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Old 02-25-2007, 04:55 AM   #61
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #60):
If something transcends our ability to be understood through naturalism alone, does that mean we have no means to understand it at all?
Yes! 'Cause there is no objective scale to distingish one argument from another. For example, any statement of your intelligent designer's motives is equally plausible. Hell, there isn't even an objective scale which can measure how many intelligent designers (bunnies, unicorns) might exist; that you believe in one god instead of many is simply an arbirtrary matter of happenstance.

Don't you see, man: the conditions which need to exist for belief in your god to be reasonable would require us to believe in an infinite number of things which may or may not transcend our ability to know them.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:14 PM   #62
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
Yes! 'Cause there is no objective scale to distingish one argument from another. For example, any statement of your intelligent designer's motives is equally plausible. Hell, there isn't even an objective scale which can measure how many intelligent designers (bunnies, unicorns) might exist; that you believe in one god instead of many is simply an arbirtrary matter of happenstance.
We're just going in circles. Yeah of course, faith is ultimately just that. That's why it's "belief" and not "acknowledgment". If we start arbitrarily ascribing worldly characteristics to God and trying to assert them as factual claims, yeah that's absurd. I don't believe in one god or many gods, male or female god/s any of that stuff. I don't think the concepts of singularity and plurality are even relevant because those are concepts that we use to describe things in our world.

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Don't you see, man: the conditions which need to exist for belief in your god to be reasonable would require us to believe in an infinite number of things which may or may not transcend our ability to know them.
Not at all. All that is required to believe in God is an acknowledgment of man's own limitations. Limitations in what we can know and how we can know it. Nobody can prove or disprove whether we were created or not, whether we have purpose or not, or whether morality is a spiritual gift or merely a random evolutionary quirk. But that doesn't mean we can't objectively see that there are relevant, logical reasons to believe that things transcendent of our world exist. Are they God? I don't know. I see things in this world that to me show a creative consciousness. Could science come around and explain everything away in some perfectly rational way? Perhaps. But that wouldn't be an objective belief either, just a blind assumption.

Ultimately faith is a matter of perspective. You can choose to believe that this universe just fell into place and that we have no innate purpose aside from perpetuating the existence of the species. Or you can choose to see your limitations, the order of the universe, our existence and the unique qualities of the human experience as signs that supernatural realities do exist.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:43 PM   #63
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #6):
All that is required to believe in God is an acknowledgment of man's own limitations.
Exactly my point. Acknowlegement of our limitations is all which is required to believe in so many unicorns and bunnies as well as gods. The criteria by which acceptance of your god is "reasonable" is the exact same criteria for any other imaginary friend, provided said friend does not observably contradict the laws of nature. Oh, yes it is.

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Old 02-25-2007, 11:14 PM   #64
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
Exactly my point. Acknowlegement of our limitations is all which is required to believe in so many unicorns and bunnies as well as gods. The criteria by which acceptance of your god is "reasonable" is the exact same criteria for any other imaginary friend, provided said friend does not observably contradict the laws of nature. Oh, yes it is.
If you're talking about ascribing characteristics to God, sure. If you're talking about the existence of God himself, you're missing the side of the barn. God's defined as the creator of the universe. You can say that God is a he or a she or a unicorn or a bunny or a giant floating lima bean, but then you're just ascribing arbitrary worldly characteristics to God, which is pointless aside from symbolic representations which serve to help people discuss their religious beliefs. Saying that a unicorn is just as likely to have created the universe is just another way of saying that God is a unicorn, not that God's existence is implausible.


p.s. Feel free to knock off the lame elitism any time. If you didn't sound like you just came from a Richard Dawkins book signing and you were a little more open minded, the patronizing "Oh yes, it is" type of snobbery might hold a little water in this discussion instead of just making you look like a dick.
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:25 AM   #65
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #64):
If you're talking about ascribing characteristics to God, sure. If you're talking about the existence of God himself, you're missing the side of the barn.
I am talking about the existence of your intelligent designer and I am not missing anything.

This is what I am saying: If your premise is that it is reasonable to believe in that which requires no objective evidence then it follows that (pretty much) any belief whatsoever is reasonable; if you agree that there is no objective scale by which to measure the validity of any such claim to another then it follows that all claims are equally plausible. These are the implications of your argument.

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You can say that God is a he or a she or a unicorn or a bunny or a giant floating lima bean, but then you're just ascribing arbitrary worldly characteristics to God, which is pointless aside from symbolic representations which serve to help people discuss their religious beliefs. Saying that a unicorn is just as likely to have created the universe is just another way of saying that God is a unicorn, not that God's existence is implausible.
You are missing the point. I was not talking about the ejaculating unicorn, rather the pink unicorn. I was talking about the active belief that we are living in a simulated reality or that nothing exists beyond the curb of our senses; I was talking about any belief which cannot be falsified, of which your god is a part.
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:47 PM   #66
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Let me try to bring this back around. You basically have five categories of belief. Now, you can probably divide these into further subcategories but I think five will be more than sufficient. Here they are:

1. Fundamentalist Atheism: "There is no God."
2. Agnostic Atheism "When I look at the world, I don't see anything that inclines me to believe there is a God. But maybe there is, I don't know."
3. Agnosticism: "I don't know either way"
4. Agnostic Theism: "When I look at the world, I see things that incline me to believe there is a God. But maybe there isn't. I don't know."
5. Fundamentalist Theism: "There is a God"

As I said earlier, faith is a matter of perspective. Speaking personally I see our very existence, the perfectly ordered physical laws that allow us to exist, the fact that our universe came into existence out of infinity, the fact that it cannot cause or perpetuate itself, as signs that the world was created and there is a God. The implications of that theology are significant.

You may see the same things I do, but say, "Meh. I don't see anything that inclines me to believe in a God." Fair enough. The implications of that theology are also significant. I'm not going to try to unequivocally refute that, because we simply do not know.

I think all your arguments would be valid if my own arguments met one condition: that I was asserting belief in God as a factual claim. I wasn't. I tried repeatedly to make that clear (I even explicitly stated I consider myself a "theistic agnostic") but maybe I didn't make it clear enough. We may not be able to quantitatively prove the existence of God, but we can observe the world around us and we can interpret it in a given way.

Now, if you want to grab Richard Dawkins and head over to a fundamentalist church where they're making assertions that God's existence is an undeniable scientific fact, give me a call because I'd love to go with you guys and lay the smackdown on the fundies.
But when it comes to agnostically oriented perspectives, I'm not sure what exactly it is that you find so unreasonable, or how it has anything in common with fairies and unicorns. I think both fundamentalist extremes are intellectually absurd, and that either agnostic inclination is a logical and valid perspective. It's not about what we know, it's about how we choose to interpret what we know.
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Old 02-27-2007, 07:52 PM   #67
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #66):
I think all your arguments would be valid if my own arguments met one condition: that I was asserting belief in God as a factual claim. I wasn't.
It's not your conclusion that I have a problem with so much as your fallicious rationale. In making your conclusion, you've posited something which no one could possibly disprove--not because it's a great argument, but because it's unfalsible. This is why the pink unicorns come in. They, like your god (and indeed an infinite number of things), require no evidence and transcend our capicity to percieve them. Thus, the process by which you've came to believe in your god is the same for invisible pink unicorns.
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:46 PM   #68
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

You're still ignoring the main point: that it's a question of interpretation of what we know. The difference between God and the invisible pink unicorn is that we logically infer the existence of God when we interpret the world as designed, created and purposeful, which is based upon what we can observably know. What we begin to define as God's characteristics is the result of said interpretations, but it's a theological interpretive perspective, not a falsifiable naturalistic claim.

The IPU is a non sequitur. What exactly do we believe the IPU did, and how did we arrive at that conclusion? What are we basing its existence on? We base the existence of God on an interpretation of known truths. Your denial of God amounts to saying that since you can't observe God within the boundaries of your existential bubble, God must not exist. You ignore that many aspects of our universe may be logically interpreted to be signs of the existence of God. Instead, you have chosen to interpret the world in a manner congruent with your faith in the naturalistic axiom. And hey, that's fine. I can only tell you how I interpret what I see. Likewise, you can only tell me how you interpret what you see.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:41 PM   #69
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Mike Doolittle (Post #68):
You're still ignoring the main point: that it's a question of interpretation of what we know. The difference between God and the invisible pink unicorn is that we logically infer the existence of God when we interpret the world as designed, created and purposeful, which is based upon what we can observably know. What we begin to define as God's characteristics is the result of said interpretations, but it's a theological interpretive perspective, not a falsifiable naturalistic claim.
In otherwords, after making sweet love with logic and eventually birthing this beautiful baby, you've attain sole custody of the child, got a restraining order against logic and won't return it's phonecalls. You can't do that. If your god can be logically inferred then it can be logically scrutinized. You simply cannot have it both ways; either it is logical or it is not.

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Your denial of God amounts to saying that since you can't observe God within the boundaries of your existential bubble, God must not exist.
Again, that is not my position. Your god may exist and it may not, I am only saying that there is reason to actively believe in it (and by definition unreasonable), not that it necessarily "must not exist."

Quote:
You ignore that many aspects of our universe may be logically interpreted to be signs of the existence of God.
No, I don't, because your god is not logically interpreted from anything except your own premises (which is why they call your arguments circular). What I do is ignore things which cannot be logically demonstrated, like your god and the proverbial unicorn.

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I can only tell you how I interpret what I see. Likewise, you can only tell me how you interpret what you see.
Yes, but I can also scruntize the process by which you've came to your interpretation. Lest anybody's interpretation is equally true (in which case, we could "logically infer" the invisble pink unicorn).

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The IPU is a non sequitur.
No it is not. It is an effective satarical device which is often deployed to ridicule a concept which, at once, demands all the respect of a logical idea yet none of the burden.

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Old 03-02-2007, 08:05 PM   #70
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
In otherwords, after making sweet love with logic and eventually birthing this beautiful baby, you've attain sole custody of the child, got a restraining order against logic and won't return it's phonecalls. You can't do that. If your god can be logically inferred then it can be logically scrutinized. You simply cannot have it both ways; either it is logical or it is not.
I'm not trying to. Using reason and reducing something to our naturalistic observational capacities are two different things.

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Again, that is not my position. Your god may exist and it may not, I am only saying that there is reason to actively believe in it (and by definition unreasonable), not that it necessarily "must not exist."
But you're splitting hairs here. It's semantics. As far as you're concerned, it might as well not exist since it can't be verified within the boundaries of the naturalistic axiom to which you blindly adhere.

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No, I don't, because your god is not logically interpreted from anything except your own premises (which is why they call your arguments circular).
Nor is your absence of God interpreted from anything but a blind and dogmatic clinging to the naturalistic axiom, a mere assumption underlying the entire foundation of your entire argument. Philosophy will always bring with it a degree of subjective perspective. That's why it's philosophy. Philosophy and science cannot exist independently. You're blind to the fact that your perspective is a mere interpretive understanding of what you know – a subjective philosophy.

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Yes, but I can also scruntize the process by which you've came to your interpretation. Lest anybody's interpretation is equally true (in which case, we could "logically infer" the invisble pink unicorn).

[the IPU] is an effective satarical device which is often deployed to ridicule a concept which, at once, demands all the respect of a logical idea yet none of the burden.
It's a rather poorly constructed satirical device; you're using it out of context, and using it ineffectively. I'm no stranger to the IPU, the Problem of Evil, the parable of the stone, or any of the other hackneyed atheistic maxims posturing as proofs against God. You still haven't given any kind of example of how the IPU can be substituted for God without simply trying to ascribe qualities to God. We can see things in this world which we may logically argue can be interpreted as being evident of design and purpose. Saying something such as, "the IPU may as well have been the creator" is just ascribing a quality to God – God is still defined as the Creator, even if He is an invisible pink unicorn who farted the universe into existence.

Further, you seem to be confusing "logically" with "definitively". Our very existence defies the imagination of science (if there is such a thing), much less its capacity for observational data. There is much more we can ascertain within the boundaries of reason through a melding of philosophy and science, rather than a blind and dogmatic adherence to science alone.
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Old 03-03-2007, 01:03 AM   #71
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Mike, there are an infinite amount of things which may or may not exist from without our universe. We, as finite beings living within a finite universe, are incapable of perceiving every thing all of them and we both agree that most of them probably do not exist, so we have to have some process that separates the more probable from the less probable. For best practices, that process includes the presentation of evidence; evidence for one hypothesis will be weighed against the evidence for another, lack of evidence for a hypothesis will result in eventual rejection and so on. And before you start, this applies to all areas of inquiry worth their salt--not just science--because it isn't inquiry unless there is a process which can produce justifiably unique ideas.

Let me put this another way, if you were to program a machine which processed the validity of ideas based on hard evidence, it would reject your "flat earth" submission for obvious reasons. There are a thousand ways to prove that the earth is round. However, if you were to program it based on your criteria for belief in your god, it would accept (basically) anything. Yours is not a process which can produce justifiably unique ideas because every idea, from pink unicorns to intelligent designers, because it requires no evidence (or even a substitute for evidence). Even if you were to program it with what can be "logically inferred" it would accept a lot more than it would reject. (If there can be no ideas which are more true or more applicable than another than it follows that all ideas are true.)

You've used the word "blind" to describe my process but that description is best suited for yours, since it is you who is appealing to our lack of sensation to make your case of a god which we can never (in every sense of the word) see, and I don't just mean by you and me now, but by no other being given the entire lifespan of the universe, given any possible instrument. Yet, "blind" is the best attack you could come up with for a philosophy which demands tangible or demonstrable evidence before belief?

You've also thrown around the word "dogma" but again, this is a better characterization of your outfit because adherents of dogmatism can never change the principles for which their dogmatism apposes. Now, I could name some things which would cause me to believe in your god, but you could never do that for your god because it is a perpetual Z. You god will always be the cause, if not the cause of the cause, if not the cause of the cause of the cause. There is absolutely nothing which anybody can posit or demonstrate which could break this Buttons and Mindy-esque "why" spell, hence, dogmatism.

This is why my position isn't a matter of semantics as you say above. I am, in fact, so leaving the door open to the possibility that your god does exist (quite literally the polar opposite of dogmatism). Alls I'm saying is that there is reason to believe that it does, hence my calling your god unreasonable.

Finally, the invisible pink unicorn is meant to be taken as an analogy, not as a replacement. In other words, it represents any old thing which transcends our capacity to know it, not necessarily arbitrary substitute for the creator of the universe. A "rose by any other name" it is not; roses are red and violets are blue. It is satirical because it ridicules your concept by taking your process of thinking and produces a logical extreme (you may be familiar with a show called South Park) to expose your process for the non-deductive non-sense (in both senses) it really is. You say that exists but we are incapable of perceiving it, I say that the invisible pink unicorn is incapable of being perceived too, does it mean that it isn't. Oh, but wait, your god is "logically inferred!" Yeah, right. So was the god which created Earth (and a few dots in the sky) and all life on the planet; so was the god which actively punished and rewarded us for our deeds. The only difference between your god now and those gods then is that our universe got bigger. Now, I'm not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing, but you have to admit that as much as you call my scientific line of thinking "narrow" (you know, because the grandeur of the natural world is narrow if you don't accept the infinite amount of alternative worlds which my or may not exist) the limits of your god are actually dictated by it. All that needed to happen for your god to be pushed past the big bang was for Darwinism to tell it couldn't be the intelligent designer it once was. And guess what, if your perpetual Z gets moved again, it will be because science--a self-checking process which produces falsible evidence--will, in every sense, move it for you--just as it has moved the "soul" (as it was originally concieved) from our bodies, just as it has made our place in the universe much, much smaller.

Now, answer me this: if a product of the supernatural world created the natural world, then why is it that the natural world is one dictating the limits of the supernatural?

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Old 03-05-2007, 01:40 PM   #72
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

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Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
Mike, there are an infinite amount of things which may or may not exist from without our universe. We, as finite beings living within a finite universe, are incapable of perceiving every thing all of them and we both agree that most of them probably do not exist, so we have to have some process that separates the more probable from the less probable. For best practices, that process includes the presentation of evidence; evidence for one hypothesis will be weighed against the evidence for another, lack of evidence for a hypothesis will result in eventual rejection and so on. And before you start, this applies to all areas of inquiry worth their salt--not just science--because it isn't inquiry unless there is a process which can produce justifiably unique ideas.
Oy, where to start.

You assert that your stance isn't dogmatic or blind because it "relies on evidence". But all you are doing is making a blind assumption that all truth is confined within our existential bubble. That all that exists, or can exist, must be verifiable within our natural limitations. Now certainly you will assert that this isn't exactly the case, as certain things may exist outside of our natural universe but we simply have no capacity to know. This is true, but only is a strictly naturalistic sense. The fact that we cannot observe or verify something beyond the confines of our naturalistic existence does not mean we do have capacity to interpret what we see around us.

Quote:
Yours is not a process which can produce justifiably unique ideas because every idea, from pink unicorns to intelligent designers, because it requires no evidence (or even a substitute for evidence). Even if you were to program it with what can be "logically inferred" it would accept a lot more than it would reject. (If there can be no ideas which are more true or more applicable than another than it follows that all ideas are true.)
This is completely false. "Intelligent designers" are logically inferred from what we perceive as design and purpose to our world. The naturalistic axiom asserts that all things can be explained by nature. So even if an idea is incomplete or inherently contradictory (such as a self-perpetuating or self-causing universe), science must accept these things because it cannot make interpretive statements. Science exists only to observe.

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You've used the word "blind" to describe my process but that description is best suited for yours, since it is you who is appealing to our lack of sensation to make your case of a god which we can never (in every sense of the word) see, and I don't just mean by you and me now, but by no other being given the entire lifespan of the universe, given any possible instrument. Yet, "blind" is the best attack you could come up with for a philosophy which demands tangible or demonstrable evidence before belief?
I could think of some other words, but I think "blind" does the trick. Your reasoning is circular: nothing can exist outside of your bubble. If God existent but was confined to the laws of this universe, God wouldn't be God. Yet because you can't objectively verify God, you figure God probably doesn't exist. The only thing that would convince you would be to see some indisputable naturalistic proof of God, in which case God would no longer be transcendent, but bound thus not God. In other words, you've made an assumption that naturalism is the ultimate truth.

The difference between you and I is that I am not speaking in absolutes. I do not know if God exists, or what God is. But I observe the world around me and I interpret it as created, purposeful, and meaningful. I can see evidence in the material that suggests that indeed things exist that are immaterial the very inception of our universe, for starters. I do not make scientific (naturalistic) claims of knowledge about the supernatural; I merely state what I perceive based upon my interpretation of what I can observe.

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You've also thrown around the word "dogma" but again, this is a better characterization of your outfit because adherents of dogmatism can never change the principles for which their dogmatism apposes.
Again, patently false. Theology has changed as science has revealed more about our world. This is why I said that science and philosophy cannot exist independently. Ultimately all that we know will contribute to how we interpret the meaning of our existence. You've chosen to interpret your meaning as material, finite, naturalistic, meaningless, and random. There's nothing to stop you from making a reasonable claim for that, but it's not fact it's an interpretation based upon an assumption.

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This is why my position isn't a matter of semantics as you say above. I am, in fact, so leaving the door open to the possibility that your god does exist (quite literally the polar opposite of dogmatism). Alls I'm saying is that there is reason to believe that it does, hence my calling your god unreasonable.
No, you are only leaving reason for God to "exist" if God is constrained by naturalism. If God is transcendent, which he logically must be in order to be God, he can't exist.

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you have to admit that as much as you call my scientific line of thinking "narrow" (you know, because the grandeur of the natural world is narrow if you don't accept the infinite amount of alternative worlds which my or may not exist) the limits of your god are actually dictated by it.
On the contrary, the limit of naturalistic understanding is, obviously, limited to the natural. You don't have to make assumptions about how many alternate universes there are, what god is, how the universe was created, etc., to logically infer the existence of God by interpreting what we can naturally observe.

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All that needed to happen for your god to be pushed past the big bang was for Darwinism to tell it couldn't be the intelligent designer it once was.

Pulled right from Dawkins' mouth, and still just as ignorant. It's a pathetic attempt by Dawkins to overstate the value of evolution, and proclaim a victory over theology by taking a blind assumption to its logical extreme. Why do you think it is that the Catholic church supports evolution? Darwinism did not change anything. Naturalistic evolution only sheds light on the obvious that cultural creation stories are allegory, not fact. It's refuted fundamentalist religious dogma. It has not refuted design, nor has it obscured a transcendental purpose and meaning within our existence. All it has done is describe what it observes. We are still left to ponder the limitations of our naturalistic knowledge, and left to subjectively interpret what we know.

Secondly, God has always been rooted in creation. If science reaches a day when it rewrites the laws of physics and can transcend the laws of our universe to discover how we came into existence, then translate this knowledge into information that can again be understood within the confines of this universe's limited naturalistic knowledge, people are going to have to reconsider how they interpret the world.

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And guess what, if your perpetual Z gets moved again, it will be because science--a self-checking process which produces falsible evidence--will, in every sense, move it for you--just as it has moved the "soul" (as it was originally concieved) from our bodies, just as it has made our place in the universe much, much smaller.
How has science moved the "soul" from our bodies? That's just the kind of dogma that defines your narrow, naturalistic assumptions. To quote Deepak Chopra: "You are not the nervous system; you are the user of the nervous system." Science exists only in the capacity to observe, not to interpret. Science will always help us learn new things about our world, and as we learn new things it will cause us to question how we interpret them. Theology need not be stagnant, contrary to your assumptions.

Quote:
Now, answer me this: if a product of the supernatural world created the natural world, then why is it that the natural world is one dictating the limits of the supernatural?
What makes you think it is? How do you know it is not the other way around? Don't you see Nic? You're making claims of naturalistic knowledge and assuming that anything that exists must be verifiable within that naturalistic bubble. But that, by definition, means the transcendent cannot exist. And if the transcendent cannot exist, our universe cannot exist, and neither can we.
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Old 03-05-2007, 02:46 PM   #73
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

I want to further expand on the following response from you and talk a little about God and creation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
All that needed to happen for your god to be pushed past the big bang was for Darwinism to tell it couldn't be the intelligent designer it once was. And guess what, if your perpetual Z gets moved again, it will be because science--a self-checking process which produces falsible evidence--will, in every sense, move it for you--just as it has moved the "soul" (as it was originally concieved) from our bodies, just as it has made our place in the universe much, much smaller.

When physicists talk about the Big Bang, are they talking about a mass of matter and energy floating in spacetime and spontaneously exploding? No. They are talking about the very inception of spacetime itself. Everything that we can naturalistically observe about our universe is by definition bound within this universe's physical laws and our place in spacetime. None of these things existed prior to the Big Bang, at least not as we are able to understand them now.

Thus everything we can empirically observe about our universe is intrinsically bound by its own self-contained properties. This is why it will never be possible for scientists to definitely answer questions like, "What was before the Big Bang?", "What caused the Big Bang?" and "How did our universe come into existence in such an orderly, structured manner which has allowed life to evolve?".

The fact that these questions are scientifically unanswerable is elementary logic: Since the laws that constrain our capacity to observe our universe and indeed the universe itself did not exist prior to the Big Bang, nothing prior to the Big Bang can be known within the constraints of such observations. Whatever caused the Big Bang was, by necessity of both physics and logic, transcendent of our natural laws, or supernatural.

Now, do I have any way of scientifically knowing that what is beyond our universe is indeed God? Of course not. Think about it: how would we "know"? By naturalistic observation? The very idea is redundant. If the supernatural were constrained by our physical laws, it would not be supernatural. Thus all transcendent things, though they must exist, cannot be known or understood by naturalistic observation.

So, no one can ever know whether God created the world, or whether our universe is part of infinitely self-spawning multiverses, or any other such concept that is naturalistically absurd. So where do we get this concept of "God"? Do we fabricate God, like you cynically fabricate the Invisible Pink Unicorn?

To an extent, yes; that is, to the extent that God, like your unicorn, is not naturalistically verifiable. However, your Unicorn has no meaning. It's a satirical device, nothing more. Faith in God, on the other hand, arises out of observation of our world, acknowledgment of the limitations of naturalism, and introspections about things which naturalistic observation has no capacity to describe, such as purpose and meaning. Why do I exist? Why does this universe exist? How should I live, and why?

Can we prove naturalistically that a supernatural God exists? The very idea is absurd. Can we come to a faith that is based on interpretation of naturalistic knowledge, in which we believe that we were created and designed because we see things in this world, and indeed see in the very existence of our world, something transcendent of it that gives it purpose and meaning? Absolutely, we can.

Every argument you've attempted to make against my faith boils down to one maxim: that God's existence can't be proved within the confines of naturalism. It's almost amusing that you continue to harp at it, when I never disputed that in the first place. I'd stated repeatedly that my belief in God, while one I believe to be logical and reasonable, is by no means provable. But if God could be proved to exist within the confines of natural law, you would simply assert that since he is bound by natural law, he must certainly not really be God since God is by definition transcendent. Thus you will never believe in God, even if God could be "proven".
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Old 03-05-2007, 04:35 PM   #74
Nicato
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Quote:
Mike Doolittle (Post #72):
You assert that your stance isn't dogmatic or blind because it "relies on evidence". But all you are doing is making a blind assumption that all truth is confined within our existential bubble. That all that exists, or can exist, must be verifiable within our natural limitations. Now certainly you will assert that this isn't exactly the case, as certain things may exist outside of our natural universe – but we simply have no capacity to know. This is true, but only is a strictly naturalistic sense.
No, it is true in all senses. The simple fact is that no one can know anything which they cannot, in some way, perceive.

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The fact that we cannot observe or verify something beyond the confines of our naturalistic existence does not mean we do have capacity to interpret what we see around us.
If we are complete products of the natural world, as the theory of evolution states, then it follows that we are subjected to all laws which govern said natural world. That we have the capacity to interpret our world as we please is beside the point, as our interpretations do not make it necessarily so.

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"Intelligent designers" are logically inferred from what we perceive as design and purpose to our world.
But you're missing my point, which is that "logical inference" by itself is only slightly more useful than thoughts made at random. Given our stance as "Middle World" creatures, we are only capable of natively perceiving light in one spectrum among many, objects as objects rather than objects as molecular structure, and so on. Your "logical inference" is just a glorified "intuition" and the criticisms are the same for both.

If you are seeking the best tools for ascertaining knowledge, then you have to come better equipped; "logical inference" alone is a good first step, but ultimately doesn't cut the mustard.

Quote:
Your reasoning is circular: nothing can exist outside of your bubble. If God existent but was confined to the laws of this universe, God wouldn't be God. Yet because you can't objectively verify God, you figure God probably doesn't exist. The only thing that would convince you would be to see some indisputable naturalistic proof of God, in which case God would no longer be transcendent, but bound – thus not God. In other words, you've made an assumption that naturalism is the ultimate truth. The only thing that would convince you would be to see some indisputable naturalistic proof of God, in which case God would no longer be transcendent, but bound – thus not God. In other words, you've made an assumption that naturalism is the ultimate truth.
It is you who is making the circular argument because it is your unfalsifiable premise that your god exists outside the universe.

Quote:
The difference between you and I is that I am not speaking in absolutes.
If anything, Mike, that is a common thread. I've stated many times that your god may or may not exist, and by doing so yielding my claim to absolution.

The difference is that I have higher standards for belief.

Quote:
I can see evidence in the material that suggests that indeed things exist that are immaterial – the very inception of our universe, for starters. I do not make scientific (naturalistic) claims of knowledge about the supernatural; I merely state what I perceive based upon my interpretation of what I can observe.
That you have the ability to state what you perceive is irrelevant to whether your conclusions are true, or even reasonable.

We both look at what caused the big bang, I chose to say "I don't know" and you say "God did it!" Sometimes, it's the very fact of choosing to interpret where the problem lies. There is little if any value in interpretation which can't produce justifiably unique ideas.

Quote:
Theology has changed as science has revealed more about our world. This is why I said that science and philosophy cannot exist independently.
Wrong. Science can exist without theology. But modern theology needs science like a fiend needs a fix.

Further, science, unlike theology, does not need to change it's fundamental claims every time there is a grand theological breakthrough. Simply put, as the influence as science becomes stronger the claims of theologians become weaker. A zero-sum gain it is not.

Quote:
Quote:
you have to admit that as much as you call my scientific line of thinking "narrow" (you know, because the grandeur of the natural world is narrow if you don't accept the infinite amount of alternative worlds which my or may not exist) the limits of your god are actually dictated by it.
On the contrary, the limit of naturalistic understanding is, obviously, limited to the natural...
Yeah, my point was that your understanding of your god exists only because your understanding of natural world, particularly the genuine mysteries concerning the birth of our universe. If those mysteries are ever found to have natural causes, then your god will be "that which caused that which caused."

Quote:
Pulled right from Dawkins' mouth, and still just as ignorant. It's a pathetic attempt by Dawkins to overstate the value of evolution, and proclaim a victory over theology by taking a blind assumption to its logical extreme. Why do you think it is that the Catholic church supports evolution? Darwinism did not change anything. Naturalistic evolution only sheds light on the obvious – that cultural creation stories are allegory, not fact. It's refuted fundamentalist religious dogma. It has not refuted design, nor has it obscured a transcendental purpose and meaning within our existence. All it has done is describe what it observes. We are still left to ponder the limitations of our naturalistic knowledge, and left to subjectively interpret what we know.
The Catholic Church supports evolution because, as I've said before, it's science which is clearly drawing the boundaries of theology. That was the only thing I was saying with my Darwin remark.

And I'm skeptical of the CCs support of science. Why was Pope John Paul telling Stephen Hawking not to investigate the beginnings of the big bang?

Quote:
Secondly, God has always been rooted in creation. If science reaches a day when it rewrites the laws of physics and can transcend the laws of our universe to discover how we came into existence, then translate this knowledge into information that can again be understood within the confines of this universe's limited naturalistic knowledge, people are going to have to reconsider how they interpret the world.
But in the meanwhile, wouldn't it be prudent to have no opinion on the matter?

Quote:
How has science moved the "soul" from our bodies?
It was originally thought, throughout many if not all primitive cultures, that we had a "ghost in the machine" or a spirit of some sort which occupied our bodies. In investigating the reasons for this, it becomes obvious. The recently deceased, for example, retain all the composure of their lively state but, paradoxically, have no life "in" them. Or in otherwords, they "logically inferred" that this spirit or lifeforce was carried out of them upon their death. There are other reasons but this is all beside the point.

If the soul existed independent from the body, then it should not matter if you fell or your head because you couldn't cause psychical damage to an immaterial entity. Yet modern neurology has demonstrated brain damage can result in a person becoming fundamentally different in their behavior. (There are several more expansive big-ass articles on it here, just use ctrl + F to look for "soul." Sam Harris makes a particularly poignant case against the modern conception of a soul in his latest book, "Letter To A Christian Nation")

Quote:
What makes you think it is? How do you know it is not the other way around?
Because the Catholic Church supports evolution and indeed all theologies will (eventually) have to modify their claims so that it is consistent with the scientific consensus. It isn't the other way around because, obviously, theological breakthroughs have no influence, whatsoever, on science.

Quote:
You're making claims of naturalistic knowledge and assuming that anything that exists must be verifiable within that naturalistic bubble. But that, by definition, means the transcendent cannot exist. And if the transcendent cannot exist, our universe cannot exist, and neither can we.
Again, with the circular argument. You're just arbitrary stating that their has to be a transcendent when that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.

Last edited by Nicato; 03-05-2007 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:47 PM   #75
Nicato
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

AND ANOTHER THING...

You've made reference to Kant's Critie der reinen Bernunft but did you read the book? Having only bought the book today, I was quite amused to come across this passage in the preface to the first edition:

Quote:
I have not evaded its questions by pleading
the insufficiency of human reason. On the contrary, I have
specified these questions exhaustively, according to
principles; and after locating the point at which, through
misunderstanding, reason comes into conflict with itself, I have
solved them to its complete satisfaction. The answer to these Axiii
questions has not, indeed, been such as a dogmatic and
visionary insistence upon knowledge might lead us to expect --
that can be catered for only through magical devices, in which
I am no adept. Such ways of answering them are, indeed, not
within the intention of the natural constitution of our reason;
and inasmuch as they have their source in misunderstanding,
it is the duty of philosophy to counteract their deceptive
influence, no matter what prized and cherished dreams may have
to be disowned. In this enquiry I have made completeness
my chief aim, and I venture to assert that there is not a single
metaphysical problem which has not been solved, or for the
solution of which the key at least has not been supplied. Pure
reason is, indeed, so perfect a unity that if its principle were
insufficient for the solution of even a single one of all the
questions to which it itself gives birth we should have no
alternative but to reject the principle, since we should then no
longer be able to place implicit reliance upon it in dealing
with any one of the other questions.

While I am saying this I can fancy that I detect in the face
of the reader an expression of indignation, mingled with Axiv
contempt, at pretensions seemingly so arrogant and vain-glorious.
Yet they are incomparably more moderate than the claims
of all those writers who on the lines of the usual programme
profess to prove the simple nature of the soul or the necessity
of a first beginning of the world
. For while such writers pledge
themselves to extend human knowledge beyond all limits of
possible experience, I humbly confess that this is entirely
beyond my power. I have to deal with nothing save reason itself
and its pure thinking; and to obtain complete knowledge of
these, there is no need to go far afield, since I come upon them
in my own self. Common logic itself supplies an example, how
all the simple acts of reason can be enumerated completely
and systematically. The subject of the present enquiry is the
[kindred] question, how much we can hope to achieve by
P 011
reason, when all the material and assistance of experience are
taken away.
(Copied from here.)

I haven't gotten past the preface, but my understanding is that Kant's real critique is of the supposed limits of human knowledge, not the process of logic itself directly. Read the article criticizing Kant's critique here.
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