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Thread: Why belief in god is irrational

  1. #1 Why belief in god is irrational 
    NLN
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    Physicist Mano Singham makes the point that there are conditions under which it is not irrational to believe in things for which there is no evidence at all, but believing in other things—such as an afterlife—is irrational because to retain such beliefs requires one to create very complicated and implausible scenarios to explain the absence of any evidence in favor of them.

    He argues that the following could be used as a test as to whether a belief that is sustained in the absence of evidence is rational or irrational:

    • For a belief to be irrational, in order to sustain it one must argue for the existence of something that is in principle unknowable and also requires a deliberate scheme to conceal evidence of existence.

    • For a belief to be rational it needs to be something that is unknown only in practice due to limitations of time or technology, but may become known in the future, and the absence of evidence is not due to willful deception by the very entity whose existence we seek.


    You can read the entire article here.


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    That seems to ignore experiential evidence, but should one be surprised? No. Mano Singham is a physisist whose life's work is concerned only with objectivity and reductionism. He requires objective evidence. It's no use whatever to speak of experiential evidence. To say "I know God exists because I experience Him within me" is of no use at all. What's evidence to you, personally, is of no account to him. It just doesn't score any points.


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    Quote Originally Posted by redewenur
    That seems to ignore experiential evidence, but should one be surprised? No. Mano Singham is a physisist whose life's work is concerned only with objectivity and reductionism. He requires objective evidence. It's no use whatever to speak of experiential evidence. To say "I know God exists because I experience Him within me" is of no use at all. What's evidence to you, personally, is of no account to him. It just doesn't score any points.
    Experiential evidence? you do know that people lie for attention don't you? and that memories can be incorrectly recorded? or that the mind tends to drift?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    Experiential evidence? you do know that people lie for attention don't you? and that memories can be incorrectly recorded? or that the mind tends to drift?
    Show me someone who doesn't know that. My point is that, because of that, and the objectivity of the scientific method, subjective experience will necessarily be ignored. It doesn't follow that there can never be subjective experiences that have no value in relation to objective reality. On the contrary, it commonplace. Your particular subjective experiences can never be proven to anyone but you - but, no one would deny that you have them - or, at least, you wouldn't.
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  6. #5 Fuel to the Fire 
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    If I may respectfully add fuel to the fire:

    As author Sam Harris said in the following article, Science Must Destroy Religion:

    "Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments, and a passionate unwillingness to do so. The distinction could not be more obvious, or more consequential, and yet it is everywhere elided, even in the ivory tower."
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    Quote Originally Posted by redewenur
    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    Experiential evidence? you do know that people lie for attention don't you? and that memories can be incorrectly recorded? or that the mind tends to drift?
    Show me someone who doesn't know that. My point is that, because of that, and the objectivity of the scientific method, subjective experience will necessarily be ignored. It doesn't follow that there can never be subjective experiences that have no value in relation to objective reality. On the contrary, it commonplace. Your particular subjective experiences can never be proven to anyone but you - but, no one would deny that you have them - or, at least, you wouldn't
    This is just for fun and me being argumentative so... what the hell. Deny my memories, i am sure they world if you were Schitzophrenic
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    Re: Your quote from "Science Must Destroy Religion"
    I agree totally that bending objective reality to fit theological beliefs, or intransigence in modifying the beliefs to fit reality, is not only irrational (witness Creationism), it's downright dangerous (witness the persecution of brilliant scientists).
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    experiential evidence??!!! are you kidding me. if a schziphrenic (mind the spelling) hears voices or feels watched, when in all objective reality those things are not there (as in 500 other people would say that they were not there) would that make the what the schziphrenic hears real? well it is real inside his head, but thats about the only place. And if you feel god, well thats the only place it is real. It definately aint real in the objective universe.

    by the way, did you know that feeling you speak about, and the feeling a lot of believers speak about (you know feeling gods presense, like it is there with them, watching over them), then can be created by stimulating a section of the human brain (and to different intensities in different people) - look it up. there was a paper i saw a while ago which showed that the rate of the reporting of such experiences by people was actually related to their nearness to certain natural or artificial serges in magnetic fields which has the ability to cause stimulation in parts of the brain. (my explanation of the science might be a little off, cant remember exactly how it works). but now that i can explain away those personal experiences i can go from an agnostic/atheist, to a full blown atheist.
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    Yes, experiential evidence. People who 'experience God' are the only people with evidence in this atheist-theist brawlfest, no matter how inconclusive and subjective it is.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Passage from the Urantia Book...



    1:4.5 The divine mystery consists in the inherent difference which exists between the finite and the infinite, the temporal and the eternal, the time-space creature and the Universal Creator, the material and the spiritual, the imperfection of man and the perfection of Paradise Deity. The God of universal love unfailingly manifests himself to every one of his creatures up to the fullness of that creature's capacity to spiritually grasp the qualities of divine truth, beauty, and goodness.

    1:4.6 To every spirit being and to every mortal creature in every sphere and on every world of the universe of universes, the Universal Father reveals all of his gracious and divine self that can be discerned or comprehended by such spirit beings and by such mortal creatures. God is no respecter of persons, either spiritual or material. The divine presence which any child of the universe enjoys at any given moment is limited only by the capacity of such a creature to receive and to discern the spirit actualities of the supermaterial world.
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    Any man who denies the gods is as blind as any man who trust them too deeply.
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  13. #12 Re: Fuel to the Fire 
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLN
    If I may respectfully add fuel to the fire:

    As author Sam Harris said in the following article, Science Must Destroy Religion:

    "Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments, and a passionate unwillingness to do so. The distinction could not be more obvious, or more consequential, and yet it is everywhere elided, even in the ivory tower."

    Best quote ive read in along time, these ones ring true also

    The difference between science and religion is the difference between a genuine openness to fruits of human inquiry in the 21st century, and a premature closure to such inquiry as a matter of principle


    In the spirit of religious tolerance, most scientists are keeping silent when they should be blasting the hideous fantasies of a prior age with all the facts at their disposal
    CAPTAINCAVEMAN


    I ANSWER TO NO-ONE - The wonders of athiesm

    that which does not kill us only postpones the inevitable
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    I watched a debate between Sam Harris and Reza Aslan, and Sam just pummeled Reza in my opinion. Reza's argument was basically religion is not the crux of the worlds problems but the solution. That if only people truly followed the teachings of their religions there would be less fighting over theology. I'm not sure that holds up when the basic tenet of most religions is it is an expression of God's will and a revelation of God himself. Therefore, a profound feeling of being right. This does not exactly encourage self-doubt.

    The problem with religion is it is not self-correcting in the face of new facts. It does not fight from a basis of proof, but that someone has written it so. Science, on the other hand, never fully trusts itself and is always challenging its assumptions. In the face of new facts, science will make an absolute 180. Relativity is testament to that.
    Cogita ante salis
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    Reza Aslan is an idiot. I have seen him talk about the political situation in iran, he is way off the mark in so many ways - very much in the same way many liberals are in the US.
    Obviously, most conservatives are so off the mark, that off the mark would not be the correct way to describe it ......

    sorry to make this political, but people like Aslan, those with half baked liberal beliefs get to me.
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    who said it is irrational ?

    I believe it is a part of human instinct
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    So, Sohy, where does (or did) Jerry Falwell stand in your political opinion? It seems to me that extreme social conservatives fall victim to ridiculous levels of superstitious belief as much as the loony left.
    Cogita ante salis
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    i think my post pretty much indicated i would think of someone like Jerry Falwell. A lot of stupidity is not a good replacement for moderate level of stupidity. And as far as stupidity goes evangelican christians are right up there with the best of them.

    My problem with the left, is that it has always been and remains a reactionary movement. But how can you avoid that, when the left arises out of the struggle against the status quo.

    This is what i cant stand though. A reactionary left. I like my left to be open minded at every level. Open minded about their ideals, open minded about the tools they use to arrive at that ideal, and open minded about the tools themselves.
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