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Thread: Faith

  1. #1 Faith 
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    Often called "The cornerstone of religion" or "The bridge over gaps", faith is a pivotal point in beliefs. (Religious or the lack thereof)

    But this raises the question: What exactly is faith?

    I am led to believe that it does have it's place in all beliefs, regardless of the presence of a God or many gods within them.

    My definition of faith is, when taking into conclusion all facts presented and once all means of rationality have been used, believing that any gaps or holes are, in fact, filled, yet stay obscured due to the limitedness of our minds or the lack of knowledge.

    If you are an atheist, you have to take in faith that whichever origin to existence you subscribe to is the truth, though you were not there at its creation. If you are a theist, you have to take in faith that there is a God, though we cannot see him.

    As far as I'm concerned, one cannot live without faith.

    Just to avoid a war over terms, I consider faith to be synonymous with trust.

    The question I'm asking all of you is the same that was stated above: What exactly is faith?

    I eagerly await your responses.


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Faith = Belief in the absence of evidence. If there is evidence, then the conditions of faith are no longer met, and your belief becomes rooted empirically.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Faith = Belief in the absence of evidence. If there is evidence, then the conditions of faith are no longer met, and your belief becomes rooted empirically.
    So I'm guessing, in your opinion, faith =/= trust?

    I suppose I'll use an example to try and understand somewhat better your opinion of faith and the "war of words" that I'm trying to avoid.

    "After having sat in the same chair every day for a year, you have "______" that the chair will hold you every time you sit in it."

    I would put faith in the blank.
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  5. #4 Re: Faith 
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradbradallen
    you are an atheist, you have to take in faith that whichever origin to existence you subscribe to is the truth, though you were not there at its creation.
    An atheist needn't believe in creation or beginning of existence. But yeah faith has a place, for example if I reckon that existence is all soul-less machinery, then I may invoke faith to believe striving is worthwhile anyhow.

    I think the need for faith is most urgent when a person takes a system of belief seriously. The half-assed & muddled won't find faith necessary.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    There are two kinds of "faith" that often get equivocated, mostly by the religious who look to justify their irrational views.

    The kind of faith a physicist has in a cause and effect demonstration (allowing a bowling ball to swing many yards away on a rope only to swing back again without smashing one's nose for instance) is established through observation and empirical data. And its very different from the sort of "faith" that the religious have.

    The latter sort is a different word altogether, though spelled the same. This sort of faith needs no observation nor empiricism and, indeed, seems to have an aversion to it. This sort of "faith" is often believing in a proposition even in spite of evidence and observation to the contrary.

    Please don't equivocate the two terms.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradbradallen
    "After having sat in the same chair every day for a year, you have "______" that the chair will hold you every time you sit in it."

    I would put faith in the blank.
    I would not put faith in the blank, unless I were speaking in a very losse, colloquial fashion. I have an expectation that the chair will hold me each time I sit in it. I have confidence, based on the past experience, that the chair will hold me. If the chair failed to hold me I would be initially surprised, but not after some reflection. I know that chairs can fail and that eventually one may fail under me, therefore if it happens it should not be thought surprising.

    If you wish to call that faith it is certainly not the same as religious faith. Religious faith seems to be based upon a 'feeling' that such and such is true. It is an intuitive process, not an empirical one.
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  8. #7  
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    Faith in Islam , my Religion , has definite definition : is believing in god Existence , Angels , holly books (bible , Gospel .. ) , the messengers of god , the finish of the world one day

    For god existence :

    - the human Instinct , so messengers of god didn't face any troubles of proving that .
    - for explaining this u have to ask yourself " how create this world ? " i'm sure sure u will answer " god "
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nile Poet
    Faith in Islam , my Religion , has definite definition : is believing in god Existence , Angels , holly books (bible , Gospel .. ) , the messengers of god , the finish of the world one day

    For god existence :

    - the human Instinct , so messengers of god didn't face any troubles of proving that .
    - for explaining this u have to ask yourself " how create this world ? " i'm sure sure u will answer " god "
    Why is that faith only good enough for YOUR god? The same EXACT approach could be equally applied by someone who believes in Zeus or in unicorns. What do you presume makes their "faith" less relevant than yours in terms of finding a valid representation of reality?
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Faith is our response to the unavoidable reality of uncertainty to go ahead with our lives anyway by making choices. It distinguishes mere belief and idle opinion from knowledge because while we may speculate and offer our opinions and even assert that we believe, it is actions which reveal the truth. In other words, knowledge is distinguished by faith, for knowledge is not found in our idle chatter but by the way that we actually live our lives. It may surprise you, but this is something which I have primarily learned from my studies of science where knowledge typically includes things like the theory of evolution or the theory of relativity -- which have nothing to do with certainty and everthing to do with how science actually conducts its inquiries.

    But of course there will always be those who will respond to uncertainty in quite another way -- by willful self-delusion. But to deny uncertainly is to refuse to accept it, which is thus a refusal to repond to this reality of uncertainty. Such refusals cannot be called faith at all. It is an un-faith or a blind faith -- a simple refusal to see the uncertainty that is in front of them.

    It should be no surprise that those those who take this latter course will not admit their un-faith or blind faith but rather adapt and change the word "faith" or "knowlege" to suit their willfulness. Those who truly accept the reality of uncertainty have no problem with the fact that other people choose a different course for their life. So you will find that, symptomatic of this denial of uncertainy, people will add some "magical ingredient" to THEIR "faith" or "knowledge" which somehow makes theirs better or more certain than those of others. They may pretend that what they believe is proven or founded on better evidence or they may even tell you that their faith is some kind of supernatural gift given to them by God Himself.

    For me it is simply extra-ordinary the lengths that people will go through just to talk themselves into believing that their way is the only way. But ultimately I think it comes back to that universal human problem, known by the existentialists as "angst", which I ultimately think is nothing more than a fear of responsibility -- but that is a fear of life itself, for their is no life without responsiblity -- it is all about responding to situations and finding out what the consequences are so that we can learn from that and grow.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    If you wish to call that faith it is certainly not the same as religious faith. Religious faith seems to be based upon a 'feeling' that such and such is true. It is an intuitive process, not an empirical one.
    On the contrary, there is no difference. Both are a matter of living their lives in a way that works for them. Intuition really has nothing to do with it and one is no more empirical than the other. Chairs do break -- so did all the times they did not break previously prove that the chair would not break that time? Obviously not. You call this empirical because you think it will lend the legitimacy of science to it -- but that really has very little to do with science.

    Furthermore this association of religion with feeling is just bogus because that is a generalization which some relgions just don't fit. I think what we can say is that unlike science, what we feel is something that religion will often consider significant. But that is because while science is restricted to the role of objective observation of the world, religion is more concerned with our subjective participation in life, and what we feel is a part of the latter even if it is has no role in the former.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    There are two kinds of "faith" that often get equivocated, mostly by the religious who look to justify their irrational views.
    No, faith is a necessary response to uncertainty and it matters not the source of that uncertainty or what degree of evidence there is to reduce uncertainty. Its all faith.

    It seems a common practice of those who are anxious to stereotype many of the religious as some sort of irrational dimwitted stooge that want to dissect faith and claim their faith is altogether different.
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  12. #11  
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    Why is it necessary? The "faith" we're talking about is that which allows people to pretend to know something. Why isn't it okay to simply say, "I don't know?" Why must one have "faith" that there is a god (and not just any god, but that of the culture you belong to) and that there is a "purpose" higher than just living?

    The sort of "faith" that religionists use in their superstitions is very different than the sort of faith that one obtains from repeated experience and observation. The superstitious like to say it isn't -that there is no equivocation, but they're lying to themselves when they do.

    Take the drive-by preacher, nile poet, above for instance. He said "faith" is, "believing in god Existence , Angels , holly books (bible , Gospel .. ) , the messengers of god , the finish of the world one day." Not a shred of evidence exists for any of his beliefs. Indeed, even if one were to concede universe may have one or more gods, it's still a giant leap to say that that god(s) is(are) his. He takes this all on "faith" without any empirical observation or repeatable experiences that do not have far more prosaic and parsimonious explanations.

    Like Mark Twain said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
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    The difference, my dear friends mitch and cypress, is that in one area faith is rooted in evidence and a feeling that outcomes will repeat given the same circumstances, whereas in the other area faith is itself used as the evidence and support for worldview and belief, generally in the complete absence of evidence.

    For you to treat the two as equal is either foolish, intentionally deceitful, or some combination of the two.

    EDIT: Cross-posted with SkinWalker.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    We have been over this before. Faith is faith. Only one definition is required. The difference between science and relgion is not in the nature of the faith but in the nature of evidence which you base your faith upon. In one case the evidence is subjective and in the other case you have a means of abstracting from our fundamentally subjective experience of reality evidence which can be called objective in the special case of scientific inquiry.

    But this discussion is becoming pointless because those with this fundamentalist mentality desperately needing to believe in the superiority of their opinions will never be disuaded from the way in which they wilfully delude themselves. It is sad however -- not only because it prevents them from appreciating the value of the diversity of human thought but because these delusions saddle them with pretty irrational beliefs, and those of the fundamentalist atheists are quite numerous. There is the irrational belief that their opinions are "scientific" or that they are the "true scientists" merely because they don't believe in God. Then there is this other one, that the availability of objective evidence is necessary for something to be true. Some even think that the only religious people are those who have been indoctrinated as children and that it is impossible for a religious person to be a scientist. Very sad.
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  15. #14  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    We have been over this before. Faith is faith. Only one definition is required.
    As the numerous counter-examples you've been provided here and during those other threads clearly show, you are mistaken with this flat assertion above.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But this discussion is becoming pointless because those with this fundamentalist mentality desperately needing to believe in the superiority of their opinions will never be disuaded from the way in which they wilfully delude themselves.
    I give you credit for finally admitting it.
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  16. #15  
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    Religious faith = A deep, settled and persistent trust in how people’s lives resonate with, and progress toward, an ultimate, eternal, anticipated and virtuous “good”, which especially assists to disregard or discount uncertainty or [short-term] evidence to the contrary.

    I think we all have faith to varying extents and in various things. I have faith that the sun “rises” daily and that the gravity field remains constant. I think both educated and uneducated people would panic terribly if the sun didn’t rise or if the gravity was ¾ or ½ of normal.
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  17. #16  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    We have been over this before. Faith is faith.
    Except when it is equivocated. Faith has several meanings, two of which are contrary to each other. This is supported by Oxford English Dictionary and ignored by those wanting the two definitions of faith to be equivocal such that their poor thinking and reasoning is obscured and hidden.

    The superstitious form of faith is defined: The spiritual apprehension of divine truths, or of realities beyond the reach of sensible experience or logical proof.

    The rational form of the word is defined: Confidence, reliance, trust

    Only one definition is required.
    Not if you're superstitious. This is as plain as day.

    The difference between science and relgion is not in the nature of the faith but in the nature of evidence which you base your faith upon. In one case the evidence is subjective and in the other case you have a means of abstracting from our fundamentally subjective experience of reality evidence which can be called objective in the special case of scientific inquiry.
    Exactly. One allows for trust and confidence within the reach of sensible experience or logical proof. The other doesn't. Finally we're in agreement.

    ... pointless, ... fundamentalist mentality, ... desperately needing, ... they wilfully delude themselves, ... [ i]t is sad, ... these delusions, ... irrational beliefs, ... fundamentalist atheists, ... irrational belief...
    Tu quoque? And you made a weak attempt to accuse me of "emotionalism." Is this how it goes when you're finally unable to make a rational point? Just start slamming some ad hominem rhetoric and hope your opponent's arguments will disappear? Face it, there are two kinds of faith (if not more) at play whenever the religious start going on about their superstitions. The more superstitious, the more twisted the definition of faith. I can accept that your own buffet style form of religion doesn't equivocate as much as most religionists, but you can't apply your own experience to that of everyone else. It simply isn't being objective.

    Some even think that the only religious people are those who have been indoctrinated as children and that it is impossible for a religious person to be a scientist. Very sad.
    It would be sad if some were clouded enough to think that only religious nuts indoctrinate children to ideologies. I agree. Luckily there are skeptics and the rationally-minded among us help educate.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    The difference, my dear friends mitch and cypress, is that in one area faith is rooted in evidence and a feeling that outcomes will repeat given the same circumstances, whereas in the other area faith is itself used as the evidence and support for worldview and belief, generally in the complete absence of evidence.

    For you to treat the two as equal is either foolish, intentionally deceitful, or some combination of the two.
    I think really this depends what function you assign to faith. There is a difference between seeing it as an arbiter of truth as opposed to seeing it as a means of apperception.
    That you load both perspectives into the same barrel is merely a reflection of what enables you to make the most sense of things, but that doesn't make it unreasonable or foolish or deceitful for someone else to take a different approach.

    Your argument is a strawman based on the assumption that faith is no more than an arbiter of truth.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Face it, there are two kinds of faith (if not more) at play whenever the religious start going on about their superstitions. The more superstitious, the more twisted the definition of faith. I can accept that your own buffet style form of religion doesn't equivocate as much as most religionists, but you can't apply your own experience to that of everyone else. It simply isn't being objective.
    Oh but I already have said that there are two kinds of faith.

    Real Faith: This is our response to the unavoidable reality of uncertainty to go ahead with our lives anyway by making choices. It distinguishes opinions which mean very little from knowledge which governs how we live our lives and conduct our activities. This is the faith that is a part of science and it explains why scientific theories are scientific knowledge rather than just opinions. This kind of faith accepts the reality of uncertainty and thus understands that other people can choose differently.

    Blind Faith: This is just wilfulness or a kind of self-brainwashing, where people simply decide to ignore the facts. It is a kind mind over reality that simply refuses to see reality at all. It refuses to accept the reality of uncertainty and thus to explain why other people think differently has to see them as defective in some way. Being found upon self-delusion rather than faith this approach to reality inevitably leads to many kinds of irrational thinking and beliefs to prop up those delusions.


    But as you see here the difference between these to kinds of faith has nothing to do with the content of belief and certainly nothing to do with any difference between science and relgion UNLESS you include under the category of religion ANY philosophy including atheism and scientism, AND THEN acknowledge that while science only avails itself of real faith, you find both kinds of faith in the religion and philosophy.
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  20. #19  
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    Definitions of faith, like definitions of lots of other ambiguous concepts, do not achieve much. They differ from dictionary to dictionary, and our personal views of the word's meaning will vary even more.

    My own personal view of religious faith is that it is simply gullibility. It is the same quality that causes some innocent person to give money to a con artist in order to buy some non existent real estate.

    Take the belief that Yeshua ben Yosef (also called Jesus Christ) is the son of God. What evidence is there? Nothing but a few verses in a book that was written by uneducated, superstition ridden people several thousand years ago.

    Compare this to my belief that the sun will appear to rise in the east tomorrow morning. I can present heaps of historical evidence for this belief, and then prove it by actually observing the event. The sunrise is not faith. It is a conclusion based on very strong evidence. The belief that the man Yeshua is the son of God is a religious faith, based on the decision to believe writings by primitive men filled with superstition. Faith = gullibility.
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    I tend to agree with you skeptic that the degree of faith required is dependent on the uncertainty involved. That the sun will come up tomorrow has low uncertainty. The identity of an ancient figure with only modest corroborating evidence is much more uncertainty. Evidence reduces uncertainty but faith fills the gap of to allow for a conclusion in the face of uncertainty.

    On some matters one could avoid faith altogether by choosing not to address the issue but instead declare they just don't know and will not take a position.

    In the end we all face uncertainty but never the less come to conclusions even with uncertainty through faith. It's all the same.

    Perhaps you see faith as guilibility in some cases because you presuppose that those who express faith in those cases reached a wrong conclusion and therefore must be gullible. However since the issue includes uncertainty, you can't know who is right or wrong and your presuppositon is not only premature, it includes an element of faith as well.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Face it, there are two kinds of faith (if not more) at play whenever the religious start going on about their superstitions. The more superstitious, the more twisted the definition of faith. I can accept that your own buffet style form of religion doesn't equivocate as much as most religionists, but you can't apply your own experience to that of everyone else. It simply isn't being objective.
    Oh but I already have said that there are two kinds of faith.
    So two kinds of faith and one definition for faith? Do I understand you correctly?

    To your point on other metaphysical beliefs including atheism, or materialistic naturalism or even humanism, it is quite clear that these views also require heavy doses of faith to hold the doctrine together. In some cases it seems to require much more faith. Given the evidence from the universe for example, it seems to me that it does require much more faith to believe that there was no creator.
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    Cypress

    On any issue, there are three possible positions

    1. Support it
    2. Oppose it
    3. Sit on the fence

    I am not an atheist in that I do not specifically state that there is no deity. I consider that issue undecided due to lack of evidence. Hence I sit on the fence. I do, however, consider the Christian model of God to be immensely improbable.

    If you do not know something, then there is no need to call upon faith, which I consider being gullible. You can honestly admit you do not know and suspend judgement. This is a much more rational approach, IMHO, than believing something with no credible evidence.
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    Well said, skeptic. Well said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Given the evidence from the universe for example, it seems to me that it does require much more faith to believe that there was no creator.
    Although your presentation of evidence generally involves enough side-stepping for a fullscale production of riverdance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Cypress

    On any issue, there are three possible positions

    1. Support it
    2. Oppose it
    3. Sit on the fence

    I am not an atheist in that I do not specifically state that there is no deity. I consider that issue undecided due to lack of evidence. Hence I sit on the fence. I do, however, consider the Christian model of God to be immensely improbable.
    Yes, I think you have restated this much better than I did.

    If you do not know something, then there is no need to call upon faith,
    I agree no faith is needed if you choose to sit on the fence.

    which I consider being gullible. You can honestly admit you do not know and suspend judgement.
    I don't understand how taking a position in the face of uncertainty is being gullible though. We routinly take a position in the face of uncertainty knowing full well that the uncertainty exists. Skeptic, I often see you expressing a positon sometimes when there is no direct evidence and yet you have described that as being reasonable when it is clear that we don't know.

    Isn't it more correct that you assign guilibility on something other than not knowing?

    This is a much more rational approach, IMHO, than believing something with no credible evidence.
    I have many theistic friends of different faiths and all of them provide some form of evidence that they firmly see as credible to support their conclusions. I don't know of any sane person who take on beliefs where they fully agree they have no evidence at all. I simply do not find these kinds of people. When I speak with people who claim others hold beliefs with no evidence I find these people simply reject or discount the evidence offered.

    Clearly even you believe things that are largley lacking evidence, but you suppose your conclusions are reasonable. I see this in your postings.
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    I do not necessarily think all people who believe in a deity are being gullible. There is a degree of evidence for such a belief. For example : the universe seems absurdly well designed for life. Some people take that as evidence for a creator deity, and it is not an unreasonable position. I see that the anthropic principle as an alternative, and equally reasonable explanation, and I tend to see the final conclusion as undecided.

    However, there is a very large sector of people who believe in a deity who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent. Such a belief is incompatible with what we know of reality, and I assign such a deity a very, very low level of probability.

    As far as Christianity is concerned, I see the blind adherence to the bible as being irrational. It is not hard to point out total inconsistencies in the bible, and outright contradictions. It is, after all, a mish mash of writings by uneducated people who lived in an extraordinarily superstitious society, and much of it is distorted by time. To accept such a book as inarguably correct all the time is not smart.

    You suggested that I sometimes present an opinion without evidence. If you see me doing this, please feel free to criticise that position. I try hard to form opinions only when there is supporting data, or solid logic, and admit to uncertainty when there is no such data or logical argument. I am only human, and if I slip up, feel free to tell me.

    Sometimes I may have evidence I have not explained well in my posts. if that happens, again feel free to nudge me. Usually it just takes a bit of research and I will find the data. If the data does not exist, I am as likely to be wrong as anyone else. I have no illusions about being some kind of genius, and my opinions may be incorrect, if the data is not there.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Face it, there are two kinds of faith (if not more) at play whenever the religious start going on about their superstitions. The more superstitious, the more twisted the definition of faith. I can accept that your own buffet style form of religion doesn't equivocate as much as most religionists, but you can't apply your own experience to that of everyone else. It simply isn't being objective.
    Oh but I already have said that there are two kinds of faith.
    So two kinds of faith and one definition for faith? Do I understand you correctly?
    That is correct, because the other name I gave to blind faith was un-faith. Blind faith does not fit that one definition because it isn't faith at all. It is EXACTLY like science and pseudo-science -- that which is science and that which only pretends to be science but isn't science at all. Blind faith is pseudo-faith and so it only pretends to be faith but it isn't really faith at all no matter how many people might call it faith.

    The point is, that it is just a bunch of self-serving self-deluding crap to say that only when the content what a person believes, has faith in or knows, agrees with the content of what you believe, have faith in or know, then in that case it is different kind of believing, a different kind of faith or a different kind of knowing. Give us all a break. That is all pure BS.

    Its the same damn crap that every ideologue spouts incessantly -- about how what they know is the "TRUTH" and what everyone else knows and experiences just cannot compare to that. All that intolerant kind of rhetoric seems to me to have the same zombie brainwashed flavor to it. That is why the adjective fundmentalist is just as apt for some atheists as it is for some religious people.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    To your point on other metaphysical beliefs including atheism, or materialistic naturalism or even humanism, it is quite clear that these views also require heavy doses of faith to hold the doctrine together. In some cases it seems to require much more faith. Given the evidence from the universe for example, it seems to me that it does require much more faith to believe that there was no creator.
    Of course it does. You believe what seems most reasonable to believe given your experiences and I believe that seems most reasonable to believe given my experiences just as everyone else believes what seems most reasonable to them given their experiences.

    I look upon the Calvinists and what they believe with utter incomprehension about how they could believe such things. I don't find the beliefs of atheists anywhere near so incomprehensible, but what they believe is certainly not a very good fit to reality as I have experienced it. But with all the people in the world who believe so many different things, it just does not seem very reasonable to think that the vast majority of people believe differently because of some deficiency on their part. No. I just can't buy it.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    And Mitchell, what do you think of my kind of non believer?
    That is, one who accepts that we do not know if a deity of some kind exists, but who sees the Christian model as highly unlikely, because this allpowerful, allknowing, alwayspresent, and alwaysloving deity is not compatible with what we know of the real world?

    I do not consider myself to be an atheist, but an agnostic, since I know that there is no strong evidence for or against a secret deity. That is, a deity who reveals itself to select prophets only.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    There is the irrational belief that their opinions are "scientific" or that they are the "true scientists" merely because they don't believe in God.
    I stumbled on this article, which goes along with what you are saying, and calls them "evangelical atheists." I hope this hasn't been posted here before, as I have not followed the discussion very closely.
    http://fightinwordsusa.wordpress.com...e-from-belief/
    I agree with you, Mitch. I have noticed this fundamentalism especially in the way evangelical atheists explain their moral beliefs, thinking they are derived from evolution, and/or just plain logic. Of course, their logic is better than your or my logic, as it is unsullied by such mythical beliefs. Intolerant is the word for it.
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    evangelical atheists
    This will surely irritate the crap out the likes of CSensei. :-D
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Are people who speak strongly against others who believe in the healing powers of magnets and candles "evangelical anti-mysticists?"

    You know... It's not about evangelicism when people speak out strongly against ridiculous beliefs with zero evidence. It's about deciding to no longer honor the double standard and unearned deference religiot belief has enjoyed for so many centuries already.

    It's as if you're calling people who fight for equal rights "evangelical" and assuming you're somehow making a relevant point which counters their position. What a joke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    It's as if you're calling people who fight for equal rights "evangelical" and assuming you're somehow making a relevant point which counters their position. What a joke.
    Somebody who fights for "equal rights" could be evangelical. There are different defintions of equal rights. Some people think it means equal opportunity, others think it means equal outcomes. Some people think animals have equal rights. If you think your version of equal rights is objectively correct and not a belief, then you just might be evangelical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    It's as if you're calling people who fight for equal rights "evangelical" and assuming you're somehow making a relevant point which counters their position. What a joke.
    Somebody who fights for "equal rights" could be evangelical. There are different defintions of equal rights. Some people think it means equal opportunity, others think it means equal outcomes. Some people think animals have equal rights. If you think your version of equal rights is objectively correct and not a belief, then you just might be evangelical.
    There's a clear and indisputable definition for evangelical, and it wouldn't fit an atheist without drastic watering down of the term.

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Evangelical

    1. Of, or relating to any of several Christian Churches that believe in the sole authority of the gospels
    2. Of, or relating to Protestant (especially Lutheran) Churches in Germany

    Bending the definition to fit atheists so as to describe their ardent and zealous support of their "cause" is but an ad hominem or tu quoque, since there already exists words to describe someone who is ardent or zealous: they're called ardent and zealous.
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    All right, then, we can stick with Mitch's word, fundamentalist. I think the point still applies. Inow has provided a good example, with equal rights. Can you prove equal rights mathematically? It's a relatively new idea, actually. Slavery has a long tradition. We treat close family different than strangers. So, I don't think there is any scientific basis for equal rights.

    The religious fundamentalist would probably explain his version of equal rights with a quote from the Bible. The fundamental atheist, whatever you call it, would argue his beliefs from some pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo, probably. Reciprocity, the golden rule, etc. I'm just saying the one is no different than the other. It's a belief.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    All right, then, we can stick with Mitch's word, fundamentalist. [...] The fundamental atheist, whatever you call it, would argue his beliefs from some pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo, probably. Reciprocity, the golden rule, etc.
    I'm not sure what a "fundamentalist" atheist would be, precisely. I've seen Mitch's usage of the word, which is clearly another ad hominem tu quoque. "Fundamentalist" originally was coined by a certain sect of Christian who wanted to return their superstitions back to their fundamental and core beliefs. This was largely a success, since there are now large majorities of Americans who believe, 100%, that virgin births, zombie messiahs, etc. are accurately described in biblical mythology.

    The word fundamental fits for their cause since there existed some fundamental, that is to say, basic, beliefs that provide the foundation for their particular superstition. Any belief system that calls itself a religion has these foundational, core beliefs upon which others are built, so the term lends itself well to other religions where there exist those who are very conservative (fundamentalists) and those who are liberal (those who see many of these core beliefs as allegory, poetry, just plain silly, etc.).

    Over the past few decades, the term "fundamentalist" has become one of derision, and rightfully so.

    This is why it appeals to those like Mitch so well. Not because it has any accuracy or utility, but because he can say, "you too!"

    Except I don't see how it works for atheists. There is no set of beliefs that unite atheists. Most people are atheist and don't even realize it, referring to themselves instead as "agnostic" so as to avoid any pejorative association. There simply is only one fundamental premise of atheism: that the individual does not believe any god exists. It doesn't exclude those, like myself, who readily admit that it is possible that there are one or more gods. It just means that the individual hasn't accepted any god belief.

    That's it. So, one can only refer to atheists as "fundamentalist" if one is willing to refer to all atheists as "fundamentalist" since there is only one fundamental premise. Either you believe there is a god, or you don't.

    I'm just saying the one is no different than the other. It's a belief
    .

    Some beliefs are informed by observation and experience. Others are held in spite of observation and experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Bending the definition to fit atheists so as to describe their ardent and zealous support of their "cause" is but an ad hominem or tu quoque, since there already exists words to describe someone who is ardent or zealous: they're called ardent and zealous.
    Additionally, they're called "exasperated."
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    It's not a tu quoque argument or ad hominem. That would be if I admitted doing something wrong, but then accused you of also being wrong. That's not the point. We are both making decisions based on incomplete information. You are doing it your way, which you cannot prove is better than how somebody else is doing it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradbradallen
    "After having sat in the same chair every day for a year, you have "______" that the chair will hold you every time you sit in it."

    I would put faith in the blank.

    "After having been killed and resurrected by the same God every day for a year, you have "______" that the same God will resurrect you every time you die."

    I would put faith/confidence in the blank.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    It's not a tu quoque argument or ad hominem. That would be if I admitted doing something wrong, but then accused you of also being wrong. That's not the point. We are both making decisions based on incomplete information.
    In the manner which Mitch is applying the word, it is, indeed, a tu quoque fallacy. This is because of the definitions of "fundamentalism" and it's root word "fundamental" as well as the intended application. Mitch wants to say, "you too!" with regard to the irrational opinions (either perceived or imaginary) he sees held by atheists who dare disagree with him. This, he likens to the irrational beliefs held by religionists who seek to return their superstitions back to their fundamental tenets.

    The problem is that Mitch neither demonstrates that atheists (or a sub-group of atheists) truly hold irrational beliefs that are grounded in specific fundamental tenets. The only fundamental premise to being atheist is that you do not believe in god(s). Either you do or you don't. If you do, you're a theist. If you don't, your an atheist. By Mitch's usage, the term should apply to all atheists, thus making it useless. However, he doesn't want to apply it to all atheists, just those that do not subscribe to his own, particular notion of god and are willing to debate this notion.

    Therefore, Mitch's use is tu quoque.

    You are doing it your way, which you cannot prove is better than how somebody else is doing it.
    Doing what my way? Defining words? I'm using standard English. If Mitch has a new definition, then he should clarify it and we'll all see if we agree. I see no reason to invent new words when there are already adequate terms that are more suited and more easily understood without including a glossary every time you post. And why should I need to "prove" any definitions at all? They're freely available to anyone with a dictionary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Doing what my way? Defining words?
    No. You are getting too hung up on words without addressing the issue. I mean the idea of the atheist resolving an uncertainty or lack of information by the use of a belief, and then not admitting they have a belief. For example, Inow believes in some form of equal rights. Does he think he has a rational basis for that, more rational than would be offered by a theist? And if so, would such thinking be similar to that of a fundamentalist. If you insist, I won't call anybody a fundamentalist. But, I believe some of the arguments presented by atheists in this forum from time to time are of that nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    For example, Inow believes in some form of equal rights.
    Not that this is untrue, but where exactly do you believe I included equal rights as an argument in support of the non-belief position in this thread?


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Does he think he has a rational basis for that, more rational than would be offered by a theist?
    Again, where do you presume I was here arguing in favor of human rights? Seems like a total red herring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Cypress

    I do not necessarily think all people who believe in a deity are being gullible. There is a degree of evidence for such a belief. For example : the universe seems absurdly well designed for life. Some people take that as evidence for a creator deity, and it is not an unreasonable position. I see that the anthropic principle as an alternative, and equally reasonable explanation, and I tend to see the final conclusion as undecided.

    However, there is a very large sector of people who believe in a deity who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent. Such a belief is incompatible with what we know of reality, and I assign such a deity a very, very low level of probability.
    I find your position out of step with many philosophers. This debate seems to be progressing for centuries.

    As far as Christianity is concerned, I see the blind adherence to the bible as being irrational.
    Yes blind adherence to anything does seem irrational. I don't see the Christians I know behaving this way.

    It is not hard to point out total inconsistencies in the bible, and outright contradictions. It is, after all, a mish mash of writings by uneducated people who lived in an extraordinarily superstitious society, and much of it is distorted by time. To accept such a book as inarguably correct all the time is not smart..
    I find from discussions that those who point out inconsistencies often interpret the bible according to a standard altogether different from the adherents. I also do not see any of these people you describe who refuse to accept that ancient texts intrinsically contain at least some transcription errors as is clear from the many versions uncovered over the years. Hundreds have been documented.

    I appreciate your candor and invitation to a constructive understanding, skeptic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    For example, Inow believes in some form of equal rights.
    Not that this is untrue, but where exactly do you believe I included equal rights as an argument in support of the non-belief position in this thread?
    You did not use the argument in the support of a non-belief position. You wrote:
    It's as if you're calling people who fight for equal rights "evangelical" and assuming you're somehow making a relevant point which counters their position.
    Which I took to mean, that you think someone fighting for equal rights could not be called "evangelical." From this I concluded that you think that fighting for equal rights is so obviously right as to be beyond dispute. That is exactly the kind of moral certitude that I was calling "evangelical."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    You wrote:
    It's as if you're calling people who fight for equal rights "evangelical" and assuming you're somehow making a relevant point which counters their position.
    Which I took to mean, that you think someone fighting for equal rights could not be called "evangelical." From this I concluded that you think that fighting for equal rights is so obviously right as to be beyond dispute. That is exactly the kind of moral certitude that I was calling "evangelical."
    That's fair, and I thank you for that, but my comment was more about the fact that the position itself was never countered despite the implicit suggestion by "the other side" that it had been.

    You guys... instead of addressing the criticisms... choose instead to call them evangelical... to call them fundamentalist... and in many circles to call them militant... and you (and others like you) then pretend that this is somehow enough. Sorry, but no... It's not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow

    You guys... instead of addressing the criticisms... choose instead to call them evangelical... to call them fundamentalist... and in many circles to call them militant... and you (and others like you) then pretend that this is somehow enough. Sorry, but no... It's not.
    I find that those terms are used as metaphors to help describe a type of behaviors and attitudes that a particular subgroup displays. It results in a word picture that seems reasonably accurate in that this group actively advocates for their worldview. They recruit for it, they defend it and apologize for it, etc. They are aggressive and and disparaging toward their opponents.

    With respect to addressing the criticisms, it is not possible to have a balanced discussion of the criticism of atheism or materialism with these people and people of similar mindset. Observe for example skinwalker's (non)discusions with mitchell in the parallel threads. Observe your own reaction to those with beliefs that contradict yours. It is quite clear the both of you firmly believe you are having a balanced discussion, but that you are so entrenched in your position, you actually think you are making good points while the other side is "not addressing the criticisms"... It is funny too, because you can see the blindness in the religious zealot but you can't see your own blindness.

    With respect to this thread, they and you bring with them a treasure trove of presupposition bolstered by mountains of faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I find that those terms are used as metaphors to help describe a type of behaviors and attitudes that a particular subgroup displays.
    That's nice dear, but usage of those terms still serves as little more than evasion and failure to respond to the central criticisms being made, which was the point. Your description of them as metaphors does not change that central fact.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It results in a word picture that seems reasonably accurate in that this group actively advocates for their worldview. They recruit for it, they defend it and apologize for it, etc. They are aggressive and and disparaging toward their opponents.
    Well, at least you're consistent. I'll give you that, but again... Little more than evasion and attempts to deflect the conversation to the messenger instead of the message.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    With respect to addressing the criticisms, it is not possible to have a balanced discussion of the criticism of atheism or materialism with these people and people of similar mindset.
    Actually, it is possible, but I concede it's rather hard to do with people like you.



    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It is quite clear the both of you firmly believe you are having a balanced discussion, but that you are so entrenched in your position, you actually think you are making good points while the other side is "not addressing the criticisms"...
    Funny, since what you've just done above is to AGAIN fail to address the criticisms, and you continue to evade and attempt to displace the conversation to SkinWalker and me.

    Thank you for reinforcing the exact point I was making with your response. I appreciate the empirical evidence you have just offered in support of my contention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It is quite clear the both of you firmly believe you are having a balanced discussion, but that you are so entrenched in your position, you actually think you are making good points while the other side is "not addressing the criticisms"...
    Funny, since what you've just done above is to AGAIN fail to address the criticisms, and you continue to evade and attempt to displace the conversation to SkinWalker and me.

    Thank you for reinforcing the exact point I was making with your response. I appreciate the empirical evidence you have just offered in support of my contention.
    Yet the evidence is and was unneeded as was your point. I plainly said I was not going to address the criticism in that response. Nothing like stating the obvious.

    If you page back a few you will find some clear attempts to engage. If you look at the other threads, there too you will find clear attempts to engage. What you now lament are the conclusions of those past attempts to engage. It is a consistent pattern . However, as I said before, I suspect if you look back through the threads, you will likely see yourself as having engaged, though with adversaries that are just to ignorant to understand. You seem to believe that you have made good points that are lost on idiots. Alas you have not.

    Inow the engagement phase is over. The points on this matter have been made and the conclusions have been reached.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    You seem to believe that you have made good points that are lost on idiots.
    No, not really. What I actually believe is that good points have been made and gone completely unaddressed. Your response here only further illustrates my point.
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    i heard somewhere that 40%of our brain is dedicate to religion? i think it was that Asian guy on the science channel.
    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHART...alwarming.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by An inconvenient lie
    i heard somewhere that 40%of our brain is dedicate to religion? i think it was that Asian guy on the science channel.
    Do you ever have substantial contributions to threads? I have yet to see a single one.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    You guys... instead of addressing the criticisms... choose instead to call them evangelical... to call them fundamentalist... and in many circles to call them militant... and you (and others like you) then pretend that this is somehow enough. Sorry, but no... It's not.
    I'm not sure who you mean by "you guys" or what you think I should be addressing. I guarantee you have not seen me make any arguments from religious faith.
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    Re balance in this thread.

    It is worth remembering that this is the science forum. Science is very much about empiricism. In other words, developing an understanding of reality based on empirical (real world) and objectively derived evidence.

    When we discuss religion, we can take two tacks while still being scientific.
    1. Discuss the psychology of religion. What it is about the human mind that drive religious belief. I see no sign that this is what this thread is about.
    2. Discuss the probability of religious beliefs being correct. In this discussion, we need to to look at the empirical and objective evidence. So far, I have seen little or none.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Re balance in this thread.

    It is worth remembering that this is the science forum. Science is very much about empiricism. In other words, developing an understanding of reality based on empirical (real world) and objectively derived evidence.

    When we discuss religion, we can take two tacks while still being scientific.
    1. Discuss the psychology of religion. What it is about the human mind that drive religious belief. I see no sign that this is what this thread is about.
    2. Discuss the probability of religious beliefs being correct. In this discussion, we need to to look at the empirical and objective evidence. So far, I have seen little or none.
    Fair enough skeptic. Though from your previous postings I doubt you will object to what follows, others might:

    Applying scientific methods to this discussion of faith yields the empirical evidence that taking a position on any matter with uncertainty requires faith (confidence in an uncertain outcome or conclusion). Only those who never take a position on anything uncertain refrain from employing faith. Therefore, the religious who accepts a deity employs faith. The atheist who accepts materialism employs faith in that conclusion. The agnostic who does not take a position uses less or no faith.

    The scientist who accepts methodological materialism as a principle employs faith. The scientist who does not limit causal explanations would seem to employ less faith, all else being equal is therefore truer to the precepts of empirical based conclusions by bringing in few prior commitments.
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    Yes, cypress, I agree.

    My own position is agnostic. I agree that a 'pure' atheist position (saying emphatically that there is no deity) requires faith. That is, acceptance of a position without convincing evidence.

    A theist position also requires faith. As far as I am concerned, both positions are unscientific.
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    This thread may have been better served in the Philosophy subforum, but to be fair, it was started about 6 or 8 months ago and never really went anywhere until nilepoet made a single post in an effort to witness his own particular notion of god.

    Still, while there was little discussion of the psychological or empirical nature of faith, I think the semantic discussion is important first. People have differing notions of 'faith' that are biased by their expectations.

    But I think we've thoroughly established that there are at least two, very distinct and separate, definitions that are commonly used with regard to religious claims and assumptions: a definition that is inclusive of confidence and trust, perhaps based on valid authority; and a definition based on hope and superstition. The first being a type of faith informed by experience. The second a type of faith that is contrary to or in spite of experience.

    Whether a given religionist personally accepts either or both of these sorts of faith is up to the individual. That these sorts of faiths both exist is indisputable. We have evidence of people having "faith" that their religion is effective in providing charity (an observation I can often agree with) and we have evidence of people having faith that intercessory prayer is effective (contrary to what has been observed).

    With that said, we should be able to move on and discuss faith from both psychological and empirical perspectives.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    But I think we've thoroughly established that there are at least two, very distinct and separate, definitions that are commonly used with regard to religious claims and assumptions: a definition that is inclusive of confidence and trust, perhaps based on valid authority; and a definition based on hope and superstition. The first being a type of faith informed by experience. The second a type of faith that is contrary to or in spite of experience.
    I suppose we are not so ready to move on. I don't see anything to establish this second faith you speak of. I know of no one who has faith in something that they know is contrary to or in spite of their collective uniform experience. I do see faith based on inconclusive and contradicting experience. Perhaps you focus on the contradictions and miss the corroboration, as it is quite clear from your postings and your website.

    Whether a given religionist personally accepts either or both of these sorts of faith is up to the individual. That these sorts of faiths both exist is indisputable.
    Nonsense.

    We have evidence of people having "faith" that their religion is effective in providing charity (an observation I can often agree with) and we have evidence of people having faith that intercessory prayer is effective (contrary to what has been observed).
    Perhaps the studies and observations use an incorrect definition of effectiveness. Perhaps you, the researchers, and maybe even some of praying misunderstand the purpose and effects of prayer. Should we use the biased unbelievers definition of effectiveness or the doctrine?
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    I would disagree with Cypress on the idea that those who do not take a position are not exhibiting faith -- at least in the question of God's existence.

    Both the atheist and the agnostic place their faith in their belief that there is not a God who will hold them accountable. Atheists tend to believe that there is no God while agnostics tend to believe that even if God exists, He will not hold them accountable.

    Both tend to find security in the idea that if believers cannot "prove" God's existence to them, it is proof that their faith in the idea that there is no God to hold them accountable is valid.

    It would seem that each atheist or agnostic has some doubt about some Christian concepts, in which case it would also seem reasonable that each such person also has alternative beliefs. I wonder, however, if you ever question the reasons you have for those alternative beliefs?

    That is, how do you justify your faith in your belief and how do you know your belief is true?

    I suspect that if you actually scrutinize your beliefs as closely as you do those of we believers, you will find that they are as difficult to justify and defend as are those of the Chrtistians. Unless you are demanding more justification on the part of Christians than you are demanding to justify your beliefs.

    I struggle consistently with my beliefs but it is only when I consider the alternatives that my beliefs become more solidified. I think it unfortunate if, as I suspect, the skeptical never go through this doubting process and continue to operate on the "blind faith" they accuse Christians of having.

    I have found that the more I understand about the positions of atheists and agnostics and the beliefs of other religions, the more compassion I develop for them.

    When we can all consistently reach that point, that is when we have real discussion rather than writing down words which denounce the beliefs of others. I confess that I often end up frustrated enough in some of these discussions that I begin to undertake denouncement rather than discussion.

    Unfortunately, there are some posters here who do not get past the practice of denouncing the beliefs of others to actually get into an intellectual discussion about the topics and issues that are presented here.

    Still, from what I have heard from others, this is the most civil and best discussion group around.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    skeptic,

    Sorry, this thread has moved rather quickly and I have been elsewhere...

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    And Mitchell, what do you think of my kind of non believer?
    That is, one who accepts that we do not know if a deity of some kind exists, but who sees the Christian model as highly unlikely, because this allpowerful, allknowing, alwayspresent, and always loving deity is not compatible with what we know of the real world?
    I would say that I can understand the argument and sentiment, but that I do not think that the argument is objectively valid, and I certainly do not share the sentiment. I think the argument and the sentiment is founded on a poor understanding of the nature of life.

    If however you throw in two more things into your description of "the Christian model", I might agree with your conclusion. One is goodness (or sanity) and I think that is no problem because without that one there would be little point any way for I cannot see that a being who is not good would even be worth calling God at all.

    The other is something that might even be included in the term "all-knowing". I am talking about absolute foreknowledge. In my view such foreknowledge would reduce God's act of creation to that of writing a novel and it seems to me that He can write whatever novel He wants. In this case always loving isn't really a problem because I suppose that we can imagine that an author that loves all the characters in his novel -- even the bad ones -- for they make the story interesting. But considering the vast majority of human history -- the violence and the suffering and the incessant ugliness -- I would indeed judge the author to be a rather twisted sort of person.

    But this is why I am an open theist, which rejects this idea of absolute foreknowledge completely. But once that nonsensical view of God is rejected, then rather than simply being written by God, human history is an account of human beings making their own choices and their own mistakes. We can see in theory of evolution some pretty solid evidence that violence and suffering is an unavoidable part of the development of life. Cooperation and community is something that we must learn to value and accomplish -- and that is something that can take a great deal of time to learn. Thus in that context the argument you are making collapses.

    In general, I think we can say that science cannot disprove religion per se, but it distinguish religion which is sensible and informed from that which is irrational and even delusional.



    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I do not consider myself to be an atheist, but an agnostic, since I know that there is no strong evidence for or against a secret deity. That is, a deity who reveals itself to select prophets only.
    According to that definition then I AM your kind of "atheist" or agnostic or whatever, because I don't believe in a secret deity either. Indeed it smells rather strongly of a scam or a tool of political manipulation.

    However, I believe in a God who can speak to whomever He chooses in whatever way He decides is best for that person and the world. The difference is that I must consider the argument that you should believe such and such because the Bible says, to be completely absurd. Like any other book on the planet, the Bible must speak for itself. But I think the fact is that for great many people, it does exactly that. In fact, people who never had one reason to expect anything of value in the Bible have read it and from what it says become convinced that it is the word of God.

    --- and no this does not actually prove anything, because after all, other people have read it and have not come to that conclusion.
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    Mitchell

    Thank you for your response.
    It is slightly different to what I expected, but that is what makes life interesting. And yes, if you accept that the deity is not all knowing, then that opens up more possibilities. A deity that is benevolent to humans, all powerful, but not all knowing is not incompatible with the world as we know it, since this deity can make 'mistakes' allowing bad things to happen in spite of his/her/its love of humans.

    The deity, if it exists, must be secret, at least from my view point, since I have seen no sign of it. If this deity wants all people to love and worship him/her/it, then why does this deity not do something to make sure I am convinced of his/her/its existence and nature? An all powerful deity would have no problem doing that for me.

    dayton

    I would dispute your statement that an agnostic has faith that there is not a god who will hold said agnostic (in this case, me) accountable.

    As an agnostic, I do not know if a deity exists, or what the nature of said deity might be. If a deity exists, is that one concerned about humans, or simply does not care? I admit I do not know. Will such a deity hold me responsible (for what?)?? I have no idea.

    Or perhaps, said deity will punish all theists for constantly badgering him/her/it with importunate prayers and hymns while they were alive. Heaven for atheists, and hell for believers. Sound ridiculous? For me the idea of hell for non believers is just as ridiculous.

    I do not have faith in anything like that. I admit I do not know. I would like to know, but being a good skeptic, will need strong evidence. Empirical and objective evidence.

    I use such data as I have, and the best logic I can muster. Based on that, as I have said, I regard the Christian model of God to be of very low probability. I cannot assign a probability to the existence of any kind of deity, due to insufficient data.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaytonTurner
    Unfortunately, there are some posters here who do not get past the practice of denouncing the beliefs of others to actually get into an intellectual discussion about the topics and issues that are presented here.

    Still, from what I have heard from others, this is the most civil and best discussion group around.
    I suppose I can accept being viewed by theists, even the moderate/liberal theists, which you and Mitch seem to represent, as frequently "denouncing" theistic beliefs, though I do so mainly for the purposes of argumentation and discussion. It may surprise the likes of cypress that I don't do so in my day-to-day interactions with friends and colleagues.

    But I agree with you, wholeheartedly, that some of the best discussions I've been a part of have been right here. And, whether I comment or not, I always look forward to reading comments from yourself and Mitch. I might not agree, but at least the comments are thought out and genuine.

    Cypress... not so much. Sorry, pal. In discussions like these, you seek only to be a contrarian. You could learn much from the likes of mitch and Dayton.
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    Well, skeptic, obviously you have beliefs. I mean, you actually stated some of them. And you are relying on the hope that your beliefs are correct and that mine are incorrect. That, no matter how you slice it or dice it, is a faith statement.

    It would appear that you mostly object to the Christian teaching about hell. But I see nothing expressing any objection to the Christian concept of a loving God. It is as though you cannot believe in a God who is capable of both love and anger.

    Does not the human experience show us that we are also capable of both love and anger? And if you stop and think about it, who is more likely to make us angry -- those we don't know or those we love? I think you will find the thing that makes us most angry is when we observe someone we love being hurt even if the person is hurting himself or the one inflicting the hurt it someone else we love.

    When we see someone we love being hurt, do we react with indifference and tolerance? Hopefully, you do not react that way. Hopefully, it makes you angry. But anger is not the opposite of love -- fear and hate are the opposites of love.

    God's anger is not an explosive immediate eruption of vengence -- he gives us an entire lifetime to experience His love and then eternity to experience the fullness of that love or the fullness of his anger.

    It is not surprising that you reject this concept. Many Christians including Mitchell, I believe, fail to understand that anger is most often triggered by our love toward others and then to allow God that same prerogative.

    To me, if God were not angry at injustice and the infliction of pain and did not promise to make a final end to violence and to punish the perpetrators of these things, He would not be worthy of worship. The fact that he did not do that today does not bother me at all because it means that tomorrow someone is going to have the chance to accept Him and avoid his anger.

    Perhaps it is the lack of a belief in a vengeful and angry God which helps promote violence.

    (edited to delete diparaging remark)
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  63. #62  
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    I said:

    It is not surprising that you reject this concept. Many Christians including Mitchell, I believe, fail to understand that anger is most often triggered by our love toward others and then to allow God that same prerogative.
    I sort of lost my thought mid sentence there. My original intent was to relate this sentence to the idea of God's prerogative to levy punishment as a result of His indignation and displeasure toward injustice.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    This discussion seems to have turned the other cheek. I'd like to ask a question to the religious if they do not get offended and understand that i'm only curious to the answer.
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    I'd like to see the question and decide for myself whether it is offensive.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  66. #65  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Both the atheist and the agnostic place their faith in their belief that there is not a God who will hold them accountable.
    Dayton, I know that you are sincerely trying here, but comments like the above demonstrate just how profoundly you fail to understand the non-belief position.

    I don't lack belief because I think there is not a god who will hold me accountable. I lack belief because I find the case for god totally uncompelling, and because I've studied the human mind and learned just how easily we fall into firm acceptances of these strange stories... How often we content ourselves with false and flawed descriptions of reality, and how frequently those flawed descriptions are reinforced by our social groups.


    Really, though... Let me say again... The case for god is simply not at all compelling. The concept of deities has far better explanations than them actually existing as little magic sky pixies pulling the strings. Those explanations are rooted in human psychology and our evolution as animals trying to understand the world around us, helped along by the fact that common ideologies often brought common survival advantages.

    The idea that gods might or might not punish never factors into the mix... not for me, anyway. It's like suggesting that I don't believe in unicorns because I don't think they will poop on me from on high. No, sir. My non-belief in unicorns has nothing to do with what I imagine about their defecation habits, in much the same way that my non-belief in god(s) has nothing to do with their anger management skills.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Atheists tend to believe that there is no God while agnostics tend to believe that even if God exists, He will not hold them accountable.
    Again, no. Agnostics just admit to not knowing and not having enough data so don't really lean one way or the other. They do not start from the premise that there is a god and then decide not to believe because they won't be held accountable. That is simply an inaccurate premise from which you are working.

    Further, you'll find that on this planet the VAST majority of atheists concede the possibility of being wrong, but find the probability so massively against gods actual existence that they just use short-hand and say they don't think gods exist. This is not a belief that gods do not exist... it's not a faith in no gods... it's a lack of acceptance of the god position as being viable or compelling. Really, that's all. We've been through this before so I will leave it at that. You either grasp this or you don't. Not my problem.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Both tend to find security in the idea that if believers cannot "prove" God's existence to them, it is proof that their faith in the idea that there is no God to hold them accountable is valid.
    As I alluded to above, dayton, you need to spend some time trying to better understand the opposing position before you continue trying to demolish it. You are arguing against a total misrepresentation.







    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    God's anger is not an explosive immediate eruption of vengence -- he gives us an entire lifetime to experience His love and then eternity to experience the fullness of that love or the fullness of his anger.
    And what compelling case can you make for the validity of this statement which demonstrates it to be more than just another hollow unfounded assertion from you?
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    I agree Dayton that Skeptic displays obvious beliefs which supports your contention that even claiming to not know something most often requires some sort of commitment to some belief. I admit that I cannot offer any example to counter. I don't entirely agree with your explanation as to why that might be, though it is certainly common practice to attempt to appear noncommittal to avoid having to confront some sort of distasteful conclusion. In your example you suggest that the agnostic prefers a creator with characteristics that are different than the ones the evidence suggests.

    Where do we find clear evidence of no faith then? Not in the examples of agnostics presented here.

    Where do we find clear evidence of those with faith that is contrary to or in spite of the available evidence? skinwalker's example of prayer fails because he cannot show us that the researchers use the correct measure of effectiveness and he cannot demonstrate that the outcome is contrary to what the prayer's belief was. In addition the research lacks an effective control group because the researchers do not know who, if any, are not being prayed for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Both the atheist and the agnostic place their faith in their belief that there is not a God who will hold them accountable.
    Dayton, I know that you are sincerely trying here, but comments like the above demonstrate just how profoundly you fail to understand the non-belief position.

    I don't lack belief because I think there is not a god who will hold me accountable. I lack belief because I find the case for god totally uncompelling, and because I've studied the human mind and learned just how easily we fall into firm acceptances of these strange stories... How often we content ourselves with false and flawed descriptions of reality, and how frequently those flawed descriptions are reinforced by our social groups.
    I and many others (perhaps Dayton and Mitchell do as well) find this explanation not credible because the alternative is so much less compelling. The alternative to a creator is materialism and the evidence that this universe is a result of materialistic processes is exactly nill. I know that you keep harping on this point, but as framed it is illogical and that is likely the reason that your opponents reject the explanation and therefore suggest what they consider to be more reasonable explanations.


    Further, you'll find that on this planet the VAST majority of atheists concede the possibility of being wrong,
    I don't see that as relevant. Every religious person I know, admits doubts about their belief as well.

    but find the probability so massively against gods actual existence that they just use short-hand and say they don't think gods exist
    .

    Again we encounter an irrational conclusion that leads me to suspect there must be something else at work (I don't consider you and people like you irrational). In order to asses the probability of a creator at near zero, one must asses the probability of the alternative at near one. However there is zero evidence that universe is eternal and zero evidence that it has a material cause. Therefore, logically, the probability of a material cause is unknowable. How then do you asses the probability of a creator? the only way to answer this is based on a prior commitment, a supposition that you hold. My experience with others like you is that this supposition is based on a viewpoint that the creator that would have to exist to be consistent with this universe is different than the one these people think there ought to be and so they choose to conclude a creator must not exist.

    This is not a belief that gods do not exist... it's not a faith in no gods... it's a lack of acceptance of the god position as being viable or compelling. Really, that's all. We've been through this before so I will leave it at that. You either grasp this or you don't. Not my problem.
    I grasp it alright, but it fails the smell test.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Both tend to find security in the idea that if believers cannot "prove" God's existence to them, it is proof that their faith in the idea that there is no God to hold them accountable is valid.
    As I alluded to above, dayton, you need to spend some time trying to better understand the opposing position before you continue trying to demolish it. You are arguing against a total misrepresentation.
    He may place too much emphasis on accountability but there iseems to be a connection between rejecting a creator that does not fit the persons ideal of a creator and attempts to avoid accountability to that which has been rejected. What are your thoughts Dayton?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Where do we find clear evidence of no faith then? Not in the examples of agnostics presented here.

    Where do we find clear evidence of those with faith that is contrary to or in spite of the available evidence? skinwalker's example of prayer fails because he cannot show us that the researchers use the correct measure of effectiveness and he cannot demonstrate that the outcome is contrary to what the prayer's belief was. In addition the research lacks an effective control group because the researchers do not know who, if any, are not being prayed for.
    I disagree entirely with your assessment of prayer research. But this would be, perhaps, for a thread on prayer. Instead, lets use a different example. Many, many people -perhaps even a significant majority (some polls have put the percentage over 60%), believe that the earth was created in the last 10,000 years. They readily cite their "faith" as reason for this belief in spite of evidence to the contrary. This, therefore, is clear evidence of faith that is contrary to and in spite of available evidence. And evidence that you're purpose is to be purely contrary rather than participative.

    Let us now move on in the discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Both the atheist and the agnostic place their faith in their belief that there is not a God who will hold them accountable.
    I don't lack belief because I think there is not a god who will hold me accountable. I lack belief because I find the case for god totally uncompelling, and because I've studied the human mind and learned just how easily we fall into firm acceptances of these strange stories... How often we content ourselves with false and flawed descriptions of reality, and how frequently those flawed descriptions are reinforced by our social groups.
    I and many others (perhaps Dayton and Mitchell do as well) find this explanation not credible because the alternative is so much less compelling. The alternative to a creator is materialism and the evidence that this universe is a result of materialistic processes is exactly nill.
    If, hypothetically speaking, there were a creator god, how do you make the giant leap to a god that holds us accountable? In spite of the many things wrong with your assumption that there must be a creator god, you aren't talking about the same god as the two participants above.

    Please outline your premises that make this very giant leap from creator god, to a god who holds others accountable.

    Assuming you believe in a god, which god is this, by the way? Is it the Christian god, the Islamic god, one or more of the gods of Polynesian or Andean volcano cults, a god who is no longer worshiped, like Ptah, Atun, Horus, Thor, etc? Let's put some relevance on this so we can have an idea where you're coming from with regards to "faith."
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Where do we find clear evidence of no faith then? Not in the examples of agnostics presented here.

    Where do we find clear evidence of those with faith that is contrary to or in spite of the available evidence? skinwalker's example of prayer fails because he cannot show us that the researchers use the correct measure of effectiveness and he cannot demonstrate that the outcome is contrary to what the prayer's belief was. In addition the research lacks an effective control group because the researchers do not know who, if any, are not being prayed for.
    I disagree entirely with your assessment of prayer research. But this would be, perhaps, for a thread on prayer. Instead, lets use a different example. Many, many people -perhaps even a significant majority (some polls have put the percentage over 60%), believe that the earth was created in the last 10,000 years. They readily cite their "faith" as reason for this belief in spite of evidence to the contrary. This, therefore, is clear evidence of faith that is contrary to and in spite of available evidence. And evidence that you're purpose is to be purely contrary rather than participative.

    Let us now move on in the discussion.
    But here we have contradicting evidence. The evidence of historical text contradicts the geological evidence. They accept the historical text as more valid than the geological evidence. It is not in spite of the evidence, it is because they weight the evidence differently than both you and I do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Both the atheist and the agnostic place their faith in their belief that there is not a God who will hold them accountable.
    I don't lack belief because I think there is not a god who will hold me accountable. I lack belief because I find the case for god totally uncompelling, and because I've studied the human mind and learned just how easily we fall into firm acceptances of these strange stories... How often we content ourselves with false and flawed descriptions of reality, and how frequently those flawed descriptions are reinforced by our social groups.
    I and many others (perhaps Dayton and Mitchell do as well) find this explanation not credible because the alternative is so much less compelling. The alternative to a creator is materialism and the evidence that this universe is a result of materialistic processes is exactly nill.
    If, hypothetically speaking, there were a creator god, how do you make the giant leap to a god that holds us accountable? In spite of the many things wrong with your assumption that there must be a creator god, you aren't talking about the same god as the two participants above.

    Please outline your premises that make this very giant leap from creator god, to a god who holds others accountable.
    I mentioned earlier I take issue with Dayton's conclusion that Skeptic is (as a point of fact) attempting to avoid accountability. I do note that it makes more sense than inow's claim though. The characteristics of this universe and uniform experience indicates that the made has accountability to the maker to the extent the made has ability in that regard. We can cite example after example of this. It logically follows. I don't see the difference between my notional concept of god and Dayton's more concrete model in this regard.

    Assuming you believe in a god, which god is this, by the way? Is it the Christian god, the Islamic god, one or more of the gods of Polynesian or Andean volcano cults, a god who is no longer worshiped, like Ptah, Atun, Horus, Thor, etc? Let's put some relevance on this so we can have an idea where you're coming from with regards to "faith."
    I see no reason or benefit to me or my position to make this personal. I have not used myself as an example. If I do, I will share my beliefs with you. As a side note, I have seen how you and others here use other poster's personal beliefs (mostly in attempts to discredit the person), so forgive me for being hesitant.

    I have been very explicit about my thoughts about faith however, surely you are not confused with regards to faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    But here we have contradicting evidence. The evidence of historical text contradicts the geological evidence. They accept the historical text as more valid than the geological evidence. It is not in spite of the evidence, it is because they weight the evidence differently than both you and I do.
    Except that biblical texts aren't historical as much as they're mythical. Moreover, historical texts are routinely overturned by physical evidence that empirically demonstrates opposing points of view.

    In addition, many of those who hold this irrational and illogical belief in a <10kya earth do so without having read word one of the mythical account. Believing in an account that is clearly mythical with only the barest historical references over empirical evidence is having faith contrary to and in spite of physical evidence.

    You can keep apologizing for these people all you want, but this definition of faith is clear and present among the superstitious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    [The characteristics of this universe and uniform experience indicates that the made has accountability to the maker to the extent the made has ability in that regard. We can cite example after example of this. It logically follows. I don't see the difference between my notional concept of god and Dayton's more concrete model in this regard.
    This is complete and utter superstition and assumption that has no basis in reality. While I've no doubt you can cite examples of made things that are accountable to their maker, one can also cite numerous examples of made things that are not. Moreover, your argument begs the question and, therefore, does not logically follow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    But here we have contradicting evidence. The evidence of historical text contradicts the geological evidence. They accept the historical text as more valid than the geological evidence. It is not in spite of the evidence, it is because they weight the evidence differently than both you and I do.
    Except that biblical texts aren't historical as much as they're mythical. Moreover, historical texts are routinely overturned by physical evidence that empirically demonstrates opposing points of view.
    It is outside the scope to argue the veracity of historical texts. It is sufficient to note again that both sides offer contradicting evidence.

    In addition, many of those who hold this irrational and illogical belief in a <10kya earth do so without having read word one of the mythical account. Believing in an account that is clearly mythical with only the barest historical references over empirical evidence is having faith contrary to and in spite of physical evidence.
    Your presumptions are not established, you have not shown that these people know their doctrine is false and without support. When I speak to them, they seem rather convinced of the opposite.

    You can keep apologizing for these people all you want, but this definition of faith is clear and present among the superstitious.
    It only seems to be clear among the critic (you), and only then by prior commitment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    [The characteristics of this universe and uniform experience indicates that the made has accountability to the maker to the extent the made has ability in that regard. We can cite example after example of this. It logically follows. I don't see the difference between my notional concept of god and Dayton's more concrete model in this regard.
    This is complete and utter superstition and assumption that has no basis in reality. While I've no doubt you can cite examples of made things that are accountable to their maker,
    Then my premise has support.

    one can also cite numerous examples of made things that are not.
    The only examples I can cite are ones where the made lacks capacity. Note that I provided for that case.

    Moreover, your argument begs the question and, therefore, does not logically follow.

    Nonsense. Do you suggest that it begs the question to suggest that one can infer attributes of the designer on the basis of the design? I don't.
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    It begs the question because it implies that there is a designer because there is a designer. Which is basically what you're saying in the above arguments.

    In addition, I've completely refuted your assumptions that the universe requires a beginning in another thread, pointing out the inadequacy of your current education on quatum mechanics. Which, when compared with my very limited understanding of it, should be an embarassment.
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    I have to say that I find Dayton's assertion that atheists and agnostics operate off faith quite strange. The only way it can be correct is with a special definition of the word 'faith'.

    I think this thread has come up with two kinds of faith.

    1. That based on evidence. I have faith that the sun will appear to rise tomorrow morning, based on the fact that it has done so every day for the past 4.5 billion years.

    2. That which ignores evidence. To take Skinwalker's example. This is the faith that allows someone to believe the world is less than 10,000 years old in spite of all the geological and other evidence.

    I do not really think that type 1 above is what this thread is about. However, if it is, then yes, I have a lot of 'faith' in a lot of things, based on good evidence.

    However, if Dayton is talking of the other kind of faith - that without evidence, then myself, iNow and Skinwalker would all deny our atheist or agnostic beliefs are based on faith. Those beliefs are based on evidence, or more properly, lack of evidence.

    Is there a creator god? This question is quite separate from the question of whether there is a god that meets the Christian model. I have already indicated that the probability of a god meeting that model is very low. Though Mitchell's modification of the Christian model (God is not omniscient) increases the probability.

    There is, indeed, good evidence for a creator god. The universe is amazingly well 'designed' for life to occur. At least 6 of the basic constants of nature fall into a narrow band of values that permit life. If any of those values were a little different, life would be impossible. So this is evidence that the universe was designed.

    However, the flaw in that argument is simply that there is an excellent alternative explanation. The Anthropic Principle. The flaw in the Anthropic Principle is that it requires many universes, and we have not yet obtained good evidence for this. There are strong indicators that this is very likely, though. Superstring theory predicts E500 universes. Of course, we still do not know if string theory is correct or a load of codswallop.

    Because there are two possibilities, and we have no strong evidence of which is correct, I remain agnostic. Is there a creator god? An honest person will say : "I do not know, because I do not have enough evidence."

    This is not faith. This is sound logic.
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    Wow! I was gone for a few hours this morning and the thread exploded!!!

    inow said:


    I don't lack belief because I think there is not a god who will hold me accountable. I lack belief because I find the case for god totally uncompelling
    and:

    The case for god is simply not at all compelling.
    and:

    I don't believe in unicorns because I don't think they will poop on me from on high
    I'm sorry, inow, but I do not see the difference in what you are saying in the first two guotes that is different from what I said. But, as usual, you have grasped something that was a descriptive and turned it into the subject.

    The main point had nothing to do with "why" atheists don't believe in God. Rather, the main point was that atheists don't believe in God and they rely on the truth of their belief which has no more basis in scientific investigation than does the belief that God exists. As such, it is based on faith as much as the position of believers.

    Now then, to look at your silly unicorn example: Is there some large 2000 year old organized group going around preaching that unicorns poop on you from high? If not, how the dickens is that even relevant to your response to the long established and well defined group which preaches the potential that you could spend an eternity experiencing injustice and torment.

    Secondly, you should probably abandon that kind of ineffective silliness in which you are comparing non-belief in the existence of some non-proven materialistic entity to the non-belief in the existence of a non-proven non-materialistic entity.

    Such tactics show either that you are insincere, you do not understand the difference between material and spirtual or that you are grasping at straws for aguement sake.

    The topic in this thread deals with faith, not necessarily why atheists and agnostics believe what they believe. But I think it is accurate to state that, generally speaking, atheists and agnostics share the position that they will not be held accountable before a God. Whether that is a cause for non-belief is only an adjunct consideration. The effect of the non-belief, however, includes that conclusion.

    inow added:


    As I alluded to above, dayton, you need to spend some time trying to better understand the opposing position before you continue trying to demolish it. You are arguing against a total misrepresentation.
    I did not realize I was trying to demolish anything. I was merely trying to explain that we all operate on faith in that which we believe. If we do not have faith in what we believe, it is probably time to change our belief. In fact, I think anyone who finds they no longer have faith in a particular belief will change it. It appears to me that you are the one misrepresenting what someone else is saying.

    The problem here, it seems to me, is that I understand my position and your position far better than you understand either your position or mine.

    and inow says, finally:

    daytonturner wrote:
    God's anger is not an explosive immediate eruption of vengence -- he gives us an entire lifetime to experience His love and then eternity to experience the fullness of that love or the fullness of his anger.
    And what compelling case can you make for the validity of this statement which demonstrates it to be more than just another hollow unfounded assertion from you?
    I cannot make a "compelling case" and I think that is the point of faith. There is not usually a "compelling case." I cannot make a "compelling case" to someone who is disinclined to agree. And, in turn, you cannot make a "compelling case" that what I said is inaccurate. My statement is based on the generally accepted construct of God's character by Christians as presented in the Bible. To the best of my knowledge you have nothing that represents your position other than opinion. I realize that you have no regard for our book, but that is OK because I probably have even less regard for atheistic opinion.


    There are too many other posts to deal with during this afternoon's Masters play.
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    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    cypress said:

    But here we have contradicting evidence. The evidence of historical text contradicts the geological evidence. They accept the historical text as more valid than the geological evidence.
    Or did you really mean archeology?

    This is one of those things that demands some examples. Obviously, Cypress is alluding to the Bible. I am not aware of geological or archeological evidence which substantially contradicts the Bible. I am aware of some instances where, while confirming an historical incident it has also been shown the timing factor is out of whack. But I am not aware of any historical event in the Bible which has been categorically disproved by geology or archeology .
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    It begs the question because it implies that there is a designer because there is a designer. Which is basically what you're saying in the above arguments.
    I was quite clear about what I was saying. There is no need to paraphrase and dilute it with nonsense that is "basically" what I was saying. Let's review. We begin where you suggest we stipulate a hypothetical creator and then beginning with that stipulation you ask me to support how one makes the transition from creator of the universe to a creator to which humans might be accountable. Since you proposed we stipulate this designer how can we say my argument was an attempt to prove what has been stipulated? No it was not. It was exactly as I stated it was. It was an argument that relies on the observation from experience that the designed is accountable to the designer.

    In addition, I've completely refuted your assumptions that the universe requires a beginning in another thread, pointing out the inadequacy of your current education on quatum mechanics. Which, when compared with my very limited understanding of it, should be an embarassment.
    Go have a look at the response skinwalker. I urge you to refrain from traipsing into subjects that you have very little understanding, apparently so little you don't recognize when your opponent is far more informed that you would like to believe. I find that so few people understand QM and it is such a difficult topic, discussing it in depth is not something that should be done in a forum, but if you want to start a new thread I might give it a go. By the way, about three or four years ago when Hawking retracted his claim that there is no singularity he predicted that within two years he will have revised his concept and show once again the absence of a singularity. He is about 2 years late with that revision.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic

    I think this thread has come up with two kinds of faith.

    1. That based on evidence. I have faith that the sun will appear to rise tomorrow morning, based on the fact that it has done so every day for the past 4.5 billion years.

    2. That which ignores evidence. To take Skinwalker's example. This is the faith that allows someone to believe the world is less than 10,000 years old in spite of all the geological and other evidence.

    I do not really think that type 1 above is what this thread is about. However, if it is, then yes, I have a lot of 'faith' in a lot of things, based on good evidence.

    However, if Dayton is talking of the other kind of faith - that without evidence, then myself, iNow and Skinwalker would all deny our atheist or agnostic beliefs are based on faith. Those beliefs are based on evidence, or more properly, lack of evidence.
    The problem skeptic is the refusal to accept that there is not two types of faith. Those who exhibit faith in things you find contrary to evidence have their own evidence that they find stronger than all this other evidence. They firmly believe their evidence is superior. Therefore we have in both cases faith based on evidence.

    Your issue is why these people accept their evidence over the evidence you accept.


    There is, indeed, good evidence for a creator god. The universe is amazingly well 'designed' for life to occur. At least 6 of the basic constants of nature fall into a narrow band of values that permit life. If any of those values were a little different, life would be impossible. So this is evidence that the universe was designed.

    However, the flaw in that argument is simply that there is an excellent alternative explanation. The Anthropic Principle. The flaw in the Anthropic Principle is that it requires many universes, and we have not yet obtained good evidence for this.
    It's much more than requiring many universes. It requires a mechanism to vary these parameters infinitely and thus requires that infinite somethings are real despite indications that infinity is nothing more than a mathematical construct.

    There are strong indicators that this is very likely, though. Superstring theory predicts E500 universes. Of course, we still do not know if string theory is correct or a load of codswallop.
    I don't understand how there can be strong indicators for something and yet no good evidence.

    Because there are two possibilities, and we have no strong evidence of which is correct, I remain agnostic. Is there a creator god? An honest person will say : "I do not know, because I do not have enough evidence."

    This is not faith. This is sound logic.
    Reviewing your statements above. We have good evidence for a creator and no good evidence for a material cause. It seems to me there is a basis to come to a conclusion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    cypress said:

    But here we have contradicting evidence. The evidence of historical text contradicts the geological evidence. They accept the historical text as more valid than the geological evidence.
    Or did you really mean archeology?

    This is one of those things that demands some examples. Obviously, Cypress is alluding to the Bible. I am not aware of geological or archeological evidence which substantially contradicts the Bible. I am aware of some instances where, while confirming an historical incident it has also been shown the timing factor is out of whack. But I am not aware of any historical event in the Bible which has been categorically disproved by geology or archeology .
    I was referring to modern scientific interpretation of geology and the fossil record as contradicting the interpretation of the genesis narrative that many believe to say life on earth has only existed for a short time.

    I was not suggesting that there is physical evidence that directly contradicts other historical claims of the bible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    And yes, if you accept that the deity is not all knowing, then that opens up more possibilities. A deity that is benevolent to humans, all powerful, but not all knowing is not incompatible with the world as we know it, since this deity can make 'mistakes' allowing bad things to happen in spite of his/her/its love of humans.
    But I think God IS omniscient or all knowing but that this cannot logically include having to know what we will choose before we choose it. The universe is not a fixed four dimensional object with a linear dimension of time such that all the future is already written, the future only exists as a branching of infinite possibilites. This is something that quantum physics makes quite clear especially in Everett's many worlds formulation which proves that determinism can only be recovered in quantum physics if the future is one of branching universes. Sure God is omniscient and thus He knows all of this future of branching possibilities.

    Even so God CAN know what we will choose before we choose IF He wanted to and this is where the difference between omniscience and omnipotence vanishes. This is because the nature of things that we have learned in quantum physics means that kind of knowledge amounts to an interference which creates the very result that is known. In other words, that amounts to taking away our free will and making our choices for us. In this case omniscience must be viewed in the same way as omnipotence which says that God CAN know anything He chooses just as God CAN do anything he chooses (within the limits of logical consistency), but NOT that He MUST know what ever you say any more than He MUST do whatever you say.

    To interpret omnicience and omnipotence as limitations upon God is to reduce them to inconsistency and meaninglessness. Thus they cannot mean that God is incapable of things like risk, self-limitation, sacrifice and giving privacy to others.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If this deity wants all people to love and worship him/her/it, then why does this deity not do something to make sure I am convinced of his/her/its existence and nature?
    Ah but I deny your assumption here that God wants all people to know that He exists. I think that God wants what is best for us, and I do not think that a belief in God is of benefit to all people. For example, I think it is a fact of psychology that a belief in God is sometimes a part of a persons psycho-pathology and that the best road to mental health for that person is for them to stop believing in God. Unfortunately that has led to incorrect generalizations.

    The fact is that this is even a part of my theology. I believe that Adam and Eve's fall from grace is responsible for this situation where a belief in God is not of benefit to all people and that this big part of man's seperation from God.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The deity, if it exists, must be secret, at least from my view point, since I have seen no sign of it.
    ...
    An all powerful deity would have no problem doing that for me.
    I quite agree that God would have no difficulty making His existence a good deal more obvious to everyone, but I see plenty of reasons why this would terrible idea and thus why God would do no such thing.

    But it is no more a secret than sex. Parents may not explain about this with children until they are mature enough for this to be appropriate, but it is not really a secret.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I'd like to see the question and decide for myself whether it is offensive.
    Why do you choose your God? Have you read each biblical text to confirm which one shares your beliefs? Why not just say you believe in a God as opposed to saying you believe in the Christian God? If God is all-loving, everyone would go to Heaven whether they believed in him or not. It wouldn't matter which document you adhere by. For example, Satan wouldn't burn or be tortured for eternity, but more so helped and cured by the God whom created him with his omnipotence of love and care. In simple terms, a God that cannot forgive someone for bad choices in life which is in reailty (a rat race). How could this God be considered all-loving with his ability of forgiveness only to be found in his followers?

    I'll expand on the idea if needed or asked.
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    To Mitchell

    You are using the free will argument. I do not like this argument, because so many bad things happen, where there is no possibility the victims brought it on themselves. Imagine a person who dies in the Haiti earthquake, tortured to death by lying under a pile of rubble for days until the pain of broken bones and the thirst from not being able to move to get water eventually kills them. That persons excruciating death is from an 'Act of God'. It is not the result of any behaviour coming from free will.

    If a young child dies in torment from malnutrition, is that the fault of the innocent child? Is that free will?

    To Dayton

    Re evidence.
    I have a real problem with people accepting evidence that is not credible. If you get hit on the head, and in your dazed state see pink elephants, are you going to then say this is evidence for the existence of pink elephants?

    The main evidence for the primary beliefs of Christianity stems from a book, the New Testament, written 2,000 years ago, by superstitious and mostly uneducated people. This book is also full of contradictions and clearly incorrect statements. The statements in that book are unsupported by other evidence. If you believe the statements in that book, you are believing something for which the evidence is shakey to say the least.

    This is especially so when your resultant beliefs are extraordinary. As has been said so many times, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Claims of virgin births, miracles, and resurrection from the dead need to be supported by very strong evidence, not just a few paragraphs in an ancient book.

    As an agnostic, my claims are either supported by strong evidence, or else are statements of possibilities only. As I said, a creator god is possible, as is the anthropic principle based on multiple universes, as the main alternative. I do not make definitive claims unless the evidence is strong. Yet religious people do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The main point had nothing to do with "why" atheists don't believe in God.
    You should work on expressing yourself more clearly, then, as you had several sentences in that post discussing why folks don't believe in god.

    Sorry, I was just looking at your words. Was I supposed to look at something else?


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Now then, to look at your silly unicorn example: Is there some large 2000 year old organized group going around preaching that unicorns poop on you from high? If not, how the dickens is that even relevant to your response to the long established and well defined group which preaches the potential that you could spend an eternity experiencing injustice and torment.
    Because truth is not based on popularity, and you have zero evidence for your claim of eternal injustice and torment... In much the same way that there is zero evidence of unicorns.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Secondly, you should probably abandon that kind of ineffective silliness in which you are comparing non-belief in the existence of some non-proven materialistic entity to the non-belief in the existence of a non-proven non-materialistic entity.
    No, I'll continue with the comparison since they are quite similar. There is no evidence for your god, there is no evidence for other peoples gods, and there is no evidence for unicorns. Are you sensing a theme here?


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Such tactics show either that you are insincere, you do not understand the difference between material and spirtual
    You're right. I don't understand the difference between material and spriritual. As per usual, you toss around this term "spiritual" as if it's somehow important and useful. It's crap. It's little more than a catch-all for whatever brand of woo you happen to be peddling that day.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think it is accurate to state that, generally speaking, atheists and agnostics share the position that they will not be held accountable before a God.
    Are you not paying attention? Repeating an invalid claim does not suddenly make it valid. They hold that position because of the lack of evidence... because the god concept is not compelling. This is not difficult to understand. Stop pretending it is.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I cannot make a "compelling case"
    Trust me. This simple fact is not lost on me or other rational readers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    It begs the question because it implies that there is a designer because there is a designer. Which is basically what you're saying in the above arguments.
    I was quite clear about what I was saying.
    Yes. You were. You were clearly begging the question.

    In addition, I've completely refuted your assumptions that the universe requires a beginning in another thread, pointing out the inadequacy of your current education on quatum mechanics. Which, when compared with my very limited understanding of it, should be an embarassment.
    Go have a look at the response skinwalker. I urge you to refrain from traipsing into subjects that you have very little understanding, apparently so little you don't recognize when your opponent is far more informed that you would like to believe.
    Its clear that you inform yourself on superstitious apologist websites and books found on the shelves of Christian cult news stands with author names like Craig, Strobel, and Turek. While my knowledge of Quantum Mechanics is limited and outside of my own field, I, nevertheless, have the ability to read and understand enough of it to know which authors are qualified and which are seeking to confirm their own superstitions.

    Your weak response in the other thread mentioned above demonstrates your willingness to do the same.

    Perhaps there is a god out there somewhere. Perhaps one even created this universe. There just isn't good reason to jump on that bandwagon given that there are no data to suggest one is there. Your magic premises that seem to logically exist only in your mind yet reach from an event 13+ billion years ago that we've barely enough information to even speculate on, through a magic creator that needs no creator but holds a bunch of insignificant lifeforms on a mote of dust spiraling about in a microscopic corner of the universe full of trillions upon trillions of stars don't follow to any logical conclusion. Not without many fallacious appeals and leaps of logic.

    But feel free to publish them here. Or, better yet, publish them for peer review and get set to collect the next Templeton Prize. Surely such an effort, given that you're so sure, is worth a few moments of your time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You are using the free will argument. I do not like this argument,
    What "free will argument" would that be?

    I believe in free will. It is a deeper part of my thinking than Christianity for I became an existentialist long before I became a Christian. It is the most central concept of my whole world view and system of thought and I believe that it is the essence of life itself. Furthermore, I think it is practically a scientifc fact.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    because so many bad things happen, where there is no possibility the victims brought it on themselves.
    Free will is not a freedom to control events or the future. Free will is ONLY the capacity that life has to choose among creative possibilities in its response to events in the environment. There is nothing absolute or inviolable about free will. It and life itself is highly quantitative in nature. Our free will very much depends on our awarness and creativity and there are habits of thought and even external influences like drugs that can greatly diminish it.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Imagine a person who dies in the Haiti earthquake, tortured to death by lying under a pile of rubble for days until the pain of broken bones and the thirst from not being able to move to get water eventually kills them. That persons excruciating death is from an 'Act of God'. It is not the result of any behaviour coming from free will.
    Yes. So what conclusion are you drawing from this?


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If a young child dies in torment from malnutrition, is that the fault of the innocent child? Is that free will?
    No. So what conclusion are you drawing from this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    It begs the question because it implies that there is a designer because there is a designer. Which is basically what you're saying in the above arguments.
    I was quite clear about what I was saying.
    Yes. You were. You were clearly begging the question.
    skinwalker you conveniently left out the part where you stipulated a hypothetical creator and thus there is was no need for me to imply there was a designer. My point was different and you know it. Mitchell had you pegged when he called you a liar. I doubt your dishonesty fools few other than yourself. I don't see any purpose in addressing your misrepresentations. Your own back-pedaling says it all. I suppose this is a common practice when you sense your points failing.

    For the interested reader, you can easily search the web to discover that Hawking was forced to recant his mathematical demonstration removing a singularity. Though he continues to claim he will be able to demonstrate a mathematical model of the universe with no singularity he has yet to do so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I'd like to see the question and decide for myself whether it is offensive.
    Why do you choose your God? Have you read each biblical text to confirm which one shares your beliefs? Why not just say you believe in a God as opposed to saying you believe in the Christian God? If God is all-loving, everyone would go to Heaven whether they believed in him or not. It wouldn't matter which document you adhere by. For example, Satan wouldn't burn or be tortured for eternity, but more so helped and cured by the God whom created him with his omnipotence of love and care. In simple terms, a God that cannot forgive someone for bad choices in life which is in reailty (a rat race). How could this God be considered all-loving with his ability of forgiveness only to be found in his followers?

    I'll expand on the idea if needed or asked.

    The above question is meant for all of the religious individuals on this thread, not just daytonturner. I'd like to know everyone's answers to such a question that are religious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Mitchell had you pegged when he called you a liar. I doubt your dishonesty fools few other than yourself. I don't see any purpose in addressing your misrepresentations. Your own back-pedaling says it all. I suppose this is a common practice when you sense your points failing.
    Ah, yes... Yet more evasive personal ad hom bullshit from Cypress, followed immediately by an unsubstantiated declaration that he's won the argument and him running away. Good times.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    For the interested reader, you can easily search the web to discover that Hawking was forced to recant his mathematical demonstration removing a singularity.
    SkinWalker is quite correct that you do not appear to know what you're talking about. You are referring specifically to the no boundary proposal put forth by Hawking, and he has recanted no such thing.


    For over ten years Hawking has been applying the No Boundary Proposal, a theory which extends other theories such as Sum Over Histories developed by the late Richard Feynman and Imaginary Time.

    <...>

    I am not sure if Hawking has yet made the final leap to an infinite space and time cosmological model. He has been conservative at times on the issue of the universe being infinite either in time or space.
    ...the universe has not existed for ever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began, would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition. This says that in the imaginary time direction, spacetime is finite in extent, but doesn't have any boundary or edge.
    I am sure Hawking in the past has been concerned about the implications of such a theory and the impact it might have upon society, and people's religious beliefs, and himself and his family.

    <...>

    Elsewhere Stephen clearly describes an infinite, or a beginningless and endless time reference with the no boundary proposal.
    The no boundary proposal, predicts that the universe would start at a single point, like the north pole of the Earth. But this point wouldn't be a singularity, like the Big Bang. Instead, it would be an ordinary point of space and time, like the north pole is an ordinary point on the Earth, or so I'm told. I have not been there myself.
    Using the no boundary proposal, it is fun to imagine the universe of time from within a globe. Looking up one sees the north pole from the inside. Looking up is looking into the past, not as if it no longer exists, but instead one can reach up and touch the surface of time as it exists permanently in imaginary time. The north pole is just a single position upon the rounded surface. So one can reach up and touch the first moment, or reach down into the past to touch time in the future.

    In A Brief History of Time Hawking writes:
    One could say: "The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary." The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE.
    Later he writes:
    ...This might suggest that the so-called imaginary time is really the real time, and that what we call real time is just a figment of our imaginations. In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science break down. But in imaginary time, there are no singularities or boundaries. So maybe what we call imaginary time is really more basic, and what we call real is just an idea that we invent to help us describe what we think the universe is like.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking
    In collaboration with Jim Hartle, Hawking developed a model in which the universe had no boundary in space-time, replacing the initial singularity of the classical Big Bang models with a region akin to the North Pole: one cannot travel north of the North Pole, as there is no boundary. While originally the no-boundary proposal predicted a closed universe, discussions with Neil Turok led to the realisation that the no-boundary proposal is also consistent with a universe which is not closed.


    I don't think you know what "recant" means, cypress... Either that, or you're here repeating a misrepresentation you've heard from someone else without bothering to ensure it's validity.


    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/recant
    To withdraw or repudiate formally and publicly (opinions formerly expressed); to contradict, as a former declaration; to take back openly; to retract; to recall; To revoke a declaration or proposition; to unsay what has been said; to retract; as, Convince me that I am wrong, and I will recant
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  93. #92  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Mitchell had you pegged when he called you a liar. I doubt your dishonesty fools few other than yourself. I don't see any purpose in addressing your misrepresentations. Your own back-pedaling says it all. I suppose this is a common practice when you sense your points failing.
    Ah, yes... Yet more evasive personal ad hom bullshit from Cypress, followed immediately by an unsubstantiated declaration that he's won the argument and him running away. Good times.
    there is no argument to be won with tactics employed by skinwalker. There is no win. There is only continue or stop. I have chosen to stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    For the interested reader, you can easily search the web to discover that Hawking was forced to recant his mathematical demonstration removing a singularity.
    SkinWalker is quite correct that you do not appear to know what you're talking about. You are referring specifically to the no boundary proposal put forth by Hawking, and he has recanted no such thing.
    What he recanted was his erroneous prior mathematical proof of his concept. The one that employed imaginary numbers to smooth the boundary and eliminate the singularity. that he was wrong was significant because it is that claim (of proof) that led skinwalker to incorrectly claim my statement of a gravitational singularity was wrong.

    I have clearly stated that Hawking continues to try to demonstrate his concept even today, over 20 years later. He predicted he would have the problem solved a couple years ago. He was wrong. One can easily see from my prior statement what I was referring to as well as what I was not saying. I find it interesting that you assign statements to me that I don't make. It is another form of lie.

    I find it odd that the two of you would spend so much effort attacking the credibility of your opponent posters and so little time on the discussion. Is this all you have?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If this deity wants all people to love and worship him/her/it, then why does this deity not do something to make sure I am convinced of his/her/its existence and nature?
    Ah but I deny your assumption here that God wants all people to know that He exists. I think that God wants what is best for us, and I do not think that a belief in God is of benefit to all people. For example, I think it is a fact of psychology that a belief in God is sometimes a part of a persons psycho-pathology and that the best road to mental health for that person is for them to stop believing in God. Unfortunately that has led to incorrect generalizations.

    The fact is that this is even a part of my theology. I believe that Adam and Eve's fall from grace is responsible for this situation where a belief in God is not of benefit to all people and that this big part of man's seperation from God.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The deity, if it exists, must be secret, at least from my view point, since I have seen no sign of it.
    ...
    An all powerful deity would have no problem doing that for me.
    I quite agree that God would have no difficulty making His existence a good deal more obvious to everyone, but I see plenty of reasons why this would terrible idea and thus why God would do no such thing.

    But it is no more a secret than sex. Parents may not explain about this with children until they are mature enough for this to be appropriate, but it is not really a secret.
    This conversation about making evidence more obvious and the conversation about free will and evil are the kinds of discussions that leads me to doubt that this is simply about evidence, uncertainty and faith. Mitchell you have repeatedly argued that what one chooses to have faith in is a product of individual experience, the evidence that the experience reveals and the influences of those experiences. I tend to agree.

    Most, if not all of the objections that religious faith is informed by evidence and experience centers around contradicting the evidence in that the objectors argument is that there is no evidence significant enough to justify the kind of faith they have. The objections seem to take the form "A creator implied by this evidence would not ....." therefore the evidence that suggests this form of creator should be rejected. In the above examples we have "God would be more visible" and "God would not let bad things happen to good people" and "God would not let free will result in severe consequences". Others mentioned previously are "God would not hold the ignorant accountable" and "god would not allow for poor design".

    I have several questions about this argument. I will begin with two. Is it a valid line of inquiry? Is it a a metaphysical argument or an empirical argument?
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    So, first cypress says Hawking "recanted" and now he's say he hasn't?

    I cited the works of several other physicists who also propose a no-singularity model of the universe in the other thread. Any "interested reader" can have a look by clicking right here.

    Cypress also stated "Hawking cheated," a claim to which cypress has thus far refused to support with any citation. Cypress claims that Hawking provided an "erroneous proof of concept" yet still "tries to demonstrate it today."

    Instead of rational, naturalistic origins of the universe, cypress prefers one that is explained by superstition, and replete with logical fallacy. I'm at least open to a god existing. I only require evidence and rational premises that logically follow, not the BS peddled by cypress.

    When he says "there's no winning," it is only because his argument is so full of holes.
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    Cypress asked :

    "I have several questions about this argument. I will begin with two. Is it a valid line of inquiry? Is it a a metaphysical argument or an empirical argument?"

    No, it is not empirical. Nothing about the Christian god concept is empirical, which is one reason for my scepticism. Empirical, and objectively derived evidence is an aspect of science. If you try to use non empirical and subjective evidence, you are being unscientific.

    The bible is not empirical evidence, since it has nothing to substantiate it. Empiricism (and hence scientific reality) is about real world testing. The statements in the bible are not scientific, since it is not possible to test them. 'Personal experience' of God is, by definition, totally subjective, so is also invalid as evidence in a scientific argument.

    Is this argument metaphysical? Depends on how you define 'metaphysical'.

    What it is, though, is logic. If the Christian faith makes a statement about this hypothetical deity, then the rules of argument permit me to explore the outcomes of that statement and see if it remains reasonable. Christians believe in a deity that is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent. Such a deity is incompatible with the real world. That is logic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Cypress asked :

    "I have several questions about this argument. I will begin with two. Is it a valid line of inquiry? Is it a a metaphysical argument or an empirical argument?"

    No, it is not empirical. Nothing about the Christian god concept is empirical, which is one reason for my scepticism. Empirical, and objectively derived evidence is an aspect of science. If you try to use non empirical and subjective evidence, you are being unscientific. The bible is not empirical evidence, since it has nothing to substantiate it.
    Hmm. Where corroborating evidence remains, historical truth claims can be objectively tested and verified. That is clearly empirical. I have studied the Bible enough to know that there are thousands of historical claims of fact and hundreds with direct bearing on their doctrine. I also know that several are confirmed.

    Empiricism (and hence scientific reality) is about real world testing. The statements in the bible are not scientific, since it is not possible to test them.
    I agree that religious doctrine is not intended to precisely describe physical laws, but even here there are a number of claims about the natural world that do lend themselves to testing. This is true of many of the world's religions.

    'Personal experience' of God is, by definition, totally subjective, so is also invalid as evidence in a scientific argument.
    Perhaps, so but consider, if materialism is true, it seems unavoidable that even personal experience and other subjective argumentation must have a material and objective causation. How do we establish that empirical truths are superior to subjective truths?

    As you indicate below, in this discussion you use subjective arguments to make a truth claim.

    Is this argument metaphysical? Depends on how you define 'metaphysical'.

    What it is, though, is logic. If the Christian faith makes a statement about this hypothetical deity, then the rules of argument permit me to explore the outcomes of that statement and see if it remains reasonable.
    I agree.

    Christians believe in a deity that is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent. Such a deity is incompatible with the real world. That is logic.
    In looking over your argument and Mitchell's counter, he has identified assumptions you made in each case that appear to be incorrect or suspicious.

    My take away from this though is that you agree the argument is valid, it can offer key insight to a conclusion and it is not empirical.
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  98. #97  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Cypress asked :

    "I have several questions about this argument. I will begin with two. Is it a valid line of inquiry? Is it a a metaphysical argument or an empirical argument?"

    No, it is not empirical. Nothing about the Christian god concept is empirical, which is one reason for my scepticism. Empirical, and objectively derived evidence is an aspect of science. If you try to use non empirical and subjective evidence, you are being unscientific. The bible is not empirical evidence, since it has nothing to substantiate it.
    Hmm. Where corroborating evidence remains, historical truth claims can be objectively tested and verified. That is clearly empirical. I have studied the Bible enough to know that there are thousands of historical claims of fact and hundreds with direct bearing on their doctrine. I also know that several are confirmed.
    But the evidence must scale with the claim. This is where your argument fails.

    If we were here perhaps seeking evidence of a common ordinary claim... something like, "A man named Bill lives in that house," then accounts from the neighbors would likely suffice. In much the same way, if the claim were, "Bill earns his living as a pianist and has two daughters," we could find something to substantiate those claims, and historical claims along these lines would serve as valid confirmation... This is due to the fact that the subject of the claim is ordinary, mundane, and rather common... Something all of us have experienced throughout our entire existence... The claim pertains to a normal human being living in a normal home engaged in a normal profession and having normal offspring... In its basic form, "Person X lived there, did job A for income, and had N daughters."

    No worries. Stories and anecdote suffice to support those claims. Further, it would not be hard to corroborate via other sources.

    However, the claims you seek to justify are NOT ordinary... they are NOT part of common everyday experience... they are not normal. You (and others like you) make claims like the below.

    You claim a virgin birth.
    You claim a human put to death coming back to life several days later.
    You claim a magnificent all powerful genie in the sky orchestrating our entire existence.
    You claim that the desires of this supposed genie can be known, and that these desires are articulated in one (out of hundreds) of books written by humans.
    You claim a fictional far off place for people who follow those arbitrary rules written by humans, and you claim eternal torment for those who do not follow those arbitrary rules written by humans.


    Those claims... each and every one of them... are extraordinary... they are beyond ordinary and beyond normal... and they require extraordinary evidence which scales with their extraordinary nature.

    In this case, a few stories written by human hands and confirmed by a minuscule group of barely literate tribal peoples does not suffice. You are no longer talking about Bill in the house next door, or the fact that Bill was a pianist who had 2 daughters... You are talking about things which NOBODY experiences in their day to day life... You are talking about things which are FAR beyond everyday experience, and for that reason your cute little stories and small handful of anecdotal comments and hearsay do not even come close... does not even begin to satisfy the burden of proof.


    You speak of the problems in other peoples positions... how they are making assumptions. I encourage you to look at yourself and level the same criticisms. Your assumptions are vast, and wholly lacking. Only those blinded by their own indoctrination fail to recognize this.

    It's gonna take a whole lot more than a story from some guy in the desert two thousand years ago to convince people of the validity of your personal god, or why your god is somehow more valid than the gods of all the other people on this planet who believe in a different god than you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Cypress asked :

    "I have several questions about this argument. I will begin with two. Is it a valid line of inquiry? Is it a a metaphysical argument or an empirical argument?"

    No, it is not empirical. Nothing about the Christian god concept is empirical, which is one reason for my scepticism. Empirical, and objectively derived evidence is an aspect of science. If you try to use non empirical and subjective evidence, you are being unscientific. The bible is not empirical evidence, since it has nothing to substantiate it.
    Hmm. Where corroborating evidence remains, historical truth claims can be objectively tested and verified. That is clearly empirical. I have studied the Bible enough to know that there are thousands of historical claims of fact and hundreds with direct bearing on their doctrine. I also know that several are confirmed.
    But the evidence must scale with the claim. This is where your argument fails.
    I don't see where skeptic mentioned this scale requirement. Can I take it you agree that there are doctrinal concepts contained in text that are both empirical and confirmed? If so, Skeptics argument as framed is false, my argument is correct but perhaps incomplete.

    Let me address one other point before moving on.

    You (and others like you) make claims like the below.

    You claim a virgin birth.
    You claim a human put to death coming back to life several days later.
    You claim a magnificent all powerful genie in the sky orchestrating our entire existence.
    You claim that the desires of this supposed genie can be known, and that these desires are articulated in one (out of hundreds) of books written by humans.
    You claim a fictional far off place for people who follow those arbitrary rules written by humans, and you claim eternal torment for those who do not follow those arbitrary rules written by humans.
    I don't make these claims and make few if any assumptions about them or the alternatives. I do defend the ability and reasonableness of those who believe and support them to a similar or better degree of certainty than belief in other world-views including and especially materialism.
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    I still don't see one iota of evidence which scales adequately with the extraordinary nature of the claims.
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    cypress

    I did not make a claim of scale, but I agree with what iNow said. The old principle is that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence.

    If some stranger told you that he had seen and photographed flying saucers with little grey aliens at the helm, would you believe him? If he showed you a photo that could just as easily be a frisbee, would you accept this as evidence? Hopefully you are smarter than that!

    If you are talking of a deity who is all powerful etc., that is an extraordinary claim and needs good evidence. Simply saying that someone had a rush of blood to the head and 'felt' the presense of this deity, or that the deity was described in a mish mash of a book written 2000 years ago - well, come on now. Is that the extraordinary evidence required to demonstrate the veracity of that extraordinary claim?
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