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  1. #61
    Doesn't Read Your Posts Haight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    *And Haight, when I am feeling more sharp and motivated, I will provide you with my arguments against theism.
    Yeah, I'm sure that's going to happen.

    Besides, that would only be answering half of my question.
    "The only time I'm wrong is when I'm questioning myself."
    Haight

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haight View Post
    Just for fun. . . why don't you go ahead and explain why your atheistic conclusions are reasonable and logical while those of theists are unreasonable and illogical.

    Thanks in advance.
    You've challenged CC to argue her position. In response CC can in all likelihood present a solid, coherent argument drawn from a lifetime of agonizing over the issue; but believers have no inducement to give it any credence. They need only act like a six-year-old and repeat over and over, "But why?" They can say, "But why is that argument more logical than mine?"

    Believers always insist on an equivalency of views and arguments: "You have no more proof for your argument than I do for mine; your argument is no more reasonable or logical than mine."

    There are a million atheist websites and a million religious websites on the Internet, many of them solidly argued on both sides, and none of them make a dent or a difference when it comes to resolving the issue of religion vs. atheism.

    So to me, your pushing CC to argue her point is just more atheist v. believer blah-blah-blah. I'm not putting you down for asking the question; she made a statement, and you've asked her to back it up with an argument. But we know from long experience that it's a waste of time to go down that route. If neither side can be convinced by a couple million solidly-argued web sites...

    I would rather move the argument to the meta level: If we're all rational, reasonable people, "Should it be possible to resolve this argument?"

    I've heard the arguments of agnostics who raise the issue of the impossibility of coming to solid conclusions when dealing with unknowable absolutes. But I'm not impressed. Any debate on the most mundane subject can be led to that same conclusion, if one wants; it arguably equates to throwing the rules out the window (IMO, of course).

    I say that because this debate isn't just about unknowable absolutes. It's also about people claiming to have witnessed miracles in their daily life, people contributing millions to the construction of brick-and-mortar cathedrals and synagogues, politicians passing real laws based on the personal religious beliefs of their constituents, etc. In addition, it's also about whether logic and reason can be used to determine whether fairies and unicorns exist, and thus whether logic and reason indeed have any application to real life at all.

    You're on the tiny isle of Atheisia. So work with me a little bit, Haight. Instead of asking questions that predictably lead nowhere, how about discussing the issue at the meta level: Should it be possible to resolve this argument?

    I already know the answer, of course. The existence of a couple million solidly-argued web sites indicates that this argument cannot be resolved in real life. But still, I'm curious. INTPs are said to put much store by use of logic as a tool, whereas I'm not much of a fan of logic in philosophical applications. This issue touches on unknowable absolutes; but it also has real-life ramifications.

    So: Even at the real-life level, is the question totally unresolvable? And what does that say about the applicability of logic and reason to real-life issues?

    (To put the above post in context: This is not a challenge. This is just idle Saturday-afternoon speculation as to whether a dead-end debate can be moved to a more interesting/useful meta level, or whether the meta level is equally dead-end.)

  3. #63
    Doesn't Read Your Posts Haight's Avatar
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    Dude! I know you can answer the question. I was asking her.

    Now she's just going to write what you stated in her own words.


    Way to blow it. *shakes head*


    EDIT: And thanks for telling me what I was doing, but I already knew that.
    "The only time I'm wrong is when I'm questioning myself."
    Haight

  4. #64
    Senior Member nemo's Avatar
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    Here's a Saturday morning/afternoon science video.

    FineLine, you're full of wisdom and I want to respond more to you in detail later, even though none of that was directed at me.

    YouTube - What is a scientific theory?



    (Also, Richard Feynman is my hero. That is all.)
    You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. - Jack London

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haight View Post
    Dude! I know you can answer the question. I was asking her.

    Now she's just going to write what you stated in her own words.


    Way to blow it. *shakes head*


    EDIT: And thanks for telling me what I was doing, but I already knew that.
    I know you were trying to demonstrate to her that she was standing on a pedestal of smug complacency by knocking her off it.

    But still... It's Saturday afternoon, and I'm curious to see if anyone wants to tackle the issue I raised, even if only casually. It's an angle from which I look at the issue.

    IOW, I'm self-involved enough to shanghai the thread and wonder if I too am standing on a pedestal of smug complacency.

  6. #66
    Doesn't Read Your Posts Haight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I know you were trying to demonstrate to her that she was standing on a pedestal of smug complacency by knocking her off it.

    But still... It's Saturday afternoon, and I'm curious to see if anyone wants to tackle the issue I raised, even if only casually. It's an angle from which I look at the issue.

    IOW, I'm self-involved enough to shanghai the thread and wonder if I too am standing on a pedestal of smug complacency.
    Trust me when I say that you've made a bad thread good.

    . . . carry on.
    "The only time I'm wrong is when I'm questioning myself."
    Haight

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haight View Post
    Trust me when I say that you've made a bad thread good.

    . . . carry on.

  8. #68
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    It just kinda reminds me of the sad fact that most people don't really know how to think for themselves, or even how to think well for that matter.

    Critical thinking is an important tool, and I fear that most people are either unfamiliar with how to use it, or simply, that they're without.

    Thinking critically is perhaps one of those things I value most amongst humans, without it, we can be vicious beasts.
    How does this relate to the faith vs atheism debate? Both atheists and believers fall all over the critical thinking spectrum. Atheists, as a group, don't "know how to think for themselves, or even how to think well" any better or any worse than believers do, so why mention it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colors View Post
    What frustrates me is when people use religion/ belief in god(s) as a crutch of explanation/judgment:

    "Sex outside of marriage is morally wrong/ a sin. It says so in this document, and people who are morally right have been doing this chasity ceremony for generations in order to avoid punishment in the afterlife."
    VS
    "Sex is an intimate act that has serious reasons (reproduction) and serious possible consequences (reproduction, STDs, etc). The risks are reduced and the positive benefits are increased when sex occurs within an emotionally stable/healthy relationship between two people. Marriage is a committment which is conducive to a stable/healthy relationship."
    Why set it up as a dichotomy? Can't it be both?

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I would rather move the argument to the meta level: If we're all rational, reasonable people, "Should it be possible to resolve this argument?"
    I don't think it's possible, no, for a simple reason: we don't all have the same set of data. That's the main difference between science and religion, IMO: the available set of data. In science, everyone can have access to the results of everyone else's experiments, and they are told exactly how to repeat those experiments. Not so in religion. Mystical experiences provide un-shareable and un-reproductible (is that a word?) data, so by definition, the scientific method isn't going to work on them, and thus no amount of rational thinking will lead us, as a group, anywhere.

    Or, if you prefer: as long as you haven't felt what I have felt, lived what I haved lived, gone through what I have gone through, how can you ever hope to know what I know? And vice versa of course. Unlike scientists who can reproduce each other's experiments, we can't live each other's life, so we are left with only two choices:

    1- We take each other at our mutual words. That's faith, and eventually that leads to absolute confusion because there is at least one person out there who will personally vouch for any position or belief, no matter how odd, so in the end we have to believe everything and its contrary.

    2- We reject, or at least don't accept, any part of the other's life that we haven't lived and cannot reproduce ourselves. That's the scientific method. But once again it eventually leads to absolute confusion, because there is at least one person out there who hasn't lived this or that, so we have to leave it out, and in the end we are left with nothing.

    JMO, of course.

  9. #69
    Senior Member celesul's Avatar
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    It is possible to disprove the existence of a benevolent, omnipotent god, but not one who is omnipotent in only another dimension or not benevolent. (Epicurius did it long ago).

    However, the assertion that theists are irrational is not universally true. I'm actually an atheist, after much thought, but I enjoy going to synagogue for the community (they are an interesting group). They are reconstrutionist Jews, which means that they want to adapt the teaching of the Torah to modern times. Many are theist, my rabbi for one, but they respond to arguments logically. For my Bat Mitzvah, I had to read and analyze a small portion of the Torah. In mine, god pretty much got pissed off (the israelites were kvetching) and fed them quail til it came out their noses. I decided that A) he needed anger management classes and B) he couldn't be perfect, but that's okay, because perfection doesn't exist anyway. And my rabbi loved it, said it was a very interesting idea.

    I do however, share your dislike for irrational theists, as in, the ones who tell me I'm going to hell, or try to convince me that I should be their religion. I think that religion is a tool, and can be used for good or bad, and if the idiots who say I'm going to hell didn't have religion, they'd come up with something else.
    "'You scoundrel, you have wronged me,' hissed the philosopher. 'May you live forever!'" - Ambrose Bierce

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    I don't think it's possible, no, for a simple reason: we don't all have the same set of data. That's the main difference between science and religion, IMO: the available set of data. In science, everyone can have access to the results of everyone else's experiments, and they are told exactly how to repeat those experiments. Not so in religion. Mystical experiences provide un-shareable and un-reproductible (is that a word?) data, so by definition, the scientific method isn't going to work on them, and thus no amount of rational thinking will lead us, as a group, anywhere.

    Or, if you prefer: as long as you haven't felt what I have felt, lived what I haved lived, gone through what I have gone through, how can you ever hope to know what I know? And vice versa of course. Unlike scientists who can reproduce each other's experiments, we can't live each other's life, so we are left with only two choices:

    1- We take each other at our mutual words. That's faith, and eventually that leads to absolute confusion because there is at least one person out there who will personally vouch for any position or belief, no matter how odd, so in the end we have to believe everything and its contrary.

    2- We reject, or at least don't accept, any part of the other's life that we haven't lived and cannot reproduce ourselves. That's the scientific method. But once again it eventually leads to absolute confusion, because there is at least one person out there who hasn't lived this or that, so we have to leave it out, and in the end we are left with nothing.

    JMO, of course.
    Overall, that's a pretty excellent statement of the weaknesses of both sides. I like it.

    But you're also doing the INFJ-ish/agnostic thing of reducing everything to absolutes. That treatment of the issue ignores the real-life aspect of the issue. In my final posing of my question, I was very careful to emphasize the real-life aspect:

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    So: Even at the real-life level, is the question totally unresolvable? And what does that say about the applicability of logic and reason to real-life issues?
    I think the real-life aspect is at the core of the issue I'm raising.

    If we ignore the real-life aspect, then I agree that we can argue practically anything and reduce all the issues to absolutes. For example, a believer in wood sprites could make exactly the same arguments you made. And that would be adequate for dealing with the issue of wood sprites. But meantime there is a real-life component to the religion/atheism debate that is simply getting ignored: we don't spend money and start wars over wood sprites.

    Maybe I'm being na&#239;ve here by insisting that the real-life component can be argued separately. But your arguments seem to be a mere capitulation: Nothing's knowable, nothing has meaning.

    I'm getting old, I've argued these points a million times to no effect, and I kind of want to cut through the crap and get to the thing that interests me.

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    So: Even at the real-life level, is the question totally unresolvable? And what does that say about the applicability of logic and reason to real-life issues?
    Again, maybe that's naivete on my part. But this issue has real-life applications. Do we simply throw up our hands at those too?

    (P.S. In real life, I know the answer to that question as well: We throw up our hands at the philosophical aspect and simply "manage" the real-life aspects as best we can, i.e. with politics and all that. But still... I'm asking: Can the meta level be handled/argued better than that?)

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