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Thread: Religion and Science as crutches?

  1. #1 Religion and Science as crutches? 
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    I've recently been wondering and theorising a few ideas.

    First and foremost, I would like to point out (if you haven't noticed already) that there is an astounding amount of people of non-religious beliefs who behave very similar to religious members of society. Their mannerisms and similar yet opposite beliefs to the same subject.

    Take science. I often note when talking with atheists (quite often anger in many of them) that they use science to verify their beliefs so strongly and passionatley as religious believers do with the bible or other handed down beliefs. Now I also note that they quote their 'bibles' and beliefs with outrageous passion. This got me thinking, and I have a few questions that I thought you might be able to help me answer.

    1: What is it about religion and science that causes every believer of his own beliefs to so fiercly defend those beliefs?

    2: If these beliefs are so important, why are they so important?

    Hence the title of the thread:

    Is science and religion sometimes a crutch, a support system of somekind to aid people find understanding and meaning to their life?


    Or is it:

    Actually for the very reasons that those two exist? To actually have faith in a God purley because he commands you? (Core reason of religion)

    Also the equivalent for science. Just to help you understand the surrounding universe to attain a growth of knoweldge? (Core reason of science)


    Are more members of society living their lives with the former or the latter?


    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Athiests who use science to justify their atheism would benefit from remedial education. (As would theists who who use science for the reverse purpose.)

    You then go on to speak of science as a means to help you understand the surrounding universe to attain a growth of knoweldge. That is a completely differen thing from using it to justify atheism and it is most certainly not using it as a crutch.


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  4. #3 Re: Religion and Science as crutches? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantime
    Is science and religion sometimes a crutch, a support system of somekind to aid people find understanding and meaning to their life?


    Or is it:

    Actually for the very reasons that those two exist? To actually have faith in a God purley because he commands you? (Core reason of religion)

    Also the equivalent for science. Just to help you understand the surrounding universe to attain a growth of knoweldge? (Core reason of science)


    Are more members of society living their lives with the former or the latter?
    The reason for science is fairly obvious and its relative unity is related to that. The great diversity of religion on the other hand suggests that religion comes from a much greater variety of reasons.

    For example one very modern reason might be that extensive study of science and its methods reveals both its effectiveness and its limitations, and thus one might as a result of such studies come to see value in religion for its potential to go beyond those limitations even if it largely lacks much of its effectiveness.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    Religion, though, if you really examine it, only has one core reason to it's creation, and the great diversity is because of the great amount of imagination of the Human mind. Religion is there to explain the unexplained. That's about it. all other reasons aren't reasons for it to be created, but reasons as to why someone decided they needed an answer to a rationally "unanswerable" question (they didn't like the logical answer).

    Religion is diverse because it's illogical. Logic derives the same answer, every time, when it is posed a question. Illogical thought, however, can arrive at a multitude of answers that are different. This is why there is essentially one "science," in that all branches mesh and don't contradict other branches of science, and a vast multitude of religious beliefs that DO contradict each other.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Religion, though, if you really examine it, only has one core reason to it's creation, and the great diversity is because of the great amount of imagination of the Human mind. Religion is there to explain the unexplained. That's about it. all other reasons aren't reasons for it to be created, but reasons as to why someone decided they needed an answer to a rationally "unanswerable" question (they didn't like the logical answer).
    I very much disagree. That is like saying that human beings evolved hands only in order to climb trees. We certainly have common ancestors with monkeys that may indeed have used hands for such a purpose, but humans have been using their hands for far more than that for a very long time. Likewise there may have been a time in the distant past when human activities made no distinction between science and religion and one of the more important purposes for this ancestral activity may indeed have been to explain the unexplained. But that completely fails to explain the continued existence of religion when science does that particular function so much better. You might as well claim that people write books and make movies in order to "explain the unexplained". It is nonsense. Human activities have far far more than the purpose of science -- that is just atheist rhetoric and propaganda.

    I am religious person - a christian but I was not raised in any religion and I was scientist first and therefore religion NEVER had any such purpose for me in my life. Pehaps that is why it is also rather clear to me that religion has a very different purpose. Religion continues to exist because it retains that which science in its methodology of objective observation has completely excluded - a way of seeing our place in the world as a subjective participants rather than as an objective observers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Religion is diverse because it's illogical. Logic derives the same answer, every time, when it is posed a question.
    More propaganda and rhetoric. People are illogical because they have failed to develop the skill. Being an atheists does not make one a scientist, and thus there are plenty of atheists who have never developed much skill in logic, while the fact is that there are a lot of religious people have made significant contributions to the development of both science and logic themselves as scientists, philosophers, theologians and scholars of all sorts.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Logic derives the same answer, every time, when it is posed a question. Illogical thought, however, can arrive at a multitude of answers that are different. This is why there is essentially one "science," in that all branches mesh and don't contradict other branches of science, and a vast multitude of religious beliefs that DO contradict each other.
    Thank you for the demonstration of the nonsense that people come up with when they are NOT properly trained in logic. Logic does NOT arrive at the same conclusion every time because the conclusions that logic comes up with depends on what premises one starts out with. Obviously, being an atheist does not make one any more logical than it makes one a scientist.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Logic derives the same answer, every time, when it is posed a question. Illogical thought, however, can arrive at a multitude of answers that are different. This is why there is essentially one "science," in that all branches mesh and don't contradict other branches of science, and a vast multitude of religious beliefs that DO contradict each other.
    Thank you for the demonstration of the nonsense that people come up with when they are NOT properly trained in logic. Logic does NOT arrive at the same conclusion every time because the conclusions that logic comes up with depends on what premises one starts out with. Obviously, being an atheist does not make one any more logical than it makes one a scientist.
    Actually, from my perspective, his logic on this point was fine. Let me summarize it:


    Person A: I have the absolute truth.
    Person B: I have the absolute truth.

    The claims of Person A and the claims of Person B do not align, and DO in fact contradict each other.

    Therefore, either one or both of them is wrong.


    Those of us who don't believe see no reasonable difference with the supporting evidence for either claim, so just dismiss both... In much the same way that you probably dismiss 99% of the other gods humans have created (like Thor, Zeus, Apollo, Baal, and others), and in much the same way that we both dismiss leprechauns, unicorns, and the tooth fairy.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Actually, from my perspective, his logic on this point was fine. Let me summarize it:
    Well that is not really a summary of what he said at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Person A: I have the absolute truth.
    Person B: I have the absolute truth.

    The claims of Person A and the claims of Person B do not align, and DO in fact contradict each other.

    Therefore, either one or both of them is wrong.
    "Both" is by far the more likely answer, for it is very hard for me to imagine a person with substantial academic training - training in logic - making such an incredibly foolish claim as your persons A and B.


    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Those of us who don't believe see no reasonable difference with the supporting evidence for either claim, so just dismiss both... In much the same way that you probably dismiss 99% of the other gods humans have created (like Thor, Zeus, Apollo, Baal, and others), and in much the same way that we both dismiss leprechauns, unicorns, and the tooth fairy.
    Well there you may indeed have touched upon something crucial. The issue of objective evidence is indeed a crucial difference between science and religion and it is indeed a crucial reason for the comparative ease with which science eventually achieves a consensus of opinion compared to religion.

    But that is also directly connected with the very different purpose and role I see in religion compared to science. The fact is that science is not life, for life requires subjective participation not just objective observation and that may be connected with the reasons why life itself with its 350,000 species of beetle alone, finds so many diverse solutions to the same problems of survival.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  9. #8 Re: Religion and Science as crutches? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantime
    I've recently been wondering and theorising a few ideas.

    First and foremost, I would like to point out (if you haven't noticed already) that there is an astounding amount of people of non-religious beliefs who behave very similar to religious members of society. Their mannerisms and similar yet opposite beliefs to the same subject.

    Take science. I often note when talking with atheists (quite often anger in many of them) that they use science to verify their beliefs so strongly and passionatley as religious believers do with the bible or other handed down beliefs. Now I also note that they quote their 'bibles' and beliefs with outrageous passion. This got me thinking, and I have a few questions that I thought you might be able to help me answer.

    1: What is it about religion and science that causes every believer of his own beliefs to so fiercly defend those beliefs?

    2: If these beliefs are so important, why are they so important?

    Hence the title of the thread:

    Is science and religion sometimes a crutch, a support system of somekind to aid people find understanding and meaning to their life?


    Or is it:

    Actually for the very reasons that those two exist? To actually have faith in a God purley because he commands you? (Core reason of religion)

    Also the equivalent for science. Just to help you understand the surrounding universe to attain a growth of knoweldge? (Core reason of science)


    Are more members of society living their lives with the former or the latter?
    I think what you are emphasising is that people tend to strongly define themselves by the approach they take to understanding the world, whether that approach is religious or not, and that some people use science as an emotional defence against uncertainty every bit as much as some theists use their faith.

    Fear of uncertainty would be my guess as to the source of the need many people feel for using their world-view as an emotional crutch. That is my own experience anyway; almost all my family are non-religious so i experienced very little insentive or pressure to adopt religious faith. In fact, probably negative pressure if anything, which resulted in my adopting science more or less as a faith, even while i understood that science as a faith is practically a contradiction in terms.
    Uncertainty is a difficult and uncomfortable state of mind to be in, and i suppose it takes a fair amount of emotional maturity to cope with it; which i definitely didn't have at that age.

    So i think what you're saying is spot on, science and religion do both serve as an emotional crutch for many people. My own view is that the important distinction is between those people who have developed the ability to cope with uncertainty and those who have not, rather than the distinction between atheism and theism.
    I suspect that many theists faith is a matter of core identity and they don't actually need faith as an emotional defence any more than i need my world-view in that way; it's simply part of who they are.


    Anyway, as to whether society tends more towards using religion or science as a crutch; i'd much rather see religion used in this way than science - I think the integrity of someone who treats science as a faith is far more questionable.
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    I have also noticed an anger or "agenda" among many atheists where their scientific objectivity as an investigator is lost. For example, the use of mental health rhetoric to explain religious experiences by people (atheists) with no mental health training is an example.

    Is religion a crutch? Absolutely. I can only speak for my own Christian background where it is very common for believers to have an experience that the believer attributes to Jesus Christ in times of danger or trial. Thus, the believer knows that he/she never faces danger alone. This is one of the great benefits to having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane Mathematician
    Logic derives the same answer, every time, when it is posed a question. Illogical thought, however, can arrive at a multitude of answers that are different.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Person A: I have the absolute truth.
    Person B: I have the absolute truth.

    The claims of Person A and the claims of Person B do not align, and DO in fact contradict each other.

    Therefore, either one or both of them is wrong.
    Well that is not really a summary of what he said at all.
    My summary applied to the second half of his comment, and was accurate despite your suggestion otherwise. Further, your attack on his logic regarding the first half (that which I quoted at the very opening of this post) was also misplaced, as Arcane_Maths was clearly taking as given that... when one has the same inputs and the same processes logic will arrive at the same answer each time. If you are given 2 apples and asked to add another 2 apples, logic will always dictate that you have 4 apples when done. The only time you don't arrive at 4 is when you are using illogical processes. That was IMO his intended point.

    He can correct me if I am misrepresenting him.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    "Both" is by far the more likely answer, for it is very hard for me to imagine a person with substantial academic training - training in logic - making such an incredibly foolish claim as your persons A and B.
    Then I presume your argument is that most religious people do not have substantial academic training, or training in logic, because exactly that happens all the time among theists and believers. Let me put it another way to make it more clear what I'm driving at with my simplified summary:

    Person A: My god is the one true god.
    Person B: My god is the one true god.
    Their gods do not align, and contradict each other in many ways, therefore one or both of them is wrong.


    Or, here's another:

    Person A: My holy book is infallible and contains the one truth.
    Person B: My holy book is infallible and contains the one truth.
    The books of person A and person B say different things, do not align, and contradict each other in many ways. Therefore, one or both of them is wrong (and that's not even to mention how vast are the internal inconsistencies within the books themselves).


    Given the above, compare for yourself how my summary aligns with the part from Arcane Mathematician which you included in your quote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane Mathematician
    This is why there is essentially one "science," in that all branches mesh and don't contradict other branches of science, and a vast multitude of religious beliefs that DO contradict each other.
    The logic is sound, as is the claim that given consistent inputs and consistent processes logic will lead to the same conclusion.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But that is also directly connected with the very different purpose and role I see in religion compared to science. The fact is that science is not life, for life requires subjective participation not just objective observation and that may be connected with the reasons why life itself with its 350,000 species of beetle alone, finds so many diverse solutions to the same problems of survival.
    It sounds to me like you are here now trying to advocate something akin to Gould's "Non-Overlapping magisteria." Is that accurate?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria
    Gould put forward what he described as "a blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution to ... the supposed conflict between science and religion."[1] He draws the term magisterium from Pope Pius's Humani Generis of 1950, and defines it as "a domain where one form of teaching holds the appropriate tools for meaningful discourse and resolution", and describes the NOMA principle as "the magisterium of science covers the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry (consider, for example, the magisterium of art and the meaning of beauty)."

    Personally... I find the criticisms of the suggestion much more compelling that the suggestion itself, but I suppose YMMV.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I have also noticed an anger or "agenda" among many atheists where their scientific objectivity as an investigator is lost. For example, the use of mental health rhetoric to explain religious experiences by people (atheists) with no mental health training is an example.
    Can you please provide 2 or 3 specific examples where this has actually happened, preferably with the context included?
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  13. #12 Re: Religion and Science as crutches? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    Fear of uncertainty would be my guess as to the source of the need many people feel for using their world-view as an emotional crutch.

    <...>

    Uncertainty is a difficult and uncomfortable state of mind to be in, and i suppose it takes a fair amount of emotional maturity to cope with it; which i definitely didn't have at that age.

    <...>

    My own view is that the important distinction is between those people who have developed the ability to cope with uncertainty and those who have not, rather than the distinction between atheism and theism.

    <...>

    Anyway, as to whether society tends more towards using religion or science as a crutch; i'd much rather see religion used in this way than science - I think the integrity of someone who treats science as a faith is far more questionable.
    The challenge with this view, of course, is that with science the uncertainty is continually resolved piece by piece as we continue to answer questions and understand the universe. However, with religion the uncertainty is merely displaced and ignored, as the search for answers ceases when they content themselves with the vacuous and wholly unsupported/unsupportable claim that goddidit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I have also noticed an anger or "agenda" among many atheists where their scientific objectivity as an investigator is lost. For example, the use of mental health rhetoric to explain religious experiences by people (atheists) with no mental health training is an example.
    Can you please provide 2 or 3 specific examples where this has actually happened, preferably with the context included?
    Inow, you can scan these threads yourself for words like "delusion", "psychosis", "hallucination", and see who exactly wrote the post. Then, P.M. the person and ask what specific mental health training the person has had.

    This is from Skeptic's post in the "natural explanation" thread:


    "As far as religious experiences are concerned, if they occurred to a person who was not religious, they would be interpreted in other ways. When they occur to a religious person, that person interprets the experience as 'coming from God'. As a non believer, I would interpret them as subjective perception from drugs, fatigue, sickness, hunger, psychosis etc."

    Another example includes sources that you have used as supporting evidence. Although you often post peer reviewed articles which is commendable, you have used You Tube videos as evidence that are nothing more than an "atheist rant". In such a case you have lost your scientific objectivity in my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I have also noticed an anger or "agenda" among many atheists where their scientific objectivity as an investigator is lost. For example, the use of mental health rhetoric to explain religious experiences by people (atheists) with no mental health training is an example.
    Can you please provide 2 or 3 specific examples where this has actually happened, preferably with the context included?
    Inow, you can scan these threads yourself for words like "delusion", "psychosis", "hallucination", and see who exactly wrote the post. Then, P.M. the person and ask what specific mental health training the person has had.

    <...>

    Another example includes sources that you have used as supporting evidence. Although you often post peer reviewed articles which is commendable, you have used You Tube videos as evidence that are nothing more than an "atheist rant".
    I'm still awaiting examples of where people with no mental health training are the ones making these claims. Frankly, it is abundantly clear that I am, in fact, one of the people you are attempting to cast into one group with your post above... the one I challenged... yet I have zero need to PM myself to ask what my training is... so really your response was little more than a cop-out and a bunch of hand-waving.

    Alternatively, I would accept you showing that the references and citations people like myself have been sharing are coming from people with "no mental health training." That would suffice as support of the position you are here attempting to insert into the discussion. You have, however, thus far failed to defend your position on both accounts. I will give you another chance. I suggest you do better next time.

    Finally, not once have I used Youtube as supporting evidence. When I post a video, it is generally to provide context and/or to assist non-experts in the general narrative of the issue. For you to suggest that I have attempted to use videos as empirical support of my claims shows only that you do not understand my claims or you are intentionally misrepresenting them (or, more likely, some combination of both).
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Religion, though, if you really examine it, only has one core reason to it's creation, and the great diversity is because of the great amount of imagination of the Human mind. Religion is there to explain the unexplained. That's about it. all other reasons aren't reasons for it to be created, but reasons as to why someone decided they needed an answer to a rationally "unanswerable" question (they didn't like the logical answer).
    I very much disagree. That is like saying that human beings evolved hands only in order to climb trees. We certainly have common ancestors with monkeys that may indeed have used hands for such a purpose, but humans have been using their hands for far more than that for a very long time. Likewise there may have been a time in the distant past when human activities made no distinction between science and religion and one of the more important purposes for this ancestral activity may indeed have been to explain the unexplained. But that completely fails to explain the continued existence of religion when science does that particular function so much better. You might as well claim that people write books and make movies in order to "explain the unexplained". It is nonsense. Human activities have far far more than the purpose of science -- that is just atheist rhetoric and propaganda.
    I see... First of all, The evolution of appendages certainly could have been, and very likely was, selected for because of one reason and one reason alone. Greater rate of mating success and it proved a useful tool in survival. That is the core reason for ALL evolution, essentially. So... Yeah, it is the same thing

    Science does not explain the afterlife. As a matter of fact, it does the opposite through scientific principles. It ignores the possibility as it is unfalsifiable.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I am religious person - a christian but I was not raised in any religion and I was scientist first and therefore religion NEVER had any such purpose for me in my life. Pehaps that is why it is also rather clear to me that religion has a very different purpose. Religion continues to exist because it retains that which science in its methodology of objective observation has completely excluded - a way of seeing our place in the world as a subjective participants rather than as an objective observers.
    this didn't address my point. It added something that is irrelevant to the topic. How do you know why religion continues to exist? How does anyone know? See inow's point about absolute truths in logic.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Logic derives the same answer, every time, when it is posed a question. Illogical thought, however, can arrive at a multitude of answers that are different. This is why there is essentially one "science," in that all branches mesh and don't contradict other branches of science, and a vast multitude of religious beliefs that DO contradict each other.
    Thank you for the demonstration of the nonsense that people come up with when they are NOT properly trained in logic. Logic does NOT arrive at the same conclusion every time because the conclusions that logic comes up with depends on what premises one starts out with. Obviously, being an atheist does not make one any more logical than it makes one a scientist.
    excuse me? You missed the point. the same question implies the same conditions and premises. if asked what is 2+2 in base 10, logic always arrives 4. ALWAYS. illogically you can, however, arrive at what ever the hell you want. That was my point. you missed it
    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
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I have also noticed an anger or "agenda" among many atheists where their scientific objectivity as an investigator is lost. For example, the use of mental health rhetoric to explain religious experiences by people (atheists) with no mental health training is an example.
    Can you please provide 2 or 3 specific examples where this has actually happened, preferably with the context included?
    Inow, you can scan these threads yourself for words like "delusion", "psychosis", "hallucination", and see who exactly wrote the post. Then, P.M. the person and ask what specific mental health training the person has had.

    <...>

    Another example includes sources that you have used as supporting evidence. Although you often post peer reviewed articles which is commendable, you have used You Tube videos as evidence that are nothing more than an "atheist rant".
    I'm still awaiting examples of where people with no mental health training are the ones making these claims. Frankly, it is abundantly clear that I am, in fact, one of the people you are attempting to cast into one group with your post above... the one I challenged... yet I have zero need to PM myself to ask what my training is... so really your response was little more than a cop-out and a bunch of hand-waving.

    Alternatively, I would accept you showing that the references and citations people like myself have been sharing are coming from people with "no mental health training." That would suffice as support of the position you are here attempting to insert into the discussion. You have, however, thus far failed to defend your position on both accounts. I will give you another chance. I suggest you do better next time.

    Finally, not once have I used Youtube as supporting evidence. When I post a video, it is generally to provide context and/or to assist non-experts in the general narrative of the issue. For you to suggest that I have attempted to use videos as empirical support of my claims shows only that you do not understand my claims or you are intentionally misrepresenting them (or, more likely, some combination of both).
    Inow:

    First, my initial response was not something that I was attempting to "insert into the discussion". The issues of atheists being angry was one of the initial points by the author of this thread. I addressed two of the author's points: "atheist anger" and "religion as a crutch".

    Second, as a an experiment I picked "page two" of the "natural explanation for religious ...." thread and scanned for mental health diagnosis. I believe I found 6 or 7 terms: delusion etc. The only people who used these terms were atheists. I am not aware that these posters have clinical experience treating patients with mental health disorders. From their posts, I would be amazed if I was wrong about this.

    Also, I am not trying to include you in this group of "no mental health training". However, at least one of the You Tube videos you linked to was a ridiculous atheist rant.

    Thus, it is a reasonable hypothesis to suggest that atheism is not "absence of belief"; rather it may be "presence of something else" such as resentment, anger, whatever.

    All of us have had some negative experience in the past that can skew or color our perspectives. Atheism may be the result of this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I am not aware that these posters have clinical experience treating patients with mental health disorders.
    Well, now you're moving the goal posts. You did not state that your argument was against people using these terms without "clinical experience treating patients with mental health disorders." What you said was that your argument was against people using psychology terms without having mental health training.

    Here, let me remind you:

    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    For example, the use of mental health rhetoric to explain religious experiences by people (atheists) with no mental health training is an example.

    So, you are now not only failing to support your assertion when challenged, but you are also trying to move the goal posts so as not to look so foolish.

    You've basically already conceded that you won't be supporting your baseless assertion. You've done little more than back-peddle and try to change the assertion itself... which is hard to do thanks to the nifty little quote feature we have on forums like this.



    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Thus, it is a reasonable hypothesis to suggest that atheism is not "absence of belief"; rather it may be "presence of something else" such as resentment, anger, whatever.
    This is plainly untrue, and frankly rather silly. You may as well be suggesting that a lack of belief in unicorns or a lack of belief in Zeus or Thor may result in the presence of resentment and anger. If you cannot see how ridiculous such a claim is, then I'm afraid you no longer warrant response or engagement.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    So i think what you're saying is spot on, science and religion do both serve as an emotional crutch for many people.
    Perhaps when atheists attempt to fill the vacancy left by their rejection of religion with science then what you claim is correct. But the truth is that what they have turned science into is a distortion, and thus we have coined the term "scientism" for this. Scientism may indeed be a "crutch" in the same sense that religion is a "crutch", but science is nothing of the sort. More importantly, while rhetoric may be the modus operandi of religion and scientism, it has no part in method of science.

    Science and religion are not two choices of worldview, however much atheist propaganda and rhetoric tries to make it so. Religion and scientism may be a matter of belief, but science is a methodology and a skill that is a product of training, and a critical part of that methodology is that what you believe should have no impact on your results. If it does then it isn't science, but pseudo-science.


    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But that is also directly connected with the very different purpose and role I see in religion compared to science. The fact is that science is not life, for life requires subjective participation not just objective observation and that may be connected with the reasons why life itself with its 350,000 species of beetle alone, finds so many diverse solutions to the same problems of survival.
    It sounds to me like you are here now trying to advocate something akin to Gould's "Non-Overlapping magisteria." Is that accurate?
    No it is not accurate. That is too simple of a picture. The differences and relationship between them are more complementary than equal. Science makes a trade-off that gives it substantial effectiveness at finding definitive answers in exchange for limiting itself to talking only about that to which its methodology is applicable. But since science is defined by that methodology, then although religion has no such limitations as to what it can talk about, what it says is not something that science can listen to, while what science says is something that intellegent religion most certainly should listen to if it does not want to be out of touch with reality.

    Now whether religion should restrict itself is another matter, but how it should do so when it does not have a methodology with effectiveness comparable to that of science is a difficult question. So the result is that we have both fundamentalist religion that stupidly rejects the validity science and more intellegent religion that takes the results of science seriously and accepts it as a limit and guide to its own inquiries and conclusions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    excuse me? You missed the point. the same question implies the same conditions and premises. if asked what is 2+2 in base 10, logic always arrives 4. ALWAYS. illogically you can, however, arrive at what ever the hell you want. That was my point. you missed it
    Yes the consideration of mathematics is instructive. Mathematics is the one discipline where answers not only tend to be rather singular but also the one discipline where its conclusions are actually a matter of proof. But in the case of mathematics, the applicable subject area is far more narrow than that of science. Now physics is the science based on looking at the universe in mathematical terms, and what it can discover by doing so is quite enlightening but at the same time it is quite clear that what it studies is not the same thing as what mathematics studies. The point being is your arithmetic example is not applicable, for math is a specialized application of logic to a system of premises, and so the only meaningful content of your argument is that religion ain't about numbers.

    It is in fact, one of their tremendous strengths that both mathematics and science can by their own logic be forced to understand and accept their own limitations: by Godel's proof we are forced to accept the fact that one of the things that we CAN prove is that it is impossible to prove that mathematics is consistent, likewise quantum physics has forced us to accept the failure of physical determinism. This ability to define and get a handle on its own limitations is actually a very valuable measure and proof of its own reliability. That religion has nothing of that sort only tells us that its reliability is unknown and highly questionable.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I am not aware that these posters have clinical experience treating patients with mental health disorders.
    Well, now you're moving the goal posts. You did not state that your argument was against people using these terms without "clinical experience treating patients with mental health disorders." What you said was that your argument was against people using psychology terms without having mental health training.

    Here, let me remind you:

    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    For example, the use of mental health rhetoric to explain religious experiences by people (atheists) with no mental health training is an example.

    So, you are now not only failing to support your assertion when challenged, but you are also trying to move the goal posts so as not to look so foolish.

    You've basically already conceded that you won't be supporting your baseless assertion. You've done little more than back-peddle and try to change the assertion itself... which is hard to do thanks to the nifty little quote feature we have on forums like this.



    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Thus, it is a reasonable hypothesis to suggest that atheism is not "absence of belief"; rather it may be "presence of something else" such as resentment, anger, whatever.
    This is plainly untrue, and frankly rather silly. You may as well be suggesting that a lack of belief in unicorns or a lack of belief in Zeus or Thor may result in the presence of resentment and anger. If you cannot see how ridiculous such a claim is, then I'm afraid you no longer warrant response or engagement.
    Actually Inow:

    I have no interest in arguing with you on this or any other subject. My contribution was to the original OP.

    The frequent incorrect use of mental health terms by atheists in this section means that the atheists are using these terms as insults, or slurs, against people with whom the atheists disagree.

    This is clear evidence of anger, or resentment, which is part of the author's original post.

    Your use of examples like the "unicorns" is nothing but a diversion. Billions of people do not believe in the "unicorns". However, billions of people do believe in the God of the Bible.

    Perhaps you should stick to answering the author's original question.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    The frequent incorrect use of mental health terms by atheists in this section means that the atheists are using these terms as insults, or slurs, against people with whom the atheists disagree.
    And how, precisely, do you defend your position that the label of "delusion" is being misapplied to people who believe in a cosmic dictator despite the profound lack of evidence in its favor? This should be interesting, and I am excited to see how you respond.


    http://www.randomhouse.com.au/Downlo...ct_revised.pdf
    The dictionary supplied with Microsoft Word defines a delusion as ‘a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence, especially as a symptom of psychiatric disorder’. The first part captures religious faith perfectly. As to whether it is a symptom of a psychiatric disorder, I am inclined to follow Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, when he said, ‘When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.’


    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    This is clear evidence of anger, or resentment, which is part of the author's original post.
    And what, sir, is YOUR training in the field of mental health? I'm sensing yet another pot meet kettle moment.


    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Your use of examples like the "unicorns" is nothing but a diversion. Billions of people do not believe in the "unicorns".
    Actually, no. It's not even close to being a diversion. It's the exact opposite. It's a rhetorical tool which gets right to heart of the matter, and which illuminates the core issue under discussion. The mention of unicorns shows via analogy the silliness of your claims, and further allows us to be more objective, to discard the centuries of protection and deference which religious thought has enjoyed from both believers and non-believers, and helps us to break through the social retardedness which seems so often to accompany these discussions.

    Do tell me... Dedo... how is god any different from a unicorn as pertains to claims of existence?


    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    However, billions of people do believe in the God of the Bible.
    You see, friend... It's important for you to know that truth is not determined by popularity. The number of people who believe something has zero impact on it's validity or truth value. To make this clear... and to borrow from your approach... billions of people believing in unicorns would not serve as a valid argument of their existence. All it would show is that billions of people believe in unicorns despite the absence of evidence.

    When you stop applying your double standards, and when you desist from using the fallacy of special pleading, you quickly realize that your deity is on EXACTLY the same argumentative footing as a unicorn... Which is why I choose that particular mythological creature when making some of my points.

    Millions of people believe in lots of things... like UFOs or homeopathy or the healing power of magnets... but none of those beliefs are any more realistic, accurate, or true just because a lot of people share such a delusion, nor because our culture has a long tradition of indoctrination.

    Truth does not come from democracy, but from merit. I suggest you find something of merit prior to trying to defend your beliefs against further scrutiny. The same goes for all believers. By your own admission, you've got nothing but faith, and that's simply not good enough.
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    On Earth, if an apple is thrown at low speeds towards the moon, what's going to happen?

    Logic tells us it will fall back to and strike the Earth due to gravitational forces, EVERY TIME! Why is this not getting through?



    What happens when you die?

    Through Occam's Razor, we can assume that nothing happens when you die except that you die. That is the logical answer. That is the answer that proper logic will come to every time. Why do you think differently?

    And the real funny part is, Occam's Razon is actually a tool that for cyphering the illogical. It exists simply because assumptions are illogical, and dictates that the answer that uses the least amount of illogical steps, or the most-logical illogical steps, is likely to be the right answer. Science deals only with the winners of this test. Religion, on the other hand, loves the losers, and as such has some fantastical stories.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Inow:

    Delusion is not correctly applied to explain why billions of people believe in the God of the Bible because the God of the Bible exists. Therefore, belief in God is no delusion.

    Delusion means a person has a rigid belief system that he/she clings to that is not consistent with evidence to the contrary, and is also not what the majority of people believe.

    Billions of people believe in the God of the Bible. I can only speak for Christian believers; however, the belief system does not come without evidence to support it.
    However, you need to understand the evidence, and why it only comes in certain forms so as to improve the relationship between God and the believer.

    Nevertheless, delusion is a big problem for both believers and nonbelievers. It is an easy mistake to make to believe a personal agenda is "God's will". Thus, although many people first encounter clear evidence for a belief in Jesus Christ through their own efforts (seeking in humility), it is important to join a Church, read the Bible, and get good instruction. Otherwise, a person who accepts that God exists, can easily fall into pursuits that are not God's will at all. I believe you referenced an article on the "natural explanation" thread that gets into this.

    Also, I think we should get back to the original OP. I am no mental health expert although I consult with mental health experts from time to time. I have had both undergraduate and graduate instruction and training in mental health. By training, I mean 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, assisting in the care of people with mental health disorders. From what I do know, I believe that most people who use these terms have likely taken a couple undergrad psyc courses, and are just trying to score a few points in an argument, rather than trying to explore the unknown.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Inow:

    Delusion is not correctly applied to explain why billions of people believe in the God of the Bible because the God of the Bible exists. Therefore, belief in God is no delusion.
    This is hardly demonstrated. Indeed, there is evidence to the contrary. However, this is not a forum for debating the veracity of biblical mythology. The only point I wanted to make was that such is an a priori assumption and not a conclusion based on observation or evidence and, thus, unwelcome in a science forum.

    Delusion means a person has a rigid belief system that he/she clings to that is not consistent with evidence to the contrary, and is also not what the majority of people believe.
    Appeals to popularity is a fallacious argument. Millions of people believe they were abducted by aliens. Billions believe there is a personal god that answers prayers and intervenes in their day to day lives. Where does one draw the line of delusions. Why can hundreds, thousands, or even millions be deluded and not "billions."

    Your argument falls apart in a house of fallacious cards at this point.

    Quite simply, there is no reason to suggest that one must be "mentally ill" to suffer delusion. This appears to be, on many levels, a human condition or propensity.

    In addition, there is no evidence to support your claim of a "god of the bible" existing and significant evidence to the contrary (Stenger 2007; Dever 2003; Finkelstein and Silberman 2001). Therefore, belief in a god that doesn't appear to exist is a delusion. Perhaps there is a god in the universe. It just isn't that of biblical mythology.


    References:

    Dever, William (2003). Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing.

    Finkelstein, Israel and N. Silberman (2001). The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. New York: Touchstone Books.

    Stenger, Victor (2007). God: The Failed Hypothesis. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
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    Sorry Skinwalker:

    Your attempts to control the debate to support your own position make exploring the unknown next to impossible.

    I never said people need to be mentally ill to suffer from delusion.

    Exploring how wrong views spread through groups is a fascinating subject.

    This is not part of the author's original question. Also, pursuing this here is not possible.

    My contribution to this thread directly addressed the author's initial points:

    1. Atheists and anger
    2. Religion as a crutch

    Debating this further is not productive.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Delusion is not correctly applied to explain why billions of people believe in the God of the Bible because the God of the Bible exists.
    For thousands of years, people who were significantly smarter than both you and I combined have tried to demonstrate this and have failed each and every time. What new information are you prepared to bring to the table to overturn the centuries of failed attempts?


    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Therefore, belief in God is no delusion.
    Until you can support the above claim of existence using something other than your personal faith and belief, the comment regarding delusion has no grounding or merit.



    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Billions of people believe in the God of the Bible.
    And, as you have already been told, truth is not determined by popularity. Truth is based on evidence and merit.


    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I can only speak for Christian believers; however, the belief system does not come without evidence to support it.
    Then at this point it would be proper for you to describe your standard of evidence. I can tell you right now that you appear to be using a version which has zero to do with how the term is used by most people on the planet, and by everyone on a science forum.

    Evidence belief
    Evidence faith
    Evidence lots of people sharing the same delusion

    Tell us, dedo... Really... what more do you have?


    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    However, you need to understand the evidence, and why it only comes in certain forms so as to improve the relationship between God and the believer.
    So, how does one differentiate between what you call evidence of Yahweh and what another calls evidence of Allah? How does one differentiate between what you call evidence of Yahweh and what another calls evidence of Vishnu? How does one differentiate between what you call evidence for Yahweh and what another calls evidence of Thor, Zeus, Apollo, Care Bears, Unicorns, Leprechauns, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    If the way people feel is sufficient proof, then you MUST also accept the way people feel about all of the other countless deities lying dead in the graveyard of human mythology, and ALSO all of those currently worshiped.

    However, you would NOT do that. You would consider them to be praying to a false god, and yours the only true one... yet you are both using the same exact standard of evidence. You either accept all claims based on this personal relationship you describe (whereby we're also then forced to accept bigfoot, lochness monster, and all of the other ridiculous crap humans believe without evidence), or you accept none of it.

    Your entire argument rests on double standards, hypocrisy, and special pleading... and frankly, my friend, that's not good enough.



    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Thus, although many people first encounter clear evidence for a belief in Jesus Christ through their own efforts (seeking in humility)
    That is not evidence. That is anecdote and hearsay. It is not good enough in a court of law, and it's not good enough here.

    Let me be more precise, actually... All that serves as is evidence that people have had a personal experience... a thought or a feeling. It does NOT serve as evidence that Jesus is some god, nor does it serve as evidence that Jesus exists as a magical sky dictator in control of the whole universe. There is a HUGE difference. We all have experiences, but those experiences are proof of nothing other than brain activity. The evidence being discussed here is for existence of this entity, not the existence of thoughts and beliefs about it.


    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    I am no mental health expert although I consult with mental health experts from time to time.
    I really don't care about your background or training, as (in much the same way that truth is not determined by popularity) truth is not determined by authority. I only poked you about mental health training because YOU brought it up earlier in the thread and I sensed a lot of hypocrisy when you tried to scold atheists for throwing around words used in mental health work, and then in your own posts proceeded to psychoanalyze people despite your own lack of training.

    Again, though... I don't care what your background is. You could be a second grader and put forth a successful argument, and logically support your positions or thrash mine... That's the beauty of internet debate like this... We are all equal and all that matters is words and how we use them.

    Thus far, you have not used them very well. Your arguments are weak, unsupportable, and rooted in NOTHING more than your personal faith. If I had faith that an invisible dragon existed in my garage, that would not be good enough to convince you... even if millions or billions of people agreed with me. Please try to understand why your belief in that ambiguously defined three letter word alone... your belief in what you call god... is not enough to sway the rest of us on the question of existence. It is only proof of your belief, not proof of god, hence you are deluded since the existence of god is still wholly unsupported/unsupportable.
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    Sorry Inow:

    You are going too far beyond the original author's questions in my opinion.

    I posted here and addressed two of the author's points:

    1. atheists and anger
    2. religion as a crutch

    If there is evidence of #1 in this very forum, then I believe it is relevant to point it out.

    If in an adjacent thread, moderated by an atheist, several atheists choose to weave suggestions about an individual's mental health, then it is reasonable to question exactly the qualifications of this group to make these inferences.

    If the group does indeed have advanced training to make these claims then my point is wrong, and I withdraw it.

    However, if the qualifications are not there, then I submit we have nothing more than mob behavior which supports the author's original question.

    Further, emotional debate with you is not a good idea.

    Good day.
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    Yeah... I had a feeling you would do little more than waffle and evade when asked to support your assertion that god exists. Cheerio.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Yeah... I had a feeling you would do little more than waffle and evade when asked to support your assertion that god exists. Cheerio.
    I am not waffling or evading you Inow; however, the rules of this forum bar a theological or even a personal interpretation of events.

    Also, I have no interest in trying to out debate you, convert you, or argue a particular point of view.

    I do have a curiosity about exploring the unknown.

    If you want to ask me personal questions about why I believe what I believe, I will answer what I can. If you don't like the answers, or if I don't know a particular answer then that is the best I can do.

    Unfortunately, that is not permitted in this forum. Thus, if this is something you have an interest asking me about, then PM me and I will send you an email address so you can ask your questions.

    Otherwise, good luck with the debate.
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  30. #29 Re: Religion and Science as crutches? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    The challenge with this view, of course, is that with science the uncertainty is continually resolved piece by piece as we continue to answer questions and understand the universe.
    But it never is resolved. Isn't that precisely why science has high intellectual integrity? Within science, to consider anything resolved is to completely miss the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    However, with religion the uncertainty is merely displaced and ignored, as the search for answers ceases when they content themselves with the vacuous and wholly unsupported/unsupportable claim that goddidit.
    God did what? I imagine this may differ from one theist to the next and whether they stop searching for answers would presumably depend on where they draw the line.

    I get it that on a science forum reducing any religious position to it's assertions about existence is entirely appropriate, but in a broader context to hold this stance in day to day life seems to be to view everything in terms of your own personal existential crises. I think that a strong need for definitive answers is something that perhaps could affect my judgement, so it's worth avoiding. Thats just from my own experience; i have certainly been guilty of what mitchellmkain is calling 'scientism'. I probably still am to some extent, but that's more down to lack of proper education these days than that i'm using science(tism) as an emotional crutch .

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Perhaps when atheists attempt to fill the vacancy left by their rejection of religion with science then what you claim is correct. But the truth is that what they have turned science into is a distortion, and thus we have coined the term "scientism" for this. Scientism may indeed be a "crutch" in the same sense that religion is a "crutch", but science is nothing of the sort. More importantly, while rhetoric may be the modus operandi of religion and scientism, it has no part in method of science.
    I wasn't saying that science is an emotional crutch, just that it may be used in this way. I don't see any reason to assume that if it is, then it must be a distortion. That it's used as an emotional crutch may have an effect on how accurately the science is understood, but not defintively so.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Science and religion are not two choices of worldview, however much atheist propaganda and rhetoric tries to make it so.
    agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Religion and scientism may be a matter of belief, but science is a methodology and a skill that is a product of training, and a critical part of that methodology is that what you believe should have no impact on your results. If it does then it isn't science, but pseudo-science.
    I understand what you are describing here as an ideal that a researcher needs to closely emulate if he hopes to get his findings through peer review. But that says nothing about the extent to which the same researcher uses science as a body of knowledge, including areas outside of his area of expertise, in formulating his worldview, or how much he depends on it as a sort of existential crutch.

    So would you agree that a trained scientist that stongly supports something outside of his area of expertise is also to be considered a proponent of scientism? It's just that it seems a subjective judgement - how thouroughly do you need to understand the science before you can accurately represent it? If science is entirely a methodology and a skill acquired through training, and if 'scientism' is no more than a matter of belief, how is science as a body of knowledge to be distinguished from scientism? Does it depend solely on the credentials of the person invloved?
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    Delusion is not correctly applied to explain why billions of people believe in the God of the Bible because the God of the Bible exists. Therefore, belief in God is no delusion.
    This is hardly demonstrated. Indeed, there is evidence to the contrary. However, this is not a forum for debating the veracity of biblical mythology. The only point I wanted to make was that such is an a priori assumption and not a conclusion based on observation or evidence and, thus, unwelcome in a science forum.

    Delusion means a person has a rigid belief system that he/she clings to that is not consistent with evidence to the contrary, and is also not what the majority of people believe.
    Appeals to popularity is a fallacious argument. Millions of people believe they were abducted by aliens...
    Surely we agree about sanity though. What is sanity? It's adjustment of belief to fit the group belief. Regardless of logic or scientific proof. Yeah, harsh.

    I like what mitchellmckain said earlier about the need for a subjective framework besides an objective one.

    I think atheists may as well admit our insanity.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Look, subjective analysis doesn't work when you want to learn about the universe. Biases prevent the participator from actually determining any truth to the observations they make as participants. That's why subjectivity is bunk in analysis
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  33. #32  
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    Yes, our condition is inescapable bunk. So we accept our view must be distorted, and proceed with that in mind.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Our condition is irrelevant to the workings of the universe...
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    It's totally relevant to drawing an objective picture. You know the Acme Lens Company produces at least 90% lenses with a known distortion, and likely several other flaws besides, and all you've got to see by is an Acme lens.

    Anyway our condition is the most striking working of the universe. Sure it's relevant to the final picture. The true objective picture of the universe includes a goofy tourist spoiling the landscape.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  36. #35  
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    Pong, Subjectivity distorts how one views the world. granted, truly objective observation isn't possible, but to say that subjectivity is necessary is different than suggesting it's inescapable. The landscape doesn't care about how the observer feels, and the tourist ruining the landscape is incapable of observing the landscape as a whole, as the tourist is incapable of objectively removing himself from the picture, and simply can't see everything.

    Now, were he to take a step away, he could see more, and if he were to back as far away as possible, he would have the best possible view of the landscape, encompassing all but himself. Now, objectively, the tourist can 'cut' a chunk out of the landscape, and observe and make observations of only that one part. Doing this, he now has a base to refer to, and can be completely outside of the picture, capable of making an observation that is not necessarily subjective.

    Why is it necessary to be, as mm implies, wholly subjective at times?
    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 Arcane_Mathematician
    Now, were he to take a step away, he could see more, and if he were to back as far away as possible, he would have the best possible view of the landscape, encompassing all but himself. Now, objectively, the tourist can 'cut' a chunk out of the landscape, and observe and make observations of only that one part. Doing this, he now has a base to refer to, and can be completely outside of the picture, capable of making an observation that is not necessarily subjective.
    That wouldn't be an objective view, because the true unadulterated landscape sports a goofy tourist. Excluding ourselves from the picture is a common practice though, isn't it?

    Anyway we can't properly map our subjectivity if we refuse to accept it. And without the map, there can be no filter to compose the most objective picture. Eh, this is too vague.

    I only began to bolster dedo's claim religion is not delusional, by observing that religious belief is technically sane, while atheism is less so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Pong, Subjectivity distorts how one views the world. granted, truly objective observation isn't possible, but to say that subjectivity is necessary is different than suggesting it's inescapable. The landscape doesn't care about how the observer feels, and the tourist ruining the landscape is incapable of observing the landscape as a whole, as the tourist is incapable of objectively removing himself from the picture, and simply can't see everything.
    Your claim about subjectivity distorting how one views the world presumes that the world/reality is exclusively an objective existent and that is something you cannot prove and something which I reject. There is no doubt that there is a portion of reality to which the objective methodology of science is well suited. But I assert that there is also an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality and I think that this explains a lot of things.

    In any case, restricting oneself to an objective analysis distorts ones view of human existence by forcing us into the role of objective observer. I think that insisting that this is ones role in life in general is an indication that either one is willfully deluding oneself (possibly for the purpose of self-serving rhetoric) or one is simply not too informed or experienced concerning the requirements of the objective standards of scientific inquiry.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Now, were he to take a step away, he could see more, and if he were to back as far away as possible, he would have the best possible view of the landscape, encompassing all but himself.
    Exactly! A world without him in it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Now, objectively, the tourist can 'cut' a chunk out of the landscape, and observe and make observations of only that one part. Doing this, he now has a base to refer to, and can be completely outside of the picture, capable of making an observation that is not necessarily subjective.
    Indeed, and the tourist who only observes from a tour bus without interacting with the people and the other living things, really understand very little at all about what they are looking at. To really understand a country you have get out of the bus and LIVE IN IT -- you have to experience what it is like to live there as a participant in the culture and the way of life. But now of course you are straying rather far from the ideals of objective observation and science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Why is it necessary to be, as mm implies, wholly subjective at times?
    Because life is not just about observing, its about doing. It is in fact the nature of living things to impose their own order on the world, taking in materials and make them part of their structure - and no living thing does this more than human beings do. In science what you want to be the case shouldn't matter and shouldn't effect the outcome but in LIFE what you want to be the case most certainly DOES matter and it WILL effect the outcome! Life is irreducibly subjective. To set all desire aside and smother the subjective apprehension of the world in favor of pure objectivity all of the time, is to make yourself dead to the world and dead to yourself.

    Yes objective analysis is a VERY useful tool and I strongly reccommend to everyone some serious study in one of the sciences to get some mastery of this skill. But this is not some dedication to some holy monastic order such that you have to be scientist all the time and about everything in life. I frankly think that atheists who imagine themselves as such have created a religion for themselves that is more delusional than most.
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    ...and we haven't even touched morality yet. Objectively derived morals must be inhumane.

    Like mm I don't mean to disparage objectivity. It's one of the best lenses in our collection.
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    Does the Kantian idea of nomenal and phenomenal worlds apply here, that there is always a gap between the universe as it is and the universe as we understand it?

    What i take from this idea is that objectivity and subjectivity are a kind of spectrum on which ojectivity could be considered an extreme of subjectivity and subjectivity an extreme of objectivity, and so they are differing degrees of the same concept rather than entirely different concepts in themselves.

    If that's acceptable as an interpretation, maybe in terms of a worldview it's not neccesary to have subjective framework, but just to be constantly aware of where your views appear on the spectrum relative to the objective framework. That way at least your being honest with yourself.

    For example; i choose to believe that to interpret Richard Dawkins idea of the selfish gene as meaning one should serve those drives that emerge a la Nietzsche as being deeply unhealthy, and therefore for all practical purposes, is an incorrect interpretation. I reject it on very subjective grounds but i think the important thing is that i openly reject it on subjective grounds. I feel that this puts me in the same camp as (non fundamentalist) theists, in that i don't care if there is a mountain of evidence to suggest that evolution is the most objective stance to take, i am still exceedingly tentative about incorporating (what i undertand of) it into my worldview.
    (BTW i'm not suggesting that anyone on this forum holds the above interpretation, i was just using it as an example of a probably more objective worldview that i've rejected in favour of a probably less objective worldview. I suppose it's actually not that good of an example thinking about it but oh well)
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    By watching the interactions of people you damn well can understand everything about the culture. Participation can only make you understand the emotion, and only to an extent. But, if you want to predict the fate of a culture, subjectivity will fail you EVERY time. The subjective perspective is non-scientific because of the emotional aspect, and if you want to analyze something, some event, then a subjective approach will lead to a false conclusion, because you are vested in the event. That attachment clouds whether or not you can accurately analyze the situation. because of the attachment, your opinion on the topic will either always lean positive and hopeful or negative and vengeful. The apathetic observer, rigorously noting the behaviors of the participants, the characteristics of the culture, will more accurately be able to describe the fate of said culture.

    So, I suppose yes, subjectivity has a use, although, to be fair, the use is very limited and only serves to keep people 'human.' Subjectivity used in place of objectivity in logic, however, is simply fallacious and will only lead to false conclusions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    The landscape doesn't care about how the observer feels,
    Does the landscape exist without the observer?

    If Bishop Berkeley drops dead in a forest does anyone hear him fall?
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    Subjective facts and objective facts are very well established and defined. Objective uses direct evidence and subjective uses indirect evidence. You must have substantial indirect evidence to claim an event as historical fact, the notion of God does not have substantial indirect evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Subjective facts and objective facts are very well established and defined. Objective uses direct evidence and subjective uses indirect evidence.
    That is incorrect. That has nothing at all to do with the difference between objective and subjective apprehensions of reality. In physics there are all sorts of indirect means of obtaining information about things but these have all been established and verified by objective proceedures and thus they are OBJECTIVE facts and not subjective in any way at all.

    Perhaps the following can give you some understanding of what a subjective apprehension of reality means.

    If there are aliens in the neighborhood with superior technology it is concievable that they could pay you a visit one night and leave you absolutely no evidence whatsoever to establish the truth of the claim that they did so. If this happens to you, what will you do? Will you accept the fact that there is something that you know is the case even though you cannot prove it, or will you simply decide that it was all a dream because you cannot? The former accepts that there is a subjective aspect to ones experience of reality while the latter does not. I find the latter approach to be a willful indulgence in delusion for a motivation that seems either cowardly or incapable of individual identity.

    Thus I would say that an honest approach to understanding the nature of reality MUST recognize the fact that since our experiences of existence are unique that there is every possibility that we are each going to know things that others do not. Thus the rational approach is to ACCEPT and even appreciate the diversity of human thought. I even think that this diversity should be considered a valuable asset in much the same way that the diversity of our gene pool is an asset upon which our survival as a species depends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Subjective facts and objective facts are very well established and defined. Objective uses direct evidence and subjective uses indirect evidence.
    That is incorrect. That has nothing at all to do with the difference between objective and subjective apprehensions of reality. In physics there are all sorts of indirect means of obtaining information about things but these have all been established and verified by objective proceedures and thus they are OBJECTIVE facts and not subjective in any way at all.

    Perhaps the following can give you some understanding of what a subjective apprehension of reality means.

    If there are aliens in the neighborhood with superior technology it is concievable that they could pay you a visit one night and leave you absolutely no evidence whatsoever to establish the truth of the claim that they did so. If this happens to you, what will you do? Will you accept the fact that there is something that you know is the case even though you cannot prove it, or will you simply decide that it was all a dream because you cannot? The former accepts that there is a subjective aspect to ones experience of reality while the latter does not. I find the latter approach to be a willful indulgence in delusion for a motivation that seems either cowardly or incapable of individual identity.

    Thus I would say that an honest approach to understanding the nature of reality MUST recognize the fact that since our experiences of existence are unique that there is every possibility that we are each going to know things that others do not. Thus the rational approach is to ACCEPT and even appreciate the diversity of human thought. I even think that this diversity should be considered a valuable asset in much the same way that the diversity of our gene pool is an asset upon which our survival as a species depends.
    I bolded your example, let me explain why I do not understand where you are coming from on this. I will note that I respect your reply and counter argument, but I do not know what the difference is to the reason why you claim a counter argument.

    On your example of an alien encounter, to the person with direct evidence to the accounts of the encounter is not in subjective thought, but an objective one. However, the reason an alien encounter is considered subjective is because you are the only one to whom witnessed it. I would have to take your word that it did happen, I have no means of verifying your claim. There is no direct evidence that I could verify the claim that you encountered aliens because I did not witness the event. Also, there is no substantial indirect evidence either which would be used to base your claims off of for verification. If you gave me a distorted photograph, it's incapable of verifying the claim.

    Much like a courtroom works in which both sides must state their claim to the event that has only a number of witnesses with different stories and accounts of the actual event. Religion has several different accounts from each religion, some having many Gods, others just one. It's not about proving every account is right because that would contradict the concept of God, we must try to prove just one, but all accounts differ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Subjectivity used in place of objectivity in logic, however, is simply fallacious and will only lead to false conclusions.
    I don't understand how logic can be objective or subjective. I thought it was a self-contained system of abstract analysis that has nothing to do with perception. Or is that just mathematical logic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    On your example of an alien encounter, to the person with direct evidence to the accounts of the encounter is not in subjective thought, but an objective one. However, the reason an alien encounter is considered subjective is because you are the only one to whom witnessed it. I would have to take your word that it did happen, I have no means of verifying your claim. There is no direct evidence that I could verify the claim that you encountered aliens because I did not witness the event. Also, there is no substantial indirect evidence either which would be used to base your claims off of for verification. If you gave me a distorted photograph, it's incapable of verifying the claim.
    The issue was the difference between subjective and objective. That difference is NOT a matter of what is in the mind and what is not in the mind, but a matter of what is experienced by you alone and what is experienced by everyone. That is the standard of scientific inquiry, that you can define a proceedure that produces the same results no matter who follows it, and that what they believe will happen or want to happen will have no impact on the result.

    After all if you believe like I do that the mind is just as physical as the body then there is no reason that its content might not one day be subject to just as much objective examination as the body is. But that objective examination of the mind will never be the same as the experience of being that mind. And therein lies the difference between objective and subjective.

    The example about aliens is ENTIRELY relevant to the discussion of relgion, because here we have all these people who claim that a being of superior abilities, that they claim exists entirely outside their own mind, has contacted them without providing them one shred of objective evidence by which they can prove that this being has actually done so or that this being really exists. And we naturally have a lot of skeptics who see no reason to accept this as factual without such evidence. The situation is no different, and we who were not visited by the aliens are in exactly the same position of supposing that this alleged visitation was only an occurrence in that person's own mind even though that person has every right to judge for himself that the event was not just in his own mind at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Much like a courtroom works in which both sides must state their claim to the event that has only a number of witnesses with different stories and accounts of the actual event. Religion has several different accounts from each religion, some having many Gods, others just one. It's not about proving every account is right because that would contradict the concept of God, we must try to prove just one, but all accounts differ.
    Exactly, which is why despite the fact that so many people make these claims, we must nevertheless count them as a subjective perceptions rather than as objective. On the surface in certain areas or in societies, it may seem like something that everyone perceives, but upon closer examination looking at the details we can conclude that what is perceived is not quite the same for everyone at all. Furthermore, it is clearly something that some people do not perceive. Thus these religious perceptions are something that must be classified as subjective.

    Again the distinction here is NOT one of direct or indirect or one of being in the mind and not being in the mind - that is NOT the difference between objective and subjective - NOT AT ALL! Those are seperate judgements that are your perogative to make in each case, but they are not equivalent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    I suppose yes, subjectivity has a use, although, to be fair, the use is very limited and only serves to keep people 'human.' Subjectivity used in place of objectivity in logic, however, is simply fallacious and will only lead to false conclusions.
    Thanks, that returns us to the OP, which suggested that in either case (subjective/objective, religious/empirical) we may conceal a weakness. We might develop one end on bad presumptions.

    I think that to "keep people human" - I mean mindful of our humanity - is crucial for many reasons. For one, regarding science, we extract a frank insight of our own biases to filter our apparently objective view, rendering it more objective. A female Freud would have published different theories. Another reason to be mindful is to watch our heading. The scientists and intellectuals of 30's Europe should have had "a bad feeling" about the direction of their perfectly rational enquiries. But perhaps one triumph of subjectivity came in the late 60's when billions of vaguely informed individuals and our governments decided to study pollution as it affects climate. Another reason to be mindful is personal. I'm sure we've all observed misanthropes make asses of themselves because they can't see their own motives, while wiser people see clear through. A fourth reason to be mindful of our subjectivity is finally to accept it, as humanists or believers, and ground our morals on this stubborn stupid human foundation whether we have arbitrary evolution or divine creation to curse or thank for our condition. No sacrifice is too great for love; eating kittens is just plain wrong. A fifth reason - and here you really have to live it: fairies do materialize when children clap their hands and say "I believe in fairies!"

    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    I don't understand how logic can be objective or subjective. I thought it was a self-contained system of abstract analysis that has nothing to do with perception.
    Good point. Did my last reason illustrate emotional logic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    On your example of an alien encounter, to the person with direct evidence to the accounts of the encounter is not in subjective thought, but an objective one. However, the reason an alien encounter is considered subjective is because you are the only one to whom witnessed it. I would have to take your word that it did happen, I have no means of verifying your claim. There is no direct evidence that I could verify the claim that you encountered aliens because I did not witness the event. Also, there is no substantial indirect evidence either which would be used to base your claims off of for verification. If you gave me a distorted photograph, it's incapable of verifying the claim.
    The issue was the difference between subjective and objective. That difference is NOT a matter of what is in the mind and what is not in the mind, but a matter of what is experienced by you alone and what is experienced by everyone. That is the standard of scientific inquiry, that you can define a proceedure that produces the same results no matter who follows it, and that what they believe will happen or want to happen will have no impact on the result.

    After all if you believe like I do that the mind is just as physical as the body then there is no reason that its content might not one day be subject to just as much objective examination as the body is. But that objective examination of the mind will never be the same as the experience of being that mind. And therein lies the difference between objective and subjective.

    The example about aliens is ENTIRELY relevant to the discussion of relgion, because here we have all these people who claim that a being of superior abilities, that they claim exists entirely outside their own mind, has contacted them without providing them one shred of objective evidence by which they can prove that this being has actually done so or that this being really exists. And we naturally have a lot of skeptics who see no reason to accept this as factual without such evidence. The situation is no different, and we who were not visited by the aliens are in exactly the same position of supposing that this alleged visitation was only an occurrence in that person's own mind even though that person has every right to judge for himself that the event was not just in his own mind at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Much like a courtroom works in which both sides must state their claim to the event that has only a number of witnesses with different stories and accounts of the actual event. Religion has several different accounts from each religion, some having many Gods, others just one. It's not about proving every account is right because that would contradict the concept of God, we must try to prove just one, but all accounts differ.
    Exactly, which is why despite the fact that so many people make these claims, we must nevertheless count them as a subjective perceptions rather than as objective. On the surface in certain areas or in societies, it may seem like something that everyone perceives, but upon closer examination looking at the details we can conclude that what is perceived is not quite the same for everyone at all. Furthermore, it is clearly something that some people do not perceive. Thus these religious perceptions are something that must be classified as subjective.

    Again the distinction here is NOT one of direct or indirect or one of being in the mind and not being in the mind - that is NOT the difference between objective and subjective - NOT AT ALL! Those are seperate judgements that are your perogative to make in each case, but they are not equivalent.
    I boldened the text where I feel we are saying much of the same thing. Could you point out exactly where your disagreement lies? I see that we agree on the courtroom example as well as aliens being a relevant discussion towards religion. I don't see where your argument lies if we are agreeing on much of the same thing. The only statement I made with the first post that you replied to in disagreement is that "Indirect evidence is used for subjective facts and direct evidence is used for objective facts." Is this not true? The reason indirect evidence is used for subjective facts is because subjective facts are limited to the subject experiencing it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Subjective facts and objective facts are very well established and defined.
    Excellent. Please give me the definitions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Could you point out exactly where your disagreement lies? I see that we agree on the courtroom example as well as aliens being a relevant discussion towards religion. I don't see where your argument lies if we are agreeing on much of the same thing. The only statement I made with the first post that you replied to in disagreement is that "Indirect evidence is used for subjective facts and direct evidence is used for objective facts." Is this not true? The reason indirect evidence is used for subjective facts is because subjective facts are limited to the subject experiencing it.
    No it is NOT true. It is in this statment in italics where my disagreement lies. Objective evidence can be either direct or indirect. Subjective evidence can be either direct or indirect. I already explained that evidence upon which physics draws conclusion can be either direct or indirect but regardless it is always objective evidence for that is the only type of evidence that science recognizes.

    The guy who had aliens visit him had rather direct evidence that aliens exist, but because only he experienced this event and he has no objective evidence that it occured, this direct evidence is also subjective evidence. Thus his conclusion that aliens exist would be based on direct subjective evidence. A friend of his who knows that he is both eminently sane and trustworthy might accept his friend's word that this event did occur, then this friend's conclusion that aliens exist would be based on evidence that is both subjective and indirect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    I don't understand how logic can be objective or subjective. I thought it was a self-contained system of abstract analysis that has nothing to do with perception.
    Good point. Did my last reason illustrate emotional logic?
    I don't know. i'm thouroughly confused at this point. You strongly reject any kind of objective morality in favour of what is essentially intellectual chic; collective morality by current popularity. Of course, that's just the way it is, there's no question of whether it should or should not be that way, those are simply the cards we've been dealt by our nature. The question that springs to mind is, should personal morality be defined by collective morality?

    The problem i see with this is that to define your personal morality exclusively in terms of collective morality is to invest a hell of a lot of faith in the ability of your culture to look after the best interests of its members. I am not entirely comfortable with that; it appears to be just another emotional crutch for people to cling to, and given that intellectual chic certainly can't be described as grounded, i doubt it's worth as a worldview. Better to think for yourself.

    To describe anyone who deviates from collective morality as inhuman, if that's actually what you've been driving at, is a species of gibbering radicalism that is positively dangerous, in my view.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Could you point out exactly where your disagreement lies? I see that we agree on the courtroom example as well as aliens being a relevant discussion towards religion. I don't see where your argument lies if we are agreeing on much of the same thing. The only statement I made with the first post that you replied to in disagreement is that "Indirect evidence is used for subjective facts and direct evidence is used for objective facts." Is this not true? The reason indirect evidence is used for subjective facts is because subjective facts are limited to the subject experiencing it.
    No it is NOT true. It is in this statment in italics where my disagreement lies. Objective evidence can be either direct or indirect. Subjective evidence can be either direct or indirect. I already explained that evidence upon which physics draws conclusion can be either direct or indirect but regardless it is always objective evidence for that is the only type of evidence that science recognizes.

    The guy who had aliens visit him had rather direct evidence that aliens exist, but because only he experienced this event and he has no objective evidence that it occured, this direct evidence is also subjective evidence. Thus his conclusion that aliens exist would be based on direct subjective evidence. A friend of his who knows that he is both eminently sane and trustworthy might accept his friend's word that this event did occur, then this friend's conclusion that aliens exist would be based on evidence that is both subjective and indirect.
    I see what your saying. Here is my point, the person witnessing has direct evidence, but I do not. I have no direct evidence, I have to use indirect evidence to establish the claim. Had it been something that I could experience, I could go out and find the direct evidence myself, instead I need indirect evidence. I agree with everything that you said up there. I never said a subjective fact couldn't have people who have direct evidence, there were people that experienced the Lincoln assassination years ago. It depends on whose position you are in. If you have a headache, you have direct evidence, but I do not. I cannot observe your headache, direct evidence cannot be used because it is not in public domain or something that I can experience directly. I cannot experience your headache with you. The Lincoln assassination is a subjective fact, there were people whom experienced it directly, but all of their accounts are considered indirect evidence because we cannot experience the event.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by korben
    Subjective facts and objective facts are very well established and defined.
    Excellent. Please give me the definitions.
    Within logic. I should have put "within logic" in that sentence, I admitt. I wasn't being very clear and it's just one example of miscommunication on my part.
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    By definition, there is NO SUCH THING as a subjective fact because it is, after all, subjective...
    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 korben
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain


    If there are aliens in the neighborhood with superior technology it is concievable that they could pay you a visit one night and leave you absolutely no evidence whatsoever to establish the truth of the claim that they did so. If this happens to you, what will you do? Will you accept the fact that there is something that you know is the case even though you cannot prove it, or will you simply decide that it was all a dream because you cannot? The former accepts that there is a subjective aspect to ones experience of reality while the latter does not.
    On your example of an alien encounter, to the person with direct evidence to the accounts of the encounter is not in subjective thought, but an objective one. However, the reason an alien encounter is considered subjective is because you are the only one to whom witnessed it. I would have to take your word that it did happen, I have no means of verifying your claim. There is no direct evidence that I could verify the claim that you encountered aliens because I did not witness the event. Also, there is no substantial indirect evidence either which would be used to base your claims off of for verification. If you gave me a distorted photograph, it's incapable of verifying the claim.
    Within my first reply, first sentence, I was trying to understand your position. You can clearly see that I understood that to the people that witnessed the encounter,
    they have direct evidence. My first sentence talks about direct evidence of the alien encounter to the person that experienced it. I very well understand what you're saying at the moment and I agree. This is just miscomunication on my part, I have not one reason to disagree with you. Everything you said is true and I tried to illustrate that in my explanation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    By definition, there is NO SUCH THING as a subjective fact because it is, after all, subjective...
    I admitted my mistake. I have no defintion of "subjective fact" and "objective fact." I tried to communicate that what I meant is that both of these terms are established within logic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    By definition, there is NO SUCH THING as a subjective fact because it is, after all, subjective...
    And THAT is NOT a FACT!
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    By definition, there is NO SUCH THING as a subjective fact because it is, after all, subjective...
    And THAT is NOT a FACT!
    "Facts can also be thought of as objective or subjective." D. Q. McInerny

    While I may not be able to find the definition for subjective fact, within logic, they are applied. This quote I put up is from Being Logical by D. Q. McInerny. There is such thing as subjective facts and objective facts. Within logic, they are used, i'm sure you could find it in any book on the subject of logic. With that said, I'm getting out of this conversation. At this point, it is a spin zone of miscommunication. My first statements were obviously not as straightforward as I had thought. Everything that has been addressed has been agreed on by myself and I have no point to continue an argument of agreement. To the participants, I hope you feel as though you were treated fairly on this discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    You strongly reject any kind of objective morality in favour of what is essentially intellectual chic; collective morality by current popularity.
    I guess my examples of environmentalism and Freud struck an unintended chord. I should have said that there are no objective grounds for morals, but one may root a moral position in the depths of our subjective condition(s). I don't mean "moral" here in the sense of "best"; I mean it in the sense of "credo". We also find God down there... with all the rest of our "baggage".

    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    To describe anyone who deviates from collective morality as inhuman, if that's actually what you've been driving at, is a species of gibbering radicalism that is positively dangerous, in my view.
    I'll concede we are. Our morals are often inconsistent and acquired by convenience e.g. evolution. However logically this baggage must be good, since nothing else can be.

    So we should know our baggage, and accept it. If I'm not mistaken that's the humanist position.

    Effectively believers reach a similar conclusion, when they say eternal laws come down arbitrarily from God, and they'd better know and accept those laws.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    By definition, there is NO SUCH THING as a subjective fact because it is, after all, subjective...
    And THAT is NOT a FACT!
    Facts are ENTIRELY objective. They are facts. They are true, no matter the perspective you put on them. What is so hard about this concept? Why are you so desperately pushing subjectivity?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Facts are ENTIRELY objective.
    In that case we (humans, or other entities) never can know any facts. Everything is filtered through our senses and our perception. There are facts that are external to us, but we cannot perceive these 'objectively'. We may be able to approach objectivity, but we can never attain it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Why are you so desperately pushing subjectivity?
    Because subjectivity is very real. Indeed, since introspection is not distorted by sensory misinterpretation of the externa world it may well be that 'subjective facts' arrived at from introspection are more objective than our distorted view of 'objective facts', for the aforementioned reasons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I should have said that there are no objective grounds for morals, but one may root a moral position in the depths of our subjective condition(s).
    I'm not sure how clear-cut this is. There must be some objective grounds for morality because social behaviour is clearly not entirely learned; to some extent it is hard-wired. There are some studies that to my knowledge suggest particular emotions correspond to very specific social behaviours. As far as i know it boils down to reciprocity; that all or at least many social species have an innate sense of fairness.

    Maybe it's reasonable to speculate that this and a small number of other hard-wired moral emotions can explain the entire convoluted gammut of human interaction. Anyway, i think i'm right in saying that there's enough evidence to suggest that there must be some objective basis for morality, although i'm fairly sure it's not well understood yet.

    Whether this is reason for a culture or individual to use an objective understanding of morality in the formulation of a moral position i believe depends more on whether it would be practicable than how objectively 'true' it is.
    An objective take on morality could at least help to inform our deepest moral assumptions and indicate whether our 'baggage' should be accepted in it's entirety or would benefit from some modification.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong


    So we should know our baggage, and accept it. If I'm not mistaken that's the humanist position.

    Effectively believers reach a similar conclusion, when they say eternal laws come down arbitrarily from God, and they'd better know and accept those laws.
    Hmmm, and i suppose that the humanist position is really my baggage. Perhaps what i ought to take from all this is that knowing my own baggage is harder than i'd thought, and to acknowledge my own gibbering anti-gibbering-radicalism radicalism for what it is .

    I just find it annoying that the social gap between theists and atheists is dominated by people who seem to define themselves by not being part of the opposed group. In fact it's more than annoying, it's a serious issue. Public trust in scientific knowledge depends on how the scientific community conducts itself, and at the moment it really doesn't look good.

    On the one hand you have groups of militant atheists intent on kicking away the emotional support of millions of people, only to offer absolutely nothing as replacement, and on the other hand you have groups of fundamentalist religious idiots who are determined to piss in the fountain of knowledge at all costs.

    I can't see that this political agenda driven spat can be very condusive to gaining public trust, so maybe it's not that surprising many people are unwilling to accept what scientists have to say about, say, climate change, for example. But i'm meandering off topic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    On the one hand you have groups of militant atheists intent on kicking away the emotional support of millions of people, only to offer absolutely nothing as replacement, and on the other hand you have groups of fundamentalist religious idiots who are determined to piss in the fountain of knowledge at all costs.
    If scientists had been doing a better job of educating laypersons over the last few decades there would have been less opportunity for fundamentalists to gain a foothold in the minds of the general public. In that case there would have been less of a reaction from elements in the science community.

    It is unfortunate that the extremity of fundamentalist positions was able to operate largely unopposed so that when 'science' woke up they were reactive rather than proactive. The militant atheists are, in my view, as guilty as the fundamentalists of proselytising and pushing dogma. They are indulging in scientism, not science. That is unfortunate for all the communities.
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    Lightning

    You cant explain it. You say its Zeus the god of lighting. And you point to the greek mythology book as a reference "look, my fairy tale book says so right here".

    Or you could say I dont know, so far I have seen no evidence of magical deities and eventualy we end up finding a mondain explanation to things, I will try to understand it a little better, not by reading made up stories, but by observing the phenomenon, taking notes about various parameters that can be measured.

    Its increadible that in 2010 theres still people that hang on to superstition, magical creatures and deities.

    Oh wait, god just told me you should send me 100$ thru paypal , he did, I'll write it down so you can say the book say so. You dont beleive me? But what if god actually says to soomeone somewhere on earth to give that guy 100$? God works in mysterious ways afterall how can you know if its true or not? Why would it be any more true if I lived 2000 years ago?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Facts are ENTIRELY objective.
    In that case we (humans, or other entities) never can know any facts. Everything is filtered through our senses and our perception. There are facts that are external to us, but we cannot perceive these 'objectively'. We may be able to approach objectivity, but we can never attain it.
    Granted. We can "almost" know facts. perhaps that's the point. we can't ever really know anything for certain, because of our senses, but we can very nearly know things, seeing as our sensory filter isn't necessarily a very heavy filter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Why are you so desperately pushing subjectivity?
    Because subjectivity is very real. Indeed, since introspection is not distorted by sensory misinterpretation of the externa world it may well be that 'subjective facts' arrived at from introspection are more objective than our distorted view of 'objective facts', for the aforementioned reasons.
    This is not necessarily true either. In fact, introspection can incur a more adulterated fact than an observed fact, seeing as the introspection deals entirely with the filters of the organisms brain and the processes therein. I would be highly suspect of any of those "facts".

    Subjectivity is real, yes, I'm not disputing that. But nothing subjective is admissible in logic or rational thought. Objectivity is real, as well, and objective facts exist and can be seen and understood to an extent. But really, can you admit that feelings should be included in logical processes as well? Would that really be rational?
    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 icewendigo
    Lightning

    You cant explain it.
    I can explain it. Lightning is the result of two supercharged electric plates. It's essentially a very VERY high voltage and amperage capacitor discharge.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    I can explain it.
    (The example was not to be taken in the litteral sense)
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    Regarding the partial distortion of objective view.

    It is true that two observers of a particular rock formation will see basically the same thing. Science helps here. Score one for objectivity.

    However objectivity does little to suggest just which rock formations we should observe, or what we should be looking for. I believe this is the greatest flaw in trusting to objectivity. We may hunt for gold objectively and ignorant of all else. Compare the enormous public support for breast cancer research vs. other cancers. Well that's a poor example but I think my point is understood.

    Why I said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Another reason to be mindful (of our subjectivity) is to watch our heading. The scientists and intellectuals of 30's Europe should have had "a bad feeling" about the direction of their perfectly rational enquiries. But perhaps one triumph of subjectivity came in the late 60's when billions of vaguely informed individuals and our governments decided to study pollution as it affects climate.
    The trick is in chaperoning one's own attention, by remaining mindful of our motives and biases. Better yet: finding out just what we're reluctant to think, and pushing those thoughts through in spite of ourselves. That's a mental gymnastic similar to lateral thinking... the next step from "knowing one knows not". There's no formal procedure to it that I know of. So, each of us must feel this out in darkness, subjectively and for ourselves.

    I check myself by asking, "If I were a self-deluding monkey..." Science is beginning to help here too. It informs me that I probably have insidious inclination to religious thinking. Personally, that's why I'm a "hardened" atheist: I actually expect to hallucinate the commanding voice of God, or believe I've found God logically.

    Yet as said before a humanist can't loathe the self-deluding monkey. What else is there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Facts are ENTIRELY objective.
    In that case we (humans, or other entities) never can know any facts. Everything is filtered through our senses and our perception. There are facts that are external to us, but we cannot perceive these 'objectively'. We may be able to approach objectivity, but we can never attain it.
    Yes it is an ideal that we strive for in science, but to explain about this more to everyon, it is an ideal that we strive for dilligently. We never accept unattainability as an excuse for disregarding it. We do have tests, signposts and standards by which we WILL reject things that do not show sufficient efforts in this regard, as anything that should properly be considered science.

    However, perhaps it is because of our scientific dedication to this ideal that the indulgence in delusions by amateurs that they conduct their whole life and thought by such standards is so absurd and even offensive.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Why are you so desperately pushing subjectivity?
    Because subjectivity is very real. Indeed, since introspection is not distorted by sensory misinterpretation of the externa world it may well be that 'subjective facts' arrived at from introspection are more objective than our distorted view of 'objective facts', for the aforementioned reasons.
    LOL (laughing with you I hope rather than at you) You seem to be employing a second use of the word "objective" as honest and undistorted. After "picking a fight" with korben over the proper use of the word I would be remiss/unfair not to hold you to the same nitpicking standard.

    However, HONESTY is indeed the issue that we are both fighting for here. Since our direct and unfiltered perception and apprehension of reality is neccessarily subjective, while the objective is actually an abstraction that we construct by the use of reason, we both balk at pretensions about a so called pure and untainted objective view of the world.

    This may indeed be a part of our training in academic science with which comes a commitment to "objectivity" or perhaps we should say a commitment to fight against distortions that confuse our ideals with reality.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Science is a discipline that has rules just like any other discipline.

    However, if someone believes that the discipline of science is the final arbitrator of truth, then that person either has no life outside of science, is supremely arrogant, or is just trying to use science to advance their own agenda.

    For example, science definitely gives useful information for advancement in any sport. However, science only plays a small role in sport, and the understanding of a scientist can attain about a sport as an observer is small.

    Science is also a significant factor in determining truth in law. However, science has been manipulated in law to serve the individual's agenda. Thus, science is not the final arbitrator of truth in law.

    In an area such as religion, where there is no reproducible evidence for the discipline of science to apply its standards to, then its utility would be less than the utility of science in sport. Also, the incentive to manipulate science to advance personal agendas would be far greater than in law.
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    What would be an example of a truth in reality that science could not be in a position to be the best source of discover, information or investigation of it?

    Also, science is in a far better position than religion to examine or study religion. Indeed, religion is in a very poor and deficit position to evaluate religious superstition, religious origins, and religious evolution as well as the behavior that accompanies each. And there is a plethora of reproducible evidence to be had by science in the application of examining religious superstition, which is essentially a human behavior and human construct that involves neurological, biochemical, and psychological factors that are well-suited to study and evaluation by anthropologists and sociologists. Otherwise there wouldn't be such a wealth of literature on the subject as well as entire journals and academic courses that focus on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    What would be an example of a truth in reality that science could not be in a position to be the best source of discover, information or investigation of it?
    This question is flawed because you are asking for an example of where religion is better at science than science is. In fact I think I have made it clear that religion isn't better than science at anything, it is simply that religion will do things that science will not. So lets turn it around and ask which will give you a meaningful way of life and help you to find what what is valuable, and which will help you understand God. Science is not way of life but a method and skill. Science is not about what is valuable to you or what makes life worthwhile. And of course, science is not about God.

    Now the study of science CAN help you to understand God, but if does so, that is not something which is part of science itself. You may decide that science makes your life meaningful and worthwhile but it not science itself that told you this. Science is only concerned with objective explanations for objectively observable phenomenon. Its not about how you should live your life.


    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Also, science is in a far better position than religion to examine or study religion. Indeed, religion is in a very poor and deficit position to evaluate religious superstition, religious origins, and religious evolution as well as the behavior that accompanies each. And there is a plethora of reproducible evidence to be had by science in the application of examining religious superstition, which is essentially a human behavior and human construct that involves neurological, biochemical, and psychological factors that are well-suited to study and evaluation by anthropologists and sociologists. Otherwise there wouldn't be such a wealth of literature on the subject as well as entire journals and academic courses that focus on it.
    Science is far better than anything else if you want an objective examination of anything. That is what it is for. But what if you don't?

    What if you simply don't care about that. What if you just cannot stand science? What if science simply doesn't interest you? Does that mean that you are worthless? LOL What if it is science that seem worthless to you -- it inquiries pointless and its explanations meaningless? What if, what seems like a meaningful life to you is something that has nothing at all to do with science? What if it is God interests you? Are you going to listen to the atheists telling you that you are delusional and worthless or are you going to tell them to drop dead and live your own life by your own choices?

    And what if both the things in science and religion look worthwhile to you? What if your experience of God inspires your dedication to scientific inquiry and what you find in science inspires a deeper love and understanding of God?

    None of these are far fetched suppositions guys. These are common everyday experiences of a lot of people, whether you like them or not and whether you wished they didn't exist or not.

    The point is that objective observation and subjective participation are two very different things and both are a part of life. The former is valueable tool but life itself is found in the latter. Science achieves excellence in the former by excluding the latter and so for the latter we turn elsewhere, whether to religion (as poor and ineffectual as it may be at times for some people) or away from relgion or to something else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    However, perhaps it is because of our scientific dedication to this ideal that the indulgence in delusions by amateurs that they conduct their whole life and thought by such standards is so absurd and even offensive.
    But if you've been brought up to conduct your whole life by these standards it's perhaps not surprising that even after rejecting adherance to such standards as a worldview, you still think in broadly similar terms.

    You can replace an ideal of objectivity with an ideal of sort of socratic indifference to truth, and to the casual observer there has been no change. Your thinking looks the same. But it's really, really not the same. I can assign a higher value to the intuitive pyschology of religious texts than to objective pyschology if i choose to. As far as my worldview goes, i can believe whatever i find useful in my life.

    If i still intuitively assign a higher value to objective truth than other, thats a failure to live up to my own ideal rather than a failure of the ideal itself.

    I just get the impression you're lumping all atheists who have no scientific training into the same category, as parasites corrupting scientific knowledge by their faith in it, which seems casually dismissive.

    As pong suggested, we each have our own baggage and unfortunately science as a faith is mine. I've recognised the hypocrisy of this, and i try to deal with it. What more CAN i do?
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    "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
    — Albert Einstein

    What if religion helps us develop our intuitive mind, then maybe it could advance our science?

    What I mean is, it seems like one kind of science is to always look for evidence for the negative. But another kind of science is to imagine the impossible and then look for evidence for this. Then the negative becomes a means to refine, progress, and adapt, as opposed to a paralyzing brick wall.

    The second way seems like the route to the greatest discovery.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    But if you've been brought up to conduct your whole life by these standards it's perhaps not surprising that even after rejecting adherance to such standards as a worldview, you still think in broadly similar terms.
    Ah yes you do indeed touch on something that I have been thinking about a lot recently. And it seems very insightful on your part to me that you can see this. Most of us seem to be either dogmatically spouting what we have been indoctrinated to think OR reacting against these things, while at the same time our habits are mostly stuck in those habits with which we are raised.

    The result is that I tend to drive a lot of atheists nuts with my very liberal/atheist-like sarcastic wit and intellectual snobbery used against them. While the truth is that it is Christian humility and gentleness which I admire and aspire to but find rather difficult to emulate. I think that we who transition one way or the other get certain trade offs that make us to some degree "cripples" with regards to what we are aiming for, while we also bring with us advantages and most especially an insight in regards to the value we see in things (often seen only by discarding a lot of nonsense).

    I am reaching here and what I say above seems ones sided somehow. Perhaps what needs to be understood is what it is that a raised-christian-now-atheist actually takes with him from his upbringing that is of value. Is such a person even aware of the good habits he has from a religious upbringing? Is it harder to see because it is inconsistent due to their being so many religious traditions? It seems easy for many atheists here to think that they don't have anything of value from that upbringing (though is possible because of inconsistencies), but for me it seems obvious that there is something because it seems that I struggle with its lack all the time. I certainly feel like an alien at times (I am reminded of Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land"). Or is this just a personal deficiency of me alone?


    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    You can replace an ideal of objectivity with an ideal of sort of socratic indifference to truth, and to the casual observer there has been no change. Your thinking looks the same. But it's really, really not the same. I can assign a higher value to the intuitive pyschology of religious texts than to objective pyschology if i choose to. As far as my worldview goes, i can believe whatever i find useful in my life.
    Yes indeed that is the way that living things have found their "truth" for the last 3-4 billion years. By purely subjective means they have come up with their hundreds of thousands of different answers to the same questions posed by the challenge to survive in this changing environment and all that really matters to them is that they have what works for them.


    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    I just get the impression you're lumping all atheists who have no scientific training into the same category, as parasites corrupting scientific knowledge by their faith in it, which seems casually dismissive.
    So now you know what it feels like when Christians hear atheists lumping all Christians with the anti-scientific young earth creationist fundamentalists. You deal with that by taking a stand and seperating yourself from them. So I routinely declare quite firmly that creationism is not a valid scientific theory and the effort to pass it off as such confuses the scientific method with the rhetoric of a politician or a used car salesman. Likewise you should respond to this by taking as stand as well, and stating quite clearly science is not a religion or way of life, but skill that is gained by training. You can acknowledge what science owes to those religious people who found the method of scientific inquiry a worthwhile pursuit and thus by their successful contributions helped to demonstrate it value and effectiveness.


    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    As pong suggested, we each have our own baggage and unfortunately science as a faith is mine. I've recognised the hypocrisy of this, and i try to deal with it. What more CAN i do?
    Nothing. I would say that by recognizing this you HAVE made your stand and have indeed separated yourself from those that are blind to this.

    Certainly is delusion. The reality is that life forces us to make choices because life requires answers even when there is no objective proof for one way or the other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
    — Albert Einstein

    What if religion helps us develop our intuitive mind, then maybe it could advance our science?

    What I mean is, it seems like one kind of science is to always look for evidence for the negative. But another kind of science is to imagine the impossible and then look for evidence for this. Then the negative becomes a means to refine, progress, and adapt, as opposed to a paralyzing brick wall.

    The second way seems like the route to the greatest discovery.
    I've also noticed that many of the most succesful scientists through history seem to talk in glowing terms about the value of creativity and intuition in the scientific process. Perhaps this is where scientists with religious faith may have a slight edge over those who abondon subjectivity altogether - there honed intuition allows the leaps of insight that a truly objective thinker would struggle to achieve. And perhaps a truly objective thinker can't realistically hope to achieve more in science than to become a mighty reciter of textbooks.



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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
    — Albert Einstein

    What if religion helps us develop our intuitive mind, then maybe it could advance our science?

    What I mean is, it seems like one kind of science is to always look for evidence for the negative. But another kind of science is to imagine the impossible and then look for evidence for this. Then the negative becomes a means to refine, progress, and adapt, as opposed to a paralyzing brick wall.

    The second way seems like the route to the greatest discovery.
    I've also noticed that many of the most succesful scientists through history seem to talk in glowing terms about the value of creativity and intuition in the scientific process. Perhaps this is where scientists with religious faith may have a slight edge over those who abondon subjectivity altogether - there honed intuition allows the leaps of insight that a truly objective thinker would struggle to achieve. And perhaps a truly objective thinker can't realistically hope to achieve more in science than to become a mighty reciter of textbooks.
    I don't see the connection you infer. How does being religious give you more creativity or more intuitive? Einstien's while perhaps spiritual, utterly and strongly rebuffed claims he beleived in a personal god making him non-religious in a traditional sence--or perhaps close to the old title of diest.

    I’d also point out few practising scientist are simply reciters of textbooks—almost without exception, textbooks are well behind the forefront of their respective fields of study—sometimes by decades.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    I don't see the connection you infer. How does being religious give you more creativity or more intuitive? Einstien's while perhaps spiritual, utterly and strongly rebuffed claims he beleived in a personal god making him non-religious in a traditional sence--or perhaps close to the old title of diest.

    I’d also point out few practising scientist are simply reciters of textbooks—almost without exception, textbooks are well behind the forefront of their respective fields of study—sometimes by decades.
    Well, as a non-scientist it would be remiss of me to speculate any further about this.

    It would make an interesting scientific study though - does religious thought and perhaps even appreciation of art lead to a greater ability to make leaps of intuitive reasoning that are then confirmed by empirical evidence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
    — Albert Einstein

    What if religion helps us develop our intuitive mind, then maybe it could advance our science?

    What I mean is, it seems like one kind of science is to always look for evidence for the negative. But another kind of science is to imagine the impossible and then look for evidence for this. Then the negative becomes a means to refine, progress, and adapt, as opposed to a paralyzing brick wall.

    The second way seems like the route to the greatest discovery.
    I've also noticed that many of the most succesful scientists through history seem to talk in glowing terms about the value of creativity and intuition in the scientific process. Perhaps this is where scientists with religious faith may have a slight edge over those who abondon subjectivity altogether - there honed intuition allows the leaps of insight that a truly objective thinker would struggle to achieve. And perhaps a truly objective thinker can't realistically hope to achieve more in science than to become a mighty reciter of textbooks.
    I don't see the connection you infer. How does being religious give you more creativity or more intuitive? Einstien's while perhaps spiritual, utterly and strongly rebuffed claims he beleived in a personal god making him non-religious in a traditional sence--or perhaps close to the old title of diest.

    I’d also point out few practising scientist are simply reciters of textbooks—almost without exception, textbooks are well behind the forefront of their respective fields of study—sometimes by decades.
    Maybe it depends on the particular religion or religious leader who is instructing a person.

    For example, to be religious, you must be willing to believe in a God that you cannot see. To be creative you must imagine something that you cannot see, or something that has not been done.

    Although some religious leaders may hurt creativity by focusing always on the negative eg. what not to do. Some pastors are the opposite in they don't just focus on the negative, but they encourage people to move forward and act on their dreams etc. In fact, I have a favorite CD I listen to from time to time about following dreams from a spiritual perspective.

    So maybe the creative person is someone who can imagine what others cannot see, but can still weigh the evidence and change as necessary.

    The uncreative either never gets started or he/she gives excessive weight to the negative. Thus, he/she stops and does not progress.

    The crackpot/fanatic may have a good imagination or even a good idea; however, he/she cannot accept negative evidence, and becomes obsessed with a particular idea or point of view.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    I don't see the connection you infer. How does being religious give you more creativity or more intuitive? Einstien's while perhaps spiritual, utterly and strongly rebuffed claims he beleived in a personal god making him non-religious in a traditional sence--or perhaps close to the old title of diest.

    I’d also point out few practising scientist are simply reciters of textbooks—almost without exception, textbooks are well behind the forefront of their respective fields of study—sometimes by decades.
    Well, as a non-scientist it would be remiss of me to speculate any further about this.

    It would make an interesting scientific study though - does religious thought and perhaps even appreciation of art lead to a greater ability to make leaps of intuitive reasoning that are then confirmed by empirical evidence?
    Actually I have been told that there is a scientific study about this, and that there is a correlation between religion and pattern recognition, though as I understand it there is a trade off because this higher ability to see patterns more often gets a false positive -- seeing patterns where none exist.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo
    "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
    — Albert Einstein

    What if religion helps us develop our intuitive mind, then maybe it could advance our science?

    What I mean is, it seems like one kind of science is to always look for evidence for the negative. But another kind of science is to imagine the impossible and then look for evidence for this. Then the negative becomes a means to refine, progress, and adapt, as opposed to a paralyzing brick wall.

    The second way seems like the route to the greatest discovery.
    I've also noticed that many of the most succesful scientists through history seem to talk in glowing terms about the value of creativity and intuition in the scientific process. Perhaps this is where scientists with religious faith may have a slight edge over those who abondon subjectivity altogether - there honed intuition allows the leaps of insight that a truly objective thinker would struggle to achieve. And perhaps a truly objective thinker can't realistically hope to achieve more in science than to become a mighty reciter of textbooks.
    I wonder if also we can learn something about creativity from entrepreneurs.
    I once read a book by Bo Peabody called "Lucky or Smart".

    What I remember about this is that Peabody was finishing undergrad w/ average grades and a bad idea. However, he had this ability to dream and adapt.

    What he ended up doing was far different from his original dream (the bad idea).

    Peabody goes on to make about a half a billion in wealth in a few years in the dot com period.

    While trying to remember the title for this book, I found another book I am going to order called "The Dream". It is by another entrepreneur. In the reviews, the reviewer discusses the one of the author's suggestions to "follow your gut".

    I think this ability to "dream and adapt" are important in creativity. However, I am not sure how to learn it.
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    A llong standing, committed Catholic recently told me that if Jesus knocked on her door she probably wouldn't let him in. She also had great difficulty in using the F-word (Faith).

    If she were working for a scientific organisation, would she let Richard Dawkins through the door?

    Religion and science without the certainty of faith is weak belief. Scientific theory is only theory - nothing really proven with certainty - no faith. And many people practice religion similarly.

    Aren't the similarities in people you are theorising about just a result of dogmatic belief in something they aren't really certain of, and thus a weak semblance of an alcoholic's faith in the bottle, hence the fanaticism?
    "...we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. " - John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961.
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    Fideism... I like that. You could fairly say that of the atheists here - actually of everybody - Pong's the champion of (capital "F") Faith. A fideist atheist. The misunderstandings prove endless when I assert "goodness is irrational, and that's OK". Now it feels like trolling just to say it.

    BTW how did you know that about fanaticism?
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    Observation, Pong.

    It becomes fairly obvious when you have real faith. Belief becomes obvious as Faith-lite.

    As for trolling, I'm pretty sure Jesus would be banned from this site for just that. The scientific "community" wouldn't like having to rethink everything. Like the response to Perlucidus and the theory of everything.

    In much the same way the Catholic "community" wouldn't like having to rethink everything.
    "...we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. " - John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961.
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    hmmm... I disagree. First of all, the scientific community is not, in any way, unwilling to rethink reality if it is posed evidence that we are seeing it wrongly. However, were Jesus to reappear and tell us that we are wrong, without providing any evidence, why should we believe him? Why should we even believe he's Jesus without any evidence that he's Jesus?

    The problem here is that you assume faith is good, when in all reality, it's neither good nor bad. It's neutral at best, potentially detrimental and even threatening societal destruction at worst. No "good" can ever come from true faith, because true faith is, inherently, blind.
    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 Arcane_Mathematician
    The problem here is that you assume faith is good, when in all reality, it's neither good nor bad. It's neutral at best, potentially detrimental and even threatening societal destruction at worst. No "good" can ever come from true faith, because true faith is, inherently, blind.
    Fideism didn't say faith is good in itself. Better see it as a means of dealing with inscrutable problems, for some problems the only means available. Suppose you haven't the luxury to remain agnostic for eternity... like perhaps you are mortal? Your clock is ticking, your deer in the headlights. Leap one way or another! That is actually a "best" course in many areas of life. I imagine as a mathematician the logic of sometimes choosing any irrational course makes sense to you? I imagine biologists see this also in their own way.

    You won't need faith if you have eternity, or if you ignore the ancient questions, or feel gifted with superhuman omniscience. Curiously Western atheists of all people therefore could use faith, yet reject faith more than anyone. Here I'm drawing a distinction between conscious faith and unconscious faith... in accordance with fideism.
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    Faith - true faith - is neither blind nor bad nor neutral. It involves an absolute knowing that gives far greater certainty and clarity than any scientific theory allows - they are all, ultimately, just theory.

    The problem with scientific method is that - by its own definitions - it can't possibly get consistent results in testing faith in God. Faith in God, in the absence of testing Him, actually yields consistent results that scientists only dream of.

    Now, lets be thankful that science has done no societal damage - television, weapons, pollution...

    And with faith, you shouldn't need evidence of Jesus' return. And disbelieving him might be best described as "a very courageous decision, minister".
    "...we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. " - John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961.
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    What makes your "faith" in Jesus any more real or valid as a reason to accept Jesus than someone's "faith" in the existence of unicorns makes it valid as a reason to accept the existence of unicorns?

    I'll give you a hint. The answer is, nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fideism
    with faith, you shouldn't need evidence of Jesus' return. And disbelieving him might be best described as "a very courageous decision, minister".
    Conversely the fideist-atheist could (and I think wisely should) pro-actively resolve to disregard all future evidence. So if I witness Jesus descending in a column of smoke and wreathed by trumpeting angels, I will say, "Yeah right, I'm cracked. What else is new?" Atheists may test faith also. One strains to feel inspired by The Word, and so forth. What fails to penetrate, builds callouses.

    More banally, I first began to understand the value of faith by wondering why people choose one hobby over another. Ultimately any activity pursued to obsession is just "something to do", and yet preferable to lame activity. This superficially petty insight proved infinitely scalable! Think about the nature of life vs. entropy.

    Agnosticism is entropy. Entropy is death. Have all fideists followed these thoughts? In any case whatever someone's faith I respect their faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    What makes your "faith" in Jesus any more real or valid as a reason to accept Jesus than someone's "faith" in the existence of unicorns makes it valid as a reason to accept the existence of unicorns?

    I'll give you a hint. The answer is, nothing.
    I'll give you a better hint. I've never met a unicorn.
    "...we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. " - John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961.
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    You slipped. Faith doesn't take support from evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    You slipped. Faith doesn't take support from evidence.
    I quite disagree. Faith can take support from anything it chooses.

    Faith is originally defined as a knowledge, assurance or conviction of things "not seen", and by that definition it can apply to electrons and all sorts of things that we know exist but cannot see.

    Now for the people in the time the Bible was written, it could very well be that for most, according to the maxim "seeing is believing", vision was the surest access to knowledge. Perhaps this is the reason that the words "see" and "show" have expanded in meaning to some degree and we even the use the words in mathematics in reference to what is proven. But now with our understanding of optical illusions we know that vision is not always the surest way to know the truth. So I think a more modern definition of faith would be "a knowledge of things not proven".

    Proof will not take you very far in life and so everyday we must put our faith in things that we have no absolute proof or certainty, but for most we have pretty good reasons for that faith. And what of the role of faith in relgion? Does it mean that people make no proofs for the existence for God? No. Does it mean that they compile no evidence for the authenticity and truthfulness of their religion? No. So it seems to me that the usage of the word faith is pretty much the same.

    Now there definitely IS a difference in the nature of these proofs and evidence in religion from those in science. There is a standard of objectivity to be satisfied in science that is not satisfied in religion. The proofs for the exisence of God fall rather short of convincing the skeptic and the evidence that people base their faith on is invariably subjective.

    But science and religion are not the only activities of human beings, nor even together do they make upt the majority of it. And in all of it the scientific standards of objectivity do not apply. And so the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of human knowledge rests on much the same standards as religion. There is for example belief in things like love and justice and these are most certainly a matter of faith because they are neither visible nor provable.


    Quote Originally Posted by fideism
    Faith - true faith - is neither blind nor bad nor neutral. It involves an absolute knowing that gives far greater certainty and clarity than any scientific theory allows - they are all, ultimately, just theory.

    The problem with scientific method is ...
    This borders on the kind of baiting of the people of a science board that is prohibited here. The scientific method does not have problems. Its successes at discovering new and unexpected things about the world around us are legion. It has limitations by which it confines its subject area. It confines itself to explaining objective observations and since there are no such observations of God, God simply is not a proper topic for any scientific inquiry at all.

    But we can make objective observations of relgion and about the kind of ideas that people have about God and so science can certainly make some study of these things, but I think it is obvious that in this we have reached some of the softest limits of scientific investigation.

    I am sad to say that your idea of faith does indeed seem compatable with the ideas of Fideism, which I seem to have misunderstood a bit. I do believe that faith is the foundation of practically all knowledge because practically nothing can actually be proven. But that is an understanding of faith that simply goes beyond the limitations of reason not a faith that opposes it. I have no use for a faith that is opposed to reason and I would call that a blind faith, and I think that which is opposed to reason is completely without any meaning at all.

    Furthermore I consider true faith to be founded on an acceptance of the basic reality of uncertainty in the world, and that certainty is really a delusion. Thus it seems to me that what you call "faith" is just another name for willingly participating in self-delusion. Add that to this opposition to reason and you have blind faith of the worst kind. I doubt that a discussion with a person advocating both delusion and nonsense can even be worthwhile.


    Quote Originally Posted by fideism
    Faith in God, in the absence of testing Him, actually yields consistent results that scientists only dream of.
    Such absolute baloney! Science has no interest or use at all for results that are not backed up by objective observation. Science is ALL about method not about imagining that one knows things and it certainly wants nothing to do with the kind of willfullness that you seem to call faith.
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    No, not really. It's just that real faith, without the intent of testing it, inevitably has the consequence of providing consistent positive consequences. I give thanks to God for those consequences, and know that if I act outside his laws, I'll just as certainly be punished.

    Since we're living in a world where nearly everybody thinks they know better than God and/or Jesus, I can't quite understand why we're living in a world where half the population are obese, and half are starving (yes, I know these proportions aren't quite exact)
    "...we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. " - John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fideism
    No, not really. It's just that real faith, without the intent of testing it, inevitably has the consequence of providing consistent positive consequences. I give thanks to God for those consequences, and know that if I act outside his laws, I'll just as certainly be punished.
    I have two words for you: "placebo effect"

    I think this represents eloquent proof of how belief can most certainly affect reality.

    But we have such extreme positions in relation to this truth. There are those who will take the evidence of this effect of belief in their life as absolute proof that what they believe is the only thing that can be rational and true. Then there are those who take the entirely inconstent position that the reality of the placebo effect means that these effects are "not real".

    I am hard pressed to say which of these postions is more irrational.

    It seems to me that the rational approach to understanding this effect that belief can have upon reality is to take advantage of this understanding whenever we can, and therefore by all means to believe. BUT it also means that if we understand this effect then we should realize that these effects most certainly do not provide proof that what you believe is the one and only truth.


    Quote Originally Posted by fideism
    Since we're living in a world where nearly everybody thinks they know better than God and/or Jesus, I can't quite understand why we're living in a world where half the population are obese, and half are starving (yes, I know these proportions aren't quite exact)
    A system of belief with a fail proof means of explaining away any conceivable inconsistency is one that consequently lacks a great deal of practical usefulness.


    By the way, greetings fideism, I am an evangelical Christian (not fundamentalist of course), but.... I am also a scientist, an existentialist, a pragmatist, and secularist as well. :-D
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Ah, yeah. Why does the Placebo effect work?

    Faith. Someone believes - in the absence of specific "scientific knowledge" - that a drug will work. Hence, it works.

    With enough faith in, say in Tim-Tams (an Australian delicacy), as happy pills, depression could very quickly and cheaply be disposed of
    "...we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. " - John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961.
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    The placebo effect only works on things the human body is already equipped to deal with. A headache. Minor pain. There's no placebo that cures cancer, regrows limbs, heals blind eyes, or improves hearing deficiencies.

    Likewise, if we're using a placebo effect metaphor for human spirituality, we have to consider that a "spiritual placebo" like religion would only work on those things the human mind was already equipped to deal with.

    It's also important not to equivocate definitions of "faith." The definition of "faith" used in religious contexts is vastly different that that used in a scientific one. The difference involves evidence and falsification.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    It's also important not to equivocate definitions of "faith." The definition of "faith" used in religious contexts is vastly different that that used in a scientific one. The difference involves evidence and falsification.
    There is no equivocation between rational faith in relgion and faith in science. It IS essentially the same thing. The nature of the evidence may be different - a difference which applies to falsification as well, but the function and role of faith is still the same in both.

    Putting your trust in something does not become a different thing because you are putting your trust in a different thing, any more than a brain becomes other than a brain just because it is focused on learning a different set of skills -- no matter HOW much you want to think YOUR brain is a superior brain because YOU think your skills are more important.

    Yes there is an very important difference between science and all the rest of human knowledge -- of that there is no doubt. It uses a very specific and effective methodology which other things like religion have nothing comparable to. But for all of its effectiveness in what it does, science is still just a highly specialized tool and skill set for a highly specialized purpose, and the fact of the matter is that people need have no interest in its skills or the specialized knowledge which it acquires in order to live their lives.

    You will never get people to understand the unique nature of science by using value laden rhetoric for its superiority. That rhetoric only confuses the issue because it make it sound a lot like religion - because value laden rhetoric is the bread and butter of religion itself. It is therefore important to simply lay out science as a take-it-or-leave-it methodology and skill set free of rhetoric so that it is clear that rhetoric and values really has nothing to do with it.

    This whole habit of comparing science and religion as if they were two different kinds of the same thing is a fundamenal distortion. They really are not the same kind of thing at all. And I think the essential difference is found in the fact that science is defined by a methodology and religion is not.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Faith doesn't take support from evidence.
    I quite disagree. Faith can take support from anything it chooses.

    Faith is originally defined as a knowledge...
    Okay, if you redefine the word. :|

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    It's also important not to equivocate definitions of "faith." The definition of "faith" used in religious contexts is vastly different that that used in a scientific one. The difference involves evidence and falsification.
    Agreed, but let's not too eagerly toss faith as understood by believers (and derided by many atheists), exclusive to religion. Despite centuries of abuse, faith is not religious belief: A thorough atheist may have this exact same faith in justice, or love... or the scientific method for that matter... with the same righteous spiritual conviction as the religious believer.

    True Faith is a quality of commitment that says "I'll stick to this even though it seems I'm mistaken." Science can't take that position. People wisely do, because we recognize we often are mistaken. We learn that we have inbuilt biases, limitations, contradictions. We realize that our rationales for supremely valued things like goodness, are circular and deluded. Well, we're imperfect.

    Enter fideism: Fideism admits the minds of mortal hominids can't understand everything, and on some tasks that mind will surely botch the understanding. Fideism advises faith where human reason fails. That could be faith in anything, but we know it prudent to invoke faith only for things we value supremely but can't get a handle on. Many people who desire an untroubled certainty in God find faith necessary. One could say they're the traditional user-base.

    God is not the only supreme value possible. One might supremely value "humanity" in the mushy humanist sense. And so wilfully adopt blind unquestioning faith in that ideal. One might supremely value atheism even. These are deliberate leaps of faith people may make. Unscientific and fundamentally irrational, sure, but they're excusable IMHO in light of the human condition.
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    There is no equivocation between rational faith in relgion and faith in science. It IS essentially the same thing. The nature of the evidence may be different - a difference which applies to falsification as well, but the function and role of faith is still the same in both.
    Here's why I disagree:

    Faith in science
    Using Newtonian physics, its possible to predict the outcome of a swinging pendulum. If I make a giant pendulum, on the order of a 20 foot rod, with a 50 pound weight, and we start its swing from an angle that exceeds 80 degrees, I think we can all agree that the velocity of the weight will be such that I'd not want to be struck by it at full swing.

    However, I know that no matter how fast it swings or how heavy the weight, If I place my face one inch back from the point at which it is released, and shut my eyes, I need not worry that it will come crashing into my cranium.

    I've never conducted this experiment, but I wouldn't hesitate to do so because my faith in the nature of physics is enough to feel secure.

    Faith in religion
    Using scripture alone, many people live their lives believing in an afterlife. There is no comparison between scripture and the empiricism of physics that one can say their faith is grounded on known facts as we can above. Regardless of one's certainty of their scriptures, there is no empirical observation of the afterlife or an process that assures it to be there.

    I suspect this is why even the most devout believers take a moment to look both ways before stepping into a busy street or hide in cellars during tornadoes.

    There are many things that religionists have "faith" in: resurrection of messiahs, existence of gods, magical abilities and qualities of gods and demigods (Yahweh, El, Ba'al, angels, saints, messiahs, etc. who were able to walk on water, heal the blind, rain down fire, etc.). There are those who have "faith" that their pastors can heal the sick and that there exist beings who hear thoughts and answer them.

    This sort of "faith" cannot exist in science nor will it.

    If one uses "faith" in a scientific context, one is referring to tested methods, observed phenomena, empirical data, etc. I might have "faith" in laboratory procedures, faith in the laws of physics, and faith in a chemical's ability or inability to interact with an other chemical. But this is not the same sort of faith used by religionists.

    One definition is, trust or belief in a thing, concept, person, etc. based on experience and observation.

    Another definition is, belief in a thing, concept, person, etc. without evidence or even in spite of evidence to the contrary.

    These are two distinct definitions for faith. I'll leave it to others to recognize which applies to science and which applies to superstition.
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    @SkinWalker. I see you typed before my post appeared, so our descriptions of faith diverge. I humbly suggest you'll find my vision of faith more reasonable and meaningful, applied to religion or science or whatever.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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