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Author Topic:   Straightforward, hard-to-answer-questions about the Bible/Christianity
anglagard
Member
Posts: 2185
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 256 of 477 (558989)
05-06-2010 1:28 AM
Reply to: Message 255 by Pauline
05-06-2010 12:40 AM


Re: A farce by any other name ...
Dr. Sing writes:

Are you out of your mind?

I am of many minds, some even seemingly contradictory. So if someone asks if "Are you out of your mind?" I must ask which one.

In what way have I attempted to proselytize you here?

According to my religion, if you curse the works of God, then you are against God. Now perhaps you can persuade me differently.

Is my asking for a common ground to have a debate not valid?

If you demand an absolute literal reading of the Bible in the face of the fact Jesus often spoke in terms of parables, despite the obvious works of God which are more important for understanding than the words of men, there is no common ground.

I obviously don't live by any edict to stone Wal Mart shoppers to death and neither do you.

Have I said ONE THING that is intrinsically, authentically derived from MY mind? The 8 points I gave you are not mine. They're from my faith.

What is the difference between your opinions and your faith? Have you not presented them as one and the same?

There are so many things that atheists and theists don't agree on when it comes to faith. And in a faith debate, when I ask for momentary allowance of just ONE point of disagreement in order to have a discussion, this is the response I get?

How utterly frustrating!

Since you said you were leaving, and evidently have not left, one wonders about your commitment to the Ten Commandments.

Evidently I shamed you into staying, at least for one more post. (sorry )

I have read some of your posts, and I have thrown down the gauntlet. Either man up or run, don't whine.


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 255 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 12:40 AM Pauline has acknowledged this reply

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


(1)
Message 257 of 477 (558991)
05-06-2010 1:35 AM
Reply to: Message 253 by Pauline
05-06-2010 12:23 AM


Re: Half a circle... is 180 degrees
In responding to my main post, you first objection was that: There is no better way than the scientific method to study anything and that this is the most reliable way. Here are your words:

Yes, those were my words. Would you like to argue with them rather than just confessing yourself "nonplussed"?

Otherwise this isn't so much a debate as a walkover.

Next, your second objection is: A realization of moral imperfection does not necessitate the existence of its remedy, instead it makes us wish for there to exist such a remedy. Here are your words:

Again, yes, that's what I wrote. Would you like to argue with me instead of just quoting me?

When I ask you to step out of your arena, into mine and ask you to allow for the possibility of supernatural existence ...

... then I did so. I acknowledge the possibility of the supernatural. Without reservation, without conditions. I allow for the possibility of supernatural existence.

You simply dismiss me.

Yeah, it was kinda simple. I await your counter-argument.

I'm confused! Utterly.

Agreed.

1. You do not want to conceive of God, just like you are not interested in conceiving of pink unicorns...

2. You want me to use the scientific method

3. You challenge me to propose a better method because you think I'm just blowing smoke here and have nothing to offer.

But your point (1) is false. I am happy to conceive of the concept of God, just as I am happy to conceive of the concept of pink unicorns. It causes me no problem to imagine a pink unicorn. The thing that I find difficult is to discover evidence of a pink unicorn.

Ahh, I was looking for these. Fancy fallacy names. In classic atheist style...

Um ... now you're making stuff up. I did not name a fallacy. As a matter of fact, I paraphrased Matthew Arnold.

I would point out that if you don't like imaginary people making imaginary statements naming your fallacies, then maybe you should stop committing fallacies, and then maybe the imaginary people who live in your head will shut up.

You're telling me that its okay to reject my God's moral code and instead have imperfect men follow a imperfect, self-made moral code.

No, that is not what I told you.

Wait!!! But didn't you agree with me that you "see the need" for a "absolute moral code"??

Yes. I wish there was one, just like I wish that there was a God, and just like I wish I was a millionaire and that there was a pill one could take that would cure cancer.

What's your point?

If I find something desirable, that doesn't give me a shadow of a shred of evidence that it's true

I wish that there was an absolute moral code, and that I knew what it was, but this doesn't lead me to think that there actually is one, and that I know what it is.

AND, ignoring my points on what the Christian religion offers ...

I didn't. I get what it offers. But I am unable to believe that it is true.

You do want to have a discussion. I am supposed to play the game under your rules.

Well, those "rules" are what it means to have a discussion.

If you can supply me with evidence that there is a God, then I'll think about it with an open mind, and maybe I'll argue with you, and maybe I'll dispute your evidence, and maybe I'll dispute the conclusions that you draw from the evidence, and maybe I'll try to pick holes in your logic ... and so on. That would be a discussion. You might even win.

If you can't get to stage 1, where you put up some evidence, then what is there left for us to talk about?

It'll just be you saying: "There is a God, there is a God, there is a God", and me saying: "I don't believe you". If we can't discuss evidence and its interpretation ... then what else is there for us to discuss?

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 253 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 12:23 AM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 263 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 8:45 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 258 of 477 (558993)
05-06-2010 1:55 AM
Reply to: Message 251 by Pauline
05-05-2010 11:32 PM


Re: A farce by any other name ...
I'm not angry or ticked off. My problem is, if you guys aren't willing to let go of it right now... the debate, most probably, is gonna end at "me: so, ____ is why we need to believe God. You: But where is the physical evidence for God, why should I even believe in a God I don't even see????"

I'm not for this.

Then I guess we're done.

I'm open-minded --- if someone wants me to believe in ghosts or fairies or unicorns or God then I will listen carefully to their evidence.

But if you decline to provide me with evidence, then what do we even have to talk about.

Your non-evidence for the Christian God is indistinguishable for your non-evidence for the Muslim God and your non-evidence for the Easter Bunny. If you refuse to supply me with evidence for your opinions, then we literally have nothing to discuss.

So yeah, we might as well stop. Because if you will not put up some shred of a scrap of a scintilla of an argument for your views, then there is nothing, nothing whatsoever, that we have left to discuss.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 251 by Pauline, posted 05-05-2010 11:32 PM Pauline has not yet responded

Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


(1)
Message 259 of 477 (558994)
05-06-2010 3:04 AM
Reply to: Message 234 by Pauline
05-05-2010 12:36 PM


Re: A farce by any other name ...
What?! I don't even have a self-derived moral standard of my own.

Oh yes you do.

The one I claim to follow is God's.

Claim all you like.

The fact that you make this false claim is the only difference between us. You attribute your moral standards to God, whereas I admit that my moral standards are mine.

Whats your point?

That.

The only significant difference between us is that you believe that your morality is God's morality, despite your inability to read God's mind or to present me with any evidence that he even exists.

Of course your morality is "self-derived". Blaming it on your imaginary friend does not make that fact less true.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 234 by Pauline, posted 05-05-2010 12:36 PM Pauline has acknowledged this reply

dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 260 of 477 (559074)
05-06-2010 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 251 by Pauline
05-05-2010 11:32 PM


Re: A farce by any other name ...
DA writes:

...
How can we agree that the scientific method is useless? It abolished smallpox, it put men on the moon, and it is the reason why we have computers that can communicate over the Internet. We couldn't even be having this discussion if not for the fact that the scientific method totally kicks ass.

... If there is one, just one, atheist out there who honestly, and willingly agrees that we should not and cannot apply the scientific method to understand the supernatural, I might continue my side of discussion.

But you see, that's not what you were asking. At least not consistently. Instead, it looked like you were conducting a kind of "bait and switch" on us, asking a reasonable question and then substituting it with a completely unreasonable one. Since far too many of us have encountered far too many Christians trying to pull that and far too many other dishonest tricks far too many times, we are very quick to spot any hint that you are trying to do the same.

As a Chinese co-worker once told me: "Never tie your shoe in a watermelon patch." If you're in somebody else's watermelon patch and you stop and reach down to tie your shoe, then it would appear to somebody seeing you that you were stealing a watermelon. IOW, avoid even the appearance of doing something wrong.

As it appears to me, you may have originally posed the question as something like "the scientific method is useless for understanding the supernatural", but the version that I first saw and kept seeing until I had dug back far enough through the verbage was "the scientific method is useless". You see? First you made the question specific by qualifying it as pertaining to the supernatural, but then you made it general by letting to apply to everything. That is the "bait and switch" and that is what we all disagreed with.

Why should we agree that the scientific method is useless? Why would anyone even vaguely familiar with the scientific method agree to such nonsense? Why would you expect us to agree to such a nonsensical question?

Is the scientific method able to deal with the supernatural? No, of course not, because there is no way to observe the supernatural or even detect whether it exists. True, we may be able to form hypotheses, but there is no way to test those hypotheses. Now, if the supernatural were to somehow express itself in the natural world, then the scientific method might be able to detect and examine that (know of any such cases?), but it would still be very difficult to test any hypotheses we would form. Besides, the exercise of "explaining" a phenomenon we don't understand yet as having been caused by the supernatural would be falling into the trap of the false theology of "The God of the Gaps", whose effect is to halt all further scientific examination.

I would be willing to allow that you were not actually attempting to commit a "bait and switch", but rather had just gotten sloppy. Just be aware that sloppiness does have its consequences, as you have observed on this thread.

Now, just what is your point with that question? I've seen you asked that repeatedly, but I never could find a straight answer from you.

Also, you have been asked for an alternative method for understanding the supernatural and how it is supposed to work. Again, I have not seen you answer that question. Evading simple and necessary direct questions is yet another tactic that far too many of us have seen far too many Christians use far too many times. Any doubts as to why our patience has been worn so thin?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 251 by Pauline, posted 05-05-2010 11:32 PM Pauline has acknowledged this reply

  
Apothecus
Member (Idle past 490 days)
Posts: 275
From: CA USA
Joined: 01-05-2010


Message 261 of 477 (559078)
05-06-2010 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 251 by Pauline
05-05-2010 11:32 PM


Re: A farce by any other name ...
I'm not going to post anything more.

And ... we've seen this before. Take a break, sit down, collect your thoughts, but please, and I say this as delicately as I can: grow some thicker skin, Dr. Sing.

I mean, c'mon. You write great posts -- eloquent and well written, despite the fact that I disagree with most of them. But this is what happens to you time and time again: you self destruct, seemingly at the drop of a hat. I mean, you have to ask yourself why the hell you continue to post here if you don't think your views will be called on the carpet. Masochism?

To be fair to you, contrary to Anglagard's accusations, I didn't get the sense that you were proselytizing (at least any more than any creationist seems to do on a whim), or at least I don't think that was your intent if it came across that way. Sometimes the way the religious talk in normal, everyday language sounds to us like a fire 'n brimstone Baptist sermon.

Anyway, like I said, buck up. Bring your arguments, not your complaints about the argument itself. I'll be waiting for a response to Message 250.

Have a good one.


"My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. J.B.S Haldane 1892-1964
This message is a reply to:
 Message 251 by Pauline, posted 05-05-2010 11:32 PM Pauline has not yet responded

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 262 of 477 (559115)
05-06-2010 6:11 PM
Reply to: Message 216 by Pauline
05-03-2010 8:05 PM


Why Not Answer Woodsy's Question?
(my emphasis)
Woodsy; Msg 215 writes:

Dr. Sing; Msg 213 writes:

Here, we are dealing with supernaturalism. What, on the planet, is the point in making it subject to the scientific method? There are other, and more relevant, ways to scrutinize this. But atheists somehow object...I don't get it.

OK, great, lets hear about them! What are these other ways? How are they demonstrated to be reliable?

So, the atheists agree that the scientific method is practically useless when it comes to understanding and verifying things in super-naturalism. Okay.

Let's start with this:
. . .

But did you answer Woodsy's simple, direct, and utterly necessary question? No, you did not. You did not even start to answer it. Made absolutely no attempt to answer it. Instead, you redirected our attention away from that question with an entirely unrelated argument. Why didn't you just answer his question? Or at the very least acknowledge it and offer some kind of explanation why you can't answer it ... or explicitly refuse to answer it with some semblance of an explanation as to why?

No, you stated flat-out that you had something, "other, and more relevant, ways to scrutinize {the supernatural}", and then you completely avoided presenting any further information about those "ways". Like far too many other Christians before you have repeatedly done far too many times. Like creationists will go on and on about all this evidence they have for creation and yet they consistently refuse to present it, making it glaringly obvious that they have no such evidence and that they know it yet persist in falsely claiming that such evidence does exist.

Is that your case? That you really don't have any "other, and more relevant, ways to scrutinize {the supernatural}"? Well then why did you falsely claim that you do? Does this "absolute, universal moral code" of yours, which we know full well prohibits telling falsehoods, not apply in all cases and especially not when a Christian chooses to violate it? How "absolute" is that?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 216 by Pauline, posted 05-03-2010 8:05 PM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 264 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 9:11 PM dwise1 has responded

  
Pauline
Member (Idle past 1815 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 263 of 477 (559128)
05-06-2010 8:45 PM
Reply to: Message 257 by Dr Adequate
05-06-2010 1:35 AM


Re: Half a circle... is 180 degrees
dwise1 writes:

But you see, that's not what you were asking. At least not consistently. Instead, it looked like you were conducting a kind of "bait and switch" on us, asking a reasonable question and then substituting it with a completely unreasonable one. Since far too many of us have encountered far too many Christians trying to pull that and far too many other dishonest tricks far too many times, we are very quick to spot any hint that you are trying to do the same.

As a Chinese co-worker once told me: "Never tie your shoe in a watermelon patch." If you're in somebody else's watermelon patch and you stop and reach down to tie your shoe, then it would appear to somebody seeing you that you were stealing a watermelon. IOW, avoid even the appearance of doing something wrong.

As it appears to me, you may have originally posed the question as something like "the scientific method is useless for understanding the supernatural", but the version that I first saw and kept seeing until I had dug back far enough through the verbage was "the scientific method is useless". You see? First you made the question specific by qualifying it as pertaining to the supernatural, but then you made it general by letting to apply to everything. That is the "bait and switch" and that is what we all disagreed with.

Why should we agree that the scientific method is useless? Why would anyone even vaguely familiar with the scientific method agree to such nonsense? Why would you expect us to agree to such a nonsensical question?

Is the scientific method able to deal with the supernatural? No, of course not, because there is no way to observe the supernatural or even detect whether it exists. True, we may be able to form hypotheses, but there is no way to test those hypotheses. Now, if the supernatural were to somehow express itself in the natural world, then the scientific method might be able to detect and examine that (know of any such cases?), but it would still be very difficult to test any hypotheses we would form. Besides, the exercise of "explaining" a phenomenon we don't understand yet as having been caused by the supernatural would be falling into the trap of the false theology of "The God of the Gaps", whose effect is to halt all further scientific examination.

I would be willing to allow that you were not actually attempting to commit a "bait and switch", but rather had just gotten sloppy. Just be aware that sloppiness does have its consequences, as you have observed on this thread.

Now, just what is your point with that question? I've seen you asked that repeatedly, but I never could find a straight answer from you.

Also, you have been asked for an alternative method for understanding the supernatural and how it is supposed to work. Again, I have not seen you answer that question. Evading simple and necessary direct questions is yet another tactic that far too many of us have seen far too many Christians use far too many times. Any doubts as to why our patience has been worn so thin?

Really? What about this:

DR.SING writes:

I know of no better way to understand and test observable, natural phenomena than the scientific method.

Look at Message 229

Dr. Sing writes:

If there is one, just one, atheist out there who honestly, and willingly agrees that we should not and cannot apply the scientific method to understand the supernatural, I might continue my side of discussion.

Message 251

Should I write this another 200,000 hundred times? Will you believe me then?

Dr A and I were having a dialogue:

DA writes:

For example, if you claimed supernatural powers to raise the dead, then we could in principle take you to a morgue and see if you could do what you claimed. That would be using the scientific method, and the test would be effective --- either you really could or you really couldn't, and we'd be able to tell one way or another.
....

Can you suggest an equally good, or superior, method of testing such a claim? We're all ears.

DS writes:

I know of no better way to understand and test observable, natural phenomena than the scientific method.

Question is, is super-naturalism natural? physical? I mean, you can never take God to a cemetery and say "okay, yeah, raise my 80 year old grandma and I'll believe you're God."

Are we convinced yet?

I made it crystal clear that 1. I do not advocate using the scientific method to understand the supernatural! 2. I advocate using the scientific method to understand the natural world.

What exactly did you waste your time for writing that huge post for such a small matter?

I mean, others get it.

--Yeah, everybody, now get out of this idiotic science forum and become buddhists. It is me! Gautama Buddha speaking! Abolish science, the scientific method (it is useless, BTW) and all the crap that goes into studying it! Follow me! and let us conquer the world---

Your post looks like it would have been a relevant response to ^ such words, IF I ever said them. But you have taken my sincere words and twisted them in your mind. You've also accused me out bait and catching....when I have done nothing like it.

This is really a slap in your face.

Let's look at my quotes that contained the words "the scientific method is useless" OR something to THAT effect:

DS writes:

1. Does everything have to pass the scientific method's scrutiny before one believes it to be true? What a ridiculous claim.

Here, we are dealing with supernaturalism. What, on the planet, is the point in making it subject to the scientific method?

2. So, the atheists agree that the scientific method is practically useless when it comes to understanding and verifying things in super-naturalism.

3. If the atheists do not agree that the scientific method is useless, then then is debate is useless. You just destroyed the common platform for our debate. Do you want to have a discussion or not, DA?

--This is the first time I unconsciously did not include the phrase "to study the supernatural".---

4.If there is one, just one, atheist out there who honestly, and willingly agrees that we should not and cannot apply the scientific method to understand the supernatural, I might continue my side of discussion.

That's 3 times of including the phrase "to study the supernatural" and ONE, just one, time of not including it...that too, totally unintentional.

If I missed any quotes, please show them to me.

----

Am I being accused fairly here?

---

dw1 writes:

Now, just what is your point with that question? I've seen you asked that repeatedly, but I never could find a straight answer from you.

Want to know? Here is your answer:

DA writes:

If you can supply me with evidence that there is a God, then I'll think about it with an open mind, and maybe I'll argue with you, and maybe I'll dispute your evidence, and maybe I'll dispute the conclusions that you draw from the evidence, and maybe I'll try to pick holes in your logic ... and so on. That would be a discussion. You might even win.

If you can't get to stage 1, where you put up some evidence, then what is there left for us to talk about?

It'll just be you saying: "There is a God, there is a God, there is a God", and me saying: "I don't believe you". If we can't discuss evidence and its interpretation ... then what else is there for us to discuss?

Evidence is what he wants. And I assume he means evidence from a physical source of some sort. Something tangible! Something that be tested via experiments...since it seems like what he sees is what he believes and what he doesn't see with his eyes, automatically and dogmatically cannot exist!

Do you see the problem, dw1?

It chokes the discussion.

Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 257 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-06-2010 1:35 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 265 by Meldinoor, posted 05-06-2010 9:16 PM Pauline has responded
 Message 269 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-06-2010 10:46 PM Pauline has responded
 Message 272 by dwise1, posted 05-07-2010 3:20 AM Pauline has responded

  
Pauline
Member (Idle past 1815 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 264 of 477 (559129)
05-06-2010 9:11 PM
Reply to: Message 262 by dwise1
05-06-2010 6:11 PM


Re: Why Not Answer Woodsy's Question?
But did you answer Woodsy's simple, direct, and utterly necessary question? No, you did not. You did not even start to answer it. Made absolutely no attempt to answer it. Instead, you redirected our attention away from that question with an entirely unrelated argument. Why didn't you just answer his question? Or at the very least acknowledge it and offer some kind of explanation why you can't answer it ... or explicitly refuse to answer it with some semblance of an explanation as to why?

No, you stated flat-out that you had something, "other, and more relevant, ways to scrutinize {the supernatural}", and then you completely avoided presenting any further information about those "ways". Like far too many other Christians before you have repeatedly done far too many times. Like creationists will go on and on about all this evidence they have for creation and yet they consistently refuse to present it, making it glaringly obvious that they have no such evidence and that they know it yet persist in falsely claiming that such evidence does exist.

Is that your case? That you really don't have any "other, and more relevant, ways to scrutinize {the supernatural}"? Well then why did you falsely claim that you do? Does this "absolute, universal moral code" of yours, which we know full well prohibits telling falsehoods, not apply in all cases and especially not when a Christian chooses to violate it? How "absolute" is that?

Philosophy! Metaphysics, Ethics, Logic, Philosophy of religion. If you want to categorize my argument into one of these, that's ethics. Dealing with morality!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by dwise1, posted 05-06-2010 6:11 PM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 271 by dwise1, posted 05-07-2010 2:15 AM Pauline has not yet responded
 Message 273 by Woodsy, posted 05-07-2010 6:36 AM Pauline has responded

  
Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2888 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 265 of 477 (559130)
05-06-2010 9:16 PM
Reply to: Message 263 by Pauline
05-06-2010 8:45 PM


Re: Half a circle... is 180 degrees
Hello Dr Sing,

As I'm something of a lurker who's only glanced at the thread so far, please forgive me if I've missed something.

Would you please clarify:

1. Why does the scientific method not apply to the supernatural? Don't just apply circular reasoning with replies such as: "Because it only applies to natural phenomena".

2. What alternative method would you propose for studying the supernatural?

Respectfully,

-Meldinoor


This message is a reply to:
 Message 263 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 8:45 PM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 267 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 10:15 PM Meldinoor has not yet responded

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


(1)
Message 266 of 477 (559132)
05-06-2010 9:44 PM
Reply to: Message 216 by Pauline
05-03-2010 8:05 PM


Let's See ...
Let's start with this:

1. Both atheists and theists will agree that morality is surely a major part in human life. The ability to discern good from evil right and wrong takes precedence for more people than not. (there are more theists than atheists. I do not mean to say that atheists live immoral lives, no. Just, that isn't their main focus in life, as it appears. There are other things, like self, accuracy, science, etc that occupy a much bigger part of their lives.)

2. Obviously, in our world, we do not have a universal moral code that everyone follows. Even if there are laws on paper, and more or less similar among countries, people are imperfect, to say the least, in following them.

3. Yet, we all strive to be moral.

4. We all know, for sure, that man cannot ever reach the moral standard he has set for himself.

5. In light of this, there are two possible ways out of this problem. 1) Forget morality and live your life
2) Submit to an absolute, ultimate moral code

6. The absolute, universal moral code is the moral Code of God. There is no personal preference or bias in following this code.

7. Since man already knows that he is imperfect, and cannot perfectly follow God's moral code (he couldn't even his own!), there has got to be propitiation.

8. That is exactly what the Christian God offers. Propitiation.

OK, let's take a look at that. Point by point, or at least until it starts to unravel at #5 and then completely falls apart thereafter.

1. Both atheists and theists will agree that morality is surely a major part in human life.

Agreed. However, in general atheists have a much healthier and more realistic view of morality than do theists. Atheists will see morality as necessary for people to get along with each other and to work together within a society and they will see moral breaches as being bad because they adversely affect ourselves, other people, and even society itself, which would in turn adversely affect ourselves and other people. Barring those who correctly understand the importance of morality despite their religious training, theists will only see the effects on themselves and on others vaguely, if at all, but rather will see morality as strictly involving their relationship with their god and the only consequences of immorality would involve their own soul and their chances in the afterlife.

The ability to discern good from evil right and wrong takes precedence for more people than not.

This sentence is a bit ambiguous. I will assume that you mean that within a given population, some people will give precedence to said discernment and the rest will not, and that the former group is larger than the latter.

OK, yeah. After all, if most of the people in a society didn't care about good-vs-evil (GvE), right-from-wrong (RfW), then that society would be very sorry shape to the detriment of all.

(there are more theists than atheists.

Irrelevent. Though atheists are gaining, but that is also irrelevent. As for the implication that theists are the ones caring more about GvE/RfW, that is preposterous (AKA, "BS"). A great many atheists are very much concerned with matters of GvE and RfW, as well as with social justice and, in the USA, with the preservation of the Constitution and of our constitutionally-guaranteed liberties, for all citizens' sake, not just for our own. Most of the exceptions, atheists who are not concerned with GvE/RfW, tend to be influenced by theistic teachings and attitudes (eg, "When I was a Christian I was taught that if I didn't believe in God then I'd be completely free to misbehave however I wanted, so ... ").

OTOH, far too many theists are not really concerned about GvE/RfW, but rather are only concerned about abitrary rules that they believe they must follow in order to order to escape their god's wrath and punishment -- no, that is quite obviously not the same thing. Plus, most of the pressure and efforts directed against the Constitution and our constitutionally-guaranteed liberties are from theists, because they believe their religion requires it of them.

I do not mean to say that atheists live immoral lives, no. Just, that isn't their main focus in life, as it appears.

And just where did you look? Bother to spend much time associating with atheists so that you could learn what actually does and does not concern them? I didn't think so.

Of course, we would need to determine just exactly what "their main focus in life" means. Let me assume that you meant by that that one spends a lot of time and conscious thought thinking about GvE/RfW and dwelling on it.

Being normal sociable people, atheists' moral sense and conscience forms the basis for most of their daily lifes. As such, morality is part of their being, akin to walking and breathing, and something that they do without really giving it much conscious thought. It comes into play automatically in every dealing they have with other people and even with non-humans. Doesn't mean that GvE/RfW don't concern them, just that they don't have to exert themselves to think about such matters.

OTOH, theists seem to obsess about such matters, applying far too much conscious thought at it. But they don't do it as a matter of morality, rather in the form of worrying over arbitrary rules and questions/images/fears of/from their dogma. True, they also have morality engrained into them that comes into play on a daily basis -- otherwise they would be sociopaths unable to function within society -- , but they give that true morality short shrift, if they notice it at all, in favor of dogma.

There are other things, like self, accuracy, science, etc that occupy a much bigger part of their lives.)

As discussed directly above, atheists don't have to obsess over questions of dogma and so simply function as normal moral individuals without having to give it much conscious thought. So then, yes, they do have more time think about other things. It's kind of like dancing. Every dance has a basic rhythm and a basic step (except for some, like West Coast Swing, which has several basic steps), plus several moves/steps, lead-and-follow, turns, navigating about the floor in such a manner as to avoid collisions, etc. Actually, it's the leader who has the most to think about; in a salsa teacher's description of Beginner's Hell, she lists 25 things that the leader must do at a minimum, whereas the follow only has 4 things in her list. When you begin, you have 1000 things you have to think about all the time, all at once. But then you learn a few things well enough to no longer have to think about them -- a common term for that is "muscle memory" -- so now you only have 997 things to think about. Then 990, then 940, etc, until you have so much stored in "muscle memory" that you are free to think about so much more. One saying among students is that first come the feet, then the hands, then the body, then finally the styling and musicality. In the beginning you have to work so hard to get the feet and basic rhythm working that you can't even begin to think about arm work or styling or cues in the music. It's only after you can free you mind of the mundane basic things that you free yourself to think about the more interesting parts of dancing. Indeed, it gets to a point where if you start thinking about the basic things you're doing, it completely messes up your dancing -- happens a lot in classes when we review the basics, as every dancer must do.

The theists of whom you speak, the ones obsessing all the time over GvE/RfW, are tying up their minds with a lot of extraneous stuff so that, of course, they don't have much time or energy to think about the more interesting parts of life. Whereas atheists, simply living their lives morally by letting their "moral muscle memory" do its job, don't have to waste their minds or energy with useless dogma and thus are indeed free to think about and explore the more interesting parts of life.

2. Obviously, in our world, we do not have a universal moral code that everyone follows.

Agreed. However, you ignore the fact that no universal moral code exists. It is actually irrelevent whether or not everybody follows any moral code, let alone a hypothetical universal code. Every single moral code -- the real ones, not sets of rules that somebody or a committee sits down and dreams up; please note that moral code of the ancient Hebrews was a real moral code, even though it has since been turned into a set of abitrary rules -- is only relevent within its own society. Yes, there are certain rules that are common to most all moral codes, but that is due to commonalities of human societies because of the common factors of human nature and the manners in which humans interact with each other.

Even if there are laws on paper, and more or less similar among countries, people are imperfect, to say the least, in following them.

True, but really not relevent.

3. Yet, we all strive to be moral.

Of course. We are a social species. Our success, both in individual, social, and species survival and in almost all other human endeavors, depends on our ability to work together in a society. Morality is key to that ability, as well as to keeping those societies intact, healthy, and functional.

The only reason one would not strive to be moral is because of mental/social illness and/or acceptance of religious dogma that teaches that they must not be moral. Such as Christianity teaches and preaches about morality being solely dependent on the existence of their god, even to the point that non-believers are supposed to become immoral. Such a foolish doctrine!

4. We all know, for sure, that man cannot ever reach the moral standard he has set for himself.

Obvious and irrelevent.

But let us take this opportunity to examine what happens when we fail to maintain the moral standard. Keep in mind that all our actions have consequences. Moral actions (real moral actions, not just arbitrary rules), AKA "doing right", tend to have consequences that are beneficial, even if not for all parties. Immoral actions, AKA "doing wrong", will have detrimental consequences. For both atheists and theists alike, the consequences will be the same.

So what does an atheist do after having done wrong? The damage has been done, but he should feel the need to try to repair that damage. Apologies would be forthcoming. At the very least, his conscience would bother him and he would at least try to learn from his mistake and try to a not do that again.

What does a theist do? According to doctrine, all he needs to do is to ask his god for forgiveness and then everything is alright once more. But is it really? The damage has been done and no attempt has been made to try to repair the damage, nor even to offer an apology, nor to try to learn from that mistake.

5. In light of this, there are two possible ways out of this problem.
1) Forget morality and live your life
2) Submit to an absolute, ultimate moral code

Cleaned up that formatting a bit for you.

OK. Bullshit! There are more than just your "two possible ways". This is nothing more than a False Dilemma, which is a deceptive practice employed so much by Christians and creationists that it actually forms the fundamental basis of "creation science", known there as their "two-model approach". You take an issue or question which has several different answers and you ignore all of those answers except for two which you then force your victim ... er, the audience to choose between. Of course, you make one of the choices totally unacceptable so that you then force your victim ... er, -- frak it! victim, because that's what he is -- to accept the answer you choose. And that is bullshit! But then that is the Christianity that we observe being practiced far too much.

From that Wikipedia article:

quote:
False dilemma can arise intentionally, when fallacy is used in an attempt to force a choice ("If you are not with us, you are against us.") But the fallacy can arise simply by accidental omission—possibly through a form of wishful thinking or ignorance—rather than by deliberate deception ("I thought we were friends, but all my friends were at my apartment last night and you weren't there.")

When two alternatives are presented, they are often, though not always, two extreme points on some spectrum of possibilities. This can lend credence to the larger argument by giving the impression that the options are mutually exclusive, even though they need not be. Furthermore, the options are typically presented as being collectively exhaustive, in which case the fallacy can be overcome, or at least weakened, by considering other possibilities, or perhaps by considering a whole spectrum of possibilities, as in fuzzy logic.


What about the choice to live one's life morally with submitting an arbitrary authority (your #2)? Or live one's life actively exploring moral issues, including the exploration and comparing of a variety of moral codes? Get 100 atheists together and you will most likely get 100 different answers, none of which would be your #2 and only a few of your #1. This choice that you offer us is completely and utterly false.

It is at this point that your attempted argument starts to unravel.

6. The absolute, universal moral code is the moral Code of God.

Now you're piling bullshit upon bullshit and your entire line of reasoning completely falls apart.

There's a famous single-frame cartoon of two scientists standing in front of a chalk-board covered with formulas on the left side (the initial equations) and on the right (the conclusions) and in the middle is blank except for the words, "a miracle happens". The one scientist tells the other whose work this is, "I think that part needs more work."

Just exactly how did you get from #5 to #6? If any absolute universal moral code were to exist (which it doesn't), whatever makes you think that it would be "the moral Code of God", which we recognize as you saying it's what's contained in the Bible? Simply your dogma and absolutely nothing else. That is what makes this bullshit upon bullshit. You need to give your complete reasoning that took you from #5 (which is already bullshit) to #6.

The moral code given in the Bible is not absolute nor universal. Rather, it was the relative moral code of one ancient society, which was then codified in writing and then much later accepted piecemeal by other societies. It's not "the moral Code of God", but rather yet another moral code created by a society of Man, just like all the others.

Even if we were to grant it the status of "absolute and universal", it's not YHWH's (that's your god's name, in case you didn't know), but rather Bel and Anu's. For a written copy of Hamurabi's Code explicitly credits Bel and Anu with that Law. In comparing Hamurabic Code with Mosaic Law, we find very strong parallels between them, such that it becomes obvious that one was derived from the other. Since Hamurabi predates Moses by several centuries, guess which one is the original source. Hence, you should be praising Bel and Anu for your "absolute and universal moral code", not YHWH.

Since the rest of your post was based on bullshit piled upon bullshit, there's no need to try to wade that too.

BTW, do you observe the Day of Propitiation? Your supposed "absolute and universal moral code" demands that you do upon pain of death. Interesting how Christians can just pick and choose which parts of that "absolute and universal moral code" to follow and which to completely ignore.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 216 by Pauline, posted 05-03-2010 8:05 PM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 10:33 PM dwise1 has responded

  
Pauline
Member (Idle past 1815 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 267 of 477 (559134)
05-06-2010 10:15 PM
Reply to: Message 265 by Meldinoor
05-06-2010 9:16 PM


Re: Half a circle... is 180 degrees
Re: Half a circle... is 180 degrees
Hello Dr Sing,

As I'm something of a lurker who's only glanced at the thread so far, please forgive me if I've missed something.

Hi Meldinoor!

Thank you for your post. It helped me get back on track.

1. Why does the scientific method not apply to the supernatural? Don't just apply circular reasoning with replies such as: "Because it only applies to natural phenomena".

The main elements of the scientific method are :

1. Observations

2. Hypotheses

3. Predictions

4. Experiments

Let's see if supernaturalism is subject to these elements:

1. Observation: The supernatural itself cannot be physically observed, measured, quantified, or qualified. (There is evidence that is attributable to supernatural work, but unfortunately, people look at it with different views. For example, I as a theist look at nature and believe that it necessarily indicates the existence of a supreme, creative Being who is responsible for creating what I see. And I use the scientific method to study what I see. Whereas, an atheist will by no means believe that nature points to God's existence. He will want to see God Himself!)

2. Hypothesis: Since there are no recorded observations, there is no scope for a hypothesis. EVEN if we counted nature as the collected data, there can be no hypothesis formulated that can test for the existence of God.

3. Prediction: Can there be one?

4. Experiment: We cannot construct physical experiments because we have no data or materials!

The whole idea falls at the outset because of lack of direct, measurable data! Supposing, we propose the use of natural objects to get a set of observations to work with, and we create some sort of a hypothesis and experiment and predict a certain result, we cannot by any means expect the supernatural out there to respond! for example, I can assemble some chemicals, create a hypothesis and an experiment to test for the presence of Chlorine gas. This is possible because I know Chlorine's properties and that if it is produced in the experiment, then I will surely recognize it based it on its properties. Can you do this with God?

2. What alternative method would you propose for studying the supernatural?

Logic and philosophy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 265 by Meldinoor, posted 05-06-2010 9:16 PM Meldinoor has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 277 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-07-2010 8:54 AM Pauline has responded

  
Pauline
Member (Idle past 1815 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 268 of 477 (559136)
05-06-2010 10:33 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by dwise1
05-06-2010 9:44 PM


Re: Let's See ...
Before we get to this,

any response to Msg 263?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by dwise1, posted 05-06-2010 9:44 PM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 270 by dwise1, posted 05-07-2010 1:28 AM Pauline has acknowledged this reply

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 269 of 477 (559137)
05-06-2010 10:46 PM
Reply to: Message 263 by Pauline
05-06-2010 8:45 PM


Re: Half a circle... is 180 degrees
Evidence is what he wants. And I assume he means evidence from a physical source of some sort. Something tangible! Something that be tested via experiments...since it seems like what he sees is what he believes and what he doesn't see with his eyes, automatically and dogmatically cannot exist!

I didn't say that.

What I would say is that there is no reason to believe in something that has no observable effects. It's like Carl Sagan's invisible dragon:

“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage”

Suppose (I’m following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

“Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle—but no dragon.

“Where’s the dragon?” you ask.

“Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.

“Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”

Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

“Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”

You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

“Good idea, but she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”

And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

The only thing you’ve really learned from my insistence that there’s a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head.

Do you see the problem, dw1?

It chokes the discussion.

It chokes the discussion of things that don't exist. It wouldn't choke the discussion of gravity or aardvarks or cheese or jealousy or Belgium or umbrellas or the national debt.

But I have asked you to suggest an alternative. What else is there to discuss? Apparently you would like to convince people of the existence of God, but without supplying them with any evidence for the existence of God. Now since evidence by definition is whatever is relevant to the truth of a proposition, there doesn't seem to be anything else to talk about.

So what's your plan B? Perhaps you could give us a sample couple of paragraphs of non-evidence-based argument, just so's I can see what it looks like.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 263 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 8:45 PM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 308 by Pauline, posted 05-09-2010 12:08 AM Dr Adequate has responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 270 of 477 (559146)
05-07-2010 1:28 AM
Reply to: Message 268 by Pauline
05-06-2010 10:33 PM


Re: Let's See ...
Please stand by. I left for dance classes immediately after my last post and just now got home.

Considering how long you made everybody else wait for an answer to a simple, direct, and highly pertinent question, a little patience on your part would be in order.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 268 by Pauline, posted 05-06-2010 10:33 PM Pauline has acknowledged this reply

  
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