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Author Topic:   Ground Rules
Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 68 (513215)
06-26-2009 11:22 AM


This thought came upon me when examining theistic claims. For instance we cannot *prove* that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist somewhere because we lack complete knowledge of everything. However, I find it unsatisfying to say that we conclude that the FSM is nonexistent in a “practical” sense because the same could be said for other things that do not particularly influence our daily lives. For instance, I don’t see anything in my daily life that hinges on my belief or disbelief of a hydrogen atom. I could very well choose to disbelieve its existence for practicality and get by fairly well.

Does this mean that we cannot deny the existence of the FSM? Well, no. In fact I support the 100% decision that it does not exist. My response to the argument that we possess subjectively “sufficient” information but not objectively complete information and should therefore only conclude that it “probably does not exist” is thus: To modify our conclusion in such a manner is necessitated by the assumption that we cannot be incorrect, an assumption that I find arrogant and more importantly highly inaccurate.

We can, and for proper conclusions should, make absolute statements about things in the appropriate circumstances. For instance, “energy can neither be created nor destroyed”. We don’t say “probably” because the concept that we could be in error is already part of the scientific system in which the statement is set. I argue that all human discussion, even in philosophy, should and for the most part does contain this understanding. Because of this I suggest the argument against absolute statements about gods is invalid because it attempts to damage an argument through selectively restating ground rules.

Now to the question: Do you think that there are situations in which this ground rule should not apply, making its inclusion in the statement necessary? Is the possibility of error justification for any belief?


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 06-27-2009 9:36 AM Phage0070 has responded
 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 06-27-2009 12:07 PM Phage0070 has responded
 Message 12 by Rrhain, posted 06-29-2009 4:01 AM Phage0070 has not yet responded

  
Admin
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Message 2 of 68 (513275)
06-27-2009 9:36 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phage0070
06-26-2009 11:22 AM


What are the "ground rules?"


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 68 (513280)
06-27-2009 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
06-27-2009 9:36 AM


"Humans are fallible."
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Admin
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Posts: 12579
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
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Message 4 of 68 (513283)
06-27-2009 10:36 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
RAZD
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Message 5 of 68 (513296)
06-27-2009 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phage0070
06-26-2009 11:22 AM


agnostic logic and subjective opinion
Hi Phage0070,

For instance we cannot *prove* that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist somewhere because we lack complete knowledge of everything. However, I find it unsatisfying to say that we conclude that the FSM is nonexistent in a “practical” sense because the same could be said for other things that do not particularly influence our daily lives.

In other words, you recognize that agnostic is the logical conclusion, but that it is not subjectively satisfactory - people like answers, not indecision.

Does this mean that we cannot deny the existence of the FSM? Well, no. In fact I support the 100% decision that it does not exist. My response to the argument that we possess subjectively “sufficient” information but not objectively complete information and should therefore only conclude that it “probably does not exist” is thus: To modify our conclusion in such a manner is necessitated by the assumption that we cannot be incorrect, an assumption that I find arrogant and more importantly highly inaccurate.

One thing we can do, is adopt a "working hypothesis" that {X} does not exist, and operate on the basis that this is true until contrary evidence becomes available.

Another thing that is involved is the relative importance of {X} in our world view. If it is unimportant to our view of things, then there is no practical purpose served in spending time on further investigation.

We can, and for proper conclusions should, make absolute statements about things in the appropriate circumstances. For instance, “energy can neither be created nor destroyed”. We don’t say “probably” because the concept that we could be in error is already part of the scientific system in which the statement is set. I argue that all human discussion, even in philosophy, should and for the most part does contain this understanding.

All knowledge is inherently tentative.

Because of this I suggest the argument against absolute statements about gods is invalid because it attempts to damage an argument through selectively restating ground rules.
... Is the possibility of error justification for any belief?

So in essence you are asking that if {A} is believed, it must be tentatively believed, and is this sufficient cause to believe in {A}?

Is the possibility of error justification to not believe? It seems to me that we are back at the start, where agnostic is the logical conclusion, but that it is not subjectively satisfactory - people like answers, not indecision.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Phage0070, posted 06-26-2009 11:22 AM Phage0070 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Phage0070, posted 06-28-2009 2:21 AM RAZD has responded
 Message 7 by Hyroglyphx, posted 06-28-2009 10:39 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 68 (513343)
06-28-2009 2:21 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
06-27-2009 12:07 PM


Re: agnostic logic and subjective opinion
RAZD writes:

In other words, you recognize that agnostic is the logical conclusion, but that it is not subjectively satisfactory - people like answers, not indecision.


Actually I go a step further; agnostic is *not* the logical conclusion because uncertainty is already an inherent quality of the system. People can make absolute conclusions even without considering themselves to be infallible, so a Gnostic viewpoint is redundant.

RAZD writes:

So in essence you are asking that if {A} is believed, it must be tentatively believed, and is this sufficient cause to believe in {A}?


Actually I was asking that if {A} is believed by someone who does not believe themselves to be infallible, is this sufficient cause to consider belief in {B} (which is mutually exclusive to {A}) a valid viewpoint?

In any case the overall point is that fallibility is, or should be, already part of our thought processes. This means that our ability to make absolute conclusions is not compromised because of the possibility of being wrong. For instance, a Gnostic might conclude that because we lack complete information we cannot make a decision regarding the existence or non-existence of gods. However, the Gnostic will necessarily admit that they are fallible and thus it is possible that their logical process to reach Gnosticism was flawed, and thus they cannot be sure that they cannot make such a decision. The entire thought process leads to a non-functional loop because uncertainty is already a part of the thought process and does *not* prevent conclusions being made, and so applying it in specific circumstances is special pleading.


This message is a reply to:
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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 7 of 68 (513391)
06-28-2009 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
06-27-2009 12:07 PM


Re: agnostic logic and subjective opinion
In other words, you recognize that agnostic is the logical conclusion, but that it is not subjectively satisfactory - people like answers, not indecision.

True, but why make up an answer before actually knowing one?

Everything else you've stated I agree with. :)

Edited by Hyroglyphx, : Smilie didn't work, dammit!


"The problem with Socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money." --Margaret Thatcher--
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 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 06-27-2009 12:07 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

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InGodITrust
Member (Idle past 2400 days)
Posts: 53
From: Reno, Nevada, USA
Joined: 05-02-2009


Message 8 of 68 (513408)
06-28-2009 2:50 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Hyroglyphx
06-28-2009 10:39 AM


Let me post a couple thoughts that I hope are relevant to this thread.

1)I don't think anyone will convince anyone else that the Lord exists with arguments and logic. I think prayer might be the best way to come to the Lord: either praying oneself or by others praying for him.

2)I went to Natural Bridges National Monument on vacation one year, and watched a film about the formations at the visitors center. The film stated matter-of-factly how old the formations were and how they were produced. There was a sign posted at an overlook with similar info. It is a nice visitors center an the park service has done a good job, but the information in the film and on the sign conflicts with the Bible.

Now the 1st Amendment is interpreted to bar religion being preached by the government in schools and public buildings---and rightly so I guess. But why doesn't it prevent atheism from being preached? Why is atheism the official government position? All the sign and film would have had to add was something like "scientists conclude the age of the formation to be"; or "geologists date the formation"; and it would be better. Instead the we are taught matter-of-factly that " the age is".


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 9 of 68 (513413)
06-28-2009 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by InGodITrust
06-28-2009 2:50 PM


It is a nice visitors center an the park service has done a good job, but the information in the film and on the sign conflicts with the Bible.

So? It probably conflicts with all manner of superstition, myth and fairy tale. (Do you want to require government avoid conflict with all religious beliefs and myths? Or just yours?)

Now the 1st Amendment is interpreted to bar religion being preached by the government in schools and public buildings---and rightly so I guess. But why doesn't it prevent atheism from being preached? Why is atheism the official government position? All the sign and film would have had to add was something like "scientists conclude the age of the formation to be"; or "geologists date the formation"; and it would be better. Instead the we are taught matter-of-factly that " the age is".

1) Atheism is not a religion, in spite of the attempts of creationists to make it the equivalent to one. Nor is atheism the necessary opposite of fundamentalism. Many religions accept the findings of science, including Catholics--the world's single largest denomination.

2) Atheism is not an official government position. Scientific findings, following the scientific method and supported by empirical evidence, is the default position. That's what you get anywhere in the world when you ignore myth, superstition and the rest.

If you want to believe in a young earth you're free to do so, but unless you can provide empirical evidence such that a young earth becomes the dominant scientific finding, you are not free to require government agencies to avoid contradicting your beliefs. And you shouldn't even been thinking of such a thing! Fundamentalism should have absolutely no role in governance--you'd think mankind would have learned that lesson by now, but I guess not.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 10 of 68 (513418)
06-28-2009 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by InGodITrust
06-28-2009 2:50 PM


Oh, ye of belittliing faith.
IGIT writes:

But why doesn't it prevent atheism from being preached?

What mental gymnastics did you have to go through to conclude that anything that differs from one particular interpretation of one particular doctrinaire document of one particular religion must be supporting atheism? Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Shintoists, and the adherents of a great many of the worlds other 6000 religions currently being practiced would have no problem with these age attributions, and that includes a great many people who consider themselves to be christians.

In another sense though you are quite right if we take "atheism" for its literal meaning: without theism. Then the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of a religion does imply that all government sponsored pronouncement must be "atheistic". "Atheism", taken literally, is not the same as anti-theism! In fact, it is your position that is anti-theistic, proscribing the doctrines of 5,9999.500 other religions.


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2269 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 11 of 68 (513428)
06-28-2009 5:15 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by InGodITrust
06-28-2009 2:50 PM


But why doesn't it prevent atheism from being preached?

Where is Atheism preached? From your post it appears you are claiming that Science=Atheism, which is absurd.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 12 of 68 (513481)
06-29-2009 4:01 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phage0070
06-26-2009 11:22 AM


Phage0070 writes:

quote:
We can, and for proper conclusions should, make absolute statements about things in the appropriate circumstances.

...

quote:
Because of this I suggest the argument against absolute statements about gods is invalid because it attempts to damage an argument through selectively restating ground rules.

So are you saying we can make absolute statements about gods?

There are many people who claim, "You can't prove a negative." But, in fact, you can. In fact, that's one of the big things in science: Proving that something isn't true. It's one of the big ways in which science progresses: When we know that certain things aren't true, it guides us toward more accurate things.

In fact, science never gets to prove positives. It can only prove negatives.

Now, the ability to prove negatives requires that well-defined objects behave in well-defined ways.

Is god such a beast?


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
This message is a reply to:
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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 13 of 68 (513509)
06-29-2009 10:44 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by InGodITrust
06-28-2009 2:50 PM


1)I don't think anyone will convince anyone else that the Lord exists with arguments and logic. I think prayer might be the best way to come to the Lord: either praying oneself or by others praying for him.

How many unanswered prayers are necessary before a prayer actually works and the people don't loose heart? Even Christians would admit that their prayers are often not answered. At some point you are going to come to the conclusion that your dialogue with God is actually a monologue with yourself.

the information in the film and on the sign conflicts with the Bible.

That's not surprising. What does the Bible really say about the formation of the Earth? An off-hand blurb, maybe? The Bible isn't equipped nor was it intended to answer scientific questions.

Now the 1st Amendment is interpreted to bar religion being preached by the government in schools and public buildings---and rightly so I guess. But why doesn't it prevent atheism from being preached? Why is atheism the official government position?

Atheism is not the official government position. The official government position is no position on religion. Atheism is not a default religion in religion's absence. The gov't takes an agnostic position on such matters, and thank God they do! That's a wonderful thing, even for Christians like yourself. Because when the Pilgrims fled England their families for several generations were forced to agree and practice the Church of England's or the Roman Catholic Church's brand of religion. Dogma replaced doctrine and a few people realized that. When Martin Luther posted his famous dictum on the church doors it sparked a revolution that carried on to America.

It was only because of the oppression of religion over there that gave you the freedom of religion here.

All the sign and film would have had to add was something like "scientists conclude the age of the formation to be"; or "geologists date the formation"; and it would be better. Instead the we are taught matter-of-factly that " the age is".

So what should it say? "This here canyon is 7,500 years old (plus or minus a few years) because Moses said so?" Are they supposed to be sensitive to everyone's religious views while denying what they know empirically?

Sounds to me like the only thing that would satisfy you is if thought exactly as you do. What a dull and dreary world.

Edited by Hyroglyphx, : No reason given.


"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." Thomas Jefferson
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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 14 of 68 (513573)
06-30-2009 3:26 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Hyroglyphx
06-29-2009 10:44 AM


Hyroglyphx writes:

quote:
Because when the Pilgrims fled England their families for several generations were forced to agree and practice the Church of England's or the Roman Catholic Church's brand of religion. Dogma replaced doctrine and a few people realized that. When Martin Luther posted his famous dictum on the church doors it sparked a revolution that carried on to America.

This is one of those lovely little myths about America: That the Pilgrims came here to escape persecution and valued religious freedom.

In reality, the reason the Pilgrims came here is because they were much more insistent upon religious purity than the British and Dutch societies they came from. They came to the colonies because they would be free to establish what was essentially a theocracy. The Quakers were essentially run out of Massachusetts under threat of death. Even Virginia enacted capital punishment upon Quakers.

The protections we have for religious freedom came from the fallout of the tremendous intolerance that was the hallmark of the original colonies.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Hyroglyphx, posted 06-29-2009 10:44 AM Hyroglyphx has responded

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 Message 15 by Hyroglyphx, posted 06-30-2009 8:28 AM Rrhain has responded

    
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 15 of 68 (513597)
06-30-2009 8:28 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Rrhain
06-30-2009 3:26 AM


They came to the colonies because they would be free to establish what was essentially a theocracy.

The first Colonials established the colonies so they can run a theocracy? Please verify this.

Prior to their landing on Plymouth Rock, there had already been a Puritan revolution in England where in fact they were persecuted by the Church of England. Quakers assemblies were abolished and punishable by torture and/or imprisonment.

The Quakers were essentially run out of Massachusetts under threat of death. Even Virginia enacted capital punishment upon Quakers.

If they did it was most likely either British citizens loyal to the king or Colonists who held Anglican religious views.

The protections we have for religious freedom came from the fallout of the tremendous intolerance that was the hallmark of the original colonies.

The religious freedoms come from the fallout of the tremendous intolerance that was the hallmark of England. If that followed overseas to some degree, so be it. The point is still the same.


"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." Thomas Jefferson
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