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Thread: NTs and God

  1. #421
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    Quote Originally Posted by Costrin View Post
    What do you mean by this? Are you saying it's bad to debate about atheism? I don't think your saying that, so could you clarify
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Science is not a universal tool for reaching conclusions. It surprises me how many atheists assume this.
    Well, based on this post...

    ... what I'm saying is, you find alot of atheists (on those places) becoming overly heated about science and ways in which it attempts to explain life. But science hasn't necessarily explained life and it's possibilities enough to satisfy the general public, has it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    That's a big assumption, considered we're still debating the viability of a self-ordered system.

    Creationists tend to stack the deck once things seem complicated enough -- "there is no way *I* can imagine for this system to have developed and self-organized, therefore it must have needed a watchmaker."

    That claim has yet to be shown to be true. In fact, the more we learn, the more we realize there's a lot of self-organization with the system(s). The biggest question is root origin: Could it have originally STARTED on its own? Or did something have to give it all a big push?



    ?
    Well maybe it was given a push, like the big bang. Perhaps God created this watch with self organizing rotors. Maybe these rotors turned with a push like a turn of a bezel rotor. Then, through kinetic energy the rotors turned on his own. Hmmm, maybe the watch is more similar to the universe than we thought it was?

    For starter's, what if there are aspects of God that you cannot observe because they exist outside the realm of your senses? Since you could only see the tip of the iceberg (or the fin above the water, so to speak), there's no way you could be sure of what you're imagining beneath the waves.
    Don't copy out of a textbook, engage!
    What you said isn't conclusive in the least... and I say that as a Christian agnostic, not an atheist.
    [/QUOTE]
    I wasn't literally copying out a textbook. There was some autonomy in this, believe me I will explain. And the whole point of the majority of this self-argument was to prove that NTs don't need visible/palpable evidence to argue. We can logically come to a conclusion ourselves. The point was to demonstrate how impossible it is to reach a conclusion (even without logic), because of your last refute. Yes, how the hell can we measure something when it is POSSIBLY out of the realm of our senses. I too, am agnostic. I was very well aware of the weakness of the last postulate. I can see how my last post was misleading though, it wasn't meant to be taken at face value.

  3. #423
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverchris9 View Post
    1) I am attacking "ration" insofar as I find it to be defined excessively narrowly, because there are types of knowledge upon which my arguments depend which are accessible through rationality but not science. I fail to see the irrationality of this strategy.
    I define "ration" as the faculty by which we arrive at real information about the real universe we inhabit. This definition necessitates the following two criteria:

    1.) the premises must be factual -- i.e. verifiable fact
    2.) the conclusions arrived at must be arrived at via logic

    A theory with false premises will not beget real information about the real universe we inhabit. A theory with conclusions drawn on the basis of anything other than logic will not beget real information about the real universe we inhabit.

    You may define ration as something other than a faculty for arriving at real information about the real universe we inhabit, altering your criteria accordingly. However, if you do not define ration as such, then we are talking about different faculties.

    Again, I encourage you to study your positions of falsifiability and repeatability. While they are effective for the scientific method, I believe that you will find that it has fallen out of favor with philosophers and scientists alike as the sole basis for knowledge. Consider reading this wikipedia article.
    Observing phenomenon and forming theories on the basis of observed phenomenon until the theory fails to adequately explain the observed phenomenon is still the way science is conducted.

    It is true that there are a few who question the scientific method, such as the notorious "Vienna Circle" cited in the Wikipedia article, but it is a baseless exaggeration to say that falsifiability has "fallen out of favor".

    To be pointed, every "argument" I've seen from these dissenters has boiled down to, "Yeah, well, I don't think that's what science is, and I'm a philosopher!" If you are familiar with an argument against falsifiability that doesn't amount to this, I will certainly give it a perusal.

    Meanwhile, on the basis of falsifiability and repeatability, science continues to move along providing real information about the real universe we inhabit.

    Also consider the fact that under falsifiability, the statement "there is at least one electron" is totally meaningless.
    Please elaborate.

    2) I do not question the veracity of perception itself. I can only assume that you came to this conclusion through a misreading of my posts. I believe completely in the veracity of perception. I do not believe that the veracity of perception can be adequately defended using scientific means, because to do so tends to be rather circular. Consider this: if the veracity of perception is to be held true, then it must be justified on some grounds that do not assume the veracity of perception. Do you hold that these grounds are capable only of demonstrating the veracity of perception, and insufficient to demonstrate anything else?
    You have propounded several variations of the "what if we're really, like, brains in a jar, man?" argument, which is indeed questioning the veracity of perception.

    Furthermore, the veracity of perception is exceptionally simple to verify on the basis of observed phenomenon:

    A species whose sense organs imparted false information about the universe it inhabits would not have made it far.

    3) I believe that you have come to these conclusions, quite rationally, I might add, because you have a definition of "ration" that a priori makes claims regarding the existence of God meaningless. It is impossible to provide evidence for a meaningless proposition, so the theist arguing with you is forced to either argue negatively (since you have denied him the opportunity to work positively) or attack your framework of understanding so that he may argue positively.
    I will certainly concur that people who can provide literally zero hard evidence in support of their theories will find it difficult to enter into a productive debate with myself and people like me.

    4) I might also note that you are providing no positive evidence, nor demonstrating the falsity of anything, nor providing evidence for your falsifiability and repeatability criteria. Consequently, I should probably stop arguing with you, since we are making claims about each other's style of argument, rather than having any productive dialogue whatsoever.
    I have claimed, quite simply, that those who believe in God are unable to provide any evidence in support of this belief. So far, in 40-plus pages of exchange, no one has demonstrated this assertion to be false.

    You are the one claiming the existence of something, not I. The burden of proof, good sir.

    5) You are aware that ad hominem is a fallacy, no? And thanks, about the verbosity.
    I've made no ad hominem attacks. Your verbosity is a readily observable fact. If I'd said, "Silverchris is clearly a pantywaist and, accordingly, should not be taken seriously", that would have been an ad hominem attack. (Mind you, I don't know you well enough to make any such claims and don't intend to indicate that I consider you a pantywaist. I simply used this statement for illustrative purposes.)

    On a somewhat related note, I think members of these forums should read up on what constitutes an ad hominem attack and a straw man fallacy before littering the terms about like so much wedding confetti.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    I define "ration" as the faculty by which real information about the real universe in which we inhabit is attained. As a result, in order for something to be "rational", it must meet the following criteria:

    1.) Its premises must be verifiable fact.
    2.) The conclusions arrived at on the basis of these premises must be arrived at via logic.

    Ration is man's only method available for attaining real information about the universe. Science, as its application, is the only method we have of continually enlarging the available pool of factual premises to arrive at increasingly accurate and encompassing conclusions.
    I bolded one sentence because it is simply an assertion that you are making, and it is one that easily shown to be false. There are lots of methods for attaining information, and the method used depends on the context. Imagine if only scientific methods were used in a courtroom:

    Prosecutor: "Five witnesses have testified that they saw this man commit murder."

    Judge: "I'm throwing all of that out, because it is only anecdotal evidence. True evidence must be repeatable. Therefore we need to set up similar situations and observe the defendent to see if he reliably commits murder repeatedly."


    The method used to reach conclusions depends on the context of the question you are trying to answer. In particular while people have tried to use science to question God's existence, they have yielded no meaningful result either in the postitive or the negative. Only a fool would continue to use science alone to question God's existence, when it has been shown to be so impotent so far. There are other methods to reach a meaningful conclusion, but scientific methods are not among them.

    In short if the question of God's existence were a scientific question, then science would have something meaningful to say about it. Since it doesn't, then it is a question that is not within the reach of scientific methods.
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  5. #425
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    I've been thinking of starting up a support group, like Alcoholics Anonymous. It'd start with everyone saying:

    I am an NT and I believe in God.

    Yeah, that's me. I believe in God. That's why I don't debate about it any more, cos most people who want to debate it, actually just want to persuade you not to believe in God. They don't want to learn anything. Debates that are about evangelism of a particular viewpoint are SO not me. I'm only interested in discussions if I can learn something new. That people can be belligerent and obnoxious and intolerant with their views is nothing new to me.

    As an aside, LOL @ Mycroft's use of the word "ration"... hahaha... so like, eeking things out in set amounts per day in order to save resources is the only way to get info about the universe eh? Wow, so, my background as a pauper must stand me in good stead!
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  6. #426
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    I bolded one sentence because it is simply an assertion that you are making, and it is one that easily shown to be false. There are lots of methods for attaining information, and the method used depends on the context. Imagine if only scientific methods were used in a courtroom:

    Prosecutor: "Five witnesses have testified that they saw this man commit murder."

    Judge: "I'm throwing all of that out, because it is only anecdotal evidence. True evidence must be repeatable. Therefore we need to set up similar situations and observe the defendent to see if he reliably commits murder repeatedly."
    You continue to propose that what constitutes ration changes from situation to situation, but this is not the case. In any situation, regardless of the field of endeavor, in order to arrive at real information, our premises must be factual and our conclusions must be arrived at on the basis of logic.

    In your proposed situation, it is a fact that a man has died. This is readily verifiable. That he has been killed by, say, a blow to the head is demonstrated by forensic science. Like any science, forensic science draws its conclusions on the basis of factual premises and logic. Falsifiability is, in fact, crucial: it is not at all uncommon for further forensic scientists to be called upon to see if the previous scientist(s) premises were, indeed factual and if the conclusions arrived at were, indeed, arrived at on the basis of proper logic.

    Other facts will come to light in the course of an investigation and the subsequent trial. Ideally, the factual premises will be abundant enough that the "theory" of a given man's guilt will be supported and a judgment may be reached.

    If the prosecuting lawyer were to state that the man in question is clearly guilty because an ineffable intuition to the effect occurred to him at a moment of concentration and prayer, or if the defense lawyer were to claim that we cannot absolutely disprove the theory that an assailant equipped with a state-of-the-art cloak of invisibility murdered the man in close proximity to his client such as to make it simply appear that his client was the murderer, that would be more akin to the law-slash-religion comparison you are attempting to draw.

    The method used to reach conclusions depends on the context of the question you are trying to answer. In particular while people have tried to use science to question God's existence, they have yielded no meaningful result either in the postitive or the negative. Only a fool would continue to use science alone to question God's existence, when it has been shown to be so impotent so far. There are other methods to reach a meaningful conclusion, but scientific methods are not among them.

    In short if the question of God's existence were a scientific question, then science would have something meaningful to say about it. Since it doesn't, then it is a question that is not within the reach of scientific methods.
    If you are aware of a method of arriving at real information about the real universe we inhabit that does not require factual premises and logic, I'd certainly be interested to know what it is. (This statement applies to Substitute's comment as well.)

    Furthermore, as I mentioned in a previous discussion, a deity's existence would be a profoundly important factor to take into consideration when attempting to understand the origins and make-up of the universe, making it very much the interest of science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    You continue to propose that what constitutes ration changes from situation to situation, but this is not the case. In any situation, regardless of the field of endeavor, in order to arrive at real information, our premises must be factual and our conclusions must be arrived at on the basis of logic.

    In your proposed situation, it is a fact that a man has died. This is readily verifiable. That he has been killed by, say, a blow to the head is demonstrated by forensic science. Like any science, forensic science draws its conclusions on the basis of factual premises and logic. Falsifiability is, in fact, crucial: it is not at all uncommon for further forensic scientists to be called upon to see if the previous scientist(s) premises were, indeed factual and if the conclusions arrived at were, indeed, arrived at on the basis of proper logic.

    Other facts will come to light in the course of an investigation and the subsequent trial. Ideally, the factual premises will be abundant enough that the "theory" of a given man's guilt will be supported and a judgment may be reached.

    If the prosecuting lawyer were to state that the man in question is clearly guilty because an ineffable intuition to the effect occurred to him at a moment of concentration and prayer, or if the defense lawyer were to claim that we cannot absolutely disprove the theory that an assailant equipped with a state-of-the-art cloak of invisibility murdered the man in close proximity to his client such as to make it simply appear that his client was the murderer, that would be more akin to the law-slash-religion comparison you are attempting to draw.



    If you are aware of a method of arriving at real information about the real universe we inhabit that does not require factual premises and logic, I'd certainly be interested to know what it is. (This statement applies to Substitute's comment as well.)

    Furthermore, as I mentioned in a previous discussion, a deity's existence would be a profoundly important factor to take into consideration when attempting to understand the origins and make-up of the universe, making it very much the interest of science.
    You either aren't addressing my point or you've missed it. You are suggesting that only scientific methods are suitable in any situation. I am providing a counterexample. It is clear that a forensic scientist can tell you how someone died, but in the case I'm giving you they can't really tell you who did it. On the other hand the five witnesses saw the man commit murder. Clearly science is inferior in this situation to anecdotal evidence.

    Science is not a universal tool for reaching conclusions. It is best as a tool to derive general principles about how the laws of nature work, and consequently it is also very effective when used to apply those same principles. It isn't a catch all reasoning tool for every situation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    You either aren't addressing my point or you've missed it. You are suggesting that only scientific methods are suitable in any situation. I am providing a counterexample. It is clear that a forensic scientist can tell you how someone died, but in the case I'm giving you they can't really tell you who did it. On the other hand the five witnesses saw the man commit murder. Clearly science is inferior in this situation to anecdotal evidence.

    Science is not a universal tool for reaching conclusions. It is best as a tool to derive general principles about how the laws of nature work, and consequently it is also very effective when used to apply those same principles. It isn't a catch all reasoning tool for every situation.
    I have not asserted that scientific methods are suitable in any situation. To cite one example which comes immediately to mind, within the past few posts I stated explicitly that science is not suited to the task of answering why truth is to be pursued or what is to be done with the truths attained -- that this is the role of philosophy.

    What I have asserted is simple: ration is the faculty by which we attain real information about the real universe we inhabit. Real information may only be attained on the basis of factual premises and logic.

    Your statement mischaracterizes my stance in two ways:

    1.) I have asserted that, not science, but ration is the only tool for attaining real information.
    2.) I have not asserted that ration is the only manner of attaining conclusions: only that it is the single method for attaining conclusions which give us real information about the real universe we inhabit.

    In order for the premises to be considered factual, they must be falsifiable and repeatable. Even in the example you cite, this is the case. Your hypothetical situation assumes falsifiability: either the man in question is the murderer or he is not. The allegations are either true or false. Anything which it is possible to attempt to prove false is falsifiable.

    Secondly, in your choice of five witnesses, repeatability is in evidence: human beings can lie. They can err. This is why repeatability is of such crucial importance. In your hypothetical situation, one, two, even three or more people may all be liars. They may all simply be in error. Hence the reason why a good number of witnesses provides greater reason to believe that their account is factual.
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  9. #429
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    Sorry, I assumed that your definition of evidence was broader than "scientific evidence based on observable phenomena." Then my question must be: what observable phenomenon told you that telling the truth was a good thing? What observable phenomenon allowed you to know that a given attempt at drawing a circle is more or less like a "real circle," since you have never seen a "real circle" (see above)? What observable phenomena justify any moral value which you hold to be true? What observable phenomenon proves to you that you are not, at this moment, dreaming? Descartes gives the hypothetical possibility that there is an evil genius that figured out how to affect your brain such that every time you think "what is two plus two" the evil genius zaps your brain to make you think it is four, despite the fact that it is not, actually, four. What observable phenomena proves that this is not the case? Furthermore, what observable phenomena were used to convict criminals before the widespread availability of DNA testing and the like? Should we throw out all convictions made on the basis of eyewitness testimony, since eyewitness testimony is not scientific evidence based on observable phenomenon, and therefore is not evidence at all? What observable phenomena prove that the only reliable evidence is observable phenomena? Heck, depending on how you define "observable phenomena," how do you justify belief in atoms, in quarks, in electrons? What observable phenomena justify your belief in historical facts? What observable phenomena justify a belief in anything that others tell you? What observable phenomena prove string theory? What observable phenomena prove the Big Bang? Certainly, there's observable phenomena involved, but also purely deductive reasoning. Are you saying that somehow deductive reasoning works when applied to observable phenomena, but without an observable phenomena to base it on, then deductive reasoning ceases to function? If so, what observable phenomenon led you to this conclusion?
    OK, I am going to use only "observable phenomena" instead of "scientific evidence based on observable phenomena" just to be clearer, and because I feel confident with the former. I think telling the truth is a good thing because I have observed that not telling the truth often results in unpleasantness for the liar and for the lied-to. I wish to avoid unpleasantness. Circles - you're quite possibly right that I've never observed a perfect circle, but I can recognize circle-like shapes in a way that practically allows me to go about my business in the material world. It allows me to do things like avoiding bicycles with square wheels. I dunno, I can answer all those questions, and none of my answers increase the likelihood of god existing, as far as I can see.

    Well, take the medieval belief in spontaneous generation. People believed that when it rained earthworms were created. They had an observable phenomenon: it rained, earthworms came up. If I were to publish a book on this, it would be based on observable phenomena. Now, when we get more information, that additional information may support a different thesis. But the fact that earthworms come out of the ground when it rains is evidence for spontaneous generation. It is merely evidence that has been supplanted by additional evidence leading to a conclusion that better explains all of the facts.
    The phenomenon isn't the problem here. It rained, earthworms came up. This is true. I don't understand how there can be 'evidence' for incorrect conclusions. Earthworms don't spontaneously generate. There is no evidence that they do, nor was there ever any.

    I mean, centuries and centuries of people have written these books defending God's existence, I don't know how you can assume that there is no evidence (otherwise, what were they writing about?)
    I assume they were writing about what they believed, working through theoretical and theological problems and thoughts. I'm not *assuming* it's not evidence, I'm flat out claiming it isn't. And you're not demonstrating otherwise. Are we disagreeing on the meaning of the word 'evidence'?

    There is evidence that Edward de Vere or Christopher Marlowe wrote the plays that are attributed to William Shakespeare, but there is also evidence that William Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare. If one theory or the other is proven conclusively, or if I ascribe to one theory or another, does the evidence for the other theory suddenly cease to be evidence?
    But there isn't enough evidence to say 100% for sure, either way. We have a wet earth, and we have some earthworms, but we've been correct in not jumping to an insupportable conclusion (i.e. "Marlowe wrote x play") at this time.

    which is a rather unsophisticated view of hell, but it's one most fundamentalists propound, so I can't blame anyone for citing it
    That was me being goofy, not me trying to paint all believers as whack jobs.

    "there is a chance (however small) that God exists". But you said that you were an agnostic, and so you would seem to affirm this premise.
    Yes, I affirm that there is a possibility that god exists. Pretty much anything is *possible*. Pink unicorns are possible.

    There was one more thing you said a few pages back...EDIT, can't find it - it was a comment on scientists coming around to the belief that verification was not as necessary as they'd thought (total paraphrase - I can't remember it exactly) - maybe it wasn't even you who said it...?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    I have not asserted that scientific methods are suitable in any situation. To cite one example which comes immediately to mind, within the past few posts I stated explicitly that science is not suited to the task of answering why truth is to be pursued or what is to be done with the truths attained -- that this is the role of philosophy.

    What I have asserted is simple: ration is the faculty by which we attain real information about the real universe we inhabit. Real information may only be attained on the basis of factual premises and logic.

    Your statement mischaracterizes my stance in two ways:

    1.) I have asserted that, not science, but ration is the only tool for attaining real information.
    2.) I have not asserted that ration is the only manner of attaining conclusions: only that it is the single method for attaining conclusions which give us real information about the real universe we inhabit.

    In order for the premises to be considered factual, they must be falsifiable and repeatable. Even in the example you cite, this is the case. Your hypothetical situation assumes falsifiability: either the man in question is the murderer or he is not. The allegations are either true or false. Anything which it is possible to attempt to prove false is falsifiable.

    Secondly, in your choice of five witnesses, repeatability is in evidence: human beings can lie. They can err. This is why repeatability is of such crucial importance. In your hypothetical situation, one, two, even three or more people may all be liars. They may all simply be in error. Hence the reason why a good number of witnesses provides greater reason to believe that their account is factual.
    Well if you don't mean repeatable and falsifiable only in the scientific sense, then that changes the discussion entirely. On the topic of God's existence there is a mountainload of anecdotal evidence. I cannot even begin to scratch the surface about how much anecdotal evidence there is. The question is really whether anecdotal evidence is acceptable evidence.
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