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  1. #1 ARGUMENT FROM . . 
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    I don't know, I found these funny. What's your take on them? Have any of these arguments ever been used on you?



    ARGUMENT FROM NUMBERS
    (1) Billions of people believe in God.
    (2) They can't all be wrong, can they?
    (3) Therefore, God exists.

    MORAL ARGUMENT
    (1) Person X, a well-known atheist, was morally inferior to the rest of us.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.

    ARGUMENT FROM MIRACLES
    (1) My aunt had cancer.
    (2) The doctors gave her all these horrible treatments.
    (3) My aunt prayed to God and now she doesn't have cancer.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.

    ARGUMENT FROM INTERNET AUTHORITY
    (1) There is a website that successfully argues for the existence of God.
    (2) Here is the URL.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.

    ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPREHENSIBILITY
    (1) Flabble glurk zoom boink blubba snurgleschnortz ping!
    (2) No one has ever refuted.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.

    ARGUMENT FROM BLINDNESS
    (1) Atheists are spiritually blind.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.

    ARGUMENT FROM FALLIBILITY
    (1) Human reasoning is inherently flawed.
    (2) Therefore, there is no reasonable way to challenge a proposition.
    (3) I propose that God exists.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.

    ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETE DEVASTATION
    (1) A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew.
    (2) But one child survived with only third-degree burns.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.


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  3. #2  
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    I guess i'm the only one that found them funny. Anyways, could anyone tell me about this sixth sense that I am lacking?

    ARGUMENT FROM BLINDNESS
    (1) Atheists are spiritually blind.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.


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  4. #3  
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    Korben

    The reasons you got no answers are
    1. All those who disagree do not have a counter-argument
    2. All those who agree (like me) are happy to just smile.

    Well done, though. Good post.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    How about this argument from numbers?

    1)I talked to one Chritian I just couldn't understand.

    2)I talked to 20 Christians that had all these really dumb arguments for the existence of God.

    3)I know that all those arguments from those 20 Christians are invalid.

    4)Therefore God does not exist.


    Don't get me wrong. Although I think your list is a bunch of strawmen that do not even come close to doing justice to the arguements that have been made for the existence of God. I nevertheless completely agree that there are no objective arguments (i.e. proofs) for the existence of God that are valid. They only convince people who already believe and thus that they are justified in their beliefs, but they are quite ineffective at convincing the skeptic. This is because they ultimately rest on subjective judgements that cannot be substantiated. But in that they are like most arguments that are made for things outside mathematics and science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    How about this argument from numbers?

    1)I talked to one Chritian I just couldn't understand.

    2)I talked to 20 Christians that had all these really dumb arguments for the existence of God.

    3)I know that all those arguments from those 20 Christians are invalid.

    4)Therefore God does not exist.
    Well, it's a bad argument for either side. I wouldn't encourage Christians or Atheists to argue from numbers, lol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Korben

    The reasons you got no answers are
    1. All those who disagree do not have a counter-argument
    2. All those who agree (like me) are happy to just smile.

    Well done, though. Good post.
    Thanks, I thought they were funny. I seem to hear them a lot, not so much on this forum, but I do on some other forums as well as real life.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Being a Christian myself, I am rather embarrassed when I hear my fellow believers trying to use such lame logic.

    When they are told as a joke, I don't find them funny at all. Like a stand-up comedian imitating somebody's congenital lisp.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Being a Christian myself, I am rather embarrassed when I hear my fellow believers trying to use such lame logic.

    When they are told as a joke, I don't find them funny at all. Like a stand-up comedian imitating somebody's congenital lisp.
    Think of them this way, they clarify an unformed irritation that nonbelievers may have when hearing beleivers' poorly argued POV. The humour is not 'joke humour' so much as 'aha yes, that's why that argument irritates me so.'
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Don't get me wrong. Although I think your list is a bunch of strawmen that do not even come close to doing justice to the arguements that have been made for the existence of God. I nevertheless completely agree that there are no objective arguments (i.e. proofs) for the existence of God that are valid. They only convince people who already believe and thus that they are justified in their beliefs, but they are quite ineffective at convincing the skeptic. This is because they ultimately rest on subjective judgements that cannot be substantiated. But in that they are like most arguments that are made for things outside mathematics and science.
    Interestingly enough, I find that while objective arguments (proofs) favoring a creator are illusive, so to are objective arguments favoring materialism. I don't see how materialists have the upper hand, irrespective of the many here that seem to believe otherwise.

    I find the weak arguments from both sides, and those who laugh at them, rather distasteful.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I find the weak arguments from both sides, and those who laugh at them, rather distasteful.
    Good for you. I find global warming and evolution deniers like you distasteful, too, but who really cares? Now, I'll be over here chuckling regarding the poignancy of the above arguments.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Interestingly enough, I find that while objective arguments (proofs) favoring a creator are illusive, so to are objective arguments favoring materialism. I don't see how materialists have the upper hand, irrespective of the many here that seem to believe otherwise.

    I find the weak arguments from both sides, and those who laugh at them, rather distasteful.
    So, if you're not convinced by arguments that favor a material universe, would you bother to look both ways before crossing a busy intersection? I'm betting you would accept the material natures of both the bus barreling your way as well as the very meat of your body. I'm betting that you'll appreciate some physics involved that govern these two material bodies.

    The material universe is apparent and observable not to mention testable.

    The only necessary argument for materialism is recognizing your very existence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Interestingly enough, I find that while objective arguments (proofs) favoring a creator are illusive, so to are objective arguments favoring materialism. I don't see how materialists have the upper hand, irrespective of the many here that seem to believe otherwise.

    I find the weak arguments from both sides, and those who laugh at them, rather distasteful.
    So, if you're not convinced by arguments that favor a material universe, would you bother to look both ways before crossing a busy intersection? I'm betting you would accept the material natures of both the bus barreling your way as well as the very meat of your body. I'm betting that you'll appreciate some physics involved that govern these two material bodies.

    The material universe is apparent and observable not to mention testable.

    The only necessary argument for materialism is recognizing your very existence.
    Come come now SkinWalker, he was talking about materialism not that the idea that any material things exists. What you should point out is that materialism is a rather old fashioned term and does not really have many takers these these days. Naturalism is the modern metaphysical philosophy which he should be talking about rather than materialism. In either case the dispute is over the way both of these exclude the existence of spiritual entities.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    What good reason is there to include spiritual entities?
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    Spiritual entity = I don't know how the universe happened.

    Some spiritual entities are laughable moreso than others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Come come now SkinWalker, he was talking about materialism not that the idea that any material things exists. What you should point out is that materialism is a rather old fashioned term and does not really have many takers these these days. Naturalism is the modern metaphysical philosophy which he should be talking about rather than materialism.
    Indeed, thank you. The idea that our mere existence provides any insight into how the universe came to exist is clearly metaphysical.

    In either case the dispute is over the way both of these exclude the existence of spiritual entities.
    Most definitely many argue from this perspective, however my problem with materialism or naturalism as an explanation for the cause of this universe is the near complete lack of evidentiary support.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    So I ask again, what good reason is there to include spiritual entities?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Come come now SkinWalker, he was talking about materialism not that the idea that any material things exists. What you should point out is that materialism is a rather old fashioned term and does not really have many takers these these days. Naturalism is the modern metaphysical philosophy which he should be talking about rather than materialism.
    Indeed, thank you. The idea that our mere existence provides any insight into how the universe came to exist is clearly metaphysical.
    You are referencing an unfortunate secondary definition of "metaphysical". The older definition of "metaphysics" is the study of the nature of reality. And thus "metaphysical philosophy" means a philosophy about the nature of reality. This newer popular bastardization of the term to mean trancendent reality or supernatural is a real gift to the logical postivists and hence to the naturalists who would prefer their premise, that reality is defined by what science studies, remain unexamined.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    many argue from this perspective, however my problem with materialism or naturalism as an explanation for the cause of this universe is the near complete lack of evidentiary support.
    ...ergo... we have this Mexican standoff where each side DEMANDS that the other side prove the truth of their point of view.

    LOL

    Give it a rest. You cannot prove your own point of view so the demands are kind of hypocritical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Come come now SkinWalker, he was talking about materialism not that the idea that any material things exists. What you should point out is that materialism is a rather old fashioned term and does not really have many takers these these days. Naturalism is the modern metaphysical philosophy which he should be talking about rather than materialism.
    Indeed, thank you. The idea that our mere existence provides any insight into how the universe came to exist is clearly metaphysical.
    You are referencing an unfortunate secondary definition of "metaphysical". The older definition of "metaphysics" is the study of the nature of reality. And thus "metaphysical philosophy" means a philosophy about the nature of reality. This newer popular bastardization of the term to mean trancendent reality or supernatural is a real gift to the logical postivists and hence to the naturalists who would prefer their premise, that reality is defined by what science studies, remain unexamined.
    I was referring to the older definition and was contrasting the philosophical argument being made against the scientific argument he would like me to believe was being made.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    many argue from this perspective, however my problem with materialism or naturalism as an explanation for the cause of this universe is the near complete lack of evidentiary support.
    ...ergo... we have this Mexican standoff where each side DEMANDS that the other side prove the truth of their point of view.

    LOL

    Give it a rest. You cannot prove your own point of view so the demands are kind of hypocritical.
    Except that my point of view is that neither side has the upper hand, and you have concurred, so I suppose I am not being hypocritical at all.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Indeed, thank you. The idea that our mere existence provides any insight into how the universe came to exist is clearly metaphysical.
    I think that I drew the conclusion I did because your usage sounded like you are using the word "metaphysical" as if it were some kind of negative value judgement. Are you a logical positivist?

    Hmmm.... even that aside, this is a very puzzling statement.

    By the first part, could you be refering to the anthropic principle?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Indeed, thank you. The idea that our mere existence provides any insight into how the universe came to exist is clearly metaphysical.
    I think that I drew the conclusion I did because your usage sounded like you are using the word "metaphysical" as if it were some kind of negative value judgement. Are you a logical positivist?
    No I'm not.

    Hmmm.... even that aside, this is a very puzzling statement.

    By the first part, could you be refering to the anthropic principle?
    No, I don't accept that idea either, though it is interesting. The fact that the universe is composed of energy and space and matter and is in a state of unidirectional change is not evidence that it components are a sufficient cause of the universe. To believe that it counts as evidence is not scientific, it is an attempt to use a metaphysical proof to compensate for lack of scientific evidence.
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    As I understand the term 'logical positivism', it involves a demand for objective empirical evidence, and a rejection of evidence by intuition and supernatural forms.

    By this, it is pretty much the same as the word 'skeptic'. Personally, I believe only that which is supported by objective, empirical evidence, and I reject that which is supported only by spiritual inspiration, or other forms of emotional hoo ha.

    If that makes me a logical positivist, so be it. It is the only proper stance for a person trained in scientific logic.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As I understand the term 'logical positivism', it involves a demand for objective empirical evidence, and a rejection of evidence by intuition and supernatural forms.

    By this, it is pretty much the same as the word 'skeptic'. Personally, I believe only that which is supported by objective, empirical evidence, and I reject that which is supported only by spiritual inspiration, or other forms of emotional hoo ha.

    If that makes me a logical positivist, so be it. It is the only proper stance for a person trained in scientific logic.
    Your understanding is not wrong, to a first approximation, but there is in fact a great deal more to logical positivism than that. There was an attempt to create a purely empirical language that completely failed -- because it could not even be made functional for scientific inquiry. But my usage refers to their declaration that metaphysics -- i.e. the study of the nature of reality, was a meaningless endeavor. This kind of declaring certain questions forbidden is an obvious attempt to refuse to allow examination of their own assumptions about the nature of reality. This is the worst kind of a-priori dishonesty to exclude a diversity of thought, and thus it is quite justifiable to consider it willfully delusional.
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  24. #23  
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    Mitchell

    Can you give me your definition of metaphysics? Personally, I think that science and rational, empirical, objective evidence based study, should be able to embrace pretty much everything that has any kind of objective reality. That may include metaphysics, depending on your definition.
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    And can you tell us what good reason is there to include spiritual entities?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Mitchell
    Can you give me your definition of metaphysics?
    Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that concerns the nature of reality or the question what is reality. One branch of it is Ontology which concerns what is being. We can contrast metaphysics with another major branch of philosophy called epistemology which concerns the question of what is knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    That may include metaphysics, depending on your definition.
    In a university seminar I attended entitled "metaphysics", the philosophy proffessor who gave it very rightly argued that this branch of philosophy could not possible be pursued without considerable reference to physics. I very much agree and it is in fact my observation that the one of the reasons that academia abandoned the metaphysics branch of philosophy was because the advances of modern physics were indeed overturning many of the establish ideas about the nature of reality. Academic philosophy pretty much restricted itself to the study of language, and the topic of metaphysics became something that was looked at only in the non-academic publications of famous physicists.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Personally, I think that science and rational, empirical, objective evidence based study, should be able to embrace pretty much everything that has any kind of objective reality.
    Well first of all we need to examine what you mean by "objective reality". There is quite a bit of variation in the definitions of the word "objective" to mean something that is outside of the mind (extra-mental), something uninfluence by emotion or personal prejudices (unbiased), something having actual existence (actual), something that can be treated as an object (objectifiable), having to do with a material object (material), having to do with a known or perceived object. But what is of far more interest to me is a more specialized use of the word coming from the methodology of science as that which can be established by a fixed written proceedure independent of the observer who actually performs that proceedure.

    Equivocation between any or all of these different definitions of "objective" is very shoddy philosophical practice and so to do it right we must distinguish between all these and I suggest using the terms in italics for each of the ones above and "scientifically objective" for the my own explained at the end.

    The work in philosophy called phenomenalism made it quite clear that our direct access to reality is subjective (mental) and that an objective (extra-mental or scientifically objective) reality is something that we must construct as an abstraction by the use of reasoning.

    My conclusion is that we really have very little objective (unbiased or scientifically objective) justification for equating any of the other definitions of objective with the one represented by actual. In fact, if you believe that the mind is no less physical than the body like I do then there is no reason to treat anything in mind as being less actual than anything outside the mind -- one is a mental actuality and the other is an extra-mental actuality. I find a definition of reality founded on excluding the content of our direct access to reality in favor of an abstraction to be rather dubious.

    We cannot prove one way or the other whether the scientifically objective is identical with the actual. We simply have to make our own judgement on that question. Those that accept this identification are what we call metaphysical naturalists which is a view that is quite a natural one for many atheists to adopt, but is not one that any of the religious are going to accept.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    That may include metaphysics, depending on your definition.
    In conclusion, I think there is no doubt that the results of modern physics are highly relevant to any meaningful study of metaphysics and therefore I most certainly think that a mastery of physics is essential to speaking meaningfully on this subject. But this question about what is reality is not really a question that is addressed by science itself. It is as I said, at most, the subject of non-scientific literature published by scientists.

    Either something is conducted by the standards and methodology of science or it is not. ALL pretenses from creationism to scientism are NOT. Thus I reject utterly any attempt to give a collection of philosophical opinions the status of "rational, empirical, objective evidence based study". I certainly reject letting the metaphysical naturalist premise pass without critical examination. And since I reject this premise then my answer is doubly no, that metaphysics is not included in anything that can be called "science and rational, empirical, objective evidence based study". Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy however closely it must look at the conclusions of modern physics in order to do a reasonable job.



    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    And can you tell us what good reason is there to include spiritual entities?
    Yes. I would consider a personal encounter with anything to be a good reason to include such things in your world view. It certainly seems to me that those who reject such personal encounters and dismiss them as momentary delusions are being rather willful in their perception of reality. They are free to make their own judgments of course, but forgive me if I find such an approach to be more prone to delusion than otherwise.

    However, I believe that spiritual things are found only in what I believe to be an irreducibly subjective aspect of reality. I know that physical things are what they are by the mathematical relationships that they have within the whole geometrical space-time structure of the physial universe. But I believe that there are things (like the universe as a whole for example) that are what they are by their own nature alone, and that this is also the nature of spiritual things. The direct consequence of this difference is that these mathematical relationships provide a means by which the nature and existence of physical things can be both explored and exploited in a way that is entirely observer independent, but since there are so such relationship in the case of spiritual things then are no such objective means to explore or exploit spiritual things.

    The conclusion is that if your definition of good reason includes objective or observer independent reasons then the answer is no, there can never be any such reasons to include spritual things in whatever.

    Thus like many things, we are face with a choice concerning the fundamental premise of metaphysical naturalism to decide whether reality should be restricted to that which is objectively observable and for which objective evidence can be produced (i.e. that which science can study). For those who have not encountered anything which makes this premise seem unreasonable to them, this could indeed be a reasonable premise to accept. But for others this is not so. I see (admittedly subjective) evidence in physics, in human behavior and in my own personal experiences to believe that there is an irreducibly subjective aspect of reality, which means that it cannot be completely reduced to what is objectively observable.
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    Mitchell

    I enjoyed reading your post, which contained a lot of interesting ideas.

    One I cannot accept is the business of spiritual beings having reality, especially when your evidence for them appears to be a subjective experience. You might regard spiritual revelation to be an acceptable means of gathering data, but that is not a part of science, and certainly not something that can be accepted by a good sceptic.

    One problem is that most, if not all, of the experiences that constitute spiritual revelation can be brought on by the use of drugs. This clearly suggests that the experience is a function of unusual firing of cerebral neurons rather than something having independent existence.

    Even the lack of oxygen (anoxia) can do it. Airline pilots undergoing training in anoxic chambers often experience the exact same symptoms as the near death experience. Schizophrenics often hear spiritual voices. These are somewhat suspect as data to form one's world view. I have seen no evidence that any form of internal revelation has any relationship whatever to something with independent existence, which you appear to believe of spiritual beings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    By this, it is pretty much the same as the word 'skeptic'. Personally, I believe only that which is supported by objective, empirical evidence, and I reject that which is supported only by spiritual inspiration, or other forms of emotional hoo ha.

    If that makes me a logical positivist, so be it. It is the only proper stance for a person trained in scientific logic.
    Your position is a contradiction. Since you claim to base your beliefs on "only that which is supported by objective, empirical evidence" where is the objective empirical evidence for this belief?

    "It is the only proper stance for a person trained in scientific logic." This stance is itself a philosophical argument that cannot be supported by objective, empirical evidence. Therefore you are inconsistent and not the objective empirical person you would like to think you are.
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    cypress

    There is ample evidence in history. Beliefs not based on empirical objective evidence, like astrology, never progress. They remain as a set of unproven ideas that never get anywhere. Religious faith and beliefs based on subjective revelation are the same. They pop up out of nowhere and never progress onto anything else.

    However, modern science, which is based on empirical objective evidence has, since Galileo first demonstrated the value of this practical approach, gone from strength to strength, and has progressed to an extent unimagined in the days before modern science.

    I think this approach has proven its merits!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    cypress

    There is ample evidence in history. Beliefs not based on empirical objective evidence, like astrology, never progress. They remain as a set of unproven ideas that never get anywhere. Religious faith and beliefs based on subjective revelation are the same. They pop up out of nowhere and never progress onto anything else.

    However, modern science, which is based on empirical objective evidence has, since Galileo first demonstrated the value of this practical approach, gone from strength to strength, and has progressed to an extent unimagined in the days before modern science.

    I think this approach has proven its merits!
    You are changing the point skeptic. I am not advocating a position contrary to yours. I am pointing out that you are not the objective person you claim to be (you are being hypocritical) because you hold a belief that cannot be supported by objective empirical evidence contrary to your claim about yourself. You're not alone in this of course as most people who are like minded to you that I talk to have this same contradiction.
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    cypress

    Unless I fail to understand your point, I do not believe I am being hypocritical.

    Is it not valid to quote the success of a particular approach as evidence that the stated approach is good?

    If I have missed your point, could you please clarify?
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  32. #31  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    By this, it is pretty much the same as the word 'skeptic'. Personally, I believe only that which is supported by objective, empirical evidence, and I reject that which is supported only by spiritual inspiration, or other forms of emotional hoo ha.

    If that makes me a logical positivist, so be it. It is the only proper stance for a person trained in scientific logic.
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Your position is a contradiction. Since you claim to base your beliefs on "only that which is supported by objective, empirical evidence" where is the objective empirical evidence for this belief?

    "It is the only proper stance for a person trained in scientific logic." This stance is itself a philosophical argument that cannot be supported by objective, empirical evidence. Therefore you are inconsistent and not the objective empirical person you would like to think you are.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    cypress

    There is ample evidence in history. Beliefs not based on empirical objective evidence, like astrology, never progress. They remain as a set of unproven ideas that never get anywhere. Religious faith and beliefs based on subjective revelation are the same. They pop up out of nowhere and never progress onto anything else.

    However, modern science, which is based on empirical objective evidence has, since Galileo first demonstrated the value of this practical approach, gone from strength to strength, and has progressed to an extent unimagined in the days before modern science.

    I think this approach has proven its merits!
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    You are changing the point skeptic. I am not advocating a position contrary to yours. I am pointing out that you are not the objective person you claim to be (you are being hypocritical) because you hold a belief that cannot be supported by objective empirical evidence contrary to your claim about yourself. You're not alone in this of course as most people who are like minded to you that I talk to have this same contradiction.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    cypress

    Unless I fail to understand your point, I do not believe I am being hypocritical.

    Is it not valid to quote the success of a particular approach as evidence that the stated approach is good?

    If I have missed your point, could you please clarify?
    Skeptic - He's trying to say that you're a hypocrite for stating that you only believe things based on objective evidence, but you don't have any objective evidence for your beliefs themselves.

    His assertion can be countered in numerous ways, but that is IINM the core of his assertion.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Is it not valid to quote the success of a particular approach as evidence that the stated approach is good?
    Of course it is valid. That is the whole point. It also quite subjective and every church and religion in existence does EXACTLY the same thing.

    BUT.... ALSO.... EXACTLY like your claim of success it doesn't seem to work for everyone in regards to the things which they value in their life.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Unless I fail to understand your point, I do not believe I am being hypocritical.

    If I have missed your point, could you please clarify?
    AND... That is the hypocrisy which is being pointed out. You believe something for which there is no objective evidence. To believe that you do not, is delusional, because it is impossible. Life simply cannot be confined within such limits, for you cannot live as an objective observer. Life requires subjective participation.

    The ONLY truly objective methodology is that of science and that ONLY has a very limited applicability to objective observations. Pretenses from creationism to your kind of scientism IS NOT SCIENCE and their claims are founded on subjective judgements.

    HOWEVER, what you can say without hypocrisy, is that for whatever subjective reasons you believe in striving whenever possible for this ideal of only believing in things where there is objective evidence.

    I don't find that ideal particularly inspired, but I cannot say that I am extremely different in this respect. It does not seem rational to me to live ones life contrary to what the evidence of your own experiences tells you is the case.

    But I also know that logic compels us to admit that, just because something is true doesn't neccessarily mean there is going to be any proof or evidence that it is true, and thus it is only rational to reserve judgement when you have no evidence for it.

    Thus it seems rational for me to put things in three categories:
    1) That which I do not know.
    2) That which I believe.
    3) That which I know (or equivalently which I believe in).

    The first category are for those things which people claim to know, but I personally see no reason why they might be the case or I even have reason to think it is likely that they are not the case, but which I have to frankly admit that I cannot know for certain is false. For example the reports of UFOs seem to me to have much the same characteristics as those of ghosts, angels and other sorts of spritual type claims and thus I think it likely that these are, in fact, at most, spiritual events rather than aliens physical visiting the earth from the stars -- but of course there is no way that I could know this for certain.

    The second category are for those things which people claim to know and I have reason to believe that they probably are the case, but for which I have no conclusive personal confirmation in my life to support it. Until I see something acutally work and experience it for myself, I accept it on a theoretical basis only, acknowledging that it really has very little to do with how I actually live my life. This can also very well include things which I have every reason to believe is true but for reasons of simple lack of interest, I simply don't really care one way or another. For example, people claim to various kinds of healing techniques from accupuncture and crystals to homeopathic remedies and I have every reason to believe that these could very well be working for people for some reason or another but I personally have no such experiences.

    The third category is for those things which I have every reason to believe is the case and which I have chosen to live my life according to. These things work for me and is a part of my life. For example, I believe in the methodology of science -- I know that it works.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    I must admit to still being puzzled.

    The approach I follow is that I believe those things for which empirically derived and objective evidence exists, of sufficient quality. This is not a policy I plucked out of the air. I follow this policy because my experience, and the experience of the past 400 years of scientific endeavour, shows it works.

    Why is this considered by cypress and Mitchell to be subjective? There is an enormous mass of experience to show it is not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I must admit to still being puzzled.

    The approach I follow is that I believe those things for which empirically derived and objective evidence exists, of sufficient quality. This is not a policy I plucked out of the air. I follow this policy because my experience, and the experience of the past 400 years of scientific endeavour, shows it works.

    Why is this considered by cypress and Mitchell to be subjective? There is an enormous mass of experience to show it is not.
    In regards to scientific inquiry, I quite agree. BUT, the ONLY truly objective methodology is that of science and that ONLY has a very limited applicability to objective observations. Pretenses from creationism to scientism and anything else applied to life in general IS NOT SCIENCE and their claims are founded on subjective judgements.
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    Definition of scientism - taken from Wikipedia.

    "The term scientism is used to describe the view that natural science has authority over all other interpretations of life, such as philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations, and over other fields of inquiry, such as the social sciences."

    While I feel a certain sympathy with this view, I suspect it is based on a lack of understanding of what science is. Any subject being investigated becomes science when the research is based on the scientific method. And the scientific method depends heavily on empirical and objective testing.

    So, for example, if sociology uses scientific methods, then its findings become valid. And, of course, modern sociologists do indeed use scientific methods. As do economists, historians and a wide range of 'softer' subjects.

    On the other hand, if ideas are derived internally, from within the mind, then those are of dubious, and probably worthless value. Only if such an idea (hypothesis) is tested empirically, can it achieve value. For this reason, spiritual revelation must be treated with deep suspicion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Only if such an idea (hypothesis) is tested empirically, can it achieve value. For this reason, spiritual revelation must be treated with deep suspicion.
    Achieve value? That is really hilarious or really horrific if taken seriously.

    Something has value to someone because they value it. There is no objective quality of value to anything. That is an absurd idea if it is not down right frightening because it represents someones delusional projection of his own values upon the world as a preface for imposing those values on other people.

    Therefore when we hear someone say something like this, whether it is a religous person or otherwise, that is when we really need to be evoking deep suspicion for that is the first step towards an Hitlerian nightmare.

    This is not to say that there are no values that we cannot or should not agree upon. The value of human life is one of the most universal of such values in modern times. Most people today can agree that this value is essential to a productive human society. But that does not give this value any kind of objective status. This is a value we uphold because we are human. It is a highly subjective value derived very much from self-interest.
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  38. #37  
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    Mitchell

    I probably used the wrong words, when I said 'of value.'

    Probably more correct to say an idea is a lousy model of reality unless it can be empirically tested, and fail to be falsified by that test.

    By this standard, any idea that is internally generated (within someone's mind) and unable to be tested empirically, is a lousy model. In non scientific terms, the idea is rather likely to be quite wrong!

    We have lots of examples. Some such ideas are religious (like virgin births), and some are non religious but superstitious (like astrology). Some, like homeopathy, are pseudo-scientific. However, what they all have in common is that, either they are unable to be tested, or the proponents of the idea ignore the results of testing.

    If you have an idea that suggests, for example, that angels communicate with you, but no-one else can 'hear' these angels, then the lack of possible test for that idea means the idea is a lousy model, or in everyday terms, probably wrong. Ditto other kinds of spiritual revelation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I must admit to still being puzzled.

    The approach I follow is that I believe those things for which empirically derived and objective evidence exists, of sufficient quality. This is not a policy I plucked out of the air. I follow this policy because my experience, and the experience of the past 400 years of scientific endeavour, shows it works.

    Why is this considered by cypress and Mitchell to be subjective? There is an enormous mass of experience to show it is not.
    Skeptic, you seem so hell bent on justifying why you hold the beliefs that you do, you are missing the forest for the trees You are doing a far better job at demonstrating not only my point, that your statement was hypocritical, than I could at explaining it, (though I must admit, mitchell has done better than I would have) you are also demonstrating Mitchell's additional point that one is generally self deluded in order to argue it so vigorously and believe they are being objective.

    I (we, I think) consider your approach perfectly fine within the limits of empirical objective study. However, your belief that you should just believe things for which objective evidence exists, is itself not in keeping with that approach. The fact that you continue to attempt to justify it just corroborates my claim, so by all means please, carry on.
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    cypress

    If you believe that ideas which cannot be tested are just fine, please give an example. Something that you consider to be correct in spite of the fact that it is immune to testing.
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    1+1=2? You'd have a hard time testing every instance of it empirically.
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  42. #41  
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    1+1=2? You'd have a hard time testing every instance of it empirically.
    Ah but this is something which gets tested every day across the globe, thus does not fit the requested scenario
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    Last time this befell poor skeptic he was made to rationalize why he wants his wife to be happy, because it is to his advantage.

    Skeptic, I do believe you are in fact an endearing sentimental mush inside a part of you we'll never know through forums. I suppose for some reason you can't express this side through the text medium, rather a more calculating part takes full control here. Um... wiggle your toes for "yes". :?

    Or if you can answer that blowing a raspberry on a giggling baby's tummy, with zero scientific justification, you fully believe fine and good.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  44. #43  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    1+1=2? You'd have a hard time testing every instance of it empirically.
    Ah but this is something which gets tested every day across the globe, thus does not fit the requested scenario
    But . How can you assume it to be true before you test it? Only by making a generalisation that 1+1 must always =2, based on previous tests. As 'one' of anything is a subjective judgement, there is an unlimited supply of instances of one plus one, thus rendering the concept immune to conclusive testing. It can only be considered true by inductive reasoning and not by decuctive reasoning.
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    CMR

    There is no difference there with anything scientific. In science, nothing is proved, but numerous failed tests to disprove an idea make that idea into a stronger model.

    Pong. Yep. You are right. I am just a sentimental pile of mush within.

    However, that has nothing to do with skepticism. A good skeptic is not someone who goes around actively disbelieving everything. That is a cynic. Quite a different animal.

    A good skeptic is one who refrains from actively believing something until he/she sees strong empirical evidence. I have a very strong belief system. I believe firmly in biological evolution, the atomic theory, and the immense sexual impact of Jolene Blalock in a bikini. Each of those ideas is suported by strong evidence.
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  46. #45  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    Quote Originally Posted by CMR80606
    1+1=2? You'd have a hard time testing every instance of it empirically.
    Ah but this is something which gets tested every day across the globe, thus does not fit the requested scenario
    But . How can you assume it to be true before you test it? Only by making a generalisation that 1+1 must always =2, based on previous tests. As 'one' of anything is a subjective judgement, there is an unlimited supply of instances of one plus one, thus rendering the concept immune to conclusive testing. It can only be considered true by inductive reasoning and not by decuctive reasoning.
    Note the wording of Skeptics request "immune" to testing. 1+1=2 is not only "not" immune to testing but is in fact tested everyday many many times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    cypress

    If you believe that ideas which cannot be tested are just fine, please give an example. Something that you consider to be correct in spite of the fact that it is immune to testing.
    I would normally be happy to offer several examples but once again you are missing the point. The point here is that you yourself believe in an particular idea that cannot be tested and you think it is just fine, but at the same time that you hold this belief, you also think that I should not believe that ideas which cannot be tested are just fine and you seem to be deluding yourself into thinking that you don't hold any untestable beliefs.
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    cypress

    Am I to take it that this idea you think I hold without testing is the idea that objective and empirical testing of concepts is the best way to weed out the nonsense?

    If so, I have already demonstrated its truth by reference to history. Until the rise of empiricism as the basis for scientific study, the acquisition of real knowledge was painfully slow. Only since Galileo showed that real world objective experimentation is the road to learning, has science taken off, with amazing developments affecting us all.

    If empirical and objective testing was not the best way of weeding out nonsense, then science would not have grown as it has.

    Or do you reject experience as evidence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    cypress

    Am I to take it that this idea you think I hold without testing is the idea that objective and empirical testing of concepts is the best way to weed out the nonsense?
    No. Are you now back peddling? This is not an idea I think you hold, this is a belief you directly expressed. Please go back and read your post to which I originally responded.

    Or do you reject experience as evidence?
    No, why are you so anxious to make this about what I think?
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    cypress

    I give up. If you do not want to tell me what you are arguing about, then there is no point arguing.
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    You can't prove that.


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  52. #51  
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    I prefer ARGUMENT FROM NUMBERS :

    1) One.
    2) Two.
    3) Eight.
    4) Five hundred.
    5) Six million.
    6) Nine billion.
    7) I ran out of fingers a long time ago.
    8) Therefore infinity exists.
    9) Therefore the Theory of [Physics/Mathematics/Evolution] is right, and God isn't.

    Just gotta love the humility of scientist-atheists :-D
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