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  1. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    That's true when we're talking about concepts and entities that fall within the bounds of empirical proof, ie within the natural realm. God by nature is of the supernatural realm, which is beyond the bounds of normal empirical proof.
    I brought this up with regards to agnosticism when responding to MP (if you're reading this MP sorry but i've been busy and didn't want to initiate in debate, I also found that Reason filled in for me I think so props to him).

    What I said was: "People always seem to cling to the idea of the separate realms of the natural and supernatural, that the natural world can't prove anything about the supernatural world.... If God can interact with the natural world, and he is supernatural, then they are connected, they are not exclusive of one another. Just like how if Jesus (in natural form on earth) and the Pope can interact with God then the natural and supernatural are not mutually exclusive."

    Certaintly theists claim that God has indeed interacted in our world, transcending the supernatural-natural barrier. Now how would he go about interacting in a natural world if he is supernatural? For him to use Supernatural methods in our Natural world wouldn't seem to make much sense would it, it would defeat the purpose of the natural laws. Same thing applies in reverse: If he uses natural methods in the natural world, (edit: I noticed this makes no sense because God 'invervening' requires a break in natural law, because using 'natural methods' really means just leaving the natural alone and letting the laws do the work; I'm leaving this in purely for the sake of thought), it defeats the purpose of his divine supernatural powers, he would have no freedom to do as he wishes in our Universe after he had set our natural laws. There must Not exist a barrier between the supernatural and natural in the eyes of a theist. And what does no barrier imply? That we indeed can study God empirically.

    Also God wouldn't need to intervene if he is all-knowing like he's supposed to be, because he'd already know the flaws that he'd have to fix before even making our universe, so he'd end up making our universe perfectly with no need to intervene... that is unless this perfect God consciously decided to make a flawed universe on purpose just to mess with us, but even in this scenario he'd know the outcomes beforehand, diminishing the purpose once again.

  2. #112
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Didums View Post
    I brought this up with regards to agnosticism when responding to MP (if you're reading this MP sorry but i've been busy and didn't want to initiate in debate, I also found that Reason filled in for me I think so props to him).

    What I said was: "People always seem to cling to the idea of the separate realms of the natural and supernatural, that the natural world can't prove anything about the supernatural world.... If God can interact with the natural world, and he is supernatural, then they are connected, they are not exclusive of one another. Just like how if Jesus (in natural form on earth) and the Pope can interact with God then the natural and supernatural are not mutually exclusive."

    Certaintly theists claim that God has indeed interacted in our world, transcending the supernatural-natural barrier. Now how would he go about interacting in a natural world if he is supernatural? For him to use Supernatural methods in our Natural world wouldn't seem to make much sense would it, it would defeat the purpose of the natural laws. Same thing applies in reverse: If he uses natural methods in the natural world, (edit: I noticed this makes no sense because God 'invervening' requires a break in natural law, because using 'natural methods' really means just leaving the natural alone and letting the laws do the work; I'm leaving this in purely for the sake of thought), it defeats the purpose of his divine supernatural powers, he would have no freedom to do as he wishes in our Universe after he had set our natural laws. There must Not exist a barrier between the supernatural and natural in the eyes of a theist. And what does no barrier imply? That we indeed can study God empirically.

    Also God wouldn't need to intervene if he is all-knowing like he's supposed to be, because he'd already know the flaws that he'd have to fix before even making our universe, so he'd end up making our universe perfectly with no need to intervene... that is unless this perfect God consciously decided to make a flawed universe on purpose just to mess with us, but even in this scenario he'd know the outcomes beforehand, diminishing the purpose once again.
    I know you're responding to Peguy, and I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I'd like to respond to the above.

    Contemporary science has its roots in natural philosophy and natural theology; i.e., the scientific method was created by theists who wished to study the natural laws in order to know more about the being who created those laws. In this sense, studying the natural world/laws in order to know God is not unlike the science of psychology; no psychologist has direct access to the mental states of his subjects, but he does have access to what they say and do. Similarly, God is a spirit, so we don't have direct, empirical access to the substance of God, (as the human mind, or soul--as studied in psychology--is a spiritual substance), but we do have access to what God says and does, and by paying attention to what he does and says we can come to know something of the mind and substance of God. Thus, it is not the substance of God that we study empircally, but the products of his actions; and knowledge of the outer, visible actions of a being reveals the inner, invisible nature of that being.

    The final paragraph of your post deals with theodicy. What if God did know the outcome before hand? Does God create because he's bored, or lonely, or because he has some need that creating satisfies? Does it make any sense to say that an eternal, self-maintaining being stands in need of anything?

  3. #113
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    I know you're responding to Peguy, and I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I'd like to respond to the above.

    Contemporary science has its roots in natural philosophy and natural theology; i.e., the scientific method was created by theists who wished to study the natural laws in order to know more about the being who created those laws. In this sense, studying the natural world/laws in order to know God is not unlike the science of psychology; no psychologist has direct access to the mental states of his subjects, but he does have access to what they say and do. Similarly, God is a spirit, so we don't have direct, empirical access to the substance of God, (as the human mind, or soul--as studied in psychology--is a spiritual substance), but we do have access to what God says and does, and by paying attention to what he does and says we can come to know something of the mind and substance of God. Thus, it is not the substance of God that we study empircally, but the products of his actions; and knowledge of the outer, visible actions of a being reveals the inner, invisible nature of that being.

    The final paragraph of your post deals with theodicy. What if God did know the outcome before hand? Does God create because he's bored, or lonely, or because he has some need that creating satisfies? Does it make any sense to say that an eternal, self-maintaining being stands in need of anything?
    Is there a reason to believe that what we study are products of God?

    God is not analogous to this world as human behavior is to cognition. Essentially we know that all human behavior is inspired by our internal motives. Analogously we know that this world was inspired by something else, as nothing comes from nothing. In the first case, we call the cause 'the cognition' which is justified by a truism as that represents all human thought and motive.

    This is a very general label which requires no argument. God, however, is a very specific label which does require an argument. Therefore the analogy is unsound.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  4. #114
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Didums View Post
    Also God wouldn't need to intervene if he is all-knowing like he's supposed to be, because he'd already know the flaws that he'd have to fix before even making our universe, so he'd end up making our universe perfectly with no need to intervene... that is unless this perfect God consciously decided to make a flawed universe on purpose just to mess with us, but even in this scenario he'd know the outcomes beforehand, diminishing the purpose once again.
    The only thing worth creating to such an entity would be something unpredictable. We ourselves, with our god-like ability to think and dream, are the "rock that's too heavy for God to lift."

    From my thinking, God did not make a flawed universe just to mess with us, the flaws as you call them are none other than the very remarkable thing he created, and we'd be jack shit without them...not much point in thinking, if you have nothing to think about.
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  5. #115
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Oh, I am agnostic about everything, including my own agnosticism. I do not think that knowledge, as it is traditionally defined, exists at all. Among other things, this means that I think everyone is agnostic about everything, even if they do not realise it. Therefore, I am simply uninterested in answering the question 'can it be known that a God exists?' No, it cannot be known, and neither can anything else. The far more interesting question is 'does a God exist?', I think not.

    I am an agnostic, but that doesn't tell anyone what I actually think about the existence of God: it's uninformative. Far simpler to call me an atheist and be done with it.
    Dawkins mentions the idea of De Facto atheists in The God Delusion. Everyone is truly agnostic, yet cannot deny the fact that they end up making a choice, based on how they choose to live. It's not intellectually dishonest to be labeled an atheist in light of "everyone's really an agnostic". For the sake of labeling, its simply more convenient to assume that theism or atheism is inherently "de facto". Its easier than going around clarifying someone as "a theist leaning agnostic" or "an atheist leaning agnostic".



    I'm astounded that so many religious people think that they've won some great ground in argument for their religion based on the idea that atheists are really agnostic. oh really? well by that use of the word "agnostic", then so are religious people...

    On challenges to naturalism:
    Just because we admit agnosticism about "what is beyond naturalism", doesnt mean that theres a clear direction to what that thing beyond should be called or how it might behave. Just because we can't claim to know everything, doesn't mean we should suddenly uproot the entirety of western science that bases most everything on a naturalistic view of the world. What would we base our view on then? If people are going to challenge naturalism, then please give us a better platform for building knowledge. I dont care for the "but your making an arrogant claim if you're an atheist! you can't disprove God!". Well in the same sense, if we are going to reject naturalism, then there better be a good replacement proposed. The burden of proof is on those who propose non naturalistic world views. These are then essentially supernatural world views.

    It ends up as a big cluster fuck. if there was "proof", then it wouldn't be supernatural, but natural. Then it would no longer be something supernatural and ridiculous. However, for God to be something other than the Einsteinian "god" (which is not worthy of worship), then it better be supernatural.

    The problem is that people who try and present their alternative to naturalism either end up agnostic on the subject (and just end up living as a naturalist anyways) or end up like Phillip Johnson of the Wedge Document, claiming that instead of naturalism, everything should be based on "the word". So I am to reject naturalism in favor of this book that we can only perceive through the 5 senses that we are now rejecting? Its so ridiculous I'm frightened that its even published...

  6. #116
    Senior Member millerm277's Avatar
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    Are we doomed to have an atheism without awe?
    I'm confused. What is the problem with this? Seems right to me...

    For them, belief in God is a simple error, akin to a childs faith in Santa Claus. Hence, for them disbelief in God has no earth-shattering social, moral or cultural consequences. In the absence of religious faith, we will continue to eat, drink, work, make love and sleep as before. The death of God occasions no dislocations to the cosmological or ethical first principles that frame our lives.
    My opinion as well, and it has certainly been true for me. With that said, I don't really care, or dispute other people's beliefs unless they are doing that with mine. So, while I disagree with the idea of "god", I don't really have a problem with other people believing in it...
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  7. #117
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Being a theist is kind of a default position for many people, who are brought up into it. Most people aren't brought up to consider themselves atheists, so it implies some degree of personal intellectual and introspective thought when someone decides to be an agnostic/atheist.
    Browsing this thread, I was glad to see that someone else has expressed this statistical concept that is so often ignored.

  8. #118
    Senior Member vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millerm277 View Post
    I'm confused. What is the problem with this? Seems right to me...
    Seems awfully nihilist and oblivious to me.
    I have no problem whatsoever with atheism. I am more an atheist than I am a catholic myself for instance.
    One can also debate wether you could call our world, surroundings, whatever..."extraordinary" or "beautiful" in its complexity and in certain aspects. From an objective or scientific stance you could definitely say it isn't.
    What is however undeniable is the fact that we're all standing right in the middle of it. I loath the fact that atheists like Dawkins seem entirely oblivious to subjective experience. I could be wrong but that's how I understood "Hollow Men" in the beginning of this thread.

  9. #119
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vince View Post
    Seems awfully nihilist and oblivious to me.
    I have no problem whatsoever with atheism. I am more an atheist than I am a catholic myself for instance.
    One can also debate wether you could call our world, surroundings, whatever..."extraordinary" or "beautiful" in its complexity and in certain aspects. From an objective or scientific stance you could definitely say it isn't.
    What is however undeniable is the fact that we're all standing right in the middle of it. I loath the fact that atheists like Dawkins seem entirely oblivious to subjective experience. I could be wrong but that's how I understood "Hollow Men" in the beginning of this thread.
    Yes, subjective experience! What a beautiful thing!

    I had a powerful feeling this morning, the most pleasant feeling there could have been!

    Therefore God exists!
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  10. #120
    Senior Member vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    Yes, subjective experience! What a beautiful thing!

    I had a powerful feeling this morning, the most pleasant feeling there could have been!

    Therefore God exists!
    I wasn't disputing atheism, but nihilism and you know it.

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