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Author Topic:   Immaterial "Evidence"
Modulous
Member (Idle past 95 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 46 of 154 (521441)
08-27-2009 1:31 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by New Cat's Eye
08-22-2009 7:17 PM


Strange but sincere
And frankly, I think its the people who bring up the IPU that are the ones who are trying to "rebrand evidence".
Is it possible that someone, somewhere, some day, might have a religious experience that for some reason they see through an IPU lens? Or, if that doesn't sit well - do you concede that it is possible someone could be deluded into thinking they have had a religious experience regarding the IPU?
Or, if you prefer, some strange empirically undetectable entity/deity that as of today nobody seriously believes exists?
I can't see how you can say no.
The question is - what would your belief be regarding this entity? Would you
a) not hold the belief that it exists.
b) Think there was a reasonable chance that it exists.
c) believe with equal sincerity that it does exist.
d) believe that it definitely doesn't exist.
e) something else.
Now I appreciate that one person might say 'I cannot know if the entity exists so e)' to which I ask, "yes, but do you hold the belief that it does?"
The IPU is just a placeholder for such an entity, and various others have been thought up. Let us consider a person who looks deep into a fire and comes to a sudden understanding about why the neighbour's barn burned down, the experience is profound and life changing. The person knows with utter conviction that within the fire is a spirit who must be placated with sacrifices of porridge. Failure to do so makes the spirit grow restless and likely to play a prank. To the spirit it is just fun and games but the prank involves burning down a barn by causing sparks to fly out onto dry straw - possibly even killing those that are working within the barn. This invisible spirit has a long beard (possibly made of brass or moss) and laughs like a dog.
Or how about the revelation that a spirit/woman lives behind the stove who comes out at night and spins around and looks after the chicken and if the house isn't well kept she'll also tickle the children in bed who can only be appeased by washing ones pots and pans in tea. Other than exceptional circumstances only those that are about to die can see her and she can be recognized by her chicken feet (and that she is spinning).
Or maybe a shapeshifting water spirit, that takes the form of an old man with a green beard, or a mossy fish or a flying tree trunk. A spirit that drags people under water and drowns them, but can be placated by fishermen by throwing some tobacco into the water to be rewarded with a fish in return. Butter works too - as does the throwing back the first fish you catch. But don't retrieve the bodies of the drowned because that will anger him.
Now - without hunting around can you tell which of these entities are made up and which have been (or still are) geniunely believed in?
They are all equally evidenced, are they not? And I'm sure we could think up similar types of entity that nobody yet believes in but one day they might.
So - and this isn't solely directed at you Catholic Scientist - but how do we discriminate between which entities are true and which ones are 'silly' or 'ludicrous' or otherwise IPUish?
If you decide that any of the entities described, including those yet to be experienced, are ones that you do not believe are real entities - why do you hold that the entity that you have experienced is any more beliefworthy? Is it because you personally have experienced them and your own experience is more beliefworthy than other people's experiences? What if you had a second experience that was contradictory to your first? Would you abandon the first? If so, can you not conceive that it is possible you could have such an experience?
...people are being honest and simply trying to make sense of their real experiences by discussing them along side ways that are more reliable...
I appreciate that people are being honest and are honestly trying to make sense of things - but with all the data out there about how many varied and surreal religious experiences there are - why have any confidence in your own? Do you think you are specially privileged? Or maybe you are feeling safety in numbers? 33% of living humans believe approximately similar things to you, 60% maybe believe broadly along the same lines and a good number of them have probably had religious experiences. Is that it? Your experiences are more trustworthy because they are reinforced by the majority?
Or would you still believe the way you do even if nobody else remotely had a tiniest conception of 'god' and they all believed in elemental spirits and djinn and the like?
As I said CS, not all of that is specifically directed at you. A broad braindump regarding those who accept the kind of 'revelatory' form of evidence under discussion and who think that the IPU is intrinsically absurd. I really do wonder what they make of some of the strange, but sincere, beliefs that are floating around to this day in humanity's consciousness.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-22-2009 7:17 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 9:32 AM Modulous has replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 47 of 154 (521445)
08-27-2009 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by New Cat's Eye
08-27-2009 1:28 PM


Would it kill you to respond to my entire post rather than one sentence?
quote:
I didn't ask whether you had made it up. I asked how you can tell the difference between a made-up belief and a non-made-up belief without any evidence or method for reliably testing accuracy. You haven't answered that question.
Its beside the point.
It's the entire point. It's the point of this thread, and the IPU thread before it, and every other thread where the IPU is ever brought up anywhere.
The IPU is intended as an absurd-sounding belief that can be placed next to other beliefs to demonstrate a point. That point being that you cannot differentiate between which beliefs are made up and which beliefs are accurate without objective evidence and a reliable method for testing their accuracy.
I have a belief in god. Subjective experiences support my belief. The majority of people agree with me. I have reasons for it. I don't have any reason to believe in the IPU.
So you appeal to personal credulity (what else can subjective reasons be, since they inherently boil down to "I find it personally credulous") and to popularity - logical fallacies. Neither of these differentiates the IPU belief from yours; neither of these suggests that one belief has more accuracy than the other; neither suggests that one belief is more likely to have been made up than the other.
I don't care if other people are capable of determining whether or not I've made up my belief. I know that I didn't make it up. I know that the IPU was made up. There's the difference in the beliefs.
This isn't about whether you made up your belief or not. I certainly don;t think so - you believe in the Christian God, a concept that predates you by millenia. It would defy probability to think that you independently made up a belief that predates your existence, particularly when you've presumably lived in a culture where you were exposed to that belief from birth.
This is about whether the belief itself was made up. In the case of Christianity, the actual making-up would have occurred at various stages over the past several thousand years, beginning with the original Hebrew beliefs and expanding over time to the Christian beliefs you hold today. Everyone living who currently honestly believes in Christianity is distantly separated from those individuals who began and shaped the religion, whether true or made up.
So again, CS, King of Evaders and Ignorer of Nearly Everything in a Post, Responder to Single Lines in Multi-Page Debates...
What allows you to differentiate between your belief and the IPU, or Scientology? How do you know which ones are made up (not which ones you made up - presumably you aren't responsible for any of those three beliefs), and which ones are accurate, given that you have no objective evidence and no reliable method for testing their accuracy?
Personal credulity is a logical fallacy, and is irrelevant, so "feelings" about which beliefs are "convincing" to you personally don't matter one jot. Appeals to popularity and tradition are the same. So how, CS, do you tell which beliefs are made up and which ones are accurate?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-27-2009 1:28 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-02-2009 2:04 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 176 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


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Message 48 of 154 (521479)
08-27-2009 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by New Cat's Eye
08-27-2009 1:28 PM


Re: So Be It
Its beside the point.
I have a belief in god. Subjective experiences support my belief. The majority of people agree with me. I have reasons for it. I don't have any reason to believe in the IPU.
I don't care if other people are capable of determining whether or not I've made up my belief. I know that I didn't make it up. I know that the IPU was made up. There's the difference in the beliefs.
Nobody is asking you to believe in the IPU. Nobody ever has.
My question is, and in fact always has been throughout this extended discussion (with you, RAZD and others): Why should I give any more credence to the objects of your respective beliefs than I do the IPU?
The answer in previous threads was "subjective evidence". We have now established that with respect to immaterial gods this form of evidence requires:
A) That an immaterial "sixth sense" exist.
B) That we accept a form of evidence that is indistinguishable in terms of reliability to simply and unconsciously making things up.
C) That to accept this form of evidence at all requires as much faith as the object it is supposed to be evidencing.
So remind me again - Why is agnosticism, rather than a degree of atheism, the rational and logical conclusion for me when all of the objective material evidence suggests that such experiences are the product of the human mind?
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-27-2009 1:28 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Otto Tellick, posted 08-30-2009 4:17 PM Straggler has replied
 Message 63 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-02-2009 2:01 PM Straggler has replied

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2441 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


(2)
Message 49 of 154 (521931)
08-30-2009 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Straggler
08-27-2009 3:12 PM


"Immaterial Communication"?
This is one of the best threads I've seen on EvC, and I'm grateful to every one of the participants (well, leaving aside petrophysics1). I'm replying to the previous post by Straggler, because that one really put things very succinctly, and I agree with it completely.
The comments above by Modulus are also entirely on target for me, and I wanted to look a little further at his point about "the majority view". What is the nature of the transition from subjective experience (such as what mike-the-wiz "witnessed": his testimonial of personal revelation; or the "pre-existing condition" nature of CS's belief) to a group- or society-level belief system?
Does anyone know of documented cases where some number of people woke up on a given morning and all recall having some common dream? Or, to use one the examples Modulus provided, can we confirm whether some number of people have independently stared into a fire and come up with equivalent/comparable conceptions about a willful entity existing in the flames?
If this sort of thing happened regularly, where the personal experiences could be demonstrated to be materially independent and yet the non-material perceptions and resulting descriptions were significantly consistent, this would strike me as very firm evidence for some non-material form of communication among sentient creatures (or directed toward these creatures from some other source). And I think this may be the crux of the issue that Straggler raises in this thread.
We have a fair bit of evidence, and at least a partial understanding, of material causes for the kinds of subjective experience that some people refer to as "religious" or "revelatory". For Mike-the-Wiz, the association between praying for a new car and then seeing one arrive can be attributed (as he admits) to a simple case of false causality; the voice in his head could be related in some way to his periodic bouts of depression as some sort of chemical or synaptic imbalance in some region of his brain.
But in what way (apart from Mike's own sense of personal certainty and conviction) do his internal experiences constitute a confirmation for some specific form of Christianity? (Why would it lead him to argue against evolution, for example, as opposed to adopting Roman Catholicism or some other denomination that accepts evolution? But this is a tangent.)
The difficulty I see with people who cite their personal revelatory experiences as the reason for specific religious beliefs is that this association appears to me to be a matter of coincidence: the next person you talk to after your experience happens to be a sympathetic and supportive pastor or member of the XYZ Church, so the "explanation" they help you come up with is the one that brings you into that church -- but you could just as well have gone into the Reformed-XYZ' Church, or the IJK Witnesses, or Buddhism, or even secular humanism (because the person you talked to happened to be a sympathetic/supportive neuropsychologist, with an uncanny ability to communicate with laymen).
A key issue to me is not the occurrence or nature of the subjective experience itself, but the way in which that experience is communicated to others, and interpreted. Every means of communication will impose some form of constraint -- aspects of the experience will be omitted, glossed over, compartmentalized, quantized or distorted in order to pass through the communication channel; pooh-pooh the Whorfian notion that language determines thought as you like, but for some internal perceptions, the transmutation to language will inevitably leave its imprint on the "event".
To the extent that our language is a community construct as much as it is an individual one, an inescapable influence from our immediate community is asserted on any attempt to communicate, interpret, and even comprehend or conceptualize our subjective experiences. To the extent that "religious" belief can be dangerous (what we refer to as a "cult" rather than a "denomination"), this power of the community over the individual is where the danger lies: the individual is not permitted any other framework for interpreting the event.
Of course the dangerous case is generally considered to be the exception, and of course we should free ourselves from the lock-step association of "cult" with "religious". (The reason why Nazi Germany fails as an example of the evils of either religion or atheism is because it was a cult that actually had little or nothing to do with religion or atheism.) But the issue remains that the interpretation of subjective experience can be too much at the whim of an otherwise unrelated "standard of interpretation" imposed by a community attached to the experiencer.
I have one other point, which might be unrelated but might provide an interesting contrast: as a grad student studying sociolinguistics, I was introduced to the notion of "intersubjective agreement". This was an operational procedure whereby a group of researchers would listen to a given recording of an utterance by some speaker (given that the investigators knew the speaker's language well), and the task at hand was to answer some question about the utterance, but the information needed to answer the question was not materially available in the recording.
The researchers could answer the question if, for instance, they made enough inferences from the recorded context containing the utterance (e.g. if the question was "what did the person actually say?" in cases where the recorded utterance was ambiguous), or if they tried to mimic the utterance and used their own perceptions of the articulations involved (e.g. if the question was something like "what sequence of tongue and jaw movements produced this portion of the utterance?"). But since multiple answers were possible, the only outcome could be a "most plausible" one based on a consensus among the researchers.
In order for this procedure to be objectively acceptable, the researchers had to work as a group, listening to the available evidence, proposing answers, and discussing them in order to arrive at a consensus. I suppose this is not really comparable in any way (or even relevant) to how subjective experience is interpreted in the population at large, under the influence of sometimes rigid and unassailable community belief systems, but the contrast is interesting, and it's worth noting a need for "subjective" bases of analysis in some areas of objective research.
Edited by Otto Tellick, : minor grammar repair in next-to-last paragraph

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Straggler, posted 08-27-2009 3:12 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by Straggler, posted 08-30-2009 5:00 PM Otto Tellick has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 176 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


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Message 50 of 154 (521941)
08-30-2009 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by Otto Tellick
08-30-2009 4:17 PM


Re: "Immaterial Communication"?
This is one of the best threads I've seen on EvC, and I'm grateful to every one of the participants (well, leaving aside petrophysics1). I'm replying to the previous post by Straggler, because that one really put things very succinctly, and I agree with it completely.
Whilst I appreciate the vote of confidence you would not believe the convuluted path it has taken me/us to get to this point. I have been out-debated in many respects and become something of a pantomime villain for the deistic contingent in the process. This thread is the culmination of several previous threads:
Is My Hypothesis Valid???
Why "Immaterial Pink Unicorns" are not a logical argument
Percy is a Deist - Now what's the difference between a deist and an atheist?
As well as more latterly How does one distinguish faith from delusion?
Ultimately, despite the various conflations, debating tactics and disengenuous attempts to divert from the real topic at hand, we have now established the unrefuted position outlined in Message 48.
The comments above by Modulus are also entirely on target for me, and I wanted to look a little further at his point about "the majority view". What is the nature of the transition from subjective experience (such as what mike-the-wiz "witnessed": his testimonial of personal revelation; or the "pre-existing condition" nature of CS's belief) to a group- or society-level belief system?
Should those who advocate such things be willing I am more than happy for this thread to go down the route of examining the validity of "Consensus gentium" and, more generally, the difference between scientific consensus and seemingly compatible but nevertheless dispirate subjective experiences as constituting "objectivity".
I also hope that Modulus would take part in any such discussion as his epistemological arguments are the best I have seen here at EvC.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Otto Tellick, posted 08-30-2009 4:17 PM Otto Tellick has not replied

  
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 4411 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 51 of 154 (522120)
09-01-2009 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by Modulous
08-27-2009 1:31 PM


Re: Strange but sincere
Hi Modulous,
It's been an interesting experience reading this thread, and there are many thought-provoking posts here. It was difficult to pick one to reply to. I had been hoping to continue discussing with you in the faith/delusion thread so here goes.
quote:
Is it possible that someone, somewhere, some day, might have a religious experience that for some reason they see through an IPU lens? Or, if that doesn't sit well - do you concede that it is possible someone could be deluded into thinking they have had a religious experience regarding the IPU?
Maybe it would help if I outlined the criteria I would personally use, which I think are similar to those that RAZD has been espousing. First of all, since it is one individual claiming they have experienced the IPU (and no photographs or videos), then it is obvious that all the rest of us cannot validate that experience empirically. I am hoping that we can get past the tautology mentioned earlier {it's not empirical=it's not scientific=it's not valid.}
Does anyone else claim to have seen the IPU? No.
Is belief in the IPU part of a mainstream religion? No. (Consensus gentium is obviously not infallible but sometimes it can be an indicator of truth; it needs to be considered along with other pieces of evidence.)
Had the viewer been taking drugs or anything else that would alter normal consciousness?
Could the IPU have been a mirage, or could the viewer be otherwise mistaken about what they thought they really saw?
Could the viewer be lying for some reason? Maybe hoaxing?
What was the nature of the vision? Was it silent, radiating peace? Or perhaps it told the viewer to pull his clothes off and run naked through the streets? The former has often been reported as a characteristic of religious experience; the latter seems to be more an indicator of mental instability.
What is the personality of the viewer? Is this a "salt of the earth" sort of person who is usually rational and has never reported anything like this before? Or do they already have a reputation as being eccentric? What would a psychologist say after an interview?
How has the viewer reacted to the experience? Does it seem to have been a positive influence on their life? Or has it, for example, led them to commit acts of violence? I said in the faith/delusion thread that the vast majority of people belonging to a religion believe in a deity that is peaceful and loving. I suppose it's conceivable that the IPU was a malevolent entity bent on getting people to do its will but I personally find it difficult to see any easy way of telling this apart from mental illness.
A summary of the methods above might be logic, consensus gentium, and knowledge of human nature (from one's own experience or from sociology or anthropology or psychology), with empirical investigation where possible. The fact that the IPU is a rhetorical fiction and not a well-established world religious figure counts against the validity of an IPU "religious experience" but does not discount it completely. People have been claiming to see spirits in various shapes and forms for thousands of years. If some of these experiences were real, maybe the viewers' own cultures and beliefs somehow caused the entities to manifest in these particular shapes and forms, or maybe it was a decision on the entities' part.
After thorough investigation, we may be no closer to establishing the validity of such a vision. Then what? Several here have expressed doubt that it is possible to separate genuine religious experience from delusion. But no one has asked why that seems to be so very necessary.
Let's say that a psychologist has established that the viewer of the IPU is perfectly sane. They lead an ordinary life and were not expecting to have such an experience. It has not since been repeated. The vision was peaceful and reassuring somehow, though it did not speak. It most certainly did not give instructions to carry out harmful acts. In the viewer's mind, this will forever be a strange but real experience.
Why is it so vital for some to draw a definitive line between what we perceive to be real and fantasy? If as above, there are no negative consequences to adopting a faith that something is real, then why is this such a bad thing?
When I was a teenager I was into Tarot cards and Ouija boards and crystals. When I graduated from college and entered the working world I had doubts about everything I'd ever believed, and decided it had been nonsense. Reality consisted of making enough money to survive, maintaining relationships, and generally trying to protect myself from the thoroughly unpersonified, fickle, shit-happens universe. I thought this way for a long time and only recently have started turning back to some of the beliefs I had when I was younger (modified in the light of experience). I still can't be completely sure that this is right and that I'm not deluded. But it's not doing me or anyone else any harm and I enjoy investigating different possibilities. Maybe at some point I will have a really convincing experience involving my 5 senses but I looked for that for years and it didn't come. My mistake may have been to search in that particular way. The point is that whatever I decide to have faith in, for whatever reasons, it's not pathological in its consequences for me or others; and maybe having an open mind will lead to something interesting down the road.
I'd like to add that empiricism puts limits on what we can allow subjective evidence to tell us. We know that the earth cannot be 6,000 years old. We know there was never a worldwide flood. It also seems pretty clear that there are no personified deities living in the sky, hurling thunderbolts or otherwise smiting the wicked; nor do they shout commandments down at us in booming voices. I personally look for the commonality in all religions and religious experiences and view that as some indicator of what the truth might really be. This is of course opposed to Straggler's claims that this commonality is simply a sign of humanity's tendency to make things up.
Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.
Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by Modulous, posted 08-27-2009 1:31 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 10:18 AM Kitsune has not replied
 Message 53 by Rahvin, posted 09-01-2009 1:38 PM Kitsune has replied
 Message 59 by Modulous, posted 09-01-2009 4:05 PM Kitsune has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 176 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


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Message 52 of 154 (522123)
09-01-2009 10:18 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Kitsune
09-01-2009 9:32 AM


Re: Strange but sincere
This is of course opposed to Straggler's claims that this commonality is simply a sign of humanity's tendency to make things up.
That is way too simplistic.
Why are human dreams of flying so common as a subjective experience? Why are kids nightmares of monsters under the bed so common as a subjective experience?
Do they suggest an actual ability to fly? Do they suggest that the Bogie man really is under the bed? Or do they suggest a commonality of human culture, psychology, emotion etc. etc. etc? Similarly what is the common factor in the beliefs and experiences you speak of? Is it the actual existence of the dispirate and conflicting immaterial entities that are concluded? Or is it the very human need for explanation and desire for higher purpose of those making the supernatural conclusions?
Is the commonality of experience you speak of not better explained by these highly objectively evidenced phenomenon? Rather than by the actual existence of immaterial entities that require an immaterial sixth sense to be detected at all?
If you can get past sincerity and conviction and actually look at the evidence objectively I really don't see how you can claim that a degree of atheism is not the rational conclusion.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 9:32 AM Kitsune has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 53 of 154 (522150)
09-01-2009 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Kitsune
09-01-2009 9:32 AM


The human mind is not an accurate tool
I am hoping that we can get past the tautology mentioned earlier {it's not empirical=it's not scientific=it's not valid.}
That's not what we're saying, LindaLou. The problem is that the validity of nonemipirical "evidence" cannot be determined. COnclusions drawn from convincing subjective "feelings" or other experiences could be valid. Or they could not. Becasue of their subjective nature, however, they are impossible to test, and so their accuracy is no better than random guessing.
That doesn't mean that conclusions drawn from nonempirical evidence are invalid. It simply means that those who accept the subjective as evidence sacrifice their ability to determine the accuracy of their beliefs, and that insisting that beliefs are indeed accurate without any degree of testability is irrational.
Only beliefs that are logically inconsistent or that directly contradict objective evidence are invalid - because there is a degree of testability to claims for which evidence (or contradictory evidence) exists, and logically contradictory arguemnts cannot be valid.
Most faith-based beliefs are not contradicted by objective evidence. Some are logically inconsistent, but most of those have rationalizations to explain away the inconsistencies (Paul says the OT Mosaic Law doesn't apply to Gentile Christians, etc).
This, obviously, means that the less specific a belief is, the less likely it is to be invalid. As such, Deistic beliefs in incomprehensible and undescribable deities cannot be said to be invalid - we have, by their very definitions, no method available to test the accuracy of such beliefs. They are sufficiently vague as to allow a wide range of possibilities that would match the definition, and avoid any specific statement that can be disproved with objective evidence. After all, it is impossible to prove a negative except by proving a mutually exclusive positive; as no mutually exclusive option seems available to the vague Deistic concept of god(s), they are completely unfalsifiable and immune from examination. They are the ultimate example of the God of the Gaps - the gap, itself, is god.
Irrationality comes into play when one insists that such a belief is certainly accurate; when confidence in the accuracy of a position exists despite the impossibility of testing for or verifying that accuracy. It's no different from a person who insists that they have picked the winning lottery numbers before the numbers are drawn - there is no way to test the validity or accuracy of that belief. The person may have a "feeling" or have received information from a "voice" or a dream or any number of other subjective experiences - but there is absolutely no way to testthe validity of that belief. The person's confidence is based on a methodology whose accuracy is demonstrably no better than random guessing.
But beyond this, we know from innumerable psychological experiments that human beings make shit up all the time, often without even realizing it. The human brain developed to survive in a very specific environment - one that was not conducive to determining the accuracy of any given belief. The result is a very untrustworthy tool. I recall an example I recently read about (the book is The Science of Fear, I'll add a specific reference when I get home and have the book available) where test subjectes were asked to vividly imagine an event, like being lost at the mall. Several weeks later they were asked about the event, and the subjects were absolutely convinced that the event had actually happened. The human brain is structured in such a way that we are incredibly bad (horrible, even) at distinguishing fantasy from reality. The mroe we want soemthign to be true, the more likely we "feel" it is to actually be true. The same with familiarity - the more often we think about something, the safer we think it is, and the more accurate we think it is. The ease with which we recal something also has a strong effect - the more easily you can recall a memory (even an imagined memory), the more likely you think that event is to happen. This was great when hearing stories from tribe members could make you wary of the log floating down the river that may be a crocodile; it's not so great when you go to weekly meetings where you repeatedly imagine the presence of an invisible and intangible entity, are told to "feel" it's love, are surrounded by people reinforcing that belief, etc.
It's particularly awful when the time comes to evaluate the accuracy of a subjective, personal experience. We know that it is demonstrably true that a person can andoften will be absolutely convinced of the veracity of their own memories and will consider subjective experience to be objective fact, even though these things have a horrific rate of accuracy when making predictions related to the real world.
This means that, in teh absence of objective evidence, it is perfectly rational to conclude that unsupoported assertions, particularly those related to subjective "feelings," philosophical navel-gazing, "visions," "dreams," personal anecdotes, and basically everything else we've been talking about across these many threads are most likely the result of faulty thinking.
That doesn't mean that all people who have faith are crazy. It doesn't mean that all conclusions drawn from subjective evidence cannot be true, or invalid. All it means is that, without any evidence or ability to test a given assertion, nobody else has any reason at all to agree with your conclusion, and that so far as what can be demonstrated, such beliefs have no greater accuracy than random guessing.
To the person who has experienced a subjective "vision" or whatever, they are certainly not making an actual random guess; their conclusion is the direct result of their experience and thus is not random in any way. But without strict adherence to objectivity and testing of conclusions against reality, all human conclusions are no more accurate than random (or at best, educated) guessing. Often, they're worse.
Subjective experiences are deomosntrably inaccurate when it comes to drawing conclusions about the real world. Inaccurate does not mean invalid. Having confidence in one conclusion due to subjective evidence over another for which you have no subjective evidence does not appear to be special pleading, because the subjective experience itself gives a reason to increase confidence in one position over another - but the fallacy becomes readily apparent when viewed from the perspective of the independent observer. Waht's the difference between Hindu and Mormon beliefs, objectively? Nothing, aside from the length of their traditions and the specific claims. No actual evidence distinguishes the two. The same is true of Scientology, Catholocism, Protestant Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, New-Age beliefs, Astrology, Tarot, Homeopathy, Deism, Thor-worship, and the belief that an angel gave you the winning lottery numbers. If you've had accurate Tarot readings, if you've had a vision of the angel Moroni, if you've prayed to God for healing and got better, you have a reason for your specific belief as opposed to all other possible beliefs...
But you still have no objective evidence, and no way to falsify or verify the accuracy of your beliefs. That leaves you prone to the failings of the human mind, a decidedly poor tool when not used in conjunction with rigorous adherence to objectivity.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 9:32 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 3:17 PM Rahvin has replied

  
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 4411 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 54 of 154 (522158)
09-01-2009 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Rahvin
09-01-2009 1:38 PM


Re: The human mind is not an accurate tool
Hi Rahvin,
Thanks for elucidating your position. Most people I talk with on this topic will not admit that subjective evidence can actually be correct. Granted, you are distrustful of it to the point of dismissing it out of hand (or almost doing so), but I don't disagree with all of your reasons for this. I also hope it's clear that I accept that empiricism is the most accurate epistemology for us to learn about the physical world, e.g. the age of rocks or the chemical composition of benzene. It obviously gets much murkier when you try to apply empiricism to places where it doesn't work so well, like faith. I feel like I am back in the faith/delusion thread here with the way this conversation is headed, but I will try to keep a focus on so-called "immaterial evidence."
quote:
The problem is that the validity of nonemipirical "evidence" cannot be determined.
I find myself wondering how you personally would define non-empirical evidence. In my previous post I listed the criteria I would go through to try to determine whether someone's vision of the IPU might warrant some (tentative) plausibility. Which of those criteria would you consider to be empirical? Because those criteria can be used by anybody having a religious experience, including me. While doing someone's psychological profile isn't necessarily going to prove anything in and of itself, it can lead us to conclusions about that person, including how likely they are to be telling a truthful and accurate story. This is a point RAZD made a few times -- that non-empirical evidence can give us clues that head us in the right direction. That makes having a gut feeling or a sudden inspiration valid in their ways too, if they lead to profitable actions. Which leads me to your next point:
quote:
. . . and so their accuracy is no better than random guessing.
I asked Straggler several times to explain what he meant by "random guessing" but he wouldn't. I think I see what you are both getting at now, after your example of the belief that angels have given the winning lottery number (though this seems a curious example to me because all you have to do is wait til the draw to have this belief empirically tested). It seems nonsensical to me to apply "random guessing" to a religious belief because what exactly are the probabilities involved? I seem to remember that Catholic Scientist also asked this. Some people believe that there is a heaven and a hell. Some believe to varying degrees that the eucharist host becomes the body of Christ at Communion. Some believe that God forgives sins through a priest. (Can you tell I was brought up Catholic.) I don't see how you could measure any of these beliefs against random guesses -- do you think you can calculate a probability that God is going to forgive my sins if I go to confession? Don't forget to work out the probability of God existing in the first place and of it being a celestial being who grants favours depending on how well we have pleased him. And what are the odds that it's even a "him" and not a "her" . . .
quote:
It simply means that those who accept the subjective as evidence sacrifice their ability to determine the accuracy of their beliefs
There are degrees of this of course. How do you think I did with the IPU evidence? We may end up not knowing whether it was real or not, but we can build in safeguards to eliminate the more obvious rational explanations first (I'm sure there could be more than the ones I thought of). Interestingly, you didn't answer my question of why it's so important in such a case to draw the line between "real" and "delusion." If all rational explanations have been discounted, then the viewer is left with the choice to believe what they saw, or to dismiss it as their imagination or somesuch. Can you see a problem with them making the choice to believe?
quote:
insisting that beliefs are indeed accurate without any degree of testability is irrational.
No, it just means that you make a deliberate choice whether or not to have faith. People do this all the time. I think the manner in which the "insisting" is done can be a factor too. A creationist might insist to me that all scientists are liars in a giant conspiracy and that if I don't convert to their beliefs I will burn in hell forever. Another devout Christian might wait for me to have enough interest and open-mindedness to approach him and ask him for some teaching. Both of these people are convinced that their beliefs are accurate even though they are untestable, but one of them is forcefully trying to convince me while the other one is not.
quote:
Only beliefs that are logically inconsistent or that directly contradict objective evidence are invalid - because there is a degree of testability to claims for which evidence (or contradictory evidence) exists, and logically contradictory arguemnts cannot be valid.
Most faith-based beliefs are not contradicted by objective evidence. Some are logically inconsistent, but most of those have rationalizations to explain away the inconsistencies (Paul says the OT Mosaic Law doesn't apply to Gentile Christians, etc).
I agree. It's interesting that you move from this to God of the Gaps. This is similar to Straggler saying that people invented gods to explain the irrational and to give comfort. You said,
quote:
the less specific a belief is, the less likely it is to be invalid.
It sounds to me like you are implying that people such as Deists keep shifting the goalposts so that they can keep their comfortable faith while not contradicting any existing evidence. Having read posts by Percy and others, I think their reasoning might be that they want their faith to square with our knowledge of the world and so they won't tie themselves to details that are improbable; for example, there is no empirical evidence that a god has actively been participating in human affairs, so it would be irrational of them to adhere to this belief. To me this is a search for the truth rather than an avoidance of it. I do the same with my own beliefs; if for some reason they appear improbable, I shift them. I see no reason to dismiss them entirely.
Similarly to Straggler, you go on to explain why you think that psychology can explain away religious beliefs. While I wouldn't argue with anything you said about the possible inaccuracies of human experience and anecdotes, and you've made the point that this evidence is unreliable, we are also left with the fact you also acknowledged that it can be true. IMO it is can be worth pursuing the one true experience even if it is like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Let's say that out of 100 people, 99 of them are mistaken about the objective truth of a religious experience. That leaves one with a genuine experience. You could use whatever numbers you want: one in 1000, one in a million. That one genuine experience could possibly lead us to new truths. From having spoken to people all my life and being an avid reader, I would hazard a guess that genuine experiences aren't quite as rare as that.
I had one myself, though it wasn't anything grand. My parents made me continue to go to church with them when I was a teenager even though I no longer subscribed to their faith. I was standing rather resentfully in the pews, having listened to yet another homily that I did not agree with, and with no power to object. It them came time for everyone to hold hands while they recited a prayer. I dutifully took the hands of the people on either side of me and was surprised to feel energy moving through. It's difficult to describe but it was definitely there and it wasn't static electricity. I hadn't anticipated it, had never wished for it, and to be honest I wouldn't have thought it likely that I'd ever experience anything unusual during a seemingly soulless mass that everyone repeated the words for every Sunday even if their thoughts went somewhere else more interesting.
My interpretation was not that God was present and moving through us, but that we were sharing energy as we joined hands. Eastern philosophies would consider this to be perfectly normal. I can't prove anything about this to you or anyone else and for all you know I could be lying. I, however, have no reason to believe that my experience was not genuine.
quote:
Subjective experiences are deomosntrably inaccurate when it comes to drawing conclusions about the real world.
From an empirical epistemological point of view this makes perfect sense.
To someone like me who holds some solipsistic views (as explained in the faith/delusion thread), it's somewhat questionable.
You may call philosophy "navel gazing" but there are actually a number of different ways of viewing the nature of reality, and there are degrees to those views.
quote:
But you still have no objective evidence, and no way to falsify or verify the accuracy of your beliefs. That leaves you prone to the failings of the human mind, a decidedly poor tool when not used in conjunction with rigorous adherence to objectivity.
Which brings me back to the beginning of this post: empiricism is a poor investigative tool where religious faith is concerned, so those of us who do not so readily dismiss the whole concept need to use other epistemological means. I stand by what I said about the IPU experience in my previous post. If after all investigation, that viewer was still convinced they saw it, no one could prove otherwise, and that belief did no harm to anyone, I'm happy to leave the jury out on the matter.
Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.
Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Rahvin, posted 09-01-2009 1:38 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 4:23 PM Kitsune has replied
 Message 61 by Rahvin, posted 09-01-2009 7:26 PM Kitsune has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 176 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
(1)
Message 55 of 154 (522178)
09-01-2009 4:23 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Kitsune
09-01-2009 3:17 PM


Re: The human mind is not an accurate tool
Most people I talk with on this topic will not admit that subjective evidence can actually be correct.
I have consistently, persistently and relentlessly questioned the reliability of such evidence. Primarily with regard to immaterial subjective evidence. I have never ever ever stated that it is invalid in the sense of being definitely wrong. I don't think anyone has?
I asked Straggler several times to explain what he meant by "random guessing" but he wouldn't.
I did actually.
But for the record I am not accusing anybody of actually randomly guessing. I am simply stating that unless the visions (or whatever) in question can be demonstrated as leading to conclusions that are more reliable than randomly guessing, or even intentionally making things up (which could also by pure fluke hit upon the "truth"), then there is no rational basis upon which to think that they are any more reliable indicators of reality than randomly guessing or making things up. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that where such internal visions are expereinced by those who already believe in the object that is "evidenced" unintentional subconscious confirmation bias is a far better explanation than "revelation". Biased "guessing" by any other name. In terms of reliability at least.
Again it all comes back to which is better evidenced. The human ability to invent based on need, desire, comfort etc. etc. OR the actual existence of immaterial entities? Honestly LindaLou which is the best evidenced and most rational conclusion here?
Which brings me back to the beginning of this post: empiricism is a poor investigative tool where religious faith is concerned, so those of us who do not so readily dismiss the whole concept need to use other epistemological means. I stand by what I said about the IPU experience in my previous post. If after all investigation, that viewer was still convinced they saw it, no one could prove otherwise, and that belief did no harm to anyone, I'm happy to leave the jury out on the matter.
Which I suppose brings us full circle to where all this started so long ago. When RAZD was confronted by a host of atheists inventing all manner of "absurd" possibilities none of which were refutable by empirical evidence. I won't assault your intellect by introducing them here but are you really agnostic about ALL these things? I mean really?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 3:17 PM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 4:33 PM Straggler has replied

  
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 4411 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 56 of 154 (522183)
09-01-2009 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by Straggler
09-01-2009 4:23 PM


Re: The human mind is not an accurate tool
Straggler,
Curiously, though my posts here have not been addressed to you, you have again been reiterating your position to me while ignoring large chunks of what I have written in my own posts. This is the reason I stopped debating with you in the previous thread. Your final question makes this doubly clear, because I have answered it:
quote:
are you really agnostic about ALL these things? I mean really?
And anyway, from your OP:
quote:
FAITH: NOT INTERESTED AND OFF TOPIC

This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 4:23 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 4:47 PM Kitsune has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 176 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
(1)
Message 57 of 154 (522186)
09-01-2009 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Kitsune
09-01-2009 4:33 PM


Re: The human mind is not an accurate tool
Curiously, though my posts here have not been addressed to you, you have again been reiterating your position to me while ignoring large chunks of what I have written in my own posts.
Curiously it doesn't make sense to both suggest that I have not answered your questions whilst at the same time accusing me of reiterating the answers.
Strangely I feel that both because I introduced this topic and because I believe that it is my line of questioning that has allowed things to develop to the point that makes this topic relevant I have every right to both ask questions of the poeple that participate in this thread and to express my own point of view. And if you want me to tackle your entire post point by point then believe me I will. Just let me know.
Straggler writes:
Which I suppose brings us full circle to where all this started so long ago. When RAZD was confronted by a host of atheists inventing all manner of "absurd" possibilities none of which were refutable by empirical evidence. I won't assault your intellect by introducing them here but are you really agnostic about ALL these things? I mean really?
LL responds writes:
FAITH: NOT INTERESTED AND OFF TOPIC
Well if faith is your only basis for special pleading one unevidenced entity over any other then we seem to have concluded that atheism rather than agnosticism is the rational position.
Exactly as I, and many others, have been saying from the very start of this extended discussion.
Cheers.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 4:33 PM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 3:56 PM Straggler has replied

  
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 4411 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 58 of 154 (522164)
09-01-2009 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Straggler
09-01-2009 4:47 PM


Re: The human mind is not an accurate tool
quote:
I have every right to both ask questions of the poeple that participate in this thread and to express my own point of view.
Everyone on the forum has that right. What I see happening is the same thing that RAZD and I were talking about in the faith/delusion thread: you state and re-state your position while ignoring major points that others make. Re-stating your position is not the same thing as engaging in what other people are saying.
quote:
Well if faith is your only basis for special pleading one unevidenced entity over any other then we seem to have concluded that atheism rather than agnosticism is the rational position.
Firstly, I said no such thing. Secondly, you would understand that this is a misstatement of my views if you had been reading my posts with any care.
Please try to see what's going on here because it narks people off.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 4:47 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2009 4:12 PM Kitsune has not replied

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 95 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 59 of 154 (522171)
09-01-2009 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Kitsune
09-01-2009 9:32 AM


Re: Strange but sincere
Hi Modulous,
It's been an interesting experience reading this thread, and there are many thought-provoking posts here. It was difficult to pick one to reply to. I had been hoping to continue discussing with you in the faith/delusion thread so here goes.
Hey, good to see you again, nice response.
First of all, since it is one individual claiming they have experienced the IPU (and no photographs or videos), then it is obvious that all the rest of us cannot validate that experience empirically.
Agreed.
Does anyone else claim to have seen the IPU? No.
Is belief in the IPU part of a mainstream religion? No. (Consensus gentium is obviously not infallible but sometimes it can be an indicator of truth; it needs to be considered along with other pieces of evidence.)
OK, fair enough. But a large number of beliefs have been outside the mainstream at their origin, and many different religions have been 'mainstream' and are no more. Consensus Gentium is useful, but its limits have to be acknowledged and it shouldn't be used beyond those limits. 'Everyone' used to know that time ticks the same for everyone under any circumstances. 'Everyone' used to know the earth was at the centre of the cosmos. To me such a method is herd mentality - follow the crowd it has its own wisdom. This might have been a great tool to unify a group of primates - but it seems it is only 'useful' not necessarily a good way to gain confidence in the truth of a proposition.
Had the viewer been taking drugs or anything else that would alter normal consciousness?
I'm geniunely curious as to how an affirmative would influence your decision as to the reliability of the testimony.
Could the IPU have been a mirage, or could the viewer be otherwise mistaken about what they thought they really saw?
Could the viewer be lying for some reason? Maybe hoaxing?
Always a possibility, and thus always a good thing to consider in testimonies of religious visions.
To be clear, I wasn't referring solely to 'visions' or even auditory sensations.
What was the nature of the vision? Was it silent, radiating peace? Or perhaps it told the viewer to pull his clothes off and run naked through the streets? The former has often been reported as a characteristic of religious experience; the latter seems to be more an indicator of mental instability.
Sounds like prejudice to me. Some religions have spontaneous acts such as stripping naked, thrashing oneself, making crazy noises, jumping around, rolling around or speaking gibberish as part of their religious experiences.
How has the viewer reacted to the experience? Does it seem to have been a positive influence on their life? Or has it, for example, led them to commit acts of violence? I said in the faith/delusion thread that the vast majority of people belonging to a religion believe in a deity that is peaceful and loving. I suppose it's conceivable that the IPU was a malevolent entity bent on getting people to do its will but I personally find it difficult to see any easy way of telling this apart from mental illness.
I'm not sure how you'd count the experience as being positive as being indicative of truth. I understand that in order to brand something as being a mental illness we'd generally look to whether the subject was disturbed or upset by the experience. But just because they aren't mentally ill, doesn't mean their experience means what they think it means - surely?
After thorough investigation, we may be no closer to establishing the validity of such a vision. Then what? Several here have expressed doubt that it is possible to separate genuine religious experience from delusion. But no one has asked why that seems to be so very necessary.
Well, we can skip 'delusion' and just stipulate that the options are that the religious experience correctly interpreted by the subject or it isn't. It might be a temporary aberration of the brain (a not necessarily unpleasant, but non-normal brain event), but they might interpret it as being sent from a being that doesn't exist.
Let's say that a psychologist has established that the viewer of the IPU is perfectly sane. They lead an ordinary life and were not expecting to have such an experience. It has not since been repeated. The vision was peaceful and reassuring somehow, though it did not speak. It most certainly did not give instructions to carry out harmful acts. In the viewer's mind, this will forever be a strange but real experience.
Why is it so vital for some to draw a definitive line between what we perceive to be real and fantasy? If as above, there are no negative consequences to adopting a faith that something is real, then why is this such a bad thing?
I'm not currently making a value judgement on a person's quality of life. Just whether there is evidence that can discriminate a brain 'illusion'/glitch/fatigue/epilepsy/tumour/whatever. The value judgement is whether or not the method others use to determine the existence of supernatural or such entities is sound or unsupportable.
You seem to be conceding that one cannot be sure if someone has experienced a geniune religious experience, and by extension that you have had a geniune one. By geniune I mean one actually that is the result of a supernatural/spiritual entity of some kind.
I'd like to add that empiricism puts limits on what we can allow subjective evidence to tell us. We know that the earth cannot be 6,000 years old. We know there was never a worldwide flood. It also seems pretty clear that there are no personified deities living in the sky, hurling thunderbolts or otherwise smiting the wicked; nor do they shout commandments down at us in booming voices. I personally look for the commonality in all religions and religious experiences and view that as some indicator of what the truth might really be. This is of course opposed to Straggler's claims that this commonality is simply a sign of humanity's tendency to make things up.
You seem to have already concluded that the truth, whatever it might really be is not a sign of humanity's tendency to make things up (or readily believe comforting stories made up by others (or even more readily believe the stories, comforting or otherwise, that you are taught about by other members of society (parents, friends, books etc)).
By readily discounting that the commonality might be down to a common neurology / culture, you've discounted a researchable (and researched) avenue of learning what the truth might really be. For tens of thousands of years humanity has followed the pattern of thinking these cultural ideas mixed with a numinous experience are indicative of there really being spirits and gods. For only a handful of centuries has there been a serious grouping of people seriously looking into the possibility that instead of what humanity has for so long thought, the truth might really be something else.
I agree - that commonality is indicative of truth, but I'm not so quick to dismiss one possibility. Especially when that possibility is something that can be investigated and comes up with testable/verifiable ideas as to the truth. The other possibility seems to be to say 'I don't know what it is, but it definitely isn't the answer the closed-minded physicalists would have us think, except in some cases - but I don't know which.'.

Let's say that out of 100 people, 99 of them are mistaken about the objective truth of a religious experience. That leaves one with a genuine experience. You could use whatever numbers you want: one in 1000, one in a million. That one genuine experience could possibly lead us to new truths.
So how do you intend to weed through the false, and find which one is geniune? How can you safeguard against going down pointless, perhaps even retarding blind alleys? What is your method if
empiricism is a poor investigative tool where religious faith is concerned
?
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 9:32 AM Kitsune has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 176 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
(1)
Message 60 of 154 (522175)
09-01-2009 4:12 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Kitsune
09-01-2009 3:56 PM


Narked Off
Re-stating your position is not the same thing as engaging in what other people are saying.
I could say the same to both you and RAZD. The main difference is that if you ask me a question I answer it. But if I ask you a question you tell me it is "irrelevant".
Straggler writes:
Well if faith is your only basis for special pleading one unevidenced entity over any other then we seem to have concluded that atheism rather than agnosticism is the rational position.
Firstly, I said no such thing. Secondly, you would understand that this is a misstatement of my views if you had been reading my posts with any care.
God forbid that you actually concede that point. But what interpretation do you think is reasonable from your previous post in which you appear to raise faith as the sole and defining difference between equally unevidenced concepts?
Please try to see what's going on here because it narks people off.
Based on the objective evidence available is "It's 50-50 I just don't know" agnosticism or a degree of "the evidence points towards human invention" atheism the rational conclusion?
It "narks me off" that you RAZD and others won't just explicitly answer questions like that because you unilaterally deem them "irrelevant".
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Kitsune, posted 09-01-2009 3:56 PM Kitsune has not replied

  
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