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Open Thread for AETV #857: Message from a Deist

Welcome to the Open Thread for AETV #857.

A deist emailed us this week with a message for Christians and a request that we read his message on The Atheist Experience. I won’t take up air time for that, as I explain in my response to him, but I did think it was valuable as a discussion topic about why we reject deism as well as other flavors of theism.

For reference, deism is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a creator. Deists generally reject organized religion (with some exceptions) and divine revelation as a source of knowledge about the nature of God.

Now, on to the deist’s message. I’ve left the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation as it is in the original.

 

Dear christians, specifically fundamentalists and evangelicals. You are free to believe what you wish however you have hurt many many people throughout not just ancient history but recent history as well. There is no denying this no matter ho much you try to do so. From the inquisition, the salem witch trials, and the genocide of native americans and the Holocaust you have done a lot of harm in the name of your god.

 

As a native Texan I pride myself on learning about the world around me and I am pretty frustrated and angry about all the attempts to stunt knowledge just because science usually if not always disagrees with your views. This is extremely dangerous because by eroding education standards you end up not just making people ignorant of science but you also hurt the nation economically as well, as the less educated a population is the less skilled a workforce is produced. A clear hypocrisy given how many of you are business-loving republicans.

 

To make matters worse you subjugate people to your will turning otherwise reasonable people into mindless drones. In fact the other day I had been to a museum with my cousin and her son, and on the way home she despite knowing how I disagree with any literal translation of biblical text began talking to me about creation and original sin. This woman is one I have been close to since we were children, we almost consider each other siblings. And yet, due to being brought up in a poor family in a rural area of Texas, she has been deceived into thinking she has to be blindly following Yahweh and Jesus to be any better than we know her to be. You vile people have made it uncomfortable to be around my own family. You are no better than the Pharisees who sold out Jesus to the Romans. In fact, you ARE the Pharisees as far as I’m concerned.

 

I tried my damned hardest to avoid being critical especially given my cousin’s son was present on that ride home, I explained to her I could not accept the doctrine of original sin, the very idea of it is abominable.

 

That same day my mother who has been having health problems as of late has become pretty stressed out with some of what her trip to the doctor that day has revealed, and you same supposed life-loving christians have made it so my mother cannot afford proper healthcare, something she desperately needs, and the logic you people have is that she is better off dead even though she herself is a christian who has been devout for many many years. You would rather see one of your own die horribly. I cannot forgive you for that no matter what.

 

You have ruined Texas, you have ruined the United States. You serve no good purpose, only evil.

 

To other christians who are not nearly as devout as the fundamentalists and the evangelicals, you all need to stop siding with them because they consider themselves christians, you need to stop supporting these people and everything else that gives them power and influence. The bible is mostly full of evil, but there are a few good things in it’s pages that people identify with. Jesus said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven, look who all these evangelicals and fundamentalists are. Those that aren’t super rich politicians bought out by private corporations are preachers who make their living stealing money from parishioners in those vile and disgusting mega-expensive megachurches, and getting huge tax write offs int he process. They are thieves and they are liars. Stand up to these frauds. Ignoring them does not make them go away, they need to be called out and held accountable for their lies and slander of the american public that chooses to not believe as they do.

 

They have succeeded in alienating me from my family, and I don’t want to see this continue. Please to all more tolerant and progressive christians, stand up to these monsters. They need to be stopped. Stage protests at their churches, call out divisive rhetoric even in the middle of a church service, it needs to end and end soon.

 

If my mother passes away in the next year I’ll have no family left that wont otherwise try to force their beliefs on me even f they believe they are being considerate of my own views. If the damage caused by the evangelicals and fundamentalists is not repaired, many others will share this fate with me, and that is a horrible crime to let happen.

 

The following was my reply to the deist:

 

We have a policy within the Atheist Community of Austin that we don’t allow our media projects to become a soapbox for theists. I’m really curious about why you thought we’d make an exception in your case.

 

As a start, I noticed that you don’t seem to understand the people you’re criticizing. Evangelicals and fundamentalists are not necessarily the same. It’s possible to be an evangelical Christian and totally reject fundamentalist doctrines, and it’s possible to a fundamentalist and not an evangelical. But that’s actually a small problem compared to the primary claims in your email.

 

Having read your message to Christians, I’m struck by the irony of your claim that the more moderate Christians are providing what amounts to political cover for more extreme Christians. I agree with that, but your failure to recognize that your own belief in a creator and, more importantly, how you justify that belief provides similar cover to the moderate Christians, is astounding. Deists use the same flawed philosophical arguments for the existence of a god as other theists, minus the doctrinal aspects. Cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of a god don’t magically become better arguments just because a deist presents them.

 

One of the many harms of religion is believing things for which you have no evidence. If your beliefs rest on the same flawed foundation as those of other theists, you don’t get to use our show to chastise them.

 

Thanks for emailing us anyway.

 

I also want to note that I would never advocate what he suggests in his second to last paragraph – staging protests at churches to disrupt their services. People have a right to believe whatever they believe, and they have the right to assemble in their churches and conduct their services in peace.

And with that – have at it!

Comments

  1. Narf says

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, just from the title, before I even read the actual post. A deist bashing Christians for being irrational causes a bit of a pot/kettle scenario. Deists, on a personal level, are less likely to be destructive, but they’re still in the same camp, rationally speaking. Sure, he’s rejected the immoral crap, but logically, he’s supporting them. All you need is a W.L.C.-sized pile of bullshit assertions, and you’re back at Christianity.

  2. says

    I would’ve called myself deist just over a decade ago – but I realised that that was only because I hadn’t thought about what I believed, why I believed it or the implications of my beliefs (whatever they were). I guess that, having abandoned theism perhaps a decade previously, there was still a little baggage – a little hope for post-mortem union with the universe or some such bollockery (I’d been reading some Neale Donald Walsch books a friend had lent me – not enough to make me religious, but it they certainly made more sense to me than other spiritualities). When, out of curiosity, I started reading atheist books in the mid ’00s, it all changed. There was no single Damascus moment but the more I read, the more I thought, the more I realised that I’d been, functionally at least, an atheist that entire time, regardless of my residual “perhaps & wouldn’t it be cool” attitude toward an afterlife.

    Anyway, it was right after that that I decided deism was more or less “whyevenbotherism”, as in: why even bother believing it, much less trying to convince others that it’s rational. If all you can do is point to a god existing, that carries no further implication about what that god wants or what you should do about it; once you start “finding” that god’s answers to those questions, you’ve pretty much crossed the border into theism; once you start answering those questions yourself, you’ve gone the other way.

    I agree with the OP: deism provides cover to non-fundie theists just as moderate theists provide cover to the fundies. Any belief held for no good reason, religious or otherwise, legitimises the very concept of believing stuff for no good reason.

  3. Narf says

    … regardless of my residual “perhaps & wouldn’t it be cool” attitude toward an afterlife.

    Hell, that’s hardly a rare thing, in atheistic circles. Religious fiction is still some of my favorite, and I love movies like Dogma and Constantine.

    My own writing often leans towards the religious. One of the books I’m working on is a Christian end-times novel, and another is a fantasy novel that leans heavily on the nature and creation of the gods within my fantasy world.

  4. Rug says

    The message the this deist was giving was a good one but he needs to look more into his own beliefs a little more. I think he will find he is an atheist just as I did.

  5. Kandal says

    Atheist Experience 857: Message from a Deist
    For your convenience:
    0:00 Intro
    1:00 Announcements
    4:10 Message from a Deist
    9:15 Caller Ben (atheist): The historicity of Jesus
    18:45 Caller Terance (atheist): Jehovah’s Wittnesses
    24:00 Caller Joe (atheist): Indoctrination
    29:35 Caller Deshawn (troll): What good does atheism do
    31:30 Caller Emma (atheist): Atheism in australia (bad connection)
    34:00 Caller Rich (theist): Conspiracy theories and afterlife
    45:50 Caller Dave (theist): Purpose of the show
    50:25 Caller Eric (atheist): Harm of religion
    57:00 Caller ?: Quantum thingy

  6. Damo says

    Can I make a suggestion. Instead of speaking for 5 mins at the start of the show outlining every single detail about the show which is currently:

    What the show is, who its run by, available live streaming through ustream and address, twitter, facebook and address, blog and address, website and all addresses, email address, related shows and their adresses

    could you simply say:

    “for details about this show you can see them on the screen now or if this is a podcast listen to the last few minutes of this recording”. Then record a standard message which is appended to every video. Would make the first 5 minutes much less boring and less mucking around. You could make the information much more comprehensive and it would be the same every time. Obviously some things are necessary at the front.

    The first 5 minutes is always painful!

    Great show keep it up! Jen is awesome.

    Cheers

  7. thebookofdave says

    Do any of the recorded formats include the after-show? This week left me wondering where the last caller was going with his Quantum Suicide Thought Experiment topic.

  8. thebookofdave says

    Did April Fool’s Day come early to TAE? Seems almost as if the call screeners Deshawn up as a prank.

  9. corwyn says

    The ustream keeps a recorded version with the after show.

    He was going to ‘if the universe is infinite, another you must be out there, so suicide is ok’ (I think). It didn’t have anything to do with ‘quantum’ really, and in fact sounded completely wrong to me.

  10. Monocle Smile says

    This isn’t so simple. It could be that public access REQUIRES a certain amount of information at the beginning of every show, similar to how there are regulations for radio programs for how often the call sign and frequency need to be announced.

    Also, it’s prudent to act as if every viewer is a first-time viewer, because it’s likely at least one listener is. The first 5 minutes isn’t “painful” unless you have a very serious case of ADD.

  11. Damo says

    Ignorinf your last comment. .. What about a pre-recorded front end then. Faster, no forgetfulness, more professional, less tedious.

  12. thebookofdave says

    After-show callers:
    1:00:50 Caller Emma (atheist): Christian political privilege. Being raised by Hare Krishna parent.
    1:07:30 Caller Paul (unknown): Quantum Suicide thought experiment.
    1:10:15 Caller Kelly (agnostic): Workplace proselytizing.

  13. thebookofdave says

    Thanks for the reminder. I have playback difficulties with UStream at home, and forget to take the opportunity to view the show when another computer is available.

  14. says

    was that the quantum suicide theory? So what is the person who contemplates this, trying to convince himself? let’s say you are part of a twin, does that validate killing yourself? because there is another one out there? You don’t experience that life of the other twin.

    so what do you get out of that Suicide idea?.

  15. Will H. says

    I agree with Damo and have stated as such in the past. Monicle’s comments are unfounded and speculative at best. There’s no reason for the mundane verbalization if the info is readily available in a graphic or a recording in the credits. I love the show, but it could really use someone who is broadcast savvy.

  16. Muz says

    I think it’s one of those that goes in that pile of “godless ways to get ourselves back an afterlife. With Science!”.
    See also simulation theory and Uploading your consciousness stuff, albeit somewhat more fundamental.

  17. says

    I’m not sure if the question was asked in seriousness… about the purpose of the show, and why not stop attacking people’s beliefs and try to help people? That’s a bit odd to me. It’s like asking a doctor to stop treating diseases, and help people… or to ask the police to stop arresting criminals and volunteer at a food pantry instead.

  18. says

    The content isn’t static. New entries are added, and old entries are dropped. They’d have to generate this new graphic/clip for virtually every new show , which takes time/energy of those who are already volunteering a lot of their time, to maintain, not to mention it’s one more technical issue that can potentially have problems, when they have enough already.

    Instead, they can keep it simple, and just do a normal recital.

  19. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    I’m not sure if the question was asked in seriousness…

    The scream at the end is a hint, I think.
     

    why not stop attacking people’s beliefs and try to help people?

    Wrong beliefs have no tangible effect because they’re only in your head, duh.
    Or beliefs can’t be wrong, only disagreed with.
    Or beliefs are permanently fixed and pointing out differences only causes strife.
     
    So trying to correct them must be mean-spirited pedantry.
     
    Of course, all those premises are problematic for a religion wanting converts, but they’re handy obstructions to deconversion.

  20. Sunday Afternoon says

    I was listening to the comparison of the genesis creation story to science and Russel made a comparison that is incorrect. A question Russel suggested was, “Do you believe there was light before the sun and stars?” with the implication that there wasn’t light before stars formed.

    Not true – there was light in the universe before the formation of the stars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recombination_%28cosmology%29

    We detect it now as the cosmic background radiation with a wavelength of around 1mm. These photons were created by the combination of protons and electrons to form hydrogen, releasing photons with an energy of 13.6eV (equivalent to a wavelength of < 100 nm). The expansion of the universe has lengthened the wavelength of these photons by a factor of 10,000.

    This means that these photons passed through the visible wavelength range. I'm not sure if the intensity would have been enough for our eyes to detect them, but it is interesting to consider that there was a time when we could in principle view the cosmic background with our own eyes.

  21. Narf says

    Yeah, anyone remember the first several shows in the new studio? There were a few in which the phones didn’t work. The background was completely fucked, for several episodes. The sound was a complete disaster for a while, until they figured out their settings for the new equipment. They’ve got it tuned well, now. Why fuck with it more?

  22. Nightshade says

    AE: Deists use the same flawed philosophical arguments for the existence of a god as other theists, minus the doctrinal aspects.

    There is as much evidence that the universe is the product of a mind, God if you will, as there is that it either 1)came from nothing,or 2) was caused by a quantum fluctuation.

  23. thebookofdave says

    Paul was probably seeking to contort the educated guess of a scientist out of its original context to support a claim of wishful thinking as fact. I was just wondering what wish he aimed to fulfill with the thought experiment.

  24. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    This means that these photons passed through the visible wavelength range. I’m not sure if the intensity would have been enough for our eyes to detect them, but it is interesting to consider

    I love this quote. XD
     
    TTC Lecture: Mark Whittle – Cosmology (no link)

    What would we witness, in the young universe, floating there, looking out into the distance? [...] As the universe cools, the whole spectrum shifts to the red, so the sky color changes. [...] The universe’s sky color slips through the rainbow sequence backwards, spending roughly 80,000 years on each color. This is a wonderful and beautiful quality of the young universe. It actually paints the sky with a palette of human colors. [...] Not only could you not stare at the sky. Nor would it just blind you. It would incinerate you. Almost instantly.

  25. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Found it!
     
    Video: Cosmology – 14 Conditions During the First Million Years
    (Dodgy youku link. Might take a couple secs to begin playing.)
     
    Quote starts at 14:00.

  26. BigKev says

    I’m not sure what the topic of the Australian caller was. But she was talking about the fact that we recently had a Female, unmarried, childless, atheist Prime Minister (Aussie version of President), which I think she was trying to imply would be impossible in the US at the moment. She was recently voted and replaced with a ‘traditional values’ Catholic family man, so it wasn’t like we are trending towards specific political candidates.

  27. Damo says

    Yeah let’s just keep doing stuff the same way forever who needs progress eh. /sarcasm

  28. Monocle Smile says

    You are factually in error AND setting up a false dichtomy. Quantum fluctuations actually happen. Minds without brains evidently don’t exist, and minds evidently don’t “create” ANYTHING.

    Do you even know what a mind is? All evidence points to a mind being a series of electrical impulses and perhaps the synapses that control the process. This “dualism” bull you’re implying is wholly unsupported.

  29. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    For background, see Nightshade’s previous statements…
     
    Article: Alethian Worldview – The Believer’s Despair
    Article: Alethian Worldview – Ex nihilo

  30. says

    Progressivism doesn’t mean being required to do things that aren’t needed to do. Whether they recite announcements as usual, or whether they have a frame/graphic pre-generated is about as much a point of progress as whether or not to have CGI hosts, complete with copious amounts of lens flares.

  31. Monocle Smile says

    Ugh. This shit is somewhat related to “What the bleep do we know.” Does Nightshade know that Johanan character who used to call in? He was an ideal monist as well.

  32. Sunday Afternoon says

    And the question of whether you can detect the photons is also addressed. The energy density goes as the 4th power of the scale factor, so the 10^4 change in wavelength corresponds to a 10^16 change in energy density. That’s a lot!

  33. Muz says

    Much of the standard we expect from mainstream media is difficult and expensive and probably out of reach of the show. We can’t really expect the sort of military standard of switcher and soundboard operation found on a professional show unless a few actual pros come to do it in their spare time (and then they probably won’t get to set the studio up how they like and screw up anyway)

    That said, folding in at least some boilerplate stuff into the titles probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Get Denis to read the bulk of it out or something. Then you’re down to the welcome and any updates on dinner and so forth.

    Unless of course there’s some deal that the titles and theme music won’t be interrupted (hard to imagine, but stranger things have happened)

  34. corwyn says

    In other words, NO you can’t detect them. Because they just incinerated your detectors. :-)

  35. Nightshade says

    Monocle Smith@ :11.1 . Quantum fluctuations actually happen.

    That Quantum fluctuations actually exist, I’m not denying.The question is can they exist without the universe existing.All of them we know or can know occur in the universe,we can’t possibly know they can occur without it.Just as we can’t know if a mind can exist without the universe.
    So,the proposition; ” A Mind can exist without the universe.” has as much empirical evidence as the proposition;”A quantum fluctuation can exist without the universe.”

    Monocle Smith:Minds without brains evidently don’t exist, and minds evidently don’t “create” ANYTHING.

    Why should we believe matter can cause mind and /or not believe that mind can cause matter. After all the world you actually know is a mental construct.You certainly don’t accept neo-realism (or direct realism) do you?
    I suspect you are a Critical Realist and therefore an epistemological dualist. If I am correct you recognize a difference between the cause of your perceptions/experiences and the content and nature of what you actually perceive/experience.In your view ” a series of electrical impulses and perhaps the synapses that control the process.” . We can’t get “outside” our minds to “observe” the nature or even existence of a non-mind dependent “substance”.
    So as far as we know minds DO CREATE EVERYTHING.

    If Substance Dualism is “bull” isn’t Idealistic Monism more consistent with what we actually know than Materialistic Monism?

  36. corwyn says

    So,the proposition; ” A Mind can exist without the universe.” has as much empirical evidence as the proposition;”A quantum fluctuation can exist without the universe.”

    This would only be correct if quantum fluctuations were as specified as minds. Would you say the ”A Mind thinking about playing chess in a pink tutu can exist without the universe.” has as much empirical evidence as the proposition ”A Mind can exist without the universe.” Because ‘a brain can’t exist without quantum fluctuations’, has a non-zero probability, and ‘a mind can’t exist without a brain’ has non-zero probability. IT must be true that rational confidence in ”A quantum fluctuation can exist without the universe.” must be higher than ”A Mind can exist without the universe.”

    Why should we believe matter can cause mind and /or not believe that mind can cause matter.

    Or why should we believe a match can cause fire and /or not believe that fire can cause a match?

  37. Monocle Smile says

    I can’t solve hard solipsism, but I accept objective reality. I’m not interested in dealing with someone who doesn’t act as though we share a reality. Do I PERCEIVE this reality objectively? Not exactly, but the idea that everything coming in through sensory perception and processing is nothing more than a “mental construct” is a bit misleading because it implies there’s no actual reality corresponding to these perceptions.

    So as far as we know minds DO CREATE EVERYTHING.

    Equivocation fallacy, Processing signals from senses and constructing an output is not the same as violating the first law of thermodynamics. This is extremely common with people who don’t understand science.

    the proposition; ” A Mind can exist without the universe.” has as much empirical evidence as the proposition;”A quantum fluctuation can exist without the universe.”

    This is a red herring. I don’t think anyone’s suggested that our universe hasn’t always existed for all of the time of our universe.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    A better question is: Which came first: trees or stars? Guess which the Christian bible says!

  39. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I have to give credit to my former young Earth creationist friend Brandon for that one. I also really like it. Geneses is rather clear on what is the right answer, and our scientific knowledge of everything is rather clear that Genesis is wrong.

    Of course, pedantically, the right answer is that a bunch of stars came first, then trees, and a star or two came along at the same time as trees (relatively speaking).

    Genesis on the other hand has at least some trees coming before all stars (the creation of the first trees came a whole day before the creation of stars), which is definitely wrong no matter how you look at it – barring extreme cheese like some young Earth creationist “cosmologies” like Earth was in the middle of a white hole or similar falsified nonsense.

  40. Narf says

    Yeah, man, if you’re going to turn to hard solipsism, you can go and mentally masturbate off on your own somewhere. We need to work within the reality presented to us by the electrodes that the mad scientist has hooked up to our brains. If your objective is to reduce the argument to the point that any bullshit you make up is equally valid as anything else, then us grownups will be over here having a grownup conversation.

  41. says

    Yeah, it was weirdly disappointing. But who knows what tale he spun when he called back? No matter how sure you feel, there is no way on the fly to know the person doesn’ t just sound like someone else. I’ve done that more than a few times–kept talking to someone even though I had a suspicion they were fake. I guess it’s a case of thinking that if someone bothers to call, you start with the benefit of the doubt that they’re not a fake–along “innocent till proven guilty” lines. We entertained Mark from Austin Stone, who took full advantage of that hospitality and “honor system” ethic. But then we kept George around, even though some thought he wasn’t for real. I still think he was honest (and consistent in his theology)–even though I agree that he was becoming a too-frequent caller and had to be cut loose (since it’s not “The George Show”).

    But in the end, it’s all run on the honor system. And it will always be the case that some people have no honor and will abuse that offering. Ultimately, though, most people do maintain honor and do seem to call with sincere ideas and arguments. If I thought otherwise, I’d stop doing the show. That’s sort of the irony. These pranksters are a lot like parasites that kill or weaken their own host. They wouldn’t have a show to call if there were more people like them, because, what would be the point? So, calls like theirs actually make the show less worth watching, and even doing. It’s the callers that are not like them that actually make the show worth watching, and the prank callers rely on the show being on the air (being watched) to have it to even prank.

    Their efforts are self-defeating in that regard. It’s almost a brilliant tactic to use if your goal is to ultimately drive the show off the air, but then who would you prank? I guess their view is that they don’t care if they’re vandalizing someone else’s work, because there will always be someone else putting in an effort to create a space for public dialog that they can go and scavenge from?

    When what you accomplish in life amounts to merely tearing down what others work hard to build to help others, you deserve nothing but derision. I only wish there were some way to identify such people publicly. Not because I would want them harmed or harassed, but then I would know whom to avoid in life, because I have nothing but thorough disdain for such people. They’re destructive. And how low do you have to be for “useless” to be a step up for you? If they were useless, that would actually be an improvement from ‘destructive.’

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t understand the technical terms you’re using. Let me say this. Neuroscience is pretty clear that changes to the brain of a person affect the mind of the person. The evidence is so overwhelming that the only sound conclusion is that I can modify or remove every aspect of your mind by modifying or removing a piece of your brain. I can take apart your mind piece by piece by taking apart your brain piece by piece. Thus, if I destroy your brain, I destroy your mind.

  43. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Nuh-uh. That’s just what the overmind wants you to think. :P
     
    Your thoughts, to move your limbs to create lesions, are just a cue for the global dreamer to incapacitate the mind associated with that brain, so everyone perceives misleading evidence that brain damage causes impaired mental function.

  44. says

    The thing about solipsism, apart from being tenth-grade stoner talk, is this: how would you even demonstrate that it’s true and that your apprehension of it isn’t more illusion (that is, if you could even bypass the initial plausibility stage or even get me interested in talking about it to begin with)? Also, if you could demonstrate it, what then? Basically, my response to solipsism is “Yep, ok, brain in a jar – so fucking what?”

    If I’m really a brain in a jar (or a “disembodied mind”, whatever that is) and “reality” is a construct, I don’t care. It’s all I’ve got and it appears to be consistent – I can’t dick with it like Rufus Sewell in Dark City, so the sole option appears to be to go with it. The NPCs in my computer games only “know” one reality, so that’s how they behave. When I’m playing a game, even though I know it’s a game I can only do what the game permits. If, somehow, I forgot I was playing a game, that would become my reality and how I behaved would be constrained and determined by the operating rules of that game. Reality as I know it could just be a game that I forgot I was playing. Again, so fucking what? Show it’s plausible, demonstrate it’s true and then we can discuss what to do about it.

    Finally, if the particular version of solipsism under discussion is the one where I’m all that exists and my reality is all really just a personal fantasy, I know it’s bullshit. Knowing myself as I do, I doubt I could ever get bored enough to invent solipsists.

  45. Nightshade says

    I’m not a solipsist, I believe there is a world of shared experience.A world I share with other Minds. An “objective” world( a world of experiences of which I am not the cause).
    It is the nature and cause of that world which is in dispute between Materialist and Idealist.
    I am a Metaphysical Phenomenalist (in a Kantian sense).All we can know are our minds and their ideas,with this I am in agreement with the Idealist.the cause of our ideas we can’t know .With this I am in agreement with the Idealist.
    However Idealist go further and say nothing exist but minds and their ideas,therefore everything that exist is known and couldn’t exist unless it were known.This is to me is less obviously true ,so I can’t accept Idealism with out reservation.
    The great insight of Idealism is,I believe ,that Mind /consciousness is A(if not THE) fundamental component of Reality.

    corwyn: This would only be correct if quantum fluctuations were as specified as minds. Would you say the ”A Mind thinking about playing chess in a pink tutu can exist without the universe.” has as much empirical evidence as the proposition ”A Mind can exist without the universe.” Because ‘a brain can’t exist without quantum fluctuations’, has a non-zero probability, and ‘a mind can’t exist without a brain’ has non-zero probability. IT must be true that rational confidence in ”A quantum fluctuation can exist without the universe.” must be higher than ”A Mind can exist without the universe.”

    You’re assuming matter is more basic than mind.

  46. Nightshade says

    THE second “With this I am in agreement with the Idealist.” in my last comment should have been deleted.So don’t think I don’t know Idealist believe the cause of our ideas is another mind.

  47. Monocle Smile says

    Why do people think Kant knew dick about physics? IMO, philosophers are largely useless when it comes to making statements about the nature of reality itself.

    Your definition of “know” is sloppy and incompletely. We can only ABSOLUTELY know our own minds and esoteric labels and stuff (although Pacific Rim appears to have gone beyond that). But I don’t define knowledge as being necessarily absolute, because otherwise I’d just sit around masturbating all day.

    The great insight of Idealism is,I believe ,that Mind /consciousness is A(if not THE) fundamental component of Reality.

    There is exactly no evidence of this and it’s merely the result of overblown human self-importance. The mind appears to be an emergent property of the brain and nothing more. Stop listening to Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff; they know jack shit about both quantum physics AND neuroscience.

  48. jacobfromlost says

    Do you happen to be named Cindy? I think I already had this conversation elsewhere over several weeks, and it’s going exactly the same way here…except for the fact that I’m just reading it here instead of driving myself crazy by responding.

  49. chris lowe says

    That theist’s idealism may be a bit murky but his observations seem to be pretty sharp. In a culture where mutual Christian social reinforcement prevails along with its dogmatic tripe, wouldn’t it behoove anybody seeking political power to pander to the credulity and the emotional investment these people have in their religion? To turn a phrase; “Houston YOU’VE got a problem!”
    Narf, I see you have connected solipsism with onanism in the same paragraph. Very well done!

  50. corwyn says

    You’re assuming matter is more basic than mind.

    It isn’t an assumption. It is an observation about the universe.

    I will gladly concede the point however, if you can demonstrate a mind not actually embodied in matter.

  51. jacobfromlost says

    This is exactly how my other conversation went. (I use the word “exactly” loosely…although surprising not as loosely as you’d expect.)

    Cindy: Mind is more basic than matter.
    Me: None of the evidence indicates this.
    Cindy: That’s because you assume matter is foundational.
    Me: No I don’t.
    Cindy: Yes you do.
    Me: It’s not an assumption. It’s simply what all the evidence indicates and none of the evidence contradicts. Here’s a link to Sam Harris making that exact point. [Sam Harris explains how there is nothing in science that, in principle, says that minds cannot be immaterial. It's just that we have a lot of good evidence to think they are rooted in the brain, and no evidence that they are not.]
    Cindy: Watch this cartoon of Captain Quantum and you will understand how minds are foundational and matter is an illusion.
    Me: I’m not impressed with Captain Quantum.
    Cindy: Then read all of these articles [here she linked to a few dozen articles] and you will see how matter is an illusion and minds are of necessity foundational to reality. And how reality isn’t real.
    Me: I’m not sure that even makes any sense, but I’ll only read them if you offer a specific, falsifiable claim that they supposedly support.
    Cindy: [avoids the question over many weeks with continued pleas to read articles on quantum mechanics without making any specific, falsifiable claim and repeating again and again that minds must be immaterial because...yeah]
    Me: [This is where I explained what "falsifiable" means, bla bla bla, and she just told me to stop responding to her and argued with others in the forum, lol]

  52. Monocle Smile says

    Cindy might be Johanan from Thiensville’s sister or something. That language is exactly what Johanan used in a physics forum when I decided to track down his nonsense. Of course, in a physics forum, there’s going to be a user or three that actually goes through the articles you cite, and Johanan got his ass served up because he drew the opposite conclusion of all of them.

  53. says

    While I wouldn’t want to blaspheme against our Lord (Narf), it’s a pretty easy link to make.
    Its a position, similar to presuppositional apologetics, that just shuts down conversation and descends into existential wankery.

  54. says

    “I live in the midwest and if I do that man…” Well, caller, I live in the midwest and I do that and so far the sky hasn’t fallen. Then again there is the midwest and there is THE midwest. I live in central MI and there are plenty of atheists here.

  55. Nightshade says

    [email protected] It isn’t an assumption. It is an observation about the universe.

    I will gladly concede the point however, if you can demonstrate a mind not actually embodied in matter.

  56. Nightshade says

    Continuation of 17.
    I”m sorry about that ! I’m just not very good on a computer, my generation didn’t have such ready access to them.

    So as I was going to say; all “observations” are made by minds.What you experience as the universe are ideas in your mind.So you know as sure as you can know anything that at least one perceiving,thinking, imagining,feeling,experiencing subject( that knows it is experiencing) exist, a self-aware mind.
    That is the most certain of our beliefs.

    Accepting for the moment the truth of Realism and Metaphysical Materialism.

    If there exist a non-mind dependent substance ‘matter/energy’ we don’t know it’s nature independent of what Professor Hocking called our “transformers” ,our sense organs.So how accurately our ideas correspond to their causes is forever beyond our knowledge.

    However since I know at least one mind exist ,my own, and that I certainly don’t consciously cause all I experience, I infer there must be a cause of it apart from myself.

    That this MIGHT be another mind is not an irrational belief.Since the existence of a mind is the most certain of our beliefs.

    What we take to be other human minds present themselves to us in what we call material bodies.That a non-human mind might present itself to us in the same form isn’t unreasonable.It is this Mind that presents itself to us in what we call Nature.
    [email protected] I will gladly concede the point however, if you can demonstrate a mind not actually embodied in matter.
    No I can’t. Can you show me a material object that is not an idea in a mind?

    corwyn i would like to thank you for your civilty.You have acted seriously and made good points.You have welcomed my “intrusion’ in a manner consistent with an adult and a freethinker.

  57. corwyn says

    Can you show me a material object that is not an idea in a mind?

    I can show you that there are more (mind images of) material objects than are capable of being retained in my mind (or all minds that I am aware of, combined).

    I also think that the second law of thermodynamics implies that increase in knowledge requires a decrease in usable energy. I know of no dependence on a universe for this result. Therefore a mind capable of accumulating knowledge (which is consistent with the experience of my mind) requires energy, which implies a material existence of some sort.

  58. Monocle Smile says

    What you experience as the universe are ideas in your mind.

    That’s rather simplistic. This implies that our experiences can’t be cross-confirmed by other means, including other observers. What happens when we develop technology that allows us to bond minds? Or at least experience the senses of another person? ALL of neuroscience points towards humanity headed in this direction. These arguments will all crumble instantly, except they won’t for the same reason creationism insists on sticking around.

    That this MIGHT be another mind is not an irrational belief.Since the existence of a mind is the most certain of our beliefs.

    This is kindergarten idealism. Sorry, it’s not that simple just because you say it is. You really need to study some Theory of Mind; you can’t rationally call any old thing a “mind.”

  59. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    What happens when we develop technology that allows us to bond minds?

    This.
     
    Article: ScienceDaily – Brain-to-brain interface allows transmission of info between rats

  60. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    For anyone interested in the history of philosophy, the BBC covered Idealism/Immaterialism and bundle theory today.
     
    Podcast: In Our Time – 2014-03-20 George Berkeley (47:29)

  61. Narf says

    A few of the trolls at least inspired valid points from the hosts, before the trolls did their idiot noises.

    It happens sometimes, though. With call-in shows, you get some pretty wild variety. Some shows are nothing but atheist callers.

  62. Narf says

    UStream is weird that way. My old laptop, a few years back, had some serious problems with it. For a streaming video site, it’s very processor-intensive. If you have a fairly-powerful dual-core-based system or pretty much any quad-core-based system, you should be okay.

  63. Narf says

    Well, we’ve heard many variations on this theme, over the years, given by people who don’t think things through very far. Almost all of them seemed to be asking in all seriousness. They don’t seem to automatically make the link between beliefs and actions. That even if we don’t have any religious beliefs of our own, that doesn’t mean we should leave that realm of stuff completely alone, because we do have a reality, just like the theists do. If the theists would seal themselves off in their little fantasy world and not influence the real reality with their bullshit, we would be cool.

  64. philipelliott says

    Is there an rss feed for the ustream version? wherever I got the feed I use now, it only includes the broadcast audio.

  65. Nightshade says

    corwyn: I can show you that there are more (mind images of) material objects than are capable of being retained in my mind (or all minds that I am aware of, combined).

    If you are referring to evidence from our learning,both as individuals and as a species, the growth in our knowledge, the experiencing of new objects and relations heretofore unknown and consequently not ideas in any human mind ( the minds I believe you mean) I agree.
    However Metaphysical Idealist believe there is another Mind that possess all the ideas and knowledge of relations between ideas which we can in theory attain,because it is the source of the ideas/relations we “discover”.

    corwyn: I also think that the second law of thermodynamics implies that increase in knowledge requires a decrease in usable energy. I know of no dependence on a universe for this result. Therefore a mind capable of accumulating knowledge (which is consistent with the experience of my mind) requires energy, which implies a material existence of some sort.

    If knowledge is shared and not created, in other words no actual new knowledge is acquired, no net increase in the total amount of knowledge,would this result in a loss of energy to the whole?

    Of course if the “laws of physics” are simply a part of the “rules” regulating the range of possible experiences in this world then they lack the necessity they seem to have for us and may not apply at every layer of reality or in every logically possible world.This is pure speculation I realize.

  66. says

    I also want to note that I would never advocate what he suggests in his second to last paragraph – staging protests at churches to disrupt their services.

    I think what he was advocating is for church MEMBERS to protest inside their respective churches, to call out their own leaders’ bullshit as soon as they hear it; and for church OUTSIDERS to protest outside of churches. Both seem perfectly reasonable to me, as long as no one’s basic rights are infringed.

  67. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Nightshade:

    @corwyn:

    I can show you that there are more (mind images of) material objects than are capable of being retained in my mind (or all minds that I am aware of, combined).

    there is another Mind that possess all the ideas and knowledge of relations between ideas which we can in theory attain, because it is the source of the ideas/relations we “discover”.

    I think corwyn was getting at:
    All the minds so far in evidence do not have the features you ascribe to the Other Mind. And you have no reason to believe such features are even among the set of features a “mind” could have, much less that one with those features does exist.

  68. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Nightshade:

    Of course if the “laws of physics” are simply a part of the “rules” regulating the range of possible experiences in this world then they lack the necessity they seem to have for us and may not apply at every layer of reality or in every logically possible world.

    The same can be said to prevent you from describing anything in other layers as a “mind” akin to your own. It doesn’t just waive limitations to make anything possible, it robs labels of any specific intelligible meaning.

  69. Narf says

    I dunno. It didn’t read that way to me. I want a clarification, before I give this guy a pass.

  70. Nightshade says

    Monocle Smith . This implies that our experiences can’t be cross-confirmed by other means, including other observers.

    In one sense your correct when you say”…our experiences can’t be cross-confirmed by other means, including other observers. ”
    Every individuals experience of any object,event,etc. is uniquely there own.No two people share the exact same experiences.
    However, this does not mean that there is no objective world which we share with other people, who are real in their own right,and with whom we “cross-confirm” our experiences to determine what is “real”( i.e.common to our experiences,existing objectively) and what is imaginary,(an illusion,hallucination,dream etc.i.e subjective only).

    M.S.: This is kindergarten idealism. Sorry, it’s not that simple just because you say it is. You really need to study some Theory of Mind; you can’t rationally call any old thing a “mind.”

    I’m not calling “any old thing” a mind.What I mean by a Mind is;An experiencing Subject : and a self-aware Mind is an experiencing Subject that is aware it is experiencing and aware it is aware.
    That one mind can interact with another mind through the medium of ideas (represented by symbols) is not something you would deny is it?

  71. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    That one mind can interact with another mind through the medium of ideas (represented by symbols) is not something you would deny is it?

    You mean telepathy? Yea, I deny that. At least, we have lots of evidence that humans do not have telepathy.

    That’s fundamentally different than communicating with words, or text on the internet. In that case, the interface medium is physical.

  72. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Humans lack telepathy because the overmind simply declines to pass along the message. :P
     
    Nightshade’s saying all physical objects (including communication mediums) are merely symbols in a global mind. The universe is just a simulation.

  73. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The sleeper’s dream hypothesis? Yea, if that’s his position, then this is where I go “You’re a solipsist!? {click}”.

  74. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Nightshade’s comment in an Alethian Worldview thread:

    I can hold, with consistency, that we might be self-aware figments of the imagination of a mind

  75. Monocle Smile says

    I’m not calling “any old thing” a mind.What I mean by a Mind is;An experiencing Subject : and a self-aware Mind is an experiencing Subject that is aware it is experiencing and aware it is aware.

    That first definition sucks a big one and I think it’s wrong because rocks fit into it, but if I’m a bit charitable with what you mean, I don’t believe the universe falls into either category. See, once you can recognize other minds, you can recognize what are NOT other minds.

    That one mind can interact with another mind through the medium of ideas (represented by symbols) is not something you would deny is it?

    Ideas aren’t a medium, numbnuts. I think you’re arguing that Moby Dick is more than just ink on paper. Well, yes, but only if there are minds familiar with the ink shapes around, and every mind will have a different conception of Moby Dick. However, left in a room with a dog, Moby Dick is EXACTLY only ink on paper, soon to be marked with teeth. There isn’t some “aether version” of Moby Dick floating around in dreamland somewhere.

  76. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    I think you’re arguing that Moby Dick is more than just ink on paper. [...] There isn’t some “aether version” of Moby Dick floating around in dreamland somewhere.

    Platonic Realism is when abstract concepts exist outside one’s mind independently. That would have the plot floating around.

    Idealism is when objects in the material universe “objective world” are figments in someone’s mind. The attributes-of and relations-between objects are the stuff of imagination. The universe isn’t itself a mind; the universe is a construct within a mind.
     
    You may want to listen to the George Berkeley podcast below to refresh your memory.
     
    Nightshade’s saying the idea of a hunk of bound cellulose is floating around in dreamland. Human minds can each {verb} the idea from the global {mindish-noun}, which they each subjectively ‘experience’ (internally reconstruct) as a particular stack of pages with texture, ink, etc. as if conveyed by sense organs witnessing a material object. Just as meanings of words are conveyed between minds by symbols, so too are qualia conveyed by the idea of objects that could be looked at.

  77. will tay says

    His message to the flock is misplaced for they are the same people who believe stuff without good reason ,he is as misguided as they are.

  78. AhmNee says

    I actually kind of gave up on my post-end times novel/story when I gave up belief for lent. It just felt hypocritical (not an accusation, that just personal). I’ve only recently figured out how to carry the story forward without treating the religious portions as anything more than mythology.

  79. AhmNee says

    Oddly, I almost believed that was a scream of frustration and not a troll. It speaks well to the caller’s voice acting skills.

  80. AhmNee says

    Is this your subtle way of asking someone how to jump forward in the stream by clicking ahead in the timeline?

  81. AhmNee says

    Hard Solipsism :
    Yes, you are just a brain in a jar. Everything around you is just a figment of your dreaming mind.
     
    And even YOU don’t want to talk to yourself about it.

  82. Monocle Smile says

    So Idealism is basically Inception-style Solipsism. Solipception. There’s only one mind, but it generates mini-minds. There’s so much wrong with this, namely that we don’t appear to generate mini-minds within our own minds.

    Sounds like someone smoked too much peyote. I reject qualia (in the Ideal sense, not as Dennett means it) as utter nonsense meant to distract from objective reality.

  83. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    So Idealism is basically Inception-style Solipsism.

    Pretty much.
     

    Sounds like someone smoked too much peyote.

    To be fair, Nightshade doesn’t believe it.
    Just letting us all know that idealism might be the case, and in a such lousy way as to waste everyone’s time misunderstanding.

  84. Nightshade says

    Monocle Smith: “That first definition sucks a big one and I think it’s wrong because rocks fit into it, …”

    Rocks (and other non-mind phenomena), as far as the type of Metaphysical Idealism I’ve been considering is concerned,don’t experience anything.

    Look up the definition of experience on m-w.com:

    You’ll see all the usages presuppose conscious awareness, an attribute only of Minds
    So when we say a rock “experiences” the pull of gravity we aren’t using that word in the same way I used it in my definition.

    M.S.: See, once you can recognize other minds, you can recognize what are NOT other minds.

    Metaphysical Idealist believe all that exist are minds and their ideas. What is not a mind ,a rock for instance, is an idea in a mind.How are we able to distinguish a mind (or more precisely an idea of a mind) from an idea of a non-mind? By there actions.We infer the existence of a mind by their acting to achieve what we ourselves recognize through our knowledge of our own actions, as ends.

    M.S.: Ideas aren’t a medium, numbnuts

    What we in our everyday conversation call ideas are images,concepts other mental contents in OUR minds they are PERSONAL, PRIVATE, INTERNAL experiences and symbols (e.g. language) are the medium by which we share them with one another.
    But these, our private stock of Ideas, are acquired through our experience of a shared world filled with “material” objects which Idealist believe to be Ideas in a Mind.That this is a Language ,a MEDIUM, of communication is consistent with Idealism’s basic premise.
    Thomas Paine said; “Creation speaketh a universal language, which every man can read…”

  85. Nightshade says

    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain:

    Nightshade’s comment in an Alethian Worldview thread:

    I can hold, with consistency, that we might be self-aware figments of the imagination of a mind

    All I meant was the proposition :”We are self-aware figments of the imagination of a mind.”
    is not self-contradictory.

  86. Nightshade says

    EnlightmentLiberal:The sleeper’s dream hypothesis? Yea, if that’s his position, then this is where I go “You’re a solipsist!? {click}”.

    I’m not a solipsist as I have repeatedly maintained.
    It is not the existence of an external (to my mind) source of at least some of my experiences,but rather it’s nature, that I question.

  87. Nightshade says

    Hey Monocle Smith in an earlier comment you said:” I can’t solve hard solipsism, but I accept objective reality. I’m not interested in dealing with someone who doesn’t act as though we share a reality. Do I PERCEIVE this reality objectively? Not exactly, but the idea that everything coming in through sensory perception and processing is nothing more than a “mental construct” is a bit misleading because it implies there’s no actual reality corresponding to these perceptions.

    (I might say as Huxley, “The Lord hath delivered him into my hands.”)

    When you ask,”Do I PERCEIVE this reality objectively?” and answer “Not exactly…” What do you mean?Exactly?
    Do you mean that you recognize there is a difference between what you are actually experiencing,” In your view ” a series of electrical impulses and perhaps the synapses that control the process.” and what you take to be the cause of the experience a, physical object in an external world?

    If there is a difference,what causes it?Your Mind (or as you doubtless prefer your nervous system)?

    If that is the case then at least part of what you experience is a mental construct.But what part ,as in percentage, of it?10%,30%,50% why not 100% ?How, pray tell, do you avoid Solipsism?

    In your acceptance of Critical Realism and its’ epistemological dualism you have already made a MAJOR concession to Idealism.

    That this escapes you I’m not a bit surprised.

  88. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Partially Examined Life recently covered Idealism, too.
     
    Podcast: PEL – Optional Prelude to Episode 89 (20:41)
    Podcast: PEL – 89 Berkeley’s Idealism (1:33:52)

  89. Nightshade says

    What I mean is I agree with Metaphysical Materialist that there is a reality that exist independently of my mind,ergo I am not a solipsist. It is this reality (call it Nature, universe,the phenomenal world) that causes the sensations or experiences we have when we see,hear,taste,smell and touch something we take to be outside of and separate from us , an external reality.

    Metaphysical Materialist say this world is composed of matter/energy which they take to be completely independent of the existence of any mind (Realism).In fact they believe matter/energy gave rise to minds and that minds would not exist if matter/energy did not exist.Mind, or perhaps more accurately ,mental properties “emerge” quite naturally when purely physical conditions are right.

    What I have been saying is that none of these beliefs are necessarily true.
    They are reasonable beliefs ,but not the only reasonable beliefs concerning the nature and cause of our experiences.

    They certainly don’t deserve the status of a dogma which they have acquired for some.

    Metaphysical Idealist argue that what we perceive in Nature are Ideas caused by another Mind.
    In this view (as I understand it) what we call physical properties are created or experienced by us when our minds interact with the creating Mind.You might say this Mind is “streaming” a whole perceptual reality to us “creating” the “World” in which we interact.

    You should familiarize yourself with this view as presented by those who can argue for it and explain it far better than I, just research Idealism or Metaphysical Idealism.
    You in the end my reject it, or you may accept a different interpretation of it than the one I’ve attempted to express.I myself am agnostic in respect to it.
    .
    The most compelling arguement for it in my opinion is that it takes what I am most certain of ,the existence of a mind (mine)and its’ ideas as the starting point for its” explanation of reality and postulates the existence of another Mind as the cause of those Ideas(impressions,sensations etc.) I have which I don’t control.And not some non-mind dependent substance (matter) we can never know is even possible much less that it exist.

    Because this philosophy is friendlier to religious belief than Materialism it causes “wailing and gnashing of teeth among dogmatic Atheist.But remember the tenets of none of the existing religions can be deduced from it.

  90. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Because this philosophy is friendlier to religious belief than Materialism it causes “wailing and gnashing of teeth among dogmatic Atheist.

    Only insofar as it irritatingly takes a gap, shoehorns god into it by asserting god’s like your mind – except capable of doing whatever’s needed to make this work (and assuming it’s possible to bolt-on those capabilities) – and ultimately yields no informative or useful consequences. For every event, point and say goddidit. And it relies on muddled language and poor understanding of consciousness.
     
    As an exercise in constructing metaphysical models (see the PEL podcast on monads for more fun) and a reflection of other philosophical conundrums it exploits and historically reacted against, it is interesting.
     
    But when presented as an equally valid alternative model of the universe, it’s as inane as Last Thursdayism.

  91. Narf says

    If it makes you feel better to think so, then sure. I have zero investment in the opinion of someone who has just popped up and criticizes me with neither constructive content nor style.

  92. Narf says

    Why would you have to give up the mythology? Plenty of nonbelievers write stories set within mythical worlds that they don’t believe exist. Christian mythology is just another fantasy world within which to base a story.

    In this instance, I’m going at it from the angle of, “Okay, now all of this crap is true. How do I feel about it, and on which side would I set myself?”
    That said, the narrator doesn’t act even vaguely as I would, in his situation. The author’s voice is one of the other characters.

  93. Nightshade says

    Compulsory Account7746,Sky Captain: “Only insofar as it irritatingly takes a gap, shoehorns god into it by asserting god’s like your mind,,,”

    If we accept Critical Realism there is a “gap” between the world we perceive and the world as it actually exist.
    Why is “shoehorning” a non-mind dependent substance into it more acceptable to you?

    Compulsory: “…except capable of doing whatever’s needed to make this work (and assuming it’s possible to bolt-on those capabilities) ”

    Can you think of any experience that you could have that you could not explain in Materialistic terms?
    Perhaps by postulating an undiscovered particle, or a whole new category of matter/energy such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy that happens to have just the properties needed to work.
    How is this any more informative or useful?

    The success that science has had is attributable to its’ Empiricism not its Materialism.

  94. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ve given it up long ago, but I am always a fan of some good Christian myth movies. This is how one of my favorite actors, Christopher Walken, became famous, so it cannot all be for naught! lol.

  95. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The success that science has had is attributable to its’ Empiricism not its Materialism.

    I can agree to this. I’m still not

    In fact, reading over your stuff, I’m not sure if I should be taking issue with anything. I particular like the part from here:
    Quoting Nightshade:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/alethianworldview/2014/01/26/the-believers-despair/#comment-553050

    A belief in the existence of this external world, which includes other people like me. A world of shared,common experiences and which exist independently of all human minds, is I believe the best explanation of my (our) experiences.

    So, do we have a disagreement? I’m confused now.

  96. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Why is “shoehorning” a non-mind dependent substance into it more acceptable to you?

    I don’t know what either of those nouns mean at the level of Ultimate Reality and don’t pretend to. But humans have a lousy understanding of their own minds, both in theory and in self-assessment. An all-encompassing metaphysics rooted in that compounds the error.
     
    Methodological materialism expands our incomplete awareness of the patterns we experience and predicts consistency. That consistency may be a faulty inference. But it’s more useful than tossing induction out the window and saying anything the happens next will be as the ineffable {noun} wills it, *crosses fingers hoping it won’t be in a wacky mood tomorrow*.
     
    It might really be the case that you’re a THE solipsist, running most of the universe without conscious effort, talking to philosophical zombies, since the beginning of time last thursday. They’re subversive thought experiments that don’t themselves lead anywhere, except to highlight assumptions – assumptions which may or may not be minimally necessary to take as axioms to function in the reality we find ourselves in.
     
    Less charitably, they can be wielded as desparate attempts to deny our ability to make statements at all about inter-subjective reality: to say every conceivable thing is technically possible, as an apologetic to wish a few particular cherished beliefs back from the dust bin, regardless of collateral pixies and demonically planted fossils.
     

    The success that science has had is attributable to its Empiricism not its Materialism.

    This is not newsworthy. It doesn’t matter to us that what’s underlying it all could be made of matter, or monads, or anything else describing ad hoc the universe as it has apparently operated so far. Descriptions that purport to do so can still be ill-conceived and deserving of criticism, however.

  97. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Perhaps by postulating an undiscovered particle, or a whole new category of matter/energy such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy that happens to have just the properties needed to work.
    How is this any more informative or useful?

    Article: Wikipedia – Quark: History
     
    Video: BAHFest – Zach Weinersmith’s Infantapaulting Hypothesis

  98. AhmNee says

    I don’t know. I guess I felt hypocritical and disgusted by the whole thing. I started the story when I was still a believer. And that, I think made the project taste bitter.

  99. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    D’aw, this is adorable. The podcasts covered the concept well but left out the original flavor…
     
    From Berkeley’s “The Principles of Human Knowledge” (p38, pdf):

    The same absurd principle of materialism, by mingling itself with the principles of our faith, has given considerable difficulties to Christians. Think how many scruples and objections have been raised by Socinians and others concerning the resurrection!
     
    Don’t the most plausible of them depend on the supposition that sameness of a body comes not from its form (i.e. what is perceived by sense) but from the material substance that remains the same in different forms?
     
    All the dispute is about the identity of this material substance; take it away, and mean by ‘body’ what every plain ordinary person means by it—namely that which is immediately seen and felt, which is only a combination of perceptible qualities or ideas—and then the seemingly most unanswerable objections of the Socinians etc. come to nothing.

    Page 38:

    The existence of matter, or unperceived bodies, has been the main support not only of atheists and fatalists but also of idolatry in all its various forms. If men would only consider that the sun, moon, and stars, and every other object of the senses are nothing but sensations in their minds, having no existence except in being perceived, no doubt they would never fall down and worship their own ideas! Rather, they would do homage to God, that eternal invisible mind that produces and sustains all things.

  100. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    [...] they would never fall down and worship their own ideas!
    Rather, they would do homage to God, that eternal invisible mind [...]

    X^D

  101. Monocle Smile says

    Half the time, Nightshade isn’t arguing a view he actually holds, so it gets confusing.

    I’m not a hard materialist, but I guess you could call me a “soft philosophical naturalist.” Nightshade takes issue with this for whatever reason, and I’m starting to think I haven’t taken enough bong hits to participate much further in this discussion. I’m an engineer in practice and a scientist at heart, so that could be part of the problem.

  102. corwyn says

    If knowledge is shared and not created, in other words no actual new knowledge is acquired, no net increase in the total amount of knowledge,would this result in a loss of energy to the whole?

    I am using ‘knowledge’ in the information theory sense, so copied knowledge is, in fact, more knowledge. Thus it MUST result in a loss of USABLE energy to the whole.

  103. corwyn says

    The heck with quarks, why not start with ‘atoms’?

    Atoms were originally a whole new category of matter/energy that happened to have just the properties needed to work. Anyone here doubt that that the concept of ‘atoms’ was informative and useful?

    Alternatively, ‘phlogiston’ was not.

    So what is the difference (at the time that they were conceived) between them?

  104. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    A world of shared, common experiences and which exist independently of all human minds, is I believe the best explanation of my (our) experiences. The question of whether that world exist independently of all minds, as well as its ultimate nature, is impossible to answer.

    “I’m not saying it’s an alien’s dreamscape… but it was alien’s.”

  105. Nightshade says

    My point is we would get the exact same results in our everyday experience as well as in science whether we postulate atoms and quarks or planets and galaxies as being ideas in/of a Mind or as matter/energy.
    As long as we followed experience we could use an Idealistic based metaphysics or a Materialistic based one,and it would’nt have any practical differences.

    An animistic society which viewed the sun and planets of our solar system as conscious entities engaged in an elaborate dance according to their( the entities) strict social rules with some entities being “Greater than others”(possessing more ‘mass’ in the materialistic view) and consequently ‘exercising more influence (gravitational attraction) than others, could have described the ‘dance steps’ (orbits) with equal mathematical precision and discovered what we call Kepler’s Laws of Planetary motion and could achieve interplanetary travel as well.

    The Idealistic metaphysics that have been most common, the Abrahamic faiths, for most of their history attempted to make experience fit their “sacred scriptures” and suppressed or ignored it when it didn’t.

    The pursuit of empirical knowledge must follow experience.But we can interpret that experience in different ways.We would be foolish as a species to claim there is only one metaphysical worldview by which it should be interpreted. This is dogmatism, and detrimental to the acquisition of ( at least practical) knowledge, and usually dangerous to freedom.

    I believe there is a correct worldview, be it Materialism,Idealism,Neutral Monism,Dualism or something else.
    I know that I don’t KNOW what it is , and I don’t believe anybody else does either.But people on all sides are rarely tolerant of other opinions, even when they call for tolerance.Atheist and Materialist are not exceptions to this.

  106. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    My point is we would get the exact same results in our everyday experience as well as in science whether we postulate atoms and quarks or planets and galaxies as being ideas in/of a Mind or as matter/energy.
    As long as we followed experience we could use an Idealistic based metaphysics or a Materialistic based one,and it would’nt have any practical differences.

    Until the advent of modern neuroscience, I might be with you. However, IMHO you have to contort idealism rather far to accommodate the evidence that damaging the brain damages the mind, whereas it follows quite naturally from materialism.

  107. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    we could use an Idealistic based metaphysics or a Materialistic based one, and it would’nt have any practical differences.

    Idealist metaphysics can be claimed, but it can’t be USED.
    Even if idealism were correct, we would have to operate within the world using a model that included consistency.
     
    Idealism as a model explicitly denies that, saying any appearance of regularity is just the global mind being charitable, but it’ll screw with you whenever and however it wants. It was literally designed to prop up dogma, because the systemetized knowledge of past experience in physics disagreed with a story that claimed water turned into wine once.
     

    the rod was changed into a real serpent, and the water into real wine. [...] if at table all who were present could see, smell, taste and drink wine, and feel the effects of it, that leaves me with no doubt as to its reality

    If we all had Picasso-vision Thursdays. Methodological materialism might not work so well, and we’d need something else, but methodological idealism is as useful as methodological solipsism.
     
    That animistic society with entities following “strict social rules” would be more useful than idealism. Not all interpretations are equally valid, nor are they all equally useful for practical knowledge. Pointing that out is not dogmatism, but your equivocating is defeatism.

  108. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    people on all sides are rarely tolerant of other opinions, even when they call for tolerance. Atheist and Materialist are not exceptions to this.

    You sound awfully certain of that.
     
    Have you considered you may be tilting at Hard Materialist windmills. And witnessing a normal reaction to vacuous sophistry: contempt, ridicule, and occasional handholding explanation.
     
    If you keep repeating that schtick, we’ll never know for sure.

  109. Nightshade says

    Sky Captain: “Even if idealism were correct, we would have to operate within the world using a model that included consistency.” “Idealism as a model explicitly denies that, …” (ie. consistency)

    No it doesn’t. It denies its necessity.

    Sky Captain: “the rod was changed into a real serpent, and the water into real wine. [...] if at table all who were present could see, smell, taste and drink wine, and feel the effects of it, that leaves me with no doubt as to its reality”

    How do we determine what is ‘real’ and what is ‘imaginary’?What do those words even mean?
    By ‘real’ don’t we mean existing in the objective world? The world of common experience?of public knowledge to which science appeals?And don’t we determine what is ‘real’ by consensus?Even scientist?

    If all the people at the table had an agreement among 1)each individuals senses; sight,smell,taste,etc,that it was wine he/she was experiencing : and 2 )agreement among all individuals that each was experiencing wine,then if a scientist conducted a chemical test and said it was water how would we know who was ‘correct’? (assuming nobody is lying about what they experience).

    (This is an argument for the reliability of any miracle story in the Bible or other scripture,but rather an honest question about how we come to knowledge of what is ‘real’)

    What if you were standing by and watching all this,and after the scientist gives his report your ask to taste ,smell,etc the liquid as a disinterested third party,and you smell, taste etc. wine ,what would you believe it was/Would you disregard the evidence of your senses and the consensus of other tasters and say ‘we must all be wrong and the scientist right.”

    I suspect you would.I believe you have more faith in the existence of an external world of matter than you do in what we call a mind or a self .You (i suspect) believe this sense of self is tenuous and fragile and perhaps illusory.
    If so how can you trust anything you perceive if you can’t trust the ‘real’ existence of the perceiving subject.

    My existence is what I’m most certain of.That’s where my philosophical journey starts.

    I’m not equivocating, I’m still where I started a Metaphysical Phenomenalist.

  110. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    “Idealism as a model explicitly denies that, …” (ie. consistency)

    No it doesn’t. It denies its necessity.

    In Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather, the fictional philosopher Didactylos suggested this as too:
    “Things just happen, what the hell.”
     
    Methodological X and Soft X != Hard X
     

    By ‘real’ don’t we mean existing in the objective world? The world of common experience?of public knowledge to which science appeals? And don’t we determine what is ‘real’ by consensus? Even scientist?

    Epistemology is a thing. The operable world is inter-subjective.
    This is not newsworthy.
     
     

    My existence is what I’m most certain of. That’s where my philosophical journey starts.
    I’m not equivocating, I’m still where I started

    You’re a solipsist!? *click*

  111. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    I’m still where I started a [Kantian] Phenomenalist.

    Article: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Epistemological Problems of Perception

  112. Nightshade says

    I don’t think “things just happen” randomly ,without consistency and predictability.
    Dogs don’t give birth to horses,the growth cycle of every organism goes only one way, we never experience it reversed, I could go on.There is consistency and uniformity in our experience.
    But this is not incompatible with Idealism..The creating Mind could if It chose.”… screw with you whenever and however it wants.” So consistency is not a metaphysical necessity ,as it would appear to be in Materialism.However it is not a logical impossibility as you seem to be suggesting.

    Sky Captain: “You’re a solipsist!? *click*

    If being most certain of ones’ existence as an experiencing Subject who is aware that it is experiencing,makes one a solipsist then I would say most normal humans are solipsist.

    When we are dreaming we are experiencing a “world” that is purely subjective,and usually we aren’t aware that we are dreaming,but we are as aware of experiencing that world as we are the objective world.
    The fact that we can so easily change realities and not be able to distinguish between the two,and yet still be aware it is “I” who is experiencing (the same I in both realities) indicates that our knowledge of the reality of our on existence as a self aware Mind ought to be more certain than our knowledge concerning the nature and even existence of an external world.

    How do I avoid Solipsism you ask?By inference to the best explanation; at least some of my experiences have a cause external to me.

  113. David Lowery says

    Cosmological arguments are a defense for what people believe. They serve as a basis to make belief plausible. They are adequately persuasive to move physics along as well, such as the case with the ‘first cause’ argument, leading to research in physics that shows even multiverse, but especially cyclical universes are most likely the result of some first cause. Of course the first cause remains outside of the mathmatical constructs we use to describe things. I assume you’re generally aware of all of this. The thing is, as a person with a statistic background, I could accept that we are still the result of a very slim chance in any case, and for a while I thought it might under other conditions be tempting to me. Of course, then the physics do the same thing, which results in multiverse systems as the most likely way things are constructed. To a vast number of people these defenses for the foundation of their faith are convincing and satisfying. I don’t know if the hosts reject first cause or not, but, I don’t think it’s the most reasonable thing to do, obviously people can make little sense out of something that by definition is… like having an existence in more dimensions than we can see. Thus, multiverse becomes fairly compelling. I could be perplexed at how that isn’t a convincing foundation for making the belief in God plausible, except, I believe the main problem, is a misunderstanding about what ‘proof’ is. You assert that people don’t have ‘proof’, like there’s a mathmatical set of equations that describes a child’s love of baby dolls or something. I still believe that children, especially little girls really like baby dolls. And, I can back it up with sales numbers or personal experience as fact, even if it doesn’t result in a satisfying mathmatical model. How would one go about proving an experience? How does one come to believe in anything if we use the full scrutiny approach? And then you get to the heart of the matter, many Christians are actually witnesses to the power they believe in. And, of course, the athiest presumption is delusion, while discarding improbable miraculous events, such as Fatima and healings, demurring to friendly studies of mass prayers for healing. Here we have a second place of departure, where two apologists fail to connect. Here, as a Catholic, I can recognize the how this one breaks down, as I’ve had the conversation before. I was unable to conclude my intellectual superiority was great enough to blame mass delusion, despite my superior intellect. I accept the limitations of my intellect, that I cannot know everything and cannot derive proof or a lack thereof from what I do not know. Thus, God may well have thouroughly proven himself to some farmer and any amount of reasoned discussion will not be effective, and possibly rightly so, in dissuading them from religion, and in a similar way, claiming to know more than other people is foolish, while the amount known may differ to some extent, it still pales in contrast to the stuff that exists to know. Thus, one must actually determine delusion in order to make the accussation. I’ve listend to Catholic apologists listening to people saying they saw things or whatever in a miraculous way, and they generally seem skeptical but open minded, whereas most athiest apologists normally go with the old standby assuming delusion. Anyway, if you read through this tangle and have a comment or arguement or question, let me know.

  114. Monocle Smile says

    Uh, paragraph breaks.

    The general impression I’m getting is twofold:
    1) You don’t seem to understand the ideas of empiricism and independent confirmation, nor their role in the scientific method
    2) You’re attempting to shoehorn atheism into something it’s not. Disbelief is not the same as declaration of falsity, and we can’t ever have a conversation unless you acknowledge this part of Logic 101.

    It reeks of typical presuppositionalist BS. “Atheists have worldview X, so they think that Y can’t possibly be true.” Well, no, we just don’t have a good reason to believe Y because we use reliable standards of evidence rather than making stuff up. So we don’t believe Y. That doesn’t mean we “can’t possibly” think Y might be true.

    You assert that people don’t have ‘proof’, like there’s a mathmatical set of equations that describes a child’s love of baby dolls or something.

    Well, “love” is in reality a discrete electrochemical brain state. You can describe the FEELING of love in all sorts of ways, but what love actually IS doesn’t really lend itself to debate any more.

    How does one come to believe in anything if we use the full scrutiny approach?

    I don’t even understand what this is supposed to mean. Are you suggesting that science doesn’t come to conclusions? Truth can withstand scrutiny. There are some fundamental flaws in your thinking.

  115. Narf says

    My main problem is that the argument is complete bullshit in another way, besides the logical holes in it. It isn’t an argument for a god … not a god like what they mean. There’s such a yawning chasm between the deistic first-cause (not even necessarily what anyone would call a god) and the god who sent his little minions tromping around the holy land that the argument doesn’t actually help convert anyone with any kind of intellectual coherency.

    It only does what all apologetic arguments do: shore up the belief of those who have already been indoctrinated through non-intellectual means. Apologetics provide just enough of an intellectual facade for people who really want to believe but are having trouble.

    There’s that bit of hand waving that William Lane Craig does, in an attempt to make the cosmological argument relevant to his god. It doesn’t work, though, because his list of requirements for the qualities of that first cause is obviously fabricated with his god in mind. The list was not created by a disinterested third-party, and it’s completely worthless. I can look at almost every item on the list and say, “How do you get [condition]? Why would you think that the required condition that you use to justify your characteristic is even a thing?” His insertion of the trinitarian nature of the first cause is particularly asinine.

  116. corwyn says

    many Christians are actually witnesses to the power they believe in

    They are? Then why are they so bad to conveying that to others? All we hear is the ‘well my mother was sick, and got better’ stories.

    The thing is, as a person with a statistic background, … as a Catholic

    I would love to see your Bayesian analysis for Catholicism!

    such as the case with the ‘first cause’ argument,

    The ‘first cause’ argument basically boils down to ‘whatever caused the second thing’. If Reality has a starting point, then the first cause argument is probably* trivially true. The real question is why should anyone believe that the very first thing in reality was 1) living, 2) sentient, 3) all-powerful, ) all-knowing, 4) perfectly good, AND 5) bored.

    * assuming the early reality is amenable to questions of cause and effect, which isn’t at all clear as those things depend on time and the arrow of time.

  117. Narf says

    And dude, we’ve examined “miracles” like the one at Fatima, which you mentioned. It isn’t that we reject them because of supernatural bias. We reject them because once you examine the actual reporting of those who were there at the time, the whole thing falls apart.

    The vast majority of the people who were there didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The stories of those who did see something are wildly inconsistent, leading to the obvious conclusion that they suffered some sort of hallucination, probably caused by staring into the sun like morons. The rest is easily attributable to the wild post-invention of people who normally have no recognition and suddenly have all of these important people interviewing them.

    I hate to tell you this, man, but people lie for attention all the time.

  118. Narf says

    … demurring to friendly studies of mass prayers for healing.

    The study that atheists are usually referring to was NOT a friendly study. It was a study run by the Templeton Foundation, an evangelical foundation that is desperately looking for evidence to support their beliefs. Look up the Duke Prayer Study. That’s the most recent one that you’ll hear about, the one that actually showed a detrimental effect for those who were being prayed for and knew they were being prayed for.

  119. David Lowery says

    I appreciate your boldness.
    In order to keep hangs orderly, I’ll do a response after 27.5

  120. David Lowery says

    I appreciate your boldness.
    In order to keep hangs orderly, I’ll do a response after 27.5

  121. David Lowery says

    I appreciate your boldness.
    In order to keep hangs orderly, I’ll do a response after 27.5

  122. David Lowery says

    I should have written the response first, lol.

    I do appreciate the opportunity here.

    Fairly small stuff.

    I don’t think empiricism stands up to scrutiny, we teach and see results from military science, for instance, so we get plenty of information from things other than our own reasoning capability and experience.

    Bayesian? You mean like a statistical proof that Catholicism is true? Well, the Catholic Church is unique or outstanding in several ways.

    Main point.
    I don’t think I’ve been challenged. With atheists one has to determine if their willing to accept a functionally accurate theoretical concept of, like a ‘cosmological god.’ If you do then you’ll see that I mentioned ‘another dimension’ or something along those lines. Things have to fall into place for us to understand something from another dimension. There is a Flash game called Z-rox that is an over simple demonstration. The cash value here is that God fits into a worldview that can easily accept and value science, and ideally should. That we understand that in order to experience God he must choose to enter into the world in some meaningful way. To me, this stuff can be Derived from modern math and cosmology. Thus, one must conclude that science isn’t going to prove God.

    Prove God.
    That said, I implied the ‘I think therefore I am’ quote. This basically gets down to business asking how we believe in stuff, how stuff is ‘proven’ to us. In the video they discussed the ‘historicity’ of Jesus of Nazareth, for instance. How do we establish something as fact. Do you believe in my side table? What evidence do you need to believe in my side table, and why? Exploring how historicity is determined can help you understand about how this art and science influence our world today. Yes, I think I did answer everyone at this point.

    We didn’t get to anything, I just described my first post.

  123. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, there’s a bunch of nonsense in here.

    I don’t think empiricism stands up to scrutiny, we teach and see results from military science, for instance, so we get plenty of information from things other than our own reasoning capability and experience.

    What the shit are you talking about? Are you saying that science, which has empiricism as its CORNERSTONE, doesn’t produce accurate results? That it can’t withstand scrutiny?

    Also, what does that second part even mean? What is it about “military science” that falls outside our own “reasoning capability and experience?” Do you even know what empiricism is?

    Do you believe in my side table? What evidence do you need to believe in my side table, and why?

    Multiple demonstrations are pretty easy. The senses can help confirm each other, and other observers can independently confirm my own observations.

    That said, the whole “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” thing plays a role here. I’ll go on record as saying that textual “evidence” alone will never, ever convince me of anything considered miraculous. I find such a standard to be far too low…hell, there are mundane things that I won’t be convinced to be true through text alone. I’m an engineer, and when test data comes to my desk with hinky numbers, I don’t accept it until I go to the floor and observe the test myself. I also make sure someone else is there to confirm.

  124. David Lowery says

    I’m an engineer. I think I embraced mathematics and science and depicted what a God being or power must be like. This deals directly with what science can and cannot measure. Understanding statistics, one needs to assume that in an atheist audience many of the audience member are to have had terrible fathers and personify the construct of God with the fault or exaggerated faults of their fathers, in order to counteract that, in part, I’ve use the idea that God is, saying that it would be effective but an over simplification to think of the first mover as being an extra dimensional being, and in that I encourage you to think about what that means, possibly look up some videos on YouTube about additional dimensions if you don’t take my explanation seriously. This deals directly with our ability to make empirical claims with regards to the being of God. I think anyone claiming that they understand or believe in science more than I do has a daunting task ahead of them. I mentioned this in my first post.

    Now as to proof of the miraculous. How much proof would it take? Would first hand proof be enough? I often have my doubts that first hand proof would be enough for some people. To over simp.ify it: Statistical outliers linked with veneration of a certain individual is considered sufficient for Catholics, that is, multiple miracles are required for sainthood to be declared. These things are highly improbable. I appreciate that depending on ones prejudiced they may see this practice in a variety of ways, but, I suggest it is defensible.

  125. Monocle Smile says

    Understanding statistics, one needs to assume that in an atheist audience many of the audience member are to have had terrible fathers and personify the construct of God with the fault or exaggerated faults of their fathers

    Yeah, you can fuck yourself, troll-ass.Now you’re just making shit up. There are no actual statistics like this, so stop lying your grammar-impaired ass off.

    I think anyone claiming that they understand or believe in science more than I do has a daunting task ahead of them.

    My willingness to believe that you’re a real poster and not purely a troll is waning fast.

    Statistical outliers linked with veneration of a certain individual is considered sufficient for Catholics, that is, multiple miracles are required for sainthood to be declared.

    The Catholic church makes shit up to consecrate their own people. They invented the standard and then invented the “miracles” to fulfill it. It’s part of the propaganda campaign. Tell us something we don’t know. If you’re trying to say that any of these “miracles” actually happened, the word of a corrupt political train wreck isn’t good enough.

    How much proof would it take? Would first hand proof be enough?

    Depends on what you mean. I would be more inclined to suspect I’m going crazy, hallucinating, or being deceived before I accept a miracle. I’ve seen David Copperfield, after all. We’d have to have a repeatable demonstration for independent observers. If a miracle actually happens in reality, the phenomenon is in fact testable by science even if the source can’t be confirmed.

  126. David Lowery says

    If God created space-time then we can’t necessarily prove God like gravity, correct, as God would not necessarily be constrained by space-time? So, we need to look at most of the things in life that we believe that are not proven by science, right, for a reasonable methodology? And, you’re expressing anger with the Catholic Church and admit a bias against first hand experience of the miraculous. Being skeptical about such experiences is certainly reasonable and is, in fact, a Catholic norm. An impervious rejection of the miraculous is not, and it is not, in fact, even in line with empiricism to have an obstinate mindset in this regard. Possibly the easiest route would be through miracles attributed to the intercession of saints in the Catholic Church. In this regard we would have to explore your animosity toward the Catholic Church and then explore the methodology of beatification. Fair?

  127. Monocle Smile says

    we need to look at most of the things in life that we believe that are not proven by science, right, for a reasonable methodology?

    I’m not sure any such things exist.

    you’re expressing anger with the Catholic Church and admit a bias against first hand experience of the miraculous.

    1) I find anyone who does NOT express anger towards the Catholic Church to be morally repugnant, given its long history of committing atrocities for the sake of power and public image.
    2) I’m not “biased” against miracles any more than I’m “biased” against alchemy. I’m going to go with Occam’s Razor unless I have a good reason to oppose it.

    Possibly the easiest route would be through miracles attributed to the intercession of saints in the Catholic Church. In this regard we would have to explore your animosity toward the Catholic Church and then explore the methodology of beatification.

    There’s no “methodology.” What you call “beatification” is invented bullshit that evidently doesn’t happen unless you can prove it does. This is analogous to discussing the endocrine system of Bigfoot; you’re going deeper into mythology.

  128. corwyn says

    admit a bias against first hand experience of the miraculous

    I have no bias against first hand experience of the miraculous. However, since I have personally experienced exactly zero miracles, it isn’t terribly pertinent. Miracles I have heard about are, BY DEFINITION not ‘first hand’.

    How’s that Bayesian analysis of Catholicism coming?

  129. David Lowery says

    You make assertions against the Catholic Church but don’t believe anything that isn’t proven by science. I suppose given the general rejection of historical fact necessary to this methodology I could deny that the Church did anything bad, however, I prefer to accept the charges against the Church in a realistic way set in the context of history, wherein they almost always appear to be superior than the actions of the culture of the setting.

  130. David Lowery says

    Do you accept other things as fact that you have not experienced first hand?

    A mental excerciwe: Would something like a cell phone (or a telescope, glasses, a metal needle) to a prehistoric person appear to have the capacity to prove God exists to them? I suspect in many cases it would, even if the bearer rejected the existence of God, knowing human nature, they may think of the object itself as godlike.

    I think the Catholic Church is significantly unique, and a realistic depiction of the Church in time shows that it is composed of human being, making mistakes, but that it also has a strong tendency to act in ways that lead and are superior to its own historical and cultural setting.

  131. corwyn says

    Bayesian? You mean like a statistical proof that Catholicism is true?

    No one who knows statistics could possibly have written that sentence.

  132. Monocle Smile says

    You make assertions against the Catholic Church but don’t believe anything that isn’t proven by science.

    Don’t conflate “is not proven” with “could not be proven.”

    I prefer to accept the charges against the Church in a realistic way set in the context of history, wherein they almost always appear to be superior than the actions of the culture of the setting.

    There was never a point in history where systematic child rape by the dozens and subsequent obfuscation was ever “superior” to cultural norms. You are woefully ignorant of pretty much everything, including history. Hope that crow tastes good.

    As for miracles, testable demonstration or GTFO. Not my fault your beliefs have weak foundations.

  133. Monocle Smile says

    Would something like a cell phone (or a telescope, glasses, a metal needle) to a prehistoric person appear to have the capacity to prove God exists to them?

    You’re arguing against yourself here. The fact that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic is an argument AGAINST miracles and/or gods.

    I think the Catholic Church is significantly unique

    I don’t give a shit. Why would anyone give a shit? What does this have to do with the supernatural? Nothing whatsoever. You’re tap-dancing. Make a goddamn point.

  134. corwyn says

    Do you accept other things as fact that you have not experienced first hand?

    No, I don’t accept things as facts (as you misused the term above), ever. Maybe you should actually look up ‘Bayesian’.

    And I couldn’t care less what would ‘prove’ something to prehistoric people. Convince a modern rationalist, and I might consider looking into it.

    I will concede that the Catholic church has produced some amazingly proficient psychopaths and killers. But not uniquely so.

  135. David Lowery says

    Answers both posts by Monocle Smiles: According to the US state department the problem of child sexual abuse in public school is, I’m not kidding, 100 times worse in public school than in parochial schools. If the media could give up their prejudice against the Church and see our civilization in a realistic way, the government may actually have a strong incentive to adopt rules like Catholic organizations already have done to protect children from such violence.

    Miracles seem like precisely one kind of human interaction an extra dimensional being would use to show us its own nature as far as we could comprehend it.

    There are all kinds of things you can’t test, but that you believe.

  136. David Lowery says

    I already looked up Bayesian. I’ll do so again, but I’m pretty sure I’ve covered it repeatedly. That and the rest of this is covered under 29.1.

  137. Monocle Smile says

    According to the US state department the problem of child sexual abuse in public school is, I’m not kidding, 100 times worse in public school than in parochial schools.

    This is a non sequitur. You don’t even understand the nature of the scandal. Have you looked at Ireland in the past couple of years, where the law is finally gearing up to drop the hammer on the Church?

    If the media could give up their prejudice against the Church

    Wow, your brain is broken. Of all denominations of Christianity, Catholics should be the LAST to pull out the stupid feigned persecution complex. I can’t even begin to explain how much you suck for this.

    the government may actually have a strong incentive to adopt rules like Catholic organizations already have done to protect children from such violence.

    *dismissive wanking motion*

    There are all kinds of things you can’t test, but that you believe.

    Can you name some of them? You’re still tap-dancing and not actually answering any of my challenges.

  138. David Lowery says

    So, I cite a statistic wherein the State department concluded the public schools are much worse that the public schools, and you moved the goal post. Fine, in Ireland there was only the Catholic schools, in the era in which much of the abuses occurred, at least in the states, we were having sexual norms rewritten around us and deviations from the norm openly endorsed, so, obviously, even people outside of those new norms no doubt found it much easier to defend their actions. You are probably looking to move onto a discussion of some ‘next scandal’ and that is fine, we can explore all of Church history together if that’s what you need to do, but there is probably some more substantial problem that is being ignored here, often a challenge to moral teachings.

    Can I ask you if you believe in anything in particular, like black holes or gravity waves, that you can’t prove yourself but believe experts on, or do I need to go about it another way. And, yah, sorry about my writing if something is off, some of it is stuff that my phone does.

  139. Monocle Smile says

    I cite a statistic wherein the State department concluded the public schools are much worse that the public schools, and you moved the goal post.

    No, you dishonest twat. I never made the argument that you feebly attempted to rebut. Learn to read and stop blaming me for your illiteracy. On a side note, it’s always hilarious when religious zealots respond to criticism by merely pointing to things that are worse, which is missing the point entirely.

    we were having sexual norms rewritten around us and deviations from the norm openly endorsed, so, obviously, even people outside of those new norms no doubt found it much easier to defend their actions.

    This is nothing but Puritanical apologist bullshit. There’s nothing about breaking from sexual repression that endorses child rape. “If our arbitrary baseless standards aren’t right, then ANARCHY!” is a blend of false dichotomy and utter nonsense.

    Can I ask you if you believe in anything in particular, like black holes or gravity waves, that you can’t prove yourself but believe experts on

    I’m not just an engineer. I’m a space systems engineer with a background in cosmology. And once again, you’re conflating “is not tested” with “cannot be tested” and are also implying that things I can’t currently test myself can’t ever be confirmed for me. This is utterly absurd and these equivocation fallacies are hallmarks of apologetics.

  140. David Lowery says

    If your point is that the Catholic Church is irredeemably bad and putting it in the context of history and culture causes you to call me names because it challenges your deep seated notions then I understand! I thought I was supposed to be the delusional one.

    I did not say that the existence of God cannot be tested, especially to the point where most people would accept certain things as truth in a philosophically and logically consistent manner, especially if they do a study of miracles. You want me to believe that this is not a sensible thing to do. However, if the nature of the thing tested is outside of space time, there really isn’t an option to test for gravity. I have, of course, tested the speed of gravity, but before that I accepted it’s speed as outlined in my physics education. Of course one cannot be expected to be an expert in everything, so we have to take things as fact that we have not personally tested, some of them are untested and some untestable. Yet people still have a grasp of intangibles, even though they cannot be reduced to a scientific experiment, and we even expect and are often cared for by people who specialize in these fields.

  141. Monocle Smile says

    I thought I was supposed to be the delusional one.

    I call you names because you’re dishonest at every turn. Your inability to grasp this is your shortcoming, not mine. Deep-throating yourself just means you completely lack self-awareness.

    one cannot be expected to be an expert in everything, so we have to take things as fact that we have not personally tested, some of them are untested and some untestable.

    I don’t object to trust based on evidence. But there are indeed varying degrees to which I believe things and that doesn’t mean I hold experts nor their findings to be beyond question. In other words, this is the diametric opposite of religion. And you haven’t named anything “untestable” yet that I believe despite the multiple requests. Answer the goddamn question.

    Yet people still have a grasp of intangibles, even though they cannot be reduced to a scientific experiment, and we even expect and are often cared for by people who specialize in these fields.

    Are you EVER going to be specific about anything, or are you going to continue to bullshit?

  142. corwyn says

    so we have to take things as fact that we have not personally tested, some of them are untested and some untestable.

    You still haven’t looked up Bayesian, I see.

  143. David Lowery says

    I am not dishonest, in fact, much of the wordiness in my writing is due to qualifying things that I have addition knowledge regarding that must for brevity sake go unwritten. I strive to be as honest as possible. There are a couple things to bear in mind before thinking another person dishonest, or, particularly dishonest: 1. A misunderstanding, such as we should expect to see when two people with diverse worldviews are having a substantial conversation. 2. Our insults are often ordered to attack people in what we see as a sensitive location, thus you see me attempting to be honest, figure it is important to me, and insult me in this regard. and 3. Our insult should be tested against ourselves, they often reflect a feeling we have that we —)unjustly(— reflect onto our the person we unfortunately see as an adversary.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t believe in various intangibles, like justice. It is perhaps, more accurate to go about this another way. Perhaps, you are aware of some other thing you accept as reality that is untestable.

    If I was interested in knowing if God existed or not, in what way could I test God, without expecting something special for myself. Knowing God is supernatural, studying miracles seems like the easiest test. For some reason atheist apologists don’t find this defense of faith satisfying. I can certainly understand not considering it personally convincing, but rejecting it as unreasonable doesn’t seem appropriate.

  144. Monocle Smile says

    A misunderstanding, such as we should expect to see when two people with diverse worldviews are having a substantial conversation.

    I don’t see how committing a straw man fallacy twice for the same argument after clarification can possibly be a misunderstanding. Furthermore, you STARTED OFF by making the crazy-ass claim that the majority of atheists have daddy issues, which is extremely insulting and undeniably false.

    Perhaps, you are aware of some other thing you accept as reality that is untestable.

    I make it a priority not to believe such things, which means you’re once again missing the point. Instead of actually answering the question, you’ve merely assumed that I share yet another one of your shortcomings. This is also dishonest.

    If I was interested in knowing if God existed or not, in what way could I test God, without expecting something special for myself.

    Not my problem and not my job.

    Knowing God is supernatural, studying miracles seems like the easiest test. For some reason atheist apologists don’t find this defense of faith satisfying

    Probably because no supposed miracle has ever passed any actual test. And that’s the FIRST STEP! You find rejection of unfounded miracle claims confusing because you’re gullible, dishonest, and suffer from an overdose of confirmation bias.

    I can certainly understand not considering it personally convincing, but rejecting it as unreasonable doesn’t seem appropriate.

    You could shut us up Hubble-style by actually producing data proving us wrong and you right, but we both know you’ll never, ever do something of actual substance.

  145. corwyn says

    Knowing God is supernatural, studying miracles seems like the easiest test. For some reason atheist apologists don’t find this defense of faith satisfying.

    Ok fine.

    Please show us your Bayesian analysis for any miracle? You claim to know statistics, show us.

    p.s. One of the reasons Atheists find studying miracles unconvincing (not unsatisfying) is that even if you PROVE that a miracle has taken place and was caused by a supernatural event. It gets you NO closer to which supernatural thing produced it, then when you started.

  146. David Lowery says

    Bayesian analysis? Studying the improbable. So, this couple’s child is born dead or dying, their parent/s (not sure, can’t remember) decides to pray for the intercession of Fulton Sheen, whom the Church has deemed worthy of testing for sainthood. After and hour being dead the and with just a little more encouragement, the child is revived and is healthy and normal to this day. Obviously, the circumstances and subject matter make a probabilistic analysis difficult and likely impossible, as well as yielding nigh impervious faith in those directly effected with an actual belief system and saint attached, and likely being quite convincing to others involved in incident.

    Monocle Smile… there is evidence that many atheists do have daddy issues. You could look it up and we could discuss sources and all that, I decided to just let it drop, apparently it was harder for you to let it go. I’m not sure what straw man you are referring to.

    I was under the impression this website was designed for people like me, and thus relinquishing the burden of proof or, it seems in this case, merely joining me in a conversation mental exercise, seems contrary to its purpose.

    I have considered conformational bias, of course, but it seems more likely any amount of data won’t satisfy many people, and it seems hypocritical from people who reject all data and also have not yet recognized the value of the question of God’s existence. It is a valuable philosophical asset rather than a burden, often seen as a burden by intellectuals, though frequently also and ironically seen as a necessity for the ‘rabble’.

  147. Monocle Smile says

    So, this couple’s child is born dead or dying, their parent/s (not sure, can’t remember) decides to pray for the intercession of Fulton Sheen, whom the Church has deemed worthy of testing for sainthood. After and hour being dead the and with just a little more encouragement, the child is revived and is healthy and normal to this day.

    I don’t believe you for one cotton-picking second. This story has major red flags…and it’s just a damn story. Is these serious the best you can do? Specious anecdotes and the failure to distinguish between correlation, causation, and coincidence? Also, why the fuck are you babbling on about probabilities in a case like this, when there’s so much more to be tested? Are there medical records? Can this be repeated? There’s so much wrong just with that one paragraph.

    there is evidence that many atheists do have daddy issues. You could look it up and we could discuss sources and all that, I decided to just let it drop, apparently it was harder for you to let it go.

    Oh, fuck you. You’re full of shit and now you’re blaming me for your shitfulness.

    I was under the impression this website was designed for people like me, and thus relinquishing the burden of proof or, it seems in this case, merely joining me in a conversation mental exercise, seems contrary to its purpose.

    I don’t know if this is tone trolling or not. Get better at English. The errors you’re making aren’t typical of technological interface issues.

    but it seems more likely any amount of data won’t satisfy many people

    So instead of supplying any data at all, you’re just going to lie and assume we’ll just reject anything and everything you present regardless of its merit. You’re a coward and a mental midget.

    It is a valuable philosophical asset rather than a burden, often seen as a burden by intellectuals, though frequently also and ironically seen as a necessity for the ‘rabble’.

    That’s pretentious, elitist, and insulting. I don’t believe for a second that people “need” religion; they convince themselves that they do and can convince themselves out of it in the same manner. Do you know how much email AXP gets from former believers?

  148. corwyn says

    Obviously, the circumstances and subject matter make a probabilistic analysis difficult and likely impossible

    Dodging. Let’s see your priors, and your likelihoods. You were the one who brought up your bona fides with respect to statistics. The inference we were supposed to take was that you had actually USED that statistical knowledge on the subject in question. So I shouldn’t be asking you to do something new, you implied that you had ALREADY done it. So show us. If you don’t think statistics is possible with respect to ANY miracle, or Catholicism, why did you bring up your skills in that subject? Just trying to blow smoke? You don’t even seem to know what Bayesian analysis IS. And that doesn’t even make uncomfortable enough to LOOK IT UP. Intellectual honest to yourself is the basis for self-respect.

    I am pretty sure a miracle where you can’t even remember if there was one or two parents isn’t very impressive. Where is the hospital documentation? None huh? EMT reports? Signed affidavits of witnesses?

    but it seems more likely any amount of data won’t satisfy many people

    Possibly, but how will you know until you present ANY data. You keep saying that, but you have yet to produce one single shred of data. None.

  149. David Lowery says

    The reason I went to the importance of the matter of God’s existence in philosophy is because that question has practical value. It doesn’t seem you’re interested in any data I can provide as to the identity of an extra dimensional creator (creator, God, or accurately following the science, a first force, first mover, or first cause). This seems to make the design of any experiment impossible, and any data easily discarded. We’re tempted to go in the circle: Show me some data, I don’t care about your data, show me some data. It’s like open admission that this data is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to the people involved, but denying it has any other value… Of course while that seems like a logically drawn conclusion from your responses, it could seem to be a straw man…. besides, what is really going on is a rejection of the question or a denial of it’s value, even though it has quite apparent philosophical value, especially eternal accountability, though that may be steps of discussion alway.

    Now this assumes that you have a grasp of the concept of what this being would be like to some extent, do I need to return to that point?

    I have to say, I hope I’m not seen as poaching, here, I thought the atheists here would be more like apologists. In that case I was also expecting to be ignored as high profile atheists almost invariably avoid Catholic apologists. There is an obvious reason, such as shown here, and also a deep seated feminist philosophical (basically that beating Catholicism logically or philosophically isn’t necessary because Catholicism is old and patriarchal and feminism is new, so the fight is unfair to begin with, some say philosophy and logic are tainted by being created by Catholics (not true it was at least as early as the Greeks) or it’s care under the Church, I guess they have a point, but it sort of avoids the whole search for truth thing) reason for this. Despite this current difficulty, I am pleasantly surprised.

  150. Monocle Smile says

    It doesn’t seem you’re interested in any data I can provide as to the identity of an extra dimensional creator (creator, God, or accurately following the science, a first force, first mover, or first cause).

    We’ve been demanding this since your VERY FIRST COMMENT, you ass-scratching baboon. Now I’m seriously leaning towards troll. You’ve gone and accused us of communicating the diametric opposite of what our posts belie.

    I thought the atheists here would be more like apologists.

    You assumed we’d obfuscate everything and resort to baldfaced lies in the end? Again, we’ve done the exact opposite and yet you continue to complain that we’re being disingenuous.

    In that case I was also expecting to be ignored

    Your biggest problem is that you prefer to talk rather to listen. You respond to our posts, but you don’t answer. Do you understand the difference?

  151. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    New mini-thread, just for this:
    @David Lowery

    If God created space-time then we can’t necessarily prove God like gravity, correct, as God would not necessarily be constrained by space-time? So, we need to look at most of the things in life that we believe that are not proven by science, right, for a reasonable methodology?

    You have already lost. You lost as soon as you said that. As soon as you said that we can show there is a god by some process other than science, you have lost. Evidence based reasoning, aka science as understood in a loose sense, is the one and only acceptable method for demonstrating the existence of a concrete thing in our shared reality. If you do not have good evidence and scientific argument, then go home until you do. Until that point, you are wasting all of our time.

  152. David Lowery says

    Yes, evidence based reasoning, like people use when something miraculous draws them to conclude that God exists. Many believe merely by the testimony of others. Instead, when I present this thought here, I was asked to produce a small child’s medical records. This is clearly an absurd level of skepticism, and almost assuredly a ridiculous claim of expertise. Since the Vatican employs a group of physicians to do the analysis and rejects some miracles, I would think most people would troll the situation by asking for somebody’s medical records, sadly, however, this isn’t my first experience of athiests doing this.

    Alright, so, good, a new voice. So, I was pointing out that using any mature science really, we can determine that if we are to prove the existence of God, it will be either some sort of random occurence or an act of that power, because, as I point out in the quote, God is definitively the creator of and not subject to space time laws. This is the clear nature of the creator power. Thus we can’t and it makes no sense to expect to design a natural experiment for a supernatural force. It is similar to looking for an extradimensional object, one must wonder, would we even know what it was if we could even see it?

    I hope you don’t have contempt for the question of wether God exists, that seems to be a common theme here.

  153. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    (I need to write a canned reply, or maybe just keep linking to the same post of mine.)

    Short version: I do not accept any useful meaning in the dichotomy of “supernatural” vs “natural”. I believe that those words are vacuous. The only use of those words is to beg the question of whether there are gods or whether there are miracles, which is why I refuse to use them except to point out their flaws.

    In practice, there is no rhyme nor reason that separates “supernatural” vs “natural” except a very specific cultural standard which is entirely arbitrary and devoid of reason. In practice, to assert something is “supernatural” is to say that reason and logic and science apply differently, or that it does not apply at all. That is the begging of the question. No. It does not matter if it’s “supernatural” or “natural”. The same rules of science apply. The same standards of evidence apply. Debating about whether it’s “supernatural” vs “natural” is irrelevant. I care about whether the thing exists, and its apparent properties, and “supernatural” isn’t one of them.

    For example, to borrow from PZ Myers, if a 300 ft tall Jesus materializes in the middle of town and started vaporizing people with its eye lasors, I would not shrug my arms and say “Meh, it’s supernatural, science won’t work”. Instead, I will run down with a syringe to get a sample. I’m going to apply the usual methods of science in the usual way.

    I trust the Roman Catholic church on matters as much as I would trust a convicted fraud, felon, child rapist, asshat – because that is what the Roman Catholic church is. They have a long history of torturing those who disagree on pedantic details, of protecting child rapists, of holding positions which amount to effective genocide by saying that condoms are always bad.

    For a specific example, let’s take Mother Teresa. Here we have a wicked woman, responsible for the deaths of thousands if not millions, and she was beautified by the church. Not just beautified, but they broke several rules about waiting periods to do so. What we have here is a well documented case of the church promoting human misery in order for positive spin for its public image. It is one of the most successful emotional con jobs of the last century.

    As another example, a Catholic friend of mine talked about the incorruptibility of saints, so I looked into it. What I found was the Catholic version, and the real version. The Catholic version was that the bodies of some saints were “miraculously preserved”. What I found was various causes, but all of them mundane, and several of them cases where members of the church were again fraudulent.

    So no. The Roman Catholic church’s experts are not acceptable experts in this case. In fact, I consider them far less reliable than the standard expert, so far as I place basically no additional value in what experts say when they’re working inside the church.

    So, having said that, I don’t think it’s too extreme of skepticism to demand medical records. We are dealing with an extremely immoral and evil organization, well known for fraud, and well know for causing the deaths of millions of people to better its public image (condoms, Mother Teresa, and more). If I had my way, the leaders of the church would be rotting in prison for child rape.

    So, if you want to be productive with me, you’re going to need to cite specific examples in order that I can research them because of my complete distrust of the Roman Catholic church. Please don’t give me a gish gallop. Please give me what you consider to be the best you’ve got. Also, protip: I’ve already personally dismantled the incorruptibility of saints, so you might want to try something else, but we’ll go there if you want.

    Also, if your evidence is not specific to Christianity, then don’t even bother. Arguing for a nameless indistinct first-cause thingy is irrelevant.

    Furthermore, the mere existence of such a thing has no practical impact on my life whatsoever. I can name a different incompatible creator hypothesis for every star in the observable universe (replace “Earth” with “planet around that star” and “humanity” with “aliens on that planet”). Showing such a thing exists gets you absolutely no closer to Christianity. It’s a non-sequitur.

  154. David Lowery says

    I lost already? My philosophy is unscathed! I went right through a basic walkthrough, but didn’t get to something like Bible defense. Just think about it, while I normally tell people that the Bible is a journey through time between God and man, thus insisting the laws be understood according to their nature, and the more difficult ones, clearly, in thier historical and cultural context, the reality is that by biblical standards, millions, evens billions of people, especially women, might actually be better off under OT law… they have not even left their captivity and journeid to the promise land, much less had the journey rewarded by actually seeing a God who choose to be seen who described ourselves and Himself to the world. That’s basically the Bible. Categorize the laws, understand them in context, witness it as a journey, that we are then called to participate in. That’s the deal. Not to mention that according to myinterpretation it is not to be understood as a science book, even though it can be understood as foreshadowing certain parts of science (what is nothing to God? zero to us is possibility, so is nothing to God possibility like creation?) or philosophy (what is the meaning of this name “I am”, or slightly described, the one who always is?, an important philosophical construct)

    I try to understand, and I think I do a good job of understanding modern atheism, but it seems full of itself to me. Like it doesn’t actually care that most people at believe in God or at least struggle with the question of God’s existence. And then denying there is any positives in the philosophy of assuming God exists. Even in today’s world it grants some resistance to random changes in cultural morals, though this has been greatly eroded. From the natural law standpoint it seems like a necessary part of basic human survival, this question we’ve wondered since… forever as far we go back.

    Anything else?

  155. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    they have not even left their captivity and journeid to the promise land

    You understand there never was a Moses, right? You understand that more or less all of the book of Exodus is fiction, right?

  156. David Lowery says

    I suppose you could consider my post still accurate while rejecting the existence of Moses.

    You have just testified that you won’t accept the term supernatural, thus requiring God to be subject to it’s own creation which makes no sense.

    And then described your bitter animosity toward the Catholic Church. Is there one thing about the Catholic Church you hate that we could start with?

    You’ve claimed expertise at discrediting miracles, you mean, like to the atheist choir? I actually put myself in a si ilar position before brainstorming reasons why some ‘supposed miracle’ might not actually be a miracle, my conclusion was that I’m actually not a doctor and also wasn’t there, so I need to trust somebody.

    If I don’t trust anyone then I basically choose bitterness, and also is irrational. I mean seriously, I think it’s irrational, it isn’t very promising, no, nor does it challenge my understanding of reality in any way that people are irrational distrusting. Some of them may be excused to some extent as they’ve been injured in some way, and for these, the best way to attempt to lead them to healing appear to me to be to try and have them place the object of their irrational distrust into context.

  157. corwyn says

    [more dodging]

    Quit telling us why you AREN’T providing data, and start providing data.

  158. David Lowery says

    What kind of data?
    What kind would actually be appropriate for the subject matter?
    What kind of experiment or data should we be collecting?

  159. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    As for supernatural, I don’t know what word games you’re playing. I never said that your god must be subject to its own creation. I don’t even know what that means. My entire diatribe was that I do not know what “natural” vs “supernatural” means, and that most uses of the word “supernatural” seem to be merely excuses for avoiding the burden of proof.

    Your organization – the Roman Catholic church – is responsible for the systematic protection of hundreds (if not more) child rapists going back centuries. It has been official church policy to protect child rapists from prosecution, and to move them to new areas without informing anyone, thereby enabling more child rape. The former pope, Ratzinger, personally wrote the memo which said that anyone cooperating with police in suspected child rapes by clergy shall be excommunicated.

    Oh, how convenient. Because I’m making robust points attacking your religion, I’m bitter, and thus irrational, and thus not worthy of future consideration? Effective mental protection thing you’ve got going on there. Wouldn’t want to consider alternative viewpoints, practice critical thinking, now would you? Better to dismiss those atheists as just being bitter and irrational.

    As many others have asked you – got any evidence?

  160. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Dunno. How about Jesus showing up in New York square every Saturday to do some magic healings.

    In general, how about any piece of evidence which can allow us to distinguish between the universes where there is no Christian god, and the universes where there is the Christian god. You know – evidence. You said you’re a scientist. You should know these concepts.

  161. David Lowery says

    So, you don’t think that God would be subject to the laws of creation, and yet you want a science experiment to prove God much like tthe speed of gravity or something. Might point is that it doesn’t make sense to conclude this is an appropriate expectation. If I can’t convince you, it may well be up to God.

    You claimed the bitterness, and I asked you why. This is fine, let’s go through some history.

    You think the Church handled sex abuse in the culture worse than the culture it was in? I don’t think so, and I think the evidence contradicts that as well. In fact, I know you’re wrong and apparently know very little about the topic. The US state department said sex abuse in the public schools is 100 times worse than in Catholic schools. Does that paint a clearer picture?

  162. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    So, you don’t think that God would be subject to the laws of creation,

    Again, I don’t know what that means. Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

    yet you want a science experiment to prove God much like tthe speed of gravity or something.

    Yea, basically. Or some archeological evidence for it like you might see in history books or in geological or astronomy. Something like that.

    Might point is that it doesn’t make sense to conclude this is an appropriate expectation. If I can’t convince you, it may well be up to God.

    Then what I said earlier applies. You are dodging your burden of proof. You are saying that there is some method other than science to determine your beliefs about concrete things in our shared reality. And as I said earlier, as soon as you make that move, you lose. If you make that move, then you will not be able to convince me of anything. The conversation is over.

  163. David Lowery says

    So… I see… I assume atheists understand the first cause argument because they continuously try to ignore it. The first cause, occurs before space time exists. So, making a space time experiment to detect God, makes no sense, per se, unless the first mover decides to be detectable or is somehow detectable. I have repeatedly likened it to attempting to interpret something that exists in an additional dimension. You can look up videos on additional dimensions on Youtube and also there is a flash game called z-rox that helps demonstrate a simplified version of the difficulty.

    When designing test one needs to understand, what am I testing for?

  164. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    When designing test one needs to understand, what am I testing for?

    When you say it exists, what does that mean? What signifies its existence as opposed to its nonexistence? What makes the claim not empty, not vacuous? You need to tie your claim back to evidence, to sensory experience.

    What makes you think that its name is Jesus? What makes you think that it died for your sins?

  165. David Lowery says

    Normally I recomend a study of miracles, as this seems like a sensible way God would make himself known if He chose to show Himself. Many people, probably most derive the existence of God from the fingerprints of God in the beauty of creation method, or, occasionally some derived impossiblilty of the universe fine tuning method. It’s rather unusual to have to resort to full blown miracles to find faith, but that is normally the most effective way to fortify the faith for many believers. For me? Well, I could point out what I think are the effects of God caring for me in my life, or the Church caring for me, but, I also like how natural law according to and protected by the Church can be used to forecast the problems society faces today and in the future… I find it thoroughly fascinating and see people without faith typically rejecting something in the natural law that can be defended reasonably.

  166. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    Have at it. This fuck doesn’t do anything but babble pointlessly. It’s hard enough to follow his posts, and none of them are worth it because they dodge and repeat themselves.

  167. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “I recomend a study of miracles”
    “I could point out what I think are the effects of God caring for me in my life,”

    Such as? Which miracles? Does it cite its sources and give primary evidence?

    “probably most derive the existence of God from the fingerprints of God in the beauty of creation method”
    “occasionally some derived impossiblilty of the universe fine tuning method”
    “or the Church caring for me”
    “I also like how natural law according to and protected by the Church can be used to forecast the problems society faces today and in the future”

    How is this evidence that its name is Jesus? How is this evidence that it died for your sins?

    “It’s rather unusual to have to resort to full blown miracles to find faith”
    Faith is the excuse people give when they do not have good reasons and evidence. Faith is literally make-believe. Faith is inherently dishonest. If you had sufficient evidence, you wouldn’t call it faith. You’d call it justified belief.

    “I find it thoroughly fascinating and see people without faith typically rejecting something in the natural law that can be defended reasonably.”
    Such as?

  168. corwyn says

    What kind of data?
    What kind would actually be appropriate for the subject matter?
    What kind of experiment or data should we be collecting?

    Oh look, more dodging.

    You claim to know statistics, you claim to believe in a god. Your claim to knowing statistics was made in a post concerning belief in a god. Therefore we can rightly expect that you have statistical evidence for your belief in a god. Please present the evidence and statistics THAT CONVINCED YOU. It really isn’y hard. Either you have evidence or your claim is forfeit.

    Last chance.

  169. corwyn says

    The first cause, occurs before space time exists.

    Here is a bet for you (1 box of cookies):

    I bet you can’t DEFINE the word ’cause’ without assuming space-time.

  170. David Lowery says

    I’ll try this one more time. We’ll go super slow, if I can manage the boredom of going so slow, it is rather impressive how long this is taking you guys.

    Suppose we are considering if God exists.
    What is this God like?
    We are considering a Creator God.
    Then by definition this God created space-time, at the Big Bang or the beginning of the multiverse cycling or whatever you think the beginning of time looks like according to science.

    If you have a problem understanding this step let me know. I’ll check back tomorrow, maybe.

  171. Monocle Smile says

    You’re the one confused.
    How do you distinguish this god’s existence from its non-existence? How do you know it exists? You babble about “miracles” for thousands of words and are confused that we don’t just believe your bald assertions. You’re gullible, we’re skeptical. Convince us with a testable demonstration instead of whining.

  172. David Lowery says

    If you are so disinterested that you can’t bare the time to process this statement:

    Then by definition this God created space-time.

    Then what are you even doing here. You can’t teach a kid to add in less words than that, why do you think this dialog would be so simple?

    SO, is this OK,

    “Then by definition this God created space-time.”

    Can I assume you understand this for the sake of the continued discussion.

    Again, I can continue if you can comprehend this:

    “Then by definition this God created space-time.”

    I can explain further why this is the definition we should use, if you need me to, are you having trouble with this:

    “Then by definition this God created space-time.”

  173. Monocle Smile says

    Yes, I understand that you’re trying to include “it exists” in the definition of god, but you can’t prove anything exists merely by playing word games. Defining things into existence is about as dishonest as it gets, especially when you want to drag in this term “god,” which refers to some kind of agent. There doesn’t appear to be any agency involved in the workings of the universe. What you have is MAYBE a hypothesis, but it’s just a bald assertion unless you can back it up with actual evidence.

    You’re almost too stupid to insult at this point.

  174. David Lowery says

    The defined the parameters of a Higg’s boson before they went in search of it. It’s like atheists insist on looking for the Higg’s by throwing a tennis ball at a garage and then laughing when the experiment unerringly fails. The Higg’s boson had a definition and a range within which it’s energy was expected for fall.

  175. Monocle Smile says

    *facepalm”

    You DO realize that a hypothesis and a conclusion are different, right?

    If anyone claimed that it was a fact that the Higgs Boson existed and described it before experiments verified it, they would be WRONG. There was a mathematical basis for its existence AND a shitload of experiments already done all pointing to it. How do you think they defined the hypothesized domain in the first place?

    There is NOTHING LIKE THAT regarding your supposed god.

    It’s like atheists insist on looking for the Higg’s by throwing a tennis ball at a garage and then laughing when the experiment unerringly fails.

    Well, when you FUCKING AVOID ANSWERING EVERY GODDAMN QUESTION, what choice do we have? Several posters here have REPEATEDLY demanded a method by which we can verify the existence of your god. a demonstration that said method is accurate, AND the verification of your god. Yet all you do is bitch, moan, and babble. You don’t provide anything and yet blame us because you’re fucking stupid.

  176. David Lowery says

    I suppose this discussion is a reflection of leading atheists like the one’s who run and moderate this site.

    Me: Let’s define terms so we can understand each other.
    Atheists: You’re a (censored).

    lol. You guys have a long way to go become attractive as a movement acting like that.

  177. Monocle Smile says

    And now the predictable descent into vanilla-flavored trolling. That’s all you wanted to do, it seems.

  178. David Lowery says

    Ah, you’re so corgial. I’d love to start over patiently from the beginning.

    We should start with a simple definition to help clear up what we’re talking about. This forum is dedicated to the discussion of religion and atheism, correct?

    So, we should start with a definition of God, how about a simple one.

    Creator.
    This God created everything which necessarily includes space time.

    Call it a hypothesis if you want. All I care is that if you don’t understand why this must be or don’t understand the statement in general please ask for a clarification.

    If I’m not allowed to define any terms for the sake of discussion it isn’t really a discussion, right?

  179. corwyn says

    Then by definition this God created space-time, at the Big Bang or the beginning of the multiverse cycling or whatever you think the beginning of time looks like according to science.

    Already too assumptive.

    Pick ONE thing which you wish to call ‘god’. If you name more than one thing, you need to name them separate things, and SHOW that they are in fact one thing.

    god A: created space-time.
    god B: banged the two branes together which formed the big bang.
    god C: sparked quantum fluctuations in a low entropy soup.
    and so on. Then we can talk about any particular one you want to. Note that this ties your naming to actual reality, and I know you are going to deny that since if that model is disproved your god goes away too.

  180. Monocle Smile says

    I understand your definition. I understood it before you ever posted anything.

    I just skipped to the end of your argument because it was insanely obvious where you were going to anyone without grievous head injuries. In fact, I now apologize to all those suffering from grievous head injuries because it was probably obvious to them as well.

    So yes, I understand what you’re talking about. Now, does this “god” exist, and how do you know?

  181. corwyn says

    Creator.
    This God created everything which necessarily includes space time.

    Self-contradictory. Everything must clearly include god.

    Can you please try again?

  182. David Lowery says

    Okay, I was attempting to use a definition that was adaptable and simple enough for anyone to understand, I did offer a more complex definition earlier on that was apparently ignored or rejected as I find myself back here now returning basic foundational issues of communication. I think this is a kind of obstruction rather than honest intellectual work and I appreciate the opportunity to showcase and exercise my incredible patience and humility. So we’ll call the term Creator a concept, how about that, is that generic enough? And this concept is defined as creating time, however time came into being. This is a simplification still, but should be adequate as a means of enable basic discussion. Watch out audience we may need to define additional term.

  183. David Lowery says

    Alright, so the Creator actually created “all things” “visible and invisible” “before all ages”. That would be more text book, I thought you might find mine easier to understand.

    I suppose this is useful, in a way, as if you get farther into the discussion of the Christian concept of God, the Creator is the unsourced Being where as the Son and Holy Spirit have a Source and Sources respectively, while both share the properties of God and are thus still the source of time themselves, like the Creator. And as the concept God dictates, they are, one in Being, according to the concept.

  184. Monocle Smile says

    That didn’t answer my question and it was word salad, so it wasn’t even a proper answer to corwyn.

    Are you ever going to grow a spine and get to the goddamn point?

  185. corwyn says

    so the Creator actually created “all things”

    So the Creator is not in the set of ‘all things’, and thus does not exist?

    Do you see my problem here? You have a definition of god which disproves his very existence.

  186. David Lowery says

    Fine. It is God’s nature to exist. You could do something similar to how scientists use two terms “Universe” and “universe” to describe things. In this case, in one way, God is the only “Thing” that exists, and everything else is a ‘t’hing. This should be completely unnecessary to explain, even though, I have explained it already, in the other stuff I’ve written here, I have now done so explicitly, requiring absolutely no brain power to understand, so simple a child could understand it, and no doubt you guys are going to have trouble wrestling up the will power to attempt a civil conversation, instead, please prove me wrong. If my fans, friends, and frenemies are reading this, perhaps this is getting mind numbingly dull for them, it would be a great break for everyone if you could attempt to understand the concept on a superficial level like a small child easily could, thank you.

  187. David Lowery says

    I bet you can understand this:

    The problem isn’t my explanation, or even the subject matter. It isn’t that I need to explain things. It’s that my audience is a couple of arseholes who think that acting like complete idiots makes them seem ingenious. If you were children being taught this and you had so much trouble I would expect that you needed special education to get this far in life, except for the complete fucking dumbshit arsehole thing which makes you seem absolutely behaviorally disabled and in need of counseling for daddy problems, mentioning which pushing your ‘go batshit crazy button.’ Sadly, I’m not surprised to be talking to a couple of mentally handicapped 12 year olds in an atheist forum. Maybe is false flag, lol, I know it’s not…

  188. David Lowery says

    I really just meant that for atheist apologists that use the internet to spread their good news. They’re almost always complete idiots and total arseholes. In this case, I waited until long after I would have attempt to correct somebody I knew in person for being a complete arsehole in order to correct you guys. Let me know if there is any point in continuing.

  189. Monocle Smile says

    It is God’s nature to exist.

    Yeah, now you ARE just trolling. You went apeshit earlier when I called you out for defining god into existence, and now you have done EXACTLY THAT. You can’t just define something as existing. That’s not how reality works. It’s clear that getting us in a tizzy and wasting space on a message board is all you have, because you are a sad, sad, illiterate person.

    Fuck. Off.

  190. corwyn says

    It is God’s nature to exist.

    That isn’t a definition of god either.

    It does make it pretty clear that you aren’t *describing* a thing that exists, but inventing a definition of something you want to exist.

  191. corwyn says

    It’s that my audience is a couple of arseholes who think that acting like complete idiots makes them seem ingenious.

    There, now doesn’t that make you feel better. I am sure your Jesus is proud now.

  192. corwyn says

    And this concept is defined as creating time, however time came into being.

    Ok, your ‘creator’ is the cause of time? Now what? What does mean? Without time is there any way for things to change? Does this time caused by the creator include both time as a dimension AND the arrow of time?

  193. corwyn says

    The defined the parameters of a Higg’s boson before they went in search of it.

    Not so much. They predicted the parameters of the Higg’s boson based on a scientific model of the nature of reality. They didn’t *decide* that the rest mass would be 125 GeV, the math of the model worked out that it would be (around) there. If they hadn’t found it, that model would have been rejected. Is this something you are willing to undertake with your definition of god?

  194. corwyn says

    Nope. You haven’t even shown you understand it.

    Do you accept other things as fact that you have not experienced first hand?

    Is a question which makes no sense in the context of Bayesian analysis.

  195. Narf says

    I noticed that David was a dishonest douche-bag who deliberately made his god undefinable, about 3 or 4 of his comments in. That’s why I didn’t engage, past my first response. Sounds a lot like most of the Catholics I grew up around, who are so hung up on the mystery of God. This guy is even more vapid than most of them, though.

    Just like CaptainCrunched, back in the post for the previous episode. Once I got his bullshit statement about how he knows my response to the cosmological and teleological arguments won’t be any good … ah, so you effectively admit that you’re not going to even consider my responses in any way, so it’s not worth me wasting my time giving them. Yeah, fuck off, dude.

  196. Monocle Smile says

    CaptainCrunched is pretty frustrating. I was still waiting to see you continue to post, because I appreciate your contributions.

    Drew apparently sees the world as a child would. There’s zero depth to his thinking and he doesn’t want to confront ANYTHING remotely uncomfortable. It’s like he doesn’t take his beliefs or the topics of discussion seriously, though his posting frequency suggests otherwise. He also seems shocked that the rest of us DO take these things seriously and want to change the way things are (Drew seems just fine with every problem related to his religion in the world). I just don’t understand people like Drew. There’s a fundamental divergence in how we go about understanding reality early in the process.

  197. Narf says

    CaptainCrunched is pretty frustrating. I was still waiting to see you continue to post, because I appreciate your contributions.

    Nah, once someone essentially admits that he’s going to ignore anything I contribute to the conversation between us, I’m done with the asshole.

    You run into the issue with most theists, in which they’ll be oblivious to their auto-filling of the multiple, glaring logical holes in a supposed proof for their god. When they were indoctrinated into the faith as a child or were pulled into it for bad, emotional reasons, they’ll fill in the logical holes with an argument from ignorance or an equivocation fallacy, and they either won’t see it or will refuse to admit it.

    In Kalam, there’s an equivocation fallacy, involving ex nihilo being present for one part and it being absent for the other. You need the ex nihilo in place for premise one to work, and you need it gone for premise two to work.
    In the teleological argument, you have a similar slight-of-hand in which they slide gracefully (or gracelessly, in the case of some apologists) between apparent design and actual design.

    Captain is an extreme example of the auto-fill problem, even going preemptive, apparently. I just hit the point at which it isn’t worth engaging someone so dishonest, unless you’re doing it for the observers … and he was likely the only theist who was following the conversation, so screw it.

    I’m a bit less willing to engage in pointless back-and-forth with idiots like him, right now, because I’ve been working 50 – 60 hour weeks. The project I’m on has entered the critical stage and goes live this upcoming Friday morning. I’m expecting to work 84 hour weeks for the two weeks after that.
    If I was salary, I would be quitting on Friday. It’s still going to suck, but the paychecks will be worth it, down the road. 44 hours of time-and-a-half each weeks adds up quickly.

    Drew apparently sees the world as a child would.

    Could be worse. He could be Bobby. :D

    There’s zero depth to his thinking and he doesn’t want to confront ANYTHING remotely uncomfortable.

    I think one of his malfunctions might be that he doesn’t realize he has the affirmative position. He’s the one who has to come to us and convince us that he has a valid point.

    We just have to sit back and rip holes in his arguments, until he can put together something that doesn’t fall apart under a light breeze. Until he can do so, our stance that he’s unjustified in his belief stands.

  198. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Again David, what the hell does anything of this have to do with why you think its name is Jesus and why you think it died for your sins.

  199. says

    What about which came first a witness or a testimony, or the truth or speculation? The bible is full of inconsistencies which is just one of the many reasons why this religion is so messed up.

  200. says

    God isn’t even subject to his own laws let alone to the laws of nature. For example; was god married to Mary, or did she already have a husband whose name was Joseph? If you read your own bible adultery is considered to be a sin. Yet you have a god who can’t or won’t abide to his own laws which by itself is hypocrisy.
    And what about a god who betrays his own son by promising anyone who believes in him protection from perishing and then allows his son to perish? Real men don’t love Je$u$. Real men standup for what is right.

  201. MagnusStockholm says

    Maybe it’s been dealt with before, but isn’t there some sort of equipment to get so that you could, as live radio shows do, delay the audio just a very few seconds so that someone in the control room can block at least the scream effect type of trolling? Some radio shows go to commercial if someone on it for example uses a word that is not allowed, which prevents the listener from even hearing it.

    But even though this show don’t have commercials, perhaps such equipment can block the audio and have silence for just a very few seconds, making the scream effect seem more lika a broken call for the audience.

    Since trolls like that feed on having their “achievements” displayed, such as here: http://www.youtube.com/user/jpmpro/videos

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