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Author Topic:   Choosing a faith
Taq
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Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(2)
Message 177 of 3810 (897273)
09-01-2022 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by GDR
09-01-2022 1:09 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
That statement is contrary to my reason for starting this thread. I had looked at a thread on this forum and was troubled by the ideas expressed in the thread about choosing which god to follow.

My point was that God as we call him reaches out to everyone, regardless if you are Muslim, Jew, Christian, atheist and then added that even Hitler loved his dog. (I was not claiming that Hitler was an atheist. I doubt he ever thought about any deity.)

I used the term "cosmic intelligence" simply so that it would apply to everyone.
I would describe these more as bald assertions instead of points.
What exactly are we supposed to say? A person says they believe X, Y, and Z. Ok, good on ya. Now what? Either you choose to believe the assertions made by a religion or you don't. I don't see any path that leads to these assertions, just a blunt acceptance that they are true.
What we are seeing is humans telling other humans what God wants. We don't hear from God himself, or any other gods, deities, or supernatural entities. We just hear other people. What to do with this?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 172 by GDR, posted 09-01-2022 1:09 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 183 of 3810 (897279)
09-01-2022 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 179 by GDR
09-01-2022 4:25 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
Again, that does not exclude an external toot.
What does it mean to say that we can't rule out the undetectable and superfluous claims about the supernatural?
Carl Sagan talked about this in his story about the dragon that lived in a garage.
quote:
"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage"
Suppose (I'm following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin[4]) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you'd want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!
"Show me," you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle--but no dragon.
"Where's the dragon?" you ask.
"Oh, she's right here," I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon."
You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.
"Good idea," I say, "but this dragon floats in the air."
Then you'll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.
"Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless."
You'll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.
"Good idea, but she's an incorporeal dragon and the paint won't stick."
And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won't work.
Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.
--Carl Sagan
That last bit is the most important.
"Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists?"
Indeed.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 179 by GDR, posted 09-01-2022 4:25 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 221 by GDR, posted 09-03-2022 1:37 PM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 331 of 3810 (897485)
09-06-2022 1:45 PM
Reply to: Message 221 by GDR
09-03-2022 1:37 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
But that is assuming that the one way to find truth is through the scientific method. It also assumes a materialistic world.
Then how do you tell the difference between the supernatural and what is just made up?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 221 by GDR, posted 09-03-2022 1:37 PM GDR has replied

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 395 of 3810 (897603)
09-08-2022 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 372 by GDR
09-07-2022 6:27 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
Our point of disagreement then concerns the degree of plausibility of the two views.
We can see that chemical reactions exist. Not so with gods. That would seem to tip the balance towards chemical reactions.
On top of that, of the processes that we know of a cause, none are caused by deities. There have been many phenomena that were once described as the product of the supernatural, but are now explained through known natural causes. Never has this gone in the opposite direction. At no point have we had a suspected natural cause turn out to be the outcome of a known and verifiable supernatural process.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 372 by GDR, posted 09-07-2022 6:27 PM GDR has replied

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 403 of 3810 (897617)
09-08-2022 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 401 by GDR
09-08-2022 5:19 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
Science of the Gaps, which does not make it impossible
It's not Science of the Gaps. It's experience.
We have millions of natural explanations for what was once unknown. We have zero verified supernatural explanations for what was once unknown. It is completely rational to expect to find a natural explanation for the origin of life instead of a supernatural one.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(4)
Message 412 of 3810 (897636)
09-09-2022 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 408 by Phat
09-09-2022 7:40 AM


Re: Come To The Dark Side.
Phat writes:
Atheists, in contrast, use vast systems of logic, reason, and reality. One thing, however, stands out about the late Hitch and many of you. You get hyper emotional in describing the God character and organized religion as a destructive monster.
For future reference, atheists tend to use skepticism which incorporates the features you are describing.
I also see nothing wrong with atheists being emotional when human beings are indoctrinated into beliefs that contain such evils. I'm sure that you get emotional when you hear some of the things Muslims are taught, and you probably don't believe that Muhammad was God's prophet.
All that really matters in my mind is that we can disagree and yet communicate so well in the here and now. Which is all we really have.
If we are arguing morality then we must be the source of that morality. If we don't have an inner moral voice then what does it mean to say that God's commandments are moral? Are we amoral robots that simply follow commands, or do we believe religious teachings hold value because we can judge their morality for ourselves?

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 420 of 3810 (897650)
09-09-2022 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 419 by GDR
09-09-2022 2:08 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
It went from particles to cells to conscious sentient beings.
Evolution is a tree, not a ladder. Last I checked, E. coli is not sentient.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 419 by GDR, posted 09-09-2022 2:08 PM GDR has replied

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 461 of 3810 (897806)
09-12-2022 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 457 by GDR
09-12-2022 1:30 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
Tacitus a Roman historian wrote about Jesus and even His crucifixion.
Arguments over the existence of Jesus of Nazareth ring hollow to me. It's not as if Christians are all converting to Mormonism because it is easily proven that Joseph Smith was a real person.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 457 by GDR, posted 09-12-2022 1:30 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 472 by GDR, posted 09-12-2022 9:31 PM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 465 of 3810 (897813)
09-12-2022 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 462 by GDR
09-12-2022 3:09 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
However after reading thi and other material I think that worrying about either philosophical evidence, which seems kind vague anyway, and the reading on definitions of scientific evidence which seems to go beyond empirical evidence, then I should probably stop worrying about these terms.
In the end I think that the best term is subjective conclusions.
I would suggest that instead of philosophical evidence, we should call them premises. As such, the overall strength of an argument is dependent on the strength of the premises.
I would also suggest that "subjective conclusions" are equivalent to "personal opinion".
As I understand it, the subjective conclusion of the majority of you is that it is ludicrous to involve an external intelligence when we can observe natural processes having occurred and continuing to occur.
Parsimony is more than just a subjective conclusion. It's a basic part of a pragmatic epistemology. Imagine if we had to throw out every natural explanation we have because it might be the result of some supernatural process that entirely mimics the natural process? Fingerprints at a crime scene? Nope, throw those out. God could have planted the fingerprints at the crime scene. Changes in pressure and temperature causes clouds to form? Nope, that one is gone to. After all, it could be leprechauns creating clouds in a way that just happens to correlate with pressure and temperature. As George Romanes put it 140 years ago:
quote:
For, be it observed, the exception in limine to the evidence which we are about to consider, does not question that natural selection may not be able to do all that Mr. Darwin ascribes to it: it merely objects to his interpretation of the facts, because it maintains that these facts might equally well be ascribed to intelligent design. And so undoubtedly they might, if we were all childish enough to rush into a supernatural explanation whenever a natural explanation is found sufficient to account for the facts. Once admit the glaringly illogical principle that we may assume the operation of higher causes where the operation of lower ones is sufficient to explain the observed phenomena, and all our science and all our philosophy are scattered to the winds. For the law of logic which Sir William Hamilton called the law of parsimony—or the law which forbids us to assume the operation of higher causes when lower ones are found sufficient to explain the observed effects—this law constitutes the only logical barrier between science and superstition. For it is manifest that it is always possible to give a hypothetical explanation of any phenomenon whatever, by referring it immediately to the intelligence of some supernatural agent; so that the only difference between the logic of science and the logic of superstition consists in science recognising a validity in the law of parsimony which superstition disregards.
--George Romanes, "Scientific Evidences for Organic Evoution", 1882

This message is a reply to:
 Message 462 by GDR, posted 09-12-2022 3:09 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 482 of 3810 (897841)
09-13-2022 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 472 by GDR
09-12-2022 9:31 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
I'm afraid that your analysis seems a little lacking. I don't see this as being a parallel at all.
The real argument is over the claims of what Jesus did, not if he existed. The same for Joseph Smith.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 472 by GDR, posted 09-12-2022 9:31 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 502 of 3810 (897887)
09-14-2022 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 488 by GDR
09-13-2022 8:25 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
But you are criticizing a belief that I don't hold. I'm not saying that we throw out any empirical or even theoretical science. Yes, I think that God is responsible for life. I also enjoy the little bit of science that I can understand.
I was criticizing your belief that parsimony is a subjective conclusion. It isn't. It is an axiom of almost every practical and pragmatic epistemology that exists.
Addressing the beliefs in the quote above, it would look like you arbitrarily apply parsimony based on your own subjective criteria.
GDR writes:
However, I do think that I am more than just my brain. I realize that you can come up with opinions based on what is observed, but it is my premise that there is more going on than can be observed.
There is no required correlation between what people think and what is actually true.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 488 by GDR, posted 09-13-2022 8:25 PM GDR has replied

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 1484 of 3810 (903046)
12-01-2022 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1481 by Phat
12-01-2022 4:02 PM


Re: Why can't a Supreme Intelligence guide us towards ultimate purpose?
Phat writes:
Critics will cite "appeal to popularity" and dismiss personal testimonies as worthless, which I suppose is fair game in an evidence-based discussion, although within a family, for example, brothers and sisters are not simply dismissed as incredulous simply because their individual and personal "experience" never happened to you personally.
There are quite a few categories to deal with. The first big divider would be objective vs. subjective. When we talk about evidence we are most often talking about objective evidence which can be verified by others and by measurement. Experiences, as you describe them, are subjective by their very nature, even experiences that happen to yourself.
Above the level of evidence are the things that convince you of a belief. This can be objective or subjective evidence, but in many cases it is going to be a level of evidence that is specific to yourself and inherently biased by your own psychology. As to family members, if my brothers or sisters related an insane story of being abducted by aliens I certainly wouldn't accept their stories as being 100% true at first blush. I would need more information and evidence. I would put the experience of deities in the same bucket. But that's just me.
GDR and (as he himself would argue) other theists would likely say that God by definition existed eternally, long before humans even evolved to the language and thought capability of making Him/Her/It up. Your side would again point to that E word and say that without evidence all that we have is speculation.
Bigfoot, by definition, is an upright anthropoid ape that lives in North America. Just because I can define Bigfoot does not make it real.
ringo would crow on about the relativity of all "God" definitions and accuse Christian Theists of bias. We might reply that we couldn't really help it as our belief was at one point in time more of an instantaneous and ever-expanding epiphany rather than group (and cultural) indoctrination, though Tangle likely would argue that it is all nearly cultural.
Then how would you explain the geographic distribution of believers? Why are Muslims much more likely to have grown up in a Muslim family and in a country where Islam is more common? If you grew up in a Muslim family in a predominately Muslim country would you believe Muhammad is Allah's prophet, and would you believe in the accuracy of the Koran? I would guess that you would.

This message is a reply to:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(2)
Message 1489 of 3810 (903060)
12-02-2022 11:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1485 by GDR
12-01-2022 6:36 PM


Re: What does God want of Us
GDR writes:
I usually end with this. "We pray Lord that our lives will model the life to come, when you will bring about the resurrection of all things, in a renewed world, where the wolf lies down with the lamb, and with true joy and peace for all. With the power of your Holy Spirit, may we be Christ like people, living lives of Christ like love."
Looking back, one of the first signs of my eventual deconversion was when I started seeing empty platitudes as empty platitudes. At first, I was a bit confused as to why I once thought these types of psalm-ish sayings were so amazing, and why they seemed to crumble when I barely started to critique and analyze them. Since then, I tend to think it is part of the psychology of belief.
What do you know about Plato that didn't come from a book? Is that circular?
I'm certainly not inventing platitudes about my reflections on the divinity of Plato.
Why are you, or anyone else here for that matter, trying to convince me that I'm wrong?
History has a lot of inertia. For centuries it has been the atheist who has had to explain why they don't believe, as if belief is the default condition. Even today there are a lot of misconceptions we atheists have to deal with on a regular basis. More than anything, we are trying to explain why our atheism is justified.
I agree that there is no evidence that you would agree is evidence. I consider conscious life evidence of an external consciousness. You don't. Simple as that.
That seems to be the most rational place to arrive at. You are convinced, and we are not. There is evidence that we would need to be convinced, and it doesn't appear to exist. There is evidence that you would need to be convinced, and you have found it. They aren't the same type of evidence, but they don't need to be. As long as we are all honest about where we stand I don't see a problem with it.
On the flip side, misrepresentation of evidence is where we often see the most friction. When someone tries to falsely claim they have scientific evidence for the supernatural that tends to invite debate. The same for subjective evidence falsely represented as objective evidence.
I think this also ties into some of the modern views on faith. There seems to be a movement within Christian apologetics where faith is considered a weakness. It's as if apologists have agreed with some atheists that faith is not to be trusted. In order to fix this weakness they invent these bait-and-switch schemes to dress up faith as objective evidence of some kind (e.g. Kalam Cosmological Argument, Lee Strobel's stuff). Faith should be enough.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1485 by GDR, posted 12-01-2022 6:36 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 1518 of 3810 (903151)
12-05-2022 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1495 by Tangle
12-03-2022 4:50 AM


Tangle writes:
The Ruse Of Atheist New Testament Scholars
BY ROBERT CLIFTON ROBINSON on AUGUST 3, 2021
The Appeal of Echo Chambers
By Psychologists Everywhere, throughout history

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1495 by Tangle, posted 12-03-2022 4:50 AM Tangle has not replied

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 1519 of 3810 (903152)
12-05-2022 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1510 by Phat
12-04-2022 1:40 PM


Re: Why can't a Supreme Intelligence guide us towards ultimate purpose?
Phat writes:
There goes that Left authoritarianism again! Not only have you used the word evidence as your holy mantra, you have the audacity to proclaim what is and is not nonsense.
Yet another example of conservatives declaring war on facts. At some point in history conservatives accepted facts. No more. Now, it is as if you are punishing conservatives if you even mention that facts exist. As we see here, actually caring about factual reality is equivalent to authoritarianism in their eyes.

This message is a reply to:
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