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Author Topic:   Immaterial "Evidence"
Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 136 of 154 (524808)
09-19-2009 1:47 AM
Reply to: Message 135 by Kitsune
09-18-2009 5:46 PM


Re: commonality of causes....
Have you ever had a feeling of warmth, elation, joy and 'oneness' that you attributed to some plane of existence or unseen entity?
Not that I can remember. I've always thought it was different kinds of energy I was experiencing. Chi is everywhere.
Chi counts as an unseen entity.
You can remind me of all the ways the human mind can be flawed but I think we're going to end up disagreeing on where we each set our plausibility meters
You asked me how the cognitive flaws might be affecting your set of beliefs, so I answered.
Have you ever spoken to someone who is dead, or otherwise absent as if they were there?
No, but I know people who have.
Really? I do it all the time. It's not like I have conversations with them - but I do talk to them.
"It's a shame you missed this one Adam!"
or
"I guess you were right, Dad!".
Are examples of talking to the dead and the absent that I've engaged in.
Have you ever held a belief purely because your parents or other authority figure told you it was true?
If anyone did, does that invalidate the belief?
Whoever said anything about invalid beliefs? I certainly have held beliefs, and maybe still do, purely because by parents/guardians have told me it was so. But even scientists count. It's a cognitive shortcut, you trust someone else to do the mental work/have had the experience - rather than doubting and being sceptical of everything. It is a vital practice otherwise children would step out in front of trains and drink a lot more bleach to test if it really is lethal.
Have you ever thought about something, dreamed about it, and then had it happen and attributed it to something 'going on' behind the scenes?
Even so, as I've asked here before, how is any of this proof of the divine?
It doesn't prove, or disprove the divine. I said "It just means that they were all affected by a common cognitive shortcut." and you asked me,
"I don't think this could be applied to my own theology, though you're welcome to pick my brains on this one. "
So I went ahead and accepted your invite.
IMO these are phenomena that will eventually be accepted as real and normal.
They already are accepted as normal. The difference is that they aren't attributed to anything 'spooky' by psychologists or neuroscientists or the like. I dream and think about a heck of a lot of things. Most of the time the dreams and thoughts only match the future in general ways, occasionally there will be a match that is a little more than general but it is rare. However, having a brain that loves to pattern match, the times when a dream or thought has matched to the future is given much more significance in my mind than those times when they don't.
For the account you gave, no. Not all UFO sightings are as easy to explain as this, though it has to be said I have little knowledge of this area.
Of course not - some are easier, some are harder. There were plenty of other examples of helicopter identifications and the document I linked to. That wasn't the point I was making though. The person who witnessed the event felt a 'presence' and suddenly 'at peace'. It would appear that both he and the UFO investigators that interviewed him, having been primed to think alien spaceships, truly and sincerely believed that was what was going on.
The rational mind would logically deduce, no doubt, that since many cases have normal explanations, then they all do; and the unsolved ones simply don't present enough evidence to be rubber-stamped to that effect. I've simply been saying all along that I'm not convinced that we ought to be rationalising all of these things away because we could be missing something.
Maybe so, but we have evidence that people make catastrophic mistakes. People mistake flares, weather balloons, bolides, Venus, the moon, street lights, helicopters, planes and clouds for alien spaceships time and time again. Indeed, in proven cases of hoaxes 'experts' have come forward (air traffic controllers and pilots are favourites) and said "It's definitely not a flare" only for the hoaxters to release a video of them setting up their flares.
I think we're getting off topic again here, though. I don't believe that UFOs are evidence of the divine and I'm not aware of anyone who does. I don't think poltergeists, ghosts, telepathy, or precognition are either, necessarily. If the reality of all of these things were proved, I don't know that we'd be any closer to finding God.
The thread is about immaterial evidence. I am merely explaining the case as to why the kinds of evidence for immaterial entities you have proposed as avenues to explore is unreliable and problematic. I have evidence over here showing that humans can and do make big mistakes in the kinds of areas under discussion. I can show that they are practically hard wired to make certain kinds of mistakes and that these can be repeated, and tested and thus verified. So I can verify with good confidence that things exist that can serve as potential explanations for these kinds of events.
Now, the counter explanation is that some of the underlying phenomena are gods, aliens, chi, ghosts or whatever. Can you verify with any confidence at all that the things you are proposing to explain these phenomena exists beyond the beliefs of those that experience them?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Kitsune, posted 09-18-2009 5:46 PM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by Kitsune, posted 09-19-2009 2:27 AM Modulous has replied

  
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 4408 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 137 of 154 (524809)
09-19-2009 2:27 AM
Reply to: Message 136 by Modulous
09-19-2009 1:47 AM


Re: commonality of causes....
quote:
The thread is about immaterial evidence. I am merely explaining the case as to why the kinds of evidence for immaterial entities you have proposed as avenues to explore is unreliable and problematic.
I've talked in this thread about ways that we could examine some phenomena (such as the hypothetical sighting of the IPU) and posit some explanations; and in some cases legitimately end up with "I don't know." You could take this a step further and say "I don't know, but I think it's extremely unlikely." I'm maybe a little more willing to leave the door open.
quote:
Chi counts as an unseen entity.
You mean like electricity? It's more similar to that than it is to ghosts or gods. Chi in itself is not consciousness.
quote:
"I don't think this could be applied to my own theology, though you're welcome to pick my brains on this one. "
So I went ahead and accepted your invite.
To reiterate, I believe that on a metaphysical level all is one, all is interlinked. I don't see how this is dependent on the validity of any of the paranormal phenomena that have been touched on here. This is probably the only thing that I believe with something approaching certainty. I think it's likely that spirits exist in different forms but this is more problematic for me because of all the reasons we've been discussing, which boil down to the difficulty of determining when an experience is genuine and when it isn't. I would use the methodology in Message 51 to arrive at "I don't know" after excluding all other possibilities as best as I was able. From there? I'd probably go with how I felt and what I personally found plausible; I think that's permissible in such a situation, though I try always to be open to the possibility of new evidence making it necessary to change that. I've also discussed anecdotes here and I would probably use those to help me decide how to interpret my experience, tentatively, because I'm aware of the possible difficulties with those too. Life isn't always as easy as we'd like it to be, nor are the paths to truth.
quote:
Can you verify with any confidence at all that the things you are proposing to explain these phenomena exists beyond the beliefs of those that experience them?
It depends on what you mean by "verify with any confidence." When we have reached the limits of empiricism, and no new evidence appears forthcoming? Difficult question. I'm still not satisfied with, "We know that the human mind is fallible, therefore every single one of these phenomena are due to the fallible human mind." I think it's too all-encompassing. Plus, however gently people insist that this is always the rational stance to take, it is insulting to myself and others who believe we have had genuine experiences. Bless, we really want to believe but sadly we're deluded, aren't we? I'm sensitive to energy and I've felt chi, though I have a feeling no one here would believe it because it's likely I'm making it all up even if I think I'm not. The fact that chi is as real to Eastern philosophy and religion as the sunlight on the grass makes no difference because it's mass delusion, right? It's been interesting thinking about all of these things but I suspect I will walk away from this discussion feeling the same as I always do -- that this was an intriguing but otherwise somewhat frustrating and pointless exercise.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by Modulous, posted 09-19-2009 1:47 AM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 140 by Modulous, posted 09-20-2009 6:49 PM Kitsune has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 174 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
(1)
Message 138 of 154 (524843)
09-19-2009 3:21 PM
Reply to: Message 123 by New Cat's Eye
09-18-2009 10:58 AM


Absence of Evidence - Common Ground At Last
I don't even know what you're talking about anymore. Now that you've both italicized and bolded the word 'degree' and turned agnosticism into the flip of a coin, I don't think we're talking about the same thing, or maybe we are more than we think.
Any more? I am utterly astonished, given your participation at EvC over the years conversing with numerous atheists, that you have been operating under the complete misapprehension that atheism requires absolute certainty. If nothing else this series of threads have hopefully dispelled that myth for you. In the name of highting the consistency of this position I will refer you to my first ever EvC post Message 34 from 2006 which pertains to atheism and Dawkins 7 point scale of belief.
By your definitions I am an agnostic with regard to the actual existence of the Immaterial Pink Unicorn. By your definitions Richard Dawkins himself is merely an agnostic with regard to the existence of gods. Personally I think you need to re-evaluate your terminology. However as long as the underlying concepts are understood I don't actually care what words you use and you are welcome to call me (and Dawkins) whatever makes you happy.
'a degree of "human invention is the most likely explanation" atheism IS justified over "It's 50-50 I just don't know" agnosticism'
Finally. Based on the objective evidence alone, the only evidence with any degree of demonstrable reliability, human invention IS the most rational answer and a degree of atheism is thus the rational conclusion. We seem to have at last found common ground. Common ground which does not incorporate the flawed notion that atheism (using mine, Mod's and Dawkins use of the term rather than your certainty based one) equates to "absence of evidence is evidence of absence". The much Venn diagrammed flawed notion that so got my goat and set this ill tempered extended discussion in motion in the first place.
Although, maybe in the sense that you don't believe that god does exist it is rightfully called atheism, but I don't think you've rationally crossed the line into active disbelief in god.
I believe that any given god concepts (and associated visions, voices etc. etc.) are more likely products of the human mind than actual real entities. Is that not a degree of active disbelief?
You've used the fact that specific descriptions of god have been shown to be false to get a likelyhood for a god in general but I don't think it follows.
That is a rather simplistic and inaccurate misrepresentation. My position is as much about the ongoing ability and proclivity of humans to invent ever less refutable supernatural explanations for very human reasons as it is about the fact that this has been demonstrated to be the case time and time again throughout history. That we have a well proven track record of inventing falsified god concepts is (some of the) evidence in favour of that argument. It is not the argument itelf.
But as long as we agree that the atheism I have been espousing all along is not purely based on "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" as was initially insisted upon with a relentles series of Venn diagrams and is in fact derived from the objective evidence available to us - Then I am happy to finally lay this five thread discussion to rest.
Does that clear it up?
I hope so.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-18-2009 10:58 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 139 by anglagard, posted 09-20-2009 5:31 PM Straggler has seen this message but not replied
 Message 141 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-22-2009 12:56 PM Straggler has replied

  
anglagard
Member (Idle past 945 days)
Posts: 2339
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 139 of 154 (524968)
09-20-2009 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 138 by Straggler
09-19-2009 3:21 PM


Re: Absence of Evidence - Common Ground At Last
Straggler writes:
Then I am happy to finally lay this five thread discussion to rest.
Personally I applaud this decision. One may as well argue over taste in music as argue over taste in literature.
As long as it is a personal decision that in no way, manner, or form, is forced upon others, what is the problem?
Yes, I may be off-topic in this thread, but I am not off-topic in the ultimate reason for this forum.
Edited by anglagard, : always an edit - remove not before forced to speak in the vernacular and avoid misunderstanding

The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes.
Salman Rushdie
This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. - the character Rorschach in Watchmen

This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by Straggler, posted 09-19-2009 3:21 PM Straggler has seen this message but not replied

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 140 of 154 (524974)
09-20-2009 6:49 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by Kitsune
09-19-2009 2:27 AM


Re: commonality of causes....
It depends on what you mean by "verify with any confidence." When we have reached the limits of empiricism, and no new evidence appears forthcoming? Difficult question. I'm still not satisfied with, "We know that the human mind is fallible, therefore every single one of these phenomena are due to the fallible human mind." I think it's too all-encompassing.
I'm not suggesting we do that. I am simply saying that when we are using error-prone recording equipment we should not jump to conclusions if we see a lot of errors. The fact that there are a lot of similar looking glitches being reported can't really be used as evidence that there is something going on. Preferably we would want a completely different kind of recording equipment available with different kinds of glitches so that we can compare the two and filter out as best we can what is and what is not.
Plus, however gently people insist that this is always the rational stance to take, it is insulting to myself and others who believe we have had genuine experiences
If I believed my experiences were due to spiritual energies I wouldn't take it personally. It's not like I'm denying that you had a strange experience.
I'm just saying that we have evidence that these kinds of strange experiences can occur due to the way all of our brains are wired up and that though it is compelling to believe they are geniune - it might be wise to be more sceptical about it (pending corroborating and independent types of evidence) lest we come to believe in an illusion (a Maya as the Hindus would call it) which might have a negative affect on our ability to make sound decisions.
Bless, we really want to believe but sadly we're deluded, aren't we?
Without independent evidence, how can we know?
I'm sensitive to energy and I've felt chi, though I have a feeling no one here would believe it because it's likely I'm making it all up even if I think I'm not.
I have had a number of experiences that I have referred to as the workings of chi before now. I did not make that up any more than you did. I have experienced channelling chi, opening another's chakras and pulling out negative 'tangled' energy and have even seen chi. None of that is made up.
The fact that chi is as real to Eastern philosophy and religion as the sunlight on the grass makes no difference because it's mass delusion, right?
Not all eastern philosophies and religion. But it does make a difference: It means that there is likely a commonality of cause for this belief. This fact alone does not weigh in one direction or another as to its explanation. It could be that the cause is that chi is a real independent thing. It could be that deeply rooted cultural ideas combined with the cognitive shortcuts effect might lead to it being believed.
Only the latter has any independent evidence confirming it might be true (in that it requires only entities that have been observed and tested).
It's been interesting thinking about all of these things but I suspect I will walk away from this discussion feeling the same as I always do -- that this was an intriguing but otherwise somewhat frustrating and pointless exercise.
A lot of the time, you seem to ascribe to me a stronger hard-line position than I am actually taking.
Ultimately, all I am saying is that the proposed evidence that 'lots of people have reported experiencing something similar' isn't really evidence of the entities being real. It is evidence that there is some commonality (or commonalities) of cause. We know what some of these causes are with reasonable confidence because they have been tested. There maybe other causes that we have yet to confirm. We could propose an infinite number of different entities that might explain the reported experience - but without an independent test of existence or for the ability for it to be a cause, why think any of them are a cause?
We could say it is the holy spirit or chi or love or healing energies, the rosy fingers of the daughter of dawn or secret undetectable poison administered by the CIA by skin contact... it doesn't matter.
Some causes may be undiscovered by science, they probably are. It seems premature to speculate with any confidence on what those other causes actually are if we have no hope of testing that hypothesis.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Kitsune, posted 09-19-2009 2:27 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 150 by Kitsune, posted 09-25-2009 5:47 AM Modulous has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 141 of 154 (525210)
09-22-2009 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 138 by Straggler
09-19-2009 3:21 PM


Re: Absence of Evidence - Common Ground At Last
Any more? I am utterly astonished, given your participation at EvC over the years conversing with numerous atheists, that you have been operating under the complete misapprehension that atheism requires absolute certainty.
No, not absolute certainty, but certainty yes. If you weren't certain then you'd be agnostic, no?
Position 6 on the scale starts with "I don't know".
From Message 34
quote:
The key difference is that those of faith are necessarily 1s whilst those that call themselves atheists would more likely describe themselves as 6.999999999Rs as they would generally accept that absolute certainty about anything requires the sort of faith that they oppose!!
6.99999R = 7.0
Its certainty that isn't absolute.
By your definitions I am an agnostic with regard to the actual existence of the Immaterial Pink Unicorn. By your definitions Richard Dawkins himself is merely an agnostic with regard to the existence of gods. Personally I think you need to re-evaluate your terminology.
Does god exist?
Yes, no, or I don't know?
Me? I don't know, but I think he does, so I'm gonna go with 'yes', ie #2
If you say 'no', then you're an atheist. If you say 'I don't know but no', then while you're counting as a "degree" of atheism, you also count as agnostic.
Finally. Based on the objective evidence alone, the only evidence with any degree of demonstrable reliability, human invention IS the most rational answer and a degree of atheism is thus the rational conclusion. We seem to have at last found common ground.
But its an uncertain degree of atheism that can just as rightly be called agnosticism, IMHO. And this is different from a 6.9999R.
BTW, where is this demonstrated reliability?
Using the objective evidence that countless cultures have independently found enough reason to believe in god(s), we could argue that it is more likely that there actually is god(s) than all of those cultures being completely mistaken, so the rational conclusion based on the objective evidence is a degree of theism over 50-50 agnosticism
I don't know anybody whose a 50-50 agnostic as everyone has leaned one way or the other. And those leanings can be rationally justified either way. I think you're wrong that you're particular leaning is the one rational one.
Common ground which does not incorporate the flawed notion that atheism (using mine, Mod's and Dawkins use of the term rather than your certainty based one) equates to "absence of evidence is evidence of absence".
Since you're bringing up old shit, how about this one: Message 29
quote:
I am "atheistic" about fairies living at the botttom of my garden.
This "atheism" towards fairies is based on the absence of evidence. Logically speaking should I be agnostic about fairies?
Would you say that you are agnostic about fairies?
I believe that any given god concepts (and associated visions, voices etc. etc.) are more likely products of the human mind than actual real entities. Is that not a degree of active disbelief?
No, I don't think weighing a likelyhood and leaning slightly to one side is being certain of a position.
And I don't think that weighing the likelyhood can lead to enough certainty to take an active position.
You've used the fact that specific descriptions of god have been shown to be false to get a likelyhood for a god in general but I don't think it follows.
That is a rather simplistic and inaccurate misrepresentation. My position is as much about the ongoing ability and proclivity of humans to invent ever less refutable supernatural explanations for very human reasons as it is about the fact that this has been demonstrated to be the case time and time again throughout history. That we have a well proven track record of inventing falsified god concepts is (some of the) evidence in favour of that argument. It is not the argument itelf.
You're still making the illogical leap from 'some gods being shown to be invented' to 'gods don't exist', if you're going to take that argument to certainty.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by Straggler, posted 09-19-2009 3:21 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 142 by Straggler, posted 09-22-2009 1:24 PM New Cat's Eye has replied
 Message 144 by onifre, posted 09-22-2009 3:37 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 174 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
(1)
Message 142 of 154 (525216)
09-22-2009 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 141 by New Cat's Eye
09-22-2009 12:56 PM


Re: Absence of Evidence - Common Ground At Last
I am a 6 on the Dawkins scale. By your definitions it appears that I, along with Dawkins and Modulus, am an agnostic. In my case at least an agnostic who believes that the likelihood of any given god concept actually existing as opposed to being a human invention is very low. An agnostic who believes this based on the objective evidence available rather than "absence of evidence is evidence of absence".
No, I don't think weighing a likelyhood and leaning slightly to one side is being certain of a position.
Nor do I and nor does anyone else. But I think caling a Dawkins an agnostic would defy most people's definitions of the term.
And those leanings can be rationally justified either way. I think you're wrong that you're particular leaning is the one rational one.
Well it is the objectively evidenced one. I thought you had agreed that based on the objective evidence alone a degree of "probably human invention" disbelief was rationaly justified?
You're still making the illogical leap from 'some gods being shown to be invented' to 'gods don't exist', if you're going to take that argument to certainty.
Nope. I can only say this so many times in so many ways.
Straggler writes:
No. I am not making an illogical IF SOME THEN ALL statement as you imply. I am making an evidence and reliability based statement. I am pointing out that if you have someone who after thousands of proclamations on a particular subject has a 100% failure record then you would be an idiot to put money on them making an accurate statement regarding that subject any time soon. Especially if you have other objectively evidenced reasons to think that they will continue to make such inaccurate but sincere proclamations for reasons that have nothing to do with external reality and everything to do with their own innate and internal needs. Especially if with every proclamation the claim in question gets ever more sophisticatedly undefinable and immune from refutation. Message 67
CS writes:
Since you're bringing up old shit, how about this one
No claim operates in a total vacuum of objective evidence. That, if anything, has been my mantra in these threads.
CS writes:
Does god exist?
Very probably not.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 141 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-22-2009 12:56 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 143 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-22-2009 2:39 PM Straggler has replied
 Message 145 by onifre, posted 09-22-2009 4:03 PM Straggler has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 143 of 154 (525227)
09-22-2009 2:39 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by Straggler
09-22-2009 1:24 PM


Re: Absence of Evidence - Common Ground At Last
I am a 6 on the Dawkins scale. By your definitions it appears that I, along with Dawkins and Modulus, am an agnostic. In my case at least an agnostic who believes that the likelihood of any given god concept actually existing as opposed to being a human invention is very low. An agnostic who believes this based on the objective evidence available rather than "absence of evidence is evidence of absence".
Well, I see this as a different position than: "Atheism (as opposed to agnosticism) is the only rational position when the objective evidence is evaluated".
No, I don't think weighing a likelyhood and leaning slightly to one side is being certain of a position.
Nor do I and nor does anyone else. But I think caling a Dawkins an agnostic would defy most people's definitions of the term.
I had a whole thread on the definition of atheism: Message 1. I found this post to: Message 71 for more back story if you care to read it.
I can appreciate that the meanings of words change and that my definition could be getting outdated.
And those leanings can be rationally justified either way. I think you're wrong that you're particular leaning is the one rational one.
Well it is the objectively evidenced one. I thought you had agreed that based on the objective evidence alone a degree of "probably human invention" disbelief was rationaly justified?
Yes, but I'm calling that agnosticism and it fits in with what I have been advocating the whole time.
You're still making the illogical leap from 'some gods being shown to be invented' to 'gods don't exist', if you're going to take that argument to certainty.
Nope. I can only say this so many times in so many ways.
Straggler writes:
No. I am not making an illogical IF SOME THEN ALL statement as you imply. I am making an evidence and reliability based statement. I am pointing out that if you have someone who after thousands of proclamations on a particular subject has a 100% failure record then you would be an idiot to put money on them making an accurate statement regarding that subject any time soon. Especially if you have other objectively evidenced reasons to think that they will continue to make such inaccurate but sincere proclamations for reasons that have nothing to do with external reality and everything to do with their own innate and internal needs. Especially if with every proclamation the claim in question gets ever more sophisticatedly undefinable and immune from refutation. Message 67
Then you're wrong that "thousands of proclamations on a particular subject has a 100% failure record", but that is not for this thread.
CS writes:
Does god exist?
Very probably not.
I can accept that as a logical and rational answer to the question (although I could equally accept 'probably so' as well).
It fits within the agnosticism that I have been claiming should be the position since the beginning.
Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by Straggler, posted 09-22-2009 1:24 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 147 by Straggler, posted 09-22-2009 5:38 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 3059 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 144 of 154 (525232)
09-22-2009 3:37 PM
Reply to: Message 141 by New Cat's Eye
09-22-2009 12:56 PM


Re: Absence of Evidence - Common Ground At Last
Does god exist?
Outside of all the proposed God(s) that have been said to exist, there are no other descriptions of God(s). Therefore, I could simply be an atheist to that (or those) types of descriptions of God(s).
Any other ambiguous description merits no consideration for belief or disbelief. In fact, no other description of God can be understood without evidence for what you (or someone who believes in this ambiguous figure) believes exists.
God, as in Yahwah, Allah, Ra, Zeus, Apollo, Vishnu, etc., are the only God(s) we know of. Some other nondescript version of this entity fails to make the cut as a "God," it's just what you (or someone with your shared perspective) are calling something that you can't describe. How is that a God? Furthermore, how could I be considered an atheist toward something like that?
Does god exist?
What do you mean by God?
- Oni
Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 141 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-22-2009 12:56 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 3059 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 145 of 154 (525234)
09-22-2009 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by Straggler
09-22-2009 1:24 PM


Absence of evidence for what exactly?
CS writes:
Does god exist?
Straggler writes:
Very probably not.
Let me ask you the question with some specifics, Straggler, to see if that probably would change.
- Do you believe Zeus is the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky and thunder?
- Do you believe Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis?
- Do you believe Allah is the creator of the universe?
- Do you believe Bacchus is the god of wine, and the patron deity of agriculture and the theater?
- Do you believe Jesus was born of a virgin?
- Do you believe Vishnu is the All-Pervading essence of all beings, the master ofand beyondthe past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within?
And finally, do any of these God(s) exist and represent these characteristics?
Would you be a #6 or a #7 on the atheist scale when considering those above specifics?

Now, let me ask it this way: Do you believe an unknowable, nondescript force, that you can't currently experience objectively, might exists?
Would you consider this "unknowable, nondescript force, that you can't currently experience objectively" a God? OR just the name I'm giving something that I experienced, for lack of a better word/explanation?
Are you an atheist toward God, as described in religions, cults, sects, tribes, OR, are you an atheist to some unknown, nondescript force that lacks any further explanation?
- Oni
Edited by onifre, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by Straggler, posted 09-22-2009 1:24 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 146 by Straggler, posted 09-22-2009 5:07 PM onifre has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 174 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


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Message 146 of 154 (525240)
09-22-2009 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 145 by onifre
09-22-2009 4:03 PM


Re: Absence of evidence for what exactly?
Hey Oni
I appreciate you efforts to try and make some sense out of all of this mess. I will be as explicit and honest in my answers as I can.
Would you be a #6 or a #7 on the atheist scale when considering those above specifics?
Honestly? Well at the risk of giving CS, RAZ or LindaLou a quote mining field day I would say that in all honesty I am 6 point plus but not a 7 regarding those. However if anyone wanted to argue with me that a straight 6 was the most that could be rationally declared with regard to any one of these then I wouldn't particularly disagree. Anything significantly towards 5 and I would fervently argue my case however.
Now, let me ask it this way: Do you believe an unknowable, nondescript force, that you can't currently experience objectively, might exists?
"Force"? I think it quite likely that there are things currently attributed to the "supernatural" or not yet even considered at all that will one day be considered very much part of objecive reality. Things that are essentially part of a material reality and detectable by material technological means of one sort or another even if that technology is currently way beyond anything currently imaginable. I could not begin to guess what they might be though.
Would you consider this "unknowable, nondescript force, that you can't currently experience objectively" a God? OR just the name I'm giving something that I experienced, for lack of a better word/explanation?
I would not call that a god. No.
This definition of god doesn't meet any of the inherently unknowable immaterial yet conscious criteria that seem to be a bare minimum for most people's concepts of supernatural gods or deities.
The deists/theists bare minimum position seems to me to involve the claim that there is some conscious aspect of reality external and independent to their own mind that is inherently unknowable ad thus inherently irrefutable yet bewilderingly just knowable enough to be somehow subjectively knowable to a degree that justifies some form of evidenced "faith".
Are you an atheist toward God, as described in religions, cults, sects, tribes, OR, are you an atheist to some unknown, nondescript force that lacks any further explanation?
The former. But I would extend that to anything that is claimed to be conscious yet inherently unknowable and forever immune to objective experience whilst simultaeously also being somehow "knowable enough" to have been subjectively experienced. This just smacks of "the ultimate god of the ultimate gap" mentality.
The questions I would ask a deist to determine if we mean the same thing by "god" are:
Is it conscious?
Is it inherently immune from any form of material detection present or future?
Is it inherently immune from objective experience, not just now but fundamentally by it's very (super)nature.
Has it been experienced by you or anybody else?
If the answer to the first three (r all 4) questions is yes then I would describe that as a "god" and my position as one of atheism towards it. If just the last three then I would be inclined to be pretty cynical but I am not sure I would call that a god so "atheism" may not be the correct term.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 145 by onifre, posted 09-22-2009 4:03 PM onifre has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 174 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


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Message 147 of 154 (525249)
09-22-2009 5:38 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by New Cat's Eye
09-22-2009 2:39 PM


Please!
My views on faith and atheism have changed considerably as a result of taking part on this board over the years. Not reversed but changed and arguably softened. Percy and Bluejay in particular have swayed me into really reconsidering my one time rather simplistic view of faith especially. Maybe I am genuinely not the immovable zeaout some would wish to paint me as.
It fits within the agnosticism that I have been claiming should be the position since the beginning.
Your definition of agnostic seems to include absolutely everyone. Thus I dont see it as very useful. But call me whatever you want. Concepts not terminology are my preferred modus operandi.
Then you're wrong that "thousands of proclamations on a particular subject has a 100% failure record", but that is not for this thread.
I think you are equating "failure record" to "refutation". However if "failure record" is shorthand for "once genuinely believed entities being superceded by modern understanding to the point of a high degree of atheistic disbelief and redundancy in all practical terms" then I maintain that my position stands.
I mean are you not effectively atheistic (by the Dawkins scale rather than yours) to fertlity gods, fire spirits and the thousands of other such entities? Really?
I can accept that as a logical and rational answer to the question
Look CS I am tired. I also think you are a person I would wanna hang out and have a beer with. But we are never ever gonna agree on ths stuff.
As long as nobody is falsely asserting that I hold an irrational atheistic position because I believe that "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" or because I believe that "IF SOME THEN ALL" is a valid logical argument then I basically have no problem with them.
Can we agree on that and just be friends now? Please............!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 143 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-22-2009 2:39 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 148 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-23-2009 10:50 AM Straggler has replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 148 of 154 (525423)
09-23-2009 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 147 by Straggler
09-22-2009 5:38 PM


Re: Please!
My views on faith and atheism have changed considerably as a result of taking part on this board over the years.
Mine too.
Maybe I am genuinely not the immovable zeaout some would wish to paint me as.
Uhhh, I seem to get 'indignant', as you say, when you ignore what I've put my time into writing that I feel challenges your position just for you to repeat your same position back at me. You do seem zealously static at some times.
Your definition of agnostic seems to include absolutely everyone.
I'm recalling two different poeple in those thread I linked to. One claimed to be an actual 7 and the other was arguing against allowing for a doubt of god's non-existance. They don't fit into my definition of agnostic.
But call me whatever you want.
Cool, I'll remember that in the future
I think you are equating "failure record" to "refutation".
If it doesn't show that the god doesn't exist, then how does it show that the god doesn't exist?
However if "failure record" is shorthand for "once genuinely believed entities being superceded by modern understanding to the point of a high degree of atheistic disbelief and redundancy in all practical terms" then I maintain that my position stands.
That sounds like just a change in understanding, not really a "failure". And I think I'm missing how that gets transfered into there not being gods.
Back in the day, people believed that gods we're behind all sorts of things. Lets use Apollo pulling the sun across the sky with his charriott. Now, we know that there is no charriott pulling the sun across the sky, so you're saying that that description of a god has failed. But that doesn't show that there aren't any gods behind all sorts of things. And proving specifically that he isn't using a charriott doesn't show that Apollo doesn't exist, or even that he isn't infuencing the sun, although we do know that he's not using a charriott to do it. There still exists the possibility that Apollo exists and influences the sun, but that the specific of him using a charriott was human invention.
And I realize that's very godofthegapsy... (and I'm not trying to argue for the actual existence of Apollo)
But I think that there are some fantastic things going on 'behind the scenes' of our existences and I've been lead to believe this by what I feel are very real glimpses of those things. I even think that some of the older religions were on the right track, although a lot of their specifics were off. And even for myself, I'm sure some of the specifics I add to those glimpses are faulty too. But I think across all cultures, we have been on to something real and actual.
Now, what you're saying is that disproving those specifics also disproves the whole idea, or at least it allows you to assign a probability of the actuality of the idea. But I don't think it translates over like that. I think you've created a false dichotomy in assuming the mutual exclusiveness of the actual existence of god and people's invented specifics about him.
I mean are you not effectively atheistic (by the Dawkins scale rather than yours) to fertlity gods, fire spirits and the thousands of other such entities? Really?
Really, I am not effectively atheistic to them.
However, a lot those ancient ideas on the specifics are obviously way off, and also people seem to ascribe magic to things they simply do not understand (thinking fire here), too some 'lesser' cultures sorta went off the deep end. Hell, people are just plain wrong about a lot of stuff, you're right there. But I think you're overstepping the bounds of where the actual evidence against it allows for.
Look CS I am tired. I also think you are a person I would wanna hang out and have a beer with. But we are never ever gonna agree on ths stuff.
Sure, no problem. I don't dislike you or anything. I'd rather debate with people I don't agree with though. There's no fun in agreeing, and disagreement leads to much more learning.
As long as nobody is falsely asserting that I hold an irrational atheistic position because I believe that "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" or because I believe that "IF SOME THEN ALL" is a valid logical argument then I basically have no problem with them.
Can we agree on that and just be friends now? Please............!
Yes.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 147 by Straggler, posted 09-22-2009 5:38 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 149 by Straggler, posted 09-23-2009 2:30 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 174 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


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(1)
Message 149 of 154 (525481)
09-23-2009 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 148 by New Cat's Eye
09-23-2009 10:50 AM


Re: Please!
If it doesn't show that the god doesn't exist, then how does it show that the god doesn't exist?
If multiple and very often mutually exclusive gods have all been claimed by humanity then this demonstrates that some of those god concepts must have been invented. Humans can invent gods. This is just a fact.
Can we agree on that and just be friends now? Please............!
Yes.
Cool. I suspect there is more heated debate to come in this and/or the "Pseudoskeptic" thread. But let's bear this in mind.
But I think that there are some fantastic things going on 'behind the scenes' of our existences and I've been lead to believe this by what I feel are very real glimpses of those things. I even think that some of the older religions were on the right track, although a lot of their specifics were off. And even for myself, I'm sure some of the specifics I add to those glimpses are faulty too. But I think across all cultures, we have been on to something real and actual.
OK. I get that. I personally think it unlikely that any of these are "supernatural" in the sense of being inherently immune to material detection of any sort past, present or future. But OK. This is currently unknown and may well never be known.
Now, what you're saying is that disproving those specifics also disproves the whole idea, or at least it allows you to assign a probability of the actuality of the idea. But I don't think it translates over like that. I think you've created a false dichotomy in assuming the mutual exclusiveness of the actual existence of god and people's invented specifics about him.
Not really. It is all about the posibilities and how evidenced they are. Is it possible that gods in some form or other actually exist? Is it objectively evidenced? Is it possible that gods don't exist at all and that humans are just capable of inventing concepts that make them feel wonder, love, wanted, purposeful etc. etc. etc? Is this objectively evidenced?
When I weigh up the objective evidence for the competing possibilities alone a degree of atheistic doubt seems inevitable to me.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 148 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-23-2009 10:50 AM New Cat's Eye has not replied

  
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 4408 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 150 of 154 (525881)
09-25-2009 5:47 AM
Reply to: Message 140 by Modulous
09-20-2009 6:49 PM


Re: commonality of causes....
Hi Modulous,
I've been thinking about the conversations we've been having here, and I've been reading the Pseudoskepticism and logic thread. I have great respect for RAZD but I'm struggling to form a solid opinion about the issues under discussion there. The reason why I myself cannot have faith in a god-consciousness is because, as so many of you have been saying, there seems to be no evidence for it, though I do accept that we can sense things inwardly -- call it a sixth sense if you prefer, though I don't like the limitations of that label. I do find it hard to believe that a being with godlike powers would refrain from interacting with the world -- somehow it happens in religious texts but it never happens now.
I haven't been well for a long time and conventional doctors can't work out what's wrong. People with various spiritual beliefs have tried to give me healing and I don't believe that has helped either. I've always thought, "If I personally experience profound healing that could reasonably be accredited to this, I'll deem it something worth my while to look into," but it hasn't happened. That isn't to say that there's not someone out there who could help me, or that "the universe (or something) needs me to learn something before I get well." I don't know, but I do know I'm experiencing frustration with people who would like me to believe what they do, and in some ways I'd like to, but the lack of evidence prevents me from doing so.
I think I'm fairly certain about what I do believe. I believe in a metaphysical philosophy similar to Buddhism. I believe in spirits and unseen but palpable energies. I believe certain things about what the mind and consciousness are capable of. I believe that some paranormal phenomena are real and normal, and able to be investigated scientifically if it's gone about in the right way. I believe in synchronicity, and possibly in some kind of fate or destiny. But I don't think any of these things could be classified as theism. Actually Modulous, it sounds like you've had interesting experiences with some of these things yourself and I can't help but speculate that you've got a gift of being sensitive to them. I don't think there's much more I can personally get out of this thread but if you'd like to discuss any of the above elsewhere I would be happy to join you (as I am able).
Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.
Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.
Edited by LindaLou, : Keep catching typos.
Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by Modulous, posted 09-20-2009 6:49 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 151 by Modulous, posted 09-25-2009 6:38 AM Kitsune has replied

  
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