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Author Topic:   I know God exists & the court of highest appeal is me.
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 499 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 76 of 94 (459464)
03-07-2008 6:08 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Rob
03-07-2008 8:19 AM


Re: The Difference Is
Rob writes:

You see ignorance of God as a reason to believe he does not exist.

Rob, you're putting words in his mouth: he didn't say this (unless you meant to reply to this post). Maybe he has personally taken a belief that God does not exist, but this is really not much different from your (and my) belief that God does exist: neither one is based on anything that any of us could ever prove definitively and unobjectively without direct divine intervention (i.e. without Him showing up before us). So, your implication that you are being more scientific in regards to God's existence is inaccurate. Straggler's signature (though quite accurate) is not a definition of what is and isn't "scientific."

Ichthus wrote this same thing in a fairly recent thread called God vs Science:

Ichthus's chain mail writes:

"Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"

"No sir. I've never seen Him."

"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"

"No, sir, I have not."

"Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"

"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."

"According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist..."

This is NOT what science says. Science simply holds no position on the existence of non-existence of God. This is what Chiroptera said (very well, I think) about this here:

Chiroptera writes:

But because there isn't an answer doesn't mean that one can just believe whatever one wants. When there isn't an answer, then one simply accepts that there isn't an answer.

Well, okay, one can always believe what one wants; one can even believe what one wants even when there is a scientific answer. We see this all the time here, where people believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old even though it is very clearly billions. Of course that is foolish, believing what one wants despite the actual answer being very clear. But I don't think it's much less foolish to believe what one wants even when there is no clear answer whatsoever.

In fact, this theme is everywhere on EvC. Evolutionists here have to constantly explain that there is no "belief system" associated with science, except in regards to the relatively few things in this universe that have actually been demonstrated.


There was a point to this [post], but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. -modified from Life, the Universe and Everything, Douglas Adams
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 77 of 94 (459467)
03-07-2008 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Blue Jay
03-07-2008 6:08 PM


Re: The Difference Is
Rob, you're putting words in his mouth: he didn't say this (unless you meant to reply to this post). Maybe he has personally taken a belief that God does not exist, but this is really not much different from your (and my) belief that God does exist: neither one is based on anything that any of us could ever prove definitively and unobjectively without direct divine intervention (i.e. without Him showing up before us). So, your implication that you are being more scientific in regards to God's existence is inaccurate. Straggler's signature (though quite accurate) is not a definition of what is and isn't "scientific."

For the record I would not say that I have concluded that God definitely does not exist. Just that he and any other god that I might care to dream up (maybe the great god wooboo has just revealed himself to me exclusively and I have mistaken this for a product of my imagination) are all equally (un)likley given the lack of reliable evidence for any of them.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3650 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 78 of 94 (459488)
03-08-2008 2:07 AM
Reply to: Message 77 by Straggler
03-07-2008 6:37 PM


Re: The Difference Is
Straggler:
For the record I would not say that I have concluded that God definitely does not exist. Just that he and any other god that I might care to dream up (maybe the great god wooboo has just revealed himself to me exclusively and I have mistaken this for a product of my imagination) are all equally (un)likley given the lack of reliable evidence for any of them.

What evidence would you be willing to accept? What proof of God's existence do you seek?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 79 of 94 (459524)
03-08-2008 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by Rob
03-08-2008 2:07 AM


Re: The Difference Is
What evidence would you be willing to accept? What proof of God's existence do you seek?

Well the independently repeatable verification of a specific measurable physically detectable prediction that itself is both logically derived from the hypothesis 'God exists' and currently unknown to science would be a very good start.........

Think along the lines of Big Bang theory and the subsequent detection and measurement of the CMB radiation.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3650 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 80 of 94 (459528)
03-08-2008 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 79 by Straggler
03-08-2008 10:57 AM


Re: The Difference Is
Straggler:
Well the verification of a specific measurable physically detectable prediction that itself is logically derived from the hypothesis 'God exists' would be a good start......

There was another man who refused to believe until he had physical proof. And that is reletively reasonable I might add. Though we must remeber that science postulates and believes int things long before the theory is proven. So we do not do so absolutely.

Anyway... this man was very dissapointed by the fact his Lord had been crucified. He felt very taken and used. All of his investments of time and loyalty to a man that appeared to be a fraud. Christ crucified made no sense to him. I think we can appriciate his attitude.

He would not believe in the ressurection unless he was personally able to touch this supossed risen Lord.

But upon contact, his countenance changed significantly.

John 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." ( http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=joh+20:28&version=niv&context=1&showtools=1 )

The irony is, if we would only believe in the same manner we believe our theories to be valid (based on much evidence) even without full disclosure, then he promises to reveal himself to us individually and bring us to life on the inside, so that we are not just bags of atoms.

Untold millions have seen Him. And I have seen Him. And I give my life and reputation to share the good news.


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Replies to this message:
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CK
Member (Idle past 1929 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 81 of 94 (459529)
03-08-2008 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 80 by Rob
03-08-2008 11:15 AM


Re: The Difference Is
What sort of proof is that? a second hand tale in a book put together by lots of different hands?

I've never understood why Christians think that sort of "proof" is going to sway anyone.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1093 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 82 of 94 (459587)
03-08-2008 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by Rob
03-08-2008 11:15 AM


Re: The Difference Is
Rob writes:

And I give my life and reputation to share the good news.


What the hell are you talking about? Your reputation? The overwhelming majority of people in this country are christians. If a person is an atheist he will never ever be able to get elected into any kind of political office worth elected in to. In other words, atheists in this country are second class citizens because we will never be able to get into many of the positions that only christian (bigots) can get into. Admit it, you can't even get elected into the oval office without hinting you hate fags in the name of god.

I don't understand this persecution complex that you and so many christians have. You outnumber us 10 to 1. You guys have made sure that any atheist would never be able to get into any high political office. And here you are thinking as if you're still being fed to lions or something.

That's right, Rob, I hate to break this to you, but christians are the persecuters nowadays. So can we please stop this persecution complex bullshit?


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Straggler
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 83 of 94 (459673)
03-09-2008 12:15 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Rob
03-07-2008 8:19 AM


Re: The Difference Is
As for testing, what exactly are you testing for?

Reliability of conclusion.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Rob, posted 03-07-2008 8:19 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by Rob, posted 03-09-2008 12:32 PM Straggler has responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3650 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 84 of 94 (459675)
03-09-2008 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by Straggler
03-09-2008 12:15 PM


Re: The Difference Is
Rob:As for testing, what exactly are you testing for?

Straggler: Reliability of conclusion.

Well irrespective of any differences btween us Straggler, on that point, I wholeheartedly agree.

Look, I have to go. I just don't have time for EVC any more. But I may pop in now and then.

You guys have helped me edit my proposition a little, so thanks for that...

Just think for yourself man. Don't let anyone other than logic himself... help you to examine your deductions about everything.

And as bizzare as it seems (and I confess it is radical), it never hurts to ask Him for help either when searching for the existential and philosophical answers of meaning and purpose in life.

Logic Himself is alive and watching. He won't leave us as orphans if we call upon Him. But to do that, we have to humble ourselves. After-all we are the students. And we are sinners.

To us, his thoughts are calculus, and we don't see the need to learn His ways if we really only want candy.

Happy trails...


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 85 of 94 (459679)
03-09-2008 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Rob
03-09-2008 12:32 PM


Constructive Comment
You guys have helped me edit my proposition a little, so thanks for that...

Purely in terms of presenting your thoughts -

I would suggest a abstract at the beginning of your paper.
Also an introduction in which you state the purpose of your paper as at the moment it requires from the reader comprehension of the reasoning for each conclusions with no initial indication as to where the reasoning is heading (which is difficult for anyone in the case of complex arguments).
Finally make it more explicit where you are using the term 'science' to mean that which you argue it 'should' mean as opposed to that which it more commonly means (esp at the beginning of your paper where the arguments as to what it 'should' mean are not yet known by the reader)

Just advice - Take or ignore as you see fit obviously.

For what it is worth I have just posted what I think is a fair summary of your thinking to the thread in question.

Anyway - Good luck with it and hopefully "see" you around again at some point.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3650 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 86 of 94 (459717)
03-09-2008 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Straggler
03-09-2008 12:59 PM


Re: Constructive Comment
Your right... In fact, the context (or abstract) came amongst the questions and comments made by another party at the journal site.

That's the difficulty of a relatively uneducated man such as myself, in conveying these things.

I wanted the argument to be as simple as possible. But... an abstract it is...

Thank you.


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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3650 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 87 of 94 (459732)
03-09-2008 4:35 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Straggler
03-09-2008 12:59 PM


Re: Constructive Comment
You probably already saw this, but I forgot to post a link to the appropriate thread to continue this side of the discussion: www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=8&t=166&m=39#39 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=8&t=166&m=39#39">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=8&t=166&m=39#39
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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 278 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 88 of 94 (459843)
03-10-2008 8:35 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Blue Jay
03-06-2008 11:54 PM


Bluejay writes:

I actually rather like Iano. His ideas are weird (and wrong, I think), but he at least has the awareness to admit the limitations of his own thinking and the intelligence to acknowledge them.

What the O.P. amounts to, really, is just a slightly more elaborate way of stating or asking something which we often see here on EvC. That is, why can't personal "experiences" of God be counted as evidence of his existence. That's why I frequently point out that different people experience different Gods, and that the word God would never be used in the singular if we were to take these experiences as evidence, so monotheistic religions would automatically go out the window.

It's worth pointing out that the Christian God will show distinct geographical preferences when choosing to whom he will "appear", a Christian experience being much more likely in Iano's native Ireland than in Saudi Arabia, for example. Other Gods show the same bizzare preferences, Allah clearly preferring areas where there are already lots of Muslims to areas where there are virtually none, and the Hindu Gods hanging around almost exclusively on the subcontinent and amongst the diaspora.

For any thinking person, that would knock the idea of the personal experience of Gods as having any relation to reality on the head (other than local cultural realities).

"Brain in a jar" type arguments are just an attempt to bring faith based beliefs up to the level of beliefs based on observation and external evidence. They're pointless, because the observed reality is the one we have to live by in order to survive, and no-one's going to put their reality to the test by walking across a busy road without looking beforehand, on the basis that the traffic they might perceive if looking could be an illusion. But many ex-theists have done away with the Gods in their heads with no adverse effects.

A truly subjective reality would be one the experiencer creates and constantly modifies him/her/itself. Or, more precisely, it would be a reality that responds to, conforms to or relies upon the experiencer's interpretations. Thus, we would have the power to change it by willingly altering our perception of it (which could explain things like faith moving mountains and stuff).

The reason I put the links through to articles on epilepsy and schizophrenia in the post you're replying to was to highlight this. We're forced to trust our senses, and those are illustrations of how they can let people with certain neurological conditions down.

An interesting way of looking at both those conditions might be suggesting that none of us are completely free from them. In other words, all brains probably have slight glitches in them, some more than others, and it's interesting to look at the prophets, seers and visionaries of all the religions in that light.

As a Christian, you might not find the idea of St. Paul or Moses being epileptics appealing, and especially the idea of Christ seeing himself as God to be the product of delusions, although I'm sure we could find plenty of people who believe they're God or the second coming alive today, both inside and out of institutions.

Mohamed is an excellent candidate for temporal epilepsy, as he is reported to have fallen to the ground in fits before delivering sections of the Koran to his followers. Which means 1.5 billion people in the world are probably following a God who's the product of someone's neurological condition. Mind boggling.

So, are religions cultural delusions, and could religion be described as madness? Read your coreligionists on this site carefully, and see what you think.

Iano has his God, and Ray his, and others, theirs. There must be some delusions going on, or we'll all have to become polytheists.:)

When I was a missionary a few years back, I had convinced myself that I had enough faith to move mountains. I was wrong. I couldn't even stop my stupid bike from wrecking.

:laugh: Take comfort, your God goes in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.


This message is a reply to:
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iano
Member (Idle past 984 days)
Posts: 6164
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 89 of 94 (460028)
03-12-2008 7:40 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by Modulous
03-07-2008 3:27 PM


Re: Methods/Discources
Sorry for the delay in getting back to your challenging post Mod.

Modulous writes:

Sure you could discuss it (solipsism) all you like. However, you have no way of knowing if it is you that is instigating the discussion or if the discussion is part of the evil genius's program. You have no way of being able to discriminate any truths and there is no progress to be made in any discussion regarding it. Since no progress is possible why bother? You might find it entertaining, so go be entertained by it. Of course I am not dismissing solipsism as a possibility, but as one that is not really worth bothering to discuss - it doesn't get us anywhere interesting or useful.

It’s not that I want to discuss solipsism particularily. The point is that I have no way of knowing (in any absolute sense) where it is I stand on the continuum between extremes. Heck, I don’t even have a way of knowing if those are the extremes. My plumping for the nature of reality I plump for hasn’t to do with my thinking this is a better way to truth, it happens to be the place that I find myself. A place that I am attached to by a whole raft of undemonstrable assumptions. I didn’t realise how much I rely on assumption until I realised how much I rely on assumption.

You haven’t come right out and said it, but I take you accept that you yourself have no way of discriminating any truths using the mechanism discussed thus far: not partily, not likely, not approximately. By truth I mean any absolute truth that might happen to exist and by ‘truth’ I mean some relative-to-something-or-other-truth.

As far as I can determine, that which is discriminated by the apparatus you describe belongs to the category of 'truth'.

Whilst sharing the first two assumptions with you, the last assumption proposed is particularily problematic - given how you later propose truth to be arrived at.

How do you know that it is problematic unless you have assumed that your mind is able to know truth? That's why it is unescapable. In order to dispute its truth, you have to assume its truth.

I don’t know that it is problematic but it does appear to be problematic.

We both seem to agree that to know something you must have truth. Now I could assume my mind can know truth and that would be fine in so far as it goes. But without a way to distinguish truth as truth, my knowing truth would be an blind event. That is to say: something that I know could well be based on truth – but I wouldn’t be able to tell.

Modulous writes:

There's no need to combine these two things, or feed them back as it were. You don't have to assume the accuracy of any particular truth-giving method. You just have to assume that it is possible to arrive at the truth of a proposition. We might not know how, and we might not ever know how - but it has to be possible to get to the truth, our confidence that we have arrived there nonwithstanding.

As mentioned above, I can’t see how the assumption kick starts anything much. It seems the key issue is determing the “truth”giver as truthgiver.

Consensus can lead you astray for all the same kinds of reasons - making it a double edged sword. When the mind has more time to come to conclusions, just consensus is to be treated with an enormous amount of scepticism.

My point was to illustrate a problem inherent in all methods of so-called truth-giving. They rely in some way on the correctness of our assumption for their truth. Rendering them ‘truth’givers not truthgivers.

You won't be able to tell the absolute accuracy of things, but because of assumption number 3, it is at least possible to approximately reason the relative likelihood that a given proposition is true or not.

I don’t see the connection between an “assumption that” and “a method to”. You introduce reason here as the instrument of calbration of approximity but don’t say what calibrates reason (would it be reason?). I’m also thrown by your use of words such as “approximate” and “relative likelihood” in respect to truth.

If access to truth is so central to knowing and truth is only approximated then so must knowledge be approximated. Meaning we don’t know anything (in the sense that the English speaking world uses the word know)??

Ultimately, your perceptions are the highest court in the land as to what you believe to the be the case. Whether you or anyone else decides they want to call this knowledge is another issue. If you want to call it knowledge you'd have to explain how you came to the conclusion that it is true.

I don’t conclude it true because I don’t suppose to have a way to conclude true*. And I don’t suppose anyone else has a way to conclude true either. As soon as assumption is the foundation, concluding truth has to have a rider attached “true so long as…”. Which is more or less what I am saying about my knowledge. It is knowledge... so long as…

You'd then be faced with a choice, do I hamper communication by calling something 'knowledge' when my audience would not accept it as knowledge - or do I concede that the criteria of truth I'm employing is suspect in my audiences mind and I will get my point across better by saying 'strongly believe' instead.

What is suspect about my criteria of truth is suspect about your criteria of truth. Namely that you have no way of arrriving at it. If you say you know then the same provisio must attach to your knowledge as it does mine. You perceive your existance a certain way and make assumptions about that existance. Truth relies on those assumptions and perceptions being the case – not on any wranglings the epistimologists or philosophers (you assume to exist) happen to conjure up to circumvent the fact that you can’t tell.

But it raises problems about what it means to know something. If a friend of yours had a head injury and started believing completely that you looked like iano, but you had been replaced by an imposter - would you be comfortable condeding that your friend knows that you are an imposter? Would that not be saying that your friend's proposition is true?

I would say that my friends know something subject to his perception being true. I would be of the opinion his perception is false but failing a truthgiver I can go no further.

A hypothetical for you Mod:

Suppose God exists and suppose that God demonstrates his existance to someone. Would you accept that the person now has knowledge of Gods existance or would you still insist that a person could only say (to themselves) that they believe that God exists. If the latter, would you not be saying that God cannot demonstrate himself to someone to the point of them knowing he exists?

The issue here is the persons escape from the bootstrap argument. The person is shifted from self-dependency for arriving at truth to God placing them at truth.

No, and you can't argue that it is even likely to be true because the only criteria of truth that you can appeal to are suspect ones. Thus you can only say that you really believe it is true, just like technically your friend should say. When do you get to say it is true? Well you aren't the judge over whether it is true, reality is the only judge. You get to say I think the proposition is true because...your only justification seems to be you believe what you perceive. That is a weak justification for a variety of reasons, one being that your friend above cannot lay claim to truth based on his perceptions so just based on your simple perceptions it isn't really sufficient to call something 'knowledge'.

I don’t see how what you are doing is all that much different than what I'm doing. You’ve erected a whole series of fences over which you are supposed to jump before you can say you have attained knowledge. But you don’t seem to realise that any knowledge you say you have (including knowledge that these fences constitute a route to knowledge) relies on your perceptions and assumptions being the case. Perceptions and assumptions about your existance, others existance, the level to which reality reflects whatever reality happens to be true.

Attempts to solidify the certainty of your perceptions are all bootstrap to one degree or other which, whilst complicating the maze slightly, don’t alter the ultimate conclusions to be arrived at. These are:

- You know things, subject to your perceptions and assumptions being the case.

- You have no way to establish that your perceptions and assumptions are the case.

We might both agree at this stage that absolute truth is an essential ingredient in true knowledge and failing a means of arriving at absolute truth (which is not attained by our simply assuming we can know it in potential fashion) we know nothing in fact. Or at least, if happening to know absolute truth due to our perception aligning with true reality, cannot know that we know it.

*There is the special case of God deifying man by which a man could make the leap into knowing that he knows the truth. But I haven’t really gotten my head around that one yet. Suffice to say, it doesn't involve man pulling himself up by his shoelaces


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Modulous
Member
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 90 of 94 (460041)
03-12-2008 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 89 by iano
03-12-2008 7:40 AM


An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
It’s not that I want to discuss solipsism particularily. The point is that I have no way of knowing (in any absolute sense) where it is I stand on the continuum between extremes. Heck, I don’t even have a way of knowing if those are the extremes. My plumping for the nature of reality I plump for hasn’t to do with my thinking this is a better way to truth, it happens to be the place that I find myself. A place that I am attached to by a whole raft of undemonstrable assumptions. I didn’t realise how much I rely on assumption until I realised how much I rely on assumption.

Yes, welcome to metaphysics. There are some good arguments out there, but no absolute proofs.

You haven’t come right out and said it, but I take you accept that you yourself have no way of discriminating any truths using the mechanism discussed thus far: not partily, not likely, not approximately. By truth I mean any absolute truth that might happen to exist and by ‘truth’ I mean some relative-to-something-or-other-truth.

As far as I can determine, that which is discriminated by the apparatus you describe belongs to the category of 'truth'.

Sounds like a roundabout way of saying, one cannot experience the objective since experience is necessarily subjective.

I don’t know that it is problematic but it does appear to be problematic.

How do you know that it appears to be problematic unless your mind is able to know truth?

We both seem to agree that to know something you must have truth.

Only partly. Since we have established that we cannot know if we have truth, we must modify the meaning of 'know' to represent a communal agreement over the confidence one has in the truth of the proposition based on agreed upon criteria of truth.

As mentioned above, I can’t see how the assumption kick starts anything much.

The three primary truths don't kick start anything - you just have to accept them and note that you are accepting them if you are going to proceed with epistemology.

I don’t see the connection between an “assumption that” and “a method to”. You introduce reason here as the instrument of calbration of approximity but don’t say what calibrates reason (would it be reason?). I’m also thrown by your use of words such as “approximate” and “relative likelihood” in respect to truth.

After we have assumed our mind can know truth, we can develop ways of getting at it. If we don't make this assumption no methodology follows.

Nothing 'calibrates reason', it is essentially part of assumption three that reason can be used (since our minds can know truth, and our mind reasons). You shouldn't be thrown by approximates and relative likelihoods in respect to the truth, they are ways of getting across the principle of fallibilism and tentativity.

If access to truth is so central to knowing and truth is only approximated then so must knowledge be approximated. Meaning we don’t know anything (in the sense that the English speaking world uses the word know)??

Well, obviously we don't know anything in the sense of having absolute guarantees on the truthhood of a proposition. In lieu of these guarantees we say we know something when we have applied certain applicable criteria of truth to the proposition. If we communicate that we know something, it is because those that we communicate with would more or less agree that I have used the appropriate criteria of truth to come to that conclusion.

I don’t conclude it true because I don’t suppose to have a way to conclude true*. And I don’t suppose anyone else has a way to conclude true either. As soon as assumption is the foundation, concluding truth has to have a rider attached “true so long as…”. Which is more or less what I am saying about my knowledge. It is knowledge... so long as…

Right, but people you are communicating with don't accept your unique brand of 'so long as' because it ushers in optical illusions, hallucinations, delusions etc etc.

According to common usage, what you have is called a belief.

What is suspect about my criteria of truth is suspect about your criteria of truth. Namely that you have no way of arrriving at it.

That is not relevant to the point about communication I was making. You can choose to use words that your audience translates in a different way if you want - but don't expect them to understand what you are talking about.

If you say you know then the same provisio must attach to your knowledge as it does mine. You perceive your existance a certain way and make assumptions about that existance. Truth relies on those assumptions and perceptions being the case – not on any wranglings the epistimologists or philosophers (you assume to exist) happen to conjure up to circumvent the fact that you can’t tell.

Yet you agree that, when not talking about God, certain criteria of truth are just more reliable than others. You know that there isn't a star inside your computer, because it is incoherent with what you know about stars and computers. It doesn't correspond with reality (no gravity issues) and so on and so forth. I am perfectly happy to include fallibilism and tentativity into my conclusions about certain propositions, but sometimes it just isn't worth stressing them.

Suppose God exists and suppose that God demonstrates his existance to someone. Would you accept that the person now has knowledge of Gods existance or would you still insist that a person could only say (to themselves) that they believe that God exists. If the latter, would you not be saying that God cannot demonstrate himself to someone to the point of them knowing he exists?

Well, I know my friend Luke exists, so it would certainly be possible for God to get to that same level of knowledge. To qualify God would need to be more than a voice in my head or an image in my brain or a feeling in my gut. I can't prove Luke exists 100%, but hallucinations are rarely so detailed as Luke is. For instance, Luke can tell me something I didn't already know about 14th Century European politics - it could be an hallucination combined with amnesia - but then Luke could slap me so hard it bruises. Everyone I come into contact with agrees there are bruises, and that Luke gave them to me.

So yes, there can come a time when you just have to say, if this is an hallucination it is so realistic, questioning it is absurd

On the other hand, if I thought there was a ghost in my house I might notice that it only seems to come about when I am on my own, at night, during a windstorm. I have good reason to conclude that this actually might be something conjured by the superstitious brain.

I don’t see how what you are doing is all that much different than what I'm doing. You’ve erected a whole series of fences over which you are supposed to jump before you can say you have attained knowledge

It's language, iano, you are forever doomed to be its slave. If you want to say something you had best make sure you use the words that your audience understands.

The criteria of truth are not a convenience - you use them, I use them others use them. Philosophy has long concluded that we are limited in how confident we can be in the truth of any given proposition.

I think it has been shown that the only way you can get to call your belief in God a knowledge is if you allow every madman and drug user the same licence to call their perceptions knowledge too. If that is your conclusion, that your knowledge of God is on an equal footing with 'The CIA have implanted a chip in my brain that controls my thoughts' and 'The clouds laugh purple as the earth quakes', then so be it.

Personally, I see no linguistic utility in using 'belief' as synonymous with 'knowledge' - it will just engender confusion. Granted, we can never know if a proposition is true - so we cannot know that we know anything. However, we can have a convention whereby we agree that if someone can have a high confidence in the truth of a proposition - they can be said to 'know' it. Incidentally, I don't think you can have a high confidence in any truths of a proposition regarding God.

We don't have to play a game of you either know nothing, or we know everything. We can simply say that we can reason towards truth and away from falsity, and that having applied the criteria of truth, we can confidently say that we know x or y. Human knowledge, courtesy of fallibilism, stops being something that has to be 100% guarantee of the truth of the proposition, and becomes something of a matter of degree.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 89 by iano, posted 03-12-2008 7:40 AM iano has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 9:13 AM Modulous has responded

  
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