangst: what do you think yarn is trying to say?


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YARN wrote: I said that

YARN wrote:
I said that atheists here are pumping the faithful for cash.

And yet this is inaccurate. There are a couple places around the site where you can donate. There isn't a single place that says you must. And I will point out that I have not. Nor have I advised others to do so. But I am still here.

YARN wrote:
NPR also pumps their faithful for cash, so obviously this is not a sufficient condition. Then again, NPR doesn't have promos that encourage people to record themselves taunting people who don't see the world in the same way that they do

This is an invalid comparison. And the videos aren't taunts. They are declarations of freedom. They are also an advertising gimmick.

YARN wrote:
(e.g., "OK, go down to your Clear Channel radio and tell them that you reject the RNC in the most a--hole way you can think of and post it YouTube!" ).

That would be a waste of my time, if my google search came up with the correct result for RNC. I'm not American.

YARN wrote:
You will also note that I only claimed that there are striking similarities with religion.

There are striking similarities between any organization of any kind. So this comment has no value.

YARN wrote:
"Religion" is not so easy a thing to define.

Sure it is. Religion is an organization espousing a way of life based on a faith.

YARN wrote:
The easist method is simply to point to people who claim that they are a religious group, but this quickly runs aground when we find some religions calling other religions "cults".

Every religion is a cult. So when religions do that they're being accurate. Even if they're only acknowledging one side is one.

YARN wrote:
We would need to find an agreeable way to define our terms before seriously attempting to test the claim that atheism is a religion.

Nope. Atheism isn't a way of life. It isn't an organization. It therefore cannot be a religion.

YARN wrote:
This, however, leads me to my final point - you will note that I lead off the observation with the words "just for fun" - funny how the joke is never all that funny when it comes at your expense, isn't it? And here we have another similarity with religion - no sense of humor when the shoe is on the other foot.

I don't even know where this is coming from, so I'm not going to bother addressing it.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Ophios
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Vastet wrote: YARN

Vastet wrote:
YARN wrote:
I said that atheists here are pumping the faithful for cash.

And yet this is inaccurate. There are a couple places around the site where you can donate. There isn't a single place that says you must. And I will point out that I have not. Nor have I advised others to do so. But I am still here.

Hey, what do you know, I haven't paid too.

In fact I had an idle account for a couple of weeks, with no posts, nothing. and even then no one e-mailed/PM'ed for cash. 

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Egads

First off: Hello, I stumbled onto this website and I find it interesting so far.

 

Secondly: I'm disturbed to say that I'm impressed with the degree of philosophical bastardization that has occurred in this thread. Clearly, there are some who are more educated than others, and I grant due respect. However, for those of us who are educated and well, well acquanted with the material being posited, I will say that there is a copious amount of philosophical jargon that accomplishes relatively little. The jaron is used so as to impress upon the supposedly-uninformed the metasoundness that philosophy supplies. Agreed, inasmuch as possible, philosophy does - both through a priori and a posteriori investigation - seek to ascertain truth.

Unfortunately, what is accomplished here is a great feat of sophism, which I am disdainful to see. The side that posits anthetical ideations about Christianity has posted its flag in the camp of philosophy, and presumed that Christianity cannot coexist with itself. This is not the same as saying "I do not understand what faculties of Christianity can be contained within and successfully reconciled with the aspirations of Philosophy." By saturating the rules and regulations of reason, logic, methodology, and so forth, a sophistic effort has been made to establish Philosophy/Reason as the counter to Christianity. In fact, this is not the case whatsoever, and to claim as such is simply intolerable from a scholar's perspective.

A perceived notion that Christianity or other religions and can be taken apart by logic is erroneous and makes a static presumption of where truth lies before investigation.

To start somewhere, without prejudice, is to start somewhere. To start somewhere with a bias, is to be biased in where to start. I fear far too many of you who are quick to assail religion, and are quick to assail Philosophy, have prior bias. This makes meaningful discourse and discussion very difficult. Too many see the answers within Philosophy, and do so because of subconcious response to religion, than seek answers outside of the bounding boxes that any discipline in the world seeks to have.

 

Lest you all forget: Our understanding of logic itself is in flux. Our barest understandings of axioms have evolved as we have qualified our knowledge through the ages. Dare you presume to know how to know everything that is capable of being known to you through logic.

Philosophers, and I speak as one, are not so engaged with the forms of truth to wax eloquent with mere mortals. Philosophy may find out that one or the other religion contains many truths about actuality, but philosophy is the only discipline that can claim that one would KNOW truths once the soundness of a conclusion was determined through method.

In point of fact, however, Philosophy is a pragmatic art in itself. It seeks to be the hardest of sciences and solid foundation of knowledge, and yet, the only ABSOLUTE TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE that can soundly be KNOWN is the statement "something is/exists," IF, AND ONLY IF, there is something that can "know" this statement through which a SOUNDLY VERIFIED phenomenological state of being exists to experience the state of "knowing" that can be SOUNDLY VERIFIED to know that it can know anything whatsoever and by means that are soundly verified as sound methods for verifying ABSOLUTE TRUTH, etc. etc. etc. As you can see, Philosophy at its core, becomes reducable to infinitely and inescapable questions in determining its own validity and subsequent unattainable soundness.


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YARN:

YARN:

I presume referring to the title of this thread as "“Reality is a Religion" rather than "Reason is a religion" was a typo? Since you then go on to talk about a claim that “Reality can be made into a religion", perhaps not. Must be problems with your reading comprehension, as I had already suspected Smiling .

Once again, your key point about the "limits of Reason" and other reasoning 'traps' related to our finite minds, is not an issue for most of us here - we are aware of this, why do you keep trying to make a big deal of it?? Is that your only point??

Your comments continually over-state the issues, whether it is the 'problem of induction', our 'twitchiness', your own key point in this thread, or my view of philosophy.

This sort of rhetoric gets stale very quickly.

With regard to philosophy, I have already painstakingly laid out just what I do and do not respect about the subject, your reaction suggests someone who has spent way too much time reading philosophy and assuming it necessarily has inherent truth value. Its value is very much dependent on the inclinations and intellect of the individual philospher. Out of philosophers of earlier centuries, David Hume stands out for me. I can hear you muttering, "well of course a skeptic would like Hume, wouldn't he". I don't care much for Hegel or Kant.

Biggest problem with argument that is not restrained by the disciplines of science, is that as an argument becomes more elaborate, goes thru more and more chains of logic, the greater the risk that a slight unnoticed slide in the interpretation of a proposition or an individual term, especially when dealing with grand generalized concepts, can propagate a progressively wider divergence from the 'true' path, leading to an ultimately wildly inaccurate conclusion.

This also a risk in scientific theories, but the requirements of independent checking against the data and replication of results will eventually catch this.

But when you are arguing about the abstractions of philosophy, this is not readily applied. So it is really up to the individual to decide whether the conclusion is sufficiently consistent with his current world-view to just adopt the idea as a useful concept, maybe with some adjustments, or reject it entirely, or somewhere in between. If they can identify a flaw in the argument, so much the better, but the jargon has become pretty opaque.

For just about any abstract philosophical idea, there are usually a flock of alternatives from other sources with just as apparently valid an argument, but with entirely contradictory conclusions.

Todangst has a somewhat different regard to various aspects of Philosophy to myself, but I strongly suspect that we have a lot in common - like respect for David Hume, among other things. Noticing such individual variations in assessment of such things is not a major achievement, after all there is much subjectivity and complexity involved.

We are not all clones of each other, especially not of your imagined  fanatical reason-deifying Atheist/Rationalist.

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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The "reality" thing is a

The "reality" thing is a typo -- very odd to have repeated it twice though -- perhaps I have watched Vanilla Sky one too many times. I deserve to take a ribbing on that one.

I don't think that you are a clone. I am not anti-science. I am not anti-evolution. Most of all, I am not anti-reason.

"Once again, your key point about the "limits of Reason" and other reasoning 'traps' related to our finite minds, is not an issue for most of us here"

Fair enough, but if so, it is baffling that you and todangst would contest my point so passionately.

"why do you keep trying to make a big deal of it?? Is that your only point??"

Yes, that is my main point. Reason can be made into a religion. It is a cautionary argument. The big deal is that given the epistemic position of the human observer, these sorts of limitations are important to reflect upon.

I am confident that you now get what I am talking about and that you have no need for Cartesian foundations. There are some youger folks here, however, who are probably more susceptible to the foundationalist line than you might think.

 

I think we get into trouble if you assume that I waiting to spring a proof for the existence of God or that I am making an argument for unversal skepticism for want of such a proof. Even if I were, what could it hurt to give me just enough rope to hang myself with?

Now that we agree on this anti-foundationalist point, we at least have one point of agreement from which to reason.

 


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I think we contest your

I think we contest your point about 'reason as a religion' because it really seems to be stretching the concept of religion to breaking point.

I would have been more ready to assume that you weren't about to spring some Theist argument on us if you made the more general point about the inherent fallibility and uncertainty of all human perceptions or assumptions about reality, all feelings of 'knowing' something, whether based on what we think of as reason, or faith (in the religious sense, not the ordinary sense of a stronger form of 'trust' ), or 'revelation', 'gut feelings', a priori assumptions, etc.

We also get irritated at your tendency to make unwarranted assumptions about our positions, like assuming todangst was a Platonist and I essentially dismissed all Philosophy, just to name two examples.

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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todangst wrote: kmisho

todangst wrote:
kmisho wrote:

Yes. The cogito is tautologous. I am not one to make the mistake to call the always-true meaningless, as I've often seen.

But when I look at it this way, all the apparent majesty of the argument drains away and I'm left wondering just what amazes people about it. God said "I am that I am" to which I reply: I remove my shoes from off my feet, for the ground upon which I stand is patently obvious.

Heheh. Well, I think that's a necessary fallout of a very good idea.... it influences all thought to the point that it becomes obvious... Was it Schopenhauer who said something to the effect that a good idea spends half of its life being rejected as crazy, and the other half tossed aside as obvious? Anyway, that's how I'd view the situtation. 

I ran into something interesting the other day. Ever heard of Descartes' Error by neurologist Anotnio Damasio?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descartes'_Error

Quote from the Wiki article

Quote:
The fundamental difference in argument situates itself in that thought is a physiological function, based on anatomy making the statement "I think, therefore I am" a repetition. It essentially becomes "I am, therefore I am" when Damosio's principle of the body-mind rather than dualism is applied.

I had never heard of this until a couple days ago, but it says the same thing I said.


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I really like damasio. 

I really like damasio.  Decartes' error was good, but I really liked his later book called The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the making of Consciousness.  It was the best book about the subject I've read to date, as it contains scientific studies and research in addition to the usual philosophical srgumentation that we get from people like Dennett. 

Shaun 

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